Today’s most heartwarming story concerns the keynote address from Nintendo deity Shigeru Miyamoto, delivered yesterday afternoon. Where Sony’s Phil Harrison used his stage time to unveil the PlayStation 3’s new online initiative, Miyamoto covered a lot more ground in an amiable and eloquent conversation. GamesIndustry.biz has some nice coverage of the event, highlighting a few of Miyamoto’s more thoughtful quotes. Here’s the one that interests me: "We’ve learned many core gamers find themselves enjoying Wii Play, because they’ve found a new value in this kind of software – it’s a game they can play with their non-gaming friends… So maybe all you game reviewers out there need to add a new category in which you score games – how hard it is for people who don’t play them." While I don’t believe that’s a defensible criterion for criticism, it does signify one of Miyamoto’s core agendas, that being to foster a respectable level of videogame literacy in broad cultural segments. Gaming is fun-da-mental!
As a tie-in to that story, here’s a new trailer for Super Mario Galaxy, which seems to me more confusing than Prey and Crush combined. I have no spatial reasoning.
Today’s most cockles-warming story has already been posted. Jagged Alliance. Nick. The combinations are limited, but the potential is endless.
The Game Developer’s Conference allows unsung members of development teams their chance to educate the masses-by-proxy. Yesterday, we got the goods on narrative from a couple of respected writers; today, some composers share a bit of their process. In this article from 1up representatives of the music team for God of War 2 talk about the globe-spanning effort of creating and recording all 400-odd minutes of score that made it into the final game. What’s interesting about this story is that it shows a parallel between the art departments, whose efforts have famously been requiring more man hours and money, and the music contributors. The creation of game scores is becoming nearly as involved a process as for film scores. "Snaaaaaaake eateeeeeer…"
1up also has a brief post-mortem with Phil Harrison regarding his keynote from Wednesday, getting a bit of clarification on some of the specifics of Home, and catching Harrison in the lie that "the community of fans influences a lot of [Sony’s] thinking."
We have a date and a price, now, for Shivering Isles, the upcoming expansion to The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. IGN reports that the new content will be available the week of March 26 on Xbox Live and will go for 2400 MS points, or about thirty bucks. Developers Bethesda are claiming another twenty hours of gameplay at a minimum; more, if you go quietly mad and start to sing with the inhabitants of bedlam.
One of the hallmarks of the GDC is the acronym doppelganger Game Design Challenge, in which established developers get the chance to show off game designs they have come up with based off a prompt they received in January. Last year, the challenge was to come up with a socially-conscious game; this year, it was about using an abnormal interface, namely a piece of cloth, thread, and needles. Joystiq has a good run-down of the proceedings, but I’ll spoil the ending: Alexey Pajitnov, he of Tetris fame and lawsuits, won for his "physical Nibbles" idea called "Stitch & Cross," in which players attempt to stitch their way across a game board without being attacked and killed by their opponent’s thread. I’m a little more fond of the indie games challenges that feature at the conference, because they actually have a hope in hell of being made, instead of being theorized about.
In other news, I’m playing the shit out of Marvel Trading Card Game on my PSP, and I may be beyond hope.