What game would you teach your child?

Little Kid Gamers

Often people ask what values would you teach your children, it is a good question. Perhaps there is something you were taught that helped you as your grew and you wanted to pass that on you to children. As gamers, many of us who decide to have children may end up getting them into games or at least supporting their own love of games. So the question is, if you could teach your child one game which would it be?

The Legend of Zelda

The original NES game for me is the perfect starting game for a child. Zelda had the elements of an RPG and an action adventure game. The game itself was not that hard to play, but it was difficult enough to keep you interested while invoking real thought. Some of the bosses took pattern recognition and some of the dungeons required some puzzle solving. The game also had humor and sadness and the “death” was not serious enough to harm any child in my opinion. It was the kind of game that could prepare you for many other games including some of today’s MMO’s. Zelda may not have been perfect, but I think it is a great choice as a jumping off point for a future gamer.

We asked our panel of industry insiders the same question.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Most definitely the original Legend of Zelda. The vast, mysterious, world represented by small, abstract, graphics stimulates your mind almost like reading a novel. While you are playing, you imagine much more than what you can actually see. This is especially important for children to learn, and on top of that the sense of adventure and exploration is unparalleled.

John Williamson, Producer from Zombie Studios wrote:

Rail Road Tycoon

I have an 8-year-old daughter and we play lots of games together.  Our favorite all time game has to be Mario Kart Double Dash.  It has the perfect bimodal learning curve.  She could contribute to the game when she was just tossing banana peels while I drove, then learned to aim and lean into turns, then she learned to drive on her own, then she learned to drive and throw on her own.  It is THE greatest game I have ever played for teaching someone the joys of gaming as it allows for so much grown and skill development, all while having fun.  But I’m going to go on a slightly different tack for this question, if I could only pick one game for my daughter, it would be Rail Road Tycoon.

Rail Road Tycoon is an amazing simulation game, no matter which version you play.  It supports multiplayer, single player, and has endless re-playability.  And not to get all touchy feely here, but it would help my daughter learn some basics skills that society frankly frowns upon girls (and even women) learning.  Railroad Tycoon helps teach how the stock market is supposed to work, and how  it can be  manipulated.  How to buy low and sell high, how to cut off the competition at the knees, when to cooperate and when not to, the value of risk, the drawbacks of being over extended, when to take out a loan, when not to.

They value of expedited services and the value of slow and steady income growth.  Everything necessary to survive and thrive in our society.  On top of all that, Rail Road Tycoon was the first game I couldn’t stop playing.   It was the game that made me say “I  know what I want to do with my life”  It is the reason I have been able to make games for a living for almost 2 decades now.  I can’t wait to find out what game, book, movie, class, instrument, experiment, photograph that will lead my daughter down the path to what she loves to do.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Maybe something like Ultima 4, that was a good one.

So what game would you choose?

What is your favorite flash game?

anti farmville
anti farmville

When you have to stare at a computer screen all day there are a number of things you can do you alleviate the boredom and one of those things is to play a flash game. Perhaps originally flash games was just something you did when you couldn’t play another game that requiring installation or a higher end PC, but now-a-days flash games have become a part of the gamers vocabulary. With social media, specifically Facebook, flash games have spawned their own gamers and fans. Some people only play flash games and nothing else.

Personally, my flash game play only happens when I’m not on a gaming system or have a handheld nearby. Honestly, with the games one can find on their own phones you would think flash games would either need to be ported to phones or would slowly die out.

So let’s take a look at a few flash games. We’ll start with one of my favorites.

The Falling Sand Game

Like many flash games the premise is simple. You have various types of “sand” that fall from above and you can interact with it using various other elements and items such as water, oil, fire. You can build pipes and walls to capture the sand or you can create a fireball by igniting oil or grow moss by adding water. Pretty much that is it, but trust me, it get addictive and is great fun.

Portal: The Flash Version

If you don’t know what portal is get off my website, seriously, go. If you are still here this is a pretty awesome portal flash game, too bad it is not made by Value Software. Pretty much it is just a scaled down version of the real portal and I found it puzzles not as hard to solve, but it was a fun and well put together game.

So those are a few of my favorites, let’s see what the panel thinks.

Danielle Davis from Zombie Studios wrote:

Robot Unicorn Attack

There have been many flash games over the years that have sucked up endless minutes of my time, but the one that immediately pops into mind has to be the level 11 glitter-fabulous cotton-candy-licious monstrosity Robot Unicorn Attack. Extremely simple and addictive gameplay, pink dolphins, butterfly fairies, rainbows, sparkly giant stars, Erasure soundtrack, and of course, a majestic magical robotic unicorn… now if you’ll excuse me I need to take my diabetes medication…

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Space Disposal


Seppo Helava from Self Aware Games wrote:

Fleck

Fleck zombies flash game
Fleck zombies flash game

Video Game Movies: The ones that got it right

Video Game Industry the movie
Video Game Industry the movie

We already discussed the video games that got it wrong, but what about the movies that were at least good enough to not walk out of? Now, we are not saying these movies are perfect or even that they were completely true to the game, but that they were good enough to have a positive consensus across many gamers.

First we will start with my top pick and then look at a few others. Later we will ask our panel of industry insiders which video game movie was their favorite.

Silent Hill

Some people will disagree with me, but I felt they did the Silent Hill movie pretty well and this is coming from someone who beat all the original games and then watched his sister do the same. It is true there was a lot of tweaking not only to bring in new fans, but to mold the story to be more emotional. Many were upset that the movie mirrors Silent Hill 2 more than part 1 and making the main character a woman people though was just because having a woman in a horror film adds more than a male character would.

Believe me, I understand the critic’s objections, but this was a case where I believe the changes did not kill the Silent Hill story too much. The visuals and especially the music was excellently done. At first I was afraid the transition between worlds would not have been shown and only displayed by the entire screen going dark. I was presently surprised to see the entire transition shown and it looked awesome.

As said the music was taken out of the games with a few tracks added that fit in perfectly with the game and the movie. The story itself was modified and many felt the cult aspect of the story was not there the way it should be and I could understand that. You did understand how messed up the people were, but you weren’t drawn into their world until the very end.

The studio worked closely with Konami and that is the reason the visuals from the broken city to Pyramid head to the killer nurses were spot on. On the flip side audiences not familiar with the Silent Hill game or game story telling in general thought the long explanation of what was going on at the end of the movie seemed out of place and killed the pacing.

The ending can be a tossup. Many felt it left to many questions. Some did not understand it and more felt it was a bad way to try to lead into a follow-up movie. The movie itself did well considering and there was talk of a sequel. If/when Silent Hill 2 is made we will see what direction it goes in.

Resident Evil

You’ll have to forgive me on this one I enjoyed this movie. Sure, it was not very true to the game, but honestly having a loan character walk around for 80% of the film would not work. What I liked was they did try to incorporate the original mansion from the game with the Umbrella Corporation. The action sequences were well done and adding in the evil little girl Red Queen gave you at least another reason why the team sent in became trapped.

There was a lot they could have done with this film making it a better story, but honestly after watching the follow-up movies I am surprised this one came out as well as it did. What was really sad was the ending really made me want to see part 2 which turned out to be a horrible disappointment for me.

Intermission

There are a number of well-done video game movies, but let’s hear from our panel to see what were their choices.

Danielle Davis from Zombie Studios wrote:

Wing Commander

Give your brain the night off…

Most games are made with very iconographic heroes and villains. You don’t have to worry about plot or story as much, and can focus on the core gameplay. Nearly everything is black and white. The Heroes are universally good, and the Villains are the purest of evil.  As we get older, we learn life is really just shades of grey (or from “a certain point of view”).

Wing Commander can be viewed the same way.  As a whole, Wing Commander (Movie) can be cheesy and flashy, but in reality that is pretty much how it is in the game franchise. Wing Commander (Game) followed the general curriculum of building characters plot like any other Action\Army movie (just like Aliens or Predator). You’ve got your classic “Girl trying to compete with the big boys”, or “Leader struggling under the burden of leadership”, or “Overly Aggressive Hot Shot “, and of course “Cool as Ice and plays everything by the book”. Is it cliché? Yes. But do stereotypes help identify personality and move the plot forward quicker? Sadly yes.  Since it was established in the Games, so must the continuity be maintained for the Movie. The amount of Cheese and Awesomeness in the movie, is equal to the Cheese and Awesomeness in the game.

Back to the shades of grey. A two hour movie of continuous dog-fighting, would be pretty hard to accomplish (Memphis Belle is the only one I can think of). By introducing personal flaws, strategic mishaps, personal failures, and over-ambition, you can subtly add secondary antagonist. For example: Maniac. He’s reckless and going to get his teammates killed. Does that make Maniac a bad guy? Depending on your point of view, you could say Yes. So, you have your primary Villians (the Kilrathi), and you have the secondary villains (ambition, fear, self-doubt).

By now, you’re asking yourself “You’re INSANE! How do you enjoy such a crappy movie? I mean, seriously, are you high?”. And the answer is, well kinda “Yes”. You can’t enjoy a movie like this by comparing it to other movies that have freedom of script and design. You have to simply take your brain out, and give it a two hour break. Relive what it’s like to be 12 years old again, and just enjoy the Good Guys, Bad Guys, and big explosions. Enjoy the simplicity of “this guy’s a douche bag”, “wish this dude would chill out”, and “this chick is awesome” without thinking about the deeper context and military discipline (let alone plot). Enjoy two carriers slugging it out point blank range. Just relax and enjoy it. Why? Because that’s exactly what you did when you’re played it as a game. You gave your brain the night off…

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

Tomb Raider

The shower scene was HILARIOUS!  (And if you don’t remember or know what I’m talking about, watch or re-watch it…. it’s for real.)

J.A. As a bonus here is the funny shower scene.

J.A. As a super bonus here is Angelina Jolie in the shower.

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

It is, without a doubt, my favorite video game related movie. The story follows Steve Wiebe on his quest to achieve the “official” high score for Donkey Kong. Along the way he must defeat several different adversaries, the least of which is the actual score needed to reach the top. It’s a classic underdog tale, only the heroes and villains are real and contemporary, and a great documentary…exploring themes like obsession, vanity, dedication, and legacy all wrapped in a cloak of classic coin-op arcade games. Besides, who doesn’t love Donkey Kong!?

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Tron and Wargames!


 

What is your favorite Puzzle Game?

What is your favorite Puzzle Game?

In the world of gaming where there are thousands of choices, with so many games to play you would think puzzle games would be left out in the cold. The truth is for many people puzzle or mind engaging games are of the best kind. The great thing about a puzzle game is you really can decide how long to play it and it is normally a game you can turn off and on or walk away from in a second if need be.

Puzzle Fighter 2

The real draw for puzzle games today is you can play them everywhere and on anything from your phone to handheld systems to any computer that has flash. When handheld systems hit the stores it was games like Tetris that drew many people to buy them. Many people who you would think would never touch a video game owned a Gameboy primarily for the puzzle games available on that system.

This week on the insider discussion we take a look at some of the more popular puzzle games throughout history and some of our favorite ones.

Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo

I’ll start with my favorite. I have always liked Street Fighter and the idea of a puzzle game mixed with a fighting game really got me into it. In SPF2T you can pick from a number of Street Fighters and other Capcom characters to battle each other.

The object is simple enough. Different colored bricks slowly fall from above; with them are different colored orbs. The orbs when attached to a brick of the same color will detonate all of that color that is connected to the bricks. When this happens the amount of bricks you destroy are dropped onto your opponents screen.

Now depending on how many bricks you drop on your opponent your character will perform a fighting move. The more bricks you drop the more powerfully the move will be. There is a lot of strategy to the game and how and when you decide to detonate your bricks can make all the difference.

The visuals, the music and the overall theme and gameplay won me over and Puzzle Fighter is very popular in Japan. This puzzle game is definitely worth a go.

Dr. Mario

A runner up for me just because I really liked the title and the fact that Mario was now a doctor. However, the Tetris-like gameplay did keep me interested. The idea here is inside the medicine bottle are different colored viruses. Slowly, double colored capsules fall and you have to stack and surround the virus with the colored capsule that matches. If you stack four of the same color it will kill the virus. You win if you eliminate all the viruses and you lose if the narrow neck of the bottle is obstructed.

Columns

This is another fun Tetris-like game from Sega where columns of three differently colored jewels would slowly fall from the top of the screen to the bottom. The object was to line up three of the same color either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, if you did this the jewels would shatter and the columns would fall and if you planned it correctly you could create a chain reaction when multiple same colored jewels would line up and then shatter racking in bonus points.

To many to name

There are a ton of great puzzle games out there from the PC, Console and mobile gaming world. We asked our panel of gamer insiders what their favorite puzzle games are.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

My favorite puzzle game of all time is Space Quest 1!

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Well, of course I’m biased toward our own game, MadStone! But other than that, I love Tetris Attack and Meteos. Even now, those games draw me in more than any other form of interactive entertainment. Of course, maybe it’s because they are the only games I am good at!

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Currently, the last puzzle game I loved was Auditorium.

Winnie Wong from Monkey Plum Media wrote:

I love puzzle games, they are so memorizing! Some of my favorites are Tetris (PC), Peggle (PC) and Hexic (Xbox) and if it’s referred to as a puzzle game – The Last guy (on PS3), others that require more brain power I love are: BrainAge and Rhythm Heaven (on the DS). Not only are these games addictive, but I love the catchy theme music of Hexic, The Last guy and who wouldn’t love to be cheered on after winning a level with Peggle? (Love rainbows, unicorns and fireworks!)

What is the best classic space shooter and why?

Space Shooter arcade
Space Shooter arcade

There are a ton of great space shooters from console to PC and it started with a simple premise, invaders from space. Something as simple as shooting down attacking aliens became one of the most played shooters in history. I guess technically since the ship is on earth it is not a space shooter, but you get the point. In years since we have fired off shots at everything from Asteroids to Intergalactic warlords and had a ton of fun doing it.

We are beginning a new season with the Insider Discussion and will be focusing more on ranking, commenting and comparing classic games and what better place to start than with the space shooter. I personally loved the space shooter from Galaga to Tie Fighter to Descent, but honestly there was one game I really got into overall.

Freelancer

I loved this game because it was the first that felt really open ended to me. You started off as a jack-of-all trade’s character and from there you could decide what you wanted to do. There was an overall storyline, but you could go off on your own and fight against various factions. You could be a good guy or a bad guy, a pirate or an agent of the law, a miner, a broker or a thief, there were tons of choices.

There were also tons of areas with wide open space areas full of other ships and hazards. What I really enjoyed was that events happened in each area regardless of storyline or even your presence. You could warp into an area of space and right into a war between two factions and choose to either get involved or run for your life and if you did get involved it would affect your faction.

As you gained money you could upgrade your shipping and become a real badass. Honestly, once you got a few key upgrades you could own pretty much anyone, but it did take time to do that. The controls were pretty easy to use and standard for open space shooters like a Decent Free Space. In addition the battles could get really intense and there was a strategy to winning as well as avoiding battles.

One of my favorite things were the warp gates, especially when you were being chased and had to wait to be able to go through, made for some exciting times. Overall this was a fun game and you could even play with others online with one group on one side of the galaxy and another on the other side. Perhaps it was not the best space shooter of all time, but it was true enjoyment for me and a game I will remember for a long time to come.

Panel Choices

Defender

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote: Does Defender count? (and Stargate) I think that game was a fantastic and unique vision of the space shooter that did something really unique.

Life Force

Justin Melendez from Lan Slide PC’s wrote: Life Force for the Super Nintendo was one of the coolest space shooters ever made. Not only did it have awesome power ups and a two player mode, but the entire game takes place inside the guts of a giant alien. If that isn’t awesome I don’t know what is.

Xevious

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote: If you include Shoot’Em Ups, I think that would be Xevious for me.

Asteroids

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote: All I can think of as an answer is ASTEROIDS! But that’s probably because everyone says the control system in Starport is very similar. So if you like asteroids, check out Starport.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote: I like Asteroids.  The mechanics of the rocks getting smaller and more dangerous is great, and the physics of the ship really good too.  Space ballet.

StarWars: X-Wing

Mike Jorgensen from Zombie Studios wrote: Back at the dawn of time (which I like to call the early 90’s), there was a surge of crappy Flight Sims (including Space Flight Sims). From the chaos, there would arise 2 predators to sit atop the food chain, namely the Wing Commander Series, and the X-Wing Series. These two would embody the very ideals of Survival of the Fittest, with each iteration getting stronger and better than the last (not to mention stealing ideas). Watching the two grow and evolve was like watching Lions and Tigers (and we all secretly hoped for a Li-Ger, which would finally occur in Wing Commander 3 with the talents of Mark Hamill and Ginger Lynn).

In the end, the crown of King Of the Jungle would go to the Xwing Series (and specifically the first Xwing title).

Ok, so let’s strip away the sheer awesomeness of StarWars. You are still left with an engine that;

  1. Runs in 640×480 in 16bit color on 486 hardware (and is VERY versatile for scaling up or down on a relatively wide variety of hardware)
  2. Includes a full suite of gameplay related functionality (such as in-game movie recording and playback, character progression and awards, and those mission prep and planning screens)
  3. Includes an editor for making your own missions, scenarios, decals, textures, and modifying ships.

I can’t help but to re-iterate how significant the first accomplishment was. This was in the days before DirectX, before any abstraction layers, back when Men were Men & Women were Women & game programmers had to write universal binaries for what hardware MIGHT be running their code. That feat is the equivalent of walking into the UN Building and trying each language until you’re talking to everyone.

 

Separate from the capabilities of the engine, the game itself was a near masterpiece. Several missions included a pre-rendered intro. The audio and music was fantastic (but really, what else would you expect from LucasArts audio division). Nearly every actionable piece was animated, and I really do mean nearly everything. The user feedback on committing and completing an action, still stands out today. The beeps on the target lock, the HUD color change when within range, the end dots indicating which guns could probably hit the target. The actual gameplay was easy enough to get your feet wet in the first five minutes, but could take a couple days to master. You could spend days perfecting the little things like when to “set your deflector shields to double front”, or selecting in which pattern your lasers fired, or selecting what type of craft you were flying and what armaments it had.

In the end, the Xwing Series concluded with the Xwing Alliance, which included full 16 player support (OVER DIALUP NO LESS), frigate combat (with Turret and AI support), and more realistic physics (which are perfected in titles such as Freespace 2).

If you haven’t played anything from the Xwing Series before, grab the oldest PC you have in the house, throw the demo on, and enjoy the finer points of the 90’s.

Galaga

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote: Galaga.  Because it was fun and frustrating to me as a kid.  Okay, I’ll be honest, it’s still frustrating to me now.  It was one of the games that required a lot of thought, planning and quick reactions.  I reacted, just sometimes not quick enough, or not agilely enough and would end up dead so quick.  I admire the folks who have set world records in that game.  It would drive me insane to attempt that.  I just don’t have the patience required for it.

What is your vote for best classic space shooter?

Should the government take steps to keep violent video games out of the hands of children?

high court building
high court building

If the political pundits are correct then the recent election was about tossing out the old and the will for less government in people’s lives. I won’t go into all that, but recently video game violence and what should be done about it has once again found its way into politics. It looks as if the Supreme Court might take up a case to decide if the government should be keeping violent video games out of the hands of children.

I thought we already went through this. Let’s be honest, if a kid really wants to play GTA then he or she is going to find a way to get it. We already have warnings and rating and some stores won’t even sell a game if it is too violent. Forget comparing video game violence against all other forms of violence that has been done to death. Let’s face facts here. Either you as a parent can try to raise your child the way you want or you can’t.

It should be enough that you can find out pretty much everything about a game before you buy it. It should be enough that there are age restrictions on the game. It should be enough that there is software and hardware solutions to keep your child from watching or playing what you don’t want them to. If they are still getting their hands on the Mortal Kombat game then maybe it is time to do something that every parent should do, talk to your child.

I don’t mean yell or scold or lecture him and I don’t mean using some technique you saw online or read in a book or saw on television. Don’t try to talk his talk or use “cool speak” or any other such garbage. Keep it clear and simple, but real. If you don’t want your child playing a game explain it with reason and logic. Believe me even today’s kids can understand reason.

Better yet meet them half way. When I was a child I could not see any movie with sex or really bad violence. However, my mother did not keep me from action movies even if it had death because she knew I needed to understand the difference between real and fake as well as limits. She taught me that everyone even her had limits and as we grew more things became available to us if we matured.

This taught me that in time I would see it all and since my mom allowed me a glimpse I wanted to mature so I could see more. At the same time I knew if I disobeyed her it would lead to a setback preventing me from seeing or experiencing even what I was allow to before. This can be applied now. Let you kid play Street Fighter and even Mortal Kombat (within reasonable age limits) then explain why GTA is off the table. Will it always work; will your child always comply? No, but parenting is a work in progress that lasts a long time.

Bottom line is communication and moderation is the key to most things in life. You cannot always just say no, but you can say not now or not too much. Government oversight and protections can be a good thing, but it can also go overboard. I may be a lefty, but I understand the importance of personal responsibility. If we use our heads and think things out then most issues can be resolved. Otherwise we are all just children, waiting for someone to tell us what to do and then it is only a matter of time before we rebel against what we were told.

Let’s take a look at how our panel feels on the question: Should the government take steps to keep violent video games out of the hands of children?

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

No.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

No, of course not. The 1st amendment gives artists the right to create violent content. If the art is unliked it should go un-sold without the need of costly government intervention.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

No, but retailers should, and parents DEFINITELY should.  The problem we’re having is parents who think just because something is called a “game” means it is for kids.  Unfortunately, there is no law against bad parenting.

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

As the mother of an 11-year-old, I monitor what he plays.  We had the discussion when he wanted Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare what the ratings meant.  I simply explained “M is for mature.  You are not that.  Until you are, I will not buy that game for you.”  At the same time, we won’t play those games ourselves in front of him.  Yes, we do own it for the PC.

He also wants to play World of Warcraft with both of us (his dad and I both play).  We have said no, not until he’s old enough and mature enough to play.  We don’t feel he’s mature enough to have his own account.  I don’t feel many of the children under the age of 16 are mature enough to be able to play the game.

Ultimately, it is not the government’s job to be a parent.  It is the parent’s job to be a responsible adult and keep games they deem inappropriate out of the hands of their children.  What’s next?  No song’s on the radio that contain any form of innuendo?  There’s a lot of that out there right now, some very popular songs that pre-teens know and listen to, but don’t understand the meaning of.  Keep government out of it by being a responsible parent.

 

 

 

 

Join the discussion, what’s you’re take?

How important is the gaming community to gaming culture?

community panel

With the way the internet can be sometimes you would expect gaming communities to be bunch of Comic Book Guy’s from the Simpsons complaining about everything. While it is true there is no shortage of anger and criticism there are a ton of great communities that not only help the gamer, but the industry as well.

Since the beginning of the internet there have been places where people can go to find information on games from where to locate them, how to install them and even how to play them. From general information communities branched out to bring you mods for games so you can play custom maps or even a completely new type of game within an existing game.

User created communities have exposed us to the history of a game from the development process to behind the scene tidbits. We have seen games in a whole new light with special codes and bugs being found by communities. Through the eyes of fellow gamers we have listened to new versions of video game music and have seen player created videos from our favorite games.

That same criticism that is sometimes looked upon negatively has helped make games better. From FPS to RTS and even MMO’s, many companies look to players and their communities to test and perfect their games. They have taken suggestions from communities and even entire games have been created based on community feedback.

Beyond business there is the social aspect of gaming communities. They can be a place where even those who feel they have nobody that understands them can find comradely with someone else. Friendships can be built with people of all types from around the world brought together by the love of gaming and someone dedicated enough to create a place where they could meet.

There is no doubt that communities have helped gamers and gaming culture in extraordinary ways and we at Obsolete Gamer are happy to do our part which is why we will continue profiling communities in the future.

If you have a community or know of one you would like to see profile please click on the envelop tab on the side bar to e-mail us about it.

Let’s turn to our panel to see what their thoughts are on gaming communities.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote: It’s very important. The fans and their passion are what have always driven us to make better games.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote: There’s no mystery as to why user created content is becoming more and more important for the long-term shelf life of games. This is because, moreso than in other media, the audience is part of the artistic creation.  Successful games have to resonate not only with the audience’s tastes, but with their own interest and willingness to participate in the experience.

Players are co-creators of the gaming experience, if not the game itself, and the gaming community gives players as a group the voice they need to make that contribution.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote: The community aspect of gaming is new for developers and a bit of a surprise. It is not our specialty, but the vibe of the community is probably as important as anything else to how much fun it is to participate in an MMO.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote: For most games I’d dare to say that without a community, there essentially is no game, even single-player offline games. In today’s world of social networking, a game’s pulse is dependent on who talks about it, and a community around the game is this core discussion base. And since by definition “culture” is dependent on a community base of some sort, it’s as important as it can be.

If you could have any video game made into a live action movie which one would it be and why?

Resident Evil movie
Resident Evil movie

Ah you have to love Hollywood. At one time the paper suits of Tinseltown would never even look at a video game or comic book for a movie adaptation and today they are throwing themselves against the wall trying to produce the next summer popcorn choker based on a game. Now we have seen some horrible movies based on video games and there have been some pretty decent ones as well. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good – Silent Hill

Sure this movie wasn’t perfect, but you have to give them credit for trying hard to bring all the elements of the game to a movie audience who may have never played it. I have no problem that they went with a woman for the first one instead of a man. I understand why it works better at least for a first movie. The visuals and music was stunning from the ash covered town of Silent Hill to the Hell themed environments of the Dark World. Seriously when you first see the transition from “purgatory” to “hell” you had no choice but to be impressed.

I thought the story was well done considering and though some criticized the “recap monolog” toward the end of the movie I felt that was well in line with how the game does its storytelling. I mean come on, the film had drama, suspense, horror, a little mystery, a thought provoking ending (for better or worse). The film also had car crashes, pyramid head, the razor blade nurses and nudity. Ok, the last one was that part where pyramid head tore off the clothes of that crazy lady before killing her, definitely not a Fapp moment, but it still counts as nudity.

The Bad – Street Fighter

Wow, even the trailer is bad. I just don’t understand how you ruin a movie like this. I swear they could have hired a bunch of stunt fighters and just had them fight it out in costume for ninety minutes and it would have been light years better than this. Honestly, I even feel bad for Van Damme because while he might not be a five star actor some of his action movies have been fun to watch and I believe he could have been decent if the overall movie was better.

I just don’t know where to even begin with this movie, but damn, having Ryu and Ken as backup characters was just one of the many things that killed me. Trust me it was just bad and the only debate is which was worse the 94 Street Fighter or the awful Legend of Chung Li.

The Ugly – Any Uwe Boll Video Game Movie

So if Hell is a place of your own creation then Uwe Boll should be hired to direct a movie about Hell then be forced to life within it for all of eternity. Seriously, I rather watch stick figure porn than an Uwe Boll video game movie where he uses horrible music including game sounds that don’t fit the scene. If you think that’s bad it gets worse. He has been known for sticking in actual video game footages into his live action movies. The word Hack does not even fit here.

It is said that you should not talk unless you can do better, trust me I and a ton of people out there can do better. Just search for his other video game movies and see. What’s sad is many of these movies could be decent, but there is a disconnect between what the public wants and what Hollywood thinks we wants.

What would I like to see?

How about a movie based on the game Magic Sword. It would have to be done Lord of the Rings style, just a massive toward and a ton of bad guys and keep it exactly as the game plays. I think a hack and slash video game movie can work.

So we asked our panel of insiders what movie they would like to see made:

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I thought about an answer to this question since I saw it, and recalling all the horrid video game movies there are out there (Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, etc.) I have a hard time wanting to see any game turned into a movie.  Perhaps the Dead Rising series would work, or even Dragon Age, but in all honesty, turning a video game into a movie never goes well and I wouldn’t want that to be the downfall of any good game out there.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Ico!

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

Oblivion. 1 because I really haven’t had my Fantasy itch scratched since LOTR and 2 because anything with Patrick Stewart is worth watching.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

During the peak of Everquest’s popularity, there was a rumor going around about a movie being made out of it.  This spawned a few joke lists of potential titles.  My favorite, due to the frequency of precipitation in the game, was: “Everquest: It Begins To Rain.”

Now is your turn. What video game would you like to see turned into a live action movie?

Insider Discussion: The Update Post

update
update

This week we are using the Insider Discussion to talk about what is currently going on with our respective companies. First up Obsolete Gamer news, last month we had over 1.4 million hits and we thank all the fans who have visited the site and have supported us on Facebook or sharing our links with others. We are committed to brining you content that you want to read and can enjoy. We recent redoubled our efforts to bring you more classic gaming articles including reviews, editorials and media.

We are also working on bring you more interview with people in the gaming industry and have quite a few lined up so stay tuned. The Obsolete Gamer Show will be returning with new podcasts that you can find on ITunes, this website and soon on Zune. Our Gamer Profiles have been growing and now we have over 100 Gamer Profiles from people in the gaming industry with many more to come.

We will continue adding to and updating the website. We are currently launching a user submission feature so you can post news, articles, editorials and more. Now we will have to review, approve and edit the submissions before it launches but then it will go on our “Feed” page. With the feature we hope to find stories about classic and current gaming that perhaps are not on the radar and we would love to see original works from our fanbase.

All of us at Obsolete Gamer thank our fans because our site cannot make it without you. We are still in the midst of our T-Shirt drive that will not only help keep this site going but helps spread the word. In addition to purchasing one of our t-shirts you can help us by spreading the word to social sites, forums and other media outlets. With your help Obsolete Gamer can continue to grow which will allow us to improve our site and what we bring to you.

Now let’s check out what some of our panel members are working on:

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

We are working on two games. One is a kind of Tempest + Tron arcade mashup and the other is billiards in space sequel to our first puzzle game.

Danny Greig from XGEN Studios wrote:

I am currently finishing up “Stick RPG 2”. Once that is out I will be concentrating on “Motherload” for Wiiware.

John Williamson – Producer on Saw 2: Flesh & Blood from Zombie Studios wrote:

We have just wrapped up SAW 2:Flesh and Blood, it goes on sale in just a few days (Oct 19), ahead of the next SAW movie installment (SAW 3D in theaters Oct 29th).  SAW 2 puts you in the role of Det. Tapp’s son this time around.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but that is we called it “Flesh and Blood.” You are the flesh and blood of the lead character in the first game, and there is no shortage of flesh and blood in the game.  We listened to the fans of the first game and we have changed combat to make it more visceral and immediate, we added in more collectibles and 2 endings for replayability, plus a set optional difficult puzzles for the really hard core fans.  We have all new puzzles and traps and another great story that takes the SAW franchise and characters for an amazing ride.

This time around, we have also added Tobin Bell’s likeness and voice the game, and once again, he was a great contributor and collaborator to Jigsaw’s lines.

Pre-order from gamestop.com and get a free deck of SAW themed playing cards.

Thomas Riegsecker from Basilisk Games wrote:

We are currently working on the add-on adventure for Eschalon: Book II. Eschalon: Book III in the planning stages, though it remains unannounced. And finally, we have a top-secret sci-fi RPG using a brand-new engine that is in development, yet remains unannounced as well. We recently gave fans a mini-tease of this sci-fi RPH by showing of some conceptual test animation: http://basiliskgames.com/ufos

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

The Stupid Fun Club is a creative think tank.  We work on a variety of ideas for games, toys, movies and television shows.  Currently, I’m working on some concepts for reality and educational TV and Web programming, as well as reviving some GOFAI (Good Old Fashioned A.I.) methods long buried in the catacombs of MIT for use in an age where computers actually have enough computing power, memory and access to information to do what researchers THOUGHT they could do on an unnetworked PDP-11 with 100k back in the era where the hair was big and so were the lapels 🙂

Josiah Pisciotta from Chronic Logic wrote:

We are currently working on several projects.  Golf? is a game that had been put on hold for several years but we are back at it again.  The old public demo can still be downloaded here: http://www.golfquestionmark.com/

We are also working on a major update to Zatikon which will included new units, a whole new category of units called relics, and several other major revisions.  Along those same lines we have started work on the long anticipated Zatikon : Inquisition.  http://www.zatikon.com

We are also working on a game for the XBLA which is still top secret but there should be some information released about it soon.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

We are working on an unannounced kids MMO and making a portable version of a location-based trainer that takes about 20 PCs to run, hoping to bring it down to about 3 or 4 PCs so it can be deployed in the field.  And, we have proposals out for some XBLA/PSN and some iPad/iPhone products.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

I’m working on StarportGame.com and it’s a virtual world with arcade style space combat. The challenges are running a game world economy, providing a real-time combat arena, and maintaining a live community.

 

 

 

What video game(s) do you wish would be made but were not?

Lost highway fog
Lost highway fog

As gamers we always want more, even when we claim a game was a masterpiece and should never be redone secretly most of us hope a great follow-up will be done so we can enjoy it all over again. This goes for remakes as well. Many may rally against the idea, but if done well can easily become yet another classic hit.

Then there are those games that everyone was waiting for. It was a given that a sequel would be made and gamers were chomping at the bit eagerly waiting for its release. Unfortunately, some of those games never made it to light and worse yet, in some cases the fans would never know what happened unless they dug for information in the few gaming magazines there were at the time. So what happened to these games that were to be released only to disappear?

In many cases the games were remade for the next generation of consoles. The problem with this was many fans never knew their new favorite game was the old game they were waiting for. The reason for this was normally because the name was changed and the game slightly tweeked to take advantage of the more powerfully system. In other cases licensing expired or there were behind the scene troubles that prevented the original title from being used.

Sometimes the game was just scrapped and never came to light. There were many reasons for this from money to contract disputes to the creator just walking away. It happened more often in the PC gaming market, but was certainly there in the console gaming market as well.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy 4 NES
Final Fantasy 4 NES

Now we all know that FF4 was released, but originally it was to be released for the Famicom (Japanese name of the NES). In this case it was decided to make FF4 for the Super Famicom (SNES) instead. Originally FF5 was going to be the SNES title with FF4 being the last Square (Now Square Enix) title of that series on the NES.

Sonic Crackers

Sonic Crackers
Sonic Crackers

You can actually find this as a ROM file under the name Sonic Stadium. Now there is a lot of information on Sonic Crackers and a lot of missing information as well. What we do know is supposedly SC was to be released as the last Sonic game on the 16-bit platform. Reports indicate the game was in the development stage with a few zones and sprites. In the end the game was redone and became Knuckles Chaotix on the 32X Sega Console. Though Chaotix looked and played different it is believed that was what became of Sonic Crackers, to bad most did not like the game or the 32X for that matter.

Star Fox 2

Star Fox 2
Star Fox 2

This was another great game that was to receive a direct follow-up. Star Fox was a hit on the SNES and fans everywhere held their breaths waiting for SF2. In the end the game was remade into Star Fox 64 and it was the N64 pending release that was the reason for Star Fox 2 being put on the shelf. The game was highly covered at the time and according to Star Fox 2 lead programmer Dylan Cuthbert the game was fully completed and ready to go.

This is just a taste of many games that were to be made, but never saw the light of day. Over the next few months Obsolete Gamer will be taking a look at more of these “lost” games and bring you a report on them. For now we asked our panel of insiders:

What video game(s) did you wish would be made but were not?

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

There are a couple of games high on my list that were in development, but never made it live or were just killed in the production stages.  Sadly, all of these games were being made, but didn’t make it to the end.

Stargate Worlds is at the top of my list. While I’ve heard rumors it is still “in production” I don’t have a lot of belief in that with the side projects the same company is working on.  I just don’t think they have the funding to make the game what they promised us it would be in the past.

Ultima Online: 2 I think that’s what they were calling it.  Either way, it was supposed to basically be an Ultima Online sequel, but with huge improvements on the current Ultima Online Game.  The game never had a chance, despite a lot of the community standing behind the game for it.

Wish Online:  For those of us that played in the beta, the game was simply amazing. The game engine created a wonderful playing environment.  It was lush, in-depth, had a great crafting and fighting system, but unfortunately was not meant to be.  Unfortunately it was a problem of money available verses development time and money ran out.  I know a group of us had looked into purchasing the game engine, but we couldn’t afford the price of it.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

If I answered that about the current market, I would be giving away my secrets! I always wanted there to be a massively-multiplayer version of Star Control, and that’s why I made Starport! (www.starportgame.com)

What about you, what game do you wish would have been made?

What is your favorite video game theme song?

There are quite a few iconic tunes from videos games that if heard one would easily be able to identify them. Some of these songs immediately conjure up visions of the game while others may stir up a memory surrounding an event centered around gaming. However, it does one thing is certain and that is music has had a great impact in gaming.

A theme from a game like Bubble Bobble may just identify the game, it was a repetitive theme as most early game music was, but it stuck with us because the game had over 100 levels. On the other hand the theme from Zelda is more likely to bring up a specific moment in one of the games like when you first went to the dark world or when you collected all the pieces from the Tri-force. Sometimes a song can remind you of an event. Say the theme from Double Dragon, perhaps it reminds you of hanging at the local arcade with friends or the theme from Frogger reminds you of the pizza shop near your school.

As music became a larger part of gaming individual songs became fan favorites like Celes’s Theme from Final Fantasy VI or the Kelethin music from the original Everquest. Like in movies the right kind of music could set the stage for a level, a boss fight or a cut scene and if done correctly could touch a cord with fans.

Video game music became so popular fans begged for soundtracks and from there people made their own versions of their favorite songs and the remixers were born. Almost every gamer has a tune in their head from a video game (or several) that will take them back to a happier time. Some of us even take our video game music with us in our media players and cars.

Even as video games have become more advance the music still remains and important part. It doesn’t matter if it is computer generated or performed by an orchestra, the key is it fits the moment and is memorable.

This week we asked our panel:

Do you have a favorite song or theme from a video game if so what is it and why do you like it?

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

“Still Alive” from Mirrors Edge was very catchy and attached to a really catchy game as well. But “Still Alive” from Portal was a kind of phenomenon and I’d say must go in the Hall of  Game Music Fame. I knew that song was something special when I went to a game conference and saw an auditorium of gamers singing along to the song that was being played on a 50 foot screen in Rock Band.
I’m not sure I could articulate why I (and millions of others) love that song so much but its tied somewhere to the whole experience of the game and how the song perfectly complements what I just survived.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

The first time I heard the intro theme for Civilization IV as the world turned in the background, I almost cried… (ok, I did cry, but don’t tell anyone). Having music that perfectly fits the game’s atmosphere is actually a rare thing, but when it does happen it can really seal the deal on immersing oneself in the game.

On the flipside, nothing really beats the soundtrack to Redneck Rampage…

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

“Sweet Emotion” from Aerosmith: Revolution X.  Because music IS the weapon!

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

The only one that comes to mind is the Super Mario Bros. music.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Overall my favorite soundtrack is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. As far as favorite individual song though, that would have to be the battle music from Final Fantasy IV / II U.S. Why? I love the bass line! In fact, the bass line from that song is what inspired me to start playing the bass, which is now my primary instrument.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I’m kind of cheating on this one.  I like C64 Pool of Radiance but I wrote it.  🙂  It’s in the style of Wagner.  You can’t go wrong with 8 bit Mario, it’s too classic.  I like the way retro influenced bands cover it too.

Susan Oleinik from Zombie Studios wrote:

Purely because of decades of Pavlov-type conditioning, I’d have to say the ‘Puzzle Solved Noise’ from Zelda… yes I’m aware it’s not a whole song…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPT6Ehq_bI&NR=1

So what about you, what’s your song?

What impact did gaming have on your career path?

Career Path Drive
Career Path Drive

Often something during the growing up stage is what leads people to what they will do later in life. It can be an experience where you saved someone’s life and go down the path of helping others or that you were exposed to a situation that led to a field you want to work in. Although many of us will change our minds on what we what to become many times before we reach working age there are some jobs where the people doing them can easily trace it back to a time when they were young.

For me personally I always loved video games from my Atari 2600 to my first computer, the Texas Instruments TI-99. Even before that I loved to take apart electronics just to see the parts inside. I also loved to make up and tell stories so playing a video game took on another dynamic because I would visualize storylines even for games that had them like Yars Revenge.

When I moved to Miami in 97’ the first thing I wanted to do was get back into computers and meet like-minded people and that led to my time at Alienware where my love for gaming flourished. It was then that I took my love of storytelling and turned it into a writing career.

If I was not exposed to computers and video games at such a young age I am sure I would not have developed a love for them in a way that would lead me to work in the computer and gaming field. In addition, my mother always supported my love for gaming even when dragging her all across Chicago looking for a Nintendo.

For this week’s insider discussion we asked our panel what impact did gaming have on their career path.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

I first got the idea to go into game development in Middle School after seeing _WarGames_ and _Tron_.  I remember being especially impressed with _WarGames_.  I wanted to create my own Joshua.  Later on in high school, I read _Goedel, Escher, Bach_.  I became fascinated with machine thought, particularly how it differs from human thought.

As a game developer, I’ve always been more oriented toward using games to help people understand how computer systems work, what their capabilities and limitations are.  Games make machines more relatable, infuse them with some personality and engage human emotions.

If I had to break it down to one moment, though, it’s the first time I saw the end of _WarGames_, when David asks if there’s anything that can be done to make the machine learn faster and Professor Falken says “yes, number of players: zero.”

Of course, since then, I’ve always hoped to have a somewhat larger market than that 🙂

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

When I was in college words like “desktop publishing” and “WYSIWYG” were new and exotic sounding. The notion of pursuing a career as a game artist, at that time, was inconceivable. So upon graduating from college I hit the pavement with the dream of being a graphic designer. I experimented briefly as a post production artist for video but ultimately started my own tiny graphic design studio to create album covers for Seattle area musicians. It was the late 80s/early 90s and the music scene was really taking off. Turns out getting the work wasn’t nearly as difficult as getting PAID for the work…

After scrapping for a few years I got an opportunity (thanks to a good friend) to contract at Microsoft. I was employed to create the “coffee table books of the future”…remember multi-media? My friend and I worked our butts off in the multimedia group and were eventually offered full-time positions. MSFT didn’t make games at the time but they had publishing agreements for Flight Sim and a Golf game. I soon discovered that the business unit in charge of these publishing contracts was preparing to grow so I made it my mission to get them to hire me.

You see, I had been a gamer since the first day I played Parcheesi with my grandmother and a fanatical gamer since first playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1980. Thanks to D&D I discovered that making games is as much fun for me as playing them (possibly more fun). I’d never considered that I could do anything but create games as a hobby…which I had for years. I’d written programs on the TRS-80 coco, the Atari 800XL, and made my own games (creating story, game design, and art) both digitally and traditionally.

Once presented with the possibility of working on games for a living I pursued the dream I didn’t know was possible like a ravenous cheetah chasing a meat wagon. And somehow I caught it!

Fifteen years later I’m still amazed that I get to do what I do for a living.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

In my case, a few hours with a friend’s Atari 2600 made me realize that I wanted to make games for the rest of my life.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Gaming was everything in my career path. I started developing as a child, also playing them at the same time. Richard Garriott was already a millionaire from PC games by the time I started high school. Making games appealed to my self-motivational tendencies and preference to learn at my own pace.

So what about you, has gaming steered you toward your career or do you feel it will?

Has playing video games ever affected your life negatively?

Video Game Addiction shirt
Video Game Addiction shirt

Everyone has heard the saying that television will rot your brain and I guess it is true depending on what you watch. However, just as a general statement such as that does not differentiate between “good” T.V. and “bad” T.V. the long running opinion that video games are a waste of time leaves far too much truth uncovered.

We can easily talk about the negative side of video games. Obviously one can spend way too much time in the video game world which can have a negative impact on their lives from work to school, social interactions and health. Then again the same can be said about almost anything deemed recreational. Moderation is always the key, but it is not just about managing time, it can also be about getting the most out of your gaming experience.

For example my love of video gaming led me to my love of computers which turned into a job where I learned I loved to write specifically about games and gaming culture. Long before my work at Alienware my experience having to quickly and accurately type out commands in games such as Everquest increased my typing skills to executive secretary levels. Before that my search for gaming companions led me to a group of people who became not only lifelong friends but valuable contacts that assist me even to this day.

Now to be fair not everyone will take their love of gaming and turn it into something worthwhile. In fact gaming may actually suppress your will to do other things which might prevent you from finding your love in life, both in career and personal form. I know far too well what can happen when you spend hours on end in front of a screen with no regard for life outside of gaming. It can and will take its toll on your mind body and soul if you allow it, but there are many simple steps you can take to prevent that.

Something as small as drinking water and eating fruit while gaming can make a drastic difference in your overall health. Taking the time to pause or step away from the game when interacting with a real life person instead of firing off one word answers during play can mean the difference between a healthy social life and becoming the stereotypical pale faced basement dwelling troll.

Today video gaming is like standing in front of a buffet. There are tons of things to try, but take your time. There is no need to try it all in one sitting, come back later, it will still be there. Small modifications in your behavior now will mean a longer happy life in the long run which will allow for more gaming. It’s a win/win situation and as gamers isn’t the goal to win?

This week we asked our panel of insiders: Has playing video games ever affected your life negatively, even a little bit and if so how and if not how do/did you keep it from doing so?

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Yes I’ve stayed up too late playing a video game before, causing me to sleep through school or work the next day. Since developing games turned out to be my career though, I guess it wasn’t too negative a deal for me!

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

Definitely.  Nothing like putting off real problems by visiting a virtual world.

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

Probably the only place I can think where a game ‘hurt’ me in some way would come to down to lost sleep. There certainly have been nights that went way too late ( curse you Mass Effect!) but that’s really about it.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

I’ve had some experience with MMO addiction.  Nothing too serious.  On a scale of zero to South Korea, I’d be at about a 0.1 SK.  But I did find myself once or twice neglecting my relationships in order to spend more time grinding.  I’m off the pipe now.  EVE Online cured me of any potential addiction.  That game is just a job you pay to do.  What’s next?  Corporate Due Diligence Online?

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Early in my career, I worked for a small company, and we used to play StarCraft every Saturday night. All of us loved Starcraft, but unfortunately none of us loved losing. Unfortunately, our games were often so competitive that it affected office social dynamics. Losers would call winners “cheap” and winners would call losers “whiners.” Feelings could get hurt for days. We’d always get over it and get our work done, but there were definitely times when StarCraft pushed us apart rather than bringing us together.

Josiah Pisciotta from Chronic Logic wrote:

I can’t count the number of times video games have kept me up later then I wanted to stay and caused a shortage of sleep, but I would say the most negative impact a game has ever had on me was the MMO Ultima Online.  I spent several years of my life playing it as often as possible often neglecting personal relationships.  It was highly addicting and took time away from other activities which would have been more healthy, creative and financially constructive.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

“Spending 12-hour clips late at night fighting the same creature in an MMO over and over again to gain one level was perhaps better spent on other things, but it was fun for me! I don’t regret it since I have no idea how my life would have turned out otherwise anyway, and it’s pretty good right now regardless.

I certainly haven’t eaten worse (better if anything since I sometimes forget to eat, so I don’t eat too much!), lost a friendship or relationship with a loved one because I wanted to get that next level instead of attend a wedding or something… but if that does happen, then it’s certainly time to rethink priorities.”

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I can answer this question honestly.  Yes, it did.

There was a time when I was under a lot of other stresses and video games became my escape.  Except I started escaping into it too much, not getting my college work done and other stuff.  Now, I rarely play during the week and most of my game time is on weekends, when I don’t have to work in the morning.  Perhaps it’s part of growing up, now that I’m 30, but I’ve put restrictions on myself and live by em now.

What about you, has gaming ever negatively affected your life?

If you were stuck in a waiting room for hours and had to choose one game to play which one would it be?

Waiting Room
Waiting Room

Everyone has been through it, at one time or another you have had to wait in a small, cramped and completely boring waiting room. It really doesn’t matter what you were waiting for though waiting for a car repair or doctor’s appointment can be the worse. Let’s face it, you don’t want to read those crappy magazines they have from six months ago and the television channel is showing The View. Back in the day you would have to just tough it out, drink some awful coffee and maybe strike up a conversation, but thanks to portable gaming that has all changed.

Now you can play a ton of games across many platforms from console handhelds to the iPad. Today you are not even stuck playing simple flash games, with systems like the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable you can play brand new high graphic games anywhere. So that leads us to this week’s Insider Discussion; If you were stuck in a waiting room for hours and had to choose one game to play which one would it be?

For me it would be puzzle games. For some reason I just can’t enjoy games like Tetris and Super Puzzle Fighter at home on my 51 inch HDTV. However, when I am waiting for someone or something to get done I love to break out a good puzzle game and watch the time fly by. You can find so many great puzzle games no matter what platform you play on and once you get into it that hefty repair bill or super long doctor’s needle won’t seem so painful.

Now let’s see what our panel of insiders said:

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

“World of Warcraft (or any other similar MMORPG). Why? Because you can easily spend hours in the game on a variety of tasks, many of which can take hours to complete in and of themselves. Or simply chat with others around you. I mean, who wants to talk to real people in a waiting room when you have an entire virtual world to explore, right?! Games within games, “virtual” persons instead of real ones… do those count? :)”

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

If that happened today, it’d be Mirrors Edge – which I’m absolutely loving.

Justin Melendez from Lan Slide PC’s wrote:

A few months ago I was stuck in an airport for about 12 hours during which time I played a fair amount of Starcraft, Aion and Borderlands. Had Starcraft 2 been out I probably would have queued up for some multilayer matches to pass the time.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Civilization 4 is a good for me, a real time-killer!

Josiah Pisciotta from Chronic Logic wrote:

Right now I would say Civilization IV, nothing makes time fly by like that game.  Plus if the wait turned into days instead of hours not only would I still be playing but I probably wouldn’t even notice 🙂

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

Getting stuck in a waiting room for hours happens to me more often than I’d care to admit! Typically I just play a version of Spider Solitaire on my Android. I’m on a quest to break the 4 minute barrier (I’ve only gotta shave off 3 seconds so I know i can do it) so it actually can entertain me for quite some time. But if I was thinking ahead, or had the ability to manifest a game + device out of thin air, I’d play Scribblenauts for the DS. It’s such a creative game with so many ways to enjoy it.

Danny Greig from XGEN Studios wrote:

Street Fighter 2 or Super Mario Kart.  Both can be played for hours on a portable device without getting old. However if a console is an option, the choice would be Super Smash Bros (Any of them).

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I actually found myself in this situation, and it was when Wario: Touched! for the Nintendo DS came out.  It is both very light-hearted which was helpful, and the game sessions were so quick you can pause & put it away at any time.  Plus of course it’s portable.

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I love puzzle games and tower games.  Games like Bejeweled, Jewels, Collapse, things like that always eat up my time. I get involved in them and hours disappear because I’m constantly trying to beat my best score.  Or, if all else fails, Plants vs. Zombies, which is a tower game.  Best time waster ever.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Right now that would have to be Super Mario Galaxy 2. SMG2 is a textbook on excellent game design. Every mission of every level is different, it’s tough but never frustrating, and there are all sorts of surprises from beginning to end.

Which genre had a bigger impact to PC gaming RTS or FPS games?

Panel Discussion microphones
Panel Discussion microphones

What pulled you into PC gaming was it the fact that a new type of gameplay was created that just couldn’t be found on console systems? For many PC gaming took time to get into not only because of the cost of the systems, but that some of them took work to get running. However, the rewards were great for those who ventured into the world of PC gaming and through today some feel consoles are killing the PC gaming market (besides MMO’s) there are still millions of PC gamers out there.

If you look past the MMO’s and Flash games what would you find on these systems. Which would you find more of FPS, First Person Shooter Games or RTS, Real Time Strategy Games? Obviously with the recent release of Star Craft II I am sure you will see a Battlenet icon on many gamer’s task bars, but overall, who had the bigger impact on the PC gaming world?

In my opinion it is FPS games and this is coming from someone who loved to play RTS games and even turn based games. For me it was games like Wolfenstein, Rise of the Triad and of course Doom that had me going to Egghead software to slam three hundred dollars on the table for a Western Digital 750mb hard drive to build my first custom rig.

When I went to my first LAN party here in Florida it was the guys from Red-Eye that showed me how to use mouse look in order to properly use the hook in Lithium Quake 2. Now don’t get me wrong, StarCraft, Warcraft, Total Annihilation were also a big part of our LAN gaming, but it was games like Tribes, Duke Nukem, Shogo and Doom 2 that ruled our playtime.

We asked our panel of industry insiders their opinion on the question.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

I would have to go with FPS. Granted in the PC platform, RTS is bigger than it is on other platforms like the consoles. But even so I’d go with FPS having a bigger impact.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

In my opinion, Starcraft on RTS, and Quake on FPS.

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

I’d say RTS. Where FPS had a huge impact on hardware and game design. I think RTS brought a ton of previous non-gamers to the table for the first time and kept them there.

Danny Greig from XGEN Studios wrote:

I would say the FPS has had a larger impact on PC gaming but not by much. Doom/Doom 2 and Quake had just too much impact on PC gaming to ignore; I don’t think any RTS has had the impact of those games.  Blizzard has basically owned and dominated the RTS genre which has had a very large impact on the PC gaming industry but falls just short of what the FPS has done in my opinion.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

In terms of technology and broadening the appeal of the PC as a platform for gamers, I’d have to go with FPS.  In the early days, FPS highlighted the power of the PC as a gaming platform with superior performance to consoles.  There simply was no other way to play DOOM or Quake except on a PC.  The RTS on the other hand highlighted the power of the keyboard and mouse as an input control, but was not fundamentally limited to the PC.  It would have been possible to play Dune II on a console.

In terms of creating a genre that is uniquely PC, I’d have to go with RTS.  Today, consoles perform roughly as well as PCs and there are many shooters available on console.  And even though FPS controls are still superior on a PC, FPS is certainly no longer a PC-only genre.  Yet no one has really cracked the RTS nut on consoles.  With no technological barriers to clear,  RTS is a genre that’s simply best played sitting up with a keyboard and mouse, not reclining with a console controller.

If I have to pick one answer, I’m going with RTS.  The FPS made a bigger initial splash, but the RTS has endured as a uniquely PC genre and thus had a longer lasting impact on that platform.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I’d say first person shooters.  They survived longer as a genre, and people talk about Quake and Doom a lot more than they do Starcraft (I).   Me, I’m not a fan of the FPS genre.  I think there are more first person shooters as there are Phil Collins ballads… and they are largely just as indistinguishable from one another 🙂 .

Gary Manica from Smashing Ideas wrote:

Easy answer for me.  I want to say RTS games because I prefer them, but realistically they don’t come close to FPS games to me.

FPS games in general have been one of the (if not the biggest) pushers of hardware development on a PC for many years running.  Dev houses constantly refine massive engine libraries to push more and more polygons and maintain the minimum framerate that crazy FPS players demand.   Engines like CryEngine, Unreal, Source, idTech, etc provide a platform for, and push developers (hardware and software) to really go above and beyond while being able to use a mostly pre-built framework.  The tech they build in these engines has been filtering down to other gaming genres for decades now.  And there is a reason that other genres are adopting FPS aspects to them.

There are many instances of amazing RTS games out there, with a lot of really good ideas.  But I don’t think they affect the industry as a whole to the scale FPS games do.

So what is your take? Let us know your answer by posting in our forums below. See you next week.

In the end is a monthly subscription fee bad for gamers?

MMO monthly subscription
MMO monthly subscription

When I first heard about having to pay a monthly fee for a game it was in Everquest. At first I thought the idea was just plain stupid. Who in their right mind would pay to play a game every month? Less than a week later I was hooked and even when the subscription rate went up I was fine with it because it was a fun game and I understood the reason for the cost.

However, one thing I did notice was that I did not buy or play many other games. One point was that I was enjoying Everquest so much I did not feel the need to play other games, but I also felt justified for paying a monthly fee because I was not buying a fifty dollar game each month.

Now when a new game with a monthly subscription came out I found a new dilemma. I liked the new game, but I still loved EQ and had not only spent a lot of time in it, but money as well. I was torn between trying something new, giving up EQ or playing both. I found it hard to justify playing two games that took time to level your character and gear up and paying two monthly fees.

Now there are several good MMO’s out there and many more on the horizon. Some MMO’s like DC Online Universe cross over into consoles where many are finding the idea of a monthly fee hard to swallow. Does having an almost universal monthly fee of $14.99 hurt gaming and gamers? Perhaps it only hurts MMO’s because people are less likely to play and pay more than one at a time.

Panel Responses:

Danny Greig from XGEN Studios wrote:

Subscriptions aren’t a bad thing as long as the players are getting something in return. In general, it makes the developers keep their games fresh and updated or they lose subscriptions. The gamers themselves get a game at a $14.99/month price point; much easier to swallow than the $50 for a console game a month. The players know that $14.99 also implies regular updates and content to a game which they already enjoy. Most people still pay more than $14.99 for their TV a month yet likely use it less than any game they have on subscription.

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

Games that charge a monthly subscription have to stand up to the rigorous competition offered by a crowded field of quality entertainment options. So, in short, the de-facto standard of $14.99/month is good for both game makers and players. There’s no doubt that making games, especially subscription-based games (MMOs if you like), is a difficult and expensive proposition. And as much fun as it looks like on the outside, making games is a business like any other business. It all comes down to creating and maintaining a product that enables the company to recoup it’s investment and (ideally) make some profit.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

I think monthly subscription fees are good for premium games that are released from major studios, like a Starcraft 2 for example. But for smaller MMOs and especially new ones trying to break in, there are simply better payment structures to use that can appeal to a wider range of customers depending on their level of commitment to the game. When you’re only collecting per month, you are forcing the customer to spend that amount per month when he might like to spend less or more than that each month.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

In general, I don’t have a problem with a subscription model. If a developer is doing regular work to support a game, such as maintaining servers, adding new content, and moderating the game world, it makes sense that players would pay for this service. On the other hand, I think a subscription model leads to something more insidious: the pressure for developers to create “addictive” games that keep players paying the subscription fee month after month.

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

I think the MMO genre is in trouble if it can’t find a way to reduce the cost to players. Like you said, people are generally unwilling to abandon a game they’ve committed thousands of hours to and they are also unwilling to try a new one while the old one still – even if it stinks. I’d like to start seeing a meta-service or MMO Portal where I pay $15/mo and then switch between several MMOs over the month.

Josiah Pisciotta from Chronic Logic wrote:

MMO’s having a monthly fee of $14.99 is good for gaming and gamers, although the exact price is not important.  The fact is that running a MMO’s costs money to maintain its persistence and update its content as well as the support the players.  If an MMO is not charging a monthly fee it is going to be trying to recoup the costs in other ways, which will probably be advertising or micro purchases.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I don’t see that most hard core console players play for-fee MMOs, and vice versa.  So while there is a little overlap, I don’t feel that one is crowding out the other.  After playing my first MMO (Everquest) I was interested in the genre all right, so when new MMOs came out, I would pick them up.  They usually came with a month to three months free, with the purchase of the game, so could get the feel of the game.

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

Honestly, I look at playing and paying for MMOs of any sort to be my “entertainment” expenses for the month.  While I still go to a movie or two in the theater, I don’t spend money going out to the bars and drinking.  The money is spent on something I enjoy, something I can look back at and see where I’ve spent the money.

Justin Melendez from Lan Slide PC’s wrote:

Everquest was also my first experience with a pay per month gaming model. At first I was pretty taken back by the idea of having to pay a monthly fee. However, as I played, I realized that the game was providing a unique experience that I couldn’t get elsewhere at the time. Pretty soon I was hooked and found the monthly cost pretty easy to justify. After all, in college, didn’t I spend more than $10 a month on much more frivolous things (potato cannons, pirate costumes, bail money); why not on a game?

What’s your take, is a monthly fee bad for gamers or nessary because of the service? Join the conversation on our forums and see the full comments from our industry panel.

Chris Skaggs: Soma Games

SOMA Games logo
SOMA Games logo

Name: Chris Skaggs

Company: Soma Games

Profession: CCO / CTO

Favorite Classic Game: Tempest

Quote: “The pacing in Tempest is just brilliant. You put your quarter in and are instantly drilling flippers. Plus, something about early vector graphics always lights me up. Battlezone is a very close second.”