Escapist WC mention

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Spaceman

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Spaceman
Yeah, That's what I said. Not even that, they left out WC4 while mentioning the movie. And where's X-Wing Alliance? Oh well.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Huh, the crummiest, most pretentious gaming website in the world did a bad job of something? Who would have thought this could happen!

Check out the WC movie blurb, too. I guess they were too busy figuring out how to turn half a page of text into six pages of ad revenue clicks and DIDN'T FINISH WRITING THE LAST SENTENCE.
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
Check out the WC movie blurb, too. I guess they were too busy figuring out how to turn half a page of text into six pages of ad revenue clicks and DIDN'T FINISH WRITING THE LAST SENTENCE.

What are you talking about? I don't see anything wrong with their
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Admit it: you love when I'm really, really critical of things that don't matter. With that in mind:

The article goes through weird hoops not to credit Wing Commander with creating the genre. He goes through weird mazes to include X-Wing (a spectacular game, but one that came into being directly *because* of Wing Commander's success) in every breath and to downplay Wing Commander wherever it should be mentioned... to the point of gathering up a weird rogues gallery of weird offshots to pretend they were a singular genre before 1990 (some of them barely connected: a sitdown rail shooter? Why not Asteroids, that had asteroids on it.) Sometimes that kind of thing is just because gamers are obnoxious pedants who don't understand how history works*, but this guy seems to have a chip on his shoulder about WC specifically.

* Raise your hand if you've ever heard: uhm, technically Command and Conquer was not the first Real Time Strategy game, that honor goes to Kobo no Urbo, an oft-overlooked gem released only for the Atari in Finland in 1984... That DOESN'T MATTER when you're telling this story.

Some horrific errors:

"Declining sales affected almost all titles, but the commercial flop of two high budget games signaled the end of the genre's golden age. Volition's Descent: Freespace was a modest hit but the sequel did abysmally in stores, selling only 26,000 copies in 1999. Coupled with Wing Commander: Prophecy (1997) not doing much better, large videogame publishers came to view the space sim genre as a substantial risk." This just plain isn't true on either count. In the first case he's thinking of FREESPACE 2 being a terrible flop... and its sales were nothing like Wing Commander Prophecy (a modest hit for the time, selling about 750,000 units... and that time was TWO YEARS before the 'death' of the genre, a lifetime in game development in the 1990s.) He's probably thinking of either StarLancer or Tachyon, which both had very poor sales at the same time as Freespace *2*. (The original Descent: Freespace, released a few months after Prophecy, was also a modest hit.)

"These completely faded away once FPS and RTS genres became popular. Gamers spent their peripheral money on better mice and keyboards." - No! What 'gamers' spend their money on is irrelevant. That's a tiny niche market. If you're some wad who bought a Modern Warfare 3 Professional XP Gaming Camo Tracker Mouse then congratulations, you can have a party with the other seven idiots. But you didn't impact the sales of that game one bit. The issue is that the PC manufacturers stopped INCLUDING a joystick with every machine. When you bought a Gateway 2000 or a Dell for the family in 1995 you got a crummy little QuickShot joystick and a copy of Privateer... in 1999, nothing. It was a cost cutting measure that *helped* kill the space sim genre by taking it out of the hands of ordinary PC owners.

"But he also believes the flavor of the gameplay shifted too far into the economic sub-game or featured super-realistic physics models that made merely piloting your ship very difficult to master." Exactly none of the last generation of AAA space sims included these features.

The Wing Commander blurb on the timeline is just awful. Terran *Confederation*, obviously, but Christ what an awful blurb downselling such an important game. How's about Wing Commander being the best selling PC game to that point in time? That it has been credited with Intel for selling the 386 to home users and Creative Labs with making their sound cards standard? Hows about that it /created/ the 'big budget' game development process that ultimately helped doom space sims and which the industry today is still based around? No, it's a game about "a race of angry warrior cats." Ugh.

You know what space sim was released in 1991? Wing Commander II, the game that brought speech to PC gaming ('uhm, technically, Kobo no Urbo had speech in 1984!') Now raise your hand if you've heard of "Hyperspeed." NO ONE IN THE WORLD RAISES THEIR HAND.

X-Wing was "taking gameplay cues from Wing Commander" - no! This is EXACTLY WHY X-Wing is so cool. In a year that was flooded with Wing Commander clones X-Wing dared to have a different kind of gameplay -- a slower, less visceral one that involved a lot more planning on the players' part. And it's all the more impressive because if anyone deserved to rip off Wing Commander's Star-Wars-in-a-game fast action-plus-storytelling style then it was obviously Lucas, and they didn't.

What a weird space-filling aside in the TIE Fighter writeup. The secret mission objectives were to "challenge players to fall for the dark side of the Force"? Okay, whatever.

What a weird logo they made up for Wing Commander III. It's strange because you have to work kind of hard to NOT have the actual logo. The phrasing is also terrible because the guy loses control of sentences so easily. (Yup, it was "the first videogame to feature vocal talent from Tim Curry," impressive.)

Ah, X-Wing versus TIE FIghter, the first space sim to focus on multiplayer. In that you forgot 1994's entirely-net-and-modem-based WING COMMANDER ARMADA, you moron.

Hey, here's Wing Commander's totally innovating branching campaign... mentioned as a bullet point for a Playstation game in 1998.

"Volition Software took the IP of the Descent FPS..." - no. No they didn't.

Prophecy's bullet is utterly ridiculous, too. So much so that we have to break it down:

- The screenshot ISN'T FROM WING COMMANDER PROPHECY. It's an image from the "Star Giants" GBA tech demo which Destination Software created in 2003 to convince Electronic Arts that they should be allowed to port Wing Commander Prophecy to the GBA. It's not even the same engine as Prophecy GBA, which uses their later 'Blue Roses' tech.

- Prophecy wasn't intended to be part of a new trilogy during its development. It was intended to set up future Wing Commander games. The 'new trilogy' thing was something decided by producer David Downing... who left the project before Prophecy even shipped.

- Sales weren't poor (as mentioned above) -- in fact, they were far higher than EA had forecast for the game. There's a good story about that, but what it boils down to is that EA had no faith in Wing Commander as an IP after Chris Roberts left and provided no external support for the project until they saw how well recieved it was during the distributor pitches at E3 (or Comdex?)

- Secret Ops was not an expansion, it was a standalone game... one that now appears to have been shockingly revolutionary. The article makes it sound like some weird castoff, when in fact it was the one of the very first digitally distributed games.

- "The financial situation of Origin Systems" sounds awfully dire. You know what the financial situation of Origin Systems was in 1998? They were making ridiculous amounts of money on their surprise hit, Ultima Online. More money than ever before. Now that had a huge impact on killing Wing Commander because why make $20 million on a single player space game when you're making that each month with UO subscriptions... but that's pretty much the opposite of what this guy is implying.

He forgot to freaking finish the Wing Commander the movie blurb, of course... but also did anyone really complain about the special effects? They were incredibly spectacular for a $30 million movie in 1999.

And then the Wing Commander Arena one obviously doesn't understand why Wing Commander Arena exists. Or how "whatever Wing Commander fans were left" feel about it. Groan groan groan.

Seriously, though, The Escapist is awful. It's probably the single worst gaming website. At least Kotaku, Destructoid, etc. are at least obviously cynical, money-grubbing tabloids. Escapist shits out the exact same low quality content with a thin veneer of civilization. Their hacky crowd-sourced articles have done more to ruin serious examination of gaming history than anything else because the masses read them and think they're researched and thoughtful. (Origin history in particular--they've done a few that are passed off as legitimate histories but are actually a bunch of things the author heard on the internet.)

And remember how they had that idiotic layout for years where the site was supposed to look like a magazine instead of a website? Yuck.
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
The Escapist is better known as "that site that hosts the Zero Punctuation videos". It's not even worth feeling insulted over.
 

Branches

Spaceman
When it's the Webby winning mag, it's totally worth getting riled up over. At least other places acknowledge WC's place in history, whereas this is a slap in the face.

It's interesting to note that the writer was my editor on one of those 'Crowd-Sourced' articles I wrote for them. I wrote an article that was essentially a promotion of Day of Defeat Source's Realism gamers. Although, it was long and intertwined with facts that promoted not just my own, but other units, He ended up wanting more narrative and less facts, which made me sound like a psychopath who's opening sentence was "made a man by an online gaming clan"
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
No, seriously. It's well documented that generally nobody cared about The Escapist until they started hosting the Zero Punctuation videos, at which point there was a 400%+ increase in traffic. Now how many of those only watch those videos and don't view any other content on the website?

Nobody I know actually takes The Escapist seriously. Now that I have Zero Punctuation on RSS, I don't even visit the site anymore.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Some of the dates look like guesses (WC3, Prophecy and the Movie are wrong). Kind of embarassing for a timeline.
 

YCDTD

Commodore
I'm very surprised to learn that Prophecy sold better than WC4. However, sales sometimes don't tell the whole story. I was pretty disappointed in Prophecy, even though I ran out and bought it immediately. It definitely made me think twice about continuing with the series. It was just so...bland. Does anyone know what fan feedback towards Prophecy was like back in the day?

I have always been perplexed by the decline of the Space Sim genre. I'm even more perplexed that there has not been at least one serious attempt to revive it in the past decade in the form of a new game in either the WC or X-Wing series.
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
The Escapist is, and always will be, amateur hour in the video game journalism scene. They're gamer hipsters who usually have no idea what they're talking about because they're more concerned about looking cool by dropping references to forgotten titles like Hyperspeed.

Who the hell made that timeline? You left out Wing Commander II and IV which I, and I know a lot of other fans, consider the best games in the series and two of the best games in the entire genre.

The "Whatever Wing Commander fans were left" part is the most infuriating and shows the absolute zero amount of effort he put into doing any research at all.

The Escapist is pure tripe. Honestly I could even take or leave Zero Punctuation because it perpetuates the part of video game fandom where pretentious geeks would rather tear apart what makes games fun instead of just playing them to relax and entertain themselves like you're supposed to. I can't count the amount of times I've said "I want to try ____ game" only to be answered with "Oh no you don't want to do that!" "Why did you play it?" "No I read ______'s review or Yahtzee said it sucks." Now I know this isn't Yahtzee's (or any other parody reviewer's) fault because some people don't get the joke and some of his cartoons are genuinely funny but still it really bugs me when someone takes his word as canon law.
 

Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
The Escapist is, and always will be, amateur hour in the video game journalism scene. They're gamer hipsters who usually have no idea what they're talking about because they're more concerned about looking cool by dropping references to forgotten titles like Hyperspeed.

Who the hell made that timeline? You left out Wing Commander II and IV which I, and I know a lot of other fans, consider the best games in the series and two of the best games in the entire genre.

The "Whatever Wing Commander fans were left" part is the most infuriating and shows the absolute zero amount of effort he put into doing any research at all.

The Escapist is pure tripe. Honestly I could even take or leave Zero Punctuation because it perpetuates the part of video game fandom where pretentious geeks would rather tear apart what makes games fun instead of just playing them to relax and entertain themselves like you're supposed to. I can't count the amount of times I've said "I want to try ____ game" only to be answered with "Oh no you don't want to do that!" "Why did you play it?" "No I read ______'s review or Yahtzee said it sucks." Now I know this isn't Yahtzee's (or any other parody reviewer's) fault because some people don't get the joke and some of his cartoons are genuinely funny but still it really bugs me when someone takes his word as canon law.

The escapist is not meant to be taken very seriously. Zeropunctuation even less so.
It's just meant to be a bit of fun :)
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
The escapist is not meant to be taken very seriously. Zeropunctuation even less so.
It's just meant to be a bit of fun :)

That's fine, but the problem is when they act like a serious journalism outfit and then spread poorly researched/misinformation that other people go and actually believe. At least when Kotaku does it, it's couched in a disgusting neon pink and green fiasco that people know is garbage. :)
 

Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
[quote="ChrisReid, post: 372716, member: 70"]That's fine, but the problem is when they act like a serious journalism outfit and then spread poorly researched/misinformation that other people go and actually believe. At least when Kotaku does it, it's couched in a disgusting neon pink and green fiasco that people know is garbage. :)[/quote]

I get that, but that's what printed tabloids have done for years and it's not difficult to spot.
The trouble is that people keep reading/clicking on links. It's kind of like people who phone/write in to regulators to complain about TV shows when all they need to do is skip to the next channel.
With regards to that article, anyone who knows and cares about that genre of games will know enough to laugh at the article and go looking elsewhere. Anyone who doesn't care about the genre will either not bother to read it, or will forget it pretty quickly.

Simply put, while I appreciate (massively) the dislike of this type of reporting, there's a simple futility in getting annoyed about it. :)
 
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