Thursday, March 26, 2009

Making Fun Obsolete

You are old and slow, Pac Man

I've just read a glowing review of Street Fighter IV (SFIV), recently released on (I think) XBox360 and Playstation3. It struck me that a 2d fighting game can get a 9+ out of 10 rating in a landscape dominated by 3d games. I'm sure at least some of the execs and designers behind SFIV would have preferred they abandon their 2d roots and make a 3d fighting game like all the other top fighters in the 21st century. That would've, of course, been a horrible mistake. The Street Fighter franchise now stands alone as the last great 2d fighting franchise, and a seemingly profitable one at that. Well done, Capcom.

Will there be a Street Fighter V? Will it be 2d as well? My guess is yes and yes. It may be that Street Fighter carries the torch of A-List 2d Fighters to the end of the genre's line. My money's on it, actually. Will anyone try to duplicate their success? Probably, but now that Street Figher is *the* 2d fighter, I doubt the public has any need for another. I also doubt there is the will among developers to try and create a "Street Fighter" killer-type game, designed to knock it off it's 2d fighter throne. There's just easier targets to hit.

Is the 2d fighter, in the form of the Street Fighter franchise, the oldest viable gaming genre? Older game archtypes like the maze game (PacMan), shooters (194x, Galaga, Tempest), seem to have run their course. All that can be done within the framework of those games has been done, it seems. Unlike 2d fighters, driving games, and platform games, some old games didn't have a way to grow as computers became more powerful. I think 3d games, both exploration and shooters replace those older game-types rather than enhance them. The old games were fun, but new games are more fun. The "new and improved" treatment either failed (most new Sonic games), or transformed the game so completely that it no longer resembles the original (Metroid).

If you love the old games, as I do, they are still there. That's all that really matters.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Twist and Shout!

Seth Godin once again transforms the obvious into the practical (making me wonder why it isn't easier to do.)

The pillars of social media site success

By Seth Godin

Why people choose to visit online social sites:

  • Who likes me?
  • Is everything okay?
  • How can I become more popular?
  • What's new?
  • I'm bored, let's make some noise

None of these are new, but in the digital world, they're still magnetic.

If you want to understand why Twitter is so hot, look at those five attributes. They deliver all five, instantly.

Is this everything? If not, it covers a lot. In the case of virtual worlds, making noise isn't the only solution to "I'm bored", but it's a great one. Boredom is the thing ourWorld players complain about the most, at least to each other. Perhaps they need a few more chains to bang around with. I'm not sure I've considered the ability to be heard and seen as a primary solution to the boredom problem, but it might be the key to it all.


They are so Ghey

I think this is very, very cool.

Aeria Games Adds Same-Sex Marriage To Dream of Mirror Online

Anyone who's spent any time in a virtual world knows that in-game 'romantic' relationships are as common as tails on squirrels. As a moderator for a teen-centric site, there are all sorts of aspects of these relationships that concern me greatly. In most cases, it doesn't matter what I think.

Its also concerns me that we have to ban the words "gay" and "lesbian" from the ourWorld chat because we don't trust our players enough to use the words in a positive light. Even a quick review of the chat logs shows that our fears are well founded. Both "gay"and "lesbian" are used almost exclusively as insults, thrown around with disturbing regularity (While technically filtered, it's easy to misspell a word radically enough to defeat any filter: ghey, g4y, qay, ga7, etc.)

For a game to look past all that and officially sanction same sex marriage is very, very cool to me. It shows that while many players haven't grown up regarding sexual preference, at least one game company has.


Monday, March 23, 2009


Facebook users are up in arms about the new, 'terrible', format. I can see why. I don't think I like it, either.

rom Slate Magazine:
But eventually we adjust. Over the next few weeks, you'll probably grow increasingly comfortable with the new Facebook. You'll discover the path of least resistance to get to the stuff you like best, and you'll learn ways to tame the noise coming from everyone in your network. (The site allows you to block certain people's updates from appearing on your home page; over time, you can expect Facebook to add more refined ways to filter what shows up.) Soon you'll also forget much of what you loved about the old site. In a month or two, the new Facebook will come to seem like home.
While I generally agree with this, I think Facebook may face another side of this problem. The new version requires a lot of attention. A LOT. I may grow tired of it at an accelerated pace, because as compelling as Facebook can be, I do not expect it to become essential.
I can quit any time I want to, I just don't want to.