Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gamer's Diary - GRID, Battlestar Galactica, Black

GRID: Thursday evening I played some more, enough to win the Tuned Pro event. My strategy of restarting races until I win each race in an event continues to work well. But I've become tired of playing the same game too long, and so I've started picking a different game each time I sit down to play.

Battlestar Galactica: Before I talk about it, I should mention which one I played. I played the game released in 2003 for the Xbox and PS2, a space fighter simulator along the lines of Star Wars Starfighter or Wing Commander Prophecy, not the arcade game released for Xbox Live Arcade and PC in 2007.

I didn't put it in meaning to play it for any length of time; I wanted only to verify something I'd noticed before, that engine exhaust flares were incorrectly rendered in the Xbox 360's emulation. I ended up spending a good hour with the game anyway, because I was having fun trying to beat a mission.

Beyond that, I also ran the test I meant to; I played the game on both my original Xbox and my Xbox 360, and discovered that the 360 does in fact misrender exhaust flares. On the Xbox they appear white, as you'd expect, but on the 360 they appear black with a fuzzy white outline. I find it slightly distracting, but have no doubt that once I get used to it I'll stop noticing it altogether.

Black: Since I currently want not to play the same game for any length of time, I needed to pick a new one to play Saturday. I picked randomly from my playlist, and approved of the first one I found: Black. This game has lots of explosions, lots of shooting, and lots of destruction hung on a fairly thin plot. I think it's just the thing to relax with and turn off one's brain, like a fun action movie.

EA released Black to mixed reviews. While reviewers liked the things I've mentioned about it, they also criticized it for its lack of story depth, lack of any hint of multiplayer, and short length. None of those things bothered me about it; I don't care that much about multiplayer, I think too many games get artificially lengthened to satisfy those vocal players with an excess of free time, and a game about shooting things and blowing things up needs about as much plot justification as a pornographic movie. The developers called Black "gun porn" for a reason.

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