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GameGuy: The “I Told
You So” Edition
By Mark H. Walker
My three regular readers will remember that
last year I predicted Sony would win the console wars. At that time the Xbox
was just a potential hole in gamers’ wallets, and we were all making predictions.
Some people compared the system specifications of the big three (GameCube,
PlayStation 2, and Xbox), some people compared the price, and some people
compared the financial resources. What they forgot to compare were the games. I
predicted that only the PlayStation Deuce would have them in sufficient
quantity to win the war. You know what? I’m right.
Oh, the battle isn’t over yet, but it
doesn’t look good for Sony’s competitors. Recent data shows that Sony’s
consoles have 57% of the market share. Their nearest competitor is Nintendo
with 21%. Microsoft trails with 9%. Even more damning are the software sales
figures. In statistics compiled by the Video Dealers Software Association for
the month of March, PlayStation 2 titles claimed nine of the top ten spots. The
GameCube’s Agent Under Fire was the
sole interloper. Microsoft claims they’ll turn a profit by 2004. I think
they’ll be history.
No Accounting for Taste
That same software list that aptly shows
Sony’s dominance brings other damning news. Second on the scroll of March’s
most popular games is Rockstar’s State of
Emergency. I though that the XFL finally proved that you *CAN*
underestimate the consumer’s intelligence. I guess State of Emergency proves me wrong. Picture this: A country shocked
by a catastrophic terrorist attack, a country mourning its lost innocents, a
game company making bags of money with a game that promotes terrorism. Is there
something wrong with that picture?
of Might and Magic IV is a semi-radical departure
from the series. For openers, the game has gone 3-D. The switch is most
noticeable in the battle screen. Gone are the cardboard cutout figures and
side-scrolling view of Heroes of Might
and Magic days gone by. In their place are wonderfully animated, miniature-quality
figures. It’s not as pretty as Etherlords,
but it’s a step in the right direction.
Also radical is the hero’s presence on the
battlefield. We’ve been used to heroes lagging behind, casting their spells
from the back of a horse. Now they’ll wade into the fray, slinging fire bolts,
and swinging swords with the best of them. Not nice is the game’s aversion to
video cards. It’s finicky at best,
downright un-playable at worst.
Finicky video car compatibility aside, Heroes of Might and Magic IV looks to be
a winner. It’s high time that the game went 3-D and plopping the heroes on the
battlefield provides a sense of urgency not felt in the previous editions. I’ll
know more after I’ve logged some hours at the screen, but at first glance this
looks to be the series’ best.
Hey, maybe they’ll do another PlayStation 2
port. You know, they won’t risk betting on Microsoft’s losing horse.
© Mark H. Walker, LLC 2001
H. Walker is a veteran interactive entertainment journalist who has written
over 40 books including his recently released Medal of Honor and Wizardry 8
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