How is possible that I'd never played Words With Friends?
I'd heard of it, of course, but it's not quite enough to say that it is Scrabble on the iPhone. You have to emphasize its asynchronous nature: its anytime-ness, its pocket-ness. It has a really weird pedigree, too, not that it comes in much, but a combination of Age of Empires and Scrabble is what I want always. I know that Porkfry prefers UniWar, and I understand completely; I simply prefer to fight with words.
At least, I did. That's fairly quick, as personal obsessions go.
We talked about how Steamworks was Valve's "surprise" at the Sony conference, but Sony's presentation was surprising for one other reason: proclamations of adoration from Electronic Arts, and by John Schappert no less - the same John Schappert who, just last year, was telling people about the magic of software vis a vis the 360. Are there only ten people who can do these jobs? Because when the same pool of squat men shuffle back and forth between these companies, I can never remember if it's Eurasia I'm supposed to hate, or if it's Eastasia, or what. First it was the revolving door between Microsoft and EA, and now EA takes to the stage to tell us about the abiding love they have for Playstation platforms, even though they routinely sell more copies of their games on the competing system. I honestly have no idea what to make of this stuff. But I have every expectation that I'm going to open my cupboard tomorrow morning, and John Schappert is going to be hunched down in there.
Nutella will be everywhere.
The biggest news of the show wasn't anything that happened during a briefing, though, and technically it didn't happen at the show proper: it was an odd vibration that ran through the show, and beneath it. If you follow gaming news obsessively, you probably remember the old news that "Project Natal" had problems detecting the skeleton of a seated player. That probably struck you as insane, ridiculous, and your brain might have decided to trim those neurons. Well, a couple days into the show, and IGN was speaking directly to this very issue. I was surprised to see that, and going back to read the article again later in the day it was clear that (for some reason) they had altered the language of that section to make it more ambiguous. The following day, they offered up an article entitled "You WILL Be Able to Sit with Kinect," though the accompanying text is utterly without conviction. Kotaku got into the game yesterday with "Kinect Does Not Play Well With Couch Potatoes," proving that Kinect doomsaying (as a genre) has got serious legs. I'm aware that Kinect isn't finished - but this is news is as bad as it could possibly be, delivered at the worst possible time. It punctures faith. I'm not entirely sure what is supposed to happen now.
Today's PATV offering is a 4th Panel episode that details (in excruciating detail) the creation of the strip entitled "Your Definition Headquarters." It's the closest we've ever come to getting one of our sprawling podcasts up in video form. Hopefully, you think that's a good thing.