Dec 29, 2010

Video Game Warzone January 14, 2011

I'm going to be a guest on the Video Game Warzone Podcast January 14, 2011. I will have the opportunity to talk to HipHopGamer directly about things you may have read in this blog. You don't want to miss it. January 14, 2011. Shout out to Torrence Davis and

Dec 23, 2010

Jim Sterling on Blow

Oh no! A game developer is mad. Run for the hills!!! The story goes gaming website CVG posted an article based on an interview Edge Magazine did with Braid creators Jonathan Blow and Chris Hecker. Jonathan Blow is mad at the article because:

"They fill out their article by pasting in somewhat-out-of-context quotes to support this statement (and nothing else). To believe their account, it was a highly anti-Microsoft and pro-Sony interview"
 - Jonathan Blow

You gotta do what you gotta do. Face it Blow your interview with Edge Magazine is mad long. Most people checking CVG don't give a damn about Edge Magazine. Print is dieing for a reason. All we have as gaming journalists is hits. It's how we stay relevant, and get noticed by people in the biz like yourself. You're mad that CVG sensationalized a small portion of your interview? At least CVG's article is readable.

You should attack the videogame websites with no substance that thrive off of sensational titles. I'd be more insulted if someone had sensationalized one of my interviews with more grammatical errors and spelling mistakes than a middle school dropout. The way you found out about CVG's article shows the invisible wall developers have with their consumers. I didn't know who you were until Jim Sterling warned Twitter of the shitstorm that he caused. Maybe you should be more involved with the people on the Internet. It'll be useful in the future.

Dec 18, 2010

Most Disappointing Game of 2010: Fallout New Vegas

In a year where most of the anticipated titles were delayed until 2011, Fallout New Vegas stuck by it's October 2010 release date. I made it out to a midnight launch for the one game left on my most anticipated list. I remember driving home in excitement with a copy of New Vegas in my possession. It had been two years since Fallout 3, and I was ready for a new experience. Boy was I disappointed.

Lets start with the obvious, the game was FILLED with bugs when it was released. It's clear New Vegas was rushed in order to make it's release date. Bethesda figured they'd release a broken game and fix it through downloadable patches as times goes on. They promised patches would come the following week, it's been 2 months and they're starting to show up. As I'm writing this I'm still not sure the 360 or PC versions has received patches yet.

I lost well over 50 hours due to the bugs in New Vegas. One instance occurred when the game froze while it was autosaving. There was nothing I could have done to prevent that besides manually saving before I walked into the Lucky 38 Hotel. The result of that was a CORRUPT file that refused to load. I ended up with a few corrupt files in my journey through the Mojave Wastleland. It's frustrating to be reintroduced to characters and places I've already met and explored. Sure the ability to change the way I approach any situation is refreshing, but it would have been better if I could have done it with a new game as opposed to making up for corrupted saves.

The story to New Vegas was also a disappointment. New Vegas' story is longer than Fallout 3's, but it ends abruptly. I'm not going to spoil it, but if the story kept going it would have made more sense. The ending to the game made me feel like most of the work I had put into the game was pointless. I felt like I was doing busy work for most of the time.

The game never took off. It just kept me busy doing random tasks. There were some interesting characters and places, but overall the game lacks personality. You are just a courier exploring a post nuclear Mojave Desert. Overall New Vegas is a fun game worth playing. I invested over 100 hours into the experience, but I'm not compelled to play it again. Fallout: New Vegas you are my most disappointing game of 2010.

Stereotyping the Hip Hop Gamer

Two years ago I was introduced to The Hip Hop Gamer show. I saw videos of Hip Hop Gamer talking about himself, as well videos of him playing basketball and exploring a local Gamestop. I gravitated towards his charming personality and the fact that he was an African American with a voice in the gaming industry. I thought to myself if he could do it, why cant I? A month later I was blogging about videogames and the rest is history.

I had the opportunity of meeting Hip Hop Gamer at a Playstation Move Event in Boston and we chopped it up. We talked about videogames and even filmed a few moments together as we tried out the Playstation Move. I was already a fan, but now I know how cool the guy is in person. Then the problem showed up.

I had a front page story on Bitmob back in August about the racism in Mafia II. I spoke up about it after I realized nobody else was saying anything. I figured it was mostly due to both politics, and the racial majority in the gaming industry not being offended by the content. I decided to ask Hip Hop Gamer, a minority in the gaming industry, what he thinks about the situation via Twitter. A day or two goes by with no response. I figured he's a popular guy and didn't see my question. No harm no foul. I then discovered the song "Mafia Music" by Hip Hop Gamer in support of Mafia II. I guess I got his response.

I'm not saying he should agree with my view, but I was interested to know why he supported a game that refers to African Americans as "Moolies." I went back to Twitter and asked him about the song. I grew frustrated after not hearing anything back from the guy and said something along the lines that only a b*tch wouldn't respond to my question. You can see the response I got from the Hip Hop Gamer on the picture to the left.  I get that I might have been out of line by calling him a b*tch, but why respond to that and not the actual issue? It was clear he wasn't going to answer my question, so I just decided to drop the whole situation.

Fast forward to a month later. I began to get excited about Pax East 2011 and logged on Twitter to express my thoughts. I said I wanted to do things differently than I did this year. In 2010 I had the opportunity of meeting a few personalities in the gaming industry at Pax East which was cool, but next year I want interviews with these people. I mentioned the Hip Hop Gamer's name in the tweet, and he replies. "You talk sh*t now you want an interview. Step Ya Game Up, and I'll think about it." I took that as an insult to the almost 2 years of writing I've done as a blogger. I might not have the fans, but I'm working hard at my craft. I decided to challenged him to a Freestyle Rap Battle since he's too hot for an interview.

Hip Hop Gamer is a man of many talents. He's a rapper with many songs on Youtube. One song he has is "60 Seconds." The line "If you want to battle. let's battle you can't get rid of me" stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I decided to see if this so called rapper practices what he preaches. I told him I'll put up $500 dollars if he does the same for a battle at Pax East 2011. Once again he get's quiet on Twitter again. I begin to poke jokes at Hip Hop Gamer as a way of showing that I'm serious. I guess he decided he was too important, and blocked me on Twitter.

I recorded a song titled "Psycho Sid" to get Hip Hop Gamers attention. One could call it a diss, but I call it a challenge. "$500 says I'll Beat You in a Battle" is repeated at the end of the song to make sure my intentions were clear. I'm sure he's heard the song by now, but I'm still waiting on his response. Remaining silent says a lot about his character. It says he's a fake rapper that's scared to battle some kid from Boston. My challenge is all in the name of friendly competition, and he has the opportunity of making $500 dollars if he wins. Maybe he can't rap at all, and knows he'll lose $500 dollars if he battles me. The offer is still on the table, and I'm still waiting for his response.

What does the Hip Hop Gamer's presence in the gaming industry say about the industries view of African Americans? It says that you have to fit the image of what the gaming industry thinks an African American should be. You have to be "Hip Hop" which I guess means wearing durags, bad writing, and an attitude that you're better than other African Americans. What kind of example does that set for the younger generation that looks up to you? I want to be the next Hip Hop Gamer so I'll just focus on being a likable stereotype at gaming conventions, as opposed to working on my craft to be the best journalist. If that's what the gaming industry wants then I signed up for the wrong sport.

Dec 15, 2010

Alan Wake is Officially Overrated

It was brought to my attention that Time Magazine gave Alan Wake it's Game of the Year award. The first thought I had on my mind was "wow Microsoft must have paid someone off." I read the article by Eric Narcisse, and I have to say Alan Wake is overrated.

Of all the games released in 2010 I don't think of Alan Wake as being a standout. It might stand out for taking five years to be developed, but that gets out shined by Gran Turismo 5. During Alan Wake's five years in devlopment many gamers had forgotten about it. Gamers never forgot about Gran Turismo 5, and were actually looking forward to playing it. The only time I saw Alan Wake on anyones most anticipated list was when someone was trying to remind gamers it wasn't cancelled.

"Lots of video-game covers have a bold M on their lower left corner, but none have felt as mature as Alan Wake does."

What's so mature about running in the woods with a flashlight? I can think of one game that feels more mature than Alan Wake, Heavy Rain. The story centers around a search for a serial killer and the child he kidnapped. Heavy Rain is so mature it forces you to sit back and watch it like a movie. There's no moments of aimlessly running in the woods in Heavy Rain.

"Its unsettled titular character carries adult concerns — a stalled career, a troubled marriage — into a psychological thriller set in a town taken over by a shadowy occult force."

That sounds like a profile of Harry Mason, the main character from Silent Hill. It's clear Silent Hill had a huge influence on Alan Wake. The intro to Alan Wake is so similar to Silent Hill, I had trouble believing it wasn't a remake. Speaking of remakes that whole walking around with a flashlight thing was used a year earlier in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. 
I'm not saying Alan Wake doesn't deserve Time Magazine's Game of the Year award. It's just a bit strange that I read the article, and think of so many other games as I read. What makes Alan Wake so special if the only way I can describe it is overrated?

Check out the Time Magazine article here. Alan Wake - The Top 10 Everything of 2010

Dec 11, 2010

Why the 2010 Video Game Awards Sucked

The 2010 Video Game Awards aired on Spike TV earlier, and I'll be the first to say they SUCKED. I would feel bad for the audience, but at least they get gift bags for attending the show. Here's exactly why Spike TV's VGA awards sucked.

It was on Spike TV.
Spike TV is marketed as the first network for men. The VGA's makes sense to be hosted on the Spike TV since the majority of gamers are men. The problem is the VGA's emphasized that this award show was for men. The host, Neil Patrick Harris, is a homosexual, but this award show is for straight men with no girlfriends. That probably explains why most of the presenters were women. No problem with that, but the women that presented reminded me of the women you see at conventions. They are good looking, dressed in nice outfits that show a bunch of cleavage, and give off the image I'm the girlfriend you cant have. Most of the gamer friends I know use videogames as a way to tune out their girlfriends, so stop it already with the oversexed women. I'm not saying women can't be sexy in the gaming industry. I'm just saying it's not necessary to make the sexiness of a women the point as to why they're presenting an award at the VGA's

It's a 2 hour commercial.
Is it me or did the VGA's feel like one long commercial? For every game nominated for Game of the Year we had to sit through long trailers of games that have been available for a majority of the year. I understand it's the holiday season and an outlet like the Video Game Awards is great promotion, but I'm sure gamers have already had Black Ops and Mass Effect 2 on their Christmas list.

The Gaming Industry has no personality. 
 My favorite part of the VGA's was the part with TMZ reporting stories. The problem I had with it was they were reporting about characters I can control with my joystick. They aren't real people, which makes me question why the gaming industry doesn't have real people to represent it. I'd rather know what a member of the Frag Dolls or even Jim Sterling is up to instead of Kratos and Ezio. It's not right with all of the blogs out there to have the people representing it be white males that dress like they're in an Apple commercial. Why can't I host the VGA's?

The Timing of the Award Show is off.
I get that the awards show is an outlet to promote upcoming games for the following year, but December isn't the right time. Sure it's the best time to give out Game of the Year Awards, but the trailers should just stay on the Internet where they belong. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the Forza 4 announcement, but everything else was leaked before the show. I knew about Unchared 3, SSX, and many others before the fact. That's no cool. The awards show should come the week of E3 and be held in the same place as the convention. That way there's a bigger audience, more upcoming game announcements, and better performers. Past E3's have seen Eminem, Jay-Z, Method Man & Redman, and others perform.

After watching this mess it makes me wonder how the gaming industry sees it's consumers. It's clear there's a gap in front of gamers and the industry itself. Sure the gaming industry knows how to keep us entertained, but does it know how to represent us? Watching this show I don't think it does. Black Ops proved the gaming industry is bigger than the movie industry, but what good is that if nobody can represent it? The gaming industry needs more people out there representing it.

Dec 9, 2010

Broke Rappers Gotta Eat Too

West Coast Hip Hop group Cypress Hill is making headlines today. Michael S. Washington, a back up rapper for the group is suing Rockstar and Take Two over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a videogame released in 2004. Mr. Washington is mad because he feels Rockstar used his image to create the main character Carl Johnson. He is seeking $250 million dollars in damages. Michael S. Washington GTFOH.

Aren't you Hispanic? When I think of Cypress Hill I think of how they broke barriers for being the first Hispanic group with a platinum album. I don't think of Carl Johnson. A member of the Grove Street Family, which is an African American gang. Maybe I missed something and you are in fact African American.

What's this nonsense about teenaged bicycle gangs? You're probably referring to one of the early moments in the game where CJ and friends are running away from a rival gang on bicycles. The Grove Street Family is more serious than teenagers on bikes. If you look at the cover of San Andreas you can find members of the Grove Street Family in a car doing a drive by. That's a bit more than the stories you shared with Rockstar about your teenage days. I hope you've got some new music to go along with the lawsuit.

Dec 2, 2010

Six Days in Fallujah

Dear Atomic Games,
Six Days in Fallujah should never be released. Western publishers left this game alone for a reason. You not only insult the Troops. You spit in the face of thousands of Iraqis who either died, or live to see the aftermath. Birth defects, cancer, and pollution. How does that sound for a life? You want to fight a war in Iraq. Join the military.

Don't Ask Don't Tell,
Errol James