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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
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Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Nostragamus the Returned
Posted on Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 16:30:37 Eastern

A cold chill strolls down my spine. My mind burns with the heat of Haphaestus' furnace. The bold truth of unending vision blinds with the light of a thousand suns. From beyond all that is known, through ripples in the pool of Time, the ether speaks to me! What news does the future bring? But news of games, of course!

The winds of my foresight have once again blown away the clouds of uncertainty, allowing me to see the unseen for the briefest of moments. Scrying the answers to questions unthought, I see in Time's gentle waves a return from a great giant.

Sony!
After a firm handful's clutch of years have passed, the Eastern Giant Sony finally sees the error of their Universal Media Disc format. With great ambition to release all Playstation Portable games digitally, need for the costly energy eating moving optical media will dissolve rapidly. PSP owners who have been somewhat effortlessly stealing software for years with help from ample flash memory cards will be confronted by a crossroad. At one turn, they will be offered a new version of the PSP that renounces the energy and space wasting UMD drive in favor of overall greater functionality and built in memory with room to expand. At the other, an endless buffet of every PSP game ever released from its inception until its eventual demise available for pirating, possibly easier than ever before.

To stem the incepid tide of software piracy, Sony will lace each PSP game released with arcane rights protection, preventing modified PSPs from properly executing the programs. A battle between pirates bent on cracking the DRM and Sony set on keeping DRM current and infalible will ensue. Converging forces of rogue software cracking, employed software development and the amateur game development community finding a home on Sony's deceptively open system will come to a head. A thick haze in the ether obscures my vision of events beyond this point, as the battle is a long one.

Meanwhile, Nintendo will continue to sell countless Nintendo DS systems on the backs of equally countless pet grooming simulators.

Rows and Hoes on the Go!
The sequel to Saints Row approaches, as does the latest installment in the Midnight Club series. Throughout fandom, those who purchase Saints Row 2 will enjoy it for the violence and freedom it offers. The production values will appear obviously lower than those seen in Grand Theft Auto 4, but the influence the player has over every aspect of the game and their character will draw a stark contrast to Rockstar's behemoth.

As Midnight Club: Los Angeles lays rubber on the pavement, Rockstar's distance from their former self will become more apparent. Continuing a trend of trading an arcadian world and fittingly false automobiles for digital recreations of real vehicles and setting, distinct advantages of the title will blur. With competition from the Burnouts, Need for Speeds and Project Gothams of the world, Midnight Club: LA will struggle to brand itself with an aura of innovation.

Losing ground in the arenas of player freedom and new experiences, Rockstar will once again tremble as the gaping maw of the ever hungry Electronic Arts inches ever closer to Take Two.

A Knight to Foresee!
Already, the gears of development within LucasArts have ground to a halt. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was their swan song, leaving all future LucasArts properties to be born of third party development.

The first game pulled from third party loins following the release of Force Unleashed will be a harbinger of future failure. Fracture, or "Haze with hills" as it is being whispered in the ether, will burst from the gates only to fall directly on its face. As gamers find fewer and fewer enjoyable applications for the creation of holes and hills, the game's disappointing reputation will grow. Endless streams of answers to an unknown question about craters and hills will be given; angry answers.

Internet flame wars will abound as hellfire bursts from the fingers of an irate game buying people. With Factor 5 out of the game favoring a fruitless pursuit of dragons, Bioware, deep within the belly of Electronic Arts, will be the last bastion of hope for successful productions on behalf of LucasArts.

As LucasArts titles revisit an era of ineptitude, two shining stars in the dark night sky will guide them to penitence. One of those guiding lights will show itself as Bioware's coming Star Wars based MMORPG. Much will be leveraged on its success. In a strange but not uncalled for crest in the waves of time, LucasArts will find success once more through the adventure genre. Grasping at all straws hoping for quality games, iPhone owners will finally find true enjoyment in the form of point and click adventure gaming. Classics like Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle will ride a resurgence, shortly followed by the release of new intellectual properties.

Alas! Once more the light within my eyes has faded and the vision in my mind is darkened with the clouds of unasked questions. Will this future I have seen hold true as we all struggle and splash through the pools of Time? Might ripples unseen disrupt the visions I have glimpsed today? That much is not certain.

If you're looking for certainty, though, you can be certain that I will keep my eye on the unseen from now until the end of my days. The Sun will neither rise nor set before I've peered beyond the restraints of normal vision in to the darkness of not yet.
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