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CarbonRevenge's blog

Casuals Are Killing Devs Creativity
2:57 PM on 12.11.2012
2012: My Gaming Moments Rock, Yours Need Work
7:10 PM on 12.04.2012
A Need For Speed Retrospective: Underground to Carbon (Part 2)
10:05 AM on 11.22.2012
My Top 5 Favorite Machinimas
1:47 PM on 11.18.2012
A Little About Me: The Narcissistic Gamer
7:48 PM on 11.13.2012
A Need For Speed Retrospective: Underground to Carbon (Part 1)
4:43 PM on 11.07.2012

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I'm am a dedicated PC gamer who believes that everyone deserves to hear the facts. I have beta tested multiple games in the past and have been known to outright tell developers what needs to be done to make it tolerable of a game. That's why it's beta right?

Nonetheless, gaming has been a hobby for me since I was a wee little lad. My favorite console of all time would be the SNES(even if I only ever played it a few times) with the N64 following that then the Gamecube. Nothing will ever compare to those consoles. Ever.

You know enough. The personals can be found out if you get to know me.
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Disclaimer: No images for this blog due to the ranting nature.

Casuals. Oh yes, casuals. Jim Sterling recently covered casuals in his recent Jimquisition and i'm here to bring in another argument into the mix of things because while the whole difficulty curve argument works a little bit, there's much worse consequences out of letting the everyday gamer choose what will succeed and what will fail. This is why my main point isn't about the difficulty curve that most developers are leaning towards but the fact that most developers are not changing the formula of their trademark series which is in the end giving us the same bland game year after year.

Why am I fearing the lack of change in a games formula? It means creative games go to the wayside and bland boring rehashes get tons of sequels. There's a certain dilemma in the industry which has allowed Indie devs to pick up where the AAA developers are only developing to get most of the casuals and not trying their best to change the experience up. That effects everyone because i'm sure alot of different series can change up alot if the developers really tried to do that without trying to make it overly accessible.

My prime example of this most definitely has to be the wide array of SpunkGargleWeeWee games or First Person Shooters which is a genre which is heavily saturated with more or less the same thing. This excludes Metro 2033 and Borderlands due to their unique gameplay nature and the fact that it doesn't follow the few billion dollar franchises like Call of Duty which has become the best example of something that should never continue to keep selling or we risk a stagnation in creativity.

Why is a stagnation in new ideas bad? This means that developers will not try to reinvent something which is old to become new. The Indie scene has definitely gotten the AAA devs to really try a tiny bit more but it's not enough to make a major impact on the game development scene as a whole. The stagnation will eventually rot up the industry to the point where one or two games will definitely dominate said genre for a majority of people and those few who play an odd game will become rare and harder to find than a casual.

The worst part of all of this is that the best companies are starting to fall. The ones with the most creative dev teams is falling and my best example of that is THQ. Without THQ, we wouldn't have some of the best gaming series which are not typical than any other game in said genre. They are a company which while trying to do something new, is also failing to make a profit. Casuals have effected the market so much that it's risking handing over our favorite IPs to the worst companies in existence such as EA, Ubisoft, or Activision-Blizzard. If we start to lose the good games for the bland then we all deserve what is coming if we don't question if the developers are really going for something new or not.

My question to the readers is what can be done to keep developers on their feet who contribute more to the industry than let the least creative ones thrive? Is there a way we can fix our problem or is another crash inevitable where even more of the gaming market could potentially be eaten up by foreign competitors? Would it eventually give a monopoly to one or two companies? Those are my questions. I ask you to answer them.

2012 was a pretty eventful year for me as a gamer. I got a nice new rig which is pretty mid range for what it is but it can handle the different things that I throw at it. This has allowed me to get back into my back log and get rid of a few games that I have never truly have had an opportunity to play or experience. Some are in Alphas still and others are full blown AAA releases but each has been a good moment in time. So, shall we begin? I say we do.

The first gaming moment of this year would definitely have to be me barging through Skyrim with my character who oddly has had problems here and there. My journey through the beautiful world started due to me being in the wrong place at the wrong time which got me caught with Ulfric Stormcloak. I was on enemy lines and I probably shouldn't have been there but I didn't care. I got caught by my fellow Imperials. I promise that I didn't mean to be caught in the Empires way. My clone did it. I mean it.

My best moment even after being taken prisoner had in Skyrim definitely had to be that joyous moment when I beat Alduin. It's not that he was a hard person to beat but because he was an antagonist who has tried really hard to remain immortal for as long as he possibly can being that he's a dragon. You know, dragons, the things that breathe fire and sing songs to children. It's not to say that they don't do that when they're attacking places like Whiterun. It's safe to say that I have fought many a-dragons and that i'm the Dovahkiin. Got it, home boy/girl/it/thing?

My other gaming moment has to be going through Most Wanted and Carbon again. Both games bring back some pretty good memories of a time when Electronic Arts actually made fairly good games that whilst being yearly iterations, they also improved each time. Most Wanted brought back those moments of really stressful pursuits where no one man is the best at dodging cops because even if you know the routine, it's never that easy. It's always hard to see the future when it comes to racing games and I still fail at recovering from my screw ups a majority of the time.

Most Wanted has the blacklist to be thankful for as the original game has that ability to make you irritated at the main antagonist because you have a beautifully fast ride and then it gets taken right from under you because someone doesn't understand fair play. Carbon just had that moment where I understood that i'm doing someone elses work and i'm not going to do that because i'm more qualified to run the city than Darius is. I'm also not some super rich punk like he is either which adds onto my undying hatred for him.

My third gaming moment is an indie game which isn't even near release but it still has kept my attention due to the developer. I'm a big Wolfire Games fan due to their unique style of games that they make that aren't traditional. I'm listing Overgrowth Alpha as that interesting game that isn't really a game yet due to how it's still an Alpha plus the fact there isn't no actual story just yet. It's still runs like a charm in high 1080p and allows me to be a beast beast while I try to take out other animals which are out to get me. The uniqueness of the game and how it plays is why it is well deserved as my top gaming moment as I have never enjoyed something that much which has no HUD.

My last gaming moment has to be Metro 2033. I'm late to the game and I understand that but it's one of those games I can't put down. The feeling of the Dark Ones constantly around the corner, feeling like I might die any moment, and that every last bit of ammo counts as you can't just spray in pray as that is about as useful as hitting the enemy with a pencil. Pencils aren't super effective against mutants. I'd know. I tried it once. I don't recommend you do or else you're going to be chased through a post apocalyptic Moscow and it'll feel like you're doing your own version of the Olympics.

The above is all my gaming moments that I feel is really worthy of writing about. Each moment within' itself is unique because they all offer unique experiences in one way or another. None of these moments are similar at all as I always want something that isn't what a traditional AAA publisher feels like milking to death. They'll always be unique moments and will expand into next year as alot of these games still need to be completed or the developer needs to get the game physically complete. I'll give them time though. Now let me go back to my games...

Most Wanted and Carbon. Two games that are polar opposites in terms of gameplay. One has you do milestone, and the other has you do just enough to conquer territories before you face a boss. They all are unique in that respect but each are also very fun in their own right too. Most Wanted with its use of the police to accrue a bounty so you can face your next Blacklist member and the other with its ability to stress when you're in a canyon as every screw up will make your opponent one step closer to overtaking you.

Lets begin with Most Wanted.

Most Wanted has to be one of the most unique games that came out of the 2nd generation of Need For Speed games. You are a driver who has just arrived into Rockport with a sexy BMW M3 which can beat pretty much any car on the street. This car alone makes you think you can challenge Razor who is Blacklist #15 and he thinks he's the toughest guy on the block despite being #15. You know...the lowest on the Blacklist...

You get to race him after doing some races to earn respect. He finale allows you to but when you do it doesn't end too well. Halfway through the race Mia alerts you that your car is leaking gasoline and that it's best to end the race fast but it's too late as your engine seizes up and you're done. Done. What happened? Razor played unfairly and Rockport PD comes in to take you to jail. Razor uses your BMW M3 to rise up through the rankings to #1 while you're stuck in jail making sure not to drop the soap.

You finale get out with small change and one new friend named Mia. She helps you out to get a new ride and a safehouse. She alerts you of what lays ahead and that you must take on the first Blacklister before you're able to get going at your attempt to get back Razor for playing unfairly by sabotaging your ride, stealing it in a sense, and going up to the top of the Blacklist because of the loser that he is.

My favorite things about those paragraphs alone is that it describes your journey from the start of the game. You're the coolest guy who has the sexiest car which then just taken right from under you. It's amazing because it's not like Underground 2 where you test drive Samanthas ride for a small portion of the tutorial of the game. It's not to say that it wasn't fun but it really didn't make you feel like you knew what you were doing.

I have to admit that the milestones and bounty has to be the best part. It's requirements like getting 3 infractions in a pursuit or ending it within' 4 minutes. Something that tests your ability to get the cops off your tail whilst also trying to gain enough of a bounty which allows you to progress through the game. This means that certain pursuits will just have to be as long as you can make them so that you can attain enough of a bounty to get the requirement for the next Blacklist member which you're going to take down.

The game looks good too. Compared to Carbon, Most Wanted does definitely have a much brighter environment. The rain is much more obvious when it is raining, the roads look beautiful no matter what, and the lighting changes like if you're under a tunnel and come out then you have to deal with the glare from the sun thus adding some unique style to the game. It's really fun to play because of that and surely makes for some interesting views from around the local Rockport area.

There's alot I could say about Most Wanted with its music being as good as any other game in the series. I have to move on though and cover Carbon or else this could go on forever as my biggest blog to date.

Carbon picks up where you left off in Rockport where Cross is after you. You got that sexy car of yours back but it turns out that you only got far enough to make it to Palmont where he causes you to wreck your car in a part of the road where it is under construction. Bye bye, my lovely BMW M3. Cross comes up to say hi to you but your old "friend" Darius shows up. He greets you for coming back in town but he himself has a plan for you.

My personal opinion is that Darius has to be the most methodical of enemies in the Need For Speed series. Underground has some of these guys who think they're really fast and tough when really they're not(Razor as an example) but Darius is this charismatic rich guy who plays you like a fiddle. You don't excatly know what is in store since you begin again as the guy who has to start from scratch and get a new car before being able to conquer all three districts of Palmont before taking the fourth from Darius due to him setting you up to fall.

The gameplay in the game isn't too bad either. I mentioned at the start that Carbon adds this stressful element in the gameplay. This comes out mostly in canyon races when you're going against a boss as you for sure never know the true outcome. Yes, you'll get enough points on your trek down the canyon but never really overtake unless you have the power to but that's a challenge. It's once your opponent is behind you is when you get this feeling that every screw up will cost you time going down the canyon when you have to deal with points going down every second of the journey.

That's not as bad as the pursuits which most of the time happen the same as in Most Wanted when you're in races that aren't taking place in canyons. These cops are aggressive depending on the heat level of your car like in Most Wanted and make it a little hard to do a circuit or sprint when they're trying to get you to pull over. It's that element of you have to deal with the other racers as you hold your top position as well as the cops who are making it rather difficult to get to the finish line in one piece without a screw up.

These are just some of the things I remember about both games and I feel they're really fun in their own way. Most Wanted will always be a fantastic game due to how everything plays out and Carbon will always have a better antagonist than Razor ever was but they're still fun. It's best I finish here so that I can eat some Thanksgiving food and possibly play some Most Wanted again. It may be an older game but it doesn't need to be released in 2012 for me to love it.

Machinima has to be my favorite piece of visual media. It's that feeling that you're seeing a film be made not in real life but in the gaming world. Machinima is not simply written out like a film as it can be a music video or a bunch of random stuff put together in a week. It's just an idea that is formulated in a game that you love. A game you play but get to see in a different light. Machinima is a form of expression for those gamers at heart and that's why i'm showing you my top 5.

So we shall begin with top 5th favorite Machinima.

10. 100 Ways To Kill Yourself In GMOD by Djy1991

This was one of the earliest Machinimas that I watched back in the good ol' days of Youtube. Having heard of GMOD at that time and I think I also might have signed up for Steam back when it was 2 years old and getting most of its issues sorted out. I didn't play it but I did dream of playing it. This video kept me amused as a young child when i'd watch this a good few times just to get a chuckle outa my day. Who wouldn't with this video?

5. Civil Protection by Ross Scott

Ross Scott. Yes, that Ross Scott. The man who has created Inside Freemans Mind which is the funniest interpretation of what Gordon is thinking. Civil Protection has to be the second Machinima that I have ever stumbled upon. It got me inspired as well to learn about it. I thank you for that, Mr. Scott.

4. Red Vs. Blue: Caboose by Roosterteeth

Red Vs. Blue is a series I watched from when they were in Blood Gulch in Halo all the way up to Halo 3. These guys had me rolling when I watched them with Caboose becoming my all time favorite Roosterteeth creation from that series. I'm partial to Caboose and that is what i'll admit because he says some of most out of the ball park comments which are really funny. He's a lovable moron and that's a character which i'll always remember.

3. Inside Freemans Mind by Ross Scott

I wouldn't link Civil Protection without linking Inside Freemans Mind. Just hearing the voice of Ross Scott brings me giggles. I think that also may be why i'm so blunt is because I have watched this series too damn much. That I am sorry for but I am not seriously sorry. I haven't excatly kept up with this series but I probably should again. It's funny, right?

2. Idiots Of GMOD 2 by Djy1991

This video deserves one of the top spots because it is one of the greatest GMOD Machinimas I ever laid my eyes one with pure randomness. There is well over 20 different GMOD actors which makes this an ambitious project. This also is really fantastic because it's by one of my favorite GMOD directors. Well, he's like my #1 director for GMOD. Just watch the video.

1. War Of The Servers by Lite Fuse Films

Old school GMOD. One of those earlier films which I actually watched. This really got me to make my Steam account at the time because this filmed caused me to become so so obsessed. Yes, I had mentioned earlier that I had made it also earlier with a push by Ross Scott but this really pushed me to become obsessed. This is a deep reinterpretation of H.G Wells War Of The Worlds and damn is it good.

So, that is it. All my top favorites that I feel like the world should see. They all are somewhat organized or random depending on the director with it mostly being dominated by Djy1991 and Ross Scott but that should be expected. I gave Lite Fuse Films the top spot because it was more ambitious than Djy1991s video and it was a much lengthier project in terms of Machinima.

I still hope you enjoy watching these videos. Each one of them deserves a watch. I hope you enjoy losing around 3 to 4 hours of your life. It's worth it. I promise. <3

Disclaimer: I am a very blunt person. If that wasn't obvious enough.

This is one of my all time favorite games. I'll never forget it.

I'm the new guy on the block. I know. There's not too much known about me atm but i'm here to fix that by enlightening you on who I am and why games matter the most to me. For starters, i'm an 18 year old adult male who lives in a state that swings. I hope you enjoy figuring out what state i'm in but it shouldn't be too hard. It really isn't. My name is also Matt so you can call me it if you wish. I'd prefer it over my username.

Let me just say that I have been a gamer since I was young. I would say that it has had a major impact on my life as I didn't exactly have a social life when I was younger due to how people treated me when I was younger. Games helped me get through the rougher parts and always have been there for me in one for or another. I'd also list movies in that category as well. Both major influences on how I grew up. I wasn't normal after all and i'm still quirky in some ways which has made me unique in some aspects and worse in others.

I should really begin now with why games were influential to me. Back in 1st grade, I didn't have really any friends to name. I was one of those kids who was alone for a majority of my free time in the playground. I understood that I wasn't liked it any form but I survived. I survived because at the time games were around me. Games let me leave the reality that everyone hated me. It rewarded me when others would taunt me or take away something I loved. It allowed me to understand the benefits of trying to get something and being able to get it. I might not have had much to strive for but I was still in my adolescent then.

You wonder what I played? My Nintendo 64. That thing became my best friend because at the time I didn't have someone to talk to who was like minded as me. I didn't talk to my N64 if you were wondering but you know...it could have been that way. I played lots of different games. Some of the games I played was Rocket: Robot On Wheels which made me love games that were puzzles and had me always on my feet. The other games I played was traditional platformers like Mario 64 which was the most played game. I smiled whenever I hit that menu with Marios face which I could manipulate. I think I fell in love with Mario alot then as well as the actor himself, Charles Martinet, who I am a big fan of.

I own these books still. They haven't been touched since Jr. High but I still have them.

Being someone who plays games, I didn't get much respect from any or much of my peers. I had always been the type who enjoyed the lore of games and the gameplay was an added bonus in most cases. Being in 5-6th grade at the time, I only had a small group of friends who would ever acknowledge me as a person. A person and a gamer. We talked games. We only ever talked games. I don't believe we ever diverged off games except on a few occasions. That was my life then and only one friend ever came out as the one who i'd still talk to now and quite honestly in the future if life allows it.

Jr. High hit and I was as big of a gamer as ever. I was just obsessed. I didn't really know too many games at the time but I played quite a few games. The games that were on my play list was San Andreas, Vice City, Halo, Halo 2, CoD3, and many more. I had my own table with a group of friends but that eventually diverged to just me and my friend being the odd ones out. At that lunch, i'd always bring in my Halo book and we'd discuss the lore of the game. We'd discuss Master Chiefs successes and some of the best tactical ship strategy that i've ever read. This was a majority of my year but I read those books just so we could discuss the lore. Lore is my favorite and Halo made me love it.

High School thereafter hit. My freshmen year. My first two years of my high school career were questionable. I played games alot then as well but I didn't have my best friend by my side to talk to. I had friends that I was starting to like and we were Nintendo nerds at heart. We brought our DSs in and played Pokemon. We discussed movies and games and whatever we could find relevant. This was another questionable moment in time as what was said at our little table is for another day. Or another dimension.

This was my life for a year. My computer. It allowed me to understand who I am as a person while dealing with the real world.

My Junior year hit and I hit the time where I lacked actual access to my favorite past time for over a year. I still had access but not in the form I wanted to. I was stuck strictly to 3DS games at the time as I bought one around Christmas time when 3D Land released. Internet? I only had the 3DS. That year I spent my time browsing the interwebz on a 3DS. Beast right? Destructoid and RPS became two of the sites I frequented during that period where I couldn't play many games. I was limited. I didn't dislike it though as it allowed me to understand myself and get back with Nintendo for another go.

I didn't regain access as a PC gamer until I had the chance to work to the bone for it. I had to raise the money over the summer by working for roughly a month and a half at a job which had me on overtime a good 1/3 of the time I worked. I worked 2nd shift so I got paid slightly more on top of my typical hourly rate. This allowed me to save up money in my checking till I could afford a rig worthy of my favorite past time. Gaming and some other stuff you won't find out about till in the future. I returned back as a PC gamer and was finale able to say that I could do what I had longed to do for a year. Play games.

I had a backlog which mostly consisted of Saints Row: The Third and Skyrim. There was a few others but those were my main two. I still haven't beaten The Third though i'm roughly 80-85% complete with that and have completed a full run through Skyrim. One of the smaller titles i'm still playing is an older Ubisoft release which I played alot when I played my 360 which was Rainbow Six Vegas 2. This could be accounted for me loving tactical gameplay and Tom Clancy. I read his books. That might have influenced me too.

There's alot more about me I could say but i'll make top 10-15 things about me that I didn't list here. There's alot and I don't feel I have the energy to type it all out in one go especially since Youtube is up and I have yet to finish watching a video by my favorite gaming commentator. So I shall end it here and hope you enjoyed the read about me.

Need For Speed. One of those series that has had an identity crisis for the last few years and has has an iteration every year for the past 10 or more years. I, however, have only stuck with the 2nd generation NFS games as I grew up playing it. I haven't played anything past Carbon and anything before Underground. I've just been strictly stuck on those games from Underground, to Most Wanted, and all the way to Carbon. A fantastic set of games that shows the experience has evolved to the point of perfect execution followed thereafter Carbon when the game series takes a turn for the worst.

I have to say that I am totally biased towards all these games as they all made my childhood. I honestly have to say that each one has been played more than once in my life. That's how dedicated I am to this older series of games. This also has to be the only time i've ever loved EA which we all know nowadays just has problems producing quality in a timely manner.

Underground is where we are starting. The first Need For Speed that I have ever played. I remember as a child playing this game with the most determination I have ever had for a racing game. Underground brought out that love of speed and that feeling of making my own car in my own design. The car that would boast performance but also cosmetic design that would fit my personality. That's where I loved the game the most.

I think I enjoyed the fact where I could select races and rise from the ranks. I started out purely as an underdog who would slowly rise up from the ranks even though I just got out of the airport in Bayview trying to make a name for myself. I understood my goal was to make Bayview my turf as well as show that I was a match to be messed with as I progressed. I really got that. That's perhaps why I was so interested in the series. The feeling of accomplishment.

This was made, of course, through the fact that each mode brought upon a challenge that I remember clearly. That feeling of having to control some high tier cars and get them through drifting competitions by making sure that I had enough understeer to perform my turns and not lose it too much that i'd lose my streak. Drifting was probably my second least favorite event then but was mostly followed by the drag racing mode which took first. Drag racing takes first because you have to clutch correctly or else you risked being passed by your opponent. This on top of launching off the line at the correct speed without jeopardizing your start. This irritated me because I had to do it over so many times at certain points in the game.

Circuits and sprints would become my favorite because of the AI. The AI in the series has been questionable at certain points and mostly my gripe sticks with Carbon and not Underground on the evil rubber banding AI. Underground still had some seriously fun AI to raise against as they always brought to me that challenge which made sure that if I wrecked, it's best I get going or else i'll be passed before I can even get past 100. Those modes brought me some stress due to the races but have endlessly amused me when I was a child.

I know I should talk more about the music and the sort but we all know it was great music for such a game. However, I have to move on though to Underground 2 as it blew my mind away the moment I got it. I don't know about you but I never really thought free roam would be so awesome but it was. It was really awesome. My favorite part about it was finding the shops in all of the city. The specific neon glow coming from each building that I could enter always had me going happy. That along with freely going around the area without any strict limitations except when I had to race. That's understandable though as being boxed in onto where to go is needed or else you risk screwing up by going off course.

The added bonuses I can remember about Underground 2 was car customization. I know it was a factor in the game as it required excessive style by pimping out your ride so that it's worthy enough to get the undying attention of your opponents. This was on top of the fact that after a certain point in time you would have to do magazine shoots with your sexy ride. The best part? Showing off that sexy interior with a model on the foreground. Models? Psst. My ride was the star of every magazine from the the point of where I was just a rookie to a street legend. My cars WERE style.

It's time I end the nostalgic ride with some moments of me going back on some of the moments or specific things I remember from Underground to Underground 2. I know it's sad that such golden days have been forgotten by such a series that at a time defined Need For Speed but those times are long past. We all can however remember the series by playing them over and over again and just let those good times roll.