GWJ Conference Call Episode 158

Conference Call

Uncharted 2, Brutal Legend, An Insightful Interview With John Davison About Moving on From What They Play and His New role at GamePro, Real People In Video Games, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian sits down with John Davison to talk about moving on from What They Play and the future of GamePro magazine. The guys also dive into the hot(ish) new(ish) trend of real actors getting into video games. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:29:04
"Carving Away Stone" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:46:34
"Impeller" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 1:02:41

Comments

Any chance that there would not be any more mention of Rob as a porn "actor"?

Some of us are visual thinkers.

I could live without the photo-luminescent hobbit snot that all character models in Unreal games seem to be slathered in.

THAT'S what that stuff is. Thank you!

*raises hand*

Luddite on duty, reporting in!

I liked Tetris better than Portal. In Portal, all that 3D rendering was getting in the way - the game was made artificially difficult due to the fact that a 2D screen rendering of a first person view does not convey a proper sense of depth perception. Your inner ears can't gauge the angles, and your eyes can't accurately judge distance.

In many ways, most of the modern high profile releases are actually being LIMITED by the higher power hardware. It's ironic. Whereas a company like Vanillaware HAS to release a game on the Wii because of the 720p minimum requirements on the 360 and the PS3; simultaneously, developers on those consoles are practically required to put in some graphics effects and textures so obvious that they intrude on both art direction and play.

A game like Batman AA is very deep into Uncanny Valley territory. It would have benefited Rocksteady a great deal to have followed an art direction more closely similar to Batman: TAS, particularly since most of the voice acting was from that series anyways.

Why didn't they do so? My guess is that aiming for a realistic portrayal more obviously shows your use of HD console power, so companies do that so they can put up their efforts in plain sight, rather than focus on art direction with subtle effects (like Brutal Legend does).

Ratchet and Clank are here, but back in the PS2 era we had a whole bunch of cartoony characters and art direction. What happened to that? I think the main reason a great deal of games today are colored in dirt palettes and Uncanny Valley portrayals is because they feel that they have to release a tech demo of their graphics engines and physics engines, rather than let the game speak for itself, putting gameplay forward.

That's one of the reasons I have a Wii - the hardware is so obviously gimped that developers have to focus on art direction to give their games comparably good looks - not that a whole lot of Western devs are even trying much, though.

These days, the 360 and the PS3 are also very obviously gimped. Mass Effect and Fallout3 on PC look at least a generation ahead. Most gamers, though, don't game on a PC, so they don't know.

Tim Curry as a voice actor: he's great as a bad guy, but some of his best work (in my opinion) was his old flawed protagonist stuff with the Gabriel Knight series (propped up by Mark Hamill, of course).

Minarchist wrote:

Tim Curry as a voice actor: he's great as a bad guy, but some of his best work (in my opinion) was his old flawed protagonist stuff with the Gabriel Knight series (propped up by Mark Hamill, of course).

Can we just say that PC games hit their peak in 1993?

wordsmythe wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Tim Curry as a voice actor: he's great as a bad guy, but some of his best work (in my opinion) was his old flawed protagonist stuff with the Gabriel Knight series (propped up by Mark Hamill, of course).

Can we just say that PC games hit their peak in 1993?

Yes we can.

I apologize for the length of this post...

Since I am still grinding beans here… I will accept the "With all do respect" comment. Unlike the 4th email questioner I am a big boy and I can handle what is effectively a "F@#$ You".

Here is my original question: With respect to consoles, are the uniquenesses of each console ignored for games with simultaneous, multi-console release?

Here are some comments from the podcast and my responses:

"I just want to play good games…. I don't care what platform it is on…"
(Insert Oprah audience clap) This must have been an answer to a question you thought read. We all want to play good games. In addition playing good games I am interested in new experiences with games. The intent of my question was definitely more focused on creativity and more ways to have an immersive experience playing games. If there are differences in the hardware which can be used to improve the experience, aren't they effectively ignored with a common engine?

"We are mid-cycle does anybody really care about this?"
I would posit the question is more important now that it IS mid cycle. At console launch there were only a few developers with the ability to program the PS3. The assumption I am making, like with the PS2, as time goes on the developers who create for the PS3 should be getting more familiar with the abilities of the PS3. I want to know where are the games that validate my assumption! Ratchet & Clank CIT, Demon's Souls, Uncharted 2? Are these games evidence that better games are on the horizon?

Thank you Andrich for starting to answer my question! Unfortunately it seemed like the discourse quickly was diverted to graphics which was not the intent of the question. I know that graphics was intended to be "part" or component of the uniqueness of the PS3 but I am pretty sure there other selling points to the cell architecture, hence the appeal to your tech savvy knowledge. If the only advantage of the cell processor architecture was graphics, I can see why the conversation focused on graphics.

(On a personal note, graphics are great but I had fun playing Zork I, II and III (text). Graphics are not important if you "just want to play good games"... eh hem, see above.)

"It's not a consumer question that's inside baseball…"
"With all due respect" it is a consumer question…" The purchase of a new console is tough if you have an existing library of PS2 games that you want to play. There is risk and expectation involved. Sorry for the automobile analogy but I bought my 4Runner because I know it is designed well and I know I can get 300000 miles on it. There is an expectation of longevity. The risk is not meeting that expectation. I had an expectation that the PS3's new cell processor architecture would allow for new gameplay experiences. Where are they? Can Sony not persuade developers to get to know the PS3?

I agree with you that the controller differences change the experience. That wasn't the question. Changing the controller had an immediate impact. Learning to exploit the uniquenesses in hardware is not immediate. It is more long term. Some of the best titles for the PS2 were coming out at the end of it life cycle!

The conversation definitely changed with Elysium's question:
"Are graphics more important than they were 4 years ago….?"
From my perspective - graphics are not everything.

The last thing I'd like to request is that you listen to the response to the VERY NEXT EMAIL QUESTION and then think about how my question was answered. Hmmm….

I would suggest that you find a multi-platform developer for the Podcast, maybe they can shed some light on the pros and cons of multi-platform development? (if you have already done this topic, maybe you could provide a couple links…)

Thanks much. You guys are pushing my ability to communicate via writing… which is a good thing.
Baaspei (Klenton Willis)

I think ignoring the importance of 3-D graphics technology ignores the very heart of the hobby we all love.

I remember hearing a designer (Ken Levine maybe?), on this podcast or another, say that "ideas are cheap. It is execution that matters." He was saying the industry is full of great design ideas, but it is the technical execution that is the biggest hurdle.

If it makes you feel any better, steam was coming out of Shawn Andrich's ears while the rest of us were butchering your e-mail.

I think the most fair way to answer would have been to say that I don't necessarily know how to answer. I don't really see the PS3 or 360 as very different machines, in large part because I think they have been homogonized. I don't think the exclusives that arrive on these systems, by and large, do anything that distinguishes the hardware. It seems more like politics at that level.

I'm sure there are some very thorough technical explanations for why the 360 and the PS3 are unique, but what I see is two boxes that play video games. One black, one white, and I think that's the direction the industry is heading. Perhaps it's because of how outside-the-box the Wii is that the PS3 and 360 have become like fraternal twins in my mind, but when I say I don't care much about the differences it's less a dismissal of the question and more a state of mind.

I can't really speak to how developers may or may not look at the issue. I suspect you'd find a distinct lack of consensus.

I may again be answering my own question or the question I think you're driving at.

The last thing I'd like to request is that you listen to the response to the VERY NEXT EMAIL QUESTION and then think about how my question was answered. Hmmm….

I think this is a fair criticism. As always, we'll strive to do better.

Elysium wrote:

If it makes you feel any better, steam was coming out of Shawn Andrich's ears while the rest of us were butchering your e-mail.

No worries. Honestly I liked the amount of activity the question generated. Shawn was heading in the direction that I wanted. Again, I am still trying to get better at communicating effectively via writing. Not my strong point.

You wanna know what was hilarious? My son was in the truck with me when I was listening to the podcast. (While parked) I scrolled the iTouch to the beginning of the question. I stopped the playback and I told my son "they are gonna rip me a new one... I can feel it". After the first sentence of the response my son said "Dad... you got beasted on..."!

Believe me, I was cracking up. It took me a while to digest some of the complaints of the question. And by doing so, forced me clarify my intent.

Keep up the good work!
Baaspei

Baaspei. I thought your question was a good one. When I look to the release schedule for the PS3 I am wondering when and where that big step forward will come from.

I think "I don't care" is a fair response to Baaspei's question. Would it be nice if games were better? Sure. But I'm not complaining about the games we have now. I think they're awesome, and often I have too many choices in front of me (even as a budget gamer) of games I want to play. I don't care that PS3 doesn't have more exclusive titles. I want game makers to make as much money as possible, and narrowing their market doesn't seem a smart way to do that.

I guess a return question to Baaspei is, what more do you want?

My half-assed barely-informed opinion is that the complexity of graphics programming at this point requires specialization to a ridiculous degree. To the point that almost nobody writes their own engine.

So then you're licensing large chunks of your engine if not the entire thing from some 3rd party. And a 3rd party company that makes a graphics engine cannot afford to only target one specific platform. Especially one with the marketshare of the PS3.

You can make a similar argument for AI programming, though from what I understand it's not nearly as bad as graphics.

So the economics of the situation dictate sameness. Even if the PS3 is capable of huge leaps in graphics or AI over the XBox 360, nobody can afford to utilize it and still make money.

Baaspei wrote:

A high quality, discussion-inducing post.

Someone buy that grinder a mocha. Well done sir.

Even righteous indignation or flippant rejection of a topic is good radio if it generates a meaningful discussion during or after the fact. Right on.

Bullion Cube wrote:

I think "I don't care" is a fair response to Baaspei's question. Would it be nice if games were better? Sure. But I'm not complaining about the games we have now. I think they're awesome, and often I have too many choices in front of me (even as a budget gamer) of games I want to play. I don't care that PS3 doesn't have more exclusive titles. I want game makers to make as much money as possible, and narrowing their market doesn't seem a smart way to do that.

I guess a return question to Baaspei is, what more do you want?

Everyone is entitled their opinion of the question. If you don't care that the PS3 doesn't have more exclusive titles, then you probably have a lot of dispensable income (assuming you have a PS3). I paid $500 for a console that was supposedly laying a unique hardware foundation that would allow for a better gaming experience. That was my expectation. Every title that is a multi-platform release just makes me feel that I could have spent a lot less on my console to enjoy the same games with the same gaming experience. That is the financial piece of my comment.

From a creative standpoint, different hardware should eventually produce different games and gaming experience. As a gamer, I am always on the look out for Quality. That nebulous term Quality. Quality can't be achieved in haste. Quality can't be achieved without knowing the details, and if the game concept dictates it, proper execution of those details. Quality is not immediate. We are mid-cycle of the latest consoles right? So some time has passed and I think I should start seeing better, more efficient use of PS3. Insomniac and Naughty Dog are developing some great titles now that SEEM like they could not be done on the XBOX 360. I can't wait to experience R&C CIT, Uncharted 2 and potentially Resistance 3. Are these the only developers that are bothering to climb the learning curve necessary to create on the PS3? I am making an assumption that there is a reason the PS3 is harder to develop for versus the XBOX 360. That there is some benefit. Hopefully there is a reason it is difficult to develop for.

To your "developers" making money comment: I am sure there are plenty of business reasons for console exclusivity. It could be purely contractual why Naughty Dog doesn't develop an Uncharted 2 for the XBOX 360. However there is the possibility that it could not be done easily therefore it was decided to forgo that option. (I think this goes both ways... is Trine even out for the PS3 yet? Geez...)

You are correct that there are plenty of games to chose from these days; Hell, I have more saran-wrapped PS2 games than PS3 games in my own video game library. That doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the games being produced and wether or not developers are getting to the point where they are maximizing the PS3. (Like what was done with the PS2.)

Simply: I want my investment to mean something, financially for myself and creatively for the industry.

Baaspei

Everyone is entitled their opinion of the question.

For the record, I thought it was a good and provacative question. I also thought the response of "I do not care. I like the games coming out and have no complaints" was very valid too.

I paid $500 for a console that was supposedly laying a unique hardware foundation that would allow for a better gaming experience.

Your console also had wireless, ran quitely relative to an xbox 360, probably had a fair sized hard drive, and played blue ray. If you bought an xbox these peripherals would have put you way above your $500 price tag.

Simply: I want my investment to mean something, financially for myself and creatively for the industry.

I'll rephrase my previous question as it was relatively vague. What is it about the current generation of games you are playing on the PS3 that dissapoints you so? Is it that they aren't exclusive? Are the graphics not good enough for you? Is the gameplay itself dissapointing?

Bullion Cube wrote:
Simply: I want my investment to mean something, financially for myself and creatively for the industry.

I'll rephrase my previous question as it was relatively vague. What is it about the current generation of games you are playing on the PS3 that dissapoints you so? Is it that they aren't exclusive? Are the graphics not good enough for you? Is the gameplay itself dissapointing?

I'm assuming it is merely that the Xbox 360 has been a better value for the last two years, and now you can get a PS3 for $300. So it doesn't seem like the $200 more was worth the investment. And yes, if you needed a wireless adapter, Blu-Ray, and a bigger hard drive, the PS3 was a good value. Unfortunately, if you didn't, you paid for them on the PS3 anyway.

I think the mistake was really just the notion that the PS3 was going to be substantially more fun becasue of its chipset. The Xbox had more muscle, and was easier to program for than the PS2, but that didn't make its games more fun. And the PS2 had more games.

But this is why these kind of conversations, which were labeled Sony Haterade during the pre and post-launch period of the PS3, were important to have. There was plenty of discussion about why Sony was doomed to failure. To their credit, the PS3 has managed much better than many had predicted. But Sony has taken a beating in the losses on the PS3, which it could not afford in the same way Microsoft could. If one were betting on which system was going to get more games, and the better versions of multi-platform games, and anyone choosing between the 360 and PS3 was doing just that, the odds on favorite was the 360.

This was not because it was a better system, but because it was first out the door, and Xbox Live was a great way to draw and keep customers. Sony gambled that it would do to Microsoft what it did to Sega, and that was a really bad bet. Microsoft has a lot more resources and were not going to lose games to Sony the way Sega did.

In essence, the console war (really a skirmish as Nintendo actually conquered the land) was more about politics than processor power. And they always are. This is the third generation in which the beefiest system has lost out. At some point, gamers will notice the trend.

I don't think it is useful to break it down to politics and the market. In essence we are talking about the games we want and the sense of loss we feel that they have not been developed this far into the cycle. Games have got better, but the promise of the PS3 has yet to come to fruition. I don't care why or how I just want to know when.

This is an issue about desire, not economics. As a consumer I don't really care why I don't have the revolutionary games I want, I just care that I don't have them. I may come off as petulant, but the amount of money I spend on games, hardware, and peripherals gives me the right to pound my fist and demand better games to consume. Sure, I could push away from the table or settle for the cold cheese fries, but I am hungry. I have already spent thousands on the appetizers. It is time for the main course.

heavyfeul wrote:

I don't think it is useful to break it down to politics and the market. In essence we are talking about the games we want and the sense of loss we feel that they have not been developed this far into the cycle. Games have got better, but the promise of the PS3 has yet to come to fruition. I don't care why or how I just want to know when.

This is an issue about desire, not economics. As a consumer I don't really care why I don't have the revolutionary games I want, I just care that I don't have them. I may come off as petulant, but the amount of money I spend on games, hardware, and peripherals give me the right to pound my fist and demand better games. Sure, I could push away from the table, but I am hungry. Plus, I have already spent thousands on the appetizers. It is time for the main course.

Consumers that do not educate themselves find that they often make purchases that do not meet their expectations. Understanding the politics of the gaming industry will keep you from buying into a line of BS. And understand that Microsoft has an equal line of BS that they are spewing. That's the nature of sales and marketing.

But there was information available that made it fairly easy to predict that sony was going to have an uphill battle. In a free market, the money you spend doesn't assure you of quality purchases.

Sony said you would enjoy working more to buy their console. They said they made it harder to program for so that you get more benefit later. The list goes on. The fact that you spent money on their product doesn't make their marketing speak anymore true. If you thought that cell processor meant better games, then you hopefully learned a lesson that older gamers leaned when Sega spoke of Blast Processing, and the multitude of bogus "tech" EA claims to use in making games.

The extra cost was for the bundled wifi and the Blu-Ray. You got what you paid for, even if it wasn't what you were intending.

Bullion Cube wrote:

I'll rephrase my previous question as it was relatively vague. What is it about the current generation of games you are playing on the PS3 that dissapoints you so? Is it that they aren't exclusive? Are the graphics not good enough for you? Is the gameplay itself dissapointing?

I have no complaints. I am not dissatisfied with the current generation of PS3 games. I am loving Demon's Souls. Ratchet & Clank Future Tools of Destruction was fun (A little easy.) Resistance 2 is fun. My son plays a lot of FIFA. He also gave Heavenly Sword an approved stamp of "fun". As stated earlier, I don't believe graphics are everything, and for titles that are multi-platform I would assume the gameplay is the same (that might be a bad assumption, but go with it for the sake of the argument.)

Maybe a little of my frustration has to do with lack of exclusive titles. But only indirectly. Even though exclusive PS3 titles do not have protection from being awful, it leads me to believe that that particular developer's next game will be better. They are practicing. I want to know if the games being developed or the PS3 are using more and more of the PS3's advertised capabilities (that I paid for and should be enabling more unique gameplay).

My concern might not matter to most gamers. It matters to me because I love video games and I want to see continual progress in hardware/firmware/software/story-telling (depending on the genre of course). The fact that this concern isn't on gamer's minds at all anymore is proof that Sony's investment was very ill-advised. Sony wouldn't have wasted all the resources it took to produce the original PS3 if there was not a plan. I guess maybe another way to state my question is "What happened to Sony's plan?".

Baaspei

Jayhawker wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:
Simply: I want my investment to mean something, financially for myself and creatively for the industry.

I'll rephrase my previous question as it was relatively vague. What is it about the current generation of games you are playing on the PS3 that dissapoints you so? Is it that they aren't exclusive? Are the graphics not good enough for you? Is the gameplay itself dissapointing?

I'm assuming it is merely that the Xbox 360 has been a better value for the last two years, and now you can get a PS3 for $300. So it doesn't seem like the $200 more was worth the investment. And yes, if you needed a wireless adapter, Blu-Ray, and a bigger hard drive, the PS3 was a good value. Unfortunately, if you didn't, you paid for them on the PS3 anyway.

I think the mistake was really just the notion that the PS3 was going to be substantially more fun becasue of its chipset. The Xbox had more muscle, and was easier to program for than the PS2, but that didn't make its games more fun. And the PS2 had more games.

But this is why these kind of conversations, which were labeled Sony Haterade during the pre and post-launch period of the PS3, were important to have. There was plenty of discussion about why Sony was doomed to failure. To their credit, the PS3 has managed much better than many had predicted. But Sony has taken a beating in the losses on the PS3, which it could not afford in the same way Microsoft could. If one were betting on which system was going to get more games, and the better versions of multi-platform games, and anyone choosing between the 360 and PS3 was doing just that, the odds on favorite was the 360.

This was not because it was a better system, but because it was first out the door, and Xbox Live was a great way to draw and keep customers. Sony gambled that it would do to Microsoft what it did to Sega, and that was a really bad bet. Microsoft has a lot more resources and were not going to lose games to Sony the way Sega did.

In essence, the console war (really a skirmish as Nintendo actually conquered the land) was more about politics than processor power. And they always are. This is the third generation in which the beefiest system has lost out. At some point, gamers will notice the trend.

Well said.

Baaspei

Jayhawker wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:

I don't think it is useful to break it down to politics and the market. In essence we are talking about the games we want and the sense of loss we feel that they have not been developed this far into the cycle. Games have got better, but the promise of the PS3 has yet to come to fruition. I don't care why or how I just want to know when.

This is an issue about desire, not economics. As a consumer I don't really care why I don't have the revolutionary games I want, I just care that I don't have them. I may come off as petulant, but the amount of money I spend on games, hardware, and peripherals give me the right to pound my fist and demand better games. Sure, I could push away from the table, but I am hungry. Plus, I have already spent thousands on the appetizers. It is time for the main course.

Consumers that do not educate themselves find that they often make purchases that do not meet their expectations. Understanding the politics of the gaming industry will keep you from buying into a line of BS. And understand that Microsoft has an equal line of BS that they are spewing. That's the nature of sales and marketing.

But there was information available that made it fairly easy to predict that sony was going to have an uphill battle. In a free market, the money you spend doesn't assure you of quality purchases.

Sony said you would enjoy working more to buy their console. They said they made it harder to program for so that you get more benefit later. The list goes on. The fact that you spent money on their product doesn't make their marketing speak anymore true. If you thought that cell processor meant better games, then you hopefully learned a lesson that older gamers leaned when Sega spoke of Blast Processing, and the multitude of bogus "tech" EA claims to use in making games.

The extra cost was for the bundled wifi and the Blu-Ray. You got what you paid for, even if it wasn't what you were intending.

I have owned many consoles and gaming rigs. I know the business and how it works quite well. Like I said...I want more better games. Period. It is a desire and an expectation. Settling for as good as they feel may be fine for some, but not for me. I care. I want to see the best possible games. What we have today are not the best possible games. I have seen several innovations in different aspects of game design and technology, but spread out over many titles. The potential is there, I want to see it come together. I don't care what the market realities are.

My parents owned a video store when I was growing up and they were paying $150 a movie, but once they bought the movie, they could rent it as much as they want with no additional cost. When they sold the video store, it was the beginning of the home video movement where movies were costing $20. They were able to buy the movie for $20 and rent it, but most people would buy the movie instead of renting it for 25% its cost.

I don't know what is happening now with movies, but most home movies have a warning that says that the copy is for home use only, so video stores may need to buy special rights. The true might be said for games.

Baaspei,

excellent comments, and a warm heartfelt welcome to our fold. Any questin that generates good discussion is a GOOD questions, no matter what I say in the moment on a late Saturday night.

Baaspei wrote:

Maybe a little of my frustration has to do with lack of exclusive titles. But only indirectly. Even though exclusive PS3 titles do not have protection from being awful, it leads me to believe that that particular developer's next game will be better. They are practicing. I want to know if the games being developed or the PS3 are using more and more of the PS3's advertised capabilities (that I paid for and should be enabling more unique gameplay).

My concern might not matter to most gamers. It matters to me because I love video games and I want to see continual progress in hardware/firmware/software/story-telling (depending on the genre of course).

Exclusives don't mean better iterations, all developers are trying to make their next game better than their last, they simply mean someone who bought the other system isn't allowed to play them. Exclusive titles are the bane of every gamer and the incremental improvements in graphics that come from focusing on an individual system are not worth wishing for more games that a large subset of the community can't play. The 360 would not be improved if Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was exclusive to it, the PS3 would be diminished.

If you bought the PS3 thinking increased processing power and "cell architecture" would enable more unique gameplay you were, I'm sorry to say, sold snake oil and should probably accept that. It isn't that third party development is holding back the wonders that should be coming from your system if only more developers were focusing exclusively on it, it's that minor increases in processing power do not translate into different gameplay experiences. If you look back on the creation or redefinition of genres the only piece of hardware that really makes a difference compared to the contemporaries is the input method. Well, that and online functionality.

rabbit wrote:

Baaspei,

excellent comments, and a warm heartfelt welcome to our fold. Any questin that generates good discussion is a GOOD questions, no matter what I say in the moment on a late Saturday night.

Thanks a lot!

Baaspei

bnpederson wrote:

Exclusives don't mean better iterations, all developers are trying to make their next game better than their last, they simply mean someone who bought the other system isn't allowed to play them.

I believe I said the exclusivity does not protect a title from being awful. And remember, my comments are based on the assumption that the PS3 is difficult (compared to the XBOX 360) to create for, but that there is a reason it is difficult. Meaning it will translate into better gameplay.

I do agree that to some extent that exclusives are not gamer friendly. In the end your wallet is what hurts if you want to play games. Seriously though, as soon as a find work (send positive thoughts), I will complete the trifecta and purchase a XBOX 360. I am not a huge FPS fan. And I have always associated XBOX more with FPS titles. But the amount of games on XBOX Live and the strong community have reached a critical point for me. I think Shadow Complex or rather the lack of ability to play Shadow Complex threw me over the edge.

bnpederson wrote:

If you bought the PS3 thinking increased processing power and "cell architecture" would enable more unique gameplay you were, I'm sorry to say, sold snake oil and should probably accept that.

I am definitely willing to accept that I believed the hype. Looking at my last few posts I am starting to feel like a whiny little baby. But I believe the uptick in games maximizing the PS2 near the end of its lifecycle was a real event. (Hopefully not a singular event.) Developers started figure it out. PS2 did not have a new input (controller) method. The titles got better. I remember hearing discussion about wether or not Sony should release the PS3 because the PS2 developer community was just starting using the unit's capabilities (not sure if they were hardware/firmware related).

I agree with you though, the most obvious way to change/enhance gameplay is through the input device. In the end as Jayhawker said Nintendo go it right and conquered the land.

Baaspei

Random train of thought:

On this podcast, the GWJ crew notes the increased quality of visual presentation technique in games, and that this was progressive, coming from the Final Fantasy RPG series.

It struck me with a particular realization. Many Western gamers often accuse JRPGs with not really being RPGs - because they lack choice. This is NOT a divergence from pen-and-paper D&D play, in fact, in which most of the time, the players do not have a plethora of choices but are moving in the broad strokes of a prewritten narrative.

It's not that Japanese gamers do not like having narrative choices. They go into JRPGs knowing that it's all about a narrative in which they won't really have choices.

When the Japanese want a divergent narrative tree, their go-to game of choice is actually AVNs or audio-visual novels. The notorious "Japanese Porn Games" in which you play a protagonist out to screw everything with a skirt is of this design, but porn games generally do not have the same quality as the more "serious" entries into the genre, which reportedly could boast of as many as 30 different endings, apart from all the hidden story arcs within the narrative.

In terms of approach and design, it bears a lot of similarity to a form of game called "Interactive Fiction" in the West, even when most of the time, branching from a main story arc in these games largely leads to a very imminent, and largely unsatisfying ending.

I thought I would comment on the notion of renting and buying used games as not being loyal enough to the developers we respect so much. I think Elysium was dead on. I procure games in whatever manner seems to make the most sense to me. It may be used, it may be a rental, it may be a day one purchase. These are all part of the delivery system that the games industry have created.

I have been pretty vocal that I don't find games companies to be evil when they try to do things that shut down the secondary market. But that is because regardless of how they try to sell games, they can only make money by providing a value. If they can create an environment where they get a larger portion of the revenue, great! But it is not my job to do that for them. The used games market can completely be eliminated, and we will still get games. Publishers will still compete for our dollars, and getting a larger percentage of the revenue allows them to drop prices sooner to drive sales.

I find it funny that people worry that without secondary market, prices will go up, and the industry will die. It can't do both. Prices go up when we are willing to spend more.

But I don't think anyone should feel guilty for procuring games in any of the various legitimate ways.