Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Video In Studio's Videogame Event

I've been meaning to write about this for a while. About a month ago, Video In Studios put on an exhibition of old and new videogames. It was great. The lighting was suitably dark, the decor futuristic, and there were always places to sit down. There were NES', Dreamcasts, all types of Sega machines, all the way up to Resident Evil 4 playing on a PS2. All were hooked up to TVs and there were two controllers attached to each for competitive play. Their choices of games were brilliant: Tetris, Dr. Mario, Bomberman; all games that you could pick up within minutes and start kicking ass if if you knew how to think. They could have picked games like Marvel vs Capcom 2, where the fanboys who practised 7 hours a day would pwn every n00b who stepped up, but they didn't. So I spent an hour playing SNES Bomberman with a whole train of skilled opponents.

One thing apparent from that event, though, was why hardcore gamers tend to have relationship problems. There were too many girls there who just sat there and looked bored while their boyfriends played the games and ignored them. Come one, people.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blizzard in cahoots with wannabe Satanists?

I recently bought Opeth's Ghost Reveries album and it was one of the worst CDs I'd ever listened two. It was worse than bad; it was one song rewritten ten times with no meaningful variations between them. The lyrics were the usual unconvincing (and conspicously self-conscious) death metal schtick, and the tempo so slow that none of the songs could build up momentum.

Interestingly, though, the liner notes give special thanks to "Chris Sigaty at Blizzard Entertainment."

If Opeth gets the contract to do the soundtrack to Blizzard's next game, then I will boycott that game!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Wow, just WOW

Now, I'm sure we've all seen Caught Whackin To World Of Warcraft, in which the cameraman walks into someone's room. There he finds a dancing naked night elf on the computer screen, and a fat dude masturbating to it.

Having played WOW for a short while, I can't relate to this. The first time I saw a night elf with nothing on, I said "nice outfit" and she responded by asking me for money about seven times in a row. The next time I saw one, it was in a town and she was literally shaking her booty nonstop like, like... she was controlled by a bot program. Now, when I see a nude night elf in WOW, I think “fourteen year-old boy at the keyboard”

I guess some people are easier to fool than I am.

Friday, February 24, 2006

World of Warcraft vs Street Fighter

No, this isn't the name of an upcoming Blizzard vs Capcom crossover game, which will be a launch title for the Nintendo Revolution and make full use of that funky Nintendo Revolution controller (I wish). Instead, I want to discuss the current Gamasutra editorial, World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things, which argues that Street Fighter is like real life, World of Warcraft is not like Street Fighter, therefore world of Warcraft is bad.

The last time I played Street Fighter II, it was competitive and I did very well. I kicked ass in the game and got physically beaten up several times that night for winning. The tournament was held in a Church. Of course, the organizers encouraged everyone to meet for follow-up activities. The follow-up activity I attended was a rant-session where the Pastor roared about Jews wanting to take over the world. The fact that the last time I played Street Fighter II was at a recruiting activity for neo-Nazis speaks volumes about what kinds of of people really play Street Fighter. And the kids there? Well, it was obvious that their parents forced them to go to that Church for fear that they would otherwise end up in jail. The church later got trashed by Satanists, by the way. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

I started playing World of Warcraft last week. It was the first game I really got into since I finished KOTOR, and I'm quite liking it. The world feels solid, self-consistent, substantial. Like Blizzard's other games, it gives you dozens of things to think about at any one time. Walk into a new town, and twenty people ask you for favors. At this point, it's basically Diablo III: do quests, get treasure, sell it, repeat. At first you do everything solo. Form a small group if you want. Want money? Get a profession and keep practising until you get good. My friend, who you may know in the game as Rothgard, is at the stage in the game where you do everything as part of a large group. The guild he's in, the Primacy guild, is one of the most hardcore in the world. This seems like a good metaphor for real life, where you develop yourself as much as you can but eventually find that you need other people to do anything.

Which game sounds like it's better for you?

According to the Gamasutra article, it's Street Fighter. I happen to disagree.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Don't think I have what it takes anymore...

I started playing Zelda: A Link to the Past today and now, I don't think I have what it takes to play videogames anymore. Why? Because I GOT STUCK ON THE FIRST LEVEL! Specifically, the East Palace, which is the first level past the tutorial level. I couldn't deal with the fact the game always started me off with so little health... health that gradually got chipped away by the masses of literally indestructible enemies, having to start over at the beginning of the level and then, after slogging and dodging my way to the point where I last died, dying there again in exactly the same way. After repeating this for 60 minutes, I would have thrown my DS through a wall of if my thumb wasn't burning so badly.

And this is considered one of the best games ever made? If so, then I'm beginning to wonder if I still have what it takes to be a gamer.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Thinking about a DS

The Nintendo DS, hyped as a portable Nintendo 64, it has lived up to the hype in more way than one; like the N64 it only has a few dozen good games, most of which are entries into existing francises: Mario, Bomberman, Advance Wars, Kirby, Castlevania. Also, like the N64, it takes a common technology (stylus in the case of the DS, analogue control in the case of the N64), turns it into a gimmick and hypes the hell out of it. David Sheff, in Game Over, quotes Nintendo officials saying that the company plans ten years ahead, while a webcast of the unveiling of the Nintendo Revolution's highly “innovative” controller specifically cites the DS as marker for where the company is going.

Hence we see Nintendo's plans for the next decade; a world where proprietary technology locks Nintendo's games to Nintendo's hardware. Since the days of the NES, Nintendo has forced developers to sign contracts forbidding them to port their games to other systems. It has then been cracked down on piracy almost as aggressively as the RIAA and MPAA have, sending college kids to jail for hosting ROM sites. The proprietary mini-discs for GameCube games were intended to be, and have proven to be, (ahem) not be as commonly pirated as PS2 and Xbox games.

How can a game dependent on highly proprietary input hardware like the DS (two screens, stylus) or Revolution be feasibily ported to other systems? Who would bother to write, much less use, emulators for it?

The game library for the Nintendo DS has proven that Nintendo's plan for the next decade has nothing to do with innovation. Nintendo actually wants games developed for Nintendo's systems to never appear on anything else, and they're taking steps towards that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

To All Self-Righteous Pirates

Ever pass copied software among friends, or download from a file-sharing network or newsgroup? Scan artbooks or rip DVDs for illegimate cut-n-paste arwork? Do you play ROMS? Unfortunately, some people who do this lose perspective. They convince themselves that what they are doing represents absolute good and that those who enforce copyright are Satanic. Witness, for example, how Napster creeps attacked Lars Ulrich when he stood up for his rights. And we all know of stores that charge you money to burn you copies of new games. They act self-righteous about it: tell you it's “fair use” or that CD-burning takes electricity.

The Torque brings us a wonderful satire on this attitude. It's here:

Chris Taylor Refuses To Sign “Copy” of Dungeon Siege II

Stole?! It took us six hours to download this game from a newsgroup. Does he think our high-speed Internet connection pays for itself?