Review – Fallout 3

Writer’s note: At the time of this writing, Fallout 3 is a bit buggy on all platforms, and extra buggy on the PS3. I do not wish to neglect these issues, but for the time being they are not featured in the review. If the first patch for the game does not fix many of these issues, I will bring them up in a future piece, but I wish to avoid talking about bugs at the moment as it takes away some of the timelessness of a review. Fallout 2 was broken in many ways upon release, and no one talks about that these days.

We here at videolamer strive to provide timely reviews for major releases. The bad news is that juggling real life responsibilities and funding our own gaming budgets makes this a challenge. →  Read the rest

Add to the pile

My old college friend is coming to visit this weekend. What does this have to do with videolamer you ask?

He’s bringing his copy of Mass Effect for me to borrow for an indefinite amount of time. That means yet another person gets to weight in his opinion about this RPG.

I warn you; I haven’t been a fan of most of Bioware’s work, save for the games that also had Black Isle stamped on it. That includes Knights of the Old Republic. I’m wary about how much I will enjoy Mass Effect, but I will give it a fair shake, as I’m always up for being proven wrong. If I still don’t like it, I won’t go saber rattling about it. I still will discuss it, which could lead to a massive, 61 comment debate that will be the first true entry in the Hall of Lame. →  Read the rest

2008 Game Predictions part 1

2008 promises to be an excellent year for gaming. The 360’s software lineup should remain strong and the Wii and PS3 are coming into their own. From Spore to Metal Gear Solid 4, there will be some huge titles coming out soon, but will they actually live up to the hype?

Based on released information, knowledge of development history and gut feeling, we have chosen some of the games we most look forward to this year and predicted how they will turn out. These should be about as likely to be accurate as any analysts predictions and we charge less.

Golden Jew’s predictions

Civilization Revolution
I’ve written about this already, so this feels cheap and easy (like your… sister?). I stand by my prediction that this will be a good, if not great game. →  Read the rest

What’s in a name?

Fallout 3 is coming! Fallout 3 is coming! Oh, wait, no it’s not. A game called Fallout 3 is coming, but Fallout 3 will never be.

The video game industry, like the movie and television industry, trades names and ideas in a way that makes me scratch my head. And as if there were some magical power in the name of a game or movie, fans obediently froth at the mouth when offered the opportunity to enjoy more of the same name. But games aren’t names, they’re artistic products crafted by specific people.

Fallout 3 is just a name, and Bethesda cannot make an actual Fallout 3 by owning the letters F, A, L, O, U, and T arranged in a specific combination. Games are designers, artists, and coders and if those people change, the series changes. →  Read the rest

The Electronic Arts I remember

A long, long time ago, back when Electronic Arts went by the abbreviation ECA, the company was not clearly evil. It turns out that they screwed Chris Crawford in the 80’s and undoubtedly weren’t the pinnacle of business ethics, but they also published good games. Every now and then, usually after reading a review of some terrible EA published game or news that they bought and destroyed a small developer, I reminisce about the good old days when the ECA logo didn’t make me cringe, but was actually a sign of quality. What’s that, you ask? You’re a snobby gamer who dislikes EA, too, but you wonder why they were once a respectable publisher? Like all good questions, this one can be answered with a list.

Archon II: Adept — 1984
The first Archon is a bonafide classic, but I still prefer the sequel. →  Read the rest

Best Game Ever – Planescape: Torment

For as long as there have been computer role playing games there has been the paradox of character. How can a game give you control of someone who has feelings, memories, personality traits and a history that you don’t share without you undoing these qualities? How can a strong narrative allow for the main character to be completely amorphous?

If I wanted to read I’d go to school.

Traditionally, the East has dodged this problem by simply forcing us to control a character whom we have no actual control over. We can steer him left and right, but all of his decisions, dialog, thoughts and feelings are his own. Our job is to control the character in battle and make sure they get to the next cut scene alive. This method allows for a potent narrative and excellent characterization but, for obvious reasons, very little actual role playing. →  Read the rest

The most pleasant surprise at this E3

This year’s E3 had a number of surprises, some cool some lame. The games that weren’t there were somewhat surprising so I’ve listed the ones I care about.

Capcom had already used their scariest ideas, so this time they have you fighting zombies in broad daylight.

Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 4 was really great, but controlling it still wasn’t perfectly easy. If Resident Evil 5 can maintain 4’s quality and sharpen controls then it’d be gold in a PS3 case. RE5 not showing up at this year’s E3 was a bummer not just because we all want to see more of it, but because we need to know exactly what systems it’ll be on. I need to know if I should start saving pennies for a PS3 (that’s 60,000 pennies). →  Read the rest