Friday, June 4, 2010

In Space No One Can Hear You Ruminate About Old Game Genres

Space-sims. Probably the loosest use of the word "sim" you'll encounter, but a large number of gamers have many fond memories of these types of games, whether they're of the Wing Commander / X-Wing / Freespace combat-focused variety, or the Elite / Privateer / Freelancer type game with more of an emphasis on trade and exploration. It probably seems like they don't make them anymore, but as with most seemingly forgotten genres, they're likely still being made by small European PC game developers that you've never heard of.

One wonders, with all this goodwill for the genre in the hearts of older gamers, why they don't seem to have released a decent space-sim of either variety on any of the current generation of consoles. That's going to change, though, as it appears that Ascaron Entertainment's fairly well received 2006 space trading and combat game, Darkstar One, is being readied for release on the Xbox 360. I see Eurogamer even has a preview for it, which I haven't even read because I'm so worn out from work at the moment.

I don't really know whether the market will support this sort of game, and I don't know if Darkstar One is the best of the breed as far as modern Elite-clones go, but I am certainly happy to see someone trying to get a space-sim out into the console market. I'm going to make two predictions: it will end up with a metascore somewhere in the mid-60s, and by the end of the year you will probably be able to import it for less than £10 before shipping. And when it that happens, it may well be worth a look, if only for old times' sake.