And Gabe Newell.

I'm a little worried about the state of games for the Playstation 3. We keep hearing about how games coming out look or play worse on the PS3 versus the 360. The current game to go under scrutiny is The Orange Box. I have seen conflicting stories about how it's "unplayable" and about how it's "not that bad". My problem is with the fact that if this is a port and not a new game, why are we hearing "not that bad" instead of it being comparable to the other versions. The technology behind the game uses an established engine, nothing new, so what's the problem? Is it the software itself, the hardware, or could it be an ineptitude or indifference with the developer that's causing an inferior product? Granted, the hardware is a completely new design, but after seeing a couple of outstanding games that look and play very well I am less inclined to believe that is the problem. I know Valve passed on doing the port of The Orange Box and gave it to EA to do instead. Was it because Valve just did not have the personnel or time to make it happen, or was it something else? Gabe Newell's attitude toward the PS3 is disturbing and leans in the direction of being extremely unproductive. I know he doesn't like the hardware, and that Sony made some mistakes with the developers in the first year that they are trying to correct now, but should he punish the gamers for that. If its about profitability, I know the installed base of the PS3 is not close to the 360 yet, but it does have the possibility for a good game to be profitable. How is this going to endear him to the console owners when less than stellar games are given to the fans? I only mention Gabe and Valve because as of right now he is definitely one of the most visible and vocal (but by no means only) opponent of the current Sony machine. For the sake of the fans, I hope they change their minds. Since a majority of developers are multi-platform these days, having quality games for all the systems will increase competition and be good for the games industry. I'd rather have a choice to spend my money on a couple of good games, then a couple of mediocre ones because a developer just didn't like my console choice.

I focused on the PS3 for this article, not because I'm a fan of the system, but because this seems to be more prevalent on that system. Be aware that this problem can effect all consoles if attitudes like this continue. As gamers we have to demand that the developers take the time to make a game right the first time. If it takes a little while longer to program for one system or another I'd rather see a game delayed and good then on time and mediocre. If it does take longer, it doesn't have to be perfect but it had better be good.

Tell me what you think. Are we headed to a crisis with lackluster performance from developers, or is this problem only here because of the relative young age of the current systems?

In Today's Electronic Age.

One thing that's been happening more and more today is the formation of new on-line news outlets. N4G is just one of many sites dedicated to posting news stories on the games and culture that we love. Now, how does this affect the more traditional news sources that we still have today? Print news has to be taking a hit due this new emergence of user available content, and due to the way magazines operate, (i.e...with advertising dollars) if sponsors see a change in the current trend of news consumption we may be seeing (although I hope not) a change in how we read the articles on our favorite lifestyle.

The publishing industry is no stranger to change. Magazines change formats and even publication names on a fairly regular basis. Since I started reading PSM and the Official U.S. Playstation Magazine I have seen them reinvent their format several times each, and in the case of OPM, shut down the periodical entirely. It's unfortunate, but it's all about the money. The reason OPM gave for shutting it's doors was the cost of producing a magazine with a demo disk each month. With increased costs and decreased incomes in the form of advertising dollars, publishers have to create new ways of staying relevant and connect with their readers, or get out of the business.

The better magazines don't just publish the news. They publish the news with character. Would you buy a magazine from a group of people that just write the news and nothing but the news, or would you prefer spending money for the articles that Randy Nelson, Bill Donohue, Dan "shoe" Hsu, or Joe Rybicki write? Each of these people (and many, many more) do what the majority of writers try to do, but with mixed results. They make reading the latest on our games fun and exciting with an injection of personality for flavor. I get interested when the author is genuinely excited about he is writing about. I also get quickly disinterested when they obviously aren't. A good writer can be entertaining even if they are writing about something they hate. I read PSM every month, not because it's the better magazine, but because of what its creative group of individuals added to the culture. They weren't the most polished or professional but they added humor (Randy's ode to Solid Snake was pretty funny) and personality (I will never forget the 800 lbs gorilla), however bizarre they seem, to their writings. I'm also sad to see the passing of Major Mike, Vicious Sid, (and my personal past favorites, Air Hendrix, and Dan Electro) and the other avatars from the pages of GamePro, but like everything else, it's evolve or die.

We are seeing new and continuing life in monthly publications. PSM is now Playstation: The Official Magazine and GamePro has done a redesign of it's pages. I have also seen them embrace publishing articles on-line, to varying degrees of interaction. I personally hope that these publications are around for the long haul. I am also encouraged to see more and more gaming news in other typically mainstream and non-gaming magazines. I get enjoyment out of magazines such as Wired and Maxim, not just for their traditional content, but for their views on my gaming lifestyle.

I do believe that magazine publishers have a chance at surviving the digital age, but they need to keep the most important part of their business fresh and creative, the writers themselves. I love going to the news stand and seeing what magazines are there that I haven't read yet. It's all part of a monthly ritual that I will continue for as long as I can.

Well, I'm not that old, but I have been neglecting a segment of the gaming culture for far too long. I have been an ardent game fan for most of my life and have seen a lot of types of games. One type of game that I have completely ignored is the online multiplayer genre. Being a fan of consoles and not owning a computer, I really didn't get to experience the whole fragfest scene, and really had no interest in it. I thought that the best games where the single player adventures with great stories and character development. I really didn't consider the stories I read about with MMOs and the like to be of interest. In all honesty, I thought they were a little shallow.

Recently, I came to a revelation: Games don't have to have a great story to be fun. Games didn't use to have a story at all. Take a look at Pac-Man and the like. What story is there? Why are the ghosts trying to get him? Why are there ghost running around in the first place? We didn't know and didn't care, it was simply fun. The recent consoles have brought the point home even further for me. With Live and PSN, multiplayer has definitely been opened up for all of us. Even those of us that thought it wasn't worth their time before. This is definitely a trend that needs to continue. We need multiplayer in our games. Why? Because it's just plain fun to join either a team or individual multiplayer map and just shoot or slice stuff up, be it a monster of indescribable hideousness or a soldier from that faction we hate.

The image of the lonely gamer in the basement, leveling up his black mage in the latest version of a Japanese RPG, while surrounded all the accouterments of geekdom is slowly going away, and definitely for the better. Now we see a more social experience that bridges the console and PC crowd. There are some diehards that will always say, "First person shooters suck on consoles", or "Platforming blows on a PC". Well, they are both wrong. Games belong to the gamers, not the systems that they play them on. I know people will disagree and that is fine. As long as you are happy when you play and with what you play on, you win.

Posted in
This, obviously, is my first post here as a blogger. I usually blog on a different site, but readership there is very limited. I'll still be posting there, but I'll have original topics for this site also. About me. I'm in my mid 30's, married, with a daughter. I'll mostly write about video gaming and the video game lifestyle. Anyone familiar with video gaming, knows that it has grown beyond a hobby. And for me, it's part of who I am. I've been a gamer for 25 years, give or take. I've played everything from the arcades, Atari 2600 and Jaguar, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, Sega GameGear, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3. I still own most of the consoles I've played. This is nowhere near a complete list, but it does show that I have had a variety of systems, with no bias. I do not have an Xbox or Wii, but not because I think them less worthy to own, but because I just don't have the money to expand my collection right now. I just got my PS3 a couple of months ago and have spent most of my money playing catch-up. As soon as I can I will add a 360 to my collection.

I don't know how often I'll be able to write, or even if anyone will find this interesting. I'm going to start by posting a couple of my posts from the old site to here. Lets see how they go over.

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