In response to "The Great Digital Hype" from The Escapist Forum: As a personal anecdote to accompany this wonderful (though sad) article, I played through Deus Ex and LOVED it. I still find time to play it again and again (and again).
Deus Ex 2 had me hooked from the first screenshot. I was anticipating it non-stop till release. When it came out I brought it home and was horrified. The game aspects I loved had been brutally altered. Gone were the skill points and skills, instead all was augmentations. The interface didn't appeal to me as much, and I hated the loss of the note taking feature.
Recently I decided to play it again, I was looking for something to take up some time, and was between games. Going in with lesser expectations, I've found myself enjoying it quite a bit, so much infact, that I'm starting my second run through it.
In response to "The Great Digital Hype" from The Escapist Forum: I salute the Wish devs for realizing that the game was going bad and pulled the plug early. More developers need to release demos or betas but I understand that time and money pressure can cause devs to release before they are ready.
In response to "Screenshots and Boobies" from The Escapist Forum: I would wholeheartedly agree that the content in game advertising does create a somewhat skewed image of the tastes of most gamers, but the problem goes beyond Madison Avenue. Some of the content in games is sexual and misogynistic. Not to mention, explicit violence and gore is a staple of the most popular genre, first-person shooters. To simplify the equation down to a singular cause would be to miss the whole picture.
We should also consider the relationship between conservative activists and the media attention they garner every time a controversial title is released (e.g. Bully, GTA). These activist groups and the media pick up on the most explicitly sexual and violent content in the video gaming world and turn it into a political football for the likes of Hilary Clinton to run with.
Furthermore, I believe that it will be impossible to get the game advertising world to modify its strategy. As long as their market research tells them sex and violence sell, they will use those images in their ads. If, however, consumer interests change to some degree, then we may see more intelligent and informative game ads that showcase the most important aspect of any game ... its gameplay.
In response to "Screenshots and Boobies" from The Escapist Forum: Nothing really new here. Women's fictional romance novels have almost identical "bodice-ripper" art on their covers over in that section of the bookstore, and the DVD covers for action movies all show the same close-up pose of the star clutching a pistol next to his or her face. (recognize the star, see the gun, we're done; buddy movie? two starts clutching guns next to their faces)
Don't criticize the marketer; criticize the masses. They go into the focus testing sessions, and the first cover they pick up is the sex & violence cover. Show them various magazine ads and ask them which ad gets them wanting to learn more about the game. The sex/violence ads win every time.
So why are you surprised that the marketing people are running the sex/violence ads? Their job is to get people excited about the game and wanting to learn more about the game. If the public is lizard-brained, it's not the marketer's fault. Blame the society we live in. Do the marketers create that society? Somewhat, yes, because they create the advertising wallpaper that surrounds, but thanks to the "science" of marketing, they just give the public what it asks for.
- Jim Simmons
In response to "Screenshots and Boobies" from The Escapist Forum: Very nice article, Mr. Elrod. I think that the publishers, and the gamers to a certain extent, are mistaking a relatively small subset of what's really possible in the medium of video games for the entirety of the medium's potential. I keep coming back to the amazing similarity between the early days of film and these early days of video games. No reputable parent would have allowed his or her child into a movie theatre in the early days, and movies were marketed accordingly. Even after the Italian epics, and then DW Griffith, came along, they were viewed as "crossovers" (as we might call them), and as the exception.
On the "grown-up gaming" sites, we're starting to see a sort of normalization of gaming, as we think about how we want our kids to game. Thank goodness for the Invisible Hand.