Naked Link – For further Immersion

July 31, 2009

Recently i thought about Starfox Adventures and how it, despite being a horrible game, is still better than any adventure-game nowadays. That, of course, lead me to thinking about my favourite series, The Legend of Zelda. I thought how nice a real epic, nice, explorative adventure would be. Then i had some crazy ideas as always, but after that, i realized what “small” change (small depending on how one looks at it) could perfectionize the “adventurous” feel of the Zelda-series.

I´m one of those that want a new 3d-Zelda in the vein of the the very first Zelda-game on NES. Non-linear exploration par excellence. As such i always think along the line of how the game could become more involving, more immersive, more adventurous. Let me tell you that there surely are many more, probably more important elements to look at, but the one that, especially in recent times, annoyed me particularly is Link´s outfit.

Yeah, we all know Link. No, it´s not even always the same Link. But all Links in all Zelda-games have it in common: Green tunic, green hat. I think that was perfectly fine for the 2d-Zelda-games, and it also was ok for the first two 3d-Zeldas and the cel-shading one. But to be honest, it has become a distraction, an immersion-breaker by now. I try to remember why exactly the Link from Twilight Princess had the green tunic and the green hair, but i cannot remember anything. Even if there was some  explanation, it was still silly. Noone else in the world of Twilight Princess wore such an outfit.

But it´s not just some missing explanation that would make it alright. I think that the design of this long, green hat and a green tunic is out-dated. It´s just….”old”. Old-fashioned, you could say. It doesn´t look “cool”. But even moreso, it´s nothing like an outfit i´d think of, if i had to go on an adventure. That´s why it breaks the immersion…the “game reality”, one could say.

fg3final

When i´m on an unknown adventure in a medieval world, i´d choose a more plain set of clothes. What comes to my mind instantly is something like a bright brown shirt, grey or white trousers, and maybe a dark brown cape. No hat, though. The boots could remain the same. Like that Link would become even more the “link between game and player”, as he´d be only a boy on an adventure now, instead of the well-known hero Link in his holy green tunic and hat. Maybe it would be different if one was new to the Zelda-series, but as a long-time Zelda-fan, i cannot take the typical Link-design as “an innocent boy setting out for adventure”-figure anymore.

In short, i´d like Link to look more plain, more “realistic” in terms of clothing, not visual design. And the green tunic could always be optional, the heck, it could even become the bonus of an epic sidequest. But whatever, what do you think? Is the green tunic still great looking or would you prefer playing a plain, simple looking boy?

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So what about Half Life 3?

July 22, 2009

Half Life 1 was about Gordon Freeman fleeing from his work place and fighting lots of enemies. At the end, “that guy” recruited him.

Half Life 2 was about Gordon Freeman fighting some aliens that had overtaken the earth. At the end, “that guy” praised him and said, he, Gordon Freeman, had successfully finished that test.

So, here we are. What i want to ask: If fighting an alien invasion of earth is only a test, WHAT exactly will be the real thing? I really can´t think of how Half Life 3 is going to impress us. What me and some friends instantly imagined was Gordon Freeman visiting an alien world, but honestly, that´d be kind of lame. And the Half Life-games were always so awesome because of featuring a great realistic environment. Crazy alien worlds wouldn´t fit the franchise in my opinion.

I have absolutely no idea, so that´s why i ask you: What do you think Half Life 3 will be about? Both in setting and story.


What is the difference between Spore and Mass Effect?

July 11, 2009

This is going to be a look back at how awsome Spore was supposed and it turned out. And to answer the above question: One claimed to be scientific (evolution), the other one actually achieved it (creating a believable future).

When Spore was initially unveiled, everyone was in awe of the grand scale of the game. Not only in terms of sheer space, but even moreso that it was said that the player could really follow his own creature through all kinds of evolutionary stages. Visuals also were great, while already simple, they looked rather realistic. We also had realistic behaviour, like your creature pulling a dead creature´s body to a safe place to then eat it. Sure, some quirks were already present, such as mating with another creature, but such elements were put in decently.
So what did we expect from Spore prior to its release? A simulation of evolution, seamlessly progressing in a believable way.

spore

What did we get? A game devided into five separate stages where you jump instantly jump on the evolutionary ladder, rather then take it step by step. Visuals were turned into some mainstream-appealing cartoon-look, and social interactions between your own creatures became complete comedy.
Basically, Spore went from a scientific vision (and just listening to Will Wright´s speeches shows how awsome he wanted Spore to be) to a mindless monster-creator with bonus-environments to put them in.

I have no idea who to blame for this. I´d prefer to believe it was EA who forced Will Wright into making these changes, but who knows. Spore 2 is probably a sure bet, but at this point, i don´t have much hopes for that game to do what people wanted from the first one. Oh well, a tiny glimmer of hope remains, as i really think that the original vision of Spore would be the greatest game ever created.


Make it all new – Disrupting video game systems

July 1, 2009

These days i´m getting more and more interested in PC- and handheld-gaming. I still have console games that i´m anticipating, but those titles can be counted with one hand. Why is that so?

What makes PC-gaming interesting is that you´re always connected. Be it playing an online-game or playing offline and having ICQ, you always have contact to your (e-) friends. With handhelds, it´s that you´re always free to go whereever you want. Not being hold captive by your TV. You can play on your couch, on your way to school, at work, whatever. There are games where this advantage plays a big role in the game´s overall quality, like Animal Crossing.

So these are two concepts i REALLY like. And i´d like both at the same time. As usual, i have no idea how feasible, how far from being possible from a technological point of view. But this is how i imagine my perfect video game system:

The system itself is small enough to fit in the pocket of your jacket. In terms of specs, it should be around 360-visuals level. Now on to the more futuristic stuff: Instead of a monitor/tv, you´d have a visor. Said visor would be semipermeable for allowing looking at your game AND your way while out in the city at the same time. Controls would consist of two data gloves in the vein of Minority Report. Additionally, you could also use a wireless classic controller. That concept would not only make for a portable console, it´d also make a great business machine, replacing a heavy notebook. By being so portable and versatile, this system could become a common gadget for anyone. By making use of wirless connection to the internet, you´d also be always in touch with your friends. And last but not least, game concepts could evolve into something completely different, where the player isn´t bound to be at home in front of his TV in his limited free time, but is always in touch with his Virtual Reality”. Games that break out of their virtual state and fuse with your real life could come into existence. For example you´re on your way to work and your gaming device rings; it´s a friend calling for immediate support in battle against some monster (if it´s some kind of MMORPG), and you simply hop into the same game and help him. In other words: Gaming would become more casual, but not casual in terms of accessibility, but in terms of “when do i game, when do i not”, as it makes this boundary blurry, both VR and RL would start to overlap. Sure, similiar game concepts can be done with a stationary system, but then we´re back to being hold captive in fron of the TV.

In terms of hardware, that´s really what i´d love to see. Though, of course, i´m not optimistic enough to waste any bit of a thought by holding my breathe…*sadface* Then again, handhelds have taken over in Japan long ago…

PS: I can already imagine some people to say “wow, what a nerd. Get a life”, so here´s my reply: I love fantasy. I love how most video games feature fantastic abilities that we´ll never have in real life. But by integrating such hightech into our lives, we could create something akin to magic…only based on technology. FFS, i´m sure there already are games or anime that have the same basis for their “magic system”. If you´re content with your life, that´s great, but i´m too tired of all the daily tasks and social life, and creating something close to real magic sounds interesting…to me at least.