Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Challenges in Gaming

Appropriate challenge is something many game developers try their hand at, and fail harder than a DVD rewinder.

There are two kinds of challenging gameplay. There's the kind where after completion you take a minute to bask in the knowledge that your superior skill and reflexes helped you triumph through the section, and then there's the kind where after countless attempts, being foiled not only by bad design but by bugs and glitches as well, you finally manage through sheer fucking repetition and luck, and take a moment to go online and find the bastard that was responsible for the section, and then entertain thoughts of doing something terrible to them.

It had been a while since I experienced this kind of frustration, as it seems to be less common in the good games of this gen than the good games of last gen. But while playing through the Jak collection this weekend I came face to face with the second example. Jak II's vehicle section are among some of the worst in gaming history. If you aren't playing against an AI that simply doesn't have to follow the same rules as you do, then you're getting stuck on the world geometry, or having your vehicle blow up because you ran into a fly, or the game just flat out refuses to accept your victory. The vehicles in this game have all the structural integrity of plastic beer cup, and all the handling and finesse of a bicycle with two inch handle bars.

Not only is the racing in this game atrocious, but they decided to make it the main focus of the gameplay, which is like making a celibate monk director for your porn flick. All but 3 races in the entire game take place in the city streets, which happen to be populated by droves of mindless pedestrians on the ground, and the hover zone is full of the aforementioned flying plastic beer cups. But that's only half of it. The ground is also littered with Krimson (Because Mortal Kombat has shown us that cool people replace Cs with Ks) Guards, which will enter high alert if they so much as feel the breeze coming off your car as you pass by. You then get to contend not only with the mobile obstacle course that is the pedestrians, but also an entire fleet of hover bikes with mounted guns, hover APCs with mounted guns, and foot soldiers carrying assault blasters and guns that shoot arcing electricity.

Jak 3 slightly improves upon this issue by giving you slightly better ground based vehicles and dumping you in the middle of the desert. But Naughty dog immediately fucks that up by making sure you can't drive for two seconds without 5 bandit vehicles spawning all around you, and this continues for as long as you're in your dune buggie.

You know, for a games with such tight platforming it seems that they got the rest of their ideas for gameplay for the inebriated, spliffed up rejects of Insomniac and Rockstar. Admittedly the gunplay isn't nearly as bad as the driving, but that's like saying that your amputated arm doesn't bother you as much as your terminal bowl cancer...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day, tossers. If you're with that special someone today, be sure to treat them well, and after you get them blind drunk, remember, there's only one sure way to avoid pregnancy, and that's anal sex;)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just out of curiosity ...

Does anyone actually fucking read this blog? I know I don't exactly offer much except bitterness and rants, but sometimes I wonder if the only hits I get are from people who are still being directed to this site while looking for anime and shit. I suppose I just want to know if I'm only spinning my wheels, or if anyone walks away from a post here feeling even slightly enlightened or trolled. (inb4 blogging is at its core spinning your wheels)

There should be a poll directly above this post, so vote if you are so inclined.

Also, 8008 hits. Symmetry at its finest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Morons. We know they are all around us. But sometimes they poke their heads out of their basements just long enough to make a complete ass of them selves before returning to languish in their subterranean hovels.

This is an post made by some dumb fuck called Skeletal-Minion, who was the focus of this week's "Speak Up" column on Kotaku. He writes:

I'm so sick of seeing people who buy used games bitching, most recently about Kingdoms of Amalur providing some extra content for people who buy a new copy.

You don't like Online Passes? You want the "choice" to be able to buy the game used (and I can't even believe I'm actually saying that, as if the option to buy used was completely removed, when it obviously hasn't)?
Fine then. DON'T FUCKING BUY IT, you entitled, self-centered pricks. 38 Studios and every other company who implements an online pass don't have to listen to a fucking word of your whining. When you decide to be cheap and save a few dollars by buying used—and yes, it boils down to you being CHEAP, since if you can't afford to skip one fucking value meal to make up the $5 difference between a new and used copy, you obviously don't have the extra money to waste on the game period and shouldn't be buying it in the first place—those same developers and publishers you're crying a river to are making $0 off you. To paraphrase Penny Arcade, "You are no longer their customer, you're a customer of Gamestop."

I know you people who are actually upset over this think the gaming industry should be a magical fantasy land where everything is sold below cost, all DLC is free, and games are supported indefinitely, but guess what? You know those people making all the great games you've enjoyed since you discovered the hobby? This is their JOB. That's right, MAKING GAMES is what they do to put bread on the table. People look at big names in the industry like Bobby Kotick and assume anyone and everyone remotely related to gaming is some greedy bastard who's already filthy rich, and end up thinking the following: "They could easily afford to lower the price on this DLC/include that extra mode they cut/keep updating the game forever, they just don't want to!" Newsflash: big names in the industry are rich BECAUSE THEY'RE BIG NAMES.

Bobby Kotick is a damn CEO, of course he's rolling in cash. But while you were making that moronic assumption, THOUSANDS of programmers, artists, writers, modelers, musicians, etc. were making a fraction of what someone like Kotick makes while absolutely working their asses off making the games you enjoy (and they do work VERY hard, just look at what they have to put up with during the "crunch time" right before a title's release). Since the gaming industry is a business, guess what happens when a game doesn't turn a profit? Layoffs. Layoffs that impact the families and lives of all those people I just mentioned (Kotaku just posted a huge list of recently shut down studios if you want evidence of this). There are several things that can cause a game to not be profitable: poor release climate, poor marketing, over budgeting, poor strategic decisions (e.g., releasing a clearly multiplayer focused title with no online play or releasing a game on a system with a different demographic than your target), piracy, or even the game being flat out bad.

Regardless of how badly you want to penny pinch, the used games market is one of those causes. If online passes can help eliminate that and keep the developers I like around to make more of the games I like, I'm all for it.

"WAAAAAAH, EVEN THOUGH I STILL HAVE THE OPTIONS TO, I DON'T WANT TO BUY IT USED SINCE I'LL MISS OUT ON SOME CONTENT! :(" Bitch, baby, bitch. What are you going to do, not give them your money TWICE?

Being the kind of person I am, I just couldn't resist ridiculing this twat, if not actually educating him. I wrote:

Wow. There is so much bullshit in that post I don't even know where to start. But I'll just address the bit I read right before I got sick of listening to you pander on about shit you clearly don't understand.

"Since the gaming industry is a business, guess what happens when a game doesn't turn a profit?"

You know which games generally don't turn a profit? Shitty ones. You do know that developers are paid as they work, right? This means that they can put "bread on the table" as they work. It's not like they work for free for the entire fucking development cycle and only get paid if the game turns a profit. The "Profit" is the amount of revenue generated after all the bills have been paid. Even in the event of breaking even everyone still gets paid.

Also, lol at your assumption that trying to get the lowest price makes you a bad person or something. And your quoting of Penny arced is flat out retarded, as is the original material. We are never a customers of developers. Publishers pay devs to make games, and publishers sell games at a significantly lower cost than we buy them from the retail outlets that we shop at. So essentially the price is getting jacked up twice. Ones by the publishers, who aren't satisfied with breaking even, and once by the retailers who run their business by buying things cheap and selling them at a significant markup. BY buying a game you are not helping someone feed their family, your helping to make someone rich, and those people are almost NEVER the actual people who make the games.

Man, and they call ME Fucked Logic...

Of course I don't even know why I bother explaining these things to people like you. You obviously have your head jammed so far up your own ass you could give yourself a colonic irrigation by spitting.