High-double edge sword – A non-def issue

Hi-def-nonsense

What’s with all this all this noise about High-Definition/Blu ray? Ok, they produce a good picture, equal to (sometimes greater) than those found on a PC games, but looks are only one part of that what makes a game good. Lately though I’ve been hearing from everyone and my mother about how ‘crisp’ and ‘clear’ a High def/Blu ray disk make things look. Again fine, and if you already have a TV that takes advantage of all that fanzines more power to you. What I do have a problem with though is the fact that all the current consoles are pushing people to buy high def TVs whether they like it or not. I’m a basic man, with basic needs; and those need don’t include buy a $500-$1,000 TV just so I can see my game properly. Gone are the days where you can buy a ‘RF’ adapter for your TV to be happy, no, if you don’t have a ‘Red, White, Yellow’ ports on the back, slide or front of your TV your screwed. Fortunately most, if not all comes, TVs now comes with these ports; but still won’t help in the High def end of things. Some game developers aren’t making it easy on us either, seeing how they’re the one’s making the games high def in the first place. Sure these game effect only minor things on non-def TVs such as on screen text or mini-map placement; but it’s only a matter of time before a under pixilated detail does me in game, then I’ll be really upset.

Game developers – please be respectful to those not blessed with High-def, make it an option in game, but don’t automatically assume we all have it.

We are 2005’s disappoint in G.I.’s eyes – Time to go to work (Reviewer’s Review)

Poo-thumb's-down

You know, sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to write about next, so for a little help I cruse the internet and turn to gaming mags for some inspiration. Luckily I found direction for my rage in the form of Game Informer Magazine, Issue 153. In the section entitled “Top 10 Disappointment of 2005”, the number 5 slot was:

“You(meaning the general gaming public) – Great games come out every year that the general gaming population doesn’t latch on to, and lack of sales means less experimentation and evolution in the pastime we all love so much. Get out there and buy what’s good, support what you love, and give weird a chance.”

Ah… It’s moments like this the V.G.A. was made for. Generally I have no complains about their Magazine, they have good features and a simple reviewing style. However this statement above is so full of it, that I had no choice but to express myself logically and show whoever wrote this P.o.S. to get off their smarmy high horse, all at the same time.

Now I understand that the staff there plays 5 or even 10 times more games over the normal gamer. They have first crack at find new, neat little games such “Psychonauts” or “Shadow of the Colossus”. The problem is that the average gamer does not have that opportunity; your jobs ties in to “the pastime we all love so much” but people who at Sears or McDonald’s 8 hours a day may not want to go to nearest game store, buy 5 unknown game titles and do little “experimentation” after a hard day’s work of flipping heart stoppers. No that’s just not how it works in real life.

Ok, they’ll probably say to me now: “That’s no excuse, what about a rental place or GameFly?” True enough, but any gamer worth anything knows that most rental places sucks for video games; no selection, annoying fees, and having to the thing back, no thank you. Then there’s GameFly; an excellent, reasonable video game resource, but between the fact that it’s still relatively unknown, and that they send the games through the mail, which takes two business days (that’s four days in real time, not including weekends). It’s almost easier to deal with the local rental places.

What really gets me puppy-kicking mad is the fact someone actually had the nerve to say “buy what’s good” when what’s good is all a matter of preference. For example if somebody who has the extra $50 to buy a game had the choice between and game that looked like a 5 year old made it while on a sugar fix or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 which one would they pick? Short Answer: RSV2! Why? Because it is what’s good you freakin smart asses, even though it’s not the new kid on the block anymore, look at Mario he’s been around for 20+ years still cranking out excellent games people love. I am truly sorry that unique and fun games sometimes fall through the cracks (To this day I still love Mischief Makers for the N64) but don’t blame us for not having same opportunities and resources that allows gamers like yourselves to play cool games, and for free no less. So if you want us to “give weird a chance” then buy the general gaming populous their own copy of Psychonauts, we wouldn’t mind. So that’s about it; I know you chumps said something about the Alliance from World of Warcraft, but I’m going to let that one slide. However as  Steven Colbert would say “Game Informer – You’ve been put on notice…”

Gaming Confidence

Ladies and Gentlemen, a question if you will. Have you ever lost your gaming confidence? Thought one day, you’re not as good as you once was? It’s happens to us all one way or another, myself included. I’ve always been very good with video games; and always took pride in that. Back in the day, my neighborhood didn’t have strong gaming community so I never have many people to play with. So when one of my best friends wanted to learn how to play Street Fighter, I was quite happy. For that summer I taught him everything I knew about the game and then some; he caught on quickly and before long we were having the memorable matches I always wanted. As time went by I progressed to newer games while all my other older games were left to get dusty; I mean what did I care, I beat them after all. And every so often when my friend came over we played the latest fighter and have close back and forth matches like we had for years. However recently when I and my friend played Alpha 3 or Street Fighter vs. SNK would be on the losing side of our battles. As they when on it would get so bad that no matter what tactic I would use, or move I would make I would lose like a first timer. Sure I would win by lucky break once in a while, but it annoyed the hell out of me that I could only win 1 out of 50. I was P.O.’ed for weeks, and as those losses started to add up I was starting to question my skills so I asked my brother. He told me that the only reason why my friend was beating me in classical fighters is that those are the games he plays the most. He also added that I so many play other games that I don’t play like Street Fighter anymore so I don’t keep my game up. He was right. The next time he was over we played a few shooters and Smash Brothers; it was him who got his ass handed to him that day. So much so that he begged to play a Street Fighter game. Hey, even greatness needs a shot of ego every in a once in a while. My friend these days is now in Cali making his way in the world, but we still keep in touch. Anyway, I love to win, but losing so much to one of my best friends almost killed my love for the game. My advice to those in that situation, and don’t have a brother as smart as mine, don’t freak, it’s only a game. Losing to others, and the game itself, is part the experience. Try different games and find something new. Or for something really radical, take a break, there’s more to life than games (and yes, I just said that). I myself enjoy a little history on my down time, just not competitively.

Online Survival Tips – Noobs need apply

Vid-Tips

Hello all you legions of V.G.A. fans out there. For my latest blog entry, instead for doing a hyper-opinioned blog like you’re all accustomed of me doing, I decided to do something productive an offer some tidbits of knowledge in the online arena. Why? Glad you asked, see, lately I’ve been noticing ‘pro-gamers’ like Tom “TSquared” Taylor offering advice to people through media of choice (X-Play, websites, etc). Having hearing/reading this advice, I judge them ok for quick advantages, but not enough for long term tactics. The standard basics is what players need to survive before going all fancy, otherwise my online matches are going to be boring to oblivion. I know, I know, a lot of you know basics already and that’s fine; this for the players who don’t, so deal with it. And who knows maybe you will find this interesting anyway. There are 16 tips but they are separated by the three types of online play one will experience: Online Action, Online Strategy and Online Role Play. Granted some games the tips won’t cover like Madden; but I’m sure you all forgive me for being lazy.


Online Action

  • When in Online Action game like First person shooter it always a good idea to keep moving, if you stand still your easy target for other players to pick off
  • Always keep you head turning, never look in the same direction for more than 5 second at a time. After all, the easiest kill is in the back.

  • If you need to stop moving for any reason always use your surroundings to hide yourself, even something as simple as crouching against the wall could fool other players for a second.

  • Always keep your eye out for “the better”. The better weapon, the better vehicle, the better rout, the better move, the better whatever. Make sure you get it before your opponents do.

  • Beware of the psyche-out; some online players will try to mess with you to throw your game off. Use it against them or create your own; be creative.

  • If you don’t rank well in the beginning don’t worry about it, just keep trying. Before you know it the name who might be on top on the next match will be yours.


Online Strategy

  • Defense, defense, defense. You always got to make sure you’re protected at all times otherwise it will be an easy victory for your opponent.

  • In a normal real time strategy game resources are key; your armies will be pitiful without decent supplies to keep them well armed and healthy.

  • Don’t waste time with crazy strategies in the beginning, you may think it will catch your opponent off guard, but all it will get you and your armies annihilated.

  • Never rush your moves; patience is a virtue, not a suggestion.

  • If you can, try to play strategy stages before you enter the online arena so you know the maps and quickest ways to victory.


Online Role Play

  • When you role play, have fun with it. This type of game allows you to be someone else like a great warrior or a genius scientist; just don’t be the nerd too cool to role play.

  • Role play games are usually huge explore when you can but watch out for areas with monsters stronger than you. Their faster, have a bigger attack range and kill you quickly.

  • Role play games are saturated with online players, it a good idea to communicate with the other players because some areas of the game won’t be accessible without help. Please and thank you goes a long way too; trust me on this.

  • Prioritize your money; put to skills, put to equipment, put to partying, whatever! Just make sure you have a plan.

  • Finally be aware that in role play games you’ll be fighting more computerized monsters than other players, but it’s not unheard of to get attacked by another player who looks for an easy way to make your life living hell. So either don’t go ‘player vs. player’ or watch out when you do.

Lag – The silent killer… Of games

lag-sniper

Now I wouldn’t say I play games online a lot (if I wanted to hear losers and 3-year olds yell obscenities at me I would go to a kingdom hearts message board), but I do like to challenge myself against other people every now and again. I turn on my Xbox 360, pop in ‘The Orange Box’ and warm up ‘Team Fortress 2’. I get keyed up for 10-30 minutes of non-stop slaughter, and finally load on to the playing field, and then it hits me. Not an enemy player but something more insidious… Lag. I can’t move, can’t turn, and can’t shoot. Then sudden movement and turning for few seconds then freeze again against the wall. Firing constantly, even without pulling the trigger since the first time. The finally indignity was dying by an opponent I couldn’t, see, avoid, or fight. I left (in a crappy mood) to find a better room, but I never did. I was temped to melt the disk into slag; I didn’t because that would be stupid, still this was not an isolated incident. Games, FPS mostly, are meant to be played online these days, but no matter the game, chances are if you play it online it will be hampered by Lag.

For those who don’t know; Lag is where highly congested network latency causes a symptom where an electronic action appears later than expected. There are many reasons why this happens, but I don’t care! We have come a along way as a people, cloned sleep, created good trilogy movies, and so on. You can’t tell me we can’t eliminate latency issues from online game play, you just can’t! What I’m I paying for Xbox live for if I’m not getting what I’m paying for; game developers are guilty too why have something in testing for years if Lag is still around. Truth be told, Lag free game are found in unexpected games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Their online is seamless, and coming from a company that’s not known for their online games, at all, makes the others look like there dragging there feet. I’m glad to say that Lag is more of a minority event than anything; and not as bad as I make it out to be. Lag though a serious issue should be dealt with immediately by the powers that be, otherwise it can (and will) ruin a game for a player. Patience and restraint can only go so far.

P.C. v Consoles – Let’s make one thing clear…

VS

In no way, shape, or form do I discriminate any video game platforms. As long as it’s done right and doesn’t come with any extra pieces of crap that I’ll never use again (I’m looking at you Guitar Hero & Rock Band) then I don’t have a problem. However there has been an issue going around, for I don’t know how long, about games and whether or not it’s easier to play with mouse + keyboard or with a game controller. Well I don’t know if it’s an issue with a lot of other gamers it is with me, I couldn’t tell you how annoyed I get every time a PC gamer comes up and says an ‘FPS’ on the computer is better because of the fricken mouse! I hate to break this all those mousers out there, but the clear winner the game controller obviously, and yes I can feel the hate right now. There are a number of reasons why this is so but I’ll stick to three to avoid a full on rant.

1. Over complication – Granted options are good the more the better I say, but seriously it takes far too long to assign each and every button on a mouse and keyboard to do a particular function. Usually the presets are fine to start, but no gamer worth the game just uses the presets alone unless they have no choice.

2. Maintenance – Mouses and Keyboards get dirty, if you don’t clean them often to will effect your game play (and general computing) all together. With a console controller, not so much. What’s more if one or, heaven help you, both items brakes your not only screwed, but you have to pay through the nose to get suitable replacements. Again not so much with controllers; they’re built for punishment (little kids, temperamental players, and the like) and cost effective to replace.

3. Doesn’t support a superior mediumLike a said before I don’t discriminate, I have a few PC games that I enjoy daily. Graphically beautiful in every sense, and without PC gaming, gaming as a whole wouldn’t be the same. All that aside though PC wasn’t built for games; it takes a great deal of time, money or both to make one even able to play every PC game out today. All it takes for a console to play a game is to buy or download it. Plus the majority of the game types are only FPS, Strategy and Simulation. How can the keyboard and mouse be the superior control scheme if they only (properly) control only a fraction of the game types out there? Sure they have the advantage in online role playing games; but that won’t last forever either. The times, they are changing.

Again I feel I can list more reasons, but these reasons alone should give my argument some weight. Still actions are sometimes more effective than words, and soon the time will come where PC and Console games will able to play online together. Maybe then we’ll see which style is more effective by the results after the game.