Blogged Out: Controllers, Drugs, Retro Revenge

Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week, we visit J...
Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week, we visit Jason Booth, Jamie Fristrom, and 'Big G', for a multitude of new conversations. - Amid the crunch-time grumbling, there is one constant among the game development blogs: thoughts about game controllers, and all the implications that Nintendo's new beast has for games. Jason Booth, now working for Harmonix Music Systems, wonders if any new games will actually arise from new controllers, or whether it is more about enabling already existing ways of play: "Nintendo has been all about new controllers lately, though truth be told they have always led the pact in new controller technology. And while they've been touting this as a way to create new game play, it really isn't. What it does is create new avenues to experience existing game play, and new ways for players to feel an intrinsic connection with the game. And given my recent experiences, I find that to be a powerful proposition worth considering." - Meanwhile, Jamie Fristrom has been playing EVE Online, thinking about MMOs, and reconsidering that all-too-common 'games are drugs' metaphor: "I love the idea of MMO's...but I've yet to find one I like. I have a theory why this is. They call it "Evercrack" - but it's not. If anything, console games are the crack. You buy the DVD (or "vial"), you put it in the console (or "crack pipe"), and you get an intense, but short, game experience (or "high"). Ten to twenty hours of gaming later you come down, and need to buy another vial. Much like the crack market, the executives keep all the money from the console games and the foot soldiers live with their mothers." MMOs, meanwhile, are a subtler habit, perhaps one that doesn't impinge on you in the same way. But remember, kids: all of language is metaphorical! - Finally, this month we've been reading a lot of commentary regarding the Revolution, from Los Angeles-based developer 'Big G' (who is that guy?), who courts controversy by suggesting that creativity is 'unnecessary', in a train of thought that in some ways echoes Booth's attitudes towards new controllers: "In talking to many people about the Nintendo Revolution, the main selling point is not the controller. It's the backwards compatibility. Everyone is excited about playing classic Nintendo games over again. If you look at a lot of titles these days, everyone is jumping on the re-releasing bandwagon: Midway Arcade Treasures 1-3, Taito Legends, Sonic Gems/Mega Collection, Sega Classics Collection, Tecmo Classic Arcade, Namco Museum, Intellivision Lives, Capcom Classics Collection, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, and the list keeps going on and on. Nintendo, always ahead of the trends, was pioneering this with "Super Mario All Stars" for the Super Nintendo, long before the current re-release craze. So, this leads me to believe that we as game developers no longer need to make new content. We just need to repackage old good games and sell them over again." Well, we'd just be happy with an updated console version of Speedball 2. Right, that's enough for unexpected drug references this week - see you next Friday. [Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK – his game journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times.]

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