Letters to the Editor

Industry Negligence


In response to “Fast-Track to Fanaticism” from The Escapist Forum: Sonic (1991-2008)

Sonic was born in 1991 at a video game development company called SEGA.

He enjoyed instant success with Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, gained recognition and became the world’s favourite Hedgehog.

Unfortunately Sonic’s parents SEGA sought to monopolize on this commercial success and soon abused Sonic by making him star in one after the other in increasingly worse games to wring as much money out of their child’s fortune as possible.

In 2008 faced with the prospect of starring in the next game alongside a preteen love interest and dress up as a Werewolf, he suffered the curse of many child actors and turned to a life of hard drugs and alcohol which would be his end.

R.I.P. Sonic, we will remember the good times, when a little blue hedgehog had a dream of running up and down hills and spin jumping onto his enemies heads.


Rule #1 of The Escapist: “The fanboys of something I don’t like are much more rabid, obsessive and loudmouthed than the fanboys of anything I do like.”

But all kidding aside, I don’t think that “fan pressure” is the reason for the problems with recent Sonic games. From what I hear, it’s exactly the opposite: Yuji Naka is an obsessive control freak who won’t listen to anyone else’s input for fear it will wreck his creative vision.



In response to “The Short Shelf Life of EGP Apparel” from The Escapist Forum: *shrug* Why would I want a t-shirt? What function does it serve? T shirts are cheap quality goods, even with the best of art on them, I purchase clothing with decent thread counts of a quality material if at all possible – polyester cotton fibers really don’t hold up well, if the faded t shirts that hang like rags in my closet are anything to go by.

If I wanted to try out a game, I would look online at their website and through services like Steam and Impulse.



In response to “Open-World Gaming” from The Escapist Forum: I think this is a great idea. Imagine this, cell phones act as tagging mechanisms and you sign up with your cell phones online. Still with me? Good. Next after you’ve signed up, you head outside and use your GPS on your phone to find others who have also signed up and now there are teams. You can make it cops and robbers or survivors vs. infected. If you come within a certain area of another cell phone that has this application activated, you either turn into an infected or get “arrested” by a cop.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me! I remember a college campus did this, certain people who were zombies wore red shirts and people who weren’t wore blue shirts and the infection spread =P


Imagine if a pokemon game had no gameworld. It instead either generated one based on your geographic area or was pre-loaded with satellite map info and such. To catch pokemon you’d have to wander around various parks and places which would generate the random encounters for the game. You would also duel fellow players wirelessly, but would have to be within a certain distance of one another. Retailers or your house would be the ‘pokemon centers’ to restore your pokemon’s health.



In response to “The Silent Majority” from The Escapist Forum: Mass Effect was pretty good in this respect, it had subtitles similar to those in the Source games. Gears, not so much, but it did feature the “rumbling controller, press Y to look at what’s going on” mechanic. Actually, I think the added cues from rumble make a lot of genres which might be unplayable to someone deaf much more so. I’ve played Forza with the sound off, and while nigh-crippling when I wasn’t used to it, without rumble it would have been unthinkable. Should the deaf show preference for console gaming? It’s food for thought.


If anyone here has more interest in the Deaf gaming community, or what games scored – you can check out the following link.

As of last year, I know ORANGE BOX was the only game ever to score a 10.



There’s also a ton of articles about how to make a game more appealing to the Deaf and hard of hearing.



In response to “There is Research to be Done” from The Escapist Forum: So, looks like I’m not the only one who was disappointed with DEFCON’s base AI, then.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see the links between academic artificial intelligence research and computer gaming. There’s a lot of potential in this research for computer games to benefit from, because there are few things which cause a bigger drop in immersiveness than AI representations showing little intelligence.

I suppose, however, that there are some critical differences between making a game’s AI very intelligent and making it fun to play against. An intelligent AI which was specifically designed to play a game well might work in conjunction with the “game” aspect of a project like Façade, but it may not work so well in a competitive first-person shooter, for example, short of limiting the AI’s reaction time so that players can get a fix on them.


I’ve never understood why procedural narrative advocates are so deadset on destroying linear narrative as if the two are somehow incompatible. For as much as people harp on creating a world where they can do or say anything, the first few stabs with games that allow this hint at what every person’s ambition actually is: break the rules that real life imposes on us. That has enormous merit, but I don’t know why people think there is a video game behind being totally free of rules when all a video games is at the core is a bundle of rules with paint.

Even the best procedural world is going to have to face the fact that people are going to ask what their purpose inside that world is. What do the rules mean, what does breaking them mean, and how does that affect some grander scheme? Even a procedural narrative is going to have to define a series of reactions that ultimately prey on the player’s pre-conceptions of good and bad, win or lose. The fact that the player is going to ask the game for that conception is why a linear narrative is always going to be a reality in even the freest worlds.

L.B. Jeffries

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