I have discussed the dilemmas of downloadable content frequently in the past, and each new piece of news gives us more to chew on. Soon we will be seeing the very first DLC for Tomb Raider: Underworld. You know, the content that was meant for the original game, but eventually wasn’t. We may never know if someone put a gun to Eric Lindstrom’s head in order to change his story, but we’re here to discuss value.
Why Ensemble Closed
Once designer at Ensemble Studios, Bruce Shelley explained what went wrong at the DICE 09 conference. He kept it overly civilized and focused on what they should have done differently internally. Things like working on games in different genres and not expanding too quickly made his list, though he forgot to mention “Don’t be owned by a giant evil corporation.”
It must have taken an abundance of self control to not simply declare Microsoft the sole problem Ensemble faced. The studio created some of the best received and selling strategy games in the industry and sold millions of games.… Read the rest
Like most industries, the gaming industry is bound by the conventional economic wisdom that you must spend money to make money. Historically, that’s meant taking a loss on every game system sold (with the notable exception being most Nintendo consoles) in order to tap into selling game after game to console owners. This measure of success is known as the “attachment rate” or “tie ratio.” A somewhat (November 2008) dated Gamasutra chart shows that the Xbox was in the lead, with 6.6 games/system sold, followed by the Wii at 5.5 and the PS3 at 5.3.
This statistic has historically been a powerful metric for measuring market penetration and overall success for a console.… Read the rest
When the first Gears of War was released, I wrote a little rant about Cliff Blezinski’s introduction to the game found in the instruction book. For a game about large meatheads shooting albino insect meatheads, the intro sounded far too pretentious and lofty. Commenters took me to task, and they convinced me that I was overreacting.
Thankfully, Gears 2 doesn’t put me in the same situation. This time, Cliff’s intro makes no bones about the fact that this game wants to emulate the feeling of “being in a summer blockbuster film” better than any other game out there. Shallow as it may be, knowing a developer’s intent can have a large impact on how I view a game.… Read the rest
Folks, it has been some time since the “next gen” was actually the next. I think it is about time to call it the current gen, and on that note, I think it is time to re-evaluate the three major players in the race. Much has changed, and my opinion of each console has changed wildly. Note that this is not an attempt to analyze who is going to “win” the console war. I think that it is quite clear that so long as there are games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports released at the right times, Nintendo is going to be unchallenged in total sales numbers.… Read the rest
Too early to declare a console victor
Ignore that Microsoft recently declared that history has shown us that the first system to 10 million historically wins the race, thus heavily implying their console is the winner as it’s sold a little over 10 million in the states. Their new PR line is that declaring a winner between the PS3, Wii and 360 will be impossible until one of them reaches 100 million in sales. By this logic the only systems to have ever “won” a generation are the PS1 (barely) and the PS2, and they did it after many years on the market, long after it became apparent to everyone who doesn’t work for Microsoft that Sony had won those generations.… Read the rest
I have had an Xbox 360 for about three months. Under normal circumstances such a short period of time would never be enough to wear down the novelty of this fantastic new toy. However, about three weeks ago tragedy struck. (No red circles were involved, the box works fine). I accidentally deleted about 25 hours worth of progress in one of my all time favorite games: Culdcept. The second I realized what I had done, I almost vomited from grief. I had gotten more than halfway through the game collecting about 300 of the 500 available cards, and all of it went up in smoke with a simple misclick.… Read the rest
I’ve decided to condense two potential blog posts into one topic, as they are both somewhat similar in nature. I should do this more often, as it seems to force me to take my almost article length ramblings and cut them down into something readable. A win for all.
Some time ago Jay wrote a discussion on Mario and how he is anything but a throwaway character. Interesting then that a “games editor” at Softpedia (a site which I have only known before as a place where I failed to get working drivers) has claimed that mascots like Mario and Sonic should be locked up in a museum and never put into another game, starting right this minute.… Read the rest
In another installment in my untimely series on finding something to hate while surrounded by the best games in years, here’s another look at games that ate shit in 2007.
Until recently, the Spider-Man franchise had been the only comic book license that somewhat translated into an enjoyable gaming experience. Next Level Games, a company that specializes in cramming a licensed properties into games that have nothing to do with the license they are based on, must have won some sort of raffle to be awarded the development of Friend or Foe. Any company that works solely in licensed games is going to suck worse than a circus put on by disabled veterans.… Read the rest
When I first saw the headline of this story – Microsoft Erases Gamers Memories – I figured some kid drew a picture of his favorite My Little Pony on the side of his 360 case and Microsoft erased it. That would be a shame, but less crappy than what actually happened. The more accurate story (minus the ponies) – A guy has a 360 since launch, brings it with him everywhere he goes and accumulates a variety of signatures from Microsoft, Bungie and other companies. There is even a large drawing of Master Chief on the system.
So he calls Microsoft after his system inevitably breaks.… Read the rest