Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes. Yes. Totally Agree.

Just when I was about to write off GameSetWatch as a navel-gazing linkfest, they go and post something like this. An opinion piece about the relationship between developers and game journalists, and how to further the causes of both. Written by a games journalist! With some actual humility and insight! What's that, you say? The writer does a very good job of describing a lot of things I sense about this industry/relationship, not to mention the things I may have witnessed firsthand. The column actually has made me think about how we (developers) choose to interact with the media, and with whom we choose to do it. Very nicely done.

Metaboli + GameTap = ?

By now you've probably heard the news that GameTap and the UK's Metaboli games-on-demand service are merging. This piece from Variety does a good job of shedding some light on this new partnership/acquisition.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two FusionFall Hits

A few members of the FusionFall team are here in Austin for the AGDC. We're also showing off the game, and you can see a few recent hits here and here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poor Silicon Knights

I feel for Silicon Knights. I really, really, do. Dennis Dyack and his team are clearly passionate individuals, smart guys, who want to make kick-ass videogames. In fact, they already have. So what the hell happened with Too Human? Let me say this up front: I haven't played the final game. I don't even (gasp) own an Xbox 360. But I played the early demo at E3 two years ago, and I was psyched. Everyone else said, "Oh boy, this game is going to be garbage," -- but I was all like, "No, no, look past the rough spots and you can see they are really trying something fresh." And then everyone else was like, "No, really. This thing is going off the rails," and I was all like, "Give them a chance! It's Norse mythology meets Robocop!" And so on and so forth.

Well, the reviews of the final game are in, and as everyone knows by now, they are not exactly glowing. The situation harkens back to the Schwartz Theory of Low Expectation Media Consumption, but in this case, I really need to cite the Schwartz Theory of High Expectation Media Consumption, which essentially states that a project's percieved (or actual) failure is always compounded in direct proportion to the level of anticipation with which it is met by the audience. In other words, when Uwe Boll fails, nobody cares, because they expected him to fail. However, when Steven Spielberg does the same, it is that much worse because all of his movies are met with very high expectations.

In any event, the gamers don't seem to like Too Human very much. For a really hilarious review, check out this week's Zero Punctuation. But not everyone is a hater! Kevin Pereira says: screw them! You know what I want? I want some Silicon Knights fanboy to jump to the game's defense, just like this guy did for Alone in the Dark. So noble! So hilarious! (Thanks to Matt for the link, by the way.)

Well, fine. Too Human probably isn't as bad as everyone says. I reserve judgment until I have the chance to play it myself. It just goes to show you how influential an editorial trend can be, furthering my skepticism of "games journalism" (hah) as a whole. Spore also seems to be a victim of the Schwartz Theory, and that's a real shame. But the expectations for Spore were ridiculous, probably the most anticipated title of all time! How can anything live up to that? I've just started playing it myself, and so far I am really enjoying it. Looking past the hype, you can easily see its brilliance, but I think some players were expecting Spore to simulate life while alphabetizing their DVD collection and doing their taxes simultanteously. Now that would be an amazing game.

Well, this was a linktastic ramble. Point is, I feel for Silicon Knights. I guess I will determine how badly I feel for them once I've actually played their game.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Best Game of All Time

ActionButton.net has recently crowned one of my favorite games of all time (see this old post) their favorite game of all time. It's Out of This World, AKA Another World, AKA Super Awesome. This passage from the review is a nice one:
Out of This World was ahead of its time in 1991, and it is still ahead of not-its time in 2008. One might call it an art film of a videogame. This wouldn’t be a wrong description so much as a lazy one. It’s more of a silent film of a videogame. Or, better than that, it is a videogame of a videogame.
And:
It stays cool-headed, elegant, and noble until the end. It isn’t a “game” with an “engine”; it’s an experience, one big, elaborate “puzzle”. It’s a story. It just happens to contain the bones and sinews of an excellent game.
And something I never heard before:
Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has gone on record as considering Another World the absolute best game of all-time, and the primary influence on Resident Evil.
Oh, and apropos of something-or-other:
A bullshit-free, flowing game possessing Zelda’s attention to detail could be amazing.
And since this Tim Rogers fellow is a good writer, but could use a good editor, here's his conclusion in case you can't get to it:
[Out of This World] is honest, humble, noble, and at the same time hugely artistic and expressive. It tells a story, it presents awesome, unforgettable gunfights, and it lingers in the back of the mind for an eternity. It is the closest videogames have yet come to a great film, and we probably shouldn’t ignore it anymore. Every element that causes critics to jump up and down with joy in modern games existed in a perfect, pure form in Another World. Everyone making games — or writing about them, or playing them — should either play it, play it again, or at least think about it. Because, seriously, though we can’t say with a straight face that we “need” more games like this, once we have a whole bunch more of them, we’ll definitely start wondering what we did without them.
Hear, hear!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Sim Exchange

I found this on Metacritic. Called the Sim Exchange, it's a game that uses virtual currency to buy and sell stock in video game titles. (Not unlike the Hollywood Stock Exchange.) Could be a fun use of free time, assuming you are one of those people who have some of that.