Bigredcoat

Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Archive for June, 2007

Upcoming Tuesday July 3rd 2007

Posted by nfinit on June 29, 2007

Shamelessly stolen from Gamestop’s upcoming games web page- which of course means that should you actually try to buy any of these games, expect to be viciously mocked by a kid making minimum wage during his summer vacation.

The reviews are from Gamerankings whenever possible– meaning that in one article I’ve managed to combine Gamestop’s retail practices with the absolute worst of “gaming journalism”. Join me next week as I attempt to combine the smell of cooked cabbage with the sex appeal of Annie Lennox.

PS2:

Nothing! Next gen systems enjoy a two week respite until Guitar Hero 80’s edition makes the intervening seven years of console development irrelevant again.

Wii:

Chicken Shoot. (Review average: N/A) Use your Wii remote to shoot chickens, who return fire using their own progeny. Miraculously, Jack of All Games managed to make a horrid game out of this.

(That’s not being entirely fair though, as I gathered that impression is from the PC version of the game, which averaged around a 50% from review sites. As far as the Wii version, no real evidence exists that it’s going to be released outside of Gamestop. No reviews on Gamerankings or Metacritic, IGN doesn’t believe it exits, even Wikipedia only includes the standard PR blurb. Here we have a case of a videogame so uninspiring it cannot even be proven to exist.)

XB360:

Vampire Rain (With Bonus!) (49%): Hopefully the bonus includes a refund for the purchase price of Vampire Rain, or perhaps they’ll include a game you may actually want to play on your 360, such as Earth Defense Force.

(Checking Gamestop reveals, sadly, that the bonus is instead a Vampire Rain poster. Which is great if you’re the sort of person that doesn’t just have a lousy taste in games, but wishes to remind yourself and your loved ones of this on a daily basis. Gamestop! Gaming for the self loathing!)

PS3:

Ninja Gaiden Pan the Camera Around Rachel in 1040i Edition (89%) Or Sigma, if you who didn’t play this this 2 years ago. Now feel the power of Blu-Ray as you’re emasculated by Alma in True HD!

(The XB1 fanboy in me would be remiss if I didn’t take this moment to mention that Ninja Gaiden Black received a 94% and sold for $30.)

PSP:

Steel Horizon (N/A): At long last Konami addresses the slavering turn based naval battle simulator PSP market.

Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing (N/A): At long last DSI games addresses the slavering lousy arcade street racer PSP market

(In a stunning show of confidence in the PSP, no reviews for either game exist as of yet– In fact, there’s no page for Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing to be found on Gamerankings or Metacritic. In lieu of actual content for said game, I shall instead cite the enlightened prose of your very own gaming community:

“kyur” managed to snap himself out of his 20-hour-a-day-caffeine-seizure to put together:

tis will be like fast and furios and need for speed put together and i have been watching a lot of hotwheels videos i whose to have the game but i don’t this will be cool the graphics will be cool the cars stlying will be cool

But don’t take his word for it! Witness the wit and wisdom of Fast and Furious himself!

Wow this game should be an awsome game because its like a mix of Need for Speed and Sonic and those are my two favorite games and in Hotweels you can use the cars special abilities and that makes it an even better game.

As for Steel Horizon, the DS version- a system tailored made for turn-based naval combat- received a 49%. Flee.)

Nintendo DS :

Platinum Soduku (N/A)

Vegas Casino High 5, (N/A)

Deal or No Deal (N/A)

(Continuing Nintendo’s market stratagem of making gaming as exciting as an issue of The New Yorker. The fact that there’s no rankings for these games does not suprise me, indeed I would find it more interesting should someone have bothered with a review for any of them– sort of like a bottle of Wild Irish Rose, you know what you’re getting into with “Vegas Casino High 5” the moment you read the label.)

Rather depressingly slow week, and it won’t get any better next Tuesday, with all of two games (Project Slypheed and Rivera: The Promised Land) to talk about. We’re officially in the Summer gaming doldrums, as the industry decides the very season when most of it’s target audience have been booted from school and have nothing better to do for the next two months is when they should start racheting down game releases in anticipation of the holidays.

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We shall call it the "Envyon".

Posted by nfinit on June 26, 2007

So the PS3 has managed to score exactly one point’s worth of envy from me.

Evil ninjas on motorcycles.
Thus we shall know the power of Blu-Ray.
Oh yeah. Sometime between the launch of the PS3 and last week, Nintendo became worth more money than the entirety of Sony. Not Sony’s game division, but the whole thing. Movies, televisions, alarm clocks. The whole damned thing.
Turns out Sony’s plan to turn the PS3 into a trojan horse is working amazingly well.

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Contrant

Posted by nfinit on June 21, 2007

So the community is all atwitter at Konami’s latest attempt to haul the rotting husk of Contra franchise out of perdition and make it somewhat relevant Apparently we’ve blocked from memory the decade of industrial-grade dreck the franchise has given us ever since Treasure split away from Konami.

But hey, maybe I’m being a cynic. After all, who’s to say WayForward Technologies isn’t fit for Treasure’s mantle? What could be so hard about three way guns and riding atop flying missiles and blowing up giant pulsating alien zombie wasp queens? After all, WayForward, they’re the guys who–

Oh lord.

Well you know, maybe that was a fluke, everyone has their bad games, I mean even Treasure put out Wario World–

Monsters! They’re monsters! For the love of all that’s holy, someone call Konami and tell them-

Well, that’s not so bad.I mean sure, it was ages ago, and for the Gameboy Color of all things, but was one of the highlights of the system and is something of a cult favorite. If they can revive some of that magic–

Nope, they suck.


I could understand any level of enthusiasm about the return of Contra if there was anything worthwhile to come of the series once Treasure left. But since the heyday of the SNES, Contra has ranged at best from merely mediocre (Shattered Soldier) to insultingly bad (everything else). That’s it. They couldn’t even manage to keep the Live Arcade port of the original Arcade game from sucking. At least Konami figured out something to do with Castlevania, even if it was to remake Symphony of the Night every other year.

The best thing that could happen to Contra right now would be for Konami to hand SNK a moneyhat, a DVD full of Super Contra sprites and instructions to use them the next time they want to make a Metal Slug game. I doubt that handing over the reigns to the company responsible for Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses is going to help matters.

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The Voice of Gaming

Posted by nfinit on June 12, 2007

(submitted to The Platformers 6-11-07)

You would not be reading this if it were not for Shigeru Miyamoto.

You’d be reading a very different Platformers, perhaps instead called The Flight Sim Pilots, expounding on the genius of Microsoft Flight Simulator or some other dreadfully bland topic. No, this article and indeed this site could not exist if it were not for Miyamoto, for it is without hyperbole when I say his games saved console gaming from the Crash of ’84 and as a result rescued the industry.

Were it not for Shigeru Miyamoto’s work on Donkey Kong, Nintendo would never have entered the home console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System, without the NES there would have been no recovery from the Crash of 1984, and with it likely no further videogame consoles. Console gaming, moribund and lacking Shigeru’s spark of imagination, would have slipped under the waves, videogames shackled to the personal computer, lost in a soulless pit of flight simulations and grognard-obsessed wargames.

He invented the platformer genre itself with Super Mario Brothers, the action RPG in Zelda, mentored the men who created Metroid and Pokemon, was named a Chevalier; time and again hailed as a genius by his peers. He is, if any one man can be called so, our hero.

Meanwhile, Johnathan Wendell- Fatal1ty, as he’d preferred to be called- is very good at Quake. And that’s pretty much the best you can say for him.

I mean, we know he’s good at Quake and Quake clones, he’s won something along the lines of a half million dollars doing so. He has a reputation of something of a primadonna, throwing tantrums when bested. He likes to bill himself as the world’s best-known professional video gamer, and between the money he’s won at Quake clones and his line of “gaming” mice, motherboards and other branded PC parts and accessories, he’s probably right.

Shigero Miyamoto. Savior of Console Gaming.

Johnathan Wendell. World’s Best Advertised Quake Player.

There’s about as much in common in them as John Lennon would have to Fred Durst.

Meanwhile, Time magazine in their recent Fifty Most Influential People issue, decided this connection connection, however tenuous, was enough to justify hiring Wendell to write an article on Shigeru Miyamoto’s influence on the videogame industry.

In Time’s defense, they may have intended Johnathan Wendell as Shigero Miyamoto’s spokesman for the sake of juxtaposition. In the same issue they pegged Conservative stalwart (and former House Speaker) Newt Gingrich to pen an article describing the impact of the thoroughly Liberal current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They pegged noted Intelligent Design proponent Micheal Behe to write an article on outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins; coac Lovie Smith, (the guy who coached the Chicago Bears into defeat in Super Bowl 41) to write the article on coach Tony Dungy (the man who would go on to lead the Indianapolis Colts into victory in that same game.). But truth is, we’re talking about the mainstream media here, saying that they get the idea that Newt is to Nancy what Doom Marine is to Mario is giving them entirely too much credit.

No, I think it’s far more likely that in the view of Time magazine- and by proxy the mainstream media in general- Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendell isn’t just very good at Quake. He is, in fact, representative of how the public at large view gamers and gaming. Thus, he is now our spokesman.

Not that we should be surprised. The general public- you know, the guys who insist on calling your PSP a Gameboy- still view gaming as a children’s diversion. The only real difference they’ve noticed is that somewhere in between the NES and the Xbox we stopped obsessing over toadstools and turtles and have become foul-mouthed Mountain Dew-fueled reprobates ogling the blue backsides of holographic women. They do not (and perhaps cannot) see gaming as a medium for subtle, sophisticated emotion. It’s as if someone had wiped the public memory clean of Heat, Leon, The Constant Gardner and Blade Runner and left the movie spectrum represented entirely by Chicken Little and The Fast and The Furious.

Now gamers, we know better, we know Johnathan Wendel is a bullshit fraud of a spokesman, that gaming has explored places he’s likely never touched in his six-hours-a-day practice with a railgun. He never knew the joy of rebuilding the cosmos from gumdrops. He never wept as Agro carried him to the last Colossus. He never stood and cheered as he sank the Master Sword into Ganon’s black, black, heart. He never sought his true name amid the streets of The City of Doors.

As for Time, (and by proxy public), how can we expect them to understand the depths of Johnathan Wendell’s duplicity? Ours is an industry fronted by space marines and malcontents with shotguns. The last thing the people in charge of our industry want is art. Art ruins the profit margins for the Madden roster updates. You can’t sell Axe body spray billboards within art. And art makes for lousy sequels. In such an industry Johnathan Wendel, Voice of Gaming doesn’t just make sense, he’s damned near tailor made for the task.

How did we get to the point where the general public honestly believes we are nothing more than a bunch of foul mouth reprobates with a fixation for high explosives and gravity-defying boobs?

I contend the fault is our own. We should have demanded better.

Not that some of us haven’t been trying. There is Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik’s Penny Arcade, long a voice of advocacy within the gamer community. There is Edge magazine, one of the last brave bastions left of good game writing. There’s are select few quality gaming news and blog sites such as Four Color Rebellion, Next-Gen and The Escapist.

But for the most part, gaming press is a reflection of the public’s view of us: unprofessional, focused on hype, obsessed with sex and violence. Gaming journalism is nothing more than a tool for the industry itself, used to re-word and disseminate industry-approved PR literature. No real news is ever reported, only the information the industry wants revealed exactly when it wants revealed. Anything more would be breaking non-disclosure agreements. And we’ve seen first hand what happens when you allow the press free reign with actual reporting- a lobotomized, industry-friendly E3, free from any sort of community oversight.

There’s no attempt to raise the public discourse to something that may be worthy of Miyamto’s legacy, or of the artists and dreamers who build games we love. There’s no desire to expose the inadequacies of the industry, no journalistic fire to hold anyone involved accountable for anything that happens within it. There is no great desire, whether it be from gaming press or the retail establishment itself, to promote art over the mundane.

We have sought no voice. As a result, we’ve been assigned one.

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