Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Gaming Cultures

I’m probably part of the competitive online gaming culture but not with games that would be played on PCs. I tend not to play games on PC due to the off-putting complexity of the functions such as ‘CTRL, ALT, SHIFT, A, Q and Z’ to accelerate (slight over exaggeration) but my point is that I play on consoles more due to it’s simplicity of functions and the fact that consoles are specifically designed for games, thus portraying a better performance of the game. Whereas computers are for documents, research etc all of which shares the memory with games.

Innovative ideas and technology allows gamers to ‘socialise’ more within gaming. The introduction to online gaming with Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 has allowed further expansion to gaming and lets the gamers communicate using headsets whilst playing. Playing online with consoles means you will always have someone (even if they’re on the other side of the world) to play with, depending on the game. This eliminates the tedious ‘single player’ mode that gets repetitive over time. You’re abilities aren’t really tested until you play a game with someone else. I’ve noticed that when you constantly play a game against the computer, you pick up what the computer’s functions do, hence predicting what may happen next, whereas with humans, you obviously can’t. For example, when playing against the console in ‘Tekken 5’, the CPU (the brains of the console) registers the moves you use against it in every round, therefore knowing when to block the same move the next time you use it.

Gaming occupies somewhat most of my free time. I normally play console games when I want to step out of this world and enter a virtual one. It’s almost like an escape from things I avoid or try to forget.

I must admit, I DID have friends I only knew through MSN, but this was when I was between the ages of 13-15 when I had no life and chatting online with complete strangers was “cool.” Now I would prefer to know who I am talking to, by which I mean they are actual physical beings who I know and have seen. Having said that, I’ll probably end up contradicting myself when I end up with a long list of friends from around the world whilst playing games on the PS3 online.

The Game Industry

Like many other businesses, gaming companies are closing down due to the global economic slowdown and with people spending less; this makes the competition tough to win consumers and markets.

Nevertheless, the gaming industry continues to release games of interest to the consumers.
So what are the remaining games companies doing to avoid the closure of their business? Is there a secret to the industry’s maintained success? No. The majority of games being released are sequels and/or remakes of classics which are guaranteed the sales. The endless list includes games such as: ‘Street Fighter, Golden Axe, Resident Evil and Tekken.’ Now I know it’s logical to release a sequel if the previous game was successful and I for one can’t wait to purchase ‘Tekken 6,’ but the first game in the series was a unique and new idea to begin with and a risk worth taking. So are companies now afraid to release something completely diverse?

I remember the classic ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Golden Axe’ being simple, pixelated games but their general idea and gameplay along with addictive qualities is what made them be successful games and part of my favourite video games.

In very rare circumstances, a company may release successful new and unique games that are not taken from a movie or television programme. Although games like these gain consumer interest, they offer a low income and at the end of the day, game companies are only interested in what’s in the consumers’ wallet.

As most gaming companies are relying on sequels of games to generate masses of income, they face challenges to make their next sequels harder as gamers already know how to play them and at the same time, gain new customers. I own ‘Resistance 2,’ and I can honestly say that I did not need to play the first ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ to get into the game and understand the storyline. I also wasn’t a fan of the ‘Resistance’ series until I played ‘Resistance 2.’

This challenge may impact the industry in the future by consumer’s wanting games that are better than their sequels. Unfortunately, at this point, re-releasing games and sequels over and over again may not be enough to win the market, so companies will have to result in releasing fresh, unique, never before seen games that consumers will want and need. Good luck!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

An Unforgettable Purchase!

I’ve just purchased the Playstation 3 (a rather wise choice) and I have no doubts about this epic invention! As soon as I set it up and played the first game on it, I was hooked and within minutes, it was connected to the internet (efficient or what!).

The console came with two games as part of the bundle, ‘Mirrors Edge’ and ‘Resistance 2.’ I started to play ‘Mirrors Edge’ first, but the game was slightly disappointing as it didn’t uphold my interest and attention. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics were amazing, but this game wasn’t my cup of tea as it is a slow paced game to begin with, not sure if it becomes more action-packed later as I haven’t played that far into the game.

After about 30 minutes of ‘Mirrors Edge,’ I decided to give ‘Resistance 2’ by Insomniac Games a go, and what a game it is! I don’t own the previous ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ game, but I am seriously considering it. I just love how ‘Resistance 2’ doesn’t have a long tedious introduction. Right from the start, the game places you in the middle of action and destruction, instantly absorbing you in the game. The aliens/monsters definitely have a lasting effect on the player with their gruesome characteristics and unexpected appearances during gameplay.

What I especially like about this game are that the surroundings and scenes during gameplay are not just narrow, predictable corridors like most first hand player games. Instead, playing ‘Resistance 2’ it is like stepping into an open world of destruction with the player in the centre of it. The graphics are equally amazing in both video sequences and during gameplay. One aspect from the graphics that stood out was the perfect realism of the water.

With ‘Resistance 2,’ Insomniac Games definitely know how to maintain current customers and at the same time, reel-in new ones.