Sunday, December 11, 2005

Here's a nightmare scenario for you. In order to better be able to track people, the government would require them to carry around a radio transmitter which broadcasts their location at all times. This information would be precise to 300 yards or better (much better with GPS-enabled transmitters), and would be accessible to any law-enforcement officer at all without a warrant.

Reality, of course, is different from this nightmare scenario. In reality, the devices are called "cell phones", and rather than force you to carry them, they get you to pay for the privilege.

The Star Wars marketing group wanted a tie-in on-line roleplaying game. So they hired some people who came up with an interesting one --- one with varied skills that took a great time to learn, and all sorts of interesting other features to explore. A small crew of particularly dedicated gamers loved it. But, it didn't yield the same numbers as, say, Everquest.

Clearly, there was only one thing to do. Replace it with a dumbed-down version, in which everyone gets to instantly play a high-powered character, and they really can take on anything at all without training or practice because the combat system has become so vapid that skill doesn't matter. As the game's senior director at LucasArts, one Nancy Lynch, explains,

There was a lot of wandering around learning about different abilities.
Heaven forfend!

We really needed to give people the experience of being Han Solo or Luke Skywalker ... We wanted more instant gratification: kill, get treasure, repeat.

Oh, is that what the experience of being Luke Skywalker or Han Solo was all about? Perhaps she watched a different movie.