Monday, December 27, 2010

Final Fantasy III

I got ill for Christmas. Cold sweats, runny nose, the lot and because I was in lands-a-foreign, the only thing I had to see me through moments when I wasn't delirious was a DS and a random selection of games. I needed to play a game that wouldn't mind me running away to snot every few seconds and also one that I could play in all three positions (laying on my front, reverse cowboy and neck propped up). Turns out Final Fantasy III was the only game that I had on me that fits the bill, annoyingly.

I say annoyingly for three good reasons.

Firstly, in something that might be called RPGitis I've been stuck on the same bit for years now. If you ever played an RPG, particularly a Squeenix one, you'll have no doubt experienced something similar. When I load up my game I find that I'm outside a city. I go into the city but from the way everyone is welcoming my guys like heroes, it's clear I've just finished what I needed to do for these city dwellers. I have no godly idea what to do next. Really is a memo pad too much to ask for? Especially in these older RPGs where the story doesn't make a frigs bit of sense. Go here, kill a dude, get a key, give the key to Mandoor who gives you a mallet. Take the Mallet to some city halfway across tha globe and then a secret mountain pathway will appear. Eventually after visiting ever single city (and after a thousand random battles) I discovered I missed talking to a guy who let the rest of the game progress. Thanks dude.

Secondly, I was one of thos kids who was really sold about RPGs after Final Fantasy VII. For me that was and still remains a good RPG. All these internet people keep banging on about the older ones so when FFIII eventually came out for the DS I thought I'd have a go. Just no. No. I've played VI, II and III now and they just don't have the same magic as VII. Everything feels disparate and unconnected. I've invested 14 hours into III and I couldn't recall one detail about the story. Well, that's a lie here are the four things I know about FFIII 1. One of the guys in my team is called Assex because ass sex wouldn't fit. 2. At some point I had to toad all my guys 3. Something about Crystals/Dragons? 4. Sometimes you have to change jobs in order to do something out of battle AND that person has to be the first one in your party but that's never really explained. I remember being so gripped by FFVII, FFVIII and to a lesser extent FFIX but the pre-VII (and post IX [excluding X-2]) ones really aren't doing it for me. Environments are bland and repetitive, the jobs make no sense and the world seems very flat and boring.

Lastly, there's a whole part to the game that involves sending messages to other people that have the game (Onion Swordsman and Final Dungeon are the two unlockables). Of course, the two other people who I know who had this game no longer play it and also, the gimped online with the DS means that even if they were playing it right now I couldn't send them letters anyway. This winds me up. The kind of fleeting content that is time sensitive and ruins a game experience for OCD people like me. The wonder of Resident Evil? I can stick it in and play it to my hearts content. I won't miss out on exclusive content or awards for online achievements that I can't get because nobody is playing it anymore. With the letters thing in this game though I feel that I've been robbed of content that should be mine. I've paid for it. it's on the cart!

Anyway, I'll plug on with it I've just left the floating continent and now there's yet another world map to explore. Normally I'd be happy that a game just kept giving but I'm feeling a bit [RANDOM BATTLE] sick [RANDOM BATTLE] of this [RANDOM BATTLE] already.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Basic Site-Keeping Thing. Half Done

Dear Cretins.

We've received just under 15k* emails regarding why our 'best of' link leads to an under construction page and has done for the last couple of years.

Well, now it is fixed. Ish. Here it be. A year by year break down of the highs and lows of TGAM over the last four years (up to 2009). We laughed. We cried. We even did a couple of good posts.

You can also find our lists of lists to date (up until 2009).

I think you'll find we've been consistently excellent these last four years justifying our position as 50% of the living gaming celebrities on Earth.

*Well 15k worth of emails were shipped. Ha topical joke that we be incomprehensible in 5, 4, 3, 2.... what the hell does it mean?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow in Games vs Snow

In Games, snow:

1) Makes nice footprints that disappear after a while
2) Makes everything a bit slidey.
3) Is always accompanied by music with bells in it.
4) Makes penguins and snowmen appear.

In real life, snow:

1) Makes women stand indoors no matter where they are/ where they were going to.
2) Blocks all forms of transport.
3) Causes horrific traffic accidents.
4) Kills old people.

So there we have it. Snow in games is much nicer than in real life. SUCK THAT SNOW IN GAMES NAYSAYERS.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How should we choose our GOTY?

Do we go:

Pretentious Wanker and choose the most obscure flash game, that essentially recreates one alrightish mini-game from an Amiga game once?

Nearer the truth but Crass and choose CoD?

Back to our roots and choose a Wii game that we might be able to play with another normal human being and not get embarrassed because tits/violence-that-adolescents-find-amusing comes up and undermines all that envangelising about how games are worthy or wider appreciation?

Democratic and just say WoW?

Completely wrong
and say Alan Wake?

Like a proper fucking man and say Gran Turismo 5?

Full retard and say some iOS game?

Or with our heart and say Monster Hunter Tri?

Decisions decisions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Features as Standard

We're quite disappointed with the current generation of consoles, particularly the HD ones. What they gained in processing power they mostly squandered on pretty graphics but gameplay by and large still riffing on what we'd been introduced to in the PS2 days. We're being harsh. There were some leaps forward, mostly in terms of online connectivity but here's four features we believe should just be standard. In all games. From now on.

1) Screenshots.
LET THE PEOPLE TAKE SCREENSHOTS. For the love of christ. Not only does it mean that we can share such lovely in game memories as the one above but it makes writing, blogging and social networking about games sooooo much easier. Especially RPGs. You want to cherish those precious memories long after the internal memory has perished so just let us take a screenshot wherever and whenever we want. Whilst we are at it also, why every single game doesn't rip off Halo 3's Theatre mode we don't know. Our ratio of playing Halo 3 is 30% playing it and 70% pouring over the replay with friends dissecting every crackshot, moment of hesitation and reliving every epic moment (and taking screenies for future prosperity).
Doing it right: Animal Crossing Let's Go To The City, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Super Smash Brothers (after a fashion), Halo 3, My Pokemon Ranch. Even Metroid and Mario Kart give you JPEGs of those memorable moments. See? All those non-HD games can manage it.

2) More Mp3s in games
We know, we know, we're the only people who have ever bothered to burn their own soundtracks to play Xbox 360 games by but damn that is a smart feature. Even Endless Ocean lets you listen to your own tunes whilst you poke a bunch of fish. We want more games to take advantage of this functionality, or better still, let gamers upload genre/situation specific songs. Playing a scary game? Then the console will pick an appropriate song from a list of songs you've tagged 'spooky' et voila. Fade it in and out properly and then because you've decided which songs get played at appropriate times you'll start to brick yourself as soon as you hear the first few notes of 99 red balloons because you know that Pyramid Head may be around the next corner. Surely doable? Sort it out!
Doing it right: Endless Ocean and potentially every single Xbox 360 game (this feature still exists right?)

3) Multiple Audio Inputs
Remember those bits from No More Heroes, where you'd get a phone call from that hot french girl and you'd have to put the wiimote to your ear and strain to make out the words through the tinny speakers? Or the audio logs you collect in Dead Space Extraction? That was a good idea right. Combine that idea of having more than one place that your game makes noises and combine it with Xbox 360 headsets and you'll be laughing. Remember those annoying bits in Gears of War where Marcus and his team would stick their fingers in their ears and walk really really slowly so that you get to listen to some military speaky talks? Well imagine if all that gubbins was piped directly into your ears through the headset so you could continue shooting Locust in the face. Using the headset audio channel, you could receive secret orders or intel. For the four other people who ever played the GC crystal chronicles it was cool to have different information to the other player, using the GBA screen one player would have a treasure map, one would have a monster map etc. do you share secret information? Or keep it to yourself? Imagine midway through a [POPULAR SHOOTER] you get secret intel through your headset of a nifty little weapon drop nearby. Then imagine that someone on the opposite team has a device to hack into these secret transmissions and also knows there are some nifty weapons nearby. It would make matches of [POPULAR SHOOTER] even brillianter. Or if you played a psychic character you could only hear the thoughts of NPCs through the headset. It would aid in immersion much better than gimping popular wii games and taking away the controller and nobody would have to buy anything. None of that 3D bollocks either.
Doing it right: Nobody because it is a bit of a risky innovative idea, the last one of which that was implemented in video games was when Halo put in vehicles.
Downside: Sitting in your pants with a headphone on is just about acceptable when everyone is using it to insult your mother or raise doubts about your sexual orientation. Using it to listen to the innermost thoughts of computer people is quite sad.

4) More Inter Game Crossoverness.
You all played Metroid Prime Corruption and traded vouchers with your friends online in order to unlock the cool Bumper Sticker features right? No, oh well here's a screenie. Oh no screenshots available (See! See! More screenshot features please). Well here's a shitty video of a TV screen.
If you can't work it out from the crappy video, if you earned enough things and then traded those things with someone else with the game after you swapped friend codes then basically you could unlock a thing called bumper stickers where Samus' Gunship would be covered with various decals from other wii games, as long as you had a save game for those games. How cool is that? We also all loved the thing in Metal Gear Solid where Psycho Mantis allegedly read your memory card and knew all those great Konami games you'd played. We never got this because the only other Konami game we owned was International Track and Field 2 and apparently, that is beyond Psycho Mantis' powers. Lost Planet 2 awesomely automatically unlocked titles from all the other Capcom games on your hard drive and you could unlock Rosalina automatically if you had a Super Mario Galaxy save game. Perhaps the most awesome crossover thing we have seen is if you load up Devil May Cry you'll find he is carrying an Amulet:
'a memento of Dante's mother. In the back is an engraving "Vergil and Dante"
Did they know they'd make two more games? That's some good foresight and a nice little detail you may not notice first time around. Basically, we're asking for a lot more of this kind of love cameos and neat little tricks with save games are a nice detail. Not too many and not too in your face obvious but more little subtle touches will brighten up gaming wethinks.
Doing it right: All the games we've listed above. We're sure there are more, drop a comment if you've got a favourite.

So there we have it. Stick your gimmicks up your arse. Don't waste time retrofitting older games with motion controls or linking games with your facebook profile so you send out thousands of bits of spam to everyone you know on facebook when you're supposedly 'working from home' and just add all of these above features as standard. It might even cover up the fact that the game you've made is utter shit.

Ten Fucking Whats?

You've all seen these:

The standard retail display for UK game sellers. There's a bunch of games, maybe organised alphabetically and then in pride of place a selection of 10 or 20 games next to some big numbers. This particular display was snapped at Currys/PC World/Tech Guys type store. You see them everywhere though, GAME, Gamestation, Toys'R'Us. This is the frontline of game retailing. The burning question is what the fuck is the reasoning behind the numbers? Is one better or worse than ten? Let's take a closer look at this particular display, snapped on the 13 December in detail.

At number 1 is Wii Party. Could it be top seller? Or maybe a new release?

At number 2 we have Just Dance and the Prince of Persia Wiimakes. Possibly top sellers still? Although I didn't think PoP did half as well as Just Dance. Nor was it half as fun.

In at number three we have the Force Unleashed 2?

Number 4 is both Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics and that classic game, Big Family Games.

Fortunately, number 5 doesn't exist. Or wasn't captured. So what is this a '4' of? We worked it out. It's the nearest four games to whoever occasionally stocks the shelves. There's no reason to this madness. All I know is that I'd be damn proud to be the person in charge of deciding which games PC World/Comet/Tom Nook's stocks. What's that 20 grand a year? Maybe more? What a piss easy job. Randomly select a bunch of games and just shove 'em out on shelves. "The customer will buy them anyway". Quality isn't a factor. Or sales. Or anything. Let's arrange our product as if we were some kind of ass-end of nowhere petrol station. How does this situation occur?

Here's a shout out to PC world. Fire whoever is in charge of purchasing for the whole fucking franchise and hire me for one day a week. I guarantee I'll have increased all of your sales for console games within the month. I'll even pop into the three stores on my walk home and at least arrange the games in some kind of sensible order. Or for example, make sure that there aren't two games next to one fucking number. On top of that I won't just buy loads of electronics with my staff discount and sell to my friends/people down a back alley. Have some fucking pride for god's sake. I've worked in retail before from pizza restaurants to bookshops and this kind of shit would not fly. A line of producers and publishers meet with product managers and secure deals that see stock take the best spot in terms of where customers will see them and all staff can at least talk about product X (be it a sauce or book or sale offer). Displays like these, typical of game shops across the UK, give the impression that the work experience girl was given 100 quid to go out and buy the stock for the next week. Oh and take lunch out of that as well.

This is why I don't shed a tear when yet another game studio closes down. Don't the studios or publishers have people whose job it is to go around stores and check that their product is being sold? Or maybe set up distribution deals? Ubisoft must be well happy that their 3 year old game is still getting some shelf space. Maybe they've sold out of CoD, Donkey Kong, Sonic Colours and Goldeneye? Or the reql classics like Super Mario Galaxy, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime. Or maybe there's no point in stocking Wii Sports Resort or Super Smash Brothers Brawl because they were really good sellers. No point on backing a horse that already won. Let us hope so hey? Hey? Hey? Let's hope that the games industry fucks itself in the arse because it is full of creative types with no iota of business sense and we all end up playing dross iOS games because they cost 50p to make and customers randomly stumbling upon your game amongst the gazillion other shit copycat games and tower defense games still manages to give you better odds than if you tried to get your product in a cunting high street store like PC Cunts.

I also went to try out 3D tv/games. The display was not working properly. That's three for three now. Three times I've tried to try out 3D tech in a store. Once there weren't glasses, once there weren't TVs that were on and this time the thing was just broken. Sends out a really good message. Here, part with a couple of grand for some technology that, even on display in a store with the "techguys" on staff will break. Seriously, it is a good job I'm not the target audience for ridiculous new technology OH HANG ON WAIT A MINUTE.....

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Resident Evil 3DS thing. Will it have Tits?

Tits Yes.

Good. We heard rumours that Capcom was ditching the gratuitous tits shots in upcoming games. PUT THAT RUMOUR TO BED.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I have no Skin and enjoy pointing

I shit you not! this is the box art for a Nintendo DS game in Japan. 

The Game is called "Fly Mr.Science - Great Expedition of the Earth! Challenge the Mysterious and Strange Creatures."

Mr Science is the man with no skin on the right.


Love and visible sinews.

Richie X

I want this now...

You know I used to play a lot of PC games. And one thing that bothered me was PC input of Joypads. You dont get it so much nowadays, as most are cross compatible with the 360 Joypad. ut for those games that still demand a Keyboard mouse combination. I always wanted a "Multiple input" translation. I wanted things like do the Hadouken input to relate to a function or even the Mortal Kombat controls like Up, Up+B top to be translated to a keypress.

Admittedly this harked back to the days when I played WoW and I wanted D, DR, R+HK/MK/LK to relate to the different types of fire spells I could cast as my mage.

Just... Why hasnt something like this happened? It may not be entirely useful, but c'mon, we're all gamers here. Surely some technophile out there wanted to run a browser or something using Street Fighter moves?


Well anyway.

Love and Shoryuken!,

Richie X

I want this now...

You know I used to play a lot of PC games. And one thing that bothered me was PC input of Joypads. You dont get it so much nowadays, as most are cross compatible with the 360 Joypad. ut for those games that still demand a Keyboard mouse combination. I always wanted a "Multiple input" translation. I wanted things like do the Hadouken input to relate to a function or even the Mortal Kombat controls like Up, Up+B top to be translated to a keypress.

Admittedly this harked back to the days when I played WoW and I wanted D, DR, R+HK/MK/LK to relate to the different types of fire spells I could cast as my mage.

Just... Why hasnt something like this happened? It may not be entirely useful, but c'mon, we're all gamers here. Surely some technophile out there wanted to run a browser or something using Street Fighter moves?


Well anyway.

Love and Shoryuken!,

Richie X

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How Many GamesDo You Have To Play To Form An Opinion About Games?

A common counter argument for those trying to interpret games, either with an agenda or without, is that they haven't played enough games to warrant their opinion being worth even contemplating. In a post which has just vanished from Kotaku (who knows it may or may not be here) Salman Rushdie has something to say but, you know what, he hasn't played as many games as us so let us just discount everything he says. But exactly how many games does one need to play so that the gamers will listen. Here's our handy guide for when you want to say something about games but may be worried you aren't qualified enough.

0 Games- Rogert Ebgert or whoever, resides here. You ain't got nothing. You got no stock. Anything you say will cause knee flinching reactions and anywhere up to six months worth of everyone chipping in, ironically, about how you have nothing to say on the matter.

1-10 Games Alright Johnny casual? We hate to tell you but Farmville, Snake, Angry Birds, Wii Sports and WoW don't count actually count as games. Go straight to the above category and do not collect £100. Unless of course the one game you've played has been every single CoD (it's the same game, one big long hand holding corridor shooter gallery). In which case, please fill miles of the internet with uninformed poo pooing of every game that isn't CoD. Thx.

11-100 Games You may have played Super Mario Brothers 3 and Deus Ex but you didn't play the Lost Levels or Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles or the fourth remake of whichever Final Fantasy we're supposed to like (hint- anything but 7 or the latest one). You are allowed to read what the better informed write and maybe comment but please don't write anything yourself. You're not qualified.

101-500 Games Okay 300 of those were probably back in the school days but you've put in some time, maybe had your fingers in a number of genres. Maybe you've even queued up to buy a game at midnight or even imported a game. I'm interested, do think about games and I might, MIGHT, accept your right to say something, then disagree.

501-INFINITY Games You have no compass outside of games. Nothing of what you have to say is of any use to anyone because you've never been outside. You'll be critical of everyone who hasn't played ever last piece of shitty DLC. You've lost your perspective son. Your cultural balance is out of kilter. Get a life. Get laid. Go on holiday. You're in too deep. Pull up... PULL UP....

So there we have it. We checked and we've played just under 200 games so there. Only 301 more to go before we need to be retired.