What I am am is just your average guy. Living out my life in relative peace, trying to make a living in this rough and tumble world. An aspiring game designer, you might call me, I wast...erm...spend 2.5 years of my life going to school for said aspiration as well. What will come of this dream? Hell if I know.
But beyond that, I'm your typical gamer. I play a bit of everything, here and there. Anything from shooters to obscure Japanese fare is in my history, I've also been found scrolling through lines of Japanese dialogue, pretending like I can read it. Pretty fun, right?
I'm a 360 guy mainly, it serves as my main platform. I also have a PS3 and a Wii of course, along with several other consoles which I will list below because, well, I feel like it. Listing things passes the time, makes the world go round.
As I said, shooters and action games grab my attention mostly, I do dabble in RPGS (but never seem to finish them) as well as adventure games and the like. I'll play and enjoy just about anything, so long as it isn't an MMO. I have stories about that, but I'll tell you later.
Some of my favorite games of all time?
Jet Set Radio
Phantasy Star Online
Taiko No Tatsujin
Metal Gear Solid
Katamari Damacy (+ Sequels)
Time Crisis (+ Sequels)
Ninja Gaiden 1, 2 and 3
Starfox (+ 64)
There are several more, but too many to list here. I own several systems, most of which I don't find the time to play.
Xbox 360 (Modern Warfare 2)
Xbox 360 (Resident Evil 5)
Xbox 360 HD-DVD Drive
PSP (Carnival Bright Yellow)
GBC (Translucent Purple)
GBA SP (Nintendo Classic)
Nintendo 64 (Black, Gold)
Nintendo 64 (Pikachu Edition)
Neo Geo Pocket (Camo)
Neo Geo Pocket Color (Silver)
Colecovision (+ Atari 2600 adapter)
I have a modest collection of games for most of them, I buy more every now and then when money allows, and I'm always looking for more. It's a bit of a hobby, I guess. An expensive one at that. Favorite system would have to be the Dreamcast. Why? I'll write a blog about it someday. Next to that would be my 64.
I own a Power Glove as mandated by Nerd Law.
So if you can't tell by now I'm somewhat of an addict. I usually go out of my way to own or secure unusual or rare looking video game stuff, and sometimes wind up buying things just for the sake of owning them. Why do I have a Japanese Guncon 2? I'm not sure yet.
So there you have it, that's me. I'm a pretty friendly guy, I suppose. I like tacos, anime and long walks on the beach. Just your average person, right?
I'm not afraid to say it. I like taking it off, and sticking it in. I've been doing it for years, and I'll openly admit that it gives me pleasure in doing so. Some may consider it inappropriate or old fashioned, but I've always enjoyed it, be it in private or around friends, or sometimes even in public. Others even call it dirty, dangerous, and say it puts me at risk for accidents, that I'm living on the edge.
When I tell people, they often seem offended, and yet I don't know why. People have been doing this forever, why is it suddenly becoming unpopular? Chances are you used to feel the same way I do now, chances are you've done it at least once in the last few years.
You've bought a brand new game, ripped off the plastic, and stuck it into your console of choice.
For me, that's part of the experience. It's part of what makes gaming special. Even though I'm 25, I still get a twinge of Christmas morning when I open a new game. I still feel a crushing disappointment when a game does not include a manual. I look at every single insert inside the box before I even play the game. It all brings me back to my childhood, ripping open Nintendo 64 games and violently thrusting them into my system.
Think back to your own. Did you have that same feeling of euphoria when shoving a virgin cartridge into a gaming deck? Did you look at the box, the manuals, the posters? For me, one of the best memories is that of Mario 64, something I'll likely never forget. Not just the game, but opening it, looking at the manual, and booting it up for the first time and climbing those trees like a boss.
By this point you've probably realized this is another one of those 'Renegade Hates Digital Games lulz' blogs, as well as an excuse to type a series of vaguely sexual puns for no clear reason. I tricked you into reading it, didn't I? It's exactly like Metal Gear Solid 2.
A lot of people have called me old fashioned for preferring, or flat out requiring physical media in order to buy a game. They say it's the future, that the convenience is amazing, the prices are cheaper, yet none of that rings true to me at all. I'm more than willing to pay more to get physical, because any other way lacks the passion for me. Sure, I could get my pleasure quicker and cheaper, but where's the love I felt that Christmas morning?
Yes, I just indirectly compared gaming to prostitution.
Think about it, you wouldn't sacrifice passion in your relationship just to have sex all the time woul...okay, no, that's a bad example.
You wouldn't sacrifice quality to get your food quicker and cheaper...fuck, okay, not that one either.
So maybe I don't have a suitable analogy, but that word does have anal in it, which is funny. It's what you'd expect the study of anuses to be called, right? Granted if someone was willing to devote their entire life to the study of anuses, you wouldn't want to hang out with them. Because they'd be a shitty friend.
Oh, right, the blog...
When it comes right down to it, I guess I just prefer the physical nature of buying a game. I like unwrapping it. I like looking at it. I even like physically putting the cartridge or disc into the machine. There's just a feeling there that I can't get digitally. In fact one of my favorite parts about Taiko No Tatsujin Wii is the fact that every single game in the series has a 20+ page, full color manual, inserts; and right down to the disc art, it's all sickeningly adorable.
I guess that's worth as much to me as the game itself. It's just like a hooker, or something, you pay for the sex, but you want something nice to look at too. You want the satisfaction of knowing that you didn't just get a game, but all the things that go with the game.
All I know is that if sticking it in is wrong, I don't want to be right.
So by now everyone knows, Microsoft has officially ditched their DRM policies and allowed you the ability to share your games the same way you've done it for...well, ever. On the surface this seems like a great decision, a sigh of relief for consumers the world over, and at first, I would have agreed.
But hold the phone.
This isn't exactly the 180 that everyone has oh-so cleverly branded it. What seems like a full blown reversal could very well be a carefully concocted scheme to make you believe that Microsoft is listening, when the reality could easily be that nothing will change. At the very least, used games and loaning will be back to the way they should be, but what about that other part?
You know, the 'mandatory internet connection?'
Microsoft stated that you could play any game that doesn't require an internet connection offline, for any amount of time, and that no check in's would be required. That's great, but only on a basic level. This may not have the profound impact that the internet would lead you to believe. In fact, it's entirely possible that very little will even change in that regard. To start this off, let's play a game.
Re-watch the Microsoft conference, any interviews conducted afterward, and any articles posted. How many times did someone refer to 'the power of the cloud?' Chances are you've got a list numbering in the hundreds. Sounds innocent enough, right?
But it isn't. Microsoft has likely spent thousands upon thousands of dollars preparing these cloud servers, and it's obvious they are an integral part of the Xbox One. Take a look at the games they announced, almost every single one mentioned cloud computing as a major focus for the game. Dead Rising, Forza, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, hell even Below had a mention of it.
So if developers are integrating it to such a large extent, it means only one thing. That you're still going to require an internet connection to use any cloud powered games. If these developers are to be believed, it's not something they can simply turn off if you aren't connected. And that means that you're still forced to connect to the internet, just like you would have before. And that means very little has changed.
Even if cloud processing has nothing to do with the game itself, developers and Microsoft could easily just slap those two innocuous words into the marketing and, again, require you to be connected due to the 'essential' nature of the cloud. And when a majority of the games they've even announced are 'connected' experiences anyway, it only further complicates the sudden 'reversal' of mandatory connections.
So in the end of all this, it's entirely possible that not much could change. You can be sure Microsoft Studios will continue pushing cloud connectivity for the majority of their games, and third parties will likely follow. While the situation is significantly better now, we're not entirely out of the water just yet.
Yes, it's not a dictatorship anymore, but it's still a poor leader with views that can best be described as unclear. The skeptic in me doesn't believe that Microsoft will truly do away with the internet check in's, but simply re-brand them. Like a politician, Microsoft is saying what it needs to say to get the vote, but will they actually follow through and do what's right?
Let's just say Microsoft isn't getting my vote just yet.
It's been awhile since I tapped my inner soul to write a blog. A long time since I've let my emotions surface in a way expressed through anything but intense cynicism and social isolation. But I noticed something after the Xbox One was revealed; I started to realize that my passion and overall love for videogames was starting to fade. Every drop of excitement was replaced by skepticism, fear, and depression, and nothing anyone said seemed to lighten it.
Announcements immediately filled me with dread, fearing that those same companies that gave me so much enjoyment for so many years would single handedly try and rip it away. I tried to stay optimistic, but I just couldn't do it. It was the first time I can ever remember not being excited at all about an upcoming generation of gaming. It was the first time I ever considered quitting gaming altogether. And, as you may have guessed, the Xbox One was the push that sent me ever so closely to that edge.
Yes, I know, the current generation will still last for a little while longer, and at least as far as home consoles go, Nintendo was on an admittedly slow trend that I at least had some faith in succeeding. But the Xbox, indeed Microsoft, was somehow special to me, solely because it was the very first console where I could buy every single game myself. I had to beg for Nintendo 64 games, I had to save lunch money for weeks to buy a Dreamcast game, but when the Xbox hit I finally had my own income, my own games, on my own terms.
It may sound stupid, but that was one of the best damn feelings I had during my entire childhood.
Disclaimer: These are not actually my games
These games were mine, they weren't gifts, they weren't rentals, they were my games. And that knowledge changed me. It made me appreciate the work that went into these games, it made me appreciate the people in the stores who sold me the games. It made me realize just how much I really wanted these games to be a big part in my life.
Enter the Xbox One. Now I'd like to avoid beating a dead horse here, but I can't avoid poking it with a stick. The restrictions, the online requirement, the fact that they essentially turned disc based games into a glorified digital copy with seemingly more barriers than a true digital one. I hated it all, but not for the reasons you may think.
I've been pretty vocal about my detest for digital distribution, and while I agree it has a place, I don't agree at all with the level that it is being implemented in gaming today. Indies? Fine, it makes sense, smaller developers have a common, low cost method to get their work out there, where it would otherwise be impossible. I respect that.
But big name publishers, even middle class publishers turning to digital fills me with that sense of dread and depression. People argue that 'it's the only way' when, in reality, it often seems like publishers just don't care or devalue their own franchises. But if all I cared about was playing the game, then I wouldn't have nearly as much of a problem with it. But gaming isn't just about the gameplay to me.
It's about the experience as a whole.
Experiences that would have been lost in their original form without used games and right of ownership.
Now, with that out of the way, I won't drag digital through the mud too much. I know I'm in the minority, and if you enjoy it, then that is your choice. Indeed, the point of this blog is to primarily focus on how Microsoft managed to take something I hated, and twist that hatred into an all out blinding rage.
Microsoft originally gained some of my favor back by announcing disc based games. But as quickly as it had come, Microsoft made a series of confirmations that made me seriously concerned about the future of my life long past time. Essentially, they turned my disc based games into digital copies, slapped on restrictions, terms, which made me wonder...why even have a disc in the first place?
Sure, it allows me to buy my games in a store; which I enjoy, by the way; and I can put it on my shelf. Part of that experience that I love had been preserved in some form, but that alone wasn't enough. I still didn't own anything. Sure, I may have paid for it, but when Microsoft has the keys to deny access at any time, I can never say that I owned it.
Which brings me to the biggest problem I have with this 'check in' requirement. It's not about the internet, it's even less about the right to resell that game or loan it to a friend. It's about the sole fact that having that game on my shelf means nothing to me. It's not mine. It's Microsoft's.
And I will admit, Microsoft has some games I really want to play. Halo is one of my favorite franchises from the current generation, and Sunset Overdrive looks like Brink infused with a Jet Set Radio branded energy drink. These are the kind of games I'd normally buy a system for. These are the kinds of games I'd like to own.
But what happens in six years, when the Xbox Two comes out? What happens when Microsoft shuts the servers down? These discs I paid for are worthless. In a single fell swoop my entire Xbox One gaming collection could be rendered entirely worthless by a single company who never cared to address that particular concern. I can't collect these, I can't pass them on to a new generation, I can't keep these on a shelf and share them with my children (God willing) to pass my passion and love for these games on.
Pictured: Xbox One games in six to ten years.
I was never alive to experience that day Atari made gaming a household name, but you better believe I own, and have played, Pong multiple times in it's original mainstream form on the Atari 2600. Every NES game I now own came out long before I knew what a job was, the Genesis was far out of my reach, and I was lucky to own more than 5 or 6 Dreamcast games. But now, on all of those systems and more, I own at least 20 games.
Do I play them all? No. But the experience for me is knowing I own them. Knowing that I have history, I have something that can be passed on to those, like me, who used to have no idea what gaming was like before their time. It's a passion I feel so deeply for that I want to preserve it. I want it to live on. And Microsoft had inadvertently sentenced it to death. They had taken something so simple, something I took for granted; the ability to buy second hand games and play them whenever I wanted to; and threw it away.
Which is why one statement in particular gave me such a sense of hope, such a sense of joy that I can't even put it into words. When Sony announced the PS4 would not adopt the same model as the Xbox One, I may as well have won the lottery. Sony was keeping discs, they were keeping my passion alive. They weren't just making a good decision, they were telling me that they shared that passion. I owned my games, my experiences, my passion; not them.
They made me remember why I love gaming as much as I do, they reignited my hope for the future. And that's exactly why I went out and pre-ordered one that very night.
Remember when game consoles had you verify you owned a game by inserting the game?
Sure, at it's core, gaming is about gameplay. But for me, it's equally about knowing that I own a piece of that, it's about knowing that years from now I can come back to an experience I love without relying on companies to allow me the privilege to do so. I can give these games to someone I care about and share it with them forever. These experiences are mine, and I can keep them forever. I can say without a shred of doubt, that these are my games.
And you know what? That's worth more to me than any exclusive in the world.
A lot of random, angry adjectives have been thrown at Microsoft lately regarding the Xbox One and it's unusual desire to regulate everything you do on it. Look, I get the anger, but what we should really be focusing on is that Microsoft actually toned down their plans considerably. A recent leak from a 'trusted friend of an ex-Microsoft official' reported on Kotaku (and since taken down) confirms Microsoft's original plans via one (presumably of a series) form, pulled from a page buried in the Xbox One website.
Being a hard hitting member of the Cult of Journalism, I have the only exclusive look at this form.
This form was to be included with every game sold, and mandatory for anyone looking to loan their games to a friend, which of course puts good game developers out of business. Seemingly in response to all the backlash, Microsoft quickly ditched this plan in favor of a much more convenient internet connection check, because everyone has the internet. It was stated that the high cost of postage and uncertainty within the Post Office community also fueled the change.
When asked for comment, Microsoft representatives were quoted as saying...
'Deal With It.'
They also uttered a series of buzz words and assured us that everyone, everywhere, was over reacting, and it wasn't really that bad.
Today I did something I've never done before. I participated in an industry based focus group. I thought it'd be a great chance to see if mainstream America really was full of backwards hat wearing, beer guzzling, violent, women objectifiers that we're apparently perceived to be. Also, you know, to give my opinions on stuff.
About 30 minutes in, we were given the assignment to take a classic game and update it for the modern era. I suggested Dig Dug, which the group had never heard of. I explained it briefly and showed them some screenshots before it was insinuated that I was a homosexual with little skill and a mother who frequently got compensated for sexual favors. I was then cast aside.
For the next four hours, I sat in a corner playing Senran Kagura, not realizing just what exactly was going on. I eventually passed out and woke up to find an empty room filled with confetti, doors ajar, and this posted on a wall directly in front of me.
If you're like me, you're just sick and tired of reading all these professional reviews about boring, relevant games that come out practically every day. You ask yourself, where are the reviews I care about? Well don't worry because I'm here to help. More importantly, Renegade's Random Review theater is here to help.
Today's review covers the controversial world of British accents and police brutality with striking attention to detail. A game that truly speaks as a bold statement against the 'man' and possibly the 'woman' too. No, it's not my award winning documentary, "England Is Invading: Hide Your Pudding!", but it's the next best thing. It's Autobahn Polezi. Poleezi? Poelzi...?
Autobarn Polezwei is backwards from the start. Upon starting your car for the first time, the game directs you to drive somewhere, but that's not the messed up part. You're instructed to drive on the wrong side of the road, further complicated by the fact that everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road. What's worse is that driving on the correct side causes head on collisions at a shockingly high rate. It's like the game is set in some kind of bizarro backwards country across the ocean, instead of America where all the good video games take place.
Once you're used to that, the game goes one step further by putting your speed, and other critical measurements, into some kind of strange alternate language. The game assumes you know what a "kilometer" is, which I can only assume is like those news stories where people buy kilo's of things and then get arrested right after. Playing this game must be exactly like breaking the law, so I have to be careful.
Okay, so say you've finally decoded the entirety of the Scribbleese language, it's time to drive. You only get one car at the beginning, because you're undercover, or something like that. The car handles well enough, assuming your car handles like a bowel movement after a particularly spicy bowl of soggy noodles. After a bit of dialogue involving you and your partner, who I'm pretty sure isn't a real cop, you drive to a predetermined location and...well, cop stuff I guess.
One mission has you racing to a checkpoint, which in turn starts a mission where you have to follow some truck because some guys stole some car. In order to stop them, you have to smash their escort cars into helpless pedestrians before jumping out of the car into the truck to save the other car. Apparently this is a really nice car, at least that's what the dispatch lady says.
Between those exciting missions, you're free to drive around and abuse your police authority to basically destroy the city of...whatever city you're in. You can try to run people over, or just smash into those stupid advertisements that have been plaguing the city for years. Apparently this is all perfectly acceptable to the government and associated agencies, because you get rewarded for doing it.
And that's where Authbain Calzoni's true value starts to shine. Ramming your car into things is good. Speeding is fine, cars are expendable, pedestrians will always jump out of the way at the last second, and causing several billion dollars worth of damage is perfectly acceptable to save a $250,000 automobile.
In addition to driving, you also have some tools at your disposal, seemingly picked from the dumpsters behind James Bond's apartment. Remember the RCXD from Black Ops? You get one of those, except you have to control it while driving, and it somehow manages to be even more unwieldy that the noodle poop you launched it from. Once you position it directly under a car, you can blow it up, which seems like it would have been perfect for blowing up those escort cars earlier. You know, just saying.
Now, on to the graphics, clearly the most important part of the game. The graphics here are chock full of emotion, be it the cars, the environments or the wonderful variety of colors on display. The game is also full of genuine humor (or humour, if you're watching in Scribbleese) and truly made me happy inside. I also liked the stellar voice acting and top notch production valu...
Wait, hold on.
Sorry, that was my Blu Ray copy of Cars playing on HDMI 2.
Well, this is embarrassing, anyway, back to the game. The graphics look decent enough, the car looks like a car, and the tables on the roadside cafe's look just like the ones I just saw at the hardware store. The biggest problem here is that the gauges take up an unnecessary amount of screen space, presumably to highlight JUST HOW FAST AND EXCITING the game truly is.
And the more you play, the more exciting it gets. More cars, more missions where you follow some guy, more thought provoking dialogue. You'll never want it to end, because you'll be so flabbergasted by the amount of fun you're having, that your brain will cease all logical thought processes. Before you know it, you will be drooling all over your half eaten ham sandwich, staring at the television in awe.
So should you buy Autobeen Poopzien? No, you really shouldn't. Despite my glowing praise, I can't think of a single reason why anyone would play this game. It's quite telling that the first game, called Crash Time, was so poorly received (maybe because of this "kilometer" nonsense) that they had to rename this sequel in the US. Maybe they had good intentions, or maybe they heard about my up and coming band, Crash Time, but the fact remains that this game...