Edge read­ers share their opin­ions; one wins a year’s PlaySta­tion Plus

Dia­logue

EDGE - - SECTIONS - Send your views, us­ing ‘Dia­logue’ as the sub­ject line, to edge@fu­turenet.com. Our let­ter of the month wins a year’s subscription to PlaySta­tion Plus, cour­tesy of Sony In­ter­ac­tive En­ter­tain­ment

Off switch

I own a Switch. I was sold from day one. Even if they had a Wii U-style mis­fire again, I would’ve en­joyed my time with the Switch. I’m happy with its suc­cess and I’m glad this con­sole is get­ting more games with much more en­thu­si­asm for the platform than Nin­tendo’s ever had with past con­soles. That said, even with all its suc­cess: I don’t want ev­ery­thing com­ing to the platform. Nei­ther Nin­tendo con­soles nor the player base are prop­erly served with highly com­pro­mised ports. Sat­u­rat­ing the platform with two-year-old games and flood­ing the eShop with tons of indies: it be­comes a prob­lem that the Wii ran into where the quan­tity drowns the qual­ity.

And as some­one who’s used Nin­tendo con­soles as the main con­sole in the house, I want to see third­party de­vel­op­ers mak­ing games with the same care and craft as Nin­tendo does. This would mean ac­tu­ally un­der­stand­ing the con­sole’s lim­its and de­sign­ing around it with­out com­pletely com­pro­mis­ing their own con­tent just to see it run. No­body wants a game like that, and no­body should have to pay for it.

I think there is go­ing to be a stel­lar fu­ture for the Switch, but it would be a shame if it ran the path of the Wii and Wii U: a golden path for Nin­tendo only be­cause third­par­ties would rather flood the mar­ket. Ken­neth Wes­ley Fair up to a point, but now we’ve been nursed through a 13-hour flight by por­ta­ble Skyrim, we’re not sure we agree. If Switch con­tin­ues to sell at its cur­rent rate, though, devs will have no alternative but to aban­don the quick cash-ins and sup­port it prop­erly.

Guns out

With the lat­est mass shoot­ing (hope­fully still Park­land, by the time you read this), is it fi­nally time for videogames to take a good look at them­selves?

My knee-jerk re­ac­tion is a com­mon one: videogames are ob­vi­ously not, in any way, to blame for vi­o­lent acts! But our en­trenched re­luc­tance to even have a dis­cus­sion is lit­tle bet­ter than the at­ti­tude of the Sec­ond Amend­ment en­thu­si­asts.

A game can­not shoot some­one, but a gun is just a tool; and can­not evoke an emo­tional re­sponse like a game can. We can de­fend our hobby, our pas­sion, and still con­duct a thor­ough self-ex­am­i­na­tion. John Nor­ris We hope it’s still Park­land by the time you read this too, John. There is ab­so­lutely a sen­si­ble dis­cus­sion to be had about the lev­els of vi­o­lence in con­tem­po­rary games. Un­for­tu­nately, none of the peo­ple that want to have said dis­cus­sion are ac­tu­ally sen­si­ble.

“I want to see de­vel­op­ers mak­ing games with the same care and craft as Nin­tendo”

New hori­zons

It’s been more than a year al­ready since I moved from Italy (I’m no na­tive speaker) to the UK to work in videogame lo­cal­i­sa­tion. Not the best time to re­lo­cate to the for­mer Al­bion Em­pire, you might ar­gue, but here I am, un­daunted.

I was (pos­i­tively) sur­prised to see how game prices can be sig­nif­i­cantly lower here com­pared to my na­tive coun­try. Big se­cond­hand re­tail stores al­lowed me also to get a retro com­pat­i­ble Wii and a re­spectable bunch of Game­cube clas­sics, Eter­nal Dark­ness in­cluded (I never got a Game­cube back then)! Then, one day, as I was head­ing to Italy for the Christ­mas holidays, I started brows­ing some videogame magazines at the air­port. I don’t know for what as­tro­log­i­cal rea­sons I had ab­so­lutely never heard of Edge be­fore, but af­ter get­ting the last three is­sues of 2017, I went for the an­nual subscription.

You are prob­a­bly used to get­ting praise, so

I am go­ing to fo­cus on the cou­ple of things I per­son­ally find great. The first one is the qual­ity of the in­ter­views and spe­cial ar­ti­cles which never fail to ap­pear in ev­ery is­sue, giv­ing us the chance to get to know the peo­ple be­hind the cre­ativ­ity and will to en­ter­tain (and more, of course). The sec­ond one… well, an Ital­ian would say, “Edge looks at no one’s face” – an id­iomatic ex­pres­sion mean­ing you don’t check who you are ad­dress­ing be­fore say­ing what you think. It’s a del­i­cate mat­ter, and I am quite sure I’ve over­hit my char­ac­ter re­stric­tion a long time ago, so I will fin­ish by say­ing that it was very nice to find an ed­i­to­rial staff able to jot down their thoughts with­out sec­ond guess­ing them­selves. At least, this is the im­pres­sion I got. Keep up the good work, and thanks for help­ing me to en­large my lex­i­cal draft­ing board. Luca Rungi Wel­come, Luca – and thanks for the kind words. Not to tempt fate, but it’s been a while since we’ve had any real vit­riol in the

Edge post­bag. Ei­ther we’re fi­nally get­ting some­where, or they’ve tired them­selves out.

On the pile

Ev­ery gamer with a fam­ily and a mort­gage knows only too well the law that states the num­ber of games in your li­brary is in­versely pro­por­tional to the free time avail­able to ac­tu­ally play them.

It seems churl­ish to com­plain about hav­ing too many games to play or too much choice, but I am some­times over­whelmed by the ex­po­nen­tial ex­pan­sion of me­dia con­tent. Maybe this comes across as trite nos­tal­gia but I miss the days when I would buy a game, fin­ish it and then trade it for an­other. Each game got the at­ten­tion it de­served. My gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence now is much more frac­tured.

I have a sim­i­lar prob­lem with mu­sic. With my Ama­zon Mu­sic subscription I have ac­cess to about 40 mil­lion songs; I’m dis­cov­er­ing tons of new mu­sic but I don’t en­gage with it in the same way I did when I used to buy five or six al­bums a year.

My son was given an Xbox One for his tenth birth­day re­cently and had 150 games ready for down­load the first time he switched it on (a re­sult of hav­ing linked his ac­count with his el­der brother). One hun­dred and fifty!! Some­times he’ll stare at the Home screen for a full ten min­utes, paral­ysed by the amount of choice, be­fore aban­don­ing the con­sole to watch other peo­ple play games on YouTube.

Fre­quently he’ll look at me and ask, “What game should I play, Dad?” I glimpse a fu­ture where en­ter­tain­ment me­dia con­tent has reached crit­i­cal mass and we will all need a per­sonal AI to tell us what we should play, watch or lis­ten to. Chris Davis We sense an op­por­tu­nity here for an Edge

pow­ered smart as­sis­tant to help you make dif­fi­cult gam­ing choices. As­sum­ing you’re fine with only ever be­ing told to play

Over­watch or Puz­zle & Drag­ons, that is. Oh, and sorry to add to the pile, but we’re afraid you just won a PlaySta­tion Plus sub.

Shed end

It’s been a par­tic­u­larly tough year so far for UK re­tail. Maplin and Toys R Us have bit­ten the dust, and seem un­likely to be the last. Many stores seem to have been just sort of ex­ist­ing for the past few years, with low in­ter­est rates re­duc­ing the pres­sure to make any ac­tual profit.

Now the bub­ble, if you can call it that, is burst­ing, how long has UK videogame re­tail got? Like most Edge read­ers, I ex­pect, I don’t use high-street re­tail for my game pur­chases, be­cause I’ve had my fin­gers burnt one too many times in the past. Eye-wa­ter­ing prices, poor stock of any­thing but the new­est games, and the dreaded up­sell at the till have kept me away for years. I re­cently stuck my head round the door of the lo­cal Game, and it was more of a videogame-mer­chan­dise store than an ac­tual videogame re­tailer, with a win­dow dis­play full of stolen phones. It’s get­ting harder and harder to see the point in it.

But I know that when the time fi­nally comes, I’ll miss it. Games are too im­por­tant to not have a home on the high street, even if that home smells bad and never seems to have the thing you’re look­ing for. Is the writ­ing on the wall for the high-street game store? If there’s still time to save it, what needs to hap­pen? James Wil­son Well, you’d need to start spend­ing money there, and so would we all – which, let’s face it, isn’t go­ing to hap­pen. It’s a bru­tal time for re­tail, but let’s not for­get that the com­pa­nies cur­rently dy­ing did an aw­ful lot of killing in their day, and maybe their demise will open the door for small, pas­sion­ate, prin­ci­pled indies to re­turn.

Real talk

The last time I wrote in, ten-odd years ago, my email was some­how repli­cated across three or four is­sues, for some fault or other. The cynic I am, I blamed the con­tent of it, ARGs, for this fault. Th­ese alternative-re­al­ity games, so pop­u­lar in the mid to late ’00s (our post- Ma­jes­tic world) were con­stantly utilised as ways of ex­cit­ing us about games ( Halo 2) or TV shows (Lost).

It seems now in the era or direct ad­dress, with Twit­ter et al at the fore­front of our con­sump­tive society, that th­ese more sub­tle and sub­ver­sive ways of en­gag­ing with an au­di­ence have died out. It’s a shame as out­side of an ac­tual game com­mu­nity th­ese felt like the best way to en­gage and con­nect an au­di­ence to­gether.

Is there any hope for the ARG? Martin Hol­lis If you want our re­sponse to this, you’ll need to take the first let­ter of the third word from the fourth line of body copy on each right-hand page for the next 12 is­sues of Edge. Then, we will have wasted roughly as much of your time as Lost did of ours.

Is­sue 317

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