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volume 1, issue 17

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

Feedback:

You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

The Bargain Bin: Reviews of games you can actually afford to buy.

Search the Archives!

The "Oh, the Humanity!" Dept.:
MailBag for Issue #17

 

 

Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman


Every week our associate editor takes on the big ol' pile of mail for your reading enjoyment...got something to say? Send it in. You just might win a swanky loonygames t-shirt. Letters are presented exactly as they are recieved.

 

Another satisfied customer...

Subject: Paul Steed

Hi there, i just spent about an hour Downloading all the Paul Steed Journal pages. Im a modeler /Animtor that is desperately trying to improve his techniques. When i found pauls Stuff i was blown away ... everything i had been trying to find out, wondering things like "I wonder if that mesh was done by doing such and such" ... everything was answered in those pages. Basically i just want to give a big thank you to Paul Steed for giving out all this information and for taking the time to do it so well. Also a big thanx to loony games for the site being there.:)

Roger Tweedie - A happy Chappy now hes found the Journals. =D

A plea for a new controller...

Subject: Just a thought

O.K. so this idea may not be truly innovative, but it has become obvious to me that gaming peripheral manufacturers are forgetting to design one the most popular forms of tactile game controllers. I'm talking about a game controller that would include a 4 axis stick combined with a bank of buttons similar in quality and size to the arcade hits of the early 80's.

When I say stick, I am referring to a controller that is nothing more than a simple post or rod with a spherical end top. A stick that will give you tight, precise control, without flopping around and causing unintentional movements and distractions. I find this problem has been built into the design of today's so called modern PC game joysticks.

What do I mean by a bank of buttons? Again, I would like to take you back to the days when games like Defender, Galaga, Track and Field, and Donkey Kong owned the gaming industry. These games, and many others, had groups of large buttons that were spaced far enough apart to accommodate two to three fingers on every button. The design is further enhanced by setting an appropriate height and angle to the average comfort level of the target players. The buttons should also be engineered well enough to take a considerate pounding when played. Every try playing Galaga or Track and Field on a PC? The experience isn't what it used to be. The speed and fury, not to mention the accuracy, are gone. Ever try to play any of the PAC-MAN games on your PC? The little guy just won't listen. Within the explosion of interest that is pouring into the emulation market alone, there are hundreds of thousands of potential customers waiting to be completely satisfied.

This controller would also lend a great deal of playability to all of the modern games. Imagine Mortal Kombat or Tekken combinations. Once again you could have lightning fast and accurate response times, just like the arcade. How about a 3-D shooter like Hexen or Blood? Most gamers that I know are playing these games using the keyboard. Why? They believe that they get the best control over the game this way, and they're right! While this is convenient, it is pathetic that the ultimate 3-D experience is controlled by a keyboard. All players want control over the game, but with modern PC controllers, it often feels like the game wants control over the player.

Why not build a tactile gaming surface that can replace your keyboard when you are playing a game? Putting your keyboard to the side isn't any more trouble than unraveling gamepads on your N64 or Playstation, and we all know how well these systems are doing. A rectangular surface around 8" X 12", with the game stick on the left, and the bank of buttons (at least four) on the right would be perfect. The base of the unit should be tall enough so that it can be angled toward the player. Since the Monitor is placed on a desktop, the height from the floor to the controller, in relation to the player, would almost be personalized. Also, if in one instance or another, the height were not ideal, then because the unit is so large and robust, it could be placed on the lap for support. Incorporate modern (this is more sarcasm) amenities like programmable logic, rapid fire switches, and suction cups, and we have truly created the ultimate in gaming comfort and playability.

This Christmas season I have been searching for this very product, but to no avail. I have seen just about every other type of controller out there, steering columns for racing simulators, flight sticks for flight simulators, analog, digital, etc., etc. All of these controllers, whether they are designed specifically for a particular genre, or are intended to be used as an all purpose controller, can not recreate the arcade experience. I would pay good money for such a device. I believe a product of this type and quality could easily dominate the entire controller market, and at a price as high as $50.00. I hope that someone out there has enough ingenuity to recognize this giant hole in the controller market. If you know of something like this out there, or are interested in communicating further, then by all means E-mail me. Thanks for reading this, and if you are the one to act upon it, then THANK YOU for listening.

Personally, I really dislike joysticks, and will play as many pc games as possible with a mouse and keyboard (and pass off the joystick-required games). But I know the feeling of needing to have things Ďjust right,í I love my mouse (Logitech MouseMan+, by the way), and am constantly feeling out-of-sorts when I am at the office, just because I have a plain oleí Microsoft Mouse there. Everybody has their own perfect setup, and hey, if people didnít come up with crazy ideas like this (and who ever came up with the "I know, letís make a 5 button mouse thatís as big as a baseball!" idea? I wonder what the reaction was..) things like my wonderful mouse and that strange MadCatz joystick/trackball dealie that some people swear by would never get made.

My editorial got a number of replies:

Subject: Guest Editorial: Sexist?

Re:Guest Editorial: Sexist?

By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman

Bobbi,

I agree that PC Accelerator magazine is not politically correct. I do give them credit for knowing their target market. What I really found interesting was your background. In four mouse clicks I went from the guest editorial to the Lilith and Eve site, to the Psycho Men Slayers site, and then to the Photo Album of manly stud muffins on said site.

People who live in glass houses...

Albert Macias

I would argue that there is a difference between what PCXL does and the stud muffins that are in our photos section. We have those pictures up there to poke fun...much as PXCL does with its own staff section. However, there ends the studs on our site. Not on theirs.

Subject: pc-accelerator

hmm,,,well..you may be right about over %25 of the game market being females..but,,and here's the big "but"..If only 25% of ALL male gamers just bought pc-accelerater and nothing else..would that not justify the focus of the magazine in question?...What i mean is that if women do not like it..then the rest of the game magazines have to fight it out for the "female" audience...where as pc-accelerater gets to keep maybe 25% of the hardcore "male" gamers...This would propel pc-accelerater into the top bracket as far a revenue..now..as far as it's sexiest remarks or content..To BAD...please..this was not meant as a shot at women..but the truth is most other mags are too generic....pc-accelerater reminds me of a popular mechanics of the computer gaming world...and I for one feel it's been about time. I have subscribed to a lot of mags in the past..all were great for about 4 issues or less and then degraded into the same shmille until x-mas came around...............SCREW that....(:

I'm sure in time pc-accelerater will change..and with that they may lose or gain subscribers...but the truth is,,if you do not like it..don't buy it!..other wise all you are doing is what is called CENSORSHIP...thats right...to complain about what some one printed cause you feel it's "OUT OF DATE" or that it's too "MANLY" is absurd. just don't buy it...but then again it may also take off... That would sux,,wouldnt it?

ps..yes..my spelling does sux...

Quake 2 player

[KA]Gumby

Does Popular Mechanics include half-nekkid women? But anyway. My big problem with PC Accelerator is, as I said in the article, that it is destroying everything I am working for. I donít believe what I am doing is censorship...while I said I hope it goes out of business, I hope it does so because nobody reads it. I would not, ever, argue for someone to close anything purely on the basis of content. However, I am an American, and as such, have learned that things exist because of demand. If nobody wants this magazine, it will close down. That is what I would like to see.

The winner of this weekís t-shirt goes to the person who pointed out the biggest holes in my editorial (and by doing so, gave me an opportunity to respond)

Subject: Guest Editorial: Bobbi

I guess I should start out by saying that I don't read PC Accelerator and until I read the editorial I hadn't seen their web site. And I can't condone their use of copyrighted images to bolster their web hits. But then again, Critical Mass distributes pirated ROM and disk images of copyrighted games via their classicgaming.com web site to bolster their ad revenue. Nobody complains about that, so I guess I shouldn't take PCXL to task for their copyright infringments. Regardless of the fact that I don't entirely agree with some of the points brought up, the editorial was an interesting read. At least until I read the tagline at the bottom:

"...host of Lilith & Eve, a Real Media show by women gamers, for women gamers."

It's interesting that Ms. Bergman can be "disappointed" by the content of a magazine/website which targets young men, but has no problem hosting a Real Media show with a target audience of women.

My show targets women, sure. But it doesnít insult men in the process, in fact, feedback Iíve gotten on the show so far has come from both men and women equally. If PCXL merely was intended for men, without alienating women, thatíd be fine. Itís the degradation of women that shortchanges women gamers. This magazine is turning men, the men whose minds we NEED TO CHANGE, against us. Itís not mass media who needs to see women as gamers. Itís the men who are already there.

At the end of the editorial, Ms. Bergman rails against the gender barrier in computer gaming, but her previous statements do not necessarily support the concept of gender-equality in gaming. "...being that of pixelated breasts..." A reference to Laura Croft perhaps?

One of the arguments that I've heard against the Tomb Raider series (and one of the reasons for the recent reductions in TR-III) is that Laura apparently is not "normal" in her endowments. Of course nobody complains about the muscle bound stud muffins typical of other games.

Iíve argued this one before, and Iíll do it again. No man could be expected to carry 9 weapons, full ammo packs for both, wear armor, and run full speed without being beefy. As for stud muffins...have you ever looked at the Quake guy? A sex symbol, heís not.

"C) Are not insulted BY Mademoiselle." That's because we don't read it. If it's contents are similar to what I've picked up from my exposure to that whole genre of magazines, then I suspect I would be offended if I did read it. As a complex individual, I don't enjoy having my qualities as a partner evaluated based on "25 questions to determine if your man is a good lover" or "12 tests to see if he's right for you." Can you honestly say that such articles promote gender equality?

But since you have no interest in the area, you would never read it, correct? I first discovered PC Accelerator because a copy was handed to me at E3 last year. Me, being a gamer, was GIVEN this magazine to read, because they were just starting out and needed an audience. Mademoiselle was never handed to you because someone thought you might care how to stop cramping every month.

Then there are the selected quotes:

"Where's the adult content warning? Of all the games sites I have ever looked at this one needs a warning more than any. They do realize that's illegal.. ???"

Yes it is illegal, but not for the reasons implied in the quote.

While I donít understand what reason you find this illegal that I do not, who cares...the point still is that itís illegal.

I laude your perspective that both men and women (and boys and girls) need to be free to play the type of game that appeals to them, but I can't see how endorsing "reverse"-sexism is going to solve that problem.

Kurt "Honey" Olsen

I donít endorse reverse sexism. As a matter of fact, I dislike a lot of the Ďgaming for girlsí things I have seen happen in this industry lately. I do not, however, see my show as sexist. If youíve ever seen it, you would understand why I say that...despite the giggles, it is a show about gaming, not men. Targeted to women? Sure. But men would like the show, and men DO like the show. It just so happens that two women are hosting it. PCXL, however, is targeted to men, and degrades women. ĎNuff said.

 

Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.