N00b Diaries: Bioshock Chapter One – Getting Comfortable

Day One:

Dear Diary,
I want to become a more knowledgeable video game player. I have expressed this, and have found that I have an excellent source of tutelage in my long-time gamer boyfriend. He has compiled a list of games that he considers the “must-play” list, and today I begin my journey, starting with: Bioshock!!! (Da-da-duuuum!!!) I begin by treading water for longer than I could possibly manage in real life. I spend as much time as possible taking in the flames, and then the desperately black horizon in every direction but one. I like it already. Entering the lonely lit monument, I try to grasp what the hell could possibly be going on and if the entire game is supposed to take place on this island.

Quick prologue: unlike 99.9% of the gaming populace, I have no idea what this game is about except for the word “Big Daddy”. →  It was the best of games, it was the worst of games

Review – Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Poor Klonoa. The plucky little dog/cat thing has appeared in two well regarded platformers and five spinoffs (two of them well regarded GBA platformers). Yet he has always dwelled in relative obscurity. With the release of the Wii remake of the original Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, nothing much has changed. Klonoa is still unable to light up the charts (and with a cover that looks like a budget release, I can understand why), and he is still able to make a damn fine platformer. Short, sweet, thoroughly gorgeous, they don’t make them like this anymore.

I say that because this is a very strict remake, helmed by many of the original team members. They decided to keep the core game intact, including the levels, story, and even the jibberish Phantomilian language. →  Read awhile, and listen.

Thinking about identity in games

As I sat staring at an enormous horde of Mongol marauders storming across the bridge, I felt a certain pride at the waiting ranks of Byzantine heavy infantry that stood on the other side. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always felt a certain affinity for those crazy Byzantines. Positioned at the crossroads of two continents, bordered by distinctly unfriendly Islamic and Catholic nations on either side, one of the greatest cities on earth as their capital. In both of the Medieval: Total War titles, the Byzantine Empire is one of the toughest factions to succeed with, surrounded by enemies and few potential allies, and that’s before the Golden Hordes turn up sometime along the way with their endless armies of terrifying heavy cavalry and horse archers. You can see why they struggled, despite their heritage and wealth. →  Readius III and IV

Lamecast #11 – So they went and entered the house of a prostitute

Doing the rounds at breakneck speed, our briefest Lamecast to date makes quick work of your sanity. Don covers the failings of multi-platform gaming, we collectively analyze why the guy behind the counter at Christian’s Gamestop needs to NOT share his feelings, Casey’s confounding lack of history with Dungeon Keeper, and would Alexis kindly step away from the pointless hacking.

Reggie asks who should make Nintendo games

Your favorite band wants to know who you think should compose their next album. No, that’s too obvious, try this. Your favorite author wants to know who you think should write his next book.

Reggie has asked Kotaku readers who Nintendo should collaborate with next, implying the Metroid Team Ninja project won’t be the last time Nintendo brings in outside help. The problem with calling in third parties is apparently not obvious to everyone, as fans filled forums with names like Blizzard, Team Ico, Square, Treasure and so on.

Mario games aren’t great because of the Mushroom Kingdom and Zelda games aren’t great because of Hyrule. All the themes, plots, artwork and music may add to these series but they are not fundamentally what they are about. No, Mario and Zelda games are great because one of the best developers on the planet spends three years designing each new entry. →  While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not gaming.

THE YEAR… OF SEQUELS, Part 2!

Ah, creativity. Useless, overrated creativity.

Once, back in the past, a man had an original idea and he took it and he made a form of mass media out of it and people loved it. They loved it so much that they decided he shouldn’t work on finding something new to give them, he should instead work on more of what they loved.

And thus we were given The Odyssey. And The Odyssey was just as successful and lucrative as the first. This opened the eyes of the creative people, who would often struggle for long periods of time trying to make something new. Creative people did not have to be creative all the time. They just had to be creative once and willing to cash in on that one flash of brilliance as much as humanly possible! →  Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

Lamecast #10 – And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed

Celebrate the tenth lamecast with us by listening to the crew bash just about everything and everyone they can think of. Christian reveals his angry side, Alexis stands up for a goddess in a game she’s never played, Casey is ashamed of his Sims, and Don will soon be engaged in a lawsuit with George Broussard thanks to some creative editing.

Review – Dark Souls

Indie games aren’t always incredible. I’ve had great experiences with Mount & Blade, The Spirit Engine 2, and World of Goo. After these outstanding games, my expectations were high coming into Warfare Studios’ Dark Souls, which is a classic-style RPG with a darker-than-usual plot… perhaps a bit too high.

The first thing that should have lowered the bar was the fact that it was clearly made in some flavor of RPGMaker. RPGMaker games have been around for years – every time I have tried one, I stopped playing in less than an hour due to difficulty and/or incredibly bad production/script quality. Everyone wants to make the next Final Fantasy VI, but nobody has the passion and ability to create good artwork, compose fitting music, and write a polished script. Teams larger than two or three tend to dissolve due to a lack of sustained interest or go nowhere, and the end result is that the games that are released just don’t seem that great. →  U R Not lamE.

What did the Next Gen ever do for Us?

The tagline to the above title being when does next gen become this gen? Yes, already there are rumours abound of what the next generation of consoles might bring to the table, even though for many veterans is still feels like the current generation barely got started. For those of you who remember the last brave days of the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox, it was with bated breath that the new generation was unveiled before our own eyes. And what of it? A number of years down the line (and with a few false starts) how has console gaming really changed and what can we anticipate the next generation will bring? Here’s the topic dealt with in the time-honoured list format.

Crates and/or barrels.
It was our personal hope that we would see the last of the crate and of the barrel, which were ubiquitously used to build generic levels, block pathways and for the henchmen to crouch behind (although to be fair this use was only really for the red barrels). →  The post still burns.

Review – The Sims 3

The Sims 3 was released to the masses today (note: it is no longer today) and being the good little Sims whore that I am, I went to my local pixel merchant and picked up my copy. I am slightly surprised with myself because I have played through both sequels and every lame Stuff and Expansion pack they have crammed down my eager gullet, yet here I am, all hot and bothered to play the third iteration of this game. Having not played the game a great deal since I picked it up a few hours ago, I can’t say this article is a complete review of The Sims 3, more so a summary of my initial impressions of the game.

Slow install times for computer games are the bane of my existence. →  A reader is you.

Metroidvanias and Me

This past Sunday was spent almost entirely playing Symphony of the Night on my PSP.  It is rare these days for a game to grip me so much that I not only desire to spend my gaming time with it, but put aside other duties in order to make more gaming time.  Symphony was one of those experiences, and while I cannot afford to have them all of the time, it is nice to know they still exist.

That being said, I was surprised to see myself become so engaged with the game. On one hand, this statement is silly.   SOTN is one of the few modern classics where the gaming community’s opinion hasn’t greatly diminished after years of constant play and retrospective.  People still enjoy it a hell of a lot.  →  You think about everything.

Thoughts on League of Legends

For various reasons, many social, others masochistic, Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), the Warcraft 3 custom map, remains something I play frequently. All is not well in DOTA land, however, and I’m not talking about the fact that my friend Jimmy who I play with is a KSing coward. No, the bigger issue is that half of the DOTA managing community (functionally one guy) has split from the other half (another guy who does most of the programming) over a new game called League of Legends. I don’t really care about their breakup but it made for a catchy introduction to my League of Legends first thoughts.

League of Legends is the latest attempt by a stale gaming industry to build upon someone else’s idea, rather than come up with their own. →  Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘Game Over.’

A Brief Synopsis of How Playing EVE and Gangbanging in South Central L.A. Are Somewhat Similar….But Not Really

Being from the largest city in Idaho, I have had a lot of experience with gangs. Most of this experience comes from playing GTA: San Andreas and living vicariously through the O.G.s from Wyoming that ride through Boise throwing up signs and representing the “Equality State”. Man, I wish my 2005 Toyota Matrix was half the ride that the 1979 Ford F250 is, but I digress. Other than gangs, my passion of the month has been EVE Online. Strangely, EVE and gangbanging have several things in common and knowing about how my bros in Cali do their “thang“ has actually helped me weather the steep learning curve that EVE presents to newcomers.

When a young blood starts out on the streets of L.A…or Cheyenne, he sees po po and 5-O everywhere. →  Your right post comes off?

Unlocking Okami

After owning it for two months, I finally started playing Okami in earnest. After six or so hours, I still feel the urge to continue, but I feel as if I already know the game all too well, and if I keep going it will only mean me abandoning the game later down the line. I always wondered why a game billed as a “Zelda clone” would end up being Clover’s most talked about release, but now it makes quite a bit of sense. I’ve got this one’s number.

First, Okami is easy. Now some may argue this point, especially if the game gets harder later on (I have heard that it does). But between dodging, blocking, recovery items and stat upgrades, I have all the tools I need to stay alive in battle, especially considering how small in scope the battles are. →  Readlevania

E3 to the Grave: Forgetting Good Old Games

E3 has started. Some gamers are excited. Some gamers are jaded with it all. Either way, the lifecycle of many games will start this week. Almost. Well most of them were revealed, hinted at or leaked already. So this is games at their birth. First comes hype, then months of reveals, then reviews then bam! Japan gets the game. Then America. Then Australia. Then most of Europe. Then the UK. This is the beginning of a lifecycle for a game. But what happens at the end? When the game has been played by millions? Bizarrely it appears they dissapear from sight, only resurfacing on the second hand market. Don’t believe me? Check the official sites for Nintendo, Capcom, Microsoft games, Sony, Ubisoft. Mostly filler sites at best with the rare piece of news before Kotaku gets it. →  Rayman Reading Rabbids