Late again

I ranted about the media coverage of Indie Games a while back, more or less saying that reporters are a bit too eager to assign independent developers (“independent” according to the IGF and not the literal definition) all responsibility of creating innovative or interesting games. With so many new areas of gaming being opened up for us it becomes hard to make that argument – maybe even harder to counter it – but maybe it was easier when the scene was smaller. Long-time indie veteran Jeff Vogel wrote a piece about it almost five years ago.

The article is a bit of a downer to read and it could certainly be argued that Vogel is overly negative and outright wrong about the place of independent developers. The scene has grown quite a bit since 2006 after all and more independent games receive mainstream media attention now so I do not think Vogel would put it quite the same way had he written the article today. I do, however, think his argument is solid – not having enough money to get through the day can be a big encumbrance, just as having an overbearing publisher intent on forcing their ideas on the developer can. I think if the project is strong enough you will find a way to fight the opposition – whether this means taking crappy jobs on the side to make sure everyone makes rent or spending most of your time in meetings to convince middle-management that your ideas are solid is not really important.

The difference, again, is that in the case of the indie game the product will never be released or fall immediately into obscurity while a mediocre game with an AAA budget will still be marketed enough so people get to know about it and complain about the state of the games industry.

Posted on Jan 10/11 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »

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Fallout 3


I have a copy of Oblivion sitting on my shelf, it has been there since it was released and I have yet to play it. After having completed Fallout 3 (to the degree that one does “complete” it), I think Oblivion will remain unplayed – not that Fallout 3 was particularly bad, but there is enough of a game in it that I do not need a similar one set in a fantasy world.

See, the best part of Fallout 3 is the environments and the world as a whole, it is very enjoyable to just walk around and search the postapocalyptic landscape. The color scheme of the desaturated wastelands are (as far as I explored) never replaced with something else for effect, but it usually looks fairly well. The actual gameplay is okay with some annoying quirks, the worst part being the fighting. As an FPS/3PS Fallout 3 is rather poor, and as if to compensate for this you can break off the action and it gives you a more turn-based approach to shooting. While this offers some interesting opportunities for optimizing stats, I found it annoying that direct firing was too imprecise to work properly but using the other system meant I had to run around and wait for AP to be refilled.

Story-wise the game has a traditional Karma system that determines how you are approached – it works fairly well most of the time but there is the occasional moment were it fails to recognize your deeds and the occasional one where it is really blatant about it. It was also a relatively buggy game that crashed on me several times and got me stuck in the geometry at other times.

The flaws I find in Fallout 3 can be explained by looking at the game’s volume, as mentioned before it is a very large game. The world it takes place in gives a feeling of being a place where you are only scratching the surface of the things that are happening. I suppose I would be willing to overlook the problems if I liked the format of really long open-world games, and I suppose that is what the reviewers have done. As it is now, I merely liked the game.

Posted on Jan 09/11 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »