In response to “The Shrooms of Oblivion” from The Escapist Forum: That is absolutely fantastic. I never knew.
I love how detail in games can vastly improve learning opportunities, such as learning about mushrooms for this author.
Some time ago I found my first homework I’d done for school, or rather, the first homework where I had to write more than a page. I was about eleven and had made a fourteen page work about the seven wonders of the old world. It has a comment from my teacher that she was so impressed, because she couldn’t finish reading it in one sitting. I was insulted at the time, thinking she called me boring, but considering that others had made a twopager on their cat, I can see her point now.
I think it’s marvelous that at age eleven I wrote about the seven wonders of the world. When I read that back I remembered my search for books on world wonders and my confusion about a book that had 200 world wonders in it (including statue of liberty, eiffel tower). So I learned to call the seven wonders “the seven wonders of the old world”.
How I got interested in the world wonders at that age? Perplexing. Until I remembered which game featured them.
Thank you Sid Meier.
It is amazing how different interests can be satisfied in unexpected ways in gaming.
I have a similar experience with astrology and video games sometimes, even in Oblivion itself. Choosing a symbol or sign for your character is a great way to communicate the basics of what that character would be and when they would be useful, especially to beginners, and I have taken great pleasure in understanding and choosing from these.
The Sims has a similar motif, though using the real Western Zodiac in its statistical system. It didn’t get all the traits right, so like you, I found the bit where realism was cut off by practical balance issues and time constraints on development unfortunate.
Through special motifs like these, developers can tap the endless resource of other hobbies to reach across the great gap from author to consumer and touch hearts. These are the very type of motifs that draw hardcore fanbases.
The lack of deep detail realistic mofifs is one of the reasons why the Wii is so unpopular with the hardcore gaming community – the software for the most part lacks such extra pushes towards realism, instead providing basic environments with motion controls in experimentally interesting but superficial ways.
The hardcore base, which can make savings on development costs by utilising established franchises, is something that Microsoft has taken heavy advantage of. This may eventually show profit in long-term results versus Nintendo’s more casual appeal. The hardcore shouldn’t be underestimated as a business opportunity by these companies.
As a side point, I should point out to the author that Resident Evil 4‘s “Las Plagas” concept was inspired by plants like the Cordyceps. A note that you can collect in the game explained similar real life plagues/lifeforms that control or manipulate small animals (which may or may not have included the Cordyceps; the similar description you gave may mean it is the very same plant), explaining that the Plagas only does this at a higher level and to more intelligent animals.
In response to “My Big Fat Geek Marriage” from The Escapist Forum: When reading this article, one of the things that spring to my mind is the saying: “opposites attract”. I’ve frequently found myself taking this for fact even though I know that 2 individuals that are completely different usually don’t date.
The reason for the saying, I suppose, is because 2 people very alike would bore each other. They would never stimulate the other. They would never bring something new and exciting to the relationship.
How does this relate to this article? For once, the couple here sounds very much alike and, according to my very unscientific statement, would have a somewhat stalemate relationship. Yet, reading this gives me anything but this feeling.
What’s the whole point of my post? Well, I’m a bit torn in the 2 views on relationship I just presented. Should I look for someone who is very different from me or should I look for someone I can laugh with and whose company I enjoy? My guess is that it’s a mix between those 2, but is it a 50/50 spread? Perhaps 10/90? I don’t know. Am I just theory crafting too much? Probably.
A wonderful article. I went straight over to hug my partner after reading it. I was awash with a tremendous sense of welbeing and general internal gooeyness.
It is the unique language that binds two people together. I love how we laugh every day, have invented words and tonnes of in jokes that make me look stupid if used in public. You don’t need common interests, you just need to click and have chemistry.
Apart from a love of crap horror movies and being silly I’m very different to my partner. She is an ex model whos always been super trendy and at the height of fashion, she went to all of the trendiest hang outs most people can’t get in to. I am a rock kid into hardcore, going to gigs and metal venues playing videogames and an MMA freak.
If we didn’t work for the same agency and end up in the same training courses our paths would never have crossed. We went to different places, lived in different towns and mixed with different people.
We couldn’t stop giggling when we met, to the point where the trainer threatened to split us up. She joked we would get married at training. 6 months later we were boyfriend/girlfriend and she does’nt yet know I’ll propose later this year.
I think its great you have common interests but I think the bond and the fact you “get each other” is the more important thing. You need to laugh together.
Your grandfather is a wise, wise man. It’s not about “types”, find someone who keeps you laughing. The fact my girl is hot doesn’t hurt either.
– bjj hero
In response to “Split|Screen” from The Escapist Forum: Truly a wonderful article and something I am also for is a return to splitscreen to support people actually socializing in person. It really is a different experience when you have friends physically with you and talking to you in person than over Vent or any other sterile service.
You find the best moments and opportunities in PEOPLE.
I love hearing some friends of mine COMPLAIN about split screen when they have a 50″ LCD television. I ask back why don’t they like the idea of multiplayer and their response is that they don’t want to share the screen or worry about screen lookers. The technology of televisions of that size even when using splitscreen are still bigger than some 19″ televisions that a lot of gamers use today.
If given the choice between playing online with friends and strangers versus playing in person, playing in person wins all the time. It allows me to bond with my friends and gives me the chance to make more friends that I can physically contact.
As for worms, yeah I remember the great times sharing a computer with my family and friends all taking turns and it was great seeing the reactions and call outs even if we were away from the monitor getting a coke.
“Hey Tenmar! I just dragonpunched Clanger in the water!”
I’m glad somebody finally put out an article about this.
I game online all the time, and while it’s fun, there’s a lot to be said for having your friends in the room with you. There’s only so much you can communicate over a noisy headset, or worse yet, typing text feverishly. Teamwork requires communication and our most experienced form of communication is face to face with the person next to us.
Local multiplayer also helps with socialization. It’s great to meet people online, but with all the barriers to communication, it’s difficult to really get to know people. Nothing is more natural than getting together with some friends to play a game, whether it’s a card game, board game, or video game. Without local multiplayer, you can’t play most games together with your friends (puzzle games being a definite exception).
It’s unfortunate that developers have left multiplayer by the wayside. My friends and I still play NES together regularly, but I’ll be damned if I can get them to play anything on my XBOX 360 other than Rock Band. There just aren’t enough games that take advantage of split screen and make playing together worth doing.
In response to “Roleplaying, Free Play and the Preeschool Gamer” from The Escapist Forum: This article is the perfect reminder that “role-playing” is just another word for “pretend.” Many people disregard imagination as a childish experience, as a nostalgic reminder of the time when life was just a stage, and we could put on any play we wanted.
It’s no mystery that children imitate their parents; psychologists call it a learning method, but parents see it as sentimental role-play, as if it forms a unique bond between parent and child. People don’t realize it, but gaming today owes everything to children. “Pretend” wouldn’t exist without them. Because back then, life was a game.
With that said, I like to think that children are natural born gamers. As they progress through life, they discover that everything has rules, that they can interact with the world, and that with the right imagination, anything is possible. No matter how you raise a child, they will always retain a strand of creativity.
I found this article to be very well written. It’s filled with mother’s worry, but that only makes it all the more touching. Good job.
Regarding plastic rayguns and foam swords: my kids (both 7) often play combat games, but they’re not particular about using things which are supposed to be weapons. Small soft toys make fine missiles. Cushions work well as both swords and shields. The sofa cover is both a royal cloak and a spectre’s shroud. And the boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark makes a fine exercise ball… or the other way around, I forget.
The point being that if you’re going to encourage imaginative play you might as well go the whole way! 🙂