The Obsolete Gamer Show: Jordan Weisman

We talk BattleTech, MechWarrior, Shadowrun, and Crimson Skies with Jordan Weisman including details on his Kickstarter that is bringing BattleTech back! From concept to lore and everything in-between if you love the BattleTech world you will want to watch this extended interview with a true gaming legend.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Jordan Weisman, Regina Carpinelli

This week we have two great Kickstarter’s so get your wallets ready.

First up we talked with Jordan Weisman creator of BattleTech, MechWarrior, Shadowrun and Crimson Skies just to name a few on the BattleTech Kickstarter by Harebrained Schemes. Mr. Weisman was kind enough to give us an extended interview as J.A. played the role of the newbie to the BattleTech universe while Ignacio was the awestruck fan.

battletech kickstarter

Check out the Kickstarter here.

Next up was our conversation with Regina Carpinelli, CEO of Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo which is having their three day even Oct 30 thru Nov 1. We talked about the beginnings of the comic book convention and what it takes to run one including some funny behind the scenes stories.

comikaze

Check out information on the expo here.

Now they say you shouldn’t have the same act twice but as a lover of FPS games we personally thought a game set in the civil war would be pretty awesome and that is exactly what War of Rights brings to the table. This title plans to bring the gameplay and authenticity that not only gamers would expect but Civil War reenactors as well. We talked to the team behind War of Rights about what player can expect from the game.

war of rights

Check out their Kickstarter here.

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Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries

Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries Atlas

In the spirit of Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries came out Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries. If you’ve never played Battletech or any of the Mechwarrior games, this is a great place to start other than Mechwarrior 2. This game should hold you out until Mechwarrior Online comes out! 😀

Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries Atlas

Mechs are customizable based on what they look like. Some mechs will only use missiles or cannons or energy weapons if that is what they used in the original tabletop Battletech game. Only Omnimechs have no such restriction.

The Good:
– Addicting and fun fun fun!
– A large variety of mechs and all sorts of updated weapons from both the Inner Sphere and Clan factions.
– Whore yourself out to the highest bidder and get paid well.
– As difficult as needed without it becoming impossible to beat.
– Nice music made in the spirit of the music from Mechwarrior 2 but not as good.
– Fun even though it’s old and feels dated. Since Battletech games are nowadays rare, we’ll take it!
– You can play the game free if you download it at MekTek.
– Some people still play this online together.

The Bad:
– The controls are really dated. The mouse control is horrible. It is designed to be used with a joystick which not that many people use anymore for PC gaming other than mainly flight sim people.
– The graphics are really dated.
– The game has an ending.
– Sometimes when you repair a Mech if you don’t have enough parts in your stockpile, it will repair the Mech but some of the weapons will be missing. The requires you to micromanage your configurations after a nasty mission every single time!
– Some missions are pretty frustrating.
– Damage engine does not show realistic depiction of damage on units.
– The Mechlab might be a little intimidating to new Battletech players especially with the variety of configurations available.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Mech Commander 2 Review & Strategy Guide

Mech Commander 2 Review & Strategy Guide by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“The greatest RTS game ever made for Battletech.”

Overall Score:
7 out of 10

Mechcommander 2 box art cover
Mechcommander 2 box art cover

Overview:

Think of this game as a more modernized version of BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception and BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks’ Revenge except without all the RPG aspect. You play the role of a commander for a mercenary outfit that got hired and got put in the middle of a civil war that just started between House Davion and House Steiner. On top of that House Liao is also trying to take over the planet that you’re on, in middle of the ongoing chaos.

Although this game now is pretty old, since it came out in 2001, it still captures all the charm of the Battletech universe. It might not have every Battlemech ever made but it does have some of the original best mechs and it introduces some newer mechs that are from the most recent storyline for the Battletech universe.

Mech Commander 2 Unit Selection Screen
Mech Commander 2 Unit Selection Screen

Controls & Gameplay & Fun Factor:

The controls are pretty archaic as far as an RTS game goes. They by default only use the left mouse button and the only other key that you really need is to press the space bar while giving out move orders to make your mechs run. The game uses the classic convention of being able to group units with CTRL + number convention. Controls get a score of 6 out of 10. They’re really primitive and are actually obsolete.

As far as RTS games go, the gameplay feels really dated. Sure it’s fun to see a lance of Atlas running around blowing the living crap out of everything. I do think that the Mechwarrior games are much better though, although they are a completely different kind of game. Gameplay gets a score of 7 out of 10.

This game was fun for me although it doesn’t have the fast pace of a modern RTS game. A lot of times a mission requires having a lot of patience. The game will make you wait for the enemy to attack. Sure, you can go out and get them but that defeats the point sometimes of fighting inside a fort that has turrets supporting you. Compared to some newer RTS games such as League of Legends, Battleforge, or Dawn of War 2, the game can be pretty boring. Since I grew up playing tabletop Battletech, this game was a blast from the past that an old gamer like me needed! I give fun factor a score of 6 out of 10. I wish they’d make sequel for this but there’s always lawsuits going on for the Battletech franchise. At least Mechwarrior Online is supposed to come out 2012 so we’ll see.

Mech Commander 2 Atlas fighting
Mech Commander 2 Atlas fighting

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility & Replayability:

This is where I have a problem with the game. If you play it on Veteran, the default 2 out of 4 difficulty then the game will be realistic as far as your weapons go as far as damage and accuracy BUT if you put it on the harder difficulties the game becomes bullshit and nearly impossible to beat. If you put it on 3+ difficulty then you will see shit like a hovercraft owning your mechs like nothing. This is where the game FAILS.

For that overall the Difficulty gets a score of 4 out of 10. Some of the missions even on regular difficulty were really challenging. The last mission was so damn easy though. 🙁

Difficulty Versatility gets a 1 out of 10. Super fail in this. Because of this the game has no replayability for me almost except playing it once every couple of years when you get the urgue to play something Battletech related.

Value:

How you go about getting this game really depends how much of a computer person you are or what format you want it in. If you want the original, you can ebay the CD for it. The cost will be whatever the market will bear. Microsoft released the source code for this game in 2006 and you can download it here. If you can make it run, there you go, enjoy it!

Sound:

The sounds for all the battle sounds were pretty realistic. It made me think of lot of the older Battletech games and that’s always a good thing. The lasers sound like they should, so do the PPCs, Gauss cannons, Auto Cannons, etc. The feedback from the Mechwarrior pilot was also pretty great, along with the digitized video of them getting shot up inside their mechs as well as your field assistant giving you updates on the status of your mission. Great job and we don’t see a lot of games that have this kind of banter anymore. The video acting was great too. A lot better than the ones in the Command & Conquer games, which is outright B movie grade. Sound gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Music:

Although the music is not as good as the music from Mechwarrior 2, the music does make you feel like you are playing a real Battletech game. I still love this soundtrack though.

I give the music a score of 7 out of 10. Click here to listen to more music from the Mech Commander 2 soundtrack.

Stability/Reliability:

On my modern PC running Windows 7 and doing ALT TAB like crazy, the game never ever crashed. I’m usually doing a million things while gaming so this game is rock solid. That’s to be expected by a game good enough to be published by Microsoft. This deserves a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics & Performance:

The graphics are really dated and haven’t aged well. They are Direct3D for a really old version of DirectX and no matter what parts you have the textures will look ugly by today’s standards. Oh well, at least the mechs look like what they should though. I give the graphics a score of 4 out of 10.

This game runs like a beast even on the worst computer I own. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10. It would fly even on a non-gaming PC.

Conclusion of Review:

If you are a hardcore Battletech fan and you’ve never played this, go out and play it NOW. If you want to play an RTS game that requires patience, you will like this game too. I don’t think they’ll ever make another game in the Mech Commander series again, which is a real shame. We’ll see though… If MechWarrior Online starts to do well when it does come out, there is hope. It’s nice to see that Battletech is not entirely dead. It has a special place in my heart alongside Warhammer 40k.

Strategy Guide:

Not much to it. Always use as heavy a mech as possible. Save every Atlas you ever salvage. Salvage every single battlemech on the field, even if you have no money left as you can sell them back for more money in the outfit and refit screen. Outfit every Atlas you have with as much armor as possible then load it up with as many Clan ER Medium Lasers as possible. That’s the optimal mech for the entire game.

Why I Prefer Video Games Over Board, Card, and Pen & Paper Games

Why I Prefer Video Games Over Board, Card, and Pen & Paper Games

I grew up playing a ton of board games, card games, and pen-and-paper RPG games but for many years now I’ve been sick of playing them and have favored video games ever since multiplayer and playing online against other people became abundant.

Battletech Box
Battletech Box

Well, even before then back in the days of hotseat (hotseat is multiple players playing on the same system at the same physical location), especially on my Commodore 64 and Amiga, as well as my friends’ NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES consoles, I would rather play a good balanced video game than deal with the arguments and drama that playing traditional games came with.

Now I love board games, card games, and RPGs but the problem I found throughout the years is that most people you play with will cheat at every opportunity or they don’t really know the rules of the game or they create their own house rules that sometimes make the game have nothing to do with the original game.

I grew up playing Monopoly, Sorry, Talisman, Battletech, Hero Quest, Munchkin, Guillotine, Chez Geek, Magic the Gathering, Jihad (the Vampire the Masquerade card game), Dungeons and Dragons (every version; AD&D every version as well), Shadowrun, Mechwarrior, and Vampire: The Masquerade. I’ve played more but those are the ones that easily pop into my head right now. I remember playing Battletech at a game store called Gamesters here in Miami with my friend Tom Birmingham and it was us two against two other players. The other players would do shit like waste time then make their guys move twice and fire twice. Even with their cheating, we decimated them.

Munchkin Card Game
Munchkin Card Game

For card games, especially Munchkin, there would be so many arguments that one time my friends stayed up all night playing the game and they decided to wake me up at 5 AM asking me to make a rule judgement. The conversation went something like this:

Friend 1: “Yeah we wanted to know how to interpret the Loaded Die card…”
Me: “You have got to be fucking kidding me. You know I’m going to kick you guys each in the balls the next time I see you.”
Friend 2: “I told you not to wake him up because of the game.”
Friend 1: “Shh… Anyways, we want to know if you can counter a Loaded Die card with another Loaded Die card.”
Me: “Yes, now please fuck off and never call me again not even if there’s an emergency. And yes, I will cock/cunt kick you all next time I see you. Good night.”

Vampire The Masquerade book
Vampire The Masquerade book

For pen and paper RPGs people would cheat on their die rolls just so their character would always do well. What’s the point of doing something if there is no penalty? How about playing a game where your character can actually die? What would be the point of real life if no bad things happened? Another problem that I found is that almost nobody knew how to actually role-play anything other than being a combat monster useless fucking character that killed everything that the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM) had spent hours designing. I always think of the D&D sketch by the Dead Ale Wives when I think of RPGs. For that I’d rather go play Diablo, at least that’s the point of that game!

Anyways, I grew tired of people ruining games for me so even as a kiddo I knew that unless the controller was broken in hotseat or somebody was using a bot online, video games would solve all that shit by preventing arguments from happening. Whereas on a traditional game you have to enterpret the rules and logic, in a video game everything is happening much faster (no need for die rolls other than internally within the program) and everything is more fluid. Whereas before playing something like Battletech, a battle would take 4 hours of real life time, that would translate into a 5-10 minute match in an RTS game.

Spy vs Spy on the c64
Spy vs Spy on the c64

The logic is simple and it’s even more obvious to me these days as I grow older than video games will continue to propagate even more and those old games will just continue to die. Now yes, I do agree that they should continue to exist. What are you going to do when a natural disaster happens and there’s no power? They’re great for that. Sometimes they’re great for parties so that at least you can play something with a non-gamer.

Auto Assault Box
Auto Assault Box

Now I’m not encouraging people to play an MMO unless it’s something like Auto Assault or Mechwarrior (two dead games) or PlanetSide (still around but almost nobody plays it) where skill and strategy mean something but more something along the lines as playing Starcraft or any favorite FPS game or anything else for that matter, so long as it’s not a gear based shitty game.. Just be careful with the online cheaters that will employ bots to win like a little bitch!

Another problem that traditional games have versus computer games, especially pen and paper RPGs is that they would take up so much time that it essentially became a ritual that you would have to dedicate time for each week. Think of it as the dedication a WoWhead gives their guild for raiding and other stuff in that game, except instead of clicking on World of Warcraft from any computer to connect you have to go to their house, buy food and drinks, and then drive home (usually really late that night or the next morning). It was even worse as a kid because of parents imposing curfews but I guess that doesn’t matter these days since parenting has gone to shit. =P With online gaming these days, you literally can play any game 24 hours a day and find people willing to play with you. You can’t beat that (although that does create problems like gaming addicts and more but that’s another topic for discussion)

Ur Quan Masters Battle
Ur Quan Masters Battle

I’d rather play a video game against a friend where it’s much harder to cheat than play a traditional game that could potentially ruin a friendship. I’ve seen some of my friends get into a permanent feud both over traditional games as well as video games but not as much for video games. Anyways, I’ll take something like a hotseat game of Star Control 2 (The Ur-Quan Masters) over a shitty game of Monopoly! However, just because I love video games that doesn’t mean that I won’t join you for a quick board game or card game or RPG session either!

Mechwarrior 2 Soundtrack

Mechwarrior 2 Soundtrack

What can I say about the music to Mechwarrior 2 except that this IS how you write the best soundtrack to one of the ultimate PC games of all time!

MechWarrior 2 Cover
MechWarrior 2 Cover

Mechwarrior 2 blew me away in such a manner and the music was so chillingly good that this was the game that made me mothball my Amiga in the closet in favor of PC gaming. This was a whole new experience and this was the future of gaming.

Here was an inmersive 3D giant robot simulator and after having played years upon years of Battletech, this game was heaven-sent. Yeah, I played a ton of Cyber Empires but this was lightyears ahead of that. Not only did they make an amazing followup to the original Mechwarrior that a few handful of people got to play online as one of the first MMOs but what a most successful sequel did they create using the Clan factions (The Jade Falcons, my old favorite Clan) rather than the Inner Sphere kingdoms.

Check out the amazing intro, although there’s no way a Thor would stand a chance against any configuration of Mad Cat, especially my builds:

[youtube id=”X3GD0UnBCk” width=”633″ height=”356″]

The game played in such a way that made it seem like you are in control of a real of a 20-100 ton fully equipped Battlemech. It gave you a feeling of piloting a damaged vehicle and taught you how to manage heat and ammo religiously.

For fun, you might want to know that this same engine tweaked to hell was used in other Activision games such as BattleZone (a superior game to the Mechwarrior games) and also Interstate 76 (the grandfather of AutoAssault). Mechwarrior 2 had an expansion called Ghost Bear’s Legacy as well as another game based on the Mechwarrior 2 engine called Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries, which I also have (and its soundtrack; if you guys want, I can post it).

I didn’t really play Mechwarrior 3 and I played and have Mechwarrior 4, which I loved. I even heard that you can download it for free, so I will post links for that if I find them.

All Battletech and Mechwarrior fans are dying for Mechwarrior 5 to come out but because the Battletech universe used robots from Robotech and somebody owns rights to them and is being a baby, that won’t let the release the game until they settle the lawsuit, the game is on hold. Rather than release the game with an agreement to reach an agreement, the game just gathers dust. Who knows if it’ll ever come out.

In the meantime, here is the amazing trailer (eyecandy) for Mechwarrior 5:

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

Ho Ho Ho, Now I have a machinegun!
Ho Ho Ho, Now I have a machinegun!

Anyways, enjoy the Mechwarrior 2 official soundtrack! Christmas is coming early this year since I found a box of my old PC games and I’m ripping a ton of music for you guys! HO HO HO NOW I HAVE A MACHINEGUN!