Discussion Review – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Smash Bros Brawl is no doubt the biggest game to hit the Wii yet, and if history indicates anything, it very well could be the best selling Wii game by the time the console retires. Such epic expectations seem daunting, though we know that many fans are already more than pleased with the results. With experience in all three games, videolamer’s Chrises explore the world of Brawl.

Christian: Alright Chris, we’ll get right down to it. As a “love letter to the fans”, how does Brawl stack up? Personally, I am impressed with the sheer amount of content, but am shaky on the execution. The music is abundant, but too many of the tracks are straight out of the game they came from, and the newly arranged tracks are often a little too conservative for my liking. →  Disaster Readport

Lame discussion – What makes Metroid Metroid? Part 2

Continued from last weeks Part 1, Matt, Christian and Don discuss what makes Metroid Metroid.

Christian: That’s a major problem the game has. It doesn’t do a good job of convincing people “it’s not a shooter, it’s Metroid.”

Don: I have to agree – that is where MP3 FAILS.

Christian: The opening planet screams “HEY GUYS YOU LIKE HALO RIGHT?” “WE”VE GOT HALO! AND STAR WARS! AND DRAGONS!”

Matt: I think this was more of the fact that it’s the end of a trilogy, and they need to flesh the universe out more.

Don: I, a fairly devout Metroid fan, found the Prime series to be a wedge. A way to get ‘the hardcore’ into a dying (yes, I said it) franchise.

Matt: Wow, can’t say I agree.

Christian: To me, at the very least Nintendo doesn’t know what to do with Metroid. →  Fine, but this article then no more.

Lame discussion – What makes Metroid Metroid? Part 1

After finishing Metroid Prime 3, resident Metroid fanatics Don, Matt and Christian were eager to discuss not only Corruption, but the Metroid series as a whole. Presented here is the first part of an in depth look at what, if anything, makes a Metroid game a Metroid game.

Don: I think the most relevant issues are what makes this a Metroid game, what makes it NOT a Metroid game and how it can compete in what is, frankly, a pretty badass set of this-gen titles.

Matt: Which Metroid titles have you played, Don?

Don: All but the original Gameboy ones. I’d like to get the move to 3d out of the way.

Matt: Ok, so you’re good with Metroid lore then.

Don: Yeah — totally. 3d: it works, it has since mp3 and we’d all be bitching if it was 2d

Christian: I wouldn’t bitch. →  Read Dead Redemption

Two Gamecubes duct taped together

Chris Hecker angered a lot of people by calling the Wii a piece of shit at this years Game Developer’s Conference. The thrust of his “argument” seems to be that games are art and Nintendo is focusing solely on making entertainment, not art, and therefore Nintendo is bad. It’s worth noting that on his website Chris says he is the Editor at large of Game Developer magazine, yet their website and the february issue I hold in my hands neglect to mention he holds any position there. But back to the issue at hand – some of the videolamer staff have been kind enough to tell us their thoughts on the situation.

Pat says:
This speech took place during a “rant” session, which seems to encourage hyperbolic, polarizing comments. So while my first reaction was “Who cares?” →  In all ages, hypocrites, called producers, have put crowns upon the heads of thieves, called publishers.

What we hope to see in 2007

With a new year comes new hope and a new opportunity to have our dreams crushed.

Stefan —
Saturn Games on the Virtual Console: I know, there are significant disk space problems – seeing as a single game could use up the entire internal memory of the Wii. But if a way can be found, I’m holding out hope for Shining Force III and a NiGHTS re-release with a _real_ 3D Controller.

Panzer Dragoon Saga with motion sensing controls Second coming of Christ

Sony opening the PS3 Graphics hardware to Linux users: This is another one that’s not likely to happen. And by not likely, I mean no way in hell. Allowing direct access to the graphics chipset would essentially let anyone circumvent the price of their dev kit – and would deprive them of licensing fees for game sales. →  Frankly my dear, I don’t read a damn.

Why I play the games I play

While collaborating with the rest of the staff about yesterday’s article, I started to wonder a little more deeply, very much in the abstract way Jay was specifically trying to avoid, why I play the games I do. I think the answer to this question is very much the answer to the question of why play games at all, when there are hobbies/ways of life that are likely to lead to more sex/money/interpersonal relationships than video games.

A simple answer would be that I can never be a ninja, a WWII general, a wizard, an NFL quarterback, an etc, etc but video games allow me to come as close as I am likely to be able. I’m sure this is part of it, the desire to be immersed in a game to the point where I feel as though I am a part of it, but I do not think this is all, or even most of why I game. →  Read more, before it’s too late!

Why do we buy the games we buy?

I approached some of the videolamer staff a few weeks ago and presented them with the following –

“I want to write something on our motives for buying games but decided that simply asking ‘Why do you buy the specific games you buy?’ is too open ended and abstract a question. Instead, if you list the last three games you bought and explain why you bought each I think that will make it easier to figure out why you buy games.”

Here is my list, followed by some responses.

Happy Arbor Day

1) Okami – I try to support games I perceive as very creative, which is why I bought this, Shadow of the Colossus, Psychonauts, and still want Odama. The amazing reviews did help convince me to buy Okami instead of a different game that’s very original (or at least original looking). →  One must imagine video games happy.

Lame Discussion: To Pull a Review

It’s been a while since the last discussion. The format will be the same as always; I just drop you into our chat room. Today we are talking about the pull of 1up’s Neverwinter Nights 2 review. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, don’t worry, Horatio wasn’t, either. For those of you who would prefer to read opinions in a more traditional format, check out Craig’s editorial on this issue.

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Horatio: Before we start, I quickly read the article, but can someone do like a three sentence explanation of what happened?

Christian: Basically, Matt Peckham wrote a scathing review of NWN, 5/10. People thought it wasn’t a fair review, and 1up’s editorial staff pulled it. Later it was explained that their editorial process was a bit different for this one. →  Frankly my dear, I don’t read a damn.

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.

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Christian: I really want to know how many people are still drooling for a new Sony console. This gen is the ultimate test of the Playstation brand. One thing is for sure: a new PS3 is financial suicide simply because of the defect rate on Sony consoles.

Dan: I feel the PS2 was the perfect system for the casual gamer, and had a little bit of everything. I don’t know what will fill that void now. Besides a combination of the Wii and the 360.

Golden Jew: Let’s not forget the feeding frenzy when PS2 came out. It was hella expensive, hella rare and were the launch titles THAT good? Granted, the games were still $50.

Christian: They sucked.

PS2 launch titles may have sucked…IF YOU ARE DUMB ENOUGH TO OVERLOOK FANTAVISION!

 →  Xenoblade Articles X

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 1

Kudos on joining us for our second discussion. Well, actually you’re not joining us because it’s already over and you weren’t invited. But thanks for reading. The format may look a little confusing but shouldn’t be too hard to grasp for anyone who has ever held a conversation (which may not be all of you, I know gaming is a harsh mistress).

The contenders:
Dan – Really just wants to talk about the Wii.
Christian – Is slightly upset with Sony.
Golden Jew – May be secretly working for Sony.
Jay – Forces others complex arguments into black and white.
Pat – Will never make it through a whole discussion.
Stefan – Is planning to buy his first new console since the Dreamcast.
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Jay: In this coming generation of consoles, who will sell the most systems? →  Get lame or get out.

Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 3

So this is really a lame conversation, not a lame discussion. It’s a follow up to last week’s discussion (Part 1, Part 2) that begins with me doubting the completeness of the Hawkins Memory-Prediction Framework but then develops into something more interesting.

Jay: OK, so I was arguing that there’s more to immersion than the predictability thing, because it doesn’t completely take things like dialog and art into account.

Stefan: I think immersion is all still the predictability thing. But that graphic style is a result of the same basic mechanics of memory-prediction. Or rather, the impact that graphic style has is a result of those. Immersion is achieved through all sensory input, and at all levels from simple perception of shapes to complex understanding of plot and character. →  If you die in the article, you die in real life.

Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s part 1.

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Jay: Golden Jew, tell us more about your controversial theories on immersion.

Golden Jew: My view is, as with anything, there are many ways to skin a cat, and target a particular gamer… one thing I’ve been frustrated with and responded to before is the lack of good demographic analysis of gamers. And I think that’s because although gaming has been a huge industry for a long while, only when our generation started slamming the work force did it start getting respect and I think now the industry is struggling with ways to better design games and target the right audiences. So we end up with these semi esoteric questions– what is immersion– because designers think that answering that question with a silver bullet will mean big bucks and nothing, in any industry, (except for the fact sex sells) is that clear cut. →  Show me the reading!

Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 1

The Lamer staff instant messages their arguments to each other.

Welcome to the first Lame Discussion. We gathered half a dozen Lamer staff and had a rousing discussion on the concept of immersion in video games. Hopefully, we will be able to bring you discussions like these every few weeks. Because we are a bunch of nerds we had a blast analyzing one of video games more cerebral concepts and went on far too long. In the effort to keep the discussion’s points intact but keep you from falling asleep, I’ve added this long intro. Also, I edited the crap out of the actual discussion. You can bet your ass we said a ton of hilarious things you’ll never get to read. The article is in fact so long I had to chop it into two parts to make it at all palatable. →  Final Fantasy Mystic Post