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7:23 AM on 06.26.2013

Superhero Spectacular Part 2: InFamous Review

This is Part 2 of my Superhero Spectacular, If you want to go back and read the first part, You can do so here



When I first heard about Infamous for the PS3, I really wished I owned a PS3. This also happened to be the case with most PS3 exclusives, but the high cost of buying a PS3 put this game off my radar for a while. And when I eventually got a PS3 there were so many other enticing exclusives like the Uncharted series, LittleBigPlanet and Heavenly Sword that were prioritized ahead of InFamous. But after the reveal of InFamous: Second Son at the Playstation meeting back in february. I decided that the time was right to finally try this series

In Infamous you play as Cole MacGrath. Cole is a bike messenger in Empire City, who one fateful day gets caught in the center of a massive explosive that rocks Empire City. After waking up from the explosion, it becomes clear that Cole has become imbued with superpowers, and the game revolves around his new found powers, and the conspiracy leading up to the explosion.

Cole's new found powers is at the core of the Infamous gameplay, they are used for traversing the open world city and combat, both offense and defense. In order for Cole to be able to use his powers, he needs to be charged with electrical energy, Energy he can drain from nearby electrical outlets and appliances

One thing that I really have to mention when talking about how Cole's powers evolve is the way the developers have implemented real world terminology into the mix, As an electrician I giggled every time I had to enter a substation to power up Cole's ability, it just helps the immersion, even though the machine he hooks himself up to ended up looking very "Sci-Fi".

Via it's morality system Infamous lets you choose which kind of superpowered person you want to be, Do you want to be a superhero or an antihero/supervillain?


"... doesn't want to be famous? I'll make him Infamous"

While this choices you get are implemented okay, I really didn't feel that they added anything to the mix. I do wish however that the choices weren't as black or white (or Red and Blue as they were presented). I never felt that my choice would alter the game significantly, The game could have used some more shades of grey.

The exploration elements in Infamous rivals Assassins Creed. It's fantastic, Cole can climb just about anything you can set your eye on, while Altair/Ezio can only climb ledges that are "highlighted". 

But where the exploration elements fail is in the city design: Empire City is so damned bland that I never really feel that I belong in this world. The way they've sectioned off certain areas is something that's done in most open world games, But in Infamous it's never really explained other than: "you can't go there because the road is blocked" and when you get to the other areas, they look pretty much the same as where you came from (with some notable exceptions)

The presentation of the story is done via motion comics and voice overs, which I think fits the game well, and it's pulled off pretty great. But there are times in the game when they had to render some cut scenes in-engine and these are the weakest point of the presentation of the game



There are three main supporting characters in Cole's story: There's his girlfriend Trish, His best bud Zeke and the FBI Agent Moya who want's to put Cole's abilities to good use. All characters are fleshed out pretty well, and there are several other characters that are either refereed to via Audio Logs or met throughout the story that shapes the world that InFamous takes place in. Zeke and Moya are the characters that will contact Cole via voice over the most, and while I did find Zeke off putting in the beginning, he grows on you, which is cool, because that's the sort of friendship I feel he and Cole has.

Overall I really enjoyed Infamous, I felt that the game's mechanics and story blended really well together, and another thing I also have to applaud is the brilliant pacing off the game, Never did I feel to overpowered and I never felt nerfed. Sucker Punch knew exactly when to implement new stuff to the gameplay and did so masterfully

Overall I give the game a 4/5

Next up: My review of InFamous 2 and InFamous 2: Festival of Blood   read


12:56 PM on 06.24.2013

Superhero Spectacular Part 1: Introduction

It's been a while since my last post, but I can justify it with three things: I've been playing The Last of Us, I've been working, and I'm a father. So that about sums up my absence.

None of these things got in the way of me following E3 this year, and one of the games that have been on my mind since the Playstation Meeting back in February have been inFamous: Second Son

The trailer and subsequent buzz around the PS4 got me really hyped. So hyped in fact that I went ahead and bought inFamous for my PS3 system. I've finished the game, and I'm currently working my way through inFamous 2 and will tackle the Standalone DLC: Infamous 2: Festival of Blood after that

The other day I remembered, there were another superhero game I wanted to check out way back when: Prototype. So I decided that I would play both series and compare them to each other: a AndyLonn Superhero Spectacular if you will



So hopefully this will be the first of several posts where I review and compare the inFamous series with the Prototype series

Wish me luck

My review of Infamous can be found here
My review of Infamous 2 can be found here
My review of Infamous 2: Festival of Blood can be found here

Intermission post can be found here   read


3:02 PM on 05.21.2013

My take on the Xbox One reveal

Disclaimer: I didn't take the time to proofread this blogpost as well as I usually do and when I wrote it I really just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper so it really isn't as structured as I normally would want it but please, bear with me

Here we are, fresh off the Xbox One reveal show, and it's time for all us video game bloggers to pour all of our feelings and opinions into a blog post. 


Is it just me or does Don Mattrick constantly look like he's high??

So where do I stand after the reveal?

Well after having stayed with Microsoft for the better part of this generation, eventually gliding my way over to Sony's PS3, I'll have to say, based on what they just showed us, I'll probably be hanging my hat over at Sony's place this time around

I will just make it clear right here and now that this is not about fanboyism, I own all the current consoles (except for the Wii U) and a high end PC, I originally bought the 360 because it was cheaper than the PS3 and offered games like Mass Effect and Gears of War. Over the course of this generation I've mostly played my games on the Xbox, but gradually I went over to playing the newer releases on my PC, and leaving the consoles to the exclusive games (or the bargains I could get online). 

I have occasionally voiced my opinion in the fanboy wars that has plauged this generation, but as I grew older, I realized the folly of it, and now view myself as an impartial observer

So, back to the matter at hand, What did I think of the reveal?

First off, I think that Microsoft really needs to find out who their target audience is with this thing, While there are plenty of features that would interest everyone from the casual to the core gamers, There really wasn't any focus on either. 

LiveTV

They showed some features with LiveTV that looked interesting, but all in all those are wasted on people like me. I have Netflix, HBO Nordic, Crunchyroll and live broadcasts over the internet with my current internet provider, And since I live in Norway, these features probably won't come here anyway.


They showed off how to access TV Guide via Kinect

So thats two demographics the LiveTV stuff don't appeal to: People who live outside the US and people who are like me, Now I don't claim to speak on behalf of all core gamers out there, But I think if you are in my age group (I'm 23 so that would be in the group 20s - 30s) You get most of your TV through the internet in someway, or you are disinterested in TV all together

Specs

Sony did it right back in february, They were completly transparant about the hardware choices they had made with the PS4. Microsoft.... Not so much. While they said they'd have 8GB RAM and 8 Core CPU, They failed to state the speed of the RAM chips, or the size of the CPUs. These are numbers that I atleast would find interesting, and I feel that by not releasing that information upfront really speaks to their confidence in the system as a whole. 


Microsofts description about the specifications are vauge at best

It's not always in the specs off course. The PS3 was a powerhouse when it was first released but the high price point intially turned gamers away from the system, and when the PS3 only ended up getting ports of multiplatform games (some of them terrible ports) the awesome hardware really didn't do the system any favors. But in february Sony really showed us that they had done everything in their power to help the developers make awesome games for the PS4. Microsoft didn't even adress this, maybe because they think that after the success of the 360, it's a given that the developers will return to their console next generation? Time will tell, but I think that not being totally transparant about their specs might hurt them in the long run


Add-on's

The current console generation saw a couple of fads come and go, but none was as persistant as motion gaming, While the Nintendo Wii was designed with motion gaming in mind, For better or worse the PS3 and Xbox 360 jumped on this train after the success of the Wii. They had some ups and downs with their concepts and execution but it opened the flood gates for something that I think, if not changed, marked gaming for the forseeable future

Add-on's.

No, I'm not talking about Microsoft's fancy word for DLC, I'm talking about Sony and Microsoft selling us peripherals like the Kinect and Playstation Move so that we could access new features of their respective consoles. Now Nintendo is leading the charge again with their tablet controller, and wouldn't you know it, the other two are right on their tail with Smartglass and the PSVita

One of the selling points for the Wii U for me is that I can continue my games on the tablet if someone else wants to use the TV. Sony made it clear that this will also be available on the PS4. But so far Microsoft has been really quiet wether or not they will support this via Smartglass.

Will Microsoft be the only console developer that won't support remote play?

Appeal

As I stated earlier, I really don't get who Microsoft is trying to reach with their advertising and who this console really is made for. I'm not totally uninterested in the TV features, but it won't be what sells me on the console, The event really didn't show anything that made me go "Wow", Which Sony actually managed to do quite a few times with their reveal of the PS4. 

They seemed to be less focused on showing their strength when it comes to both multiplayer gaming (which has been a major selling point for the 360) and their continued efforts to offer us new and exciting original games (though they did say that they had 15 exclusive games, 8 of them original IPs)


Sony took the chance to reveal Jonathan Blow's new game "The Witness" at their event

PS4 event had Killzone, Infamous Second Son, Knack, and even Watch.Dogs, The Xbox really only showed us more of the same (except for Remedy's game). They showed us Fifa, Madden, NHL, NBA and COD. And while those games were great on the 360, the Xbox One needs something new to excite this guy.

I know we haven't heard about Sony's potential countermeasure when it comes to used games, but I will say that the ones that were announced for Xbox One does not help the situation for Microsoft

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the Xbox One reveal event didn't do anything to make me really excited for the system, More of the same is all and well but when your main competitor shows up with an intent to woe the core gamers from your system over to their system, It is never the right strategy to change your target audience the way Microsoft seems to have done


While I'll still hold out until E3 to make my decision, It will take alot to steer me away from Sony this time, Fingers crossed Microsoft.

What did you think of the reveal? Have you made your mind up for the next generation yet?   read


11:19 AM on 05.15.2013

Review: Heavenly Sword

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the troubles I were having with reviewing Heavenly Sword, The response I got was great and now, a few days after I finished it, I'm ready to write the review that I promised



Heavenly Sword was one of the early PS3 games, in fact it was one of the first games that made me look at Sony's wonder machine and go: "I want that". The game is a hack and slash action adventure game in the vein of games like Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Rising and God of War, but manages to carve its own identity with solid gameplay and impressive visuals

Heavenly Sword is set in a fantasy world where the player control Nariko, Whose father is the leader of a clan who has long protected the Heavenly Sword, which they believe were passed down from a legendary godly warrior who once defeated the evil Raven Lord. At the start of the game Nariko's village is under attack by the evil King Bohan, who seeks the sword for himself. From this day Nariko is charged with protecting the sword.



One thing that I really can't stress enough throughout this review, is how beautiful the game looks. The scenery, animation and cut-scenes are quite spectacular considering the game has been out for almost 6 years. I am sure that this feat, at the time of the games release, could only be accomplished with the PS3 and if it hadn't been for the occasional drop in frame rate, the games presentation along with the voice acting superb voice acting from both Anna Torv and Andy Serkis would get an instant 10/10

The game's combat is solid, if a bit repetitive at times, but the game really sells you on the feeling that Nariko with the Heavenly sword is a much better fighter than Nariko without the Heavenly Sword. 

There are three stances that the combat makes you switch between during your encounters, but the game does have some issues of letting you know when you switch stances. For instance, sometimes a heavy combo gets blocked and you circle through your stances, only to find you had to time your heavy combo better to make it hit the enemy


The large scale battles are truly something to behold


Where the game fails though is in its use of Sixaxis controls, I really hate the segments in the game where you have to use it. Quickly explained: there are sections in the game where Nariko or the other playable character Kai is forced to use projectiles as either weapons or for puzzle solving, This can either be Kai's crossbow, Nariko using a ballista or throwing a disc. Aiming these projectiles is very inaccurate so you have to guide them via a feature called Aftertouch where time slows down and you have to steer the projectiles to their respective targets.

Using the SIXAXIS on the best of days is a nightmare and having the game force you to complete these segments before moving on is a sure way to get people to rage quit the game. The game isn't unfair at any point, but the whole task is so tedious and time consuming and I'm left wondering if the game wouldn't have been better served if these elements all together

What these segments do right however, is introducing us to the character of Kai, She is easily one of my favorite female characters of a game ever after having played this game. She isn't forced into any kind of storytelling tropes (except for maybe one very small damsel in distress scenario) and is very much left to just being: Kai.

She is a very hard character to explain but I really urge you to either play the game or look her up on Youtube, she is really something special.



Overall I'm pleased to say that I had a really positive experience with Heavenly Sword, The game does suffer a little bit from being made 6 years ago, if one is to compare it to contemporary titles like DMC and Metal Gear Rising but all in all it was a solid experience and I wouldn't mind a sequel somewhere down the line.

I give the game a 4/5.   read


10:43 AM on 04.28.2013

Reviewing an older game

I'm sort of in a conundrum. As I've said in earlier blog posts, I bought a PS3 about a year and a half ago, and I'm trying to work my way through the back catalog I have on the system. Having traversed all of the Uncharted games, finished Solid Snake's story in MGS4 and generally having a great time with LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, I've now arrived at a game that I was very excited for when I first saw it announced alongside the PS3.

The game I'm talking about is Heavenly Sword.


Nariko is voiced by Anna Torv, best known from the TV series Fringe


For those who don't know, This was Ninja Theory's (the guys who did the new DMC and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West) first game of this generation, and the first game they developed under that name. Wikipedia says that it's and action adventure hack and slash game where the gameplay resembles a martial arts title focused on melee combat while featuring opportunities for ranged attacks. In my words: I'd say it's sort of like God of War, sort of like Onimusha, and sort of like Devil May Cry.

I'm not very far into the game, but I started writing down notes for myself so that I could review it here on my blog when I'm done, but therein lies the problem. How do I review a game that was released 6 years ago?

Do I hold it up against contemporary titles like DMC, God of War Ascension and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, or do I try to compare it to titles that were available around the same time as Heavenly Sword?

On one hand, there have been several games I've come across from the early PS3 era that have aged far better than this game has. and on the other hand video games have come along way in 6 years, and I am really liking the game, despite its flaws.

If the game had been released today, I'm not sure that I would have liked it as much as I am. (so far that is, still got a ways to go in the game) I mean why should I give this game any special treatment? There are several games that I've just flat out stopped playing because it had one or two things that annoyed me, and this game has several things that annoy the heck out of me, but despite those things, I'm actually enjoying the game.



There have been one other game that I experienced this with: The original Bioshock. While I did play it around the time the game was released, I truly hated some of the gameplay mechanics that Irrational had implemented in that game, but still I hold it as one of my favorite games this generation.

Have I missed out on game experiences because I was too easily annoyed at some of the choices the developers had made? I think I might have..

Will I ever get around to review Heavenly Sword? I hope so, This challenge that I'm facing could really help me become a better video game reviewer.

How will I treat it in the review?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see   read


4:00 PM on 04.24.2013

PS Vita: A place Indie devs can call home



I own a PS Vita, and as much as I love the damn thing, there's no hiding the fact that post launch support have been lacking. There aren't nearly enough games to capture a wide audience, and the handheld itself is stuck somewhere between wanting to be a dedicated gaming device or a sort of casual gaming/tablet device. In fact, the games that I've been primarily playing on the device is either ports of console games or ports of PSP games that I missed because I didn't own one.

That is not to say that there aren't good Vita games. Uncharted Golden Abyss feels and plays like a full fledged Uncharted game. Gravity Rush is lots of fun (even if the mechanics got tiresome after a while). And I'm sure that there are more Vita games that I just haven't gotten round to play yet.

But what I feel the Vita really needs, is an Indie Revolution!

Ever since Sony's PS4 reveal in February, There's been a steady trickle of news every week about the new direction that Sony wants to take with their gaming platforms. At the Playstation Meeting in february, they made it pretty clear that Sony wants the PS4 to be a place where Indie developers can practice their crafts, and over the last few weeks we've been hearing that the PS Vita will also be a part of this new directon.

On the March 22, IGN reported that there were coming More than 100 games for the Vita in 2013. Among these were indie games like Thomas Was Alone, Lone Survivor, Frozen Synapse and others

A few weeks ago, a game called Guacamelee was released, and short summarized. the game plays amazingly on the Vita. The controls are tight, the gameplay is fun and the game itself looks fantastic. Another indie game that is coming to the Vita soon is the ultraviolent Hotline Miami, and after having played it on PC I can say with 100 percent certainty that the game will be perfect for the Vita.


Guacamelee! really showcases indie glory on the Vita

I think that the Vita has the perfect fan base for Indie developers to test their games on. Threads on Neogaf like the monthly Vita thread is one of the places where Playstation Vita owners encourage each other to try the different games that are being released on the handheld, and they discuss their experiences with the games in a way that could be really helpful to an up and coming Indie developer

That is not to say that I ONLY want indie games on my Vita, I want the next portable Uncharted game, and just last week the news came that there's a sidescrolling 2,5D Batman Arkham Origins game in the works and I really want that too, But indie games can really help fill the gap between the big releases so that the Vita doesn't end up gathering dust.

I believe the PS Vita could be recognized as one of the best handhelds in history, but I think it will need the help of indie games to get there. Sony also needs to realize that what we Vita owners want isn't ports of console games but original games that can only be found on the Vita, That's how Nintendo did it with their Wii and DS/3DS and it's been working for them.


The PS Vita is a technical marvel, but hardware alone doesn't sell systems, You have to have the software too.   read


3:00 PM on 03.05.2013

What's wrong with the industry today: Yearly installments

I reaaaaaally dislike yearly installments. There's no way around that fact, so I figured I'd just spell that out right in the beginning here and get it out of the way.

Yearly installments only serve to make the developer and publisher more money by exploiting the fanbase of an established series. They serve up some tweaks to the previous games but nothing that really pulls the series forward, and in the end it only hurts the series in the long run

Back when Assassins Creed (the original) was announced I was really excited about it. The game looked right up my alley: It had stealth elements, were set during the crusades and looked like it drew some inspiration from two of my favorite series: Hitman and Thief

When released back in 2007, the game had it's problems, but overall I enjoyed it. Not nearly as much as Hitman Blood Money or Thief 2, but still, I liked it and I was excited for the next installment. Two years later in 09 Assassins Creed 2 hit the shelves, and was met with critical and commercial acclaim, I loved the game and it's one of the few cases this generation where I've finished the game multiple times (once I even did it with the Italian Dub) I hearted that game so much, and again my nose turned towards the next installment in the series, Getting ready to wait another 2 years (which I was content with to be honest=

In 2010 Assassins Creed: Brotherhood was announced, Well it wasn't really announced, or that's not how I perceived it at that time, I actually thought it was an expansion pack of some sort. some big piece of DLC for the copy of Assassins Creed 2 that I already owned. Not being opposed to good DLC's I had half a mind to pick it up when it released. but when the marketing more and more told us that this was a stand alone game,, I was kind of confused for a while and didn't pick it up initially, because I didn't want to play another Assassins Creed game so soon after having completed AC2 for the second time

But before the year was out, I had gotten and played Assassins Creed Brotherhood to completion. and I was left somewhat disappointed, the game did all that AC2 did, and in some ways improved the formula by adding new elements like the ability to train and manage your own assassins, but it just wasn't enough for me to give me the same feeling Assassins Creed 1 and 2 did before.

Then the next year, Assassins Creed Revelations were revealed, and I kind of saw the picture of what was going on. What started out as one of my favorite series this generation had all too quickly become one of those series that releases yearly installments

New installments each year that basically gives you the same game all over again, just with a new story and some tweaked elements. and that's when I gave up on Assassins Creed.

Same thing happened to Call of Duty. While Call of Duty has been able to keep it somewhat fresh in the multiplayer, delivering short but intense single player experiences, there is very little that differentiates one installment from another. In the case of Call of duty, I can condone it, since it's mostly played for the multiplayer (not by me as I rarely play multiplayer games) it needs that feeling of familiarity too it, so that the skills you learn in Modern Warfare can be transferable over to the next Black Ops

But in an action adventure game like the Assassins Creed series that people predominantly buy for the single player experience, there really is no good reason to keep pushing yearly titles, except for Ubisoft to make some more money. I don't care how much time Ubisoft claims they've put into their individual titles, They should know better than to give their fans basically the same game three times over as they did after AC2

What I'd like to see Activision and Ubisoft do with their franchises is to halt the yearly installment cycle that their are doing and rather focus on bringing some of the innovation back to their respective series. Activision could dedicate a small team to support Black Ops 2 with additional multiplayer content one more year, so that there's a bit more breathing room between the installments, Breathing room where they can focus on making the next game that much better

What do you guys think about yearly installments?   read


10:19 AM on 03.02.2013

Single player Experiences: Why they need to stay

The CEO of Crytek sat down for an interview with IGN where he discussed The Many Faces of Free to Play

In the interview, Yerli expressed his feelings toward "disconnected single player game experiences":

"I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away, However, I'm not saying that there will be no single-player experiences ... it could be it's called Connected Single-Player or Online Single-Player instead.

"Online and social can reignite single-player in a new type of context and provide benefits that will make you want to be a part of a connected story-mode rather than a disconnected story-mode. Sure, if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn't make sense but if it's offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it.

Jim Sterling wrote a comment on the statement Cevat Yerli (Head of Crytek) made in an interview with IGN

While I wholeheartedly agree with Jim's viewpoints on this subject, I thought that I would share a few thoughts that I have when it comes to the statements made by Cevat Yerli

I'm predominantly a single player gamer, And I have several reasons for that is that:

I enjoy games like I enjoy books or movies, I let myself get immersed in the experience. For me, roaming the fields of Hyrule in Ocarina of time for the XXth time gives me the same feeling as reading Lord of the Rings for the XXth time

If I'm constantly reminded that I'm not alone in the experience, I don't get that same feeling of immersion.

Just imagine if George RR Martin would have written into every other page of his books something that would completely take you out of the experience. I wouldn't personally have gotten past the prologue of Game of Thrones if that was the case

Another reason is that as a person, I'm just not that big a fan of multiplayer games, I've made peace with the fact that there are people who are better than me at playing certain video games and I really don't have anything to prove in that arena

Now I'm not here to tear on gamers that predominately plays multiplayer games, There's a reason the Call Of Duty series has such a strong following and it's not thanks to the single player elements.

And Cevat expressly say that he doesn't want single player experiences to go away, he just wants to add more online and social elements to, in his words: "Reignite single-player"

That is where me and Cevat strongly disagree, because I really don't think that single player experiences needs this re ignition that Mr. Yerli is proposing. Online and Social elements are not at all what I personally want out of a game.

Sure I'd like to see what my friends are playing, and later talk to them about our experiences with the games we've played. But when I'm playing, I want it to be about me and the game, not about leaderboards, not about asking my facebook friends for help, and not about microtransactions.

In May 2012 Diablo 3 came out, And while being a single player experience to many (myself included) Blizzard had implemented features into that game that required the gamer to be "Always Online", and as I remember that didn't end especially well

I believe that if the developers continue to reinvent themselves and their respective genres (like Crytek once did with Crysis), single player experiences will continue to be relevant and we can shake of this notion that we need to merge them with multiplayer

To round out this blogpost, I'd like to make a suggestion to Mr. Yerli:

If you want to create multiplayer experiences with social elements, Go ahead and do that, But don't say that single player experiences have to die for you to make that happen.

Don't make a half assed prediction about where you think single player experiences needs to go to remain relevant when in reality single player experiences has never been more relevant than they are today.

And last but not least: Listen to your consumers, create games and content that they want to see instead of telling them how they are going to be playing your games in the future.   read


11:50 AM on 02.10.2013

How Wreck-It Ralph made me think about the future of Retro games

Disclaimer: This will be a semi review of the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph, I will use elements from the movie as examples and some spoilers will occur, Ye be warned

Well I just came back from having watched Wreck-it Ralph with my sister and my nephews (5 and 3), and I have to say, that movie made me think. As a kid who grew up playing games like Q*bert, Pac Man, Sonic the hedgehog and the likes, this movie hit it home in several ways.

First off: the premise of the movie



The movie takes place in every old school gamers favorite place, The Arcade, And just like Andy's room in Toy Story, The real action happens when none of the humans are watching. We are shown that every game that we play, are a masterfully orchestrated "play" where all the game characters plays their respective roles. When the game is over, The characters go back to their starting positions. When the arcade is closed for the night however, the game characters are free to do whatever they want to do, as long as they are back to their starting position when the arcade is open the next day.

Enter Wreck-it Ralph. He's the main antagonist in a game called Fix-it Felix Junior. where he acts as a sort of Donkey Kong to Felix's Mario (Jumpman) in the old arcade game Donkey Kong. Ralph's job every game is to try and hinder Felix from fixing the damages he's made, and eventually, when the player gets through the game, to be thrown off the very building he was trying to wreck.

All of this would have been fine with Ralph if he'd just gotten some appreciation from the rest of the game characters within his game, But for them, he's the villain, and Felix the hero, So they celebrate Felix at the end of each day by giving him medals, and shun Ralph, forcing him to sleep outside "off screen"

Ralph, feeling left out, wants to be recognized for the part he plays in the players experience. and is told by the other characters that only a hero gets to be in the spotlight, and to be a hero, you'd have to have earned a gold medal. Ralph, seeing that he'll never get a gold medal in his own game, leaves on a quest to get the medal in another game.

Along the way he meets a myriad of characters from the golden age of arcade and 16 bit gaming, Characters like Bowser, Dr.Robotnik, Satan and Kano appear in a Bad Guys Anonymous scene where Ralph debates his mindset with his fellow game antagonists. Ryu from Street Fighter is show visiting Tapper's Bar after hours. The list goes on...

Even Sonic appears on an infomercial that serves to tell the viewer, that if you die outside your own game, you won't re spawn, causing perma death for that character.


Wreck-It Ralph introduces several old school characters to a new generation of gamers

The movie is a homage to all the hours my generation have spent with these characters, and even serves as an introduction for many of them to the gamers of tomorrow. I was shocked when my five year old nephew knew who Zangief from Street Fighter was. I mean I wouldn't be shocked that he knew Sonic and Mario, Afterall I introduced him to those games, but Zangief?? To my knowledge he's never even played a Street Fighter game. But thanks to Wreck-it Ralph, He now knows the character, and might actually look up the series some day.

The movie's depiction of the arcade is more akin to the golden age of arcade games than the way arcades are today. And just like Andy's toys were scared of not being played with, The game characters fears the day their game is "Out of order" and they'll be shipped off to a storage, never to be played with again..

And that's what I want to touch on with this blog post: What is the future of Retro Games

A worst case scenario for retro games is that when my generation has left this earth, Games like Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania won't be played anymore. As time goes by more and more games are being introduced to the market, And if there hadn't been so little creativity and new content out there, these games and their characters would have been left in the dust long ago. Which is a damn shame in my opinion.

Nintendo, off course, is the best at keeping their old series alive. Virtual Console keeps the old games alive and they continue to make new installments of Super Mario, Metroid and Zelda, series that were created 20 - 25 years ago.

But still these series have seen an overhaul from time to time. The great Super Mario 64 brought the series for the first time into a 3D environment, shaking up and changing the way we play Mario, a change that still lingers today with titles like Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2.

There is little in the 3D Mario games that remind me of the original Super Mario Brothers. except for the plot and characters of the games.


Old school Vs. New school

The Zelda series experienced something similar with Ocarina of Time, shifting from the top down perspective and exploration element to a more story driven 3D experience

But I do think Nintendo realized that there were a market for old school games, having released New Super Mario Brothers. on their handhelds, then later porting it to their flagship console Wii and later Wii U. And even the handheld Zelda games (espcially the GBA games Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons) acts as throwbacks to a simpler time.

But things change over time...

Sega, who were a direct competitor to Nintendo back in the 16 bit era, had to withdraw from the console market with the commercial failure of the Sega Dreamcast. After the death of their console efforts,
they tried desperately to keep their intellectual properties relevant, something that resulted in a series of crappy Sonic games that near on killed the franchise. It wasn't before the recent Sonic Generations things finally started to look up for Sega.

Midway filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Acclaim was rendered defunct in 2004. And recently Atari, after several years of hardship, trying a last ditch effort to save their brand.

These brands will have a hard time bringing their series back, or releasing game collections that newcomers will be willing to buy, due to their financial problems. And we all know that playing the old games on newer systems aren't the same thing as playing them on the old school consoles

So where am I going with all of this. Oh yeah, I remember. What about the games of old? What will happen with them when people stop playing them?

Will the Retro games of today one day be replaced by the "Current games", Will New Super Mario Brothers 2 replace Super Mario Brothers 3?, Will Skyward Sword replace A Link to the Past?

And what will happen to the retro games that have no counterpart in today's market? Will we be able to visit them in the museum or will they just pass out of all memory and time?


Will games like Street Fighter II end up being museum pieces?

Well hopefully, All that won't happen. and I'll tell you how we can stop just that from happening

My dad have been my gateway into the music that I like. Through him I've learned about bands like Deep Purple, AC/DC, Pink Floyd to name a few. And so my "horizons" when it comes to music have been broadened. I appreciate new music as well as "old" music, And I don't think I would have taken the time to sit down and listen to the "old music" if it weren't for my dad being willing to open that door for me.

And I believe that the way we can preserve the cultural heritage of games, is to act as that gateway for the gamers of tomorrow, when they ask us which games we played when we were kids, let's show them Old School Mario, or Zelda, Let's show them Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat

I've even gotten a head start at this, collecting old school consoles and games. so that when my son grows up, he'll at least have the opportunity to experience the games that made his father the gamer he is today

And so we can save our collective retro game heritage from extinction   read


1:39 PM on 01.30.2013

Let's rank the Metal Gear Solid series, "Worst" to Best



I love Metal Gear Solid, I actually love the series so much, I've lost count how many times I've finished each of them. When Metal Gear Solid first came out, I hadn't played the original Metal Gear, or Snake's Revenge, and really didn't know what I was getting into in terms of gameplay.

All I really knew were that my friends were diggin it, And I had to play it. Now I was pretty young when this game came out, and it was hard. I do not know how many times I rage quitted during the first Vulcan Raven encounter, Only to find out later that I had to chuck grenades at him. Or how much time I spent being stuck at the "Look at the back of the CD case for Meryl's frequency" sequence (I borrowed the discs, not the case from a friend, D'oh)



In many ways the Metal Gear Solid series has shaped me as a gamer, In my first playthrough of Snake Eater, I plowed through the story, not looking for an edge via more advanced weaponry and gadgets that I could pick up through out Grozny Grad, but in my next playthrough I noticed that I found more equpment lying around, and that the equipment were in sections of the game world that I hadn't visited the first time around, so from that point on, I became obsessed at finding the best equipment to use in each of the boss fights (having Thermal Goggles really helps you in the boss fight with The End) This is a trait that I've since brought with me into other games, which in turn has rewarded me greatly in game.

We all know that the MGS games can be somewhat different from each other, so in the interest of fairness here are some of the key points that I look for in a great MGS game.

- Good Story
- Good Boss Battles
- Good stealth mechanics
- Kojima Insanity
- Good level design (both technically and aesthetically)

I might not touch upon every key point in my short reviews and reasoning for the respective ranks the games have been awarded, but rest assured it was in my mind when making the decisions

Alright ramblers, Let's get rambling, Let's start with the "Worst"


Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty




I know, I know, Some of you love this game, And I do to, I'm not saying that this game is bad, I'm just saying that Kojima totally screwed me over, by having me play Raiden for most of the game.

Nah it's not just that. The story is a bit convoluted and at times pretty boring, there are characters in this that really doesn't fit into the Metal Gear Sold "Lore", There are Boss fights that are "un winnable" and the level design is pretty much just steel colored walls on black floor boards or orange rails on orange floors.

If Big Shell didn't feature so heavily as it did in the game, and they kept the level design a bit more varied (Like MGS3 did with it's jungles, Russian Army camps and 60's styled offices) it would have been a bit easier on the eyes


Raiden was already pretty nifty with the sword

But the game did some cool stuff too, It gave the player another perspective on the main protagonist of the series, Solid Snake. In MGS (Twin Snakes) everything the player experienced, they experienced as Solid Snake. Adding Raiden to the mix helped build the "Solid Snake: Legendary Soldier" character that we all know and love. The game also pays tribute to "Escape from NY" by giving Snake the "Irroquois Plisskin" cover identity, And Raiden isn't half bad either, His backstory is pretty bad ass, having fought as a child soldier in The First Liberian War, his complex relationship to Solidus Snake is pretty interesting. And he certainly looks awesome in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (due out this february).


#3 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots



Another game I guess people will disagree with me on is MGS4

While I loved the games way of concluding the saga of Solid Snake (thus far) the gane just felt wierd to me, The controls are different, the setting is waaaay different, and at times the length of the cutscenes gives me a sort of "disconnect" that took me out of the experience.

Where MGS4 succeded is in the way they brought everything back for a grand finale, they tied up loose ends as if they were possessed. Bringing back fan favorites like Eva, Naomi, Meryl and Mei Ling, And creating all new favorites like Drebin and Akiba (Though I do believe I met him before somewhere) Giving some more focus on Meryl and elaborating on her relationship to Campbell, Explaining Vamp's "Immortality", and finally giving us the Liquid Ocelot v. Solid Snake Standoff we've been waiting to se for such a long time


Nothing quite like watching two old geezers beating each other to a pulp

The level design is pretty bad ass, leaving the "insertion into an enemy base, equipment to be procured on site" recipe behind for once, and letting the story take you several different places (and the long expected return to Shadow Moses). The way the design lets you "choose your own path" most of the time is pretty cool, and lets the player try different approaches to how they want to reach their goals.

In the end Metal Gear Solid 4 might be the best game Kojima and the gang have created. It just doesn't feel enough like a Metal Gear Solid game for me to give it a higher rank on this list.


#2 Metal Gear Solid / Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes



The first entry in the Metal Gear Solid series. Metal Gear Solid brought the magic from the original Metal Gear on the MSX2 into a 3D enviroment for the first time. at at the time it was released,it was a pretty revolutionary game, atleast it was for me. It brought hollywood-esque story telling akin to movies like "Escape from New York" and "Die Hard" in a game for the first time, "Amazing" graphics (atleast at the time) and a gallery of characters that sticks with you: Vulcan Raven, Psycho Mantis, Otacon, Revolver Ocelot, Liquid and last but not least Solid Snake

The way the story played out kept you just enough in the dark that you constantly wanted to find out what was going to happen next. Why were the people Snake was sent to help dying of a heart attack all of a sudden, Who is the Cyborg Ninja, what the hell is up with that Psycho Mantis character, and why won't my controller work (OH WAIT, I have to plug it into the other controller port)


This scared the crap out of me when I was a kid

Level design is so and so, but It's a military installation in Alaska, What more did we expect than steel and snow, You might judge me for that comment since I criticized the level design in MGS2, but keep in mind MGS were created for the original PlayStation, and MGS2 were created for the PS2. The original Playstation had some serious constraints on when it came to the visuals, while MGS3 (which I will talk about in a second) was also released on the PS2 and looks hell of a lot better that MGS2


#1 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater



The epitome of the Metal Gear Solid series. This game does everything right

It has cool and exciting level design, amazing boss fights, captivating story that actually ties into the series as a whole, and manages to answer some questions that the fans have been asking ever since the original Metal Gear and Snake's Revenge.

MGS3 added so much to the existing formula that it ended up defining how Metal Gear games should be made. when they showed me Ground Zeroes at the 25th Anniversary of the Metal Gear series, Two thoughts were in my head. The firs one was, Holy crap that looks amazing, and the second was, I hope they make it like "Snake Eater"


"Raiden's narrative justification came from a theme that has always pervaded the Metal Gear theme: exceeding your predecessor." - Hideo Kojima

It is hard to narrow down exactly what makes this game so awesome, but if I had to choose one thing over all the amazing things this game manages to deliver, it would have to be the setting, Putting the story right smack in the middle of the Cuba Missile Crisis and giving us an alternate history spin to the whole East vs West ordeal of the Cold War era. The game also explores a character so far left "untouched" by the series, The father of the Three Snakes, Big Boss. and paints a very human picture of him. And after having "witnessed" his trials and sacrifices, I truly understand how he could justify his later actions

"Snake Eater" brought it and keeps on bringing it today, and stands as my favorite Metal Gear Solid game to date, and one of my favorite games of all time.


So that it guys, My ranking of the Metal Gear Solid series, "Worst" to Best. So all it remains to ask you guys is:


Did you rike it?

Sound off in the comments   read


11:29 AM on 01.23.2013

Why we need the Star Developers

Over the last few days, I've been thinking about something: How many people can name the key people of developers like Treyarch, People Can Fly, 343 Industries or Arkane Studios, without looking them up on Wikipedia

These developers weren't picked completely at random, All of them "inherited" big franchises from their original developer. Treyarch has Black Ops, People Can Fly are in charge of the new Gears of War game, 383 have Halo 4 and Arkane did Bioshock 2.

All of these games are sequels to titles that really set the standard of how our new AAA environment looks like today. Games that did something you hadn't seen before, or perfected a formula that had tried and failed before.

I think we can all agree that the original Bioshock is an amazingly crafted gaming experience, That Gears of War is one of the best exclusives that the Xbox 360 have had over the years, that the Halo series brought split-screen multiplayer back from the dead, and that Call Of Duty series, love it or hate it, is one of the best online multiplayer experiences of this generation, and one of the biggest software successes ever.



The one thing all of these games have in common (except being shooters) is that they were made by people we all should know the name of.

Ken Levine (Bioshock)
Cliff Blezinski and Rod Fergusson (Gears of War franchise)
Jason Jones and the BUNGiE team (Halo series)
Vince Zampella and Jason West (Call of Duty series)

Now I'm not saying in any way that these people alone deserve praise for the finished project, big games like that are always a team effort, But I believe that it was the vision that these guys had that fueled their respective teams to create the great games that they have made over the years.

And we need those guys, Guys like Tim Schaefer, Ron Gilbert, Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, and Gabe Newell, to push our medium to new heights. Because the absolute worst thing that could happen to this industry, is that we don't find new ways to reinvent ourselves.


Peter Molyneux: One of the greatest minds of our time

If we as gamers continue to buy into the games that serve up the same old S#!€%, while ignoring the people who actually make breakthroughs with their products, not spending money on their ideas, Industry giants like EA and Activision are more inclined to fund the games that makes that can guarantee them the most money. and in the current market, that's the military shooter brand, And I for one, have had enough of those to last a lifetime

While it's great to look back to those guys I mentioned before and their hallmarks, It's also important not to let them outshine their counterparts of tomorrow. Markus Persson made a little game called Minecraft, and the first time I saw that game, it BLEW my mind. The game really pushed the boundaries of what we had seen before and in it's wake, more and more titles have tried to push the envelope of what we expect from a game now adays. And there is some great stuff out there.

Telltale games made one of last years best games, winning several game of the year titles, with The Walking Dead, While the formula isn't new, Adventure games like it have been around for ages, Telltale managed to craft a truly heartfelt experience that left several players in tears by the end of it. Something that has been sorely missing in the industries until it came along



That Game Company have made several contributions to the "Games as art" discussion with titles like Flower and Journey.

I believe that, with our support, the lesser known developers of today can be the star developers of tomorrow. and going in to the next gen, we could all use some changes in the gaming landscape as it stands today   read


4:12 PM on 01.13.2013

We had a baby

I'll admit, this post will stray off the beaten path of my usual posts, whom primarily revolve around games and gaming culture,but it's worth it because this is the blogpost where I announce to the Destructioid community the birth of my son, Bjørn. who was born wednesday night.

We were way past our due date and they had to start the birth at the hospital, and after 8 hours of labor,we had a son in our arms.We didn't know the gender beforehand so it came as a surprise, I've always said it would be a boy, and turns out I was right. A healthy little boy with ten fingers and ten toes, and the best part of it all, he inherited his good looks from his mother.

Now, at the dawn of our new life with this baby boy, I've been reflecting about becoming a father, and how that will change me, as a person. I've always loved kids, I have 2 nephews and a niece from before, so I'm no stranger to this "new" state of living. but still, this is something I don't get to watch someone else do, and comment upon that, this is my journey into fatherhood, or our journey, me and my partner's, into parenthood,

As I see it, anyone can become a Father, Not everyone can be a Dad, after all, all it takes to become a father can be done in a few minutes. But being a Dad, that's hard work. You'll have to dedicate a big portion of your life to these little creatures, create a stable environment around them, keep bringing in income so that you can support them. and put your dreams on hold for a while so that you can care for their well being.

So even with all the inherent fears and doubts we may have towards ourselves as parents and being able to raise this baby together, We'll now have to face those challenges, And I don't think we'll do all that bad to be honest. Not that I want to take anything away from people who have been or are raising children, It's hard work with a lot of sacrifices, I know that. As we all know, it takes a village.

But still, We turned out okay, and having the support of our parents, and siblings around us, I think we'll do just fine.

But in the end, Only time will tell if we are fit for the challenge.   read





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