XenoLair / Member

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XenoLair Blog

Hey look, its been 6 years...

Wow, I havent clicked the "Post Blog" button in a long while. Its strange how I find myself browsing this site, looking at old MMO screenshots on the night of 23th/24th of September.

6 years ago I registered here - mainly to create a game's list - a list that would hold all of the games I owned to date. Interestingly enough, GameSpot still offers that feature. And wouldnt you know it, I still own most of the games on my games list. Initially thats why I registered, I stayed because of the wonderful community and met a lot of people on here. I've seen all of my E3's here, got my gaming news, videos, images, cheats, walkthroughs and got all discussions of new games and consoles I needed. GameSpot definitely earned a place in my bookmarks tab.

MB0lq.png

Now i'm running out of nice things to say... I havent been (really) active since... probably my last blog post (which was for a contest!) a year ago. I have to say, a lot of people working for GS I really liked left the site and it didn't feel the same ever again. Its safe to say that the next news piece I'll read here, the next review written will be by someone I've never seen before. I have no interest anymore to stick around to get to know them. I've always been a big fan of the emblems on this site, now I can hardly even bother to see if any new ones are available. Its time to move on, though I'm not sure to where really - in fact I'm still searching for something but I'm not sure where to look.

I hope I convince myself to make another one of these soon. Its been a good 6 years with its ups and downs. I'm glad I've been a part of the site for that long and I hope to be a part of it for a while still.

It will never be the same and I never have been good at moving on. Till the next one.

My JRPG

Title: Andromeda Chronicles


The Galaxy
Andromeda galaxy in the 29th century is divided into 3 primary sectors: the inner ring, the middle ring and the outer ring.

-Inner ring-

The political system within the inner ring can by today's standards be called neo liberalism or capitalism. About half of the solar systems inside it are controlled by large corporations (Ipsum sector) where competition and backstabbing is key to staying alive. Living standards are normal with about 1% of its population belonging to the extremely wealthy **** The other half (Habenae sector) is controlled by corrupt governments. This part of the galaxy is home to very poor living conditions and planets being exploited for their resources by Ipsum corporations. Its residents are slaves but blinded by Ipsum media. The Ipsum armada is present in the inner ring. They are what is left of a functioning government. They provide security for its residents and try keeping corruption to low levels.

-Outter ring-

  • 40% of the outer ring is controlled by the Omnis. Their political system is something related to that of today's socialism or communism. Everything within the Omnis zone is indirectly controlled by its residents with an established government to keep order and provide protection. Trade with other sectors is mostly regulated and very limited.
  • 10% of the outer ring's territory is controlled by Fatuus rebels. Their primary goal is to take over the Omnis and execute every non-human. They see other species as a threat to man kind and believe a Utopian universe is impossible with aliens as they will seek their destruction. Their master plan involves taking over the middle and inner ring after Omnis falls.
  • The other 50% is no mans land. Half of it, the Ignotus corridor, is not controlled by anyone, it is home to various outter space colonies and is largely unexplored. The other half is Spumae space and is largely uncontrolled and lawless. Populated by pirates, fugitives and other criminals.

-Middle ring-

The middle ring (70% of it - Profectus space) is controlled by various governments. It is known for its high technological advancements in every field imaginable and for its high standards of living but has large problems with drug trade and is home to some of the ruthless criminals in Andromeda. Mito sector is uninhabited and unexplored while Tellus is overrun by pirates. Prava is a small part belonging to Profectus corporations. Systems there are highly protected with state of the art technology. Rumors say that planetary weapon testing is done there.

Story
Set in the year 28xx, you play as a prototype robot built for Hoshida Industries. Your primary job with Hoshida is in its logistics sector. You see, Hoshida is a well founded organisation that deals primarily with fuel production. They are the biggest manufacturer and distributor of fuel in the Andromeda galaxy, controlling nearly 90% of the fuel trade in the inner ring. You, the prototype robot, are one of their cargo ship drivers. You were designed by Ming Tech, a one man technology company based on the upper borders of Profectus. One day, while transporting cargo, your ship is attacked by pirates and after a long battle your ship is leaking the cargo you were transporting. At that moment you find out that you were not transporting fuel at all - your cargo was NCx9 gas (highly dangerous for organic life forms). After returning to Hoshida HQ in the H1 system in Ipsum, you try to inquire information regarding your cargo. Your AI is highly intelligent and specialises in decision making based on experience instead of statistical calculations, this is the driving force for your need to question your assignments. At HQ you get no answers and are told you will be deactivated. At this point you become self aware - an AI flaw triggered by highly improbable circumstances but your way of thinking(based on experience) ables you to think more like organic creatures. You refuse deactivation and are faced with your first boss Gonmul. Gonmul is basically a building that can transform into pretty much anything you dint want it to transform into. His size is his weakness though.

In the case of becoming self aware you were designed to return to Ming Tech and upon lading on the lone planet, where you were 1st activated, you find the lab you were made in is destroyed and your maker nearly dead. Before he dies, he tells you Hoshida did this and that they took development plans for your ****of android. You start travelling across the galaxy in search of answers while Hoshida is constantly on your tail.

After a while you find out you were actually designed to take over fuel production in Hoshida production plants in Habenae sector. Currently all workers in their plants are organic species and Hoshida aims to replace them all with the final robot product (of which you are a prototype). You were designed for that purpose and your first assignments transporting NCx9 gas were tests conducted to see if their plan was viable. The most disturbing plan however, involves the NCx9 gas. Hoshida wants to release it in their plants and planets all over the Habenae sector and effectively killing every complex organic life form - Hoshida just sees them in getting in the way of profit.

At this point you have made some friends and enemies in Andromeda. They will serve you well and your next step is to decide who you will side with. Your can side with:

  1. Omnis - destroy Hoshida and liberate the Habenae sector
  2. Fatuus - destroy Hoshida but release a similar gas to destroy every non human in Habene
  3. Ipsum armada - lock down Hoshida and effectively stop their operations
  4. Hoshida industries - side with Hoshida and complete their plan and effectively start a war between Omnis, Ipsum armada and Hoshida

Other stuff + gameplay

-> You have a pet cat called Mittens that is always on your ship. Mittens can talk and has an IQ of 233. He is your sidekick but due to being a cat can not help you on the ground.

-> After beating the game you are free to roam the galaxy, go to every system you wish and do whatever you wish.

-> The game is an open "world" environment. You can always go wherever you wish and do whatever you wish.

-> Besides the main story you can complete side quests and become a freelancer - merc - trader - smuggler - pirate - bounty hunter.

-> You can change ships, upgrade them, upgrade weapons & shields

-> Gameplay is largely based in space flight - shooting (X3, DarkStar one, Freelancer, Eve Online) and not on the ground shooting (Mass Effect)

-> Your actions have consequences, the galaxy is very dynamic and factions will treat you differently depending on your previous actions

-> Multiplayer acts as an MMORPG and has MMO elements


And that is Andromeda Chronicles. Out in 2013 on Steam, 360, PS3 and WiiU. :o

Portal 2 poster

Got tired of my last blog entry and that creepy goo stalking me whenever I go to my profile so I decided to post a quick blog containing a new Portal 2 movie poster. And no this does not mean there will be a portal 2 movie! PS: click on the title of the blog to see the whole image.

Source [GiantBomb], all credit goes to Valve.

As for the game itself, its just the best. I certainly enjoyed the back story, how its told and the lower parts of Aperture labs. And this concludes this blog!

PS: are games getting cheaper? I'm seeing I can get Brink (360) for 33eur (~48$) which is quite cheaper than the usual price of around 40-43eur (~58 - 61$). Also Steam game prices really disgust me. Brink costs 50€(yes, thats 71$) on steam and retail copies are 27€(from the UK) and I can get a bandana mask with it (source).

Random Fallout: New Vegas moment

So I'm walking down the slums of New Vegas in Freeside with my trusty plasma pistol at hand. Suddenly out of nowhere a giant rat appears, being chased by some orphan kids. I say to myself; that rat may hurt these kids and the hero that I am, I quickly grab my plasma gun and put that critter out of its misery with one clean plasma shot. It disintegrates into a radiant green color - a goo pile of you will.

One E-Cell drained so the children can play safe - a small price to pay right? Well while that may be, it would seem these kids were hungry. These kids were chasing the giant rat so they could eat it. In fact these kids were so hungry, they started eating the goo pile. Kneeling before the green goo pile, they start picking the goo and stuffing their faces with it. I ask the girl child to see why she was eating the goo and she just replied "Thanks mister".

I found a video that's similar to this occurrence: enjoy

Ornament Scavenger Hunt

There we go.

Clue 1: Van http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Van/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893598

Clue 2: Jody http://uk.gamespot.com/users/JodyR/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893594

Clue 3: Guy http://uk.gamespot.com/users/guy_cocker/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893558

Clue 4: Matthew http://uk.gamespot.com/users/mgravish/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893574

Clue 5: Chris http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Chris_Watters/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893547

Clue 6: Kevin http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Kevin-V/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893569

Clue 7: Aaron http://uk.gamespot.com/users/AirDog80/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893530

Clue 8: Alex http://uk.gamespot.com/users/sebFlyte/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893542

Clue 9: Wernher http://uk.gamespot.com/users/wornstar/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893595

Clue 10: Jan http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Jan_Meja_Heir/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893561

Clue 11: Randolph http://uk.gamespot.com/users/RandolphRam/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893577

Clue 12: Andrew http://uk.gamespot.com/users/AndrewP/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893543

Clue 13: Mark http://uk.gamespot.com/users/markypants/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893573

Clue 14: Justin http://uk.gamespot.com/users/JusticeCovert/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893566

Clue 15: Sophia http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Sophia/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893585

Clue 16: Kurtis http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Yarvem/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893570

Clue 17: Giancarlo http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Giancarlo/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893556

Clue 18: Justin http://uk.gamespot.com/users/jporter313/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893567

Clue 19: Ryan http://uk.gamespot.com/users/ryanm/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893611

Clue 20: Tyler http://uk.gamespot.com/users/TylerW/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893599

Clue 21: Maxwell http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Maxwell/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893575

Clue 22: James http://uk.gamespot.com/users/kozanecki/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893560

Clue 23: Frank http://uk.gamespot.com/users/frank7731/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893551

Clue 24: Sarju http://uk.gamespot.com/users/SarjuS/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893581

Clue 25: Shaun http://uk.gamespot.com/users/shaunmc/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893583&

Clue 26: Ricardo http://uk.gamespot.com/users/RicardoT/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893579

Clue 27: Tom http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Van/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893598

Clue 28: Dan http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Chippa7/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893548

Clue 29: Homer http://uk.gamespot.com/users/gshomer/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893559

Clue 30: Takeshi http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Takeshi-GS/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893587

Clue: 31 Tor http://uk.gamespot.com/users/thorsen-ink/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893591

Clue 32: Jim http://uk.gamespot.com/users/jmaybury/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893564

Clue 33: Carolyn http://uk.gamespot.com/users/carolynmichelle/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893546

Clue 34: Tom http://uk.gamespot.com/users/TomMcShea/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893589

Clue35: Dan http://uk.gamespot.com/users/neur0sis/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893549

Clue 36: Jane http://uk.gamespot.com/users/janedouglas/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893563

Clue 37: Brendan http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Polybren/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893544

Clue 38: Laura http://uk.gamespot.com/users/Lozzica/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25893571

Game demos, where art thou?

I remember... 12 years ago, a buddy of mine asked me if I have a 3D accelerator supported graphics card so that we could try and play a demo of "the best game ever made" - Duke Nukem 3D. A week later we were drawing the monsters seen in it on paper.

I remember... 10 years ago I installed a demo of DeusEx off of a CD I got in a gaming magazine. Played that untill every pixel of the game was forever etched into my brain.

The same magazine CD also contained a demo of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2. I remember I got so good at that particular stage, I stunk at other stages when I got the full version.

I remember... 9 years ago I downloaded an AVP2 single player demo, played that for about 6 months and played the multiplayer demo for about the same time.

Soon after, we got an internet connection and while "Yahoo-ing" for the 1st thing that came to mind ("free games"), I stumbled upon an application called Real Arcade that taught me the horrors of the word "game trial". Real Arcade was an online gaming service which offered free game trials. You installed their application (at the time owned by RealNetworks) and from there you could download these trials, some demos and also buy them. At first I think they only had game demos but later started offering trials. A game trial is essentially a timed game which locks after a certain amount of time has passed while playing it. Reinstalling the game may sometimes reset the timer, but you have to start from the beginning of the game - no saves there. A demo on the other hand is a part of the original game where lots of content is not present and usually has 1 or few stages, a limited number of lets say weapons... but the game is not timed. One can play it for as long as he wishes. So why am I comparing game trials to "horrors". Well right after RealArcde started offering them I of course played some of them and some of the games I really liked. I finally learn the game mechanics, I finally start having fun and BOOM! your trial is over, CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW! I didn't even finish the stage :cry: This became a regular occurrence, I preferred a demo where half of the content wasn't included and you had 2 stages to play with - FOREVER until the end of time! After that, I stopped playing trial games and never payed attention to them... until only recently.

The four games written in bold above, though only a handful mentioned, are one of my favourites and I eventually did buy their full versions. But it didn't stop there, I also bought most of their sequels. Out of all the trials I played in my life, I didn't get any of their full versions.

And now, trials are back to haunt me once again. Though maybe not in the same manner, they have improved but they still contain the evil within them! February 2010, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer demo came out. I downloaded it and at that time was busy with other things letf it to be played a week later. So, a week passes, I fire it up and get a message saying "the demo is over"! WHAAAT?! Shouldn't this be a trial or something than? But ok, since its a multiplayer demo, I guess they cant let it run forever. About the same time a multiplayer demo of Aliens vs Predator is released. Same thing happens! Though luckily I did get to play it for 1 hr, the next day - "the demo was over". Again I say to myself, ok its a multilayer demo, I guess they can't leave it running forever. Today, I fire up a so called demo of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit I had downloaded a week ago but never had time to try it out. Guess what. The demo period is over.

I was intending to buy BC2 but not without a test of the game first. Same goes for AVP and NFS. I did NOT buy BC2, I did NOT buy AVP and I am not going to buy NFS. Thank you game trials for returning once again in a way the player can't even control when the trial starts counting down that oh so neat timer, but rather letting the developers/publishers decide this for us. I've said it before and I'm saying it again; If I'm uncertain about getting a game - I'm going to play the demo to see if its worth it. Xbox live community games close after a 15 min trial is played. I do not own any of them, I do not even test them anymore because of this reason.

And as far as game demos go; all of the XBLA games I bought were 1st tested as demos and depending on that I decided if I should buy the game or not. If I wasn't sure still, I played the demo again and again and again until I was. I'm not gonna lie, there have been tons of XBLA demos I played and didn't buy - but there were also some which I bought and wasnt sure of it in the 1st place. I played the Trials HD demo for 3 hours before deciding if I should get it (I did buy it in the end), if it was a 30 min trial instead of a demo - I wouldn't be addicted to that game today and Red Lynx would have been 10$ poorer.

I'm happy PC demo's are still the same good old demos I remember I played 10 and more years ago.

The history of video games and the industry - part 2

...this is the 2nd part of the video game history blog, if you havent read part 1, I suggest you do...

Click to go to part 1

God games

The new genre of video games that came into popularity in the 90's. Where the player is all powerful and controls everything. Many people normally didn't have the ability to boss everyone around and play God so the games were the one place those people could experience that and feel that sense of power no game ever gave them before. That was the reason these types of games were so popular. A key person here is definitely Will Wright who designed SimCity.


While he was making an arcade shoot em up game in the 80's he had to make a program or tool to create a city for that game to use and to bomb. While he was making the city with the tool, he found out that he really enjoyed it and decided to publish it. These types of games showed players the long term effect of their decisions. Next up was Peter Molyneux who created one of the 1st God games – Populous and later its spiritual descendant Black & White. The game gives you God like powers and leaves you to do what you want with them, to be and evil God who starves his people or a good God and give the people what they want and eventually see the effect of their decisions. The next big game was Civilization created by Sid Meier. In Civilization games, players took over the role at the leader of one small civilization that was just starting out and towards the end of the game, depending how the player progressed and the actions he took, his civilization would be either great and victorious or got conquered by other civilizations. These 3 designers all laid the foundations of what a God game or simulated game should be, they created sandboxes in which the player created his own story.



Online games

Online games have been around ever since the technology allowed them. The predecessor to the internet was called ARPANET, setup in the early 70's and multi-user online games soon followed in the late 70's and 80's. They were MUD (multi-user dungeon) text games played with text commands. Later in the 90's the internet took over the role of ARPANET, more and more people started going online and we started seeing much more online based games called MMOG's. One of the 1st MMORPG's in this era was of course the 2D game Neverwinter Nights, released in 1991 for AOL subscribers. At its release it wasn't as popular but with internet subscription prices dropping, the user base grew. Since it was limited to AOL subscribers the game didn't gain any popularity around the globe and of course couldn't be played with players from other countries. The biggest hit was the later released Ultima Online, the game I think is the father of all MMO's. 2 years later, the 1st 3D MMO was released – EverQuest. 5 years after EverQuest came World of Warcraft, the game that now has over 11 million subscribers! Why so popular? Ever since Neverwinter nights and Ultima, the games were very addictive and basically never ended. Think of Mario trying to rescue Peach but in every castle he defeats, he finds Toad, there is no princess, there is no ending. Now add a role playing game structure to it, where your character is fighting for better weapons or armor and rewarded with experience points for ie. handing in a quest or finding a new region or killing a monster. You just don't get that in real life, no one awards you for cleaning your car or brushing your teeth or going to work/school. Your MMO character is like your second life, a life that's more interesting.


Ultima started it – EverQuest improved it – World of Warcraft completed it

One other MMO worth mentioning is Linden Labs Second life where a player can take on the role of his virtual life and even earn money in the process.

I'm sorry I couldn't offer and history behing non MMO multiplayer gaming like xbox live, but I just dont know much about it.

Where I come in

I started gaming in the 90's (big surprise there!) and I think my 1st game was either Tetris or Donkey Kong which I played on my cousins NES. My father soon later got me a NES of my own and I played a lot of ****c arcade ports on it along with newer Nintendo's games. Naturally after SNES consoles were available here I got that and later the N64. I was always a Nintendo kid although was not a stranger to PC gaming. I remember I played a lot of Duke Nukem 3D, GTA 2, THPS 2,3,4, Citizen kabuto, Aliens vs Predator 2. Those are the games I mostly played on PC and after we got internet, about 10 years ago, I know I was constantly playing trial games from Real Arcade. As for online games, I played AVP2 online the most – from the day I got the game in 2002 pretty much till the day they closed the servers(was it 2008 or 2009) with a 1 or 2 year break in between. My MMO experiences started while in high school. Trough the 4 years I played a free Korean MMO, that was highly addictive but not really as good. I can say I met a lot of interesting people on there :] Now back to the consoles. For a while after N64 I stopped following consoles, apart from getting a DS in 2004, and recently (well, 4 years ago actually) got back into it and got myself a Wii and 360.

...I hope you now know a bit more about how gaming started and what influenced it the most :)...

And tnx for reading this blog!

The history of video games and the industry - part 1

Video gaming, have you ever asked yourself where it all began, how it all began and why it all began? What influenced it the most, what started the industry and why gaming didn't stop being popular like most fads eventually do? Questions every gamer should know the answer to. In this blog I'll try to present some of the people, games and companies that changed the course of gaming starting from the late 50's to the early 2000's.

How it all began

A laboratory, expensive government equipment, frustration and the need for relaxation or simply put something to have fun with. The earliest form of electronic entertainment is probably the analog CRT missile simulator game created in 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr.. Since his "game" did not have graphics within the system, the 1st game was created in 1958 by William Higinbotham on an oscilloscope titled "Tennis for Two".

Tennis for two

The oscilloscope provided the graphics and motion – it had 2 controllers for 2 players. In the cold war there was of course the race for space and in 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the 1st man to orbit the moon which influenced not only the US to push even higher but also programmers using and making programs on college computers. Steve Russell was no stranger there, this pushed him to create a game using their campus computer(DEC PDP-1).

SpaceWar!

Called SpaceWar! the game became increasingly popular over the coming years, the 1st shooting game. It was open source meaning Steve gave the code to everyone who wanted it or had access to such a computer – every campus had one. Initially it was played using the computer's switches but later got separate control or switch boxes – laddies and gentleman, I give you the birth of the game controller! Now jump to 1966 – the cold war, constant bad news on TV, the fear of total destruction of the world... Ralph Baer understood this, he knew there were a lot of TV's out there that could do something fun. He had a vision that one could play his TV. It took him 6 years but by 1972 he had done it – he had created the 1st video game console called the Magnavox Odyssey. In the same era we have Nolan Bushnell who saw this new video game fad as a potential successful business and founded Atari – the 1st video game company, the company that made the coin operated Pong arcade machine and later their 1st home Pong console.

Pong

Golden age of video arcade games

An era where arcades ruled the land, more and more video game companies started to emerge, new innovative games started showing up on arcades and this is where arcade games reached their peek in popularity. A key figure in this era is definitely Tomohiro Nishikado, the creator of one of the most popular games in history – Space Invaders. The game shows how the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki influenced the culture there.

Space invadersPac-ManDonkey Kong

The enemies were initially humans but due to criticism of it being inhumane, he changed it to aliens. But when you look at the game it clearly shows invaders attacking Japan, bombing it and you were there to shoot at them and defend yourself. With all the violence and shooting in games, there was certainly a need for something else, something less violent, something cute. In 1980 Tōru Iwatani brought us just that along with the 1st game protagonist who would to this day become the most known video game hero of all time – Pac-Man. Inspired by a pizza with one slice taken out, Pac-Man was not about violence and shooting, it was about eating, something completely different than other games, something that made it so widely popular. To give you a feeling how popular it really was, think of cartoons, music, tons of merchandise all made in relation to that one game. Never before in history has this happened. Now onto a much larger break trough in gaming. For games to ever be as big as movies, they needed a story and to connects with a story, you need a character. Although there was Pac-Man, he didn't have a story. Here's where Nintendo comes in. Founded in 1889 they were primarily in the playing card business and started exploring video games in 1975. Their 1st experience with it was publishing the 1st game console in Japan - Magnavox Odyssey. They had created some arcade titles at that time but nothing worth mentioning. When Nintendo of America was created they ordered some 3000 Radar Scope game units and had faith that it would sell big. Sadly a test unit was not doing so well and the didn't know what to do with all these units. So they got Shigeru Miyamoto, an artist at the time to create them a whole new game to put onto the units. Influenced by anime and manga he created the arcade game Donkey Kong(released 1981). The main character design was very limited due to what hardware allowed at the time so it had to be simple. A big nose and mustache instead of a mouth formed the face and a red jumpsuit the body to make him look recognizable – give it up for Mario everyone! The game also had a simple story, something new to video games and something we see in every game today. Mario or Jumpman had to rescue the girl from Donkey Kong (influenced by King Kong).

Some notable arcade games:

  • Asteroids

  • Lunar Lander

  • Frogger

  • Mappy

The video game crash of 1983

I'm sure most people know how it happened and what were the key things that caused it, a quick look at the year that ended the video game fad and put a scar on game console manufacturers in the US. And what a scar it was, not until 2001 would a north American company launch a successful game console(Microsoft, Xbox). The founder of Atari sold the company to Warner Communications and that's where we could say it all began. The new owners started making millions of dollars while the programmers only earned 20k per year so they left the company and started Activision – the 1st 3rd party video game developer. By the time Atari released its 1st widely popular home console, the Atari 2600, the system could play games off of cartridges like many of its competitors. This was very crucial as there were a lot (and I do mean a lot) of developers making games for all these consoles and most of those games were...how should I put this...total crap! You see at that time video gaming became so popular that making money out of a game was like throwing a game in the air and waited for money to come down. The new Atari owners were no strangers to this and were ordering shovelware games, the only cared about the money they would gain. Naturally the market was flooded with bunch of consoles and a bunch of games no one wanted to play no more, hence the crash in US and of course the death of Atari. PC gaming wasn't as much effected because PC gaming popularity was not as high sine all the computers were pretty expensive and were mostly used in offices.

The "restoration" and new dominance of gaming

Tertris SMB

Like the cold war had influence on many games being made in the US, it was also the case in the Soviet Union. Dark times, low moral, not much hope and the wish for more entertainment. At the time Alexey Pazhitnov was working as a computer engineer and becoming bored with it. He liked puzzles so he had an idea of how differently you can configure a set of blocks, a few tweaks here and there made the blocks fall down and, just like that in1984, Tetris was born. In the beginning is was mostly a computer game as PC's were becoming more and more affordable but was later ported to probably every console in existence. The game was one of the 1st that was very different from any other game because it required the player to use his brain (at least just a little bit). In 2 years he signed a publishing deal for 10 years and the game instantly became widely popular generating millions of dollars. Due to USSR copyright laws he didn't make as much money. In the early 90's the Soviet Union collapsed which effectively ended the cold war and the spark that started gaming but thanks to the Japanese gaming industry didn't stop gaming. After the crash there was a sense in the US that console gaming is over, more and more companies were starting to produce games for computers. But thanks to Nintendo, video game consoles would shine again. In 1985 Nintendo released NES in the US, most retailers taking huge risks there and they didn't know if it would sell or not. Bundled with Super Mario Bros. The console and game were a big success. Super Mario Bros had a larges sense of a story, you always knew you have to rescue the princess and that she was in a castle that was always on the right side of the level – foundations of a platforming game anyone? I figure if there were no Super Mario Brothers or Nintendo or Miyamoto, gaming, especially in the US, would have been a whole lot different and there would actually be a possibility that game consoles wouldn't be as popular as they are today.

The next generation

The late 80's and 90's games changed dramatically, one big influence on previous games was definitely the cold war but now that it was over the influence came from somewhere else, gaming began to take on the form of art, games were a product of artist expressing themselves. Games began to have stories, different new genres started to emerge, with the advancement in technology came more powerful hardware so games began to have better graphics, more sounds. Computer gaming also took the next step as PC's were becoming more and more affordable and were now not just used to create spreadsheets, but also to play games. Miyamoto already proved himself as one of the most important and influential people in the gaming industry but he still wasn't done changing it.

Zelda

He had an interesting life as a child, he explored caves and forests around Kyoto and he liked it so much that he just wanted to make a game out of it. In the late 80's, Miyamoto designed one of the 1st adventure games that became widely popular world wide and really presented itself as what a story telling game should be. Although Donkey Kong had the basic principles of a story, The Legend of Zelda took it to the next level. It had a story told trough the game, item collection, exploring, impressive sounds... Even though it was not the 1st RPG, it definitely had a great mixture of action and RPG elements seen in a lot of today's games. In the 90's gaming changed, as the Nintendo generation grew up into their early 20's there was a need for something new and not as childish as Mario and saving princesses. This is what Sega knew. They also started marketing in the US after the crash and came out with Mega Drive(Genesis), superior in hardware than its NES competitor(SNES came out a year later), the 16 bit system had a game and lovable character that appealed more to young adults than Mario did. Of course I'm talking about Sonic the Hedgehog.


This was also understood by Sony. When Nintendo was making its 3rd game system they partnered with Sony to create one that uses CD's as media. This of course didn't happen due to disputes and N64 read games trough cartridges. However Sony than came out with PlayStation that was targeted at kids in their late teens and early 20's and on. They knew there was a wide audience out there that still wanted to play games and since it used CD's it didn't feel so much as a kids toy like other consoles did. And because it used CD's to lead games from it meant more data could be stored on them, more sounds and higher quality sounds, more sophisticated graphics higher quality video - 650MB on CD's vs 64MB on N64 cartridges.


Games also became more and more mature and this could especially apply to GTA III and its sequels. I mean you were free to go around killing people, cops, stealing vehicles, doing missions for not necessarily good people. The game also showed a mix of hollywood and gaming with a lot of the voice cast being known actors and licensed sound tracks above all just a good hollywood like presentation. Suddenly games were as popular as movies it had even come to a point that beating a video game gave you more satisfaction than watching a movie (with some cases at least). Another mix of hollywood may be seen with motion capture. More and more developers started using motion capture to get realistic animations and make the game look more authentic. Even with all the high quality graphics, sound and animation, one of the things still need to conquer is the ability to care for the game characters and make the player cry.

The leap to 3D

The 1st game that sort of looked like 3D was Battlezone (Atari, 1980) that displayed a wireframe view vith vector graphics. It was quite popular at the time since nothing like it ever existed. Battlezone also showed the military that games aren't just for fun but can be used to train people and the US military actually asked Atari to make them a simulation "game" for one of their tanks. The next step was LucasArts game Rescue on Fractalus!, made in 1984, which was basically a 2D game using fractals to give a depth of field look But these 2 technologies could never last that long as they just didn't capture the designers vision for the game. 6 years of technology advancement later and CPU's were powerful enough to draw more and more stuff on the screen. The new technology drove to the creation of the 1st person shooter and no game did it better than Wolfenstein 3D. Designed by John Romero, Tom Hall and John Carmack from idSoftware, it used sprites rather than polygons as 3D graphics were not yet available. Its worthy to mention the game came on the PC rather than a console which proved computers were just as good to play games on than consoles. The next step was Doom which was a total redesign of Wolfenstein in which you could climb, the levels had multi level floors, better lighting effects and even miltiplayer. Doom was probably the definitive 1st person shooter ever released as it laid the foundations of all other shooters to come. With it the popularity of shooters skyrocketed, it was a way for gamers to express the way they feel. With the arrival of 3D graphics in 1996 idSoftware released Quake which also was quite a genre defining game and was one of the 1st games to finally use polygons instead of sprites.

Battlezone

Some notable games later released(before 2000):

  • Medal of Honor

  • Half life

  • Unreal Tournament

  • GoldenEye 007

...in part 2: God games, online games and where I started gaming...

A new lunar cycle - a new beginning

Ok I lied the last blog post wasnt the last. Still - im keeping it short.


Today the world will enter a new lunar cycle - the year of the tiger(). So for the next 7 days there will be plenty of festivities in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, Singapore, Malaysa, Thailand, Laos, Philippines and other countries.

I forgot to mention, Japan also celebrated the lunar new year before 1873 but after the Meiji restoration and western influence, they changed to the gregorian calendar and no longer determine the year by following the moon's cyrcles.

新年快乐 xin nian quai le! 恭喜发财 gong xi fa cai!

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