less is more…

less is more after the break…

less is more…

can someone explain to me why game companies think that we’re complete morons? anyone?

ok, for thief: deadly shadows, we got the argument that smaller levels were actually better levels because they were more detailed & that there was less “dead space.” wasn’t true – they made the smaller levels because the consoles couldn’t handle it & the kiddies couldn’t wrap their brains around a game where you actually had to be patient instead of bursting into a room, guns akimbo.

in the video game, bioshock, we got the argument that the drm (digital rights management) was actually a minor issue because it only affected some supposedly small, minor percentage of people & that most people wouldn’t even notice it. wasn’t true – when you buy a piece of software, you shouldn’t have to be at the mercy of a server to validate that it is really your piece of software, that you shouldn’t feel intimidated because you changed your hardware set-up & that may invalidate your install & you shouldn’t feel relieved when then software company makes a “concession” to grant you more installs to a game that you already own! all this from a game whose hype eventually melted into a dumbed-down, consolized version of “system shock 2.”

in elder scrolls 4: oblivion, we were led to believe in “radiant ai,” an artificial intelligence so powerful that we would believe that these non-player characters (npcs) lived lives entirely separate from our own player character; eating, sleeping, conversing & interacting with the environment as though they were actually real. the reality, of course, was that the programmers bit off far more then they could chew – their radiant ai was so ‘radiant’ that it constantly broke the game in their tests, both in in-game believability & game stability itself to the point where the ai had to be toned down to the point of impotence. ai, as delivered, walked around all day, delivering canned & random conversations, not acknowledging dead people next to them & not interacting with events unless they were scripted to do so (apparently, killing two trolls in front of townspeople isn’t newsworthy enough, nor is an impending crisis of doom from demonic-esque dimensions invading the countryside).

in deus ex 2: invisible war, the new gimmick was “universal ammunition,” where a sort of “ammunition money” was spread around the levels so that bullets for one weapon would cost so much of the money & rocket for another weapon would cost predicatbly more. the feature was presented as being more player-friendly but, in fact, simply turned out to be another concession to the laissez-faire console crowd who didn’t like making tough choices & the level designers who liked making tough choices about ammo placement even less.

i’m not even going to go in-depth about half-life 2’s infamous “episodes,” of which only 2 out of 3 have appeared in the 4 years (yes, 4 years) since half-life 2 debuted. 2 episodes in 4 years does not an “episodic” release make. it would be one thing if the episodes were of old-style expansion-pack length but the excuse of episodes were that there would be more of them &, therefore, each episode could afford to be of shorter length. doom 3’s resurrection of evil expansion-pack, quite frankly, is more of a value then then half-life 2’s episodes in terms of playing time.

you would think that the gaming community would wise up to these blatant falsifications that are so obvious it would make even jaded politicians wince at the utter lack of subtlety. however, the deception not only continues but continues in earnest.

behold, the latest – starcraft 2 is, apparently, just so gosh darn huge that it has to be split into 3 games, 3 games that will each be at full retail price! would you imagine that?!

folks, i’m not glad that i’m aging – after a certain point in your life, you don’t want to age. however, i’m glad that i lived through the era where demos consisted of a healthy chunk of a game, where games generally didn’t contain lethal copy protection schemes that chewed a computer’s operating system to bits & where developers actually tried giving you some value for your dollar because they actually valued your patronage.

sadly, we live in a bastardized age where games are no longer works of art but revenue streams to be manipulated at will by publishers more interested in bottom lines then storylines.

sorry for the rant but if anyone wants to wonder why i increasingly don’t cry myself to sleep because i don’t have the latest aaa-title game… this is only a taste of that reason why.

start making games that not only i care about but you care about as well, start placing them at a price that doesn’t shred my budget, stop hyping your game as though it were the messiah itself (because we all know that it isn’t) & stop putting ridiculous copy protection on your software that stops absolutely, positively no one!



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