Archive for the 'Video Games' Category

Oct 29 2014

Is it Even Possible to Defeat the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for NES?

Published by under Video Games


Next-gen consoles are out and I must move on from my beloved PS3 and Xbox 360. So in hopes of finding someone on Craigslist eager enough to buy them from me, I started gathering up all the controllers, cords, and my old games. I stumbled upon my copy of Ninja Gaiden II Sigma for the PS3 and found it hard to part ways. This game single handedly saved me from writing off the franchise all together. I say this because the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the classic NES almost destroyed my hopes and dreams of ever becoming any kind of gamer. What’s more frustrating than getting to the final boss – THE FINAL BOSS – only to die in a matter of seconds and going back at least 3 stages? I will never understand why they did that in the first game, nor will I understand why I bothered to play the next 2 installments afterwards.

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4 responses so far

Oct 29 2014

Do Grand Theft Auto Games Actually Need Strong Protagonists?

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


Story and characters are usually the last thing on everyone’s mind when a new Grand Theft Auto game is announced. Usually, people want to know:  A) Where is it being set?  B) Is there any new fun stuff I can do? Yet, when the games are released, all reviewers seem to fixate on the playable characters. GTA IV was lauded as having an amazing character arc, chock-full of pathos and emotion. GTA V went so far as to include three playable characters, who all met with mixed reception. Some reviewers bent over backwards to praise their effect on the game, others heavily criticized their personalities and personal choices.

Me? I honestly don’t think I cared too much either way. Their individual quirks and MOs became window dressing as I raced around the city, turning pedestrians into literal pulpy window dressing on my car. GTA is more about the experience and the freedom of playing around with the engine – the games are giant toys. Yet, the games’ characters and the stories they weave do lend an undeniable color to the proceedings. After all the story missions have to have some “story” behind them to not feel like the random, repetitive jobs found in side missions or on GTA Online.

Even then, the majority of story missions weren’t memorable because of how they affected the plot as much as the new fun shit they introduced. So, the question is: where does character lie on the spectrum of importance? Do characters make or break an otherwise good GTA game? Continue Reading »

One response so far

Oct 28 2014

An Ode to GTA 5 Cheats, Which Have Gone All But Extinct Elsewhere

Published by under Video Games

gta 5 cheats

Ten years ago or so, if you wanted to make a new video game website, there were a few keywords you wanted to put in your main logline. GamePlace! The place for game walkthroughts, cheats and codes! While walkthroughs still exist, though largely in the form of YouTube videos, cheats and codes have gone the way of the dodo. For the most part that is. I’m pretty sure one of the primary reasons I ever used the internet in the first place back in the late ’90s was too look up cheats and codes (using AskJeeves, of course), as it was preferable to waiting for your next issue of Nintendo Power or Gamepro. But now? It’s very rare to see a game with actual codes, and the most prominent one that comes to mind is GTA 5. Don’t believe me? Check out the master list of GTA 5 cheats here. The list lets you spawn a huge number of vehicles and weapons, lets you do fun things like go into “drunk mode,” and then has your classic “ultra-cheats” like max health, armor and ammo. So where have all the cheats gone?

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4 responses so far

Oct 27 2014

Who Made the List of Best PS4 Games So Far?

Published by under Video Games


PlayStation 4 has been out for a year now, which has been enough time for the big-selling system to amass a collection of must-have games. Though the best PS4 games aren’t all exclusive to the system, you can argue that for the multiplatform ones, the PS4 is the “best”  console to play them on with a great UI and slightly more power than it’s main rival, the Xbox One. But that’s the debate of the decade, it seems.

I thought I’d go through what I think are the five best PS4 games right now, given that I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into the console over the past year across probably a dozen different titles. In the end, here’s the list I came up with, and you can see if any of your favorites are on here, as well as suggest your own in the comments.

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8 responses so far

Oct 23 2014

Diablo III, The Ultimate Pavlovian Mechanism

Published by under Video Games


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.

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4 responses 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


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.

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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


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


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



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