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Where’s Spore? September 16, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Games.
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So during my brief absence from the internet, I missed out on one of the biggest things of all. The release of Spore, of course. From the first time I read about the game in an article appearing in Wired two years ago, to the trials and tribulations of Creature Creator released earlier this year, finally I was able to see this stinkin’ game get released already. The problem is….where is everyone? I’ve checked my usual blogs, sites, and even scrounged around Digg and saw very few articles about the release of Spore. I can’t even remember if I saw any commercials for Spore on TV. So, I set out to find out what went wrong. (Possibly NSFW behind cut.) (more…)

Plastic guitar shaped controllers are no longer cool July 1, 2008

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Guitar Hero on the DS gives a new
definition to…er, uh…it’s just lame, OK?

After watching this humorous review of Guitar Fever, one of those cheap plug n’ play knock offs designed to fool parents and disappoint children, I realized the Guitar Hero franchise is becoming too much. When Guitar Hero was first introduced, it was charming, innovative, and one of the few rhythm games to have a cool factor to them (let’s be honest, no one looks cool stomping around to Dance Dance Revolution). Over the years, as the game grew in popularity, it quickly evolved from being just a fun rhythm game to the go-to party game for losers who want to show off and play Freebird for the millionth time in front of their bored friends. The newest Guitar Hero crosses platforms to the Nintendo DS. Instead of a guitar controller, players strap the DS to their hand and play with a stylus shaped like a guitar pick. Now this is just going too far. Now they’re doing away with what made Guitar Hero original in the first place — the controller! They had a nice ride, but it’s time to pass the torch to something else. Piano Virtuoso Hero, anyone? Just me then?

Yes, Spore Creature Creator is as fun as it looks June 19, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Games.
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Like everyone else, I’ve been fooling around with Spore’s Creature Creator. But of course, much like the Sim’s Body Shop released before The Sims 2, the program was more of a way for me to test my system specs and see if my computer will actually handle Spore or not once it comes out. The diagnosis? Well, I’m having graphic problems, but I still managed to make a few weird creature thingys. (more…)

Coming soon: Beyond Good and Evil 2 May 29, 2008

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The painfully underrated gem Beyond Good and Evil finally gets a sequel five years later. Below is the first teaser trailer shown during Ubidays 2008 live conference earlier today. The exact platform is still unknown.

The Sims: Too much stuff, not enough substance May 6, 2008

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For those who want their Sim
home to look cold and lonely.

Stuff packs are nothing new to the Sims series. Anyone who has played the game knows it gets repetitive after the first month or so. The expansion packs rarely improve anything, and so much of the driving force behind The Sims is creating and designing. People build a house, move in an attractive family, take lots of stunning pictures, and then start another house.

To accomplish this, you need stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. You can usually download this stuff for free on the Internet, but EA Games can sniff a profit when they sense one. And so, Sim Stuff Packs were born, but how important are these, really? The newest stuff pack is bordering on parody. Really, Maxis? Really? People, you can get this stuff for free!

Do real gamers like Grand Theft Auto? April 30, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Games.
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Hmm, should I deliver this boring
package or beat up hookers?
Decisions.

The fourth installment to this century’s “Mortal Kombat” was released yesterday, and I’m torn between feeling excited or nauseated by all the ravenous attention. Luckily the guys over at Penny Arcade are feeling the same way.

Grand Theft Auto has had another problem, or rather, we have had a problem that intersects with what the game offers: the raw, virtually limitless opportunity presented is paralyzing, a sheer face with no purchase. We’re always impressed by each world’s livingness, but historically the story structure – the obvious thread that we can grip and pull ourselves along – is hung about the neck with frustrating, repetitive gameplay. We end up burning out on free roaming in a couple days, taking random missions or sitting in a parking lot listening to the radio. I feel guilty, because there’s probably no game more “important” globally than Grand Theft Auto. I certainly feel like I’m looking in on what I consider my own community. It never seemed to bother anyone else that the core of the game wasn’t much fun, so mostly the whole thing just makes me feel like a crazy person.

I went through something similar with Wii’s “No More Heroes,” a game loved by reviewers and hated by…well, me. Reviewers loved the violence, the bizarre characters, and the cooler than thou general atmosphere of the game. Needless to say, “No More Heroes” might have been cool looking and cool acting, but lacked an interesting story. The missions took forever, the battles were repetitive, and the game looked and felt cheap.

So, do true gamers like storylines or cool violence/battles? Well let’s look at Japan as an example. “Grand Theft Auto” is not popular in Japan not only because of the violence, but also because players hate the openness. The average Japanese gamer would prefer to play something like “Final Fantasy” over “Grand Theft Auto.” Not only does that say a lot about the differences in cultures, it also says a lot about gamers. I’m assuming there’s more casual gamers in the states. “Final Fantasy” is 120+ hours of pure challenge and endurance, whereas “Grand Theft Auto” can be played in short installments, considering your level of interest in stealing cars.

I guess the best thing about all this is it’s not “either or.” You can enjoy the in-depth challenging storytelling of “Final Fantasy,” then pick up “Grand Theft Auto” to indulge in quick fun or channel your inner, pent up rage. Either way, this writer is sitting out on the release……she also doesn’t own a PS3.

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