Why are we okay with unlocks? (Opinion)

Why are we okay with unlocks? How did we get to the point where we’re okay with paying full price for a product, but not having full access to that product right away?

I’ll admit, when unlocks were first introduced in games like Battlefield 2 – and then widely popularized in games like Call of Duty 4 – I loved the idea. I loved mixing and matching classes, weapons, attachments, and perks. I loved having a “unique” game experience that I could tailor to myself and my play-style. I loved the anticipation – having something to look forward to. And, yes, some unconscious part of me assuredly loved the endorphin rush produced by Call of Duty’s ba-dun-DUN-DUN-DUNT every time I hit a new rank.

However, roughly 10 years after the widespread introduction of unlocks in every genre of game imaginable, I find myself weighing the pros and cons of the unlock structure, examining more closely the “benefits” the structure truly provides, and considering the rights we’ve willingly relinquished as consumers.

I will demonstrate what I view as the cons of the structure, the pros of the structure, and then consider the instances where I do think unlocks are appropriate and positive. Finally, I’ll consider the wider implications of “unlocks” and how they’ve evolved uniquely in games. Here we go!

Cons

You’ve paid full price, but don’t have a full game

You’ve gone to the store, paid $60 for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, gone home, excitedly booted up multi-player for the first time, jumped into your first game…and realized you have access to 4 of 9 specialists, 12 of 31 weapons, 1 of 6 lethals, 1 of 7 tacticals, 9 of 18 perks, 3 of 19 scorestreaks, and 0 of 10 wildcards. All in all, you realize you have access to 30% of the game (maps and modes excluded).

The only solution? Spend hours upon hours playing the game until you’re allowed access to the game and features you’ve already paid for. Personally, I’ve spent 83 hours playing Battlefield 4 and still don’t have all of the unlocks available to me. If I were to suppose a modest earning potential of $15 per hour, I’d have essentially invested a total of $1,305 on the game, and still not be allowed full access to it. True, I wasn’t doing manual labor or working in a cubicle for those 83 hours – I was playing and mostly enjoying the game of my own volition – but the fact stands that I was not getting the full experience or having as much fun as I could have been having, despite the massive investment of time and money.

Imagine paying $40,000 for a new car and having to drive 100,000 miles before the heated seats start functioning. Or how about paying $75 for a new coffee maker and having to brew 200 pots before being able to use the timer function? Would the “thrill of anticipation” be enough to justify either of those scenarios to you?

Gameplay no longer needs to stand on its own two legs

Remember when the only way developers could ensure you played their game for a long time was by building great gameplay and unique concepts?

Surely, many developers still pour their hearts and souls into their projects, but it cannot be ignored or denied that unlocks have provided an easy route for developers to keep us invested in their games. Need empirical evidence? Look no further than Clicker Heroes; the game consists of nothing more than repeatedly clicking (and clicking and clicking and clicking) to level up and unlock new abilities (click for more damage). That’s it. Yet currently the game has 90% positive reviews with 22,499 ratings on Steam. Yes, the game is satire, but it’s successful satire for a reason: it works and developers know it.

When I hear people complain that they’ve lost interest in a game because there aren’t enough unlocks or “the carrot on the stick” isn’t good enough, what they’re saying is one of two things:

1) “I’ve lost interest in the gameplay, but could be kept interested in the game by the thrill of unlocking more things.”

See: Clicker Heroes. If the whole reason we’re continuing to play a game is to just unlock more stuff, what are we really doing with our time?

2) “I’ve lost interest in the gameplay because of lack of variety and play-styles and think that more unlocks would add that variety.”

I’d say that’s a very valid point. However, is the real issue that there aren’t enough unlocks or that there isn’t enough variety, period. Would it be less fun if you had access to that grenade launcher from the beginning? Yes, doling out features over time can sometimes keep things fresh, but if you were to have access to Black Ops 3’s 100 unlocks from the beginning, do you really think you’d blow through all of those combinations in a few hours. No, you’d continue to experiment and evolve your play-style, but with the freedom to do so at your own pace, and however you want.

Multi-player is unbalanced

No matter what, unless everyone in a competitive multi-player match has access to the exact same weapons/tools/perks/abilities/whatever, then the game is inherently unbalanced. Sure, one weapon can have pros and cons versus another, but show me the game where all of the weapons are perfectly balanced and used in equal numbers. Over time, every game devolves to a handful of “player-base approved” weapons, and if they’re not the starting weapons, then the game is unfair to new players. Even if the starting weapons are the “best”, there will always be those players who do best with other, locked weapons. If it’s not all available to everyone, it’s unbalanced. Period.

Would it be a fair match if Federer played Djokavic and Federer had to play with the shoes and racket that were handed to him while Djokavic was able to pick his out, despite the pros and cons of the two sets of equipment? I don’t think so – and that’s a generous scenario where we assume one set is not inherently worse than the other, which often happens in games.

Unlocks can actually make the game repetitive before it should be

If a game’s unlock structure is not properly built, and the unlocks are not delivered at proper intervals, you can actually become bored with a game before experiencing all of its content. There are numerous games that I’ve stopped playing before unlocking everything. I got bored. I had exhausted the content available to me. Perhaps, if that content were available to me, I would have been able to mix things up, try something different, and keep having fun with the game. Instead, I put the game down – I don’t get full enjoyment of the product I paid for and the developer loses my attention before they might have otherwise. That’s the potential for a lose-lose.

Pros

We have something to look forward to

Unlocks give us something to look forward to – something new to use that we didn’t have access to an hour ago. They keep the game fresh in a way. We get to anticipate using a new weapon, a new play-style, or a new strategy, and we get the thrill of finally reaching our goal and unlocking that elusive “thing.”

However, I think it’s more fun to have Metal Gear Solid 5 in my hands than anticipate its release. As stated earlier, I think as long there is enough variety available from the start, I’ll continually anticipate trying new combinations, trying new strategies, and trying new play-styles, but at my own pace and exactly how I want to.

We are forced to mix things and encouraged to try new combinations

Some people may view being forced to do anything as a negative, but I think it’s good to not be able to settle into groove and ignore content we may otherwise enjoy. By progressing through the unlock structure, we are forced to use weapons, perks, abilities, etc., that may not be our favorite or even the best, but they’re the best we have at that moment. It helps keep the game fresh.

However, I think there are other ways to accomplish this goal. One that comes to mind is the MOBA-style banning of characters, weapons, skills, etc. (Note: I’m not advocating the “MOBAzation” of everything that’s currently happening!). I’ve not seen it used, but another method I can imagine is, every match, the game could dictate a handful of weapons, perks, and equipment that is available to players from the wider selection in the game, again forcing players outside of their comfort zone without outright locking away content.

We get to feel special and unique

We have an emblem, weapon, skin, or emote that no one else in the match has. We get to feel special and show others that we’ve accomplished something.

However, is that worth creating unbalanced multi-player gameplay? Even if the unlocks are solely cosmetic (which is an improvement) does Joe Schmo deserve to be denied access to that cool beard just because he doesn’t have 20+ hours to spend with the game. He paid for it; should he be punished for not having enough free time? If a developer wants to grant us a way to feel unique, give us an emblem, weapon, armor, or car skin editor.

We get to learn the mechanics appropriately over time

By unlocking game features slowly over time, we get a chance to learn the basics and work our way up the curve appropriately; it ensures we don’t get overwhelmed or miss out on some crucial feature.

However, I think it can become a lazy excuse for a lack of a good tutorial. Note, I say a good tutorial – not a boring, dry, tedious exercise. If teaching the mechanics slowly over time is the sole reason for having unlocks, then there are other methods to accomplish that same goal without the negative side effects of unlocks. Teach us about your game in fun, inventive, interactive ways that don’t lock away content.

We feel a sense of achievement

It’s nice, after spending 20 hours with a game or nailing that headshot across the map, to be recognized for it. Really, the only way to accomplish this feeling is by unlocking something.

However, I think there are “unlocks” that accomplish this and are not as detrimental to the experience as the current unlock structure in most games. As stated earlier, purely cosmetic unlocks are an improvement, but can still punish certain players by barring them from neat content. Ever since Battlefield 2 and Call of Duty 4, stat tracking, medals, badges, and challenges have existed to lend that sense of achievement without locking up any content; sure you can’t strut around like a proud peacock with an orange weapon skin, but in combination with a solid social platform like Steam or Battlelog, you can still show off your accomplishments. If we must have an unlock, something like title cards are peripheral and specific enough that no one will be slighted if they don’t have them from the start.

OK, so where do unlocks work well (and are there problems even there)?

I don’t mean to say that unlocks have no place in video games; they certainly do. However, it needs to be in an appropriate type of game or game mode. Single-player games and role-playing games are both excellent spaces for unlocks; they often tell the story of a character’s progression or rise to power, and levels and unlocks, while contrived, make sense. Additionally, cooperative multi-players games with a strong story element can be appropriate for the same reasons.

That said, I’m of the mind that if you really want to, you should be able to unlock any ability in a single-player game from the beginning (of course with warnings that you’re breaking the game and destroying any authorial intent). If you paid $60 for Fallout 4, I want you to be able to go home, boot it up, and start firing off Fat Man nukes at rad roaches if that’s all you want to do. Again, not everyone has the time or ability to spend 30+ hours with a game, so if they want to break the game for themselves, why not let them? Anyone remember when developers actually gave us cheat codes?

Furthermore, I think players should have the choice to skip to whatever part of the game they want (again with disclaimers about breaking the experience). If you’ve heard that the nuke level in Call of Duty 4 is awesome, why are you forced to play through the rest of the game if you don’t want to? I can pick up any book and skip to any chapter, or even read the last page while still standing in Barnes and Noble. When I pop in the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation blu-ray, I can go to the chapter select and jump to any part of the movie I want.

Why have unlocks evolved in games?

As stated, other media do not have the same structures or restrictions when it comes to unlocks, so why are games unique? I’d suppose it comes from video games’ origins in the arcade. Back then, developers wanted to gate progress and lock away levels and weapons as a means to entice players to keep popping in their quarters. As games moved into our living rooms, these structures naturally followed along without question. These many years later, when developers started to add more and more unlocks (and restrict more and more content), the precedent was already in place, so went largely unquestioned.

Conclusion

Despite my objections, I think unlocks were originally implemented with good intentions by developers trying to find fun, new ways to mix things up. I also think plenty of developers still pour their hearts and souls into their projects regardless of the unlock structure. However, I think unlocks have gotten out of hand and are now doing more harm than good. Most troubling, however, is that fact that we seem to accept their existence without question; we really only complain when Destiny sells a $30 shortcut, but no longer ask why that content is locked to begin with.

Overall, though, the issue comes down to a matter of priorities and consumer agency. If what you value most is the anticipation and thrill of unlocking new content and the ability to show off your trophies, you may fall on one side of the argument. Alternatively, if what you value most is balanced competitive gameplay, player agency, and consumer rights, you may fall on the other. Neither is right, and neither is wrong. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of consumer agency. We have the ability to set our own priorities and decide whether to buy or not buy any game. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a thoughtful discussion and see if there is a majority consensus in the community.

So, where do you fall? Do you think unlocks are good? Bad? Somewhere in-between? Do you have alternative ideas that could accomplish the same goals?

67 Comments

UPDATED: A Plea to Drivers

I've thought about writing this blog (rant) multiple times before, and decided that now was as good a time as any. So, here are some of my least favorite kinds of drivers, and a plea to people everywhere. Note, these are not necessarily the worst or most dangerous types of drivers (light and stop sign runners come to mind), merely the ones that are most common.
 
Driving Slowly in the Left Lane 

 
As somebody who drives regularly in the left lane, this is one of the more obnoxious behaviors that I can think of. On any road with more than one lane, the leftmost lane is the passing or fast lane. If you are going to drive slower than or at pace with (this is actually worse because then you can't pass in either lane) the right lane, then get in the right lane. There is absolutely no reason for you to be in the left lane and hold everyone else up.
 
Now, there is an even worse breed of this sort that I like to call the Left Lane Crusader, a specimen easily identified by the presence of a column of traffic reminiscent of a presidential convoy. This fellow is even worse than the hopelessly oblivious slow driver because the Left Lane Crusader does it on purpose. Somewhere, at some point, the Left Lane Crusader got it in his mind that he is single handedly making the road and the world at large a safer place by regulating traffic speeds. 
 
Wrong. You are actually more dangerous because you are acting unpredictably. What's more likely to cause an accident than pure speed is unpredictable differences in speed. If everyone is driving at the same pace, there probably isn't going to be a problem. However, when you pull into the fast lane and try to change the pace, that is far more likely to cause an accident.  

Moreover, you've now created a column of irritated, tail-gating drivers which is the perfect environment for a major accident. Well done. If you have a problem with speeding, hand out pamphlets or buy a bumper sticker, don't try and play superhero on the road.

Not Using Turn Signals   

How hard is it? Really? If you can't be assed to flick out your middle finger and hit the turn signal every once in a while then please get off the road. I don't care whether you're turning at an intersection or just changing lanes, use your god damned turn signal. Is there a good chance that you're going to cause an accident if you don't use it? No. However, I think we can all recognize that when driving behind someone, it is always helpful to know what the person ahead of you is intending to do. So just do it. It's really not that hard.
 
The worst offender of this, though, is the Weaver. This prick thinks the highway is his personal playground and he drives like he's playing Grand Theft Auto. Not only does this guy rarely use his signals, but he indiscriminately passes in the left, middle, and right lanes. Rarely, he does use his turn signal and I can only imagine he does so to make himself feel slightly better about his otherwise asinine behavior. Kind of like getting a Diet Coke with a large pizza. 
 
Don't be that guy. 
 
EDIT: To sum up my exact feelings. Thanks to SSully!
  

  
  
Leaving Massive Gaps between Cars at a Light 
 
When you're waiting at a traffic light, do you leave 2 or 3 car-lengths between you and the next car? When the light turns green and the car ahead of you starts to go, do you take your time and continue to leave 3 car-lengths between you? Good, you're responsible for only 2/5 of the cars getting through the light that actually should have. 
 
I'm not saying it needs to be a drag race when the light turns, or that you need to drive so that the next guy's exhaust is going directly into your grill, but just make an effort to keep the gap reasonable. Just pay attention and when the light turns, be ready to go. 
 
Awareness of Drivers Behind You
 
This one is sort of related to the gap issue in the previous point. When waiting at a light, or just when stuck in a line of traffic, be aware of the cars behind you. Often, I see someone get strung out in the middle of an intersection or access to a turning lane blocked, only to see the cars further up leaving massive gaps between themselves and the drivers remaining blissfully oblivious to everyone behind them. Once again, just pay attention and be conscientious of other drivers.  

On Ramp Speed 
 
This one is admittedly rare, though infinitely baffling. I don't know if it's grannies or just hopelessly incompetent drivers, but this motherfucker merges onto the interstate like he or she's cruising down a dirt road. Exactly how do you plan to merge safely with 70mph traffic while going 30mph? The on ramp is meant for you to build speed and match pace with the highway traffic. That's why it's there. Please make use of it. 
 
The Ungrateful Driver 
 
There is little else as infuriating as an ungrateful prick. When I wave you on at a stop sign or slow down to allow you onto the road, I expect a fucking appreciative wave. All you have to do it throw your hand in the air. One little motion. Do it. 
 
As a quick addendum, when waiting at a turn to get onto a busy road, pay attention. I don't know how many times I've slowed down and flashed my lights at someone only to see them staring at their cell phones or staring out the fucking passenger window. What are you doing? 

Passing Traffic in Another Lane at a Merger 
 
This, ladies and gentleman, is the worst of the worst. These people cannot be dismissed as merely oblivious or incompetent. Rather, they are just assholes. Pure and simple.
 
These are the people who, while you're waiting in line at a merger or an exit ramp, think that they can simply fly by in the other lane and butt-in further down the road. In my experience of being in the car with this sort of person, they usually rationalize their behavior by saying, "Well, there're two lanes, so people should use both." I can't discredit that. There are two lanes. However, let me paint a picture for you.  
 
You have a funnel (merger). On one hand, you have a bucket of rocks, and on the other hand you have a long, straight tube filled with rocks. When dropped into the funnel, which do you think is going to pass through quicker? Clearly, the tubed rocks since they'll fall straight out of the tube and through the funnel's bottom. The bucket of rocks will eventually pass through the funnel as well, but only after a lot of shaking and jostling. 
 
The point is, instead of passing by all of the other cars and jamming up the funnel when you have to butt back into line, just merge with the single lane earlier on. When you begin to see the lane slowing down, get over at that point, while other cars don't have to slow down to accommodate you. In the end, everyone (not just you) will benefit for it. 
 
The worst offenders of this that I've noticed are the too-important-to-wait assholes in the BMWs and Mercedes, or the presumably apathetic fuck driving around in his shitmobile. In either case, this person doesn't give a damn about anyone but themselves. 
 
That said, there is one flavor of this sort that surpasses even all others. That is the person who does this same thing, but uses the shoulder of the road to do so. This one is really self-explanatory and I have nothing more to say than if you're this person, you should be shot. 

Conclusion 
 
Now, I know most people think they are better-than-average drivers, and you might be thinking that I think my shit don't stink. I admit, I've made mistakes while driving and I've probably managed to piss one or two people off at various times. However, I make a conscious effort to be considerate on the road and behave responsibly. All I ask is that more people try and do the same. 
 
If you recognize any part of this rant in yourself, I'll be happy if it just pops into your mind the next time you're behind the wheel. 
 
Anyway, /rant.

45 Comments

Frustrations with L.A. Noire (spoilers through Homicide)

Before anyone calls me a troll or says "What's the point?", I just want to say I don't presume to change anyone's opinion of the game, or tell you that you're wrong or an idiot for liking the game. These are just some personal frustrations I've had with the game, and I'm simply putting them out there as discussion points to see if anyone agrees, and to see other people's thoughts on the game. 


Repetition  A serial killer may offer a high-stakes plot device, but investigating nearly identical crime scenes over and over doesn't do much for gameplay. Park, naked lady, wrench, framed "murderer." Go.


Lack of Gratification

Again, I understand what you're trying to do with the plot, but it's not very fun running around to different locations for two hours just to arrest a guy I know didn't commit the crime.

Too Easy
The game often feels more like an interactive movie than a game. Investigating a crime scene is merely a matter of patience, walking around the area until the controller buzzes and then pressing 'A". Yes, you can turn off the cues, but then you'd just have to walk around constantly pressing 'A" since there are a large number of objects that may or may not be interactive. Moreover, once you do pick something up, the game tells you whether it's important or not. With these two things combined, you can never feel clever or feel like a detective because you are drawing no inferences yourself.

You never actually do any detective work yourself, you simply guide Phelps through his. A good detective game should be about drawing inferences and deducing things yourself, but you're not doing that. The closest you can come is to pick the evidence that counters a specific lie, but again this is ungratifying because the game has already essentially pointed you to the evidence and told you the significance - it really just feels like a mini-game of connect the dots.

Lack of Choice
This fits into the idea of the game being a very guided experience. You never have the option of roughing a suspect up or maybe pushing the suspect in an interrogation. Something as simple as a Bluff option where you claim to have a witness or something would at least allow you to feel some personal control over the course that an interview takes. The Truth, Doubt, and Lie system is pretty cut and dry as it stands.

Things as small as street crimes not being able to be replayed would at least make the world feel more your own. That criminal got away because I screwed up. Instead, the game just loads you back and lets you do it over again until its inevitable conclusion. The most choice I've seen thus far in the game is choosing to charge suspect A or B, which seems like a fake choice given that one of them had a bloody wrench and shirt in his apartment. Who could get that wrong?

Dead City
This is a narrative driven game, and perhaps having less side activities is more realistic, but I can't help but feel like there is some sort of lost potential in the city itself. More so than other open-world games like GTA or RDR, the streets and alleyways really just feel like filler between the game's story locales. Hell, the game doesn't even let you park and walk up to the door; you can be going 80 mph past the storefront and it will snap to a cutscene. It all just adds up to make the city feel inconsequential and lifeless.

Confusing Story
Maybe this is just me (I don't think so, I'm usually the one who follows a thick plot), but I would sometimes lose the thread in the middle of an interview or when going from place to place. Often, I would find myself driving to a location or going to speak to someone just because they were in my notebook. I don't play every case in one sitting, so I can easily forget how one person is related to the case, or where I got their name from. The information in the notebook is often very incomplete, and I don't want to read through pages and pages of the log to get a refresher. A game with this much information needs a more elegant and complete method of of tracking everything.

By the time I was going after the Werewolf, my partner was referring to people who I simply did not remember. The ring belonged to who? The lady in the park? Naked? Killed by a wrench? OK, the first, second, third or fourth one?

Unexpected Dialog
Sometimes during an interview, when I select one of the three options, Phelps says something that I completely was not expecting, or what I had in mind. Instead of thinking like a detective, you're left trying to figure out what the script-writer might have had in mind at the time he wrote the dialog. The same could be said for some pieces of evidence - - maybe the dialog matches the evidence to the lie, or maybe it doesn't.

Story Funnels
One of the most obnoxious things in a game is when it pretends to offer a choice, or an open way to approach a situation, and then suddenly and without warning funnels you into something unexpected. In one of the early cases, I being silly, thought it would be a good idea to arrest the murderer before the accidental hit-and-run driver. Apparently, the game didn't agree, and I got to finish the case being informed "it was too bad I let the driver get away." I believe this happened a couple other times as well. Those are "put the controller down" moments.

---

I don't mean to say that everything in this game is bad -- not by a longshot. The city and characters that Team Bondi has crafted are incredibly detailed, and the technology is second to none. I think the facial animations are really a transformative technology in the industry, and I can't wait to see a character as charismatic and likeable as Nathan Drake animated in such a compelling manner.

However, when a game as polished and potential-filled as L.A. Noire stumbles in some area, it just makes it that much more noticeable and frustrating. I respect Team Bondi for taking a bold step in a new direction with a new technology, but ultimately I think the game is better as a proof of technology and academic study than as an actual game. It feels almost like Assassin's Creed, where they pioneered a new style of gameplay and created a solid framework, but it won't be until the sequel that they really flesh it out and make a much more compelling gameplay experience.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the game thus far. I don't think I'm going to finish the game, so I just wanted to get some of my thoughts out now.

34 Comments

Book Review: The Ultimate History of Video Games

The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent is a comprehensive and enjoyable account of the development of our favorite industry. From the days of coin-op mechanical games and pinball, all the way through the launch of the PS2, Kent covers the maturation of the industry in incredible detail. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, Kent leaves no stone unturned and no detail left out. However, while the book is dense with information and admittedly lengthy, it manages to read much more like a fast-paced story than a tediously plotted history text.

 Nintendo Play Station?
Nintendo Play Station?

This readability is no doubt thanks to the book’s greatest asset: it is straight from the horse’s mouth. The book is littered with quotes directly from the people within the industry, and nearly every page features at least one or two block quotes. These are not low-level QA testers or programmers, but the very men who helped to shape the industry: Ralph Baer, Nolan Bushnell, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Hideo Kojima to name just a few. Along with a foreword by Peter Molyneux, these firsthand accounts lend the book immediate credibility, as you are never left wondering where a certain bit of information came from, or what the people involved actually thought at the time – it is right there in front of you.

Another asset working in the book’s favor is that Kent never bogs you down with company detail after company detail, but rather, weaves both the business side of the industry in with the personal side, allowing much space for hilarious anecdotes and tangential stories from the men themselves. Whether it’s a story of Bushnell riding around on a conveyor belt when company executives show up, or members of the Xbox design team almost killing themselves by overcrowding an elevator, Kent spends as much time making you laugh as he does informing you. The only part of the book that slowed down was a large chapter surrounding a number of court battles that spanned the 1970s-90s, though even there, an anecdote or two elicited a laugh.

 The game that crashed an industry? No.
The game that crashed an industry? No.

If there were any criticism that I could lay against the book, it is that it only covers up until 2000, just after the launch of the PS2 and as GameCube and Xbox are in development (by no fault of the book itself as it had to be published sometime). Personally, while I would have liked to learn more about the development of the newer consoles and personalities, this didn’t bother me too much since I have followed the industry more closely since the mid-2000s and know much of this information already.

Overall, Kent’s book is exactly what the subtitle says it is: the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world. Whether you’re a history buff who happens to like games, someone hoping to one day work in the industry, or just a gamer with an appreciation for the industry, you owe it to yourself to read The Ultimate History of Video Games. You won’t regret it.

If you have any questions about the book, or if you’ve read it and would like to leave a comment, go ahead. Thanks for reading!

Below are just some of the people interviewed in the book:

Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari and Chuck E. Cheese

Minoru Arakawa, president, Nintendo of America

Howard Lincoln, chairman, Nintendo of America Gumpei Yokoi, designer, Game Boy

Kaz Hirai, president, Sony Computer Entertainment of America

David Rosen, cofounder, Sega

Peter Moore, former president, Sega of America

Trip Hawkins, founder, EA and 3DO

Alan Miller, cofounder, Activision and Accolade

Greg Fischbach, president, Acclaim

John Romero, cofounder, id Software

Masaya Nakamura, founder, Namco

Hironobu Sakaguchi, president, Square USA

Shigeru Miyamoto, creator, Donkey Kong, Mario, Zelda, et al

Hideo Kojima, creator, Metal Gear

Ed Boon, creator, Mortal Kombat

Yuji Naka, creator, Sonic the Hedgehog

Toru Iwatani, creator, Pac-Man

Alexey Pajitnov, creator, Tetris

Joel Hochberg, cofounder, Rare Ltd.

Steven Wozniak, cofounder, Apple

Bill Gates, COO, Microsoft

Seamus Blackley, co-designer, Xbox

Michael Katz, former president, Coleco

Steve Russell, creator, Spacewar

Ralph Baer, designer, Magnavox Odyssey

So, yeah, you get it…

12 Comments

Call of Duty did not invent the fucking wheel...

Alright, I felt the need to write this after hearing so many people saying "Call of Duty anyone...?" and "Way to rip off Modern Warfare" in relation to so many different games.  The most recent that I've seen is calling the co-op campaign of Splinter Cell: Conviction a rip off of Spec-Ops. That doesn't even make sense. Modern Warfare 2 has separate "challenge" levels for co-op, not a campaign.
 
Call of Duty does have some unique things such as killstreak rewards, said co-op "challenges," and probably some other things I'm not thinking of, but believe it or not, it was not born from the vagina of originality. Below are just some of the things that people are claiming are rip-offs of Call of Duty, listed with games they've appeared in before Modern Warfare. A lot of these probably appeared before even the games I've listed, these are just the ones that come to mind first.

  • Modern setting - Ghost Recon (2001) or Battlefield 2 (2005) if you want a popular online shooter
  • Persistent ranking system - Battlefield 2
  • Unlockable weapons - Battlefield 2
  • UAVs / Shooting down UAVs - Battlefield 2   
  • Weapon mods  - SOCOM 3 (2005)
  • Customizable kit loadouts - Battlefield 2142 (2006) 
  • Seperate co-op "campaign" - Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (2006)
  • Perks - Fallout (1997) (Call of Duty did bring them to FPSs)
 
The entire video game industry relies on give and take. Games before Call of Duty did it, Call of Duty did it, and games to come will do it. So, please, if you don't know what you're talking about, kindly shut the fuck up already.
 
DISCLAIMER: Since some people seem to think I'm hating on Call of Duty -- I'm not. I'm hating on people who talk out of their asses and attack other games when they don't know what they're talking about. I've played every COD since the original and love the series.
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