Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 03/05/19
A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.
Conclusion One: The Sonic Movie. No. No No No No No. NO.
The first official trailer for Sonic came out on Tuesday and it is worse than we originally feared. Far, far worse. If you've not yet had the, erm, "pleasure" of seeing your childhood desecrated, then feast your eyes on this car crash:
That face. My god, those teeth. It's like a meme from hell, put into a motion picture.
What's incredible is the amount of acting talent they managed to pull onto this mess. Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Neal McDonough... one can only assume that fat, fat bags of cash were waved around along with strong alcohol. Carrey in particular looks like he's channelling Ace Ventura on autopilot.
All is not lost though. Director Jeff Fowler has responded on Twitter to the internet meltdown over the appearance of the Blue One, promising changes are coming.
So that's great. Now, if they can just change almost every other aspect of the film as well, we might have something worth watching. It feels like the horse has bolted even faster than Sonic. Get ready for a metabombing like you've never experienced before...
Conclusion Two: The Video Game Hall of Fame just got bigger (and better?)
The Strong Museum in New York added four new entries into their Video Game Hall of Fame this week and the successful titles might prove surprising. From a shortlisted pool of twelve other games including Centipede, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Super Smash Bros. Melee. and, erm, Candy Crush Saga, the four games chosen were:
- Colossal Cave Adventure
- Microsoft Solitaire
- Mortal Kombat
- Super Mario Kart
While Super Mario Kart and Colossal Cave Adventure can rightly be considered worthy additions, Mortal Kombat is a divisive entry. It certainly made waves when it first came out (and possibly did more harm than good to the video game industry in the short term), but it's subjectively not a patch on 2017 entry Street Fighter II in terms of playability. And as for Microsoft Solitaire... well. It may have been one of the first "casual" games, but it's ultimately just an electronic version of an existing card game — and not a particularly fun or exciting one at that. That it beat the likes of Half-Life to sit alongside previous winners such as Final Fantasy VII, The Legend of Zelda and Tomb Raider is mind-boggling to us, but then like any kind of review, "best of" or opinion in general, everyone has a subjective view.
Debate is healthy — so let us know in the comments which games you'd have preferred to see in the Hall of Fame!
Conclusion Three: Microsoft wants to teach you how to trash talk
Trash talking and online multiplayer games have gone hand-in-hand since, well, online games existed. It's one of the reasons some people avoid online gaming with strangers and also a factor in parents' decisions to allow or prevent their kids from hitting live services. Getting a torrent of abuse from internet randoms — for being too good, too bad, or somewhere in between — is unfortunately commonplace.
Microsoft agrees and has whipped up a handy guide to what is and isn't acceptable trash talk, which will of course be ignored by pretty much everyone. Some of the juicier examples the tech giant thinks are fine to use include:
"Get destroyed. Can’t believe you thought you were on my level."
"That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked."
"Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. Try again, kid."
So there you go. Microsoft may have inadvertently created a new series of memes. We're looking forward to people telling each other to "get destroyed" on message boards in the future. But obviously not in game. Their heart may be in the right place, but the quickest way to get people not to do something is to tell them how to do something, which Microsoft has clearly failed to cotton onto. Try again, kid.
Conclusion Four: BioWare's Anthem debacle has just turned into a monetary war
In the wake of the Anthem roadmap being delayed, there were concerns that BioWare's struggling game as a service (GaaS) might actually start to get closed down. Chad Robertson, the head of live services for the game announced today on Twitter that players shouldn't worry. Apparently, new content is coming... we just don't know when.
That hasn't stopped some gamers from attempting — and in some cases succeeding — in exercising what they believe are their statutory rights in the face of BioWare's failure to implement "promised" service updates, as well as a host of crashing problems which have plagued the game. DBLTAP has reported that some players are having success when contacting Sony over issues with the PS4 version of the game, and have received refunds as a result. Meanwhile on Reddit, user u/lastkryptonian1991 posted that they had contacted Amazon UK and outlined the reasons why they should be eligible for their money back (namely false advertising and fraud). It appears that Amazon agreed and issued a full refund.
While the Amazon response in particular isn't surprising since their customer support has always erred on the side of the buyer and has been — in this writer's subjective opinion — near faultless, it does pose an interesting question. Will other gamers now follow suit and attempt to wrest back control of their sixty-odd quid for a game which the developer claims is still being maintained?
To muddy this claim further, it was announced this week that Anthem's lead director Jonathan Warner, lead producer Mike Gamble and executive producer Mike Darrah were all moving off the game — presumably onto Dragon Age 4. While it obviously isn't unheard of for studios to shift around their team as new projects take focus, that hasn't gone down well for gamers who believe that Anthem is still unfinished. The GaaS model doesn't appear to be working too well for BioWare at the moment and if this raft of refund claims ramps up significantly, it may result in either a stern knock-back for gamers, or significant damage control from EA's marketing department to try and stem a potential haemorrhaging of money. Either way, this story looks set to run and run. We'll be keeping an eye on progress over the coming weeks.
Conclusion Five: In the absence of real information, food analogies are king
And finally this week, we head over to AMD's CEO Lisa Su who, in an interview with CNBC, told the world that the tech company will be providing the PlayStation 5 with an interesting "ingredient".
“What we have done with Sony is really architect something for their application, for their special sauce. It’s a great honor for us. We’re really excited about what the next generation PlayStation will do.” - Lisa Su, AMD CEO
What is this sauce? More importantly, why is it saucy? We have no clue. We already know that the new console will have an eight-core CPU based on AMD's Ryzen line. So perhaps the sauce is the 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture? Would that make ATI's Radeon Navi card the beef patty or the lettuce? Where does the bun come in? So many questions.
Still, it seems AMD isn't afraid to share its sauce around a bit. In the same interview, Su mentioned that gaming on the whole was a "good secular" growth market for the company, which is probably why they are working with Google on their Stadia platform too. Maybe that makes Google the McDonald's to Sony's Burger King. We're going to let our readers work out who KFC is.