PC GAMES:


Surpassed but not to be Forgotten
E3 EXPO 2001 COVERAGE
Reported by: Kyle Suggs
ThotMedia Freelance Writer
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC

M A Y . 2 0 0 1  |  L A , C A , U S A

INTRODUCTION
Ever since the first gaming console system arrived in the early 80's, there has always been a hierarchy that was consistent. That was this: arcade games were the best, followed by PC games and then followed by game consoles. My how far we have come.

When I was growing up, the very thought of playing a game in your house that was better or at least as good as a game that you play in the arcade was inconceivable. The best that you could do was to get a home computer such as a Commodore 64 or an Apple II. These systems as well as successor PC systems, consistently delivered more firepower than what was possible at home. Things started to change for the PC's second tier stability when we saw the launch of the Nintendo 64 and it's Mario 64 flagship masterpiece. 3D effects were finally here and the PC world suddenly had to go into scramble mode. Video 3D accelerator cards were selling like hot cakes as home users wanted to keep their environment as close to current standards as possible.

Ironically, the programmers and software developers could not keep up with the changing specs of the PC market. Since developers had no idea as to what people had in their homes, many did not invest the kind of money and time to make games that truly could take advantage of the advances in hardware. So the PC gaming market fell further behind.

Now this brings us to E3 and a clear trend is being seen concerning the gaming environment on the PC. Role playing games (RPG) are hot. The following report will cover certain games and game peripherals that I feel will be very popular this coming year. Many of these titles are not suitable for Christian adults let alone children. In an effort to keep the PG game market viable, the industry, I believe is heading more heavily in a direction in which PC's have always excelled over other gaming systems RPG's and internet based games.

GAMES
CJ's Closet from Kay Productions One game that I have to mention is found at the 3rd party booth, KENTIA HALL. The game is called “CJ's Closet” by Kay Productions (kayproductions.com) “CJ's Closet” is an interactive, biblically based set of 3D adventures centering on the lively characters that reside in CJ's Closet. Each story is backed up by a moral conclusion, giving kids the opportunity to make positive decisions. The CD also includes original music, games, and puzzles. “CJ's Closet” is suitable for children 5-8 and is available in MAC and PC format. Parents definitely want to look into this title.

There are many, many other PC games here at E3 and to attempt to cover them all will be futile - especially considering that there are only a few worth buying. I will focus on a few of the games that Christians (parents and otherwise) will either need to investigate or stay clear from all together. They are:

  • Age of Mythology (Ensemble Studios)
    This game is probably the most highly anticipated games here at E3. It involves you interacting in the ancient Greek world with the assumption that the Greek gods are real. Although you never actually see a god, you are required to build temples and idols for them for worship. Uhh--remember the first commandment?
  • Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (Blizzard)
    This game comes from the makers of the wildly popular “Warcraft” series. This “beauty” of a game is nothing different from your typical shoot 'em up, Satanic RPG if it were not for this one optional feature: when your character dies, he dies permanently. Now's how's that for realism?
  • Gangters 2: Vendetta (Eidos)
    Be your own mob boss during Prohibition and do mob boss stuff. You know, like setting up businesses, taking over territory, bribing judges, and killing folk. Basically, all of the wholesome values you want you kid to learn. Yeah, right!
  • Harry Potter Online (Electronic Arts)
    This game follows the Harry Potter series and allows gamers to play with others online.
  • WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos (Blizzard)
    See above.
NEW HARDWARE
There is some cool hardware being 'shown off' here at e3. There is also some pretty shocking stuff here as well.
  • Head Gear
    For starters, VR Standard and Innovative Peripherals have headgear intended to make your PC experience more virtual. VR has eyeglasses that project the television image where your line of site would be. The effect is kind of like a personal home theater. I watched Gladiator through with them and I felt like I needed some popcorn. Perhaps the best use for these will be game play since they literally make you feel like you are part of the game. Now on this technology, I can see a potential danger. Parents will no longer be able to screen what their kids are playing or watching. Moreover, the device makes you feel more secluded and isolated; in our society do we really need more that that?

    The Innovative Peripherals product is called Cymouse and is a motion sensor that moves the game as you move your head. In other words, if you are playing a first person shooter game, then as you move your head the game moves as well. This is pretty neat indeed. Both the Cymouse and the VR Eyeglasses can be used at the same time giving you a very unique gaming experience.

  • Hand Gear
    A cute device I saw was by Essential Reality and the unit is called the P5. This device is a glove similar to the Nintendo's power glove a few years back. The concept is not new but it sure is cool. The gamer can draw, pick up items punch as well as other neat things. It will be up to developers to come up with software to keep this gadget viable.

  • Shotgun Gear
    Yes. Guns. I could not believe this when I saw it but these things look like real guns. They come in handgun, machine gun and shotgun formats. Parents should be aware before purchasing this line of products by Soft Air USA. The guns are RF wireless and heavy. They feel and look very real. One add even boasts of their realism. They even give recoil when you fire them. Buyers beware on these babies.

CONCLUSION
Well the PC gaming industry has literally thousands of titles. Fortunately, there are only a few that are really "must havers". When in doubt on what game is right for your household, follow this simple rule: If the box has a demon, gun or goon on it, then it probably needs to stay on the shelf.

With the console market finally surpassing PC games in terms of site and sound, you can be sure that PC game makers do what they can to make games with as much depth, challenge and perhaps filth as possible. All this will be done to insure that their games are not forgotten on our children's Christmas list.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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