Episodic Gaming, Irish Anthem screw-up & Pub Games for Fable II? – Welcome to the column that gets drunk & gambles a lot, but not enough to admit they have a problem known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. So somewhere in my World of Warcraft experience, I think I burnt myself out a little bit. I was playing with my level 19 blood elf hunter quite a bit, going into battlegrounds and such. I worked up the 20 marks of honor and got myself a spiffy neck piece. However, that was not the end of it. I decided to go back to Ghostlands and finish up questing there. I spent the better part of Friday and some of Saturday, working myself into a frenzy to do so. I gained three levels (to 22) and finished everything in Ghostlands with the exception of killing the elite boss in Deatholme (name escapes me for a moment). Major accomplishments include getting exalted status for Tranquillen (which entitled me to a blue cloak from the reputation vendor) and defeating the two 20 elites that roam Dead Scar & surrounding areas by myself & at level 20. (on separate occasions of course). Notable accomplishments for sure, but it soured my taste on the game because I pushed myself so hard. So I’m taking it easy this week, I will play some; but remember folks we play games to enjoy them, I don’t feel like making myself hate it. If that makes sense.
Morgan looks good in pink, my girlfriend even said so. Woot, woot. It is odd when a girl notices another girl and can comment on how attractive she is and you don’t immediately think hey something funny is going on. Guys can’t get away with this. I can’t be watching wrestling and go, “That John Cena is looking pretty handsome tonight”. People will start thinking you are one messed up metrosexual or worse. However, point out that Mickie James (current WWE Women’s Title Holder) is looking hot tonight and your girlfriend might not speak to you either. So perhaps today’s message is just be quiet during wrestling. (Except when C.M. Punk wins the World Belt, oh hell ya!)
Ron Gilbert is probably best known for his work at LucasArts, where he worked on such favorites as Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Day Of The Tentacle. Most recently, he’s worked on Penny Arcade Adventures and has a forthcoming title called DeathSpank. Gamasutra sat down for a somewhat lengthy interview, discussing the episodic model, working within the current industry framework, and moving outside the current studio framework into a more ‘Hollywood’ type model. On this aspect (shifting to a more ‘team’ based approach where people come together to work on specific projects), he’s got this to say:
I think that it will [shift into a Hollywood-type model]. And I think that, ultimately, it has to. And I think we will shift to that model, but I think that there are a couple of things that have to happen before we really shift to that. One is that I think technology has to settle down a little bit. I think technology is moving forward really rapidly, and part of what a lot of teams do is exploring new technology, and I think that’s kind of hard to do with an ad hoc thing.
I think the other thing that’s going to have to happen – and this is a really big one – is we’re going to have to become unionized. Because I don’t think that you’re going to be able to grab all of these freelance people when you need them if there isn’t some kind of a union structure that’s over the top of them. You can’t really have a bunch of animators just floating around from job to job with nothing in between.
So I think there’s going to have to be a lot more structure, and I think that’s going to have to come in the form of unions – which, you know, I don’t know that I really agree with that; I think unions bring a lot of bad things to gaming, but I think they’re going to be necessary for us to move into that Hollywood model.
So what Ron Gilbert is saying here is that games or game companies need to adopt the same model as those who make movies. This would be complete with the Screen Actors Guild, Writer’s Union, and all of those lovely other unions. Those same unions also went on strike and prevented me from having any new shows to watch for a while. They want gaming to be the same way? How about…no? No let’s turn it into Hollywood where they don’t go to the bathroom unless everybody knows about it and takes measurements. There hasn’t been an original idea out of Hollywood in a decade, thankfully gaming has been able to provide at least some really good concepts and fresh way of looking at games. What Ron Gilbert is suggesting is take the Hollywood approach which means endless sequels of the same tired games with no new concepts & borrowed ideas. (Yes, I know Electronic Arts does this anyway) There is a reason that Hollywood is originality bankrupt, the unions are hurting the industry and any up & comer trying to break in has to follow of these bizarre rules to get anything released. Stay away from my gaming Hollywood, you already put out enough crappy movie games as is.
While it’s calmed down a lot over the past decade, Northern Ireland is still a reasonably sensitive place politically. Not the kind of place you’ll be dodging pub bombs anymore, granted, but still not the kind of place you want to make any cultural faux pas, either. So EA Sports understandably regret, and are very sorry, that they included the wrong national anthem for the Northern Irish team in their Euro 2008 football title. See, before each match, the anthems of both teams are played. Being a part of the United Kingdom, Northern Irelands’ anthem is, of course, God Save The Queen. EA Sports, however, included The Soldiers Song. National anthem of the Republic of Ireland (or, as most people know it as, just plain old Ireland). As in, the wrong country. Sure, Northern Ireland is hardly a powerhouse on the global stage, but still, if you’re going to include their anthem, you can at least get it right.
Haha, what I wouldn’t pay for a small army of Northern Irish to get drunk and go vandalizing the EA studios. Don’t mess with the Northern Irish (or any Irish for that matter) & the song before their darn “football”. You limey bastards. Most of us Americans are probably like who gives a flip, its freaking soccer for pete’s sake. However, you have to consider if the Civil War had left us two nations instead of one. The North played Star Spangled Banner while the South played Cotton Eyed Joe or some crap in front of their American football games. The North would get pretty pissed if on their copy of Madden 08 that they suddenly decided to play Cotton Eye Joe as their anthem. I mean heck, we all know that most Joe’s are alcoholics & cheating pricks anyway. (Crap, I just alienated my whole Joe audience; meh I’ll file a retraction in the morning).
I fully approve of the developing trend of letting you play bits of the game before they come out, with the bits you play actually affecting the full game. The Spore Creature Creator, for instance, which lets get your creatures ready for the full release, and now the Fable II Pub Games. The Fable II Pub Games, which will be available on Xbox Live Arcade next month, will allow players to participate in three lively fantasy gambling games, with the money you earn transferring over to the main game upon release. Earn big bucks playing “Keystone,”, “Spinnerbox,” and “Fortune’s Tower,” and your character will be able to start off the game right, ready to purchases weapons, dog tricks…the sky’s the limit.
Best of all, while the Fable II Pub Games will be available for purchase at 800 MS points, preordering the game from participating retailers gets you the mini-games for free, my personal favorite price.
A lot of times, I would probably come out and condone this sort of thing. I mean, they should be free to begin with. But truth is, this is pretty smart. They want to encourage pre-sales and what better way to do that than give free bonus mini-games that are part of the game anyway to give people a head start. Sure these are just little casino games but for people who are already getting the game, they are a great first step to getting some much wanted gold. I haven’t preordered a game since Halo 3, however this one is making me think otherwise.
Besides the pub games, another reason I’m considering a pre-order is the news release on the limited edition. It will be $79.99 which is a bit higher than most limited editions but there are reasons for the madness. It will contain a traditional behind the scenes disc, additional in-game content, Xbox Live trial card (hopefully a month add-on) & best of all, a Hobbe figure. I would assume it will come in a nice box to boot cause you have to house all of those items a little differently.
So if you notice my wallet is coughing a little uncontrollably these days, it might be cause I asked it to relinquish $80 for something named Fable II. Geezus, I hope it lives up to 1/2 of the hype this time.
Schizoid is the first game to be published under the XNA development scheme. It is a shooter like Aegis Wing where you have to move thru levels shooting everything in sight. However, there is a trick. It’s made for two players to cooperatively play together. In fact, they have to be in near perfect harmony. If you have nobody to play it with, then you can play the Uberschizoid mode where you control two ships at the same time. With 120 levels, this could keep somebody busy for a very long time. Sounds extremely hard as well but for some of our shooter fans, they might snatch this up in a second. Probably one of those that you should defiantly download first prior to purchase.
Also for 800 points this week, we get a new golf game designed by the minds at Housemarque and published by good ole Activision. The graphics would suggest it has some inspiration from the Hot Shots Golf series (which has been a favorite of mine for the last few years) and says to have something for every golf fan. (Does it have a section where I can curse and break my club over my knee when I hit a shot into the lake?) There are quick play options and also tournament features. The customizable characters can be taken online or offline and this could possibly be the casual 360 golf game I have been looking for (that isn’t associated with Tiger Woods). I will be downloading the trial and giving it a roll if nothing else. *fingers crossed for 3 click system*
It’s SPOGS! No, I don’t have a clue what SPOGS are. Wait, remember those little POG discs? The silly characters on a tiny disc. Well imagine that, except in racing form. Anyhow, it draws inspiration from the Mario Kart & Crash Team Racing games where you race your little SPOG along a track with other cute SPOGS. You can steal spare parts such as engines, brakes, etc from other cars by crashing into them (called ‘Crash n Grab’). The SPOGS also have six weapons to cause destruction with and 12 courses are included. However, the reception for the game has been less than desirable. With some sites giving it 2’s and 3’s mainly coming down on the graphics & terrible gameplay, this one indeed finds itself as the true definition of Wii shovelware. Avoid.
More Neo-Geo titles! I’ll be the one of the last to complain about that. King of the Monsters is a favorite of mine for the simple fact that it is big monster mayhem combined with wrestling to make a very fun game. There are the usual punches and kicks but some of the monsters can also use flames, laser beams and rocking clotheslines to bring down their foes. The opponent must be pretty much knocked out before you can pin them for the 1-2-3. One on One & Two on Two matches are both available for the ultimate monster royal experience. This is certainly my pick of the week and a great choice if you only have a Wii. I say it a lot, but if you have a PS2, you should already have SNK Arcade Classics Vol 1 for this great title and a whole lot more.
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Monster Madness: Grave Danger
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Unreal Tournament 3
Final Fantasy Fables – Chocobo’s Dungeon
Wonder World Amusement Park
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Wow, a game that truly expresses the feelings I’ve been meaning to get to for years. Pony Luv for the DS, finally and its even rated E for Everyone. See, that kind of behavior is acceptable at family gatherings albeit mostly ones that take place in Mississippi. *rim shot* Seriously though, a mostly lackluster showing of games this week. We have Bejing 2008, which is available in a protest and non-protest edition. We have a new Sid Meier game for the Civilization fans in the room. And we have Unreal Tournament 3 for the 360. Awesome, because it is Unreal Tournament and it will include all content found in the PS3 version and subsequent DLC. Bad, cause it doesn’t include the mod editor which among other things would let us create some cool characters like Samus or Master Chief. Maybe they will have some surprises for us later, we can hope. Outside of that, we ain’t got jack; which makes us hope that something better turns up next Tuesday.
I was in a fighting mode fever over the last week when I wasn’t playing World of Warcraft. I gave Soul Calibur a try on XBLA and was pleasantly surprised, I’m not sure if it is worth the 800 points when I have a copy of Soul Calibur II for Xbox that needs some love but it was a pretty nice port. I also took the time to play Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting and finally after countless rematches beat it at default difficulty netting an achievement. It’s a lot harder than it sounds when they like to use every cheap trick in the book, especially M. Bison. Anyway, I’m also taking the time to learn Worms (XBLA) which is a very fun game and easily worth the download card that you can purchase from your local Target. I got through the training and through some challenges to boot. Great fun and my girlfriend is playing along since she’s the Worms master of the household. As far as possible games to play for the upcoming week in addition to Worms & downloading the trial to Golf: Tee It Up, I might be forcing myself to play the original Fable. It’s my favorite original Xbox game and needs some love if I’m going to jump back into the next chapter when it comes out in October. However, it never fails when other games call my name like that blooming World of Warcraft. A horse, I’d give my horse for a level 60 character. Heck, you think they would take a very small cat that likes to shred things? Her name is Needler…heck I’ll just give her up for an epic mount. Or a gray sword. Have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)