mpython99 / Member

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mpython99 Blog

An opposition to on-line gameplay.

Do I stand alone in my belief that on-line gaming has gone too far? Having grown up in the Nintendo (and by that I mean NES, not the company) I have always been kind of partial to games that are self contained. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy a good multiplayer game, but really only when it's played with people in the same room I'm in. I have tried the on-line gaming experience; I wouldn't feel as though I could judge something I haven't given my best effort (and that is verified by a level 40+ character in WOW, and lots of time spent in other games in differing genres). I just don't like the experience. And I have no argument against purely on-line games, after all it's the only reason you would play the game in the first place. My real problem lies with games that have the on-line aspect in addition to the "normal" game play (Halo 2 and 3 I'm looking at you).

If I'm going to throw down against an opponent I take much more pleasure in seeing the look of defeat on their face when I crush them. Trash talk is so much more fun when done in person. Plus it gets to be excessive when done on-line, people loose the sense of responsibility when complete and total anonymity is involved. That's the basic problem with the internet, otherwise nice people become complete jerks when granted anonymity.

The reason I find it necessary to bring my opinion to light now is what appears to me to be a recent trend in video games. That is more and more games are coming out as either on-line only, or with severely butchered console action in favor of the on-line aspects. Case in point Halo, while the first was a great game that had a terrific balance of personal play and on-line the other two games were disturbingly short so that more on-line aspect could be crammed in. This bothers me, the games are terrific but if I'm going to spend next-gen cash on a game I want to be able to go at it for longer than 15 hours of storyline game time. Not to mention the inability to unlock all of the achievements in my 360 games due to the fact I don't want to go at the game on-line, but that's a rant for a different time and place.

As in all other media when a game is played with others it is more about the shared experience than it is about the game played, or the movie watched, or the roller coaster ridden. A comedy flick is by far funnier when you can share that experience with another directly. The same can be said for video games. I just don't get as excited when I accomplish something difficult with the aide of someone halfway across the globe as I do when I'm playing with a buddy in the same local. I'm not saying that on-line game play detracts from the game; I'm just saying the game, and the resulting achievement, is better when shared with someone in the same room.

I know that more and more games with have on-line aspects built into them. And that I may have to once again venture into that realm to achieve what I'd like. I just hope that the regular game, the off-line version, doesn't suffer too greatly so that this secondary aspect of the game can be developed.

Af opinion of EA's recent acquizition

Back in the day I was a fan of EA, they produced some of the finest titles in the land. But then again back then they were primarily sports orientated, and their sports titles are still fantastic endeavors. I mean who's going to argue that Madden is not the best football games on the market, and Tiger Woods is the best golf game? And their other sports titles continue to be solid contenders in their respective fields. EA started with sports and have succeeded greatly at it.

So now EA is purchasing BioWare/Pandemic Studios, gamespot article. I cannot blame them for wanted to expand the range of genres that they produce. If they can obtain a foothold in the various genres they can make more money, it's really just basic business. So they've been buying up various different established companies to obtain this foothold. Now some people complain how this will take away some platform exclusive game, while others rejoice. Personally I could care less. I own a Wii and a 360 (and a plethora of older generation systems) and if a game comes to one of these systems fantastic, if not, well I can live without. And if I was a publisher you can bet your tail I'd be finding ways to produce games in all genres to every possible market I could. Hey if I can put some more coin in my pocket by not releasing a tile exclusively to a platform people can whine all they want because that game is going to sell WAY more copies.

Business strategy is not my problem, from what little I know of business it all makes sense to me. Here's my issue: If it's not a sports game, and EA makes it, it's likely going to be a pile of garbage. Now I know there are exceptions to this, for instance The Sims was a great game, but overall I feel my point is valid. Now the number of bad games EA puts out is really of no concern to me, my problem lies in the fact that they have destroyed some of my favorite franchises.

Let's take a look back at some of the marvels that EA has put our after acquiring a franchise. Now I may not hit all or hardly any of the franchise titles that that have spoiled, but as I said these are my top 2 favorites they have ruined. Let's flashback to a game that revived and revolutionized the FPS on consoles: Goldeneye. Now Goldeneye, made by Rare, was a beautiful game that changed FPS's on consoles forever. And EA's sequel, The World Is Not Enough, was a steaming pile of dog doo. It was essentially trying to be exactly like Goldeneye, however, the graphics were terrible, the plot followed in suit, and all in all it just didn't feel right (probably due to the complete lack of anything resembling blood). And Rare's follow up to Goldeneye was the smash hit Perfect Dark. A game that expanded on the success of Goldeneye instead of rehashing the same thing only worse. EA has made several other Bond games, and the graphics have gotten considerably better. But EA in their quest to make sure everyone can play has eliminated the blood completely (and I'm not saying it needs to gush but a little red spot to indicate a hit would be nice) and focused less on the killing and made the games about the gadgets and the driving. The latest games don't even feel like they are a part of the Bond universe.

My other favorite franchise EA has destroyed is Command and Conquer. Now in my book Red Alert 2 is by far the greatest C&C game, enough accuracy and fantasy to entice and keep it interesting, with interactive environments to contend with. Command and Conquer 3 seems to be missing something. The graphics are good, and there are plenty of units to play with; but it's missing that charm that Westwood seemed to be able to imbue it with. Skirmishes just aren't all that fun anymore. And there's just something else I can't put my finger on, but it spell's all kinds of not goodness in the game.

Now EA's treatment of the employees of the companies they purchase is a rant for another time and place, this one is just about the quality of the product. My only hope for this recent acquisition for EA is that they leave them be. That they let BioWare/Pandemic function autonomously, for it seems that when EA steps in and enforces their standards of gaming on the companies that they acquire the quality of the product goes right down the pisser. I guess all we can do is wait and see, here's hoping.

Bravo Joe Paterno!

Recently Joe Paterno has shown us again why he is widely regarded as one of the greatest head coaches in college football history.  No it wasn't winning 20 games over the last two seasons much less his 363 wins overall, or even his outstanding tenure at the position of head coach.  No it was with his reaction to the recent escapades of several of his players. 

At the beginning of April one of his players, Anthony Scirrotto, was insulted and punched by some passer-by.  He in turn called some of his friends from the football team and tracked down the person in question.  Needless to say there was a fight.  Now as it seems Scirrotto was not at fault per-say for this incident, he was the one who was attacked after all.  But Paterno doesn't really care.

In an age where coaches are more concerned about not being able to text message potential recruits anymore, and coaches preach on having a strong positive character then proceed  to bend the rules for a star player; Paterno is standing up for what is right.  As a result for this infraction Paterno is punishing the entire team.  And not some simple wash a few cars punishment, this one has merit.  While the entire team will be required to build a house for Habitat for Humanity and volunteer at the Special Olympics Paterno is going for something else, something much more else.  The definitive part of this punishment is that the team, the entire team, will have to clean Beaver Stadium after each home game.  In order to clean the image of the football team the team will be cleaning the stadium.  Kudos to Paterno for that one.

Where on most college campuses football players are held to a lower standard and treated better than the rest Paterno is raising the bar.  He understands that these people are no better than every other student, and that the represent Penn State to a much broader audience.  So Joe Paterno may be 80 years of age but he is no les tough, and no less disciplined than ever.  I only hope that the rest of nation can follow by this example and stop making excuses for athletes, they need to be help accountable for their actions just like the rest of us.

Cubs!

OK so I bill myself as a Cubs fan, I have been for a long time.  But seriously they are just a bad ball club.  Let's take a look at the last weeks games shall we.  Monday against the Mets they walked in the winning run.  Now losing when you're up in the ninth is bad enough, but to walk the bases loaded and then walk in the winning run is simply un-excusable.  Not the way to start off a week of baseball.  Hey Tuesday the won a game and boy did they.  Tuesday they showed what they are truly capable of in an impressive 10-1 romp of the Mets.  That's what the Cubs are capable of when they are clicking. Wednesday was jus the opposite of Tuesday, almost exactly.  The Cubs lost 8-1, they were simply beat the entire game.  Somehow that's not nearly as embarrassing as walking in the go ahead run, still bad.  But hey you expect losses like that through out the season, it happens even to the best teams; which the Cubs are not.  Then there's the game like tonight.  This was the quintessential Cubs game; it was the type of game that defines the Cubs.  They were in the lead going into the 9th inning, and not just a 1 run lead the Cubs were up by 4.  4 sounds like a reasonable lead, hey you can't screw that up can you?  Well they did, in typical Cubs fashion.  But hey they have potential, and they're the Cubs.  The team I've loved watching since before I can remember.  So I'll keep watching, and I'll keep pulling for them.  I know they'll lose some ridiculous games during the course of the season, and they'll win some whoppers.  So rock on Cubbies, I'm no fair weather fan I'll still be here with the rest of the yahoo's.  Just wait until they hit their stride, hey they're only 18-21 with plenty of time left in the season.  Just wait until next year.

 

IDOT Construction Zone Speeding

For all of you who live in Illinois this is bit of a heads up.  Illinois will begin using photo radar in freeway work zones in July. Second offense tickets are $1,000 with license suspension. Beginning in July the State of Illinois will use speed cameras in areas designated as "Work Zones" on major freeways. Anyone caught by these devices will be mailed a $375. ticket for the FIRST offense, but he SECOND offense will cost $1000.00 and comes with a 90-Day suspension.  Drivers will also receive demerit points against their license, which allows insurance companies to raise their rates.  This represents the harshest penalty structure yet for a city or state using PHOTO enforcements. The State will begin with TWO camera vans issuing tickets in work zones with speed limits lowered to 45 MPH. Photographs of both the Driver's face and License plate are taken.  For more info: http://www.dot.state.il.us/press/r033005.html  

Baseball

Well now we wait.  Pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training today.  Alas two of the biggest names in the majors as far as pitchers go ay not be reporting for their repective teams.  But the only one that I care about is Carlos Zambrano.  Big Z, as he refers to himself occasioanlly, is asking for just over 18 milliion for 5 years; while the Cubs are offering just over 11 million for three years.  Quite a ways apart.  But lets face facts here Zambrano is the best pitcher in the National League, and undoubtly the most consistant for the Cubs.  So while there is some room between the two offers that needs to be made up the Cubs will still have to pony up and pay him sone cash, he definatly deserves it.  As far as overpaid athletes go baseball players are the epitome of this, but president was set and Zambrano deserves what he is worth; which has been set forth by the market.  Heck the Cubs themselfs have exhibited this in the recent signings they have done, minus Prior.  I say pay him, if the Cubs don't they will rue the day.

Bears

February is the loneliest month around.  Congratulations to the Colts on  a fine game, they were most certainly the better team.  While it was remarkable to see the Bears make it to the biggest game of the year, and the most widely watched sporting even in the world, it was still a sad day for all of us in Beardom.  We witnessed a team that had the potential to bring home the most prestigious of trophies, yet fall short.  We witnessed a game where the focal point of the game was Rex Grossman and his unsteadiness.  While the experts were all right on the outcome the Bears put up more of a fight than anybody thought they would.  Now comes the hard part, listening to all of those experts talk about how right they were in their assessment, and how bad Grossman is.  This is the longest time of year for me since it is the longest time before there is another sporting event I want to watch.  But now it's going to be longer since I have to listen to every analyst talk about this and that and how the Bears shouldn't even have been there.  Well I suppose all I can do is sit back and enjoy the ride; because next year will tell a different story.  Will Rex improve?  Will Tommie and Mike make a sizable difference?  Will the Bears be able to repeat?  Only time will tell what will and can happen, and that seems to be all that we have on our hands right now.