With E3 over and my game pretty much finished I've had sometime to check out the latest demos from the demoscene. I found one in particular that really pointed out my disappointment in the new Nintendo Wii. First off let me say I love Nintendo for taking the chance and trying to shake things up with their new controller and I'm sure there will be some rocking games but unfortunately now that I've seen and played next gen games (360/PS3) it's really hard to look at many last gen games. At least the kind that are going for realisim just don't cut it once I've gotten used to better. Katamari Damacy or Mario with their cartoony styles will always be fine on last gen hardware. But, even though Metroid Prime, both the original and sequel are among my favorite games, when I saw Metroid Prime 3 : Corruption it just looked so dated.
This same phemomenon happened during that last transition as well. I remember when FF7 was the best looking pre−rendered game out and Metal Gear Solid and the Crash Bandicoot series were among the best looking real time rendered games. Then Dreamcast and PS2 and later XBox came out and overnight I could no longer look at most PS1 games. Of course there were a few exceptions for games with simple graphics, but over all it was hard to look at Tekken 3 on PS1 after playing Tekken Tag Team on PS2 or look at Ridge Racer on PS1 after Ridge Racer 5 on PS2.
So, now comes Wii's realistic Zelda and realistic Metroid and both of them are not working for me. I'm sure they will still be fun but for me, if they were going to make a low powered machine I think they should have kept Zelda in cel−shaded mode. Metroid is another problem though. The first 2 Primes are among the most beautiful games out for last gen on any platform but now that Wii's tech is so far behind 360/PS3 I think the inspired team at Retro is going to have a really hard road ahead to meet that same goal of awe inducing visuals which to me is arguably part of what Metroid is about. As Samus I get visit some alien world and discover all this amazing jaw dropping stuff but now with Wii being underpowered that impact will no longer be there.
Watching "deities" by mfx really drove that home. These are the types of things I was expecting to see in a next gen Metroid. Displays entirely made of glowing particles. Creatures and effects as detailed and real looking as the Matrix movies. Fuzzy glowing bio luminescent machines in tunnels made of fluid. I want to explore the world of deties.
An older mfx demo, aether is also inspiring with its strange clouds of energy, its barren plains of desolation, its sun getting eaten by a black hole and its firey creature. I would much rather encounter that fire creature than yet another leathery lizard dinosaur alien bug in the latest 360 or PC fps.
And has there been a decent underwater game yet? medusa, also by mfx suggests some possibilties. The movie "The Abyss" suggested some interesting possibilities but as far as I know no one has followed them up in a game.
Or how about a crystaline world with creatures that create other creatures out of beams of energy. Crystal tunnels of pulsating illumination and plants that grow out of light. These are from Amethyst by Traction and deMarche
Lets go swimming through a zillion cells in the blood of some giant whale on a fantastic voyage in Animal Attraction by Andromeda Software Development. Actually that was on small part of the demo but it still stirred my imagination as did the possibilties suggested by the effects later in the demo. Metroid had walls covered with wiggly plants but with out the lushness next gen power can provide they'll lose their impact.
Electric Kool-Aid by Synesthetics was inspried by having the best music of all of these IMO but even above that, the lightning effects and the generated cyber city toward the end of the demo suggest places I wish I could explore in a game as well as the often talked about auto−genarated worlds. Spore looks to support some of this but I want more.
The style suggested by that last one also brings up the question, why no good cyberspace games? Tron 2.0 didn't seem inspired to me, it just seemed like an FPS with glowing walls. Metroid Prime 2 has probably done the best of any game I've played of making a cyberspace like world. It had some great stuff but it's still grounded in a world where the you walk around on the floor. Couldn't cyberspace be a little more creative as possibly suggested by It's Full of Stars by Traction.
September and Snowfall by Traction is somewhere in between cyberspace, innerspace and organic space. That's another place I want to explore. Like Fantastic Voyage mentioned above where is the inner body adventure game that is as wow inducing as the 40 year old movie? The closest I've come is the belly of a fish on Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That can't be as good as it gets.
This last demo I mention mostly because the music was toe−tapping catchy. meet the family by fairlight. Still, while it might be fake (no idea), toward the end they have something that looks like real time auto−generated plants. If someone can get totally lush alien jungles count me in.
Note: Most of these demos require a fast machine, a fairly new graphics card and the latest DirectX 9. A few will run on a slower machine but some of the additive or subtractive effects will add up to make them unviewable. If your machine is up to it check them out.
oh.......and turn your lights off and the sound up! 😊