Friday, 27 March 2009

Gamespotting 016 - Broken DS and finally playing along with Studio Ghibli

Well Spring is here and I have just finished for Easter this week. I still have to do some uni work when off, but least can stay at home and do it. (More Daytime TV for me)

So the back catalogue of games that have been waiting in my room can finally get some attention. I still have to finish Resident Evil 5, Evidence: The Last Ritual and Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past on my newly found Game Boy Micro. I have also found some more titles when spring cleaning my room this afternoon that can be added to the list; but when cleaning. Broke my Nintendo DS even more by accident, so can't finish professor Layton yet; but will be able to when get my uni money so not all bad I suppose.

Also, one thing that I want to do while I am off is watch some of the Studio Ghibli films that I have bought of Ebay for cheaps. I love the studio ghibli films and when I found my broken DS; it reminded my that I will have to buy one for when the Studio Ghibli game The Other World comes out also. Saw the trailer the other day and is one of the only games that I would like to buy this year (With the exception of Riddick in a few weeks)

So I hope people have good easter, sorry for the lack of posts. Normal service of rants and opinions will commence soon.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Gamespotting 015 - Going back to Oddworld (But not with the Stranger)

Well, I have not been on the internet as much this week as I have been doing History and Analysis work, so I thought I would turn on my Steam account to see what they have put on there over the last few weeks.

Now I know that every week, they have been offering huge discounts off their games such as Lost Planet: Extream Condition for £3.49 and Team Fortress 2 for £7.99. Now my computer cannot run games of that graphical power, so I have been downloading some little gems of their such as Uplink and Darwinia.

But To my amazement today, they are offering both Oddworld: Abe's Oddessy and Abe's Exoddus for the small price of £2.25. Now you cannot buy these titles for cheaper and in my opinion are some of the best titles on there at the moment. The only thing is that they haven't got my favourite Oddworld title which is Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath which combines a first person shooter and adds a crossbow with live animal ammo which creates some truly unique gameplay.

I am glad these titles are on here for all the world to enjoy, and because it is the only Oddworld games still availible as they went bust a few years ago.

But be quick, if you want these titles; you can only get them for the weekend and then they go back up their respected prices, so cash out the equilivent of a week on Warcraft and travel back to Oddworld even without the Stranger to help you through it.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Gamespotting 014 - Too Much...Too Soon

Now as everybody knows, it is mother's day on Sunday. So a few days ago, I went down to the shops to buy her a present for Mothers Day, she wants a new MP3 player and end up going on HMV on Market Street.

Now I wasen't rearly paying attention at the time (because I was listening to my Ipod with it a full blast, setting a good example there.) and as I was going in a saw a primary school kid with his mother walking out with a copy of Resident Evil 5 in his hands.

Now this game is an 18 rated game, even I think it gets a bit gory especially towards the end of the game and I have been playin games for a long time. But why do parents buy their kids games that clearly have an 18 rated sticker on them which on some of them takes up half the box. Is it to stop their nagging for the latest title, or just because they want I am not sure.

But for my history and analysis research for Uni at the moment, I am researcing Terrorism and came across a few quotes for the Games Industry ex-Darth Vader character Jack Thompson listing about how games would turn kids into killers and terrorists, but if kids are being introduced to these titles at such a young and also impressional age, what sort of impact would that have on them.

Now I'm not saying anything would happen to that kid or that he would emulate the game within the real world like from past examples in the media, but I think the parents and also the shops that sell these games must make it more aware about the content of these titles.

They don't put an 18 sticker on them for no reason and it is kind of annoying when you see this happen.

Sorry about that, back to normality for the next post

Monday, 16 March 2009

Gamespotting 013 - Re-Genesis for the Mega Drive

The 80s and 90s are back with a vengence upon the general public with items from the past finding their way back into mainstream society and not being confined to the retro department.

Now Retro games have always been popular with gamers and the release of the Wii has brought these titles to more younger gamers to experience and older gamers to relive their youth. But there is one exception of this that has never rearly gone away and became retro which is the Mega drive.

Sega's 16 bit console was much loved all over the world, in what ever territory and under whatever naming. OK it was not as popular as the Super Nintendo sales wise, but in my opinion the games catalogue was vastly superior to the SNES's b ut that might have been something to do with Nintendo's Seal of Approval Process (which is something I think they should look at bringing back for the wii if you know what I mean)

Even games development for the platform is still happening today with a team of developers creating a whole new title called Begger's Prince, but games prefiferal company BLAZE has gone one step further and bought the licence for the Mega Drive which means they can release new versions of the consoles for retro fans to drool over

I have bought the portable Mega Drive that they released last year and enjoyed playing these games on the move without having to have an emulator on my TTDS card, but this year they have announced a full size console for £30 which will have 15 games built in and the ability to play any Mega Drive game created around the world and be able to play it on the console, which for a collector like me is a dream console without breaking the budget.

But most people would trade in this magic console for most modern day crap on the 360 and PS3, but the gameplay on these games almost outclass the gameplay on modern games because older games were properly tested and worked properly because they couldn't be updated by patching or internet so they had to be done.

So I hope more people pick up this console and experience and start to look back on older games and not throw them away like in the picture I found on kotaku over the weekend.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Gamespotting 012 - Second Thoughts and Parappa The Rapper

Well, over the last few days; I have not had a lot of time to play video games. I have still got to finish the end of Beyond Good and Evil and replay the newly found copy of a Link To The Past for my GBA micro.

Now when reading Edge and listening to some podcasts over the last few days, I have now decided that I might buy Resident Evil 5 when I next get paid. I know that in a previous entry to my blog, I said that I was not going to buy the title and have stated this several times in uni.

But one item of media, changed my mind which was the Resident Evil Retrospective on GameTrailers. The latest episode of the retrospective lists the entire timeline of the series and gives a small history of events that predates any title in the series. But at the end of the video was the backstory of Resident Evil 5 and has already got me hooked on the entire game, even though I hated the demo. But on the other hand, the damo might be better than the game which in most instances is the case.

Also on another subject; in a previous blog entry; I mentioned that it was EDGEs 200th Issue with the multiple covers. I particually wanted the Strider or Beyond Good and Evil covers because they are two of my favourite games. But EDGE have been clever yet again and sealed the magazine in a black cover so that you don't know which cover you have got until you have bought it. So I was in the queue at Whsmith this morning and looked on the back of the cover, which then tells you what cover you have bought.

I quickly rushed back to the magazine stand and trawled through the pile of magazines in hope for the cover that I want, but they were all the same (Fallout 3), the cover looked crap so looked for another one and found the only copy with Parappa The Rapper on it. I quickly remembered the title and decided on that one insted. I would have liked the cover that I wanted, but with Parappa on the cover has changed my mind and love the picture they have chosen.

I think I might have to dig out my playstation version this weekend and re-visit the rapping dog and master onion on the opening level.


Good Times.....:-)

Monday, 9 March 2009

Gamespotting 011 - 200 Candles and 200 Covers

Not many gaming magazines get past their 200th issue, the only ones that I could think of were Gamesmaster and CVG when it was still a magazine. But on Thursday marks the release of issue 200 of EDGE magaazine.

Now to be honest here, I only started buying EDGE a few years ago. I was strictly a Gamesmaster fanboy and liked the cheat books and freebees that you got every month, but when I rearlised that I was 19 and buying a magazine aimed for the 9 - 18 age range; I made a brave decision to start buying another magazine.

I saw issues of Gamesmaster pass buy and I had not read them yet, but when I picked up EDGE for the first time a few weeks later, it quickly changed my mind about gaming journolism. I liked the way that they packed reviews, previews and articals about the games industry itself, and because it says VIDEOGAME CULTURE on the front cover, I feel like I was in the industry loop itself.

Now 200 issues later and a large pile of back issues getting larger every month, they still have the review magic and I am always hooked issue after issue. But not only is it their birthday issue, they have done a first for journolism and released a single cover with 200 different covers. Now other magazines like Empire and Q have released multiple cover issues before, but not on this large scale and the best thing is they are all unique covers.

The EDGE team has personally created 199 of the covers of the best playable games from their publishing lifespan ranging from Mario, Zelda, Half Life and even a Strider one (which I rearly want, either that or Beyond Good and Evil, Grim Fandango or Jet Set Willy), but there is a special #1 cover especially for EDGE subscribers which was created by Media Molecules using the Little Big Planet engine.

I am excited about this coming up on Thursday and just want to wish EDGE a happy 200th issue, hope you keep going till you're 400.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Gamespotting 010b - I've punched Nite Owl and he did nothing!

Well, with the release of Watchman and all of the advertising everywhere at the moment (even a guy dressed as Nite Owl at the one second past midnight screening in Manchester), I thought I would try out the new piece of downloadable content that I found on Playstation Network called Watchman: The End Is Nigh.

Now I love the book and can't wait to go and see the film, but at this point this is a watchman related item that I haven't liked. In this you can play as Rorschach or as Nite Owl (2) between the events of the book and the passing of the Keene Act which outlawed superheros.

As for combat, Nite Owl can do basic combos upon enemies and use his Batman like gadgets from his body armour; and Rorschach has very strong hand to hand combat and can pick up weapons that the fallen enemies have used against them a few seconds before.

Now this game contains two great things (Watchman related storyline and free roaming beat em up gameplay like the Streets Of Rage Film), but the two dont do well together very well and its just gets propper frustrating after a few hours because it is just the same group of enemies over and over again. There are good things about it though is it does fill in the player on some storylines that are not included in the book, so from a fan point of view; its well worth the buy.

But that is also the most annoying thing about the game; the price as it is £12.99. Now since GTA 4: The Lost and Dammed is a few pounds more and you get so much more from that package, but with this you only get four hours gameplay max and thats that.

Overall, I am dissapointed with this title because it could have been so much better that it is, but maybe the second installment (released around the DVD release later on in the year) may improve upon this formula.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Gamespotting 010a- Midway Games (1988 - 2009)???

With a world recession spreading throughout the world on a global scale, it has become obvious that no area of industry is safe; and the games industry has had it harder than any other creative industry over the last few months.

Of course, the newspapers say that more people are buying home entertainment from now on as it saves money on going out and provides more entertainment for friends and family, but this hasn't stopped larger games developers/publishers from going into the Red.

The company that I am talking about is Midway, who a few week ago has declared themselves bankrupt. Now this is a sad moment because Midway has created some great titles in the past such as Mrs Pac Man, Rampage and of course Mortal Kombat; also the last mortal kombat title which was a collaberation with the characters of DC comics still sold milions of copies but this still didn't stop the eventual downfall of the company. It is sad that this has happened because it ultimatly leads to more redundencies and we could end up with another 1Up situation.

The obvious way out for Midway is to sell themselves to the highest bidder and try and get back up and running again, but they could try and sell themselves to Square Enix who seem to be buying a lot of western developers at the moment. This morning it was announced that they have confirmed the buyout of UK games company Eidos and now basically own them and their individual IPs such as Tomb Raider, Hitman and even Timesplitters.

I know it has become even harder for companys to purchase companies like Midway as they have no money themselves; but for the great contribution they have done towards the game industry and the great games that they produce; I hope that somebody passes them a lifeline and keep them alive for next generations to come.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Gamespotting 009 - Games On The Big Screen

Films that have been based on video game titles or series have never rearly worked as a film, they mostly seen as commertial flops and don't recapture the originality of the games they are trying to portray.

Some notable films that don't recreate the magic of the original game include the awful Street Fighter film (The Live action one, not the animated ones), Mortal Kombat (With the dance theme as the finishing credits) and the truly awful Super Mario Bros (With Bob Hoskins as Mario, lol), but I may have found some video game based films that gain a little bit of respectability back from the film industry.

There are several titles that I have watched over the last few weeks which all have got acclaim from film journalists, won awards and have shown me that you can make a good film about video games, here are the titles that I have found;

  • The King Of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters: the first title that I watched, about the rivalry between the Donkey Kong world champion Billy Mitchell and a challenger Steve Wiebe, who throughout the course of the film outdo each other and constantly swap the world title between the two of them, the film has caused some controversary as the events of the film are supposed to be false.
  • Chasing Ghosts: Beyond The Arcade: A more of extension to the King Of Kong as it fills you in in some of the events that happened in the arcade boom of the mid 80s such as the people who were listed as the world champions of classic arcade games, (including Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong World Record) and some of the disputes that these listings have caused ever since.
  • FRAG - Now I haven't seen this film yet as it has not been released,but listing this as it looks like a great film. FRAG is about the world of professional gaming; mainly around the FPS titles such as Unreal Tournament, Painkiller and Quake. I am rearly looking forward to this title, but not sure if it is coming over here.
  • 8 BIT - Another title that is already out, but can only find the trailer at the moment. This film is about the like between Video Games and Art, so looks a good watch if can find any more footage.
I am looking forward to seeing some of these titles and hope more are to come with most of these winning best film awards at the Sundance Film Festival and best of all, I can say that there are some good films about Video Games and Uwe Boll is nowhere in the convosation.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Gamespotting 008 - A Very Game Filled Weekend (And Monday Morning)

Well, I have been very busy over the weekend. Been working (Most of the time) and in the middle of the workload been playing some good games.

I have nearly finished Beyond Good and Evil, which is still a great game and even better now that I have nearly finished the full story. Also I have been playing the original Syphen filter on the Playstation for my history research. trufully I have never played one of these titles before, but I am enjoying what I see at the moment, just for the Taser Gun animation imparticular which looks very realistic.

Thw Wii is still the console of choice at the moment as I have been playing loads of GameCube titles, but over the weekend found my beloved Dreamcast with Shenmue still in the disk drive (A Replay is in order me thinks if I can find the VMU). All this game playing is the most ammount of time that I have been playing games over the last six months, been very relaxing over all.

But one great gaming item that I picked up this morning will solve a common problem with two of the three current generation consoles. Have you ever played a game, but still play on through the levels or mode knowing that the batterys could go any minute and the screen will stay motionless for a few seconds while you find some more?

But I walked into a supermarket this morning and found the best geekey/gadget fan item I have seen for a while which is USB rechargable batteries. You plug them into your USB ports for a few hours and will have two fully charged batteries ready for your controller. I tried them in my digital camera (which usually drains batteries) and lasted a good 40 mins of picture taking even on a half charge.

So if you need a good set of batteries for your Xbox 360 or Wii controllers, get some of these and you don't have to look for batteries to finish a game anymore. Not trying to endorse this product in any way, but these are good rechargable batteries for the money.


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Gamespotting 007 - 2009 (The Year Of The Obscure Game)

2008 was a good year for games, but it was even better for the obscure game.

I have always liked these titles, not because nobody has played them. But they always have their unique charm that most popluar games do not have.

But after looking at some release lists for this upcoming year and the beggining of the next, these next few months will be very exciting for gamers all around the world. Some of the titles that I am most looking forward to would be (if it does come out this year) Beyond Good and Evil 2. Rumors going around the internet is stating that this title has been in development since 2004/2005 and is almost at completion.

Also the official sequel to another great game The Chronicals Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, named Escape From Dark Athena looks like one great title and looks more polished than some other next gen titles, also this game is one of the rare examples of a film tie in that actually is a great game and not a pile of crap produced very quickly to coinside with the release of the film.

Finally there is the all important release of the fourth Earthworm Jim game. Now the game has only been announced this year, but after the other great entries in the series, this will be a title to keep an eye on.

There are other titles that are coming out that must be watched, as since there are no major titles being released after Resident Evil 5 this year (I Think) a return to these games will be a great change.

Just goes to show that fan demand does work, just need Shenmue 3 and another Paracite Eve title and this year will be great.