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4:10 AM on 09.19.2009

The Forgotten: Arcades

In 1993 when Mortal Kombat released, I can remember the sense of comradery that the MK players had. We knew where every Mortal Kombat machine was in town. Every now and then weíd travel from our favorite arcade and go check out the bowling alley or roller rink; just to see if there was any fresh blood in the pool for us to sink our teeth into.

One night in particular, I remember walking into the local bowling alley with a few friends. We could see the Mortal Kombat machine from the door and some people we didnít recognize were throwing down. We didnít need to say anything to each other, but the four of us all had smiles on our faces.

We walked up to the machine where a small crowd was huddled around. Winner was called a few men deep so we had a wait on our hands. It gave us time to scout the competition. One man in particular was running wild on everyone who stepped up to the challenge. His Kano was solid, no doubt about it. He knew how to use him and he knew the fatalities. We were impressed, it wasnít often you saw someone of his caliber not playing at the arcade.

After disposing of maybe three people, it finally came to Sean.

One could argue that Sean was in the upper echelon of Mortal Kombat players in the area. Everyone from the arcade was solid, donít get me wrong. Holding a 500 record against each other wasnít bad, but we all knew Sean probably was closer to 550.

Sean stepped up to the machine and lined his quarters up along the monitor; the game was on.

The first round was close, the current champion was playing the defensive and it worked. Jump kicks, leg sweeps, and uppercuts he countered almost every time. He changed up his style from what we observed just minutes ago. The guy was pretty good. He won the first round, trash talking ensued, but Sean kept his cool. Heís faced this kind of thing before, and he just needed to adjust and he did. Sean slowed his play down, and forced the bowling alley hero off his game. Time was running close, but Sean was able to wear down Kanoís health enough by the time the timer hit zero to take the round.

One round a piece.

By now there was a large crowd of people around us. Kids, teens, adults; people see a crowd and they are drawn to it. Iím sure most of them didnít even know what Mortal Kombat was, but they knew whatever was happening was epic.

Round three started. Both kombatants were poised and ready. Sean even said ďgood luckĒ to the unnamed prodigy, which was acknowledged by a nod.

FIGHT!

Kano versus Scorpion in the battle of the bowling alley.

Seanís Scorpion stood in place, seconds running off the clock. Kano was moving in, throwing a few high punches which were effectively blocked and countered with an uppercut. Recognizing an opening, Sean moved quickly with a leg sweep coupled with a jumping kick. It was a classic combo before combos were cool. Kanoís health was just over a quarter of the way down. Sean knew that any player worth their salt would know what to do to stop the fourth move in the original combo, so he waited. Sean obviously had respect for the new competitor. Scorpion moved back across the screen watching his distance. Kano was slower to move in, being cautious, he was smart. Moving towards Scorpion, than stepping back, rinse and repeat for a few seconds which felt like an eternity. Sean threw Scorpionís spear at him as a feeler, knowing it would be blocked; however it was a poorly calculated move. Kano blocked quickly and countered with a cannonball uppercut combo, which was his bread and butter. The prodigy in one fell swoop had effectively put the arcadeís all-star at about half health.

Everyone around the machine was silent. Aside from the distant sounds of bowling, button mashing was all that could be heard.

The fight ended in what seemed like an instant after the big combo.

Sean reacted to what happen perfectly. As soon as he could, he threw Scorpionís spear to counter what was coming next. Leg sweep, uppercut, jumping kick. Fatality.

The contender threw his hands up, let out a groan and some laughter. ďGood fightĒ was exchanged and they shook hands. Everyone around the machine was buzzing, the crowd quickly dispersed except for us Gamers. Sean picked his quarters off the monitor, we talked to the opponent for a little while, invited him to the arcade to play with us and parted ways.

That night was easily the coolest experience Iíve ever had gaming. But what does it have to do with the theme of this monthís musing?

The majority of up and coming gamers wonít be able to experience these kind of events anymore. The days of the arcade are long gone. Every arcade that was in town has since closed up shop. The arcade machines that are still around are contrived and boring, itís about winning the prize now. Not playing the game.

Iím not one to put the blame on anything specific. The advancements weíve made in multiplayer gaming are phenomenal. I love the social network available because of the internet and online gaming. The experience and atmosphere is still there, it is just presented in a different fashion.

Since the days of trolling the local Mortal Kombat machines, Iíve participated in many different gaming communities. From playing Counter Strike on a competitive level to being addicted to WoW for three years Ė Iíve had the sense of community and Iíve enjoyed my experiences, but it never even comes close to what it was like in that bowling alley.

LAN centers are the new arcades in some areas, in others they canít even get off the ground. Arcades were everywhere in the eighties and early nineties and now they are few and far between. The community is still there, but it isnít how it used to be. Maybe Iím just getting old and bitter. Maybe I just love my nostalgia. Maybe I think people need to appreciate what once was and support their local arcade. Donít let it fade out. Do not forget about it. Show up, have fun, enjoy it while you can.

Arcades are forgotten by many, not even known by some. Take advantage of them while you still can. I met some of my best friends in an arcade, and have had some of my best gaming experiences because of the arcade. I can only hope that another generation of gamers will have that same opportunity.   read


6:37 PM on 03.10.2008

Gameslaves N+ Contest - Win MS pointz!

Yes, thatís right. Itís been a while since weíve held a contest at Gameslaves, but weíre back in action and ready to give away some stuff.

This time itís 1600 Microsoft Points. It may not seem like a lot, but itís fair to say that there are some pretty good games on Xbox Live Arcade, and hereís your chance to get 2 for free, assuming you win the contest!

On the latest episode of Gameslaves Radio (Episode 45) we announced our contest for N+, the latest puzzle/maze game available on Xbox Live Arcade. To win the contest, and the 1600 MS points, you need to create a level using the gameís level editor. Fairly simple, fun, and it gets some user created content up and going for the game.

You can enter up to one full episode (5 levels) into the contest, and it will count as 5 chances to win. Or if youíre lazy, you can just create one awesome level and hope that it wins.

In order to enter, you must create your level, and then email it to Pete, ryvvn (AT) gameslaves (DOT) net, stating that you have an entry for the contest (subject the email something along the lines of Ė N+ Contest). Once thatís taken care of, you and Pete will have to add one another on XBL and he will have to play your episode (or level) in order to download it and save it to his HDD.

Friday March 28th is the last day to submit your entries. We will be judging and choosing a winner on the 29th, and anything submitted after the deadline will not qualify.

On the following episode of GSR (which will be episode 48) we will announce the winner of the contest. The winner will be announced on the episode, so you must actually listen to the show to find out if you won. Donít worry. Just in case you hate us, weíll announce it early in the show.

So to summarize -

Create a level or episode in N+
Email Pete, ryvvn (AT) gameslaves (DOT) net, and tell him you have an entry.
Set up a time to play with Pete so he can download your entry.
Weíll judge it March 29th.
Weíll announce the winner on Episode 48.
Listen to see if youíve won 1600 Microsoft points.


You can also listen to episode 45 to hear us talk about the contest and stuff like that.   read


5:25 PM on 02.26.2008

DESTRUCTOID CANCUN: My entry

Because I hate the community and need a break.

That is all.   read


2:25 PM on 02.24.2008

This made me laugh.



How appropriate.   read


12:38 PM on 12.26.2007

Winter Carnival Aftermath - Questions that need answers

Christmas has come and gone, and Iíd like to think I made out like a bandit. Obtaining a Wii, a bunch of games for it, and Uncharted for the PS3, itís fair to say that Iíve got a fair bit of game playing to be done. However, I have popped in everything I got atleast once minus Uncharted, so since Iím bored, SNAP REVIEWS (that no one gives a shit about)! By the way, if you don't read my stupid impressions on the games, there is a question at the end.

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles Ė Not too bad, I played really briefly but it wasnít terrible. Itís a rail shooter, hurr, and since I grew up around arcade machines Iím used to this kinda thing and like it.

Super Mario Galaxy Ė Itís Mario 64 with sweet controls and a fuckiní awesome universe. Loviní this game.

Resident Evil 4 Ė Amazing. Iíve played this the most out of all the games Iíve gotten so far and god damn is it good on the Wii.

Trauma Center: New Blood Ė I played the DS version of the first title and liked it well enough. Iíve been popping this in when taking a break from ďrealĒ games and it keeps me occupied. I like it.

Mario and Sonic Olympics Ė Only really playing it with friends or my brother, not too much fun by myself. Definitely a great party game though.

Brunswick Pro Bowling Ė Itís a bowling gameÖ I like it, itís fun, though Wii bowling probably would have been enough, however, I do like the career mode option in this title.

Carnival Games Ė In the same boat as Olympics, really fun party game but I canít imagine playing it with myself.

Mario Party 8 Ė Fantastic party game, love it to death.

Manhunt 2 Ė Eh, itís Manhunt I guess. I havenít really gotten into it too much cause I donít really care, Iíll probably beat it eventually.

Spyro Ė Not too much play time with this one, watched my brother play it some though and it seemed alright.

Yeah so, I made out pretty good, on top of that stuff I got a bunch of DVDs too which I havenít watched because of the constant playing with my Wii. All and all, Iím pretty pleased with the new system and the games Iíve gotten. A lot of things to play and keep me occupied, even though I am pretty overwhelmed. With so much stuff to play, I canít decide if Iím going to jump around or just dominate one game at a time, itís a lot to cover. For the Wii anyway, Iím going to wait till I have time to sit down and play Uncharted straight through without playing other stuff in between. I am one of those gamers though, thinking about it, itís kind of a joke thinking Iíd skip around and play different games. Itís not my style, especially for single player things.

So you tell me, what game should I bang out first?

Resident Evil 4
Super Mario Galaxy
Uncharted

I figure weíll leave it to those three since they are really the only ones with strong single player. The others I could jump around and play at my leisure, but Iíd only want to play one of these at a time.   read


12:56 AM on 12.23.2007

Dead or Alive - No, I don't mean the game.

There is going to be spoilers, but I doubt you care givin the nature of the film.

Bored out of my mind and looking through the new releases on my Video on Demand service, I came across the movie adaption of Dead or Alive. Being me, I had to see it and chances are at some point I will own it. You might be asking yourself, "why?" because without even reading my pseudo-review, you know this movie is going to be terrible, so why would I purchase it? Because I can't help myself. My two passions are video games and movies, and when you combine them, no matter how awful or terrible, I must own it. And yes, it includes the Uwe Bolle Collection, I'm sorry.

Anyway.

I knew they were making a movie out of DOA, but I had no idea that it came out over a year ago or else I would have seen it much sooner, needless to say as soon as the cursor came down to the option on the screen, I paid my $3 and grabbed some popcorn.

The opening scene easily sets the tone for everything. Bad acting, low budget props, bad CG, and a hot chick. Other than that, there is some really lame plot going on that I don't pay much attention to because the opening credits are rolling and I want to know who I can attribute this pile to. Than a familiar name crossed the screen and I was confused, J.F. Lawton? The name stroke a cord and I knew I heard it before, and half way through the movie it occurred to me -- he had part in writing Blankman, Pretty Woman, and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. The latter easily one of my all time favorite movies.

The opening scene went on about Kasumi being some sort of princess going off to try and find her brother, Hayate. Now, I only played the 4th DOA and I haven't played it in quite some time, so maybe this is the plot of the game too, but I promise, the game does it better. Apparently Hayate entered in the last DOA tournament and never returned to the ninja village, obviously there was foul play involved. Now, Kasumi must set out to find what happen to her brother, even if it means defying Hayabusa who strongly recommends against it! Kasumi goes to leave, than Ayane shows up, who apparently loves Hayate but must kill Kasumi for leaving the ninja village. Follow?

In short, Kasumi and Ayane battle, Kasumi gets away and jumps over the edge of a big fuckin' cliff. Luckily, under her ninja robes she wears a back pack equipped with a hang glider and glides to safety, but not before a DOA Ninja Star Invitation gets thrown at her and she catches it. Garbage like this continues for about ten minutes and all the girls of DOA get introduced: Tina (who is played by White Trash Princess herself, Jaime Pressly), Christie, Helena, Ayane, and Kasumi. Oddly, they are all quite attractive and not wearing very much through out the entire movie.

The movie focuses on those four girls the most part, however there is appearences by Zack, Gen Fu, Bayman, Leon, and Bass - who is played by Kevin Nash... FUCKIN' BIG DADDY COOL!

Ahem, there is a little more sub plot going on with Christie and how her and Max (her boyfriend) are going to knock off the tournament and steal the money and stuff like that, but I couldn't really pay attention because of the girls playing volleyball and fighting in the rain while wearing white.. things. Good thing that plot didn't really matter much, because out of nowhere, random battles begin. Action packed baby, action packed.

There is about an hour of random fighting going on, and mixed in ever so blatantly, is the boobs. Not naked boob though, which made me sad but it made sense when I noticed the PG-13 rating. So yeah, fighting and stuff.

Than with about 20 minutes left in the flick, they explain the rest of the plot that you don't really care about anyway. Basically, the event organizer killed Helena's father so he could test out these sweet sunglasses that steal you martial arts kicks and blocks, and teaches you how to fight like the person you stole sweet moves from. He used the DOA tournament to get the best fighters in the world so he could download their move lists, and than test the glasses out on none other than... HAYATE! Oh snap.

Oh, yeah. He got Hayabusa, Tina, Kasumi, and Christie all in that big chamber room thats at the end of DOA 4 where you fight the Nanobot. Ya know, that annoying, green girl that steals your moves. I guess they couldn't afford anymore CG, which is why Eric Roberts, who plays the event organizer Donovan by the way, had to wear cheap sunglasses with a red laser on the nose piece, instead of getting a sweet nanobot to fight Hayabusa.

The worst fight scene I have ever seen proceeds, Hayate obviously losses to the sunglasses, but thank god there is a computer geek around who frees the girls and they kick Eric Roberts ASS! Like, really bad, you wouldn't believe how bad they kicked his ass. His face melted, because they blew up the DOA island, that's how bad they kicked his ass.

Yeah so, this movie was really bad. However, it was fun to watch and the best line in the movie is "THE LAB IS GOING TO EXPLODE!" But with no emphasis whatsoever. I don't know what the deal was with this movie, or why it was even made. I'm honestly surprised that it isn't a Uwe Bolle film, but Corey Yuen, who directed this pile of fail, could easily keep up with the Bollster for bad video game movies if he continued down this path.

I mean, this is the guy's first American film, or well, film in English, because I IMDB'd this fool, and he hasn't done a god damn thing I can pronounce.   read


10:23 AM on 12.11.2007

Scene it? I have, and I like it.

While wondering through Best Buy the other day doing that whole Christmas shopping nonsense, a little gem caught my eye that I basically forgot about. Scene It has been a game Iíve been looking forward to since I had first heard about it, but I couldnít seem to remember the game unless I was staring directly at it. Now, that doesnít make it a makeshift game or anything, not by any means, it just means that there has been very little ďhypeĒ or anyone even talking about this game, which is a shame in my opinion. However, I have quite the love for movies, just as much as my love for video games (and on some days, it may even surpass my love for video games), and I love board games too, so I support any board game to video game ďportĒ (even bad ones like Catan) with a purchase. There was a whole lot of loving in that last sentence, which is basically going to be the whole feel of this review. I will be oogley, lovey dovey, and just plain olí smitten with this game.

For $59.99 Scene It gets you the game, four buzzers, batteries for all the buzzers, and the receiver for the buzzers, there isnít much more you could ask for really, unless you were expecting pieces of a dead hooker to act as packing peanuts.

Screenlife did a great job of not screwing up if you ask me, they didnít try and add a bunch of bells and whistles and all that garbage that most developers do when they are working with a not so original IP. There isnít a story mode, there isnít a fight to the death mode, there is, however: Long Play, Short Play, and Party Mode. Screenlife took an already successful board game and decided to ďportĒ it over to the 360 and they did a fantastic job. Long and short play are basically one in the same, itís just a longer or shorter game. Now that Iíve pointed out the obvious let me tell you how party play works. Rather than having a beginning, an end, or rounds, the game just picks up and keeps on going until you decide to stop playing. Endless mode probably would have been a better name for Party play, because Long/Short play is more party inducing if you ask me.

The one thing that worried me about Scene It when I first heard about it was: ďIím worried really worried about questions repeating because itís a scary thing and could really ruin a really good game that could be totally awesome and keep me happy and make me bread.Ē Yeah, I worry in run-on sentences. Screenlife was ahead of the game though and they took that worry by the horns and shat directly onto it. After every round you play, the game saves the questions you have already answered to your hard drive to minimize the chance of repeating questions. I guess that could be a problem if youíre taking Scene It to a friends house, but if thatís the case and you really think youíve seen most of the 1,800 questions, bring your hard drive too, dummy.

Iíve played a bunch of Scene It, and I havenít repeated any of the questions that Iíve come across on my 360 yet and I also donít think Iíve answered nearly 1,800 questions so there is still tons more Scene it to be played. While on the topic of questions, you may worry about running out of questions eventually which is a valid concern, until I tell you this! Screenlife will be releasing question packs in the future, and when I say ďwill beĒ, I mean I hope they do and I am purely speculating.

You have 1,800 questions, you canít just be answering dull and boring movie trivia, now can you! Nope, youíre not. Scene It has 21 different game types for your playing pleasure. Iím pretty sure even after all the times Iíve played, I still havenít seen all the game types, but I maybe mistaken. It just seems like every time I start up a game, I get to see a new game type or two. A couple of the game types youíre bound to see are:
The Movie Clip Ė Where the game plays a short clip from a movie than asks you really random questions about the clip, and sometimes questions that have nothing to do with the clip. This mode can be a little disheartening but youíll get through it. Oh, right. This mode also serves as the Final Cut, which is the last round in the short/long play mode, the only difference is Ė you donít lose points for wrong answers.

Childís Play is another fun game type. Youíre supposed to guess the name of the movie based on a ďchildísĒ sketch that is slowly being filled in as the timer runs down.

There is Quotables , Audio Clips, Anagrams, and many, many more different game types that will definitely keep you interested.

Scene It is 1-4 players, and Iíve played it with 2 people and Iíve played it with 4. I donít think the game would be very good playing by yourself, unless you are trying to be a scum bag and memorize all the questions before your friends get to play with you. If thatís the case, I hope you die a painful death for stealing my idea.

The game play is pretty straight forward, you answer the questions correctly and you get points, miss the question you lose points. Your points are based off the sliding timer that is at the bottom of the screen. The faster you buzz in, the more points you gain or lose depending on how smart you are. There is a couple ways to answer questions depending on the game type. If youíre playing with a bunch of people, some game types just have you ring in your answer without buzzing in and everyone playing gets to answer. Others require you to buzz in like back in the old game show days, and I believe only one game mode has everyone putting things in order with no buzzing in needed.

At the end of every round bonus points are awarded, these are kinda silly but in a fun way. You get bonus points for basically just playing and being really good, or just being really bad. Some of the things you can get bonus points for are: Slowest Answer, Fastest Answer, Most Questions Answered Right, Most Questions Answered Wrong, yeah ok you get the point.

Overall, I think Scene It is a fantastic game and I canít find too much wrong with it to complain about. Except for a very small buzzer issue. When playing in a pretty compact area, it is easy for people to be in the way of each other and for buzzers not to be directly pointed at the receiver. This is a problem since the buzzers use Infrared, which requires a direct line of sight for the sender to hit the receiver and if this doesnít happen at all times, cancerous waves of infrared single are shot into the air and infect your brain. So donít let your friends stand in your way when youíre playing Scene it because you wonít be able to buzz in and you will get cancer.

Other than that, the game is amazing and if you have 2 or more friends, I would definitely pick this game up for when you want to take a break from Rock Band, which I know doesnít happen a lot right now, but if you had Scene It, I bet it would happen more.

Scene It: Lights, Camera, Action!

Gameslaves Radio   read


12:17 PM on 11.24.2007

Late but what the hell: I want my excitement back.

This is from my gamespot blog, but I figured I'd post it to clear up some statements in my "What the hell was his name" blog.

--------------

I can only imagine the backlash if I actually had people reading my blog. The seas would rise, the sun would explode and humanity as we know it, would end. Yet here I am writing what could be one of the first (or few) posts in a manner which would not be pleasing to 2k Boston. Yeah, right.

I have found myself in a rut, torn between story and game play in the fantastic world of Rapture. It literally tears me to pieces every time I load the game knowing that I'm going to have to deal with some of the most annoying features in a game ever, just to learn more and experience the story to it's full effect.

That's right, I cannot f--king stand the game play of Bioshock. Granted, at first it may come off just like any shooter but with the option of adding some extra cool things to make you stronger. However, I find it quite annoying and redundant. Being the kind of player who likes to power through shooters and learn as much about the story as possible (as quickly as possible), it bothers the living **** out of me that I need to make decision about what plasmids to use. In this case, what plasmids I need to use in a level before I even know a god damn thing about the level.

Why not just goto a gene bank and change them out?

Because that's f--king annoying. I don't want to run and find a gene bank every ten minutes just because I've come across a new encounter.

Harvest Little Sisters and buy some more plasmid slots!

No! FU! The little sisters and the big daddies can suck it. I'll talk more about them later.

What it comes down to is, my character feels heavily under powered because of this gene bank nonsense. I don't know which plasmids will be best and the splicers I'm facing seem to take no damage from the ones I choose, ever. So I kinda get screwed in the fact that I need to run to a gene bank or die and start from where I left off, which is equally annoying.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have died, because I've run out of ammo for my awesome guns (which seem to do little-to-no damage to most splicers) and my plasmids suck and do equally crappy damage. Why is this? I don't f'ing know. Could someone tell me why this is? Probably. Do I want to hear it? No. I'm at the point of frustration with this game where as amazing as the story sounds, the gameplay enrages me to no end and I don't even want to play it anymore.

Maybe it's my hectic way of playing the game, but the other awesome thing that I love is the vital chambers... Or whatever the f--k they are called. You know, the stupid things that respawn you when you die, yeah, they're great. They respawn you close to where you died with the enemies still at whatever amount of health you left them at. Amazing. Up until you run out of money, first aid, and eve injectors and you're left with half health and little to no eve to kill the remaining splicers.

Yeah, that's amazing, good job. Probably a feature you should have put on your box so everyone knows how awesome it is.

Big Daddies. I hate you. You make me hate this game so god damn much. Everytime I come across one, I die a little on the inside. I hate having to fight them in order to get atom to spend on upgrading. They are such a pain in my nuts to kill. It seems like no matter what I do (even with the grenade launcher), I die atleast five to seven times trying to defeat one. Then I defeat one and the little demon is nowhere to be found. WHERE THE LIVING SH-T DID SHE GO? So I waste all my money, all my first aid kits, and all my injectors trying to kill a Big Daddy for maybe fifty bucks and a first aid kit. Awesome.

Now what hurts me the most, even though I hate this game with every inch of my body, is the fact that I love the story. From the first seconds I played the game and I saw the banner that read "No Gods. No Kings. Only Man." I knew I was going to love this game. I love stories based around utopia's created by mad men and things go horribly wrong. It's been a long time coming but I just started reading Orwell's 1984 and cannot put it down. Now, I want to know the story, I want to learn more, I want to hear more. But I just cannot bring myself to play this god damn game anymore. So here I am, ranting and raving and no one to agree with me.

I'm sorry people, but the gameplay in Bioshock is just too rediculous for me to give a crap about the game anymore. I'll be looking online to listen to the audio tapes (which I think are highly entertaining and very well done.) and trying to find the ending.

Just writing that last bit made me remember something more, and if you know me, I write in whats known as "stream of conscience" so, if you're new here, you'll notice I'm all over the place and that's fine. By the way, yes. I know stream of conscience is short for "someone who isn't good at writing but tries to anyway."

The audio tapes make me angry. Placed in the most random god damn spots, it bothers me like you wouldn't believe. I end up searching every inch of every level trying to find these things. What if I didn't stumble upon the audio tape in the under passage through the broken gate? I could have EASILY skipped that part and ran right past it, but I didn't. Why? By accident. I fell into the grate and was like "oh, it's a passage." God knows how many audio tapes I've missed, which is another big reason for me not caring anymore. It's possible I've missed an important part of the story because the devs thought it would be totally awesome to stick an audio tape up the ass of a splicer that I forgot to hit "search again" on.

I don't care if you think the gameplay is awesome and you enjoy it alot.

I don't care if you think I'm not good at shooters. Let's play something multiplayer on the PC and we'll put that theory to the test.

I don't care if you think I'm impatient, because you're right. I am.

I do care if you have a solution to my character being terrible and everything being impossible to kill. Keep in mind, I play on hard, because I'm a real gamer.   read


10:27 PM on 11.23.2007

What the hell was his name?

Recently Iíve noticed that more than a few games have left me feeling emotionally detached from the characters, not in a sense where I cry or get angry or anything like that, but in a way where I just donít care about what happens to them. I feel like Iíve recently taken a turn and just donít care about the characters anymore and maybe I care more about the game play and being entertained. Itís not a bad thing that Iím starting to focus on the game play more, but at the same time, a good story and having some sort of feelings for the characters Iím portraying would definitely enhance the experience.

As I thought more about it, I relized that it maybe the game play that is pulling me out of the game more than the actual story. Three games came to mind immediately: Saintís Row, BioShock, and Assassinís Creed.

BioShock and Assassinís Creed are one in the same for the reasons I felt pulled out of the game, but Saintís Row is a different story which I will elaborate on in a bit.

If youíre a reader of my blog, you already know my feelings about BioShock. I was really into the story but the game play is what pulled me out of it and made me hate the game. Spending most of my time searching around for audio tapes is what did me in. That aspect totally pulled me out of the game and just annoyed me to the point where I didnít even care about what was happening anymore, I just wanted to find the tapes so I could say I completed everything. Ultimately it lead to me not even finishing the game and just not caring about it anymore, because I didnít care. Searching for these tapes brought me out of the game to the point of feeling detached from the character and how the story progressed.

To me, in a struggle like in BioShock, finding all these audio tapes would be the last of my concern with everything else going on. I understand that the audio tapes brought forth a lot of the back story and all of that, but if I was the main character, I really wouldnít spend my time looking for all these, Iíd be more worried about not dying, because living is better than dying. Dying sucks.

If the tapes were in more easy to find spots, than sure, I could imagine this dude picking it up and gaining a better understanding of what the hell was going on around him. But having to literally search every square foot of every room, was a bit much considering the circumstances. Maybe Iím wrong and just not as curious as some people and in a life of death situation, finding tapes is obviously top priority.

I get itís a game, and I get they needed to do something other than the main story youíre following, but it was obnoxious to place these tapes randomly on levels. If you disagree with me, thatís fine, but youíre wrong. If you like wondering looking at the ground, while everything around you is falling apart, Iíd hate to have you leading me out of a life or death situation.

Assassinís Creed is in the same boat with me. When it comes to their little side missions (Vigilantes, pick pocketing, view points, etc) they threw in there to waste an hour or so of your time before every assassination, it just makes me want to stop playing. In every level, they are exactly the same with no difference whatsoever. They arenít hard to do, they arenít fun to do, they just arenít anything. Itís all just filler to make the game feel longer, and it does just that, as well as pulling you right out of the game.

They could have made these side missions a lot more fun and different, the game itself isnít very long when it comes to the main plot. But instead of giving a variety of things to do, they gave you more of the same over and over again. Rather than thinking ďOh my god, whatís next?!Ē I thought ďOh my god when does this end?Ē With that feeling of repetitiveness and just not caring about all this crap that needs to be done, I got pulled right out of the game and just didnít care anymore. I still havenít finished the game, but I will grind out the last couple kills later this weekend, but I really donít want to because I have no interest anymore in whatís going on. ANOTHER SEMI INTERACTIVE CUT SCENE THAT IíVE SEEN SIX TIMES BEFORE? I CANNOT WAIT!

Saintís Row is a different situation for me, rather than the game play making me not care about the game, itís actually the story. The story was terrible and I think everyone can agree on that, the game itself though, is really fun to play single and multi player. I love the game play and I love playing the game, however I didnít care about the story because I donít care about thugs. I didnít feel anything for the story or the characters, I just wanted to play the game and enjoy all the different things to do. Oh, a main character died? I didnít even notice because I was too busy dressing my guy up as a pimp.

Maybe itís a little contradictory, but I did enjoy doing the thug things, but the thug story did nothing for me and I didnít care about it. I just wanted the game to end so I could sand box around and enjoy the game play aspects.

I could talk about the contrary and talk about games that really brought me in and kept me wanting more, but Iím not going to because no one cares. Well, maybe someone does, but Iím more interested in what games pulled you out and made you not care about the characters and why.

So you should tell me, so I can avoid the games if I havenít already.

We're recording episode 32 of Gameslaves Radio tomorrow and maybe we'll talk about this stuff!

ninja edit - i proof read good. and I'll post my blog about bioshock at another point in time since it was on my other blog.   read


1:20 PM on 11.18.2007

Kane & Lynch: Mediocre Men

If youíre looking for a game that is fantastically mediocre, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men is definitely the way to go. I can honestly say that I havenít played a game that has not left some kind of impression on me in awhile. I just kind of feel like itís there and it passed six hours of my life that I normally would have just spent sleeping, so I canít say I missed out on anything playing this game or Iím angry about losing that six hours of my life. But if you have shit to do, I wouldnít recommend putting that aside for Kane or Lynch.

As far as the game play goes, itís just your every day third person shooter. I canít say they did anything cool, hip or groovy because they really didnít. You can shoot from the hip or you can hold right trigger for a smaller crosshair for more accuracy. Duck and cover, blind firing, everything youíd expect in any other shooter is there as well, the problem is, they forgot to put that something in the game that sets it apart from every other shooter. Playing on the normal game setting, there was some really annoying parts of the game as far as breaching enemy strong points goes, but other than a select few scenes where thereís a ton of baddies, everything else was sort of a breeze. At first it may take you awhile to figure out how to get passed some enemies or how to approach the beginning of a mission, but after that itís just a shootíem up fest. Thinking back on it, when you first start playing, it seems like they really wanted to add an element to the game where they make you do certain things and be inconspicuous about it, but as the game goes on itís like they just said ďfuck itĒ and turned it into an action shooter with no other real elements. If you were like me and expected something along the lines of Hitman, in a setting up a bank heist, taking things slowly and than just mowing down everyone to escape, itís just not there.

The visuals are alright, I guess. While playing it doesnít look very different from Hitman: Blood Money but itís obvious that it isnít polished as well. Sure, at first glance youíre like ďat least the graphics are as good as Hitmanís!Ē but as you play a little further, it becomes apparent that they arenít. It seems like they really tried to give it the old Hitman look but nope, didnít happen. Itís a little more gritty and not in the good way. I wouldnít say there is graphic issues or anything, I didnít notice a lot of model popping or tearing or anything like that, itís just not as clean and solid looking as Blood Money. When it comes to the cinematics, the few that there are, itís in the same boat. They look good, good enough to hold your attention, but they still are not as well done as other games.

Speaking of cinematics! The story of the game is pretty boring and doesnít make you feel anything. Aside from our foul mouthed anti-heroes constant abuse of the word ďfuck.Ē I canít say I remember too much about what was going on. A lot of things were left unexplained, most of the story was just done in narratives over the loading screens with no cut scene or images at all. Just the voice actors talking to each other. When there was a cut scene though, it was mildly fun and entertaining to watch but nothing special. Nothing really awesome at any point ever happen, but the direction the game takes you makes you think sooner or later it will. I personally thought the awesomeness would ensue once the game was beaten, but boy was I mistaken. There is two endings to the game and the one I got sucked hard, and after reading about the other one, it sucks too.

I noticed that Lynch didnít freak out and go all crazy as much as I hoped he would. I was expecting him to be a complete lunatic, but it really wasnít that bad and for the most part it didnít effect the game what so ever. When he did manage to forget to take his pills and lose it a little, it was normally doing a cut scene and you couldnít do much with it, Iím not actually sure why itís even in the game or was mentioned during the hyping process. Itís a story element, not a game play element that has any bearing on anything.

I played the game on co-op with my good buddy Pete, and it wasnít too bad. The game worked well in a co-op setting, but any shooter works well on co-op. I havenít tried any of the multiplayer Fragile Alliance game modes but I surely will not either. The game didnít hold my attention long enough for me to go back and play it again, I really have no will or desire to. If youíre looking for something different than your average deathmatch or whatever, just pick up Saintís Row which has really good and innovative multiplayer.

Overall, I donít think I would have played Kane and Lynch by myself. Honestly, Iím glad I waited to hang out with Pete to play it on co-op. Without question I would have ended up never finishing the game because it just isnít there, but if you and your friends have a couple hours to kill, definitely rent it and enjoy the foul mouthed antics of Kane and Lynch.   read


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