The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video Games 08.17.04

There’s a word
*and the word is news
and it’s right for us
*It’s right for us
And the word is news

Oh, yes, we’re back
*unless the Pun Police catch up with you first
Me? They’d have to arrest half the Pulse staff before they got to me…
*Regardless. It’s Tuesday, this is The Hitchhiker’s Guide, I’m Marvin, he’s Misha, and here we go

News

Doom 3: Delayed AGAIN!!!

Current word from iD is that the X-Box version of Doom 3 is likely to be delayed. Speaking to CNN Money, CEO Todd Hollenshead emphasised the importance of “perfectly balanced gameplay”, and suggested that it might not be possible to release the X-Box version of the gam until 2005 without making quality sacrifices (which, according to Hollenshead, iD are to prepared to make).

Marvin: And what were we saying about Vapourware?
Misha: Though from what I hear, X-Box owners aren’t missing much…

credit: spong.com

Even Arwings have flight delays…

Reports are emerging that Nintendo’s new Star Fox/Star Wing (delete according to local preference) has been pushed back from its original November 2004 release date to to “some time in 2005”. No other information has emerged at this time, either about the game, or the reason for the delays

Marvin: Honestly. Is that the BEST you can do?
Misha: HEY! It’s been a slow news week. Anyway, this is legitimate news, even if it’s only snippet

credit: GamesAreFun

Swedish prisons vs Sony

The Swedish press reports that the national prison service has revoked prisoner’s rights to use of PS2s. Apparently, some prisoners had reverse-engineeered their consoles to include mobile telephones on the sides, and there were concerns that the devices could be used in conjunction with memory cards to transmit information to the outside: information that might be used to assist in jailbreaks. The moves come after two recent escapes, which were aided by accomplicies from outside.

Misha: Yes, it’s a VERY slow news week. But the good thing about being at InsidePulse that that we get a freer hand in what we write each week.

credit:GamesAreFun

Commentary

I heard a story a while back… EA, in a rush to churn out the Catwoman game, offered a developer ÃÆ'”šÃ‚£6 million (about $11 million) to produce the game in three months. One would argue that it shows… Even IGN only gave the thing 4/10. But, y’know what? I don’t blame the developers, because it’s damn near impossible to make a good game in that short a time.

I do blame EA for some of the most shameless cashing-in EVER. Everybody knows that licenced games often suck, but I had no idea of the extent of the botch-jobs that go on sometimes. Last Saturday, Parfitt echoed something I wrote about a while back, about games as art. But there’s no way to write a truly magificent symphony in 20 minutes, or paint a masterwork in a few hours… Equally, a AAA game isn’t going to be made in the space of three months. There’s also something that relates to Angeloni’s comments on Sunday: an issue of money. If a company spends money on a game that they know damn well is going to suck big-time, what can they do? Publicity! Stick a marketing budget behind the game, throw some bribes out there to reviewers, and then pass the extra cost onto the consumers. Swamping the market with the mediocre, overpricing… It’s not just going to run the risk of pricing people out of the market, it’s going to implode the market itself, collapsing under the weight of the dire.

The other thing I’m blaming today isn’t actually the games media at large (they’re taking indirect blame); I’m blaming the misinformed gamers who go out and buy junk like Catwoman, or the latest Tomb Raider rehash. The consumer base needs to wise up: pick and choose more. Make the companies know that we won’t accept sub-par games any more. Demand quality! It’s no more than you deserve.

Mailbag

Right, time for me to get a word in. Misha actually got a goodly amount of feedback this week, so i’m going to pick some of it, and offer my own two credits’ worth on some of the stuff brought up.

To Philippe of Team TotallyAwesome – Homage is a fine line between flattery and plagiarism, but sometimes things just pick up a life of their own. Try asking a writer about their muses… And plotbunnies…

To NikTheGreek – Sweet Zarquon, you seem to have run the gamut of every bad gaming magazine in existence! You have my condolences… Feel free to stick around IP Games for as long as you want, soak up some real journalism. Here, you can even borrow my chair.

I’ve always argued there’s a fine line between Fanboyism and Zealotry; The crew here at Games are Fanboys, but not Zealots. The morons who populate messageboards everywhere… The incoherent ones… They’re the Zealots, and they give self-respecting gamers a bad name. Rivalry is a natural part of the games business, as it is in anything, but there’s always some morons who take things too far.

I’ve seen some of the work of the journos you mentioned: It’s all a question, I suppose, of how one uses the power at one’s command. Reputation, like The Force, can be used for both good and evil, with inevitable consequences for each (though, to be fair, I don’t recall Darth Vader disappearing up his own arse in the truly epic fashion Dave Perry seems to have managed). I will say “Hail The Ellis”, though… And share the Legend Of The Overton… Though I have great trouble accepting The Games Guru as worthwhile, especially after he gave the advice “To catch a pokemon more easily, weaken it first”… I don’t care how much you’re subtly mocking the person who asked, such levels of stupidity deserve TOTAL CONTEMPT.

The “Adapter Damage” scandal was back when the UK’s official Nintendo magazine (the Nintendo half of the Mean Machines split) started spreading scare-stories about how using adapters to play import games would damage your machine: These were famously quarter-truths and best, outright lies at worst – Misha, along with so many others, are clear proof.

And if you’re serious about where those A-Levels are leading, let me know… Never underestimate the power of a friend on the inside….

Plugstacy

Bryan comes up trumps again. The man knows whereof he speaks.

Cory has the definitive Play-by-Play on this year’s incarnation of gaming’s Superbowl.

Lee is back… And he’ll be staying this time (somewhere)…

Columns from the new(ish) hires! Michael O’Reilly, Ben Parfitt and AJ Angeloni All three have thoughts that YOU should read.

And don’t forget AAAlex… Who brings EVEN MORE BEMANI!!!

AlucardTM is doing yet another different thing. Want to find out what?

Cris Murphy is still over on The Other Site. But he gets a plug for his summing-up of his AvP review.

*Well, that feels sort of disappointing
But there’s only so much one can do if there’s nothing going on. And there was some good commentary to make up for no news.
*True. But still, let’s hope something of note occurs next Monday.
Yes. For now, though, we’re out of here.