Dr. Ian Bogost posted this on Gamasutra today: http://www.gamasutra.
com/view/feature/218696/the_ blue_shell_and_its_ discontents.php?page=1
It annoys me for three reasons.
1. Blue shells have been around for over a decade (as he himself points out). This article could have been written in tandem with any Kart release in the last decade and be the same. Why now?
2. Tying rubber band game design to the differences between Gen X and Millenials is the height of socio-philosophical masturbation. Games, especially from a producer such as Nintendo, have an obligation to be fun. Winners winning by untouchable margins is boring.
3. To play a game competitively, where winning (first place) is all that matters, then you model your style of play to fit the game world.
More on 3:
To play a game competitively, use the tools you are given in the scope of the game’s rules. If fireball is overpowered, you spam fireball until your opponent knows how to deal with it. This is basic Sirlin "play-to-win" philosophy.
If Nintendo introduces a power-up that means you WILL NOT WIN if you are first place in the second half of the final lap, then DON’T BE in first place in the second half of the final lap. It intentionally creates a conflict of interests at high levels of play. It’s kind of brilliant. The reason blue shell gets shit on is that there is an inherent expectation that in a driving game, pulling ahead with a lead is what guarantees victory. That may work in real life, but this is a damn video game.
Dr. Bogost, what are your thoughts on the excitement that blue shells bring to the casual crowd? What about how the blue shell affects higher level competitive play?