In the past, I’ve made no bones here about the fact that I consider proprietary console platforms to be a sub-optimal content delivery platform for games. I understand why they’ve got to this stage (desire to seed the market with advanced, standardised tech at less than cost price, requiring lock-in to recoup later), but that doesn’t make them a desirable end-game. Closed systems are by nature market distorting, and can hamper innovation, because when only a chosen group of ‘authorised’ developers have access to deploy on it, you’re not maximising the amount of content innovation available.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I didn’t like GTA IV very much. I know, I’m about a year late with that verdict, but that’s because I was unsure about it for a while and other games took preference - I ended up getting it for XMas after having it sloshing around in my ‘maybe’ list for a while by a friend who really liked it.
My name’s Steve, and I’m here to admit I have a Peggle problem. Don’t let Popcap’s family-friendly, cuddly surface fool you. These guys are peddling gaming narcotics in their most concentrated form, throwing the authorities off the scent with unicorn/squirrel characters, smiley faces, jingles and rainbows - but I know their true forms; they are a menace I say, a menace! My wife has had Peggle for ages on the PC, and I would often make a jokey comment about how often I’d find her playing it.
Last night was probably the biggest awards event in the British video games industry, the BAFTA Video Games Awards. There wasn’t one in 2008 for some reason, so this one had an odd amalgam of 2007 and 2008 games in it’s shortlists, which was slightly unfair to more recent games I think - I mean, who really has much of a chance against Super Mario Galaxy (which is one of the very few games it’s worth owning a Wii for)?
So, after putting my spleen very much on ‘vent’ mode (what else are blogs for?) following my initial experience with Street Fighter IV, I nevertheless stuck with it and have been playing on and off all week - which for me means about 6 hours total, admittedly what hardcore players would have got through in one evening. Despite being absolutely impenetrable and damningly frustrating to begin with, it’s actually a very good game.
I picked up Street Fighter 4 a few days late and following a very brief go at 2-player with some friends on Monday, I managed to sit down for a couple of hours last night to try the single player game. As context, I was a huge fan of Street Fighter 2 (and the ‘Turbo’ version) on the SNES 15+ years ago now, completed it with every character and had regular matches with friends.
Valve are awesome. They’ve made a string of excellent games, many of them including elements that have significantly progressed the medium, like the Half-Life series’ in-game storytelling, Team Fortresses class systems, Portal’s FPS without guns and Left 4 Dead’s reinvention of the co-operative gameplay experience (yes, I know some of these became Valve when they absorbed other teams, but they had the vision to nurture and promote them). Then there’s the fact that they’re almost single-handedly helping to keep PC gaming relevant in the modern world with Steam.
I grabbed the demo of Resident Evil 5 last night and had a very quick go. I really enjoyed RE4 on the Gamecube in early 2005, and although I wasn’t desperately eager for RE5 I was still interested in how it turned out. I was surprised to find myself not finding it very much fun at all. There’s no doubt that it looks gorgeous, and from memory I’m pretty sure the ‘feel’ of it is pretty much identical to RE4, but somehow I just found it rather frustrating to play.
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.
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.