Review – What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!?

One of the first games I played on my computer was the Dungeon Keeper series. I was an evil overlord who managed my dungeon with more gusto than a sixteen year old who had been newly promoted to fry manager at McDonald’s. I strove to be as evil as I could and I was good at it. Sometimes I think I missed my dictatorial calling in life. I loved being able to build traps and spawn new monsters to kill whatever hero was foolish enough to traipse into my lair.

Unfortunately, after Dungeon Keeper 2, Bullfrog stopped making the series and my dungeon-building prowess dulled – the lands were freed of my evil grasp. I have always wanted a game to fill the dungeon keeping hole in my heart but alas, the void remained…until recently. →  Read the rest

How The West Went Wrong

Let’s play a game that we’ll call, “Count The Genres”. Video games do a pretty good job of covering their bases in terms of the copious amount of scenarios and storylines they deal with. You have your run-of-the-mill sci-fi game, fantasy plots set in mystical realms, hospital simulations, farming sims, sports, you name it, there is probably a video game that touches on it in some way. There is one genre though that I am constantly amazed by the lack of coverage it receives and that is, the Western. How many Western themed games can you name?

I am curious as to why the Western genre gets as little love from electronic gaming as it does. This is especially true when you consider how romanticized the genre has been in books, radio, and film since the turn of the century. →  Read the rest

Cloud Gaming Paranoia!!!

Call me paranoid but I have never been a fan of “cloud” computing. I like having all of my files stored on my computer. I like having my games on discs. I like knowing that if something goes haywire, I am the one responsible and I am the one that can fix it. It seems like the general trend for computing has been to have massive servers out there in the wilds of Oregon and Washington take care of all of the heavy lifting and maintenance of data while the computers we are using keep getting smaller and more portable. Gaming has followed these trends and I find it troubling for handful of reasons. I have always written off these worries as the product of my overactive imagination but recent events have given me reason to suspect I might be right to worry. →  Read the rest

Review – Play!: A Video Game Symphony

Last week my buddy, Tony, called me and told me that I should drive my unemployed butt to Salt Lake City to go see a concert with him. As an added bonus, he had already bought my ticket and was willing to part with it for the awesome price of free if I could make the trip. The concert is a traveling event called Play!: A Video Game Symphony. Play! started in 2006 and the name of the concert pretty much says it all, a full symphony orchestra, accompanied by a choir, playing some of the best video game scores in existence. Of course I made the trip!

The vast majority of symphonies I have been to (and oddly enough, that has been quite a few) tended to be stuffy events that required me to shower, do my hair, and dress nicely. →  Read the rest

Houston, Wii Have a Problem

When the Wii was first heralded as the “next big thing” in video games, I was watching from the sidelines (or possibly the frontlines) in Japan. I admit that like everyone else, I got caught up in the hype and wanted…nay…needed a Wii. That was a couple of years ago. Since then, I have decided a didn’t need a Wii and then ended up getting one for practically free off of Craigslist about five months ago. I haven’t played the damned thing in almost three months, confirming my suspicions that the Wii was not a console for me. However, this is not a blurb of why I dislike the Wii; it is an article explaining why I think the Wii was a bad idea for Nintendo.

At first glance, the Wii was a nifty concept. →  Read the rest

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. →  Read the rest

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. →  Read the rest

The Four Things I Would Like to See at E3 But Won’t

In the small world of my mind there are essentially three things that put my imagination into overdrive. First and foremost, any kind of holocaust involving zombies or nukes. Second, any kind of holocaust involving me winning stupid amounts of money. And third, video game conventions/trade shows. Twice a year I get to dream of what wondrous gaming splendors await me when E3 and TGS roll around and twice a year I get to be disappointed by 95% of what gets announced. I have already concluded that this year will be no different but I can still dream of what would make me extremely happy if it were announced.

1. EA Announces That The 2010 Series of Sports Games Will Be The Last and Any Future Updates Will Come in the Form of Downloadable Content

Like most people reading this, I am not the biggest sports fan in the world. →  Read the rest

Stranded in Portland or How I Helped a Guy Discover Treasure in His Closet

Yesterday was one of those days that started on an off note and ended unexpectedly well. I made a small road trip to visit a cousin and some friends in Portland, Oregon and to just escape Idaho for a day or two. What was expected to be a weekend voyage has now stretched into the middle of the week thanks to a clutch that was out for vengeance in the pristine Oregon wilderness. I knew the clutch in my Toyota was slipping a bit and would soon need replacing but I expected to be able to limp back into Idaho without too much trouble and get it fixed later in the week. I was wrong and what had started as a fine morning had turned into a ride in a tow truck by lunchtime. →  Read the rest

Review – Valkyria Chronicles

Strategy games have proven to be a bitter mistress for me. It is an unfortunate genre because it is home to one of my all-time favorite games, X-Com. When I first boot up a strategy game, especially one that has a similar mechanic to X-Com, I find myself comparing whatever game I may be playing to the venial alien blasting classic. When this happens, almost all games fail and I end up ditching the discs in one of my many binders, never to play it again.

It was with a great amount of trepidation that I purchased Valkyria Chronicles. I loved what I had seen of the game, the story is set in an alternate WWII universe, it is graphically an anime-styled game, and you get to run over people with a big ass tank. →  Read the rest

Review – Flower

If you haven’t noticed…and you probably haven’t, I have not written much lately. Truth be told, there hasn’t been a lot in gaming that has inspired me in the past couple of weeks. That is, until tonight. Flower has been on the Playstation Store now for roughly six or seven hours and in that time, I can safely say this game has answered the video games as art argument with a resounding, YES!

This review is not going to be very long because the game is not very long and it is hard to do justice to it without letting you just play it and experience it for yourself. The premise is simple, tilt the controller and press any button to make the wind blow. That is it. Of course there is more to it, but really how much can I say about a series of flower petals blowing in the wind? →  Read the rest

The Ever-Evolving State of Gaming, part 1 of 327

Here it is, December 2008. I am setting here typing this up on a computer I rarely use for anything other than playing music and scouring the internet for unseen porn. If you would have told me ten years ago that Chinese Democracy would actually get released and that I would play console games more often than computer games, I would have laughed at you.

I just glanced over at my shelf and spied my little black DS Lite snuggled into its cute little sock carrying case; who would have thought that a fifth of Japan would come to embrace such a gaming device and that millions of them now occupy the United States as well? The old school Gameboy was popular…for little kids. Now men, women and kids play them. →  Read the rest

Review – Little Big Planet

Now that the game has been out for a while and I have eased myself off of Fallout 3, I feel it is time for me to kick in my two cents about Little Big Planet. I must admit that prior to the game’s release I was caught up in the euphoria surrounding LBP. I basically bought my Playstation 3 to play it and waited anxiously for each new video that was released in the weeks before the game came out. Once those evil lyrics about Islam had been properly disposed of and the game finally came out, I rushed home and barricaded myself in my room to play the game for almost an entire weekend straight.

Things you need to keep in mind when considering Little Big Planet:

1. The game is a side-scrolling hop ‘n’ bop. →  Read the rest

Tyson gives thanks… to video games!

When I started writing for videolamer over a year ago, I was a slightly angry, jaded gamer. I was pissed with how the industry was going: the Playstation 3 was way too expensive; the 360 had some good games on it, but let’s all be real honest, most people got the system for Halo or Call of Duty; and the Wii was intriguingly underpowered but still kind of fun.

I felt a lot like Jack Black’s character from High Fidelity. I was a ticked off, elitist snob who firmly believed that the few people who felt like I did about gaming hung around this site and we were the last bastion of sense in a pixilated world gone mad. Today, I am still a cocky bastard to be sure but I am not nearly as angst filled as I was a handful of months ago. →  Read the rest

Confusion, Bewilderment, or Why I Bought A Playstation 3 and Need Help

For reasons and in ways I need not delve into here, I made the sky open up and rain money down upon me. Lots and lots of money. Enough money to get me out of debt and leave me with almost a grand to disperse however I saw fit. I could have done many things with this leftover cash: I could have bought new tires for my car that desperately needs new tires, I could have paid off all of this upcoming semester of school, but instead, I bought a Playstation 3. I am Yoda wise.

I didn’t just go out and get any old PS3 either, I had to get one that was backwards compatible with PS2 games and so my only option was the $500, 80gig Metal Gear Solid bundle. →  Read the rest

Review – Spore

I am not sure how to introduce this review so I am going to start gently. If I were the kind of guy that was into fellating people to get what I want, there would be a short list of people that I would be willing to drop to my knees for. Right off the top of my head, I can only actually think of two men, the first being Trent Reznor if he promised to give me another album equal to or greater than The Downward Spiral; the second guy is Will Wright.

I can’t think of what I would ask Will Wright for in exchange for orally pleasing him but if he were into bartering, I am sure I could come up with something. I have always liked Will Wright because, thankfully for my succulent lips, he gives me what I want without forcing me to choose to spit or swallow. →  Read the rest

Tales From Behind the Counter – The Walking Dead

I love zombies. I love zombies so much that I would be lying if I said there weren’t nights that I have gone to bed hoping to wake up the following morning in a full-blown zombacalypse. In many ways this column and my video game store are in a state of zombie purgatory, not quite dead but not completely living either. Let me explain:

About two or three weeks ago a series of events transpired that granted me the magical power of telepathy. In the subsequent moments of enlightenment, I learned that the people who own my video game store were running into some serious financial issues in terms of the stores and keeping them running. We are not talking a missed phone bill payment, we are discussing a shambling, fetid, corpse of over $10k debt. →  Read the rest

Tales From Behind The Counter – A Time of Loathing

When working in retail there is one time of year you dread above all others: the holidays. It means angry customers with no time and no money, pissed off that they have to brave ice covered roads and bumper car parking lots instead of being gleeful and warm in the comfort of their own homes. In video game retail land, there is one other time that I have come to regard in the same way I would a diagnosis of colon cancer: EA Sports Game Release season. Also called, the Unholidays, with a long e sound on that i.

During this time, Electronic Arts decides to rain shit from the sky in the form of a new NCAA everything, new Madden, new baseball whatever, and [shudder] Nascar 09. I would rather play most of these sports over having to deal with the people who come in to buy these games and that, my friends, should tell you something. →  Read the rest

Tales From Behind The Counter – Lost Treasures, Trade-Ins, and Drugs

I should preface this installment by saying that I am a pack rat. I always have been and probably always will be. When I die, my relatives will come to clean out my house and find stacks and stacks of old newspapers, every wrapper of the slices of Velveeta cheese I had eaten over the past twenty years, and journals of every major weather event from 2025 on with my hand drawn renditions of how things went down. I keep everything. Having said that, it baffles me that most people have no problem trading in all of their old video games and accessories, and for extremely pathetic prices at that.

The other day, two guys walked into the store and told me they had a couple of items that they only wanted cash for. →  Read the rest

Tales From Behind The Counter – An Xbox In The Bathroom

To be truly honest, this week has been pretty tame in Video Game Store land. No crazed pedophiles, no extremely stupid customers, just a couple of stores full of video games and me, tooling around behind the counter like robot in malaise. This is the perfect time to give you an honest glimpse of how a video game store runs when weirdos aren’t coming out of the woodwork.

Like all tertiary jobs, this one comes with its fair share of retarded and mindlessly repetitive tasks. The biggest one is disc cleaning and re-surfacing. Just about every disc that gets traded in to us gets a thorough cleaning. How people get substances like butter on discs is beyond me; what I have learned is that most people care as much about their game discs as they do about their fourth cousin, twice removed on their mom’s side of the family. →  Read the rest