On this week's episode of Modern Family -- the best new comedy of the year, by the way -- the lovable but clueless Phil laments his wife's inability to give good gifts. After running down a long list of desired items (one of which being a yogurt maker, which is totally practical), he declares "I can't not think of things I want."
We're now in that time of the year where it's easy to find ourselves falling into that mentality. Most of the year's major games have been released, and with all the enthusiastic coverage and discussion surrounding them, it's easy to get game envy. And while it's bordering on trite to say "be thankful for what you have," try not to get caught up in what you don't have. Next week, we're going to be putting up an article or two in the Thanksgiving spirit -- some touchy-feely junk about appreciation and family and sharing things about gaming, because we often forget how important that stuff is.
As my friend Shane Bettenhausen used to say on our 1UP Yours podcast, "it's nice to want things." While that’s completely true, it's pretty nice to have things, too.
On that note, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing in.
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I am a 27 year-old and I am working at Whataburger and I hate it. I am asking for your help. I love to play video games and I would like a career in that field, but I can't find anything on that out here in Arizona. So if you could please point me the way on where to get this job so I can stop flipping burgers. -- James M.
If you're serious enough about it to move to a different part of the country, you're going to want to look at Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas/Austin, and New York/Boston. This is assuming you're talking about getting into the development side of the industry. Also be aware that "loving to play video games" is naturally assumed by most potential employers, so your resume needs to be a little more robust. If you need help on that front, then you should probably be looking at educational options before diving headlong into the job pool -- frequent layoffs mean that there are plenty of pre-qualified people struggling to find work, and that's going to be your competition.
But by no means should you let your age get in the way of starting something from scratch. It's never too late for a fresh start.
What do you guys think of the sense of history in Assassin's Creed II? Is it easier to use historical figures, as opposed to inventing brand new characters? I personally think the commitment to staying historically, architecturally, and linguistically accurate is not only commendable but refreshing. Do you see this type of effort in other games? Do you think this sets a standard for more educational (for lack of a better term) games? -- jcoffiel
I think it only tends to work in one of two ways: when the history is vague enough to allow the game designers and writers to add elements to the fiction that can plausibly fit in with the characters and time period (like Leonardo in ACII, or to use an example from television, William Randolph Hearst in Deadwood), or when you go completely off-the-wall, like say, Nazi dinosaurs in World War II. Or really, ACII's entire conclusion.
We'll definitely see more of the historical approach in the remaining Assassin's Creed games, but I'd definitely like to see more developers crack open the history books. Both Uncharted games drew upon real explorers and adventurers, but like Assassin's Creed, couldn't resist throwing in the mystical elements at the end. For games that deal only with "real" history, we'll have to continue to make do with games set in WWII (minus the dinos) and westerns.
With the disappointing sales of Brutal Legend, the closing of Pandemic studios, and the recent announcement of revitalizing old brands do you believe the "evil company" EA is beginning to emerge? Or do you think the gaming population is over speculating? -- JTHMROCKS
Brutal Legend failing to catch on fire at retail doesn't involve the forces of good and evil, it just means that it was a difficult game to market to the average consumer. Likewise, the closing of Pandemic had more to do with that studio's development process and the economy at large. As someone who has been laid off from jobs during the holidays (twice, actually, from the same company), it's easy to attribute it to Evil Executives cackling and toasting themselves in a dark, smoke-filled boardroom, but it's all about numbers. EA took a gamble by attempting to focus on new IP, and it wasn't successful enough to stave off unfortunate changes that we're seeing now.
EA certainly hasn't been perfect this generation (they are the company that started to charge us for unlocking what used to be cheat codes), but they used to be far worse, and there are far worse things happening now.
(The real problem that EA needs to deal with immediately is Jeff Green and his mailbag.)
I was just wondering what degree would be required for a job position like Alison Haislip or Chris Hardwick? -- ballaohollic3
Web Soup host Chris Hardwick says:
I majored in Attack of the Show Studies with a minor in dick jokes. Other than that, this is the only other degree that your future colleagues would require:
In the past few years, the movie industry has seen a lot of movies based off of remakes of old movies, old T.V. shows, video games, and books, and it almost seems as if Hollywood is starting to run out of ideas for making original pictures. Do you see the video game industry falling victim to this trend or is it safe to say that there will always be new and original games for years to come? -- Armada88
With all of the major releases this holiday season being "2"s (Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Assassin's Creed II, Uncharted 2) , do you think we'll see any new IPs (besides things like Brutal Legend and Borderlands) that could be as good as any of any of those games anytime soon, like starting around, Spring '10? -- Tjoeb123
These questions give me the perfect excuse to do one of my favorite time-wasting "research" projects at work: compile a release list for the next 3-to-6 months and daydream about how awesome each and every game is going to be until it's time to go home. The Bad News: we've got a lot more "2s" to go in 2010:
- Red Dead Redemption (sequel to Red Dead Revolver)
- Mass Effect 2
- Just Cause 2
- Army of Two: 40th Day
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Mafia II
- BioShock 2
- Red Steel 2
- Lost Planet 2
- Dead Rising 2
- Supreme Commander 2
- Crysis 2
- Valkyria Chronicles 2
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Sin & Punishment 2
- Crackdown 2
- Starcraft II
Of course, this isn't really "bad" news (except maybe for Iron Man 2…), but as it stands now, next year doesn't appear to be very risky. Heavy Rain, Brink, Alan Wake, Epic Mickey, and The Last Guardian all have tremendous potential in that they already seem to be critical darlings, but Mickey might be the only one of that group with the potential to be picked up by a mass audience. But hey, at least we have three Call of Duty teams now. And, uh…that's…pretty…awesome. I think.
F7 Letter of the Week
I am considering purchasing a new game council and I was wondering which system I should get? Which system will give me the best graphics? Also most importantly which council will continue to produce awesome games and will last longer? I don't want to wast my money by buying an x-box 360 only to find out that they are coming out with a better council in a year. -- Brian
As a product of the University of Wisconsin system, it saddens me to see this from a UW-Milwaukee address. The student console really needs to address the falling standards.
WEBMASTER HATES YOU
We are a small singing group (four people) from St. Petersburg, Russia. We often go on concert tours abroad and we would be happy to give concert at your venue, church or hall. Please, contact us if interested or able to help.
LYRA vocal ensemble
St. Petersburg, Russia
Due to the current economic climate in the United States, we at the Church of Comcast have been forced to cut back on our annual holiday services in an effort to save costs. This has left us in a bit of a lurch as far as entertainment options go, so we are definitely interested in "receiving concert" from LYRA.
Please send a recent demo tape and potential set list to the attention of Rev. Ryan Seacrest, and we shall proceed from there.
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