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Rant

GameStop's Retro Game Vault is ridiculously stupid

Feb 03 // Tony Ponce
Every so often, GameStop runs a special promotion where you can earn extra points on top of whatever transaction you make that day, but let's be real. Reaching the lofty point totals that GameStop has set for its retro catalog is no simple feat. The only people who could hope to earn enough points are the ones who live and die by GameStop's services, who trade in every damn game they ever buy as if GameStop was some glorified rental chain, or who are so loose with their money that they would gladly spend thousands upon thousands of dollars per year on games alone. Even then, because of the high point values of the Vault items, those people probably couldn't order more than two games anyway. I haven't even talked about the selection yet! As of this moment, the only games available are Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Quake III Arena for the Dreamcast. Everything else is either "sold out" or "coming soon." Double Dragon and Quake III are both 32,500 points, while Mario is 43,250. Of the unavailable games, the only one with a price tag is Sim City, and it's marked at 32,440. How on Earth is GameStop even arriving at these values? Who is going to bend over backwards for a fuckin' loose copy of Mario when it can be found on eBay for the price of a family-size bag of Cheetos? And there doesn't seem to be any semblance of consistency when it comes to which games will be made available down the road. In all likelihood, these games are just the leftover shit from the earlier days, but instead of tossing them out, giving them away to employees, or -- God forbid -- selling them, GameStop opted to devise a ridiculous "incentive" program in the hopes that consumers would drive even more business to the store for the sake of "gifts" that could be acquired infinitely more easily and more cheaply anywhere else! Seriously, fuck these guys.
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Hey, guys! Remember when GameStop used to sell legacy games and hardware? Atari, Genesis, you name it. Those were the days, before the company began swallowing up the competition and ditched the retro wares in favor of almost...

PlayStation Move, why aren't you moving?

Nov 16 // Jim Sterling
With the PlayStation Move's being out for over a year, the grace period where Sony could get away with shallow waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos ought to have expired. However, this week I was sent a tote bag of PS Move review copies by Sony, and looking inside I found ... waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos. Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest is one such game. It's an on-rails shooter/slasher that could have been legitimately brilliant had the developers not played it so damn safe. While its sword combat is decent and the bow-and-arrow controls surprisingly good, these ideas are barely developed from the launch title Sports Champions. What could have been a third-person action-adventure, one along the lines of, say, The Legend of Zelda, is just another on-rails demonstration of ideas in an industry that's become swollen with such things. The lack of bravery exhibited in the game is so obvious that it punches you in the face.  Carnival Island was also in the bag, and I think the game's name says it all. It's yet another collection of vague funfair minigames, the kind that have been on the Wii since at least 2007. You can throw balls! You can steer things! You can throw other kinds of balls! How innovative, how amazing, how exactly like so many other fucking games we've seen on rival systems! Rounding out the package was EyePet & Friends, a sequel to a PlayStation Eye game that was interminably vapid, and LittleBigPlanet 2: Special Edition, a re-release of a game that arrived earlier this year and includes a bunch of Move-focused DLC. That is Sony's big holiday lineup this year -- another tech demo, a collection of carnival minigames, a sequel to a game nobody loved, and a repackaged special edition. Forgive me if I'm being hard to please, but it's hardly a handjob from Debra Messing. Over the course of the year, the PlayStation Move's primary use was as an optional control method in games not designed with it predominantly in mind. Killzone 3, Resistance 3, and inFAMOUS 2 all had options for the Move, but they tended to change the way each game was played. In the case of first-person shooters, the garish new targeting reticule made aiming ridiculously easy and had a detrimental effect on the multiplayer, especially for those who didn't find the Move comfortable in an FPS and instead found themselves slaughtered by those who were having their hands held by a giant yellow circle that glowed bright red on the tiniest of targets. Without these optional control schemes, however, players would have had ZERO use for the Navigation Controller, the analog-stick secondary peripheral that Sony had the nerve to sell separately for $39.99 and then did nothing with. The Navigation Controller could have made for some genuinely exciting "real" games that used motion as an enhancement, but I'm willing to bet that its status as a separately purchased add-on is what has stopped games like Deadmund's Quest from being anything other than an on-rails affair. I doubt developers want to further shrink their potential audience by requiring another controller that gamers aren't guaranteed to have. Unfortunately, this becomes a vicious circle. No games want to use the Navigation Controller because so few gamers own one, but so few gamers own one because no games want to use the Navigation Controller. As with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, it's Sony's job to lead the way and work hard on producing enthralling games that exploit this forgotten peripheral. However, as with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, Sony won't fucking bother.  The only PlayStation Move game that's ever looked worth a shit is Sorcery, and unsurprisingly, it's a game that we've seen bugger-all from since the Move first launched. In December, Sony is due to finally unveil a hands-on version of the game, and I am expecting good things. Even if it is good, however, it's a year too late and it's just one game. Right now, the Move is putting out games that exist only to make Move owners feel like they weren't ripped off in 2010, and that's not a good position for any consumer product to be in. A year removed from launch, the Move should be producing awesome new experiences, not desperately struggling to still validate its existence. More importantly, a product more technologically advanced than the Wii, on a superior console, should not be pathetically retreading Nintendo's footsteps and regurgitating the kind of experiences that we've already been playing for years. The PlayStation Move could be a leader, but it's straggling as a follower. Sure, its controls may be a little more precise than those on the Wii, but that means jack shit when you're just reproducing the same kind of content. We don't need that. We don't need tech demos anymore, and we don't need proofs-of-concept. If you've been unable to prove your concept in over a year, then what the fuck were you doing for the past twelve months? The time when cute little demonstrations of ideas were acceptable has long since passed. It's high time that the Move got the kind of experiences that it is capable of. Otherwise, all you have is a shitty little Wii knock-off that's destined to be forgotten. Apparently, Sony's okay with that.
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The PlayStation Move came to North America on September 17, 2010. In that time, I think I've used the peripheral maybe six times. This is said as a person whose job it is to own and use one of these things. When the controlle...

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Hey Microsoft, no means no!


Nov 06
// Jim Sterling
Dear Microsoft, Have you ever heard the word "no" before? When somebody says that word, it usually means they don't want something or would like an ongoing activity to stop. So for instance, when you notify me via Xbox Live t...

Is the dual-stick controller a game design crutch?

Oct 29 // Tony Ponce
[Image from Don Hertzfeldt's Anesthetics comic strip] Allow me to offer some insight into my personal gaming sensibilities. I am a very precise and calculating person -- extremely meticulous and borderline neurotic. I am a strong proponent of that old proverb, "A place for everything and everything in its place." I keep my room tidy and my work space organized. Hell, I even like to line up my pens so that their lengths run parallel to the edge of the desk. Whenever I see a neighbor's garage so cluttered with junk that cars cannot actually be parked inside, I get a little antsy. That's the kind of crazy I am. Naturally, this behavior carries over into hobbies such as gaming. I have an issue with what I consider controller bloat -- the need for manufacturers to add more and more functions to input devices regardless of logic, necessity, and ergonomics. Despite the abundance of available options, some devs still don't have enough space to map all their "needed" commands. If you want a good example of a nonessential controller addition, consider the "select" button on the Nintendo Entertainment System. That thing was so utterly useless that devs opted to remove functions from elsewhere in order to give "select" something, anything to do. Remember how many "player select" or "password" screens could only be navigated by pressing "select" rather than the directions on the D-pad? Then once the game began, "select" was never used again? Please tell me I wasn't the only person who thought that was six degrees of stupid. Modern games don't fare much better, with "select" dedicated almost solely to opening some secondary inventory menu. At the very least, though, the "select" button is an innocuous fixture that doesn't impede regular play, so I can't bitch too much about its shortcomings. The same can't be said of the second analog stick, the inclusion of which does impact game design and play significantly. No matter how you slice it, the second analog stick was a byproduct of the advent of 3D gaming. Analog control was introduced because three-dimensional space could not be adequately navigated with a simple D-pad. Unfortunately, the addition of depth meant that the previously fixed camera would have to be scrapped in favor of a more dynamic one. This was never an issue with older software, where movement was restricted to single plane and the camera could remain locked on your avatar. The camera is, without a doubt, one the biggest shortcomings of 3D, free-roaming videogames. It's kind of difficult to focus on the action when your view is obstructed by a giant box in the foreground or fixated on a featureless rock wall. A complete overhaul of the camera would be required to prevent such scenarios, but devs were still trying to get a handle on player movement in the third dimension. If they couldn't figure the camera out, they would do the next best thing -- give the player direct camera control. Sony would eventually release a dual-stick version of its PlayStation controller, but Nintendo had already incorporated some of that "second stick" functionality right on the Nintendo 64 controller. The aptly named C buttons allowed players to reorient the camera in Super Mario 64 and other 3D platformers. Sure, there were some serious hiccups, but it was decent solution to the problem... for the time. Ideally, the camera should not be user-controlled. It was a developer-level issue that had been passed on to the player because the devs couldn't come up with a decent solution of their own. This should have been a temporary measure until something better came along. How would you feel if whenever you watched a movie, you had to manipulate a device in your hand to find an optimal viewing angle for every scene, all because the cinematographer thought that properly framing the shots himself was too hard? The kicker is that better solutions exist yet haven't replaced the "old standard." Instead of a free camera, Ocarina of Time delivered the innovative Z-targeting mechanic whereby pressing the Z button would fix the camera on the nearest enemy or behind the player when no enemies were present. Then there have been games like God of War that featured cinematic framing and never once asked the players to get their hands dirty. The former example still allows some control freedom while condensing the capabilities to a context-sensitive button, while the latter completely eliminates any obligation on behalf of the player. At least the N64's C buttons had the benefit of being actual buttons in games that didn't require camera control. This multipurpose flexibility is lost on modern dual-stick controllers where the second stick is effectively a dedicated camera crane. Yes, there are a few games that find alternative jobs for the stick to perform, but I'd hardly call them the norm. When one-off devices like the EyeToy or MotionPlus get derided for their lack of use outside of a handful of titles, I see no reason why we can't level the same complaints against a controller feature that's so rarely exploited beyond a function that I doubt anyone truly enjoys. Doesn't it bother you that, in order to operate the stick, you have to remove your thumb from the main button panel since you can't operate both at the same time without adopting some unorthodox, claw-like controller grip? Is this actually a welcome function in any game, or is it a burden that we begrudgingly accept because, by golly, that's how it's been done for over a decade? We've fallen into the trap of accepting mediocrity simply because we aren't accustomed to anything else. I am disgusted that many modern games still suffer from the same pitfalls that annoyed players back on the friggin' N64. Know who's fault that is? Developers and the hardware manufacturers who cater to their every whim. They aren't going to step up their game when maintaining the status quo requires very little thought and effort. With the myriad options available to them, devs choose the safe and familiar, an ethic that pervades most branches of modern game design. I don't want anyone to think this is just about camera controls, though -- this is about failing to capitalize on potential. I've played games that made great use of that second stick. One example that immediately pops in my head is the Katamari series, in which you roll your giant ball o' stuff like it was an RC car with independent left and right wheel drive. But when it comes to gaming, you can't trust a few sporadic flashes of genius to spark a chain reaction throughout the industry. It's like a child with a box of LEGOs who can't build anything unless it's spelled out in a full-color instruction manual. Something I have yet to address is the first-person shooter genre. With Call of Duty and its ilk dominating the landscape, console gamers associate dual sticks with FPS more than anything else. I admit that dual-stick shooting controls have been refined over the last decade, but let's not pretend that they are the end-all and be-all, especially in the face of the superior mouse. Again, there have been advancements in this area. The Wii Remote and PlayStation Move trump the standard pad in every area when it comes to shooters. The complaints that players have against these alternatives, and the reasons devs haven't capitalized on them, are fear of needing to acclimate themselves with a new setup and ignorance of motion controls. That Ken Levine pretty much had to be dragged kicking and screaming to implement Move controls in BioShock Infinite, despite the obvious benefits, should demonstrate how little the industry cares about deviating from the norm. The moment I knew with utmost certainty that dual-stick controls were the tip of a much deeper problem was with the announcement of the Circle Pad Pro. People must have had it in their heads that one of the primary reasons for the PSP's failure to completely dominate the handheld landscape was its lack of a second analog stick (no, it wasn't). How else could you explain why they were furious that a second stick wasn't included on the 3DS from the outset? If this was such a huge issue, why were people so excited for the 3DS during the E3 10 reveal? The hardware clearly lacked a second stick, yet no one was up in arms. Why raise a stink now? Do people think that crappy software like Bust-a-Move Universe is somehow linked to stick's omission? Has the 3DS suddenly become an "incomplete" machine, and will every game from here until the peripheral's release suffer for lack of nub? I think it's unfair and extremely shortsighted that anyone can say the 3DS is lacking in control options when it has a stick, a D-pad, four face buttons, two shoulder triggers, a gyroscope sensor, and a touch screen. The touch screen alone offers a wealth of possibilities that makes a second stick much, much more than a bit redundant. The Circle Pad Pro is being released alongside Monster Hunter 3G, so if any game is be the perfect demonstration of why the add-on is absolutely necessary, this would be it. However, as I've observed previously, the game incorporates a variant of Z-targeting, eliminating any need for more direct camera control in most situations. Even if you do need further control, the touch screen offers an easily accessible virtual D-pad -- in addition to a map and inventory hot keys. Let's see a stick pull that off! I can only see the Circle Pad Pro causing confusion among gamers who believe the existence of this Frankenstein abomination implies that the current controls are ineffectual. Never mind that the original DS has one of the most varied and popular libraries of software of any console ever, a feat which it accomplished without any sticks at all. Naturally, a second stick is imperative. I can hazard a guess as to why Nintendo designed this peripheral. In an effort to attract the third-party support it so desperately craves, Nintendo wanted to extend an invitation to those devs that refused to make portable software because the control schemes weren't 100% identical. Capcom may be making a concerted effort to ensure that the default controls are spectacular, but I know there are going to be a few apples in the bunch that are more interested in "relevancy." A second stick is not needed in any way, shape, or form, and I guarantee that Nintendo was perfectly aware of that but pulled this stunt anyway. I'm not sold on the idea that just because something has been done one way means we must carry on the tradition. Just because we've had two analog sticks on our controllers since the late '90s doesn't mean that they must be permanent fixtures in successive generations. The jobs that the second stick performs can be done better -- and in some cases have already been done better -- by more logical and intuitive means, but the only way for that to happen is for the industry to collectively agree to step out of its comfort zone. Fat chance of that happening, though. Maybe I'm wrong for wanting more significant changes. Maybe I ought to behave more like a good little Charlie Consumer and accept matters beyond my power. But then I remember how anal retentive I am and I cross my arms in a huff.
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It has been nearly two months since Nintendo unveiled the 3DS Slide Pad Expansion (Circle Pad Pro in the West). Despite the initial cries of "Nubageddon," the fervor has since died down, allowing everyone to reflect upon the ...

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Adventure Time creator thinks the best games have stories


Sep 24
// Jonathan Holmes
We've already heard a lot from Pendleton Ward, creator of the hit show Adventure Time, about his interest in making a game based on the property. Up until now, I was excited about the prospect of an Adventure Time game. Now I...

Fans upset over anime-ized statue of Mass Effect's Liara

Sep 04 // Tony Ponce
I'm not saying that I personally like the style of the Bishoujo line -- some pieces are fine while others seem too awkward and lifeless. In this particular case, there are certain criticisms that I can stand behind, such as her breasts' being too big or her legs' being too long. However, the commenters' biggest concern is that she looks too "anime-ish." That's the whole point of the Bishoujo line! If that's the big problem folks have with the statue, no amount of redesigning is going to satisfy them. Another major concern is that her appearance is over-sexualized. Despite her being fully clothed with no exposed skin, the commenters complain that she is putting too much of herself out there. Is it the boobs? Sounds like a rather uptight response, especially coming from fans of a game series that allows you to pursue romantic relationships with various love interests then engage in PG-13 intercourse. Saying that this statue makes Liara look like "an underaged porn star" is akin to Fox News slamming the game itself as pornography. It's beyond me. I'm guessing a large reason for the negative reception is that, for most people, anything Japanese-y is a big turn off, especially when the look is applied to a property that represents a contrasting set of ideals and expectations. It's the reason why the JRPG has lost favor in the Western market. For them, the style is associated with various unappealing tropes and cliches, even if said tropes and cliches are a generalization brought about by limited familiarity with Japanese media. There really isn't much anyone can do to change their minds. Comic book fans (and I'm talking about the ones who actually buy comic books and associated merch, not the ones who are only familiar with the movies and cartoons) exist in such a niche that there's likely a heavy overlap with manga and anime fans, hence why the Marvel and DC Bishoujo statues aren't entirely scorned. It's understandable why the population that enjoys what Mass Effect represents would be taken aback by the Liara figure. Still, it's unfortunate that in this current media environment, in which the East and West draw so much inspiration from one another, often joining together to create conglomerations that are neither completely Eastern nor Western, there are still people who believe ideas from one side cannot be compatible with ideas from the other. P.S. Don't let those people catch wind of the Mass Effect anime! They would implode! Bioware gives a preview of Kotobukiya Bishoujo Liara to mixed reactions [Tomopop]
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I remember when the Western anime craze really started to boom in the late 90s. Not only did media distributors start licensing every single Japanese property under the sun, distinctly Western properties began to demonstrate ...

The 3DS eShop, or why Nintendo has no f*cking clue

Jun 18 // Jim Sterling
I'm not saying Nintendo's online plans are the worst plans I've ever seen. What I am saying, however, is that I could cut into my dick and bleed my dick's blood onto a brick of my own shit, and the resultant dickbloody shitbrick would make for a better online plan.  Alarm bells were ringing when it became apparent that Nintendo couldn't be bothered to have the store ready in time for the 3DS' launch. The 3DS released incomplete, as far as I'm concerned, especially for someone who primarily cared about the 3DS' potential for downloadable content (more fool me). For Nintendo to make such a big deal out of its eShop, only to wait almost two months after the 3DS' launch to set it live, is contemptibly preposterous.  And when it finally launched, did we get the pleasant browsing experience sorely lacking from previous Nintendo marketplaces? Did we buggery! The eShop is still pathetically half-baked and messy compared to pretty much every single rival. Games and categories are just thrown together in random order, all on a single row, so you can only get one item detailed on the screen at once, and you need to manually scroll through icons in order to get to where you want -- if you even know what you're looking for.  The arbitrary placement of categories absolutely astounds me. Right at the very end of this long parade of icons, you have the following items in order: For Your Road Trip, What We're Playing, Nintendo 3DS Games Coming Soon, Coming Soon to Nintendo eShop and ... Value Games. That's two release lists nestled in between two game genre categories, hidden at the end after a bunch of other nonsensically placed items. There's no order, no theme, nothing to justify the thoughtless placement of these icons. It's one of the sloppiest layouts I've ever seen. Tapping on an icon in this single row brings us to another bunch of icons, again all arranged in a single row. If you don't know the exact name of what you want, then good luck finding it. Between vague category names like "For The Win" and "Nuthin' But Action," and the horrendously blinkered presentation of games, you're going to be screwed once the eShop's been around a while and amasses a wider selection. It is certainly an "improvement" over what we had with DSiWare, given that DSiWare was a steaming load of pig's cum, but it's far from adequate. Even rating titles -- a lauded new feature -- is an ability that's not immediately apparent to a casual user. You have to click a menu in the top left corner and look for "Rate Titles" in a drop-down list. Intuition tells us that you should be able to rate a game just by finding the product page, but that would make sense, so we can't have that.  Worse, though, is what an utter fucking hassle it is to buy something. The eShop misleads you into thinking there are two payment options -- credit cards or Nintendo Points. What it doesn't tell you is that existing Nintendo Point cards just don't work, something our own editor-in-chief found out to his wallet's detriment. Again, it would be too convenient and sensible to work on making current point cards work, so the 3DS will need its own special cards -- something the eShop doesn't bother explaining.  That's all fine and dandy except ... these 3DS point cards don't exist. At least, not yet. It's another case of Nintendo simply not having its shit together in time. (Update: Apparently, they have been spotted in stores, but they weren't really publicized and they're not everywhere. They're not even on Amazon yet. That's almost more annoying). Instead, if you want to add funds to your eShop wallet (you can't just buy a game, you need to stockpile money in pre-set quantities) you've no choice but to reach for your credit cards. Also, you'll need to do this every time you add money to the eShop, because heaven forbid the 3DS give you the option of saving your details or making a persistent online account. I'm sure Nintendo can hide behind the guise of "customer safety" in this respect, but I call it "customer wanted to buy a game but had to put his card details in for the third time and lost his purchasing impulse as he leafed through his wallet." Nintendo, I'm a grown man and I can look after my shit. At least give me an option to save my details for easy purchasing next time and let me deal with the risk -- a minimal risk at that, since I mostly use my 3DS near a power source for obvious reasons.  I'm also going to go on record as saying that, after two months waiting, having such a barren marketplace is a slap in the face. I was genuinely looking forward to Thursday, to see what brand new Virtual Console games or 3D NES Classics would appear, and I got ... Donkey Kong. Fucking Donkey Kong for the Game Boy. I grant you, it's a pretty cool game, but a single pretty cool game is nowhere near enough to satisfy my lengthy wait for substantial 3DS content.  At the very least, the eShop should have launched with more than four Game Boy games and a single NES title. That Nintendo's going to insist on a drip-feeding approach by giving us one or two downloadable games a week is frustrating beyond measure. Between the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color and the SEGA Game Gear, not to mention the NES' library, Nintendo has months and months of content. It can afford to release more than one or two games a week, and I dare say people would appreciate not having to wait an entire week to be let down that the single Game Boy titles they've been holding their breath for was something dumb.  Oh, and let us not forget to mention that Nintendo still won't pull its head out of its arse when it comes to international offerings. We're in a global market now, yet still I am told by my Australian friends that they don't get jack-shit on the eShop, while they get to read about what other territories are getting. While the offerings are poor in North America, they're even worse elsewhere. In a modern, open industry, this kind of backwards bullshit just isn't acceptable.  I wish I knew what Nintendo's damage was when it came to downloadable marketplaces. The search feature is a pain to use with its tiny little keyboard and results that are yet again arbitrarily lined into a single row, and the inability to queue downloads is yet another issue that we shouldn't be dealing with in 2011. Nintendo clearly knows what the competition is doing, whether it's Sony or Apple, and yet it seems to willfully refuse to compete on an efficient level. Nintendo claims that it's not concerned about the likes of mobile gaming, and it can keep telling itself that, but the truth is that mobile gaming utterly humiliates the 3DS right now.  But don't worry, we can watch a 3D trailer for Green Lantern, so that's alright! Yet ... you know the worst part of it? The infuriatingly, utterly, incomprehensibly worst part? I am still excited for the eShop. Yes, somehow the thought of Nintendo offering original and classic downloadable gameplay turns me on like a motherfucker, and every Thursday -- like a newborn, yapping, excitable puppy -- I am going to turn my 3DS on with the hope that this week, finally, will be the week I get something awesome.  Nintendo has proven time and again that it either does not know how to handle digital distribution, or that it deliberately refuses to do so properly. Yet here I am, unable to stop myself from looking forward to the downloadable loot that the eShop could potentially offer. Here I am, still giddy to play the 3DS and wanting to find excuses to turn it on, no matter how hard Nintendo makes it for me to care.  Like I said, I'm an idiot. The people behind the eShop are clueless fuckwads, and I recognize that on an intellectual level. Yet the moment they stick Pokemon Red on there, they can have my money again. Because this is Nintendo, a company of idiots that makes idiots of us all.  Damn it.
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I am an idiot. Some of you are reading this now and your first thought is, "He finally admits it!" However, I have a specific reason for this self-deprecating opener. There was some part of me -- some naive, doe-eyed, expecta...

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You got some of your film in my video game


Apr 20
// Andy Astruc
[To cutscene or not to cutscene? That is the question posed by Zwuh; not so much posed as answered vehemently. Want to see your own writing on the front page? Write something awesome and put it in the C Blogs. -- Kauza] Welco...

Valve 'fans' whine and cry about Portal 2 like idiots

Apr 20 // Jim Sterling
I swear, no company gets shat on by its fans more than Valve, and it seems that it's solely due to the fact that Valve actually treats its customers well. Apparently, years of free content, and treating consumers with respect, and actually understanding gamers has the effect of creating some of the most demanding, infantile, greedy little fuckers on the face of the earth.  "It's shorter than some internet flash games i've played, is loaded with day 1 DLC," cries some idiot, "and has a terrible port from consoles. The price is 900% what it should be for what essentially amounts to less effort than most oblivion mods. Sad." Just for reference, in case any of you are thinking of adding your own reviews: The game is six to eight hours long, and that's just the single-player mode. It's not a console port, and claiming that it is makes you sound like a clueless prick. As expensive as the DLC is, downloadable content has no bearing on the actual content of the game, which is more than worth the price It's not a "minigame," and you're a moron if you say this. An ARG not unlocking a game two days early has nothing to do with the final product and has no place in a videogame review. Your extraneous butthurt does not make a good game bad. Of course, the people whining would still buy Portal 3 and everything else Valve puts out without a second thought. No wonder they whine so hard -- it must be difficult being such spineless, dickless chumps.
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Portal 2 launched yesterday in a whirlwind of critical acclaim, but if you believe some of the fans out there, this game is the worst thing since anthrax was invented. An army of bitter little fanboys has attacked the game vi...

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Very few games are M-rated, but they take all the glory


Mar 15
// Tony Ponce
The Entertainment Software Rating Board has just posted the ratings breakdown of games published in 2010. As you can see in the chart above, a little more than half of all games received the all-ages rating, while games rated...
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Screw home consoles, time to go 100% portable


Feb 26
// Tony Ponce
[Note: We’re not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that they may not jibe with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, ...

And you wonder why developers 'hate' PC gamers ...

Feb 13 // Jim Sterling
Anybody who says they've not downloaded something illegally is usually a liar. Most of you reading this have downloaded some songs, or a movie, before. Personally, I legally purchase Blu-rays in store and music via iTunes, but I cannot honestly say I have always done this. We've all helped ourselves to things we shouldn't, and we should have the integrity to admit it.  There is, however, one major difference between movies/music, and videogames. In the case of movies, most of a film's success rides on its box office performance. That's where you initially make your profit. In the case of music, the artists obtain very little money off their officially released tracks, instead making it back with live performances. In the case of videogames, their only source of monetary recuperation is that initial sale. Unlike movies and music, which have multiple avenues for profit, there is only one option for the game industry.  This is not to make the ripping off of movies and music morally superior. I'm not talking about the morality here. I'm talking about damage. Videogame piracy is potentially far more damaging than movie or music piracy, because it cuts into the only vein through which a game's cash flows. There are no concerts or theatrical releases for Crysis 2. Any potential merchandise has a niche audience at best, and most of that cash will go to the manufacturer.  The game industry is also a cutthroat, harsh business. If a game doesn't sell, it won't get a sequel, and the studio itself might be torn apart. Just looking at EA, we all saw what happened to Pandemic. They didn't perform in the sales department and were wiped out without question.  Your noble justifications are not fucking cutting it anymore. In my last rant about piracy, one person said they pirated "out of necessity" and seemed to get some people agreeing with him. Really? Necessity? It is necessary that you play a videogame? Since when was a luxury item like a videogame a necessity, to the point where you get to steal it? A fucking bit of bread for a dirt-poor family is a necessity, son. Not your stupid videogame.  It is not necessary. It is not noble, either. You're not fighting the good fight against DRM, because games will get ripped off regardless of the DRM put in. I hardly blame EA for its reliance on SecuROM in the past. I used to think very ill of EA for doing it, but how can I now? You people will clamor and claw at an early developer build of Crysis 2, just to get out of paying for it. I barely blame publishers using any kind of "Draconian" DRM they want anymore. The only thing pirates do is justify it.  2D Boy's World of Goo was released without DRM, and the creators said they trusted their audience. One of the two-man development team, Ron Carmel, noted afterwards that he was seeing multiple torrents with 500 seeders and 300 leechers, and added that the piracy rate was at about 90%. This was 2D Boy's reward for trusting gamers. This is what they got for making a game easy to obtain, but easy to steal. Really guys, fuck you for that.  Some believe they win the argument by changing the terminology. It's not theft, they'll argue, but copyright infringement. So? That's not better. Some countries consider it worse. The legal terminology for piracy differs from country to country anyway, and simply calling theft by another name doesn't stop it from being a shitty thing to do. Some believe that it's only stealing -- therefore only wrong -- if what has been stolen ceases to be used by the owner. Pirated games are copies and the owners still have the original, therefore it's not theft. Bullshit. You can steal a person's ideas, you can plagiarize their writing or music. The originator still has access to the idea, but you still stole it.  I've seen some pirates attempt to justify their bullshit by likening it to the used game market. I'm a very vocal supporter of that market, and I find this retort so stupid that it barely warrants a response. However, since it invariably comes up, I'll explain that used games have already been sold, so the money has been made on the product. That's an early, major difference to piracy, which has no initial sale. Furthermore, GameStop notes that the trade-in credit of used games often goes directly back to the industry, as people trade old games in for brand new ones. I have done that for years, so really, used game trading is a recycling process. Piracy, obviously, is not.  Another popular response is, "I wasn't going to buy it anyway." Amazing, and a lie. If you weren't going to buy it, why the fuck are you playing it? If there was no illegal way to get it, and you wanted it bad enough, you'd have paid. You're just being a cheap bastard, and you're too spineless to admit it. I know people who pirate the occasional game, as I'm sure most of us do. They're not inherently bad people. They're not evil master criminals. They are, however, the reason why the PC market is so easily disregarded by the majority of publishers. PC gamers sit back and complain about how Bulletstorm is only getting a console demo, or how a roleplaying game has been "dumbed down" to make it simple enough for a controller. Who can honestly blame the publisher, though? If I were EA, I would actually pull the PC version of Crysis 2 right now. There's that old story about three people on a camping trip. They get lost, their food supply is dwindling. One camper decided it'll hurt nobody if he helps himself to a little extra. The second camper thinks the same. Likewise for the third. They end up with no food left because their individual acts of petty theft combined to create one large dent in the supply. The story has many variations, but the message is the same, and it is the perfect way of describing piracy. An individual pirate is not a bad thing. In fact, some groups argue that a little piracy is helpful to the market, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations and simple free advertising. However, when those little grasping hands combine to form great big talons that are ripping huge chunks out of a videogame's potential for success, we have a problem.  I don't want to act morally superior to videogame pirates because I am not morally superior to them. However, they have nobody to blame but themselves for developers favoring consoles over PC. It's become increasingly hard for me to rail against DRM or even Sony's stupid Firmware updates, because shit like this keeps happening. Not only are pirates thieving games, they're helping themselves to leaked, incomplete builds that might not reflect the finished product, and thus they're distributing something that might make the game look worse than it is.  Sorry, but that's kind of pathetic. Sure, it's easy for a developer to blame piracy for poor sales, but do you know who made that an easy thing to do? The people who are out there pirating the games in the first place.  You might think that what you're doing is harmless. On an individual level, it is. But it's not just you doing it. There are heaps of you. You're doing harm to an industry you should be supporting if you want more good games, and there is literally no excuse for you. If you can't afford it, suck it up. There are lots of things most of us can't afford, and we don't go out stealing them. If you think DRM is bad, don't buy the game. Don't just fucking help yourself to it illegally, because all that does is qualify the DRM in the first place. Anything you can use to justify piracy is easily refuted because, guess what, piracy ain't bloody justifiable.  I've tried to argue in the corner of pirates before, but screw it. It's not a corner that deserves to be fought in. I would, in fact, encourage developers to ignore the PC market altogether now. Sorry, but why should anybody support the platform? Sure, there are paying customers, and it would suck for them, but what kind of businessman would open a store in a city where stores are robbed multiple times a day? An idiotic businessman.  Just have some Goddamn foresight for once. Look at what state the PC market is in, and look at where it could go, and recognize your part in it. The fact that some of you want this to happen to consoles as well is simply unbelievable. The PS3 now looks like it'll be going in the same direction as the PC, and it's somewhat disgusting.  Grow up and recognize what you're doing. If you're not going to stop, at least have the balls to admit that you're helping to make the games industry a shittier place.  [Addendum: Some people are attempting to justify PC piracy by saying it happens on consoles too. Yes, of course it does. But "Look over here, they're doing it too" isn't a fucking justification. Besides which, the level of piracy on the PC is famously more prevalent than on consoles. Even on the Wii, it's not quite the same, as the Wii's primary demographic is different, and it's a demographic that doesn't pirate anywhere near as much. It still takes a lot more effort to fuck with a console to make it play pirated games. Going back to the World of Goo example, 2D Boy recuperated many of its losses thanks to the WiiWare version, which was obviously a lot harder to steal. PC piracy is easier than console piracy, hence it is more prevalent. Of course, you know that, and you're hoping we don't. You could argue a case for the PSP and DS and I wouldn't disagree with you. I am not saying, however, that piracy doesn't happen everywhere. This was a PC issue, however, and so I focused on PC piracy. If you want, I can dedicate another article to the DS, but I've addressed that in the past and don't feel I need to do it again just to make PC pirates feel better about themselves. Furthermore, the fact that the build may have been leaked by an employee at EA or Crytek has nothing to do with anything. Doesn't mean you have to download it. I'd also simply lump that employee in with the pirates. That's obviously where his or her loyalties lie, so they're not really different. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who leaked it -- asshats are still downloading it, and will continue to do so, no matter where the files come from. If there wasn't an audience for it, nobody would have taken the risk in leaking it. The twists and turns pirates are making to get out of a very simple request -- accept a little bit of responsibility -- is truly awe-inspiring.] [Second Addendum: I think I was perhaps a bit harsh toward the general PC gaming population when I talked about developers ignoring the PC market. That made it sound like I was tarring all PC gamers with the same brush. I am very much into PC gaming myself, and would obviously love to see more PC games. It's slowly become my choice for several shooters and roleplaying games over the past year and a half. What I failed to communicate was that by ignoring the PC market, developers could potentially shame pirates in a "spoiled it for the rest of us" way, but even so, it was likely an unfair suggestion. I stick by everything else -- that the PC market has earned its stigma, that piracy is theft, and that pirates should admit what they are and think about the potential long-term damage that widespread theft could do. As far as supporting the PC market goes, I do hope that games remain profitable on computers. That is, after all, why I am so concerned about PC piracy.]
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Crysis 2 is released on March 22, but if you've got a little time and even less scruples, you can play it right now. With almost depressing inevitability, an entire developer build of the game has been leaked online, allowing...

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THE WII HAS FAILED THIS HOLIDAY SEASON OH MY GOD!


Dec 06
// Jim Sterling
Dear fellow writers of videogame things, The whole "Wii has failed this year" and "Is the Wii in trouble?" stuff has to stop, because you are sounding incredibly stupid and making us all look terrible. The Wii, in case you di...
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Valkyria Chronicles II is better, even if it's on the PSP


Dec 01
// Josh Tolentino
[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or...
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Spy Party dev doesn't trust the press, sounds wounded


Nov 24
// Jonathan Holmes
Hey, remember Spy Party? The game has been around for a while, but it really made a splash at PAX 10. I got a chance to check the game out myself, and while it was fun, I kept thinking "this is the game by the guy that called...
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Dtoid (the show): Thanksgiving! Sales! GRATITUDE!


Nov 24
// Jonathan Holmes
Hey! We did a Thanksgiving episode! Tara got dressed up in traditional Native American garb, and she looks amazing. Me? I look sort of like Nicolas Cage from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I guess it could have been worse. They ...
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Gran Turismo 5 has 50 minute install, can do while played


Nov 19
// Dale North
Attention to everyone that likes to bitch, including those that won't even play this game: Word is that Gran Turismo 5 takes 50 minutes to install, and up to 10 GB of hard disk space. CVG linked us to a forum post where one g...
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How not to get me to wear your videogame promo shirts


Jul 23
// Nick Chester
Long has this industry been known for the copious amounts of swag made available for press and enthusiasts alike. Much of it is neat fan service -- an action figure, a limited-edition poster, a letter opener made to look like...

Sundays with Sagat: Uncharted 2

Jun 13 // Jonathan Holmes
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If people weren't all that happy with Sagat's thoughts on Super Mario 64, I can only imagine how they'll react to his take on Uncharted 2. Personally, I don't think that Uncharted 2 is that bad. It certainly isn't the only g...

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Sundays with Sagat: The Hardcore/Comedy conundrum


Jun 06
// Jonathan Holmes
  [Sundays with Sagat is a video series where a man named Sagat talks to you about videogames. This is serious business.] In this week's video diary, Sagat takes on the "hardcore games don't sell on the Wii" misconce...
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Sundays with Sagat: Mario 64 vs. Mario Galaxy


May 30
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sundays with Sagat is a video series where a man named Sagat talks to you about videogames. This is serious business.] This week's episode started off really good. Sagat went on a tear about how each Mario game has a coun...
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Sundays with Sagat: What's a videogame for?


May 23
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sundays with Sagat is a video series where a man named Sagat talks to you about videogames. This is serious business.] Welcome to the premiere episode of Sundays with Sagat, a new Destructoid-exclusive video series. This we...
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STOP RELEASING NEW F*CKING HANDHELDS!


Mar 26
// Jim Sterling
My fellow Americans, we find ourselves under attack. Not from terrorists. Not from communists. Not even from flesh eating viruses that turn our lungs into a lumpy red paste. We face a fresh onslaught, on an incalculable and p...
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The hidden truth behind game reviews


Mar 19
// Andrew Kauz
[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole,...
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Why Heavy Rain proves Ebert right


Feb 26
// Anthony Burch
[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or ho...
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10 tips and tricks for 3rd parties working on Wii games


Jan 11
// Jonathan Holmes
By December 8, 2006, Nintendo had launched the Wii in the United States, Japan, and Europe. The console effectively ignored or destroyed every notion of what a new videogame console should be. "Progress" in the videogame worl...
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Lessons on taking games just seriously enough


Nov 08
// Andrew Kauz
[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware it may not jive the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or how our moms...
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GTA IV isn't helping anime with Princess Robot Bubblegum


Nov 04
// 8BitBrian
[Editor's note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or how ou...
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German group's 'game burning' protest was a huge failure


Oct 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Last week, we told you about the German group attempting a modern-day book burning by having people bring in their violent videogames and toss them into the garbage. The Action Alliance believes that videogames are the root o...






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