The evening Inbox wishes 3DTVs would save split-screen gaming, as one reader tries to understand the popularity of League Of Legends.
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Worst of both worlds
I’ve been reading with interest the news that The Division has a lot of PC style graphical options which you can turn on and off, to improve the frame rate or to make the graphics more detailed. As a PC gamer as well I’m not sure how I feel about this, as one of the things I’ve always liked about consoles is that they’re a fixed format that you know you’re getting exactly the same performance out of as everyone else.
The PC though is all about pushing things to the max and trying to run the game on full settings. But recently I’ve got the impression that both styles of games machine are starting to meet in an uncomfortable middle ground, where PC versions are held back because they can’t do too much more than the consoles and the consoles are starting to adopt some of the lazier, less optimised, tricks of the PC – but without the excuse of being an open system.
Despite PC gaming being bigger than ever the days of big budget PC exclusives have been over for at least a decade and I don’t see that ever changing under the current circumstances. I worry that we’re starting to see the worst of both worlds and that companies are taking the easier route with both.
I woke up to the news that GameTrailers has closed. I’m not sure if many GCers followed them but their video content has always been good. They have had to deal with a lot of change in the last few years and their numbers had dwindled but I must say I’m surprised and saddened to hear this news.
They had a great bunch of people who were talented and had a genuine passion for video games. My little tin pot YouTube channel probably wouldn’t exist without their inspiration.
I hope they can all move onto doing something they enjoy in the future. Cheers GT.
Joe @ Dimp Digital
White strip of life
When I first bought my PlayStation 4, I paid extra for insurance to cover it if there was any problems and that they could fix it.
My insurance is now coming to an end, and was wondering is it really worth renewing? It seems that this console generation has been much more reliable (no Xbox 360 red ring stories) and I’ve been lucky having no problems yet.
What do GameCentral or any readers suggest doing? Are most of these insurance companies actually any good anyway if something did go wrong? Thanks.
GC: We don’t want to jinx anything, but you’re right that we’ve had very few letters about broken consoles this generation.
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Split on 3D
Was just thinking today about what folk on GameCentral, and my own friends, have to say on the death of split-screen gaming.
It got me remembering the genius of using 3D-enabled television sets, with the specially adapted glasses, that allowed one person to see a whole screen, whilst the other did the same. It was utilised on Call Of Duty: Black Ops II and Gran Turismo 5 to great effect. So, a really easy way of allowing people to still play socially together and, with the advent of more powerful consoles, probably the ability to play online together too!
Whilst 3D has been a fad for films at home, I believe gaming should have been its natural home. Certainly a far better proposition than VR headsets and with nowhere near the associated costs.
So, instead of giving us headsets and nausea, give us split screen gaming and work hard on making 3D work in other games in an effective way. I’m only asking because it’s my televisions most unused feature…
GC: It is sad, and perplexing, how brief a fad 3D gaming was. But we’d assume there’s little chance of it ever coming back now.
Death to spies
I’ve noticed something called Alekhine’s Gun is due for release this month, it looks/sounds like something in the mould of the older Hitman games but in a Cold War setting. Have you heard anything about it? (including an impression of it’s likely quality) and do you have it down for a review?
Currently playing: Metal Gear Solid V
PS: I have a couple of Homefront: The Revolution closed beta codes I won’t be using.
GC: It’s been floating round the release schedules for months now, and we almost dismissed it as vapourware. We noticed its Wikipedia page is surprisingly detailed, but beyond that we know nothing else. Thanks for the codes though, we’ll pass them on in the usual manner.
Box Opener 2015
Having just completed The Witcher 3 and the first DLC at the weekend I found the Reader’s Feature interesting. Although I disagree with the sentiment (as I though the game was excellent and deserving of its acclaim) I can understand most of the criticism. It really is a box opening simulator.
I am however confused by the lack of complaints about the only two things that actually bothered me:
1. The loading times are really long. This particularly grated near the end of the DLC, as I struggled with the fight at the end of the penultimate mission.
2. That a number of missions were bugged and could not be completed when I first encountered them. (Projekt RED did however patch this during my playthrough. However, the latest patch seems to have created lots of other bugs).
PS: Soon to be playing Pikmin 3.
There’s an interesting programme on iPlayer (initially shown on BBC Three) called The Supergamers.
Apparently if you’re exceptionally good at League Of Legends and below the age of 22 (your reactions slow down after that) you can earn up to 50 grand a year playing games professionally as an e-sport.
The professional gamers all have these illuminated keyboards, which I never knew you could even buy and compete in arenas in front of massive audiences.
Before watching the programme I realised e-sports existed but I still find the concept and its popularity baffling. Perhaps if I’d ever played League Of Legends I could understand why the audiences shown in the programme were so excited.
The game just looked like an elaborate version of Gauntlet to me.
At first I was slightly envious of the e-sports gamers earning massive amounts of money but their occupation does look quite gruelling and I don’t think I’d fancy playing the same game for hours every day.
If any GCers are League Of Legends experts I’d love to find out why the game has such a frenzied following.
GC: Well, it is free-to-play, so it doesn’t cost to find out. Although we’re not sure you’ll be any the wiser after playing it.
Game Boy killer
That’s a fair analysis on the 3DS being surplus to requirements as far as the Wii U is concerned, it could well be something to do with the Wii U’s obvious adoption of the DS style interface perhaps?
What is apparent though is Nintendo’s reluctance to create/port more successful ideas from their handheld department to the Wii U. Many variables come into play here, for example the notion of showcasing new ideas on a struggling console when the potential could be better realised on NX is enough to understand such hesitations.
However, I think everyone would agree that Nintendo’s unrivalled success in dedicated handheld gaming has in most part been due to the quick-fire, bite-sized and in some cases more affordable alternative to home console gaming. You could say that this is why mobile gaming has taken off, for the very same reasons, which these days is so very often a phone as the unobtrusive device, with a vast catalogue of cheaper more accessible software.
Many Game Boy ‘killers’ have arisen and raised the stakes but none have managed to take Nintendo’s crown, Sony’s PSP/PS Vita offerings being the most recent and notable, but only to go down in history as another failed try-hard ‘me too’ attempt to become more than another tally on Nintendo’s handheld war machine.
It’s clear that consumers seek a different experience to home console gaming for their handheld fix. Whether this is a conscious decision or not I wouldn’t know, but inferior scaled down versions of home console equivalents apparently doesn’t justify a handheld capable of such. It’s like gamers would prefer to invest time into critically acclaimed PlayStation 3 title Uncharted, than its handheld namesake Golden Abyss. This just as an example.
Of course all the obvious drawbacks come into play; for example, developers creating a big budget title on a portable home console that requires a lot of time/effort/cost to not be fully rewarded in sales is an unsustainable business venture. Dead on arrival I’m sure.
It’s a hard comparison to make with Nintendo, as we’ve seen big games such as Zelda: Ocarina Of Time make a handheld debut, which arguably helped to turn around the fortunes of a struggling 3DS. But I guess you could put that down to the power of IP blended with worthwhile improvements and almost militant loyal fanbase.
The possible predicament Uncharted: Golden Abyss found itself in was one of a cannibalistic nature where a game too similar to other variants of the same franchise could potentially stunt sales of said games or perhaps more significantly, the hardware said game is released on.
With Nintendo’s NX looming, although times are very different now, I can imagine 25 plus years ago in an alternate reality, trying to decide whether my modest pocket money would afford me Super Mario World over Super Mario Land. A good problem to have some might say, but wouldn’t it have been nice to own both games at a reasonable price point? Or perhaps NX could cater for my fix whether I picked up the classic controller or the supposed handheld device?
It’s hard to imagine Nintendo cannibalising its profits, risking handheld revenues to aid the home based console, but in a day and age where the past three out of four Nintendo home consoles have underperformed and been completely outshone by their handheld counterpart, not to mention rival manufacturers home consoles, NX might be an idea crazy enough it could actually work?
Bad Edit (gamertag)/Bitdead (NN ID)
GC: Not that we disagree with you on why portable consoles are popular, but thanks to Japan the PSP was hugely successful and sold almost the same as the Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, and PlayStation 3 over its lifetime.
In an attempt to beat Dynamite Headdy’s going to college with Fred Dinenage’s son I want to throw in I was Shaw Taylor’s postman.
Johnny Alpha SD
Been bugging me for years… why are miniguns not mini?
PaulVW (PSN ID/Steam ID/NN ID)
GC: They are compared to these, which is how the name was coined.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks whether you enjoy playing difficult video games.
What kind of difficultly level do you usually chose in a game, and is that because you’re worried about time, your ability, or simply because you don’t like to lose too often? What would you cite as examples of games that got their difficulty level right, in terms of both easy and purposefully hard games?
What’s the most frustrated you’ve ever got over a difficult game, and what game do you feel has been spoiled through being too easy? Generally, do you think games are easier now than they used to be, or about the same?
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