Jul 23, 2013

Things Video Games Do Better Than Movies

Catching Short Attention Spans
I have a better time watching movies on cable. The commercials give me enough time to do other things. Having to sit still for more than an hour can be a nightmare. Especially when I'm not in control of what's going on. Video Games Win when it comes to stimulating my attention defect. Movies can be so uninteresting at times.

Video Games Adapt To You
Movies demand that you understand what they're about. Videogames try to adapt to however you play. If you want to shoot cops and raise your wanted level, Grand Theft Auto responds. If you want to Complete the Story and Stop playing it's okay. If You want to play multiplayer online and never see the story, Call of Duty adapts.

One thing I notice about this generation of console games is how much the games react to you. I constantly heard praise as I'd plow through games such as Saints Row & Ratchet & Clank. I'd notice how the praise wouldn't appear as often when others would play.

Better Overall Experience
The greatest movies are interpreted differently. Everybody who watches it sees the same images on the screen, and have different opinions about what they see. You might notice extra things when you watch a movie, but you see the same images.

The greatest videogames are experienced differently. You could see totally different things and love the same game. A game like Fallout 3 is so open ended that every game is completely different. You could experience the same event in a different way from other players in Fallout 3. I could love how Megaton was blown to bits while someone else could have diffused the bomb and had a totally different experience.

Video Games Last Longer
Going to the movies is a great activity. It gives you something to do when you need to kill time. Spend a few hours eating popcorn and watching a movie. It's fun.

Video games are designed to last longer than one day. If you spend a day watching movies, you'll see more than one movie. Spend a day playing video games and you could be playing one game all day. I've spent months playing games that I love. 4 years and over 500 hours later, I still enjoy Fallout 3. I'd have to watch a ton of movies to spend that much time watching films.

Video Games Have Better Settings
Video games do a better job at presenting a place. Movies give you cool camera angles and stuff, but videogames let you explore the surroundings. I'd love to have explored Al Pacino's mansion in Scarface. The videogame made that possible. Open World Games have made it possible to explore various cities during different periods of time. I felt like I was in Hong Kong in Sleeping Dogs, LA in 1946 was vibrant in LA Noire. It's really awesome.

Better Opening Day Sales
No movie has ever made as much money as Call of Duty on it's first day. Black Ops 2 made $500 million dollars on it's first day in 2012. The Avengers had the highest grossing first day for a movie at $207 million in ticket sales. Yea Call of Duty costs a lot more than a movie ticket, but still. Numbers don't lie. That's probably why you've got George Lucas & Steven Spielberg talking about video games.

The Power of the Controller
There's more power in the controller than Steven Spielberg realizes. With movies your eyes and ears are all that's necessary. Video games demand a little more out of their consumers which pays off. The control gives gamers the ability to control how they play.

May 24, 2013

Please Delay Saints Row 4

Two Sandbox games being released 3 weeks apart is overkill. Here's an example. I started playing Dishonored late last year. I was enjoying Dishonored immensely until I started playing Hitman Absolution a week later. Playing two stealth action adventures games at the same time ruined it for both games. Hitman felt too much like Dishonored, and Dishonored wasn't fun anymore. I stopped playing both games as a result. I'd hate to have that happen to Saints Row 4, & Grand Theft Auto 5.

Sandbox games need time to breathe. There's no way a sandbox game can be completely explored in 3 weeks. There's just too much to explore. A Late August Release for Saints Row 4 makes no sense. Saints Row has been established itself as a Blockbuster Series. It was that sleeper hit that the month of August when the first Saints Row was released, but now Saints Row is a blockbuster franchise. Blockbusters belong in the Holiday Season. A late October/Early November release makes the most sense for Saints Row 4.

Late October would give gamers a good month with Grand Theft Auto 5. We all must remember, Grand Theft Auto is the biggest series in videogames. The quality, and money behind this game requires at least a month of attention from the gamers. A late October release gives Saints Row 4 enough time for a good Black Friday sale price. I'd definitely buy Saints Row 4 for 29.99 on Black Friday to help me get off of Grand Theft Auto.

That's the thing. Saints Row helps me get off of Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto IV was my heroin, and Saints Row 2 was the methadone that got me off of it. The six month gap I had between GTA & Saints Row was enough time for me to get lost in Liberty City. I was so hooked to Grand Theft Auto IV, I probably still know my way thru Liberty City. Street Names and everything. I used to wake up craving to play Grand Theft Auto IV until Saints Row 2 showed up. I absolutely hope to become this hooked to Grand Theft Auto 5. I just hope Saints Row 4 is released after it to help me get off of that shit.

May 21, 2013

Xbox One: The Future For Casual Gamers?

Microsoft played it safe during their Xbox Reveal earlier today. Microsoft decided to do the things Sony did not do during their PS4 Reveal a few months ago. The first thing Microsoft did differently was actually revealing the console. The Xbox One is the next generation from the Xbox Family. It looks a bit bulky especially when I compare it to my Slim PS3. The controller looks cool, but no touch screen in the middle like the PS4 controller. All in all the Xbox One looks like a VCR with a lot of power under the hood.

Microsoft made sure to show off the power of the Xbox One. Not by showcasing games like Sony did, but by giving you the specs of the machine. 8 GB of RAM, a blu ray drive. A billion blahs, 300,000 other blahs.
Honestly the tech specs mean nothing to me. I have to see witness the power of the Xbox One by playing a videogame to really get an understanding of it. When the graphics look better and the game run smoother than the Xbox 360 is when I get impressed by all of those fancy processors and stuff under the hood.

As far as games being displayed. Not much in that department for this reveal. EA Sports came out and showcased a bunch of sports games that come out every year. You gotta do better than that at E3 Microsoft. Everybody and their mama knows Madden is coming out on the Xbox One. No surprise there.

They also showcased a bunch of sports related stuff that I honestly have no interest in. I don't play sports games, and I'm not that much of a sports enthusiast to play fantasy sports on my xbox. A good 20 minutes of the hour long presentation was dedicated to sports. That's a serious misuse of time. I highly doubt the majority of people who tuned in gave a damn about playing the next Madden on their Xbox One. Which brings the question.

Who is Microsoft trying to appeal to?

While 20 minutes was spent on Sports, another 20 minutes was spent on Kinect. Kinect has casual gamer written all over it. The thing that bothers me about Kinect is that it becomes less about videogames everytime I see it. At least when it was first introduced, Microsoft tried to incorporate the hands free technology into videogames. Now they don't even try. They just show you the same voice command features every press conference. It's pathetic.

Microsoft always wastes a bulk of its press conferences showing off the Kinect. They display how to turn on your xbox with no hands. How to change channels with no hands. How to become a lazier human being by using your voice and hand motions to do everything. It wouldn't be as annoying if Microsoft didn't do it all the time, but ever since 2010 they show off the same Kinect features like nobody notices. Stop it Microsoft.

The highlight of the event was Snap Mode. This gives you the ability to multitask from one screen. You can watch a movie, and access Internet explorer from the same screen. In a world where we multitask more and more everyday, I like it. They didn't say if Snap Mode could be used while you're playing a videogame. If it can, that's hot and a reason for me to check out the Xbox One. 

The last 20 minutes was spent showcasing things in small doses. A small speech from Steven Spielberg revealing a Halo Television Series. I had no idea people played Halo for the story, but okay. There was one videogame on display by the creators of Alan Wake called Quantum Dream. The trailer for that was weird, and didn't really say much about the game. If anything the trailer showed off the water graphics that new consoles like to show off in early games. Oh and at the end of the press conference we got a trailer for the new Call of Duty. 

So to recap. Microsoft revealed the XBox One, showed off the same Kinect features, showed a few sports games, two exclusives, and the new Call of Duty. If I were a casual gamer, I'd be excited. Sony on the other hand showed game after game during their PS4 press conference. They were clearly going after hardcore gamers with the PS4 reveal. Microsoft on the other hand wants the Sports Gamers. The Gamers that faithfully buy the same games every year. I wasn't sold on the Xbox One after this reveal. Maybe their E3 press conference will help change my mind. 

Apr 15, 2013

Youtube for 3DS Announced at Next Nintendo Direct?

It's possible Nintendo will announce a Youtube App for the Nintendo 3DS during their next Nintendo Direct conference on April 17th. Nintendo announced their next Nintendo Direct will be 3DS specific. What better time to announce their Youtube App? I sure hope Nintnedo has been working on one seeing as how the PS Vita has had a Youtube app for almost a year.

How cool would it be if you could watch Youtube videos on your Nintendo 3DS? Really cool if you ask me. If Netflix can have an App where you can watch videos in 3D why cant a mobile version of Youtube be installed on the 3DS? C'mon Nintendo. Give the gamers what they want.

Mar 30, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with First Person Shooters

I don't think I've ever beat a first person shooter. I've played many FPS' from GoldenEye to Far Cry 3, and I don't think I've finished one. My experience with first person shooters goes like this:

Start a First Person Shooter.
Find It Fun For About
 2 Hours.
Become Bored by the 
3rd Hour.

It makes me hesitant to spend any money towards playing a critically acclaimed first person shooterThe last first person shooter I played was Far Cry 3. That game was nowhere on my radar screen, but things were boring in December 2012, and Far Cry 3 was getting some pretty impressive reviews. I played the solo campaign, and found myself turning it off every 20 minutes. The game had plenty of fun things to do, but I just wasn't enjoying the experience. I traded it in a week after I bought it. All of those positive reviews, and I didn't enjoy Far Cry 3. Shame. I didn't enjoy Far Cry 3 because I hate first person shooters.

I Hate First Person Shooters.

Well that's not entirely true. I enjoy watching people play First Person Shooters. I would have no problem watching someone play Far Cry 3. I probably would have gotten more into the game if I had watched someone do their thing. If one of my friends had gotten into Far Cry 3, I would've been right there watching it like a movie. Heck, I'd even play the game for a little if my friend wanted to take a break.

Come to think of it, I enjoy playing First Person Shooters with other people. I spent months playing  Turok Evolution with my friends back in the day. Multiplayer is where it's at. My friends and I would meet up after school and play deathmatches for hours. I remember I would pack my Wavebird controller in my backpack so I could go straight to my friend Brian's house from school.

I Love Multiplayer Tho...
Hanging out with friends and playing a first person shooter has always been a joy for me. It goes back to the days of GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. Four people playing split screen on a 13 inch TV having a blast. Those were the days. There's something about being in the same room with a person while I play a First Person Shooter. Maybe it's just being able to hang out and play videogames you know? I hope Split Screen games never goes away.

These days I find myself having the most fun playing Split Screen Co-op with one other player. Modern Warfare 3 surprised me with its Spec Ops mode. My friend Tino and I finished every mission in two nights. I thought Borderlands was best when I played it split screen with my friend Blake. I found it boring when I played by it online, but when Blake and I played together it was magic. We played it until 7 in the morning one night. It was crazy.

Playing Online? 
Not So Much

While I enjoy playing with other people, I'm not a fan of playing First Person Shooters Online. Not only do I suck, but I just don't have a lot of fun playing. I'm a different kind of gamer in an online environment  My focus is completely different. When I play any game offline I find myself trying to be stylish when I play. For example, in  Grand Theft Auto IV, I'll always have a rare or exotic car in my garage. When I'm online my only focus is not to die. It's different. It makes it worse when the game I'm playing is a first person shooter. I'm never see anything coming. It's the worst.

I thought maybe playing online with friends would help, but it doesn't. It's just not the same when I can't accuse anyone of looking at my screen. This is one of the reasons why I consider GoldenEye for the N64 to be the best First Person Shooter ever. Multiplayer games weren't online back then so you were forced to play in the same room with people. I've got nothing but good memories from those days.

Bioshock Infinite

BioShock Infinite is set to be released at midnight. I don't think I'm going to play it. The good reviews Infinite has received are doing little to influence my decision to play it. I don't want to end up disappointed like I did with Far Cry 3. Who knows? I might end up bored enough to give Bioshock: Infinite a shot. When there's nothing else, a first person shooter will have to do.

Feb 28, 2013

Why I'm NOT Buying Assassin's Creed 4

Assassin's Creed 3 was the most disappointing game of 2012. AC3 was proof that the series has hit a wall in terms of new ideas and innovative gameplay. Think about it. What was the major marketing point of Assassin's Creed 3? The setting. There weren't any ads about Connor's climbing ability, or his weapons. It was "hey America come get a glimpse of your history with Assassin's Creed's version of the American Revolution." I'm not going to lie, the setting is what convinced me to give Assassin's Creed 3 a shot. I was done with the series after Brotherhood, but figured enough time had passed for the series to be fun again. Boy was I wrong. Colonial Boston is nowhere near as beautiful or fun to explore as say Italy in the 1400's or the Middle East in the 1100's.

The biggest new thing in terms of gameplay for AC3 was the Naval Battles. Naval Battles are the fights between battleships that took place in Assassin's Creed 3. Many people who criticized AC3, gave praise to the Naval Battles. Some even used Naval Battles as an excuse to finish playing the game. I guess it comes as no surprise that Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is set completely around the idea of ships and pirates. Ubisoft is pretty much taking the one thing (some) people liked about Assassins Creed 3 and making it the center point in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is apparently a Pirate Themed game set in the Caribbean. The promo picture being set on a ship is a big indicator that Naval Battles are going to be a focal point in Assassin's Creed 4. That's a bummer. I for one wasn't a fan of the Naval Battles. By the time they showed up in AC3 (around the 6 hour mark) I was tired of everything that made Assassin's Creed 3 up to that point. I was tired of the plot that was going nowhere. I was tired of running from one cutscene to the next. I was tired of a series that clearly hurt itself with yearly releases.

AC4 being announced less than 6 months after the release of Assassins Creed 3 is a huge red flag for me. It more than likely will be available this holiday season which means Ubisoft learned nothing from it's mistakes in AC3. What I liked about the Assassin's Creed series was actually being an assassin. Nothing made me happier than climbing structures and stealthily killing people. I'd have fun climbing each viewpoint no matter how repetitive it was to jump in a stack of hay. I loved searching for treasure before AC 3 added a stupid lockpick minigame to the mix. If AC4 can go back to a beautiful city with gorgeous skyscrapers and fun gameplay, I'd be more than excited for it.

Will Assassin's Creed 4 remind me of the things I love about the series, or will it be another snoozefest with more cutscenes than actual gameplay? That remains to be seen, but if it's coming at the end of the year. I almost guarantee it won't be much different from AC3. That means more running from cutscene to cutscene combined with a boring character, boring location, and a boring story. If that's the case I'll gladly pass on Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. I'll wait for the reviews before I decide whether or not to give this game a try.

Jan 28, 2013

What I Hope To See At PAX East 2013

PAX East is right around the corner, which means another fun weekend for myself and the thousands of people who attend the Boston Convention Center from March 22nd to March 24th. If you plan on going I hope you already got your passes. I just went to buy a three day badge, and they're already sold out. I'm not  worried about it. Craigslist usually has 3 day passes for sale the week of the convention as does ebay. Just gotta look out for fake badges, but anyways I'm excited for PAX East 2013. There's some seriously cool videogames coming in the near future that would be perfect for this years PAX East. Here's some of the things that I think would make PAX East 2013 the best PAX ever. 

Grand Theft Auto 5 
A playable demo of Grand Theft Auto 5 would be AWESOME. With a Spring 2013 release window, I think it's very likely GTA V will be at this years PAX East. Rockstar was present at last years PAX East with a booth showcasing Max Payne 3. I can't see why they wouldn't come back for Grand Theft Auto V. The rumored May release date makes GTA V a strong possibility for being at PAX East..I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for this. If GTA V is there expect long lines and cool free stuff. I really hope this game is there.

The Last Of Us 
Another big title with a Spring 2013 release date. I'd say it's 50/50 we'll see a playable demo of The Last of Us at PAX East. Naughty Dog has been present at previous PAX East's but have only done panels in the past. I've never seen a Naughty Dog booth at PAX East before. Maybe Sony could showcase The Last of Us, but Sony has been absent from PAX East since 2010. With a May release date, The Last of Us would fit perfectly in the PAX East lineup. 

Xbox 720 Anybody?
Wouldn't it be cool if Microsoft or Sony announced their next console at PAX East? I know it's a stretch, but why not? Everybody is expecting these big announcements from Sony & Microsoft at E3. Why not stay ahead of the curve and announce you're new console at PAX East? PAX East is supposed to be the conference for gamers which would make an announcement there cooler than E3. Chances of that happening are slim to none tho. I doubt we'll see that happen. 

More Celebrities
I'm not saying we need Eminem & Jay-Z performing at one of the concerts (that would be awesome), but  wouldn't it be nice to see more famous people in the gaming industry roaming the Expo Hall? Last year I met Suda 51, and it was awesome. I couldn't understand a word he said, but I was honored to take a picture with the guy, I heard Cliff Blizinski is going to be there this year. It'd be nice to see him at the Expo Hall. Imagine if there was a panel with Shigeru Miyamoto & Hideo Kojima? That would be dope.

Wii U 
Another thing that was absent from last years PAX East was the Nintendo Wii U. It was still unreleased at that time, but that didn't stop Nintendo from letting gamers play the unreleased Nintendo 3DS the year before. I kind of just wanted to see a Wii U last year Now that Wii U is available, I hope to play it at PAX East. I don't own a Wii U, and don't intend on buying one, but a cool demo at PAX East could help change my mind about that.

I'll be tuning in to see what's announced for the show as we get closer to March 22nd. If you're going to this years PAX East what would you like to see? I'm hoping this years PAX East is better than last years.I think PAX falling on  Easter weekend last year kind of killed some of the fun out of PAX, but I still had a good time. Maybe some of my wishes in this post will be granted. If they are I think this years PAX East will be one to remember. See you there.