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3:57 AM on 10.07.2009

Dodging the Wii Bullet

I wrote a blog a while ago called 'disillusionment with the Wii' which basically described how I traded my Wii in for and Xbox-360 because I was sick of the low quality of games available for the console and the patronising attitude that Nintendo seemed to adopt with it's customers.

Boy; Did I dodge a bullet there eh? Collette mentioned in a post about how about 30% of Wii games are not even reviewed- probably because they are a bunch of shovelware crap and I can honestly say that I saw this one coming. The only thing that kept me with the Wii for so long was (a) because I have always been a Nintendoid and (b) because of the Virtual Console. It all got too much for me when I saw the upcoming games schedule for Wii and XBox 360 and saw "Streetfighter 4" "Resident Evil 5" and "FIFA 10" coming out on the '360 and some cheap Dead Rising port coming out for Nintendo's white box.

It now seems that the XBLA has overtaken even the virtual console in terms of quality games. At one time I would have a giggle at Topher Cantlers XBLA reviews on RF Go, but more recently (before the short break anyway) he had nothing but good things to say, and with games like Braid, Castle Crashers, Shadow Complex, Castlevania SOTN, Zombie Apocalypse, Trials HD, Battlefield 1945, Monkey Island, Worms 2 and 'Splosion man (to name a few) I cannot but agree. Virtual console is now second best.

I would be interested to see what the opinions are of people that have stuck with the Wii until now. What is keeping you attached to the little white box, or do you also have a PS3 or Xbox 360 to slake your gaming thirst? Do you agree with me that the only 'big name' titles that the Wii gets is crappy ports created by the software houses 'b' team (probably the same bunch that does the DS port)? Do you think that decent Wii games like Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 and Wii Sports resort justify you actually owning a Wii?   read

2:57 AM on 10.07.2009

Quality standing the test of time: Evolution

I opened my wardrobe yesterday morning and realised that a couple of the shirts that I still wear for work are over ten years old. Aside from being a little faded they are still in perfectly good condition, and I wear them at least once a fortnight- buttons intact, collar still stiff.

It made me think about quality and longevity, and how this is a rare thing these days. I remember some guy coming to tune the engine of my car and telling me that there is absolutely no reason why a car shouldn't have a twenty year warranty if the engine and body was created with the craft and attention that it should be. It is all to do with reducing lifespans of vehicles, making new cars and making more money he said.

I think that this can also be applied to videogames- we have the whole silly issue going on with the 'Left 4 Dead' sequel, with people complaining that there shouldn't actually be a sequel, but the updates as promised and we also have the annual sporting updates like Madden, FIFA and the golfing games. I suppose it could be argued that these games are little more than updates anyway, and with the internet being as common as it is today, then why can't we just buy a patch rather than fork out big money for the game in CD format?

Some of the best games that I have played, I still own in their original format because they stand the test of time. Games like Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of time, Super Mario World and Resident Evil 4 I still love these games now as much as I did then, and in many ways they are irreplacable and have not (arguably) been bettered. Some of the worlds that you experience in these games (especially some of the RPG's) are beautiful and whimsical places that you really don't want to leave- some of the games that last the test of time are so well designed and so beautiful that they still look and play good 15 years on.

I suppose I am wondering why games cannot evolve rather than 'new editions' and 'sequels' taking their place. Why can't the game designers create a brilliant and beautiful game from day one? Why do I have to fork out another 40 for FIFA 10, when they could have easily updated FIFA 09? Is it just an excuse to make more money are am I being too cynical?   read

8:59 AM on 10.06.2009

Why do I keep getting banned from forums?

Forums and the people I interact with on forums tend to make me look at myself as a person- there are so many different types of people out there that go and interact on forums that it can be enlightening as well as annoying. On a forum you can never truly win an argument, you cannot truly put forward the intended meaning behind what you are saying and you cannot help it when conversations spawn out of control because someone misread your original post.

The reason I bring this all up is because I have recently been banned from the fourth forum that I have had the pleasure to be a member of- because I am innuendous and offensive. This seems to be a recurring theme actually, and although I am unreliable to you as a reader because I am biased towards my own cause I will try and explain why forums and I tend not to get along.

Forums tend to be 'family friendly' places for what that is worth- on the internet where you get paedophiles roaming, readily available porn and information on all types of drugs and crime, it is apparently a huge ''no-no'' to write a five minute counter argument containing the word 'shit.' It doesn't matter that you've actually put quite a lot of thought into a post- if there is anything remotely rude in there you deserve a huge slap on the wrists.

It then doesn't help that you actually object to being warned- this really puts you in the moderators bad books. They don't like it when you question their authoritaah. They point you in the direction of the forum rules; which are usually a grey area and need the application of common sense; something that a lot of moderators and forum regulars don't seem able to apply.

This leads to the inevitable ban. I am not sayng that all mods are idiots; far from it, but at the end of the day you have to have a certain amount of nerdiness instilled in you before you can wear that treasured 'moderator' badge, and you can like and dislike people just as anyone else can. I have actually been banned for immaturity by a 16 year old moderator- and I'm 27. It is annoying in a way because I think that immaturity is in the eye of the beholder, and if someone is genuinley offended because I mention the word 'genitals' then they are the immature one in my book.

I come away from that 'banned' screen and question whether or not I really am an arsehole. I don't think that I am. I have lots of friends and family that all get along well with me, and in reality I am certainly a lover and not a hater. There are actually no people that I know who I have every really fallen out with. I work hard, I get paid and I enjoy the relationship that I have with my fiance who I've been with for the best part of a decade. I like to watch my brother play football (soccer), I take my labrador on walks twice a day and I bring the neighbours bin in for him on a Friday. I spend my time in forums when work is quiet, or my fiance is out and I have no chores to do. I certainly don't see myself as a troll.

Maybe it is the old 'road rage' scenario where some quiet old lady becomes a real jerk when she has the protection of a tonne of metal and some locked doors around her. Just like she's sort of untouchable in her car, I am untouchable on a forum.

I like to express myself on forums- I usually put a lot of thought into my posts, but I also refuse to be spoken down to by idiots. But as I say- you can't win an argument on a forum.   read

7:55 AM on 10.06.2009

Sods Law in on-line gaming

I have a chocolate labrador retriever called 'Campbell' (after Evil Dead Actor Bruce) that could fill a novel of 'Marley and me' proportions. This is the lovable little brute that did the biggest and wettest crap I have seen in a long time at the end someones driveway whilst they were stood on their step having an evening cigarette. I wouldn't have minded as much, had he not already done a 'number two' not two minutes before on which I used the only poop bag I had on me.

He also stopped to open his bottom one time smack bang in the middle of a busy road whilst we were crossing- holding up traffic as he crouched there with his back legs shaking.

What has this got to do with video-gaming? 'Sods Law' thats what. The fact that when you least want it, least expect it or are least equipped, something will come across and slap you right in the face. I have made real-life sporting predictions based on 'sods law'; A mass of absolute power, undefeated in years versus an underdog that hasn't won in ages..? Sods law that the book makers will be defied and the underdog triumphs.

I had a similar experience on-line with FIFA 10, though the same can apply to any on-line game.

I was sad enough to go to a local 24 hour store and queue for the game- surrounded by geeks and nerds of all proportions, and including a couple of really big muthas in shopmobility scooters. I got home, went to bed and the next morning played and won seven on-line matches in a row. I was on a streak, I felt unbeatable and then sods law kicked in and I lost 14 matches on the trot.

However, sods law isn't satisfied in just raising your hopes and dashing them- there is usually an added twist and in my case it was in the form of me leading my final game last night by three goals to zero with about two in-game minutes left and still managing to lose 4-3. I sat there with myhead in my hands- part frustrated by the fact that I had let four incredulously lucky goals in within a short period of time and part embarassed that I had my head in my hands.

It was also sods law that the guy that beat me also happened to be one of the most arrogant despots that I have had the misfortune to play on XBL. A Spanish fellow, he wound down the last few seconds by showboating, and goading me through the headset. I suppose a problem shared is a problem halves- so have any of you guys experienced 'sods law' at it's worse?   read

4:30 PM on 05.20.2009

On-line cheat: Please do me a favour everyone

Hi guys,

I finally battled my way to my first cup final on FIFA Ultimate Team (xbox 360) without a booking, with a 80-70-70 team and without using a game modifying card (That's good!). The guy I played in the cup final had a much better team than me, but I played him anyway.

Within the first five game minutes I hit the post and forced his keeper into a save and after that he played all his gameplay cards on me. These cards are basically modifiers that alter the game by reducing your stats in some way.

It was like running in quicksand, and for some reason my 2nd defender couldn't be called either (I don't know if he genuinley cheated for this or not...) . He effectivley killed off the cup final in the first half and was 6-0 up at half time.

Please don't think I'm a moaner here- I am not usually one to moan too much about on-line games, I lost a semi-final before and congradulated the guy that beat me, & I know winning isn't everything, but this guy really took liberties and bogged down my team, despite me already having the handicap of a weaker team as it was. I lost a cup final that I worked pretty hard to get to- and it's frustrating.

I just wanted to post this up to make sure this guy didn't cheat again on any of you. Could you please let him know that cheating isn't right? I texted him and he just insulted me back- but if a few of us let him know, he might not do it again. I don't want you to abuse the guy or anything- just let him know that he's a cheat.

His gamertag was 'dodmor.' You can contact me with any opinions- my gamertag is 'Garybuller'   read

5:22 AM on 04.07.2009

Life getting in the way of gaming

Usually after listening to an Episode of 'Retroforce Go' I find myself wanting to play one of the games that they have been discussing. It must be the enthusiasm that they put into their love of the games, but it is also a lot to do with my deep love of retro games in general. That is why I was really pleased to see games like 'Megaman 9' come out last year, amongst other retro releases on the Virtual Console and DS. I was even more elated when I saw that the 'Sega Megadrive Ultimate Collection' (Sonic Ultimate Colllection in the USA) was coming out for the xbox 360.

With over forty games on one budget price disc you cannot complain. The value actually works out much, much better than if I was to buy the same games on virtual console. I like the way the game is presented, and I think that the HD element gives the graphics a fresh new lease of life. The controls aren't that bad either.

Thanks to this compilation I get the chance to make a start on games like the 'Phantasy Star' and 'Golden Axe' series that I never touched back in the day (due to being a huge Nintendoid) and I also get the chance to revisit some of the classic games that I downloaded from the virtual console and then lost when I formatted and traded in my Wii. I have already started on 'Sonic The Hedgehog 2' and found it to be pretty amazing.

The problem lies in that I am now an adult, and because of this life seems to take a front seat and gaming is something that is lower on my list of priorities than I would like. I can no longer sit down for days on end hammering a game to completion, although I made an exception for Resident Evil 5. I have a mortgage, a fiance and a job- and I like to invest as much time as I can into making a better life for myself and my partner. I just have to content myself with an hour here and an hour there, which is why 'Retroforce Go' quenches some of my thirst and also why retro games in their nature are ideal.

I find most modern games (sports games aside) are very difficult to pick up and play for short hour long bursts, yet platformers and old school RPG's seemed suited for this. I spent the whole of September 2008 playing Chrono Trigger (after hearing about it on 'RF Go') an hour here and an hour there to completion and I loved it. The same applied with Super Mario RPG. I suppose that is why I still view the games so fondly, as they're still easily accessible now. And is it just me or do the 16 bit graphics in particular still look amazing when N64 and Playstation stuff looks awful?

Anyway- does anyone else not have as much time for gaming as they would like? Anyone growing up and feeling that they're losing touch with their gamer roots? What do you think of these 'retro' collections?   read

5:36 AM on 04.06.2009

Why America Ruined 'Strikers Charged'

Mario Strikers Charged was one of the best games on the Wii in my opinion. In fact, I would go as far to say that 'Strikers Charged' was the best game on the Wii to date. What made the game so amazing was the on-line. For the first time as a Nintendo owner I could play a competitive on-line sports title that had rankings and ledaerboards, and boy was it good.

Then two months after release in the UK, and two months after I started playing the game America got hold of the title and ruined what was one of the best on-line experiences I have ever had. Alright, alright, I am being intentionally provocative with the title and flippant in my statement, but it was around the time America got the game that glitch exploits and such came to the fore. But rest assured, there were plenty of European idiots too.

For those who don't know, in Strikers you were limited in who you could play because the game had regionally split leagues. So Europeans could only play Europeans, Americans could only play Americans and so on and so forth, but on the various 'Strikers forums and via Youtube us Europeans were shown various 'tricks' in order to exploit the game and win. The guys who used these glitches called themselves "tricksters."

I am of the stance that exploting glitches is unfair- it shouldn't matter that it is "in the game" because like anything, a game is not flawless. It is entirely possible that a game can contain unintentional and unfair glitches that the developer didn't intend- and having the ability to chip the ball from inside your own half and past a goalkeeper that cannot reach the shot was clearly unintended. Another reason it is unfair is that even if you could counter this glitch, (which you could if you (a) had a fast player (b) he was stood close enough (c) you got him on the line in time to clear said shot) is a lot of players didn't know how to or couldn't. So the underdog never got a fair chance from the get-go.

I was lucky enough to be a fairly good Strikers player, and I refused to resort to glitches unless someone started to use them against me. If that started up then I would simply wait until I was a couple of goals to the good then time waste and 'goalie camp.' Thiis meant standing next to the invincible goalkeeper who would more or less shelter you from 80% of tackles thrown in at you. Funnily enough 'goalie camping' was a big "no no" on the forums amongst "tricksters" it was really frowned upon- which made me laugh how these a-holes actually had morals when it came to glitch exploitation.

So Mario Strikers Charged went from a really good on-line experience that was tight and balanced into a 'trick-fest.' The last time I played was December time, and almost everyone that I played was a 'trickster' and the library of 'tricks' had grown considerably to the point where I was out of touch. I question the mentality behind these people- they obviously spend a huge amount of time practicing and discovering these glitches in order to exploit and to win. To get to the top of that leaderboard and have bragging rights. It is no surprise whatsoever that the top 50 in Europe (that I played) were mostly 'tricksters' and it is also not a revalation that the same people disconnected if they were losing.

I'd like to take the opportunity to name and shame one of the biggest 'Strikers Ruiners' that I had the misfortune to meet, well- on the forums at least. An American with the handle "Zzzz." This was a guy in his mid thirties who was arrogant enough to describe himself as 'elite' if his published 'FAQ's' are to be believed, his 'discovered' a sizable number of exploits in the on-line game. He once went 250 games without loss and then 'retired' from Strikers after fleecing a huge proportion of players with his unfair tricks. So cheers 'Zzzz' for ruining one of my favourite experiences of all time.   read

1:57 AM on 04.03.2009

The 5 Loves & 5 Hates of Gawii_UK

I've posted up quite a few blogs now, without introduction and so here it is; I think there's nothing better than a list of loves and hates to get people interested- especially the hates! Just as a basic overview; I live in the North West of England and have been a console owner since my dad bought be the Atari 2600, well over twenty-odd years ago (followed by the C64, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Wii and now X-box 360) I have always been a Nintendoid really since I played on my best mates NES- playing Super Mario Bros, Megaman 2 and Duck Tales to death.

I recently traded my Wii in because I grew disallusioned with the crap games that were coming out for it (see my other blogs) good games seemed few and far between, big name games were usually shadows of their x-box and Sony counterparts and what good stuff we did get tended to have crappy 'waggle' controls thrown in or extra 'Partii' modes that were aimed at kids and old folks. I saw that the '360 had a great lineup of games coming out for it, so I got an xbox 360 and haven't looked back!

I love my job, but it takes me all over the country on some weeks. I mostly drive now, but I used to be on and around trains a lot at one point, and it was around this time that I discovered Retroforce Go and dTOID..

So here goes, in no particular order;

5 Loves

(1) My soul mate and partner for eight years, Lisa. And I still feel exactly the same way about her as when we first met. I think I'm pretty lucky because both my brother and sister have gone through a few partners, but Lisa was my first long term girlfriend and now we're engaged.

(2) My chocolate Labrador Retriever, Campbell and cat, Ash. I also own a couple of lizards; A leopard gecko and frilled dragon.

(3) Football- or 'soccer' as our USA friends might call the sport. Never understood that; what you guys call 'football' is basically Rugby with a few added rules, extra padding and modified bike helmets. I'm no expert, but it appears to me that most of the time the ball is actually in the players hands- so why do you call it 'football?' Just a thought! Either way I support my local team, Manchester United and I also watch my brother play for his local team. I also like FIFA 09 a lot.

(4) Takeaways! My only vice really, I don't smoke (never have done) I rarely drink, but I often treat myself to a kebab, curry, Chinese or even fried chicken once a week. I also love Kopparberg Pear Cider, and JD & Coke when I do have a tipple.

(5) My PC and X-Box 360: My PC is an XPS 600 that I bought a couple of years ago and it's still running strong. I didn't think it would be as future proof as it actually turned out to be. I also love to do a bit of console gaming (not as often as I'd like actually) but with work and life in general I often only get a handful of hours each week max to do some on-line gaming.

I could also add books (I love horror- especially Stephen King) and movies (one of our biggest passtimes at home) but as its just the five i'll move onto 'hates....'

5 Hates

(1) Arrogant and arsey People are a big hate of mine, especially those that patronise you. I often meet people in my line of work that give you some real grief over nothing and I think to myself "I don't care how matter how stressed or pressurised I am- I never take it out on anyone else, so why should you talk to me like that?" There's no excuse for being a git- no matter how successful you are or what your line of work is. Treat people how you would like to be treated.

(2) People who claim benefits and don't work when there is nothing wrong with them. I really resent working my backside off and paying tax when some of my money goes towards looking after lazy benefit claimers who are just too lazy to work. I know quite a few people claiming sickness benefit for non-existant 'stress' . It's funny how it is the same people who are always asking to borrow cash- yet some of them actually have more disposable income than me. GET A JOB!

(3) On-line console disconnectors. I used to be even more frustrated when I had the Wii, because I couldn't communicate with whoever I was playing (see previous blog) but at least now (with XBLA) I can message them and ask them why they disconnected just before the end of the game. It is such a selfish act really when you think about it. You might get a win given, but all other stats are usually made null and void by the disconnection. In FIFA 09 I could be winning 9-0, but the loser disconnects in the last minute and all I get is a win. He's going to be given a loss (most of the time) anyway- so why deprive the winner of goals (or whatever merit is in the game)?

(4) Paris Hilton and other talent-less celebrities out there who shamelessy leach off their parents success. America is riddled with them if you believe the TV shows. Like Hulk Hogans daughter- I can sing better than her- but her dad opens doors for her and she's given air time. It's all crap. Celebrity in general and the 'E!' generation really grate on me. Who gives a crap about Nicole Ritchies new lip gloss ffs?

(5) Idiots that listen to Dance & R&B music; I like rock and metal music (generally speaking) so stereotypically you would think that I have long hair, smoke weed, wear band shirts and ride a motor bike with a German WW2 style helmet. None of the above actually. However (here in England at least) most of the people that live on the council estates near where I live listen to R&B and Dance Music. Their profiles are all the same; white and about as close to 'the American hood' as the Queen, live in council housing, go out drinking a lot even when they can't afford it, wear tracksuit bottoms and own a Staffordshire or Pit Bull Terrier. They usually listen to some of this modern crap that passes for 'R&B' as loud as they possibly can, in their house or in their car- with little respect for the actual history behind the music.

So um.. thats it. I hope to stay here and post up some more as and when I can! Thanks!   read

5:04 AM on 04.02.2009

Retroforce Go: Making work more bearable

My big introduction to Destructoid was through Retroforce Go- I found the podcast through itunes one day when searching for retro gaming and I have never looked back. One of the reasons I bought an ipod in the first place was to have a multimedia device to take with me on long journeys to and from work- sometimes by train, but more recently by car. Listening to music is great, and the radio can also be alright, but I found that podcasts on subjects that actually interest me are brilliant.

I actually started off listening to 1Up's 'Retronauts' with Jeremy Parish et al, which I really did enjoy, but literally found myself nodding off on the train whilst listening to it. I also got a bit frustrated with that podcast because most of the panel came across as being (a) incredibly nerdy and (b) a bit smug when it came to games. They seemed to have this habit of playing down the 'big name' games and being almost dismissive in their discussions of them, as if it was 'uncool' to like them because they were mainstream. On the other side of the coin, the 'Retronauts' team also bigged up some quite obscure games (mostly Japanese) - talking about them as if they were old friends and remeniscing how great they were. I would be like "If they were that great, how the hell haven't I heard about them?" I was convinsed that they came across this way because it seems fashionable to like, and to be seen to like obscure Japanese fare these days.


I still listen to their podcasts every so often (usually when I have finished with the latest 'Go' and 'Toid' casts) and I still enjoy them to a degree, but it seems to be all bravado, self-smugness and facts- not a lot of actual enjoyment. I imagine them all sat around a table wearing nerdy 'milk bottle' glasses and smoking fake pipes that blow bubbles and wearing smoking jackets.

It was when I got tired of their style that I had another look and found 'RF Go.' I started listening to it about ten podcasts in and really enjoyed it. I felt that I'd found a real gold nugget in Chad, Dyson, Collette & Topher- they talk about games as peole who lived similar lives to me, with enthusiasm and without a stat book of 100 facts to recite. No smugness and a lot of laughs. It made me actually look forward to my long car journeys- to sit alone and enjoy their company. What made it all the more 'real' to me was when I discovered the DToid community and actually made contact with the guys. In particular Chad and Collette are really great people, and I am happy that they put the time aside to respond to me about random crap I put to them.

It is not that Retroforce Go is without my constructive critisism- I would like to hear a little bit more about the context of the game or console they're talking about. Like when it came out, who created it and what type of game it was. How did you play it? A couple of times I've listened to episodes and not had a clue what type of game they were talking about- whether it was an RPG, a platformer or even a puzzle game. Not to the degree of Retronauts do where it gets boring, but tidbits and trivia are fantastic and really easy to find on the interweb.

I'd also be happier if the panel didn't keep changing their opinions on things, based on what someone else on the panel has said. I totally understand that opinions can change in the face of facts- but for someone to say "I hated that" in one breath and then "actually, yeah- It was the best thing ever" next is a bit annoying. I think constructive argument and conflicting opinions makes for great entertainment- rather than agreeing with each other all the time.

That aside, 'Retroforce Go' has changed my life a little. I too played the NES, SNES and such, and enjoyed them lots and I really like listening to the guys talk about the game sand rekindle the need to play them again!   read

12:55 PM on 04.01.2009

The graphics whore is looking for a punter...

He drives down the dark back alley desperate for his fix. He sees her and pulls over- boy does she look fantastic- dolled up to the nines, but what he's failed to realise is that inside she's rotten to the core. She's a bad one. To be honest though, he doesn't care- she looks fantastic and he's already imagining removing her packaging and spending hours with her. He winds the window down "How much?" he asks "forty pounds" comments the graphics whore, and the guy eagerly opens his passenger door and lets her into his life...

I don't know who coined the phrase "graphics whore," but I'm pretty sure that I've been using the term for a while- so if no-one else will, i'll claim it. I use the term to describe gamers out there who usually know very little about gaming aside from what their friends tell them and base most of their gaming purchasing on how a game looks- be it on TV, or posters, or even on the back of the box.

My fiance's cousin's boyfriend is a graphics whore. He knows nothing about gaming, his eyes glaze over when I try to chat to him about Mario, Sonic or even modern stuff like Bioshock- yet as soon as he saw the sun effects on Resident Evil 5, he enthusiastically declared that "That game looks great- I'm going to buy it! What's it called again Residence Even Five?" He owns an xbox 360, and all his games are big names that he knows very little about; Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War 2, FIFA 09, Kane and Lynch. There are also a few games that he owns that are a bag of crap like Beijing Olympics 2008- another game he bought because it "looks great."

I took my Wii round to his house once and you could almost taste his disinterest- "doesn't look as good as the xbox" he was more or less saying. Whilst my fiance and I were playing with her cousin on Mario Kart and having a great time, he was giving this exaggerated look at the Wii-mote like it was some futuristic tool that confused him beyond words. He was crap at Mario Kart, he wasn't impressed with the way it 'looked' and he insisted that we all play his 'new love' which was Beijing Olympics 2008 on '360....

Talk about a party killer- we all went from having a great time to hammering buttons like idiots trying to win some terribly unexciting races. I almost got RSI through it.

The thing is I know a lot of other people like him. We call them 'scallys' or 'chavs' over here in the UK, but I'm sure you have the American equivalent. People without jobs who dress like idiots, steal and usually own a Staffordshire Bull terrier. Do they appreciate Grand Theft Auto for what it truly is? nah, they just buy it because their friend has told them that you nick cool cars in it and murder prostitutes- because thats REALLY amusing isn't it..? They think that Mario is the local takeaway.

I suppose my problem is that I see gaming as something that only people with an appreciation for them should enjoy. As a kid i would only get two or three games bought for me each year, and I would play them to death- unlocking every secret and making progression no matter what the game looked like, or how crap the game was. I should just accept that idiots buy games too- and that basing a purchase on the way a game is visually is their choice to make. I could point out a zillion NES and SNES titles that would be a lot cheaper and lead to a lot more enjoyment than the 'graphics whore's' next purchase- but he wouldn't be interested and that annoys me.   read

3:35 PM on 03.31.2009

Disillusionment with the Wii

As I've mentioned in another post, since the SNES days I have only ever owned Nintendo consoles and I feel that this is one of the reasons why I have been more out of touch with true 'hardcore' gaming experiences and the on-line as I've ever been.

A couple of months ago I suddenly made the decision to trade my Nintendo Wii in for an xbox 360. Had I got a shitload of cash- enough to just go out and buy a '360 outright with a game and some Microsoft points I would have done, but I didn't and the '360 edged it in my opinion.

As a dedicated Nintendo follower, the Gamecube and now the Wii had made me feel disillusioned with gaming. I wouldn't call myself a 24 hour a day gamer, hardcore style- but I like a good game, and with hindsight the Wii wasn't providing this. Back in the SNES era, practically every game that was released on the Nintendo platform was the pinacle of it's kind. With the Wii, most third party games you get tend to be 'downsized' and 'downgraded' crapy ports with colons in the title; House of the Dead 20: The cut down edition.

I am not a 'graphics whore' that sees a games visuals as a sole reason to buy (though i know plenty of 'em) so the Gamecube-esque power of the Wii is not the major issue- but I was pissed off with downsized content, lack of major titles (i.e SF4, RE5) and the major third party titles Wii owners did get included awful waggle controls and unneccesary extra 'family' content (FIFA 08 and 09 a prime example with the 'Footii Partii.)

I am not here to bitch about the Wii- I think that it is a fantastic social console and one of the best around for taking to a mates house for drinks and multi-player gaming. I LOVED Strikers Charged. It does party games very well, and as a retro fan I LOVED the Virtual Console & also the Homebrew stuff that you could get hold of. Then I realised that you could get most of those games on R4 for the Ds- so that went out of the window.

I never thought I'd see myself moving away from Nintendo this way, but I honestly feel that they've now got more in common with upper middle class families, yuppies and old folks than they have with us loyal gamers. With hindsight I didn't feel part of Nintendo any more. They weren't talking my language- and friends who in the past mocked me for being a gamer were now going out and buying Wii's and DS's even though they knew very little about gaming in general. I know that being a gamer isn't an exclusive club or anything, but it is a shame when that club starts to kick out it's oldest and most loyal members.

So here I am with an xbox 360, missing the Wii a bit (Strikers on-line in particular) but re-discovering gaming again. I know that when I buy a game, that it will probably be one of the best versions of that game you can get and when I go on-line I know that most of the time the game isn't going to crash on me constantly (as FIFA 09 did to me on the Wii literally every other game.) I feel that I have missed out- that I have lost that gamers touch and I am learning from scratch. I suppose I've been out in the wilderness since the Gamecube came out, and now I'm back by the fire again with friends.

Who's up for some real gaming?   read

9:16 AM on 03.31.2009

No place to hide for xbox 360 losers

In many ways I feel that I have missed out on a large portion of the gaming market over the past couple of years. Being an exclusive Nintendo owner has meant that I have missed out on epic first person shooters, great sports simulations but most importantly of all decent on-line experience.

Current 360 owners may scoff at this statement, and pick faults with Microsofts on-line services- but I am a man of simple tastes really and after playing mostly the Wii and DS on-line for the past 24 months or so, XBLA seems positivley futuristic; Voice Chat during game, the ability to create party rooms for groups to chat, text messages, on-line downloads and patches, video's and on-line multiplayer experience- it is actually quite brilliant.

You don't have to piss about with friend codes, there is no paranoia that the guy you are chatting to on FIFA is a paedophile. It is open, honest and really easy to navigate. If I play against someone and I enjoy the experience- I can rate them positive, look them up on a list populated ready for me, and add them as a friend. if that person is a grade 'A' a-hole then I can report them as such. That is what I missed out on with the Wii,

My favourite Wii game on-line was the under-rated Mario Strikers Charged. When I first got the game, and everyone was learning, it was a great experience. I was good at the game and reached the top 50 in Europe with regularity each week and even won 'Striker of the day' a handful of times. Then people started exploiting glitches within the fabric of the game to win unfairly. Long charged chips from their own half that the goalie would ignore, dinks past the keeper that were untouchable and using power ups to score guarenteed goals. Some of these guys I would out score and still win- fairly and then they'd disconnect on you without any real reprocussion other than a 'loss' on their record.

I often commented to my friends and my brother; also a big 'Charged fan that I would love to speak to some of these people and ask them 'why?' Why exploit glitches, but more importantly, why disconnect (the lowest of the low IMO)? Maybe they had a decent excuse...?

Now I have the X-Box 360, I've got the 'luxury' of being able to do this. My current games of choice on-line are FIFA 09 Ultimate Team and Castle Crashers. The latter really doesn't pose any multiplayer problems, but you get some real idiots play FIFA 09. If I have a good game, but lose I am usually gracious enough to text the guy a "Good game!" And if some pisant decides that disconnecting is the best way to avoid an official hammering then I send them a message asking why. Sometimes I get a decent honest reply back and I make another friend, but on most occasions I get a "f*** you" or words to that effect. It is quite funny how these guys can't put together a coherant sentence either.

You guys might take this sort of thing for granted, but for me it it is brilliant. The Wii..? I never look back now!

I just urge anyone who reads this to stand up to the a-hole and make a point of messaging them if they d/c or cheat. Don't do it just because you lost, or through sour grapes- do it when they've been a complete loser and cheated the game you played- then if they insult you in their response just report them. That'll show em...   read

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