All About dark_orb
I've been using Gamespot since 2005 and this is where I write game related thoughts that I think are worth reading. I hope you enjoy and leave me a comment if you have anything to say about an entry. If you comment on a blog post that is not on the front page of my profile please start your comment with @dark_orb so I notice it. I generally try to respond to any comments people leave me. If you comment on my blogs I'll try to do the same. I hope you find something you enjoy and thank you for reading.
I don't have much to say of late so instead of not posting anything I'll post a link to somebody else who is saying something I think is worth hearing. I've enjoyed Jim Sterling's show The Jimquisition for a while now and while I certainly don't agree with everything he says I think a lot of it is worth listening to; if for nothing else but to generate thought and discussion. While unnecessarily vulgar at times his show fills a void created when I stopped watching The Game Overthinker after Moviebob made it practically unwatchible. If you haven't already seen todays episode you can watch it here. In it he talks about what the game industry, and people that play games, lose through the obsession of replicating the success of Call of Duty. It's very much a counter piece to an episode he did earlier this year in which he took shots at companies for "innovating" just for the sake of innovation.
So Sony recently announced, to our collective non-surprise, that there will be a PS4 and it's coming soon. They did so at a two hour press conference in New York that did nothing for me but solidify my lack of interest in the future of console gaming. It very much felt like Sony was trying to get the jump on Microsoft and held their little party long before they were ready to do so. We didn't see the hardware itself, just the controller that we already knew about. We only caught a glimpse of what the user interface might look like. We found out that it won't be backwards compatible with anything except the Playstation Move controllers that most of us want nothing to do with. We noticed that thus far pretty much every launch title will be available for PS3 if not being cross platform with the 360 or the nextbox. What we saw a bunch of trailers and little footage of actual play. We listened to a bunch of people try to sell us the idea that is the PS4 and tell us to look forward to E3. I, for one, am not impressed and I can't say I find myself particularly excited or interested.
A lot of my thoughts on the PS4 announcement are summed up nicely in this video which you should watch if you are interested in the subject and have a few minutes.
To date I own two Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems, a Playstation, a PSOne, a PS2 (slim), a Gamecube, a DS Lite, a PSP (3000 model), and a PS3 (slim). Assuming it gets games I actually want to play I see my getting a Vita as an eventual possibility but I have no interest in a PS4. Some of that sentiment comes from my experiences with the PS3, of which I am on my second. I've owned a SNES since the mid 90s but to date my fat PS3, which I bought new in 2008, is the only console I own that has died on me. It gave me the yellow light of death in spite of the open area it was kept in and the dusting it periodically received. The funny thing is that I played more PS2 games on that fat PS3 then I did PS3 games. I've enjoyed a number of great games for PS3 though; with titles like Eternal Sonata, Valkyria Chronicles, FF XIII, and inFamous being some of my favorites to date. But I've never much cared for the machine that is the PS3. It used to get at least one firmware update a month that did took five to ten minutes which did absolutely nothing from a user standpoint (except wasting my time), the internet browser is terrible to the point of being practically unusable, it infrequently freezes up on the menu bar, and the few times the power has gone out while in use it freaks out and runs a hard disk check on restart.
That's where some of my lack of interest in future console gaming comes from. But the lions share comes from something more depressing; the realization that I'm getting too old to keep up with the times. I don't want a game to connect to my non existant Facebook page or post updates to twitter. I assume this is a popular thing because it crops up more and more but at the same time I only hear people complaining about how lame it is. I've yet to hear somebody actually say I really love games that connect with my facebook/twitter accounts. I have no interest in a console that records what I'm doing so I can upload footage of me playing games (badly) to Youtube. Goodness knows there are already tons of people doing that. I don't like how every time I start playing a PS3 game I have to install to the HD and then download an update patch before I can think about actually starting to play. I hate being caught up in a game, watching a tense cutscene, and having my immersion broken by a little bling sound and a message that I've unlocked a new trophy appear in the corner. I don't like DLC and I don't like multiplayer being shoved into games that don't need it. I want to go back to a time when buying a game it meant that I had the full experience in my hand. I want to go back to a time when all I had to do before enjoying myself was to put the media in the machine and turn it on. I want to go back to a time when a game console did one thing, play games. I want that because when consoles did just one thing they did that one thing well and they certainly didn't do anything to get in between the user and the games that justified the existence of the machine.
But maybe that's just me and I'm not hip enough to enjoy what the kids these days are into.
I don't celebrate X-mas. I don't buy gifts for anybody and nobody gives me anything over the holidays. So every year I buy myself something for my birthday to offset that fact. I usually use it to acquire an older/rare game that I've been meaning to play for ages and just haven't been able to justify it's expense. I started doing this in 2010 when I got myself Lunar: Silver Star Story, in 2011 I finally invested in a copy of Xenogears and last year it was Digital Devil Saga part I and part II (which were actually quite the disappointment). This year, however, I have bought myself a game that has taken it's place as one of the crown jewels of my collection.
Yes, that is a near mint copy of Suikoden II which is one of the rarest Playstation games you can own. I have played it before; but that was almost fifteen years ago when I borrowed it from somebody. I remember it being a fantastic game and I'm absolutely psyched to play it. So while I was waiting for it to arrive this month I decided to prepare myself for it by re-replaying the original Suikoden. I had already played Suikoden twice but I had a great time with it on this second replay, which goes to show how great it is. There are only a few games in my collection that I've played three or more times; those games being FF VI/VII/VIII/Tactics, Half Life, Resident Evil 3, Parasite Eve, and Star Ocean: The second Story. It's something I wish I did more often as I really enjoy replaying a fantastic game. It's my opinion that most games are at their most enjoyable the second time around which is why I'm a big fan on new game + features. You remember how to play the game, the ins and outs of it's mechanics, and when to prepare for a spike in difficulty. You also don't have any periods of wandering aimlessly wondering where to go and/or what to do. Unfortunately my backlog always encourages me to move forward and play something new rather than fire up something old. That said, replaying Suikoden was a fantastic way to start my gaming year and I took the time this morning to write up a review for it. Since it is a birthday present and my birthday isn't till next month I'll hold off playing Suikoden II for a couple weeks but I'm very much looking forward to it.
In gaming news; Microsoft and Sony will be announcing new consoles very soon and people have noticed that their Wii U's are already collecting dust as they fall into the same pattern of use that plagued the Wii. Personally I really couldn't care less about the Xbox 720 or the PS4 as I'm pretty much done with modern consoles. If enough good games get released for it I may invest in a PS Vita a few years down the line but that's about it. I'm sick of firmware updates, consoles that give you a light of death after a few years, installing to HD, in game trophy/achievement pop ups, friend lists, patches for console titles, DLC in general but especially on disc DLC, and games that want to connect to Facebook and Twitter. I'm tired of the hardware getting in the way of what I bought it to do and what I want it to do most, play games. I want to buy and play single player games with no BS around my being able to access and enjoy that content. I want a machine that either just plays games well or does everything I expect a real PC to do. That said, I am interested in whatever Valve decide to unleash on the masses and the OUYA certainly has my attention. Consoles as we know them are dieing a slow painful death. No, that's not true, it's more accurate to say that consoles are slowly and painfully evolving into branded PCs. What we are seeing now is the grotesque process of an animal that has grown functional gills sputter and cough up it's old lungs. Things like the upcoming Steambox are the future and sony will have to do something more dramatic than putting a touch screen in the PS4 controller to keep the idea of a video game centric home console relevant in the coming years. If Valve releases a moderately priced box that I can hook up to my TV which lets me access and play the entire Steam library why would I want whatever bloated, firmware update happy, device Sony is working on?
Somewhere along the lines this reasonably cheerful blog devolved into a rant. I'm not sure how that happened. Also, I seem to be at least temporarily getting back into writing so I might try to comment and offer my thoughts on gaming news.
Thanks for reading.
My Recent Reviews
May 15, 2013 2:53 am GMTdark_orb began Following Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
May 13, 2013 8:02 pm GMTdark_orb added Tales of Graces f to their wish list
May 13, 2013 8:01 pm GMTdark_orb began Following Tales of Xillia
May 10, 2013 3:52 am GMTdark_orb gave Suikoden IV a score of 7.5
Apr 26, 2013 12:32 am GMTdark_orb added Brutal Legend to their owned game list
Apr 25, 2013 5:32 pm GMTdark_orb added Brutal Legend to their owned game list
Apr 23, 2013 1:08 am GMTdark_orb gave Psychonauts a score of 8.5
Apr 22, 2013 7:08 pm GMTdark_orb posted a new blog entry entitled Jim Sterling Talks About Pasta Sauce
Apr 15, 2013 11:40 am GMTdark_orb added Tomb Raider to their wish list
Apr 14, 2013 12:27 am GMTdark_orb gave Suikoden III a score of 9.0