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5:47 AM on 04.20.2010

Ubisoft is not Captain Planet


http://www.destructoid.com/ubisoft-kills-manuals-launches-eco-friendly-packaging-171441.phtml

You should have a quick scan of that article by Dale North(Destructoid.com) first if you don't quite know what I'm talking about.

Ubisoft (famous for the likes of Rayman, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed) recently announced a plan to "go green" with it's packaging in games. This means redesigned cases on the PC and the removal of manuals from console games in favour of adding the manuals digitally to the disc. I see a problem with this on a couple of different levels, but it's also, another voice can't hurt if you're trying to prove a point.

Every game is somebody's first game

It's a little bit arrogant to think "heh, I can do this, why can't everyone else?" and so this is why manuals exist in the first place. While the intricacies of the button layouts, "old tropes" of video games and the secret code of menus is practically second nature to anyone seeing this, we are most certainly in the minority. I think to my dad, not yesterday astounded by my mastery of control, eking out more masterful combos and features than he's been able to get out of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 15 hours, in my first 15 minutes.

He didn't know you could go first-person/zoom-in by clicking the right stick

To me, it makes sense that clicking the camera control does something new with the camera, but it didn't occur to my dad that it was a button because nobody told him. And nobody told him because the game doesn't demand it. My dad isn't the kind of person to ever give up, but if he gets stuck, he reads the manual, because he learns this type of thing. It would never occur to him to assume it was on the disc.

Not all gamers are us super-hardcore types. My dad is typical of the general gaming populace; casual.

It's about standards

Loving games isn't a pre-requisite to work in GAME or GameStation in England. It helps, but half the staff have never owned a single game where I work. They'll serve you, they know what the consoles do (kind of) and they have a list of 4-5 games coming out memorised, but they won't know who mega man, master chief or solid snake are. More likely they're going to think you're coming on to them, poorly.

Now looking through the comments, I see you Americans with your game stores don't have too much of these, but in the UK, when you trade in a game, you get turned away if there is no manual. If these standards change, good people will be turned away, or more likely, games that should have a manual, will lose them because of Ubisoft's greed.

Implementation

In an era where these gorgeous HD games are fucking even basic control up, you know for a fact the manual will be on some hard to reach screen that you'll have to quit out of the game to find. It will be on the main menu booting you out of the game, be in text far too small to read on an SD TV, in blocks that hurt your eyes because of the brightness contrast and in a font you despise. You could have gotten the special edition with the booklet in, but that was an extra £10 for a steel case and 4 pages of legalese and a diagram of a controller on the back because it was the collector's edition.

Pessimism? Maybe. Unfounded? Not quite.

The alternative is a downloadable PDF, but this again is a problem. Everyone without the internet, raise your hand. Awesome. Looks like EVERYONE has the internet then. No problems here. I can't see a single person without the internet out there. What do you mean, those people who can;t read this don't know to object? Pshaw.

There are easier ways to go green

1) Stop requiring an internet access to play your PC games. What do you think powers the internet, dumb-asses?
2) CD sleeves use less plastic than DVD boxes. FACT.
3) Flying out game developers to have a sit-in game session creates more CO2 than game manuals' production.
4) Stop having children; Children make TONS of CO2 in their lifetime (it's called breathing) and are more of a hazard, due to overpopulation.
5) French people are smug pricks; unrelated, but I've never met one who wasn't. I've seen some cute German girls though. and Russian accents are the bomb.
6) Let every developer work from home. Transport creates CO2 unless they all walk to work, in which case, well done Ubisoft employees.

Sigh...

It's easy to see why Ubisoft is doing this; tax cuts for going greener and less costs from producing less product, but manuals are a mainstay of gaming and have been for as long as anything. It makes me annoyed to see it being cut for sheer greed under the thin guise of altruism.

Man up, Ubisoft, and leave us the ability to flick through, thumb, make notes in, ignore and pour over our manuals.

Written to Danny Barronowsky's "The Teaching Robot" (dBsoundworks.com)   read


6:46 AM on 10.03.2009

CONTEST: winnners is you

Peeps had to leave a comment and be one of the last five to have left it. Those guys won a DL code for Johnson.

There was also a prize for leaving something cute or funny. That person got Johnson and the chance to get a Transformers t-shirt.

Kanden Killer won himself the t-shirt (go you)

The following people got codes:
Kryptinite
The Bez
Puppy Licks
Knives
Nukka jdav
Blehman

I used JOURNALISM to find out gamertags and sent out messages to those people asking if they love dtoid. Replies confirming I got the right person (they would love Dtoid) earn some codes. (Nukka, Kryptinite, puppy licks and kanden have already been sent codes)

Naim Master needs to either tell me his gamertag or message xbox's Evercaptor, unless he's happy for the code to go elsewhere.

More than 6 winners cos I found some more codes   read


4:32 PM on 09.28.2009

CONTEST: Grab your Johnson and join in with us!

Sgt. Johnson is the cigar-chompingest ass-whoopingest marine there ever was.

If you missed out on his glorious visage in your ODST, then I'm here to say the LAST five people to comment on whenever I look at this post on Friday October the 2nd each get a download code.

People who post something amusing or cute also get entered for the consolation prize; a download code for Johnson and a Transformers T-shirt.

Consolation prize is open internationally, I'll post the results Friday.

DID YOU KNOW: Due to radiation leaking out of plasma grenades, Johnson acquired both his unstable personality and immunity to flood spores.   read


5:01 AM on 04.30.2009

FINALLY! contest winners announced.

Firstly, thank you seigfried for reminding me to send out the codes. I whole heartedly apologise that it was such shit to wait all that time. Twixt Uni and working everyday of the week, I totally forgot about it.

In order of win, the following did!
de BLOO
seigfried
justice

you guys have had your codes and instructions sent out.

I would set up another contest here, but I'll wait until I have more time, as I don't wish to forget about it again.   read


4:57 AM on 04.13.2009

CONTESTIME: GTA chinatown pack.

This week it's a content pack for GTA chinatown wars!
craziness? INDEED!
I don't own GTA:CW and haven't used one of these packs, but all the necessary stuff you need to know will be explained.

To enter, send an email to [email protected] with your dtoid name AND post in the comments with something either amusing or not amusing. Contest is open internationally, but I live in england XD

the winner is chosen at random using microsoft excel, cell A1 which contains =INT(L*(rand()))+1 where L is the number of posts on this topic. Post as much as you want, each one is an entry, but only send one email, please.

3 sets up for grabs this time, so tell your friends and loved ones, hell, even your cat! (I love cats)

swag left to give away:
Chris redfield figure
Chun li figure
Mirrors edge shirt   read


3:51 PM on 04.06.2009

contest! Win yo'self a halo wars DLC

Limited to only GAME (where I am now employed) in the UK, the flaming warthog Decal for your warthogs is kinda cool. It's fun for rushes as it will camouflage your troops in the flaming wreckage of their bases!
First post counts as entry, I'm random up the winner. The 5x5 DLC code will be sent via an email you supply in your post! Contest winner decided on friday.

I might do contests with my job's freebies for a bit, where I can. Bear in mind I am English in England though, so posting times can be a tad dismal, and unreliable, though DLC codes are easy.

I have 3 GTA: Chinatown Wars codes for the DS too. Dunno what it's about as I haven't used them or own the game. I'll set that on friday, after I email the winner their code.


also, I think i have an infection in one of my extremities...   read


3:27 PM on 02.26.2009

My Uni gaming project

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=fdfd4b89930189001bee9a6e9edd9c76e04e75f6e8ebb871

this link is to a folder including my latest university project, that is, to create a game that can make mathematics fun.

In there too is my reasoning for the project. Please, Please, I implore you to have a look, as I have very mixed feelings about my "game".

If that link breaks, just give me a whistle and I'll do something about it. or email you the files directly.




Now I can focus on the Unofficial PodCastle Comic, the comics when completed will be posted here and in the podcastle forum. Please stick around to check those out, and possibly drop in a quick plot summary/script.

Later days,
Your friendly neighbourhood Phalanxxx   read


1:24 PM on 02.11.2009

Retroforce COMIC!

I announced in the RFGO! forums that I wanted to do comics based on Chad and Anthony's fight on a volcano and Here They ARE!


-------------------------------------------------------




They depict both likely ecentualities so no side should feel unhappy. Also, when I asked people about how like my ref pics the guys were, many people remarked on how manly/sexy Anthony is.

Colours to be posted in the comments of ep. 80 of retroforce go!


UPDATE:

like... a lot of my Dtoid heroes kinda posted here? I danced with joy in my seat. PURE GLEE.
I felt a lot like this:


Best Week Ever.   read


3:18 PM on 02.08.2009

NVGR: Life update

yeah, no article today, amma too tired right now, promise it'll be here tomorrow as it just needs finessing

here's some things I has now on my TO DO list.

Firstly, I have a Novella of an essay to do for very soon, I'm working on that at the moment, chipping away at it, having much fun and that is sarcasm. It effing sucks balls, as inclusion doesn't much interest me as a topic, but since it's worth a CHUNK of my grade, it's time to pull my thumb out and try to stay away from this: my new bookshelf of possible win.


---------------

Secondly, I have the Retroforce GO! comic to finish, and that should be worked on tomorrow if I can find the time, which I will have. At present, the comic is two pages long and will definitely be done for episode 80. There may be a third page done If I find time, but that isn't yet worked on. Here's a picture of sonic I did for tomorrow's article, It'll be about "firsts"


---------------

Thirdly, I updated my DS from the phat to the lite and I got it in an obviously suitable colour. As my favourite portable gaming system, It's awesome to finally not look stupid and have a scrathed up DS in public;
The princess peach case holds 8 of my fave games!

I still can't believe It was sold to me in the condition it's in.

notice the burn marks and the sanding marks, DAMN YOU STACIE T!

--------------

I also need to make sure I get an hour of Blue Dragon in every night to keep my interest in the game buoyant. I just hit Disc 3, and I'm liking where it's going and just gone.

So yeah, expect that article on "firsts" up here tomorrow, and I hope you liked this insight into what's taking up my time this week   read


4:33 PM on 02.04.2009

Retreview: Earth Worm Jim


This image is too good to write on

Earth Worm Jim (EWJ) is a game by Shiny for the Sega Mega Drive. Or Genesis for you yanks. It focuses on the titular hero in his quest to... Actually, I donít really know his motivation; I looked in the manual and no love. Regardless, you run about from level to level, fighting bosses, platforming and enjoying a surprisingly deep silent story. Over the course of the game you will race psychotic mutant crows, kill a cat 9 times and fight a monkey-with-a-professor-for-a-head. The story, like inmost older games, takes a backseat to fun, a lesson unfortunately forgotten in some aspects of our little sphere.

Controlling Jim around is a breeze in the 2D, yet beautiful worlds. The platforming isnít as hard as in some other games, you will rarely if ever find a part that requires pixel perfect jumping, and those longer stretches is made easier with the addition of the ďhelicopter headĒ which is like a less effective glide. Fighting is controlled with either your gun, which at every point you are reminded to conserve your ammunition, and your head, used in a whip-like fashion. While the gun is easier to use, your ammunition is severely hampered by sporadic and surprisingly few power-ups. The whip is significantly more powerful, but much harder to use; mastering the whip gleans two benefits however, firstly, you are saving ammo, and secondly, you gain a new technique for exploring. Jim wraps his little pink head around Hooks and other hook-like outcroppings to swing from A to B. Regardless, enemies will generally fall in a few gunshots if the whip is too hard.
[embed]120610:17411[/embed]
Level 1: including part of Chadís Memory Card moment. Soundís suffering, but this gives you a good feel for what itís all about.

Between levels you are expected to race Psycrow, the aforementioned psychotic crow. Why? Iím not sure, something about smuggling and such. While this can be a fun diversion and a change to grab a handy continue by collecting at least 50/60 orbs, take care to definitely win. Failure results in a boss fight that TO THIS DAY is still completely unbeatable. I refuse to use the internet and assume itís the gameís way of saying ďyouíre shit.Ē He is immune to bullets completely and almost impossible to hit with your whip, though I remember seeing my dad knock him around like a fish. Thoroughly battered.

The worlds and art-direction in this game is fantastic. Receiving this cart only a week or so ago I was hesitant. ďDo my youthful memories cloud what might have been not so good?Ē in short; no. If you take the time to look anywhere other than 2-3 foot in front of you, youíll be greeted by animated backgrounds that look paint and masterfully put together. The enemies are all unique and you will draw pleasure from every frame, whether youíre knocking ten shitloads out of them or vice versa. Even the death animation is so good the edge is taken off the pain of losing that 1up. The only downer is that retro-consoles look like a shitty .jpeg of what it should look like.

The music is something I have come to drown out and it is unfortunate; this game has an unbelievably good soundtrack. The video above has the first levelís music in it, though a reduced quality version. So much care seems to have been taken, especially here, in being a game people will always remember. Hitting something will result in a satisfying whip-crack followed by a hilarious death sound. The reverse involves hearing a hilarious enemy-attacking sound followed by ďAYE-OW!Ē in Jimís distinctive voice.

To put it simply, This game holds so many good memories for me, Itís hard to contain my excitement thinking about playing this game! I remember all the level one secrets in a similar fashion to remembering all of the Sonic codes I ever knew and the Konami code. Iím a saddo, but I canít give you much better advice than to petition Shiny or whoever holds the rights to put it on Wiiware, XBLA and PSN immediately. I want to see the pixels dammit. Considering the only negative point I can raise is that the Mega-Drive isnít HDready: at the very least, buy a controller port for your computer and NOT-download it, or eBay the cart. I want to give the developers money, dammit. Capcom, do another Jim!   read


3:08 PM on 02.01.2009

Mew[sic]: The only music pun I could think of.


One of my favourite parts of a game is its soundtrack. Not necessarily a deal-breaker when itís bad, but a definite plus when itís good. There are definitely examples of classic tunes in Gaming; anyone could hum Super Mario, any gamer will recognise Legend of Zelda and thereís a good chance that it you heard Metal Gear Solidís theme, youíd smile knowingly.

Thereís a good reason youíll know these. Theyíre huge. Which makes you think, how much fantastic music are we missing out on? As someone whose main contact with music as a whole is via games, Iíll try to talk a bit about it.

First off, music needs to be symbolic. It needs to fulfill the mood on the screen, and I donít think Iíve seen a game do this much better, in recent times, than Phoenix Wright. Whenever I hear those melodic bloops and beeps, my mind immediately takes the appropriate measures. Whether itís the energetic ďCorneredĒ or the theme of the Steel Samurai, I canít help but feel energized! Since recent times though, Iíve realized that it doesnít matter whether itís this way:
[embed]120042:17338[/embed]
Or this way:
[embed]120042:17339[/embed]
It raises Goosebumps every time.

There are some Games where every song is a gem. Take TWEWY for example. However you slice it, that game is like loviní for the ears. Provided that type of music is your thing, hereís hoping it is. Iíve decided not to post any youtube links as I donít want to post the entire soundtrack. That would be regrettable.
Then there are songs only really there for promotional reasons. Take the Mirrors edge theme for example. Truly spectacular. I listen to it, at least once a week, when I put a mix CD in my CD player or a playlist on my iPod, mostly after Iím finished with the weekís podcasts. I listen to it, and feel like Iím flying without wings. Britons will cringe at the blatant Westlife reference.

Hereís Lisa Miskovskyís ďStill aliveĒ
[embed]120042:17340[/embed]

Ever noticed how songs called ďStill AliveĒ are cool? Portal, easily the most enjoyable game since... I donít really know when Has a fantastic soundtrack too. Ignoring the highly amusing ending credits theme the game has such a feel about it.... Itís hard to really put into words. Needless to say, listening to it sans-portals makes a very creepy experience out of almost any household chore. On the topic of household chores, there's also the mind bogglingly memorable tunes that seems to haunt you for days after turning off your console. Tetris comes to mind... and surprisingly a few megaman levels, am I alone in the latter?

Regardless of where music stands in these categories, I love it all. I wish all games came with a separate disc with the OST on it or that they at least were easier to get a hold of. Blooping bits to fully orchestrated Present day goodness, I'm simply addicted to it all.

Please excuse the three video embeds in this blog, It won't happen often.
Final note: Hats off to John Williams and the other orchestras who have made fantastic Midi-To-Concert-Hall masterpieces. I love you.   read


3:37 AM on 01.28.2009

The World Ends With Review

A double whammy this week! There was a tie in the voting last week and so I thought I might do both. Lucky youse! That said, there's no guarantee that they'll both be today: or any promise you will get two.



Lovingly dubbed TWEWY by myself, I refuse to write out it's full name; The World Ends With You more than a handful of times, but make no mistake, is is one of only a few qualms I have with this game.

Let's look first at the story, trying to avoid spoilers:
You are Neku Sakurabi, your clichťd Amnesiac hero drawn into unparalleled weirdness caused by forces beyond your comprehension. Very quickly it becomes apparent that monsters are everywhere and horribly vicious, with no way to defend yourself, you flee the scene and a strange girl calling herself Shiki Misaki suddenly forces you into a "pact" and a few seconds or glowing light later, you find your self knocking ten shitloads out of the enemies who you just took a licking off of.
The aim of the game, it becomes apparent, is to survive seven days of the "reaper's game" with your partner, completing the arbitrary challenges texted to you daily. Sounds easy enough, except you are constantly hounded by harriers, groups of reapers charged with the task of killing off as many as possible.

The game's story is very well done, and uses flashback very heavily, but very effectively. you'll probably be a tad confused at times, and see some of the twists coming, but overall, it's a well done experience. The characters are all likable enough, even if you start off hating Neku, the twat that he is, you'll love him by the end of the week.


look confusing? you're probably right...

The fights in this game, other than a few select battles/bosses, are completely optional. That's right, you have to choose to fight most of the time. It's kind of refreshing to play a sqeenix game where I walk three steps and not have to fight another random battle.
Battles take place over both screens and can be incredibly confusing if you don't know what you're doing. On the touch screen you fight as Neku, using the powers you equip on yourself in the form of badges. Depending on what you equip, you have to use the touch screen in different ways. some badges you have to drag along the floor to make it burst into flame, some badges make you slash the enemies and hit them in swordlike motions and some you have to pick up and throw battle detritus like cars, cones etc to hit the enemy with.
The other screen uses the buttons/d-pad (depending on your handedness) and controls your partner, Shiki. on this screen you play a little card matching minigame to generate points that charge your special fusion move; a deadly and often battle ending special that delivers damage to all enemies unfortunate enough to be on screen.
The challenge here is trying to keep track of what is going on in each area, a skill that I am only a novice with. To help you focus on who you are controlling, there is a mechanic called the "puck" which at the end of a combo, shoots over to the other player. the thing to watch for, however, is as you control one person, the other is still vulnerable. to help people who are poor in this regard (like myself) you can get the game to give AI to your partner which is surprisingly skilled at the game, thank god.

You get stat bonuses by eating food and then battling the calories off, each "bite" means one fight and when you use all of your food slots, you're done for that day. the next real day, you can load your characters up with as much fatty burger and soda as you want. food is you way of controlling another stat that I have no idea what it affects, Sync. eating food makes this go up. This is all I know about it.
Your armour will be whatever hip threads you buy from shops with a twist, if you're not brave enough to be seen in public wearing those new couture pants you can't equip them. brave can be increased by stuffing your face silly however, so that +23 attack bonus can't be too far off, can it?

The soundtrack? AWESOME. I can't begin to express how much I love the music in this game. Long after I completed it, I would boot up my cart just to put "twister" or "calling" on, my two favourite songs, and now have them permanently affixed in my ipod in my "most played" playlist. The field and battle screens all have multiple themes. if you chain your battles, each new round has another feel, another tune to deal damage to. Seriously, even if you never intend to even look further at this game, go and sample the music and feel it's joys.

This game, thankfully was brought out in a time I had no tests, as I bought it on release day and I played this game in any spare moment I had and thoroughly enjoyed it. The battles felt epic, the story was compelling and kpet me going for about two weeks non-stop. It petered out eventually, but my friend deleted my save so I guess I have to go back and enjoy it a second time. oh snap.

I'm left a lot out, because I could ramble on about this game for days and days. I sort of want to, but I'll leave it here with an EXTREMELY strong recommendation that you go out and buy this game. or sit there and buy it.
http://www.amazon.com/World-Ends-You-Nintendo-DS/dp/B00136MBHA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1233167032&sr=8-1
I wouldn't put that link there if i wasn't serious.

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On a side note, If anyone knows how to embed youtube vids into blog posts, I'd be very thankful if someone could ether email me or message me.
[email protected]

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That last side-note was resolved by hot sex in the form of a Garison.
May hot ladies aid his cause.   read


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