Jul 27, 2009

Graphics Matter

Outdated Graphics are hideous. Wait let me rephrase that. Outdated 3D Graphics are hideous. I try to tolerate a game like Metal Gear Solid on the PSOne. I end up turning it off before the long ass opening credits are done. Looking at PSOne graphics today make me wonder how I ever thought they looked good. I must have been drunk. I do realize that there are a ton of classic games on both the PSOne and the Nintendo 64. I don't think that feeling I had when I was drunk would be there today if I played any of the classics. You can definitely see the growing pains that today's 3D graphics had to go through.

2D graphics from 20 years ago are fine in my book. I could still play classics like Contra and Punch Out!!! today without thinking twice about the graphics. Sure the graphics don't compare to today's, but they dont feel like they were trying too hard to be impressive in. I dont think people bought games back then because of the top notch production value in the graphics... or maybe they did.

When it comes to portable graphics, there's no way I could play a Gameboy today. 20 years is a long time for something to evolve. Especially when that something has dominated the market the whole time. Think about what the iPod's going to be like in 11 years? It's already converted itself into a phone... Nintendo better watch out.

Am I the only person who thinks backward compatibility is overrated? I'm always looking for the next best thing, and having to go back to outdated graphics and clunkier physics has never appealed to me. I have to downgrade enough when I play the Wii. If old games could be upscaled like DVD's then maybe we'd be talking.

Jul 24, 2009

The beginning of the end...

Resident Evil is too big for it's shadow. Success is a motherfucker. It can take a series that had better gameplay than plot and turn it into a 3D Hollywood snorefest. In the movies defense, I've only seen the first 10 minutes of the first Resident Evil movie so there's a possibility they could be good. I doubt it though.

The game has some kinks that need to be worked out. Resident Evil 5 is successful, but that could easily change for the sequel. If Resident Evil 6 is another action adventure game with a weak plot then I think it won't do as well. Wesker feels more like an annoying little brother than a villan, and Chris is so clueless it's sad. I saw the climax coming from a mile away. Before it was easier to forgive the plot because the gameplay was the shit, but now it feels uninspired. I'm not a fan of more of the same. I need some more flavor in my coffee if I'm going to drink it.

Jul 22, 2009

Happy Halloween

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
October 29, 2009

Food for Thought

Why does it take some huge convention for release dates to be announced for new games? If you didn't know Comic-Con begins today in San Diego which showcases gaming among a bunch of other things. Expect to hear release dates for the rest of the week. Here's one:

Uncharted 2
October 13, 2009.

This could only mean that September is almost here. September has always been a bittersweet month for me. On one hand the drought in my lab pretty much ends in late August/early September. On the other hand, I'm more busy because I go back to school along with working. Good thing I'm good at hiding...
This drought sucks by the way. I'm starting to think every gamer is expected to play the same game for months at a time which is something I don't do. If the game is good, I'll finish it and write about it here. This can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks depending on my level of focus with the game. I spent 2 weeks with Fallout 3 spending at least 5 hours each day playing it. I finished the story in 13 hours, but realized the story is only the beginning. I can't wait for New Vegas... Grand Theft Auto IV is the only game I still occasionally play. I'm still on my quest for 100%, but it scares me that I know my way around Liberty City. I really hope this new Batman game is going to be as good as the buzz surrounding it.

The drought will be over soon...

Jul 18, 2009

Family 1st

Can gaming bring a family together? I believe so. Back in 1993 my mother and I would spend hours playing Streets of Rage 2. Her favorite character was Axel, and mine was Skate. I'm not sure how many times we beat that game, but I could say we both finished it with every playable character. Those were the days... Streets of Rage 2 was the only game my mother enjoyed.

That was until the Nintendo Wii showed up. She knew about Wii Fit and asked me what I thought about it. I took a while to answer because I had to hold back my bias against casual games. When I put the bias aside I realized that she should give it a try. I told her everything I knew about it, and she planned on buying it. She came home with a copy of My Fitness Coach from BJ's and asked me what I thought about it. I told her I never heard of it. She returned it the next day.

Wii Fit showed up a few days later. After some time with it, I asked my mother what she thought about it. She loves it. I played it with her a couple times, and I see where my competitive nature comes from. Wii Fit changed my perception about the casual games released on the Wii. I give Nintendo credit. My mother understands my passion for videogames a little more thanks to Wii Fit. Ego aside Wii Fit is a fun game that helps bring people together.

I couldn't say that about most of the games out there these days...

* My mother read this post and she approves of it. She even added it to her favorites. I love you Ma...

Jul 15, 2009

Long Live the King...

In 1996 Capcom introduced gamers to the world of survival horror with Resident Evil. The game about S.T.A.R.S. trapped in a mansion has evolved into the top selling franchise for Capcom. The developers have worked hard at changing the formula to maintain it's dominance. The series continues to be a success as it's most recent entry Resident Evil 5 has sold over 2 million units in the United States. With all of the success Resident Evil has had over the years, it has not gone without its fair share of competition.

Silent Hill for example tried to scare its audience by giving you the impression that your trip through the town was going to be a bad one. The place is very foggy making the visibility of things really tough at times. Guess they wanted to scare you with what you couldn't see. The atmosphere is strange, confusing, and filled with dead ends.

Eternal Darkness is another series worth noting. I think it could have evolved to be better than Resident Evil if more people were aware it existed. Easily one of the best Gamecube exclusives, Eternal Darkness scared it's audience by playing with your characters sanity. You play as various characters throughout time who have very different issues. One thing they have in common is they all at some point experience crazy events that affect their sanity. The more you filled your sanity meter, the crazier your enviornment became. Fill the meter up, and you'll find yourself trapped inside your mind with a bunch of beings attempting to kill you. It's up to you to find your way back to reality. Genius if you ask me...

After a few sequels, Resident Evil began to feel the pressure of maintaining it's run at the top. The developers went back to the drawing board and decided to make the series a bit more action oriented. Resident Evil 4 was the first to show this new style. They took away the fixed camera angles, and replaced it with an over the shoulder camera view. The signature zombies had been replaced by the Los Plagas who are basically a cult of infected humans. That and many other changes resulted in a more intense, but less scary Resident Evil. Resident Evil 4 was met with huge success both from critics and consumers.

Fast forward to 2008. The next generation of 360's and PS3's is now around, and there's yet to be that survival horror game to scare the entertainment out of players. That was until October when EA released Dead Space. The adventure of Issac on the USG Ishimura brings back the survival horror that Resident Evil seemed to abandon. The level of polish Dead Space has showed it wanted to be taken serious. Every sound in that game sets up a scary atmosphere. It's really cool when you enter a vaccum and the only thing you can hear is Issac breathing. The sound of a window breaking off in the distance followed by footsteps coming toward you is another thing. Zero Gravity reminds you that yes indeed you are in space. Dead Space took the survival horror genre and expanded on the idea instead of changing it like Resident Evil did. Dead Space aimed to scare and entertain the whole time your playing it. Hope you played it in the dark...

Resident Evil 5 is released in March 2009, and proves that it wants to be an action game. It follows the same action formula as Resident Evil 4. They aimed to make the gamer feel like an action hero instead of the bright spot in the darkness. Resident Evil is so far gone from the house that they built, and I'm not sure they want to come back. As an action game, Resident Evil doesn't stand a chance against heavy hitters like Gears of War or Grand Theft Auto. Sales might say otherwise, but I know for sure I'm not the only person who was disappointed by the lack of imagination Resident Evil 5 has.

Good thing there's Dead Space...

Jul 13, 2009

Another Round Please...

The new hotness these days is Fight Night Round 4. The boxing game that combines a bunch of playable characters from the last round with new ones. I see the appeal this game has. I wish I could knock out a few people in my world. There's no way I would play it though.

Sports simulation games are not my cup of tea. I'll watch someone do their thing, but I'd rather not play. I need videogames to take me as far away from reality as possible in order to enjoy it. When a game reflects something that we could physically do, I'd rather watch the pros in their tight uniforms instead of polygons. I can't play Skate, but I had so much fun playing the Tony Hawk series.

The competition when it comes to sports sims is tough. The people that understand every aspect of football would run circles around my clueless ass in a game of Madden. If I were to go to a Madden competition, I'd probably get laughed at for how horrible I am. I respect the talent of a sports sim gamer. That level of focus and dedication is something I could never achieve playing a sports sim.

I wasn't really the athletic type growing up. I was too busy making money to play a sport in school. I'd rather own the team than play on it is the way I look at it. That way I wouldn't have to be an athlete to party with them.

Jul 11, 2009

Wiimaking Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 is my biggest disappointment of the year so far. I went to my first ever midnight release for that game. I couldn't get over the feeling that I was playing Resident Evil 4 with high def graphics. It brought a friend and I together, but we haven't spoken much since we played this. I've heard that Resident Evil 5 might come to the Wii. That would mean it would look like Resident Evil 4. Something tells me the Wii version will be the best.

I played Resident Evil 4 on Gamecube, Playstation 2, and the Wii in that order. I felt the Playstation2 was the inferior version of the three. It might have had the original control scheme, but the graphics weren't as sharp as the Gamecube version like many ports back in the day. The Gamecube version had the biggest impact to the gaming industry. It was originally released as a Gamecube exclusive before it ported to the PS2. The Wii version of Resident Evil 4 is definitely the best. The added motion controls take the game to a new level of entertainment. It was one of those games that proved to me that the Wii knows something about hardcore gaming.

Here's to hoping the Wii gets hardcore gaming right again...

Jul 10, 2009

Sloppy Seconds

This economy sucks. I've been forced to budget my money to support my expensive habits. I could always buy used games to cut spending. Guess I'm not surprised that sales of used games has increased 32% from last year. I used to tell myself I would never buy a used game, but these days they are sounding like a great idea.

The games I wouldn't buy are the display copies at Gamestop. They are the worst. A display copy is the case of the last copy of a new game that they have in stock. You can find it on the rack of mostly wack games that every Gamestop has. This means theirs a huge price tag on one of the corners of the case to your "new" game. They also put a big piece of tape down the middle of the case. I've never been able to get it off cleanly. If I were a collector I'd be pissed.

Display copies are used games. The only difference is that a customer didn't get to enjoy it first. Instead somebody at Gamestop got to rape it. Why does Gamestop charge full price for the display copies of games? I think taking a game out of the plastic is raping it enough to make it used. Try returning a game to gamestop after you've taken it out of the plastic. See how hard they laugh at you for bringing your receipt expecting to get a full refund.

Here's to hoping for a future where the display copy gets priced as a used game...

Jul 8, 2009

Collectors Editions

How large is your gaming collection? Do you own the first system that began your journey as a gamer? How about the first videogame you've ever owned, do you still have that? Would you trade-in any of the games in your collection?

I recently talked to a guy who claimed he owned over 350 games dating back to the Nintendo Entertainment System. As impressive as that sounds I could care less. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely a fan of buying a game, but after 2 years I'm probably never going to play it again. I'd rather make some change instead of wasting space in my room. Let it build up dust somewhere else.

I traded in my collection of games back in April and was able to get a Nintendo DSi and Chinatown Wars (Power to the Players.) The oldest game in the collection was Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, and the most recent was Killzone 2. Every game I wrote about between the months of January & March 2009 was also included. My friend on the other hand tried to trade in games from his original Xbox and discovered Gamestop stopped accepting trade-ins for the Xbox at the beginning of the year.

By the time a sequel a released, the game before it has long been a memory. I know there are a lot of people who are upset that Sony stopped making the Playstation 3 Backwards Compatible. I say good riddance. What is the point of putting a Playstation 2 disc in a Playstation 3. They have nothing in common besides the whole Sony thing. I'd rather put a DVD in my PS3 than a Ps2 game. If Sony got rid of the dvd drive that would suck. Scarface isn't on Blu-Ray yet, and I would be really upset if I couldn't see it when the mood strikes...

Videogames are not timeless. They age faster than humans. My habit involves playing a game when it's fresh out of the gate. This results in long ass droughts like right now, because nothing interesting has been released since inFamous. Good thing I have this blog.

My blog is timeless. Don't read it, and the energy will calmly wait for the genius that does. I read it all the time so I think it must be great...

Keep Practicing

Jul 2, 2009

Got some spare time?

Want a chance to win the crown Sackboy in the picture above is wearing? Well first you need a Playstation 3 and second you need LittleBigPlanet. If you do, check out the site below to find out how to win it.

Too bad the crown is mine...

The Official Pod and Sackboy Decoration Contest

Jul 1, 2009

Reviewing the News

If a film critic falls asleep during the middle of a movie, do you think the critic would write a good review about the movie? Lets say the next movie the critic watches moves him to tears. Do you think the review for that movie would be better than the first movie? Does it really matter what a critic thinks about a movie?

I could care less about the opinion of a person who's getting paid to play video game. It's mostly because I'm not getting paid to play video games yet, but that's beyond the point. I never understood how a persons opinion determined what I thought about something I haven't tried. I guess I'm an individual.

There is one place I go to check reviews. Gamespot.com... I like their style. I only look at the Score and "The Good and The Bad" section of the review. If I go any further it's always satisfying to know that they don't spoil anything about the game. They usually blab about the fun things that can be done in the game, and use good screen shots in the process. That's all I really need. If by the end of that I'm still not sure, I rent the game before I buy it. You gotta test drive the car before you buy it.

If the energy I feel from something isn't positive, it's impossible for me to get excited about it. I've never been excited to go to a funeral that's for sure. When it comes to video games I am no different. If the game sucks, there is no way it gets played in my lab. I'm not saying I've never played a bad game, but I've finished a lot more great games than terrible ones. It's hard enough getting through an average game in my lab. The last average game I played was 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. I played it for about a half and hour, took 2 shots, got bored, and waited for inFamous to come out.

The only games that get played in my lab are the ones that I feel are worth playing. I have a hard time focusing on anything but fun, so it definitely has to grab my attention one way or another. If it doesn't do that then goodbye. I guess the feeling I have for video games is more lust than love. Guess that explains my addiction...

Life is too short to be playing a bad game...