Topics in gaming news debated by GameCola writers and industry professionals.
In this edition of “Versus Mode” we have:
ZACH RICH VS. PAUL FRANZEN
Zach Rich is a current GameCola staff member who writes videogame reviews and blog posts and who sometimes appears on “The GameCola Podcast.” He also writes a column called “Things Zach Rich Demands to See Before his Death in 2020,” in which he makes predictions for/demands of the videogame industry. This is Zach’s fourth appearance in Versus Mode, having written previously with Nathaniel Hoover, Sprite Monkey, and in NewbieMania I.
Paul Franzen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GameCola. He runs the editorial and content aspects of GameCola.net, and he writes reviews, makes videos for GC’s YouTube page, and sometimes appears on “The GameCola Podcast.” He’s also recently started a new column called “Minus the Pudding,” in which he tries to find games on Xbox Live’s Indie Games service that are actually worth playing. This is Paul’s fifth appearance in Versus Mode, having written previously with Carl Houghton, Christian Porter, Neal Iannone, and Casey Levine.
1. The PS3 should give you Trophies for watching TV shows.
Zach: If it gets me one step closer to having instant gratification for everything I’ll ever do, I’m all for it. I’m waiting for Starbucks to get their Achievement/Trophy system in place so that I’m gaining something out of the seven Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos I drink every day, aside from the outrageous calorie count, and the negation of all the working out I’ve been doing lately.
Paul: I would never leave my house again. I think I mentioned this before in GameCola, actually, but not only do I think they should start offering Trophies (/Achievements) for watching TV shows, I also think they should be offering them for everything. Going to school, doing the laundry, playing sports, sleeping (“Achievement unlocked: Got up before noon”)—everything. Thanks to MicroSony, I don’t feel productive doing anything unless I’m given a pretend award for doing it, so now they need to fix the rest of the world accordingly.
2. Which of its IPs should Rare revisit next?
Zach: OH MY GOOOOD. There’s so many choices. Let’s start with the painstakingly obvious one: a Banjo-Fourie, hopefully revisiting the platformer style of the first two installments. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. It was an ingenious title that took a small bit of time to warm up to, but once the creative juices of the vehicle editor started flowing, it became one of those truly overlooked and underrated titles of this console generation, in my opinion. (That means I’m not wrong!) However, I have not enjoyed a googly-eyed platformer (in retrospect, aside from Mario Galaxy), since…well, Banjo-Tooie. Grunty’s got to have something new up her sleeve, and I want Bear and Bird fighting their way, wings and claws flying.
With that out of the way, let’s peer a little deeper into the rabbit hole. Let me first say that the only way I’m ever going to die happy in this world is with a Jet Force Gemini sequel on my Xbox. Just drop out the Tribal gathering, add in some Mass Effect-esque space opera madness, and I’ll be going to the grave with a giant grin plastered all over my silly, undead face. We’ve got plenty of Perfect Dark talk going on, so it seems only right that Rare should visit it’s other non-Bond shooter. I wouldn’t mind seeing the next progression in the Conker series, either. With Live and Reloaded going the way of every other Xbox 1 game—offline forever—it seems like the time for our favorite obscene squirrel to go out, get wasted, and have another raunchy trip through the town. A setting update to Bad Fur Day would be brilliant, now that the original movies the first game parodied are either forgotten or simply really old.
One more idea to throw out there is to revisit the Mickey’s Speedway USA engine. Yeah, we can forgo the Disney characters, but Rare, in my heart, is the king of the kart racer. Mario Kart is wonderful and all, but there’s always going to be a special place in my heart for the magic I found in Mickey’s trip across America, in addition to Diddy’s little adventure sans DK. Sure, there was Banjo-Pilot on the GBA a few years back, but that game is so obscure, it didn’t even get a passing message in Nuts & Bolts, a game where 95% of the humor was Rare mocking themselves and their flagship franchise, and the lack of mentioning two titles in that series is the biggest example of exiling from canon I’ve ever seen. A Rare mascot kart racer would be pretty much amazing, and I guarantee it could be better than anything Mario Kart has been in recent years. Which is why I personally hope BK’s guest spot in Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing will sell well enough to convince Rare to do one of their own.
Oh, right. Killer Instinct III.
Paul: Considering that I’m co-authoring this article with a man who, I’m pretty sure, knows more about Rare than most people do about their own mothers, I think I’m just going to have to agree with whatever he said. Unless he chose Diddy Kong Racing.
No, you know what? Forget that; I can make my own decisions. I’d really love to see a new Mr. Pants game, because I spent a lot of time in my early Internet life reading the question-and-answer articles on Rare’s website, because I loved it so much when they’d talk about Mr. Pants. More Pants, please.
3. Debating one console’s merit over another’s is silly.
Zach: I own a 360 and a Wii. My roommate owns a PS3. And I like them all. The console wars are my bitch.
Paul: The 360 and the PS3 are exactly the same thing, so yes, it’s pretty stupid. If you think there’s any real difference between the two, you’re a fanboy, and everyone thinks you’re super annoying.
4. Nintendo should continue to offer demos of its WiiWare games.
Zach: It certainly would be helpful. I think, in this day and age, the availability of game demos being a simple download away has been very helpful in determining whether or not I really do want to blow my scholarships on games. There have been several occasions where I’ve grabbed some XBLA titles because I couldn’t stop playing the demo. Five minutes of a game, replayed over and over and over again? I need to grab the full game here. I don’t exactly know why Nintendo hasn’t gone all out with the demo service for WiiWare; there are some brilliant, but unknown, titles on the platform that simply go ignored because people have no chance to actually get a glimpse of the brilliance before purchase.
At the same time, a demo may also convince a player to not pick up a game. I was considering picking up Darwinia+ when it came out a few weeks ago, but spending some time with the demo made my realize it would ultimately be a wasted $15 on my part. It’s not the type of game I’m into. It’s a double-edged sword to offer demos, and with the amount of shovelware the platform holds, it could do more harm than good. For every World of Goo, Tetris Party and Art Style game, there’s a million Major League Eating games to break the heart of the fragile consumer. I think it’s something Nintendo really shouldn’t need to worry about though. In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re making money anyway.
Paul: They totally should. This might just be me, but I don’t purchase that many downloadable games—or games in general, for that matter—if I can’t try them out first, either through a demo, or through playing a friend’s copy of the game. And since my friends all live too far away now for N64 pajama parties, it’s pretty much just demos these days.
In fact, I’d like to take this a step further—and tie this into the first topic—and say that they should totally offer Achievements for demos. How many more people would be playing every single demo that comes out if each came with, say, 25-50 Achievement Points that you could unlock? Right now, I only play demos of, and then purchase, games that I am super interested in; if they had Achievements, I’d play every single demo that I had even a marginal interest in, and maybe then I’d be motivated to purchase those games, too. (Or, maybe I’d just spend all of my gaming time playing demos. Who knows!)
But anyway. From a purely consumer/me perspective, demos are the best, and I’d be happy if every single videogame had one readily available. But I guess that’s pretty self-evident.
5. Too many great games have been released in the last several years.
Zach: While I agree with the fact that there are too many games I’ve got in my backlog to play (Darksiders, Bayonetta, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Halo 3: ODST, Dragon Age, Assassin’s Creed 2, and both Left 4 Deads come to mind), I think it’s also because while I do have the time to play these games, there’s always another game out there I want to play. I’ve gone through Mass Effect 2 twice already, and I’m in the midst of my third playthrough of it. I’m playing through Batman: Arkham Asylum a second time. I’ve got BioShock 2 and Red Faction: Guerrilla sitting in my room back home waiting to be played.
At the same time, I can’t wait to get my hands on Final Fantasy XIII, the Halo: Reach beta, Alan Wake, and whatever else is in the pipeline for this year. I think Mr. Ducker also neglects the fact that there is a period of time in which no new games come out. It’s called summer. And for a guy like me, unless I actually get cast for a job this summer, I’ll have plenty of time to start rolling through these titles. Hell, maybe I’ll go back and give Mirror’s Edge another chance. I don’t even remember if I had started Tomb Raider: Underworld, and I got that game two years ago.
If awesome videogames keep being released, it means I’ll always have something to play when I’m in the mood for some gaming. And you know what? I’m OK with that.
Paul: Are we counting 2009 in “the last several years”? Because nothing came out in 2009. I mean, I’m pretty sure if you check GameCola’s “new videogame releases” blog posts from last year, they list the various Tales of Monkey Island in July though December, Scribblenauts in September, and nothing else. It was a great year. I got to catch up on my own personal backlog, spending most of my gaming time in 2009 playing 360 and PS3 games from 2007 and 2008, Super Nintendo games, and going outside.
So! If you’d posited this topic in 2008, I probably would’ve said “hell yeah! Stop making games! Stop it right now!”, because my to-play videogame shelf was about to collapse from the weight. But then 2009 came, and they actually did stop making games, so now I’m good—just in time for the dozens of games that are coming out this year that I want to play.
Cue Agree Mode:
2. OH, HOW COULD I FORGET IT’S MR PANTS. Good catch.
And now, argument.
3. There is a huge difference between the PS3 and the 360. They are absolutely NOT the same experience. You cannot play the same games on either of them, the PS3 is far superior in graphics, Xbox Live is far superior to PlayStation network, and after Natal comes out, there will be a HUGE difference in how games are presented to both consoles. I’ve loved the 360 all along, but I also think the PS3 is coming around and becoming a beast of it’s own. There is a massive difference in-between both consoles. The console wars are only stupid when the argument devolves into rampant name calling and no reasons to backup opinion other than “cause u r teh stupidz.” But to say they offer the same experience is, to me, ignorant and blind.
5. Right. Because Star Ocean 4, Halo Wars, Halo ODST, Red Faction, Beatles: Rock Band, Wii Sports Resort, Batman, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, Mario & Luigi 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Tekken 6, Forza 3, New Super Mario Bros, Wii, Left 4 Dead 2, ‘Splosion Man, Shadow Complex, Trine, Zelda: Spirit Tracks and untold amounts of DLC didn’t come out in 2009. Man. What a lame year.
I mean that in the most loving way possible. kloveyoubi
3. I own both systems, and I think “far” is kind of pushing it in both of your cases. “Mildly” seems more appropriate to me, and I think any small advantages that they have over one another cancel out. Also, I think I’ve played like…two console-exclusive games for either system so far; I’m sure they exist in greater quantities than that, but clearly it’s not enough to make any kind of tangible difference to me, as most of the games I want to play come out for everything eventually.
5. Guess I should’ve been more specific—nothing came out in 2009 that I want to play, or that I want to play enough to spend $60 on, anyway. Though you did remind me of New Super Mario Bros.; that really should’ve been on my list, too.
I love you too, Zach! BFF!
To say there is no, or just a mild difference, between the 360 and PS3, is just being plain blind. The 360 has always handeled games better, and the PS3 has always had the edge as a better media system. It is down to presentation for the most part, and of course, functionality – if you like a PC over a Mac, you’ll like a 360 over a PS3.