Ed Farias: Arcade in a Box

arcade-in-a-box logo

Name: Ed Farias

Company: Arcade-in-a-Box, LLC

Profession: Manufacture Custom Arcade Sticks and own an Arcade

Favorite Classic Game: Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Quote: Mind games, it’s all about the mind games in super turbo.


Cosplay: Attention to Detail

If there are three things you need to be a good cosplayer its courage, a good look and attention to detail. Now to be fair sometimes a pretty face (and body) can overwrite the need to create the perfect costume, but when you combine form and design it becomes a work of art.

Sure we can just ogle at the ladies, but some of these costumes are really well done and many of the women in the fit the part extremely well. Awe, who am I kidding you guys aren’t reading any of this you’ve already clicked on the picture links.

Check out the rest of our cosplay pictures.

 

What is your favorite video game theme song?

There are quite a few iconic tunes from videos games that if heard one would easily be able to identify them. Some of these songs immediately conjure up visions of the game while others may stir up a memory surrounding an event centered around gaming. However, it does one thing is certain and that is music has had a great impact in gaming.

A theme from a game like Bubble Bobble may just identify the game, it was a repetitive theme as most early game music was, but it stuck with us because the game had over 100 levels. On the other hand the theme from Zelda is more likely to bring up a specific moment in one of the games like when you first went to the dark world or when you collected all the pieces from the Tri-force. Sometimes a song can remind you of an event. Say the theme from Double Dragon, perhaps it reminds you of hanging at the local arcade with friends or the theme from Frogger reminds you of the pizza shop near your school.

As music became a larger part of gaming individual songs became fan favorites like Celes’s Theme from Final Fantasy VI or the Kelethin music from the original Everquest. Like in movies the right kind of music could set the stage for a level, a boss fight or a cut scene and if done correctly could touch a cord with fans.

Video game music became so popular fans begged for soundtracks and from there people made their own versions of their favorite songs and the remixers were born. Almost every gamer has a tune in their head from a video game (or several) that will take them back to a happier time. Some of us even take our video game music with us in our media players and cars.

Even as video games have become more advance the music still remains and important part. It doesn’t matter if it is computer generated or performed by an orchestra, the key is it fits the moment and is memorable.

This week we asked our panel:

Do you have a favorite song or theme from a video game if so what is it and why do you like it?

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

“Still Alive” from Mirrors Edge was very catchy and attached to a really catchy game as well. But “Still Alive” from Portal was a kind of phenomenon and I’d say must go in the Hall of  Game Music Fame. I knew that song was something special when I went to a game conference and saw an auditorium of gamers singing along to the song that was being played on a 50 foot screen in Rock Band.
I’m not sure I could articulate why I (and millions of others) love that song so much but its tied somewhere to the whole experience of the game and how the song perfectly complements what I just survived.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

The first time I heard the intro theme for Civilization IV as the world turned in the background, I almost cried… (ok, I did cry, but don’t tell anyone). Having music that perfectly fits the game’s atmosphere is actually a rare thing, but when it does happen it can really seal the deal on immersing oneself in the game.

On the flipside, nothing really beats the soundtrack to Redneck Rampage…

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

“Sweet Emotion” from Aerosmith: Revolution X.  Because music IS the weapon!

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

The only one that comes to mind is the Super Mario Bros. music.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Overall my favorite soundtrack is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. As far as favorite individual song though, that would have to be the battle music from Final Fantasy IV / II U.S. Why? I love the bass line! In fact, the bass line from that song is what inspired me to start playing the bass, which is now my primary instrument.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I’m kind of cheating on this one.  I like C64 Pool of Radiance but I wrote it.  🙂  It’s in the style of Wagner.  You can’t go wrong with 8 bit Mario, it’s too classic.  I like the way retro influenced bands cover it too.

Susan Oleinik from Zombie Studios wrote:

Purely because of decades of Pavlov-type conditioning, I’d have to say the ‘Puzzle Solved Noise’ from Zelda… yes I’m aware it’s not a whole song…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPT6Ehq_bI&NR=1

So what about you, what’s your song?

Erik Reynolds: Atari

Atari logo

Name: Erik Reynolds

Company: Atari

Profession: Sr. Director of PR

Favorite Classic Game: Star Raiders (Atari 2600)

Quote: Star Raiders was one of the first 1st person space flight sims and I’m sure influenced a generation of space flight combat games since. The game was brilliant in its presentation at the time because if felt so ahead graphically than anything else available on the console.


Games Coming Out For PC In October 2010

Lego Universe
Lego Universe

Games Coming Out For PC In October 2010 by Honorabili

Borderlands Game of the Year Edition, October 5 2010

I beat Borderlands the first day I got it and it became just a continuous grindfest to replay it over and over, so past the first week it just died to me. A lot of people that later played it say it got better with the DLC but I was never willing to pay for that. This pack includes all the DLC but I’m skeptical because they’re always developing DLC for games like this…

Tropico 3 Gold Edition, October 5 2010

This includes the original Tropico 3, which is totally worth owning, and the expansion Tropico 3: Absolute Power, which keeps adding replayability to this great game. El Presidente… the people, they love you! A game which lets you play the role of a dictator is always a lot of fun. 😀

Medal of Honor, October 12 2010

This looks like a Battlefield and Call of Duty (Modern Warfare) clone but hey we might not see anymore MW from the people who made MW1 and MW2 so it might be time to suck it up! Could be fun so long as the server system is well implemented. Click here to view the trailer for this game.

The Guild 2: Renaissance, October 14 2010

Europa 1400 The Guild is probably one of the best games ever made for PC but few people in the US know it. The Guild 2 was relatively weak compared to the original and it had a different set of bugs in it. However that may be, both the original Guild and the Guild 2 are two great games that involve you playing something like the Sims mixed with the diplomatic scheming that would make Machiavelli proud. This expansion adds more functionality (and often a patch as well) to the original game which is already a time vacuum, despite its problems.

Arcania: Gothic 4, October 12 2010

First off, Jowood made this which is a really good thing. The previous Gothic games have been praised by many of my gamer friends (the ones that I respect) as great RPGs. Nice to see this franchise is not dead.

Fallout: New Vegas, October 19 2010

I heard from people that this was made by some of the original people who made the first Fallout games and that’s a good thing. I still believe that Fallout should NEVER have become an FPS game (even with its LIGHT RPG ELEMENTS). The teaser videos make me think a lot of New Reno from Fallout 2 as well as Wasteland, what Fallout is based on. Let’s see…

Lego Universe MMO, October 26 2010

The good people from NetDevil made this MMO and it looks fun from the videos I’ve seen of it. Yeah, it might be a kid’s game but from my experience NetDevil puts out pretty good MMOs. Auto Assault is still my favorite MMO game of all time.

***

Well, that’s the list of stuff that I care to look at next month. Hopefully none of it will be a disappointment like Civilization 5 was (more on that soon).

New Console Releases: October 3rd Report

Video Games on shelf
Video Games on shelf

October is a great time, you have Oktoberfest, Halloween and… well that’s about it, but you also have new releases for your favorite consoles. Unfortunately, November is normally a big month for games and because of this October seems to get the shaft, let’s see what we can dig up that might be worth you hard earned (or not) cash.

Just a disclaimer, these are not all the games that are coming out nor are they top picks based on their score from other sites. This is Obsolete Gamers or more correctly, J.A.’s picks for games coming out this month.

October 3rd

It seems as if I misspoke because this week of the month has a pretty hard hitting release line-up. I hope you have some extra cash on hand.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

It’s all about team work and in this case that truthisum is taken to the extreme. This action adventure games pits two main characters against, well against everything. You have to fight, run and transverse the landscape to make your way to freedom and if one of you dies its game over.

NBA 2K11

Ah, the war of the NBA games is back and just like the HEAT, 2K has stacked the deck by bringing in Michael Jordan to be on their team. Now the question is will the mix of MJ and the playstyle of 2K win out over Elite.

NBA Elite 11

EA Sports it’s in the name change. NBA Elite takes a different approach by redesigning key features of its game in hopes of bringing a different experience to basketball game fans. There is no doubt the game will be well done, but in the war of the court who will come out on top? Oh did I mention you get NBA Jam with this game and only if you purchase this game?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

If the world was coming to an end Alucard is the guy I would want bashing heads with me in those final days. However, I will take a Belmont as well and in this 3D version of the classic Castlevania series we step into a new world that brings a cool and new dynamic to the game. Don’t worry all the classic whipping and Dracula bashing is still there and the environments are beautiful and well done. If you loved any of the Castlevania series this is a must have.

Def Jam Rapstar

It was only a matter of time before we got a Rap version of the karaoke-style games. With the release of DJ hero I knew it would be forthcoming and if there is one company to release a “band” game its Def Jam. Rapstar lets you rap long with a long list of Def Jam superstars including Redman, Method Man and Salt n Pepper. I got to see this game at E3 2010 and it looks like a load of fun partially with two people rapping together. I can’t wait for the YouTube videos.

So we are changing things up and will be bringing you a week by week breakdown of new releases so look out for next week’s review of games being released for consoles. The week of October 10th looks good as well; I hope you get your homework done.

Bust a Grove OST

Bust a Grove OST

Known in Japan as Bust a Move the name was changed when Puzzle Bobble was released in the U.S. under the same name. Bust a Grove showed up on the PlayStation video game console in late 98’ and was a rhythm and dance game in the vein of PaRappa the Rapper but it added fighting game elements such as special moves.

Bust-A-Move OST

Made by Enix (now Square Enix) you could go up against the PC or another player and as you pressed the correct moves on the direction pad you would “attack” your opponent. Honestly it was like You Got Served meets Dance Dance Revolution.

What made the game for me personally was the music; it had memorable tracks with awesome beats that really got you in the game. I still play the tracks often on my media player.

As always Obsolete Gamer supports the original work of the artist, you can purchase the full soundtrack here.

Michael Lefrancois Bedard: Citeremis

Citeremis logo

Name: Michael Lefrancois Bedard

Company: Citeremis

Profession: Marketing

Favorite classic game: Mega Man

Quote: In my opinion Mega Man is the pinnacle of platforming games. Mega Man introduced me to the beauty of side scrolling games and I have been enjoying that genre ever since.


Glen VanDenBiggelaar: The Amiga Lounge

Amiga 500
Amiga 500

The Amiga Lounge

Many of us at Obsolete Gamer are fans of and owners of the Amiga computer so any chance to talk about the culture and community is a joy for us. In addition we are profiling stories on the Amiga in an effort to assist the Viva Amiga team with their upcoming documentary.

Glen VanDenBiggelaar is the owner of The Amiga Lounge where he shares his love of all things Amiga including his own experiences, collecting, and building of the commodore Amiga. We were able to get a great look into his corner of the Amiga world.

Obsolete Gamer: How did you come to create the Amiga lounge?

Glen: The Amiga lounge came from a need to research the Amiga when I decided to jump into the hobby. Before the Amiga, I was collecting and restoring the TRS-80 Color Computer and built www.thecocolounge.com website . Like the Amiga lounge, I had an on-line store and such, and during that time I was getting frustrated with the limits of the Co Co. One day, I was having breakfast with my best friend and his father, I knew that he had been a veteran at Xerox for over 30 years and he always had some fascinating story about Xerox and computers, and he suggested I look at the Amiga. I then found out he was one of the first people to have a Commodore PET in Canada, and later one of the First Amiga’s in Canada, going right to Commodore to get them. He passed away a few years back and left me all his Amiga’s in his will. Tons of books and software and such. The blog started out as a “Blogger” site, but when Google decide to take away FTP transferring to the blog, I then decided to expand the site to try to make it a “one stop” site with all the information I could find in one place instead of surfing all over the net and book making hundreds of sites.

The “Commodore” pages came after I read the book “ON THE EDGE- The Spectacular rise and fall of Commodore”-by Brian Bagnal. I instantly fell in love with the history of the company and started collecting the other Commodore Computers. I started with the “Ugly Stepchild” of the Commodore line- the TED Series and also fell in love with it. People tend to jump on the Plus /4 as a pile of crap and never really gave that computer its rightful due; they just compare it to the C64. It was never meant to compete or replace the C64, but nobody cared and it died a quick and horrible death because of that. I then got a PET in and so forth, so the website just grew and grew. I still have a ton of work to do on the Non – Amiga pages, just time is not there.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your personal experience with Amiga computers?

Glen: My experience with Amiga’s has been great. Back when I was doing the CoCo, everyone had heard or seen a CoCo or new someone who had one, so it wasn’t very awe inspiring. The Amiga on the other hand is a completely different story. If I am talking to a person who used the Amiga, a flood of stories come out at the wonderful things they could do with it. It sounds corny, but these days, a computer is just looked at as a tool, like a hammer for example. No one is truly fascinated at what the box can do for them, or the joy they had discovered making Music Demos or such. The users have such fond memories of the machine, that it is almost legendary. For those people that have never heard of the Amiga, they are usually fascinated to hear that some  of their favorite movies or TV shows (computer animation) was done on the Amiga, and always say why didn’t we know about this back then. The best part is showing of the CDTV or the CD32, for even the diehard video game collectors, usually never seen or heard of them. Everybody seems to agree though, that the story of both the Amiga and Commodore is fascinating and sad that certain “forces” are doing their best to re-write history and erase Commodore and the Amiga from it.

Amiga 1000
Amiga 1000

Obsolete Gamer: Besides your own blog how active have you been in the Amiga community?

Glen: Besides belonging to a Few Amiga Forums (just no time to Cover them all), I belong to the local user group AMICUE. AMICUE doesn’t really focus on Amiga’s anymore; it’s more of a small social club that its members have been going to for years. I am trying to bring back life to the club, by bringing Videos of new Amiga’s, interviews with the creators and trying to get companies like AMITRIX to make new hardware again for the Amiga. So far, it’s a slow, hard battle, as most members got rid of their Amiga’s years ago. I always feel I can do more though. If work and money were not a driving factor in my life, I would push Amitrix to make more hardware, or create a company and make it myself. It was always my goal for the online store, to put the stuff I can’t use back to the Community, and the (small) profits that I make, all go back into the community, by buying more stuff from the Amiga Vendors. I COULD make tons more money on EBay, but I feel that the greed on EBay actually hurts the Amiga Community then helps it.

Obsolete Gamer: What is it like to be an Amiga collector?

Glen: I consider myself a “Computer Historian” as I am fascinated and could actually teach some computer history. Being an Amiga Collector is a perfect “spring board” for that, as EVERY Amiga or collection I have obtained has a long and detailed story. Most people that used Amiga’s back in the day have gone on to be brilliant computer programmers, famous artists and musicians and what not. I am really kicking myself for not keeping better records of the history of the machines I get in, because most people have no time to talk about them when they bring them in to me.
I usually wear an Amiga shirt about once a week, and I get a lot of people asking about it-sort of remembering it, so being a collector, and letting people know it, you become an unofficial ambassador of the Amiga

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a collecting story you’d like to share?

Glen: I have so many, but I guess the best I can share with you, is not really a collecting story, but the fact that a few of the original designers, engineers, and programmers, the people that were actually there, have contacted me and taken the time to share stories and corrections about my site. This may sound crazy, but a nobody like me, getting a phone call from these guys really kind of justifies what I am doing, because at times, I just feel like a mad man ranting and raving and collecting stuff that everyone moved on from 20 years ago.

Amiga 3000
Amiga 3000

Obsolete Gamer: Which Amiga is your favorite?

Glen: Oooh! Tough question. Owning EVERY Amiga model except an A4000 tower system at one time or another, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, my LEAST favorite is the A500. Die hards will scream at me for this, but as one of the highest selling models of the Amiga, by itself, it is a rather useless machine. You can pick up A500’s all day long for next to nothing. To make them useful, you need some sort of expansion. Be it a hard drive or an accelerator, and those or worth their weight in gold. The same can be argued for the A1000, but the A1000 looks at least like a real desktop and has cool features like the way you can side the keyboard under it. The least popular I can see in the community is the A2000, but the expansion cards are cheap and easy to get.
My personal favorite at this time, is my A3000 tower. The tower is huge and lots of room to work on inside. it weighs a ton though. One of the best things about it, is right out of the box, you can hook up a VGA monitor to it. No paying an arm and a leg for a VGA adapter.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your Amiga store?

Glen: Sure! The store came out of the need to clear some Amiga stuff out to the Community. I did not want to part take in the greed fest that eBay provides. My goal is to someday open a museum where everyone can come for free to use and play with the Amiga, and the store was a way to get rid the excess (who needs 9 A500’s). any money raised in sales and donations to the website go right back into the Amiga community. The PayPal Account is NOT linked to any bank account, and I use that money to buy more Amiga stuff that I need and don’t have, from other Amiga manufactures, distributors, re-sellers and hardware makers. You would be surprised, but there are tons of small time hardware makers, making new stuff to make the Amiga more modern. One of the biggest is Amigakit from the UK.

Obsolete Gamer: Did you have a favorite game on the Amiga?

Glen: I try a new game every week (I literally have thousands of floppy disks to go through), but “Lemmings” is still fun, and frustrating. My biggest problem is the controller. Most Amiga joysticks are (please forgive me) pure and utter crap! Trying to play “Golden Axe” with an Epyx 500XJ stick is horrible. The closest that I can find tolerable is the Amiga CD32 pad. I have yet to pick up a Sega Genesis pad, I hear those work well.

Amiga 4000 in box
Amiga 4000 in box

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the Amiga RV Tour?

Glen: Not too much yet. I have been planning a RV trip across the USA and Canada for about 4 years now, to tour the Silicon Valley and visit all the major Computer HQ’s. But the technology to broadcast it live, steaming video feed over the net did not (and probably still doesn’t) exist yet. Coupled with the fact that nobody cares about a lone computer geek’s trek. It did not seem a feasible or sane thing to do.
But, with my love of the Amiga, and wanting to do something to raise awareness of the retro- computing hobby, the Idea evolved into one, that could not only promote the Amiga Community, Give me a chance to “save” Amiga’s and Commodores from the dump.


It also give the opportunity to promote (or create) a whole new untapped technology field. Soon, a lot of baby boomers and such will be retiring and want to hook up their RV, camper and such to the internet, so they will not have to rely on “hot spots” and such to keep up to date. This is a chance to for some company (like Cisco for example) to showcase a new technology that hooks the internet up “anywhere”, not relying on the cell phone companies (as this will be traveling both in the US and Canada) through Satellite or such. Some very smart Company could use this as a test. Also, Looking at the big picture and expanding on the above Idea, a computer company could create a “modular” computer system -let’s say in a shock proof case that could just “plug-In” to the RV. One would only need a TV or Monitor, keyboard and mouse actually on board and the camper could have a full computer system “on-board” and easily upgradeable. The possibilities from this trip are truly endless from a Corporate, or technology point of view.

I know from a recent weekend camping trip, that people were amazed when we had just hooked up an IPhone and networked a few laptops together, and had Wi-Fi out at the camp ground, and we were checking e-mail from fireside.

What I can tell you is we are at least a year away, and depending on actually outfitting the RV, it might be 2 years. The plan is to leave here (Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada) in October 2011 or October 2012 (to avoid the Canadian winter here). Besides the 4 or 5 Cameras on the RV, I will have a hand held, and I have already started making the documentary of the whole thing. Once the tour is complete, that Documentary will be put together and edited on an Amiga Video Toaster unit and the sales (about $10 each) will go to help recoup some of the cost of the Tour.

Obsolete Gamer: What would you like to see covered/talked about in an Amiga documentary?

Glen: I would love to see a “where are they now?” feature of all the people behind the Amiga. Dave Haynie and Bill Herd pop up every so often, but what about everyone else?

We’d like to thank Glen for the interview and if you have a story or website that profile the Amiga sent us an e-mail and let us know.

Brian Wyser: X-Ray Kid Studios

X-Ray Kid logo

Name: Brian Wyser

Company: X-Ray Kid Studios

Profession: Co-Founder/Animation Director

Favorite Classic Game: Double Dragon (arcade)

Quote: DD was my first experience with fighting co-op… um… for everyone back then I guess as it opened up a new genre of gameplay.  My friends and I were hooked from the first day we wasted at the local sandwich shop.  We probably paid for the machine 5 times over with all the quarters pumped into it.  Best move was the grapple/knee to the head then toss, but watch out because you could punch your buddy too.


Gamer Culture: OverClock Remix

Overclocked Remix logo

OverClock Remix

In this new editorial series I wanted to go over different aspects of gamer culture. When video games you could play in your own home came on the scene a whole new world was created. Today there are so many different communities and groups within gaming that you could spend your entire life discovering and experiencing them. From blogs, to LAN parties to institutions dedicated to everything gaming, if you have a niche you can easily find a haven for it.

Now ever since the earliest games on the Atari as far as consoles and the Commodore as far as personal computers, music has been a very important part of the gaming experience. As gaming evolved the music did as well and entire scores were created for games performed by those self-defined as novice musicians to orchestra led presentations of music.

I personally became a fan of video game music after listing to some of the tracks from popular games such as Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog and Final Fantasy. In the past it was almost impossible to find the music from video games and if a soundtrack was created it was often only available in Japan.

Slowly but surely websites began to emerge that offered downloads of game music in the midi format. While it was not an exact representation of the music from the video game it at least gave fans something to keep of their own.

Later, more websites were born offering wav files of music. This was a golden age for game music fans as often the music was spot on and could be burned onto a CD. Almost at the same time specialty websites were created offering the direct sound file from a game meaning it was taken from the programing itself so it sounded exactly as it would on the game. For these files you would often need a specifically created program to play it although many created Winamp plugins so you could listen to authentic game music on your media player.

Then came something that for me personally changed the face of video game music. It started with a friend playing a song from Megaman 2 but it was slightly different with added beats and sound effects. When I asked what it was I was told it was a remix. From there I was introduced to the website Overclock Remix.

Overclock Remix was founded in 1999 and was created to showcase video game music as the art form that it is. OC Remix offers fans of video game music a place to remix and re-mastered their favorite video game music arrangements from all across the video game spectrum.  OCR showcases hundreds of re-mixers that have created thousands of remixed versions of video game music all free to download.

From there the site grew to what it is today, a place where fans, fanatics and students of video game music can go to listen, create, learn and remix video game music. You can even learn how to create remixes of your own and read the profiles of the original and remix composers.

I fell in love with this site and spent countless hours listening and downloading remixed versions of my favorite songs many that I play in my home, at the office and even in my car. OC Remix’s artists do not just take a song and make a few changes here or there. Sometimes a song is totally re-envisioned creating a completely new piece of music. These are true fans of video game music and offer it to the world free of change. In addition the remixes help preserve the essence of the original music and credit is always given to the original composer.

David “djpretzel” Lloyd is the founder of the site and after seeing many specialty music sites wanted to create a place where music from all gaming could be found so you can find music from platforms ranging from the Amiga to current systems today and everything in-between.

Music is undeniably a part of gaming culture and the remixes and mix masters from OverClock Remix have made their mark on it. If you like video game music you will love OC Remix and Obsolete Gamer recommends you check it out. They are an important part of gaming culture and gives us fans yet another outlet to enjoy our favorite past time.

Here is an arrangement of a few of my favorite OverClock Remixes.

Marie Croall: Fallen Earth LLC

Fallen Earth logo

Name: Marie Croall

Company: Fallen Earth, LLC

Profession: Senior Game Designer for Fallen Earth

Favorite Classic Game: King’s Quest

Quote: This was one of the first games I ever played obsessively.  Even at my young age, the humor and puzzles appealed to me—even if the phrase “You can’t do that…at least not now” is permanently burned into my brain.


Your Girlfriend to W.O.W in three easy steps

from girlfriend to WoW
from girlfriend to WoW

Your Girlfriend to W.O.W in three easy steps

I was surprised how many couples were at this year’s Blizzcon. It’s not that I believe gamers can’t get chicks, by no means, I have seen the light, but to have a girl fly out to a convention is something completely different. I realized that when you and your snuggle bunny enjoy the same thing then you are golden. So, for you lucky studs out there that have a girl, one who doesn’t play wow, maybe I can help.

Step 1: Testing the waters

Remember when you wanted to see what sexual things your girl would and would not do? How did you go about it? If your answer was drugs stop reading this now. Drugs and wow only go together on Friday night raids. The correct answer is, you test the waters. You dance around the issue and hit her up with questions or pictures or something to get some kind of hint out of her.

Now of course she has seen you play and maybe you are thinking that since she called it, that stupid gnome game, that you have no shot, but if you are a twenty to thirty something gamer you already know a lot about having no shot.

The key here is to see how she likes it if she were to play. Start off with showing her something simple like harvesting. See, women are domestic, even the crazy femi-nazi’s so if you show her that you can cook, and make clothes and shop, there’s a good chance she might like the game.

Step 2: Laying the bait

So now hopefully she has shown some interest in world of warcraft. You have got her to ask you some questions, she has seen the cooking and shopping, and you are still sleeping in with her. Now you lay the bait. Make a level 1 character, a priest is good for this and make sure she is there when you do. Show her the intro video and then just walk away. If you did everything right she should come try out the character.

Remember, when your girlfriend saw you playing your level 80, it was way too much. You had all these spells and abilities and you were in raid with leet speak, its overwhelming, kind of like when she told you about her cycles. Here is the best advice for getting your girl into wow and first time sex, keep it simple. You want it easy and straight forward; the more complicated stuff will come later.

At level one she will only have a few spells and everything will be laid out for her. She will be cold and naked which we all know is the best way to find a girl you want to take home with you. In this case she will level quickly and the chances of her dying are slim to none so you are golden. Congrats, she is playing!

Step 3: Crossroads

Your girlfriend is playing World of Warcraft, but will she stay? This is path one. You need to play with her which means getting her, her own rig. This will cost you money now, but in the long run you will save. I mean dating is expensive and she hasn’t paid for anything in a long time. Once you have her system setup, you will need to play with her because if you don’t she will either quit or find someone else to play with and you don’t want that.

Your girlfriend is playing World of Warcraft and everything is golden. This is path two. She’s liking the game and you like playing with her. She gets you now and you are still nailing her in-between battlegrounds. This is your best case scenario, sit back and watch your waste-lines expand!

Your girlfriend played World of Warcraft, quit after a day and hates it more. This is path three. Well, just like the night you went for that storybook kiss and she slapped your face, you are out of luck son. This happens, a lot. The game is designed to get women to play, but for some reason she doesn’t like it. In 90% of the cases this means she will hate you for playing it even more. There are two choices here, quit playing (yeah right) or hide if from her. You might think there is a third choice, finding a new girl, but let’s face it, lighting doesn’t strike you twice.

Your girlfriend is playing World of Warcraft more hardcore than you! This is path four. You stepped away for the day leaving her playing so you could go restock your Mountain Dew supply only to come back and find her at level thirty. Your girlfriend has Sim-Syndrome, a term coined by me that means your girl is addicted to a task. See in the Sims I found some women became obsessed with making sure everything is right in their Sim world, so, they spend every waking moment working on their Sim, and you also find this in Facebook games like Mafia and that awful, awful Farmville game.

Sadly, this is what will happen. You made her a priest right? Ya, this is where that backfires. She will level fast and somehow pick the right spec and professions. She will read up on how to play and become a good healer, which we all know is still hard to find. Your guild will like her better than you and it will be she telling you she will hop on pop after she finishes the Argent Tournament. It’s time to dust off the porn collection player, you done fucked up.

Are you sure you want to do this?

You know the risks, but if you care about this girl and about wow then you might have to take a chance. It could work out, two out of four are not bad odds right?

DC UNIVERSE ONLINE

DC Universe Online logo

One of the most anticipated MMO’s DC Online universe allows you to create your own hero and fight alongside DC’s greatest heroes against its strongest villians.

Fact Sheet

Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Action Game
ESRB: Rating Pending
Developer/Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment LLC
Platforms: PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and PC

Game Description
DC UniverseTM Online is the only next-generation massively multiplayer online action game that delivers unparalleled physics-powered combat set in the DC UniverseTM. This genre-defining game puts the power of the DC Super Heroes and villains into the palm of your hands…The next legend is YOU!

Nery Hernandez: MonkeyPlum Media

Monkey Plum Media logo

Name: Nery Hernandez

Company: MonkeyPlum Media

Profession: CTO a.k.a Greasemonkey

Favorite Classic Game: Tie Fighter

Quote: First of all I have played a ton of games, and I still own most of them too (consoles and PC, my collection borders on being on an episode of “hoarders”…lol) and I have various favorites. But Tie Fighter stands out for me as one of those games that has that rare quality of being an experience. From the story, the initiation into the Emperor’s Inner Circle (Secret forearm tattoo and all), the ship models, it was a game that you could tell was made with L.O.V.E. for the source material, while still maintaining an originality of its own.


What impact did gaming have on your career path?

Career Path Drive
Career Path Drive

Often something during the growing up stage is what leads people to what they will do later in life. It can be an experience where you saved someone’s life and go down the path of helping others or that you were exposed to a situation that led to a field you want to work in. Although many of us will change our minds on what we what to become many times before we reach working age there are some jobs where the people doing them can easily trace it back to a time when they were young.

For me personally I always loved video games from my Atari 2600 to my first computer, the Texas Instruments TI-99. Even before that I loved to take apart electronics just to see the parts inside. I also loved to make up and tell stories so playing a video game took on another dynamic because I would visualize storylines even for games that had them like Yars Revenge.

When I moved to Miami in 97’ the first thing I wanted to do was get back into computers and meet like-minded people and that led to my time at Alienware where my love for gaming flourished. It was then that I took my love of storytelling and turned it into a writing career.

If I was not exposed to computers and video games at such a young age I am sure I would not have developed a love for them in a way that would lead me to work in the computer and gaming field. In addition, my mother always supported my love for gaming even when dragging her all across Chicago looking for a Nintendo.

For this week’s insider discussion we asked our panel what impact did gaming have on their career path.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

I first got the idea to go into game development in Middle School after seeing _WarGames_ and _Tron_.  I remember being especially impressed with _WarGames_.  I wanted to create my own Joshua.  Later on in high school, I read _Goedel, Escher, Bach_.  I became fascinated with machine thought, particularly how it differs from human thought.

As a game developer, I’ve always been more oriented toward using games to help people understand how computer systems work, what their capabilities and limitations are.  Games make machines more relatable, infuse them with some personality and engage human emotions.

If I had to break it down to one moment, though, it’s the first time I saw the end of _WarGames_, when David asks if there’s anything that can be done to make the machine learn faster and Professor Falken says “yes, number of players: zero.”

Of course, since then, I’ve always hoped to have a somewhat larger market than that 🙂

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

When I was in college words like “desktop publishing” and “WYSIWYG” were new and exotic sounding. The notion of pursuing a career as a game artist, at that time, was inconceivable. So upon graduating from college I hit the pavement with the dream of being a graphic designer. I experimented briefly as a post production artist for video but ultimately started my own tiny graphic design studio to create album covers for Seattle area musicians. It was the late 80s/early 90s and the music scene was really taking off. Turns out getting the work wasn’t nearly as difficult as getting PAID for the work…

After scrapping for a few years I got an opportunity (thanks to a good friend) to contract at Microsoft. I was employed to create the “coffee table books of the future”…remember multi-media? My friend and I worked our butts off in the multimedia group and were eventually offered full-time positions. MSFT didn’t make games at the time but they had publishing agreements for Flight Sim and a Golf game. I soon discovered that the business unit in charge of these publishing contracts was preparing to grow so I made it my mission to get them to hire me.

You see, I had been a gamer since the first day I played Parcheesi with my grandmother and a fanatical gamer since first playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1980. Thanks to D&D I discovered that making games is as much fun for me as playing them (possibly more fun). I’d never considered that I could do anything but create games as a hobby…which I had for years. I’d written programs on the TRS-80 coco, the Atari 800XL, and made my own games (creating story, game design, and art) both digitally and traditionally.

Once presented with the possibility of working on games for a living I pursued the dream I didn’t know was possible like a ravenous cheetah chasing a meat wagon. And somehow I caught it!

Fifteen years later I’m still amazed that I get to do what I do for a living.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

In my case, a few hours with a friend’s Atari 2600 made me realize that I wanted to make games for the rest of my life.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Gaming was everything in my career path. I started developing as a child, also playing them at the same time. Richard Garriott was already a millionaire from PC games by the time I started high school. Making games appealed to my self-motivational tendencies and preference to learn at my own pace.

So what about you, has gaming steered you toward your career or do you feel it will?

POD: Marvel versus Capcom 3

Marvel vs Capcom 3 logo
Marvel vs Capcom 3 logo

I won’t even try to pretend I am not fanboi’ing out over MvC3. When I first heard about it I was excited and it took me back to the days when I played X-Men versus Street Fighter. I would spend hours at the gas station playing and honestly kicking everyone’s ass who dared to challenge me. Then I moved on to the arcades where I had a pretty strong record, but as always some 8 year old kid would come and lay the smack down on me, I swear his dad made the game.

When Obsolete Gamer was at E3 2010 I got to see and demo the game and yes, it is flashy and has an anime fighting style with over the top special attacks. I can understand how some fighter fans would be turned off and with so many fighting games out Marvel versus Capcom 3 might not be your cup of tea.

However, for me I always loved mash up fighting which is why I even play MUGEN games on my PC. I just love the idea of different worlds coming together. My dream is a game where its DC versus Marvel done Capcom style not Mortal Kombat style (sorry).

For today’s picture of the day we bring you screenshots of a very well-known hero and an undeniably evil bad guy. In addition we have two videos showing off gameplay of these two. First up is everyone favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Next is the man you love to hate and bain of the Resident Evil series, Wesker.

First up: Spider-man

Next up: Wesker

Check out the screenshots:

Steven Peeler: Soldak Entertainment

Soldak Entertainment logo

Name:Steven Peeler

Company: Soldak Entertainment

Profession: Programmer/Designer

Favorite Classic Game: Tunnels of Doom (TI-99/4A)

Quote: I think this was the first rpg that I played on a computer and I sure do have fond memories. Even with minimal graphics, which were actually pretty good at the time, it was still frightening and great fun exploring and killing all of the monsters. All to save some king or something. 🙂 It had multiple character types, a party, turn based combat, random encounters, layout, and items, and an auto-map. Some of this is common now, but this is from a game made almost 30 years ago.


Seth Priebatsch: SCVNGR

scvngr logo

Name: Seth Priebatsch

Company: SCVNGR

Profession: Chief Ninja

Favorite Classic Game: Civilization IV

Quote: I love Civ IV because it’s basically the best representation of what I love about real life (planning, strategy, intrigue) but sped up 100x.


Juan Benito: Joystick Labs

Joystick Labs logo

Name: Juan Benito

Company: Joystick Labs

Profession: Creative Director

Favorite Classic Game: Quake

Quote: Awesome 3D + Tight Controls (Mouselook) + Internet Matchmaking + Clans = My First Awesome Online Multiplayer Experience!


Jeff Ramos: Games for Change

Games For Change logo
Games For Change logo

Name: Jeff Ramos

Company: Games for Change

Profession: Community and Content Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Earthbound

QuoteEarthbound for the SNES was really one of the first games that had an ending that surprised me. Traditional RPGs have you just grind away to level up enough to beat the last boss and watch the ending. To me, Earthbound was the first game to ever acknowledge the player itself in the game world. The game breaks the fourth wall and you actually beat the game on the merits of your efforts and relationships with other characters, not your combined strength and level.

It was refreshing to see a game break the mold and deliver a real experience, not just a story inside a cookie cutter design scheme. I’d trade in all the HD graphics in the world for a game that actually takes me by surprise and rewards me for actually paying attention to it.


Cosplay: Priorities

Many of you are either in school, at work or unemployed and living it up. Either way it is a good time for a Fapp-A-Thon cosplay session!

 

 

Michal Gledala: Global Fun

Global Fun logo

Name: Michał Ględała

Company: GlobalFun AB

Profession: EMEA Account Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager series

Quote: I am a football fan and I always liked Football Manager type of games. I am excited whenever a new edition is coming out, so I can check what has been improved and how to be a better manager J

Some people think it is crazy to just look at the stats, clicking on numbers and watching 22 small round dots flying around the screen, but for me it is pure fun. It is a great feeling to start a career as a manager of your favorite club, and build your squad the way you want. I can spend hours on looking for players and staff that can help my team to win the league and go far in the European competition. This is the most exciting part of the game, when you build your squad and then wait for the first season game, to see if your decisions were good.  Some people think there is nothing exciting about a game like that, but they don’t know how it is to score a winning goal in 93rd minute of the very important game or to tell your players during halftime, that they need to win the game for their supporters although they are losing 2-0. Once the game ends and your team wins, you are delighted J You can then read in the newspaper that your motivation speech helped your players to believe in success.  It is also funny how you try to lie to yourself while playing the game. You want to stop playing the game, but then oh, a derby match, oh new transfer available, oh I will just change my tactics for this game… and you realize it’s been 4 hours since you told yourself to quit the game J I love it and hate it at the same time, telling myself, that this time I will play only couple of games… If you ever dreamt of being a Football Manager, you should definitely try Football Manager series.. By the way, new one is coming out very soon, so I need to keep my eyes opened.

Civilization 2 Advisors

Civilization 2 Advisors

Civilization 2 had some hilarious live-action actor advisors that gave the game a unique style. If you’ve never seen them, check them out below!

Here are the Ancient times ones:

Onto the Medieval times:

The modern day one:

It’s all done in good humor. We have Elvis and the militant starts to remind me of the characters from Dr Strangelove as we get into the modern era. He’s such a funny character!

Eventually everything goes to hell! It’s Anarchy!

They must have had a lot of fun making these crazy videos for Civilization 2. 🙂

Games need to be more like “24” aka the Dead Space Conundrum

the Dead Space Conundrum

I’m obviously not talking about a game version of the TV show. Yes, I know we have that. What I’m talking about is I think that a specific style of 24 should be adapted to most games, as it would make the overall game aspect a lot better.

In the show 24, the basic layout (for those of you who haven’t watched the show, and if you haven’t, you should either watch it now, or suffer the wrath of Gortex the demon slaughterer) is that the main character (in this case, Jack Bauer) goes through a series of events leading to a finale, or a conclusion of some kind to the story. That’s simple, right? All games do that! But there is one absolutely crucial difference: The “events” in 24 actually matter. They aren’t just relevant to the story, they are dramatic and are actually important to the character, and shocking to the viewer.

24 Jack Bauer’s Hearing
24 Jack Bauer’s Hearing

In most games as we all know, we’ll be going towards some sort of objective when something “breaks” or “stops functioning” and we have to return the power to it, or find some way around it. Do you think Jack Bauer has time for that? No! Jack Bauer is out catching terrorists by using his eyelids as deadly weapons. If something breaks, that’s some lackey’s job to fix it, not the main character of the story.

That’s what I’m talking about. In most games today the game is relevant to the story only tangentially. How many different things break in Gears of War, or are “offline” that you have to fix or restore power to? We need events that are crucial to the overall story, not just “somethings broke, go fix it”. We’re the main character of a story here not Scruffy the damn Janitor.

Dead Space

One game that really fails at this is Dead Space. I love this game tremendously, but if I were to play it, and you were to ask me what my objective was, I’d tell you to get off this ship before these things dismember my soul. But more specific than that, I have absolutely no idea, because it wasn’t relevant. I had to collect some keys, or a card or something to fix something else… and do something to GET OFF THE FRIGGING SHIP. But I don’t really remember what those things are. Think about how much better Dead Space would be if the “objectives” actually mattered. I know for the whole time I was basically following whatever the blue line told me to do, because it told me to do it.

In 24, You know exactly what Jack’s doing, where he’s going, and whose life he’s about to turn into a carnival game. The plot-lines are never confusing, and there’s around 7 of them in every season. But they also manage to never get boring, even the ones with Kim (or what gamers call the escort mission) never really become boring in any way. That’s why 24 is such a good show, because there is never a dull moment. Every episode ends with some revealing situation or personality change (or twist, as most people call them) that changes the whole situation of the show. That’s what I want for games. I want every chapter to matter in the same way that every hour in 24 does. I don’t want to forget why I’m doing something. I want to be completely engaged from start to finish, or until I put the game down. Is there any game that you can say did that?

24
24

If you don’t like 24 (first, please escort yourself to the nearest detention center), or you think that they recycle a lot of their plot-lines, how about House? They’ve managed to keep every episode of that show interesting by focusing on the main character, and how he overcomes the circumstances given to him. Every episode of that show requires a race against the clock (disclaimer: Zelda proved that that aspect throughout an entire video game is not a good idea. But per chapter or episode? perfectly fine.) for the main character to diagnose a patient. I don’t think that each chapter should “end” in the same way each episode of a TV show does, but I think that there should be parts of a video game that provide you with a reason to keep going in terms of the story.

Now go watch 24. I don’t care if you’ve seen it all already, go watch it again.

Hello, It’s me Famicom Freak

Super Mario Bros 3 Box Cover
Super Mario Bros 3 Box Cover

I just want to do an opening post to many more posts to come! Let me introduce myself, I’m Famicom Freak! As you can tell I love Famicom as well as its other half, the NES. I run a blog which mostly consists of my findings and trips to places with retro games among other things. I hope to contribute a lot in here and be helpful to the ever growing retro gaming population. Cya later… oh yeah if you get a chance visit my blog as well! Visit www.famicomfreak.blogspot.com

Music for the Sharp X68000 computer from Japan

Music for the Sharp X68000

When we had the Commodore Amiga, Japan had the Sharp X68000 computer. Most hardcore computer enthusiasts know how the c64 and Amiga had a huge underground scene where it came to music, graphics, and warez but the X68k had its own in Japan.

If you want to read about the specifications and want to know the history of the computer click here. The specs are very similar to a high end Amiga.

Last year while looking around on youtube I found the channel of SH2ARP, which has a ton of hardcore techno music that they wrote in the demoscene for the X68k.

A lot of the music sounds like music by artists like Prodigy but then again so did a lot of techno/industrial Amiga music. I must say I’m very impressed by how hardcore it does sound even with it using old samples. Most of this music will blow your speakers and your mind, and that’s great 😀

So… let’s get to it!

One of my favorites,
Song: GENOCIDE by hally & Utabi

This one was kind of weird,
Song: DEEPXPEED by Speeeed Hysteria

A neat tribal song,
Song: ノチモニトクニモラ by Utabi

You gotta love classic Acid tunes especially with a chippy feel to them,
Song: ’88 ACID REVIVAL by MACK

This one sounds like speed jungle to me,
Song: KICKTOOO by FAAST TYKOON

This one just made my brain implode,
Song: prototype 990826-xpd-04x by FAAST TYKOON

Now this is more like it,
Song: Tekkno is HardCore by MACK

This one gets really good near the middle,
Song: KICKPRESSURE by FAAST TYKOON

This one just gave me a headache,
Song: Be Invoked by hally

Chaos,
Song: prototype 980202-028-at by satori

One of the most melodic songs from his channel,
Song: demo-5 by Utabi

I could totally see this playing at a match in an Unreal Tournament game,
Song: Summer Carnival ’96 by hally

Here is one of the first songs I found and one of the ones that made me want to write this article,
Song: Pyrotek Medley by hizmi

Totally awesome for a good rave,
Song: 無双太鼓 by hizmi

My favorite song from all of these,
Song: Rave 2151 by hizmi

This sounds like really aggressive trance,
Song: Razor Destroyer by hizmi

Chaotic yet really innovative,
Song: Ratsback2 – Saitone Remix / 鉄コン筋クリートremix by Saitone

Reminds me of old arcade game music but on crack,
Song: Neo X Rally Ver. 0.8 by Saitone

This is the kind of music that robots love,
Song: metazaxxxiremix (remixed by Saitone) by coova & lilil

This one takes the sound capabilities of the machine to the limit,
Song: Yorumachi by coova

Catchy,
Song: Skeng (Version) by quarta330

***

Okay, so it’s a bit different from Amiga demoscene stuff and some of you are saying what the fuck but hey it’s great on its own as well.

Has playing video games ever affected your life negatively?

Video Game Addiction shirt
Video Game Addiction shirt

Everyone has heard the saying that television will rot your brain and I guess it is true depending on what you watch. However, just as a general statement such as that does not differentiate between “good” T.V. and “bad” T.V. the long running opinion that video games are a waste of time leaves far too much truth uncovered.

We can easily talk about the negative side of video games. Obviously one can spend way too much time in the video game world which can have a negative impact on their lives from work to school, social interactions and health. Then again the same can be said about almost anything deemed recreational. Moderation is always the key, but it is not just about managing time, it can also be about getting the most out of your gaming experience.

For example my love of video gaming led me to my love of computers which turned into a job where I learned I loved to write specifically about games and gaming culture. Long before my work at Alienware my experience having to quickly and accurately type out commands in games such as Everquest increased my typing skills to executive secretary levels. Before that my search for gaming companions led me to a group of people who became not only lifelong friends but valuable contacts that assist me even to this day.

Now to be fair not everyone will take their love of gaming and turn it into something worthwhile. In fact gaming may actually suppress your will to do other things which might prevent you from finding your love in life, both in career and personal form. I know far too well what can happen when you spend hours on end in front of a screen with no regard for life outside of gaming. It can and will take its toll on your mind body and soul if you allow it, but there are many simple steps you can take to prevent that.

Something as small as drinking water and eating fruit while gaming can make a drastic difference in your overall health. Taking the time to pause or step away from the game when interacting with a real life person instead of firing off one word answers during play can mean the difference between a healthy social life and becoming the stereotypical pale faced basement dwelling troll.

Today video gaming is like standing in front of a buffet. There are tons of things to try, but take your time. There is no need to try it all in one sitting, come back later, it will still be there. Small modifications in your behavior now will mean a longer happy life in the long run which will allow for more gaming. It’s a win/win situation and as gamers isn’t the goal to win?

This week we asked our panel of insiders: Has playing video games ever affected your life negatively, even a little bit and if so how and if not how do/did you keep it from doing so?

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Yes I’ve stayed up too late playing a video game before, causing me to sleep through school or work the next day. Since developing games turned out to be my career though, I guess it wasn’t too negative a deal for me!

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

Definitely.  Nothing like putting off real problems by visiting a virtual world.

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

Probably the only place I can think where a game ‘hurt’ me in some way would come to down to lost sleep. There certainly have been nights that went way too late ( curse you Mass Effect!) but that’s really about it.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

I’ve had some experience with MMO addiction.  Nothing too serious.  On a scale of zero to South Korea, I’d be at about a 0.1 SK.  But I did find myself once or twice neglecting my relationships in order to spend more time grinding.  I’m off the pipe now.  EVE Online cured me of any potential addiction.  That game is just a job you pay to do.  What’s next?  Corporate Due Diligence Online?

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Early in my career, I worked for a small company, and we used to play StarCraft every Saturday night. All of us loved Starcraft, but unfortunately none of us loved losing. Unfortunately, our games were often so competitive that it affected office social dynamics. Losers would call winners “cheap” and winners would call losers “whiners.” Feelings could get hurt for days. We’d always get over it and get our work done, but there were definitely times when StarCraft pushed us apart rather than bringing us together.

Josiah Pisciotta from Chronic Logic wrote:

I can’t count the number of times video games have kept me up later then I wanted to stay and caused a shortage of sleep, but I would say the most negative impact a game has ever had on me was the MMO Ultima Online.  I spent several years of my life playing it as often as possible often neglecting personal relationships.  It was highly addicting and took time away from other activities which would have been more healthy, creative and financially constructive.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

“Spending 12-hour clips late at night fighting the same creature in an MMO over and over again to gain one level was perhaps better spent on other things, but it was fun for me! I don’t regret it since I have no idea how my life would have turned out otherwise anyway, and it’s pretty good right now regardless.

I certainly haven’t eaten worse (better if anything since I sometimes forget to eat, so I don’t eat too much!), lost a friendship or relationship with a loved one because I wanted to get that next level instead of attend a wedding or something… but if that does happen, then it’s certainly time to rethink priorities.”

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I can answer this question honestly.  Yes, it did.

There was a time when I was under a lot of other stresses and video games became my escape.  Except I started escaping into it too much, not getting my college work done and other stuff.  Now, I rarely play during the week and most of my game time is on weekends, when I don’t have to work in the morning.  Perhaps it’s part of growing up, now that I’m 30, but I’ve put restrictions on myself and live by em now.

What about you, has gaming ever negatively affected your life?

Wes Platt: Fallen Earth LLC

Fallen Earth logo

Name: Wes Platt

Company: Fallen Earth, ICARUS Studios

Profession: Content Development Director for Fallen Earth

Favorite Classic Game: Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar

Quote: “Ultima IV was the first open-world style game that I ever played that gave me a real sense of control over the destiny of the character from the start. The player answers a series of ethical challenges to determine the personality of their character. That really spoke to me from a design perspective, because it offered immediate opportunities for replayability and gave the player unprecedented control over how their character evolved in a computer game.”


Heavy Rain

 Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain poster
Heavy Rain poster

One Sentence Review:
“One hell of an interactive movie”

Overall score:
9.0 out of 10

Overview:

The game is basically an interactive movie, where you guide the character through events by pressing different buttons or a combination of buttons in order to progress in the story line.

The game starts off with Ethan Mars, a loving husband and father of two boys. On the birthday of his eldest son Jason, Ethan loses track of him in a busy mall. He finds his son outside in the middle of the street, seconds away from being hit by an oncoming car. Ethan jumps in an attempt to save him, but Jason is killed, and Ethan falls into a coma for six months. Two years later, Ethan suffers from depression. He and his wife had separated, and his remaining son, Shaun, is distant toward him.

Ethan also suffers from blackouts, in which he finds himself waking up in a street corner with an origami figure in his hand. One day, while at the park with his son Shaun, Ethan has a blackout, and wakes up to discover his son is missing.

Shaun’s dissapearance is linked to the Origami Killer, who is known for abducting young boys between the ages of 9 and 13 and drowning them in rainwater. Their bodies are found in the wastelands, with an orchid on their chest and a origami figure in their hand. With only a few days until the rain level rises, Ethan has to find and rescue his son before he is killed.

You also take the role of three other characters who’s stories also interwine with Ethan and the Origami Killer:

Scott Shelby: A private detective investigating the origami murders.
Madison Paige: A journalist suffering from insomnia who crosses paths with Ethan Mars.
Norman Jayden: An FBI agent addicted to Triptocaine, who is also investigating the origami murders.

heavy-rain-image

Fun Factor:

You have the power to alter the outcome of each senario in multipule ways. It all depends on what you say and what you chose to do. Of course, this game will have you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what happens next.

Difficulty:

There is no difficulty in the game. The thing I like about this game is that there is no fail, there is no Game Over. No matter what choices you make, whether it’s right or wrong, the story continues, and its characters move on.

heavyrain-gameplay

Replayability:

Very high. Like I said earlier, you have the power to alter the outcome of every senario in multiple ways. So it’s always fun to replay the game and make different choices to see what happens.

Sound:
8 out of 10. Overall sound effects are great, but sometimes its hard to hear what the characters say, especially for Jayden.

Graphics:

10 out of 10. Awesome. Amazing graphics. This is the only game I’ve seen so far where the characters and the surroundings look so real.

Controls:

8 out of 10. It very easy to move the character around to interact. During cut-scenes, which is like 90% of the game, you have to press certain buttons or a combination of buttons depending on the situation you’re in. Usually it’s X, O, triangle and square, or moving the joystick in different directions… but some combinations are hard getting used to, especially when you’re given a certain amount of time to do it. It’s sometimes hard to see what the character is thinking, especially when they are jittery and nervous, so you’ll often find yourself pressing the wrong button.

Heavy-Rain-Wallpaper-2

Conclusion:

A very original and innovative game. A must have, or to at least experience for any PS3 owner.

If you were to give an in game item to your significant other as a birthday gift what would it be?

Super Mario Bros 3 Tanooki Suit
Super Mario Bros 3 Tanooki Suit

Think of the millions, perhaps billions of items out there in the universe of video games. If you could select any one of them as a gift for your favorite guy or gal what would it be? Maybe you would go back to classic gaming treat your lady to a pixelated piece of fruit from Pac-Man. Ladies maybe what would make your man’s day would be the completed gun from Heavy Barrel. What would I give out? Well for me it’s a no brainer, a Tanooki suit.

The Tanooki Suit first made its appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3, it was a rare item and pretty much once you lost it you would never see it again. The suit turned you into a raccoon looking creature but actually Tanooki suits are named after tanukis, Japanese creatures who, according to mythology, can use leaves to shapeshift and cause chaos.

Tanooki cosplay
Tanooki cosplay

Why would this be an awesome gift? Well first of all with the suit on you could run and take off to the skies and fly. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Secondly you could turn into a statue. I am not 100% sure how useful that would be, but if you need some quiet time that would do the trick. The most important part is how cute she would look in it.

Maybe for the guys it’s not as sexy. Also there is a furry component to wearing a suit like this pretty much anywhere, but who cares let your fur flag fly. Just be careful and don’t get her the frog suit or its game over.

Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Soul box
Demon’s Soul box

Demon’s Souls

If the hype surrounding the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls was to be believed, I was looking forward to a game with a brutal difficulty not seen since the heyday of Rygar and Battletoads; one that had a more terrifying atmosphere than Silent Hill; and with more varied and gruesome ways to die than Dragon’s Lair combined with Space Quest. In short, the ultimate challenge for the hard-core. With the bar set so high, it seemed likely to disappoint in at least some respects. What I found was a flawed but thoroughly enjoyable third person hack and slash/dungeon crawler that threatened to send me to a video game addiction clinic before I finally managed to best it.

The basic mechanics of the game can be summed up as follows: “Kill Demons, Get Souls”. Souls are released by killing enemies and they can also be found on the corpses of deceased adventurers. Souls are effectively the unit of currency in this game and can be used to buy items, repair or upgrade equipment, learn miracles and magic, and even upgrade your character’s stats. If you die, you start back at the beginning of the level as a spirit and with all of your souls gone. There will be blue-glowing bloodstain at approximately where the game determined you messed up (if you fell down a well, for instance, it will be just before you left the ground), and if you can reach it before dying again, you can get your souls back.

Demon's Soul character
Demon’s Soul character

Combat is action-packed and extremely unforgiving. Button mashers won’t make it very far, as many of the enemies have good shields and are only vulnerable after they attack. Defensive players can turn a fight their way with a perfectly timed parry/riposte combo or open themselves up for a flurry of blows. Almost anything can kill you, so situational awareness is a must-have to survive. The game’s wide variety of weaponry and shields can be equipped in either hand and there are spells and items that can be used to enchant them. Demon’s Souls has an item upgrade system where blacksmiths can fortify your equipment in exchange for various types of ore. Some of the benefits include adding poison, bleeding, or fire damage; health or mana regeneration; and bonuses to critical hits, to name a few.

Demon's Soul
Demon’s Soul

Player characters are customizable down to the bone structure of the face and there are several “classes” to choose from that ultimately only effect your initial equipment and stats. One is free to upgrade their combat skills as they see fit and pursue different avenues of magic or types of weaponry. It may take a considerable amount of stat upgrading to do so, but it is very possible to turn a robe-clad magician into a full-plate wearing berserker with a sword nearly twice his size.

The game consists of a central hub called the Nexus that serves as your home base and has passageways to the five worlds. Each has its own distinctive art style and feel including a European castle with all the requisite archers, pikemen, and a couple of fire-breathing dragons; a shantytown filled with plague-rats, mosquitoes, and leeches, all surrounded by some of the most disgusting swampland imaginable; a temple full of samurai skeletons and flying manta-rays; and a mine that seems to go the depths of capital H hell. Each world has three or four stages each with a boss Demon that must be defeated. The souls of the boss Demons can be traded to different NPCs in exchange for spells and miracles, and in some cases, can be used to create powerful weapons.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

One of the innovative features in Demon’s Souls is the world tendency system. Tendency ranges in a continuum from pure white to pure black and can affect many aspects of the game. The player’s health in soul form is higher in a white world tendency and lower in the black. The amount and difficulty of enemies ramps up the blacker you get, and the type of loot dropped is also a factor. Some NPCs will only appear in pure tendencies, and there are even portions of the levels that are otherwise inaccessible until a certain world tendency has been reached. There is a system in place for keeping track of character tendency as well but it has a less dramatic effect on the game except in a few select situations.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

Players navigate through the game’s areas while either alive or dead. In corporeal form, the player has more health and the ability to summon up to two Blue Phantoms (spirit form players) to help him defeat the stage’s Boss Demon. Being alive has its drawbacks: dying in a level will shift the game’s world tendency towards black. There also exists the threat of being invaded and killed by a soul-hungry Black Phantom player. Spirits gain bodily form by defeating a boss Demon or assisting a player as a Blue Phantom (both of which will shift world  tendency), successfully invading and killing a host player as a Black Phantom (world and character shifted to black), or by using a magical item.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

In addition to the relatively seamless co-op and PVP experience, players are able to see ghostly images of other adventurers in the same areas, as well as the ability to give them hints or lure them to their doom. One of the first things you’ll notice while playing online are pools of blood scattered around. These are grisly remainders of other players that have died. By touching a bloodstains, you are able to see the last four or five seconds leading up to that player’s demise. This can be a great way to spot traps and ambushes that would otherwise give little to no warning. Another way that players can interact is by leaving messages, which can be entered through a Madlibs-style system using a library of the game’s terminology. Players can vote up useful messages and this will reward their creators with health. There is no way to down-vote messages that are misleading, false, or simply situated in places that will kill you if you try to read them, unfortunately, but there are a couple of messages (“beware false messages”, “liar!”, etc.) that can be left as tip-offs.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

For players that manage to finish the game’s main quest, a NG+ is available to start at the beginning with a character’s weaponry and stats intact to fight through an even more sadistic challenge. The game’s difficulty increases the more times you beat it (up to NG+8, at least!).  There is an in-game hall of fame called the Pantheon to show off the players that have the highest number of souls, most trophies achieved, etc. and this can be helpful to see what sort of equipment is favored by the best.

I had been following this game for a while, back before it was announced that there was even going to be a North American version and many people were importing Demon’s Souls from Japan. Gaming forums were full of people trading war stories about how many different ways they died before beating the first level, and I think the average was about twenty. Import sales continued to rise to the point where Demon’s Souls was released stateside. I snagged a copy from Amazon but it languished on my shelf for a couple of months before I decided to break the plastic and possibly my spirit by playing it for myself.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

When I finally worked up the courage to pop this game into my PS3, I was immediately grabbed by its atmospheric soundtrack and the bleakness of the art direction. The tutorial level showed me the basics of the game mechanics and drove home the message that a scrawny demon with a broken sword and no shield could easily take me down if I didn’t watch myself in combat. More and stronger baddies are introduced including the dreaded blue-eye knights with the ability to bash your shield out of your hands, chain three or four attacks together, and heal themselves if somebody did manage to wound them. More advanced combat tactics were required, such as the parry/riposte combo. I eventually found out that if I could get behind an enemy, there is a brutal backstab attack that would make the TF2 spy blush. Past the knight was an even bigger foe: the morbidly obese Vanguard demon that swings a battle axe twice the size of your character. I was under the impression that this was an unwinnable fight to utterly demoralize new players since the tutorial level invariably ends with your death, but I’ve read that it is possible to beat Vanguard here, even with the newbie equipment.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

The next couple of hours were a blur of gristly deaths. I would get past one obstacle and find myself stabbed, ambushed, crushed by a trap, toasted by a dragon, stabbed again, filled with crossbow bolts, and impaled by the blue-eye’s tougher counterpart: the red-eye knight. I was nearly at the home stretch but missed a step going down a spiral staircase and found myself plummeting to my doom, landing right on the switch that opened the gate to the end-boss. Obsolete Gamer cohort Stirge dubbed this game “You Can’t Win” around this point, which I think has a nicer ring than my nickname: “Kill Yourself Dungeon 3000”.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

There are few things that I didn’t like about this game and I don’t want them drowned out in a flood of praise for the stuff that was done right.

  • The targeting system stinks; when locked on to an enemy, it changes the controls so that moving side to side will strafe around a target rather than turn. This is usually a good thing when fighting one-on-one, but throw two or three extra combatants into the mix, and I’ll find myself dodging right into someone else’s attack or even off of a cliff. Also, if an enemy is out of range to be targeted, it will reset the camera, usually to face the wrong direction.
  • The camera is your biggest enemy. Demon’s Souls has a pretty good third-person camera system assuming you’re in an open area without a lot of debris. The camera fails miserably when in underground catacombs, some of which can be quite twisty and hard to maneuver even when you can see where you’re going.
  • When logging into the server, the world tendency will be reset to the average of all players, which can make it very hard to get to pure black or pure white. There are some occasions where the tendency will be set to pure white or pure black, such as holidays or announcements from the developers, but aside from special server events, logging in shouldn’t affect anything.
  • You can get booted back to the main menu if your internet connection becomes broken while playing online. I’ve found it better to play offline than have to gamble with the PS Network logging me out.
  • Contra-lag. The game can slow down if there’s too much stuff on the screen, like in the old-school space shooters. In some games, this bug ends up like a feature; a free bullet-time mode when things got hectic. This is unacceptable in a next-gen title.
  • This one is a minor gripe, but there is no way to sell items to merchants, so the only way to get any currency is by slaying demons or eating soul items.
Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

Every time you die, you start back at the beginning of the level, where you will have to fight past the legions of demonic assholes that you barely survived fighting in the first place, just to get back to your bloodstain. Many times, I’d find myself trying to rush through the beginning wave of enemies only to find myself mercilessly swordraped by some of the weakest dudes in the game.

There is a good variety to the Boss Demons. Some are relatively human-sized, others stand two-stories tall; most can kill you with a single attack, even if blocked with a good shield. The Dragon God from World 2 (Stonefang Mine) almost seems to have been borrowed from the Scarecrow sequences in Batman: Arhkam Asylum, as keeping out of the Dragon’s line of sight is the only way to survive.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

The Tower of Latria wins my award as having some of the game’s most freaky moments. You start near the top floor of a prison in a medieval castle and have to go through all five stories of it to find the keys that will let you out. There are narrow walkways and breaks in the floor that can drop you to your death if you’re not paying attention. Through the bars of the cells, you can see the emaciated forms of the prisoners, some of which will drop to their knees when you go by, as if they’re begging to be put out of their misery, others will hide in the shadows and try and shank you to death. Several lantern-carrying guards walk slowly up and down the corridors, and the only sound aside from the gibbering and shrieking of the prisoners is the eerie tolling of a bell that gets louder as the guards get closer. It somehow manages to get more disturbing once you get out of the prison and into the cathedral but I won’t spoil all the surprises. I also wouldn’t recommend playing this part right before bedtime.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

I would have to give high marks for nearly every aspect of the game’s presentation. The quality of the in-game graphics are pretty good, but perhaps a bit lacking when compared to some of the cinematic cut-scenes that introduce some of the bosses and locations. The levels are well designed and nuanced for the most part. The sound design pops; there are tons of great weapon clashes, monster growls and squeals, and magic effects. There isn’t a whole lot of voice acting in this game, but what little there is benefits from a diverse cast of expressive voices. The music ranges from epic symphonic scores to stuff that would fit right in to a 1970’s horror movie, but what I found interesting was the way that music cues are held back for boss fights or other major plot developments; for most of your time exploring the five worlds, you will be enveloped in ambient sound. This, along with the ghostly images of other players’ phantoms, helps heighten feelings of isolation and strangeness unique to Demon’s Souls.

Demon's Soul warning
Demon’s Soul warning

Playing online can be a blast if you don’t mind the occasional PVP encounter, as Black Phantom players can and will jump in on your game if you’re in body form and attempt to murder you at the most inopportune times. I’ve been able to recruit a couple of Blue Phantom players the last time that happened, and it ended up turning into a huge brawl. Summoning Blue Phantoms can be a double-edged sword, as the bosses get much harder the more players there are.

I think it was on the second or third night of my Demon’s Souls addiction, after a three hour soul-farming bender, that I left a cautionary sticky-note on the inside of the game’s case; a warning to future-me to think about what I was getting into. Of course, I didn’t pay it any heed; this game is too challenging and deep to blow off just because it’s aggravatingly hard. Also, this is one of the only games in recent memory to give me adrenaline rushes when the action gets furious. In closing, Demon’s Souls is a cruel mistress and if you like to wear nipple clamps or enjoy a good flogging, this one is for you. I’d like to leave you with some survival strategies I’ve picked up from my time with the game.

  • Watch your equipment encumbrance weight. You can load up to your maximum with a suit of plate armor and a comically large battle-axe, but this comes at the price of maneuverability. One the things that will save your skin is the rolling dodge, and if your endurance is too low for that amount of gear, you will end up on the ground for a few seconds in a very vulnerable way. The magic number to stay under is half of your maximum equipment weight.
  • Weapon upgrades. There are a limited number of Crystal Lizards that will spawn in each world, some of which are the only source for the various rare ores needed to upgrade your weapons. If you’re trying to trophy-whore this game, I recommend looking up a guide to finding out where the spawns are in advance.
  • On Royalty and magic. When I found out that the Royal class started out with a magic ring that can regenerate MP, I dumped my Temple Knight build and started the game anew. Talk about easy mode! Royals have practically no starting armor or weaponry to write home about, but the Fragrant ring is a great item for a caster, not to mention the fact that they also come equipped with Soul Arrow, the magic missile equivalent in Demon’s Souls. Having a pure caster almost breaks the game, however, as I was able to storm through most of the worlds blasting everything that moved with my pea shooter spell and effectively unlimited ammo, given a book or a magazine to read while it replenishes. I cheesed out some of the major bosses by nuking them from a distance or even by casting poison and running away. I beat the game but I feel like I’ve cheated myself in the process. Now I’m in the process of playing through as a fighter and the game is so much more challenging.
  • Common sense. A lot of this game seems like trial and error, but your biggest defense is not being dumb: keep your shield ready, peek around corners, listen for footsteps, etc. If you see a pile of freshly incinerated corpses, keep it in the back of your mind that whatever caused that will probably like to do the same thing to you.

Sonic CD OST

[youtube id=”JPC8W672mXc” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Sonic CD OST

I will be honest I think this was the only game I ever placed on the Sega CD and in my opinion it was the best. Not only did Sonic CD retain the classic gameplay of the originals, but it had an incredible visuals and an awesome soundtrack starting with its animated intro featuring the song, Sonic Boom.

Sonic CD OST

Released in 1993 this story takes place after Sonic 1 and once again our hero has to go up against the evil Dr. Robotnik. However this time two new characters are introduced, the pink female hedgehog, Amy Rose and the evil robot Hedgehog, Metal Sonic.

I just loved the idea of traveling between four zones in each area including Present, Past, Good Future and Bad Future and it had real reply values because of the different endings. Sometimes only small changes are needed and Sonic CD added just enough to make it new, but didn’t strip away what made it a classic.

Oh and the music, so so good!

As always Obsolete Gamer supports the artists and composers of our favorite video game music. Support great work by purchasing the original soundtrack.

Jason Cirillo: Robotube Games

Robotube Games logo

Name: Jason Cirillo

Company: Robotube Games

Profession: Designer

Favorite Classic Game: Space Invaders

Quote: Space Invaders is such a simple and beautiful formula, and allows for the development of personal technique.  It’s accessible to anyone, and still remains satisfying, fun, and relaxing.  There’s nothing like playing a real arcade machine…those glowing phosphors and that rad moon backdrop are iconic.


Happy Birthday Mario

Mario Peach Demotivational Poster
Mario Peach Demotivational Poster

Today our pipe surfing, mushroom eating, princess saving hero turns 25. It’s hard to believe this iconic figure has been around this long. Mario has appeared in tons of games from sports to RPG’s an everywhere in-between.

I remember first playing Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo Entertainment System. Before this I had only used either an arcade controller or the Atari joystick. It took me some time to get use to the shape of the controller and even more to the game, but I was hooked from the start.

Everything was fine until I got to world 1-3. I don’t know why but I was scared of falling and strangely enough found myself turning my whole body when trying to control Mario. However, soon enough I was a pro who went on to beat every Mario game up to its reign on the Gamecube.

There’s no doubt Mario is one of the most recognizable characters in video game history, but what about poor Luigi? Maybe we can make his birthday a month apart and give him his day?

Either way, Happy Birthday Mario!

Free Stuff: Every LucasArts Game Soundtrack In MP3

LucasArts Logo
LucasArts Logo

If you love great music from adventure games then you will want to check out this site to download the music from every single LucasArts adventure game!

They have the soundtrack to The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from
Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Day of the Tentacle, The Dig, Outlaws, Grim Fandango, Loom, Zak McKracken, Star Wars: Knights
of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.

Enjoy!

Blizzcon Virtual Ticket

Blizz Con 2010 logo
Blizz Con 2010 logo

So you hit the refresh button so many times that you have permanent nerve damage and have nothing to show for it. Well at least you can purchase a virtual ticket. The bad news is Blizzcon 2010 tickets sold out faster than it took to load the order page. The good news is if you really just wanted the loot for attending then you are in luck.

Personally if you have never gone to a Blizzcon you should at least once. Having said that you really only need to go once unless you really like long lines and stinky bathrooms.

Going virtual nets you the advantage of only watching what you want and you can DVR it so that makes it even better. You do save a ton of cash, but you don’t get to see the random fight break out or the drunken cosplayer’s at the event.

Here is what you get with your virtual ticket:

•  Four live internet channels offering over 50 hours of HD BlizzCon programming

• Exclusive World of Warcraft® pet “Deathy” the Murloc — and StarCraft II® in-game items

• Access to exclusive BlizzCon merchandise sale*

• Complete coverage of panel discussions, tournaments, community contests, the latest game-related updates, plus BlizzCon exclusive developer interviews and the epic closing ceremony

• Enhanced video on demand and DVR functionality

All in all not too bad. So if you are interested click here to order now.

Paul Kogan: OMGPOP

OMGPOP logo

Name:Paul Kogan

Company: OMGPOP

Profession: VP, Commerce

Favorite Classic Game: X-Com UFO Defense

Quote: Having hidden aliens suddenly fire on you, the ominous music and the pit in your stomach you felt when sneaking into an enemy ship made for unbelievable tension. I have not found a game that’s been able to replicate the sense of tension X-Com created.


POD: MegaMan Universe

Megaman Universe logo
Megaman Universe logo

Today’s picture of the day comes from Capcom’s upcoming release for Xbox live and PlayStation Network, MegaMan universe.

Mega Man games are beloved by fans all over the world. Since their debut in 1987, Mega Man has remained a videogame icon, having starred in more than 140 titles over the last 22 years. The connection he’s made with pop culture at large has extended beyond games and into cartoons, toys, clothing, comics, kid’s meals, and more. Part of that popularity is driven by the series’ ability to evolve over time yet consistently retain the addictive gameplay experience that sets Mega Man games apart.

 

 

 

As a bonus check out the first gameplay video showcasing three of the playable characters in MegaMan universe and an introduction from creator Keiji Inafune.

 

Aubrey Norris: SouthPeak Games

SouthPeak Games logo

Name: Aubrey Norris

Company: SouthPeak Games

Profession: PR Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Blaster Master (NES)

Quote: I LOVED Blaster Master as a kid – fighting radioactive frogs and driving a tank?  What more could you ask for?  Plus the game was hard as crap – beating that game definitely was one of my proudest moments of nerddom.


Halo Reach: Deliver Hope Trailer

Halo Reach Gold
Halo Reach Gold

Whether you like the Halo series or not (really, who doesn’t like it) you will like this trailer. You might have seen shorter versions of the live action trailer titled “Deliver Hope” but now you can see the full version. It is incredibly well done showcasing some great action sequences and a music score that even gives the ol’ heart strings a tug.

And as a bonus, just because we like you, check out the awesome spartan shots!

Cosplay: World of Cos-Quest

World of Warcraft is not just about sitting behind a computer for twelve plus hours a day it can also mean going to events where people dress up like their favorite characters. Truth be told many of the cosplayer’s shouldn’t have left their homes but there are quite a few who many wish they could take home. So without further ado let’s take a look at the good (hot) side of World of Warcraft cosplay.

 

 

Brain Kritzberg: Ninth Dimension Studios

Ninth Dimension logo
Ninth Dimension logo

Name: Brian Kritzberg

Company: Ninth Dimension Studios, LLC

Profession: Producer/Co-Founder

Favorite Classic Game: Contra for NES

Quote: I’m not quite sure why I love this game so much, but I just do!  I must have played it a million times with my best friend growing up and I still play it today.  When a game doesn’t get old after 20 years you know you have a winner!  It had several things going for it; Firstly, it was one of the few games that you could play in Co-Op Mode on NES.  Playing alongside your buddy blowing up galactic henchmen and crazy arm-flailing aliens is always more fun than doing it by yourself!  I also liked the assortment of weapons you could get your hands on; especially the spread-shot gun, where the entire screen was practically enveloped when you fired.  This game actually had really good gameplay, fun graphics, and was quite challenging.  Definitely my top pick!


Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol cover
Alpha Protocol cover

Alpha Protocol Review & Strategy Guide by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“A great RPG despite its shortcomings.”

Overall Score:
7 out of 10

Overview & Replayability:

In Alpha Protocol, you take the role of Michael Thornton a secret agent for a “does not exist” US Government intelligence agency by the name of “Alpha Protocol”. The plot of the game quickly consists of you getting screwed over by the agency and its master Halbech (a Halliburton-like company, although Halbech is a military weapons manufacturer and Halliburton is focused on energy/oil) and you set out to get revenge/expose them/cause chaos/sell out to “the man”.

The storyline was very engaging and I might actually replay this game in the future. The characters feel like actual people who have personalities and do respond based on your actions and your attitude. The game pops up a reaction rather than a sentence of text like every other RPG and you have a short amount of time to react (like real life conversations).

Alpha Protocol Main Character RPG dialogue options

If for instance a character likes joking around and you’re acting “professional” and by-the-book they’ll think your character is an asshole and they won’t get along with you. I, for example, got along with most people because I just told them what they wanted to hear and I became the best friend of some character that’s a loose cannon CIA agent that is usually like a serial killer that cleans up their dirty laundry (he literally owns a laundromat in Taiwan).

The game feels a lot like the first Deus Ex game in the sense that it has very good characters that are innovative. Just because they send you on a mission to kill someone doesn’t mean that they are a badguy or that they deserve to die. In fact, my guy was so charismatic (with me at the helm, ahem, of course) that I befriended everybody pretty much in the game, even the villains.

I have a feeling that there are many paths of outcomes regarding letting people live or die in the game and each time you make a choice it changes the total outcome of the game. THIS IS A GREAT THING TO HAVE IN A GAME. This kind of thing makes me want to replay a game even if simply to see all the endings and outcomes. I did it before with Fallout 2 (it had like 50 possible variables for the ending) and Blade Runner (this game had 300 different endings, check it out) and I’ll do it again with Alpha Protocol. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the game has this since the lead designer was Chris Avellone which is legendary for that kind of logic branching in such games as Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, KOTOR 2, and Neverwinter Nights 2.

The game is very enjoyable and overall most of the way it was made are great but why did I give it a score of 7? The game has a big problem and that’s where most people will just say “fuck this shit”. That problem lies where the controls of the game are…

Controls & Gameplay & Fun Factor:

Overall, the controls respond too slow, especially looking around with the camera which is a deadly problem in an action/fps kind of game. Sometimes I found myself dying saying “where the fuck did that guy come from” because I was too busy trying to aim my gun and some guy just ninja teleports by me (it felt like it) and filled me up with 4 bullets from a heavy pistol or unloaded an uzi into me. I did play it at the max difficulty though but a lot of the time because of how slow the camera panning is on top of making the right mouse aim mode shit when at close range, I was forced to melee the guys and usually the computer can outmicro your attacks and you will die like a bitch.

But… that’s not really my biggest problem with the game. The biggest problem I had is that I had to continually make my guy buy emp bomb/grenade supplies because the hacking system in the game is so terrible. I played this game on a PC and I have both a mouse and keyboard, which are usually vastly superior to me over a gaming controller for a console or joystick (for these kind of games, not arcade games). The way the hacking works is that there is a series of words and letters at the top left and top right of the screen which you have to match up in an ocean of changing letters and numbers. In that ocean, the two sequences of numbers and letters will be there (most of the time) and you have to put the sequence code on top of the corresponding one and press spacebar for the top left one which you control with the keyboard and the left mouse button that you control with the mouse. While doing all this you have a time limit and if you put it in the wrong place or the code changed place you lose ten seconds of time each time. I’m really really good at identifying sequences BUT the controls were really bad and no matter how many times I pressed the corresponding key on the keyboard to move the sequence around the speed at which it can move around is FIXED meaning that even if you press down 6 times in one second, it will only move down one row every second, just about. The other part which you control with the mouse is even worse. If you want to know how bad it is, it’s as hard as trying to drive a car in a racing game with a mouse. I’m not kidding.

Alpha Protocol Sis and papa

As as result of the shittiness of the controls for the hacking I just loaded up with EMP supplies to just skip all the hacking in the game. There is also the security alarm hacking which just makes you pick paths to a reverse puzzle but that is at least beatable although I hate it when they gave you 10 paths to follow in just 18-20 seconds worth of time. You might as well be defusing a real bomb in real life, it felt like it. The only puzzle part that is easy is the lockpicking and I can’t complain about that. I give the controls for the action part a score of 5 out of 10. They should have tested this game more.

Below is a screenshot of how you can’t sometimes shoot through a door that you could in real life:

The game plays like a Splinter Cell kind of 3rd person stealther shooter but to me I just made it be a shooter, especially since the stealth missions are fucking impossible. If you like playing games like that, you will enjoy the gameplay. I give Gameplay a score of 6 out of 10. It’s not the best but the RPG element makes up for it, and by that I don’t mean the leveling up, which this game has but the element of dealing with characters that are real people with real agendas.

I genuinely had fun playing this game and it didn’t feel like “let me just play this crap to review it.” I wondered what characters I would meet next and liked seeing characters with different philosophies interact and fight with each other. Fun Factor gets a score of 8 out of 10. Some of the bugs were FRUSTRATING but the rest was FUN.

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:

I only played this game on hard and it was at times a GREAT challenge. I don’t know what the lower difficulties are like and I don’t care to. The problem that it has is that this game does NOT let you change the difficulty in-game once the game started. If it’s too hard for you you’ll either quit and go play something else or you will start all over again… from the beginning, which I doubt. Just make sure you’re up to the challenge and suck it up! Difficulty gets a score of 8 out of 10, especially for parts like being stuck in a mansion where they took all your gear and everybody you meet is a martial arts expert with a shotgun, pistol, or uzi! Difficulty Versatility fails because it doesn’t let you change the difficulty and that will piss off a lot of players. It gets Difficulty Versatility of 2 out of 10.

Value:

I would say that I recommend renting this game or borrowing it from somebody rather than buying it. I would say it’s safe to buy it for 10 bucks because it’s not that much and hopefully by the time that this game costs that little they fixed all the bugs (which I doubt). If you want to check it out anyways, GoGamer has it for around 40 bucks right now. Gamestop also sells it for 40-50 bucks right now. Steam has it as well. At that price Value is terrible for me and I would not get it! Value gets a score of 2 out of 10 at that price. The game took me about 12 hours to beat. Anything that has under 30, 50, or 100+ hours I usually recommend renting or borrowing.

Sound:

The guns sounded pretty authentic as well as glass breaking and other similar sound effects like the alarms and doors opening or shattering. The voice acting was really well done as well and it helped a lot with the role-playing dialogue process. Sound gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Music:

The music for this game was actually really great. It gives a great feeling of a spy environment as well as it’s exciting enough to keep a feeling of suspense running most of the time during the game.

The authors of the music are BT (Brian Wayne Transeau) and Jason Graves. I give the Music a score of 10 out of 10 because I pretty much enjoyed the songs for every part of the game, even the few slow parts (for which there weren’t many).

Stability/Reliability:

I had the game crash and make my Windows XP run out of memory when I had it alt-tabbed and watched 2 hours worth of video at the same time. Other than that there was a buggy part that forced me to crash the game after completing the 3rd or 4th mission. Those were the only times the game ever crashed on me and I did alt-tab more after that crash. Stability/Reliability gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Sis and her “dad”

Graphics & Performance:

The game uses the UT3 engine but I found the performance laggy at times. Most of the time the performance is fine but when it lag-spikes, it’s really god-awful and that sometimes ends up getting you killed. I found this happens a lot when there is some crazy action about to happen and then some character talks to you especially one over the headset (such as the mission handler). The graphics look nice and they get a score of 7 out of 10. Not the best but not too bad either. There were parts that you could see a character that was trying to walk through a door, like in Thief: The Dark Project. Performance though gets punished because it lagged when I needed it specifically NOT TO. Performance gets a score of 4 out of 10 because of the timing of the lag-spikes.

Sis is a hot mute!

Conclusion of Review:

Although this game has its annoying parts it’s worth at least checking out. Give it a chance. If you do, it’ll grow on you.

Hot Russian Mercenary Babe rawr

Strategy Guide for Alpha Protocol:

As far as armor goes get anything that gives you damage resistance first, then anything that boosts endurance. This will be very important especially on the missions where there are TONS of guys assaulting you. Anything that boosts your health or life is great too.

As far as the weapons of choice, max out assault rifles as that to me is the main weapon to use in the game. You will see this when you fight bosses, especially annoying ones that snipe or ones that will just rape you like the Russian guy that’s obsessed with 80s shit and that loves using dual uzis and knife stabs up close!

Fuck stealth, go full combat build. Fuck hacking, get EMP supplies. Put the rest on one or two slots worth of healing supplies. You can just rape the game with the assault rifle, especially if you headshot everybody. For fun, I made my guy have the shotgun as the secondary weapon. The submachine gun was probably the worst weapon since it had no accuracy.

As far as purchasing info on the blackmarket get anything which increases your intelligence profiles and don’t bother to buy dumb shit like a sniper rifle which you can’t carry in the rest of the map anyways.

There will be one mission where you are in the mansion and they took all your weapons away. This would have been a good time to have put stuff into martial arts training but if you’re like me, you probably didn’t. When you run out to the balcony RUN fast as you can and hit the guy that has the heavy pistol, I found that if I make my guy turn a little and I spam the melee attack it increases the chance dramatically of hitting the computer because he won’t block as well. That’s the only tip I have as far as what I found to be hardest part of the game. I died like a little bitch in that part, probably 40 times in a row until I figured it out. Here’s a screenshot of me getting raped:

Final Fantasy XIV: A Fantasy I Want No Part Of

FFXIV online logo
FFXIV online logo

E3 2009 took us by surprise when Square-Enix opened up with the trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. It wasn’t expected to be announced and was rather hush-hush until the presentation. What really blew people away, in my opinion, was its suggested release date. When an MMO is normally announced to be in production you expect 2-3 years from that date or more for the game to be complete and released. Releasing such a big brand name in such a short time made me insinuate that this project must have been in works for quite some time in silence. As with most utterings of a Final Fantasy game being released, high expectations are hoped to be met by their fan base. Can Square-Enix bring out a AAA title in such a short time frame? The company certainly has not released anything close to AAA quality in quite some time and this MMORPG must have occupied many of the company’s resources for its production.

Final Fantasy XI was a highly acclaimed MMORPG in Japan and did moderately successful worldwide. With the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, a company like Square-Enix seemed like the most powerful competitor to steal some WoW’s players. The time to capitalize on the market of people waiting for the next big MMO was netted in by this announcement. With Star Wars: The Old Republic not ready to debut until Spring 2011, Final Fantasy XIV had a chance to pull in a strong player base of MMO nomads.

As the release date began to draw near, open beta was announced and it was time to check out what Square-Enix was hiding behind the curtain. After getting my beta invite email I decided to follow the instructions. I was taken to a link that I had assumed would have a registration key and login section to get this fixation underway. Instead, the link took me to a portal with the “requirements” to play the beta. There were no links to sign into my Square-Enix account and the page was outright inadequate. Their “System Requirements” section on the page just directs you to another page with the information on the minimum system requirements. This portal page was completely and utterly useless and vague at best.

I finally decided to just go to the Final Fantasy XIV official page to login and see if I can find a registration code. Finding any reference to this code in my account page was impossible and adding Final Fantasy XIV to my service only asked me for a code anyway. When I finally did find the code page, they had closed registration codes for the time being and will release more at a later date. After spamming the refresh button a million times I eventually did get this code for my wife and myself to play.

Finding the download section for the game was another hassle as it wouldn’t open up the torrent file at all. I eventually had to find it off another site to begin the patch. My download time for this nearly 8GB file was 5 weeks. My wife’s download time was an hour and thirty minutes. After some surfing on the internet I saw a ton of people were having a problem with the game patching in a reasonable time frame. I guess we got lucky my wife’s download was speedy. When her download finished I just transferred a copy of the completed files to my computer so we could get started.
Now, onto the meat of this review. The game itself.

Performance: My machine is fairly new so I’m not even going to rate the performance based on that. My wife’s unit is older and has an Intel quad-core clocked at 2.40GHZ, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and an ATI 5870. The game ran beautifully. There was little to no chopping even in the populated cities with the settings set to max. Particle effects offered zero lag and the game probably ran the smoothest out of any next-gen MMORPG we’ve played in the past 3 years. For an open beta, this was highly impressive. Any midrange computer can handle this game at full settings with just a bit of tweaking if a hitch ever came up.

Controls: Developers of this game came out straight and said this game was designed to have the UI revolve around the use of a controller. Just like in Final Fantasy XI, this unrelated sequel of sorts incorporates the use of a controller even for the PC. It is not keyboard and mouse friendly at all. For God’s sake, you can’t even hotkey anything. For some of the most simple tasks you have to take a journey through a plethora of menus for miniscule options. It is ridiculous, cumbersome, and ill planned. Yes, the game is releasing for the PS3 and these controls must be comfortable for them but guess what? They aren’t releasing the PS3 version until sometime next year. What is the purpose of releasing the PC version with this horrid UI and control scheme if the focus of its movement isn’t even releasing until the following year? It makes little to no sense. It seems to me they are releasing this version of the game just to make the deadline “promise” they made at E3 2009.

LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV
LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV

Sound: Classic Final Fantasy sounds make their appearance in this game. It is clear and sounds great. The music really puts you in that role-playing mood if you’re into that sort of thing. It shoves you into this world and makes it come to life. As always, Nobuo Uematsu knows how to compose some grand and fantastical musical choices. Unfortunately, all this goes to hell the moment the voice-overs pop in. The studio that handled the voice acting must have hired the student’s from Ms.Spifz’s High School English Class. The actors sounded as though they were involuntarily picked to read aloud to the class the next section of The Great Gatsby. The voices are uninspired, bland, and lacking any emotion. The music sets you up for this grand adventure and then the actors from Twilight decide to make an appearance as voice actors and ruin the entire mood. I felt blue balled.

Gameplay: I know this is what you all have been waiting to hear, so here it is. The game immediately tosses you into this adventure to go kill whatever furry monstrosity is waiting for you in the newbie area, the inauguration for every great RPG adventure. If it isn’t stomping on giant rats, its killing boars or bunnies. After going through a thousand clicks to accept the quest, I opened my map to see where I should begin my journey. The newbie zone was right on the edge of town. Guess where they started me? At the OTHER side of this 5 mile city! Not only was it difficult to find my way around but I couldn’t leap down staircases to make shortcuts. And with that we bring up my biggest peeve in anything ever!
I hate games that don’t let me jump.

I don’t care how good it is.

I hate not jumping.

Walls that were two feet high were preventing me from crossing the fastest way possible. I had to trek all the way across the wall just to get around. I can shoot fireballs from my hands and cleave through the sturdy flesh of an Orc but I can’t hop over a small bump in the ground. I hate being bored in groups and not being able to prance around the dungeon as we continue onward. I hate not being able to cancel my spells with a small little hop. The lack of a jumping feature takes away from the gaming experience for me. I can’t even vault over the damn thing like in Gears of War.

Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV
Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV

Finally reaching the newbie area was probably the most frustrating part of the game. The mob I needed to kill sparsely speckled the newbie zone and the amount of new players looking to kill this mob were outnumbering its spawn rate. The hotbar techniques only correspond to the number on your NUMPAD. I couldn’t find any other way to map it elsewhere for more convenience. After spending maybe an hour searching for three of these mobs without any luck I decided to uppercut a Dodo bird which kept running by me constantly. Instead of considering its level, I shoved my lancer’s spear into his face and I was quickly dismembered in only a few seconds. As I laid dead on the ground I began to wonder when my release timer would come up so I could respawn. After a minute of waiting I began to realize why I saw so many dead players that hadn’t released their corpse earlier in my adventure. There is no release button. You have to excavate through your menu and find a “Return” button to get released to a spawn point. Nicely done, Square-Enix. Your vague manner really helped me there.

After calming down and letting my heart rate return to a safe set of beating, I decided to return to town and try out the crafting professions. I always liked fishing in an MMO so I decided to take up Fishing as my career choice. I needed some money to buy some of the equipment needed to pursue my profession so I sold some vendor trash and went ahead on my new path. After equipping my pole and bait I went ahead to begin the process of being a bad ass fisherman. After spending 4 minutes wondering how to even begin fishing since the keyboard controls were complete garbage, I got on my way. The whole fishing endeavor was much more complicated than I thought. I had to choose my depth, the quality of the water I was fishing from, and the casting point. When the message that something had bit my line appeared, I had to begin a struggle with the fish to drag it out of the water. You have to constantly “Jig” with the fish back and worth as it tries to take the line till the fish is too tired to struggle and you capture him. It’s basically the combat mechanics of a Pokemon battle. I found fishing way more enjoyable than the actual game’s combat since I spent most of the time running around with my spear trying to find rats to poke. I could easily see someone making their crafting profession their main source of entertainment in the game as it is rather enthralling.

The fatigue system was something I didn’t really experience as I gave up just way too soon on this game from sheer lack of enjoyment. From what I’ve been told by friends and from other sources, you can’t barrel through the game. Powergamers will not find any euphoria in this game as the fatigue system penalizes you for using one class for too long. After 8 hours of gameplay, your character will hit a block in progression that will offer them no experience points. They will have to change classes and try something else for another eight hours. Each week the debuff is cleansed and you are allowed to continue on with the class that was previously penalized. What does this sound like to me? It sounds like this game is probably two-thirds complete and they are putting roadblocks so they can successfully complete their endgame. By the time the PS3 version of the game releases, I prophesize that this system will be scrapped since the game will be officially completed.

Final Verdict: This game falls short in so many places. It is beautiful and quite breathtaking. It isn’t as user friendly as one would hope. Newer gamers to the Final Fantasy Online universe can easily get lost in the complexity of its interface and mechanics. It does require a bit more patience than most MMOs and getting the hang of it right out of the box isn’t something that will come easily. A small fraction of brain power is needed to solve the puzzles of the menu and to get used to some of the mechanics for the crafting professions. If you’re looking for something to dive into right away, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for a powergaming experience, this game isn’t for you. If you enjoy excelling in one area, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for beautiful graphics and dream inspired settings with an enjoyable RPG experience filled with the wonder and adventure of killing large rats and Dodo birds, this is the game you’re looking for! Overall, the game failed to grasp my attention for longer than five hours.

For something that was expected to take the MMORPG genre a step forward, this title took two steps backs and one step forward. What was expected to be a monsoon of intrigue and JRPG adventure ended up becoming nothing more than a minor swell lost in a sea of upcoming MMOs.

Maniac Mansion review

I rarely do it but Today is the day that I most definitely will! I’ll start the review from the very end of it – the score. Why? Well, reasons may be many, some more other less probable but what the truth is, is that I, as most mammals do, only tend to try to simplify my life. I consider vast majority of my readers at least to be mammals, so I suppose they like things plain and simple as well. That said, if I mention the name of the game and the score, it’s obvious that all the old bastards such as myself will nod their heads in understanding and move away to other, more recent or less well known game reviews and those who still don’t know it (are there any gamers who don’t know IT!?) may find the score high enough to lure them into a quick read. For those that’ll stay and waste five minutes going through my endless blah, blah, blah, here – Maniac Mansion gets 9.5 out of 10. Thank you! Goodnight!



Maniac Mansion was developed and released by LucasFilm Games LLC (now known simply as LucasArts) in 1987 on Commodore 64 and then in 1988 on all other major platforms of the time – Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, DOS & NES/Famicom. And since all these represent different points in wide range of 8 & 16 bit machines, the game version varies slightly in terms of graphics & music depending on given machine’s capabilities. Have no fear though, over the top, B-class movie-like gameplay remains the same on all of these. And that’s the only thing that really matters here, right?! Right!

Maniac Mansion DOS EGA Title Screen
DOS EGA – Title Screen

From the technical point of view Maniac Mansion, often called MM, was a novelty of sorts. It introduced SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine that revolutionized Adventure games genre offering a complete point and click interface instead of typical at the time – text based interface. It utilized now well known Verb + Object operation, where verbs would be a set of actions that player could take upon various objects in the game World. It’s easily noticeable that games that followed for years after used or based their own engines on SCUMM as it not only simplified interaction with the game but made it more fluid, life-like, so that the player would not get distracted by mis-typing lengthy boring-ass commands or using wrong words in former kinds of interfaces. On top of all that MM was the first adventure game that presented the player with more than one character to control simultaneously. Player could switch between them whenever he/she felt like it or needed to.

Maniac Mansion Amiga Main Hall
AMIGA – This is how the Mansion’s Main Hall looks like. It holds quite a few neat secrets as well.

Taking Video Games technology available at the time MM did not stood out in any other area really – graphics were OK but not mind blowing and lacked loved and cherished by everyone Rivers of Blood(tm)… Well, there was *some* blood in the game but hardly enough to keep a gore-hungry, silly TV-shows raised teens at peace. And music? Apart from truly awesome opening theme and few sounds (not on all systems though) during gameplay were practically abundant. Looking at the back catalog of games I played over the years, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s not the graphics or even sound and music that makes a good game…

Maniac Mansion NES Secret Lab
NES – Secret Lab ain’t that secret no more…

Maniac Mansion, from beginning to an end is all story. Story, that is simple, short but drives the player from the first minute when he choses three of the seven available characters (one fixed though) to the last second of gameplay, or till he fails. Yes, in MM one can fail and not complete the game just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or doing something unnecessary… And why would one wander around doing odd things, digging holes in piles of shit instead of following the flow of the story? Because, lets say that you love cheesy B-class movies that are so bad that they actually are really good… Now, in this World MM would be an absolute king and queen of those movies, all rolled into one!!

Maniac Mansion c64 screenshot
C64 – This is where it all began 20 years before…

You play the role of Dave and two of his friends who have to save Dave’s girlfriend Sandy (even those names seem as if the were taken out of an under budget production made for 75 cents and a promise of mention in the final credits) from the hands of mad scientist – Dr Fred Edison – and his army (well, actually only few) of mutated Tentacles… Sounds cheap & cheesy? It should, the story is so simple that honestly I don’t see it ever getting any better. At least not in 1987, when I was no more no less than six years old and Maniac Mansion was like reading a book that I could actually take part in and it did not suck.

Maniac Mansion Apple II Library screenshot
Apple II – Library – The source of all knowledge… And funny smells…

I’m not gonna spoil this truly awesome game for you by telling you about all the inside jokes, puns and 80’s pop-culture references because I know you’ll enjoy it far more discovering everything by yourself. All I’ll mention is the game offers huge re-playability value due to the fact that all the secrets and gags cannot be found on one playthrough. For one, the characters player choose at the beginning all have unique personalities and respond to same situations differently and may even need to find different ways of solving similar problems. Also many, many things in this game lead to failure but failure through tears of laughter as authors did not kept the best stuff only for actions progressing the plot. And this is exactly what makes a great game – when failure is *also* an option worth taking. ^_^

Maniac Mansion Atari ST kitchen screenshot
Atari ST – There’s no kitchen without chainsaw and some mature cheese.

Maniac Mansion, even though it changed the face of Adventure games genre forever cannot be treated like pure adventure game only. I’d say it’s an interactive movie with adventure and arcade elements at heart. Some puzzles must be timed perfectly to complete, other require smart switching between chosen characters and using their positions and available actions at just the right order. And at another time you’re sitting there watching the game unveil its cinematic sequences just to add depth to the story. Please, pretty please, with a rotten turd covered cherry on top, notice that I used italics whilst mentioning cinematic sequences. Oh, darn, I’ve done it again…

Maniac Mansion c64 tentacle
C64 – Tentacle in its full 8-bit awesomeness…

Why only 9.5 out of 10, if the game clearly was the next Bible!? Or Bible 2.0, if you please (I expect a lot of hate mail now, he, he… ^_^)!? Well, it sure was fun playing it and I even recall one time when as a child I played it with two friends, each of us taking a role of another character… It’s not difficult to guess we did not fare far in the game… Maniac Mansion is just awfully difficult at times, presenting the player with numerous dead ends upon reaching which there is no choice but to reload the game. Or even many time & monkey-like agility based puzzles that one may repeat time after time until perfecting them, so that he/she could progress just that little further in the game. Honestly, sometimes when I play it it feels as if my head was split and someone pissed inside – there seems to be the brain there but my reflexes just ain’t what they’re supposed to be, short-cutted or something. Or maybe I’m just getting old, that’s all? That said, all the humor, re-playability and utterly awesome setting of Old Mansion that holds unknown secrets and a lonely kidnapped girl do make me wanna play it again… Today… Must fight the urge to play the darn gameMust not choose the system nowI am the master of my own mind & willAhhEhhBollocks! I’ll give this bad boy one more roll. ^_^

Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

Pool Balls XBL – PSN
Pool Balls XBL – PSN

So, as everyone knows by now, Xbox Live got that wonderful price hike of $10. It’s not too big of a deal I guess, although nobody likes a price hike. It is just $10, but it’s brought up two interesting points for me. People keep saying that Playstation Plus isn’t worth it, and Xbox Live is. This interests me because I am attracted to things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For this segment, I will refer to the whole of PSN (as opposed to specific PS+ things) and the whole of XBL. Now with that in mind, the two points I have are, essentially, 1) Why do people think Xbox Live is better than PSN? and 2) Why in God’s name am I still paying for Xbox Live?

I’m not saying Xbox Live isn’t bad, it’s great, if you only have an Xbox. If you have both, ultimately it should come down to where your friends are (most of mine are on PSN, just as a disclaimer) but even for the actual services, what you get is mostly different. So lets look at the new breakdown:

Playstation Plus Logo
Okay, I will admit this peggle-looking ad is a bit much…

PSN(+):

  • $50 a Year or $20 for 3 months
  • Timed 60 min game trials, (option to purchase after)
  • Qore
  • Free PS1 games every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Free PS Minis every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Discounts on DLC, Downloadable games, essentially everything but full games
  • Access to Betas that they keep out of the hands of the free customers
  • (Free already) Online multiplayer
  • (Free already) Video Chat

I didn’t make any of that up, it’s everything i’ve gotten so far being a PSN+ member. Maybe because popular opinion is so far in Xbox Live Gold’s direction that they feel that they have to practically spoil PSN+ customers in order to get them to pay (and given the opinion of most so far, it’s probably true) but that is a lot of stuff for $50 a year. With Xbox Live Gold, I get:

Xbox Live
Xbox Live

XBL Gold

  • $60 a year, $10 a month or $25 for 3 months
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Parties/Cross game Chat
  • Last FM
  • ESPN
  • Video Kinect
  • Demos that they keep out of the hands of the free customers

I didn’t bother putting anything about video or Netflix, because they both can do them, and besides anything the Wii can do technologically isn’t up for discussion here. Thats all I can find for both PSN+ and XBL. This list speaks for itself. Essentially it’s more money for less features. If we take the “it’s where my friends are” out of the equation (because it’s circumstantial) the better service is the one with the better features, and honestly, that’s Playstation Plus. There just aren’t many (if there are any at all) discounts of games on XBL, and there’s absolutely nothing free ever unless there’s a large cutoff of Xbox Live, and even then you get a free game like “Diner Dash” that nobody plays anyway.

Be honest, how many times do you use this?

I don’t see this as a rant against XBL so much as I see it a rant against the people who say that Playstation Plus is “not worth it.” Be honest, didn’t you just use Facebook & Twitter that one time just to see if it worked, then never use it again? Of course you did, because you use Facebook and Twitter on your computer and phone, because that’s where it’s easiest to use. And even Facebook on Xbox Live doesn’t work as well as Facebook on PSN. On XBL, you can edit your status and see your friends status updates and all that fun stuff you can already do on your computer, only now with the added frustration of using analog sticks or a keyboard the size of a pack of gum to type it. The Playstation 3 has a web browser if that’s what you’re really into. (Or you could, you know, just use a f**ing computer) So when we see things like the Playstation 3 posting your trophy accomplishments and things you’ve purchased to Facebook in order for your friends to comment on them, that’s what I want to see out Facebook. Give me a reason to use Facebook on my PS3 specifically, not just a game console port of it.

Speaking of that sentiment, there is XBL’s ESPN service, which is exactly what I was just talking about. Now there’s a reason to watch ESPN specifically on your Xbox. Ratings, Video on Demand, all those wonderful things will probably make it a blast to use on XBL, and that’s the point.  It’s better than the service we have now, so it compels users to use the console version rather than the everywhere else on the damn planet version.

Now the last part of this is simple: it’s why I wont be using Xbox Live Gold anymore, because it’s a waste of money for me personally, for several reasons:

First off, my Xbox 360 is not currently connected to the internet. It can be, I just have to run my 100ft ethernet cable from my room all the way to the living room where my computer’s internet connection is, literally on the other side of my house. it barely makes it. Seeing as that’s absolutely ridiculous, I really don’t want to do that every time I turn on my Xbox. It’s obvious that my 20 gig system doesn’t have wifi, otherwise this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is. It’s a huge problem. Honestly, it matters most because I need a bigger hard drive, and since Microsoft only uses proprietary hard drives that are practically Netbook expensive, I figure I might as well combine the two and just get a whole new system. Maybe with that ugly grey controller with the better D-Pad. Another $300 to replace a working system I already have? Sure Microsoft, got that right here for you.

I didn’t want to talk about it in the actual fact based part because it’s so circumstantial, but now that i’m talking about myself I can say I really have no friends on Xbox Live. All but one of my friends are on PSN, and frankly, he’s not worth it. If he was reading this right now, I’d tell him that unless he wants to split the cost of XBL with me, i’m not paying $50 a year to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 with him. Left 4 Dead 2 was the game I played most on online multiplayer, and that came in a whopping 5 times. Why am I still paying for this?

I do of course, buy XBLA-exclusive games, because every so often someone releases a puzzle game that will scare the ever loving hell out of everyone that lives here, and probably some of my neighbors and me in a past life. But I can do that on Silver, which isn’t $60, it’s free. I’ve heard that certain demos or games come out a week later on Silver, but okay I can wait a week for that much money.

Here’s a huge difference. With PSN+, I get a lot of “free” stuff. Yes I know it’s not free, i’m paying $50 a year for it, but as we’ve seen with XBL, they don’t have to give it to me. But they do. And I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Mortal Kombat II was half off, some of the Minis are fantastic (Age of Zombies mostly) and the other discounts make it so that for that $50, I’m getting actual games. It’s allowed me to play things I’d never even consider looking at before, just because my subscription brings them to the forefront.

XBL is $60, and PSN+ is $50. In my opinion, PSN+ does a lot more to warrant my money than XBL does. But tell me, when looking at all the things both services offer, regardless of which console your friends are on, which service would you go for?

Free Stuff: Teen Agent

Teen Agent
Teen Agent

Good Old Games is giving away the classic point-and-click adventure detective game Teen Agent.

Great game to play if you like adventure games which happen to be hiliarious. 😉

You can get the full game here at this link. Enjoy it!

Consoul: Is Life A Game?

Consoul is a great animation by Lasse Gjertsen that poses the great question: “Is life a game?” What path would you choose? Will you win or lose? Will you reincarnate once you get the game over screen?

The video is a great homage to life as well as 8-bit video gaming!

Is Life A Game?

Mark Rattin:15 Letters

15 Letters logo

Name:Mark Rattin

Company:15 letters

Profession: Founder & Creative Director

Favorite Classic Game: Zaxxon

Quote: I loved the arcade game and my ColecoVision version made me the only kid on the block with a home version that rivaled what we played in the arcade. Definitely a taste of things to come plus that summer it made me a very popular kid as well.