by Anand Ramachandran
Ooooh – let's get all excited everyone! The Next-Gen is here. Yuvraj and Akshay are plugging 360s already. It's going to be in every village, they tell us. The PS3 and Wii will soon follow.
And what's the fuss all about? Of course, it's eye candy, mainly. Graphics. Ooooh – look at those orgasmic hi-polys. Aaaaah – look at those ultra-detailed textures. Prettier than all the girls. More realistic than your dad.
But wait – that's what's supposed to happen, innit? I love souped-up graphics just as much as the next gamer, but that's just par for the course for the Next-Gen consoles. What more can we expect from these bodacious machines? We know about the beauty, what will the brains be like?
Here's what I wish we could see?
Less 'Artificial', More 'Intelligence'
Here's to developers who try to make NPCs more interesting, believable and complex. I'd like to meet opponents who feel fear, become enraged, make mistakes and surprise me. Developers who finally realize that 'improved AI' doesn't just mean bad guys who can sidestep, take cover or toss grenades. Games with an adventure element, especially RPGs, could do with a more complex emotional layer that controls NPC actions, to replace the rather lame 'hostility level' or equivalent that most of them use currently. Things that NPCs could do on the fly, depending on the game situation : Lie. Make, and break promises. Go insane. Fall ill.
Sure, I'm excited about the Wii-mote (but not quite so much about Sixaxis – it seems like an afterthought, shoehorned into a design. Prove me wrong, Sony, please.). But why stop there? If Eye Toy, Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution were such big hits, it perhaps says something about intelligent controller innovation being an important tool in breaking through to new gamers. How about a controller accessory that can measure heart rate or blood pressure, and interpret it into the game, altering the player's abilities in some way? How about an oxygen mask like thing, which can check if players are holding their breath (Think Kabaddi. Think underwater sequences. Think stealth sequences) ?
A good cricket game
Okay. It's time. I've had it with playing second fiddle to football, tennis, golf, basketball and sundry other sports. I WANT a good cricket game – a true simulation. Brian Lara is fun, but it's nowehere near the quality of experience games like Pro Evolution Soccer and Top Spin deliver to fans of their respective sports. Go on, ICC cretins. Fund this one. We'll buy. Hell, we even buy EA's crappy game, even though we know it's not cricket!
Stuff I don't want
I hope no-one's working on bringing a real 'smell' component to the gaming experience. I don't want to smell rotting corpses and fresh blood. I don't want to smell sewers. Thank you very much. I sincerely hope there are no efforts on to extend 'force feedback' to include things like electric shocks and real burns. I don't want a role-playing game based on Jack Thompson. No, wait . . .