November 15th, 2009
Thank you for your patience over this past week as I’ve been rounding out my last major university assignment (ever!). Fortunately, I’ve got no exams so I’m basically free for a week until I start my 4 week long TESOL course which’ll likely continue the disrupted flow of new posts leading into Christmas. *sigh* I have plenty to write, but little time to apply myself, so we’ll see how this next week fairs.
As tradition would have it, it’s been a long time between links (ZING!), so I’d like fix that for now:
Finally we get to see how the Prince of Persia movie is shaping up, and as the trailer clearly showcases it looks fairly promising. As another Hollywood blockbuster, that is, but for the same reasons I criticized the Sands of Time game, it looks like the movie will be another western parade though a superficial interpretation of the Middle East. Yay!
Otherwise, the film appears to draw most of its influence from The Two Thrones, things could be worse I suppose.
In keeping with the Prince of Persia theme, the following post is taken from the blog of Ben Mattes who you might know from his role as a producer on the later Prince of Persia games. His post, primarily regarding community forums, shares some interesting insight into the mindset of developers towards the enthusiast community.
I really wish there was greater interaction between the two parties as the analysis here and elsewhere around the interwebs is basically the type of well thought out feedback from concentrated play testing that most companies would pay money for. They can get it for free from us! Furthermore, considering the effort that some of us put into our writing, I think that most enthusiast writers (along this vein) would be profoundly motivated by any engagement with developers. I know that some of the people from Sony Bend have read my articles on Syphon Filter, which makes my heart skip a beat. Although, I’ll admit, I was considerably less enthusiastic about PopCap’s response. Still, any interaction is likely to have a positive effect.
I’m guilty of throwing Eurogamer a few too many links in this segment, but with such well articulated analysis and opinions (Simon Parkin’s powerful review of Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best pieces of writing I’ve read all year) it’s difficult not to be enthused. The above video chronicles the rise of the website from humble beginnings to it’s current state. The multiplatform, Australian equivalents such as PALGN will have to grow some serious editorial balls before they can attempt to contend with the likes of Eurogamer.
Battle Klaxon is my favourite new column over at GameSetWatch. Quintin Smith, who incidentally also works for Eurogamer, covers niche gems neglected by the mainstream games press, describing what made them so special for the people who played them. Valkyria Chronicles is an ideal choice for the column, I’ve played a bit of this Fire-Emblem-meets-Final-Fantasy-Tactics-SRPG-hybrid, but am yet to make enough headway to make any qualitative observations. What I can say though is that I’m an ardent, SRPG purist who adores both of the two previously mentioned titles, so Valkyria Chronicles will probably come to sit in the middle of those two titles. Almost every blog in my feed reader is now centred around retro and/or niche titles, so Battle Klaxon is a welcomed addition to the diet…
…as is Hardcore Gaming 101. Yes, this site is not new to me, I’ve been reading them for years, and yes I’ve known about their new blog since it had launched. For some unfathomable reason though I forgot to subscribe to the site the first time round back in July/August and it flew off my radar. Thankfully I spent a few hours whoring out the backlog recently and have left suitably impressed. I chose the above, Metal Gear article as my favourite post on the site so far as it reflects the exhaustive dedication that Kurt Kulata and his crew of contributors put into their work. Mega effort, well done folks. Kurt was also recently interviewed on the first episode of the Racketboy podcast, props to those guys too.
I’ve kind of strayed off the path myself when it comes to reading the Brainy Gamer blog, simply because my tastes have adjusted to more analysis/criticism-heavy reading, rather than Michael’s handful of general commentaries (great stuff, naturally, but very general, lacks explanation and example). With that said though, Michael is very good at summarising community consensus. His article reflects on his personal response to the mainstream rollercoaster of game release. Rather than playing the latest AAA blockbuster on the scene, Michael is finding that he prefers the smaller, older and perhaps even neglected titles of the industry. I can definitely sympathize with his feelings here. I stopped trying to chase the mainstream rat race years ago and it’s been wonderful because I save money and get to blaze my own path of writing, rather than bucking to popular trends. This is a superbly written post which intersects with the ethos of the site, so do take a read.
Considering it’s niche appeal, Demon’s Souls has been receiving a great deal of coverage from blogs and the enthusiast outlets. I’ve been following the conversations myself and I think Kat Bailey is the furthest ahead of the curve on her analysis of the title. In concluding on her one month play through of Demon’s Souls she draws on her analysis and discussions with others to explicate on the different viewpoints regarding the title—the split being that players find it either unrelenting in difficulty or a supremely rewarding experience—she backs the latter and uses her deconstruction of both perspectives to persuasively argue in favour of the title. It’s clear that much consideration has been put into dissecting the different interpretations and to this end I’m very impressed. The Mt. Fuji anecdote and bad Thai food metaphor (gosh, so true) are expertly handled and make the article personal and therefore meaningful. This is a good article to highlight the strengths of the medium.
Proof that Sony have some of the best marketers in the world. ^_^