Dangerous gaming peripherals

Wired is running an article on the 10 Gaming Gadgets That Will Make Us Hurt Ourselves. I’m seriously hoping that some of these don’t make it past the prototype stage. Just look at the Wii 8-in-one weapons bundle. That shit shouldn’t be going anywhere near a child’s hands!

That being said, when I first saw the article’s title, I thought it would be a list of peripherals that had already caused damage. I mean, as much as I love Rock Band and Guitar Hero, I get serious amounts of RSI from extended shredding, and people complain about the muscle pain from the drum’s kick pedal.

And everyone remembers the dangers that the Wii-mote introduced us to when it hit the market.

Music Industry vs Music Games

Wired.com is running an essay on the music industry’s beef with music simulation games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. In some ways, it’s like listening to a broken record: old business hasn’t anticipated how the times are a-changin’ and starts whining about not having a big enough cut of the proceeds.

They’ve done it with Apple and the ITMS, they’re doing illegal things  to hinder file swapping, and they’re doing very little to be innovative and stay ahead of the game. What they don’t seem to realise is that if they weren’t stuck in this orthodoxy of the plastic disc, they could be inventing new distribution channels like games and ringtones and online file distribution.

One fact jumped straight off my monitor and burned into my brain when I read the article:

Music games are proven earners—Aerosmith has reportedly earned more from Guitar Hero : Aerosmith than from any single album in the band’s history.

Wow! Aerosmith is one of the biggest rock bands in history, and they make more money off a game? It’s obvious this could be used as a fantastic promotional tool, but it can also help revitalise bands.

Due to the last couple years of music games, I’ve (re)discovered music and bands I haven’t given a thought to in over a decade. I’ve spent money on them. Even if the label gets a relatively small cut from the game, it gets much more from my track purchase.

I would hate to be working for such an introverted, conservative company. It would frustrate me to think that my employer behaved like a spoiled brat who wanted credit every time somebody came up with a better idea.

In case you missed me ramble on about video games

Originally, I was going to play and review Fallout 3. Then Flip started it while I watched and realised that it was just Oblivion with guns. So I figured why not just play that and hit the two main expansions. So I’ve spent the last week making a new character (a Mage) and levelling him up a bit (he’s now the head of the mage’s guild). And now I’m spent.

I got home after work last night with no desire to hit The Shivering Isles or even Fallout 3. I will get there, but I’ve run out of steam for the moment.

Instead, I turned back to Rock Band. It’s good for a quick pick-up game and we’re slowly garnering more songs for it. I’m picking up some tracks that were on Guitar Hero 2 & 3. The note tracking is different (and generally easier), but I’m also getting them for the other instruments. In particular, I like singing them.

Anyway, now that things are a little quiet on the release front, I’m starting to look at slightly newer games. Speaking to nobody recently, I’ve been convinced to try the revisioned Prince of Persia. Though it probably could have been done under a different title, I’ll survive. It looks like fun.

Bored bored bored

Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down and evaluate my current gaming and to decide if it was time to get another game. Despite still having fun with Soul Calibur 4, I think I’ve achieved all I’m realistically going to (after all, I don’t have nobody‘s skill or dedication, so there’s no way in hell I’m going to reach 450,000 points in Arcade mode).

All the recent intellectual discussion on games as art, and gender politics in game design has got me hankering to play something new but kind of turned me off current offerings. I also blame Yahtzee. Nonetheless, let’s have a look out there and see if I can be convinced to part with my money on something. Continue reading