Edge readers share their opinions; one wins a year’s PS+ subscription
A few years ago, I went to both California and New York for the first time. When I arrived I felt a remarkable sense of familiarity, despite being in places that should have felt totally alien.
It wasn’t just the recognition of famous landmarks – I’d been to Paris and Milan the same year, and didn’t get the same feeling at all. I realised that the reason I felt as though I’d been there before was because I had been to those places. I’d explored the concrete playground of Liberty City in GTAIV and the hazy landscape of the West coast in Red Dead Redemption from the comfort of my living room.
I might not have noticed it at the time of playing them, but these games had managed to evoke a sense of place far more than cinema or literature ever could. That’s because I actually felt like I experienced those environments, memories which came flooding back once I set foot there for real. Rockstar had made multisensory locations that I could explore in a way that’s unique to gaming, and breathe in everything from the soundscape to the pace of life.
I recently completed Battlefield 1 and was struck by a similar effect. Although I’d read books and watched films about World War I, perhaps shamefully it was only after finishing the campaign in DICE’s latest blockbuster that the full force of those horrors really hit me. I hadn’t learnt anything new, but something about the experience of playing the game meant that I was almost moved to tears as I tried to comprehend the utter devastation and sorrow that those poor men had to suffer a century ago.
I think the industry has reached a level of graphical and thematic maturity that makes agency matter much more than it used to. There’s a new opportunity for game designers to craft experiences that echo real-life places and events in more meaningful ways than ever before. So maybe it won’t be David Cage that finally makes the first game to make us cry, but a playable Siegfried Sassoon poem instead. Joel Windels At the moment we want to escape the abominations that manifest themselves outside of our windows every day, not evoke them when we’re trying to be entertained. Even New Donk City has us yearning for the Mushroom Kingdom right now.
Lately, I have become wildly out of touch with gaming. I have a huge backlog of games, I’ve become jaded with release prices and DLC schedules, and I’m ten issues behind with Edge (sorry about that). I have resorted to snippets of Destiny and slowly crawling my Light level up, which is now at 388. As is common among the letters on this page, however, my lack of gaming time can be attributed to one thing: the arrival of my first child, a beautiful girl, last year. Raising a child sounds like the antithesis of gaming, and that is mostly what I read in these pages, but I don’t think that is the case. All gaming folk should be well prepared for the task.
For a start, babies are released unfinished. They will have bugs well into their first few months, will require constant additions in that period and they lack many features that they will eventually gain (I’d complain to the developer, but that seems ungrateful). Then there is the initial grind: changing nappies and clothes, mopping things up, the constant repetition for minimal results that just has to be done in order to even get to Level 1, which takes a whole year. Any RPG player can relate.
But then you get into the core of the task, and it becomes addictive. New skills are added on a regular basis that change all the
“It was only after finishing the campaign that the full force of those horrors really hit me”
dimensions: crawling, giggling, teeth. The level of interactivity increases and the future schedule seems tantalising. My girl has just started crawling, but eventually she will walk, then talk, then start throwing things around and maybe one day become a tennis player. The potential is huge.
So as she crawls along, reaches for a squishy animal and manages to grab it, I can see the task for the simple patrol mission that it is: a small step, but another step towards bigger, better things. One day she will do the raid. Ambrus Veres Sure, sure. You will get in touch again once your daughter starts teething, won’t you?
Well, there it is. Before the conference, I was all in. I wanted Nintendo’s full force behind it. Indies to flock to it just as they’ve done with PS4. I wasn’t expecting a force of major thirdparty developers, but at this point, it looks like the Wii U will have had more support. And that’s saying something. I wanted the Switch to be my main gaming system. I was content with leaving my PS4 just for exclusives. Now, I’m thinking of upgrading to a PS4 Pro with the cash I’ve saved up and maybe picking up a 2DS-style barebones version of Switch that actually comes with the good controller down the line someday, on the cheap.
I honestly am still reeling from the disappointment I felt after watching that conference. I can’t believe just how deflated I am about Switch. There is just a profound sadness hanging in the air. At least Wii U games should be getting cheaper soon… Ben McManus If it helps, you’re just one of many to write in to share Switch-related woes. We suspect, though, that the most disappointed among us are only so down because we’re all going to buy it at launch anyway, whatever the cost. There’s your Nintendo difference.
I can’t be the only one who thinks that, as an industry, we’re getting ever closer to the end of conventional press conferences as we know them. Hardware and software announcements aside, if the Switch reveal event proved anything, it’s that the concept of an unrelatable businessman spewing facts, figures and intentions simply doesn’t make for an interesting watch. Especially when you consider the latter, and the fact that some titles these days aren’t in fact fortunate enough to ever grace our screens (RIP
Scalebound). Going forward we need to establish an alternative method.
Metaphorically walking into the Nintendo event I was hoping to experience a fun and poppy show akin to the excellent display PlayStation is able to deliver audiences every year with PSX. Instead what we got was a very dimly lit and unenthusiastic display with some very vibrant trailers in between, which made for an awkward shift in tone. Granted, there were language barriers this time around and technological workarounds needed to solve them, but c’mon, the big three need to ask themselves who’s more important: shareholders or fans? Aaron Potter You probably shouldn’t ask the question, because you won’t like the answer. Sony’s ‘For The Players’ line has served it well this generation, but it didn’t help the employees of Guerrilla Cambridge, closed now because it didn’t show enough profit potential.
In a letter in E302, Leo Tarasov speculated that we cannot, in fact, be living in a simulation because there aren’t enough glitches. Specifically, he cited the dumb behaviour of non-player characters in games; guards that ignore gushing wounds, for example, or Grand Theft Auto pedestrians that calmly stand in the path of oncoming juggernauts before becoming an oblivious, scarlet paste.
Surely, Tarasov argues, if we were living in a Matrix-style facsimile, we’d see ridiculous behaviour from non-player characters and logical glitches all the time as the system strains to generate a believable reality.
Well, in a year that brought Brexit and Trump, it’s pretty obvious that everyone has been making stupid, illogical decisions left and right, without the slightest regard for their own wellbeing.
It’s not just NPCs acting stupid, either. Consider the law enforcement in most games; if you bump into a passer-by in Red
Dead Redemption, the sheriff will hunt you to the ends of the earth, but the same sheriff won’t bat an eyelid if you ritually slaughter a prostitute in the town square. In my old saved game of Skyrim, there’s a city where the guards are still after my head because I tried to intervene in a mugging in 2012.
Do draconian law-enforcement techniques, implemented with little provocation, and a callous disregard for the rights of women in general and sex workers in particular sound familiar to anyone else? I’m beginning to suspect that the glitches in our Matrix are evident, just slightly more subtle than we’d been expecting.
I’m not saying that this proves I’m the protagonist of some vast, intergalactic version of The Sims, you understand. But it’s looking increasingly likely. Especially if my letter gets printed. Luke Haines OK, now we’re just scared. Did we really decide to award you a year’s free PlayStation Plus subscription, or were we guided by some higher power? Either way, it’s yours.
Why in Hype does the origin of the games get recorded, but you don’t show the information in Play? Richard Stratton You’ll be wanting cheat POKEs with your reviews next. (Ask an elderly relative.)