Blueprint News: Africa is the first consumer-oriented, first person, first time game. The term “videos” may give you an idea of what the game is about (although I will admit the name is a little odd). Blueprint News takes place in North America in 2021. In the game, you are a news anchor, and you must report on the events that transpired in and around the seven countries of Africa.
In order to play the game, you need a laptop with a CD-ROM drive and Internet access. You then get a small yellow brick device which has a web cam on it, and a set of instruction manual and game guides (game reviews, in this game). A news crew is sent to Africa to cover the first democratic elections in Africa, after a bloody civil war. You have to write a feature story about what happened at the polls, how the voting went, and who won the election. If you want to write a review of the election, all you have to do is click on one of the game’s review links, read the news article and leave a comment. If you want to do more than that, you can view the live reports on the game’s site and a few other links (links which open a separate window).
I believe this game was originally developed by Nintendo but it was not released in North America until 2021. Since its release, more people from the gaming industry have been talking about it. One notable individual is Rock, creator of the immensely popular Guitar Hero series. He states that he saw a potential for the game to be successful as a video game, as the only kid in his school was interested in it. Thus, inspired by his work, he produced a new version of the game.
Blueprint News received good reviews both by reviewers and by those inside the gaming industry. It was promoted heavily by various video game publishers, with Nintendo stating that it is “a tool that allows game makers [to] create buzz and build recognition for their games”. The only person mentioned as having an influence on the popularity of the game is Nintendo itself. A notable instance in this regard is Platinum Games’ Shiny Caravan, which failed to meet expectations largely due to a marketing campaign by Nintendo. It has since been replaced by Gamevil. However, this does not mean that all news about the game is reliable; you should check out the sources cited below.
Original video game reviews have been featured on various gaming websites since the late eighties. In recent times however, these have been overshadowed by reviews produced by outside sources such as news channels and websites. Some gaming enthusiasts feel that this trend is a product of the changing face of gaming, with gamers being less likely to review older games anymore due to the emergence of newer ones. This is in turn, seen by some as another reason why video game reviews have become less important.
Regardless of whether the video games industry is happy with the changes, some are happy with the changes at least. According to Video Game News editor Ben Richardson, “The thing that’s changed over the past couple years is that video games journalists have been forced to up their game reviews game-by-game, to try and give each new one a realistic review. Now that all the big companies are making buggy, terrible games, that sort of thing is completely pointless.” Still, he feels that the increased professionalism in gaming coverage has led to a couple of major benefits. “It’s given journalists a more solid platform to discuss gaming from a perspective other than a personal one”, he said.