"Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of." -John Flansburgh
I am currently playing: Super Street Fighter IV
League of Legends
The Object Obscura Archive: Shadow hearts: Covenant
No One Can Stop Mr. Domino
The first video game I ever played was Ninja Gaiden. It took me ages to get past that knife throwing motherfucker in the second level.
Here's a list of some of my favorite video games, if you care:
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy X
Beyond Good and Evil
Earthworm Jim 1 and 2, but 2 was better because it's actually possible to beat. Also, Blind Cave Salamander is an awesome stage.
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Donkey Kong Country 2
Dynasty Warriors 4
Guilty Gear Accent Core (That was when they got Slayer just right.)
No One Can Stop Mr. Domino
Bust A Groove
No More Heroes
The Castlevania Series
When I was younger, my older brother and I used to play Mortal Kombat (We had it for the Genesis, which we bought instead of a SNES strictly for the blood code.) and he would always beat me by tripping the shit out of me until I died. Years later I discovered low block. The world has never been the same.
[Every month (Except last month) Analoge showcases an overlooked, under-appreciated, or just plain weird piece of video game history in a segment called Object Obscura.]
First of all, thanks to Chronoswing for suggesting this wonderfully bizarre game to me.
Incredible Crisis is a Videos Game for your Television Entertainment System (TES). It was produced by Titus, and developed by Polygon Magic (the makers of a very eclectic catalog including the Rambo arcade game and the Galerians series) The basic premise is this: You are a Japanese Family. It is the Grandmother person's birthday, and tonight will be a special dinner celebration in her honor (the only reason for living, according to her). So you all go your separate ways: Taneo (the father person), Etsuko (mother woman), Ririka (tentacle-fodder), and Tsuyoshi (kid who looks kinda like Conan from Case Closed) with the maternal instructions to be back early for dinner. What happens next is told through some of the most ridiculous minigames ever, accompanied by a soundtrack by the ever-sexy Tokyo Ska Paradise.
The father leaves for his soul-crushing Japanese office job (making license plates or whatever it is they do) When suddenly an impromptu dance-a-thon is started and you're plunged into a rhythm-game style minigame. Soon after, you're being chased by a giant boulder a la Indiana Jones. Next you're riding in an ambulance playing a quiz-game being asked questions like "Taro is heavier than Hanako; Pierre is heavier than Taro. Hanako is the oldest and Pierre was born before Taro. Is Taro heavier than Pierre?" and "HAHOHOHOHOHOHIHOHUHOHO... Were there 12 HO's?". When the paramedics are satisfied That you're OK based on their ridiculous questions they launch you out of their ambulance on a stretcher, where you're forced to dodge cars and motorcycles. After that, you wind up giving backrubs to strange women on ferris wheels, followed shortly by shooting at fighter jets in a Navy turret gun. All this, only to show up right on time for Grandma's special meal. What a day, right? Well that's just Dad's adventure! We still have to thwart bank robbers and destroy giant teddy bears in fighter jets as Mom, go make-up shopping and meet aliens as Ririka, and be shrunk down and fight bugs as Conan Edogawa.
In spite of each challenge being more ridiculous than the next, they actually fit into a plot that isn't as batshit crazy as it would seem. It all follows one storyline that weaves each family member in pretty well (as well as a batshit crazy, uber-Japanese mini-game collection can, anyway). I really loved how each character finishes they're wild adventures just in time to make it home for Grandma's party.
As far as gameplay goes, It's a bit sub-par. Some of the games are incredibly (pun intended) hard, and your fingers will hurt like crazy after an extended playthrough. Also, some of the minigames repeat themselves (although it is done as a bit of a joke). Really though, it's less about the destination ( slightly annoying mini-games) and more about the journey. The incredible journey.
There really isn't much more that can be said about Incredible Crisis. It's another weird PSX game and I Iove it. Check it out, if you're down with strange gaming experiences, and if you have any suggestions for further installments of Object Obscura be sure and let me know. Chances are I'll end up doing it eventually.
[Every month (since 2 months ago) Analoge showcases an overlooked, under-appreciated, or just plain weird piece of video game history in a segment called Object Obscura.]
No one can stop Mr. Domino.
Not you. Not your big, burly dad. Not your brother who played football in high school and drinks protein shakes. No one can stop Mr. Domino. This is what Artdink would have you believe, but is it true? Is there really no one alive capable of halting the progress, nay, impeding the doom-like march of an anthropomorphic piece of rectangular plastic?
The answer is no. Just about anyone or anything can stop Mr. Domino: Shirt buttons, pool balls, The occasional tiny hill, other anthropomorphic dominos. In fact, unless you are very talented, Mr. Domino will be stopped quite a few times, but if you've got an eye for the strange, and if you don't mind slogging through some occasionally overly hard gameplay, Mr. Domino might interest you.
No One Can Stop Mr. Domino is a unique game, to say the least. The look can be best described as "Katamari-esque". The characters and backgrounds are blocky and very Japanese, which works well with the also "Katamari-esque" premise of a little guy running around causing havok in the big people's world. You play as Mr. Domino (or some variant of a domino-person including a domino woman and a domino alien) and run around a circular, track-based level trailing dominos by holding the circle button. Around this track are obstacles to dodge and buttons that need to be pressed by a domino (non-anthropomorphic). When you set up a domino to press the button, you'll let go of the "trail dominos" button until you get to a cue a bit later in the level telling you to start trailing dominos again. When done correctly, You'll do a full circle around the level, and when you get back to where you started, you'll knock over the first domino starting a level-wide chain reaction. Your chain of dominos will hit buttons which will cause something silly to happen and knock over the domino you set up at the cue point continuing the chain. Pulling this off is really satisfying and makes you feel like an all-around cool person.
It is extremely hard to pull this off.
No One Can Stop Mr. Domino is hard. This game might as well have been called No One Can Control Mr. Domino As He Plows Headlong Through The Level Tripping Over Anything In His Way. You can control your speed by pressing up and down, which is quite awkward. You can also land on a speed up/slow down tile to control your speed, but you'll more likely run into them on accident, sending poor Mr. Domino careening towards peril at breakneck speed or reducing him to a crawl. Not being able to control your speed well makes it even tougher when you consider that each level is timed. I really really wish you could opt to turn off the timer. I've said before that timers are outdated features that rarely make a game more enjoyable, and this game is no exception. Half the time, I'll go through the whole level only to knock over my first domino and realize that there's a gap in my chain. The timer makes sure that you don't have enough time to go all the way back around, place a domino where one needs to be and go all the way back around AGAIN to knock it over, meaning you're forced to strive for complete perfection every time.
That being said, the game has undeniable charm. If if didn't, it wouldn't have stuck with me as long as it has. I first played this game off of a PSX Jampak in a Wal-Mart somewhere when I was a wee lad, and now, years later, I recommend it to you. Give it a try. It's bizarre enough to be worth your time.
Jim didn't want to be an adventurer. He was perfectly content to live out the rest of his days in the sleepy village he called home with his beautiful wife and daughter, Shayna. That was before the foreigners came. When the villagers refused to pay them tribute, they turned to violence. Peaceful farmers and millers were struck down with curved blades and malice. Jim was forced to watch as his house was razed and his wife and child were taken to God knows where. Now, after swearing revenge and setting off to find his family, Jim finds a town. It's the first civilization he's seen in the month since he left the village. He makes his way to the building marked Joe's Bar, and enters. He has so many questions. Where did the foreigners come from? Where had they taken his family? He was so lost in thought that he almost stumbled over a stool as he approached the bar. The man at the bar peers up at him and says, "How about a drink, stranger?"
>I was just leaving.
Sometimes, it doesn't matter how much depth and backstory you try and put into your character. The computer will always find a way to make you an automaton. It's like trying to build the Louvre with legos.
After reading Alice and Kev (and BrianKeljore's Dtoid Sims), I'll admit that a great deal of depth can be read into generally shallow mechanics. It remains to be seen, however, how much depth we're actually seeing and how much we just want to see. Will every Sim with the insanity trait kick over people's trash cans and be ZOMG SO RANDOM XD? That gets real old real quick. Just because Alice possesses the good trait doesn't mean it's realistic to think that she would give every paycheck she earns to charity. Some people try too hard to get more context out of their customized characters. It doesn't matter that you're the slick, dynamite-packing, wise-acre with a soft spot for kids when everyone around you is a doe-eyed sap and your dialog is limited to "Yes", "No", and "Tell me more about the wolves".
I think that as far as story is concerned, the less input a player gets the better. Character customization, while delivering that awesomely vain feeling that only creating yourself with a top hat and an Uzi can deliver, can seriously detract from the task at hand or the message you're trying to send. I still haven't beaten Saint's Row 2, because by the time I got my character just right I was sick of the game.
It seems like when I play open world games, I have to cut it some slack because of its size and scope. A lot of computer reaction in games like SR2 and Fallout 3 is knee-jerk. You steal, people scream and yell, you leave, come back, and people are greeting you with a friendly hello. I think it could help to make the world smaller. On a smaller scale, you could make the world more genuine. You could make every NPC important in some way.
I think that a linear storyline can get you a lot more mileage than a so-called open one if done right. Most open worlds are just vehicles for linear storylines anyway. At what point do you stop calling it an open world and start calling it a hub world or a lobby?
Games should take less from movies and more from books. Not choose-your-own-adventure books, mind you. I don't want to flip to page 46 to give the puppies a treat or flip to page 103 to throw them into a lava pit. These black and white morality systems have got to go. The Harold quest from Fallout 3 was a good moral choice. On my first play through (as a good character) I was legitimately torn over choosing what was best for the world or what Harold would want me to do. Rev has talked about feeling powerless in games. I believe he was speaking from a physical standpoint, but what about feeling emotionally powerless? Being put into a situation where you genuinely care about the outcome of your decision, and you don't have a clue what you should do. For example, your dad needs chemo. The cancer is already pretty bad and the doctors say he probably won't make it, but your dad wants to fight it. Do you pay for the chemo or not? It'll only make him sicker. Do you suggest that he take pain killers and ease his last days, instead? In this situation, there really is no good or evil. It's what you think is best, and it's not leading to an obvious reward. There may be no reward. Real plot is its own reward. I can get a new laser gun from somewhere else. You don't need to tempt my decision with spoils. Give us moral choices that actually affect something. You saved a town full of people? Great! The next time you're in town, hold it over their heads a bit. You did save them after all. Extort them a bit, maybe.
In the end, it seems like game developers are determined to get this right, and open world games are (slowly but surely) getting better. Milo is an attempt to improve NPC relations with the player, even if he did seem wooden and disingenuous. Fašade was a fair attempt at eliminating the multiple choice dialog tree that is suffocating actual player interaction. Who knows? Maybe one day, I'll be able to accurately represent my own personality in a video game. Until then, I'll just have to settle for the bitchin' top hat and the Uzi.
Ever seen a dog tied to a tree test his boundaries? If not, it goes a little something like this: RUN RUN RUN RUN CHOKE YELP!
This is the type of game experience that the GameDr Video Game Timer makes available for parents to enforce on their children. It's a timer doohicky that hooks to the plug of any electrical device which can then be locked (with a padlock) and set to cut the power after a certain amount of time. Symbolically, the padlock is a good choice. It's very oppressive.
I don't know about you, but I hate timers in games. I think that (for the most part) they're a remnant of old-school games that need to die out. It's not fun to run around like a crackhead trying to accomplish a goal while the uncaring gaze of the timer just keeps ticking out the minutes and seconds until you die. We get enough of that in real life. Imagine if every game you played was like that? Imagine playing an RPG and the TV shutting off steps from a save point. I don't think you could even attempt to play Metal Gear Solid 4 that way. You wouldn't even make it past the cutscenes.
And heaven forbid I address the underlying issue here, the parent who shows up in their child's life long enough to set up some bullshit restrictions but not long enough to actually enforce them themselves. Don't get me wrong, It's been long enough since I was a whiny preteen that I don't immediately decry every case of parental regulation, but this is the kind of thing that would have made me irrate at a certain age. That's part of the unspoken contract of parent and child. If you're not around, I get to do what I want. If you're going to introduce this little timing robot into the equation, you break the trust. That's what turns kids into vampires in high school.
I thought all the tits for hits stuff was pretty lame, but this is just pathetic. Kotaku has posted an homage to Michael Jackson's laughable video game-related achievements, and begun what I predict will be one of the most cheapened events in recent history. I mean really, reposting the Sonic 3 rumor?
It's so easy to make jokes at a time like this (I should know. I already have.), but when you pull a stunt like this you make your website look like a big cheap whore. You'd think that a site that big would know better. Show some class, Kotaku.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is the redheaded video game stepchild of the Ghostbusters trilogy. That's right, it's now a trilogy. The idea that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were going for was for Ghostbusters: The Video Game to be a Ghostbusters 3 in spirit (see what I did there), and for all intents and purposes, they have succeeded, if in an unconventional way.
See, I went into this game warily. If it's too much movie, it doesn't justify not just making a movie. If it's too much game, it disappoints those looking forward to a continuation of the series. It's a balancing act, to be sure, but as far as the movie aspect of the equation goes, it passes with flying, though sometimes generic, colors. The game is set in 1991, and from the "Dorito's Nacho Cheesier" product placement (though I don't remember them being sold in soda machines) to the vanilla flavored "damsel in distress" plot, it keeps the setting intact. All the Ghostbuster character models are young looking and quite good likenesses of the old crew, who all reprise their original roles seamlessly. The dialogue is much more natural than I thought it would be, and the humor is classic Ghostbusters. Bill Murray really sells the funny stuff, but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his impromptu and seemingly forced love dialogue with his equally stiff love interest.
But enough talk about the original cast, let's talk about you. That's right, you are in the game as the new recruit/prototype test dummy to the Ghostbusters. He may not look just like you, but as far as silent protagonists go, this guy one of the most relatable I've ever encountered in a video game. His name is never mentioned, and though it's not as slick as Final Fantasy X in keeping you from noticing that fact, It did take me until the end of the second level. Speaking of your protagonist, I really appreciate the fact that they made him the way he is. Sometimes character customization can really distract you from the point of a game (see Saints Row 2), and the fact that he's a nameless, silent protagonist leaves the GB crew to do what they do and you to let yourself get absorbed into it.
As I hinted at before, the game looks gorgeous, right down to Dan Aykroyd's chubby cheeks. The implementation of UI in the form of health and proton charge meters on the side of the pack is ingenious, if hard to see at times. The ghost enemies are all clever and very animated. The only complaint I could really attribute to the looks of the game would be load times. I played Ghostbusters on PC, and the load times were GHASTLY! Toward the middle of the game, I decided to time a load screen that appeared after dying. 1:50. ONE MINUTE FUCKING FIFTY! That is entirely unacceptable, especially considering the fact that it brought me back to literally minutes before I had died. I spent so much time staring into the eyes of the scared looking ghost in the Ghostbusters logo that I honestly think that I understand him a lot better. I mean, he doesn't look that scary. He's probably just a harmless ghost that fell in with the wrong crowd. Victim of the times, really.
Anyway, on to gameplay! Here's where things get a bit iffy. Ghost catching can be really, really fun. It's got a kind of Pokemon meets fishing thing going on. You'll really feel like a bad motherfucker when you've got a ghost in your tractor beam, and start slamming him silly into the ground. All of the weapon upgrades you receive work better or worse depending on what kind of enemy you're fighting, and they're all really fun to use. You can spend money earned by killing enemies to upgrade these, and while it could have used more (You'll have bought them all by mid game), they're fun while they last. I could complain about the little Ghostbusters divining rod not being as easy to follow as I'd like, but every second I was using it, I felt like a cool ghost busting machine, and besides, I've used worse. No, my main gripe with the gameplay is the Computer AI. It's not so bad that it takes you away from the fun too often, but when it does and you're dying over and over (only to get more acquainted with your old friend Mr. Scared Ghost), you will curse this game to high heavens.
All in all, I'd say it was worth it to dust off this franchise and give it another spin. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. More importantly though, now that The Ghostbusters are relevant again, can we PLEASE HAVE ECTO COOLERS BACK NOW?! PLEASE?