Archive for March 2010

Still Alive

March 31, 2010

Yep, I’m not dead yet just on a bit of a hiatus.  I was without my computer last week and have been under the weather for the 1st half of this week so I haven’t kept with my usual 3 posts a week.

Hopefully I can make up for this in the coming days, if I can get rid of this cough, sore throat and incredible ear ache.  I will be trying to write about gaming setups and getting back into Modern Warfare 2 recently.

Until then kids, stay out of the sickness, it’s a bad place.

Familiar Sounds

March 20, 2010

Another short Saturday post.

I just wanted to make those aware that weren’t, that the familiar sounds of our childhood are coming back in style. Take for instance Crystal Castles, a “trendy enough to make you sick” techo type band.  They incorporate a lot of those 8-bit sounds that ,those of us who grew up with, know and love.

There are those that don’t go so far into trendy-ville and jump headfirst into nerd-dom.  Using mostly just the 8-bit sounds to create cool music.

Bands such as 8-bit Weapon and Computeher are probably the stand outs in this field.

This was my excuse to incorporate more music into the blog.

Til next week kids.

Blue Skies

March 20, 2010

I think one of the best art decision a game developer can make is to have feature deep blue skies in their games.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always gravitated toward more colorful worlds in games. I think a lot of that has to do with the summer days I would spend as a child running around the country near our house.  Of Course I didn’t go out on rainy, cloudy, gray days so my fond memories always take place on a blue colorful backdrop. Green Hill Zone was the 1st area in a game I can remember wishing I could visit as a kid.  With those crazy blue skies and waterfalls, it definitely seems like a great destination for a vacation.  Sonic must have had it pretty nice back in the days he didn’t hang out in the big city. I think out of all the levels in every game I’ve ever played I’ve spent the most time in Bomb-Omb Battlefield from Super Mario 64. I rented the N64 3 times before I ever had my own and each time I got Super Mario 64 with it.  I remember going to that 1st level just to hang out and bask in the colorful 3-dness of it all.  I know the shot above isn’t from Bomb-Omb Batttlefield but I couldn’t find one that I really liked.

Legend of Mana was an absolutely gorgeous game.  Your home and the town of Domina in the game are probably the most inviting places to live that I’ve ever seen.  The watercolor backgrounds and the amazing soundtrack of the game make it one of my favorite environments of all time.

Dragon Quest VIII was the 1st Dragon Quest game I had ever played.  What initially attracted me to the game was the preview pictures of the big open world.  The game didn’t dissappoint, with it’s giant open world to explore and not to mention colorful blue background.

I wasn’t really too excited on the prospects of a new Banjo-Kazooie game until I saw the screens for Nutty Acres.  I love the idea of a patchwork, manufactured world complete with giant screens to show off the blue skies that aren’t really there.  The game didn’t really grab me as much as the rest on this list but it still deserves a mention.

And at last we get to a more contemporary game.  The visual style of Borderlands is a distinct one, but I think the color choices would be a complete turn off for me if it wasn’t for one thing, that big blue sky.  This is the game that inspired me to write this post.  I recently realized that I enjoyed my time in Borderlands exponentially more because of the blue sky.  It gives it an extra bit of emotion that would otherwise make it a dreary, depressing world to be in.

The moral of all of this, well I guess there really isn’t one.  Only that you’re more likely to get my money if you have a more colorful game.

New Beginnings

March 18, 2010

I purchased God of War 3 yesterday and finished Borderlands today.  I’m looking for to the diametric opposite experience I’ll have with God of War 3 and some of the best visuals seen in a console game.

I did play some of the beginning of God of War and have beaten Poseidon and made my way through some of the realm of Hades.  Even at the beginning that game has action set pieces that Hollywood movies wishes they had.  The battle with Poseidon certainly does set a really high bar for epic-ness of the rest of the game.  I’ll give some further impression in the coming days.

I got super sucked into Borderlands.  My final play time clocked in at a little over 24 hours for my first play through.  I did have some problems with the final bosses though.  With the Rakk Hive and The Destroyer all I did was stand still and shoot them in the face, they posed no threat at all.  I can’t tell it this is the way I speced my character or that they were just mad easy. (For those interested I was a Soldier with a Support Gunner mod, with regerating bullets and health).  It really sucks too cause the Destroyer is the final boss and he was a pushover and the Rakk Hive is this really huge creature and it feel so easily.

Despite those disappointments, I immediately started a second play through and killed a few scags for Zed and fully intend to go through to level 50.  Hopefully if a little extra money comes my way I’ll be able to pick up a bigger Xbox hard drive and the DLC for Borderlands.

They recently announced that the Secret Armory will not be the last of the Borderlands DLC which is good.  Continuing the quests, raising the level cap and giving me more Crimson Lance soldiers to destroy is a good way for Gearbox and 2k games to get more of my money.  Not so much on the story though cause I swear I didn’t listen to one thing any of the characters said other than the clap trap telling me Crazy Earl had more missions for me.

I also downloaded the trail game for Perfect Dark on XBLA and lost all excitement that I had for that game.  I think Perfect Dark lived in a time on it’s own and cannot escape that.  A time when my friend down the street and I thought it was cool to hand out on the rooftop and shooting player controlled slayer missiles into the giant warehouse, killing many meatsims in the process.  This was also the time when we would play Driver, a single player game, and would just laugh our asses off at the ridiculous replays we would get after a few minutes of getting chased by the police.  So I don’t think that time is coming back and I don’t think I’ll be purchasing Perfect Dark.

Final matter of business is Final Fantasy XIII.  I had initially written it off after all the impressions of it’s linearity and “20 hour tutorial”.  But I own every Final Fantasy except for 2 and 11, I’m not gonna miss this one.  I am a consumer whore and I’ve come to terms with that, I will buy this game now I just need to get myself hyped up for it.  Maybe I’ll have it within the next week or 2.

Busy with a Side of Sickness

March 14, 2010

I’ve been down with a wicked cold pretty much all week, and been busy with tax stuff and getting stuff ready to get my move in the summer.  So my last post for this week will be this.

Move

I don’t know what to think about this.  It looks pretty silly.

That’s all.

Gaming Stream

March 12, 2010

I just wanted to get some stuff down that don’t deserve posts of their own. Here we go

Why is Suikoden II so damn expensive? Also, why isn’t it on PSN?  The first Suikoden is, Konami and Sony should get on that soon.

I can’t ever find the great big flashing green objectives in the brown world of Borderlands. Does that make me color blind?

Went to the pawn shop today and discovered that NES games with the words “Dragon” “Castle”  and “Warrior” are 100% more interesting to me.

What the hell is Activision thinking?

Final Fantasy XIII and God of War III come out a week apart from one another I don’t have the money for either.

Gimmick on the NES has some awesome music

Jumping Flash 2 had a video on the demo disc I got  with my Playstation and it looked interesting to me then and still does now. So why am I afraid to drop 6 bucks on it on PSN?

Another interesting video on that demo disc, Motor Toon Grand Prix.

Awesome

GDC is this week. Middleware!

I am sick and all I want to do is play Genesis games like when I was a kid, but I continue to play Borderlands.

I got Darksiders to get Red Faction Guerilla for 5 bucks and never sent my information in. Crap

Why aren’t there any good WWE games anymore? I’d love to make my own character have have a cool RPG-ish season mode attached to it.

I’m moving into an apartment with my girlfriend over the summer and I simply can’t wait to have my own entertainment setup with shelved of gaming on either side of my surround sound enhanced plasma tv.  It will be glorious

Gaming music needs to get back to roots of good melodies rather than just generic symphonic scores. I think Nobuo Uematsu had the right idea of combining them into something more tolerable.

I throughly enjoyed Mega Man 9 but am weary of Mega Man 10, perhaps I’ll write more about that later

Played the Just Cause 2 demo and like the whole Chaos thing but could figured out what I was doing or why I was doing it.

I looked through the Fable 3 screenshots that emerged from GDC and it looks like their ditching the “ugly ass person” art style they had going in Fable and Fable 2, which is good.

I have yet to reach 1000 points on any of my 360 games and it makes me sad.

I wonder what’s happening with the Rocket Knight Adventures sequel?

For that matter, where’s my sequel to Dynamite Headdy? Come on Treasure you’re making a sequel to Sin and Punishment and that  didn’t even come out here!

I need a bigger hard drive for my 360 with all this Borderlands and newly announced Mass Effect 2 DLC.  20 gig officially doesn’t cut it anymore.

I need to play more Modern Warfare 2 multi player but the kids are too damn good!

Shatterhand is the best NES game I never played when I was a kid

Speaking of that, I need to find a working NES. This Fami-clone crap just isn’t cutting it.

I’m getting kind of worn out.  That’s probably all for now.

Game Docs

March 11, 2010

My girlfriend recently got a Netflix account which gives us both access to a large library of movies, television shows and documentaries.  What’s the first thing I watch after diving into this wealth of information and entertainment?  Video Game documentaries or I should say documentary since I have only watched the one thus far. Which one you ask?

Behind the Fun!

A 44 minute long, History Channel produced, mini-timeline on the history of video games.  It’s basically the time-line of video games broken down for those that have never played a video game.  I know I have seen this once several years ago and I must have not noticed the dumbed down knowledge that it presents because of the sheer awesomeness of a show on television about video games.

The first thing I noticed about this documentary is how deep it gets in the true origins of video games with Space War at MIT to Ralph Baer and the Magnavox Odyssey.  This is all stuff I was kinda familiar with so it was cool to see it described in a bit more detail.  The show then goes into PONG and the rise of Atari even linking it with the rise of Apple, claiming that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak originally developed a game for Atari and using some of the things they learned there to found Apple.  I’m not sure if any of that is true (it’s the only place I’ve heard that story) but I wasn’t altogether to interested in Atari and early arcade games.  I was waiting for the mid-80’s and the beginnings of Nintendo’s legacy.  This is something they barely touched on (only mentioning Mario as part of Donkey Kong) despite Nintendo bringing back video game’s popularity after the crash.  It’s not something that’s really that important in their grand scheme of things I suppose, it’s just something I could very easily relate to.

Another one of the weird things about this documentary is the selection of games it shows, it just seem like a highlight reel from the B-grade games of each generation.  They would talk about games approaching  photo realism and show shots of the 1st Tomb Raider.  I’m not saying that Tomb Raider wasn’t a graphical powerhouse of it’s time, but I did see some shots of Dreamcast and PS2 games in there and they would seem more appropriate when talking about graphics.  I suppose this slim collection of footage has to do with with them not having the rights to show those games, I can’t imagine any other reason why they wouldn’t have some of the greats.

The whole show seemed very focused on Western games.  They showed Donkey Kong and Pac-man but after that it was slim pickings for Japanese developed games.  They did show the Final Fantasy 8 dance sequence and a few shots of Jet Grind Radio but that’s all I can remember seeing from our developers from the east.  They did show and name Shenmue however, which is kinda crazy.  This was a mainstream media television show naming only games that the mainstream media would know about (Space Invaders, PONG, etc.) and Shenmue a game I doubt the smallest fraction of those people knew about had about a 5 minute segment.  The segment was about the focus of games going more to social interactions and creating a real world and less about killing the bad guy.  This discussion lead into Ultima Online which closed the show touching on the future of online gaming.

It’s very odd seeing the hobby which you love seen through the eyes of others.  They didn’t make a bad documentary, but to someone who has their hand on the pulse of video games everyday, it’s easy to see the glaring omissions.  For instance the lack of any talk about the 16-bit generation and the 90’s console wars,  Sony and Microsoft coming into console development and Sega bowing out from it.  I guess it’s hard to take these things for what they are when you’ve had your own personal history with the subject being covered.

I’m sure I’ll watch more and hopefully will come across some that are interesting enough for me to write about again.