I’m sick of people associating dlc with expansion packs. Most of the time, this analogy is like comparing apples and oranges. If the last two sentences describe you, either The Sims has blinded you, or you’re truly out of the loop. Downloadable content in video games is supposed to enhance the experience. On the PC, retail expansions have served the same purpose for years. It is only in the online era that video game consoles have finally gained the same functionality. Continue Reading
If you play games even remotely as much as I do, you know full well that not everyone approves of your hobby. I’m not one to judge. They may even be right in some instances. The problem lies with how the media portrays games. Every day, we are bombarded by news articles about criminals who are “influenced” by the video games that they play. These isolated incidents don’t help matters in the least. This article focuses on a different angle.
“Video game” is an outdated and improper name. It has a somewhat negative connotation that goes back to the arcade days. I dare you to find someone who doesn’t consider movies or novels art, but video games are another story. The classic type of game such as a Pac-Man, is what I would call the electronic entertainment equivalent of an American Pie. It doesn’t need to have a cultural significance, other than being fun. It’s more of a way to take your mind off your problems. With the advent of better hardware comes something that throws new curveballs into the argument. Games like Mass Effect and Catherine surely have plots that are as good as, if not better than most movies. Being involved in a large than life adventure with your own personal choices surely has cultural and philosophical significance.
The problem is that most people today haven’t seen or played games like this. You’d be hard pressed to get a news reporter to sit down and play Mass Effect all the way through, let alone watch someone else do it for only an hour. I hope that one day, as games become more mainstream, this will not be the case. Movies and rock ’n’ roll all had to go through these issues to become officially recognized as art. I hope that my hobby will one day share the same success.
Having just visited a local arcade, I can tell you how different an experience it is to the upscale franchises. Before I moved, the closest thing I had to an arcade was a distant Dave and Busters. All of the independent gaming places had been closed for years.
When I entered the premises of this arcade, I noticed how calm it was. Sure, there were quite a few other groups, including a birthday party, but somehow, the atmosphere was nowhere near overwhelming. The service very reasonable compared to the corporate workers who work at certain other gaming establishments. In fact, “reasonable” is the best word to describe this type of place.
There was a fair amount of arcade games to choose from. The fact that a few were out of order or had minor technical problems just added to the charm of the place. Let’s face it. Dave and Busters is too clean. Sometimes you need to play a game of Tekken on a monitor turned purple, or the Simpsons Game without the ability to move Bart up to realize that in the end, it’s all about having fun.
The fact that arcade franchises try to be perfect is a tad off-putting. I always feel like they are trying too hard. The end result is sensory overload. An authentic arcade does not need to be big or bold. In fact, less is more. The less flashy the arcade, the more you feel right at home. It’s these types of personal experiences that are dying by the dozen. If you still have one, please support your local arcade. Big companies like Dave and Busters may have a good selection, but they don’t have heart.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’m just very busy with multiple changes going on in my life right now. To tide you all over, I have taken what little free time I have to write this review.
Fable III is a beast of a game. I wasn’t a big fan of Fable II because the story was a snore fest. Luckily, they fixed it this time. The multiplayer is also greatly improved. There are a lot less of the restrictions of having to play in the same location. You can even have babies with your friends online, which you can rationalize as "for the achievement". The RPG elements may have been simplified, but this allows for more of a focus on combat and moral decisions. I particularly loved being the ruler of Albion. At this part of the game, I was required to choose between pleasing my subjects or raising money to save them from a threat that they could not comprehend. I ended up trying to go back and forth between the two options in order to not be completely hated. It’s debatable which Fable game is the best, but I definately enjoyed III more than II.
If you haven’t already, please read Rajan’s review of the original Halloween movie. It may just be the start of a new era for Hindsight 64bit. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the title of this post.
Here on this website our game of the year is Sonic Free Riders. Just kidding. I haven’t played it or even read an outstanding review of it.
No, the actual game of 2010 is Disney Epic Mickey. Not since the 90’s have I played a game that captured my interest to the point where I played until 4 in the morning. From the moment I heard a warped version of It’s a Small World, my jaw hit the floor. Almost everyone is a Disney fan, even if they won’t outright admit it. Just seeing my favorite childhood worlds and characters in a new light was enough to make me jump for joy. The fact that I ended up with the good ending, having renounced my evil playstyle out of guilt, proves just how much of an impact Mickey’s paint and thinner adventure had on me. In the past, I have always been downright fiendish in games about choice. Having this game will make your purchase of the Wii 100% justified. It’s just that good. Okay, so maybe having only one game for a console isn’t too practical, but you get the idea. It doesn’t get much better than this.
The Wii was revolutionary for the time it came out. 4 years ago, motion control was a simple gimmick. Now it seems like everyone can’t get enough. PlayStation Move was pretty much a direct copy of the Wii Remote. It was just different enough for Sony to avoid patent infringement. On November 4th (which happens to be my birthday), Microsoft came out with its own version of the motion camera. However, Kinect is less of a controller and more of a completely different way to play games. I’ve been playing with Kinect for almost a week now. Below are my impressions.
Setup and Calibration: Microsoft wants you to think that Kinect is easy to hook up and use, but that fact depends on what you have in your living room. I have an older 360, so using the Kinect port is not an option. I recommend a USB hub if you have both Kinect and a Wi-Fi adaptor, only because this setup will still allow you to hook up wired controllers, MP3 players, and Rock Band Mics without unplugging Kinect. Once you get past this step, you still may run into some problems. My living room is strange because the main seating area is not directly facing the TV. In order to have enough play space, I had to break Microsoft’s rules and position Kinect off center, or more specifically, to the right side of my television stand. After figuring this out, I was able to recalibrate Kinect, and everything has worked pretty great since.
Ease of Use: Kinect is probably the most user friendly way to play games. If programmed right, any simpleton can play a Kinect game by moving like they think they should. For example, playing bowling is as easy as reaching out to grab a ball, positioning your aim, and making a rolling motion. It beats the Wii because it doesn’t require button presses, which are known to confuse non-gamers. Controlling the Xbox Dashboard with Kinect is a neat idea that also works well. You can even use your voice. However, you can only control specific sections. Yes, that means no voice-controlled Netflix for you. If you’re reading this Microsoft, please get on that.
Is it fun?: The games that came out at launch are a mixed bag. I haven’t played them all, but I can tell you that Kinect Sports and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved are must-buys. I loved these two games so much that I decided to also order Kinectimals and Dance Central because other reviewers liked them just as much.
Should you get it?: When Kinect works, it feels like what the Wii should have been. In general, it’s more intuitive than Nintendo’s 4 year old hit. It even gave me a sweat in no more than 10 minutes. However, I wouldn’t recommend Kinect for people in apartments or unusually small houses because there just isn’t enough room for the sensor to keep track of you. If you’re taller than a young child, being too close to the camera means that it can’t see your whole body at once. For 1 player, you’ll need at least 6 feet. For 2 players, you need at least a whopping 8 feet. Some games won’t even let you go solo at 6 feet, so try to keep the latter in mind. Even if you have a big apartment, you should make sure that your floors are solid, because stomping all over a hollow floor is sure to piss over neighbors on the lower level. If you think you have enough room, go for it. Kinect is the best motion-controlled gaming experience available on the market. It’s strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, which will probably almost all be fixed with firmware updates and the second round of games.
While cleaning my house today, I came across an article in the newspaper, describing the impact of Pokémon on the youth of America. The fact that it was mentioned in a local newspaper article alone should show just how much of an effect video games can have on popular culture. It is important to remember the video games of the past because as more gaming franchises reach the masses, it is their predecessors that made us all interested in the industry to begin with.