Friday, March 20, 2009

BAFTAs - The gaming ones

By accident, I caught the video game BAFTAs on the BBC News website as a live feed; it wasn't being broadcast on television due to it only being a multi-billion worldwide industry. I was following the live updates from game journalists and the general public but I found it somewhat grating with the amount of garbage still written about games in general.

Check it out here:

Why was it a shock that Super Mario Galaxy would win best game, when everybody (and I include the rarely happy Zero Punctuation) thought it was a good, or even great, game? I cannot find one bad review of it; which is a rare thing.

2216 The BBC's Daniel Emery writes: I'm gobsmacked. One of the biggest selling games of all time, GTA IV, revolutionary in so many ways, has failed to pick up a single industry award.

The above quote, amongst other similar ones from people claiming to be journalists, regarding Grand Theft Auto (GTA IV) caught my eye, mostly following along the lines of their amazement at GTA IV not winning any awards.
"But it sold so well..." So did Enter the Matrix, 'nuff said.
"It was so revolutionary..." The 'IV' in the title should give away any indications as to the originality and innovations in the game.

The first top-down GTA games were original, innovative and fun games to play; so much so that most people passed them over in their haste to play the shiny 3d games that were coming out around the same time. The third GTA game, handily named GTA III, took it into 3d with excellent results carrying forward the central concepts and introducing some new stuff that would become staple thereafter. I am a big fan of the GTA games, even the cut-down hand-held (GBA) one which is one of the few that I have actually completed; and given that they are developed in Scotland, I have obvious bias. However, just because it's good, or even really good, it shouldn't automatically get burnished with the innovation label.

As a bit of a digression, it's worth nothing that people only got upset about the violence in GTA once it had become a 3d game and it didn't raise a politician's or censor's eyebrow prior to this. However, having now gone back to top-down for the hand-held Nintendo DS console, the violence in the game is making headlines again. Go figure. The upshot is that you can buy the first couple of games and expansion packs allowing you to do all the same stuff with more-or-less the same graphics that are in the new DS game, but people will only complain about the new one.

To put that in context, the game on the left is Barbarian (the Palace Games one); it caused a lot of fuss at the time and was banned in Germany for violent content. Can't see it being banned now...

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