This was something I did a while back. You can buy empty Nintendo DS cases for pretty cheap here from Nintendo. You can get all sorts of custom fan made covers here at the CoverProject. Game Boy Advanced cases are easy since DS cases have a GBA slot. Original Game Boy games require a bit more work since you have to cut away parts of the DS slot to make them fit. Print the covers, cut them out, slide them in, presto, a classy consistent display shelf.
Say hello to…
It’s nothing super special actually. In fact, nothing there is new at all. By definition of what it is, it’s old content. Think of it like the “Disney Vault”. You know, that magical special place where Disney locks up it’s old movies every 5 years as a way of marketing a scare tactic to customers.
BUY ALADDIN TODAY BEFORE IT IS LOCKED IN THE DISNEY VAULT FOREVER… again… for the next 3 years…
The main difference is that you can still get to it all if you need to and I’m hopefully maybe not ever bringing it back ever again. I’m really not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.
You see, I have this mild crazyness where I really just can’t ever let anything I’ve ever created go, ESPECIALLY when it’s digital. I’ll reboot my blogs and clear them out or move hosts, but inevitably I’ll pull all the old content back in, and then later I’ll feel overburdened by this massive trail of shitty content I am dragging along behind me but I can’t just cut it off because every post like my test based baby or something lame like that.
Now, I have a place to shove all this old crap. I’ve already stripped out all of the Figure of the Day and Game of the Day junk and started stripping away some of the older Livejournal content. For now, I’m keeping anything that’s a review, but that may change.
Ironically, over on my personal blog, I’m doing more or less the opposite. I’ve compiled a mess of old blog content over there and now I am taking old paper journals, back dating them, and adding that content to the blog. One day that thing will essentially be a long ass trail of every word I have put to paper.
I have to admit, in my little sabbatical I considered quitting this while writing and blogging mess. I mean I don’t get paid or anything, I just do this because why the fuck not. It’s kind of a pain, more so the more I get into it and start adding clever banners and trying to make videos to go with my text. It still seems to be reasonably popular, despite the lack of updates, though God knows if anyone is really reading anything or if it’s all just spam bots. Not that I have ever really cared about “numbers”.
Anyway, I’m done playing one game ever, I think and I’m ready to get back to doing what I do best-ish. Spewing random game related text to the world. And i think I will try to keep it game related. Part of the up and down of this place has always been the great debate of “should I keep the toy and game content together?” I’ve got ReadySetGeek still, so I think I’ll keep the comics and toy stuff over there.
For now, until I change my mind again and shove all 3000 posts from all my blogs into a TumblyInstagraBlog mess in another fit of online insanity.
I’m pretty torn on the Downloadable content for Saints Row the Third here. On one hand, I really love this game, and more is good. On the other hand, a load of it is costumes that SHOULD have been built into the game to start with. At the very least they should run closer to a buck each and not the standard $2-$3. Yeah, yeah, $3 is not much but consider that at this point, buying all of the DLC will cost you MORE than the game itself. It adds up.
I did get some of the DLC off of a recent sale through GamersGate though, so I’ve been hitting the streets of Steelport once again. Specifically I picked up the Season Pass, which includes all three of the main mission based DLCs, the Explosive Pack, which was basically a spiffy Grenade launcher, and the real winner of all so far, the Shark Gun, which is a gun that summons a shark to obliterate your enemies.
… and then I was all BAM! SHARK!
I mean seriously, that one is awesome, I really can’t get enough of it.
Anyway, the meat here is the Season Pass, which includes extra missions from the three DLC packs, Genki Bowl VII, Ganstas in Space, and The Trouble with Clones. You can buy these individually but it’ll cost you about the same as the Season Pass and you won’t get the pretty neat looking NyteBlade car. Let’s see how they all stack up here…
Genkie Bowl VII
Murder Time Fun Time! Genki is basically a game show sort of mascot of the Saints Row series. He is a lime green and pink cat who gets off on slaughtering people. There are some Genki related missions in the main story, and Genki Bowl VII adds some additional missions of a similar nature. These missions are somewhat similar to some of the existing missions in the game but only the Apocalypse Genki is an EXACT replica, contrary to popular opinion. Apocalypse Genki is essentially just more of the indoor Genki levels where you must battle mascots in a maze, gain a specific level of money and escape alive. It does twist things up a bit, there are less fire and electrical traps and the environments are more jungle themed and nicer looking.
Sexy Kitten Yarngasm is comparable to the Tank Mayhem missions though it kind of feels more like a rampaging Katamari round that anything. The Tank missions are more focused on shooting than running things over, The Yarnball is a more designed to chase down the Genki trucks. Also, the yarnball has an area attack that works sort of like a Tank shot, except you only get so many of them and they have to be earned. These sort of seem like nitpicky differences but they are enough to make it feel like a different mission. Similarly, there’s the Super Ethical PR Opportunity, which is similar to the escort missions, though you gain score by fueling Genki’s desire for murder.
The most unique is the Sad Panda Skydiving events, which involved skydiving between buildings to take out swarms of Mascots. It’s actually a little confusing at first but it’s not too bad once you get the hang of it.
Of the three DLCs I’d still have to rank Genki Bowl the weakest depending on how much you enjoy Genki missions. I prefer the more story driven missions. The real benefit to this is probably the end prizes. You get three useless Homies, (Homies being useless in general), but you also get the Yarnball vehicle and Genki’s car, which still functions as it does during the escort missions and lets you drive around spewing fire all over the place.
Check back for Part 2, covering the other two DLC packs and some wrap up conclusions.
A while back, a company called Uber Entertainment released a game called Monday Night Combat. It is sort of a team based tower defense game with a fake sports program built around it. It’s hard to say if it really did well, on one hand, it got a sequel, Super Monday Night Combat. On the other hand, the sequel is Free2Play a Micro-transaction fueled game.
Actually Super Monday Night Combat, or SMNC feels like more of an upgrade to the original game than a straight sequel. The graphics are comparable and gameplay is similar. I’ve been trudging through it recently in hopes of earning a promotional item linked to Team Fortress 2, so I’ve gotten a fair amount of experience with it. The verdict? It’s almost sort of there, but mostly not.
The basic game play involves two teams of 5 Pros, you must escort bots to the opposing team’s Moneyball and destroy it. You must overcome obstacles along the way like opposing team bots, opposing team turrets, and of course, opposing team players. That’s fairly straight forward and fairly fun actually. The real key to enjoying the game is to remember one principle. This is not a Team Deathmatch game. Your job is not to hunt down and kill the opposing players, it’s to defend your bots.
The problems with this game come mostly from everything else going on around you. There’s just too much, it’s a total information overload and there’s so many layers to follow and working against you that you just end up overwhelmed and dying. Some examples.
There occasionally are mascots that show up in a special region of the map, it’s not real clear what the real benefit to going after these mascots is. They drop money and power up items, but you’ll get more money from doing your job of defeating enemy bots and the benefits of the power ups is unclear as well.
Speaking of power ups, you also sometimes get something called Juice, which seems to make you more powerful in combat, but once again, doesn’t really seem to add much useful benefit. You earn it over time but also can just buy it, though you won’t want to waste money on it because…
Money is a little too scarce. You have to pay to deploy better bots, you have to pay to unlock jump pads and special ejector pods, you can pay for power ups, but you really don’t get enough money to effectively buy everything useful. The result is that you end up in a sort of neutered state of usefulness. If you buy bots, you’re helping your team progress, but you’re also never going to be able to afford the annihilator (more on that in a sec). You can save your money for the super expensive huge bots but it takes almost the whole game to buy one and it’s easily killed really by the enemy players or the annihilator.
And then there is the annihilator. Occasionally (every 5 minutes i think), the annihilator unlocks, and the first team to get to it, and pay it a bunch of money, will kill all of the opposing team’s bots (more or less). Getting this is really good. The problem is, getting the money for it quickly can be a little tricky, and having the money or even getting there first is no guarantee of winning it. You not only end up facing enemy players, but often end up facing several Team Agnostic bots that live in the annihilator area. Meanwhile, while you’re trying to kill these bots, the opposing team steals the annihilator from you. These bots really serve no good purpose other than to cause unnecessary problems. Fighting the other team is one thing, fighting a hoard of neutral robots is another thing all together.
All of this really kind of feels like just complaining to complain, which is sort of is, but it’s all part of a ball that surrounds the one single core issue of this game. The balance is ridiculously awful. Every single match, whether I was on the winning team or not, has been one sided from a very early time. As soon as one team starts to take down more turrets and get the annihilator over the other, it pretty much seals them as the winners 15-20 minutes later. One team starts to get ahead, they can more easily gain more money, they can more easily buy more bots and more annihilators, and chances are, they are slightly higher on the level up scale. It’s very hard to turn the tide in this game. It’s something that needs to be fixed for this game to have any longevity beyond the TF2 players flocking to it for a hat. I’m not real sure how to fix it, maybe bots killed closer to your own money ball drop more coins, so the losing team can get money to compensate. Maybe the turrets closer to the moneyball need to be slightly stronger.
I’m not real sure how to fix it, but it needs fixed.
Recently, as in, just today actually, I think, Aion became a Free to Play model style of game. I’m not real sure if it’s micro transaction style or like WOW where there is just a level cap. Maybe it’s a combination of both. I know a few people who play this pretty heavily so I figured why not give it a go.
The first thing that is really noticeable is the pretty fancy design behind the world. It reminds me a LOT of Final Fantasy actually, and some of the hairs and characters by default almost look like they were lifted straight from the Final Fantasy designs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing I guess. It certainly helps the whole game look much much prettier than World of Warcraft, which is one of the most hideously ugly games I’ve played in a while. I realize WoW is getting pretty old but it’s had several updates and really a lot of the models there just seem really crappy.
As for the game play, so far it feels very WoW inspired. The design of the quest givers and the combat all feel very familiar. It doesn’t seem quite as easy as WoW though, for example, natural healing is pretty slow in Aion unless you use a bandage item, in World of Warcraft it felt almost instant.
Also unlike WoW, Aion doesn’t feel like a massive endless desert. There are monsters all over the place. There also seem to be other people running around quite a bit as well. The whole world just feels a lot more alive than WoW does.
Anyway, I played through around level five, so I could get a few basic skills for my class going. I picked the Scout Class, sort of a quick light fighter type. One of these games I’m going to have to try being a mage of some sort I suppose, but not today. Something else of note, I managed to upgrade my weapon at one point which resulted in a noticeable and significant upgrade to my damage, not some incremental crap where “now I do 2 more damage per strike” This was like 2x what I had been dealing, which is spectacular as well. It may also have to do with adding a stone thing to my new weapon. there seems to be a pretty complex socketing/modification system going on which I’ll have to investigate into more later.
My only real complaint so far, and I think I can fix it, is the HUD is really cluttered and everything has a massive ugly name floating over it. Also there doesn’t seem to be any sort of free Camera mode that I could figure out, or at least not one that uses the standard “hold control or alt or shift then click and mouse around”.
My current little obsession with with trying out the myriad of Free to Play MMOs available online. On a bit of a whim, i decided to give Star Trek Online a try. I have to say, the star trek universe feels like it’s gotten hellishly more complicated than I remember it being. There are all these battles going on all over the place against Borgs and whatnot apparently. I suppose this really has to be the case, considering an MMO where you go and scan asteroids for life forms would be kind of boring. Hell even missions based around any of the non combat based Episodes wouldn’t really work in an MMO setting.
Unlike WOW, this game really pushes the excitement upon you right out of the gate. You create your character based on a variety of races with different benefits, and pick a general role which basically amounts to Attack (Tactical), Support (Engineering), or Support 2 (Science). i almost went with the Engineer since you know, I am an engineer and if I were actually in the Trek universe I’d probably end up being the guy who stand around next to the warp core all day in a gold shirt. Instead I went with tactical, because it seemed more fun, and probably a bit easier.
You are immediately pushed into a combat zone against some Borgs as a little tutorial mission. They have you do little tasks like use your Tricorder and shoot things. It’s somewhat intense but any real threat is contained by force fields. You can see them but they can’t hurt you.
This all works from a third person perspective. So far I only have a couple of minor complaints dealing with the foot based game play. One, toggling between combat mode and non combat mode is a little awkward. It’s a single button press but it almost feels unnecessary. So many games handle this sort of thing easily, it’s kind of lame that this game requires a toggle like this. Second, some of the environments seem almost comically oversized. Especially the Transporter rooms/pads. I’m sure part of this is to accommodate the possibility of many people trying to use them at once. Also, it can be a little tricky finding where to go next and who to talk to next. The icons indicating an NPC to interact with are not easy to see. In fact, it’s a little hard to tell who is an NPC and who is another Player. Still, I’d almost prefer it if the entire game were ground based.
After the first missions you beam out to your ship and get to engage in some ship combat missions. Why an Ensign gets a ship is beyond me but whatever. I don’t remember getting to pick which ship design to use, maybe it’s based on class, but the other players i saw had different ships than mine. I ended up with one that looks like the Wrath of Khan ship, which is pretty cool at least (Miranda Class). a quick bit of research is unclear but suggests this is always the starting ship. Maybe I just saw some higher level players or I suppose they could have been NPC ships.
The ship to ship, I felt, was a little awkward. First you fight off some Borg Probes, which you only need to kill two of but it’s likely you’ll end up getting swarmed by more than that which can be a bit frustrating when you want to move on and your shields are failing. It also is a bit hard to tell the three dimensionality of it all and i kept feeling like I was about to collide with the enemy ships and ships I was tying to rescue. The combat itself pretty much amounts to mashing the 1,2, and 3 keys to fire your various phasors and torpedoes. Essentially, the ship combat, kind of sucks.
Overall my initial Star Trek Online experience was decent enough, it is certainly more entertaining so far than World of Warcraft has been. I’m not sure what the cap is, if there is one, like WoW, I’ll have to look into it.
10.22.2010 | Telltale Games
Telltale is one of those companies that focuses on a single type of game. They are the absolute king of the “Slightly Overly Simple Un-losable Adventure Game” niche. They are also working very hard on becoming king of the “Somewhat Unlikely Licensed Based Slightly Overly Simple Un-losable Adventure Game” niche. They have Homestar Runner, Wallace & Grommit, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Law & Order, just to name, well, most of them. There is also Sam & Max but I believe that is an in house property. Back to the Future was the first real hit in this very focused genre of game, though it wasn’t their first try. A lot of that probably has to do with there not really being any decent games based on Back to the Future in the first place.
There is that shitty NES game, that crappy SNES game, that sort of okish Japanese SNES game. Does this movie series really even need a game? It certainly could use something. Back to the Future is suck a high point of movie popularity, it almost seems like a tragedy that the franchise hasn’t really gone anywhere beyond the films. Then again, maybe it’s closed little universe is part of what keeps it popular. The whole three part series from start to finish is pretty locked tight without too many holes. They actually do a fairly decent job at handling all of the time paradoxes created as well, something every Time Travel movie inevitably fails at (Time Traveler’s Wife does it alright I suppose).
Which was my first through when starting this game series. How will it fit into the time line? There is really only one place you could stick something in between the movies, the night after Marty returns from 1955, but that would be a stretch. They could set things after the movies but then the Delorean is trashed, so that’s no fun. Telltale decided to do the easy (and really best) combination, the game takes place after the movie series, but Doc has “built a new Delorean”… or something. Supposedly it’s explained but I didn’t catch it so I’m honestly not sure why the Delorean exists in this time period other than “The Delorean is awesome so it has to be there”. The Time Train is neat as well but it’s a little “frickin huge”.
The Game’s plot starts off with Marty discovering a driverless Delorean and a distress call from Doc trapped in 1931 Hill Valley. The plot itself spans 5 themed chapters that were each released as individual “games” over a series of months. This is sort of Telltale’s style. I don’t mind episodic games, but in Telltale’s case it’s actually kind of feels like an annoying way to milk interest out of a game for months. The total run time for all five episodes is something like twelve hours, which isn’t terrible for the price or anything, and at this point, it’s all available in one package.
The secondary effect of the episodic nature is that you have these pre schedule cleanouts in your inventory. For the most part, at least, you start out the next game with the assumption that you have Item X that you will need and you never have anything real useful taken from you.
Anyway, the plot itself, takes place primarily in 1931 Hill Valley and 1986 Hill Valley. Marty gets the distress call and heads off to rescue Doc which of course sets of an accidental chain of events that lead to unintended consequences. Time is kind of a messy thing like that. The story does a decent job of handling it’s Paradoxes though there are some things, for example, somehow George and Lorraine get together and have Marty no matter which warped instance of the future you might create. The only true issue I had with the plot occurs between Episode 2 and Episode 3. Slight spoiler space, the events cause a rather large shift in Doc Brown’s timeline. As they return from the past, Marty finds Doc has been displaced into his altered timeline self. Somehow, despite both being in the same Delorean, Marty is not also shifted. For that matter, it’s arguable that the Delorean itself wouldn’t have existed either. Even considering the whole fade from existence time lag thing the series uses as a gimmick, it doesn’t explain why Doc Brown immediately shifts yet Marty does not.
Anyway, the game does a good job of keeping the feel of the series, though it’s not quite as funny as the movie series. All of the major spaces are featured in various time lines, the School, the Clocktower square, Marty’s House, Doc’s Lab, that billboard in front of Hilldale even when Hilldale doesn’t exist yet. Like the movies, all of the major events in the history of Time revolve around a handful of locations, which actually works well since it IS something the movies did.
The presentation helps things out, a lot. It’s not a straight Delorean driving simulator, but it does work exceptionally well at making a game out of the Back to the Future concept. I mean, it’s certainly not some crappy shooter wannabe game with dual timers and bowling ball guns. The game follows a story driven Adventure model. You walk from place to place collecting items occasionally and talking to folks to find out where to go next. Each episode also features several “action” scene where you must do actions in a certain order and avoid bad guys while doing it. For example, at one point you must keep one of Doc’s experiments going by doing different actions such as lighting a burner or pushing a bellows based on the things that Doc yells to you from another room. Like, he may yell “you’re full of hot air” signaling the need to push the bellows. Another had you playing guitar against an opponent to see who rocks the most, you must move carefully to ensure that the opponent accidentally falls on himself.
The main problem with all of this, and the game in general, and problem is possibly a relative term, there is no way to fail. Ever. If you don’t push the proper science buttons you simply have to start the puzzle over a bit. If you don’t out rock the other guy, he wanders off until you challenge him again. Just as examples. If you get stuck trying to figure out where to go next there is even a hint system that by hint 3 will more or less just tell you where to go next. This can be good or bad depending on how much challenge you want in the game. Don’t come into this game expecting much challenge. The reality is, the driving force behind most adventure games is the narrative anyway.
Which, as I mentioned, is pretty good. In general, it’s a pretty decent game. It’s probably not really action packed enough for some people but then, it’s Back to the Future. It’s simple enough that anyone can play through it though you can skip the hints and get more of a challenge out of it if you’d like as well, which is a nice balance.
Saints Row really has a comeback story behind it. The first game is apparently rather terrible. the second game is better but not great. It’s already saddled with being a “GTA knockoff” by default no matter what it does. Somewhere Volition has managed to get something really right because Saints Row the Third seems to be quite a hit among gamers. So much of a hit that THQ had decided to focus more on games like Saints Row over things like it’s failing Wii Tablet thing.
This thing is pretty long and image heavy, so you’ll have to click through to get the whole thing.
Continue reading Review–PC–Saints Row the Third
I remember hearing about this book a while back. I forget if it was on the Team Fortress blog or just somewhere in the Steam Forums. I then promptly forgot about it. As convenient as shopping online is, I like the serendipity of a store. Unfortunately, there aren’t many book stores in the area and I tend to forget about books I wanted if I am not reminded of them.
I was browsing through Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and found this and remembered about it. I decided to wait on it though since I get coupons for Barnes and Noble in my email fairly frequently. Knocking 10% off the $25 price tag would be useful. Then I got home and discovered B&N.com lists it for like $15, so I just ordered it there. Why the online shop is undermining the brick and mortar store is beyond me but whatever.
The book itself had me sold immediately.
It is a collection of the comics Valve has put out over the last year or so based around Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Team Fortress 2. The longest feature and most coherent complete story is Left 4 Dead’s The Sacrifice, and I have a fairly low interest in L4D. Originally the prospect seemed pretty cool but I wasn’t sure and I figured given’t valve’s Track record on secondary merchandise it’d cost about twice the price I’d be willing to pay (ie $40-$50 bucks).
The book itself however is extremely nice. The graphics on it are really well done and the pages are made of some really thick almost cardstock paper. Also you know, $15 bucks.
I also rather enjoy reading all of the TF2 comics “in order”. There is some crazy backstory build in going on in Team Fortress 2 and I’m a bit confused on it all around. The comic actually doesn’t fix this problem but it does help a bit. They could have done some good by adding maybe some of the other material from the updates that were not comic pages. The comics included are the War Update through Meet the Director.
Also in the book, as mentioned before is the Left 4 Dead (it may be L4D2) story the Sacrifice, which consists of a 4 part story following the Zombie killing heroes. The overall 4 parts are a complete story, unlike the TF2 comics, and each one also serves as a vehicle to give some direct backstory for the four main heroes.
There is also the Portal 2 Rat man story, which essentially serves as a sort fo bridge between Portal 1 and Portal 2. The Portal 2 comic features some interesting and kind of neat art but it’s presentation makes it a bit confusing. You get the overall idea but it could be a bit less random for the sake of randomness. I imagine it’s sort of supposed to reflect the Madness of Rat Man and even GladOS.
Anyway, I finished reading through it recently. It’s a pretty neat piece of work, though it probably has little interest for people who don’t care much for the games involved. It’s not really going to sell anyone into the games but the game may sell you into the book, so to speak.
This year has been a pretty video game heavy year for me. My collection has grown considerably though my buying has dropped off a lot. I’ve also reviewed a ton more games than I have in previous years. I don’t believe in arbitrary scoring systems, i find most games have some pluses and minuses, though some have more minuses than pluses and should be avoided. Anyway, I figure that it would be appropriate to choose a “Game of the Year” for 2011.
This gets a bit tricky. I want to limit it to games released in 2011. This is trickier still since some games were released on say, the 360 Game market, or whatever it’s called in 2010, then released on the PC in 2011. I decided to keep with PC release dates since I primarily play on the PC and it’s possible that the game has gotten some tweaks during the updated release anyway. Other criteria, I figure it’s probably appropriate that I have reviewed the game in full before nominating or choosing it. This is pretty easy though since generally, if I’ve enjoyed a game that much, I probably was compelled to write about it.
I have not played too many “high profile games” but I have played a boatload of Indie Games. Fall saw a lot of really big title releases that probably would have been strong contenders for this choice. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Saints Row 3, Modern Warfare 3, they all look to be pretty neat games. Sadly, I have not played these games, so there’s no way to chose them as being one of the best games I’ve played all year.
There was still a pretty large pool to pick from, though the front runners were fairly obvious in the end. So with no more delay, the 2011 Lameazoid.com Game of the Year Winners. Not that there is any sort of prize or anything. I’m not springing for trophies here. I will add in a cut to help keep up the illusion of suspense.
Continue reading The First Annual 2011 Lameazoid.com Game of the Year Extravagalanzapalooza!