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9:04 PM on 07.08.2010

Alternate Reality: The Beam Katana!

Itís 12 in the morning and you canít sleep. Youíre feeling groggy and you canít think straight. The only clear thought in your head is the blinding urge to cut something, anything, and to do it with style. Your glowing toy light-sabers are too dull and made of plastic; they wonít get the job done. And your collection of priceless knives has become dusty and drab; they arenít stylish enough. So what could you possibly turn to for all of your awesome, razor-sharp blade needs?

Introducing, from the labs of the world-renowned Dr. Naomi, the BEAM KATANA!

The Beam Katana is the worldís first energy-based form of cutlery and the most powerful short-range weapon known to mankind! With its patented ďEner-FocusĒ technology, the Beam Katanaís cylindrical ďbladeĒ is actually a very tight loop of highly-focused energy thatís so concentrated, it can cut through nearly anything! Apples, cucumbers, pottery, wood, the flesh of another man, even steel! Itís a technological revolution!

And with its revolutionary Saber Saving System technology, the Beam Katanaís batteries never have to be recharged! With just a few quick shakes and/or thrusts, batteries are recharged once again to full capacity. Itís an Earth-friendly miracle!

Other developers claim that they are the originators of the Beam Katana, but theyíve merely copied the original and incredible designs of Dr. Naomi. And while other manufacturers of so-called ďBeam KatanasĒ have only produced one model, the genius that is Dr. Naomi has crafted multitudes of varieties of genuine Beam Katanas!

The Blood Berry
Our basic model, but always trusty when you need something cut! With its easy affordability, now you can buy the whole family their own Beam Katanas!

The Tsubaki Series
ē The Tsubaki is for those who want a little more durability and precision in their Beam Katanas. With its stylish, compact design, you can whip out the Tsubaki wherever you are, for whatever you need.
ē The Tsubaki Mk II is one of our most powerful models, although with greater heft and cost. With its four separate and devastating cylinders, the Tsubaki Mk II is humanityís greatest and most powerful in blending technology. Originally based off secret US Military plans, it is now commercially available to all savvy consumers.

ē The Tsubaki Mk III, while not as powerful as the Mk II, is the currently the only commercially-available Beam Katana that, with the proper Saber Saving System-brand motherboard, operates at maximum energy efficiency and does not require battery recharges. It also sports a snazzy design of the Kanji representing the word ďTigerĒ on its hilt.

The Rose Nasty
A combined package of two small Katanas, the Rose Nasty is an incredible deal! Its light-weight components allow for complex, deadly maneuvers to be performed and with minimal injuries!

The Peony
Our most powerful model to date, the Peony is the Beam Katana for those who canít stop cutting everything in sight! Our patented ďEcstometer,Ē built into the device, measures just how much killi- I mean, cutting the user has done and how thrilled and ecstatic he is about all of it! Impress your friends and family! By the end of your next slicing spree, your Peony will be at least 1.5 times your body length, or your money back!

As you can clearly see, Dr. Naomiís labs have an affordable and quality Beam Katana for every occasion and/or assassination attempt!

But that isnít all! If you order your choice of Katana now, youíll ALSO receive a FREE select motherboard from Saber Saving System absolutely free! THATíS A SAVINGS OF $50,000!

And if you order a second Katana, weíll give you a FREE choice of colors and an included sticker-book! Customize your Beam Katanas for optimal awesomeness!

ORDER NOW!!!   read

9:43 PM on 05.27.2010

13 Fantasies: My Quest to Save the Crystals 13 Times Over

Over the course of my relatively short life, Iíve played a lot of video games. And, to go into detail, Iíve played quite a few RPGs. And in even greater detail, Iíve played a fair amount of JRPGs. But I couldnít go any more in-depth as to say that Iíve played a single Final Fantasy game and a few weeks ago, I realized that. Which is why Iíve decided that I need (read: want) to fix that. And so I have henceforth begun to conquer every single Final Fantasy game from I-XIII (That includes X-2 but excludes XI for obvious reasons. In fact, I once read that one of its bosses is so far impossible to beat anyway) and also for some reason share my experiences with Destructoid! Iím not sure how Iím going to write; whether the articles will be reviews or just retrospectives. Maybe you guys can give me some tips as to which you prefer to read. But, yeah. Letís do this. *fingers crossed*


Final Fantasy I
iPhone/iPod Touch
Other Consoles: PSP/Gameboy Advance/Nintendo Entertainment System/Playstation
Release Date: February 25, 2010
Release Date of Original: December 18, 1987

Yes, the game that started it all. It was an extremely important factor in the popularization of RPG video games and kicked off one of the most lucrative and largest franchises in the industry. I was going into it expecting something good, but nothing that would revolutionize anything for me; it has been about 23 years since it first came out. In fact, Iím a little concerned that Iíll come off as not really appreciating the game. Anyway, I might as well actually talk about the game instead of doing whatever Iím doing now.

Before I start (DUDE TREBZ HURRY UP), I ought to mention that the iPhone/iPod Touch and PSP versions of FFI have upgraded sprites. While they arenít as charming as the 16-bit sprites that were used in the GBA version, they are definitely nice to look at and make the game a whole lot easier to look at compared to the NES version. Also, there was a PSX version. Hey, itís a pretty popular game.

I like to think that this is actually what goes on during the game and not just a hyperbole to make traveling across continents quicker.

So, I started out with what I figured would be the perfect blend of everything: a Warrior, a Black Mage, a White Mage and a Thief. And, for the most part, I found that everything balanced perfectly, other than my Thiefís tendency to die whenever he was hit by anything with a greater density than your average lacrosse ball. My Warrior hit hard and stood like a wall against enemy attacks, my White Mage healed everyone all on her own, my Black Mage blew everything up, and my Thief did what my Warrior did but
with a weaker defense and slight speed advantage. I wasnít that much a fan of my Thief.

The Black Mage is a baller.

So my party was let loose on the world, on a quest to save the princess of Corneria from the knight-gone-bad Garland... which turned out to be pretty easy. They invaded the Chaos Shrine and put a stop to Garland, but that wasnít the end. Not by a long shot. It turned out that four fiends controlled somehow by Garland were taking hostage the power of the four Crystals that held the powers of the elements. And the rest was pretty much what youíd expect nowadays. The four chosen Light Warriors trekked across the world, solving problems and bringing beauty back to the world by destroying the fiends that sapped the Crystals of their energy, eventually having to take down Garland once and for all.

The bosses in this game are massive.

It wasnít exactly a super-engaging plot. In fact, there was barely any plot at all until the last dungeon. The main characters never talked, there were no twists, and people barely told you what you were supposed to be doing or where you should be going at any given time, the latter being a major gripe I had with the game. Characters would tell me that maybe I should go get an item that I actually wouldnít be able to retrieve for several hours and directions for where to go, if I were ever told where to go, were hard to come by themselves.

But, hey, Iím not complaining. Not by a long shot. For a game thatís about 23 years old, it holds up remarkably well and is still pretty fun. Unfortunately, being such a fundamental yet basic game, I couldnít really say that anything was revolutionized for me, nor were there any really impactful moments. But thatís to be expected, right? The important thing is, Final Fantasy I is a solid, fun, yet somewhat basic RPG. And itís also cool just to see how it all began.

Massive, as in, very, very big.

And thatís it. Tune in next time to read about what I think of Final Fantasy II and itís really awkward experience system! And if you have any tips on what youíd like to see (spoiler-free review or opinionated retrospective-thingy), let me know, please! Thanks for reading!   read

11:58 PM on 11.24.2009

Do the Wrong Thing: Do the Incorrect Thing

Spoilers for Metal Gear Solid. If you have not beaten Metal Gear Solid, this article is all about it. Also, I mention Modern Warfare 2's ending briefly.

If I were to die in nearly any video game, I would get a Game Over screen. Then I'd be allowed a continue so I could try to get past the obstacle that killed me again. If I didn't get a Game Over screen, the game would automatically reload, then place me at a previously-recorded checkpoint. Either way, I'd be allowed to retry the scene. Sometimes it doesn't have to be death that restarts the scene. If I were to shoot someone that I wasn't supposed to shoot or run somewhere that I wasn't supposed to run to, the game might restart. This is because, by going against my pre-programmed goals, I'm betraying the game's writers and trying to escape a plot laid out for me. Yes, the Vault 101 Dweller has a choice to blow up the city or not (and the plot will shift to meet either end), but if he gets shanked walking out the door of Tenpenny Tower, there isn't any way for the plot to accommodate that unpredictable loss of a protagonist, thus the scene must be replayed so that the Lone Wanderer may make it safely to his final destination.

Imagine if a completely insignificant, run-of-the-mill Keese swooped into Link and killed him? The world would plummet into darkness. Hundreds of years of history and tradition, wiped out by one precious human life not accomplishing its goal. An entirely different story, but one that we are rarely allowed to see. Yes, in Modern Warfare 1 and 2, the protagonist sometimes dies. But we don't get to see what would become of the world had Roach survived another day to denounce Sheperd, then have him taken away. That's the sort of loss that we never feel in video games; the feeling of true remorse for triggering what shouldn't have happened. Enter Metal Gear Solid's torture sequence.

Aboard Shadow Moses Island, Snake looks to defeat the next obstacle in his path to stopping Liquid Snake: Sniper Wolf. While walking unsuspectingly with Meryl across a long hallway, a bullet whizzes by Snake's side, striking Meryl. This is the mark of Sniper Wolf, who resides high above the corridor, ready to take a shot at Snake. Though panicked by Meryl's pain, Snake finds a weapon suitable for a sniping dual. After a tense shoot-out, Wolf manages to capture both Snake and Meryl. Snake is placed in the confines of a torture-machine that threatens to send electrical shocks through his body, creating immense pain without killing him. After a lecture from Liquid Snake, Solid is left, imprisoned and half-naked, with Revolver Ocelot, Liquid's right-hand man. Ocelot tells Snake that he can either attempt to resist the pain or give in. Of course, if Snake cries "Uncle," Ocelot will take Meryl's life. "There are no continues, my friend," Ocelot mockingly exclaims. What follows is an unsophisticated button-mashing minigame. Mash the X button quickly and Snake will take it all in. Fail, and Snake will be forced to give in to the pain and let Meryl go. This is where my first real feeling of regret in any video game took place.

I listened to Ocelot nonchalantly. I figured, "hey, I'll get a Game Over if I lose and I'll try again." Little did I know, there really were "no continues." Long story short, I lost. That's when the game's plot started crumbling apart before me, but at the same time, it didn't stop just because it went where Hideo Kojima didn't want it to go.

With Snake fizzling in agony, Ocelot seemed almost shocked by what took place before him. And he was rightfully displeased. What happened shouldn't have happened. Instead, Snake should have been the man he always had been and would have gone on to be. And so Ocelot went on to mock Snake for his weakness, asking him if he could ever look at himself in the mirror again, knowing that he could not prevent Meryl's murder. Nonetheless, Snake was brought to his cell and the story continued to unfold as scheduled.

What was not scheduled, however, was Meryl dying a horrible death. And as such, everyone Snake knew was reminding him that he was responsible for a horrible thing. Otacon tried to comfort Snake, Campbell started crying and tried to convince himself that Snake couldn't have done anything because he was always too weak, and even Snake broke down into fits of "I'm a horrible person, I can't go on living." The whole time, I felt awful. As Snake fell into bouts of self-reflection, I couldn't help but feel that I had really killed someone that I was attached to, simply because I didn't care enough about her at the one time that I could have saved her life. At the very end of the game, during Liquid and Solid's fistfight, Liquid revealed that Meryl was linked to a ticking chemical "time-bomb." That's when I went into full-on, heart-pumping mode. I had to win this fight, if only to save one collection of sound-bytes and polygons that somehow meant something to me. So I won the fight, but she still was going to die. Great. As her last moments passed by, Snake sat by her, crying. He went into a full-blown speech about how he was too weak to do anything, that he was a coward, that he's worthless now. Suddenly, I became somewhat angry that Snake was doubting himself because of my mistake. He had completely degraded himself in my mind. What had once been a slick macho-man who only cares about himself was now crying over a woman he had known for about a day. But the last scene completely ruined it for me. In the ending cutscene, instead of driving off on a snowmobile with Meryl, he drove off with Otacon. And it reeked of "You don't need her, Snake. You have me!"

The whole game turned into a mindfuck as soon as I messed up on that one god-forsaken game where I press a goddamn button really fast or else I lose. Everything had turned upside down, and Hideo wanted me to feel like I was living in a bizarro world. First, everyone is all sad because Snake is actually just a puny, little man who can't do anything for himself. Then, Snake breaks down. And suddenly, Snake doesn't care about any of the bad stuff anymore and just wants to live a happy, normal life with his best-buddy Otacon!

An entire series of video games that I was planning on playing was suddenly invalidated and made redundant. With Campbell's one child dead and Snake never wanting to fight again, MGS2 and 4 would never come to exist, and Liquid would eventually take over the world, turning it into a nightmare made only for killing and war.

When I allowed an integral character to die, I was doing the wrong thing. Not necessarily an evil thing, as I wasn't necessarily given a choice, and I did not want Meryl to die at all. The entire time, I played Metal Gear Solid with the same good intentions as Snake. But I accidentally failed the mission, which should have sent me back to the beginning of the scene, so I could have done things right. But, in an excellent way of writing, Kojima decided to allow a second path where I could diverge from the true story and actually see what would become of the game's canon if I were to actually fail the mission. In reality, Snake had never given up and had resisted the torture, saving Meryl's life. However, I saw an alternate reality, where doing the wrong thing at the wrong time had resulted in a drastically different world. And I felt horrible about it.

And so, what if we did get to see what would happen if Gordon Freeman were to die? What if the writers really could allow us to see what shouldn't be seen? Would dying still be doing the "wrong" or "incorrect" thing? Maybe. Even a choose-your-own-adventure book can only account for so many missteps. But I at least want to see more of the world that won't ever be seen. I want to see what really happens when we do what we weren't suppose to have done, not just another "You have died. Continue?" screen.   read

1:10 PM on 09.27.2009

Against My Will: Protagonists Acting Out


Lately, there have been a lot of arguments that cutscenes are now unnecessary in games and that narratives do better if the player is given full control of the protagonist at all times. That's partially true. In some cases, namely First-Person games (but not all) the player is more immersed when he is constantly controlling the character. Half-Life and Bioshock come to mind as good examples. Even some third-person games do well without cutscenes. Although most 3rd person games do better with cutscenes because the player was never really taking the protagonist's role, rather helping him/her walk from A to B.

Anyway, I've always felt that some writers, if they want a story that truly becomes meaningful, have to take away control from the player at some points. A protagonist doesn't have to share views with the player or react the same way that the player would simply because the player holds his reins. A truly interesting character has his own thoughts and reactions. That isn't always true, but an exception is very rare.

So now on to this article and the words I wrote for it. I started playing Mother 3 last night. And though I'm only 3 hours into it, I'm really impressed. The simplicity of it all and how compelling the plot mixed with a fantastic soundtrack is really has me floored. Other than my accidental erasion of about 2 hours of gameplay by loading up an old (and only) save on my emulator, it's near perfect. Well, maybe not, but it's very good and I like it.
Within the first hour (and this is where I spoil), something brilliant happens that makes me want to give the game's ROM a hug. Western badass/Chuck Norris-wannabe Flint is the first character that the player really gets to start playing with. The story begins with Pigmask aliens coming down to the Nowhere Islands and starting a forest fire. Flint is asked to help save someone from a burning house north of town. And he goes and does so. So, he runs into a burning building and carries a boy out of it, running with him through a burning forest filled with smoke and flames. Now, throughout the time spent with Flint, he never says a word. All he does is do what he's told, running around and punching monsters into oblivion. He's a huge badass, only filled with the personality that I perceived him as having. However, at a certain point, it almost seems like this was intentional, and it might very well be. Later, it starts to rain, putting out the fire. Flint's kids and wife are supposed to be on their way home from grandpa's house. They don't seem to get home on time, so Flint and the townspeople start looking for them. Flint meets a dead-end during his search, and while turning back, is told that his children have been found. He and a group of other villagers gather around a fire to warm up the children, who were found in a lake. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Anyway, Bronson, a friend of Flint's, comes running over to the party with bad news: Flint's wife was killed. As sad music starts playing, Flint breaks down into tears. He falls onto his knees and starts crying. After a few moments, he stands up, walks over to the fire and pulls a large stick from the firewood pile. He smashes the pile into pieces and turns around. A friend tells Flint to calm down, which Flint responds to with a slash from his weapon. He then knocks out another man who tries to rip the log from his hands. Ready to beat Bronson over the head, Flint is about to swing when he is knocked out cold by a man with a giant stake.

My description was kind of lame, but there it is. It really got to me and surprised me in a way few games do. Instead of having Flint stare blankly at Bronson as he delivers the news of his wife's death, the writers had him react as a man who punches snakes on a regular basis would: violently. The entire time, Flint doesn't say a word. He just stands up and starts bludgeoning his friends in sorrow. The real impact comes from Flint's lack of personality before that moment. He does what he has to, without question or care. But once his love is taken into account, he's thrown into rage as all control is taken from the player. It really is an awesome moment.

Now I want to talk about an even less significant moment in games that really disgusted me. And it was in Saints Row 2, a game that doesn't exactly encouraging proper methods of disposing of unwanted relationships. But there was one moment that got to me, and I still don't understand why. It didn't make me sad and it didn't frustrate me, but it actually disgusted me. Which is hard to do in a GTA-style game, where all you really do is run around doing illegal things.
Anyway, at the end of the Ronin campaign, a series of missions revolving around taking out a gang made up of samurai-inspired bikers, there's a second-to-last mission where the player and his partner, Johnny Gat, have to kill the spoiled leader of the Ronin. Now, Johnny Gat and the protagonist are disgusting people who do disgusting things. They feel no remorse for the murder of hundreds and love doing it. The opposing gangs aren't even evil. If anything, the Saints are just as bad as the rest of the gangs. The Saints just want everything everyone else has.
So there's the mission where you have to kill the Ronin leader. There's a shootout at a cemetery, kill a bunch of dude, blah blah blah. The leader gets on his bike, you chase him down and shoot until the game moves to the next cutscene. That's where I had the moment. The leader starts begging for forgiveness, groveling at Johnny Gat's shoes and pleading for survival. The Saints don't listen. Instead, while he shouts and screams for help, the two stuff the leader in a casket and calmly bury it underground, letting him die from suffocation.

Now, that was another lame explanation, but it left me speechless. I stared quizzically at the screen, wondering "Really? Was that really necessary?" Of course, the Saints hate him for murdering one of their greatest allies, a singer named Ayisha (or something like that). And the developers wanted to take the Ronin leader out in a cruel way, distinguished from the rest of the faceless killings. But I was mortified. As soon as the game dropped me back in the seat of control, saying "alright, go find something else to do," I switched off my PS3. I lost all desire to play.

Ok, so maybe Saints Row isn't a game designed to inspire my inner pacifist, but I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Nobody else wanted to listen.

Now, if you actually read any of this, 1. Thank you and 2. Are there any moments where you've been awestruck/disgusted at what your own character has done without your control?

Think about it, son.   read

11:36 PM on 08.24.2009

Why I Love Destructoid

I'm real new 'round these parts. I haven't seen what a lot of y'all 've seen here, but I do know for goddamn certain why Destructoid is the flat-out greatest gaming website/community I've ever seen and why I'm glad to have even the smallest part in it whatsoever. Let me tell you.

1. I don't get any flack for my age. It's pretty awesome when I'm actually allowed to have a part in an online community without being told I can never speak on a mic/play/do anything that involves anyone else. Yeah, I'm exxagerating a bit but there's still a bit of a stigma that follows around anyone on the internet that isn't old enough to drive and I'm really glad that I'm the only one who actually brings it up, ever.

2. The staff is the greatest team of video game bloggers known to Earth. I like how each staff-member actually has a face, rather than two words that constitute a name and (apparently) enough fingers to type a paragraph. I haven't seen many blogs where each blogger has an actual identity and gets involved with the community. Certainly few video game blogs. Seriously, we have a goddamn comic about the staff. You think about it, that's some serious staff/reader communication.

3. The blogs are pretty good, too. This is a website known for video game news and it delivers. I've actually stopped reading Kotaku and Joystiq and settled for Destructoid on its own.

4. The community is amazing. I mean, seriously. If I were to look through all of these "What I love about DToid" blogs, I'd see a lot of bits that reference other people in the community, even see photos of some of the members doing stuff together. That on its own is brilliant because it almost never happens, especially with such a large group. Yeah, I can't be in any of that stuff but I can damn well appreciate it. It's amazing how devoted Destructoid is to being an actual community, not just a large readerbase that with forums. There are Community Blogs so that everyone can have a voice/spread a meme. Nobody gets truly left out unless they try to or they deserve it. The community doesn't take things too lightly or too heavily.

I don't have much experience with Destructoid and I've only had a spot in the community for less than a month but it isn't hard to see how epic Destructoid is. As a blog, as a news-site and as a community.   read

12:18 AM on 08.23.2009

True Procedural Generation

This post is inspired by walkyourpath's blog If you haven't read it yet, it's thought-provoking and definitely worth the short time spent reading it.

Anyway, the idea that we play video games because we know what will happen if we perform a series of actions and that we enjoy the idea of set outcomes had me thinking--What if video games didn't always have a set outcome?
What if, when you were about to save the world, something awful happened to make the reverse true? That happens all the time in video games. Sometimes it's an example of the player accidentally triggering the "ancient evil's" ressurection, as in Kirby's Adventure, where it turns out the main enemy was actually trying to protect the world and by defeating him, you actually helped bring about the apocalypse. Sometimes it's just the antagonist deciding it's time to destroy everything and summoning the ancient evil. But whenever it happens and however it happens, it's scripted. The developers wanted that moment, where the player didn't expect that they were going to be trapped by their own actions. And it had to happen then, because the developers put that moment into the story and made sure that after you did a certain thing, this bit of story development would happen.
Sometimes, there's an illusion of choice and it's becoming a lot more prevelant in video games this generation. Would you help kill this character or would you save him? Would you talk your way out of being involved? There's still set outcomes. If I said I was going to kill a man on the street, he'll die because I took a certain path that the developers had lay out for me. If I decided to go neutral, I'm making a choice but I'm still following a fork in the road. And that road was built long before I decided which path to take. Sometimes there are even more choices, (lawful good, chaotic good) but there are always set paths that I will have to take if I said I'd loot the criminal's pockets and then turn him in to the police. The Witcher does a great job of portraying shades of gray. Early in the game, there is a band of elven bandits that are illegally buying goods from a villager. Geralt is given the option, when he discovers this, to defend the goods and have the bandits leave the site or to let them take what they want. Once that happens, the consequences don't become apparent until the next act of the game. I decided to let them take the goods and in the next act, I found that they had killed a character important to the plot with one of the arrows they had bought from the villager. Something that I had not expected at all had taken place in relation to my actions, but there were still set outcomes. If I had read a walkthrough, I would find out that something was going to happen and I would know the outcome of my actions way before I even performed them.

What I'm interested in are consequences that nobody could have predicted because they weren't directly programmed into the game. Events that are triggered by the player's actions but that aren't set in place by the developer. Characters who's actions and development revolves around the player's decisions, but aren't decided completely by the developer. Basically, I'm imagining a video game where there are no set outcomes and we've actually reached true procedural generation.
Now, I don't know much about procedurally generated narratives being used currently, but I know we're getting there. The A.I. Director in Left 4 Dead is a good example of A.I. basing the entire game's environment around the players' input. No game is exactly the same, because ever game's circumstances are a little bit different. Say all the characters are healthy except for one. Zoe is on her last leg. She's also running out of ammo. So the A.I. director focuses on Zoe. Her music grows tense, the party starts telling her to heal up, and the zombies start heading for her. Even when not focusing on one character, the A.I. Director still relies on the party's location to help with the zombie apocalypse. If the group is outside, in the middle of a clearing, the zombies will come from every nook and cranny to kill. If they're in a small corridor, the Director will build up the tension by sending in sparse waves of zombies. In the end, everything comes together to form the first real procedural narrative. The A.I. has complete control of the game and it bases everything off the players and their various statistics. I'm imagining this, but at a greater scope.

Imagine, a player is given the age-old choice to kill or not to kill. He's being forced by his friends to kill a man and they're standing over him, watching him from behind. He is in a dark basement. The player can make any choice he wants, as he is given full control of the character and needs to draw a weapon and kill the victim to complete his mission. His friends are all given personalities based on how the player has treated them before and his own connections in the game. Each weapon will elicit different responses from the group if used to execute the victim. However, the player can choose not to the man. He can convince any of the group members that they're wrong and each one will have its own response. Any conversation had with any of the characters will be remembered by the A.I. and will have it's consequences within the plot, with various severities based on other conversations. Basically, every word will have some impact on the player's game. He can also try to convince one of his friends to make the kill instead. The character may be outraged at the idea of having to kill, she may be entirely willing and will do it instead, but at the same time will respect the player less for chickening out. In a nutshell, the character will all respond differently depending on their personalities and how the player has treated them in the past. Every moment that the player-character and the NPC interact may be brought up again at some point in the course of the plot. The player can also run off if he chooses. He can run out of the basement, possibly injuring or even killing a friend on the way. There are so many choices, as many as you could ever imagine possible in that scenario.

This would lead up to scenes that the developer had never taken into account. It's almost like real-life except for that it takes place in a fictional setting and no feeling is inflicted on the player. And thus, a true example of procedurally generated content, miles ahead of Spore's Creature Creator and the Director A.I. I hyped earlier. It isn't easy to imagine video games reaching a point where they can craft their own realities, almost parallel to the real world's laws and logic.
Now, I would be fascinated by the possibilities if someone were to tout this at an E3 sometime in the future. And I think it would be amazingly entertaining to play a game with true unlimited replay value. But with that also comes one (possibly literally) fatal drawback: Depression.
People already find that they're emotionally affected by characters in video games today. An important character dying. Romantic relationships being expanded upon. Having to perform a horrible action against your own will. Scripted sequences that will always have the same outcome still tug people's heartstrings. But imagine if you spent the entire game crafting your own special relationship with each character, a relationship that will never again be repeated again and suddenly that character turns evil/dies/kills another character that was also important to you. Remember the reason walkyourpath brought up as to why we play video games: We know we will get the desired outcome out of our actions. Well, what if we have no control over our character's destinies and things rarely go according to plan, just like real life? Then is there truly enjoyment when best laid plans don't go according to plan? Or is there disappointment? This leads up to a question I ask of the reader.

walkyourpath states that a huge reason for why we enjoy video games is because we enjoy having a desirable outcome to our actions within the game. It's a farcry from real-life, where a lot never goes according to plan. Well, my question is, what if there was a video game that mirrored real life in that lots of things never went according to plan because the developers never created a plan to follow? Do you think it would appeal to you in the same way as videogames that developers create actual legitimate outcomes for? Or would it not seem like much of an escapist route, as it held the possibility of being very depressing, to the point of mirroring real life's unexpected problems?

Thank you, and good night.   read

5:51 PM on 08.20.2009

New Crysis 2 Trailers Will Destroy My Computer



Lookin' forward to this. I'll probably never have a PC capable of playing this at more than 10 frames per second,
but damn if I won't try.   read

1:05 PM on 08.20.2009

New MGS: Peace Walker Trailer is Confusing


Great. Now there are four Big Bosses? Or is this just a co-op thing? Either way, looks fun, which is the important
thing. I've never actually played Portable Ops before, so I don't know how well the controls work. However, if
they can pull the controls off, this looks like it could be a lot of bite-sized fun.

Also, happy birthday Samit!   read

1:45 PM on 08.17.2009

Space Blog 3000

Aright. So, this is my introductory post. I'd like to thank anyone who reads this for giving me their attention;
thank you.
So I just wrote this Top Ten Games list for the forums and I figured it would be the perfect thing to start off a
blog. Well, not the perfect thing, but something like that.

So, I don't have anything else to say, so let's get this train-wreck a rollin'!

10. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Some of my best in-game memories come from playing SSBM with friends. I was young and they were some
of my first real competitive moments in gameplay. Funnily enough, my very first competitive moments were
from the original SSB, which I played at a friend's house. It was his Nintendo 64 that inspired me to buy a
Nintendo Gamecube, which effectively got me into gaming for good. But that's a another story for another time.

9. Katamari Damacy

A creative, weird concept that wouldn't have usually worked in execution. But it did. And what we got was a
quirky, addictive title that showed just how much fun you can have rolling a ball. Colorful graphics, a catchy
soundtrack and a sense of satisfaction and scale turned it into one of my favorite games to just chill out and

8. Persona 3 FES

I'll be honest. I haven't beaten it. But it's still on my top 10 list because of how much I love it right now. I've
never played a Shin Megami Tensai game before but I want to now. I want to play Nocture and Digital Devil
Saga and Persona 4 and Persona 1. And I will. The soundtrack, the battle system, the characters, the art-
style, the cutscenes (oh man, the cutscenes). It's all so wonderful. Unfortunately I can't put it very high on my
list because I have plenty of games that I actually finished that I can put higher up.

7. Metal Gear Solid 2

Sure, it wasn't revolutionary and it didn't have enough of Solid Snake. But honestly, it didn't have to. This was
the story of a man who was being molded into what players had spent the first game playing as. The
gameplay, the voice acting was convincing and well-acted, the choreography was also well-done. But the
main reason why MGS 2 is one of my favorite games of all time is because it takes so many risks for the plot,
to the point of insanity and I love it. I love a game that tries to be one big mindfuck, which is what the ending of
MGS 2 was. One big, unruly, mindblowing wrecking ball slammed into the fourth wall. It's almost scary, and
actually makes good use of the codec. When I think of a mind-blowing finale in video games, MGS 2 comes to

6. Metal Gear Solid 4

Beautiful setpieces and locales, a fully-realized plot that leaves little more to be desired, amazing cutscenes,
fast-paced stealth and gunplay... MGS 4 is just a great example of how to end a series and it showcases one
of my favorite stories in a video game, ever. There are plenty of gameplay bits that really feel cinematic, even
though it's a lot of actual cinema for the most part. Take into account that I really only played the entire series
over the course of two months and how much emotion I felt in the final installment. I really don't care if anyone
says that Hideo Kojima's writing is ridiculous and stupid. Yes, it is ridiculous. Sure, it probably seems stupid to
a lot of people and I could totally see why. But I like it, dammit! And my word is law! [U]Hell, I am the law![/U]

5. Psychonauts

A hilarious game that appealed to my darker sense of humor. Before it was released, I had only heard tales of
Tim Schafer's brilliance but I had never experienced it. The gameplay itself was decent although a bit of a
collect-a-thon but the writing... the writing was superb. The concept to the actual execution of jumping into
insane people's minds was brilliant but plot was what got me. The subtle progression from happy-go-lucky
summer camp to dank and lonely asylum happened so gradually that I was amazed by the contrast of
"EVERYBODY DANCE" to "I used to be a famous actress but then I went insane and now I'm giving
autographs to plants." This is how you use surrealism. Honestly, I doubt Brutal Legend will even come close to
touching the narrative greatness of Psychonauts.

4. Half-Life 2
Valve are the masters of scripted gameplay. They truly are. Half Life 2 is a rollercoaster; it's the same every
time you ride it, but it's always exciting and never stops throwing something new at you. Sure, there are lulls
every now and then, but they're only going to send you into a false sense of security and then throw you into
something even faster. Well-placed background music and clever AI only help to make every big shoot-out
brilliantly badass-feeling. Yeah, the characters are great to have but what I love about Half-Life is it's scripted
moments, which is pretty much what it's all about.

3. Pokemon Crystal Version

Funny story, Pokemon Crystal is actually the first video game I ever bought. I have a next-door neighbor who I
used to be best friends with, and I would always look up to him because he was older than me. So one day
(circa 2001) he was showing off a Gameboy Color he had just gotten, gold with a Ho-Oh on it. So I decide I
should get a Gameboy too. My dad takes me to Toys R Us one day shortly after that and I ask for a Gameboy
Color. Turns out they have none of that. The new thing is a Gameboy Advance. I had never heard of that but I
decided it must be worth it if it's the new thing. I remember exactly what the store looked like that day, with
ads for the GBA Advance covering the walls. So I buy one with Pokemon Crystal Version. The next thing I
remember is my neighbor calling me a "copy-cat." And that's why I'm sitting here typing this impossibly long
essay/list. Because I decided to be a "copy-cat" and buy a Gameboy. Also, Pokemon Crystal. Big part of my
life. That's why it's #3.

2. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

My favorite platformer of all time. I had the luxury of having it on my Gameboy Advance when I was younger
and I took it with me all the time. The art is frikkin' fantastic and really sets it apart from other 16-bit platformers.
It really didn't have that much revolutionary going for it, as far as I can tell. It just does everything really well. I
guess if you polish everything to a beautiful sheen, a game can be way better than any revolutionary one.

1. Okami

Okami. I'll be honest, I don't really know if that's my best answer but that's the best I could think of. Very few
games really catch my eye the very moment I see them, even in screenshots. This is one of them. The art-style
is gorgeous. That's the best word I could think of. Because it really is. It looks like a living painting and I've yet
to see another game that could so easily pull off the cell-shaded technique and look that amazing. And then
there's the plot, which is a bit on the predictable side but pulls the predictable stuff off so well that you have to
let it slide. Hell, just when you think you've put a lid on the Big Bad, it turns out you're only halfway done.
Ammy (I can't remember the proper spelling) feels holy, with her perfectly white fur contrasting against the
dark colors of the colossal bosses. Hell, I could lavish much more praise on this game but I won't because it's
late and I'm tired of typing this and I'm sounding a bit delirious.   read

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