Starting with Rock Band last year, the blatant misuse of microphones in gaming has crossed over into console territory. This is a new development sin, though. Popular music games with karaoke-like gameplay are now asking players to scream into the microphone in order to activate "star power" or some equivalent. Don't get me wrong, screaming is a legitimate element of rock music, but it certainly doesn't belong in every song. Moreover, the mechanic just doesn't work very well. I'm extremely disappointed to hear that this glaring design flaw hasn't been addressed in Rock Band 2, and it seems to have been directly copied for Guitar Hero: World Tour.Read more...
October 29, 2008
October 22, 2008
I was thinking about this today and realized that I can't even keep up with all my current games in progress. So here's my attempt at a comprehensive list – not only to illustrate the point but also to help me take stock of the situation.
Killer7 (on loan from Neal Ronaghan – thanks, man!)
World of Goo
Mega Man 9
Super Mario RPG
Secret of Mana
Too Human (from GameFly)
Burnout ParadiseRead more...
October 20, 2008
For the uninitiated, Braid came out in August on Xbox Live Arcade to glowing reviews proclaiming it to be an artistic masterpiece. It was headed by a small team led by experiment designer Jonathan Blow, who put his own money into the game. The game proclaims such things as "Every puzzle in Braid is unique. There is no filler," and "Braid does everything it can to give you a mind-expanding experience." The way it’s described might seem more like some kind of outrageous hallucinogenic drug then a video game. It won numerous independent game awards and is slated for a future PC release.Read more...
October 7, 2008
Shaken, Not StirredWiiDS
The first event on the schedule was about Activision's upcoming Spider-Man game, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. This was low-key. However, the event following it which involved Quantum of Solace was not.
First, I was taken in a car with Evan from Nintendojo. In the driver's seat sat an "undercover chauffeur" and a Bond girl sat in the passenger seat. We zipped around the streets of Santa Monica as they told us "we were being chased." We wound up being dumped into a parking lot where someone with a trunk full of briefcases gave us each a briefcase and told us to put on the shirt inside and read the note for further instructions. Also in this briefcase was a fake gun, fake bullets, a small screwdriver set, a fake passport, and a lot of fake money.Read more...
October 5, 2008
2D platformers pulled gaming out of the slump of the 1980's and singlehandedly revived the industry. Were it not for Super Mario Bros., this website probably wouldn't exist. 2D platformers dominated the market, in fact, during the NES, SNES, and Genesis years. There were other, more experimental games, like The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox, but for the most part, when we think back on that golden age, we think of Mario, Metroid, Battletoads, and Plock.
Well, maybe not Plock.Read more...
October 1, 2008
Since purchasing my PSP early this (now past) summer I have noticed something about nearly all of the games I own. Most of them are simply console experiences shrunk to fit on a PSP screen. The play style, save structure, and overall experience is exactly what you might find on your PS2. While this sounds fantastic, it is quite clearly the biggest failure of the PSP.
Arguably the most important role of any portable game system is providing a portable game experience. This may sound obvious, but it is pretty clear Sony wasn't considering this when they developed the PSP. The games they promote and encourage, such as God of War: Chains of Olympus which came as a pack-in with my PSP is by no means a portable game. It doesn't allow for quick and easy saves and doesn't give me the ability to play it in short bursts and pick it up and play it again later. This problem can even be extrapolated to describe the PSP hardware itself.Read more...