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Tycho / on Tue, Feb 5 2013 at 11:01 pm

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Location Awareness

I’m gonna grab Dead Space on my way home today, happy birthday to me; I haven’t seen anything in a review to make me think I won’t derive nutrition thereby.  I’m going in fully aware of any alterations, and I have been vaccinated against them by absorbing small amounts of Internet rage.

Ben and I are of one mind on some of these things.  I also liked the kind of rugged, elegant pragmatism to its projected displays and repurposed tools that made Dead Space its own thing.  That said, if you want to shoot a chorus line of wriggling Tentaculons, maybe using a gun instead of an industrial stapler is a strong proposition.  Maybe the third time you have to do that, you don’t rely exclusively on some bolts you found.  You know?  In any case.

Electronic Arts games as a generality are designed to “capture” additional revenue; Gabe experimented briefly with the fucking super-elaborate team building CCG in Madden, which their other sports offerings mirror in various forms.  He also plays (ahem) Madden Social, which is just the CCG, but is free otherwise.  These all make sense, conceptually.  It’s when you try to insert open-ended monetization into narrative games that things start to feel weird.  Remember when that dude in Dragon Age tried to sell you DLC, right inside their dialogue options?  Things like this perforate atmosphere.  I think Bioware got much closer with their “Networks” in ME2 and 3, which featured ongoing content contained within a candy shell.

Games which genuinely adhere to the Free To Play model typically maintain a better pretense that they are your little glowing friend.  There are typically currency “tiers,” one of which can be earned in the natural course of play.  That is to say, they don’t ante with anal.  There is a gradual building of rapport before they feel like your wallet is in play.  And that’s for games that don’t cost anything initially!  There’s no humility here.  It’s as though like the sixty dollars you paid EA up front for the game only stokes their ardor.

The argument from the game’s producer is genuinely funny to us, by itself, independent of any comical elaborations we might have appended.  It is some authentically next-level shit.  Microtransactions as a necessary feature, one people won’t play your game without?  That’s some projection, kid.  “What?  I can only pay sixty dollars for this game?!?!  I’M GOING BACK TO DRAGONVALE” is not a phrase often heard lobbed over the Gamestop counter.

(CW)TB out.


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