Monday, April 26, 2010

Too much of a good thing

I bought five games last week. Six, if you count that I pre-ordered Starcraft 2. The other games were all for my gamecube and ps2. Why did I do this after vowing I would only play the gorgeous exploration-friendly Just Cause 2 (on PC) for the foreseeable future?

It seems I have injured my precious index finger, a precious resource in PC gaming. There are downsides to being a 3d game artist. The inability to distinguish leisure time from work time; explaining to people that you make video games, not Pixar films, and no, you don't want to make Pixar films, but yes you like watching them; and working in a stationary position for hours upon hours upon hours, moving naught but your fingers.

My fingers have become a big problem for me. I enjoy rock-climbing. I like gripping tiny holds with the tips of my fingers, balancing precariously, slowly shifting my body in any direction to ascend slowly up a sheer face. This requires a lot of finger strength. And working on a wacom tablet for hours at a time does not relieve one's fingers. And then typing ctrl+z repeatedly over and over to get just the right stroke on a 2d photoshop painting. That does not help my fingers or hands. And typing this tale (I enjoy typing) does not help my fingers.

The main issue I have with my choice of career, which I would not give up for the world, is that it taxes so little of me that I feel as if I am wasting eighty percent of my being. We are animals, built to exert ourselves, and now, through overuse of those few parts that I do use, I have made it even more difficult to exercise the other eighty percent of me. (At least, in the manner I'd prefer.)

So I have bought a bunch of games for my last-gen consoles because they rely on my thumbs, and this will give my wounded index finger a rest.

The Sonic Mega Collection was one of my purchases, and for the past week I have been playing through Sonic The Hedgehog for the first time (well, I have now played it about fifteen times over the last five days). This gauntlet of trial and death is fascinating. I like the excellent little curve that allows me to get about a level or two further each time. The sequel (I did play Sonic 2 in college) was much faster in one's movement around the levels, and so I find this slower trap-laden method of level progression to be more difficult. I will have to check out Sonic 2 after beating this and see how it compares after playing the first.

I guess I am a little glad for this break from current games. I am only now coming into my own as a gamer. Absorbing all of these various classics for the first time (Sonic, Metroid Prime, Kingdom Hearts, Sly Cooper) is a fun important exercise of its own. Heaven knows I can't give up gaming completely. These might still use my hands, but at least I will be beating my thumbs up instead of my other more tender digits.

Friday, April 9, 2010

(disgusted rant on social games)

So 'effing tired of hearing about designing for social games. All the special considerations! You have to bring back players! You have to make them like your game! By social we mean you have to make your friends play it to get bonuses! You really don't give a shit how they play the game as long as they send you some coins every once in a while. That's not social! Design consideration for social games, huh? Figure out how to make your game actually social! Ugh.