Jaws Unleashed

[youtube id=”PLyuaADe8jQ” width=”633″ height=”356″]

About as much fun as having your leg chewed off.

Jaws Unleashed

“Take control of Jaws the Great White Shark while playing out the themes and
locations from the JAWS film universe”. Though you’d wonder why you’d bother,
with a score of 53% for the xbox format,
and 55% for the Ps2 from Metacritic.com

jaws unleashed

Xbox reviews
summary

glitches, camera issues, satisfying missions, large environment,
unique combat
about as much fun as having your leg chewed off
Fans of the
film will love it, but prepare to wrestle with controls
technical flaws, but
the savagery makes it fun (???)
lacklustre camera, collission detection,
graphics

jaws unleashed

Ps2
reviews summary

Playing as a killer shark a refreshing change of
pace
Reasonable amount of fun at a budget price
Unforgivable
gameplay
In the spirit of generosity about 30 minutes of fun

jaws unleashed

Official website (don’t bother)
Gamespot
screenshots
IGN
Trailers
Gamestats
popularity rating 40.7%

Sonic Heroes

[youtube id=”06Iky1HQgLc” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Sonic Heroes was a good bit different than the Sonic Adventure games. While those games stopped the furious speed with adventure elements, this game was more true to it’s 2D roots. It was a pretty straight forward platformer with little distractions. ~Adam R.

Sonic Heroes

While Gamecube fans liked the ports of the two Sonic Adventure games, Sonic Heroes was the first original Sonic game for the system. Ironically Sega also produced PS2 and Xbox versions which gave Sonic a home on all the major consoles. Though most critics cite the Gamecube version as the superior edition.

Sonic Heroes - Nintendo Gamecube - Gameplay Screenshot

 Regardless of platform, Sonic Heroes was a good bit different than the Sonic Adventure games. While those games stopped the furious speed with adventure elements, this game was more true to it’s 2D roots. It was a pretty straight forward platformer with little distractions.
Sonic Heroes - Nintendo Gamecube - Gameplay Screenshot
 The game also made use of Sonic’s friends and enemies being forced upon the player. You can pick between four teams of three. So you had the good team (Sonic, Tails Knuckles), the evil team (Shadow, Rogue, Omega), the girly team (Amy, Cream, Big), and the weird team. The last team was comprised of the awful characters from Knuckles Chaotix. I have to give Sega credit for bringing back such strange characters for no reason.
Sonic Heroes - Nintendo Gamecube - Gameplay Screenshot
The game was received well by critics, and fans but nothing compared to the praise of the Genesis generation. I ended up never playing the game myself, but I was very tempted at the time. At least it wasn’t as awful or bizarre as some of the sequels that followed.

State of Emergency

state of emergency - ps2
While Grand Theft Auto took the video industry by storm back in the early 2000’s, many companies wanted to copy it’s success. There was even competition internally by Rockstar themselves and the video game media sites paid attention.
state of emergency - ps2
Despite the apparent similarities, the two games are really total opposites. While GTA put you in the role of an anti-hero in a world of crime, you’re just some random person against a major corporation who took over after the government collapsed.
 state of emergency - ps2
While GTA gave you the freedom to do anything, you’re limited by a good bit in State of Emergency. There’s two modes and frankly their both boxed-in areas where you rack up points by taking down police guards, gangsters, and breaking all kind of things like glass, cars, and other kinds of property.
state of emergency - ps2
Even though the game was released in 2002, the game-play style is too old-school for much enjoyment. It’s too simplistic with little sense of accomplishment or hopes for being awarded anything. Combine that with aging graphics, and you got a game that should be forgotten. It certainly didn’t deserve the hype.

Frogger’s Adventures: The Rescue

 Frogger adventures
This was the last batch of games my girlfriend had left over beside one other game I already had played on GameCube. From here on I must obtain PS2 games on my own. Which shouldn’t be too hard since they’re so cheap. So yeah this is the first Frogger game I’ve played since the first game.
Frogger
Obviously I mean the arcade original. I didn’t exactly play it in the arcade. I did play it on some arcade collection disc for some system. I also had a bad version of it on Atari 2600. For such an old arcade game it holds up decently. I don’t mind a game or two of Frogger.
Frogger adventures
Frogger has had many re-releases, remakes, and reboots over the years. This is a more modern take, and it’s very kid friendly. Well at least graphically and story wise. The game-play is a bit old-schooled, and pretty challenging. I also had some problems with the controls, Frogger died many times because I accidentally jumped too far or turned the wrong way.
Frogger adventures
I did get the hang of it after awhile, and mastered the game a bit more. It’s still pretty tough for the demographic they were targeting. It’s got decent levels, colorful graphics, and an ample amount of content. It’s not the greatest game in the world, but I had a lot more fun with the game than I expected.

Score: 7 out of 10

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

xbox 360, playstation 3, nintendo wii

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

The Nintendo Entertainment System defied the odds as the 1980s came to a close.  Released in a video game market that American retailers had written off as a fad, the NES not only revived the gaming entertainment industry but set sales figures that blew away the earlier console generation and the previous king, the Atari 2600.

The NES lifetime sales figure of  61.91 million consoles became the biggest prize for anything released after it.  Going into the current crop of gaming consoles, only two consoles ever topped the lofty mark set by the NES:  the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2.

Now, according to sales-tracking website VGChartz.com the PlayStation 3 has now also topped the lofty NES numbers.  Not only does this put all three PlayStation consoles into the top five best-selling consoles of all-time, but it also means the PS3 joins the Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 in that short list.  All three modern consoles have now topped the NES lifetime sales figures, a first for any console generation in history. (Author’s note: All three consoles have also topped the NES software sales figures, according to the same website.)

“It was just a matter of time before gaming became so popular that the modern big three topped the original console that revitalized the gaming industry,” said Eric Cummings, founder of the group Gaming World Wide.  “I’m happy about it.  It means that the industry has really arrived.”

Another gamer who remains an NES player to this day provided similar thoughts.

“I feel this is proof that gaming is more than just people who play games,” said Eric Perez, host of The 8-Bit Eric Show.  “It is part of a worldwide culture.  The fact that three separate consoles have outsold what I feel was the pioneer of revitalizing gaming shows that the industry is in great shape.  The Nintendo Entertainment System will forever hold it’s place in history, but this is also history in the making.  The next generation of consoles will be something to watch.”

The Top Ten Selling Game Consoles of All-Time (source: combined data from VGChartz.com and Wikipedia listings.  Excludes handheld gaming devices.  All stats are as of date of this article’s publishing.)

1.  PlayStation 2 (Sony, 2000) – 153.68 million units

2.  PlayStation (Sony, 1994) – 104.25 million units

3.  Wii (Nintendo, 2006) – 95.25 million units

4.  XBox 360 (Microsoft, 2005) – 65.80 million units

5.  PlayStation 3 (Sony, 2006) – 62.11 million units

6.  Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1983, 1985) – 61.91 million units

7.  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1990) – 49.10 million units

8.  Mega Drive / Genesis (Sega, 1988, 1989) – 39 million units

9.  Nintendo 64 (Nintendo, 1996) – 32.93 million units

10. Atari 2600 / VCS (Atari, 1977, 1985) – 30 million units

 

My Experiences: EA Sports Tester

easports

It was early 2004, I had just finished graduate school at UCF and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Typical.  My savings was starting to dry up and I needed money fast.  I went around filling out job applications.  I actually got hired at Lowe’s first off.  I was sent to push shopping carts on the second day instead of going through the typical orientation session.  By the third day I was left alone in the lumber section all by myself.  I quit that afternoon.  Days later while wallowing in shame and fear, I saw an advertisement on careerbuilder.com for a video game tester.  I knew that was something I could do.  When I found out it was for EA Sports Tiburon I got excited.  I filled out the application and days later I got a call from one of their screeners who gave me the phone interview.  This consisted of some basic experience questions, and some sports specific questions like:

What is the difference between overtime in college football and the NFL?”

Name the major BCS bowls

Name as many NASCAR drivers and their sponsors as you can

I was able to pass that pretty easily so I was invited in for another interview at their office.  Here I had to answer a ten page multiple choice test where we shown pictures of controllers and match them to their consoles.  It was video game and sports stuff.  I did good there too so then we were given a console and told to follow a procedure where we would get a video game to crash.  Then a panel interview where I chatted with three people.  I remember being asked if I could remember what the interviewers names were and I only could remember the chick’s name.  Again, typical.  I was told I had the job and I had to come in Monday morning for a week of training which consisted of learning the bug database and learning from the previous year’s titles.  At the end of the week we got our assignments and I was on the NCAA team for PS2.  We all felt sorry for the guy who was given Madden for Game Boy Advance.

The work started out good.  We worked 10AM-630pm, there was a fridge and a soda machine there.  In the break room there were arcade cabinet machines such as Q-Bert, Mortal Kombat 2, and Golden Tee.  We had some good competitions there.  Soon our days went from 10am to 10pm.  Beta got closer and we split into different shifts.  Some worked 10am to midnight, some worked 12pm to 2am.  It was a grind.  No days off, not when you are putting out one of the best selling video games of the year.  The people at the 7-11 store got to know us rather well for coffee and energy drinks.

It was an interesting job.  There were barely any women around.  For a group of guys who barely got to see women outside the office, work life brought out the caveman in everyone.  Think of that boobs episode of South Park if it helps.  Also, I found that the people in charge took what they did waaaay to seriously.  They’d pump us up as if we were on the mission to kill Bin Laden.  And they were the kind of bosses who used the old “We work hard but we play hard” catchphrase.  I always thought anybody who used that should be locked in a closet with bees.  There was a divide too among the full time programmers and staff and the seasonal Quality Assurance testers like me.  The “people upstairs” got better snack machines, benefits, and we got to read some messages which revealed that they pretty much thought we were peons.   But we weren’t, at least not all of us.  We had lawyers, cops, college graduates, parents, all guys just trying to make a living and pay the bills.  I know they had their struggles too.  There was a controversy awhile back about the wife of an EA Employee there who didn’t like the long hours and lack of overtime her husband had to deal with.  Google “EASpouse” and you’ll see the story.

Eventually I moved on but every year I would check the credits of all the football games and see who was still there from my day.  Some testers actually got promoted to game producer.  That was something good about the job, if you showed dedication, you were rewarded.  I often wonder where I would have gone had I stayed there.  I surely would have made a better Superman Returns game, that’s for sure.

Video of the Day: Game Deaths

Classic video game deaths

This video is just to awesome not to share. This video shows death scenes from various classic games to a great remix tune. Enjoy.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ6APKIjFQY[/youtube]

(Dir.: Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing. Music is Rob’s MIDI homage to “Mad World,” by Tears for Fears, and you can download the MP3 here:http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/28/game-deaths-mp3.html and buy their original song here [MP3]: http://tinyurl.com/4wzqgry ).

Retaining

deadliest-warrior

Bravo’s series Deadliest Warrior got me thinking about all the great games over the years featuring ninjas, from the classic System 3 game The Last Ninja to various beat ‘em ups. But there is one series I am not a fan of – Ninja Gaiden. It’s just one of several similar games on the way.

I am not a fan of the “dojo game”, the genre typified by Devil May Cry and the God of War series (which is making its way to PS3, along with HD versions of the first two games). However, let me make it clear from the start I am not saying that they are “bad” games – I’m saying that they are not my cup of tea. That’s down to two main factors – the difficulty level and the button combos.

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

Then there are the puzzles – they rarely progress between simple switches or moving something from A to B. A sequence from the original God of War highlights why Nintendo’s new Demo-play feature (designed to give tips as you play) could work. And if you have not played God of War, consider this next piece a spoiler. A room with a gate can only be left by activating the large pressure pad in the middle of the room, which opens the gate for a short time when Kratos stands on it. But there is no way to get past the gate before it closes again (since you have moved off the pad). The answer is hidden in your inventory – the head of Medusa can be used to turn an enemy to stone, making it easier to kill. Freezing an enemy on the pad lets you get past the gate, but it wasn’t immediately apparent to me and I spent several minutes before the idea dawned on me. If Demo-play can highlight an area of screen or give a clue by suggesting you look in your inventory, it could help guide players through such a puzzle rather than relying on an online guide.

The most promising of this new wave of dojo games looks to be Bayonetta from Platinum Games. The team were responsible for bonkers PS2 beat ‘em up God Hand and the more recent Madworld on Wii, and with a heroine whose hair is a weapon it seems they are trying something different again. But will it get good reviews and sales to match? It seems unlikely, given the competition, and that could be disappointing and discouraging for a team that dares to be different.

 

Portable problems

PSP - Playstation Portable

Sony had the chance to shake up the portable console market and to maintain its grip on gaming. Somewhere along the line things went wrong after such initial promise. The latest iteration, the PSP Go, has boosted sales but does it have a long-term future?

When Sony announced a portable Playstation the specs were interesting, promising PS2-quality games in the palm of your hand, wireless multiplayer and much more on a clear, wide screen. Many experts did see a potential flaw in the plan, Sony’s new UMD format. The much-maligned optical disk brought technical problems and slow access, and the film companies did not fall in line to support it.

Sony also fought a running battle with the hackers and the homebrew specialists. The processing power gave the chance for great emulation, and the use of memory sticks opened the door to illegal downloads. Firmware updates were met with fast responses from the hackers, the process aided by replacement batteries and other hardware hacks.

Giving the console a make-over quickly proved both a good idea and a drawback for Sony. The PSP Slim models (the 2000 and 3000) both gave a brief increase in sales but made very little real change to the hardware. Sales of games slowed whatever the model, with many stores discounting them and UMD movies soon after release.

More problems hit Sony as its marketing plans backfired. Graffiti ads in America caused controversy, ads for the white PSP were considered racist and the “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP” campaign was embarrassing. The ad company started blogs and put up supposedly amateur videos of kids who wanted the machine for Christmas – only for the gaming community to pour scorn on the whole thing.

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

The PSP Go was a badly guarded secret that was finally given substance at E3 in 2009. Gone was the UMD drive and in came a new wave of games. The likes of Rock Band Unplugged and LittleBigPlanet showed some ambition. There was still no second stick, the screen was smaller and the sliding mechanism (to hide the controls) seemed like a gimmick too far. Another nail in the coffin came from retailers who refused to stock it due to the lack of additional game sales – since all the games have to be downloaded from the PSN. Room (the PSP equivalent of Home) may just be another bad move. Will existing owners upgrade? Sony threw another spanner in the works by announcing plans for users to trade in UMDs, only to cancel the idea and generate a lot more bad press.

So does the PSP have a future? It will be up to gamers to provide it, but Sony needs to look carefully at its strategy.

 

The Magic of a Good Game Trailer – Prince of Persia

I still remember the time when I was still struggling to fiddle with my 2+ years old PS1 when all of a sudden through random surfing the net I came across the trailer of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The game I think had just launched and I knew that PS2 is widely available across my neighborhood too. When I saw the trailer for the very first time it literally made me go high with such strong adrenaline rush that that way old feeling is still survived to sustain in me for all these years and I can still start the game from scratch despite of the fact that I rarely repeat a game once when I have finished it. The Godsmack soundtrack – I stand alone being played in the background, the awesome-most art which one could witness at that time of gaming era, the wonderful composites of HD and real-time rendered game play, plus the story which was so intriguing even for a gamer who had no idea of the first installment of the game, was so damn good collectively that I couldn’t sleep for days!

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia

The trailer kept looping in my head again and again and I kept talking to my friends about it who had no idea of what am I talking about. I was so madly in love with the overall feel of the trailer alone that I really couldn’t wait to get my hands on the game. So I kept pushing and asking my dad to please buy me the PS2 now that is the most advance and that it is going to help me in my future studies (as a 3D-Artist). But deep inside I knew that I have found a something to love for so long that I cannot resist it for more days. So finally under a couple of weeks I was able to game my dad for getting me a brand new PS2 and the first game that I plugged it in was POP: Warrior Within only. And the game didn’t disappoint me at all. It matched my expectations quite perfectly and as a gamer I was so overwhelmed by the overall thrill a title alone could provide. This game alone initiated my curiosity for the first installment of POP, also known as Sands of Time.

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia

So what all did a good game trailer accomplished here? I know I am only one of those other million gamers who get motivated to go and buy a game console after seeing something which is as short as under 3 minutes of duration. Here lies the art of making a good trailer. All the factors mentioned before contributes collectively in the marketing and promotion of any good game. And I think I have seen many games go down just because they didn’t have a good video trailer but has a good game play and all the other factors which actually makes a game “fun”.

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia

A good trailer automatically gets shared. People love it and share it with their friends. Word of mouth publicity comes into play and the developer team gets a good response even before the game is launched. The studio hits its target, the sales rise but the gamer will eventually get disappointed if the game fails to score in terms of fun. But that is something totally off-stream of what I really want to put out here. So my plea to all game developing studios out there is to focus on the trailer too if they feel that they have made a game with 50+ artists who have dedicatedly put their hearts and mind into the project and they understand that the success of the project is not only of studio but is of them too. Don’t rush things in the end. Don’t put up a crappy edited walk-through trailers on web. Take your time. Categorize the art direction for a trailer as something of top most priority. Direct and stream it well and make sure those 120+ seconds count as we really don’t want to miss that awesome game you develop next just because you weren’t able to find time to make a good trailer of it.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention how beautiful Kaileena looked with the voice-over of beautiful Monica Bellucci.

Prince of Persia Kaileena
Prince of Persia Kaileena

Check out the trailer I’m talking about here:

The Interview: Steve Gray

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

Steve Gray

When you have a gaming resume with names like Electronic Arts, Squaresoft and THQ there is little doubt that you know gaming. Obsolete Gamer was given the opportunity to talk with Steve Gray about his gaming career that started with EA Canada his time at Squaresoft and his work on Parasite eve. From there he created his own studio (Heavy Iron) which he sold to THQ in 1999. From there he returned to EA where he worked on many games including The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Third Age and Tactics. Currently Steve Gray is the executive in charge of production at Tencent who is China’s largest developer and publisher and operator of online games.

We wanted to get a behind the scenes look at his time in the gaming industry and his many accomplishments from his work in Video FX to building the first Motion Capture Lab at EA Canada.

EA Canada logo
EA Canada logo

Obsolete Gamer: When did you know you would want to work in the video game industry?

Steve Gray: I originally wanted to be a Rock Star (just like Tremmel) and I played the clubs a lot in LA and up and down the California coast.  At that time I also worked in the feature film special effects business.  Which I continued to do until the early 90’s when I was VP Technology at Digital Domain (that’s when we made True Lies, Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13, …).  When the PS1 came out I decided I really wanted to get into video games instead.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your first exposure to games?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades.

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

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades!!

Obsolete Gamer: Now before beginning work in the gaming industry you had quite the career in Visual Effects and working in television and movies can you tell us about that time?

Steve Gray: I worked at Robert Abel & Associates when I first moved to LA (to be a Rock Star).  Entry Level Rock Star doesn’t pay very well, actually… not at all.  RA&A worked on Tron, Star Trek 1, and a ton of really cool CG TV commercials.  Also with Omnibus and Digital Pictures we were really the first big CG effects house.  It was a great place to work, everyone was really young and crazy… we worked super hard, partied super hard.  It was a good time… late 80’s in LA was a fun time and place.  Guns and Roses was playing the clubs, the Sunset Strip was rockin’.  Then I went on to work at Rhythm & Hues as head of the Software department.  We wrote all our own CG tools then, because there really weren’t any commercially available packages yet.  I mostly wrote partical systems and rendering code, along with managing the team.  After R&H I moved over to Digital Domain, which was a lot of crazy house.  But we worked on really great movies… and working with Stan Winston and Jim Cameron was pretty amazing.

Obsolete Gamer: So you began the video game part of your career at Electronic Arts Canada, how did that job come to be?

Steve Gray: Digital Domain wanted to get into the video games business… so me and Chris McKibbin (then CFO of DD – different Chris than Chris Tremmel) went around to all the big game companies in the US and Japan trying to get someone to do a project with us… no one really wanted to do that because they (rightly) said we had no idea what we were doing.  Don Mattrick offered me and McKibbin both jobs at EAC.  So we thought about that and both took his offer.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: It was really interesting. I learned a lot there.  A lot of really talented guys.  But unfortunately I discovered that making sports games wasn’t really my thing.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of the changing in video game technology at the time with the PlayStation One and the use of full motion video in games?

Steve Gray: We all though FMVs in games were super cool.  And actually I eventually built a game at my own company Heavy Iron that used FMV backgrounds in a “Resident Evil” type of game… except our backgrounds were pre-rendered videos instead of pre-rendered stills.  But that was on PS2.  It was the first Evil Dead game that THQ released.  But fundamentally I now think that FMVs kind of suck.  Or at least over use of FMVs kind of suck.  I like what we did in “Lord of the Rings The Third Age” with the transitions from FMV to In-Game Cinematic to Game Play.  And I’m definitely more of a fan of in-game cinematics now, especially if the player can customize his or her avatar, and that customized avatar shows up in the In-Game Cinematic.  But in general, I’m not a huge fan of linear content in games anymore.  Of course, working at Square we made tons of FMVs… but Square’s console RPGs are almost more of a big movie with some game play bits squeezed in there.   Which I still like.

Obsolete Gamer: What were the day to day activities of running the software tools group at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: Not really that interesting.  Just managed the tools group, tried to make sure that we really built things that were useful for the projects right now… no “ivory tower research” allowed.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about building the first Motion Capture Lab at EAC?

Steve Gray: In the beginning the EAC guys didn’t believe in it so we had basically no budget and had to rent out the auto-repair stall to use as our capture studio.  The guys in the auto repair shops around us all through we must be shooting porno movies because we brought in all this high-end camera gear… they kept wanting to know when the girls were going to be there.  Unfortunately it was just a bunch of geeky game developers.  Later we got a bigger a much nicer warehouse to work in…

Squaresoft logo
Squaresoft logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did the transition from EAC to Squaresoft take place?

Steve Gray: I knew some Square guys from various places in the past, plus I’ve always been a fan of their games.  When Sakaguchi-san asked me to join the company I couldn’t say yes fast enough.   Some of the other guys at Square invited me to Tokyo to meet Sakaguchi and we were in a private booth overlooking the massive dance club called “Welfare”, he asked me to join square and put out his hand… I shook it and the other Japanese guys asked me “do you know you just signed the deal”, to which I answered “yes”!!

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at EAC?

Steve Gray: I think the day we installed the flying-faders audio mixing board in the sound lab was the best day.  Back then those things were super crazy expensive, and as a musician I’d always wanted to have one to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at Squaresoft?

Steve Gray: Working at Square was the best of times and in some ways the worst of times.  Working with Sakaguchi-san was extremely challenging because his standards are insanely high.  Which is a good thing, but it can be tough.  Also the cultural and language differences between the Japanese and Western teams we not really understood or managed very well.  I’m sure we were one of the first projects to be developed by a “mixed” team.  Of course now this is happening more and more, and people have gotten much better at managing those situations, but we were really on the bleeding edge, so to speak.

Obsolete Gamer: What were some of the challenges in directing Parasite Eve?

Steve Gray: The biggest issues were really finding consensus and understanding between the Japanese crew, many of whom had been at Square for many years and were used to their style of working… which was actually very “agile” though they didn’t call it that.  The Western team was much more into what’s now referred to as Waterfall project management… which we didn’t call it that either.  We didn’t really think about this sort of thing, and didn’t understand the differences, and basically made a big mess.  But the game did quite well when it came out, so that’s great!

Obsolete Gamer: Now the game was a sequel to the book correct?

Steve Gray: The game wasn’t a sequel really, it was based on a Japanese novel.  There is also a Japanese movie based on the same book… with some cool VFX from Toyo Links (Japanese VFX company).

Obsolete Gamer: There are many fans who loved that game, but some felt it did not get the attention it deserved, do you feel that way as well?

Steve Gray: It sold over 2.5 million units world wide I think, and sold something like 1.6 million units in like a week in Japan or something crazy like that.  Not quite Final Fantasy numbers, but pretty good.  I’m happy with it.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of Parasite Eve 2?

Steve Gray: I think the graphics and FMVs are probably better… I haven’t really played it all the way through, so I don’t have a lot to say about the game.  I was a little bitter with the way things ended up at Square, so I cop’ed an attitude and only played it a bit.

Obsolete Gamer: There were rumors of making a Parasite Eve 3 but it did not happen would you want to see a part 3 made?

Steve Gray: Only if I make it!!!  I don’t know.  Don’t really care.  I don’t think the franchise really took off enough to warrent a whole long series of games.

Parasite Eve box
Parasite Eve box

Obsolete Gamer: You also contributed to Final Fantasy 7 while at Square, can you tell us about that?

Steve Gray: Mostly I just helped another team at Square LA work on some maps.   Square LA did a bunch of maps for FF VII.  I don’t remember how many or what percentage of the total maps were done there.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at Square?

Steve Gray: Ha.  The stories I have to share involve other Square employees, cute Japanese girls at various locations in Tokyo at night.  They are not fit for public consumption… so I’ll let you guys imagine some of the trouble we got into.

Obsolete Gamer: What made you want to open your own game development company?

Steve Gray: After we finished PE1 at Square, a core group of us thought we were super badass game developers and that publishing companies would fall over themselves to give us projects and money.  That was not entirely true.  We worked on a bunch of games that never saw the light of day, and then finally landed the gig with THQ building Evil Dead 1.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: It was originally called Chemistry Entertainment.  For a while we partnered with the Canadian VFX Company called Rainmaker.  Heavy Iron didn’t really 100% work out as we hoped.  But a bunch of really great people worked there, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the game industry… for example my partner Marcel Samek went on to be CTO at EALA for many years.  Shiraz Akmal ran the central outsourcing group at THQ… Matt Coohill continued to work at Heavy Iron for a long time, and is now up in Seattle at Microsoft working cool stuff there.  And many others…

Obsolete Gamer: How did it differ from running your own company than working at EAC and SS?

Steve Gray: We had no money.  I didn’t really like running my own company that much… I thought it would give me the freedom to work on the kinds of projects I really like.  But instead I got to be an administrator and was always managing cash flow and trying to make payroll.  Not cool.

Obsolete Gamer: When did you make the decision to sell to THQ?

Steve Gray: When we were starting on Evil Dead 1, it was going to be one of the biggest projects THQ had ever done… and they really wanted to have us be part of THQ so that they would be building equity in the team.  And honestly, Marcel and I were a bit tired of managing the company instead of making games, so we decided to join THQ.  Of course, we also got paid some money (stock).  When I left THQ, their stock was at an all-time high… this was a good thing.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time with Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: When we were finalizing Evil Dead, I was basically living at the office.  We had a group of THQ QA guys in the first floor, and they would find bugs, we’d fix them… I’d burn new test disks… they bang away at them.  It was a crazy project.  But then many things I’ve worked on have been crazy and hard… but that’s what makes it fun.

Obsolete Gamer: Then it was a return to EA what was that like?

Steve Gray: I came back to EA to join my original Digital Domain friend, Chris McKibbin, to help run what was called the “Worlds Channel” in EA.com.  We were all the entertainment products, meaning all the MMOs.  I guess younger readers may not know about EA.com – EA.com was EA’s first big jump into online games, and think we were a bit ahead of the times… EA.com didn’t work out, and got closed down, and many of the people merged back into the other EA Studios.  That was pretty rough because many people were also laid off, and as one of the senior guys there it fell to me to do a lot of layoffs.  But it’s lame to feel bad for yourself in that situation because it’s 100x worse for the people getting laid off.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the development process with creating the Lord of the Rings games?

Steve Gray: We kicked some serious ass on Lord of the Rings.  First out at Stormfront, then internally at EA Redwood Shores.  Those were great games, beautiful games, built on very tight schedules under difficult circumstances and they were really good.  I credit my time and Square and my experiences working with Sakaguchi for my ability to really focus on quality… and of course, Neil Young was a great EP on the first two, I learned a lot working with him as well.  I have very happy memories of that time… though I did get diss’ed pretty hard in the infamous “EA Wife” blog.  I think our FMV->game play transition stuff which I mentioned earlier was a first for the industry, and we really set the standard for quality in movie games… a standard that has rarely been met since, in my opinion.

Heavy Iron logo
Heavy Iron logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did your experience with EAC, Square and owning Heavy Iron Studios factor into your return to EA and working on those games?

Steve Gray: I really credit Sakaguchi-san for helping me understand how to build great games.  I have to say that at the time, when I was at Square, I didn’t really agree 100% with how he wanted to do things… but in the following years I came to really appreciate how his approach to game development is able to consistently create such high quality product.  Now I’ve rarely (never) had the freedom he has as a developer, but his ideas fit into development even if you have to pay more attention to the schedule.  Heavy Iron gave me a lot of respect for how hard it is to run a business… and at EA I learned a lot about why publishers work the way they do, and why publishers make what seem to the developers like evil and unwarranted decisions.  That changed my understanding of the game business a lot.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your work on Neverwinter Nights 2?

Steve Gray: This is a mistake in some profiles on me… I never worked on Neverwinter Nights 2.

Obsolete Gamer: With all your time in the gaming industry which prior of your career did you enjoy the most?

Steve Gray: I really really enjoyed working on the Lord of the Rings games.  The team was so fantastic.  Everyone was great to work with and super talented.  We may have had our struggles and moments of anger with each other, but I wouldn’t trade that time with those people for anything.  I am also really enjoying working at Tencent…

Tencent logo
Tencent logo

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about what you are working on currently?

Steve Gray: I am currently Executive in Charge of Prodution at Tencent in China.  Tencent is China’s largest developer, publisher and operator of on-line games, we have a huge IM client (over 1 billion accounts), we run China’s largest portals, etc…  I work with all of our Studios, of which we have 9… with about 3500 employees across all of them.  But there are some projects I’m particularly focused on.

Unfortunately I can’t really tell you about them, because most are unannounced.  However one I can mention is NBA 2K Online, which is a co-development project with 2K Sports in the US.  It’s a bit weird because I didn’t really like working on Sports games at EAC… but this is really more of a Sports RPG or something like that.  It’s really cool… it’s going to be a monster hit here in China.  Working with Visual Concepts (the 2K Games Studio that builds NBA2K) is really great, working with 2K China is great… our team in Shanghai is great.

It’s really fun.  It’s amazing how Tencent builds online games and how big we are (we have 4 games that have more than 1 million people playing simultaneously every day).  We get to work so closely with our customers… in a way you can never do on a console game.  Also the scale we operate at is just stunning… QQ IM (our IM client) routinely has over 100,000,000 people logged into it every day.  Yes – that’s the right number of zeros… 100,000,000.

Obsolete Gamer: With all that you do you must have little free time, but when you do if you play any games what are they?

Steve Gray: I rarely play any games other than the games I’m working on, or directly competing product… which I can’t say what they are, because that would be a dead giveaway of what we’re building.  I don’t really play games for “fun” in my free time… well, what free time, for one thing.  But I have a lot of fun playing the games I’m building or those few other games I play to understand what the competition is up to.

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!

Today in video game history – June 11th

Pryzm box
Pryzm box

PRYZM Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn was released for the PS2.

Game Info

Publisher: TDK Mediactive

Developer: Sandbox Studios

Genre(s): Action

Players: 1

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Release Date: June 11, 2002

Summary

A corrupting plague of dark magic grips the world… once lush lands have turned barren, and the inhabitants have become hostile mutant creatures. Now, join the quest of a unique young unicorn and a tenacious old troll in a desperate bid to find and destroy the source of the curse. Journey through four vast and eerie lands – each with four levels to explore. Cast eight powerful spells against 24 bizarre mutant enemies. Battle five gargantuan bosses and sub-bosses. Restore lands and inhabitants to health and witness their amazing transformation.

Dig Dug review

Dig Dug in-game
Dig Dug in-game shot

Dig Dug review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“Pop that monster!”

Overall Score:
9 out of 10

Overview:

Dig Dug consists of you being this blue man in a white suit that digs your way underground to kill monsters in tunnels. You do this by impaling them with an air pump that has like a tip like Scorpion’s weapon in Mortal Kombat (weird, I know but it’s cute!). You them pump the little monsters with enough air until they pop like a balloon. The game keeps progressing as you kill more monsters and there are none left in that level. Each level is progressively harder (especially when multiple enemies come at you at once).

You can get an extra man every 20000 points and you can pick up fruit in the middle of the stage when you kill enemies in a spectacular way, accelerating your 1UP rate.

The original game keeps going for 256 levels with the remake having about 400 levels.

The game is available on most Ataris, the Intellivision, Apple II, Commodore VIC 20 and c64, for PC, NES, gameboy, Wii, and the TI-99/4A. The remake is also available under Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 for Xbox, Gamecube, and the PS2.

Fun Factor:

I always thought it was a trip to fill up cute little monsters with air and watch their belly burst. If you’re braindead like me then you will love this kind of action. As the game will become much harder later, you will have to react instantly to the onslaught of monsters and have to adapt to using the terrain to your advantage and tricking the game’s A.I. by timing your attacks. You will sometimes have to run like a little bitch for your life and that can be fun to do especially in an old game! Fun Factor gets a score of 1o out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

Dig Dug is a challenging game. It’s from an era where if you wanted to get a high score you had to be a good gamer. Continues? Never heard of them. You put in a quarter and you got a set amount of lives. If you lost them all, you had to pay again to replay from the beginning. If you like your games easy then Dig Dug is not a game for you. If you like a game where the A.I. will eventually come at you from every direction, really fast then this is your game. You do get one more life though every 20000 points.

The first levels are easy and the game constantly keeps acccelerating in diffuculty. There’s no way to alter that but the game is challenging enough as it is. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Value:

Since this game is so old now, most people will probably play the emulated (usually MAME) version which you can get for free.

The PS2 Namco Classic Collection version is now out of print and not available online. You can track it down either by calling your local game stores or finding it through ebay.

The Wii version you can probably get online from their store for probably a few dollars.

Overall, since you can either play this game for free or for a few dollars for the PS2 or Wii version, Value gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

Most classic arcade games are highly addictive/replayable, unless you find them too hard/frustrating for you. You can pretty much set your own goal as you what you want your experienced with this game to be, whether to get to whatever number of level or whatever your high score will be.

Myself, I find this game fun and I often wonder to what level I can get to the next time I play. Considering I’ve played this game thousands of times since the 80s and I still play it, the game is a classic and very replayable. I give replayability a score of 9 out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds mainly consist of hearing the dragon roar (whistle) and your pump that fills up the cute monsters and pops the living hell out of them. For an old game the sounds are really well done and I think Sound deserves a score of 1o out of 10.

Music:

The music is so simple but it’s so catchy. The music is interactive in the sense that the little jingle will only play whenever your guy is walking. Mega64 makes fun of that fact and made a video where they go around harrassing people with it! Here is a video showing that:

It’s catchy and it keeps you playing this hectic little game. For a few simple notes, it’s a classic. Overall the game has like 4 little melodies but the main melody is the one that you will hear the most. Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics:

The graphics look pretty cute for this old game and they are actually great. It’s fun watching the monsters blow up like a balloon and then POP! Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

This game actually has 2 bugs.

If you get to the end of the game, the game has a kill screen where you are basically stuck because the game will not progress any further. This happens when you get to the last level of the game (level 256) and beat it.

The other bug happens if you drop a rock on an enemy while you are pumping it with air and snuff it. It basically makes all enemies disappear making the level unbeatable but the work around is to trigger another rock to fall.

Other than those two bugs, mainly the rock one (because most people will NOT get to the last level), the game is rock solid. Stability/Reliability get a score of 8 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are simple. Up is up and so forth, and the fire button always triggers the harpoon gun/pump which lets you kill enemies. Other than that you walk into the ground to tunnel and you make rocks fall by leaving a tunnel under it (to try to trick a monster into getting crushed). Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs flawless whether you play it on an arcade machine, emulation (MAME, etc), or on a console remake of it. If only all games could run as well as old games! Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This is one of the first games where I was impressed by an arcade game, specifically Namco and Atari. I remember seeing this around the same time I first played Ms. Pacman, another arcade favorite of mine. I’ve played Dig Dug over 1000 times, literally. It’s not as popular as the Pacman games but among the arcade community, it’s always a classic.

If you’ve never played Dig Dug, you are missing out on a major arcade game that is a corner stone for arcade gaming history. Go play it and stop reading this.

Reprinted

Metroid-Prime-Trilogy-Pal-Cd-Cover

Gamers recently heard rumours that Nintendo’s Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii was being discontinued, in that no new copies would be printed. The rumour was soon strongly denied, but it did highlight a good issue – what happens to rare games that go out of print?

The Wii has, perhaps unfairly, gained a reputation for having a lot of low quality titles, so a high-profile and high quality release such as Metroid Prime Trilogy should get shelf space. The third game, Corruption, had already been a big seller, but united with the two earlier Gamecube games (with added Wii controls, similar to the Play Control range) in a single package was a clever move. Even in the short space of time between rumour and denial, prices on eBay started to rise and no doubt collectors/hoarders scanned the shelves of their local software seller.

By contrast, is anyone upset that Ratatouille and Deadly Creatures by THQ have gone out of print?  The former was a fairly standard film tie-in, done in typical platform style, but the latter at least had some original ideas that saw poisonous creatures battling in 3D environments (even if many found the Wii controls to be uncomfortable).

Just a couple of years ago, GameQuest Direct changed the game. Originally a retail chain, the business reorganised to concentrate on Internet/mail order and rarer games. As part of that strategy the company negotiated the rights to re-print old games – including the PS2 version of Rez. Many were concerned that this would dilute the market and reduce the value of some very rare titles. GameQuest Direct went on to buy up the inventory of Working Designs, giving it many copies of some rare localised Japanese games.

But it was not the only company to do so. In late 2009, readers of the gamesTM forum discovered that Konami in Europe had issued reprints of some of its rarer titles including Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. The titles first showed up on Amazon and soon found their way into the hands of collectors.

So is it a good thing that more people get to play a good game, or a bad thing because it reduces the value of certain titles to a dedicated collector/importer? I can see both sides of the argument, and also an added benefit of digital distribution – all you need is somewhere to host the files and you can go on selling a game, without the cost of producing a retail product. I would prefer honesty from the reprinter/retailer to let me know that this is not the original issue of a game, but I can live with buying something I wanted to buy but missed out on. A good example would be the Platinum range for Playstation. As a collector I place little extra value on getting hold of an original over a Platinum copy… with a few exceptions. The really rare items in my collection are older and in no danger of being reprinted…

Phantasy Star Universe to close English PC/PS2 Servers

Phantasy Star Universe
Phantasy Star Universe

Last week General Manager Edward Sega announced that the Playstation 2 and PC servers for the English version of PSU will be closing on March 31st 2010.

On the PSU official forums he added:

“SEGA would like to extend its sincere thanks to those who have played on the PC/PS2 servers over the past several years. The final update for PC/PS2 servers will be this January 29th, 2010, which will start the long-awaited MAG+ event. This event will receive the same updates & web support as the event on the Xbox 360 servers.

Please note that after January 29th 2010, no new PSU subscriptions will be available for purchase for PC/PS2. Those who are subscribed as of that time will be able to play, for free, until service closure.”

Those that still play PSU on the Xbox 360 will continue to receive support with regular updates including previously unreleased content.

The schedule is as follows:

• January 29th 2010: MAG+ event begins for PC/PS2 and Xbox 360 servers.

• January 29th 2010: No new PC/PS2 PSU subscriptions will be available for purchase.

• January 29th 2010: Free play for PC/PS2 PSU begins. No more billing cycles will take place on or after this date.

• March 31st 2010: PC/PS2 servers / service closure, the PlayStation2 and PC versions of Phantasy Star Universe online play will not be available after this date, however, please continue to enjoy the Single Player version of the game.

This was a game I enjoyed since the Dreamcast and though it lives on with the 360 it is sad to see it go.

RIP English PC/PS2 PSU

October 24, 2006 – March 31, 2010

About us in general

Obsolete Gamer Title Picture

A group of us decided to get together to create a website that would have honest, down-to-earth no-nonsense reviews on new and old games for PC and all other systems.Read More

What Gamers Want

Gamers-Motivational-Poster

What Gamers Want

Everyone loves a good metaphor in a column. You get to say “I get it” and the columnist gets to say “That’s a clever bit of writing”. So, what strained, pureed and mashed line of thought am I going to use to describe the difference between what gamers say they want and what they actually buy? It’s food, of course.

There is no doubt there is a lot of junk food out there, and a lot of chains (in this metaphor, our publishers) who serve up familiar fare on their menus year in and year out. They come back with a new and improved recipe and persuade the consumer to wolf it down. And by and large they do – a good case in point would be the Need for Speed series, often critically panned and yet freshly packaged for your Christmas feast every year.

The comparison between EA and a major fast food chain may be a little unfair though. In this last year we have at least seen something in the way of new recipes. The healthier, leaner option was the Mirror’s Edge salad, a first-person shooter with a new kind of dressing. Food snobs turned their nose up, but it has gained a following and stays on the menu. The fruit salad was Dead Space, but everyone went for the very sweet ice cream treat of Gears of War 2 instead.

The Nintendo Wii in recent months has seen a lot of finger food, small snacks designed for parties. There is a market for them, but it has disappointed those who were expecting big things from one of the most respected restaurants in town. They may not make as many meals as their competitors, but they are always laden with flavour.

One high spot was due to be Mad World from Sega and Platinum, a smorgasbord of meat (the stylised graphics) and spicy sauce (the violence). And yet within a couple of weeks the meal is on sale at a bargain price, despite a high-profile TV ad campaign and generally positive reviews. So do gamers really want a taste of something new, or do they just say that and go with the old familiar and comforting diet of racing and FPS? I remember a similar fate befalling Outrun 2006 Coast to Coast, a refreshing summer ice lolly in the midst of a sea of dull brown shooting soups.

We have to support and respect the great chefs (programmers) and the establishments that train them. The aforementioned Platinum contains people who worked at Clover, creators of Okami. At the end of the PS2 generation this was cruelly overlooked by many, yet it represented exactly the sort of experience many gamers express a wish for online. Clover closed down, and now Platinum’s future could hang on future releases like Bayonetta (a new take on the Devil May Cry style game, with a female protagonist).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve made myself hungry.