Monday, October 5, 2009

Mushihimesama Futari will be released REGION FREE!

Yes, fans of ridiculously difficult, 2D arcade shoot-em-ups: Cave has heard your call. Mushihimesama Futari will be released for the xbox360 without a region lock-out on the disc, so Western fans of the genre will be able to import the title without shelling out the extra dough for a Japanese console. Cave manager Makato Asada told Kotaku that this title is being made region free to test interest from foreign markets. In other words, if this kind of game is your thing and you want to play more of them without having to sell a kidney to do so, pony up the cash and import now.

Mushihimesama Futari is scheduled for release on November 26th.

You can pre-order

Here is the full-length trailer from TGS 2009:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cave shooters coming to Western Markets?

Japanese Danmaku Shmup developer Cave had recently opened up their mailbox ( ) for user suggestions regarding ports for the Xbox 360 console. Today, the Cave blog published this curious post. Could this mean western audiences may finally get to try their hand at their games?

Let's hope so!

Tim Langdell Resigns from IGDA Board

After a long period of public outrage which culminated in an unauthorized mass mailing linking to a petition for his removal, alleged trademark troll Tim Langdell has finally tendered his resignation. You can read his resignation letter here. Dr. Langdell, who claims to be active in the game publishing business as CEO of EDGE Games, has a long and storied history of sending Cease and Desist letters to any and all who use the word Edge in their game titles. Langdell claims the use of the word "Edge" infringes on his copyright and creates consumer confusion despite the fact that there has been no concrete evidence produced to verify that Langdell or Edge games have either developed or published a game in several years.

While Dr. Langdell's removal from the IGDA board can only be considered a good thing for the organization, it does not stop him from perpetuating his more odious business practices. Several legal entanglements are currently ongoing, most notably a dispute with French developer Mobigame over their iPhone title "Edge." It is important that those who love games and seek to make the industry a better place to work continue to expose such behavior for the duplicitous skullduggery it is. Below are links to valuable resources regarding this ongoing issue, and I encourage you all to read them. One battle may be over, but the war has yet to be won.

IGDA forum thread wherein Tim gets lambasted



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Feature: Games you should check out

As much as I like skewering things I find wrong with the industry and roasting sacred cows, I don't think this little blog would be that useful if I didn't at least try to share a few things that I enjoy. In the spirit of spreading the love, I will try to feature at least one game I think you should check out each month. Keep in mind that my tastes may not reflect yours. If your idea of getting your game on consists of an evening of "Cooking Mama", you probably shouldn't be reading this blog anyway.

This month's featured game:


If you've play, and enjoyed, Ikaruga and Triggerheart Exelica on XBLA, you owe it to yourself to check out this gem. DoDonPachi was developed by Cave in the late '90's for release in the Arcade and was later ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. The game falls into the subgenre of Shmups known as "Danmaku" or "Bullet Hell." This subgenre is known for a ludicrous amount of firepower onscreen, counterbalanced by the fact that the ship you pilot has a very small hitbox. A typical boss battle looks something like this:

DoDonPachi distinguishes itself from others in the genre by featuring a very strict chaining system. Each time you take out a small enemy, or register damage on a larger enemy, a combo meter will display your hit count near the top of the screen. If you mess up your chain, this counter resets to zero. You do not want this to happen, as your score depends on riding huge hit chains. The higher the combo value, the greater your multiplier. Naturally, scoring high requires significantly riskier play...but that is what this game is all about: pure fucking adrenaline.

When you start your game, you are given a choice between three ships: Type A ( fast with a narrow field of fire), Type B ( moderate speed with a medium field of fire ) or Type C ( slow, but with a nice spread shot ). Which ship you prefer depends entirely on your style of play. As a more aggressive player, I prefer Type A. In addition to your standard weapon, you also have bombs which can clear the screen of bullets if you are in a pinch.

Make no mistake about it: this game is fucking HARD. DoDonPachi is designed to beat the piss out of you, steal your lunch money, and send you crying to mommy about how mean it was to you. The sheer amount of bullets being tossed your way is near mesmerizing, a pink and blue cloud of death raing down on you at all times. ...And as if the game's unforgiving difficulty wasn't enough, those who beat the game on one credit with a score totalling 50 million or above will be ab;e to play a second ( much harder ) loop of the game, at the end of which the player faces off against this legendary brutal fucker:

Yup. That is Hibachi, the True Last Boss of this game, and a nightmare to many. Only ace players can beat this bastard...let alone reach him.

Well, that about sums up my blabbing about this game, but I'm going to leave you with some videos so you can see it in action. This may give you some insight into why I love it, but you should really just play it. I can't do it justice:

Second Loop, Stage 1

First Loop, Stage 6

True Last Boss

Note: You would have to import this for the Playsation or Saturn...but there are other, cheaper ways of getting a hold of this game.

Monday, March 30, 2009

OnLive: Wave of the Future or Recipe for Failure?

Last week's Game Developer's Conference brought news of a potential new contender for your money: OnLive. What is OnLive? Well, that is a little difficult to explain without spurting tech jargon.

In the simplest terms, OnLive acts like TiVo for games. Instead of a using a console or PC to play games, OnLive utilizes a small set-top box and your internet connection to connect to remote server clusters and "streams" games to your TV or PC. Theoretically, this would allow gamers with unworthy computers to be able to run, say, Crysis at maximum settings. Why? Because the client machine isn't actually performing any of the processing. Game saves would also be hosted remotely under OnLive's model.

While the idea is certainly appealing on a surface level, there are many problems with it:

  • Bandwidth.

  • Does the average consumer have access to an internet connection that can allow uninterrupted streaming of content running at a video resolution of 1920 x 1080? The answer is a resounding no, and the amount of lag this would produce would essentially make the games unplayable.

  • Pricing Structure.

  • How much is this going to cost? Do we factor in the price of turbo-internet? What happens if this does kill the console market and creates a monopoly wherein we have no choice but to pay OnLive whatever they ask for?

  • Remote Storage.

  • I really don't like the idea of my game saves being stored remotely. What happens if I cancel the service but want to play the game again? Back to the beginning, bucko. Massive server failure? You are fucked, sir.

There are many other potential benefits/risks to this idea, and I'd like your thoughts on what a service like OnLive could mean for gamers and the industry at large. Post a damn comment.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Most Overrated Games: God Of War

God of War is one of those games that comes along once in a console generation: a game that has been so overhyped by both the publisher's PR department and the gaming press before its release that review scores are pushed beyond the stratosphere so both groups can save face. Unless you haven't owned a gaming console since the Atari 2600, you have doubtlessly heard about God of War and how "perfect" it is. In all likelihood, you bought the game, beat it, and despite a lingering doubt in your mind concerning its magnitude of greatness went on to blabber ceaselessly to your friends about how amazing it was. It's okay. Really, it is. We have all been victims of aggressive marketing departments and a complicit press. Worse things have happened. For example, during the '80's, many of us looked like this:

Before I focus on everything we glossed over ( intentionally ) when experiencing God of War for the first time, I should mention some of the many things the game did well. For its time, God of War had amazing graphics...and it was done on the PS2. The PS2 had well documented hardware limitations that God of War was able to somehow leap past in a single bound. When this game released, the faithful was treated to gorgeous, wide-open vistas with an amazing sense of scale, crisp animations, and wonderfully detailed character models. God of War rivaled practically anything released on Microsoft's graphically superior Xbox console when it came to visual prowess. Adding to God of War's potent aesthetic punch was a cinematic presentation that really got its hooks into the player. Come on, what red-blooded gamer is going to deny wanting to take part in a blood-spattered, tit-punctuated, Ray Harryhausen inspired romp through Greek mythology as a completely ruthless badass with a grudge? If you just said "no sir, not me", you are a fucking liar. What made the illusion of perfection complete for many was the fact that the gameplay mechanics driving the experience were very solid.

The love stops here. "Solid" gameplay is not enough to justify equating a game to being brought to climax by a deity. "Solid" means good enough to not shut the fucking thing off before you beat it. "Solid" is pretty damn far from perfect. Let's go through a few of the glaring flaws in this game most of you were probably to busy jizzing all over yourselves to notice, or worse yet, glossed over because you wanted so badly to believe you had experienced something akin to being fucked hard by an angel with silk genitals:

  • Fixed Camera

  • Fixed cameras suck. I don't care about the developer's "cinematic vision." I want to be able to see where I am going, especially when I have to wade through tricky platforming sequences. Wow! The view is great...oh, fuck. I'm dead. When you can't see where you are supposed to land because a giant column is in the fucking way, it doesn't matter how fucking pretty it is.

  • Useless Weapons

  • Let's be honest: who actually used anything other than the Blades of Chaos and a few spells in this game? Show of hands? Case closed.

  • Box Pushing Puzzles

  • Seriously, have box pushing puzzles been fun since A Link to the Past on the SNES? That was back in '92! Granted, gamers continued to put up with contrived box-pushing and lever-pulling puzzles well into the Playstation era...but at least they were rewarded with a nice, pixelated view of Lara Croft's physically impossible ass for slogging through that bullshit. Sure, there are some great payoffs ( gruesome death animations ) to some of the more nefariously designed puzzles, but they feel like an apology for annoying gameplay. Much like Ms Croft's ass.

  • Quick Time Events

  • Am I the only one who finds these failed Shenmue experiments ceaselessly annoying? Placing a Quick Time Event in the middle of a cutscene ( like Resident Evil 4 ) is fine. Forcing me to participate in an irritating button-sequence contrivance in the middle of combat just plain sucks. It doesn't add depth, it doesn't create "tension." All QTE driven combat does is create frustration and break immersion.

  • Spinning Spiked Poles

  • Remember those platforming sequences from the NES days where if you fucked up once, you had to do it all over again? Well, have fun, because they're back in the form of the spinning spiked pole in God of War. I appreciate a challenge as much as the next gamer. What I don't appreciate is a nod to parts of my childhood I am happy to not have to relive.

Many of these complaints may sound petty, but in the face of a game that received a ludicrous amount of perfect tens from the gaming press at the time of its release I think they are perfectly justified. At the end of the day, God of War is still a great game, but the rose tinted glasses need to come off. In every box of chocolates there are a few hidden turds. God of War has quite a few zits under its pancake makeup, and its about time we recognized them for what they are: nasty blemishes that will make you think twice before kissing her a second time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Trailer