YMMO? (Part 1)

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Introduction:

The PC gaming market has always focused primarily on a single idea. While titles of other ideas and genres are still released, all the really big games seem to come from one central concept. As the machines adapt and the market changes, this central genre shifts to reflect those changes. All of these central genres had their ups and their downs, their individual moments of confusion, their overdone mechanics and their nuisances that just wouldn’t go away. But, at least in my humble opinion, the worst of the problems consistently found in any of those earlier focus genres pale in comparison to the flaws readily available in the best of today’s genre of the limelight.

The MMO as we know it was essentially invented in 1996 (according to Wikipedia), and was popularized early on with titles like Ultima Online and EverQuest. As the genre continued to develop and mature, it began to offer greater immersion in the virtual world and integration between the participants in that world. Over time the MMO through its interactive content, immersing visuals, and shared experience began to dominate the market of PC games, and eventually even branched out to several of the other game platforms.

Today the MMO saturates the PC game world. From big commercially developed power houses like World of Warcraft (WoW) and EverQuest 2, to the quirky Korean offerings like Maple Story, to the small time browser games like RuneScape, even glorified chat engines like Second Life, everywhere we turn MMOs can be found and are on offer just waiting for us to start playing. Few other ideas have ever so powerfully taken over the market as the MMO has today.

But why were these elements so popular, what caused them to have such great appeal? And is their current place as the defining genre of PC games warranted? Since a fair number of my friends have been playing these types of games for a few years now and have even encouraged me to join them on several occasions, I thought I might take a look at what makes these games seem so appealing, and the reasons why I, at least, will not be playing them. Especially not in the same way most of the people I see playing them do.

Continue to Part 2

Passing Through: Most Hated of All Adversaries II

PassingThroughBEvery gamer has an enemy within… Join JBG as we look at the most annoying, memorable, and downright evil videogame enemies to date.

.: Super Mario Brothers:.

Sick of being stomped on, the koopas, from Super Mario Brothers, decided to gird themselves in armor and chuck hammers at those who happened to pass by. Thus, the fearsome Hammer Brothers were born into the Mushroom Kingdom.

Hammer BrothersI remember how irritated my sister and I would become trying to get past the hammer throwing turtles. Fireballs always proved to be their undoing.

Virtually Acceptable?

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Have you ever wondered how well you know someone that you don’t really know? An odd question to be sure. Today (6/26/09) I came across a blog post entitled “Godspeed Gynnie, We Will Miss You“. The post, which was found on the 2 High Road blog, weaves a tale of pain, suffering, and virtual escape. By the end of the post, “Gynnie”, whom the entire post has been about, has died. This “true” story made sense to me. Someone using an online videogame to escape life and pain. However, “Gynnie” was not all she (?) seemed to be. An update on 6/23/09 states:

“The good news is “Gynnie” didn’t die after all.”

As fate would have it there was never a sick girl by the name of “Gynnie”. For all the author of 2 High Road knows, “Gynnie” could have very well be Steve. This brings several questions to mind.

  • 1. How well though do you know the people that you play online games with?
  • 2. Are we supposed to take people online at virtual face value?
  • 3. Is lying about your real life circumstances virtually acceptable?

Your thoughts.

Mythic Entertainment and Bioware Merge

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Today we have important news to share with the community. EA is restructuring its RPG and MMO games development into a new group that includes both Mythic and BioWare. This newly formed team will be led by Ray Muzyka, co-founder and General Manager of BioWare. With this change, Ray becomes Group General Manager of the new RPG/MMO studio group. BioWare’s other co-founder, Greg Zeschuk will become Group Creative Officer for the new RPG/MMO studio group. Rob Denton will step up as General Manager of Mythic and report to Ray. BioWare’s studios remain unchanged and continue to report to Ray.

Mark Jacobs, current General Manager of Mythic will leave EA on June 23, 2009. We thank Mark for his contributions at Mythic and wish him the very best going forward. Mark played a major part in the success of Mythic with his contribution as General Manager and Lead Designer of WAR.

Mythic retains a strong team led by Rob who co-founded Mythic in 1995. Rob played a critical role in the development of Dark Age of Camelot. In his previous role as COO, he was responsible for all day-to-day management of the studio including all development, operations and support.

Please join us in celebrating the union of these two award-winning studios.

(As posted in the Warhammer Herald)