Friday, April 28, 2006

Wii are idiots

Why would Nintendo rebrand Revolution (the next-gen console codename) as 'Wii' ?

They've already built up brand recognition for Revolution. On top of that 'Wii' sounds silly. Yes, it sounds like 'We' -- but it also sounds like 'Wee'.

Consider the following scenario...

"What did you get for Christmas?"

"I gotta Wii"

Laughter ensues.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Silent Hill: The Movie

Well, once again, Hollywood has managed to put another nail in the coffin of videogame-to-film adaptations.

This seems to be the rationale of the 'genius' producers. First, license a successful game. Next, hire a C-rate writer to create the screenplay (after all, you don't need a first rate writer -- he just needs to take what's in the game and put it on screen). Tell the writer to play the game a few times and write a film that pretty much captures what it's like to play the game. Finally, release this rubbish, and get all the gamers to run to the cinema and give you their money.

Maybe it's a good formula, in the short-term. Silent Hill was successful at the box office. But you're not likely to see a Silent Hill 2.

Here's why the movie sucks -- they pretty much captured what it's like to play the game. But as gamer knows -- nothing is more boring than watching someone else play a game.

You see the main character run around, look at maps, use a flashlight, read documents... all the things that are fun to do in a game because you're doing it not watching it.

If The Matrix had been a videogame prior to being a movie, the film would involve Neo running around aimlessly, opening doors, ending in a big battle with Agent Smith -- without much plot or backstory surrounding it.

If Hollywood wants to create a successful movie based on a video game, the first thing they should get out of their head is the 'novel idea' that people want to see exactly what you get in the game. Next, they should realise that video game plots are fragmented and incomplete at best. I think it would take even more effort than creating a book adaptation where the plot is fully realised, but not yet visualised. Finally, they should hire writers that have written good screenplays within the same genre AND enjoy videogames. The first quality would ensure they know how to weave a decent tale, the second would allow them to get past the 'novelty' of playing a game ('oh! so you have to check the maps often -- I have to put that in the movie!') and actually dig into the core of the plot.

Take, for example, the Resident Evil films, which are somewhat watchable. They ditched most of the plot, ignored the gameplay, and created an action zombie flick -- which is the essence of the video game, not a literal reproduction.

So long as Hollywood chases a quick buck, the successful adaptation is not likely to happen. More likely, they'll kill the genre and move on to the next easily exploitable franchise.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Online Games and Levels of Immersion

I've was playing Heroes Mini, a browser-based multiplayer RPG. In the end, I found the gameplay lacking, but the experience sparked a few ideas.

The problem with massively multiplayer games, is that they cater to one type of player. They reward the players (usually obsessive teenagers) who can commit 10+ hours per day playing in the 3D online world.

However, for people like me, the idea of launching a 3D world that will consume all of my waking hours is not a selling point.

What I liked about Heroes Mini was that I could open a browser, and advance the game during a lunch break. I think other online games could borrow from this model.

Allow different levels of immersion. From an RSS feed of what is happening in the world (zero participation), to a web-based experience (low participation) to the full 3D environment (full participation).

The games industry needs to find models that will allow the older, busier gameplaying community to get involved at an appropriate level.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Firefox extension: CookiePie

CookiePie is a neat little extension I had to search around for. Namely to cheat in Heroes Mini, but more on that later.

CookiePie allows you to assign different browser sessions to each tab, so you can login to one Gmail account under one tab and a different one under a different tab.

Pretty convenient.

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an excellent collection of 3D-style graffiti by self-taught artist, Fadzli Aris.

Unfortunately he doesn't make his digital work available for download as a desktop pattern, but with a little bit of creativity and detective work, you can make one ;)

[via Protos]

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Doctor Who - Tardisodes

If you're like me, then you're anxiously anticipating the next Doctor Who series.

BBC, remarkably innovative in its use of cross-media tie-ins, has launched Tardisodes. By texting TARDIS to 81010, you'll be alerted to the weekly video 45 second prequels to the TV episodes.

Or, you can use another fanciful innovation called 'memory' and remember to visit the site every Saturday.

Either way, the more Doctor Who the better.

Doctor Who starts next Saturday, 15-April at 7:15pm.

[link via PicturePhoning]

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

MUGEN: Mario vs. Chun Li

MUGEN is the last 2D Fighting game you ever need to play.

It was designed with an open structure allowing the easy creation of fighters, which of course opened the door for a community of remixers to import the characters from any game ever made.

Unfortunately, since the video game industry (like every other media industry) doesn't 'get it' -- finding the characters is difficult due to their copyright infringement, and the original developer Elecbyte seems to have been shut down.

When will industries support and nurture the remix culture (or mashups as it's trendy to say now)? Don't they realise that an enthusiastic community will do the work of 1,000 developers working on a product?

It would be smart if Nintendo had bought Elecbyte, and transferred all their licenses to the development of MUGEN for the Gameboy. Game companies should license their sprites and sounds and see what the community will make with them.

*Sigh* ... I hope copyright law will reconcile itself with the information age in my lifetime.

In the meantime, we'll have to leave it to the French who are happy to thumb their nose at the rest of the world's legislature. To get started with MUGEN -- French site Mugen Fury has a link to download the original software and other resources.

[Found via Destructoid]

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Monday, April 03, 2006


As BoingBoing notes, in the US, April 5th at 3 seconds past 1:02am you could write the time and date as:

01:02:03 04/05/06

Of course, over here in the UK and Europe, we'll have to wait until May 4th.

Last but not least, June 6th this year is:



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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Robot Wrestling

This Google Video shows a robot wrestling tournament.

I remember when robots were these hideous spider-like contraptions with exposed wires everywhere. Then it was a huge breakthrough when they had a pair of robot legs walking down stairs -- because apparently a bipedal robot is a difficult thing.

Now, this robot can flip up from its back into a standing position.

Very cool.

Original link here.

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