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01 May 2006 @ 09:30 pm
Interview  
01. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
02. I will respond by asking you five questions of a somewhat questionable nature.
03. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
04. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
05. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

If you'd like to be interviewed but don't want to post this in your own LJ, you can always answer in another comment. Take that, meme!

Interview from fin

1. Do you think the Wii will be able to reclaim Nintendo's place as the supreme gaming console?

I think Nintendo has, for better or worse, carved itself a fairly unique niche in the video games market. The way I see it, the Gamecube never really competed head on with the PS2/Xbox in the same way that the Wii won't really be competing head on with the PS3/Xbox 360.

Basically, those two new generation consoles are pushing graphics in a direction they've been headed for a while - deeper into the territory of photo-realism. On the other hand, Nintendo has never really ventured that far into that photo-realistic world - certainly not with first-party titles. So, Nintendo is not going to be about satisfying gamer's craving for super-duper new generation graphics. And, I appreciate that that is the kind of gaming experience that a lot of the gaming community is looking for.

What Nintendo does well is create a system that represents are more "silly" sort of fun (many would call it "kiddy", but I disagree). Nintendo games mean cartoony graphics, party-style multiplayer and wacky fantasy settings. Nintendo is stacks of fun, and the innovations of the Wii will hopefully draw a lot more people to it.

Another thing that is in Nintendo's favour is price. Because they aren't going for photo-realism, Nintendo can bring out a new console with much lower technical specs than its rivals, and yet still create cool looking graphics. This means that they can sell the console for much less than a PS3 or Xbox 360. I'll be expecting the PS3 to launch at maybe around $700, with a Wii at around $300. That means a couple of things: Firstly, some people (particularly parents buying a console for their kids for Christmas) will be swayed to buy the Wii by price alone. Secondly, it is cheap enough (and different enough) that many gamers who do buy a PS3 or 360 will buy a Wii for a second console.

So, I guess I'll be surprised if the Wii becomes the number one console of the new generation, but I'm convinced it will sell really well. And, another thing to remember is that we see the console wars from a Western context. In Japan it's a whole different story, and Nintendo is going to kill them over there.

2. Snakes on a Plane - do you have high hopes for this film?

This is easily the greatest example of unintentional viral marketing. I mean, the film has received so much unanticipated attention that they did a 5-day reshoot to bring the movie more in line with what people have built it up to be. I expect it to be just as it sounds, a big ball o' cheese. Can't wait.

3. Was there a defining moment of clarity when you lost your faith in God, or would you say that you just "grew out of it"?

Definitely gradual, but I wouldn't say I grew out of anything. Instead, I grew in to skepticism. I've long been interested in what I'd call "popular science", that is, science that is presented in an entertaining and accessable manner. Think Dr Karl or even The Curiosity Show (if you remember it). Anyway, my interest in science is really from a humanities point-of-view, if that makes sense. I'm a curious guy, but not very practical, so I never really did science.

So, I read/listen to/watch a lot about science. And a big part of that is that there is a lot of discussion about the evidence-based nature of science. As a thinking person, it just gradually become clearer to me that you need a reason to believe in something, beyond that someone just told you it was so. The natural extension of that is that I found myself coming to accept that the only reason I ever had to believe in God was that I was taught, from an early age, that such an entity exists. Realising, finally, that that is no good reason to believe such a thing, and being unable to find any other reason to believe, I was able to let go of the belief.

4. What is your favorite memory from a FOUL / CHAS event?

Isn't that one of those things where if you remember it, you weren't there?

Anyway, it was probably the camp that was held at that Scout place; where the Bible, the Australian flag and the peace were all befouled. That's the one that really epitomises the whole experience for me, without too many negatives. I mean, there were negatives for other people (broken bones, financial losses and generally dealing with shit), but for me it was: booze, nitrous and general wildness on the first night and a quiet beer over a game of Chopoly on the second night. That was a great weekend for me.

5. If somebody, who had sufficient experience and knowledge in the field, and whose opinion you respected, told you that your writing was inferior, and that you'd never make it as a writer, would you consider pursuing a career in another field, and only write as a recreational pastime, or would you persist anyway, because it's what you're passionate about?

Actually, I have more of the opposite problem. People with lots of experience and knowledge in the field, people who I respect greatly, and respect their opinions have told me that my writing is good, and that I have what it takes to make it as a writer. Yet, I find myself not doing much writing. It is a lull that I am trying to break myself out of, however, and I'm working on some new ideas, and trying to motivate myself to get working on some new projects.

To actually answer the question, if someone did tell me that I couldn't cut it, I think I would still try to press on with it. I guess, at this point, I have demonstrated to myself that I have what it takes, and that's really the one person you need to convince.

P.S. I swear that I didn't rig the "now playing", I seriously have iTunes on shuffle.
 
 
Current Music: R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
 
 
 
Robet Éivaayvah on May 1st, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC)
About the Xbox 360:

"As graphics have become more realistic, console hardware has evolved to keep up with the public's demand for intense visuals.

At the same time, NPCs have largely stayed the same slow-witted bots they’ve always been since A.I. is often an afterthought."

"Rather than forcing the main processor to handle multiple jobs, the additional cores can take on the work. Since they're not encumbered with calculating lighting, rendering, or player stats, the other cores can be put to work to make NPCs quickly scrutinise their present situations, and react in intelligent ways."

"What was once a serene city block is transformed into a riot almost instantaneously. Scripted sequences, while appropriate for many situations, just doesn't cut the mustard in creating a situation like this. The massive sense of scale – the sheer sense of chaos – is best handled by A.I. on the fly."

This is one of the things that interests me about it.
Jacobyak_boy on May 1st, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
Big talk, it needs to be backed up with actual games.

Like when the Xbox first came out they made a big deal about the fact that it had a hard-drive and what that might mean to creating persistent worlds where your every action had a major impact. They claimed we could expect to see games where every variable is tracked - every sapling cut down in the past means one less tree in the woods in the present. No such game ever materialised - the closest we got to that was Fable.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 1st, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
Indeed. There's a lot of exaggerated hype about each of the systems.

But reading this, I kind of feel it echo with objectives of Spore... That is, procedural programming.

And when I think about it, it's absolutely perfect for Spore. They'd have to be crazy not to release it on the Xbox 360.
Jacob: 1upyak_boy on May 1st, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
You should listen to the upcoming episode of ExtraLife Radio.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 2nd, 2006 11:26 am (UTC)
Heh. According to "Gaming Steve" (a guy also responsible for leaking concept art from the game), Spore is being developed for the PC and Xbox 360. Also an Xbox 360 executive mentioned when talking about innovative games for the 360.

It seems Will Wright is also interested in porting it to Wii.

Nothing confirmed yet, of course.

So what's this next ExtraLife thing about? I'm unable to load the site.
Jacobyak_boy on May 2nd, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
Site's working fine for me. Anyway, for their next podcast, which is due out in a matter of hours, the main topic of discussion is going to be Spore.

Although, don't expect them to have amazing new insights, it's basically a bunch of guys just chewin' the fat.

It's a cool show though, they have a really good banter going.
sjlsjl on May 1st, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
As yak_boy said -- it's all very well and good to talk about what a console could do, and quite another to actually do it. AI is a very hard problem; just because the system has the raw grunt to do a good job of it, it doesn't necessarily follow that the programmers will be able to exploit that grunt in a useful way.

If I buy a console from this new generation, it will almost certainly be Nintendo's. There's enough there that I genuinely believe the games will be interesting, whilst the other two look to be more of the same.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 2nd, 2006 11:28 am (UTC)
It could quite possibly bring something new to gaming, or it may end up losing what was already there. We'll have to see in which direction the scales tip.
Jacobyak_boy on May 2nd, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC)
Pfft.

It will have an attachment which will make the controller into a "normal" style controller (as well as having controller ports for Gamecube controllers), so I don't see how it can "lose" anything. They're only adding on top of what is already there.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 2nd, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
Normal-ish, anyway. It'll still be a different controller with different buttons, and if people have to actually pay extra for the attachments, it's going to detract from their usefulness.

I mean, it's not enough that you've paid for that new game, but now you have to pay extra so that you can get the right controller/s.

I don't know how big a deal that is, but in any case it's more pieces to lose. People have enough problems with remote controls already. There are a lot of other design flaws we could learn about the controllers, but we'll have to see how this stuff turns out.
Jacobyak_boy on May 2nd, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Judging by previous Nintendo titles that need a "different" controller (Donky Konga, DDR Mario Mix) any extra controllers needed will likely come in a bundle with the game.

I agree that it is a bit of a worry that the Wii is set up to take all sorts of controller adaptors, but Nintendo's got a pretty reasonable pricing structure, so it shouldn't bite too badly.