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3:26 PM on 08.22.2007

How similar to Bioshock will Fallout 3 be?

Ive played Bioshock for a good 10 or 12 hours now and I can't help but see a good amount of similarities with Fallout. Now, Bioshock is obviously going to be different from Fallout 2 merely because it is in a different era of gaming and much more is possible, along with the fact that one is first person and one is a 3/4 overhead, turn-based game. However, it made me wonder how similar Fallout 3 will be to Bioshock, if it carries over many of the aspects that Fallout 1 and 2 did.

Obviously the greatest similarity is the 50s vibe that both games have, which is great. The songs from that time are a great contrast to the dystopian realities that both games are set in. From there you can also see a very similar skill description techniques. That being "yellow and white" basic cartoons that are comically non-violent in their style of decribing beating people with wrenches or rocket launchers. I can easily imagine Fallout 3's pipboy having a voice explaining skills in a short and sweet manor just as they are in Bioshock.

Next, Bioshock's weapons can be upgraded in a homemade manner, just like the weapons in fallout 2. After upgrading the Machine gun to have less kickback I couldn't help but think that it looked very similar to the extended magazines, scopes tied on , etc, in Fallout, in style at least.

Then, there is the concept similarity of the gameplay, in theory at least. There is the "defeat enemies how you want" idea. From melee to range to hacking nearby computers(and getting by automanted sucurity systems). Fallout also did the same thing with its skill progression, allowing you to upgrade whatever you wanted to do. This also leads to the "choose when to fight" aspect of the game, which both have.

You can even stretch the interactions with characters pretty far to say they are the same too. Imagine if a Big Daddy was like the muscle guarding a merchant. Then think of the hacking of a vending machine as being pickpocketing a merchant, you get more for less, and sometimes even things that you can't get normally(as in fallout you could take the merchants items that were on him, rather than what was on sale). And when enemies are fighting each other, you can stand back and watch, or help the losing side so that mop up is easier, which often happened in random encounters in Fallout 2.

I can't help but think that when Fallout 3 comes out its gonna be pretty similar to Bioshock. There will obviously be many differences. Bioshock has elemental powers, no NPC interactions, a camera, hacking minigames, etc. Fallout will(I would think) have radiation concerns, many NPC interactions, many more weapons and armor to choose from, levels, cannibalism, etc. However, I just thought I'd point out some of the similarities in Fallout and Bioshock as I didn't really think about this comparison before I actually played the game.   read

2:46 AM on 07.02.2007

Someone is remaking a game I remember? There will be hell to pay.

Some people just can't get over the fact that nothing lasts forever, and that change is constantly evolving everything around us(Except War. War never changes). Its just a fact of life. But why is it that no one can apply this logic to video game remakes and revivals?

What is the first thing you hear(and most likely, think) about when a franchise is revived? Do you hear about the new features? Eventually, yes, but not at first. First, there is a giant shit storm of disapproval from the fans of the "original". And, oddly enough, its normally coming from the biggest fans of the franchise, normally people that have been clamoring to get a sequel or a remake for years, ever since they finished the original.

Its comical to even imagine the instant 180 that this person's brain must take when this situation arrives.

Pre-announcement: "JESUS, they need to make a new X"
Remake/revival of X announced: "hooray..."
Seconds later: "You know what, this new one will SUCK BALLS, its COMPLETELY not the one I played 20 years ago."

This is literally exactly what happens in people's minds. And they are right, to a degree, but not the way they want to be.

One of the things people become angry about with remakes are new features, or new gameplay, or a tweaked anything. Well, this is simply because they are viewing a remake in the wrong light. When a game is remade or redone it is not just literally making the EXACT game again. If you want to do that I have good new for you, YOU CAN! Its called "playing the original". Its an odd concept, but some crazy people do actually play games that are more than a year old. A remake or revival is like a "re-envision" of an old franchise brought into modern technology. It is meant to be similar to, but not a carbon copy of, the its predecessor.

Another of the common complaints is that a new game will somehow "destroy the franchise". Maybe its simply the thinking that "if my favorite games franchise isn't popular it makes me feel bad", but this has always been an odd argument to me. A new game will not tarnish an old one. Period. It is just baffling to me that someone would think that a new game has to be good as if it will retroactively destroy another title. Did Castlevania 64 make you hate the other titles in the series? Did Parasite Eve II make me look down upon Parasite Ever? Did Bomberman Act: Zero maim my childhood memories of older version? Obviously the answer to all of these Questions is no. Games should and will be viewed based on their own merit, not the franchise they come from.

I do think that this behavior can be stopped fairly easily though through a few simple methods. First, stop comparing the new game to the old game. They will not and should not be exactly the same. View it as a new title and work from there.

Secondly, (this is more of a developer thing) don't listen too much to what people have to say about your title. Take input, of course, but don't listen to everything that is said on the internet. Some people just don't know what they are talking about so always keep in mind the words of bill Cosby, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody". Make the game that you want to make, not the game that 30 or 40 people on an internet forum want. The more a title is changed based on the opinions of people outside the project the more it becomes watered down from its original vision.

And lastly, people need to accept that sometimes a game does not lend itself to a remake or revival. Some games, like Beyond Good and Evil, are great stand alone titles and really have no need to be revisited. Again, if the original was so great that you need more of it, then do just that, and play the original again.   read

2:42 AM on 07.02.2007

Rabid forumites, simply hilarious

I'm excited about Fallout 3, you're excited about Fallout 3, everyone is excited about Fallout 3. Except, of course, for those rabid Forum posters. O how I love thee, rabid forum poster, each of your pots is as intelligent and well thought out as the last. Just look at some of these gems from this site:

"Please, no more
I've had enough of this
Remember how one of the FO devs said that selling FO license is like selling his own daugter?
Well, this daugter has been beaten badly and violated by 5 super-mutants


Its beautiful. No need to use periods when you can just add a whole new line to your post, the longer it is the better. Also, in rabid forumite mode there is no need to make a point, other than something has been really screwed up by someone else, somehow, and this angers you to no end. "Ive had enough of this". But why? Who knows, its not important, because we all know that this guy thinks Fallout 3 is crap from a news story by one guy and some still screens of a demo he has never seen in action. The "duh" is added in to emphasize that its common knowledge every game that this person has never played, because it isnt even out yet, sucks.

But wait, theres more. Look at yet another brilliant example of how the forum goers get their point across so eloquently:

" QUOTE Back in 1987, while working on their own RPG, Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, they fell in love with Fallout."

It's impressive that they can get stuff like this so wrong. Don't these people spend any time on research?"

This guy TOTALLY nailed Nick Brutal. Brutal obviously doesn't even know what decade that fallout came out, or Elder Scrolls 2, or any game for that matter. Could this merely be a typo? HA, the forum junkie laughs at you, for every single piece of information ever typed is written in stone, and there are no typos.

And, of course, the analyzation of the gameplay from a post about a demo that was played in front of the writer(so thats twice removed gameplay) is equally amazing:

"QUOTE did someone from Bethesda ever send you an email saying that "We only care about money and don't give a [insert unspeakable word here] about the quality of our games."?

Close, but not really.
They've dumbed it down to another fps so they can get larger audience and more $$$

They have non-turn based gameplay so the game has obviously been dumbed down to an FPS. Forget that they still have the targeting system with the VATS. Forget that they have talked radiation and how it seeps into multiple parts of gameplay. Forget that it still has the Special system with tag skills, and that there are more perks to be chosen(once per even level, rather than once per third level). It was said that there is non turn-based gameplay, and from that one statement, it is painfully clear that all Bethesda cares about is "KA-CHING".

As Ron Workman would say, the "internet Matlocks" are pure genius.   read

11:49 PM on 06.10.2007

Best unpopular game

I was thinking about games like Beyond Good and Evil and Ico, and wondering what other games Ive played that it seemed like no one else did. I came up with this one.

Parasite Eve

This is one of my favorite games of all time, but it seems like me and 1 of my friends are the only people who have ever played it. This is the game that made me think twice about selling games, because for some reason when I finished it I thought I would be done with it forever, but I have bought it at least 5 times from multiple places. Every so often I just get the urge to play this game, and am wholly satisfied every time I do. It had one of my favorite story lines OF ALL TIME, and it was really very very simple - Mitochondria are fighting against the creatures they are in. Its one of the few games that can actually teach a little bit about a real scholastic subject other than military tactics or economics.

The gameplay was slightly more than that of a turn based RPG. You would run around in a small area on the screen(designated for battle, takes much less time to come up then loading a whole new "battle area". While you ran around dodging enemy attacks and ATB guage would fill. Then, when you chose to use your turn, the game would temporarily pause while you selected an action and a target, but would be in real time as you fired, so if you chose at the wrong time, you could still be hurt by an enemies attack. You also had a magic guage(Parasite Energy guage) for magic like attacks. There is also a range system built into the game, which adds a little bit more to the avoid/attack system and give a little bit more strategy in what weapon to use when, etc.

There is a slight RPG-like system where you have a few things to choose to improve as you level up. A slightly abnormal aspect of the level up system though, is that you can choose to give a bonus to either yourself, your weapon or your armor. And this is a game where you are changing weapons and armor just rarely enough to make it a decent idea. You can also synthesize the most powerful weapons in the game by collecting 300 pieces of "junk" and talking to the weapons guy in the Police Station.
You also gain new powers as you level up, though its not a choice which powers to get when.

The game was only about 9 hours long(if I remember correctly), but it had a couple of different ways of making you want to play more. The first was that at the end of the game you can engrave something into 1 weapon and 1 armor, it doesn't tell you at the time, but you get to use these to start the game in the "EX mode". And the second was that a new area was unlocked in the city, the Chrysler Building. This was an impossibly difficult area if done at the wrong time. This led you to essentially have to beat the game more than once to be able to get to the top(by leveling up your weapon that you kept instead of yourself, then leveling up in your third game to actually get to the top of the building.

Overall I pretty much liked everything about this game. Its a game by SquareSOFT, oddly enough to me, as I didn't think it felt like a Square game, but it seemed very realistically done(for a game where you have powers and fight reanimated dinosaurs) and it seemed like its gameplay was much better than that of the standard turn based RPG. I liked the incentives they used to add replay, I liked the story, I liked the battle system, I liked the enemies and I liked the characters. I pretty much just loved this game.

So, there you have it, one of my favorite games ever, and it seemed like no one else heard of it. Chime in and mention one of yours.   read

4:49 PM on 06.05.2007

What aspects of a game excite you?

So, what sucks you into a game? With the recent advent of the battle of 2 different trains of though, namely, "graphics whores suxorz" battling the "The Wii is jsut flailing your arms, look, IM DOING IT RIGHT NOW!!!! LOLOLLOLO!!!!", I started to really think about what was important to have in a game to draw me into it. The answer, essentially, is that (surprise surprise) there are a plethora of ways that a game can amaze me. Something that, when you experience it in a game it completely blows your mind could be something as small as a piece of trash to the very foundation of the game itself. Its a question that gamers have been seeking the answer to for years and has no one "true" answer. However, I am going to list some of the things I have experienced in games that have truly made me happy to be playing the game, in no particular order. Also, there will be games used in multiple areas, that is merely because they are great games, and this is completely allowed, and should be done more often by developers.

You could argue(and many do) that this turns the game into more of an interactive movie than a game, but this is not necessarily true. A great storyline does not need to have intricate plot twists at every corner, mounds of speech or text, or hours of CGI footage(though a great number of them do). The main purpose of a great story is to get the player involved in the story to the point that there is real interest in what will happen next, and what the conclusion of the game will be(beyond merely "I win, hooray"). No matter what the graphics look like, no matter how awesome the control scheme is, no matter how fun the action is, none of these elements alone will draw you into a game more than an event like the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII or a certain realization in Knights of The Old Republic. With that criteria in mind, here are some of the games I have come across that accomplish the goal of sucking someone in with a great story: Final Fantasy VII and VIII and X(forgive me, I never played the 2D Final Fantasy games), Star Wars: KOTOR, Beyond Good and Evil and Parasite Eve.

This is a little harder to nail down than the story as an "aspect" of a game, but is important nontheless. Its essentialy the fairly unmeasurable but easily experienced "feel" that you get from playing a game. It is is a combination of things like storyline, backdrop, enemies, characters, music, etc into an immersive gaming experience. This is to say that it won't be like a turn based RPG where there is a phenomenal story that ends up being hampered by the clunky battles, the repetitiveness of the enemies, and the fact that you have to talk to some NPCs over and over again to get certain goals. This, however, isn't to say that a game has to be perfect in all areas to accomplish a great atmosphere. A game like Shadow of The Colossus, which had little sound, occasionally clunky controls, and only a small portion of the playtime set aside for progressing the story is a BRILLIANT example of how creating a great atmosphere can completely make a game worth playing. The game does this with the beautiful landscape that you traverse, not adding in any needless "travel music", creating a wonderful sense of scale and size, and using a good but fairly uncomplicated story. Some other examples of something adding to the atmosphere of a game include when guards talk to each other before they see you, realistic interactions between NPCs that appear to be part of a normal life(Oblivion), the NPCs in Beyond Good and Evil, and the visual level design in God of War II, where you will see places you were hours ago, sucking you into the idea that it isn't a linear game, but rather a world you are going though(though ironically it is just linear). Essentially, the designers recreated an experience through the medium of a game rather than just having a game explain the story they wanted to tell(which it also does). Some other games that have a great atmosphere include Ico, Beyond Good and Evil, God of War II, Half Life and Half Life 2.

Physics/processing power
This has recently(along with controls) become somewhat of a heated topic, but the fact is that this does help with the immersion of a game. The better something looks, the easier it is to relate to it and therefore be drawn in. This covers a broad range of things from textures making backgrounds more believable, better lighting allowing for more realistic worlds, better faces allowing the emotion of a character to be shown more accurately, physics programming advancements leading to a better ability to represent a physically immerse world and even just the ability to have more "things" in the game, whether it be people and places like GTA, pieces of trash and movable boxes like Half Life 2, different car parts affecting the performance of a car in Forza/GT. More power allows you to add weight and physical properties to matter so that it will react as if it were the real world as well as create much more advanced AI which leads to many more enhancements and adds to the immersion as well as producing many "wow" moments. And, of course, there is the superficial stuff like textures and polygon counts, or even (as an older example) the ability to even have a game like Mario 64 be 3-D in nature. Some games that really seemed to put graphics and physics at the top of their priorities were Half Life 2, Final Fantasy VII, FEAR, God of War, Gears of War and Oblivion.

Social interaction
The days of gamers all being complete nerds/shut ins are behind us, well, at least the days in which these were the ONLY people playing games. Games aren't necessarily a solo man against machine undertaking. They can be a 100 hour turn based RPG or a Zelda-like adventure game, but they can also be more of a group man against machine undertaking(co-op) or a social gathering that is only loosely a game at all(World of Warcraft). Some of my favorite games were games that I could play co-op with my friends, such as the old Turtles in Time game on the Super Nintendo or Final Fight, where I would work together with a friend to complete the levels. I can see the anger coming at me now, but at the heart of World Of Warcraft, and most of the MMORPGs that are popular now, is the interaction of the players with one another. The game is almost just a premise to get this widespread interaction and social hierarchy going. And this is the very reason that they are popular, because they allow interactions within a game that were never allowed before. The game that best fulfill this social interaction are any game with coop or WoW.

This experience does not just pop up from making a game, then putting the ability for people to fight other people in. It takes a long process of balancing and designing to specifically make a game well suited for a fair multiplayer experience. And, some games just don't have the ability for multiplayer experience, simply because the genre does not lend easily to mulitplayer competition, such as an adventure or platforming game. This can take a game from a $50 purchase that lasts for 20 hours to a $50 purchase that will literally last for years. Competiton is a great way of adding longevity to the game by allowing for many, many adrenaline pumped moments of gameplay thereafter. I have often been emotionally moved by the storyline or wowed visually, but the adrenaline rush from extreme competition in a close match is not to be underestimated. Some examples of this are Counter-Strike, Starcraft, and Halo.

Control method
A unique control method is probably one of the hardest things to come by in a game, possibly because a new controller is rarely made, but new ideas and new programming techniques are constantly being used to enhance the control scheme at least. However, this can also offer the most unique gameplay experience once it is utilized. It is used more often in arcades where large machines are common, but there are some instances of it in console gaming as well, especially more recently. DDR is a great example of this. The large pad makes the player actually move(most often terribly) to the rhythm of the music, rather than just hitting a button at the right time. Then, there is Guitar Hero, which actually have a very different controller shaped like a guitar to try to immerse the player into the idea that he/she is playing a guitar. And, of course, the most prevalent example of this is the light gun, which the player physically aims rather than relying upon a stick. This shouldn't be overlooked, as it is the only thing that we are physically touching as we are playing the game(aside from the couch or floor, of course). In fact, it was one of the reasons I actually liked going to an arcade, it had a variety of controls, from the sit down racing game complete with wheel, pedals, and shifter to the more conventional 6 buttons and a joystick to the light guns to the outrageous Gyroscope-like space games that actually spun you around(though I never actually played one of these). However, it would seem that there is no "best" control method, as each one works well for a group of games(or a single game) but few methods work for a very wide variety of games(namely, some sort of method with a few buttons and something that has a wider range of outputs, such as a mouse/joystick). Some examples of good control methods are the Wiimote(with nunchuck, though 4 buttons to replace the A button would be a nice improvement) and the PS3's Sixaxis.

This is the hardest to pinpoint area that a game can excel in because there is such a wide variety of styles that people like. Even aside from the very easy delineations such as RTS, FPS, RPG there are subsets. For example, many of the fans of more "fast twitch" shooters such as Quake may not like the somewhat slower play of Halo, and someone who even likes both of those may not be a fan of a more tactical game like Counter Strike. And then, even if you have all of those sorted out, there are(especially more recently) a good amount of games that mix multiple platforms. For example, games such as Games like Beyond Good and Evil which include a myriad of different gameplay elements(which has adventure, mini games, vehicles, battle, photo collecting, and a bit of puzzle) or games like Shadowrun that simply tweak an existing genre. And, of course, you could lump "minigame games" into this category as well. Realistically, this aspect of gaming is just too vast to be able to nail into a few words. Logically, it may be true that this is just the "fun factor" that many people talk about and is simply a matter of preference, but I'll just say that I have no idea of how to explain how "gameplay" makes a game good other than a personal preference for certain combinations of the above aspects.

And so ends a long blog that wanders around and really doesn't say too much, but hopefully it at least got you thinking. If you managed to get through all of it(all 0 of you) let me know what you would add, or if one of these things doesn't seem that important to you. Post away!   read

1:13 AM on 06.04.2007

Ahhhh, Nostalgia, isn't it grand?

As we all know, nostalgia is a very powerful feeling. Whether some of the things people my age love and cherish from our childhood(Ninja turtles and hand drawn transformers) are really better than the "new age" stuff("darker" ninja turtles with "attitude" and CGI Transformers that look likethis)is irrelevant to this post. Though, I would like to throw in that they are.

Anyway, being the nostalgia whore that I am, I thought I should bring attention to this article from that has a list of 15 of the most memorable cartoon theme songs:

Why on earth they include "painfully" in the title is unknown to me, because every single one of those was great. The best part is when you get to one that you don't remember, then by the end of the video you are singing along and remember half the series. This happened to me 5 times in that list.

Why they didn't make the list 16 and include Darkwing Duck will rack my brain for days, but I guess that is what lists are for, to create discussion. Also, does anyone remember The Pirates of Dark Water? It really has nothing to do with theme songs as its opening is just a story, but it should be mentioned somewhere in a thread about old cartoons.

So, I'm sure there are plenty of cartoons out there(like the 2 I just mentioned) that should be included, so start listing them in the comments below!   read

3:59 AM on 06.01.2007

They F**ked With The Wrong Mexican!

If you're like me, then you like kick ass movies with boobs. Hell, even if you're nothing like me you like kick ass movies with hot women, and as such you liked Planet Terror(the first movie of the Grindhouse double feature by Robert Rodriguez and Mr. Overrated).

After the crappy NORMAL previews, Grindhouse had previews for its own movies, and like everyone I know, I assumed these were all just to complete the experience. BUT WAIT, over at IMDB there is a listing for a 2008 movie from Robert Rodriguez, titled Machete that will be straight-to-DVD. I can't tell you how happy I was to see this, because the preview of Machete was my favorite part of Grindhouse...I'm not kidding, its that awesome.

And, of course, Mexican Danny Trejo is the only guy listed as part of the cast, and really, thats all you need, because although he may not be a person, he is still all this movie needs to be great.   read

4:14 AM on 05.31.2007

Make a Post before the Blogs are overrun!

EA(read: money hungry sons of bitches) may have finally thrown on the last straw. Not only was the last version of Madden a travesty, even to someone like me who has bought each yearly release since 04(stupid football hooking me in when I was young), but they have now made yet another costly experience pretty shitty.

From the very beginning almost everything about this game has just angered me. Even from the moment you boot up the game, which is about as long as waiting for Starcraft 2 to be announced,(hint: a long time) you see something completely unrelated to the game that you don't like, namely the massive EA logo. Granted, its only 5 or so seconds, and many companies(Blizzard included) do this, but there is no skip mechanism, you have to see the EA logo slowly lighten up every single time you play the game. Apparently EA doesn't realize you've already bought the game, and that making me watch the logo light up without being able to skip it will inevitably lead to me hating the logo, even if its a good game. There are ways around this, many of you may say, but when a person buys a game for $50 the programming should be done, I shouldn't have to go in and manually change things, its called customer service, and EA is pathetic at delivering it.

Then you get to the actual game. Lets be honest, Command and Conquer was released without enough testing. This is evident from the flurry of patches that came out, fixing things from glitches in the game to merely getting the video and audio to synch up(years designing a game and it can't play a video? come on).

And now, with the final straw(mentioned earlier) is that they are now about a month overdue on a patch that was supposed to be released to make the game a real RTS. You know, actually make strategies beside "I'm gonna turn on C&C 3, make some tanks, then make some more tanks, then make some more tanks....etc, etc" viable. Normally, I would expect balance patches and this wouldn't be an issue, but to tout a game as being made for competitive gameplay and have such an obviously overpowered strategy in it is pretty ridiculous. You may argue that this is the programmers/testers/designers fault, but if EA is making a game then I will tie them to any faults the game has, it is their product as well.

Quite frankly, if they seemed to care at all about my gaming experience I think that this game would have been great, but allowing such an untested game come out and then foul up the date of the patch that was supposed to fix it numerous times, is getting to be ri-god-damn-diculous.

We all know they have made other mistakes(Def Jam: Icon anyone?), but we all make mistakes. See? You probably just did. But I kept faith and tried out this game, and as this article suggests, its one of the more disappointing and frustrating purchases Ive made, and so, I have now joined the ranks of Jeremy from Purepwnage, in how I view EA. And btw, I will never use that video again...most likely won't.

And so, my first post is now a reality, feel free to call me a retard(somehow I think this would have happened even without my permission), support it, or even create an actual argument/criticism of it that isn't flaming(note: on the internet less than .000000000001% of posts have any logic in them).

Also, vaginas. FUCK YOU LITTLE RED ERROR LINE, "vaginas" is a word.   read

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