News We Care About Wrapup – 5.30.08

Beyond good and sequels
Beyond Good and Evil 2 was recently released much to the joy of gaming forums everywhere. Sequels are exciting because it means more of something good. That we long for sequels seems to stem from a few things but most of them point to problems in the industry. It means we expect crap and usually get crap and when a game that’s worth playing actually comes out we want more because the other option is crap. We want sequels because we do not trust developers to make good games. If Ancel is given full reign over his next project and allowed to do what he wants, then let the man create something new.… Read the rest

Review – Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations

I recently went through some effort to prove that most games are entirely about play mechanics and that story and characters are mere dressing. This concept is echoed by some great designers. In On Game Design, Chris Crawford describes interaction as the key to all games — more, deeper interactions make for a better game. Judging by his designs, Miyamoto agrees.

Don’t look at this picture. Too many spoilers.

With this in mind I face a problem. The Phoenix Wright trilogy stands among my favorite games despite their being little more than books on DS carts. And not even Choose Your Own Adventure books that create the illusion of control; there is only one correct thing to do at all points in Ace Attorney, and often you will be forced to run through all items in your inventory in hopes of showing the right someone the right something.… Read the rest

Playing catch up: Chrono Trigger

I finally finished Chrono Trigger, and only 12 years late. Not too bad. Much like Super Mario World, this is another classic that deserves the accolades it has received. I only hope Link to the Past and Final Fantasy 4 are Chrono Trigger good. Though because of the game’s quality characterization, I am now slightly depressed.

It has been pretty uncommon in my life, but now and then a game comes along that affects me like a great movie or novel does. Now that there is no more to see, what happens to the characters? Crono, whose name is a typo because of the apparent five character limit in the game, was the standard silent protagonist and I don’t give a damn about him.… Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 4.13.07

Bethesda buys Fallout IP
Anyone who thinks a series can change developers and still be the same series is encouraged to pay me to write the fourth Lord of the Rings book.

Cheap PS3 discontinued
No more 20 gig harddrive PS3. This makes some sort of sense because Sony loses more on each of the 20 gig sold than on the 60 gig. But it also doesn’t make other kinds of sense. Specifically, the “release two models for absolutely no reason,” and “eliminate the cheaper model because the console is too expensive in the first place” kinds of sense.

To make matters more hilarious, Sony is considering releasing a third model of the PS3.… Read the rest

Thoughts on immersion and graphics

Is immersion really dependant upon graphics? In a recent piece, Craig theorized that this rationally follows from the assertion that attention to detail creates immersion. I think his premise is correct, but ultimately graphics and immersion are not as tied together as we would assume. Expectations are hugely important and cannot be left out of the equation.

A gamer raised on Xbox games may find it difficult to get into an SNES RPG.

Expectations can exist internally and externally. Those internal to a game have already been discussed on this site and are important, but so are external expectations. A new gamer playing a particularly detailed Atari game may not be immersed now, but had they played it first in 1984, they may have been.… Read the rest

The Electronic Arts I remember

A long, long time ago, back when Electronic Arts went by the abbreviation ECA, the company was not clearly evil. It turns out that they screwed Chris Crawford in the 80’s and undoubtedly weren’t the pinnacle of business ethics, but they also published good games. Every now and then, usually after reading a review of some terrible EA published game or news that they bought and destroyed a small developer, I reminisce about the good old days when the ECA logo didn’t make me cringe, but was actually a sign of quality. What’s that, you ask? You’re a snobby gamer who dislikes EA, too, but you wonder why they were once a respectable publisher?… Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 7.21.06

New Sony patent for motion sensing camera
We’ll have to wait and see if Sony releases a peripheral with this technology for the PS3. The patent refers to older similar technology Sony has designed so it provides a good defense to the claims that Sony is merely copying Nintendo. The question now becomes is Sony rushing these technologies to market in response to Nintendo.

Both Sony and Nintendo have advantages in how their products are being sold. If Sony’s new motion sensing technology sells well, games that make use of it will follow. But the product is statistically likely to be another throwaway peripheral with minimal support.… Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.23.06

A CNN reporter grades the current generation of consoles
Apparently the tone he takes (he treats the systems like school kids) is supposed to be funny and/or clever. He gives the PS2 an A, the Xbox a B-, the Gamecube a D and the Gameboy Advance an A. The Xbox actually sold worse than the Cube worldwide, but since when do American journalists bother themselves with other countries?

This article reminds me of a feature in the newest EGM where they give grades to the future of each system. Somehow the Gamecube ends up with a lower grade than the Xbox despite the Xbox getting no new first party games and one or two 3rd party exclusives.… Read the rest