Racing games are one of the few remaining mainstream genres where (with the exception of the Need For Speed series and a handful of others) the player plays as themselves, rather than as a predefined character in a story. As a result, personalities are rather thin on the ground – if anything, the cars are the stars.
But nobody wants to read 800 words about the Nissan Skyline (nobody who doesn’t urgently need drowning in a bucket, anyway), so instead let's focus our attention on something altogether more beautiful, in every possible way.
(I've been meaning to write this piece for months, but – not entirely unrelatedly – have been rather neglecting WoSland in favour of another site whose readers ARE in fact prepared to pay a very modest price for journalism. But what the heck, let's do it now.)
Today has seen the much-trailed worldwide release of Real Racing 3 for the iOS platforms. The controversial "free-to-play" game has a horrendous IAP structure which forces players to have to either wait for hours and hours (and hours) at paywalls between sessions or cough up a mindboggling fortune to play it continuously.
This, contrary to what you might think, is a good thing.
[This piece was originally titled "Why Piracy Is Good" when I wrote it in August of 2004. I figured I'd make it gratuitously offensive clickbait this time, just for teh funz. If you don't understand the new title, start here.]
It's weird how the simplest games can have the longest stories. Today we're going to talk (well, I'm going to, anyway) about a couple of games (well, four games, but we'll get to that) that are about as Zen-basic as it's possible for electronic entertainment to be.
They're a pair of games which could be played by the one-armed dishwasher from Robin's Nest (one for the mums and dads, there), a duo that require all the brainpower of a starving dog pondering the best course of action to take with a pound of sausages that's just fallen out of an old lady's shopping bag right under his nose.
And yet, by the time we're done we'll have covered inspiration, plagiarism, moral flexibility, flagrant copyright infringement, public-spiritedness, cultural history, corporate pragmatism, collective short-sightedness and the proudest moment in your correspondent's career to date. Which is a lot of stuff, so let's get on or we'll be here all day.
The quotes below come from an April 2007 piece entitled "And The Winner Is", concerning the inaugural Games Media Awards of later that year, written by Kyle Orland for GameDaily.com. The site no longer exists, but you can still read the article via the ever-handy Internet Wayback Machine.
Now the owner of the PR-driven GMAs uses their power to censor journalists with legal threats for expressing honest opinions and accurately quoting people's own public comments to illustrate a valid and fair point. Now maybe we're just old and bitter (well, there's no "maybe" about it), but it seems a pretty odd way of "recognising" games journalism to us. Unless, that is, you ponder who voted on the first GMAs (and still vote on them now), and start wondering to yourself exactly which industry it was that Stuart Dinsey meant when he said "recognised by the industry they serve".
Well, that was exciting. The entire English-speaking world of videogames journalism just about convulsed itself into a coma yesterday because someone did that rarest of things in the English-speaking world of videogames journalism – spoke openly, frankly and truthfully about something. If you've been having trouble keeping up with the dizzying pace of developments, allow us to lead you gently through the most concise and accurate timeline we can manage.
…is Hell Yeah! – Wrath Of The Dead Rabbit, which is out today on Xbox 360, PS3 and Steam for PC at the bargaintastic price of around £9.99. It's a heady, super-sexy crush of Sonic The Hedgehog, Super Metroid, Bangai-O, Wario Ware, Pokemon and FIFA 13*, made by the people who brought you the splendid Pix'n Love Rush plus me. Essentially, if you don't buy it you're a complete dick and I hope you die.
As regular readers will know, we've always been keen admirers of Bruce Everiss's almost-unparallelled videogames-industry knowledge and expertise. So we've been thrilled to recently see him storming back to the cutting-edge as chief of marketing for David Darling's new company Kwalee, which has hit on the genius idea of making it big in the ultra-competitive App Store market by employing a vast team of staff to come up with two-player-only knockoffs of ancient board games.
The well-documented problem with the App Store, of course, is visibility. To have a chance of getting your game noticed you need it to get lots of great reviews, and when your games are extremely mediocre and competing against hundreds and hundreds of existing clones of the same thing which DO offer single-player play as well as online, the chances of that happening are slim.
Unless you cut out the middleman and write the reviews yourself, of course.
Thanks for pointlessly destroying the image widget, WordPress dickheads!
"If you've got the crowd behind you, you're probably facing the wrong way."
- S. Munnery
"Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children, not Fate that butchers them or Destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us."