point being here that kids can do this much more easily than adults
do, and take much greater satisfaction over it. Yes, adults can
do it too, weve all spent an evening playing Mortal Kombat
2 on our SNES with our best mate and a few beers, and made
with the potty talk, but thats not the norm for adults.
We also would find it hard to do it in person to a total stranger.
Of course, many would point to Quake and say in loud voices
oh no we dont, we talk trash in Quake!
And yes, theyd be right, but Quake is almost completely
anonymous. You wouldnt dream of saying some of the stuff
you say in Quake to people you dont know in person.
They might be bigger than you, after all. Well, fine, then
Ill play Killer Vixens over the internet, I hear you
shout. Well, well deal with that in the next item. The point
here is that kids can get into this whole humiliation thing much
easier than adults usually do.
else thats worth pointing out here is that these games are
often called twitch games and theres a reason
for this. You need damn good instant reflexes to play these games
well, not only in comprehension times but in reaction times too.
Some of the combos in Killer Instinct need you to be a
lightning fast octopus to pull off. Kids, traditionally, are better
at picking this stuff up than we are, sad to say. We older folks
can learn it, there is no doubt, but kids will always have the
edge. Fighters traditionally are more about reflexes than experience,
since its all reaction, and pro-action.
last section, we touched on one networking issue that has an impact
on how much fun these games are to play. The whole textural communication
between players is a thorny subject. In Quake, its
possible to sit in a corner and type in your messages Quake
III:Arena even has a special mode to show others you are doing
this but in a fighting game, there is no real time to do
this, except in between bouts. This communication is an important
part of personalizing the humiliation factor involved in these
types of games. There are always ways around this having
several pre-entered strings of text, that can be associate with
specific fighting events the successful connection of a
round house kick always generates string 4 on the screen: Eat
that, Yankee scum or whatever... but no one seems to have
picked this up yet.
just touching on the real network issues. We described these games
as twitch games, and therein lies the rub. The Internet
just isnt fast enough to keep two games concurrent enough,
when lightning fast responses are required.
games are all about instant responses to actions you press
your front kick button and I hit the block button - which requires
an instant response across the Internet. And everyone knows how
scary the net can be for losing or delaying packets. Quake
II gets around this kind of thing by having some prediction
built into it, so when your client loses track of the server for
a few milliseconds, your game predicts what the server would be
telling you, so when the game re-establishes itself, you dont
notice the difference. Well, thats the idea anyway. However,
often the prediction is wrong, and people leap about the place,
putting themselves where the server says they are, rather than
where your client thinks they should be. Anyway, this kind of
propping up of the Internets failings wont work in a situation
where you rely on almost instantaneous responses.