Happy Easter weekend, to all you Christians out there. To the Jews, happy Passover. To everyone else: hey, what's up?
-Have you played 2009's first game of the year candidate, Close Range? Like Tetris, it distills its mechanics to their essence. Compulsively playable, with a gripping storyline told through some of the highest-quality cutscenes since the original Ninja Gaiden.
(Okay, it's actually a satire brought to you by the folks at the Onion. "Incredible!" says IGN. You know what? It's funny because it's true.)
-Longtime game journo Douglass Perry takes a look back at Nintendo's low period, starting with the launch of the N64. It's an excellent read, with a veteran's depth of perspective. Perry, by the way, has started his own blog, GameInsano.com. Glad to have him in the blogosphere, even if it wasn't entirely voluntary.
Story time: When I was in high school, Perry worked for IGN, in particular N64.com, later IGN64.com. The site had a nightly mailbag feature that went up around 9 PM Eastern time. I wrote to them every day, and they published my letters often, which were always signed "Big Mitch Krpata." People wrote letters about me in response. It was a lot of fun.
My finest hour was when the IGN team had a short-story contest, and my winning entry told the tale of Doug Perry getting kidnapped by Kabuki Joe, the much-maligned character from War Gods. They ended up sending me a copy of Quarterback Club 98 for the N64, which even at the time seemed like a boobie prize. But hey, they published my fiction, and so far nobody else has done that, except for Emerson College's literary journal. So thanks, Doug Perry, and welcome to the fold.
-Speaking of traveling back in time, a 30-minute video called "A Visit to id Software" is making the rounds. I mean... times really have changed.
-On a related note, if you miss John Carmack's .plan files, take a look at his story of developing for the iPhone. Maybe it's because I'm not as tuned into the PC gaming scene these days, but I feel like I don't hear much from Carmack anymore. This post makes me wish I did.
No, I'm not going to play Rage when it comes out, I'm sure. Not unless there's an Xbox 360 port in the offing.
-Ben Fritz has a level-headed take on the controversy about alleged DLC being included on the game disc. He's sensible as always, but something about it still feels wrong on a gut level. I mean, you paid for the disc. You own it. The notion of paying more in order to play what's already there is a troubling one. Moreover, one of the things I've always liked about console games is that you buy them, and they work. Everything's there.
Granted, we've come a long way from having to custom-code batch files in order to correctly run the DOS version of TIE Fighter on your PC, but there's still a DIY aspect of PC gaming that I find distasteful, compared to the plug-and-play of a console. But this console generation has done away with that. Now, console publishers ship a game that isn't done, knowing that they can simply issue a patch on launch day. It's great when a publisher or a dev can improve a game that you've already paid for (Burnout Paradise is a great example of this). It's problematic when they use downloadable content as a reason not to ship a completed game.
Another week down the hatch. As always, thank you for reading.