Posts Tagged ‘games’
Despite being pretty busy for the past few weeks, I’ve also been having my fair share of fun. Naturally this includes copious amounts of movies and games, so I figured I’d jot down my opinions of them before I forget whether I liked them or not. Let’s start with the movies.
Saw this one in IMAX and I gotta say, it probably helped. For the most part, it was another JJ Abrams pretty good but not great popcorn flick. The writing alternated between trite, corny, pseudo-emotional bullshit and genuinely funny, with special props going to the legitimately hilarious stoner character. CGI wasn’t to obtrusive, mostly staying in its place, except for the horrendously overdone, exploderriffic train crash sequence that doesn’t even hold a candle to the Fugitive.
X-Men: First Class
Dear lord this movie was stupid. Now, I admit, this is the first X-Men flick I’ve seen all the way through and I’ve never read the comics or watched the shows or bought the Wolverine print underwear but this film just lacked focus. While Magneto and Xavier are pretty interesting, well-written, and well-handled by the actors (James McAvoy, in particular), pretty much every other X-Man only gets their own short, boring little arc, if that. But I know better than to expect quality from superhero flicks (Spider-Man 2, Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Watchmen notwithstanding), what really surprised me was the god-awful, shittilly rendered, bad even for a made for TV movie CGI. I mean it’s not that hard to model and animate a fucking coin, but it was apparently too big a job for these guys to get right. I swear, the ships especially look like something out of a shitty History Channel World War II documentary. And Kevin Bacon chews the scenery.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I’m not gonna lie, this is probably the best Sweedish film I’ve ever seen.
Right. But it is pretty much amazing from start to finish. The character of Lizbeth Salander has to be one of the most compelling and memorable characters in the last decade. This movie also has one of the most intense rape scenes I’ve ever witnessed, taking the viewer from a state of emotional disgust and fear to one of confused, furious, yet excited vengeance. It’s a must-see. It is getting an American remake this winter and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, the original is great and I don’t know if the American movie industry is mature enough to handle the brutal depictions of sexuality and violence in the story. On the other hand, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Fincher.
Tarintino’s debut film, which I only recently got around to watching. It earned him widespread attention, and with good reason. I’ll just say if you’re a fan of Tarintino’s other work, or simply enjoy Mexican Standoffs, witty dialog, nonlinear storytelling, and nice suits, you should definitely check it out.
And now, teh gaemz!!!111
As far as I can tell, I’m around halfway through the second disk and about halfway through the game as a whole, and so far I like what I’ve seen. I always like giving new IPs a try, if only to convince myself that the future may not be a mindless sequel wasteland, and L.A. Noire is standing on its own well. It’s not nearly as fluid and continuous as I had hoped, rather most every aspect of the gameplay is discrete and binary. Everything’s either right or wrong, you either get an interrogation question right or you get it wrong, you either find a piece of evidence or you don’t. There are a few times when there’s some flexibility, like when you can pick from a couple pieces of related evidence to prove the same point or how the order in which you visit locations on a case can affect who and what is there when you arrive, but for the most part there is one right way. The much-hyped facial animations are stellar, even if suspects couldn’t be more obvious when they’re lying even if they broke out the trollface, and the driving and shooting are solid enough for me. The writing and performances are top-notch and altogether it’s really fun to play. There are a few other flaws, like how cases seem to have arbitrary action sections (WHY DO THEY ALWAYS RUN?!?), many of them involve little inductive reasoning on the part of the player but instead jump to conclusions for them, and you don’t really “solve” cases so much as you collect all the items needed to solve them. More often than not, I’ve ended up arresting guys on accident because the game railroaded me into finding the right guy. Still, all these complaints started at the beginning and have gradually been alleviated through what I assume to be the difficulty curve. Either way, I’m looking forward to playing this one through to the end.
I’ve been playing various flavors of Persona 3 for a few months now and while it’s certainly not as good as P4, it for sure has more of that “cinematic and compelling” stuff Gamespot reviewers rave about. I’ve been playing both Persona 3: FES, the enhanced remake for the PS2 that mostly resembles the original and Persona 3 Portable for the PSP, which takes quite a few cues from my favored sequel. Long story short, the P3P version is better in terms of gameplay and is recommended for those coming from 4 while FES has a much better feel to it in the areas of story, presentation, and cohesion. I’d still recommend the game in either form
I got this way back during the Steam sale last Christmas and I’ve been slowly working my way through it ever since. It’s pretty good, I guess. Not at all scary (vastly inferior to Monolith’s other first-person horror game, Condemed), but still a solid shooter. The main thing I love about it is the incredible, visceral, punch-packing, loud-ass, not gonna fuck around shotgun. It just feels so good to shoot.
After seeing Spoony’s Let’s Play videos of this game, I decided to check it out. What attracted me to it and L.A. Noire was the strictly enforced by-the-book, procedural gameplay that required realistic performance as an officer of the law, i.e. not murdering everyone. For the most part, it works pretty well in SWAT 4, though it oftentimes makes for some really unforgiving levels that rape you in the ass until you cry Uncle. I still wish Officer Girard would stop alternatively getting shot all the damn time and flashbanging my face.
Guitars Hero II and III, Rocks Band I and II
Faulty internal pluralization ftw. But this is pretty much what my roommates and I do when we’re not doing anything else. I really need to get a second guitar controller, or preferably a drum kit, but those things are impossible to find for cheap.
So yeah, that’s basically it for now. Been fucking around with sweet NASA helicopters, installing Linix all over the damn place, and got some bitchin’ new headphones. Pretty rad.
I often start on a train of thought and, as it progresses, my mind goes on different tangents and rabbit trails until several minutes later when I realize that my brain is totally off topic and I try to retrace the path back to the root of the thought tree. After doing this for about the third time today, I decided to do the same thing with my current interests, how I stumbled upon the things that I like, and it turns out that LoadingReadyRun has been far and away one of the biggest influences on my multimedia life.
In a more basic sense, I suppose it stems from internet comedy in general. The root of this tree is IRL, and its children are online. The farthest back I can trace in a continuous path is back in 2008 when a couple of my real-life friends told me about a YouTube sketch comedy group called Balloon Shop who used to attend their high school. Back then, we thought they were flippin’ hilarious, but really, they weren’t and only got less so. Before becoming disenfranchised with them, one of their members posted a link on his Facebook to the Zero Punctuation review of Gears of War 2 on the Escapist in January of ’09. I thought it was pretty funny and decided to click around on the other videos on the site, when I found Unskippable. Watching that, I noticed that the voices seemed familiar and clicked the link to their site, whereupon I recalled that I had seen LRR’s “Fun With Microwaves” video back in 2008. And from there, things went squirrelly.
An archive binge ensued, and I continued to keep up with LoadingReadyRun as they released new videos and created new series. I paid special attention to CommodoreHustle and the Phailhaus, and also started listening to their podcast. When I realized that they were very much not dicks and actually had very good tastes, I began trying out things they recommended. Here is a short list of things I experienced through the direct influence of LRR: In Bruges, Persona 4, Magic: the Gathering, Metal Gear Solid, Andrew WK, Child’s Play charity, Yu-Gi-Oh: Abridged, poutine, and more. I even gained a newfound appreciation for Sir Mix-a-Lot’s magnum opus, Baby Got Back.
But the amazing part is that these direct children also led me to secondary interests. The unholy gangbang of Persona 4, Yu-Gi-Oh: Abridged, and LRR’s personal recommendation led me to commit an atrocity I’d never dreamt possible: I actually watched anime. And not just the little bits of Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragonball Z I saw on Toonami after Ed, Edd, & Eddy when I was a kid, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Code Geass, and FLCL. Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into some otaku monstrosity or anything, but rather through LoadingReadyRun, I have experienced many different genres of entertainment I would have otherwise never even considered. They’ve really opened me up to a wider sample of culture, given me a better appreciation for the world around me, and simply entertained me in dozens of ways.
So thank you, LoadingReadyRun, for helping shape who I am today. You’ve led me to numerous culturally enriching sources of entertainment and given me an assload of laughs. Keep doing the awesome stuff you do.
Unrelated, but I’ve written another article for HardyDev on the nominees for the Best AGS Game of 2010 award, which astute readers will notice is pretty much the same article I wrote last year with some of the names changed around.
So it’s been approximately ages since I’ve done anything in this space, so I figured I’d quickly summarize my last two months with a picture.
(Numbers are roughly clockwise)
1) My torn-apart Eee PC 901. A while back, I broke the LCD by using it as a carrying handle, a use it neither was designed for nor deserved. So I ordered a replacement and assumed I’d be able to install it myself. This was a good assumption; expecting the shipper to send precisely the right model was not. All-in-all, the pins didn’t match up and the backlight didn’t work. Ordering the right part soon.
2) Machine of Death. A great book that I’ve been reading. I think it might be the first actual hold-it-in-your-hands paper book I’ve bought for my own personal reading enjoyment in years.
3) 3D glasses. I was on an Amazon shopping spree and figured why not.
4) My newly repaired Macbook Pro. The turdbiscuits at the Apple Store finally believed me that the issue was the same one I told them it was all along, namely that the Wi-Fi card was Wi-Fried, and repaired the slut of a laptop. So far, so good, but I’ve renamed it “Morgan”.
5) Playstation 2 and Persona 4. I picked up a used PS2 and a bunch of games for dirt cheap over the holidays and have really been enjoying it. Persona 4 is the one game I’ve spent the most time on, over 20 hours according to my save file but many more hours were played but lost to death. It’s really quite fun and I’m looking forward to playing more of it.
6) Magic: The Gathering deck. Yes, I’ve gotten into Magic. I have a few friends with whom I play a couple times a week and currently have 3 decks. Hopefully, I will be able to refrain from converting my entire life savings into trading card form.
7) My DVD copy of The Social Network. The local Blockbuster is shutting down and are in the process of liquidating their DVD inventory, so everything is on sale for, again, dirt cheap. I picked up the special edition of what I consider to be 2010′s best film for a delicious $8.
Otherwise, most of my time has been spent on game development and school. I made another Oceanspirit Dennis game and am currently working on two other unrelated, non-OSD game projects. I also might be working with a certain someone on a certain something that may or may not certainly be a book.
I got a new PC. I made it myself. It has fancy parts for fancy games. Hip hip hooray. With the new PC comes new games, which I could not previously run. These include Just Cause 2, Crysis, Prince of Persia ’08, and all my old games on maximum settings.
I’ve been pretty busy recently, working on several different things. Oceanspirit Dennis has been Oceanspiriting, but I’ve got other, different, game-related stuff on my mind. Not sure if anything will come of it.
Dudes and ladies! I made a game!
Holy moly it’s a game you can play on your computer. Another Oceanspirit Dennis one, I might add, this one’s called Blades of Passion and it’s pretty nice, if I do say so myself. It deals with some heavily Freudian psychological issues concerning OSD’s choice of sexuality, so some of you might pussy out.
I’ve been reviewed on the AGS Blog by a fellow named James “Dualnames” Spanos. He’s from Greece! I still wish it was John Stamos instead. We talked about games and such things, so if you so happen to be so inclined you can so read it by placing your cursor over these words and left-clicking.
I wrote another review for HardyDev about a glorious game called The Journey Down: Over The Edge, which I fully admit is better than Blades of Passion in just about every way. Read it if you want.
It’s called Vector Vendetta, and it’s flippin’ sweet. A bullet hell arcade shooter staring interesting geometrical shapes sounds kinda familiar right? But unlike Geometry Wars, VV is 100% free and able to be played by you right now by clicking these words.
Game Author: Radiant
Website: Crystal Shard
As my love of the name “Dennis” should be quite evident by now, it is no coincidence that some fellows and I created a character, nay, a new universe containing the name. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you…
The basic idea behind OSD is that through all manner of unusual events, I ended up drawing the above picture and a hero was born. He is the forbidden lovechild of Batman and Cloud Strife, torn between a life of crime-fighting and being a typical JRPG protagonist poof. As such, he is perfect game-starring material and has so far been the focus of five games. Here they are in chronological order.
- OSD: Scourge of the Underworld, by Ben304
- OSD: Scourge of the Underworld DX, by me.
- OSD: Mighty Pirate, by Ben304
- OSD: The RPG, by discordance
- OSD: Pirates On The Poopdeck!, by Ponch
So you can see the guy has quite a career ahead of him. In fact, if downloads aren’t your thing, you can actually play Scourge of the Underworld right here in your browser by clicking these words! Pretty sweet, huh? One thing of note, part of OSD’s genesis involved a forum troll with a particularly loose grasp of the Queen’s English, so a couple of those games have appropriately incoherent dialog as a homage. Not mine, however, which instead includes voice acting! NICE. Here’s Oceanspirit Dennis’ new look, too.
Also, I played the first three hours of Metal Gear Solid 3 with a friend the other day. Or, more accurately, I watched two hours of MGS3 and played an hour.
- Star Wars Prequels
- Two Towers
- Halo 3
- Spider-Man 3
- Batman and Robin
- Rocky Balboa
- Terminator 3
- Pirates 2 and 3
- Guitar Hero World Tour
- Sonic games made after 1994
New article by me on Hardydev about a crappy game that I hated. Let’s just say I had more fun skewering it than playing it. Another one that, in case you hadn’t already figured out, was an April Fool’s joke.
It’s a well-known fact that all dentists are completely evil. This is never more clear than once every six months when I go in for my appointment. I seriously think they have it in for me because I don’t floss enough. They started off by hooking me up to the whirling X-ray machine of doom and bombarded my mouth with high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Afterwards, they strapped me in a very uncomfortable chair in an extremely bright room and started taking pictures of the insides of my mouth, presumably to sell to some perverted teeth fetishists on the internet. It was at this point I realized that I was now at the mercies of a woman who clearly believes in “no pain no gain,” perhaps a little too much. As she tore into my gums, she began interrogating me, well aware of the fact that my mouth was busy being assaulted by her sharp implements of terror.
After a jolly good while of this, she decided to mix things up by smearing poor tasting goop in and around my mouth with a mechanical sander, pausing every so often to inject heavily fluorinated water into my increasingly uncomfortable mouth. She wasn’t particularly good at this bit, so half the water ended up bouncing into my upward-facing eyes. When she grew board of drowning me, she stuck a little vacuum tube in my mouth and told me with terrible smugness to swish, as if she knew I wanted to spew the vile mixture in her big, stupid face. After that, the head dentist came in and told me my teeth looked fine. So then I went home.
In completely and totally unrelated news, them ol’ vidya-games are still up to no good. I’ve pretty much decided that Dragon Age isn’t my thing, but I might give it another shot after a cooling off period. I bought Call of Duty: World at War for the deceptively low price of $20. You might think that I say $20 is “deceptive” because the game was really worth much more, but you would be wrong. It was deceptive in the way that it convinced me to buy a wholly mediocre game with AI on the level of Pong. I still can’t stop playing Mass Effect 2, I got back on the horse with Bioshock, and I bought some new songs for Rock Band, so all-in-all a good bunch.
Recently, I’ve been watching the movies people accost me for having ignored. With movies like Alien(s), No Country for Old Men, and In Bruges, they are completely right. With Avatar, they are dead wrong. Something about that movie just bugs me, and the more I think about it, the more I want to stab James Cameron in the throat with cattle prod. I’m not sure where he went wrong. Aliens rocked, Avatar sucked, but why? As usual, I choose to blame CGI, something that they had significantly less of in 1986. I don’t care how detailed the digital models are or how expensive the motion capture was, the Na’vi look computer generated and no amount of lens flares will get them out of the uncanny valley. I also choose to blame 3D and the massive headache it gave me.
Aw, who am I kidding? The only TV show I ever watch is Lost, which is slogging its way through its sixth season. The show has taken a significant dip in quality this time around, not to be confused with the dip last season, or the dip in season three. I’m beginning to lose faith in what I once thought was the greatest show in the history of shows, since no season has yet to live up to the awesomeness of the first. The writers have definitely realized that they can just make crap up and no one will call them out on it, so the questions created to questions answered ratio is hovering around 3.5. They don’t have long to wrap everything up, so they best be kicking into solvey-solvey mode pretty soon. And why the hell do they keep getting rid of all the black characters? Michael, Walt, Mr. Eko, Justin, they’re all suspiciously gone. Just sayin’.
I’ve got a beef with Nolan North.
Everyone needs a celebrity beef. Loading Ready Run had one going with Uwe Boll for a while and I have friend who loathes Dane Cook with all his being. Why not, I figured. North does have the most ubiquitous and generic voice in gaming. I mean pick any of the dozens of characters he’s voiced and chances are they’ll be essentially the same smug American douche. For example, Shadow Complex would’ve been a much better game if I could have enjoyed the Metroidvania exploration without Nolan constantly cracking wise through his characterless avatar. I vote that instead of hiring Mr. North to voice their cocky, brown-haired prick, studios should seek the vocal talents of Sir Sean Connery. I could just imagine Nathan Drake speaking with the same voice as James Bond.
So, in short, Nolan North sucks hard.
Against my better judgement, I’ve been playing those dreadful timesinks again. A particularly dangerous decision since the games I’ve chosen are beyond hopelessly addictive. For starters, there’s Mass Effect 2. I have by far the highest time playing game to time having a life ratio with this paragon of interesting storytelling and exciting gameplay. In the three weeks I’ve had it, I’ve already beaten it three times and have spent well over 60 hours with my three characters, Batman, Helluva, and Batman again Shepard. I cannot even begin to describe the dozens of things Bioware fixed from the original. Actually, wait. The autosave system is a good start. ME1 autosaved about as often as I update this site and never right before a particularly difficult battle. As such, I found myself manually saving incessantly; by the end, I’d saved over 120 times. By contrast, the average number of saves I used to complete ME2 is about 5. This is also partially due to its 35% cocaine content.
Once I would make the poor decision to sit down and play, I would thoroughly enjoy myself for a while and when I looked at the clock, I would find I’d been playing for over 9 hours straight. I’ve never played a game for that long at once. Unlike many other games, other RPGs in particular, Mass Effect 2 never slogged off and became boring to play. None of the other games I’ve been on to recently have this staying power: Fallout 3 often loses momentum and drifts into monotonous walking about; Dragon Age gets slightly off-putting with the lame accents and the lack of a feeling of real accomplishment, owing to the game’s massive size; Modern Warfare 2′s single player was fun, but no longer offers anything novel, and the multiplayer is a one-way ticket to rage; I’m still on the starting world of KotoR because it starts off slower than ME1 but slightly faster than a dead tortoise in molasses; killer7 cannot be played for too long without overwhelming the player with confusion from the overall trippyness of the experience, leaving them searching for a save spot to get some much needed clarity; I’m stuck in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and can’t be bothered to look at a walkthrough. What I’m getting at is that Mass Effect 2 is seriously one of the best friggin’ games I’ve played in a really long time.
Finally, let me state, for the record, that playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with 8 to 13-year-olds is by far the most painful experience you can have with your pants on.
Here’s a short little video review I made to a short little adventure game. I did it for A Hardy Developer’s Journal, a site you should totally read every day at least 14 times.
- Saint’s Row 2: Just finished story missions, only way to describe it is to listen to that part in Won’t Get Fooled Again when Roger Daltrey just screams “YEEEEAAAHH!!!”
- Mass Effect 2: Got it preordered. Wanted to get the collector’s edition but, like an idiot, I waited too long.
- Arkham Asylum: Being Batman is just as much fun as you would expect.
- Modern Warfare 2: The single player campaign is great, even if the story is a bit too WTF, but if you want an aneurysm, play the multiplayer online. I either do really good or really, really bad; one game I get up to a chopper gunner and beyond, the next, I’m getting shot like Tupac.
- Left 4 Dead 2, GMod, TF2, KOTOR, Prince of Persia, etc.: My laptop and I are in trial separation.
- Fallout 3: Good game, it just can’t hold my attention for that long.
- Medal of Honor – European Assault: Oh man, there was a time when I thought that this game was anything other than boring, unbalanced eyestrain.
- Halo 3: … and a time when I thought that this game was anything other than boring, unbalanced ear-rape by 12-year-old brats.
- Another game: one on which I’ll comment later, more extensively.
Let’s have some structure:
- Video games: I recently beat Mass Effect, and let me say that it is definitely one of the best games I’ve ever played. It gives COD4 a run for its money as my favorite Xbox game. Sure, it has a lot of flaws (annoying inventory system, the MAKO vehicle, Unreal engine 3), but it more than makes up for them with an incredible story, truly lovable characters, the best dialog system I’ve ever encountered, and more than tolerable combat. Go buy it now. Other games I’ve been playing recently: Left 4 Dead 2, Saints Row 2, Spider-Man 2, and Modern Warfare 2 (see a pattern?). All of them are really good, but none of them are quite as epic as Mass Effect. I’m planning on getting the collector’s edition (EDIT: For the sequel in January, that is), which is something I’ve never done.
- Computer problems: If you’ve read my twitter in the past two weeks or heard my screams of anguish (audible radius: 2000 km), you’ll no doubt know that my computer is friggin’ screwed up. I have nearly exhausted my options for fixing it, but I don’t think it’s too late yet. After some preparation, I plan to back up all my essential stuff twice, including app licenses, and do a complete format and reinstall. I’m probably going to end up doing this for both my Mac and Windows partition, so I’m going to use this opportunity to upgrade to Windows 7 and increase the size of my Boot Camp partition. I honestly don’t know why I’m upgrading, since the last 3 times I’ve upgraded my computers I’ve wrought nothing but sorrows.
- Christmas: I hate Christmas music. I like Christmas, but I hate the music more than anything. Other things I hate more than anything include the cold, rain, final exams, and media whores. Why I’m in Memphis during the winter and why I still have yahoo.com bookmarked is beyond me. But once again breaking my own rule of never announcing anything until it’s done, I have plans for literally 9 different thing for my holiday break. Instead of breaking my rule outright, I’ll just bend it a little by giving the first letter of each: M, C, A, K, F, T, P, S, and B. Guess away.
Well, it’s that time of year again. No, wait, it isn’t.
So it turns out MacHeist is doing a “nanoBundle” which, short story short, is a half-dozen odd Mac apps for $0, i.e., free. There’s some good stuff in it, like WriteRoom and Twitterrific. There’s some details about unlocks and some stuff on Facebook to get another app or two, but the big deal is that it’s free.
In the realm of not free crap, some pretty stellar-looking games are coming out this Christmas season. I’ve got Left 4 Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2 pre-ordered, and the demo of L4D2 is friggin’ uh-maze-ing. I’ve also been getting back into the swing of PC gaming, TF2, L4D1, and my second play-through of HL2, not to mention copious amounts of fun in Gmod. My MBP handles these games all pretty dandily, HL2 gets 60fps+ on absolute maximum settings. My main issue right now, though, is a lack of hard drive space on my Bootcamp partition. I’d like to give it another 25-30GB from my Mac side, and I’ve heard murmurs that such a feat can be done with GParted. I’ve used the live USB with my Eee with eventual success. While I’d prefer not having to backup and restore, I might be willing to do it with Windows XP, maybe as a transition to 7. But I’m not at all interested in wiping and restoring OS X. This is something I’ll have to research, being a potentially fatal operation.