Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Arkham Asylum of Spider-Man Games? Possibly.

This. Looks. Awesome.

For those who don't know, the Spider-Man series of games have a unique history among licensed games, because they don't always suck. To be sure, Spider-Man The Movie The Game was pretty bad, and some others such as Spider-Man 3 have also been rather terrible (although Bruce Campbell is amazing as the narrator in all the movie games, but that's a minor role, sadly.)

But Spider-Man 2 nailed the web-slinging portions, and exploration was really fun in that game. You had a large city to explore, and the means to get around it. The combat was awful, and the story was also lame, but the exploration showed us what a Spider-Man game could do.

And so, ever since then, I, along with some people much more famous and popular than I (Yahtzee.), have been watching the Spider-Man series carefully. Watching and waiting from a distance, to see if each game would be the one.

Time passed, InFamous proved it could do Spider-Man 2 better than Spider-Man 2 could, Batman: Arkham Asylum came out, and proved mainstream superhero games could be good, no, amazing. I had almost forgotten Spider-Man 2, and the hope it gave me.

And then this trailer came out. This game, in case you couldn't tell from the trailer, is a spider-man game, featuring multiple realities. So far Noir, a reality set great depression era, and Ultimate, the modern day reality, are announced, with 2 more (for those of you bad at math, that's a grand total of 4.) to be announced.

The graphics looks good, if not amazing, and the gameplay... Well I don't know anything about the gameplay yet.

So what do I think the other two realities will be?
I think the final will be:
Noir (Past)
Ultimate (Present)
2099 (Future)
Marvel Zombies (BRAIIINS RrAGHRrhrg!)

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will be out this September for PS3, 360, and Wii, with a DS version slated for release sometime after. I will continue to watch, interestedly.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Warhammer Online & Torchlight - First Impressions

So, I downloaded the Warhammer Online Endless Trial, and played it quite a bit over the past few days.

My initial thoughts are: WoW Clone. Let's not kid ourselves here, it's WoW, but with good PvP and mediocre PvE. That really sums up most of my opinion of the game so far. Don't get me wrong, it's a good enough game, and I plan to pick up a copy soon, but it really is just a WoW clone. So here's some of my thoughts on the game so far:

- Male High Elves are really freaking ugly. So ugly in fact, that I broke my "Only play male characters" rule to try out the High Elf classes. Now I have a dilemma since I really liked Shadow Hunter, the High Elf archer class.

- The PvP actually feels epic and fun in this, something WoW could never manage. PvP in wow was, and still is, terrible.

- Public quests are awesome.

- Different classes for each race is awesome.

- Why is the game only $15 on Steam? I don't know, but I'm not complaining.

This weekend's deal on Steam is Torchlight, a fun dungeon crawler game, so I picked that up.

- 1 Player games are fun, because you can be imba, and it's ok.

- Sending your pet back to vendor stuff is awesome.

- Alchemist is awesome.


- And then, BOOM, enemies get all 'splodey.

- I'm really tired and ending this post now, mmk? Mmk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Warning: The Following Video Contains Large Amounts Of Anti-Video Game Propaganda. View at your own risk.

I stumbled upon this video around two months ago. If you don't want to watch, this video is basically a guy using his admittedly good animation skills to blame video games for the failure his life has amounted to. In his own words, he is a fat, friendless, failure.

Now anyone who knows me in the least probably already knows my opinion on this particular subject. But forget that, I'm going to tell you anyways.

I'm a fun loving guy, or at least I like to think so, but this is a subject I'm dead serious about. I'm about to say something that may shock and/or offend some people, namely those who would see video games destroyed, and those who spout hatred and bile toward them claiming they are the work of the devil. So please, if you want to stay in your safe sterile black hole, stop reading here.

Are they gone? Ok. Good. Are you ready for me to rock your world? Video Games, are an art form. I know what you're thinking. "VIDEO GAMES? ART? HA! I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU SIR, YOU ARE CLEARLY INCORRECT!"

I could go into a lot of different tangents here, as to why Video Games are an art form, but that would take a very long time, and not be super productive. Suffice it to say, that anything that can make you feel something, good or bad, is an art form, in my opinion. Books can make you become attached to the characters, movies can do the same, and both can affect your emotions. Now, don't tell me that no book or movie has made you cry before. That's a lie.

Now, understand that I am not saying all games are art. There is a difference. I do not believe that all movies are art either, nor all books. I would hardly qualify, for example, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" as a work of art. I thought that movie was decent entertainment at best, but not a work of art. However, to say that no movie is art is to bring down an entire form. The problem with games now, however, is quantity. There are very games I would classify as art, compared to movies. But that's to be expected. The form is in it's infancy.

But that's not what this is about, and I could talk about that all day. What this is about is the video above. That video troubles me for many reasons. The first and most obvious, or I would hope at least, is that he's blaming video games for his own lack of self-control. There's an old adage that says "All things in moderation." This is his case. He passed up on many opportunities in life, just so he could play video games all the time, and now he has to live with that. That's his own fault, not the fault of video games.

It's true, what he says, that you only get one life. It's yours to spend however you like, and you may waste it on video games completely. However it's not entirely true that video games can't help you in life. Don't forget there's an entire industry surrounding them. Not just developers, and writers, but even outside of that, journalists, reviewers, play testers, all sorts of stuff, all because of these games.

I'd like to point out the story of one Jeff Kaplan, AKA Tigole. Jeff Kaplan was an avid player of the MMORPG Everquest. And as many gamers, myself included, are prone to do, he complained about a lot of the things in Everquest. He thought he could do things better. Many of his complaints were pointed out to his guild (a grouping of players.), Legacy of Steel. Legacy of Steel was headed up by Rob Pardo, VP of an, at the time, small company, Blizzard Entertainment. The thing is, Rob really liked a lot of the ideas Jeff had, and so he gave him a job as a game designer for a new project, which some fo you may have heard of. World of Warcraft, the game that dethroned Everquest as king of MMOs.

Did you see that? A guy got a job, for playing a game. And not just any job, a really good job. Blizzard is one of the biggest companies in gaming today, and everyone who plays WoW, well, almost everyone, knows who Tigole is.

Not to mention, what he says about how long it takes to make a level 80 character in WoW, that's just a lie. It does not take that long. It takes a while, to be sure, but not THAT LONG. Not to mention, one of the things he mentions is reading. READING.

HARRY POTTER no less. Harry Potter is awesome, to be sure, but it's no more productive than World of Warcraft. The fact is, it doesn't matter which you choose, the end result is the same. Nothing is accomplished, beside the fact that you either have now read Harry Potter, or now have a level 80 character.

When I told a friend, a very good friend I made through WoW, and speak with every day, for the record, about this video, he said the following:
"If we weren't playing games, we would be watching TV, reading books, playing sports, watching movies, or I shudder to say, building model trains."
He's right. There will always be hobbies. If it weren't gaming, it would just be something else. True, it's possible to work and work and work, and yes, you would be more productive than someone who played some games, but really, what kind of a life is that? You only get one, in his own words. So you might as well enjoy the one you get.

Now I'm not saying you should play games all the time and never do anything productive, but again, it's balance. It's bad to take it to either extreme. If you work all the time, you'll work yourself to death, if you play games all the time, you'll end up like this guy, fat, friendless, and a failure.

So I guess what I'm saying, is that this video is an example of, not the negative effects of games on peoples lives, but of the negative effects of lack of self-control on people's lives.

It's sad yes, and I understand why people try to find things to blame, but the fault lies in the individual, not the object.

What troubles me is the propaganda surrounding every new generation's new thing.

When Jazz was new, it was hated by the generation before. When movies were new they were to blame for kids wasting their lives. Comic Books took the blame for many school shootings, and now it's video games turn in the hot seat.

I can't expect our generation to be any different, I'm sure something will be hated as much as video games are now, that our kids love. But I do hope that I at least, will be sensible about the whole thing, no matter my personal feelings on the new object of hatred, and to those my age, I ask that you do so as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I found this in my TF2 screenshot's folder the other day. I really want to know why and how the Heavy was making this face.

BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS POST IS ABOUT! THIS POST IS ABOUT... I don't know. I really don't. Um, hey how about... Wait no, I can't do that... Or how about... Nooo, that's a bad idea... Um...

You know what, this post is about this right here:

ENGIE BEAR! My bizarre picture on this blog, which is case you had not guessed, is not an ACTUAL picture of me.

Around six months ago, this skin was released for Team Fortress 2, my personal favorite FPS (I happen to be a proud not-owner of Modern Warfare 2, a game which statistically, all mammals in North America own 2.7 copies of, according to Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw.) which would, upon install, turn the Heavy Weapons Guy, into a bear. Why a bear? Why not a bear, really?

Now for some reason, probably because it's a really strange idea, this skin was found particularly humorous to a few people in the TF2 community on the Nsider2 forums which I used to be very active on. In fact, it gained so much popularity, that people took an image, and began poorly photoshopping it into all sorts of other things, at first just other classes, and then all sort of other things. Turret bear, demon bear, demon bear eating another demon bear, the images were endless really.

And thus, Engie Bear was born.

Why is that my picture on this blog? I made a blog, I needed a picture, that was something the right size I had already made. Simple enough, really.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Reason I Haven't Posted in a Month, and why Flash Forward Is Kind of Terrible

So, I haven't posted in a month, and even before that posts were erratic at best. So what's the reason, you might ask? Well, theoretical reader who doesn't actually exist, the reason isn't what you might expect. No, it's not that I've been busy, or some such nonsense, it's not that I have a life, and it's certainly not because I've been neglecting this blog and playing games instead. The reason is simple: Time travel.

You see, it's actually only been 5 minutes since I last posted, but because of my highly technical time traveling device, it's been a month for you guys. Simple, see?


I really want to like the show Flash Forward. I really do. It's a good premise... But the show is just disappointing. And do you know why? They're trying to be Lost. The problem with that is, quite simply, Lost does Lost a lot better than Flash Forward does lost.

Lost has great characters, and a great overall mystery.
Flash Forward had terrible characters, and a decent overall mystery.

The Lost characters are all very well developed. Take for example, Sawyer:
James Ford (AKA Sawyer) has shown many sides during Lost. When we first meet him, he seems very one-dimensional. He's the bully of the group, who steals, calls names, and is just an overall jerk.

Later on, you find out he's a Con Man. That fits, right? Well, you also find out that when he was younger, a man named Sawyer conned his father, who then went crazy, and killed his mother, and then himself. Thus, Sawyers beginnings.

Now, I never really liked Sawyer much until last season. That showed us a new side of Sawyer, when he settled down in Dharmatown with Juliet. This new side of him was very interesting, and showed that deep down there was more to him than that one-dimensional con man we saw in season one. And now, with Juliet dead, his character just gets more and more interesting.

In contrast, the more we see the character of Jack, the token "Good guy" character, the more we see him for what he is. He has a messiah complex. He wants to save everyone, no, needs to save everyone, not for their sake, but because he wants everyone to view him as a savior. That's why he wanted to go back to save the survivors. Not for their sake, but because he wants people to praise him as a savior.

Thus, since the first season, in my opinion at least, the way Jack and Sawyer are perceived has reversed, Sawyer wants to save people for their sake, and doesn't care what people think of him, while Jack just wants the praise for being a savior. That makes the whole thing a lot more interesting, not being sure how you're supposed to view them in the first place any more.

Meanwhile, Flash Forward has such memorable characters as:
Mark Benford, who is an FBI Agent with a history of drinking, and a fear he may return to it.
Olivia Benford, Mark's wife, who's afraid she may betray him.
Lloyd Simco, who's trying to be a good father, and is struggling with guilt from his belief that he caused the blackout.

I'd like to say that there was more to each character than that... But there really isn't.

There's more too.

Gay cop, FBI boss, guy who doesn't think he's going to live, I can describe most the Flash Forward characters in a sentence or less.

The worst example though, is the character of Charlie Pa- I'm sorry, Simon Campos, who's defining trait in my mind is, in case you couldn't tell, that his actor played Charlie on, you guessed it, Lost. Even worse than that though, his character feels to me like a poor attempt of what Lost did, of making deep characters, with the most recent episode being the defining example of this.
"He's a bad guy.. But he's doing it because he loves his family! He loves his family so much that he's killing his family! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!"
I'm sorry, but it's a big problem when I've been watching your show for months now, and I still call one of your characters the name of the character their actor played on another show.

So what's the fix? Simple: Stop trying to be Lost. Be yourself! You have a good idea for a mystery with the Flash Forwards! Just stop trying to make people care about your characters so much, and just focus on the Flash Forwards. Also, kill off Mark. Seriously, he's just annoying.

I said, months before the show started, that the show could go either way, on the one hand, if they made it just another cop show, it would be bad. On the other, if they made it a show that focused on the idea that EVERYONE had a Flash Forward, and what it would mean, and how it would change life to have to account for the future, not just the past, then it would be good. Now, Flash Forward keeps saying that they're doing that, ("Everyone makes choice based on what WILL happen now!") but they don't ACTUALLY do it.

You know what a show I'd rather be watching is? One that's not about Mark. Lloyd and Simon, while neither are interesting characters, make the show itself more interesting while they are onscreen, just because they focus less on the characters, and more on the mystery.

You know who my favorite character on Lost is? Hurley. He's fun, and he has a good, fleshed out character. At first he seemed like just comic relief, and it's true, for the most part he is still just comic relief. But there's MORE TO HIM than just that.

You know who my favorite character on Flash Forward is? I don't have one. I'm so indifferent about all of them, that I cannot pick one out as my favorite.

That's a problem, and it's on they really need to fix. Oh well, at least I still have V.