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Ben’s Week In Review: May 18

Another week of interesting news, and as usual, I have something to say. I don't believe in long, drawn-out intros for these pieces, so…

I blinked, and the music genre EXPLODED

Man, what happened? It seems like yesterday I was grinning at the unique and oddly addicting PaRappa the Rapper , but now that I think about it, that was about 10 years ago. Now, I haven't jumped into the Guitar Hero , Rock Band or SingStar games; the last music-based game I bought was Amplitude for the PS2, which I absolutely adored. I have this little hang-up about playing games with anything but a standard controller (blame it on 23+ years of using nothing but), so I've never been able to summon the motivation to buy one of those expensive music game kits. But as expensive as they are, people just love them. The Guitar Hero and SingStar franchises have sold millions worldwide, the first Rock Band has sold 3 million copies so far, and Konami has just revealed Rock Revolution for release this fall. These games are like the ultimate multiplayer/party titles, and just about anyone can get hooked on them. I may not ever be one of them, but I'm just blown away by this genre's unbelievable success over the past decade.

It helps that there's a steadily growing number of casual gamers out there, and that the industry becomes more mainstream by the day. But even so, it's amazing that just about every music-based game has been excellent; the average score for all titles in this category has got to be over a 9! I'm probably missing the boat, but I only just realized how huge these games are. Just…wow.

EA taking a big chance with next Medal of Honor?

We have heard that EA plans to overhaul their lackluster Medal of Honor franchise, but their idea may become immensely controversial . Their survey asks gamers what they think about basing the next entry around Operation Anaconda, a true-to-life coalition offensive from 2002 that targeted Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists. Now, there are video games for just about every war on record, but this is a matter of timing. Because this war on terror continues at this very moment, the subject matter may be too sensitive… If video games had been around in 1946, would we have had World War II titles only a year after the war ended? Thing is, when something like this is fresh in people's minds, they can be touchy about what forms of entertainment they will accept. I'm guessing that if EA makes a game based on Al-Qaeda, it will hit the mainstream media like a ton of bricks and there could be significant backlash. Then again, I could be completely wrong; perhaps enough time has elapsed since 9/11 and perhaps a few gamers are just itching for a shot at some terrorists.

In all honesty, what exactly is the difference between hunting Nazis and hunting the Taliban? I can't spot a difference, but again, it may be too soon…

Personal gaming update

Well, a friend of mine has loaned me his disc 4 for Lost Odyssey so I should finally be able to finish that game…many, many months after I started. As I've said numerous times before, my damn disc kept freezing on me so I couldn't advance through the final area. Beyond that, I'm still splitting time between Grand Theft Auto IV , Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds and Gran Turismo 5: Prologue . The latter two are almost complete, though, so I'll soon be able to focus all my energy on completing GTAIV. I want to finish that before MGS4 hits on June 12, but if I don't, I will NOT buy Kojima's masterpiece until I see the end credits for GTAIV. I just won't. Only one awesome game at a time, thanks. 😉

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