Ask Me Stuff

the-dig-picEvery couple of weeks I like to ask you to Ask Me Stuff. If you have a burning question about the games industry, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it today.

To celebrate LucasArts reissuing some of its back catalogue via Steam, today’s Ask Me Stuff pic is from their 1995 sci-fi graphic adventure, The Dig.

Oh, and Talk Amongst Yourselves is taking a break today. If you still wish to chat, feel free to continue doing so on yesterday's post.

Now, fire away with those questions.



    Does working full time the games industry detract from your enjoyment of playing them for relaxation when you go home at night?

      You've got to separate the two, just like any job. I tend to play games for work during the day - usually brand new releases I'm actually writing about. Then at night I choose to play games I'm genuinely interested in playing, regardless of how new they are or relevant to what I'm working on.

      When I stop enjoying either playing or writing about games, then I'll think about a different career.

    Hey David.

    Rather than see a greater diversity in genre we are seeing a reduction in genre. Even those games that attempt to cross genre (Dawn of War 2) really have not added anything new. Instead we see more and more shooters released.

    Lucas Arts has decided to re-release some of their catalogue on Steam. Sam and Max the new series is doing well.

    Do you think that it is possible to see a return to the glory days of gaming (Commodore Amiga) where developers did a whole lot more with less?

      Awesome question.

      I tend to think we idealise the past in that we only remember the games we loved - or in this case the games that were unique or original. There were plenty of terribly generic platformers, for example, on the Amiga (and the consoles of that time). It's true, however, that the sheer expense of making games today has brought with it an element of conservatism that didn't exist back in the 80s when one guy could code an entire game in a handful of months.

      If you're tired of homogeneity, you need to look at the indie development scene on PC, and even to a lesser extent on the console's digital distribution services. There is still plenty of diversity out there, but perhaps it's not quite so visible as it once was.

        Indie games are where it is at. But let's face it, without digital distribution indie gaming would not exist. Which does, unfortunately, limit the potential audience of indie games.

        But you don't believe that we have a reduction in genre?

        I love Dead Space. It is one of my favourite games. But it makes an unashamed attempt to not be original in what it does. And they do this extremely well. However, a lot of the mainstream games that are released are predominantly more of the same. At some point in time are these environments going to become less immersive because we feel that we have been there before? Or, are the brain cells of the human race dying off at such a rate that the old will become new again. :-b

    Are you going to be on goodgame on monday, as one of the top Aussie game bloggers?

      Nope! But I know a couple of guys who will be appearing...

    Hey David,

    As the market for 'casual' games exceeds the market for traditional 'hardcore' titles, I often wonder if maybe the industry will split into two seperate market entities; such that 'games as casual entertainment' and 'games as intense escapism' will be two very dissimilar market segments, perhaps even with their own devoted hardware platforms and so forth. One might even argue that the Wii is already a sign of such an impending schism.

    What are your thoughts on the widening gap between casual and traditional games? Can you see a future where Wii-like platforms won't have to compete with the likes of Sony and Microsoft simply because they are different type of product altogether?

      Nintendo would probably tell you that's already happened with the Wii and the DS. They've exited the traditional console arms race, as defined by increasingly powerful hardware, and left that for Sony and Microsoft to battle it out. I'd like to think this thing we call videogames is a broad enough church to welcome all kinds of games and game-playing devices, and that ultimately it's not about companies being in competition with each other.

      I mean, do you ever hear people talk about movie or music wars in the same way?

        You make a great point - no one really cares about music/movie companies and their competition. However, this is because (in most cases) movies/music are targetted at one, very large market: everyone. Also consider that for the most part, the music and movie companies don't have direct control over the devices required to enjoy their media.

        On the other hand, console gaming is directly controlled by the big three companies, with each company controlling both hardware and content to a large extent. As a result of this, they really do have the power to marginalise the hardcore demographic.

        I can see a future where "Let's play videogames" and "Let's play [next-gen motion controlled platform]" are two similar phrases that represent entirely different scenarios.

          I disagree. Movies and music aren't targeted at one large market, rather than a host of niches of varying size. But overall those niches cover a broad enough spectrum to have something for everyone. Personally, I don't care for the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but when I see the new Wes Anderson film I'm still seeing a movie; I don't call it something different. Equally, when I download the new Handsome Furs album, it's still just music.

          Games will go the same way. It won't matter what platform we're playing it on, from the high-end PC to your mobile phone and any home console in between, I can't see us calling them anything other than "games".

          No one is going to marginalise the "hardcore demographic" while these guys continue to buy the most number of games.

        I'm not sure that the movies/music comparison is suitable. As neither of them soley rely on competing hardware for products. As in there isn't really any 'platform exclusive' titles. Now during the betamax/vhs, and more recently Blueray/HD-DVD, there were 'exclusives' so to speak, but even then, there was other options to see/hear this content, be it on normal DVD, or pay tv, or in the Cinema's.
        The same situation applies to Cassettes/CD's/MiniDisks/MP3 players.

        But for games, there often isn't an alternative source for the content (and where there is, there is a large barrier to entry, not everyone is going to buy a PC,PS3,Xbox,Wii,DS & PSP), leading to a fragmented market, and no desire for unification.

        (I hope this makes sense like it does in my head, thoughts --> text sometimes fails me completely)

    How do you get into gaming journalism?
    Is there much demand for game journalists in Australia?
    Do you get paid well? (no need for a specific number, i know its a personal thing)
    Do you work at Kotaku all day? If yes, what do you do besides posting on the site?
    Do you get good perks at kotaku?
    Do you like working in gaming journalism (actually a fairly stupid question lol)

    Please tell me, it is important for me to know because i would love a job in gaming journalism and its good to know your options.

      I get asked this every time, so I'll keep it brief.
      1. Become a good writer. Practise writing about the games you're playing. Publish your articles on your own blog. Send relevant and appropriate samples to editors and let them know you're available for freelance work.
      2. Not really. There would be less than 50 full-time jobs in the country. And turnover is low.
      3. No one works in games journalism for the money.
      4. Yes. I keep up to date with the industry, attend meetings, visit games companies, send lots of email and make lots of phone calls... and, yes, play some games.
      5. Free games and the occasional bad t-shirt.
      6. 15 years later, I'm still enjoying it.

    Hey David, not related to the games industry, but were you the editor of an aussie games magazine?

    Your name is somewhat familiar..

      I edited PC PowerPlay for a number of years and have written for many games magazines up until very recently.

        I thought thats where i saw it :)

        Used to have a subscription back in the day, always wanted to be a writer.. but alas i suck at that sort of stuff :)

    Why does ABC's GoodGame almost always only ever review xbox360 and ps3 games?

    Almost never a Wii game review to be had!

      Let me ask them!

      Hi there, thanks for your question.
      We had a pc game on last week and ds the week before, and next week we have 2 pc games one of which is wiiware as well. Right now I’m reviewing two wii games as we speak so that’s not quite accurate. It has been a quiet year for wii so it might feel like we aren't showing it love when in fact it's quite the other way around.

      We often review in the format we get first but if we think it’ll sit better on pc like fps or rts we always try to get that too but it’s not always possible. We have no platform bias but we do have deadlines!


        gamertag or permafag


    are you concerned with the current focus on motion control and Sony and Microsoft obviously believing that emulating the Wii will = success.

    I am concerned that if motion control becomes dominant that many awesome games genres will disappear. Perhaps MS and Sony need to realise that what makes them different is what makes them somewhat successful.

    Clearly Nintendo has a winner (Wii Motion Plus is a MASSIVE disruption to gaming, Grand Slam Tennis with WMP is phenomonal) on their hands but there are some games that are just not suited to motion control.

    Also, i recently sold my PSP and DSi due to my ipod touch. the touch is giving me a whole lot more gaming love for a whole lot less, and lots of gems. Do you see this as an overall trend or would you call the Apple disruption a blip that will rectify with PSP2 DS2 etc in a few years time.

    Hey David

    Will Kotaku ever do PS3 gaming nights, or are you guys entrenched in the X360 only?

      Yep, definitely. And PC and maybe even Wii, too. Just need to work out the logistics for those platforms. The Playdates on Live make it easy.

        There is a playstation community calander that is hidden down on the Playstation website. I think it should be intergrated like the community playdates, they are an awsome idea.

        Thanks David. I look forward to these events then :)

    Since there is all the talk of good game, what do you think of the Game Damage Pilot that has been shown?

      It's been ages since I saw it, so I can't really remember. I do recall thinking how weird it was to have Yahtzee sharing screen time with his co-hosts. His style is better suited to a one-man show, I think.

    do you think that eventually, after the increasing popularity of the wii and casual games that other consoles such as the playstation and xbox will abandon hardcore games and focus on just casual as it is after just a business

    or do you think the casual audience will eventually get bored and itll all come crashing down for nintendo

      Neither doomsday scenario seems likely. I think Nintendo has brought in a new audience while Sony and Microsoft are playing to the same dedicated gamer they always have. The latter both know they can't abandon their traditional audience, but they're very keen to position their devices at the centre of your living room. Where I think they might struggle is in convincing a non-gaming consumer to purchase a games console for their general home entertainment needs (ie. streaming movies and music, pay-per-view TV, etc). Nintendo has instead persuaded these consumers to play games, albeit different types of games to what the hardcore enjoys. I'm not sure either Sony or Microsoft quite understands how to do that.

    In gaming journalism today, how important is something like a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism Major).

    Do employers (full or part time) look at something like this with a lot of weight, or is it more the style of writing and the feeling that's more important?

      In *gaming* journalism, it's of very little importance. The critical thing is showing you can produce interesting and well-written pieces about games.

      But I suspect our little corner of the journalism field is unusual in that regard.

        The reason I ask this question, David; and more importantly with your response is...

        If it's of little importance, why did the job for Night Editor recently at Kotaku AU specifically ask for it? I know you don't set the job requirements, it's just a thing of interest to me as I am looking to pursue a career in gaming journalism and want to know for sure if the degree is worth the years + cash it'll take. :)

    Hiya Dave.

    Question 1 -
    So has Good Game asked you to do a guest review for their show, I so wanna see that and its about time your skills as a reviewer got big time accolades.
    I reckon you could add just as much fun as they do as well because all their stuffing around is a big feature of the show.

    Question 2 - will Good game ever get a replay slot because i miss so many as mondays is not always the best for me. Replay on Wednesday nights would be great, straight after "The Cook and The Chef" :o) hehe!!

    Question 3 - will this site consider a front page redesign to enable then to include more items on the front page?
    ie: 3 columns.

      You can find most ABC shows (including Good Game) for free on the ABC site, if you miss one

      1. I did some work for Good Game last year before moving to Kotaku. No plans to do any more at this stage.
      2. When did this become the Good Game forum? (All eps are hosted on the ABC website, btw.)
      3. We've only just redesigned. I really don't know what we'd do the next time we look at giving the front page a fresh lick of paint.

    Where's Worms for our PSN?!

    Has there been a game that has bettered Castlevania SOTN in its sheer awesomeness? Im asking because im hankering to play this classic but the Au PSN store doesnt have it and i need to play it, or a substitute!!
    PS. Why does the Au PSN suck so much in comparison the the US one?

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