The evening Inbox wishes developers would improve AI not graphics, as one reader explains how Fortnite has been nothing but good for his son.
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So I see tomorrow Donald Trump is going to be meeting with the American games industry to discuss violence in video games. As with most things to do with Trump I can barely believe what’s happening is true, in this case that the only proactive action taken after another horrifying school shooting is to blame video games. As if everyone else in the world wasn’t playing the exact same game and not running out to murder anyone.
I could sort of understand this sort of thing in the 90s, when video games – especially ones with realistic graphics – were new but to suddenly go back to pretend that they’re responsible for all of society’s ills… it’s just disgusting really in how obvious it is a dodge from addressing the real issues.
And then we’ve got mothers wanting to increase the age rating on Fortnite even though they already admit they’re not keeping to the one it’s got. Why have video games, and Fortnite in particular, suddenly become a scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with the world? It’s sadly ironic that one of the main problems will be at that meeting tomorrow, and it’s not the games industry people…
Fortnite is good for you
I have read with increasing amusement the ongoing media obsession with Fortnite, and concerned parents wondering about the negative effects of the game, and gaming in general, on their children. Here’s an idea. Use some of your parental control to limit how your children spend their time online. Or better still spend some time with your children and find out what their online experiences are.
You know, build that parent-child bond. I speak with experience of having a nine-year-old who plays the game (yes, it’s my choice to allow him to play it, and let’s be honest, there’s far worse he could be doing). My son loves the game and I have saw him have a huge number of positive experiences from the game, and gaming in general. He suffers from dyslexia and dyspraxia and I have personally saw a huge increase in his language skills since he started gaming, in particular his reading. And this has been recognised at school also.
His dyspraxia can lead him to struggle somewhat in social situations also. And again, I have seen him make friends playing Fortnite online who he has since met up with in the ‘real world’. Which has boosted his confidence no end. They often play in team games and co-ordinate well, often asking me to play with them also, which I will occasionally do as a means of monitoring (although to be honest they are too good for me and I’m not ready to lose my mantle as the best gamer in the house just yet!).
Yes, there are fallouts, they are gamers after all, but their way of dealing with it is to remove any offending player from the party until they have apologised to the group. If only we all showed this level of maturity when gaming! So, these are my experiences with my son and the current game of the moment. It’s sad to see it become demonised yet again by parents who don’t attempt to understand their children and the worlds they inhabit, instead looking for a scapegoat for their own shortcomings.
GC: That’s a great letter, thank you.
I’m sure by the time this goes up (if it does) the Nintendo Direct will have happened, but it does worry me a lot of readers think there will be a bunch of surprises for the coming year.
Honestly, I can mostly see them announcing release dates for Mario Tennis Aces, and Yoshi (which a lot of readers either have forgotten about or just disregard), possibly a Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker 2 surprise announcement, a couple other titles (The Wonderful 101 rerelease?), and then spend time on 3DS which probably has even less announced for the coming year.
Frankly, the chances of a big AAA+ Nintendo announcement in this Direct to release this year is pretty low to me. Like you said, keep expectations in check.
GC: The Direct isn’t until 10pm tonight.
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Worth a pass
I was wondering if you could let me know if two season passes are worth picking up. They are currently on sale on PS Store but I’m unsure. I’m more sure about number one, which is for Wolfenstein II. I imagine that will be decent, but frankly I’d never heard of there even being a season pass for the game.
The second is for Sniper Elite 4. I have absolutely no idea if I should purchase either one, so any help would be appreciated. I enjoy both games, Wolfenstein more I guess but they are both quite different.
GC: The Wolfenstein II DLC we’ve played so far has surprisingly not been that great. We haven’t played any of the Sniper Elite 4 stuff, but perhaps a reader has.
Five day pass
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided season pass is £3.60 on Xbox One Store for the next five days at the time of writing. It is also on PSN Store for £3.59 but not sure for how long. It includes two story DLC that are normally about £10 each. Or you can pick up the story DLC each for £2 roughly.
PS: With all the talk of Dead Space in the Inbox don’t forget that Dead Space 1 is still free on Origin on PC.
Just completed: Little Nightmares (Xbox One X), Lara Croft And The Temple of Osiris (PS4)
Better with friends
Would yourselves or maybe any readers recommend Monster Hunter: World if it was played mostly solo?
The game looks great but I’d discounted it due to multiplayer being integral to the experience. I’ve no one in my small circle of gaming friends into the game and prefer not to rely on randoms to enjoy it.
I read an article though where the author stated he enjoyed it and was glad he played the majority of the game solo, as it made him better at the game. He only engaged with multiplayer to reduce the grind when farming.
GC: You can probably play the majority of the game on your own, but that’s only going to increase the need for grinding and the top level encounters are still going to be near impossible.
With the rise of smart TV would anyone welcome an official Twitch app for Smart TVs? Of course you would only be able to watch streams and not broadcast, it would however be handy for those with multiple TVs to be able to view gaming broadcasts without the need to need to use a PC or buy multiple consoles for each room.
This would even be useful for those with smart TVs to get into gaming and would be handy to use over at a friend or relative’s house who has smart TV but no gaming machines.
Considering it’s 2018 now this could be easily done.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
Why the rush for a new console? I would prefer it if the developers would spend more time and learn some new programming techniques to improve enemy artificial intelligence. This is what is needed, not a fancy new graphics engine or a 50 bajillion teraflops do-dad. Enemies in games are pathetic, especially in shooters. They might give the appearance of intelligence but sooner or later they get stuck on a tree or freeze in a wall and give you a free hit. It is still a pop-up shooting gallery with no real improvement.
As much as I loved the new Tomb Raider games, I found the enemies to be dumb. Oh, there was four of us but someone isn’t there anymore? I think I will just carry on regardless, I’m sure no one will mess with me as I don’t change my route at all. Active searches would have been called in real life, which would lead to a tenser situation which would keep you on your toes instead of just sitting in a bush. Batman: Arkham sort of was on the right track with enemies that saw you go into a vent or up to a ledge would call for a grenade to be dropped or mine to be put out but they stopped there which, again is dumb. I was in a closed room so I should be forced to be constantly on the move.
As much as we love Dark Souls, would we love it more if there were less but tougher to break down enemies, that didn’t just run headlong at us and instead tried to goad us into a gank or a spike trap?
The only genre that should have enemies coming straight at you are the zombie-themed games. These guys are brain dead, for want of a better word and shouldn’t be able to think tactically.
I’m not saying that all enemies in games should be Rommel-like in planning and execution but maybe have layers. Have dumb enemies, guys that just buy a gun and join a gang, all shooting wildly and not really thinking about the situation, then elevate the next guy. Maybe a militia member, limited training but better awareness and so on up to the elite enemies. Elite shouldn’t just mean more armour or a bigger gun but the ability to set traps or plan an ambush.
Level design would also have to be improved too I would imagine, giving the player and the AI more options.
The next gen can wait, especially if all we get is a cosmetic upgrade and the same old games underneath.
Some people might say I have a cheek given my love of zombie-based games but I have played through a lot of shooters, football games, and Indiana Jones style games in the last 20+ years and honestly there has been little in the way of enemies becoming smarter in all that time. Processing power should be pushed toward intelligence and not making a hair look realistic.
I bet Sony end up announcing PlayStation 5 at the beginning of 2020 and then release it that Christmas, the same pattern as before. I bet the games are rubbish for the first two years as well.. just like before.
If we all assume tonight’s Nintendo Direct is going to be rubbish does that mean we can trick it into being good? Nintendo does like subverting expectations after all.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tom Meadows, who asks what single game have you put the most hours into?
Some games actually list the number of hours (and days) you’ve played them for, but even if you have to estimate what one would you say you’ve played the most and over what kind of time frame? How did the game hold your attention for so long and do you consider it to be your favourite video game?
Do you tend to play a small number of games for long periods of time or try to play as many as possible and never stay on one for too long? Do you think you were addicted to the game you spent the longest time on, and do you regret playing it for so long?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.