As many people know, gaming journalism is an industry that’s going through a bit of crisis at the moment. With AdBlock doing a huge amount of damage to revenue (up to 50% of gamers use Ad Blockers when browsing websites), competition getting fiercer by the day and events like GamerGate doing serious damage to its future sustainability, there are very real worries the field might disappear within the next few years or so.
So what’s the future of this somewhat turbulent industry? What’s going to replace the Kotakus and Polygons and IGNs of the world in the few years? What will change going forward? Well, quite a few things, and that’s what this article is about.
Either way, let’s start with the obvious prediction:
Videos and Let’s Plays Will Replace Traditional Gaming Media
It’s already started (what with popular gaming channels racking up millions of subscribers on Youtube and live streams on Twitch becoming near global phenomenons), but it will only get more and more obvious as time goes on. Text articles are on the way out, video coverage is in.
So why is this happening? Well, ignoring the obvious (the move towards user generated content and its many positives, as discussed later in this article), it’s because videos are simply better for showing how games work than other mediums.
Need a good example of what we mean? Well, go to GameFAQs or some other walkthrough site, and download a text guide for a game you’re playing. Now, go on Youtube and find a Let’s Play of the same title.
Above: This is easier to follow than the GameFAQs equivalent.
Which one is easier to follow?
It’s probably the video. Because in the video, you can see for yourself just how the game works, how someone gets through the levels and how things like the enemy AI and special attacks and game mechanics work. In a text walkthrough, you just to have to try and read between the lines and figure out what to do based on a vague description.
And reviews are better for similar reasons. When a text review says the graphics are good, you just get a few screenshots as proof. And for anything else, you have to take their word for it, since things like music, game mechanics and game difficulty levels are not well illustrated in a text and screenshot review on a web page.
Video reviews let you judge everything for yourself. Oh sure, the video commentator says the graphics or music are good, but do you agree with him? He or she says the game’s engine works well and the levels are well designed, but you can be your own judge of that too. Need an example? Well, which of these reviews makes it more clear how bad the game is?
Above: Superman 64 Reviews by Gamespot and the Angry Video Game Nerd.
But now that the obvious is out of the way, how about non video content? What’s the future for written articles and news in the industry?
Well, it’s hard to say. But…
User Generated Content Is the Way Forward
Which again, is already pretty clear if you’ve a hardcore gamer. You’re probably getting more of your news from gaming forums, Reddit and social media anyway. But in the near future, it’s pretty much going to become the norm for everyone; all gaming news and articles will be written and posted by unpaid fans and amateurs rather than ‘professional’ journalists.
Well, it’s only the Super Mario Bros 1 side, thankfully. But it’s apparently going to be a rather accurate remake of the game, complete with its own custom Amiibo costumes based off non Nintendo franchises. You know, like Winnie the Pooh, Quote from Cave Story, Bob the Builder and Donald Duck. Not to mention, the ability to make up to 3 million or so of your own via various templates.
Here’s a video:
As well as some pictures showing other Costume Mario style protagonists:
So, what do we think?
Well to be honest, while we do wish lu9 of Mario Fan Games Galaxy well with his project, we also suspect Nintendo might not be best pleased about a game that’s basically offering a quarter of Super Mario Maker for free without Nintendo getting anything in return. And with their recent actions towards TAS and ROM hacks videos on Youtube and that Mario 64 remake in Unity, we strongly suspect this is going to last all of about five minutes before someone tries to get it shut down for competing with an official Mario game/product.
But hey, guess the costume Mario forms could be cool, if it ever does get completed. What do you think of this free Mario Maker esque fan game in development over at MFGG?
Unnamed Mario Maker Thing – MFGG
Remember a while back, how a team project called the ‘URA Zelda Restoration Project’ was being worked on? How it was some strange mod of the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time that would remake the game’s beta content and that of its rumoured (cancelled) sequel and integrate it with some interesting new ideas as well? Or how said game got unceremoniously cancelled after team leader Zeth had a massive falling out with everyone else involved in its design?
Well it seems like someone out there wanted to continue, since Project Beta Triforce seems to be a follow up to the project. Consisting only of the new dungeons and mini dungeons rather than a changed storyline and characters. Project Beta Triforce (or URA Zelda 3.0 as the video labels itself) actually seems to be going quite well, with a significant amount of updates made to the game. Here’s a trailer for it:
So yeah, it’s pretty impressive as far as we can see. You’ve got significant progress on a multitude of new dungeons and mini dungeons, simple puzzles, mini boss fights and other content and unlike the last attempt… this one might actually get finished. Either way, we can’t wait for the game to be released in full, and we will definitely bring you more coverage when we can play through a full version of this hack and see what interesting things are in store.
What do you think about this interesting new mod of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time?
Official Pages about Project Beta Triforce
Ura Zelda Project Beta Triforce – Facebook
Project Beta Triforce – Twitter
Project Beta Triforce – Zelda64.net
Project Beta Triforce – Official Site Project Page
For those who haven’t heard of it already, Lovely Warriors of Friendship is an… interesting crossover fan game based on My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. With characters and story concepts based on everything from Doctor Who to Wario Land to Mega Man and Pokemon, it’s basically a low rent Mushroom Kingdom Fusion clone with all the ambition and about a tenth of the production values. Basically, it’s your typical over the top fan game.
But apparently, someone out there… had their hopes set a bit too high. Why?
Above: Yes, this actually happened. You can tell from the pictures alone that this is not going to pass quality control…
Because in a baffling as heck move, they actually submitted the game to Steam Greenlight. Yes, because as we all know, a mega crossover with about fifty series represented is going to last so long on a paid service when absolutely no permission was gotten from anyone involved in the IPs that make it up. Or when the whole game looks like it was made by a beginner in a basic game maker type program:
Above: Lovely Warriors of Friendship sample screens from Bianca Games.
The end result was pretty much exactly as you’d expect; the game got taken down via DMCA notice about three minutes after it ended up mentioned on Reddit and other popular social sites. Maybe because someone at Hasbro (or another one of those companies) realised it wasn’t a good idea to let any old Tom, Dick or Harry profit off their work by trying to sell an unathorised fan crossover on Steam.
Either way, don’t try and sell fan games on Steam. Or anywhere else for that matter, since selling the equivalent of fan fiction is even more legally grey than releasing it for free in the first place.
What do you think about this example of utter lunacy?
Lovely Warriors of Friendship – Steam Greenlight (Archive.org)
An Amusing Video about the Game and Steam Greenlight…
Well, it seems like history is repeating itself. Because as of today, Mushroom Kingdom Fusion (Revival) is pretty much officially confirmed a dead project, for a second time.
Above: Some screenshots of Mushroom Kingdom Fusion Revival.
This is because Feguelion (main programmer and designer for the rebooted version of the game) has officially quit developing the game. Here’s his last announcement on Fusion Gameworks:
I have decided to retire from active Mushroom Kingdom Fusion: Revival development.
As you know, the community has become much less active than it used to be, and I haven’t got news from most of my contributors in a while. This means I was the only active developer in the coding and level porting departments. I am obviously aware that finishing this project is not possible for a single person in these departments. I have also recently started to lose motivation, and I wish to move onto a new original project because of this and also to have more fun working on it.
While this community mostly enjoyed the project, it is not the case on the outside, as I heard some people think reviving MKF is pointless, and that SMF:R is already a good subdued version of it, though I’m aware that SMF:R is more of a recreation of the original concept.
Hopefully in the future other people may pick up this project and continue where it left off, I have released the latest source revision, as well as the source of the Megaman engine WreckingPrograms was developing. They can both be found in the MKF:R source thread.
I realize that I’ve made a mistake, that is not planning the project correctly. I should have tried to gather a team earlier to prevent such scenario from happening. However I don’t regret making this mistake, not only because I can learn from it, but also because thanks to this project I have met some nice people with whom I became close friends.
I hope you will understand my choice, and hopefully I can share my next projects here.
Will anyone continue the project? To be honest, I’m doubtful. No one at Fusion Gameworks has shown any interest in picking it up (especially not original developer JudgeSpear or the other Mario Fusion Revival developers), so it’s likely the project is going to be abandoned for (at least) a very, very long time.
RIP Mushroom Kingdom Fusion. It was bad enough when you were cancelled the first time around, but now it seems like there’s no hope left at all. Perhaps this old ‘mega crossover’ concept was just too ambitious for a hobbyist made fan game. Maybe fan games just don’t draw the development teams and resources they used to. Or perhaps it’s just fate that large scale fan works tend to remain unfinished for eternity. Either way, maybe someone here might be interested in continuing it at some point.
Or maybe this is simply it for the game in general.
Announcement – Fusion Gameworks