Yesterday, I discussed, in brief, gaming's trend toward the future -- generally at the expense of the past and even the present. Coincidentally, I think that trend ties in well with another point of discussion yesterday's Roundup shoved into the limelight: PC gaming's "death." A good many of you seemed to think I'd love nothing more than to drag the ol' PC out back, aim down the sights, and end its miserable existence.
You couldn't have been more wrong.
PC gaming is, in my mind, thriving. Oh sure, consoles may rake in more mullah, but PC gaming never stops blazing trails into the future. Do I think we should grind to a halt and take a look around every once in a while? Sure. But never should we stagnate, or else our industry really could slump into a lifeless heap. PC gaming, whether it be through MMOs, services like Steam, or even its colossal casual market, is console gaming's crystal ball. "That's what I want to be when I grow up!" I can almost hear Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo's petite blocks of plastic excitedly screech.
With that said, however, progress is a series of trials and errors. Today's Roundup casts its gaze upon a few recent missteps, from MMOs' lack of true emotion, to E3 2008, to, er, the iPhone. Oh, I didn't just go there; I rented a room, saw the sights, and brought back a refrigerator magnet. Read more for all of that -- and more.
Linear, heavily-scripted games are old hat, right? MMOs, on the other hand, are wide open pastures, sandboxes where even castles you can hardly conceive of may be constructed. So why, in David Cage's eyes, is the MMO experience "really poor"?
"I think that's fine for people when they need to build self esteem," Cage said of MMOs' steep leveling treadmills." And it's a very important core complementing experience, but if you're not into that, what's the real narrative or emotional value? Sometimes it's really interesting when you're in the guild in a massively multiplayer game and you attack the fortress or whatever. Some great things can be told, but it's not guaranteed. The value is not always there."
But are you, dear reader, even looking for "emotional value" in a mumorpahguh? Isn't that why we still have cut-scene-laden, point A to point B single-player games?
Moore explains that community participation will bring "raw passion" back to E3, but I'm not so sure. For one thing, dealing with journalists, and sweaty, pale-skinned journalists, and the community would put tremendous stress on the ESA as well as industry professionals who work the show. Plus, why invite the community up to E3 when you can just as easily release a bunch of game demos over the Internet? After all, as much as I wish to believe that Joe Everygamer would hit up the show for thought-provoking discussion with the guys at Codemasters, I'm guessing he really just wants bragging rights about how he got to play Resident Evil 5 before his buddies back home.
Really though, I think we could solve of all of E3's problems by just moving the show floor to Vegas.
Baby steps, I suppose. Or is that kiddy steps? Either way, Nickelodeon's MMO based on the "Avatar: The Last Airbender" animated series looks to try something new in the ever-expanding MMO scene. Instead of simply saying, "Ok, this exceedingly plain vista is somewhere in Avatar land," the TV show will offer episode-specific hints about the exceedingly plain vista or whatever else you might encounter while battling your way through the game's world.
Even with all of Nintendo's casual appeal and anti-nerd cred, I can't believe this was ever in doubt. Since Miyamoto joined Nintendo, has he ever not been working on one of these franchises? Besides, how long could it have actually taken to come up with Wii Music?
John Carmack, of id Software fame, says he could "easily spend $10 million on an iPhone game." He notes that Apple's diminutive device (no, the other, other one) is nearly as powerful as the PS2 or Xbox. This, of course, likely has Sony wondering whether or not they should simply retire the PS2 altogether. After all, once your game console is beaten by an Apple product at its own game, well...*
Now that Bungie is totally independent from Microsoft and not subject to their whims at all**, I wonder what these projects could be.
*This is a joke. A joke, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "1 a: something said or done to provoke laughter; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist b (1): the humorous or ridiculous element in something (2): an instance of jesting : kidding <can't take a joke> c: practical joke d: laughingstock: something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter <consider his skiing a joke — Harold Callender> —often used in negative constructions <it is no joke to be lost in the desert>" It is not meant to be taken seriously, or interpreted literally. If you'd like to try making your own jokes, start with something like "Knock, knock." Otherwise you might hurt yourself.