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