Want that old thing back
I recently read through your latest special edition, The 100 Greatest Games. Even though I didn’t agree with your list (each to their own), I was intrigued by one of the criteria you insisted on for a game to make your list – that the game still needed to be playable today.
Growing up, my favourite game was GoldenEye on the N64. I dread to think of the time I spent playing it in singleplayer and the fun we had playing multiplayer whenever we could. But would I play it today and last more than five minutes before I realised I hated the controller, the nostalgia wore off, and I found myself reaching for the off button?
So, thinking hard about games I would still play today, Halo 3 came out on top of my list, because even today the gameplay, story, music and atmosphere are all still as enjoyable as they were when it was first released. I have only one issue with the game now, and as time goes by I suspect it will only get worse, and that is that graphically it doesn’t hold up to today’s standards. When Halo 4 came out and surpassed Halo 3’ s graphics, it didn’t make Halo 3 any worse. You expect a sequel to be better – it’s a natural evolution, and it almost blinds us to the change. It wasn’t until The Master Chief Collection was released, and I played through the updated Halo and Halo 2, that I noticed that Halo 3’ s graphics suddenly looked dated in comparison. Johnson had suddenly gone from being a realistic (and ill-tempered) character to a blocky, robotic figure.
This is the issue with old games. If you’re trying to make a game look as good as the hardware allows, sooner or later it’s going to be surpassed, and even our fondest memories of that game can’t cover it up. And the longer you leave it, the more dated it becomes.
It would be interesting to see which of the games on your list would still be there in five to ten years’ time. Games like Super Mario World or the The Wind Waker never tried to be the most realistic-looking games, and funnily enough they’ve both aged considerably well because of it. Does making a game look as realistic as possible shorten its life expectancy in the history of games? Daniel Morris
Clearly yes, though it’s more framerate than raw pixel count behind GoldenEye’s rather graceless ageing process. Still, if we follow that logic, one day even Halo 5’ s probably going to look awful too. So that’s something to look forward to – as is your New Nintendo 3DS XL.
DLC started in the PC gaming world when publishers thought of a cool new thing they wanted to share with the people who had purchased their games, as a way of saying thank you to the fanbase. At first it was free and very much tied into the mod community. But as the cost of creating games increased (and let’s not shy away from the spiralling costs of game development), some bright sparks decided to start charging for ‘more’. There were some missteps, to be sure, like the Oblivion horse armour debacle.
Call Of Duty soon followed, and to begin with these extra multiplayer bundles felt innovative and good value. However, as the iterations went on it seemed less innovative and more like the new normal.
Perhaps Destiny is the best example of how DLC has gotten out of control. It’s very hard to look at its first year as anything other than a year-long beta where I had the privilege to pay for the game and an annual pass – that’s more than £60 to pay for what turned out to be a rather empty game. It simply wasn’t worth the money. While
“Publishers need to get a good return on their investment, but is any game truly worth £90?”
The Taken King seems to have fixed all the problems, of course Bungie want me to pay more money, but quite frankly I feel that they owe me The Taken King for putting my faith in them in year one rather than charge me for it, so I’m not playing it any more.
But they are by no means the worst perpetrators. News has come out that Star
Wars: Battlefront is to cost double the retail price if you want the ultimate DLC pass. How much of this is me paying for stuff that’s already on the disc? While I can absolutely appreciate that publishers need to get a good return on their investment, is any game truly worth £90? That’s less of a fun hobby and more the cost of commuting in London each month!
I love games. It all started playing
Commander Keen when I was a kid on my dad’s PC, to Doom, and Metal Gear Solid blowing me away at 2am when I should have been sleeping but was fighting Psycho Mantis instead. It’s a passion I am trying to share with my son, with Minecraft,
Mario and the Lego games. I find them much better to unwind with than films or a TV series, and a consistent stream of (probably) great games is coming soon – Fallout 4, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Rainbow Six Siege, The Witness, Black Ops 3. However, I’m finding myself more and more frustrated, and reluctant to pay up for them. Last night I took a breather from The
Talos Principle to play The Witcher III – ‘The Last Wish’ quest – but it’s bugged, a problem with a boat going in the wrong direction and getting stuck. I move on to do a main story mission and it kills that entire side-quest. It’s not the end of the world, but yet another bug, and still frustrating.
I played through Halo 5, got to one of the last checkpoints, and my AI team just stopped, refusing to move. Frustrating.
Soma, which I loved and thought was brilliant, kept crashing initially. Frustrating.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – which issue do I begin with? This year was the first since 2007 that I didn’t get a copy of the newest iteration of Assassin’s Creed on release day.
I think I’m getting worried that maybe that fire burning in me for about 25 years is going out. Or maybe I’m just getting more cautious, fed up of paying for what sometimes feels like an unfinished product. Is it just me?
That’s it. I’m out. I have just found out, too late, that my Black Ops III preorder is not going to come with the bonuses I was promised, because they were exclusive to a certain retailer – the wrong retailer – but Activision, the publisher, somehow did not communicate it properly.
The bonus in question was a single multiplayer map, Nuketown, that is weirdly popular in Treyarch’s COD games. I hate it, personally, but many others disagree – to such an extent that I was able to claw back half the cost of Black Ops II by selling my Nuketown code on eBay. But not this time, because I ordered from Amazon instead of Game. Never again.
To be fair, I said that last time, when I was faced with almost the exact same thing with another Activision preorder, this time for some extra weapons in Destiny: The
Taken King. I can accept the preorder bonuses and the season passes, to a point. All I ask in return is that publishers fulfil their minimum obligation: delivering the rewards they are actually offering. Doesn’t seem that much to ask, does it?
Here we have three different parts of the same problem, all especially relevant at the busiest game-buying season of the year. We are being asked for more money than ever, earlier than ever, and what we get in return very often doesn’t work as promised or, at worst, doesn’t even exist. Merry Christmas!
What does dialogue mean in games? Surely what it means in every other medium: an exchange of sentences, a conversation, between two or more people. But what does the dialogue actually mean both to the story and gameplay? Even the most crucial story dialogue between our character and other NPCs happens automatically. We watch them speak, utter the sentences, forming dialogues that set up scenes. But we’re not the ones uttering the dialogue. Even in story-driven, your-choices-matter games, dialogue is still automatic, even if we choose what the character will say.
I am working on a voice-controlled game that aims to test that. The player is one of the main protagonists of the story and they communicate with the second protagonist, who is an NPC. In the game you are located in a control room, in an underground facility, now under quarantine lockdown after an accident caused outbreaks of violent behaviour among most of the personnel. Watching the computer monitor, your objective is to help the NPC, a scientist, get to safety by guiding him with voice commands.
This is what I call the gameplay dialogue, the dictation of a small string of words that guide the NPC. But there is also what I call story dialogue, where the player utters the sentence of the story’s script. They are having a conversation with the scientist. They don’t watch the dialogue unfold; they are the ones unfolding it.
How much can we embody a character when we are literally speaking their minds? How much can we care about an NPC if we are talking to them? How can we tell a story via voice recognition? This is what my game aims to find out.
Now, see, what you’ve done here is place a preview of your own game in Edge by disguising it as a letter. Which is pretty cunning. We’ll let you off this once.