What’s this I’m hearing about Game stores attempting to charge for PlayStation VR test sessions? Strike me down, but that doesn’t seem like a very effective method of – for the lack of a better word – ‘selling’ this concept to the general public. In some respects this kind of action is sort of expected from the nation’s least favourite videogame outlet. Their prices for trading in games, for example, often end with me exiting the store with games still in hand.
In all seriousness, I can’t imagine that Sony has given Game its support for doing this. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, especially when Sony is offering the same for free via their very enjoyable Future Of Play UK tour, which I tried out in Bristol.
Obviously, those of us that keep up with the current and topical developments that surround all things gaming and virtual reality through reading this very magazine won’t be in danger of falling for the trick, but my worry goes to all of the innocent mums and dads who may be duped by their younger children. This attempt by Game to make a quick buck has led me to majorly question their ability to work in the gamer’s best interests, and as someone who is still debating whether or not to take the plunge into VR, one thing is for certain: if I do, I won’t be purchasing it from them. Aaron Potter
“At least know what you’re getting. Well, unless you’re getting dodo feathers” We lowered our expectations of the nation’s biggest game retailer a while ago, but this took us by surprise nonetheless. VR gives the high street its first real competitive advantage in years, and Game is throwing it away for the sake of a few fivers. Weird.
Me, myself and I
We agree that videogames can explore difficult questions. BioShock tackled objectivist philosophy, Deus Ex looked at power, Planescape: Torment examined mortality, and dozens of other games tackle as many different themes. But games also raise interesting issues. I don’t mean that they affect players’ opinions or stir up controversy, though of course they do all those things. And I don’t have in mind a philosophy or a critical theory of videogames here. I mean that there is something about videogames that raises unique issues for existing discussions – even those that, on the face of it, have nothing at all to do with videogames.
Here is an example from philosophy and linguistics; it gets very specialist very quickly, but the general details are good enough. The expression ‘I’ appears to have a stable meaning: it appears always to pick out the speaker, but it may pick out different speakers every time it is used. Suppose that Larry and Cheryl each say, “I am playing Dark
Souls”. In each case ‘I’ picks out the speaker, but it picks out Larry in one case and Cheryl in the other. The orthodox view is that this is all ‘I’ does, but there is also a wide variety of counter-examples. Suppose you say, “I’m out of petrol”. You almost certainly mean that your car is out of petrol, not that
you are. The scenarios we have here are distinct: in the first, ‘I’ picks out the speaker; in the second, something other than the speaker. Videogames create a kind of mixed scenario, where from one point of view ‘I’ picks out the speaker, but from another something other than speaker.
Suppose I’m playing Dark Souls and ‘You Died’ flashes up on the screen. I say, “I died”. Obviously we judge that what I say is true. But now ask yourself what ‘I’ identifies here. If it picks out me, then either I’m dead or what I say is false. If it picks out something other than me – say, my avatar in Dark Souls – it seems to take something away from my
failure. It’s as if ‘You Died’ is not something I really need to learn from. So neither the thought that ‘I’ picks out me nor the thought that ‘I’ picks out something other than me sits very comfortably here.
The obvious question now is: what is it about videogames that raises this sort of issue? The answer seems equally obvious: interactivity. It is because videogames involve a real-life object – the player – in simulated environments from which curious issues for existing theories of language, thought and other areas arise. The challenge is to get gamers and theorists to appreciate that there is something very curious going on, and to begin looking at it in more detail. Dr Leo Tarasov
They reminisce over you
Back in October 1993, my only sources of gaming news and opinion came from word of mouth at school and the specialist press. Compared to the constant feed of information we have today, it was a bit of a dark age, but that just made the anticipation of the latest news and reviews so much greater. Of course, the obsession over measures of quality – marks out of ten, percentage scores – was just as evident in 1993, but with more faith placed in the magazines, and less disposable income in our pockets, we had to trust these measures. Today we live in a world where you have to go out of your way to avoid finding out too much about a game, and where leaks and paid exclusives are commonplace. It’s a testament to the quality of magazines such as Edge that readers will still patiently wait for monthly opinions and news while confused rumours and hurried opinions are elsewhere.
Of course, opinions that take their time to emerge aren’t always flawless – everyone has had their Turok 2 moment, after all – and sometimes a game’s true colours won’t become apparent until long after you think you’ve seen everything. In this instance, sometimes it’s better to have a broader range of opinions, because there’s really no accounting for taste. Edge itself has handed out 5s and 6s to games that I’ve considered worthy of higher scores, or been more forgiving over features that might be dealbreakers for other people – but all of this at least helps gamers to have an informed opinion, and when a magazine respects the intelligence of its readership, the readers will respond in kind.
Three-hundred issues on, Edge might still not be for everyone, and that’s fine. Maybe the Internet hivemind can chime with a gamer’s opinion more than a magazine can at times, but when that magazine stands firm in its opinions, likes and dislikes, you at least know what you’re getting. Well, unless you’re getting dodo feathers or a weird Nintendo DS flap on the cover. Then it’s anyone’s guess. Dan Gassis
’93 to infinity
As Edge approaches another landmark, I thought I’d take a moment to think back to issue one and the important role videogames have played in shaping my life. My first exposure to Edge predates E1: a work colleague was friends with a member of the original design team, and gave me a copy of issue zero. I knew it was something special, a publication that could report on my hobby with the maturity and respect it deserved.
In the years before the Internet, Edge was my only source for serious gaming news and I eagerly awaited its arrival, visiting my local newsagent daily as the on-sale day approached and devouring each new issue in a single sitting, before returning again and again to pore over what the Future Of Interactive Entertainment had in store. I’ll admit there’s a part of me that is nostalgic for the mystery and excitement of those pre-Internet days.
Edge was by no means my introduction to gaming. However, E1, published as it was during my early 20s, coincided with my first real disposable income and a growing desire for a more mature approach to gaming.
Indeed, rather than my having grown out of videogames, videogames have grown up with me. More than any other medium they have been the soundtrack to my years and
Edge has been there every step of the way – a consistent presence through the ups and downs of life. The old Edge forum led to lasting friendships and indirectly to meeting my wonderful wife, a non-gamer who has never once begrudged the time and money I have spent on my hobby because she can see the immense pleasure it brings me.
It’s impossible to capture the astonishing artistic and creative trajectory documented in the 299 issues of Edge in this short tribute. But if you had told me in the early ’90s the incredible Ridge Racer arcade visuals on the cover of E3 would soon be coming to home consoles, or the prerendered Wipeout image on the cover of E21 would one day look primitive next to its realtime sequels, I would have probably exploded with excitement.
The idea that gamers across the planet would battle and cooperate with each other in massive online worlds, or that fans would fill stadiums to watch their gaming heroes battle it out on giant screens – it would have seemed about as likely as The Lawnmower Man becoming a reality. Yet here I am, one month from E300 with my PSVR, and I’m 24 all over again. It’s astonishing, I love it, but I also know I’ve been here before. This is just the beginning. E600 is going to be a belter! David Steer
Due to our famous modesty, we have to cast aside dozens of letters consisting of unrelenting praise each and every month, but you’re only 300 once, so we’ll let this one in. Enjoy your New 3DS, David, and thanks for joining us for the ride.
Hmm. Lots of letters from doctors of late. An interesting point, Leo, but would you mind having a quick look at this rash? Come on, Street Fighter III: Third Strike was a 6, as you know full well. As for Turok 2, we simply have no idea what you’re on about.