On my journey through the essential games of the last few months I’ve finally gotten around to playing and finishing Far Cry 3. I’ve not really been all that interested in the first-person shooter genre in recent years, so when I noticed how the mechanics managed to keep me playing for hours on end, and the premise and story kept me thinking long after I’d shut the console off, I was quite pleasantly surprised. And as I progressed towards the end of the game, I grew increasingly sure that I would end up having to write at least one, if not two or even three posts about certain aspects of the game. What I hadn’t expected, however, was that among the many thoughts that were swirling around my head as the credits screen finally rolled, the strongest would be a Chris Rock quote. Read more…
I’ve always loved the Zelda franchise. In so many ways I consider most entries in the series to represent absolute master classes of proper game design, and the Zelda formula has inspired not only the obvious homages like Darksiders, but also less immediately similar works like Resident Evil and Nintendo’s own Metroid (and by extension the so-called Metroidvania games from Konami). Though I haven’t played all of the Zeldas – especially some of the portable versions have eluded me – I’ve played enough of them to feel like I’m well-informed about the franchise and its evolution. Indeed, on some level I’ve always considered the quality of the Zelda games, alongside the high-profile Mario ones, to be a sort of measurement tool not only for the state of our industry, but even more so the state of Nintendo. And judging by the last few major entries in the franchise, it would seem like the realities of the games business have finally caught up with the Japanese company that, for the longest time, seemed to almost never compromise on quality.
As well as numerous bugs, development for online play took three times longer than estimated, requiring adjustments to programming for all level in the game.
One backer who contributed $250 however, whilst still supporting the game, said the stumbling blocks to the title’s development should have been discussed earlier, and was concerned over whether some elements of the game matched the initial description.
One down, more to go.
E3 has come, disappointed and gone since my last post. Sure, it wasn’t all bad, but it seems like most of us had higher expectations than we should have had. Nowhere was this quite as clear as in the case of my own reaction to the announcement of Dead Space 3 and its inclusion of co-operative play.
As I grow older, I find myself giving less and less of a crap about other people’s shortcomings in general. So long as they don’t immediately affect me or anybody else for whom I’m responsible in any practical sense, I’m perfectly at ease to let people make, and own, their own mistakes – even if it means letting them fall flat on their asses in all kinds of painful ways. I’m thinking that maybe this has something to with the fact that as time marches on, more and more of my own failures are added to a pile that, while quite hefty, isn’t growing quite as quickly as it used to. Indeed, learning from mistakes has time and time again proven more useful than being told a bunch of best practices and theories up-front, but not really understanding what they were designed to prevent. So as long as the cost of doing so isn’t astronomical, I’m perfectly content to let the odd fuckup just slide – the benefit to the people actually making the mistake is too great not to.
This past month or so has been a weird one. I consider myself to be a reasonably thoughtful person, often engaging in quiet introspection and philosophy on various issues. The thing is, though, that I usually think about stuff in rather abstract terms. I ponder tendencies, ideas and processes in broad terms, usually only being concrete when it comes to issues relating to my area of expertise which, no surprise, is video games.
The reason I say that the last month has been weird is because I’ve been thinking a whole lot about a very specific issue. That issue is gender, and gender roles in society at large. It’s in no way unrelated to my favourite topic; the reason I even started down this path of thinking was because of a blog post that a games-journalist friend of mine wrote about a month back. The post was about so-called “booth babes”; pretty girls selling various gaming-related products to nerds by leveraging their prettiness in various sexual, skimpily-dressed ways. The main focus of the text itself as well as of the predictably heated discussion that followed was the phenomenon known as “objectification”; reducing something to an object.