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I've needed to write this since Wednesday morning, but I haven't been in the proper emotional state of mind to do so. I still might not be, and if that's the case, I beg your forgiveness but also your indulgence. Yes, this is political. No, I don't want to stir shit up. Yes, I want your comments. No, I won't delete dissenting viewpoints. Emotion ultimately fuels everything we do, but too much emotion can be as damaging to the body as overfilling the gas tank is to your vehicle. It's taken days to siphon off the excess of what I've felt since that first sinking feeling Tuesday night that Donald Trump would win the White House. Here's what's left: I'm hopeful, and I'm scared. Let's talk about fear.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a white, college-educated, college-town-dwelling lesbian from Indiana. Two years ago in 2014, my state declared same-sex couples had the right to marry. One year ago, the Supreme Court agreed and told the GLBT community to make with the festivities. And while I have only been married to my wife for a little over two years, I first met her in 1995, we began dating in 1996, and came out as a couple to our parents in 1997. This past October I turned forty, which means we've been together for half my life. She is my life. I would give up anything else, including my own life, before I would give her up.
But even in a reasonably-liberal college town, we've not been unscathed by bigotry's claws. I've been harassed on the street by people I don't even know, who don't know me, only that I'm holding hands with another woman. A decade ago, my car was vandalized: tires slashed, windows broken, the word 'Dykes' spray-painted across the hood. In 2003, my immediate supervisor was fired by the owner of the bookstore where I work because of discriminatory harassment based on my sexuality. Despite this, I was not raised to be a victim. Chances are, unless you're a very close friend, you don't know about these things because I had those fights, I dealt with them, I moved on, and chose not to dwell on them.
I have to dwell on them now, because I'm not at all sure when I'll have to have those fights again now that Republicans control the Executive, Legislative, and before long, the Supreme Court. I worry because of this:
That's the "First Amendment Defense Act", a bill introduced to the House of Representatives by a conservative Republican from Idaho in June of 2015. Its sole purpose is to promote discrimination under a banner of religious freedom, by forbidding the government from taking punitive action against any individual who believes that "marriage" is anything other than one man and one woman, or that sexual activity should be confined to heterosexual married couples only, and use that belief to deny services or any other benefit as long as those beliefs are "sincerely held" (as if there's any such thing as a litmus test for 'sincerity' when it comes to issues of law). Furthermore, it provides legal cover for those who choose to discriminate in this way regardless of the consequences to those facing the discrimination. I guess my sincerely held belief that public businesses and services should be open and accommodating to all isn't worth legal protection.
FADA currently has 172 co-sponsors. The sister bill in the Senate, introduced on the same day by a Republican Senator from Utah, has 37 co-sponsors. Both bills have been referred to separate committees and have seen no further action in over a year. That's the good news.
The bad news is Donald Trump has promised to sign FADA into law as soon as it crosses his desk, which means I will have no recourse or access to justice or equality if someone decides their personal religious beliefs overrule my basic humanity. This is not preserving religious freedom, it is giving aid and comfort to those who actively seek to hurt and debase others. Is this a United States of America any of us want? Add at least one, and possibly as many as four, Supreme Court nominations for the new administration, and there's a real chance people like the ones who introduced and co-sponsored these bills will go all-out in rolling back the rights of people like me. I could very well go to bed married and wake up to discover my marriage has been dissolved or rendered legally invalid for the purpose of all the rights it grants us, ranging from the ability to make medical care choices for the other in case one of us is disabled, automatic property transferal in the event of a death, legal exemption from the compulsion to testify against one another in court, to the simple matter of filing our taxes as 'Married, Filing Jointly' instead of 'Single', in all fifty states. (News flash to people who hate gay marriage: you've heard of the 'marriage penalty', right? Yeah, getting married if you don't have kids makes your tax burden go up. Splitting up our marriage means we pay less in taxes, so if you really want to stick it to us, leave our marital rights alone so we can continue our increasing financial support of our public schools.) This is terrifying, and we don't even have children to throw into the mix to complicate things further.
That's why I'm afraid.
But there's another word in the title for this blog post, and that word is Hope.
I derive that hope from the knowledge that Millennials now outnumber Boomers, and on a whole are far more accepting of those who aren't exactly like them.
I derive that hope from the fact that, in 2001, public opinion against same-sex marriage in the US stood at 57%. Today, fifteen years later, opposition to same-sex marriage sits at 35%. Even among Republicans, support has been growing slowly since 2012.
I derive hope from the fact that, in the two years since Jessica and I signed our marriage license in the county clerk's office, we've not faced a single problem of discrimination related to our status as a married couple.
I derive hope from the friends who are already writing letters to their representatives and senators, reminding them that the will of the people doesn't involve hatred of those who aren't exactly alike.
Most of all, I derive hope that Donald Trump did not mean all the things he said and promised, that he will take a more moderate stance, that the man we elected turns out to be more like the Donald Trump who wrote this book in 2000, the registered Democrat, the guy who appeared on Oprah back in 1988 calm, collected, and all business, throwing out reasonable ideas and suggestions for how things might be done differently.
Right now, it's too early to tell. January 20th is still two months away. I wish that hope was all I had. But fear's right there too, gnawing on my insides. I'm terrified of seeing what I've fought to have for so long taken away. I'm terrified for my wife, who is not a fighter, who doesn't get political, who just wants to live her life, and who has no idea how to confront bigotry head-on without breaking down. It's easy for people like her to lose hope...and I'm afraid I don't have enough in my own reserves to keep both of us going if the worst comes to pass.
So that's that. I'm afraid, I'm hopeful, and I know only one of those two can win. I need all of my friends now more than ever. Please don't turn your back on me.
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This past week had the 2017 DICE Awards. I have a few thoughts on the awards.
On the one hand, the DICE Awards, being a juried award similar to the Academy Awards (but one where alcohol is served like the Golden Globes), didn’t have any particularly cringe-worthy stunts or overly crass attempts of humor like, for example, the VGAs and The Game Awards have had.
On the other hand, we had two MCs, Greg Miller and Vanessa Chobot who had no chemistry, with Vanessa taking the awards with what felt like the appropriate amount gravitas, and Greg feeling like he was hosting The Game Awards.
The rest of the presentation of the awards are what you would expect if watching an awards show, particularly an awards show put on by people who aren’t entertainers. The presentation for the awards is much more variable than your conventional awards show, with some presenters, like Matt & Erin Bozan (the head and art director of Waypoint Games, developers of the Shantae games) being incredibly entertaining, and others (Randy Pitchford in particular) being rather grating.
Several awards were announced in video packages. Unlike these compilation packages at at the Game Awards, all of the nominees get mentioned, rather than just mentioning the winners.
To get the nominees and winners out of the way (winners are in italics):
- Best Action Game: Doom, Battlefield One, Overwatch, Gears 4, Titanfall 2.
- Family Game of the Year: Dragon Quest Builders, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rachet and Clank, Rock Band Rivals, Super Mario Maker (3DS).
- Outstanding Achievement in Character: Call of Duty – Infinite Warfare (Nick Reyes), Firewatch (Delilah & Henry), The Last Guardian (Trico), Uncharted IV (Nathan Drake).
- Outstanding Achievement in Story: Firewatch; Inside; Oxenfree; That Dragon, Cancer; Uncharted 4.
- Hall of Fame: Todd Howard of Bethesda
- Outstanding Achievement in Animation: Inside (focus in package is on death animations), The Last Guardian, Overwatch, Street Fighter V, Uncharted 4.
- Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction: Battlefield 1, Firewatch, Inside, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4.
- Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay: Battlefield 1, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, The Division.
- Outstanding Technical Achievement: Battlefield 1, No Man’s Sky, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Uncharted 4.
- Best Handheld Game: Dragon Quest Builders, Fire Emblem Fates, Kirby Planet Robobot, Pokemon Sun & Moon, Severed.
- Best Mobile Game: Clash Royale, Crashlands, Gardenscapes – New Acres, Pokemon Go, Reigns.
- Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition: Abzu, Battlefield 1, Doom, The Last Guardian, Titanfall 2.
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design: Battlefield 1, Inside, The Last Guardian, Quantum Break, Uncharted 4.
- Best Strategy/Simulation Game: The Banner Saga 2, Deus Ex Go, Fire Emblem Fates, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, X-Com 2.
- Best RPG/MMO: Dark Souls 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Hyper Light Drifter, The Division, WoW: Legion.
- Immersive Reality Technical Achievement: Eagle Flight, I Expect You To Die, Job Simulator the 2050 Archives, Superhot VR, Tilt Brush.
- Best Immersive Reality Game: Eagle Flight, I Expect You To Die, Job Simulator, The Lab, Superhot VR.
- Best Sports Game: FIFA 17, Madden 17, MLB The Show 16, NBA 2K17, Steep. Winner: Steep.
- Best Racing Game: Driveclub VR, Forza Horizon 3.
- Fighting Game of the Year: UFC 2, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-, Killer Instinct Season 3, Pokken Tournament, Street Fighter V.
- Best Adventure Game: Firewatch, Inside, King’s Quest, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4.
- DICE Sprite Award for Independent Games: 1979 Revolution – Black Friday, Firewatch, Inside, Superhot, That Dragon – Cancer.
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Design: I Expect You To Die, Inside, Overwatch, Owlboy, Uncharted 4.
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction: 1979 Revolution – Black Friday (I need to play that game), Battlefield 1, Inside, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4.
- Game of the Year: Battlefield 1, Inside, Overwatch, Pokemon Go, Uncharted 4.
The video package for Inside in the Outstanding Achievement in Animation category put a particular focus on the death animations, which makes sense, since as with Limbo, they were noted for their brutality.
Most of the nominees I couldn’t particularly disagree with, though there were some exceptions. The selection of nominees for Best Racing game felt really thin, with Driveclub VR feeling like it was nominated because they had to nominate something else in that category. It feels like perhaps that category should have been placed on hold for a year.
I also have problems with the lineup of nominees for Fighting Game of the Year, considering the state that Street Fighter V was in for much of the year, the step down in quality that UFC 2 was compared to the first installment, and the fact that Nitroplus Blasterz Heroines Infinite Duel was not nominated at all.
It was surprising to see That Dragon, Cancer leave the show empty handed. On the one hand, when it won Best Indy Game at the Game Awards, Inside wasn’t out yet. On the other hand, the power of the story that game tells was enough that documentary filmmakers made films about the making of the game.
That said, this is a juried award. As John Scalzi pointed out earlier this week when the Nebula Award nominees were released, there are no such thing as an automated award nomination, and my favorite games not getting nominated doesn’t mean that they were slubbed. I can be surprised by choices, and I can disagree with choices, in some cases strongly as far as Street Fighter V is concerned, but that doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy against Anime-influenced fighting games. Considering Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- made the list, that’s clearly not the case. It’s not that the nominees are objectively wrong.
With perhaps one exception – The Best Racing category should have taken a break. When you have to add a game with some dramatic issues like Driveclub VR (watch Giant Bomb’s VRodeo on Driveclub VR to see that) to the list just to make sure you have a second choice, then you don’t have enough nominees to make it worth having as a category that year.
Filed under: News, Video games Tagged: DICE Awards, News, Video games
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Note: This review was written entirely sans PR materials and research; ordinarily, we pride ourselves on diligence and copious amounts of background research, but due to the game’s clear intentions and sensibilities, chose to approach this review differently.
The single worst thing about adventure games – the one aspect that is also almost wholly unique to them – is being stuck. (Worse still, in fact, is knowing when you’re badly stuck.) For players, after all, adventure games are all about progression; for developers, they are all about managing it.
The genre on the whole is a curious balancing act of controlling tempo, pacing, difficulty, balance, and the flow of information.
Peter Moorhead’s Stranded, then, is supposed to be
“[…] a minimalist adventure game that foregoes dialogue and puzzles to focus on atmosphere, mystery, and exploration; it is both a love letter to classic point & click adventures, and an experiment with the fundamentals of the genre.“
To read the store page like the Devil does the Bible, then, according to the quote the fundamentals of adventure games are 1) dialogue, and 2) puzzles. From what I could gather, Stranded has neither of these things. Hence, it would be perfectly fair to state that Stranded is either a piss-poor adventure, or it isn’t one at all. Love letter? More like breaking up with emoji.
Perhaps more intriguingly, however, one could rather say that Stranded’s chief problem – despite its admirable wishes to subvert and experiment with genre – is that it actually encapsulates the very worst features of adventure games: Poor controls; awful interface; slow speed; and a huge focus on the player fulfilling the designer’s wishes instead of their own. Stranded is “fundamental” in the sense of ‘basic’ and “experimental” if that means ‘tentative.’
Though Stranded’s Steam description cites dialogue and puzzles as integral to adventures, in fact, they are much more are about the dissemination and delivery of these two things, of controlling information flow in the form of storytelling (narration), as well as different types of building: 1) character-, 2) world-, and 3) event-building.
Every adventure game, after all, is about being ‘stranded,’ if you will – just think of classic games like Monkey Island, King’s Quest, et cetera. Almost all games and game concepts, both good and bad, are introduced to us in medias res; the difference between good and bad here is often how well the introduction is done, really. So much of the very point in video games is for players to learn the ropes, their surroundings, characters, events, and so forth.
In the adventure game genre, this becomes a series of gated events and actions. That’s how adventure games work: Exposition as reward for player actions (as in, solving puzzles, talking, etc.). Where does this leave Stranded, then?
It is a shipwreck, an aircrash, a disaster. It is the antithesis of everything I want from an adventure game. The slow, unrelenting crawl of its protagonist; the clunky movement confined entirely to the x/y-axes; its no-interface approach, its poorly designed hotspots, its forced extra clicks of the mouse. The sins of this experiment are far too vast and numerous to even list.
Stranded is opaque, oblique, meandering, and extremely limited.
Undoubtedly, it is also beautiful, very beautiful, and sounds fantastic (the OST, by Joe “Stux” Edwards, is available on Bandcamp, and is highly recommended listening). Every time you play Stranded, its landscape changes – that much I could gather. But even when something moderately interesting – that is, new – happened, whatever little agency I had in this little game amounted to absolutely nothing. The game has no sense of urgency, danger, or interest, nothing like The Dig, an obvious parallel, which feels like you were constantly fighting for your lives, and your survival.
But perhaps this is the point. Perhaps Stranded is all about being stuck.
That something so clearly ambitious, and artistic, should also be so infuriating, bland, and all-around awful, is a real head-scratcher to me. How do you even approach it? Some reviews end up investigative, focusing on finding out the ‘truth’ of a game. Some are interpretative; some are more descriptive, and some are prescriptive.
Reviewing Stranded? There was nothing to be done here. No mode of review – other than simply not reviewing it – that I can think of works on this game. Discussing the game amounts to nothing, as I can not in any sense claim to have understood it. There’s nothing to interpret, and as such, nothing to say. I have only experienced Stranded, and my time with it was of irritation, annoyance, and boredom. From this experience, I have gained nothing.
I’m stuck – a few Steam trading cards richer, that’s all – and I know it.
Access to the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
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I tried to identify the magazine used in the film and it turns out that not only was it a real magazine but it's been scanned and put online. It was an issue of Creative Computing from September 1982.
There are certain games that come along from time to time that really get your attention. It could be for the action, the graphics or game play. However, it is a rare occasion that a game grabs you for all of these, plus the amazing experience of becoming emotionally attached and involved in the actions of characters.
It is to this that I write this open letter to Ellie and Joel. I met them in the “The Last of Us.”
*(Please note that I've tried to write this to contain no spoilers. Personality of the characters is mentioned as well as reference to generic type actions that happen in game.)
Dear Ellie and Joel,
I want to thank you for letting me join you on one of the most amazing adventures of my life. I know the journey was long and brutal. There is never a reason a death should be simple or a casual thing. But a person has every right to fight for their own right to live. It is to that I acknowledge and understand why at times death followed in your footsteps.
Know that I don't blame you, nor do I condemn you for it. Joel, you said yourself along the way “It was him or me.” Simply stated, but true to fact. We all wish that we could walk again in relative harmony the way we once did. That time may come again, but not now. Not now.
Joel, at times you were a hard man for me to like, but you had your own personal reasons, your own demons that you fought every day. But even when I disagreed with your words, your actions always spoke louder and with greater heart. There were moments when you were an enigma to me. You could be harsh and bitter one moment, protective and wise at another. As I think on it, I believe it is because the man that knew a world before everything went to hell is still there inside you, wrestling the man you have had to become to survive.
Ellie, you are an amazing young woman. I refuse to acknowledge you as a girl as most people do. Yes, there are times when you were goofy, silly and playful. But those are wonderful traits to carry on, even as you get older. It was refreshing to watch as you, for the first time, saw the world as it used to be, even if it was only in shattered pieces. Your wonder was childlike, not childish, and full of amazement and wonder. I smile now thinking about some of those moments.
But that is only part of who you are. You are also fierce, tough, loyal and caring. These traits to me and your actions when times were tough are what shaped you into the young woman I have come to know. You have such strength of character. It didn't matter if it was Hunters, the army or Infected, you always were there, looking out and helping out. You never ran away from danger when you could have given up. Your determination to see every situation though, no matter for good or bad, it is inspiring. We adults could learn so much from you, if we only would accept the fact that sometimes the best of what we are lies in the hearts of people like you, not warped and changed by a world gone sideways.
A final thought before I close this letter to both of you. Joel, I know the world as it is now has forced you to build up walls around you. It would be almost impossible to survive as long as you have without such things happening to the best of us. I hope that you find, however, that letting a little light in, be it found in people or in something else that makes you happy, there is still good in the world and the good man that you’ve buried inside you deserves to see and enjoy it.
Ellie, I firmly believe that you will never give up. The world may be violent and brutal but its people like you who give us hope that we can be better then what we've become. Whatever happens though, don't ever lose that since of amazement that you get from seeing things for the first time. I hope you always have a joke and a ready smile. Oh, and one more thing. Don't trust people that do acupuncture, they're back stabbers. I know you'll understand.
Once again, thank you for letting me come along on your adventure. It wasn't easy and I hate some of the things we had to do. But since we had no choice, I'm glad we went through it together.
Godspeed to both of you.
What's there to say about Final Fantasy? A series that is known for huge stories, crazy plot twists, amazing character/monster design, amazing music and visuals, thought and emotional invoking, exploration, hours and hours of game play. Final Fantasy is a series that I have been addicted to ever since I was in late elementary school. The idea of playing a game that was so different from most of the games of the time. You actually have to work to build your character up and think about what you are doing rather than just being put on a platform and pointed in a direction and follow that path till you reach the goal.
As I'm going into this rant please remember that if you put a name on a game "Final Fantasy" it will have a lot to live up to, because of its history. So many games with the Final Fantasy tag over the past few years have done just the opposite and XIII is no different. I have not beat the game yet but I've put quite a few hours into to so I can make a good observation about what the rest of the game will be like.
Let’s start where all Final Fantasy games start... in the beginning!
This again is something that every Final Fantasy game is known for, the set up for the story. Final Fantasy XIII starts of very “ho-hum”. Usually Square does a great job of grabbing your attention and shake you like a newborn baby with shaken baby syndrome. They did a very bad job this time around I was left yawning right from the start. You will also notice right from the beginning the music is no where near as good. When Nobuo Uematsu was doing the music the game had depth and feeling just because of the music he came up with. Now it just feels bland.
This game seems like they tried to take bits from FFX and duplicate it but failed. The level up system is done in the same fashion where you have a grid that you have to select your upgrades such as more HP or more MP. Which is not bad but it was not executed as well as FFX.
The battle system at first glance is rather confusing and as you progress through the game you are taught how to use it and it becomes quite interesting. You have to implement a lot of strategy to play this game rather than very little thought. Basically how it works is you control only one character, yes only one the other characters are computer controlled, which is the worst thing about this system, you select your “Job” and then attack. You can select several attacks at once and you can mix it up. Be it just a simple attack, magic, blitz, or what ever it will be – depending on your character you can select multiple attacks or multiple magic’s or do some magic and attack all in one action. As you hit the enemy they have a stagger bar that will increase and when that bar maxes out the enemy will get dizzied and you will for the most part have free hits for a certain amount of time. Stronger enemies will still be able to attack during this period but it will not be as effective. So your main objective is to switch your jobs around to find the best way to dizzy your opponent so you can crush them.
At first I really hated this battle system but over time I have come to love it! It does have its ups and downs. The biggest thing I like is the strategy involved in figuring out how to kill the opponent. The bad thing is some battles will take forever. If you don’t know how to kill the monster even weak monsters will take too long to kill and it gets boring quickly. The other bad thing again is thought the entire game you only control once character at a time. Of course you will get to play as every character in the game but only being able to use one of them in a battle is like only having one arm and one leg in an Olympic swimming match.
Another thing that really annoys me about this game is when you die what happens? You start right at the begging of that fight you just lost. Now what is up with that? There is really no downside of loosing a battle because you just get another chance, and another, and another. Some people might see this as a god send, I see it as a flaw in the game. If you don’t die in the fight and you win your life also replenishes. So you’re at full strength in the next battle, again which just does not make sense.
Now on to how you encounter enemies. No random encounters, you can see them coming in front of you. This is sad only because it’s so much easier to get a preemptive attack; on top of that they give you items to make it even easier. You spray your self with this item and it some how makes you invisible to your opponents. You walk up to them and immediately gives you a free hit to each one of them. Which just about maxes out their stagger meter so you can kill them really quick on those preemptive.
No over world no real exploration. I’ve not even really been to a town, I’ve been dropped into an area of a town but not gotten a chance to look around and talk to people on the street. No stores, well not really, you can’t shop at stores. You buy your items from little kiosks in the battle fields. These would be little computers that control everything. You can save your game, or access stores. With what little money you find in the game it doesn’t really matter anyway.
One of the really cool things about these kiosks though would be the upgrade system. As you play through the game you’ll find materials that you can use to upgrade your weapons and accessories. It’s basically like grinding in Phantasy Star Online where you use these items to make your weapons stronger, I’m sure there is a limit as to when the weapon cannot be upgraded and further but I’ve not yet come to that point. The idea of customizing your weapons in this game is probably the best idea out of everything they have tossed into Final Fantasy XIII.
The monster design of some of the monsters and characters really has me thinking though. They really messed with classic enemies some for the good some for the bad. Such as the Bombs, they are now these metal monsters that some what resemble the bombs of the past but not at first glance. Some of the new creatures in the game are rather dumb as well. Like Incubus it’s a bird creature that does a Native American dance while it’s fighting. I’m sorry but I just did not understand that, I want to find out if this dance was actually based on a real dance but alas I’ve not yet found it.
How about the Eidolons, or as most people may know them Guardian Force, or maybe Summons or Espers? What ever you call them in this game they are called Eidolons. I don’t even know what is up with them. Shiva and Nix transform into a motorcycle. Odin transforms into a horse. Though when you summon them and use them in battle they are very cool, that is until you transform them to do a dual attack.
And the character names like Lightning, Snow, and Hope. Come on Square couldn’t you think of something better than that or are you all tapped out in the imagination department. As for Vanille, she is the most annoying character from any Square game invented! She is a tween/teen that acts like she is only 6 years old. The voice actress that either killed her or it was the script that killed her.
Much of what I may be griping about in this game may just be minor gripes and I probably would not have even complained about them if this was not a Final Fantasy game. Had they slapped a different name on it I’m sure I would not be nit-picking at it as much. Come on though. Like I said if you are going to put that name on a game you are going to have a lot to live up to so it better be done right.
End thoughts as a Final Fantasy game I'd give it about a 5.5 out of 10. If it did not have the Final Fantasy Name it's more of a 6.5. What I would like to see is Square to go back to the roots and make a real Final Fantasy game that closely resembles a Final Fantasy 6 style but with the graphics of FFXIII. I can’t believe that I spent $60 on this. Of course I’m going to finish the game because I want to get my money out of it. If you have read this rant, and are a fan of the series or maybe your new to the series, please rent it before buying it.
I think I need to go download FF7 for the PSN or maybe I should just go play some SNES Final Fantasy to wash this out of my memory after I finish.
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I've recently been raving a lot about Street Fighter IV and it's problems. Most people I talk to don't understand what annoys me about it, so I've decided to dedicate my first ever blog entry to the issues I have with the game.
Let me first start by saying this rant is based on the XBox 360 version of the game, you know, the one where you can't use the default Xbox controller to play with because it registers so terribly? Spending $30+ for a new controller on top of buying this game should not be mandatory. Somehow I've come CLOSE to my normal playing ability, but I'm still not fully confident I'm playing at Street Fighter Alpha 3 on Playstation accuracy. The 360's D-Pad in no way works to play this game, and the analog stick is decent, as it ends up being somewhat close to playing with a fight stick.
Now, don't first-glance me. I'm not bitching because I suck at the game. I've been playing Street Fighter's incarnations since 1992- Street Fighter II: The World Warrior on SNES and Special Championship Edition on Genesis. No, I didn't start on arcade because where I live, there are virtually no good arcades. Since then I feel I've become a pretty accomplished player, starting out by playing as Ryu, Ken and other Shotoclones, branching out and trying charge characters and attempting to get good with the lesser-used like Dhalsim. I've settled on Cammy, as she's always been a favorite of mine(since Super Street Fighter II, that is) as far as moves and she's not bad to look at, either.
Before I verbally beat the crap out of Street Fighter IV, let me first take you back to it's release and my first impressions. February 2009- my best friend gets ahold of the game and calls me to come over and see it, which I do, and I'm very impressed with what I see and play. The game seems to be almost everything I could ask for in a Street Fighter game minus a few of the old bonuses the old games had. No bonus rounds, special modes(aside from Time Attack, Survival and obligatory Practice modes). I had my blinders on anyways, so I didn't notice this at first. I was however, very impressed with the Trial mode that taught you useful combos and essential moves and timing. I ws happy and wanted the game immediately.
About half a year later, the game was still $45 pre-owned at the local monopolizing 'GameStore.' I check eBay and within a few minutes I found the game for half the price and bid, the game was mine. It arrived and I began to play at my hearts content. Until I bit deeper into the game and hit a bone.
At first I had to unlock some characters, so to Arcade mode I went. The game's AI was pretty good at Medium level, it gave me a bit of a challenge, which surprised me. Finally, the last battle came, a new guy named Seth.
Let me stop here to talk about this guy. Named after Seth Killian, Capcom's Community Manager who is rumoured to be a pretty damn good SF player, the character is storied to be a new body created for M.Bison that absorbs information on fighting styles and incorporates others' special moves into his own. This allows for Seth to have a special move for every situation imaginable. Couple that with super AI that Capcom developed for the game and you've got a pretty tough opponent. A little TOO tough. Something about the AI seems to make it able to read which move you're going to use and pick you apart at every button press. Many of his moves hit waaay more than once to further increase the difficulty, or should I just say, the cheapness. Ridiculously multi-hitting moves abound in SFIV and that's another crack I'll uncover here.
I also noticed that he was a bit overpowered. Like many other characters in the game, some of his normal hits and special attacks drain a lot of life and for no apparent reason. The others I speak of are Sagat, Honda, Blanka, and Zangief. But wait, of course I know a couple of these guys are overpowered to balance how slow or easy to hit they are. This has always been the case with a few of them, including Zangief and Honda. There's no reason for Sagat and Blanka to take this seat as well. I've had about a 4th of my life bar drained by Sagat's regular heavy uppercut(not Tiger Uppercut). Blanka can usually just sit back and charge any of his special moves and be ready to drain your life at the blink of an eye. And like Sagat, he's also coupled with devastating regular attacks like his low heavy punch, and heavy kicks.
Sagat also has a problem with multi-hitting specials. His Ultra combo, Tiger Destruction(guess the name fits..), can tear you apart. Also on this list are Ryu's Ultra Hadouken, Ken's Ultra Shoryuken and of course, Blanka's Ultra. Akuma's Ultra Instant Hell Murder is an honorable mention, but it can be easily avoided so it's not on the list. Sagat, Ken, and Akuma also have dangerous multi-hitting normal attacks as well. These are all somewhat petty annoyances because they can be avoided, but I feel I've lost too many matches just because half of my life bar was drained by a stupid attack that is just way too overpowered and hits too many times. Anything over 17-hits without a normal combo added beforehand is just ridiculous unless we're playing Killer Instinct.
Needless to say, most people who you play against online choose these cheap powerhouses to bait an easy win. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg with online play issues. Why do people online want to win other than supremacy over others? This is still unclear to me aside from the recently added Championship mode, where you can rank up by gradually building points. See, there's also a Ranked online mode which uses these things called BP, Battle Points. How they are awarded and their use is somewhat of a mystery. Seems like I'll win a match and win maybe 5 BP, then I'll lose the next one and 100 BP will go with it. Why? Nobody knows but Capcom.
The easiest way of connecting to play someone online is supposed to be the Quick Match option. I'm not sure why but this is always hit-and-miss. It gives you a list of three different players to choose from each time you enter or refresh, and beside the name it shows they connection speed in the form of a colored bar. The best being green, then yellow, orange, and finally red. Well, you'd think green would be the best to connect to, so you try them when you see them. Sometimes they just won't work! From connection, it's then broken down into language preference. My default language is English, so I'm supposed to be able to connect to English speakers more readily than other languages. Again, somehow this doesn't work right. I'll be allowed to play Hiro in Japan with a red bar, but not Johnny in California who has a yellow bar. Why, Capcom, why?! I usually end up just making my own room and letting only certain people with a high enough bar play. Kinda shitty that I have to do that, but that's how it works best.
I'll talk briefly about the 'Special Modes,' but there's not much to say. There's Time Attack and Survival mode, if you fully beat them you unlock taunts or costume colors. You'd think it would be semi-easy, as most people like to have these features from the start. No, no. Capcom didn't bar any holds here, either. Going through these modes is ridiculous as anything else in this game. They sometimes make you play through most of the characters in the game before ending a SECTION of the trial. I think there are 5 or so sections of each mode, and to unlock anything, you have to beat them all. The easy mode for each is decently paced and difficult, but the hard mode, which counts for the most bonuses is crazy. The first match or two you have to beat anywhere from 14-22 characters to even finish the section. It just makes everything annoying to say the least. There is no reason for this. I can understand that maybe some of the tournament players(the best SF players of all) would appreciate the challenge, but everyone else who is an average player like me just gets pissed and disappointed. I'm not willing to become a tournament player just to unlock some stupid alternate costume colors. I don't have THAT much time to waste.
Or do I? I am sitting here, after all...
Citations, just to prove I'm not just blowing steam:
Capcom admits overpowered characters: http://www.joystiq.com/2009/07/13/capcom-admits-to-overpowered-seth-and-sagat-in-street-fighter-iv/
Capcom says Seth will be even cheaper in SSFIV: http://kotaku.com/5385868/capcom-seth-will-be-cheaper-in-super-street-fighter-iv
The situation currently seen in the United States of America is something that all of us gamers have seen before. Quite regularly actually. It has played out before our eyes and we have even taken part in it on multiple occasions. Some of us even look forward to taking part in what we know will be a similar situation that will require our action and our expertise. What might I be referring to?
The Mushroom Kingdom -
The Mushroom Kingdom is a lot like the United States of America. We have plenty of stuff to do, and the citizens are mostly happy. Both the USA and the Mushroom Kingdom even have economies that run on coins. The Mushroom Kingdom accepts outsiders and strives to create a place where everyone is accepted. Both places even have different locations that feature drastically different environments with familiar and unfamiliar people living there. Not withstanding these differences, all of the people seem to be able to communicate pretty well (for the most part).
The Cast –
Now lets run down the characters.
Princess Toadstool is the personification of Liberty…freedom if you will. She is the Mushroom Kingdoms “Statue of Liberty”. She stands for righteousness, freedom, acceptance, and all of the good things people want ruling over their country.
The Mario Brothers are concerned citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. They might not be originally from there, but they work and play there…adding to the greatness of the Kingdom. They also jump into action when someone has to stand up and protect the Kingdom. The Mario Brothers are the personification of all American Citizens who care about what is going on in their country (regardless of political affiliations).
Random Toadstools exist in the Mushroom kingdom and USA has those that don’t really care what is going on around them just as long as they can continue their normal routine and attempt to make as many coins as they can.
Bowser, which in today’s environment would be just like the President (NOTE – I am not suggesting an overthrow of the president or some other such action, but the comparison is undeniable). Bowser is constantly attempting to kidnap Princess Peach and lock her away so that he can make all of the decision for the Mushroom Kingdom. Why? It isn’t because he wants to have kids with her so they can rule, no. He has his own Koppa Kids. Is it because he wants the coins? No, he has his own coins. No one is quite sure where all of his coins come from, but he seems to do just fine since his humble beginning. Bowser was an organizer of those he deemed “under represented and under appreciated in the Mushroom Kingdom. People like the Goombas, the Koopa Troopas, and the MagiKoopas. Bowser didn’t care that the reason these people got a bad shake was because they were the ones always causing problems. The reason he wants to take over the Mushroom Kingdom is simply because Bowser believes that he knows a better way to rule and that under his rule everyone, be it Toadstool or Goomba, will have everything they need and desire. Bowser has even attempted to “marry” himself to the Princess so that he could legitimize his rule in the eyes of the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. No matter how many times his ideas and plans have been stopped by the Mario Brothers, he continues to spout the same rhetoric and come back again and again with the same basic plan, just covered over in a new gloss.
The situation –
Bowser got his start by “organizing” those that he deemed “less fortunate” in the Mushroom Kingdom. From there he used these people to thrust him into a position where he had some power. There he took the path of less resistance to try and kidnap the Princess. (Just as the President used his Community Organizer background to have himself thrust into the Senate and while there he voted…when he voted at all…for the path that leads to more control by the person in power). Did he kidnap the princess for personal control over the Kingdom, no. Just like Super Mario Brothers 1 it was more for the purpose of getting her out of the way, locked in some dungeon in 8-4 (Just as the President attempted to vote for power to the government, even though he himself did not run it). Even though Bowser was defeated and the Princess was set free, Bowser got a taste for power and would come back again.
Now the Goombas and those who followed Bowser liked what he was doing and decided that they should follow him. Later we find Bowser acting like he had lost him memory and siding with the Mario Brothers to bring peace and tranquility to the Mushroom Kingdom. (Most of us remember this from Super Mario RPG and runs a close relation to the President’s Presidential Campaign). While Bowser’s memory was gone he would always talk about how great things could be done for the Mushroom Kingdom if they backed him. Even though the Mario Brothers knew this had to be some sort of a trick, the Toadstools in the Kingdom bought into it and backed the “reformed Bowser” who promised change for the better. Once Bowser was set as a “good guy” in the eyes of the people and all other evil was defeated (throwing him into the position of power), he quickly returned to his old ways and attempted to steal the Princess once again. (Quickly after the President was elected, his promises of transparency, no spending, and bi-partisanship all disappeared as a forgotten memory). It wasn’t until the Toadstools realized the change in Bowser and once again sided with the Mario Brothers could action be taken. At this point Bowser had already started to implement his policies (just like the economic stimulus plan was rushed into law without the citizens even getting to read it). That unrest started to grow as more and more Toadstools ended up without work and without coins, despite what Bowser had said. Even the some of the Goombas started to revolt.
After this failed attempt, Bowser would tell the people of the Mushroom Kingdom how sorry he was and that he would not try anything like that again. Soon after, Bowser once again attempts to kidnap the Princess but this time decides it would be best to attempt to “marry her”. (We have all seen this before) If he manages to marry her, then the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom will think she is still there leading the way, even though he could just lock her away again. (Just as the President has attempted to reform health care in America by saying how it is the job of liberty and freedom that everyone should be covered). This way, he could make all the decisions along with his council of Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and MagiKoopas. (Just as under the current reform bill all decisions about health care would be made by a panel created by Bowser with people chosen by Bowser). This could be done by marrying Peach and shouting “free coins for all”.
After being burned by Bowser before, the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom decided it would be best if they looked into Bowser’s attempt to marry the Princess and figure out how his “free coins for all” would actually work. As far as the Citizens of the Mushroom Kindgom knew, there were a limited number of coins in the world and having Bowser married to the Princess would be a bad idea (shades of many Super Mario games rolled into one). The citizens cried out for the Mario Brothers once again (as they do in all of the non-dream Mario Brothers games). When the Mario Brothers showed up and started to come for Bowser, Bowser would hold the Princess hostage for all to see (normally from a flying ship of some sort). Bowser would even have his Goombas cry out that if Bowser’s rule wasn’t followed the Princess would DIE! (Just as the Senators and House member who follow Bowser claim that if this Healthcare Reform isn’t passed then everyone will get sick and freedom/liberty will be gone). Bowser would even go so far as to vilify the Mario Brothers by calling them “Mustached Menaces” (just as President would continue to attempt and vilify anyone who stood up against the healthcare reform).
Yes, Bowser has had some good ideas in the past, do not get me wrong. If you have ever played through the Super Mario series, you know that even with good intentions, it always comes down to a massive power grab with Bowser. The only way to save the Princess is for the Mario Brothers to follow the will of the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom to stop Bowser’s continuous “Take over the Mushroom Kingdom” schemes and make sure that Princess Toadstool stays in power.
Based on the above similarities Nintendo might as well add in that due to budget constraints imposed on the Mushroom Kingdom by Bowser, Mario and Luigi will NOT be returning for Super Mario Galaxy 2 as they will have no way to return to the Galaxy. Sending the Mario Brothers to Space, even if it was to save the known universe, would not be a good use of Mushroom Kingdom Coins. Bowser has already spent those coins “for the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom in order to stimulate the economy”. Said citizens have still not seen any of the coins or any economic stimulation.
There's a Short introduction about this game.
A Good old times game, it was one of my favorite when i were more younger and we rent this games for Week-ends :-). (Now i have the Game).
The first thing i see it's the free-mode, that's the mode i like most ! . You drive in the cities, stealing cars, runaway the cops,...
But sure, the missions are the main mode, But some are hard enough to get angry.
There's something that you'll get ANYWAY... be chassed by cops !!!
The Script is soo rude that if you pass the speed limit just a little more... You got chassed... Red Light passed? Chassed !... It's quite bad when you need to keep away the cops (That's also normal that it's soo rude because you'll drive mostly (no guns) soo definitely cops need to be more rude for equilibrate the level).
The maps are quite big too :-).
On the start you get only Chicago and La Havane but 2 other cities are available after that .
And in the end, somes of the challenges are just... impossible (Check Out the Video).
Good Points :
Bad Points :
Police is very rude.
Some Challenges impossible for a normal player.
My Rate : 8.5/10
Video Link : http://fr.justin.tv/clip/9b7a8a0079ad3b7e