Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Coming soon to a PC near you!

I read this news article just now, and I wanted to offer my two cents. Since I'm not in the business of making games, but I am a serious consumer thereof, I feel somewhat entitled to a fair say. I'll agree that integrated graphics suck for anything that actually requires the use of a monitor. But this guy's comments on Episodic gaming hurting the industry is pure bull. How many times have you waited, and waited, and waited for a game to come out, only to be disappointed by the lack of one, or many features? Or how many times have games just gotten lost in development (*cough* Duke Nukem: Forever *cough*)?

Episodic gaming COULD fix these problems, if done correctly. Ever heard the phrase "Using players as beta testers" when a buggy game is released? Imagine the alternative: you play the first episode (which can have a good, thorough QA period), and then you can send feedback for future episodes. You can catch the problems, before the whole game falls victim. In a perfect world, this would stop the endless cycle of gamers not getting what they want. Of course, this won't happen in full, and what benefits there are won't happen right away. I say give the format a chance. Maybe $20 is a bit too much for the 4-5 hours you get (I think $15 - $18 will be the sweet spot), but I've been very pleased with episodic offerings from Valve and Ritual (HL2 : episode 1 and SiN episodes: emergence, respectively). Maybe, as Gabe Newell of Valve says, it will allow new developer talent to bring games to market, by dividing up the extreme investment of getting a full game green-lighted. At any rate, I'll be able to play several episodic games while I wait for Mr. Rein's vaunted "blockbuster" to be released.

In local news, there's a production of "All's well that ends well" here in Ottawa, done by Salamander theatre. I haven't actually read the play itself, but their show is funny enough. Go see it. I happen to know a few of the performers. Check the schedule here: .

I'm playing through F.E.A.R., and generally finding it a great, tense game. If you haven't given it a play-through yet, I'd suggest you give it a look. The demo for Prey was also mighty impressive. If Doom 3 graphics and inspired gameplay are your thing, give it a go. The enemy AI of the latter is rather lacking, though. After playing against the crafty, TALKING (it does a lot to make their presence felt) enemies of FEAR, grunting alien soldiers seem a little tired. Still, the demo has some moments not to be missed, and the shifty gravity stuff is fun to play can even make your character puke in one scene! At any rate, it innovates, which is more than one can say about Doom 3.

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