Last semester, some students from my university worked with university officials to get a game of Humans vs. Zombies going. After hearing about the game, I decided I wanted to join up to play the game. It was going to be a two-day game: starting Friday at 5 PM, and ending Sunday at 5 PM, as a trial for the university. Unfortunately, I was going to be off campus that weekend, so I wasn’t able to sign up. However, as soon as I heard they were doing another round, I knew I had to do my best to be on campus for the game.
So, working with the university some more, these students organized a three day game: starting Thursday at 5 PM, and ending Sunday at 5 PM. The students wanted to have a week-long game, but the university wanted to see how the game would work with people travelling between classes before they allowed that. I got a Nerf gun for Christmas, and was eager for the game to get started. I attended the necessary meeting to sign up for the game, and just had to wait until Thursday to start playing.
Now, after the game is over, I have this to say: I can’t wait for the week-long game which is planned for some time in April. Humans vs. Zombies is not only a great excuse to run around campus with a Nerf gun, shooting people for the fun of it, but also a great way to be social and meet new people. The teamwork and strategy involved is amazing, and I definitely met some great people I would have otherwise never said hi to. Needless to say, I’ve been disappointed to find out that some college campuses refuse to allow the game to happen. (continue reading…)
Rumble is a pretty hot topic among game controllers. When the Sony announced that the PS3 controller wouldn’t have rumble, gamers and bloggers got angry. Joystiq gives a perfect example of this, summarizing the opinions of others. And while the general consensus was that rumble wouldn’t hurt Sony, it would just help them if they had it, it’s still a shame to see a company remove such a nice gaming feature.
Three years later, in walks Microsoft. Perhaps you’ve heard of Project Natal. It’s an interesting concept. Instead of forcing you to hold a control, sit down and play your video games, we’ll FORCE you to stand up and fight your opponents like a man. Microsoft looked at the success of the Wii, and basically said, “We can take this one step farther…” If it works well, and Microsoft can keep the price point low, then I have a feeling it will go over big. If not, then it’ll flop and be part of gaming history, much like the Power Glove and Sega Activator.
However, there’s a strange point that all the articles I’ve read have been missing. Without a controller to hold, there will be no rumble, no force feedback. And while, for the most part, this is really just a novelty… There are some games that might be lacking without this crucial detail. Yet, the blogosphere hasn’t exploded. In just three years, the Internet has gotten over the joy of having rumble in a controller.
Maybe we never really needed it to begin with, and Sony just showed us this by removing it. Personally, I’ve never used a PS3, but if the consesus was that it wasn’t a critical point, then that’s not what’s hurting its sales. Or, maybe, Microsoft just can’t do any evil in the gaming world. Sure, Microsoft is evil in the computing world… but they seem to be a god in the gaming world, much like Apple is a do-no-evil god in the computing world.
So, what will come out of this? Maybe we’ll start to see more controllers without rumble. Rumble hit it big, but maybe the novelty is dying off now, and we realize that we don’t really need rumble to play a good video game. Or, perhaps Microsoft’s “controller” will flop, and systems will still keep rumble in their controllers. Of course, Natal could always flop AND we lose rumble in controllers. Only time will tell.