Thursday, September 30, 2010

TF2's Mann-conomy Update

Most of the chatter surrounding Team Fortress 2's latest update lead me to believe that Valve had ruined the game with yet another layer on top of the chance-based item drop system. Upon reviewing the updates, though, I realized that the internet is full of babies. Honestly, if sitting in achievement_idle with your golden wrenches and miner's light until the end of time makes you "hardcore," then I'll pride myself on being a casual gamer.

The Mann-conomy Update ostensibly removes much of the chance involved in attaining your favorite hat. The medic's mask is finally within reach! From what I read, it seems like there will be a method for buying items with real-life cash (which I can't necessarily get behind), and a system for trading with other players (which should have been implemented on day one). I think that the idea of stopping into a trading server and exchanging my hats like baseball cards is kind of cool.

Whether or not you're excited for this update, it should be recognized that the continued support of this twenty-dollar game three years into its life cycle is quite he altruistic endeavor. Thanks, Valve, for your efforts.

Motion Control Front Looking Bleak

Back when I first heard about the Wii, I was really excited to lightsaber duel my brothers with what I thought would be one-to-one motion controllers. When I got one, I realized that the Wiimote's functionality didn't work as anything more than a glorified button. Shake to see Mario spin, hit the tennis ball, play fetch with the dog, whatever.

Four years down the road and they're just now coming out with the Kinect and Move, but I'm skeptical about the support that these devices are going to receive. With the Wii, developers are obligated to design games with motion controls, whereas you're just cutting yourself off at the knee if you choose to make a game for the 5% of gamers who own one of these extra peripherals. Please, name one peripheral that has really taken hold, in the past. The power glo... oh, wait. The Dreamcast microph... no, only one or two games used that.

The sad thing about this is that I think the Playstation Move is great. I tried it out at a local Best Buy, and on top of it being a true 1:1 device, the effect where it superimposes items over the controller is unlike anything I've ever seen. The Kinect, on the other hand, was exciting until I saw the delay between the player and the avatar on screen, but whatever. A lot of otherwise appealing technology is going to fall flat on its face by virtue of this mid-to-late console life release. I'll be pouring one on the curb for you, Move. Rest in peace.