Archive for category Adam Burch
I was really getting baffled for a while there. I had started things up again with a strong dose of GODHAND and Arkham City. I was gettin’ my Crazy Taxi on. Shit, I was unwrapping myself some Dark Souls, downloading DmC3, re-acquainting myself with some Dead Rising. And the whole damn time I was wondering why I had ever left this glorious land, wondering why I would abandon such bountiful harvest. Everywhere I looked, I saw crunchy, tight gameplay. And so I got sloppy. I starting reading some IGN. I skimmed some Joystiq. Yea, I walked from the path of Action Button. I mean come on, it had been almost 4 years! Things have come far right? And then this turd falls into my fucking lap.
I’ve been playing fighting games competitively for about 3 years now+; I started with Street Fighter 4, and have moved on into Skullgirls. I’ve played hours and hours of the SF4 series. I’ve gone to local tournaments, and even a major. I’ve gone on forums, argued about tiers and techniques, and spent still more time in practice mode refining and discovering my technique.
I’m not a very big fan of the Street Fighter 4 series.
The game is shit. The thoughts behind the game are shit. The talk about the game is shit. Passage is such shit, it is second only to the Wii in caking shit into the very fabric of the mildly noble art of videogames.
What is the defining feature of Super Mario Brothers? Not in the boring terms of cultural cachet, but in the actually interesting terms of game design? What is it that sets SMB apart? We talk and wave our hands about, and mumble words of “gameplay” and “level design”, but what is the core, the glue, the absolute center around which they revolve? Does such a center even exist?
I propose that it does, and that it has a real name: Clear Visual Language.
A Big Thing with videogames these days is difficulty. Difficulty is an especially poorly explored topic, because most videogame critics and designers+ suck at videogames++, and ESPECIALLY at videogames that have Actual Difficulty. Actual Difficulty is a unique beast; it doesn’t rely on memorization, or on setting you back far from where you were+++. It relies on intricate patterns, robust interactions, and strong knowledge of the underlying system mechanics. Actual Difficulty arises solely from strong design, constant testing, and the type of genius that only years of experience can create.
God Hand has more Actual Difficulty in the first level than most designers can fit into their entire game, and all of it comes from constantly varied scenarios that require a mastery of the absurdly robust combat engine Clover Studios birthed.