I never try and pretend like Iím the biggest Beatles fan. I enjoy their music quite a lot, but Iím not a raging maniac like my sister is whenever she sees Paul McCartneyís. I can understand why the band was so popular and why it has been put up on such a high pedestal, though. If you canít, then youíre an imbecile. They were pioneers.
Now, I donít know if this is just my high from recently finishing it, but if it is thatís completely irrelevant. Iíve played music games and apart from making me feel like a rock star even while Iím standing in the middle of my room in underwear, I never really got anything more from them. Understandably so since these games are designed to do that. Most party games donít really care if you get a deep emotional response. Theyíre just concerned with fun, and thatĎs great!
What Beatles Rock Band managed to do was not only make an informative tribute to the band, but they also managed to push a few extra buttons. I obviously didnít cry. Iím a man for goodness sake. Men donít cry.
No -- what Harmonix did was successfully present players this extraordinary band, and show you why it is that these four talented men are so beloved. Just think about the era that this band came from and how their music evolved. They Pop rock stars that were allowed to be experimental, and you get to witness key points through a rhythm game.
There wasnít on key design choice that made it all great, though. It was the entire package, The music, the visuals, the way the game progressed. Everything from the character models to the all the littlest of details like the studio audio playing while a song loads. The game just feels like a labor of love. It has soul. It was made passionately. It makes me glad Harmonix were the ones doing this game and not Neversoft. That would have been disastrous.
Sorry for the my blogís length and quality (or lack thereof) but I just had to say something. It isnít hyperbole when I (shockingly) say that this has been one of the greatest emotional gaming and music listening experiences of my life.
While I was jotting down my thoughts I came across Deathofthedead's blog. It's similar to mine but vastly better articulated. Go read it.
I really don't know what has come over me. I've recently gone into some retro buying frenzy. I've bought an original Gameboy, a red Gameboy Pocket, a teal Gameboy Color, a Game Gear, and blue Neo Geo Pocket Color. I've also bought games for the systems I've purchased. The Game Gear I ordered itself came with around 11 carts, and the blue Neo Geo came with Sonic Pocket Adventure and SNK vs. Capcom.
As you can see, my new obsession has remained strictly handheld and I don't know why. With the exception of the Neo Geo Pocket color (which is amazing) I don't really play with them. I guess I'm just interested in the old technology. It can't be nostalgia. Apart from the Gameboy Color, I never owned any of these other consoles.
At any rate, I got two new handhelds (plus games) added to my collection.
I'm actually quite shocked at how heavy this thing feels considering its size. This is actually my new favorite Gameboy. It came with Sonic Advanced, but I'm about as interested in Sonic the Hedgehog as I am listening to Republicans on AM radio.
Another Neo Geo Pokcet! I actually bought this because the first one I got wasn't in excellent condition. I mean, it isn't awful, but the small scratches were distracting.
It came with 3 games in their original boxes. They weren't sealed and nor was the the Neo Geo Pocket, but they were all in like-new conditioned with no cosmetic damage at all.
My DS was stolen a few days ago. Pity me right now, please.
I was originally going to replace my Lite with an identical one, but I began looking into the DSi. The initial reason I became interested in the DSi was purely superficial. I hate gloss electronics with a passion (I blame Apple), and the slightly smaller, sleeker, matte finish beckoned me
The major complaint people have is the lack of GBA support, and to be quite honest, Iím not interested in that noise. I donít mean to sound like a DSi apologist, but I never really liked or played my GBA games on my Lite. It stuck out of the console awkwardly. I also had a Micro. If I ever felt like playing a GBA game Iíd bust that out. Itís not like Iím ever in a situation away from home where I get the urge to play an older game. I never carry one around, anyway.
This thing comes fully equipped with a lot of gimmicky features. A horrible music player that doesnít support the dominant MP3 format, a silly audio recorder, and a camera that can only really compete with the one on my phone (which isnĎt really good - 2.0MP).
The upgraded firmware does come with some noticeable fixes, including the ability to update it. You can load a game when the console is on, you can change system options without having to restart the system, you can change the screenís brightness in-game, and it has WPA support. Unfortunately, WPA will not work on older games, so that really hasnít helped much. I donít think itís possible for Nintendo to fuck up online on any of their consoles anymore.
The prospect of the DSiware shop is probably the only noticeable thing, but itís riddled with shit. Calculators, cell phone caliber games, and clocks. Even the Nintendo developed games are awful. WarioWare: Snapped is one of the most atrocious unresponsive games Iíve ever played. It tries using one of the cameras on the DSi in place of buttons or a touch screen, but it does not work. My skin is brown and my wall is white, and yet it canít seem to find me. Am I going to need some bright orange Natal jumpsuits to play it?
At least I got Dr. Mario out of thisÖ
I myself am satisfied with the purchase, but you can probably tell that itís not necessarily because the console is $50 better. It could be once the store begins to find its stride, or if Nintendo decides to continue upgrading and improving the firmware. A DSi version of the Virtual Console would be exquisite.
I did appreciate the free 1,000 Nintendo points, of which IĎm sure will not entice all of you R4 owners. Even if people design a cart similar to the R4 for the DSi, the fact that Nintendo can patch the console whenever they please can be troubling. It could render your $30 thief machine useless. I donít really care, though. Buy games, you jerk offs.
So, I really paid $50 for aesthetics and $10 worth of fixes - satisfied, though!
Practically every purchase we make goes through a checklist that we subconsciously and consciously make up. We know ourselves more than anyone and buy only the things that we feel weíll like. However, thereís one thing Iíd like for all of us to remove from the aforementioned list; length. More specifically (and to avoid any sexual innuendos), length in video games.
Itís extremely narrow thinking, and sort of countermands the whole ďgames are artĒ argument. We donít even treat food like this, or at least I donít. If Iím going out to eat Iíll take a smaller, better made burger than a Big Mac at McDonaldís. If Iím going to buy a video game, Iíll take the shorter, more focused gaming experience over this forty hour grind-fest.
You associate a lengthy title with money ďwell spentĒ because youíre more clearly able to see what your hard earned dollar is going to. Unfortunately, length is a blind measurement of worth. Deciding to purchase a game based on quality requires much more thought, and so we donĎt do it despite ourselves.
I used to bring up the argument of movies and books. We donít pay attention to length in those mediums, and Iíd always get the same response that quintessentially makes my point. Iíd tell them that no one puts that type of thought into movies, and theyíd say, ďitís because movies arenít as expensive.Ē Duh!
So weíre in agreement that putting much more thought into a more expensive means of entertainment is a good thing, but your contemplation is in the wrong area. You should be paying more attention to quality if thatís the case. You forget that length and entertainment do not always mean the same thing. Transformers 2 is a great testament to that statement. Length is impartial, and its importance amongst gamers is a detriment to the mediumís evolution and acceptance.
It isnít something we should completely ignore, obviously. Itís just something we should move down our list of priorities; even below graphics (though I do think graphics are more important than most people - art style). Let us not make it a prerequisite anymore.
I haven't done a preachy blog. Thought I'd make it short.
When I first set my eyes on some of the Forza 3 leaked images, one thing caught my eye. There was an outline of a SUV on the vehicle select screen. Tonight, Turn 10ís bi-weekly announcement blog made it official. SUVs confirmed for Forza 3. That may sound like the least interesting thing in the world to some of you. Understandable even though youíre wrong.
As explained in one of my blogs, I love challenging myself in games like these. A heavy, tall vehicle is going to be new, hard, and suh-weet; especially down some winding Italian road. Itís going to be fun just seeing how theyíll be able to compete with the Ferraris and the Lamborghinis that will probably climb the leader boards within the day.
Fortunately, these arenít your typical Cadillac Escalades or Hummer H2s. American trash, if you will. These are sports luxury SUVs; bred to climb a muddy road with ease and style. We have the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, the Mercedes Ml63 AMG, the BMW X5 xDrive 4.8i, the Audi Q7 V12 TDI, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, and the Volkswagen Touraq R50. Doesnít this list make you mad, environmentalists? Your tiny green hearts must be throbbing with rage.
All the vehicles will be fully upgradeable like their sports car brethren, so you may be able to tune that X5 into one bad mother. It may even be formidable opponent to its skinnier and much more nimble sister - the BMW M3.
There may be some whiners in the house tonight. That wonít be a surprise. SUVs in a serious racing game like this seems a bit sacrilege. The great thing about it all is that Forza 3 is quickly becoming the thing Turn 10 set out to do. ItĎs a celebration of all things cars.
There are also a few other screenshots of some sports cars and luxury cars newly released today. Go check Ďem out on Forzaís website. Employ self-control. Thereís a lot of car porn on that site.
No matter how much you dislike a certain genre of games, there are just some that you must play. Itís like that for me, at least. Whether itís to contribute to an interesting conversation, or just simply expanding my gaming repertoire, games like Earthbound and Chrono Trigger are high up on my to do list. If it means diving headfirst into a particular genre I know I have little fervor for, so be it. I hate hearing about how great something is and not having an opinion on it.
The few that know me well understand that Iím not the biggest fan of Japanese role playing games, or most things that have to do with Japanese culture for that matter. Iím not totally opposed to them, but my patience wears thin. There are some prerequisites when purchasing a new JRPG for me. It must be something extraordinary, or it must have Pokťmon.
What prompted me to jump into Earthbound before any other games in the genre was the strong Western vibe. It wasnít set in a fantasy land and it wasnít set in Tokyo, or whatever irrelevant Japanese location. It oozes 80s and 90s American cinema. You know, back when a childís adventure flick meant the Goonies and not Hannah Montana.
After a few hours of play, Iím happy to announce that I like it. Itís not necessarily because Iím enamored with the battle system. On the contrary. I absolutely despise the combat system. It is overly simple and utterly monotonous. Even upon looking back at other JRPGs released during and before Earthboundís release, you canít say that it was one of the strongest. It also didnít help that the game wasnít very clear about telling me what to do. Iíd run back and forth trying to figure out what to do and having to fend off the same enemies because theyíd reset once I moved screens.
Itís interesting when I look back at all the games Iíve played. Not many have been able to pull off what this one has. As a game, Earthbound fails. The mechanics - the combat; it isnít fun, and no amount of convincing will change my mind. As a story telling platform, itís such a palatable experience.
The closest thing I can really compare Earthbound to is Uncharted, but even thatís sort of a stretch. I didnít hate its gameplay, but it wasnít what Iíd call ďgoodĒ. My attention was kept because of the charm that the digital actors had, and such was the case with Earthbound. The world was an absolute joy to traverse. Luckily, some of the same charm that you get from walking around and interacting with things sometimes sneaks into the combat in Earthbound.
There were many things that makes everything outside of battle an absolute joy, but the most prominent part was the music. Lately Iíve opened up to the music in older games, and this oneís up there with the likes of Megaman 3 and the original Metroid soundtrack. However, it isnít just the music thatís astonishingly good. The entire audio department did a fantastic job; especially with sound effects.
Your party members walking around with you is another aspect of the game Iím quite happy with. I wish Japanese developers would do it all the time. It does so much for immersion when I donít see my characters disappear after battle, even with a game whose graphics require much more imagination.
Iím sitting at a crossroad. I canít tell you that I hate this game, because I donít. It just sits in a spot where it relies on narrative, but thatís usually there to back gameplay. Itís just not easy to be black and white with this one, and itís something I can respect.