DIS­PATCHES DE­CEM­BER

EDGE - - DISPATCHES | DIALOGUE -

No one gets the prize

Af­ter pick­ing up a Switch shortly af­ter launch and be­ing very happy with it so far ( Zelda on the toi­let!) I came to re­alise there was some­thing miss­ing: tro­phies. While I cer­tainly don’t con­sider my­self a tro­phy en­thu­si­ast – I only have two plat­inums out of a li­brary of 40 or so PS4 games – they were very much no­tice­able by their ab­sence and I was happy to hear the news that Nin­tendo were look­ing to in­tro­duce some­thing sim­i­lar in the near fu­ture.

While tro­phies (or achieve­ments, for my Xbox brethren) are de­ci­sive amongst core gamers, I think we can all agree they can en­hance a gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when im­ple­mented cor­rectly. They can also in­stil brand loy­alty: a close friend of mine couldn’t bring him­self to get the PS4 over the Xbox One be­cause of his gamer­score on Xbox 360. He now plays by him­self.

Imag­ine a tro­phy list for Breath Of The Wild that en­cour­ages ex­per­i­men­tal play. I was very con­ser­va­tive for the first 20 or so hours be­fore re­al­is­ing that the game truly lives up to the term sand­box. Think of how many peo­ple played through the whole game with­out any clue as to what is pos­si­ble. How about the re­wards you could earn though win­ning tro­phies? This could be the new Club Nin­tendo, with wall­pa­pers and screen savers for the more ca­sual and maybe even Ami­i­bos for the most ded­i­cated.

And fi­nally, I would love to see tro­phy sup­port added to games on Vir­tual Con­sole. I would be­grudge shelling out for Su­per Mario 64 for the fourth time a lot less if it gave me new chal­lenges to achieve. Phil Eg­gins

“The hunt for tro­phies has of­ten meant de­vi­at­ing from the core ex­pe­ri­ence I wanted”

Well, look. Some of us like the fact that we can just play a game with­out our progress be­ing tracked and mea­sured in of­ten rote, ar­bi­trary ways. Like this Mike fel­low:

The hus­tle

The Switch is a mag­nif­i­cent con­sole, and far from be­ing my ‘sec­ond’ gam­ing de­vice as I thought it would be, it has left my PS4 gath­er­ing dust. Ob­vi­ously Zelda is key here, but other ti­tles such as Arms and Spla­toon 2 have also kept me thor­oughly en­ter­tained. It’s that unique ‘Nin­tendo dif­fer­ence’ that peo­ple tend to men­tion. Nin­tendo’s re­fusal to fol­low in­dus­try norms has also been more charm­ing than frus­trat­ing to me – aside from the whole voice chat thing.

How­ever, re­cent ru­mours of a tro­phy or achieve­ments sys­tem have me wor­ried. Many have been cry­ing out for this for a long time, but the hunt for tro­phies has of­ten meant de­vi­at­ing from the core ex­pe­ri­ence I wanted in the first place. Rather than en­joy the nar­ra­tive and ac­tion of the Un­charted games, I run around look­ing for trea­sures know­ing full well I’ll never find them all. I hate my­self for it, but I can’t stop. The only plat­inum tro­phy I ever got was for Need For Speed: Hot Pur­suit, which in­volved mak­ing friends with peo­ple I have never had any kind of in­ter­ac­tion with since, and tak­ing a pic­ture of a cer­tain car at night. I heard the chime of the plat­inum, but it rang hol­low.

It’s a per­sonal prob­lem in many ways, but how many oth­ers feel the same as me? Breath Of The Wild was an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic and ab­sorb­ing ad­ven­ture which didn’t need tro­phies to ar­ti­fi­cially ex­tend its life­span. Korok seeds should keep com­ple­tion­ists busy enough. I hope we don’t start see­ing tro­phies in Nin­tendo games for triv­ial achieve­ments that dis­tract me from the main event. Mike Wat­son

If we have to pick a side, we’re on yours. Achieve­ments are bril­liant when done well – but they so rarely are. Sadly, your new PS Plus sub­scrip­tion will in­tro­duce you to a year’s worth of ad­di­tional tro­phies. Sorry.

Got to be real

Trans­gen­der pro­tag­o­nists are a rar­ity in videogames, just kid­ding, they don’t ex­ist. It sad­dens me that a medium so de­pen­dent on the idea of choice has so far failed to recog­nise an op­pressed mi­nor­ity who just wants their choice recog­nised. To as­sume this is a con­scious de­ci­sion in the games in­dus­try would be rash. So far I don’t be­lieve the lack of trans­gen­der pro­tag­o­nists, or char­ac­ters for that mat­ter, come from mal­ice. On the con­trary we’ve seen some en­cour­ag­ing signs. Re­cently The Sims 4 in­tro­duced a gen­der-fluid sys­tem where your sim’s abil­ity to have a child does not de­pend on their cho­sen gen­der. Gen­der is a choice, and it’s time the game in­dus­try at large recog­nised that. The time has come for a big­bud­get game, a la Un­charted or Over­watch, to star a trans­gen­der char­ac­ter. Fail­ing to do this would be a blow to the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity, and the LGBT move­ment at large. Over and over videogames have shown us the power of choice – it’s time for them to take the next step. Seth Draeger

We don’t doubt it’s hap­pen­ing be­hind the scenes, but th­ese things take time. Once one stu­dio does it well, oth­ers will surely fol­low.

Baby love

A re­cent let­ter to Edge sug­gested that the magazine would ben­e­fit from some new fea­tures. You’re all too busy play­ing the SNES Mini to think about mun­dan­i­ties like that, so I have some sug­ges­tions for you.

We all know at least one id­iot voted for Brexit be­cause they be­lieved the bus that said leav­ing the EU would fund £350m per week to­wards Half-Life 3: how about an on­go­ing fea­ture on the de­vel­op­ment of the game un­til Valve get so an­noyed that they have no choice but re­lease it?

An­other idea: more fea­tures on the pix­els of par­ent­ing. We are ex­pect­ing a new baby in Oc­to­ber, and so it would be ideal to have a run­down of games that can be played one- handed while bot­tle-feed­ing, and also the do’s and don’ts of play­ing VR while hold­ing a new­born. (In­ter­est­ing fact: we haven’t need to buy a playpen be­cause I’ve got enough raw ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate one with stacks of Edge mag­a­zines). Fi­nally, how about staff writer pro­file pages? Your likes, dis­likes and a big, smi­ley photo. You may as well do it now while you can, be­cause Edge will even­tu­ally be writ­ten by AI any­way.

I’ll be stick­ing with you re­gard­less. As our baby grows big­ger and big­ger, the “Fu­ture of In­ter­ac­tive En­ter­tain­ment” playpen is go­ing to need higher walls. Ben Bul­beck

Thanks, Ben, for that suc­ces­sion of quite ter­ri­ble ideas. Ex­cept the Half-Life 3 thing, any­way. It’s mad, yes, but it might just work.

Don’t leave me this way

I am now in my early 40s, and have in the last year or so fallen out of love with gam­ing in gen­eral. It started slowly in a creep­ing fash­ion; even the games I love just did not give me the same thrill and en­joy­ment as be­fore. I’ve been gam­ing since I was 12 with the Am­strad PCW with Head Over Heels, hav­ing to play us­ing the key­board, me and my brother strug­gling – we never even knew about joy­sticks at the time. We never did com­plete it, even though I printed out a walk­through from Am­strad Ac­tion magazine. It didn’t help: you had to do it all in one sit­ting as you couldn’t save. The golden days. Daniel Cham­bers

We’ll keep this brief, Daniel: head to p98.

I thought it was you

A few months back in E304, I lamented the fact that a fran­tic, slightly un­hinged Nin­tendo was a poor stan­dard bearer for the com­pany’s home­town of Ky­oto, the re­strained and peace­ful Old Cap­i­tal of Ja­pan. My opin­ion has now changed. I have come to re­gard the empti­ness of re­tail spa­ces al­lo­cated to Switch prod­ucts as hav­ing an al­most zen-like qual­ity, the rows of bare shelves, sparsely and ran­domly punc­tu­ated by the odd phys­i­cal copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris, seem­ingly as­pir­ing to the ni­hilis­tic poignancy of a stone gar­den.

At this point the reader might be ex­cused for be­liev­ing that I’m be­ing sar­cas­tic, and I wouldn’t go as far as say­ing that they would be en­tirely mis­taken. How­ever, there is also gen­uine ap­pre­ci­a­tion in my com­ment. I am fed up of the un­in­ter­rupted hail of new ti­tles com­pet­ing for my at­ten­tion (and spare in­come) on other plat­forms. It would be okay if they were just short lit­tle games that could be com­pleted in a few hours, but many are enor­mous beasts: triple-A be­he­moths that re­quire true ded­i­ca­tion to be fully ap­pre­ci­ated. As a re­sult, and with a few no­table ex­cep­tions – such as the sadly un­der­rated Mir­ror’s Edge Cat­a­lyst – I usu­ally end up los­ing in­ter­est af­ter hav­ing com­pleted 10 or 20 per cent of the main story arc. Let’s not even talk about side-quests.

In con­trast, the scarcity of new ti­tles reach­ing Nin­tendo’s lat­est con­sole al­most feels like a bless­ing. Ev­ery new re­lease is like a small event, wor­thy of no­tice if not nec­es­sar­ily fire­works. Faced with the lack of al­ter­na­tives, I even ended up giv­ing Spla­toon

2 a spin and thor­oughly en­joyed it, de­spite my usual loathing of shoot­ers. So, I think the guys from Ky­oto may be wiser than I re­alised: ev­ery Switch game is what a de­li­cious otoro ni­giri is to a tem­pura buf­fet, some­thing to be savoured and re­mem­bered in­stead of wolfed down and for­got­ten.

Now if we could still work on th­ese bub­ble-gum aes­thet­ics and pro­duce some­thing more ma­ture for adult gamers who don’t have a tod­dler re­gres­sion fetish, I’m sure we’d be onto some­thing. Fabrice Saf­fre

There’s some­thing to be said about a nice, steady flow of new releases, rather than the con­stant tsunami found else­where. Speak­ing of which, it’s re­view sea­son, and the mailbag is bulging. Please, some­one, send help.

Is­sue 311

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