Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gained The Lead!

Pretty fun game we had of multi-team oddball last night. The action was super hectic, and the announcer just would not shut up to the point that it was like he was trying to create some Halo Reach rap song. Overall, I just stood around and tried to be a target while Bond and Bender generally just ran shit. Its been fun getting back into Halo. Its definitely one of the very best reasons to own an Xbox.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beyond: Two Souls - E3 Trailer

So this is one of two big upcoming games Sony showed at E3 this year, and its made by Quantic Dream, the makers of Heavy Rain. Like its predecessor, the game is designed specifically for an adult, mature audience and takes players through 15 years of a womans life and explores what possibly happens beyond our passing on into death. Like Heavy Rain, there wont be any way to "fail" in the game or any game over screens - certain actions will result in a different arc along a branching story path which allows for multiple playthroughs. Its another ambitious effort from Quantic and one Im interested in seeing more of.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Videogame High School Episode 4

So Ive started watching this series on youtube called Videogame High School. Its like 90210 set in some near future where videogames are the dominant cultural feature and e-sports are the most watched thing on TV. I didnt think there was any way it could be good, I just watched an episode to see how bad it was but then I ended up watching the whole thing and a few more.

I find it fairly cheesy but somehow compelling and totally watchable. The writing and acting are surprising good, with "The Law" being consistently hilarious, and if you are an afficianado of videogame and internet culture theres a lot of little details that you will appreciate.

This episode isnt the first one, but its one of the better ones and it features a totally awesome song by the Protomen. If you like this one maybe go back and start from #1. The games are filmed as live action but have some post processing and FX to make them look "digitized." Overall the series wont make you say "wow," but it has some LOL moments and for some reason it all just works.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watchdogs Gameplay Demo

Saw a lot of things that didnt impress me at E3. Watchdogs wasnt one of them.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spain's Obsession

How is it possible that Spain, a country of a mere 46 million people, has 6 tennis players among the top 25 in the world, including one with 10 Grand Slam championships, and the United States, a country of 313 million, has two players in the top 25, neither of whom has ever come even close to being a serious contender at a major tennis tournament?

I have thought about this for a while and done some research on the subject, and it seems it mostly comes down to one thing: the Spanish tennis players, to a man, all work on their game 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. They are obsessed with tennis to a level that very few people are obsessed with anything - possibly to a level which might be described as a psychological disorder if it were related to an activity which was not so highly regarded. They are sick.

Marcel Granollers, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro, The Great David Ferrer, and Raphael Nadal, who is not just one of the great players of his era, but one of the top 5 finest tennis players to ever take the court, share this singular obsession. Ferrer tells a story of how his coach felt that he was slacking off once while training as a young player - maybe not even 15 years old - and locked him in a pitch black ball locker for hours to think about his transgression against this obessive mentality. The lesson stuck. At 30 years old, a senior citizen in the tennis world, Ferrer just dispatched world #4 Andy Murray in a couple of hours at Rolland Garros. It took 4 sets, but the 3rd and 4th set (6-3, 6-2) werent even close.

Nadal has an ability to continually surprise and amaze you, even though you know you are watching one of the all time greats. It seems he has to work harder for his achievements than players like Federer and Djokivich, who have a certain effortlessness about their play. They serve faster, they hit the ball harder, and have a grace and beauty to their game which is totally absent in Nadal.

Nadals tennis game - at his very best - is painful to watch. He looks like every point might possibly kill him. His service routine is a 25-30 second advertisement for some not yet invented OCD medication. During matches, he places two water bottles right next to each other in front of his chair, a few centimeters apart, and they have to be set exactly just so before he will take the court. But this insanity, this obsession with details and routines provides him with a positively adamantium level of willpower and legendary focus. He has the ability to bear down on certain key points and just outplay people in big spots.

Djokovic proved he is the best player in the world by beating Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7, 7–5, in what I would consider to be the second best tennis match I have seen in the last 10 years behind the epic 2008 Wimbledon final. Down 3-4, Love-40 in the 4th set, it looked like Djokovich would just roll Nadal over as he had so many other opponents. But Nadal would not give up. He beared down and made some adjustments. "Go look at the tape," Tennis Channel analyst Justin Gimelstob said. "Rafa changes it up. He starts serving more to the Djokovic forehand. He starts using the serve as a weapon, not just to start points. He starts going cross court way earlier in points. He's sneaking into the net more, standing closer to the baseline to take the ball earlier." Nadal won the set, and nearly won the match.

This year is a special one for the tennis players of Spain. They are unequalled by the players from any other country, and their performance in the 2012 ATP tournaments has proven it. Nadal has nothing left to prove to his countrymen, his peers, or the rest of the tennis world - his place in history is already certain. But knowing the mentality of The Great Spaniards, look for him to prove he is the all time king of clay in the 2012 French Open final.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"NFS: Most Wanted is Burnout Paradise 2"

 "At this point, it’s safe to assume EA’s given Criterion full control over whatever Burnout game it wants to make, so long as it’s called Need for Speed. Most Wanted, which reimagines the 2005 title of the same name, is the spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise, and it’s anything but shy about it.

Come on. The license plates of two multiplayer cars read "Burnout" and "Paradise," for crying out loud.

You’ll get props for smashing signs and fences. Events occur naturally as you explore the open world. Drifting and drafting around the open world earns you points. Sweet jumps are everywhere.

Bombing down the road at 100mph and leaping over the freeway naturally attracts the law, and giving cops the slip is half the fun of Most Wanted. The other half is, of course, smashing their cars into walls, off bridges, and into oblivion. Vehicles in Most Wanted feel heavy, sound powerful, and hit like wrecking balls. Most Wanted encourages some serious car-on-car violence, even beyond the stuff Hot Pursuit enabled.

 The larger spaces and exploration lets you line up devastating takedowns, whether you’re mid-race, sabotaging a jump competition, or just griefing pals rolling around your world. Players can explore the city on their own, group up for events, or smash each other’s Autolog records on the fly. Notoriety is the focus rather than fastest laps, although wins and accomplishments contribute to your Speed Points. As is the modern standard, seemingly everything adds to your total.

This is the logical step for both Criterion and Need for Speed. After all, Most Wanted as a concept was originally a twist on the classic Hot Pursuit formula. Criterion following its Hot Pursuit reimagining with another reinvention The Autolog enables passive competition by presenting others’ achievements all the time, which feeds directly into Most Wanted’s main theme: becoming the most wanted, of course.

No matter what the Need for Speed name means to you, Most Wanted is Burnout Paradise with police. It's about the chase, from police and against friends. It makes you want to break the law by becoming the most notorious driver on your friends' list. It's familiar, looks good, moves fast, and feels fantastic. Basically, Most Wanted is exactly what you want from an arcade racing game, crafted by one of the best developers on the planet, and it's building on one of the best foundations in the franchise's history."-by Mitch Dyer (IGN)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Halo 4 Infinity Trailer

Nothing too surprsing here - it looks like Halo. But I have to say Im looking forward to the next real Halo installment and interested to see how new develper 343 Industries handles the franchise after the departure of Bungie. Im not exactly what you would call a Halo fan, but Im a fan of the games themselves. Ive played every Halo game released and none of them have disappointed me, its always been a compelling epxerience even if the fun sometimes only lasts a few months after release. Will this be the Halo game that brings back the hardcore multiplayer fans who still hold Halo 3 up as Bungies's crowning achievement?

Friday, June 1, 2012

MGS Revengeance E3 Trailer

OK Im a believer now. It sounded too far removed from the MGS universe to be good, but now that I see what Platinum Games has done - eseentially make a game that plays like a cross between Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta set in the MGS universe, Im sold. This game is going to be awesome for MGS fans who like fast action games. I know a least one gamer who will be buying this.