Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.
Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.
Nintendo 3D Redux
A few weeks back, Nintendo stealthily announced
the existence of a 3D enabled handheld, tentatively called the Nintendo 3DS. I'm sure that most people don't remember Nintendo's original foray (a less than auspicious one, at that) into the third dimension, the Virtual Boy
. I'm sure that Nintendo is hoping that nearly 15 years of separation from their previous effort and their recent success with pushing the gaming industry in new and unexpected directions is enough to have people forget the disastrous "handheld".
But why now? 3D is certainly the new buzzword that's been thrown around in all forms of entertainment recently. With the advent of the home theater, people weren't going to the theaters as much as they used to. So to give moviegoers an experience they couldn't get at home, studios decided to add a third dimension beginning with James Cameron's well executed Avatar and then being slapped onto every major release following. 3D has been mainly used as a gimmick in television (though I have no complaints about Chuck's Yvonne Strahovski coming out of my tv) but at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, 3D tvs were showcased by nearly every television manufacturer... even though there isn't really any current programming that supports 3D viewing. And to bring it back around to gaming and Avatar, James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (still an unnecessarily long title) had a feature where it could be played in 3D (though most lacked the equipment to do so, myself included).
Gaming, moreso than any other form of entertainment, is about immersion. Making you feel like you're in the shoes of some powerful badass doing nearly impossible things. In that regard, 3D makes sense in gaming as another tool to make players feel more immersed in the game world. Instead of watching the game unfold on your tv, think of 3D as a means to transform your tv into a window into another world... another world that you just happen to be controlling.
But like all new technology, 3D has the potential to be implemented well and it has the potential to be implemented very, very badly. Take a look at Nintendo's own Wii motion controls. First party games almost always use motion controls in interesting ways and ways that actually make sense. But there's also a lot of shovelware for the Wii where you're shaking the controller like you've just suffered an epileptic seizure. 3D can easily succumb to similar pitfalls and has for as long as similar technology has existed, i.e. stuff is flying RIGHT! IN! YOUR! FACE! The challenge for game developers is really the same as the challenge with every other new emerging technology. To implement it in a way that enhances the game experience. For something that is essentially a visual enhancement, it seems like it would be a no-brainer. But past experience suggests otherwise.
A while back I reviewed James Cameron's Avatar: The Game and one of the major issues I had with the game was that playing as a Na'vi, it was hard to separate the things that I wanted to shoot from the background. What I hadn't realized was the game was meant to be played in 3D. Apparently in 3D viewing environment, enemies are more easily discerned from the environment around them. (A fact that I really only found out by watching/listening to Feedback on g4tv.com, which is a great weekly gaming discussion that I couldn't recommend more highly!) Which is all well and good, except that I'm not a millionaire and just have regular old HDTV. And many people out there are still playing on standard definition tvs. Where does 3D leave them? Sure there's the argument that a really good game might push people into buying new 3D technology, but gameplay should be the overriding attraction for every game. Not that the tiny tree in the back looks like it's further away from you than the big tree in the front. And my worry is that developers will begin to rely on the razzle dazzle of the third dimension instead of focusing on making a game that plays well.
With the release of Nintendo's touch controls on the DS (and all it's iterations) and the motion controls of the Wii, I think Nintendo has earned the benefit of the doubt (if anyone really could) when it comes to introducing new gaming technology to the rest of the industry. I'm intrigued to see what lessons they've learned from their last 3D gaming device and to see if they can really make it work like touch and motion controls. But only time will tell.
After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction
Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!
Damsel I. Distress
Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet
Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record
John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh
Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction