Every time I come across a new remake/sequel which includes the original game thanks to some form of emulation, right away I feel the urge to think about what “tricks” lurk within the source code to adapt a retro experience to a modern gaming environment, what open source (or proprietary maybe) emulator has been “assimilated” in the C++ code and more generally what complex “sorcery” brought to a result that’s always extraordinary. After all these years emulation still has many surprises in store, and publishers have started to massively exploit the classics’ commercial appeal on PC and elsewhere.
In the bizzarre world of video games there are very, very different kinds of developers. If you are lucky you end up dealing with a product made by someone that doesn’t fuck with you with over-discounted prices, or with an independent team that worked passionately and hopes to at least recover the money spent on development. If you are not so lucky, you are forced to waste money, time and mental energies on some obscene shit like the latest manifestation of Godus - the most recent digital dung defecated by Peter Molyneux which doesn’t spare new bad surprises every now and then. Luckily we have the indies, the honest ones at least.
How long does a videogame’s life last? I mean, how much time does it take to turn a “simple” game into something worthy of being in a museum, or into a downright phenomenon which endures the passage of time and is still played, modded and appreciated decades after being released? Selling millions of copies surely helps in reaching the “classic” status, as much as it’s useful to not to exclusively depend on digital stores that are on-line now and will likely be off-line tomorrow. In the end, as the 2015 E3 in June showed, gaming memories strike back on new generation machines as well.
If Epic talks about “philosophical” improvements to development for its next-generation 3D engine (Unreal Engine 4), Crytek thinks primarily to stun the industry with an impressive and multiform sequence of graphic technologies that will be part of the CryEngine 3 engine. Which isn’t so bad, after all, because a framework capable of taking advantage of the latest generation PCs is always a good news for me. A lot less good, nay terrible is the news about the shutdown of Sony Liverpool: I’ve discovered the beauty of Wipeout late, on the PSP, yet I can’t help but feel sorry for the disappearance of a historic developer like the ex-Psygnosis. So long, and thanks for all the games.
Links & Suggestions # 7: videogame birthdays, pirates, industry assholes, nanometers and super-consoles
If technology is inclined to constantly project itself onward leaving very few room for remembering products that were so popular just some time before, Jake Gyllenhaal acting as the Prince of Persia is convincing as a cactus in a melodrama. If Doom is an historic videogame that deserves to be remembered for its birthday, pirates once again prove to be the only ones capable of saving the media world from the current DRM madness. And if the reading of this paragraph has a meaning for you then I would suggest to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, but a good one. Or the reading of a good grammar book. I am dispensed from the second, at least