Maybe. In the sense that (dare I say it?) something like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a commentary on Hamlet, perhaps. Asteroid’s Revenge. All I know is that I suck at it.
You do have to admire the trick with the lives though; The echo of the asteroids shrinking in the original is cute and also neat from a balance point of view. Your first life, you’re far more likely to get hit, but can do more damage. By your third life, you are playing differently and are harder to hit, extending your gameplay more.
Today I see that Bloglines readers are once again back in numbers. I assume that whatever was messing up the feed for most of them ever since I upgraded to WordPress 2 has fixed itself somehow (even though when I went to Bloglines, I never saw anything wrong).
So, welcome back. You have lots to catch up on, starting around here.
For better or worse, the consensus developing among gamers is definitely that microtransactions are a bad thing. Witness The microtransaction song, from Shacknews. And today I read in a thread on Joystiq or Kotaku (no, I can’t tell them apart, and don’t lynch me over it!) the cute summary that “Companies and gamers like different things about microtransactions. We like that we can buy things fast. They like that they can put everything under restrictive licenses, sell you incomplete games, force you to overspend buying points in blocks, and ding you over and over for stuff that should have been free.”
A really long time ago now I wrote a song that was sort of about the Rapture. Specifically, it was a song that wondered, what if the Rapture happened, and because the world generally sucked, almost nobody actually got taken up? I decided to write a song about the one town that was actually good enough to get saved. I wanted the lyric to have an urban legend feel — like, how did anyone ever hear this even happened if the whole town vanished? (That’s why it comes from “a friend of a friend.”) And what if it was aliens, instead — how do we know it was really the Rapture, and not something else? The song was an acoustic piece, lots of floaty suspended chords and fingerpicking, very mellow vibe.
Another really long time ago, but not as long — maybe eight or nine years — we had a spare bedroom where Todd McKimmey & I would do recording. And one of the tunes that Todd decided that we should record was this one. Naturally, Todd being Todd, he wanted to put drums and electric guitars on it. I think it was one of the first times I ever played to a drum machine, actually (which means I wasn’t very good at it!).
Well, I found that recording lurking on my hard drive this morning. Alas, Todd was unable to scare up a choir for the chorus, so there’s a point where there’s nothing but clapping and the voice. That’s him on bass and electric, plus the drum machine programming of course.
We went on to do some rather odd and interesting co-writes, usually with him supplying the heavy rock & me doing lyrics and melody. I have those lurking on my hard drive too.
I was with you until your final comments. Outside the US, MMOs/online games are moving to a Virtual Asset Purchase model. They are selling you the songs while sitting by the campfire is free (though you don’t get many songs until you pay, to strain your metaphor). Second Life should be the same. Where they have run into trouble is that they do not manage “song creation” / virtual asset creation by their players well so their DRM system is not effective – and has begun to undermine the player-driven economy. Whether it is possible to do so in a system like Second Life is a subject of a different discussion, but “song sales” seem to be growing rapidly as the business model (according to Gamasutra, microtransactions now drive about 50% of the Korean online game industry).
Here comes another… this one, from GarageGames. The Great Games Experiment is a site where you join a social networking service of gamers, developers, and publishers. At heart, it’s a social network, but it does allow uploading of games to the site. More here about how it works.
Clearly, this whole “YouTube for Games” thing is something lots of site owners are interested in, and probably some developers. But are a lot of players actually looking for it? I don’t know yet. Guess we’ll see soon enough.