subyman / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
1719 203 322

subyman Blog

The Many Types of Gamers: Which Are You? *HUGE Update #2*

by on

The Wide World of Gamers

UPDATES

1.) Added User Submitted Categories 1 (bottom) 9/2/2010

2.) Added User Submitted Categories 2 (bottom) 9/7/2010

3.) Added new content to Competitive Gamer category (fighting games) 9/7/2010

The number one defining characteristic of today's society that differentiates us from a century ago is choice. It is easy to see by simply going into the grocery store to purchase some potato chips. Not only are there plain, ruffled, baked, and kettle cooked but there are also subcategories of those which include salt and vinegar, buffalo, garlic, BBQ, cheese, Cajun, sour cream and onion, southwestern, parmesan, and the list goes on. They even offer various types of salt: Would you like sea salt, lightly salted, or normal salt? Lays offers 52 different SKUs for potato chips. That's only Lays!

Businesses want the consumer to be bombarded with choice in the hope that they can't choose and they end up buying more than one, but they also want to reach out to people that previously did not like potato chips for whatever reason. The same thing is happening with videogames. As the videogame industry pushes for a larger user base they are trying new tactics and jumping into regions of the market that were never thought of being profitable before. Ten years ago, a cell phone only had a handful of games to choose from. Now there are thousands for sale on the iPhone. The industry is pushing into every conceivable direction with the hopes of opening new markets and with this we have seen the rise of vastly different gamers with totally different interests. Let's examine some of these gamer types and see how they fit into the industry.

C|assic

The C|assic Gamer

These guys helped make the videogame industry what it is today. They started playing in the 1980's or earlier. They know who Billy Mitchell is (or more recently Steve Wiebe.) They grew up going to the local arcade with their buddies to try to one up each other playing c|assic games such as Donkey Kong, Missile Command, Q-bert, and Pac Man. This group is the least targeted by the industry since they are hooked for life anyway. Cigarette commercials don't target 40 year old life-long smokers, the same applies here. They enjoy a game that is very challenging; possibly it can't even be beaten. Some have broken off and have taken part in the various other categories but they will always be considered c|assic gamers. If you are in this category, pat yourself on the back. Good job and thanks for giving supporting the industry in its infancy.

Competitive

The Competitive Gamer

This category has changed a lot over the years and is highly diverse. On one side you have the FPS guys that have been fighting competitively since the mid 90's, but it didn't really ramp up until around the time Unreal Tournament and Counter Strike hit the scene in 1999. Battlefield 1942 pushed the brawl even higher. When the original Xbox came out with full online multiplayer support then the consoles started to get a piece of the action and have steadily taken over the majority of FPS online competitive play.

Then there are the RTS competitive gamers. This has always been a smaller scene until SC became immensely popular overseas. Lately, this gamer has slowly been dying but with the release of SCII, new life has been pumped into the category.

There is also the crossover of competitive gamer and the MMO world. A lot of MMOs offer competitive PVP play. A great example is World of Warcraft with arena and battleground play. Although it is not as publicly recognized as the other categories, this is one to keep an eye on in the future.

*NEW* Due to popular demand, we also have the gamers that love to competitively play fighting games. These gamers may have started with Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat at the arcade and follow the competitive fighting scene with a passion. They enjoy beating down a friend and showing them who's really the better gamer or totally annihilating the annoying button mashers. These gamers live to kill that virtual man.

MMoer

The MMOer

Most MMO players did not have their first gaming experience in MMOs but have traveled over via friends or curiosity. The typical MMOer usually devotes most of their gaming time to playing MMOs as they are rather time intensive. They usually forego other gaming platforms to spend more of their time in a single game world. These players enjoy injecting themselves into an avatar, progressing in power, and exploring new worlds. They are also a highly social group, but maybe not in the traditional sense. A c|assic gamer that played early MMOs is certainly a social person and loves to group while the newer generation prefers to go it alone and only group for major encounters.

This category has changed quite a bit over the years as well. The first MMOs were highly social games with forced grouping for leveling up. Now they are more casual and single player friendly. This has opened the genre up to a larger user base by allowing people to play without the need to create groups. However, the games still reward the wary by giving higher rewards to those who fight together to obtain an almost impossible task. The draw of team work and shared experiences has created a very diverse group of people in this category and it will only continue to grow.

Casual

Casual Gamer

The casual gamer has been around for a long time. Ever since consoles were released at an affordable price there have been people that play the games simply to relax, much like one watches TV. These people do not bother themselves with stressful competitive gaming, long time sinks like MMOs, or very challenging games. They enjoy a laid back experience such as a sports game, adventure game, arcade racer, etc. They probably buy between 2-5 games a year and put in around 5-10 hours a week playing. They are usually slow to adopt new gaming systems and are usually 1-2 years behind upgrading. This is the largest group of gamers.

Fringe

Fringe Gamer

This is a brand new type of gamer that just hit the scene a few years ago. These people enjoy a very quick game and only play to fill a very specific time slot or need (exercise, brain games, etc.) They may play on their computer while checking Facebook or during daily free time on their iPhones. They may have bought into the Wii hype and have a small collection of casual titles that they only play from time to time. They game because it's "the thing to do." This group also comprises of a lot of older gamers such as grandparents that play Wii for exercise or parents that use the Xbox, PS3, or Wii for Netflix but also play casual games. This is the new Holy Grail for the videogame industry. These people are at the very edge of a completely untapped and extremely large market, which is why I call them fringe gamers. Blame these people for some of the lame E3 announcements.

All Rounder

The All Rounder

This is the category most GameSpotters are in. These people have grown up with games and play them for fun, but usually do not pick only one small group to associate with. They enjoy a lot of different games and follow the industry. They may not check GS every day, but they are aware of the games coming out and have a wish list of games they want. They play games on all the major platforms such PC, console, and mobile games. They are true connoisseurs of games and will play whatever seems fun without prejudice. These gamers are living it up in the current industry which is pumping out a more diverse suite of games than ever before. They may have some genres that they care for more than others but aren't afraid to dive into any game at any time.

Others

Fanboys- Limit themselves to only a specific platform for whatever reason

Elitists- Only play high end games such as Crysis and some don't even play games at all but build high end PCs only to benchmark.

Crazy Old Relative- Plays online poker non-stop.

MDer- Only plays games so they can drink Mountain Dew without guilt.

The Simmer- Has only and will only ever play The Sims, maybe Second Life as well.

***NEW***

User Submitted Types:

Collector (Jag-T1000)- Someone who enjoys collecting great titles. One to play, one to store!

[Insert Genre]er (Many people)- A gamer that mostly likes one genre of game, they aren't afraid to play others but particularly love a certain type.

Story Seeker (diesil)- These gamers play games for an interactive story. They love to see drama unfold on the screen and can't wait to dive back into the rich worlds that videogames create.

2Der (bardos-the-3rd)- Enjoys games that were made in the 2D era and closely follows the current 2D game market. Perhaps they even play amateur created games made with RPGmaker and others.

Troll (lavaar)- Enjoys talking about games with the intent to stir up controversy.

Soloist (couchtater12345)- Mainly likes a single player experience.

Social Gamer (beevee)- Doesn't give much thought to games but will play them as a social event. They may get together for a couple rounds of Wii or play an all-nighter of Halo while getting drunk.

Achievement Hunter (Cricket_Sloat)- Plays games simply to see the number next to their name increase. These people are looking for ever higher gamer scores and will stop at nothing to see that number go up up up.

Addict (2point5RSman)- Plays games only because they have a physical and chemical addiction (lol) to games. They may even hate games, but t-h-e-y m-u-s-t p-l-a-y...

Only Plays Carmen Sandiego (AquamanCC)- Only enjoys Carmen Sandiego.

Popular Gamers (electronic_eye)- Those that only play heavily hyped, usually AAA titles like C.O.D., Halo, Madden, etc. simply because "everyone else is."

Binge Gamer category (electronic_eye)- for people who don't play that often - either due to time constraints or because they wait (even unintentionally) till a game comes out that really piques their interest and then they have a few marathon sessions with it.

Proxy (Vicarious) Gamer (electronic_eye)-I actually know or know of people, quite a few really, who literally get their gaming fix by either watching other people play or talking to Gamers about their exploits.

Escapist (powerdragon2188)- Plays games to escape reality. When you are in a game nothing else matters, your worldly distractions disappear and you enter a wonderful land in which anything is possible.

Bad Choice Gamer (kazumashadow)- Constantly buys horrible games because...????

______________________________________________________________________________

ROUND TWO User Submitted Categories!

Stereotypical Gamer (VidGamAnonymous)- Nerd who has no social life, plays video games all day in the dark, and gives gamers a bad name by acting creepy when they finally leave their house (basement.)

The Completionist (VidGamAnonymous)-Won't stop playing a game until it is 100% complete and could probably play the game blindfolded.

Rush Gamer (VidGamAnonymous)-Rushes through games only to beat it and doesn't care about the story.They usually skip cutscenes and only follow the main quests.

Console Modder (Tidal_Abyss)- These gamers can't have a stock system.Not even the official dress up accessories are enough for these people, they need to break out the soldering iron, wire snips, and paint can to truly make their gaming machine one-of-a-kind.

Anti-Sports Gamer (adc89)- Plays anything and everything except sports games.

Music Gamer (cool-mada)- Mostly likes rhythm games.Nothing is better than head banging in your mother's basement to music that was cool 30 years ago.

Visual/Audio Lover (Jazzer444)-They don't care for anything but sensory effects like high end graphics, audio, gore, etc. and game mechanics are only a complement at best.

Flash Boy (Arcterran)- A gamer that uses the school computers not for homework but to play endless flash games.This gamer hasmasteredNanaka Crash.

Bikini Gamer (bbgambini420)- Loves games with hot chicks as the main character and loves them even more if they wear tight fitting, skimpy clothing.This person has mastered rotating the camera juuuuust right in the Lara Croft games.

Super Nerd Gamer (mastermune89)- Only enjoys RPGs which strictly adhere to the DnD rule set.Watches the "Lightning Bolt video" to refine their LARPing skills.

Handheld Gamer (Drika21)- Only plays mobile games, either doesn't have enough home time or must always be on the move.

Multiplayer Gamer (superxtreme101)- Gamer that can't possibly play alone.They also need a nightlight if playing in the dark.

Recession Gamer (alvarious)- Can't afford to buy a lot of games so they play every game they get for as long as possible.

Artsy Gamer (DSfanatic5)- Loves games with wonderful visual art appeal.Their eyes simply can't be bothered to waste time viewing bland or uninspiring games.Some say these gamers even frame their flat panel TVs with rich mahogany and sip cucumber water while playing.

Griefers (CcDohl)- Play games simply to annoy and cause frustration to other gamers.These gamers enjoy ganking, camping, and generally disrupting a fun game.

Copy Cat (lion222550)- Buys the games that they see their console friends playing.


Thanks everyone, those are some great (and funny) additions. Start stringing some of these together and you may be able to more accurately describe your tastes!

Can you think of anymore?

So what are you?

Why are Older Games Better?

by on

Mario

Go go Mario!

Every gamer remembers back to the first time they started playing games. We were wide eyed and mystified by the colorful visuals. We laughed as our character rag dolled off a cliff while attempting a stupid stunt. We sat forward in our seat as the cusp of a great story unfolded before our eyes. We remember these times fondly. They are the experiences we draw from that make us pursue newer games. In a way, we are addicts looking for the next game that will bring us back to the immense fun we had during our first hit.

The question is, will it ever be as fun as the first time?

This brings me to an interesting observation of the forum posts, comments, and the overall perspective of some of the gamers out there, particularly the older gamers. These gamers praise Ultima Online, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Chronotrigger, Everquest, Earthbound, and other enduring titles as being the peak of the industry. Some even say the industry has been dumbed down now that videogames have jumped into the mainstream. They believe these are the best of the best and none of the newer games come close to the experience they had with these titles.

Is it really that these games are so much better, or is it because it was their first time with a great game? What if we swapped System Shock and Mass Effect (of course we would change the graphics and such to suit the time period), would Mass Effect now be the older gamer's peak of RPGFPS perfection?

Mass Effect

Mass Effect in 1994?

The online guys say the MMOs on the market are dumbed down and they have great memories of grouping and doing quests in Everquest or Ultima Online (I remember these times, they were wonderful.) However, looking back at these games, there wasn't much there to begin with. Despite being called Everquest,it barely had any quests at all and there were hardly enough skills to fill the six slot hot-bar, but the game was extremely fun. Why? Because it was my first true MMO experience. Nothing I played later in life came close to the fun I had in Everquest. I am not delusional though, I understand Everquest is not the best MMO out there and there are others that do so much more, but because it was my first time, I doubt I will ever get the same "virgin" reaction that I did that first time.

What is truly amazing is when a certain game comes along that not only captures these past experiences but adds to them. In my opinion, this is a mark of an exceptional game. One that does not forget the past, but innovates the known ideas and takes them further than the games we hold dear. A newer game that makes such an impression would have to be much better than the past games to not only be as good objectively as the first games were but also overcome that "virgin" factor.

East Commons Tunnel

Executioner's Axe 1k plat! FBSS 5k!

Controlling the Past

The memories make us chase newer games, but at the same time the fondness we have of those older games causes us to approach the newer games with a foreboding mind. This can make us begin finding faults in a newer game right away which starts to ruin the experience!

So the next time you feel that a game just isn't as good as the one from 10 years ago, or the one you first played during Christmas when you were 8 years old, remember that "virgin" factor because instead of comparing to and reaching for those older experiences, make new ones. Put those past games in a little closet in your head and revel in them from time to time, but don't let the urge to compare ruin your experience with newer games.

Some of my past favorites:

Golden Eye, FF1 and 2, Everquest, Diablo, Command and Conquer Red Alert, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Grand Turismo

Some new games that rekindled the past:

Dragon Age, Forza 3, SCII, DoWI, HL2

So let's hear some of your past favorites and then some new games that created more fond memories.

Starcraft Versus Warhammer 40k

by on

Space Marines and Terran, Orks and Orcs (Warcraft), Tyrannid and Zerg, Eldar and Protoss… Looking at images of each side by side, you would swear they were interchangeable names for the same race, but they aren't. In fact, they are races in totally different universes by two entirely different companies. They are so similar that it is only natural to think one had to have copied the other and you would be correct. From time to time topics will pop up in Starcraft forums asking why Warhammer 40k ripped off Blizzard, but to their amazement, that is hardly the case! What was that? Blizzard, the darling child of the videogaming world, copied one of its star IPs from another company's universe? Curiously, it doesn't stop there, Warcraft is where it started.

Before every Blizzard fan starts waving their finger at me, I will say this… There are differences between the universes, but after reading the rest of this article there is no doubt Blizzard did a little copy and paste.

Comparison

Warhammer 40k on the top and StarCraft on the bottom

Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k

Games Workshop sprouted up around the time Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) became popular in western culture. They established their name by officially carrying DnD for the UK market. They were paramount in spreading the word for RPGs in the UK and eventually started making metal miniatures for the game. In the early 1980's they started their first table top war game called Warhammer Fantasy Battle (which is what Warhammer Online is based off of.) The wargame was incredibly successful and in the late 1980's they expanded their line of table top miniatures to include Warhammer 40,000.

In the early to mid 90's Games Workshop underwent explosive growth in the US. They established gaming centers all over the United States with Warhammer 40k being the main draw. Today, Warhammer 40k is a fully fleshed out universe containing multiple series of books, board games, table top games, videogames, trading card games, and more.

Emperor

The Emperor himself, beginning his conquest for profits

Blizzard and the Warhammer Fiasco

Blizzard started its life in 1991 with just a handful of employees and a different name. It completed a few projects before reorganizing under the name of Chaos Studios (Chaos and Warhammer go hand in hand...) They realized the name was already taken and switched to Blizzard Entertainment. Their first game as a new developer was the smash hit Warcraft: Orks and Humans, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Originally, Blizzard contacted Games Workshop to make a Warhammer real time strategy game. GW supposedly gave them the go ahead and Blizzard began to make the game. Somewhere between half way to eighty percent of the way done with the game, GW pulled the license from Blizzard. Blizzard had a game almost completed without a name! They decided to rename the game, characters, and adjust the story to their own IP which they called Warcraft. This is not speculation, but the real deal. It is not that Blizzard happened to come up with similar characters, they just changed the names in their first game!

Riding the Wave

Future was in during the late 90's with the release of the Matrix, Independence Day, and the new millennium being on the horizon. Blizzard was smart to capitalize on the technology/future craze by releasing a futurist copy of their Warcraft series in the name of Starcraft. The game did incredibly well and has sold more than 11 million copies. However, with this release brought a whole new debate into the forefront, did they copy Warhammer 40k this time or is this just a natural evolution from fantasy to the future?

It is not hard to see the heavy influence Warhammer 40k has had on Starcraft. The Terran are huge, heavily armored men much like the Astartes (Space Marines) from Warhammer 40k. The Zerg are a mob race of insect like creatures which feed off of biological material, exactly like the Tyrannid. The Protoss are a race of highly intelligent, magic oriented humanoids much like the Eldar. These are too precise to be considered accidental coincidences, especially the Zerg and Terran.

Horus

Horus turned traitor and tried to kill the Emperor while creating the armies of Chaos, Arthus anyone?

Differences

After getting past the surface similarities, there is a lot of difference in the actual lore of the universes. The Warhammer 40k universe is much more established and has a lot more depth with 10+ races, countless books, tabletop games, videogames, card games, and much more. Its universe is also much darker with aspects of religion coming into play. Starcraft on the other hand is much lighter with a more cartoon appearance and a less fleshed out storyline. Overall, once the character models are out of the way both universes feel a lot different from each other.

What does it mean???

This really doesn't mean much, it is just fun to discuss. It is very interesting to see one of videogaming's main IPs having been copied from table top gaming from the 80s. Some have speculated that GW tried to sue Blizzard at one time or another, but nothing can be proven.

One thing that can be taken away from this is that if you enjoy Starcraft's rich universe then you should definitely check out some Warhammer 40k stuff as it is more advanced (in terms of fluff and alternate gaming other than RTS) and more "adult oriented" than what Blizzard is shooting for. I will leave you with some expertly painted Warhammer miniatures!

Dreadnought

Dwarf

SM

Images borrowed from Coolminisornot

Motion Control Wars

by on


We all knew before E3 that MS and Sony had motion control in their sights and fully expected them to fill us in on all the details during E3, but what we didn't know was their plan of attack and all the details of their proposed "Wii-killers." MS wowed us last year with their announcement of Natal. People didn't know what to think about the anti-controller, a controller without a physical device. The notion of using our body to control a videogame was wild and futuristic, but anything with the aforementioned descriptors usually doesn't have a practical application in the now, so we were left to wonder how exactly it will translate over to actual gameplay. We knew Sony was taking a more logical approach by simply imitating the Wii controller, which has seen wild commercial success and has proven to work well. We didn't know of the details of the device or if it would be fully supported by the 3rd party market.

Mr. Kinect

Hello new Xbox S and Kinect... Uhm, what do you do?

Now, our questions are answered, but there is so much information (and misinformation) out there about each one that it is hard to draw conclusions or comparisons even with all this new data available. Right here, right now we are going to compare and contrast the three motion controllers and try to figure out which is the best… or at least just become informed!

Give Me the Straight Facts

Let's start this off by listing the pros and cons of each device:

Pros:

Wii:

  • Built in Rumble
  • Battery life: 30-60 hours
  • 60 dollars for Wiimote and Nunchuck
  • Very sensitive with MotionPlus
  • Standard controller for Wii
  • Strong game catalog

PS Move:

  • Entirely wireless
  • Rumble
  • Bluetooth
  • Extremely Precise (senses 1 degree of angle change and millimeters of movement)
  • Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
  • Great button variety (Analog trigger and stick, D pad, 13 buttons)
  • Camera expands device capabilities
  • Strong launch line up

Kinect:

  • No controller to juggle
  • No need for batteries
  • Infinite input possibilities
  • No need to buy separate controllers
  • Camera expands device capabilities

Cons:

Wii:

  • Uses replaceable AA batteries
  • Wired Nunchuck
  • No analog trigger
  • Expensive to get a set of 4

PS Move:

  • Non-standard controller, questionable adoption rate by developers
  • Expensive, 130 dollars for PS Eye, Move, and Navi. 80 for each additional set
  • Colored ball could be distracting in low light
  • May interrupt game play to recalibrate the controller
  • Expensive to get a set of 4

Kinect:

  • No force feedback
  • May not work while sitting
  • Questionable translation of button input
  • Initially expensive, 150 dollars rumored
  • Poor launch lineup
  • Non-standard controller, questionable adoption rate by developers

So there we have it, a great break down of the pros and cons of each motion controller. Now let's analyze this list and see what it all means.

Feel free to add more Pros and Cons in the comments and I will modify the list if I left anything out.

PSmove

Which color will you have blind you in the dark?

Breaking It Down

To be straight with you, this is extremely hard to compare. Not with the Wii and the PS3 as they are pretty much identical except for some small variations in their execution of the system. PS Move has the slight edge on the technical spec sheet but the Wiimote pulls ahead in the games area since it is the standard controller for the Wii. We could get real technical and compare things such as weight… with the PS Move weighing 145g and the Navi weighing 95g while the Wiimote weighs 136g with batteries and the Nunchuck weighing 75g, but seriously that is negligible. I'm sure the experience will be quite the same although the PS Move is slightly more precise. So we will call the PS Move and the Wiimote brothers in arms against the maverick of the group, Mr. Kinect.

Skittles!

Skittles! I love you!

The real question is: what the heck to make of the Kinect? The Wiimote was a huge jump for most gamers, either for good or bad but the Kinect is a Toyota jetpack launch with the throttle stuck wide open. We don't know what to make of it and judging by E3, Microsoft doesn't either. The only thing they had to show us was a petting zoo, menu controls, and Forza head bob. What this thing means and what it is capable of is up in the air. I was expecting Microsoft to come out and show us why we need a Kinect and how the developers are going to use it to make my video gaming experience much better and more immersive but I walked away with more questions than answers.

How will traditional button commands be translated to input? How will I do a handbrake 180, cycle weapons, reload, issue squad commands, etc? I hope I don't have to say reload every time I get low on ammo and I certainly don't want to have to learn sign language to communicate orders to my squad. Kotaku brought up an interesting question to the MS staff about being seated while using the device and at this time it is impossible to use the Kinect while seated. There is also the issue of price which has remained elusive although there are rumors of it being 150 dollars.

There are a few positives that I do like about the system though, such as not scouring the house looking for a lost controller, no replacing batteries, not needing to blow a bunch of money on more controllers, and of course the novelty of using my body to control a character will be undeniably awesome. I think it can be made to work in the long run, but MS needs to step up and show us what this thing can do. Right now, I will take the Move or Wiimote all day long over what they have shown us.

Old Trusty

The old trusty, you can wipe your brow, E3 is over and you are good go.

Your Turn

So what do you think? Which one do you see yourself playing the most a year from now? Do you think the Kinect will be a massive success and change all of gaming forever or be a huge flop leaving MS extremely vulnerable?

Quick Update for On Live

by on

A few months ago I wrote a piece on OnLive. It explained how the service works, the ramifications of such a service on the industry, and the problems with such technology. The responses varied from hating it, to being interested but skeptical, to being ready to adopt it the moment it is released. Everyone agreed, however, that much was unknown at the time.

In March On Live announced they will be rolling out their service during E3 2010. As the hype ramps up for the massive event, I thought it would be a great time to give an update on the new announcements for the service.

New announcements:

iPad will be supported, live demo showed Borderlands on iPad.

ipad

Company claims if you live within 1000 miles of a server, then you will not experience lag.

Players can watch other players during matches. Tournaments are scheduled to take place with spectator modes and live commentators.

Mini-Console may be given away free with a certain subscription package. Size is as large as a deck of cards.

Price will be between 10 and 15 dollars a month.

Will stream video and music in the coming months.

Overall, it does sound impressive. However, a friend of mine was in OnLive beta and mentioned the lag was noticeable at times... sometimes even laughably so. That was beta though. This is one of the things I am looking forward to during E3 and it will be very interesting to see if this bombs or if it really takes off. The service will be released during E3 on June 17th.

I'm an iMod!

by on

So, I got a PM from Jody about 5 days ago asking if I would be interested in being a moderator. I've never given it much thought and have not been involved in the "scene" around here but it certainly seemed like something I would be interested in. I've been a member for quite some time, longer than this account's life, and have always been partial to GS for my videogaming needs. Last December I wrote one of my first real editorials and it was instantly picked up for the Soapbox. Being recognized for posting an interesting article made me want to write more and so I began to think of topics that would make people think about the future of gaming or expose them to new lines of thought. A few of them hit the community report and one got me my "remarkable member" emblem and I was spotlighted for the week. This, of course, made me want to improve my articles and provide even more content in each post. Although I have not written that many, I believe they have stimulated great discussions and I am proud to look back and see that maybe I have changed people's outlook on certain topics by exposing them to different perspectives or outlooks.

I am happy to accept the moderator position and look forward to continuing my line of editorials. I am going to begin to post more blogs on other topics more often rather than only posting editorials (they take a lot of time to write!) So, be on the look out!

Thanks GS for providing a great forum for us gamers and I thank everyone here for making this place so special!

Mac Attack

by on

Apple Gaming

Mac Attack

No. I'm not talking about eating 10 Big Macs in a row. I'm talking about Macintosh. The brand name built on its brand name. The only tech company that I've heard of that actually has users who "preach" their product. Its call Apple evangelism and its real… look it up. This may be why Macintosh is so polarizing. Usually, people either, love Macintosh and hate PC or love PC and hate Macintosh. It is much like system wars, but on a larger scale… with less competition and a market share pie chart that resembles Pac man on the downswing of his chomp. Microsoft dominates, sales of course. It has been this way from the start. No matter how many ad campaigns, no matter how many break-through technologies Apple releases in other categories, and certainly, no matter how much Steve Jobs wishes it wasn't so, Apple can't seem to put a large dent in Microsoft's computer market share. That's not to say Apple is hurting one bit, as they aren't. In fact, their stocks are higher than ever, and their market capital matches Microsoft's. So, what's the deal Apple? Why can't you break free and be in every house?

MACMAN

The Problem

One problem is price. The cheapest Macintosh desktop comes in at 599 dollars without a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or anything. If outfitted the way they recommend, it jumps to over 1300 dollars! A comparable PC costs 400 dollars and can be had at Wal-Mart. The next level of Mac begins with the iMac at 1200 bucks. Then, for us gamers, if you want any hope of playing videogames, it's the 2000 dollar top of the line iMac or the 2500 dollar baseline Mac Pro. Now wipe the sweat off your wallet, it was getting nervous.

Mac mini

Mac Mini, you are so cute and small but you cost sooo much!

In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons Mac has not broken free. Price structure. Then there are the games, only available on PC.

I know, I know. Mac's target is not the kind of people that play games. They are the type that likes to have a nice, stable, high quality desktop that can be used to surf the web virus free. They like to use their Mac for media purposes like using Final Cut, Aperture, and the vast range of great editing software available on Mac. They are vain and only care about styling and being super hip. Or are they?

Free Yourself

Valve's take on Apple's legendary commercial. Yes... That is a crowbar.

Apple Gaming

Apple does care about gaming. At Apple's keynote address for iPad, they gave a lengthy demonstration of iPad's gaming abilities. Let's just say that it was very interesting, and has much more potential than the iPhone did. Quite honestly, the iPad's gaming potential is almost mind blowing. It is like a DS but with a screen 4x bigger, 3D rendering capabilities, OS interface, and its multifunctional. Of course, it costs 3x more… but it's a start. There are already some very nice games out on the market and many more are in the works. RTS on large touch screen, yes please! FPS? Racing? I'll let the screenshots speak to this.

CC Red Alert

Command and Conquer Red Alert for iPad.

HD Racing

Real Racing HD for iPad. Graphics are pretty darn good!

The iPad hasn't had much time to settle in, but it has sold well in it's initial release. What hurts it from becoming a real player in the gaming world is Apple's structuring of the Apple Store, which is a damn shame.

Diving Game

Ocean Blue: Gorgeous diving game.

Nova

N.O.V.A.: Halo rip off for iPad.

So, Apple is starting to take mobile gaming somewhat seriously, but what about the computer gaming scene?

Enter Steam

Today, Steam launched Half Life 2, EP1, and EP2 for Macintosh. A couples weeks ago they gave away a Mac version of Portal. As of the writing of this article, Steam has over 90 titles that are supported on Macintosh. Some of which include Torchlight, Civilization 4, Europa III, Braid, and others. On Apple's site, it gets even more interesting with Dragon Age Origins, Eve Online, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft. As we can certainly see, these are more than just parlor or indie games.

I know, some of you are thinking…. "Sneaky Steam, they release two versions so if we ever switch to a Mac then we have to buy the game again for our brand new Mac!" You would be wrong, friend! When you buy the game, you get the license for both platforms! So, if Steam is not doubling up on game sales then why are they investing in dual platforms? I thought the Apple user base was small and insignificant from a gaming stand point?? Valve is smart, damn smart. They foresee something. If only they can get the ball rolling and show the others how easy it can be to translate the games over, then maybe they can tap into that extra ~10% of the market. Maybe it is more than that though. Perhaps they are privy to some information or some line of thought that puts Apple neck and neck with Microsoft in the coming years? Perhaps Apple is subsidizing their efforts in preparation for a big launch or a product change?

Steamplay

SteamPlay: Buy it once and play on both PC and Mac.

All of it is very interesting and highly speculative. However, one thing is clear. Apple is changing their game… by adding games. The gaming directive is heating up at Apple and that can only benefit us. So, what's next for Apple? What does this all mean?

Putting the Pieces Together

Apple certainly has the potential to become a major player in the gaming world. They have developer support through Valve, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Pop Cap, and many more. They have the products, capabilities, and innovation to bring it all to fruition. So what more can they do to bring the melodies together into a mesmerizing song?

For the iPad, they need to organize and regulate the games that go onto the Apple Store. Right now there are thousands of, mostly awful, games available for free or 99 cents. This kills the great games that come out which cost 5.99 or more. People see a 99 cent FPS and automatically buy it although it was made by a 15 year old in 3 days, while the 5 dollar+ game that is awesome gets thrown to the back of the pack. The low barrier to entry and Wild West mentality are burying good games while promoting free crap. Decent games cost money to develop. Just look at the PC world, most of the good games are not freeware. They need to set a price point for games and create a steam-like interface. The occasional free game is great, but if you want the big name devs to focus on the product, they have to be able to charge a proper price without out-pricing themselves in a sea of freebies.

Gaming Mac

Make a gaming computer line, Apple, and price it right!

As for the Macs, Apple needs to get a plan together to release a new line of computers. They need to do what Dell did with XPS and differentiate the gaming line from the normal line. They could ditch all the creative works packages, include a lower end monitor, and have a simple case with 4gigs RAM, Core 2 Duo, ATI5850-5870, 320gig HDD, and a DVD burner. Price this gaming set up at 800-1000 dollars and it will fly out the website. Forgo the hipster design elements for the gaming crowd and give them the computer they want for the price they want.

Mac is actually in a unique situation, they could treat their gaming computer almost like a console. Release a new version of the gaming setup once every 8 months to a year. Keep it updated with the latest hardware, but make it not be a hassle like in the PC world where a gamer has to read through reviews for every component. Have it so if they buy it, they have everything they need in one stop, with the Mac quality built in. Hell, include some "Apple points" or whatever for a few free games as well.

Apple certainly has the money, the name, and the potential to break into the gaming community and in turn set themselves up to take on MS in the larger OS market.

Why attack the gaming market??? Convert the gamers, the people that others look up to for computer buying advice and the rest of the populous will soon follow.

I am not a Mac user, only a PC user looking at this subject from an outside perspective.

The "Like"Generation

by on

Nothing is more aggravating than someone that says the word "like" every 3-4 words. I don't know when this started or who started it, but it has become an epidemic. When I was in high school only the bubbly girls talked that way, but now it seems that a lot of younger people are speaking with this type of lingo all the time. It's almost a crutch to get through a sentence. I want to say, "Just pause... take a deep breath and continue when you get the right words!"

What happened to "He said...." instead of "He was like...." or "I thought..." instead of "I was like..." For some people it gets caught up between practically every word. It starts sentences, it ends sentences, it acts as a conjunction, adjective, verb, noun, on and on. Its become so bad that I've even found that I've started to take it on in some cases by what I can only describe it as "social osmosis." I have actively made myself stop, although it isn't nearly as bad as most people have taken it on.

If you read this and find yourself saying "like" far more than it needs to be said, acknowledge it and lets put an end to this crazy butchering of conversational English. I would hate for this talk become the norm!

PC games are now a subgenre of a console industry

by on

Tennis For Two

Tennis for Two, the first videogame

Computers Gave Us Games

PCs are where videogames began. Well, not PCs exactly, but computers,computers inside of arcade machines distributed throughout various locations where people could throw a few coins in and have a great time. Even before the golden arcade age, videogames were developed and played on university supercomputers by the forerunners of modern videogame developers… bored graduate students. Soon these large machines were ever condensed into smaller and smaller units until finally home gaming was financially feasible.

The first console was released in 1972 called the Magnavox Odyssey, which launched at 100 dollars (500 dollars adjusted for inflation in today's dollars.) This was still a very high price at the time, especially when it could only play Pong and various crappy sports games plus Arcade games were 5 cents a play. On top of that, the arcade games were much more colorful and had more variety. All the while during the 1970's those determined graduate students continued to use the multi-million dollar supercomputers to secretly develop highly intricate games, such as the first MMO and many RPG type games based on the DnD model. Finally in the late 70's home computers were being launched with the Commodore and Apple. Hobbyists began making shareware and open games for each other; mostly these were RPG games since… you know… they were nerds that loved DnD.

Magnavox Odyssey

Bring the arcade home with the Magnavox Odyssey

It wasn't until the early 1980's that PCs finally had their first break through into the some-what mainstream world of gaming with the Commodore 64 which launched at 590 dollars or around 1400 dollars in today's money. That doesn't seem that bad actually when you think of how powerful and innovative it was at the time. Sales of the C64 were over 30 million units during its life matching Atari's 2600 in sales even though it was 3x pricier. However, these two units did not directly compete with each other. This is the point where consoles and PCs had defined the user that they would market their games to.

Defining the Marketplace

For quite some time computers were owned by working adults for their word processing power, databases, and calculating abilities. Gaming was a nice alternate use for the work machine during off-time. The reason for this was they were expensive, esoteric for the average consumer, and not a necessity that they are beginning to become today. Gaming consoles were purchased mainly by parents for their children. Home computer owners purchased or obtained adult oriented games such as RPGs and tactical games, while the main market for console games were racing games, arcade type games, and others developed with a younger audience in mind. This set the market types apart from each other and this is where they stayed practically through the 90's and into early 2000 with consoles slowly maturing.

Command and Conquer

Genre defining games created on for the PC market (ported to PS)

It wasn't until the mid 1990's that PCs started to become a more common fixture in the typical household. During that time, console gaming was booming with SNES, Genesis, and main others leading the way. PC's were still considered the "adult's" gaming device with MMOs starting to become available, Command and Conquer being released, and many WRPGs surfacing.

Then we hit the 3D era. PCs started to get graphics cards which were expensive and an add-on on top of the price of a normal computer. Only wealthier or very dedicated older gamers could afford these devices. Adult oriented 3D games followed which included complex gameplay, rich storylines, and break through graphics. This 3D boom continued the defined divide between the markets with little crossover of games.

Unreal

Ridiculously incredible graphics only on the PC in 1998

The Markets Meld

Now let us fast forward through the early 2000's to right now. Take a look at the exclusive PC gaming industry… or lack thereof. The console industry has swallowed the PC gaming community whole. Instead of clearly defined markets, the PC is now a subcommunity of the larger console market. Games are developed on the consoles and then ported to the PC for more sales. Dedicated PC developers are few and far between. Staple PC game genres such as RTS and WRPG are dwindling, with practically zero PC exclusive games. Now the videogame market has clearly focused onto consoles with PC gamers getting the run off of console expenditures.

I'm not saying PC gaming is dead or dying, not at all. The way it used to be is dying, the genres are shifting and the exclusive, one-of-a-kind PC games are becoming rarer. When was the last decent full length Diablo type game released? Titan Quest? Exclusive WRPG? Witcher, and before that? How about RTS? DoW2, followed by maybe one or two notables every year? We used to see at least 5-6 great RTS, FPS, and WRPGs each every year only on the PC, but not anymore. We patiently wait for Blizzard to throw us a bone or get a good port from Bioware or Bethesda.

DoW2

Niche games by dedicated development houses are the only PC exclusives now

One thing that has not been hampered are the MMOs, but to go through that whole genre would take a dedicated article. However, I will say that MMOs are becoming more and more stagnant and less innovative as we continue through the years and will eventually start to show up more often on consoles which will start their slow shift toward becoming console centric as well.

So what is the deal with this? There are more PCs now than ever before and PC game sales are still strong! Why don't we have a ton of development? Production costs. Why develop for one platform when we can spread the cost over many and attract a larger range of consumers? Games that would have been traditionally PC exclusive are now developed on consoles as well. When games are being spread over many platforms and are trying to be tailored to many people, the experience is diluted in the process. While trying to appeal to the masses, the intricacies and uniqueness of each genre are becoming lost.

The Now and the Future

The savior of PC games at the moment is Valve with Steam. Little known development houses are breathing new life back into the PC industry that we used to know with games such as Trine, Torchlight, Sins of a Solar Empire, Braid, and many others (some of which appear on consoles as well.)Some of these games would have never had a chance if a great distribution network such as Steam did not exist. For older PC gamers like myself, this change will just have to settle in and I will have to be happy with genre releases separated by many months or years, which is okay with me, as long as we don't lose the spirit of older, complex PC games.

Braid

Small developers keep the PC gaming community alive

In my opinion this is all a move toward a unified gaming community and industry that will eventually have a single platform. We are still many years away from that, but I believe eventually we will have a single device that performs the task of a phone, desktop, mobile device, mobile gaming, and console all in one. It will be small and portable. It will be taken during the day for a phone, mobile computer, and mobile gaming device. During the evening it will sync with the TV and interface with wireless controllers for playing "console" videogames. It will also sync with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to be the "tower" of a desktop computer set up. As we get more powerful and smaller microprocessors, this is the future. Who will lead this? Will it be open like windows or dominated by a single player? I don't know, but I am excited about the possibilities. PCs have been engulfed, but it is only the first step toward a singular device for every experience. Is this horrible or just a movement toward a newer, better, unified gaming community? Time will tell.

EDIT: People are misunderstanding this section, so I will make it a bit more clear: When I say "unified gaming system" I do not necessarily mean only one manufacturer. I mean that a single device from a manufacturer will have the same capabilities as multiple devices of today. Sony may have their own device, MS may have their own, Nintendo I don't really know about, and Apple could do it as well. When I say unified, I mean unifying all the devices we already have into one device, not monopolizing the market by one player.

All in One

Get ready for the all in one revolution in the next 10-20 years

Is it a "console" industry or simply a gaming industry as a whole now? The two seperate markets have combined and produced something we have not seen before. The games are combining into hybrids and the experiences are becoming intermingled.

1.) Do you like this melding of platforms?

2.) Are you ready for even more cross over of everything media-oriented?

Feel free to express your concerns or lack thereof below!

Storytelling- East vs West

by on

Killing baddy after baddy can be fun for some, but for the majority of gamers we need a reason to continue our assault through endless dungeons either in the form of quests or a linear story. As gaming consoles became more advanced, they started telling more intricate stories. Instead of the basic "The princess has been captured!" or "You must find 4 crystals…" we now get full fledged stories with multiple characters. The characters of today's games bring with them dynamic and unique personalities and are largely involved with the unraveling of major plot twists. We have come so far as to even include multiple branches of story with separate, unique endings depending on how the gamer plays through the storyline. We certainly have come a long way from Pacman.

FF3

Find those crystals young ones!

What interests me most is how the story is told and from what perspective.I am especially interested inhow the west and east differ in their story telling approach. In this article I try to break down each and understand what the differences are. At the end we may start to understand more about the mentality and cultural influences that drive each side's storytelling. This should be interesting.

The West

Then the monster charged again, vomiting. Fire, wild with pain rushed out. Fierce and dreadful, its fear forgotten watching for its chance, it drove its tusks Into Beowulf's neck; he staggered, the blood Came flooding forth, fell like rain.

This pretty much sums up western game storylines. Well, maybe not, but it is what I think of when western RPGs come to mind. Epic stories with huge monsters, massive lands, powerful weapons, and, of course, a lot of killing are recurring themes.

Beowulf

Typical western hero. Buff, check. Blood, check. Sword, check!

The west loves a good story of courage in face of insurmountable odds. The more baddies there are or the bigger the baddy is, the more epic the battles and the more glory the victor reaps after the onslaught. This has been a central plot point in western epics as far back as the middle ages, and even in the Bible. Little David stood his ground against the hulking Giant and bested the mighty beast in battle. This is what has been taught to most western people during childhood. The Alamo, Battle of Thermopylae (300), and William Wallace against Britain are all legendary feats of heroism heralded by western people as a symbol of courage and honor. Even great literary writings contain this same message as seen in the works: Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings, and Homer's Epic Poems (mainly Achilles and Heracles.)

Looking at these works shouts what the west loves, a courageous leader that comes forth and does legendary deeds. Instead of focusing on the character, the focus is on the person's actions and exploits. This type of storytelling is what most western games adhere to. The main character (usually created based on the player's ideals of what a hero would be) begins his adventure with an agenda in mind. This may be kill a dragon, free their people, or destroy an incoming army, among other goals. The player guides the character through decisions and battles. The player practically creates the character in the game and events guide those decisions. This is crucial. The games are usually open to individual interpretation and can change depending on how the player chooses to play the game.The focus is, again, usually on the deeds instead of the "state of mind." The character grows as a hero, but we don't get a true glimpse into the actual character's personality, as their personality is the player's. It is a player made game. There is nothing to take away from the game in the end, or to be learned from it since the player injected themselves into the game.

Oblivion

I shall kill you with my mighty sword foul beast!

This can be seen in Oblivion, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Kotor, and practically any WRPG. As for shooting, platforming, and other western games, these are a bit simpler. They practically adhere to the "hero" archetype and stay there, without player interaction in the creation of the hero or movement of the story. We see this in Kratos, Duke Nukem, Marcus Fenix, Master Chief, and Lara Croft.

achilles

Achilles. BA of the old world. Censored for the youngins.

As we can see, western culture does influence how their games are made. The great deeds and tales that are taught to us as children guide our interests as adults.

The Hero is made from his/her courageous actions and exploits.

The East

I have to say, this side of the story was very interesting to write. As I am a western imbued person, learning the eastern culture and digesting their stories was fun and enlightening. Hopefully I get the essence of their thought process correct. Feel free to add to this section with a comment. Also, when I say "east" I focus mostly on Japan, as other Asian countries do not contribute much to the video gaming world.

Genji

Genji scroll. First novel ever written.

Traditional eastern story telling relates closely with cause and effect, the mentality of a decision, and the impact events have on a person's psyche. The first Japanese novel written was called "The Tale of Genji." The story follows the life of an emperor's son as he is cast away from royalty and is forced to live a rather normal life. How the son copes with the hardships is the focus of the novel. The story of Mulan (although Chinese in origin) recounts a girl's adventure through the military and the obstacles she must overcome because of her gender. She is faced with many decisions throughout her adventure and her character grows from becoming a male for a period of time. She is praised for her honor and dedication to her family. The Samurai where fierce warriors, they were respected not because of their actions in the fields of battle, but because of their loyalty to a code of honor. They set examples in restraint and followed their masters into war without fear. Their mentality was revered, not their actions. Eastern stories are focused on finding the character's identity, their purpose, or their state of mind.

cloud

One of the most interesting dynamics between two characters in any videogame.

Jump into videogames. See Cloud. We start FF7 not knowing a damn thing about Cloud. He is mysterious and reclusive. The central story in the game relates not to what great battles Cloud engages in, but the unraveling of Cloud's background and persona. Why does his hatred for Sephiroth run so deep? How can he redeem himself for past events? These are the major points of the story and the game altogether. Metal Gear Solid. Solid Snake can hold his own, but the story is more involved with the psychological effects of warfare on people, enemies being totally relative, and, mostly, the futility of war. Even the new FF13 concerns itself more with the development of the character's emotions and purpose than slaying huge beasts. Hope tries to deal with his anger while asking himself, "what's the point of it all?" We do not know anything about the protagonist, Lightening, at the start. She slowly develops throughout the game and the player learns more.

Solid Snake

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. WhoA!

Japanese story telling in videogames usually starts with a mysterious character which the player learns more about as the game progresses. The purpose of the story is to unlock the secrets of the main character and enlighten the player to the driving force behind the actions. For this reason a player can take away from the game a new understanding of different perspectives. They get a glimpse of different motivations and how past events can drive future actions. Emotions built from experiences drive decisions.

The mentality behind the action makes the hero.

Commentary

Of course there are exceptions to the rules. There have been great games from western developers that focus on the emotional aspects. There are also eastern games that revel in blood and gore. However, I find the "traditional" way of storytelling for each culture to be independent of each other and follow these trends.

I have long been a bigger fan of western games until I found myself asking more questions and becoming more interested in the characters in eastern games. There seems to be more depth in an eastern game. I am exposed to new ideas, points of view, and more emotional themes in eastern games. When a connection is made, not with a character you injected yourself into, but a character that is unique and different from yourself it seems there is more attachment there. We learn not from familiar people, but from people far different from ourselves. Sometimes what they do and what they think can change us. This can only occur if they are not created by us.

I would have liked to write more about Japanese writings, but there are limitations in length for these editorials.

Your Turn

What differences do you see in the two storytelling types?

Which do you lean toward?

User Additions:

Ilikepandas: "Japanese games, likely influenced by an emphasis placed on collectivism in the culture, tend to focus more on a group of heroes who instead react to their environment and are slowly molded by events in the story."

Interesting addition for sure. Japan and China do have a strong sense of collectivism. Perhaps this is why we see the characters crying out for identity or individualization? Interesting take.

the_requiem:"Western games/stories are about putting the player in shoes of a superhero [sort of] who achieves victory against impossible odds, performs seemingly impossible feats. The thrill comes from player feeling that they are the ones doing these feats.Japanese games/stories are about character's individual/emotional journey. The players are made to feel/experience what the character feels/experiences. The thrill comes from that emotional journey, living a character."

Excellent summation of what I was going for. Western games put the player into the main character, the player is the protangonist. Eastern games have the player controlling a unique character whose has its own personality and story. Eastern games take a more traditional storytelling approach while western games inject the player into the story.

Crom_destroyer: "The writer says that the focus in western games is on the actions, rather than states of mind. This is partially true. However, it is also irrelevant precisely because it's truth is only partial. What I mean is that focus on actions and lack of personality only go so far as the "main character", and they don't extend to other characters. If these characteristics affected all characters in western games, then the writer would have a point, but they don't."

You are correct in emotions being emitted by other characters in the game. However, the entire game is wrapped around the main character and how they perceive events. The main character in most western games chooses how they interact with the other characters and those choices are decided by the player, think of the old "turn to page 99 for this decision or turn to page 45 for this one" kind of books. The eastern games have a locked point of view with what the author/dev intended for the game. This forces the player to look through a certain lens and perhaps learn something more about others and what drives their decisions. Nice point and hopefully newer western games will start to include weightier side characters if the main character is to retain the player's decisions.


  • 28 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3