Whats up Destructoid?
My name is Sean McLoughlin and I've been sent from the futurepast to march with my fellow robots to victory. For Niero!
My favorite games can be numerous (as I'm sure is true of most here at Dtoid), but my all time favorites are Final Fantasy VI, Diablo II, Bioshock, Braid, Demon's Souls and Metal Gear Solid. I never rent games and I rarely trade in or sell the games I buy so I have a pretty massive game collection. For the sake of space I'll just list the consoles and portables that I own: NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Advance, Playstation, N64, Playstation 2 (one original which is broken and a Slim), Dreamcast, Gamecube, Xbox, Neo Geo Pocket, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, PSP 2000, Xbox 360 (red-ringed once), a fully backwards compatible Playstation 3 and a Wii.
I'm a video game designer and an RPI graduate with a degree in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences. When I'm not working with my development group Darkroom Games or gaming you can probably find me reading a science fiction/fantasy novel or something on Cracked.com. My favorite authors are George RR Martin, Terry Brooks, Garth Nix and Terry Goodkind. I'm also a big fan of movies, my favorites right now are The Departed, Smoking Aces and Crank, although my all time favorite movie/director is Reservoir Dogs/Tarantino. I don't watch much TV and if I do its usually Discovery channel or Science Channel. I love Professional Wrestling, Y2J SAVE US! My favorite band is obviously The Grateful Dead although my musical tastes are quite varied. I listen to everything from T.I. to Metallica to Toby Keith. Also, MC Chris FTMFW!
Hey everyone, it's been awhile since I've been around these parts. I figured I'd drop by, see how you all were doing and give you a bit of an update on myself. Life has been pretty crazy for me as of late, I'm one semester away from graduating with a dual major in video game design and communications and my life has been almost non-stop work for the past half year or so.
Most of the past six months were spent working on a video game for my Game Dev 2 class. I worked on a team of 5 people and our game is called Season of Thorns. It stars four princesses on a quest to rescue four heroes from the clutches of the evil wizard Equinox. The game features no combat and puts a heavy emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving. Solving puzzles unlocks new abilities and new abilities allow you to explore new areas and solve increasingly complex puzzles. The game is unfinished, it only exists in demo form but it got a great crowd reaction when we showed it off at GameFest. For that reason, I intend on making it available to my Dtoid brethren in the near future as I think it might be of interest to some of you.
Some of you may remember me talking about making my projects from Game Dev 1 available here but I'm not so sure I'm going to do that anymore. If I can get an executable working for the first game I did in that class, Zenshiro: Astro Samurai, then I'll throw that up here along with Season of Thorns but I've been trying for almost a year now and it isn't looking good. Games written in Pygame are a pain to export to an executable file. It's a real shame. In the meantime, check out the text adventure I made a few semesters ago if you're really dying to play some of my work.
Other than creating games, I've been busy putting my resume and portfolio together and looking for a job. It hasn't been easy but RPI has some great connections with the industry so I should eventually find something that suits me perfectly. Currently I'm also taking computer science 2 as a summer course, it's really tough since I'm not a programer but I should get through it. I need it to graduate after all.
As far as playing games goes, I've been into a lot of stuff lately. I played through Bayonetta finally, I loved it but the repeated boss fights were a pain in the ass. I also picked up the Medal of Honor reboot. I was actually surprised by that one, I wasn't expecting much but it ended up being a much more realistic take on the Call of Duty formula and I ended up really loving it. I haven't played the multiplayer at all but from what I hear, I'm just missing a sniperfest, still I'll check it out some day. I also bought and played through Portal 2 and the new Mortal Kombat, I won't spoil anything but I thought they both had excellent single player campaigns. Also, the co-op in Portal 2 is a blast, I'll be finishing that up tonight with my cousin. Portal 2 is the front runner for GOTY so far, we'll have to wait and see how it stacks up against Duke Nukem, Skyrim and Dark Souls.
So sorry I haven't been around lately, it's not because I don't love you cbloggers, you know that. I say this a lot but I'm going to make an effort to find more time for you, I promise. This community is just too awesome to not be apart of.
Once upon a time, I was in a Best Buy and I saw the worlds greatest invention;The Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker. Sadly, an evil witch convinced me not to buy it. I have been sad ever since. Today, this grave injustice has been rectified. This most excellent of toys just arrived in the mail and now I'll be able to live happily ever after, knowing that whenever I want, I can walk into a room full of strangers and blow their minds with an air guitar solo THAT ACTUALLY PLAYS MUSIC. Truly, my life is complete.
That's not all I got in the mail today. I also received my stuffed beedog and plushtoid from Zodiac Eclipse and Story Builder Toys. I'm very happy with the quality of the toys and how quick they got to me. It was just as quick as amazon! That's really saying something. Also, I'd like to thank her and Topher Cantler for donating $12 from every beedog sold to help Japan. Knowing that I helped contributed to charity AND got an awesome stuffed beeddog just warms the cockles of my frigid heart. So thank you for that opportunity Zodiac and Topher, you guys rock!
Most people, when complaining about Epic Mickey, will point to two things, the camera and the graphics. Iím going to be upfront and say that I donít address these two issues in this blog because in my mind, theyíre not issues at all. The camera in Epic Mickey is comparable to any other 3D Adventure/Platformer game and I had almost zero issues with it. I think most people that complain about the camera either didnít realize you have total control over it with the D-Pad or they were just too lazy to use the camera controls. Sure there were times when youíre not allowed to rotate the camera and it fixes itself in an awkward position, but those times are few and far between, most of the time that the camera becomes fixed, the position is just fine. As for the graphics, the most common complaint is that they donít live up to the concept art and that somehow, if the game were on 360/PS3 that problem would be solved. I honestly feel that anyone making such a claim hasnít played the game all the way through. Such locations as Mickey Junk Mountain and Skull Island look great in game and easily evoke the same feelings as the concept art. I played this game on a 40 inch LED TV and it looked awesome the whole time. I donít think the game would benefit from a transition to HD systems at all. The only reason I would want to see the sequel on 360 and PS3 is so a wider audience could play it. That being said, letís address what I think does need to be improved for the inevitable sequel to Epic Mickey.
1. Trim the Fat In my mind, the biggest problem that Epic Mickey has is repetition. The last few hours of the game are spent running around the various hub worlds youíve found, completing fetch quests and eventually fighting the ink blot in each area. The problem is, each fight with the Ink Blot (or rather, his ďbloticlesĒ) is almost exactly the same. By the time youíve cleared all the bloticles out of all the hub worlds, youíre damn ready for the game to end, or at least I was. But no, there is still an hour or two of gameplay left. Sure we get thrown a new idea in the form of a rotate the gargoyle statue puzzle, but the problem is they repeat that puzzle four different times as well. It seems that whoever designed the quests in Epic Mickey just designed 4-5 different quests and then repeated them throughout the game in order to pad its length, and it really shows in the endgame. This is exactly what Jim was talking about in his recent piece on game length. Junction Point wanted to avoid accusations of their game being too short, so they threw in a bunch of filler. Itís ironic because the game would have been much better if it was about five hours shorter.
2. More Variety Going along with what I said in number one, the game would benefit from more variety in its quests. Now, I still think the game was overly long, so I still think they should shorten its run time but in addition to that, they should really design a few more quest types for the game. Almost every quest in the game, both the main quests and side quests, are fetch quests. Now, I donít usually complain about fetch quests, but when that is 90% of your game, there is reason for concern. If they had included more variety in the quests, the game would have felt like much less of a grind.
3. Allow Back Tracking If there is anything that annoys me more than a game full of fetch quests, itís not being able to finish said fetch quests. Sure there is a lot of back tracking in Epic Mickey, you have to go to the hubworlds like Mean Street, Ostown and Venture Land many times throughout the course of the game, but the places you would actually like to explore again, like Lonesome Manor and Skull Island, only let you visit them once. Then there is the fact that most of these places have items you need to finish your quests, so if you missed them the first time around, tough shit, start the game over. This is simply inexcusable in an adventure game and they donít even explain why you canít go back to these areas in game. This lack of being able to explore freely and at your leisure made the game feel much more constricted than it would have otherwise. Honestly, if Junction Point Studios only fixes one thing on this list, I hope this is it.
4. Longer 2D Levels A lot of people claim that the 2D levels of Epic Mickey are among the best parts of the game, and they would be right. My wish is that for the sequel, they are made a bit longer. Maybe instead of just using them as transportation between levels, they could also be used in place of the larger 3D levels. Not exclusively of course, but a good mix of short 2D levels, long 2D levels and long 3D levels would make the game feel much more varied.
5. Better Combat The combat in Epic Mickey is severely lacking. There are some good concepts behind it, such as the choice between using paint and thinner to defeat enemies, but the execution sucks. First of all, only a small handful of enemies can be befriended with paint, if I were designing the game, every single enemy would be able to be turned into a friend. Also, the controls for shooting the paint and thinner need some work. The lock-on function is a god send, but it would be nice if instead of just locking the camera on your enemy, it locked your brush on the enemy as well, so you wouldnít have to aim. It was just too hard at times to be precise with your brush in the heat of combat. Last but not least, get rid of the infinitely respawning enemies. I hate every game that uses this tactic and Epic Mickey is no exception. Sure they explain why the enemies respawn in game, and you do usually get an opportunity to destroy whatever machine they are coming out of, but that doesnít stop it from feeling extremely cheap. Nothing pisses me off more than clearing an area of enemies for exploration, only to find out when Iím done that every single one of them respawned and I need to shut down some stupid machine and do it all over again. Either fix the frustrating combat or nix it all together. Epic Mickey would have been perfectly fine as a pure adventure game with no combat at all.
Now keep in mind, I donít hate this game, in fact it has become one of my favorite Wii games. However, no game is perfect and I feel these fixes Iíve come up with would move it that much closer to perfection. What are some things that you think could improve the Epic Mickey formula?
Despite the lower number of entrants, this years contest was much harder for me to judge than last years. Because the three dtoiders that entered did such good work, I've decided to throw a prize to the two runners up as well as the winner. Manasteel88 really impressed me with his first photoshop, which was also the first entry into this contest. Manasteel88 definitely set the bar high, the epic feeling his shop gives me is great and the reason I am awarding him first place and the Indie Beat Pack. He also had a couple of other entries into the contest which were equally as awesome, you can check them out bellow.
However, that's not to say the other entries were poor. Kaggen did a great job with his two hand drawn submissions. Similarly, I am a sucker for inside jokes, so I really enjoyed Lenigod's submission as well. To show my appreciation to these two, I am awarding them both second place as well as a copy of Evil Genius on Steam. If you haven't played Evil Genius, it's like Dungeon Master meets Austin Powers and it's just as awesome as it sounds. Check out their entries bellow.
Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate you taking the time to enter my little contest. If the three of you could leave your Steam IDs bellow in the comments, I'll get you your games as fast as I can.
Here is the last bonus video from this holiday contest. There are no words to describe what happens here, just watch.
Attention Dtoiders, you now have less than 12 hours to submit a photoshop to my contest and secure your chance to win 5 games! Tonight at midnight eastern time, I will be checking the submissions and picking a winner. Tomorrow around this time I will be posting the winner. Check here for full contest details. I only have three entries so far so you have a pretty good chance of winning if you enter.
Here is today's bonus video. I present to you, the exact opposite of the N64 kid:
This is just a reminder to all dtoiders that you now have a little over 2 days to enter my Holiday contest, the winner of which will receive the Indie Beat Pack on Steam which includes Beat Hazard, Chime and Bit.Trip Beat! Full details are here. Feel free to post your entries here in this blog or in the original blog post. Here is a look at your competition so far:
The competition is fierce this year but don't let that dissuade you from entering. After all, you stand a chance to win 5 steam games just for making a simple photoshop, so have at it!
Here is today's bonus video. We all know that Jesus is black, but did you know that Santa is black too?