The post I made about it existed in some shadow realm, only visible depending on where exactly the moon was or through the use of primo psychotropics. We've identified ourselves as devotees of Access Software's Links series on PC and, ultimately, the Xbox. But with the sale and eventual collapse of the series' development home, it was starting to seem like the alternatives to Tiger's own extraneous crap were no closer to the actual game, as it is played: one could either select very large heads, or a round of golf where there was a very real chance your shot might bounce off of a mushroom and then land in a magic pipe.
If the recent demo is any indicator, the taste level of the new Tiger has gone up tremendously. They have realized, cannily I think, that by stripping out some of the odd indulgences of previous installments they're in a position to take all the marbles - claiming even those players who (like ourselves) were driven out by "PGA Street 2" hypergolf excess. They now define the sport as it is played in simulation, and it's clearly a charge they're prepared to take seriously.
The user interface has been whacked down to a fourth of the roaming, leisurely original, putting a good deal more sport on the screen. Commanding font faces (you would besurprised how effective this is) tell you that this is a big person's game. There's no "Tiger Vision" or "Gamebreakers" - the gamepad doesn't leap and throb for no good Goddamn reason. The ball doesn't catch on fire, scorching the fairway. You're simply playing the game people call golf. I've already mentioned a few of the things that kept me away from the 2006 model, but a stingy course selection and issues with the framerate made saw us invest our time elsewhere. These are both things that they've seen fit to grind away. We are practically on the edge of our seats waiting for this thing.
While we were speaking of the game in jubilant tones, we started to talk about how other companies would approach the sport. I know we've said that we appreciate a more traditional approach, but it may be that these other offerings simply did not go far enough.
The first I ever heard about Sid Meier's Railroads! was after the last E3, and there really wasn't anything to know at that point other than
1. It was by Sid Meier, and
2. It was called Railroads!
which ordinarily wouldn't be a lot of information, but in this case it's damn near everything you need. The link up there is to Gamespot's hands on preview, where (along with dispensing a handful of videos) it was revealed that the game itself actually comes out next week(!), shipping Monday and probably in stores Tuesday. The joy will most likely burn me alive.