Editorials

Most gamers have an opinion it’s just ours are not only right, but informative and sometimes funny so you can read them all here.

Cryptic Studio Has Moved On But Have Their Games?: Star Trek Edition

For those of you waiting for this review after the sudden ending of the previous portion of this two-part article, I apologize. I wasn’t having problems with time or just pure laziness. No, I had problems with how to word my feelings towards Star Trek Online and how best to give an honest review without completely belittling the game. I know, I know. You’re used to that kind of response from me but I decided to be a bit more delicate with how I explain the faults and pluses of STO. [...]

Some movie studios to skip Comic-Con

You ever get the feeling that some companies just want you to show up, clap and then shut up and go home? The New York Times reported recently that movie studios Warner Bros., Disney, Dreamworks and The Weinstein Company are call skipping Comic-Con this year. Why might you ask, well some of the reasons include cost and time, but one of the main reasons is they are afraid of bad press. [...]

EQ2 Has The Worst Players On Erf!

I know I could easily deny myself of these experiences if I only made my own group and wrote off some of these people with my own iron fist ruling. Trust me, I have! I don’t take shit when I’m group leader. I don’t like having my time wasted while someone is eating shit in real life. This is my break before real life kicks in and you’re ruining those precious few hours I have. There are just sometimes where it’s easier to join an already forming group than taking the reins into your own hands. [...]

Did Smallville’s series finale deliver?

In my opinion Smallville’s series finale did not deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to go off on a tangent about how I wasted years of my life watching the program (however, there were those Lana episodes). Like the series finale of Lost, I felt it did not deliver, but overall I still liked watching the show. [...]

The 30 Plus Gamer

Today your doctor shows you your stats and you’re encumbered with a D.O.T. that could kill you in ten years. Most of us will not give up games, but if we want to continue to play, we have to replace that Hot Pocket with a grilled chicken breast and a sweat potato. [...]

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony

We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now. [...]

Top Five PlayStation: Racing Games

I’ve always been of the opinion that fancy graphics are far less important than a well-designed game. I think my continued love or retro games and enduring disdain for modern gaming is evidence enough of this, but there’s always been one exception – driving/racing games. Try as they might, developers in the 80’s and early 90’s were rarely able to fashion both a playable and convincing into-the-screen racer outside of the arcades, and I can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many I personally liked. [...]

Indie Game Reviews: x3

When Grid Runner first appeared on the VIC-20 it was nothing more than a great but a simple and quite unassuming little budget game. Now, over 20 years later, Jeff Minter, the game’s original creator, has evolved it into the absolute shmup extravaganza, complete with tons of levels, fluffy sheepies, amazing pyrotechnics, eye-melting visuals, an ear-melting soundtrack, many extras and that quirky Llamasoft humour. Oh, and some finely tuned shmup gameplay with some brilliant touches, that even manages to subtly innovate. Losing a life, for a example, can be mitigated by picking up a nice sheep, whereas each life is represented by a different ship (not sheep, mind) with unique features.. [...]

The MMO Separation of Church and State

In those golden days, PvP wasn’t about fighting another player for hours. It wasn’t about outlasting foes. It was like how PvP was in almost every other game in existence, including FPS. Fights were quick and fast paced. It wasn’t about every player being Batman and trying to pull off as much bullshit as possible. It was about an Enhancement Shaman with Windfury WTF raping their way to victory. It was about the Mage hiding in the back charging up a Pyroblast combo. It was about a rogue hiding and doing what rogues do best, assassinate. [...]

Mario’s complete Gameography: Almost

Mario. Had a friend named Mario. Quite a weird bloke, mind you, but that’s not the point. Besides, this post is neither about my friends, nor Marios in general. It’s all about Nintendo’s Mario, and his appearances (in cameo, supporting or starring roles) on video games of all kinds. Quite a few as you should have guessed, and what follows are the ones I managed to find. The list -I am sure- is not a 100% complete, and even though I feel that almost every important game and most Mario appearances have been covered, there must be some obscure and/or well-known omissions. [...]

Your very first experience with a 3D game and its hits you

The impact of this one 3D game was so successful to have put some serious impact on my head at that time and I instantly found ,in my 8th standard of junior schooling, that I wanted to make games in the future as a career. I am pretty sure I wasn’t alone with such an uprising feeling of doing something which was totally fresh as a career option at that time and most of the people didn’t even know how to generalize it with a term. [...]

Top Five SNES Two-Player Games

It can’t be a list of the best two-player games without a Bomberman game included! Well, except for the Master System list as that console doesn’t have a Bomberman game. Poor old Master System. This was the first game in this great series that I played and it’s still one of my favourites. Although they’re not to everyone’s tastes, [...]

Top Five 3DO Games

The poor old 3DO was hardly a run away success, was it? It was released during a difficult period. Change was coming, but not quite ready to be embraced by the gaming public. The fact that it cost as much as a car didn’t help matters either, of course! Consequently it doesn’t have the biggest of software libraries. With this in mind, instead of doing a genre-based Top Five for some of its games, I have little choice but to simply select the five best games on the system from all genres. [...]

Top Five MegaDrive Shmups

This underrated gem was a pretty early release for the MD but still ranks among its best coin-op conversions. It doesn’t have the graphical tricks of some games (see below!), but it is one of the most polished, balanced shooters I’ve ever played. It’s true that it’s somewhat unforgiving (it’s basically a one-life game) and doesn’t really have much in the way of power-ups, but it’s hard to complain when the game is still so good! Varied levels, a rocking soundtrack, a well-graded dificulty curve, and perfect collision detection make this one of the best! [...]

Remake and Reboot

The Wii is also seeing several of these new “interpretations”, as evidenced by Klonoa. The original game of the series appeared nearly ten years ago on the original Playstation, and was a 2.5D platformer with the player’s movement controlled along set paths. Fast forward and the graphical makeover is very good (the dreadful Americanised character voices less so), but the movement restrictions remain. The old-school game mechanics may feel uncomfortable to the new audience drawn to Wii, but there is a real challenge in there. [...]

Whatever happened to Video Game Pornography

Frankly, absolutely nothing was considered taboo or perverted enough to be left out and, were the book released in our dark and ultra-conservative era, the censors would be having an editing party. What's more, the sex scenes were at once poetic, funny, arousing, plot advancing and brilliantly complemented with giant penises rising from the ocean or extensive descriptions of the ship's library. Oddly, it was quite a publishing success too. [...]

Retaining

I do not see the challenge in mastering 100-button combos and posting a video on YouTube about it. One of the biggest problems seems to be balance. There is a fine line between rewarding high levels of skill and letting the player get through the game. Too often it seems easier to button bash than to time and execute moves, particularly when the combos rely on exacting timing. And hacking your way through wave after wave of the same enemy soon loses its appeal. [...]

Exploring the Commodore 64: Part 1

My original idea was to ask my fellow Retro Gamer Forum members to vote for a single game that they felt best represented the old beige breadbin, and then do a detailed report on that, but I was soon besieged by many suggestions covering a great variety of genres. So, instead I will have a quick play of some of these titles and present my first impressions of both the games themselves, and the system generally, here in this series of features. [...]

The Whine List

When Valve announced a sequel to the best-selling Left 4 Dead, you would imagine that the fans would be ecstatic. But no, a developer once renowned for being slow was putting out a sequel too quickly, and worst of all was the perception it would be “abandoning” the original and plans to release new content for it. Signing a virtual petition against Left 4 Dead 2 was a daft idea. But the campaign hit new lows when two leading objectors were given the chance to see the game at Valve’s headquarters – suddenly the two in question were “traitors” and Valve was brainwashing them into liking the game. [...]

Portable problems

One of the biggest problems for Sony was tailoring games to the handheld console. Too often developers tried to shoe-horn a large game more suited to playing at home into a UMD. Gems such as Loco Roco and Patapon were hard to find among the predictable movie licenses and multi-format failures. The Monster Hunter series did wonders in Japan but was slow to propagate worldwide. Gamers bemoaned the lack of a second analogue stick, but did appreciate the ability to download old PS1 games. [...]

Points Make Prizes

Like a lot of Nintendo users, I am a Club Nintendo member and have been frustrated by the service for a long time. First there was the short length of time the good stuff was available. But then, did I really need a Zelda statue or a storage rack shaped like Mario’s cap? (Ignore that small voice from inside me; I call him the Collector and often have to over-rule him). Then came the announcement that points earned from visiting the website (a massive five per day) and adding games to your collection would expire. [...]

Memories of Gaming: II

The only game of note here is After Burner Climax, which admittedly is a fantastic game worthy of the great name, but it seems lonely amidst all the crappy novelty machines. Anyway, from the sad present back to happy memories while I remember some of my favourite arcades games (aside from the already-covered-OutRun) from those awesome trips to Hayling with Stu and his family (and a belated thanks to you, mate!) … [...]

Top Five SNES Shoot em ups

There had to be a ‘cute em up’ on the list somewhere and this is surely the finest on the SNES! Indeed, although there had already been numerous games in the TwinBee series, this was the first one to be deemed worthy of a release outside of Japan. It’s the easiest game in this list by far too, which makes it a nice break for one thing, and it’s certainly a rather unique game too. [...]

Top Five Spectrum Compilations

Anyone who grew up in the 80’s and had a classic 8-bit micro would have worshipped the game compilations that appeared regularly throughout the latter half of that decade, and with good reason – a single new game would cost us upwards of £8, so who could say no to a collection of five, sometimes even more, games for a pound or two more? Whoever thought them up was a hero to all of us Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore 64 owners! [...]

Could Blizzard’s Next MMO Titan really be a Halo MMO?

Taken one at a time, these are just mere coincidences. However, combine them all and you have a legitimate conspiracy on your hands! So? Are all of these mere coincidences? Is Blizzard planting these seeds to troll everyone? Or maybe, just maybe, the secret is out and Blizzard’s new MMO is a Halo MMO! All I know is, what my insider friend told me matches all the conspiracies listed and goes hand in hand with a potential Halo MMO. For now, only those in Activision-Blizzard (and maybe Bungie) know the truth, but we are free to speculate. [...]

Cataclysm: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

For the first time ever, mages seem to be underpowered unless you like jumping around spamming ice lance all day! Maybe underpowered isn’t the write word, but they do seem to have a nice big target on their back. Melee teams seem to run a train on them all day and since all the healers have dispel and frost armor is not nearly as useful as it was, they appear to be in a dire situation. [...]

Top Five Saturn Fighting Games

After revitalising the fighting game genre with Street Fighter 2, the mid-90’s saw a huge influx of titles. The 16-bit consoles got a lot of good (and not so good) ones and this continued with the 32-bit systems with the added bonus of some fancy new 3D ones too. Many franchises popular today were born during this period, with the Saturn as well as the PlayStation getting some top titles. Given the unfortunate lack of success for the Saturn outside its native territory, many of its best games never left Japan including a lot of fighting games. Consequently there’s still a lot I haven’t played, but of the ones I have played, these are my favourites: [...]

My Favourite Games – Part 3

Back in my Sega fanboy days, I used to love it when a game like this came along. It would give me more ammunition to use against those who would seek to besmirch the good Sega name, and would almost always overshadow similar efforts on other machines (at least until the SNES came along!). I can fondly recall many arguments with my Amiga fanboy friend at college. Try as he might, he could never convince me that Project X was a patch on this game! I didn’t have to argue hard either. Featuring lush graphics, an awesome rocking soundtrack, kick-ass weaponry, big bosses, and eight varied levels (including the awesome lava stage, pictured), there’s not really much more a shoot ’em up fan could ask for here. [...]

Exploring the NES – Part 1

As I briefly mentioned in my ‘Exploring the Commodore 64’ feature, the computers or consoles we look back upon with most affection are usually the first ones we got, and these are usually gifts from our parents for Christmas or something similar. Just as I missed out on C64 gaming by virtue of receiving the splendid gift of a ZX Spectrum, I also completely missed out on Famicom / NES gaming by becoming a Master System owner. [...]

My Favourite Games: 1

Some of my many interests include retro videogames, movies, and anime, but I have been complacent in the pursuit of these interests for quite some time now, espically since I’ve been married. This is my attempt to make amends, and will offer the opportunity/excuse to sample some of the best, and no doubt worst, these subjects have to offer, including some that I’ve been meaning to try for many years, and will also allow me to re-evaluate some old favourites that should perhaps be better consigned to fondly-recalled memories. [...]

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

I am writing this in hopes that SOE sees this and takes the time to actually start some sort of plan to save their latest MMO DC Universe Online. I am not calling in the apocalypse of this game but I am simply stating that right now it has been poisoned by bugs. I have played many MMORPGs and since World of Warcraft’s release there haven’t been many AAA MMO launches. Many games falter in their idea to cash in on the WoW craze and create clones and other games try mechanics that just seem to fall flat because they failed to fix game breaking bugs before release. I don’t have much faith in many of the MMO’s coming out in 2011 but I did feel and still do feel that DCUO was going to be the one to stand with the greatest potential. [...]

Breaking down the Video Game addiction debate

While it can be a generally true statement that a gamer is less socially mainstream than a non-gamer it is not true that being socially mainstream is the best course for every child. If a gamer has a strong core of good friends, who can provide positive reinforcement then it should not matter as much where that common ground was found, as long as the act of gaming does not hurt the child physically or mentally then choosing to ally his or herself with other gamers can be socially healthy. [...]

A Gamer Girls Experience

I loved Dark Stalkers and Marvel vs. Capcom. I still play WoW when I have the time (and a functional computer) and the most expensive purchase that I’ve made in the past 2 years was a PS3 for which I’ve bought and played a number of games with it (mostly RPG, but whatever-at least it’s not a Wii). Even though I have moved on from the world of dating gamers, I still have a love for gaming and appreciate the medium. [...]

Games for Girls?

Do you really want to see a new achievement every time your girl finds a lost black sheep? If you are one of those guys stupid enough to share your Facebook account with your girl you are gonna look like a complete and total loser. Also, think of all the real chores she could be doing around the house instead of on a virtual farm and finally, 7 out of 10 Farmville players can barely cook in real life, down home indeed! [...]

Games and the XX Chromosome

So why is it still such a shock to see a woman enjoying some good old fashioned interactive virtual fun? Why does the stereotype still exist? Is it because the games themselves sustain female stereotypes? Is it the social awkwardness of the typical male who chooses the video game as their media of choice? Or, is it the gaming industry that tries to paint this idyllic view of their manly models playing their games in ads? [...]