A post I meant to write two days ago

by Cory

This image has nothing to do with this post, but I found it rather lolsome. I unfortunately have no idea whom to attribute it to.

WiiWare went live on Monday! Six games were released, and if you’re interested in reading more about them, Wired has good coverage.

It seems like a strong beginning, and it’ll be interesting seeing how WiiWare pans out. Will it give developers an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ of Wii development, as a space for proof of concept ideas? Will it attract indie developers working on quirkier, somewhat riskier games? Will WiiWare even develop a audience? I think that’s a fair question, given the reputation the Wii has for appealing to very casual players, who presumably don’t seek out game information themselves.


 

I just listened to this segment on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show on New York’s video game industry… or rather, lack thereof. When I started really looking at where the development studios are, I noticed that there’s really not much in New York — which was pretty surprising. There are a lot of publishers, but not a lot of the production gets done in NY, outside of slightly more niche segments of the industry, like casual and mobile.

It’s not a terribly in-depth discussion, more of a 20 minute fluff piece really, positing that New York is developing a video game industry…. maybe? The most interesting discussion comes when a couple developers discuss the difference between development on the west coast versus New York. According to them, on the west coast, investors have a higher risk-tolerance and are more adventurous when it comes to new ideas and putting money into startups. Incidentally, I have heard in the past that, in the games industry, the further east you go, the more… progressive game design becomes. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact quote and source, but that was a stereotype that I carried with me for a while. Knowing what I know today though, I doubt that experimental design knows geographic boundaries.


 

Another interesting (but not game related) story I heard on Public Radio, this time NPR’s Talk of the Nation: America’s most overrated product is the bachelor’s degree. That’s what Marty Nemko says in this article anyway. The jist is that far too many kids charge headlong into college thinking that it’s some manner of magic bullet, that it’s a guarantor of salary X. In reality, according to this guy, a great many undergraduate programs are woefully inadequate, not only not guarenteeing salary X, but not even guarenteeing basic adequacy for expected performance in the work force. To quote from the article:

“A 2006 study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below “proficient” levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.”

I myself opted not to attend college, but I don’t mean this to be my vindicative “I told ya so”. Yes, it’s directly relevant to my own life decisions, but it’s also relevant to questions many of my peers face, as well as my two younger brothers. Societal pressures still insist that college is a must, but more and more, I feel that it’s entirely acceptable to ask, “does the cost-benefit ratio for college make sense for me?” or even, “is college right for me?” I know of several people for whom a trade school or career college would likely be a much wiser choice.


 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go stir fry some noodles. Warrior needs food badly.