Daily Elysium: Week's End

Good morning,

ItÂ's Friday, and, short of having planned invasive surgery for the weekend, that can only be a good thing. Another work week nears its end, and the weekend looms with its promises of untold bliss, though I may just end up washing the car, organizing various unused batteries or perhaps polishing stones. Often I think the idea of the weekend is much more pleasant than the actual weekend itself, which invariably entails the cleaning of something and the unintentional breathing of caustic fumes. But I digress.

Friday also brings, for us, a good opportunity to look back over the week. One of our promises here at Gamers With Jobs was not just to simply hurl news at you, perchance catching you off guard and hitting you in the eye, but to examine our topics a bit more closely, then probably hurl them at you again. So, read more, and letÂ's have a look back over the week.Earlier this week it was revealed that Legend Entertainment (you see how they used a G there guys. No J, just a G) had been much closer to completing Unreal 2 than a lot of people might have otherwise guessed. Had you asked me at the beginning of the week how close Unreal 2 was to completion, I would have answered, "Why would I possibly know?" Though, not the answer you were looking for, I think it indicates nicely that I had no idea, and wouldnÂ't expect it any time soon. It also indicates that I am quick to temper, and obviously displacing my rage to hide my true, fragile, tender feelings. Sometimes I just feel so exposed, like a dandelion in a windstorm, but enough about me.

Personally, IÂ'm pretty excited about Unreal 2. I tend to find that the FPS genres can only produce two types of really good games - though theyÂ've found a million different takes on the Â"˜bad gameÂ' concept. We either see a good online shooter with a terrible single player component (Battlefield 1942), or terrific single player games with weak online support (NOLF 2). The first category is far more common these days, as online functionality is as much a requirement as Windows XP compatibility or forcing the player to click through a variety of splash screens and 3D logos - really guys, we know this game is made by Sitting-on-our-Butts Studios, do you have to tell us every time? The great single player experience, however, is a much more rare and, I think, engaging one. While most FPS titles ship with some kind of single player option, even if itÂ's just bot match, you can probably count on your hand the developers that seem to have taken considerable time and effort to excel at that element, at least on the PC. For 2002, I can think of No One Lives Forever 2, Jedi Knight 2, and, um, hmmm, wait. I know there were more.

My point, if it can be argued that I have one, is that the idea of a solo FPS experience on the PC is an acquired and sophisticated taste, much like Fancy Feast is for the discriminating cat. I canÂ't really argue against that. IÂ'm aware developers have limited funds, customers have little patience, and publishing execs have little humanity which is why they feed on the blood of the innocent.

So, yeah, IÂ'm a little pleased that Unreal 2 is on the way, and I hope to see it do well on store shelves. Good sell through lets the industry know that some of us still like the single player FPS, if only so that misanthropic ill-tempered deviants canÂ't inject torturous player killing glee onto what scant time I can scrape together to play said game.

On the topic of misanthropic ill-tempered deviants, Counter-Strike ran into a snafu and a good solid fubar this week with the delivery of the latest CS build and Steam 2.0. Looks like Valve ran out of Steam! No, wait, thatÂ's not good let me try this: I turned the Valve, but no Steam came out. Nah, maybe, the guys at Valve are leaking Steam. NO! Damn. Counter-Strike fans are steaming out the Valve. Um. We went out for Steam and Chinese take out yesterday, and ... aw hell, just come up with some conspicuous play on the words Valve and Steam on your own. When you finally find one that makes you laugh, pretend like I said it.

ItÂ's been suggested in our forums that perhaps Valve was aware that Steam wouldnÂ't support the full force of the CS community, and their closing of new admissions to the beta was designed to foster some good press. Look how popular Counter-Strike and Steam is, they could say. While I can see the point of this argument, it doesnÂ't quite pan out for me. I think Steam was really the project they were promoting here, and they were manipulating the CS community to build a false enthusiasm for it. Even if youÂ're the most popular company in the world, you donÂ't want your premier product stumbling on to the stage, no matter the weight. If it can be argued that Steam was Valve's focus with this release, it canÂ't be anything but a black eye for them to see it crumble under the weight of exactly the community it was supposed to support. IÂ'm not really criticizing Valve here, just suggesting that today is not their happiest day.

On another note, today brings the first week of Gamers With Jobs to a successful close. IÂ'm really starting to get the sense that things are settling into place around here, and I find that CertisÂ' neurosis has been on a steady decline for the past twenty-four hours, which, I can assure you, is only a good thing. He still yammers on with a pretty decent regularity about topics which always makes me rub that vein running across my forehead, the one you rub when youÂ're trying not to kill people. IÂ'm already looking forward to next week, and a continued steady run at this.

Check back this afternoon for the rest of our Making of Gamers With Jobs article, then hit the forums and tell us what caught your attention this week, or what youÂ're really looking forward to about the next.

Back to work!

- Elysium