Thursday, March 24, 2011

Duke Nukem Never Comes Early

I could do a short rant about how crappy this is, but long story short, Duke Nukem Forever has gotten delayed. Again. It's been in development for 14 years, and they still haven't finished it. It made me chuckle a little bit to see that it did, though. I mean really, it's Duke Nukem Forever. If it NEVER came out, I wouldn't be surprised.

The Dead Walk the Earth!

Subtitle: Why HP Sucks.

The dead aren't really walking the Earth, however, it is a clever analogy of my laptop.

Turns out, the 3 month old piece of crap had some sort of major system error in Windows that was preventing it from starting. And I mean major. Trying restore points didn't work (30 minutes wasted), the "automatic error detection" thing that came up at one point didn't work (1 hour 30 minutes wasted), so I backed up my most important files then reset to factory defaults. Two fucking hours after that, and the third file restore disc froze. What the hell. Now I'm wasting precious essay writing time to download a program that will let me write papers. Not only that, but I'm downloading it on a finnicky internet connection because Frontier fucked up and everyone in town they were the ISP for lost internet for three days. Now, it's back, but it's also really fucking slow.

Long story short:
Fuck you HP and your expensive but shitty laptops
Fuck you Microsoft for a bug riddled operating system
And Fuck you Frontier, for fucking up my plan on how to complete 3 research papers in 1 day. >.<

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This isn't the Cataclysm you were thinking of!

I'd like to apologize for my absence.

Fun Fact: Verizon/Frontier has horrible internet, and HP laptops are crappy.

My internet has been dead and my laptop hasn't been working for the past week. I"m currently using my college's computers on my first day of class I had this week (weird circumstances this week).

My goal is to resume regular posting next Monday, after my home internet is working again so that I can actually use my desktop computer.

Happy Gaming

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution PAX East Footage

I forgot to mention this the other day with my PAX update.
Another upcoming game I'm really excited for, the graphics in it look amazing, and I'm a bit of a bitch for good sci-fi games. Here's the PAX footage for it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brink - Revolution Begins May 20th

Brink is an upcoming FPS game focused on the resistance and security fighting for control of the Ark- Humanity's last hope at existance. A new trailer was released revealing the classes and many aspects of the game.

My brother intends to order the game, something I'm very excited for. The design of it looks fairly original, and the concept of it strikes me as unique.

The Ark was a prototype utopian city meant to support life for 5,000 people, and is floating on water. Apparently, some sort of cataclysmic event happened overtaking the world and flooding the planet, except for this floating city. Since, refugees have swarmed in from all over the world, skyrocketing the seasteading city an unsteady population of 50,000. This cramping has left people fighting for resources, on the brink of civil war (hence the name).

The predicament is, where to preorder from? There's several choices, and it's a bit hard to choose.
What do you readers think of the game?

Monday, March 14, 2011

PAX East Brings some Interesting Developments...

Hello, readers! I am back from the weekend, and back with some information about PAX!

PAX East came and went this past weekend, leaving a few relative tidbits.

Portal 2 is just one month away. A new character, Cave Johnson, has been revealed. Cave Johsnon, some may know, is the founder of Aperture Science, and will also be using the same ominous intercom as Glados to communicate with and guide the player. JK Simmons (who is not a joke, in spite of his initials) is the voice actor, and should also be recognized from his role as J Jonah Jameson from the Spiderman films.
Also, some PAX Demo footage reveals the beginning of the game, including some of Cave Johnson's odd sense of humor in the early parts of the game. Also, an interesting tie-in to the first game will be finished before the game's release. A song is also being done by The National for the game.

10 minutes of Guild Wars 2 hard core combat was shown at PAX, leading to PC Gamer's article 15 Things We Learned from Guild Wars 2 Combat Footage. (Warning, hot Norn babes await)
This excites me because I feel like they're doing quite well with Guild Wars 2. It looks quite polished, cinematic, and arsty, which sticks true to the original Guild Wars feel. That's the reason why I play Guild Wars instead of pretty much any other fantasy MMO, it looks really awesome. Screencaps from the game can make fantastic wallpapers. WoW always seemed cartoony to me.

Fairly short blog post today, but I've got to get to class, now!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guild Wars 2 Release Attribute System for PAX East

Over the development of Guild Wars 2, the attribute system has evolved over many different courses. The first set of attributes was very stereotypical for the fantasy game.
  • Strength—increased melee attack damage.
  • Agility—increase ranged attack damage.
  • Intelligence—increased magic attack damage.
  • Vitality—increased health; increased defense against melee attacks.
  • Perception—increased critical strike chance for melee and ranged attacks; increased defense against ranged attacks.
  • Willpower—increased critical strike chance for magic attacks; increased defense against magic attacks.
This brought along it's own set of problems. The interface for Hero attributes was very confusing to look at, and made it hard to determine what skills and spells had their damage buffed by what attribute, so they changed it.

  • Strength—increased melee attack damage.
  • Agility—increase ranged attack damage.
  • Intelligence—increased magic attack damage.
  • Vitality—increased health.
  • Perception—increased critical strike chance.
  • Willpower—increased energy.
However, this brought about problems with choosing weapons. Basically, no matter what you chose, it would limit your weapon options greatly. A warrior couldn't carry a sword and a bow, and be good with both of them, even though that's a fairly common combination to want on your person.

Finally, the dev team came up with an attribute system they were happy with.
  • Power—increased attack damage.
  • Precision—increased critical strike chance.
  • Vitality—increased health.
  • Toughness—increased defense/armor.
Using this set of attributes, it didn't limit weapon choice, but it also simplified the UI and made it much easier to discern what attribute translated into what you wanted, whether that be damage or health or what have you.

I find this a great move for the better, although it's going to make it difficult to discern between individual players, I feel. The simplification also takes away some of the customization. I suppose most of the individualization of characters will come from the weapon they use, though, since the weapons are what will decide skills for the characters.

In either case, PAX East starts in just 18 hours! I'm not going, but I'm looking forward to all the game news that will be coming out of this.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Update on Things...

So, folks. There are a few things that will probably be happening with this blog soon.
For starters, quite possibly expanding it beyond just the realm of video games. My brother mentioned some interest in potentially authoring some posts about movie reviews. I don't want to delineate this blog too much and lose focus with what's being done on it- being about gaming is pretty straightforward in and of itself. However, it would be kind of neat to expand it into something more about general entertainment with a focus in games rather than just games.

Readers, what do you think?
-Keep this blog just about games
-Games and the occasional Movie review is fine
-Or expand it to entertainment as a whole, including things such as music

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nostalgia: Legend of Zelda

Back in the day of cartridge gaming, my friends and I were young diehard gamers. Many hours were spend on the mere 15 inch television in the basement, sprawled on plush blue carpet from the eighties, just trying to keep cool in a dark room on overbearingly hot days of summer, as well as cold days and nights of winter.

Chrono Trigger may have been the first plastic cartridge to offer us refuge from the elements and our world for a much more colorful one, but it was far from the last.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was another wonderful game that we spent a lot of time playing. Some would argue too much time. I, however, wager that it was another one of the best RPG's known to the world, if not one of the best games known to the world.

Original game box
I've always been a fan of sword and magic sort of games, but this one spoke out a lot to me. It was one of the first RPG's I had played, but the world changed as you progressed in the game. After a certain point when you went to the Dark World, it completely recreated the world as you knew it. Some similar things were in the same spot as their light world counterpart, but overall it was a complete redesign of the world.

In the end, I think me, my brother, and our friend ended up playing through this game three or four times in one summer, just because of how awesome it was.
Various dungeons kept us busy with puzzles and badass bosses that were tough to beat, the game kept us enthralled with it's storyline. I particularly enjoyed the bit with the dude in the woods with the animals around him.

Also, we must not forget about the chickens!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Love it or hate it, this game is notorious for zealot-faithful players, much rage, and many angered girlfriends. Long story short, it's a modern warfare first person shooter, with a plethora of guns and weapons of all sorts, mostly known for its multiplayer capabilities.

Personally, like Minecraft, I avoided this game like crazy at first. Namely because these sort of games dirty the name of gamers and games everywhere- most of these games don't have anything different from the next, and the biggest difference between them all is the six to ten month delays between their releases. This makes me mad because they're namely made to keep money flowing into their major companies.

Black Ops, specifically, is guilty of being an overly milked cash cow for it's parent company and publisher Activision. The single player campaign has an odd storyline, punctuated by drugged-up interrogations between various missions. Nothing too noteworthy. However the multiplayer is what these games are known for. Also not too noteworthy. Shoot, kill, die, respawn, repeat. For the Xbox 360, this is no problem. For the PS3 and PC, this is a major issue. The game was ported to these severely lagged and glitchy, almost unplayable inherent lag in multiplayer, and was just a disaster. So bad, in fact, a UK group, Gamers' Voice, reported Activision to the UK Office of Fair Trade.

Anyway, in spite of all this, I ended up playing this after my brother got it. This past day has been spent adrenaline rushing over killing countless people in multiplayer. The game itself isn't really phenomenal, but it is insanely fun. As far as I'm concerned, the game isn't worth $60 in the slightest. Luckily, I didn't spend the money on it, though. So I'm perfectly okay with spending time playing it. :D

Long story short, it isn't worth the money, especially considering a new modern warfare first person shooter will be released in a few months without a doubt, and all of the players will swarm to that game. However, if you can get a copy for cheap, or are at a friends house who has it, feel free to play the hell out of it. Theres nothing quite like the rush of a high kill streak. Definitely makes one feel like a badass.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nostalgia: Chrono Trigger

Back in the yonder days of gaming, there wasn't anything fancy about game design. No Anti-Aliasing. No shading. No 3D for that matter, even. What made a game fun was not how realistic it was when you gutted your enemy, it was the creativity and uniqueness of the storyline.

Chrono Trigger was, and still is, one of my favorite games ever. You play Chrono, in a slightly anachronistic "present" world as you go to a fair. Events get you mixed up with a disguised princess, and you get thrown back a few hundred years.

Long story short, you jump around time ("present?" times, medieval ages, prehistoric ages, and distant future) to defeat an end-all creature named Lavos from destroying the planet.

Chrono was a silent protagonist, and the game was very much so plot-driven. The art may seem familiar. The "dream team" that worked on Chrono Trigger had the 3 people who worked on various Final Fantasy games, as well as the Dragon Quest games and manga. It was truly a game to behold.

It did so well, it was even re-released for the DS a couple years ago. That made me quite happy to see the game make its way to modern times again. There was a 3D version of the game being made by a fan, but that got canned by Square Enix sending them a cease and desist letter, which made me very very sad.

In either case, this game was a major part of my child hood. My older brother, when he moved out, left to me and my twin the SNES and all his games, and we idolized it. We spent many summers with our best friend from down the street playing this game, as well as a couple others. While one of us would play, the other two of us would watch and be amazed with the story line. We did this and still do it today, albeit with different game systems. But this game is what got me into video games to begin with.

Do any of you readers have a game you hold this dear?

Friday, March 4, 2011

GDC- Minecraft and Amnesia Win Big

Yesterday, Frictional Games' Amnesia and Mojang Specifications' Minecraft dominated at the Independent Games Festival Awards.

Amnesia slaps you in the face with a whole new level of brick-shitting scare tactics
In Amnesia, you play a man in a broken down castle, trying to regain his memories. All while being chased by netherworldy creatures. Did I mention you can't fight them at all? That's right. All you can do is run and hide from these hell-beasts trying to kill you. Oh, and darkness makes you go insane after a while.
Basically, you're boned in every possible direction. Can't fight, so have to hide. But if you hide, you lose your mind. Fun stuff.

Amnesia won awards in Excellence in Audio, Technical Excellence, and the $10,000 Direct2Drive Vision award. Frictional Co-founder Thomas Grip, as he accepted an oversized $10,000 check, said "I think that we need to buy another bag or get more luggage. After three years of thinking we're not going to make games anymore and hating everything and living on noodles... it's totally getting done... and getting awards for it, that seems like too much.”

 Minecraft  won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, as well as the night's Audience Choice award, recieving over 5,000 e-mail-verified votes on IGF's website.

Both are fantastic games, but they weren't that night's only winners. Gamasutra has the full list of the 2011 IGF Award winners:

Best Student Game:
Fract by Richard E Flanagan

Excellence in Design:
Desktop Dungeons by QCF Design

Technical Excellence:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Best Mobile Game:
Helsing's Fire by Ratloop

Excellence in Visual Art:
Bit.Trip Runner by Gaijin Games

Excellence in Audio:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Direct2Drive Vision Award:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Audience Award:
Minecraft by Mojang

IGF Nuovo Award
Nidhogg by Messhof

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:
Minecraft by Mojang
 [via  Gamasutra]

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Steam is good for colds, right?

Today continues the ongoing attack of a cold on our blog's author, ThatGuy. Sleeping half of the day for the past few days, however, has revitalized ThatGuy enough to post this. It also helps that it is now Spring Break at ThatGuy's college, marking a week of free time to post post post!

Steam recently announced a new security feature they plan to implement soon- Steam Guard. With the implementation of Steam Guard, it locks Steam accounts to a specific computer. Attempts to edit the account outside of that single PC can't be completed.

Steam Guard will be able to be implemented in other games through the use of Steam Works. Steam Guard uses Intel's Identity Protection Technology, which uses encryption that is tied to the individual 2nd gen Intel Core T and vProT processors.

Frankly, I quite like how this is going. I had my Steam account phished before, and almost lost my email account out of it, too. It was a horrible event, and it was rather dumb how it played out. Someone got a hold of my password and signs in, so it boots me out. So I log back in, boots them out. It goes back and forth like this a total of 5 times, but because of the limit on that, it boots me out, and I can't attempt to do that again. So, phisher won, and I had to get a support ticket, which was also almost ruined by the phisher, too. I was rather frustrated with how the situation played out, but in the end, I got my account back. It taught me a lesson, sure, but that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Audience, whats your thoughts on Steam Guard?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Norn Week on Guild Wars 2 website

More information on another playable race was released yesterday on the Guild Wars 2 web page as part of Norn Week, including an awesome new trailer.

Screencaps and wallpapers were also released.
Since the holiday season, information has only trickled through their web page for the game until a couple weeks ago when they started Human Week, and then Norn Week.

I'm very excited for the eventual release of this game. There were a few problems in the original Guild Wars, however anything that was a flaw in the system seems like they're going to fix it in Guild Wars 2.

Demos were shown at several gaming conventions recently, and everything looks beautiful, polished, and ready to go. I can not wait till it's released.
Beta Testing is rumored to take place later this year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ubisoft Dropping Anti-Pirating, "Always Online" DRM?

Ubisoft, infamous for their Online DRM requirement, recently announced Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will have a different DRM.

I remember years ago for the first Assasin's Creed, I was foolish enough to get it without paying attention to that little portion of the box that said "Internet Connection Required." It frustrated me many times when I was out and about, going places that did not have a constant internet connection, and then not being able to play a game I dropped hard earned money for. It was annoying, extreme, and unnecessary.

When someone goes to the trouble of giving your company money, I think it is more than just a little rude to tell them "oh, sorry, you can only use this on our terms." It is asinine.

Apparently, many other people have felt the same way. Enough so that the moans, groans, tears, and death knells of frustrated pc gamers can be soothed for a moment by their change on AC:B.
It is unknown if their choice for the change in DRM will be reflected in all of their future games, but at least pc gamers can get a reprieve at least this once.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Time to Mine

Tuesday marked a fairly large update for Minecraft to Beta 1.3. Some of the larger features added a few half blocks added in, a complete user interface makeover, and now you can quietly sleep through the night with creepers tapping on your windows, singing you a sweet lullaby. Okay, maybe not a lullaby, but beds have been implemented.


Here's the full list, taken from Notch's blog, The Word of Notch.

* Implemented a new lighting engine with the help of MrMessiahs (can be turned off)
* Changed the options around, added a new “Graphics options” button
* Added beds. If all players in a map sleeps in a bed during night, the game immediately skips until morning
* Added three new half-size blocks
* Added Delay/Repeater redstone dust blocks
* Added whitelisting to the server. To use, enter “whitelist <cmd>” where cmd is “on”, “off”, “add <player>”, “remove <player>”, “list” or “reload”
* New save file format, old maps need to be converted (that might take a while..)
* It’s now possible to have more than five save slots, and to rename saves
* Scrollbars in both the texture pack list, and in the map selection screen
* Replaced the Mojang splash image to reflect the new logo colors
* .. and a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

World of Starcraft?

Ryan Winzen, developer of the  World of Starcraft mod for Starcraft II, has come to fame recently for his creation as well as his potential job offers.

World of Starcraft is exactly what it sounds like. World of Warcraft meets Starcraft. It is a mod for Starcraft II that is programmed in such a way to give it online capabilities, character design, and what not all in a similar fashion to World of Warcraft.

After Ryan Winzen's Youtube video went viral and garnered much attention, WoW and Starcraft publisher Activision/Blizzard sent a Cease and Desist letter via the original video getting removed from Youtube for DMCA infringement. However, this cloud comes with a silver lining. Riot Games, whose claim to fame is League of Legends, offered Ryan a job offer because of the World of Starcraft mod.

The plot thickened even more when Blizzard said the whole cease and desist letter was "just a misunderstanding" and that they actually enjoy the fact that the modding tools they released for SCII were used. They were so happy about it, in fact, that they are even looking into hiring him.

 In semi-related news and jumping on the band-wagon, Halo game designer Bungie might be producing an online game that would be a WoW in space.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just Dance Fallout: New Vegas

Do you enjoy dancing? Do you enjoy the Fallout franchise? Now you can utilize a Fallout: New Vegas mod and use it to create hilarious videos. Unfortunately this only works for the PC version, though it is still quite hilarious all around.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Square Enix Week on Steam

Steam is an interface to sort through, purchase, and play games online and communicate with other Steam members. Boasting an impressive 50-70% of online purchases and downloads of PC Games, Valve's site is quite a prolific sales front for the PC gamer crowd.

February 14th marked the start of Square Enix Week on Steam, starting with an impressive sale taking place on the entire catalog of the Japanese game publisher.

Quite a deal, if I say so myself.
Considering that the average brand new game costs approximately $60, this is an insane deal given the sheer volume of the catalog.

Square Enix Week is taking place through the 20th on Steam. Check it out before the deal is gone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Holophonic Sound?

A friend referred me to a sound clip of a holophonic sound the other day.

I was intrigued. I was confused. I was captivated. I had to look over my shoulder and make sure someone wasn't pulling a prank on me.

Haha, it was just my creepy room mate!
That's not really what happened, but I was still creeped out.

Because of how the sound is recorded, it sounds realistically as if it's moving around your head. Eerily realistic. My friend remarked on how convincing it sounded, and mentioned it would be great if incorporated into video games more.

Essentially, it's surround sound, but only with two speakers, one for each ear, instead of four and a subwoofer. One of the earlier devices used to record holophonic sound clips was a set of two microphones set up in casings that mimic how the human ear gathers sound.

Like reverse earbuds
I haven't looked much into the topic, but I'm sure there has already been quite a bit of research done on the topic in relation to video games, already. Feel free to look it up on your own, if you're so inclined!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let the Red Water Flow

Video games tend to have a violent aspect. It is pretty much assumed. It's been that way as far back as Space Invaders.

Conflict makes fictional worlds run. It is the drive for the main character. It is the plot mover. Usually this literary device of conflict is played out in some form of gory bloodshed.

Dragon Age 2 trailers tote a fair amount of this life fluid.
Deus Ex seems fairly gory,
Magicka, a fairly comical game, even recently had an unlockable assault rifle that would pulverize anything that moves into a fine red mist,
and the soon to be released game Bulletstorm primarily revolves around making sure you spray blood.

Personally, gore is not an issue to me.It takes particularly realistic gore in realistic situations to produce much of an effect in me. Bulletstorm, Magicka, Deus Ex, and Dragon Age 2 are quite far from realistic situations.

What is an issue is when news teams flaunt the progression of gore and violence in video games as targets for crime rates.

Fox news recently attacked Bulletstorm in an article claiming that the violence in video games that kids are exposed to in games such as bulletstorm are the cause for an increase in rapes.

Well, fox news. The problem with 9 year olds playing gory, bloody, violent video games is not any fault of the game designers or publishers. The problem is that there are parents out there who allow their kids to play these games designed for mature audiences. When a CHILD in developmental stages of life are exposed to hard, fairly realistic violence, it wouldn't be surprising if they modeled this behavior later in their life.

A mature audience playing these games, however, is no different than reading a book or watching a movie, yet the video game industry catches a large amount of blame.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Talkin' Bout Minecraft.

In case you are behind the times in the realm of PC Gaming, Minecraft is an extremely successful indie sandbox game released by Markus Persson, a programmer who goes by the alias "Notch" online, and run by his company Mojang Specifications. Oh, did I mention the game has since surpassed one million sales?

Minecraft is a sandbox game where you design whatever you want to, with whatever you gather. Wood? Check. Forest? Check. One (not so) giant wooden cock and balls in the middle of a forest?

To put it simply; generate a world, break blocks, place blocks creatively and usefully. Essentially it's Legos. Except if those legos were half the size of a person. And you never stepped on them barefoot then proceeded to weep in pain for several agonizing moments.

Safety legos!

 I avoided this game like the plague for the first few weeks I had known about it.

This game, which seemed so simple and uneventful, annoyed me. That is, before I actually played it.

My friends raved about it endlessly in the few moments I would see them between their day long binges of excavating new caves they found in their world.

It's like a gateway drug. Except it's just a gateway.
Eventually, I caved (pun). There had to be something to this blocky game with a retro feel.

Oh how much there is to it.

Punch trees to get wood. Make Planks out of wood. Make sticks out of planks. Make a workbench. Make an axe out of sticks and planks, using the workbench. Eventually make picks, get stone, make stone picks.

It just keeps going.

This game has many layers to it, many many more layers than I thought at first glance. Kind of like a cake. Except you can't eat it.

The Cake: Not a lie?
Even though it is an inedible delicacy, it is a sweet game that I highly recommend to anyone who has free time and about $20 USD to drop on it at the official Minecraft website here.