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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/11/2012 in Blog Entries

  1. 5 points
    Attack on Game Podunk So a couple months ago I created a parody version of Attack on Titan as a birthday video for royzoga, it's full of inside jokes and people that no one other than the people in it would understand. So I decided to rework it and start anew, this time focusing on GP and it's members since Attack on Titan is watched by quite a few people here. I have no set criteria on how I structure the show, so I may parody an entire episode or use a few pieces of several as one episode. Either way, I hope to have them come out quickly and regularly. I hope you enjoy, and be sure to leave comments, feedback and any other suggestions you might have! What did you think of these new developments? Who are you rooting for?
  2. 5 points
    Attack on Game Podunk So a couple months ago I created a parody version of Attack on Titan as a birthday video for royzoga, it's full of inside jokes and people that no one other than the people in it would understand. So I decided to rework it and start anew, this time focusing on GP and it's members since Attack on Titan is watched by quite a few people here. This first episode is short, and only has the introductions because there are ALOT of characters. Hopefully the next episodes will come out quickly and regularly. I hope you enjoy, and be sure to leave comments, feedback and any other suggestions you might have! Not in the show? Did I leave you out? If you would like to be added and there's a character you want, hit me up with a comment or PM. For those who have characters and would like to switch, sorry but no switching.
  3. 4 points
    It is with deep regret that I must announce that Doug Charmin's world record holding Tamagotchi has passed away. Going by the name DORK, the beloved Tamagotchi pet held the world record for longest living digital pet in the Guiness Book of World Records. He was four days old. The death was captured in it's entirety during an interview with DORK's owner for a local news station. The details of the events that transpired can be read below. What started as a simple fluff interview turned to tragedy today after the digital keychain pet DORK, a Tamagotchi that held the world record for world's oldest living digital creature died in it's owner's arms. The pet's owner Doug was in the middle of explaining to reporters how he kept his pet alive for so long when DORK began to beep at him. Doug ignored the beeps, assuring us that DORK was only trying to get attention. As the interview went on, the beeps turned to boops and became more urgent in tone. Doug glanced down at his keychain and jumped out of his seat, seemingly startled by what he saw. While our cameras only managed a glimpse at the creature's screen, what we saw was disturbing. DORK had defecated in his feeding area and appeared to be sitting next to what could be described as an empty food bowl. Doug pulled the screen away from the cameras and began desperately pushing the buttons on his Tamagotchi. We can't say for sure what he was trying to accomplish because he has since stopped accepting interviews on his lawyer's advice, but after he finished pressing buttons, his pet DORK let out one last beep of desperation before he blipped out of existence. While the results of DORK's autopsy are not yet known, it is believed that his owner Doug will be facing charges for the apparent neglect that his pet DORK had received prior to it's death. The world record will now be passed onto a Mochi currently presiding in Spokane, Washington, but reports are coming in that the nameless Mochi generated from the Monster Rancher 2 disc is also on it's last legs. We'll have the latest information for you as soon as we receive it.
  4. 4 points
    Being a gamer isn't always the most budget friendly hobby. So I always like to try finding new and cheaper ways of getting games. One of the best ways I have found to do this, is through the use of online video game trading websites. Without trading sites there's no way my bookshelf would look like this, and this isn't even all of the games! I have recently joined two sites that have been created in the past few months and believe them both to show a lot of promise. I have had the opportunity to interview the owners of one of the sites and will hopefully be able to get one with the other for a future blog (if not, it will simply be a review). Tonight, I was able to interview 99gamers.com via email exchange. Me: I appreciate you being able to take some time to talk about your site. So first off, Who are you guys and what inspired you to create 99gamers? Brandon: I'm Brandon Kruzeniski and I'm one of the founders of 99Gamers with the other being my brother Jon. I originally got the idea for a video game trading site when I came across a post on Reddit about how someone would shoot darts at their game collection to choose which game they would play next. I realized that this random person had a bunch of games that I would love to play but just haven't had the chance to. I turned to my game collection and thought that this person would probably feel the same way about my game collection. I was also tired of getting ripped off by GameStop, knowing they would turn around and sell the game for double the next day. I knew other video game trading sites existed, but none of them were what I wanted them to be. I wasn't sure how many people would be interested in something like this so I decided to post it to Reddit and see what the response was like. I was thinking maybe a few hundred people would see it and I'd be able to get some feedback on the idea, but within a few hours the post was at the top of r/gaming and even hit the front page for a while, resulting in thousands of signups. I then knew enough people felt the same way I did so I went forward with the site. Me: How long has 99gamers been around? Brandon: The original Reddit post was in June of 2012. After a few months of development 99Gamers launched in private beta in October. We slowly began to let more people in as we worked towards perfecting the trading system. We then publicly launched this January. Me: So how has the site been received since moving out of beta and going public? Brandon: Since getting out of beta the number of members, games and trades have all more than doubled. Me: What is it that sets 99gamers apart from other trading sites out there? Brandon: First off, 99Gamers is completely free to use. There are no costs to trade games so as a member you'll see the savings start to add up quickly. Video game trading sites have traditionally used a queue system with fixed game prices. I think long term this has shown to not be most effective way to go about trading games. The trade lines start to grow longer and begin to turn into month long waits. Having to wait so long until you receive a game can severely limit the excitement you have to play the game. You are also not guaranteed a game, as you tend to have to put requests for multiple games to ensure you'll get one and depending on the timing you may miss out on games or have to settle for a game you are not as excited for. With 99Gamers, we take the free market approach and in doing so there are no wait times to receive games. Sellers set their own prices for each game. This way you can get games you actually want quicker because you don't have to wait for everyone else to get it before you. As soon as you get enough coins from selling games you can buy the game which will be shipped to you right away. The feedback system on 99Gamers ensures you can choose sellers who you feel comfortable trading with. Other trading sites don't give you the choice of who you receive a game from. We put the power in the buyers hands by allowing them to use the feedback system and the sellers location to choose which seller they feel most comfortable with receiving the game from. We have a vast collection of games with over 5000 listings and almost 1500 game titles over 25 platforms. New releases are usually available within a week or two of their release date and can sometimes be available next day. The price for popular games is very fair. An example of this is Assassin's Creed III is now only 25 coins ($25) where at GameStop it would cost you $55 pre-owned. On a side note, I think it's pretty cool you bought Dead Space 3 four days after it was released then sold it to someone else two weeks later for just 4 coins less than you bought it for. Things like that just aren't possible on other trading sites. Me: So how does it really work? Brandon: Members add their unwanted video games and sell them to other members for a virtual currency called 'coins' valued at $1 per coin. Members can then spend their earned coins on other games. Me: How do suggested game prices get calculated? Brandon: The suggested market price for each game is calculated by taking into factor the condition of the game as well as the price people have recently paid on Amazon, eBay and other online retailers. Together we use these to calculate the market price. Me: Are you aware that I can't help but sing, "99 gamers but a b*tch ain't one" in my head at least once a day when I visit your site? Brandon: Haha, glad to hear I'm not the only one. Me: Approximately how many users/trades are there? Brandon: There are over 2500 members and over 1750 trades. Me: What can users do to get the most from the site? Brandon: We've found the following tips will help get members more sells: The more games added the quicker they will sell. The sweet spot for new members is around 5-10 games at the market price or just below it. You can then expect to sell about 2 to 3 games in the first week. If you are a new member, giving a coin or two discount for your first few trades goes a long way as you build up your feedback history. You may be competing with sellers at the same price who have a much bigger feedback history. Members who use their real name and a photo of themselves are much more likely to sell games. Buyers feel much safer when they can put a face to a name. RPGs go a long way. People always love to pick up an older gen RPG from their childhood Me: What sort of protection is there against scamming/abuse? Brandon: There are many security measures in place to make sure everything goes smoothly. 99Gamers uses a virtual currency, not cash, so there is less incentive for anyone to do anything unsafe. New members have go through an approval process when they sign up which allows us to verify their information and make sure no red flags stand out. 99Gamers guarantees protection for buyers if they do not receive the game they have paid for. We will refund your coins as long as no legitimate delivery confirmation or proof or shipping has been provided by the seller. Sellers can protect themselves by buying delivery confirmation and taking photos of the disk before shipping the game in case there is a dispute about the condition. For their first two trades new members can only trade with an established member who has at least 2 sells with positive feedback. This way the more experienced member can help walk them through the process. The feedback system keeps track of how things are going and allows sellers and buyers to build a trading reputation. Buyer's can see the sellers trading history before purchasing a game to avoid "bad" traders. We continuously monitor the trading activity to ensure all members trading needs are met and either side of the trade is abusing our trading system. So far with taking all these approaches bad traders have been non-existent. Me: So any insight into surprises in store for the future? Brandon: We have a bunch of new features coming up that we think our members are going to love. We'll be introducing PC games and digital codes. The browse and profile pages will be getting a much improved new look. These will be geared towards helping members discover new and interesting games faster. Members will be able to find new games they may have not realized they would enjoy. As the number of games continue to grow it's important that members can find the games they want as quick as possible. We'll be adding a bunch of seller tools to help members sell their games quicker. These will put the ease into selling games and make it the selling process much more streamlined leaving the seller with much less work. Down the road we plan on adding consoles and gaming accessories into the mix as well as some more exciting features. Our main goal continues to make buying and selling games as easy as possible so our members can spend more time playing games. Me: Are there any promotions currently running or coming up you would like to talk about? Brandon: We have a contest running now where members can invite their friends to join the site. Prizes range from coins, plush toys, and t-shirts to a horse head mask and games. The Power Gamer Giveaway is also going on now which rewards the top 10 sellers of the month with free coins. We are always looking for new ways to promote the site and get the word out so you can expect more to come soon. Me: Again, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to talk about the site a little. Hopefully this interests a few new users Brandon: Thanks for taking your time to do this. ---------- As a current user, I will leave you with this, The site is extremely easy to use and is filled with honest and courteous traders. In my short time with the site, I have received games including Ni No Kuni, Dead Space 3, Portal 2, The Killzone Trilogy, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection and Lollipop Chainsaw. A lot of users are even willing to haggle a little bit on what their game prices are. I have 51 total trades there and each one has been pleasant. Definitely a trading site worth checking out.
  5. 3 points
    Attack on Game Podunk So a couple months ago I created a parody version of Attack on Titan as a birthday video for royzoga, it's full of inside jokes and people that no one other than the people in it would understand. So I decided to rework it and start anew, this time focusing on GP and it's members since Attack on Titan is watched by quite a few people here. I have no set criteria on how I structure the show, so I may parody an entire episode or use a few pieces of several as one episode. Either way, I hope to have them come out quickly and regularly. I hope you enjoy, and be sure to leave comments, feedback and any other suggestions you might have! <iframe src="http://www.putlocker.com/embed/2C7B7F993C981DA8" width="600" height="360" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> To watch just follow this link and click "continue as free user", it will then take you to the video stream. Sorry about the inconvenience! Youtube is broken for now. Anime or Videogames, where do you stand? Will 905 and roy ever find common ground? Did you know TK was Commander Shepard? Will Liz ever make a reappearance?
  6. 3 points
    It has been a while. I had to get settled into school once again, so that took priority over this. But now I“m back, and ready to talk about gaming. With that, let“s go back to the past and talk about retro games and why they are so important and impactful now. The retro gaming scene is a bit different. Why is it when games can look like this, or this, that games end up looking something like this? When tools are limited, people get creative about how those tools are used. It“s like if a child wants to play with a sword, and doesn“t have a plastic or rubber sword to play with, that child will grab a stick. If there“s no stick, then the child will form a chopping motion with their hand and pretend that the arm is the sword. Retro gaming taps into this mindset. Streets of Rage, a side scroller on the Sega Genesis, had an abundance of moves for using only 3 buttons. Looking at some games today, there is practically button overload, even though buttons are generally used for 1 or 2 functions. This limited capability (in terms of just more than hardware and buttons) is something that the indie games are capitalizing on. And indie games are creating a ton of buzz nowadays. You can also press in the sticks like they're buttons. With simplicity however, usually comes difficulty. Games today are certainly hard, but I generally don“t find them punishing with the exception of certain parts. Mega Man for example, I tend to find rather punishing while playing through the game, dying and continuing multiple times before getting to the Wily Towers. Streets of Rage is incredibly hard, especially once you put the difficulty settings higher. I“ve died a lot playing Vanquish too, but it was usually during a boss, or if I was screwing around. Have games really become easier, or have I become that much better? Another factor that retro games use is the pure imagination of these games. This generally leads to their charm. Usually this is seen in their bright or contrasting colors, or how over the top some of the games are. The games of old seem to take that imagination and run with it as far as possible. I“m not saying games today don“t have imagination, but there is some aspect of games today where they wouldn“t fit in with the games of the 8 or 16-bit era. Look at Jack Cayman. His character design is rather cartoonish, with his overly muscular build and mechanical arm, but other aspects of him are made to look realistic. Jack looks like he“s straddling the line of cartoon and realism, whereas someone like Sonic is clearly on the cartoon side. On the consumer side lies the fact that information is more widely available. Now you can watch videos and read tons of reviews before deciding to make a purchase. Before the internet starting sharing everything, you had magazines, word of mouth, and maybe the back of the case to get you enticed. I think a lot more experimenting happened on the consumer side with limited information available to them. However, a limited number of genres were also successful on certain platforms. Side scrollers were EVERYWHERE, but first person shooters were the rare commodity on home consoles for a while. The last factor I will talk about in retro gaming goes with the actual limitation of hardware, stamina. Less saving was around, and not every game used a password, so you had to bust your butt and blast through the game in one sitting. It“s not necessary to do so now, but I do find myself loving the fact that I can sit there for a few hours undisturbed and just play the game, even though I“m nowhere near done with it. Maybe this is one reason why I love gaming so much, and not the escapism and vast worlds that I explore. I'll explore other aspects of retro gaming in the next few entries. Hope you enjoyed this one, and I apologize about the long wait.
  7. 3 points
    Going to Tokyo and Hong Kong obviously means stuff needs to be bought, and hopefully a lot of stuff. While I didn't go completely ridiculous, I still managed to find a fair amount of stuff I wanted and/or good deals. So as not to do what I did with the Travel posts, I only took a few overview pictures of everything. Now, without further ado.... GAMES! PS2 Games (Left to Right) - Moeyo Ken - Shakugan no Shana - DearS - Lucky Star - Mai hime LE (Bottom Right, Left) - Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na LE (Bottom Right, Right) PS3 Games (L To R) - Robotics;Notes LE - Steins;Gates Senkei Kousoku no Phenogram LE - Robotics;Notes Std. Edition - K-ON! HD (PSP port) - Umineko no Naku Koro ni - Atelier Ayesha LE - Tales of Xillia Std. Version (Present for a Friend) - Tales of Xillia CE (US Version, Kind of cheating since I didn't buy it in HK/Tokyo but it showed up while I was there!) DS Games - Jump Ultimate Stars - Magical Star Sign (US Version) - Lufia (US Version) - Solarobo w/ OST Other random games: - Nyaruko LE (Vita) - New Little King's Story (Vita, UK Version) - Black Lagoon (Vita) - Little Kings Story (Wii, US Version) - Ragnarok Tactics (PSP, US Version) - Metal Gear Solid Graphic Novel (PSP, US Version) - To Aru Majutsu no Index (PSP) - 3x3 Eyes (PS1) *If you're wondering about all the US version games it's because we found several places selling a couple US games for very very cheap.* FIGURES! (Left to Right) - Takatsuki Itsuka (Ano Natsu) - Chie Satonaka (Persona 4) - Yamano Remon (Ano Natsu) - C.C. (Code Geass, Wonderland Version) - Kallen (Code Geass, Wonderland Version) - Nathan Seymour (Tiger and Bunny) - Pao-Lin (Tiger and Bunny) - Antonio Lopez (Tiger and Bunny) - Kirino (Oreimo) Two model kits from the new Code Geass anime, as well as the only nendoroid I bought this trip, but it's okay, since it's Teddy And my biggest figure purchase of the trip... Femshep! Two Misc Magazines and some Eva Unit 02 Cologne.... And finally, because you know I had to do it..... Stay tuned for a future contest or contests where some of this stuff (or the stuff I didn't show you....) may be up as prizes So what'dya think, good/bad haul?
  8. 3 points
    Note: Not wanting to add to the problem, this post will only use images of women who I felt had the closest equivalent of dress to their male peers. I went to E3 this year. Although much fun was had playing the titles, seeing famous people in the industry, and generally having a nice time, I couldn't help but be intensely unhappy about one thing. This one thing is how as soon as I walked into the world of E3 I was greeted by seeing "booth babes". Although I certainly had known they would be here before, I never really thought about just how pervasive it is. This was the first time I was really forced to spend days at E3 and see that they were everywhere. From Atlus to Nintendo, booth babes were nearly at every booth to help lure people over. Now, before I really get into this let me say I really hate the term "booth babe" itself. Regardless, I'm going to use it because other terms will probably confuse the issue further, especially for those who have never considered it an issue. Perhaps I'm furthering it just by calling these women booth babes, but that is how this piece is going to be written right now. I'm not sure why I didn't feel like it would really be this way. Perhaps because year after year I always have ignored sites posting booth babe "photo roundups". I can see women in a great deal of ways and seeing ones who are only tangentially related to gaming isn't particularly interesting. So, while I knew that booth babes would be around I wasn't actually prepared for it. Especially not with how they were literally everywhere I looked. Some were in costumes and some were in uniforms, but either way, they were obviously instructed to show skin. The vast majority of people sent out to represent each booth's products were women. While there were usually men around too, they were dressed in uniforms free of showing off their body. This year there weren't even men costumed up in any state of undress. Instead, there were maybe a few guys in space armor or military-style attire. As they appeared to be physically fit I'd classify them as booth "hunks" but there was probably only four or five overall. In comparison, the amount of women in costume was higher. The amount of women in skin-showing uniforms was probably in the hundreds. The amount of women in dress which was comparable to their male partners, was probably around three. Although it should probably have been obvious by looking at how 99% of the booth babes were thin and stereotypically beautiful, not all of these women were employees of the companies they represented. They were hired for this event, taught some facts about their games, then dressed up and unleashed on the convention center. These women were very nice and helpful with simple information sharing, but the vast majority had nothing to actually do with the industry. I can understand why Nintendo (with their massive booth) would need to call extra help, but why did the smaller booths feel it necessary to hire extra help? Atlus, for example, had a very small square booth but still had its share of miniskirt-wearing booth babes. There is nothing wrong with these women taking the job of booth babe, either, in case someone thinks that's where I'm going with this. If these women enjoy being a helpful spokesperson for gaming and other industries then good for them. They're simply taking work where it is offered so they are no way at fault for the trend of booth babes in this industry (and others). They're obviously also not the ones making the costume or uniform selections. That's all on the people in control of the booths. Perhaps it is due to me not being on Twitter seriously until this year, but I never noticed such a strong backlash against E3's booth babes before. As such, since the event I've read many things posted about the issue from a great deal of people. I've read some from men, some from women, and overall the critical response is that booth babes shouldn't have a place in E3. I agree. I can't help but feel like one thing is missing from the critical analysis of why exactly booth babes are bad for E3. Both men and women seem to be focusing on the huge issue of how booth babes effect women in and around the industry. With booth babes left and right, it makes you tune them out. Not only them though, but also other women. It's a horrific thing because no doubt women in game development, publishing, media, or otherwise may be viewed less seriously because of all the booth babes around. It also may be hurtful to women to see these women on display. There's no nice way to say that. These women are obviously chosen and dressed up to be on display. They are meant to attract someone to the booth. As they're all primarily skinny it also isn't helpful to self image, and in general, is just quite negative. Booth babes no doubt are affecting the perception of women in the industry, as well as women themselves who come to E3. However, there's one thing that no men (that I have read) speak about. Whenever they write about booth babes and why this is a bad idea they talk about how it harms women or how it harms the view of the industry to outsiders. If not that, they may speak to it not being helpful for expanding the industry in the future (as it's not inviting to the growing audience of women). This is all true but why can no men say that it effects them too? For me, it was a huge shock and made me feel terrible. Sure, I'm not a woman, but that doesn't mean I'm wholly unfazed by the display of thin flesh left and right. I am a feminist, but the distaste I feel toward booth babes at E3 is not purely because of how it treats women and how women will feel about it. This is a huge deal, and probably the larger side of things overall, but as a man I felt bad too. I felt bad for myself. Were these women meant to pander to me? They must have. I'm a straight man who loves video games. This is what the developers and publishers believe to be their biggest audience and so they were pandering to it. However, thrusting lots of skimpily-dressed women everywhere makes it seems like their biggest audience is actually young teenage straight males. How does this make any sense? E3 is not simply a fan expo but a business convention for adults only. E3 isn't the only part of gaming culture which attempts to treat me like a teenage boy, but it seems most obvious here. Are men like me meant to love this? Are we supposed to flock to a booth simply because a pretty girl is smiling in our general direction? Are we meant to be excited to play a game simply because a girl compliments me on a shirt or says the game she's demoing is fun? Apparently so, and I hated it. It made me feel ashamed. Initially, I didn't even want to enter certain booths because their perimeter was dotted with booth babes. I didn't want to be associated with such a thing. I am not enticed to play a game because a girl is dressed up in the same vicinity. It repelled me, not because I thought the women were ugly, or anything of the sort. It was because I KNEW what this was about. It's about pandering to a specific audience, who I feel isn't even very strongly in attendance. There are definitely people at E3 who like this showing of booth babes. I saw many people taking pictures of booth babes or even posing with them. On the other hand, with the small amount of booth hunks, people only seemed to take pictures OF them, not with their arms around them. So yes, there are definitely people at E3 the opposite of me and who benefit from booth babes. In turn, the companies that hire these women benefit too. However, I doubt this is the majority of attendees who react this way with booth babes. For me at least I felt awful. I wanted to purely enjoy my time but it was hampered tremendously by these booth babes. They did nothing to me and I did nothing to them but it just felt awful. Here I was, participating in an industry which thinks this is completely fine. It's not fine for a million reasons and I doubt it really makes much business difference either. The only way we would know is if one year they suddenly banned booth babes at E3, but I doubt this will happen anytime soon. Companies will continue to argue that it's completely helpful as the majority of gamers are still male. And straight. And horny. This is insulting. Not only is it hugely incorrect, it is completely ridiculous. E3 isn't the only part of the industry which treats us this way, but it certainly is the most obvious with it. Women deserve better treatment in and around the gaming industry than this. The industry deserves to treat itself better too, because this is hardly professional. Men, too, though also deserve to be treated in a respectful fashion instead of this supposed pandering to "our desires". It makes me feel like $@#%. It makes me feel worse that no men who I have read on the subject have ever brought up their own issues with booth babes. Why don't they? Sometimes I worry it's because they are okay with it themselves, and only change their thoughts when thinking about how it must cause women trouble. Again, I'm not trying to say women shouldn't be a big focus of this. Of course they should! However, we have tons of discourse already about how this affects women, both by women and men on the subject. The issue of how booth babes may be problematic for men though is left un-discussed. So there are my thoughts about it.
  9. 3 points
    So I decided to act upon gaiages suggestion inspired by my reminiscence of my early days as a PS3 owner. I'd repeat the same shibboleth every gamer with an expansive collection of games on their Steam account and say I'm going to play the games I own and not keep getting more, but I won't, because I won't be able stick to my goal. This but an inchoate look into my Steam library in the hopes of motivating me in an undoubtedly feckless attempt at decreasing my ever-swelling Steam backlog. There may be some games on this list that have also been previously reviewed by other members, but I thought it'd be nice to have a diverse range of opinions for each title. So to quote Elizabeth 2.0, "Without further ado..." Dear Esther A game that was originally a mod that really isn't a game at all, but rather, a story being played out. You aren't the player, but rather, the embodiment of the narration. You become so immersed in the simplistic yet oddly dream-like world that you hang on every enunciation as the tale unravels before you. As a game, this would receive failing marks, but as a story it succeeds like few, if any, other games that are in a similar vein. Score: 6.5/10 Dungeon Siege III Slightly above average Action-RPG dungeon crawler fare, Dungeon Siege III manages to do little wrong with its formulaic hack-and-slash, loot-dropping gameplay. I'm not an avid Dungeon Siege player but the game drew me. This was likely due to the fact that it boasts cooperative gameplay. If you have two gamepads (or two sets of M/K) hooked up to your PC you can play two player locally, or up to 4 player online. That element alone makes it much more fun that if you'd play by yourself. Still, I didn't take too much away from it, and I am hard pressed to remember much about it, leaving it in the "not-so-memorable" section of my game library. Score: 7.0/10 Krater A quirky squad based dungeon crawler set in post-apocalyptic... Sweden? This game was much-lauded by a certain "Loco" member of Game Podunk. He enthusiastically gifted me a copy to spread his love for the game. Unfortunately, there was not much spreading going on on my end. Sure, the game is quite visually pleasing (seriously, the scenery is beautiful at times), however something about the gameplay just didn't click for me. I thought I would wait until their highly anticipated coop patch was released. After many delays, it was finally released to much disappointment, because the coop is simply an assortment of 3 or 4 dungeons to play rather than being able to jump into another player's world. Ah well. Score: 6.0/10 Revelations 2012 No amount of words can express my passionate love for this putrid pile of Left 4 Dead copying, visually repulsive, thematically bankrupt and nearly broken piece of garbage. It's one of those games that's simply "so bad it's good" to the fullest extent of that phrase. I simply can't give this game a serious rating, but I can rate it based on how much twisted enjoyment I got out of it, suffering with several friends who played it with me. This is THE must play "bad" game on Steam. This is not debatable. Score: 7.0/10 That's all I could come up with for now, but there's much more where that came from.
  10. 3 points
    I was lucky enough to grab tickets in time to go to PAX East once again. That“s 2 years in a row! Unfortunately, I was only able to go on Sunday this year, which meant I was a bit more time pressed compared to last year. The first stop was the exhibition hall, because that“s where all the action is. Despite being told that it would be less crowded than Friday or Saturday, it was still PACKED. “Less crowded†is a VERY subjective term. The panel I was attending was not for some time, so the first major area I stopped at was Nvidia. They were showcasing their new handheld console, which is project shield. It allows one to play a game that could be played from the computer as well. I played The Conduit (on a tablet), and Blood Sword (on the console itself), while I was able to catch others playing Assassin“s Creed III, and Sonic 4. Blood Sword played well with buttons, but touchscreen play was available as well. As a console gamer, buttons just worked out much better for me. As far as Conduit is concerned, the controls weren“t difficult to get used to, and they were creative. Standing still had you reload, and there was auto fire, but you had to aim at an object that could be shot at. Double tapping allowed you to throw grenades, and tapping your secondary gun, switched guns. The only hard part was getting used to touchscreen movement. After playing, I left with a free tshirt. Project Shield From there I just walked around snapping a few pictures and watching others play, as many lines were incredibly long. I watched some Mark of the Ninja, The Last of Us, and caught a glimpse of Remember Me. Watching Mark of the Ninja, was fun. I have yet to play at the moment, but it looks like a great stealth game. Being a Naughty Dog fan, I am definitely looking forward to The Last of Us. The wait to play was incredibly long, but I managed to see someone stealth kill a zombie, which was pretty cool. Other than that I saw a lot of people exploring, as the area was deserted. This is a game I will certainly be looking out for. There were also very long lines to play Assassin“s Creed IV, and Gears of War Judgment. At one time the Gears line shortened, but I didn“t jump in line, and then found it extended considerably after a few minutes. Chance to play lost. After some walking around, I found the Nintendo area. There were lots of people playing Wii U and 3DS, as expected. Nintendo, as promised, is celebrating Luigi, so there was a book for Luigi“s anniversary that the fans could sign! I signed it saying that he“s player 2 for life. He“s one of the best player 2“s out there! You don“t have to be player 1 to be a hero. Then it was off to Merman theater for the panel, “How to Turn Your Gaming Passion into Profitsâ€. The panelists were: Anthony Frasier founder of TheKoalition.com, Alexis Hebert, community manager at Microsoft, CJ Peters, founder and CEO of KonsoleKingz.com, and Gerard Williams who created and founded HipHopGamerShow.com. Gerard Williams was carrying his giant belt. Advice from all of them was that there are various ways to get into the industry now compared to the past. If you want to start doing video playthroughs, start doing that. People love pictures and video. Peters and Frasier talked about the importance of learning to code, which Peters had to figure out in order to play games as a young child. Coding is what developers will do, and it is the job most needed for most game companies, so that is probably the most practical way to get in. Sound designers, concept artists, musicians, and writers all have a chance to break into the industry as well, it“s just harder. So don“t fret if that“s what you want to do! While all of them had interesting stories and came from different walks of life, I paid the most attention to Alexis Hebert, because she broke into the industry through writing and playing in tournaments. I was also able to speak with her after the panel, and she stressed that I should get out of my comfort zone and read articles on subjects I know nothing about, and figure out why I decided to read that entry, what worked, what didn“t work, what else helped you continue reading the article. Some sound advice. Thank you for the advice Alexis! Back in the exhibition hall, I found the Usagi Yojimbo mobile game (remember him?). After speaking with one of the exhibitors, he decided to start me on stage 10, which is pretty late in the game. There are two attack buttons, and one you can hold in order to block. It was rather chaotic for the first time playing, but it was fun. What was spectacular, however, was out easily the licensing to use the character worked out. I had the chance to speak with the main developer, and he said all it took was a quick phone call. However, in a normal case to use specific characters there“s a bunch of rules and contracting involved between the two parties. We didn“t get into much detail about all of that though. After leaving Usagi Yojimbo, I managed to catch a glimpse of (highly stylized fantasy violence watch at your own discretion), who was running around in bright red hair and something of a punk outfit. I did not snap a picture unfortunately. I did get to play Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, which is an arcade beat em up from CAPCOM. There are a surprising number of playable characters in that game. It was fun, if not hectic. I played as the male magic user and the male fighter. The melee fighters can attack enemies that are down on the ground, and everyone can do a downward attack in the air. There are more attacks than one would think. There was an incredibly long line just to play DuckTales, and there was a broadcast of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I don“t know who was playing but the person playing as Vergil, Spencer, and Hawkeye, was insane. Hawkeye wasn“t even used, and he won multiple matches. The t-shirts and other merchandise was fun to see. They tend to be humorous. My favorite thing there was a Chrono Trigger poster. There was stuff from Korra, and even Harry Potter, among other games and TV shows. That ends my PAX East 2013 Adventure. I thank you for reading, and here are more pictures for you to enjoy! "My name is Gato..." The Conduit tablet game A look at the tabletop area She was kind enough not to cast a spell on me Destructoid Head! Cammy and Juri invite a new challenger!
  11. 3 points
    Chances are that if you“re reading this post then you self identify as a “gameré. As gamers, we are happy to announce our adoration for the video game medium and share our interest (or obsession) with others. As a collective whole, we routinely raise massive amounts of money for charities through the likes of Child“s Play, indie bundles, and through donating to marathon game streams. There“s a lot of good that our community does for each other - but that“s not the image is projected to the world. Instead, gamers have been seen as man-children if they are male or just plain weird if they are female. Young gamers of either gender have often been picked on as geeks/dorks/dweebs/nerds or whatever else people saw fit to call those who took an interest in technological entertainment. While that type of bullying isn“t warranted, there are views of the gaming community which are based in some amount of fact. Negative connotations such as gamers being rude, elitist, or downright hateful are certainly not true of everyone, but there are definitely bad seeds who speak loudly enough to make this seem the case. How can we in the gaming community improve our image? Truth be told, it“s a hard mission considering the medium has been around for a few decades now, giving ample time for “outsidersé to formulate opinions. Interestingly, less people are truly considered outside the medium these days given the ample access to gaming media through phones, tablets, and websites. Still, they tend to view “gamersé as something else and, to be fair, gamers tend to have the same view of these “casualé players. Regardless, it may be useful to draw from these similarities to help lessen the bias people have against gamers. Some people seem apt to rush to the conclusion that gamers must be anti-social. But what if you were to turn that perception on its head by speaking out to the enjoyment of social or casual video games? If a non-gamer were to realize their gaming intake also counts as games it might make them wonder. Many who play smartphone or Facebook games may not consider their entertainment as games, but it is definitely game-like. One of the biggest misconceptions of gamers is simply that we are a bunch of weirdos who have no ability to socialize or otherwise have a life. Sure, we may be more excited to spend a free night powering through a game rather than getting drunk, but all in all, it seems like the wiser choice. Is there a way to change this idea in people“s heads without forcing yourself to conform to stereotypical means of celebration? Well, maybe a little. Instead of immediately pulling out a handheld console and playing away during work or school breaks, why not try being social with others? Funnily, you may see that many of the non-gamers are the truly unsocial ones as they immediately focus all attention on smartphones or tablets. By simply extending a very simple social call to another human being you are appearing even more “normalé as they may be embarrassed by their technological dependence. Sure, still enjoy games in public, but let others know you can discuss things other than them too. Speaking about other geeky pursuits such as comics, anime, and certain TV shows might just do the trick considering they're in vogue. What of the idea that gamers are mean-spirited, childish, or downright bigoted? This is one idea that has been spread due to news and social media and far extends the reaches of our community. And in some ways, even us ourselves are probably willing to agree with it. There“s no denying that many voices from within the community spout truly vile things to one another - and for more reason than simple trash talking. While it is not possible to stop some people from being cruel, it is possible to keep them from getting a pedestal from which to spout their vitriol. With most multiplayer video games having mute functions, make sure to mute annoying players (or voice chat entirely, if possible) when non-gaming relatives or friends are around. Truly, even we shouldn“t lend an ear to ridiculous hate speech. Instead of letting players get away with awful things in game try reporting them so they quit that behavior or at least are known to be avoided. As for journalists, make sure to not give a spotlight to these people which could then be carried on to general new sites. There are people out there who embody and confirm the stereotypes that some hold as to gamers and gaming culture. However, many more of us are intelligent individuals who are smart enough to not be completely awful, overindulgent beings. As long as we are a good group of folks then others will eventually come to see us as just another group of passionate fans, just like movie or TV show fans. As gaming furthers growth into new markets it will only help “normalizeé views toward gamers as well.
  12. 3 points
    We all know in videogames the good guys always win. The hero goes on a journey and defeats the villain in the end to save the world or someone. The light always shines through the darkness. Many stories have great moments between the hero and villain and see to what lead to their final battle. We have favorite characters in the game and most of them are the good guys. How about the bad guys? We have our favorite villains in games that stood out a lot and had memorable crazy moments. Now the question is what makes a villain memorable in games? How do they make the story unbelievable? Well there many factors of what makes the most memorable villain in the story like his/her morals, character development, acts, backstory, personality, appearance, power, etc. A great example to talk about is Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI. Not only he was the craziest memorable villain, but he actually succeeds at one point. Possible Spoilers Ahead; Read at Your Own Will Kefka is definitely the most evil Final Fantasy villain besides Sephiroth. His appearance is resembled to the Joker, but in a jester like uniform. His attitude is beyond evil as he is a maniac, psychopath, and very cruel to everyone. He actually has no feelings for society and finds enjoyment in hurting others. Every now and then he would speak jokes that are pretty dark. He would do anything to create chaos with his insane laughter. The actions he does in the game is the most sinister in the series. Before all this he was the Emperor“s right hand man taking orders from him, but later he goes to his own ways of being a villain. Prior to that he was the first person to go into an experiment called Magitek that gave him magical powers, but going through it caused him to become insane. This led to him being very cruel and became a manipulative madman. His actions throughout the game were horrifying. Kefka would poison the castle Doma killing civilians including the royal members. When he was rumored to be a general in the military, there were those who did not like the idea, but eventually took over and poisoned the river causing genocide. He laughed and loved the music of cries when that happened. His highest action is attaining the power of Godhood after destroying the world by stealing powers after eliminating the espers. He took over the world for about a year which is terrifying for a villain. Ever since the main characters were defeated, apocalypse had occurred through the year before the heroes gathered together for the final battle. Of course in the end Kefka was defeated in their second attempt. Kefka was one of those villains who became ultimately unstoppable for his actions and chaos. It was amazing how he was able to rule for a year. These factors are what made Kefka a memorable villain in gaming history and the story of Final Fantasy VI. Villains are usually never successful in heroic stories, but Kefka was a very unique written character of the story. His Joker-like killer attitude is what made him one of the most insane villains in games. I would love to see a villain in other games actually succeed for once to make the story twisted and unbelievable. It“s too cliché to have heroes win all the time and I feel there should be villains like Kefka to succeed at one point and have gamers react and pulled into the villain“s view.
  13. 3 points
    Hello readers, and welcome to the first entry in what I hope will become a series, known as "So I Gotta Know." Basically, I'll pose questions to the game industry that have been bugging me and I just need to know the answer. However, since I'm not actually asking these questions to anyone in particular, I'll have to come up with my own answers, and maybe rant a little bit along the way. This first segment is about how many games these days don't let you stop and sight-see, and instead are constantly pushing you along from objective to objective. His blue isn't going to blur itself, you know. So what's the rush? Back in the era of 2D gaming, it made perfect sense for a game to keep you on the move. I mean, really, if you weren't moving forward, where were you going? Most 2D games didn't allow you to just roam around to your heart's content because that wasn't the point, unless it was an adventure game like The Legend of Zelda or something. So a little flashing arrow with the word "GO!" attached made sense because there was no reason to not keep going, especially because many older games had timers. As developers moved into the third dimension though, it made sense to stop pushing the player along because the developers wanted players to explore and see all the hard work they put into making a large 3D environment. So, for a time, the worst thing that would happen if you stopped moving for a while was that Mario would take a well-deserved nap. Close your eyes and drift off into Subcon. But now that everyone's used to seeing fancy, shiny graphics, developers have had to find other ways to keep your attention, and at some point many of them decided the best way to keep you engaged was to make sure you never stopped doing what they wanted you to do. This was accomplished by having some sort of on-screen indicator pop up every now and then to remind you of where to go or what to do, or, more annoyingly, have a secondary character remind you of what to do. Rather than let you rely on the objectives screen that every game with objectives has, or let you press a button to show your target marker on your own, some developers decided to make sure you always knew your mission. They decided that if you stopped moving towards your objective for more than a few seconds, you must be stuck and needed to be reminded of where to go. These developers might have crafted a large, semi-open world just begging to be explored, but don't expect to deviate from the path unless you have your mute button nearby or just like hearing "I'm over here!" a thousand times in a row. I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE ALREADY Constant on-screen reminders aren't THAT bad, but it's the characters that actually tell you, out loud, to get moving that are awful. One of the worst offenders I've recently played was Front Mission: Evolved. In that game, if you went off to explore and didn't do what the game wanted you to be doing, the other characters wouldn't just tell you what to do, they'd yell you what to do. If I decided to see what was down that other road, or off in that little cranny and I took more than a minute or so, I'd have one of the supporting characters yelling at me to go shoot this thing or go blow up that thing or oh my God there's a bomb that needs to be defused and why are you NOT DEFUSING IT!?!? I'm not sure that last one actually happened, but you get the idea - the game wasn't going to let me explore at my leisure because it wanted me to stay focused on shooting stuff and blowing up stuff, because that's what giant mechs are supposed to do. Sometimes there's some overlap between the two. So here's my theoretical answer: developers that do this don't want you to casually stroll through their game because they don't want you to stumble upon something they did wrong, and instead they want you to see everything (they think) they did right. Either that or the game is supposed to be a fast-paced action game, so they thought you wouldn't have any reason to dawdle and wanted to make sure you didn't find a reason. Maybe the game just doesn't have much to offer, and the devs don't want you to realize it. I honestly can't think of a legitimate-sounding reason why developers chose to make games that pester you along from objective to objective instead of letting you move at your own pace. Whatever the case, when I buy a game, I fully expect to be able to play that game however I desire, not however I'm being told to play it. At that point, it becomes less an entertainment product and more of an annoyance product, and people only pay money for those when they annoy other people. So, that's my first incoherent ramble known as So I Gotta Know. What do you think about developers rushing you through games? Why do you think they do it? Do you even notice or care when a game does it? But maybe you're not in the mood to answer questions, so here's something else - if you have a question about the game industry that's bugging you, ask it! If I find that I've asked the same question, I'll see about writing up a So I Gotta Know about it. If I haven't thought of it, well, that will just give me a reason to go ahead and greenlight my spinoff, So YOU Gotta Know.
  14. 3 points
    I“d like to start this piece off by asking a simple question; what exactly defines the term “indie gameâ€? We hear about it all the time these days, about the successes of small teams making equally small games and their gain in popularity, but what exactly are they? I suppose you could start by defining what “indie†means, because it“s not exclusively tied to the gaming world. We have indie artists, indie movies…the list goes on and on. The word “indie†of course is short for independent, and in the case of creators be it movie directors or game developers, being independent means you have creative freedom, no studio or publisher keeping you on a leash, making sure you “make that guy more evil looking†or “add some more koopas over thereâ€. Thus, indie games often tend to buck the mainstream trends associated with bigger productions. The gaming landscape is dominated by several game publishing giants, all of whom spend a great deal of money making sure they put out the next AAA title. Their goal is after all, to make money, and lots of it. But you really can“t fault them for that, can you? Sure Activision COULD start funding Joe Indie“s new project Super Blasterman, but why would they if they could churn out another Call of Duty and raking in a few more billion dollars? That“s where indie games step in. We“ve always had them, but they“ve really fallen into the spotlight in recent years due largely, if not entirely, to the marvels of digital distribution. 10 years ago it would“ve been impossible for a game with no or limited physical release, and no marketing or advertising, to reach even a few hundred people. But because of digital distribution making the selling and transferring of a game so easy and cheap it is now possible for a single creator to reach thousands if not millions of potential customers. Minecraft is possibly the best example of this, created by one man with a vision to make a game he wanted to play and made available for anyone to purchase, has sold well over a million copies worldwide, and its still being worked on! So what sets indie games apart then? Markus Persson (the creator of Minecraft) himself has stated that he not sure that there“s anything that indie developers can do that the big studios can“t. He refers to Portal as essentially being an indie game in all but name, a unique game that took a risk at being different. The difference being Valve chose to make the game on a small budget, whereas indie developers oftentimes don“t have a choice. However, there is still the fact that Valve is a major (albeit private) company and still lacks the ultimate creative freedom that small team of indie developers has. Another highly successful indie game studio, Thatgamecompany is one of the major players in the rise of the indie game craze of the past few years. They started with flOw a mildly successful title that garnered little attention, then moved on to Flower which was held up as “gaming artâ€, until finally releasing their Magnum Opus; Journey. But Thatgamecompany is but a drip in the giant pool of indie developers that have arisen these last few years. I already mentioned that the ease of digital distribution helped make the indie game craze possible, but there are numerous other reasons as well. While AAA game development costs continue to soar, making simpler games are a much cheaper task. The affordability and access to better hardware and software has allowed even those of lesser means to bring their visions to life. Even funding no longer poses as much of a problem as it once did, thanks to a rise in sites such as Kickstarter which rely on crowdsourcing to fund an otherwise un-fundable idea. Not only that, but smartphone use has seen a spike in usage in roughly the same amount of time as the rise in indie game popularity. Sure, indie games remain a largely PC staple but they are, and have been, branching out to mobile phones as well as other platforms, which also help increase their audiences. Rovio for example, made a simple little game called Angry Birds with a tiny team and tiny budget. That game is now more popular and widely played than most real videogames. Even now, with the dawn of a new generation on the horizon, indie games are looking to stay, and I believe they won“t be going anywhere anytime soon. The decrease in the amount of smaller game titles released each year in favor of a few major hits is being compensated by indie games, and if things continue to go the way they are now we may very well see the line between these smaller game releases and indie games blur and eventually, disappear.
  15. 3 points
    Most levels in games don't take that long to complete. They certainly don't take 3 hours to get through. But I bought Scribblenauts Unlimited last night, and so far I've played it for over 3 hours and I'm still on the first level. Not that I can't finish the level, mind, and, in fact, I have completed it. However, there's quite a few reasons why I'm still on the first level. This is one of them. For the uninitiated, the Scribblenauts series allows players to type in nearly any object and have that object spawn in the game world. Super Scribblenauts added adjectives, broadening the spectrum, and Scribblenauts Unlimited wants to live up to it's name by giving you nearly unlimited freedom. The majority of the time, you're only limited by your imagination. Sure, sometimes the game doesn't recognize what you want, like earlier - I wanted to spawn one of those power saws, but I didn't know what they were called. I typed power saw and the game didn't recognize it, so I typed electric saw, and out popped an electrified hand saw, which admittedly was much cooler. Other times, you end up with things like this: That's a spotted fawn according to the game. I was thinking Bambi, the game was thinking rare skin disorder. The other one is "white spotted fawn" which took the word "white" a smidge too far into monochrome territory. But you know what? I don't care. I'm having an absolute blast seeing what I can come up with, and it's that thirst for pushing the bounds of what the game is capable of that has kept me stuck in the first stage of the game. If you've ever played Garry's Mod, you have an idea of what to expect here - you spawn one thing, then another, then another until you have a mish-mash of things littered about the screen and nothing to do with them. That's when you decide to find ways to make them interactive, which, in Scribblenauts, means adding adjectives. Sure, you can spawn a potato, but why not spawn a sentient green dancing ninja potato instead? I can guarantee those would have taken over the timeslot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a heartbeat. But why stop there? Why not have an electrified zombie horse or a giant decapitated reindeer? No, seriously, decapitated is an accepted adjective. If you were to watch me play a game, you'd soon see that I like to find fun in things that the developers never intended, like trying to climb objects in the game world (and often getting stuck) or luring NPCs into deadly traps. With Scribblenauts, building your own experience is certainly intended and expected, but I think they actually expected people to, you know, play the levels too, and that is something I just can't bring myself to do just yet. Not when I can take on a massive gun-toting tyrannosaurus in an impenetrable mech instead. Illustrated here for effect. Quite simply, Scribblenauts Unlimited is the most fun I've had with a game in a long time since it allows me to just sort of kick back and go wild. But maybe I should go see what the rest of the game has to offer. Maybe I should see what the game hopes I'll think up as a solution to it's puzzles. Maybe I should save Maxwell's sister from being turned to stone. That seems kinda important. ...Or maybe I should go check and make sure they get this brontosaurus out of the tree safely first. Yeah, after that, I'll get into the game. For sure this time. Definitely. Right after this. Oh yeah, he'll be fine. They've got a ladder. But just in case, I'd better summon a few helicopters and a purple flaming tornado.
  16. 3 points
    Talk about the next generation of consoles is heating up and everyone is wondering how the next one will be better than what we have now. While, previously, each new console generation has had improved graphical power over the previous ones, I don“t see this happening with the next generation; instead, I think it will be more focused on how we buy games and how games are made for these consoles. A digital future is almost a certainty, but it is still too early for it to arrive in the next line of consoles. Too many people (me included) lack the internet speeds to download all of their games. With that said, Steam and other services have shown that downloading games is popular enough to be sustainable, so any smart console manufacturers are looking at including a service that allows consumers to download games straight onto their console. We have already seen this being done, but I think next generation will have a more complete library on offer and maybe even better pricing (we can dream right?) Speaking of pricing, that is another thing that has to change. Consumers always want something for as cheap as their conscience allows, and, even though the pricing of games has gone down recently, it still isn“t a cheap hobby. In countries like Australia and New Zealand games cost between $80-90 USD and, there are, of course, plenty of other countries who get shafted on game pricing. While I can understand the price differences in physical stores, where you have to send games to these countries, it is the price differences in online stores that I don“t understand; you aren“t paying extra to send games to other countries and you don“t have to print or package your games, so shouldn“t everyone be paying less for them? There are two main reasons I can think of: Customers are used to paying however much for their games and will pay the same amount online without too much fuss, the other reason is that publishers probably want to avoid upsetting brick and mortar stores too much considering that is where they sell most of their games. In fact, why don“t we look at how much a game should cost? With gamers expecting more bang for their buck, developers are having to make their games look a million dollars, and that costs, well, a lot. There has been a rise in lower-cost gaming on the PC and mobile markets and, while these smaller games aren“t exactly taking over the console space at the moment, with things like OUYA, I can see other console manufacturers increasing their services like PSN and XBLA to embrace even more indie games in the future. Of course, one of the biggest problems facing these smaller developers is getting noticed, since there isn“t really an easy way to find all these indie games except word-of-mouth, and that isn“t the most reliable method. If the next generation of consoles really wants to support indie developers, then it needs to help them out and make it easier for them to get noticed. If no one decides to write an article about you and none of the console manufactures promote your work, then it is incredibly easy to fall into the pit of obscurity, and that is not a fun place to be. Now, because I“m weird like that, I want to find more great games to play, and I think if the next line of consoles has a better method of showing off all the great games you can purchase on its store, then a lot more talented developers can get the recognition they deserve. Oh, and more money. Alright, team, let“s huddle together and think about how the next generation could help us all play as a big group. Multiplayer has come a long way in a short amount of time, but, being the ambitious guy that I am, I think it can go even further. I don“t want to name names, but I think, if a certain company were to stop charging for the privilege of playing online, then I would be pretty happy. But this mystery company“s idea to provide headsets with their consoles is something I like (you guys all know how much I love to talk), and I would like to see a similar thing happen with more of the next line of consoles. Another thing I want to see happen to all the future consoles is some way to stop all this abuse that happens online. Yes, that is a pipe dream. Stopping people from hating other people would take a lot of work and bullets. What I want is a better way to get these people off of multiplayer. They can go be abusive to the AI in campaign mode, but allowing these kinds of people onto multiplayer is keeping a lot of other, well-adjusted people off of the online space. This could be done with just a more effective reporting system, or having to make everyone sit down to an interview before being allowed to play online. As a master of segues I think we should start talking about motion controls. While I am not the biggest fan of motion controllers (at the moment none of them seem to work better than an old fashioned controller), I could see companies making big improvements in the technology, to the point where they do start to become intuitive and don“t cause your avatars leg to twist around itself whenever you want to see what the bottom of your shoe looks like. What motion controls need is to get away from this all-or-nothing mentality. Having to choose between sitting in my chair with my controller or standing up breaking half my furniture just to throw a grenade is stupid. Give us the best of both worlds, with being able to add extra actions in by using gestures or voice commands. Instead of replacing the things we can do with a controller, why don“t you add to the things we can do with motion controllers? Enough about the hypothetical, why don“t we start talking about something we know is coming. The OUYA is an interesting beast to talk about, since it isn“t trying to compete with the other consoles. Instead, it is trying to do its own thing and, whether or not it will succeed in that is up for debate, it is still interesting to talk about. Now, for those who don“t know the OUYA is a console that aims to bring the open market you see elsewhere to the console sphere. I am a little uneasy about putting money toward something that could easily not work, but it seems plenty of people have faith in it (or at least a lot of money on hand), and the OUYAs kickstarter raised a crisp $8,580,682. While there have been a lot of skeptical articles flying around, it would seem the general public is fully behind it. That means it will probably get the support it needs from developers, and it would seem quite a few of developers are already getting behind the OUYA. I don“t think it will offer much competition to the bigger consoles out there, but I do think it will give smaller developers a chance to shine in the console market, and also help shake up the gaming world a little. The other console that we can talk about is the Wii U and, unlike the OUYA, it seems Nintendo is looking to take the fight to Sony and Microsoft with their console. With the Wii U set to be more powerful than the current generation (pretty weird to have to say that a next generation console will be more powerful than the current generation, but then again the Wii exists), Nintendo definitely want to compete graphically with Sony and Microsoft. The interesting thing that Wii U brings to the table is that it has a screen in its controller. This works with the DS and 3DS, but I wonder how well it will work when the two screens are further apart. I personally rest the controller on my lap, and I“m not sure I would like to have to hold a controller up so I can look between the two screens quickly. I am obviously not a game developer and can only think of vague uses for the second screen, so I will have to wait until it launches to see if anyone aside from Nintendo can make good use of the second screen. The good news is that we have already seen some interesting things shown off. Apart from the issue of whether or not developers do much with the second screen, there is the issue of its timing. The next generation of consoles is coming soon, but I think the Wii U will be on its own until Sony and Microsoft bring their own offerings to market, and that could either be a strength or a big weakness. The Wii U will be around during two generations and, unless the other consoles are just sitting around the corner, the Wii U might be stuck in the middle, meaning that it fails to keep up with the other next generation consoles. Considering how long this generation has lasted, having trouble keeping up in the beginning could lead to big trouble later on. There are some advantages to launching early however. If the next consoles are close to being unveiled, then with the Wii U being early could mean that it has a stronger library and more time to work out the kinks by the time the other consoles show up. That would mean people are more likely to get or stick with a Wii U instead of getting something new when it is still trying to prove itself. While it is hard to predict what will happen, it will be interesting to see how the Wii U does. It is always an exciting time when a new console generation is near and everyone is talking about what they want to happen. Of course all these possibilities are up to the manufacturers to make come true and I hope they don“t disappoint. Now I could talk about the next generation of consoles until they actually come out, but I think it I have said enough. Now it“s up to you to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below.
  17. 3 points
    I apologize for the late entry, as life as been a bit more crazy than usual. You will get two entries this October. So without further ado… Contra, Battletoads & Double Dragon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a bunch of other games from the past had lots of people try something: Cheat codes. Cheat codes are not as widely used anymore. Games used to be filled with those kinds of things. Now these are either given to you as: unlockable cheats, (which is fine), a glitch (which isn“t really a cheat code), or through a cheat device (which is something else entirely). When I talk about a cheat code, I mean inputting a sequence at the title screen, an options screen, or when you pause the game. The greatest code of all time. So why is it that cheat codes aren“t used anymore? Many cheats are now unlockable, so you earn the cheats from doing some kind of in game task. You may have to do some ridiculous side quest, but it“s not something completely hidden from you. You know the cheat exist. There“s also the side effect of the age of online gaming. I understand that with playing online, using cheat codes could mean playing against someone with unlimited health, maximum power-ups, or unlimited ammo. Being able to use those codes whenever you please could certainly make the online gameplay ridiculously cheap. We also have to deal with the advent of achievements and trophies. People cheating in order to "earn" achievements and trophies would mean that you end up playing the game in the way that companies don't want you to play the game. The last game I played that used cheat codes to some high degree was Scott Pilgrim. In that game, you actually unlocked new games modes by inputting a sequence at the title screen. However, I also have to give Scott Pilgrim a pass, because it harkens back to the 8 and 16 bit days of gaming, when those button sequence cheats were popular. In today's way of gaming, cheats could open the floodgates for not playing the game in a way the companies would like the game to be played. But this is in regards to console gaming. There's a different scene when it comes to the PC market. The PC market has had mods grow in number. People get into the game“s code and modify the game itself for their own needs. That dark and gritty game can be brought to life with bright pastels while you gun down your enemies. Or maybe you just want to give your favorite character a . He joined Street Fighter? It turns out that cheat codes have gone away due to the evolution of coding. Coding has become more complex, and with those complexities, means less room for messy code. Reddit user ZorbaTHut commented on a different story: “Cheats were originally introduced as a debugging mechanism. You used them to test the game. Removing them was potentially a bit difficult - old games had a lot of interconnections, and removing the cheats could actually introduce bugs - as well as irrelevant. But the games back then were simple enough that you only needed half a dozen simple cheats in order to test everything, so this worked out great.…Adding a "skip this level" cheat could be equivalent to adding a "make the game unplayable" cheat.†Even though cheat codes are around, they don“t give off the same feeling as before. That password just means you don“t spend money on a power up now, or you get an item you just didn“t feel like searching for. The closest thing we have to traditional cheat codes now are glitches, and while those are fun, but they run the risk of messing up your game. Those fun cheats where you You can read the rest of the Reddit conversation here.
  18. 3 points
    With the recent news of the The World Ends with You going to iOS (http://www.gamepodun...-a-sequel-r1213) I got to thinking. That game was incredible. It's the best use of the DS so far. It really might lose a lot going to the iOS. In fact, the DS... Then I realized that the DS may be the best system... ever. Not since the days of SNES vs Genesis has this position been coveted, but still - the DS has it all. So here's a guide. If you want to play a great game from pretty much any genre, the DS has you covered. And they're mostly dirt-cheap now, so you can hit up Amazon anytime you'd like something amazing for under $20. The DS has... the Best RPGs Chrono Trigger DS - the definitive edition of the best RPG of all time. Sure, some (including myself) prefer the old translation, and the added DS features aren't great, but they can't subtract from the core game which is, still, nearly perfect. The World Ends With You - an amazing action RPG that can't be done (correctly) anywhere else. A plot remniscient of the most mind-being anime, fashion, and all the anime that you can handle, with the most-fun battle system of the last ten years. Honestly, it's nearly perfect... especially if you play the omake chapter. Buy this game. Final Fantasy VI (GBA) - it's a GBA game, but it's the best Final Fantasy. If you want to play the best RPG traditional RPG ever, here's your chance. The DS has... the Best Rhythm Games Elite Beat Agents - even Nintendo Power gave this the rating of best DS game ever, and for a good reason. It's probably the best pure rhythm game ever - not the best party game, no, but the best game against doing things to a beat. You'll laugh, you'll dance, you'll cry. Bonus points for its prequel and sequel which didn't make it to the States. The DS has... the best adventure games. Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney (1-3) - the best adventure games released in the last ten years bring back what was fun about the genre - using tools to your advantage against a wacky cast of characters. The Phoenix Wright Trauma Center (1 and 2) - is this an adventure game? I don't know what to call it, really, but it's a blast to play. Sharp reflexes and an interesting-enough storyline amount to a great weekend of playtime. There's a Wii version, too, but it's not as fun. The DS has... the best action games. Mega Man Zero Collection - it's the best shape you've seen Megaman in ages, and Megaman isn't even playable. It's four games for the price of one, and each of them represent the peak of 2D platforming. Alright, fine, there was some hyperbole there. It doesn't have the best racing game (that's Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube), the best party game (Rock Band), or the best hummingbird-based shooter (that's the 32X). Still, it's a mighty fine system... if nothing else, I hope I've showed you some games you've missed. Can you think of any system better deserving of best platform than the DS?
  19. 3 points
    I“d like for you try an experiment: Grab a few games and read the back of the box. If you have a larger collection, feel free to vary the genre and generation of games. Now try the same thing with movies. Notice how pretty much all the movies explain the story of the movie, while it“s not the same with the games. Here“s my list of the games I chose: Not telling story: Mario galaxy 2 - Wii – platformer Mario and Luigi super star saga - GBA – RPG Tekken 5- PS2 - battle DBZ Budokai 3 – PS2 – battle Jak X – PS2 – racing Assassin“s Creed – PS3 – action/stealth Chrono Cross – PS1 - RPG Telling story: No More Heroes - Wii – action Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One – PS3 - platformer Viewtiful Joe – PS2 – action/beat-em-up Viewtiful Joe 2 – PS2 – action/beat-em-up Sonic 2 – Genesis - platformer Golden sun: lost age - GBA - RPG While we do live in the Internet age, and can look up practically anything game stories included), many games surprisingly feature almost nothing about the story of the game on the back of the box. Many games are all about the features. It doesn“t take much to explain the story, just a short blurb will do. A couple sentences explaining why you are playing as so-and-so, and then all of the fancy, eye-grabbing stuff can be in the smaller pictures. Now depending on the kind of game you get can detail how things are played in the advertising field. Surprisingly, half of the games I chose have nothing to say about their respective stories. The strongest case probably goes to “Mario and Luigi Superstar Sagaâ€, and “Chrono Cross†mainly because they are RPGs, which is the most story-based genre out there. If I pick up a game I haven“t heard of, or have forgotten about, I would like to know what I“m getting into by looking at the package somehow, much like how movies and books try and grab their audience. However, a video game“s interactive nature lets it pick a direction. Mario and Luigi are off to the Beanbean Kingdom! But why? Games with simpler stories, such as the “Mario†games can get away with a non descriptive story, because the story is usually just that simple; Princess Peach has been kidnapped, and it“s up to Mario to save her. That“s pretty much it. Everyone looks forward to the new levels and the new features. “Mario†also has the fact that he is a franchise and not a new series. No one expects something overly complicated when it comes to “Marioâ€, so when all the new features are on the back of the box, it“s understandable. Battle games and racing games fall in the same mold, because the mechanics and features is what everyone looks forward to, especially if the game is a long running franchise. Even if the game is new, the audience will want to know what the new game is doing that the others are not. What does “Guilty Gear†do that “Street Fighter†doesn“t? Right there near the bottom of the case My point is that much like books and movies, you can figure out what the basic plot of the book or movie is by picking up the package. Interestingly, video games don“t necessarily have to follow that rule. While I was irked that “Assassin“s Creed†mentions nothing about Desmond Miles (Desmond Miles is left to the instruction manual), it“s not necessarily a bad point. A little surprise never hurt anyone.
  20. 2 points
    Developer: Michael Todd Games Publisher: Michael Todd Games Platform: PC Release Date: August 7th, 2013 Having my ears blasted by intense electronic music and the occasional......uh......moan(?) is not what I would call an ideal setup for a first impressions of a game. Adding in some flashing rainbow colors might worsen my experience just a bit. However, upon playing the game that utilizes these three very unique elements, Electronic Super Joy, I can certainly say that it kinda grows on you after a while. ESJ (as I shall call it) is a strange and challenging platformer created by a guy named Michael Todd. Nice job MT, you just secured ESJ into the OPHWG (Official Pixel Hall of Weird Games). Now that's a lot of abbreviations! Anyway, on to the game. There's no end to the pumping electronic music and the flashy visuals, but luckily you can alter the moans to a more "PG" option. Definitely a great added touch right before release (the game was in Early Access for a bit). Well, I should quit babbling about the small stuff and get on to the actual game! There's 4 worlds in it, each with generally ~15-20 levels besides the last world, which only has 5 levels I believe. I managed to get to the boss of world 2 and could barely manage to get very far in the level at all after my time playing. However, I got stuck multiple times like this and after going back and trying something new or honing my reflexes almost always I could pass the levels in a try or two. So thankfully, the game isn't too hard for inexperienced platformer players! Every level is very possible to beat once you understand the weird tricks the level design is trying to throw at you. Now, this leads to the inevitable question- is ESJ really as hard as it claims to be? Well......to be frank, I'd have to say no. There's a few levels that will challenge inexperienced gamers, but for the most part I would say anyone can progress far in this game with some patience. Each level can be cleared just by carefully timing jumps, stomps, and horizontal movement of your character (who by the way, is some guy who lost his butt via the despicable Groove-Wizard, that is literally the plot). With so few levels, you may think this game is nowhere near the price, but considering that you can try and get the hidden star on each level, speedrun them, or unlock some difficult achievements may lessen the price tag. If the game ever goes 50% or more off though, this would be an instant buy if you like platformers! One thing that did manage to keep me entertained was the simple, immature humor this game throws at the player. Things in even the description are kinda funny, such as: "The Evil Groove-Wizard rules the world with an iron fist. Captain Lewis, of the 43rd Queen's Disco Troop, has vowed to resist his tyrannical rule! ...And he stole Little Anni McGee's teddy bear! Can you defeat the Groove-Wizard and end his Tyranny? Can you be a hero?" There's also another instance involving the Pope......that I won't speak of. Overall, I'd say I was fairly pleased with ESJ. It provides some great tunes and colorful visuals while very gently tearing your hair out over the moderate difficulty. It's a nice blend, and if you enjoy platformers this is certainly a game you should consider! I give this game a: 7.5/10 Also, you can win a copy of the game (on Steam of course)! Simply comment below telling me what your ideal technical combo (graphics+music) in terms of style would be for a game! An example would be: "Hardcore Rock music with cutesy graphics" I'll be closing this and choosing my favorite combo as the winner this Friday, August 30th, 2013! So get your entry in! Good luck!
  21. 2 points
    Developer: Pocketwatch Games Publisher: Pocketwatch Games Platform: PC Release Date: April 24th, 2013 Sometimes, games and game developers specifically just go and do whatever they want. Instead of making the usual multiplayer shooter or the equally popular singleplayer RPG, Pocketwatch Games decided to try the unusual and make a co-op game about heists. It's meant for co-op, designed for co-op, no, DESTINED to be played in co-op! Does it actually hold up to the huge standards for co-op games left by such classics like Left 4 Dead or the mod "Sven Co-op" for the original Half-Life? To start off, I'll say that Monaco is odd- but odd in the good way though! The graphics are uncoventionally retro and "simple", the music is classy and not head-banging at all like today's tunes, and even little things like the dialogue and lighting in levels is done to perfection while other areas of the game, such as the plot, are kept basic. I've often thought about why this might've been done. Is it to even further bolster the uniqueness level of the game? Or, perhaps Pocketwatch Games (which is a name I love, I might add) just likes to focus on the little things in games! The two questions asked above can't really be answered in full- which is why I love this game! This isn't your traditional co-op experience, and I think the game completely embraces that. Other games meant to be played together with friends instead of against them often just let you play through the game together like the singleplayer campaign or try the "horde mode" path. Creativity is the essence of a non-bland, fun time, and Monaco captures that perfectly. Teamwork is key in Monaco, but surprisingly it's actually fine to play by yourself. It's a bit different than sneaking around, telling one friend to go collect the extra gold at the end of the map while you go take out a guard and another friend watches your back. Instead, you are all alone in the war on those who have gold. This just makes the game both harder and easier though! Having poor teamwork can quickly get your whole team led to doom in the later levels, so being on your own is actually still equally sneaky and intense. Speaking of intense, this game really loves to pressure you when the heist goes awry! The music tenses up, exclamation points pop up above the guards' heads, totally not like the Metal Gear Solid games, and your team of elite heist wannabes must flee to safety. In fact, death is pretty common in this game it seems. However, defeat isn't punishing in Monaco- in fact I'd say that it encourages the player to keep at it and try a different plan of attack for the mission. The aracade-sy feel of Monaco comes is just fantastic. Collecting coins makes you get a better time at the end of the level which is a great incentive to collect them all, and to even use your gadgets you need to collect coins. That in itself is an awesome idea that should be used more in retro games such as this! In addition to that, the graphics are crisp and pixelized, and while the music is more modern-sounding I think Austin Wintory (yes, the guy who did Journey's music!) still did a lovely job with it, keeping to the frantic old-timey arcade feel of the game. Probably the one thing I was concerned about when looking at the game at first was how long or how varied the gameplay would be. Luckily, the game is pretty long, as I'm about 40% through I'd estimate and I'm 3 hours in. That sets you at about an 8-10 hour game I'd guess, given the game gets harder as the levels go on so you'd keep at each one longer. Each level is fairly different too, and there's even a bonus level at the end that I had spoiled for me but I won't for you- just know that it is awesome! Unfortunately....the amount of tools isn't quite as big as I'd like it to be, but this is a small complaint really. While I wouldn't go as far as to call it "the best co-op game of all time", Monaco succeeds heavily on what it tries to do. For $15, you could certainly do better, yes. If you're looking for a nice, fun time with some friends though, Monaco is a great choice for a Friday night session of playing robbers. Remember- What's Yours....Is Mine! *insert obligatory game subtitle reference here* I give this game a: 8.5/10
  22. 2 points
    Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Platform: PS3 Release Date: March 12, 2013 ESRB: M for Mature My roommate let me play his copy of the game for this review The God of War series is a very good franchise for Sony and their games have been amazing filled with many epic battles, moments, characters, etc. In this game we learned about Krato's story that leads up to the events of the first God of War game. Before he was a god, he was a man. Like previous games, the game opens up with an epic boss battle, but it was somewhat not better than the others. The opening battle starts with the one of the demonic sisters Megaera of the Furies imprisoning Kratos and escape with QTE battle event. After doing this, you go through chasing her and eventually come across the giant mythological creature which is the size of most colossal monsters in past games. This one wasn“t the best out of the previous titles; bit was still fun going through chaos fighting against it to start the game in a fun way. The combat system was actually very easy to manage throughout the game. Upgrades for weapons and magic were never a problem and it was easy to max out by the end of the game. Pulling off combos with the weapons was pretty basic with a few more button mashing. Various weapons are received as well from Blades of Chaos which is the first weapon to start off with to nice upgrades like different elemental weapons such as the Fire of Ares, Ice of Poseidon, Lightning of Zeus, and finally the Soul of Hades. Each of these weapons also has some rewards using them to defeat enemies. For example Zeus“s weapon, you receive blue orbs to restore some magic and Hades give you green for health. Others can give you red orbs for experience for upgrading and such. The more you upgrade the more combination attacks you“ll unlock so they are helpful. Aside from the main weapons, there are secondary weapons that can be used from javelins, swords, and shields. These are very useful to help out against enemies while using your main weapons. They can be good for short and long ranged attacks. After the weapons we look into the magic ability. To unlock the magic ability you have to upgrade the weapons a bit because each main weapon you have has a magic ability that is used like a special attack move or a god like power from that god“s weapon. For example Zeus“s weapon can charge a magical electric attack that shocks all enemies near you. The others you will have to find out more when you play it. I loved using them as it helps a lot for tougher crowds of enemies. Always use them wisely as you can“t just spam them. It“s best to use it only for serious crucial moments and the magic is limited unless you fully upgrade. Like previous games the rage ability is included which is activated by attacking enemies to fill up the gauge. The difference between this one and the previous is that for this ability, when you get attacked or hit, the gauge resets and the rage ability is no more when activated or building up. It is a pain to fill up the gauge without attacking so it made the game a little frustrating when facing a horde of enemies. Navigating through puzzles to get to the next area features amulets that Kratos picks up later in the game. Those key items can control structures to decay or rebuild a piece of the area to move onto the next place and/or unlock hidden areas to find key upgrade items for health and magic. You can even use the abilities against enemies from attacking you or delay them a bit for your next move. After the beginning of the game and battling the giant creature the game goes back to the past three weeks to what lead up to the beginning of the game. Throughout the journey, Kratos encountered areas leading up to the best parts in the Statue of Apollo late in the game. The game is actually quite easy for the most part. Checkpoints save the game in the right moments and the treasure chests of health and magic have enough scattered throughout the levels. I usually go to every place to look around for stuff before moving on. The enemies can be challenging to beat, but they“re not that hard to beat when you have to use your weapons and use your abilities. Strategizing helps and figuring out style you feel suits your playing to beat the enemies. Although there was one part in the game that got me frustrated and angry that took a while to get past. I know a lot of people will know about this since I“ve heard the same things from other gamers. At one point in the game there is a part called the Trials of Archimedes which is a little event to go through waves of enemies to get to the next area. At this point Kratos should have a good enough upgraded health and magic because this was a pain. This trial was the most difficult part of the game for me since it took me a while to beat. The bad thing about it is that there are no checkpoints in the waves and you have to beat all of the waves with the health and magic you have. It took me many tries and finally getting past it with the strategy I used. The part will be a pain when you get to it so try to use many different strategies and find the right one to get past it. It was quite the challenge indeed. Overall the story isn“t epic as the previous, but it“s still an interesting tale to listen to. We pretty much know what Kratos will be doing and the events prior so I felt that this prequel was not really needed. The narrative is mediocre at best, but not that bad. Most of the enemies weren“t that tough, but they seem to be easy to defeat. My thoughts on the villains for this game are that they didn“t really deliver much since the Furies are not as big as Zeus and the other Gods. This entire game felt like a warm up. Either way this game was a lot of fun because it is God of War and good entry for the fans. A new idea in this game is the multiplayer. It“s a brand new addition to the series that has everyone pit against each other with god-like powers. The mode starts off with your character actually appearing from the single player story during a scene near the beginning of the campaign. When you are introduced, you go through obvious learning the controls. There are four different Gods with Ares, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon that you can team up with and each of them have unique style of combat with different abilities. There are 4 modes in the multiplayer which are “Favor of the Gods†which is two teams going against each other earning points by capturing bases, opening chests, killing your opponents, and getting key items, “Match of Champions†which is a death match free for all to decide who“s the champion at the end of the match, “Trial of the Gods†a mode for single player or co-op time trial mode where you are pit against waves of enemies followed by a boss battle, and finally “Capture the Flag†which of course the Spartans and Trojans compete against each other by stealing the opposing team“s flag and return to their base to capture it for points. Overall the multiplayer can be fun, but at times you need to master many techniques to be good. I personally do a terrible job playing the multiplayer. It has moments that can have a fun experience and earning rewards for upgrades and skills is great for your character customization. The experienced points are gained on how you finished the match like the first place gets the highest and less for the lowest. It“s a good attempt to add the multiplayer to the series, but honestly it“s not really needed and felt that the God of War experience is good for campaigns and single player adventure. PROS +Presentation of the Game +Combat system is fun and easy + Epic Finale CONS - Multiplayer is a hit and miss - Story not as epic as the previous FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10 Closing Comments I felt the game overall isn't the best out of the previous, but it is still fun. Really enjoyed the combat system and it was very easy to manage. Multiplayer is somewhat good and fun at times. I recommend playing the game if you're a God of War fan and enjoy the series. I wouldn't recommend buying it at full price. I would probably say pick it up around $15 or less. It's an easy game that can be beaten in in 10 hours or less.
  23. 2 points
    Indie games have had a very long history. The first games, created without consumeristic intent, were made by only a few people with access to massive computers at a few colleges. As time went on, and games became something valuable, we saw more independent developers creating new content. As the PC made its way into homes, tiny teams did their best to sell their games free of publishers. Many of these titles were only known in the surrounding city of their creation. In the 90s, websites became a near necessity for anyone who felt they were tech savvy. Many individuals who were making games on their own or in small groups set up sites for them. During this time period, more became aware of “indie gamesé but certainly not the complete library of them being uploaded to the web. Many of these games have since been lost to time thanks to many free web hosts closing their doors. It is only now in the current era that we have seen indie games really rise in popularity. Minecraft, developed by Mojang, managed to hit it big and become popular with adults, children, and teens who may have never before played an indie game. Similarly, Journey managed to surprise many PSN users who had previously ignored Flow or Flower which were thatgamecompany“s first two titles. Unlike Minecraft however, their title is one which would probably never hook the bro gamer demographic. With indie games now seeing wide popularity thanks to digital distribution, we may be entering a whole new era. This next generation could be one where indie games are backed by publisher press and attention. Although not all games have attained critical success, gamers certainly now are beginning to feel okay with indie titles as a whole. Polished and entertaining indie games have proven that you don“t need to have seasoned developers or bags of money to make something worth playing. The way I see it, indie gaming could follow two distinct paths at this point. They may mostly enjoy flourishing as they did thanks to Steam, XBLA, and PSN, but otherwise not attempt to push for more interest. Or, there may be more teams like thatgamecompany who feel they are good enough to break free of the publishers who had helped them attain popularity as a means to further their own success. I use thatgamecompany as an example as they are the model which others may follow. This team had lived under Sony“s domain as they could not possibly fund and subsist off their games themselves. The team is certainly full of bright, creative individuals, but would have went bankrupt creating Journey if Sony hadn“t been there for them as part of a three game exclusive deal. Of course, we now see that the game has been a massive success. Because of it, they were able to move out from under Sony“s wing and have since made their development studio one which they shall self publish from. Hubris, whether warranted or not, is something multiple indie developers may struggle with after making a popular game. Although some have only ever self published, the success of doing well may keep teams pursuing the 100% “indieé label; one where the developer has no publisher. So far, it seems thatgamecompany plans to stay solo because they now have the funding to do so. However, in creating the games they truly want to make, they may eventually find that the money is not there. Thanks to the now inbuilt fan audience (mostly created with Journey) their fans will probably follow the next game. But what happens if it is not the experience fans expect? They may once again retreat to other games they feel are safer bets rather than the overly ambitious indie team. At that point, it seems we may see multiple indie teams who have seen success take hits due to lack of market attention. The indie marketplace is already heavily saturated with titles and more are added every week thanks to Steam Greenlight and similar initiatives. It takes a lot to get a gamer“s attention these days, and word of mouth is the most useful form for them. Triple A games never have to worry about this since their publishers designate millions of dollars to be spent on advertising; something which no indie team will ever have much of. And word of mouth, no matter how great, seems to lately revolve around the echo chamber that is Twitter. Games that are popular within your clique on Twitter will for the most part remain within that circle. Therefore, I predict one future of independent games is where the currently successful developers stay solo and attempt to create even vaster, more expensive experiences. However, they may see their fanbase falter and make far less than intended, which then forces them into restrictive relationships with publishers (if not destroy entire companies outright). This is hardly what they desire, and as it squelches out full artistic freedom, is not what gamers will want either. The other path is a much less dramatic one where indie games continue a steady increase in popularity, but do not try to do too much too quickly. Indie games will maintain a hold over Steam, XBLA, and PSN and net new followers. Although it may not be the most profitable method, it is also one with less chance for completely destroying the company. There are still many out there who have yet to experience many or any indie games, and at some point they will if they keep being shown shown such titles on digital storefronts. No matter what happens, there will always be indie games. They basically were gaming“s inception and have persisted alongside each generation. Even if once highly popular indie teams “sell outé or go bankrupt, there will be more to take their place. As long as indie games are being created, new developers were be inspired. From there, the cycle of inspiration and creation of independent titles will be able to live on through future generations.
  24. 2 points
    Look Commander Shepard is pretty solid, but if I was Shepard then the first thing I would do is grow a bitching mustache and then I would I would do the classic Kiwi thing and take one look at the fate of the galaxy and just go "She'll be right". I would probably then proceed to drink heavily for the next few weeks and then die in the Reaper invasion. But let's work under the assumption that I go along with this "saving the galaxy business" and ask myself, what would I do differently? For starters I would use my classic Kiwi know-how and my trusty piece of number 8 wire to tinker with that Mako so it doesn't fly off into space whenever you bump against some flat ground. I would also realize the seriousness of the situation and not run around helping people find their lost toilet paper or whatever I spent all that time doing, while letting Saren waste time summoning the Reapers. This blog might contain racial stereotypes you don't know about, sorry. Another thing I wouldn't do is die, seriously what were you thinking non-Kiwi Shepard? Actually dying worked out pretty well for non-Kiwi Shepard so I might do that too... Anyway after dying and coming back to life I would just abandon Cerberus right off. A strong, independent Kiwi man let's nobody tell him what to do, also Cerberus isn't exactly a trustworthy name. I would then skip all that messing about and run right up to that Omega 4 relay and bust out my good friend the number 8 wire and make that thing send me all the way to the collector base. Of course I would have had plenty of experience being a rugby captain for the All Blacks and would be able to get everyone out alive with my amazing leadership abilities. And after all that I wouldn't bother blowing up that Mass Relay to delay the Reapers, I would just head right out there to meet the Reapers, offense is the best defense right? I would then proceed to make the Crucible out of my last piece of number 8 wire and use it to destroy all the Reapers so I could go home and watch the game in time, with a nice cold beer. He looks like someone I would trust the galaxy with So what about the romantic options? Well as your typical unemotional, kiwi bloke I wouldn't exactly be wooing those aliens, but I would have that rugged, manly man allure that no one can resist. I would of course refer to whoever I ended up with as a Sheila and get her to keep the fridge well stocked with beer. We would do romantic activities such as: watching the races, watching the cricket, watching the rugby and then we would go out back and fix up that fence that has been on a lean all week. Of course all this would garner me some media attention, but I would remember about Tall Poppy Syndrome and just pass it off as a "no biggie, it was a real team effort and I am just proud of the boys who really delivered out on the field today". It would also later be revealed that I did the entire thing with a broken arm. The only flaw in this plan is that I doubt I would still be alive in 2183, which would hinder my ability to take the place of Commander Shepard, but the important thing is that I just wrote a really bad fanfic about Commander Shepard basically being Colin Meads.
  25. 2 points
    DISCLAIMER: As I wrote this review, I found it difficult to put into words the emotions I felt from playing Spec Ops: The Line. As such, prepare for a lot of anecdotal discussions and open-ended questions. While this may be a review, it's a broader introspective evaluation on the modern shooter and the player's role in said genre. Prepared? Then read on. Developer: Yager Studios Publisher: 2K Games Release Date: June 26, 2012 (out now) Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the PC version of Spec Ops: The Line. "War is hell," said General William Tecumseh Sherman. It's a quote that modern shooters often toss about, but one which no video game has ever embraced the meaning of. Most developers glorify tearing hands, feet, and other limbs off of generic enemy soldiers with as much gore as humanly possible. Through the glorification of war in gaming, the meaning of life is cheapened with half a magazine of 5.56 ammo. In these war games, there are only heroes and villains, with the most morally-grey aspects of war reduced to cheap marketing tactics like Call of Duty's "No Russian" mission. Spec Ops: The Line has taken all of these tropes of the modern shooter and thrown them in my face with disturbing clarity. After playing, nay experiencing, Spec Ops, I may never play a shooter with the same mindless power fantasies ever again. The premise behind Yager's cover-based third-person shooter is almost mind-boggling simple and generic. A US Army commander by the name of Colonel John Konrad has led the Damned 33rd Infantry Battalion into Dubai to evacuate the populace from history's largest sandstorm. Players, taking the role of Captain Martin Walker, are to investigate Konrad's whereabouts and, if necessary, save the Colonel and his men. Spec Ops even leads you to believe that this generic premise is indicative of the entire experience with the opening helicopter pursuit sequence. The sense of deja vu is undeniable; I've been here, shot helicopters down with a mi***un, and done this turret sequence so many times before. Once you get to the ground, however, Spec Ops mutates into one of this generation's most morally, mentally, and emotionally taxing shooters. At the games conclusion, I was left battered and bewildered by everything I had seen. The conclusion only serves to make the games unsettling events that much more horrific. As much as it may have impacted me, Spec Ops is first and foremost a game, so is it any fun to play? To say Spec Ops is fun belies the game's contradictory, complicated nature. At every point during the campaign, I felt the juxtaposition of a shooter framework with a strong anti-war sentiment. In everything from the shooting to the graphic dialogue and horrific war crimes committed, I felt uncomfortable. Yager clearly intended this game to disturb and unsettle. Enjoyment and fun are not the words I would use to describe my experience with Spec Ops. I would describe my five-hour trip through hell as uncensored and raw, striking nerves the whole way through. Whether I was gunning down rogue American soldiers or deciding the fate of a CIA agent and a group of civilians, Spec Ops made it tough for me to want to continue playing. But I had to see it through. I had to see what shade of monster Walker was becoming. While all of this may sound like I'm rambling, these thoughts are the predominant reason for my constant pursuit of Konrad and the truth. I had a hard time stomaching the thought of killing civilians and murdering countless US soldiers. While this may sound trite in lieu of "No Russian", believe me when I say the dead will haunt you throughout the campaign...and perhaps beyond. For every enemy you kill, you constantly ask yourself why you're shooting dozens of people. In all the chaos, Walker can only defend himself with ***ue notions of wanting to be the hero, of trying to be Dubai's savior. But what of us players? Why are we massacring virtual meatbags that scream for mercy, drag themselves on the ground missing limbs, meatbags that have casual conversations about sharing gum? Are we truly the desensitized monsters that men like Konrad have become? I wish I knew the answer. By the time the credits roll, you'll wonder yourself whether Konrad was ever the true antagonist. No matter what choices you make, Walker still becomes a sa***e, ruthless killer. If you've seen Apocalypse Now, you understand just how insane war is. That madness is not lost on Walker or the two men he fights alongside with, Lugo and Adams. All three men experience the conflict differently, and all three will change from the people they began as. Does Spec Ops change the player as well? In these reflective moments, the jarring reality that this is just a game readily becomes apparent. There is a constant barrage of achievements that applaud me for the decisions I did or didn't make. While it may not bother some, I felt like it broke the immersion when a pop-up announced I had 'crossed a line' or 'aimed high' on targets. Isn't this game supposed to be more than just a game? In some ways, being a shooter has ensured the full impact of Spec Ops will never be realized. Since we are simply playing a game, it only leaves lingering doubts in our minds once we put the controllers down. For many gamers, Spec Ops may never resonate with them in the same way that it struck my nerves. I sincerely hope, however, that they at least have an open mind to the horrors that await them beneath the sands of Dubai. If you can walk away unmoved by what takes place, you may already be more of a monster than any of the Damned 33rd or the Delta soldiers. Mechanically speaking, Spec Ops is a fairly competent shooter. It plays a lot like Gears of War, where players take cover behind sturdy objects and use big guns against enemy targets. Where Spec Ops differs is in the flow of combat. There's a relentless push forward, a constant thrust urging players onward. That's carried over into the relatively quick kills and brutal executions that emphasize and reward speed. I found myself stressed and overwhelmed by constantly having to progress forward, fearing I would be quickly overrun if I cowered behind cover. I never felt like camping behind objects was safe as the enemy AI, however basic it can appear, always outflanked me and tore me to shreds. If I have one complaint, it's the quirky control scheme. Some of the buttons are mapped to more than one function, making it possible to sprint into cover when you actually meant to sprint around a target. The cover system, which people have also complained about, didn't really trouble me. Once or twice I was left exposed to enemy fire, but I didn't really feel like it was a major issue. The weapons themselves feel powerful and deadly. When I pulled the trigger, soldiers often crumpled or doubled over, coating the walls in red, messy spatters. It felt awful to gun down people who were likely as desperate as I was to survive. In the end, however, I had to regard the violence as a mercy upon my foes. The way they begged for help or clutched massive wounds didn't make it any easier for me to execute them. Even more disturbing was the fact that I was treated to additional (typically scarce) ammo for finishing them off, forcing me to do the deed. If Yager wants to bother players, this is a great way to do it. The aforementioned squadmates, Lugo and Adams, are great companions on this trip to insanity. They offer constant tactical feedback and aren't bad shots themselves. They can be given a few commands to help alleviate Walker's pressure, but act independently for the most part. The banter between all three soldiers is always interesting, well-written, and appropriately frantic when things get absolutely FUBAR (and they really get bad). Players will likely recognize Nolan North's voice as Walker. I felt North did an admirable job taking on a much more mature character. Though the (sometimes gratuitous) swearing may offput some, I recommend you grit through it to see the shocking conclusion. There's multiplayer in Spec Ops, but I recommend you skip it. The game works when the servers aren't being slammed, and there are some cheap thrills in modes like Chaos (free-for-all) and Buried. However, it's clear the singleplayer was the focus of development. I felt like the MP didn't carry the same weighty feeling of combat. It also lacked the emotional impact that the narrative hit home. If you purchase Spec Ops, stay for the campaign, not the compe***ive multiplayer. The technicals behind Spec Ops are fairly strong. The visuals, though lacking when compared to games like Battlefield 3, are suitably gritty and do the job well. Some of the character models look great, and the ruined city of Dubai is beautifully rendered. When the dust kicks up from explosions and gunfire, the air is obscured and a tactical element is layered onto the shooting. The particles aren't just for looks; they can really come in handy when the defecation hits the oscillation. The audio is absolutely fantastic. With a fully-licensed soundtrack and some haunting musical scores, Spec Ops succeeds in mooding you out. Everything here is meant to unsettle you, and the soundtrack does an admirable job fulfilling this roles. As I mentioned earlier, the great dialogue is well acted. The sound effects are also great; they really add to the visceral impact of combat and the narrative. If you're expecting the next generation in A/V though, you'll be disappointed. Then again, if you're coming for that, you're not playing the right shooter. Is Spec Ops the best shooter of 2012? Probably not, but that's for a reason. Spec Ops is a criticism of the modern shooter, taking the fundamental concept of the war game and inverting it. It may seem like a blatant copy of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, but don't be fooled; there are far more horrific things to experience in Spec Ops than you may expect. Prepare to have your moral and ethical codes challenged in this game, and always remember that not everything in Dubai is as it seems. But this you already know. The rest you'll just have to figure out for yourself. Welcome to Dubai, gentleman. Pros: + Incredibly deep story, filled with hidden intel to unravel more of the mystery + Forces players to make a number of difficult choices at any given time + Great audio and a few beautifully rendered scenes set Spec Ops apart + The multiplayer is not the focus of the game this time around Cons: - The multiplayer is also incredibly barebones - Some odd control bindings can cause trouble - Occasional bugs and technical glitches here and there Overall: 8.5/10 Great Spec Ops is a great, mature third-person shooter that actually makes you regret the choices you make. A deep story is coupled with great dialogue to create an excellent campaign. GIVEAWAY: Want to win a Steam copy of Spec Ops: The Line? Simply tell me what you thought of Apocalypse Now and why you're excited to play Spec Ops. Winner chosen randomly on July 6th at 9 PM Eastern.
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