Piece of Cake? Why No Piece of Lead? While not everybody immediately buys a game, and decides to beat it on the hardest difficulty unlocked on their first and afterward second+ playthroughs, I do. Yet It's been coming to my attention, as of late a increasing number of newer games have seemingly made hard mode a parody of what it once was.
Ikaruga, one of the greatest, games to ever grace the "Hard Mode Gamer"
While fan made games based off I want to be the guy still maintain, our love of stupid hard games, I find it pitiful that game developers feel not enough players would benefit from, or even want a "Hard Mode". Perhaps however I should give a better definition as to my term of "Hard Mode"
The Definition Hard Mode: Difficulty which nearly exceeds the ability of human reflexes and a games built in mechanics, while many never use it certain gamers enjoy an increased challenge both for longer playtime, more strategy, tighter windows of opportunity, and bragging rights, while possible for a player to abide by a certain set of rules they set themselves, many enjoy a clear-cut built in choice. A Hard-Mode needs not be intended to be short, and is fine if it's more time-consuming, slow or buggy controls do not qualify as being part of what can be said to make a hard-mode, unless the game is Retro, or it brings a different play-style to the game in question. For more information see [Insane, Masochist, Speedrun, No-Save Run, No-Death Run]
Continuing however, a hard-mode should not be considered a "Arcade-Mode" by most standards unless the game is originally of an Arcade Style (Retro doesn't count think instead Guitar Hero, DDR, or Streetfigher, etc), while it can be seen as a way to compete, it doesn't ultimately make the game a greater challenge to get through, rather it's just a incentive for more players to revisit the game for a second playthrough, and this is what I feel is part of the parody of hard-mode as of late.
This is what a "Arcade Mode" should feel like
There's been an outpouring argument, that enemies with increased health and your gun doing lesser damage is stupid, and to a certain point, I do agree, ironically however, it seems this is what most developers feel is considered Hard-Mode presently. The less people who enjoy it the harder, right, just throw a few sleazy achievements in there so we can warrant doing a shoddy job. As for poking fingers, a game I have yet to try on it's hardest setting as it was "locked" but which definitely follows this concept is the recent, Spec Ops: The Line, which felt at the ignorance of gameplay and difficulty, it could get by on a fantastic story (which it somewhat does). It also happens to fall under one of the greatest stereotypes against hard-mode lately, the aimbotting, always know where you are 5000000 HP, first person shooter AI.
We're killing a genre, which nobody even knows if it's a genre anymore
Don't Let It Go Extinct! Somewhere along the line however (probably Spec Op's) we seemed to have gotten confused about why we give enemies HP, it's not to make them bullet sponges but to have the player actually have to maneuver and think how to dodge instead of just blasting them 12 times with the magnum and winning the game.
I feel this misconception probably comes from RPG's where insanely hard was considered giving the boss a stupid amount of HP and the player gambling on luck to win, but to be honest, when was the last time we actually felt amazing from a boss-fight? My answer to that question is recently, Deus Ex: HR, which ironically the developers apologized for making the bosses so hard.
Despite all the swearing, and the raging after having died 100's of times (yet finally having used the environment effectively, trapping him, but also trapping you), and yet when you're about to be slaughtered by a boss as you see his minigun around the corner. You have one bullet in the chamber, a tranquilizer dart, you rush out, aim wildly and hit them dead center in the head, winning the fight, that's when a game feels truly great. It scares me, that the idea of such feelings of pride, and true satisfaction may die off, for the tacked on multiplayer, or arcade mode. So please if anything don't let hard-mode die off, despite how stupid it may look from the outside for others.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
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?