A new episode of RetroGaming Radio is out, here. From the Press Release: "Shane discusses hypocrisy and parental responsibility with gaming, catch the rare round table talk from the whole staff from CGE 2007, we review Cinemaware's Wings for the Amiga, Chasing the Chuckwagon and more!"
Just finished the show, although skipping the recordings from CGE and the chuckwagon thing. :)
Like Shane, I also greatly enjoyed Wings and thought it was a groundbreaking game from Cinemaware, who I also agree made some truly innovative and forward-thinking games. The one I didn't hear mentioned is King of Chicago, another of my favorites. That game seemed to very loosely follow the Defender of the Crown model, with lots of minigames though with a strong dialog component. I was always excited to think what they could have done with more storage space.
I loved the idea of doing games based on classic film eras. It Came From the Desert, Rocketman, Wings, and King of Chicago all seemed to fit this model. DotC was more of a strategy game, though, and I'm still not sure what to make of the 3 stooges. I never liked that one.
It's worth asking if Cinemaware's stuff was more gimmick than gameplay, though. There's no doubt that the splashy visuals and audio constituted most of their appeal. Defender was one of the earliest games to show off the Amiga's capabilities, and I remember using it frequently to "wow" my friends (later on this role would be taken by Psygnosis). I think the key to understanding the lingering appeal of these games is their style and theme; their ambiance, as it were. It's not just that the graphics are good, but that they conform nicely to a style that we recognize.
I think designing a nicely themed interface is very rare in game history. Usually we get utilitarian interfaces, loading screens, and whatever that make little effort to fit the rest of the game. I always thought it was cool when a developer tried to integrate something like a loading screen into the theme, so that instead of a generic bar filling up we got, say, a bowling ball rolling towards pins for a bowling game, etc.
Anyway, as always I enjoyed the show and hope everyone will check it out.
Havnt listened yet. I loved Sinbad and throne of the falcon.
-- Stu --
My big Cinemaware games were TV Sports: Basketball on the Amiga and TV Sports: Football on the TG-16. I was also a fan of their unreleased (by them) boxing game, which became "Caesar's Boxing" on the CD-i and "Wide World of Sports Boxing" on the Amiga and PC. They were very underrated as a producer of sports games. I made a point to get all of their TG-16 releases (and have many of their releases on other platforms, like the CD-i). In fact, I have most of their Amiga releases now as well - I always coveted The Three Stooges and finally got a boxed copy after all these years. I loved Cinemaware--they were multimedia and doing CD-like things from floppies before there was such a thing.
I also want to second Shane's comments about holding games to a different standard than movies or magazines. I've been painfully aware of this for some time, and not just from games--comics face the same misguided efforts, as do cartoons. I think that's what has held back the American animation industry for so long; only a precious minority seem to get past the cartoon = kids formula.
I actually think Nintendo hurt the industry quite a bit in this regard with their vicious censorship campaign and overly kiddy games. They are of course past this now, but I really wish they had been more, shall we say, respectful of the art when they were immersed in the various hearings and what-not over game censorship.
As far as I'm concerned, it's not a game maker's fault if some idiotic clerk sells a game to a minor. That is the clerk's fault. You certainly wouldn't blame an adult film maker if some idiotic video store was renting out the movies to kids!
Personally, though, I could never see trying to censor anything from kids anyway. I'd much rather be around to explain things to the child rather than let them hear it elsewhere. I also agree with Shane that's it's moronic to claim that it's fine for kids to see horrible violence, yet a naked woman is out of limits. What the heck? I'd much rather have it the other way around!
In any case, I remember being a kid and being frustrated by all the efforts at censorship. These ranged from the lame; dad ordering us to shut our eyes during a film to the effective - dad explaining what could happen in real life if I tried to engage in any of the behaviors on the screen. My point is that there is no substitute and never will be for a parent there who can explain the difference between reality and fiction. I commend Shane for this "rant" and wish more people would adopt his attitude!!
As for the lady who bought GTA for her kid and didn't listen to the clerk; I think there's a LOT more problems in that parent than just the game. She's obviously unqualified to be a parent, period. A kid who grows up ordering his parents around will be a disgrace to them and a misery to everyone else they encounter in life. Kids need limits and respect for authority, not license to do whatever they want.
Just found an update of sorts on this topic: Teens Finding It Harder to Buy 'Mature'-Rated Games.
Every year the Federal Trade Commission conducts a wide ranging "secret shopper" style sting operation designed to test whether the private sector is doing a good enough job at keeping M-Rated games out of the hands of kids.
The 2008 undercover report, released Thursday by the FTC shows that undercover shoppers found it "increasingly difficult" for children to buy M-rated games this year.