It’s a new year and now we can look back at 2012 and see how things went. There was never a games drought (as long as you had access to a PC capable of running Steam), THQ filed for bankruptcy, the Wii U released and an Adventure game won Game of the Year many times over. But enough living in the past. This year I’d like to see a few things happen; none of these are extreme and there is no particular order.
#1. Lucasarts rereleases and or HD/remake announcements
Disney owns a plethora of IPs and last year saw them pick up Lucasarts for a modest fee. Lucasarts; aside from Star Wars also own a ton of old Adventure game IPs from yesteryear. A few years back we got a pack of rereleases on Steam; followed by beautiful remakes of the first pair of Monkey Island games. Since then… nothing. A whole host of games waiting to be played by a new generation or by those that want to play them again or even missed those first time round (like myself).
Grim Fandango for me is the epitome of this want. Yes there are other games I long for but Grim Fandango is the one I wish for the most. Tim Schafer is my Game Designer Hero (I have heroes for many different things) and has had a hand in some of the most enthralling and enticing universes. Grim Fandango is a regret of mine; as is Full Throttle (which I once saw regularly for £4 and never decided to buy it until it had been snapped up) but with Grim Fandango landing quite highly in many top 100/50 games of all time lists; my lack of effort to buy and play the game shames me.
#2. No Ads for Gold users on Xbox Live
Yes it’s been said before but it’s not only intrusive but also makes my user experience much more irritating and clunky. Ads seem to have taken precedence over content with the most recent dashboard. Unless I have something pinned; which is still one menu switch, I have to see more Ads than stuff I own on my Xbox while navigating the menus. I didn’t mind the Ad’s originally but I want to get to my content and it’s slowing everything down now.
Gold is a paid service and I’m fine with paying a year’s sub even if it’s just for Deal of the Week and the occasional bit of multiplayer for review. Oh, and Sky on my Xbox once I sort it out again. But Ads getting the forefront on my console means I’m inconvenienced when I want to play something I don’t often use. If you let us have ONE main page and let us stick all the things we want instant access to there then that’d be great. Let me access the disc tray, games, videos etc as I see fit on one page. Then if the tabs for apps, games, video and music marketplaces have Ad’s no one’s going to care. We’ll still see them when we buy content or skip though the pages but it’ll be less in your face and won’t inconvenience the user.
#3 Better Licence Transfers for Xbox
If you’ve had to go through the trouble of moving content from one Xbox to another or even just tried to find what games or DLC you’ve bought; then you’re in for a difficult time. Like Steam, Games for Windows Live, Origin or many other game services the Xbox allows you to see what you have bought, but in such a mess that it includes demos, trials and videos and whatever else in a list that seems to go on infinitely. The more that you’ve ever downloaded the more difficult it is to search for and when you have many things to download it takes an excruciating amount of time to get anything done.
All that is needed is a sortable list. If I can show me what games I’ve bought then it’ll make life much simpler; if it can then show me games that aren’t trials then I’ll be even happier. DLC’s sorted by games it’s linked to, that’d be awesome especially for the rather long list of Rock Band track’s I own. Considering Region transfers on Xbox Live accounts was deemed nigh on impossible and are now available and incredibly quick and easy; this isn’t too far a stretch on what is a simple improvement of the user experience.
#4 GBA games on the 3DS eShop
Digital downloads are an easy way of distributing games for a cost vastly less than that of physical media. Digital rereleases of classic or rare games tend to make a fair amount of money as well. Sony have their PSOne and PS2 games released now and then and that’s great; same goes for Nintendo’s Virtual Console: NES, SNES and N64 all have some great titles. Handhelds on the other hand are very different. They still have some of these older generation games digitally available but so far the 3DS has a distinct lack of Game Boy Advance games. If that isn’t enough the prices for the Game Boy games are quite steep.
The GBA has a large catalogue of games and it was promised quite a while back that they would make it onto the eShop. 2013 has rolled around and some of Nintendo’s best portable games are still unavailable for purchase digitally. We’re not expecting the entire catalogue in a day but a small trickle of the best games could be the reason someone opts to buy and use a 3DS over a smart phone with some reasonable price and some very good games. Like with many well regarded old games, people are ready and willing to rebuy the same game on multiple formats just so that they can play the games they love. I know many people let The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, pass them by the first time round. With 3DS in hand, they’re unlikely going to make the same mistake twice.
#5 A new League of Legends Client
League of Legends (LoL) is serious business; one of the most populated games in the world at this point in time. It’s a game that people will debate over with regard to quality; especially when Dota 2 is concerned and it’s very much a matter of preference of the gameplay. Trolls, vitriolic behaviour and fanboy preferences aside; the worst part of LoL is its client. When you put any reasonably substantial amount of time into something you get to notice problems more frequently. Unfortunately the client can be more than disagreeable to work with at times. Adobe AIR seems a sorespot from many but so long as they make the client work or at least make you and others that it affects aware of any issues then it’d make things much better for everyone.
An example of the problems I find most frustrating is the lack of information you receive when something goes wrong. If my client breaks during the Champion selection I may not realise until something overly unusual occurs. Normally it’ll be the timer runs to zero and nothing has happened. It can mean any number of things to you as the player and may mean you are locked into a game where you are at a severe disadvantage when you finally load into the game. If you could be made aware of the/any problems before the last possible moment then you can at least attempt to rectify the situation.
This may seem like a whiny wish and it is; but as a game that is competitively played and enjoyed with friends and or teams of people. It’s not a great user experience for anyone who it affects and the point I’m trying to get across is: any information or any blocks that can be put in place to reduce these sorts of issues would greatly improve the game for people. Countless times I’ve been/ had friends subjected to just awful 20 minute games where something has gone wrong and someone hasn’t been able to access the game until anywhere between 2-10 minutes in. I could go into much more detail but I won’t. Whine over.
So there it is; five non-essential wishes that are hopefully not asking for too much. I unfortunately am a little pessimistic about it all still but I’d like to think that both Lucasarts games and GBA games being rereleased are on the cards. Obviously I’d like to see them all fully realised but small steps are much easier than big ones.