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March 26, 2006



Halo "innovative?" It's the poster child for combining proven existing design with superlative execution.


A few years ago we randomly started getting Wired. We figured someone gave it to me/us as a present (my birthday is in January, so it sorta made sense). But we never found out who "gave" it to us. We liked it so much we renewed ever since.

So maybe Wired just gives away subscriptions randomly to see if you will renew. It's working so far...

Robert 'Groby' Blum

It's just GDC time. It's fashionable to whine we don't innovate around that time - beats the heck out of me why. Completely off the cuff, this is missing (in the last two years) at least Katamari Damacy, Guitar Hero, Shadow of the Collossus, Brain Age. (Yes. OK. I'm addicted to Brain Age. I still think it's advancing the state of gaming.)

It's the nature of innovation that it only happens from time to time. How many groundbreaking books, films, pieces of music are there each year?

Oh, and great finally seeing you in person at GDC!


I've still not played Nintendogs; I can't help but think about the old PC game Dogz. How different is Nintendogs so far as gameplay, night and day?

Gregory John

Spider-Man 2 is innovative.

Jay Woodward

""There's not enough innovation in games!"" ;)

Did you attend the rant session? Did you hear Jon Blow? I didn't. But I read about after the fact. He expressed pretty succinctly what ought to be staring us all in the face all the time:

"Stories don't need this kind of innovation to resonate with the audience; neither do paintings, or songs. And the holy books of the world's religions have been read by many, many more people than any Michael Crichton bestseller. People think about them all the time. It's because those books are important to peoples' lives.

If we are going to reach our potential when innovation dries up, we need to be important. We need to speak to the human condition.We need to make games that people care about so much, they can't not play them."


I agree that the apparent lapse (in an otherwise uplifting issue of Wired) is maybe an oversight. Either way, I can assure you that come next GDC, a whole new wave of interactive storytelling products will be getting some attention as the first generation of a whole new mode of gameplay. Nobody will be bitching about innovation then.


Hey, if you're going to delete my "not" comment you should delete the "Spiderman 2 is innovative" comment also. I supported my statement just as much as he did his. Tell me why Spiderman 2 is innovative, someone.

Jamie Fristrom

Sorry, but a post that just says "not" written by yeah@whatever.com looks a lot like some kind of random comment spam - I didn't know.
Anyhow, to blow my own horn, Spidey 2 was innovative both in gameplay because of the core swinging mechanic which I don't think we've seen in a videogame before but also technically with the see-the-whole-city level of detail system. But hey, I'm biased. And I wouldn't expect to see it in the WIRED list, since they were pretty good about avoiding franchise-license type stuff.


feh....you can do the swing-shoot grapple-swing thing in Bionic Commando and the Worms games, just off the top of my head. There's probably a lot of grapple mods in FPS game that do the same thing also.
In the GTA 3+ games you couldn't see the whole city at once, true, but you could see a lot of it...IMO the difference is minor.


The biggest innovation in wow is what I call "the unethical design" (TUD). TUD is aimed at keeping the people pay the monthly fee at lowest possible development cost. It works sort of like gambling. First they make certain objects desirable, then they set extremely low probabilities on opportunity to obtain them. This is done either by explicitly setting the probability to something like 0.1% or by setting the probability to 6% and dividing it by 40 people. TUD is an example how a game can be addictive in a very cheapo bad way. This type of design should be penalized by law.


Re: "yeah" dude.

The swinging mechanic was critically acclaimed by most reviewers:

"inexhaustible joys of swinging"

"nailed the peculiar sense of elasticity and athleticism that was so brilliantly captured in the Spider-Man movie, while capturing a dazzling sense of aerial freedom like no other game has before it."
"it specializes in creating a sense of fluid body-flinging goodness that unquestionably outperforms all previous Spider-Man games like an Olympic Gold Metal sprinter outrunning a high school running star"

"The best part of the game is the new swinging mechanic."

"Every person has different gaming memories that they will cherish for a lifetime, whether it be concocting a strategy to take down a difficult boss or achieving the highest score in an arcade game. There are some experiences, however, that transcend individual taste and must be seen by the entire gaming populace. Battling Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid; staring wide-eyed as you call forth your first summoned monster in Final Fantasy VII; scoring a massive combo in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3; jacking your first car in Grand Theft Auto III; and now…web swinging in Spider-Man 2."
"It’s an amazing sensation to say the very least, and the closest a game has come to accurately conveying the incredible powers and supernatural abilities of a superhero."

"One of the best features of them is the games swing system."

And even the worst review gives positive credit to the swinging system:
"The main mechanic that makes Spider-Man 2 worth playing is the way you swing around the city. "


TH3? Talk about damning with faint praise.


Web swinging in Spiderman 2 is one of those OH YEAH THIS IS GREAT!! moments in recent gaming years. IMHO the game as a whole was not particularly interesting, but as far as innovation goes, it does deserve a mention.


Who cares what a bunch of reviewers say? We weren't talking about if Spiderman-2 was a well reviewed game or if swinging was critically acclaimed. We were talking about if it was innovative. Were you not paying attention?

Innovative is not the same as good, you can be good without being innovative, you can be innovative without being good.

I can't believe you dug up all those reviews to try to prove me wrong. So that's your entire argument, listing a bunch of web links. Ok, you win, I can't withstand your incredible intellectual assault. At least I cited examples.

Plus, having the word "pimp" in your name is a mistake. It suggests that you're 16, white, ignorant, wearing a baseball cap, and living in 2003. I'm guessing you aren't all of those things though, probably only 2 or 3.


Yeah, you just should have left his trolls deleted, Jamie.


re: yeah on innovation
If you spent the time actually reading some of the quotes you'd have noticed that people give credit to the game for being the most successful at conveying the sensation of possessing superhero powers. Is it innovative? It's agruable but something that has never been done before (conveying the thrilling sense of aerial freedom and superhero powers) in my mind certainly qualifies as something innovative. It certainly is not a technological innovation or a design innovation alone, it's a combination of factors that all fell in place. It would not qualify for a patent, no. Still, it's hard to argue with the fact that it's a novel experience. I also completely agree with all the incredible logical conclusions that you drew form my satiric nickname and sincerely apologize for offending you with it.


I don't buy that whole innovation-is-dead arguement. Spiderman 2 as cited above, GTA3, Guitar Hero, Nintendogs, WoW, Kart Rider, Geometry Wars, Psychonauts, Katamari Damacy... no matter what yardstick you apply there are always a few shining examples of innovation. It's just hard to see them whilst wallowing in all the crap. Look back in time, the crap fades away and the gems remain fresh in memory.

Sort of a rose-colored view of history I guess.

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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