Category Archives: Gaming

The Kobayashi Maru of Games

There may not be a more emotionally-charged game trailer than Wednesday’s trailer for Dead Island. The afternoon reveal spread like wildfire, quickly breaking into Twitter’s global trending topics (where it still remains as of Friday morning). I don’t know that I can recall a faster spread for an original title – whether people loved it or hated it, it sure got them talking.

As a three minute CG short film, I personally find it a stellar piece of work. For a game, however, the trailer sets a fantastic tone and atmosphere that is probably unlikely to be represented in the shipping title. Compare the closing shot from the trailer (above) to this screen in which we observe a red-skirted woman with a sword facing down a straight-jacketed zombie that appears to be a mix of Hannibal Lecter and the Quake 4 Berserker.

This is not a new problem, nor a new complaint. CG or otherwise pre-rendered trailers are typically more about style and theme than accurately representing gameplay. What makes Dead Island an interesting case is how far the theme and style of the trailer appears to fall from the actual game. While previews of the actual game still sound promising, I can’t help but wonder – what if the trailer actually did represent the game?

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Steam Powered

Back at E3, Valve’s Gabe Newell made a surprise appearance in the Sony conference to announce that Portal 2 would be hitting the PS3 with Steamworks support. The big news today is that Portal 2 on the PS3 will allow users to link their PSN accounts to their Steam IDs, unlocking cross-platform play/chat as well as the Steam Play version for PC/Mac. In this household, at least, this dramatically changes the status quo.

Since the start of this console cycle, I’ve used the 360 as my platform of choice for multi-platform titles while buying Valve titles off Steam and reserving the PS3 and Wii for platform exclusives. Now, I can say with certainty that Portal 2 will be my first multi-platform purchase for the PS3, and the PS3 version will likely become my default platform for Valve games if this is the benchmark for future titles.

While I’m a huge fan of Valve and Steam and I consider this a massive victory for the multi-platform gamer, another part of me is still left feeling a little uneasy. As great as Steam is, there’s one demographic that I believe finds it a little bit lacking in comparison to platforms like Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network – gamers with families.

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