Things I hate this week

Written by Wil Harris

February 19, 2006 | 19:16

Tags: #24 #graphics-cards #hdcp #katamari-damacy #shadow-of-the-colossus #tomb-raider

Companies: #ati #ico #nvidia #sony

This industry needs to grow up.

There, I've said it. After the last couple of weeks (which have been chock full of just utter immaturity on so many counts) I'm fed up with spin, hackery, out-of-context quotes, denial, rumour and old video game consoles.

Let's start with the simple stuff - the new incarnation of Tomb Raider, hitting store shelves very soon. Eidos/SCI, the publisher, has called it "the most important Tomb Raider yet" - a game which marks a return to its roots in pure gameplay, before Lara became an icon. A game which reinvents a tired genre and a tired brand. A game which once again invites female gamers to play a female protagonist, something they all-too-rarely get the chance to do. By all standards, the new Tomb Raider game - with a far more mainstream mindshare than most other game brands - is a great opportunity to show the general populous how gaming has progressed as a social past time over the last few years. An opportunity to show that gaming has grown up.

"Not content to let the quality of the game speak for itself, Eidos have roped in another ropey model to 'be' Lara Croft for promotional events"

And then you have this. Not content to let the quality of the game speak for itself, Eidos have roped in another ropey model to 'be' Lara Croft for promotional events. No, they can't let it go - the big breasts, the cute butt, the ****-me ponytail. The man who is supposed to be 'Brand Controller' for Tomb Raider, some idiot by the name of Matt Gorman, even had a humourous quote for the press - "[our new model] has all the assets needed to accurately portray the world's favourite female action hero."

He said 'assets'. LOL!

How about, his job is Brand Controller. Why doesn't he stop making his brand look like an excuse for a teenage masturbate-a-thon and concentrate on making the game fantastic and accessible to as many people as possible. Surely that would be a far better direction to take the brand in?

Next up on my list of vitriol is graphics card manufacturers. All of them. We've read an awful lot this week about the fact that no graphics card that you can buy right now has HDCP support. Why do you need HDCP? Because the vast majority of next-generation HD-DVDs are going to require it. Hell, a lot of new digital TV content is going to require it. Vista will integrate it. Every new HDTV you can buy will integrate it. But, spend £1000 on a SLI or CrossFire setup today and you are out of luck, buddy. Think that all those nice video processing features ATI and Nvidia have are going to help you watch HD-DVD? You're not even going to be able to watch in HD, prepare to have your video downscaled because you have non-compliant hardware.

Every firm I've looked at and talked to says they have HDCP compatible GPUs. Actually enabling that support is up to board partners, who are required to stick an extra chip on the board. However, since board partners all use reference designs that come straight from the graphics companies, and those reference designs don't have them, you and I don't get HDCP.

I've been told by a variety of companies that 'HDCP isn't important' or 'Isn't a requirement for this generation of products.' Not important? So commercial HD-DVD content isn't important to you people? And not a requirement? So you're happy to sell a £500 graphics card now that's next-to-useless when Vista hits? Cheers, chaps.
All the graphics companies need to pull their heads out of the sand on this one. People are starting to notice. They're starting to notice that the graphics companies, collectively, don't give a crap about our HD-DVD experience. Unless this situation is sorted out, and sharpish, there's going to be a pretty large amount of annoyed high-end computer buyers in a few months time.

Who's next on my flame-list?

It's Sony. No, not for their DRM-infested faux-CDs. Not for the stupid lockdown they keep trying on the PSP with every firmware update. No, it's because they're finally making me go and buy a PS2.

"Let's get one thing straight: I hate the PS2"

Let's get one thing straight: I hate the PS2. I hate the fact that it has awful graphics. I can't stand that bloody Dual Shock controller. It's only got two controller ports, limiting its usefulness as a party console. It's old. Oh, and Sony just get on my nerves too, for the reasons above.

I have held out on buying a PS2 for so incredibly long. When that thing came out, I was working in Woolworths on a Saturday, flogging CDs and this crazy new format called DeeVeeDee. This was my Saturday job that kept me in Star Wars memorabilia throughout my school days. Times have changed, but some things are the same - I wasn't bothered about the PS2 then, and I'm not bothered now.

Apart from just a couple of things. After playing Xbox 360 for a while, one thing has become apparent - pure gameplay is making a resurgence. My favourite 360 title isn't Perfect Dark, or Dead or Alive - it's Geometry Wars, an addictive, psychadelic arcade fest. It's awesome. I'm hankering for more. Two games have caught my attention recently - Shadow of the Colossus (and its predecessor, Ico) and We Love Katamari (and its predecessor, Katamari Damacy). These games all eschew graphical fancyness for pure gameplay, and have had rave reviews. I'm dying to get my hands on them just to see if all the hype is worth it. After Geometry Wars, I feel my mind is far more open to this kind of thing. Maybe this is one area where the industry doesn't need to grow up.

Oh, and there's the small matter of the 24 game. With those buggers at Sony making sure it's a PS2 exclusive (did I mention I hate Sony?) I'm left with no choice but to pursue my Elisha Cuthbert obsession on this crummy old console. C'est la vie.

So, it's off into GameStation for me, trying to spend the least amount of money possible on a second hand PS2, then seeing if I can hock the games off Ebay for minimum cash. Damn them.

Last off all, I hate President Logan. When is that guy going to grow a spine?
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