jazilla / Member

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jazilla Blog

8 Feet of Freedom?

With the upcoming release of Sony's new motion sensing controller this month and Microsoft's release of their controller free control scheme in the form of the Kinect(November); I figured now would be an apt time to discuss what some journalists have diplomatically danced around. That topic: How far away do you need to be from either device for them to work properly? Of the meager information I could find in any review,http://reviews.cnet.com/game-controllers/sony-playstation-move-starter/4505-3146_7-34167419.html, that distance is agreed upon to be 8 feet(Vinny Caravella of GiantBomb and Morgan Webb of G4TV also report this distance)for someone who is 6' tall. Those same journalists reporting the distances also say that they probably won't buy this because their apartments don't have that kind of room. While 8' doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up when you have your entertainment system, your couch, and a coffee table in the room. That space gets eaten up very quickly.

Is He Really 8' Away From His TV?!

Also interesting were the similarities between Justin Calvert's(GameSpot) andDana Vinson's(G4TV) reviews of Sports Champions. Here is what the both said at the end of their reviews respectively: Justin: "Sports Champions is undoubtedly one of the strongest launch offerings for the PlayStation Move hardware." Dana Vinson echoes his sentiments: "Sports Championsis one of the strongest launch titles for the PlayStation Move and illustrates the potential of the Move quite well." The problem? Neither review score is very overwhelming. GameSpot gave Sports Champions a 7.5/10 and G4 gave it 3 stars out of 5. Both reviewers agreed that Sports Champions was the "Strongest launch title for the Move". For being "the strongest title at launch", the review scores certainly don't seem to offer any hope that the other games coming out for the Move will offer us anything better. Are these types of scores to be expected from launch titles or are they lackluster? Do you have the amount of space needed to have one of either of these control schemes? If so, are you a day 1 consumer of either the Kinect or PSMove, or are you taking a "pass" on this technology? What does this mean going forward for the industry as a whole if these products don't offer very promising returns financially for either company?



The Business of Making Money

A lot of what I have seen from the gaming industry as a whole lately is helping me to understand what is going on, in a bad way to the storylines in video games. Just like the movie industry, I see a trend starting to take shape in the game industry. If a game makes money, it automatically spawns a sequel or a trilogy. Sometimes(and it's happening more and more lately) it spawns an entire franchise. My problem with these franchises in most cases, is that the stories aren't very well crafted. The stories are set up with cliffhanger endings that in most cases don't give the player the grandiose sense of accomplishment thatthey used to give. For example, any game in The Legend of Zelda series is brilliant at telling a new story in the same universe as its predecessors, yet the game still feels like a complete game from start to finish.

Games these days that I take issue with seem to take the less creative, or cookie cutter route of applying the overused cliffhanger ending in a game. While the cliff hanger can work well in a movie, it doesn't work well in a game for the simple reason that you play a game as opposed to only viewing a movie.

When you play a game, you are the protagonist. The story becomes yours as you interact and invest multiple hours in a storyline. It doesn't have the same voyeuristic quality that a film does.

We play games in the 1st person. We watch films in the 3rd person despite whatever camera technique is being employed in gameplay. So when game makers give us a game with a cliffhanger ending, they are robbing us of the satisfaction that should come with the gaming experience.

How many times have you played a game to completion only to have the ending undo all of the fun you had while playing the game? Assassin's Creed anyone? Is there any reason they couldn't have had a better ending to that game? Another example: Knights of the Old Republic 2. Not only did KOTOR 2 not follow the story of its predecessor in any major way, it just...ended. An ending like this in a game spawned from a universe so steeped in great story is absolutely unforgiveable.

In short, the game industry is, and is becoming more and more about the business of making money for making money's sake. Like all things that become wildly popular; The filthy rich start to dig their claws into things that they otherwise wouldn't touch until they see that they can become even more wealthy by becoming involved. Because of this, when game makers seek funding, the people that are funding their games end up having a say in how they want these games to be made. The game maker has to concede some things to those vultures who foot the bill. The vultures with claws only care about making money, and some gamemakers are falling prey to the same rationale themselves.

Just yesterday I saw this from Cliffy B about making a 3rd Gears of War game. He said in an interview with Game Spot, "If Gears 2 comes out and sells like hotcakes and has great reviews, then we'll consider doing another one."

That's it. He didn't say something like, "This team on Gears of War is really commited to making another game, regardless of how it sells because we believe in this franchise and money isn't an issue, because, well, I'm effing Cliffy B and I can make whatever I want to dammit!!!"

It was all about making more money for him. What happened to risk taking? The gaming industry has become the fat cat. It is the entertainment industy's benchmark now. The movie industry which used to be number 1 is just riding the coat tails of the game industry, and it seems, even admittedly crappy games are getting made into movies. I don't know where this leaves us as gamers, but I really don't like the direction I see my favorite entertainment medium heading in.

I have been an avid gamer since the mid 80's, and this is the first time since the early 90's that I am becoming disinterested in most of what I am seeing these days in gaming.

EA Games list.

I really felt compelled to write out a list of EA games for a simple reason. I wanted all of you, the gamers who browse these forums, and peruse the reviewers' articles, to take a good look at the games that EA has made; from The Commodore 64 days, to the current generation of consoles, to the PC. I want you all to take a good, long look at this list, especially IF you consider yourself to be an EA hater. I want you to try and find one game on this list that you enjoyed. Just one. If you find multiple games that EA has made that have tickled your fancy in the past or present, then even better, but all I want you to do is find one game. I don't care if it was made by an EA Studio, or if EA was just the producer or distributor. I think this list will surprise you. It really surprised me to see how many of the games on this list that I enjoyed.

Here are the games:


007: The World is Not Enough

007: Agent Under Fire

Alien vs. Predator(Series)

Bard's Tale(Series) 1986-1990

Battlefield Series(I, II, 2142)

Black & White Series

Burnout Racing Series

Cel Damage

Command & Conquer Series

Cyber Tiger Woods Golf(Gameboy N64 and others 1999)

Darklight Conflict

Daughter of Serpents(DOS 1992)

Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One(Commodore 64 1983)

Dungeon Keeper Series

Earl Weaver Basebal

Escape from Monster Manor(3DO)

F1 Racing Series

FIFA Soccer Series

Fight Night Series

Godfather: The Game

Harry Potter Series

The Immortal(1990)

Jane's Combat Simulator Series

John Madden's Football Series(1988-1993 Multiple Platforms NOT YET MADDEN)

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings 1988)

Knockout Kings Series

Lord of the Rings Series(Movie games Series)

Madden Football Series

Mario Andretti Racing(Series)

Medal of Honor(Series)

MLB Baseball(Series)

Mutant League Football

NASCAR Racing(Series)

NBA Live!(Series)

NBA Street(Series)

NCAA Basketball AND Football Series

Need for Speed Series

NHL(Series)

Oddworld

Quake III:Revolution(PS2)

Road Rash(Series)

Shaq Fu(I couldn't resist putting it on here)

Shogun Total War Series

SimCity(Series)

The Sims(Series)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf(Series)

Triple Play Baseball(Series)

The Lord of The Rings:Battle for Middle Earth(Series)

Ultima Online(Series)

Virtual Pinball

Warcraft II: The Dark Saga(1997)

Wing Commander(Series)

Warhammer:Dark Omen

This isn't even a close to complete list that spans over 25 years. I did not compile this list for you to pick a game that you can't stand, or to comment on this list, if there is a game you don't like on it. I put this small list of EA games on here, for you to find one that you LIKED, and you can comment on that. I was blown away when I looked at this and saw, that there were more than a few on here that I have really enjoyed. There are favorites of mine that I intentionally omitted from this list. I hope that if you are an EA detractor, you can admit that there are EA games that you have enjoyed in the past, even if it means that you are mumbling praise of EA under your breath with no one else around. It's OK, they have made more than a few really good titles. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it.

Holiday Shopping.

The season is here and it has been here for a while now. The new batch of Christmas Candy(games)are arriving. There are so many titles to play. I hope that they all live up to, and dare to exceed expectations. I am already looking forward to pacing some of these titles out over a few months. I can not wait to play Mass Effect, Crysis, CoD4, MGS4, and Super Mario Galaxy. I am undecided on a few as well. I hope all of your gaming for the next few months is as fun as I hope mine will be. I am also thrilled to start playing the Bonus Mission Pack for Guild Wars, and The Orange Box. Merry Christmas.

Second Year Anniversary for me on GS.

It's my second year on the site. I am stoked. Nice to be an interested, but casual member. I can't wait to see how things shakeout for the consoles this next year. I really can't wait to see how PC games will look this year(The ones actually made to take advantage of DX10 and Vista that is). All in all, a pretty good year from 4/20 to 4/20.

Turning a corner

Dreamfall. I just started playing this game and it's more like interacting with a movie than it is playing a game so far. The voice acting and cutscene camera work is awesome. The only drawback I see so far is that the camera during gameplay is a little buggy. The characters are awesome. I will post more when I get a little further in the game.

I have noticed in quite a few games though that the game testers don't seem to be doing a very good job of giving the game designers quality input though. Should any of us have to sit through games with sloppy a sloppy camera behind our character? I mean, isn't this the most fundamental part of gameplay? If you ruin the POV, you ruin the game. In sports, if an athlete doesn't stick to fundamentals, it ruins the performance of the team. In gamemaking this is much the same. I think gamemakers try in some cases to be too innovative and they lose focus of the things that make a great game great. I would like to see gamemakers take a step back and get the small things right before they try to create an epic gamespace. You have to sweat the technical stuff before you can tackle the creative side of the game.

New games

Most of the reviews that I am seeing lately for the PC speak about bringing,"higher end systems to their knees." I totally disagree with what gamemakers are doing for games on PC's.

I am going to paint a picture. Let's say you just went out and bought everything you needed for your new PC gaming behemoth. You bought an 8800, 2 to 3 gigs of RAM, the 64 bit version of Vista, a crazy motherboard, and a great new sound card. You already had a great monitor, so you didn't bother with a new one. You are really excited about DX10, and the two new games you bought. After installing the OS, and getting rid of a ton of stuff on it, you get Vista to run with only 40 processes running while idle. It also only eats up 600 MB's while idle(There is a lot of sarcasm here, except for the 600MB...that's no exaggeration, either are the 40 processes, you started with 68 originally) then you realize...I have these two great new games that are going to look smoking on this machine. You do the install, and said games chug along as if your PC was two years old and ready for an upgrade. Smoke starts coming up out of your ears and a blood vessel bursts in your eye. You feel one of your molars crack from the tightening of your jaw. That's the picture I am trying to paint.

I have read reviews of these new games and they all say the same thing without directly saying it...WAIT TO BUY THE NEW OS AND NEW GAMES UNTIL THE HARDWARE PLAY CATCH UP...That is all.