Another installment of There Will Be Games HD- read #1 if you haven’t already, it’s like a comic book and you’ve got to read it in order. In this act, we introduce a new character- Money. He’s a real fucking asshole sometimes. But then he can be pretty awesome too. The problem is that the son of a bitch always wants to be the center of attention even when you think what you’re doing is something out of love, passion, or caring. So let’s again return to my first-ever reprint series, and the saga of the ill-starred hobby game shop I co-owned.
Owning things is great. It is what Americans do. We buy things. We buy big things and then we buy bigger things in which to store our big things. We also buy big cars with which to bring our big things into our other big things. Owning things is what tells you that I am better than you, because I have more things. If you have all of your things in the The Cloud then not only do you not really have things, but I can’t see your things so I don’t know if I have to have more things. I am then forced to compare myself to you using other, more arbitrary methods, or worse yet, cease comparing myself to you completely. Who wants to live like that?
So, a few more cards are now on the table. I’m not going to write much (this time) about the console themselves. Matt already did a fantastic job assessing each company’s sales pitch. Do go read it, if you haven’t yet. (What I find interesting is that in a generation where both platforms are based on x86 architecture, they’ve certainly found ways to wholly differentiate themselves. Bravo!) What I’ve found fascinating to watch since the initial One unveiling and in the wake of Monday’s E3 press conferences is this love affair we all seem to be having with game “ownership,” now that console gamers everywhere are terrified of losing it.
Right now, the One’s current feature list has precisely one deal-breaker for me. The once every 24-hour check-in required for me to keep access to my games library is a non-starter. It’s a poison pill that will kill the console and I’d be shocked –SHOCKED!– if this policy doesn’t change by release (or within the first year). Take that away, however, and much of the vitriol directed towards the Xbox One has to do with the fact that it’s a blatant attempt to end the era in which we “own” our games, thus killing off the used game market as we know it. This is troubling to people who feel they’ve done quite well by its existence — Gamestop, people saving $5 on a used game, people spending $60 on a game knowing they can get a chunk back for their next purchase by turning it around right quick. It’s been a decent ride for you folks and Sony is shrewd to make continued embrace of this model a marketing point for the PS4. It’s still all going to end, though. It’s a matter of time.
Sony has now shown its hand for the PlayStation 4 at E3, and it looks to be aiming squarely at the hardcore gaming market. In what is certainly not a co-incidence their latest press release was at pains to point out that the PS4 will be doing exactly the opposite of all the things that have so annoyed hobby gamers about the Xbox One so far. It won’t need to connect to the internet once per day. It will run used games. It might not be backwards compatible but you will be able to play PS3 titles streamed online through Gaikai. It’ll be cheaper, and have a bigger library of indie games. The message from Sony couldn’t be clearer: we’re the hardware for serious gamers, and we’re listening to what you want.
This week in Jumping the Shark, the gang is all in the house as we talk some more Metro: Last Light, more KOTOR, more Warhammer: Quest, and more Xbox One shenanigans. It’s fun and frivolity with none of the guilt. Enjoy!
Seeing how there’s a little something called E3 going on this week, the releases are a little on the sparse side, but what we lack in volume, we make up for in impact. Nintendo’s long running Animal Crossing series gets a new 3DS release with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Naughty Dog unleashes the fungal zombie thunder with The Last of Us and all of you Mac users finally get to have always on nonsense rammed down your throats with SimCity for the Mac. The Last of Us comes out on Friday, not Tuesday so keep that in mind when visiting your favorite retail establishment.
Me, I’m going to keep playing Remember Me when I’m not grumbling and generally being pissy about not being at E3. Should be a fun week!
Last week my second 360 core model died the death. The first suffered the dreaded red ring of death. This one caught the lesser known but equally terminal error 74. Thankfully it was under guarantee so I got my money back and trade up to a slim model. The guy behind the counter gleefully recounted the tale of one regular customer who’d been through 13 of the old models before the slims arrived. Shame on you Microsoft.
There are three things I’m annoyed about after trading up. The first is that I didn’t have The Last of Us on my radar and get a PS3 instead. The most serious is the loud “ping” noise the console makes when you turn it on or open the tray with the console buttons. It’s loud enough to wake my kids up, so now I have to turn on the console with the remote and make sure I have the disc I want to play already in there before bedtime. I’m amazed gaming parents the world over haven’t registered screaming outrage over this.
I’m not the one to ask if Rodeo Games’ Warhammer Quest adequately simulates or replicates the out-of-print and outrageously expensive board game upon which the app is based. Confessional, I never got a chance to play it. By the time I had caught up with wanting to play the widely beloved and venerated dungeoncrawl- regarded by many to be the best of the genre- it was already priced out of my willing-to-spend range and most of my owning friends had moved on to other games. But I also wouldn’t be able to tell you because Rodeo Games willfully back-ended all of the board gamey stuff and turned out a video game based on a board game, most definitely not a “port”. Thankfully, that means there are no silly animations of clattering dice or digital card decks flippity-flapping around. But that also means that the game is often maddeningly opaque and mechanically obscure. Continue Reading…
I’ve had this post, half-finished, in the hopper for about three weeks. I call it being fashionably late to the party. Regardless, there’s been much ballyhoo about the Xbox One in the weeks since Microsoft disappointed gamers everywhere by not making them center stage at The Grand Unwrapping of 2013. Why we seem to care so much about this is rather beyond me.
Folks, this one wasn’t about us and that’s neither a slight, nor a problem…
We’re a couple of days away from this year’s E3, when the Captains of the Video Game Industry will issue forth with the usual ridiculous spectacle as the suits take the stage to tell us what we can expect in the coming year. Of course, the 2013 edition of E3 is different than the last eight because we’re going to be told more completely (?) what the “next generation” of console gaming is going to look like. Speaking as someone who has literally played video games for my entire life, for over 30 years- I could not give two flying, flipping f#$ks and a deep-bowel s&%t about what Don Mattrick or any of the other used car salesmen they’ll trot out on stage have to say. Continue Reading…