Friday, April 29, 2011

New Article on the Horizon

Hey there gaming fans, I wanted to inform you all that I am going to start writing weekly opinion editorials.  I already have several planned; my Violence and Video Games article was just a foreshadowing of things to come.

The first up will be about a genre, and then I'll be pushing the next one back to write an opinion about the PSN outage from an IT perspective and remark on how SONY handled vs., well, everyone else.

So, stay tuned.  The Editorial Piece is nigh.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Link

Hey guys, I've put up a new link (check the right-hand side; Places To Go, Cheat Codes To Abuse) to an up-and-coming review and gaming culture site, The Real Life Gamer.  The gentleman in charge goes by the handle gamerguy1991.

The Real Life Gamer posts video reviews of current games and includes a forum.  Furthermore, anyone who goes there can create a free profile.

Why don't you pop over and say hi, I think you'll be happy you did!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Acquisitions Apr 26th, 2011

New acquisitions

Title: Snake's Revenge

System: NES

About: Snake's Revenge is a top-down stealth game that is a non-canonical sequel to Metal Gear on the NES. It was released in 1990, and unlike the other Metal Gear games, Hideo Kojima has nothing to do with it. In fact, Kojima has stated that he thinks that it is a “little crap game”. Regardless, it's a solid title that's worth a look. Like the original NES title, your job is to infiltrate, assassinate and destroy by locating all of the weapons and equipment that you will need to complete the mission. This includes tools, keycards and healing items.

I've beaten this one before – it's definitely one of the more lengthy action titles on the system. Unfortunately, that means passwords.



Title: Blaster Master

System: NES

About: Blaster Master is a cross-genre title that has you piloting a tank and/or fighting on foot. You can enter or exit the tank at will with a press of the Select button (which you will have to do to progress). The tank is upgradable as well. I've only found one upgrade so far. For some reason, I find the game similar to Rygar even though they are conceptually different. Maybe it's the combination of side-scrolling and top-down sections. Either way, I can't believe I never played this one when I was younger.

Yes, I was the first time I ever played this very awesome game.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Article - Now Playing: Now Playing, Apr. 25th, 2011

Hey guys, I've decided that I'm going to put together a new "article", "Now Playing".  I think it's only fitting, after all.

Without further ado, the very first "Now Playing" article:

Currently Playing: Dynasty Warriors 7


System: XBox 360

Genre: Beat-'Em-Up

So far, I like it. The game has two main modes, Story and Conquest. Story mode is excellent, much better than in the previous entries. Conquest mode, not so much - especially since it lacks some of the gimmicks that make store mode so enjoyable.

The graphics have been given a significant boost, although generic soldiers still look really mediocre. The gameplay has been both simplified and improved. The combat system has been reverted to what it was prior to Dynasty Warriors 6 (this is a good thing) but has been made much more customisable by dint of the fact that each character can equip two weapons at once from 35 choices (34 weapons anyone can use and 2 gender-exclusive).  Furthermore, you can swap out any of the two that you always have equipped from the pause menu.

People who are experiencing the series for the first time will actually find a lot to like, as will people who have every previous entry. Much better than Dynasty Warriors 6 from a gameplay perspective, and much better than Dynasty Warriors: Strike Force period.  The game also supports offline and online 2-player multiplayer in Conquest mode exclusively.

What is in my other game systems:

Old Windows PC (P3 1Ghz): Diablo
DOS PC: The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
Xbox: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
N64: Jet Force Gemini
SNES: Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
NES: The Guardian Legend

Diablo is kind of a given because it's most likely going to be the May review. Plus I had to test it to make sure that the game was playable on my P3 (I ran into problems before). Diablo is an action-RPG that's also a graphical take on NetHack. NetHack is the original PC dungeon crawler, and I believe was originally made with ASCII characters. Ghetto graphics aside, it has a huge cult following. Diablo adds the graphics and Battle.Net. That I have not yet tested – I don't know if the servers are up and running, but it's worth finding out because it's free to play online. Just watch out for bastard cheaters.

For those who have read my, dissertation on The Elder Scrolls, Daggerfall is my favourite in the series. Mostly because of the instant death spells and the ability to climb sheer walls. Actually, I also really liked the combat system. As an action RPG, Daggerfall broke so many boundaries it isn't funny, and I have yet to play an RPG that comes as close to realising a character development system that is as deep as it is. Of course, this created a system that could be exploited all to hell, but it's FUN just to see how far you can take it.  And you can now play it for free!

I just got Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring because my girlfriend and I recently did a LotR Marathon. The game was received poorly, but I wanted to give it a shot. It's pretty interesting, and the music is very nice. Graphically, it's quite ugly. Unlike The Two Towers and Return of the King, Beat-'Em-Ups which were released by Electronic Arts, Fellowship (released by Black Label Games) is actually an adventure game, so I expect to get more than five hours out of it. For those who are interested, Two Towers actually covers the major battles from both Fellowship and Two Towers, so EA had no need to license a game based off of Fellowship.

Jet Force Gemini is an action-adventure title by Rare which is a combination of exploration and blowing up giant ants (that's about as far as I've gotten). The game is cute and quirky, but it doesn't do a very good job of telling you where you are and where you need to go. Quite fun, though. It's one of the few N64 games that I know of that supports surround (Dolby 4-speaker), but it does well enough with my 5.1 system. I don't really have much to say about it because as much as I like shooting up giant ants, I don't like running around in circles, so the game has been collecting dust. Not one of Rare's best adventure titles on the 64.

Ys III is a side-scrolling action-RPG. It's actually pretty straight forward, and fairly short...well, by today's standards at any rate. You play a warrior who, of course, starts off by saving the village from critters in a mine. Like many JRPGs of just about any stripe, there's a lot grinding involved. Aesthetically, it's actually aged surprisingly well, considering it's from 1991. Unfortunately, the gameplay has not. 

And finally, Guardian Legend. Guardian Legend is one of the earliest cross-genre titles, and you have to play it if you are into classic gaming even a little. And not just for its historic value. The gameplay is surprisingly good for a game that's 23 years old. Why? Because it's played in two formats: Exploration and Shoot-'Em-Up. I kid you not. The exploration mode is like Zelda with guns, more or less. I don't think I need to go into how a Shoot-'Em-Up mode works. It's one of those games you have to see to believe. It's like The Legend of Zelda had a bastard child with Galaga. And it works.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth Review Is Up!!

Here I am, at the end of the month.  I have finished Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth and its review.  It can be found on the new Thrown Controllers review page, found here.  Or you could just click the tab at the top of the page, but I'd rather save you the time.

This new page is the one that I will be posting all new reviews to, especially since the review template that I created is exclusively for Thrown Controllers.  It will not be used in any of my other endeavours.  The page simply labeled "Reviews" is, now and forever, only an archive.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review In Progress

I've started writing the Call of the Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth review.  I finished it on the 360 and I'm about 85% of the way through it on the XBox.

Expect the review to be up in a few days.  It's about 1/3 done, and I hope to start editing tomorrow.  I will post as soon as it's done and link you all to it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Call of Cthulu Update

I have finished the game on the 360.  Luckily, the issues I was previously dealing with were cured with a simple cache purge.  I'm now migrating it to the XBox so that I can do a proper comparison of the emulation against the real deal.

As far as the game's definitely longer than five hours if you've never played it before.  Much.  I'll let you all know when I've finished the XBox playthrough and started writing the review.

Violence and Video Games

I was on Destructoid today because I was following up with their very high scores of Koei action titles (like I can criticise, I love the Warriors franchises) and they were talking about a recent shooting in the UK and they were ranting and raving about some people in the UK umm...expressing their opinions about violence and video games and how it allegedly relates to shootings.

Now, first things first:  No one blames the perpetrators if they're kids in school, regardless of age.  The law says you can assess morality at the age of 12.  I was able to by the age of 10, and I'm a bit of a misanthrope.  So really, the people who do this are the first people who should be blamed.   

Secondly, and equally important to the first point:  Everyone's afraid of blaming the parents and guardians.  I mean, you have to be absolutely oblivious if your kid is stockpiling firearms underneath their frickin' beds.  Come on here people. 

And teachers and are legal guardians while the students are in attendance.  That  does translate into parent.  Education is a large part of the job, but it's not the only part.  If kids are acting wierd, you need to report it to their parents.  I'm not sure if this actually applied to the case in question, but it did apply to Columbine, where my favourite entertainment came under unnecessary fire. 

Thirdly:  Everyone would rather blame anything else - especially multimedia, whether it's heavy metal music, horror movies, comic books, cartoons, or videogames. 

No one blames books.  I have yet to play a game in which someone is executed by having a pot of molten gold poured over their head (not saying which book, it would be a spoiler).  And Mein Kampf helped spur an entire a nation to murder more than 10 million innocent human beings and start a war that caused the death of another 60+ million.  Sucks to your videogames theory.

I would have hoped that more than just the U.S. would have learned from Columbine.  However, the rest of the world, just like the U.S., pretends it never happened.  Get a clue.  There are psychotics everywhere, and they are either born that way or made that way by the people around them.  If you're going to pass blame, take a look in the mirror and examine the assumed deity within, not its creations.

Okay, so I've said my piece about the people that rail against violent games.  But that's only half of the story.  The other half is that we need to be more civil about our own criticism of these people.  Calling them names is not going to help; in fact, it'll make things worse.  This is because they already look like saints while we look like unkempt cavedwellers - sometimes in the literal sense.

But that doesn't give me license to call them names.  Well, actually, it does.  Yes.  I just said it does.  However, as a potentially public figure for my favourite kind of entertainment, I'm also an ambassador for my culture.  As is Destructoid, so I find their behaviour to be childish and repugnant.  If it's an anonymous forum-dweller trolling about this kind of dreck, that's perfectly fine.  They aren't daily public faces (or, I should say, they aren't on the front page) and, on a whole, don't represent anything more than our version of the people who rail against us because they don't know better - except they aren't in everyone's business.

The moral here is:  Society has to start turning the gaze inward instead of blaming everything but itself when the psychos come out and the people who represent us need to stop acting like children when some ignoramuses make us the target of a BS media stunt.  Sure, they're trying to make their careers off of us, but they'll eventually fail - and fail hard.  Jack Thompson wasn't disbarred for chasing ambulances, after all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


For any of you who have read the comments on the previous post, I mentioned that I'm having trouble reviewing Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

The reason for this is because I chose to test it out on the XBox 360 first to see how well it was emulated (being that Morrowind and both Halo titles are an absolute wash).  Because of a glitch in the game engine, I'm stuck on a puzzle indefinitely about half to two thirds of the way through the game.

I'm going to test this out again tonight by starting with a cache wipe and reinstalling the emulator.  If it still fails, I'll be moving over to the XBox and counting the emulation as a wash.  This will not affect the score as I know for a fact that the game is playable beyond this point.  On my first playthrough about 5 years ago, I got about 90% of the way through the game.  You'll find out why I stopped when you read the review.

If the emulation is found to be faulty, I'll be taking a break from the game until next week because I'm itching to play something that isn't a first-person shooter.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review Template Ready To Rock and Roll

Okay, so I'll be starting Call of Cthulu a little sooner than anticipated.  I made my review template today; it only took about 10 minutes.  No joke.

That said, I've also been mulling over how I'll be dealing with tie-breakers if any of the future review polls end in a tie.

So far, I've come up with this solution:  Dice roll or coin toss, depending on how many or few.  To help with this, I've got a dice set for Dungeons and Dragons that should help things along.

I mean, its either that or I do a short poll to follow up.  What do you guys think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

The End of One Poll, The Start of Another. And a Review, Too

Hey guys, the verdict is in: Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth for the XBox will be next title to be reviewed.
It'll be up by May 1st, or the earliest that I can finish the game. It can be beaten in 5 hours, so I should be finished with it within the next couple of weeks or so.

It'll be posted to an entirely new page.  I'm going to start it next week because I'll be revamping my own review format to something a little more structured than my old user reviews.  If you haven't read those, you should.  If you have any interest at all in becoming a reviewer, they're an excellent example of how to not write a professional review.  They are a good stepping-stone, though.

I've also redone the layout of the blog as you can see.  This is because I want certain elements (especially anything you guys can interact with) to be more visible.  Plus it just looked like crap.

There's also a new poll up for you to vote on for yet another review, which I'll start in May and finish by June.

Also, I'm thinking of redoing my Serious Sam 2 review.  I really knocked it because of all of changes made to the game, but it was, in fact, a very good game nonetheless nad most of the changes were for the better (and the game had such good level design in comparison to the first one).  I was just bitchy because the minigun didn't fire as fast and I felt (at the time) that the game was too hard.  I don't think that that is very good reviewing.  What say you?