The lights are on
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The year of 2013 has continued to be a hectic one of game releases, headlines, gamer gossip, and that all too important next-gen thingy. It can all be so overwhelming, why not jot it all down in fine literary form? Sit back, relax, and enjoy a god book by the fire this weekend, maybe you'll even learn something about our gaming world. Or maybe you'll just laugh. Or not. Or scratch your head in bewonderment over the sheer "novelty" of this unique blogging piece. *nudge nudge*
You may consider this a spiritual successor for "The Year So Far Composed in Poetry" that I so wrote earlier this spring. For all my inane curiosity at bizarre parodies you may very well expect at least one more musing about the year of 2013 down the road come this winter. For now, please, sit down and enjoy your read.
A Clash of Consoles
The 7th generation of console gaming’s titanic Ballad of Money & Fans saga begins with Prince Mattrick fleeing his dead PR’s capital of X-Boxdom, disguised as a Zynga man. His actions map the further course of an utterly theatrical fantasy set in a world decked with decades of history, beset by an impending winter that will last 6-7 years and dazzled by headlines and launches wielded to devastating result by the scrupulous and unscrupulous studio alike. Standout characters besides Prince Mattrick include King Spencer, so lacking in morals that he becomes almost pitiable; the king’s brother, the relentlessly ingenious Satorion Iwatan; and Mattrick’s brother, Prince Palmer, his respect hopelessly low except when he runs with fans in his dreams. Full of admirable intricacies, clever feints, and shocking twists, Clash never ceases to suggest greater, moving plot points that aid the suspension of disbelief: the field quickly narrows after the Battle of the Backcompatible, and anything goes. Yoshida tries rally his kingdom, Ouya returns from the wildling lands with a torn reception, U comes into its own, PS struggles to save its fragile family, X becomes ever more user hostile in its wanderings, and Kinex’s cruel rule from King's Kamera continues, making even its fellow users uneasy. Some fail the trial, while others seem to only get stronger in a bid that may change the future.
Twilit: Breaking DRM
When you loved the system who was driving you crazy, it left you no other options. How could you play, how could you protest, when doing so could only hurt your beloved fandom? If your brand loyalty was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was a system you truly adored?
To be irredeemably in love with a console is a fantasy and nightmare weaved into a dangerous reality for gamers. Pulled in one direction by her passion for P.S. Sony, and in another by her hidden connections to spybox X. B. One, a chaotic year of temptation, loss, and anguish have led her to the final turning point. Her impending choice to join the dark, seductive greatness that awaits or a life that’s all in one has become the thread from which the fates of two brands hang.
Now that gamers are making their decisions, a shocking chain of unforseen events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unbelievable, consequences. Used Games, Always On-line, dumb cameras, console bundles: just when the frayed strands of gamers’ lives -- first discovered in PS4 Reveal, then scattered and torn in A Generation Revealed and X-Box One’s 180 -- seemed like they were healing, could they crumble. . . forever?
The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Next-Gen Saga, Breaking DRM illuminated the mystery, intrigue, and insipid soap opera of this nauseatingly romantic epic that has entranced millions of gamers.
The PR Games
In the ruins of a place once known as E3 lies the nation of Game Conferences, a shining city surrounded by a dozen outlying booths. Long ago the developers waged war on E3 and were defeated. As part of the surrender, each developer agreed to send one gamer and one critic to appear in an annual live-streamed event called, "The PR Games," a fight to glory or mediocrity on live Internet. Humble and expectant gamers, who live alone with only their hopes and dreams, regard it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent their console in the Games. The stage, the rules, and audience participation may change, but one thing is constant: present your console well or be left in the dust with memes and epic burns.
The games hear their echoes in history and change their destinies in ways great and small, in a study of gaming’s dangerous will to stream. A reluctant YouTube crosses the Pacific in 1850. A disinherited composer gatecrashes in between-wars Belgium. A vanity publisher flees gangland creditors. Others are a journalist in Governor Reagan’s California, and genetically-modified dinery server on death-row. Finally, a young Pacific Islander witnesses the nightfall of science and civilization.
Sub Club is one of the most original and provocative stories of sub systems created in this generation. Darkly funny and provocative, Sub Club tells the story of two godforsaken, ugly sub systems, one 2D and another Vita, who discover that their rage at living in a world filled with failure and lies cannot be pacified by an empty gamer culture. Relief for them and their disenfranchised console peers comes in the form of secret after-hours fan rage matches held in the forums of their developers’ companies. The Sub Club is the brainchild of Vito Nendo, who thinks he has found a way for himself and his friends to live beyond their confining and stultifying rival systems’ lives. But in his world there are no rules, no limits, and any quick modification to win.
Welcome to the Next-Gen.
A system growing up is never easy. Try living on the mean forums as a fan just begging for fun and fighting like a fanboy against ruthless mobs of attention starved companies who wouldn't hesitate to rip open your wallet for a scrap of spare change. If players have learned anything on the game sites, it's how to keep your fandom alive. But not with rage. They’re way too powerless for that. It’s with hope and a bit of clever wit.
This player’s a genius with a true gamer’s ability to hone in on his must-have title and exploit its fun. Shooters, racers, a few boring peripherals, it’s an uphill battle to find a worthy gem.
What better virtue for the future of gaming’s launch lineup to lead the gaming world in a final climactic battle against a hostile corporate force, known as Repetition and Underwhelming. At Next-Gen School, players meet and befriend another future player -- Ender DRM-- maybe his only real worry.
Only one problem: For you and your console, the future is now.
The Plumber, the Ape, the Hylian and the U
Nintendo. . . the land beyond the console wars, the secret country known only to the gamers that recognize its talent. . . the systems where adventures begin. Kids are the first to find the secret company in the professor's mysterious old gaming library. At first, no gamer critic believes them when they tell of their adventures in the land of Nintendo. But soon, parents, grandparents, and all ages alike discover the Gamepad Magic and meet The Plumber, the Great Platformer, and D.K., the great Ape, for themselves. A party, a Smash Bros., and a Kart later, their lives are changed forever. In the blink of an eye the system has thrived and no one heard it, but the gamers that found it. Enter this enchanted system countless times in The Chronicles of Nintendo.
The Indie: There it was and it’s Back Again
"On a page in the Internet lived a gamer. Not a nasty, dirty, foul-mouthed gamer, filled with the ends of swear words and an putrid smell, nor yet a bland, naive, apathetic gamer with no passion in them to sit down and play: they were a fanboy gamer and that means indie enthusiasm."
The gamer in question happens to be one Kickstarter supporter, an outstanding member of the "little developer’s fan community, about half the industry’s money, and smaller than the Facebook app dwellers." Like most of their kind, they are well off, play well, and most pleased when sitting by their own screen with a controller, or mouse, and a meaty game to look forward to playing. Certainly this particular gamer is the last donator one expects to support a perilous venture; indeed, when Keiji Inafune stops by one morning, "looking for some gamer to share in a kickstarter," these lads and lasses fervently wish the Mighty developer elsewhere. No such luck; soon hundreds of fortune-seeking indies have arrived on the gamer’s doorstep in search of a donator, and before he can even grab his computer or a wallet, the gamers are swept out of their doors and into a thrilling and frightening new program.
The indies' goal is to gain access to their console home in the Unreported Mountains and reclaim a stolen fortune from the corporate giants, The Big Three. Along the way, they and their reluctant gamers meet giant delays, hostile net-trolls, ravening budgets--and, most dangerous of all, an underground creature named Skeptic from whom gamers win a magical experience from in a contest of money and faith. By the time gamers return to their comfortable seats, they are different players, readied for the bigger adventures to come -- and so are the studios.
To Kill a Game
“When they were developed for god knows how long, my brothers Dark and Ride to Hell got their reviews badly broken on the critical side. . .When enough months went by to enable us to look back on them, we occasionally discussed the events leading to their accidental release. I maintain that the Ride to Hell started it all, but Dark, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the day Colonial Marines came to us, when Gearbox first gave us the idea of making trashy games on the side."
Set in the small town of gaming, during the summer of slow releases, gamers play three years in the life of 8-yr.-old 360, her brother, Sony, and their father, Wii--three years punctuated by the bashing and eventual reviews of a terrible game accused of destroying the good name of a generation. Though the games explore big ideas (and small ones), they choose not to tell it through excellent writing. The result is a terrible and horrifying mess of a game about quality, development costs, and the pain of bad releases.
The Great Graphicby
The Great Graphicby stands as both the most supreme and so-what achievement of the game industry. This exemplary feat of the next-gen age is acclaimed by generations of critics and gamers alike, but without due proof of improved gameplay. The story of the fabulously wealthy studios helming launch titles and their love for beautiful engines, of lavish conferences in San Diego at a time when gamers noted “graphics were the gaming intoxicant and mo-cap studios’ obsession,” is an exquisite tale of an industry in 2013 bent on looks and less on gameplay.
The Gaming Traveler’s Remake
A dazzling take on the most traditional and untraditional of both fashions, these games are the remarkable stories of our favorite titles, dashing, adventuresome titles who travel willingly through time to make us happy again. It is also the story of Nostalgia, a feeling whose course takes a natural, sequential course. Our games and Nostalgia’s engrossing love affair endures across all of time and captures the two factors in an incredibly romantic marketing trap. It is studio’s heartfelt storytelling that makes the games’ unconventional yet so conventionally, vibrant triumph of our childhoods come true.
A delightful debut and a magical tale of old memories and nitpicks in the bonds of memory lane, The Gaming Traveler’s Remake is made to captivate gamer for years to come.
The Half-Life Code:
A death in the quiet, after-hour halls of the game studio reveals a twisted plot to uncover an unreleased game that has been protected by a secret society of designers since the days of non-disclosures. The victim in question is a sought after game of critical anticipation who, in the moments before its death in the realm of hope, leaves frustrating clues at the scene of its disappearance that only its most devoted fans and Gabe Newell, a famed developer, can untangle. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only the culprits behind the lack of certain game headlines but also the stunning secret he was charged to horde. Only steps ahead of the rumorville police and deadly doubters, the mystery leads fans and Newell on a breathless flight through Valve, fan forums, and blatant speculation itself. Rumors have created a page-turning thriller that provides a brilliant interpretation of gaming history. This lofty and intriguing exploration of some of game culture's greatest mysteries -- from the nature of the Last Guardian’s release to the mystery onion-ring signs of Half-Life 3. The Half-Life Code is the thriller of the year with only countless more years before it is proven wrong or right.
The Gamer with the Current-Gen Console
Combining marketing mystery, fan saga, nostalgic love story, and financial intrigue, the tale that puzzled studios and shocked fellow players wraps up into one satisfyingly complex and atmospheric phenomenon.
The 360/PS3/Wii gamer, a scion of one of the industry’s most prosperous communities, is disappearing from headlines. All these years later, their aged systems continue to keep their value. They hire “continued support,” a crusading attempt at keeping gaming more cost-effective, to keep their gaming focuses alive. They are aided by the older, yet still punk legend Ivanna Keep My Olda Siztems. Together they tap into a case of unmatched and astonishing relevance.
Buy, Play, Love
In their early thirties, the statistically average gamer had everything a modern media junkie was supposed to want -- games, a working console, a huge gamerscore- but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, they felt consumed by boredom and confusion. The wise and revealing year of next-gen frustration is the story of how they left behind all these outward elements of success, and of what they found in their place. Following a divorce from their excitement and a crushing depression following a lack of new IPs, they set out to examine three different aspects of their industry’s nature, set against the backdrop of three different studios: pleasure in Sony, innovatoin in MS, and on the magical island of Wii, a balance between adult enjoyment and child-like throwbacks.
About the author: Tim Gruver (1992-?) is a noteworthy blogger on Game Informer on-line. He’s written over 80 blogs, completed a 31/31 blogging series, and attracted many an eyebrow raising comment from his fellow members. He currently is working to reach a 100 blogs count as well as continuing to attract readers of every kind.
Follow him on Twitter or GIO and enjoy his further blogs of whimsy and amusement.