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Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.26.06

posted on May 26th, 2006 by jay

Tose’s game Shrek: Reekin’ Havoc has been accused of lacking soul. How could a company that works as guns for hire and doesn’t like getting credit possibly make a game they don’t feel passionate about?

Development team that doesn’t take credit for their work
Tose say they are “development ninjas.” They have worked on over a thousand games and never take any credit for their work. The few games they have admitted to making seem to be average at best, so it may not be a big loss.

It does raise interesting ethical questions, though. While it may be legal, most people think it’s absurd to buy life stories from someone then write about them like thy happened to you (ala Seinfeld: see Kramer and Peterman). I’m not sure it’s any less deceitful to claim your company made a game when you secretly paid someone else to.

“Like this Picasso? I painted it.”

EA’s recent mistakes
An interview with EA’s new president Paul Lee. The company thinks that all of their games now need open world gameplay. In other words, GTA sold well so now EA insists on making all of their games at least similar to GTA.

In sort of good news their goal is to make over 50% of their games their own intellectual property, meaning 49.9% will be licensed games like Madden and Bond. The downside is this in no way implies they’ll stop making sequel after sequel.

Finally, missing the point that great production values and innovation often oppose each other (because innovation is risky and publishers don’t want to spend that much on risky games, and even if this weren’t true money and time is still finite), Paul Lee wants games that look amazing and are very innovative. I’d like games to pay my rent, too.

Analysts guesses of the PS3s price
A nice chart that shows that six of ten analyst guesses were wrong. With a span of $350 to $800 and two separate prices for the PS3, you’d assume someone would have guessed right. I’d like to announce that starting today, videolamer is offering consulting and analysis of markets. Our two chief analysts disagree on who will “win”? the next generation, one saying Sony and the other Microsoft.

With such business acumen it’s hard to understand why Squenix isn’t happy with their profits.

Square Enix announces expansion into new markets
Because making new games is too hard apparently. Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are their only franchises that sell a gajillion copies and they are unwilling to make games that won’t turn into powerful cash cow series. How noble of them. Squenix will now work on GUI and networking solutions for the electronics manufacturer’s entertainment products. They also formed a media company and a serious games subsidiary.

I hear all the big money is in the video game soft drink market.

Wii to be no more than $250
Woo. Although it’s irritating how they won’t announce the price or shut up. I guess I just don’t understand how to hype something.

Full interview with Katamari Damacy creator
This is where the infamous Takahashi quote about the Wii comes from. Interesting stuff, good to see he won’t work on Katamari Damacy any more. There sure are a lot of exclamation points in the interview, though. Any one else sense sexual tension?

Miyamoto on the name of Nintendo’s new system
Like the rest of the planet, Miyamoto liked the name Revolution but thought it may have been too intimidating a name. Guillotines, assassinations, and Communists are just some of the happy thoughts the word revolution brings to mind. But the name had balls. Revolutions can be good, too, like the one we won against the nancy Brits. Most countries, I assume, fought and won a good war or two and can identify positively with the term. Revolution was a defiant name.

Wii is a flaccid, impotent name. Miyamoto realized this. He may always be smiling, but he isn’t stupid.

I guess that giant banana sort of looks like a scalpel.

Video games good for surgeons
Surgeons who warmed up with 20 minutes of Super Monkey Ball performed better than those who didn’t. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as for ages the only positive thing we could cite about games was that it improved our hand eye coordination. What happens when a surgeon plays Mortal Kombat before an operation and is desensitized to violence and gore?

Garage Games hosts “Break Into Games” competition
Garage Games Torque Engine is very reasonably priced at $100. If you make it into this competition they’ll give you a free license. It’s really cool to see a company encouraging independent designers. If anyone wants to make a game with me, let me know.

Tennessee withdraws violent game bill
Tommy Kilby , the Democrat who sponsored a bill to ban “extremely violent video games” in Tennessee remembered he is a Democrat. Or he remembered the Constitution. Either way, he withdrew the bill because it cut into time he could’ve spent sleeping with his cousin.

4 Comments

  1. Stefan said on May 26, 2006:

    The first war between north american and the UK was more of a war of independence, and not really a revolution, since we didn’t actually destroy the government in London.

    I know it has nothing to do with video games, but I just felt like being nitpicky.

  2. jay said on May 26, 2006:

    Nothing to do with video games? Your post has inspired me. I now know what I want to submit to the Garage Games competition –

    Semantics: The Game
    You are a linguist who’s always been seen as something of a loose cannon. Prove to your collegues that you have what it takes to be the English department’s next dean by pursuing the truths of language. What is a revolution? What is a war of independence? Solve these mysteries and more or be forever denied tenure.

    *Rated T for violence against the English language

  3. Stefan said on May 26, 2006:

    Is it a terribly, terribly bad thing that I’m actually intregued by that game concept? I think I’d prefer one based on etymology, though. You could track down ancient source texts, journey to small, linguistically isolated villages…slowly assembling the story of how a language evolved. You could even go multiplayer and confer with other players, collaborating on papers for real virtual peer-reviewed journals.

    You could even go into other fields of research with that…physics, biology, archaeology. Metaphysical philosophy might make for a boring game, but a massively multiplayer biology/natural philosophy game set in another world at the dawn of the industrial age would be fantastic. The struggle to discover, taxonomize and name new creatures, securing your immortal place in the game world’s history could actually be pretty intense. Trying to figure out how genetics worked in this game world could be difficult, particularly if it had been intelligently designed. Which, being a game world, it would be :)

    A physical sciences research game set in a world without relativity would be interesting too. The luminiferous aether would offer certain properties if it existed, and engines could be built that would use electrical currents to push against it, as I understand. It would need a very detailed engine for constructing new physical objects. (Far better than second life), and a kick-ass physics engine, but over the months and years players would build on other player’s discoveries to actually create whole new possibilities within the game world. Discoveries could be used as millitary weapons or to increase trade and communication…all sorts of stuff.

    Gentlemen, I give you the Massively multiplayer research science game!

    Anyway, if you’re already basing your whole argument regarding a console on the historical connotations of one of former working name’s multiple definitions, you probably have very little room to sarcastically mock me when I bring semantics into the picture :)

  4. Dan said on May 27, 2006:

    “Me no like games about talkie talkie. Me want things explode. NOW!”
    -Bill Gates

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