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Pre-Review of WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw 2008

Woo, wrestling fans, WWE wrestling fans in particular, it's time for another exciting year of WWE gaming action. Over the weekend I've had ample amount of time to sit down with the demo version of this year's WWE installment-Smackdown! Vs Raw 2008. And I must say that I am pleased. I'll start with the in ring action. Played right, mimicking the in ring action of WWE excitement, this game has what it takes to excite onlookers. Using the Right Thumbstick to perform grapples makes the moves appear fluid. Irish whips are definitely easier to pull off as compared to last year's installment. In last year's game, players had to push A and the Left Bumper to perform an Irish Whip, or hold down both buttons at the same time to perform a strong Irish Whip. In SVR 08, for a weak Irish Whip, just push the B button, and for a strong Irish Whip, just push and hold down the B button for a matter of seconds. Also, the running mechanics in this installment is much better than last year's installment. Last year, you used the Y button to run. Using Y made some moves awkward, for example, running ground attacks. This year, all one has to do it hold down the Left Bumper to make the character run, which feels a lot more natural. This time you don't just run towards your opponent, you can run in any direction while holding down the left bumper. You can run around in circles if you like. Not only does this make performing running strikes easier, it makes running ground attacks much easier to pull off. Strikes are pretty much the same. Push X to perform a strike, and push X plus a direction on the Left Thumbstick to perform a different type of strike. Counters and reverses are the same as previous years' games to pull off-Left Trigger and Right Trigger, respectively. This year the weapon shots are much more realistic. When you hit someone, you actual light them up.

Still, there are the occasional, irritating glitches. Maybe the glitches are just products of bad timing-which would be understandable, but sometimes the timing is accurate, and still, strange things will happen. The running grapple maneuver, for example, is kind of hard to pull off coming from a long distance. Now, I would understand if an opponent side steps a charging opponent, but there has been times when I've been right on point, and still I go tumbling past my opponent. Let's not forget about the top rope moves where you jump past your intended target, jumping short of your opponent is one thing, but jumping past your opponent is another.

The voice-overs for the announcers are great, but there are times when they comment on something that happened minutes prior. For example, I hit my opponent with a chair, and then, minutes afterwards, good ole' J.R. comments on the shot to the head. And then there's times when the camera angle doesn't make any damn since. For instance, when the Undertaker removes his hat and flips his eyes, the camera will catch him from an angle that doesn't display his eyes so well, like a side mug shot. Obviously, since online, character create, and other feature were not on the demo, I don't have any comments at this time. But as soon as the full version is released, I willgive you all a full review. Despite some minor glitches, that should have been fiixed by now, the game is look excellent!

Planning the Perfect Video Game Tournament

When you're planning a video game tournament, the first thing that you'd want to do is communicate pertinent information to your guest. You start by determining the game (or games) to be played and the genre that the game fits into. Of course, you want to have a date and location in mind. Next, you'd want to determine the duration of the tournament. To do the latter, you should determine the length of time for each match, round, or quarter; then, multiply the length of time per match, round, or quarter by the number of matches, rounds, or quarters per game. Then, you divide the number anticipated competitors by 2 to get the number of games. Next, you multiply the number of games by the amount of time in a game; next, multiply the total number of time-outs by the amount time allowed per time-out; now, multiply the number of games by the estimated time in between games. Finally, sum the results of the previous calculation; you should now have an indication of the tournament's duration. Also, encourage your guest to bring TVs, games, and consoles. Incremental game stations increase your potential number of guest, and since the competitions are running concurrent, there is no need to calculate tournament durations per game station. What you can do, however, is divide the number of games by the number of game stations, thus determining the number of games or players per game station. And by all means, be a good host. You should have drinks and snacks for your guest. Recommended drinks for gaming events would be soda, water, energy drinks, and beer. Make sure there is plenty! If your budget can't bare it, communicate that to your guest. Either inform them to bring goodies, or request donations. Before the tournament starts, you should thank you guest for coming, explain your hopes for the tournament, communicate house keeping expectations, and explain the rules of the tournament. You have home court advantage, so please try to resist being in the tournament. Now, if you have friends over for casual gaming or LAN parties, then it would be fine for you to compete. The best way for you to get involved in tournaments is to arrange for someone else to host the next tournament. Also, not everyone will be playing at the same time. You should make sure idle guest have something to do, even though they should be watching the competition. Make sure the drink coolers are in the kitchen, and there's plenty of space in the kitchen for socializing. Also, have music playing, but no so loudly as to interfere with the game stations' audio. Unless weather conditions are unfavorable, leave your door to the outside open for smokers. You may smoke in your own house, but not all guests like second-hand smoke, so please be courteous. Set the game station such that everyone has their own environment. Most gamers like to hear the games that they play, so make sure the room is acoustically formatted. During the tournament, you should take mental notes on what works, and what doesn't work so that next time you can improve the experience. When the tournaments ends, thank your guest for coming, and ask if anything could have been done better.

What Makes a Great Game Designer

Does being "Me" make me a Game Designer? Do I need some sort of degree in Digital Media to be a Game Designer? Does the fact that I'm a hardcore gamer mean that I am a Game Designer? The answers are "Yes", "No", and "No". Basically, I was born to be a Game Designer. Yeah, that sounds a bit cliché; I know. The fact is that one doesn't need a degree in game design to be a Game Designer. One thing that I do agree with is that for a specialized field in game development such as programming, art, writing, or music one may need a degree inthat particular field. Even then, if you're a dedicated hobbyist, okay then, you can do it based on your inherent talents. Hold up now! I'm not knocking education; in fact, education is the true possible means to transcend classes, and I don't mean academic classes like Math and English. I mean the social classes. Hey, but that's a different blog. Now let's get back to game design. And don't think that because you've sat on your ass playing video games all of your life makes you a game designer either. You may sit around saying, "It would be cool to do this in a game or to that in a game". Hell, it'd be cool to play a multiplayer reality game being the character of a hit show on NBC. While you're playing the game it's broadcast live on NBC, and at the end of the week, audiences vote on the best performance by calling in. Unfortunately, although a good ass idea, that **** would cost money, time, and talent. Basically, it takes more to being a Game Designer than saying, "It would be cool to do this or that". I'll tell you what makes a Game Designer. Knowing what sacrifices to make as far as the elements that go into the game, telling a good story, imagining engaging & convincing environments, and designing difficult...yet possible puzzles, and communicating those same ideas to your team is what makes you a Game Designer. That's right. You have to know what sacrifices to make. Let's take Madden for example. Say that EA wanted to chronicle a particular NFL player's life: for example, the Michael Vick story. You're an all-star NFL Quarter Back, and you have real life choices to make. You can choose to fight dogs with your friends, or you can say "No", and move on with your football career. (By no means do I condone the fighting of dogs (I love animals).) But if you chose the former route, you would have to fight the media, make your name positive again, and then, scale the ranks again. But do you think EA would have the time in between seasons to create such an elaborate plot? No. So they go with what's important to the game: football game play. That's what sacrifice is about. Now let's talk about a good story. A good story has a combination ofbeginning, middle, and end; a story has character, plot, and setting. Moreover, ways to develop any story are the uses of suspense, drama, action, and romance. One doesn't have to use all of those, but to make a good story, that's what I'd suggest-using them all. Below is a formula for developing a good story.

Story = Beginning (Drama *Suspense*Action*Romance) + Middle (Drama *Suspense*Action*Romance) + End (Drama *Suspense*Action*Romance)

Okay, you have in mind what elements are important to your game; you have a story which incorporates setting-convincing environments. Now, where's the challenge? Duh, it's in the puzzles, the obstacles. There should be immediate, middle, and long term goals. Entwined in the goals should be puzzles and obstacles. Let's take Halo for an example. Your immediate goal is to take out the enemy right in front of you; your middle goal is to clear the level or campaign; your final goal is to defeat the final boss and beat the entire game. And in creating your challenges, make them such that the player is teetering on the edge of impossible. You should have the players so pissed that their willing to smash their controllers. Of course, in the beginning, throw the player a bone; make him/her feel as if they're the ****. Then, as the player progresses, make it hard on them, but not so hard it's impossible. In that case, you as the game designer would deserve a foot up the ass. I'll never forget the game Black Mantis. There was no way to beat the final boss; I was like, "What's this...a sick joke". By the way, if anyone knows how to beat that boss, please let me know. Once you've got game elements, story, and obstacles-you have to communicate those ideas to your team: writers, programmers, artists, producers, sound technicians, and marketing reps. Being unclear or indecisive about your vision are recipes for disaster. Likewise, if you want to piss off your team, you come dropping some **** at the last minute. Each of your requests takes someone time to sketch, program, and test. Basically, get your act together up front. Get all the pieces of the puzzle together in your head, and let your team paint each piece. Devan Moore signing off...peace!