Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kiddie golf

I played some more Albatross 18 last night, and found out I don't like that game. Which is curious, because as I already said it is very similar to Shot Online, which I still like very much. Now Albatross 18 is a lot easier, for example your swing meter is not only strictly linear (Shot Online's is not), but it is also marked with the exact yardage you are going to reach. In Shot Online you can only swing at some percentage from 0% to 110%, and you know *average* yard range of any given golf club. But the exact yards you are going to hit depends on many other factors, like the weather, including temperature and wind speed and direction. Choosing the right club in Shot Online is a challenge. In Albatross 18 you click in the aerial view where you want to shoot and the game chooses the golf club for you. But although I find Albatross 18 too easy, the main reason I don't like it is its style.

Most of Shot Online's golf courses look pretty realistic. The only one I've seen yet that isn't realistic at all is the volcano one, with its lava instead of water. In Albatross 18 nearly all golf courses are over the top. I mean, who plays golf in a frozen wasteland, decorated with igloos, and having whalers as obstacles to lob your golf balls over? Or a desert full of sphinxes and pyramids? And then there are the special effects: In Albatross 18 you can take a pill to hit your ball further, upon which it leaves a flaming trail and an explosion upon impact. All of this is obviously designed to mainly attract children, Albatross 18 is more of a kiddie golf game. Unfortunately some of the people I played against there were behaving like six year olds as well, which is not what you are looking for in a golf game.

Finally I must admit I am slightly disgusted by the Albatross 18 avatars and the options to dress them up. I have an idea what kind of grown-ups would be interested in having avatars of litte girls, with the option of dressing them up in mini-skirts or bikinis, and I find that a bit disturbing. The internet being a potentially dangerous place, I think MMOs for kids should be more like Toontown Online and have online safety features and rather have cartoon animal avatars than avatars looking like children. I'm not otherwise puritan, as long as it involves consenting adults I don't mind what other people do, but when it comes to children I value safety over personal freedom.

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