You know him from Inside the Guide, and you know the other him from Top of the Heap and from his monthly reviews. That’s right! This month in Versus Mode it’s:
Michael Gray vs. Christian Porter!
1. It’s better to “critique” a videogame than it is to “review” one.
Michael: Whatever. Hey, do you people reading this know that I don’t have any limits set on what I write here? I can give answers as long or as short as I want. I don’t even have to write answers that actually deal with the questions! I can write about something else instead, like how I don’t understand girls. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with girls? First Amy said she’d date me, and then she comes back four hours later and says she changed her mind? What the hell!
Christian: Between this and last month’s “It’s incorrect to say that you ‘beat’ a videogame,” argument, it seems that the game industry is starting to think a little masturbatory wordplay is going to get the videogame industry more respect.
Most of the people who do not respect the videogame industry are the Jack Thompsons and the Tipper Gores of the world—people that are against anything that they don’t like or that they wouldn’t want their kids seeing. Unless we start pumping out games like Bible Adventures eXtreme: Jesus Rulez! or Obeying Traffic Laws in a Vehicle Purchased With Your Own Hard-Earned Money, then all the well-worded, intelligent critiques in the world aren’t going to stop them from trying to censor or ban videogames that they view to be violent or vulgar because they’re myopic imbeciles no different than their predecessors 60 years ago who thought dancing the Charleston was akin to devil worship.
Also, when it comes right down to it, the majority of games don’t really mean anything. You can find some social commentary in games like Grand Theft Auto and artistic merit in games like Ico, but for every one of those games there’s at least 50 games that might not offer much in the way of intellectual stimulation, but still do what they set out to do: Provide you with $50 worth of mindless escapism. There’s no deeper meaning in Marble Madness; it’s just damn fun.
2. It’s too soon for Nintendo to end support for the GameCube.
Michael: No way. When Nintendo finished making Twilight Princess, they pulled a major “let’s screw over all the GameCube owners who have been waiting for years for a realistic-looking Zelda game” move by releasing a port of the game on the Wii first, and then releasing the GameCube version a month or so later. When that happened, I knew the GameCube was pretty much in the crapper. I’m just glad to hear that Nintendo has finally admitted they stopped caring about the GameCube.
Christian: Let’s all stop, take a deep breath and come to some grim realizations:
First, as far as new games go, Nintendo has barely been supporting the GameCube for well over a year. Some of the only games Nintendo had their hands in last year were cult favorite Chibi Robo and Odama, and even then they were just the publisher—not the developer. Twilight Princess is the first noteworthy true first-party game in ages and, really, the ‘Cube only got the Wii’s leftovers
Which brings me to my second point: The Wii’s gameflow is already in rough shape. There are about four quality Wii games set to come out in the near future. The rest are largely just licensed atrocities like Happy Feet or The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and things don’t seem like they’ll be significantly looking up until much, much later this year.
Third, look at it from Nintendo’s standpoint. It just doesn’t make financial sense for Nintendo to continue developing for the GameCube. You’ve got the Wii selling like hotcakes, you’ve got the DS selling like hotcakes full of diamonds and you’ve got the GameCube that’s been desperately scratching at the Xbox for a distant second place in the last-gen system wars. It’s a no-brainer.
As a GameCube owner myself it pains me to say this, but the system’s been dead and buried for a while now. Nintendo just finally read the eulogy.
3. “Videogames made me do it” should never, ever work as an excuse.
Michael: As an excuse for what? Not dating me? Dammit, I am sick of all these stupid excuses girls come up with to avoid dating me! “I just want to be friends,” “You’re not my type,” “Sorry, but I’m going steady with the caveman from the Geiko commercials,” and now “videogames made me do it”? When will it end!
Oh, wait, apparently “videogames made me do it” was used as an excuse for a murder. In that case, my advice to all you readers is don’t murder people, and you won’t have to come up with stupid videogame-related excuses. If you commit murder or any other crime, bad things happen to you. Just look what happened to poor Zack Huffman.
Christian: Nobody should ever, ever take this excuse seriously. I don’t care if you played Doom for three straight days followed by Mortal Kombat II ‘til your eyes bled; you, the murderer/arsonist/child molester, are the one who removed the line between reality and make-believe. That line is very, very obvious to the rest of us, meaning that the problem lies solely on your shoulders. If you have a hard time seeing the difference between Manhunt and real life, then you are a dangerous nutcase and should be treated accordingly.
4. Nintendo fanboys are hurting Nintendo.
Michael: Oh, I get it. Fanboys are hurting Nintendo. I see what’s going on here. You’re saying that all the fangirls are too busy trying to avoid dating me. Is that what you’re saying? If that’s so, SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE.
I remember people were complaining about this sort of thing when Microsoft bought Rare, and everyone was having heart attacks over the topic of Nintendo not having enough third-party support. Apparently, the problem hasn’t gone away. But Nintendo seems to have done pretty well since then, so it’s a reasonable guess to say they’ll do okay in the future, even if their crazed fanboys refuse to buy any third party games.
Christian: Nintendo and their third parties listen to their bank accounts first and Samus-cosplay Internet nerds last. If they actually listened to people on the Internet, then we’d have a Earthbound sequel in the US by now (which would be more than fine by me) and Windwaker, whose visual style was subject to pages upon pages of fanboy complaints, would have been cancelled (which would have made me sad).
The picky fanboys are a loud minority. The people that Nintendo and third parties care about are the majority: the ones that vote with their wallets. Wii’s a new beast, and third parties are still having trouble figuring out fun ways to utilize the Wiimote and are throwing last-gen ports at us until they do because, well, they’ve gotta pay the bills. Give it time, the games will get better and be more plentiful.
5. The PS3 will not be able to emulate the PS2’s success.
Michael: I have no freaking clue. To be honest, the most recent game I’ve played this year is Banjo-Kazooie. Who am I to talk about the PS2 and PS3? I don’t know anything about them.
Christian: Not if Ken Kutaragi himself personally offered fellatio to every PS3 owner on earth. The simple fact is that Sony got a big head with the success of the PS1 and PS2, and thought they could foist any manner of overpriced crap at us and expect that we’d buy it because it said Sony on it (though, to be fair, that’s been official Sony business model for years now). The two biggest reasons the PS3 won’t be anywhere near as successful as the PS2 (and would be lucky to secure second place in the current-gen console wars) are:
- Price. If the 3DO taught us anything it’s that people just aren’t willing to pay craploads for a console. $600 is just about double the accepted price point for a new console for most people. Even the Xbox 360’s $400 is pushing it, and the new $470 Elite model even more so. The consuming public just isn’t going to pay 50% more for the PS3 if it isn’t 50% more system than the X360.
- Games. The PS1 was a 32 bit system competing in a 64 bit era, and the PS2’s specs just weren’t up to the Xbox’s. This didn’t matter for either system. Games are what have defined the PlayStation since its inception. Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear and a giant library of other great (and exclusive) games are what made PlayStation a force to be reckoned with. Sony’s own hubris has driven their most important third parties away from them with Rockstar games moving GTA IV to other systems and Square, Konami and countless other valuable third party properties rumored to make the move as well. Some companies, like Eidos, are avoiding the PS3 altogether. Without quality third party support the PS3 is just a giant black box that eats energy like it’s Ernest Borgnine at a Golden Corral and plays a mean game of Bratz: Forever Diamondz.