Review – Civilization 4: Colonization?

I can’t even figure out exactly what the name of the Colonization remake is, so we’ll just call it Colonization 2. In an attempt to drive sales, it has Civ 4 mixed in the title, since the game leverages the Civ 4 engine (and more importantly the Civilization brand name), but you don’t actually need Civ 4 to play. Despite the confusing title, the game itself is not confusing.

Like every Firaxis effort for the past two years or so, it’s a game with a great deal of promise and terrible QA testing that is largely carried by a talented and extremely forgiving community that does Firaxis’ work for them. Interestingly, this might be why Civ Revs is currently covered in “This game sucks” threads; the community cannot mod an Xbox 360 game. →  How many games must a gamer play before you call him a gamer?

Firaxis Rage

I love Civilization. I really do. I’ve been on a massive kick of Civ 4: BTS multiplayer recently, and I’m eager for Civilization Revolution, as are many of my friends. But I can’t excuse some of the ridiculous activities that Firaxis has been engaged in lately.

First, they release ANOTHER faulty patch for Civ 4. Fanboys would tell me to shut the fuck up and enjoy this wondrous bounty from Firaxis: after all, with Civ 3 Conquests they promised a patch that never came. But despite this, I can’t help but be angry that they produce another patch that is so bug-ridden it requires a user patch. After their criminal negligence with this title, the least they could do would be apply QA resources to ensure that their name is more synonymous with “quality programming” than “you suckers will buy anything we produce, ha ha ha.” →  I’d buy that for a dollar.

GET PAID TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES!

I like having sex. Who doesn’t, right? (answer: Condoleezza Rice) That said, I don’t think that I would be a ho if it were somehow possible. I like to choose who I have sex with, and I don’t think I could do it all day, and it’s illegal and immoral and dirty and all that. Similarly, I like to play games, but I don’t think I’d want to be a game tester. For as long as I can remember, the reality of my gaming world has been shaped by the fact that most games simply suck, and are less fun than almost anything. I don’t want to play Virtua Tennis 3 for thirty minutes, let alone 40 hours. But there are many among us who believe that because you like doing an activity, then wanting to do it every day for months (and getting paid!) →  Europa Universalis IV: Articles of War

Review – Civilization IV Beyond the Sword

One of my biggest critiques of the Civilization Warlords Expansion was that I felt Firaxis had produced just enough content to make the game worth buying, and not a smidgen more. Being a Civilization fanatic, I had no choice to buy it, but my hope was that the next expansion, when it came out, would be more satisfying. In the months coming up to the release of Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword, I began to get giddy as a schoolgirl (I even found myself shopping for plaid skirts) that this expansion would deliver. I was not disappointed. And my new skirt fits really well.

I’ll breeze over the stuff you’ve already read elsewhere (or seen in the game): new leaders, new civilizations. There are more of them, an they are in fact delicious. →  Garou: Mark of the Posts

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 4.20.07

Sony’s Q2 release schedule
Between the PS3 and Wii’s upcoming releases, I wish I had a 360. Though some (Matt) would disagree, it looks like adopting a next gen system early is a bad move. After Paper Mario there’s nothing I want to play on the Wii, at least nothing at the current going rates of titles. Maybe I’d pick up Metal Slug for $30, Excite Truck for $25 and only ask to be paid $20 to take Wii Play.

At least my stupid investment only cost $250 and there are plenty of good Virtual Console games to play. If you’re one of the few rich people with a PS3, look on the bright side — you’ll be able to download Joust soon.

New Wii/DS studio CEO speaks
I like what co-founder of Jet Black Games has to say:

“With game team sizes at the time already easily exceeding 100 or even 200 people, it seemed like this might be the last opportunity to work in a smaller, more creative environment… given our company’s values and goals, it was natural that we align ourselves with Nintendo.” →  Show me the reading!

Hidden Beneath the Waves: Tech Guide to your PSP

Having trouble figuring out how to make the most out of that super-sexy but dust-covered Sony PSP? Well, you came to the right place. In this guide, I will help you understand and utilize all of the abilities of the Playstation Portable. You’ll finally understand how to get podcasts, mp3’s, videos and demos working on your PSP. Sadly, this does not include homebrew, as that is beyond my technical expertise. I’m trying to make you use your PSP more, not break it in the process, as it is not legal to put homebrew on the system (dictated by Sony, of course).

Before you start, I suggest you go out and buy a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo from Sandisk. The memory card that Sony supplies (256MB) is far too small to use for anything worthwhile. →  We have the best words.

Review – Metropolismania

Some games are hard to put down. Often this is because a game is great fun, but entertainment isn’t always the force that drives us to keep playing. Sometimes we continue gaming because of a lack of clearly defined beginnings and endings; we don’t know when or where to stop so we just keep on going. Oddly enough, games that break play into nearly infinite tiny rounds deliver the same psychological effect as games that have no levels nor turns.

Will Wright and Sid Meier are experts at creating addictive gameplay through this method. Both Pirates! and Sims lack any clear level progression, while Civilization cuts up play time into such minute turns that each feel too short to be considered optimal stopping points. “Just one more turn!” is a cry familiar to anyone who has fallen victim to Meier’s brilliant design. →  I am become game, destroyer of words.

PC Gaming dead!? But it’s so young and innocent!

In a somewhat bizarre turn of events, I’ve actually started reading a book. Yeah, I know. Simply amazing.

My friend at work let me borrow Masters of Doom, the book that details the two men that helped shape the PC gaming industry into what it is today: John Carmack and John Romero of id Software.

A very interesting part in the book was when Carmack, in only one night, recreated the first level to Super Mario Bros. 3 on a PC. For an IBM PC at the time (1990), this was an amazing feat. No PC was powerful enough to simulate the scrolling effect that Nintendo did so easily on their NES system, but Carmack created an algorithm that somehow faked the effect, calling it adaptive tile refresh. Basically, the screen changed only what needed to change, and it would be the starting point for what would later become id Software. →  It was the best of games, it was the worst of games

Review – Sid Meier’s Railroads

It could have been legendary… instead it’s just good. That’s how I’d sum up Sid Meier’s Railroads. It’s not that the core game isn’t fun: in fact, I’d say that for the most part, the core game is what shines. Unfortunately, the game was rushed out, and it shows: the first version is buggy, a little light on content, and lacks several key gameplay features that would make things much easier. Despite all of this, the game is quite fun, and I am confident that within 2-3 patches it will be where it needs to be. And it was only $40, instead of $50, so I guess that’s why we got 80% of a game.

What I Love

The core game engine of Sid Meier’s Railroads is excellent. Cities are placed throughout the map, with their starting supply/demand determined randomly. →  [post launches in virtual reality]

Idol Worship: Bo and Ippo

An extension of the Best Game Ever column, this new space allows me to not just love and gush over my favorite games, but caress and manhandle some of the people who made my favorite games. An obvious first choice would be someone like Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Naka, Sid Meier, or Will Wright, but that wouldn’t be very exciting and where’s the elitism and snobbery in picking someone everyone already knows? Their days may still yet come in the pages of Idol Worship, but for now we will examine two little known composers who worked for Sega in their golden age, Tokuhiko Uwabo and Izuho Takeuchi, better known as Bo and Ippo (well, to me at least).

Sega, like Atari, refused to give credit to their staff well into the 90’s. →  SaGa Frontier Readmastered