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    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Rockstar’s Table Tennis Eye-Opener

    Everyone’s raving about Rockstar’s Table Tennis for the Xbox 360. Not literally jumping around in a field with a whistle, that would be silly, but you know what we mean. It would be predictable for us to just jump on the bandwagon (although you really should buy it, as it’s the first decent format-exclusive game to turn up for Microsoft’s dire console, AND it’s cheap), but it’s made us realise something.

    The gaming press communally banged on about how “shocking” and “surprising” it was when Rockstar first announced Table Tennis, and has continued to drone on about how surprisingly good it is (with the exception of the collective stupidity of Teletext’s GameCentral reviewers who slagged it off and remarked that they didn’t “get the joke” – fucking idiots). The reason given for the majority of the journos’ surprise is that Rockstar released the GTA games and Manhunt which, shock horror, aren’t sports games.

    There are two reasons why this is sad. Firstly, it shows bad research and ignorance on the part of anyone who's shown surprise. Table Tennis was developed by Rockstar San Diego, who developed the Midnight Club Racing and terrible Smuggler’s Run games. It was Rockstar North that delivered GTA and Manhunt, so not only are “Rockstar” as a whole not only known for violent games, but they’ve got more than one development arm.

    Secondly, even if the ignorant journos were right and Rockstar’s back catalogue was only GTA and Manhunt, why does that mean they should be expected to be one trick ponies? Fifteen years ago, developers churned out different styles of game as a norm rather than an exception.

    Take development gods The Bitmap Brothers as an example. Over a few years, they pushed out future sports sims (Speedball), platformers (Magic Pockets, Gods), shoot-em-ups (Xenon), an isometric adventure (Cadaver), and top-down shooters (The Chaos Engine), to name a few. They weren’t alone in their diversity. In their developer/publisher days, Psygnosis were known for Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast, and Agony, amongst a huge list of others. Core Design released Chuck Rock and Thunderhawk before inventing a genre with Tomb Raider.

    Those were the days of innovation, when developers could still view variety as the spice of life rather than a sour threat to convention. That a mainstream house like Rockstar announcing a game that’s slightly different to what they’re most famous for is seen as such a huge surprise not only shows ignorance, but it reveals a sad side to the industry. Developers rarely take chances. They stick to what they know like shit to a blanket, and would mostly rather play with their mothers’ tits than take a gamble and branch out into something new.

    Some developers still like taking chances – Introversion spring to mind – but the release of original output being so rare amongst today’s developers that a minor furore is caused about something as stupidly innocuous as Rockstar announcing a Table Tennis game is, like so many facets of the games industry today, a very great shame.


    1. Anonymous9:56 am

      It's not the Developers that won't take risks, it's Publishers.

    2. True - most developers are the victims of circumstance.


    3. Well let's face it, Rockstar did play up to their name when the game was announced, and I'm sure their 'hard' reputation helped sway many fence-sitting buyers.
      I'm not excusing the sheep-like journos who all joined in with this though, especially after reading review after review all starting out with the tedious rhetoric you describe.
      I would have happily expected seeing these sorts of reviews in the newspapers, but as a lifetime gamer its pretty insulting to read such stuff in dedicated games mags.

    4. Anonymous2:01 pm

      Right then Ram Raider you cunt, if you're going to prove your worth and silence the doubters, you need to tell us the real reason why Ingham has resigned from Future so suddenly. Do that, and we'll credit you with somekind of 'popbitch for games co's' credibility.

      Ste Curran and WoS are to scared to do nothing but hint... Mind you, Ste probably needs to prioritise washing his hair...

    5. Anonymous6:00 pm

      RR - you really are an arrogant cunt.

    6. Anonymous10:04 pm

      Curran and Campbell are trying to make their shit blogs sound more interesting than they are by hinting at something they don't know about.

      Fact: Future's up the shitter and someone needs to be blamed.

    7. Most mundane post yet RR. You were meant to be some kind of a games-media slag, but now you've turned into a generic editorial regurgitator. What was the point of this post?

    8. The "real" reason Ingham left is as predictable as it gets. The people upstairs realised what an enormous joke Future had become, so he went sliding out the front door on his face with the chairman's boot still lodged between the cheeks of his arse. Not very exciting, but that's the way it is.


    9. Campbell doesn't have a blog, you moron, nor has he "hinted" at anything. His last few articles have all been about travelling, and they're been far more interesting than speculating over why some tit or other left Future, which is, I suspect, the reason he didn't bother.

      Because nobody cares. Seriously.

    10. Anonymous4:28 am

      Well, he did make a passing commen in the forums. But wisely left it at that

    11. Anonymous11:54 am

      "Goodness me. I've just heard a terribly scurrilous rumour from a WoS devotee and associate about the "real" reason for Mr Ingham's resignation. Sadly I couldn't possibly repeat it here due to libel laws. "

      Suck it, fucknuts.

    12. Yuryk5:02 am

      Well, that's maturity if ever I saw it.

    13. Fucknuts, eh? I'll have to remember that.

      "A forum is not a blog."


      Bonus points if you can quietly ignore qualifiers such as "There's a subscriber bonus in the pipeline anyway, so who knows what might come with it..?"*, so you ought to at least scrape a pass on this one.


      (ie: the very next page.)

      And ah, any luck finding anyone who cares? No, me neither.

    14. Anonymous11:53 am

      Gamecentral is a million times more entertaining than anything of your nauseating blog

    15. Gamecentral is a million times more entertaining than anything of your nauseating blog

      Then why not fuck off in that direction, eh? Or are you scouring the whole internet, taking time to write comments on everything you find unentertaining? Surely there's not enough time in the world?

    16. Anonymous1:01 pm

      "Then why not fuck off in that direction, eh?"


      Your blog is shit.