AI in games: Cheating != Challenging
- Jun 8, 2010 7:28 am GMT
- 199 Comments
Everyone hates a cheater. It doesn't matter if you're playing poker, sports, a board game, or the stock market. Someone who breaks the established rules to gain an advantage over everyone else only earns the ire of others. So why is it that the very video games we play cheat as well? I'm not talking about multi-player cheaters. I mean the games themselves... the AI opponents in a single-player game. I think the simplest answer is that it's easier to program a game that cheats than it is to program a game that "thinks". A game that thinks would not need to resort to cheap shots and underhanded strategies to beat or challenge you. Yet when you are playing a single-player game, you expect a challenge. While we would love to have an AI opponent think like we do, where they have to use process of elimination, intuition, and skill to defeat you, we get AI that cheats instead!
The most recent object of my frustration and catalyst for this blog is Split/Second. This arcade racer has all the ingredients to be one of the most fun driving games in years, yet Black Rock has ramped up the "challenge level" of the game not by making smarter opponents, but by allowing your opponents break the rules. What fun are the single player season races when the AI doesn't bother to use power plays on each other, but only on you? How enjoyable is it when slower AI cars slingshot past you on the last corner to steal your hard-fought lead? Racing games with rubber-band effects and rule-breaking drivers are not the only culprit. Games in nearly every genre utilize cheating behaviors to ramp up the difficulty.
Take shooters for example. I won't even name one, because I've run into this phenomenon in more shooters than I can recall. You're stealthily trying to sneak up on some AI opponents. There's no way they should know you're there, or even if they did, they wouldn't know your exact location. Yet all of a sudden, BLAM! one shot and they've pegged you! How about those AI dudes who have uncanny accuracy!? No, not every shooter stoops to these tactics. But there are too many that do. It is so much more fun and rewarding when the AI actually "outthinks" you without blatantly breaking the rules. But it's easier to make a game challenging by allowing the AI to see through walls and have pinpoint accuracy.
Puzzle and strategy games can be just as bad. How many of you played Puzzle Quest and wondered why the "random" gem drops almost always favored the AI? It was amazing how you'd struggle to beat some of the tougher foes, yet on nearly every turn they'd get chains and combos that decimated you. Or how frustrating it was in an RTS when the AI knew exactly where to find you even in the fog of war?
You have options when facing human cheaters in multi-player games. If you are the host, you can kick them out. You can play a different map or game mode, or just leave that particular lobby. Or you could just play with people you know. But how do you avoid a cheating single-player game? How do we convince developers to stop taking the easy way out when programming the AI? We could vote with our dollars, but that doesn't help when you buy a game not realizing it's going to cheat on you.
I'm not looking for easy games. I'm not just some whiner who can't beat a game and am looking for the Easy Button. I enjoy games that challenge me and provide a sense of accomplishment when you defeat it. But fun quickly turns to frustration when the game breaks the rules to be more difficult instead of actually playing better. I'm all for smarter games, not cheaters.
Is 3D the Future of Gaming?
- May 25, 2010 12:52 pm GMT
- 339 Comments
*Please excuse all grammatical errors I make since I dont have time to re-vise or spell check. I am currently quite busy studying for final exams and I will soon revise and spell check this within the week. Thank you for understanding*
Woa dude! 3D!
The video game industry is always striving to release the newest and coolest features and gadgets for its consumers to purchase. Breakthroughs like Motion sensing, virtual reality, online play, cordless controllers, A/V jacks instead of plugging a cord into your antenna jack, and graphical improvements are just some example's of new and interesting ways to make games better. Now with the announcement of the 3D DS handheld system we are left wondering, is this the new leap in gaming? We all know that Natal is being released this fall. Natal not only isone of the first of its kind, its just absolutely brilliant. The eye toy for the PS2 being similiar to Natal, but not as advanced, was a major breakthrough as well with gaming. Not only has Nintendo in-braced 3D gaming, so has Sony with their now "out of the blue" announcement of Killzone 3 being optioned to be played in 3D. Will the chain keep going on from there? Will more and more games follow the 3D trend just like most games now following the online multiplayer feature trend? My guess is, yes! Once one company has something really cool and interesting, others are going to want to follow and make the money theyre are making as well. This example I used is already in effect, Sony is now following what Nintendo is ready to do because they know that Nintendo will probaly be succesful with a 3D DS. Soon companies like Microsoft, Sega, Activision, Rockstar, EA, and many others will want to feed off the sudden success as well. Us gamers tend to think the Wii is horrible, I know, I read comments from people here on GS all the time about how the Wii is total rubbish. Although I dont agree with that statement, most of us do. People are probaly not going to like the 3D gaming much in its first months or year just as they hated the Wii. But the funny thing is, is that the Wii is the best selling system out of all the Home consoles we have. Nintendo likes innovation and thats why I think they're so succesful, they took that step to make a tocuh screen portable device, they went that extra step to make a well crafted motion controller, and the even took leeps with the Nintendo Boy by making virtual reality avaible in homes.
3D gaming may fail though, I only say this from one major problem..... The glasses. No one wants to wear uncomfortable glasses for 1-4 hours while gaming. Not only could it distract you from playing, it could also cause irratations to people with sensitive skin. I myself have sensitive skin and when I saw Avatar and G-Force (yes my family took me!) my nose began to sweat and itch from the Real D glasses. For some people this may be really cool, but to some I thinkgamers will turn away from 3D just because of the annoying glasses. Although this wont stop me from trying, it probaly will still pose a problem for me.
No one is even sure what the 3DS will look like.
This isnt the first time we have heard "3D" put into anything gaming as well. Heck we've seen it a lot! Wolfenstein 3D, 3D Game Dot Heroes, 3D engines, FPS's, and so forth. These games arent the "blue and red" type 3D you see at the movie theatres and at home. But they are a way to display the third dimension on screen. When the first FPS's were released people were dazzeld by how cool it looked to see Nazi Soldiers running in 3D. People were amazed and wanting more, now all games practically have some form of 3D graphics. 3D Game Dot Heroes is simply a game that is based off Zelda's 8-bit graphics and turned 3D. You will notice in that game, that the little block you saw flatly laying on screen when you played Zelda on you NES, have turned into 3D little blocks. 3D is practically used in all games now, but to see the game actually come off screen and seem likes its looking at you, may just be the next step in revolutionary gaming.
Now to the big question on my mind, what will it look like? I believe it will change everything, I think traditional FPS gameplay might change and interacting with objects and such will change drastically to fit the new 3D look. In Killzone 2 you had mini-cut scenes where you would turn a bombs handle to charge it, now with 3D i'm guessing the bomb would look like its right in front of you.This seems awesome, but think, will it take getting used to? Will we now have to adjust to the new game look.My answer is yes and yes. Its going to take us a long time to get accustomed to everything, just the preview images for the 3DS. It had Mario Kart floating off the screen, this looks awesome! No doubt about it, but theview off the screen and thingsseeming to real,I just dont like. I dont think my eyes would be able to adjust to such a odd graphical view.Other people may be different, but in my opinion, it would take lots of time to get used to. This new game look will be amazing, and probaly a breakthrough, but the fact its so different, may just make gamers turnaway from 3D gameplay.
All in all, 3D sounds amazing, but is it the future of gaming? Probaly not but who knows what may happen?! Maybe the 3DS becomes the greatest hand-held ever made and sells millions or it may tottaly stink and bomb its first year on the market. Maybe Killzone 3 will win GOTY and maybe FPS of the new decade or it will not sel lwell, and the 3D wont work well.i'm very excited as a gamer to be able to see this coming to life, failure or not, 3D gaming definatly has potential to revolutionize the industry. Look out gamingworld, 3D is coming.
Images courtesy of gamespot and google images.Sources:
Thank you for reading! All opinions welcome.
- May 22, 2010 2:19 pm GMT
- 103 Comments
Love 'em or hate 'em, pursue them with a devotion bordering on obsession or simply ignore them, one thing is perfectly clear: regardless of how you feel about achievements and trophies, they are here to stay. At least for the run of the current console generation. For a few more years it seems, gamers will find themselves either rolling their eyes or pumping their fists at the sight of points being added to their tallies.
I tend to walk the "love 'em" side of the street. I'm still not sure why, but I love to see my point tally growing. I don't really consider it a competitive issue. I'm not out to race or beat anyone. In fact, I kind of see it the same way I used to see my high score in Pac Man. I just want to see how high I can get my score to go. I'm not really interested in the number one spot; I'm just interested in doing the best that I can.
In my pursuit of a larger score, I've done some really fun things. A few achievements that stand out?
"Targeted Advertising" courtesy of the Orange Box. Sticking a soldier to a billboard with a crossbow bolt and then being given points for it was entertaining to say the least. The "Psychotic Prankster" from Fallout 3 and "The Teaser" from Fable 2 also stand out for the same reason. They were entertaining, and more importantly, they were a creative way to award points to the gamer.
I recently unlocked a new achievement during my time spent with Red Dead Redemption. Like the three listed above, it falls under the "entertaining and creative" categories. It goes by the name of "Dastardly," and for the sake of those who haven't figured this one out yet I won't spoil the surprise. But I will say that it was this achievement that set this blog into motion. It got me thinking about achievements in general, and how that, in spite of my enjoyment of a higher gamerscore, I seldom enjoy the achievements themselves.
The truth is very few of the achievements I have obtained are memorable. In fact, the vast majority of them are rather uninteresting. Worse than that, a large chunk of them also seem to have been cut-and-pasted from the games around them. Kill this number of guys, spend this amount of time online, finish this chapter, etc. From one game to the next, it's all starting to feel the same.
(I'm not saying this practice should stop all together, just that the ideas of how gamerscore and trophies are handed out should be shifted. Back to the point then.)
I feel there are a couple of reasons that so many points or trophies find themselves locked into familiar or uninteresting territory. The first reason being that achievements, in many cases, are limited by the games they are attached to. If the game you are playing is restricted in terms of the number of actions you can take or it forces you through levels in a straight line, then it is reasonable to assume that the achievements associated with that game would be similarly restricted. It's understandable then that the points obtained from one shooter to the next, for example, might be extremely similar. There isn't much that can be done with this particular situation, and so when it comes to the rewards in these types of games we can't expect too much in terms of creativity.
Outside of the more structured games however, there is a great deal of wiggle room when it comes to rewarding the player. RTS's, RPG's, Sandboxes, these are three examples of where developers have the opportunity to hand over points in an unusual or creative fashion. More often than not however, they choose not to, and I believe that this stems from a simple case of wrong thinking, which brings us to reason number two.
The second reason that so many achievements are so bland is that developers seem to think that gamers are all about the points, without any regard to how those points are earned. In other words, it's about the payoff, not the work. I couldn't disagree more. I may be alone here, but in my mind, the best achievements are the ones that give you points for moving outside the norm. It isn't just about the scores, it's about how I earn them as well. I like the action I take to be just as engaging as the reward. And besides, creativity, encouraging players to play in fun or unusual ways, is a powerful tool to help sell your product.
Why? Simple: more creative achievements make for more entertaining games. Clearly, the rewards themselves are not as important as the title they belong to, but I'm just as likely to include a memorable achievement in my discussion of a game as I am a memorable level or boss fight.
For developers who understand the importance of word of mouth, take note. Gamers talk to each other about achievements they've earned, and while no particular unlockable will ever be enough to sell a game on its own, it certainly adds to the appeal of your title when point-hounds get together and speak about how much fun this achievement was or how that trophy was a blast to obtain.
Now, I could be completely off base with this entire argument. Maybe it isn't the restrictions of the game or the idea that gamers just don't care how they get their score that govern the dolling out of points. Maybe the developers just don't care. Maybe they're too busy constructing the games to give the little things like achievements much thought.
However, achievements and trophies are part of gaming now, and a lot of us out there want to enjoy them. Why not approach them with the same passion and creativity that we see in the rest of the game? Gamers have a better time upping their counts, and in turn are more likely to speak about a product in a favorable light. And with that game, everybody wins.
In honor of its 30th anniversary: a review of Pac-Man
- May 22, 2010 5:50 am GMT
- 6 Comments
I'm calling it -- this is the best version of Pac-Man ever.
If you happened to check Google today, you no doubt noticed the slick, interactive Pac-Man logo they've got going on in honor of the game's 30th anniversary. Check it out if it's still up by the time you read this. Might as well celebrate this joyous occasion by playing some Pac-Man, right?
But since that wasn't enough for me, I decided to go a step further. Specifically, I decided to write a review for the game. It's probably one of the fastest reviews I've ever written, so apologies in advance for any errors or lack of polish.
That said, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Note: This review was conducted through the use of the version of the game contained on the PlayStation 2 game, Namco Museum.
Fear and tension are themes that developers constantly try to implement into their games. Often this involves a mix of psychological terror and the use of monsters like zombies, ghosts, and other repulsive, often cliché beasts. The reason? Because those are the most common methods of instilling such feelings.
However, there is one game that can easily instill tension in players without use of such things. And that game is Pac-Man -- the arcade cIassic that's seen release hundreds of platforms.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "Pac-Man? You're crazy. What about Pac-Man could possibly be so intense?" Well, when you think about it, quite a lot, actually.
First, there's the maze and it's tight, winding paths. Second, there's the devious ghosts who wander those halls. And third, there's Pac-Man's varying movement speed. Each of these elements contribute to the tension that stems from playing Pac-Man. How? Easy: by basing them around a simple premise that's based around a clever risk-versus reward system.
The premise of the game of the game is simple: collect pellets spread throughout a simple maze while avoiding ghosts to earn points. Sounds easy, right? And it is. Well, sort of.
See, since you're range of movement is severely limited, and your speed is slowed because your eating pellets, swift movements become something of a challenge. With ghosts constantly closing in on your position, things get tense quick. You want to collect pellets for points, and fruit that periodically appears for extra, but you also want to stay alive. So it becomes a situation of risk-versus reward.
Do you aggressively go after points to earn extra lives? Or do you play it safe and forgo pursuing life collection? This system is what gives Pac-Man depth. Judging when you should be running and be attacking, which you can do by eating power pellets that make the ghost turn blue thereby making them edible, adds a lot to the underlying complexity of the otherwise simple premise, and is the very foundation for the fun the game presents.
So how well does it hold up? Quite well, actually. The AI is surprisingly sophisticated for how old it is, with each of the ghosts having their own distinct behavioral patterns. They're teamwork ethics aren't bad either.
Gameplay is still as fun and addictive as ever, making it easy to lose a few hours just by playing. The only problem here is the lack of variety in maze designs. Going through the same maze constantly is rather tiresome. Some form of variety there would have offset that.
All things considered, though, to think that's the only real problem with this old cIassic is astounding. Just goes to show how good game design can stand the test of time. And there's no better example of this than Pac-Man. (Well, except for Tetris maybe.)
Anatomy of the Gamers Brain
- May 8, 2010 11:04 am GMT
- 158 Comments
The ShootumUP26 Brain Chart
Hello and welcome to ShootumUP26's or mypresentation on the Anatomy of our Brains. When we look at games we dont just say hey look at that and just buy it randomly. Our "Gamers" brain tells us what we want, today im going to explain the different parts of our Brain and what makes games interesting or cool to us.
There is no denying it, we gamers enjoy violence. Games like Gears of War and God of War just intrigue us and make us say"Ineed to have that" . Almost every gamer has a violent game in their collection no matter if its Rated T (or Pegi 13) or rated M (Pegi 18+). We just enjoy it and for many reasons. Not only does it give us a sense of power, it lets us take out angry and frustration on virtual things. Also it gives a way to kill and not in realy life which is very good because we dont want serial killers running around. Also violence adds fun to games! Of course it adds fun, why wouldnt it? Theres nothing like sniping a noob across the way on "Bloc" from Modern Warfare, and dont you look me in the eyes and lie and say that using that Chainsaw from Gears isnt fun to use!
Along with violence is blood and gore, its the main componet to the Violence part of our brain. Not only does it make kills and such more enjoyable and cool to watch. It adds extremem realism to games, when you are fighting in WWII and you shoot someone and no blood comes out your left asking "Wait that wouldnt happen?". Blood evenif it is a little is just great to add to games. Especially games maintaining the T rating and still showing blood. Not only can teenagers buy these games they can also get that little taste of Realism and Fun without begging their parents to come along with them to Gamestop to get that Mature Title.
Also gamers love Violence because it makes them seem cooler and older than they really are. Yes this paragraph is aiming at us Minors. If youre 13 and your 17 year old brother is playing Call of Duty Nazi Zombies, you want to play with him! Its so true, studies have proven all younger siblings look up to and want to be accepted and loved by their older siblings. Well along with that, younger ones want to play and be apart of Older brothers or sisters game playing. When I play Super Street Fighter IV my 6 year old brother always wants to play, and once he does he feels older and cooler, and says things like "In your face dude!" when i let him win. Well just like that example kids who are between the ages of 11-13, want to play gorey games. Since most parents just dont care anymore these days they usually get what the want. Once they know they can get away with it, they start to crave those violent games more and then that leads to all that they want to play.
Also its proven fact a majority of us crave blood, we love everything about. It may sound crazy but we are blood crazy, there is just something about blood and violence that drives us nuts. Its the killer inside of us that we dont have the guts to let out. Violence isnt just one of the main parts of our brains, its probaly is the biggest part.
We love games, but not when the controls are horrible. Its proven, actually its almost common sense. If a game has bad controls or they are just way to frustrating to learn, we are bound to give up and scream "WTF!" at the screen or controller. Although most games have conformed to having certain controller set-ups this problem hasnt really been showing up to often anymore. By this I mean that we notice most FPS have a certain set up. For example on the PS3 the main shooting set-up is: R1 to shoot, Aim L1, Crouch O, Meelee R3 analog, and Grenade Toss R2. This rule applys for other genres as well, like; platformers, RPG's, Modern Shooter set ups, 3rd person shooters, and mainly Fighting games.
All fighting games pretty much have the same controls, punch, kick, heavy punch, heavy kick, and so forth. Theres also the grab moves, and the Super Combo cut scene moves. Its almost like the Fighting Genre has learned to not change. Not only is this extremely smart, its one of the reason most fighting games get pretty decent ratings (6.5 or above). Sometimes companies just congergate a little and add a twist to controls, like Super Street Fighter IV's Ultra Combos, and Soul Calibers Ring out, and not to forgot the most famous Fatality from the famous Mortal Kombat series.
Also if a 3rd person shooting shooting game has very frustrating shooting controls gamers will also become very annoyed and prone to trade in or return games. For example Just Cause 2's horrible Aiming system annoyed the heck out of many gamers. It was just to dang hard to lock onto just one enemy, it just wouldnt work! Along with that Resistance Retribtution causing the same problem. The only true example of a very well put together 3rd person shooter would easily be Gears of War 1&2. These two games displayed excelletn controls and Aiming.
Another example that was a little less annoying but at the same time very aggervating to most gamers, was Star Wars: The force Unleashed's controls. Using the force to throw objects at enemies was a tedious and very frustrating task. Thus the reviews werent as great as they could of been.
Needless to say if a game has bad controls, us gamers would like to have nothing to do with it.
Its to bad this poor Storm Trooper isnt going where he should..
O.K. this is just a no brainer, we need games with good gameplay. I mean its the key essential to any game! Gameplay is the universal reason we love games! Pac-Man was so awesome because no game before it was like it. Its GAMEPLAY wasnt just a shooter like Galaxia or brick, it was new and fresh. Along with that everybody starting loving that little yellow dude that liked to eat yellow dots and blinking ghosts. Now and days if a shooter has smooth controls, violence and so forth its a total must for all of us, for example Modern Warfare and its great gameplay and controls.
Now if a games Gameplay isnt good, theres no way in a million years would a gamer but such a game. Games like Big Rigs, over the Edge racing and Rogue Warrior just wont make the cut. Gamers who see a game with horroundos reviews its common sense they wont purchase it at all.
I dont really need to explain much about this part of our brain since it common sense that if a game doesnt play well we wont play it! I mean for goodness sake look at the main two words in Gameplay
If the "Game" part isnt good and if you cant have fun while "Play"ing it you wont buy or even rent it. Pretty much a no brainer there.
Even Slipknot doesnt like Games with bad gameplay!
Now heres a question for you all, if a game looks horrible would you want to play it? I'm guessing you few out therethat love games no matter how bad or how bad they look, you just love them, then im guessing a majority of you said "no way!". The reason most of you answered with the "No way!" is because game should look good shoudlnt they?! I mean we want the most realistic and cool looking experiance we can find right? Games like Killzone 2, Crysis, Uncharted 2, and etc. got amazing reviews not only for their gameplay but.... c'mon guess.... YES! Their Graphics!
When a game looks good, we feel like we are there, we feel like awesome inside. Fighting along side Rico and Sev in Killzone 2 was thrilling since it looked like they were actually there and the blood and the way the Helghast fell dead it looked and felt like you actually did that. Being Nomad and running aorund the Jungle in Crysis was amazing since everything acted and felt so real (Thank Cryteks Cryengine3 for that fun ), then having a blast running around the snow in UC2 made you feel the cold like Drake did, and you swore when you would take a breath condensation would come out.
Not only do graphics make us feel like we are there, it makes games Violence more enjoyable, wait? Just like the main part of our brain!! When blood leaks out of someones body when dead, it gives you that "Oooh...dam" expression and especially when limbs fly, burn, and get crunched off it just makes you go nuts in enjoyment. Also knifing and meeleeing feels great since you can feel your controller rumbling while cutting into the flesh, the blood squirting out, and the knife afterwords soaked in blood. Mmmm.... beutiful.
Along with Graphics, Sound is also a huge part of this, when it sounds like you are actually fighting the Spec Four in MW2, or slaying Demons in Demons Souls and hearing there sking break open it just makes the experiance 20x better. Also when explosions go off and you can hear the aftermath of your ears ringing and everything that makes sound is muddled, it makes you feel like an atuall soldier who just had a mortar go off 20 feet from him. Sound is also a main componet of graphics.
Theres not denying it.. we love visuals.
Crysis vs. Real Life....my goodness.
We loved to get sucked into a game, and the only way we can get sucked in is if the story is there to keep us brain-washed and stuck in its world or story. Not only do we just feel like part of this world, its almost like a movie we are playing. Games like Alan Wake, Silent Hill, Bioshock, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and so many others we feel like part of their worlds, heck we feel like we are the main character in the game. When we get this feeling nothing is going to stop us from playing and getting more fixed into a games story.
Now if a game doesnt have a good story the other main parts of our brain will take over and over rule the Good Story component to our brain. So if a game has all the Violence we love, Controls, and gameplay we crave it almost doesnt matter if the story is bad, but if a game is missing that good controls or missing the Violence its key that the story is great.
If a game has a very short story but the time you spent in the story was great it doesnt matter if it was short. Games like Modern Warfare 2, Killzone 2, and so forth has great stories, almost Novel, but the journey and time spent was very small, it just didnt matter since the time you had in their world feeling apart of everything was so good it didnt even matter.
All in all if a game has a Novel story its a must, even if it doesnt we may still block that part of our brain out.
Dont lie, you wish you lived in Ferelden.
The last part of our brain and probaly one of the biggest reasons today that we love games...the awesome multiplayer. Its almost become essential to all games of this Generation. All games almost have online-multiplayer, games like Modern Warfare 2, Killzone 2, World of Warcraft, Bioshock 2, and so many others to name, are the main games that are played online. Not only do Hardcore Gamers love multiplayer, so do the Casual who rarely play, multiplayer is a fun way to play with other friends, meet new friends, and play with actual humans not A.I.! This feeling of playing with friends or just with other humans for that matter, makes us feel great and gives us that even more feeling that we are there since we are playing actuall people.
Along with gamers wanting multiplayer more and more, most games are incorparating online multiplayer in their games. For example, Bioshock didnt have online anything! No DLC's, multiplayer or anything (except the exception of the DLC that was released for PS3 owners only). Not only did 2k add multiplayer they added DLC's and guess what? It sold better than Bioshock ever did. Why you ask? Multiplayer, plain and simple. All games now are coming out with multiplayer, MAG (designed just for multiplayer!), Red Dead Redemption, Lost Planet 2, Portal 2, and many others having their debut in online multiplayer this year and the next.
Also along with multiplayer, gamer slang has arrived. The noob being the most famous word for someone being a rookie and bad at games. Then theres Lag for bad connection and messed up Graphics (which remember we dont like games with bad graphics), and now from MW2 the Nuke meaning getting a more than 30 killstreak. Gamer slang pretty much started with Multiplayer and how we communicated on it while playing.
Its almost become essential to have multiplayer, and us gamers want games with Multiplayer in it. Heck even fighting games have them now! Explains the increase in sales on games like Super Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6. If a game doesnt have multiplayer but has the rest of what we want then it doesnt matter, but still deep down we wish it had that multiplayer. We crave it, we crave socializing while playing and we all crave competition and that is the main reason we love Multiplayer.
It got its start on Goldeneye with up to 4 players playing on one system and has progressed to 12v 12 mathces on Modern Warfare. Multiplayer is now essential and will be for many gaming years ahead.
"Hey Tjerk [Air], lets go kill some noobs!" Online slang
Thanks for reading! I really apperciate it!
*I'd like to point out that none of the aspects of gaming I had listed were in anyparticular order*
Your Personal Gaming Achievements
- Apr 21, 2010 5:44 pm GMT
- 282 Comments
It doesn't matter at what age you started gaming. It doesn't matter in what generation you started gaming. Point is, we are all gamers, whether it's just to pass the time, or just to play competitively with you peers. It's what we all enjoy doing.
Gamespot just introduced (or actually enhanced) the achievement section. This got me thinking. During our gaming endeavors there was always a moment during the game or a milestone that you wanted to reach. A milestone that a select few (or everyone) managed to reach but for you it's like the hardest part of the game or you felt hella proud during that time when you completed or reached it.
These are my most memorable gaming achievements:
5. N64: Loz: Majora's Mask: Obtaining the Couple's mask.
During my earlier years when I owned a N64 I borrowed this game from a friend just because I was a big fan of Ocarina of Time. The game was kinda different (a bit darker) but the best of the two IMO. After I beat the game , I wanted to get all the masks to unlock the Fierce Diety mask. I got like an in-game handbook (Bomber's Handbook) that showed when certain events will take place and it also gave hints where you should be in the game in order to complete the quest. The "Couple's Mask" was the hardest for me to get. Why? Because it was filled with in-game events during all 3 days (before the moon hits earth) and you have to be at the precise moment in a certain city in order to proceed to the next event. Miss an event and it's back to day one O_o.
But wait, it got better. The first time was interesting because the last thing I had to do is to wait for Anju and Kafei to reunite right before Doomsday. So there I was, standing inside the Inn while the whole city was shaking and the bells were ringing, all waiting for the end of the world. After they reunited, they combined their masks and Link got the Couples Mask. He held it high in the air while the famous tune played (you know the tune when you get a new item?) and right before the tune ended….…bzzzt…power outage.
4. PS3: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: Reach Level X (60).
2009 GOTY has definitely taken the rest of my 2009 gaming time and I'm still playing it almost every single day. Like most current shooting games, this one features a leveling system that are numeric until level 50 and change to roman numerals from 51-60. From 51 there's like a big gap between the levels until you reach 60 and the only way to gain more money is to use negative boosters. These are boosters that give you a handicap that goes from lowering your health (Invalid), or you get like a half loaded weapon (Half loaded), or you die from one punch(Glass Jaw), or people can even see you through walls when you're nearby (Come Get Some). Level X can be compared to the Tenth prestige in Call of Duty. The sad truth is that a lot of these gamers glitched their way to this level just so they can wear the black badge, but I wear mine proudly and will own every single noob online (HA!). No camping needed.
I was also featured in two of the Uncharted 2 weekly top ten plays. Feel free to check them out:
Top 10 plays Week 7 (Warning Mature Language)
Top 10 plays Week 8 (Warning: Mature Language)
3. Wii: Super Mario Galaxy: Lava spire DareDevil run + Luigi's Purple coins.
By now, if you own a Wii and haven't played this game yet…what the hell is wrong with you ? But seriously, to beat the game, you only needed 60 stars but like all perfectionists including myself we aimed to get all 120 stars (twice). On my way to that milestone, there were two stages that I was having some trouble with: Lava Spire Dardevil Run from the Melty Molten Galaxy and Luigi's purple coins from the Toy Time Galaxy.
The daredevil run required me to finish the whole stage without taking a single hit, ON A LAVA STAGE. The Purple coins stage featured platforms that only give you like 3 to 4 seconds to stand on them before they disappear for good so you had to watch your step while gathering the coins. I was able to record my gameplay when I wanted to retry these stages.
2. SNES: Beat Battletoads in Battlemania.
If you just started gaming, be afraid. Be very afraid. This Beat-em-up game is known for its extreme difficulty, and is very tough to finish, even for us experienced gamers. Funny thing is that at the time this game was released, we had no idea this game was so hard. The game required a lot of perfectly timed jumps and was packed with cheap deaths. After a lot of trial and (T)error, me and my cousin finally sat down a whole day and try to finish this game once and for all …….and finally succeeded. We jumped around the house like we just won the lottery. Even our parents thought that the game made us crazy. You've been warned O_O.
1. SNES: Super Mario World: Reach Special Zone and beat the Tubular stage.
Lastly, we have one of the first games released on the SNES. This game was filled with secrets and hidden paths to discover. After we spent some time with the game, we discovered the Star World and then the Special world. The Special World is a secret area in Super Mario World and the levels are located in various environments and are designed to be much more difficult to clear than all the other levels in the game. The first one was fairly easy. But in the next stage the developers at Nintendo clearly wanted to make gamers all around the world cry or rage quit xD. The infamous Tubular stage required you to use the balloon power-up to navigate Mario like a balloon while dodging various incoming projectiles from enemies. One hit and it back to square one. This was the first and last time I almost broke something out of rage but it was all worth it in the end.
Other games that also came across my mind were:
Donkey Kong Country 2 SNES (Unlock and finish the Lost World)
Bubsy SNES (Just beat the damn game)
Killer Instinct Gold N64 (Perform my first ULTRAAAA COMBOOOO with Count Sabrewulf)
Pokemon Snap N64 (Unlock the secret stage to take a picture of Mew)
So what do you guys think? Been through the same thing? I would love to hear some great gaming stories from my fellow gamespotters. Which moment almost made you throw you controller across the room but you still had the guts to get past that part (Megaman 9 anyone? X_X). Which moment/achievement makes you proud as a gamer? Sound Off and I will feature them in my next article.
Thanks for reading!
The Gaming Community Celebrity
- Apr 4, 2010 8:57 pm GMT
- 61 Comments
As I sit here listening to my favourite gaming podcast, dreading the coming days before final exams tackle and pound me into submission, I think about something that perhaps many gamers haven't before. Maybe I shouldn't say that, I can't just assume I'm the only one thinking about the oddities of the gaming community. Perhaps many of you who read this will have already thought about it at length. For conversation sake, I hope you have. If you haven't, then hopefully this will make you take a step back and look at things a little differently. Am I getting too deep already? Humor me a little more than usual if you can, it's getting late.
I've been thinking about the celebrity that game reviewers have built up around themselves, as well as blog writers and those who defy classification. Specifically, I've been thinking about how many of them are now getting older, and how the cycle of the next generation of celebrities will come to be.
It probably won't surprise many of you if I bring up Jeff Gerstmann. I've followed him since nearly the dawn of his career here on Gamespot. He has perhaps unintentionally become one of the most famous game reviewers on the internet (yes, even before Gerstmann-gate). His popularity allowed him so much that upon starting up his own website it exploded and has quickly become a hub for a huge community that grows continuously. Of course Ryan Davis, and Brad Shoemaker carry their own celebrity as well, albeit perhaps not on the grandiose scale of Mr. Gerstmann. What gets me thinking is that these guys (and others, don't think I'm forgetting about anyone) are getting older. They've grown up (as much as a gamer can). They aren't grandparents or anything, but they're not youngsters anymore either. I wonder how long they will continue their careers as reviewers. Can we expect to see a Siskel and Ebert-esque band of hyper-popular reviewers 15 years from now? 25 years from now? How will the generation who grew up and followed these guys closely for their whole careers react to a new generation of reviewers coming up? Will those reviewers even be able to reach the celebrity that we see in many today? I've pondered these questions for a long time, and to be honest I'm not sure if there is a real answer to any of them as of yet.
But we're seeing other things crop up in the community now. People who have been part of the out-group are creating their own celebrity. The name that instantly comes to mind is Michael Pachter. If you don't know who he is, he's an analyst for Wedbush Morgan that has been a regular guest on Gametrailer's Bonus Round for a long time now. He's slowly become popular, and now has his own show on Gametrailer's that's become wildly popular. It almost pulls in as many views as Bonus Round itself, which he still appears on regularly. It's great to see things like this happening within the community. We're not exactly known for accepting great change, which is part of why I'm so interested in this topic to begin with.
As much of a jumbled mess this all might seem, it has interested me a great deal for some time. Watching people rise in popularity to almost legend status (Greg Kasavin, anyone?) has been fun to watch. It makes me think about what the hardcore gaming community will sit 10 or 20 years from now. Will the older generation of gamers tell their kids stories about favourite videos, reviewers and podcasts? Will we compare future reviewers and gaming celebrities to the new groups that will inevitably rise in the ranks as the older group moves on or out? It excites me and scares me at the same time. It's hard to imagine not having the mainstays around down the road. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not a fan of change myself. I'll suck it up, but I'll be damned if someone ever replaces Jeff as my most respected reviewer.
What do you think about all of this? Has this stuff ever crossed your mind on a boring, rainy day?
Have a good one,
How to Kill a Shooter in 10 Easy Steps
- Apr 1, 2010 7:31 am GMT
- 207 Comments
Let me get this out in the open first: game design is art. There's a lot of creativity involved, and as with any other form of art, everything is flawed and nothing is perfect. Small flaws can be forgiven when the whole painting is so striking to look at, but some flaws are less easy to forgive: let us not forget the fact that on Metallica's 8th studio album, St. Anger, Lars Ulrich banged his drumsticks against tin cans and Kirk Hammett didn't play a single solo. Same goes for game design – the utter and complete uselessness of Doom 3's chainsaw has absolutely not as large an impact on gameplay as, say, Half-Life's horrible jumping puzzles.
As a huge shooter fan, I take serious flaws, well, very seriously. A well-designed shooter can be a blast and everything could be fine if done well, but in all ways should it avoid those steps which I'm about to delve into on this editorial. I would like to present to you 10 sure-fire ways to kill a shooter.
I'm here! I'm there! I'm everywhere!
Ever felt so naughty and proud of yourself for running around and disappearing on your mom at the local supermarket? Yeah? You have, haven't you?
That's a bad boy!
Play Half-Life 2 and you'll see what I mean. Then go and apologize to your mother and give her a big kiss, and promise to help her with the groceries next time.
Do not by any means get me wrong. I still believe to this day that Half-Life 2 is the most enjoyable shooter I've ever played. That is, of course, until the fearsome proposition of playing with AI teammates circa Anticitizen One. The whole point of having AI teammates is that they help you fight off your enemies, not go randomly running every which way aimlessly, clustering around doors and getting killed. And yes, I know you never got killed on your mommy.
I would have said that Infinity Ward could teach VALVe a lesson, but thankfully the AI guys in the following Episodes were just fine. And oh, they weren't half as bad on "Follow Freeman".
Hey momma, can you please hold my hand?
Imagine this. You're running around, shooting enemies that are fun to shoot. The graphics are great and the guns are satisfyingly loud and devastating. You simply have a blast. You fight through the last fight of the current level and progress to the next, where you're introduced to some sort of lame excuse for a character who's probably going to die anyway. Then you're told it's up to you to keep them alive for your next assignment so they can do X to help you do Y. All is well and dandy.
You barely say Chaser and you and your new talking pet come under attack from such a juggernaut that you want to go cry to your mommy. No need to apologize again. Soon enough, your feeble new friend is all but tombstone-worthy and you're introduced to an encouraging little "game over" screen. Such are poorly designed escort missions.
Some of the greatest shooters I've played included escort missions, among which are Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Half-Life 2 and BioShock, and they all had those missions nailed to the very last script. But it's when games put you up against ridiculous odds that this problematic assignment becomes more a chore than a fun little variety and degrades a game that is otherwise as fine as a lovely chicka holding a gun.
So what now? Where go I?
If it's Chaser we're talking about, then this good game has another glaring issue that has also appeared in fine games such as Heretic II and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
Hub-oriented level design is just fine as long as you're informed well on where to go, just like a tourist heading to the nearest supermarket. That was one of the greatest advantages of BioShock – even when it sent you to other levels to complete a mission, you always knew where to go. But that is not an obvious trait, oh no dear sir, it ain't. Now eat your cookie and read on.
When you have a level that's built like a hedge maze and you get absolutely no indication as to where you have to go next, you might find yourself traveling through empty hallways and yards ad nauseum, having already killed all enemies in sight, completed your tasks and collected all the goodies.
Then you find your way, and it's like finding the birthday cake of your dreams. Soon enough you realize that the truly daunting experience isn't the hour+ that Xfire just registered to your gaming profile of you doing absolutely nothing, but realizing it was there all along right in front of your eyes, and that the cake actually is a lie.
At least those spectacularly tedious indoor levels in Halo had arrows on the floors.
If a cat can do it, you probably can. 't.
Cats are sneaky little bastards. I find it hilarious to watch a cat trying to use its fascinating sneakiness on a target as silly as a cockroach. The point is, just because a soft-pawed, omni-alert cat can do it, it doesn't mean that you, a buff, entire arsenal-toting Big Tough Guy can too.
Be honest. Do you think true stealth missions can actually be implemented to a pure run-and-gun shooter? Well, yeah, but it's about as touchy as a lunatic. For the sake of example, why, oh why did the guys in 2015 think they nailed it? What is up with that night raid in Medal of Honor? It is obvious someone is going to see you and sound the alarm. Those missions should not be designed like that. What I find even more amusing is that, should you not run into a game-killing game over screen, the ensuing chaos is more often than not way more fun than trying to sneak around. Think about it. Walking this slowly at a crouched position with 8 weapons on your back must give you one hell of a backache.
Stealth was fun in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way and Aliens vs. Predator 2. It was also fun in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (with what is probably the single best stealth mission I've ever played in a shooter), Crysis and Far Cry, but if I ever run into another Soldier of Fortune II I'm going to get seriously pissed.
Thanks for reading this far. No need to catch me later, here's your beer:
Right. Now that that's out of the way, let's move on.
Tap tap tap! Tap 'till it's dead!
Let's face it. No one but freaks likes little furry critters. If I hate them in real life, what fun is it to shoot them? I simply loathe spider missions, especially when you might find yourself under attack from multiple angles (Doom 3) and when those little tap-sound-making scumbuckets are too small (Unreal II: The Awakening). Remember the scene in Jurassic Park: The Lost World where the Russian guy is killed by a pack of little dinos? Does that look like fun enemies to fend off? DOES IT?!
Please, game developers, please stop the spider missions. They're not fun. If anything, they're the epitome of tedium and frustration.
Not if I see you first!
Do you enjoy making eye contact with your enemies on your casual kung-fu fights on the street? Yes, so do I.
Do you like it when your Ninja foe throws shurikens at you from the window across the street from you? Me neither.
I guess the guys in 2015 like having their protagonists pierced by magical bullets that appear out of nowhere, because they're really into absolutely ridiculous enemy accuracy from magical Nazis that share the odd knack for invisibility. I think we all remember that mission in Medal of Honor Allied Assault where we're tasked with making it through a town filled with Nazi snipers. But those supernatural Nazis (wait, is this Wolfenstein?) can do the childish task of peeking out, shooting you while. you. are. running, and returning to hiding within less than a second. I'm surprised they didn't win the war.
But they're snipers. With enough being a forgiving rag you can forgive them developers for surprising you with foolish design choices. But it's when it's a darn punk with a .22 gun who hits you three times in a row from fifty yards away (a certain baseball bat Mafia mission springs to mind) that you wish you had a gravity gun.
Running away from snipers can be a blast (see: Half-Life 2, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow), but I have a feeling growing inside me like an evil fetus that developers might not always be too aware of their mistakes.
No, really, baby. I was just waiting for the right moment!
Hack-abusing enemies aside, there's another form of annoyance. I'm talking about those fools who have the ability to be invincible and suddenly (and foolishly of course) relinquish it just because you're around.
I don't think triggered enemies are fun to fight. And if they are, please let them appear after I trigger them so that I don't waste my trusty bullets not killing them.
Here, my pet! Jump. Jump. JUMP, or die trying!
Shooters shouldn't have jumping missions unless they're designed around them. Especially first-person shooters. It's obvious. Why would I want to do athletics when I can do some shooting stuff in the face?
Unfortunately the best example I can give you comes from another favorite of mine, Half-Life. Do you remember those horrible Xen levels? Where you had to jump from platform to platform lest you plummet to your invisible death? That's simply something you want in your shooter as much as a tsunami wave in your hometown. A few jumps here and there aren't harmful if they're done right, but man oh man. Jumping from rotating platform to rotating platform doesn't make Gordon Freeman feel like Lara Croft. It makes him feel like an idiot.
There's an evil monkey in the closet, and he's going to bite you in the butt when you turn around. Cheap scares are cheap for a reason, dear developers. I don't buy enemies hiding in the secret broom closet and treasure chests. They can suddenly appear for a nice scare here and there, but building an entire game whose name I'm not Doom 3 going to give on it shouldn't become your next New Years resolution.
Dead Space actually did a pretty good job with cheap scares because its enemies were actually scary, what with their high speed and remaining human features, but at least they pretty much stuck to vending shafts. They didn't cower in the closet like children. I want to fight brave, heroic creatures! Not children. Killing kids is illegal, you know.
On a lighter note, I'm pretty happy to see that "prize fights" are dying and out and only appear in compatible Painkillers and Serious Sams. No thanks, dear Mr. Carmack, I don't want to grab that armor.
We will now move to THE most annoying annoyance in the annoying history of annoying shooter annoyances. Take a breath, people, and enjoy the drumroll.
Hey there, Sunshine! It's me again!
Don't you just love it when that enemy you just fragged reappears out of nowhere? How does the next proposition sound: if you stay put, you're just going to get swarmed and run out of ammo, so I will now DEMAND that you keep moving. Yeeeep.
Respawning enemies are an epidemic. I simply can't see why any developer would want to do that. They weren't that bad when the occasional zombie reappeared in Ravenholm, but No One Lives Forever 2's Soviet base mission was absolutely horrendous. Same goes for the same game's submarine mission, that spider battle in Doom 3 where you're waiting for that ladder to come down, and what is, in my opinion, the most terrifyingly horrible level in shooter history, Halo's Flood-flooded The Library.
This isn't the tip of the iceberg. It's very bad when there's one or maybe two levels that implement this cheap method of inducing challenge, but it's an absolutely devastatingly critical flaw when certain developers base entire games around them. It doesn't matter how intense the mission can be and how, in the end, you had some fun with the game. Fighting through countless waves of infinitely spawned enemies is just not what I call good game design, and definitely a cheap way of challenging you and keep you going. As cheap as Far Cry's intelligent enemy taunts.
If seeing the same baby is this disturbing, why see the same enemy time and time again?
Everything can be done well. The problem is that most of the things mentioned here tend not to be very well-done in a lot of games. They tend to be tedious, frustrating and at the end of the day - it's all a question of what the shooter is trying to do, or be.
So yes. There are games out there that contain some seriously flawed design that I simply cannot underrstand. For me, a good shooter creates challenge, emotions and good gunplay through good design and a long thourhg process, not something cheap and fast like... respawning enemies, or ways to prolong gametime with bad level design and hair-pulling sniper missions. Here's a toast to a future of well-designed shooters that have no respawning enemies. Please, no more respawning enemies.
Congratulations! You've made it through my new, and admittedly long, editorial. Hope you had some respawning fun reading it. Thank you and see you next time!
One thing I've noticed about Capcom...
- Mar 26, 2010 2:32 pm GMT
- 2 Comments
They sure love to make use of the "virus" plot device, don't they?
In the Resident Evil series, it was the T-Virus,
In the Mega Man X series, it was the Maverick Virus,
In Final Fight: Streetwise, it was "GLOW", which was more of a drug than a virus, but the effect was the same.
Are there other Capcom games that do this that I may be forgetting? I do love Capcom, but I just couldn't help but notice this trend of theirs.
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