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Black_Knight_00 Blog

When Lucasarts "stole" my games

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Recent news of Ubisoft being sued for allegedly stealing the plot of Assassin's Creed from a 2002 book brought back memories of a weird episode of my life.

Back in 1997 I was in high school and I designed two Star Wars games (I just designed them, I didn't program anything, mind), one would have been a N64 game, a space combat simulator, I called it "Star Wars - Rogue Squadron", I even drew the control layout and I still have the project in a drawer. One year later Lucasarts came out with "Star Wars - Rogue Squadron", a N64 space combat simulator.

The other was a strategy game called "Star Wars - Supremacy", and sure enough, one year later Lucasarts published Star Wars Supremacy (SW Rebellion in the US).You can imagine my disbelief as I saw my ideas, which I kept to myself, being brought to life by the same company... twice in a year.

Of course they're just coincidences and nothing more, though it is pretty crazy if you think about it.

I just wish Lucasarts had kept stealing more of my boyhood ideas instead of doing... whatever they're doing now

Website defines me as 'more friendly and concise than Nintendo's support'

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Wow, first blog post in over 2 years

I was just browsing the web when I found a page talking about Wii technical issues, and they talk about me too. The writer quotes an answer I gave on these very boards back in 2008:

A lot of helpful ideas can be found at GameSpot's Nintendo Wii forum. For example, GameSpot member Black_Knight_00's Gamespot post is more friendly and concise than Nintendo's own support tends to be. explains, "Happened to me too, twice in a day, after two blackouts. Apparently the Wii has an internal safety system that disconnects the power supply to avoid damage in case of power shortage. It turns back on by itself after a few minutes." is his advice from his October 24, 2008 forum entry

It's a small thing, but it's nice to see someone appreciates when one tries to be helpful to another gamer.

Here's the link to the page: http://www.suite101.com/content/wii-troubleshooting-online-help-explains-how-to-fix-wii-problems-a271589

Anyone wants to play Halo 3 coop on xbox live?

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So, I just got on xbox live and I was looking to play some Halo 3 or some other game campaign on coop.

Coop games I have:

- Halo 3

- Gears of War

- Left 4 Dead

- Rainbow Six Vegas

- Perfect Dark Zero

My Live id is GhostSniper2081, if you wanna play, IM me here or on Live! :D

Game of the Week - November 9, 2008

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The game for this week is (oh no...):



Breed

Developer: Brat Design
Publisher: Cdv
Year: 2004
Systems:
PC
Links: Trailer - gameplay video

With all the fuss generated by Halo, the years 2000 have seen an explosion of the Sci-Fi shooter genre with literally dozens of similar games released. When Breed was announced and the first screenshots started appearing on websites and magazines, many got hyped by the game's more-than-hinted promises of cloning Halo's gameplay with the twist of tactical team based action. They were in for a big disappointment.

Maybe the unknown developer (Brat Design) should have inspired some doubts, but even Bungie wasn't so well known before Halo, nor was CryTek before Far Cry, so, since everyone deserves a chance...
Ok so, some of the promises were kept: the game was a blatant Halo ripoff, starring a lone freighter called Darwin full of Space Marines fighting against a babylon of alien races called Coven... uhm... Breed. The game featured vehicles including (tell me if it sounds familiar) gun-equipped jeeps, tanks, airplanes, the APCs from Battlefield 1942, and shiny mounted plasma turrets copied and pasted from... you know where. The game allowed the player to take control of a team of four generic marines divided in the three basic unit types: assault (creatively called 'grunt'), sniper and heavy gunner, to which issue a variety of commands (again, a complete ripoff of BF 1942) or even take direct control in real time. All this is good and well on paper, but the trouble starts as soon as the intro plays and with it the first lines of the incredibly corny dialogue, with gems such as: "You [marines] are the success of many failed experiments" and "I stand here, and a tear falls into my handkerchief".



You may think: give it a break, it's a low-budget game, they couldn't get Stephen King to write the script. Ok, I'll forgive the dialogue if the game turns out to be good. Well... it doesn't.
Just let me walk you through the first mission and you'll see why:
The game opens with a human dropship identical to the one in the movie 'Aliens', which inspired, you guessed it, the Pelican dropship from Halo. The dropship is carrying a team of marines who must storm a beach and esplore a tropical island to retrieve something from a secret enemy base (hey, like the third mission in Halo!). Ready-go you have to man a machinegun from the moving dropship to destroy some radar dishes. it's one hell of a first task, you think the game would give something simple to begin with, but no, you have to destroy 20 radar components in less than 30 seconds. If you do it, you're ok, but if you miss even one your commander insults you on the intercom and you get punished with a landing zone filled with enemies.
First thing you notice upon landing is the choppy framerate, even on an adequate computer, the second thing: the enemies are little squeaking critters holding toy guns and tall tall blue aliens with shiny lights (hey, just like Halo!). Oh yeah, the weapons are dramatically unbalanced: you only get a limited supply of ammo for your human weapons and you rarely find supplies, so you're soon enough forced to use the alien weapons, for which you'll likely have 9999 ammo in a minute (where is the justice in that? The human weapons have 100 bullets!)



The vehicles you manage to find handle like drunk rhinos and explode for no reason after a few hits, representing more of a liability than a resource. The worst part is the team AI, though: as I said you can issue commands to your team, but sometimes you'll have to hope they ignore you, since they'll often take the longest, most dangerous path to reach their destination or even commit suicide in the process: I once ordered the idiots to stay put and I went scouting ahead alone. I walked around a lake and got pretty far, then I called them and ordered to regroup. Soon I heard them screaming in agony and requesting for help, I went all the way back but couldn't find them, as the screams continued, then they all died. Confused, I looked down and I saw them dead on the bottom of the lake: to join me, they walked right into the lake and drowned, while screaming they were under attack. Screaming underwater.

Let this episode be the bottom line of my review of Brrrrreed. Yes: Brrrrreed, as in a cold shiver chilling down your spine.

My rating for Breed: 4

New avatar

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So I decided to change my avatar and uploaded the one you can see on the top left.

A special prize to the first who remembers where that awesome sci-fi commando comes from ;)

I may revert to the old one if I get bored with this one, we'll see.

Game of the Week - November 2, 2008

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The game for this week is (oh, yes):

Another World

Developer: Delphine Software
Publisher: Interplay, U.S. Gold
Year: 1991
Systems: Amiga, PC, Mac, SNES, Genesis, 3DO... and many others
Links: Longplay video - Eric Chahi interview (french)

When people argue whether games are a form of art or not, many think of this game and say 'yes'. Another World (aka: Out of this World in the US) does not only prove a single programmer can create a fantastic game all by himself, but also sets the standards for all platformers until today.
Created by the talent of young french programmer Eric Chahi and accompanied by an epic soundtrack, Another World first saw the light on the best platform possible, the Amiga 500, and was later ported on every system able to to handle it, and it changed everything: the small, poorly animated spites and limited colors of earlier games were now overshadowed by the impressive vector graphics Chahi managed to design and cinematic cutscenes so beautiful that led many to believe they were three-dimentional.



The story was purely accessory, being a simple struggle for survival by the main protagonist, teleported by a failed experiment on a foreign, hostile world. Such are the emotions the game generates, though, that the lack of a real story is hardly noticed. The opening level is one of the most adrenalinic and breathtaking sequences in gaming history: imagine finding yourself warped under the surface of a deep lake, having to quickly swim to the surface to escape some giant tentacles, then carefully dispatch a pack of poisonous worms that fall from a cave ceiling, then a panther-like creature jumps in front of you and starts chasing you all the way back from where you came, as it's about to catch you and rip you apart it stumbles, allowing you to jump down a cliff, swing on a vine and run all the way back where some black caped hunters gun down the beast... and as you thank them them gun you down as well and capture you.
All this in the first five minutes of play.



The game adopts an instant kill mechanic similar to another great Chahi game, Heart of Darkness, where everything kills you upon contact, making some portions frustrating, but repairing thanks to the infinite lives and functional password system that let you face even the hardest situations in a more relaxed way. The game features many jumping and combat sequences along with some cleverly devised environmental puzzles that require fast reflexes and a good intuition.
All the adventure can be breezed through in less than an hour, like many games of that time, but you'd hardly notice this on the first playthrough, being the game as good as it turns out to be.

Another world inspired many games and several sequels, some of which unofficial, although, except the beautiful Flashback, none of those managed to capture the essence of the original. It is now very hard to find a copy of the game and even harder is to get it to work on todays computers, so, to counter this, Chahi recently released a remake with updated graphics and sound, available for download (for a small fee) on his website. This is a piece of history and a game that heavilly contributed to the evolution of games as we know them and represents the gaming equivalent of a precious painting. For this reason it should be played by everyone.