**DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on 26 March 2007 under the username TheSergeant. I have since closed that account in favour of my current one and re-posted my earlier contributions with minor spelling and informational edits.**
I know, I know; it's been nearly a full year since my last Journal post. College has a bad habit of doing that to people. It has also severely limited the amount of free time I used to be able to commit to gaming so, unfortunately, there will be no new game reviews from me just yet. Perhaps once the summer rolls around I'll be able to do some catching up. In the meantime, I'd like to spend this entry discussing general gaming topics.
For the longest time I've been primarily a PC gamer. When I was younger I had one of the old, bulky black & white (or more accurately, green & green) Nintendo GameBoy handhelds and I would go over to friends' houses to play their Playstations or Nintentos with them when I felt the desire to try out a particular console game they had. Nothing selfish, I just didn't have an unlimited supply of disposable income to spend on more than one gaming platform - so I chose the PC. Recently though, I've been tempted to get the new Nintendo Wii. Besides the obvious pros of its innovative control system, relatively low cost, and "fun for the whole family" demographic, what sold it for me was a combination of the addictive fun even its most simple games have as well as its online content. Potentially, this one system combines the games of the NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube (and possibly even the GameBoy and GBA later on) into one über Nintendo system. That added to the good chance I could get my family hooked on Wii Sports increases the desirability tenfold. However, whether or not I'll actually act on this desire has yet to be determined. As I've mentioned, I'm a student, so budget always enters into the equation.
Since I'm on the topic of platforms, I want to briefly mention the Playstaion 3. I say briefly because I have no desire to incite a fanboy flame war. Simply put; I dislike the PS3 as it currently exists because it cannot support itself. I will readily admit it is the most graphically powerful platform out there right now, I've played some demos on it and was blown away by how fantastic they looked. However, this boon is dulled by a multitude of factors. 1) Yes, it is the only platform that supports Blu-Ray right now, but there is next to nothing available on Blu-Ray yet. That will certainly change in a few years, provided Blu-Ray wins its market war against HD DVD and doesn't go the way of Betamax. 2) It is currently the most expensive platform available, and Sony is still losing money on each purchase. Add to that the price of a new HD-capable television if you don't want to waste all that raw GPU power. While I admire Sony's attempt to make the PS3 more appealing to consumers by lowering its price tag, how long can this possibly last before they really slip into the financial red? 3) Its release titles were less than glorious. Certainly nothing that generated the same hype as Gears of War or The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess....hmm, I'm going on longer than I wanted to on this topic. Let me summarize: the PS3 is a powerful system, but it won't be the best until there is enough media out there in the form of Blu-Ray disks and a decent collection of games to support it; and until manufacturing costs drop enough for Sony to make a profit on the system while keeping the price tag competitive at the same time.
There, now that I have the platform debates out of the way, let's move on.
While I've had a chance to play a couple of recent PC games like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Supreme Commander, I haven't put in enough time on any of them to write anything comprehensive. They're great games in their own right, but they also each deserve a fully thought-out review in order to do them justice. I try to avoid recommending or not recommending games without giving my reasons first. I've also had a chance to go through some older games that have been on my wish list for a while but I just never got around to buying or playing for whatever reasons. Primary among these is the Syberia adventure series. Hopefully I'll have reviews written for Syberia and Syberia II as well as The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall with my next Journal entry...whenever that is.
I'll finish off with a commentary on GDC 2007 and the ever-irksome Jack Thompson. I was impressed overall with this year's Games Developer Conference, thanks mainly to GameSpot's excellent online coverage of the event. Many of the keynote lectures covered very interesting topics as well as gave tasty previews of some of my most anticipated games like Portal, Fable II, and Mass Effect (the last two I desperately hope get PC versions). However, there was more flash and awe to the proceedings this year, which makes me wonder if they're trying to turn the GDC into the new E3. Only time will tell.
Jack Thompson is once again making the news...which is all he is good for anymore. He's certainly lost his humour factor - at least with me - and instead just comes off as a sad, desperate, ignorant man trying to draw attention to himself since he's no longer supported by anyone who matters. The language used in his countersuit to Take-Two's opening statement is simply disgraceful at best and criminally hateful at worst. It also constantly amazes me how he has the gall to keep bringing up September 11th to support his positions as well as accuse his opponents of being extremist. As much as I hate to use childish terms; I guess it takes one to know one. On the bright side, maybe we're all better off having him as the "foremost crusader" against video games, violent or otherwise, instead of someone who might actually be taken seriously.
Its funny, I began by stating how little time I have these days, and now this turns out to be my longest Journal entry yet. In any case, it was nice to get some of these issues out of the way. Now I can shut up and get to the damn reviews already!