ps238principal (ps238principal) wrote,

Don'cha love it when marketers try to predict the future?





NPR asked the question, "Is the dystopian future going to unseat vampires in young adult fiction?" That seems, to me anyway, too narrow a scope. It's not only comparing pretty distinct story categories, it's also asking what the future holds which, especially in entertainment, is a crap shoot where you often can't find one of the dice, at best. As a young reader, I devoured Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and just about anything involving robots, spaceships, or both. Later, I went nuts for horror, then humor (mostly sci-fi humor, but Douglas Adams was a genius), and so forth. There may be groups that read based on trends, but I'd hope that people read what they like. What people like can be bleak futures as well as vampires, though if the vampires they're referring to are the ones I'm thinking of, I think it's pretty safe to say that disco-ball undead would make me long for a future with more radiation.

A list entitled Adventure Games We Want Back crossed my virtual desk, and while I agree with a lot of the games listed, I think they missed a few:

- The old SSI D&D games. I'm talkin' Pool of Radiance type stuff, where you rolled up six characters, gave them stupid names, and played with them like pixelated minis when combat started up. I'm not sure which rule set I'd want to see, but I did enjoy that you could bounce lightning bolt spells off of walls.
- Text adventures, but with a parser that's practically sentient. We can render faces to near-perfection, so why not take whatever is running the voice-helpers on smartphones and let them run a text adventure that's as long as a Robert Jordan novel? Using natural language (maybe even with some kind of constantly updating typo/slang detector) could make it a much smoother experience and effects of your actions could alter future events on the fly, since re-editing text is a lot easier than recording a voice actor's lines for every possible action your average 3D avatar might take.
- Bureau 13. This was, I believe, based off of an existing role-playing game of the same name, and I think I played it on an old Amiga 500. It was modern enough to possess 3D-rendered cutscenes and nice isometric animated characters, but the game itself seemed pretty broken to me, and I soon gave up. I still liked the premise (a secret agency that employs vampires, mad scientists, etc. as field agents), and I'd like to see them take another crack at it. I hope they keep the bureau's warning to not be conspicuous or let people know you're at all unnatural, which means the female agent in a silver bikini who pilots an egg-shaped robotic exosuit blends right in no matter where she goes.
- Neuromancer. Sure, we've got Deus Ex, but in a way, I'd like to see a cyberpunk game more in the vein of the Fallout series. Much like how the Fallout games used the 1950's and 60's vision of the future, cyberpunk was never so outrageously bizarre-looking and fantastical than when it was being written from the 80's. A revived Neromancer should look like someone grafted cyberware onto the Solid Gold Dancers and brought them back to techno-organic life.
- All of the adventure games that made no freakin' sense at the time. This is just so maybe someone out there could re-do these things to the point where I could have a chance to understand what they were about. Mostly, this is SwordQuest on the Atari 2600, and the Marvel Comics Questprobe series of games, which were pretty obtuse.

I will say I kind of disagree about reviving Leisure Suit Larry. I love point-n-click, but later installments (and attempted comebacks) haven't done the franchise many favors. I think it's partially because Larry's really a product of his time, and he kind of got less entertaining the better his graphics became.

I'm putting out a somewhat shorter linkdump this time around and inviting everyone to check out the blog over at the new Nodwick.com. I'm putting up stuff every day with some thoughts on this and that from yours truly. And the comics are there as well, so you don't have to worry about missing anything (unless I mis-key a date). Now I've got to get back to doing sequential art of some kind. Speaking of which, I'm concerned that Archie is getting into Funky Winkerbean-like depression material, as a character will develop breast cancer. I'm trying to imagine if the usual critics will be more upset over a storyline they deem too tragic for young readers or the fact that it'll involve the word "breast." Collectors might want to note that the "gay marriage" issue is going for $50.

Anyway, here's a few items to make your visit worthwhile:


- Here's a page with a clip from the upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man animated show. Thing the first: Spider-Man's voice is way too high pitched. Thing the second: S.H.I.E.L.D. has been buying guns from cartoon G.I. Joe army surplus. Thing the third: So... when is this Spider-Man going to get killed, like in the comic book?
- From the "if you hated mapping in video games before..." files comes news that video games can render whole planets for your questing pleasure.
- Minecraft is turning Japanese, it's turning Japanese I really think so.
- Use your geometry skills (as well as a love of filthy lucre) in Greedy Pirates. Throw, catch, deflect, or otherwise direct treasure so it lands in the chest. Yarrr, I say.
- I think this needs to be a "thing" at conventions this year.
- Time for a French lesson, class! Repeat after me: Je ne pense pas que la méthode de déplacement de la remontée mécanique est terriblement sûre ou pratique. Tres bien, tout le monde!
- And here's the final lesson of the unit, as taught by a guest instructor. Congratulations! You're now fluent enough to be a tourist!
- While the XFL was a disappointment for not at least having uniforms designed by Gwar, it appears that we might be approaching Blood Bowl territory anyway.
- It didn't make it to the stars, but it was close enough. A Lego and space shuttle fan uses a weather balloon (with a camera attached) into near-orbit.
- Anyone who thought Spider-Man 3's version of Venom would be great in a spin-off series of films, negotiations with the actors are underway.
- Working Stiffs is a good way to get over the Wednesday hump. You can feel grateful that no matter how much you dislike your job, at least it's not being overrun by the living dead.
Tags: archie, post-apoc, the hunger games, twilight, vampires, video games
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  • 10 comments

cjthomas

March 7 2012, 10:24:54 UTC 2 years ago

A quick back of the envelope calculation says Earth has a surface area of about 500 trillion square metres (or square yards, for the US). Not all of that is land area, but I'd still expect most of the surface area of any game world to be procedurally generated rather than stored (even if that's just using procedural generation to fill in details in a low-res map).

While that still gives you huge worlds, it does stop you from doing things like having every single NPC in the planetary population remember their conversation state with you, or from making a mosaic of footprint patterns the size of the planet, or doing anything else that requires recording detailed state information for anything close to the whole planet.

Until Moore's Law catches up, of course.

And of course there's always Minecraft. Build as large a world as you have disk space for...

samson_of_5

March 7 2012, 20:01:15 UTC 2 years ago

Any Minecraft world can be as large as the surface area of Neptune. That is a lot.

I am not sure if these Slovakians are using the right sense. They really should be marketing the engine for this game as opposed to just selling the game. Maybe they are, but it doesn't seem so.

Al Sohlstrom

March 7 2012, 11:51:38 UTC 2 years ago

The three most important sentences in French for the American traveler:

A quelle heure est le petit déjeuner? ----- What time is breakfast?
Où est la toilette? ----- Where is the toilet?
And last but certainly not least,
Avez-vous papier de toilette AMÉRICAIN? --- Do you have AMERICAN toilet paper?

Just sayin'.

ebony14

March 7 2012, 14:40:48 UTC 2 years ago

The Bureau 13 setting was also used by Nick Pollota (who may have created it; I'm not sure) in several tongue-in-cheek adventure novels.

melchar

March 8 2012, 21:17:26 UTC 2 years ago

The game system is actually called 'Bureau 13 - Stalking the Night Fantastic' - published by Tri Tac games back in the early 80's. The game had a few adventures and 2 or 3 suppliments. [I only have the 1st book and 'Stalking the Steel City']. ...and Pollata was inspired by the game, not its creator.

samson_of_5

March 7 2012, 20:06:09 UTC 2 years ago

I am kind of surprised that this guy acts surprised about the Saints putting out bounties to injure other players, after the years of the Raiders building their reputation of being the most brutal team in the NFL. I suppose the difference is, while the Raiders just do it, the Saints decided to do it for extra incentives.
While I am of the "eh" camp, as well, I do find it kind of interesting that their start in the bounty hunting business happened the same time that they hit their glory time of winning the Super Bowl in 2009. I am hoping that wasn't their tactic at hitting their prestige, then.

pmp

March 7 2012, 20:17:25 UTC 2 years ago

Either the working stiffs link or the "Is the dystopian future going to unseat vampires in young adult fiction?" link seems to be hosting a virus at the moment.

Had just opened both and got UAC going mental at me trying to run B5546646543541.0153.exe, followed by Adobe Flash player trying to install something.


Don't think either of the sites are bad per se, but their advertising hosts may be compromised..

tobimaro

March 7 2012, 22:47:00 UTC 2 years ago Edited:  March 7 2012, 22:48:02 UTC

I'd like to see a reboot of the Twilight: 2000 RPG game. Or maybe TORG (that game did have some fascination with me, but not enough to get me to buy it when it came out).

ravens_prentice

March 7 2012, 22:58:44 UTC 2 years ago

I think that "Adventure Games We Want Back" missed something really important: The (hopefully ongoing) Sam & Max series from Telltale Games. Taking a fantastic adventure game, bringing it back, and yet continuing to be entertaining and original has happened. My friend and I downloaded the whole set when Steam had a sale and we have been loving every minute of it. These games are not redundant clones, like the later Monkey Island games ended up being, yet they completely keep true to the deranged, bizarre nature and painful videogame logic of the original. Also, it is consistently funnier than it has any right to be. I know I probably sound like an employee or something, but I've really just been enjoying this series and want people nostalgic for the old point-and-click adventure games to realize that there is new stuff to play and love right here, right now.

sneezythesquid

March 8 2012, 01:57:40 UTC 2 years ago

Have you seen this?

http://ps3.ign.com/articles/122/1220250p1.html