Showing 11 - 20 of 48 posts found matching keyword: video games
Christmas came early this year.
I'm going to be busy for awhile.
A few years ago (2008 or 2009), I played Assassin's Creed on the Xbox 360. The experience was so unsatisfying (repetitive play, no closure to the story) that I vowed to never again play anything in the Assassin's Creed family of games (of which there have now been 15!) or anything produced by the Ubisoft studio. (Ubisoft had already been on thin ice with me after butchering a handful of Batman games and the sequels to Prince of Persia.)
Fast forward to this past summer when Microsoft began their "Games with Gold" program, giving free games to Xbox Live Gold Members each month. I feel compelled to play those games in order to maximize the return on my Xbox Live subscription. You can probably see where this is going. One of the free games was Assassin's Creed II.
Despite my misgivings, I downloaded the game and played it for awhile. It's more of the same. A fun set of mechanics stretched a little too thin and covered with a varnish of moronic conspiracy theory hogwash. Enjoyable enough for the price I paid. (I also get a kick out of the fact that this French-produced video game slanders Italians as a sex-obsessed bunch of hypocrites. It's good to know that American game developers aren't the only ones with xenophobic and sexist tendencies.)
I'd played the game for maybe 20 hours and was looking forward to some potential story closure in the near future. Maybe the hours invested years ago on Assassin's Creed would be payed off. (Would Kristen Bell and the murderous protagonist ever get it on?) Then, for no apparent reason, the game deleted my save file. Poof. All gone. Like it never even existed. No closure for Walter.
Fool me twice, shame on me, I suppose, but that was the last straw, Ubisoft. I will never buy one of your games again. I'm sure you don't care about just one gamer like me, but I'm not writing this for you. I'm writing this for me, to remind me the next time I even consider buying one of your games that it won't be worth the cost. Your games are just one more hassle I don't need in my life.
I just finished playing Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. To say the game was a little buggy is an insult to bugs. Batman fell through the floor, Robin got caught on stair railings, citizens walked on air, Lego pips spawned out of place... there was no shortage of small problems. Fortunately, there was this guy to make it all worth playing:
The game gives you access to Superman relatively early, and it becomes quickly apparent that the game designers consider Batman and Superman not to be in the same Super Hero weight class. Batman has a car; Superman flies. Batman has a batarang; Superman has freeze breath. Batman has a stealth suit; Superman burns things with his eyes. Superman even builds Lego constructs at super speed! Game, set, and match to Superman.
At first I felt bad for Batman, made a second-class citizen in his own game. Eventually the game takes away Superman's powers (with Lego Kryptonite!) and forces a weakened Superman to do things that only Superman can do, like prop up damaged buildings and knock giant robots out of the sky. This leaves you to play as Batman doing what Batman does best, beating up Lego Joker henchmen. Hooray?
Next time, I suggest they cut out the dead weight and give Superman his own Lego game. I'm sure Lego Batman has better things to do with his time than play second fiddle, anyway.
After playing about 15 hours of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, my Xbox 360 hard drive died. The game is DLC ("DownLoadable Content") and requires over a gigabyte of hard drive space to play. No hard drive, no Gay Tony. All progress lost. Damn it.
The Xbox 360 drives have a 12 month warranty. That means I must have bought that drive on... yep. I still have the receipt right here: February 10, 2012. Like clockwork. I should probably be pleased I squeezed an extra month out of it.
I can't say I didn't get my money's worth. I play more than 20 hours of games a week on the Xbox. In the past year, that hard drive stored saves (and in many cases whole discs worth of game data) for 24 games other than Gay Tony, better than 2 per month!
- Alan Wake
- Alice: Madness Returns
- Batman: Arkham City
- American Magee's Alice
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
- The First Templar
- Gears of War 3
- L.A. Noire
- Modern Warfare 2
- Portal 2
- Record of Agarest War
- Star Wars: Force Unleashed II
- Tomb Raider: Legend
- Trials HD
- Tropico 4
- Two Worlds II
- X-Men: Destiny
(The games in bold above are the ones I was planning on playing some more. Losing my saves for Record of Agarest War is the only one that really hurts. That's an 80+ hour game, easy, that I was already nearly 20 hours or more into. I don't know if I have it in me to start it over. Maybe later.)
Grand Theft Auto is the franchise that got me to buy a PS2 way back in 2001. I have no qualms about buying a new hard drive to play it some more. Look out, Gay Tony; I'm coming for you!
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While there was plenty of buzz this year about the DC relaunch of Batman and Detective Comics, the Batman news that has really broken the internet apart is the pending release of Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. The biggest buzz for the game concerns the excitement that players can now be Catwoman. I remember Halle Berry's Catwoman, and I want no part of that.
However, I have a friend -- for the sake of maintaining his anonymity, we will call him Chris -- who has mentioned to me three times in the past month that he is counting the days until the game is released (three weeks from today). Because Chris is a friend, I'm declaring this a testament to the high quality of Batman: Arkham Asylum and not to the dismal state of Chris' life. If a 40-year old man can be motivated to create a countdown clock for the release of a video game, maybe it's a video game I should consider playing. Once I can find a cheap, used copy, of course.
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Call me a misogynist if you will: I walked out of a GameStop video game store today because of the three employees working, 2 of them were females. I don't mind equal rights for the fairer sex. If those girls want to work in a shitty customer service job, that's fine by me. But they should stick to the jobs in their domain like cosmetics counters, flight attendance, or hooking. Leave the manly work of selling video games to the men who play them, ladies.
I am aware that the Entertainment Software Association claims that 40 percent of American video gamers are women. But are we really going to believe the trade association for the video game industry? They also say that the average gamer is 34 years old and has been playing video games for 12 years. I'm 34 years old and have been playing video games since I was 7! So that proves that their data is faulty. Besides, compared to the US government's claims that women account for greater than half of all Americans, 40% doesn't look like such a big number, does it?
Girls, you can keep your browser-based Bejeweled and Farmville and any other game that you can play with your 3-inch long press-on nails. And if you must have a PS3 to play your adorable Little Big Planet between trips to the mall, I'll not hold a grudge. Those aren't really games, anyway. Meanwhile, if you can stop talking on the phone long enough to remember to stay out of my GameStop, I'll promise to stay out of someplace you like to go. Like, say, hair salons. Or kitchens. Deal?
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Blizzard, publisher of the "more than famous" World of Warcraft video game, has had trouble in the past week selling their new Celestial Steed. Their trouble, it seems, is that everyone wants one. So many people have tried to buy the Steed that the Blizzard shopping carts have had to put people into ques to handle pacing for their servers. Some reports indicate that Blizzard is making as much as $500,000 per hour on this little bit of ephemera.
This boggles my mind. These steeds cost $25 in real, actual, U.S. government-backed money for use in a virtual world. I understand that entertainment has value, but compare that cost against going to the movies: for $10, you'll get 2 hours of entertainment. Can Blizzard's new beast of burden really entertain someone for 5 hours? Sure, it virtually "flies" (insomuch as anything displayed on your heavier than air video monitor can be said to fly), but only as fast as your skill makes it go. To get the most from your Steed, you'll have to spend even more time practicing riding it. Figuring a recurring monthly fee for server access ($14.99) and the actual time spent playing (at $7.75 Federal Minimum Wage for, let's say, 20 hours per week), that's an equivalent expense of about $8 per hundreds of man hours of practice and farming time to get the most from your imaginary horse after you've already wasted time in a virtual line to pony up the real cash. No matter how I slice it, this is a terrible deal: wasting money to waste time.
Paying for play in a virtual world is one thing. But standing in line to pay to accessorize that world, that's something else. Something stupid. Maybe I'm just a cheap curmudgeon, but maybe the world really is full of gullible fools with more money than brains.
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An update to some previous blog entries:
First things first. On my last post, I covered the Scripps Howard celebrity Super Bowl poll. And now that the game is over (damn you, Saints!), it should be pointed out that the celeb who picked closest was Joe Mantegna, who predicted Saints, 28-17. Outperforming a majority of the celebs were video game simulations run by newfangled Madden 10 and classic Tecmo Super Bowl, both of which had forecast a Saints win. So keep in mind that the next time you need to turn to someone to advice, you'd be better off talking to a computer screen than your average celebrity.
On December 17, 2008, I mentioned that New York was planning to tax soda consumption. It failed to pass. According to the Houston Chronicle, a similar fate has just quietly befallen a federal measure with the same intent. Sure, raising taxes on an item to increase revenue and decrease health risks sounds good, but who really wants to pay an extra 15 cents per can of soda when they could instead pay higher income taxes? No one I know, that's for sure.
And speaking of predictions, last week I noted two separate incidents of single-vehicle accidents on the same stretch of road. Now another mysterious accident claimed the life of a third person, who was found mauled in the middle of that road. Police have no clues about the third death in three weeks on Newnan Crossing Bypass, but are guessing hit-and-run at 4AM in the morning. You heard it here first, people. Grab your .30-30s, the Great Deer Uprising of 2010 continues.
NES Legend of Zelda + sex jokes = funny. Don't agree? Go away. You're reading the wrong blog.
If you haven't seen the Legend of Neil, go to Effing Funny and watch it. Now. I'd embed it here, but the Atom Films embed is a little squirrelly, and I'm not nuts about embedding auto-playing video. The only person who should get to yell at my blog readers is me. (And, yes, I did intentionally use the words "squirrelly" and "nuts" in that earlier sentence.)
If Madden NFL 10 is college calculus, Batman: Arkham Asylum is kindergarten finger painting.
To be fair, I've only played the demo. But to complete the demo, I only needed one button on my controller. Apparently anyone can be Batman, so long as they have an "X" button. This is the sort of behavior that I would expect from a Superman game. (Really, if you could shoot laser beams from your eyes, would it really matter if you had any other powers?) Run, punch. Sneak, punch. Drop from the ceiling, punch. While I'm not really expecting a solve-it-yourself Agatha Christie mystery in a video game, I would've like to have seen the World's Greatest Detective featured in something other than an upgraded River City Ransom.
Maybe I could forgive even this if I thought the game looked good. But a Batman wearing plate armor, Joker wearing makeup, Harley Quinn dressed as a circus slut, and a Jim Gordon who has been moonlighting as a body builder are hardly my idea of good design. (It's better than the designs in last year's hideous Mortal Kombat vs. The DC Universe, but then everyone involved with that game should have been subjected to Johnny Cage's Ball Breaker.) And Batman has pupils. Why, oh why, does arcade Batman have pupils? It's not like he's looking at anything.
Despite all of this, it may still be the best Batman game ever. That's damning with weak praise, indeed.