Archive for the 'Video Games' Category

Oct 23 2014

Diablo III, The Ultimate Pavlovian Mechanism

Published by under Video Games

Diablo-3-Legendary-Drop-Effect

I was a little hesitant to pick up Diablo III for my console – I’d played the first two games on a PC, and I had trouble seeing how some of the finer points of using skills would transfer over – but it turned out to be loads of fun.  Great interface, good pace, really fun skill progression/modification/customization.

Of course I was aware of the slightly insane logic of games like this: fight monsters that drop items that make your character more powerful, so you can fight harder monsters that drop better items that make your character even more powerful, so you can… fight harder monsters.  I’m sure there’s a word for it.  Pretty much any inventory-based RPG has this mechanic working to some extent.  And it’s certainly not a problem on its own – after all, with games like this, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

But the more I played Diablo III, the more I was slightly disturbed at how incredibly slick it all felt.  From the visible experience bar (just a liiiiiitle further) and the way your character lights up when you make a Paragon level, to the aesthetically pleasing orange column of light and special, unique sound that plays when a legendary item drops, the more I played, the more I felt like the game was playing me.

Continue Reading »

One response so far


Oct 22 2014

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Digital Downloads vs Physical Copies

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

dig vs phys title

Invariably, when a video game console announces that it will be digital-only, all hell breaks loose on the internet. The vast majority of vocal gamers seem to loathe the idea of digital downloads. People generally allow exceptions when it comes to smart phones or tablets, but in regards to nearly every other venue, people come out on the side of physical copies.

Understanding why they have this reaction isn’t hard. I am firmly a member of the pro-physical camp. In fact, I own hundreds of copies of old cartridge games despite their rampantly free availability as ROMs online.

Despite my inexorable personal stance on digital games, I still happen to purchase digital copies surprisingly frequently. In fact, in the past year I have likely purchased many more digital games than physical ones.

Why have I done this in flagrant disregard of my on-paper principles? Why even have a stance against digital downloads of games at all? The sheer ambivalence of this discussion warrants laying some home truths out in the open. Doing so takes an explicit comparison between both the good and bad qualities of each medium… Continue Reading »

3 responses so far


Oct 20 2014

Evil Within Isn’t So Scary After All

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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My roommate was raving all summer about this video game called Evil Within. He wouldn’t shut up about how scary the trailer looked. Evil Within is the latest foray of Shinji Mikami in the genre of horror. Gamers know the man for his work on a handful of early Resident Evil games. I really missed how horror was subtle in older games wherein it was all about playing tricks with the mind. Modern survival horror titles tend to think that better graphics are advantage as they try to scare players overtly by making the most grotesque creatures ever. I don’t know about you, but I find the unknown a lot scarier. The Evil Within appeared to be a promising survival horror title. It’s not a bad game as a whole, but it fails to scare players in a memorable way that’ll make it an all time classic.

Read on for more.

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far


Oct 08 2014

Ten GTA Missions That Are Designed to Make You Throw Your Controller

Published by under Lists,Video Games

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For years, Grand Theft Auto games have given me and millions of others a way to vent our real-life frustrations in the form of raining down bullets and grenades on the hapless populace of its cities. These games let you have a carefree attitude towards social responsibility, and they let you shut out the things that cause you stress.

That is, unless they are the thing that is causing the stress. A lot of it, actually, depending on the situation.

The fact is that the Grand Theft Auto has constantly pushed the boundaries of what can be expected of video games, especially when GTA III came out. While Rockstar has always done a great job of bringing all of the games’ disparate elements together, they sometimes left in clunky half-measures or inadequate cues to the player to help them navigate the massive worlds.

GTA’s mission structures tend to bring all of these flaws to the forefront. Suddenly, a game that was giving you great joy is now bringing you close to a pulmonary embolism. And no, internet, it is not always just because “omg u suck at it. dat mishun wuz ez.” It’s because even a nearly infallible design juggernaut like Rockstar can make the occasional mistake. Here are the worst ones… Continue Reading »

6 responses so far


Oct 07 2014

Video Game Locations Recreated

Published by under Video Games,Videos

Here’s a rather beautiful video that shows a number of famous video game locations, recreated through the magic of 3D recreation. Chances are if you’ve played any major games in the last decade or so, you’ll recognize at least a few of these. But even still, I couldn’t get them all.

Here’s the cheat sheet if you can’t guess them all on your own:

The Last of Us – Hidden Pines Corral ranch int/ext
Grand Theft Auto V – Michael’s safehouse
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven – Salieri’s bar int/ext
Fallout 3 – Tenpenny’s Tower, Vault 101
Half Life 2 – Kleiner’s Lab, Apartments, City 17
Alan Wake – Cauldron Lake Lodge
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Mountains, Windhelm, Riverwood
Mirror’s Edge – City canals
The Stanley’s Parable – Museum Ending, Meeting room
The Walking Dead Season 1 – Clementine’s house
Dishonored – Dunwall Tower
DayZ – Chernarus
Hitman: Blood Money – Mission: A New Life
Left 4 Dead 2 – Whispering Oaks
Shadow of the Colossus – Colossus #15

Which do you have the most memories in?

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Oct 07 2014

Seriously, This Needs A Sequel! Vol. 1

VIDEO GAME SEQUELS

Sometimes it’s terrible to love, especially in the wide world of electronic entertainment.

It’s rare to find a game that doesn’t, at some point in the future, have a 2 (or 3 or 64) slapped after its name.  Venerated titles celebrated for their artistry and innovation even fall victim to industry sequelization (Portal 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bioshock 2 just to name…just so few) and more often than not, if you loved it once, you can have seconds.

But there are those childless titles that stand apart with one game to their name and no one to inherit the digital throne. For whatever reason, the video games I’ll be highlighting today have yet to be given an extra life. And before you scroll down, Chrono Trigger ain’t on here. Let’s just leave that (flawless) one be. Please? Thanks. Continue Reading »

9 responses so far


Oct 02 2014

Just Blow On It

Published by under Images,Video Games

blow

 

I don’t think there’s a gamer among us that at one point, hasn’t fixed a video game cartridge by blowing on it at one point or another. What do you mean your first system was the original disc-using PlayStation? How old are you? How old am I? Ahh damnit. Nostalgia strikes again.

In any case, for us old geysers out there, Jake Murray has immortalized the moment of your first brush with tech support with this excellent piece above. Granted, I am young enough where the first system I did this on was a SEGA Genesis, and not an NES, but still. Lovely piece.

2 responses so far


Oct 02 2014

Cryptarchs, Loot Caves and Everything Else Wrong with Destiny’s Loot System

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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I woke up last Wednesday to gaming news reported as if it was an international crisis. Destiny’s “loot cave,” it seemed, had been shut down. Just what the hell a loot cave was and what it signified was something I had to find out.

After reading several reports on Kotaku, I had gathered all the information I needed. Once, throngs of Guardians stood shoulder-to-shoulder, firing blindly into a small pocket tucked underneath a hillside. It seems people would assemble here day after day to endure a repetitive chore that held no joy but promises of ample rewards.

The gathering that would form was akin to the back alley frequented by Arlen’s neighborhood residents in King of the Hill – people who dutifully showed up day after day and acknowledged each others’ presence with solemn nods. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many a beer was cracked open with one hand while another held the controller, blasting away mindlessly into the tiny hole.

Hours after soaking up this information, I happened to take a walk down the street to where my little brother lives close by. He recently bought an Xbox One, and as much as it pained him to do so, he had to give up his prior obsessions in the process: his 360, GTA V, and Skyrim, in favor of new ones like Destiny.

When I arrived at my brother’s house, lo and behold he was there, at the hillside, blasting into the dark cave. He had a morose expression upon his face, and he looked up at me with no traces of his typical enthusiasm. “It’s just not the same,” his face seemed to say. An online companion joined him momentarily, but quickly lost interest and left the area.

What, then, drives people to this madness? What sort of game design creates a troop of mindless zombies, who would rather stare into one small crevasse than explore several planets worth of vast areas?

At the heart of this surely mentally-unhealthy behavior lies a deeply-flawed understanding of game design. Fixing all of the problems therein will take years of player feedback and careful fine-tuning. As it stands now, though, Destiny has many lessons to learn from its predecessors. Continue Reading »

10 responses so far


Oct 02 2014

Cosplay of the Day: Lil’ Shepard

Published by under Cosplay,Images,Video Games

lil shepard

I’m not sure if eight year olds actually play Mass Effect, as I think they’re all into Skylanders and Minecraft and what not, but at least one kid knows what’s up. Taken ahead of the Pittsburgh Comicon costume contest, this little bro is looking fresh in his padded N7 armor. Like, how could he not win? That expression alone makes the costume.

Man, when I was a kid I put on a red shirt, blue overalls and stuck brown paper to my face so I could be Mario for Halloween. My, how times have changed.

[via Fashionably Geek]

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Oct 01 2014

Cosplay of the Day: Has Science Gone Too Far?

Published by under Cosplay,Images,Video Games

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Why yes, you ARE looking at sexy Scyther cosplay, a Pokemon that I never thought I’d see in this format. And honestly, it’s really damn good! The concept was executed by Termina Cosplay, who had the fortitude to go where no other Pokemon cosplayer had gone before. Though given that this is the internet, I suppose I’m about to be linked to like 20 other sexy Scyther costumes I’ve somehow missed over the years.

There are many more photos in the series for you to check out below, which show just how cool this costume actually is. You can also think of her as “badass Tinkerbell” too if that helps, which was actually my first thought when I saw this originally. Continue Reading »

One response so far


Sep 30 2014

New Tube: YouTube Channels You May Not Have Seen VOL. 2

NEW TUBE

Fire up your eyeballs, Unrealtors, today I’m sharing three new YouTube channels you may not have seen yet. Hopefully after you read this article the second button you hit after play is subscribe. Let’s get tubin’. Continue Reading »

One response so far


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