Edge readers share their opinions; one wins a New Nintendo 3DS XL
One of the principal joys of reading Edge each month is the challenge it offers to our thought processes about games.
Reading the introduction to Edge 281, I was struck by the brief exposition about who Edge readers actually are. If I’m being candid, despite being an Edge reader of many years, the question was one that I’d not seriously considered prior to the editorial. However, the question struck an emotive chord and planted a seed of thought which I’ve been dwelling on since (hence the lapse of time in my writing).
The result of my self-reflection was the agreement with Edge that ‘tidy demographics’ would not do justice to what is Edge’s clearly wide readership. In many ways, I suspect I am atypical of, to use the rather lazy moniker, a ‘gamer’s’ status. I am female, in my late 30s, married with two children and in a professional occupation. How many lazy stereotypes are busted there? I can imagine the marketing men (whoops, another assumption) going into meltdown with that profile to contend with.
My love of games stretches back to the trusty ZX Spectrum and has seen me through the joy of several generations of consoles and games since. Indeed, within my own nuclear family (a very tidy demographic), I have been integral to our shared love of videogames to the extent that I often find myself the first port of call for help from my children when stuck upon a particularly tricky aspect of their latest gaming foray, much to my husband’s ‘masculine’ chagrin. During this time, I have never felt compelled to reflect upon my status within our hobby in the way Edge 281 prompted me to do so. Perhaps it’s an age thing. Perhaps it’s a demographic thing. Perhaps it’s simply the realisation that videogames present us with such an intriguing paradox: that within their rich diversity there is unity, namely the common pursuit of that deliciously indefinable ‘sweet spot’ when enjoying our games, whatever form of game that may take. This sort of fundamental unity does not take note of ‘tidy demographics’.
So, long may Edge seek to provoke the wonderful (in the truest sense of the term) videogame industry in its voyage of selfdiscovery! Now, excuse me, I must get back to my list of reasons as to why the children’s pleas to finally upgrade from PS3 to PS4 are so unreasonable… Joanne Raisbeck
This was just a way of securing a New 3DS XL with which to keep the children quiet until you’re ready for a PS4, right? Well, it’s done the trick.
“Games have cultural value. Depriving children of that is a missed opportunity”
A few weeks ago, I saw a woman, shopping with her young son, wonder aloud: “Where are the kids videogames these days?” I thought it was an extremely pertinent question. I’d previously not given it a second thought. Besides sports, driving and the odd movie tie-in, a child’s choices on modern consoles continue to be limited.
Roll forward a little to another encounter, this time with an old friend who is now father to two toddlers. He doesn’t want his children playing videogames. Instead, his preference is that they be more active. I reminded him of his own Super Nintendo fixation but had to concede we spent a lot of time on our bikes and playing in the street. I asked if he would let his children play in the street like we did. You can guess the answer.
So in a world where kids are now less likely to play in the street, videogames offer an alternative way to learn about the world in a safe environment. Yet current console game design sensibilities are focused on an
older audience that effectively serves as a barrier to entry for the young.
Overall, I think the game industry is in a good place right now. The breadth of titles available through a second indie generation and the scale of ambition of bigger releases ( GTAV, The Last of Us, et al) has revitalised the industry. But this entry barrier for a new audience is troubling.
Games have educational value alongside other mediums, conventional teaching and good parenting. They have such potential for the practical application of everyday knowledge: reading, maths, physics, route finding, systems logic, creation, problem solving, resource and budget management – the list goes on.
Games have cultural value. Depriving children of that is a missed opportunity. No wonder Minecraft has become so big, with that younger audience especially, when there are so few alternatives.
There’s a sense that young children have moved away from consoles and towards iOS/ Android, which may explain it. That and the fact that very few seem willing to face up to the all-conquering Minecraft, of course.
As a gamer you can’t spend more than three seconds on a forum or in a comments section without seeing a comment about the ‘PC master race’ or ‘console peasants’. I’ve been a console gamer for all of my gaming life: it started with PlayStation, and doesn’t seem like its going to stop any time soon. I’m always asked by my PC-loving friends why I don’t invest in a PC, where I can play
The Witcher III in 60fps and perhaps see more leaves blowing around. In between me tirelessly pointing out that it makes no difference to me, and I’ve enjoyed playing
The Witcher III in 900p/30fps on my Xbox One just as much as I would have on a beefy gaming rig, I sought an analogy, and believe I have found the perfect one.
Gaming systems are like cars. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are equal to the Ford Focus: they are relatively cheap and get you where you need to go. High-end gaming PCs, with their i7 this and GTX SLI that, are like the exotic cars that you find on the road: the Audi R8 or Ferrari 458. Sure, they look nicer and go faster, but the speed limit is 60mph and you can’t legally go any faster. Sure, your Ferrari sounds nicer, looks better and accelerates faster, but at the end of the day on the commute to work you’ve only beaten me by a few seconds and paid four times the price. You may believe you’ve had a much better experience that is worth the money, but the bottom line is we are still both driving on the same road.
The analogy stretches further. My Ford Focus doesn’t take up much fuel whereas your 700w-plus power guzzler uses three times as much. My Focus will last for years whereas your Ferrari will break down, and the replacement parts will cost a fortune.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone wants a Ferrari, but not everyone has the money to afford one, or keep it running. Maybe some time down the line I will invest in one of these exotic cars, but at the moment I’m happy with my Ford Focus. And as for the Wii U? Maybe it’s one of those Smart cars.
This, as you know, is a multi-vehicle publication. We use our Focus for the daily commute and keep the Ferrari in the garage until we know we’ll be driving on roads that will do its formidable horsepower justice. Then we get stuck in a BSOD loop after a poorly researched overclock, have to restore our BIOS settings and reinstall Windows, and, uh, the analogy rather falls apart.
Say what you like about DLC, but you can’t deny that if the player wants it, it’s accessible and not going to inflate in price on the market. If people want to buy Amiibo because they’re so damn irresistible or they’re building a collection, fair enough. But what about people who don’t have the shelf space to spare and just want the unlockable content? Let’s face it, Smash Bros aside, Amiibo functionality so far has been standard DLC fare like extra skins, game modes/challenges and playable characters. I don’t see why Nintendo doesn’t make these extras available at a later date on the eShop and not be at the mercy of eBay hustlers. If anything, it adds even more revenue to the already whopping sales of Amiibo.
It’s not just DLC, though. While classic game libraries do exist on digital stores, it was only when Nintendo began to sell Wii titles on the eShop that it hit me. Metroid
Prime Trilogy, a game released in such limited quantities that it was going for double its original price on eBay, suddenly released digitally for everyone at a discount?
What a great way to stick it to those evil capitalists treating games as commodities, and give the players what they want. OK, if people want to really collect rare physical cartridges, I’m not against that per se, but games are made to be played, and the only way to preserve their history is to make them accessible for people to play.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I regret having sold off my Dreamcast and games a decade ago, and now that
Shenmue III has been announced, I want to play the first two games all over again without forking out for an old console and overpriced copies of Shenmue I and II. On a related note, is there any chance of
Edge transferring all of its old reviews and features over to GamesRadar, or are you going to make a fast buck by having me buy all the back issues?
Perhaps Shenmue III’s Kickstarter success will convince Sega to finally release HD remakes of the first two games and save you a few quid. That way, you can spend the balance on some reasonably priced back issues. Look at that: we’re all winners!