martedì 21 luglio 2009

calling it.

If and when I form a band [If and when I decide to realize my gifted aptitude for music] I have reserved the use of a few band titles, which i have kept on various lists. I don't know where those lists are now, but I'm writing down the titles as i remember them right here:

-asdfjkl; [pronounced 'the Home Row']
-!? [pronounced 'Interrobang', and stolen from a friend]
-Cheese Pizza [possibly an album title]

And business ventures:
Sweet Jesus - Christian themed creative candy store.
The Sarina Beanery - a coffee beanery named after a friend of mine whom I stole a band name from.
Squints- a bar in the cafe sense, which includes a bath house.

lunedì 20 luglio 2009

Ghost Busters: The Game: The Thoughts

A Game has a few aspects to take into consideration when deciding on whether it's good, great, or just barely playable. Ghost busters does things rarely accomplished in gaming; it has great writing, excellent voice acting, and interesting (if not derivative) gameplay, the pacing was even pretty good if a bit rushed. The dialouge, mostly consisting of the banter between Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and your character (a young and doofy looking new recruit who in the classical gaming fashion does not speak) as they go about not being afraid of no ghosts is actually very funny in a saturday morning cartoons version of ghost busters kind of way. The opening of the game, which delivers the intro in a format that stays faithful to its 1991 cinematic setting, says that it was written by Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd, and I believe it. The music is also awesome, because the music from the movies was awesome, and it replays them all very appropriately. Even the environments were rendered very believably, and familiar locations, like hotels, the public library, and timesquare, become labyrinths filled with ectoplasm.

However, there's only one aspect that bugged the shit out of me; it doesn't explain the game mechanics very well at all. The game is pretty simple, so maybe too much instruction would destroy the movie vibe it tries to gain by having no in game gui and generally going all dead space on us [not a bad game to rip off of]. However, the dialouge of your fellow ghost busters is entertaining, like when Dan Akroyd's character explains your gear in an overly complicated way, as he does in the movie, throwing around scientific mumbo jumbo that noone else understands, but when this is supposed to substitute a tutorial on game mechanics, it pretty much fails. It could have benefitted from pop up screens that quickly summarize the game world in text. I got this new blue version of the plasma stream blaster and I had it for half an hour and had no idea what it did or why I needed it.

either way, it kicks the shit out of the original game.

lunedì 13 luglio 2009

Just a Thought

Today I had a brilliant day dream. What if Atlus and Nippon Ichi decided to publish a game together? Both publishers are renowned for their well crafted games that exude style while maintaining a healthy difficulty, endless (almost literally endless) amounts of gameplay, and the love they show to their loyal fanbase. Some would contend that their games are nearly impossible to finish and inaccessible, but it's hard to not be drawn into their charming visuals and distinct gameplay.

Imagine a strategy rpg of the Shin Megami Tensei persuasion, but using the strategy greatness that NIS is able to pump out. Not to mention the crossover capabilites, considering that the gameplay of the SMT/Persona/Devil summoner series revolves around the use of demons, and the Disgaea series is almost entirely populated by the comically inclined demonic minions of the netherworld overlords (which resides in outer space.. which would make them actually aliens?). Either way, the quirks of these two hardcore powerhouses would cause a rift in the uber gaming community, as it would have a learning curve that only five people would be able to adjust to, but i'm sure that fanboys everywhere would murder babies just for the plush dolls that would be birthed from this most fertile union.

domenica 12 luglio 2009

o hi



This one actually applies to video games, since it's a fan video made using Little Big Planet.

The Killers "spaceman" from PrettyMonkeyStudio on Vimeo.

and this one starts getting good around 1:30, then quickly gets awesome.

Video Games from MUSCLEBEAVER on Vimeo.

FPS ideas

not sure how these got into my head, or why i'm thinking about fps's so much.

1)an epic free range zombie survival fps, where you live in a post-zombie apocalypse world and you travel from safehouse to safehouse, killing zombies, meeting and possibly bandinbg with survivors on the way, finding supplies, and if your so inclined, finding a solution to the zombie threat.

I figure the gameplay would involve lots of vehicles (except fuel would be limited, i think the survival aspect should be the key to its horror quality) and your constantly being hunted, so if you are spotted by a zombie, you better have a plan of action (it would also be interesting because everyone would have a different gut reaction). Do you find a high point and drop explosives? do you try and get their attention, leading them and locking them into a warehouse that you've previously rigged with explosives? or maybe you just run because your chopper is out of gas, your friend is badly wounded and you just finished your last clip. Their would also be different kinds of zombies, like ones that can mark you or lead other zombies. Maybe you come across a scientist who thinks he could make a cure if you can find a proper lab and a good specimen, or maybe you can find a radio tower and signal help, or maybe you launch a nuke, or maybe you just say fuck it and kill zombies cuz its fun. Most of said fun would probably be generated from a really fun physics engine, maybe the game could even record things like the highest altitude you've managed to shoot a zombie up to using explosives, or the most zombies you've lit on fire at the same time, and you could edit these clips in game, skate style. Your safe houses could become jeapordized if a zombie follows you in or other zombies realize youre there, or it doesn't have a properly secured entrance, in which case you'd have to go on the run again, or figure out a way to secure it.

I actually got this idea from watching The Invasion earlier today, i thought it would be cool if there was a game where you had the freedom of walking around a city, except you have to try and act and survive amongst a population of bodysnatching aliens.

a sequel the the awesomeness that was the flying combat simulator Tie Fighter, except instead of mostly flying imperial war ships, you would be a storm trooper, carrying out missions with your squad, raiding rebel star ships, collecting a salary, gaining ranks, et cetera.
I also think that a new jedi knight game is increasingly necessary after the failure of what could have been great called force unleashed.

They Stole My Idea: Final Fantasy Gaiden

I decided to make this a regular thing, since it always happens. A few years ago i was playing ff1 on an nes emulator and I thought that the quick barebones rpg elements were gritty and stupid but also very addictive, and making your own customized team of 4 warriors is a great mechanic for continuing replayability. So i envisioned a revamped, possibly 3 dimensional and stylized return the the rpg basics, but that has just been accomplished.

The game features chibi style 3d graphics which work perfectly to represent the old school rendering techinques of rpg's, and even the textures of the towns filled with inns and weaponsmiths seem to be pixelated, much to my enjoyment. My only gripe is that I wish the music also played into this reversion game. I guess it would be silly for a game on the DS (which has excellent sound quality) to have clunky 8 bit sounds, but i think that leaves room for exploration. Imagine how awesome it would be to have a whole symphony composed of layered 8-bit sounds? that registers as pretty-tight on my scale of dumb to awesome-o-matic. and not many things get the awesome-o-matic rating.

venerdì 10 luglio 2009

Cave Story and Freeware

I had seen CaveStory exist only as Fan art and mentioned on gaming websites with great praise but little info. Then I decided to take the big step of typing "cave story" into my google toolbar and discovering the fansite. You can download the game, complete with the english translation. Its a small file and a quick install for a game that kicks so much ass, you will not regret it.
Studio Pixel, which is just one japanese guy (known as pixel) made cave story over the course of 5 years, and it was released a few years ago for the price of $free.99 to the much appreciated gaming public. Attending college, and being broke as a joke, makes it difficult to keep up with games the old fashion way (by playing them) and leads me to read previews and reviews as the only way to experience most of the current gen. I don't even own any current gen consoles, not even my DS, if you consider the DSi to be its replacement.

The gameplay of CaveStory is similar to Castlevania or metroid and it manages to accomplish some of the most engaging platforming levels i've played outside of my early childhood. However this is not the only area the game shines, it creates memorable characters that develop in a deceivingly simple plot, has some amazing boss battles, and the soundtrack does that funny trick where you don't notice it until you catch yourself humming it later. The game has garnered so much attention that it has coming to the wii as downloadable content, thats pretty amazing for freeware designed by one guy.

I've also been playing two other free games, Battlefield Heroes and Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. Battlefield Heroes is fun because it takes the core of the Battlefield franchise's game mechanics (heavy on the vehicles and the choice of player classes) but makes it extremely accessible for casual play, namely because it's free, the rounds are short, and the game doesn't take itself very seriously. The cartoony graphics aren't done as well as TF2, but then again, its free and still in beta. My only gripe is that it doesn't give a good sense of accomplishment after you kill (should i say frag?) another player. It's extremely easy to hit someone, even at long range, but everyone has very large amounts of health and even headshots or tank blasts won't take down someone in one hit, getting a bunch of kills stringed together while protecting a capture point does feel pretty good though. Also, i think because its in beta, or to push the casual aspect, you launch the game from their website, and it auto finds a server for you, which can sometimes lead to bad results, but its usually fine, you can also save favorite servers, but you can't choose any right from the get go.

Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine is an mmo spinoff of one of my favorite game franchises, so naturally i had to try it out. The game basically plays out exactly like one of the console games, which is a post-apocolyptic demon filled pokemon more or less. The Tutorial missions suck, and the translating is spotty, but if you wanna catch'em all its a pretty good time. My favorite part, just like in the console games, is conversing with demons to get them to join you and then mixing them together to see what comes out, its a lot more exciting then it sounds. It kinda makes me wonder why breeding simulators like monster rancher never made it big, I'm sure that gameplay hasn't been explored to its full potential.