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Tubatic's blog

GameFlown: A Brief Review of Singularity (Single Player Campaign)
12:05 AM on 01.25.2011
Tubativision: Video Bloggin' about Video Games
1:55 PM on 12.05.2010
Read Quickly About Why Super Meat Boy is a Triumph
11:38 PM on 10.25.2010
What's this Button Do? Reblogging and Button Mashing
8:17 AM on 10.13.2010
Keep it Complicated, Stupid
12:13 AM on 10.05.2010
Tubaticisms 9-12-10: The Fall of Gaming
2:11 AM on 09.12.2010





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Community Discussion: Blog by Tubatic | Tubatic's ProfileDestructoid
Tubatic's Profile - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android




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About

-Super Meat Boy regarding Super Meat Boy

Hey. Follow me on Twitter! I'll tweet about games! Promise!
Twitter - TubaticPrime

Highlights from my blog include:

-2010 Sucked: Fable III Exemplifies the Year in Disappointement*Promoted Blog
-Keep It Complicated, Stupid
-What Wii Gaming is Like for Me*Promoted Blog
-I, The Author: How I Stole the Declaration of Independance*Promoted blog



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Way of The Samurai, Shadow of the Colossus, Castle Crashers, Jet Grind Radio, ICO, Super DodgeBall, Canabalt, FTL, Final Fantasy VI and X-Com are some of the finest games ever made in ever

Xbox Live: Tubatic
PSN: Tubatic
Wii Console Code: 3554-2775-5012-0810
Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Code: 2107-0561-3043
Brawl Friend Code: 1762-2359-5359 "Tbatc"

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Players can elect to summon "cartoony" versions of bats, bombs, guns, and flamethrowers. These types of items can be used to destroy objects or even other summoned items (e.g., a club can be used to hit an animal; steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; rockets can be lobbed at a man).

-From the ESRB description of Scribblenauts

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"Right after getting back to Japan, [Miyamoto] suddenly said: "You know we're including golf now." Apparently he'd stated in an interview that this time round golf shots would be determined by the backswing, even though at that time a golf game didn't exist in any shape or form!"

-A Nintendo Staffer explaining why Golf was added to Wii Sports Resort

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"I have seen the Summa that everyone talks about. And I want to pour gasoline on him and cut off his ear. "

-Pendleton21 after listening to the disavowed Podtoid 94: So Baller

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"question, did you play with controller or keyboard?

because controller is unplayable"
-Luc Bernard re: the first release version of Eternity's Child on Steam

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"Just because u like a game doesn't mean u have to give it a high score"
-excerpt from the epic trolling on the Prototype review, inFamous/Protoype Wars, June 2009

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Money's tight, GameFly queues are long, and you don't have alot of time for games. Seriously. So this is GameFlown: Brief reviews / recommendations for the renting/used gaming enthusiast. So, lets take this format for a test drive.

Singularity (360 Reviewed)
Raven Software
GameFly Status: Available Now

The "Art" Score - 4/5 "Really fun, easy to like"

Singularity centers around a mysterious island ravaged by soviet energy and weapon research gone horribly wrong. The game follows a really nice pace, basically starting you off in an orientation center to give you the lay of the land, and proceeds from there fly through a timebending storyline that ranks right up there with choice episodes of TV Shows Sliders and Dr.Who. As with any good time travel fiction, the idea of bad things resulting from messing with the timeline holds true to satisfying results.

The pace of the game is pretty textbook, which by no means should be considered a knock against it. You start out weak enough to feel threatened and end the game feeling adequately equipped to show some finesse with the battle system as you bring the story to a close. Fans and students of Half Life 2 will see the influence all through out as the game deals out escalating threats with new powers and well placed item and weapon pickups. While some parts can bring on a bit of frustration, the intensity breaks to reveal fun, less demanding events and story drops. You'll come to hate those pesky little exploding "ticks", but passing them pretty much frees you up for a great ending third of the game.



At first glance, fans of thick time travel fiction may be off put by how shallow the time manipulation play actually is. The elevator pitch power, to rewind or fast forward the time of a thing or enemy, seems to play out as just problem solving mechanism and a missed opportunity to push time travel gameplay. But, as of fan of that sort of fiction, the story telling doesn't disappoint. Any good time-travel story gets a little tricky to follow at some points, but the game does a skilled job of not overwhelming you with backstory and timetwists. By the end of the game, you're presented with a closing sequence the should be able to satisfy most sci-fi fans.

Technical Score - 5/5 "Excellence in execution!"

Viewing the credits roll of the game one finds at least half a dozen different teams contributing QA hours to the production of this game, and the polish is evident. Not as immediately flashy as a 60 fps juggernaut like the Call of Duty games, Singularity presents a solidly stitched together world to play through. Each environment works both as a back drop to the story and the action. Environments are setup well for their intended mobs and little details support the narrative delivered through audio logs and text notes.

Through out the entire single player campaign, the world held together and did its part to maintain the fiction. Even situations that surely could have glitched, like decomposing a bridge I was standing on, held stable and found a way to resolve. It admittedly feels a bit silly to commend a game for holding together and presenting clean code, but the level to which this game overcomes expectations as a sub AAA shooter is a welcome surprise.



There were just a few times where the good design practices managed to elude me. There was at least one instance where I just didn't see the much needed pickup in the area to defeat the next set piece. Chalk that up, though, to my overall inexperience with first person shooters. For your time, Singularity manages not to waste it on unmanaged difficulty and design.

Overall - 9/10 "Easily Recommended!"

For sci-fi fans and anyone with at least a passing interest in First Person Shooters, I've got to recommend checking out Singularity and its single player campaign. As a rental, it'll take you roughly a weekend and the pacing really lets you run it straight through without much shooter fatigue. Also, as gamecraft goes, there's nothing to worry about here. Rock solid execution backs up a really enjoyable play experience.
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I heard this is what's hot on the streets. I refuse to be left behind on the latest gaming or blogging trends, for fear of being considered a dinosaur. If I'm ever going to over come this debilitating case of being "Older Than Most Of Yall" (We can call it OTMOY. To name it is to face it), I need to keep step with you young cats.

So here it is, in blazing 240p. I hope you rike it.



Punch the keys!









Super Meat Boy is out now for the Xbox360, and it is glorious.

Never before have I played a game that does so many things right, purely, as a game.  I was considering a heady piece on how Super Meat Boy is the true Citizen Kane of gaming, but forget that.  Meat Boy wouldn't want it that way.  Instead, let me rattle on real quick about what makes the game stand out as just a really fine piece of work.

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Its key to any great game, and bam, there it is.  Super Meat Boy explains itself in a few quick, textless signs that give you the very essence of what the next bunch of hours of your life in play are going to be about.  In short, things kill Meat Boy, Meat Boy wins when you get to Bandage Girl (his Girl) and you can jump a variable heights. Go.

Those basic truths  are all you need, all you get, and doesn't need to be labored upon to comprehend.  Basics over, you go play now.  Bu
Super Meat Boy is out now for the Xbox360, and it is glorious.

Never before have I played a game that does so many things right, purely, as a game.  I was considering a heady piece on how Super Meat Boy is the true Citizen Kane of gaming, but forget that.  Meat Boy wouldn't want it that way.  Instead, let me rattle on real quick about what makes the game stand out as just a really fine piece of work.

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Its key to any great game, and bam, there it is.  Super Meat Boy explains itself in a few quick, textless signs that give you the very essence of what the next bunch of hours of your life in play are going to be about.  In short, things kill Meat Boy, Meat Boy wins when you get to Bandage Girl (his Girl) and you can jump a variable heights. Go.

Those basic truths  are all you need, all you get, and doesn't need to be labored upon to comprehend.  Basics over, you go play now.  But by no means do you have  all the knowledge and skill needed to finish the last level.  That comes with, you know, playing the actual game.

To Play is to Learn, to Learn is to Progress

So that first part isn't easy.  Few games can actually just give you the basics and let that be that.  What even more impressive, and probably should be bog standard in the industry, is that the levels progress in such a way that the skills you need to defeat harder levels are asked of you in the early levels.  The crazy wall jumps you need for a theoretical level 83 are laid out, in basic principal, some where in level 14, 23, 25, etc, way before you need to do that hard part.  Its a matter of giving you progressively harder situations, teaching you how those advanced moves work.

Its still tricky of course, but you're learning.

 




Put your bacon on the line and you get breakfast

Risk/Reward.  It has it.  Masterfully so.  Basically, there's collectables that corrolate with upgrades.  Hard to get, but, worth it.  SMB rewards your collecting efforts with real tangible rewards.  There are several unlockable characters, each from their own indie game appearance, with their own special moves.  This basically unlocks new ways to play, which, for sure, are absolutely worth the risk.  You're rewarded for your successful and risky play attempts. Go for that faster time, open new levels, earn more goodies.  You want them, you keep playing.  Which is fine, because you're actually having fun.

Pobody's Fother Mreaking Nerfect!

Contrary to most gamer's perception of hard games, perfection is NOT a requirement for most of what you're trying to do in Meat Boy.  In fact, there's a prettty wide margin for error.  Meat Boy is so small that tight jump patterns actually give you room to flub the trajectory.  Further, if you're clever, you can find one of those unlockable characters to complete the puzzle in a very different way!  As you'll see by your replay videos, there's plenty of variation in how you can get through the level.  This keeps the game fresh and fun.  You're not matching a perfect run.  You're playing.  Its a game, right?


Shiny Next Gen Console, Pushing Tons of Pixels

Super Meat Boy isn't a juggernaut of visual chaos or hi res textures, but it uses the medium masterfully.  Sound design is top notch, providing satisfying responsive noises.  Graphically, the art style comes off super smooth.  Never is there slowdown.  Not for a second.

Story, it has a good one, and its not in your way

Boy goes on a journey to save girl.  Classic.  Simple. Satisfying.  As rapid fire as the rest of the game, the story arc in Super Meat Boy doesn't muck up the works, nor does it fall flat.  There's character in these characters, and its a joy to see them interact and emote their way to the thrilling conclusion, epilouge and "real ending" that I haven't even seen yet.  Anoher reward?  Yep. You got it.


No Really, You Don't Have Time for Tears

The levels are short.  Deaths are often.  You spend pratically no time being dead.  Any time you spend being angry is just time keeping you for continuing your play.  N+ did this.  SMB does it harder.  To quote Ashley Davis's Twitter:


"How to be ace at Super Meat Boy: never hesitate. Be reckless."


So what if you just messed up.  Do it again.  Fearless.  So what if you die again.  What was what, 20 seconds ending in failure.  Big deal.  Go.  Again.

Its fun.  You Beat it.  There's still stuff to do.  You Win.

Talk about a generous package.  300 something levels, with only about less than half of that required to "beat' the game's story mode.  There's alot unlock, with a light world, a dark world, an epilouge world, and a special world "Teh Internets" feeding you updated DLC extra levels for the Meat Boy to tackle.  Back in the core game, there's retro themed levels, even more characters to unlock as you go, and, by the way, you probably won't get tired of the music, because its excellent.

and because of all these things, Super Meat Boy is one of the greatest games ever created

Its a blue print for what every game should aspire to.  Players should enjoy themselves on all fronts, and feel like they're getting something out of the experience on top of that.  Always a reward.  Some of it personally, but alot of it built in.  Minimize penalty, make death harsh but fair.  Make failure fleeting.  Encourage play over perfection.  Be simple, and teach mastery.

What the heck:

That is why Super Meat Boy is the Citizen Kane of gaming.

Deal with it.











In a more thoughtful and wordy state of mind, this is where I would blog a scathing retort to Jim Sterling's reviews, which are just dreadful right?  Amirite?!

Because, as you didn't notice, Jim Sterling said


Herp Derp Derp, people that disagree with me are liars.


Which, in this case, is completely untrue.  But wouldn't it be nice if you could take what he said, put it in nice quotes like that, write a nifty rebuttal, and call that a blog?  Well, allegedly, YOU CAN!

If this feature works as advertised, the legions of dissenters to the king of Destructoid reviews will now have a much more legitimate and high profile outlet of calling Mr. Sterling out on his business!  Rally nerds!  There is RAGE to be had this NIGHT!!!



!!!!

To add just a little bit of substance to this experiemnt in blog-o-tude, I think the combat system in Lords of S
In a more thoughtful and wordy state of mind, this is where I would blog a scathing retort to Jim Sterling's reviews, which are just dreadful right?  Amirite?!

Because, as you didn't notice, Jim Sterling said this:


Herp Derp Derp, people that disagree with me are liars.


Which, in this case, is completely untrue.  But wouldn't it be nice if you could take what he said, put it in nice quotes like that, write a nifty rebuttal, and call that a blog?  Well, allegedly, YOU CAN!

If this feature works as advertised, the legions of dissenters to the king of Destructoid reviews will now have a much more legitimate and high profile outlet of calling Mr. Sterling out on his business!  Rally nerds!  There is RAGE to be had this NIGHT!!!



!!!!

To add just a little bit of substance to this experiemnt in blog-o-tude, I think the combat system in Lords of Shadow holds alot more depth than Jim Sterling found in the system.  Am I saying he played it wrong?  Well, when you actually CAN get a single hit on enemies, and he says you can't... I'm just saying there are people that button mash Street Fighter, and there are people that take the time to learn the system.  Not that either is actually more right, to be fair.  Just that if there's depth to a system and you ignore it as irrelevant, I don't think that's the fault of the game.  It gave you a hammer.  Why are you push nails in with your hand?

Peace out Dtoid.  I hope I helped you learn to discern.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngb1KrM-Qho







Tubatic
12:13 AM on 10.05.2010



Back in my day, games were hard. Jumps would kill you. Potions would kill you. Restarts would be back at the beginning of a level. Moves were only explained in the manual and rally special moves were only available by word of mouth. And you know what? We liked it. For every reason a game was hard, we simply didn't care and played our thumbs raw just to get our gaming kicks.

Then designers realized that some of that stuff was bad design, that they didn't have to suck quarters out of kids and that people generally want to understand how their games worked. So ended an era of ridiculous difficulty. In the modern gaming world, contrary to recent outcry, its fairly difficult to play a game wrong. The industry has matured a bit. There's a general thread of goodwill between game makers and their recognized customers.

But somewhere in there, we've lost something. Its not unusual now to see revivals and canonical sequels to decade(s) old games. Fallout, Civilization, X-Com and Starcraft are all seeing the light of day with fresh new SKU's hitting retail and digital shelves. Each of them finding their own way to keep their franchises relevant. And almost every one of those game makers are meeting with opposition from franchise devotees. Where is the line between gaming blasphemy and making a worthy successor to games gone by?



Consider Starcraft, which maintained a presence in competitive LAN party play for years after its initial release. Games inspired by the franchise went on to expand on the tropes of the genre while playing with new idea in presentation and gameflow. RTS games have toyed with removing resources, hero characters, time travel and even building around the concept of reducing stationary base building. Do you make a Starcraft II with even more bells and whistles, or do you make a prettier version of what you've already done? As I understand it, Blizzard made a "better' Starcraft, and so far, they're not mucking with the formula too much. in result, the new game is generally considered a faithful new addition to the franchise. No immediate awards for innovation, but the product is solid. To say its "money in the bank" doesn't give due credit to the hard work of shipping a solid game, but it accurately pegs the design approach. Low risk, high reward.

But what of rebooting your fundamentals and leveling the barrier of entry for new players? Civilization V approaches the time honored gameplay of flow of Civilization while augmenting the strategy play from square grids or a series of hex cells. Further, features woven into the previous edition through expansion packs have been scaled back as this user friendly new entry re-introduces the flow of the game. Some users find the scaleback dissappointing, while other thoroughly appreciate the fundamental change in the gameboard and streamlined systems perfected in the more "casual" recent release of the franchise Civilization Revolutions

Interestingly, there's a mild rumble of disdain for the streamlined experience found in Civ Rev. The lovable team of game journo codgers at Gamer's With Jobstouch on this topic in last week's podcast. Features that would require added attention, such as army building or worker management are stripped down to facilitate quicker and less cluttered game sessions. This game that could once take 8 or 9 hours to see a single game to completion became a game that could be done and dusted in about half the time. Its certainly still "Civ", but the nuance of nation management has been shaved in the name of pick up and play game flow. You'd find that "hardcore" Civ players will look down their nose at such advancements. The game they know, the game they loved, was lovable to them because of those nuances.



And nuance is everything. Where SimCity, at the last of its numbered iterations, included the simulated effects of several cities in a region upon each other, its offshoot SimCity Societies took a heavy approach to streamlining. The game, while visually satisfying and very accessible as a city block designer, removed much of the simulation play. A player that loved SimCity for that obsessive attention to detail in systems is generally disappointed by the direction that series took. Not to note Societies as anything less than a deftly made and solidly functional release. In that, its successful. But in consideration of the more passion inducing features unique to SimCity as a franchise, it fails confidently.

And that confident failure is at the heart of some franchise fans' concerns. There are plenty of different ways to build a new entry in a series. Even the core creative team of a game has the opportunity to turn out an uninspired game. The saving grace for most franchise is the presence of fans working to keep a game faithful to the what made the original tick, in some way. The new XCOM evokes those feelings of seeing a game change in ways that don't seem to tap into the features that actually made the original games so beloved by their fans.

While I appreciate XCOM's PR team telling me that the thrilling world of the franchise is being preserved, I have my doubts that an FPS can recapture or faithfully modernize that feeling. My own personal enjoyment came from managing the drop team through the different scenarios, trying my best to minimize casualties within that turn-based paradigm. Once I made a move, my guys were committed to it. In that way, it had the feel of a board game. Strategies were put to the test against an AI with a slightly stacked deck of cards. Aside from not seeing alien movements, some of their powers were nigh unstoppable for all but a completely decked out team. The cost of team death was a loss of experience and equipment. If previews of XCOM are to be taken as and indicator of the game to come, the focus seems to be on this named protagonist leading an endless supply of red shirt agents to their inevitable death on every mission. While the concept my have its own merits, that's a missed opportunity in terms of franchise renewal.



Beyond the surface of Earth vs aliens, can the feel of that original game be translated into the game language of First Person Shooters? As a fan of X-Com's strategic gameplay, I would have loved for a big budget studio to really expand on the turnbased strategy systems of the original, much in the way that Civilization was evolved through iteration. Certainly, I can play that game again with shiny graphics already. There are countless fan/indie projects in progress, striving to recapture and improve upon what makes X-Com so passionately revered. But a real, professional method team working to expand the suspenseful flow of X-Com's battle would have been a dream come true.

But maybe that's the rub? In getting that big budget team, you start to take on all the responsibilities of that budget. Chief amongst those responsibilities being the return on investment. When these games first came out lets be clear: I have no doubt that these designers wanted to make a good deal of loot off their games at some point. However, in those formative years of the industry, maybe they had alot more room to just nerd out on the details. When there were no other strategy games as layered as the original X-Com, pounding away at creating a working system and living progression narrative made sense. What did Julian Gollop have to lose by making systems that players maybe couldn't grasp fully on their first run? Of course he player is going to fail their first run! Games are a challenge, and gamers were buying in for that challenge. Could Mr. Gollop walk in as the head of a modern game team and convince everyone from Development to Production that crafting a difficult, complex system is a sound use of resource and a reasonable path to profitability?

Not at all. He'd probably be laughed at, given a t-shirt, and thanked for making some of the best games ever created.

Regardless of anyone's reverence for the good old days, its unfortunate to have to admit that games spearheaded by a singular vision and protected as such are just a rarity now. I'd bet money that even the star executive producer/designers of the industry like Keiji Inafune, Peter Molynuex and Ken Levine don't have nearly as much authorship as anyone's romantic vision of their jobs would suggest. And with the lack of singular vision and direct conduit to the designer's passion, that's where we lose the nuance? Blame investors? Blame team sizes? Blame hardware arms races? Blame it all maybe? Whatever's the cause, its still a shame that complexity in games themselves, despite the immensity and complexity of the industry, is a part of gaming that is simply becoming ancient history.
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Sometimes I'm in a room with a tuba and a trumpet player and it feels like there's that much room in the room.

-Hype Required-- I need some serious game hype in my life! I end up saying so every fall in some way or another, either because everyone's getting so seriously down on games, or an abundance of nitpickery permeates the hobby. This year though, I think I'm way outside the hype field. I know its there, I'm just not feelin' it. Probably comes from general fiscal responsibility and spending less on games this year overall. For great financial justice.

But yes: where's the hype?! Is it just me?

Which isn't to say there aren't games I'm excited for. Here they come. Its just "The Hype" hasn't hit yet:

Fable III- because Fable
DJ Hero 2- The demo sold me. Great new features, no new hardware.
Vanquish- The demo is hot.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood- I love it when a plan/heist/assassination comes together.
Front Mission Evolved- Look, if ZoE3 isn't going to happen right now, this will just have to do!

-You still play games, right?-- Oh I do, I so do! Work stuff happens though. And I totally chained three project crunchtimes over the summer months. Less time for actual gaming and more time for coordinating testing and completion of test cycles and deliverables. But, in between the 10 hour days at work, I managed to get my game on a little this summer.



-So its Fallout with magic?-- Finally played a good chunk of Bethesda's early console cycle blockbuster Oblivion. Coming at it all backwards, the similarities to Fallout 3 are intense and tangible. They're both games about coming out of a cave, proceeding to do whatever you want, and ultimately going back into various different caves to achieve whatever goal you have in front of you. Its well realized, fun, and they really make me aware of my love/hate relationship with caves. So cozy. So deadly. I'll have to pick it up again at some point.

-The Best DLC Ever-- That's what I'm calling Lair of the Shadow Broker right now. If there was ever a piece of post release expansion content that did everything that people dream DLC can do, this was it. Story continuation, conflict resolution, introduction of new play mechanics, expansion of the current playset, deft acknowledgement of past play decisions and tingling setup for future franchise releases. This is the best of the best. Mass Effect 2 is one of the best things to happen to gaming this year.

Backing slightly away from the hyperbole cannon, Mass Effect 2 and this latest DLC episode are just greatly satisfying. Maybe there's less hype in my life because I've had such great gaming for the entire year?

-Street Fighter IV!-- Beware internets! My Chun Li is very OK! Playing a fighting game at this semi-competent level has also been one of those really satisfying game things in my life. I could liken it to being able to sight read music. One's skill at the instrument is at a level where best actions are executed on sight of a situation. I'm mostly there with Chun Li. I've got a deep bag of tricks and I'm really finding my groove competitively. I'm not the best. But I'm very OK!



-iPhone is a gaming platform-- The funny thing about the iDevice platform is that its very easy to deny it as legitimate when you don't have one, or otherwise haven't explored the depth...(how about width!?) width of experiences on the platform. In short, virtual D-Pads are a dud, direct touch makes strategy games brilliant, shmups come alive with finger control and auto run platformers are the revolution. Great things are happening there. Beyond bolstered sales numbers, units sold and attach rates, there's excellent gaming to be had.

But the rub here is, without putting your hands on the device, and having a tolerance for tinkering and exploring, getting into this brave new world of gaming has a layered barrier of entry. Big cost, "What do I need one of these for", "i Hate Apple", "I'm sure I won't use it". But, once you get past all that... Good Times!
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