I've recently become a beta-tester for Real-TimeRacing. For the purpose of this blog, I'll need to explain a bit what the idea is behind this game. Since it not just overcomes the 4th wall, it totally obliterates it...
RTR is a game developped by Simbin and iOpener Media. Simbin is known for its awesome GT(R)-series and Race On on Xbox 360. While iOpener media is a fairly new company. The idea is that you're able to join real-life races from the comforts of your own home. They do this by placing GPS-consoles ( developped by the European Space Agency ) in the racecars, which enables them to pinpoint their location on track up to a few cm's precisely. Then they send this data to their gameservers and render the virtual cars on those exact locations.
And not just the cars, weather-conditions, flags ( like yellow-flags, code-60 etc ) are also sent to your home so you have the same experience whether you're racing in real life or in RTR. Their latest demonstration was during the "10 Hours of Zolder' ( currently the only available track ) where they actually participated in the race with a virtual team ( while at home 5000+ players were also racing ). We were able to actually see the cars pass by on track as they were zipping along in the game on their demo-machines which was absolutely amazing.
here's a short video of the possibilities:
The 4th wall is a real problem for them as they can't have the 'real-life' cars driving through virtual cars, so if a 'real-life' car is about to pass a virtual racer, their AI-system takes over for a very short time, makes the pass, then relocates itself on the 'true' location and passes control back to the 'real' racedriver. At the moment this is a bit hit-and-miss, sometimes the passing is done really really well, at other times the shit hits the fan and crashes occur, however they've only been in beta since late this summer so it will surely be perfected in the longer run.
I think this beta gives us an unprecedented view of what gaming can (and most likely will ) become in the future. This implementation is just the start I think. No longer will we be playing against other gamers, we'll be playing against the real-life specialists in most sportsgames with the AI filling in the gaps.
They could put these modules into player's helmets and the actuall football for American Football, the same with virtually ever other sport on this planet. The level of skill we'd get from opponents like that would be phenomenal! Of course there will always be gaps that need to be filled, but by the time this gets commonplace the AI-level will probably have become more then advanced enough to fill them.
Sure it won't really work for shooters and RPG's, but who cares about realism in those? I really believe this will be the next step for sports-games... I've been trying to beat the professional drivers in RTR and I'm having a pretty hard time keeping up with them, especially in the 'less then ideal' situations ( like rain or night-driving ). The great thing for sim-lovers like me is that they also show you great racing-lines, so I really hope this'll become commonplace in other racingtitles!
The time is nearing... Gamers from all over europe will once again get the chance to join in for a massive celebration of destructoid and our gaming passions... What began last year as a cheap alternative to the PAX-meetup in the US of A has become a regular event ( although its only once a year a "BIG" one )... and it is time to celebrate the one year aniversary by having another BIG EURONARP!
So I want to invite you all to EURONARP2! Of course, as is the idea, at the same time as PAX, so we start on Friday the 4th of September and we continue until Sunday the 6th of September.
to give you guys an idea of what to expect, here's some recaps of the previous euroNARPs ( big and small ):
and we've got a dreamlocation for doing our NARPs, better known as "Teh Lair":
Since we try to make the "BIG" EuroNARP an all-out-gaming-festival, we allow people to bring their own stuff, we've put up our website again where anyone can register that wants to come to the EURONARP and where you can register the consoles and games you're going to bring, so that we can provide space and power for everyone :-) Last year we had about 10 TV's and 50+ consoles :-)
So if you want to join in in the maddest NARP on this side of the Ocean, register at our site and join the thread in the forums for general discussions about the EURONARP ;-) EuroNARP-site
btw, since Po0ky is such a cool guy, he's released the NARP-site as Open Source, so anyone that wants to use it for their own NARPs can request the code from him!
Yeah I know it's a bit late, but as I'm preparing for a new job ( gonna start my own company this month ),
setting up a mariage AND organising the next EURONARP, I've been pretty busy the last few weeks :-)
SO as a small appetiser for the BIG euroNARP coming up in exactly a month from now, here's the recap of
the NintendoNarp we did a few weeks back ( 10th of July ). As this was just a 'miniNARP', it only lasted 1
night ( "BIG" one is 2 nights and 3 days ). But what a night it was...
It all started on friday, I couldn't wait to get away from work so I left about 2 hours early to pick up Po0ky and
Poele at Po0ky's place. My car was loaded with games, peripherals, camera-equipment, chips, glorious
belgian beer, energy drinks and a whole bunch of cookies. Since I'm the guy who built "Teh Lair³", it was
quite important we got there first so we raced from Po0ky's place to "Teh Lair³" for a night where there's
nothing but games and a very fine haze...
We got to Teh Lair³ about an hour later and started unwrapping right away. Since we only come here once
every few months, everything is "neatly" covered in dust-blankets, and most controllers/cabling/lightguns and
other shit is stashed away in carboard boxes under the seatcovers.
We just finished setting up the first Wii when it was time to pick up ZUbZub from the trainstation, so we
headed out, picked him up, stopped on the way back at a supermarket to stock up some more for the long
night, and picked up some of the legendary french fries from the local "Frituur" ( fries-shop :p ).
What followed was once again a whirlwind of games, cable-madness, mind-altering experiences and just
jolly good fun :-)
We went through all the classics, since we had every nintendo-console ever sold in EUrope ( except for the
virtual-boy ), we could basically experience anything we wanted from Nintendo's past, provided someone
brought the cartridge :-) For instance, we couldn't play the crowd-pleaser 'Goldeneye 64' since Poele didn't
bring it, so we threw in some 007-MP-Madness from the GameCUbe-era, and as it turns out, it wasn't half as
bad as we had feared. If course, there had to be some Mario Kart, but as nobody had brought the
cartridge/cds for that one either, we played the N64-version on the Wii with the Gamecube-controllers...
that's 3 generations at the same time!
EuroNARPs are being held in Teh Lair³ for 1 reason, its where I store my collection, so there's always weird
stuff to try out that you never had a chance to try before... like playing Tetris with a Wii Balance Board:
What I especially liked about this specific Narp was that we put the NES and the Wii right next to each other
and then compared games from the 2 most diverse eras in Nintendo's history. Here you can see "Umbrella
Chronicles" next to "Duck Hunt" ( sorry, the rest of the pictures was majorly blurry since I didn't notice my
camera was still on 'manual focus' ).
the games might look totally different, they both pull in their players soo much that not one of the 3 is looking
at me taking a picture :-) ( though Po0ky does seem to be very into the game :-) )
Later in the night ZubZub and Poele played the original Prince Of Persia for about an hour and got to level 4/5,
I don't really remember exactly...
And I don't even have a clue which game they're playing here since this was the stage of the night where
we found a SNES-emulator on the XBOX and started trying out all games that we had never had a chance to
play or never even heard of... ( like I never had a clue there was a "Theme Park" on SNES or Wolf3d on SNES
Do you know?
and finally after a long night of gaming ( from 6pm to 6am ), we all went to bed, but I was up first and got this
shot of Po0ky and Poele waking up just 4 hours after we went to bed, just to start playing again until noon :-)
so now it's on to the BIG EURONARP...
starting the 4th of September and ending the 6th of September at the usual place :-)
Ok I'll be honest, not many people knew about it on time, but it was just a minor one... However, too give everyone a chance to join in for the big one at the end of the summer ( end of august beginning of september depending on a few variables... I just want to let you know that the EURONARP-scene is still very much alive :-)
Based on a last minute whim, Po0ky and I organised a SEGANARP in Teh Lair². The rules were simple, anything was alowed, as long as it was playable on a SEGA-system :-) Since SEGA hasn't really released any recent consoles, all HDTV's were banned as well :-) Just plain old oldschool fun...
The first joy of RETROGAMING:
As usual Po0ky and I made it to teh Lair² first, after we picked up ReX and ZubZub at the nearby trainstation... We hadn't had time to unload the car yet so they were squeezed in the back of the car, together with 3 CRT-TV's and a whole bunch of crap. The first hour was spent connecting everything up and searching through huge stacks of cables for the right ones... the downside of having about 30 consoles in one place. ReX and ZubZub settled in on the Master System II, while Po0ky was trying to get the Mega Drive working ( the Genesis for the US'ians )... While I gave the dreamcast a testdrive with a round of Le Mans 24 Hours. Even though it has been more then 6 years since I last played the full 24h race in that game with 3 of my friends, I still remembered the track like it was yesterday and won my first race in an instant. After the good workings of the DC were established, we turned our attention to the Genesis, since none of the 2 available ones were displaying an image on the TV's.
A few hours of frantic DC, Saturn and Master System gaming, Viersee, Simon and Viersee's Girlfriend joined us for the remainder of the night. We fired up the dreamcast for a quick set of rounds on powerstone 2, at the same time Viersee and ReX were trying to destroy eachother in X-Men Children of The Atom on Saturn... The dreamcast was switched to Rival Schools 2, Project Justice and Simon, a PSX-veteran of Wipeout finally saw the light as he tried out the Saturn Version of this brilliant game.
So again a few lessons learned, one-type-NARPs are brilliant, since it limits the choices of available games, and thus there are less hiati between games :-)
1. mistic hasn't eaten any sugar for almost a year now
Well that's what happens when they find out you've got 'Reactive Hypoglycemia'... Basically its the exact oposite of Diabetes. With diabetes, the problem is that you haven't got enough insulin, but in my case, my body creates a HUGE dump of insulin each time I get some sugar in me ( resulting in a huge sugar-level-drop ). So the only way to prevent an 'attack' from happening is making sure the 'trigger' isn't triggered, so no more sugar for me... It's fucking hard not to get any sugar, and it totally blows, but I've lost 20Kgs in the process, so I feel kinda good about that, also pretty satisfied that I don't have the sugar-level-fluctuations any more because they sucked even harder :-)
*writers note: please know I own all 3 consoles, plus a decent gamingPC, so I'm not biased nor a fanboy* Lets set the stage a bit, imagine you're a Publisher, planning to release a new franchise on Wii. You've got 2 offers from developers, 1 game a hugely aggressive and promising hardcore game ( think Project:H.A.M.M.E.R.) and the other a novelty "minigame" collection. The first game will set you back several millions of dollars due to the amount of work that has been poured into it and the other will cost you about a million dollars. Of course you start by doing some research about the market...
first we need some numbers:
Here is the list of games that have sold one or more million copies for wii ( in total ).
So you'll probably notice a few thing immediately.
1. If you are Nintendo, your games will sell like crazy... 14 out of the 20 best selling games for Wii were published by Nintendo, sadly you are NOT nintendo, and there can only be one Nintendo.
2. High review-scores don't equal high sales, rather the other way around... (Unless they are made by Nintendo)
only 1 game from the top 25 in reviews made it into the top 25 most sold games for WII, Guitar Hero 3:Legends of Rock. But 3 games that are in the top of the list for sales got madly bad reviews, yet they sold like hot buns with boobies on them.
Big Brain Academy -> MC Score: 68 -> Rank: 135 -> Sales Rank: 11
Mario & SOnic At the Olympic Games -> MC Score: 67 -> MC Rank: 146 -> Sales Rank: 7
And the most horrible game of all, hated by all core gamers:
Carnival games -> MC Score: 56 -> Rank: 235 -> Sales Rank: 12
So even though Carnival Games is considered to be a horribly bad game ( there are 234 better ones available on Wii alone according to the 'core-audience'), it sold close to 3 million copies.
another 2 nice examples of this are "Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition" and "Game Party".Though RE4:W is ranked the 6th best game for Wii (score of 91), it is only at the 27th location in regards to sales ( 1.76 million copies ). GP however is ranked as one of the WORST games for wii, with a rank of 332 and an average score of 25/100 (WTF!) it sold almost the same amount of copies as RE4:W namely 1.72 million.
So you're thinking about this game you want to release, and you've seen these numbers... What would you chose?
The "Casual" game obviously has the lowest requirements, I mean even if the reviews suck like hell, you've still got a good shot a selling a huge load of them. While the "hardcore" game is a wild bet, it can get rave reviews and still sell like crap ( Okami didn't even reach 1 million copies worldwide ). So in these 'hard economical times' you'll probably want to go for the 'safe bet' and bring out the "casual" game...
This is why we ( the core gamers ) need to step up to the plate... If Okami is mentioned on dtoid, it sounds like everyone has it, yet I rarely see it in people's wii-game-collections when they post their gamesetups ( I haven't got it either since I was making the same mistake most of us are making ) So I've just ordered it online to make up for it :-)). We have to start buying more games for the wii, there are some absolutely brilliant titles available on this system, yet none of us seems to be getting them, eventually all publishers are gonna start thinking the way you were just thinking... Most of us say whenever we can that our Wii is in fact just collecting dust on our shelves, while there is actually no need for that at all...
This weekend I've commited myself to play my Wii again, and started of by finishing some more chapters of Call Of Duty 3 ( bought COD4 for 360 and COD5 for PC ) though I once rented COD3 for 360 ( before it was decided that renting games is illegal in Belgium ) and I realised that it is in fact a better 'experience' on the Wii... Sure the gfx look like crap compared to the 360-version, but hell, planting explosives and handling the cranes or even driving are so much more fun in the Wii version! So I'll be getting COD4 or COD5 for wii as well, just to see the difference in playing experience ( and to support the "core-games" of course!) After that I played some "No More Heroes", another core-game that didn't even sell a million copies, and though I absolutely love "Devil May Cry" on the 360, the fights in NMH are just so much more enjoyable! Especially doing the finishing moves :-)
What started all this for me was a blog by Phoenix Gamma about something maddox said in an interview.... Specifically this bit:
I'm really fucking tired of people who play Xbox 360 and PS3 calling themselves "hardcore gamers." Look at the list of top 10 games on 360 up above. See anything in common? Those are the games that most people play on 360, and with the exception of Braid, they also happen to be the most popular, most heavily marketed, and most consumer-oriented games in the industry. It'd be like someone eating a meal at McDonalds and saying "I'm a foodie!" No, you're not. If you're into movies, you don't go out and see Jurassic Park and call it a day. You try to see movies that try new and interesting things. The types of movies that only someone who has watched thousands of movies could appreciate for doing something unique.
Similarly, if you're a hardcore gamer, you should be looking for new gaming experiences. You shouldn't be satisfied playing the same old mass market games. Not that these games are bad, but they're not for "hardcore" gamers any more than McDonalds is for hardcore foodies. If you're a hardcore gamer, go out and play Katamari Damacy, track down an old copy of Radiant Silvergun on Saturn, or play an indie game like World of Goo. These are the experiences that move gaming forward. Not blockbuster sequels like Halo 3.
Sure we all know maddox is the ultimate troll, but in a way he's right... Sure COD4 was awesome and all that on 360, but it wasn't nearly as new and refreshing as the controls on the wii-version of COD3, you actually have to throw your grenades in the Wiigame! now that is a novel idea!
I fear however that if we don't start supporting these core-games a bit more in the future, they'll just die out, because for publishers all that counts in the end is MONEY, no matter how you turn it and since we like dissing the wii better then actually paying attention to some of the great things it delivers, eventually no core-games will get released anymore since they're just not financially viable!
So, if you own a Wii and another console, maybe consider getting a multiplatform game in the Wii-format next time, sure it won't look as spiffy, but a lot of the times, the experience will be more fun then it's more serious counterparts, and isn't that what it's all about in the end, the fun you get from playing these games? Trust me, contrary to what a lot of us claim, there are some great experiences to be had on that white-waggle-box!