Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Not everything is made for you"

That's John Davison, former 1up editor, currently writing at whattheyplay.com. John was on Rebel FM podcast episode 6. The group which also included MTV Multiplayer's Patrick Klepek.

John was talking about how gaming now has to cater to two separate audiences. The argument was that the two main groups in gaming, casuals and the hardcore, have to understand that not all games are going to be made for them. John likened his idea to how not all movies are made for one group, books and music as well. I think this is a natural progression of video gaming as a real, viable, mainstream media. Why is it so difficult to accept? Gaming has been such a niche area of social media that when something is developed that isn't hardcore, it's a little hard to swallow.

Suddenly the oft-alienated core-gamer crowd are struggling with the fact that gaming is no longer only theirs. I should hope that gaming and the projects developers work on become more and more varied, filling more niche interests. Let's not stop at fitness games. What other areas can be used to reach an even larger audience? Wouldn't the hardcore accept a publisher putting out a few titles that were easy (and cheap) to develop in order to finance their large "hardcore" masterpiece? Not only do those more casual oriented titles help to budget the "hardcore" games, but they also keep developers employed.

I know I would much rather that business model, but I don't want those hardcore games so few and far between.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Changing the game...

Certainly video games have gone through many different forms. The rise and fall of gaming platforms and gaming's many cultural milestones have been documented countless times coinciding with the ever-present nostalgia in many a gamer's heart.

In fact, I believe nostalgia and history play a huge part in the love gaming receives from it's many fans. Without the memories that make up the collective gaming culture, there is really no basis for staples of the gaming community, like fanboyism.

As such, all of these new gamers, or "casuals" as they've been labeled in marketing, press release, and the inner hardcore circle of gaming, have created a paradigm shift.

Suddenly, developers are throwing more effort into much simpler outings than the more nuianced hardcore fair video games used to be about. But are they putting more "effort" into these new-gamer oriented projects, or are they simply reallocating resources to crank out more Wii games?

What is the crossing point? When are video games: platform holders, developers, publishers, the entire creative community surrounding video games, going to find the bridge? When are games going to fulfill both the needs of the hardcore and the casual?

Developers are already trying new things, although maybe not all at once. In example, Atari's Alone In the Dark allowed players to continue through the game, even if they could not clear a challenge. This option made many liken the game to an interactive DVD, although the game was still very much present to those who wanted to play.The real problem in this situation is the pressure being applied to the game makers.

The hardcore are the most vocal of all consumers in the industry. And the current state of things does not really lend itself to a quieted crowd. Unfortunately, the core gamer is prone to feeling alienated and cast aside (as society is often wont to do). Thus, when core gamers see truckloads of shovelware being put out, none of it clearly of any interest to them, they cry out. Unfortunately, it'll be a vicious cycle, at least until the two largest groups can sort out their differences and understand that gaming is now about catering to more than one audience....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Keeping up with promises...

This is first of my e-mails to preeminent members of the enthusiast press. This first message is to Mr. Michael McWhertor of Kotaku

Mr. McWhertor does great work at Kotaku, consistently bringing great writing and reporting to the table. He also makes cool shirts.

The text of the message is as follows...

Hello Mr. McWhertor,
I'm currently a college student in San Jose, CA and I'm hoping to become a member of the enthusiast press, much like yourself. I read Kotaku on a daily basis, as well as other blogs and publications, but I still feel a little lost. I've read about how Mr. Crecente was a writer at his newspaper, but how did you find yourself in the position you have now? I'd love to hear more about exactly what road you followed to becoming a staffed member of Kotaku.
What made you want to get into games press specifically, as opposed to something more on the creative side of the industry?

Did you go to college? If so, where and what did you graduate with?

What was your first paying games-journo gig?

Do you have any sage experience to pass on to someone who's just starting out?

Obviously I'm still very green in the writing department, mostly because this is my first time reaching out to a professional for advice. If you're wondering why I could possibly be asking you as opposed to Mr. Crecente, it is primarily due to Luke Smith's glowing comment on the final 1Up Yours podcast:
"Michael McWhertor is a damn fine gentleman."
Hopefully this proves true and I'll hear back from you, but if I don't I understand, you're a busy guy. I hope the Meatbun business is going well, and thanks in advance for you time!

-Daniel Bischoff

P.S. If you could also find the time to hop on over to my blog (http://wellspringgames.blogspot.com) I would love to hear anyfeedback on anything I've written there. Like I said, I'm pretty green at this so there isn't much. Hopefully there will be more soon. Thanks in advance again!

Oh no! I have typos in my message! Frankly, my thought right now is that I hope I kissed enough ass that those will be overlooked. Do you think Mr. McWhertor will reply to my message? Could he even possibly make a comment on this post?