I could continue to speak ill of the never too much abused downloadable contents (DLC) and video games digital delivery with my own words, but this time I will leave to Sony management official statements the task to chill the continuous, boring, stupid and annoying hype about an exclusively downloadable gaming future and other crap of this kind: 1) “I want it on the disc, that way when they buy it, they get it” - Rob Dyer, SCEA vice-president while commenting on the state of the DLC market; 2) The gloomy and failing UMD-free PSPGo “was introduced in a mature lifecycle to learn more about what the consumer wanted and we’ve definitely learnt a lot. Is that measured by success in sales? I don’t think it is” - words of Andrew House, SCEE president.
After having reached its “full maturity” with version 1.0.0, celebrating the occasion with a significant amount of improvements, the old-times adventurers beloved virtual machine updates itself once more. ScummVM release 1.1.0 (code name “Beta quadrant”) brings some new features, squashed bugs, support to seven new games within the compatibility list. And some annoying regression defects too that should anyway be worked out “in about four weeks” with an upcoming release.
Welcome to a new installment in the Videogames Highlights series. It is, considering the long period of time passed since the August one, a “remedial” post covering no less than the last four months of year 2009. These were intense months, from a video gaming standpoint, still the following contents collection is personal and variously assorted as usual. And seeing that there is so much to talk about I cut short with the intro and just report, after Stardock’s CEO opinion of the last time, the statements from UK accountable people for the three main gaming consoles (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) regarding the misleading theory according to which digital downloads should replace optical disks during the upcoming years.
Likewise the improbable perspective to witness the extinction of joypads, mice & keyboards in the forthcoming (and faraway too) future I talked about the past month, the other pointless and ballyhooed media hype going strong these days is the one about ubiquitous digital delivery, ie the idea that sooner or later physical supports will be outclassed or replaced by on-line downloads on consoles and PC, it doesn’t mind if users have to deal with 50 Gigabytes or a few Megabytes sized games. It’s a complete nonsense, as Stardock CEO correctly points out in an interview with Shacknews.
LucasArts is the historic software house constantly praised for its past full of pixellated pirates, purebred graphic adventures and more generally for a particular skill in shaping stories, creating characters and forging game worlds in which it was worth diving into for a while. In a manner that is nearly unbelievable for who is accustomed to see the company bringing out the usual, boring and useless series of Star Wars sequels, LucasArts is now faintly reconciliating with the development of original titles thanks to a game with little ambitions that could say something about the forthcoming future of the respected developer of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango.
A year after the official presentation during Penny Arcade Expo, Canadian developer Hothead Games and Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert have took the occasion of the new PAX edition to show the work done on their new title: DeathSpank, the legitimate but grumpy child of adventure and action RPG genres, leaves behind the mere shadows of the first trailers to put his face and his deeds in front of gamers.
This is a recession period and the videogaming industry suffers too, with a sales drop of 23% during May (for USA), a thump unseen since 2007. And yet the executives from the major companies in the field talk about sustained growth for a business that, in 2012, will be 55 billion dollars worth overall. Meanwhile market researches describe a “new golden age for entertainment software” and videogames permanently reside in two third of the American households. That’s an ideal condition, I say, to gather some relevant contents in what should be the last installment of videogames highlights’ old cycle before the new, more minimalistic setup.
It isn’t exactly the end of the world as we knew it, but the dynamism of adventure games publishers and developers in the summer of 2009 seems to have a weight in the great order of things anyway. The fact is that years after their (alleged) commercial and creative death graphic adventures continue to come out, and in some kind of reboot effort the genre noble fathers try to suggest the way for a possible new renaissance of “point and click” games through the marketplace of digital stores already projected into the future.
Summer of 2009 could be much hotter than usual for adventure games fans, because other than the exhumation of the classic of classics The Secret of Monkey Island someone suggested the chance, the idea, the hope to meet again on nowadays LCDs the odd characters belonging to the most noble past of the genre and videogames on the whole. To go straight to the facts, if the new games featuring Guybrush Fruptwood will sell the right amount of copies LucasArts is more than well disposed to pull out of the freezer of memories the rest of its historical series.
Guybrush Threepwood wanted to be a pirate, but probably he would have never predicted that 20 years after his unsuccessful efforts to scrape up a decent crew, his many holes in the ground with no chest on the bottom and his merciless tendency to tell the same story about some ghost pirates again and again and again he would have always been in the same place, namely at about 3 meters under the ocean level or otherwise in some improbable swordfights where the tongue hurts, literally, much more than the sword.
In an industry inclined to release an even excessive amount of contents on the upcoming videogames, the next, awaited creation of mythological game designer Ron Gilbert continues to be a mystery as for gameplay, visual style, interface and everything. Despite this chronic lack of material to admire (or to criticize to death), the information currently available on DeathSpank are at least more than those followed to the official game presentation during 2008 edition of Penny Arcade Expo.
Apparently spring affected the ScummVM coders in a positive manner, because after a waiting of six months between release 0.12.0 and the 0.13.0 one only two months more were enough to see a new version coming, namely the 0.13.1 one available on the official servers since a few days. The short period intervened since the previous release justifies the lack of new supported games, as this time the focus is bugs correction and the improvement of consoles and portable platforms versions.
Waiting for the Architect of adventure games Ron Gilbert to unveil the (certainly) moronic face of the DeathSpank hero to the world, if one was in withdrawal from “point & click” games he could always practice with ScummVM, the virtual machine designed for the preservation of the good old adventures from Lucasfilm/Lucasarts (and much more) released in these days in its new, sparkling version 0.12.0.
Only a few months left, and the offspring of the return of Ron Gilbert on the videogaming stage that matters should make its appearance on the Internet. No absurd puzzles flavoured by wannabe pirates and three-headed monkeys this time, but a new formula that would like to merge the opposed gameplay of the adventures and the wilder hack and slash videogames.