Archive for January, 2012

Lazy Game Reviews – Interview With Raven Rage

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Whoa, I’ve been interviewed! Watch the video above to find out things about me and LGR that you never knew you wanted to know… we talk about Maxis games, vintage computers, the new Commodore 64x, the origins of LGR, Duke Nukem, Skyrim, console ports, my collection, and lots more.

Seriously, this was a lot of fun to do. Although this was my first time in contact with him, Raven Rage seems like a cool dude and interviewing his YouTubers is a fun idea. So yeah, check it out and all that, it’s enlightening or something.

Xbox 720 won’t play used games? Is it really all bad?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Xbox 720 No Used Games

So, there’s this rumor going around about the next Xbox console not being able to play used games. Naturally, there are a lot of pissed off console gamers as a result. But you know what? All I’ve gotta say is…

Welcome to PC gaming for the past however many years.

The used game market has been a part of console gaming since the beginning, but to a long-time PC gamer like myself this news isn’t that shocking at all. Sure, I think it’s lame and I’d rather them not restrict consoles even more than ever, but if this were to happen I wouldn’t “give up gaming” as many are declaring they’ll do. Ever heard of used games on the PC? Yeah, unless you’re talking about collecting vintage floppies and Windows 9x-era games, the market’s just not there. Frick, even that market barely exists.

How might Microsoft pull this off with the NextBox? Let’s look at the PC.

With PC games, those annoying keys, serials, and product codes have been a way of life for years. This mainly pertains to multiplayer games, but single player games are using them more and more. They tie a game to your PC and/or account so you can’t just go and install a bunch of copies on all your friends’ computers. This is done via a service like Steam or Origin, or with a publisher’s server. If the game is installed from optical media, it will generally check the disc each time you start the game to make sure that one copy is present. While I do have my issues with this, it’s become a generally accepted way of life. (One could argue this complacency in itself is a problem, but let’s stay on topic.)

Let’s assume the next Xbox has some kind of similar system in place. You buy a game from Xbox Live or a store, type in a code, and it’s tied to your gamertag and/or console. Is this really so insane? They’re already testing this with things like EA Online Pass. Sure, I can make those arguments about punishing the paying customer, end-user rights, and the problems with DRM. Those are all valid, but do you hear an uproar about Steam? It sounds very freaking similar to me.

Of course, this all depends on the kind of system Microsoft might put in place. A big reason Steam is so popular is it lets you access your games from anywhere, there are tons of games to choose from that STAY accessible, it lets you download as many times as you want, and there are frequently amazing sales on new and old games alike. If Microsoft were to limit any of these, I can see the uproar being a bit more valid. But there is no evidence of this one way or the other, and mostly what I see so far are gamers crying foul about things changing.

People hate change, I get it. But this is the way things are heading for a variety of reasons. Look at the console market’s choices over the past generation. Heck, just look at the portable market! Do you see an iOS or Android used games market? No, it’s a ridiculous concept. I agree with the idea that people should have full rights to their software, and I support the DRM-free movement, but I think we should get the whole story before crying that gaming is dead and you’re “done with the industry”. Seriously. I don’t want this system, but if it happens it’s not the end of gaming by any means. If this is implemented fairly to the consumer, I don’t see it as a very surprising occurrence. Unfortunate for console gamers who are used to the present way of doing things, and probably bad for the health of some publishers in the long run, but not surprising.

Cross Country – short film

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

My brother, Luke, who has appeared in a video or two of mine (like this one here) plays Agent James Miller in this short film, Cross Country. Yeah, he’s the first dude you see, with the Braves hat, glasses, and who turns into Jack Bauer’s cousin halfway in.

I didn’t have anything to do with the film, just a shameless plug for my bro’s work, and the rest of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro crew who worked on this awesome short. Seriously, I think this is pretty rad stuff, check it out!

The Sims 3 Master Suite Stuff review video is online

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

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Is the fifth stuff pack expansion for The Sims 3 worth buying? What exactly does it include? Will it help your erectile dysfunction? This rather snarky review of MSS answers these questions and more.

Tec Toy 20-in-1 Sega Master System Game Playthrough video is online

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

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Playing through and giving commentary on the fantastically awful “20 em I” by Tectoy, for the Brazilian Sega Master System 8-bit video game console.

Twenty games, twenty fails, one cartridge. Truly impressive stuff.

Trying to fly the A2A Spitfire Mk 1a video is online

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

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I recently realized I finally have a PC powerful enough to run Microsoft Flight Simulator X without much slowdown. I freaking love flight sims, but it’s always been a pain to run them! As a result, I’ve been looking at some of the more awesome add-ons for FSX, and ran across the A2A Simulations Supermarine Spitfire with Accu-Sim.

This video is just messing around in FSX, attempting to fly A2A’s Wings of Power 3: Spitfire without any prior knowledge. Just me, a plane, and a healthy serving of dumb. This is in no way representative of my flight simulation experience level, so please, you don’t need to let me know I don’t know what I’m doing. Being clueless is the entire point of this video, and it’s just a bit of fun!

Kryoflux USB floppy disk controller overview video is online

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

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A demonstration and overview of the capabilities of the Kryoflux USB High Definition Flux Sampler. Many thanks to LunaVorax for sending me this!

The Kryoflux is a board that connects old floppy drives to newer computers via USB. It allows for low-level reading of disks to RAW data and floppy images. This not only preserves games and software so they can be enjoyed through emulation, but also preserves them in such a way that their “original” form is kept around even when the disk has finally died.

Software preservation is something I really think needs more attention, especially with home computer systems like the IBM PC. From a nostalgic standpoint sure, but also for historical reasons. These things will only be around for long, so the preservation needs to start now!

Top 17 Most Disappointing Games of 2011

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Top 17 Most Disappointing Games of 2011

Several people have asked for an opposing side to my Top 17 Best Games of 2011 list. I have no plans to make a video about this, but here is my list regardless. These are just the games that didn’t live up to the hype, in my personal opinion. Not the most awful games ever made or anything, or even all BAD games, but definitely left me somewhat disappointed.

17. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
Boring characters, boring plot, boring locale. Not to mention a severe lack of any real “revelations”. It has its fun moments for sure, and wasn’t a bad game by any means, but it really paled in comparison to ACII and even Brotherhood.

16. LA Noire
Why is this game open world? Sure, it’s kinda cool but it’s a needless distraction. And why did Cole… never mind, spoilers. But that still annoys me, the guy seemed cool, but yeah, I’ve never felt betrayed by own character like that in a game. Still, it was a unique experience, and that’s why it’s not higher on the list.

15. Duke Nukem Forever
Ahh, DNF. Hated by many, loved by few. I enjoyed the game, really. But there was SO much to be desired! Two weapons? Ego? Dumb AI? Coming off to many as misogynistic instead of hedonistic? Argh. Not to mention broken multiplayer and console ports, at least for a good while after launch.

14. Test Drive Unlimited 2
This game was awesome! Then I had to move on to Hawaii, the same map as the previous game. I was done with that last game! Plus, the races that were left on Ibiza were all insanely stupid. Crazy lengthy and just not fun. My other complaints were addressed in patches.

13. Dead Space 2
It’s Dead Space. Again. Except now Isaac talks, yay. Cool levels and stuff, but… I’ve played this before. Hard to get excited over pizza when you just had some what seems like minutes ago.

12. Dead Rising 2: Off The Record
It’s Dead Rising 2. Again. Except now you play as Frank “Unlikeable” West. The gameplay is as fun as the first, and the new additions are swell, but it’s like Dead Space 2… I’ve played it all before. Let’s move on, please.

11. Saints Row The Third
What… happened? Sure this is a darned fun game, but compared to SR2 this one just falls flat. Lame story, lame “gangs”, lame city, lame characters, lame lack of as much customization. Get SR2 if you want a Saints Row game, then grab this one if you want giant purple dildo weapons.

10. Need For Speed: The Run
Need For Speed, yeah! Oh wait. The Run? As in, you have to get out of your car and run from the cops on foot. Quick time events, we all love those, right? Okay, so it does have some fantastic Michael Bay-esque action scenes and sort of a Cannonball Run vibe, but still. Give me a true Most Wanted 2 or Hot Pursuit: Not Suck.

9. Minecraft Pocket Edition (on anything but Xperia Play)
Yes, I know this is a super early release of the game and it’s going to feel unfinished, but WOW. I wasn’t prepared for the absolute uselessness of this. It is insanely grating to do anything with the touchscreen controls, and even then there’s nothing to do but place a few blocks. More content will come for free of course, but the bad controls on a crappy tiny screen make this a deal-breaker.

8. FEAR 3
Argh! What did they do to FEAR? Let’s see, take away the fear, drop in a cover mechanic and regen health, replace many of the moody business/city maps with generic blandness, and ramp the story up to incomprehensible stupid x11. At least the multiplayer was kinda fun.

7. Darkspore
Another game with the Maxis name attached to it. Another Spore game. Either one could get me excited. Then I figure out it’s a weak Diablo rip-off with purely uninspiring customization and story. Ah. Maybe not too bad if you’ve never played an action RPG before… but I have.

6. Bodycount
An arcade shooter, yay! By the creators of Black, yay! *plays the game, wants to throw up* Lame. Lame. LAME. Not worth my time to even describe how broken this game feels to play. I know the vibe they were going for, it almost feels like a first-person Smash TV in parts, but it doesn’t work.

5. Jurassic Park The Game
Telltale had just done Back To The Future justice, so I had hopes for this. It’s a bunch of quicktime events with a “meh” plot and dumb people running around getting eaten. People-eating it cool, sure. But seriously, I expect this kinda stuff from a cheap Sega CD game or something, but not in a game with this much potential and hype of a good studio behind it.

4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
I actually liked Black Ops, and the first Modern Warfare was sweet. But, uh… wow. I haven’t been this bored with a first-person shooter since number two on this list. What a bland game, this really could have been $15 DLC and it would have been acceptable. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of repackaging last year’s games for this year?

3. Dead Island
I knew that trailer was too good to be true. I did! I expected great things of the game anyway. What I got was a game that started off boring, got kind of interesting, then got boring again after about two hours. Not to mention irritating once you get to the sewers and such. Borderlands meets Dead Rising meets something sad and lonely. Could be a very cool premise, but please, for the next one, let people know what to expect at least a little bit? And make it not suck?

2. RAGE
id Software, nooooooooooo! What happened, guys? I can appreciate trying new things, but wow. This is easily the game I tried the hardest to get into this year, but was simply punched in the balls the more I tried. Useless open world, plot that gets almost gets interesting then sucks, awful technical issues, and seriously broken questing. And no deathmatch? Really?!

1. Postal 3
This… this is amazingly bad. The only game on this list I’d say is true crap. It uses ancient Source Engine code, yet runs worse than any other game on my system. They took away everything about Postal 2 that made it cool and made it a linear, boring, broken, rather unfunny mess of an interactive software thing. I shouldn’t have expected much from RWS after they screwed up Postal 2 with Apocalypse Weekend and passed on the coding duties to some random Russian devs, but come on. How do you screw up Postal? Again?!

You may notice a few of these were also on my best of the year list. Yes. Like I said, I did enjoy some of these near the start of the list, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel a bit lacking. It’s possible to think something is good and still want a lot more out of the experience 😀

Top 17 Games I Want To Talk About video is online

Friday, January 6th, 2012

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I have discovered an inherent problem with “top whatever” lists: they’re essentially flame-bait. Trolls just flock to these things because, for whatever reason, the idea of “opinion” doesn’t fly.

I’m putting a stop to this once and for all! This is the top 17 games that I want to talk about — at the very moment in time I created it. By now this list has totally changed, but whatever man. This is like a time capsule for my brain and nobody can refute it. Unless they’re Professor X.

Also, stick around after the list is done. More awaits that is perhaps a bit more predictable.