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My top ten games of this gen: Part 2

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MUSIC

5) Half Life 2: Episode 2 - It's for the most part everything Half Life 2 should have been. Still, the gunplay could be better, but the pacing, AI, and level design have largely been improved. The inclusion of the hunters added a great amount of much needed tension, as I felt Half Life 2 and Episode 1 had very lackluster enemies and AI.

4) The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - "Woah, woah, woah! Dont you mean The Witcher 2?!" Nope. I liked The Witcher better. I think the story, characters, and world worked much better in the first. And whether or not you thought the combat mechanics were any good, they definitely were more RPG-ish. But there was one thing I genuinely loved about the Witcher: the way the story is told. Each chapter had its own setting, characters, and story arc. Each chapter would start off slowly, have tension slowly rise, leading up to a climax. Each chapter, though somewhat encapsulated, contributed to the main plot quite well and I thought it was a very satisfying experience.

I still need to go back and replay Witcher 2, as I still have yet to finish it, but it all felt too monotone to me. The Witcher 2 seems to be all about politics and making political choices. But Geralt is not some politician, hes a Witcher, a professional monster hunter. The Witcher definitely nailed that aspect. He was a monster hunter who was caught up in a political whirlwind, not just a politician who happens to fight monsters. But dont get me wrong, I am still enjoying the sequel. I just happen to enjoy the first a bit more.

3) F.E.A.R. - Ah yes, the king of gunplay. People often complain about the (lack of) art design and the lack of variety, and they would not be incorrect. But the core gameplay is simply so superb, I can't help but rank it so highly. Everything about the gameplay was perfect: from the way the guns behaved to the way enemies would theatrically explode into gibs. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I have contested for years that every FPS fan must play at least once.

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2) S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl - This is probably my favorite FPS, like ever. The oppressive world created here is so unbelievably engrossing, I have a hard time putting it down every time I play. There are so many games this generation that, while I enjoyed, I did not really feel immersed in. Shadow of Chernobyl is not one of those games. The bugs and the laughable voice acting, which would normally kill off my suspension of disbelief, did not affect my utter absorption into the game's chilling world. Hell, every time I play through the series, I start to have dreams about life in the Zone. It's just that gripping.

One of my favorite attributes about the games is the open ended-ness of the gameplay. Some of my most memorable experiences in the entire series were either totally unscripted or caused by my actions: that time where, after believing I had cleared out a room, I heard the roar of a bloodsucker behind me; that time where I instigated a fight with a few Duty on patrol in Clear Sky and, being completely underequipped, I had to retreat... to which I heard them taunt me via radio "Dont bring a knife to a gun fight, fool!"; that time where I started a fight with the mutants in Yantar, only to have the camp of mercenaries nearby to join with me in clearing the entire town.

These games took my breath away. They held my number 1 spot for many years. Shadow of Chernobyl is STILL really repayable. In addition to the bug fixing and graphics improving mod 'Complete 2009,' theres also the 'Oblivion Lost' mod, which adds new guns, armor, enemies, and game mechanics; as well as the 'AMK' mod, which also adds an insane amount of content. This game kept me coming back for more punishment year after year. And I still want to pick it back up again. Gameplay perfection.

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1) Minecraft - Yes, yes, I know: nobody is at all surprised by my choice. But this thing has sucked the life out of me. I did not want to have it be my #1 spot, but I cannot deny what this game does to me. With every passing update, the game wins my heart over. This game is a poison: it has single handedly derailed one of my semesters, and it destroys my free time. Having a social life? HA, who needs it?! Minecraft has genuinely defined this generation for me.

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This was a generation where I started to care less about big budget blockbusters and started to invest in indie games. It was a generation where I started to look for the hidden gems that people often overlook. It was a generation where I went from being pretty much an exclusively Xbox player to an avid PC gamer. This was a brilliant generation, my favorite generation, and one I will never forget.

My top ten games of this gen: Part 1

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MUSIC

Please note: I have not played enough games from this generation. In fact, due to GOG and Steam, I've spent most of my money in games discovering old gems. So this list is largely incomplete.In fact, if this list were of top ten games I PLAYED through this gen, it would look totally different.

10) Penumbra: Overture - "O_M, dont you mean Amnesia?" No, I don't. I haven't finished that game yet, and it hasn't really gripped me. "Okay, well sure I guess, but surely you mean to list Penumbra: Black Plague!" Nope. I've played through Black Plague without a hint of uneasiness or fear. I was wholly engrossed in Overture, though. I found Overture scary, and not BP or Amnesia. Why? Because I was given a crappy weapon.

See, when I am not given a weapon, I know from a game design perspective, there must be a way to evade the enemy. But in Overture, you're given a very lousy weapon. There may or may not be a way to avoid the enemies ahead, thus I have no idea what to expect. All I know is that I hear rabid dogs behind the door I am facing. Now THAT scared the s**t out of me. Oh and also, that ending with Red. Yeah, leaves scares, man. Scars.

9) Max Payne 3 - It's just so good, with its God Tier gunplay. The general consensus is this: With third person shooters, gunplay is either not as good as Vanquish, or not as good as Max Payne 3. Since I have not played Vanquish, MP3 gets my vote as most satisfying gameplay in a TPS. Now, some people have legitimate gripes with the game, specifically with the abundance of cutscenes. But the gameplay was so good, it's in my top ten this gen.

8) Portal 2 - I'm not even sure what to write about this one. The coop is amazing. The story is engrossing. The game is a thrill to play. I do wish it were a bit more challenging, however.

7) Garry's Mod - Whether I like to admit it or not, I've put hundreds of hours into this game. I've played some awesome community made gamemodes, played with some community made content, pushed Valves Half Life AI to its very limits, made a little comic series, built all sorts of rugged contraptions, et cetera. The list of things to do keeps growing with this game. Just seeing what so many people have created is astounding.

6) GTA IV - "O_M, what about GTA V?!" I haven't played it. If I had, it would probably be here instead of IV. It doesn't really matter though, as I've put a serious amount of time exploring Liberty Citys streets. Yes, Saints Row gives you so many more things to do. Yes, Just Cause 2's world is bigger. But the gameplay of those two series feels so stale in comparison to GTA IV.

The gunplay is exciting. The driving feels great. The world feels alive. The physics are amazing. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit the number of times I'm playing the game and feel like Im in a Hollywood chase scene. The core gameplay is just so exciting and visceral.

Next week is my part 2 if you're curious. See you, then.

The Beer Verdict...

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THEME 1, THEME 2, THEME 3

We made an IPA.

We're college students, so we strained our grains by running over them with a car. :lol: We also used an amber malt extract. We used most of our hops during the"wet" hopping stage. We used a mix of centennial and cascade hops.

Then end result of the beer, the verdict, is pretty damn good. The aroma is a bit lacking, but what's there is distinctly citrus (no surprised there :P). The body is thick, like a Hefeweissen, though the color has more of a copper tone. The flavor is quite balanced: The rich hops works well with the sweet and sacharine amber malt.

The ABV I estimate (by flavor) is around 7-8%.

It's not a perfect brew by any means. I want to experiment with a larger hop count, specifically during the aroma stage, perhaps a bit more during the bittering stage. I might also do a little more dry hopping as well. But overall, I think as a first IPA, this was really good.

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In other news, I've been playing Fallout 2 again. I am trying to get through the campaign (still haven't beaten it yet). I keep forgetting just how clever and well written this game is. There's so much to see, so much to do. So many bizarre characters.

I recently got rid of the "Pariah Dog," detroying many of my limbs in the process. It took a loooong time. If you played the game but don't know what I'm talking about: GOOD. You were lucky. No literally, you had a high enough luck trait that you didn't have to deal with it. :P

And that's about it for me. Have a good day, GS!

Just saw Skyfall

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Um totally! The whole film I was expecting him to scream "BROTHER!"

And yeah that chopper scene? Totally Shadow Moses!

I've changed my mind about GTA IV.

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The game's brilliant. It is the best GTA by far. The gameplay is better, the story is better, the city is better and more detailed. Yes, it does have its issues and I agree with a lot of the criticisms. Yes, I did not even finish my first playthrough because I got so bored. But when I played it again, it blew me away.

I do miss all the cut features from GTA: SA, but the feateres that are there are done so much better than before.

It really is a msterpiece of a game, I give it a 9.5, and I'd say it was one of the best games this gen.

That said, GTA 5 should blow it out of the water.

Is it weird that I prefer the old TOU?

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I like the new GS a lot less than the old one. Ultimately, it's the same experience so it's not that big of a deal. But yeah.

Also, theme.

My semesters ending, I just botched a huge programming project, and I have a hangover; but I will post more on GS this month. I will be free of responsibility, so instead of going outdoors or doing something productive, I will post on System Wars!

Such is life!

Also, Metal Gear Solid 2 is the best game in the series. The most intelligent, the most insane, the most absurd; and all around best game in the series. Speaking of that, Raiden was a GREAT character in MGS 2. He didn't really "whine" like most claim, and when he'd hesitate or freak out, it would be understandable that a person in his shoes would react in such a way. THAT was the point of Raiden. He was supposed to be a contrast with Snake, he was supposed to BE a representation of US. This made the ending so much more powerful.

Angeliiiiina

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(theme)

Hey people,

I've posted more on SW lately. So hopefully that means I'll get noticed again. Yeah, probably not.

It's good to see mooksi back, now with a new profile. And it's nice to see FrozenLiquid posting again. Always enjoyed his posts. DigitalExile, you should post in SW, simply because I seldom post in OT, and I would like to see more of your posts.

That's all I've got to say, really.

This is what's needed for next generation.

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Next generation has me worried. Why, you ask? Production costs.

If you hate how games are getting shorter and shorter, next gen will make you weep. The cost of developing a game will be so high next gen that developers have no choice but make games shorter. And there will also be less games next gen. And less variety. The higher the cost, the higher the fall if a product fails. Developers will play it safe. If you are sick and tired of the copied and paste "Warfare FPS" (Call of Duty, Reistence, Killzone, and to a far lesser extent, Halo), next gen will destroy you. Why take any risk, when doing so can result in gargantuan losses and layoffs? If game production were cheap, risks would bve more profitable and more devs would do it.

There is, however, one beacon of hope I have: The separation of game development and engine development.

Let me explain. I think, in order for the next generation of consoles to be a feasible, affordable one; I think developers ought not make their own engines anymore. I think companies should either exclusively make enigines for developers to use, or exclusively make games using the existing engines developed.

And I'm not talking about any old graphics engines, I am talking about engines that eliminate a great deal of work game companies have traditionally done. These graphics engines would automatically optimize of all platforms, minimizing the game devs work. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about: the CryEngine 3

CryENGINE 3 Sandbox now enables real-time editing of multi-platform game environments simultaneously making changes across platforms from CryENGINE 3 Sandbox running on PC, without loading or baking delays. The ability to edit anything within the integrated CryENGINE 3 Sandbox and simultaneously play on multiple platforms vastly reduces the time to build compelling content for cross-platform products.Crytek

LINK

What does this mean? Well, it means that if you are making a game with this engine and you happen to, on a single version (be it the 360, PS3, or PC), make a map: congratulations, you've made a map on all consoles and PC. The engine did all the optimizing for you so you didn't have to waste time and money screwing around with optimization for all of your platforms.

That is what I'm talking about. There ought to be companies developing graphics engines that do all of the time consuming and money intensive work so that game developers don't have to. That way, game developers can save time and money, and hopefully the cost of game production will be lessened.

If my wish does come true, and that the cost of game development next generation is lessened, by how much? How much cost is lessened and how much is needed to lessen? Perhaps my hope is innacurrate, and the cost you save by using these multiplatform engines are minimal, and production costs for games continue to skyrocket. We'd still be in for another video game crash. Either way, big budget, high production value games are in trouble. Indie games, however, are doing much better.

Indipendant development has been a source of joy for me this generation, and I expect the same next generation. So, supposing the worst, and mainstream development becomes stagnant and stale, you can always count on the original, innovative, glitchy, buggy, and cheap games made of indipendent development. ;)

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