Gamers as Good Samaritans
- Dec 20, 2008 11:14 pm GMT
- 208 Comments
As I just finished up my exams, I was way behind on my shopping and I decided to go to the mall and pick up some things for the special people in my life. Immediately when I got to the light covered, tree filled mall, I headed to Gamestop to pick up some games.
Obviously, this time of year is when parents are desperately running around looking for all the gifts that children want for Christmas because Santa simply cannot do it all by himself. However, the parents are usually left with a list covered in technology and video games, many times full of items they understand very little about. They are left asking for help from a Gamestop, Best Buy, or Wal-Mark employee who does not really have any better knowlege.
So when I stumbed into a jam packed Gamestop at the mall, I was buying gifts for my friends and family, but I was also going to try to help the puzzled parents.
Now you might say to yourself. Why? Why, would you ever help random people in a store? Well there are two reasons. One, I am just that nice of a person. Two: Because I think of the children.
I remember Santa and my parents having a tough time getting my gifts over the years. Mixing up titles of games or getting conned by retailer clerks trying to get the line moving. There is simply no greater upset for a child (or a parent) when they open up a gift under the tree on Christmas morning, and it is the wrong thing. I was fortunate to be blessed with diligent parents who got the gifts right most of the time (then again, I write a lot of details in my letter to Santa). But they still were not perfect, sometimes forgetting the additonal cord or memory card that prevented me from fully enjoying a gift.
So when I was standing in the monumental line, I tried to help people so they did not get stressed out and their children recieve a good present. The first case was a woman standing in line, holding at Sonic Unleashed for the Xbox 360. She commented about how she remembered her oldest son loving Sonic and how she thought it would be a good gift for her younger son. Obviously she had the right intention, but definitely the wrong game.
"Excuse me ma'am. You really should not buy that game!"
"Why? Is it bad?"
"To say the least. I would really suggest getting a different game, like Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise or Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. They are both great games for all ages and they are cheaper too."
Because of a brief 15 second conversation I recieved a thank you, while the kid was saved from a terrible game.
After I finished that conversation, a man behind me asked: "Do you play Xbox?" Saving the man from the nerdy, "I have a 100 thousand gamerscore" answer, I simply asked how I could help. He had a real problem on his hands. His son wanted Xbox Live and his simply did not know what he needed or how to hook it up. Although a complicated answer, I told him to get the Xbox Live Starter Pack which came with a 12 month subscription, a headset, and Project Gotham Racing 4. The bigger problem was that he did not have access to an Ethernet cord in his house for the Xbox 360. I told him about the wireless router even though it was an expensive add-on. At this point we were at the register, and he asked the clerk for the appropriate item. The clerk gave him the starter kit, but then gave him a wireless controller because there was confused about the "wireless" item he was asked to ring up.
Before he could ring it up, I quickly interjected and told him that he was getting the wrong item. That short conversation allowed a kid to have his first Xbox Live experience--thus I ruined his innocence...
Last but not least. I saw a mother picking up Prince of Persia and I realized immediately that the amount was wrong when the clerk asked for payment. Again I interjected. "Excuse me, but that game's price has been dropped to $40. I saw it on the Gamestop weekend specials." The clerk looked in the computer and concurred while the woman thanked me for saving her a significant amount of money.
Through these three actions I helped three people and hopefully made their Christmas a little more memorable in the process. I did not need to go out of my way, rather I politely tried to help with something that I have an extensive knowledge about. So the next time you go into a retailer, picking up a last minute gift, see if you can help some overwhelmed person. You will not only get a thank you, but you will be acting in the true spirit of Christmas.
"Does the Xbox 720 need Blu-ray to succeed?" Yes.
- Dec 18, 2008 9:34 pm GMT
- 334 Comments
He says "no." I disagree. The 720 and PS4 will both need Blu-Ray to succeed. Why?
There's no way Microsoft will install a Blu-ray drive into the Xbox 720, and to be quite honest, I don't think there's any reason for it to do so. The reasons are simple. First, Microsoft doesn't want to pay a competitor--Sony, the key backer behind the Blu-ray Disc Association--to use its format. Second, and perhaps most important, Microsoft realizes that Blu-ray isn't an ideal format, given the fact Blu-ray's chance of success is very much in doubt.
The single benefit Blu-ray provides to developers is its capacity. But once another generation rolls around, doesn't it stand to reason that producing DVDs will be even less expensive and that it may yield a more cost-effective approach than using Blu-ray anyway?
Idiocy. This is looking at things like a fanboy, not from a business or technical perspective. They will use whatever works best at the best value. Pioneer's 16-layer Blu-Ray discs will likely be available by then, and Blu-Ray itself will be far more affordable then than it is now, and I sincerely doubt any other optical mass-storage options will be available by then for the consumer/mass-market (sorry - don't see HVD being an option anytime soon).
Likewise, this ignores the fact that Microsoft itself has contributed to the Blu-Ray specification with VC-1 being one of the supported codecs. Former Microsoft marketing VP Peter Moore and others from the gaming division have said a 360 BR drive like the external HD-DVD drive was a possibility. While we won't see that happen for the 360, there's no good reason why it can't be used for the 720. Microsoft supports Apple with OSX programs, after all. Sony and Microsoft also work together, and Sony licesnses/sells Windows on its PC's and laptops. The two companies are in bed with each other in some areas, enemies in others.
Or, in other words, the business world isn't so cut-and-dry.
Beyond cost, what's so bad with DVD? The games look perfectly fine on the format, most developers haven't had too much trouble developing for DVDs, and even fewer have spent time complaining that it's not as capable as Blu-ray. In fact, I've heard more gripes from developers about Blu-ray than DVD lately.
A single 16-layer, 400g BR disc equals 8 dual-layer BR discs or 45 dual-layer DVDs (approximately speaking). DVD-DL isn't an option, whereas Blu-Ray will offer immense flexibility in that regard. There comes a point where old media won't cut it - notice we're not using CD's for games anymore! There are some free games out there that won't even fit on a single CD these days.
On top of that, I'm fairly certain he's making a ****c fanboy mistake here, confusing platform (PS3, 360) with media (BR, DVD). Maybe not. The only concern I've heard about Blu-Ray vs DVD comes down to speed, but it depends on the particular benchmark you're talking about (yay statistics) and the immaturity of the BR format. Faster drives are coming. If anything, I'd imagine it'd be more of publishers complaining - from what I understand, a PS3 game has to be on a Blu-Ray disc, even if it could fit on a DVD-9.
I've read more than a few complaints about working with the PS3, but BR was never one of them.
But we also can't forget that gaming is moving in an entirely different. Over the next few generations, the need for media like DVD or Blu-ray will diminish and games will be purchased over the Web and downloaded to a hard drive on the console. It's already happening now in small amounts. But rest assured that as the industry realizes the benefit of sending games directly to you and Blu-ray loses its fight against streaming, you can bet that all this talk about formats will be just another stepping stone in the storied history of gaming.
The United States sucks when it comes to broadband speed and penetration. If he was talking about, say, Korea, he might have a point. But Microsoft will always have the US, its strongest region, in mind, and we're not ready for this kind of jump, nor do I think we will be anytime soon. Likewise, he's forgetting about retailers - there's not a business model that entirely bypasses retailers but doesn't piss them off at the same time! If you completely cut out Wal-Mart? They're not going to carry your system. Simple as that. Likewise, consumers are very likely to resist this as well - pure digital downloads for games do not fit in well with current views of buying games.
As always, PC's lead the way, including on this issue. Legally we're trying to figure out how downloads fit into "First Sale" doctrines - right now the debate is over MP3's, but it can't stop there. As a PC gamer, I can't trade in my copy of Devil May Cry 4, regardless of it being on disc. But more than that, I can't trade in my copy of Counterstrike, Penny Arcade 1 or 2, or any other game I've bought digitally from online stores like Steam or Impulse. This will not sit well with Gamestop and other used game stores who will, like Wal-Mart, will have reason to boycott any digital-only business plans.
And I can assure you - they will educate their customers about it. With a twist, with a slant, but they'll make it clear: no physical media, no trade-ins, no used games, everything is full price.
Until that happens, though, I simply don't see any reason for Microsoft to offer Blu-ray in the Xbox 720. I see no reason to pay a competitor for the use of its format when it's cheaper to develop for another that's perfectly fine.
The future of gaming has nothing to do with Blu-ray. And although we don't know what Microsoft will include in the Xbox 720, I'm willing to bet it'll feature DVD and a strong online component where buying games through Xbox Live is made simpler.
It's the smart move.
I see plenty of practical reasons - price:performance and business/political - why they would include Blu-Ray into the Xbox 720. There comes a point where you spend so little money that you're getting a poor value, and if Microsoft wants to continue the success the 360 has seen thus far they don't need to do something that will burn bridges. Not going to Blu-Ray, unless a truly viable option comes around and surprises the hell out of me, would be foolish for them.
Follow your own heart in playing games.
- Dec 7, 2008 5:41 am GMT
- 7 Comments
In my last blog, I blogged that Sonic Unleashed got worse ranks than Shadow the Hedgehog. In a couple of other blogs I've mentioned I have underappreciated games. Now, I'm soapboxing on how you can't listen to critics all the time.
How well some not so hot games went user based wise
Well, some went well so far, and some users are actually outraged at the Sonic Unleashed review. I mean sometimes a well criticised game can be bad to users and bad criticised game can be good to users, like Gauntlet Legends for example. And don't even get me started on sales on some games, look at Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, it got "meh" criticism, but it sold well nonetheless.
How I usually roll with the critics
Sometimes, I'll agree with them only when I play the game they bashed, if they're that bad for me. Most of the time, I don't even listen to them and enjoy the game anyway. The only times I'll read the criticism and ignore a game is pretty much anything new with Rareware nowadays. Not to be rude or anything, but most of their games I've seen went downhill ever since they started development on the original XBOX. Like despite me liking Perfect Dark original, from watching X-Play's review of Perfect Dark Zero, I wouldn't want to play it.
A couple games I disagree with the critics on
Other than my underappreciated games blog, here are some well criticised games I did not agree with them on:
Now, Twilight Princess was good, not as great for me as critics say, but just good, nothing special.
Ultimate Ninja however, despite me being a Naruto fan and it being my #4 anime. It's not good at all for me.
Stuck in an airport? No problem!
- Dec 2, 2008 3:21 pm GMT
- 32 Comments
I was flying back from my vacation yesterday (it was great, thanks for asking) and had a long layover in the Denver airport. It wasn't supposed to be a long layover, but thanks to bad weather on the east coast, it ended up being pretty lengthy. Now, usually airport delays stink, but a few extra hours in Denver doesn't have to be a bad thing thanks to the numerous Zoox stations spread across the terminals.
What is Zoox? Yep, that was my question, too. It's a PC rig with a 23" widescreen monitor, gaming mouse, headphones, and controller that lets you kill time playing games like World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Portal, Battlefield 2, Halo and more for 25 cents a minute (you can also browse the Internet for 10 cents a minute). That might seem like a hefty price, but it pummels sitting on the floor next to a bathroom while reading the business section from a newspaper that you found on the ground next to a trashcan.
I didn't spend any quality time playing on a Zoox machine (I had a nice dinner with my girlfriend), but the kiosks seemed busy and the folks who were grinding away in WoW seemed completely oblivious to the fact that they were surrounded by harried travelers and screaming babies. If that's not worth 25 cents a minute, I don't know what is.
The Road to Northrend
- Nov 26, 2008 1:11 pm GMT
- 23 Comments
I remember when World of Warcraft was in beta. The original beta, I mean. Oh, a lot of the spells/skills didnt work, quests were bugged, some items had weird graphical glitches, and such. Then again, it was only a shadow of the game it is now. Even with buggy graphics, lag like a semi with eighteen flat tires, and balancing issues that would make the Chinese gymnastic team puke, I knew that the game would be a smash hit (actual quote: "This game reeks! If this thing lasts more than two weeks, it'll be a miracle..").
Okay, so maybe I didnt think it would be the massive entity that it is now. But I definitely knew that the game was going places (actual quote: "this game is going right into the trash"). Anyway, the game launched, and heroes were born. (We call them nerds in the real world). Now, I'll be the first to admit, I was on the fence about picking it up ("I'm not buying that piece of crap!"). I was also engrossed in the newly released Everquest II, a game which made Everquest I look like King's Quest V.
As I had predicted, the game took off, partly due to its engrossing gameplay, its user friendly interface, and the general population's everlasting love of lawn gnomes. The game was a treat, especially for those of us who'd played less than stellar MMO's in the past ("When I was young, all we had was Pong Online, and everyone's character was the same!").
Fast forward a couple years and the first expansion, "The Burning Crusade", was released. Long overdue features were added, like the ability to create solid gold toe rings. The options for creating your virtual self were expanded too, to sapphire colored demons or pinkish hued elves. The biggest addition was for experienced players though. Now you could battle new and more powerful enemies, in a whole new continent.
Now as the game's fourth anniversary is upon us, you could argue that the game has changed a little bit since it was first released. Eleven million people now populate the servers (That's way more than the entire population of Guam!). The scene now shifts to the frozen north, and the new continent of Can-err I mean Northrend. Death Knights now lay waste to everything in their path and spells can now be enhanced with glyphs for truly terrifying effects. Mages, who once simply turned enemies into sheep, can now turn enemies into penguins. The horror.
You don't have to be a fan of, or even play World of Warcraft, to notice its effect on the MMO scene, and maybe even the gaming scene as a whole. Who would have thought that Blizzard, previously known for a little played game named after Mexican wrestler "El Diablo" (take that, "El Guapo"!), would be able to create worlds that enraptured so many and caused so many sleepless nights? Probably none of us. Except me.
Looking Back : November 2005.
- Nov 22, 2008 6:35 pm GMT
- 120 Comments
The purpose of Looking Back is to take a look at some older retail games for the current generation that got good reviews (7 or higher). Sometimes these games pass us by because they were released during a glut of other good games. Perhaps you've only just picked up the relevant system. Or perhaps it was a lesser known title that simply slipped under your radar. In any case, the purpose of Looking Back is to determine whether these games are still worth a look, whether they haven't dated well, or whether something else has come along and beaten it at its own game. These games should either be budget priced by now, or you can probably pick up a cheap second hand copy. I chose November 2005 as a starting point because this was the launch of the Xbox 360. Given that there was only one eligible game released for the Xbox 360 in December 2005, that has been included as well.
Kameo : Elements of Power
Gamespot Score 8.7
Is it still worth playing? Yes. While impressive at the time of release, the graphics lack technical detail; there are some jagged edges and some bland textures. However, the game is bright and colourful, and the art styIe makes up for it. There are 10 Elemental Warriors to collect, which you can swap between on the fly depending on the level design. The controls take a little while to get used to, but are effective. The story and voice acting are nothing to write home about which makes the game less engaging, but the hybrid of action and puzzle elements still holds up. The gameplay is where it matters, and the combat, intuitive puzzles and boss fights are still a good time. From what I've heard, it didn't sell enough copies to warrant a sequel, which is a shame; the progress we have seen in game storytelling in the last few years would work wonders for a sequel. Nevertheless, the gameplay is still good today, and there hasn't been anything quite like it since its release.
Condemned : Criminal Origins
Gamespot Score 8.0
Is it still worth playing? Absolutely. I played this game earlier this year, and it holds up as one of the best psychological games I've played. While it has seen a sequel, I think the original edges it out as a better, more immersive game. As FBI agent Ethan Thomas who has been framed for murder, you need to track down the real killer to clear your name. Weird things are going on in the city, and people are becoming more violent. Most of the game takes place at night or in abandoned buildings, so everything is lit by your flashlight. The game is tense, with some jump out scares, but more importantly a sense of dread, knowing that some violent hobo could be just around the corner. The first person melee combat is relatively simple, with you picking up makeshift weapons with different properties, but is still engaging despite that simplicity. If you want to play a game more akin to a thriller or horror movie, this is your game.
Need For Speed : Most Wanted
Gamespot Score 8.4
Is it still worth playing? If you are after an arcade racer, Need For Speed : Most Wanted probably has what you are looking for. Many people consider this to be the best Need for Speed game, with the main attraction being the cop chases through an open city. Need For Speed Undercover has just been released which brings back those cop chases missing from the last 2 instalments, but has met with some tepid reviews, with choppy frame rates as a main issue of the game. It's not all just cop chases, there are plenty of other events, such as traditional races, timed checkpoint races, and speed camera races (get caught doing the most speed at predefined camera locations) If you haven't played a Need For Speed game yet, jump in with this one.
Call of Duty 2
Gamespot Score 8.8
Is it still worth playing? If you are interested in single player campaigns, then yes. There might be a glut of World War II shooters, but you may as well be playing the best ones. Still a great first-person shooter with plenty of tense action, tight controls, and great scripted events. While I've not played Call of Duty : World of War, reviews indicate is in an excellent game and has made some improvements, but it doesn't stop Call of Duty 2 from being a good game in its own right. If you are interested in playing multiplayer however, COD : WaW appears to trump COD 2 soundly.
Gamespot Score 7.6
Is it still worth playing? Yes. Though the ridiculous cutscenes and plot may initially turn you off, the boarding is still great, and it rocks to an indie soundtrack. I still find it to be the best snowboarding game on the market, as it mixes realism (near the beginning) with the ridiculousness of the SSX games. The several mountains (some of which are very large, others are one-run trick parks) add a lot to do, as well as collectibles, the ability to build your own board park. Sadly, hang gliding and other such events don't control quite as well. The game also has a sense of humor. All in all, it's still great, especially with the disinct lack of snowboarding games and the recent contender, Shaun White Snowboarding, receiving less than stellar reviews. - BrokenPezHead
Dead or Alive 4
Gamespot Score 8.8
Is it still worth playing? Still fun, but wrong out the gate. Though not a bad game, DOA 4 was, and is, still a thrid tier fighter. With a highly exploitable turtling system that punishes offense, and severely promotes defense and throws, I would not have scored it so highly. The graphics are still gorgeous, but the single player, while not the focus, has taken a severe hit with the games cheating A.I., which essentially makes it no fun. The system is still Virtua Fighter Light, and the counters are still far too easy to perform, though I will say it is a good casual fighter. Though there are gobs of combos and moves, several are made useless by the simple counter system, and it's choice as the fighter in "pro gaming" circuits still saddens me to this day. All in all, it's still fun, pretty, and lightning fast (it's strongest point) but as far as fightning games go, you can do better now. - BrokenPezHead
Eligible games not commented on.
Feel free to discuss these below, and whether they are worth playing today.
Project Gotham Racing 3 (8.8), Madden NFL 06 (7.4), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (7.8), NBA 2k6 (8.3), NHL 2k6 (7.5), Perfect Dark Zero (9.0), Ridge Racer 6 (8.1), King Kong (8.2)
Is this a feature you would like to see every month?
Is trailing by 3 years the right amount? I'm considering catching up to 2 years to get the Wii and PS3 onboard the feature faster, but is that necessary? Given the penchant for sequels which usually take about 2 years, perhaps 3 years is the sweet spot.
Should Playstation 2 games be included in future versions of this feature?
Any other suggestions as to the layout or format?
Thanks to BrokenPezHead for his collaboration on this feature, his entries have been credited.
The funeral for my Xbox 360 (with WORKING pics)
- Nov 21, 2008 1:09 pm GMT
- 1297 Comments
The rain was comforting today.
Xbox 360 the Fourths funeral was held yesterday, November 20th in our home.
It was a lovely funeral.
Master Chief did the Eulogy. He did a great job.
Many systems showed up for the funeral. Some couldn't make it, but sent their condolences.
Some took the passing harder than others. Echochrome was having a hard time keeping his composure.
When the service was over, everyone lined up to give their final goodbyes. Master Chief was there to give support.
Even though the system wars rage on, when a system passes, for a moment the wars stop, and soldiers give peace to even their most sworn enemies. It's all about respect.
Master Chief was strong and supportive the entire funeral, but when all systems said their final goodbyes and left, Master Chief couldn't keep his composure any longer.
For a moment he felt alone. Who would comfort him? Then he felt a pat on his shoulder. It was Echochrome there to help him.
Master Chief gave his goodbyes and pulled himself together. As they were about to leave, they were surprised with an unexpected guest. It was Xbox 360's biological father, Xbox.
Master Chief and Echochrome stuck around as Xbox gave his respects to his son.
The body of Xbox 360 was sent to his maker today at 9:24 a.m. He will be missed.
It was a very nice funeral. Thanks to all the attendees including R.O.B, Neo-Geo Pocket, Gameboy, Virtuaboy, PS3 and Wii to name a few.
Thanks to my wife, who let me use her wilted flowers.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you all enjoyed!
My 360 dies due to a severe case of RRoD and a minor case of One Red Light. Also, people keep asking me about the systems. I have been collecting religiously for about 6 years now. I have bout 42 systems and tons of games. I did not want to drag them all out. I will blog with a pic of them all soon. Also, the 360 in the background is actually a 10th build 360 prototype that I got from an anonymous Microsoft employee. It was a prototype that they used during the build process, mainly the program build. Anyways, its just a collectors item (since there are only 12 in existence) and unfortunately does not work.
My Thoughts on DLC and a Fallout 3 review.
- Nov 15, 2008 5:14 pm GMT
- 83 Comments
There's been a consistent rise of disgust when it comes to DLC that probably started with either EA's treatment of unlocking codes in The Godfather game or Bethesda's Horse Armor pack and has carried over to Microsoft's purchasing of additional quests for certain games and in the future, might extend to using DLC as a way to cripple the secondhand market.
My opinion? Well I don't think all of this is inherently bad although there are certain DLC's that I think are just down right ridiculous in content and cost. EA's treatment of The Godfather? Despicable. Horse Armor? Too little too soon and coming from a company that used to give out free 30 minutes quests for download, it's a little disappointing. GTA IV's addition on the other hand seems like it will be a great idea if it arrives sometime before GTA IV becomes irrelevant. Microsoft buying Tomb Raider: Underworld DLC? Good for them. Epic adding a card that encourages gamers to buy Gears of War brand new with the inclusion of downloadable levels is brilliant, their idea of offering the same thing for endings is abhorrent.
Price and content seems to be a major factor and varies from gamer to gamer. Sure Microsoft's insistence that developers put a price tag on their DLC is a bit underhanded but understandable not just from their pocketbook's point of view but from a less successful developer's point of view also. It seems to have set the stage for all console gaming stores but it makes sense to me. I know if I made a game and offered map packs for a small fee while Epic and their Gears of War powerhouse offered map packs for free because they have one hell of a blockbuster, there's a pretty good chance that my offering is going to be ignored and may even be used against me by gamers saying my cheap game is asking for more money while those rolling in the dough are tossing around handouts.
Time seems to be a major factor in this debate also; if a company releases DLC too soon, it's simply considered something that the company could have included in the main game but didn't so they could nickel and dime fans. Release it too late and there's very little point. The problem here is there's no chart saying what time frame is appropriate to all gamers. Now that I look at things, I like that some of Oblivion's DLC was out in a rather quick manner, it sure beats waiting for GTA IV's DLC and I think even if Mass Effect made another quest for download at this point in time, there's a good chance I may pass it up. These are my thoughts on timing and I'm sure there are a bunch of people that will disagree with me. It just goes to show that Developers aren't always going to release things at the best time.
Microsoft's policy of throwing money at companies for their DLC isn't a horrible idea but a short term solution. I'd rather they have used that $50 million they tossed at Rockstar to go into the development of a Shadowrun RPG but that's just wishful thinking on my part. Truth is that the exclusive game market is on its deathbed but seems to have given birth to paying for exclusive DLC. So far it seems like it's unknown if this tactic is working out for them or not but I simply can't fault them for doing it. As a person that owns every system, I know which system I'd get GTA IV, Tomb Raider: Underworld and Fallout 3 for so it looks like it works for them and also works for people that are fans of these games that own that system.
Then if developers insist on combating the used market with DLC I see a rather straightforward line between right and wrong. The right was is to reward new game buyers with additional content in the form of maps, skins, items and things of those nature, DON'T punish us by forcing us to use codes to unlock things that are important to games such as endings. This line is as crystal clear as that. There are certain things any developer could lump into reward or punishment categories and I hope they remember that when it comes down to decision making time. I'm also a PC gamer and I'm already being punished for what pirates do, I'd hate to also be punished on the console side for renters and used game buyers too.
When all is said and done, no matter what your views are on each of these DLC debates, the most effective thing a gamer can do to combat foul DLC practices is vote. Vote with your wallets or purses. See something you don't agree with, don't buy it and hope that other people feel the same way you do. If you see Dog Armor pop up in Fallout 3 or Long Jumping cheats for Mirror's Edge, well that's just the game companies meeting supply and demand. Better luck next time. I just hope there aren't people out there that are buying DLC they don't agree with just because it's part of a game they really like. If you want to change something, you're going to have to make a stance and show some willpower no matter how bad you want to see Gears of War 3's DLC ending.
Fallout 3: I finished this game about a week ago and gave myself some time off to compose my thoughts.I voice my opinion on how great the game is and how much the ending and level cap sucks but in the end it's still the best game I played all year. 9.5 and the review can be found by clicking Nyeah.
Editorial: The Future Is Now
- Nov 11, 2008 12:47 pm GMT
- 12 Comments
Who here remembers the first time they put the Super Mario 64 cartridge into their Nintendo 64, and after playing with Mario's face for twenty minutes, proceeded to have their mind blown by what they saw when the castle courtyard loaded? I know I do. It was arguably the last great step in video games, bringing the plumber in red out of the two dimensional world and into the three. Its release subsequently saw the drastic change in how games were seen and made. Ever since then I've wondered who and what would bring such change to the industry a second time, and when it would happen. I think it's happening now, but it's not as striking as the 2D to 3D leap Mario took, and so it's harder to notice.
It's no secret that 2008 has been more than a banner year for gaming. 2007 was compared to the gangbuster year of 1998, but 2008 seems like it's taken the lead as the next closest comparison. Not only has the year seen the release of many sequels to some of the most popular games in the last decade, but it has also brought with it the releases of some very unique and almost daring titles. I'm talking about titles like Spore, which even though left many disappointed, certainly opened up a doorway to a new genre. Little Big Planet also has turned the ideology that community systems are where the industry is going, and made it more of a reality. Even Mirror's Edge, the shockingly different title from EA (who knew they had it in them?) brings fresh takes on old concepts in platforming and makes them seem new. Where am I going with all this? I believe we're seeing the next logical step in gaming before we go all Star Trek and start selling Holo-decks. I see it arriving in two forms: movement from point A to point B, and the use of community as a driver.
It's obviously hard to beat such a ridiculous leap in technology that the Playstation and Nintendo 64 brought to the table. It's safe to say that it'll be a little while longer yet before we see such a huge step forward from one generation to the next. In the meantime though, developers are getting more creative with how they use their games as media and entertainment.
The less dramatic change that's noticeable is how developers are starting to experiment with how you get from point A to point B in their game worlds. From traveling a purely horizontal plane in the days of the NES and earlier, to adding the third dimension of movement, games have been forever tweaking the ways you can use movement and traverse the terrain. The age of the Playstation and Nintendo 64 saw numerous advancements, followed by the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube's improvements. As the years went on, controls were getting so complicated that the entry level gamer would find their fingers in a pretzel knot as they tried to simply climb up that ledge.
Let's see Mario jump off a billboard onto a crane!
Now however, developers for the most part are cutting back on the complications and attempting to streamline controls so that you can pull all those crazy Matrix cliché moves with one hand tied behind your back. Mirror's Edge is a good example of where games seem to be (and should be) going. You can do a plethora of actions to get yourself to your destination, and the controls make it a surprisingly simple thing to do. You will more than likely see more genres outside of platforming start to implement some of these designs as they help immerse you more than just generically jumping three hundred times to get up a steep, rocky hill. All this fancy movement stuff is fine and good, but the community is where the action is.
When Microsoft first launched Xbox Live way back when, they obviously had quite a vision for the future. At the time it wasn't like they were going to blow the PC out of the water for online gaming, but as the service grew it started separating itself from its PC counterpart by offering more and more unique options for the end user. Community gaming and connections almost instantly blew up and changed everything. Suddenly it was shameful if a game didn't have some sort of online functionality.
Take Bill Gates out for an icrecream! Virtually!
The PC world was changing too, and services like Steam were taking root and getting games and content out to the public in a faster and more efficient way than ever before. Truly with the existence of Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Steam, and their counterparts, we're seeing a community gaming explosion that will forever change the industry - much like everyone's favorite 3D plumber. As the Internet grows and expands, gets faster and more feature rich, gaming will take on more forms, become more customizable and personal, and go in yet another new direction for the future.
Gaming has grown from infancy, gone through puberty, and now we're smack dab in the middle of its young adult years. As we continue to watch our beloved child that is gaming continue to mature we're sure to see some pretty crazy things unfold. Yes, it will probably get a bit drunk and stumble out of one or two sad situations, but the next big life plateau approaches. Look sharp, people! The future is now.
That's all for now folks, have a good one!
Who Is The Beatles Game For?
- Oct 31, 2008 12:32 pm GMT
- 33 Comments
Just who is this Beatles game for?
That's the question that's been running through my brain ever since news of the announcement that Harmonix and Apple Corps Ltd would be combining efforts on a Beatles-themed project came to light. Several outlets were reporting at the outset that the game would be a dedicated Rock Band expansion devoted to the Fab Four but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, we'll have a "full, new music game built from the ground up," according to Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopolous.
The licensing of The Beatles' music has had a... ahem... long and winding road; these days, the vast majority of the group's catalog is owned by Sony and Michael Jackson (the King of Pop purchased the publishing rights to around 200 songs in 1985), with royalties still being paid out to John Lennon's estate and to Paul McCartney. In 2006, the Cirque du Soleil production, "Love", was unveiled in Las Vegas, which combined some of the group's most famous songs with the visual wizardry of the long-running show company.
So, Apple Corps Ltd's long-standing dispute with Apple over licensing of the music to the latter's iTunes service notwithstanding, the company has been willing to extend use the Beatles' music, as long as it's in the right context. But what does that mean for Harmonix's just-announced game?
To me, it comes back to my original question: Who is the intended audience? While I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who actively dislikes The Beatles, I'm not sure if they are as relevant to the hardcore game-buying demographic as they might have been, say, ten years ago. I consider myself a moderate fan of the group--they lost me somewhere around The Yellow Submarine--but I have a hard time believing that the typical 18 year-old as totally psyched about this announcement as, say, your typical 48 year-old.
But, then, what 48 year-old is going to play (much less buy) a game like this, unless Harmonix radically simplifies the gameplay? Rigopolous has stated that this game will use Rock Band instruments but, as it stands now, further details are few and far between. I can only imagine the look of bewilderment my mom or dad would have if I sat them down in front of a set of Rock Band drums and told them to hold it down for me while I rocked some Rush. And it's tough to see how a Beatles game that uses the pricey Rock Band peripherals could be considered casual enough to draw in tons of new fans, Lennon and McCartney be damned.
So I'm left puzzled. If the Beatles game is a dumbed down Rock Band experience aimed at a casual crowd, it will likely turn off the hardcore Rock Band fans, a good chunk of whom won't have much of a connection to the music in the first place. And while the older set might relish in a perfectly marketed casual gaming chunk of 60's nostalgia for Xbox 360 and PS3, can it really be called "casual" if you've got to spend a bunch of cash for the accessories you need to play it?
Rigopolous has already stated the game will use explore the Beatles iconic psychedelic imagery--such as that found in the film The Yellow Submarine. My best bet? The Beatles game will be a sort of gaming equivalent to director Julie Taymor's film Across the Universe, a re-imagining/visual exploration of the Beatles catalog. I imagine the musical gameplay aspects (i.e. playing along with Beatles tunes) will be either entirely optional or, perhaps more likely, will give the player multiple options for interaction (everything from straight karaoke, to playing along with Rock Band instruments, or following note patterns with a standard controller). Ensuring a large (and customizable) spectrum of interaction seems like a must-have feature when dealing with what could potentially be one of the widest demographic spreads we've ever seen in a videogame.
So what do you think? Are you excited about the Harmonix/Beatles game? Do you think a Beatles game with Rock Band-esque gameplay can be a hit with both young and old gamers? What does this game need to do in order to be a gameplay success?
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