Thursday, December 27, 2012

Do You Feel Like A Hero Yet?

Yeah, so Spec Ops: The Line.  I didn't get what "The Line" referred to originally, but you will get it at some point.  This is just a quick post telling you to play this game.  Like, now.  Put down League of Legends (you know who you are) and play this game.  Seriously.  And play it to completion.  Turn down the difficulty setting if need be, but finish Spec Ops: The Line.  Don't play for like an hour and say it isn't your thing or something.  I don't care if you hate the game, I don't care if you hate me for saying this.  Borrow it, rent it, steal it, whatever.  But play this game to the end.  You are still a good person.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yer A Gear Now, Son

So much stuff, so much writing.  I've got about a dozen games to discuss, and more on the way.  And so I decided to entrench myself in another project that's taking up all my creative energies.  So, until then, I present the greatest hero of this console generation:

Note: Because Blogger has funny embedding issues, it's probably best to watch this on YouTube proper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Defenders Of Irreverance

The folks over at Extra Credits officially came out against fun.  Okay, that's a gross oversimplification.  They want to see games develop beyond being "just fun".  I want to agree with you guys, I really do.  But then I think to every ass-hat with some pretentious vision finally getting the greenlight on his auteur project and... well, this is how the movie "The Room" got made.  In fact, I think it's time I addressed something the Extra Credits folks like: game schools.  They think game schools are great, barring the the fake schools that just take your money.  But I also tend to think of all of them as fake schools.  Game schools are like film schools; if you're going to film school, get your parents to take that tuition money and instead invest in a movie you're making, then make that movie.  Parent's not paying for it?  Then finance it yourself, that's how you were planning on paying for film school anyway.  The same should apply to game school.  What's more impressive: having a fancy diploma or actually having a solid game to your name?

How does this apply to the discussion on games being fun?  Because think to yourself how many great directors got their start in film school.  Spielberg, Scorsese, and I think Lucas.  Now think how many great directors got their start as cameramen, special effects guys, and script editors (before getting work as screenwriters).  Game schools are the same, the great designers all have traditional degrees in computer sciences and/or literature and classics (go back far enough and some of them never finished their degrees).  You're probably still asking what this has to do with expanding games beyond fun and into serious work.  Because it's not just that film schools (and by extension, game schools) have a low success rate for greatness, but look at what gets churned out by students.  Yet another knock-off of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.  The more you tell them to "be artistic", the more likely they are to start churning out pretentious crap that is trying to look artistic.  And with game schools (as with film schools) it will all look exactly like what the professor said was good in pre-existing works.

I think games can be more than fun.  I think they can be deep and engaging, in fact I can think of several games off the top of my head that fit those criteria (how Final Fantasy X got mentioned by Extra Credits is beyond me).  But the more we demand that games be "artistic", then the more assholes we'll get making reprehensible shit and defending it by saying that we commoners don't understand their vision.

Statement: Video games should be about more than just fun.

Rebuttal: Heavy Rain

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I Spend A Paragraph On Sports

So I got myself Fight Night Champion and I noticed that they have Pacquiao.  They have Bradley.  I decided a bit of an unofficial rematch was in order.  Two rounds in Pacquiao kills Bradley (TKO due to blood loss) and the judges gave the win to Bradley's corpse because FUCK THE NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Games As Literature

I recently started replaying Marathon 2: Durandal, and I realized that I didn't really like it as a game so much as a novel.  And as such I'd probably get more enjoyment out of the old page.

I've made it clear that I generally don't view games as art.  I've softened on that of late.  There are three games I'd potentially consider art, and two of them I don't like (not because they're bad, but because it "isn't my scene", like how I just don't like racing games).  The three games are The Void (Tension if you're in Europe), Metro 2033, and Bastion (the one I like).

I bring this up because I've decided that Spec Ops: The Line is definitely going to be purchased by year's end.  If you haven't watched the Extra Credits episodes on it, do so now.  Or at least the first episode because episode one is spoiler free and episode two is spoilertastic.  And some of what they bring up is mentioned in the Zero Punctuation review as well.  One man (a very stupid man, but I digress) once said that games are art, it's just a question of good art and bad art.  I still argue that games like Modern Warfare are not art.  They aren't bad art, because they aren't art at all.  Perhaps games shouldn't be divided in two: good art versus bad art, or art versus not art.  Instead, maybe it's three: good art, bad art, and not art.  Maybe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Damn You, Bethesda!

I've "beaten" it twice, I've finished the DLC, and I'm still starting new games of this:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Half As Witty As Any Of Your Professors

I was in the shower and decided it would be a good idea (it isn't) to come up with actual lecture titles for that course on the Three Kingdoms I was offering

Occupy Luoyang: Class Warfare and the Yellow Scarves

Getting Away with Murder: The Life of Lord Guan

All in All You're Just Another Dick with No Balls: Eunuchs and the Imperial Court

"Liu Bei is a Worthless Twat" and Other Observations

Fool Me Once...: Why Lu Bu Surprises No One

Cao Cao and Bugs Bunny: A Comparative Psycho-analysis

Bigotry in Motion: The Short Reign of Sun Ce

Sun Quan: Jerk or Complete Asshole?

Every Sperm is Sacred: A Brief Look at the Cao Family

Hardcore Poetry Slam: How Kong Ming Befuddled Dumb People

"Never Make Political Decisions with Only Your Penis" and Other Lessons Cao Pi Never Learned

Liu Shan and Other Grievous Mistakes

You Are A Bad Person and No One Likes You: The Sima Family Then and Now

Shin Sengoku Musou Gaiden: Folklore, Opera, and the Mythologizing of the Three Kingdoms

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Updating Eventually

Okay, so first I was going to talk about everything that went wrong with Bloodforge. Obviously that was going to take a while. Then I got Dynasty Warriors 7 and I had to figure out how to review it without turning the whole thing into a 3-credit (transferable) lecture course on the Three Kingdoms era. While I was figuring that out I went ahead and got Skyrim. And we all know how that eats up your hours. So I'm posting this just to let people know that this blog isn't dead. It's just really really delayed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


The Xbox 360 still works. I tried a game called Record of Argarest War. I'll be returning it tomorrow because it isn't very good. It's a strategy RPG ala Final Fantasy Tactics. It tried to do something different and had some good ideas, but the implementation sucked.

Combat is boring, which is a fairly important part of a strategy RPG. Argarest attempted to implement a system where positioning your characters in a certain way would allow you to perform powerful combo attacks. The problem is their implementation removed any and all relevance of strategic movement or positioning from combat. Battlefields are extremely small and perfectly flat, combo attacks essentially have infinite range and automatically move characters where they need to be at no expense, and movement happens simultaneously with the enemy so you can't really react to how they move. The result is that you just position your guys for combo attacks, let the enemies fall where they may, and then just kill everything that came in range.

The game also looks surprisingly dated. Its graphics are, to be honest, only slightly better than the original Final Fantasy Tactics. Considering we're two console generations removed from that landmark title it's odd that the production values would be so surprisingly low. In many ways Final Fantasy Tactics actually looked better, since it didn't recycle the same battlefield every time you fought in a forest.

The story concept is novel, but it isn't good enough to carry uninteresting gameplay. Supposedly it's an 80 hour title spanning five generations of characters (descendants of the first character you play and your choice of various female heroines you encounter along the way), but as considered the countless hours ahead of me I quickly lost interest.

So I title this post with a clever (not really) pun and declare this game "meh".

Monday, March 12, 2012

So Much Sakamoto It's NSFW

Seriously, it's NSFW. I didn't write this, but by God does that actually sound like the actress in Other M. Then again, it also really sounds like the writing in Other M.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shameless Plugging

I'm not posting this to plug Space Marine. It's a good game in my opinion, but not a great game. I'm not plugging Niggurath's Let's Play of the game either. What I'm shamelessly plugging is my guest commentary like the attention whore I am.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It Could Have Been Worse

There are plenty of reasons that this is one of the few console wars where I have no regrets about my decision. I've never had my credit card information stolen from XBox Live. The XBox 360 actually has games I care about. And, at the end of the day, it just looks better.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Truth is Stranger than Arnold

Apparently Kindergarten Cop took place in Silent Hill.