This is pretty good, huh? E3 has put visions of amazing games in our heads, June has seen its share of solid releases already, and now it’s Bitmob Mailbag time — sometimes everything falls into place. This week, we field letters about social networking, editors as platformers, genre aversions, and Canada. So let’s jump right in.
I’d like to know your opinions about Facebook/Twitter on 360.
360 already has messaging/chat between players. Do people really need some kind of update fix while playing Halo?
What’s next? Will Niko be walking around Liberty City and his cell phone beeps with a real tweet that says, “dood, checkz out this video on yootoobz http:blah blah blah.”?
Will it autoupdate your status on the web stating, “Gamertag just got this Achievement (played for a total of 10 hours) on Viva Piñata.” Now all my friends know I’m a loser. D’oh!
Really looking forward to Last FM though.
Bitmob: Our biggest concern is the whole Achievement-update thing. Facebook and Twitter are at their worst when people fill your feeds with pointless updates, of which menial “I’m playing this” or “I just unlocked this” tweets qualify.
But if it’s just another avenue for you to update without turning on your computer or laptop, then we see no problem. Is it any worse than an iPhone app that does the same thing? Basically, it’s up to each individual user to properly use it…which may be asking a lot.
If you had to pick a platform videogame to describe your personality, what would it be? Also, this can be answered by the whole staff. The only stipulation is that “Shoe” can’t use Mario as his answer. Have a great gaming day, y’all.
-Toby Davis (ATC 1982)
Bitmob: Nice question, Toby. Let’s see if the crew can follow these simple and totally reasonable parameters.
Shoe: Why can’t I pick Mario? I like blondes, I have an extremely limited vocabulary, and I would pick up any giant gold coins if I saw them lying around…so I’m sticking with him.
Demian: Well, Shoe already set a precedent of ignoring the rules, so I’m going with a character from the beat-’em-up Final Fight. If given the option to be a shirtless mayor who vandalizes cars, beats up Andre the Giants, eats trash-can pizzas, and throws a wheelchair-bound millionaire out of a window, I would have to reply with a resounding shrug of my shoulders and a “sure.”
Greg: I don’t know why the big guys have such a problem following some basic rules. Looks like I’ll be the rebel and actually answer this correctly: Sly Cooper. I work well with a team, ain’t in it for the glory, and am all around a smooth criminal — not to mention smooth with the ladies. Yeah, that works.
Fitch: I’ll go with Castlevania because I’m dark and brooding, interested in medieval history, and I apparently sport the “Alucard look” — whatever that means — according to Ryan Scott.
OK, let’s keep the “learn about your favorite staffer through games” thing going….
I would like to know, what are the staff’s ultimate genre aversions (i.e., what genres of games you have never managed to enjoy?). For example, I can’t get into fighting games or sports games very much because I feel too sympathetic toward my opponents.
Bitmob: This sounds kinda fishy…. We-thinks it may not be your opponents who need the sympathy. Anyway, on to the answers.
Shoe: I never got into hardcore racing sims, and I don’t understand why other people (like Demian) would, either. Look, Mario Kart and Burnout are sitting right there. Why on earth would you play Forza F-1 Turismo over those?
Demian: I’m not much for Japanese role-playing games. Which is a little weird, because I like leveling up a character, I don’t mind turn-based games, and I’m really a big fan of vaguely similar genres like tactical strategy games (Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, etc.). Maybe it’s the belt buckles and haircuts. Or maybe I should just give ‘em another shot. The last one I finished was Final Fantasy 7. The last one I thought about trying but didn’t was The World Ends With You.
Greg: I’m an equal opportunity RPG averter, Japanese or Western. I got to the second disc of FF7, put it down, and never cared to pick it up again. I played 10 hours of Oblivion, put it down, and couldn’t be bothered to continue. Throw MMOs in there as well. If my gaming time is so precious, why would I waste it on one adventure that never ends? I guess I just need more “I’m actually hitting this guy” action in my games.
Fitch: I’ve never been able to get into multiplayer online first-person shooters because, in my experiences dating back to Team Fortress in college, the more experienced players blow away the newbies in a matter of seconds. That doesn’t allow for much opportunity to get better. And it doesn’t seem to have gotten better over the years, either — whenever I dabble in FPSes on Xbox Live these days, it’s the same old story. Instant head shots, instant death. Not fun.
I don’t know if this flies in the mailbag, but I have a handful of questions on writing style. From your experience, what are the standards for using and changing verb tenses in a review? Is it bad form to switch tenses within a single paragraph? When describing a game, when explaining your judgments, what is the best tense to use? Does the use of future tense predict too much?
Bitmob: The question is, what doesn’t fly in the mailbag? As for your question, the biggest thing with verb tenses is to keep it consistent. Hopping between tenses is when things look bad and just start sounding weird. If you absolutely have to switch tenses, don’t do so in one paragraph.
In general, try to stick to present tense (“God of War 3 rocks my face off!”). Ideally, with enough practice this will come naturally to you.
Was just listening to Mobcast #6 and [wanted to let you know that] the Dead Rising 2 dev is not American, but Canadian. Blue Castle Games is located in Burnaby, British Columbia, a part of Vancouver. Just thought I’d correct.
Bitmob: Guess our facts guy must have been napping during that segment. We would never want to not give credit to our cuddly neighbors to the north. Respect, eh.
And we’ll end this week’s mailbag, as usual, on the theme of international love. If you’ve got a question or comment you’d like to possibly see in a future mailbag, send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.