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12:56 PM on 02.28.2010

The Recent Plaugue of Fan-Bait Articles

Let me begin by saying that I am sick of this console-comparison trend that is currently plaguing the internet. I’m down with free speech and the expression of personal opinion, but to me, many articles online merely exist as a thinly-veiled attempt at capitalizing on fanboy rage. For every well constructed, well thought out article I have read, there are dozens more that simply bash, praise, or compare game X, Y, or Z, which do nothing to advance our culture.

Yes, I do see a slight practicality of this for those who own more than one system and are truly unbiased, but it has become clear that these people are NOT the intended audience for these types of articles.

What articles am I specifically referring to, you ask? As of 1:30, these are the “hot” articles on

Killzone 2 Has 72% More Head Polygon Count than Halo: Reach
Top Five Reasons to Be a PC Gamer
God of War 3 vs. Mass Effect 2 for GOTY
How Heavy Rain Succeeds Where Mass Effect 2 Failed
PS3 Continues To Outsell; Still Ahead Of 360

Can any of you honestly explain to me the purpose of these articles? The biggest problem I have is the first article detailing the polygon count of Halo reach and Killzone. Contributing absolutely no relevant information, this article is a blatant attempt at hits from insecure teens. Comparing the two games would be akin to comparing apples to oranges. Sure, they both fall under the same category (fruit, shooters), but beyond that, the similarities end there. The halo series is much more focused on exploration, while Killzone emphasizes intense action. There is literally no point to the comparison between them.

Now that I’m done complaining, where do I go from here? Well, I suggest that we, as the destructoid community, avoid these articles to the best of our ability, and to ABSOLUTLY refrain from commenting on these articles. In order to show the industry that gamers can’t be goaded from the use of teasing and flame-baiting, we need to “hit them where it hurts”: Their wallets. Less hits equals less money from advertisers. By taking away hits and exposure from inflammatory websites, hopefully they will get the message and proceed to craft articles that are actually worth reading.

How does one distinguish a “good” article from a “bad” one?

While there is no surefire way to do so, here are a couple of trends that I have noticed that many bigoted websites follow. The inclusion of one or more of these trends is a good indicator that the article is not worth any of your valuable time:

1. The article begins with examining the graphics of game X.

I have found that this is the most telling indicator of a flame-bait article. The subject of graphics is one of the most debated topics amongst gamers, and I have a theory on the reason behind it: Since gameplay, story, music, and sound are subject to the individual playing the game, it is difficult to argue one game’s superiority in this regard. However, things like polygons, framerate, resolution, and lighting are easily definable, as they offer concrete evidence of a game’s technical foundation. Flame sites know this, and take advantage of it. Excluding artistic direction, it is quite easy to prove that game X has a higher resolution than game Y.

2. The article prefaces the article by saying that he is not biased.

“I’m not an Xbox fanboy, BUT…”. This statement right here is an (almost) definite sign that they’re getting into inflammatory territory (yay rhyming!). If the article is truly not biased like it claims, why would there be a need for such a statement? By using this statement, the author acknowledges that this article will upset some people. By putting it at the top, the author indicates that the article’s sole purpose is to do so. In my book, upsetting people with little to no purpose signifies a pointless article.

3. The article focuses on an arbitrary difference between game Xx and game Xy.

First, let me distinguish this from mere news articles. Simply reporting on these differences is a much more minor offense, as some gamers WOULD like to know these things. I understand that, and do not condemn them from doing so.

The problem lies with those who continuously harp on said differences and make them a MUCH bigger deal. Most recent example: Mass Effect 2. While many websites stopped at the mere reporting of said factor, others simply took it too far. Using this information as a stepping stone, they went on make outrageous claims that the Xbox 360 is severely limiting developers. Literally dozens of articles claimed that the Xbox 360 was becoming outdated and obsolete. I may not be a game developer, but my guess is that this was blown up WAY out of proportion. Let’s put things in perspective: out of the 20-40 hours of Mass Effect 2, you need to take 30 seconds to switch the disk, and then another for a second time. Let’s recap: out of the 20-40 hours of playtime, 1 minute is sacrificed. Now does it seem that critical? Hell, some PC games take 8-10 minutes for installation, and NO ONE has complained about that. I don’t even mind the PS3 installs. I’m willing to sacrifice 20-30 minutes if the game runs better for it.

Maybe I’m just a jaded (Wait, I’m only 17…) gamer that longs for the undeterred days of internet-free gaming, but these kinds of articles really annoy me. What happened to just playing games that are enjoyable?   read

7:45 PM on 02.24.2010

Fanboys are everywhere. Here's proof:

Let’s face it: people, in general, are terribly narcissistic. They will do anything to seem more powerful, cunning, or intelligent than their peers. With videogames appealing to the (slightly) younger crowd of this generation, many of these people lack the self-restraint that other, more experienced people have. As a result, our beloved medium is littered with all kinds of immature dribble from their pimply, braced, whiney mouths.

Why do fanboys exist? I may not hold the answer to their existence, but fanboys are unfortunately found in all aspects of life, whether you like it or not. A common misconception is that fanboys are exclusive to videogames; their reach extends to one’s own life at some degree. While I’m sure you all can find more, here are the areas that “fanboys” are the most prolific:
(*Beware my awesome skill of cropping images in paint!)

This is, by far, the most fanboy-centric topic in existence. Pride can be derived from political parties, special interest groups, or even followers of a certain political figure. No other source of fanboyism has access to your TV, Radio, Newspaper, internet, movies, and EVEN videogames. Literally, no medium is impervious to political bias and/or slander. Hell, the media THRIVES on that kind of stuff. However, political debates are, unlike some of the other topics on this list, actually IMPORTANT, so even though your opponents’ party has failed, we all lose in the end: Governmental improvement depends on political cohesion, not political conflict.


Another biggie on the list, sport fanboys are, quite possibly, just as irate and blow-harded as some of the trolls found on game sites. Quick to praise their team and downplay others, sport fanboys even participate in some kind of weird “cosplay”, dressing up as their favorite sports star. One big difference is that sport fanboys tend to be the “big” type, so their supplement verbal rage with ACTUAL rage. Seriously, fans have DIED in Spain over a soccer match. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.


Perhaps the most understandable component of this list, Patriotism can be found anywhere. From something simple, like a pledge to a certain flag, to extravagant parades and festivals, people get VERY attached to their respective country. And for good reason, too. No one likes a kid who hates their own country. (I’m looking at you, emo kids, family guy writers, and die-hard democrats!)


Being somewhat of a music snob myself, I would venture a guess and say that music fanboys are the most obnoxious. The “elite” are many, and yet so are the arguments. Many different people have many different classifications on what they call good music, and people put up their defenses against competing singers, bands, albums, or even genres. Believe me, I have gotten into thousands of arguments trying to explain what I consider “musical talent”. I’m not ashamed, I’m very passionate! Why don’t you believe me?!

The Opposite Sex:

Okay, bear with me for a minute. Ever been in love/lust/drunk? Ever have somebody diss the one that you lust for/love/banged while drunk? Ever defend them in an angry manner? I don’t see how this is any different than fanboyisms in videogames: You like something, someone disagrees, and then you defend your decision.

Any others you guys find annoying?

9:25 AM on 01.09.2010

Transcending Genres: 3 Games that do it right

Innovation, indie, generic, mindless, clone,
In our quest to scour the internet for the latest and greatest games to play and talk about, at least one of these words are bound to show up in a review of some game. In our era of sequels and milked franchises, our culture has become infatuated with pointing out innovation, or a lack thereof. Some reviewers even go as far as to tack a couple of points onto a score for simply trying something different, or take away some for its absence. Here are a couple of quotes from various game reviews that depict what I'm talking about:

"But like the train you conduct, much of Spirit Tracks feels rigidly stuck on rails." -The Onion on Zelda: Spirit Tracks

"Braid is an innovative hybrid of puzzles and platforming that uses manipulation of time in a great way[....] That's why it deserves such a high grade"" on Braid

"With delightfully unique gameplay and fantastically witty writing, Portal is a huge success." -Gamespot on Portal

"Left 4 Dead 2 may have lost some of that new zombie smell, but its cooperative play is still among the best."-Game Revolution on Left 4 Dead 2 (In which, interestingly enough, they gave it a 75...)

In part, I semi-understand the gaming populous' focus on innovation. In a world where finances and capital are becoming increasingly sparse, new gameplay experiences simply aren't worth the economic risk, and are becoming much scarcer with each passing year. Games like World of Goo, Okami, Shadow of Colossus, and Psychonauts are all prime examples of why creating an innovative and fresh new idea does not equate with commercial success, even if it is critically lauded. Video games are, first and foremost, about making money. Many people, including myself, need to reminded of this when faced with a gaming release conundrum. “Why is game X being released in Region Y?!” “Why is the videogame scene plagued with sequels and established franchises, while devoid of new IPs?” “Who keeps giving Developer B enough goddamn money to keep making games?”. Every one of these questions can be answered with one simple phrase: Familiarity equates to financial success. Financial success is prohibiting Mother 3 from being localized, as its predecessor flopped. Financial success is the cause for rehashes of franchises, as it results in a high number of sales with minimum effort. Financial success is the reason why EA releases a new game every single year. Moving away from established games and mechanics results in a lesser chance for financial success, thus stifling developer creativity.

Not all is doom and gloom, though. For every gamer there exists a set of specific labels that can determine whether a game is innovative or not. These are called genres. You know them, I know them, and the whole world knows them. Everyone has a preferred genre.

What people don’t know is that genre definitions can help determine whether a game truly deviates from the norm. Here’s a test: Think of your favorite game. Got it? Okay, as quickly as possible, try to classify it under a general genre. Done?

There are 2 things about this test that are important: How long it took you, and the answer that you gave. If you were able to classify it under a single genre in under 15-20 seconds, chances are that the game isn’t very innovative. One’s quick answer implies that the game very closely follows a set of gameplay characteristics that are already established for games of that type. Chances are that the game didn’t do very much in terms of new gameplay. Such games that could have been answered very quickly would be Halo, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, Mario, Tetris, Madden, or Dragon Quest. Conversely, if your answer took more time than 20-30 seconds, either the game transcends simple genre classification, or you are a little slow on the uptake (kidding!).

The other side of the answer, your, erm, answer is arguably the more important part of this. If your genre was a single or double genre (Such as third-person FPS, SRPG, or ARPG), most likely your game follows most or all of the genres predetermined requirements or characteristics. However, if your answer consisted of a mishmash of genres with the words “um”, “like”, “thing” (ex: action, um, puzzle, music … RPG…thing…), then congrats, you have played a truly innovative game!

I have thought about it myself, and there are a couple of games, (or series) that I have a difficult time defining into a single or double genre. Note that these are in no way definitive innovators, but in my opinion, a certain amount of innovation goes hand-in-hand with quality, as the choices I make are not necessarily hidden gems in the gaming public’s eyes.

The Worms series is one game type that I can’t quite put my finger on. Its turn-based nature suggests that it is primarily a strategy game, but for me, that classification just doesn’t cut it. For one, everything in the environment is active, including scenery, explosives such as mines and napalm barrels, and even enemies. Want to use an enemy to knock another enemy into the depths of the ocean? Go right ahead! Want to set of a chain reaction in real-time that kills 4 of your worms but destroys your opponent’s entire team? By all means, continue! This game has elements of a puzzle game with its various scenario-based missions and training modes, and even includes a healthy amount of action, as many tricky maneuvers with the ninja rope require quick reflexes and meticulous use of the arrow keys. In short, the Worms series offers a gameplay experience like no other.

There is no denying my love for Half-life 2 and its episodic installments, but I feel that it is relevant in the topic at hand. Forget any predetermined aspects of the FPS genre you may know, as half-life completes puts the genre on its head. Foregoing the fast-twitched gameplay and mindless blasting that is so prevalent in today’s shooters, Half-life establishes a genre of its own. First off, the game contains no levels to speak of. Sure, there are “sections” that are easily identifiable, but instead of being given a set of objectives, the game feels like a natural flow of events loosely tied in with the fact that you are trying to save the human race. Throw in a healthy amount of physics-based puzzles and deal out some punishment for going into a firefight guns-first, and a truly transcendental game is born.

Say what you will about the present state of the series, but to this day, I cannot pin down exactly what The Legend of Zelda series is. Try as one might, there is no way that you can give this series a definitive genre without seeming ignorant or uninformed. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: It’s an adventure game that relies on action. So it’s an Action adventure game, right? Problem solved! Well, not quite. As I’m sure many of you are quite aware, puzzles have been in integral part of the series since the first game. ‘Okay’ you say, ‘big deal!’ But wait, there’s more! The series also incorporates various RPG elements that distinguish it from other games of the same genre. Equipment upgrades and side-quests are a staple of the series. The series also exhibits an expansive, open world not commonly seen amongst similar games. So, the resulting answer for the Zelda Series would be an Action Adventure game with puzzle-like RPG elements with a dash of open-worldness resembling a sandbox game. Certainly a mouthful, huh?

Innovating in an industry focused on finances is somewhat oxy-moronic, but games of this nature have not become extinct (yet). There are many other games that share similarities with the three that I had mentioned, and I’m interested to see what other games you guys can come up with, as well as your opinions on my choices.   read

4:33 PM on 12.07.2009

Best in-game soundtracks: For real (Not lame)

After countless lists of the same regurgitated songs from the same videogames, I started thinking. There HAS to be more great music out there. Where are all the countless melodies and tunes that I cherished while growing up? You know, before the quality of a game depended on one person's opinion? Let's put things in perspective: How many lists of this nature do you see that contain the following titles?

The Legend of Zelda
Shadow of the collosus
Final Fantasy (what ever number pleases you)
Metal gear Solid
Portal (Why anybody thinks this is a "masterpiece" is beyond me. The song is funny. Thats about it)
Any Square Enix title

None of these games contain bad music, or even average music. However, my point is that the gaming community has become too focused on the work of the so called "masterpieces". Great music can be found anywhere. One just has to look in the right places. That's why I'm creating this list: to help inform and expand the mindset of those who appriciate good music when they hear it. Now onto the list(In no particular order) :

"Greenpeace" -MyG
From Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding

Just listen. Done? Ok.
This song perfectly embodies the natural, laid-back feeling of snowboarding. Imagine hearing this song as you glide past mountains, flying through the air, defying death at every turn. Truely remarkable. I reccommend hunting down the other tracks form this game. (Note: I was going to include "Greatminds" from The periphereal Visionaries, but unfortunantly could not find it.)

"Bonus Stage" From Ice Climbers

This catchy little ditty is perfectly placed in this NES game. After scaling the precarious cliffs of the mountain, you are treated with a light-heated, non-consequential bonus game with equally light-heated music. The easy, ragtime feel of this song implies that, hey, it's just a bonus game. Don't worry about it.

"Love Theme" From Mother 3

Anybody who doesn't get misty-eyed while hearing this song is a liar. This song is known to pop up during pivotal, emotional scenes throughout the game (I HAVE NOT FINISHED IT!), and these scenes are perfectly accompanied by this slow, graceful, and somewhat remorseful melody. Despite the limitations of the GBA hardware, this song is expertly composed and performed

"Aquatic Ambiance" From Donkey Kong Country

Simply beautiful. Just listen.

"Tal Tal Mountains" From Link's Awakening

I know, I know, I just denounced this series in my opening paragraph. To my defense, however, I will say that this is one of the lesser known zelda games, so not many of you may be aware of this little gem of a game. Aside from being a great game, it had exceptional music. This little piece stands out, as it is "epic" in it's truest sense of the word. Nothing in the world could fit more adequately than this while scaling treacherous mountains.

"Helmet Stage 3" From Game and Watch Gallery 2

This track is very impressive and why on earth this underrated series passes many by i'll never know. For those into music, this song is in 5/4, which is very unconventional time signature. This complex song meshes well with the fast twitch gameplay and nerve-shattering mistakes that one will inevitably make.

"Cooking With Cheap Cheap" Parappa the Rapper

No videogame music list would be complete without mentioning a song from the creative genius Masaya Matsuura. Every single one of the songs in this game are extremely catchy. I guarantee that you'll find yourself humming one of these tunes if you play this game. This song wins for it's zanyness and clever mix of refined talking with rap. Instant Classic.

"Alleycat Blues" TMNT IV: Turtles in Time

Beginning from the very impressive(at the time) digitized voice, this song blends the specific of the location with the overall theme of the game, combining futuristic samples with a fast-paced blues tune. Awesome stuff.

If you guys know of any others, feel free to let me know in the comments. Hope you enjoyed my article. I spent a pretty decent amount of time on it :)   read

12:34 PM on 12.05.2009

Belated introduction: I have a life, I swear!

After having an article go by completely unnoticed by the destructoid community, I felt that an introduction was in order. It's the least I can do for the community. After all, who doesn't love fresh meat?

First things first: I a kid living in the suburbs with my family of 7 significant others who is nearing the middle of his 12th grade year. I have 5 brothers, whose interests in gaming range from a passing interest to a love almost as great as mine. I am interested in computing and, perhaps its polar opposite, writing. In fact, my lackadaisical advanced English class has inspired me to satisfy my literary craving by blogging, however erratically. I take academics very seriously, which is somewhat odd as this conflicts with my lazy nature. Music is another love of mine, as I find great joy in listening, performing, and composing music. I am also heavily involved in the music program at my school, ranking first in the trumpet section. I also play piano, but I wouldn't call myself a "piano player" if you know what I mean. I have also been playing soccer since I was 6, but I quit in 11th grade to its horribly competitive atmosphere. I think I should say that I am somewhat compulsive, and I used to struggle with an eating disorder. If anyone was wondering/remembers/cares, I wrote that article about it under a different name becuase I didn't know how others would react.

Now on to the good stuff: I have been gaming since I was 2(regardless of how god I was, I have picture proof). My memories of my NES-playing have grown somewhat foggy, but I can vividly recollect countless memories of being glued to my SNES. Being around 6 or 7, I could beat any game that I had, save for Zelda ALTTP (Dark World simply confounded me): Super Mario World, Megaman X, Super Mario All-Stars, Mario Kart, TMNT IV, The Lion King, Aladdin, F-Zero, Star Fox, and countless others. I guess this makes me sort of unique, as I often see my 10-year old brother struggle with these very games.

I should get this out of the way: I grew up as a nintendo person. To this day, I have every handheld, save for the DSi XL (is it even available yet?). The N64 was just as great for me, and in total my brothers and I had collected 67 games. Even though I was a late-comer to the Gamecube (Blast my persuasive brother and his xbox!) I loved that as well. This is important though, because around this time, I became a video-game person. The advent of the xbox proved to me that First-party nintendo games were not the only good games out there. My ultimate decsion to get a 360 further solidified this, as I have no regrets. Even when given a free wii by a family friend, it gets nowhere near the playing time that my 360 does. It's important to note that I don't waste time playing multiplayer games, either; I only play games with a strong single player. The only side of consoles I don't have experience with is the sony side. Besides a PSP, I have never owned a Sony console, which sometimes, I regret.

I'll try to update as much as I can, but I don;t think that I'll get to the point where I'm fully intergrated into the community. Memes and sayings will go right by me (I had o look up "tldr" this morning!), and I don't like to participate in console wars. But I figured that if I did an intro blog, people would know where I'm coming from, and possibly forgive me if I say/do something stupid.

Hope to see you, the destructoid community, out on the interwebs, disscussing videogaming and our passions that go along with it!

Here is the post I mentioned at the beggining. If you don;t have anything better to do, why not give it a read?   read

1:10 PM on 12.04.2009

Platform-Specific Generes: Reasons Behind the Segregation of Genres

I think it's safe to say that certain genres have become associated with certain types of platforms. First person shooters, Open world RPG's, and sandbox games have become synonymous with home consoles, while JRPG's, platformers (for the most part), and puzzle games have gracefully made the transitition to portables, cementing their status as the "handheld genres". Let's face it: We aren't going to see a game like Modern Warfare on a DS or PSP anytime soon, and the likelihood of receiving a top-down zelda game on a console (ignoring the VC on wii) is slim at best. The real question I have been pondering is: Is this type of genre segregation permanent, or are there certain factors contributing to this that can be eventually overcome? Why isn't everything portable?

Let's examine the first, and most important, factor in this question:


This is the one thing that determines the delegation of a genre to a system. Frankly put, handhelds have not evolved to the point where they can satisfactorily emulate an HD, online, console experience. Handhelds lack in 3 distinct areas, technically speaking, that prohibit them from a number of console-friendly genres:

1. Graphics (Ram, CPU, GPU, resolution, etc.)
2. Online capabilities (A true online experience needs a grounded internet source with supported servers)
3. Memory (mostly affects the DS)

FPS's are nullified by points one and two, as competitive shooters require a stable online connection, and must have the horsepower to support more than 4 players (Metroid Prime: Hunters, anyone?) Even if you ignore online play completely, FPS's require 3-D worlds that, more often than not, are more graphically demanding than other genres. Even though there have been a few valiant efforts at easing the portables into the FPS space, such as Dementium: The Ward and the Socom series, let's not kid ourselves: The whole experience just makes one wish that they were playing on a console. Why settle for blurry, pixelated games with laggy 4 player online when there are crisp, populated, and social FPS's that one can immerse themselves into?

Open World RPG's and MMO's have also been secluded from the handheld scene, as points one and three prevent them from enjoying a portable home. I'm not a tech whiz or anything, but open worlds seen in games such as Oblivion, Dragon age, and mass effect obviously require a great amount of processing power, and I'm pretty sure texture streaming and polygon counts come into play, which only consoles can support. The handhelds' memory limitations also prohibit branching conversations, numerous RPG items (weapons, armor, etc.), and expansive worlds to traverse. Essentially, a handheld RPG usually consists of a linear, 2-D, turn based affair that is restricted to closed corridors or areas. (nothing against Pokemon, advance wars, Mother, I love 'em). Handheld RPG's can be surprisingly deep in terms of content and replayability, but I have yet to see something that offers a true sense of scale and depth, akin to KOTOR, Oblivion/Fallout, or Mass effect.

Sports simulations, even though some portable renditions are suprisingly well developed (FIFA on DS come to mind), are restricted by all 3 points. This genre thrives on real-life simulation, and handhelds simply cannot provide such an experience. Unfortunately, the quintessential elements of sport simulators, which are graphics, expansive rosters, and online play, must be neglected in order to translate the core experience onto a handheld. Feel free to argue with me, but I don't think that sport simulations can rely on core gameplay alone. It is the yearly updates that make them all the more enticing.

Form Factor

The original Gameboy, as influential as it was, was resonsible for introducing and solidifying basic characteristics of handhelds that even exist today. Every handheld, to my knowledge, has these things: a small screen, a simpler and intuitive control method, a battery, and technologically dated hardware. These factors give portables their reasons to exist, as they are used to either keep price down or increase the system's portablility. However, these things also make certain genres less than ideal to play on a handheld system.

For example, the screen size makes certain genres very difficult to play. Right off the bat, racing games, text-intensive RPG's, MMO's, and FPS's all become hindered by this disadvantage. Many of these genres require a sharp attention to detail, and unfortunately many things that gamers take for granted on consoles, like field of vision, HUD, and text must be clear and legible on a 2 inch screen. I wouldn't relish the idea of doing an all-nighter on a portable FPS. Just the thought of it makes my head pound...

The PSP and DS's control scheme also presents a number fo problems for certain genres as well. Racing games require (at the least) an analog stick, and the DS's d-pad AND the PSP's nub do not match the precision offered from one. FPS's require a second anolog stick, and even though the DS's touch screen has been proven to be more than capable, extended play time leads to cramps and general uncomfortableness. Even 3-D platformers have their faults on handhelds. The D-pad is definantly not a suitable replacement for a joystick, but even the psp's nub lacks precision, not to mention the fact that it's ergonomically unsound.

Battery life limits portables to quick, on-the-go experiences, and again FPS's, RPG's MMO's and strategy games all suffer because of it. I know that one can game while charging, thus defeating the argument, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of a portable altogether?

Looking Ahead

From these points, I believe that technology is not the only limiting factor in the segregation of genres. It is the very nature of handhelds that help perpetuate this. Inevitably, the question will not be if we can get 360-quality graphics on a handheld. The real question is whether or not we, as gamers, want it.

Thanks for reading this mess. All I ask is that if you did not read it, don't comment saying that you didn't.   read

8:27 PM on 12.01.2009

NVGR, but really awsome nonetheless (Geek related)

During class today, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom (as all humans do), and to get some privacy, I decided to enter a stall. To my surprise, amist the crude drawings, vulgarities, slander, and racism, there was one thing that stuck out...

The Quadratic formula, in all of its glory.

I know it's rather pointless, but it made my day a little better, and I felt like you guys would appriciate this the same way I did, as I am a math nerd. Not implying that you guys are nerds, but the community tends to share more similarities with me than my real-life friends do.   read

4:34 PM on 10.05.2009

The Nintendo 64: changing the way games are played

Ah, the good old days. The onset of 3-d gaming, the Nintendo 64 was a prime example of videogames at their peak. Forget the blurry graphics, forget the limited library, and forget the fact that it officially "lost" to the ps1. The n64 delivered, in terms of fresh, innovative, and great videogames. Even though I cannot vouch for the earlier time periods (Im not old enough), I can confidently state that none of the current or last-gen systems have provided me with as much gaming bliss as the N64.

At about age 8, I recieved an n64 for christmas, and it was the most memorable one ever. My game collection grew at a rapid pace due to my insatiable appetite for games, as well as having 4 equally interested brothers. In all, We had 60 games at one point, and this is when games were $50 each. From the now-critically acclaimed games to the slandered games that I still love, each game on the n64 was an entirely new experiance.

How can this bo so, you ask? The N64 was one of the first mainstream consoles that offered true 3-D gaming. Current mechanics that were once a staple in videogame development had to be thrown out the window, and new considerations had to be taken into effect. Camera angles, acceptable framerates, precise controls, 4 controller ports and the addition of another dimension forced developers to think of entirely new ways to make their games. Take the original Super Mario Bros, for example. 2-D gaps would no longer pose a threat to the plumber. This forced developers to think outside of established mechanics.

Super Mario 64 offered the finest 3-D platforming not seen anywhere else. Zelda introduced the world to movie-like sequences and a truely convincing and compelling atmosphere. Goldeneye gave birth to FPS gaming on consoles, and popularized split screen multiplayer. Wave Race had unparalleled water physics that still challenge some of the best physics today. The transition from 2-d to 3-d resulted in a fresh gaming experiance that could not have been done on earlier 2-d consoles.

Unfortunantly, once the xbox, PS2, and Gamecube arrived, many were expecting another gaming "revoloution". Gamers like me, who were anticipating a whole new experiance, were left slightly dissapointed. Rather than introduce entirely new game mechanics, the new games merely demostrated the power of the hardware, and not the creativity of the developer. This would set a horrible precedent for years to come.

That's not to say that the xbox-ps2-gamecube- era did not produce quality games: During that period, we saw Halo, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, and the under-rated Stranger's wrath, while gamecube owners were enjoying the likes of pikmin, resident evil 4, Super smash bros, and eternal darkness.( The lack of ps2 games is attributed to the fact that I did not/do not own a ps2.) My point, however, is that none of these game were founded on completely new ideas. I know that some of these games introduced new mechanics, but honestly, all of the games mentioned above can be classified into a sub-genre: Sci-fi FPS, Open-ended RPG, Survival horror, and RTS. None of these games were as genre-defining as those found on the N64

Fast-Forward to 2009, and what are the big releases? Fallout 3, Gears 2, MGS4, Fable II, Half life 2, Super Mario Galaxy(AKA mario 128), Final Fantasy *some big number*. Game developers are no longer being challenged with the arrival of new hardware. They no longer need to come up with new, unconventional, game mechanics, because, truth be told, the ones in place are working fairly well. I am not saying that I hate Bioshock or Fable, I just grow tired of playing the same types of game with every "new" release. I long for the days of the past, where the advent of 3-d gaming brought new, fun-filled experiances not seen anywhere else. I applaud the more recent "risky" games, like Kirby: Canvas Curse, and Noby Noby boy. Heck, even guitar hero was innovative at its first iteration. Sadly, the unique game experinces are slowly fading away.

I believe that, right now, the industry it at a crossroads. Either retail shelves will become overloaded with numerous FPS's and Generic RPG's, or the opposite will occur: Developers will take the industry one step forward and will seriously try to think up new ideas. Given the money-grubbing nature of some companies, with their Guitar Heros and Call of Dutys, this seems unlikely. One can hope though.

Feel free to school my @$$ in the comments below. Thanks for reading my first blog entry!   read

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