Tag Archives: Manhunter New York

The racing brain

It happens to some of us, the brain shifts into overdrive and will not stop. For me it happened this morning as I was contemplating a few things I saw on YouTube. There are so many expectations, so many people heckling non released products that I wonder where they are coning from. Is their expectation of games that low? I heckled Ubisoft (for good reason) but I also gave them credit when credit was due (and they did several good things). So as we see the next batch of comic book heroes games, I wonder what happened to the old classics. Now I am not stating that they need to be remastered but they could be revamped into a new coat. So let’s take a gander on some of these

1. Commandos
This game was awesome, especially 1 and 2. But instead of doing the same thing again, we could consider redoing the game based on Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children (by Ransom Riggs) and make the game more accessible for the younger players. Maps where you can release the birds that create the time loops and those you can visit to gain more peculiar children. 

2. Suspended
Basing an existing game in a new jacket on a book is not new, it has been done before. Does that make it a bad idea? I do not believe it to be the case, yet how many games are based on a game? When I grasp back to my first week with the CBM-64, I ended up buying three games. The Microsoft Flight Simulator, the very first one with 4 maps and a manual that looked like a novel ($199), the second game was Loderunner (I never stopped loving the original) and the third is todays discussion ‘Suspended’ by Infocom. It was one of the hardest games I ever played in those days and I was unaware that it was one of the hardest games to do, even by Infocom standards. But the setting is actually decently unique, so what happens when you control Iris, Whiz, Waldo, Auda, Poet, and Sensa? What happens when you see what they see? What happens when you take control of a global management system? What happens when the earthquake comes and you have to get things back to some level of normal? Not an easy task is it? 

3. Knights of the Sky
There has been an avid following of Flight Simulators, there is no denying this and those who want to go up against Microsoft, good luck. One does not cross near perfection, yet that does not mean that there aren’t stages where we can become active. In 1990 Microprose did a swell job of introducing WW1 to the gamers and there was a stage where we would welcome the simplicity of a Sopwith Camel. The game also allowed you to choice either the Germans or one of the Allies, a setting that was pretty unheard of and I do get it, there is nothing novel about the resolution of the CBM-Amiga, yet this on a PS5 would be a lot different, that and the fact that the PS5 disc could contain the entire WW1 map from France to Germany as well as have the updates in place for every year of that war. 

We are so overwhelmed by console shooters of mach speed vehicles, we forgot the reality of WW1 where the maximum speed was no more than 180km/hour. It is not specifically the game and stage, it is the realisation that we look at making things fast, we forget that there is still a load of thrill and suspense in a stage where things were not as fast as they could be. In this there is a whole league of Flight Simulators out there that are often forgotten. Yet, we should avoid to redo the same wheel. Knights of the Sky is 30 years old, so it feels that the stage can now be shown more like it was. There are some remakes and some of them are finding their way into the Apple store, we can now get arcade precision and even better graphics on a tablet and it is a great idea, the more people and game developers are exposed to those titles, the larger the chance of an actual new and innovative game will be set upon us all. Even as games like Midwinter are now surpassed by what Ubisoft offers in Far Cry 3+, 

4. Manhunter New York
Even if the location is not important and should consist of a new location, the game spoke to the imagination of gamers, even now in Abandonware the game scores 4.9/5, high praise and the stage of the story has options. One of the games that Sierra on Line would produce in the 80’s and the ten years that followed it. King’s Quest, Space Quest, Manhunter, Police Quest, and Leisure suit Larry, all games that spoke to the imagination of the gamers and what is important here? The story, the story pulled the gamer in and even as we not have more graphic games, more direct control and several other active elements, the stories were often not equalled and that is a shame, the stories were good (for the era), so why do we see a lack of stories in too many games? 

I mentioned before that one of my very first games was Suspended (Infocom), they also made Starcrossed that I saw much later in my gaming days. It would be surpassed by ‘Rendez Vouz with Rama’ and that made sense, the CBM-64 is no match for a decent PC with a CDROM drive. And now? That is beside the point that games like Wishbringer (1985) are seemingly forgotten. This is important, because we all (me included) seem to steer to the games that tickle us, but there is a whole generation behind us that is forgotten, a stage of gaming younglings that  seem to get pushed into the Epic foundations of Fortnite, why is that? There are decades of games out there that could see a new coat, a new interface a graphic world and a stage that parents have no issues with for the gaming not blood driven youthful masses. It matters because it is the one place that is almost completely owned by Nintendo, kids go there because there is no alternative and it seems to me that Sony (Amazon too) need to wake up to that small gemstone of information. 

The stage is filled with options that are ignored, forgotten and discarded, but there were real treasures there and the makers need to consider that these abandoned IP could use a new paint, some additional bells and whistles and it will fuel the imagination of the gamers of tomorrow. Most of them are at present getting trained to become the Navy Seal graduating class of 2029. There is more to life (yes, I will admit to this). 

And this is all based on forgotten and/or discarded IP. And whilst I am typing this, I wonder what happens when we add to the stage with new IP? IP set to younger players, and a stage is given where the player is given their chance towards immortality. To do this the player will have to set traps in tombs (a cross between Infocom: Infidel and Dungeon keeper), the longer the sarcophagus is not transgressed upon, the larger the time reward gets to be. So consider a stage where you get to ‘design’ traps in graves and pyramids and the longer they stay out, the more power you get and the larger the reward ends up being. The stage is not that simple. You see, you design the traps in the time they are build, yet over time technology advances, so you need to go old school there. And every time you redo this, you get the chance to improve on what was and create a new level of protection, just an idea that popped into my head. 

You see that new IP is easily created, but to make it worthy for a game is not stated here, it requires the creative soul to design it. And am I wrong? Consider that Magnetic Scrolls is releasing remastered versions of their games 30 years after initial release. I reckon that they are seeing what I was seeing as well. There is a $135,000,000,000 spending on games on an annual foundation. Why should you not gain some from that granary? It is open season and when you are in lockdown you can stare at the ceiling or find a way to grab some of that cash, it is up to you.

Enjoy Sunday!

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Redo from start?

I have been considering the games that are, that are soon to come and those we wish to see again. I feel that I am not unique, I am one of many who feels the same way many gamers feel. It all started with a simple pre-order notice I saw at JB-Hifi. The order was not for Mass Effect 4, but for Mass Effect, which seemed a little odd. Soon I found a few less reliable mentions of a possible upcoming re-release of Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 for Nextgen (Xbox One and PS4). I got excited, because overall the Mass Effect series are nothing short of a marvellous achievement. Consider that Mass Effect is one of the earliest Xbox360 releases, it still hold a storyline that was amazing to play. Yes, we will replay and we will know certain key parts, but that is still not an issue for those who love Mass Effect.

The revamped version of the last of us seemed to have instilled a desire for games on Nextgen that should make developers happy. Is that because the lack of good games or is that because the new games are leaving us cold? I think it is a little bit of both. As studios tried to play the ‘marketing game’ they are now learning harshly that playing that game on gamers is a sure way to see your product get smashed. The outrage that Assassins Creed Unity brought is only one of the elements. I will go one step further, a relaunch with upgrades to the story of Assassins Creed 1, 2 and brotherhood would very likely be more successful than the next Assassins Creed. This for the simple reason that the makers seem to have lost their way (the fact that Unity is regarded by many as the worst Nextgen release does not help any).

Even a relaunch of System Shock (1+2) is likely to draw in a much larger crowd than the likely disappointments new PS4 RPG’s are going to bring. The added issues is not just the game, the problem is for the most the marketing division for these developers; a decent example is the Division by Ubisoft. My issue is that so far the game might look good and could even become great, but in their approach to feed the hungry hordes of journalists and to remain ‘visible’, the people at E3 2014 got to see something that is now not coming until 2016, even the Q1 part here is currently under debate, so as the gamer is promised a game that is now 19 months from its initial ‘presentation’ the people are wondering whether to trust the game because of the mental link we all make between presentation and delivery. It leaves many of us with the thought ‘how many bugs do they need to fix‘? Now, that thought might not be the correct one, but when 10,000+ people think it, some outspoken nitwit will scream it on YouTube, which results in many players moving away from what could be a good game. An example here is Elder Scrolls online, which is a marketing disaster, yet when we see the review from ChaosD1 (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2082&v=csY7RYF4rKQ), which is excellent and might change the minds of those who walked away from Elder Scrolls Online.

We the players now want to move to games we know, we trust and believe in, which gives added weight to relaunched games. Let’s not forget that Borderlands, The Last of Us and God of War 3 were excellent games. There is however another form of relaunch, one that is not actually a relaunch, but a new evolution of the game. Elite, the legendary game from the BBC Micro B, might have made its fame on the CBM64, it is the upcoming console version which left some parts intact that is now the talk of many towns and even more gamer communities. It shows a new air and an approach to a ‘sandbox’ world many are eager to get onto. As Elite upped the game by mapping the galaxy, with the added wink to legendary science fiction moments, which they did by adding Vulcan and the Leonard Nimoy Space Station as well as Pratchett’s Disc Starport. It is still many years away (as he is in good health), but the moment will come when we will get a place like Badger’s station or the President Lampkin’s station of justice as Mark Sheppard joins the legendary ranks in Elite: Dangerous. You might wonder what does it matter, but it does! You see, as the gamer identifies with moments of his own ‘reality’, the things he/she is passionate about! The game becomes more fun and we will see that people connect more to a game. The danger is that when the threshold lowers and too many ‘legends’ are added, it could drive down the sentiment overall, but the sentiment remains! This will not hinder the upcoming No Man’s sky and both titles will very likely appeal to many players. In that same air we should see the upcoming Shadow of the Beast. What was a scrolling game with slashing on the Amiga/Atari ST, is showing itself to be a Nextgen blood dripping slice and dice extravaganza. This is a new group where the makers can relaunch their original idea and many gamers will love them. So, as the ‘new’ games don’t hack it, the gamers will get treated to a game that did and will do so again. The benefit here is that game makers will need to up their game by a lot to get out there. In the end the gamer wins no matter what! (Don’t you just love that?)

So they will pray at the ‘shrine of Pong‘ to replay System Shock, which does not hinder others either. When we consider Paradroid, or even some games for a chosen crowd like Sierra Entertainment’s games called Manhunter New York and Manhunter 2: San Francisco. They were well above average games then and could now get vamped into truly awesome games tomorrow. Perhaps we will actually live to see the conclusion of part 3 in London. It will be up to Activision to decide and as I see it, it just takes one visionary view within Activision to unlock that revenue! That same feeling is there for the Ultima series. Even though game 10 was an experience released too soon, the idea of an ‘Elder scrolls World’ that is Britannia could be massive. The fact that a developed ‘world’ is scanned and transferred to a first person environment complete with quests, side quests and upgraded storyline could give way to a new generation of gamers, let’s not forget that those who played the original are now regarded to be in the ‘old’ section (yes, that includes me), whilst the young section will experience something completely original in a new jacket. A world where you get Ultima 4, 5 and 6 in one game on the same world with the challenges to master is not only new and novel, pulling it off would raise the bar of gaming considerably. Something all gamers desire!

We became complacent in gaming as we played the Assassins Creed series, which for the most was just ‘more’ (specifically 2, Brotherhood and Revelations). Shadow of the Beast and Elite: Dangerous are now showing that ‘more’ can be an entire new range in evolution, a part many gamers (and developers) have not truly contemplated. As those behind the developers, learn to look behind them on what was and what can be great again, we learn, actually as I see it, it is the gamer taught the developer that games can be recycled.

Yet, we must also consider that it is not about the open world part, a trap I myself tend to fall into. The immersing part of being trapped in a house and surviving it, or as some will call it Alien: Isolation is basically redoing what was great and leaving the player with a replayable challenge. Which is the holy grail of gaming! I believe that more could be coming. I still regard Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2 (GameCube games) as one of the most amazing games Nintendo ever released, they did on 3” DVD what many developers could not achieve on a 4.7” Blu-ray, which is truly amazing.

On the other side we see the failures, the hype that was Watchdogs is regarded by some as a failure and a joke. I do not completely agree, but overall the game is not the titan it was heralded to be, but it could be the introduction to a second game that is really awesome (Assassins Creed 1 + 2 are evidence of that), I am just willing to see the glass half full in the case of Watchdogs and I am willing to give Ubisoft a little slack in this game, especially as they do not deserve any slack for butchering the Assassins Creed series (yes, I am slightly obsessed with that). On that same line I tend to set Thief! It was not great, but decent, I do not regret getting the game when I did.

What will come next? Well, that is the question, so as many stare at the horizon for Fallout 4 and Mass Effect 4, we should not hesitate to look behind us to see new (and hopefully improved versions) of Tenchu and Mega-lo-Mania. In my view as all the developers are focussing on multi-player and micro transactions, they forget that the bulk of ALL gamers need moments of escapism, where they need not weigh anything, but focus on just having fun. This is why Minecraft is so bloody addictive. Diablo again shows levels of fulfilment. It is basically why people on Facebook keep a game like Zombie Slayer around. It has no mental need (minimal) it has decent graphics (images) and it shows progress. I will take it one step further, especially as I am not that much of a zombie fan. It is in my view one of the reasons why some of these games will always survive, when we add Pokémon to the mix we see that part even further. It is only because of the technological flaw that Sapphire and Ruby could no longer be played, yet now, with the 3DS editions, we see the power of that formula. Those who played before still love what can be played again, so as some stare forward to the horizon of new games due to technology, do not forget about the treasures behind us. Now some do not feel that ‘vigour’ when they play Colonization, a Sid Meier masterpiece, because it is board like and turn based, but what happens when the mastery of Colonization gets blended with the freedom of play that Seven Cities of Gold on the CBM-64 brought? Evolution, re-playability and challenge all in one go! I would really be curious to see such a result. I believe that within 95% of all gamers is a casual gamer that just wants to have fun, which is why Diablo and Minecraft will survive forever, we will do the multi thing in Mass Effect 3 for periods of time (best multi player experience EVER!), yet we will always return to the games that mentally satisfy, the part that scripted games cannot deliver, a niche market with long term gaming fun many developers seem to ignore.

Let the games begin!

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