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The GameGuy: The “Small-time” Edition
By Mark H. Walker (email@example.com)
I’ve got a new book on the way. Tentatively
titled The 100 Greatest Games of all Time
(and the folks who made them), the book discusses everything from Monopoly
to Doom, Magic the Gathering to Bridge. Central to its success is input by the
games’ creators. What inspired Romero when he coded Doom, did Larry Harris have any idea that Axis and Allies would sell three-quarter of a million copies?
The publisher and I were discussing the
challenges in drawing meaningful comments from such a diverse lot when I
stumbled on a simple truth. The big names are never difficult to reach. They
want to tell their story. When I was writing The Video Game Almanac, Romero called me out of the blue to discuss
video game history, Sid Meier eagerly contributed his thoughts with little more
preamble than an email to his publicist. Conversely, my battery of calls and
emails to recalcitrant smaller companies remain unanswered to this day.
I still write the occasional review. I love
voicing my opinion, and reviews well suite my writing style. What I don’t like
is prying review product from tight-fisted companies. Again, Microsoft will
send me betas of their latest games and it only takes an email to Blizzard or
Activision to get whatever assistance I need, but God forbid I should ask for
dinner scraps from the small-time folks. There’s a lesson to be gleaned from
the 236 previous words, and it applies to everything from computer games to
collective security. Big-time companies act big time; small-time companies act
small time. That’s why they stay that way.
No one said my Tight Takes have to be about
computer games. Heck, truth be known, no one ever says much of anything about
them. So in this column my words wander through a game, and a movie. Not in
Underworld… beware yuppette critics with painted lips and pretty boy reviewers
who stayed awake during The English
Patient. They will not like this movie and their lives will be smaller for
it. Moody, stylistic, and fast, this is one of the best action movies of the
year. And Kate Beckinsale? What can you say about an actress who plays the lead
in a romantic romp (Serendipity), subtle
British comedy (Cold Comfort Farm),
and this gem of an action-horror flick with equal skill? She’s awesome.
Storm 2… nah, it isn’t out yet, but the demo sure
looks good. Think World War II vintage Jagged
Alliance and you’ll get the picture. Graphics as lovely as Ms. Beckinsale
and a challenging turn-based tactical combat engine bode well for this
strategy-RPG hybrid. The game is due out in 2004. If Nival can string together
a bunch of interesting missions in a reasonably sound story line, Silent Storm 2 could go places.
Finally, long time gamers will remember Wasteland, an RPG that many claim
spawned Fallout. Well, guess who now
owns the rights to that name? InXile Entertainment. That’s Brian Fargo’s (the
former CEO of Interplay) new company. Only Mr. Fargo knows if there is a Wasteland 2 in the wings, but if he
decides to do it, at least he is ready. I like the way he thinks… it’s big
© Mark H. Walker, LLC 2001
H. Mark H.
Walker is a veteran interactive entertainment journalist who has written over
40 books and designs games including his soon to be released Lock ‘n Load
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