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5:22 PM on 08.22.2009

I suck at games: There's too many of you online!



I'll admit right off the bat that I've never really considered myself a big multiplayer gamer. Although I had access to a PC during the rise of deathmatch via Doom and Quake, I wasn't smart enough to figure out the dial up modem at the time so I guess you can call me a late bloomer. My first proper shooter experience online was with classic Counter-Strike 1.6 via a LAN center at the local mall. It was there I learned—the hard way of course—the lingo and syntax of the modern multiplayer shooter. I befriended a few local Counter-Strike Jedi to show me the ins and outs of the game mechanics and I became a pretty devastating force behind a keyboard and mouse. That is, a devastating force if the game roster was left at four on four....

See, I don't want to come out and say I suck at online shooters because the reality is, I don't. At least, any online shooter I've bothered to practice at has usually led me to garnering a good reputation among the peers I play with. Yet no matter how proficient I get at an online shooter, I cannot and will probably never be able to play well in large roster games.

Typically, if you face me in a COD4 cage match, I will hunt you down, cut you up, and make you watch me eat your entrails...



For real.

To the contrary, throw me in a 16x16 team deathmatch in Counter-Strike Source or SOCOM, and I become a useless blubbering PTSD victim with a high probability of failure in the field. Doesn't matter if the roster is split into teams or if it's a free for all, the more bodies you fit into the room, my chances for doing abysmally go up accordingly. I become a waste of bandwidth if you will.





It's a bit embarrassing to concede but that's the truth of the matter. In most video games, I'm a natural born killer. If my opponent is an army of A.I. controlled zombies, I'm cool with that, seriously. I play a mean round of L4D co-op or versus. Bullet hell shmups take me some practice, but even a hailstorm of pixilated trajectories can't keep this gamer down. So it frustrates me to no end how just a group of strangers on the “other” team cause me to play shooters like a quadriplegic. It's not just one particular game either. I can—and will—think up numerous scenarios that are applicable across the shooter spectrum which I've noticed when playing in games with large rosters.

Scenario 1



I am always, always, always, always getting raped from behind. It's like I'm that kid from the Family Circus cartoon leaving a dotted trail for every guy on the other team to find me. Like a hungry pack of ravenous prehistoric creatures, they swarm in large groups before I get any chance to get my bearings straight. Efficient? I guess. Frustrating? For me yeah. It's like some kind of sick and twisted hive mind following me everywhere I go and it's impossible for me to worry about what's in front of me when 80% of the time I'm getting attacked from the rear. If I'm lucky to make the 180 degree turn to face my initial adversaries, logic dictates that I get finished off from where I was just looking.

Scenario 2 (More like an empirical law.)



Traveling with teammates does nothing to keep me alive. Oh sure, I'm aware that my teammates may try to divert attention from charlie and make him panic but I still end up in the respawn first. I try to stay a little bit back and let the dude on point take the flak, but you know what? It's blatantly obvious that the opposing team literally has bullets with my PSN id or gamertag on it. Respawning feels like storming Omaha beach all by myself holding flares in both hands over and over again. Rolling with a larger crew while making a big offensive push just means a bigger volume of bullets hit my body at one time.

Scenario 3



Sometimes I think maybe my time and kill to death ratio would be better off hanging back and scoring kills as a sniper instead; far away from all the madness going on at the front lines. Sadly this leads to boredom as taking the sniper role involves two different outcomes. I either camp quietly at my secluded vantage point all by my lonesome and see absolutely NO ACTION or scenario one kicks in before I get a chance to waste my time with this scenario. When scenario one kicks in, I really get pissed off because it only reaffirms my Family Circus theory even more since I don't usually run into any opposition by the time I get to my vantage point.

Scenario 4



I just end up running around in circles. In the game that is. In my mind I'm trying to think I am being a sneaky sneak by flanking the enemy. If I move around all the action happening on the radar screen--which clearly shows a full scale firefight going on--I should get the drop on a few tangos. I don't know why I keep falling for this because scenario one usually happens before I can get my drop on, or my compadres have taken it upon themselves to obliterate the opposing force allowing me to welcome home the newly respawned; seeing as how I'm probably on their side of the turf by then. This scenario particularly grinds my stones like nothing else since I have yet to play a shooter that rewards you appropriately for doing NASCAR laps around the map. This scenario turns a white knuckle, reflex intensive activity into the equivalent of turning left for ten minutes at a time.

Scenario 5



In large scale warfare type games like Battlefield 2 and Warhawk, I always end up in a game where there's a least one or two aircraft pilots on the other team who actually know what the fuck they're doing and can annihilate the puny ground forces on mine. Nobody cannot touch these angels of death and I don't know if they actually have training in actual piloting aircraft, but they ruin it for me and probably everyone else too. To step out of the safety of the respawn tent will result in an artillery payload on your head which may cause severe trauma, or in my case, a messy death. It's like taking a team of thirty-two players and squishing them down into one giant piece of aerial superiority.

What it really comes down to is that my ability to play online shooters productively is directly related to the amount of bodies shooting at each other in the room. Anything above six on six will usually spiral into mass chaos and confusion on my part. The thing is though, I'm not a very competitive person so I'm not in it to win, but it's hard to accept that I'm wholeheartedly useless to my own survival and my team. That is sucking right there. I've cost countless games for sufficiently talented teammates because I may as well be a bonus free kill item. I want to make a contribution, I want to be important, but I feel as online shooters grow their roster capacity I won't be able to enjoy them for the teamwork and camaraderie that supplements them. I'll be too chewed up in the carnage of online warfare against an army of 128 players to have any fun. As hard as I try to do my best, the outcome pretty much plays out like the NSFW clip below when I compare my post round stats to the players up top who just committed online genocide successfully...

[embed]145466:21710[/embed]   read


3:03 PM on 08.15.2009

It's a dirty job, but none of you were going to play it: Veks and Silence Review

Earlier this week, Edible Entertainment unleashed what they call an, “INSANE BLOOD DRENCHED ZOMBIE SHOOTER” among the obviously unsuspecting public. Never one to pass up an opportunity to take part in a nihilistic shooting rampage, 400 Microsoft Points sounded like a fair price of admission so I took up the offer at four in the morning with Mr. Sandman practically ready to knock me out. The good news is, I found Veks and Silence to be worth the sleep deprivation.

Veks and Silence is essentially a 2D shooter and platformer and rarely deviates from that description during the entire game. Your goal is to guide Silence—the dude with a bag on his head--from one end of the level, to the other end, and in between you will find yourself blasting the utter crap out of everything that isn't you. It borrows the pacing and action from the Metal Slug series in which swarms of enemies will attack you from above, below, and behind you, as you move Silence across the level. There isn't anything done here that isn't canon already in 2D shooter gameplay, but there isn't much here that is poorly implemented, not to mention that the formula worked back then, and it sure as hell works now here.



Silence comes armed with 4 weapons mapped to your D-pad, a pistol, a shotgun, a chaingun, and bolt action sniper rifle. Each weapon is intended to be balanced to affect Silence's mobility and firepower in different ways to encourage the player to rely on all of the arsenal for various situations. For instance, the default pistol is weak, but Silence is the most mobile when he has it equipped, allowing him to move faster and jump higher. In contrast, the sniper rifle is a one hit kill for most enemies, but it is difficult to fine aim and it slows down Silence considerably. Do note that I said each weapon is “intended” to balance the arsenal but unfortunately this is one of the first faults I noticed with the game. Those two guns I just mentioned--the pistol and the sniper rifle--are really the only guns you'll find yourself using. Swapping between the pistol and sniper rifle is really the best combination as the game never presents any situation requiring the shotgun and the chaingun to be effective. The chaingun is too heavy to let you jump at all, and the shotgun makes you nearly just as immobile, but with a rather redundant spreadshot. If the folks at Edible did some more gun and gameplay tweaking to promote more weapon switching, the execution would have come off a lot more polished. Silence also carries an infinite supply of bombs with him, serving the purpose as grenades. They came in handy on occasion and are even required to defeat the first boss in the game.



While causing massive amounts of devastation with your limited arsenal, the game counts up your kill streaks and applies your score towards a rage token. Once you acquire at least one rage token, you can go into rage mode. Here, the screen turns red making Silence invulnerable and his weapons do more damage. Personally, I felt that rage mode lasts a little too long and is a little too easy to acquire; because of that, I was able to sort of plow through almost half a level on just one rage token on occasion. Still, there are definitely some instances where rage mode makes life better for you in the latter stages in the game. The game gets challenging towards the end and requires either good reflexes or rage mode to progress.

So as a whole, that's really what Veks is bringing to the table here While you're playing, it's certainly easy to notice the lack of polish on certain aspects of the gameplay but it's never detrimental to your enjoyment. The game still manages to provide some frantic shooting and platforming in a challenging way. There is rarely a moment where you don't find yourself bombarded with lasers or surrounded by zombies and killer robots where one ounce of contact costs you a life. The shooting mechanics themselves work really well for what they are, providing you with some gory results as you take down your undead foes. Nothing groundbreaking here, and if I were to end this review here I would merely recommend it to shooter buffs looking to kill some time and leave it at that.

But what takes Veks and Silence from being a serviceable shooter to something much more comes from the game's presentation. Graphically, Veks isn't amazing, but the art style and attention to detail in design is certainly dense and grand in scope. Levels are large in the sense that they are packed with background animations and artistic elements that draw your attention from the main game in a good way. There's actually billboards in the city that are humorous, factories feel like living breathing mechanical beasts with enormous machinery plugging away in the background, and one level has you plowing through a haunted house that really comes off as a derelict crackhouse. Some elements repeat themselves a bit, but overall I think everyone will be impressed the design of the game universe which cannot be said for the game's minimal story. Normally a game like this shouldn't rely on some kind of driving narrative to keep you focused, but nothing very relevant is ever really told in regards to Silence and his motives to save the world and find his missing partner Veks. The slideshow still images are beautiful to look at in between level loading, but they don't really add anything of substance besides a quick glimpse of where you're going next.



Veks and Silence is probably one of the better titles to hit XBLA's Indie platform in any recent amount of time. A lot of what holds the game back from being total and utter greatness is really just some lack of polish in the gameplay mechanics and story. It's still a lot of fun to play through the game's thirteen levels and it really starts to pick up about halfway through the game. By completing the game, you also unlock survival versions of the game's levels which are a fun diversion and add some worthwhile content if you're interested in beating your own high scores. For the asking price of 400 points, there's really no excuse to give it a go if you like shooters from your Genesis days. This is a decent first effort with a lot of potential to be a full fledged Live Arcade series in the future so show some support.

Oh and the final boss shoots a school bus full of screaming children at you. If that thought doesn't make you smile than maybe I am a little messed up.

3.5/5   read


6:27 PM on 08.08.2009

Brutal Legend Official OST....100+ Tracks

EA Denmark has posted the official tracklist of songs appearing in Brutal Legend when it releases. There is some serious stuff packed in this OST and I have to admit, I was kinda ambivalent towards this title but now my eyebrows have been raised after reading this. Check it out below.

Sham-Wow!

3 Inches of Blood - Deadly Sinners
3 Inches of Blood - Destroy The Orcs 3 Inches of Blood - Destroy The Orcs
Accept - Fast As A Shark Accept - Fast As A Shark
Angel Witch - Angel Witch Angel Witch - Angel Witch
Anthrax - Metal Thrashing Mad Anthrax - Metal Thrashing Mad
Anvil - March of the Crabs Anvil - March of the Crab
Anvil - Tag Team Anvil - Tag Team
Apostasy - Sulphur Injection Apostasy - Sulfur Injection
Bishop of Hexen - A Serpentine Grave Bishop of Hexen - A Serpentine Grave
Bishop of Hexen - The Somber Grounds of Truth Bishop of Hexen - The Somber Grounds of Truth
Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
Black Sabbath - Symptom of the Universe Black Sabbath - Symptom of the Universe
Black Sabbath - Never Say Die Black Sabbath - Never Say Die
Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee
Brocas Helm - Drink the Blood of the Priest Brocas Helm - Drink the Blood of the Priest
Budgie - Breadfan Budgie - Breadfan
Budgie - Zoom Club Budgie - Zoom Club
Candlemass - Witches Candle Mass. - Witches
Carcass - No Love Lost Carcass - No Love Lost
Cloven Hoof Nightstalker Clover Hoof Night stalker
Children of Bodom - Angels Don't Kill Children of bodom - Angels Do not Kill
Coroner - Skeleton on your Shoulder Coroners - skeleton on your Shoulder
Cradle of Filth - Her Ghost in the Fog Cradle of Filth - Her Ghost in the Fog
Crimson Glory - Queen of the Masquerade Crimson Glory - Queen of the Masquerade
Dark Fortress - Insomnia Dark Fortress - Insomnia
Dark Tranquility - Cathode Ray Sunshine Dark tranquility - cathode Ray Sunshine
Deathstars - Blitzkrieg Death Stars - Blitzkrieg
Def Leppard - Rock of Ages Def Leppard - Rock of Ages
Dethklok - Mermaider Dethklok - Mermaid
Diamond Head - Am I Evil? Diamond Head - Am I Evil?
Dimmu Borgir - Progenies of the Great Apocalypse Dimmu Borgir - Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
Dokken - Mr. Scary Dock - Mr. Scary
Dragonforce - Through the Fire and Flames Dragon Force - Through the Fire and Flames
Emperor - Thus Spake The Nightspirit Emperor - Thus spake The Night Spirit
Enslaved - Frost Enslaved - Frost
Enslaved - Loke Enslaved - Loke
Firehouse - Overnight Sensation Fire House - Overnight Sensation
Girlschool - Bomber Girl School - Bombs
Iced Earth - When the Night Falls Iced Earth - When the Night Falls
Iced Earth - Pure Evil Iced Earth - Pure Evil
In Flames - Goliaths Disarm Their Davids In Flames - Goliaths Disarm Their Davids
Judas Priest - Battle Hymn Judas Priest - Battle Hymn
Judas Priest - The Hellion/Electric Eye Judas Priest - The Hellion / Electric Eye
Judas Priest - Leather Rebel Judas Priest - Leather Rebel
Judas Priest - One Shot At Glory Judas Priest - One Shot At Glory
Judas Priest - Painkiller Judas Priest - Pain Killer
Kabbage Boy - Girlfriend Kabbage Boy - Girlfriend
KMFDM - Free Your Hate KMFDM - Free Your Hate
KMFDM - Rip The System KMFDM - Rip The System
King Diamond - Cremation King Diamond - Cremation
King Diamond - Welcome Home King Diamond - Welcome Home
Kiss - God of Thunder Kiss - God of Thunder
Lita Ford - Betrayal Lita Ford - Betrayal
Marilyn Manson - Beautiful People Marilyn Manson - Beautiful People
Manowar - Die For Metal Manowar - Die For Metal
Manowar - The Dawn Of Battle Manowar - The Dawn Of Battle
Mastodon - Crack the Skye Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Mastodon - Oblivion Instrumental Mastodon - Oblivion Instrumental
Megadeath - High Speed Dirt Mega Death - High Speed Dirt
Megadeath - Tornado of Souls Mega Death - Tornado of Souls
Metal Church - Metal Church Metal Church - Metal Church
Michael Schenker - Group Assault Attack Michael Schenker - Assault Attack Group
Ministry - Stigmata Ministry - Stigmata
Ministry - Thieves Ministry - Thieves
Mirrorthrone - So Frail Mirrorthrone - So Frail
Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood
Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart
Motley Crue - Live Wire Motley Crue - Live Wire
Motorhead - Back at the Funny Farm Motor Head - Back at the Funny Farm
Motorhead - In the Black Motor Head - In the Black
Motorhead - Marching Off to War Motor Head - marching Off to War
Motorhead - We Are the Road Crew Motor Head - We Are the Road Crew
Nitro - Machine Gun Eddie Nitro - Machine Gun Eddie
Omen - The Axeman Omen - The Axeman
Ostrogoth - Queen of Desire Ostrogoth - Queen of Desire
Overkill - World of Hurt Overkill - World of Hurt
Ozzy Osbourne - Believer Ozzy Osbourne - Believe
Ozzy Osbourne - Mr. Crowley Ozzy Osbourne - Mr. Crowley
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a madman
Prong - Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck Prong - Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck
Quiet Riot - The Wild and the Young Quiet Riot - The Wild and the Young
Racer X - Technical Difficulties Racer X - Technical Difficulties
Racer X - YRO Racer X - YRO
Ratt - Lay It Down Rätt - Lay It Down
Riot - Road Racin Riot - Road Racine
Riot - Narita Riot - Narita
Riot - Swords and Tequila Riot - Swords and Tequila
Rob Zombie - Superbeast Rob Zombie - Super Beast
Rotting Christ - Ad Notics Rotting Christ - Ad Notices
Running Wild - Riding the Storm Running Wild - Riding the Storm
Sanctuary - Battle Angels Sanctuary - Battle Angels
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King
Saxon - Wheels of Steel Saxon - Wheels of Steel
Scorpions - Blackout Scorpions - Blackout
Scorpions - Holiday Scorpions - Holiday
Skeletonwitch - Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery Skeleton Witch - Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery
Skid Row - Youth Gone Wild Skid Row - Youth Gone Wild
Slayer - Metal Storm/Face The Slayer Slayer - Metal Storm / Face The Slayer
Slough Feg - Warriors Dawn Slough FEG - Warriors Dawn
Static-X - Love Dump Static-X - Love Dump
Tenacious D - Master Exploder Tenacious D - Master explode
Tenacious D - The Metal Tenacious D - The Metal
Testament - For The Glory Of Testament - For The Glory Of
Testament - More Than Meets The Eye Testament - More Than Meets The Eye
Tvangeste - Birth of the Hero Tvangeste - Birth of the Hero
UFO - Rock Bottom UFO - Rock Bottom
Whitesnake - Still of the Night White Snake - Still of the Night
Wrath of Killenstein - Ignisis Dance Wrath of Kill Stein - Ignisis Dance

That's a lot of devil music eh? See anything you like stranger?

Found on Neogaf citing Kotaku article   read


6:52 PM on 08.07.2009

Come Along Children, It's Time To Play A Little Music.

Music is probably my biggest addiction next to games. I remember game soundtracks were always getting caught up in my head and I would sing or hum them incessantly. While everyone I knew eventually turned to commercial radio and pop stuff, I kept my own tastes unique by exploring all kinds of music that reminded me of games, would make good soundtracks to games, and captured the attitude and vibe of some of my favorite games (primarily PC shooters).

After high school I fell in love with the art of mixing music and the hobby of collecting records. I was always the kid in the music shop at the mall trying to find cool new music I liked that I could share with my friends so learning the craft just felt like a natural extension. Just like finding obscure indie or doujin titles to share with your peeps, sharing tunes with people is just a lot of fun and I bet I'm not the only one who agrees.

So without further ado, here's some equilibrium for your ears to harmonize—or bleed—to.

Tonikom

[embed]143276:21243[/embed]

Kinda dark ambient electronic music. Most of it more down-tempo like this track while other songs can be more akin to drum and bass. Lots of atmospheric synth pads and melodies in a sort of soothing minimal kind of way usually. Tonikom uses a lot of percussion in her stuff and maintains an overall scifi vibe, especially on her first release, Epoch. If you enjoyed Kenji Yamamoto's work for the Super Metroid and Metroid Prime soundtracks, I think you'll dig this. It'll make you want to throw on a Varia suit and go space pirate hunting. With the Metroid Prime Trilogy not far from release, I figured everyone should check out Tonikom. Also worth a look if you enjoy Akira Yamaoka's work for Silent Hill.

Ambassadors of Funk: Super Mario Compact Disco

[embed]143276:21244[/embed]

Funky oldschool hip hop breaks with Super Mario samples composing most of the beats. Of course, the rhyme schemes are cheesy at best but they're easy to tune out compared to the beat arrangements which are catchy like nothing else. This release is long since out of print and I obtained my copy Dyson style at my local Goodwill so good luck finding it in any stores. There are torrents for it, but the bitrate quality is so shitty on them that I wouldn't bother in my opinion.

La Manade: Taser 08



Sample Player

This is actually a vinyl record I find myself listening to all the time for the A1 side. Basically a remix of the classic Mario Bros. theme, but it's one of the best I've heard in a long time. One way you can get this is to order from overseas; provided you actually have a working turntable to play vinyl on. This one's for the highly caffeinated who like fast bouncy techno. If you fancy yourself a raver, you should try to obtain a copy of this vinyl off Discogs unless you really want to pay shipping from France.

Megadriver
[embed]143276:21245[/embed]
Check the guitar body...

Ok, just for you people who prefer music made with actual instruments don't feel neglected, here's some retro flavored metal for ya. This isn't the first time Megadriver has been brought to your attention, but new bloods should be made aware of them, as I'm sure a lot of gamers have run across videogame metal bands like Powerglove already, but when I bring up Megadriver I usually get blank stares. Well know this, these guys love their game music and it really shows in their metal recreations of some of the best Sega tunes to hit the console. From Sonic to Shinobi, Megadriver hits hard and melodic like it should be done. Best of all, most of their releases are free to download at their site, so if you like metal and you're not stupid, you should probably get on that.

So be sure to check out these artists and spread the word about their music. I don't know if I will eventually turn this into a regular column but it possibly could; seeing as I spend too much damn time navigating the net looking for this stuff. Until next time...   read


12:07 AM on 08.01.2009

How I've Become A Twisted Pixel Fan In 24 Hours

Cute is not in my interest whatsoever. With the exception of the once off cute em up like a TwinBee shooter or Star Parodier, I gravitate toward the more darker and violent side of the gaming spectrum. Of course, I have an appreciation for quality no matter what the presentation is, so I often find myself pushing my tastes into unknown territories when I have time on my hands, or no games to play. So while most of my time would rather be well spent with a game in the lieu of Painkiller or Prototype—mindless, nihilistic violence ftw—I have no qualms with picking up something like Chu Chu Rocket or whatever if the gameplay and story is engaging to me.

So yesterday I found myself home from Best Buy having just used an old gift card to purchase a lot of Microsoft points for the purpose of buying 'Splosion Man. I enjoyed the demo immensely and wanted to get the full experience of idle animations and solid platforming. The art style and presentation were refreshing and 'sploding is just a fun twist on the multiple jump feature. I actually only played about four levels of 'Splosion Man before my revelation hit me. This is a great game not because it's just fun to play from a gameplay perspective, but because the developers, Twisted Pixel, had crafted a brilliant interactive Saturday morning cartoon. Through the self evident graphical style and animations, the game also has a aura of silliness about it from achievement designs and its cute take on violence, to a zany lead character straight out of an old Freakazoid or Animaniacs cartoon.

I wanted more of this.

The name Twisted Pixel rang some bells and a quick Destructoid search led me back to one game I admittedly passed on after a short demo stint: The Maw. Twisted Pixel's first release and a critically acclaimed one to boot. I stopped playing 'Splosion Man and used some more points to grab the full game and the DLC to accompany it. I thought I would give it a try and if it didn't capture me like 'Splosion Man, I'd just go back to that and finish The Maw at a later point in time. It did capture me though; in a way that brought me to finish it in one sitting. This second time around, I was fascinated by Maw's personality and his disposition to consume and kill all the fauna he walks in front of. Actually, the killing fauna part was a bit annoying, but as a whole, I tolerated the slow gameplay for just the sheer joy of watching Maw consume and grow. Somehow, Twisted Pixel basically managed to make a game about walking a big alien Bernese Mountain Dog a delightful experience.



Both equally stupid, yet both equally lovable.

So now I'm hooked on Twisted Pixel. Doesn't it feel good to find a developer that has crafted something with tender love and care that suits your interests? A lot of times I find myself playing games and learning to appreciate their mechanics and presentation because that's just what the developers put out there and I learn to love them as I play. Rather, in this case, The Maw and 'Splosion Man feel like games I happened to stumble upon that were just what I needed to keep me glued to the TV and be unproductive. In a good way of course. While I'm not reviewing them in this piece I do have to mention both have some flaws—especially The Maw—but these are some damn fine games for their asking price. The Maw in particular proves that you don't need a lengthy amount of time to become fond of your game characters and sometimes it's best to let the friendship end where the journey ends. (AKA, I hope they don't make a sequel.)

I didn't expect to be walking a dopey alien across an unfamiliar planet and 'sploding my body to cause mass chaos and confusion among the scientific community this weekend, but thanks to Twisted Pixel, it looks like I am. The boys and girls at Twisted should commend themselves for winning over a new fan and although I am not a praying person, I hope their studio stays afloat to make more titles for me to enjoy in the future.   read


10:44 AM on 07.29.2009

New AvP Trailer-Marine Gameplay

[embed]141824:21029[/embed]

I have so much anticipation for this game it's starting to give me cramps. Any gamer worth his or her title should have played the old AvP titles on PC for the intense Marine single player campaign and the fantastic multiplayer in AvP2.

This is shaping up to be a great looking title dripping with atmosphere. I always thought these games would get better and better as technology progressed and it looks like I'm right so far. Being a marine in these games is the equivalent to being a deer in an open field. Of course, deer armed with automated weapons and flamethrowers, but deer nonetheless when compared to a Xenomorph or Predator. If you played well as a marine, it took a lot of communication and skill and the older titles could be considered precursors to survival co-op like L4D .

Oh man, if this thing has a cooperative horde'esqe mode in the final release it will eat up console multiplayer traffic on XBL and PSN like nothing else.   read


6:26 PM on 07.27.2009

Clean and Righteous-A Red Faction Fanfiction Attempt

Hey there Dtoid

This is my first attempt writing some fanfiction in a long time. Usually I write more expository kind of stuff, but I enjoy reading good fiction so I wanted to give this a shot. It's a multi part fake news article in the Red Faction universe. My focus here is on writing good dialouge and humor. This is just sort of a short prequel to test the waters if there's an audience for this. Let me know what I can work on, of if this is just stupid and I should try writing something else. Hope you like it though.

78 million km across the vast ocean of black nothingness, the terrestrial planet of Mars rests quietly in orbit around the Sun as it always has for perhaps billions of years. Colonization of this derelict red planet once seemed to be a distant science fiction dream of NASA and similar aerospace organizations of the world, and for awhile the allure of achieving that goal maintained itself as a far reaching dream. Yet, it was eventually through the efforts of the Ultor corporation that finally made the great leap forward in aerospace technology and granted access to Mars for humans. Eric Pascua, a retired Ultor executive who initiated and managed the development of the technology, still remembers his inspiration for the project with gusto.

“I remember getting my hands on the computer game Doom and thinking to myself, goddamn wouldn't it be cool to open an inter dimensional portal to the depths of Hell?” “So I got some assets and approvals together, sat down and all of us brainstormed how this could happen, of course, the biggest obstacle was actually getting to Mars.”

It wasn't until later in the project that Pascua discovered his new biggest motivator while finishing the second episode of Doom. “Fucking Cyber-Demons,” he gushed, “after my first encounter with just one I knew that getting to Mars was a no failure mission!” “If these things were on Mars I knew Ultor would reap in profits no matter what the cost it took to get there!”


Pascua secretly admitted to writing and producing the Doom comic

Ultor and Pascua did make it to Mars but they didn't find any Cyber-Demons or any inter dimensional portal to Hell when they arrived. “No imps, no nothing,” says Pascua, “I admit I looked like a real prick back then.” “After spending trillions on labor and funding to get there, not a single archeologist found any trace of Hellspawn on Mars.”

“We fucking told him back on Earth that this wouldn't work!” recalls a former chief Ultor astrobiologist. “All he did was play Doom like it was his job to play videogames all day!” “I spent fifteen years of my life in higher education obtaining my Doctorate and then that piece of shit Pascua makes me waste the next fifteen years trying to find intergalactic fairy tales; if I went to work for Black Mesa I swear to Christ I would never have had to put up with shit like this!”

Pascua's mission a complete and utter failure, Ultor decided to go ahead and set up a mining operation deep in the trenches of Mars. “Well we didn't want to piss off any of the crew we just shipped thousands of light years away from home by telling them I fucked up in a sort of big way,” explains Pascua.

Not that the Ultor workforce would be happy to go home in either case. The global economy back on Earth was beginning to fall apart and conditions even in the United States were approaching third world levels.

“I sat down with some people and we figured, hey, we got like ten shitloads of giant drills and stuff, no Union and no human rights laws out here on Mars.” “If we did a little exploitation here, some mandatory overtime there and broke a few backs we could really put lipstick on a turd and turn this botched pilgrimage into a money maker.” And so Ultor mined. For years the program stayed on its feet and workers on Earth flocked by the droves in order to support themselves and their respective families back on a planet slowly falling apart.

Early Ultor miners slaving away at red rocks all day.

Ultor maintained their exploitive mining project successfully due to unorthodox security measures in equipment and personal training. This often involved arming guards with full scale portable missile launchers and even more deadly weaponry according to a former Ultor Staff Sargent we touched base with.

“I remember getting my hands on this laser rail thing for the first time and the catch was, you could see through rocks and stuff with it.” “So it was always a blast, no pun intended, to aim the thing just past an unsuspecting miner's head and let er rip!” He laughs like drunken first grader. “Oh man, and then the infirmary boys over there would constantly bitch at us, because they were sick and tired of cleaning the shit out of the mining suits when those dumb ass miners came in crying for a new suit!” “If you liked pulling the wings off dragonflies when you were a kid, this was the job for you...”

Yet, unlike dragonflies, the miners knew how to handle weapons and operate heavy machinery. Eventually, the miners collaborated and initiated the first Red Faction revolt on Mars. They pushed Ultor and their hired band of mercenaries off the planet where eventually, the true stars of our story would arrive to clean up the damage.

The EDF would set history in motion by undertaking the largest terraforming project known to mankind.





To be continued...   read


2:05 PM on 07.24.2009

World Domination Sequence Activated: Absurd and Crass Content In Games

Hi, I'm Reveille

I've been playing games for eighteen of the twenty something years I've been around and for the most part enjoyed the experience. Like a crackbaby, I started young and the addiction pretty much never let go. I'm sure we all have our reasons for becoming fond of staring at a cold glass screen with controllers in our hand, and mine was because I was immediately drawn to the attitude games had back in their infancy. By infancy I mean the 8-16 bit systems and early shareware software for the PC days because quite frankly, I consider earlier systems irrelevant to this discussion. Fuck em.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om84Zc4-KcQ
Well....except the Atari

Fuck em. That's the right spirit. That's exactly why I became so drawn to the medium the minute I was handed a controller for my cousin's Sega Genesis. Sonic had all the ingredients for the adrenaline rush of a game it was aiming to be. Bright color palettes with crazy level design, up tempo chip tune music and of course, speed. From there it only got crazier and if I could freeze time to stay in that era of game development I wouldn't be a twenty something bitching like a grouchy, jaded, old fart. It needs to be said that games were once very crass in nature and that the trend has faded out. The industry's attitude is about being taken seriously now and as should be expected, producing games that reflect where it wants to go. That goes for indie games too. Developers and publishers, both big and small, are trying to expand the idea of what can and cannot be a game by exploring sophisticated story telling techniques, and pushing graphical presentations toward the realm of digital dick wagging contests. These projects cost so much, they usually cannot be funded without the help of some shareholder owned publisher which shoots creativity out the window due to financial obligations. So now I really want to know just one thing.

What the hell happened?

I understand that a medium is a medium and things change, but I'm really interested in how games took a swan dive in attitude and crass in favor for maturity and money. I'm not talking about the fact that the market is saturated with genre clones of one another, but the fact that the industry releases one Serious Sam sequel for five futuristic cinematic shooters or for three Braid clones we get one Castle Crashers. Like I've said this plagues indie developers too.


Below I've included some images of games for various platforms released between 1990 and 1996. Can you imagine anyone, even some XNA developers, tackling game concepts like these?


Carmageddon


Zombies Ate My Neighbors


Rise of The Triad


Earthworm Jim


Streets of Rage 3

I tried to think of some titles off the top of my head that didn't simply fall into the category of gratuitous violence but that's certainly a feature I miss. Yet up above you have games with crazy premises, childish perhaps, limited in scope and maturity but still fun as hell for a reason. The developers wanted to make something fun primarily, not artistic. This was a young medium at the time, akin to the wild wild west in regards to direction. You had crazy and new Ips all over the place, especially in the PC shareware market. It doesn't matter if all these titles are even any good (most of them are in my opinion) but they usually all had a cool idea behind them and like throwing shit at a wall, something stuck very well. Today, I think developers have lost this attitude and spunk for developing their titles. At least, so much in that the ratio of these crass, immature titles is well out of proportion enough to sort of bottleneck the industry. Crass shouldn't be a deterrent to quality. Anyone who enjoyed Earth Defense Force 2017 should be nodding their head with me here. Linear, simplistic and utterly not pretty, the absurdity of the content in EDF was a beautiful throwback to what made games more interesting in my mind, and thus, kept us playing. Of course though, the general consensus is that EDF is a budget title, and gamers view it as a cute diversion, while I find it to be quite a fulfilling title on all fronts.



One reason why I really enjoy reading about, and playing games by Suda 51 is that I think he has the right idea behind what needs to keep gaming interesting. I enjoyed Killer 7 not really for the gameplay or even the story, but for its absurdity. On rails? You got to be kidding Suda! What the hell does running through a room blaring techno before a boss fight have to do with anything? No More Heroes was fairly repetitive and nonsensical too, but I boot it up from time to time just to experience the humor and absurdity in the presentation, not to mention the over the top gore. The Behemoth are still making games properly. James Silva, the developer behind the the XBLA title The Dishwasher knows the score. Sadly though, the majority of developers and gamers both feel like the industry has little to no room for crass or absurd titles. As detective Issac Washington from HOTD:Overkill would say, “That's some offensive shit you're playing me!”

As much as I gripe though, it all really boils down to your individual tastes. I can't convince everyone to enjoy Doom as much as I still do. Likewise, anyone pontificating for reaching the artistic third revelation of gaming falls deaf on my ears. They're games first and foremost, and I think a very successful formula for making a fun game is to make it visceral and absurd. It gives your title an attitude, makes it stick out in your mind and tells conventional social norms for established entertainment to go fuck themselves. Just like an old fashion Black Flag record. Tell me, if you played games in the nineties, do you still remember when and where you played some of your favorite games? I remember my first Metal Slug playthrough, my first installation of Duke Nukem and the first time I went and got ludicrous gibs in Rise of the Triad. Braid was fun, but I don't remember when I played it or even finishing it. I love Ratchet and Clank as a series, but there are so many of them that I can't recall when I exactly finished or started the next one. Quake 2 I can still recreate in my head from start to finish because I'm weird like that, but it's my favorite shooter of all time because I enjoy the visceral and over the top carnage in it to this day.

So that's what I'm all about basically when I look at gaming. The industry has room for a multitude of audiences, and I want sophisticated mature titles too. But I think this medium is suited to the crass visceral presentation first and foremost and we shouldn't forget that. It's a tried and true way of making a game effective in keeping you playing. Oh and I guess this was supposed to be an intro post but I decided to make it something else, but hopefully all this and the sidebar can tell you enough about me for now. Hope you liked reading this.

“Good taste is the enemy of creativity”
-Pablo Picasso   read


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