Month: April 2005

SEGA Fantasy VI

This is absolutely tremendous. The only problem is that you must have played console games for at least ten years and beaten Final Fantasy VI in order to get the full effect.

But it’s touching, and beautiful. Of course, it’s reflected beauty – many fans consider VI to have the best ending of any Final Fantasy game.

Which got me to thinking…why is it that I’ve never played an American-made game that makes me feel at the end the way a Final Fantasy does? Could it be that modern American games are too short to provide the amount of character development and emotional attachment necessary to evoke those feelings at the end? Or could it be that the characters of Japanese RPGs are so simple, earnest and forthright that I, an admitted incurable romantic, can’t help but be won over by them long before the game’s end? It could also have something to do with the fact that game characters still cannot act, and that therefore all their character must come across through what they say; thus a long game with a lot of text, like an FF, has an advantage over shorter games – even ones with full voice acting.

Of course, there are a lot of games I haven’t played – haven’t played Kights of the Old Republic, nor have I finished Planescape: Torment. Perhaps I’ve simply missed the appropriate games. But as the father of three, I don’t have the time to play huge RPGs any more…I’m saving them for my retirement. Would that there was a game I could play in short segments that could give me the emotional payoff of a Final Fantasy…but is that possible?

My First Week

So, I just completed my first week at Gizmondo Studios, Austin (formerly Warthog, formerly Fever Pitch, etc). I’m working on a game for the Gizmondo handheld platform.

I honestly think this is the perfect project for me. While I learned a lot in my years at Multimedia Games, and I will always be grateful to them for giving me my first programming position, I didn’t learn many actual game development topics – the games I made at MGAM had no AI, used no 3D, had no scripts…they were about as simple as games could be and still be called games. While I learned a lot about these topics on my own (an A* pathfinding program I wrote last year just to see if I understood the algorithm is what got me my current gig), I’ve never actually used any of them in my production environment. Handheld games are typically a lot simpler than full-fledged console or PC games, so there’s less pressure and less to learn all at once.

Everybody here seems great…no personality conflicts yet. And I love being back in town – much better lunch options. And I’m getting really good at Mortal Kombat II. I’m going to miss the view from the MGAM building, though (I’ll have to drive back out there and take a picture of it so you can see what I mean).

So far, so good, and I’m really enjoying it.