Monday, 19 April 2004, 23:39:29 EDT

Lets talk a minute about video games and why I play them. I play video games because I find them fun. I am pretty decent at certain types of video games like Raiden II, Tempest 2000, and Amplitude. Those are the style games that I enjoy the most and am the best at; some might say I am pretty good at racing games as well and those come in a close second to the style of aforementioned games. I am not very adept at first person shooters (FPS) though. No, I don't completely suck but I have my moments where I can't hit the broad side of a barn. Since I am not very good at them I am very picky about the ones that I will play and the reasons why. The absolute biggest requirement for me to play a FPS style game is that I must have fun playing it. Because this type of game is not my strong area in gaming I like FPSs that are fast paced and do not noticeably limit the playing time. What do I mean by that? Well, there are games like Counter Strike that prevent you from respawning when you get killed. For me this is unacceptable; I aboslutely do not like getting shot in the first five seconds of play, possibly while still trying to figure the game out, and not being able to play for another five minutes while watching everyone else have a good time. "But, what about realism?" some say. I don't play FPS games for realism. I may play a racing game for realism because I might never get a chance to drive some of those cars (hell, almost all of them). But, if I want some realism ala FPS style I can go join the damn army and get a hefty dose of it real quick. No, I play FPSs to have fun.

Another aspect of some FPS games that annoy me is the ever popular trend to use levels that are so huge you can walk around for what feels like days without seeing an opponent. The "revolutionary" game that introduced this concept was Tribes. Playing this game is not fun (to me). The levels are friggin' massive and have very little distinguishing marks. I admit, it is impressive they were able to create such massive levels and have the game run well with the limited hardware of the time, but there is no reason to do so when it leaves the players lost. "Oh, but you have a jet pack to aid you in movement." Whoptie-fuckin'-do. "Skiing" across the terrain does not make it any less massive. Nor does it make it any less annoying to have to retraverse all that ground when you die.

Tribes 2 introduced vehicles to the FPS genre. Cool idea, overplayed idea. I won't go in to how horrible I think the vehicles in Tribes 2 are because of their control; I will just acknowledge that the game introduced the concept with a somewhat playable implementation first. I will, however, bitch about the subsequent use of them in later games like Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2k4). In UT2k4 the developers decided that vehicles would be a cool addition to the game. They are indeed a cool addition, they just seem to take all the glory and leave people like me desiring straight up deathmatch out in the cold. All anyone wants to play now is a mode with vehicles so they can drive around and be silly. There have been very few matches that I have been a part of that have been aided by the use of vehicles other than to get you across the huge friggin' level a little be quicker. I suppose that is my issue with the vehicles. In order to make the game playable with vehicles the size of the levels needs to be expanded otherwise it will be like a traffic jam and no one wants that in a game. So, what it boils down to is if you are not lucky enough to get in a vehicle as you spawn you get to run cross country or just chill and hope some other hapless soul wanders by.

Another genre that irks me is the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). I like role playing games; they are really fun because your character can turn in to a real bad ass which can own other players - always fun. What I don't like about the MMORPGs is the business model. They don't release demos so to try out the game you have to go to the store and buy it. If you don't like the game you have just wasted however much money it cost to buy the game because to play the game you have to pay a monthly fee, you can typically play the first month free, to have access to the actual game part of the game. What comes on the CD is just the (out dated) files necessary to be able to play the game. The initial cost at the store varies from $30.00 to $50.00. I can almost accept $30.00, almost, because most full games that don't operate on this business model cost $50.00. But, I cannot and will not pay $50.00 to try out a game that I will have to pay a mandatory subscription to play. I think there a couple ways to fix this problem. The first would be to offer the game up for free download and have to subscribe for a one month subscription to be able to play. The second would be to set up a separate set of servers for a demo version of the game so that people can try out a demo and then go purchase the game if they end up liking it. And lastly, the game could be an all online game and not require a subscription fee. Impossible you say? I now reference you to Guild Wars which does just that and looks so pretty. This game really has my interest peaked as it is made by some ex-Blizzard folks. Blizzard is on the verge of releasing the World of Warcraft, a MMORPG, that I have been pretty keen on trying. Reading through the features and concepts behind Guild Wars the game sounds more my speed.

Any way, if you can write code and have a passion for video games you should head over to the Unreal Battle of the Sexes mod page and check it out. We could really use some help in the coding department as I evidently don't have any time to do every thing that I like to do any more.


Tribes *1* introduced vehicles. And for their time, they rocked. That's all I have to correct atm, but I'm sure I'll think of more.

Posted by William Graves on Monday, 19 April 2004, 23:50:58 EDT.