Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gaming Communities Part 1

"A community brings to life certain objects of interest."

Well, what do we know about the Video Game Industry? We know that we need game development teams and we need publishers. We know that we need software makers and hardware makers (a.k.a console makers) and we know that the business of gaming doesn't just stand still. It is constantly moving in a variety of directions and traffic is directed by the big names of the industry, to be sure, but do you know that there is another source that drives the industry? You'll probably never guess who it is that's just as important as the corporate suits who throw money up in the air or the technology mad geniuses who praise the ideals of advancing gaming technology to ridiculously high levels. 

Take a guess. Who directs the business of gaming aside from the obvious players?

If you guessed gaming communities, or Average Joe and Jane gamers such as you and me, then you would be right. Gaming communities of fans who simply love the products that are churned out onto the market are integral parts to the lifeblood of the Video Game Industry, and fans are more important than what some companies give fans credit for. Are gaming communities hard to figure out sometimes? Yes, of course, but at the end of the day, some respect needs to be paid to these customers because they are the audience that the companies are catering to. The video games that get put on the store shelves aren't going to sell by themselves. They are not going to sprout legs from underneath and start marching out of stores to have a scene similar to what you would see in Braveheart.

Although I am not a hardcore fan of the days of Rome, I do believe that an appropriate analogy can be made to fit the video game fans we have today. I sometimes like to compare video game communities to that of the mobs in ancient Rome who watched the gladiators fight for their survival. In some ways, I think it is also appropriate to compare video game companies to gladiators in the metaphoric sense because some companies are literally fighting for their survival with every game that they put out on the market. Video game companies that aren't as big as the normal suspects run a gladiator-like gauntlet to get their games noticed and sold at good enough rates. All video game companies are at the mercy of the mob, or in this case, the gamers.

Gaming communities are important because they determine what is going to become popular in the Video Game Industry and what will fizzle out after a while. It really doesn't matter how much money a company throws at a certain project. It really doesn't matter how much hype a company gives an upcoming game. There is just something about a new game that has to hit the mark with gamers or else the message will get misinterpreted, skewed or even damaged shortly after the game goes out on shelves. Video game companies certainly don't want that to happen, so establishing connections with the communities that they want to cater to would be wise as long as it's managed properly.

"Win the crowd!" -Proximo from the movie Gladiator

A large community of gamers make up this crowd and they will let companies know whether a game is a big hit or a wobbly flop. Some gaming communities are more creative than others when getting their messages out. Some communities are more aggressive than others (Sonic the Hedgehog fan base, I'm looking at you...). Some communities are more goofy and silly than others. A gaming community knows what tickles their fancy and what suits their style. A gaming community knows the basics of gameplay mechanics even though many of them don't know the complex coding and structuring of game design. A gaming community knows what's really cool and awesome, and what's not that flattering and just plain obscure.

It really doesn't matter how much money a company throws at a certain project. I purposely repeat that sentence because it has been proven. If a game developing company focuses on what really matters first and foremost, such as gameplay mechanics, stories and dialogue that are written well enough, and replayability value, then whatever amount of money is put into the project will go properly used and not wasted. A bright mind is a terrible thing to waste and that should matter more than the numbers on a check. (in theory)

The most successful video game projects have sometimes come from humble backgrounds. Tetris is a fine example. It became so much larger than what the game's creator, Alexey Pajitnov, originally believed. Tetris became a beloved hit for the original Gameboy and it has established a great legacy as a puzzle game. It has a deep and entrenched following of gamers who are puzzle enthusiasts. It was a simple concept - a puzzle you had to solve by filling in lines. Nothing flashy, nothing too complex and it wasn't reliant on any big budget by handheld gaming standards. 

Events that involve a mass of gamers that attend and hang out with each other are very impactful in the way that companies evaluate their made products. If a company sees it in the joy of the gamers who play their games and realizes that what they put out is what works, then it gives that company a better understanding of what appeals to their audience. Seeing fundamental success up close in the setting of a gaming convention or an independently held show does make a difference because it is different for the company to just receive word of their success from afar.

There is that saying "Seeing is believing" and in some cases that is true. With gaming communities, word gets out and spreads from one gamer to the next. Whether positive, negative or mixed, that word will carry weight with gamers in some form and that word will catch the ears of companies. It is a matter of preference and it is a matter of interpreting one's gaming experience. Not all gamers value game genres the same. Not all companies can make an all-around genre game that can satisfy everyone. It's just not going to happen. Gaming communities are diverse in many categories. Game genres, game length, character personalities, cheat codes, Replayability Factor, Single Player, Multiplayer, One Character Only, Multiple Playable Characters... It's one giant web of measures gaming communities take into account.

Be true to yourself!

That's what it all comes down to. Companies need to be true to themselves and stay true to what they want to accomplish with a new game. Constantly changing course of action can lead to many questions that could have been answered early on in the process. The quality of a video game can be seen in the most mundane-looking details. Gamers pick up on this and they carry these details with them in their gaming experiences. This will only be the first part of many that I will talk about gaming communities. I hope readers found this helpful.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Game Concept: Restaurant Preservation

"All these restaurants around me... A sad saturation of food I tell you!"

Restaurant Preservation

Once in a blue moon passionate gamers will come up with interesting ideas for a game and there's only so much we can do with our ideas. It's easy to say "Hey! I got an idea for a game!" but there's more to the actual development of a game than what meets the eye. What I would like to do here is to show you guys a skeleton of a concept that I feel would translate well into a video game. It's fun to just talk about different video game concepts and to let things fly once in a while. This concept in particular hits home to me, but it isn't because I am a huge fanatic of the theme.

I like restaurants. I don't absolutely love restaurants. I like it when I have some options in the market of restaurants in my home area. I don't like it when I have way too many options in restaurants. I really like variety in options when it comes to things that I want to do in my home area. Why do I mention this? It's because that is the pretty much the current situation surrounding the small city that I normally go into. It's a small city that has hardly anything to talk about and it's a city that isn't shy at all to bring in many new restaurants... and it's a small city that relies on restaurants so much that it's to a fault.

There is one reason why many restaurants fail in the country of the United States of America. Saturation of competition. It isn't the only reason why many restaurants fail but it's a contributing factor. There is only so much a city can handle when it comes to the restaurant business before the citizens of said city become numb to it and start pushing back.

There are only so many options a person can have. In the small city where I live, I can count as many as around two dozen restaurants that are competing for the love and the money of customers and over the years it has only made me shake my head in disapproval all the more. Wasting opportunities in other fields such as extra curricular activities and general hobbies that people can expand on and replacing them with this weight gain agenda... "When in doubt, add 10 new restaurants! That will make the citizens happy! Derp!"

Now how do we tie this in with a video game concept? Well, here we go. Do you know how compelling a character in a game can be if he or she is created by the player and is customized to fit the liking of the player? That is what we normally see in the RPG genre, building up worlds from the ground up by simply creating the character that we are going to follow for the entire journey. In this case, we wouldn't have to follow a single character but rather watch over an entity. We would be managing our own restaurant, the new kid on the block competing for the love and the pockets of the hungry people.

Using an RPG-like theory, we create our own restaurant and we start marketing our food product in this fictional game. We have options to choose from. What exactly is our business model as a restaurant? What kind of cuisine is our food centered around? General American cuisine? French? English? Irish? Australian? What special deals will we provide our customers? What is our signature dish? How will we promote our product?

Inside the restaurant, gamers would also manage their restaurant staffs. What kind of owner do we want to be? Strict? Laid back? Balanced? Unorthodox? What kind of employees do we want to hire in the initial hiring process? Who do we want as managers? How skilled will our chefs in the kitchen be?
What policies will we have in place for our employees to follow? What will we do if any of our employees goes out of line with our rules?

In this fictional game, we would also be able to observe our competition, whether stiff or casual, and we would figure out what it is the other restaurants do that make our restaurant pale in comparison. What do the other restaurants do that we don't do? What do they do better than us? How are the other restaurants getting the word out on their products? Where are these other restaurants located?

The main goals for a game like this is to:
A) establish an identity for our new restaurant
B) economically strengthen our restaurant to make it viable
C) build on and maintain a positive reputation for our restaurant

Since we are focusing on a restaurant business and not on any one man or woman, it would be wise for the game to center around the entire staff of the restaurant. We would be allowed to witness development of these characters as they perform their deeds and we would get to know some interesting things about our staff members. We would also get to see if any friction develops between staff members or if a sudden resentment arises between the employees and upper management. Some RPGs have something that is called a "Like Meter" which would indicate how well off characters are in their group. A high Like Meter means that a character is well liked. A low Like Meter means that a character isn't well liked.

In comparison to other things that go on in the world, running a restaurant is rather mundane, so the real challenge for development teams would be the act of making such an activity more appealing and interesting. When a gamer engages in a game, he or she wants to have the kind of motivation that will lure them into playing for sustainable periods of time. We gotta have goals and tasks for our custom restaurant staff to perform. We need them to achieve some goals that will advance the well being of the restaurant. Let's make it fun for the gamer who engages in this Restaurant Preservation game.

This could be the kind of game where a "completionist" gamer, a gamer who wants to not only beat the game but complete it 100% with no stone unturned, could sink his or her teeth into. Flipping burgers alone won't make this game appealing as it should only be one small part of the entire gameplay experience here. Successfully completing orders for customers, having good customer service skills and going the extra mile to make sure any mistakes get corrected can go a long way into making the gameplay feel rewarding.

As well as possibly firing employees who don't do their jobs at your restaurant, you can also give your employees promotions if you see fit to do so. If you think that an employee has done well enough to deserve a promotion, then you might just get rewarded for promoting that employee. The overall morale of the restaurant could improve if the right employees are promoted. In a game like this one, we are not looking out for just ourselves and our own interests. We are being mindful of what our customers want, what makes them happy and what they are looking for in service and in options.

Creating a game like Restaurant Preservation... Let's give this a decent name... Restaurant Frenzy... is new in the sense that it ventures away from being a typical run of the mill simulation game like The Sims, which isn't a bad series. Restaurant Frenzy stands out on its own because it only puts a focus on the restaurant business and nothing else. In theory we could design this game to be an educational experience for gamers, to teach them some things about how the restaurant business really is. If gamers ever want to start up their own restaurant in real life, then some of the things they would experience in Restaurant Frenzy would carry over to any business decisions they make in real life. It's a good thought at least.

When you have something that you don't feel so good about, try not to be so quick in dismissing that thing you have. Try whatever you can to turn that thing around and make it work for you. Use whatever that thing provides for you and make it a benefit for you, not a detriment. Gamers could very well be taught that kind of principle when they play this game.

Now I'll have a Wisconsin Buttery Steakburrger with fries on the side... Know which restaurant I'm talking about?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Depending On How You Write...

"I am sharing my views on how I would go about writing for video games. This is to the best of my knowledge and this is my most sincere way of looking at the writing process, so if any professionals reading this are wondering about certain things, you know how to contact me."
-Steven Vitte

Many of us in the free world happen to be writers, whether we are aspiring writers who are just looking for their first break of any sort (I'd point to myself) or we are established writers who have plenty of experience writing in various media forms, knowing exactly what certain audiences and businesses want. We write for various purposes and we mainly write because we love to write. We developed the passion to write a long time ago because we suddenly got the feeling that we wanted to tell a story. Of course, it takes more than just the willingness to go out there and tell a story to people. It can't be the only thing that we can hang our hats on in this day and age. 
Writing for video games is a much different process than writing for other forms of media, such as comic books, movies, television shows or basic writing in novels. There are a few variables in video game writing that separate this media form from the others and it should be easy for people to notice. The key thing about writing for video games is that it is a flexible process that relates and caters to the interactivity of its audience. That's right. The fans of video games are involved with the product that developers are making, so with that in mind, it is the job of a writer to make sure that the story he or she is writing is appropriate for the video game platform. Let's specify some more.

1) When you write, give the gamers options. The element of CHOICE must be present.

This is something that I have learned the hard way with some of my projects. I mean, I have always known this to be the case but for whatever reason I would wander away from this point and start imagining my scripts as just stories and not as much as video game experiences. That is a no-no if you want a video game script to be presentable to those who know what they are talking about. A video game experience should be an experience that can be expressed in a variety of ways. This can be done if the element of CHOICE (I'm intentionally capitalizing the entire word) is present. While some games are indeed of the linear variety, even some of these linear games that go in a straight line give you varying options that you can choose from. These options will bring you to the same conclusion to continue the linear gameplay, but they will give you different views on how to progress. 

Games that are nonlinear are specially made for heavy amounts of options for the gamer. Especially in worlds where you are free to roam and do just about anything you please, such as engaging in collectathon sequences, playing around in a cluster of platforms or searching for cleverly hidden secrets, the writer would be wise to keep all these factors in mind when he or she writes to bridge gameplay gaps. You are writing a scene, yes, but you are also writing a daily experience for the character that is receiving the focus. You are writing a prelude that gets the character to the flashy scene. You are writing the aftermath of the scene, the consequences that follow whatever choice the gamer made as that character. The writer has to be mindful of this. 

Without the element of choice, the gameplay experience for the gamer becomes more flat and that isn't a good thing. As a writer, you want to keep the gamer thinking, you want to provide the gamer with a variety of choices, and most importantly, you want to keep giving the gamer reasons to care about what is going on around the character he or she is controlling. 

2) When you write, be bold and daring when the time calls for it.

Notice how I say when the time calls for it. I don't recommend that a writer gets bold and daring with his or her storytelling every five seconds. You don't want to pack too much in such a short window of time. If you throw everything and the kitchen sink into the fold early on in the process, then chances are you might not have the writing ammunition for later... when the time calls for it. The sudden surprise and joy that a gamer gets from experiencing twists and turns in a game might go away towards the middle and ending of a game if the foundation of the writing weakens.

What I am basically saying is that a writer has to learn how to pace himself or herself when it comes to pulling out the surprises in video game storytelling. You want to be able to save your special gems of surprise for certain parts of the game and you want to make sure that you don't just give surprises away with hints in the dialogue or in actions. A writer should try the best that he or she can in covering the bases. For example, when the pressure mounts for certain characters and when the tension builds towards certain conflicts that are effecting characters, a writer has to know when to pull the rug out from under the gamer, but in a good way, of course.

A script that isn't bold nor daring at all makes for an underwhelming environment in the game's world depending on what the game is. If the game's environment is supposed to be that of an exciting thrill ride of an adventure, then write it out to be just that. A gamer didn't come to play your adventure game only to listen to dialogue that would be better suited for something like a Puzzle game or an educational training game. 

The gameplay of this adventure game will obviously help and will get the most attention, but one fraction of the entire experience is, whether some of us want to admit it or not, is the storytelling in the game. You play through the challenging levels, you clear them, and you are treated to interesting and thought provoking dialogue in cutscenes that will keep you curious as to what is going on in the story. You just have to give your audience something that they can lean on and think about while they continue to play.

3) Define the roles of the characters involved.

Whether it is out in the open or hidden beneath layers, a writer must be able to define the roles of the characters that are involved in the video game story. Whatever characters are given to the writer from the lead officials of the project, the writer is given the task of familiarizing the audience with the characters that are on screen. We need to know what these characters are about and why they are doing what they are doing. With the only exception of a Role Playing Game, the writer pretty much has to secure an identity for the character when the dialogue gets out, and it's how that dialogue is conveyed to the audience is what will make or break the character as far as general appeal goes.

We write about heroes who are squeaky clean and keep themselves upright. We write about heroes who have rough edges to them and somewhat questionable traits. We write about morally ambiguous anti-heroes who either can't decide what they want to be or what their true goals are. We write about comedic villains who are easy to laugh at because of the blunders they make and we write about serious villains who can't be taken lightly or else they will divide and conquer without mercy. There we go. Establishing an identity, folks.

4) Don't be all over the place. Relate to the gameplay mechanics.

Writing for video games isn't a complex science, but it can be somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle if the variables aren't touched on enough.  The most basic blunder that you can make as a writer would be to go into so many directions that you lose count. You take a concept for a video game story and move it in one direction, but then after a few scenes you change direction. After the first boss, you change course again and go into a completely different territory. By the middle of the story, the core concept of the game's story starts looking like a mess. Once we get near the end of the story, we don't know what to think. If you think that this is the winning method for getting your point across as a game writer, then you are sadly mistaken.

Interesting and exciting moments that happen within the core gameplay need to be taken into account as a game writer. Knowing what the characters in the game do for actions makes for a big step moved forward for the writer. Tying the writing around the gameplay mechanics is very much critical because the writer can get a better feeling of what he or she is working with. The writer can better relate to what the character he or she writes for is. For example, if a writer is hired to work on a project that is like Ratchet and Clank, then the writer should know that Ratchet collects bolts because bolts are the currency for his games. The writer should know that Ratchet is about using all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to get by in levels. The writer should know that Clank is a much needed source of help for Ratchet when things get shaky. Simply put, write around this. Don't write away from it. Highlight the universe of Ratchet and Clank and bring it to life.

5) Have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc.

When working alongside a team of game developers, the writer will usually get to hear plenty of comments from the rest of the team. Sometimes the comments will be flattering, and other times not so much. As a writer, be prepared to hear a ton of feedback from your teammates and be prepared to roll with the punches should anything go off the railroad tracks, so to speak. I suggest that you have a Plan A initially, but soon you must come up with Plans B, C, D, E and so on in case your teammates and higher ups tell you to revise the script.

The business of writing for video games can get really rough if you aren't prepared to accept criticism. Don't take whatever criticism you get as personal. Keep in mind that this is a business. Revisions will always be made no matter how much quality there was in the writer's initial draft of the script. The quality won't matter if the rest of the development team feels that key changes need to be made. If changes do need to be made, don't question it. Whatever feelings you may have about earlier script drafts, don't rock the boat as a writer. You are only one part of a team and not the whole team.

Be willing to work with your teammates and properly communicate with them. If anything, be willing to reach out to your higher ups and ask them straight up what it is you need to be doing when writing. Once you get a clear idea of what you need to be doing, then you just need to press on and get the job done. Don't make it harder than what it really is. Always try to the best of your ability to reach a conclusion with any problems and move froward from them. If you need to add a certain detail to one part of the story, then do it. If you need to take any details out because they're not necessary, then do that.

This is from what I, a guy from the middle of nowhere, gather from the game writing process.

I have read plenty of gaming articles about the business of game development and I have read a few books on game development, and the picture has been made pretty clear to me as how a writer is viewed in the development team. In some cases, you as a writer are at the mercy of the higher ups. It's a sad reality that we have faced throughout the years and in some cases I do feel like the writer of a team should be given some sort of respect and should be allowed to retain some sort of dignity. However, business is business and it's a tidal wave that doesn't wait for anyone to get away from.  Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue, so to speak, and roll with it.

A writer in general has to be imaginative and he or she has to be willing to get creative with story elements. Applying this to video games is no exception. A bright mind should be used for the writing process and that mind has to think ahead. In your head you are building blocks on top of each other and you are constantly checking to see if this imaginary tower called a script is standing upright and not crooked. You can piece together how a story stands on its own two feet and you can target which points of the story should include those shocking moments.

If anyone out there is willing to disagree with me on this list, then feel free to chime in.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Player Vs. Player - The Basics

In an earlier article I talked about the value of player vs. player competitions in gaming and how it can be effectively used in the industry to develop more depth in fan bases. This article will be a continuation of that article in some senses as I will break down, in my opinion, what the basics of a player vs. player game is. This concept isn't isolated to just video games as we see other kinds of games implementing the backbone of "it's you against you" and whoever does more of something wins the game. You can talk about board games and card games in this same breath and you would be able to understand the foundation of a multiplayer competition.

Before we can go and touch on the more specific and complex features of a game, we have to know the basics of the medium we are using. We have to know that the kind of game we are making is built for more than one player. We are not talking about Solitaire with cards here. We can be talking about a racing game and we can use Mario Kart as a basic template for inspiration. Player 1 is driving a very fast car with good handling and decent turning. Player 2 is driving a slower car but it has tremendous weight and is a more effective turning car.

Think about one good fable that Aesop told, which is the Tortoise and the Hare. Being fast doesn't automatically mean that you will win, though it will give you an advantage. Slow and steady will win you a race if you know the tendencies of your car. What would you rather have? A blazing fast car that hits the wall very often or a slower car that has better grip on the racetrack? That's kinda the point. There is no wrong answer to this question, but just know what you are going to deal with depending on the car you choose. When gamers play racing games, strategy isn't usually a top priority, but when strategy gets pushed into the limelight, gamers will need to know what to do in the heat of that race.

Here's a general rule of thumb I would use for game design for multiplayer games. All players involved will think differently, so it's best to build around this. Player 1 and Player 2 will not think alike in most cases when they play against each other in a racing game or in a party game or in a fighting game. While we will have a set in stone list of rules that all players will abide by when they play, we cannot restrict them when it comes to options. Our players must be freely analyzing their situations when they play and they should be allowed to diversify in order to set up any attacks that they want to deploy against each other, or they should be given shortcuts to use when they go racing. Also, depending on the characters they play as in a party game for example, we should give players the option to use the abilities of their characters to their fullest extent in the confines of the game.

Here is another rule of thumb I would use for multiplayer gaming. Player 1 Vs. Player 2 should feel like a fun and special event. Make it so. I wouldn't literally go into such extremes as I only speak metaphorically, but there was a reason why people back in the day got up and went to the Roman Colosseum to see the many gladiator battles. Having one gladiator go up against another gladiator or having a group of gladiators take on a force of oppressors served as a form of entertainment for the people who watched. As Maximus Decimus Meridius once said in the movie Gladiator "Are you not entertained?", and that would hold true for gaming competitions. In multiplayer modes you raise the stakes in the metaphoric sense. You are dealt with the task of making more than one player care about this event at the same time. If it appeals to Player 1, it should appeal to Player 2 as well, and if Player 3 and Player 4 are interested, then the more the merrier.

Multiplayer competitions, whether online versions or console versions, are supposed to have some sort of carrot dangled over the playing field that will motivate all players to play. The video game we are making in general has to appeal to all players involved. We have to put a goal in place that any player can reach at any point in time and we have to make this goal fun. The goal we put in place has to be appealing and it has to be worth obtaining. What is the objective? We are asked this question many times in normal single player Story Mode campaigns but it applies to multiplayer modes as well. Do we have to defeat the other players straight up? Do we have to get better times than them? Do we have to score more points than them? Do we have to endure obstacles and outlast other players? Knowing your objective is key to knowing whether or not you will have fun with this event.

Will we have enough to work with in multiplayer modes? What will we put in our multiplayer competitions that will really wow players and will make them want to play? Do we have multiplayer-specific power-ups? Are we being timed in this event? How many advantages can players obtain to move towards their goals? What are the limitations? Will we be penalized if we do something we're not supposed to do? All such questions have to be floating around in our heads when we think of a multiplayer concept.

Tournaments, Battle Royales and Multiplayer Monkey Wrenches

Things really do pick up and the pot sweetens that much more if our multiplayer competitions are provided with these kinds of options in the game. You see it today on YouTube frequently and you used to see it in arcades on the fly. The addition of a tournament makes the general multiplayer experience even more fun and enticing. As a gamer, you get a stronger itch to jump in and participate in the multiplayer tournament because you are provided with another layer of motivation, another incentive to achieve your goal. Pushing bragging rights aside, which will inevitably emerge in some competitions, players naturally get up for multiplayer modes with objectives that have more than one layer to them. You have the basic objective of beating your opponents in the single multiplayer game, but now you have the larger objective of being the last one standing in a tournament, receiving an animated trophy that you can't bring home with you unless you somehow download it.

Battle Royales are pretty much the same in value as tournaments, although eliminations happen more quickly in this variation. In a tournament, you will only have to deal with single eliminations as you beat either 1 opponent or 3 opponents at specific times, but in a battle royale format you get to eliminate as many opponents as you need to win. A battle royale is basically a one round tournament, all or nothing, and if you get eliminated at any point in the battle royale, then you are done and you have watch the rest of the event play out. I will use a classic example of this in gaming. Destruction Derby 64, a game that not many remember, featured as many as 12 cars going at it, destroying each other and letting the nuts and bolts fly in 64-bit carnage.

Imagine if we implemented a multiplayer mode where we had 4 players in the arena and 8 other opponents were put into the fold as computer AI foes? Wouldn't that be something to think about in the planning process? Also, even though I don't really follow pro wrestling anymore, I did (and still do) like the concept of there being a Royal Rumble kind of event. A Royal Rumble in wrestling is a match where as many as 30 wrestlers can be in the ring at the same time and duke it out to see who is the baddest of them all. Of course, due to development limitations, we may not be able to put in 30 characters on the same battlefield at the same time, but putting in somewhere between 10 and 16 could be the sweet spot.

I am an advocate of fun being experienced by more than one player at a single time and I believe that if video games just got a little bit more bold in planning such as what I talked about, then we could be in for more interesting gaming events. We could be in line to experience competitions where the possibilities touch the roof in a reasonable way and we would better off with newly established memories of gaming fun. All too often these days I see a shortage of innovation in games that doesn't need to be stalling in the first place. All because of money considerations do we get rehashed features that gamers have already had and it's pretty pitiful, in all honesty.

Going back to the basics and establishing the feeling of player vs. player in the multiplayer side of the fence would at least keep the gamers coming back. That is only my opinion, of course.