I’ve got $10, let’s go game shopping – November 2012

While they’re fun to work up an increased heart rate to over the internet, video games can cost a lot of money. This is not much of a secret; it wouldn’t be worthy of a TV special. Video games are typically much more expensive than a bag of ice, but less than three blocks of LEGO. With new release titles costing an average of $625,000 each, plus additional day-one paid DLC (to unlock access beyond their title screen) in the vicinity of three million dollars, just what can a mere $10 get you these days?

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Hey U – Give Me Real Controls

The Wii Remote & Nunchuk was last generation’s innovation in violence – still strong today, still better than the competition. This was the method of controlling the last true console Resident Evil experience the world would know: The Umbrella Chronicles.

For the previous console cycle, there’s a seldom-stated lesson Capcom briefly learned (see RE4:Wii) then immediately forgot (see their “HD” games): if you’re pretending to KILL in a video game, do it properly. It’s just a shame we don’t have to pretend anymore: modern games, such as Capcom’s premiere action series, have gotten so smart that they play themselves (step aside Super Guide). The games don’t hesitate to handle much of the excitement on their own, and work hard to convince us that quick-button-context-flashback-retrospection-cutscene was an artistic achievement (“Best QTE of 2012,” is there such a thing?). Opponents of violent gaming love to point out how video games “teach kids how to kill”, but I know that’s rubbish cuz most games suck at that, especially as more games suck at being games. It’s supposed to be like watching a movie, right? Why not an effing GAME? Thru these last couple generations of analog masturbation, popular shooters have more or less surpassed “REALISTIC EVERYTHING” – nevermind the gameplay. And in a (not really) fun twist, “more realism” cheerfully graduated to “more Hollywood”; new gameplay became movies that look like gameplay. “Wow, it’s like playing a game,” – thanks, my confidence in the new generation is at an all-time high.

Before proceeding, I want to be clear that the major ideas in the blocks of text below don’t necessarily apply to every genre or gameplay mechanic. Many of our favorites are derived from things like tennis, team sports, board games, gambling, mazes, vehicles, boxing puppets, and Donkey Kong – there’s no reason to mess with certain core elements. However, TANGIBLE VIRTUAL VIOLENCE has a raw, engrossing quality that the majority of the Industry has not been interested in embracing for some time; fluid human movements seek the spillage of human fluid, yet they insist gamers don’t like movement and just seek Mountain Dew. Trapped in the game industry’s electronic erection contest, the prestigious computing “arms race”, we continue enduring their fake war: fake gameplay and fake value. Cash and companies continue to perish in the high-priced struggle to show violence; rarely do we see genuine imagination towards playing violence. It doesn’t have to be this way; we can still search for decency. Aim off-screen and raise your real arms to rediscover what’s in front of you: the gameplay in your hands.

/wii joke

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ZombiU, or is it really GhostU?

As we near the Wii U launch, we also near the launch of a surprisingly-original Ubisoft title in the form of ZombiU.  It’s a fresh take on the survival horror genre, and is more of a Resident Evil game than Resident Evil 6 is.

The gist of the story is that John Dee, head magician of Queen Elizabeth I’s court, made a prophecy of a disaster that would eventually come to pass as the zombie apocalypse presented within the game.  The player is not the main character of the story (the main characters are the NPCs you meet over the course of the game), but instead takes an interesting angle in that we step into the shoes of a random Joe on the streets of the plague-stricken city of London.  Once they die, it’s Game Over for Joe #1, and we move onto the life of Joe #2 (or Jane #1).  It’s a fairly straight-forward story, or at least what little of it we know of at this point in time…

But is that the whole story?

Are there ghosts lurking within the shadows of London?  Why are they there?  What purpose could they possibly serve in what was a seemingly straight-forward story of survival in a Z-Day situation?  27 days remain…

Water Gun Battle (Go Vacation) – Impressions

I’ve been playing quite a lot of Go Vacation on Wii. It’s a great way to relax, which i’ve been needing lately; the game is very calm and features a lot of fun mini-games with quite a bit of work put into them. The scope is so huge that a review wouldn’t be enough to give an accurate impression of this game – there’s that many different methods of control and presentation. So instead of doing a boring wholesome review, here I’m going to talk about one of the fifty mini-games, Water Gun Battle, in the first of at least one writeup for Go Vacation.


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Wii Sniper Rifle Videos – HotD: Overkill

Live gameplay footage of The House of the Dead: Overkill using my “CTA Digital Sniper Rifle Gun for Wii” with calibrated aim. I checked a “popular” internet video site to sample other players using the accessory, and came back underwhelmed. I didn’t find any legitimate gameplay videos. Gamers, industry, you all suck. No wonder most rail shooters and accessories are designed for “dumb” customers – there’s no motivation/demand to advance the software or hardware, just an endless cycle of publishers assuming everyone is lazy while gamers REALLY ARE too lazy to aim a casual non-gun and instead complain about 12-digit codes. Even Sony’s Move is a broken, lag-plagued alternative with even dumber-looking accessories exclusively designed for gullible customers (has it been used in “regular” games yet?), and they’re willing to charge more for all of it.

(HotD: Overkill video link at end of post)

Gameplay from “Ghost Squad” and “HotD 2/3”. See Wii Sniper Rifle Gameplay

I’ll save my serious “review” of the accessory for later, but I will say it’s the best Wii rifle I’ve tried so far – the printed crosshairs on the fake scope do a good job of sighting targets, and the main trigger works great like some of the better handgun shells (the awesome part is it’s a RIFLE); on the downside, the main grip SUCKS (it’s not really shaped for a grip), but the trigger is still reachable with some improvisation (oh crap, I started reviewing it). Actually, these videos were made to address the shortcomings of Overkill’s gunplay. Please excuse the audio quality: it was late at night and I didn’t have the game volume up very high and my camcorder was literally inches away from my hands so the clackity noise of the trigger seems way louder than it really is.

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“Durp!” – “Epic Games”? Try EPIC FAIL

Epic Games’ CEO Mark Rein has been long known to have some unfathomable grudge against Nintendo for reasons unknown, most likely due to reasons surrounding Nintendo not buying their god-awful Unreal Engine license.  Late last year, Mark made a rather amusing comment when asked about Nintendo’s 3DS.

“It’s below our [minimum specifications], from what we can tell.  We don’t have a 3DS, so there’s no way for us to verify that.  Everything we’ve been led to believe is that it’s below our min-spec. You couldn’t do a game that looks like [Epic Citadel] on it, for example.”

It’s pretty amazing that Mark Rein, someone who has no technical knowledge whatsoever, has the ability to tell what they can and cannot do with the system without actually playing around with it.  Surely he must have some sort of basis behind this statement, right?

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A Guide for Third Party Developers on Nintendo Consoles

With the new 3DS and the possibility of a Wii successor either next year or the year after, it’s probably a good time to let third parties know that they haven’t been up to snuff on Nintendo’s platforms lately other than the DS.

The following is a ten step guide to finding success on Nintendo consoles.  Success seems to be elusive as third parties struggle to succeed and feel that they have tried everything (obviously not everything, like make mostly high-quality games from launch) and still find that the Wii and sometimes the DS audience are reluctant to purchase their products.  So what follows is a handy set of guidelines that will help you on your way to financial or at least critical success on Nintendo’s platforms.

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Fragile Dreams – Impressions

Initial play time:  Less than an hour
Game type:  Anime-ish story-driven flashlight exploration action-RPG

== Package ==

The bonus soundtrack selection is cute. The sleeve art is cute. The vocal tracks don’t have the slight WAV-error crackle I keep hearing in all the MP3 rips I used to find on the interweb. The reversible boxart is sexy-cute, ditching all those back-cover description stuff in favor of a girl in a trash-bag dress. I can almost see her naked.

fragile_ren1

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