After Kaz Hirai’s interview yesterday (only one part of which I felt merited comment), Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg has returned fire. Can we stop this now please? Negative PR, just like negative political campaigning, just ends up making everyone look bad in the end. Let the products speak for themselves for goodness sakes.
Rock Band has come through again for introducing me to music I might not have otherwise have come across; this week’s DLC included ‘Typical’ by Mute Math: It’s a great track, and I’m definitely buying it - the drum chart in particular is really interesting, very Reni-like. The video was deservedly nominated for a Grammy, but I totally missed it at the time and I don’t remember hearing it on the radio.
As a gamer, I pay a lot of attention to what game critics say - I might not agree with all of them, but in the main my views tend to fall into line with average, relative opinion of what are the games to look out for within a genre. However, I was struck recently by how much this really doesn’t work for me with films in a lot of cases.
Via CrispyGamer, Harmonix have confirmed what I pretty much suspected, that there will be no Rock Band 3 in 2009. I’m not surprised, they already have the Beatles game in the making for 2009, and unlike Activision, Harmonix aren’t in the business of spamming the world with as many rushed sequels as they can manage before the general public gets bored. To be honest, I don’t think there’s much they could do to improve Rock Band 2 anyway, it’s a highly polished game and DLC keeps it fresh (and to be honest, I have so many tracks that we already have almost too much choice when we play - not that it will stop me buying more).
I was a happy bunny in 2008, because it was the year when designing games specifically for co-op play finally entered mainstream thinking. Sure, games have had co-op modes for a while, but they’d usually been a bolt-on extra - at best you could add maybe one extra player who would be ‘along for the ride’; disposable, an afterthought. At worst, it might actually undermine the play experience, because the game wasn’t deliberately balanced for 2 players, or maybe you’d be limited to a small section of the content in co-op specific play modes.
Yay, I can tick another artist off my wish list for Rock Band DLC, since it’s been leaked that during January Lenny Kravitz will finally be appearing. Despite petering out a bit around the ‘Baptism’ album (which I thought was a bit weak and self-indulgent), and something of a bounce back with last year’s ‘It Is Time For A Love Revolution’, his 90’s classics are still the best, and that’s where the upcoming RB tracks are picked from.
Starting a brand new year with a rant post? Well, they do say to start as you mean to go on 😀 I’ve been a gamer for, rather disconcertingly, just about 30 years now. The first game I really remember playing was a Midway coin-op called ‘Blue Shark’, which used to sit just off the cafeteria of a butterfly farm / mini-golf establishment near my home, where we used to go for days out sometimes.
Yay, almost as if they read my last post on the subject, Harmonix have stopped overlooking Snow Patrol! Next week on DLC we’ll get ‘Take Back The City’ from their new album, A Hundred Million Suns. I’d post a video of it here, except that YouTube says that it’s ‘not available in your country’. You know, that same country the damn thing originated from. Grr, getting really irritated by that message these days.
So, Eurogamer has posted the results of their reader survey on the best games of 2008. I don’t really ‘do’ lists, since I consider the process of attempting to place a definitive order on an array of essentially different experiences as futile as putting sparkly costumes on mice and expecting a rendition of Strictly Come Dancing to naturally ensue. Nevertheless, the list did serve to remind me that we’ve been quite spoiled for games in 2008 again.
Psychonauts was, in my opinion, one of the most creative and best written games of the last 10 years. The sheer diversity of the environments, the fantastically quirky (and rather dark at times) sense of humour, the pure audacity of creating a game so off the wall that people tend to look at you strangely when you try to explain it: “It’s about a set of slightly maladjusted psychic kids who enter twisted worlds inside the minds of people with mental problems.