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10:27 PM on 03.28.2008

The Barrel, gaming's enigma

Maybe those better than I can trace the origins of the barrel in gaming, but insofar as I can see it is just an enigma.

Barrels explode,

Barrels can be used to hurt over-sized reptiles,

or plumbers,

or contain sidekick monkeys,

or sometimes they launch monkeys across jungles,

But whether they explode, provide hideouts for small hat-wearing chimps or aid in simian aviation; we can agree that barrels are an enigmatic part of many games.

A barrel can change things, a barrel can sit there, a barrel can launch you wildly across a jungle with some sort of rudimentary propulsion system.

But why the barrel? I'm not sure who's concept it was, but it seems to have stuck; and while few games have the ingenuity of a wooden barrel explosive travel system, but if there are guns and a first person perspective, you better believe that a flammable steel tube is in your future.

When we were younger gamers, just discovering the shooter genre, we were taught many things about this world; Everyone is against you, escort missions are terrible and those people that need escorting are useless, Space Marine is a fully realistic job opportunity and above all; Barrels explode.

There are questions that need answering, who is storing flammable liquids in so many conveniently placed barrels? If I shoot that barrel, will it explode and cause untold destruction? or will it simply sit there? Countless times I have shot a barrel in hopes that it would bring my foes an early end only to be riddled full of lead wondering why my old friend the barrel had betrayed me.

But we forgive, we forget, because no matter how much someone complains about a lack of original game design, cliches and overused set pieces, we love the barrel. We love it in such a mixed up and crazy way that our love is probably illegal in several states, because no matter the capacity this barrel serves us. the Barrel; has always been there.   read

3:47 PM on 10.27.2007

delays, release dates and the ESRB

Everyone knows that the next 5 weeks are big. Big big. Assassin's Creed, Guitar Hero 3, Call of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Rock Band, Haze, Uncharted etc. etc. But if you've been living in a hole for the last 2 months, you're probably looking for SSB Brawl, GTA 4, UT3 & Army of Two. and here's where the worst word in the gaming community comes in... delayed.

But is it a bad thing? I've seen in assorted forums people talking about a new gaming term, the "good delay". the delayed game that helps spread out the holiday gaming line-up beyond the month of November. Now if you watch Sessler's Soapbox regularly, you'll already be versed to this method of thinking, but the main consensus is that it's the Christmas rush, and I'm sure that plays a big part in it. The kids don't have 300 bucks to spend on games and they figure Christmas is the time, every industry does it, and it's not new, but if you look closer, all the major releases (short of the Wii titles and music games I suppose) are either a hard Teen or Mature rating.

This seems to be pushing into the (now average) demographic of gamers who can afford to buy a game whenever they want... You know, cause they have jobs. Admittedly, ESRB ratings don't stop said kids from playing those games, some parents simply don't care, but shouldn't an industry think about forming their Christmas rush upon a strong base of mature rated games?

So there's some questions here, are the delays good? Should "good delay" even be in our vocabulary? Why is the majority of the Christmas catalog mature rated? Has the ESRB become even less of an influence of which games to buy?

What do you guys think? I'm sure theres an explanation   read

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