So you finally save up enough to buy a PS3, only to take it home and find it debases your entire religion. Typical! This week Sony's occasionally-church-based shooter Resistance is in the dock (and even in Parliament) charged with blasphemy and realistic visuals; the writer for innovative new war sim Haze questions (briefly) the use of war veterans to give authenticity to other titles in the genre; and we ask just how damaging Microsoft's 'rings of red' are for the 360's public image. Perhaps if the lights were more auburn? Or strawberry blonde?
- Church attacks Sony over video game
The game in question is Resistance: Fall Of Man, the PS3 launch title that pits alien against man in an apocalyptic vision of Britain. The use of a famous cathedral in such a violent videogame is understandably not to the taste of the clergy, but it is faintly astonishing for them to suggest that the game be removed from shelves so that it ceases to "encourage people to have guns battles in the building". Since this story emerged, there's been quite a furore in the British press, with Tony Blair himself raising the issue of developer responsibility in Parliament. Still, at least Sony can console themselves with the fact that one of the Almighty's ground troops has praised the game's "photo-realistic quality". Beat that Gears!
- War vets doing games is "pretty f***ing bizarre" – Haze writer
Rob Yescombe's assertion that the involvement of war veterans in war game development is "bizarre" is clearly euphemistic. Pretty f***ing euphemistic. Without fear of controversy, he might go on to suggest that such involvement is disrespectful to the memories of those who fought and died in the wars that the veterans are advising on. He might suggest that the visceral and cathartic thrill of an entertaining first-person shooter is a wholly inappropriate representation and a glorification of the terrible reality of wartime combat. He might claim that Haze's sense of satire and probing moral questions will transform our perceptions of the war game genre; that it will not be possible to play through the game without engaging with the issues it raises. In fact, he probably has made that last statement. If only game makers didn't lose their fervour and garrulity when faced with a difficult issue that isn't related to selling their latest game.
- Rings of Red
Speaking as one undecided on whether I'll be plumping for a PS3 or Xbox 360 (when I inevitably do), I have to agree with this article's warning to Microsoft that customer service is a big sway factor as you move away from the hardcore audience and into the mass market. Sony's mass market. Anecdotal reports of the 360's red rings have got me more than a little uneasy about handing over my cash for one. And I find that kind of strange. Surely the consumer should really just go for the product that they want and has the most attractive selection of games to them. And it's worth noting that even if the 360 did need fixing, the repair costs would only bring it closer to PS3's starting price. But consumer psychology is sometimes hard to rationalize; people just don't want to hand over money for something they know may break down before its time and need to be sent back. Whether it's the PSP's fragility and need for updates, the DS's software prices, the PS3's hardware price, or the Wii's lack of software, it seems all the major systems can spark these kind of consumer concerns before we get into bed with them.