Welp, that was a nice little break. Throughout the past month,
I've kept meaning to come back and update the page, but I just
haven't been able to bring myself to do it. See, recently I've
been growing very disenchanted with the whole Gaming industry
and have had little desire to be a part of it in any way, shape,
or form. Now please don't just write me off as an idealist malcontent.
I know this industry works because of money... the companies make
games to sell them for money, the programmers are employed to
put food on their tables, and the reviewers are there to make
a name and some bucks for themselves. This, in and of itself,
is not what bothers me since it is possible to promote
consumerism and show a little integrity at the same time. What
is bothering me is the fact that more and more often, such is
not the case. I don't really wanna get into the details -- my
bitching about specifics on this fairly unknown site won't accomplish
anything, nor would it be very professional. But if anyone is
really curious, feel free to write
to me and we'll chat.
Now don't get me wrong. I still have a great love for the art
of computer games and I will never stop playing them. (Well, at
least not until I'm fired for updating this site while at work,
and then can't afford any more games.) And what has me most excited
at the moment is the imminent release of Nox
from Westwood Studios which
should be hitting store shelves in about a week. There are several
reasons why this has me all giddy. First, the game refuses to
be easily classified in a genre. While it's easy to dismiss the
game by its looks as yet another Diablo
clone, upon closer inspection it's clear that the medieval theme
and the isometric perspective are about all they have in common.
(Although, the isometric perspective is actually different than
Diablo's where the view was at about 30°. In Nox
the view is set at a strict 45° angle which means that the image
doesn't need to be distorted any in order to look right. But I
digress.) Nox is hard to classify because although it looks
like an story-driven RPG (with stats to gain, items to quest for,
and a big ol' Foozle to defeat), it plays like an action game.
Almost everyone who has had a chance to play multiplayer Nox
has said the experience was much like playing Quake
where the action is fast, furious, and bloody. In fact, the multiplayer
modes for Nox emphasize this with the standard Deathmatch,
Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill type variants, among others.
In my eyes, blurring genres is what leads to innovation which,
in turn, leads to growth of the medium as an artform.
The other reason this game excites me is its history.
Michael Booth, the Lead Designer, originally created the prototype
for Nox in his garage and worked for years balancing the
character classes and making sure everything just felt right.
He was later noticed by the suits at Westwood who bought the game,
hired him, and gave him a full team of artists to bring Nox
to life. Now that's the kind of grassroots success story I wish
would be more common in this ever more commercialized industry.
Now, I'm sure a few of you are doubtful of Nox's
quality based on Westwood's recent track record of rushed and
uninspired games. Well, consider this. Westwood has consistently
shown that they know how to make a great first installment of
a game, only to be followed up by countless lackluster sequels
and derivations. Following this logic, we should all be very excited
for Nox, but very wary of Nox II. ;)
Anyway, that's all I got for now. I don't think I'll be returning
to a schedule of daily updates, but expect occasional ramblings
and editorials about the state of gaming. Remember, we're all
in this together. With a little luck, this industry could turn
into something humanity is proud of... and not just another Hollywood.
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