Friday, August 15, 2008

Use what now?

I wish I played the drums. The drum set I use for Rock Band is used constantly and I am really getting good at it. But real drums are loud, noisy and you can't pack them away under your bed. Games today seem to like to add elements to add realism to our games. We first concentrated on graphics, then sound and now we are moving to the next sense of touch. The consumer doesn't know it, but they want to be a Guitar Hero, so Harmonix makes a game where you can play a plastic guitar and be good with no calluses and, if desired, no sound. This really isn't all that new except everyone with an PlayStation can buy it. Arcades have had race car, ski-do, snow mobile and pod racer simulations for a long while now. But now, we can set up our band in the living room. Then Harmonix broke new ground and made plastic, fake drums, which included real replicas of drum sticks.

Nintendo had tapped into this market now. Wii is an entire console based around touch and motion realism. Bowling, baseball, tennis and golf are games included with it and of course have the corresponding motions to go along with it. Then Wii fit game out, complete with a yoga mat and all. Let's run over the fake plastic stuff we have now: PS2 guitars, XBox 360 guitars, drums and microphone, and Wii mat, gun, racket and bat. And I don't really have a huge closet or anything.

That's all good because at least we can use them in future games, right? Apparently not. Guitar Hero 4, who is jumping the fake band boat, has announced it will have drums and microphone included. Of course, the Rock band drums won't work because the GH4 drums have a totally different layout. Rock Band 2 is also designing a new layout for it's drums, rendering it previous version a useless piece of earth polluting garbage. It is comforting that Harmonix recognizes this and it offering all Rock Band 1 songs as free downloadable content so that you can really throw away or long term store your fake drum set. Wouldn't both companies sell more game copies if they standardized the designs?

This trend might be a good thing. It does really make us feel like we are playing the drums and can help us feel as though we are playing tennis or at yoga class. But, as it is, because of multiple companies in the market competing, everyone will make their peripherals game unique and only for one generation will they be usable. If Company A stays with one design, Company B will innovate and they will get more sales revenue and the publishing company of Company A will yank the cord from Company A and those nice game designers will be out of a job. If my complaint is that all this junk takes too much space, Wii is really catering to me, for the controller and the num-chuck really have multiple uses. I think that this whole peripheral war was instigated by the government in an effort to get video game nerds out of apartment and into houses with bigger closets and garages. That might stimulate this housing market.


cwew said...

So I think that this sort of sounds like a PC Gamer op ed article, and I think I know why. It was written at 1am. That is what I imagine they do because their deadline is 10am.

Also, this one might be horrible

Anonymous said...

Dude I totally agree with this. It kind of goes back to you talking about games having re-playability and all. It seems like most companies are to focused on the here and now of making money, which is why it is as if they don't care about selling more game copies. If everything advances a level, maybe interest will grow with new equipment and such; but I imagine for every new person that catches on, they lose at least five times that because of people who don't want a closet full of useless crap for every game that ever came out.