Destiny of a Fan

Everyone has a couple of games they particularly like, regardless of how good they are, because of the memories they have of them. Unless, of course, they don’t like video games, in which case they must be card-carrying communists. For me, one of those games is Capcom’s greatest RPG: Destiny of an Emperor for NES.

I have to avoid making this into a Best Game Ever, but I still want to summarize: The game runs very quickly, with fast text speed and auto-battling. You can recruit many enemy generals after defeating them, over 100 in total. The tactic system is somewhat more fleshed out than many other RPGs magic systems, although it can also be more restrictive. The game’s backdrop of China’s Three Kingdoms period makes the world a bit more solid than many other games of the time. →  Up to 6 billion readers.

Will Blizzard get blown out the airlock?

Everyone is quivering with anticipation at Blizzard’s upcoming “major” announcement. They have been hiring MMO developers, and they have a terribly neglected (but still hugely popular, especially in Asia) franchise in Starcraft.

Although an RTS Starcraft 2 might be desired by some, Blizzard has no choice in this matter but to go MMO. First, the revenue opportunities of even a mediocre (by Blizzard standards) MMO are far superior to a blockbuster RTS– a fact most likely first and foremost on Blizzard’s parent company, Vivendi’s, mind. Now that Blizzard has established itself as such a cash-cow, they will be held to those standards until they fail (capitalism is great…just ask the USSR). Just to give you a flavor of what we’re talking about, the WESTERN MMO market broke $1 billion in 2006, according to this report with WoW accounting for 54% of that marketshare. →  Sid Meier’s Alpha Centarticle

Retrospectives – Suikoden series, part 1

Imagine, if you will, a role-playing game (of the Eastern variety) which creates a persistent fantasy world for an entire series. This world is so large that, even in the latest entry, there are still entire countries that have been mentioned, but that players have yet to explore. The plot of each game concerns revolutions and wars – the sort of things most RPGs leave to the background – and the player is the architect of these nation-spanning changes.

Suikoden, called “Genso Suikoden” or Fantasy Suikoden in Japan, is an RPG series on the PSX, Saturn and PS2 that has been around since 1996. The “Suikoden” in the name comes from the Japanese name for the Shui Hu Zhuan or (usually) Outlaws of the Marsh, one of the four Chinese Classics (alongside the better-known Three Kingdoms and The Journey West). →  I’m readin’ here!

Shenmue 3 would rock your Wii

Shenmue failed for a number of reasons. I’d argue it was too awesome for normal people, but others insist it was slow-going, chock full of stupid “That day it rained…” plot, and ultimately boring. The Shenmue games also cost huge amounts of money to develop – many reports approximated a cost of $20 million (Wikipedia simultaneously claims $20 and $70 million) and the first game in the series was supposedly entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most expensive game that had been yet been produced.

Sega would presumably allow development of Shenmue 3 if it weren’t such a huge risk. A costly game that sells poorly is never an attractive prospect to accountants. Deciding the MMO format may make them a profit, Sega has dashed hopes of Shenmue 3. →  Ys: The Article of Napishtim

Review – Civilization IV: Warlords

Is that the Great Wall of China surrounding your civilization or are you just happy to see me?

Because I (and most other gamers) am incredibly weak willed, the expansion for the fantastic Civilization 4 was something I was going to buy regardless of reviews, and regardless of quality. Although it won’t win any awards, the Warlord expansion gets the job done and is a worthy buy. And worse, because of fundamental changes to the game setup (much for the better), if you’re a Civ player, you undoubtedly have already shelled out the money to buy the expansion by now (once again making one of my reviews irrelevant within the first paragraph, I’m batting 0 for 2 here these days). But, for this site’s sake, I suppose I’ll write a review anyway. →  Readius III and IV

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 7.14.06

Phil Harrison doesn’t think Sony is arrogant
Phil is one of my (many) mortal enemies and it just so happens I compiled some of his best quotes and posted them right here. He may be more talented, successful, and smell less than I, but he is still a douche bag. You see, I don’t lie in public. And when I do, it’s just posted on a tiny little site no one gives a shit about. My lies reach dozens of people, his reach possibly millions. He also makes a lot more.

Violent crime may not pay, but amorality seems to be the road to success (fine, so lying for your employer may be immoral, not amoral. But if he is willing to kill for Sony, then perhaps he is amoral. →  Can you read me now?

Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior’s Dreams

The first truly new Street Fighter post-SF2, Alpha 1 had quite a legacy to live up to. I remember the commercials for the game, which made it look a hundred times more intense than SF2 with its dazzling array of special effects and super combos. It even had Guy from Final Fight! Unfortunately, the actual product was a huge disappointment for many die hard fans, as it was rushed to release and is obviously an unfinished game. Yet I’ve also seen players reminisce about Alpha’s simple, straightforward gameplay.

So which side is right? I’ll have to agree with the naysayers. Alpha 1 is just too archaic and unpolished to be of much worth these days, especially considering how vastly improved its sequels are. Yet there is one redeeming quality that has, ironically, made me play it more than any other game in the Anthology. →  Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about huffing paint.

An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 1

Compiled by Golden Jew, Horatio, Noah and Ben, Videolamer’s field reporters.

Dynasty Warriors Vol 2 (PSP)
I liked this game quite a bit. I was a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series on the PS2 till I realized every game was exactly the same. After my 1,000,000 kill (Cao Cao: Truly, you are a brave warrior! And you have no life!) I burnt out. However, I was really impressed with the PSP version of this game. Gameplay was the norm in terms of hacking things to pieces (repetitive, yet strangely fun). What was very cool is that the battle system is a large grid shaped specially for each campaign and that each army (some computer controlled, and one led by you, naturally the most productive one) moves about.

You have various conditions for victory and defeat that center around a time limit (supplies) and then key objectives. →  Illiterates hate her! Click to read this one weird trick.

Gold Farmers: Destroying the Fun (and economy) of MMORPG’s

If you have not read Billy’s take on gold farmers, you may want to now.

Anyone who plays World of Warcraft knows them: they often have strange names (Ihugirls, Jobsister), but they may also have a name unnoticeable from others. Their guild tag might be your average WoW lore fluff, or it could be something along the lines of “Knightsofthepiratekitty.” They play as much, if not more, as any hardcore addict: 8-12 hour days. But rather than roaming about the game’s many dungeons and zones, you find them in them alternating between the auction house and the same hot spots: Winterspring hunting herbs, camping elites in Tyr’s Hand, or patrolling Burning Steppes for rich thorium veins. Every hour of the day.

Who are they? Gold farmers. Somewhere along the line, people figured out that there was in fact more money to be made in the secondary market of MMORPG’s (selling gold, items, and characters) than their was in the primary market (selling subscriptions). →  Sonic the Readhog

The Ethics of Farming part II

Continued from yesterday’s part I

  • If you buy gold, you support Chinese sweatshops.

You’d think people on computers made in Chinese sweatshops would catch the irony of their argument. They don’t though, know why? It’s because they don’t want Chinese people on their servers period. It isn’t about keeping the game servers clean of trouble, it’s about keeping out people who don’t speak English or live in a country they like. Here is the truth though. There are no gold farming Chinese sweat shops. I have spoken to gold farmers in person and in the game. I was curious about the way they operate so I am always asking questions. Here’s what I have learned. There are no sweatshops; the majority of the gold farmers are college students. They usually operate three or four in a company and alternate between classes and so on and so forth. →  Welcome to the Fantasy Zone.