Review – Eve Online Empyrean Age

Every so often, Eve does a major patch, introduces new goodies, and calls it an expansion. Normally I’d mock such marketing tactics, but since Eve doesn’t charge for these expansions, I will instead laud them. The last patch, Trinity, finally updated the ancient Eve graphics engine, setting the bar high for any future add-ons. Empyrean Age focuses around in-game content, specifically “faction warfare.” Faction warfare is one of those things that developers talk about for a long time but nothing ever comes of, sort of like World of Warcraft’s “Hero Classes,” which took two expansions (and the second isn’t out yet) for an underwhelming single class. Accordingly, the Eve community was skeptical of this mythical “faction warfare.”

Fortunately, the Empyrean Age brings one of the more seamless and thoroughly entertaining integrations of player vs. →  Read the rest

How do you play a non-game?

Language is powerful, which is a shame since I’m not a very good writer. Instead of bringing “war” to Iraq we are bringing “freedom”, and instead of being “the worst American president in the last 300 years”, Bush has “a low approval rating”. Debating the merits of something specific may work for thoughtful people, but it’s much easier to simply change people’s minds by changing how we refer to things.

And so we have non-games. First, I must explain that I am not taking a stance on the quality of any game, non-game or partial-game. It’s a shame that this needs to be said but many people confuse the debate over language as a debate over what the language describes.

“I’m not sure the terrorists hate us because of our freedom.” →  Read the rest

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 the rest

Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 4.28.06

Nintendo renames the Revolution
Nintendo is the US after September 11th. They built up a great deal of good will, especially after developers revealed they’re making real games for the system. But like Bush II, Nintendo has squandered the world’s interest by pursuing a terrible PR campaign and bombing Iraq. So the analogy isn’t perfect. My point is Nintendo had everyone listening and now they have everyone laughing. Image has long been one of their main problems and they seem to revel in not fixing it.

I will stop being friends with anyone who actually calls it the Wiimote.

With that, I present to you the Nintendo Wii, pronounced “we.” In case the pun wasn’t painful enough, Nintendo has named the Revolution controller the “wiimote.” In order to stress how stupid their marketing people are, Nintendo’s press conference consisted of terrible puns. →  Read the rest

Review – Megaman Powered Up

Megaman Powered Up
Developed by Capcom
Published by Capcom
Released 3.14.06

Here, Megaman faces off against Cutman, who would later go on to challenge a variety of social norms by becoming the first gay hairdresser robot.

I often wonder whether games have gotten easier over time, or if I’ve just gotten better. This weekend I picked up Megaman: Powered Up, Capcom’s PSP remake of the original Megaman, and I can now definitively answer this question: old-school games were, and still are, hard as fuck. Still, a potent combination of 1337 gaming skills, perseverance, and far too much free time on my hands allowed me to conquer (at least a significant portion of) the game and bring you this delectable review!

For those who didn’t catch the Blue Bomber’s debut back on the NES, the game takes place sometime in the year 20XX, which I guess is a really long time from now because we still just use numbers for our years. →  Read the rest