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10:19 AM on 06.30.2012  

Home From The Front!(+Words)

Who Are You Again?
In case you've been wondering where I've been (I'm sure you haven't) but just in case, I've been on vacation backpacking in New Mexico for the last 14 days. Yet now that I am back I do happen to have a new experience, and yes it does relate to videogames.
(Also pardon me, my fingers are quite rusty)

*Protip: If you prefer bite-sized reading, scroll down to the text block

The Actual Article
The game in question is one which oddly I've seen played quite a lot yet hadn't ever considered investigating very deep, the game in question is Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade II. Not being a purveyor of cellphone gaming, it came as a surprise when I saw my compadres on our ride back playing this game, I asked them what it was and they let me get hooked up with it, I liked it.

It's a rather simple game but it impressed me for both the medium it runs on and for how well it manages to pull it off, I was familiar with the Unreal Citadel Demo but I had never realized that it had existed to a certain degree far before it became public. Infinity Blade is rather entertaining but it really isn't the gameplay that attracted me entirely but the story which seems to be almost danced about tauntingly in the actual game.

The premise is (not to spoil anything of the second) you start out the game in bloodlines as the first of a line, you eventually meet "The God King" who well, will kill you. When you die you are technically reborn with all your old gear and your son comes to avenge you.

You could say it hits the nail on the head

User Motivated Generation?!
What interested me however is both the design of the game, and the way the games story works, I felt like despite they were making it a phone game it could be extremely promising if attempted to move to a mainstream production line.

What interested me is the gray area factor, the old generation, I've heard yet not played that the game of Dwarf Fortress generates a history for the characters, and this is what got me interested, whenever you come to avenge in Infinity Blade a certain deal of time passes in the first usually 20-23 years and the second 3 months to 3 years.

It's where Infinity Blade gets me interested, when you are defeated the "God King" seems to suck out your characters Soul through his blade, it brings me to the interest, what if we start focusing less on games where you live, and more on games where "you die".

The Text Block (If not at least read this)

Your death will challenge you, and change you
What if you are defeated and the enemies get stronger and adapt to how you played, they take on your skills and in doing so, there is also a history written of what happened from your death, where it happened, why it happened, how did it change what occurred in the game world. Imagine a Skyrim where whenever you died, the NPC's personalitys and behaviors, even the very world will shift perspectives of sorts, it changes. It will be hard to balance out, but It's something I feel is unexplored, what happens when dying does have a permanent effect on the game but dying advances the story, writes the story, creates a story, it's still complex and for all due regards both my hands and my mind are still rusty, but I'll just leave this thought here.

I've rarely heard of a game where for all due regards the main character can, in fact, die and the show will go on. It's gruesome but imagine if link died in Legend of Zelda, nobody knows that he had a son or a descendant, a student, how would the world change, and what if the descendant died. It seems to feel like dark souls also tried to touch on this. It's complicated but I feel it's hopeful and maybe we'll see a game that tries bringing user motivated generation, to a new degree.   read


12:43 AM on 06.13.2012  

Don't Enter The Basement: Current Thoughts on Lone Survivor(Currently Playing)

A game worth talking about even before you're done


You can't go without protection
Let me just state, that the first thing I have to say so far about Lone Survivor, and having never actually played hands on any of the Silent Hill games it's so related to. It's a fantastic masterpiece and I haven't felt such energy or imagination from a 2D game before. However not wishing to get distracted allow me to share my thoughts about Lone Survivor.

Having just reached the basement I'm amazed by how using simple sound design and impressive writing that Jasper Byrne has managed to make a game which despite having no actual 3D monster gnawing at your face, just as scary. You could say what lured me in the most however, is the fact that the 'mutants' you fight in Lone Survivor seem to be to a certain degree, exactly the same as a zombie apocalypse, and of course being a good and loving gamer, I love zombies.

Pills Here!
What impresses me the most however is despite the fact that Lone Survivor has a sketchy, even condiluted plot, it all seems to make a odd sort of sense. I still feel one of the most interesting aspects however is the clearly skewed point of mind of the protagonist. You can never tell if you're character is actually seeing something, or just going plain crazy, and this is what keeps the plot of this game so enjoyable. One of the best parts of this game and clearly, are the visions they further continue to muddle your mind up and confuse you, and in fact I'm still not quite sure who "The Director" is, a figment of the protagonist imagination, or a real person.


Clearly we're not insane
When Can I Cook That Ham
One of the things I love about Lone Survivor and hate is the lack of a prompt on the status for your consumable items, it makes the game fantastically enjoyable but at the same time can be hilariously punishing, not seeing my milk saying it had turned into rotten milk, I naturally had my character drink it only to nearly die from it, needless to say this is a tad comical, one of the best moments in Lone Survivor however is picking an item from your inventory and realizing what you can finally use it for, sadly I hadn't noticed this until Day 9 with the bucket in my inventory, that I could collect water.


Seems Perfectly Edible *Vomits*

Needless to say I got Lone Survivor for the cheapo Humble Bundle V price, I had eventually planned to get around for buying it but I ended up getting it with the cheapo pack. (Yes, I'm horrible I have a gift card with 30 cents left and I used a penny of it.

Current Stance
This game is a 10/10 for me, and I would encourage anyone who hasn't yet played it needs themselves to pick it up, it truly is a superb game and in a genre I feel frankly needs to be explored more.

P.S: I do feel this came off as more of a review then I intended and the writing may be a bit weaker then usual but I felt it would be a waste to write nothing about this impressive game.   read


2:47 AM on 06.11.2012  

Halfway Save Syndrome: What's the reason?

Vacation? Videogame Time!
It's probably no surprise with being finally getting off from classes and having the opportunity for enjoying the wonderful *painful* object known as the sun. That naturally everyone would be inside, all day, playing videogames. Continuing with this logical thought process it would make sense, you would be finishing these games, but what happens, when you just for no justified reason, stop playing?

This is how you can sum up how my end of scholaring and vacation has been, over the course of the last 3 months I can't recall if I've actually managed to finish, a single game I've bought or been gifted. To sum it up an impressive list can be said.

L.A Noire : Halfway
Saints Row The Third : About Halfway, and in coop
Braid: Maybe 30%?
Alan Wake: Halfway
Limbo: About halfway
Dead Space: About halfway
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: 30%
Portal 2: About 30%
Batman Arkham City: Halfway....
Revenge of the backlo----

Got A Problem With That?
Okay enough of that, the question is, what makes us quite plainly, just put down games? And it's a question i've been wondering myself. Alan Wake and Dead Space are fantastic titles, but for some reason, it always feels like it's too much effort to pick them up and start playing, indeed you could even go far as to say, I almost feel too lazy, to click on a damn icon twice. But this is, well frankly speaking, complete Bulls---.



This is what really has been pestering me about the game industry, it seems lately, that games become stale before I'm actually done enjoying the meal? The issue is, why and how can so many diverse and unique games, given stellar ratings, for some reason or another, feel so boring. Frankly, the odd thing I find as non-sensible as it may make comparing all of these games and their dynamic gameplay styles, it just doesn't feel new.

Sure you can criticize me as much as you like for my choices of 'boring' and 'boring gameplay' but the fact still stands, for some reason or another, i've been getting bored. What I feel the problem is, is despite what you call it, and despite the new mechanics you bring in, if it's either Braid or Alan Wake, you're still following the rules of what is called a 'genre'.

When It Is Natural, When It Is Not
We all know why we get bored of games, we finish all the missions, beat the game silly 100's of times, get all the end game achievements, items etc... we get bored when there's nothing left to do. I feel this is partially a reason games like Minecraft have as of late managed to garner as much success as they did, when Minecraft was originally under the run of Notch, the game is based around, unrestricted freeform building, or to be plain unrestricted freedom for the games mechanics, and Notch continued to add more and more mechanics. In doing so one could say a new 'genre' was either born or born anew, and for the players, the game was always kept fresh with new niches in it's own new genre leading to the craze we have or we've had..

For example,Portal, RPG's, and to certain degrees first person shooters like Doom and Quake, these helped define new 'genres' some perhaps new 'niches' (mini-genres), but do we find it most surprising as of late the games which have to put forth some of the biggest budgets , are in fact First Person Shooters, and RPG's?

To a certain degree it could be arguable this is why retro games for many gamers still remain the most enjoyable, they aren't trying to imitate or improve on old material, they are the original, the material for which all games have slowly spread out in style from, and because of this it could be said they are
closest to the very genre of play they represent, whether they started it or began near it.

I just got this new game Fantasy Modern Duty Wake The Sixth

It's why one feels given to argue, does a game always need to focus on new and 'improved' features to do better, in a way yes it does, to certain degrees it's acceptable games may even 'need' to do this. If videogames however gained the popularity they had today because they were new, a different 'genre' of entertainment, even to a certain controversial degree 'art'. When do we draw the line and think of something new and never attempted, and when do we turn a 'genre' from genre into niche.

This can be said for almost all degrees of entertainment and even visual arts, when we look back at things like Silent Movies, 70's TV shows, and retro games, you can always tell that in each iteration something dramatic changed, for silent movies it may have been sound, for bad 70's TV it may have been an actual plot, and for Retro Games it may have been graphics, but the question is, even when we've evolved out of a medium, sometimes we need to look back at our history to learn how to take the next steps.



The Wonderbook does not qualify.

I'm not discrediting modern videogames entirely, I will most indefinitely eventually finish these titles, but if they truly are deserving of they're status as standout games in our generation of videogames a game you'll have to force me to put down well I haven't felt it much from this generation, in its evolution of videogames, I hate to say it but this generation hasn't made much actual progress when it comes down to the core of a game, how it plays, how it's different, and how it changes our view of its genre, but hopefully, it can change.   read


1:09 PM on 05.30.2012  

Get In the Garrysmod 13 BETA

Assuming most of you either know or don't know yet Garrysmod is having a beta for its next release. Consequentially you can get into this release by signing in to the following link through your steam at


http://account.garrysmod.com/

Click on the top tab and hit the beta button. It may take a couple times to make these tabs appear.

This should work assuming you have the original garrysmod on your steam account and if not it may still work.

Once you click the beta tab click on the button want a beta key etc.

Go to your steam library hit the games tab, hit game activation, continue continue, and enter the code.

*This was written as I didn't seen any article about it on D-Toid and also as a general heads up, apologies if it's duplicate news however*

And for those of you who got bored the New Beta Added support for Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 in Garrysmod. (Although I tried Portal 2 and it wasn't working but that's probably since I haven't played coop yet.)   read


2:47 PM on 05.02.2012  

PC, Valve, and Steam: Is digital retail forcing console's hand?

Corruption or Desperation
It's no question that console gaming and its policy choices have come under a great deal of flak lately.
Yet what caused the inspiration for this post was the article by Jim Sterling, and what Iwata of Nintendo said, proposing price matching for digital and the retail pricing for games. Despite Nintendo being both a trendsetter, it is also still backwards, but this isn't important. The questions are, is console gaming beginning to feel its old age, are consoles unable to meet the challenge of the next generation, and if so, where do we go from here? (sweet child o mine :P)

Stumbling Giants
With the current console generation at its limits or reaching them in the next year or so, one must beg the question are consoles ready yet for the next generation. With mobile devices already becoming capable of running console classics like Dead Space and FFT(Final Fantasy Tactics) it's clear consoles need to act. The question is, how? Consoles each iteration near always employ casino like tricks to keep system purchase prices down and usually the -assets per system (pulling a guess here) run close to at least 150$. So how can consoles still go positive, it's the casino tricks, but it may come as a shock to the next generation of would be buyers, unless a new casino trick can be found, consoles won't be cheap.

The Next Trick?
Being mainly human beings, and having some level of functioning right or wrong, we can tell when something isn't right, and with games we aren't any time soon putting down a fresh green benjamin for just 1 game when it only cost 50$ last year. We like to feel what we're paying for is worth its value, even if its not, but with a need for stronger hardware and a new console, the next generation is being rushed into existence and to some executives dislike, too soon to use the same tricks.

Remember the argument over the attempts to prevent used copies from being played again on a different system? This is the next generations scheme to keep prices down, there's just one little problem, the retailers who rely on a used games for a large amount of their profits, the ones who sell these consoles new games, they aren't going to like it, and probably won't even let it happen.

Killing the Messenger
Now that we've come nearly full circle it's time to explain why Steam may be forcing consoles to reveal their tricks, for if consoles must survive by going digital, steam is the behemoth they'll have to face.
And now after taking you through these hopefully poetic thoughts, I must go as I am out of time but I leave the question, if consoles are between two hard places, Steam and Time, can they survive, and if so, where do we go from here?

Written on a phone, forgive the spelling/grammar.   read


3:22 PM on 05.01.2012  

Phone Ramblings : Zelda Design (A 30 Min Post)

Past and Present

I'm still not sure if it was age or design scheme, but Skyward Sword was the first Zelda I never played.
It looked good sure, I heard it was good, but when I saw video of the gameplay, I have to express, I was unimpressed. The novelty of motion gaming just never felt right to me. It's like going to a movie and being told "It's 3-D" yet when I come back from a day, exhausted, I don't want to dance around, I just want to slouch in the chair, and kill some zombies, or draughr. Motion gaming isn't a stamp of instant quality and neither is 3-D, so why do we think it is.

This is why I feel nintendo probably, despite my age, didn't isolate me by age group but by design choice. Yet among these complaints, and despite having not played it (-5 points) I could easily overlook this, no the problem I had with Skyward Sword, it's simply, too different.

When I heard nintendo had begun making a new windwaker esque game, I was psyched. But then when I saw the art, I felt vaguely betrayed, but this, I could tolerate. The problem I had was the story and the characters. The characters just don't feel like they belong with the rest of the series. No what I personally loved Zelda for was the subtle less talked about sides of the characters. Every character except Ganon you could never exactly make instant judgements of good or evil, no it was your choice to determine which they were.

It's exactly because of this why I feel Majora's Mask for both I and a majority of other players, was the best in the series. Every character had a story, but even with the skull-kid you have a backstory of if they really began evil or if the mask made him evil, it's for the vital reason of not putting a players mind of characters on a mental rail I found Zelda so enjoyable, I just didn't get that feeling of choice from the rather mad, frantic rush, skyward sword came out as.   read


2:39 PM on 04.30.2012  

Ports and Multiplayer: A Singleplayer Perspective

How We Wish It Was

It finally happened that console game (or PC) you didn't pick up because you play on PC (or console) finally arrived. The gracious gods of game development have answered your pleas and that game once reserved to join the Valhalla of only one box of its chosen gaming saints has graced the elysium fields of your system. That charismatic character you loved to hear about has finally arrived led by the valkyrie of the pre-order for 10% off. Your character stares and says to you proudly "It is time". Or at least that's how it should have been.
Yet instead this tale of heavenly gameplay and heroic character development was not really such a happy tale, at least, for you. No, no such actions happened, the tale you experience is far different. Instead a more sinister Grimm twist of fate takes place to that innocent beloved game.

Yet How It Has Become
It finally happened that console game (or PC) you didn't pick up because you play on PC(or console) finally arrived. The lazy gods of game development have answered your pleas and that game, has been delayed for 3 months. Reserved to join the hell of other ports so the developers can do more important things, like make a new hat DLC to charge 15$ for. That charismatic character you loved to hear about shakes his head when he sees you, in shame you pre-ordered this game just because it was 10% off from the Mafia member standing in front of him, behind a badly cleaned glass counter. Your character stares at you sadly and says "tough luck kid".

3 months later your character shuffles up to your front door, covered in the scars of release date changes and clothing ripped and torn at the seams by poor programming. You walk up to him barely remembering who he was, he walks in your room, sits down on the couch, turns on your console, and proceeds to spin in circles while sitting and saying "hi hi hi h..." --You look outside, a baseball floats still in mid-air. You look back to your character he sits, emotionlessly staring at you, then falls to the floor and rolls around like a tin can, exactly in the same position as when he was sitting. You see a white flash, and then everything turned blue.

Casting In to Port

Game ports shouldn't be a horror story for gamers to recollect with cold chills, so why does it happen that they frequently are? The problem is partially our fault and at the same time, the quick money mentality pervading the industry today. After all, the game had its prime for the previous systems gamers, why bother double-checking your recipe, the last client loved it with that fresh cheese you used 16 hours ago. Well believe it or not but to make something fresh and enjoyable, you still need to pay attention and use fresh ingredients even with an award winning recipe. Otherwise the meal you end up serving, well that 16 hour old cheese, just makes everybody sick.

This is where my personal anger comes into the equation, as mentioned before in insightful comments by Elsa, and GlitchMaster in the previous article. Gaming seems to be free reigned and unrestricted when it comes to development as of late, often, not to our favorite interests. However, the year of 2012 has been a particular doozy for gamers. Nobody could have forgotten the disastrous events of Skyrim on the PS3 or the ending, DLC fiasco, and quality issues with Biowares Mass Effect 3. To a lesser extent 2011 began to show this factor with the shameful release of Rage by Id and Duke Nukem Forever. Colorful food references and fan-fiction about the personification of a videogame console aside, let me shed light, and add the seasoning (I promise this is the last one) to why we need to care more then we care now.

The Evolution of Gaming, and The Trials It Will Bring

Having been growing up with the evolution of gaming, I've progressed with the way gaming has been shaping itself, and to be humble to myself, for about the last 10 years. What I feel now however, is with all good things, there must come, a time when a group must stand up for itself if they truly wish for change. I will say I like the direction gaming is heading in, and it promises, along with hardware a bright and amazing future awaiting us, but, what if that future could not be decades away, but a simple matter of years. This is what I feel is the crossroads gaming is currently standing at.

To put to the grindstone an overused, but true example, the COD(Call of Duty) franchise is probably the definition of the evolution of a gaming franchise, and also represents the problems of success we need to address, if we want gaming to flourish and not become moldy, 16 hour old cheese. As we know COD was once not the giant money-grubbing franchise it is today, and neither was Activision. Yet times changed, and the point of divergence I feel is the time period where the 4th COD was released.

The Gaming Conundrum of Multiplayer

Having played the 4th COD and, in fact, enjoyed it immensely it came to me a great disappointment what later on become of the franchise. This can be called the remarkable new age renaissance multiplayer gaming began to experience as a consequence. As previously mentioned indie gamers are the ones who unconsciously invented the issue of DLC. Yet big gaming is the one which has invented the most controversial, and confusing side of gaming today, multiplayer.

Yes it could be said the reason we're so at fault is because it is in fact our fault. Having more friends isn't a bad thing, having more things to do with your friends isn't a bad thing either, but it shouldn't take away from the art, that a good singleplayer game can represent. Yet the problem is multiplayer, which is both irreplaceable for us gamers, but also the campaign which is irreplaceable for the singleplayer gamer, the immersion lover. Nobody wants singleplayer to die, but unless we join arms with our multiplayer friends and convince them, singleplayer does in fact matter to their games, we might be looking at a future not of characters we love and still love today, but of glitchy, emotionless, faces.   read


5:40 PM on 04.29.2012  

Quality Before Quantity

It's simply aggravating in this day and age that as far back as 2007, certain game companies had begun letting go on the silver mantle that once hid the ugly side of game development. However today I aim to satisfy both a personal rant, and yet at the same time one which largely embodies a greater albeit, probably biased (from my side) public opinion. First however let me begin by talking, about the good that's happened with the greater freedom of information and leaks we have about game information today.

In the past, games were developed with an intention of satisfaction = sales, I'm sure everyone here as well as I remembers the golden age of gaming unlike which it has evolved into what it is now, this was the era of gamecube, PS2, and Xbox. The reason has been obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to gaming as of now. But back in the day, the crime, the deceit, all of this went on behind the curtains, except now. This crime in gaming I speak of which such disgust is known as DLC.

The most hated and recent underground, mob-like change in gaming has begun ever since the invention of the rumble pack or the red 'expansion pack' for the nintendo 64. However these were small things and, well, you could actually have something physical you could sell, or return if you didn't like it right? As we know this isn't true when it comes to DLC.

At first DLC seemed to be something nice, a developer didn't quite want to let go on the reins of their successful game and felt they could still improve it. But, why would they want to keep the fans waiting, so naturally digital DLC was born. The birth of DLC is in this way, the pandora's box of gaming.
Developers and companies were curious as to how this new creature, DLC would perform on the market. To their surprise it performed far better then they ever had expected. However with the surprisingly strong sales of DLC it's ironic the companies we loved most caused this snowball of cheapness of the wrong cents.
The indie developers, the cash strung heroes of gaming, saw DLC as the way it was meant to be as a efficient way to coast off a success and fortunately it allowed them both to earn a bit more cash, and not go crazy in the process. Yet, as we all know it's the indie developers ideas, which made DLC worthwhile, which are most often robbed from them, and mangled beyond any recognition.

It's because this crime happened, that videogames themselves, are suffering from a dangerous virus. No this isn't T-Virus, but it's not entirely far off from the truth. If one looks around they can see the cheapening of videogames, the decline of attention, the cutting off of the oh so delicious fat in videogames, us gamers enjoy just to be served under a heavier price tag, because there was a cheaper meat which served the same purpose. The better meat of gaming, isn't being lovingly packaged with a beautiful instruction manual anymore, it's being locked behind a cage, and instead we pay for what's scraped off the floor.

When I see a game that chooses to go the path of the 'extra' DLC or the 'bonus' DLC I always think 'sellout'. One shouldn't have to pay 5$ to use an img in this blogpost should they, did you have to pay 5$ to view this blogpost? I don't think so. Something the developers spent time laboring on and even at times feeling impressed about, shouldn't be forced to be choked out as the slow or deceptive crawl that DLC has. Developers, Designers, Programmers, all should be free to choose how they let you play their game and what you can have in your game, it's why now gaming and gamers need to make a stand, a stand against DLC and the Disrespectful Large Companies which are choking creativity with it.   read







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