Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Nintendo, *facepalm*

Coming back from my holiday, I felt like a little child, wondering what gifts I could expect on Christmas day as I eagerly searched the net for what had been announced for the Wii at E3. It is now very clear that Nintendo has become a beacon of horrific disappointment, playing the same song over and over again. I myself am now become a broken record as I say it for the trillionth time, what the hell is the Wii for?

Most of the advertising these days seems to be depicting gyrating mums and dads or children who have been torn out of a yogurt advert. None of them are depicting the slightly sweaty average guy who is screaming at his Wii, telling it to do something new as so many of us are. There is a decent amount of good games on the Wii, but the recent two offerings of Mario Kart and Smash Bros are starting to wear a bit thin.

Mr Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto has finally gone insane, and instead of coming up with something sensible, like an overweight plumber chasing dinosaurs, he is going to give the hoards of fans Wii Music. With this you can simulate playing drums with two Wii remotes, definitely making you look like you wished you had Rock Band. Whilst I have complained about games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero milking the fact that they are built around peripherals, they are fun because you do not need to imagine the drums or guitars.

I honestly believe that it is just a matter of time before Nintendo towers can not see natural light through its windows due to the stupid amount of money it is hauling in. Unfortunately this means that it might not be able to see the uprising coming when the crowed wants Zelda or Pikmin and then Ninty announce 'Wii Cook' or 'Wii Wash' or 'Wii Want Your Money'. E3 was a wasted opportunity for Ninetendo who honestly seem to be grinding a studded boot into the groins of all those loyal fans who made it what it was today.

The only feint glimmer of hope that left me with some sign of promise for the little white box that wants to be everyones friend was some new footage of Mad World, which wasn't even a Nintendo announcement.

I am honestly getting tired of flogging this dead horse, but no matter how much everyone who considers themselves a half way decent Nintendo gamer screams into the sky, it just seems that this trend of mediocrity is set to continue. Why pay a developer a lot of money to make a ground pounding title, when you can take a rubbish game that can be made in flash, but give it motion control so that the new audience of bored house wives and those with a control pad phobia will buy up every copy?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Taking some time out

I'm barely back two weeks when I'm taking yet another two week break from writing this seven-daily piece. "Oh no!", I hear the nameless hoards of the internet yelling. The reason for this is that I am going on holiday, escaping from the seemingly endless water fight that the clouds seem to be waging on England to somewhere a lot warmer. This two week getaway however will whisk me away from the gaming world, and many of the things I enjoy doing.

This isn't something that I am worried about because I am semi-normal and there are big bottles of beer where I am going. It does however mean that I shall be missing the big announcements coming up at E3 this July. This means that I will still have no idea why I should continue to support my Wii, after a long time of the little white box, tugging on my trousers wanting attention but doing the same old tricks. My hope is for a new Zelda title, but that could just be wishful thinking at this moment in time.

Another issue is my EVE obsession, which despite not logging in for a while, I still pay for religiously when the magic direct debit fairies lift the notes out of my bank account each month. Due to the game's system of training skills in real time, even when offline, I need to find a skill that will hold out for the two week period, and not expire before I return, just to get the most out of what I am paying for. I am also ashamed to admit that I am guilty of getting up at stupid times in the early hours to change a skill to minimise on potential time lost. It is an addiction, but unlike cocaine, I only lose bits of my nose if I am using the mouse in a seriously wrong way. I will have a tiny fix available however, as I was given the EVE novel to read over the holidays, which hopefully won't make me want to fill my eyes with sand and vomit up blood stained pearls.

I suppose that I will not be completely isolated from games, as my DS will probably be accompanying me. This said however, I have no idea what new game to buy, as the current chart toppers seem to be things like sight training and interactive cook books. Hardly the Metal Gear Solid and Super Smash Bros. style of gaming that I am accustomed to, in the age of extended audiences. Last year I made the mistake of buying Animal Crossing for the little folding machine, and got very bored and angry with it after accidentally destroying the turnip I had been nurturing for a week. I would consider getting Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, but putting control 100% in the stylus is not an idea that I am comfortable with.

At the end of the day, I can live without games. I am going somewhere with plenty of sun, sea and beer, which should let my hands un-tense from the claws that gaming has grafted for me, meaning that I can come back and ruin them again after two weeks. This of course means that I will not be here to rave, rant and hint at anything game related, but the good people at Gamesradar seem to have that front covered if you need somewhere to go for it whilst I am gone. I suspect however, that if you were able to navigate the sickening beast that the internet has become to get here, you probably have a lot more interesting things bookmarked for your attention anyway. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

I got a taste of a real job

Hey all. Two weeks with no entries, and I am almost positive that nobody missed me. For everyone who had their fingers twitching by the phone, waiting to call the authorities because someone on the internet went quiet, I am quite safe and just recently returned from an awesome work experience placement at PC Zone.

Life in a magazine newsroom is quite interesting. If you are expecting it to look anything like the Daily Bugle from the various incarnations of Superman, then you clearly believe that the world is a more interesting place than it really is. Truth be told, it was a really good atmosphere, filled with some genuinely funny, friendly people who made me feel like I was part of the team, rather than the temporary tea lady.

The job is definitely a fun one from what I have seen. When I went there, I was writing the odd review about games that I am fairly sure you will not care to play unless you are a huge fan of the relatively unknown titles I was given. It did give me a chance however to try and improve on my writing, something that I always strive to do. I realise this is probably not the most interesting thing I could be writing about this week, what with Diablo III recently announced and such, and that a writer who is trying to improve his writing is probably about as strange as an engineer trying to design a boat that floats.

I know to many it might seem like the best job in the world, and to others, it might not seem like much of a job at all, but like all jobs, it also has its fair share of downsides. Just like any publication, deadlines will often bend you over a barrel and try to make you a 'special friend', but this is emphasised even more, when you meeting the deadline, is dependant on third parties making their's. When I was there, everything seemed to go relatively smoothly, but if a game developer is releasing a game a week after you go to publish, and you are stuck without a review code, things can start to look darker than the shoe box you buried your hamster in.

All in all, it was a very good experience, and I am very happy that I was given the opportunity to do it. I know this sounds like a very vain arse kissing session, but I really did have a lot of good times there.

Something that is playing on my mind however is the future of games journalism. I am still more than happy to spend five or six quid on a decent video games magazine, where the writing has gone through some sort of quality assurance tests, and wasn't written in crayon by a ranting lunatic. The internet has many of these, who can happily give you all of the information and a review of a game that at least conveys half of the message of what to expect when booting it up. This means that people who are prepared to pay for the information, even if it is put across coherently, are becoming few and far between, making the future of decent publications as hazy as the moors of Scotland after you have merrily downed a bottle of absinthe.

As no one has quite figured out how to make decent money from information on the internet, where anything can be found out relatively easily for free, all it takes is for enough of the good writers to go rogue and online, before the system collapses and magazines go so far south they are geographically north again. Also, it is clear that TV does not hold the answers, ever since Dominic Diamond ran off somewhere with the disembodied head of Patrick Moore, leaving behind many shows that tried but never could.