Rare Loot: The Games We Treasure – Pat Edition

Welcome back to Rare Loot where I quiz the ancient beings that rule over videolamer land about the treasured gaming stuff they’d sell their own children and or body parts for. The inaugural Rare Loot was with videolamer’s own Captain Picard, so it made sense to pick on a bearded womaniser next. Say hello to Pat who has beamed in from a planet made purely of pocket lint to tell us about one of his treasures.

Cunzy: Before we start proper, how would you identify your collecting habits? We know from Jay’s rare loot you co-own the Library(tm) but does this extend into trading cards, full body pillows, and giant Pokemon plushies?

Pat: The vast majority of my collecting energy and money are dedicated to games themselves. I am passionate about a few series and developers and might pick up a Special Launch Edition of a game with all the crap that comes along with it. →  Shadow of Read

Small Screen on the Big Screen: Square Enix Edition

Back in the day screen sizes meant something; big screen was cinema, small screen was TV. Nowadays it’s all confused as you’re probably watching your movies on your phone and watching your streams on a hundred inch glaring HD, 4K, LED, RGB, billboard that dominates your living room. However, the spirit of this series is to celebrate some of the gaming stuff that has spilled over from video games into films, TV series and other kinds of media. 

These days we’re spoiled with gaming cross media stuff as many gamers are now those making decisions when it comes to licensing and making proper weapons grade ‘content.’ Them-there PC gamers got very excited about the League of Legends Netflix spin-off series Arcane, causing some to make slightly hyperbolic claims that bad video game adaptations might be a thing of the past. →  Sounds amazing, I must read it now!

Rare Loot: The Games We Treasure – Jay Edition

Despite much of modern gaming firmly being digitally entrenched, there’s a large chunk of gaming still very much locked in the physical world. From companies specialising in limited physical runs of digital-only games to statuettes and steelbooks, from luxury vinyl soundtracks to custom arcade sticks it looks like physical gaming stuff (A.K.A. pile of plastic tat) will be with us for years to come. In this column I interview gamers about a much loved, maligned, or sought after item from their collection. Welcome to Rare Loot!

This week’s looter(?) is videolamer’s own Jay. He asked me to write for the website a while ago. He likes video games. He’s sort of the Leonardo to the mutated reptile videolamer crew except he doesn’t lead, or have swords. He can be found dreaming of deeply obscure 90s Japan-only releases whilst secretly playing Souls games again like a proper Chad with painfully mainstream gaming tastes. →  Lose belly fat now!

Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: etc, etc, etc

In a sentence, imagine Street Fighter II with slightly nicer graphics and hyper combos.

In more than a sentence, why is it that Capcom’s fighting games are allowed to be so lazy and yet get relatively good reviews? Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the 1.1 versions of both of those. Shallow and lazy. Particularly the versus series. Great potential for some kind of interesting story mode reduced to a handful of cool cutscenes.

So. What do you get in Tats vs Caps? Not a lot. Punch people in the head on seven stages in Arcade Mode. Punch people in the ahead against the clock in survival mode and punch as many people in the head before your life runs out in Survival Mode. Even for a Capcom game there is a paucity of unlockables. →  Sounds mildly entertaining, I guess.

Monster Hunter Tri

If at first you don’t succeed ha ha ha ha. This is now the third attempt at a review of Monster Hunter Tri. Before I start can I just say that it isn’t actually a review. My inner critic has been blinded by adoration. It is more of a love letter? Hmmm. Maybe more of a state of the union of gaming as exemplified through this one game? Who knows what it will be? I don’t. But it begins now in any case.

I wasn’t a fan of Monster Hunter on the best PlayStation. I remember playing the demo that came with Devil May Cry and being a bit underwhelmed by it. Then later I was given a copy of the game and still not really swung. I’ll be honest though. →  Post of Tsushima

Review: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

Presumably, there is a design doc at Square Enix that defines what defines a Crystal Chronicles game.  A character called Cid, cactuars, marlboros, flans, chocobos, airships, trains and magical jewelery are all borrowed from the main series. What makes a Crystal Chronicles game seems to be an obsession with talking about crystals, carrying things above your head, real time combat and a world populated by four different races. What I didn’t know until I hit the Final Fantasy Wiki is that all of the Crystal Chronicles games are set in the same universe but thousands of years apart. Which is nice and explains the obsession with crystals.

In my little world at least, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles titles are always released with little in the way of fanfare, especially when compared to the main series of games, and often received a mixed reception. →  Readout 3: Takedown

The Passion of Tetris

Back in the day, a passion for video games meant a healthy interest in video games as part of a normal, balanced diet. These days, anything than less than full retard could see you harshly labeled as a newbie on some internet forums. But unlike wine or film it is hard to be a connoisseur of the whole of gaming-kind. There are so many games that humans cannot tell you how many there are any more. Thousands? Certainly. Millions? Maybe. It depends. Is every slight mod a separate game? Is every two second flash game a ‘game’? Do not seek the answer to those questions young one, to seek to answer them is to look into the void. By far the best thing to do if you want to really make it in the video game sector is to hyper focus on one tiny tiny tiny bit of gaming. →  Apply directly to the forehead.

Sounds

I may have already mentioned ALREADY JESUS CHRIST ALREADY GET OFF MY BACK MOM ALREADY! That I am a big fan of video game soundtracks. Be it the official tunes, an inspired remix and very occasionally I even allow songs which have merely sampled an OT to creep onto the MP3 player. PRO TIP: Never ever, ever be tempted to listen to a video game related song which has been filed under the ‘comedy’ or ‘humorous’ genres. They are almost exclusively 11 year old boys who sound like girls on helium doing the first season Pokemon theme tune. Tetris remixes aside, of which team videolamer are veritable connoisseurs, I do like hard copy soundtracks. They are often objects of beauty as well as magically trapping the music onto a disk.

 →  Sid Meier’s Alpha Centarticle

The Epicest Clash Ever

Scholars have argued for hundreds of years over which belief system is the best and the jury is still out on the definitive answer. Is it the system with the most money? The system with the most followers? The system that fits in with current knowledge of how the universe works or is it the belief system that advocates fiddling blind kids and Africa dying from the AIDS? Sure, we’ve had global conflicts over some of these issues and even then the winner couldn’t be definitively decided. Now, however, through the invention of the Nintendo Wii, we can create the greatest match up of all time ever and finally see who is the best*.

Introducing the competitors:

Yes ladies and gentlemen here they are, four of the most influential people of all time. →  I’m gonna take you for a read.

To Waggle or Not To Waggle?

That is actually the question. With the recent release of some concept shots for the PS Move inviting a glut of mixed internet people reactions from the logic failing PlayStation fundamentalists’ “this is all Nintendo’s fault” to the long suffering Wii forumite’s “how do you like them apples?”, motion controls seems to be the hot topic at the moment in the internet video game blogosphere. Which reminds me, we really need a catchier name to describe that paper thin veneer of people to whom proper discussions like this might make sense. Video Game Historians a la Art Historians sounds too formal and elitist although subjectively and endlessly explicating something we are passionate about instead of doing useful things for the greater benefit of mankind are common to both ‘occupations’. Hardcore gamer isn’t correct at all either. →  Keep it warm.

Resident Evil 4 Revisited

Recently, a brand spanking new copy of Resident Evil 4 for the Wii caught my eye. Reduced to clear and put in the shop window of a generic electronics shop in London’s laughable ‘electronics mile’, I couldn’t face the heart break over the thought of that particular copy of that gem of a game slowly yellowing and fading in the shop window, destined to be ignored by the people looking to buy new headphones or a replacement ipod nano charger.

So now I have two copies of Resident Evil 4. One for the PS2. One for the Wii. I should buy the Gamecube version to complete the shelf. Feeling slightly embarrassed in my hideous capitalist material ways with the realisation that there are people in this very world who struggle to have potable water or enough food to survive and here I am, Cunzy “two copies of Resident Evil 4” they call me now. →  All your posts are belong to us.

Post PlayStation 2: Choose your own adventure!

You are in an excellent position as the market leader in the gaming industry. The PlayStation 2 went from strength to strength and, with few exceptions from the enemy, had some of the best games ever created. Nintendo have frankly just given up on the Gamecube and the Xbox is really heavy. With a huge installed base and the future looking bright what do you do next?

There’s only one thing for it! Make the PlayStation 3. Go to 1
We’ve only just seen the true power of the PlayStation 2 with, of all things a Gamecube port. Let’s stick with it for a while. Go to 2

1) A good idea but disaster! Microsoft have announced a successor to the Xbox and it looks like they will get it to market before you. →  Holy crap, show me more!

Love the Capcom

This is a transcript of a presentation I gave at the Women’s Institute last week.

In the ongoing, victimless, and utterly pointless console wars Capcom is America. It’s selling arms to everyone. Ammunition for all the fanboys to use on each other. Sure the Wii can’t do Dead Rising but then Zack and Wiki just wouldn’t work on the Xbox 360. HD is the only way to play Resident Evil 5 but then is there any greater pleasure than being able to carry around the entire original Resident Evil around on the DS? Science says no. So as the fanboys shoot each other down in flames Capcom continues to produce a stream of the greatest games that ever existed. So here are the reasons why I love Capcom.

Sure, we may all have our Capcom favourites. →  Professor Layton and the Diabolical Post

Review – 100 Classic Book Collection

100 Classic Book Collection for the DS is awesomesauce. That’s the gist of this whole review for those of you unwilling or unable to read further. However, for those with some staying power I will qualify why it is such an amazing condiment after I clarify that it isn’t a game.

100 Classic Book Collection is not a game. Don’t be confused by the packaging, the little box and the little game shaped cartridge. When you pop the cart into the DS and open it up you will not find a game. Instead you will find an assortment of 100 classic books to read. It could have been that simple. Here’s 100 books. Read them all. Cheevos for reading all of them. But much like an exotic alcoholic cocktail so many extra bits have been squeezed in to make it all the more worthwhile. →  Read it your way.

Review – Another Code: R A Journey Into Lost Memories

Another Code:R A Journey Into Lost Memories (herein abbreviated to AC:RAJILM) is from the same developer behind the rather excellent Hotel Dusk. So I was somewhat excited when AC:RAJILM was announced for the Wii.

After an extensive playthrough, it seems that this excitement was altogether misplaced. This is not necessarily to say that the game is bad, or that this review will be negative, but just don’t expect to ever get excited in AC:RAJILM.

It seems that CING, when mixing up AC:RAJILM in the laboratory, accidentally got some of the quantities of the point ‘n’ click ingredients wrong. They have definitely made an adventure with pointing and clicking but some of the elements aren’t optimally balanced.

So, for example, a staple technique used in these kinds of games is to give players lots of things to investigate, the payoff for throroughness being hidden items, secret bonuses, hints or extra flavour. →  Snap! Crackle! Read!

We didn’t go to the Tokyo Games Show

Despite a great deal of pleading, Jay would not finance a single trip to TGS this year. This is because Jay is a big fat racist. So because we didn’t go we can’t present you with what we saw there. However, because we’ve got nothing else to do besides F5ing the internet we felt like we did go*. We felt like we were there and so here’s the high quality games journalism coverage you would have got, had we been there. Don’t say we don’t give you anything for free vl reader. There’s no point vocalising what we all know.

Videolamers TGS Coverage Issue:

Check out the 4500 photos that Christian took whilst dicking around in Japan. Japanese buildings, Japanese people in the street, signs in Japan in English, Japanese HMVs etc. →  Frankly my dear, I don’t read a damn.

Are you HARDCORE ENOUGH?

Writing about the hardcore/casual games divide was the new “Are Games Art” but now “There’s No Such Thing as Hardcore/Casual” is the new “There is a Hardcore/Casual Games and Gamers Divide”. This is a lie told to you by casual gamers. Casual gamers are limp-wristed liberals. HARDCORE gamers get chicks and drive huge cars and WILL FIGHT YOU TO THE DEATH defending the console that their Mom bought them.

But are you HARDCORE? Or are you a casual? Do you have armour piercing spermatozoa/ova or are you firing blanks? This is where the HARDCORE test comes in. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you are NOT HARDCORE AT ALL. You are a casual homo. Don’t take this test if you don’t want the truth.

Remember, any Yeses, even one and you are disgusting. →  Read Band 2

The Six Hour Rule

Great game, great graphics, good story, co-op mode, online play but only 10 hours long. Or words to that effect. I’ve seen a number of reviews that say something about the relatively short length of a game being negative despite the fact that the game, considered too short by the reviewer, would probably take me months if not years to actually play through.

How long is too long? What do we mean by length? How much weight should reviewers put on the price-point/length-of-game ratio in deciding whether or not a game should be recommended? The Ram Raider has a nice article about price point considerations which is what prompted me to think about how long a game takes and about getting old. Being an old cranky, jaded gamer…

Gone are the days when I could buy a game and then revel in it for long periods of time until I’d explored every nook and cranny and devoured all the content in the main game, unlocked all the ummm…. →  Ys: The Article of Napishtim

Review – Animal Crossing Wild World

Animal Crossing isn’t a game. It’s a career. A vocation, a mini alternative life. You could educate a child with it and it would turn out OK. It teaches you everything you need to know about the real world. It teaches you the importance of money, shows you the true value of patience, punishes you for lying, and when characters move out of your town it’s an important lesson about the harsh realities of bereavement in adult life. Freckles is gone, Timothy, she’s gone to another town very far away and she’s never coming back.

It’s not a game, it’s a job. You HAVE to collect your fruit to begin with, else you can’t afford the cool furniture. You HAVE to keep fishing, else you might miss a rare fish. You HAVE to collect all the fossils, fish and insects because something cool might happen when you do. →  I’m gonna take you for a read.

Cunzy1 1 is…

When first asked to write for videolamer, Jay asked for a short biography in the form of 10 games. You can see the gang’s choices over here. The games I chose to represent me aren’t necessarily my favourite games, games I have completed, games I recommend you need to play or necessarily even good games. They are the games that I have a special association with and games that take me back to a certain time or place. Much like a certain film or a song, games can tug at the memory and take you back to times past. This is my life in games in roughly chronological order.

Snoopy Tennis.
I’m not talking about the horrible Game Boy Color game, I’m all about the Game and Watch version. This is probably one of the first games I ever played and at the time it didn’t have a particular impact on me. →  All the lonely gamers, where do they all belong?