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Feb 2008 11

PC Gaming is Dead!

Games

Sorry it's been a while since I posted, I've been very sick. This years flu has was nasty, and as such I was as sick as I have ever been. It's been over two weeks and I'm still sniffly and coughing up gouts of lung butter.. Mmm Tasty..

As many of you know I play a lot of games. Specifically PC games. You name it and there is a good chance I have played it. Lately it really does seem like games for the PC are starting to fail me. Now, I don't think PC gaming is dead, I used that as a bait and switch.. but I do think its suffering right now and needs some serious help.

The majority of games for the PC have focused on one thing and one thing only, graphics! The big developers seem to be of the opinion that the bigger and better the graphics the better the game! They couldn't be more wrong. Graphics don't make the game, in fact they can either help or hinder. An extremely good game can be hindered by having stupidly high graphical requirements making the game unplayable by the masses.. thus it comes off as a failure. See Crysis.

The most graphically impressive game engine of 2007 (and probably of all time) was the Crytek engine used in the game Crysis. Easily. When it comes right down to it, this engine should win all awards ~ when it comes to graphical kick-assery and go faster striping, this engine beats all.

Having said that, I can't wait for a good game to be made with it -- it will rock. Which is to say, Crysis as a game was merely "feh". I'm not going to go into all of it's failings but suffice it to say, I wasn't thoroughly impressed by the game.

And I think I wasn't the only one. Its extremely high graphical requirements was a huge barrier to entry. Add to that the lack-luster game play and you can see why they only sold around 86 thousand units in the US, making it a commercial failure. It'd be interesting to see the numbers comparing cost of development versus profit.

I really wish developers would stop trying to push the graphical envelop and actually focus on game play! Game play is king! If the game play sucks, then the graphics are wasted. You can dress up "suck" all you want and in the end you just have pretty "suck".

For my money the best game of 2007 was Portal. Period. (If you haven't at least tried it, you're wrong.) This game had an extremely simple premise and it was quite enjoyable. It's only failing, and I think everyone will agree, was that it was somewhat short. This game goes a long way towards epitomizing my point though; game play > graphics!

While the HL2 engine can be ramped up to output some impressive stuff, they really didn't use any of that in Portal. In fact they kept it down right plain to the point of sterility and incorporated that "theme" into the game.

Another game that is coming along nicely that I think promises to be good is Battlefield Heroes. I have been a long time fan of the Battlefield franchise, and still play 2142 quite a lot. What DICE and EA are doing with Heroes seems clever to me and should go a long way in helping bring some gamers back to the PC. This game really does seem to have the small game and the big game in mind. Not only is it your standard first person shooter, but it seems like its going to have a bigger picture that is more "Risk" like. Players will progress similar to the other Battlefield games but this time you do it with "money" earned which allow you to buy prestige..etc..

Plus they are applying some game techniques usually reserved for MMO's, and thats the ability to customize your toon. Oh yes, its cartoony in nature. A very stylistic game play reminiscent of Valves Team Fortress 2, but they say not a direct clone and that they had actually designed their stuff prior to TF2 coming out. shrug okay.. Whatever.. I don't care if its a direct clone.. if its fun I'm for it.

The most amazing thing is that they are releasing the game for free! Er.. wait.. EA?! Free?! Clearly John Riccitiello has gone insane and wants to go the way of Probst! haha Or he has given his underlings a freehand and they have had a stroke of genius.. Time will tell there..

I mean it makes sense.. if you give something away for free, and its so good it brings people in.. you can market it in and monetize it in a dozen different ways.. CoughGoogleCough

Either way I think its good! I wish other game developers would take notice.

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