« Be A Game Designer | Main | Speaking of Variance »

May 19, 2005


Paul Herzberg

In his book Something Like An Autobiography, Akira Kurosawa is asked "What is cinema?" and he tells the following story:

"Long ago the Japanese novelist Shiga Noya presented an essay written by his grandchild as one of the most remarkable prose pieces of his time. He had it published in a literary magazine. It was entitled “My Dog” and ran as follows: "My dog resembles a bear; he also resembles a badger; he also resembles a fox…." It proceeded to enumerate the dog’s special characteristics, comparing each one to yet another animal, developing into a full list of the animal kingdom. However, the essay closed with, "But since he’s a dog, he most resembles a dog." I remember bursting out laughing when I read this essay, but it makes a serious point. Cinema resembles so many other arts. If cinema has very literary characteristics, it also has theatrical qualities, a philosophical side, attributes of painting and sculpture and music elements. But cinema is, in the final analysis, cinema."

Change a couple of words and you could probably say almost exactly the same thing about computer games.


That book seemed like a good deal. I don't even know what the conversion is between USD and GBP, but I bought it anyway. 8 GBP turns out to be a bit over $14, but I still think it is worth it.

I think I may have still paid that much for the book if I knew it from the beginning, especially since it is apparently $182 (100 GBP) off!

Obi Busta Nobi

I've been hearing good things about Burnout 3 as well.

Just finished Revenge of the Sith on PS2. I have mixed feelings. It certainly was a bit short and repetitive (low variance), but it did capture the movie well as far as light saber duels, music, and integration of movie clips.

Any other e3 news? I'm working, so I couldn't make it out this year. The PS3 visuals I've seen are amazing! I've heard the price point might be a bit steep, I wonder if that might hurt Sony? I guess they have a while to think about it. I'm encouraged by the new x-box coming out. I really hate the big black box that encases it now and the controllers have always been a handful. Glad to see Microsoft got some cues from Apple and decided to design a box that is appealing to the eye and ergodynamic. Someone called it an "iPod on steroids." Any Nintendo news? I just saw the little balck box they showed. It's cool that it will be backward compatible all the way to the dawn of Nintendo time.

Noel Llopis

I actually do like racing games and I find Burnout 3 to be lots of fun (but not even close to a racing game). The sense of speed on a widescreen TV is just amazing, and the soundtrack is perfect.

Maybe multiplayer is different, but I haven't encountered the high variance yet. They've done a wonderful job of balancing it so if you crash or they take you out, you're back on the track and only lost a handful of seconds.

Burnout 3 actually follows one of my rules of game design (which I've been meaning to write about in my web site for ages), which is that of negative feedback. I find that games that have positive feedback (the better you do, the further ahead you are) are not fun at all to play. In Burnout 3, if you get ahead all by yourself, you're not going to get much boost, so the cars that are fighting it out behind you are going to catch up pretty quickly.

They also clearly added something that will make cars wait for you if you fall totally behind, so then you can start taking them out and quickly reach the lead.

As I said, I only put in about 10 hours so far, but it's the most fun I've had with an arcade racer in a long time. I wonder how Midnight Club 3 is going to compare to this.

Jamie Fristrom

On the races where you have a preassigned car I noticed the variance the most: seemed to me that slight differences in position made the AI do different things which meant you crash; and although crashing would only dock you five seconds, two-three crashes would mean the difference between gold and silver.

And some of the "variance" is just me being whiny: a car would change lanes right in front of me and I'd eat it. Yes, I could have found a better line. Still, at my skill level, there it is: somewhere around a 50-75% chance of losing a race due to what seem like accidents.

Obi Bust Nobi

Finally got a copy of Burnout 3 from a co worker for the PS2. So far I'm not disappointed and I can see what everyone is talking about. Love the crashes! So far the only thing that has been annoying was at the very start, not being able to button through the intro/tutorial cutscene. Although, I do admit it was pretty informative. It brings up a point. How much tutorial is good before it gets annoying? You want to teach the player how to play your game, but I find it frustrating when none of my button presses work.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game