Did you have much encouragement in writing, and if so, by whom?
Good Lord! I wish there was a funny story for this, something evoking Truman Capote, to tell you about my early writing. Sadly, I came only lately into writing and would likely be better known for drawing if there was any fairness in the world. I can very honestly say I never wrote a grammatical sentence, of more then six words, until I was twenty. Well, at least anything set to paper of on the first attempt. I am creative, but I've lacked the careful architect tools of a real writer who can build something great. I have the mind of a lunatic and that helps make for interesting ideas, but nearly ninety-nine percent of my writing process is correction and re-writing. Maybe, knowing enough to re-writing makes me a real writer, but it sure seems like more work when the whole process seems like carving toothpicks out of whole trees. The first story I ever wrote was in second grade about a one eyed monster that was cruel only because he needed eye-drops. My 2nd grade teacher's assistant thought it was very creative, and the was my first moment of pride in anything I wrote.
Why should people read what you write here?
Facts are written by and for the sissy! Here in my blog, I deal in truth and leave factual reporting to the experts. I might not always spell all the words correctly and I cannot vouch for my mastery of the rules of grammar; However, I do try to say interesting things and I try to make it fun. That's my only promise: what you find here will be as fun, funny or irritatingly interesting. If you don't agree I give you back twice what you paid me to read it..
I’ll just say it… If I hear another 24-44 year old gamer (ex-gamer) whines that s/he is less interested in games I’m going to vomit. Understand me it not that I think people of any age should be into games, should not be into games, should be leaving games behind or picking games up according to age. No, the problem is these people tend to have so much angst about the prospect of their view of games changing that they become shrill on the subject. They whine like two year olds, and then, for the love of god, they start going through the ‘levels of separation anxiety’ in public. Much like a toddler loves an audience for a tantrum, your adult gamer just loves an audiences to listen to their reason for – why games are different now, why there just isn’t enough time, what a family is really about because they know now (wink), or why they have evolved out or mere gaming.
Here is the deal, unless you MAKE games there should be no issue about how little or how much you are into games as an adult. Games are a hobby, you don’t see people on SKI magazine message boards saying, “Dude, just not into skiing every weekend any more…guess I’m growing up brah.” Hobbies are thing you either decided to spend time on or you don’t, and depending on your life, the amount of time you spend can vary. Burt the important point is NOBODY CARES!!!!
Really, folks it is okay to stop gaming without writing a ‘suicide note-like’ goodbye on your blogs. No need to start telling everyone, “they will be sorry when YOU are gone from gaming.”
THAT'S ERR WINE!!! Miles Raymond: "...if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!"
It is okay to silently and quietly without a lot of fuss to stop gaming. Alternatively, game less than you once did or would like to. Nevertheless, just remember -nobody cares- you not gaining new insights or telling some truth to the world, you just being less or more or differently engaged in a god-damn-hobby. It’s a hobby you fucking-egotistical-twits, not a life changing event. Believe me if you stop gaming you are not making the biggest choice in your life.
It’s a hobby. It’s a good hobby too. Yet, the world will keep spinning without you gaming. Your friends who still game will do so or not without your “considered” input on the subject. There is no need to write ten blogs on the ten websites about your ‘theory of adulthood’. You can just slide down the slope into other hobbies, responsibilities, or activities.
I would say, gaming less in parts of your life is wise. My rule of thumb is play video games from age 7 to 15…then STOP for ten years. Then pick up gaming again form 25-death on/off as you choose. Very simple very clean rules - play, then live the best years of your life, and then do whatever floats your boat after that. However, just do all that without whining or making a big production out of your choices.
SEE PEOPLE WITH PEOPLE, DOING THINGS TOGETHER....THIS IS 15-25 STUFF
The Video Game video interview is great...except when they ages-out of circulation and becomes lost...then it is a tragedy.
If there is one thing that I think video game media/journalism is getting wrong today it is that they do not transcript video interviews. While this might be a hassle in some cases, I think there is a real need to have video transcribed, especially when gaming luminaries are talking about the craft of game making. So much is locked behind video that would be useful for research or would be retrievable if it were in text. Instead of thinking “Gee, I seem to remember Sam Thompson, Producer for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune discussed the role of pulp fiction and 1930s adventure serials four years ago…but I cannot remember where.” Wouldn’t it be better if you could type “Sam Thompson” AND “Pulp fiction” into a browser to find the transcript?
This occurs to me mostly now because the President of Irrational Games, Ken Levine is speaking with about fifteen different game sites and magazines about games and Irrational’s BioShock Infinite. In a few months those videos will be hidden in the confines of various websites, there will be dozens of them and all of the information contained within the interviews will be lost unless you find all the videos and watch them again. This is just not a logical system! A simple transcript or even just and index of topics in the container story around eh video would be helpful, but most sites doesn’t do that.
The industry keeps saying video games matter, but we are doing a terrible job documenting video game history. There are some simple task that all sites could be doing to make game research in the present/future more easily accomplished, but I think the biggest issues is transcripts of videos and audio interviews. There is so much rich history that could be lost because that video game industry itself seems to not understand how audio and video can be best preserved and used.
I wonder how long it takes from a gamer to look a box on the shelf and decide that something is shovel-ware and something else just has a bad cover.
This week it struck me that most gamers have a hidden skill - they can tell real games from shovel-ware. With experience we can judge most games nearly without thought. Our minds scan our internal database of knowledge, and then we have the answer. We know ‘Call of Duty MW3’ is a real game whereas ‘Heavy Fire Afghanistan’ is shovel-ware. We know Mario Cart Wii is a real game, but Rig Racer 2 is junk. The title, cover, developers/publisher either click as ‘correct’ or they do not. Even without knowing much we can look at the front and back cover and judge with great accuracy.
Sadly, what we know is not just instantaneous or obvious to others. You can tell a non-gamer about being careful about the existence of shovel-ware when buying, but without the skills and knowledge, it is hard to even start to judge. Moreover, to a certain extent it is hard to explain the importance of game reviews or even using simple tools to aid in selection. The very concept that most games worth considering are reviewed for quality is somehow a hidden concept too.
It is hard to fathom for gamers, but I think games are their own subject, like car engines or hang gliding. Common people know games exist and people like them, but what differentiates a good game form bad is puzzling to them. When you play CoD MW3 the screen looks 99% like ‘Heavy Fire Afghanistan’, you move the stick and you move, you pull the triggers too shoot…so what in the difference. We know the difference is huge, but in some cases, not even we, can explain it. An expert in shooters could break down the difference between MW3, Battleship, Medal of Honor, Killzone 3, James Bond, Marines: Modern Urban Combat, and all the other games by playing each for five minutes. However, to a non-gamer each of those games would feel the same as they shot wildly into the sky or dropped live grenades at their feet.
The next time some non-gamer buys you an unasked for game that is good thank them for solving the hardest problem in the universe. What we know is hard won knowledge, and even gamers can get it wrong...how else to explain why millions of idiots will buy Halo 4, right? (Please understand I had to end on a zigger for the trolls. ;-) ]
I think one of the more interesting questions of this generation as it turns over is the trend of the middle tier game. There is a trend, perceived to be real, that middle tier games that are ‘okay quality’ are not selling well and that the developers that make them are being shut down. I think there is probably some analysis that could be ginned up to support that, but the question become does it matter.
I tend to think that is matters very little because what we are seeing is not so much the loss of a middle tier of games forever, but a reallocation of resources and a shift in how middle tier games will be made in the future. I say it matters very little because middle tier games are not gone for good, but rather they will slowly shift from one segment of the market to a different segment.
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn) / There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn) / And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die / A time to plant, a time to reap / A time to kill, a time to heal/ A time to laugh, a time to weep
Now if you were to ask why developers are closing and the games are not selling I would say “Because the economic model for them is broken. And, types of games ‘churn’ from top to bottom or from selling well to selling poorly as the hardware cycles change what games are played and who plays them. The churn of games bring some developers to the top and other to the bottom, and small game to the top and then big games, indie development to the forefront and then solid long term businesses.
The churn of games up and down is natural...we need the churn.
I see the middle tier game coming back within three or four years. That does not mean you will not see those games it just means you will not see hundred or thousand of them being made in all territories until the business model I see coming becomes firm. In a sense, I see the problem with middle tier games being about the business model. Currently middle tier games are made the same way Triple-A effort games are made. About 60 to 130 people at a development studio come together for a projects that will take 14-20 months to complete. Top-level talent is not often there but the solid middle level coders, artist, and other staff are on hand. But, they're paying the same salaries, they are taking the same amount of time, they are often building tools custom like a Triple-A game. So they cost is not different. The game come out taking too long, costing too much, and having too much pressure to sell nearly a million just as a Triple-A game does.
A lot of money is spent needlessly on middle tier games. A lot of meetings and effort is expended in planning, many changes are allowed late in the production, and a lot of last editions are shoved into the game play to make it “more marketable”. That means any decent idea is expensive to being to market, because a lot of pork barrel spending occurs. For a Triple-A effort game the talent and vision is often there and the sales are there, and often there is a well-established IP that skids the rails to allow it to succeed. The middle tier game has none of that so it fails or lacks the profitability to really necessitate it a second game occurring or the studio staying open.
It does not take a genius to see why this is making the middle tier game impossible to make. Yet, the solution is simple. Middle tier games need to be stream-lined productions that use known tools and solid ideas well and that add innovation possible in a smaller game that might need only sell 75K units to make back the costs and only sell 150K to be nicely profitable. However, that DOES mean the whole process needs to be re-thought just as a production line, so that efficiencies occur and real world results are achievable. Medium sized games can be innovative, interesting, and affordable. But, the games need to stay medium sized, the amount of content needs to be producible in the shortened development cycle, and a smaller team using proven tools need to be utilized.
The cut scenes in DoA 5 are amateurish, and it appears they didn't even bother to hire or even subcontract out the cut scenes to professionals. It is as if they had giving college freshman animators first assignments, and used the results as the cut scenes.
It is just an inexcusably poor effort. Even if you do not consider DaA a Triple-A level game that has no need for AAA polish, what players received was of extremely low quality for that has little plot or scene construction.
I am very excited because I confronted the 'uber dragon' in Dragons Dogma last night. I had been playing on and off for what seems like months, but I finally had to push through to teh end because I liked the game so much that I needed to see how it would end. Although I'm probably not at the end since teh game did not end. So now, I am in the after event of Dragons Dogma where all the enemies are uber ranked as well. I am not sure how long the 'after event' part of the game lasts, maybe I just have to reach the capital city...maybe more.
I also lucked out and had my ending with the person I wanted - Selena the woods-witch. I guess some people played the game very weirdly without interacting with people except the merchants so they had weird love interests at the end. I wanted Selena because she seemed the most likable. She was never mean or duplicitous like many fo teh other characters, perhaps she was less real as well...that a discussion for another time.
I think the early criticism that the story falls apart in the middle are correct. But I rather view it as they fail to keep popping in story elements when you in the mid-quest because the mid-quest form some could last a twenty hours or for people like me about sixty hours. The beginning and ending fit very well, the middle game I think does not stress the philosophic discussion or concepts of the start and finish so it appears weak.
At the end of the game, I think they could make three major improvements and three minor tweaks. The game could be tweaked and improved in hundreds of way, but I see three bigger game mechanism and some smaller ones that would make the world more "living" and "real".
- Make the story more clear throughout. If that means more cut scenes okay, if the means more dialogue options that is fine too. I think the developers should take a long look at Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Some choices to make and some forks in the stories with characters would be fun. There need to be story elemenst through that bring player back into teh main story or at least show what is happening or progessing while you off on side quests or main quests.
- The map could be 20% bigger, but much of that should be the addition of three other small villages of people. I like the accuracy of scale for the villages, city, dungeons, and other structures. Therefore, keep the scale, but allow more buildings to be entered and have some major and minor characters in them. Bigger map with more characters, and more dialogue for them, all of that is a major undertaking, but I think needed.
- Provide a sense of progression in the world. The first time you walk down a road it might be in poor repair and have monsters close to its edges. By removing the monsters a road crew appear that making the road appear smoother (texture switch). This should happen with roads, homes, villages, etc. The VISUAL IMPACT you have on the world should be evident.
- Cycle enemies in and out of locations. You should not find the same monsters at the same spot on the path all the time. Sometimes monsters, sometimes a farmer who needs help, sometimes nothing, and sometimes a ceremonial procession or a travelling peddler in the spot.
- More clothing! At the start of the game, you should have dozens of outfits to purchase. I should not have to spend 90% of the game trying to find yellow socks or a blue hat. Make a system where the player can buy dyes to re-color standard items.
- More detail on character models so the look better up close. More detail on clothing and armor so they too look better up close. Provide more instances where I can see my character looking nice or cool with in engine cut scenes.