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.
On Disgrace and Dismissal (1076)
At this point I believe contraction, exile, ostracize, banishing or any other synonym you can think of for Team Ninja and their creative directors is the only solution. Their products set the efforts of legitimacy and mainstream acceptance back with each new release from their hands. They are a cancer on the respectable reputation that we are trying to build for this industry. What has Team Ninja done for gamers recently worth mentioning? 2004 (Ninja Gaiden) was a long time ago. I think we would all be much better off if Team Ninja would just go away. Tomonobu Itagaki‘s legacy of embarrassment and exploitation has run its course. It is time for Team Ninja to go.
In what seems like a recent epidemic of the industry, this game accomplishes nothing original in its setting, storytelling, gameplay or overall experience. We will see how Visceral’s efforts are rewarded in a month when the almighty NPD data is revealed to the public, but I’m sure a sequel is already in pre-production. I, for one, am looking forward to the ground-breaking marketing campaign for Dante’s Inferno 2. It can only get better from here. Congratulations, video game industry, you brought this on yourself.
On Stars and Speculation (1304)
Can traditional PC gaming survive on the shoulders of the occasional Blizzard release? Is a yearly World of Warcraft update enough to satiate the appetite of the WASD-inclined? Every update to an existing Valve property is followed by echos of cries for Half Life 2: Episode 3. Will those cries ever be answered? The fabled PC-killer Crysis might have been a benchmark in 2007, but EA announced the sequel is coming to both PC and consoles a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if that is a vote of confidence for dual-analog controllers or a vote of non-confidence for the mouse and keyboard. I’m not here to proclaim that PC gaming is dead; I’ve never believed that nonsense. But I have a hard time believing that PC gaming can survive off the successes of these three companies alone. I hope that isn’t how this is supposed to be, but that’s how I am seeing things.
I know there isn’t a firm release date for Project Natal, or whatever it’s going to be called, but all signs are pointing to this fall. If the tea leaves are correct then other companies have to be aware of the potential for a product like this. Given the hyperbole surrounding Natal, it is possible that it could change the landscape of gaming for future generations. Then again, it could just be a fancy Vision Camera. For the conspiracy theorists out there, the fact that a proper Mario game and a Metroid game are being released well in advance of the fall, and potentially of Project Natal is more than a prudent business decision. Removing themselves from the release window and post-launch buzz of Natal might be the biggest endorsement Microsoft could get for their add-on. We don’t know what kind of software will be available at its launch, we don’t know the price, we don’t even know specifically when Natal will be ready for public consumption. But if Nintendo, the company that changed all the rules and redefined the audience for a video game is avoiding Natal, then maybe this thing is legit.
These posts are featured at Talking About Games.