Morning Hangover #49: Stephen Craves Originality And Jake Rides Ride


Posted September 8, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill

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Brutal Legend screenshot

Welcome to "Morning Hangover" -- an excellent way to start your day with the crew at TheFeed...no matter what you're recovering from. Every morning you'll hear musings from two of TheFeed's editors and have the chance to share your thoughts on what's going on in the gaming world. So buckle up, get your innovation caps on, and keep reading!

Stephen Johnson: Now that PAX is over with, and summer is at its end, it’s the official beginning of the holiday buying-things-season! While there are a number of great games coming out (The Beatles: Rock Band, Halo 3: ODST, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves) almost everything coming out is a sequel. And I’m getting more and more bored with sequels. I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, sales-wise, I’ll bet this year is dismal for video games.

Even though I’ll pick up a number of the AAA sequels coming out, as works of art, the best a sequel can aspire to is being as good as the games they’re based on, and what fun is that?  Original games, though, could rise to heretofore unknown levels of awesomeness. That’s why I’m most excited for Brutal Legend.  In fact, if I could only pick a single game this year, it would be Brutal Legend. What one game would you most like to see under the Kwanzaa tree this year?

Jake Gaskill: I honestly don’t mean this to sound like an, “I told you so” post, because that’s not my intention at all. However, I’ve been dubious of Activision’s skateboard-peripheral-only Tony Hawk: Ride ever since I heard that it was, well, peripheral-only. Unless it’s a music game or a Project Natal game, players should always have the option to use a controller, especially when it comes to a sports game that requires physical exertion of some kind.

So you can understand why I was not at all surprised when Patrick, Sterling, Billy and Andrew came away from their feet-on time with Ride during PAX quite underwhelmed and just as skeptical of the game’s critical and financial potentiality as I have been for some time now.  I mean, to be fair, Activision didn’t really have a choice. It needed to go big in order to take on Electronic Art’s dominant boarding franchise Skate. Sadly, introducing a peripheral-based skating game was the only viable choice, since there would be no way Activision head Bobby Kotick would cede victory to EA by abandoning the Tony Hawk franchise, and copying EA’s intuitive and genre-defining controls introduced in Skate would be seen as nothing more than a lame attempt to piggy-back on the innovation of a rival publisher. On the other hand, it could just be a brilliant creative move on Activision’s part, and the game could go on to be a massive success. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Won’t we? In the meantime: Do you think I’m being too pessimistic about what Activision is attempting with Ride? Could the game end up proving me and other skeptics wrong?

TheFeed gang wants your thoughts on gaming, tech, originality, innovation, and more. Let everyone know what you're thinking and chat it up with your fellow readers. Leave comments on anything and everything that's on your (gaming/tech/nerd) mind! The reader with the best comment will win anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses.

Morning Hangover #49: Stephen Craves Originality And Jake Rides Ride


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