Yeah, I know it's supposed to be iMpressions, but it doesn't sound as good.
So, like many other people today, I downloaded the Halo Wars Demo. So far it seems to be a pretty cool birthday present, despite being only a demo that will inevitably lead to me spending money.
I was cautiously optimistic with this title, seeing as how Console RTSes seem to have that stigma of being inferior and flat compared to the PC counterparts, where if you're not Korean, you don't stand a chance playing online. The optimism part comes in with it being developed by Ensemble Studios, who are responsible for one of my personal favorite series, Age of Empires.
Just playing through what I did (the tutorial and the map after that), It certainly feels like a Halo title, and more importantly, feels like a good RTS. Using the analog stick to choose upgrades and building units certainly takes a minute or two to get used to, but with enough familiarization, you can make do just as fast as selecting a building with the mouse and clicking (or hotbuttoning) the corresponding action you wish to do. The ability to set a global rally point is also a nice addition that streamlines what would have otherwise been a lot of clicking. Troops also have secondary attacks, which recharge with a little indicator on each unit, and sending a swarm of UNSC marines with the RPG upgrade can prove quite devastating compared to, say, a group of terran marines. Yeah, I went there.
What I didn't care much for was the way you select units. a blue circle is made when you hold down the A button and move it over some units. A nice addition would be to add the use of L and R Triggers to change the size of said circle, but with other methods of unit selection, such as the LB/RB All Units/All On Screen selection(or even toggling between different types of units), it's more of a simple "I would like this" as opposed to "this cripples the game". I find myself using the LB/RB selection methods and entirely foregoing the A button selection, and then just using the Right trigger to filter from that selection.
My biggest fear was the controls, as with any console RTS game, and with Halo Wars, I just don't see any big flaws that couldn't give it a competetive edge, even against someone with a mouse and Keyboard (unless they were going up against a Korean, something that I would never wish upon my own worst enemy). Major things have been mapped properly (switching between bases is a breeze), and the controls are incredible. I can't believe I'm saying this about a console RTS. There are very few gripes about what I've played so far. Easily a Day one Purchase for me.
Part of me didn't want to feed the troll, but I can't get any sleep, so I decided to write about this. In this video, you see Robert Pelloni (although with the way he's dressing, you'd think he was Robert Smith) going to the Nintendo World Store to further bury his chances at being taken seriously as a game developer. If you've been keeping count (I'm only going by the video's title and date uploaded), Yesterday was day 50 of his sit-in protest, and here he is, halfway through, taking a trip to New York with some 'friends', posting fliers, dropping business cards on the floor, and just being a dick in general.
First Internet trolling, now trolling in the streets. When is this going to end? Probably when people stop talking about it. ...oh, right.
I really like this 10 things you didn't know Idea, and thought I ought to contribute. It certainly is a nice way to get to know each other better.
10. I was hardcore before knowing what hardcore was.
Redundancy at its finest, but it gets the point across. My first system was the Atari 5200. Sure we had a 2600 around, but that predates me. It didn't stop me from playing that as well. I barely remember when my dad came home with a Nintendo, but I do remember when he came home with certain games for it. At that point I had a Nintendo-branded everything, from Pajamas and bedsheets to shoes, and when I needed them- glasses.
9. I moved around a lot when I was a kid.
I wasn't in a school long enough to make friends. I stayed in Minnesota, but it was always in a different area. As I got older, my mom always blamed herself for that, but I've told her on countless occasions that I wouldn't have wanted it any other way... well, with the exception of a couple more games. My Nintendo and SNES were my best friends, and I remember when the pins on the NES crapped out on me. I opened it up, determined to perform surgery on my best friend to get it back up and running. Unsurprisingly, at the age of 9, I wasn't able to.
8. My Favorite Band is Nine Inch Nails.
I managed to get my parents to get me "Pretty Hate Machine" when I was just a wee lad at about 8. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I did. Mention of Reznor's involvement with id Software also turned me on to Quake and FPSes in General. Sure I had Doom beforehand, but Quake was when I REALLY got into it.
7. I'm Native American
Well, half anyway. The portrayal of Native Americans in games have made leaps and bounds of progress, from being completely nude sex objects in Custer's Revenge to being Main protagonists in Prey. Stereotypes can be a touchy subject for some, but isn't it also considered racism to exclude a group from occasional lampooning? Things in the past are just that, in the past, and I'm just glad that my heritage is able to last, a quick glance in the history books will show there are plenty of other cultures that are gone forever.
6. I used to be an MMO addict.
I'm not proud to admit it, but about 7 years ago, before World of Warcraft was even out, I was sitting at my computer desk, clicking away in Everquest. I managed to lose jobs, ruin relationships, and waste an exuberant amount of money because of it. I discovered the Guild Wars beta soon afterward, stopped paying that monthly fee for EQ, and never looked back. Well, looked back a couple times, only to facepalm at my former self. I can't say I'm recovering, though. I recently tried playing it again during some "hey come back we miss your money" event, but just didn't see the appeal, I wish I could have been like that before shit hit the fan. I tried WoW, but it was the same shit, with a different smell.
5. My gaming goes beyond the screen.
I used to play Magic and other card games, but never liked keeping up with the 500 extra cards they'd add each week. I'm big on Traditional card games, especially Cribbage and Rummy. I dig the D&D, as well as GURPS and other such stuff.
4. I have a Generic Name.
There are at least a Dozen famous people with my name, Robert Morris; Including the financier of the American Revolution, an Artist that made a modern-day stonehenge in the Netherlands, the lead singer of "The Hush Sound", a famous Jeweler, a Cryptographer who was formerly head of the NSA (and his son, who created the first internet virus), as well as a cocktail that bears my name. It's essentially a Shirley Temple (Sprite and Grenadine) spiked with Coconut Rum.
3. I was a hobo for about 6 months.
The house I was renting from got foreclosed on me without any warning from the person I was renting from. I couldn't afford a place that was more than 200 a month, so I decided to sell what I could (A lot of video games went that way and made me very sad) and roam the country. I ended up going from Minnesota to Arizona, and ended up finding a job out there. Before you know it, I went from squatting at a bus stop in front of a taco shop to having a nice apartment completely furnished by other peoples' furniture. I did eventually move back to MN, but I'd still like to move out there again someday.
2. My Favorite TV show was on MTV.
No it wasn't The Real World or Road Rules. It was Sifl and Olly.
The following was originally going to be a response in This article by Jim Sterling, but I deemed it too much of a wall of text to merit a single response, and decided to refine it into a pseudo-article with my take on the matter.
Hey Bob. My name's Bob too. Pretty cool huh?
Anyway, I've noticed that your protest has come to an end, and now that you're out, I'd like to let you know how I, a potential fan of Bob's Game, have to say on what you've done to kill your chance with Nintendo. I don't mean this as a personal attack on you, and these are merely my words on an issue, with hopefully some form of insight that you can take with you on your future endeavors. There are 3 plain as day reasons as to why your protest didn't get the results you wanted, so let's break it down.
1. Business is business is business.
As much as we'd all like to say "hey, I'd like to make video games, it would be the funnest job in the world" you still have to remember that it's a job. Not to say you don't know the value of hard work, as that would be a bold faced lie- You spent five years dedicating yourself to making a game, and that in itself is an achievement. However, in order to be taken seriously in the business, you have to be business minded, and pulling a stunt like this will draw attention, but not the attention you want. Sure people saw you as someone fighting the good fight for indie developers and such, but for every one person writing about how courageous you were, there are about a hundred people not bothering to write about you, thinking you were some nutcase. Doing what you did, is the equivalent of standing outside of your ex girlfriend's apartment in the middle of a rainy night, carving her name in your chest with glass from a broken bottle, all while screaming the lyrics to the song you two considered yours. Oh yeah, and Naked. In your height of being emotionally distraught, your clouded judgment might think it was a sweet way of saying "I'm sorry baby, I miss you", she'll look at it as "I'm totally going to ignore my restraining orders against you and kill your pets". Sometimes desperate calls do call for desperate measures, but what's important and critical to one person, really isn't to another, and that has to be realized.
2. Legally questionable threats don't make for a good line of communication.
This is more than the final nail in the coffin when trying to do business with a company, this is the 6 feet of dirt that buries whatever chance you had. It's a big glowing neon sign that says "take legal action against me for condoning piracy if I don't get my way." You may as well have just made Bob's game a PS2 title and shipped it with a free modchip. Let's not joke with ourselves here and talk about the halfhearted attempts of homebrew potential with these things. You used the threat of shipping Bob's game on flashcarts because you were trying to get under Nintendo's skin. Very childish, and very unprofessional.
3. Speaking of childish and unprofessional...
WTF? You want to be taken seriously as a developer, and then go on to rant about how you're the best developer ever, how you're soo freaking amazing, without having a product released and letting fans make their own decisions? It's bad enough that I have big-name publishers trying to cram "the best ____ EVER" down my throat in order to get my money, and now it's being flaunted by independent developers as well?
That, in my book, is a heinous crime of extreme ass, as well as being a big turn-off.
So you have this mix of 3 horrible no-nos in any business, and you're wondering why you failed? I really don't want to sound like this is a personal attack on you, but c'mon, being overtly cocky, not knowing the ins and outs of the business you'd like to get into, as well as making threats that are legally questionable are all things that will cause more harm than help. In all honesty, you've crushed your own dreams, and the main reasoning behind that is it's clearly showing you're not qualified to be a member of a development team. You can have all the developing talent in the world, but if you don't know how to be a team player (and claims at being better than Miyamoto are certainly not going to help you get the team player award), you're not going to go anywhere in a business that's requiring bigger teams to get anything done.
In closing, I do hope you find a suitable home for Bob's Game, and I hope this whole fiasco leaves you with more than just a bitter feeling, but with some lessons learned.