Studio Liverpool closes its doors

1993 - 2012
Like so many other ill fated games companies, Studio Liverpool is no longer with us, as a few days ago it was announced that SONY would be closing its UK branch known as Studio Liverpool. Known for its seminal series Wipeout and also Colony Wars, this studio will be closing its doors for good. SONY has announced its plans to refocus energy and resources in other studios that are more commercially successful.

SCE Worldwide performs reviews of its studios on a regular basis, and claimed that the decision to close Studio Liverpool came after its most recent evaluation. Sandy Lobban, a developer at Studio Liverpool, said via Twitter:

“End of an era today for Studio Liverpool. Honoured to have been a part of it.”

Psygonsis seems like so long ago

Studio Liverpool started off as Psygonsis in 1984, and I personally happen to have a ton of their games by pure coincidence growing up. I spent days on Destruction Derby and Blast Radius as a kid, and the polygonal magic of the Playstation wasn’t lost on me. Then in 1995 I got my hands on Wipeout and I was never the same. I’d never felt such speed mixed with incredible music, and the science fiction aesthetic never failed to blow my mind. I still play Wipeout on my PS3 all the time and I’ve never played a more exciting racing game in my life.

I still have a clear memory of hiding my PSP behind my textbook in a college classroom, to play Wipeout Pure. I was on the final race of a tournament and somehow went from first place to last. The resulting tragedy of my loss made me shout, “Damn it!” And it didn’t occur to me that I was in class until I saw everyone turning around to stare at me. I personally mourn the loss of Studio Liverpool, and sincerely hope they are able to some how keep the Wipeout franchise alive.

End of an era indeed.

Source: Eurogamer

Gaming Parlance: Nuke

I’ve been noticing more and more how gaming terminology is normalizing things that should otherwise be very extreme or grotesque. One term I recently noticed was “nuke”, which is a common phrase in the MMORPG genre. It essentially means to do as much damage to a target as possible as fast as you can. Typically there are certain characters, classes, or playstyles which enable you to “nuke,” most commonly they are mages or long ranged skills/spells.

Nuking is something that comes into play after proper defenses are setup to ensure that the people doing the “nuking” are safe to dish out as much damage as possible. That is because of “agro” is built up for the person doing the damage, which makes them the target of the enemies ire, and “nuking” classes aren’t known for their vitality or resilience.

So now that you know how “nuke” (or “nuking”) is used in the gaming parlance, I’d like to discuss how the term is coming off in my eyes (or ears). A nuke is short for nuclear bomb, which isn’t something people go throwing around much these days. The two dropped in Japan during World War II killed well over 200,000 people. If you haven’t seen Barefoot Gen, it is a powerful piece of animation that was inspired by those ghastly events.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type to say we should never use the term “nuke” out of respect for the dead. Nuclear bombs are a main source of tension in the international community. Both countries that “can’t be trusted” with them , and the fact that the U.S. still has a massive stockpile of them “just in case” is something very real that people should remember.

At the end of the day I'm just getting older and things like this are jumping out at me. I love gaming and hate how polarizing the gaming community can be. Ultimately this is a drop in the bucket, in terms of things gamers do that belittle the medium they love, but I just can't help but hear that phrase for what it is, not for how they mean it.