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Bitter?  A Pint, Please by FullAuto Written on 6th February 2006

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A motherfucking breadbin.
I find myself being called a cynic these days. A bitter, bile-filled and bile-fuelled bastard of a cynic. And I have to admit, I seem to be. But I'm not. I'm merely a realist. Some are born to realism, some achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. I appear to be a cynic because of the current state of affairs.

The next gen has totally failed to capture my interest. Sony and Microsoft are wrapped up in their who-has-the-bigger-dick competition (and seeing them deny it is pretty fucking pathetic too). The Revolution only vaguely interests me because Nintendo steadfastly maintain they are not competing with Microsoft or Sony, which must piss some people right off. I find this funny as fuck, but beyond that, I couldn't give a monkey's.

I wasn't always like this. Once I was a young lad, shining with hope, full of beans, bursting with pep and vim. I hailed the PS2 as the rightful king and heir, and cheered as loudly as any when it succeeded the throne after the PSX. I was wide-eyed at the sights and open-eared at the sounds, wondering at the glory, clumsily eager at first with the dual analogue sticks before becoming adept. I rolled in the multitude of great games, even if the cases fetched me the odd painful jab in the bollocks.

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The most relaxed Revolution ever.
That patina of hope and youthful optimism has worn off, ladies and gentlemen, eroded by a tide of hype and hyperbole, spin and smooth talking. The veritable flood of steaming hot cack spewing from who-the-fuck-ever's mouth has put me off everything new on the menu. Is it the stench of desperation that surrounds every new announcement, every press release, every interview and every smile-so-hard-your-face-could-crack photo? Is it the panicky neediness not just to show everyone who is the best but to drive their faces right the fuck in it, to submerge their heads in lovely warm bullshit so no matter which way they turn, there is no alternative but to swallow some of it?


You see, all consoles need to do is play games. That idea has been washed away by the latest brown blizzard, but it's true. Multimedia this and centre of home entertainment that...bollocks. Utter. Fucking. Bollocks. You buy a console to play games. Not to play DVDs, or record TV programmes, or download music off the Internet, or any of that shite. Did I buy a PS2 to play DVDs or CDs? Did I fuck. I bought it to play games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and Metal Gear Solid 2, Ring of Red and TimeSplitters, Devil May Cry and Ico. You get the idea. Or you should. Some of you probably need a picture drawn with crayons.

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360 degrees of next gen bullshit.
My sense of indignation does seem to have reached critical mass, but seeing imagination and innovation buried under a yearly tsunami (that's a big wave for those of you in the crayon crowd) of fucking sports franchises from EA does that to you. Not that they're limited to sports franchises any more, having added TimeSplitters and Burnout (a title the developer swore would not become a yearly update but shock horror it is) to their repertoire. But fuck EA, back to the point. You see, the five-year life span of the console is necessary, not because of the constant developments in hardware but because of the lack of development of software. Think about how many truly innovative games you have played. Now think about how many formulaic racing games, FPSs and RPGs there are. The latter outnumber the former several hundred to one, easily. For every Katamari Damacy there are a hundred Need For Speeds. That is why new consoles must be brought out. Because gamers will only cram down so much recycled shit before puking it back up and sending it back to the publisher with a note saying fuck you very much.

Contrary to what Jack Thompson believes, gamers are not a stupid bunch. But we do put up with a lot of shit. And because companies are terrified of bringing out an innovative game which no one will buy, they take the safe bet, and make Generic Shooter 4: Huge Phallic Guns which sells a ton before gamers realise they've been fucked. In the arse. Again. Publishers bullshit themselves (and everyone else) that because the main demographic is teenage boys, all games must appeal to teenage boys. And the next generation of consoles have been designed around such games. Their very internal structure means that there will be no unusual wide-open games with AI that could outwit you at noughts and crosses. You will instead get the same shooters, racers and so on and so forth, repackaged and regurgitated, forever and ever, Amen. Only they will have better textures. This means that in the future, games will be more linear, we will have less freedom but those corridors you're stuck running through again and again and again will look so good.

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Microsoft: Compensating For Something.
Of course, better graphics means a bigger graphics budget and a bigger graphics budget means more money and more money means you have to justify the investment by, oh, I don't know, creating a game that's part of a well-established genre? Making a sequel? Basing it on a blockbuster film? You get the idea. Less innovation, more money. Until we get sick of it in five years and they have to reinvent the wheel all over again.

The problem is not the hardware. The problem is the software. Gamers would be satisfied with the tech the way it is now, as long as we received a constant supply of quality games created with some originality. But this graphics-based obsession is seriously fucked up and the horrible thing is, it's fucking the industry up further and further. Hardware can only go so far, but there is no limit to the amount of creativity a single talented person can produce. A crisis of creativity? Yes, but not because the creativity isn't there. Rushing out a new console every five years and hiding the fault lines behind too-white smiles and diarrhoea so ripe you could fertilise a field with it is not the answer. Online gaming is not the answer, it's just multiplayer with added arseholes. New hardware that could pilot nuclear missiles is not the answer. Next gen games that fall down at the first hurdle and don't even look next gen are not the answer. Not even if they did look next gen.

Books, films and other media can still put forth new ideas and concepts and make money doing it. So can games. If you're too much of an idiot to see it, just fuck off and leave it to the professional gamers, eh?


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