I’m still here. I didn’t really go anywhere, it’s just I don’t bother to post anything saying I’ve got nothing to say. And I’ve been too busy to post anything, with some design and organizing I’ve been doing, and well, really vacation, which I guess counts as going somewhere. But I’m not going to get any less busy, as far as I can tell, mostly because I’m going on vacation next week. So there.
But I’m writing anyways. One, because I introduced my fiance (yay!) to Zero Punctuation and two, because I just read the always excellent Danc on reviewers. And surprise surprise, he’s right (although I think he underestimates the role of movie critics putting on viewer’s shoes, but then that just supports his point).
See, what I’ve really been doing is playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and Metal Gear Solid 4. And frankly, I didn’t like them. Not my cup of tea. In every sense of the word. But what really gets me, design and tech ignored, is that these games are rated some of the best games of all time. Of All Time. Ever. Grand Theft Auto 4 is supposed to be perfect. It only sits behind what everybody knows is the best game of all time, Ocarina of Time, but that has Time in the freakin’ title, that’s how awesome that game was. But GTA4…. really? MGS4… really? Both of them aren’t sure they want to be games at all. I’m pretty sure I spent more time watching the MGS movie then I did touching the controller. Well, except I had to touch the controller, for hours, while waiting for a stupid X to show up that might give me something (nope) because you keep telling me it’s important. And GTA4 – I don’t even know where to start. The average user can’t even seem to figure out how to walk down the street, let alone get in a car and drive it, with their 4 changing controls schemes. And no mid-mission checkpoints? Best game of all time is insulting. And this shouldn’t be a matter of opinion – it’s not even in the same category. Portal showed a mastery of form that makes GTA look like a topaz showing up at the world’s best diamond mine.
Are these good games? Sure. I beat MGS4, gluttonous story hog that I am. That counts for something. I played 20 hours of GTA4, which should have put some sort of dent in it. But put them in perspective people. Reviews only a few years ago meant something, but today… the audience has grown up. We need real analysis to understand whether these games are worth playing. We have tastes. These are games only for specific tastes. We need critics. Game makers want critics. These games needed critics. Step up and play real ball with us.
But that’s just my opinion.