Friday, April 22, 2011

Wot No Wii? Part #3

The last panel in this week's triptych about Wiiblindness in the games industry. In the last part I already mentioned EDGE. EDGE 227 has a largely thoughtful article about online multiplayer in games raising all the interesting points around when and why online multiplayer is shoe-horned into a game (e.g Dead Space 2), whether it's devs, marketeers or the consumers who are responsible for more and more games shipping with online multiplayer and the curious mystery around the virtual non existence of crossplatform onlinemultiplayer with one not so notable exception.
For no discernable reason not a single Wii game, nor the console itself is mentioned even when it may be pertinent to. Sure, the console is still widely viewed as the little engine that couldn't but it's a glaring omission not to mention Mario Kart Wii when testing 2009 titles for how active communities are. That's a three year old game that not only still has an active community but also a title that gets regular DLC through the fortnightly competitions. Furthermore, if a mere 7% of Mario Kart owners are still playing the game online (excluding added players through split screen online) that's more players than all of those who own Dead Space 2. In fact Mario Kart Wii is the biggest online multiplayer console game of this generation. Surely, that's worth a mention?

Furthermore, Monster Hunter Tri isn't discussed at all despite being the best selling console MMORPG and one of only a handful of current gen games in the genre.

Also, notable is that the article doesn't discuss at all online features that aren't co-operative or competitive play such as the voucher sharing in Metroid Prime Corruption or friendly visits in Animal Crossing.

Shoddy journalism or Wii-blinkers? You decide.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wot No Wii? Part #2

EDGE magazine isn't just the thinking gamer's read, in our opinion it's one of the few 'publications' that transcends insulting and is actually written for people above the age of nine. By comparison, half of the shit on the web and virtually every other gaming mag falls somewhere between the Beano and the National Enquirer.

However, one of the problems with a cross platform publication is that each issue can only offer a limited number of pages to each platform. Increasingly this has meant that every platform but the Wii gets coverage. In this month's issue E227 only one of the 23 games reviewed and previewed is a Wii game. Last month only two of the 24 games were Wii games. Now of course, it pleases more of the demographic,more efficiently to look at the cross-platform games !PS3, PC,Xbox 360) but the truth is that there ain't that much on the horizon.

It seems that when Capcom or Nintendo aren't making Wii games, nobody is. Why is that Nintendo magic so hard for others to replicate? Probably has something to do with Nintendo shortening the long tail with sustained marketing (Mario Kart Wii is still being publicised, any other devs or publishers pushing their IP older than a week?). Perhaps a trust of the brand? although I have a hard time imagining the wider audience checking the names on the box. Perhaps it has something to do with quality products but then plenty of non-nintendo games have been truly great and underperformed at retail (Zack and Wiki, Boom Blox, Dead Space, Monster Hunter Tri, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories). Lastly maybe it has something to do with simple product naming; Wii Play, Wii Sports, Wii Party and Wii fit do exactly what they say on the box but then why is it that 'hardcore' Super Smash Brothers Brawl and oddball sim Animal Crossing have left shelves in quantities that EA's Games label head can only dream of? Any analysts out there with more of a clue willing to shout out?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wot No Wii? Part #1

There's been a blitz of Wii bashing and just ignorant the platform recently. It's a bit stupid really and recalls times when the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube were prematurely abandoned, the former platform killed off in it's prime and the latter sticking two fingers to Microsoft and Sony with Resident Evil 4. So it appears to begin with the Wii.
The first bit of bashing comes from Frank Gibeau, head of the EA Games label describing the Wii as a legacy platform (via Industry Gamers).

"They [Nintendo] understand the dynamics and the fact that HD consoles is a booming part of business right now. Legacy platforms like PS2 and the Wii have dropped off significantly. They’re not stupid. They’re going to figure something out. They’re going to come back at it."

Is the kind of moronic rhetoric that gets our goat. What he actually means is that nobody, especially EA have been able to replicate Nintendo's success on it's own console and it is language like this that misleads. The top selling Wii games dwarf the sales of the top titles on the other platforms including recent titles like Wii Party and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Frank, are you really surprised that EA's NERF N-Strike or EA's Family Game Night 3 haven't matched the heady success of Wii Party or even Just Dance? To be fair, middling licensed titles like Harry Potter and Rango should have easily sold as many copies of Super Smash Brothers Brawl. How is it that Animal Crossing can sell more than Halo:Reach, Halo: ODST, Call of Duty: World at War and Fable II but EA's Sims 3 is a godawful game on the platform that nobody could even be bothered to review? As for the truly excellent Boom Blox and Dead Space: Extraction well it's not Nintendo's problem that you can't sell games. That's your fucking job Frank.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Status Check: Is Machinima any good yet?

We're not just interested in games we're interested in the cultural products that surround games and gaming. One of which is machinima, essentially films made in game engines. The problem is 99% of it is absolute shit.

There are a few gems out there; Red vs Blue, War of the Servers and Trashmaster. Machinima can also be funny (see Top FPS) and there's even been a decent CoD kill montage video that's been more than looking at a sniper scope with the odd numbers popping up, beautifully edited and link subsequently lost.

The rest though is total bullshit. Here's a top tip to would be machinima directors out there, that if taken on board will improve the average quality of all machinima by at least 5%: Having one of your characters say LMAO, ROFL or LOL isn't in any way funny. Stop doing it and instnatly make the world a better place.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Disaster Day of Crisis

DDOC in internet speak
Is another brilliant and flawed but only brilliant because it is flawed wii game with more a more fresh feel than anything on release on the HD consoles. Playing it reminded me a lot of the awesome Shadow of Memories for the PS2 despite the fact they have nothing in common at all except they feature a guy. Just saying that's all.
You play as Ray somebody who is an all American hero and former International Rescue Team member following a totally predictable tragedy. Ray depressed about the tragedy is now a pen pusher at the Crisis Managment Division until he gets called back in to service. The game follows a series of (not so outlandish it seems) events that start with an earthquake, then a tsunami, followed by a nuclear threat and then gets even more ridiculous with everything from firestorms, volcanic eruptions, floods, terrorist battles and even a lahar.

The game is so cheesy its hard not to smile or believe that the developers are unknowing in the cheesiness of virtually every aspect of the plot. Ray himself seems more than acutely aware of how unlikely it is that he keeps surviving everything that nature has to throw at him. One particular flashback about how you "can't save everyone Ray" is flashed back about twelve times throughout the game. You follow the plot with cutaways to The Fucking White House. Everyone's character profiles tell of how the president, FBI agents, a 13 year old girl and others are all excellent at their jobs. Ray has an unrealistic melancholy about his potential to save people despite repeatedly saving people under increasing outlandish circumstances and through offing about 400 elite soldiers that make up the 'elite' former government military unit turned terrorist organisation SURGE. Fortunately, and I kid you not a 13 year old girl restores his confidence. No doubt he'll have flashbacks about her before the end.

What came first day after tomorrow or disaster day of crisis?
So the story is a bit like 24 but even more ridiculous, which is fine. Being obviously stupid and running with it is a better way to shoe horn in all those outlandish moments into your game than actually trying an attempt at grown-ups maturity and failing badly (EPIC games). But even better is the rest of the game. It switches genres three or four times within a level in a way that gives the game a consistency. It doesn't feel like "oh here's an on rails bit" or "here's a driving bit" or "here's a weapon or mechanism I'm probably only going to use for this one level and then never hear about again". So you'll be driving from inside a car using the wiimote as a steering wheel or driving into the screen or giving CPR or using a fire truck to put out fires or dodging obstacles whilst being swept away by a current or shooting bears in the face with a rocket launcher.

The game has a whole load of other flaws. Ray can't jump for shit yet there are some sections that require precise jumps. He comically punches barrels, crates, boxes and sometimes lumps of rock to get items out of them, sometimes they set you on fire. Some of the people you rescue have nonsense demands, one guy is holed up in a burning subway carriage because he can't get through the smoke unless you give him a plaster. Another woman lies broken in the remains of her apartment but is back on her feet again after you give her a cracker. You have to find and bandage other rescuees, by spraying them with water, finding their wounds and bandaging them, Ray seems to carry around with him a pocket fire hose (oo er missus) to spray people with and the wounds are never more serious than a cut on the arm.

it was day after tomorrow by four years
Behind the scenes is even more batshit. As you progress you unlock disaster files which range from profiles of the main characters, PSA about what to do in a crisis through to geography lessons in geohazards complete with facts and figures about the temperature or pyroclastic flows to the different between ash and volcanic ash. There's a weapon upgrade system which starts with handguns and shotguns and ends with bouncing rocket launchers and gatling guns. In a wonderful little flourish you get a line of information about the people you've rescued (Sylvia, Dental Nurse) and there's also achievements and shooting gallery challenges. Levels can be replayed with the extra motivation of finding hidden promotional materials for a drink called stamina.

All in all the game is very schizophrenic and you'll often see the game over screen through no fault of your own. In one section you have to drive away from a pyroclastic flow from an erupting volcano and it's fairly hit and miss as to whether you'll dodge the volcanic debris falling from the sky or not. But you just don't care because it's fun. Part rescuing, part light gun shooter, part driving game, part treasure hunt, part, mini game collection and part adventure game it moves at a hell of a pace and is over ever so slightly before the game gets tired. Just after the midway point the game loses momentum in particular, sections where you need to stop to take deep breaths drags on and later levels needlessly ask you to negotiate a hazard, trigger a cutscene then go back through the hazard. But overall it is definitely worth a play partly because its nice to play a game that doesn't stick to one thing and you'll forgive the flaws because half of the time you'll be laughing at how ridiculous it all it. A hidden gem that's a must play for Wii owners.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Project Cafe: Specs

Breaking News: 

Wii 2 (Codenamed Project Cafe) has had it s specs Leaked 

"the console will include a custom IBM PowerPC CPU with three cores, a GPU from the ATI R700 family with a shader unit at version 4.1, and at least 512Mb of RAM.
Backwards compatibility with both the Wii  and GameCube games. 
The controller has a six-inch touch screen, a front-facing camera, D-Pad, two bumpers, two triggers.

There you have it HD DS in  your living room.


More on this as more rumours flood the internets

Love and HD-Hugs,

Richie X

Deadly Creatures

The scorpion contemplates the men, shovelling
I've been wanting to play Deadly Creatures since it came out way back in 2009. The premise is simple you play as a Desert hairy scorpion and a Texas brown tarantula and go about Arachnida business somewhere in the desert of the southwestern United States.

The game is fucking brilliant and also flawed, totally linear but the game drives you on just because you want to see what's next. The game is also incredibly frustrating and right up to the end, death is only ever around the corner leading to occasional rage when a checkpoint is the wrong side of an unskippable cutscene in particularly tough sections. There's some odd reusing of the same level, a particular section of which you return to on four occasions and later level design tends towards laziness with invisible walls stopping you from wandering off piste. Also jarring is the end FMV sequence which is of appallingly low quality.

Play alternates between the tarantula and the scorpion, the former is by far the best one to play with. The scorpion is tough like a tank but the tarantula has all the best moves including a long range stealth attack, that once unlocked I could use all day. You really start to think like a spider and after you unlock walking upside down (this is how evolution works in real life) you pity the sad world that we live in with our limited plane of existence and our obligate floor walking.

The game turns even the most trivial of objects into vast beautiful levels including hedges and a truck. Scattered human paraphenalia in the early levels, a discarded shoe, a garden gnome really get your imagination firing and turn humble bushes and shrubberies into makeshift cathedrals and tombs all of which is supported by a subtle but rather splendid musical score. The stand-out level is the final one, a small gas station which gives you free roam of a whole building. Compared to the levels set in the desert, various bits of scenery stop you from clambering on all the surfaces very much channelling you along one set path. There's no word of a sequel but an entire game set in human dwellings would be great.

Lastly what makes the game stick in the memory is the story and the characters. You follow two personality-less arthropods through natural environments whilst over-hearing and occasionally passing by two guys on a schlocky treasure hunt in the desert. However, the environment and the physicality of the segmented protagonists complement each other so well that they feel more fleshed out and characterful than most human video game protagonists*. Occasionally the scorpion and spider cross paths and have a scuffle but I like the way the game gently eases you forward but without forcing a motivation onto the characters. The story sort of progresses around you but you leave the game (apart from the very last section with the scorpion) still feeling like the arachnids were just going about their business and that neither of them were secretly moral or heroic. Okay so mission information somewhat shatters the illusion but with a bit more tweaking this could have been cut out altogether, with the story progressing just as you crawl, webspin and pounce your way through the linear levels from start to finish. Spider gotta do what a spider gotta do. Its something you don't see a lot in video games and somewhat refreshing.

* Yes I am begging for a Wanky award with this sentence but I'm on my period so leave me alone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Make Tesco A More Credible Games Retailer

Sarah Kaye, buying manager for Tesco airs her ideas here.

Our ideas although we don't get paid for them like Sarah does would be to hire someone who knows about games, I'm sure that £3 piece of shit PC games, DS shovelware and Carnival Games have a strong retail record but visiting the games section in supermarkets makes us want to bring in a pack lunch and spend the whole day fending people away from the bad games.
"You don't want to buy this game it's free on the internet". "I don't give a shit if Dora is an explorer or not go and play Shadow of the Colossus".
Our second tip is to try to keep the games aisle looking more like a nice sensible place to find games rather than looking like downtown Baghdad following an earthquake all the fucking time. One to four of the 'WTF Ten' are the same game. Someone's put music CDs in the DS section and the Xbox games are stocked in reverse alphabetical order by game subtitle. The wii section is nothing but peripherals but none of the games that require them. You know all that shit they teach you about in effective retailing school.

Having said that though supermarkets after often bastions of the highly-sought-after-excellent-older-game-that's-out-of-print-and-woefully-under-priced. We picked up a mint non-platinum copy of Lego Star Wars 2 for £2. So I hope they don't ruin that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Giving up the...

Apologies to regular readers but here is yet another angry rant about game retailers in the UK. Fortunately, most have been driven to extinction by failing to see the writing on the wall over a decade ago when online mega retailers could beat the high street specialists in choice, price and service. PLUS the only convenience that high street retailers offer is immediacy. I can pick up a game there and then and be playing it that day in theory. However, as a concerned citizen it saddens me to see the decline of the high street retailer.

Last week I found myself with some extra money following my birthday and consulted 'the list'. Now, I'm an avid gamer. I've played thousands of games, own hundreds and write for three gaming blogs. However, I also have a fairly demanding job, a family, friends who I don't see half as much as I should, passions other than gaming and a hundred other little things that take up my time. Not only does this mean that those heady days and nights marathon sessions playing games are over but it may take months or even years to play through a game that lasts for about ten hours. I already own tens of games which remain unfinished so rather than hoover up every game that comes out I try to stick to a one in one out policy. I try to experience most of the content a game has to offer by at least 'beating it' rather than 100% it before I pick up another game. More often than not I'm picking up games months or years after they've launched so well outside the product cycles that dominate the industry and to keep track I keep a little list of the titles that I'm interested in for when I get chance to pick up a 'new' game. So top of my list on my shopping trip is Sin and Punishment 2. I loved the first one, the sequel received widespread praise and is one of the top games for the wii. I feel guilty not having played it yet having the testicular fortitude to cal myself a gamer. I also like to support the people who make games so I prefer to buy new rather than preowned. That's right I actively prefer to buy games new. Pre-owned games tend to have tatty manuals (if at all), missing materials (the maps in GTA for example), jam on the disc and cheat codes scrawled in human blood in the 'notes' section of the manual. So I was in town, cash in hand, I daresay I was skipping too and popped to the nearest GAME, list in hand but with a shiny copy of Sin and Punishment in my mind.
Not only could I not find a new copy of S&P I couldn't find any copies. The same for the rest of the list with the exception of Super Mario Galaxy 2 which, was too expensive for my budget anyway and a game that I'm sure will stay on shop shelves for years to come so I didn't find it neccessary to snap it up just yet. So here's my two primary beefs with the way that high street game retailers have got their market all wrong and hence why 3 of the 4 game shops within 5 miles of where I live have shut down in the last six months.

1)Gamers are Discerning. >I often wonder how surfing the net must be like for a non gamer. Rarely is there a google or google image search that doesn't bring back a hit on a gaming website on the first or second page. The internet is where gamers hang out and to a large extent we own it. There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of gaming sites and what are we all doing? Reviewing games, listing our favourites, pouring over hype for upcoming games, remembering older games, critiquing gender in games, or graphics, or stories, sharing memories, arguing over who would beat who in a fight, gaming online and maintaining background levels of casual racism and sexism. This indicates that as a mass we're pretty discerning putting the medium of games through its paces unlike any other media from amateur sites and forums through to some of the most popular sites on the whole of the web. So how does GAME build its business around such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience with a short but rich history? By organising their entire business around the games that came out last week. I'm sick of labouring this point but there's no support for older formats whatsoever or for games older than seven days. Not only does this mean that I walk out of the shop despite having good money to spend, it also means more casual gamers have a less than 50% chance or leaving the shop with a decent game if they don't read reviews. Want a decent game so you can brush the dust of your Wii? Well fuck, don't go to game. instead go to this page on metacritic then buy the games listed at the top there from amazon or play. You won't find many of those in store because they are old and we all know that games rot quicker than fruit. Have you tried playing a game made in 2008? Oh holy fuck, it's like going back to the stone age. They'll have a recent game, definitely but not necessarily decent. If GAME needed more evidence that gamers are discerning then they need look no further than their own pre-owned shelves. Row upon row of absolute shovelware and out of date sports games. Gamers hang on to the games they love leaving game stocking games that nobody wants.

2) Online Already Won. An absolute failure to respond to online retailing. GAME's own online store in no way competes with the likes of amazon, play or even ebay despite the fact that these sites started with very little support for gaming way back when. A counter strategy would have been to make the retailing experience second to none or at least have some support for the new customer with knowledgeable staff and shop layouts that draw customers to the games that they will enjoy. Instead most of the GAME stores I've been to have the charming air of a high school changing room and a pawn shop. That nonsense 'top ten' bollocks that doesn't seem to reflect quality or the sales charts. Very few of the staff seem to know about games at all and don't even seem self concious that they wouldn't even shop in the stores they work in.

So it's goodbye GAME from me I tried to support you but it's me bending over backwards to shop in your store rather than the other way around. I guess GAME and the like will sort of stick around as a throwback type place to have big launch events at (although the recent 3DS launch in London was at HMV, not a stone's throw from the flagship GAME store.....). The end of my story is that I went to CEX and picked up three of the games from my list which came to less than £20. Sure, they were preowned but I don't feel too bad when I can't find the fucking games new at my own convenience. If you have one nearby I recommend going, the choice is truly excellent and they have these crazy archaeological PS2 games you can buy too.

UPDATE: Edited for crappy mistakes.

Street Fighter vs Tekken vs REORC vs Frank West

Some really awesome and intreresting games lined up, and yes they are all Capcom, because we at are "Fapcom canboys"

First up

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City!

Or REORC as the online community is dubbing it. It's another outing in Raccoon during the timeline of Resident Evil 2 (yay) and 3 even Nemesis is stomping about trying to find his S.T.A.R.S. cookies. Its a 3rd person shooter with some GoW physics. Cover, blindfire etc. reserving judgement till more has been released.


Dead Rising : Off the record

It's the what if scenario, if it had been Frank West rather than Chuck Greene in Dead Rising 2, how would it have gone. Overweight middle aged Zombie wrestling it seems.


Street Fighter X Tekken

Some more details revealed about the fighting system, the huge character roster of "as many characters as we can humanly fit in", and a DinoCrisis Stage (another one for that other blog). Initially it just looks like Super Street Fighter IV but with some Tekken Characters, I'm doubtful that it will play differently... 

Love and Fapcom,

Richie X

Friday, April 08, 2011

Silent Hill, The Fighting Game

Ok the following is some rather impressive artwork!

This is Fucking BAD-ASS!!!! Maker it happen people!

Love and Red Pyramid things,

Richie X 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! Real journalism

Well kind of real news. Maybe.

Undercover Journalism

Overhead by a very loud SCEE marketing dude:

THE SONY NGP! UK price will be £129.99


Possibly, or that will be another PSP price drop.

There you have it, don't say we are not good to you, we'll let you know if we get a cease and desist letter.

Fingers Xed

Love and Mouthy Marketing,

Richie X

Dick and Shoes... 3 years later

Richie pointed me in the direction of this Wall Street Journal article (via a pretty piss poor editorial on the article at ripten).
Now we were all geared up for writing a rebuttal but actually we did that over three years ago.

Turns out that Kay Hymowitz has gone up in the world from turning trashy poorly researched diatribe on Dallasnews into a book called Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys. Sadly, she didn't really use the time for any rewrites or even to update the references. If she can't be bothered then neither can we so Kay if you are reading this here's our tops tips to you getting a clue:

1) Read Replay A History of Video Games by Tristan Donovan and you'll realise that your trendy mac which you use to google yourself on as is virtually every piece of software you use is a product of gaming. Surely the hypocrisy of you using these technologies to disseminate your moronic ideas isn't lost on you?

2) Three years ago we'd already won. Your touchstones and scapegoats are running a couple of generations behind it seems, including your own generation. But don't let these statistics get in the way of all those very convincing ones you've dug up.

3) Your rhetoric speaks volumes about your own awkwardness and social standing. The world no longer fits in with your misandry, sure it's romantic to be a Bridget Jones in your head but actually you're just adrift because the world no longer values you because you want to make a 1950s happy home and spend your free time contemplating dick and shoes. Sorry, just shoes. Unfair generalisations? Sure, but stop using the stereotypical gamer as shorthand crutch for your frustrations because you insult a lot of people far more intelligent and worldly than you and your chickumentary writing friends.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Scraping the barrel.

Ok so, we have all most likely seen the Awesome trailer of Kratos entering the Mortal Kombat Tournament.

However who is the 360 getting on their system?

Well rumours are *Spoilers* its... Green Lantern?

Now, ok, I get it... Green, Xbox has green lights, the Green Lantern Movie is on the horizon, he was in in the previous game Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.

But, c'mon, he doesn't really fit in with the Mortal Kombat Universe. He's not the goriest of the DCU characters and ugh... Never mind...

I give up. At least I'll have Sub-Zero to rip out his spine.

Love and Sexuality,

Richie X

Omastar Comics #30

The big 30. Who would have thought it? In this comic, SPOILERS Omastar uses surf. Click to embiggernate.

He could have used ancient power, blizzard or rainy day but he went with surf
Quicker than getting the bus I guess. That crazy fictional cephalopod. What will he think of next?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Person Will Mention a Game Somewhere Soon

We're all hyped here about rumours that somebody will sometime soon mention a game. But don't click away because were going to be generating over 1000 posts of absolute fluff that if you're lucky will reveal one or two new features of a game. If you are unlucky we'll just spoil the game bit by bit for you over the coming months until it releases, stays in the shops for six days until that next new thing comes along!

BREAKING!! Remember when we just brought you that breaking announcement about a possible game at some point in the future? Well anonymous sources have just confirmed that there will possibly be another game after that! Don't go anywhere and put up with our mid article advertisements as well as those poorly animated ones and the tit ones until we bring you the next article which pretty much says the same as this one but might have a screenshot. If we can be bothered we'll even try to crop out the IGN logo and post it within four hours of whoever publishes it first or failing that when Kuntaku post it.

SICK OF THIS SHIT? This is an excellent blog.


Finally it looks like Capcom are getting around to making the game we dreamed about waaaay back when just after our third visit to Raccoon and before that awful broken Outbreak business.

Still, it's a far cry from a GTA-Raccoon City that we imagined and since Outbreak the zombie game has been taken in all kinds of directions with Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil 4 and 5 and Dead Rising. From the looks of the above trailer they've gone for a PC FPS kind of vibe which we here at TGAM find thrilling for three rounds. Part of what made RE2 and 3 and even Outbreak so great was the sense of the city (before descending into underground laboratory madness). RE4 and RE5 really lost the sense of a location that used to be a living and working settlement. RE4 takes you through nonsensical shooting gallery locations after the first village and it's best if you don't think about the quite dull or ridiculous locales of RE5. Where would you head in a crisis? The hospital? The Town Hall? The Police Station? A Museum? The tales of unlucky citizens as told through the files you find laying around and the dismembered bodies slumped against walls really made Resident Evil 2 and 3 compelling. The end of the trailer above hints at some narrative here's hoping it'll be more than just lip service to the dozen or so known survivors running around the city at the same time.

Our interest is piqued but hopefully this game will be more than senseless running and gunning in familiar terrain.

UPDATE. We know the video is big but it's only blocking the links. When was the last time you looked over there anyway.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Pokemon Black & White and the failure of imagination

We've been putting a lot of time into Pokemon Black and White. One of the best new(ish) features of the game is that now it is easier than ever to play online. All of the online bits from before are bundled in the new games almost to the point of inundation. Not all of the online functionality is up and running yet but there's still lots to do with the Global trade service the doesn't really work GTS negotiate, random WFC battle match-ups and the Wi-Fi battle subway. Problem is that most players seem to be lacking in imagination and if you spend the slightest bit of time online you'll end up seeing a lot of the same pokemon over and over again. For example, expect to battle endless Hydregion and Volcarono.Not only does this make the game very boring but now that there's more pokemon than ever it would be nice to see some teams that were mixing it up a bit. Yeah sure, picking the pokemon with better than average base stats lets you win easier but we could all be pricks and use the same four. That wouldn't be boring at all.

Having spent some time with the community, unfortunately IRL too, I know they aren't a very imaginative lot so here's some top team suggestions to make online play a little bit more interesting for everyone.

TEAM NAME: Battletoads Suggested Members: Seismitoad, Toxicroak, Politoed and possibly one of the earlier evolutions holding eviolite.
Flavour text: You were probably too young to remember battle toads. It was tough.

TEAM NAME: Performing ArtsholesSuggested Members: All those performance arty types, possibly a singing jigglypuff or jynx for that operatic vibe.
Flavour text: ART ATTACK! Cut funding to this!

TEAM NAME: Street Fighters Suggested Members:Throh or Sawk depending on which kind of boring and generic Ken/Ryu you like best. E-hariyama, Mazanggief and Himonsim.
Flavour text: Fuck. Psychic Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

TEAM NAME: Flower Power/ They're all the same and rubbishSuggested Members: All those pathetic grass types. Grass and poison optional if you want to mix it up a bit.
Flavour text: You can call me flower if you want to! Slightly reworking the same old sprites since Gen 2! Green (and yellow and red) and mean!

TEAM NAME: Toon SquadSuggested Members Possibly chatot bit too much of a stretch? Grumpig? A pikachu with speed ev'd?
Flavour text: That's All Folks!

That's all we've got time for folks but don't forget the heroes in a half shell either. And please for the love of god try to make life a little bit more exciting. We can all level up Hydregion don't cha know?

Friday, April 01, 2011

OMG! With Peaches Geldof and Gaming

For reasons not entirely clear to me I was in the unfortunate position of watching OMG! With Peaches Geldof, Peaches Geldof's foray into the world of chat show TV which was not only destined to be canned as it rightly has been rumoured but is as awful as any sane person would imagine it to be.

Amongst other vapid non-issues which the do-nothing, Fergie(the former Royal not that woman from Third Rock From The Sun who now sings with the Black Eyed Peas)'s-offspring-look-alike tackled in the latest show was gaming addiction. Tackled, show and fuck it every word in that sentence should have " " around it. Refreshingly, and part of the reason why I fought off the urge to smash the remote into my face until either the TV went off or I went blind and deaf, a lady gamer was invited onto the show to talk about her gaming addiction.

The gamer whose name I forget was pitted against a guy, who represents the stereotype for internet gamers, in a couple of rounds of Left for Dead 2. Guyliner-needs-a-wash was resoundly trumped and then almost proved gerbil-cheeked (ITS NOT FUNNY HER MUM IS DEAD YOU GUYS) Tinned Pineapples preformed opinions completely correct by seemingly forgetting that he wasn't in the internet but on a TV talk show by stating that "The game sucked anyway and that girls should stick to kitchen games". Good job asshole. Epic win for gamerkind.

Then because even bored fridges manage to turn away from a show fronted by Scientologist and 'celebutante' Geldof, a bunch of equally vapid nonebrities that make up her 'friends' offer up helpful advice. Psychologist Emma Kenny from nowhere pulls out that basically all gamers are obese and lazy and everyone agrees they need to get a life. That bloke from the radio and that hairdressing show then identified a fetish for people who like to dress up as furniture by groping a bowl of fruit glued to a table cloth on a man's back.

Why am I surprised? What was I expecting? Perhaps an in-depth look at the hideous gender based abuse in online games? The general misogyny around gaming? The stigma that girls can't match guys at games? The acknowledgement that we wouldn't have Microsoft or Apple without the gaming revolution (Peaches definitely uses a mac because she's 'creative' and can't be seen dicking around on the internet or tweeting on a PC)? The highlighting of the creative community of gamers that rule the internet? The fact that the guys at Penny Arcade and hundreds of others raise millions of dollars a year for charity through a shared love of gaming? Anything actually relating to game addiction? The merits of games like Foldit over perhaps the merits of giving a jobless talentless alleged shoplifter twat her own show and then presumably firing any producer who dares suggest that actually this is a really shit idea for a TV show?

I guess I was willing that I'd be surprised, turns out Geldof and friends occupy that special TV niche of being as vapidly stupid as they are stupidly vapid. Who thought that a show with two pricks and a cunt could be so dull? But it is a special show that bases its very existence around how Geldof sees the world rather than how the actual world works. The one upside to this is that we won't have to see pictures of her champion fly-caching mug on the next red carpet video game launch or awards ceremony.