Protagonist (and former NBA star) Charles Barkley is a haunted, troubled man with a dark past, but a noble heart. He lives in the future dystopia of Neo New York – a fearsome place where basketball has been abolished and most of his friends slain – trying, as best he can, to make a life for himself and his son Hoopz… but first he must dodge the authoritarian intentions of Michael Jordan, who believes Barkley to be responsible for the civilisation-wrecking Chaos Dunk.
Fascinating argument over at Tale of Tales: all games including pre-videogames (chess, cards etc.) are casual, computer-based games have the potential to move beyond casual gameplay into artistic experiences but are bogged down by casual elements – “Get the keycard, kill the boss monster, solve the puzzle”, etc. Give ‘er a read.
So, I’ve been introduced to this fantastic website… a website that lets you design your own avatar and then make comics with them. It’s very addictive. What is the name of this amazing website you might ask?
If you are checking it out, please… check out some of the stuff we’ve been doing (look up Christopher w, Nadine, or Daragh.) We’ve been making series, making friends, and all kinds of other Conan and Terminator related stuff.
The interface is very easy to use. It’s point and click and drag… each character can be given an array of various customizable expressions, different styles of word balloons can be coloured and stretched…
It’s fun… it’s simple
For a moment I feared for my comic career seeing this site. It was described as “YouTube for comics” and about a day into using it I realized that, like YouTube, there is alot of junk out there. But it is entirely worth sifting through because there is some fantastic stuff that is downright hilarious amongst the plethora of inside jokes and nonsequitoria. (I am officially making that a word.)
For an example, this is the comic I made. I am egotistical enough to let you know it became number one on the site for two days:
A word on this weeks Eyeless Max comic… it’s not serious, I have nothing against bitstrips… it’s a joke… lighten up.
I took a new tactic for designing this comic. I took pictures of myself posing in various stances and then drew Eyeless Max in my place. I didn’t trace, but pretty close to it. It was a pain in the ass, but Max looks good. We will see if I keep it up… it was a helluva lotta work.
For now… enjoy this random picture of me I used to transform into an Eyeless Max. I was hideously sick in this picture. I hope you like it.
This was news last week but now the site is up with all the info. But the most important thing to know right now is that Gabe and Tycho are just the best damn gamers in the whole wide world. These guys have done so much for gamers, not to mention all they do for hospitals.
The fact that they are now opening the way for indie gamers to get some press and prestige is awesome. You know this is the beginning of something amazing. I’m just so happy they exist. Really, really happy.
I know the “format war” ended and stuff but this quick. Money must be made! I wonder if HD 360 players are going to become collectors items in like fifty years? And why did it have to be called Blu-Ray? HD sounds so much better. Meh, at least I didn’t buy an HD player of any kind. Ha ha!
Apple gave details of the new iPhone software developer’s kit today. 3rd party apps have only been possible as web apps so far, but now devs can make all kinds of stuff, and it will be distributed through the iTunes store.
A couple test games were demonstrated, one by Apple and one by EA. This could be pretty big. It’s not just the touch screen, the iPhone also has an accelerometer that detects the movement of the device – so for games, it’s like a DS crossed with a Wii. Even more interestingly, the iPhone can figure out its position in the world via cellphone tower triangulation, opening the door to some pretty crazy potential big game action. It’s a whole new platform!
Luc Besson’s wonderful world of tiny wee creatures Arthur and the Minimoys has two sequels coming up and Ubisoft will be handling the game verions. Yay! I love Ubisoft! I like Luc Besson! Yeah, I actually do. The Fifth Element made me like him for life.
The sequels, which will be released along with the films over the next two years, are Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard and Arthur and the Two Worlds War.
As long as movies keep turning into videogames then Ubisoft should handle all of them. I mean Beowulf had that crap singing, so much crap singing, but still it looked really good and the blood effects were awesome.
How did I go from talking cute wee children’s stories to blood effects?
So first off, before any action starts we see some robed figure by a fire talking telling stories. Now, this would have worked as an opening until I heard the voice, not some wise Mako-like man or old crone. No, no we have some Dame Judy Dench knock off voice, way too civilized to be talking about Conan, telling us how we’re going to a world “undreamed by man!” as if it’s a Disney ride, not the dark archaic chaos ridden realm I’ve grown up on. No, just a time of fantasy and wonder! Bald. Er. Dash. I’m twitching before I even starting button mashing.
Then we begin as “Conan” finds himself in a temple which he’s looting. Yay. Except for the fact that the hallway we’re in is insanely similiar to the first level in God of War 2. The windows are even the same. Anyway, the button mashing begins with quick attacks on X, strong attacks on Y, grabbing and throwing with B, jumping on A, and easy to understand movements and combos. It’s simple, effective, and not so tedious that you don’t want to play anymore. If you don’t mind button mashing, action-adventure gameplay this is fine and dandy. There’s enough variation in your moves that you don’t get too bored and some bad guys do require you to at least block and parry so it’s not all super hack and slash. It’s slash shield slash. Health and experience are measured in runes. Green for health, red for experience, which you can buy new combos with. You can pick up shields and enemy weapons, which is nice because it’s fun to have two in hand and one on your back. There are different combos for two-handed weapons, two weapons, and one weapon. Lots of violent imagery as well, I like to hack arms off. It’s nice.
Seriously though, they didn’t have to make the runes pulsing orbs of light that break out of objects and fly towards you through the air. The game screams God of War, absolutely screams it. This is frustrating because it doesn’t have to! Conan should be able to stand on its own! Screw generic gameplay, if the story holds up generic is fine. The gameplay isn’t what I’m upset about. I do have fun running around in the simplistic “hey, do this and this and free so and so and here’s a dozen guys to cut your way through” run of the mill adventuring. No, this is what pisses my bawls with this game: The sheer and utter lack of creativity with the Conan licence.
Okay maybe I’m being too harsh, but I could play any dungeon crawler or hack and slash for this type of gameplay. When I play anything related to god damn Conan I expect there to be a really interesting, bloody, and creepy storyline. Something that lets me plunge into the soul of Conan, experience his profound emptiness in a world devoid of tenderness and hope. Oh he has good times now and then, sleeps with beautiful woman, eats, drinks, is sometimes merry, but he is never truly happy. He will never be truly happy. The best Conan can ever do is stay alive, and that’s why I love him.
Susan O’Connor is the writer of this “Conan” storyline. Conan thinks he’s looting for a jewel, releases a demon evil that starts infecting the land, then he teams up with a pirate warrior woman to get his magical armour back and stop the evil.
What the hell? If anything Conan would be trying to destroy some weird ruin of power, he hates that sick and twisted stuff! It creeps him out! Has Susan O’Connor even read the source material? Sure, she’s written for Bioshock and Gears of War, but I’m sorry Susan, you’ve missed the mark here. One of the things I love so much about the world of Conan is how gross magic really is. Only creepy and weird people play with magic, and when they do bad stuff usuall happens. You don’t trust magic wielders because they are power hungry bastards that only care about their own magical evolution. Yeah here and there you meet some good guys who can cast a few spells mix a few potions, but by and large magic is a messed up practice for messed up people.
The dialogue! Conan has seen vicious, horrid, messed stuff. He’d call some dude he’s fighting a wretched cur or a feeble woman, but he will not call a simple pirate “spawn from hell”. Conan can cut these bitches up. He’s had many a type of spawn from hell’s mucousy blood spatter into his eyes before. Come up with something better for him to shout repeatedly during battle, Susan. “That’s one less dog on the streets!”? He’s on an island, there are no streets! And he doesn’t care about cleaning the streets up, he’s young non-king Conan! And he was a pirate for years! Also, Ron Perlman? Love you as Hellboy and everything but you are not Conan. Never will be. And I know you got paid crock shits of cash for like three days recording but can you try to curse in battle with some bloodlust? I’m sorry but the first few moments in the temple you sounded like an enthusiastic Liono, not a hardened barbarian.
Then there’s my beautiful Claudia Black. God, she is my perfect woman. She does the voice of A’Kanna, the pirate chick (and a Belit knock-off hardcore). She enlists Conan’s help on pirate island to get his magical armour back. I love her. So I’m happy she’s in the game. That is all.
So I run around on pirate island killing pirates, freeing naked chicks who say “how can I repay you” and then just stand there not repaying me, and helping get A’Kanna’s crew back in tried and true “go do that, and then that, and I’ll be here doing this but not that until you do that other thing” gameplay. Again, not complaining about that. Complaining about the bad voice acting by Ron Perlman and the terrible writing. It’s only terrible because the game is called “Conan” and really it shouldn’t be called that at all. It would be fine if this were called “Jaithyn the Slayer of Dogs” or something.
God of War took Greek myth and sexified it up (it was always sexy but they made it glam too) and put a furious, hardass bastard at the wheel so you were tearing through Ancient Greece full throttle sucking on the teat of awesome. Kratos can kick Conan’s ass. That is not a sentence I ever wanted to say, but it’s the truth. This Conan is a weak, watered down version of what he could have been. The vision of the game is sorely lacking. They spent so much time emulating the mechanics of God of War they lost sight of something pretty damned important. Conan is the god of war. And he doesn’t need any super special magic shit either, he uses his own damn self.
I’m going to finish the game and report back if the story improves, but I know it won’t. It can’t. A whale cannot skin a cat. This game cannot have a good story. I can just look at naked slave girls and hear Claudia Black’s voice and slash guys with my swords.
And that’s okay.
I just wanted something a bit more satisfying for my Conan loving soul.
So my friend Helena recently bought a cajon drum. It’s basically a box you sit on and you can make it sound like so many drums just from a small tap of a finger, it’s totally awesome. What’s more totally awesome is the video featured below.
Remember that crazy fast ukulele guy who did that George Harrison song on the ukulele? Well there’s this cajon player, Djaloyan Sylvain, who has taken that video and mixed in his drumming alongside it. Sylvain blows my mind as a cajon player, but what tickles me even more is the fact that people are playing together on youtube and other video sites. I mean they are adding to each other’s content in creative and beautiful ways! (Or adding to their perfection…it’s so very Borg) That is crazy! Like if you really think about it, we are incredibly social and cooperative animals, we ache to create together. I find that melding of technology and human nature to be very heartwarming.
Yet, there is a certain “holy crap what the hell” going on as well.
We talked about Lost Odyssey in the last Robot Sounds. I personally think that the only major difference between the Final Fantasy games and this one is the colour palette. Lost Odyssey is all about the Magic Industrial look and Final Fantasy was about the happy pastels. True… there is a lack of Moogles and Chocobos in Lost Odyssey… but that’s a minor point.
I want this RPG system used in something NEW!!
Lets to an epic sci-fi story or something… I mean people… com’on. Hey Squaresoft and Mistwalker! I am chock full of ideas, hire me!
So I’ve decided to poke fun at this a bit. There are more elements you could jam into a stereotypical Japanese RPG. How about the love story with a beautiful princess/priestess/flower girl? or how about a dozen highly irritating mini-games like catching frogs, jumping rope, or marching? Oh yeah… I’ve got your number now, bitch.
regardless of ALL of this I am STILL playing Final Fantasy Nine and having a ball… I can’t help it… it’s like a drug..
Is WoW the Star Trek of MMOs? And there is no Star Wars equivalent to challenge them and it’ll take years and years for that to even happen and even when it does it will take a long time to have any real effect on WoW. But then years later after Star Warses and Battlestar Galacticas and Xenas and Stargates (these are metaphors for games…in fandom terms) thrust themselves upon the gaming scene the market will be pleasantly saturated with so many fulfilling MMOs that the upstart mega-profit machine WoW will be nothing but a warm and familiar hug from the past? Delegated to be forever comfort gaming like Tetris is today?
What is it about WoW that makes it so very powerful? People are adventuring all the time, in so many varied ways, giving days, weeks, even months of their lives to the pursuit of unreal treasures and illusionary triumphs.
Or are they?
Does WoW take every shred of Ren Faire love a person may hide inside them and fancy it up with sexy elf ears and griffins and say “Hey, hey there lil’ fella, come on, I won’t hurt you. Taste the magic, go on, just try it, everything you dream…I can give you. I can make it real.”
Is WoW the David Bowie of the gaming Labyrinth?
I mean really, if I fought against a dragon with D and Toku in some game, my mind, or brain, or whatever would feel in some way that we had battled a dragon’s furious might. When I’ve played D&D my memories of those events are in my mind as images and voices, supplied by my imagination yes, but to me they are still real in a sense. If I can imagine myself as a half-orc warrior who was swarming with giant centipedes before busting out into hyper rage and chopping them into a fine mist with my huge axe and have that imagery in my mind almost as fully as a real memory, why cannot I do the same for some sweet ass animated fury on a computer screen?
And if WoW provides this effect for so many, how the holy hell will anyone else come close to replicating that in any efficient way in the near future?
So I’m visiting my sister, wanted to show her all my neat Live Games.
Except that when I downloaded the games I was in the living room where I used my hardrive on my roomate Russell’s console. I downloaded many games with my hardrive at the console at I used at work as well. My account and memory + their box, it saved lugging the bitch around all the time. Bad, and very stupid, idea. So now I can only use my games when I am signed into Live.
I can’t sign into Live at my sister’s place. So no games for me. Also, that sucks. Also, that super sucks. And also I am stupid and lame for thinking that it was the hardrive that had all the important reading shite in it and not the stupid box itself. I’m stupid for not knowing that you cannot simply download your game to your hardrive and have it forever no worries.
The Escapist has an interview with Bioshock creator Ken Levine.
Very interesting! I wish there were more interviews like this on the web, like just chatting with game makers without all the bells and whistles of a new release. Like Inside the Actor’s Studio but wiith game makers…Hmm…
Also, in a silly misake while typing I ended up not at The Escapist, but The Escapist, a page dedicated to rpgs and larping. Once there I found The Square One Podcast which is a wee talk show for would-be gamers to learn the tricks of the trade as well as the traditions. I just thought the idea was darling. Teaching people to play role playing games via podcast, like isn’t that the sweetest thing? Trying to encourage others to use their imaginations. I’m not sure of the execution of the idea, but the heartfelt effort is pleasing to my inner eye.
Also check out this interview all about Lego and gaming! Two of my favourite things!
I mean, pirates make the goods and services gamers want easier to access and use, so why can’t big companies simply do the exact same thing and charge a fee? For someone like me, a lazy person who simply wants to trans_act_ with some cash and make the content appear before my eyes, this would be perfect.
The most frustrating from both an environmental point of view and a consumer one is the DS issue. It is god awful stupid that users need to buy individual cartridges for games. That’s stupid, stupid, stupid. But for those who don’t want to pirate the games the only option is a sack full of little chips. Why can’t I have a DS hub where I can download my games into for storage and then load some onto one cartridge? I say hub and not my computer because I’m trying to play Devil’s Advocate for the big boys, at least the can sell some sort of additional crap analog garbage. But no! We have to buy dozens and dozens of oversized plastic boxes for tiny little games that you can lose quite easily. And if anyone says the box size is due to the manual you can suck it because manuals, for a DS game, are ridiculous. Do not tell me you can’t have the manual available within the game itself. It’s a pdf for goodness sake.
I know alternatives exist to the above, but I’m not one for that. I just don’t want to do it. So I’m stuck with what will eventually become my new set of poker chips.
Fahey makes good points on the future of gaming piracy, which he believes is tied to the future of game release and availability. For the MMOs of the world the future is clear – no playing without access to server, no fake access possible! Sweet. Single player games, on the other hand, are way more difficult to regulate. How can you deny someone a single player experience when they can’t connect to Big Brother to let him know they are using playtime legally? Concondrum.
I think one of the things that angers me the most about this tug of war of content at suitable prices is simply this: the illusion of profit. When companies make games that don’t just want to break a little over even, they want to make a cash cow they can milk for the foreseeable future. This is troubling. Why can’t game makers, and others in society as well, simply make something, sell it to cover costs and make a modest income to continue making things, and just leave it at that? Why does everything always have to be about mega super huge profit? Why can’t the pirate philosophy carry over into capitalism just a little bit? Content that’s easy to access and transfer and use with a solid front up cost and, if need me for servers and the life, a modest monthly fee. Why the stupid costs of production and promotion when all you need is digital love?
Fahey explains the many mistakes of the music industry and how they are fixing those mistakes now, slowly but surely, and that the game industry can learn from that. We’ll have to see though, for cutting edge entertainment we sure seem to be stuck in the dark ages. A flint knife may be as sharp as a scapel, but just let me buy the damned scapel would you? I don’t need to spend hours hammering out flint for the same result.