There comes a time in everyone’s life when pivotal, life-changing choices need to be made. Recently I faced just such a choice. I had to decide between buying a Nintendo Switch and the Kärcher FC 5 Premium all in one vacuum and mop. In case you are facing a similar domestic crisis, I have condescended to help you with a handy comparison of the two devices.
Eating with our eyes
Visual fidelity is everything in game graphics. To the modern gamer, rocks should convey credible heft. Facial expressions should convince. Lighting effects should sparkle. Volumetric smoke should billow. Explosions should make us gasp. Gaming is a medium eaten with the eyes.
As a child of the 80s and 90s, the fruits of Xmas morning 1992 sorted my peers and I into one of two devotee camps. Once codified as either Sega or Nintendo fans, Primary 5 of Kings Park Primary School began a war of words.
06:40 in the morning. Theatrical coughs toll from the children’s room. They betray my 4 year old daughter’s veiled attempts to wake her 2 year old brother. My 8 months pregnant wife, long since wide awake and reading, trains a dirty look on our bedroom door. A pause. Another operatic cough. We hiss our daughter’s name in chorus. Our son responds with a groggy whine. Our daughter giggles. My wife and I huff and mutter. An animal with at least twelve thousand feet pounds through the hallway. The children splash onto our bed all gleeful elbows and knees. It’s 06:42 am. The MacInnes household is awake.
I once destroyed a PS2 controller. I’m not violent by nature but after several impotent hours of boss fights, I crossed a threshold. What followed was a moment of joy. I raised the controller above my head in fury and within a breath had enough time to consider my next move.
Put the controller down, walk into another room and count to 10 or, smash the controller on the floor. A choice between many happy hours of gaming over the coming months or a few seconds of euphoria. Free Radical Design’s designers had done well. I chose the latter option.
You are alone in the wilderness, remote from civilisation. You mark a presence. A rustle. Panting. The patter of paws. A wolf is hunting you. A question is born.
I am a fan of medieval fantasy, but I don’t watch, or read, Game of Thrones. I love the works of Tolkien. I’m an Elder Scrolls obsessive. I thought the Warcraft movie was a thumping good time. I enjoy Narnia, Willow, The Princess Bride, even my secret shame, the Harry Potter films. I like swords, bows, elves, wizards, dragons, magic, enchanted forests and talking animals.
My fantasy palate is broad enough to make me a bull’s-eye for HBO’s commissioning editors. But I don’t watch Game of Thrones. Those teeming Hodor memes will remain a mystery to me. For now.
Full disclosure. I have restarted this blog many times. At different points, its given purpose has changed. I have used it to reflect on the games industry, market a startup app and showcase what I know. In its least attractive form it spilled with attempts at prosaic industry comment.
Cast your mind back to the toys of your youth. The Jack-in-the-box, the Slinky, the pull-back-let-go racing car, the action figures. They had an inherent playfulness at their core. Things to touch, feel, bend, and stretch.
I remember the interlocking latches and spring-mounted, slide-out parts of my Transformers action figures. They offered a user experience that required no goal setting and no difficulty curve. The simple, tactile pleasure of positioning and repositioning their moving parts was reward enough.