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Tycho / on Fri, Oct 29 2010 at 12:00 am

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The New Kid

Today’s idea:  The New Kid.  It was The New Kid that catalyzed this round of offerings, and I think that (under the right conditions) The New Kid as it is presently conceived could be the biggest thing we ever do.  Agree?  Disagree?  One more concept to go; when the voting booth goes up, let us know.

We came into the office the other day to find that our television was missing, which was sad, because we often use that device to display visual information.  We asked Robert what had happened to it, and he said that it was gone; when we asked him again an hour later, he went over to where the television had been and stared intently.  Satisfied by his earlier pronouncement, he unleashed his two-fold revelation:

1.  Not only was the television gone,
2.  It was also not here.

This was terrible news.  It was like losing the machine twice, and we mourned a second time.  Then Robert asked us if we needed new television, and we said yes, that is a fact in evidence.  He asked us if we would like this television to be a 3D television, and we said, well, if you’re buying.

Hours later, he and Josh returned with a box labelled Samsung.  He would not say how much he had paid for it, only that he had not paid the actual price, and strongly implied that it had been purchased in a parking lot adjoining an actual store.  We unboxed it, united it with our pantheon of gaming hardware, inserted batteries into our glasses and prepared to inhabit multimedia.  We watched some Monsters and Aliens, it was alright.  We played a few games which were decent, but slightly nauseating.  Then we went to lunch, and told people that despite reports to the contrary the future was still some ways off.

Then, we came back and started wondering what we were doing wrong.  Gabriel trawled the manual, probably the first manual he’s read in a decade, and determined that we hadn’t activated 3D: rather, we were instructing the television to create “a composite 3D bullshit image” (from the manual) out of an existing source.  It wasn’t until we had the Playstation 3 reevaluate our television that everything changed.  After the re-detecting the display, entirely new menus appeared in some games.  It was at this point that we witnessed the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation.  In Wipeout, I think it might actually be too much.  I’m not sure I would use the glasses if intended to play the game with any intention of success.  Super Stardust HD, though, with its action confined to a single screen and its twin-stick gameplay second nature, was elevated to profundity.  Tumble, a puzzle game which is more or less about three dimensional space, is a natural fit.   

I can remember when the Playstation 3 was first being defined as a consumer proposition - when we were told that a resolution of 1080p defined the next generation experience.  That never really happened.  It still has the best looking games, even at a “mere” 720p, but when you see what they have to do to make a Killzone or a Motorstorm run in a simulated three dimensions your heart will sink.  It’s obvious - and I don’t mean geek-obvious, torn-frame, triple-buffer nerd stuff - I mean it’s obvious that these titles are visually compromised by their move to 3D.

It might be constructive to think of 3D as a sub-platform here, like the 32X let’s say, or the Move, and to consider these first forays “launch” titles of a sort with all the attendant challenges.  It’s simply not a great fit one hundred percent of the time.  It’s going to be hard scrabble and mad science here for awhile, figuring out where the feature offers something meaningful independent of the overarching corporate stratagem.

(CW)TB

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