Dungeons & Dollars

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To the Editor: I’ve been reading The Escapist for a couple of months now and am very impressed with both the quality of its content and the format itself. I was particuarly “moved” or should I say “relieved” to see that parts of the gaming community are still sticking with Nintendo. They introduced me to videogames all those years ago and easily have produced some of the best software and hardware, and as one of your articles mentioned, met some hurdles on the way.

I think people in this day and age are forgetting what games are all about, and that’s gameplay, as a Nintendo VP clearly outlines: “graphics are eventually taken for granted” and that sentence couldn’t be more the truth. The greatness of Nintendo is that no matter how amazing the graphics may or may not be, the gameplay at its heart is there to entertain. I had a quick run of Ocarina of Time the other day and, the graphics may look old for today, but they were almost completely irrelevant. The immersive gameplay was enough for me to keep playing, a feat few developers today would be able to match. On a parting note, the Big N just announced record profits since 2001, proving doubters wrong once again. That’s Nintendo Power for you.


Dear Mr. Varney: I enjoyed your “Metroid Primed” article. You have a fun, accessible writing style. Just one little geeky correction. You mention “trackless low-res polygons” in 1986. There were no polygons on home systems in 1986. Polygons were limited to expensive home computers or movies like Tron or Last Starfighter. Maybe you meant “pixels” or “sprites”?

Navarro Parker

[Editor’s Note: This topic was brought up on our blog, The Lounge, as well. Allen responded here.]

From The Lounge: [Re: “The King and the Donkey” by Spanner] Cheers for a great article. It’s this kind of reading that makes the escapist such a pioneer in game journalism. I would never expect to see this topic in a hard copy publication which is what has kept me coming back to The Escapist since my first foray back when Greg Costikyan wrote “Death to the Games Industry.” Clearly an interesting read and something I would never have known short of doing my own research – which I never would have done because I didn’t know the history was so interesting. Are the lives of other such companies this interesting? Will we get to hear more about their history?


From The Lounge: [Re: “A New Way to Play” by Shannon Drake] First of all, let me state that I am in love with the concept of the gaming system and the controller that the “Revolution” will bring. I haven’t bought a console since Genesis, and I am already drooling over this one.

The point I’d like to make, though, is that I don’t believe that this controller will make any kind of revolutionary changes in the console gaming industry. I hope I’m wrong. You compared the NES’s controller to the Atari’s, and others’, and made the case that it was the NES that set a new standard. I agree. However, the video gaming market today is literally in another plane of existence.

As an example, you’ve got two major markets – PC and Console – who have radically different design and control schemes, yet both are large players and have been, side by side, for years. If there is a mini-revolution (does such a thing exist?) created by the “Revolution,” it would be the birth of a new videogame market, apart from the current ones; although I don’t believe even that will happen. The NES didn’t just beat out Atari and friends because of a control innovation, it had a host of other things going for it as well. An example of this is the fact that, since the days of Commodore, we’re still playing games on PC keyboards.

Anyway, I have a hard time seeing the “Revolution” beat out Sony or Microsoft at anything. Again, I’d love to witness it – heck, I’m buying the system – but I’m afraid, in America, the console industry is at the point where big bucks and predictable marketing strategies rule the field. At the most, Sony and Microsoft will make lightsaber controllers of their own for expanded profit, but it won’t be required for them to keep up. “Revolution” in Japan? No clue. I can only speak from the history of American videogaming. Now let’s hope I have no idea what I’m talking about.

-Big J

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