Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto

The first Grand Theft Auto was created back in 1997 from DMA Design and I am proud to say the most hated sentence…. “I was playing GTA before it was cool”. The original game was a comedic action, driving free roamer with a top-down view. Unlike later installments of the game (except GTA 2) the game was actually a score-attack like game where you were stealing vehicles and murdering people, earning points in the process
Grand Theft Auto
Why it’s Great
Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto gave birth to one of the biggest (if not the biggest) franchises today for Rockstar and like Carmageddon 2 it was the subject of major controversy when it was released. Unlike Carmaggedon the franchise is still alive today and has produced millions of.. MONEY for the publishers , it is a blast to play and despite it’s age it still remains amazingly enjoyable until today.


Where you can get it
You can download the game for free here.

Grand Theft Auto: LEGO City

grand-theft-auto-meets-lego-city

Simply put, it’s just a brilliant GTA video. In LEGO City. More of a stop-motion animation with LEGOS actually. And a definite GTA theme. Cute. Enough said. Words can be expensive.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMY9VlMIEJk[/youtube]

Be Thankful, Gamer

Be Thankful, Gamer

I know. The title blew your mind. Umar Khan is writing about something he is thankful for rather than venting an apocalyptic hate filled rant? This is impossible, you may think to yourself. But it’s true. While my editorials are usually about me demeaning a genre or writing farewell letters, I am thankful for many things. And while I am in great appreciation for the greater things in life outside of gaming like friends and family and just the general ability to live, I am still thankful for the lesser things in life found in games.

happy-thanksgiving

I am thankful for games that give me a limited aerial arsenal and decide its time for an aerial fight. “Wait, what did he say?!” Calm down, reader! Give me a chance to explain myself. In games that focus too much on ground combat, I find it refreshing to be put into an aerial battle where my arsenal is limited to a single slashing attack. While these fights are repetitious in nature they also make every hit you land as important as the first swing. A force of timing and precision infuse you where the rest of the game left you with the mindless monotony of button mashing. One cannot deny the sheer satisfaction they feel when that overgrown robotic fly careens into the ground, left in a smoldering heap. Was it obnoxious? It sure was but you know when you have that get together with friends and talk about the game you’re all going to say, “Wasn’t the air battle a pain in the ass?” You’ll forge friends in common camaraderie and that is something you should be thankful for.

I am thankful for underwater levels because nothing gets my heart pumping more in a game than knowing there is the potential to suffocate or that hair rising terror that there could be a giant squid monster lurking in the murky depths. The sensation of dread that creeps upon me knowing that there is something dwelling around me in the darkness and one of my few hopes of survival around the crushing pressures of the blue abyss is my limited air supply is invigorating. I feel an unrelenting wave of anxiety as I progress through a game and I begin to notice the foreshadowing scenery getting a bit more coastal because I know, at some point, I will be submerged and I will end up crying myself to sleep like a little bitch that night.

I am thankful for villains who aren’t pure evil but just have differing views that they believe are correct and bode no true ill intent. In some sense you could find yourself relating to their predicament. If I learned one thing from Loghain in Dragon Age it’s that sometimes you have to be a D-bag to get through the day. Sure, the responsibility and knowledge of what you did will weigh heavily upon your shoulders but in order to be a titan sometimes you have to bear the curse of Atlas first. And while I found myself at odds with Loghain, had the tables been turned, had I witnessed the world from his perspective, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find myself being loyal to this patriot.

I am thankful for in-game prostitutes. They are a great way to gauge your true moral values in life. As a teenager playing Grand Theft Auto, sleeping with a prostitute and immediately killing her for a refund was economical and humorous all at once. As I grew older and prostitutes found themselves leaking into other games, (haha, I said “leaking”) I began to take a more virtuous approach towards these emotionally distraught individuals. Should they keep to themselves as my hero rolled on by, I could see the pity in their eyes, the defeat drawn upon their faces as they simply tried to survive with the education they managed to soak in during their times in high school and the deprivation of their living situation, be it an addiction to drugs or a baby at home they wish to save from this lifestyle. However, should she open her disease-ridden, puss marked mouth and say “Hey, daddy? Want some tenda luvin care?” I kick into crusader mode and begin to purge the barrio from these swindling sluts! Some may say, what a hypocrite! I say, “Fuck you!”

I am thankful for player collision and the ability to grab your partner. Nothing increases the enjoyment of a game like having a cohort. And nothing increases that bliss like being able to nab your partner and toss them into a canyon between platforms. I remember spending more time fighting with my brother in the New Super Mario Brothers Wii than actually trying to complete the level. Constantly jumping in different directions to slam into each other and fall to our deaths, tossing one another into bob-ombs, and bubbling up to lose the level are some of the most amusing cooperative game play elements I have ever encountered. Let us not forget of the grand self-sabotage in the coop mode of Little Big Planet. If you remember, you could grab your partner’s arm and drag them. Nothing in comparison could be funnier than watching a friend run to gain force for a jump and chasing after them. Right before they took their leap of faith, I would nab their arm quickly and tug in the opposite direction, At this point all I had to do was let go, depleting their momentum but leaving them cascading in the air and falling short of the platform. I am so thankful for the ability to interact with your partner in a game. So very thankful for all the laughs and tears shed while with playing with friends.

So, dear reader, there are things out there to be thankful for in games, if you really think about it. They bring memorable times with friends, an opportunity to share a story with your brothers in arms, and a chance to display your true character traits. Right now, some of you are probably in your room, isolated from your family because you have relatives coming over for Thanksgiving and wish to not be bothered. You want to hold your Xbox close to you and whisper sweet nothings into its air vents but remember, keeping your gaming experience to yourself is lonely. Stories are best shared than kept in your head. Get out there, make some friends, drink with your family, have a good time because life is meaningless without people you care about, even if you feel they don’t care about you. It’s only one day any way. Enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

APB. I Think U Dun Goofed

APB logo
APB logo

Long, long ago in the summer of 2010 there lived a game called All Points Bulletin. It was a large sandbox-ish Grand Theft Auto online that took developer Realtime Worlds millions to create. For many, it was a brief stint of entertainment that was hindered by hacks, broken mechanics, and normal players being dominated by gamers who memorized the map and all the good camping spots. For some, it was a new age Wild West where you could roam the city freely and reap havoc on a grand scale against friend and foe.

Of any game out there it had the most amazing character customization option to date. People were creating Ninja Turtle Gangsters with a van to match. People made pedophile theme gangster with Pedobear etched on the side of their vehicles. The game had so much to offer cosmetic hogs that it seemed it could hold a respectable player base for that option alone at least.

But what happened? APB just didn’t seem to hit its expected highs and hit unexpected lows. Was it because of the game? Was it because there were no commercials or real advertisements? You’d think a game like this would have millions of GTA fans drooling all over it. Unfortunately for Realtime Worlds, this isn’t a dream that would become a reality. On September 16th, 2010 the game would breathe its last breaths as it was announced they would be bringing it offline. All the servers came down and that was the end of this Gangster Vs Vigilante Armageddon.

However…

Recently it was announced that free MMO publisher Gamersfirst was going to resuscitate the corpse of APB and release it within the first half of the next year under a Free to Play model. While it does seem they intend to bring back APB, it certainly feels like it is going to be zombified rather than returning to its true former grace.

The team developing this game under Gamersfirst is Reloaded Productions, a group that has been working on an original RPG for the past year or so and has released nothing under its belt. None of the former the employees of Realtime Worlds are even involved in this Rebirth project.

This Free to Play model wreaks of failure as well. Former players of APB will most likely not even be able to play as their old characters and would have to start over again. Why is that? Well, legal issues from Realtime Worlds indicate that they can’t release databases with customer information so this release of APB would be more of an APB v2.

Exactly how will this F2P model work? It has been confirmed that players may “lease” weapons and purchase a premium status that expands on the creation tools. Let me allow this to set in. It expands on nothing. Reloaded Productions isn’t expanding on the current games creation tools. They are holding back options that this game was released with and are now charging players to unlock the only real great thing this game had going for it.

What was the point of this purchase? Everything about this rerelease suggests that this game will be an abomination beyond all abominations. While it hasn’t been released yet and I am talking out of my ass, the confirmed changes in the team, the monetized plan, and the withholding of the games key feature just makes me uninterested in the future of APB.

How can a developer who didn’t create this game and doesn’t even know how to manage the Unreal 3 Engine that it was based upon make this game a future success. That’s like asking me to work on it your trigonometry homework. Just because I’m part Asian doesn’t mean I know math. The same goes for a “developer” who acquires a game they didn’t work on and expecting to be able to reverse engineer something they don’t understand.

I wouldn’t suggest jumping back into APB if you’re really looking to get into this game again. Just get Grand Theft Auto 4 and play online if you’re looking for a shootout jamboree. With all the mechanic flaws this game had under Realtime Worlds, there is no possible way that Reloaded Productions is going to be able fix any of the mistakes the original team failed to correct firsthand.

Motivational Monday: Stereotype

Stereotype demotivational poster
Stereotype demotivational poster

Motivational Monday: Stereotype

I remember when I first started playing Everquest and decided to make a female character. I like a strong woman and honestly if I was going to stare at the ass of a character all day I preferred it to be a ladies. Most of the people I played with were real life friends, but soon enough I met a ton of people and new friendships were built.

We talked about a lot of things, but I was never one to give away much about myself including my name or race. Finally when someone found out they were very surprised; “I didn’t think many black people played RPG’s” one person said. There was nothing wrong with that statement, not to me anyway. It was true, there weren’t that many compared to Caucasians. I remember someone asking me; “Can you make a black character in Everquest?” The answer was yes you could, but I didn’t really care about that. For me it did not matter.

However, having played video games since the mid-eighties I have to admit to becoming aware of some insensitivity in video games when it has come to both women and minorities. Sometimes it was just something a black character said or how he or she was displayed in the game. Other times it was just funny, with a hint of sadness, at how black people were portrayed, especially in Japanese RPG’s.

Sadly one becomes more aware of these things when they get older. Like the old Tom and Jerry cartoons that sometimes shows the large black housekeeper lady or the blackface with the big lips when something exploded near a cartoon character. For the most part I shrugged it off and even laughed if it was really funny. Games like Grand Theft auto and the likes never bothered me because honestly I knew people who acted just like that.

Now spending more time looking back at games I have found some examples where black people weren’t shown in the best light. It is not that we have to always been portrayed like the Cosby show, but if nothing else, some of these designers need to hire a black man consultant. Saying that, I am available for hire.

Let’s take a look:

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker


I could go for the easy joke and say he didn’t count, but I can’t speak ill of the dead. Oh sure I can, look at him spinning and kicking up pixie dust when he kicks, come on! They have Michael collecting kids and making his enemies dance to death. Then again I guess Michael did kind of do that so this is pretty accurate.

Shaq Fu


I see the first issue now, why do they give all the black folks the horrible video games? We really should have a contest to see which was the worst Shaq; Shazam, Steel or Shaq Fu, all titles that start with S and were a piece of S.  So Shaq is playing himself and while sightseeing before a charity basketball game he wonders into an old man’s store and is told to walk through some backdoor portal to a new land, I think this is how slavery happened.

I like the use of “jive” talk that Shaq uses and his first fight is again a black woman where he says; “Your magic won’t work on me girlfriend.” Then he commits both domestic violence and black on black crime.

Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City


Wow, so we have another basketball themed game where MJ becomes a ninja or something and goes around fighting people with a basketball. First off, how does he have unlimited basketballs, I didn’t get that with my black man kit. Second, he starts off in a prison, subtle guys, real subtle. Third, there are basketball hoops all over the place where he can dunk. Who built this world, the Harlem Globetrotters?

Barrett Wallace: Final Fantasy 7


Mr. T with slang pulled out of Grand Theft Auto put it together and you have Mr. Wallace. Ah, the Japanese and their intricate knowledge of black culture. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that the makers of Final Fantasy were not trying to be racist and I don’t really believe the character of Barrett to be racist, but it does hit some stereotypical points. With that said he was a good friend, a great solider and one of the best examples of a parent in the game. Still some of his dialog could have undergone some tweaking.

P.S. He had a freaking gun attached to his arm!

Sazh Katzroy: Final Fantasy 13


Again we have black character that is a loving father and honestly has one of the best storylines in the game. Sure, there is a little bit of stereotyping, but much less than in other games. I have to admit that I did like the baby Chocobo hiding in his massive afro. Sazh was loyal, funny and kind which also made him one of the most likeable and realistic characters in the game. Here is a bit of fact for you. Sazh was modeled after the singer Lionel Richie and his character was to be comedic with heart a gold, think Eddie Murphy in one of his Disney films.

Darkness is:

There are a ton of African American’s in games now, some with heavy stereotypes and many with little to none.  The fact is everyone gets stereotyped and it is really the context that counts. For me, it is good to see more minorities of all kinds in games. It makes it more real and more relatable. Hell, sometimes I wish I could watch the old Tom and Jerry cartoons with that maid, she was funny.

The Interview: William D. Volk

William D Volk

To say that William D. Volk has had an interesting career in gaming would be an understatement. From playing video games in high school to having his first gaming related job in college, to creating a number of great games. Volk began working with Avalon Hill starting off in quality assurance. In time he began working on his own titles including Conflict 2500, Voyage 1 and Controller.

Obsolete Gamer was able to get insight into his career working with various companies including Activision where he was VP of Technology has his technical direction over Return to Zork. We were also able to get his opinion on some of the events in his life including the video game crash, the Philips CD-I and mobile gaming.

Avalon Hill logo
Avalon Hill logo

Obsolete Gamer: Would it be fair to say you did not grow up playing games but once you were into your college years you found your love of gaming?

William Volk: I was playing games at the arcade in High School.  Pong showed up in the early ’70’s.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the first video game that you were exposed to?

William Volk: Probabily Pong.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the first video game that hooked you?

William Volk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Wars On a PDP-8 at University of Penn … original Startrek  and the Classic Adventure.

Obsolete Gamer: How does the process for transferring a strategic board game to computer software work and what was it like testing these games?

William Volk: Very few of Avalon Hills Computer Games were based on the board games in 79-82.  I wanted to tackle “Iron Men and Wooden Ships” but by then I had taken a position with Rising Star.  I also proposed an online version of Squad Leader.

Conflict 2500
Conflict 2500

Obsolete Gamer: Any gamers today have never seen much less played a text game, can you give us a little insight into how text base games were at that time?

William Volk: Everyone was hooked on the Infocom games.  You can still play them today.  Lords of Karma was Avalon Hill’s best text adventure IMHO.

Obsolete Gamer: During your work with Avalon Hill you began to create your own titles, can you tell us about the thought process of coming up with a game and then trying to create it?

William Volk: Conflict 2500: I was renting a place in Baltimore during the summer of 1980 and was a huge fan of Star Raiders (Spaceship Yamato).  I had played the Startrek game and wanted a more complex version of that.

Voyager I: Saw a maze program on an Apple II.  At UNH in 1981 I did a class project using a random maze generator that displayed a solid wall 3D maze on some incredibly expensive Textronix terminal.  The game was kinda based on the end of the original Alien film.  The getting off the ship because you set self-destruct part.

Controller: Was working at a video game store in Portsmouth NH and the owner (Frank D Kelley) had been an air-boss in the navy (controller).  He wanted a simple game to land aircraft.  Reagan fired the air-traffic controllers and Avalon Hill picked up the game.  I KICK MYSELF for not porting that to the iPhone on day one, given the success of Flight Control.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the atmosphere at Avalon Hill like?

William Volk: Very congenial.  There were people who had started there in the 1950’s!  The board game people were absolute experts on military history.  I would have conversations with a WWII vet who worked there and had witnessed a ME262 attack on a B17.

PlayScreen logo
PlayScreen logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did it feel to see the work done at Avalon hill released to the public?

William Volk: Funny, I was in Baltimore for a meeting last week.  Had dinner in the harbor area about 200 ft from the location of a shop (probably not there) where I saw Conflict on a shelf for the first time.

Obsolete Gamer: You were able to avoid what is called the great video game crash when you moved to Epson and was offered a great position, what were those years like moving forward as many other companies and the industry as a whole suffered?

William Volk: I felt compelled to take a ‘real’ job in 1982 because I had been in college and grad school for almost 8 years by that point.  So when I showed some folks at Epson my little 3D rendering system on the Atari 800 they referred me to Rising Star in California.  I was hired at the COMDEX show in Vegas in Nov. 1982.

Rising Star was great but leaving independent game development was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  It did teach me about technical management and the Val Draw program I wrote was probably my greatest technical achievement.  A full 2D drafting system in 58 kilobytes of FORTH.  Lines, arcs, splines, associative dimensions, virtual memory, zoom, snap, automatic parallel lines … the stroke font was packed into a byte per stroke.  I don’t even know how I pulled it off.  In real dollars I made more $$$ in 1984 than I may have since, but I really should have just continued building games as an independent.  I didn’t realize that I was doing pretty good and I had some nice stuff I wanted to do.

Controller
Controller

Obsolete Gamer: The Pyramid of Peril was a 3D adventure inspired by some of your previous work and Raiders of the Lost Ark, can you tell us about the creative process when developing that game?

William Volk: Obviously based on Voyager 1.  Pyramid shaped puzzle.  David Barrett helped with the writing.  The Mac was new and exciting.  The entire game from concept to heat shrinking the boxes – 30 days.  Coded on a 128kb Mac.

Obsolete Gamer: Completing a project of the scope of “Pyramid” in 30 days was impressive, how was it done so quickly?

William Volk: I had the maze generating and display algorithms from Voyager and people to help on the artwork.

 

 

Obsolete Gamer: Most people know of the fate of the Philips CD-I, but can you tell us your thoughts on why in the end the company failed?

William Volk: Delayed launch to add MPEG Video.  AIM (American Interactive Media) decided that they didn’t need the video game industry to back the system.  EA and others, who had spent serious money building development systems, abandoned it because of the delays.

Obsolete Gamer: When you became director of technology and began pushing for Activision to publish “The Manhole” how did you know this would be the right move?

William Volk: I could see true greatness in the creativity of Rand and Robyn Miller (Cyan).  The User Interface was just breakthrough.  I was also a bit pissed at the delay of CD-I and wanted to send a message about that.  Activision was recovering from the video game crash and wanted something that was ground breaking.  Finally Stewart Alsop suggested that the Manhole would be an ideal CD-ROM title.  He was right.

Obsolete Gamer: What were the main challenges in moving away from the Midi format to actual recordings?

William Volk: We didn’t want to use CD-Audio tracks on the Mac (first) version, because we wanted to be able to pull data from the CD, we had to … because of Hypercard.  So we had to come up with a way of paging in 8 bit, 22khz audio chunks.  The CD-Emulator said it wouldn’t work, so we burned a test CD ($500 at that time!) and it worked.  Using live musicians was very cool.  I believe $20k of the budget was just for the music.  Russell Lieblich composed most of the music.

When we did the PC CD-ROM title we had our own engine …. MADE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_Applications_Development_Environment) so we could force a cache of data in a scene and use CD-Audio (redbook) tracks.

Return to Zork
Return to Zork

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like behind the scenes at Activision during its troubled time of the late 80’s?

William Volk: Fall of 1989 was one of Activison’s good years: Mech Warrior I, Death Track, Ghostbusters II, The Manhole, etc… The financial mess started in 1990 with the judgement on the Magnavox patent case.  Funny thing in 1990 is we coped with massive Nerf Gun wars and RC car ‘racing’ (consisting of running RC10’s into each other at 40mph+ … each car … in the parking lot).  In a strange way the coping made the place very fun to be at.  I still have a scar on my head from playing that game from “Sam and Max” where you hit full beer cans with some sort of post-nuclear-apocolyptic club.  Yeah, Fizzball http://samandmax.wikia.com/wiki/Fizzball Other local companies would come and watch us play this at lunchtime.

It wasn’t fun to see everyone go though.  Down to about 13 when we made the move to LA.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your feeling of using full motion video in games?

William Volk: It was clever but got overused eventually.  I do think we were heading in the right direction with RTZ’s emotional response system and intricate conversation interfaces.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the interface you created for Return to Zork?

William Volk: The Diamond Reverse Parser was inspired by an article Eddie Dombrower had seen from MIT.  I just used Taxicab Geometry with diamonds because it made the hit-detect faster.  We had used this sort of hit detect trick on “Tongue of the Fatman”.   So the idea you could use any object on any object and have the reverse parser show you what the action was came out of the disappointing reception we got with LGOP2.    We wanted INSANELY DIFFICULT and UNFAIR puzzles.  Yes, there really was a “Chris Lombardi Memorial Puzzle” in the game (internal object name), dedicated to a writer at CGW who had panned LGOP2.  I believe it was the sliding stone – sentences puzzle.

It’s not clear how we came up with it all the character interactions, but we were trying to make the video more than just “Interruptible Media”.  So the idea of being able to ask characters about objects, pictures, and even what other characters had to say … that was the goal.

The Manhole box art
The Manhole box art

Obsolete Gamer: How did it feel to save a company with the release of a great game?

William Volk: Great, but frustrating that we couldn’t get the studio to just let us run with that UI and style.  Everyone wanted to copy Myst.  Ironic, when you consider I helped to get Cyan their first publishing gig.  I am very proud of RTZ.

Obsolete Gamer: What are the differences in your feelings about mobile gaming from then to today?

William Volk: Well, Mobile Gaming from 2001 to 2007 was very much like games of the early 1980’s.  Very small games.  Then the iPhone shows up and we now have one of the most innovative sectors in gaming.  Just playing Match 3D (Sherri Cuono’s design) game is Sci-Fi like with the multitouch interfaces.

We haven’t even begun to exploit augmented reality, social interactions and other possibilities.

Obsolete Gamer: Of all your time in the industry do you have a favorite story about that time?

William Volk: Yeah.  Producer (John Skeel) goes to comic show in NYC in 1989 or so.  Likes a new comic book so he negotiates a deal to get the video game rights for $20k.   Activision does a weekend focus group on the concept with kids, soda and pizza.  The result?

TEENAGE BOYS SHOW LITTLE INTEREST IN  ANTHROPOMORPHIC  TURTLES.

Activision logo
Activision logo

Obsolete Gamer: Overall what was your favorite computer or game system?

William Volk: The FM Towns.  Really.   The Amiga a close second.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your favorite classic game?

William Volk: Choplifter.

Obsolete Gamer: Was there a game you had in your head that you wanted to release, but never did/could?

William Volk: I seriously wanted to release a Wing Commander type game … where after hours of play, many missions and incredible skill you would end up crashed on some planet (otherwise you would be killed) … and then end up in an elaborate adventure involving learning how to interact with native people … and have us DENY THAT THE ADVENTURE GAME EXISTED.  Like only 1 in 10,000 players would stumble upon that game within a game.  Yeah, that sounds crazy, but it’s what I wanted to do in the early 1990’s.

Obsolete Gamer: If you could rerelease any game you’ve worked on using today’s technology what would it be?

William Volk: Return to Zork in a “Grand Theft Auto” type engine and fairer puzzles.

Currently William Volk is the co-founder and CEO of PlayScreen and an avid cyclist.

Games Coming Out August 2010 For PC

Games Coming Out August 2010 For PC by Honorabili

Plants vs Zombies Game of the Year Limited Edition, August 10

Plants vs Zombies is cute as hell. If you haven’t played it then you have been missing out cute plants defending your lawn from invading hordes of Zombie! This game makes Left 4 Dead look like the movie Fido!

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, August 17

I never played part one but what I remember most of it is a gaming review site firing one of their reviewers for not saying that the game was the next best thing since sliced bread. Let’s see how this one actually does and if any game reviewers will be harmed this time!

City of Heroes Going Rogue: Complete Collection, August 17

This includes all content ever made for this very famous superhero MMO by Paragon & NCSoft.

Mafia II, August 24

Mafia is one of my favorite Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne clones. I’ve been looking forward to Mafia II coming out for over two years now. From the trailers a lot of it reminds me of The Sopranos, which is always a great thing! Badabing badaboom! Carmela!

Elemental: War of Magic, August 24

As the spiritual successor to Master of Magic, one of my favorite Civilization spin-offs of all time, this game will certainly be eating up a LOT of my time. Should it follow MoM, this will become a classic like it among the turn-based strategy game community.

Elemental: War of Magic

Hello Kitty Online, August 24

How could I forget about this epic game? I know what I will get on the 24th! ^_^_^_^_^_^

Worms: Reloaded, August 26

Updated version of the classic Worms, from Team 17, which created the cute and killer version of the classic game Artillery. Many versions of Artillery were out like Artillerus for the Amiga and Scorched Tanks, which was one of the most popular versions for that computer, as well as Cow Wars.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, August [no date specified yet]

Hopefully, this game will be as scary as the preview looks. It’s nice to hear the character breathe fast and react to scary noises. Could be a lot of fun to play drunk or sleep deprived! 😀 Kind of reminds me a little of Clive Barker’s Undying, which was great, and also the Bioshock games.

Enjoy the Amnesia trailer here:

Video Game Art Is In The Eye of The Beholder

Mario Art
Mario Art

There has been quite a debacle in the media entertainment industry on whether video games are considered art and/or show any valued relevance that can make the player look back and reflect the actions undertaken in the game towards their own life. When curiously looking into Edvard Munch’s work The Scream, soothingly listening to a symphony composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or choking up reading Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, there is one thing in common they all share. They are considered art and evoke emotion within the willing participant viewer. Video games have been labeled as a media outlet that in its current state is incapable of causing an expressive movement in the partaker of this virtual journey.I, for one, disagree.

Art has been defined in a wide aspect and it’s meaning is subject to those who interpret it. The film American Beauty has a scene where one of the characters was commenting on the beauty of a plastic bag caught in the wind, wisping above the drab concrete pavement and what this meaningless occurrence meant to him. If a plastic bag swaying malevolently in the wind is considered art than the freedom expressed in the level editor for Little Big Planet should be considered a masterpiece. Given a set amount of tools, a gamer is handed his emblematic paintbrush and pallet and left with free domain to create a level or Sack Boy in any way they please. Sure this does not sound like something on the level an artist would have to deal with but I must interject. We are all given the same colors and brushes but chances most likely are one would be unable to paint the Mona Lisa or sculpt “David”. They could be replicated but never to same preciseness of the original. The ability to take what is already there and construct it into something new and inexplicable and projecting it as a physical manifestation of thought and creativity is art.

Sometimes, physicality is not enough merit to consider a form of entertainment media as a source of art. What about the ability to portray controversy? The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger portrayed sexuality, a copious use of vulgarity, and a truer depiction of teenage angst at the time of its published date. The uproar caused this book to be considered controversial and yet is considered art for its ability to stir up emotions in the reader. If controversy is needed to be part of the art in-crowd than Grand Theft Auto should be ringleader. The ability to sleep with a hooker and than murder her only to reclaim your money, snipe an old woman crossing the street, shout absurd profanities, and go on highway speed chases with the police is the staple for the GTA series. Many claim it glamorizes moral degradation to gamers and imbues them with a violent sociopathic personality. Last I checked, The Catcher in the Rye wasn’t claimed responsible for over five deaths and multiple occurrences of other real life crimes.

Being able to feel something emotionally towards a story is one thing many people are able to relate towards their own lives. The feeling of regret and the inability to mend past mistakes is a strong focal point in the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan where a young girl attempts to atone for a past accusation she commits which effectively ruins the lives of two people. Making right from a past wrong is a common relevant instance in the lives of people. It is easy after reading such a powerful work of literature that the reader would be able to look back on the misdeeds of their past and think of ways to remedy them. In the God of War series, Kratos is not only seeking absolute vengeance but also atonement for the mistaken murders of his wife and child. This is the main focus point of the series and shows just how far one man would go for redemption even against a pantheon of gods. Stories in some games have a deep meaning that goes beyond traveling from point A to point B. There is actual character development and the ability to relate to a theme that vaguely resembles the willingness of someone in real life.

Video games in their current state may be considered primitive art but they are art nonetheless. There are moments, stories, visual inspirations, and music many people will not forget. No one will forget the feeling that stir up when they hear the Final Fantasy intro music, the desperations of Cole from Infamous to save the people and a city that hates him, and the beauty painted in Okami. I could go on and on with citing examples of how gaming fits the definition of art but that would take a book’s length of words. The industry may be far from being considered comparable to Leonardo da Vinci but it is still in its current shape and form artistic.

I Had 150 Pokemon But A Charmander Named Pidgey Ain’t One.

No Mew 4 U
No Mew 4 U

There are many dismal moments that people linger on. The kind of moments that felt like they cheated their ways into life. A positive note in one’s lifelong journey can easily shift tides and become a time remembered with great disdain. One such moment was when I was eleven years old and heavily addicted to Pokemon the Game Boy game.

My brother and I, in our adolescent youth, had caught all 150 Pokemon in our game by trading with each other and making one cartridge the master trainer. The adventure took a good month’s worth of dedication. Now, for an eleven and seven year old, catching all 150 Pokemon was a pretty big deal for us. A pretty big fucking deal. Never had we banded together for such a feat in our lives. To this day we still haven’t undertaken a joint project with one another of such magnitude since we became Pokemon masters.

It was a Thursday afternoon and we both attended a karate school with our younger sister. Since our age divisions were an hour apart, we decided to do the Mew trick and catch ourselves the final 151th Pokemon to officially become grand masters in our field of Pokemonology after we got home. I had brought my Gameboy to totally pwn all of the other ninja’s in training at my dojo while I waited for my class to start. Once it was time to physically abuse my sparring partners with my paddle-like feet (They are so flat it stings when I kick you. A just punishment for making me take off my shoes to rumble.), my sister approached me and asked if she could play my Pokemon game. I told her fine but to not save. She always knew not to and was pretty good about not doing so. Rushing off to class to become a demon of Kenpo, I felt like I had the strength of 150 Pokemon on my karate belt and soon I would add one more. Time flew by and class ended as swiftly as Mankey’s karate chop attack. My siblings and I raced home filled with excitement to finally bring our journey to a close.

For those wondering how to catch Mew in Pokemon Red and Blue:

Sitting side by side on the couch, both of us were on the brink of pissing ourselves from the electricity filling the air around us. That gloomy green and black screen which only a true gamer could find beauty in of our Gameboy illuminated our innocent faces. As we prepared ourselves to load the game, we noticed it said our Pokedex said 1 Pokemon caught. Thinking it was a glitch, we loaded the game anyway. Slowly, as our hearts sank, we realized it wasn’t a glitch. We were in Pallet Town with one Pokemon named Pidgey. The insult didn’t end there. No, no it did not. That Pidgey… was a fucking Charmander. She saved over our game and we were left with a Charmander named Pidgey.

Obviously, we flipped out. Of course we did. It was the only logical reaction at the time. My sister claimed she didn’t do it on purpose and looking at her little round face with missing teeth and helmet-like haircut filled me with mercy. She was too innocent at the time to truly embrace evil and wrong doings. My brother and I never again attempted to catch those 151 Pokemon ever. We were beaten and broken. Our heads were bloodied and bowed. Never again would this kind of madness happen again, we assured ourselves. We took the reins of monitoring saved games in the family from that point on.

It wasn’t until my college years that another apocalyptic event such as this would resurface. I was eighteen at the time that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas came out and to say the least, it was the bomb-diggity. Every day after my classes I would come home and play GTA:SA for a good 2-3 hours before getting back to business and completing my homework/studying. On the weekends, however, I would play till the sun came up. I found all the little hidden packages in the entire city, found my amusement in kamikazing planes into buildings, had all the districts unlocked, and was nearly completed with the game. If I recall correctly, it said my file had 98% completion or something around this ratio. My playtime was probably 80+ hours by the time I reached this point in the game and I only had one mission left. Carl Johnson was about to reclaim the hood and own this city. Nothing would stop him now.

During my lunch break at school, I decided to go home instead for a little something to eat. My stepfather was playing GTA when I got there and I didn’t think anything of it. I let him play my save since I had all the weapons, hideouts, and the whole map unlocked. Normally, having this kind of freedom to roam around a sandbox game is what brings the most fun. Not having to work hard to unlock everything brings unlimited enjoyments since it allows one to render an unprecedented amount of widespread carnage. Returning to school, I thought nothing of him playing the game since it was part of the norm.

Finally returning to my abode after wanting to cut myself in business class, I was ready to kick some ass and finish GTA:SA. Now I refuse to insult your intelligence as you’ve probably caught on to what has happened I will simply jump ahead to my reaction. Realizing that I had 30 minutes of gameplay on my save and being in the first neighborhood I hulked out pretty bad. Looking back at it now, I shouldn’t have tossed and kicked the living shit out of my PS2 and then sold it to Gamestop along with all my PS2 games but I basically rage quit Playstation 2 after that. I couldn’t believe that the Heavens would look down on me and smite me a second time.

It is since that time I have not allowed anyone to even play the same game I am until I beat it or I make multiple saves on multiple hard drives on my PC in the event someone does something ridiculous again. I have learned my lesson, at least I hope I have. The last thing I need is for my hard drives to die simultaneously and/or someone decides to reformat everything. Safety first and don’t trust anyone with your games. Know what? That’s what I’m going to leave with you. Safety first and don’t trust a single person you love, worship, or admire with your fucking games. Just don’t do it, damn it. Yeah I like how that sounds.

If you’ve had any horrible experiences with game save or progression losses let us know the anguish and sinking feeling in your soul. Feel free to comment!

Games Coming Out June 2010 for PC

Alpha Protocol
Alpha Protocol

Games Coming Out June 2010 for PC by Honorabili

May was pretty weak when it came to game releases. June looks like a much better month.

Alpha Protocol the Espionage RPG, June 1

Typical Tom Clancy style of storyline game but let’s see how they pull off mixing a stealth game with an RPG. So long as my guy can still be seen when standing in front of the enemies it won’t be ruined.

The Sims 3 Ambitions Expansion Pack, June 1

Expansion pack for Sims 3 which adds jobs including Firefighter, Fashionista, Infamous Inventor, Defiant Detective, Shameless Scultor, Doctor, Ghost Hunter, and more.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, June 8

It’s obvious that this game will come out, considering the live-action movie for Prince of Persia is also coming out around this time.

Transformers: War For Cybertron, June 22

This looks like a really well made mod for Unreal Tournament 3 based on Transformers. If you can handle fast FPSs it would probably be worth checking out.

Darksiders, June 24

This looks like a God of War clone based on you taking on the role of War from the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior, June 24

Looks like it could be fun if you like blowing people’s heads off with a rifle some distance away. Just always concerned as to how a sniper will keep running away after the mission is a success or a failure. I really enjoyed how hard it was to do in that in the campaign mode of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1. Let’s see if they can pull of a whole game based on that.

All Points Bulletin, June 29

Think of Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row mixed together with an online persistent world MMO with no subscription fee and that’s what this game is. We’ll see how it does. Guild Wars has done really well with that business model.

Note: This game has nothing to with APB, the 80s cop driving/shooting arcade game.

Singularity, June 29

This game looks like a mix of Bioshock with STALKER. The character seems to have godlike powers such as rewinding time and recreating matter from nothing. It could be good. STALKER is too hard and realistic for most people. If they could add the action aspect without the stupid picking up audio tapes aspect of Bioshock, this game could be a winner.

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead, June 29

This is a standalone game expansion based on ArmA II which does not require it to play. This is an fps and action simulator game with an improved strategic aspect to the fighting over the typical killfest of other similar games (Modern Warfare, etc.).

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, June 29

A must for fans of Harry Potter and these series of LEGO based games.

Games Coming Out April 2010 For Console

Coming Soon sign
Coming Soon sign

Ah April, the time for taxes and looking forward toward the summer. It’s a good thing game releases don’t take spring breaks because if there is one thing a true gamer wants it’s the next great game to play.

I’m going to change things up this time and create two lists, the A list, meaning its worth your time and cash and the WTF list and if you don’t know what that means look it up. So without further adieu let’s do this.

The “A” List

Splinter Cell: Conviction: April 13th

DRM aside Splinter Cell has been a solid title for quiet some times and as seen in the trailer this game looks to continue that trend by bringing you the stealthy gameplay mixed in with enough action and story to keep you interested.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City: April 13th

What can I say it’s GTA and if you are a fan of the series then you have to add this game to your purchase list. It includes The Lost and Damned & The Ballad of Gay Tony, two complete games in one package. I mean who can get enough of carjacking and hooker beatings?

Super Street Fighter IV: April 27th

It’s Street Fighter IV, but with more butts to kick! What else is there to say, SFIV was pretty awesome and if there is one thing Capcom can do besides make great games is milk them for all they’re worth. However, to be fair there are a ton of new characters, new level designs and features to this game and again, this is nothing new for Capcom or the Street Fighter series. Simply put, if you loved SFIV then you will be getting this game and the ton of downloadable costume packs that are sure to follow.

Dead to Rights: Retribution: April 27th

In my opinion Dead to Rights got it right with their mix of story and action when I played the original it completely drew me in and now with Retribution you get more story, more action, more characters and of course more brutal combat!

FIFA World Cup 2010: April 27th (PSP)

It’s called Football you American dogs! Okay so many of us Americans are not into Soccer, but it is the world’s game and FIFA has always done it right. If you are a fan then rejoice because this year’s version looks great with updated rosters and a new shooting mechanic all on the PSP. Yes, I said the PSP. People do own them!

The “WTF” List

Mean Girls: April 20th (DS)

Remember this movie, anyone? Lindsay Lohan is in it. By the way did you know that Lindsay Lohan tried to sue E-Trade over the baby commercial where they say the line; “and that milk-a-holic Lindsay wasn’t over?” You know from this commercial? Why is she suing? Because she thinks she is the Lindsay they are referring to as a way to make fun of her as if she is the only Lindsay on the planet. Why am I bringing this up? Because it is a hell of a lot more interesting than this game would be.

My First Dollhouse: April 27th (DS)

Oh look another DS game! Hey, check it out, you know how kids use to play with toys and have a real doll house? Well forget that BS if my child wants a dollhouse she can get one on the DS where I don’t have to pick up after her or trip over the new dining room table she got for it. The good thing about this game is at least your brother can’t break that realistic tea set your aunt got you for Christmas, or can he?