Saturday, April 28, 2012

Let's Get Together

Oh yeah, that's right, I have this blog. Dang, huh? Been busy working on a potential something special with some older articles; we'll see. Anyway.

Competition is one of the fundamental elements of a game; the ability to win or lose or measure performance against another. It fosters investment in a game, and as more people do so, the greater a community can become for it. In the lead-up to the release of the reboot of the SSX series, I was enthralled at the idea of seeing what would come from a modernization of some of my all-time favorite games. Many people were initially frightened at the prospect of an overly serious adaptation from the very first promotional video, but fortunately the team behind the skate. series was in charge and was able to wrest the game's release free from... some of the Boilerplate Videogame In 2012 markers. I'm looking at you, "Pre-Order Bonuses", "Day 1 DLC", and "Facebook Integration".

A grim fate narrowly avoided.

It is, all in all, a commendable game, and the core mechanics manage to shine in spite of 2012 EA's Origin-shellacked trappings. One thing that seemed to trouble a fair number of people and still feels sorely missed, however, is real-time multiplayer. Leaderboards and ghost runs and the marvels of asynchronous competition are more than welcome, and the selling point of "taking down rivals on your own time" is by all means a worthy motivator. The upcoming restructuring of the ever-present time-sensitive "Global Events" and the constant presence of holographic visages riding alongside push that sense of being in a populated and active community right to its limit. And yet, despite the running data feeds and tiered rewards structures... you're always alone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Goddamn PAX East Diary (But Different)

I figure I should probably get back into the swing of writing things before I lose any sense of personal momentum. For the sake of easing back in, I figure the best thing to do is cobble together my snatches of experience from Twitter posts and/or drunken photo ops and compose them into a singular overarching idea.

I didn't have a Media pass; I was at a Holiday Inn with three good friends. I didn't go to any of the major panels or booths; no Ken Levine, no Casey Hudson, no Bioware, no Assassin's Creed, no Max Payne 3. Patience is a virtue, but there's only so much any of those spectacles are worth. I generally drew the line at 30 minutes to an hour, and had a far better four days for it. So, what did I do, see, think, experience? Who did I meet at talk to? We'll get into that. But, as someone who's now a repeat visitor to this thing, consider this an alternative guide on what to do.

Pictured: idiots who are doing it all wrong.