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ExtremePhobia Blog

Game Mechanics make the game

If you look at list of games that have come out this year it has been littered with a massive number of great games that everyone has been waiting for like Gears of War 2, Spore, Army of Two, Metal Gear Solid 4... and the list goes on. Almost every game that has come out this year has been some kind of gameplay miracle involving all sorts of neat and realistic effects ranging from realisticly bending metals in the Force Unleashed to the most BA non-scripted dog in gaming with Fable 2. And the games that have innovated all have one thing in common. They did them extremely well.

That's not surprising at all and really, who cares? The problem is that while all this games innovated very well, half of them weren't even games. Take the new Prince of Persia - while it wasn't really innovative in a gameplay sense, the lay of the game with very little fighting and the return to the acrobatics plus the visuals were fantastic. The game on the other hand was only moderately impressive. It sold on it's style alone and quite frankly is one game in a long line of games where you'd be lead to think, "Well that was an interesting idea. Now that they've spent this game perfecting the mechanic I can't wait until the sequal."

By itself that shouldn't be scary. Scary is when you start saying that about multiple games like PoP, Fable 2, Spore, Mirror's Edge and so on. It's hard to hate on Spore and a lot of people will enjoy it but it's actuall, at least in a topical sense, a very good case.

The idea was great and creating creatures is fun. Conquering planets never gets old but, really, where's the game? I don't mean to hate the game, I think that it will change a lot about many games for a long time but that doesn't mean that it's fun... which is the idea of a game right? I mean if you wanted to make a little electronic creature, why aren't YOU making the game? People do this sort of thing for FPS and RTS games regularly, making new maps and putting them up to play with and it's all free. They do it because they enjoy it and they're being creative. Why are you paying $50 to do it?

These games aren't bad games but are they really worth paying for? In some cases you are just funding the next game and not really getting anything for it. Sure it might seem like some mechanics are great. Portal has a fantastic mechanic with the portal gun. You might even say it sells the game but I disagree. The idea is fun but it's not why the game was so wildly popular. Put a person in a square room with a portal gun and that person will get bored. We All paid for the well crafted levels/puzzles that you use that gun IN.

Look at the next game before you buy it and ask yourself if the mechanic would still be worth it if you put it in a square room before you buy it for that. In a few cases (Spore is probably still worth buying for a lot of people, including me in this scenario) it might be. A good game takes an idea, style, and a mechanic and puts them into a well crafted game. Look at your favorite games - the quality was in the game, not the mechanic.

A Blog on Blogs

I've been on a short hiatus helping my aunt with some painting and I came back to find Gamespot had changed. I knew it was coming, I saw the news article ahead of time and checked it out. And really, I like the whole thing. I haven't really seen a single thing about the layout that I don't like. That's not to say I'm not bothered with some aspect or another.

Ok, so perhaps this is ironic or maybe even hypocritical but there is one thing that's been driving me nuts about the new gamespot: the blogs. Just so you know, by blogs I don't mean the fact that you can blog or that everybody is or even the "User Soapbox" very prominently displayed on the front page. What bothers me is that I came back from my internet free break and found 6 "new articles" on the front page instead of five, except two of them were blogs. I can't remember what they both were but one of them was about the Guitar Hero: World Tour extra instrument.

Now I don't know if there were actually news stories around it on the new news board about this same thing, if there were then that really bothers me, we don't need that kind of redundancy. We shouldn't have to click on the articles a bunch of times to learn nothing new. Really, though, that's not what bothered me.

What bothered me was that a blog qualifies as news. I don't care who writes the blogs, they are NOT news. If it's written by an editor of the site or something then it shouldn't be a blog, it should be a news story. No editor should be allowed to take a story, write about it, slap up as "News" and label it a blog so as to dodge the refining process. If they aren't written by some site staff, then they shouldn't be news... unless Gamespot is planning on hiring the person, in which case it falls under the former category. If you think it's relevant... isn't that what "Rumor Control" is for?

Web 2.0 isn't a bad thing at all. Blogging and user influenced content is a huge step and definitely in the right direction but Gamespot is not a user and should not act like one. Sure we come here for the opinions and reviews and interviews but all of this should be done in a professional manner. Gamespot, I beg you not pass off user content as professional work and please don't use blogs as a way of writing articles. neither is necessary and both are kind of cheesy.


Hi, I'm ExtremePhobia. I used to be NRIAgent so I've been "around" for a little while. Soon I should be starting a Union but I'm not high enough level yet. I'm hoping it will be kind of an interesting idea and people will want to join. Unlike a lot of Unions, it's not going to revolve around a video game franchise. You'll see soon!

Anyway, I'm not one for blogging really but I thought I'd say hi and let anyone that hated NRI know that you can hate me instead, NRI is effectively dead. Let me know if you like my reviews or anything in particular. Say hi, be friendly. And if you have any cakes (please don't lie)or pies to give me, I'd be glad to take them.

PERHAPS this blogging thing will grow on me. We'll see.