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Why I'm Excited About Injustice: Gods Among Us

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I've always enjoyed fighting games. There's something about experimenting with a large roster of characters and learning all their moves, strengths and weaknesses that appeals to me. Some of my favorite memories of visiting arcades as a boy involve finding a new fighting game and spending all of my spare change testing it out.

My problem with fighting games is that while I enjoy them enough to have a good time with them for a little while, I don't enjoy them so much that I want to put in the time and effort that it takes to be a high level fighting game player. This isn't a problem if I'm playing a game right when it comes out, as I'm usually able to find players online that match my skill level. But if I try and go online with a fighting game that's been out for more than a couple of months I find that the only players that are still playing are the kind of high level players that easy beat anyone of moderate or below skill level. Going online with no chance of finding someone that you can compete against just isn't fun. And going online is really all you can do in most current generation fighting games. The feature list for just about every fighter in my collection contains three items: an "arcade" mode that you can blow through in about 10 minutes, a tutorial that isn't very good at teaching even the basics, and an online mode. This sparse feature set would be deemed unacceptable in any other genre, but because of their arcade roots fighting games have been given a pass by both reviewers and gamers. Arcade machines could get away with it because of the low cost of playing them, but I expect more content from a full priced console game.

After trying many well made fighters that I quickly grew tired of playing online, I was starting to think the genre was no longer for me. Then NetherRealm released their last Mortal Kombat game. Not only was the fighting lots of fun, but there was a ton of stuff to do in the game outside of the online mode. It featured a great campaign that was longer than most first person shooter campaigns these days, a challenge tower where you could hone certain skills with each fighter, a "krypt" that let you unlock bonuses like character art and extra finishing moves, a mode that changed the game in fun ways like making you play upside down, and more. It was the first home fighting game I played that I felt had enough content to justify being priced as a full retail game.

Everything I've read about Injustice: Gods Among Us says that it will include a similar amount of content. It's a rare game that I'm going to buy at full price, just so that I can support NeatherRealm for giving us so much more than other fighting games have. I hope the makers of future fighters learn from their example.

 

UPDATE: It looks like Capcom is paying attention.

The Future of Gaming Is Here!

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Are you tired of playing the same old games again and again? Are you looking for something new to reignite your love of gaming? Well if you're a guy, minor league baseball's Lehigh Valley IronPigs have you covered. Just one ticket to Coca-Cola Park and a quick trip to the men's room is all it takes to "interact with the world's only truly hands-free urinal game controller".

This paragraph from the above link says it all:

"These games are sure to make a huge splash," exclaimed IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes. "Our fans are always looking for the next big thing and these 'X-Stream games' are another example of our commitment to providing an unparalleled entertainment experience in all aspects of Coca-Cola Park, including our restrooms."


This is, no question, one of the greatest stories in the history of gaming. So why is this blog the only place on this website where you can read anything about it? Gamespot really dropped the ball here. Gamespot's news team is wasting time writing about leaked Battlefield 4 screenshots while the year's biggest news story passes them by. And couldn't Kevin VanOrd have stepped away from Bioshock Infinite for a few minutes to write the in-depth review this incredible game truly deserves?

Don't bother looking at any more PS4 coverage, gentlemen. This is truly the next generation of gaming.

 

Toilet game!

I'm sick of being asked for my money before getting anything in return

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So I was at a store the other day looking through their video game section when I came across a stack of cards inviting me to take one to the checkout line so I could use it to pre-order the season pass for Bioshock Infinite. Pre-orders for video games have been around for years now, and though I've always thought customers don't get much for giving away their money before they even know if a game is good or not, I've understood why some people might want to put their money behind the next game in a series they liked or from a developer they trusted before the game was even released. This was different though. Now I was being asked to pre-pay for a set of DLC that hadn't even been announced yet for a game that I was weeks away from even being able to play. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit much to ask?

I'm a big fan of Irrational Games, and I'm confident Bioshock Infinite will be as great as everyone hopes it is, but what if it's not? Pre-ordering this season pass will mean that on top of buying the game before finding out that it wasn't very good, I'll also have added to my folly by spending even more money on extras for a bad game. But let's say the game turns out to be brilliant. I'll then have three set of DLC to look forward to. But what exactly does that mean? What have I pre-paid for? Am I going to be getting extra levels? Extra missions that take place in the same levels that the core game already has? All the information provided says is that I'll be getting "new stories", whatever that means. There just isn't enough information on what this DLC I'm being asked to pre-pay for will contain. But that hasn't stopped 2K games from asking for my money. What exactly do I gain from giving publishers money before they've given me anything? I could just as easily wait for all this DLC to be released and pay for it then, after it's been reviewed and I can make a more informed purchase.

This "pre-order DLC on top of a pre-ordered game" trend is only getting more popular. Since last week, every time I sign on to Xbox Live I'm greeted with an advertisement telling me to pre-order the "VIP pass" for Gears of War: Judgment, yet another DLC bundle for a game that (as I write this) has yet to be released. As this push to squeeze extra money out of us before a game's release becomes more common, I find myself wondering why exactly people seem to be embracing it. After all, if no one was pre-ordering these things we wouldn't be seeing them all the time, right?

Do you plan to pre-buy DLC for a game you've also pre-paid for? If so, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. What kind of value do you think you'll be getting for your money? What advantage do you think there is in giving your money away before getting something for it, or even knowing if that something will be a something you might enjoy?

Well There Goes That Pre-Order

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So... it's been awhile. I'm still not feeling great, but I've decided that I'm going to try and blog more regularly from now on. Partially, that's because I needed an excuse to check out some of the new feature they've introduced to this site recently. Partially, it's because I missed talking with you guys. But the main reason for this decision is that they just announced a multiplayer mode for the new Tomb Raider game and I wanted to b*tch and moan about that.

Seriously, why did they have to wait so long before crushing my hopes for this game? I'd stopped caring about other upcoming titles like Aliens: Colonial Marines long ago, thanks to the heavy emphasis on multiplayer in their ads. If they announce a mode I have no interest in playing along with the announcement of the game, it's pretty easy for me to write that game off. But Tomb Raider was different. Because of the focus on character and story in all the information released about the game so far, I've been excited about Tomb Raider for months. Crystal Dynamics had given me hope that they had created an excellent game, and more importantly, an excellent game that I would be able to enjoy 100% of. If they had told us that the game would have multiplayer sooner instead of waiting this close to release, I would have known not to get too interested in it. Bane was right, there can be no true despair without hope.

This past year hasn't been kind to lovers of single player gaming. EA has essentially written us off as consumers by stating that they aren't making any more single player only games. So Dead Space 3 is getting a co-op mode that will force an abandonment of the series' roots and turn it into yet another action game, Resident Evil style. Because, according to EA, we were too afraid of the first two games. SimCity is getting an mandatory online mode that forces users to be connected to the internet at all times. Who has ever played a SimCity game and thought to themselves "this would be great if only it had multiplayer"? And I can't wait to see how EA forces the square peg of multiplayer down the round hole that is the RPG genre when Dragon Age 3 is announced.

Then we have the Spec Ops: The Line's lead designer calling the multiplayer mode of his own game a "cancerous growth" and blaming its publisher for forcing them to include it. This sort of nonsense is only going to continue, since so many people in power in the games industry consider the single player experience to be a gimmick.

I was glad to see the negative reaction to Naughty Dog's announcement of multiplayer to The Last of Us, since it means that at least their are more gamers out there that feel like I do. But Naughty Dog's response made it pretty clear that they don't get it, with their community strategist saying "We dont approach [multiplayer] in any of our games as tacked on". People weren't upset because they thought the game's multiplayer would be "tacked on", they were upset because the game's multiplayer existed at all.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate multiplayer? Because I really, really hate mutiplayer.

The Power of Used Games

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I had decided some time ago that I wouldn't buy Halo 4. I felt like Bungie had wrapped the series up pretty nicely and the only new feature that I'd seen announced by 343 was a co-op mode that I'd likely never play even if I did own the game. So even though I enjoyed the previous games, I thought the Halo series was behind me.

Then I traded in some of my games at Gamestop. I got store credit since they were offering some really nice deals on the games I had traded in, but when the clerk asked if there were any games I wanted to pre-order with my credit, I couldn't think of any. There are really no games coming out in the next few months that interest me.

So I bought Halo 4.

Are you sure the used market is costing you millions, games industry?

Murder Most Fowl

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Last week, a headless duck corpse was discovered in my parent's backyard.

Here is the prime suspect:

Hawk

If you have any information that could lead to the capture of this violent criminal, leave it in the comments below.

There But For The Grace Of God...

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Most weekday mornings, at about 9am, I walk past the Empire State Building on my way to work. I worked from home today, though. So imagine my surprise when I found out that, at about 9am today, this happened.

It's going to be a fun trip to work on Monday morning, I'm sure.

Breathless

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I have had asthma my entire life, and will likely have it until the day I die. It's never had too big an impact on me, mostly just making me short of breath when I do things like run or talk for a long period of time. And even that hasn't been a problem for me lately. Some of the newer medications that have come out in the past 7 years or so have helped me have more or less normal breathing.

That is... until about 2 months ago. For some reason that no doctor I've seen has been able to figure out, my medication has stopped working. Not only that, but I have been out of breath almost constantly for the past two months. My heart is beating much faster than normal. Even the smallest amount of strenuous activity forces me to sit down to breath. I'm coughing all the time. When it's at its worst, I wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath. Even the simplest of tasks, like sitting in front of a computer to type up a blog post, seems like a herculean effort. I have barely left my house over the past 2 months except to go to work. I mostly spend my free time playing video games these days. Granted, I did a lot of that before this started, but now it's just about all I can do. Even movies are hard to focus on when you're constantly being made aware of your breathing. It's probably because video games require more concentration that something like watching a movie does, but not much more effort, that helps me forget about what's going on at that moment. Since nothing else works to take my mind off things, I'd probably have gone crazy without gaming.

So that's my way of explaining why you haven't seen me around these parts recently. Until my situation improves, don't expect to see me on here too much. I know it's been hard coming to this site for the past couple of months without seeing any new posts from me, but try to be strong. You'll make it through this. I have faith in you