Are you a rebel? No? Okay then you can read this if you want to then. I am a gamer. Yep and that is pretty much it.
In all seriousness I am a guy that plays games more than 40 hours a week and still holds a full time job. I love gaming of all kinds (literally) and I love to write about games and make videos of myself either playing games or talking about them. It is kind of my entire life really...Is that sad?!? Oh well I am proud to be pathetic :D
So if you haven't heard already, old games are still cool! A lot of people I see on various forums and blogs aren't even old enough to remember a world before the 3DFX chip. My first PC didn't even have a color screen (original Mac Plus) lol. The greatest thing about games back then though was how boundaries just didn't seem to exist. You basically just had a canvas and you could throw whatever the hell you wanted at it. Some things stuck and others not so much, It didn't matter though because there was still a charm you couldn't put a price on. Through the years however, preserving these titles is not an easy process. Not all gamers are computer wiz's and a lot of gamers just don't want to hassle around with a bunch of software just to make a classic game run properly.
GOG to the rescue
GOG.com is a website owned by game developer CD Projekt Red, the creators of the Witcher series of games. They specialize in taking old games and sprucing them up with software like DOSbox and ScummVM to make them work directly after install. All of their games are also pure and free of DRM of any sort. After an account is made you have a virtual shelf that you can download from at any time. The download itself comes in a simple folder that is usually filled with little goodies like the game soundtrack, artwork, avatars, the list goes on. A simple one click installer and your ready to game. The ease of use deserves an award. The catalog though, it deserves several.
A little box of awesome!!!
As of this post there are 408 games on GOG. The best selling of which and has been since I have been going there since last summer is non other than Baldurs Gate II. Who over at Bioware could have thought back in 2000, "Gee I wonder how our game is going to play in 2012?". No developer has the ability to design a game beyond the current OS and future screen resolutions. GOG fixed those issues and now gamers can again or for the first time venture into one of the greatest RPGS of all time.
Just recently though GOG has expanded its library to more triple A titles and a lot of indie games too! From Botanicula to Gothic II all the way to Alan Wake. One of the triple A titles that surprised me recently and actually prompted me creating this post was 2008s Far Cry 2.
Far Cry 2 Fortunes Edition to be exact. See I remember playing Far Cry 2 back when it came out, and I don't remember it being this good. When I bought it I had just put in a brand new geforce 8800gt (i miss that card...well maybe not) My max res back then was 1024x768 and I couldn't blow up the game even in that resolution. Also I remember it being buggy and laggy. I enjoyed it when it worked but I really never loved it. I bought the Fortune Edition on GOG this weekend for $10 bucks just to test it out on my current rig. Now that I can max the game out in full 1080p and without any noticeable bugs thus far I can actually explore this amazing game. 6 hours into the story I can create a full post about this game alone. I won't do that in this post though but I will thank GOG for all it has done for me and gamers around the world. Whether you are an old gamer looking to reminisce or a young gamer looking for a good history lesson, GOG is your one stop shop.
Indie games could very well be the only hope we have to capture the imagination desperately needed in gaming. They can also just become over saturated and bland just like our current MMORPG crisis.
A few years back I picked up a little game on XBLA called Alien Hominid. I don't know how many people remember that title today but back when it was released around other arcade classics like Pac Man and Tapper, it was kind of unique. At the time I wasn't aware that the title had already been released on PS2 and Gamecube. It was just this cool perfectly priced arcade job that had a distinct classic appeal. It was new but it wasn't...new. It was like a blast from the past and one that I was very satisfied at dropping my 800 points on. It brought me back to the days of playing Metal Slug at the local arcade at Vallco Mall, right down the road from Infinity Loop and the headquarters of Apple. At the time the indie scene was in it's infancy. This was before the indie giant Braid was released. The train took off after that and since then there has been a ton of great content under 20 bucks.
Just a few days ago I got a chance to watch Indie Game The Movie. I had been dying to see it for a while, and I have now watched it 4 times! It was love story to people like me. Watching it and seeing the pure love put into these creations was nothing short of inspiring. The Indie Standard though that games like Braid, Fez, and SMB set is not always matched by a lot of indie development.
I own an Android. My now aptly named "Play" store is filled with indie developed games. 90% of these games are horrible, 80% of them are tower defense (j/k) and there are like 238 more coming out on Monday I hear (j/k again :P). The fact is though most of the games on the store are pure filler. 5 minute uninstalls and only a few random gems. Most games don't even bother to take advantage of the touch screen properly. Instead they mount buttons on the screen and expect you to play around your own thumbs. This is poor designing and a pure lack of creativity.
This of course is supposed to be our future though...right? I mean they have been saying for years that tablets are the future. I personally don't think that is true but I do believe that the importance of these new devices need to be met with some sort of golden standard. Like Mario is the standard of platformers that companies like Team Meat need to reach. Today devs need to be inspired by the best indie games. Games like Spacechem and Frozen Synapse, and Orcs Must Die, and Superbrothers. This should be the Indie Standard.
We really need to avoid over-saturating the storefronts, even for $.99.
In a land of bad haircuts, ugly clothes and...Michael Jackson (HEEEE). There existed a little grey box. This little guy made kids all over the world very happy. For he was a magic box that played video games. Games like Castlevania, Contra and Super Mario Brothers. He was better than all the other boxes in the world because of two important little things. Number one he had the greatest controller there ever was. Four buttons and a d-pad on a flat surface, that's all you needed. And number two every game released on this little grey box had to get a specific stamp of approval. This stamp meant something to gamers. It was like a little guarantee of awesome! The little console and the stamp both carried the same name. The name of video games in my childhood, NINTENDO!!!
Flash 25 years
Today Nintendo has a console out called the Wii which let's just stop beating around the bush (hehe), It's a penis right? So I get to play Nintendo Penis and wave a remote around like a fucking fool playing games that are one generation behind the times. Now trust me when I comment on the graphics I don't wanna sound like a snob. I am a big 8/16 bit fan. To this day those are my favorite games to play. Problem is I really don't like the look of games in the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era, which is exactly what the Wii looks like. Now really If I were to base this blog just bitching about the Wii, I would be six years too late. No now we have the Wii U. Everyday since it's official unveiling it just seems like it is falling further down hill. People hate the iPad like touch screen. The games "look" good sure but they don't really look good. First party support was Nintendos forte, nowadays however it seems like they just don't know what to do anymore.
If you are old enough to remember the NES and the SNES you could probably mention a grip of games that were important to your childhood. I did a list and I will spare posting it here because it was over 90 games long that from my first time holding a controller in 1990 when I was four all the way till I got my Playstation in 1997. Those games and those two systems shaped my life as a gamer. I find it really hard to believe that a kid that grew up on the Wii can say the same thing. People can say, "The Wii is always being held down by Microsoft and Sony." Fuck that because the choice Nintendo made in differentiating the Wii from the pack was to hold back it's power and using a gimmick to sell it. Nintendo has always sold gimmicks with their systems but the Wii was the first time that the gimmick was forced on the gamer. The Wii U may be trying to break out with the Pro Controller, but it seems that all development is focusing on the Gamepad that looks...questionable.
Number one the motion gameplay is not going anywhere which is just a terrible choice. It isolates gamers like nothing else. I am 26 years old and I have no interest of standing up to play games and bounce around. It is a GIMMICK that works just fine for kids but adults really don't want to partake in such nonsense unless enough booze is involved. If the Wii U puts the motion control focus on the lower end of the spectrum and focuses on making the gamepad a useful counterpart to the console I "may" be on board. Then there is the new Nintendo look that annoys me. The menus look like iPhone Jr. A kids version of minimalism. Then there are the fucking Mii's and just about every other ii tie in that they run wild with. They just need to stop being fucking lame. The options that the game pad can take are vast and some things look promising, but then others look ridiculous.
I guess we will find out this holiday season but at this point in time I have a feeling this is going to be Nintendo's swan song. A company that I have been a fan of since the days when Mega Man was cool and relevant. I hope they come out swinging and snag a "rightful" amount of market share and pull themselves out of their wii little hole (hehe). I could of said little wii hole but that just...fuck it, NOOOO dammit nevermind, I am going to go play some Battletoads.