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Tycho / on Mon, Apr 17 2006 at 12:32 am

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As Spring Dawns

Since Sakuracon, we’ve had a powerful urge to revisit the Cardboard Tube Samurai. Like Twisp and Catsby, we have tried to keep adventures in his faux-feudal context restricted to more or less annual affairs because we are polite.  We do not assume that rodent liberation, psychic birds, or even comparatively mainstream wordless meditations are topics of general interest.  This said, we have done our best to entertain you these seven and a half years, and your indulgence during these periods of personal weakness are most appreciated.

There was a question at the Emerald City panel where someone asked us what games we were looking forward to, but the set of possible answers is so large that mental processing is hindered.  By the time I was ready to answer, everyone had left.  Where the chairs had been, a lone janitor was guiding a push-broom.  He did not look up.

In any case, the games I’m looking forward to quite spill out whenever I’m not being asked about it point blank.

For example, I am the only person I know who is genuinely excited about Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.  The Battlefield series has a lot going for it, but infantry combat that feels solid and meaningful is not one of them.  There’s enough value elsewhere in that game to keep me coming back, of course - Battlefield 2’s Squad system in particular moves the genre forward - but for a genuine sensation of physical mass, the mind turns quite readily to the engines of id Software.  Quake Wars’ driving principle is that the gameplay be satisfying even outside a vehicle, crazy, I know.  It’s a laudable goal, but their success or failure in this endeavor is not some shimmering ideal - it can be determined scientifically.  It’ll be available to play at E3, and it won’t be five minutes before I can discern the pithy quote from the delivered parcel.     

I saw their display last year at E3 inside Activision’s iron fortress, and I tried to explain my roadside conversion to Gabriel et. al. but they were not ignited.  I waved my arms, I even undulated briefly, calling to mind a serene bed of kelp.  Still, they were unmoved.  In a striking inversion of the Birdnest Conundrum, Gabriel has a tendency to detest things that are shiny, and the Doom 3 engine is definitely about things that be shining on the reals.  In Real-Time Strategy it’s virtually assumed, but team-based action titles that hinge on asymmetry - like Natural Selection or Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow - are more rare.  If Splash Damage can make a largely conventional force feel great up against an extraterrestrial onslaught, and if it can look like this while doing so, buoyant joy might make weighted shoes necessary.   

(CW)TB out.

behind a box of pictures 

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