Friday, April 30, 2010

Steam on Mac, May 12

Happy day! Finally a firm(er) release date for Steam's client release for the Mac platform. Upon announcement of Steam for Mac, I promptly uninstalled Windows XP and all of it's components. This cleared up quite a bit of space from my limited hard drive.

Unfortunately, it's made the wait to return to Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike: Source an unbearably long one. Who knew I could miss two games I thought I wasn't interested in playing anymore this much? Frankly, I can't wait to play several rounds of GunGame and I yearn to return to my roll as the soldier, turning my enemies into a mess of bloody debris.

A short anecdote: I was playing Modern Warfare 2 today with Zach and Nick. We were getting horribly thrashed by a group of youngsters whose foul mouths suggested they were actually a group of older individuals with voice modifiers. Still, the experience begged the question: were we like that when we were their age?

This is all besides the point. My point in bringing up the youths is that they reminded me of chippy and my fierce hatred of the scourge of Bob's Pit. I can't help but miss that old community. Hopefully, upon Steam's Mac launch, I'll regain that sense of community, despite the fact that Bob's Pit has disbanded.

One thing I wondered while I was deleting the windows side of my computer was whether or not my favorite server list would remain in tact. Did that information make it into the Steam cloud and stick to my account?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do I Miss Owning a Wii?

I honestly find myself asking that question once a month, though I doubt there's a Wii title I'd like to buy, or even play, releasing each month. I'd love to play Red Steel 2, mess around with some of the fun multiplayer experiences on the Wii, or ready myself for the next Zelda. But is it really necessary?

I guess there are times I feel like I'm missing out on something, Oops! Prank Party withstanding. There seem to be a handful of great games and experiences on the Wii that are obviously not on the Xbox 360. Being a single console owner certainly had a "grass is always greener" effect.

If I had the money, I'd buy a PS3 straight away. I already know of several game I really want to play on the platform, but the Wii is a bit of an enigma. Sure I'd love to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 or some of the Wii's few core games, but is there enough to justify buying a console I've already give up once?

Resonance of Fate Review Now Live

I won't lie, Resonance of Fate was a difficult game to review. This fact is primarily reliant on the fact that the game was just plain difficult in and of itself. I'm hoping that facet of the the JRPG shines through in my review, which you can now read for yourself over at Game Revolution.

I have a small stack of games I'm ready to trade in to Gamestop in the next week or so, but I wonder if I'm really ready to give up on Resonance of Fate.

A few weeks back while I was in the middle of playing through the game, I hopped on to Modern Warfare 2. I had to get out of the frustrating quest battle I was stuck on and I wanted to play something I was enjoying much more at the time. While playing, I was talking with my friend Nick and lamenting having to return to the game. Someone else on the team said "Well there's your review right there."

Regardless, I've trudged through and written a challenging review. You can read the full body of text at the following address:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon: Post-Review Thoughts

I've finished my review of How To Train Your Dragon for the Xbox 360. In fact, I've nearly completed the entirety of the game. A diminuitive 45 achievement points lie before me and a full 1000/1000. Here's hoping DLC doesn't wretch the perfection from my hands!

I played most of the game over Spring Break the other week, and while I was out, I didn't post impressions, so I thought I'd write a few things after the fact. These thoughts aren't exactly on the gameplay itself, but more on what it's like to have to play a bad game.

You could excuse a lot of Dragon's flaws based on the fact that it's a movie licensed game. Of course that means an extremely tight development schedule, a lot of unnecessary hands in the development process, and a lack of personal involvement by the creative team. Still, movie games don't have to be bad. Licensed games don't have to be bad, so why excuse anything at all?

The real trouble is the fact that everyone knows the game is going to sell no matter what. How much it sells is largely based on the product it's based on. If the reviews and numbers for How To Train Your Dragon are any indication, I'm guess the game will sell well enough to recoup its costs and make the publisher, Activision, a little money.

Why bother reviewing the game if it doesn't matter anyways? Why go through the trouble of decry all of the games negative points if no one is going to listen or take heed? I wouldn't say I was very conscious of this before or during the review process. I tried to be excited about the game. Jenna and I saw the movie, which I actually liked, and Jenna's mom even got me a McDonald's Dragon toy on my half-sarcastic, half-very-real excitement of such a prospect.

In the end, when it came down to the game, it just wasn't there. It's a bad game. I'll be sure to give you reader of PLAY READ WRITE the lead over to GR when my review is published, but until then, why not share your movie game experience in the comments?


For those of you who don't know, I'm currently interning at Game Revolution ( I post news, upload video, and review games for the site. It's repetitive work, but there are certainly some rewards.

Maybe, maybe, one of those rewards is picking up on news items I would otherwise completely bypass. The MLB 2K10 First Perfect Game contest might be one of those news items, although it was pretty well publiscized nearly everywhere. Probably the epitome of a news item I would never have looked at if not for my internship is the announcement of Oops! Prank Party for the Nintendo Wii.

Oops! Prank Party is published by Hudson Software. I couldn't be bothered to see who was developing. In fact, I'm surprised I read enough to see who was publishing Oops! Prank Party. The game's title did enough damage alone.

I cannot believe there exists a game, playable on a Nintendo console, titled "Oops! Prank Party."

Upon release, you'll be able to walk into a store, maybe Gamestop or Target, and purchase a game by the name of Oops! Prank Party. What has this world come to?

Honestly, that sounds like a horrible game. Having reviewed and played How To Train Your Dragon to a full 1000/1000 achievement points, I think I'm qualified to call a game terrible when I see it. Trouble is, I've yet to see Oops! Prank Party. I'm almost intrigued, but I don't know if I could pick up a control and play even one second of such a game.

Do you still think Nintendo cares about the core gamer? What does the Nintendo Seal of Quality mean now? Will you be buying Oops! Prank Party when it's released this fall?

REVIEW: Depict for the iPhone

Depict is an iPhone app from Makeshift Games. In the same vein as Pictionary, Depcit challenges players to draw a representation of a set word in order to get other players to guess the word. While a competent game for on-the-go drawing multiplayer, Depict falls a little short.

This is primarily due to the fact that nearly every single game of Depict I've played has been broken thanks to someone cheating the gameplay. Depict gives te player one word to draw, while it gives the other players five words to guess from. Many users break the game by simply writing out the word they're supposed to be drawing.

Of course, this is near impossible to guard against from a programming stand point. I can't blame the developers for the way users break the game. There's an included "cheating" notification, but I can't tell how those notes are being used to police the game. Is there anything being done at all?

Multiplayer games rely on the other people you play with as much as they do the game, and with the iPhone user base this prone to game breaking playstyles, I can't give Depict a decent recommendation to anyone serious about games. Maybe as a free download I could suggest it to others, but at a cost you might be better spending your iTunes account balance on something else.

The actual game of depict isn't all that bad, no matter how shallow it is. You can easily hop on, score some points, and have fun drawing. Open Feint in Depict works great as well.

Check out Depict, if you don't mind the cheating you can find a lot of fun, especially if you can get a couple of friends on at the same time. Otherwise, avoid the exploiters!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Top 10 Games of All Time(?): Objectivity Out the Window

[This is kind of an old story, but I still thought I'd publish my write up. From time to time, I'll write on my phone and some stories won't be published right away. This is one of them.]

Kotaku's panel on the top 10 games of all time, as covered by Kotaku's Mike Fahey at PAX East this year got me thinking about what I would deem the top 10 games of all time. Of course, thinking about such a task also had me thinking about the limitations video games place on these kind of hard criticisms. Leaving out any single game might completely demerit the list, but it would be hard to play every single game ever created. Coming up with a list has a lot to do with opening your mind to a wide range of heresay and second hand opinion.

For example, did you know that I've never played and completed a Metal Gear game? Sure I've spent time playing Metal Gear Solid and the next two of its sequels, but I've never beaten any of the games in that series. Does that glaring hole in my game-playing experience disqualify me from creating a Top 10 list? I suppose I would have to argue that it does not especially when I consider the large swath of games I've dedicated long hours to. Even in the case of Metal Gear, I may not have played an entire game through to the end, but I have played a selective handful of hours and taken in the gist of the experience.

What about games people play and don't like? There are great games in genres that some people have absolutely no taste in, right? For me, that detested genre of gaming would have to be the simulation, whether it is sports, racing, or flight. Having the consequences of the real world also means having the limitations, so when I try to throw a bomb downfield in any Madden game, and I fail, I feel as though something fantastic has just been wretched from my hands.

Obviously, what I mean to point out to any readers is that any Top 10 list is going to be imperfect, and will inevitably inspire debate. Kotaku's panel shows this, in front of a live audience. In a way I have to admit the excusatory nature of this post. If you couldn't already guess, I'm starting to put together a Top 10 list for PLAY READ WRITE in my head. Expect further details over the next week and a half.

If you're reading this, leave a comment suggesting a game I should definitely play before finishing my list, or maybe even suggest a format for the list, on this post.

What came on Saturday?

What came in this box? More later....

EDIT: It's now July and I have the answer for you all.  The Beatles Rock Band.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New 3DS Mock Up is Probably Fake, But Enticing

These (fake) images of a Nintendo 3DS sure do look neat right? When I first saw them the other day on Kotaku, my opinion of the 3DS did a complete 180. Of course, I also thought that the images might be real, but we can be sure that they aren't.

I won't bore you with the little details that give the photos away as fakes, but even just looking for yourself might give you the (correct) impression that these images are in fact, fake. Still, there are a few details I really, really like.

Firstly, I like the big, wide screen. I can just imagine the media you could watch on that thing. It would certainly be a device worthy of all the movies and television shows I'd rather not watch on my iPhone. It's odd to talk about the screen thinking about the possibilities and still know that it's a fake. How could such a beautiful device never come into being?

I also like the coloring and the little notches on around the edges of the screen. I like the idea of going back to basics and channeling the original Game Boy while still modernizing a few key aspects. Doesn't it look a lot like a Game Boy Pocket? My little brother got one of those before a flight to Michigan to visit relatives. It got lost in the rental car. Still, I really liked the metallic aesthetic and the black buttons really made that stand out. Seems like this mock up was slightly inspired by that look.

I also really like the screen's mobility, though a lot of people online have pointed out how ridiculous it would be to hold upright and use a stylus with in the orientation shown in the second picture here. When I really think about it, I'd have to agree, but I still think that this is a great mock up. How is it that an unauthorized imagining of what the 3DS will look like has done more for my interest than any of the already announced details or even the current DS landscape?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today's my birthday! I'm turning 22. I don't know what's planned for today. I've already played a little Modern Warfare 2 now that my Xbox 360 is back online, but I don't know what else is on my plate today.

I do know that some friends will be over on Saturday and we might visit a local arcade or play games here at our apartment. I'm hoping I get some Microsoft Points to spend on DLC and games, or maybe a new game. Currently, I have two games from work to trade in, though, so even if those things don't come around in the next few days, I can make some exchanges at Gamestop.

Got some good ideas for video game fun on your birthday? Share them with me in the comments!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Koticku and April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day has become something of an internet holiday, hasn't it? There are plenty of people out there who don't take internet journalism very seriously to start with, so why have an entire day dedicated to fake news?

Still, it's all in good fun, and "Koticku" is a good example of that. Obviously the joke has to resonate with the audience and I don't know a community more prone to pure Kotick-hatred than the Kotaku commenting community.

I'm still out of town today, so I'm going lazy-mode and linking to their coverage of all things April Fools. Check out the round-up here, but don't be too easily fooled today OK?