Gaming Industry Advice from a Non Gaming Industry Member

Hey, that title looks like our slogan! This started as a comment to Derek’s post, but I decided I would kick it up a notch and give you all some Golden Jew advice on the gaming industry, if you actually want in. Matt is probably a better source than I, since he’s active in the industry and it’s been a decade since I was, but being Jewish, I know a little something about business (and about dodging Nazis).

Although the matriculation rate of QA peon to game designer is low in an institutional setting (EA, Maxis, Bioware, etc…shit… those are all the same company now!), it’s comparable to most other popular industries. Examples of “popular industries” include sports teams (going from bitch peon to normal peon), video games (QA peon to developer peon), and the movie industry (production assistant peon to producer peon). →  And so it games…

2008 Game Predictions part 1

2008 promises to be an excellent year for gaming. The 360’s software lineup should remain strong and the Wii and PS3 are coming into their own. From Spore to Metal Gear Solid 4, there will be some huge titles coming out soon, but will they actually live up to the hype?

Based on released information, knowledge of development history and gut feeling, we have chosen some of the games we most look forward to this year and predicted how they will turn out. These should be about as likely to be accurate as any analysts predictions and we charge less.

Golden Jew’s predictions

Civilization Revolution
I’ve written about this already, so this feels cheap and easy (like your… sister?). I stand by my prediction that this will be a good, if not great game. →  Did I do that?

Is this the beginning of the end? Looking back at the past two years

Two years ago, I was a fairly one dimensional gamer. I enjoyed 4X games on the side, enjoyed PC FPS and RTS… but my heart and soul belonged to MMOs. From punching the wall when dying one too many times in Everquest as an emotional 17 year old, to dumping a girl over World of Warcraft at 24, I was dedicating–easily–30 hours a week to MMO games. Yikes. A second job. That didn’t pay.

Then I burned out. And suddenly, I had free time again. I filled it with other video games, of course, but also structured my personal life better. It was no longer a rush to get home, shovel food in and get raiding. I had thought that perhaps I had finally grown up. I was no longer showing up to work as late as possible to make up for another late night of WoW. →  Secread of Evermore

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.14.07

Starcraft 2 is coming
Golden Jew was wrong. He is hereby stripped of one hundredth of his massive pile of gold coins, crowns, and swords. I’ll give it back when the Starcraft MMO comes out in two years.

Rare to broaden 360s audience with all age friendly games
But also don’t rule out that they will make mature games, says Microsoft’s Peter Moore. They will or they won’t. They may and they may not. I’m glad Moore cleared that up.

Rare is fascinating because Microsoft seems to think Rare can change the Xbox brand image and because I have a theory that Nintendo makes their second parties what they are. On the first point, Rare will fail. Microsoft is taking the same attitude towards appealing to the mass market as they took when attempting to appeal to the Japanese — “one or two games should do it, now let’s sit back and wait for the money.” →  You think about everything.

Two Gamecubes duct taped together

Chris Hecker angered a lot of people by calling the Wii a piece of shit at this years Game Developer’s Conference. The thrust of his “argument” seems to be that games are art and Nintendo is focusing solely on making entertainment, not art, and therefore Nintendo is bad. It’s worth noting that on his website Chris says he is the Editor at large of Game Developer magazine, yet their website and the february issue I hold in my hands neglect to mention he holds any position there. But back to the issue at hand – some of the videolamer staff have been kind enough to tell us their thoughts on the situation.

Pat says:
This speech took place during a “rant” session, which seems to encourage hyperbolic, polarizing comments. So while my first reaction was “Who cares?” →  Phoenix Write: Just Posts for All

Lost in Space: Looking for a worthy 4X Game

I love the 4X genre. It’s most likely a combination of the fact that I’m a huge geek and love space, and the fact I was beat up a lot in middle school and high school and didn’t kiss a whole lot of girls back then (see the first two reasons of my 4X love if you’re unclear on why that is). My love of the genre started on the old Mac II with Spaceward Ho, a game that lives on today in Palm Pilot versions (which are quite badass). Then came Pax Imperia I, followed by the graphically enjoyable but gameplay poor sequel. I tried other games along the way, such as Hegemonia, but nothing really stuck. Like every player of the genre (except for the ones who fail at life) Master Of Orion 2 was my lord and savior. →  All I want for Christmas is my PSP.

What we hope to see in 2007

With a new year comes new hope and a new opportunity to have our dreams crushed.

Stefan —
Saturn Games on the Virtual Console: I know, there are significant disk space problems – seeing as a single game could use up the entire internal memory of the Wii. But if a way can be found, I’m holding out hope for Shining Force III and a NiGHTS re-release with a _real_ 3D Controller.

Panzer Dragoon Saga with motion sensing controls Second coming of Christ

Sony opening the PS3 Graphics hardware to Linux users: This is another one that’s not likely to happen. And by not likely, I mean no way in hell. Allowing direct access to the graphics chipset would essentially let anyone circumvent the price of their dev kit – and would deprive them of licensing fees for game sales. →  Welcome to read zone!

Recovering from World of Warcraft Part 2

Continued from part 1

What ultimately made me stop playing WoW wasn’t so much the new content or the failure in clearing it, but rather the monotony of clearing the old. Let me explain for those not familiar. When you kill a boss in WoW, it drops 2-4 pieces of loot. This can be class specific armor, or a weapon, or jewelry, or whatever. Your average dungeon has 7-12 bosses. A raid dungeon is typically cleared once a week due to reset timers. A raid group has 40 people. Each player has 19 slots of possible gear that can be worn at any time, not to mention extra sets of gear for certain battle roles (such as resistances, damage absorption, damage dealing, etc). There are also special “recipes,” and other miscellaneous items. →  I’d buy that for a dollar.

Do Arcades Even Exist Anymore?

Just got done with a vacation with the family on the world’s largest cruise ship, the Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). Why am I telling you this? Well, first, to make you jealous of my amazing Golden Jew lifestyle. But second, because cruise boats are one of the last places you’ll find an arcade.

Arcades–remember those? I certainly do. They were the ultimate destination growing up, at least for me. I remember begging my parents to give me quarters to go play at the mall arcade. I remember the glee of the giant arcades at the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California. Arcades have always been special to me–not only as a gamer, but my father’s cousin used to run one of the most well known arcades in New York City–the Broadway Arcade. →  You may say I’m a gamer, but I’m not the only one

Review – Sword of the Stars

I’m still not writing to say that MOO2 has been unseated from it’s throne as best 4X space game ever, but Sword of the Stars may be the closest thing to bastard upstart rival capable of causing a genre wide (or at least, Golden Jew wide) civil war. The full game builds upon the demo, showing that the guys at Kerebros know what they’re doing and have created an extremely entertaining, robust game with a great deal of replayability.

This review will be written assuming you read my demo review. If you haven’t, you should go read it. Let me touch upon some high level items first. The one personal pet peeve I have about SOTS is they decided to go the route of “you should discover the intricacies of the game by playing it.” →  You think about everything.

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.

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Christian: I really want to know how many people are still drooling for a new Sony console. This gen is the ultimate test of the Playstation brand. One thing is for sure: a new PS3 is financial suicide simply because of the defect rate on Sony consoles.

Dan: I feel the PS2 was the perfect system for the casual gamer, and had a little bit of everything. I don’t know what will fill that void now. Besides a combination of the Wii and the 360.

Golden Jew: Let’s not forget the feeding frenzy when PS2 came out. It was hella expensive, hella rare and were the launch titles THAT good? Granted, the games were still $50.

Christian: They sucked.

PS2 launch titles may have sucked…IF YOU ARE DUMB ENOUGH TO OVERLOOK FANTAVISION!

 →  May God smite me if I stop reading here!

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 1

Kudos on joining us for our second discussion. Well, actually you’re not joining us because it’s already over and you weren’t invited. But thanks for reading. The format may look a little confusing but shouldn’t be too hard to grasp for anyone who has ever held a conversation (which may not be all of you, I know gaming is a harsh mistress).

The contenders:
Dan – Really just wants to talk about the Wii.
Christian – Is slightly upset with Sony.
Golden Jew – May be secretly working for Sony.
Jay – Forces others complex arguments into black and white.
Pat – Will never make it through a whole discussion.
Stefan – Is planning to buy his first new console since the Dreamcast.
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Jay: In this coming generation of consoles, who will sell the most systems? →  Drakenread 2

Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s part 1.

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Jay: Golden Jew, tell us more about your controversial theories on immersion.

Golden Jew: My view is, as with anything, there are many ways to skin a cat, and target a particular gamer… one thing I’ve been frustrated with and responded to before is the lack of good demographic analysis of gamers. And I think that’s because although gaming has been a huge industry for a long while, only when our generation started slamming the work force did it start getting respect and I think now the industry is struggling with ways to better design games and target the right audiences. So we end up with these semi esoteric questions– what is immersion– because designers think that answering that question with a silver bullet will mean big bucks and nothing, in any industry, (except for the fact sex sells) is that clear cut. →  Keep it warm.

Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 1

The Lamer staff instant messages their arguments to each other.

Welcome to the first Lame Discussion. We gathered half a dozen Lamer staff and had a rousing discussion on the concept of immersion in video games. Hopefully, we will be able to bring you discussions like these every few weeks. Because we are a bunch of nerds we had a blast analyzing one of video games more cerebral concepts and went on far too long. In the effort to keep the discussion’s points intact but keep you from falling asleep, I’ve added this long intro. Also, I edited the crap out of the actual discussion. You can bet your ass we said a ton of hilarious things you’ll never get to read. The article is in fact so long I had to chop it into two parts to make it at all palatable. →  Devil May Read 2

An E3 for the proletariat: Golden Jew’s final thoughts

Another year, another E3. This marked the third E3 I have attended. Obviously, this year’s big focus was on the new console systems: Second Generation Xbox 360 games, the Wii, and the PS3.

Last year, after seeing the preview for the Xbox 360, the teaser demo for the PS3, and hearing about the Wii (then called the Revolution, a time which will be remembered as “Heterosexual Nintendo”), I was stoked. I boldly declared to my friends that this next generation of consoles would be remembered as a big turning point in gaming. Finally–at last–systems would have standard support for the goodies that make PC gaming so much fun (hard drives, keyboards, online connectivity), combined with native HD support and some serious rendering muscle. Finally, console makers would get it, and we were in for what would be some seriously high powered, interactive, and most importantly, fun, gaming. →  Devil May Read 2

Lame E3 pics 2

Click a pic to make it bigger.

Did any one else have any idea Enix is pronounced Eh-nicks and not Ee-nicks?

Despite being a Ryu clone, Akira is still the star of the Virtua Fighter series.

His name is “El Blaze”, which translates as “The Blaze.”

If I get this game I’ll have Burning Crusade and burning itch.

Finally, we know where all of Blizzard’s revenue goes to: buying giant dolls.

WoW statue, or Golden Jew? We may never know.

An E3 for the proletariat: Console wars and Wii hands on

The big thing, of course, at this year’s E3 was the console showdown. First, you have the second generation of Xbox360 games, which look to be, as expected, a vast improvement over the first generation. Next, you have the PS3, which, frankly, looks unimpressive. And last, of course, is the Wii. As I started writing this, I was standing in a line so long for the Wii that if the damn thing doesn’t make my dick grow two inches and women love me even more, it was a waste of time.

I’d like to touch on the upcoming price war, and wonder what the fuck Sony is thinking. Sony has always been positioned as the Cadillac of systems, targeting adults focuses on superior performance and typically a very robust game offering. →  Michigan: Article from Hell

An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 2

As last time, coverage is by our street team of Golden Jew, Horatio, Noah and Ben.

World of Warcraft (PC)
At this point, you probably know all the data you need to from the internet, so I’ll focus on some chats I had with one of the Blizzard reps that was patrolling their demo area. When I asked what he was most excited about in the expansion, he said sockets. My main question was if sockets would be more helpful than most current end game crafting (ie, everything but alchemy except for resist gear), and he said for sure. He also indicated they will be adding to end game crafting in the expansion.

I asked about release dates for Naxxramas and the expansion, and all he would say for Naxx was “Summer.” →  Professor Layton and the Diabolical Post

An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 1

Compiled by Golden Jew, Horatio, Noah and Ben, Videolamer’s field reporters.

Dynasty Warriors Vol 2 (PSP)
I liked this game quite a bit. I was a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series on the PS2 till I realized every game was exactly the same. After my 1,000,000 kill (Cao Cao: Truly, you are a brave warrior! And you have no life!) I burnt out. However, I was really impressed with the PSP version of this game. Gameplay was the norm in terms of hacking things to pieces (repetitive, yet strangely fun). What was very cool is that the battle system is a large grid shaped specially for each campaign and that each army (some computer controlled, and one led by you, naturally the most productive one) moves about.

You have various conditions for victory and defeat that center around a time limit (supplies) and then key objectives. →  Devil May Read 2

Gold Farmers: Destroying the Fun (and economy) of MMORPG’s

If you have not read Billy’s take on gold farmers, you may want to now.

Anyone who plays World of Warcraft knows them: they often have strange names (Ihugirls, Jobsister), but they may also have a name unnoticeable from others. Their guild tag might be your average WoW lore fluff, or it could be something along the lines of “Knightsofthepiratekitty.” They play as much, if not more, as any hardcore addict: 8-12 hour days. But rather than roaming about the game’s many dungeons and zones, you find them in them alternating between the auction house and the same hot spots: Winterspring hunting herbs, camping elites in Tyr’s Hand, or patrolling Burning Steppes for rich thorium veins. Every hour of the day.

Who are they? Gold farmers. Somewhere along the line, people figured out that there was in fact more money to be made in the secondary market of MMORPG’s (selling gold, items, and characters) than their was in the primary market (selling subscriptions). →  [left click on your mouse to open the remainder of this post in your web browser on your digital computing device]