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Topics - SurfMurph

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I know Steve's been focused on this subject for a few weeks now. Edge magazine in the U.K. has a well-written (imo) article about the Xbox 360 Live Arcade, and how the smaller, independent developers are reacting positively to Live Arcade.

I especially like this quote from Jeff Minter (one of my favorite game developers of all time):

Live Arcade is pretty much the natural home for the likes of Llamasoft, declares Jeff Minter, maker of Xbox 360s music visualiser Neon and now at work on an unannounced Live Arcade project, who cites the quality of the online infrastructure, the comfortable development environment of 360 and the flexibility of the financial model as the main advantages of the platform.

Hmmm, Tempest 360 anyone???  :)

Console Games / Latest PS3 release date rumor
« on: March 14, 2006, 01:20:14 pm »
I won't copy the article here, but basically its saying that PS3 is delayed until Nov timeframe for Japan, and 2007 for U.S., Europe and rest of the world. If this is true, the 360 could establish a good lead in the next-gen race, especially in the U.S.
This is disappointing as I was really looking forward to the PS3 this fall in the U.S.

Console Games / D.I.C.E. game awards for 2005
« on: February 10, 2006, 10:39:25 am »
Wow, God of War racked up big time. I haven't bought this one yet, but its on my list.  And it looks like I'll need to play Wik on Xbox Live Arcade. It won downloadable game of the year. Steve raved a little about it as well a few podcasts back.

Courtesy of Next Generation,

Game of the Year:
God of War (SCEA, SCEA Santa Monica)

PC Game of the Year:
Battlefield 2 (EA, Digital Illusions)

Console Game of the Year:
God of War

Outstanding Innovation in Gaming:
Guitar Hero (Red Octane, Harmonix)

Outstanding Achievement: Animation:
God of War

Outstanding Achievement: Art Direction:
Shadow of the Colossus (SCEA, SCEA)

Outstanding Achievement: Soundtrack:
Guitar Hero

Outstanding Achievement: Original Music Composition:
God of War

Outstanding Achievement: Sound Design:
God of War

Outstanding Achievement: Story and Character Development:
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (Activision, Treyarch)

Outstanding Achievement: Gameplay Engineering [Tie]:
Nintendogs (Nintendo, Nintendo EAD)
Guitar Hero

Outstanding Achievement: Online Gameplay:
Battlefield 2

Outstanding Achievement: Visual Engineering:
Shadow of the Colossus

Outstanding Achievement: Game Design:
Guitar Hero

Outstanding Character Performance: Male:
God of War

Outstanding Character Performance: Female:
Jade Empire (Microsoft, Bioware)

Sports Game of the Year:
SSX On Tour (EA, EA Canada)

First-Person Action Game of the Year:
Battlefield 2

RPG of the Year:
Jade Empire

Fighting Game of the Year:
Soul Calibur III (Namco, Namco)

Action-Adventure Game of the Year:
God of War

Racing Game of the Year:
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA, EA Vancouver)

Children's Game of the Year:
We Love Katamari (Namco, Namco)

Downloadable Game of the Year:
Wik: Fable of Souls (Microsoft, Reflexive)

Family Game of the Year:
Guitar Hero

Simulation Game of the Year:
The Movies (Activision, Lionhead)

Strategy Game of the Year:
Civilization IV (2K Games, Firaxis)

Massively Multiplayer/Persistent World Game of the Year [Tie]:
City of Villains (NCsoft, Cryptic Studios)
Guild Wars (NCsoft, ArenaNet)

Handheld Game of the Year:

Cellular Game of the Year:
Ancient Empires II (Glu Mobile, Glu Mobile)

Podcasts / Episode 33 Posted
« on: January 06, 2006, 08:20:25 am »
Sorry, Steve, I couldn't find a thread to post comments on your latest podcast, #33.
I finally got through this one on my way to work this morning. (I have a 45 min. commute, one-way, from home to office, so after a few trips, I can usually get through one of your podcasts)

I really learned a lot from this podcast with your discussion of the negative financial articles about Take Two, and the influence of Herb Greenberg has on how Take Two is perceived by the financial X-perts. Thanks for filling us in. I don't follow the stock side of the gaming industry at all.

I played the demo of Condemned and will pick this up when I finish the other titles I got at launch for the 360. Maybe I'll save a few $$s by waiting. Plus I'll need to have an EKG done to make sure my heart can take playing this game. Mega-scary, easily the scariest demo of a game I've ever played on any system. As I told some of my co-workers here, I was scared "shirtless".  :)

I also really enjoyed listening to your analysis of the Japanese video game market. You touched on this more than once in your podcast, and as a long time gamer, it totally makes sense to me why Western markets (U.S. and Europe) are so different from the Japanese markets. I actually think U.S. game publishers will have a much easier time cracking the Chinese and Korean markets than they ever will with the Japanese market.

You "softened" your stance a little on no jumping in Perfect Dark being tied to the game being rushed. I agree this game was rushed to get it shipped at launch; too much evidence supporting this conjecture. But I disagree that no jumping is also tied to the game being rushed. My main argument is that if you look at the history of FPS games from this developer, Rare, you'll see that they don't put jump functionality in their games. Goldeneye and Perfect Dark are two classic FPSes that Rare developed--guess what? No jumping in those games either. I also agree with you that level/map balancing becomes much easier without jumping, which may be why Rare doesn't like putting jumping in their FPSes. But something as critical as jumping is to basic gameplay, those decisions are made pretty early in the design process. Movement and combat for FPSes are designed early as they influence level design, enemy AI, enemy numbers, etc. later on in the design process.

Thanks for using some older video games as sources for your "Name That Game!" segment. I'm better at those than some of the late 80s/early 90s game sounds. (due to an assignment I had in the USAF at the time, I went a few years without being able to play many video games)

My earliest video game moment: Not sure of the exact year, 1973?, my Dad brought home a Magnavox Odyssey system. This was even before my brother and I had ever seen Pong or Space Wars, so we were in awe. Hitting a moving small square with two rectangles was a blast. Handball, hockey, wh :D
Within a few years, the local pool hall bought a Space Wars game. And then a Lunar Lander game. And I was hooked for life.
I didn't play my first game of Pong until I went to college in 1979. I remember my first thought was, wow, our Odyssey is better than this. :-D

Console Games / Myth busting - some great ammo for you
« on: December 14, 2005, 07:57:13 am »
PBS has a great article written by the director of comparative studies at MIT that busts many of the myths around video games and violent behavior. And the article lists sources which is rare in popular journalism.

Console Games / Quake 4 takes a beating
« on: November 22, 2005, 02:11:05 pm »
Gamespot (Jeff Gerstmann) gave Quake 4 a 6.6 out of 10. My this only if you're bored of the other, better 360 launch titles.

And if you're bored, seek medical attention. :)

Console Games / Anyone playing RE4 for PS2?
« on: October 27, 2005, 11:56:39 am »
Looks like most of the reviews are pretty positive, although Game Informer has taken a hit in my judgement with their 100/100 score. Come on, there's nothing at all wrong with it? It's a perfect game?
I plan to pick this up this weekend once I get paid, but wondered if anyone would share their initial thoughts with it. I never played the GameCube version. Which one should I get?

Console Games / This guy is still out of control
« on: October 18, 2005, 09:48:02 am »
At least he makes an interesting read on a Tuesday.
(yeah, I'm talking about Jack Thompson)

Jack Thompson writes to the Seattle Police Department:

Console Games / How many games do you finish?
« on: October 12, 2005, 01:10:44 pm »
I just finished the single player story for Far Cry:Instincts this past weekend. But actually completing a game is something I do less and less. I think its due to a variety of reasons. Not enough time, too many other good games that I want to try, get bored halfway through, ...

So am I in the minority? Do you play games 'til the end?

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