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Um...insert witty comment here. Oh yeah, that joke never gets old.
Yeah, you read that right. Valve is giving portal away for free. If you're like me and managed to miss it, there's now no excuse at all to not have played this awesome game. Heck, it's even avaliable on the Mac.
FREE GAMES FOR THE WIN!
Hello dear readers. Sit down in my study and lets have a little chat shall we? Nintendo just announced the 3DS and I'd like to talk a little about some of the short sighted comments I've read already mere hours after the announcement. If you'd like a good sampling check out Gamespot's gut reactions piece or just head to the comments section under any article about the system.
One concept that people like to throw around in this industry is 'gimmick' and man are the 'gimmick police' cracking down hard on the 3DS. Never mind that none of these people have even seen the system yet. It's a gimmick, well, because...well it just IS. After all Nintendo is making it.
But here's the thing, 3D in video games is NOT just a gimmick. Stop and think a moment about 3D...no, really...do it. DO IT or I'll send Drake to steal your secret asparagus stash (new readers--just don't ask).
Now that you've thought about it let's talk. What is 3D? Well one way of talking about it might be to talk about the number of dimensions in play. You have an X, Y, and Z axis. These things together make up 3D space. But we're already playing games that make use of this style of 3D. Up till now that's all 3D really meant.
So what IS this new 3D that's invaded our movie theatres and now game consoles? What does it mean? Two words: Depth perception.
We exist in 3D space, but only see in 3D thanks to our two forward facing eyes. This is a very common trait amongst preditors, because it allows them to more effectively chase down and capture prey. Many prey animals on the other hand have thier eyes on the sides of thier head. They don't get depth perception, but benefit from a wider field of view that lets them see trouble coming.
So obviously nature doesn't think depth perception is a gimmick. It affords us a genuine evolutionary advantage and one that many people may not fully appreciate. Hurt an eye though and you'll get to experience a world without depth perception. All of a sudden even the simpliest of actions...say, grabbing a cup of coffee off a table, becomes an exercies in frustration. Your hand fumbles to find the glass and even drinking can be more difficult (just how far is that glass from your mouth anyway?).
Walk around and you'll find yourself tripping and walking into things that you'd normally easily avoid. Complicated actions like driving become practically impossible.
My point is that depth perception is a fundamental part of human vision and our daily lives. Yes, if you lose an eye you will eventually adapt, but would you choose to live that way? I think not.
In movies depth perception is at best a visual effect. It doesn't actually change the experience because movies are a passive experience.
But this is a video game site and the 3DS is a video game system. Video games are not passive. They are active experiences that often require players to move characters in a 3D space without the aid of depth perception. I'm sure I'm not the only one to misjudge distance in a 3D platformer. Like a person with only one eye we've adapted and most of us probably don't even realize it.
My point is that 3D has the potential to truly improve the way we see our video games. The ability to see depth in a game should make almost any game set in 3D space easier and more intuitive. Shooters, platformers, driving games and everything in between...all of these should benefit from the additon of depth perception.
So before you scoff and mutter the word 'gimmick' under your breath stop and consider how you'd like having an eye poked out. Would you be happy to be free of that gimmicky depth perception or maybe...just maybe...would you rather keep it?
Hey guys, I know, I know...I've abandoned poor Agent Nine. Who knows what happened to him at that box factory? I may get back to that eventually, but let's be honest--people haven't exactly been busting down the internet doors to read it (except for you Carstairs...you rock!).
Instead I've spent the past three months creating a piece of Interactive Fiction for the Jayisgames Casual Game Design Contest 7. A week ago that contest went live and all the entries are now open to the public--including mine. If you've enjoyed my work in the past I have a feeling you'll find something to like in this game, which can be found here:
It shouldn't take any longer than an hour. It's probably too easy for its own good, but there's an interesting story there. I'd love if you guys checked it out and gave me your thoughts.
For those unfamilar with IF, it's basically what text adventure games have turned into. You get around entirely with text commands: north, south, west, east to navigate. Look, to inspect objects and your surroundings. Take, to take something. And insert to place something in something else.
Every other command needed for the game is given to you in the room and item descriptions.
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