On homogenization and gaming’s spleen

I've argued that games are an art form before, but with one major caveat: most are bad art. One of the more likely reasons that games struggle between being meaningful vehicles for experiences and a frowned-upon pastime of the ADD generation is that so few blockbuster games aspire to be anything more than big, dumb Hollywood action flicks. In fact, that's the standard of the industry. Yet, even as I write this, there are hundreds, thousands, or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people all over the world defending their hobby as something more than an interactive version of the movie Crank.

Publishers should sell games without the pre-order baggage

Special-edition video games have always left something to be desired. One title, however, may have beaten out all the rest. Capcom will bank on fans' enthusiasm for Resident Evil 6 by releasing a premium edition of the game this October. The items seem…promising. The bundle will include the game, one of four character-designed cellphone cases, and Leon's jacket. Price: 105,000 yen. But Capcom should just sell the game and leave Leon's jacket in its closet. 

Watch the Wreck-It Ralph trailer and play the game

Wreck-It Ralph is the newest animated feature from Disney, scheduled for release in theaters this November. The plot involves the villain of an old-school arcade game (in the same style of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man), named Wreck-It Ralph, venturing to other, more modern games in a quest to become a hero. The trailer is filled with cameos (like Street Fighter II's Zangief) that any gamer should appreciate.

Cloned game experiences can lead to innovation

Any successful formula will be copied. This isn’t a theory. It’s a fact. It’s not easy coming up with unique ideas, and it takes a lot less work to modify an existing one. “Improving” (a term which I use loosely) upon the latest craze can also be a lot more profitable than trying something new. Buyers want an experience they know they’ll like, and a clone can provide that.

Nintendo shows its commitment to the 3DS

OK, so we didn’t see a jumbo-screen “Nintendo 3DS XL” at this year’s E3 industry trade show like Japanese newspaper Nikkei predicted. Nintendo didn’t drop any mind-blowing news about upcoming releases for its current handheld, either. But the company did show off its commitment to the system with a solid lineup of actual games…and, you know, none of that casual-market-grabbing media-center connectivity or any singing, fitness, and dancing titles.