‘God bless the games industry’

‘God bless the games industry’
So you lot work in the video game industry? Cool. You’re actually doing a pretty good job, so keep at it. As a gamer, this is a really exciting time. New consoles, technology being pushed to its limits and online now becoming the industry standard. Fantastic. And the new consoles are all stunning pieces of equipment. The 360 is one sexy bastard. It has a superb line-up of games, and Xbox Live works like a dream. The Wii is just beautiful. Tiny, cheap and the only new console that has a truly next generation control system.

The PS3 looks like it is going to do everything it promised as well. Still a little early to say too much, and even I’m not sure what the point of Blu-Ray is. But once it gets a strong gaming line up, it’s going to be some machine.

What I really enjoy about all of these new consoles is their online ability. Playing people around the world is a treat, even when you are threatened with physical violence by some dummy in LA who thinks he’s Biggy Smalls because he earns $37,000 a year. The 360 seems to have a better understanding of the online world than its rivals. Nintendo, what the hell is this eight-digit player number? When was that ever a sensible idea? And PlayStation, come on guys, sort out a headset for the PS3. I want to shout abuse at these muppets as I shoot them in the back of the head.

But the great thing that all three companies have got right is the ability to download old games. I’m going through a real retro phase right now. Thanks mainly to Retro Gamer magazine and eBay, my flat is cluttered with a C64, a Dragon 32, a Vectrex (come on you youngsters, learn your gaming history) and a SNES. All works of art in their own way.

Of course, the easy way to indulge this new hobby (or early mid-life crisis) would be to get a few credits and have them virtually stored in a hard drive just under the telly. I have done this a few times and love playing Donkey Kong Country, Defender and Castlevania SOTN.

But here’s the vaguely interesting point I’ve been slowly heading towards. The game I have played most over the last six months, the one I pick up if I have 15 minutes to spare, the one that makes me ignore GRAW, Resistance, or Sonic, is bloody Uno. An addictive card game from the 1970s, made available on the Xbox Live. A CARD GAME! On one of the most powerful games consoles known to man?

What this proves is what a lot of people have forgotten, but need to be reminded of. You can have your photo realism, your 8.9 Dolby Surround Sound, all your little tricks that technology has to offer, but still the most important thing is the gameplay. If it doesn’t have that little something that makes you want to have just one more go, it isn’t going to work.

And here endeth the sermon. Sorry to preach, but I love you guys and I just want to make sure you get everything right. God bless you all. Oh yeah, and anybody who wants to send me free stuff, send it care of MCV and I’m sure they’ll forward it on. Ta ta.

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