Sunday, 16 November 2008

If the Graphics make you "Oooh!" then the price will make you wince.

Rawr! Me again! Are you all trembling at the thought of another personality-over-content blog entry? Then buckle yourself in and hold on for dear life, 'kay? <3


Games have improved immensely since the likes of the MegaDrive and the Amiga. And with such improvements comes a much higher price-tag. The vast majority of games released in recent days are designed to be played on those fancy next-gen consoles that have everyone buzzing... PS3, Xbox 360... (wannem!)

Let us start with a simple comparison, shall we? Atari's Pac-Man vs. Microsoft's Halo 2. ...And let teh matchz0r begin! Ding!

1982, Atari released a version of the much-loved Pac-Man to be bought for thirty US Dollars and played on the Video Computer System (or VCS). The game itself was written by just one programmer and took him a couple of months to complete. It cost Atari a grand total of $100,000 to develop the game and the resultant product wasn't that great. It was annoying to play as the screen flickered and it struggled to overcome the limitations imposed on it by the VCS. Nevertheless, the game proved popular and sold over ten million copies.

Twenty years later and games have improved a fair bit since the eighties. The year is 2004 and Microsoft have just finished work on their long-awaited Halo 2 to be released for Xbox 360 and the PC. The game took a whopping three years to complete despite the fact that almost 200 people are listed in the credits as having worked on it. Microsoft forked out $40 million to develop the game and reaped their reward with record sales in the first month of release, selling over eight million copies! At $50 a game, that's an awful lot of dough.

As you can see from the comparison. Not only has the price of developing a game increased but so has the size of the development team and the time allowed for them to complete a game. Three years is an awful long time. The fans need to be commended for their patience! Someone give each of them a medal, 'kay?

The cost of developing games has increased dramatically with each new console. PS3 and Xbox 360 development prices are through the proverbial roof! And, let’s face it, the price ain’t going down any time soon… Damn those money-hungry tyrants. *grumble*


It's been a fair while since I lost my soul to a certain MMORPG... [Zombie-Dougal Mode] Must... buy... Wrath... Must... make.... Death...Knight... *drool* [/Zombie-Dougal Mode]

Ahem. I have seen the future! ...and it is virtual reality for all!

I know it's been covered many times in TV shows, films and books; and that it normally ends up with the dashing young hero pulled into a Dungeons and Dragons-esque world where he must fight for his life as the evil geek tries to take over the game world and rule as KING! ...But! I would like to see readily-available games where you directly control your toon. These could be MMORPGs (like GuildWars and WoW) or First-Person-Shooters (Unreal Tournament <3)... Even sports games (playing "The Beautiful Game" alongside your favourite football heroes?). It would be nice to not be limited to moving a little joystick up and down or bashing a few buttons.

Imagine playing Pokémon: Aquamarine and THROWING your own Pokéballs.. running over to your injured Pikachu and administering Potions and Antidotes. Darting about the world of Final Fantasy XXVI in Tetsuya's latest crazy plot. ...or for the more action-type characters among you, how about ACTUALLY creeping about that top-secret bad guy's base? Holding your [insert impressive gun name here] close to your chest - your heart POUNDING as you try to dodge the cameras and security guards... Can't you just feel the adrenaline? The thrill of the chase! The rush of an explosion! The triumph of victory! The agony of defeat! It's all... so... soo... SWEET!

(It's pretty obvious that Dougal likes the escapism offered by video games, 'ey? ^^;)


From what I've seen of the Eye Toy for the PlayStation, I think that someone was toying with the idea of implementing the player 'inside' the game and even though the games offered by the Eye Toy were simple "touch the things on the screen;" every step forwards is a step in the right direction, yes? yes?
Personally, I feel that the Wii is the biggest step towards the games of my dreams (so far, at least). The interactivity offered by the Wii-mote is simply delicious and I crave mooooore! *cackles*

-The dougalBUG.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Super-Speedy Catch-Up Sesh! Tetley Tea!! GOOOooo...

Okaaay I seem to have been totally neglecting this. Ack! So behind! *gulp*
So! No point waffling, I’ll just cut straight to the chase: - [SFX: "TyreScreech_03.wav"]

Ahh! Too far! Rewind! REWIND!

…Alrighty; Serious Dougal is serious!
*serious face*


The very first arcade game was invented in the 70s by Nolan Bushnell. It was a game based on ‘Spacewar!’ and about a year later the same guy invented Pong! Everyone loves Pong, right? ‘Tis a classic!

That same year Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney started Atari Computers and in ‘75 they re-released Pong as a home video game. Now everyone could sit and toss little white squares between little white rectangles. Woot!

In ‘72 the Odyssey was released by Magnavox. It was designed by a guy called Ralph Bear and was one of the first home consoles readily available for people to buy. The machine was actually designed while Mister Ralph was still with his old company waaay back in 1966. The Odyssey came programmed with twelve different games.
Yay for variety!

In 1976 the Fairchild Video Entertainment System was released (though later renamed Channel F). It was the first home console to be programmable (i.e. you could choose your game rather than playing the presets). It integrated a newly invented microchip that freed video games from certain restrictions allowing them to expand vastly.

The following year, arcades everywhere were invaded!! A strange fever ran across the gamers of the world as each competed for the honour of holding their local arcades' "Top High Score". Space Invaders was a massive hit.
Even my mum loves to play it! (...and my dear mother is about as far from gamer as you can get ^^;).

In June '80, computer games delved into legal business with Atari's "Asteroids" and "Lunar Lander" being the first games ever to enter the Copyright Office and get registered! Copyright material could only spout trouble for the developers and their love of thieving ideas and concepts from each other.

For the next few years Nintendo dominated the gaming scene with most other developers being ruthlessly defenestrated. The NES, SNES and delightful portable GameBoy allowed Nintendo's reign of terror to run from 1989 well into the late 90s.

For the most part, (with the exception of Spacewar! and Pong) many of the games of this era were notably single player. All through the eighties the market was dominated by single player games with multiplayer games not really becoming considered until 1993 when the game Doom was released. The game, though often criticised for its violence, was immensely influential. It allowed several computers to be connected together, thus allowing multiple people to play in the same game world. (WoW anyone?) It is widely regarded as one of the most popular computer games and is largely responsible for the popular "3D Shooter" genre of the current gaming world.

Despite Doom's influence with invoking multiplayer games... I personally think the GameBoy was the major turning point of the era. It meant that people could play games anywhere if they had suitable lighting and a couple of working batteries. A revolution!


I never really cared much for real-time action games. I always preferred the more RPG, turn-based style (Pokémon4Life!). That was, until I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the violence and accompanying adrenaline rush of Unreal Tournament. Oh the gibs! Simply beautiful! *starry eyes*
Though, admittedly the random body parts flying through the air were almost always... mine.

As an extra note; tomorrow's headlines: "32 Soulless Geeks Killed In Midnight Stampede."
'World of WarCraft: Wrath of the Lich King' launches tonight! There will be blood! ...And with that; I bid ye adieu.

- The dougalBUG.