the Mouth of Madness:
By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
What's new this week in loonygames? As our loony editor.
efore I hop into this week’s tirade, let’s take care of the latest news here at loonygames. Last week, in case you didn’t notice (judging by the number of angry e-mails I received, I’ll assume you noticed) Paul Steed’s Thinking Outside the Box was unable to run. My biggest apologies here…due to problems with id Software’s mail server, Paul was unable to get it to me to run. Sorry about that…but it’ll run tomorrow on schedule.
Paul’s getting swamped with work on Quake 3: Arena these days, so we’re going to be switching him to a biweekly schedule starting this week. Thinking Outside the Box will run tomorrow the 26th, but the next installment won’t be up until February 9th. I think once you see the work he’s doing on Quake 3: Arena you’ll agree that a few gaps in the TOTB publishing schedule isn’t too hard to live with. :)
This week we’re premiering our newest column, a fun little thing called, "How’d They Do That?" This is a project I’ve been sitting on for a while now, and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of it. Here’s the concept: in each installment (HTDT biweekly) I’ll take a reader submitted question and go to the developers with it. For the first one, since nobody’s written in yet, I got to come up with a question…and since I’m such a big fan of Heretic II, my question is, "how’d they do those great animations?" Check it out on Thursday…Raven’s Brian Shubat was kind enough to explain how they did it, and it’s great readins.
Lastly, if you're the curious type, check out this interview I did with GameGirlz recently...not only do you get to read my silly comments, but GG's Aurora even got some loonygames contributors to squeal about what it's really like to work with me. Lemme just make a quick public thanks to 'rora for putting together a cool little piece...even if I am the subject. ;)
With that out of the way, let’s talk about sequels.
I’ve been thinking about them of late, since I’ve been playing a number of exceptional games, and while several of them are actually sequels themselves, the majority of those that aren’t already have them planned (or are expected to have them eventually). What amazes me, is that these days, a game’s sequel is actually planned before the original even ships! Practically the day Starsiege: Tribes was out the door, work started on Tribes 2 (Electric Boogaloo). Turok 2’s not even out for the PC yet, and already they’re working on Turok 3.
At a recent event I was at, John Carmack uttered the words, "Doom 2000" and the crowd went wild! Why is it that when new games like Half-Life are shipping, the concept of a sequel to an older game is such a great idea? What about Dune 2000? People clamored for a sequel for years, and then when it shipped, they decided to stick with Command & Conquer. I’ve been playing Railroad Tycoon II lately, and while it’s pretty good, you have to wonder why they decided to make a sequel to such an old game. Ordinarily I’d say that it was cashing in on a popular franchise, but is Railroad Tycoon such a hot property these days? Ask a handful of today’s hardcore gamers if they ever played the original, and I doubt you’ll get many that say yes.
The gaming industry is a weird one. In the gaming industry, as opposed to any other, sequels are actually expected to outsell their predecessors. Blame Doom for that one…according to Todd Hollenshead (id Software’s biz guy), Doom 2 far outsold the original Doom, selling more than two million in its first year of release. Now granted, not every game can claim this, and Doom 2 was the first retail version of the game, but that’s still pretty telling. Quake II has outsold Quake, but why is that? Naturally it’s a better game, but also, since the release of Quake, things have changed quite a bit. Whereas when Quake shipped, 3D hardware was fairly obscure, now it’s everywhere. Also, people tend to forget that Quake 1 wasn’t really expected to be all that great over the Internet when it was developed. This was long before the release of QuakeWorld, and unlike Quake II, which was streamlined out of the box for online gaming, Quake 1 was a bit of a mess.
Credits: From the Mouth of Madness logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. From the Mouth of Madness is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, you naughty boy, you.