Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NEW CRUSH

Sharla who? Yes in the second of the Operation Rainfall titles we've been playing through we think that our crush on elastatits has been completely replaced by our love of the heavy-drinking, fun loving, foul-mouthed Syrenne of The Last Story. Plus she's disabled*! A strong, disabled female video game character who puts the typical JRPG male protagonist to shame.  

*She has a Northern accent.

Monday, December 10, 2012

X Factor Final and Games?

Making what passes for 'news' today is the story that the X-Factor final last week had the lowest viewer figures since 2006. Why might this be? Well we can speculate. People may be tired of the format, people may have better things to do on a Saturday night. TV may need to reexamine the way it judges the success of failure of shows because with so many ways to catch up online, on mobiles or through set top boxes that allow pre-recording. The notion of having to be sat at home to watch something at a fixed time (complete with annoying ads) is probably alien to people of the generations after mine. They may have just found the contestants boring or figured that it wasn't really a contest anymore given that the finalists comprise an uncharismatic Liverpudlian, an uncharismatic shy guy (not that kind) who insists on having a haircut that makes him instantly unlikeable and the one who can actually sing and seems a bit interesting.

These all sound like possible causes for the viewing slump. But it would be odd indeed if Syco execs blamed the drop in viewing figures on the fact that people are bored of HD TV and are waiting for the next best thing in television (suffice to say it wasn't and isn't 3D). That would be weird right?

Yet when it comes to games that seems to be a plausible excuse that developers, publishers and so called journalists are given soap box time to whinge about. Here's Ubisoft bitching about it, here's some 1UP (urgh) idiot going on about it. There are others and weirder still those morons at GAME are blaming the fall of their empire on the fact that a new generation is needed. And because there is a section of the gaming community that struggles to think for themselves there's no shortage of forumite shit eaters parsing what they read from the blogs and websites. It's brilliant. They prefer to unnecessarily shell out, no they beg for console makers to give them the chance to shell out, for what promises to be the next best thing rather than be a bit discerning. Or stop lying. "I'm bored of this generation" makes as much sense as "I'm bored of paperback books". You can't possibly have tried everything there's too many games of at least half decent quality out there. Plus there's a gazillion older games. And get a fucking PC already.

Now, there needs to be some clarification here. Individual games aren't comparable to television shows or for that matter films, works of art and other media that people consume. What's better, Fade to Black or Tremors is a stupid question. However, the accessibility and way that media is consumed and delivered is important.

Marketing. Boring. I've written enough here about marketing and games. All I'm going to say is that there's a reason why 6 year old Mario Kart Wii still pops up on the retail charts. It was supported (and still is?) by a huge marketing campaign, the boxart is clear what the game involves, it is from a trusted company and every game store stocks it still. An interesting aside, it also still retails for near full price even where I've seen it pre-owned. Could this result in more sales? Ask the makers of Deus-Ex Human Revolution how a 75% price cut in HMV six weeks after release helped their sales.

What I'm saying here is that people turn away from shitty boring television shows and they get cancelled. But when shitty and boring games don't fly off the shelves game execs can't seem to find fault with themselves. Even considering that games are nowhere near as accessible as other forms of media. To watch film and TV you need a TV, eyes and an arse. To read a book you need eyes and light. To play games you need a machine that's compatible with the game you want to play, a television/monitor that's compatible with the machine you want to play (have fun trying to play light gun games on HD TVs), probably some patches (PCification of consoles was a good thing right), updates, a mix of controllers (£40 each for more than one), an internet connection, a knowledge of conventions in game controls (why is R1 fire? why is start pause/menu screen? this stuff is apparent to you and I, to most it is alien) and a dozen different kinds of cables for the best experience. This doesn't preclude the game you bought being utter shite though so you have to wade through the faeces that is the ludosphere on the internet to find a site that might actually help you decide which game is the best for your machine of choice (oh look at that, something 90% of gaming sites are ill equipped to do, Co-Optimus is one exception and possibly metacritic but I don't think it is that well known outside of the hardcore gamers).

But yeah, we need a new generation before developers will start making some good games. In the meantime they are committed to churning out the same old guff and not marketing it it seems.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The future is now: Sponsored by [advertisement]

So here it is then, the future: long gone are the days of plugging your console into your TV, long gone are coaxial cables, even scrabbling to put the SCART in, whilst trying to trace the input with your finger to make sure it's the right way up, is slowly becoming something you will wistfully retell to your grandkids. Nowadays everyone has a digital device and can "game" on anything. We have finally come to a point where these devices have higher quality games, no less than a few years ago colour mobile devices were playing glorified Commodore64 games using your 2,4,6,8 keys as a joystick.  Now we have easily PS1/PS2 quality games on the bog standard SMART phones, in no time at all its going to be the same tech everywhere expanding/improving at the same rates. As someone who has lived through the advent of home gaming, through generations of consoles, I can consider this a kind of golden age of gaming... Its everywhere!

Yeah its fucking everywhere and sponsored by fucking ads!

The horrible many phallus-fingered beast known as media marketing has caressed, fondled and penetrated its way into our gaming lives. What started as humble forking over of cash for games sprawled into generating continuous income through, monthly payments, bastardised into micro-transactions and the obvious advent of "free"-to-play. I fucking hate adverts, even on the television I resent being show some biased self funded lies to promote filth. Now every device has some way of promoting a product to you, any downloaded has some blatant advertising banner that is there for you to accidentally tap on. The worst product of this is click-to-play an unethical heartless use of your time, you get credits or get reduced fees for games/apps through purposely fulfilling "promotions" or clicking on ads. Greed is the basic incentive here, it's not targeted to benefit you directly unless it is genuinely a product you care for and 9 times out of 10 you dont you just want the game/app.

In-game advertising is a different beast, blockbuster games sponsored by products is a more solid and understandable rape, less subtle and molest-y. "Here is our massive cock product, lets ram it down your neck-hole". You know you can almost respect that...

I think I'm just pissed at all these ads that are forced into, and on top of games, they are so invasive, and the developers are aware of that that in many cases they give you the option to "pay" to get rid of them; I miss the humble "demo". The worst part these ads are actually penetrating all orifices, You see the same ones, on webpages, on kindles, on all platforms. The internet media marketing monster has its slimy tentacles nestled all over, and we have to live with it. I think we ruined it guys, time to make web 2.0... Oh wait...

Love and coke/pepsi/webcasino/chocolate philadelphia/mars/marks and spencer/wonga/giffgaff/charitywithhorriblepicture,

Richie X

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Guardian School of News Reporting

We're... urgh... digital natives and we're now of the generation where mainstream media journalists don't really represent us. They's falling over themselves to appear trendy and more than a little obsessed with Twitter. Last week we read a fascinating story in the Evening Standard about Z-Celebrities reactions to Z list Celebrities leaving Celebrity reality shows for 'medical reasons'. This was whole page. This is loser generated content at it's worst and for those of us who grew up on the mean streets of long forgotten forums and who cut our teeth trolling wicca websites the constant obsession with who said what onTwitter and the sheer laziness and naivety of reporting drives us insane. Richard Bacon's answer to the problems of Trolling (pronounced Trollllling not trole-ing apparently) is to make everyone's profile with their real name and photo.  yeah, because RealID worked out really well.

Anywho. Who are we to complain? We're just the little voice of the internet. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here be the news.

Technology
This week's top tech stories including Clanwarz Timesplitters 3 server, Gamasutra's golden rules for indies and Wired blowing their own horn as usual. Plus what does one half of videogaiden have to say about the next trend in tech?

 

Gossip
Nicholas Lovell pulls a 'Bercow', Ubisoft are up in arms about how killer franchises The Hip Hop Dance Experience and The Expendibles 2: The Video Game aren't topping the charts, Xbox magazine shows off it's journalism chops and why award winning Eurogamer may win a Pulitzer.


Literature
The microfanfic phenomenon continues apace. 
 Science/Environment
  What has the Mars rover discovered recently?
Horoscopes
Which lucky celeb gets their fortunes told this week?

See how fucking infuriating it is?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Formula Zero Grand Xix

Who wants a review of a nine year old game? Who DOESN'T want a review of a nine year old game more like? Yes Wii U is almost upon us and all those retarded journos, the morons who run GAME and those ridiculous early adopters won't stop bloody going on about it. However, much like the 3DS it feels like a series of reruns. There's genuinely nothing original on the platform bar Nintendoland but I can tell you now that 90% of Wii U games won't pick up on the brilliant idea of hiding information on the game pad or asymmetric gameplay. 

It'll be like motion controls all over again. Everyone and their dog will make platformers where poor old player 5 (the mum character in the current TV spots) jabs the screen to create platforms and generally has far less fun than a quick spot of rub the man in the boat. 

 But fuck new games. I'm still catching up with the Gamecube releases. I distrust those pricks online who claim to be 'bored' by a console (normally the Wii, which by the way is permanently gathering dust. Who needs to hoover when you've got a Wii permanently sucking up dust because consumers don't know how to look for and buy good games that aren't shootan games?) there's hundreds of thousands of hours to be played on virtually every console and even if you were dipping, playing just enough to make your mind up about it, I refuse to believe that you've done that for a proportion of the semi-decent games. More often than not, you've been bored by a game that's flayed, dissected, promoed and previewed to death on one of those awful sites so by the time it eventual dribbles out you feel like you know it. But hey, that's how online marketing works. Playing and discarding games before they've come out in your territory so you don't have to. Boy this prelude bit is going on a bit isn't it? Take ZombiU for example. This is where I pretend I played the original because I'm a games waaaaaaaankar. I was only mildly interested in it to start off with because it seemed to me to be abundantly clear that all those 'trailers' and those shorts set in some trendy good looking guy's spacious flat, you know the ones where they have a proper haircut and a nice leather lazyboy, were not reflective of the final game. Thankfully, due to the excessive humping of previews my interest has gone from 'limp twitching' to 'back inside my body cavity'. For me, the distinctly average reviews were akin to a sex change. This metaphor has gone too far. 

 In other news, I will get on to talking about F Zero GX soon I promise, my local GAME. The place that inspired me to write this short play has seem to have forgotten that the Wii exists and that WiiU is backwards compatible and as a consequence has all but gotten rid of its Wii section (you can buy Mario & Sonic and Zumba fitness new, some tea stained Mario Kart Wii games make up the only actually playable games in the preowned section). So right now, today, you can go into GAME and look at the boxes for WiiU games. That's sure to placate the 42000 million Wii owners who still only have Wii Sports and Carnival Games. Way to steer them towards an attach rate higher than 2, guys. Good old GAME. I literally cannot wait until GAME goes under again. I have a 2011 Nintendo calendar I got free from ONM and on every day I've written GAME closed? At the end of the day when GAME hasn't closed down I cross off the day and move closer to God because GAME not closing is a modern day miracle. I could go outside right now, set up a stall out of cardboard boxes and sell my old PlayStation games, just the duplicates which amounts to a copy of Die Hard Trilogy, WWF (Pandas) Smackdown vs Raw 2 and two copies of Speed Freaks, and genuinely enter into competition with GAME. If I tweeted about it, the CEO of GAME might catch wind of the scheme, come over to my stall and try to sue because I had a monopoly on the high street game retail sector. 

Anyway. I'm still caching up with the ol' Gamecube releases I never got around to all those years ago. I've got Baten Kaitos Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, Skies of Arcadia some fucking subtitle, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2 and F Zero GX taunting me from the shelves. I've not touched Baten Kaitos. Skies is old skool RPG in that I've played it for about three hours and I think I've made less than ten buttons presses. Metroid Prime is so good I don't want to play it because then I'll play it and beat it and then I'll be sad that it is all gone and done and I know I won't play it again and so the next time it will be touched is when the guy from the council come into my flat to clean up my remains which slumped in the lounge for three years before anyone noticed I'd died and chucks it in a bin bag to give to Oxfam. I can't play Metroid Prime 2 until I finish Metroid Prime obviously. F Zero GX however....

Is soooo hard. It doesn't help that I'm visibly physically deteriorating with early onset middle age but it is ball achingly hard. I'm currently on Chapter 4 of the story which I had to buy from the fucking in-game shop with tickets that I had to earn by coming somewhere respectable in the Grand Prix races. Which, by the way are also fucking hard. I only took a year of on/off trying to beat Chapter 3 and even then I fluked it. I enjoy games being hard. I'm not that prick off the internet though who won't even look at a game's box art if it isn't as hard as those old arcade games that were designed to be hard so you'd pump all you cash into them. But at my time of life spending my precious gaming time doing the same fucking level over and over again and failing miserably isn't the most productive use of my time. I'm reading Reality is Broken at the moment because I'm a book waaaaaaankar and all the cool stuff that Jane McGonigal goes on about is moot because my gaming life for the last year is failing that one fucking mission over and over and over. It isn't even consistent either. Here's how my last series of playthroughs went. I came 8th then I came 20th, then I got retired, which the announcer pronounces retard, then I came 5th, then I came 12th, then retard, then retard, then retard, then I came 2nd (close), then I came 12th, then I came 11th, then I came 6th, then I came 9th, then retard, then 8th, then 5th, then retard, then 4th, then 11th, then retard. And then finally I came first and the tiny little burst of endorphins in no way made up for the tens of hours I'd spent getting it wrong. Then I bough Chapter 4. CHAPTER 4. How many chapters are there? I hope that there's 6 Chapters to be honest. I just want to get it off my Backloggery and move on. 

9/10

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We heard something about someone but we're too afraid to write about it on the Internet

Fortunately, Alcamoth Citizen our journalist from Xenoblade Chronicles is in a place where the press can't touch her. She truly has freedom of speech. So Alcamoth Citizen, lay it on us. What's the haps?
I think that that says it all. I hope we haven't implicated anyone directly or indirectly with this post....

Monday, November 05, 2012

The snake eating its own tail

So despite GAME disappearing, our local store has curiously reopened (so that's why the lights were on 24/7 for the whole six months it was closed). A couple of weeks ago my better half was away for a few days so I conspired to waste my money on a game and revel in it until she returned. I could hide the game in the cupboard of things I have to keep in storage because they give out the wrong message to visitors when they visit the house tm. Despite giving up on GAME numerous times I was on a time sensitive mission. I needed a silly game, it had only just come out and I couldn't wait for online delivery.

On an unrelated note here is a play I just penned called Some Things Never Change

Some Things Never Change
By Cunzy1 1


A HANDSOME MAN who looks very well hung and charasmatic and could pass for early-mid twenties walks into a GAME store. He wanders around the store with intent and eventually queues up for the till whilst a MORON is trading in 50 copies of Fifa to a GAME WORKER. GAME WORKER 2 is busy stocking the display case behind the counter with about 100 copies of Fifa 2013 for all formats.

MORON: When is the new Pro-Evo out?
GAME WORKER: Pro-evo? No mate you want Fifa it's much better

GAME WORKER 2 stops stacking copies of Fifa 2013, ignores the queue of six people and joins the conversation.

GAME WORKER 2: No Pro evo is by far better.
GAME WORKER: Better than Fifa? No way. Pro evo is the bomb. I mean Fifa is the bomb. See what happens when I work with this guy?
MORON: Nah man, Pro evo is better.

The HANDSOME MAN rolls his eyes and leave the queue and continues to search the store. Once MORON and all the other people in the store leave he approaches the counter once again.

HANDSOME MAN (sweating profusely): Hey umm dude do you have that crazy Pokemon typing game?
GAME WORKER 2: Pokemon typing game?
HANDSOME MAN: Yeah it came out last Friday.
GAME WORKER 2: Typing game?
HANDSOME MAN: Yeah came out last week. Comes bundled with a bluetooth keyboard. Plays like Typing of the Dead?
GAME WORKER 2: Typing game?
HANDSOME MAN: Yeah out last week.
GAME WORKER 2: Pokemon Conquest?
HANDSOME MAN: No.
GAME WORKER 2: Pokemon Black and White 2?
HANDSOME MAN: No that isn't out yet.
GAME WORKER 2: Let me check.

GAME WORKER 2 then goes out to the room in the back, unzips his flies and holds his penis for ten minutes. He then comes back out.

GAME WORKER 2: No sorry it must not be out yet.
HANDSOME MAN: It came out last Friday?
GAME WORKER 2: No.

We now enter the mind of HANDSOME MAN

HANDSOME MAN: So despite the fact that this store recently closed and has now reopened you aren't stocking a spin off game for one of the most popular if not the most popular game franchise of all time 3 days after it launched? Not only that but you have literally no idea it exists. Are you hopeful for the fate of the reopened store given that the Oxford Street flagship store recently closed down and presumably that got a significantly higher footfall than this somewhat satellite store? Is this how the chain is to be saved simply by overstocking Fifa games every year? Because I recall that strategy being tried before and not really working. Well I imagine Amazon must be quaking in their boots as consumers flock from the range and value of their video game retail section to the almost pointless and somewhat redundant brick and mortar shop that offers neither competitive pricing, convenience or stock to the gamer who doesn't want to play Halo and Fifa then. Well bloody done.

We now leave the mind of HANDSOME MAN

HANDSOME MAN: Weird. Can I just buy this then?

HANDSOME MAN puts a copy of Alan Carr's stop smoking game for the DS on the counter. It is priced 99p but GAME WORKER 2 only asks for 98p. HANDSOME MAN pays and leaves the store sweating so profusely that he glistens .

THE END





Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mists of Pokemon

Sexeh bikini warrior
So Warcraft decided to put Pokemon in their latest expansion but is it any good? Well sort answer is no, but there are some plus points to it. Mainly it shows Pokemon could be an MMO of sorts, but it also uses some nice graphics to do it. It actually puts the old Pokemon stadiums to shame because the pets actually interact with each other during attacks, as opposed to the shoddy cutscene of an attack being done, then cut to attacked Pokemon flinching in pain.

But there are many, many issues with the "Pet battles" within the WoW interface. The biggest and most annoying one, it is buggy as hell:

  • There was several times when playing through my character would be facing the wrong way, sure its just an aesthetic thing but, cmon...
  • Its cheaty! now I read this may have been fixed now, but apparently there was something wrong with the RNG with pet battles, I found that the AI was able to dodge attacks way more than I did, making it frustrating to beat the gym leaders. 
  • Some of the achievements were unobtainable, being unable to challenge certain gym leaders because they were opposite factions.
  • The part that most annoyed me about pet battles is the attacks. With Wow the pokemons get three moves, but they lack any strategy/synergy with each other, essentially you use moves that provide the best from a a Paper/Scissors/Rock scenario and that is fine, I have been doing that for nearly 15 years now, however there is no strategy, no setting up, no buffs that are really worthwhile, healing moves tend to cause more trouble than they are worth, scaling badly with levels.

There are several other issues I had such as the later levels being a bit grindy but, its WoW so i cant really make that claim without a whole domino effect regarding the whole game! I also feel that the pet battles were designed to be just different enough not to be sued by Nintendo, which cheapened it for me. But what bothered me was all these bugs and issues were still not caught in the months it was on the PTR, and were launched live.

NB: On another note I'd like to say I called this! Years ago I called that WoW was moving to becoming a Platform rather than a game, a glorified/interactive version of the steam store, it will happen people we can see them testing it out with the inclusion of Plants vs Zombies, Farmville, and Pokemon. Soon you will be guiding your pretty looking level 100 to throw angry dragons at a stack of green boars. Mark my words!!!

Love and WoW conspiracies,

Richie X

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

PICTURE US NAKED

PICTURE US NAKED SMOKING CIGARS AND QUOFFING. Just quoffing in general. 

What is the reason for such unspecified quoffing and cigars you may ask? Well it's the fall of Zynga, Cheryl.

This is an announcement about us "telling you so" and laughing at all those game designer people, who like schoolboys playing schoolboy football at school neglecting long term tactics or planning and just chasing the ball which is a metaphor for what's shiny, new and profitable for one company but not the fourteen thousand smaller ones that set themselves up to just copy someone else's success.

This is now us actually telling you so and laughing at all those game designer people, who like schoolboys playing schoolboy football at school neglecting long term tactics or planning and just chasing the ball which is a metaphor for what's shiny, new and profitable for one company but not the fourteen thousand smaller ones that set themselves up to just copy someone else's success. Okay so we didn't tell Zynga so and we probably didn't even write a post about it but we distinctly remember being slightly worried after one of those wanky navel gazing conferences (GDC? E3? Something like that) where all the wormtongue pseudoacademics and green starry eyed gaming entrepeneurs jumped on the social networking gaming bandwagon insidiously declaring console gaming, PC gaming and probably some other forms of gaming as dead. Long live Cow Clickers and the like!

Well in your face. Here's to all those morons who tried to get on this bandwagon and probably failed. Here's to their total lack of business plan (a napkin with Clone a popular gemm + soshiul network = mega profits isn't a business plan). Here's to all those awful clones and other stupid non games destined to never be played down on page 2415 of the virtual game store. Look likes the bubble burst and you're left standing then with nothing but your balls in your hand(s) and the design docs for "hot" new IP FTP Mad Avians or whatnot clenched betwixt butt cheeks. Here's to all the promising young game designers who took a risk to join your silly little companies and are now probably going to be without a job. Well done everyone. Well done.

THE BIT WHERE WE PREDICT THE NEXT TREND IN GAMING TO COLLAPSE SOON AFTER IT IS ANNOUNCED AS "THE FUTURE":

-  All those mobile gaming companies
- All those minecraft clones
- Sci-fi shootan games
- Kickstarter games

More cigars Cheryl! More cigars!

Monday, October 15, 2012

We PlaYed All ThE NeW Gems

Hey. We've been super busy playing all the new gems out. We bundled them up into this super review right here;

6/10

That's it really. Everything is good enough to function (barely) but there's nothing to set your balls on fire and send us with a G-con in one hand and a prima guide in the other to evangelise about our former hobby. Maybe we've hit the 'magical age', the ludopause, where we realise that actually games are all a little bit silly and most seemed to be aimed at angry American 11 year olds who think shootan' and blood and gore are cool and pretty much the be all and end all of all media. Well media that can be considered acceptable to lie about having played in the playground. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

New GAME will feature the best of Gamestation

MCV has the news y'all. I'm so excited about this. Here's the best of Gamestation:

  • 200 Mint copies of FIFA 2001
  • A NES without any games, cables or controllers.
  • Two G-Cons (not compatible with modern TVs).
  • A copy of Halo 3 without the instruction booklet or sleeve.
  • The Resident Evil trilogy. The films. The second third and fourth ones anyway.
Well this'll get GAME back into the market.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Omastar Comics #34

As previously promised here she blows. This Omastar comic was filmed at 25 panels per second to give it that "episode of Doctor Who feel" so it looks like a school nativity production, filmed by someone's Dad. Someone's Dad who is overcaffeinated and has Parkinson's disease. The way that Omastar Comics were supposed to be seen but up until now the technology didn't exist to bring you this artistic vision. 

 In this episode, an Internet first using this new technology, nothing really happens. in fact previous Omastar Comics have been much better than this one. However, the technology used to create this one is newer so therefore this is better than others despite the story and pacing being weaker, the general lack of dialogue, the glaring plot holes and the bit between panel 5 and 6 which just doesn't make sense. Critics are calling it the summer blockbuster comic and already this comic has made $140000000 in pre-orders and merchandising alone.

OC aficionados may have noticed that Comic 34 introduces the new wide bottom border. This is so you can print it out in preparation for a long car ride and make notes about the comic, draw faces or play noughts and crosses on the bottom. Don't say we never give you nothing because that means we give you something which we don't.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Uh oh, new level of porn achieved!

Just how long before the porn industry gets ahold of this technology




Love and dear god what am I printing,

Richie X

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More on Windows 8



A wee while ago we talked about Windows 8, the new PC OS from Microsoft. Now Mr Steam-Valve himself has spoken out about it. Mr Newell doesn't seem to like it, calling it a "Catastrophe" and potentially pegging Linux as a new platform for steam. Frankly it seems he is just scared to back Microsoft on this one, you know the major player in PC operating systems...
Thatguys says: Windows 8 is not a bad platform, yes the schizophrenic nature of the metro interface and the desktop is a bit weird, and in the 10 months we have been using it we find ourselves ignoring the metro start-up screen and just going straight to the Desktop. "Why bother?" you say? Well, its faster straight up the loading time of windows is reduced immensely, and (we assume) the whole environment is more lightweight as games are actually faster and most importantly everything works. Windows 8 is essentially a faster, more stable (even in beta) version of Windows 7 so all those peripherals and programs work, and work slightly better, all within the same comfortable environment. I'm sure on release there will be an option to ignore Metro entirely leaving a better platform than Windows 7 with full back compatibility. Leave Metro to the Touch screen interfaces.
Mr Newell's reaction is probably based on his woes and worries about Digital Convergence, with so many new platforms and devices being able to "play" games. Most developers are paranoid about the next big platform, and so they should be, Steam themselves missed the boat and didnt get on iOS quick enough. However removing Desktop/Laptop devices from the equation, given their staple large niche is silly, it's too soon to be worrying about sensors projecting iPhones onto the back of your retina. The Desktops and Laptops are still producing more graphical and CPU power. And they likely will stay that way, and given that you are getting more raw power-per-pound, is likely to be more accessible to the masses for quite a few years to come.

Love and please do not say fuck or bugger,

Richie X

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ouya a name to rival the Wii in Stupidity?

So all of you out there in internetland are probably dying to know what TGAM think about the Ouya.

2/10 - More effort needed. A glorified PC gimped with Android.

Well, we have talked about Digital Convergence before, and this could be interpreted as an inevitable step or perhaps even a step backwards. Its essentially a little PC that plugs into your TV, it'll run Android (i.e. Linux) and let you play Android games. Granted this gives you a new platform to play Android games, but is it even worth it? 99% of Android games cant even compare to iOS graphics and playability, and yet the ability to play iOS games on a TV or Desktop is just there, no hype, no random internet folks paying 5 million for it either.

Oh yeah and PCs thy plug into your TV they have an infinitely larger back catalogue and you know... fuck it you can emulate most generations too (or indeed, if you are that way inclined, play certain android games from within the chrome browser)

There needs to be more to get us excited about this "platform".

Love and Ounah, more like,

Richie X

Friday, July 13, 2012

Comic-Con again

The Comic-con, the platform for all the announcement about films, games, media, and apparently comic books is upon us yet again. Its time for the socially inept to don their steampunk bugs bunny body suits and get involved in some hype.


So far it's all been Twilight and Expendables news. However there is one film that is piquing our interest, exposing our tip, jangling our change, giving us that special feeling, that good hurt, stirring up some violent repression...




Wreck-it Ralph. Disneys take on computer games. Ralph is the main bad guy in a fictional retro game, seeking redemption to be the good guy. As can be see from the trailer it features some cameos from Street Fighter and Nintendo. Spanky. 


TGAM will keep out special eye on this one, not that we like Disney or anything...


Love and Hakuna Matatas,


Richie X

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why is sqeenix missing the Shinra Cargo ship?

More chatter about the Final Fantasy VII re-release. A few days ago some intrepids spotted squeenix had written a menu for what seemed like a FF7 remake, this however turned out to be simply a re-release, most likely a digital download for iPad or the like


Now a few months back I mentioned bootleg from qhimm.com, it simply takes your original install of FF7 and updates music, graphics to make it much prettier to play (also you can add silly, but well thought out, mods like Aeris resurrection). Squeenix say: Optimized for PC – FINAL FANTASY VII has been updated to support the latest hardware and Windows Operating Systems. But will it be prettier, like will they optimise it for widescreen? will the models be updated? will it still have the terrible midi music when it can be replaced so easily with MP3s? That's the information, for some reason, I care about.
Meh, I bet it doesn't. But then I suppose there is always the argument that it wouldn't be a "pure" re-release.
It was great fun to replay when I did, what I will say is, when it came to Chocobo breeding it was nowhere nearly as bad as I remembered, don't dread it.

Love and Midi samples,

Richie X

Monday, July 09, 2012

More Dragonball Announced

So yeah a "collection" of the older PS2 Dragonball Z games is due out for 360 and PS3, HDified. This collection has Budokai and Budokai 3. Budokai 2 was missed out entirely, mainly because it had a stupid story mode which involved a board game interface. The first Budokai was not brilliant and seems to be a token in this "collection".

However we should all be excited about Budokai 3. It include a huge roster of characters a lot of nods in the fans directions, and better game play than the 360/PS3 successors, "Raging Blast". Raging Blast attempted to inappropriately touch fans of the series and keep it a special secret, it stripped down the number of characters, which honestly felt like they were doing it to: a) Make DLC for monies b) Make way for a slurry of sequels which died with Raging blast 2 and its lack of any real additions. Most disappointing Raging blast was less fun to play.


Interestingly enough, did you know that DBZ:TB3 (yes that is the full acronym) is one of the most emulated PS2 games, most of the PS2 emulation community use this as a standard, something to do with graphics pipelines and console architecture. Yeah there you go, little factlet for the day, go home and tell your Grandmother.


Note: Actually who is this targetted at? I mean this game game out five years ago and was already 5 years after DBZ had finished being shown. Is there a new generation of Dragonball fankids?


Love and Kamehamehas,

Richie X

Sunday, July 08, 2012

TGAM went outside.

And we went to the V&A (AKA Victoria and Albert Museum). After shyly looking away when we thought some girl looked at us whilst we were trading Pokemon with ourselves on the train, we paid our &13.50 to see the British design exhibition. The exhibit is littered with some really kitschy examples of British design, from simple things like the font used on Road Signs, to Ziggy Stardust outfit.

But the exceptional part was the brief Computer games section... Exceptional may be a tad over-selling it. The fact there was a Computer games section which was pretty much mind blowing in itself. There were no descriptions is was just a darkened room with the following:

Elite: This was being projected on a wall showing some of the battle scenes. Elite is an important game as, even though it's nearly 20 years old, it set a standard for CCP's space trading MMO: EVE Online. In fact if you strip away the overzealous graphics and the recently tacked-on interior stuff, it's the same game. Elite was designed by Acornsoft, a Cambridge based company.



Lemmings: This display was quite cool, it was a selection of square LED lights re-creating and animating the different lemmings. Lemmings was created way back in those heady days of the early 90's where everyone was taking Ecstasy and dancing to Haddaway. It was actually created by DMA Designs, which later turned into Rockstar north. You can also play it here.

Speaking of Rockstar:
GTA: San Andreas: The display consisted of some CRT TVs with rolling footage of GTA San Andreas. Why San Andreas? Why Rolling footage? Why CRT?
Who knows. San Andreas was blatantly there as Rockstar North are British...




wipEout: This display again consisted of about six CRTs with rolling footage of some of the races. wipEout was created by Psygnosis now Sony Computer Entertainment based in Liverpool. The display was odd Some TVs on one wall and some kind of opposite.


Tomb Raider: This was again an odd display, it consisted of 3x3 CRTs the Left 3 vertical ones showed normal running footage of '96 version, the middle 3 showed the '06 Legend version, and the right 3 TVs showed some trailer footage of the new one. I guess it shows how much she has changed but why on vertical stacked displays? Meh. The original concept for Tomb raider was created by Core Design, in Derby. 


LBP: Well lastly there was Little Big Planet, and well, it was the most obnoxious as it has some crappy repetitive music, which didn't really fit in with the other displays. The display itself was a 3D Cabinet which had several glass panels with different parts of background foreground being displayed on them. Essentially it seemed to be a very expensive homage to Parallax Scrolling. This display had an interactive bit!!! There was a little touch screen where you could choose different sackboys and then for 30 seconds showed footage of that sackboy (albeit in a fancy 3D cabinet) in a level. Fucking disappointing to have that level of "interactivity". LPB was created by Media Molecule in Surrey.

In all, it was exciting to see a games section in an exhibition of design. I think it was the correct titles to choose for a British design Exhibition, however I feel it was a little poorly executed with no descriptions of the "displays", no interactivity and fucking annoying music.

The best one was the Lemmings displays.

Love and now you can save yourself £13.50,

Richie X

Monday, July 02, 2012

LIEWATCH: Watchog on Watch Dogs

Every now and then someone makes an extraordinary claim about an upcoming game that makes us turn our heads and get excited about gaming again. Then from hype to eventual release it turns out that said revolutionary feature was just a bunch of guff. Molyneux is king of the hype lies, David Cage frequently overstretches stating what his games can achieve. You know the kind of stuff we mean, the "your choices really matter stuff" that Mass Effect nearly got right or the "your actions will permanently change the world"  stuff that inevitably gets watered down by release time because it seems most gamers are babies who hate not being able to turn back the clock (or reload their save games) when things don't go their way. We've got our Patrats and our Watchogs on red alert particularly as we're nearing the beginning of the next generation and lying about future games tends to see a bit of a spike. Today's porky pie is courtesy of EDGE magazine's Q&A with Jonathan Marin, Creative Director of Ubisoft Montreal on one of the new IPs at E3, Watch Dogs currently billed for the PS3, 360, PC and smarttabs that attracted a lot of attention. Here's the quote in full: 
E: And can you really just pick up side quests by following a complete stranger?JM: If a character looks suspicious you can follow him. And if something happens you can intervene. It has to be that way because when we started to play the first iteration of the game, you'd see someone talking, you'd listen to it and think,'This guy is up to something.' But then the simulation would stop. No! You need to be able to do something.Of course it's a big system but we've been working on it for two years and it is consistent: everyone has a unique personality, and if you go back to the same NPC six times it is the same person- it's not random and meaningless.
It's potentially a game changer but sounds too good to be true. If you ever spent any time stalking NPCs in GTA, the illusion of a working city the game works so hard to create shatters as it turns out that citizens of Liberty City spend their time walking in circles or just walking up and down a bit. Living breathing worlds where anyone could potentially lead to a side quest and where everyone has their own personality? Too good to be true. Our prediction is that it'll only be 'some' NPCs or NPCs with a symbol above their head or perhaps the whole thing will be forgotten with feature creep. One to watch certainly but we're setting our predictometer to "very fucking sceptical".

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Mobile games are they good yet?

Ugh I cant stop playing Taptitude.

Yeah I know I have a Windows7 phone, get your giggling out.
I had an android phone for a while, and where it is good with all the (then) free apps, its gimpy linuxy experience couldn't do simple stuff like texting or phoning... big fat fail for me. And Apple, well I'm still on the fence. Firstly I don't really want  to conform to the millions of "individual snowflakes"out there, and secondly are still no proper games for Apple... there is iOS games, re-imaginings of older games, which look pretty much the same as they did ten years ago or jumped up browser games. They are pretty but not for me. So I decided to go for a Win7 Phone, it tied into my 360 account, its fast, it works, it's more user friendly than the other "smart" phones, but there is fuck all for it, and no fucker wants it, nobody believes windows may have a product that is "easy to use" 

Anyways, there is a couple of games for win7 Angry birds, Plants vs Zombies etc. But a few months ago 4bros studio brought out Taptitude. It is hard to describe, it has several tiers of different games most of them are shameless knock-offs of retro titles Puzzle bobble, Pac man, or indeed simple minigames, like mahjong, solitaire or Poker, and rather amazingly a customisable 16-bit dungeon crawler. However the game is very meta, in almost all of the games you can purchase upgrades, I will clarify here, that is using in-game currency, not MicrosftMoney or iMoney or even real Money. You gain money from wining games and can exponentially increase the money you gain by buying these upgrades, so you can buy the more expensive upgrades. There is also a section in the game called "craftitude" this is like Mincraft without the running about, you start with basic elements, quarks and colours and by mixing these and their creations you can get atoms, elements, animals, plants etc. Each of the creations can then be sold or used in different games to help you get better stats or money (eg. in the breakout rip-off you can use your Earth elemental to increase the bat width). The crafting aside there are stats ruling everything, they are like trackable achievements which currently dont give you rewards... but man when they do... but they do give you fun information, like simply, how many times you have tapped the screen in game. The game also has dailys, weekly riddles and you have played the game X amount of times rewards, for in-game items or monies.

In conclusion, Mobile games are not really that much better. They are however more addictive.

Love and fuck your gingerbread,

Richie X

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Where do we go, from here...

I still feel sad after I heard news of this: The Loading bar.

We have, for years, contemplated the possibility of our own little gaming themed pub, though admittedly it was supposed to roll off the success of thatguys.co.uk. Which, if we were to take our market research from, we would have Sheeva Nude, and Gay Dante themed bar.

However where does this stop? Gaming culture has come leaps and bounds since our blog started a little over six years ago (SIX!) there is a definite acceptance and hip-mainstreamism (akin to geek-chic) of gaming. It has taken much longer than I expected for a theme bar to be created, at least in the UK. The Mana-Bar in Australia aka Yahtzee Croshaw's bar has been open for ages now. But why only bars, we have nightclubs for music, cinemas for Movies, we used to have arcades for games (Ha!). We occasionally have E3 and other over hyped corporate events. But these are yearly, and as much fun as it is to get confirmation that Game X has been confirmed at these shows, games do not come out yearly. Why is there not an events platform for game. Why, rather than people queueing for hours round the block dressed up in cosplay, for the latest expansion, why don't we have and events platform, celebrating all that is gaming all year round for gamers free from the monotonous corporate churn (is that possible?).

Well business plan is in the works investors please email us at thatguysavenue@thatguys.co.uk

Love and wishing you had done it first,

Richie X

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Depression

NOT A LOT GOING ON IN GAMING FOLKS. There's all that sexism rubbish which might be worth discussing were the internet version of the gaming community not a multiheaded siren screaming inanity. E3 failed to get anyone hyped about anything (those few people pretending that smartglass is a thing are clutching at straws). But don't worry kids! It isn't all:

 AND
Umm. Well it might be. We hadn't thought past the joke. Quick look, a Final Fantasy VII rerelease...

Phew that was close.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Devil May Cry HD: Finally


So we finally got DMC:HD Collection. Despite not one fucking retailer selling it any more, I mean seriously... There is no copies of this anywhere, this collection came out when the GAME group was in receivership, liquidation, bankruptcy or whatever bullshit umbrella term they were using for the poor business model of forcing the unwitting public to buy the latest pap that paid them dividends. Anyways it came out when GAME was briefly shut, and as such they never got it in, but also it seems no other supermarkets or other retailers seem to have it either (which makes us consiprationally question the distribution of games!), so it was off to the internets where, without fail, we got it, and first hand too, so no more fuelling the pre-owned machine.

But yeah digressions aside...

We fired this up a couple of days ago starting with DMC1 and to sum it up; first impressions were that the game was hard! I remembered most of the locations and hidden items/secrets, but I was really struggling to attack the simplest of enemies, however this was soon rectified when I was able to buy some moves. Yeah DMC is hard until you can buy some moves, then that much abuse idiom comes in: It was like riding a bike. Most of it was pure "Muscle Memory" but you start automatically pull off the moves without thinking, and when you haven't purchased the skills this does nothing, and really messes up boss fights. But once you have them the gave got infinitely easier. DMC2 suffers from this less; Dante seems to have all of his skills out the box, the upgrades in the game are purely based on the power of the weapons which you upgrade throughout the game, but DMC2 just lacks too much Dante is stale, bitter and not fun but the gameplay is all there. DMC3 however returns to the DMC formulae, Dante is useless, like a definition of nerfed, struggling on the first enemies. But only getting worse with a plethora of weapons and a whole multitude of skills with them. DMC3 gives us a bit of remorse... Why cant all those PS2 save files be magically transferred to the 360. WHY GODS WHY!

Love and bike riding,

Richie X

Friday, June 15, 2012

We've given away too much of our soul

In between, twitter, reddit, forums and comments on all those fucking sites that never repay the favour I think we've given away a bit of our soul. We're all gamed out*

Here's a thing. A feature.

What she said until we've got some more inspiration. Uuuuuuugh. THAT WAS THE BAD THING. E3. We just remembered. Oh god.


*Without actually playing any games. Aside from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon again. That barely counts. That's us in coasting mode**

** NOT TRUE, NOT TRUE we played Paper Mario. It's s'alright.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Art of Video Games

The book. This one. Not The Art of the Video Game or Video Game Art or The Art of Game Characters or Creating the Art of the Game or Game Art. Those are different books. We won't be talking about those here. 


The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect is the catalogue of the exhibition with the same name that is still running (until September this year) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition has been widely described as crucial but very conservative. It isn't the first video game exhibition or the first time that games have been on display. The Science Museum in London put together a very interactive exhibition called Game On and the Design Museum had a very small installation of the design of games. Also the HTTP Gallery (now Furtherfield) had a very cool exhibition a while back. It is the first exhibition however, by a big institution, a big art institution that treats games as games within their own right.

The subtitle "From Pac-Man to Mass Effect" is apt too. This isn't a comprehensive exhibition and it isn't the usual dross you find at computer museums with endless old computers in glass cases arranged chronologically /snoooze. The games that made the final cut were moronsourced by the internet, the poll itself causing the gaming community online (maybe including us, can't find the link if we did whinge) to go a bit shouty because the game choices seemed to be a bit arbitrary. But it's tough. There's over 5 million games now, okay but there's only a couple of thousand of those that are worth mentioning but with an exhibition like this it will be impossible to please everyone. Even the excellent "1001 Video games you must play before you die" compiled by some really talented writers had some blind spots. This exhibition is not comprehensive and short of a National Museum of Video Games (this nonsense does not count) I don't think that's the right approach. 

I haven't been able to see the exhibition and sadly I don't think I will get to unless it tours but what about this book business then? Well it is a lovely big glossy book. The production values are high here and there's some great content, it has clearly been put together by people who know and care about games. Which is great because gamers can smell a pretender from 100 miles away. Yes we may be typified by the crass, chauvinist, everythingist man child but we stay true to our nerdy/geeky heritage. Get a fact or piece of trivia wrong and it is.... it is..... GAME OVER. Yeah, we went there. The biggest problem I have, bearing in mind that I said originally that this exhibition was not supposed to be comprehensive, is that the game choices for inclusion (decided by the community) are a bit odd. 80 games are the focus of the exhibition but is it really necessary to include two Phantasy Stars and three Panzer Dragoons? Is it? Is it? Is it? IS IT? Is it now? Is that needed? Is it? Is it needed? Do we need that? Is that what we're in need of now? Is it? Is it? Is it? Is it? Two Phantasy Stars? Need those? Do we? Do we need those? If we're putting together a selection of 80 games charting the development of the art of games, would you need two Phantasy Stars and 3. 3. THREE. Panzer Dragoons? Do we? 6%. 6% of the games. Need it? Need it? Do we? Do we need it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

E3 Balls

So it's E3 again. Already. Everyone gets way too excited, few let important things such as facts get in their way. We're going to be extending all of our tendrils during E3 and we'll keep updating this post when thoughts occur in our brains.


  • Errr steady on MCV, this year's isn't even over yet and they're starting coverage about the next one. Hmm.
  • More Wii U speculation. This time it's Mass Effect. Possibly. So that's yet another AAA game that's already on the HD platforms that may appear on the Wii U. Forgive us for not wetting our pants yet.
  • There's a Painkiller sequel. To go with the four ports and 200 expansions. CARE FACTOR = 0
  • Crysis 3Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Will this one even turn a profit? No. No of course it won't.
  • We just can't hide our surprise. Sony, the makers of PlayStation. Are making an accessory that turns the PlayStation Move into a steering wheel well into a hang glider thing! Wow! If only I could be bothered to dig through the forums to find the Sonyponies pissing their pants over the Wii wheel six years ago. SIX.
  • Big Vita news from the Sony conference: you can now play all those PSOne games you already own for the PSOne and for the PSP on the Vita now. Probably if you buy them again. 
  • EDGE's coverage of the Sony conference is well worth a read. It captures our general disdain and sense of underwhelment from the whole thing. Piss all for the Vita, when it needed to be blown out of the water and well, where are all the games?
  • MS's conference didn't exactly whelm us either. Halo, Gears, Madden, Ass Creed and CoD. Most people's existing Xbox 360 shelves then. Good work guys. Good work. Market leader right there. 
  • RPS's John Walker says some wise words about E3. Although he neglects to mention that the PCification of consoles is making them shit and the consolification of PC games holds them back. 
  • Beyond:Two Souls from Quantic Dream. Meh is the best we can muster.  
  • There's a new trailer for DmC. We're huge fans of the first three (four was alright). Still not too sure if we're happy with the character reset. Dante was always cocky but not necessarily a cock. Oh well Ninja Theory know how to handle an IP create mediocre games that sink at retail.
  • A new Resident Evil 6 trailer. Please make it split screen co-op, please make it split screen co-op. Ut-oh vehicle sections?
  • Not even properly announced yet and already the Wii-U has another fucking controller for the mountain of Nintendo Crap.
  • Do I really want social networking in my New Super Mario Bros? No. No I don't.
  • Wii-U Batman now with all that console exclusive shit like with the other consoles. Fucking great.
  • Scribblenauts will get a reimagining so now it's Little Big Scribblenauts. You know, abandoning the core concept at the heart of the game. Good then.
  • Wii Fit U and Sing. Fair do's keep the non gamer happy but not in my conference hey? 
  • Wow. Nothing new on the 3DS front. Actually, nothing. This is bad.
  • Lego City on the Wii-U. Yes, okay but why isn't everything made of LEGO? Completely misses the point of LEGO. GTA with a few studdy bits on. 
  • Nintendo's conference in general was poor. A mario game, a mario game, a mario game, Wii Fit again again, Dance dance again again and umm Nintendoland. I'm still none the wiser about how the Wii U is going to be something I would buy. Weirdly, Ubisoft's ZombiU was the best game. Sad. I'm not on the edge of my seat waiting for this to come out at Christmas. I'm hoping they're going to hold it back until they come up with something that's going to shift the console. 

Marcel on E3


Wait. You too? How did he?...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Loading Bar

Aaaargh! They stole our idea and and they have the best fucking name


THEY HAVE A DRINK CALLED G AND T VIRUS! Uuugh. Disgustingly brilliant. We're done.

Oh also we turned six years old and as predicted missed it. Completely missed it. We'll be honest we're running on fumes.


* Secretly jealous. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The heat. It burnssss us

It's hot outside which means vidjo games, in contrast to cricket, have to be cancelled due to fine weather. Everyone, literally everyone, else is going to parks and filling up beer gardens and the social pressure is for us to do that too. Plus, because we have to open the windows, we can't see our screens anymore. Lastly, because all our energy has melted away, the slightest excuse prevents us from playing most games. Can't play Sonic Mega Collection to unlock Comix Zone without finding the right memory card first? We'd probably die of dehydration trying to find it. Have to take the Wiimote our of it's condom to put it in the Wii-Zapper? Death unless you've got a parasol to protect you. Standing up to play Kinect? Make sure you take at least five litres of water. Luckily though, there's always Pokemon*. Nice safe, friendly Pokemon sitting in the DS, flick it open, turn it on. Gaming happiness from our melted pool on the floor vantage point. We can even secrete the pokewalker about ourselves when we're forced to be outside so we're GAMING without anyone knowing it. 


As you are probably aware it is our go-to game franchise. It's the game we play whatever the weather (SEEMLESS LINK TO THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE, not even planned honest). We barely remember we're playing it soemtimes, it's become part of our autonomic nervous system. It's also the only game we've played this month and this content doesn't write itself. If it did it would look like this. So what's new in the world of Pokemon? We know you're dying to hear our opinion. We've remained stalwart mutes in response to the gaming journalists who have approached us for comment. Now, like the monsoon rains we're opening our floodgates to drench you with our gushing minds thoughts.

What's the Pokey-man haps? Not much crusaders. Not. Much. Not much and spin-off games.

  1. PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond. We didn't play the first Pokepark game, it's a Wii game squarely targeted, as opposed to on the surface targeted, at the younger gamer and without the usual rare download or connectivity for the main games that persuaded us to buy Pokemon Collosseum 1+2, Pokemon Ranger, My Pokemon Ranch or the excellent (we're not even joking) Pokemon Channel. Despite our plans to not own it there's now a second one out and by all accounts it fixes some deflating bits and breaks some of the working bits of the first one. For shames.
  2. Pokemon Conquest is the English title for Pokemon + Nobunga's Ambition, which you'll no doubt note is also in English. Word magic. In almost everything we've read about this game we're legally obliged to inform you that this game is a whacky/odd/very Japanese mashup between Pokemon and drum roll....... Nobunaga's Ambition a game series we're slightly mortified we'd never heard of before. We all have blind spots okay? We have dabbled in turn based grand strategy role-playing simulations before so we're filing this under might be worth a purchase. It's playable without a 3DS too which we're happy about. We were expecting Ninty to blindy pretend the DS never existed by now to shift 3DS sales but clearly unlike Sony and Microsoft they realise that yes, there is a massive advantage in creating games for platforms that many millions of people still own even if it isn't the latest one.
  3. Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2 or should that be Pokemon Black and White 2? There's no rules for how you list a pair of games that have a paired sequel. Pokemon Black and White Squared? Pokemons Black and White? Pokemon Blacks and Whites? With Richie still a half human being and myself still ploughing through the end game of Pokemon White, our opinions on this are incipient but here's where we're at. Since the very first Pokemon games way back in the monochrome olden times of 1996 the franchise has been very successful on trading on the fact that you need more than one game (or at least a friend with a different version) to fulfill the ever moving goal of catching them all. These days with the mostly working GTS and a thriving online Pokemon community, that we have largely opted out of for fear of being seen as paedos, it is quite possible to catch most of them by hopping online every now and then. Nintendo, bless the dear masters, have also been infinitely generous in releasing rare and elusive Pokemon through Nintendo WFC. Cynically we're taking the release of a numbered sequel to Black and White (normally each generation is composed of a third game that complements and ever so slightly adds to the main two games of a generation; Silver, Gold and Crystal; Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald; Diamond, Pearl and Platinum) as Ninty's fix to squeeze as much as possible out of this generation. There's not a great deal of exclusive content in the new games revealed so far but there's more than a smattering of extra and tedious alternate Pokemon forms. Each new generation introduces a load of completely new Pokemon which keeps everyone happy as they find favorites amongst the new crop, work out the best to play competitively with and contrive nasty combos with the Pokemon inherited from previous generations. In recent years Nintendo have introduced the idea of Pokemon forms, which aren't new Pokemon but slightly different versions of existing ones. It's money for old rope and one we're not that bothered about. From the pre-release information, charmingly still launched upon the world through Japanese magazines, B&W II is all about new forms for legendary Pokemon. We're hoping the games are offering more than just that and initially it looks like it may be the case here with details of new areas and 'plot' but then in the past the new and exclusive content has been highly disappointing and clearly a focus of the hype. Upon launch it is evident you're playing the exact same game over again with minor minor changes.
So there we have it. Our long, uninteresting and dull comments on a game franchise you don't care about. Tomorrow on TGAM:- we don't post anything here we just read the words Ghost Recon and fall into a coma for a month. 

* It's so hot we're not even going to add the little accent over the e. Forgive us this sin.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Crunch time"

You know, its not often I talk about the games industry and the depravity and filth within, however today I would like to bend your ears, open your eyes and perhaps even educate the cretins and executives out there. For the non-industryer "crunch time" is when a game, DLC or whatever is reaching it's deadline. This deadline will suddenly make everyone involved on that project start working at 200% (usually up from 50%) to get everything done, creating a great deal of stress on budgets, quality and people. The deadline itself is usually enforced by marketing, or by a separate publisher, who has dictated that, "this needs to happen by then".

Now, why does this exist?

In short, this exist because of poor project planning. The tl;dr version is: Persons are placed in positions of authority and management, due to internal promotions i.e. low ranking programmers, developers and even testers who get given these tasks, without professional qualifications or certifications. Where this gives them the essential willingness qualification and "understanding the industry" or "liking games", it does not bolster the structure and organisation of project(s). There is rarely a formal project plan, other than: get this done, by this time, no risk/budgetary/quality controls. Where many other media companies, outwith the games industry, that create software, use many of the principles which can be so easily applied to to games projects, the games industry tends towards a more haphazard project and organisational approach.

We have seen so many one hit wonders, industry newbies trying to make a splash in a vast ocean, where some of these games have gone on to be runaway success stories, this is only based on a gaming core which is successful. Many of the popular console games churned out today are akin to movie blockbusters huge budgets time, money and resources, so many of the smaller companies who try to edge in this industry have a very difficult time to adhere to the monstrous project structure of pipelines, controls and methodologies.

But it is not all grim, one very simple solution is that industry professionals should simply re-evaluate the meaning of the term "Crunch-time". Rather than viewing it as an expected crazy time near the end of the project where everybody is expected to put in 80 hours a week. Consider it a swear word, because frankly, having crunch time means that someone along the way fucked up. Things can go off-track, however with planning, and especially the all important "understanding of the industry" these things should be budgeted for. The same with the risks involved, use experience to plan for the things than may go wrong, have solid planning structures for determining when and where a project is expected to be. These things exist and can be so easily applied to gaming projects.

Meh, case over.

Love and Nestle,

Richie X

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gay

We picked this up from father of MUDs (or another appropriate title), Richard Bartle:

When role-playing games offer the possibility for player characters to romance non-player characters, the pressure for including same-sex relationships doesn't come primarily from gay players. Rather, it comes from straight male players who are playing female characters and get creeped out when they get hit on by male non-player characters.
Now he's a man who would know but I'm going to call Bouffalantshit on this one especially as it isn't qualified at all. is this an assumption or assertion? Are we talking about existing games, theoretical games or the two or three games that virtual world scholars study? Has anyone talked tot he developers who make this decisions and asked why they do/don't allow same sex relationships? Or at least I'm hoping it is all codswallop. Far too much has been written about gender and identity in games but for our liking none of it has really focused on gender and identity in games. I play as female characters more often than not because, despite what the feminists might say, female characters are more interesting than 30 something white guys plus we are 30 something white guys. We play that role in life. It's dull. I also don't buy the "if I'm going to stare at my character's butt for hours on end might as well be a woman's". That, my friends is also a bullshit argument. We've masturbated over male, female and 'other' characters and the sex barely makes a difference in duration, power of orgasm or feeling of shame afterwards. 

Maybe we're uber-liberal pinkos but we're finding hard to swallow the idea that playing as a character in a game is so immersing that players feel embodied in their avatars to the extent that they want to follow their normal sexual preferences but not immersing enough that they aren't happy to play as the gender/sexuality of their character that fits with the game world or fiction. Or, /ugh, are most gamers homophobic morons who can't accept even virtually pretending to play a homosexual role for fear of becoming a gay or catching the gay? More research plz.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rise of Nightmares

Remember when we promised content? Here's some of it. About four years ago we played Rise of Nightmares on the Kinect and on the Xbox 360. We weren't impressed with the Kinect line-up at launch  (still aren't to be honest or happy about subsequent Kinect games) it was a rushed gimmicky effort to try to sway some of the bajillions of people who had played Wii Sports into buying an Xbox 360 and then, presumably get them onto proper games or something. Although games seem to be a low priority for Sony and Microsoft who seem to be fighting to be the all-in-one home media centre of which games is a small part. Then, it turns out that everyone and their dog is doing cool things with a Kinect. Everyone except people who make Kinect games that is. 

That would have been absolutely fine an' all except the Kinect games were all a bit pap. Including Rise of Nightmares. Under no circumstances should you play Rise of Nightmares single player. It is an exercise in extreme frustration. The controls are clunky at best, there's a great deal of recycling environments, the motion recognition is about 50-50, stealth sections don't work, some of the QTE movements are hard to pull-off comfortably, one boss fight comes ever so close to being ragequittingly frustrating and the game would be linear were it not for the fact that it is nigh impossible to actually walk in a straight line. And if you're unlucky and are tall and/or live in a box flat it may well be that the 'play area' lies outside of the walls of your flat. 

Get some buddies round though and play pass-the-body (because you don't use a controller, your body is the controller you see? You see? It isn't pass the pad, it's pass the body. Body passing. You pass the body) and it'll pass (see what we did then?) an evening or two just fine. The plot is a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y not as horrible or broken as it could have been. It's every bit the B-Movie, set somewhere in Eastern Europe, a bunch of hapless sexy ladies and douchey men victims, a spooky booby trapped castle, an evil stompy monster antagonist  and a bunch of zombies. It's a SEGA game so there's sexy gimp zombies too. You even get to SPOILERS sex a gypsy witch although only in a cutscene, no matching motions involved sadly. Towards the end of the game there's some surprisingly cool new ideas that keep you playing/experiencing it right up to the end. Then there's a whole bunch of challenges which, will keep our little gang of geeks coming back to it.

Rise of Nightmares is much like Wii Play and the original Wii Sports in that it is a proof of concept, a tech demo and it's one of only a handful of non-sports, non-dancing Kinect games or 'proper' games with a gammy Kinect mode gaffer taped on. Hopefully a developer will take the idea behind the playthrough slash movie and really run with it. Really, really run with it. Off into the distance and over yonder hill. Nothing to do with Fist bumping.