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Phntmbanana's blog

6:24 PM on 08.12.2008

A launch, with a contest(details inside)...

Well to start off, this post is going to center mostly around the fact that the website that I currently write for re-launched yesterday so I would like to get at least one shameless plug in here instead of anywhere else. I come bearing gifts though with a contest, and details in just a few paragraphs. The rest of the post will go into detail some of the things I had to do to get the site ready for public eyes( I was by no means alone in doing so), and maybe a bit of game journalism insight.
The Plug/Contest
To start here is a plug to my site which features a giveaway of Guitar Hero Aerosmith for the XBOX 360...
So there you have it, the site I work for,, is holding a contest for a brand new copy of Guitar Hero Aerosmith for the 360. All you have to do is register, and enter in the regular mumbojumbo that contests always want you to enter, and in doing so makes me a happy man, and you are that much closer to a new game...

Now on to a semi-normal blog post
I don't blog here as frequently as I would like but it's not your fault, I've just been busy trying to move the 300+ reviews from the old site to the new site. I'm sorry I neglected you sweet Destructioid. I am the Editor of all things Playstation for Darkstation, and with that comes a lot of work.
1. Moving things from the old site to the new site- Before I started at Darkstation it was decided that it needed a face-lift so my main responsibilities have been with helping in that area. This is deadly work that takes DAYS and DAYS of carpel tunnel inducing boredom. But in the end it is worth it when you finally see the site you worked hard on especially when you have a site you can be proud of like I do...
2. Reviewing games- This is something that I have only had a small taste of so far, and I really enjoy it. When I first started I wrote reviews for 3 games that I got for Christmas, and when I say they were bad, let me tell you they were awful. So I was proud that I could finally write a halfway-decent review, and continue to now at a site that isn't using a CMS from a website builder( because I have written for those types of sites).

I'll stop myself there for today and ask again for everyone to register for the site and enter the contest, because given the fact that we just launched its as good a chance as any to get the game for free. Sorry for the shameless plug I'll keep it to this and this alone, and I'll make sure to announce the winner here, and good luck to any that enter.
Mike   read

11:40 AM on 07.20.2008

Examined Features #1: Destructibility

With E3 over and all the aftermath, aftershocks, and afterwords finally coming to a close I would like to examine a feature that is sometimes an afterthought(which for the most part it should be) but is never quite forgotten, and that is the idea of Destructible Environments, Players, Weapons etc...

While they never quite make or break a game some people consider them a very important part of the experience. I agree, but only only when used correctly, and in the right kind of game. It also brings up the debate of if all things should be destructible(Red Faction for example), or just some things that give special items or such(like God of War or Devil May Cry Series' for example). Is this Feature as important as good mechanics and a great story, No, but it definitely warms many a heart to hit a button and see a shitload of things burn.
Destruction and Destructibility is a idea that has been around for quite some time now, and usually is a staple of any kind of action game with an emphasis on 3rd person games. Some choose to embrace this concept (Mercenaries springs to mind, along with Motorstorm), while others hide behind excuses to why this was not included, yes I'm talking about you Gran Turismo the last major racing series to not have no damage at all to the fancy cars being raced.
The Good
1. Can be a good source of items, upgrades, health, etc...
2. Can be used for puzzles to make things less obvious
3. Explosions are cool
4. For racing games specifically, High speed crashes are fun especially when they actually influence the game or race
5. Makes cover systems more realistic by not letting you sit in one place
6. When the destruction is linked to the physics engine
The Bad
1. Can get in the way of the action and make things harder
2. If the game is specifically centered around destruction other parts of the game can leave something to be desired.
3. Sometimes can cause slowdowns in a game that can't handle too much going on at once.
4. Annoying when only somethings can be destroyed in a game full of invisible walls

How to Make it Better
1. Gran Turismo gets a damage system.
2. Destruction used as a sort of strategy element and optional in puzzles.
3. Bigger explosions
4. Environments are actually changed by the destruction in a way that varies the gameplay.

With new games coming out all the time that feature destruction and havoc most notably and newest being Mercenaries 2. My hope is that destruction becomes not a bigger asset of games, but a stronger one....   read

5:13 PM on 07.15.2008

E3, andThe Quickly Fading Idea of Exclusives

E3 marked the passage of one of the biggest, if not the biggest reasons to buy a PS3 in most people's minds, and that was the passage of a very huge title, Final Fantasy XIII, with it going over to the side of XBOX360...

Many a Sony Fanboy were shaken to their very core that afternoon(Myself Included, although most likely not as much as most) when they saw their beloved franchise "betray" the Playstation purists. It has been well documented that the idea of an exclusive has been becoming more and more difficult, but no one would have thought something as huge as FFXIII would take what I consider to be the(at least financially) the easy way out...

This most certainly has not been the first game to switch sides, even during this generation, but it is without a doubt the biggest game to do so thus far. FFXIII was a reason for many people to buy a PS3, but now with Square seeming to go the way of the 360 more and more lately, the choice is not as clear cut. The actually effects of this surprise announcement will not be known until 2009/10/11...??? when the game actually comes out. Last year the big announcement that DMC was no longer a PS3 exclusive had a similar effect but in a smaller fashion with many people choosing to pick up the identical 360 version instead of buying the PS3 to play it. The same can be said about GTA 4 but for the most part it was always known to be a multiplatform game. As this generation goes on I expect very little in the way of 3rd party exclusives(which is a point I failed to mention but very important because there will still be 1st party exclusives of course)

It's strange that it seems like at least in my opinion the big three have kind of blown their load a little too early in the life cycle or presumed life cycle of the games. I'm very interested to see where 3rd party companies go along with how well the 1st party games can pick up the slack, and provide great exclusives. New IP's are getting more risky as games become pricier so it will also be interesting to see if we get a barrage of sequels like usual or something new.

My prediction is that the PSN and XBOX Live marketplace will be the biggest distributors of exclusives which should be the best option given that it balances risk and reward the best out of all ways. To say the least it will be a fun year and I'm almost sold on buying a 360 on the basis of the few exclusives out there alone.

Gaming is getting bigger and this brings good(more games, bigger budgets, more people to play with) but also many bad things(less exclusives, in game advertising, the wii(but I'll get into that another time).

This should be a great year for all systems and E3 is far from over...   read

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