Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Distinct Lack of Class

Yea , it's been almost a *checking watch* year since I last made a post, sorry about that. I was very bu---screw it, I was lazy and was jumping between Azeroth and the various worlds of The Old Republic. But, I've made my triumphant return.

     In the digital age, games no longer have to wallow on the back shelf of your collection while caked in dust; the introduction of DLC breathes new life into “old” games for a small price. New maps, characters, weapons, skins, and various other modifiers are packaged and released for roughly $10 a pop, which could, in turn, inspire you to replay the game again as you need to refamilierize yourself with the controls. You’d be hard pressed to find gamers who feel that DLC released months after the intial game’s own release is a bad idea, or a sign of game companies trying to whore out their fans. At what point though, does DLC cross from “great idea” to “blatant money making attempt”?
            The first attempt at pure money making grab is the timing as to when the DLC is released. Recently, Bioware had day one DLC for Mass Effect 3, a game which has been drawing the ire of gamers the world over since release. At its core, it seemed like a pretty crummy move on Bioware’s part, but it wasn’t until the contents of the release were announced when the nerd rage boiled over. The contents, which I won’t spoil for you here, contained, in some aspect, a character that was extremely important to the overall lore of the Mass Effect series. Gamers who didn’t preorder the Collector’s Edition (which received the DLC for free) were up in arms that they’d be charged money for a character so integral to the story. Bioware tried to deflect it by claiming that the DLC came into existence well after the game had, for the most part, been finished. Wasn’t a valid excuse for the community at the time though. Eventually the hate died down, and then resurged with the monumental backlash from the game’s ending, which again, I will not spoil for you kind folks, but Bioware has pretty much caved and will be releasing either a content patch, or full blown DLC to better explain the game’s ending.
            The second attempt you can’t even defend, as it’s nothing more than an insult to not only gamers, but to the entire industry itself. Capcom, who aren’t strangers to the idea of DLC, or repackaging the same game eight different ways by adding words like: “Turbo”, “Hyper” or “Ultimate”, has come under fire from the community after it was discovered that their newest release, “Street Fighter X Tekken” had the DLC already on the disc.  Yea, you didn’t read that wrong, the DLC, the content that is to be released sometime after the game’s initial release, was on the original retail disc. Characters, stages, all of that, where there from the get go, but Capcom decided that instead of giving you the game they had just completed, they’ll lock out about 25% because, well, they fucking can, and their reasoning pretty much told everyone to “Go fuck themselves.” In an even more delicious twist, their partner in this, Namco, went on record as stating that their version, shockingly titled "Tekken X Street Fighter", will not have DLC already loaded on the disc.
In Capcom’s case, there have been a few complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau; unfortunately, they were able to have those cases closed as Capcom was able to play semantics with the way the complaints were written. However, one would think that if writing a complaint, you would cite precedence, something akin to this where the judge/court ruled in favor of the customer. The most recent one that comes to mind is the case brought up in California where a judge ruled it was legal for customers to jailbreak/root their phones as, once they purchased the device, everything that it was able to do out of the box, should’ve been available to them without the fee to activate hardware built into the phone. It’s the same example here; the players bought the game, there is content that is physically on the disc that is unavailable to them unless they pay an additional fee to, and stay with me on this, to gain access to content they already paid for. There’s not even the ability to unlock these extras by meeting certain requirements in the game, you have to shell out cash to unlock everything on the disc you just paid $60 for.  It’s extortion, plain and simple.
So, how do we, the gamers, fight this? First, you have to come to the realization that any and every developer is a business, whose loyalty lies to its stock holders and employees. Their main reason for pumping out anything is to make money. It’s the reason why we get a Call of Duty every year, it’s popular, it sells, it hardly changes, but it makes “bank”. We get all up in arms when we feel the least bit slighted, and go on tirades on various forums, we bombard the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages with our contempt for their action, in short, we throw a massive fucking tantrum. The developers treat it like an adult would treat a child in that situation, appeasement. They’ll offer apologies, they’ll offer explinations, they’ll throw us a bone every now and then, but it’s just to shut us up, but they have no intention of changing their plans. If it’s bad enough, which the Capcom example would qualify as, we remove our “gamer” hat, and put on our “consumer” hat.
We, as a community, have to look out for ourselves, we have to unite with a common message which basically says “We aren’t standing for this bullshit.” Capcom gets away with this because they know they can, they know people will still line up to buy their new games all the while complaining about everything underhanded Capcom had done with it. No amount of forum whining and veiled threats of no longer buying their product, it has to be mass, they need to see that you have to more than appease us, you have to respect us.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Single, Black Console in Search of Long Lasting, Meaningful Relationships.

At this past E3, Microsoft announced two new Halo titles: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (an HD remake of Halo CE) and Halo 4, both announcements receiving mixed reactions across various forums in the vastness of the internet, but why? The Halo series is Microsoft’s biggest bread winner, so, it only makes sense for them to churn out as many Halo games as they can, can’t fault them for that, however, Microsoft really only has Halo to draw gamers to their console. Others could argue that Gears is another one of the “big draws” for Xbox, but the series is slated to end after September, we all know that won’t happen, but still. When you get right down to it, Microsoft suffers from the exact opposite of what Nintendo is currently going through, and it’s a lack of distinctive Xbox exclusive titles.
                Now, Xbox does have a number of exclusives, but there’s a problem: they either sucked copious amounts of ass (Bomberman Zero), or, they’re also available on PC (Left 4 Dead). There are still a handful of award winning series that are solely on Xbox: Gears of War, Fable, and Forza (taking the place of Project Gotham Racing). All of those are very solid franchises, but let’s be honest here:
1)      Fable, while a great series, tends to over-hype itself and falls amazingly short of what was initially promised. Is the final product terrible? Not at all, it’s a solid game…but when compared to what was being presented to gamers, it absolutely is. It also lacks an iconic character for gamers to connect with, at best, there’s Theresa, a 300 year old blind seer who’s really nothing more than condescending manipulative bitch, and would sooner “get you” and your little dog too.
2)      Racing games appeal to a specific demographic of players, generally those who trick out their Honda Civic (certified transportation of douchebags). Additionally, it’s going against the proverbial “big dog of the yard” in Gran Turismo.
I’m not saying that Microsoft has done a terrible job of creating a home console, ‘cause they haven’t.  The Xbox is arguably the more powerful of the three systems out there, and has a more established online presence with Live (created back in 2002), but they lack games that will draw people to Xbox.  I know, some may think “So the fuck what?” and if that’s you, I unapologetically state that you know absolutely dick about video games, and probably blindly follow Xbox to the point of fanboyism. Xbox and Playstation both receive the same blockbuster titles; Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, and Modern Warfare 3, are a few of the major cross platform titles being released this year. Microsoft does have a deal with Activision where all Modern Warfare 3 DLC will be on the 360 first, but who gives a shit, it’ll still be on Playstation just a week or two later, that’s not much reason to purchase a Xbox over Playstation.  Choice of system all boils down to: who’s got what the other doesn’t,  which is not a new concept and goes back to “Ye Olde Days of Gaming” with Nintendo vs. Sega. Speaking slightly off topic, I was thoroughly pissed at the lack luster response from some of the younger members of the gaming community with the inclusion of Sonic in Super Smash Bros: Brawl, Mario facing off against Sonic on the field of battle, something we’ve dreamed of for ages, but, digress, etc, etc.
Microsoft has held great exclusivity rights, one of their best being with Bioware, a number of their titles were only available on Xbox; Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect.  Unfortunately, for Microsoft, Mass Effect went from Xbox exclusive, to multi console with the release of Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 earlier this year. They gradually lost another with Ninja Gaiden, for a time Sony only got an upgraded ‘easier’ version a year or so after the original Xbox release, so Xbox was still able to tout that Playstation got a rehash…but Gaiden 3 is simultaneously being released on both systems. Same happened for Dead Rising, Metro 2023, the Xbox has given birth to many great series, but they slip through their fingers and wind up on Playstation as well. What series Microsoft does have, are viewed as stale (see: Halo), where even some die-hard Microsoft fans are starting to lose interest.
So, what can Microsoft do to rectify that problem? There are a few answers to that really. First, pay attention to new IPs that saw a surge in sales, for example, Alan Wake; a game that was widely praised for its innovative storytelling and gameplay, with enough tender loving care, you can soon run these series into the ground. Second, resurrecting some of the past titles that they had exclusivity of, going back to the original Xbox.  Shenmue is now homeless since Sega no longer makes a console, however Shenmue II was on the original Xbox,  and, apparently people are clamoring for Quick Time Events: The Game.  The MechAssault series was widely popular on the original Xbox, as was Crimson Skies, there’s even the option of going as far back as to taking a look at Sega Dreamcast exclusives that haven’t seen the light of day since the Dreamcast was buried and forgotten if the concept of coming up with something new is a “a bit much”.
Now, now, I’m not going to completely trash them; Microsoft isn’t just sitting there with their thumbs up their ass waiting for something awesome to fall into their lap. They’re actively trying to promote Kinect (and by proxy Xbox) exclusive games. Now…granted a number of the titles are can be considered…terrible to the more advanced gamer, but there are some gems hidden amongst all of it, Dance Central being one. Now, granted it’s a dancing game, and it actually requires movement on the gamers part (something most of are against), but at least it’s an Xbox exclusive that’s garnering some praise. I’m still not fully impressed with what Kinect has to offer as of now, but I DO recognize the potential Kinect has, if Microsoft can harness that potential, they have a surefire way to differentiate themselves from Playstation, and vault Kinect from “gimmick” to “full-fledged gaming experience”.  Part of the reason Kinect has failed to resonate with a large percentage of players isn’t that the notion motion control is unappealing, as I’m sure many of us would like nothing more than to play an FPS while using our couch for cover, but the lack of games not tailored to children, and casual gamers (another problem Nintendo had with Wii). Going back to resurrecting series, Panzer Dragoon, a rail shooter, would fit in perfectly with Kinect’s current gameplay mechanic of ‘rails’,  and, the last Panzer game, Pranzer Dragoon Orta, appeared exclusively on Xbox (and, shocker, is another SEGA game).  I get that Microsoft wants to appeal to the “family unit”, but Nintendo is much better at, and has titles that don’t illicit a “What the fuck is that?” *coughdisneylandadventurescough*.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Still WTS loved ones for E3 passes.

     E3 is three days away…technically two if you count Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft holding their conferences on the 6th,  but now is the time that we, as gamers, toss aside the silly notion of console fanboyism and PC elitism, and enjoy the event that is equivalent of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and pornography all rolled into one. It’s for this that, before I go any further, I’m issuing a call to all gamers the world over: should you run into one of the aforementioned shit-dicks who start trashing any of the developers based solely on the fact presentation is from “Company X”, I humbly request that you promptly put them in place, be it verbally, or beating them unconscious using a Super Scope. Now I understand that everyone isn’t going to like every single thing out there and so long as they use proper grammar, and speak like an adult, allow the disagreement….if they use the phrase “sucks” but spelled it with an ‘x’…end them.

The proverbial “Fat Cat” company that uninformed gamers the world over don their tin foil hats (complete leftover pieces of a Tombstone pizza) claiming that EA does nothing but ruin games for profit and blah blah blah. Regardless of how you feel about EA as a company, there's no denying that they're the muscle behind some fairly popular games. This year at E3, eyes will be on a few EA titles; first it's two games coming out of Bioware; Mass Effect 3, which has been pushed back to 2012, and Star Wars: The Old Republic --which was awarded best game in a variety of categories in last year’s E3 (and premiered at 2009's E3).
Pardon me while I borrow a phrase from the Halo series; but, Commander Shepard returns in Mass Effect 3 to “Finish the fight”. The Reapers are awake, extremely pissed at Shepard, and are systematically taking apart what meager resistance humanity, and the galaxy, has to offer. So far, we know a large number of characters from previous Mass Effect games will be returning (based on your decisions in those games naturally), as well as some new faces. They’ve hinted that decisions you made, such as saving the Rachni queen, or combining the all Geth A.I into a single entity will be included… hopefully won’t play out like it did in Mass Effect 2, with a random NPC encounter, or e-mail (joy & rapture). Combat will remain the same as the previous two entries, taking advantage of the cover system as well as issuing commands to your squad mates....whether or not your squadmates will take full advantage of the cover system themselves, or continue to charge blindly into enemy fire after you've given them commands to take cover has yet to be announced, keep those fingers crossed for the former.
Next, Star Wars: The Old Republic is shaping up to be quite the MMO experience, but not a WoW killer by any means. Those of you looking for an actual sequel to KotOR 2...I wouldn't hold your breath. The game is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic 2, with the only two possible characters to have survived are T3-M4 and HK-47 (who appeared in Star Wars: Galaxies), and probably the sevent foot hairballs from both games. As for Bastilla, Mandalore, Mission and whiney-ass Carth, they’ve all kicked the bucket. It also becomes obvious that Revan, the hero of the first title, never returned; and the Exile, hero of the second, failed to find him, as the Sith have been able to establish a significant foothold in the galaxy. If you're a player who likes their factions to deal in absolutes then Knights of the Old Republic (and the Dark Side) is for you. The Republic are your standard Star Wars goodie goodies, filled with disgustingly lawful Jedi (Knight & Consular), Republic troopers, and Smugglers (don't ask) they stand united against the Sith empire comprised of: Sith (DUH), Bounty Hunters (Boba Fett names incoming), and Imperial Agents. Gameplay in Old Republic will greatly differ from current MMOs already out there, for one, the standard “One class, one role” rule is tweaked to allow all classes some level of healing, tanking, and damage dealing. That’s not to say that there won’t be classes who would be better suited at one of the three categories, however, by allowing all classes access to these traits means less time sitting in a public channel spamming “LF Tank”. Second, Old Republic will utilize a cover system; much like Bioware’s other series Mass Effect, which has only been seen in one other MMO to date. Lastly, you don’t really need a group of friends to play this game (social outcasts rejoice). Players will be able to maintain a party of NPCs much like in every Bioware title since the first Knights of the Old Republic, all of whom have their own backstory and motives. Bioware is trying to weave an intricate story for the game, allowing players to experience different points of view based on their race, class, and party selection. Bioware is certainly pulling out all the stops to ensure Old Republic will be a memorable MMO  experience, so long as they don’t get bogged down with trying to please all types (and thus isolating another group) of players this game is going to draw, Old Republic could be around for quite awhile.
Second, is a game being created by award winning developer DICE, Battlefield 3. Compared to the Bad Company series, Battlefield 3 returns to a more serious tone,  and, like most modern warfare games, is centered in the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Iran. Battlefield 3 will make heavy use of the newly developed Frostbite 2 engine. The previous version, Frostbite (now known as ‘Frostbite shit there) was the engine of the Bad Company series, and, without boring you with in-depth explanations, it basically followed the mantra of “If you can touch it, you can blow it the fuck up.” Frostbite 2 allows that with better graphics and sound, allowing you to truly appreciate the the chaos you spread. Now, it goes without saying that Battlefield will be compared to Call of Duty in every aspect by those who don't know any better, it's a “I have no fucking idea what I'm talking about” kind of way. First, it's pretty hard to change the core mechanics behind FPS, you see a gun, shit to kill, and different things to blow up, it's a tried and true formula. The real appeal in this day is to be able to kill whomever you want from the comfort of your own home, and the folks at DICE are able to create an amazing multiplayer experience. Battlefield has always focused on the total-war feeling, incorporating all aspects of war into the series making use of both infantry (now with prone…fuck yea) and vehicles; while both are able to operate on their own, when working in conjunction with each other, is a devastating force. DICE’s record with multiplayer is so great, the only reason the newest Medal of Honor received any positive reviews was because of the multiplayer.

     Before I get into their brief overview, let me just start with a personal message to Ubisoft:
Please, I beseech you, for all that is holy in this world; do NOT provide additional details on Battletag. That awkward trip to the 80s during last year's E3 still haunts me...

Now, back on track. Currently, they have two titles that gamers are anxiously awaiting: Ghost Recon: Future Solider (which premiered at E3 2010), and the recently announced Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In keeping with whole “Russia is the bad guy theme”, Future Solider has a small, elite, American squadron known as ‘Ghosts’ face off against Russian Ultranationalists. With Future Soilder the way you go about performing your Black Op objectives have been enhanced; stealth will still play a major factor, with a new feature called “optical camouflage” implemented. Basically, it allows the player to “go ‘predator”, distorting the visible spectrum and blah blah blah…if you didn’t get the proper mental image from the phrase “go predator”, I can’t help you.  It’s a game from the Tom Clancy universe so the story won’t come as a shock to anyone, anywhere, ever. Some bad guys are doing bad shit, and it takes bad ass Americans to put them in their place. However, what makes the Tom Clancy universe so intriguing is that some aspect from each series has ties to other games and vice versa. Expect the big news on Ghost Recon this E3 to release details on its multiplayer.
            Assassin’s Creed: Revelations picks up where Brotherhood left off with its obnoxiously mysterious ending in which (redacted) stabs (redacted) and (redacted) basically tells (redacted) that “(redacted) didn’t know shit and did it for (redacted) own good” as a result (redacted) is in a coma for (redacted) (redacted). Revelations is supposed to be the last game in the Ezio story line wrapping everything up, and paving the way for Assassin’s Creed 3.  Currently, the game’s primary focus will be in and around Constantinople as Ezio is searching for a relic left behind by his ancestor Altair that is said to end the war between the Assassins and the Templars. Ezio will search the city for clues which lead him to the relic, and, with each clue, the player takes control of Altair as they work to unravel the mystery behind each clue. I'll drop the “(redacted)” bullshit now, also, after the ending of Brotherhood, Desmond fell into a coma and was placed back into the Animus at the orders of the head Assassin “William M” (the sender of emails in Brotherhood, as well as the voice in the ending ordering as such). While he attempts to recover in the animus, a secluded section is hidden deep in the coding where Desmond attempts to sort through the memories of Altair, Ezio, and his own, in an effort to piece his shattered mind back together. The multiplayer mode from Brotherhood will also return, with additional character options and game modes, and, assuming it plays anything like it did in Brotherhood, expect it to be fun as shit. Now, I'm not one to make predictions, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ubisoft unveiled the next Prince of Persia game this E3, as a sequel to 2008's title. The DLC released for it ended in a rather “downer” sort of way, also, we have no idea if the Prince was ever able to find he beloved donkey, Farrah.

            Look for one last E3 post as I discuss what I’m personally looking forward to out of this E3.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WTS: Loving friends and family for a single, 3-day E3 Pass

Nerd Mecca is a mere two-weeks away, and with it, many of us will be glued to G4, Gametrailers, or various Twitter feeds to get up to the minute hype about all the new projects and releases by the big three and numerous developers. To us, this is our Super Bowl, Final Four, World Cup, and the World Curling Championship rolled into one. We’ll froth at the mouth when games we’ve been awaiting sequels to are announced, or IPs based on comics or shows we loved as children are transferred to a new media – personally, I was ecstatic that the folks over at High Moon Studios made a Transformer game that was not only NOT complete shit, but was extremely fun to play, and was truthful to the series (also, Peter Cullen as Prime doesn’t hurt). So, in leading up to the event, I’ll break down of some the known, and wishes that gamers want to see.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – It’s pretty much guaranteed that with each new year, we’ll get a new Call of Duty, with each of the developing studios, Infinity Ward (not for long) and  Treyarch switching off. What we can expect for Modern Warfare 3, if the newest trailer is any indication, the Ultranationalists, while thwarted in DC, appears to not only be making headway in other US cities (NYC being featured) but with some other major Western Cities in Paris, Berlin, and London. Considering how Warfare 2 ended, we can pretty much call it a “lock” that Soap MacTavish will return as one of the protagonists alongside his mentor Captain Price, Also, no telling if if Pvt. Rameriez will be single-handily saving the city of New York just as he apparently saved the entire DC metropolitan area (the Army was really only there for show). Infinity Ward does a great job of telling a story via a medium that some feel is not the place to weave such tales (the creator of the Sims for instance). In my opinion, the “Shock and Awe” mission from the first Modern Warfare was one of the best scripted events in recent gaming memory that I had ever witnessed.  However, the story isn’t what brings most CoD players to the table, with multiplayer being their focal point. Details are sketchy at best, we’re fairly certain we’ll see the return of the “leveling system” that has been present in every CoD game since Modern Warfare, however, it’s unclear if the version from Black Ops will be used where players are able to purchase whichever gun, perk, secondary they wish, so long as they have the necessary funds. Certainly, this would be the best option as it gives players of all skill levels a chance to start on equal footing, not being relegated to the relatively weak arsenal present at the beginning, while going against people who’ve unlocked the “golden gun of headshot explosions”. We know that Spec Ops is you find a friend capable of covering your ass and not running off to some obscure corner of the map; as well as a new mode: Survival. We can pretty much assume will be along the same line of previous Zombie game modes, pitting players against wave after wave of enemies until you're left with a pistol facing off against a tank a la Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan....only you won't go out like such a bad ass, and will merely mutter curses into your mic blaming all your teammates for the loss....tool.


No doubt that Capcom is going to release significant information about the up and coming title Street Fighter x Tekken (take note of the bromance). From the looks of things, the animation style is going to be based off Street Fighter IV which give the characters beautiful water-color look, as if the game is being painted right before your eyes. They’ve released a few teaser cinematics and a few that hinted at actual game play, which, if you’ve ever played Street Fighter, isn’t too drastic of a change. This would be the opportunity to reveal details about the game’s release date, roster, ‘plot’ (a term used loosely regarding fighting games), and details on how to fit the Tekken characters’ moveset into a 2D environment. From the game play trailer it looks as if SF x Tekken is going the route of previous 'Vs' titles and is incorporating tag-team battles, and, judging by an earlier trailer, it looks as if teammates can perform a sort of 'delayed team hyper combo' (Marvel vs Capcom phrases, keep up), it'll be interesting to see if these DTHC are relegated only when characters are of the same 'team' e.g all Street Fighter, or if Capcom is going to go the distance and create quite a large number of these manuvers with every possible character combination in the game.

The other game was announced at 2010's Tokyo Game show and has gotten a few people intrigued. Asura's Wrath is Capcom's next foray in the "Beat the ever loving shit out of everything that moves, and for good measure, hit it again" genre. Wrath deals with the standard story of betrayal that we saw in God of War; once a respected and worshiped deity, his brethren were a tad jealous of his godly prowess and sought to strip him of his godhood, and cast him out....and they succeed. Asura, now extremely pissed off, and is out for....whatever it is Gods ooze out when their arm is ripped off...., and learned to harness his rage, turning it into a weapon to face the armies of the Gods themselves. He'll dismember, behead, eviscerate,  and prance about (in a manly covered in the blood of his enemies way) as he extracts his vengeance. Gameplay here won't come as a shock to anyone who's ever played God of War, Dante's Inferno, Ninja Gaiden, and the list goes on and on. Thankfully, Capcom has proven themselves in games centered around kicking copious amounts of ass with their releases of Onimusha in the early 2000s, and Devil May Cry in the latter half of the decade. So long as Capcom doesn't stray too far from their formula, Asura's Wrath will certainly prove to be a blood-gorging good time.

PS: Even the statues in this game can explode in bloody goodness.

Be sure to check back in the coming days for more E3 preview type...writing....stuffs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Gamer's guide to looting during the Rapture

Ok folks, I’m sure that you’ve all heard by now, the end of times is upon us, and I’m sure you’re laying out your best vestments for your journey.  Let’s be honest here, about 90% of us are damned to hell anyway, so don’t go making plans for your ascent into heaven…you’ll be sorely disappointed. So, why not take this opportunity to get all the shit you ever wanted but couldn’t afford due to it being so frivolous? Most people will be losing their minds when fire starts raining down from the sky, and will be wandering around aimlessly for the subsequent 5-months, waiting for the world to end, but not us gamers. We’re used to going long stints without any form of human interaction, so, in during these 5months, why not take this chance to play all those games you’ve always wanted to, but couldn’t afford with a little post-rapture looting?
Ideally, you’ll want at least one looting buddy, which enables you to hit multiple locations and carry more shit. First you need to think about the necessities: power, output devices (televisions), various cheese-based snacks, and carbonated beverages.

Step 1: Make a list of the consumable necessities you’ll need. If you go in without a plan you’ll end up leaving with shit you don’t need, like dishwashing liquid, cans of Alpo, and abandoned children. Making the list ensures you can dash in and dash out, enabling you to quickly reach your next looting destination. Some suggestions for grocery store looting include: Cheez-Its, Doritos, Spam, paper towels (we’re not savages), Mountain Dew, and chocolate chip cookies. 

Step 2:  Next, take stock of your current gaming collection. Do you have all the systems that are currently available? If no, add those that are missing to your list. What about all the corresponding peripherals? Add those to the list. Now, for the “meat”, organize your games into four separate piles: Completed, In-Process, Haven’t touched, & Complete pieces of shit. In a Post-Rapture world, the governments of the world will have collapsed, leaving all forms of currency worthless, and leaving those of us left behind to implement a bartering system, hopefully, your collection is large enough where you have no less than 35 completed games, if not, it will force you to loot extra, which could become a hindrance depending on how many games you wish to loot for personal use. Once those have been organized, head on over to your favorite video game peddling website and take your time perusing their catalogue. While you may feel rushed with it being the end of the world and all, now is not the time to get sloppy and forget items., the last thing you want to do is have to venture out into the outside world the following days (we’ll touch on this more later). Now, I can’t tell you which games you should pick up, this is all personal preference, try to remember all those games you wanted to play, but were scared away by shitty reviews, felt you were paying too much for a rehash, was waiting for the price to drop, or just too lazy to go to the store. To give you an idea for each category, these are a sampling of what’s on my list, Golden Axe: Beast Rider (Shitty-- but interested), New Super Mario Bros (Rehash), Heavy Rain (I’m a cheap bastard) Donkey Kong Country Returns (Best Buy is more than a ½ mile away).

Step 3: Now that we’ve got food and games covered, the next are the technical supplies needed: mainly power generators.  Now, folks in the suburbs may have it easier as a Lowes, Home Depot, or some other kind of home improvement store is in a fairly close distance, and can easily loot one. However, I suggest you stop here first as I’m certain these will be a hot commodity amongst non-gamers for their cappuccino makers and iron lungs. For those living in the city, it gets a bit difficult but you have a few options ahead of you:
a)      You could always build a generator. While I don’t have the logistics of what is needed, I’m certain if you watch old episodes of MacGuyver you’ll stumble across something. I will say this much, a hamster, gerbil, or other small animal, would not be able to keep up with the power output needed to run everything, as a result, you may be forced to kidnap a number of small children (should you have not created any yourself), just make certain you make concessions for that while looting food.
b)      Now, the obvious choice is flat out taking someone else’s, chances are you’d have to travel out to the suburbs, so, in place of looting on in the initial hours after the Rapture, I suggest you go for a larger pickup, or semi w/ trailer if possible.*
*Pro Tip: Hospitals generally have an overabundance of power generators, since those left behind are doomed to hell for all eternity anyway, there’s no need to prolong their suffering in this world. Infact, in your roundabout way of murdering them by stealing these generators, it’s possible you inadvertently get them a pass into Limbo/Purgatory. You should take this opportunity to pat yourself on the back for being such a great humanitarian. Kudos!

Now, it’s important to remember that you will not be the only person taking to the streets for looting, and should be prepared to arrive a few hoursearly to the location  (like Black Friday, but with more damnation) where you plan to kick off your looting. Since Rapture starts at 6pm, most stores will be open, so you can simply mingle about with an empty cart, and, come 6:01, start piling things into your cart using the “Sweeping your arm across the shelf” method.

Additionally, there are unconfirmed reports about a Zombie Apocalypse taking place immediately after the initial events of the Rapture. Be certain that you have, at the very least, a blunt object in your possession that is capable of crushing skulls, should you have a long bladed weapon fit for decapitating, even better. I strongly suggest you take the time between now and the Rapture to get in as many rounds of Left 4 Dead as you possibly can. This virtual zombie apocalypse simulator will help refine your reflexes, help you identify zombie classifications, and what symptoms you should be on the lookout for infection.  
If all goes well, you can ride out the end of days in relevant comfort, just make certain you take frequent gaming breaks to clear out any zombies which may have found their way on to the premises.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nintendo just can't stop playing with themselves (yes, a shameless penis joke)

For as long as there's been home gaming, Nintendo has existed. Infact, if it wasn't for the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, the home gaming market would've fizzled out like a bad fart. It's had such a lasting effect on pop-culture that anyone over the age of 50 calls every video game device EVER a "Neen-ten-doo".  Many "Old school" gamers consider their fondest memories playing Turtles in Time on the SNES with their friends, or playing through A Link to the Past for the 15th time. They were at the forefront of innovation, have taken on all comers and, when the dust settled, came out stronger. Their stranglehold on the handheld gaming market for the last 20+ years is a testament to that fact (we'll just ignore the fact Virtual Boy ever existed).

Despite my respect for, and love of Nintendo, the Wii did alot to isolate those who have held every Nintendo controller in their hands since they've been able to. Part of the appeal of the Nintendo was that it did cross-platforms better than Sega and had better first-party games. Don't start sending me hate mail, I loved Sonic and Golden Axe just has much as anybody, but Sega could not come close to the juggernaut that was Mario. Nintendo had, and still has, a strong showing when it comes to first-party titles; Mario & Co, Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Metroid, Donkey Kong, basically, any series that's represented in Super Smash Bros....however, that's their only strength. Third-party support started to wane on Nintendo consoles with the Gamecube, by that time, Sony and Microsoft had a more than a foothold in the industry, and was proving to be more of a challenge than Sega. Microsoft had the more powerful system, and, Playstation was on its second console, and already had a well-established player base (I distinctly remember my friend skipping school the day it was released). With what the Playstation 2 lacked in power, sitting in last place of the three, it had a large library of high quality 3rd party titles, the biggest obviously being Metal Gear (which got its start on Nintendo for those too young to remember.)

It wasn’t just the lack of third-party titles that was an issue, but hardware features as well. Both Microsoft and Sony had DVD playback capabilities on their system...Nintendo didn't; there were a few Phillips/Nintendo Gamecubes created for that purpose, but it never went anywhere. Second, online gaming started to get a big push during this generation, with Xbox Live taking off and a number of Playstation titles with online play, most notable being SOCOM....Nintendo, however, didn't feel the need to implement the feature with the Gamecube. Nintendo became that old curmudgeon who was stuck in the past, and referred to everything new, and by proxy unnecessary, as "new-fangled hooey".  With the release of the Wii, Nintendo proved again they can be the leaders of innovation, with the introduction of motion based game play….however, they were still living in the past. The Wii still lacked DVD playback, a feature that is standard on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 out of the box, and their online play left a lot to be desired. They at least took a step in the right direction by enabling online play for a number of their titles…but the execution was way off with their system of having to exchange friend codes for each individual game and not console, as opposed to Live and PSN with the ability to hop into and out of games that are online-enabled.

Some people would describe the Wii's game selection as "cartoony" and "childish", and....they'd be correct, however, not in the disrespectful manner in which they're implying. Nintendo has always had the ability to appeal to the younger generation with some...let's face it...extremely shitty games. It's almost as if Nintendo has reserved themselves to the fact that their system, while having the potential to be entertaining to all levels of gamers, appealed mostly to families and beginners. Personally, I have no interest in playing any party-esque game featuring a roster of Nickelodeon characters that DON’T involve Ren & Stimpy, or Rocco and pals, as I’m sure most of you don’t either, but you’re forgetting one important fact….we’re all adults now. Those of us who remember the “Golden Age of Gaming” are holding Nintendo to the standard of our happy childhood memories, expecting them to captivate us with every single game they release, and, quite frankly, that’s bullshit. Part of becoming an adult is growing up in some aspect… though I still eat sugary cereal and, if I could find one large enough, would drive a Pow-pow-power wheel down the hallway of my apartment building to-DAY, but our brains are no longer wired to only be satisfied with bright colors and happy music. I used to think Mickey Mousecapades was the shit when I was younger, then, on a relatively recent trip down memory lane, I dug out my old NES, performed the standard ritual of preparing the cartridge, popped it into the deck, started playing, and not ten minutes in, I questioned my own intelligence as a child as to how I could ever have liked this.

It's safe to say that those of us who grew up with Nintendo, have outgrown most of what Nintendo has to offer. Yes, we'll still go back experience the lastest adventure in Hyrule, and perform another monumental cock-block on King Koopa, but overall, it'll leave us severely disappointed. Is it Nintendo's fault? Absolutely not, Nintendo will continue to do what it's done for the last 26 years: instill fond memories in a younger generation of gamers, allowing them to state 20 years into the future that Nintendo isn't what it used to be. Now, I know I stated their lack of online play had no p, but that just meant that you played multiplayer Wii the same way you played multiplayer NES, call up your friends and invite them over how many of us have not had a blast watching drunken friends attempting to swing for the fences in Wii Sports?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sony to gamers: "PSN is back up! Now stop yelling at us because you were forced to go outside!"

I figured what better way to kick off the inaugural blog post than to discuss the big news from earlier this week and take part in the "Playstation Network is back up" hoot-nanny. For those of you gamers, or 'normal' folk, who have been living under a rock for the last month, the free service, Playstation Network (or PSN for we lazy-types), was taken offline after a malicious attack which sought to either bring to light Sony's terrible security policies....or fuck with the minds of all Playstation gamers the world over as they were deprieved their daily dose of calling into question other gamers sexuality while at the same time screaming obscenities in the mic, has finally come to a resolution. No word yet on which group is responsible for the attack, but most scuttle suggests that it was the handy work of a group who are members of an image board located somewhere in the vast wilderness of the internet. Sony did come out and say earlier this month that user's personal data, such as name, addresses, credit card numbers, and sexual fetishes was compromised, but, thus far, has not released actual numbers of those who are affected by the heist. PSN users were sent an email explaining the situation, and Sony, attempting to right the wrongs, presented information to their users on how they can verify if they are the victim of identity theft, as the struck a deal with an online security firm for it's users --which goes without saying is free to PSN users for the immediate future.

In an effort to appease the disappointed users, Sony has done what can only be describe as "throwing them a bone", where it was leaked earlier this week that a handful of games would be available for download from the PSN store, with smash Playstations hits such as LittleBigPlanet and InFamous, to some PSN arcade games, as well as few PSP titles for those in possession of one. Additionally, all PSN (free) users will be given a free month or so of the new PSN - Plus network, which offers some exclusive content not available to the free users - content which won't be available to the user when their account reverts back to 'freeloader' mode. The same 'free' period will also be offered to those users who subscribe to PSN+, with them still being able to keep their shit. 

All things considered, I feel Sony is actually being rather gracious in their "We're sorry our shit broke" deal. As I mentioned, PSN is a free service, and, while I don't have the exact numbers of paying PSN subscribers, I'm willing to bet it comes nowhere close the number of free PSN users. Offering any sort of 'refund' for a free service is seriously committed to their user base, well aware that it's the players who keep them going.

In other "Big News", Activision released the teaser trailer for the next installment in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, unexpectedly titled "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" (that was sarcasm by the way folks). Judging by the teaser, it looks as if the Ultranationalists gave up on their conquest of Washington DC, and moved on to the next logical target: New York City. The clip opens with some chatter by American forces who appear to be the calmest individuals ever as the largest city in America is under attack and they're chatting as if they're on some routine training assignment. Of course, it's probably why I'm not in the military as if I were ever in a situation such as that, my squad's position would be given away as I a let loose with a string of obscenities for every shell that explodes around me. After a few quick glimpses of the amphibious assault on NYC, the trailer closes out with some Russian chatter, which I'm sure has already been  translated one of the many Youtube pages dedicated to this, good luck finding it amongst all the "Call of duty sux" posts and what-not. Now, what I bet you didn't know, is that they released a few more trailers that featured more cities than just New York:


If all goes well, we can be killing each other before Christmas 2011