- Bigger doesn't necessarily mean betterThis year, I've probably seen more movies and played more video games than I have before, or I've just noticed more what I've watched, and the thing I've noticed is that the hype machine doesn't do it for me any more. The game's themselves are always the true experience and that they always don't seem to come through for me. I'd been hearing and playing Halo on and off for a while and I'd heard with Halo:Reach that things had become different, that they'd worked on the story line and the characters a bit more, but when it came down to working on them they turned out mainly to be stereotypically driven with a few minor plot points that you'd probably already know playing the previous game.
|War....War never changes|
|Boo, you whore.|
- Sometimes don't waste your time on the obvious or the ordinaryI've found that my tastes are a lot like my writing and are often like a shotgun when fired. The amount of times I've played something I like or thought I'd like only to be disappointed, sigh, finish it and then move on with my life, is a greater worse than finding something I hate, analyse why I hate it and then move on with my life, at least with the latter I learn something, but I've found that most games I've paid/bought/enjoyed this year have often been out of my comfort zone of first person shooters, puzzles and third-person action games and I whole-heartedly share the experience.The most recent enjoyment (and best example I can give) of mine has been Poker Night At The Inventory by Tell Tale Games, a company who has the heart and soul of a young boy but the mind and wit of an old man. Whilst I'm a fan of poker, I'd always kinda seen poker games as sport games, as in if I was gonna play the game, I might as well play the sport. The game itself was something I bought on a whim a few months ago and had been eagerly anticipating it's release since the word November popped up beside it in the Store. The game itself is hilarious and it's hilarious because of the details and the sheer amount of dialogue -even when repeated – is still something which makes me smile and often forget I'm playing Poker, but more importantly it's all about the surprise. Sure, you can know as much as you know about Strong Bad and Max from Tell Tale's series and their respective canon, but Tycho from Penny Arcade and Heavy Weapons Guy are essentially blank slates. Of course, the original premise just sounded like the way most cross-overs sound in my head.
|A Narcissistic Dilettante: An Artist's Rendering|
- Never forget the classicsBeing only 19, my nostalgia has basically consisted of a decade where a President got a blow job, the greatest musician blew his head off and the game which was most loved was essentially kids performing glorified cock fights and whilst I try not to be cynical about any of it, I have found nostalgia or a want of the past useless. The fact we reminisce and the memories themselves are repeatedly recounted and things are bought and played and you become disappointed and you prefer to live in that blissful state where you can sleep at night and remember that Overboard didn't look shit and was fun and not at all annoying or has poor gameplay
...sighBut there have been a lot of games which have been trying to cash in on my memories but the most creative of all has been those trying to cash in on my memories but with original properties. Whilst I'm not a fan of beat'em ups (I often toss them into the same genre as MMO's for OH GOD THE REPETITIVENESS), I have found Scott Pilgrim vs. The World game one of the biggest treats of my gaming year. Combining my enjoyment of sprites – from a simpler time – but also bringing the comic story to life in a way only barely passed by the Edgar Wright film. The amount of emotion and humour derived from the
- Music games are probably dead
|DJ Hero, a saviour and a killer...party|
- Independence rules and iPhones are not evilThis year I've had the most fun, made the most of my time and hated myself and scared myself more than with a few bricks, some ambient music and me saying “Come at me bro”, the second anything tries to attack me, pissing off my friends and family in the process. The game is, of course, Minecraft and has shown the true power of word-of-mouth publicity and that independence is alive and strong, especially online.
Notch's Bed in PayPal Money
Whilst I wasn't so hot on the idea of Apps for iPhone's and iPad's and iSuch, I have found that a lot of Indie Developers have gotten a lot of money, experience and help from developers such as Steam and Apple, making them not-so-bad guys. It's healthy for developers to get their games out their, for free or a price, because supporting them may lead to them supporting you one day with a job. Of course, my strange karmic idea is something of a fantasy which often and probably has no semblance in the real world, especially of independent gaming.
- Never trust the criticsI'd never given much thought to game critics, despite wishing I'd be a critic (of some kind) one day. I'd given up on music a long time ago, because a shared experience of music often comes down to taste, rather than worldly appeal, much like I am not a fan of Dylan, but I am of Dawn Landes, not saying, their both in similar genre's but they do harbour many different people's taste unlike video games, which is a shared experience, well in single-player linear experiences. I will often take note of any nit-picks or problems a writer will bring up and will often line them up with my own pet peeves of games and hope that they're fixed in a patch or at least I can brush over. There have been a few heavily buggy games to come out this year, which shows a lack of care, but some idea that game companies don't care about their audience or their craft and will often pay off game critics just to make sure they get a good first week. For example, CoD Blops shattered records for the entertainment industry with having a 650 million dollar opening, for the first day. Not week, not weekend, not midnight screening, DAY. With that, the following week saw a dramatic drop off of about 85% in Britain, which means the game maybe only sold you know, a few hundred copies. But with that, the total cost of the game is still over 650 million dollars, which is far more money than I could accumulate in my remaining life time. The point is, that critics can be bought, and so can you. The hype machine is always turning with blogs, forums and obviously advertising on gaming websites. The next time you see a review for a game on your favourite gaming website, look in the top bar, or on the sides and think who's playing who.
- Never trust the fans.With the above point, I think that a greater say on the industry is not only the people who make the game, but also the people who buy the game. Remember that when you slam down $100 bucks (AUD) for a game that you're funding their products and that if you keep paying for a game or a game series, they tend to keep it going because that's what people want. Now, I'm not saying pirate those games, I'm saying don't give into pressure from other gamers to like what they like. You know you or at least you should have an idea of yourself, you should be able to find at least two games in your collection right now you can pull out, play and enjoy and if you can't...there may be something wrong with you.The power of the internet and more imporatantly online peer pressure is something we've all succumbed to and I've learnt a long time ago and is proven time and time again, just because it's popular doesn't mean it's good (exceptions to this rule: include Toy Story, The Dark Knight, Minecraft, The Beatles, Harry Potter, Daft Punk, The Doors and Bioshock).Not that I'm saying most video game companies are not thinking of you, particularly, when they're creating a game, but they are creating for an audience and mainly an audience that buys a lot of games. Nintendo have been using this strategy for several years now to further the new market of casual, mum or older gamers.
Or combine all three....