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9:55 AM on 04.12.2008

Gaming’s Guilty Pleasures: Friendly Fire

Oh shit you did not just bounce that grenade off the door fra…BOOM!

Now it’s not the event that friendly fire kills you that is the pleasure, it’s the REVENGE! After that tell tale grenade blasts you to beJesus and back it’s always nice to get a little retribution via a little headshot or back of the head melee, and that friends is the guilty pleasure.

Nobody likes getting owned by something that is a total rookie mistake like splash damage or mistaken identity but it sure feels nice to throw out all gaming etiquette for a brief moment soaked in bloodlust to dispatch your deserving friend who will hopefully understand... Of course this works a whole lot better when playing with a friend who resides in the same room, or in a game where the score doesn’t matter (ie non ranked) because being an asshole for a second is fun but being “that guy” is not cool. Being that guy who always kills you back is pretty shitty and a very serious issue and will most likely seal the deal that you never get invited to a game again.

But being in your own home or playing with good company instead of random matches is prime breeding grounds for the betrayal and the inevitable Charlie Horse that their leg is so getting before you even respawn!

So let’s have it. Who here is going to be guilty of the sweet taste of revenge?   read

11:12 AM on 04.06.2008

Great Games Nobody Talks About Vol. 1: Lunar Knights

So I picked up this game on its release day a while back and have been taking my sweet time playing it, but this game is nothing short of completely incredible.

Kojima Productions brought forth another hit and this time on the Nintendo DS. Lunar Knights is a great game with a simple yet effective top down view similar to an RTS but while only controlling one character at a time with Anime style cut scenes. On the surface this game appears to be your standard handheld title with some weapon variations and some pretty sweet graphics. But in reality this game goes much deeper.

Lunar Knights includes two characters one dark and one light who must harness moonlight and sunlight respectively in order to power their weapons for better attacks. Lucian who is a vampire uses a sword and can attack even when fully drained of power. Aaron who is a soldier boy uses light guns and can only attack when having sufficient power. Luckily there are many items which can give energy in the absence of your appropriate light source.

The game gets right into the thick of things allowing each character to pick up coins used as currency, “junk” to be formed into items via synthesis, weapons, and items. Each zone or area can experience a specific climate in which certain armors can either help or harm your character. Later in the game you will find a lab which allows you to change the climate of each zone at your leisure to accomplish certain goals such as melting ice walls to pass or freezing streams to create a bridge.

By picking up “junk” you can create and upgrade new weapons in a similar system to the Monster Hunter series. Each weapon can be optimized for strength, stamina, speed, or range. Light guns being made from lenses and casings while swords are made from metals.

In addition to all of this there are small guardian forces that can be used interchangeably between the characters, the forces are one of four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire, Ice) while each character has his own special guardian. Lucian has a cat with wings which adds a dark power up to his sword while Aaron has a sunflower which adds power to his guns. Lucian’s cat allows him to transform into a vampire beast with claws and slash enemies in trance mode wile Aaron transforms into an armored soldier and gains extreme firepower while in trance mode which is attained by building up a meter which grows with each successful hit on an enemy each character can utilize each guardian for a power attack which uses the touch screen to destroy enemies and bosses.

Just in case you don’t have enough to do, after each major boss you take part in a space shooter bit in which you must tackle the enemy and avid asteroids. The ship is able to be equipped with any of the guardian forces AND use their trance modes. Also there are sneaking missions, wireless multiplayer, extra game modes, and tons of replay value.

Holy Hell! That’s a lot for one little handheld game!

So if you made it through all that stuff and have some Lunar Knights experiences to share or if you are one of the lucky one who actually bought the game then let me know what you thought!


7:02 PM on 04.04.2008

Gaming's Guilty Pleasures: Escort Missions

This is a sensitive issue for me as it is with most gamers, but don't jump the gun here. The guilty pleasure for me is not so much the escort mission itself but the eclectic relief of pressure and stress once it is over!

Maybe it stems from the thrill seeker roots I have developed while on my travels camping and exploring or maybe it is a deeper sadistic urge to take pleasure from pain, but no matter the origin the fact remains that once all is said and done and the complaining and bitching have died down I truly do enjoy an escort mission for those sweet sweet rewards.

Take for example one of the most excruciating escort's in my recent memory: Raiden escorting Emma Emmerich in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty through an underwater labyrinth with a girl afraid of swimming because her suicidal father dragged her into a pool while her brother couldn't save her because he was sleeping with his step mother... yea I had to throw a WTF!? out there too whilst I was playing. Anyway the mission itself was such a pain in the ass because you had to monitor your breath gauge, her breath gauge (which ran out quicker than yours) try to remember which way to go AND lift her in and out of the water because apparently her aqua phobia caused her to go basically limp while in the damn water. So once you reach the end of this whole big thing you get such a great sense of fulfillment for having completed it without killing yourself or the girl. THAT is the reason I can secretly like escort missions.

Another example and much more simple escort mission is in Fable where you must take part in several escorts anywhere from escorting a traveler through the woods past thieves who want to kill you for your fancy clothes and gold, to taking a small caravan through a death swamp crawling with ravenous Balverines and pissed off fairy pixies who cast spikes at you. These mission frustrate you for a different reason than MGS. These missions make you mad simply for the fact that the people you are escorting are SO DUMB! they just cower while they get cut with swords and don't flee at all! you need to heal them, then fight, then heal yourself, then fight, then heal them again, etc... by the time the whole ordeal is over you are bruised and tired and they are all fine and dandy. But the feeling of pride you get from beating all odds.

Oh to be the hero in a game. Self sacrificing, ever vigilant, and oh so Bad Ass. unfortunately for endless glory saving wee people and escorting the weak through unbelievable odds can be worth the trouble if you just take as much pride and reward away from it as I do.   read

1:20 PM on 03.17.2008

Real Life Metal Gear Hound on the way!?

Well I happened to catch this online today whilst I was eating lunch and I can say with all confidence that we are all totally boned. This critter is not new in any form but the newest model however is something to marvel at. Much more "animal" than its predecessor and with the ability to carry roughly double the weight of the first run while at a fraction of the size this miniature version of what could become a real life Metal Gear may be seen as a wonderful device to carry munitions into battle or carry the wounded out. The video shows little stress on the machine carrying itself and an excess of 340 lbs. (154.55 Kilo) but it would seem to my video game oriented mind that it would serve just as well increased 10 fold in size and carrying a large nuclear missile pod anywhere it damn well pleases.

The video boasts some pretty serious skills for this little dude they call the Big Dog such as recovering from slipping on Ice and clearing an imaginary cross beam without breaking itself. This machine is backed by DARPA funding and research and is being headlined by Boston Dynamics to do the dirty work of actually building and testing it.

Perhaps Hideo Kojima should send them both a free copy of Guns of the Patriots just so that they know what they are getting into...but maybe all that inspiration might be a bad thing.

[embed]76102:9333[/embed]   read

6:30 PM on 02.21.2008

What the F* Were They Thinking!? Dtoiders Decide the Worst Gamepad of all Time!

We can all remember back to the older systems in our lives and for some those systems are not that old. We can remember the games that got us to sit in front of our televisions for hours trying to beat the final boss without a save point or searching desperately for that final upgrade to our characters. Sometimes at the awful realization that our hands had succumbed to Nintendo Thumb covered in blisters.

But of all the great times we have had with the systems of out past we have to ask ourselves, What the hell were some of these designers thinking!? there are far too many systems for me to list here but I will start with a few and I welcome all Dtoiders to bring their own examples and gamepads past that we all may have tried so hard to forget.

Below are the pictures of three gamepads in recent existence that have shot such anger into my heart that it is hard to believe these were ever released to the public either as a concept or as a full fledged product.

1st we have our standard Nintendo 64 controller:
Although a pioneer of game control with its centered joystick and Z button conveniently located to optimize FPS games, this controller was a complete piece of garbage! Why the designer thought for some reason that humans had evolved a third hand still boggles me! why not just put the control stick on the left with a D-pad under it and the c buttons on the right!? (like the GameCube) Not only is this the worst controller in my memory but I can still feel the gritty loose joystick that always seemed to crap out on every controller you happened to get in those 4 player bouts of Mariokart or Golden Eye. The asymmetrical design goes against every mode of comfort I can think of, and that is why the N64 controller gets #1 worst controller on my list.

2nd we have the Original XBOX controller:
Oh. What's that? You forgot about this beast!? Well I didn't! It has been haunting me as I still have one of these looming in a drawer somewhere in my house waiting to turn sentient and kill my whole family while we sleep. ok maybe not kill us all but I do still have a few of these in my home. I was so happy when the Controller S came out for the original XBOX I went out and bought one that only my hands could touch while my younger brothers (who didn't have jobs) were stuck using the huge beast and losing circulation in their legs as this gigantic controller rest on their laps. The functioning and button placement of this controller were all fine, and in fact has not changed much in the newest version of the 360 controller. But ZOMG Why make it so damn big!? it is as thought they just made the in house tester model huge to save time and then said "Hey screw it, lets just release this huge thing...they will never know the difference" but we knew, and hated it.

3rd we have the unreleased but equally as upsetting PlayStation 3 boomerang controller:
This controller very well could have been the most comfortable and most advanced controller in the world but because of the drastic veer away from the Dual Shock2 controller it would have been instantly tainted and although I have no basis for this statement having never held the boomerang, it looks uncomfortable and small and just isn't the PlayStation controller we all know and love. Even if you hate the lack of rumble the SIXAXIS was a much better move than the boomerang.

Alright there we have it, I said I would limit it to the newest disappointments in gaming control history. So let's have all your suggestions of the worst gamepads of all time! Let's get some seriously old school stuff in here. Please limit it to first party console controllers only. we all know the infinite number of knock offs that are positively miserable...

Ready...GO!   read

1:48 PM on 02.20.2008

XNA Game Studio Comes to the Zune! Now With Photos!

Announced today Microsoft has enabled all Zune owners to simultaneously crap themselves in excitement. The XNA Game Studio will be made available to the Zune starting with Zauri and Hexic both which feature MP3 support so you can trick out your own soundtrack while PEW PEW ing and puzzling away.

The Zune's hyper responsive Squirqle should make for some pretty intuitive gameplay on the device. with that big beautiful screen its only a matter of time before more games start popping up on Zune Marketplace and seamless integration of XBLA and the Zune comes to reality.

Makes me wonder what is to come of the Zune 3?

(photos via Engadget)   read

12:23 PM on 02.19.2008

Future of Homebrew Handheld Gaming Lies within a BUG

BUG Labs has recently developed a pretty neat piece of hardware called the BUGbase along with various BUGmodules. these items can be combined in any fashion that the user or development team wishes. Included software gives the average Joe the ability to create basic actions that the device can utilize, such as geo-tagging photos by using the digital camera and GPS module. the pictures can then be uploaded to an online location such as a photo sharing website via the BUGbase's built in Wi-Fi.

What does all this mean for gamers? Well in the near future I suspect that it will not take long for users to develop some simple and fun games that can be played on one of these units as well as BUG labs producing some BUGmodules that include analog sticks and basic button layouts. If used to its full potential the possibilities are endless!

Keep your eyes peeled for what things may come of this product. BUGbase and BUGmodules coming 1st Quarter 2008.   read

2:19 PM on 02.18.2008

Metal Gear Solid Mobile confirmed a Verizon Wireless Exclusive.

As I have recently heard from Kojima Productions the newest addition to the Metal Gear series will be a Mobile phone version. I must admit I didn't really see that coming, and one would imagine it would have been similar to the GameBoy Color release titled Ghost Babel. but I couldn't have been more wrong...

The Verizon Wireless exclusive (downloadable over VCast services only) will be a full 3D game which includes of course some new and innovative ways to play the game. The camouflage system is back from Snake Eater only this time the player will be taking photographs of real life objects and textures with their cell phone camera to use a template for Snake's camo in the game. Entering an Urban landscape? no worries, just take a photo of the spackle gray floor from the subway, set it for Snakes uniform and you will be sneaking past genome baddies in no time.

Another use for the camera in the game will be the first person shooting mode also adopted form the series later versions. The player will be able to enter first person shooting mode and use the camera to point the gun in any direction they choose with much more fluidity than with the standard cellular phone D-Pad. I am not sure if this new feature will rely on you choosing a fixed point to use with the camera or if it will be something else altogether, one thing is for are probably going to have to find some real diazapham to stop all that shaking during your camera controlled FPS boss fights!   read

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