Can fighting games be revived?
- Jun 6, 2007 10:01 pm GMT
- 50 Comments
Last year I wrote an editorial in which I declared fighting games dead because the lack of evolution in the genre since Street Fighter II (1991) and Virtua Fighter (1993) was causing existing fighting fans to lose interest and complicated control schemes prevented new fans from replacing them.
I did not give up all hope in fighting games, ending by suggesting that an original fighting game that plays nothing like existing fighting games could revive the genre.
I have been thinking about this lately, and I no longer believe a unique fighting game can save the fighting genre. If a unique fighting game could revive fighting games, someone would have declared Def Jam: Icon, one of the few fighting games that does not play like Street Fighter II or Virtua Fighter, the fighting genre's savior.
The problem with fighting games is not that they are complicated; the problem with fighting games is that they require players to know everything from the beginning.
There are complicated games in other genres, but they do not (always) overwhelm new players because they (the games) can teach them (the players) how to play the games as they (the players) play the game.
Is there a wall blocking your path? The first time it happens the (non-fighting) game teaches you how to climb a wall. A weapon on the ground? The game tells you how to pick up weapons, and every time you pick up a weapon you are taught or reminded how to perform a different attack.
Fighting games cannot do this. In fighting games you always do the same thing (fighting), and always at the same pace. A fighting game cannot slow down at key events to teach players specific techniques.
At best, a fighting game may include a training mode, not integrated into the main game. A player can spend hours in training mode learning everything there is to know about one of multiple, differentiated playable characters. How many players are willing to spend hours training for a video game, especially when games in other genres make training modes unnecessary? (And those who are willing need strong memories to remember everything they learned in training mode when they enter the main game.)
Sports video games also have complicated control schemes and cannot integrate tutorials into the main games, but unlike fighting games it is not a problem. If you buy a copy of, for example, Major League Baseball 2K7, you are probably already a baseball fan. You know the rules of baseball. All you need to learn is how to go about performing things in the video game that you have seen professional players do in real life. You do not need to be taught what a curveball is and what the benefits of throwing one are.
Can fighting games be revived? Maybe when affordable motion-sensitive controls evolve to the point that they can fully mimic our body movements. Until then fighting games will remain limited to the decreasing number of existing fans who still play sequels in long-running fighting series and those who buy fighting games based on licensed properties because they like the licensed property.
- May 21, 2007 9:30 am GMT
- 10 Comments
Digital distribution. For all of its benefits there are a number of questions that won't be answered for a few years. Some of it applies to smaller companies and services offering downloadable PC games, but the real questions come up with proprietary services such as Microsoft's XBL Arcade and Nintendo's Virtual Console (and Sony's service, no doubt, as unfamiliar as I am with it).
Let's start with Steam, Valve's relatively successful PC service that acts as a store, catalog, and game launcher in one. In contrast to all of the console services, Steam has a relatively unique feature - deals. Games come on sale and drop in price (albeit slightly) over time, mostly due to the fact that to a large extent Steam is competing with every brick and mortar retailer that carries PC games.
XBL and the Virtual Console have no competition. There is absolutely no incentive for them to drop the price on games and downloadable content because there is no way for customers to buy it anywhere else. There are odd replacements, such as the Live Arcade pack, but it nullifies its price savings by balancing good games with garbage - you're not getting any deal on the games you want, as the others are used as bullet point padding on the package.
As of now there are also no bulk discounts with either service. You don't get a deal if you buy more than one game at a time. A few pieces of downloadable content encourage bulk purchases (PGR3's car packs, as opposed to buying individual cars) but they are very much the exception. Chances are good games that clash with the current pricing scheme and concept of maximizing profit will not be released. Do you think Nintendo will offer Super Mario All Stars on the Virtual Console for the standard SNES price when it can throw out all four games for the NES at three times the profit? As a company that happily charged us $20 for GBA prints of NES games a couple of years ago, not likely.
My biggest question involves depreciation - will anything offered on any console service see discounts over time? Sure, there is no direct competition from other retailers or anything, but games that would benefit with larger audiences for online play (see - Catan) might be helped by eventual price cuts, as a $5 game is much more of an impulse purchase than a $10 game. Perhaps if games fail to meet sales expectations they will drop in price just as they would in a regular retailer - but we're coming up on two years with the 360 and nothing has dropped in price yet. Bizarre things such as the Perfect Dark Zero map pack are still 500 points, and many arcade games of questionable quality are still tagged at 800 points, though you've got to wonder if they've already sold as many copies are they're going to at that price. New customers are going to look at the newer releases and the better games, as reported by sites like Gamespot, as the sheer number of games to download is far greater than it was a year ago. That leaves many 800 point games out in the cold, since while they're worth playing they're not necessarily worth 800 points any more (maybe they never were) and no one is interested in them. Why not offer selected aged titles (Wik, Outpost Kaloki, Cloning Clyde, etc) at half price? Even if not to directly benefit us as consumers, but to spur sales? And, seriously, things like Doom should not cost as much as they do given that they're available for free elsewhere.
Then again, both companies seem quite happy to plod onwards as they are. Nintendo sits there and collects money while releasing every bad Genesis game found on the $20 PS2 Sega Genesis Collection, and Microsoft giggles softly to itself as people purchase Shivering Isles on the 360 at more than a ten dollar premium over its PC retail counterpart. As long as we keep doing that as a collective whole, maybe we don't deserve any breaks.
Soapbox Grindhouse: No Jack Thompson on GOW Orgy?/Bernie Stolar, where art thou?
- May 4, 2007 11:47 am GMT
- 12 Comments
I haven't written an editorial in a while, and part of that is because I haven't had any big ideas to talk about, but i had little ones, so i figured, why not grab a few of those "B-movie" editorial snippets and make my own little Soapbox version of the grindhouse cinema we have all seen affectionately revived as of late.
First on the chopping block:
Goats, gods and and naked women brought to you by Sony! You'd think a vangelist such as Jack Thompson, riding strong after pinning everything from Counterstrike to cooking mama on the Virginia Tech shootings would be simply salivating at Sony holding some massive debacherous party with decapitated animals and naked women. I mean, this is what Jack had always claimed to have feared most, video games transitioning into reality! Yet so far he is no where to be seen on his usual haunts (any news channel willing to give him air time, although Fox News in particular). Could it be that it simply lacks the exposure that Jack desires to get out of his soapboxing? Or could it be that in his infinite repertoire of generalities that he just figured since it didn't take place in America that it doesn't affect his crusade against all that is evil as well as fun to most people not him? Maybe he feels the same way about Europe that he does of video games in general, but let us hope that he doesnt go there, because unlike a video game character, a whole continent of people would very much be able to fight back.
You can thank Ken Kutaragi's recent "retirement"for your sudden return to my brain. Maybe it was Kens deteriorating mental condition near the end of his tenure that made me think of the first head of SCEA, Bernie Stolar. Like Ken, the man did alot for his cause, but he also had a real evil streak. It is said that the RPG draught early in the Playstations career (and Beyond the Beyond) was primarily his doing, as Bernie had a rather strict no RPG policy, since most RPG's at that time were 2d and he didn't felt it gelled well with the System. He's also the man attributed with slowly suffocating and eventually killing off the Saturn early in favor of the Dreamcast, a project he left in the lurch shortly after (or possibly before) it debuted. It is on this day that i choose to remember these two great men, both with their attributable strengths and accomplishments, but both with some hilariously poor shortcomings springing up before they initiated their fall from the face of the planet.
Protecting Us From Harm by Institutionlizing Violence
- May 2, 2007 1:28 pm GMT
- 53 Comments
I don't know how many of you have read about the recent news going on here in my neck of the woods, but it has definitely been a sign of disturbing things to come. Gamespot recently put out a post in their Sidebar News Blog talking about the situation in some detail.
You can read about it there, but I will summarize here. A student at a high school in a neighboring township built a map of his school in the PC game Counter-Strike. He apparently did this and shared it among students at his school. It is unclear if they used the map or not, but if they did, the natural assumption would have to be that they did so for purposes of living out a fantasy of taking part in the game in the one building outside of home they are most familiar with.
But that isn't how the majority of school board members at Clements High School in Sugar Land, a few miles from the Southwest edge of Houston, Texas, decided to view it. The hype and hysteria built around the recent Virginia Tech massacre has awakened memories of other past disasters, particularly Columbine, which involved some kids who also happened to play video games. As a result, the school board voted to overreact in one of the more extreme manners they could have mustered. The police searched his home and room, forced him to remove the data from his computer (without a court order, I might add), found decorative swords in his room and assumed they might be for violent purposes, and then the school board basically relocated him to an "alternate educational facility", which is a term that likely refers to a Fort Bend County First-level Reform School.
This reminded me of things we used to do when I was a young kid playing Dungeons and Dragons in the '80s in Virginia (not even two hours away from Virginia Tech). Our Dungeon Master drew up new labyrinths to explore on a regular basis, and one of those was made out of a combination of all three of our town schools -- Elementary, Middle, and High School. Even though D&D was more than frowned upon in school, we still brought such maps to school and shared them. Our Dungeon Master himself collected knives and swords. It's hard for me to imagine that in this culture of fear, but it could easily be him or even me designated as the target of just this kind of reaction.
When Gamespot posted, I thought that it would be obvious to most gamers that this was, in fact, an overreaction, and something that should be quickly undone in the name of justice rather than furthered in the name of unnamed fear. And for the most part, I was right, but there were a few individuals who felt that the situation was in fact justified. I responded to them in the comments rather hastily, but decided that I would probably rather do it in a blog post as well, were I can refine my thoughts a bit. Basically, what follows is a summary of some of the comments I disagreed with the most, and my responses to them. I think it summarizes my view on the dangers of this sort of "no-tolerance" behavior encroaching into strangleholds on the rights we have grown to love as Americans.jhellequin wrote:With current problems with guns in US schools, building a CS map was just stupid; however, stupid isn't the same as threatening - I call it an over-reaction.
For the record, I am glad you ultimately came to the right conclusion on the most important part of this matter. Still, I even have to disagree with the idea that making such a map is "stupid". There really was nothing stupid about it. It was a fantasy, not even slightly discernible as a threat. The only stupidity is that a group of school board members can't tell the difference between violence and fantasy. I am pretty sure I'd want someone more discerning on something as important as a school board.Miracle_Air wrote:Oh come ON people, if the kid had any common sense in his mind, he WOULD have realized it would be a stupid idea.
Who cares? His idea wasn't hurting anyone, so stupid or not, there is nothing legitimate in this kind of brazen attack on his sovereignty and moving him to another school.
Governments, including school boards, aren't there to quell stupid decisions, which we all make on a daily basis.
The School Board took the Machiavellian approach of asking questions, finding nothing to fear, and then shooting anyway. They have no excuse for their overreaction.Miracle_Air wrote:So the conclusion we can make is this:
1. He's looking for attention and decided to get it this way
2. He really IS an idiot and didn't use logic to think this through and wonder if it would get him in hot water
3. He might ACTUALLY be using it for a violent purpose. But it would be the first case, wouldn't it?
"Might" is a big word. If someone is planning a violent attack, they don't do it by making a game out of their plans. A guy who knows his school well enough to make a map out of it doesn't need to map it out in order to start a shooting frenzy. Even if they did do such a thing, that alone would not be a sign of a violent act being planned that would lead to this kind of inquiry. The Columbine boys had a LOT going on, much of which was obvious and unhidden, which could have provided signs. In this case, there really is practically nothing to justify a search, let alone such a harsh response.
Safety is important, yes, but not at the expense of turning ourselves into a police state filled with suspicion, innuendo, and virtual conviction on either one of those.Miracle_Air wrote:As gamers, we have to look at this in every possible perspective. So I ask everyone who posts from here on to think it through. Ignore the sidecomment about swords, just note the fact he made a map similar to his school. I'd rather argue for both sides than be biased and take one side.
How can you expect us to do that when you clearly haven't? Even if I were to believe the idea is "stupid", is the identity of the idea being "stupid" the same as "meant to cause harm and clearly constitutes a threat"? If someone can honestly say that in this case, then I think it's time for them review their premises before they start throwing out that suggestion to others.SecretWasianMan wrote:But from a gamer's point of view, this kid shouldn't have mad that map. Its only more fodder for Jack Thompson. I don't think this is gonna be below his radar.
From this gamer's point of view, I can't think of any reason why he shouldn't have made such a map. It was something he could relate to, and it likely made a game about fighting against a terrorist invasion more realistic to him. There's nothing wrong with it unless he intended it to be a guide to doing the real thing, but the mere existence of this map and a few swords in his room is indication of nothing.SecretWasianMan wrote:To all the people saying: "It's free speech! They can't do that!" Yes, this is the land of free speech. You can say whatever the hell you want, but no one said you couldn't get arrested. Don't be arrogant.
Yes, actually, that is what it means. The right to "free speech" as both a legal and metaphysical concept places a limit on Government at all levels, preventing arrest on the basis of expression, with the only real exceptions being when such speech communicates a direct threat or a fraudulent claim used to expose others to purposeful risk of harm to their person or property. This means that unless the kid actually made a clear threat (not just something others can assume by their wild conclusion-jumping), or was trying to fool people into self-harm or into giving him their property, then there is no reason why he can be arrested. Or as the Russian American comic from the '80s Yakov Smirnoff used to say, "In Russia we have freedom of speech. In America, we also have freedom AFTER speech." (Emphasis mine).
Don't take this the wrong way, but I suggest you familiarize yourself with what "free speech" actually is, and given that arrests can only happen when a law has been violated, you should probably contemplate what the words "Congress shall make no law" mean in the context of first-amendment free speech.Halo05 wrote:Two weeks and some change after the massacre at Virginia Tech, it's hard to call this an overreaction. I don't think the student meant any harm but it's easier (and better) to intervene now than risk having the swat team intervene in the future.
It's not hard for me to call it an overreaction, when it fits every possible essential to the definition of such a term.
Even if I were to assume that it was reasonable to come in and search his house, force him to remove something from his computer without a warrant, etc. etc., I still wouldn't say it was reasonable to relocate him to a first-level reform school AFTER realizing that there was no threat.
The fact is that none of this was a reasonable course. It stinks of emotional reaction instead of thinking reaction, and we don't collectively employ school board members for their non-thinking skills. Again, there is strong question on whether this even was cause for an investigation, let alone an invasion of this kid's life, and even after finding no real problem the school board still delivered one of the harshest penalties to this student that they had power to deliver. There can be no better definition of "overreaction" as a concept than that.Miracle_Air wrote:m0zart, by no means am I already jumping to conclusions and saying that he was a psychopath on the verge of preparing for some school massacre, but I am saying it was a bad idea.
Then why in the world are you justifying the reaction, including the punishment. If the kid wasn't causing harm, and intended no harm, then there can't be a delivered punishment without that punishment being by its very nature unjust.Miracle_Air wrote:Of course it very way may be that I feel this way since I've never played CS. But then again, I play games to escape reality. If I were making a map, I would make it something different, rather than copying a school or something, I dunno...
I'm agreeing with both sides, it was probably an overreaction but right now, I'd rather be safe than sorry. If he can prove he made this for the sake of entertainment and not some other purpose, than fine. I'm just saying I think it was a little idiotic and careless to have such a thing sitting around on his comp.
But you're not safer. All you've done is moved the slight possibility of violence from the hands of this kid into the guarantee of institutional violence against said kid for no discernible or objective just-cause. No, it's not a game you care about today, or a practice you'd take up, but it could easily be. Would you like to be moved to an "alternate educational institution" because you did something that offended sensibilities without regard to your intent? Would you like to have something forcibly removed from your computer by command of a guy in uniform carrying a gun simply because it strikes personal irrational fear in him?
None of us are safer. There's still unjustified violence, it's just been institutionalized now.Miracle_Air wrote:I think I've made my point. We should be looking from all perspectives. While I myself AM on the side of disbelief in this being something more, I am going to take the side of punishing the kid. Like I said before, it was a bad idea and he didn't think it through. Yes, he PROBABLY shouldn't have to think something through but in an overly paranoid country, it's ALWAYS safer to stay on the side of caution.
Indeed. And staying on the side of caution is precisely why I have to take the stand the way I have. There is absolutely nothing in this case that justifies going into this student's home, interpreting obviously decorative swords as signs of violence, forcing him to remove a map he created and used in a game from his machine WITHOUT a court order, and finally moving him to an "alternative educational institution" as punishment. And if it can happen to him for something as slight as this, then it can happen to any of us.
I can only hope that someday you snap back into the reality of this situation, even if that means you must experience something similar. Otherwise, I greatly fear for the future, and not from mad gunmen in my schools, but from the increasingly unlimited power gunmen under the hire of the State can wield for simply not liking how you choose to express yourself. Jack Thompson is a joke that courts pay little or no attention to, but these other trends are no joke. Quit turning a blind eye to them.
On the lack of magic in gaming
- Apr 14, 2007 11:49 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
Yesterday I finished Indigo Prophecy (about two years after first getting it) - I'd gotten up to the end some time ago, but I was worried (due a couple of worryingly difficult arcade sequences freshly under my belt) that the final offerings of a challenge at the end would be too difficult to overcome. Have you ever felt like you wanted to leave something unfinished? Let your boundless imagination take care of the rest? All of that in order to maintain a high opinion of something when you look back on it? Well, for a while I was content with that - but the idea of not being able to surpass the final challenge began to bug me further and further. In a strange sense of ease, I began play; still outside of the base, the Indigo child safe with me. And let me tell you something right now: the final confrontation was...pathetic. Satisfying, true, and it brought everything to an end the way I'd hoped it would. It was just strange that other parts of the game could dwarf it so - has that ever happened to you? Regardless of how well it may have served its purpose (and this did fine by me), have you ever been puzzled by difficulty where it doesn't belong or a lack where it should be there aplenty?
I just honestly wish I'd finished it while I was on a roll. In any event, in the end I recieved a satisfactory ending, and it got me excited for Heavy Rain. It also got me playing Dreamfall again; I 'd beaten that already, but I just heard about the upcoming episodic content, and want to have the story in the forefront of my mind when I'm getting started - sort of like how I'm going to have to re-read both of the Abarat books before the next one comes out (whenever THAT will be...damn you, Clive Barker *shakes fist*). See my first blog entry (and my review of Dreamfall) if you want to get and idea of just how much I want to continue the series.
I've also been playing through the original Jedi Knight again. I've chosen to do so because, more so than any other game, this title mystified me, got me excited and enthralled. Now, granted, this is ten years past now but at the time it was just inspirational. I often find myself asking, "Why can't they make games like this anymore??" Granted, no game released after this point will be able to enchant me in the same way, as the kind of endearment only a child can have for something is no longer a thing I can afford a game, but where in the hell did they all go? Why is it that so few games have souls anymore? Certainly there are a small handful of upcoming titles that look as though they will be endowed with such magic: Bioshock...Mass Effect...but where some kinds of gaming still manage, as always to be heartfelt (rpgs generally being on the top of that ladder), others are, however fun, somewhat like empty vessels. You have fun, but there's no real lasting effect.
The Gears of Wars and the Rainbow Sixes and the Quake 4s. Why take the time to infuse and imbue a game with the kind of things that will make a gamer love your game when they'll settle for mere entertainment. Why bother going through the trouble of making their game a piece of solid gold magic in motion when you don't have to in order to get the big sales figures. Raking in all the jack for products that are, deep down and where it counts, completely inferior. What happened to them? Where are the games that leave you thinking later, wishing you were JC Denton sneaking into the Statue of Liberty (Iron and Copper)? Wishing that you could be cutting down demons by the dozen to aid the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye and gain their trust. Where you stood, head downcast as you listened to the last journal recording of Dr. Marie Delacroix before the last fight with Shodan. Where you were Revan, standing onboard the Star Forge, your love Bastila in your arms, steeling yourself for the final confrontation with Malak.
Maybe it's just me. And maybe some portion of my feelings on this can be attributed (in some cases) to my youth at the time that I played certain games. But I don't think so.
We're not all glam
- Apr 4, 2007 1:25 pm GMT
- 3 Comments
One of my fantasies is to play guitar for a thrash metal band.
Alas, I never learned how to play guitar, and even if I were to learn, it would be a long time before I could pull off the things my favorite guitarists can perform.
RedOctane, now a division of Activision, came to my rescue in 2005 with Guitar Hero. With this game in my PlayStation 2 and the included toy guitar controller connected to a controller port I could pretend to play the guitar portions of some of my favorite songs. And when I "performed" a song well I was a legend in my own mind.
Not one of my fantasies involves wearing makeup; perming or doing something else crazy to my hair or wearing uncomfortable, ridiculous-looking clothing. Music should speak for itself. If appearance is part of your appeal you could be compensating for your lack of talent as a musician.
This was almost a problem in Guitar Hero. All but one of the performers as whom you could play (Axel Steel) looked like he or she was more interested in appearance than music. Crazy hair and outfits everywhere. (Hey RedOctane, glam metal and British punk are dead.)
Axel Steel in Guitar Hero I: "I just wanna rock."
Fortunately there was Axel Steel, a guy wearing jeans, a t-shirt, jean jacket and no makeup on his face and no product in his long brown hair, so this almost a problem was not a problem. I would have preferred to play as someone less heavy-set and not wearing a jacket, but Axel Steel was good enough.
But in Guitar Hero II, Axel Steel has gone glam. No longer content just being an incredible guitarist, Steel, by default, calls attention to himself by wearing a jean jacket with spikes on the shoulder pads. (And the other characters, returning and new alike, look more ridiculous than the non-Axel Steel characters in the original game.)
Axel Steel in Guitar Hero II: "Hey, look at me!"
Gameplay-wise, this does not matter. The characters in the Guitar Hero series are avatars. The games play the same regardless of which you choose.
So why am I complaining about the lack of non-glam characters in Guitar Hero II when it doesn't matter? The Guitar Hero series is about fantasies. My fantasies do not involve looking ridiculous, and being forced to play as a character who looks ridiculous distracts me from my guitarist fantasy.
So, Activision, I want, from the beginning, to see some normal-looking characters in Guitar Hero III. (And while I'm at it, I want to be able to "play" "Crush" by Anthrax and "Song without Sin" by Living Colour.)
And Electronic Arts and MTV Networks, this also applies to you. If Rock Band is to have on-screen characters represent players, some of those characters need to look and dress like regular people.
Good gameplay doesn't need jazzing up.
- Mar 28, 2007 7:15 am GMT
- 4 Comments
I wasn't particularly interested in downloading Jetpac Refuelled, the latest Arcade title to hit the Xbox Live service as I had quite a few games I was currently playing and felt no pull towards the title.
I also have never played the original game.
However, with it being just a measly 21MB, I could do worse by at least downloading the trial, so I did just that. And wow - I have missed out on such a great game for far too long.
The new version is prettier and has more functionality, it even has some new features. But on the face of it, it is still a "jazzed up" version of a 23 year old game. So after having some fun with the new version, I felt compelled to at least trial the retro version.
Unfortunately, that wasn't possible on the trial version, and thinking "what the hell" I plonked down my 400 points (approx $5US) and purchased the game. I now can see just how good a purchase this will be.
Jazzed up graphics be damned, the original Jetpac rocks and is faithful to the original version. The muddy graphics and limited variety and animations only further attach me to the primitive look but fiercly enjoyable gameplay. The new version may have better looks, but I'm actually enjoying the original version far more. Fancy that.
And to think, this is actually the first time this has happened to me. I've downloaded Frogger and I can't play that far-too-brigh-on-the-eyes original version, but the updated version is far prettier and better. Yet it remains the same for it's play. This isn't an isolated case, but it is the one that sticks out the most.
However, this is the complete opposite of what I'm finding with Jetpac Refuelled. Thats not to say that the new version is rubbish or the new look doesn't work well in the games feel - it most certainly does. It gave Rare more options and they've put together a game that can stand up well to graphics whores and retro fanatics alike.
I'm not the biggest fan of Rare, though I have to say I do like their personality. They imbue their games with a certain unique personality and they are truly original, even if the gameplay is derivitive. No matter - I'm having fun here, and that's the main thing, I guess.
I hope to do a review of the game soon. I'm shocked that looking back into my review list, I am yet to review an arcade title. I certainly play enough of them. In the meantime, here is a comparison between Jetpac old and Jetpac new. Can you tell the difference?
I can't. They are identical in how they play, and yet I love the former game more. Fancy that....
Signal in the Dollars
- Mar 26, 2007 7:12 pm GMT
- 17 Comments
To my European friends, I say, "Welcome to the next generation of gaming." With the PS3 on store shelves, all three of the consoles are now available for purchase.
For all of my international compatriots grappling with the loss of the emotion engine, let's remember the PS3 successfully shipped worldwide. The loss of exclusive titles has put many a devotee and industry observer on the edge of their collective seat. Some are even speculating about exclusivity losses being the straw to break Sony's back. They should instead worry about defaulting sub-prime loans placing them on the street.
The idea that Sony would ever get out of the console market is proposterous, for lack of a kinder word. Microsoft may be able to beat their competitors at their own game, but they'll never drive them from the market. Sony is not Sega. Similarly, Sony has never left a hardware space they have once supported (I said nothing about the trail of failed media). Lest I be erroneously labeled a fan boy, one could argue that given Sony's persistent financial shortfalls, they might decide to abandon some of their product lines. To this point the games space has been one of the rare segments that has stymied the hemmoraging finances of one of the world's largest entertainment hardware and media providers. Games aren't the only media Sony has within its portfolio. Sony owns many movie studios, publishers, and distribution networks. That diversification shields them from many of the risks inherent in releasing a costly consumer electronics product.
Despite being protected from outside risks, Sony is not invulnerable. Much like the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, failure does not come from outside a company, but from poor management within. Internal strife is not new. Sony suffers from it, along with most of the bloated corporations reaching around the world.
If you guys want to talk numbers and Dollars (or Yen, or Euros, etc) we can do that. Sony needs smart pricing and the power to suitably convey the rationality of that pricing to consumers (such as ourselves). When you maximize your install base, you maximize the publishing benefits to your partners (third-party publishers). The question at the heart of this topic shouldn't be where Capcom's commitment is, but where Sony's commitment is. If third-party publishers go elsewhere, you shouldn't blame those publishers. You should point the finger at Sony, or whichever first-party pact you have entered into.
Sony gave the PS2 a straight shot of the super-soldier syrum to make it the highest definition console on the market. Then they let it loose like a high-end, digital-entertainment Kracken, more likely to appeal to video enthusiasts than the PS2 was able to do. The DVD playback within the PS2 was a movie player for game players. Sony isn't looking to merely capitalize on core game players, but on fundamentally devoted videophiles! The PS3 is a game player for the most demanding content consumer. The pricing was genius. Sony sent signals to two important groups:
1. The competition
2. The high-end enthusiast
Had Sony priced the PS3 lower than they did, Microsoft may have felt threatened by an encroaching enemy and started a price war Sony never would have won. They signaled a long way back this device would be expensive. Sure they dropped a few features, but they still delivered on the pricing and positioning. Back in the 80s Sony was known for premium products at the zenith of quality. Against the PS2, nobody can doubt the PS3 is a premium product capable of feats that would make Dionysus drop his wine.
The blu-ray technology only offers fringe benefits to game players, developers, and retailers. This lack of single-minded technical support is what delivers the resonance to the video gurus. Now that the government legislation has provided increasingly plentiful HD content, hardware sales can gather momentum. Those hardware sales become more powerful by the day primarily because Sony pushes with the momentum of its own portfolio.
Sony sells more displays, more movies, more television programming with every PS3 in place. So why is everybody getting all surprised when the third-party game publishers are hedging their own bets and maximizing their own revenues by selling across multiple platforms? Sony made a smart move vis-a-vis Microsoft in their product and pricing. Why get angry when your favorite publisher does the same thing? Most of them have had to diversify into ancillary interests anyway.
Cant UPLOAD more Videos into my Profile :(
- Mar 24, 2007 11:45 pm GMT
- 5 Comments
Since last week, I have been trying to upload new videos to my profile, but I didnt have any good results, I supposed that it was my compute´s problem because lately it has been giving me countless headaches.
Nevertheless the last times, I received an error´s message, and finally for my surprise, a message telling me: , YOU CANNOT ACCESS TO THIS OPTION, YOU NEED TO BE A PLUS MEMBER OR A TOTAL ACCESS MEMBERil.(well, something like that)
Well, Total Acces I believe I can understand that, but PLUS MEMBER?whats that, never heard of it?, do you?How is that obtained?. And, wasnt the maximum capacity for videos uploaded of 100 MB.? ¿? ¿? I am really confused
The truth is that I dont understand whats happening, another GS's glitch?, I dont think so, I hope to be able to solve it, cause I have interesting things to show you all
Gaming at 30
- Feb 17, 2007 3:01 pm GMT
- 27 Comments
I recently turned years old. My wife and female friends seem to think this is a more significant event than my male friends. I firmly believe that age (at least at this point) has more to do with your state of mind than the exact number years I have spent converting oxygen to carbon dioxide. Anyway I’m going to use this occasion as an excuse to pull out my rocking chair, a nice quilt, and ramble on about gaming at 30.
Are you sitting comfortably?
If you have read anything written by a crusty old gamer then will recognize the “not enough time” theme. There’s no avoiding the fact that once you engage in a career path, start paying a mortgage, attending to your spouse, and possibly even attending to the fruit of your loins then your available gaming time decreases significantly.
Accordingly I often cringe at the frequent requests for longer games. I admit at one time I enjoyed some of those 40+ hour RPGs and similar games, but the amount of time I have to dump into one game is more limited than it has been ever before and I for one welcome some of these 7 to 10 hour single player games. Highly concentrated high quality games are far more appealing to me now than some of the longer games. I can certainly understand the folks wanting more from a game but Gears of War’s modest length was just about ideal for me, at least for an FPS. I don't have much more patience or time for games three or four times as long as I find they just offer "more" and not necessarily anything better in terms of gameplay or the overall experience.
If any of the gaming demographic statistics that the industry tosses around are too believed then there are a lot of folks my age buying games, and I would guess there are those folks my age making a fair number making those games. At times this makes me wonder why it seems so few games take on adult themes. Now by adult I’m not talking about including more pixilated sex scenes. If you’re reading this you’re almost certainly on the internet and like it or not you have plenty of that available to you at your fingertips already. I’m talking about games with themes and stories that might be a bit more complicated than “Shoot People in the Face Volume 8” or “Orphaned 14 year old saves the world XVIII”.
That’s not to say there aren’t times where I’m looking to sit down and wreak some juvenile havoc on a virtual world while riding my magic shopping cart . Those games have their place and I’d be bummed if they weren’t around, and I’m also not talking about something like thritysomething the video game. Gord no.
What I’m looking for is something with a bit more beyond the garden variety badditude and cookie cutter RPG stories. Contrary to popular belief I don’t need to save the world in every game and the characters I play don’t need to be defined entirely by their wish to save the world, conquer the world, or urge to shoot people in the face. I figure there are plenty of developers who also would like to push things just a little farther in terms of storytelling aspects of the gaming. Heck hooking people into a good story and quality characters would seem to be a profitable avenue if you’re looking to establish a franchise, but it seems rarely do games take this path, or at least no farther than most games.
I mentioned Gears of War earlier, as amusing as I found the banter between the members of *duxup stops to check the name* … Delta Squad if Marcus Phoenix had dropped dead during the game I wouldn’t have cared much. I would have just wondered who I play as next, and unless I’m up for the same gameplay again I don’t much care what happens in the next game. I don’t think it takes too much to add great deal a more to video games in terms of their story. Games like the Max Payne series and Mafia did an outstanding job adding atmosphere and a compelling story without taking up too much time in the game or compromising any of the gameplay. Heck I still regularly hear people asking if / when another Max Payne or Mafia game will be released. If the games were just gameplay with a little storyline I don’t think we’d still be hearing those requests.
It seems there is an opportunity to push gaming farther when it comes to the narrative, but few developers seem interested in or have the opportunity to take advantage of it.
Don’t Tread on Nostalgia
The first video game I played was on an old console that I believed was called OmniVision or something like that. The console that had no less than EIGHT …. versions of Pong. Later I was playing in arcades. Then came the various Atari systems, and then of course came the Nintendo and Sega arrived on the scene. It was probably the NES that hooked me, and rightfully so as many of those games are still genuinely playable today. In some ways I think some of those older games are even more playable for folks who are short on time and don’t want to deal with a eight button controller and numerous button combo options. Gord forbid I take a week off from a game and have to learn some of the controls all over again
It took a while but now we have convenient and legal means to play many of those console and arcade games from oh so long ago, and I probably should have seen the downside coming. Nintendo tried to warn me, or maybe mug me, when they offered Excitebike on the GBA for $20. The GBA should have been littered with great collections NES titles for good prices but instead they chose something akin to punching me in the nose.
That’s not to say it is all meadows and song birds for me when it comes to Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo’s current offerings these days. While I don’t feel like I’m being punched in the face, I’m still not happy with the pricing. $5 for Q*Bert? $5 for a NES game? $5 isn’t a ton of many but if you’re thinking of buying more than one game that’s when the price really hits you. Aside from a game like Ice Hockey that is eminently repayable, I’m not going to spend much time with these games. $5 per game for a trip down memory lane seems pricy especially considering the minimal cost to the people offering these games.
I might have spent far more than $5 on a game when I was at the arcade but at that time I didn’t have other responsibilities and other things to spend money on. $5 means a bit more to me these days, and I don’t think the pricing on more recent games on these systems gets any more reasonable as you move further up the retro gaming time line. All the gaming companies are of course businesses and it is their job to make money, but I can’t help but feel a bit of my gaming past is being held hostage.
So there we go. I’m older, still gaming, and plan to keep it up so long as the industry offers what I want. No doubt the powers that be could make some changes that might make their products more appealing to someone like myself. I’m sure that is their priority and people are holding meetings about this very post right now
In the end note of the issues I wrote about are solely the concerns of 30+ year old gaming fans. There are graduate students, university freshmen, auto mechanics, and twelve year olds out there complaining about Q*Bert prices, wondering when the heck their game of Final Fantasy XII is going to end already, and how hard it would be to just add a little something more to good game Gears of War (like a point). No doubt there are plenty out there who think nothing of sort as well.
I should go now. It’s getting late, and I’m fairly sure there’s an episode of Matlock on somewhere that I should be watching.
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