Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Tired Of Saving The World

You're preaching to the choir, Mr. Lomberg. I can't imagine the type of person who feels real emotional investment in the Master Chief or Army Guy #3,783. Video games today remind me of something Roger Ebert said about movies:

"I believe the more specific a film is about human experience, the more universal it is. On the other hand, movies "for everybody" seem to be for nobody in particular."

But then, that's the cost of games that have... well, a huge cost to make. If only developers had access to consoles that wouldn't demand such a staggering return investment, they could be telling more specific, personal stories.



Friday, 23 December 2011

Handhelds: "AA Games"

An interesting(to me at least) blog post about the rise and fall of level design in video games got me thinking. Big games cost more, so they take fewer risks. It takes longer to make levels, so they can't be as complex or time-consuming to make or play, so we get prettier levels that aren't as fun. Dirt-cheap iPad games have only superficial, passing substance while on the bus or something. They don't have the budget or motivation to make something more than immediate satisfactory impulses.

Where did the fun go? When did we trade the artistic integrity and adventurous spirit of this medium for more brown pixels? Where is the middle ground? Where are the games that aren't AAA, big-budget bald space-marine shooters? Where are the games that aren't about matching coloured gems? Where are the products that can tell a story with unorthodox settings and staples, on a budget that isn't retarded, doesn't need to rely on the most expensive, time-consuming technology to look good, and can still be loads of fun? Where are the games big enough to be about something, but not so big that they have to circumsize the creative heart and soul?

The answer came to me while playing Mega Man Zero Collection on the Nintendo DS. The handhelds!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Left 4 Dead Fan Film

Enjoy it now, before Youtube is destroyed by a supremely greedy and retarded bill in the U.S.!



Sunday, 18 December 2011

Left 4k Dead

See, I've always thought the concept of Left 4 Dead was a solid one, it was just really, really, really badly handled by Valve. Thankfully, one of the guys behind Minecraft took the same concept, and made a much more harrowing experience out of it.

And it's 4k in size. Turns out all of the polygons in the world can't cover up the smell of shitty game design.



Saturday, 17 December 2011

Digimon Vs. Band Of Brothers

Marvel Vs. Capcom. Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton. That movie where Sherlock Holmes teams up with Sigmund Freud to fight crime.

And now, Pokemon meets... a complex historical strategy game about feudal Japan?

Peanut Butter and Chocolate?

Well see, that...




Friday, 16 December 2011

High Definition Sucks

That's a dead url, btw, so don't bother.

There is something really annoying going on, and it's why I don't watch as much TV or play as many new video games anymore. At some point, games and shows started just assuming you have a widescreen television. Even just a couple of years ago, a new game would give you an option to play in widescreen or full-screen. Now they just assume you have the most expensive, gigantic HD, 3D alien View-a-motron available for domestic purchase.

So now everything is cutoff. On a standard television, TV Shows and commercials do this stupid thing where half of the onscreen text is bleeding out past the edges, or half of people's faces are cut out of frame. In video games, this means that the Heads Up Display is impossible to read, as well as text. The new Halo games do this. So do the Dragon Age and the Mass Effect series'. Both of those games are ALL ABOUT reading text and determining a response... in a visual presentation that makes both of those things impossible.

Do you see where the trouble comes in?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Plankton Parade

Linkstorm ahead:

My favourite remixer from is listed in the Soul Calibur V soundtrack. Andy "Zircon" Aversa will be contributing original compositions, alongside industry vets Inon Zur("Dragon Age"), Hikoku Kikuta("Secret of Mana") and more. They'll join the series' mainstay composer Junichi Nakatsuru, who is himself no slouch in the video game music department.

A positive development. This might just be the type of thing that could give this game a shot in the arm. Especially considering how the series almost ended to the sound of a wet fart.

More good news: Nintendo continues to baffle me with its choice of releases. Not that I'm not glad we're getting Rhythm Heaven. But that's a series known for a very specific, Japanese sensibility and tone. But hey, this is coming from a guy who played the original RH on an emulator, in its native language. I didn't care that it was bizarre and in a language I don't speak. Fun is universal.

If they've finally figured that out, and if they believe they can sell that to a western audience(and good on 'em for taking that chance), they really have no excuse for letting The Last Story and Pandora's Tower slide now.

In any case, good news all around. Although I do wonder what it will look like if they edit it for an American audience...



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"Red Vs. Blue Season 9": Review

by Alex Hill


I try not to review individual seasons or episodes of TV shows or web-based content, but I think this is a special case. The folks at Roother Teeth are the poster boys of Machinima (machine cinema, animating pre-made video game content for the purposes of fan-fiction). For eight seasons, they trotted out the same characters in similar situations, but have always managed to draw entertainment from the well. It was almost always amusing in a juvenile way, and the dialogue was always a fast-paced collapse of logic in the face of stupidity. If you didn't like a joke at first, they'd build and build on it, and a new one was always around the corner.

This is also the second season featuring Monty Oum's frenzied choreographed fight sequences, utilizing motion capture and other assets not found in the Halo series these guys normally work with. But they happen to a completely new cast of characters, in a different time period, in scenes that appear randomly and out of order inbetween the machinima parts. They don't overlap or compliment Church's exile in any way, or vice-versa.

Season nine of Red Vs. Blue has identity issues. It's two barking heads on the same shoulders.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Sum Of Its Parts

Jason Schreier has written an article at He's done a commendable job at explaining not only the appeal of an often baffling genre of video games, but also sheds a light on shady reviewing practices. Namely, how we dissect and rate each individual aspect of a game in a shallow checklist.

You know:


When I review a game, I will go into specifics, but for me it's about the overall experience. What condition the product as a whole left me in when it was over. I find my writing isn't very helpful to those who aren't familiar with how to operate them. And to that I say... GOOD! 

Friday, 9 December 2011


It was only a matter of time until that new dashboard update for the Xbox 360 produced something legitimately stupid. It seems Microsoft hates Indie games, and doesn't want anyone to find them or play them. It's looking more and more like that they're doing it to pay more lipservice to the games that cost $60 from their major business partners. I guess they just assume they can afford to screw over people who actually have to worry about paying the rent.

Because "Modern Halofield of War 3" NEEDS that $5, you guys.



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

"The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!" Review

by Alex Hill


There is a reason why I like vulgar humour. Your Family Guys, your South Parks and its imitators. I respect Married, With Children for getting that ball rolling. I like these shows to varying degrees, but there is a common thread that ties them together: They will do anything, anything to get a laugh. A well-written show with "adult humour" will go to any lengths, and fish for jokes in the deepest, darkest places. So many programs are bound and gagged by restrictions. By networks with no sense of humour, and people with frail sensibilities.

I respect any writer willing to find where the line is, and then throw up on it. Even when it's not serving a point, or trying to attach social commentary. Even if the joke fails, I'm just glad they tried it at all. "The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie" is funny. It's crude, repulsive and mean-spirited, but it's funny. It's funny in the first ten seconds. But your mileage may very. Two people could collect reasons for why they like or dislike this show, and both lists would look about the same.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Separated At Birth

He's "The Hero". He wears a recognizable green ensemble, and fights for the weak and useless.

He has no personality. He has only one facial expression. He kills and is unkillable. He is treated like a God by everyone that meets him. His enemies foolishly charge into his attack radius, despite the fact that that strategy didn't work out for the hundreds of other enemies he vanquished with ease. He has no family, no backstory, suffers no moral crises and has nothing to say. He blindly throws away any pretense of free-will, excusing a lack of backbone with "fate" and "responsibility".

He is boring.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Operation Rainfall: One Down...

"Xenoblade Chronicles" is coming to the United States. Fuckin'... Why did it have to take this much of a fan outcry to get that to happen?

So, that's good news, right? I mean, it's not all three of the Operation Rainfall games, but it's something. Right? Well here's the bad news: It's only being released at Gamestop and Nintendo's website. So I can either financially support a business that's destroying video games for its own benefit, or not buy it at retail at all.

There are some very stupid people working for the house of Mario. Even when they do it right, they're doin' it wrong.