Posts Tagged ‘sigh’

McGonigal: “Games Are Like Soap”

Jane McGonigal speaking at SXSW, as excerpted in amusingly out-of-context way from this report:

“Games are like soap,” McGonigal said. She thinks we should have them in every building and in our pockets. “Except we’re not killing germs, we’re killing boredom.”

The actual context is that soap has been around since the Romans, but only the hygienic awareness of last few hundred years have put it everywhere to combat disease. McGonigal sees a parallel with a ubiquitous game culture: “Why don’t we have games everywhere to kill lack of engagement, anxiety, lack of confidence, depression?” And I think that’s already happening in some ways, and it is valuable. Anxiety and boredom might not be fashionable conditions for society to deal with, but they’re enormously important. Oh God, it’s another topic from my yet-to-be-released book. (Hey, you can pre-order it on Amazon.) I wish these things came out a little faster. I spent the last year listening to game people give lectures and then saying “Yeah, I said that in my book, that ONLY MY EDITOR HAS READ.” Further notes from McG’s talk can be found over at Clickable Culture.

Year Of Goo

2008 will be known as the Year Of Gaming Goo. The other gooey game is Goo! In which you must surround your enemy with your viscous oozings. It looks like a fun idea and there’s a new build of the demo up on the official site. Unfortunately the game requires an Xbox 360 controller to play, and yet doesn’t recognise my one (which works fine with other games). I make sadface. Can anyone else get it working?

KG EDIT: I did. I suspect the problem is with reading the specific make of XBox controller Jim used rather than the game per se – it recognises mine, and I had problems with games recognising the one he used previously. However, when in game, the enemy Goos don’t appear to be visible, a problem shared by Meat Circus. But other people are having more luck. PC gaming, eh?

The Origin of Speechless

I’m terribly sorry, but I’m going to be a bit of a bitch now.

If I was Monolith and, as a result of a shouting match with my publisher, I now had to make my F.E.A.R. sequel under an entirely different name, I’d have been very, very glad of the opportunity to ditch the childish F.U.L.L.S.T.O.P.S. and come up with something that didn’t sound like the latest Nickleodeon action cartoon for prepubescent boys with successful spin-off toyline, featuring real kung-fu action.

Monolith have been running the ‘Name Your Fear’ competition for a few months now, asking fans of the “any setting you want, so long as it’s grey corridors” FPS to come up with a title for the next game in the F.E.A.R. universe. It could have worked out really rather well, so I was interested to hear that the results are in. It is….

‘Project Origin.’

Yep, it’s one of those electric videogames, alright. They’ve got it right in as much as no-one’s going to guess at it being anything else with a woefully generic ‘sounds a bit like it might have guns in’ title like that.

Fairly certain of what I’d find, I went and typed ‘Project’ into the search box of ever-useful screenshot/release date repository Gamespress. Guess how many games since the year 2000 include that dead-horse of a word?

69. Not including Project Origin. Divide seven years (364 weeks) by that figure, and the numbers have it that a game with ‘Project’ in its title is released on average every five weeks. Good work, chaps.

I’m reminded of a video interview with Ewan McGregor just after the title of the second Star Wars prequel had been announced. Ewan was cheerfully red carpeting for some other movie, and had no idea what the name was – he even sounded quite excited about finding out. The interviewer stutters out that it’s ‘Attack of the Clones.’ The rest of the video is just 30 seconds of McGregor pissing himself laughing.

Anyway, Project Origin does mean that publisher Vivendi’s own inevitable F.E.A.R. 2 (for it kept the name) will sound a thousand times less ridiculous by contrast. The upcoming expansion pack ‘Perseus Mandate’ doesn’t get off quite so lightly, of course.