No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #4

It was a really slow week at the end of January, but a handful of links caught my eye anyway.

First, a piece of gaming history, namely how the Japanese RPG was born. I wasn't surprised to learn that some of the familiar tropes were born of technical limitations, but it turns out the genre was brought to the land of the rising sun by a Westerner who missed his D&D gaming group and didn't even speak the language. Now, that's fascinating. (By the way, have you noticed how many legendary games were created by people with no prior knowledge of computers, let alone videogames? We need a lot more cross-polination here.)

Next comes an account of how the creator of EverQuest plans to bring MMOs into a new era, and I'm really skeptical about his ideas. Hello! The people who used to love good ole' EQ back in 1999 now have jobs and kids, and possibly a few white hairs. Forced grouping is the last thing they need in what little gaming they still have time for. As for those who are teenagers now, they're used to a different style of gaming entirely...

And while we're on the topic of MMOs, it turns out that Sony is closing down no less than four of them at once. And while I can see how a single company maintaining many of them at once can be a problem, I'm not sure a smaller selection on the market will make more people gather around even free to play games. Too much choice is never a bad thing. But imagine you go visiting a tourist resort, and you can't even walk into a bar, stroll through a park or sit on a bench in the public square without paying a fee. That's the problem with F2P these days, and nobody seems able to imagine a better way.

And speaking of F2P, here's a game that's stubbornly plowing ahead on a high monthly fee, despite being very hardcore, not to mention different from pretty much anything else on the market. I'm talking about EVE Online, of course, and while I've heard many intriguing details about it from the press (and from a friend who used to play it), I still found this introduction to the game from a new player to be instructive. Note the official in-game mechanism that allows players to buy more playing time from those with excess cash, and all the other things EVE does differently from any other MMO, and how it all works. Because I'm tired of hearing how a successful MMO can't possibly be anything else than a WoW clone, supposedly, when such an example to the contrary exists while said clones are closing down left and right.

But that's all I hve this week. Until next time.