What’s Past Is Prologue
I’ve been reading Jane McGonigal‘s Reality Is Broken, and some of the things she says track very closely with the way things work in my own sphere. I am trained - intensely trained - to fail and select retry, that is to say, to iterate, and I can’t tell you how much that conditioning helps when you’re trying to teach someone to do something when they have no cultural frame of reference, a low threshold for frustration, and an annoying tendency to repeat every Goddamned thing you say in a sing-song, munchkin-like register.
Gabriel had to leave early yesterday to fix a problem at home, and I’m not going to say the problem was of a one-to-one ratio with games, but approaching actual problems as interesting, eminently achievable, potentially fun exercises with a confidence borne of past successes is a pretty good way to travel.
We play every 3D experience that comes out, curious if this will be the one that retroactively makes it all worthwhile, and I think we’re getting precariously close to “calling it” as one might do in a police procedural. Tumble and Super Stardust HD are the only games that get an unqualified “yes” for the technology, precisely because they are not ambitious or aggressive in their leverage of the third dimension. I defy anyone to play Wipeout HD beyond the novelty stage using this mode. I’m not saying that such an organism does not exist, merely that it is rare.
Killzone 3 is an odd duck. When I think of the multiplayer, my hands immediately assume the proper clutch to hold a Sixaxis. I don’t know that I have a lot of use for this campaign though, and we’ve already discussed Move as a candidate for full input replacement. I’ll certainly play through the single player; I bought it, I may as well eat it. But unless a third party specifically asks me to turn on 3D, it’s not going to happen. It devours visual fidelity and performance, and I don’t think the trade-off is worth the strain, eventual nausea, occasional disorientation, and diminished personal acumen due to the above coupled with general overwhelm. In our office, any spectator is in for a double dose of the aforementioned, because they don’t know when the stomach churning twists and turns are coming and can’t anticipate them. Gabriel and I play games together, even single player games; this truth is behind the iconic “couch” which occupies so many strips. If something gets in the way of that, it’s not going to last long.
Also, last night, in Bulletstorm? Gabriel and I grabbed the same mutant with our leashes and he exploded. We didn’t mean for this to happen, it just happened. It seemed rude. Embarrassing, almost. By that time, the opponent was a kind of residue. There was no way to apologize. And then, the moment was gone.