Waypoints
Waypoints

Games play best when their interfaces are transparent, and the disconnect between player and game starts to vanish. Loading up game screens with buttons only serves to diminish immersion. I'm looking at you, Twilight Princess, and the ugly graphical representations of the Wii controller you stick all over the edges my screen. I know it's a Zelda tradition to clearly show the controls mapped to Link's tools at any given moment, but must I really admire such a beautiful game through a tangle of Wii remote glyphs? I have to believe the minds behind Nintendo's most brilliant first-party titles can do better.

Waypoints

In recent years, it's been fashionable to criticize the press for the emotional trauma previews engender, and often for good reason. Previews rarely offer measured critiques of upcoming games, and even when they do, they usually undermine their concerns with unbridled optimism. In the worst scenarios, previews merely regurgitate the carefully crafted, gushing content generated by industry representatives.

And yet, we love the stuff.

Waypoints

Let's look at current generation console prices to date, in U.S. dollars. Nintendo's Wii rings up at about $250. Microsoft's Xbox 360's three flavors include the $300 Core pack, the $400 Premium edition, and the $480 Elite. Sony's PlayStation 3 is available in $500 and $600 options. All other things being equal, the Wii's price is obviously the most attractive, which might explain why it's outselling the 360 by about 2-to-1, and the PS3 by about 4-to-1.

Waypoints

Media and political figures may insist gaming corrupts youthful mids, but parental anxieties about kids' gaming often arise from a more personal source.

Waypoints

Miyamoto thinks he can convert the gaming-adverse into the game-dependent. But what would it take to create a world that truly couldn't live without videogames?

Waypoints

Neversoft's Tony Hawk series elevates virtual skateboarding to glorious heights, but still can't seem to get beyond a skate-by-numbers design mentality.

Waypoints

I've got a bone to pick with Square Enix. It's not because I don't like their latest RPG. In fact, I've enjoyed Final Fantasy XII so much that I've spent nearly 80 hours with the game. The problem is that, through means both cruel and completely arbitrary, its creators have rendered the game's most powerful weapon forever beyond my reach.

(note: minor FFXII weapon-related spoilers follow)