Thursday, October 7, 2010

Medal of Honor

The new Medal of Honor is coming out in a few days and I'm feeling really sorry for it. Things seem to be working against it.

On one hand there's the whole idiotic debate about using the Taliban as the antagonists and letting people play them. It's completely hypocritical that for the people who complain about this we can play as Nazis or even unnamed terrorists but using an actual name on virtual figures is somehow wrong and disrespectful. There always has to be another side, and this game had the guts to let players confront that other side. Because of the many complaints about the game EA have changed the Taliban name in the game to OpFor - Opposing Forces. I understand why EA did that but I'm disappointed that they caved in.

Now, I have nothing but respect for any soldiers who fight and die for the whims of other people but, if anything, letting people play this game in a more realistic setting can help them understand the situation more.I've been playing the open beta that's out until today and I must say that even the multi-player matches seem very reality-based and respectful of the conflict in general. There is always a background to where you are and what your side is doing there. Granted, most young people who play this will probably never bother to read the introductory information for every map, but if even just one does, it's already an achievement... that means you have some random person without any original desire to find out about the conflict suddenly looking for information online. But this can't happen when one side is simply labeled 'OpFor'... now this is just a game about good guys and bad guys. When the other side was the Taliban, one could get a sense of place and situation - who these people are? why are they fighting? Now it really IS just a game of warfare.
There is nothing that disrespects the lives and deaths of the soldiers in this game, and I think that the people complaining about it just get carried away about this whole anti-game movement and moan over anything game-related that they don't understand. EA should have been stronger against it. In any case, this will likely hurt their sales (or, conversely, it could make them skyrocket - so who knows?).

However, this isn't the only hurdle I feel MoH has to overcome. The game itself - at least the multiplayer - feels very rough. What I said before about the setting and background is all well and good, but the gameplay itself and the mechanics of the matches seem in need of serious tweaking. Player spawning, for example, has a very disorganized feel to it:
You spawn at random places every time and it is very likely, when spawning on the front lines, that you will be shot literally within a second of spawning. There should be some way for the player to either control where he or she spawns or have a short invulnerability buff to help the players get their bearing on the field. Of course, the latter would go against the whole point of more realistic-feeling warfare, but I think that players enjoying themselves is more important to keep them coming back.

The weapons as well are in need of fixing, I believe. At the moment, you can fire a burst of bullets at a faraway target and get a hit with virtually no kickback. This does seem unrealistic as it shouldn't be possible for someone using an AK to snipe you from miles away with a single burst of fire from an entire magazine.

Regardless of the above, though, I do enjoy playing it and I'm trying really hard to like it - I want it to do well. I don't think I'll buy it as soon as it's out, though. My favorite aspect of the game is the single player so I will wait for a review to see if it's worth getting. I really hope the game succeeds but, as I said, things aren't looking good for it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

QTE chores

I've recently started playing Resident Evil 5 and even though it's quite fun I'm really annoyed by how consoley it is...
Just the clumsy way your character moves around, the very inconvenient shooting and equipment mechanic... But of course it's not only the control but the way the game itself is designed. It amazes me how much of this game consists of cut-scenes. They're amazing cut-scenes, I'll admit, but if this game represents the majority of console games of its type today then I'm really happy I do't play them that much. There's just not that much really to do there. And, of course, there had to be QTEs. Seriously, is there a petition somewhere to ban this completely boring, useless, stupid mechanic from games forever? It is completely symbolic of how console games just want you to do nothing while they show you something cool. And it is cool, but let me play the game, not just click random buttons like a moron.

Okay, I guess I'm ranting a bit because this really does bug me, but this game isn't bad - it is juvenile, perhaps, but not bad. In any case I think I'll make a video log of it once I finish it, or sooner if I feel I've seen enough.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Puzzle Agent

So yeah, Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent is a new adventure game from Telltale.

This is what I love about their approach so much: they really have taken the idea of episodic gaming to its richest and most creative avenues. They're calling Puzzle Agent a pilot. As in a TV series pilot episode - the first episode of a show, designed to outline and demonstrate the characters and setting and test if a full show could be made from it.

This is just another example of the power of this platform, way beyond simply rendering graphics or having comfortable controls; this experimental approach to gaming is without a doubt most lucrative on the PC. They can afford to create a short game (even by their standards, I think), and release it to the gaming public, gathering feedback and calculating whether a full series would be profitable.

And I hope they choose to make more, because I haven't been so excited about an adventure game since Grim Fandango. The thing is, Puzzle Agent really gets what the adventure genre is about. It's less about the puzzles and more about the atmosphere. Since these types of games have you explore a single area for quite some time, it's important that the setting, characters, dialogue and music are memorable and thrilling. And here they are all amazing. The game takes a very courageous approach: it ditches the immediate appeal of slick 3D graphics and gives us a cartoon world that's minimally animated, inspired by the drawings of Graham Annable, who has collaborated with Telltale on this project.

The game's look can be daunting at first. When I saw the trailer I was taken aback. But the game's atmosphere is just so precise and powerful that you get sucked into it immediately. The story itself, of an FBI agent, Nelson Tethers, being sent to the town of Scoggings, Minnesota to investigate the closure of an eraser factory is surprisingly dark and suspenseful. The game is clearly influenced by Twin Peaks or any other show/movie where a cop is sent to a small town where things aren't what they seem. But the story manages to be fresh and had me wondering what would happen next.

But, of course, the puzzles are the 'game' part of the adventure game and you can't ignore them completely. And here is where PA falls short. I hope that the series continues and that Telltale work on the puzzles more. The idea itself is nice. It is worked into the story that the people of Scoggins are obsessed with puzzles. So wherever you go there is some puzzle to solve. The problem is the puzzles split to two kinds: easy-as-pie puzzles where you almost don't do anything. There was one puzzle that I didn't even completely understand what to do, but I dragged some things around and in a minute I solved it. But the other kind of puzzle is the obtuse kind. These puzzles aren't particularly hard, but have irritating mechanics that aren't explained well enough in the puzzle's instructions. But I suspect this too is a result of the over simplification of the puzzles. That's alright, though. I'm guessing this was deliberate in order to appeal to more audiences who aren't used to the usual adventure scheme of an inventory and combining items. This way the game is challenging and straightforward enough so that someone who has never played an adventure game can get into it. Still, I hope the difficulty level and coherency of the puzzles improve if another game gets made. Because, despite the puzzle issues, this game was an absolute pleasure. Best 3 hours of gaming I've had in a while.

I'm really happy Telltale are around and doing their thing. My favorite game genre is Adventure and with Telltale around I know there's always something good to look forward to.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New plans

As it is evident, I haven't posted in a while. The reason is that I've been swamped with school work and exams which had to be given my full attention. Therefore I had to further delay any video reviews I wanted to make.

But that also gave me time to think.
video reviews and gaming blogs are already filling the web. I can't compete with the professional gaming sites. Hell, I take most of my info from them. Same goes for video reviews; the sites that make them do so with better equipment than mine... so what exactly am I trying to achieve here?

So I started throwing that question around and realized that making a blog that gives PC reviews isn't really what I should be doing. Looking at previous posts, what got me most excited and thrilled about writing were the hot topics concerning PC gaming and gaming in general. So I have decided that this blog will no longer function as a place to look for game reviews, but to find opinions and thoughts about the gaming world and what goes on there. Because no matter how many gaming sites there there is always room for new perspectives.

I will continue to make videos of the games i play, but not as reviews. You may view them as such, I guess. You can look at the game and my comments to decide whether or not to buy the game, but this will not be my sole intention. I will make video journals, describing my experiences of a specific game, my thoughts on the genre it fits into as a whole and how it functions within it. The video will not be about whether the game is 'good' or not, or whether or not it is worth the money. Generally, the videos will be about gaming culture expressed through the games and my thoughts about them.

This is my plan, anyway. I'm sure it will be more interesting and I'm hoping whoever watches agrees with me. This also removes the pressure of making video reviews consistently and of new games - because I can also make videos of my older games and talk of how they influenced the industry.

This line of thinking has gotten me excited over this blog again, I can't wait to get to it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DLC - Blessing or Curse? Curse.

Is anyone else out there as miffed about DLC as I am?

DLC, if you don't know, stands for Downloadable Content. I'm not sure even where this all started, but right now the situation is nigh intolerable. Every big-budget game that comes out has this option for DLC. And what DLC is it? Some short crappy level or map that has no bearing on the core game. And it's always overpriced.

It just seems wrong to me in so many ways. For one thing, the money we have to pay for them. It's ludicrously expensive to pay for something that doesn't really 'extend our experience of the game' as much as we're led to believe. Take Mass Effect 2, for example. I've finished the game. The plot is over. Why bring out more missions with different characters? WHY? Why not just do this for the actual game?? And why charge so much for a few missions? Just let the people who bought the game enjoy a few more hours (more likely minutes) with it!
This actually ruins the core game of ME2, by the way, because once you finish the game you have the option to just go back to the Normandy, where you just float around for no apparent reason and all your party members will speak as if you still haven't finished the game.... and why? For DLC. Great, Bioware. You ruined the feeling of immersion in the game so your customers would find it easier to pay for extra stuff. Thanks.

But it gets more annoying, as sometimes the developers programmed something into the game and purposefully left it out so we could pay for it later! Like with Bioshock 2. Code for the DLC content was present in the actual game, and the DLC simply unlocked it.

But the worst of the worst comes - of course - from Activision. The DLC for Modern Warfare 2, the stimulus package, is just some frickin' maps! MAPS! We should be getting that for free! Hell, we could make our OWN maps! Ahhhh, right! I forgot. We can't. MW2 doesn't have dedicated servers or mod tools, because they wanted to control what maps we could play specifically so they can sell us their shit later. Which is exactly why I didn't buy this crappy game.

But there is salvation: Valve.... Thank god for Valve. I only hope they won't be corrupted by all the corruption that's corrupting stuff around them. They recently released The Passing, DLC for Left 4 Dead 2. And you know what? It was free! Because we shouldn't pay crazy sums of money for games we already own! Console players have to pay even for Valve's DLC, of course. But that's the licencing problem, which makes it their problem.

Eventually it's all about the money for most of them. I'd like to think it isn't, but I also can't believe the barely credible pitch that these DLCs extend the game's life. The ones which were free and that I've tried weren't bad experiences, but they were short and underwhelming. With the money they make from the actual game I'm sure they can provide the DLC for free. Or, you know what? Don't release any DLC at all. New maps for multiplayer games can be made by gamers, or just be FREE as they've always managed to be somehow. And any other sort of DLC I can live without. I don't need another party member in Mass Effect (there are already too many). I don't need another level explore in Bioshock 2. Modern Warfare 2 can go to hell because I'm not playing it anyway. So the problem can be solved.

As a closing thought, I have to say that these developers and big publishers, for all their crying about pirates, aren't making much of an effort to make the games worth the money. Game prices are getting higher (Splinter Cell worth 59$ on Steam? My ass, it does), and we have to pay for more and more meaningless content. Combine that with nasty DRM that treats everyone as criminals, and it almost takes all the fun out of buying and playing a game you own. I'll never download games illegally because I appreciate the work that goes into them, but this money-grabbing attitude of game makers is certainly making me understand people who do.


Well, I feel terrible but there's still no video review prepared. Unfortunately there are many issues on my schedule which are higher on my priority list. Things like papers, assignments, books to read. It's all very hectic and stressful and I won't frighten you with the details. However, I'm still fully committed to this blog and will upload the promised reviews as soon as humanly possible. And even if the reviews take a bit long, I will still keep this site updated with commentary about our gaming culture as often as I can.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ARE video games art? Should we care?

Roger Ebert who, if you don't know, is a famous (if not the most famous) film critic, has claimed in a blog that video games "can never be art". Or, rather, that we won't see any game comparable to the great poems or novels or films in our lifetime.

This has obviously sparked a gigantic debate on his page with literally thousands of comments either supporting his argument or claiming the opposite, producing numerous examples. I've read some of those and posted a couple of responses myself, but it's really not much of a discussion; Ebert's simply posting on people's comments, occasionally answering one with a chuckle-worthy one-liner. If I didn't know better (and I don't), I'd say this whole article was just to get thousands of people to visit his blog.

In any case, while the actual question of whether games are art or can be is intriguing, I was actually far more interested in other aspects of his claim, as well as the responses to it.

Firstly, the problem I had with the argument isn't so much that he doesn't think games can be art but that he thinks they will never be. He presumes to that we won't see such a game in the near future. An argument that begins with a kind of absolute statement like that is, in my opinion, fundamentally flawed. He has admitted himself he has little experience with video games, so even if he's right, how would he know it?

This brings me to the second point. He thinks he knows the answer because he thinks he has a clear definition of games. In the article, he compares video games to chess, basketball and so on. Clearly, a new definition of 'game' is needed. In the 70s and 80s video games were simply that - interactive, electronic games. But since then they have evolved - containing worlds, narratives and even cultures. Calling them 'games' just doesn't fit anymore. I think big part of the reason people misconstrue video games is because of that anachronistic labelling, and this is the same trap Ebert falls into. He thinks he understands video games because of what he perceives games to be. But video games aren't like other games - with some exceptions, game are no longer about score, rules and competition. They are about narratives, experience, theory and even philosophy.

Another thing Ebert asks is why do gamers even care whether or not their preferred pastime is considered art. This question, however, stems from his ignorance of games as I've just explained. He equates this situation to basketball players or fans wanting their sport to be considered art. But the point is that these games aren't the same, as I've stated.
However, this is the one point in his article I do agree with. It's not about us wanting games to be art, or to be considered art. Games have to do that themselves. When a game comes along that is unequivocally art, games will start to be recognized as such.

Which brings me to my final point - the readers' responses. I haven't read all of them, but of those I did read some were logical and some simply appealed to the emotional impact games are capable of, presenting it as proof they are art. Obviously a definition of art is also necessary, but I'll spare you an attempt to make a cohesive one. However, emotional stimulation is definitely not the sole requirement for something to be art, of that I'm sure. People are claiming by the hundreds that because this game or that made them cry or made them care for the characters and immersed them in the world - that makes the game art. The thing is, it doesn't. These games are wonderful escapism, but that's just not art. Not the high art Ebert is reffering to, at least. Visually they're captivating, but aestheticism, while important, is not meaningful enough.

But the thing is that, unlike what Ebert thinks, some games have begun to touch upon it. Some games do realize that escapism isn't the only venue for games. Introspection, skepticism, thought... some games are starting to enter this territory - even if it's just a byproduct of them becoming so detailed.

Overall, I don't think we'll have to wait as long as Ebert does for a video game to shine as a true work of art.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Slight change in plans


My PC is back in top shape and I've been hard at work on the Bioshock 2 video review. Only problem is, I think it's crap.
As I said before, I'm trying to find my way through these. I want the videos to show aspects of the gameplay but I don't want the whole review to be too long and bore people. So I decided that what I've recorded so far simply was too long and not interesting enough. Plus, I'd have to record a lot of video footage and frankly there's not much of it I can show that's really interesting. So the bioshock review will, sadly, have to be postponed again.

Never fear, however! I bought yesterday a snazzy little game called Beat Hazard. It's another one of those games which uses your music tracks to enrich your playing experience and overload your cerebral cortex. Since this is a fairly small game that's just been released for PC via steam, I feel it's appropriate for me to make a short video review for it as well. It will probably be up in a couple of days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'm theoretically extremely happy.

I've won beta keys for two of the most thrilling upcoming games of the next year or so.

One is Blizzard's Starcraft 2. I don't think there's a game I'm looking forward to more than this one. The first game is one of my all-time favorites. It didn't just raise the standards for the RTS genre but it was also an achievement in storytelling. It really is a masterpiece.

The other game is APB - All Points Bulletin. This game is basically an MMO version of GTA. A persistent online city with hundreds of criminals and bounty hunters. It's a very ambitious game and I'm truly hoping it works out.

Why am I only theoretically happy, you ask? Because I still haven't had the chance to try out either of them. The APB client is installed on my system but their beta testing works in waves, or rounds, so only a certain group of players can play at any given point. So the soonest I'll be able to play it will be on Sunday.

Starcraft 2 is a bit more tricky. I won a contest on but I haven't actually received the key yet, so I might eventually not get one at all. That would be a shame but I'm not too upset, it's just a beta after all.

Still, here's hoping I get to play them both and rest assured I'll write up my first impressions of them as soon as I do.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Video Review Delay

I'm afraid I wasn't able to finish up the video review since my PC blew up or something. Actually I'm not sure what's happened but it's not working so I need to get it fixed.

It's things like these that really make me feel like a gamer. Don't get me wrong, I don't hold that title high as a badge of prestige. It's just what I am. But that to me is more than just stuffing a CD into a machine and running a game. It's about this flexibility. It's about having to know more about what you're having fun with to enjoy it to the fullest. That's what makes it more than a hobby.

So yes, sometimes my PC gets shot to shit and I need to fix it, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Small Update

My review of Bioshock 2 is almost ready and will hopefully be uploaded over the weekend. It took a bit longer than I thought but I have nobly forgiven myself as I'm swamped with schoolwork.

On another note, I felt a bit depressed today as I realized that the new C&C game will be the first one I don't play. I've played every single title since the first one, and it's awful that with Tiberian Twilight they've ruined the series so much that it's just not worth the money anymore. I'll probably buy it out of reverence to the franchise once the game price is cut to around half what it is now. That won't be for a while I reckon but I'm in no rush to play this.

Obviously there won't be a video review for the game, then, but feel free to look at major game sites. Trust me, it's not pretty. It just seems that the whole development process lost track of what C&C was all about. On top of the game itself not being that hot, they added to it the same nasty DRM that requires you to be online at all times.

Ah well. Here's hoping somewhere down the line someone decides to revive the series and bring it back to its glory.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And just to prove my point...

I'm really happy I let all that anger out of my system in the previous post. I genuinely feel better now. I also thought that, since I went on about how PC gaming is innovative, I'd link up some nice games which exemplify what I was talking about.

So first up, here's probably one of the most successful indie titles right now - Spelunky. It's a platformer which has you traversing underground caverns in search of gold and damsels in distress. The thing is, you only have one life and death means restarting everything from scratch. But the levels are always random so you never really feel like you play the same room twice. Even after several playthroughs you will still not have discovered every surprise the game has in store for you. Get it here!

Second is another platformer called VVVVVV. It's insanely difficult but actually pretty forgiving, with helpful checkpoints before each insane challenge. It has an oldschool look which is light on detail but heavy with atmosphere. It's very easy to learn but even within its simple set of rules there is a large number of difficult challenges to overcome. Grab the demo here!

And then we have a game which is as charming as it is short. Specter Spelunker Shrinks is another platformer which enables your character to grow to gargantuan proportions or shrink to microscopic size, enabling you to pass different obstacles by either leaping over them when you're huge, or finding a path through them when you're tiny. You have control over this function and have to figure out how to progress. Sometimes you won't even see your next challenge unless you inflate yourself to a big enough size to be able to perceive it. Play it here!

So yeah, this is just a taste of the small gems we have at our fingertips. It's not about reinventing the wheel as much as it is about experimenting with different ways of control, different functionality. They give new experiences by trying new presentations and ideas.This attitude and possibility is what brought us Valve's Portal.

...Maybe I'll do this too from time to time: I'll find and provide links to great small PC games which are just a little bit different. Sounds like a plan!

Heavy Rain Madness

Almost everywhere I look people are praising Heavy Rain, the new 'experience' from Quantic Dream. The problem is most people praising it are the people who made it - namely David Cage, the game's creator, who keeps talking about taking risks and making less conventional games.

Newsflash, David Cage: the PC has been and still is at the forefront of innovative gameplay. And you know what? A game doesn't have to be a boring, tedious tromp through banal and gimmicky storylines for it to be a strong emotional experience. The adventure games of old had a huge emotional impact, and they still managed to deliver interesting stories and have a gaming experience that was fulfilling. Other games today achieve great emotional connection with players by being desgined right.

Granted, I haven't played Heavy Rain, but I have played Fahrenheit, its spiritual predecessor. Sure, the graphics have improved and they've better disguised the QTE-controlled cut scenes but it's still the same crap: you follow several characters doing barely related key-pressing mini-games to advance the story. Only, if you get something wrong, the game doesn't end! It CONTINUES, AND BRANCHES IN A DIFFERENT STORYLINE! Wow, Quantic Dream... You designed more than one storyline and made them connect! This REALLY hasn't been done before... AT ALL.

But seriously, I've been asking myself why all this bothers me at all. Surely there's room in the games industry for these types of games. Well, after thinking it over, I have narrowed down why this angers me so much: Firstly, it's the presumptuousness of the developers. Every time David Cage goes on some damn interview and toots his own horn, an angel dies somewhere. This game is not original, has a poor story (from what I've seen), and takes credit for things which have been done before, and better. So the praising of this game is so misplaced it physically pains me.

Secondly, and in relation to the first point, is the media's apparent love or appreciation for the game. This frightens as well as angers me: the notion that people - fans and designers alike - seem to feel this is a good way for games to go. People, listen... having to press a sequence of keys to get the movie going is not interactivity. It does not make me better connect or relate to the character. I'm also a culprit, because I appreciate it too. Or, at least, I appreciate the attempt: the thought, the desire, to create a new kind of game. But what they're going for, how they're doing it, is not original or effective. To praise them for it merely because they had good intentions is counter-productive. Let them go back to the drawing board and make a better attempt!

I'm also angered by the current trend of having branching storylines. This is a great thing in RPGs when done right, giving you a range of possibilities to mold your own character. But in many other games this isn't the case. The problem is that so many gamers seem to think that being a gamer is all about choosing your own story. They don't see that this just holds games back. In a game like Heavy Rain, the multiple storylines just cover the fact that the story is poor to being with. You don't mold a character here. It's all under the pretense of having your own 'experience'. But even if you had a million possibilities, they'd still be limited.

On the other hand, a story with a single narrative that has control over characters and events will have a larger emotional impact but will also be less limited. Why? Because it will have a meaning that goes beyond simple replayablity. Its replay value will be the same you get in watching The Usual Suspects or Memento twice or more in order to really get the story, to have your own interpretation of it. So I'm angry because David Cage and people who think like him are endangering the future of gaming as a deeper medium, ensnaring it in the realm of escapist entertainment. These games can be great fun, to be sure, but they should not dominate the way we think of games.

And one last point in this seemingly endless rant:
I'm not against the choice-driven stories. Even in games where this is less appropriate and in my opinion even ruins the story, there are people who enjoy it and it's not like the game is unplayable because of it. The only problem I have is with this becoming too large a trend, and people ignoring other possibilities because of it.

But, as I said in the beginning of this post, the PC is always at the front of innovation. Sure, consoles have their accessories, their motion-control or whatnot, but when it comes to actually making the inner-workings of games works differently - this is the PCs strength. It doesn’t have to be marketable to be able to reach players worldwide. So keep your so-called innovation for the console, David Cage, we're quite happy on the PC, thank you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Next up...!

I'm already working on my next video review which will be about Bioshock 2.
I've seen some other video reviews and damn that's some professional looking stuff. So I'm going to try and learn from them a bit in terms of presentation and pacing. Still, there's a limit to what I can do with an unregistered version of Fraps and Windows Movie Maker for an editor. :)

My first review!

Well, here it is, the first video review for this blog. It's a review of Battlefield Bad Company 2. This is nowhere near as professional as other videos I've found on the web but, as I said, this is really a hobby for me right now so I'm just enjoying making these reviews. Having said that, I'm sure someone could benefit from the information I provide and at least be entertained by my awful playing and wimpy voice!

For those anxious to hear the video, here's the gist of it:

-Bad Company 2 is mostly a multiplayer game. There is a decent single player mode but it is not too original. It is entertaining, however, and well presented.

-The multiplayer aspect of BC2 should be familiar to Battlefield veterans. It has a good pace and feels very choreographed and organized thanks to the rewarding squad system.

-The game has hefty system requirements that should be heeded. BC2 is not hardware friendly and, although it has scale-able graphics settings, running the game on a minimum spec PC could result in long load times and choppy gameplay.

-If your PC is up to it than this game is definitely worth it, it's loads of fun.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Damn you, Steam! I love you too much!

I just purchased Aliens Vs. Predator in a Steam weekend deal. 33% off!

I used to buy my games in stores. Where I live, the prices get expensive. So I would get only the games I seriously wanted. These days I only go to the games store for hardware or look at the retail prices and make fun of them. Steam. The games are cheaper, I get them faster, and almost every week there's a lucrative offer.

That's a blessing but also a problem for me. I've become a compulsive game shopper. Every time there's a deal it takes a whole lot out of me not to buy anything. Package deals, huge discounts... how can I resist this?

But I'm not complaining I guess. I'd rather buy the games I want for cheaper than have to give them up because of overcharging retailers. I suppose what I'll have to do is develop some self control.

At least this means I'll be reviewing more games. Expect an AvP review in a few weeks!

DRM strikes again

I think Digital Rights Management isn't the real term DRM stands for. It's probably more like Diabolic Rage Manufacturer or something like that. Seriously, first Ubisoft and now this?

And the truth is, no matter how annoying a certain DRM measure would be I would accept it if it would stop piracy. If Ubisoft's system actually prevented all piracy, and we'd see a new era in games where there are zero cases of illegally downloaded software... I'd jump up and down in happiness. But the truth is it doesn't stop Piracy. All it does is anger more and more people, paying customers, until they become software pirates themselves.

I'm feeling very oppressed right now. What can we do but complain? There's really not much we can do as average gamers and even gaming journalism, for all its hatred of DRM, hasn't influenced much change in the policy. The good news is that people are starting to see this does more harm than good. As you can see here, this is a step in the right direction. If these games are simply denied shelf space, so that even the uninformed are unable to buy them, it might finally hit these companies where it hurts, and we'd see a change.

Again, I'm not completely against DRM. Steam is a kind of DRM, but it works well and provides a good service. I'm sure there are other ways to do this. Maybe they're not 100% effective but they keep your customers happy, and when a customer is happy with a service he is happy to pay for it. If they treat anyone as a potential supporter rather than a potential thief, we might get somewhere.

It's... it's alive!

I decided to make this blog more as a personal project than anything else. I frequent barely a handful of gaming sites but they're all pretty good, so my first thought wasn't "what the Internet needs is ANOTHER one!". The way I figured it is I pretty much review games in my head all the time anyway, so I might as well put it online for the small chance it might help someone. Also, I like this trend of video reviews which is becoming more popular, especially for games. This way I can show some gameplay as well as express my opinion on various aspects of it.

Since this is not much more than a hobby right now and I'm not exactly funded by anyone, the only games reviewed will be those I own, which I bought and paid for. I do not download games illegally and I am vehemently against it. Additionally, I will only review a game after I've had time to play through it sufficiantly.
So my reviews may be few and far between...

Still, in between those delightful reviews I plan to use my blog to comment, speculate and reflect on the goings-on in the gaming world. I'll do my best to make sure this site is filled with interesting tidbits and insightful reviews... we'll see how it goes.