Welcome to a new week of gaming news. The Game Developer’s Conference is behind us, with only a couple straggling pieces of information left to cover. These aren’t so much "news" as they are "interesting," which is going to get me in trouble, because I also think that the smell of gasoline is interesting.
First up is an article about bridging the cultural barriers between Japan and English-speaking countries. 1up’s Jeremy Parish did a comprehensive writeup of a lecture delivered by Square-Enix employee Richard Honeywood on that publishing behemoth’s approach to the process of localization. It’s an insightful read for anyone who has sat on a California beach, staring out over the Pacific Ocean, and wishing with all their might that JRPG X would just finished being translated, already, and get a stateside release. Those people are too lazy to learn kanji. What sparked my interest in the article, though, was how much of localization goes beyond providing cognates between Japanese and English (and French, German, whatever.) Honeywood cites the example of Chocobo Racing, in which a Japanese folk tale was invoked for the original release, but altered to reference the comparable Hansel and Gretel story when localized for America. All in all, Honeywood seems to put much more effort into the process of localization than do the Hollywood producers bankrolling pointless American remakes of Japanese horror films.
Mr. Parish also provides good coverage and support of Castlevania-creator Koji Igarashi’s fist-pumping rally for 2D gaming. Igarashi distinguishes between those elements of gameplay that are common between 2D and 3D gaming, but draws attention more to those elements which differ in a practical sense. Igarashi’s points are not without room for argument, but I support his thesis. 2D gaming will never die, as the man cried, because it offers a different experience than does 3D gaming, and let it never be said that we gamers don’t love our variety of (mirror neuron) experiences.
Last, but not least from our Conference of Developing Game Developers, Nintendo and Microsoft spend a few words for the press regarding Sony’s new Home online initiative. Sez Microsoft: "I think they’ve definitely taken some concepts that we originated… and it looks cool but it’s fundamentally separate from the games." Sez Nintendo: "As Mr. Miyamoto states, Nintendo years ago considered and rejected the type of approach Sony is now taking." Are you surprised, yet?
Now, begone GDC! Your rumored sequels and potty-mouthed feuds have no more place in our lives.
For the third week in a row, there will be a new Xbox Live Arcade title appearing on a Wednesday. This week we get Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade, which I never actually got to play in the arcade, because my town’s arcade also happened to be the local bar. I had to settle for the port to the NES. In the XBLA title, 4-player co-op mode will be not only provided, but almost a pre-requisite for getting the most out of the game. The arcade cabinet’s original seven levels are reproduced, and if that seems like too short a game, then you haven’t played it yet.
Next Generation has a quick profile on game designer Suda51, a "punk" of the industry in the loosest definition of the word. The article is a good read for distinguishing between artistic vision and commercial impetus. A refusal to be bounded by the dictation of commercial viability results in games like Killer 7, and, in a minor way, mirrors the revolution of punk music in the seventies. It will be interesting to see what, if any, capitulations to demand from the people with the bucks will do to Suda51’s next game, No More Heroes (for which Gamebrink has a trailer here.)
Through the IndyGamer blog I stumbled onto Rooms, by Handmade Games. The puzzler takes a cue from those tile-based grid games, and has you rearranging rooms in a mansion to get your character to an exit. It’s good fun, with great production values, and reminds me a bit of both Exit and Gridlocked.
It being Monday, there will shortly exist new products to swap your money for!
Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku
Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle
Top Spin 2
IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946
The Sacred Rings
Call of Duty 3: Gold Efition
Xbox Live Arcade:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade
College Hoops 2K7
God of War 2
Call of Duty: Roads to Victory
Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’07
Wii Virtual Console:
Double Dungeons (NB: Dungeons)
Disney’s Herbie Rescue Rally
Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach