The PC gaming industry is broken

Lately there has been a lot of kerfluffle coming out of the Epic Games camp about the superiority of console development over PCs. CliffyB, as much as I usually admire the man, has hinted that PC games are not exactly a top priority for him, and then turns around (with the help of Epic Master-Spinster Mark Rein) to say that they want to help PC gaming bounce back, if it hasn’t already. It is hard to get a good picture of what their stance actually is. After all, it is Rein’s job to say the right things at the right time, and Cliffy is still surprised and high off of his console successes. Considering that they are now in the public eye, where every word can be scrutinized and taken out of context, it seems we should find a different source for info on the state of PC games (and let Cliffy get back to making Gears 2 =) ). →  It’s dangerous to read alone, take this.

Tales of Tactility

Remember H.A.L? That evil-genius-space-robot from Clarke/Kubrick’s 2001? It seems like most of the time I hear him mentioned it’s from some miniaturization fetishist from the Church of Jobs (Steve). Something along the lines of “can you believe how big they thought computers would be back in the 60’s?!?!” Nevermind that the ability to create a sentient AI is still far beyond our reach, and that supercomputers still take up entire rooms. Fans of the MacBook Air expect super-intelligent robots to get lost in a container of Tic-Tacs.

But H.A.L’s massiveness underscores a point about machines that gets lost nowadays: that they are composed real objects and are themselves physical as well as intellectual. David Bowman doesn’t defeat H.A.L. by uploading a virus or outrationalizing it until it “cannot compute.” He inserts himself into its innards and takes it apart circuit-board by circuit-board. →  I'd rather die than not read this article!

All you ever need to know about Japan

After spending 10 nights in Japan I am now qualified to make sweeping statements about the Japanese culture. The following are immutable truths (told in a convenient pros and cons style) about this wonderful and bizarre country:

Pro
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992.

There’s no use denying it.

Con
Japanese people seem as pro-Japan as Americans are pro-America. I was asked by one of my gracious host’s fathers why we came to Japan. He was an awesome guy but really pushed hard for an answer he found satisfactory. I think the question was probably just mistranslated and he actually asked, “How awesome is Japan?” The same day, a man on the street approached us and told us in English that “Japan is number 1.” With proof like that who was I to argue. →  Read or die.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 12.21.07

PSP sales explode in Japan
Sony’s handheld has been selling very well lately, this last boost thanks to a new red model. If Sony simply releases a new model and/or colored PSP every other month they may be able to seriously compete with Nintendo. At least on the hardware front.

Games simply don’t appear to sell on the PSP. The leading theories as to why this is are:

If you cut yourself while playing you won’t even notice.

1. The PSP is a successful multimedia machine. A significant percentage of purchasers are using it to listen to music and watch movies. Reports of people not particularly interested in games buying the system are common, and even dedicated gamers (see Christian of this website) are very interested in all the multimedia aspects of the PSP. →  What is word? Baby don’t read me.

60…45 Reasons to own a PSP

PSP Fanboy started a series of articles back in June extolling the wonders of the PSP. The 60 Reasons to Own a PSP series was written (by a reader of the blog) to illuminate how amazing the PSP system is. And amazing it is, with reasons such as “Has buttons” and “Runs on electricity” on the list, there is no denying the PSP is the best system ever

Realizing any reasons beyond “has good games”, “costs less than the PS3” and possibly “not fatal if ingested” were unnecessary, videolamer wrote a parody of the article that simply looked at a bunch of DS games and labeled each game a reason to own the DS. We sent PSP Fanboy the article but have yet to hear back from them. They are too busy writing their 60 reasons, perhaps. →  Rayman Reading Rabbids

Review – Metropolismania

Some games are hard to put down. Often this is because a game is great fun, but entertainment isn’t always the force that drives us to keep playing. Sometimes we continue gaming because of a lack of clearly defined beginnings and endings; we don’t know when or where to stop so we just keep on going. Oddly enough, games that break play into nearly infinite tiny rounds deliver the same psychological effect as games that have no levels nor turns.

Will Wright and Sid Meier are experts at creating addictive gameplay through this method. Both Pirates! and Sims lack any clear level progression, while Civilization cuts up play time into such minute turns that each feel too short to be considered optimal stopping points. “Just one more turn!” is a cry familiar to anyone who has fallen victim to Meier’s brilliant design. →  Now bear my arctic post.

Parents just don’t understand

My parents recently started reading this website. I’m confident they are happy with what their 120 thousand dollar college investment has yielded. The down side is I may have to watch my language and sexual innuendos from now on because those things didn’t exist in the olden days and would surely shock anyone over 30.

A more disturbing problem is that my parents have no idea what any of these articles are about. It’s a proven fact that most specialized fields use vocabulary outsiders cannot understand just for the sake of being exclusionary (cardiac arrest? Yeah, sure doctor, those are real words). Gaming journalism is no different and I’m afraid this site is part of the problem. What problem, I’m not sure, possibly global warming.

Because my parents never discouraged my gaming and only encouraged me to get off my ass from time to time, I owe it to them to explain some of the terms this site uses on a daily basis. →  Sounds amazing, I must read it now!

Stop mixing my drinks

So I was playing Final Fantasy XII for the first time when I noticed the game had a lot of concepts that look like they came from science fiction. Ships looking like they came from Star Wars fly around in the intro, shield-like barriers are being used to protect cities, that kind of stuff.

This wouldn’t really bother me that much, but it seems like regular medieval fantasy has become a lost art. Final Fantasy gradually made the transition from medieval to steampunk-esque to post-apocalyptic to an improbable-looking science fiction. I would have no problem with this transition normally — on the contrary, more science fiction RPGs would be nice too. But the story and atmosphere most of the time remain in the fantasy style. Why are people running around with swords and bows when it looks like ships – and I might’ve seen a laser once or twice – could do a lot more of the work? →  READ3R

Flash game review bonanza 3

Well I’m in that post-school, pre-summer job phase of life right now, by which I mean my cash flow is almost zero (there is, of course, always the five bucks I garner here and there for offering sexual favors to passing sailors). That being said, I haven’t purchased any new games recently, and it thus seemed time for another foray into the fantastic field of Flash-game fun (By the way, that just cost me two skill points in alliteration creation… and one in rhyming). Again trying to establish some continuity to my reviews, I decided to head over and try some of Popcap’s esteemed games. Thus, my reviews are limited to the one hour trial demo popcap.com offers, and I will offer along with the review my opinion on whether or not the games are worth shelling out the 20 bucks needed for the full version. →  When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a game.