The week caught up with me and my gaming post is going to be delayed. I take pride in keeping my own deadlines but since I’m still recovering from my aggravated case of the sniffles, I’m opting for rest instead of staying up until 3am working on 1000 words. I have a post drafted in my head and I’ll update this blog when things are in order. For now, watch this speedrun of Mario 3. 11 Minutes of awesome.
February was a short month, but I was not short on content. The beginning of the year continues to show up strong in retail with lots of goodies to play. Assuming I played games instead of just writing (or talking) about them, I too would be a happy camper. Quick tangent – do you say Feb-ur-ary or Feb-ru-ary? That one has always bothered me, but then again, I spend my Thursday nights writing about video games. Anywho, here is a recap of the past month of TWiGs (The Week in Gaming). Check them out, leave a comment if your heart desires. But above all, have a nice day.
I was on a mission this week. Some might call it suicide, others foolish. My objective: find an editorial topic this week not related to the PlayStation 3 apocalypse (cleverly coined “ApocalyPS3″) or about the Infinity Ward/Activision debacle. The way that dispute is unfolding, I could have paragraphs of speculation refuted in a matter of minutes. Information is still being uncovered and at this point it’s best to sit back and watch the public relations nightmare play out. While I’m not picking sides in the Infinity Ward/Activision madness and I’m not fueling flames of console enthusiasts, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to address a topic that has a little controversy sprinkled on it – so let’s talk politics. No, not United States politics (this time), I’m talking about the looming debate over video game ratings in Australia.
It’s a long flight to Australia, you better get comfortable.
If you missed the news, this past week was host to the Nintendo Media Summit. Among the news stories crashing RSS feeds were some release dates for upcoming Nintendo titles including Metroid: Other M and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Now it is certainly possible that the decision makers at Nintendo realized there are twelve months in a year and 52 weeks worth of release dates instead of the ones between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s possible that these games were always scheduled to come out in the Spring to capitalize on a typically slow release schedule. Ironically it would seem that Sony and Microsoft had a similar thought process. God of War, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 and a handful of other high profile games have highlighted the beginning of 2010. With Super Mario Galaxy 2 coming out May 23 and Metroid: Other M in June, Nintendo is positioning these first party favorites well in advance of the holiday season potentially as an attempt to capitalize on the market before store shelves become over saturated with offerings. Or, if you have a tin foil hat handy, maybe they are ensuring these games are released before the fall season because they are afraid something else is much more likely to capture their audience and they do not want to lose potential sales. But that can’t be true, cant it? Is it possible that Nintendo is afraid of Project Natal?
I know it sounds crazy, but the voices in my head think it’s possible. Let me explain.
At last. We thought this day would never come. A playable version of StarCraft 2 available for public consumption. Sure, it’s only a beta and it’s not public, but it’s playable. Of course I’m looking at this as a pure outsider; as a consumer, I have no interest. But as a gamer, I understand and respect that this is a really, really big deal. I also understand that games like these don’t come around every day, partly because developers like this are a rare breed. We can’t expect them to turn out something for fans every six months. High quality products take time to produce. Sure, waiting 12 years is a bit much, but for the die-hard fans and supporters, the wait is easily forgotten as soon as the game is in their hands or installed on their hard drives. But it seems like there are just a few games and subsequent companies that receive this kind of attention. It seems like there are only a few companies that essentially support the rest of the industry. Companies like Valve, Blizzard and PopCap garner a different kind of attention and admiration from media and fans alike. But can the PC gamer survive on Peggle and Zerg rushes alone?
Mouse? Check. Keyboard? Check. Jump?
I wonder if the time for originality is officially at an end. Video game release schedules are littered month after month with sequels and re-imaginings to a point of painful predictability. I get it, times are tough, go with a sure thing to ensure the bottom line is satisfied. The movie industry has proven that the decision-makers feel safer supporting a known entity, even if that simply means updating the dialog and adding some gratuitous sex or violence to spice things up. The video game industry appears to be falling into the same stalemate. Without the financial security to try something truly new and original, we are force-fed sequels and clones instead of something fresh and new. You say Heavy Rain, I say Dante’s Inferno. After reading a week’s worth of reviews and interviews about this game, I have had my fill.
I assure you, the rest of these words are mine and mine alone.
Twenty-Ten. Two Thousand Ten. It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as you remember it’s 2010 and not 2009 on those checks you have to write up. This year the beginning of 2010 is marked by significant game releases through many of the opening weeks of the year. Fortunately for me, that also means there were plenty of topics to consider for each of my gaming posts. Let’s have a look at my selection.