Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nostalgia Blindness

During the short time I have been making the Retro Review series, I have discovered that people are willing to forgive a lot of faults in old games. "It was good for its time, they say, you're being too harsh on it."
"Good for its time" is not necessarily a compliment. There was a time, after all, that covered wagons were the preferred method of long distance transportation. Was it a step in the overall improvement for the technology? Yes. Is it an efficient form of transportation compared to airplanes? Of course not.
A truly good game should not need excuses for it's faults. Classics are those we can play, even today with all of the advancement games have made, and say they hold up under scrutiny.
I'm not going to treat nostalgic games better simply because they are older. They have to live up to the same standards as all other games.
***Let's Play Sunday has been delayed due to Internet issues. Sorry for the inconvenience.***

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In The News: AI Designes an Entire Video Game

Procedural generation is nothing new in games.  Minecraft uses AI to generate the game world for the player to mess around in, and games such as Left 4 Dead use AI to place enemies.  Both of these systems follow certain parameters and work from there.  What if you could develop an entire game from scratch using this model?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Portal Live Action Short Film

Hello everyone. Today we're going to take a break from the more serious discussion on games and turn to something that's just a bit interesting.

Here is a live action short film dedicated to Portal on Youtube:

It's not a bad little video, but as someone who has played a fair share of Portal, an important aspect is missing.  Yes, GLaDOS and her sarcastic robotic personality are missing from this production.  In fact, almost no spoken dialogue takes place in the whole film.  Some of the soldiers have generic "STOP" sorts of things to say but other than that nothing.

I would recommend it.  A fan of Portal will most likely get some enjoyment out of it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Retro Review: Sonic 3 Part 1

Time for some serious nostalgia!  I bet most of you can remember this game from your childhood.  Let's take a nice, close look at this one to see what makes it tick.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This is Just My Opinion...

Over time, and especially in Internet culture, the idea of an “opinion” has been getting out of hand.  Nearly everyone in a discussion feels compelled to preface or conclude their argument with “in my honest opinion,” and this problem is beginning to destroy true discussion.  Any argument can be essentially ended by dismissing the opponent’s argument as simply their opinion.  What does any of this have to do with Video Games?  Well, critiquing them, of course.

Friday, March 2, 2012

VLog: Columbine RPG

Yesterday, I posted a review of Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

After examining some of the buzz surrounding this game online, I decided to give my candid, unscripted thoughts on it.  What do I think of it?  Find out here.

Warning:  Occasional Harsh Language

In The News: New Smithsonian Exhibit to Feature Video Games

Are video games an art form?  Well, the Smithsonian seems to think so.  On March 16, the museum will open a new exhibit focusing on the growth of video games as an art form, where they’ve been, and where they are now.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Controversy Corner: Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

In this new series, I'm going to set out to explore the world of controversial video games.  People are always saying games are a huge problem, so let's see the absolute worst the gaming community has to offer.

This week:  Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lower Pleasures

Society’s not quite sure what to do with video games yet.  Questions still remain on what effect they have on the human brain among many things.  As they have become more prominent, games have entered into many discussions.  More often than not, they are relegated the category of “a waste of time.”  A discussion on utilitarianism I had recently would call them lower pleasures, that is, something that does promote happiness, but must be subordinated to other, more noble pursuits such as poetry.  Such a view could only be founded in ignorance, and this article will highlight two notable counterpoints to this belief.
***Spoilers for Bioshock Follow***

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Makes Multiplayer Fun?

Your average college male probably spends ten times more time playing Call of Duty or Halo than he does on his studies.  For some reason, all that dull stimulation of reading just does not appeal to them over the frantic, fast paced electronic world that video games can provide for them.  What are they even doing in these games that takes up so much time?  Multiplayer, of course.  Hours upon hours are devoted to capturing a flag, planting some C4, or just enacting genocide on their fellow man (or aliens, as the case may be).  How can they spend all this time doing what pretty much amounts to the same thing over and over?  As I’ve played games, two distinct types of multiplayer experiences have become apparent.  Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Let's Play Sunday: Yoshi's Island Part 2

The second leg of Yoshi's journey to save baby Luigi!  Click "Read More" for Parts 2 and 3.
Missed the first installment?  Go here!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In The News: California Spends $1.8 Million Fighting Violent Games

As it turns out, going against the freedom of speech can have a pretty hefty price tag.  For those of you who are unaware, California put a law in place back in 2005 preventing the sale of "violent" video games to minors.  Since then, a legal battle has been raging over whether or not the law is constitutional from a First Amendment perspective.  After being rejected by a number of lower courts, the law came before the Supreme Court last year.  In the end, it was struck down by the highest court in the land.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Retro Review: I Wanna Be the Guy

My first video in a new series:  Retro Review.

In this series, we'll take a look back at some games of the past.  Will they hold up?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Story Vs. Cinematic in Video Games

A recent article (ok, rather recent anyway) on has David Jaffe, creator of God of War, railing against story in games.  Citing other games he has created, Jaffe looks back on his career wishing that he had not valued story so much in many of his games.  Story, he says, adds a large technological burden on the developer and, as a result, the mechanical qualities of the game diminish rapidly.  The desire within the game industry to make games more like films is heavily to blame for the loss of focus on game mechanics and has caused some serious problems.  Well, is he right?  And who is anyone to argue with such a prominent member of the industry?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Level Design in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Let's take a look at Skyward Sword in my first ever game analysis video!  Someone cue the awesome music and confetti.

A comparison between two areas in Skyward Sword:  Faron Woods and Eldin Volcano.
Filmed somewhere in the grainy darkness.

In The News: Improve Your Eyesight by Shooting Foreigners

A recent article on The Escapist website offers some scientific evidence that video games may actually be good for your eyesight in certain situations.  Of course, this goes against much long-held wisdom that staring at a screen for hours on end is bad for your eyes. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Play Sunday: Yoshi's Island Part 1

Alright everyone, time to START A NEW TRADITION!
*cricket chirps*

Well anyway, every Sunday I'm going to put up a new video of me playing through a game of my choice, making commentary as I go.  For those of you who have been under a rock, this is called a "let's play."

We're gonna start off with one of the best games ever, Yoshi's Island.  Disagree?  Go lick a wall, since you obviously have no taste. 

Gather round and be mystified by my lack of humor!

Any input to help me improve these videos will be greatly appreciated. 

Will Yoshi be able to save baby Luigi?  Will I continue to be this horribly unfunny? Does movie trailer voice come through in text? Find out next week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Examining The Darkness II Demo

Over the past couple of weeks I have been assaulted from all sides of the Internet by an ad for The Darkness II.  Under most circumstances, I wouldn’t have paid this game any attention since I normally doze off during those thirty second ads before videos, but this time was a bit different.  My roommate had noticed this game and said he thought it looked cool.  I asked him what kind of game it was and, of course, he couldn’t tell me.  The trailer forwarded in those brief ads contains no gameplay, so it’s hard to tell what you’re getting into.  Out of curiosity I downloaded the demo (yeah, just the demo.  I’m a poor college student) to see what all the fuss was about.

Story Time

Story in video games is quite the hot topic (no, not the store).  People stand on both sides of the debate.  Some think story is incredibly important aspect of a video game.  Meanwhile, others don’t want all of those complicated words getting in the way of their virtual genocide quest.  Who’s right, then?  Can games be good without a story?  Does a story actually detract from a game?