Thursday, February 26, 2009

SuperPhillip's What is UP With That!?

Welcome to a brand new feature here on SuperPhillip Central, "SuperPhillip's What's Up With That!?", all about questioning the logic behind various decisions and ideas in the game industry. These can be decisions made by individual game companies, peeves I have in various games, or something entirely questionable in both humor and taste. I'm constantly thinking up new ideas for features on the site. I feel that they help bring some familiarity each time they pop back up. Perhaps you already have a favorite feature on the site! Nonetheless, let's ask the question that every gamer wants to know: "What is UP With That!?".

Fighting Games: How is This Genre Supposed to Grow?

The traditional fighting game genre (e.g. Street Fighter, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, etc) is one that is very much not newbie-friendly. I caved in to my curiosity and decided to rent Street Fighter 4 this past week, not having much experience with the genre since the 16-bit days. If Street Fighter 4 was a karate kick, it struck way over my head. The problem is trying to figure out how the hell you're supposed to do any moves. It'd be too easy to just say forward + square, square! Instead we get forward + punch, punch! I looked up one of those nancy-fancy walkthroughs to see what the controls were. Big mistake. Every move listed in the guide was written like (B), F, B + F (PPP) or (D) U + K, D + K, HCF + P. For a newbie, I had to scroll back up just to know what have of the letters even meant! It was like this for every move. I just want to play the game-- not study some secret code for each and every button! Why can't it just be square and circle instead of low punch and medium kick? Furthermore, why do I have to memorize different button combinations for each character? Why can't they just be the same? Is there something that requires skill that they all be different? What is UP With That!?

I do not know how I did this, but I have so much
skill I don't even need to know how I did this.

Strategy Guides: Same Content, More Money!

Back when I was a kid and through the end of the last generation of consoles, I loved purchasing and collecting strategy guides. I know in my later years I had the internet and its bounty of free text-based guides, but there was something wonderful about having something tangible you could thumb through. I loved looking at the different artwork, strategies, and reading about parts of the game even if I already knew what to do. A great bonus were the colorful, detailed maps. I love maps. Always have. As a kid I was persistent in knowing where every road in my city led. "Where's that road go? Can we find out?" I digress.

Fast forward to the present. Game prices have gone up, so why not strategy guides? Brilliant! What were once fifteen dollars are now twenty! That's great except I'm buying a game for thirty bucks, and the damn strategy guide for it is just ten dollars less?! It's even worse now that some guides are wrapped in plastic-- you can't even browse it to see if it's worth the money or not! What's worse is when they want to charge full price for a guide that's as thin as an issue of EGM! Except with EGM I could happily wipe my ass with it knowing it was a free subscription!

Nintendo Power stopped making players' guides, which I adored, so instead the Nintendo games are covered by Prima Games. Oh, fantastic. Prima, the people who I bought two guides for, Breath of Fire III and Final Fantasy Tactics, and they both fell apart easily. Wonderful. What is UP With That!?

This guide is $20.00. The actual game is $30.00.
Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?

We Don't Live in the Future Yet, Mr. Spaceman.

Apparently we live in a world where every person playing games on a Playstation 3 or an Xbox 360 has a high-definition television of some kind. Why else would developers make the text in their games so small? I know I'm playing too close to the screen, but if I don't then I can't read the game text! Screw you, Otis from Dead Rising! It's as if HD developers are living in a fictitious reality where everyone owns an HDTV, the HD business model isn't severely flawed, and people buy consoles just so they can play them on their new, expensive, how-the-heck-is-anyone-supposed-to-afford-one-in-this-economy hi-def tvs! Rare did it right. They heard the cries of the many SDTV owners (yep, SD is still around and the majority of us still have them), and they released a patch for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts giving players the option to enlarge the game text.

Perhaps this is some conspiracy for game companies tied to television manufacturers to make as many people as possible switch over from SD to HD. Well, tough luck, dirtbags. I had enough money to buy an HDTV, but all of it is going to my new pair of glasses that I had to get from straining my eyes reading that small as your perception of reality dribble you call game text! What is UP With That!?

I hope this isn't important dialogue.
I hope this isn't important dialogue.

Feedback Appreciated!

What did you think of this article? Do any of these make you ask yourself "what's up with that?" Share your own ideas here. Perhaps they'll be in a future update! Your comments are very much appreciated!

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