December 12th, 2005
|09:42 am - Signs of the pending apocalypse: I am posting about Paris Hilton|
Yes, I know. With all of the serious issues going on in the world, blah, blah, blah. I don't post about serious world issues. There are plenty of reputable news sources for that. Anyway...
The XBOX 360's release party last month would have come and gone with little fanfare, had it not been for the presence of numerous B-list celebrities and musicians who probably have better ways to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than blasting aliens. Apparently Paris Hilton showed up, and it was picked up by every blog with an interest in gaming.
As I said, this is old news, but my favorite music blog, Largehearted Boy, mentioned it this morning:
Even Paris Hilton loves the XBOX 360.No, no she doesn't.
What Paris Hilton loves is getting paid $200,000 for a 20-minute public appearance.
I don't think her hands are even big enough to fit around the controller, and I seriously doubt that she has any interest in figuring out multiplayer Halo II, though I do think it would be funny to hear her try to pronounce the word "pwned."
Current Mood: cranky
Current Music: Edmund Welles -- Bee Mountain
You wrote about Paris Hilton. I'm sorry your fingers had to type such a horrible set of words. I'm sorry mine did too!
Think there's a support group for people who've had to type her name?
Why do I keep thinking that the controller is bigger than her waist?
Paris Hilton is the AntiChrist!! Number of the Beast, 666!!! Run, Tinkerbelle, run!!
Ha ha. Paris Hilton got drunk and had sex on camera. She's a big slut.
I see you've edited the entry to more cleverly link all the gaming blogs in question. I didn't report on it because... um... I don't care about XBox and even less about Hilton anything? I think it was something like that.
I don't care about Paris Hilton or the XBOX either, but I'm just surprised at the response from the gaming community, which seems to be either
1. OMG!!1!Eleventyone! parsi hiltoni s a gamer!~!
2. Why are they giving Paris Hilton a free XBOX when paying customers won't be able to get their hands on one for months?
I guess the second point is a legitimate concern, but my issue here is that the video game industry is trying to boost its image the wrong way. Have you ever seen the SpikeTV Video Game Awards? I missed this year's ceremony, but I saw part of last year's. It was all rappers and porn stars and awards for things like "Most EXTREME use of the word EXTREME in a marketing campaign." I can't imagine how the industry can revel in this stuff and then not understand nobody takes it seriously.
I blame G4. For some reason they saw Tech TV as a major competitor when their markets don't really intersect. At ALL. Tech TV only had X-Play. Maybe they were more interested in doubling (tripling?) their cable exposure and breaking in to new cable markets. I can't stand the overrated crap on that channel. And they have their own video game awards as well, G-Phoria. Punny, but not entertaining.
Whereas Tech TV was run by geeks who loved their hobbies and found a way to make money on it (and actually had some shows about the tech industry that were actually educational), it's so terribly obvious that G4 is producer-inspired. It's the same audience that Microsoft is going for, which is probably a big reason they thought that half-hour 360 preview (read "free advertisement") on MTV earlier this year was a good idea.
The government does it too, more interested with image and spin than being honest. In fact, I think some now high-level cabinet member quipped -- when asked how the White House could improve their image of how they're handling Iraq -- that they should change how they're handling Iraq. Ballsy.
Where people got the idea that the appearance of sincerity was just as good as the sincerity itself (or that people would be fooled by it for any indefinite period of time) I'll never know.
|Date:||December 12th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)|| |
I guess first I should state that I think the entire video game industry has been essentially dysfunctional since about 1997. If I had awhile to write and revise an essay on the topic, I could probably present my argument in a more convincing fashion. I'm not going to do that though, so this may seem very poorly thought-out. Sorry.
The game industry and the consumer technology industry have a very close relationship. Games sink or swim based on whether or not they keep up with the new tech standards. Things have always been this way but it's worse now than it has ever been before. The reasons for this date back to the early '90s.
In the very early '90s, the sudden price drop of a few computer components revolutionized the gaming industry. Specifically, I'm talking about RAM, large hard disks, VGA, MIDI/DAC audio, and (especially) CD-ROM. Storage space was the biggest boon to the industry, and suddenly it was possible to store long, full-motion video sequences with audio on CDs. The industry quickly retooled itself as the interactive Hollywood.
The price of game development went up exponentially. Sales increased only proportionately to the number of PCs in use.
It didn't help when games like DooM and Myst came into the picture. DooM's budget was, essentially, the cost of rent and pizza. Myst's wasn't much higher. Suddenly publishers were squeezing more technically impressive games into smaller budgets citing the success of dirt-cheap games developed in basements. I'm at work and am not going to look up specific examples, but both I've heard both Al Lowe and Ron Gilbert, formerly of Sierra and Lucasarts (respectively) complain about this.
The budget squeeze is less tight now than it was then, but the gaming industry got into a cycle of producing nothing but surefire hits that push the envelope and justify their development costs. Most games cost as much as inexpensive movies, but don't return half as much in profits. Entire genres have all but disappeared because they weren't profitable enough, the operative word being "enough." Nobody bemoans the loss of FMV games or true virtual reality because you can get better results by faking it than doing the real thing. On the other hand, when was the last time you played a new adventure game? The last eight years have been pretty meager for those of us who don't care for FPS games, realtime strategy, RPGs or sports sims.
So how does all this tie in to the strippers and rappers on SpikeTV? Marketing. The increase in PC sales since 1994 has resulted in more and more money being poured into marketing, specifically for teenagers and college-age men. The music and movie industries can market to this narrow demographic because they also market narrowly to everybody else. You don't see many games aimed at 40-year-old women, however, or 25-year-old men who have soured on FPS games, realtime strategy, RPGs and sports sims. These are (currently) untapped markets which could be profitable and affordable from a development standpoint. As it stands, though, developers are unwilling to try anything new, whether it's traditional adventure games in 3D or non-retail distribution. They keep cranking out different flavors of the same crap and hiring Paris Hilton to pose next to their logos.
|Date:||December 12th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)|| |
...Geez, I'm sorry. I wrote that in a tiny window just before I left work, and didn't realize how much text there was or how poorly thought out it was until I got home.
The industry has gotten itself into a vicious cycle of making only games that they expect to be surefire hits so that they can invest in the next surefire hit. It doesn't help when companies like Vivendi/Universal come into the picture and say "we spent just as much on your game as we did on the last Adam Sandler movie. Why come your game didn't make comperable profits?" Gamers aren't all impressed by technology, so they have to market to the ones who are, and that's why we've got Jenna Jameson touting "Grand Theft Car Thief 3," and video games will always be considered "diversions for 18 to 34-year-old men" until we get away from that kind of marketing.
|Date:||December 12th, 2005 11:35 pm (UTC)|| |
I want SO BADLY to make a great adventure game. I tried (as much as one person can) until 2002. I'm sort of trying again. My biggest fear is that, in addition possibly not being profitable, there's simply no market for it in terms of interest. I'd be happy with a small niche (cripes, look at No Brand Con), but that would mean actually having to *finish* something first...
I realize Don't Hang Me won't do it, but it was a good tool for what parts of my gaming framework it helped to develop (as well as get an idea of its versatility). As soon as I started delving into areas that didn't benefit the overall scheme of things, I think I started losing interest.
I'm still totally serious about making some wonderful entry, but I'm still in the process of trying to find people who will take the risk with me.
|Date:||December 13th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)|| |
I think there are a lot of game designers in your position. I think the audience for a great adventure game definitely exists, it's just a matter of finding a way to get it out to that audience. Until somebody proves that adventure games can be successful, no major publisher is going to take a chance on them.
As for Don't Hang Me, well, it doesn't look terribly impressive, but you're developing a framework for bigger, better things, right? You have to test it with something.
|Date:||December 13th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)|| |
Ah. You haven't seen it lately. It's certainly a few notches better than it was in October.
That being said, I don't have the time/expertise to develop wowing graphical output. I'm hoping that irreverence will trump any perceived lack. Snood is terribly fun, even though I recognize it could use a graphical polish.
But you're right -- the ultimate goal is, at least visually, to use this in an interactive 3D environment. But (so many but(t)s!), that requires one or more bodies with the experience (or willingness to learn) to realize that component. I fear that it's the only interface that modern gamers will accept...
And yet... how many people love the Trogdor adventure game? Hmmm. Also, the fact that you can make anything remotely like Mega Man in Flash is amazing to me.
As an avid fan of TechTV, I'm very appaled by what happened. I read in a gaming magazine an interview with the CEO of G4. He stated that, yes they bought out TechTV to get their valuable properties (X-Play), and get themselves a three-share improvment in their broadcast area. They stated that the bulk of TechTV's programing didn't fit their business model, and thus many things were phased out. THey said they didn't think they were losing any viewers, because they replaced them with similar shows such as The Whip Set and Attack of the Show. I can't believe theyt thought these two shows could successfully replace Screensavers or Fresh Gear or Call For Help or any of the other shows I watched. THey aren't the same genre even! Attack of the show is NOTHING like the screensavers was. It's painfully obvious that Chris Perrera or whatever his name is, is a TV personality, and knows next to nothing about Technology. Don't even get me started on the interview with Jonan Vasquez I saw. I was so embarassed for Jonan fans everywhere. Anyway, yeah, they suck.
...and things like this make me feel better about not having cable TV.
She was part of P. Diddy's "Vote or Die" campaign...but she didn't vote. I think she should be held to her statement and die already.
No no no -- if she died, who would we make fun of?