Or maybe I'm Max, or Anan; depends on where and when you're from.
Videogames are pretty neat, my favorites are:(in no particular order)
Final Fantasy VI
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I also like writing about videogames, more specifically about game design.
ABC's of Game ________:
A is for
B is for
C is for Conveyance D is for
E is for
F is for
G is for
H is for
I is for
J is for
K is for
L is for
M is for
N is for
O is for
P is for
Q is for
R is for Risk S is for
T is for
U is for
V is for
W is for
X is for
Y is for
Z is for
One of the reasons that videogames manage to bring me back time and time again is the feeling I get when learning about a game's mechanics or familiarizing myself with a game's world. My favorite games are the ones that really differentiate themselves from real life and each other in terms of logic and atmosphere. There's a real sense of achievement that comes from successfully grasping a game's rules and understanding what initially may seem obtuse or nonsensical. Of course this is not a feeling that I get from every game. There are quite a number of titles that are highly derivative of each other in terms of their mechanics and game-logic. This is understandable; as the industry progresses it's going to become harder and harder to come up with truly "original" ideas. I can still enjoy a derivative game, as long as it puts some sort of spin on the established conventions or has a unique atmosphere.
Darksiders 2 is a game that I played quite a bit of. Currently I've logged in about 18 hours. During that time I fought some enemies, pushed some levers, and climbed on some stuff. I think.
Vigil's sequel is a curious case in that it's the only game that I spent a significant amount of time with but didn't enjoy. I know it seems illogical. If you're not engaged with a game you should probably save your valuable time and stop playing it. But I wanted to be engaged with Darksiders 2. I wanted it so bad. But at no point in my experience was I having fun with the game. Even though Death had been forced to inhabit and save this fantastical and whimsical world, an overwhelming feeling of familiarity permeated Darkisiders 2. I felt like I had been here before.
After I had some time to meditate on the experience I realized that I had in fact been there before. Almost all of the mechanics were retreads of experiences that I had in the past. POP-esque platforming, combat similar but not nearly as deep as Devil May Cry, and an overall structure that was extremely reminiscent of Zelda. As I said earlier, I don't mind derivative games, so long as the game contains a significant feature that hasn't been seen in that genre or an atmosphere that is unlike anything else in the medium. I got nothing from Darksiders 2. The story did nothing to grab me, and I felt that the visual style, while initially beautiful, made everything look rather samey after a while. "Soulless" would be how I would put it.
I don't hate Darksiders 2. I realize that it was critically acclaimed, and I realize that it's a well made game that had an incredible amount of work and love put into it. The developers really did polish the mechanics to a shine, but I couldn't help but feel incredibly dull after spending time with it. I'm still glad that I played it, as it made me realize why a lot of games are just flat-out boring to me. I'm sorry if I upset any Darksiders fans out there, but I just thought I'd share my thoughts.
I've been playing quite a lot of games recently, actually quite a lot of ONE game if you must know the truth. If you haven't noticed the title of this blog yet, yes, that game is none other that Doom 2.
Now, I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to the doom franchise. The closest I've ever come to partaking in ID's Satanic series has been with the original Doom on my iPod. I quite enjoyed that game, as it was very refreshing to play a shooter of that labyrinthine design in an age when many shooters had much less open-ended approaches to level design. The only thing that was holding me back from fully singing the game's praises were the controls. I give credit to whoever ported it over on iOS, they really did the best they could, but the game simply was not designed to be played on a touch screen. I'm still glad I played it though, as it made me think about just how well the game would play with a keyboard and mouse.
Fast forward to the 2012 Steam Winter sale. I've got three bucks left in my steam wallet and I'm combing through the multitude of games that might just satiate my everlasting hunger for electronic entertainment. I feel like something old school; not too heavy. Something that's punishing, and lends itself well to short play sessions. Scrolling down the long list of games at absurdly low prices when suddenly...
Faster that you can say Cyberdemon, I purchase and download the game, and boot up this shining example of old school game design. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey to the fiery pits of hell themselves, and emerge victorious over the forces of evil with a shotgun in one hand, and a new favorite game in the other.
I started writing this blog with the intent to articulate just what makes this game a masterpiece and I'm going to do it god dammit! I apologize if my attempt to explain what makes Doom 2 one of my favorite videogames of all time devolves into unabashed gushing, but what can I say? The game's that good!
If anything, the second chapter in ID's defining series has only gotten better with age. Doom 2 contains an old-school design that has become rarer and rarer to find as the console generations have progressed. Even with the recent resurgence of "retro" games, there's a certain soul that can only be found in games from the 80's and 90's.
While some might say the graphics as the most old-school thing about this game I find that the most old-school thing about doom, and it's defining feature, is how it approaches gameplay. There are no lengthy tutorial sequences, exposition and background plot are thrown out the window. This game drops you right into the action without so much as a button-mapping screen. While I do admire games that offer a rich story, there are times when I would much rather have the game just shut up and get me playing right away. Doom 2 is perhaps one of the best examples of this pick-up and play mentality.
This cutting of fat carries over to the level design. The game moves at a breakneck pace, and avoids all of the puzzle solving and plodding progression present in some shooters. Levels are large and visually diverse, and avoid the pitfall of having virtually identical hallways, a problem that a lot of shooters back then struggled with. Everything feels meticulously designed and placed, and the game is just so much better for it. The enemies are designed with this fast-paced design in mind, as a lot of them do absurd amounts of damage. This is balanced out, difficulty wise, by them having a relatively low tolerance to bullets. This vulnerability ofboth both the monsters and yourself makes every enemy encounter potentially fatal, which helps build great tension between you and the game.
But what would those monsters be without means of dispatching them. This game continues the Doom tradition of having ridiculously satisfying weapons. Every blast you expel from your plasma or shotgun is accompanied by a fulfilling thump or buzz. Some might cite the weapons as disappointing though, considering that only one new gun was added to Doom Guy's arsenal, but I think the old weapons still had a lot of life in them at the time that this was released.
The games soundtrack does a lot to contribute to the hellish atmosphere of the game. It's a rather stark contrast to the original's head banging array of tracks, as it's a lot more ambient and spooky. I feel that in general, ID really did a lot to differentiate this sequel from the first Doom by making it more atmospheric in general. Levels are a lot larger than the first doom, and display some pretty impressive shadow and light effects for the time that this was released. It's by no means terrifying, but I have to admit, some of the surprise enemy placements in conjunction with the lighting and brilliant sound design had me jump out of my seat.
All of these features come together to make one of my new favorites, and Doom 2 has earned a place in my top five of all time for sure. If you've never really gotten into the Doom series, or are itching for an old-school shooter with fantastic design you should all definitely check it out on Steam or the 360. There is one caveat to the steam version however, it's rather poorly emulated and really takes a hit in regards to sound and graphics. If you do choose to purchase the game on Steam I recommend you use a source port, GZDOOM being one of my favorites. Either way, prepare yourself for a fantastic experience. Delightfully old school, deliciously atmospheric, and most importantly; fun.
A few days ago, Tom Mc Shea published an article onto Gamespot entitled: "Is Nintendo Trapped by It's Legacy?" It's a well written piece, and I recommend that you go over there and give it a look. If you're just too cool for that I'll give you the rundown. Tom believes that with recent console generations, Nintendo's been making the same mistakes and pulling the same shtick. Droughts of game releases, third parties not being interested, things that have become synonymous with Nintendo consoles. Tom explains that the only reason that gamers are willing to overlook this is because of first-party releases, and he believes that even those are growing stale and obsolete. Like I said, it's an enjoyable read, but I couldn't help but find some holes in his argument. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or prove him wrong, I just wanted to put my two cents in.
The first issue that Tom brought up was the drought of game releases that have become so frequent during the lifespan of a Nintendo console. I don't disagree completely with this point. In terms of game releases, the Wii became a bit of a sparse desert in it's later years, with months upon months populated with nothing but shovelware. Don't get me wrong, the Wii is my favorite console of all time, but that doesn't mean that I'm blind to it's shortcomings. I suppose I was more oblivious to game droughts because I was a relatively late adopter of the Wii. At that point it had a significant backlog of truly awesome games. I was never one to tear through games in a week, so a game could keep me occupied for months on end. However, I suppose I'm a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the amount of time it takes me to complete a game. Tom also claimed that the Wii U is no exception when it comes to game droughts and I do agree with him. There doesn't seem to be anything big coming out in the next month or so, but I do think that the Wii U had a good enough launch so that there would be enough games to satiate console owners for at least two months after launch.
Tom states that Nintendo's roster of first-party heavy-hitters have become stale and samey. Old franchises like Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and Zelda have and will continue to rely on the same old tropes that they've been using ever since their first iteration. This is where I begin to disagree with Tom's sentiment. One of the things that makes Nintendo games so magical, to me at least, is their ability to present a beginning and ending to a story we've all seen before, and make that journey in between different each time. Every Zelda game starts you off in the shoes of an unsuspecting young boy, and ends with that boy becoming a legendary hero. It's how each game presents itself to you with different characters, puzzles, and aesthetic. It's what makes these games unique and enduring. Tom even brings Nintendo's ability to "reinvent it's most enduring properties" up during the editorial, but believes that the games that reinvent themselves are few and far between. I would argue the opposite however, with the only Nintendo titles that stay more or less the same in terms of aesthetic and general gameplay being the New Super Mario Brothers series, and even they have differences in terms of level design, powerups, and scope.
As for Nintendo relying too much on first party titles, I have a feeling that's about to change. The Big N's recent Nintendo Direct showcased quite a bit of 3rd party games such as Bayonetta 2 and the Wonderful 101, as well as Nintendo's collaboration with Atlus on Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei. Iwata himself stated that this collaboration is very telling of Nintendo's new approach to making games, which would have you believe that more collaborations and work with 3rd parties can be expected in the near future. Nintendo's even bringing newer IPs such as the Xenoblade series to the forefront, which is evidenced by the new "X" game unveiled at the Nintendo Direct.
Again, this was not written to embarrass Tom McShea by any means. He believes what he believes and that's completely fine. I just wanted to respectfully document my response in a way that hopefully starts discussion.
This is a photoshop I did after listening to the latest Podtoid.
For those of you who don't know (shame on you!), Podtoid is a podcast hosted by Destructoid's very own Jim Sterling, accompanied by Jonathan Holmes and Conrad Zimmerman. I believe it started in 2007, and was originally hosted by website founder Niero Gonzales, but that's besides the point. I'm not here to teach a Podtoid history lesson (you have the Podtoid Wiki for that), I'm here to tell you a story!
My freshman year in high school was probably the worst year in my life so far. Keep in mind that I'm still in high school, so that's not saying very much. Still though, it was a pretty dreary year. I was an awkward, self-conscious, wreck of a kid who didn't hang out much with people my age. This was due in part to the fact that I didn't want to interact with the kids around me. The bulk of them seemed absolutely unpleasant, and I could never muster up the courage to talk to the ones that I had a desire to become friends with. It became more and more apparent that this was a problem as the year went on. With no one to hang out with, places like the lunchroom became a nightmare. I managed to find some solutions to these problems, such as spending lunches in the library, safe from any potential human interaction.
I forgot what it was called, but there was this one class that was required of freshmen, I think it was supposed to prepare us for a career or something. Whatever the purpose, I doubt anyone learned anything from it. For most kids, class consisted of goofing off with friends and poking fun at the teacher. I did neither. There were computers available, so I spent most classes playing the Binding of Isaac demo on newgrounds over and over again. Occasionally I would check Metacritic for Wii games, since that was the only console I owned at the time. Early reviews for Kirby's Return to Dreamland were coming ub and I was super excited. Yup. I was super excited for a new Kirby game while other boys in the room were talking about how hammered they got at that party on Saturday. Reality was definitely setting in.
Regardless, I was ecstatic when the reviews that came in were largely positive. Now, I loved Epic Yarn, but I was itching for a more traditional Kirby game. Perhaps the most positive review the game received was by a site named "Destructoid." Now I'd heard of DTOID before, but never really took the time to visit the site.
The rest is history. As Metacritic directed me to the site, and I stumbled upon link after link I finally came across a podtoid episode. I gave it a listen, and lost myself in the voices of Jim, Holmes, Max and Tara. I wasn't exactly sure what I was listening too, all I knew was that I didn't want to stop. I quickly became an avid listener, and a constant visitor of DTOID. I had almost all the Max-Tara era episodes on my ipod, which made menial tasks like doing the dishes a hoot, and really made long runs a lot more enjoyable. My two hour bus ride to school from five to seven in the morning became infinitely more bearable, there were even a few times where I laughed out loud on the bus, waking other drowsy passengers. Unbeknownst to me I was actually learning important people-skills from the cast of podtoid.
Yes, sprinkled inbetween the talks of pedophilia and Willem Dafoe were some genuinely important lessons. The Podtoid cast always flaunted their weirdness and strange ideas, without fear of what others thought of them. At the time, I was extremely self-conscious and very much kept my strangeness to myself. Since then, I'd like to think that I've become a lot less afraid of what others think of me. They also taught me that there's really no such thing as a right or wrong opinion, and that it was OK to be different. I know, these sound like extremely cliche lessons that they taught you in elementary school, but up until I heard these real-life human beings exchange and converse I never really got it.
Constantly listening to Podtoid and visiting Destructoid also introduced me to the community here. And what a community it is. The cblogs and Destructoid in general have really given me a creative outlet where I can express my self without the fear of judgement or persecution. I know I've said it before, but I love you guys!
So yeah, that's my story. If you've gotten this far I apologize for it's long-windedness, and the fact that it's not particularly well written. With every blog I write I try to improve myself, and hopefully some improvements are starting to show. Once again I just want to say thank you to everybody. Jim, Holmes, Max, Tara, Conrad, Hamza, even a random community member, I want to say thanks... for everything.
It's that time of year again. That time where we look back on the past 365 days and wonder where it all went. For me it's that time where I mourn the amount of hours lost watching videos on youtube instead of doing something productive!
Ah youtube... what can I say about you? You bring me from link to link, leading me on into a seemingly bottomless abyss of videos. I watch all kind of videos, and recently have started to make some of my own.
Yeah, I realize it's pretty bad, I stutter when I talk and the editing as well as the sound quality is pretty bad, but I'm working really hard to make it better! Constructive criticism is appreciated.
I spend most of my time on youtube however, watching videogame-related content. I really do appreciate youtubers that put a large amount of effort into their work, and want to thank them for the hours of entertainment and insight that they have provided me with. So this is my way of giving back to them... a top five list of my favorite gaming-related youtubers of all time, in no particular order.
Alright, this may be a bit of a stretch,(haha, fat joke) but I'm going to put it on here anyway because this is MY LIST. Boogie is a fellow videogame enthusiast who makes some absolutely side-splitting and gut-wreching videos. Never has a person elicited such a diverse set of emotions from me. You'll probably recognize him from his "Francis" videos, videos where he takes on the persona of an irate and easily-irritated nerd named Francis. These are easily some of his most popular videos, and I can see why. I find them to be thoroughly entertaining, though those put off by rage videos may find them grating. On the complete opposite side of the emotional spectrum there are his more serious videos. Boogie takes on some extremely difficult subjects, such as suicide and depression. He's familiar with these subjects, as his life up to this point has been extremely tough. He's a great guy, and the way that he has changed his life around thanks to youtube is absolutely inspirational. He's also got a let's play channel, boogieplays, which is pretty entertaining as well.
2.Balrogs Nintendo Gameroom
It's no secret that I'm an huge Nintendo fanboy, so there's got to be at least one Nintendo-focused channel on here. Balrog is one of the smaller youtubers that I have on this list, but that doesn't mean that his videos are not as good as the others. He puts a large amount of effort into his videos, notably his 101 series, where he delves deep into the history of various Nintendo games. Along with being informative and insightful, his videos also contain quite a bit of humor. It's cheesy and over the top; I dig it, but I see how others might perceive it as hit-or-miss. He's in college at the moment, so he can't be putting out videos daily, but his videos really are worth the wait.
3.Johnny Vs. The World
Here's another youtuber that works incredibly hard to produce some extremely comprehensive game reviews. His review show; Johnny Vs, covers pretty much all the aspects of each game that he reviews. Want to know about the story? He's got you covered. The music? He's got that too. With the sheer amount of information in his reviews contain, they can range from twenty to forty minutes long. The long nature of his reviews makes his delivery rather rambly though, so if you don't like that style, you probably won't get that much out of Johnny Vs. If that happens to be the case, may I redirect you to his let's play channel; http://www.youtube.com/sgblikestoplay. If you're into super chaotic let's plays that turn friends and family members against each other, check out their NSMBU playthrough. If you're into really bad driving, then L.A. Noire's for you.
I don't think that I've ever had the same experience with a youtuber before. Totalbiscuit produces some absolutely fantastic content, some of the best on youtube. He speaks with such precision, such fluidity, and can articulate exactly what he's thinking with such grace. These are all things that I wish to be able to do someday. On the other hand, his attitude towards the people who watch his videos. I'm sure that he's a great guy, but they way that he carries himself around and conveys himself on the internet make him look kind of arrogant. Regardless his content is still fantastic, and I really appreciate a game-focused youtuber that's willing to cover a vareity of games from different genres, event if they are awful at said genre.
Like total biscuit, GGBeyond focuses mostly on PC gaming. However, he focuses on an entirely different era of videogames. An era where game like Doom, Duke Nukem, and Quake reigned supreme. Yup, his show; "era game reviews", shares his opinion, as well as the history of PC games from the 80's to early 90's. His series of videos "exploring the id" were incredibily entertaining an informative to me, a kid that wasn't alive for much of the 80's and 90's. Sure his voice is a little robotic, but that doesn't change the fact that his content is great.
I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I love you a lot. I love almost everything about you. The way you manage to make dick jokes at the most inappropriate of times, the amount of "bias" you have when reviewing games and your hilarious, often well-thought out plots involving Jonathan Holmes' anus. I find myself spending more and more time with you as the days go on, not only because I love being around you, but because I find connecting with anyone else so hard.
That was weird.
Seriously though, I love you guys. Dtoid is the one place where I feel comfortable being myself. And I've been wanting to talk about that for a while.
So yeah, I'm a teenager. I come with all the angst and awkwardness that's associated with being a teenager. The only thing is it feels like I've had this angst and awkwardness since I was born. I just can't seem to connect with most people. A lot of it has to with the fact that I'm afraid of what others think of me. If I don't talk to anyone, they won't have anything to judge me about. Some of it has to do with the fact that when I do talk to people, I can't think of anything to talk about, and end up mumbling, incoherently. Part of it might also come from the fact that my family moves around a lot, so I've almost never felt "at home". I've looked up from my desk countless times at different schools to observe different people, almost all of which I couldn't relate with. I really did want to relate with them though. I want to be invited to parties, I want to sit with others at lunch, I want to be able to hold a conversation for more than a few seconds without making things awkward. Except, maybe I don't. Sometimes I try to convince myself that I don't want those things, that I don't need these people. After all, I'm a varsity athlete, and straight A student, maybe friendships would just interfere with my chances to go to college, and lead a successful life. So why can't I eliminate this desire I have to connect with people?
Whatever the answer, I've satisfied some of that desire to connect with people through dtoid. The community is the best I've ever seen on any website. Pretty much everybody is fairly respectful, and extremely welcoming. You guys seem to understand that people are allowed to have opinions, and I have seldom encountered any shit storms or flame wars. The sense of being part of a community is fantastic, and you always feel like your contributing something important, be it a comment or a blog. The whole website has a unique personality, one that celebrates being different and at times, batshit crazy. I mean... "Polydong"? Games journalism if I've ever seen it.
I know some people don't like these blogs, but that's the point isn't it? Destructoid is a place where I'm able to speak my mind. I'm not too afraid about what you guys think of me, for some reason or another. I guess I just wanted to express my love for the site, and everyone involved in it. It really is the only place I've ever felt at home.