Because I love to turn mental disorders into prose. Also Games.

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iPod Touch and Games

After a few months hard labor, I finally have enough cash set aside to purchase an iPhone!

Well, not really. I bought a Ipod Touch, henceforth referred to as “Touchi”.

I’ve had a good week to sample a large variety of apps and games, and I’ve gotta say: It’s the most convenient platform.

That said, it’s not without its inconveniences. Let’s just start with the general stuff and then move on to game specific examples.

We’ll start with the pros. The screen is nice and big, it’s very responsive, and it feels nice when its clean (I have to keep a cloth handy at all times because my fingers always seem to be dirtying the thing up). On top of that, I am still finding new games for agreeable prices (Free) every day I use it. Furthermore, the device itself allows for playing your own music over a lot of games, which I just think is a good feature.

Those are the good features of the system’s gaming capabilities. For the non-gaming stuff, go somewhere else.

The general cons of the system are minimal, but enough to piss me off. The biggest issue I have is control. Now, for games where the controls are just tap here, or rub here, it’s great. It’s when they put a control pad on the screen that I get pissed off. It just doesn’t work. My fingers move, and without the physical touching of an actual button, I have no idea whether or not my next press will swing my sword, take a step, or do fuck all. Thankfully, very few games I’m interested in use this. However, there’s one, and we’ll get to it later.

Ads. Now, I don’t mind free games for the price of having an ad bar here or there, but Words With Friends (A scrabble-like app, with a free, ad-supported version, and a paid, adless version) commits a grievous sin. It pops up with an ad after EVERY MOVE. Now, this is okay, when you pop a move every five minutes or so. But when you and your friend are playing together, it is the word-game equivalent of reloading your gun and finding out that you have to click “Next” on a pop up to chamber up the next round.

The last thing that gets on my nerves is that every other game has its own game-account system. There’s gamecenter, which comes default on the app, and many games use it to keep track of scores, achievements, etc. I would be fine with that, were it the only one. Instead, every game I download wants to be the next Xbox live with their little friends system and achievement tracking. Only NOBODY’S GOING TO USE THAT SHIT. I skip it every time, and then I find out that some features are denied to me unless I sign up? And then every time I want to log into said feature, I need to re-enter my name and password? Come on! I’m sure this will probably fall under nitpicking, but still! If you’re going to do something like that, at least make it a one-and-done feature, like I make an account and then other games just see “Oh, this guy’s touch has an account with us!”.

Seriously.

Okay, now that I’ve vented, let’s talk games.

First, the big one. Everyone’s talking about Angry Birds. Why? It doesn’t seem like something that would warrant the raving that it gets from an outside perspective, right? Well let me ask you something. You ever spend a couple hours playing a random browser game just because it was there and you were bored? That’s Angry Birds. You factor in portability, and the fact that more games come out every couple months, and you’ve got a recipe for success at ninety-nine cents a pop.

It’s your standard physics-catapult-tower-knock-down game, and there really isn’t much to say about it, other than you’ll understand why everyone keeps playing it once you play it for yourself.

Next is a bunch of games by a particular company. Optime Software seems to like making simple games that everyone plays, all for free. I originally downloaded a Sudoku app from them, and I spent a good couple hours messing with it before I decided to check out “Other Games” from the menu. Hoo boy. They have all the games I like to play. You have your few standard board games, chess, checkers, four-in-a-row. Games you play with someone else (I discovered their handiness when waiting with a family member for another family member). Then you have pen-and-paper games, like tic-tac-toe (Naughts and Crosses, for the only British member of our audience, you know who you are), box-in (At least that’s what I called it, they called it dots. Kudos, because I love this game.), hangman, too. They have hearts and war (Another kudos for that), some card games, and then a few other games you’ll have played elsewhere. Frankly, their games are free, mostly ad-free, and they’re the games you’ll play when you’ve got a bored sibling handy, or if you ever burn yourself out on everything else. So I recommend their lineup.

Next is a game I’ve only just started playing, but I love it to bits because it was exactly what I was expecting. WildFrontier is an RPG, and RPGs on the app store are a very mixed bag. I can never tell whether I’m getting a mobile MMO, a final fantasy knockoff, or some town-building sim when I see “Role Playing Game” in the description. This little game was what I wanted, and what I got was a mishmash of Zelda and your typical single-player MMORPG (Complete with little townsfolk and their golden “!”s). You run around on a field, swing your sword, kill bad guys, grab their innards (I haven’t seen an inventory limit yet), and return their bits to people for rewards. It’s short, fun, and you can pick it up and put it down at any time, really. One gripe about it, though. In-app purchases. I came across a store in it, and it sells things you NEED, like swords, and first-aid-kits, and they didn’t really appear to be high-class, either. But they were charging NINETY NINE BLOODY CENTS for each item! When I can buy a whole damn game with that kind of money, it boggles the mind how they can get away with it!

Other than that, there are a few physics puzzlers, a tilt-maze that kept me amused for an hour, lots of remade flash games, and tap tap tappity tap taps galore.

Let me say this. If you’ve been putting off your purchase of an iPhone or iPod Touch for reasons that you think you won’t use it a lot outside of music, put those fears out of your head. There is and will always be a handful of apps for you to amuse yourself with for hours on end. Enjoy.

(Now where’s my money, Steve Jobs?)

High in the Skyrim

I will not lie. I am excited for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

What I’m not excited for is the thought of some of the…less entertaining…aspects of the series staying in the game.

Bethesda has said they will be building a new engine for Skyrim, so I won’t go on about that. I’m just going to leave a list of suggestions and things I think would make for good changes to the game from the prior title, Oblivion.

  • More options for quests: Back when oblivion was on the verge of coming out, I remember reading a little mini-interview with a dev in GamePro. He said something along the lines of “A simple “Get the diamond from that guy” quest could be done any number of ways. Does he like you? Does he keep it with him wherever he goes? When does he work? When does he sleep? You could kill him and take it, obviously, or you could steal it from him after doing a little homework. Perhaps you could steal his food and see if he sells the diamond to eat, or convince him to part with it because he likes you so much.”
    Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, we get one or two options on a couple dozen quests, and the game flat out tells you which ones are which. Which brings me to my next point:
  • Assume your audience is smart enough to figure things out: Every single time anything happened, you got a prompt. Killed a target? Window pops up. Talk to someone important? “<Person> Said I should talk to <Other person>” comes along. It’s enough to drive a competent player insane. Sure, you could keep these on easier difficulties, or just have a journal that keeps track of everything WITHOUT telling you every miniscule detail. That way, when a player is stuck, they just consult it. If used with the prior option, the game would instantly get a massive boost in immersion.
  • Make certain guilds and quests more difficult to enter/obtain: Let’s face it. The only guild it should be easy to enter is the Fighter’s Guild. Why? Because it’ basically where anyone without any good skills goes (And they’re always looking for new recruits, if you’ve got the stones for it). The other guilds make a lot less sense for their recruitment policy. I walked into a Mage’s guild hall, heavy armor on, sword bloody, and asked to join. No entrance test, or anything. I was in it. I could use their facilities to my heart’s content. I knew THREE spells at the time. Seeing a bit of a problem? And the other two main guilds are just plain stupid about their recruitment. Okay, so maybe the recruiter in question “Sees potential in you”, sure. But then, why does the Grey Fox contact you for, say, picking up an apple in broad daylight in front of a pissed off guard? Hell, you can get drafted into the Thieves Guild for an offense completely unrelated to theiving! And the Dark Brotherhood? Really? I punch a man to death in his house, run from the guards, and you think I’m a “Skilled assassin”? What about all those highwaymen who I’ve WATCHED kill guards and such? Are they in the Dark Brotherhood? No, they’re not. Make your guilds a little more sensible, Bethesda.
  • More combat flexibility: And I’m not just talking about the dual wielding mechanic announced already. I mean give us more combat options. I think a stab in an NPC’s eye should be an automatic fight win, regardless. It takes skill to do that, so it should kill. Same goes for arrows in unprotected heads. And for god’s sake, make Hand-to-hand more useful! I know only a few people used it because it was only really anything good at high levels, and by then you had swords that would light a man on fire and turn his piss into liquid gold after he emptied his bowels in fear of you. I think it should be the opposite. It should be MORE useful than unenchanted weaponry at the start, and then stay pretty useful, only really losing it’s use against really strong enemies. That way, a barefisted kung-fu master would be just as fun to play as a walking magical tank of a knight. Oh, and give us options to knock people out. That way, we can do better as thieves without the risk of killing people. Nothing fancy, just the option for when a target’s health/fatigue/etc drops below a certain amount, and you whack them with something blunt, down they go. Honestly, without sneaking, it’d be just as difficult as a normal fight, and then people who WANT to kill others can do so, or just leave the body.
  • Make the world more alive: Yeah, it’s hard to top Oblivion in that regard, but I still didn’t get that “Living world” feel. I would see NPC’s all grouped around and stuff, but for a Capital City, it sure was empty. I feel like there should have been easily two or three times the amount of people in the cities I visited. Outside of the cities, I feel like I should have met more people on their way. And the amount of animals in the game was just pathetic. Okay, discounting fictional things, we had wolves, deer, lions, bears. Never once did I see any birds, squirrels, rodents (Regular sized ones, mind you). I’m lead to believe that all this will be fixed in the next game, but I’m going to be skeptical.
  • For Gods’ sake, keep your modding community happy: Face it, once a PC player got “Bored” with Oblivion, they stopped. The only way I know to stave off this boredom was new content. Along comes a truckload of mods. There are mods to add topless women, to turn whole men into topless men (Via sharp things), ones that add dozens of weapons, ones that add entire new worlds, and mods that turn the game into other games. Skyrim announced that the toolkits will be available to mod Skyrim. “Good.” I say. “Don’t mess it up.” I add, with a stern look. If something happens with those tools, there will be hell to pay for you.

 

With that, I can say these are the major concerns of mine regarding the upcoming Elder Scrolls game. I want it, and I want it bad. Just dreaming of these things here coming true is enough to give me a fangasm, and my wallet a forceful bowel ejection.

Riders on the (Bullet)storm

This game has amazed me. It isn’t the fact that any number of creative ways you kill people has already been thought of by a developer, nor is it the fact that all of the guns play like they were made specifically to induce gleeful, child-like giggling. Even Steve Blum’s sailor mouth and hilarious banter with the other characters isn’t what made my jaw drop.

No, the thing that impresses me most about this game is that it is exactly as much fun as all the hype and marketing made it out to be.

Namely: Incredibly effing fun.

The game starts you out slow and easy, with a simple interactive cutscene to show you the basics (While Greyson Hunt, your character, is drunk off his ass). The game sets you up as bad guys, to rebels with a cause to just plain assholes all in the first chapter. Greyson doesn’t care about anything other than his crew, his booze, and his revenge towards General Serrano, a man he used to take orders from until he found out that they weren’t playing ball for the good guys. So Grey and his crew defect and run off to play Space Pirates for a decade or so.

Cue the start of the game. Grey’s drunken, murderous vendetta against Serrano gets 2.5 members of his crew killed, and the remaining half man gets made into a psychopathic AI, hellbent on surviving, with or without Greyson. Along the way, you meet Trishka, your typical action-girl, go through a few plot twists, and end up getting closer and closer to the most profane villain you’ve ever seen. Seriously. Serrano’s a drill instructor who’s only ever read one book: Dictionary of insults, unabridged.

But enough rambling about the story, you wanna hear about the gameplay! All the hundreds of ways you can kill those mutated freaks? For every thought you have on how to shoot a man to death in this game, you have a dozen ways to kill them. Kick them to death? Yawn. Kick them into the air, shoot them? Pshh. Kick them into the air, leash them down to you, smack them with a pair of grenades on a chain, kick them into a cactus and watch them blow up their friends? Now you’re talkin’!

You get about eight guns to choose from. This is a good number. What ISN’T a good number is the amount you can hold at one time. Three. Tres. Two plus one. And that one, your standard-issue PMC (That’s PeaceMaker Carbine) HAS to be on you at all times. Granted, the ammo for it’s everywhere, but still.

Back to the guns. You got ones that explode, ones that tie people up, ones that bounce, pop heads off, drill people to walls, set them on fire, etc etc. And each gun has a charge  that you can unlock (Think of it as a more-powerful alternate fire) after a certain point in the game. However, while acquiring weapons (Coming across them once and then being able to add them to your arsenal after a one-time purchase) makes plenty of sense, unlocking the charges is arbitrary. You’re likely to have found a new gun or two by the time you unlock the charge for one weapon. The effects are awesome, but you can only have up to nine charges per weapon, which requires a large amount of points to unlock everything to that point.

And the points are another thing. They are fun, quirky, and their names will make you giggle like an immature grade-schooler. Shoot a man in the ass? Rear Entry. In the throat? Gag reflex. Kick them onto a cactus (Yes I’m going to keep mentioning this, because there are many, many places to do this)? Pricker. Points will accumulate fast enough to keep you able to restock your ammo and charges whenever you find one of the “Dropshops” that you have to access. They’re placed fairly well along your route, generally not leaving you hungering for ammo. I only experienced one point in the game where I had no ammo whatsoever, and even then it was for less than five or ten minutes. The prices in the shops seem a bit steep sometimes for the quantities of ammo you’re getting for them, and more often than not, you will blow your entire score and still be just a few clips shy of comfortable. Late in the game, though, this isn’t much of an issue.

Greyson isn’t a pushover without his guns, either. He’s no prize boxer, but he’s got a mean kick to put Duke Nukem’s boots to shame. Also in his repetoire is a leash that can be used to manipulate the environment (Such as yanking a weak structure down to pass) or manipulate his enemies (To their death). He also has a slide that gets rediculous distance on it, before nailing whoever happened to be at the end of it into the sky. It is by far the most fun you’ll ever have on your ass in any game, ever. (Driving sims notwithstanding). Your options in combat are rarely limited, and this game is forgiving on all but the hardest difficulties. In a standard first-person shooter affair, getting careless would mean sticking your head too far out and getting it shot off. In Bulletstorm, getting careless means having stood in the way of a minigun-weilding armored psychopath for about fifteen seconds. Or catching five or six explosives with your face. Your body armor seems to come from the same manufacturers of Serious Sam T-Shirts, because it sure ain’t standard issue.

Even the toughest enemies in the game will only give you a couple minutes of trouble. I found myself slightly disappointed at a couple of sections, but my disappointment rarely lasted. Being so ungodly powerful as you are, you will probably only die a dozen times or so over the course of the game, and that’s if you play it like a nutjob. If you stick to cover and shoot at exposed enemies, you may as well be playing on god mode for how many times you’ll die. But then again, playing this like oh, say, Call of Duty would be entirely defeating the point of playing this game.

There are a few issues. I had to reinstall this numerous times to get it to work, and there are a few bugs that plagued me. The largest one occurred during the final mission, where I had died, but the game didn’t seem to recognize it. So I kept running around with a bloody screen, got all the way to the end, started the cutscene, and then the game promptly froze near the end of it. I had to restart the chapter, but it was still a large bug. Another one that bugged me was that windows didn’t shatter properly. Namely, they cracked, and then they did nothing. It took me a couple minutes to figure out that I had to walk through a pane of glass that was severely cracked, but didn’t have any visible holes. It didn’t have any after I walked through it, as well. These, a few places where I got stuck (None of which I couldn’t get out of) and one event which didn’t trigger until I reloaded a checkpoint were all the bugs I found.

All in all, I can recommend this game to anybody who has a taste for varied weapons and a stomach for gore, as well as a penchant for over-the-top humor. Be warned, however, it might turn you into a rapist.

I have obtained Bullestorm

I am determined to finish it before I review it.
In the mean time, check out my barely coherent train of internet thought at http://rawrderpandblarg.tumblr.com

If you can’t outsmart one boolet…how about a storm?

I have acquired a fully payed for Bulletstorm preorder. Expect a review come  the 22nd.

This I promise you.

Mission begins in 30 seconds…I mean hours.

I know I’ve been a lazy bastard and not updated in…two months? I don’t know how long it’s been. I lack a device to tell me so and I can’t be bothered to look at the post date of the previous post. Post.

Basically, I’ve been playing games and not thinking about them as much. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been having more fun, or just plain dumbing down for a short period of time, but I really just don’t want to write.

Mostly on my list of currently played games, from most to least is:

  1. Minecraft
  2. Garry’s Mod
  3. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
  4. Magicka (But that’s more recent than the others)

I’ve been trying to get some more use from my Nintendo products, but the games I want to play (Namely Smash Brothers: Brawl And Metroid: Other M) are just plain not working because of my shitty first-gen Wii’s dual-layed bullshit problem.

Not to mention that there’s an upcoming title by the name of Bulletstorm that I want, want, WANT, so I’ve been minorly snacking on Painkiller. I don’t play it more, though, because it lacks a windowed mode, and I’ve been so spoiled that I don’t want to play it without one.

I can’t promise posts for a while, but I’ll probably update occasionally. Until then, know this:

  • Minecraft good
  • Garrysmod okay
  • Golden Sun Interesting
  • Magicka what the fuck that rock exploded that goblin lololol.

Later.

It’s hard out there for a gamer

Not really. It only seems that way for us.

There’s a constant stream of new games coming in (Well, not CONSTANT, but enough to easily overwhelm), and every one would probably require 30+ hours to get to the end. But when does playing games become more work than fun?

When my creativity in play starts to get stifled, that’s usually the start of it for me. Take MMORPGs, for example. I LIKE them, but I never seem to be able to keep my interest for long.

Another example: Call of Duty. That game contains volatile amounts of fun, but it’s a lot of work between the funsplosions.

Examples like that make me think that many games are more about presentation than fun. It’s like going to that new hotdog stand, but not because the food’s good. You’re going there because there’s a one-legged guy doing handstands while he prepares your food. That’s how I feel about call of duty. All flash, and just enough substance to cloud your brain for an hour.

I’m beginning to theorize that the amount of fun you’ll have in a game is paramount to the amount of fun that the developers had making it. I bet Valve spent a lot of time playing TF2 before its initial release, and for each subsequent update, started outsourcing the playing to other testers. That’s a pretty good reason why it’s on a steady decline (A shallow one, but a decline nonetheless). Another game I bet the developers had tons of fun playing is Red Faction: Guerilla. You make buildings go boom hurr hurr hurr. Seems like a pretty damn good recipe for fun to me. I bet the Dead Rising team had a lot of fun, too, but I didn’t get to that game yet.

On the other end of the spectrum, which I’ll only dip my toes in for a moment, is the challenge-o-philes. Your Super Meatboys and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s. Those games are fun in an entirely different way. The kind you get AFTER you finish playing. Sure, there’s also plenty of charm in their “I can’t believe that worked/just happened” moments, but they get their appeal from nail-biting frustration after a grenade lands behind you or you just barely nick a set of deathspikes. They implore you to succeed.

There’s plenty of games coming soon that look like the dev team had tons-o-fun on. Bulletstorm, definitely. If you look at how vocal the devs are, they’ve got all the attitude of someone who just did something awesome and is making you watch it or else. Those guys look like the kind of kids who had fun watching you build a sandcastle so they could test out their new catapult.

Monster Tale looks like the devs wanted to make a fun thing out of all the toys sitting in their old toybox, and then they got caught up playing pretend with dolls and action figures.

The way I figure it, developers need to make sure that if they want to make something epic (Which the ALL do), they need to make sure that the epicness isn’t put before the fun of getting to it.

Of course, all of this is building up to why I can’t seem to find any fun games to play lately. I’m going to go see about Painkiller, the game from the devs of Bulletstorm. :D