Civilization II

Civilization II

Civilization II

Just a quickie (oooo er) about Civilization II. After much twittering about this game the other day I decided to dust off my old PC copy and play it again. I found the disc in amongst a few other classics neatly stored away in a disc holder. Afraid it wouldn’t work (the disc looks pretty beaten up) I proceeded to install, it worked fine. First thing I noticed was that it was quite refreshing to install such a playable game that quickly, less than a minute from install to loading up (and not a sign of a game update required). I dove straight in to the action.

Civilization II

I made a custom world, medium map, played at prince level and stupidly selected the raging hordes for barbarians, I played against 4 other civilizations. I selected to be the Romans myself, so I could employ the unfunny name of ‘Naughtius Jamesius’, some things never change. The game started well until I realized I’d completely forgotten how to play, tactics and strategies were absent from the beginning and soon the 4 other civilizations were ploughing ahead with warfare, advancing technology and building wonders of the world. My only saving grace was the fact my people seemed to like me, therefore I could address my fellow leaders from a throne instead of a rock.

Civilization II

30 minutes into the game and the other civilizations knew I was weak (I didn’t need the pop up report to tell me that – puny Romans), it was time to make alliances and play dirty, let’s just say the Persians and Greeks had no idea what was coming and would pay for their earlier mockery. Triumphs however were short-lived, 2 hours later I was destroyed by the Vikings, Mongols and eh, barbarians. The score I reached really isn’t worth mentioning here. Still, the time playing this flew by and it is still an amazing amount of fun, I’ll be playing again over the weekend (now I’ve had a warm up game), so hopefully it’ll go a bit better next time.

Definitely one of my all time favorite turn based strategy games, I still prefer this version than some of the later Civilization games, just as addictive as it was back then too.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

If there was one axiom in the PC gaming world back in the 1990′s, it was that LucasArts produced incredible adventure games.  So many went on to become cherised memories in the minds of gamers, such as The Secret of Monkey Island,Loom, and Day of the Tentacle, but also the subject of this edition of the Game of the Week: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis box front.

Fate of Atlantis was a superb Indiana Jones game because it featured all the aspects of an archetypal Indy adventure.  To begin with, Indy fought and competed against Nazi.  ”Nazis. I hate these guys.”  The best Indiana Jones stories cast Hitler’s ever-dangerous forces and sympathizers as the good professor’s main antagonists.  After all, who doesn’t hate the Nazis?  (I mean, besides extremist fringe political groups.)  They’re the quintessential villains for the time period: efficient, brutal, and seemingly omnipresent.  The second major aspect is the need for Indy to be on a quest for an artifact of extreme potency.  Finding an object to match the mystery and sheer majesty of the Ark of the Covenant or the Cup of Christ required shifting the religious overtones from traditional sources to the New Age movement.  Incorporating the alien, time-lost feel of the ultimate symbol of New Age mysticism, the lost city/continent of Atlantis, was a brilliant decision, and gave the game the same epic feel of the movies.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Splash page for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

The man responsible for the Fate of Atlantis’ adherence to the Indy mythos was Hal Barwood.  Barwood had a broad background working in the film industry, including being credited for writing Stephen Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, co-producing the box office flop/cult classic Dragonslayer, and writing the Gregory Peck World War II movie, MacArthur.  However, Barwood had a much more limited computer game background, having been involved in the production of a mere two titles (as “Special Guest Film Director” on The Secret of Monkey Island, and mysteriously credited as “Works like crazy!” on Monkey Island 2).  Still, LucasArts needed someone who thought in cinematic terms, so regardless of his relative inexperience in PC game design, Barwood was given the Big Chair for their next Indiana Jones project.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Exploring the ruins in Fate of Atlantis.

Barwood showed his good judgment immediately upon receiving the script for the yet to be titled Indiana Jones game.  The script was originally submitted as a potential movie script for a fourth Indiana Jones film, but had been rejected.  Barwood realized that the rejection was sound, as he stated, “It was rejected for a reason, though, and I thought it was hopeless.”  He and his co-designer, Noah Falstein, “marched down to George’s wonderful research library and started thumbing through Dark Mysteries of the Past -type coffee table books.”  There they came across an artist’s rendition of Atlantis, and immediately realized its potential as a game setting.  From there they decided that the game’s version of Atlantis needed to have some grounding in our reality, so they “decided to fasten on Plato’s reality to give the thing legitimacy.”  And with that as the foundation, Barwood proceeded to write out the plot of the game, birthing a true gaming classic in the process.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Atlantis as described by Plato in Timæus and Critias.

In some ways Fate of Atlantis was a typical LucasArts adventure, but in other ways, atypical.  The game used the SCUMM game engine (first used in Maniac Mansion, hence the abbreviation for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion).  It used 256-color VGA graphics, and had an outstanding audio score.  (Later versions would include digitized voices, and an inspired Indiana Jones sound-alike performance byDoug Lee.) Further, players traveled throughout a vast game world (200+ locations) searching for objects that helped solve a variety of puzzles.  Yet the differences Fate of Atlantis showed were remarkable.  For instance, unlike games such as Loom or The Secret of Monkey Island, the wrong decision in Fate of Atlantis could result in Indy’s death.  This was an interesting departure from the LucasArts Canon (detailed quite eloquently and yet most verbosely by Ron Gilbert in a 1989 missive, reprinted here).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Magazine ad for Fate of Atlantis.

Another key difference was that Fate of Atlantis included a multipath scenario for gameplay, which was originally envisioned by Noah Falstein, but left to Hal Barwoodto implement.  These paths had different playing styles, unique puzzles and situations, differing game world locations, and even alternate cutscenes.  The game paths had titles which indicated their favored strategies: the Fists Path, containing plenty of fist-fighting and an emphasis on action; the Team Path, which involved Indy adventuring with the game’s female love interest, Sophia Hapgood, and treated her as a kind of in-game hint book; and the Wits Path, which de-emphasized the action in favor of more and more complex puzzles to solve.  This was not a completely user-driven game world, however, as Fate of Atlantis always began and ended in the same way, with the option to select one of the three paths coming somewhat in the middle of the game.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Onboard a Nazi U-Boat in Fate of Atlantis.

Of course, even before Fate of Atlantis was released, Indiana Jones was already a cultural phenomenon.  There had been three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and at the time of Fate of Atlantis’ release, a television series was in its first year of production (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles).  Games based on the movies had been released on several platforms, including Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom in 1984 (C64), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1987 (AmigaApple IIAtari ST, C64, DOS), Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients in 1987 (Apple II, DOS), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game in 1989 (C64, DOS, Atari ST, Amiga), andIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh).  In other words, this was a franchise with both a solid history and strong fan base.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

A Fist Fight in Fate of Atlantis!

Fate of Atlantis was released on several platforms, with versions for MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, and FM Towns. As you can imagine, releasing the game on several gaming platforms ensured its best-seller status, selling over a 1 million copies (with the obvious caveat that the game was also good).  Fate of Atlantis was not only a hit among the buying public – it garnered many accolades among game critics, including “Best Adventure Game of the Year”  by Computer Game Review, a solid 90% game review from Amiga Power, and was even named #93 in the 150 Best Games of All Time list in 1996 by Computer Gaming World (CGW).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indy swinging into action in Fate of Atlantis.

Ultimately, all the awards and positive reviews are meaningless if they don’t convince you to play the game – and enjoy it.  Yes, the graphics are dated compared to today’s 3-D visual masterpieces with photo-realistic images, but if you’re a retrogamer, the graphics aren’t your chief concern, the gameplay is.  And Fate of Atlantis delivers great gameplay with a professionally written story that immerses you into what could have easily been the fourth Indiana Jones movie script.  Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is highly recommended, and clearly deserving of its Game of the Week honor!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_98IcvoTI[/youtube]

Magisterrex has been gaming since the days of Pong and still owns a working Atari 2600. He tends to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games.  If you’re into classic old school gaming check out his blog here

Civilization

Sid Meier's Civilization

A game I fondly remember playing again and again, burning the midnight oil and gaming the night away because of it, was Sid Meier’s Civilization, released by MicroProse Software in 1991.  This retro MS-DOS based game had it all: outstanding gameplay, a well-executed concept, and superb graphics (for its day), and was yet another hit from Sid Meier and his team.

Players started with a single settler (a covered wagon) at the dawn of civilization, chose a location to found their first city, and from that built an empire as the game timeline progressed to the Space Age.  Sometimes you’d find another computer player right next door, and either had to keep the peace with non-stop diplomacy, or – more times than not – send in the troops to crush them like the insects they truly were.  Up to six other civilizations were out there to discover, and they all had to be dealt with, one way or another (either the Americans, Aztecs, Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, English, French, Germans, Greeks, Indians, Mongolians, Romans, Russians, or Zulus.)

Sid Meier's Civilization

Yet this wasn’t just yet another military simulation; players had to build their empires by monitoring the happiness of their citizenry, providing improvements that would encourage growth in their cities, establish trade routes, and pursue technology advancements through scientific research.  Neglect anything for too long and the consequences could be dire: fall behind in the technology and your troops might be like the Polish Cavalry facing the Blitzkrieg on horse with sabres.  Forget to keep your citizenry content and your cities begin revolting.  Overlook trading with other empires and find your city improvement budgets limited.  Limit your internal and external upgrades of your cities, and watch them spontaneously Neglect to build up your military might and watch as your cities fall to the armed might of your bitter enemies – or worse yet, random barbarians raging across the continent. A strong empire builder needed to be aware of all aspects of their empire!

Sid Meier's Civilization

But, wait, there’s more!  This was an incredibly deep game.  You start out as a Despot (where do I sign up?), but as the game progressed and new ideas developed as a result of technological improvements, other forms of government presented themselves.  Each had its advantages depending on your goals and current state of your empire, but each also had disadvantages.  It wasn’t a great idea to switch to Democracy in the middle of a military build-up or full-blown campaign, as your citizens tended to be on the pacifistic side.  On the other hand, if you wanted to push the envelope on scientific development, ruling over your cities with an iron fist as King wasn’t a winning strategy either.

You could also gain serious advantages over the other empires by building one of the many Wonders of the World.  These took a long time to build, using up many resources, but could be the difference-maker between victory or defeat.  These Wonders varied by game era, and could become obsolete with new technological advances.  Some had limited appeal and should only be looked at under a specific set of circumstances, however.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJu7cUVTO8E[/youtube]

This game has not only stood the test of time, it has spawned many sequels: Civilization II, III, and IV, CivNet (the first multiplayer Civilization), Civilization Gold, and Civilization Revolution, as well as many similarly-themed games, such as Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Civilization: Call to Power, Colonization, and Master of Magic.  And the franchise doesn’t appear to be running out of steam anytime soon.  If you love retro games and you haven’t played the original Civilization, what are you waiting for?

 

Feyruna: Fairy Forest

Feyruna Fairy Forest - PC - Gameplay Screenshot
Detailed sprites, a colourful cutesy game character, pure arcade action and fantastic hand-painted backgrounds… it’s got to be another (only slightly) retro Amiga game, right? Well, shockingly, no. It’s Feyruna – Fairy Forest, a brand new PC indy game from Germany, sporting some refreshingly old fashioned game mechanics and lovely 2d visuals. Interested? Good, let me elaborate a bit then.

 

FFF, as Feyruna – Fairy Forest will henceforth be referred to, probably features Feyruna, a fabulous fairy (which could also be the name of FFF’s setting mind you, but really, I like the idea of calling the fairy Feyruna), and is quite frankly an alliteration heavy casual and/or retro gamer’s wet dream. It also is one of the more polished (but less innovative…) indy games I’ve recently seen and one of the few PC offerings with three unlockable mini-games. They might not be much, they might be simple, basic even, but they’re definitely a touch that shows the amount of care gone into the game.

Feyruna Fairy Forest - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Then again, bonus games are just that, a bonus. The main course of FFF has the player assuming the role of a fairy (you know, the one probably named Feyruna), a decidedly non-slutty female character, and going on to liberate places from the Princes of Darkness in a rather ordinary plot, that certainly doesn’t takes itself that seriously. After all, FFF, just like every other action heavy game before it, isn’t about plot, it’s about fun, and this it delivers in abundance.

The game, a reflex honing experience with slight shoot-em-up tendencies, is surprisingly non violent and thus quite appropriate for kids, families and small orgies. You, the player, the happy lil’ sprite, travel through 60 levels, each comprising of a beautiful screen, enemies trying to kill/stall you, power-ups and glowies (and butterflies and stuff) you must collect, and …uhm… collect stuff and avoid/destroy the baddies. Eventually you’ll have enough stashed glowies to progress to the next level, that will definitely be more challenging and might also add a new enemy, power-up or tactic to the whole experience. Mind you, that even though the gameplay does indeed get repetitive, these constantly appearing new elements do keep FFF an addictive little pass time, while some progressively tough boss battles to spice things up.

Now, have a try for yourselves. Download the FFF demo. Oh, and I suppose…

That’s a (seven and a half) out of (ten).

Medieval II: Total War

Medieval 2 - Total War - Gameplay Screenshot 1
Medieval II (that’s latin for 2, mind you, oh uneducated masses) Total War really is an aptly named game, as it’s the second PC wargame in the Total War franchise that is cunningly set in the medieval era. Pointless and not particularly funny observations aside, it also is an excellent game. A game, console owners could only dream about. A sophisticated, smart, historically accurate and complicated game, that epitomizes PC gaming.

For the few of you that haven’t played any of the previous Total War games and dare call yourselves PC gamers and for the action-minded console masses, Medieval 2 is a game that wisely combines turn-based strategy with RTS tactics into a coherent and enjoyable, yet immensely addictive and time-consuming, whole. This means that your Civilization-esque empire building is interrupted by pure RTS battles, while you are constantly witnessing impressive visuals and experiencing a megalomania inducing atmosphere.

 

Medieval 2 - Total War - Gameplay Screenshot 2
What’s even more interesting, and I’m still talking to you dearest Total War virgins, is just how amazingly accessible and intuitively controlled this game is. And, please do believe me, this is quite a feat for such a complex and multi-tiered game. Thankfully, the two brief but enjoyable tutorials, the well-voiced and fully customizable advisors and the ever helpful …err… help buttons will make things even easier. Then, there’s always the trusty 70-pages long manual, only I seem to appreciate.

On to the veterans then. What’s new in Medieval II, I swear I can hear the infidels among your ranks ask. Is it any good? Really? Is it better than Rome? Well, to be rather blunt, yes. It’s definitely better than Rome, and even though it’s more of an evolution than a revolution in the franchise, it also is the best Total War game ever produced. The one offering the deepest gameplay too.

Most of the changes, besides the ones regarding the visual side of things (more on that later), are on the subtle side and mostly regarding the now divinely enjoyable turn-based part of the game. The role of religion for example, be it obeying (overthrowing even) a Pope, or calling for a Jihad/Crusade, even though it’s an evolution of Rome‘s Senate mechanics, plays like a totally new feature, as does the -admittedly 100% original- division of settlements into cities and castles. Non-combat units have also been expanded, now featuring princesses, priests, imams, spies, assassins, diplomats, merchants, whatnot, while the AI feels both better and more organic. Slight changes have also been added to the already brilliant RTS bits. The sieges remain absolutely fantastic, mind you.

 

Medieval 2 - Total War - Gameplay Screenshot 3
And now for the more impressive feat of Medieval II Total War: the graphics. Well, they are bloody amazing, and unfortunately to fully appreciate them you might need a slightly up-to-date PC. The game, you see, builds heavily on Rome‘s engine, updating the strategic level’s visuals and making sure the 3D RTS parts are jaw-dropping, by adding tons of special effects, shadows and quite a few thousands of polygons. The greatest improvement though, is that each unit on the battlefield is no longer a stiffly animated group of clones, but more of a proper unit consisting of individual -thus quite different to each other- soldiers, fighting in an animated way that puts Dawn of War to shame. Yes, it’s that good, really.

Actually, my only complaint regarding this brilliant game is the multiplayer part of it. Still no online campaign option, only RTS battles. Tsk, tsk, someone better have a look at the turn-based multiplayer orgies organized by dear Civilization 4 methinks… Then again, Medieval II Total War does offer you the chance to fight with 21 factions and even be a Native American hero defending his homeland against European brutality. Lovely.

That’s -easily- a (nine) out of (ten).

Play the -oviously free- demo. It’s worth it.

 

Games Coming Out February 2011 For PC

Games Coming Out February 2011 For PC by Honorabili

My list for games I’ll play on PC for February 2011, which mainly boils down to a few real picks.

Dungeons, February 8 2011

This game sounds and looks a lot like Dungeon Keeper which I guess is a good thing because many people no longer remember that game these days.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Box
Test Drive Unlimited 2 Box

Test Drive Unlimited 2, February 8 2011

Test Drive Unlimited 1 was a pretty fun game, with a ton of cars, authentic car sounds but it was played with a laggy multiplayer that was basically unplayable. As a single player experience it was similar to the original Test Drive in the sense that it felt like you were driving the real versions of each car but it lacked the police factor from the original, with some Need For Speed games now beating it in that sense. Still, it was a really pleasant driving/racing game to have, and this game promises more of what the original, with a world 2-3 times as big, more cars, more options, etc. I will play this.

Two Worlds 2, February 8 2011

Two Worlds 1 was fun to me although everybody bashed it. This one includes a co-op function which would make exploring the vast map a much more enjoyable experience. Not many RPGs do this these days and it brings me back to the days of playing Final Fantasy 6 on the SNES!

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, February 22 2011

Ubisoft will probably implement their draconian DRM on this game AND chances are that if you are enough of a Assassin’s Creed fan you already have this or have played this on console anyways. Well, at least the pirates will certainly not be able to play this version unless they come up with some crazy workaround like they did For Assassin’s Creed 2, although that was only a single player experience…

Bulletstorm, February 22 2011

The unique theme of this game makes this look like a mix between Borderlands, Fallout 3, and Serious Sam. Since those games all sold well, this might as well, so long as it’s not a nest of bugs. Could be fun…

UPDATE! Actually, I will have to get this game. Just watch this trailer!

Everquest 2: Destiny of Velious, February 22 2011

I don’t understand how they expect to sell a $40 expansion for a play-for-free MMO.

***

Conclusion:

A lot of sequels to games you either love or hate OR that are based on stuff you played already are coming out this month. Could be a good month to go back and play old games you love instead.

DC Universe Online: The Good, The Bad and the Future

DC Universe Online logo
DC Universe Online logo

So much of my time has been spent playing my Superman hating hero, Lineage in DC Universe online, but I had to take a moment to give my opinion on the game. While I had been looking forward to this game since its announcement it was seeing so many of my friends playing it that made me finally decide to buy it instead of waiting a few more weeks. I do not regret my decision, but there are pressing issues and long-term questions about this MMO.

The Good

I remember playing City of Heroes and thinking about how cool it was to make my own hero from scratch. Unfortunately, issues such are repetitive missions, level grinds and lack of custom powers quickly turned my love to loathing. With DCUO, I decided not to read all the developers notes or message boards. I wanted to come into this game like a child who received it on day one and make my decision of whether it was good or not based on firsthand experience not what is “coming soon”.

  • Character Design – Sure, it may not be as in-depth as City of Heroes is, but it is a great start. You cannot only make a completely original hero, but if you wish, you can pretty much copy any hero from DC, Marvel and beyond.
  • Power Layout – You have your two primary powers, but you also can choose from Iconic Powers that give you abilities such as Superman’s heat vision or Batman’s batarangs. This allows you to really customize your character whether you are a min/max’er or a concept creator.
  • Into the Fire – What I mean by this is you do not start of fighting purse-snatchers. From the beginning, you are going up against the big names from Scarecrow to Bizarro and everything in between. This makes you feel like a hero not some jerk in a mask.
  • Heroic TeamUp – From the start of the game you team up with well-known DC superheroes and this continues throughout the game. For those that though they only give you missions from police stations and the watchtower are wrong. Sure, often the heroes do not do much, but still fighting alongside them is very cool and I know there is much more to come.
  • Similar but different – Sure, most missions have you go to a location take out a bunch of bad guys and then rinse and repeat. However, there is enough variety in not only the locations and bad guys, but the story layout and endgame (mission wise not complete game wise) to keep you interested and wanting to play more.
  • Dungeon Tile sets – This was one of my biggest issues with City of Heroes, check out my report on it. When I say Dungeon, I mean an instance where only you or your team can enter. In COH it was always an office or a warehouse and sometimes a science lab, but with DCUO every instance is unique even if it is an abandoned warehouse. It makes the game seem much larger than it is and it keeps it from getting boring which is a very good thing.
  • Easy to Play, Easy to Level – There is some risk, but no more than what you will find in World of Warcraft and believe it or not this works for this type of game. You can get your butt kicked, but if you learn your role and play correctly, you can solo or group and succeed. In addition, you can level at a good pace, which COH should have learned does not mean you will quit once you max out. If there is more to do and added gameplay such as PVP, end game instances and other content you will continue to play or role a new character.
  • Voiceover and Cut scenes – They work in MMO’s and DC has given us fans of the Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons a great gift with their voiceover work. Sure, some of the random voiceover gets repetitive, but the mission voiceover and voices from names we know makes it win win. The cut scenes just make you feel like you are part of the story and they look awesome to boot.

Now there are more good things I can say, but let us move on to the bad.

The Bad

One must always keep in mind that no MMO is going to start out perfect. There will be issues in any game you play and it will take time for the developers to not only fix the bugs, but also tailor the game in a way more people will deem favorable. Many people are spoiled because of games like World of Warcraft that while it still has its issues has been polished after years of patches and expansions. The key is seeing what will happen once the changes are made and if you like it now it will only get better.

Launch Bugs

Here are some of the most annoying issues at the moment.

  • Losing audio after a cut scene – For some people after finishing a mission arc and getting the cool cut scene they lose audio and only a complete restart of the game fixes this.
  • Vanishing Weapon – Sometimes when entering an instance, upgrading, or changing your main weapon even once you equip it the weapon does not take effect. The good news is all you need to do is un-equip and reequip to fix this.
  • Disappearing Power Layout – This one is weird because I am not sure what causes it. Sometimes your power layout, which is the number 1 through 8 keys where you can use your powers sometimes  disappears from the UI. Now you can still use the powers it is just that you cannot see them. Strangely, it will fix itself on its own randomly.
  • Windowed Mode No Save – You can select Windowed mode, but if you log out and log back in it does not save your preference.
  • Alt Tab Crash – Some people say they crash or lose audio when alt tabbing out to their desktop.

Playability

Here are some complaints about general gameplay. Keep in mind much of this is caused by people being used to what they can do in World of Warcraft.

  • Alt Tab Issue – In some cases, Alt Tabbing out to your desktop can cause issues including loss of sound or even a game crash. In addition to those issues if you select windowed mode you still have to alt tab out to use your desktop unlike World of Warcraft where once you are in windowed mode you can seamlessly switch between desktop and the game.
  • Chat and Social Issues – It will take time to get use to different chat interfaces, but with DCUO having to type in commands for inviting people to group, adding friends or joining a guild would be better if one could use their mouse to click within the UI.

Nit Picking

Some of these are good points and others would make Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons proud.

  • In PVP level 30’s greifing low levels – Welcome to PVP servers in MMO’s
  • Blurring of textures in the distance – The word is this is because the game was made for the PS3 and the PC together so while you can up the settings on your PC there will be limitations.
  • Random Bad guys/Good Guys saying the same thing repeatedly – Even with 50 million spent on the game each mob cannot have its own voice.
  • Sharing credit for a kill or having a kill stolen – You take the good with the bad. If you hit Funhouse three times and got the kill even though he would have stomped you into the ground then you have to accept that someone will steal the civilian you were supposed to save.
  • Mission repetitiveness – Welcome to gaming. Think about the best comic book you have ever read, in the end you still have random fights and a mystery and a boss fight. This is how much of gaming works and in an MMO it is a staple.
  • Gold Selling Spam – Welcome to MMO’s ignore and report feature coming soon.

There are more bugs and issues, but my too long didn’t read alarm is going off.

The Future

I have personally seen a lot of launches and some have stood the test of time and many have fallen hard to the bottom of the MMO well. The key to a MMO is not only the launch, but also how fast they can fix issue before the masses leave for another game.

Keys to DCUO’s survival

  • Bug Fixes – It may seem like a no brainer, but bugs can kill it for some people faster than others. Perhaps a PC or MMO vet will expect launch issues, but many ten year olds wont. SOE has to fix these quick or they may see a mass exodus.
  • Content – Since the level cap is 30 and you can reach that quickly the key is giving people a lot to do once 30 to keep playing just in case they don’t want to re-roll. Content at 30 does not have to mean end game. You can add missions and other thing to do that are not necessarily an end game raid, but it has to be fresh and fun and sooner than later.
  • End Game – There has to be big massive raids and fights that you would just not see during your normal missions. It is not always about loot, but about feeling you are on the forefront of the game fighting the big fight and not continuing on like a foot solider. Many people play these games to be the big shot and the end game is the big game.
  • Level Cap increase – It is going to come either way, but the key is knowing when to allow players to move on to that next level or ten as it were. You cannot just add levels for nothing, there must be a reason and all the added powers, gear and content to go with it.
  • Overall Story Arc – You have to keep the overall story going and going in a manner that makes sense and is fun to the player. Sure, we may love fighting against Bane with Batman, but we want to see Brainiac get his brain bashed or have him achieve a small victory that keeps the war going, either is good.
  • PVP – PVP can make or break a game because PVP can effect PVE and in the case of DCUO, PPV can extend the life of a game for those who rush to max level. While it is true the majority of people will PVE it is best not to ignore the PVP player or you might find some of your most loyal subscribers going elsewhere.
  • Intangibles – This includes everything from discovery quests and world events to special offers and give-a-ways. You can never over promote and if you keep your fans interest inside and outside of the game you will have a winner on your hands.

So much more

There is a ton more to say on the subject of DCUO, but for now I will continue playing and asking questions and hopefully get some answers from the developers. If you are thinking about getting this game, try it out. The game has buddy passes so you can try it before you buy it, but I think you will end up buying it. If you already are playing, stick with it, I have faith good things will continue to unfold and your voices will be heard.

I’ll see you in game.

Shaun Norton: Sandbox Strategies

Sandbox Strategies logo
Sandbox Strategies logo

Name: Shaun Norton

Company: Sandbox Strategies

Profession: PR Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Metal Gear Solid

Quote: This game blew my mind the first time I played it, which was via a demo disc in a gaming magazine. It was unlike anything I had played before, a remarkably polished game with an intricate story and incredibly satisfying controls and gameplay. I was hooked the second I popped the disc in, and it was one of the first games where I not only became engrossed in the story and the struggles of the amazing characters and cast, but that I also took hours and hours to replay. I was obsessed with successfully sneaking around unnoticed, which would also trigger just minor changes in dialogue or cut scenes, and I couldn’t stop playing until I unlocked the stealth and the bandana upgrades. This game basically kick started me down the path to becoming the passionate, ‘core’ gamer I am today.


Nikolaus Gebhardt: Ambiera

Ambiera Software Development logo
Ambiera Software Development logo

Name: Nikolaus Gebhardt

Company: Ambiera

Profession: Software Engineer

Favorite Classig Game: Wolfenstein

Quote: Back then, Wolfenstein was one of the first games with ‘real’ 3D graphics, although today this is only considered 2D. I was amazed by that technology, and played though the game countless of nights. When I finished it, I started creating levels and modifications for it, which maybe lead me to working in the game industry.


Mark van Diggelen: SkillPod Media

Skillpod Media logo
Skillpod Media logo

Name: Mark van Diggelen

Company: SkillPod Media (Pty) Ltd

Profession: CEO / Chief Gamer

Favorite Classic Game: Larry Lounge Lizard

Quote: It was one of the 1st true strategy RPG games and kept you glued to your 286 PC for hours and hours on end, it’s a legendary game.

I have a lot of great game playing memories from the early to mid-eighties. My best friend, Jose, my brother and I were absolute arcade games addicts and used to take our R1 (roughly Us$12 in today’s money) and walk across to the corner cafe (convenience store). We had an ongoing dilemma and that is that each game cost 20c and our favorite chocolate cost 20c, but we were 3 people and each of us needed to play at least one game, of either Pacman, Asteroids or the latest and greatest release, Space Invaders. What we did was buy 2 chocolates and then share them between the 3 of us, as evenly as we could.

Thereafter it was time for action and sheer determination to achieve the highest score, we were pretty good and used to play for between 30 and 40 minutes per player. Then came the PC and the 1st RPG games, Larry Lounge Lizard, this game had me instantly addicted and turned out to be my favorite game of all time. At the time I was studying and would start playing at around 9pm, after some studying and completion of projects, and invariably only finish after 3am and still need to be up by 6am for college. Larry Lounge Lizard is a legend, even in its simple form.


Bio/Current Event: SkillPod Media is an innovative online gaming and application development business, that’s passionate about the casual gaming market. SkillPod Media  has developed a world class proprietary gaming platform, for online and mobile, which already powers a number of highly successful games sites for some of the top International and South African online portals. We’re currently launching our new platform that includes Power-ups for games, ability for users to customise their games and create and pimp their avatars.

Curt Hartung: CCP

CCP_on_black

Name: Curt Hartung

Company: CCP

Profession: Programmer

Favorite Classic Game: Ultima IV

Quote: I spent over a year plumbing this game right after its release, on my apple //c, from start to finish, with no internet or cheat guides or outside help. The minimalist graphics and rich sandbox-like content allowed me to become a part of the story in a way that no other game ever has. I don’t lament the advances in computing and graphics, but would be lying if I didn’t admit that some small part of me pines for the days when the details of epic battles and special effects were supplied by imagination alone. I wager I am not alone when I see modern renderings or updated graphics of those worlds and think “that’s not how mine looks”. It was a game that required note-taking, imagination, introspective thought and interaction that wasn’t “pick one of these two answers”.


Tyler Chester: Appular

Appular logo
Appular logo

Name: Tyler Chester

Company: Appular

Profession: Public Relations

Favorite Classic Game: The Sims

Quote: I’ve always been into simulation games for a while now and it keeps me pretty busy. The Sims 1 for PS2 was really the first game that started my gaming habits. I had an original PS2, the “fatty” of them all. I think I actually got it right on release, not sure. I’m sure you can consider The Sims as a classic, right? At times it can be frustrating, and I still remember you didn’t have the ability to create multiple floors which was a draw back. Now today, The Sims series is huge like really huge. You can build like four floors today, that’s just completly insane. With all the add-ons today their is no limits with The Sims. That’s why I keep coming back to it now and then. I’ve had my fair share of house building with The Sims 3, so many tools, so little time!


Robert Eng: GameTable Online

Game Table Online logo
Game Table Online logo

Name: Robert Eng

Company: GameTable Online

Profession: Vice-President of Operations

Favorite Classic Game: Jumpman

Quote: For the era it was a good game but I just have fond memories of the family Commodore 64, the industrial strength Atari style joysticks, setting the game to the endless “Randomizer” setting, and competing with my sister. Hours of repetitive fun!


Jóhann Haukur Gunnarsson: CCP

CCP_on_black

Name: Jóhann Haukur Gunnarsson (CCP 2PIE)

Company: CCP

Profession: Associate Programmer

Favorite Classic Game: XCOM: UFO DEFENSE

Quote: For me this is the golden turn based strategy game. I still play it, even though I have finished this game so often I’ve long lost count of it. The suspense when you wait for your turn as the AI opponent stalks around is immense. The research effort, the amount of content, the strategy behind where you place your bases and what countries you strife to defend give this game a lot of depth. Replayability is an often coveted word, but few gameshave as long lasting value as that game did, and still does. And ahh, I also fondly remember the various ways I could cheat in the game by editing its save-files.


Frank Campbell: First Planet Company

Planet First Company logo

Name: Frank Campbell

Company: First Planet Company

Profession: Marketing Director

Favorite Classic Game: Jetpac

Quote: I played Jetpac on my very first PC, the ZX Spectrum. Suddenly I wasn’t restricted by how long my pocket money would last in an arcade. I could assemble rockets and fight off aliens as much as I liked from the comfort of my own bedroom. The rubber keys, cassette loading and quaint 16k system requirements were all part of the charm, and every release from Ultimate Play The Game couldn’t come fast enough.

Planet Calypso Info

Planet Calypso logo
Planet Calypso logo

Planet Calypso is a sci-fi MMO.

Players hunt wild creatures, mine resources, craft and trade items as they expand their human colony on a distant alien world. Features include over 1600 square kilometers of land to explore, more than 200 avatar skills, PvP combat, missions, vehicles, a global auction and lots more.

Planet Calypso has no subscription fees. The PED currency used on Calypso has a fixed exchange rate of 10:1 with the US Dollar, allowing players to deposit and withdraw real money during their adventures on Calypso. Planet Calypso is a free download available at www.planetcalypso.com

David Knippenberg: WarFactory

Warfactory PCs emblem
Warfactory PCs emblem

Name: David Knippenberg

Company: WarFactory Corp

Profession: President, Gaming PC Builder

Favorite Classic Game: X-COM, Terror from the Deep

Quote: Up to that point, I’d never played a game where the atmosphere was so tense.  It seemed like every choice you made carried great weight, especially once the turn-based squad combat started.  Make a wrong move or don’t equip your team correctly, and you’ll lose your team to the depths.  Very few games I’ve played since then have been able to replicate that sense of foreboding for me.

Bio: Our company, WarFactory, is a gaming PC builder devoted to quality.  We hand pick our parts and customize each system we offer based on reliability and performance.  We also pair each suggested configuration (all builds are still fully customizable) with benchmarks so our customers know exactly what kind of performance to expect from their PC.

What I’ve learned from Everquest

Everquest
Everquest

It may be just a game, but one can learn many things from playing alone and with others. This series explores some of the more popular games and what I have learned from them. We invite you to share what you have learned from these games and ideas for future, What I’ve learned from, articles.

Setting the scene matters

kelethin Everquest
kelethin Everquest

When I first played Everquest it was only a few weeks after release. I made a wood-elf and started in Kelethin. By today’s standards the area was not much, but back then it was a masterpiece.

The tall trees that you needed to take a lift to get to, the lighting from the homes and store fronts in the city. When I first saw the sky turn black and it rained with real sound effects I admit I sat for several moments just listening to the rain. I really felt like I was in the world and part of something fluid, alive.

I’m still afraid of the dark

willow wisp Everquest
willow wisp Everquest

Before a willow ‘o wisp and without infravision, Everquest could get pretty dark. If you ventured to far from your city or a source of light, you would find yourself in complete darkness. It was scary, because you did fear dying in that game. It wasn’t just about losing experience points or looking for your body (though that did suck big time), but you felt lost and scared.

Most of the early world zones were devoid of light. When you went in a dungeon the beings inside did not light a path for you. Even worse was in the early levels when someone would invite you to a camp and it was across the world and you had to travel, by foot in the dark praying you didn’t get killed.

There will never be another East Commons

East Commonlands tunnel Everquest
East Commonlands tunnel Everquest

It was not just a hang out zone, on my original server (Tarew Marr) the East Commons tunnel was the sales bazaar for the server. Beyond that it was the first place for characters that started in Freeport to venture out and fight camps of mobs. It was also the first place that had a roaming mob whose only job was to one shot noobs.

The griffin was the Freddy Kruger of East Commons. You were told of its existence and warned when he was around and if you saw him chances are you were dead. You would be fighting an Orc or a bear having a grand old time then someone would shout, “Griffin near Orc Camp 1” and in the second it took you to realize you were at Orc Camp 1 was all it took for it to swoop down and kill you.

In the East Common tunnel you could find pretty much any droppable loot for a price sold by players. There were very few scams or tricks as name recognition mattered in EQ and many would not purchase from an ALT.

One of my fondest and funniest memories was off a female dark elf shouting that her boyfriend cheated on her and she was selling all of his loot for revenge. I was able to deck out my character in gear that would have taken me months to earn otherwise. There were events such as that all the time.

One day someone pulled the griffin to the East Common tunnel. It was a massacre, but we were able to kill it after about thirty minutes. It was quite an achievement, but seeing the dreaded griffin dead at my feet did lesson the fear and lore of it that was until it one shotted me later that day.

What have you learned?

In the next installment I will talk about a few more things EQ taught me. In the meantime, for those of you who played what did you learn during your time in the world of Everquest? In the meantime enjoy this old crappy video I made of my time in EQ.

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.


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.


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!


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.


Eitan Glinert: Fire Hose Games

Fire Hose Games logo

Name: Eitan Glinert

Company: Fire Hose Games

Profession: Creative Director and Fire Chief

Favorite Classic Game: (Can’t pick just one) Marble Madness and Lemmings

Quote: Marble Madness was one of the best games ever created, and is STILL fun today more than two decades later. I used to play on the Amiga 2000 with my older sister; she preferred the mouse, while I preferred the obviously superior joystick. The game was ridiculously hard, and between the “Silly” 5th level and the “Ultimate” 6th level it taught me the meaning of frustration.


Lemmings was a fantastic time sink; some of the later levels were some of the best designed puzzles I’ve ever seen. I used to stay up late coming up with strategies for how to beat certain levels with my dad (he always had better ideas than me, but hey I was 6!)


Chris Parsons: Muzzy Lane Software

Muzzy Lane logo

Name: Chris Parsons

Company: Muzzy Lane Software

Profession: Product Manager, all around game geek

Favorite Classic Game: X-Com, Terror from the Deep

Quote: Incredibly deep content: a mix of turn-based squad combat, RPG, and resource management.  You carefully nurtured and grew your squad and it really hurt when some of your favorites died horribly.  TFTD was the sequel to the original.   It added multiple levels for the underwater battle maps, and once you had advanced armor, you could float to the top of ships, blow holes in the top and sides of the ship, and enter.  The various locations: alien ships and bases on the sea floor, cities, resorts and cruise ships under attack, each required different strategies to achieve success.  In each case, the entire map was almost completely destructible.  From base layout to weapon loadouts to combat formations, players had a vast amount of control over how they could proceed.  Created in the mid-1990’s, the game mechanics and breadth of content would be considered ambitious even by today’s standards.


Harry Miller : Devolver Digital

Devolver Digital logo

Name: Harry Miller

Company: Devolver Digital

Profession: Publishing

Favorite Classic Game(s): Doom 2, and Diablo

Why it’s a favorite:

Doom 2: It was my first PC game to play and I was amazed at the graphics, and over the top chaotic game play.  Encountering the Minotaur for the first time was truly scary.  The best of all was death match, and all of the mods made for the game.  My favorite deathmatch mod was “Dog Tag”.


Diablo: I didn’t realize that I liked it that much and don’t understand how my first time playing got so out of hand.  I starting the game for the first time at around 5pm one day, when I finally looked up and it was 8am.  Where did the time go?  Wow!


Martin Brouard: Frima Studio

Frima logo

Name: Martin Brouard

Company: Frima Studios

Profession: Executive producer

Favorite Classic Game: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

Quote: Ultima IV was a revolution for me because it had such an epic scope for an RPG at the time. I remember spending a whole summer building up my party and travelling through Britannia’s many cities and dungeons to attain perfection in all 8 virtues. The music was just so awesome that I still find myself humming it from time to time almost 25 years later…


Alex Kutsenok: Dreamspike Studios

Dreamspike Studios logo

Name:Alex Kutsenok

Company: Dreamspike Studios

Profession: Project Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Everquest

Quote: I got into Everquest as a sophomore in high school. It was my first MMORPG, and the level of immersion was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I also appreciated that there was a real consequence to death. It meant you lost a ton of experience and had to track across the world to retrieve your stuff. That kind of consequence made the adventure more real and exciting because you knew that there was always something at stake. Finally, I liked the freedom that came from choosing where you wanted to hunt. You didn’t need to worry about compeleting repetitive quests and could level in any number of zones.


Luke Burtis: Casual Games Association

Casual Games Association logo

Name: Luke Burtis

Company: Casual Games Association

Profession: Production Director

Favorite Classic Game: Monkey Island

Quote: How could one NOT like this game?

Insult: “You fight like a dairy farmer.”

Comeback: “How appropriate. You fight like a cow.”


Jeff Vogel: Spiderweb Software

Spiderweb Software logo

Name:Jeff Vogel

Company: Spiderweb Software

Profession: President, designer.

Favorite Classic Game: Ultima V.

Quote: It’s an old game, but it is one of the first RPGs that felt “modern”  to me and really sucked me in.


Games Coming Out For PC July 2010

Starcraft 2 marine
Starcraft 2 marine

Games Coming Out For PC July 2010

This list doesn’t include every single little game that comes out this month, only what catches my eye.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge, July 7

A graphical and aural remake of this classic adventure game of the Monkey Island series. Will probably appeal to people who did not play the original the first time around.

Disciples III: Renaissance, July 13

The Disciples games are a lot of fun if you like games that are fantasy turn-based strategy games similar to Master of Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic.

Mytheon, July 13

Let’s see how the live non-beta version of this action based mythology MMO fares…

Need For Speed World, July 20

Will it be more like Need For Speed Motor City or will it be a glorified Burnout Paradise clone?

I will surely play this play for free MMO racing game. Let’s see if they can make something that has repeat play value.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, July 27

If you are a PC gamer and you don’t know what StarCraft is, you have been living in a pocket dimension (make that dementia). Expect productivity in Korea to drop to zero on July 27 and video game related deaths to go up!

Games Coming Out May 2010 For PC

Blur cover
Blur cover

Games Coming Out May 2010 For PC by Honorabili

April was a slow month for PC gaming. Let’s see what May 2010 has to offer us…

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, May 3

A lot of people enjoy these cute Lego games. Not just kids but I’ve seen a lot of adults playing them as well, simply because they are well made and fun. Harry Potter is still popular so it’s a good move for them to release this LEGO game.

Split Second, May 18

This looks like a Burnout clone. Could still be fun though…

Blur, May 25

And this one reminds me of a clone of both Burnout and Trackmania. Let’s see if it lives up to its hype. [update: It didn’t. Split Second is MUCH BETTER!]

***

Not much else reported for now. Keep checking back on this article as I will update it if I hear of anything else coming out.

Memories of Gaming 1997-2003

3dfx logo - a symbol of quality
3dfx logo – a symbol of quality

Memories of Gaming 1997-2003 by Honorabili

Around the year 1997, I started to go a lot to ebgames to buy a lot of PC games. Rather than go for whatever was the top title that week, I would always check out what games they had for sale in their bargain bin. I did buy hit games like Carmageddon, Fallout 1, Master of Orion 2, and Grand Theft Auto 1 but for the most part from 1997 til about 2003, I stuck to buying cheap games. The bargain bin had a lot of failed games that were either bad or had failed in their marketing and distribution and nobody knew about them or they were simply budget titles that did not have the best graphics but had awesome enough gameplay that they got released.

My criteria for buying these games was that they had to cost usually about $1-10. For me to buy one that was $15, it had to have been highly recommended or praised. This shopping included buying used copies of games as well. I also bought a lot of stuff based on the brands of developers and publishers. Almost anything that got made by Microprose and Interplay was bought for sure. They were my favorite company in those years up until Brian Fargo lost control of the company and Herve Caen destroyed the company. Because I would still play the popular titles at the time but I would also played a ton of obscure and lost titles, I gained a good understanding as to why games and gaming companies fail. As far as Microprose goes, went they got liquidated I remember buying all of their games (multiple copies too) for 25 cents a piece!

Back in 97-03, my life consisted of going to college, hanging out with my friend Bruce and little brother, watching a ton of VHS movies which we usually rented from Future Video or Hollywood video (both are out of business now), playing a ton of video games, and buying video games almost every weekend. Usually Bruce or my brother and I would go and scout out 3-4 stores at a time seeing which ones had the best deals and stock. We would go a lot to The Falls, Miami International Mall, Dadeland, and later Dolphin Mall. I usually had a policy of buying at least one game each time I went into those stores, even if it was a crappy $1-2 game (of which I bought plenty of!). I remember one time that Bruce and I went in to buy what was either Fallout 2 or Carmageddon 2 and we ended up walking out with about $300-400 of cheap games.

After buying a bunch of these games, we would test out a bunch on the crappy LAN we built using our main machines which were initially powered by AMD K6-2’s and our bitch computers usually were a bunch of trade-ins I got from my PC repair/building business that were Celerons or Pentium I’s or 686’s. Sometimes we would just setup multiplayer games of a specific game to see if we could get it to run because maybe the multiplayer component of a game was utter crap.

I remember very well when I tried to run Carmageddon 1 on my AMD 486 DX-4 100 Mhz and the game was a slide-show. Quickly after that I jumped to my AMD K6-2 266 Mhz with 128 MB of RAM and a Diamond Stealth 2000 video card tied to a Creative 3dfx Voodoo 2 with 4 MB of RAM. I got addicted to Glide games quickly… Thanks to my gaming I got a lot of orders for gaming computers which paid for my college and taught me more about the real business world than many classes I took and books I read ever were able to show me.

What I like about 97-03 was that I saw the explosion of graphics acceleration for PCs. We also experienced the graphics acceleration and CPU wars. Some casualties of the graphics acceleration were were 3dfx, S3 and PowerVR. Some victims of the CPU wars were Centaur, Cyrix, and VIA. I remember the race to hit 1 Ghz with AMD hitting it stable with their Athlon and Intel’s 1 Ghz P3 being a complete mess that melted. A lot of hardware that comes to mind of these days are: 3dfx, the TNT 2, Voodoo 2 and 3, AMD K6-2 and K6-3, Pentium 2 & 3, Athlon and Athlon XP, Matrox, ATI vs nVidia, Radeons vs GeForce cards, AMD vs Intel, SDRAM & DDR, PC100 & PC133, introduction of SATA drives, introduction of RAID to gaming PCs.

Around these years we also started to see a differentiation between the kind of gamers that were attracted to PC gaming vs console gaming. I also began to see that for PC gaming some years were good strong years and some years just about nothing good came out.

In these years we also saw a giant growth in the availability of better broadband and the explosion of the internet (and the dot com bubble burst). In terms of gaming this improved multiplayer games and the availability of pirated software and games. We saw stuff like Scour and Napster and WinMX rise and fall. Then came torrents, which are still going strong.

Apart from the usual pirated games, we saw the rise of emulation. Emulation has always been around just about, even in the 60s and 70s with mainframes trying to emulate rival companies operations. Certainly around the time the AMD K6-2 and Intel Pentium II were commonly available we saw a lot of good NES and SNES emulation, as well as Sega Genesis, and even c64 (which doesn’t take much to run) and the Amiga emualators (which took a lot to run when they first came out). Playstation 1 emulators were out, as well as Nintendo 64 but initial performance and availability of these was terrible. Around this time I got to know well sites such as zophar.net. You also saw the growth of MAME and ROMs for all sorts of systems going around.

These years also saw an explosion in video game and computer music remixing. I even took part of this, even killing RKO, the home of c64 remixes. General video game remixing blew up on sites such as OverClocked Remix. I made a lot of good friends at remix64 and micromusic.

Some PC gamers in 1997-2003 were either of the camp that cared only for framerates (FPS junkies) or image quality. Around the late 90s, I felt that 3dfx had the best graphics but lowest frame rates, then came ATI, and with nVidia having highest frame-rates but lower quality renders.

We also saw around these years the rise of the mp3/ogg files. Many games before used proprietary sound formats and also a lot of MOD tracker formats. CD quality audio became a standard for games around this time. Initial games at this time had actual CD audio tracks incorporated into the game CDs.

Other trends include the further increase of popularity of first person shooters in the form of the Doom games, Quake series, Unreal Tournament series, Half-Life, Counterstrike, Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, Far Cry, etc. We saw just about the death of turn based strategy games and the explosion of more real time strategy games. Although Ultima Online was around, then came the explosion of Everquest (which made me a lot of money), and other MMOs.

Conclusion:

These were great times for gaming for my friends and I because back then we had the time to do it. Later on complications such as girlfriends and wives and shitty jobs and children interfered with our hobby. The equivalent of me getting cheap games these days are the Steam sales and the gog.com sales. I have enough old games that I can relive parts of the old days any day I want! (well, except having my old friends to LAN it up with)

Star Trek Online: Expanding Universe Part 1 Trailer

Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online

Shields up, prepare for the first content update for Star Trek Online titled: Season One – Common Ground. Team Cryptic has released a trailer titled: Expanding universe and we have it on The Obsolete Gamer YouTube Page. Check out STO’s trailer titled: Expanding Universe.

So here is some info on what’s coming with the content patch:

PVP Updates

 

  • Wargames – Federation players can now participate in PvP against one another to better prepare for the dangers of the battlefield.
  • New PvP Map – Explore “Shanty Town,” a brand new Ground Assault map available for both Klingon and Federation players.

Customization

 

  • Off-Duty Uniforms – Experience DS9 in style! Starfleet officers will have the option to change into off-duty outfits to enjoy more casual attire.
  • New Stances and Hairstyles – Further customize your Captain by changing his or her hairstyle, or adopting two brand new stances: Stern and Relaxed.
  • The Captain’s Log – A web-based application to check in on you and your friends’ Captains and ships.

Ships

 

  • A New Klingon Battle Cruiser – The K’Tanco Battle Cruiser has been made available to Klingon Lieutenant Commanders.
  • Klingon Ship Customization – Use the ship tailor to customize your Bird of Prey, Carrier or Raptor.

Missions

 

  • New Fleet Actions Everywhere!
  • The Big Dig – Available in Romulan space.
  • DS9 Under Siege – The True Way has attacked and boarded DS9. Repel the invasion to save the day.
  • Klingons Can Play, Too – Klingon Captains may now access the Crystalline Entity, Big Dig and Breaking the Planet Fleet Actions

Skills

 

  • Respec Is Here – Unhappy with your Captain’s skill point allocation? Use the respec tool to change things up. (Available both in-game and as a C-store item.)
  • New Skill: Starship Attack Vectors – Improve your ship’s accuracy and critical hit chance.
  • New Skill: Combat Maneuvers – Improve your ship’s evasion and turn rate.
  • New Skill: Starship Battle Strategy – Improve your ship’s critical hit severity and damage resistance.

In The C-Store

 

  • New Bridge Variants – All new ways to update your Bridges’ look, available for a low price in the C-Store for both Federation and Klingon ships.
  • Federation Ship Variants – New takes on your old favorites, available for a low price in the C-Store.
  • Respec – Unhappy with your Captain’s skill point allocation? Use the respec tool to change things up.
  • Character Slot – Purchase an additional character slot if you’d like to have more than three characters on your account.
  • Rename – Changed your mind about the cool name you chose? Get it legally changed! Recognized across the Alpha Quadrant.
  • New Federation Playable Species – Become a Tellarite, Pakled or Rigelian.

Travis Wannlund: Razer

Razer logo

Name: Travis “Razer|Mjolnir” Wannlund

Title: Community Manager

Company: Razer.

Favorite classic game: How classic are we talking here? If we are going back to NES, it would have to be River City Ransom. If we are talking PC then I am going with the original Fallout.

Quote: For Fallout? Pure unadulterated freedom. Any game that allows me to solve any and all problems with a minigun will always have a special place in my heart. Rad scorpions attacking the town? Minigun. Shop prices too high? Minigun. Damn kids won’t get off your lawn? You see the pattern. As for River City Ransom, I challenge anyone to come up with a better co-op fighting game. If your suggestion doesn’t allow me to use my partner as a bludgeoning weapon, then I don’t want to hear it.


DOW2 Chaos Rising gameplay trailer

Dawn of War 2 logo
Dawn of War 2 logo

Simply put if you like sci-fi RTS games then Dawn of War has to be on your favorites list. With the build-up to DOW2 Obsolete Gamer brings you the DOW2 Chaos Rising gameplay trailer.

In Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising you will take command of the Blood Ravens and defend the sector against the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. Purge the chaos filth and hold the chapter together as traitorous forces work from within to try bring down the Blood Ravens. Upgrade your squads with new legendary wargear and unlock new special abilities, as your squads advance to level 30. Will you remain steadfast to the Emperor or risk heresy to gain new dark and destructive powers? In multiplayer swear loyalty to the Chaos Gods and pit your bloodthirsty warband of Chaos Space Marines against the new units and reinforced armies of the Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, and Tyranids.