Steam Machines revealed, but confusion still abounds

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If you’re confused about the new lineup of Steam Machines, which range from $500 to a whopping $6,000, you’re in good company.  As I said before in “The Amazing Valve Strategy” Part One and Two, this is a unique and long-term strategy for keeping PC gaming alive and hedging against the possible failure of the Windows platform, not a “monkey-see, monkey-do” attempt to rival the existing console market.

Here’s some reactions I’ve seen already, with my rebuttals:

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A true X-COM? Thank you Fireaxis!

The gaming world is abuzz with this news, so you should know this by now.  But for those who still don’t, it’s time to pay attention: a true strategic revival of the X-COM franchise is being made.  Game Informer has the exclusive stuff.

Please watch the video on this page.  It’s an interview with the actual designers, gushing over what they love about the original, and how dedicated they are to staying true to it.  Not only do they force unfamiliar employees to become familiar with the game and appreciate it, but they are comprised of many former Microprose employees — meaning they’ve got the DNA of the original staff.

Base construction goes from a top-down layout to a subterranean sub-basement style

Interesting lighting schemes combined with bulky and distinct character profiles makes the whole screen look inviting and understandable

A beautiful globe promises the ability to strategically build bases and manage resources, ordering supplies and doing research to gain an advantage

For as cynical as I am, this game is making me hyped in ways I haven’t been in a long, long time.  And actually, I’ve got a good feeling about this one too, although, there’s not much to say about it yet.

What was I smoking when I came up with this?

So I guess I was thinking about all the things that are severely lacking in videogames today, like protagonists who aren’t “cool”, strong themes about being a parent, anything set in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, and multi-layered strategy games like X-COM.

What I ended up coming up with was this.  It’s an idea I had for an X-COM -type game in which you hunt down and intercept your own wife, who turned out to be an deep undercover Russian agent whose mission was to steal your greatest creation: a floppy disk with a computer program that will change the world.

Set in 1990, the game would feature a world map called “Hunt Mode” in which you expand your network of nerd friends, exploit the resources of government agencies, and evade capture while Continue reading