MrMartinLee / Member

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MrMartinLee Blog

That lucky giraffe...

As I said before, I wasn't impressed with the RE6 demo, so I waited for one of the sales and finally picked up the game for a mere $19.99. I enjoyed reading GeekyDad's take on the game, and hoped I'd find something to enjoy about it at that price. Sadly, no such luck. I've posted my review, not that anyone ever reads it, or will care six months later, but there it is... The short version: a disappointment. I'm pretending it doesn't exist. The updates Capcom has made to the game make it pretty clear they recognize it's a broken mess. I mean, an option to have the game push buttons for you!? And completely change the camera to make it halfway serviceable... and unlock Ada's campaign and Mercenaries right from the menu? Apparently they recognize the game isn't worth playing through to get to the supposedly "good" stuff. I thought Mercenaries might benefit from the increased focus on melee action, but the maps are so uninspired I end up running in circles looking for enemies to keep a combo going and just watching the clock run down. No high scores for me...

Here's hoping Revelations is more fun and more like past entries in the series when it becomes available for PS3. I have high hopes from reading the 3DS reviews and HD previews...

Anyway, I hope everyone is well out there in gaming land, and oh yeah, try Runner 2!!! I'm off to draw dinosaurs with my 3 year old, who thinks "Pachycephalosaurus" is the funniest word ever...

Dork Band Blitz!

So there's my most recent blog, about the PSN outage of last April... so, yeah, maybe I should put something new in there... How about a review of the game I've been drooling over that's finally been released? Sure... so I have my review of Rock Band Blitz up now. I'm pretty happy with it, but a little disappointed that it relies so heavily on being connected to a network of social media for most of its admittedly gimmicky features. Makes me hesitant to use most of those features for fear that when they are no longer supported I may miss them. Also, I mostly just want to chill and tap to some music...

I've been having a hard time enjoying video games lately. Tried to play MGS4, and while I'm impressed with the visuals and really want to see the story, I have zero patience for the actual gameplay. The screen is littered with so much information about items and controls that I get a headache before I can clear the second objective. I can't even get excited about Resident Evil 6. Who isn't excited about RE6!? I get overwhelmed just watching the early footage of button prompts and QTE's and... it's looking like Youtube playthrough marathons are in my gaming future. And chilling and tapping to some music...

Peace out...

Headline Reads: Hapless Dork Embroiled in Current Events

This Dork's timing is impeccable, as always. I managed to get myself involved in the week's biggest international news story. (That's me, on the left behind the guy in the big red hat with the gigantic eyebrows ;) ) No, unfortunately not the Royal Wedding...

Since I've been looking at the PS3 back catalog and drooling, I decided to get myself an original model used PSP just to try out some of the Sony exclusives like Little Big Planet... also, I can't resist a portable version of Xenophobe (on Midway Arcade Treasures Extended Play - $9.99 on PSN) It seemed like a logical and inexpensive first step, especially since I learned that PSOne Classics can be downloaded to more than one portable device (NGP!?) AND are playable on PS3... RE2, R Type Delta, while standing in line at the post office? Yes, please!

I've been really impressed with the Playstation Store, at least as it appears on the PSP. Purchases are registered to an overall user account, and "activated" on new pieces of hardware as necessary. Prices are in US dollars, not Distracto$oft Points. It's always bothered me that 100 Microsoft Points cost $1.25, so an 800 point game is actually $10.00. It's a blatant strategy to make games appear less expensive than they actually are, and to keep us disconnected from how much we are spending. On PSN, when I made a $5.99 purchase with .03 cents left in my virtual wallet, I was charged exactly $5.96. It was awesome! And then...

At first I thought something was wrong with my PSP; it is an older machine, after all. But when I went online to check the error code, I stumbled upon a much larger story aboutthe external intrusion that prompted Sony to temporarily shut down the whole PSN, a shutdown now in its 10th day. It's been interesting following the updates here on Gamespot, even when they amount to little more than "boo! haha gotcha" and especially the fanboy wars that ensue. 500 comments after each update! Anyways, I've been through the stages of grieving as outlined in the Dork handbook, and thought now might be a good time to share...

1) Denial: It'll be back up soon. It'll be back up soon. Sony's just overreacting to a minor thing, and it'll be back up soon.

2) Anger: Serves 'em right, those greedy corporate bastages. Teach you to mess with the H4X0R5 (it'll be back up soon, right?)

3) Pleading: Please please please bring it back soon...

4) Panic: What? My credit card info!?

5) Acceptance (more in a moment)

Okay, that was kind of fun, putting the PSN outage into Psychology 101, but take a look at the comments after any of the updates on this story and tell me a little grief counseling for the gaming community isn't a good idea...

I'm holding steady at Step 5 for now. As excited as I am by the forward compatibility of my PSN purchases, and by the flexibility of the store as compared to the Live Marketplace, I know it's not a perfect system. Nobody in the world has been able to play Bionic Commando ReArmed 2 on PS3, since you have to be logged in even to play a single-player game at home. As the outage continues, I'm hopeful that Sony is actually making significant repairs to the system. Also, I'm happy to see the FBI and Homeland Security getting involved, even though I think it's part of a "Shock and Awe" show to discourage hackers from future attacks on other, more vital networks. Having once lost a laptop to viruses, I like any news that suggests malicious hackers will have less room to hide in anonymity. I write this even as I admit that hacking is also a major driving force for advancing online security, technology in general, and gaming technology in particular. A few years ago, I was positively giddy watching video of Super Mario World running on a hacked PSP... Ultimately, though, I think it's good that Sony is taking steps to protect its customers and keep its products from being used in ways that were not intended. It (hopefully, at least) lets them fully support all the services that are officially offered for those products, instead of trying to keep up with all kinds of patchwork-messy additions. It's why, even at $599, a PS3 is still cheaper than a full-featured PC.

Now, what I really want to know is... is it back up yet?

TatsuCap a-Go-Go Baby!

So my Xbox 360 RROD'd... again... and this time I wasn't able to repair it myself. I'm keeping the old box for parts, and am now keeping an eye out for an unbeatable deal on a PS3. Eventually. Little Big Planet 2 looks amazing, and I'd want one for Last Guardian no matter what. Eventually. And also to get to play RE5, Lara Croft, and the Capcom fighting games online without paying extra for the privilege.

In the meantime, I picked up Tatsunoko vs. Capcom for Wii to get my fighting fix. What a game! I'm sticking with the Capcom characters to start, but after a few battles online I realize I might do well to really learn a few from the other side to have more tricks up my sleeve.

My FC is ELGUAPO 4427-0874-1343

...if anyone reading this blog is interested in a casual match or two, as always, probably late at night. Later...

The Cine-O-Matic Dork Experience

Playing Bioshock... finally. I'm terrible at shooters to begin with, and get to play mostly at night when my brain is kind of worthless already. I'm loving the atmosphere and the way the story is unfolding as kind of a mystery through audio tapes. It's pretty easy so far, but I still got to thinking about what might be an easier way for even non-gamers to get to experience a cool game story like this one...

Racing games often have a "ghost" racer you can watch to see your ideal line for a course, so what if other games had a similar feature? Say, a "ghost" player you can watch if you get stuck on a level or a boss... A game with a strong story focus could offer super-novice players the option to just watch a chapter or even the whole game unfold on an "auto" or "cine-o-matic" playback. It could be a streamlined experience, just enough to tell the story, but not showing a lot of the exploring we always do in the course of discovering all of a game's hidden areas and other secrets. It could still offer the non-player the chance to make choices that alter the game's ending, just without requiring the same shooter skills or reflexes as playing through on the normal or even easy difficulty settings, sort of like a digital C.Y.O.A. movie.

"Sure," you say. " Take ALL the fun and challenge out of video games, why don't you..."

I'll defend the idea with myself as an example, and what I call the "Dark Knight Disconnect." Batman: Arkham Asylum was a pretty brilliant game, but... I watched a lot of Joker death screens and spent a lot of time looking for where to go next. I definitely did not feel like a gifted martial artist and detective! I know that games are best when they are challenging, but wandering aimlessly and repeatedly getting clobbered by goons and bosses really took me out of the experience of being the Dark Knight. I'm not saying the game should have been easier, or "dumbed down" for novice players; it was (or was almost, at least) a Game of the Year, right? But an option to watch Batman actually BE a badass might have brought me back in enough to give those tough spots another try, and even finish the game...

Games are more and more often compared to movies recently, both in terms of "dollars per hour" entertainment value and quality of storytelling. Wouldn't it be nice to have a discussion with your grandma about the use of metaphor in Devil May Cry 6? It's really not too far-fetched to imagine a game that presents itself as a movie, where the player can jump into the action whenever it seems interesting, for a chance to explore the story, world, and back-story in more depth before moving on with the plot. In practical terms, there could still be a place for both casuals and the hardcore gamers; you obviously wouldn't earn achievements or trophies just for watching the game, and there could be hidden areas, characters, and multiple endings for dedicated players to enjoy.

Which gives me an idea for an actual game... which I'll try to explain in more detail in another note...

'Bye for now, and Happy Holidays to anyone who takes the time to read this, and especially to comment!

Summer of Dork-cade!

I love me some "Summer of Arcade." The weekly release schedule, the endless advertising blitz every time I power up the 360... what can I say, it works. Currently enjoying LIMBO, I'll probably at least check out the demo for Castlevania, and I'm actively curious about the Lara Croft-meets-Diablo dungeon crawler.

Speaking of LIMBO... what a great way to spend five hours... and fifteen dollars. I'll be writing a full review soon, but it's worth mentioning here that despite its short length it's really one of the best values I've had in a game in a pretty long time, especially in the Live Arcade.

You see, I often regret my Arcade purchases. When I've either finished a game or just lost interest and moved on, and there is no "trading in" games in the download format, I'm left pondering whether I shouldn't have just had a little more willpower. LIMBO, while short, is as much about a uniquely captivating experience as it is the puzzles, gameplay and deceptively simple black-and-white aesthetic. It's a trip I'll remember taking, and that I'll probably even revisit a few times. Compared to a game like last summer's Shadow Complex, which I never finished, and was disappointed that I just couldn't "get into it", in the time spent in LIMBO I will see pretty much all the game has to offer, and enjoy every moment of it.

Still, it's a bummer that in Xbox-land, 1200 is the new 800; the inflated price seems to be here to stay. What continues to disturb me is the shady pricing tactic of Microsoft Points. Yes, I can do math, and I know that 1200 points is really fifteen dollars, but it's meant to look like twelve dollars. There's just no way around that little deception. I mean, I wouldn't want to shop at a grocery store where I had to buy 400 "Milk Points" for five dollars, and then pay 349 points for a gallon of 2%... Luckily, games are a luxury to begin with, so I can take my lumps such as they are...

A True Story...

Summer of '91. Working next to a Round Table Pizza after high school and before college, I was having lunch with a friend and put a quarter into the Street Fighter II cabinet. The sprites were huge and detailed, and I was sure I was about to play the most amazing game ever. Then the A.I. Ryu killed my green beast with a fireball. Twice in a row. I checked and double-checked the instructions all around the joystick and buttons, and there was nothing about a fireball button. "Secret moves" killed my interest in fighting games for almost 20 years...

It's one thing to make players learn moves one cheap death at a time, and lots of people did it that way in the arcades, but when I pay $50 for a console version of a game, I want to know how to play it. All through the Genesis, SNES, PSone and most of PS2, the moves were mostly still "secret" and even though I eventually learned about quarter-circles, multi-button hits, and charging moves, I remained turned off by the invisible secret move lists required to play the games.

Now, enter the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 trailer...

I downloaded the free MvC2 demo from Xbox LIVE out of pure curiosity, and *gasp* there was a move list for each character! I ended up buying the game, and I think I get it now. It's like an alternate kind of RPG, where you mold yourself to a character and style of your choice, and your dedication pays off in flashy victories and screen-filling super ultra hyper combos. Theoretically, at least... The game is a little too hectic for my old, slow, unpracticed fingers, and even with an arcade stick on the easiest difficulty, I suffer humiliating defeats both on and offline. Thinking Super Street Fighter IV might be more manageable with one-on-one battles, I traded some other games for a used copy...

Wow...

I'm still terrible, but now I'm hooked. I love playing through Arcade mode on Easy to see the story and Rival segments, and sit through the credits every time, fascinated by the gorgeous slo-mo character animations. Now I'm even more excited for MvC3, since I expect it will be a more complete package, including a real Training and Challenge mode, and maybe a Replay channel... hopefully this week will bring lots of new details...

Ever the multitasker, I've been typing while waiting for the cupcakes to cool for my son's first birthday party. Now it's time to do some frosting! If you've read this far, thanks, and help yourself... there's chocolate/chocolate and lemon/rainbow chip!

Dork of the Dead... a Wii-surrection

Time to save a little more money, so I convinced my wife it was time to drop the monthly cable and TiVo expenses; she reluctantly agreed (and only because we can still watch Survivor online!) To sort of make up for the loss of tube options, I moved the newly Netflix capable Wii from the "game" room to the living room. That room has a 26" LCD, the largest TV I've ever owned, and I swear it's like getting a whole new console. The Wii is reborn... during the day it's the Fraggle Rock machine, and at night I'm rediscovering Metroid Prime Trilogy, Darkside Chronicles, and RE4. These are the games I have that were really made for widescreen, and it really makes a difference.

Also, I got hooked on After Burner Climax in the Xbox Live Arcade. It's a good enough game that I wrote a review and even made a cross-platform Gamespot friend. Hi GeekyDad... And that's all. Time to go shovel the foot of snow that's piled up outside... in April. Sheesh...

Dork With a T-8 Screwdriver!

First off, many thanks to sirbamalot, whose youtube videos were a helpful starting point for my recent adventure in home electronics tinkery. The 360 is reassembled and hs been running smoothly (knock on wood) for a week now.

I've powered down the Wii completely, all the way to the red light. I don't even bother checking the Nintendo Channel for videos any more. This is hard coming from someone who has been a big supporter of the Big N's little underpowered console, but the lack ofeffort put into the Wii is starting to make me sad. Just a couple weeks ago, Alison and Gary of "Nintendo Week" told me I can download classic games onto my console from the Shop Channel if I connect my Wii to the internet. Then Gary got lost in a blizzard and ended up in a marshmallow factory. There were zombies and ninjas, too, I think. This is big news! ...or not... The bottom line is that it's been a long time since I've played a game on the Wii and wouldn't have rather been playing on the 360. RE Darkside Chronicles is good fun, but I'd trade it for RE5 in an instant. Just this morning I had a rousing game of Discs of Tron...

Even the bright spot on the horizon, Metroid: Other M, comes with a rusty tin lining. As brilliant as that game promises to be, it controls with the Wiimote alone. No need for a nunchuk, classic controller, Wii Motion Plus, Zapper, Vitality Sensor or Steering Wheel. All those gadgets really are a waste, apparently... Hm.

Hot Dork - Meltin' Metal!

I'd heard of the "Towel Trick" months ago, but always in the context of intentionally getting the RROD in order to have MS replace an ailing XBOX 360 before its warranty ran out. Since mine was already out of warranty, I stopped reading there. I just recently heard about using the heat of a towel-wrapped XBOX to re-solder the broken connection that causes the RROD, and so far it's working like a charm. Just in time for the new Resident Evil 5 chapters!

Meanwhile, I've been getting lots of fun out of the supposed flop Darkside Chronicles. Too bad it didn't sell better... while I would much prefer a traditional REmake of RE2 or a port of RE5 with RE4 Wii controls, I think Darkside Chronicles has gotten an undeserved bad rap. It's fun!

What's not fun is Zelda: Spirit Tracks on DS. I have to rant about my frustration with that game: the VERY FIRST thing that happens when you start Spirit Tracks? A kid dares you to tumble into a nearby tree, releasing a swarm of bees that chase you until they kill you. Less than five minutes into the game. Now that's a kick in the teeth. Later on, you'll find "Demon Trains" that block your path on the already-frustrating train sections of the game. If one catches you, you go back to the start of your most recent journey. Tedious, frustrating and no thank you. Ebay, here comes my copy of Nintendo's latest... between work and the awesomeness that is being a new parent, I don't have time for sloppy crap like this!

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