Computer Game Criticism
City Game Criticism
There are two city games I have played recently, Tropico 3/4 (they're really the same) and Sim City 4.
They posses similiar weaknesses, in that they are made with the theory that players who like city games like gardening. Theory of game design has obviously restricted each game's potential.
The games themselves are hardly more developed then their forebears, Tropico 1, and Simcity 3000, respectively. Both are largely reboots of the same game, with better graphics.
Introduce real city politics. Politicians have competition. They have elections. Unless the city is either severely corrupt or the Mayor is appointed by the national government. BTW, those two possibilities would be fun to play as, especially if you've heard of the Bo Xilai scandal. Even so, there are major entities in city politics, major businesses, unions, action groups, etc.
Introduce the consequences of cash accounting. No one is precisely sure what expenses will be in forty years as a result of this. Who can predict future welfare costs, the ratio of the tax base versus future pensions, etc?
Introduce management. Manage a city, as opposed to enabling it grow.
I dread the coming arrival of SimCity 5. It looks terrible. It looks like a $60 browser game that I cannot use in six to ten years. Seriously, Microsoft and Stardock are better then EA, they released Allegiance and Stellar Frontier as open source, respectively. Halo's centeral server is still online. Not only that, but when I purchase a game, I expect to own it, except if I buy it through Steam. With EA, I don't really own it, I'll have nothing once they shut down the servers. At the very least, EA should guarantee that the server's will be online for ten years, by which point the source code will be released as open source.
The gameplay in SimCity 5 seems over simplified. Housing density is dependent upon road size. It uses Tropico 3/4 building upgrades (some good and bad to it). And you still play as Commissar Mayor, planning the economy. At the very least, emulate an economy! Bring some authenticity into gaming. This is what Maxis was originally about, just play SimEarth, or SimCity 1, it encourages the player to think about the world. Keep in mind neither SimEarth or SimCity 1 were true simulations in the definition of the word. Actors were not simulated, for example, wars in SimEarth were random disasters, as opposed to conflicts between nations.
Some of the simplification is good. Combining waterpipes, powerlines, and everything else into the road network makes sense. It's one hassle less, but I do miss power lines. Underground high voltage transmission networks under the road doesn't make 100% sense.
I do not know what the trade mechanics will bring.
All in all, it looks like you are playing Tropico 4: Landlocked Edition. You build special businesses and you upgrade them.
I have played LinCity, but not enough to be really knowledgable about it. It appears largely similiar to SimCity 1.
FPS Game Criticism
I've been rather cheap on gaming purchases lately so I've been only playing Halo: Custom Edition, Counter-Strike 1.6, and Counter-Strike: Source. Basically any game that can be had for less then $10.
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