Update: Below is the first 15 minutes of the game with commentary.
I haven't played a console video game from start to finish in a long, long time (it's probably been more than two years). The new Bioshock game may change that. It looks pretty incredible.
I apologize for the language of the commentary in the video below. It's an entertaining look at the beginning of the game though. I watched it because I wasn't planning on playing the game and so didn't care about the game's beginning being spoiled. Now that I've watched it, I will be purchasing the game (legally) the first chance I get.
The little 25 cent moving cars I rode as a kid out in front of the Walmart didn't have no damn big screen video games on them. Back in the day we actually had to use our imagination. Kids these days don't realize how hard we had it back in the 80's.
Jingdi Meilongzhen, Longhua, Shenzhen.
I was so looking forward to Real Racing 3, the followup to the amazing Real Racing and Real Racing 2 games on iPhone and iPad. Those games not only looked amazing, but felt more amazing than all other racing games I have played on the platform. I became addicted to Real Racing 2's multiplayer. Don't tell mom, but at one point I was staying up until 2 or 3 am almost every single night for a month straight, laying in bed with my phone racing against people from all around the world. It felt like the future. Then previews of Real Racing 3 were released, showing not only beautiful cars but real-life racetracks. Real Racing 3 was just released and this should be one of the highlights of my year.
Well the future doesn't feel so bright any more.
The game is downloading to my iPad as I type this but I'm already feeling a tinge of anger after reading various online reviews. I previously downloaded and played another racing game called CSR Racing. The game's story and concept wasn't that bad and I probably would have enjoyed it and continued to play it had it cost $5, $10, or even $15. Instead, it was free. Why was this bad? It was bad because it meant it was a freemium game; the game was free to download but players were encouraged (that's the nicest word I can think for it) to pay real money along the way. It is this freemium model that made me have to choose between literally paying real money for virtual gasoline or waiting 10-15 minutes every few races for my virtual gas tank in my virtue car to slowly refill. It was a terrible experience and I stopped playing a day later, having spent no money on the game.
Guess what? New publisher EA decided to turn Real Racing 3 into a freemium game. F**k. From Eurogamer's review:
You can probably tell by the size of the yachts in Monaco's harbour, the opulence of the motorhomes that form a worldwide series' travelling circus or the amount of inbreeding evident around the paddock of Silverstone on a Grand Prix weekend that motor racing is a rich man's game. You can't just turn up to the races with a pair of fresh boots and a big heart: a single season in Formula Ford, one of the most junior of categories on the national scene, costs in excess of £120,000.
So kudos to Firemonkeys, the new outfit forged by EA from esteemed Australian mobile studios Firemint and Iron Monkey, for being the first developer to fully realise the crippling costs of motorsport in interactive form. Here's a game that's not shy about handing you repair bills at the end of a race and one that doesn't blush over an in-game car that costs almost £60 in real-world money.
Further on in the review:
At a time when the gaming world is finally comfortable with the idea of a triple-A mobile game, Real Racing 3 should have been a triumphant affirmation of a point made convincingly enough by the first game in the series. Instead, it's been strangled by the tentacles of gaming's next unconquerable: free-to-play.
If games like Dota and Tribes are the warm, welcoming faces of free-to-play, then Real Racing 3 is the grotesque polar opposite, the snarling grinch that's the embodiment of every sceptic's worst nightmare. It's cynical, it's nasty and it's hard-wired into the very fabric of the game, making it totally unavoidable.
There's an in-game economy comprised of credits and the harder-to-come-by gold, which would be fair enough if the economy wasn't so horrendously lopsided in EA's favour. Every part of Real Racing's make-up away from the track is a transaction where you're on the rough end of the deal.
Waiting 10 real-world minutes to repair your brakes? Yep. Waiting 10 minutes to change oil? Yeah. Waiting another 10 minutes to fix damage? Yes. Paying real money if you want to skip these waiting times every time they pop up? Yes Sir. Kill me now.
I have a better idea: I'll let you keep your freemium model to allow people to sample the game for free, but at least let me and other serious enthusiasts pay a lump sum, say $20 or even $30, to get rid of all these ridiculous micro-transactions and wait times. I will gladly pay you a fair amount to be able to play this game frustration free.
Unfortunately, no such option exists. I only have two avenues: 1) Pay an ungodly amount of money all the time and feel like I'm being used by a greedy corporation but be able to skip all the completely arbitrary wait times and have access to all the cars and tracks, or 2) play as much of the game as I can for free and refuse to pay a dime out of principle but suffer egregious waiting times and limited access to cars and tracks. Unless circumstances change, I can tell you now I'm almost certainly sticking with option #2.
And about the great multiplay from the last game that seems to no longer exist in this one? Kotaku has a conspiracy about its absence:
I mean sure, there's no longer any real online multiplayer, replaced by "Time-Shifted" multiplayer in which players race against AI clones of friends and strangers, but I convinced myself that this was a much more convenient way to encourage social play among the community.
Now I'm not so sure that was the reasoning behind the switch. Now it occurs to me that regular standard online play would have gotten in the way of crap like this:
I imagine it would be hard to maintain a party of friends racing online simultaneously when at any given time one of them might have to stop and wait 15 minutes for his or her car to finish being repaired.
I've anxiously anticipated the release of this game for the past two year. Now it's here and it's a scary and beautifully pathetic minefield of micro-transactions and arbitrary handcuffs. I want to play this game, love this game, have babies with this game, but there is no way I'm draining even a dime from my iTunes account if it means EA feels any sort of vindication that this is an acceptable way forward for the future of gaming.
My mother just gave me a Christmas morning ultimatum of only being able to open the big present under the tree if I eat a huge bowl of Brussels sprouts without complaint.
No present under the tree is worth a big bowl of Brussels sprouts, especially when that big stinking bowl is being forced in your face by mother.
Update: Even more nonsense. From the last paragraph of the Eurogamer review:
Let's finish with a little maths. You notice the car you've just bought in a £13.99 pack is suspiciously slow in races, so you want to acquire the first of three engine upgrades that costs 44,000 credits. If you get 3500 credits for winning a race after getting tail-ended just once by another car, get handed a 2855 credit repair bill for the damage and then have to pay another 500 credits to get the oil changed - a job that takes 20 minutes to do, unless you want to hand over a little more cash - what's the final number?
Mother just dumped broccoli on top of the Brussel sprouts.
Well, besides a really cheap Android phone with Angry Birds.
Civic Center, Futian
Having already exhausting many of the tourist activities Nagoya has to offer, we spent much of Wednesday living like the locals. This included a visit to a local hospital to change the bandages on my toe, walking the local residential neighborhood, touring the prefecture's official art museum, playing games at the arcade, and having drinks at one of Nagoya's thousand Japanese hostess bars.
The non-political, non-mathematical, non-intellectual side of my brain finds these really entertaining. Started with the Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 video, then the other videos below, then beyond. I really want to try these games, especially Kerbal Space Program. Beware - strong language
"You can enter, but you can never leave."
"Oh tits! My wings!"
"If you don't succeed the first time, add more rockets."
"Viking warriors never die"
If you're not excited for the future of video games after seeing footage of 'Watch Dogs,' then you might never be
First watch the trailer so you understand. You have a cell phone that can hack into all the electronic systems around you which gives you control over things like traffic lights and bridges, and also reveals to you the private information of citizens close to you.
Now watch the 10 minutes of game play footage below. Watch all of it. The true future of video games is at the 7:22 mark.
The future of video games will not only look pretty, but they'll also break your heart.
Forza Horizon trailer. Could not be more excited.
Update: From Autoblog's preview of the game:
For inspiration the developers turned to the mountain roads of Colorado where they spent four months taking photos and videos to create the virtual world of Horizon. The roads in the game aren't necessarily exact replicas of the real ones in the Rocky Mountains, and Fulton says some manipulation was necessary to create the best game play. "It's based on Colorado and it's referenced exhaustively, but from there we polish it to make sure that it's a fun driving experience wherever you go."
I don't think I could imagine a more perfect driving game for myself. Forza on the open roads of Colorado? I better get a lot of work done before October 23rd.
A mother and son. How cute.
Jindi Meilongzhen, Shenzhen
Shanghai F1 GP. Shanghai, China
The concept is simple - A random person on the Internet types in a phrase. Another random person then has 10 minutes to draw a picture representing that phrase. Then another person, without knowing the original phrase, guesses what the original phrase was based on this drawing. Then another person draws a picture based off this last guess... and so on. It's an Internet version of the telephone game; everyone only knows what the person before them wrote/drew and nothing else. You are notified once the game is completed so you can check back and see what happened.
And most of the time, it's absolutely amazing. I cannot believe the images people are able to create using only a trackpad or mouse. I wish I could turn some of these sessions into t-shirts.
For one of the sessions I participated in tonight, I was asked to draw a picture based on the phrase, "RoboCop 4: RoboCop Is No Longer Needed." I had no idea what had transpired previously in the session or how many turns had passed. I drew a picture the best I could based on the description and sent it away. 30 minutes later, I was notified the game was complete. I was then shown all 18 turns, from original phrase to last drawing. Keeping in mind that each of us only knew what the person immediately before us wrote or drew, the results are pretty amazing:
Like I said, it's pretty amazing what some people can draw in under 10 minutes simply with a trackpad, mouse, a few colors, and a description. Unlike some other sessions I have played, this one stayed pretty much on topic starting at turn 2. I'll post more later as they are completed.
I encourage you to check it out.