Gaming Roundup 8/25/08: Freedom from F.E.A.R.

Nathan Grayson

Life is full of shortcuts. Whether it's using connections to briskly bound up the corporate ladder, pumping out a term paper with the help of a less-than-legit online service, or simply cutting through the gas station instead of waiting for the stop light, there's always an easy way out. But no matter how much weight walking the path of least resistance may lift from your wearied shoulders, a nagging voice -- whether in your mind or from the mouth of an onlooker -- will tell you that you're cheating. "Everyone else worked to get where they are. Why can't you?" the voice asks. "You're doing it wrong, and you're only hurting yourself."

Videogames are, of course, loaded with such shortcuts, cheats, and "teh haxxors." And when a gamer admits to kicking their feet up and punching in the ol' Konami code, they're met with derision. "Wimp, wuss, lame" and the ever so fashionable "The developer didn't intend you to experience the game that way" readily come to mind.

Really though, is cheating bad?

One of the most fascinating aspects of gaming is discovery. Games allow us to traverse fantastical worlds totally unlike our own, yet arguably with more tangible obstacles to keep us from seeing the sights. (Is "living for 21 years" a tangible obstacle?) For someone who can't play a game without hurriedly glancing at their watch every few minutes, cheats seem like the solution -- not the problem. Why drop two hours against a single foe when you can see more of the game world instead?

Frankly, I don't think a game's developers will begrudge you for it, either. You put money in their pockets and you're deriving enjoyment from the world they crafted. It may not be the straightforward, A-to-B path they wanted you to stroll down, but it's still an experience. And isn't that what games are about -- creating "stories" through our unique experiences?

So, do you approve of cheating? Have you been known to crack open the dev console and enter a few choice phrases, or will you sooner rage-quit a game than enter a code for a pithy 20 extra hit points?

Today's Roundup features the only variety of cheating about which I'll really hoot and holler, but that doesn't seem to hinder its unbridled success. Additionally, you'll find a couple of big-name game delays, and a discussion about how games compel us to keep playing. It's all after the break.

Sonic's Yasuhara: 'Freedom From Fear' Motivates Game Players

"[An] important thing is to consider the basic desires of people, even if all you're thinking about is a simple game. For example, you have active desires -- 'Freedom from Fear', as they say, the way people actively want to avoid fear in their lives. And one way they deal with that is by engaging in a sorting process," Sonic co-creator and Jak/Uncharted contributor Hirokazu Yasuhara told Gamasutra.

"A lot of the fun in that game is the exhilaration you get when you flip a lot of pieces and make more of the board your color. Tidying up things, in a way."

He used creation and destruction as methods of bursting free from "Fear," noting that both allow us to bury our vulnerabilities.

"By the same token, some people think in the opposite way -- if I kill every enemy in the area, then that logically means I'll be more secure. "Fear" at play. It's different ways of arriving at the same emotion."

Gamasutra has the full interview, and it's extremely interesting whether you're into game design or simply things that are, er, interesting.

Poor earning virtual gaming gold

Quick, list off the most enjoyable things you could possibly do for a living. Nestled among Nerf gun tester, Ninja Warrior competitor, and Hugh Hefner, I imagine you scrawled out "Play videogames." (Note: "Blogger" is non-applicable because of the whole "living" thing.)

There's one problem with your dream job, however; it should've been "Play videogames and ______" There's always a catch, but with its meager pay, long hours, and tedium, gold farming is probably the worst. Even so, many unfortunate people while away their days plumbing MMOs for virtual currency. Nearly 400,000, in fact.

Powered by such a voluminous work force, gold farming's global market is currently worth nearly $500 million.

While I strongly disagree with gold farming -- after all, it's cheating that affects other players -- there's certainly demand for it. Shame WoW isn't about curing cancer.

IGDA's MacLean: Missing Warhammer Credits 'Disrespectful'

"The lack of accurate, fair, and consistent credit standards in the industry poses a serious problem for every game developer," says IGDA chairperson Jennifer MacLean of 38 studios. "By refusing to acknowledge their contributions, studio management limits the professional recognition and opportunity for development that every contributor deserves."

The IGDA has even typed up a draft for an industry standard on the matter.

So, is this still a non-issue to some of you?

Project Origin confirmed for 2009 release

F.E.A.R. was great, and Project Origin looks like F.E.A.R. -- only better. Thus, logic states that it'll be, uh, more great. But this holiday season's FPS lineup is no slouch, so it's probably better this way.

Kojima Discuses Future Metal Gears and Cutscene Regret

"It's like when Hayao Miyazaki says he is not going to do more, and then always ends up doing it. I have other ideas than Metal Gear, and I want to go on to make other new games, but for political, business, or technology reasons, there is always a time when I have to return."

Left 4 Dead Delayed

"Wait!" you're probably shouting at your computer monitor, "This is the space for non-news! What's a real story doing here?"

But you're probably wrong. L4D's release date has been shoved back a mere 16 days. And with all of November's other great games, you probably won't even notice.

Also, ever tried using your inside voice?

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