I hate it when people, speaking of a game review, say, "Well, they wouldn't have scored it so high if it weren't for the graphics." Like it or not, humans interpret the world around them predominately through sight, so graphics are an integral part of any gaming experience -- just as special effects, lighting, and set pieces are to film.
That does not, however, mean I'll contemptuously scoff at any game without eye-popping bump maps or heroes lacking meticulously detailed stubble, however. In fact, with the advent of gaming's current generation, I have to wonder: is game development so focused on pleasuring our eyes that it's neglecting our gray matter?
What ever happened to promises of emergent worlds and truly life-like A.I.? Sure, games like Rainbow Six: Vegas draw us into their worlds like never before, but the moment we see an A.I. partner attempt to take cover on the wrong side of a bullet-ridden pillar, the illusion is blown into bloody chunks. For once, I'd like to see a dev team throw themselves headlong into crafting a believable world -- even if that means serving up graphical sloppy seconds. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear what you think.
Today's Roundup features one title that gives me some hope for a more balanced, less graphics-intensive future, yet by virtue of its existence, in a way, proves my earlier point. Speaking of hope, Nintendo fans might have reason to strip out of their mourning garb, although it's kind of a long shot. And we also have Aerosmith! See it all after the break.
Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Morrowind's sprawling world combined with Oblivion's state-of-the-art graphics engine -- with their powers combined, this could very well be the ultimate Elder Scrolls experience. Taken by itself, this is completely, irrevocably awesome.
But this news started my gears a churnin', and I realized why the mod is so exciting: Morrowind had a better world than Oblivion. Morrowind was bigger, more-involved, and -- in my opinion -- more memorable than Oblivion. Sure, it wasn't the prettiest girl at the prom, but it had personality to spare. The question then, is whether Oblivion's world could have rivaled Morrowind's if Bethesda had spent more resources on world-building and less on creating the perfect fence texture.
“'As many of you probably noticed this year we cut back on our PC sports games, but only for a year,' Moore continued. He said that EA was 're-tooling these titles' to take advantage of online connectivity in 'a bigger, more meaningful way,' and to stay tuned for more. He added that the company was working on subscription programs that will provide consumers with 'great value for their loyalty.'”
EA's earnings call also officially delayed Tiberium from its Fall 2008 ship date, into the vast unknown of fiscal 2010 (beginning April 1, 2009). Additionally, EA CFO Eric Brown took home Maximum PC's first ever "Vaguest Statement of All Time" award while talking about Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic MMO. "[It will] launch in a future year," he said, presumably planning to continue with "Or will it?" but instead getting cut-off.
3.42 million. That's how many Wii Fit Balance Boards are crowding people's living rooms. Proof positive that Nintendo's step off the beaten path leads to mounds of treasure? Not quite. With 6.42 million copies of Mario Kart Wii sold -- and an equal number of Wii Wheels in the hands on Nintendo faithful -- Nintendo's "core" user base is still a source of ample cash. Maybe this will give Nintendo cause to reconsider their conquest of the Oprah generation.
Sometimes, promotions just make sense. Tabula Rasa creator Richard Garriott will soon venture into space, so why not bring a piece of his game with him? Players of the sci-fi themed MMO will be able to upload their player data into an "Immortality Drive," ensuring that their nerdy habits will long outlive their natural life span -- and probably anything they actually accomplish in life!