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(re: If it were me…) This isn’t quite Star Wars Galaxies, but Clan Lord is perhaps one of the most interesting on-line games out there. I think this humorous flyer sums it up best. The community on the game is just awesome. Maybe more importantly, the involvement from the game’s creaters is very high, even though it’s more of a MMMORPG (Moderately Massive Multiplayer…). It’s a classic. I’m a college student who can’t afford on-line games, but I look back on when I played the beta 4 years ago and smile. Just smile.
One of the things Clan Lord shows is that you don’t need five million dollars to make a game where the essesence of it is revolutionary. I’m on a quest (more of impatiently waiting and trying to figure out just what it would entail) for a “new” game – a game with something that I haven’t seen or played before. For example, I’m very excited to see what Bill Roper and the other 3 who left Blizzard North will do with their new company.
To continue with my train of thought, I’m fully expecting that if a new game does materialize (which it most certainly already has but has not yet been found by me), it’ll happen by a smaller company, and will probably never reach the masses due to the fact that it’s so easy to buy big budget games. That’s part of what was lost when the mainstream game industry switched from little guys to giants. Then again, the small game industry before the giants took over was just about as large (probably smaller even) as the small game industry today.
To me, I have huge amount of respect for the little fantastic games, and they stay closer to my heart than the mainstream games do. Another example of a great game that had an original idea with a small or nonexistant budget is AirBurst. The game play is simple yet original, the graphics are attractive, but the experience is revolutionary (so was the price of $5). Yet another example are most of the games made by Ambrosia Software. I consider it an asset to a company when I, just another customer, can chat up the president via a conversation. When the company gets huge, that’s usually not possible.
These games may never reach the height of popularity or bring in as much money as say, Everquest, Unreal Tournament, or Star Wars Galaxies. But to the people they do reach (like me) they create memories. That’s a certain part of their charm. I can always show them to somebody who hasn’t played them before. For me, they fulfill that which is lacking in today’s mainstream game.
– Mike Belisle
p.s. Yes, all of these are Mac links. One thing I like about the Mac is that the developers who are content with just reaching the Mac market have a habit of just making great products. When some of my favorite companies – Bungie, for example – have hit the big time on Windows, the charm has gone away. I think it’s largely due to the need to now satisfy 10s of millions of gamers instead of to satisfy a million. That charm is further deteriorated when supporting the Mac starts being percieved within the company as a liability instead of an asset. To continue with Bungie, their old series Marathon had charm and spunk. It was original and it was a trendsetter. Halo however, is good, but it has neither charm nor spunk. If you don’t have a Mac anymore, I apologize for all the Mac links… Ambrosia has had some of their games ported. I’d highly recommend Escape Velocity: Nova (a series which has a format that is also ripe for the online world).
p.p.s: This post also doesn’t deal specifically with Sierra. But I feel the message of it embodies something that existed at some point in Sierra’s history.