A Week in Gaming With Calvin Robinson

by on August 8, 2010

Once again it’s time for a week in gaming with team GodisaGeek. Last week we had Aaron talking about digital distribution and cheaters in Super Street Fighter IV, two interesting topics indeed. This week we’re graced by the presence that is Calvin Robinson, our Site Producer talking about his chosen topics. So, pop that game on pause, grab a can and enjoy the read.

Who am I?

As Producer of GodisaGeek.com, it’s my role to liase with PR agencies and publishing firms on a regular basis, as well as advertisers. I’m also the guy responsible for managing the designers and developers that create and maintain our beautiful website.

Mac / PC Gaming

I want to take a moment to talk about Mac gaming. Those two words have been something of a joke for as long as I can remember. Even Linux users have had a more hardcore gaming scene! But thanks to Blizzard and Valve, things are finally starting to change.

World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games of all time, so when Blizzard released a Mac client back in 2006, a lot of people became optimistic that this was a sign of things to come. And while their predictions may have been slightly premature, they weren’t wrong. Three months ago Valve launched Steam for Mac, which along with a slick new design that carries some of the top games available on the PC including Half-Life 2, Counter Strike, Portal, Civilization and Football Manager. This was a huge move. The PC gaming market just grew another limb, in the form of Apple.

The PC gaming market has been on life support for the past few years. It has been speculated that one of the main reasons behind this is price. As consoles become cheaper and PC parts become more expensive (with a good gaming unit costing around 1k (pick a currency, £/$/€ they’re all about the same these days), there was bound to be some backlash. But now with the introduction of Mac as a gaming platform, the potential reachability of PC games has grown immensely.

The other reason for the decline of PC gaming has been the availability of games. Over recent years it has become more and more common for games to be released on consoles years before they are released on the PC. It could be said that developing games for the PC takes more time/effort, because of the complexity of hardware options, as opposed to consoles – all of which share the same specs. Well, Macs are pretty similar to consoles in that they all share the same specs, more or less. Developing for an iMac is therefore no more challenging than developing for PS3 or 360 because the majority of iMacs have one of a handful of hardware optimisations, just like the aforementioned consoles.

Kinetic Gaming

I don’t think there’s a term to describe the Wii/Move/Kinect style of gaming yet, so I’ve decided to go with Kinetic Gaming – it sounded more elegant than “Movement Gaming” (and you read it here first).

As ‘core’ gamers, I think we sometimes like to play ignorant about the popularity of the Nintendo Wii. I mean, we all know why it’s so damn popular, but it goes against everything we stand for, right? Casual gaming. I’m not going to get into the whole casual vs hardcore gaming debate, but anyone who listens to the GodisaGeek Podcast will know my stance on this. As much as I hate casual games, I acknowledge that they are taking over the world. I’ve never played Farmville and I don’t own a Wii. I know many of you have though, and it sickens me! :p

I digress. My point is that the Wii is not only popular because of the casual software released for the platform, but because of the style of gameplay. Controllers are now old skool. Don’t get me wrong, I like the controller but its days are limited. Kinetic Gaming may not be the platform of the future, but it’s surely a step in the right direction. Personally I reckon we’ll all be moving our game characters with the power of thought using a headset/headband in the future – the tech is there already, it simply needs advancing. Kinetic Gaming is the link. Moving our bodies to control the game is a step up from twiddling our thumbs and a step towards using our thoughts.

I think Move and Kinect are something we should be embracing, we shouldn’t be afraid of the tech. Yes, there will be a crap load of shovelware released with the hardware and yes, we’re going to see a whole load of casual gamers swinging their hips to the softcore titles – that’s inevitable. But I also believe that with this technology we may see a whole new genre of gaming, specifically targeted at core gamers. Especially with Kinect. I mean, we kind of already know the type of games that will be released for PS3 Move, because we’ve seen very similar tech on the Wii for years now. But Kinect brings something brand new and innovative to the table that must be giving games designers wet dreams. These brand new challenges for developers will hopefully churn out new challenges for us gamers in turn. We just have to show a little encouragement. If we focus our energy on demanding Kinetic titles for core gamers, instead of hating on titles for casual gamers, we might get somewhere. Just a thought.

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