Thursday, July 28, 2011

Link roundup

Hello! You wouldn't know it from watching this space, but I have been busy lately.

First, my review of Child of Eden is up at I liked this game, although I utterly failed to connect with it on the level that most of its ardent fans seem to have. My biggest takeaway was that the Kinect version was slightly, though clearly, inferior to the gamepad version. I continue to think that the Kinect will never work if it is used to perform the same actions that a gamepad does. There's a reason Dance Central was awesome -- it would not have been possible to play it with the stock controller.

Also, I appeared on the most recent episode of the Experience Points podcast. Scott, Jorge, and I discussed what makes a game overrated or underrated, and how the expectations we bring to a game color our experiences. I had a great time recording the podcast. I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Finally, while it's not nearly as incendiary as the first, my most recent column at Joystick Division is all about the game I've been playing the most recently: Words with Friends, on the iPhone. In a late-breaking update, I am happy to tell you that I have won a game or two since that column was published. And also lost several more.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The case against Ocarina of Time

My first original column went up at Joystick Division over the weekend. It's called "Hey! Listen! The Case Against Ocarina of Time."

You can probably guess what it's about.

I never have understood the fuss about the game. Before it came out, I was as excited as anybody. I had pre-ordered it from Toys R Us so I could get the gold cartridge. The day it came out, I rushed to the store to pick it up, and drove home recklessly to start playing. Then I found it to be meandering and uninteresting, and before long I put it down.

Several years later, I started a new game, determined to crack its shell. I was successful, in the sense that I finished it, but out of a sense of obligation more than anything. There was a lot that I liked, and just as much that I didn't. After all this time, I still don't get it.

But there's something else I understand even less. I keep reading reviews that say that Ocarina is the best game of all time, or one of the best games of all time, and that the 3DS version is graphically stunning and every bit as good as the original. Then the reviewer gives it one point less than a perfect score.

Really? It's a superior version of your favorite game of all time, and not even that merits a pefect score?

I can only think that the reason not to give it a perfect score is because it's a remake. That's not a good reason. People complain, justifiably, about how reviewers don't use the bottom end of the scale, but it's just as nonsensical never to go all the way to the top. That's what it's there for.