Friday, February 22, 2013

The next gen lack of imagination.

Yesterday I found myself trying to explain the origins of Puzzle Bobble, it went a little something like this: Well originally the characters are from a game called "Bubble Bobble" where little dinosaurs blow bubbles to trap enemies in them then burst them.*

And this started me thinking, where is this type of game nowadays? It seems to have been relegated to the smartphone medium. All main blockbuster titles are a "man shooting another man." I find myself thinking what happened? Somewhere between PS2 and current gen all main characters became human , or at least human looking: elf, dwarf etc. I wonder if this is a safe bet from marketers that people can identify more with a human protagonist.
I miss the abstractness the otherworldly environments, rather than the scant familiar distopyas emerging in all games. This atmosphere of breaking the rules of reality had existed in games for so long, creating characters and worlds within the constraints of the machine allowed for an unusual selection of protagonists, environments and art styles. However now rather than breaking the rules of reality, bending the rules seems to be the norm, simulations of "real-life" with added twists of being able to break the laws of physics or even just laws.
Is this the way we wanted to head with games? from the early days of protagonists such as kiwis, eggs, bandicoots, hedgehogs, bubble blowing dinosaurs, and ninjas from the nth dimension to generic "white american man". I think we need something more groundbreaking more abstract and surreal talents for a main title, at least from a break from the norm.

Love and THAT theme tune,

Richie X

*thankfully i never got to the point of explaining they have to traverse a 100 dungeons, which have portal like holes in the top an bottom of the screen, the last enemy standing will turn red and get faster, and there is a sidequest where you save your dino-girlfriends by collecting bubbles with the letters B, O, N, U, S in them. Oh and the dinosaurs were human to start of with. And can bounce on bubbles. And some bubbles contain power ups. And sometimes at the end of levels, depending on your timing, a load of fruit will appear. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PSFore-play

Cock teases.

So the gist of that expo was:

  • There will be a PS4.
  • It will have a controller.
  • The Vita will be a hi-tech WiiU controller.
  • There will be games.
Very little on the hardware, except that it can render an old man with eyebrow twitches. The share button is for uploading game videos/screenshots. 
What does the damned box that sits under your TV  look like?!? Will it be another kitchen utility a la the lean mean, fat reducing machine?

Pfft.

Love and Diablo 3 as well,

Richie X 

Monday, February 18, 2013

PS3 A Retrospective

With the hype train for the PS4 having left the station, we're going to take an opportunity to look back at the PS3.

The first couple of hours of Heavy Rain were alright.


So there we have it. The malformed son of the greatest console of all time, the PlayStation 2, really transformed the way we gamed. Roll on PS4!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A new challenger has arrived!

So, Pokemon X and Y announced and we at thatguys have kleenex on standby. And this latest Valentines video shows us the newest evolution for Eevee! But no-one knows what type it is! In the Previous Generations it looks like this:

Gen I
Flareon: Fire
Jolteon: Electric
Vaporeon: Water

Gen II
Espeon: Psychic
Umbreon: Dark

Gen IV
Leafeon: Grass
Glaceon: Ice

Which leaves Steel, Bug, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Rock, Ghost or Dragon. This Eevee evolution has been named Sylveon. Which rather annoyingly does not divulge the typing the prefix "Sylv" could refer to may things:
Silver, indicating it is a steel type, however it does not look very steel-like.
Sylvan, meaning foresty or arboreal, but we already have a grass type.
Sylph, which is a mythological air elemental, this could indicate a Flying or Ghost type, but nothing about it really screams either typing, except maybe a scarf that flaps in the wind. Or maybe a connection to Silph Co. the manufacturer of pokemon items in-game.
From the colouring alone you want to say "Normal type" as there are so many Pink normal types, and well Eevee alone is not that powerful a standalone pokemon so may just get a straight evolution, but why does the little brown dog turn into a big pink deer-like thing?

CONSPIRACY THEORY WARNING!

Ok yeah from all that I wanna take you on a Left-field, from downtown possibility, The name of the game is pokemon X and Y. The letters X and Y are mostly associated with Genectics, more specifically Chromosomes, and there is a possibility that perhaps there may be pokemon cross breeding going on in this game! Perhaps Sylveon is a crossbreed of an Eevee and a Skitty? This could be a new evolution method to crate hybrids of pokemon rather than the old formula seen in each generation of the game; where you turn up in a new area and find a whole bunch of new ones... Maybe?

Love and why does swift have stars,

Richie X

Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Henry

Living eating sleeping games. Sometimes it's hard to muster up the time and energy to actually play some games. As we are want to do we took a long hard look at our backloggery and became determined to turn some of those medals from bronze to silver and from silver to gold. The games industry and the marketeers that surround it are all but obsessed with making you crave the new, the shiny but often new games fail to build on what's gone before. We've been hoovering up a lot of the content created by the games community which actually goes a long way to celebrate the history of games and gaming like the industry fails to do. Here we tip our hats to Two Best Friends Play. Puerile, sometimes but what TBFP does and does well is celebrate games. It's connoisseurship coming from the stands which is odd considering that most other media play a part in celebrating the culture they create. 

Anyway, one of the marks on our backloggery profile, whilst hunting for the easy wins is No More Heroes. Waaaay back when we consumed the game like a hungry rabbit loving nearly every minute of it. Now if you've played it you know that when you beat the top assassin you're taken to a menu screen that has two options: return to Santa Destroy or View Ending. Around this point our gaming sense completely left us. If you're ever given that option in a game YOU RETURN TO THE GAME BECAUSE THERE'S SOMETHING YOU MISSED. Instead we made the error of watching the ending and then on top of that saved over our game file with the new game scenario. A quick Gamefaq later and of course, obviously, it barely needed checking, there's a true ending you can get if you buy all the katana upgrades. So we had two options; play through the whole game again or watch the true ending on Youtube. Now, we ain't claiming to be progamers but watching the ending on Youtube is the coward's way out. We're not against watching playthroughs, hell there are some games where watching playthroughs is ultimately more fruitful than playing through a game. Again, we tip our hats to all those playthroughers who upload their videos plus commentary. It's yet another way to consume games and if you've taken a look at traditional Tellyvision all of a sudden watching 12 hours of other people play through Chrono Trigger seems far more compelling than watching endless repeats of Come Dine With Me and Pregnant Celebrity Farmers Dancing On Jungle Ice. Also all you young'uns who whine and whinge about there being not enough games on Wii/Xbox 360/PC and hungry for the next generation of consoles I say to thee a) Stop lying and b) cherish your time. Cherish the seeming endless hours you have to waste/invest in gaming when you're at school, college or University. Life catches up with you and months, weeks and days of gaming turn into minutes and hours at most. All of a sudden that replaythrough of No More Heroes, that replaythrough that you wouldn't have thought twice about in younger days equates to the next year of your gaming time. But like a cat bringing in a dead pigeon, we're here to show you that we did it. We went the full nine yards, we went the distance, we burned the candle at both ends and we almost turned that silver medal into a gold. Almost. There's just one tiny problem who goes by the name of Henry. 
There he is. You see even if you muster up the free evenings to re-plough through the game, beat all the assassins again and buy those two sword upgrades the 'true' ending is a fight against this guy. And it's really fucking frustrating. It's not frustrating in a unbeatable way it's quite clear what you have to do, after one or two tries you get a feel for when you can get some hits in but he has a ton of health to whittle down and at a certain percentage of health he busts out OHKO (well kills actually) moves. You can't afford to make that many mistakes but you can't play cautiously either. On top of that, there's nothing to be gained from beating him. We're playing the Wii version so there's no cheevos or trophies. At best there's a cutscene that's no more than two clicks away from me right now. It's a prestige thing. Except prestige requires an audience and I don't think both of you count as one. So is it a principle? Am I enjoying myself? Is it a (unhealthy) compulsion? We're already conscious of the games we probably won't finish before we die (read Too Many Toys over at the excellent Cardboard Children on the super excellent Rock Paper Shotgun) and every failed attempt to take down Henry is precious gaming time taken away from other titles. Newer titles. Older titles. Titles we actually enjoy just playing for the sake of it without stressing about 'completing it'. And it's totally a personal stress. Friends and families won't look down on us for not getting past this wall but leaving it undone will leave a black mark on our soul. We can feel it. When we get to gamer heaven (which actually exists) Saint Peter will check his clipboard, slowly shake his head and remark on how we never got the hand cannon in Resident Evil 4, how I gave up on the last 4% of Boom Blox, how Ruby Weapon stands undefeated, how I only got a Copper trainer card on Pokemon Sapphire, how I never unlocked Apocalypse Frank in Dead Rising Chop 'Til You Drop, how I never read all 100 books in 100 Classic Book Collection and how I never got the NiGHTS Wig in Project Rub. Those imagined virtual black marks get ever impossible to scrub, consoles conk out, reflexes dull, older control systems get harder and harder to return to (hi Fade to Black and Medal of Honour:Underground) online games get switched off, cheevos unachieved. Henry will not be on my list I've enough black marks if I never pick up a new game again. I'm determined to beat him even if it's the last boss I ever beat.