Felix Threepaper makes some predictions? For 2011? That’s hot…

Hey videogame freaks!

Did you know that my Cave of Assessment has a scrying puddle?

That’s right bitches, I’ve got access to a precognisant body of moisture that enables me to predict the future.  The only thing preventing me from betting on sports and making your mum get hyuuuge cans is a rigid personal code of ethics.

Keep reading to find out what’s gonna happen in the rest of 2011.

1. Nintendo will release a voice free smart phone

Nintendo is currently #1 in the console wars and it intends to stay that way, however Wii sales are flattening out and the higher-up Nintendo executives already know the 3DS is going to bomb.  (There’s another prediction for ya.)  Not to worry, the human centipedes up in Ninty’s head office have a Plan B.  No, it isn’t “reheat the same IPs and serve lukewarm once a year” — that’s Plan A.  They’re going to try to recreate what worked with the Wii and release a new piece of hardware that will revolutionamatise the market.  And they’re gonna do it on the only hardware they haven’t conquered yet: phones.

With the Wii, they almost managed to take the controls out of gaming.  In 2011, they will almost take the voice out of talking on the phone — you will simply attach a J-shaped dongle to your forehead and the phone will read your thoughts and render the voice using one of 16 pre-designed, excessively cutesy voices.  The voices available on release will range from “giggly Japanese schoolgirl” to “giggly Japanese teenager”.

The thought recognition software will not be terribly accurate at distinguishing between conscious and subconscious thoughts, causing a whole new range of social mishaps (I meant to say “I love you honey”, but the phone said “Miranda Kerr naked” or I meant to say “Meet me outside the station at 2pm” but the phone said “Miranda Kerr naked”), and the dongle will make users look like complete tools.  Regardless, the pure gimmickry of the thing will ensure its worldwide sales in the hundreds of millions, while normal phone users wail and gnash their teeth.

A prototype of Nintendo's voice free phone

There will be two killer apps that guarantee its ongoing success: a downloadable Justin Bieber voice and ironic moustache-shaped dongles for the Apple crowd.  The only thing I can’t tell from here in the present is what kind of embarrassing cutesy name they’re going to give it: YouRing?  Terdoo?  Vom?  Yeah, I’m out.

2. Gary Ablett will carve it up for the Gold Coast Suns

Everyone knows the year doesn’t really start until the AFL season starts.  This year Gary Ablett will explode, statistically speaking.  The foundations are all there: he’s finally a captain in real life and he likes his new coach, because that coach has a game plan that Gary can appreciate: “give it to Gary” and “stop the other blokes so Gary can get it”.

For Gary, there will be no more playing out of position in the forward line or high bench rotations.  The only thing that can stop Gary this year is sunburn on his shiny pate.  Slip slop slap Gary!

Gary Ablett at training over summer -- sun smart and flood resistant

I will also make this sub-prediction: the rest of the Suns midfield will shave their heads, so as to confuse their enemies.  You would be mad not to get Gary into your fantasy AFL team.

So maybe this prediction isn’t related to a videogame, but it’s not my fault that no developer has made an AFL game for this console generation.  That shitty PSP AFL game released last year doesn’t count.  I demand a Madden-quality rendition of our national sport… just don’t balls it up by getting Bruce McAvaney to do the commentary.

3. There will be no R18+ rating introduced for videogames in Australia

That’s right, I boldly predict that the classification system will remain the same as it has been since 2005.

After a releasing a discussion paper on videogame ratings and considering thousands of submissions on the subject throughout 2010, in December 2010 the Attorneys-General met and … asked for another comprehensive review  — of the whole rating system this time, not just video games — and called for more submissions.  Sigh.  Meanwhile those like Jim Wallace who oppose an R18+ rating have been working behind the scenes to keep the status quo, including showing some bizarre outlandish shit to our politicians (seriously, check the link where he says he showed extreme material to the  Attorneys General — where did he get that stuff?).

I’d love to be proven wrong on this prediction.  So what are you gonna do about it?  Mope and bitch about it on forums, then decide you don’t care because you import everything anyway?  You could get off your arse and take some direct action.  Remember — signing an online petition really does bugger all in the scheme of things.  Instead, try joining a lobby group or write a letter to your local MP.  Here’s a few places to start:

Make a submission on R18+:

http://www.classification.gov.au/

R18+ lobby groups:

http://www.r18games.com.au/

http://www.australianfamilies.org/

Welcome to democracy, kids: a place where persistent nagging over a number of years is the bare minimum required to get a seat at the table.

4. Obsidian, Bioware or Bethesda will make an RPG out of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! quadrilogy, using an art style based on the original illustrations by John Blanche

Oops, I think I got this one mixed in from my letter to Santa.  While we’re at it, a Talisman game anyone?

5. Blizzard will release World of Warcraft for Facebook

It makes perfect business sense to marry the two great timesinks of the early 21st century.

It will be slow going at first: existing World of Warcraft players will bitch and moan but will still keep playing because they can’t not; plus, Blizzard will abolish subscription fees.  Facebook users will initially be sceptical at such nerd-like activity, but will be hooked once they discover that they can be far more racist and homophobic in WoW.

As Facebook sells off its customer data to corporations, Azeroth will be the setting for increased micro-transactions and the line between in-game and real life purchases will blur into obscurity. Players will be able to visit an in-game merchant to order a real life pizza or penis enlargement pills.  Companies will start paying people in WoW currency.  People will lose track of what costs real money and what costs in-game money — just the way those cunning corporationey corporations want it.

With the millions of new players that this merger attracts, the WoWBook (FaceWoW?) servers will have to be expanded tenfold, tripling the size of any previous server network and resulting in a sentient AI.  This is what will become the Skynet, people, so remember — by playing WoW or using Facebook you are contributing to the destruction of the human race.

6. Three Paper Reviews will continue to produce quality shit for your eyes, brains and ears.

Yeah I predicted myself.  Self-reflexivity is so hot right now.

Hazizi and I are working behind the scenes to bring you new features in 2011 and some extra content beyond straight up music and game reviews (err, like shitty prediction list articles).

We will be staying independent and underground, just the way you like it, so watch this space in 2011 and keep recreating in the manner you see fit.

– Felix

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