Small big improvements

There are a number of small and debatably inconsequential flaws that reoccur in game after game. Always ready to take up unnecessary arms, I have outlined a few of these problems. Each genre has its own issues, but I’ll be looking at things that can generally be found in RPGs. Immersion is important in all games, but particularly necessary in a good RPG. These complaints all revolve around enhancing immersion without significantly changing the game design.

No matter how far storylines advance, most games have merchants that have exactly one thing to say to the player. This flaw makes sure the player is reminded that he is not actually taking part in a living environment, but rather a cold and hardwired video game. Some small effort on the part of the designers would do much to alleviate this problem. →  Article Kombat

Am I a jerk?

Am I a jerk for not being excited by the new XBox?

Am I no fun because I’m waiting for more than a game I want to play before spending $400?

Am I ignorant for not noticing anything new yet besides the graphics?

Am I a bad gamer for not getting into the hype of a new generation of systems?

Am I unpatriotic because I dislike rampant consumerism that drives us to spend hundreds of dollars for a better looking football game?

Am I a technophobe because I wish the current generation would last longer?

Am I an idealist for thinking we could still do so much with this hardware?

Am I a cynic for thinking new consoles are pushed on us so we need to keep spending hundreds of dollars? →  Xenosaga 2: Jenseits von Gut und Pöst

Review – Zelda: Wind Waker

Zelda: Wind Waker
Developed by Nintendo
Published by Nintendo
Released 3.24.03

Sexy pose
Mr. Link, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?

I grade games on a 100 point scale broken down into several categories. Each category gives a maximum of 20 points. The combined total is score of the game.

A 100 = perfect.

Graphics: 20

Music: 20

Game play: 20

Plot: 10

Replay ability: 10

Total Value: 80%

What can be said of The Wind Waker? Gorgeous! Smooth! Colorful! An auditory pleasure! No plot. As with most game of the Zelda franchise the story is rather dull if not redundant. Collect your power up items (Triforce parts and weapons) kill the bad guy, and make sweet sweet underage lovin’s to the princess.

Plain wall
The environments are a little underdetailed but extremely sharp and clean.
 →  If you die in the article, you die in real life.

Review – Wario Ware, Inc.

Wario Ware, Inc.
Developed by Nintendo and Intelligent Systems
Published by Nintendo
Released 10.17.03

Jump rope game
The Daddy Mac will make you…

Nintendo gets a bad rap (from normal people, not losers like me). They practically invented the platform game, brought video games back after the crash of the early 80’s, showed us how a 3D platformer should look, perfected the action RPG, pioneered handheld gaming and released a headset game system after even Sega pulled the plug on their Virtual (or should I say Virtua) Reality system (although not doing what Sega does is generally good business practice). Well add another accomplishment to Nintendo’s long list, because Wario Ware Inc is incredibly different.

Most games made up of minigames are crappy, but if the games are good enough then the game as a whole can be excellent, like Pirates! →  Ask not for whom the game plays, it plays for thee.

Testers Wanted

Where'd the grass go?
I assure you the whole play field should not be black.

I have seen very little sunlight over the past few days because of a game called Civilization 4. It’s still unclear whether it is an improvement for the series or if it beats the almighty Alpha Centuari, but it is damned good fun and super addictive. Because I NEED to keep playing, its technical flaws really get under my skin. I’m not talking about lacking textures, low polygon counts or jagged edges. The Play disc being mislabeled is just a hint of the upcoming misery that many gamers have suffered through to get their Civ fix.

My computer is above the minimum requirements, yet there is still a massive slowdown with the graphics set to the lowest level. Sometimes the game stalls for a solid 2 or 3 minutes. →  U R Not lamE.

Working Designs meets their Designer

"First of all, sorry for being incommunicado for such a long time. It’s been a busy time, as you’ll see.

There’s no easy way to say it, so I just will. Working Designs is gone. All the staff has been laid off and the office is closed and has been for some time. Yes, the website is still here, and I am going to do my best to keep it tucked away somewhere on the ‘net so it doesn’t become an illicit domain. (Of course, some of the haters may be of the mind that it’s been illicit all along, heh!).

The most frustrating part of all of this is that I know that our fanbase is still there. Growlanser Generations sold well, but of course not better than it would have sold as two separate titles. →  Read Band 2

Review – Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones
Developed by Intelligent Systems
Published by Nintendo
Released 5.23.05

Eirika

Extra vowels make common names mysterious and fanciful.

As a kid fighting in the trenches during the Sega vs. Nintendo War, Shining Force was a potent weapon for the Sega legions. The only possible counter attack was mention Nintendo’s Fire Emblem, Japan’s first console strategy RPG. How I hated this series that I had never even seen. I took solace in knowing that only the most obsessed gamers knew of its existence; I did my best to block the name Fire Emblem from my mind.

Thank god that war is over. Having embraced all that video games have to offer, I can now play and love quality titles from all developers. Fire Emblem managed to come out with six entries before one was localized for the U.S. →  Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

Review – Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus
Developed by SCEA
Published by SCEA
Released 10.15.05

Huge horse
Your horse has been fed animal steroids.

Apparently all reviewers of Shadow of the Colossus must first reveal their Ico credentials. Ico was released in September of 2001, and I had my eye on it from early in its life cycle. For one reason or another I only ended up purchasing the game about a year and a half later. Since then, the more I’ve played the further it has climbed up my list of favorite games. I enjoyed the graphical style, puzzle elements, storyline, I even like the fact that the fighting was terrible, because it made the whole experience of being a young boy lost in a dangerous castle more believable. I felt the same way about the lack of menus and on-screen interface. →  50 Cent: Readproof