Tuesday, February 26, 2008

all kinds of alcohol

the wee hours are what they are now, but i seem to not feel very tired, so a brief donation to the blog fund before i try to hit the hay for some brief, although welcome, sleep...

quiet in videogame land, I took a look at our company's other big project the other day (if you're paying any kind of attention, you know what it is) - I hadn't looked at the thin in a good several months. let me just say = very impressed! Coming along nicely, as mentioned earlier I'd love to get on that team - time will tell. As for my own project, it is coming along. I have been making things shiny, lately..

I played through the rest of Uncharted:Drake's Fortune over the weekend (yes Normal difficulty, I am not a bad-ass!). In conclusion,t he game was very good - I am glad I played! I have a lot of respect for the folks who put that project together, it was an excellent job. I have to say my least favorite parts were the quick-time bullshit (it's been belittled by me before) - thankfully there was not an abundance of it. Still it did kind of take a good bit away from what would otherwise have been a more enjoyable final scene. Too bad! Anyway if you've a PS3, I heartily recommend the game - though you should rent it, it's not worth owning (unless you want to support the publisher, of course). It brings up something worth mentioning - games like this, they have little replay value if you're me. I mean, they spend all this time and energy and cash developing this wonderfully linear experience, after which I've no inclination to play through on a harder difficulty. There's extra treasures to find, but so what - collectathons are the bane of gaming's existence, well one of 'em. And of course the game doesn't feature any kind of branching storylines, so what else is left? All fo that is fine, but it hits me over the head - stick in some kind of multiplayer mode! Even if it is local, just do something. You've got this great engine, multi-purpose (adventure platforming, shooting w/ cover, and of course the drving/ski-doo sections) --> I wish they could have taken at least an extra six months and thrown some backend onto the thing. Or at least thrown another level of manpower at it. I know, being on the inside "that's a HUGE pain inthe ass, start of a new generation," etc etc - but it's something that's kind of taken for granted with all your Halos and Gears of Warses out there. If anything, it will make the game much more of a must-buy, instead of a might-rent. I suppose it will be sometime before that becomes more of the norm, yet - wait for your honest-to-godness multiplayer Mario and Zelda, you know? (Keep waiting)

Yeah, listen up Sony, I have a head full of half-decent ideas for you folks. Don't get me started on the Youtube thing, that could be PERFECT!

Anyway, I have a decent backlog of games to get to. Bioshock is sitting in my bag, I have played through a bit of it (I forget where i left off, I think the first big daddy sort of kicked my ass - or close to it). I haven't really played enough of the game to feel a huge pull from it. It is intriguing, but as I have mentioned earlier "I get the point." I guess I am kinda tired of hearing about it in the media though (enough already!) I mean, good to know they are making games like that, but still, go a little further, c'mon. Yeah, I say this in the same breath as championing Uncharted, which is about as cliche as one can get (did i mention, kinda too easy?), but in some ways that's really apples and oranges.

Busy times in Industry News, what with the latest madness being EA trying to gobble up Take2 (including Rockstar, of course). Sigh. Dominance War. This stuff perturbs me, I would already have gone on a decent rant about the Microsoft/Yahoo thing but this hits slightly closer to home. I don't know what to say, other than I am sort of apathetic about it. But mostly I dread the eventual "one console future" which is accelerating from the moves of these behemoths. Where does this leave the little guys, like.. me?

My next expectation, someone will make a grand bid for Bethesda. Maybe Epic or Valve as well. Next 12 months? 24?

Frontlines:Fuel of War released for 360 (and PC?) this past Monday. This was a title I came close to working on, but I turned it down for Project:Georgia instead. Of course with my morbid curiosity I have been keeping an eye on it, it looks like Call Of Duty did a sizable job of rewriting the FPS book as this game's out of the gate and looks a little weary - let's see how it handles. I am thinking another casualty of Unreal, for starters, but let's see if it picks up (hey, all is fair game until GTA IV hits the streets...soon). Good luck guys!

I have a weird feeling like I sort of hope GTA IV doesn't end up kicking too much ass - like, that it feels tired by now. Not my type of game, but the sandboxes never have been really.. and it's a genre I'd love to see get a major kicking-and-screaming overhaul, not just an aesthetic upgrade. I can't fault those guys too much, I mean Rockstar takes first place when it comes to following those games up with guaranteed quality. I just want to see the audience demand more. Something different, something interesting. I guess we have enough time in this whole generation to still be graphics whores, though..

Waiting on the mail. I have a Vectrex out there, also the Turbografx-CD (I believe the sought-after system card finally arrived, cost me a hundred clams plus shippin, owww!) Yeah and I don't even know if this thing will work properly. If it's not what I expect, i will sell it back and just go through the Xbox (hey, it's good for somethin').. but it'd be neat if it just worked the way I WANTED it to. Sometimes that actualy happens, somehow...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

off the charts

yeah, cheesy i know. So i have been playing Uncharted (PS3) the past few days. My initial impression of it (boring, me-too game) was a little raised higher after looking at the demo, as noted - anyway I borrowed the disc from work and have been playing thru it. i am not sure how far I am into the game (a couple of hours?), but I am definitely enjoying it - it is addicting! Certainly not what you'd call a groundbreaking game, by any stretch, but it is fun, the story is enjoyable to witness as it unfolds - and the graphics are downright GORGEOUS, man. I am sad to see that the title came out during such a busy season, and seems to have got lost in the hoopla. It's absolutely a deserving game. Sigh, if it had only released a whole year earlier, right?

I managed to finish off Portal over the weekend. Such an impressive game! Not usually my cup of tea, but this one hit the spot, that's for sure (there's a joke in there somewhere). Those folks did a marvelous job, I am tempted to download the primitive predecessor (Narbacular Drop - or whatever it is called!) I played around with the 2D flash version of the game today, it was an entertaining diversion as well.

Lots of games have come into my life lately, I have been on a massive ebay kick. I will list them as I go through them I suppose, but I am particularly interested in checking out the old Yakuza PS2 game that arrived a few days ago. Oh well, after Uncharted, I suppose. Of more important note, I tracked down a working (so they say!) Turbografx-CD player. It's in the mail, eventually. I payed more for it than I'd have liked, not too terribly much more but even so.. and I still need to get the proper system card (I have 2.0, but need 3.0 to play castlevania + etc). Those look a little pricey as well. We'll see. The good part is, i can likely sell it back for close to what I paid for it, if I ever decide to (well.. to a point? Maybe?) Also I finally caved and ponied up for a vectrex (hint: don't ebay while drunk!) Provided it's in good shape, I think that'll definitely be worth it. I like unique/weird things. One thing is for sure, my spree is over after that!

Friday, February 8, 2008

all is quiet

..on the videogame front. As it is a new year (well, just a little bit past...) I think i am going to try out a different format with this blog. I prefer to write only occasionally, and so when I do it turns into a long drawn-out semi-readable ramble. I think I will switch to shorter bursts of higher frequency. Let's see how it goes.

Not much is up in my Gaming Life.. is that an oxymoron? I somewhat regularly scour ebay for interesting deals, there's plenty of games out there that I wish to get my hands on (and so many of them are practically pennies cheap). Today I won an auction for Oddworld:Stranger's Wrath on Xbox for less than $10. Probably could have found it for half that price, I know! The series has never really tempted me too much (though it's got much acclaim), but I've heard much good spoken of this and as it's the studios' swan-song, I figured it could not hurt to have a look. Also I am stalking Metal Arms for Xbox (I have the PS2 port, but the "real" version feels much more worthy of a look) - I worked on that title, albeit very briefly. I want to pick up PS2 Yakuza as well, perhaps Xbox Dragon's Lair (I know, "whyyyyy?") Those Taito Memories discs would be cool too, I've not really looked for them yet. As there's a Wii in the house, there's plenty of Gamecube titles I would like to pursue. I could probably spend a lot less than $100 and get a nice haul and be done with it (I barely every played any Gamecube games - at all!), importantly I need to find that wireless Wavebird Controller. Those are tough to find, cheap - I might just chill out and get a regular GC wired controller to pass the time, until then I can't really play most GC games at all (not compatible with the Wiimote, and I haven't a classic controller - nor plans to buy one). High on my list is a Turbografx-CD, the actual player itself - the one I have is busted useless, and I'd love to be gaming with that thing! I love the Japanese CD-Rom games from that period, much more so than what we have now, really..

Not playing too much lately. We plugged in No More Heroes at the office, I might have to pick it up (to be supportive at least - that, and the game is hilarious and well-stylish). Still looks kind of boring though, where are the FUN games man? I am tempted to get my hands on Uncharted as well, I have spoke of it before and I think it's likely worthwhile - not really wanting to shell out for it, I think we have an office copy that I could sign up for. Still want to play Portal at some point..

Otherwise, it's just Rock Band. My girlfriend picked it up for me for my birthday (yah, I am spoiled!) It's just a fun party game, really. Usually only a singer, I have finally started messing with the drums (still haven't touched the guitar yet). It's fun, takes getting used to. It is fun to hit stuff, what can I say. Beyond playing the easy level, I can't hold my own - it still feels kind of weird. This game is amazing with the downloadable content, those guys are sitting on a goldmine and they know it. I am interested to see what else will come down the pipe. It is so funny to me how this has become some kind of a big cultural landmark, in some ways. Really funny... Otherwise, I downloaded Pixeljunk Monsters over on PS3. After looking at the demo of Pixeljunk Racers, I was pretty sure anything with that name attached to it would be horrid - but this game has got a lot of nice press, and they had it on a special sale (8 bucks I think) so, why not. Messed with it for a little while, I guess not long enough for it to "grab" me, but it wasn't horrid.. not yet.. I will give it some more time. My fave DL is still Pacman...!

Work is going alright, I told my boss I want to move over to the Aliens project when it's appropriate. I am still pretty psyched to get over there.. I have much to say about my current project as well (ohh.. I could start a separate blog all about that!) but as usual, NDA so I must keep my mouth shut.

The game scene is so mellow these days, quiet after the holidays. The world eagerly anticipates Smash Bros. and Wii Fit, at least - not much else on the horizon. PS3 Home? Does anybody care? I hear murmurs of 2008 being even wilder than 2007, but I would not believe that could be possible, no matter what! Last year was craziness. There's definitely more crazy times ahead, but I think we have a lot of room until it picks up. I say at least 2 years until things start truly lighting up again, but hey - prove me wrong!