Sunday, 29 April 2012
Chrono Cross, Legend of Legaia, Xenogears, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX, Dragon Quest 7, Legend of Dragoon, Breath of Fire 3, and 4, Suikoden, hell I’ll even throw in Beyond the Beyond (look it up). Does it seem to anyone else that the last great console for traditional turn based RPG’s was the PS1? Things have been all downhill since then. The next generation made a token effort with FF X, Dragon quest 8, and the odd Nocturne or Xenosaga game, but for the most part, the genre was already on life support. Then came the current generation of consoles, and the noble turn based RPG is all but dead and buried. Once again, a few token efforts, but for the most part it seemed like the developers where just phoning it in with the likes of Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. I can’t really think of any others that were released, where there seriously on 2 titles this generation? How fucking sad is that? Maybe there were a few more, but clearly they had little to no impact.
So, what the hell happened? A short few years ago, our cup runneth over with amazing titles like the ones mentioned above, to virtually nothing. I hear tell that’s not what modern gamers want anymore, they’re to slow, boring, and you have fucking read shit, heaven forbid. Everything is catered towards the OCD gamer of today, even the so call “Action-RPG’s” which is the best an RPG fan can hope for these days is fast and frenetic twitch-fest.
If you ask any publisher, they will tell you that people aren’t interested in that old style of gaming, it’s out dated and people have moved on. Well then, someone should really let Tim Schafer and his Double Fine team know that before they try to make and old school adventure game. Nobody is interested in that type of game anymore either, right? Oh wait, 2+ million dollars worth of crowd sourced funding would say otherwise.
The old timers like me are still around, our voices just seem to get drowned out by all the idiots calling each other fags on a spirited match of Call of Duty 12:Modern Battlefield of wartime Happy shooter guy EX Plus alpha. No thank you.
As the years go by, my game purchases get fewer and farther between. There are still some really talented people doing some really great things, and I am very grateful for that. Unfortunately, they also get drowned out by companies that are just pandering to the lowest common denominator, shovelling out schlock that that the drooling masses just seem to eat right up. (I’m looking at you Wii developers)
What I wouldn’t give for a full budget, fully realized, full on traditional turn based RPG on modern (or next gen.) consoles, I would play the hell out of that shit. I’d be one of the very few though.
In conclusion: Fuck you FF XIII.
Friday, 20 April 2012
Hey there Mister Google, I know you read my blog and I hear you are having some problems getting your little mobile operating system updates out in a timely fashion. I hear tell you ask your OEM’s to agree to support their handset for at least 18 months. How’s that working out for you? Oh…oh I see, not so great huh? There is no repercussions if they don’t? Well, that’s fine, I always say positive re-enforcement is much better anyway. Reward for good behaviour, don’t punish for bad behaviour. Even though your OEM’s have been very bad indeed.
I have an idea though, you might like it, and you are free to use it if you want. Here’s what you do: Make it mandatory that’s OEM’s have to charge $10 dollars for all major OS upgrades for the first six months the new version is out. I can guarantee nobody will be dragging their heels when there is money to be made. Also, make them split it oh, I don’t know, 70/30 with the carriers. I bet the carriers “approval” process will vastly improve overnight. With this scenario in place, you would have seen ICS on every capable handset/tablet on the planet 6 months ago. Kiss fragmentation good bye.
So let’s break this down into wins/losses:
OEM’s: WIN, they make money off of handsets already sold
Carriers:WIN, Mo’ money, they like money.
Early adopters: WIN, measly 10 bones for a timely upgrade, I’d do it.
People who don’t really care: WIN the upgrade will eventually be free.
Mr. Google: WIN, People will start calling you Good Guy Google.
That’s a whole lot of WIN right there, Charlie Sheen would be proud.
In conclusion, you mom is so ugly she tried to enter an ugly contest and they said, “Sorry, no professionals.”
Saturday, 14 April 2012
I can't believe it has come to this. I have become the cranky old bastard who vehemently argues that games were better "back in MY day."
Back in my day if you walked into a video game store, fully half, if not more of the shelf space was PC games. Granted, partly because PC games came in those absurdly large boxes, but there were a ton of games of all kinds. There were so many games because PC's were the steak of the gaming meal, consoles were a side dish, a yummy side dish no doubt, but still secondary to PC's. This was because gamers always has a tendency to crave the latest and greatest that the industry had to offer. With consoles you couldn't do that; you were constrained to a ridged set of guidelines that could not be altered. That's not to say that good games could not be made on consoles, of course not! Some of my all time favorites are console games.
What you would find with PC developers back then is that they were always pushing the envelope, coding with the next generation of hardware in mind. This was an exciting time for games because there was no limits, rules, or regulations and developers went wild, sometimes to hilariously disastrous effect(Diakatana), and sometimes strokes of pure unmitigated genius(Half life). Either way was fine with us, because there was always some crazy shenanigans going on, and damn it that's the way we liked it!
All that is gone now, eclipsed by the massive adoption of console, mobile, and social gaming. Here's some stats for you: 30% of people over 50 play games. There are twice and many 30 something females playing games as teenage boys. The average age of gamers purchasing games is 41. You may note that a large portion of the gaming community are not well known for sitting on the bleeding edge of technology. Quite the opposite, they want something simple and familiar. Not big changes, loud noises, or sudden moves.
So the landscape has changed, a whole new demo-graph has appeared and the market has responded in kind. Give the people what they want. What about us old timers though? We're still here, aren't we? Anybody? Hello? Well no not really. Most of us have rationalized away our decision to just go with it, and forgo the life of a cutting edge gamer. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "oh, I just use my Xbox now because it just easier and I don't have to worry about making the game work." Or this old chestnut, "I can't afford to keep pouring money into a gaming rig." Or my personal favorite, "I have a mac now." People have just given up, and settled for tech from 5 years ago that is "good enough."
Here's the thing, PC gaming is NOT expensive, and it is NOT to complicated, and it is NOT difficult. How many people do you know that don't have a PC in their house? Almost nobody, except said "mac people." The computer is already there anyway, so that's not an expense. For about 150 bucks you could get someone to slap in a video card that is vastly superior to the hardware on any console. Add an Xbox controller, install steam, and you are good to go. All in, less than 200 bucks for a gaming system that is vastly superior to any console. As an added bonus, you CAN upgrade if you feel like it, but it is not required.
Maybe I'm just a confused old man who doesn't understand all the newfangled ways of the gaming industry, with your farmville's and your cranky birds or what have you. That being said, I still game a bit on my phone, or my tablet, or my consoles, but for the most part for me those are just appetizers. When I really want to dig into some serious gaming, for me at least, it always was, and always will be on my trusty old PC.
But I feel my kind is almost extinct.
Friday, 6 April 2012
What an exciting holiday! You got your coloured eggs, your giant invisible killer bunnies that hide candy, your Good Friday, your Easter Sunday, your Christians, your messiah dying, your messiah coming back to life, your bread and wine, and enough chocolate to kill a small mousse. (I’m so sorry about that.)
But wait there’s more: you got lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, holy week, Silent Saturday, Eastertide, and that’s just the western version of Easter. If your travel east you will find a whole new can worms, with a whole new set of various goings on. To be fair its mostly just variations of the same theme, but with different names for stuff, like “Great Lent” instead of just regular Lent. I guess they just wanted to one up those filthy westerners. I gotta tell you, when Christians decide to make a holiday, (as opposed to co-opting pagan ones) they sure don’t screw around.
Whatever differences there may be in observing the holiday, there is one thing I think we can all agree upon. A common ground that ties us all together, and that is FOOD! Lots and lots of food. Is there anything better than that sleepy contented feeling after gorging on a huge turkey dinner? You know with all this religiousness, I think we need something to make a delightfully contrasting counterpoint. What could that possibly be though? You guessed it, science! Let’s bring the science bitches!
Everybody knows why you get so sleepy after a big turkey dinner right? It’s all that pesky amino acid tryptophan. Well, that may not actually be entirely accurate. In fact turkey has an extremely average amount of tryptophan in it compared to many other foods. Eggs for example have almost four times the amount that turkey does. Well then, if it’s not that, then why do we get sleepy? Ready for the science? here we go:
A turkey dinner usually is accompanied by a wide selection of various dishes. When you are done stuffing your face, you will have no doubt ingested a great deal of carbohydrates. Ingesting said great deal of carbs triggers your body to produce insulin, which in turn stimulates the uptake of branch amino acids in your muscles and blood stream. This sets off a sort of chain reaction of chemical events in your body which eventually ends up with all that tryptophan being converted into serotonin. That serotonin gets further metabolised into melatonin. Aha, now we are finally getting to the bottom of this little mystery. Melatonin, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that helps control your sleep patterns, amongst many other things. Eureka! So in a very roundabout way tryptophan does cause you to become sleepy, but only when ingested in combination with way more carbs than you should have. You may have noticed that the inevitable turkey sandwich leftovers don’t usually make you want to pass out, unless of course you take your turkey sandwiches with a side of Vodka. In that case you have a drinking problem, and should seek help.
Dark Pixels: Proudly looking up useless shit on Wikipedia since March of 2012 so you don’t have to.
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
So I was messing around on my PS3 last night, when I came across two little words that launched me into an experience unlike anything I have ever come across in all my years of playing video games. I'm not even really sure that "video game" is an accurate description, it's closer to interactive art in my mind. I'm not going to talk about any specifics of the game, you need to experience it for yourself, as I would imagine it's a little different for everybody. It will stir your emotions, and bring a calm serene sense of wonder and exploration. So many adjectives come to mind when I try to describe what it is: mystical, poignant, thoughtful, beautiful, curious, frightful, sad, hopeful, elated, and a sense of silent camaraderie.
If you own a PS3, you would be doing yourself a massive disservice by not giving it a try, set aside 2 hours or so, no interruptions or distractions. Play the whole thing though, it won't take too long, but it's truly worth it.
So I came across two little words, floating near the bottom of the screen, beside them sat a lone, silent figure in a sand dune, "Start Journey" it said.
So I did.