Never Judge A book~ Yeah, You Know The Rest

Remember these people from High School?

They were perfect, had it all, and were just nice to look at – Everyone wanted to be them. The sad reality of their existence was simple: They only appeared great on the outside. 10 minutes spent actually peering past the thin veil of apparent awesomeness-ness showed little to be impressed with. This rather cliche situation isn’t just confined to the prison halls of pre-adult maturation. It happens when you hit McDonalds menu up (it never looks like the picture!), see a commercial for a great product, or even with amazing looking movies that are nothing more than visual diarrhea using an accomplished story used better elsewhere –COUGH-AVATAR-COUGH. It unfortunately happens in the world of video games as well, with stupefying parallels evident between the glamor crowd in High School and iPod touch-like downloadable games. Consumer betrayal aside, could it be possible that even past the makeup, bright crystal clear signs, spiffy computer graphics, and alluring niche gameplay, there is a small amount of value hidden that we’re not seeing?

Let me out guys, srsly! It’s hard to breathe!”

Almost everyone I’ve talked to about IPT games has the same thing to say: “Justin, these are just terrible. Terrible!” “90% of them are completely throwaway, with 8% being ok, and another 2% worth spending 10 minutes on.”

Even this guy, who has since had his game pulled off the Apple Store, had some thought provoking things to say about IPT games:

It’s generally well known that IPT games are nothing to get excited over. For reasons beyond even my comprehension, games for IPT keep selling, bringing bags and bags of “easy” money to the Apple empire. There haven’t really been any signature releases to help solidify the platforms importance in today’s gaming, nor has there been any concrete advertising for the platform – Admittedly, this is a problem that all current platforms have a problem ie. WiiWare, XLBA, and PSN. Like a moth to a flame though, these companies have jumped on Apple’s simple and sweet bandwagon, pumping out various hit or miss titles on downloadable platforms alike.

I’ve only recently become interested in minute DLC titles, which, much to my dismay, has been a huge oversight on my end. There are some great, diamond-in-the-rough, caliber titles hidden awash in a sea of mediocrity. Most of them have been passed my way through word of mouth, much in the same way games came to my attention back in the 80’s. This seems to be the only real way that these titles gain any form of attention, at least on a casual level or to someone with a passing interest. Without official advertising for these games, save for a youtube trailer, it is almost impossible for the common fan to learn, or even try most of what is offered online. It isn’t like we can really rely on “big professional gaming news” sites, who’ve made a nice business out of spouting negative diatribe in the name of being “upper-class nerds”. XBLA’s saving grace is the fantastic option of demos for each and every title; Features that the other big consoles should adhere to. Sure, most of the fun from these games could be found in a free demo, making the potential profit gained smaller. I wouldn’t be surprised though if XNA titles have higher purchase numbers, or at the very least, have a higher level of familiarity with the community at large.

I think the entire gaming market has been coddled for way too long. We’ve grown extremely dependent on the AAA title, and the notion that big business gaming is the only way to find entertaining titles. It has become totally obvious that big companies are trying to cash in on “casual” (NOTE: I hate that classification) type games, which on the surface seems like a sad notion. It’s taken me quite a while to shift my opinion, but I do believe the abundance of lesser quality titles is a good thing; For game players, and game developers alike. We can’t rely on these big professional gaming news sites anymore. We shouldn’t look to the platform companies opinion on whether a title is worth picking up. Rather, we should listen to what our peers have to say, and maybe, just maybe, let go of the secure hand that we hold, and look into purchasing a game without any forethought whatsoever.

Do I feel Apple, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have created a viable platform for fans of video games?

Yes, I do. I don’t feel like downloadable content has been handled completely with the consumer in mind, but there are a good handful of games worth looking into. People sometimes feel like a platform needs to have hundreds of great titles to be considered great. If one game is worth picking up, then the platform is worth looking at. It’s all about potential, bottom line. Why do you think there are so many RPG titles, or FPS games? Because people bought them, liked what they saw, and kept buying more. I personally believe that if enough of us buy into the games that are actually good, we may see a change in what kind of content is available. Apple’s store is flooded with too much content, and the Wii is lacking almost any sort of organization pushing potential buyers into a sale (a few screen shots… whoopee doo Nintendo). Like I said before, we as consumers need to take charge of our own opinions.

I’ll be sticking up reviews, trailers, and afterthoughts surrounding downloadable games from wherever I can find them. Self informing is key here, which is why I’m hoping to spread the word on some of these titles. I truly believe that there are some great titles being overlooked here, and the only way we’re ever going to learn about them truthfully, is if we rely on each other for a more informed opinion. Grassroots people, I’m talking about grassroots here.

There is greatness in everything, from seemingly gimmicky cheap gaming to the plastic world of High School popularity. If The Breakfast Club taught us anything, it is to understand that things never appear on the inside as they are on the outside. With enough effort, even the most rugged of miscreants can appear sensitive, and (GASP) are sometimes even worth paying attention to.

~Yeah, I just drew a connection between IPT games and a John Hugues film. I’m that awesome.~

Thanks for the read Goobs!


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