You don’t get the show 1: We’re like school on Saturday…no class


Brand new show we open by finding out just how long it takes for Ignacio to use the bathroom before our recordings and it’s all downhill from there.

J.A. talks about the lady in League of Legends who was totally down with a three-way with him and his girlfriend sight unseen because “Love don’t got no eyes.”

We also learn that you can find real legitimate gameplay video on sexy sites which not only confused J.A. but wait till you hear why he was on those sexy sites to begin with.

Now the show isn’t complete without “normal” gaming news so the guys talked about Blizzards meeting with Nostalrius the group behind the WOW legacy servers.

You can check out their official website.

We also answered questions from our Facebook Group page.

So not bad for a first show of what is pretty much the anti-Obsolete Gamer Show and if you like it please comment, upvote and visit all our links and stuff including following us on our Twitter page.

And if you really like us we are on Patreon so you can send us your hard earned dollars so we can finally get Ignacio a bedroom organizer.

And if you didn’t like it or got offended, you don’t get the show.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Actifail, The Game Awards Nominees

What do you do when 95% of your staff is playing Fallout 4 and not working on show prep and booking guests? You focus on your roots and talk gaming, gaming, and gaming.

First up we discussed a few little things Activision could have purchased with the 5.9 Billion dollars they spent on Candy Crush such as LucasFilms or Marvel for example.

Next up we received the nominees for the 2015 Game Awards and discussed each of the prime categories. The Game Awards will take place live on December 3, 2015 at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles and will be streamed simultaneously on gaming screens globally via a range of partners, including go90, YouTube, Twitch, Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and TheGameAwards.com.

Now the nominees were pretty console and Triple A heavy as well with big names such as Bloodborne, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V, Super Mario Maker, The Witcher 3 and Halo 5, but there were also some Indie games like, Ori and the Blind Forest, Her Story and Rocket League. However we felt there was a lot missing, but what can you do, it is the way of many gaming award shows.

Finally we talked some StarCraft 2, Legacy of the Void and got a non-spoiler review and opinion on the final campaign of the series from our friend and hardworking OG member Magnolia.

All in all a good show, very game heavy with lots of game footage from the nominees so check it out and as always let us know what you think.

Limbo

limbo

First of all I’d like to say that for a puzzle platformer, Limbo is a solid game. It’s easy to pick up and play, the controls are simple, the physics are great, and it’s not terribly frustrating. It’s selling point however is supposedly the atmosphere that the game brings and the mystery behind the meaning of it all. It’s decent, not the best, but great for what it is. . .unless you’ve played other games like it.

limbo

There was a video on Youtube where in the comments people were talking about theories for the ending/non existing story for the game. The only thing i had to say was this;

limbo

My theory: he found his sister, the end. The only clues given about this game is the title and that this kid has to find his sister. That’s about it. sure there are things throughout the various levels that you can speculate about, but games of this style have been done before & better (another world, braid, etc). As much as I would love to pull theories out of thin air, I don’t feel there’s any reason with this game. it’s not THAT engrossing as a whole, & seems kind of lazy comparatively speaking. *end comment*
limbo
I guess the reason why I’m NOT ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS GAME is because games like Another world and Braid were great simply because they were something different (and if you wanted a game shrouded in obscurity and dripping with existentialism, there’s always Passage and Yume Nikki) They were stand alone games. This whole “guessing game” within games buried in silent mystery and artsy-ness seems to be a new genre emerging.

limbo

I’m not sure that I like that idea of that so much. It’s not that I don’t like these types of games, in fact I love these games and games that make the player think and feel a sense of immersion, but I feel that it would give new developers an excuse to make a poorer product. This game seems to be an example of that. Don’t get me wrong, it’ still a decent game, and a lot of fun to play, but I feel they could have done more with it. It just doesn’t have the same charm as the other games.

Of course, if you haven’t played those other games that I mentioned, then yes, this game will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever experience. It’s short, worth a play through, and definitely worth checking out.

Rad Raygun

Rad Raygun

Rad Raygun, the Mega Man-inspired XBox Live Indie Game, has been gaining fans since it’s recent release. The throwback game title is part of a lifelong gaming journey for programmer and Corinth, Texas resident Chris Bryant.

“I was born in 1981, so the Nintendo Entertainment System was my first console,” Bryant recalled. “But I can distinctly remember watching my older brother play Asteroids and Missile Command on the Atari 2600. To this day, just seeing the Asteroids cartridge brings back some good memories.”

While continuing to game as he grew older, Bryant notes that even as the technology advanced, his heart remained with the classics, noting Super Mario Bros., a game he states he still plays today.

“I know it’s cliche, but I still play it in absolute awe,” he said of the 1985 Nintendo classic. “How did they get it so right? The graphics, sound and play mechanics were not only groundbreaking but flawlessly executed.”

Bryant’s love for games quickly turned into a dream of designing them, a goal he states started before he was even old enough to drive.

Rad Raygun

“I spent most of my childhood trying to learn anything that could get me in the video game industry, such as programming and 3D animation,” he said. “I can remember being 13 or 14 and wanting absolutely nothing for Christmas. All I wanted was knowledge. I wanted to know how to make games. I would make little text games in QBasic. I would also download other people’s source code and dissect it, trying to figure out how it worked. In 10th grade Computer Science class, I built my first two actual games, a clone of Pong and a clone of Frogger. In fact, I got in trouble for sharing my source code for Frogger because my classmates were playing that instead of paying attention in class! But, it all worked out…the teacher said he’d let it go if I shared the source code with him as well.”

Rad Raygun

Two years ago, the idea for Rad Raygun came into Bryant’s head. He reached out to a peer with the concept.

“I still have the e-mail to Chris Hernandez, a co-worker of mine and Rad Raygun’s creative director,” Bryant said. “His reply of ‘I’m absolutely 1000 percent into it’ was huge. I knew I had an amazing talent on my team that I could rely on for not just artwork, but a creative storyline as well.”

For the first year, everything for the game was developed for the PC version, according to Bryant. The programmer recalls issues with long load times when finally tested on the XBox 360, requiring a significant amount of time re-writing the code in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the level design already completed for the indie title. With just days to go before launch, more problems with load times came to light.

Rad Raygun

“The Xbox 360 is indeed a powerhouse, but only when used correctly,” Bryant noted. “The engine had serious memory management issues that weren’t visible on the PC. I spent days tweaking and optimizing the engine in hopes of alleviating the issue. This was the ultimate low for me. My team dedicated their nights and weekends to this project for over two years and, only two days from launch, I wasn’t sure if it would ever see the light of day.”

With a looming deadline, Bryant managed to find an issue he’d overlooked numerous times.


“While examining the game’s memory usage for the 100th time, I noticed that the maps were allocating way more memory than they should,” he noted. “It turns out that there was a bug in the level editor and the maps were exported with a ton of extraneous data at the end of the files. I wrote a tool to clean up the extraneous data from the map files, reloaded the game on the 360, and all of my framerate issues were gone.”

Following Rad Raygun‘s launch, Bryant says while he now feels a little extra pressure to make his next game, he is enjoying hearing back from fans of the game.

“I’m still trying to let it all sink in,” he said. “It sounds cheesy but this is really a dream come true. It really means a lot to me when I hear that people ‘get it’ and are able to connect with the game on a nostalgic level, sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Rad Raygun is available for 80 Microsoft points at this link.

Raptr’s Minecraft Give-a-way for XBL

raptr logo

Raptr is giving away 2,500 copies of Minecraft on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 as part of their Raptr rewards program. Mojang’s award-winning game Minecraft will be available on Xbox 360. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game features an innovative new crafting interface, natural controller movements, a full tutorial mode to teach the basics, and an all-new split-screen multiplayer mode on Xbox LIVE.  It will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade on May 9, 2012 for 1600 Microsoft Points.

Minecraft-Xbox_360_Edition

So if you are signed up make sure to log into your account on May 10th 2012 and check out the rewards section. If you are not a member of Raptr join today because the rewards will be offered on a first come first served basis.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LqZ4_g18xk[/youtube]

Eligibility to redeem rewards will be based on games played and ranks earned on Raptr; ranks are determined by time played and achievements unlocked. The Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition reward is available in all Xbox LIVE regions listed at the following link:.  All rewards will be offered on a rolling first come, first served basis. More details about the reward and who is eligible to earn it, will be available on May 10, 2012.

Indie Game Gems: Mr. Gravity

The Indie Game Gems feature will focus on the hidden treasures that can be found on your XBox 360 for just one dollar.  For those that don’t look up from the latest Call of Duty long enough to notice, XBox Live Indie Games contains a massive amount of games created mostly by smaller studios and downloaded for very little money.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

This section will sort through the heavily stocked shelves of XBox Live Indie Games to find the hidden gems that will provide fun well worth the low prices.

We start this regular feature with Mr. Gravity, a game developed by students at the University of Utah and released last spring.  The object of the game is to help a happy little fellow named Mr. Gravity traverse through a maze and reach his bride Mrs. Gravity, who is patiently waiting somewhere else in the maze.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

Along the way, Mr. Gravity must use the power of gravity he holds to cling to walls and avoid spikes and obstacles.  He also must collect as many gems as possible along the way, though he can complete a level without doing so.  Once he reaches his smiley wife at the end of the maze the level ends.

Mr. Gravity nails the feel of some of the earliest days of video gaming.  The concept sounds simple enough and seems easy enough at first glance, yet is difficult to master.  It doesn’t take long for the game to become quite challenging yet still manages to find a perfect balance that allows it to frustrate you just enough to make you keep trying again rather than turn it off.  I felt reminded of what hooked me on the original Lode Runner on my oldCommodore 64 in the 1980s on some of the upper levels of Mr. Gravity, as the more frustrated I grew each time a narrow move saw me crash into a spike the more I wanted to beat the dang level because I felt I could.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

At the end of each level the player is awarded stars based on their performance in the areas of gem collection, speed of completion and how many lives were needed to get to the end.  You need certain amounts of stars to unlock later worlds, giving the player a reason to go back to earlier levels again and play them in different manners in order to obtain them.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

The graphics for a game like this don’t need to be complex yet don’t need to be too simple, and Mr. Gravity nails this aspect to.  The fairly simple graphics are given a color vector look and glow, reminiscent of classics such as Tempest and more modern hits such as Geometry Wars.  Both characters in the game change facial expressions based on what is going on in the level with a simple yet fun charm.  The background music is excellent, especially for an indie game, and adds a great extra element for the player while attempting difficult moves.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

Mr. Gravity is well worth the price of 80 Microsoft points (or $1.00 in human talk) and far more.  It manages to bring several original and uncommon puzzle game aspects together to make a challenging yet addicting puzzler with far more replay value than most puzzle games from far bigger game studios.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxKvdyzP8XI[/youtube]

Please share this article with your friends before trying the game for yourself or you might not be back on the internet for quite some time.  You can download the game from the XBox website by clicking here.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

The Simpsons Arcade Game

The Simpsons Arcade Game is now available on XBox Live, and the first-ever home console release of the 1991 quarter-muncher is every bit as fun as you remember.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

One of a long series of four player side-scrolling beat-em-ups that Konami put into arcades around this time, The Simpsons allows players to fight as HomerBartMarge or Lisa as they attempt to rescue baby Maggie from the evil Smithers.

Younger fans of the iconic Simpsons franchise should note that this classic arcade game was developed at the very beginning of the television series.  Some of the characters will look different than they do today and all of the references in the game pull from the earliest episodes of the show.  Sideshow Bob appears in one stage to help you out, Smithers is a tough guy, Bleeding Gums Murphy is alive and the rabbits from the Life Is Hell comic strip appear several times.  In those days that comic strip was Matt Groening‘s biggest success story to date.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Fans who remember pouring every quarter you had into the arcade game will be thrilled.  The game is exactly as you remember it from start to finish with straightforward controls and even the full demonstration mode, complete with the annoying-yet-classic “waaa waaa waawaaa waaaa!” scene with Bart and Lisa.

Several fun unlockables are also available for those who finish the game with specific characters.  The Japanese ROMset is available for play along with character bios, a neat but brief look at the development timeline and original advertising materials for the arcade game, a sound test and more.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Some achievements are easy to get and some will take time.  Longtimes fans of the Simpsonsseries will laugh at some of them as well.  The “Tastes Like Burning” achievement I gained by hitting Smithers with one of his own bombs forced me to pause the game for a moment to laugh, which brought up a neat pause menu drawn inside the old Simpson television set.

Online leaderboards not only show scores but also how many continues those players had to use to obtain them, adding a little credibility to such a scoreboard as part of a multi-continue game.  If you really want to try and show off there is a one-life “survival mode” as well.

The Simpsons Arcade Game - Xbox live - Gameplay Screenshot

Overall, The Simpsons Arcade Game is just pure fun.  Fans of the original arcade game will like it for different reasons than the younger Simpsons fans who may never have seen it, but they will all like it.  At 800 Microsoft points (about ten bucks) it’s a steal as well.

Don’t have a cow, man.  Download this one right away.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

Sonic on Sale

sonic-the-hedgehog

Xbox Live is continuing its sale giving gamers additional presents up to the New Year. Today’s deal is on everything Sonic, well almost everything. Take 60% off the normal price of the following tittles.

Sonic 4, Episode 1

800

320

60%

Sonic Adventure

800

320

60%

Sonic Adventure Upgrade

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

400

160

60%

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb6ibNBFtcE[/youtube]

Thanks to Major Nelson for the info. Now get out there and get the goods!

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


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

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

The Interview: Andreas Heldt: Solar Struggle

Solar Struggle - Survival Box

Solar Struggle

At one time or another, all of us have come across a space shooter that we just loved. For classic gamers it can be mega hits like Space Invaders or Galaga. For some more modern gamers maybe it was one of the Star Wars games or something from the Decent series. The space shooter is a staple of video game play and the legacy of great space shooting games continues with the Solar Struggle series.

Solar Struggle: Survival was recently released on the Xbox live platform and Obsolete Gamer had a chance to sit down with Andreas Heldt, CEO of Z-Software to talk Solar Struggle and gaming.

Can you start off by giving us an overview about the game Solar Struggle?

Andreas Heldt: The Solar Struggle world is settled in the 2169th year where the world population is divided into three fractions: The military, who maintain stability, the Consortium, a big commercial power, and the Outlaws, who fight against the suppression of the Consortium. The main character in the original Solar Struggle game joins the Military to serve a higher purpose but over time he discovers that the Military’s point of view doesn’t coincide with his own ideas.

How did you come to want to create a game of this type?

Andreas Heldt: We’ve always been attached to space-themed video games. As we saw the “Solar Struggle” project, which was maintained by one man, we almost instantly decided that we had to support the game! Ever since did we extended the game and also introduced the “Skirmish” mode, which is the main element of the new “Solar Struggle: Survival”. We just weren’t happy with the original implementation of the skirmish mode and felt that the players wanted a more arcade-style game.

With many space based games 3D is the normal, but you decided to mix a 3D environment with a 2D plane, can you explain the thought process behind that decision?

Andreas Heldt: Navigation in full 3D space is pretty complicated and you can quickly get irritated. The complex movement controls also weren’t suited for a pretty fast paced, arcade-style game. All these problems are solved by the 2D approach that we chose for Solar Struggle.

Solar Struggle - Asteroidenfeld

Can you tell us about the development process behind the game?

Andreas Heldt: The game has been developed by a single programmer for a long time. We found the project at the games convention 2008 in Leipzig and decided to support the one-man project to get it done faster and improve the asset quality. In the last months before the release we increased the number of people working on the title so we could add a lot of polish in a short amount of time.

What is it like creating a game for the Indie Games section of Xbox live?

Andreas Heldt: Creating games for XBLIG is a real comfortable process. The tools from Microsoft allow us to make quick iterations and maintain a fast development pace. Sadly, if you’re developing for the Xbox, you won’t get access to all of the features which the “big games” have, like leaderboards or achievements.

All the reviews we have read praise you for such a polished game, what steps did you take to insure the game would be the best it could be?

Andreas Heldt: The whole game balancing has undergone a meticulous testing process. This makes the game challenging as well as keeps the frustration to a minimum. Furthermore, for “Solar Struggle: Survival”, we put in a lot of effort to convey the mood of the game. We switched from the vibrant graphic style of the original Solar Struggle game to a more stylized look.

Solar Struggle - Boss_1

While the game might be considered a space shooter there is a very good storyline associated with the game can you tell us about how you created the story and implemented it into the game?

Andreas Heldt: The story has been thought out with the goal of giving the player the opportunity to play as part of each of the three different fractions. A linear story mode was chosen to carry the story better with surprising moments. On the game side, all missions were laid out with a level editor and scripted with C#.

One of the few criticisms was that the time limit mixed with the wave of enemies made it difficult to focus on the mission, was this your intent with the design?

Andreas Heldt: It was intended, the goal was to keep the action going. The player should immerse himself in the tense battles.

Tell us about the award system and the way you got around the center server system?

Andreas Heldt: Unfortunately, you don’t get access to Leaderboards or Achievements when developing an Xbox Live Indie Game. But we wanted to incorporate “Achievements” into the game so we searched for a way to circumvent the lacking abilities of the XNA framework. We came up with a solution where the player is served with a unique award code which resembles all the awards he has been unlocked while playing.

The award key is then entered into our awards center website (http://awards.solarstruggle.com/), where you can compare your progress with other gamers. Unfortunately, the system has not been used very often. Possible reasons are that most Xbox gamers won’t copy a code from the TV and enter it on a PC in a website and that the code is pretty long and you have to remember a lot of characters.

Solar Struggle - GameOver

Can you tell us a little about the gaming background of the team?

Andreas Heldt: Most of the developers who worked on the title are passionate gamers themselves – also everyone has their own favorite game genre.

Were there any games that inspired the creation of Solar Struggle?

Andreas Heldt: The games Wing Commander and Battlestar Galactica inspired the game design.

What was your favorite classic space shooter?

Andreas Heldt: Wing Commander!

What’s next for the team?

Andreas Heldt: We’re currently working on a yet unannounced game which will be released for the PC only (sorry guys), but there are still plans to expand the Solar Struggle universe in a later project.

Solar Struggle - Kampf_2

Solar Struggle: Survival is available now on Xbox live for 80 Microsoft points. You can find the original Solar Struggle game on Xbox Live for 400 Microsoft Points.

The Interview: Jonathan Biddle: Curve Studios

Explodemon Screenshot

Curve Studios

A few weeks ago, we told you about Explodemon, a classic gaming inspired platformer to be released on the Playstation Network, Xbox Live and WiiWare. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Jonathan Biddle, design direct at Curve about the game and his gaming background.

Can you tell us about your gaming background?

Jonathan Biddle: I was basically raised by games! They have far and away been the most prevalent form of entertainment in my life. I started gaming on the early black & white paddle-based tennis games, which we had as far back as I can remember, progressing through to the ZX Spectrum, and eventually to the Atari ST (unfortunately my dad didn’t buy an Amiga). I moved onto consoles at that point, owning every major home console from Mega Drive & SNES through to the PS3 and 360, and doing some especially heavy importing during the PS2 era.

I was also a frequent arcade visitor, most notably for Street Fighter II, around the time of SSFII Turbo and Alpha 1.  I did miss a large part of classic PC gaming because I didn’t own a home computer until about 1997. That meant I originally missed out on X-Com, Doom, Quake and so on. When I did get a PC, I focused mostly on emulators, playing as much stuff as I could on MAME, ZSNES/xSNES9x, Neo-RAGEx, ePSXe, Final Burn, Project 64, etc. I remember telling someone that I had access to a six-figure count of games at my flat at one point. Obviously this was before I was a father!

What was it like working on the game before bringing it to Curve?

Jonathan Biddle: It was amazingly enjoyable. I’d never been able to code before, so it was all a huge process of discovery. At every stage I just thought to myself ‘I wonder if I can do this?’ It seemed that the answer was always ‘Yes’ as long as I just kept at it, so that’s what I did. I pushed the game far beyond what I thought I was capable of. I could pick and choose various gameplay elements from the games I’d been inspired by and just try them out. It was really empowering.

 

Explodemon Screenshot 1

Can you expand more on what inspired you to create Explodemon?

Jonathan Biddle: I don’t know why, but I’m constantly driven to create. If I’m not making something, I get fidgety, agitated; ideas start to bubble over and I just have to get them out. When I started Explodemon, I was feeling particularly unfulfilled in my creative work, and so desperately had to seek some kind of outlet. That ended up being Game Maker, and Explodemon.

When did you begin working on Explodemon?

Jonathan Biddle: I started the prototype at the beginning of November 2005. There was then a long and complicated road to starting the PS3 version in November 2009.

How long was the development process?

Jonathan Biddle: I worked on the prototype over two main periods. The first chunk of work, which spanned from November 2005 to March 2006, was purely done in my spare time. By the end of that period the game was pretty much fully formed, but a bit rough around the edges and needing some features to flesh it out. I then did a couple of months more that summer – adding some features and kicking the game into a much more finished shape, based on feedback I was getting from players.

The PlayStation 3 version took about a year to finish, but Christmas slowed things up and we had a bumpy submission with a few tricky bugs, so we weren’t on the PlayStation Store until this Feb.

What makes a great platform game?

Jonathan Biddle: You could write thousands of words on this! There are many elements that go to make up a platform game, and these are shared across many game types. At a base gameplay level you could ask; what mechanics are at play? How many options does the player have? Are these options interesting? Do they complement each other? There are no right answers here, but a great platform game gets the balance right between the number of options open to the player, how they interact with each other, and how enjoyable the actions are to perform.

It goes without saying that great platform games have to have great controls. If you can’t trust that your intended input is going to result in your expected action, you’re going to get frustrated. However, it’s fine for controls to require a bit of practice before getting to this sweet spot. Mastery of a game’s controls can be its own reward, and can add an extra layer of depth to a game.

Finally, a great platform game is nothing without excellent level design. If you have lots of lovely mechanics, but the levels presented to the player don’t maximize the potential of those mechanics, then what’s the point in having them in the first place?

 

Explodemon Screenshot 2

Why do you think the classic platformer has not been used more in today’s games?

Jonathan Biddle: I think it’s been used just plenty! There’s definitely been a resurgence in the classic platformer in recent years. If we look at remakes or retro revivals such as Bionic Commando Rearmed, Rocket Knight, Mega Man 9 and 10 there’s a trend to bring back exactly those kinds of games experiences. Mario is still around in his classic 2D form as recently as last year in New Super Mario Bros Wii, Contra was recently released on the Wii, Hard Corps Uprising is a classic game in the same vein, the new Rush N Attack also leans heavily on the retro style. Indie platformers of the moment are also very much influenced by this period, such as Fez, VVVVVV, Braid, Limbo, Spelunky, and so on. If anything it might be overused!

What was your favorite platform game?

Jonathan Biddle: I have a very soft spot for Yoshi’s Island on the SNES. The game was stuffed full of great ideas, all made with great passion and polished to perfection. Nintendo have loomed large over the humble platformer, with some incredibly inspiring works. It was amazing to be able to work with them on a platformer of our own, Fluidity/Hydroventure for the Wii, and even greater for it to be the highest-rated Nintendo-published original game of 2010 (according to Metacritic at least!). Honestly, if I could’ve told my 20 year-old self that same fact while I was playing Yoshi’s Island the first time, I think the younger me might have done an Explodemon.

Can you tell us about working at Curve?

Jonathan Biddle: It’s a great working environment here. We’ve got some very talented people; some extremely experienced and others more fresh-faced. It’s a creatively-driven company; everyone has something creative to contribute, and it leads to a great atmosphere in the studio. We’re working on some very interesting stuff too, which certainly helps motivate us all!

Are most of the development staff gamers themselves?

Jonathan Biddle: Absolutely! Everyone has their own preferred genre or type of game, of course, but we’re all passionate about the medium, both as players and creators. The level of knowledge of gaming history you find here is sometimes astonishing. There’s always some heated discussion going on about the relative merits of new or old titles. It’s a great place to learn about games you’ve never played.

Explodemon is available now on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii console systems.

SNES inspired action platformer Explodemon

[youtube id=”QZ21zdhyE7w” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Due to the prototype, we’ve been in the fortunate position of having been able to play Explodemon! for a long time now. The gameplay has been honed through iterative playtesting so many times, that we are effectively now releasing Explodemon II. We’re excited to now be able to marry this solid gameplay with cutting edge 3D visuals and effects and release it via digital distribution for others to enjoy. ~Jason Perkins

SNES inspired action platformer Explodemon

What do you get when you mix a love for classic Super Nintendo platform games, badly translated classic Japanese games and a company that cares about fun game play, you get Explodemon. Curve Studios is set to release Explodemon a 2.5D platform game for Playstation Network, Xbox Live and WiiWare.

Explodemon is a platform game centered around an exploding hero that can use his special ability to fight enemies, propel himself through the air and destroy anything in his path. In addition to warfare the game will also feature, puzzles that can be solved using the games physics system.

The game came about from Curve’s Design Director, Jonathan Biddle’s, love of classic platform games from the SNES days and his wish to create his own game.

“I’d been a games designer for many years, but had always wanted the ability to prototype ideas myself. I decided to learn Game Maker and started making a platform game about an exploding man. After working silently away for a few months in my spare time, I let a few people at Curve play Explodemon! and it became obvious that I’d managed to create something very fun.” He said.

That fun gameplay was continually tested and tweaked until it was perfect and the result is the fast paced, action packed game, Explodemon.

“Due to the prototype, we’ve been in the fortunate position of having been able to play Explodemon! for a long time now. The gameplay has been honed through iterative playtesting so many times, that we are effectively now releasing Explodemon II. We’re excited to now be able to marry this solid gameplay with cutting edge 3D visuals and effects and release it via digital distribution for others to enjoy.” Said Jason Perkins, Managing Director of Curve.

Curve is an independent video game developer based in London, UK and has worked with a number of partners. Now with Explodemon it looks as if the company has their own hit on their hands.

Biddle continues, “Explodemon! is best described as what Treasure would create if they mixed Yoshi’s Island with Half Life 2. It includes many elements from games as diverse as Street Fighter II, Halo, Super Metroid and Bangai-O. As lifelong gamers, we’re huge fans of these titles and feel we’ve managed to bring together something that captures something from all of them. We think that there are many gamers out there like us who feel that there aren’t enough absolutely amazing action platform games on the current download services and we really can’t wait for people to see that we’ve managed to create exactly that with Explodemon!”

When the peaceful planet of Nibia is attacked by the malicious Vortex forces, the fate of the star system is thrust into the one pair of hands it shouldn’t be: the malfunctioning Guardian robot Explodemon. His comic quest to repel the onslaught and restore peace will take him across three distinct planets over twelve levels, with new abilities and gameplay mechanics introduced throughout.

You will be able purchase Explodemon on February 9th for $9.99. The game will featuring 12 gigantic levels – each stuffed with secret rooms, puzzles and collectibles galore – and well over eight hours of gameplay.

SEGA Dreamcast: Must have Collection

Sega Dreamcast Collection Box
Sega Dreamcast Collection Box

Mark your calendar Dreamcast fans February 22nd is the day for you. Sega will be releasing a special package compilation featuring some of the most popular classic titles from the Sega Dreamcast. Not only will you be able to get these if you have an Xbox 360, but it is also being released for the Microsoft Windows PC digital download.

Let’s talk games. This package include:

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Bass Fishing
  • Space Channel 5 Part 2

The collection will feature enhanced graphics in addition to achievement’s and online leaderboards for Xbox Live.

“The Dreamcast console is still remembered as a pioneering console for online gaming,” commented Gary Knight, VP of Marketing at SEGA of America and SEGA Europe “We are delighted to be able to offer to our large community of dedicated fans a collection such as Dreamcast Collection for them to enjoy old favorites on this Xbox 360 and Windows PC.”

Games to Buy: Console Edition: Nov 21 2010

video games store
video games store

A new name and a new way of doing our weekly report on games coming out the following week. With so many games out there the fact is some will be worth the cash and some will not be. Beyond that some games may be worth picking over the others and so we have come up with a dollar sign rating system. One $ means it can wait until it’s in the bargain bin and five $’s means you should be waiting in line to purchase it.

This week we have a good mix of new games and classic games being released, in fact pretty much every game is either a follow up of the old or a remake of an old game. This is just more proof of how important classic games are. So sit back enjoy the trailers and commentary and get your wallet warmed up.

Gran Turismo 5

With over 1000 cars and 71 courses to choose from Gran Turismo 5 is a racers wet dream. Sure, there has been a ton of delays for this game but with the way it looks now it seems to be worth the wait. Of course you will be able to race basic cars from Honda and Ford, but you will also be able to get behind the big boys like the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1. A ton of brand new tracks have been added including the Top Gear test track and many more tracks offering night driving and the new dynamic weather system. All in all if you are a racing fan or just a car aficionado and have a PS3 then you have to pick up this game.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have to bow to the Wii on this one because I loved the original DKC and this version looks incredible. Donkey and Diddy are back and you have never seen two apes go through so much for some bananas. The game is as massive as it is beautiful offering various lands including a jungle, beach, ruins, caves and a forest. As with the classic Donkey Kong Country the environment matters from knowing where and when to jump to the assortment of enemies on the screen and in the background.

This game brings back all the love and frustration of the original. Honestly, if you are not a pro platformer or haven’t played DKC before you might have a hard time because this game is tough. The mine cart level alone can drive you as crazy as Ninja Gaiden did me. In addition, even the boss fights will not be simple and it takes timing and recognizing the right pattern to win. However, it is totally worth it and with the visuals, the music and the awesome controls Donkey Kong Country is a must have for fans of the series and platform game lovers.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Splatterhouse

If you love beating the holy hell out of demons and monsters then this game is for you. The folks over at Namco Bandai have taken a bit longer than expected to release this game and they have gone through some troubles, but all in all the new Splatter house looks to be a fun game.

The game pretty much is a reboot and you play as Rick who was murdered when his girlfriend Jennifer was kidnapped by the evil Dr. West. As you lay dying a demon mask bonded with your body brining you back and now the two of you need each other. Rick needs the masks power to make his way through the horde to his girl and the mask needs rick to feed it the blood of pretty much anything.

The visuals look really good and the game is more than just blood and guts, though that is most of what it is. There is also a puzzle component to the game and you have to take time moving through some levels. However, what makes the game is the gore and you can pull of spectacular murder moves on your enemies and use the environment to take them out as well.

All in all if you liked the original and have a flair for eviscerating people then this game is worth a pick-up.

Buy Worthiness: $$

Honorable mentions

We have a bonus this week, two classic games that are sure to give you some enjoyment.

Crazy Taxi

The incredibly fun taxi driving game from the Dreamcast is back. Choose your driver and transport your passenger across town in the craziest manner possible. This game is loads of fun and it’s good to see this Dreamcast game coming to the 360.

Worms: Battle Islands

War on an epicly small scale, take control of your worms and battle against your friends using tons of different warfare tactics. Believe me, don’t let the cute voices and visuals fool you. In Worms you have to have some strategy or you will be…err worm food.

Low Balance

So that’s this week’s top buys. We will be back next Tuesday with another rundown on what games to buy.

Martyn Brown: Team 17 Software

Team 17 logo
Team 17 logo

Name: Martyn Brown

Company: Team17 Software Ltd.

Profession: Everything over the years, currently heading up business development at Team17.

Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager (ZX Spectrum, circa 1983)

Quote: “I openly admit hiding behind the sofa, not able to look, when I guided the mighty Lincoln City to Wembley.”

Bio: I co-founded Team17 in 1990 and have been here for 20yrs. Recent releases in 2010 for Team17 have been Worms Reloaded on Steam for PC,  Alien Breed: Impact on Steam and PlayStation Network for PS3, Alien Breed 2: Assault on XBLA and Steam, Worms 2: Armageddon on PlayStation Network for PS3 and also on iPhone and iPad. Forthcoming releases include Alien Breed 2: Assault on PSN, Alien Breed 3: Descent for XBLA, Steam and PSN and also Worms: Battle Islands for PSP from PlayStation Network as well.

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

WoW Ret Cat
WoW Ret Cat

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

I can’t take it anymore, reader. I simply cannot suffer the pretentious attitude of gaming hipsters. They leave my stomach churning, tie my throat in a knot, and cause an unpronounced level of pain in my scrotum. Why God? I ask you this! Why do they exist to believe themselves to be upon a celestial pedestal of understanding and ownership of some delusional knowledge they do not possess?

Hipsters.

The word alone makes me want to go on a punching jamboree at a local Starbucks. Those bastards just weren’t content on having the indie scene, huh? They had to someone seep like a poison into the gaming community. And it wasn’t like they miraculously appeared out of nowhere. No, no. I just noticed they’ve been here for years, secretly hiding like some Massachusetts Witch Covenant biding their time for an unveiling.

But you know what?

No one gives a shit about them or the opinion of their Gaming Hipster Community. But contrary to that last sentence, I do care to a degree. I’d like to point out my disliking for them in detail. Yes, reader, you will become more knowledgeable on who is a gaming hipster and may even come into the realization that you yourself or someone you hold dear to your hearts may even be one of these aberrations.

    • No one cares if you were in beta.

    Aside from narrow-minded children and frat boys, no one cares that you’ve played since beta. When someone asks a question as to whether something is a good talent specialization or how to beat a certain raid boss, don’t reply with “Trust me, I’ve been playing since Beta.” This doesn’t make you more knowledgeable to specializations or strategies. Especially don’t say this in games like World of Warcraft. The game at its current state is completely different than its original incarnation at this point and your opinion is null and void. Another thing, games that go into Beta maybe have 10-15 people who are actually voicing legit opinions in that gaming community. The rest are people who whine and shit because they don’t understand gaming mechanics or can’t even offer viable solutions aside from nerfing the entirety of a class. Oh, and speaking of classes…

      • No one cares if were an underpowered class pre-buff.
          “Mmm, I liked a Shadow Knight before they got buffed!” Wow? Really? Holy shit, that is amazing news. I’m glad you stuck through your underpowered character until they got revamped. You know why classes get revamped? It isn’t because it only takes “skilled” people to play them and make them viable. Any other class that isn’t gimp with an equally “skilled” player is going to steam roll you in numbers and efficiency. They buff classes to bring them up to par. Aww, don’t cry! Just because people can now faceroll as your favorite underground class doesn’t mean you suck. If you really were skilled you’d still be better than the rest of them by far, right? Or is it because no one played the class you had no real competition to gauge yourself? Wait. What was that you muttered underneath your breath? Oh, that’s what you said? Well guess what…
      • No one cares if your guild beat content before it got nerfed.

      I remember going into threads that said “Fenrir’s Pups beat Ragnaros” and reading the replies of smug faced, Rockstar drinking hipsters who would sneer the achievement with “Congratulations on beating old and nerfed content.” What a monster you must be! Let’s look at those virtual muscles. Wow! You’ve been really hitting the E-Gym. We all know beating Ragnaros pre-nerf was like fighting Muhammad Ali in his prime and fighting him after the nerf was like fighting him today. We get that. No need to boast about it, though. Your past efforts fall upon deaf ears because not a single person today gives a shit.

      Hey, what’s that you’re playing? Is that an NES emulator? What game are you playing? Is that Super Mario Brothers 2? It isn’t? It sure looks like… holy shit don’t say it.

      • No one cares if you played Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before people played Super Mario 2!

      I’m glad that you are in touch with the origins of a game and know that Super Mario Brothers 2 is a rehashing of another game but don’t toss it away because it wasn’t indie enough for you. Most of the creatures in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic were created by Nintendo anyway.

      This sick need to do the polar opposite of anything popular or mainstream brings me to my last point.

        • Fuck You.

        Fuck you, gaming hipster. You’re the person who finds the Playstation Network vastly superior to Xbox Live. You’re the person who guffaws at Apple products (and yes, I admit, I was once this type of person) without even trying to grasp why people like them. You’re the person still playing your NES because all new games suck like some grumpy old man who still plays that game with a hoop and stick. You’re the person who demands nostalgia and only subscribes to progression servers for a month and quits within 3 days because those memories weren’t as fond as you thought they were.

        There is no means to stop you from these self imposed habits and traits and there is no wisdom or knowledge I can bestow to remedy the hipster hivemind so I will gladly end this article in the simplest but most profound way I know…

        Eat a dick, gaming hipster. Eat a steaming plate of dicks on a bed of rice.

        Community Profile: Meet A Gamer

        Meet A Gamer logo
        Meet A Gamer logo

        Meet A Gamer

        It has long been a criticism that gaming can and does lead to anti-social behavior. The vision of children and adults alike playing away for hours on end in a cold damp basement has caused many parents to cringe at the thought of letting their kids get into gaming. While it is certainly true that becoming too addictive to games can pull one away from other important aspects of their lives including social interactions, it has also been proven that many gamers have found their own community within the gaming world.

        Just as there are those who flock to sports bars to find companionship with sports fans, the same is done with gamers. It started with groups of friends getting together to play games and expanded with the internet to forums, chat rooms and user groups. Today with the explosion of social groups and communication tools such as Ventrilo, Instant Messaging and Facebook, gamers can connect with other gamers in a way just a decade ago was not possible.

        In our weeklong look at gaming communities we first wanted to discuss the growing social interaction between gamers. When one begins playing games they will quickly find friends they can play and communicate with through online lobbies and programs such as Xbox Live and Playstation Network. In addition with online groups and social media such as Facebook, gamers can find their niche be it FPS games, MMO’s or even classic gaming.

        What about a social site that is just for gamers? Perhaps the next big thing in social media is not a general place where everyone can meet, but more specific places where people who share the same hobbies or likes can congregate. The question is can something like this work? As a former owner and administrator of many message boards I can testify to the difficulty of getting users to come to your forum with so many others out there.

        However, the culture of gaming is different. A place where you know everyone is a gamer just like you might be a haven. Connecting with new gamers from around the world and being able to share everything from videos, to music to pictures could be very appealing.

        Enter Meet A Gamer a social networking site where gamers can create a profile and interact with each other. You can discuss games, chat, and even meet up in your favorite game. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with one of the owners of Meet A Gamer and we had some questions on what it was like to start your very own social gaming network.

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Meet A Gamer advert
        Meet A Gamer advert

        Obsolete Gamer: How did you come up with the idea for Meet A Gamer?

        Nick: Well I was gaming with some local high school buddies of mine and after a while I felt like it was getting too boring and need new people to start playing with.  I slept on it and figured out there was no “social network” for gamers.  So making Meet a Gamer was the perfect concept to find new gamers to play with.

        Obsolete Gamer: Can you give us an overview on why you created Meet A Gamer?

        Nick: To expand people with new gaming friend.  Creating a way to be able to find the better group to play video games with and of course socially.

        Obsolete Gamer:  How difficult was it to create and get the word out to gamers to join?

        Nick: It has been very difficult of course, since people use Facebook/Myspace/Twitter etc.  They feel that they don’t need another social network to deal with.  But then when people give it a try they notice it is a great addition with the other social networks because now they can have facebook/myspace for personal use and have a MeetaGamer account for gaming!

        Obsolete Gamer:  What did you want your site to bring to gamers?

        Nick: I wanted the site to allow gamers to overcome the trash talking and become more social.  Giving gamers the chance to actually meet new gamers without being beaten in a game or harassed.

        Obsolete Gamer: How important is social networking to gamers?

        Nick: With the way social networking took a spin in the past 6 years it’s really allowing the gaming community unite and kind of give the chance to build a gaming experience they have never experienced before.

        Meet A Gamer logo
        Meet A Gamer logo

        Obsolete Gamer: How has the overall response been to your site by gamers and non-gamers alike?

        Nick: The problem I noticed the older generation that played Atari feel that if you only play Halo and Call of Duty series, you are not considered a true gamer.  We all know that is the most played multiplayer on the xbox 360 platform.  Definition of a true gamer is if you play video games, not what type of video games you play.

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Obsolete Gamer:  What is your gaming background?

        Nick: What is gaming?  Just kidding, I’ve been gaming since I was a really little kid started off playing Mario Bros series on the original Nintendo, when you had to blow into the cartridge of the game to get it to play.  And I was really addicted to Excitebike that game had me going for hours.  I finally moved on to Super Nintendo, Sega, and now the next generation consoles.  I am really into the Call of Duty series now.  I’ve tried out the Wii and Playstation 3 but it really isn’t for me.  Those two consoles are collecting tons of dust right now!

        Obsolete Gamer:  What is your favorite classic games and why?

        Nick: Excitebike has to be my favorite classic game because when I was little I would tell my parents I was sick so I couldn’t go to school.  And I would play that game for hours on end.  I am not sure why that game made me so addicted but it was a blast!

        Obsolete Gamer:  What are you playing now?

        Nick: Right now I have just been playing NHL 11.  I got bored of Modern Warfare 2 and Madden 11 too quickly.  I am really excited to see what Black Ops has in store for us gamers!

        Obsolete Gamer:  In your opinion how important is the online community to gaming and gaming culture?

        Nick: If the online community can adapt to the gaming culture it will allow an expansion of networking.  Giving the chance for developers to listen to the people.  If we can all somehow stomp our feet and grab the attention of gaming companies now just imagine what could happen in 5 years!

        I would like to thank Obsolete Gamer for contacting us, it was a great pleasure!

        Want to join this up and coming social site and connect with gamers? Then check out Meet A Gamer.

        Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1: A Mediocre Adventure Begins!

        Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title
        Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title

        It has been sixteen dark years since the last true Sonic game made its debut. Sega ventured on towards 3D adventures with their signature Blue Flash and since then the fandom that followed Sonic slowly converted to Mario or lost interest in the platform genre as a whole. The masses cried out, their faces stained in the salt of dry tears for Sega to remember the past, remember their roots! After witnessing the success of Megaman 9 and 10, Sega’s minds opened up to hope and the prayers of their fans finally fell upon eager ears. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the continuation of the main 2D adventure line was to be restored! Thousands upon thousands of loyalist creamed their pants at the mere thought of Sonic returning to his true form. Surely, Sega would remember what made Sonic great.

        Unfortunately, they didn’t. The return of Sonic is anything but a sequel to Sonic and Knuckles. The developers of Sonic 4 didn’t seem to know what made Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles stand on their own as epic platforming adventures. All that they remembered was the formula of level design and loops. The game plays like a mix mashed combination of both Sonic 1 and 2.

        The first thing I noticed about this game that bothered instantly once I noticed it, was Sonic’s amazing brakes. I remember in the old games that Sonic used to come to a skidding stop. In this iteration of our hero, he just stops. If you want Sonic to stop where you want, he will. Sometimes midair I could just stop moving forward during an initial jump and slide down an invisible wall when all I wanted to do was reduce my jumping speed. The biggest most daunting issue I had with this was when I’d complete a zone with 50 gold rings and attempted to jump into the bonus stage golden ring at the sign post. Most of the time, I’d run right past it and think “Crap!” and try to run back in time as Sonic zooms off screen. As I made the jump toward the ring, autopilot would kick in and Sonic would just collapse like a ragdoll to the ground in front of it and walk away off screen again.

        Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog
        Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog

        Our hero also seems to enjoy walking like a robot because his running animation from start to finish is one of the least inspiring displays of speed picking up I’ve ever witnessed in a game before. His legs stiff up like Al Gore as he slowly walks forward. I seemed to be in top speed during this ridiculous take off as Sonic trudged off with an ungraceful motion due to his lack of kneecaps. Suddenly, his legs would turn into red blurs as he ran at what was supposed to depict top speeds. Regrettably, the robotic movement lacking any fluid shift was already top speed so this animation lacked any real dramatic achievement.

        An inclusion to the core game play is a homing missile aerial dash which was introduced in Sonic Adventures. While this attack was a welcome addition to the 3D adventure, its transition to 2D is rather obnoxious. The difficulty of calculated attacks and hitting small openings on enemies vanishes with this ability and takes away from the nostalgia of Sonic. Many menacing old school villains which took clean precision and timing to kill, such as Orbinaut, become trivial obstacles in Sonic’s path with the addition of the aerial assault.

        Super Sonic by MRi
        Super Sonic by MRi

        The tracks in the zone Sonic robotically glides through are lacking any real enemies. Sure a villain shows up every now and then but they are easily bypassed with the homing attack. Most of the perils in the levels are spikes and pitfalls but the track you go by makes these traps seem more like scenery than anything else as most ramps toss you over spikes. Pitfalls can be easily avoided since the levels are set up in multiple tiers and you can go cascading through the air and end up landing on a lower section of the zone. When you do die though from pitfalls, it is a surprise as there are no real warning signs of its upcoming occurrence. 90% of the time you land on something when you fall. 10% of the time there just isn’t anything and the plummet is so stretched you don’t even realize it’s a pitfall until you hear the reminiscent Sonic fatality sound.

        Super Sonic makes a return once you manage to collect all the Chaos Emerald in their tilt-a-whirl secret zones. I did mention earlier how the game is mostly comprised of traps, remember? Super Sonic doesn’t seem to really run faster than his blue form and there aren’t many enemies in the way to pummel through. What you end up having is useless invincibility that slowly eats away at your life force. I didn’t find any use for Super Sonic in this game at all since most deaths were instant kills anyway.

        Another thing that peeved me about the game was the music. Sonic is known for its memorable songs. I can still remember a few and hum them every now and then when I sit on the toilet seat while reading a book. The musical director for this installment must have been Keyboard Cat as all of the songs use and abuse repetitive keys with a trumpet blaring every so often. I can’t recall a single song in my head right now despite how hard I may try.

        The art style in the game lacks any inspiration at all. In fact, most of the zones are just rehashed models of zones from Sonic 1. The backgrounds in the game are bland and look like something found in a free game application on the Android Market. I was reminded of games with a smaller budget and less gameplay like Totemo as I ventured further through the game’s uninspiring scenery. Some of the cogs you were supposed to interact with in Dr.Robotnik’s Lair (Yeah, I said it. Eggman sounds stupid.) seemed to be part of the background because of their dull color and slow almost shuddering movement. There were times I’d be standing around a level wondering what I am supposed to be doing only to realize that the background was actually part of the foreground.

        Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog
        Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog

        Speaking of the good doctor, he seems to have lost that knack for creativity we had come to know his boss battles for. In each of the four zones, you fight a familiar nostalgic battle with Robotnik. As your heart flutters from your excitement of revisiting these famous bouts, half way through the battle Robotnik changes gears and gets a bit more hardcore. Each of the initial four encounters are pretty easy and Robotnik does his usual fleeing as you free your bunny friends. When you finally reach Robotnik’s space station, Sega decided to pull a Mega Man and have you fight Robotnik again in each of his four forms you battled him in throughout the campaign. The only difference in these battles from the previous skirmishes is that the doctor kicks up his rage a notch. None of his geared up antics were too difficult and are unbelievably forgettable. I just beat the game two hours ago and I can barely remember any of his new antics. To top off the insult of mutilating old battles, they decided to change one of the greatest fights with Robotnik at the end of the game. Robotnik jumps into the colossal robotic version of himself with a jetpack from Sonic 2. The major difference between that battle and this one is that you have a homing jump and there are a ton of openings to hit the suit this time. To say the least possible without ruining the tactics involved in this battle, I didn’t have to think or struggle too hard to end the game.

        The game doesn’t stand on its own in the series. Fans who may run for this installment of Sonic’s latest and greatest adventure for scraps of nostalgia will be sorely disappointed and only the most hardcore of Hedgehog fans (Laraque) could find any real entertainment in this game. I, on the other hand, wish I played Comic Jumper instead. It is only the first episode of the Sonic 4 series, and more episodes may add more features but the lackluster experience of Episode 1 has left me with the taste of duran fruit in my mouth, something I never want to taste again regardless of presentation.

        Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

        Pool Balls XBL – PSN
        Pool Balls XBL – PSN

        So, as everyone knows by now, Xbox Live got that wonderful price hike of $10. It’s not too big of a deal I guess, although nobody likes a price hike. It is just $10, but it’s brought up two interesting points for me. People keep saying that Playstation Plus isn’t worth it, and Xbox Live is. This interests me because I am attracted to things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For this segment, I will refer to the whole of PSN (as opposed to specific PS+ things) and the whole of XBL. Now with that in mind, the two points I have are, essentially, 1) Why do people think Xbox Live is better than PSN? and 2) Why in God’s name am I still paying for Xbox Live?

        I’m not saying Xbox Live isn’t bad, it’s great, if you only have an Xbox. If you have both, ultimately it should come down to where your friends are (most of mine are on PSN, just as a disclaimer) but even for the actual services, what you get is mostly different. So lets look at the new breakdown:

        Playstation Plus Logo
        Okay, I will admit this peggle-looking ad is a bit much…

        PSN(+):

        • $50 a Year or $20 for 3 months
        • Timed 60 min game trials, (option to purchase after)
        • Qore
        • Free PS1 games every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
        • Free PS Minis every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
        • Discounts on DLC, Downloadable games, essentially everything but full games
        • Access to Betas that they keep out of the hands of the free customers
        • (Free already) Online multiplayer
        • (Free already) Video Chat

        I didn’t make any of that up, it’s everything i’ve gotten so far being a PSN+ member. Maybe because popular opinion is so far in Xbox Live Gold’s direction that they feel that they have to practically spoil PSN+ customers in order to get them to pay (and given the opinion of most so far, it’s probably true) but that is a lot of stuff for $50 a year. With Xbox Live Gold, I get:

        Xbox Live
        Xbox Live

        XBL Gold

        • $60 a year, $10 a month or $25 for 3 months
        • Online Multiplayer
        • Facebook & Twitter
        • Parties/Cross game Chat
        • Last FM
        • ESPN
        • Video Kinect
        • Demos that they keep out of the hands of the free customers

        I didn’t bother putting anything about video or Netflix, because they both can do them, and besides anything the Wii can do technologically isn’t up for discussion here. Thats all I can find for both PSN+ and XBL. This list speaks for itself. Essentially it’s more money for less features. If we take the “it’s where my friends are” out of the equation (because it’s circumstantial) the better service is the one with the better features, and honestly, that’s Playstation Plus. There just aren’t many (if there are any at all) discounts of games on XBL, and there’s absolutely nothing free ever unless there’s a large cutoff of Xbox Live, and even then you get a free game like “Diner Dash” that nobody plays anyway.

        Be honest, how many times do you use this?

        I don’t see this as a rant against XBL so much as I see it a rant against the people who say that Playstation Plus is “not worth it.” Be honest, didn’t you just use Facebook & Twitter that one time just to see if it worked, then never use it again? Of course you did, because you use Facebook and Twitter on your computer and phone, because that’s where it’s easiest to use. And even Facebook on Xbox Live doesn’t work as well as Facebook on PSN. On XBL, you can edit your status and see your friends status updates and all that fun stuff you can already do on your computer, only now with the added frustration of using analog sticks or a keyboard the size of a pack of gum to type it. The Playstation 3 has a web browser if that’s what you’re really into. (Or you could, you know, just use a f**ing computer) So when we see things like the Playstation 3 posting your trophy accomplishments and things you’ve purchased to Facebook in order for your friends to comment on them, that’s what I want to see out Facebook. Give me a reason to use Facebook on my PS3 specifically, not just a game console port of it.

        Speaking of that sentiment, there is XBL’s ESPN service, which is exactly what I was just talking about. Now there’s a reason to watch ESPN specifically on your Xbox. Ratings, Video on Demand, all those wonderful things will probably make it a blast to use on XBL, and that’s the point.  It’s better than the service we have now, so it compels users to use the console version rather than the everywhere else on the damn planet version.

        Now the last part of this is simple: it’s why I wont be using Xbox Live Gold anymore, because it’s a waste of money for me personally, for several reasons:

        First off, my Xbox 360 is not currently connected to the internet. It can be, I just have to run my 100ft ethernet cable from my room all the way to the living room where my computer’s internet connection is, literally on the other side of my house. it barely makes it. Seeing as that’s absolutely ridiculous, I really don’t want to do that every time I turn on my Xbox. It’s obvious that my 20 gig system doesn’t have wifi, otherwise this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is. It’s a huge problem. Honestly, it matters most because I need a bigger hard drive, and since Microsoft only uses proprietary hard drives that are practically Netbook expensive, I figure I might as well combine the two and just get a whole new system. Maybe with that ugly grey controller with the better D-Pad. Another $300 to replace a working system I already have? Sure Microsoft, got that right here for you.

        I didn’t want to talk about it in the actual fact based part because it’s so circumstantial, but now that i’m talking about myself I can say I really have no friends on Xbox Live. All but one of my friends are on PSN, and frankly, he’s not worth it. If he was reading this right now, I’d tell him that unless he wants to split the cost of XBL with me, i’m not paying $50 a year to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 with him. Left 4 Dead 2 was the game I played most on online multiplayer, and that came in a whopping 5 times. Why am I still paying for this?

        I do of course, buy XBLA-exclusive games, because every so often someone releases a puzzle game that will scare the ever loving hell out of everyone that lives here, and probably some of my neighbors and me in a past life. But I can do that on Silver, which isn’t $60, it’s free. I’ve heard that certain demos or games come out a week later on Silver, but okay I can wait a week for that much money.

        Here’s a huge difference. With PSN+, I get a lot of “free” stuff. Yes I know it’s not free, i’m paying $50 a year for it, but as we’ve seen with XBL, they don’t have to give it to me. But they do. And I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Mortal Kombat II was half off, some of the Minis are fantastic (Age of Zombies mostly) and the other discounts make it so that for that $50, I’m getting actual games. It’s allowed me to play things I’d never even consider looking at before, just because my subscription brings them to the forefront.

        XBL is $60, and PSN+ is $50. In my opinion, PSN+ does a lot more to warrant my money than XBL does. But tell me, when looking at all the things both services offer, regardless of which console your friends are on, which service would you go for?

        The Lion, The Witch, and The Mouth Breather

        Angry Multiplayer

        You are traversing with a small battalion of your closest friends through a seething cave leading toward the coiling serpent dragon which has daunted your whole lot for the past three weeks. This monster has left the nearby village smoldering, killed your king, left the country in shambles and you’ve gathered a force formidable enough to make this monstrosity’s blood fill the rivers from their draught. The time has come. It is asleep. The archers ready their bow; your knights raise their shields defensively; the finger tips of your mages are encompassed by the hostile arcane. You are ready. Your blade cuts through the air like a guillotine towards the nape of the behemoth’s neck. You are suddenly countered by a shrieking voice which drops your whole party to their knees. “MOM! Give me thirty more minutes! I’m raiding with my friends! No!!! I won’t get off! I hate you!”

        The Lion The Witch And The Mouth Breather
        The Lion The Witch And The Mouth Breather

        For those who game online, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is the whining little kid in your party who is constantly on open mic, screaming at his mother about how unfairly they treat him. The ranting doesn’t end. Oh no, far from it. It continues for hours unless someone takes the initiative to kick this mouth breather out of your Vent channel. If there’s one thing that can ruin online gaming it’s the damn, disrespectful gamers who do not use Push-To-Talk when you’re playing. Oh, and before I continue, I’m not hating on little kids who are filled with angst because I hate almost all people who don’t know how to cover their microphones. I’m going to go ahead and divide these various personas up and give you a diagnosis of why they are a bane to internet multiplayer.

        · Pizza Eating Joe – Joe is or wishes he was a frat boy. He thinks he’s cool online by exposing his wit in the midst of quoting movies, cackling at every joke and getting involved in every conversation. While these characteristics are enough to want to hurt Joe, he does something that crosses the line of internet ethics (yes, the internet has ethics). Joe likes to chew pizza with an open mic and lets everyone hear it. The most direct method to ending this gushing ambiance is to tell Joe to push the microphone away while he purees his food down his gullet. He illogically retorts with reassurance that the pizza is very delicious. No one cares, Joe. We don’t want to think about that greasy pizza touching your microphone increasing the chances of it rubbing against your acne ridden face. His intentions are simple. He’s cool and he’s eating pizza. He wants you to experience how awesome he is when he eats pizza.

        · Mouth Breathing Mendoza – Mendoza has one issue or another which causes him to have a problem breathing. Be it a stuffy nose, obesity, respiratory issues, or he just breathes like an ogre, Mendoza feels the need to place his mic either on the rimming of his booger-encrusted nose or gently caressing his upper lip area. He knows Push-To-Talk is there but he feels it is a priority that you hear what he has to say amidst all of his wheezing. All you will hear is his deep, pedophiliac breathing on your ear for moments at a time until he finally says something that is blatantly obvious to all parties involved in the situation. It isn’t even enough that he quietly lingers just to blurt these sudden non-issue comments but his voice output exceeds any safety regulation the Lord has put forth for your ears to survive and endure. One night with Mouth Breathing Mendoza and you leave feeling violated with a stream of blood dripping from your damaged ear drums.

        · Rage Induced Ralph – When something goes wrong, Rage Induced Ralph answers his calling. Did you accidentally aggro a room? Did your friendly fire affect him? Was his kill stolen by you? Have no fear, because this internet tough guy is there to talk you down and constantly rant. His breathing is heavy because his adrenaline is pumping. His TV or Speaker volume is maxed out so you can hear that double echoing feedback from when he finally gets revenge on you for what you did. God forbid Ralph has a significant other because chances are that your grief onto him is going to make him flip out on this innocent bystander. Ralph will not stop trashing talking you and taunting you until your match is over. The reason Ralph is like this is simple. He’s either living in or from New Jersey, his skin is carrot colored, and he has a ridiculous blow out. Harming this man’s ego is like murdering his infant child. Be careful og this predator because he never forgives and he never forgets.

        · Static Bomb Baxter– You’ve known him online for quite some time. He’s not a bad guy but he isn’t quite one of “the guys” yet until he gets a mic to talk to the crew. Constantly being asked to get a microphone, Baxter finally types into your guild’s chat and says “I have an old one I could use. I don’t know if it works though.” It is at this point some people rejoice that Baxter can join into the conversation but you know better than that. Those dreaded final texted words will be the end of you all. Baxter returns with his microphone, installs the software needed to join your channel and that normally welcoming chime rings in the channel when he finally joins. He doesn’t know about Push-To-Talk so he has to be guided through it. Regrettably, his sound is so loud on his headphones it carries over through the microphone. It creates a loop of feedback that takes some time for all parties to recover from. When the mist has cleared, Baxter finally mutters a word into the mic. A static blast of malfunctioning hardware spits into your membrane, causing disorientation, double vision, internal bleeding, and for some reason or another, you produced a kidney stone. You beg Baxter to stop talking but he doesn’t listen because he can’t hear you on his headset! He continues with this barrage until you all submit to the pain. Baxter disappears after this embarrassment and is never seen in-game again.

        · Cry Baby Christopher – As stated in the introduction to this little rant, Christopher is a teenager who is still finding his place in this world. Unfortunately, the unforgiving world of the internet does not want him until he finds that place. The problem with Christopher is that he is young and doesn’t know what Push-To-Talk is and even when he does figure it out, his finger is always jammed firmly against that key so you hear him all the time. He’s fine when he doesn’t talk. As a matter of fact, he’s probably better at the game than you are. The downside to Christopher is that he isn’t a mute. He likes to brag about all the ladies in his school who want him and how badass he is when he plays pranks on his unfortunate teacher. Regardless of how desperately he seeks approval from his peers, Christopher always finds a way to lose that respect. That loss usually occurs at bed time when his parents demand he goes to bed and that his addiction to the internet is too great. He combines all the aspects of every persona described. He is angry, he is probably eating, he’s now wheezing, and his microphone is receiving a lot of static from his high pitched shrieks. Normally after such outbursts, Christopher is exiled from the internet.

        Clearly, I pointed out the personas commonly encountered and while I can’t suggest a remedy that will destroy these individuals before they are garnered a chance to speak, I can recommend some very basic tips for those who feel fall into any of these categories.

        1. Turn off your microphone.
        2. Move the microphone away from your face when you aren’t speaking.
        3. Learn Push-To-Talk.
        4. Don’t speak ever.
        5. Destroy your modem or Wi-Fi receiver.

        I certainly hope these reasonable tips will help these individuals progress in their careers as internet users. If not, in the foreseeable and very near future more people will be plagued with these Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse. In any case, I’m off and back into the fray to play Modern Warfare 2 with my friend Baxter.

        Interview – CoLD SToRAGE (Tim Wright)

        CoLD SToRAGE (Tim Wright)
        Cold Storage logo

        We recently interviewed one of our favorite musicians CoLD SToRAGE (Tim Wright). The following is the interviewRead More