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Afterthoughts of Gaming

April 12, 2009

There is a tendency to simply port games to PC after or alongside their major console release. Often this is when a game is being pushed onto as many consoles as possible. Take the upcoming (and dare I say awesome-looking) Ghostbusters game for XBox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Playstation 2, and PC. That’s a lot of resources to spread around, especially considering the unique art style of the Wii and PS2 versions (at least there is no DS or PSP version announced… yet). The issue is that console games HAVE to be game-killing-bug free and usually won’t be published if said bugs exist. PC games do not come with this restriction as they can be patched willy nilly. What ends up happening, then, is that if developers have to focus on putting their game on multiple platforms, the PC version ends up getting ignored in favor of patching it later.

Once in a while, though, we see the PC version of a game come out later instead of at the same time to make it all around compatible with every possible setup. Mirror’s Edge is a decent example of this, however there is the issue that single-player games tend to phase out of people’s minds after 2-3 months. Multiplayer and DLC keeps a game alive. Mirror’s Edge had no multiplayer, the DLC wasn’t out yet, the PC version came out 2 months after its console release, and besides the added bonus of PhysX, didn’t bring anything else to the table.

Then there’s Braid. It got off to a rough start with the Steam version being delayed by around 7 hours, but at least it finally came out and I’m having so much fun with it. To have waited this long for it to arrive on PC has been torture to say the least, as I do not own a 360 and only got the chance to fiddle around with it, not actually sit down and play it through. The PC version does come with a level editor, technically, but there is no documentation or easy way to load custom levels. Done correctly, a level editor can give a game an INCREDIBLY long lifespan as communities develop which are devoted entirely to creating custom content for the game, which is why Epic always ships their games with an editor.

A community devoted to creating Braid levels, new stories for Tim, and possibly even new time-shifting mechanics would be fantastic, although I do not personally know the capabilities of the editor. Should it be powerful enough, though, I would say there would need to be some easier way to access custom levels, either that we made or downloaded. The editor is there, we just need to know how to use it and we need to be able to access our content.

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