As a happy-go-lucky guy who never lies except in the first and thirteenth sentences, I rarely get irate about anything. That said, I often find myself screaming at the TV like Hitler in a lift with Joan Rivers.
Why am I raising my voice? It’s gaming’s little messages. Generally, interruptions are lessening – screen furniture is decreasing, loading pauses are shrinking and Hideo Kojima only releases MGS every couple of years. Titles like GTA, Assassin’s Creed or even Race Driver GRID go out of their way to keep you ‘inside’ their worlds.
So why, elsewhere, do I need stern warnings that the game experience may change during online play? I don’t remember agreeing what the game experience would be in the first place. Also, the game experience changes when I jog on the spot, when there’s a power cut and when I’m heavily medicated. I can cope. Shut up already. I’ll gloss over the ‘press start’ prompt’ on the screen with nothing but ‘press start’ on it, and likewise the ‘OMG! The game has auto save!’ message. I do this because I so rarely get irate.
But seeing, ‘Are you sure you want to load? All unsaved progress will be lost’ makes me want to set fire to things. Just when the game has killed me and I’m angry it kicks me right in my bruised little ego. “LOOK, I HAVEN’T MADE ANY PROGRESS! THAT’S WHY I’M RELOADING THIS MELONFARMING SAVE!” The pad creaks in my fists. “YOU KNOW IT, DON’T YOU?! YOU KNOW IT!”
Steve is a freelance games writer.
If there’s one thing about the games industry that infuriates me, it’s so-called ‘casual gaming’, a new kind of net genre that is code for ‘shallow rubbish’. I can’t be the only one worrying about the floodgates opening to unleash a torrent of swill as publishers see the success of casual games on the Wii and think that if they follow suit, they be as successful.
We hear all the time about how games like Prince Of Persia are going to be made easier for newcomers, but what that invariably means is ‘hand-holding pulp for people who can’t find their arse with both hands’. Worse still, is the vapid trash that is being peddled as the future, transcending the realm of games and becoming dire novelties. Nintendo’s E3 press conference pretty much said it all – well-crafted games with a sense of ambition and scope are out, while formless novelties requiring no mental input whatsoever are in.
The problem I have with casual games is that they threaten to do to the games industry what reality TV did for the box. In order to break into the mainstream, one must enter a middle-ground territory that is bland and inoffensive enough to appeal to anybody. The kind of games currently spewing onto the market are for people who buy magazines with Paris Hilton on the cover. Maybe you recall that a band called The Fast Food Rockers once got into the charts. The people who made that happen are buying games now.
Jim writes for gaming blog destructoid.com (opens in new tab).