Hollow Earth

Elephant in the Horse Race


The problem I’ve always seen with comparing Uru to other online games is that that’s the only stick a game’s ever measured against. This leads to issues where big flaws are pointed out and subtle victories are talked about but largely ignored. It’s sort of like we’re at a horse race with an elephant. Everyone’s there to watch a pony get first place (and maybe not get turned into glue) but then we come along with our awkward pachyderm and mess everything up. No one really knows how to treat Uru because they’re all fumbling around for the trigger button or wondering why the WASD configuration doesn’t work. And that’s largely because Uru isn’t going to be a horse, ever. We’re not going to win against the horses and it’s somewhat unfair to try and gauge Uru on that. It’d be equally unfair if you compared games to Uru on another basis like the detail in the game world or the puzzles or the amount of reading required or the number of airstreams in the game. So why are we doing that in the first place? Sure, the horses can run fast, but they burn out quickly or break their legs in the final stretch and they’re useless for anything other than perhaps generating offspring for another race (i.e. the game’s developers making “another” game which looks exactly like it). And sure, the elephant’s big and impressive and quite useful if the competition is which can flatten something the fastest, or which can best impale a bale of hay on their teeth, or if you’re looking for an animal which can pick up food with its nose, but it’s not going to run very fast and it might not even stay on the race track. Most of the reviewers that have dared to review the game have taken that mostly into account, but others simply don’t touch it at all because they can’t review it based on how disturbingly real its blood spatters look like or can’t find a way to invoke the term “strategic dismemberment” anywhere in the gameplay.

But the problem with the Uru community is that we’ve gotten so used to the elephant that we ignore some of the big issues with it. Like the fact that it has only two legs, one eye, and one of those Swifer mops duct-taped to the end of its trunk. Uru has major problems that I hope we get to fix in the coming years and the trick is going to be to sort the real issues from the imagined ones. An imagined issue is the idea that the Myst universe can never be made into a multiplayer game because Myst was a single-player game. Why would that even matter? None of the other original features stopped developers from making sequels for their universes. Look at Civilization going from 2D as late as Civilization III to 3D in Civilization IV. Or the Sim games going the same route. A real issue is the fact that the KI system makes about as much sense as a raven and a writing desk. Specifically, none. That people claim it’s a puzzle makes it all the more nonsensical. Why would I puzzle out how to speak? What about eating and sleeping? Apparently no one’s cracked the puzzle for going to the bathroom either, so what gives? Also, some parts of the KI aren’t so much puzzles as just frustratingly not user-friendly. Like the lack of scroll-bars or the inability to move around modules within the KI to customize it with what you do the most. In MOUL, remember, we couldn’t even keep the stupid age players list shut so we weren’t scrolling through mountains of people we didn’t care about. So, while it’s true that about three quarters of the game players out there are trigger-happy eleven year-olds with God complexes, that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to not try and innovate and simply whine about how Uru’s unpopular because of little Bobby who screams expletives war-weary marines are unaware of at other boys his age.

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Filed under: Uru Community

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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