Double Agent
C++ good, C BAD - September 22, 2000 - Chris Jones

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. I just want a damn pass by reference! Is that too much to ask?!?! Don't say we didn't warn you.

I think my email stopped working this afternoon - letters were good right up until midday, and then nothing. Or maybe the whole planet just got one of those great Friday afternoons where they cut out early and went fishing or something. Or maybe everybody's just waiting for Monday's full spoiler CC discussion. Doesn't matter much, because I've got plenty enough letters to do the column, and I need some free time anyway to put together this network programming assignment. In C. I hate C. I learned C++ before C, and it's like moving from the NES to the Atari 2600. Not fun. But enough of my bitching, let's see what we got with the letters.


Missing the what?

You completely missed the point of Eidos Wetsuit's letter the other day. Go back and read it again, and then read your response. He is not talking about the deluge's effect on the industry. He's talking about its effect on the individuals. One gets jaded by 100 games, whereas with only ten you can actually enjoy them. Gamers are a weird breed, they feel like they've "gotta play 'em all." So in effect, they end up not enjoying anything to its full potential


And I think you're missing my point - that it's ok that we're getting jaded. At the very least, as you say, it'll break at least some people of the need to play every RPG ever made as soon as it comes out. And as I was saying, as a group I think gamers need to get out of the mindset that everything needs to be enjoyed. Look at movies, books and music, all of which put out numerous works that are pretty good if judged on their own merits. But if you look at those works in comparison to what's really good, they tend to come up a bit short. Games should be the same way, I think. When gamers start to focus on the best the medium has to offer, then they're gonna start demanding more of the same from developers, and everybody benefits as the level of quality goes up. In other words, it's ok to become jaded as a gamer... it's part of growing up.

That's because somebody went back and changed history...

Funny how memory works. People remember a cast of deep, complex people when they think of Chrono Trigger. I remember a pack of blatant cliches saved by good writing and a wonderful back story.


I'm sure there'll be plenty of looks back at CT when we start discussing CC, but for now let me suggest that perhaps CT's stature has grown as people keep replaying it, picking up more details (or imagining more depth) as they see things unfold over and over. How much is actually there I'll leave to you guys.

What's a Chirs?
Hey Chirs!

Did I read this right? "PC games are much more innovative"? The guy probably has a few arguments favoring that quote, but seriously I think that the PC gaming industry is a sort of curse. We see people spending I don't know how much money on a machine just to play those games. And we're talking about thousands of dollars here.

Diablo: Attack attack attack, potion potion, attack attack attack, potion. Move to next enemy, repeat the same sequence, open chest, equip armor, and repeat the whole thing.

Quake-and-the-likes: Run at the speed of light, head right into a wall, shoot the wall, turn around, shoot what just passed by, darn you missed! Run at the speed of light, turn! I say turn! Oh no, now you are facing a wall.

I'm trying to think of another type of game but I don't really see any others. I'm sure there are some good games on the PC "platform", but hardly any of them are innovative when you compare them to the console games. I can't stand them and I hope that they never contaminate the console industry. If anyone out there really wanna play PC games then they are already doing so. I usually have respect for pretty much everyone, but this PC gaming thing is beyond me, and I think it should be thrown in a box (pun) with the so called booth babes and be kept for days where intergalactic wars occur with that alien race from you-know-where. Then we can make them choose between our world-wide surrender or the boX with a big question mark on it. You know, the boX you never really know what's inside until it's too late?

-Phil, who is trying to understand the real meaning behind his letter.

Um, one word - Starcraft. (And Baldur's Gate. And Everquest. And Sim City. And Monkey Island. And...) There can be no serious argument that there's nothing worth playing on the PC, but I'll let the next letter argue the point for me.

Enough PC game bashing... time for some PC OS bashing!
Dear Agent,

Ok that's enough PC game bashing. I don't know what PC games you guys are talking about, but the good ones are just as intuitive as any good console game. All you is your two mouse buttons and the space bar to play any of Interplay's big RPG's, like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale. Vagrant Story (a top notch game) is more technically complicated than any of these PC games, but what makes them interesting are their stories, the character customization options, the high level of battle strategy, and of course the music. I suggest that your readers check out reviews of these games at their favorite website and find out what they are missing out on. The system requirements are rather low for a PC game, and there's a mac version of Baldur's Gate as well.


I see your point, but there's a lot more to the PC/console dichotomy than you're letting on. Technical difficulties aside, even the best PC RPGs traditionally haven't had much in the way of character-driven stories. No doubt they've had very epic plots about the rise and fall of kingdoms and worlds, but the player's role was often that of a silent participant whose very appearance was nothing more than the result of a "make a face" program. Of course, there are other types of games with extremely strong stories and player characters, but rarely ones with gameplay as good as console RPGs (and considering my dislike of menus, that's saying something.)

At the same time, there are PCs that have completely transcended console games in some ways. I think Blizzard actually does better FMV than Square (voice acting is a Good Thing) and has smarter games to boot. Halo, Black and White, and a few select other titles could blow the roof off what's possible in gaming, even against the PS2. But there's still the fact that I just prefer being in front of the TV to being in front of a keyboard for playing games. Help me X-Box, you're my last hope.

Get it right!
Hello Chris,

The name is spelled Crono. C-R-O-N-O. Not C-H-R-O-N-O. Remember it this time, dammit! All right (inhale, exhale), that is all.

Omega Rat

So wait, it's Chrono for the title but Crono for the character, so that means it was Chrono in Crono Trigger but that Crono Chross had Surge and Links...

Man, I'll never get the hang of this...

Er, yeah, that one...
Chris "Double Agent" Jonesy-Boy,

Ahh, to be free. What a joy.

I feel the need for Speed (tm)! Now, the speed I think of is not an illegal narcotic, (though it probably should be), or a high speed racing game, but an annoyingly addictive video game. I still play other games and RPGs, but for some odd reason I cannot stop playing this damn game. What's wrong with me?? There are no alternate endings, hidden secrets/characters, or any such thing to give this game the replay value it has. Now, why do I play it? Does it have a mesmerizing story, or perfect characters? On the contrary, this game has been ridiculed for its insanely confusing plot, and and shunned because of its under developed characters. None of this matters. The battle system is not perfect, but it's damn close. Do the characters have some undeniable charm to them, that forces me back to their game? Not really, but I love them anyway.

Why, why you crazy fool, why? I can't say. This game has the something, that special something that movie stars and successful business people have. The same thing that made Mickey Mouse and "beam me up, Scotty" as well known as Ketchup, will someday (I hope) propel this game to Mona Lisa status in the future. While the artisans behind the game will never get the recognition that Leonardo Da Vinci got, I would like to thank this game's creators for sucking away over 300+ hours of my life, in about seven play-throughs. This game is so deep, that I have, more than once, seriously considered writing an essay on the subjects this game brings to mind.

It should be obvious, by now, what game I am talking about, so there's no need to say it. This game is great, it should win an Oscar or something. I truly hope either you, Chris, or some of your readers agree with me.

The Last Man Standing on the Lonely Hill,

Indeed, I also can't say enough about this classic of gaming... so I won't even try.

Dissention in the ranks
I don't want to buy an XBox.

~Ian P.

Boy, don't you sass me none! Now you're gonna go out there and you're gonna buy yourself an X-Box and you're gonna like it!

Closing Comments:

Ok, there's a cold wind blowing outside and miles to code before I sleep, or something. I'm sure AK'll be happy to hear from all of you, so send him some email or I'll sabotage your car or something. I'll also try to remind AK to remind you on Sunday about Monday. Speaking of which, I'll see you then.

-Chris Jones, also prefers new to malloc

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How many times has AK gotten email with the subject "Andy did you hear about this one?" Ask him and find out.
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