Archive for March, 2013
Early last year, on this month, Mass Effect 3 was released for the masses to consume, and consume we did. And I imagine most people were pretty satisfied with the bulk of the game, except for one teensy 10-minute long segment that for some ruined the game. The ending which only provided 3 different options, all of which were basically all the same except for a changed color palate.
My oh my was the outrage great. Across every and all gaming boards on the internet people kicked and screamed over the ending. Petitions were being signed, lawsuits were being threatened, co-founders were leaving out of frustration and the anger of passionate people was showing. In the end, Bioware added a proper epilogue to please those who felt robbed. Was the backlash a bit excessive? Probably. But the ending controversy lends itself to some very important lessons that any developer can learn from. Let’s dive right in.
And remember people, GAME-RUINING SPOILERS AHOY.
From the years of about 2003 – 2012, my family owned an Xbox, first gen. My dad had a friend at his work who could mod our Xbox so we could burn games to the hard drive. At my brother’s request, that’s exactly what he did. So, during the entire duration of owning the Xbox that I can remember, we never bought games for it. We would go to Blockbuster on a fairly regular basis and rent games, and if we liked them, we would just burn it, return it, and play the game for as long as we wanted. Illegal, yes, but fun and convenient, definitely yes. Many of my first and most fond gaming memories came from that Xbox.
One of those memories was playing Psychonauts. Psychonauts is one of the most imaginative, fun, and funny games I’ve ever played, a game that hits on most fronts with flying colors. Aside from a few notable flaws, I can say without hesitation that this game will likely never be dethroned by another (unless they come out with a sequel, Notch), and this is why you should play it.
Actually, no. Buy it. The Steam Indie Spring Sale is going on, and it’s $5, normally $10. What are you going to do, miss out on a burger from Wendy’s?
…What, you want to know why this game is so awesome? Has my flawless judgment ever failed you? Fine, whatever, I’ll put forth effort just for you.
I recently had the chance to ask an acquaintance of mine, Daniel Burgess, a few questions about his experiences in making educational games and tools for augmented reality applications.
I’d like to thank him for taking his time in his busy schedule to answer my questions. I hope you all enjoy!
For the past 4 days, the gaming community has been ablaze with conflict, and pretty much all of it has been focused on one game, and one issue. SimCity’s always-online DRM.
Here’s a quick recap of how the situation has progressed on this issue. EA launches SimCity. SimCity servers are completely overloaded, and no one can play the game. Think Error 37 all over again. SimCity servers continue to be bombarded with millions of people wanting to play. EA announces they are to remove “non-critical features” for the game temporarily to lighten server load, and do so shortly after. Amazon stops sales of game. People start asking for refunds, EA gives none. Some EA forum mods threaten to ban those who ask for refunds. EA backpedals on the previous statement, but they still don’t give any refunds. Rumor has it EA hires hundreds of Chinese workers to post positive things about the game and the DRM, reports remain unconfirmed. EA asks third parties to stop marketing game until issues are resolved. People are still mad. The servers still don’t work. Tropico 4 goes on sale.
It’s safe to say that the SimCity launch has been the worst launch of any game ever. The only launch to come close to this nonsense has been World of Warcraft, or Diablo 3. But EA’s behavior and response to the launch have been, to put it nice, unsatisfactory.
Instead of delivering a GOTW this week, I feel that the situation has gotten way too out of control and it’s time we talked about it while it still remains relevant. I’ll recap the arguments for and against the game and the DRM, and give my thoughts at the end. Here are the most common problems:
One night I was playing Legend of Grimrock and one of my best friends, Garrett, messaged me. He commented about the game, and I in reply told him he needs to play it. He told me he had no time because he’s always doing one thing or another, whether it be for school or for for extra-curricular things. I couldn’t really relate, and as a result he challenged me to make a game by April 14th. As you may have guessed, I accepted. So, in the next 7 weeks, I will be chronicling my adventures through making a game from start to finish, creating hopefully everything, art and music included, by myself.
Banjo-Kazooie was the first game I ever played. I remember my mother played it and she loved it. As a small child, no older than 5, I managed to delete her file at the final boss, Gruntilda.
She’s never played it since.
But a while later, when I started making sense of this insane world, I tried it out. It was, to understate it, amazing. My feeble little mind was completely blown. There we no remnants of my brain to be seen. And because I enjoyed it so much, I have came back to it every couple of years, only to be reminded of that sense I had when I first played it. Even without my nostalgia-goggles on, I can definitely say it is one of the best games ever created, and this is why you should play it.