Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 1.18.07

Breaking news: Bill Gates likes the 360
When asked how the system’s strategy is working out, Gates replied, “It’s working perfectly.” So they DID mean to launch with nothing worth buying, have fewer than a 10 million lead on their year delayed competition, and fail in Japan a second time. That’s a relief. Other comedic tidbits — Gates says Sony is their biggest competition, despite last week saying Nintendo was their biggest competition, and then goes on to brag about owning Rare, which was largely a waste of millions of dollars.

Gates is a bright guy, sure, but he is also a bullshit artist. Other gaming sites have said that he is a man who doesn’t mince words; he says what he means and means what he says. These sites are wrong and possibly deluded. No one as successful as Gates means more than 25% of what they say. If the man weren’t a cutthroat business man and bullshit extraordinaire (which is redundant), he would not be richer than Jesus. So this week’s lesson — Bill Gates, despite being brilliant, charming, well hung, and whatever else people say, is also a PR bullshit machine and should not be taken seriously (unless he just bought out your company and is personally firing you.)

PS3s in stock
An in depth comprehensive study of 52 retail stores revealed that over half had PS3s in stock. This could mean a lack of demand for the console. When asked about the availability of the PS3, Sony drone Dave Karraker responded, “It isn’t because demand has weakened, it is because we have kept the supply pipeline moving.” Karraker seems to have borrowed this reply from fictional band Spinal Tap’s manager, who when asked if the band’s popularity was waning replied, “No, no… their appeal is becoming more selective.”

Compelling drama.

New plot based Sims
Oh how this pleases me. Not because I want to play the games, but because I really enjoy gloating (and it’s so rare I have the opportunity to do so). A long time ago, I posted this poorly written http://videolamer.com/index.php/29 boring article on the shortcomings of “emergent narrative.” Big shots in the industry like Will Wright (who does the Sims) believe emergent narrative is the wave of the future. Basically, the concept is scripted story telling is too rigid and not interactive, so designers should focus on making more open ended games that allow the player to become the author of their own story. In practical terms, this means we control if our Sim waters the plant then takes a crap, or takes a crap then waters the plant.

It looks like I may not be the only person who thinks emerging plots are lame in their current form. Electronic Arts is no doubt pushing Wright and Maxis to make more traditional plot based Sims games. I agree with EA on something…ok, that killed my buzz. No more gloating.

Woman dying to get a Wii
A woman in California drowned by drinking too much water in a radio show contest entitled “Hold your wee for a Wii.” Apparently, the radio station understood the health risks of their contest. Even if the station is legally clear from wrong doing because the contestants signed a contract, it was at least irresponsible. And bad news for social Darwinists — she had already reproduced.

Nintendo doing well in Japan
And by well I mean they sold over a million games in the first week of January. Nintendo doing well now means that even if there’s a dry period, in about a year there should be an avalanche of 3rd party titles on their console. Which is good, because right now, the Wii has no big 3rd party games scheduled.

Games That Matter studio formed by Rockstar vets
Can these developers be compared to Robert Oppenheimer — guilt ridden for what they have unleashed on the world? Probably not, since they didn’t actually design any Grand Theft Auto games, they only ported them, and Oppenheimer was apparently less remorseful than the legend indicates. Still, it would’ve been a pretty nice analogy, no?

One of the many fine games announced by the Hip-Hop Gaming League.

Video games may help fulfill basic psychological needs
The results of this study are interesting but obvious. It’s surprising how video games are still seen as drastically different from non-electronic play. The sense of belonging felt by someone on a kickball team, the competitiveness enjoyed by children playing cops and robbers and the competence grown men experience while scouring over statistics for their fantasy football league are all feelings any kind of play can elicit.

Somewhat arbitrarily, the researchers wanted to find motivation for playing games that go beyond the sense of fun. They identified feelings of autonomy, competence and relatedness as the primary impetus to play. Feelings of fun reinforce these deeper psychological needs but there are still more levels to understand. Why have we evolved to want to feel these emotions? Maybe psychologists who study World of Warcraft aren’t equipped to answer such deep questions.

Hip Hop Gaming League is “da bomb”
Great, this is just what the industry needs. The older generation already dislikes games, why combine them with something else they hate — black people?

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17 years ago

Well, I actually didn’t know you could DIE from drinking too much water. I know it ain’t good for you, but death is something I would not have guessed. The only thing I knew about is that if, over prolonged intake, water could cause aneurysms. I think the radio station should get sued out of their assholes with this one, as I don’t think anyone gave a proper warning about the dangers with the contest. If there was a contract or something, it would have been reported now. And most of those guys have been fired, so I’m willing to believe there was none. I do feel sorry for her and her family. It isn’t her fault that she wasn’t warned probably. And people all week have been saying, "She should have just taken a piss!" but it wouldn’t matter. The level of h2o in her body was far more than she could take. It’s not like her bladder exploded, or something.

17 years ago

i knew about this because a few distance runners have died from this over the years (i run, but have never died from it).  the reason you dont just "take a piss" is slightly more complicated than it sounds.  hyponatremia (or hyperhydration, or water intoxication) can cause nausea, which leads to the production of anti-diuretic hormone, which causes your body to retain water.  nausea = your body thinks it may vomit, causing a loss of fluid, so it retains as much as possible.  if the imbalance between fluid and salts in your body becomes bad enough (as seems to be the case here) too much water will enter certain cells (brain, etc) and can kill you. 

17 years ago

I would agree that the PS3 is the only real competition, the Wii while cool and all isnt really in the same league.

17 years ago

The PSP has more potential. Much mroe, but is sunk by piss poor management. Like I want to play boring ports of crappy PS2 games.. they really need to fire thier leadership. Although the Ghosts and Goblins game for it was AWSOME.

17 years ago

Not only potential graphically, but potential in sound and music quality, varital usage and storage. They just manage the damn thing so poorly, it practically a tragedy.