Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Exhaustive Analysis of 8-bit Mega Man Music

Of the current generation of consoles, I only own a 360. I've also been highly anticipating Mega Man 9, but it comes to the 360 on October 1st, about a week after the other two consoles. To console myself and tide myself over I've gone to the Tubes to listen to some of the soundtracks and give a listen to some of the older ones.

This is the funny thing: appreciation of Mega Man music is a microcosm for the kind of snobbery you see in indie-music-loving white people. It's also a microcosm for the popularity of the series as a whole.

Below is an extremely typical favorites list. Warning: there are a lot more links farther down below. You might OD.

The first point of evidence I'll point to are the broad, commonly accepted rules. These rules are useful so that you can serve the purpose of having a standard for people to adhere to while still letting them think that they're thinking independently! This way, everyone can have great taste, except for a few people.

Second, opinions are fierce, no one really thinks the same thing, and the love is very sincere. And serious. Bashing Mega Man music is like saying the Beatles suck. Looking at the many countdown lists and top tens, you'll see some common themes.

This is what I've learned about each of the first 6 titles. Remember, it's a microcosm: the opinion about the music is the opinion about the game itself.

Mega Man 1: No one played this game. People who like the music for this game like it because they're bragging about how old they are or how young they were.
Mega Man 2 and 3: considered the best of the series. The argument about which one is better doesn't ever fully come to bear because a. there are 6 freaking Mega Man titles for the NES, and picking one is hard, b. an argument about whether 2 or 3 is better may reach physical violence, and c. some realize this is an extremely stupid thing to argue about.
Mega Man 4: universally agreed that it is good. If you think it is better than 2 or 3, you're in the minority, and if you think it's better than both you have weird taste.
Mega Man 5: it's considered okay to like this title, but no one played it. The SNES was out at this point.
Mega Man 6: why this was released is a puzzle. It's pretty weird. Also, everyone had a Super Nintendo by this time and didn't bother to get this one. If no one got 5, why would anyone get 6? Seriously, find me someone who's played Mega Man 6 and you'll have found who is still playing this. (Better quality found at 2:20 here. Note: the music from this game is better J-Pop than any Mega Man ever had.)
Mega Man 9: the arguments have already erupted over this one. Agreed: hardest one evar. Most agree: comparing it to all the previous ones is pointless. "Favorite song" can be read in favor of all 8 of robots. It's obvious that Tornado's is smokingly the best: it's the longest and was made for the trailer.

Now for my own stupid opinions on what's overrated, underappreciated, and correct, at least as far as the music goes.

Overrated: All of Mega Man 1. Seriously, 1986 compared to the 1990s. Just...yeah.

Wily's Fortress in Mega Man 2. Man, just because it was your first time getting to the end of the game doesn't mean anything. 3, 4, and 5 have better sounds in the castle department.

Universal acclaim for all of 2. 2 was good. But Crash Man has one of the worst tracks ever. Heat Man wasn't great either. Bubble, Wood, and Air Man are good, but not stellar.

Snake Man does not have the best track in 3. Top Man is overrated; good, but not stellar. Skull Man has universal acclaim because he sounds like he's from 2. But he's not 4's best.

Water levels are good and yeah, okay, making music that corresponds well with the elements is a great feat, but water music has never been seen as superior at any level, anywhere. Bubble, Dive, and Wave Man plus Splash Woman are decent, but not at the top.

Deserved acclaim: 2 and 3 were the best, I concede. Magnet, Spark, Flash, and Metal Man are constant favorites and for good reasons. These are truly awesome tracks; nary a squabble here.

3: Needle Man and Shadow Man are never mentioned. I have no idea why; probably because they start slowly. These track aren't 38 seconds long, but a minute, unlike the other tracks from 3. This allows them to be more complex.
4: Ring, Drill and Dust Man. All of these start off slowly, but progress somewhat unpredictably.
5: All of 5 is severely underrated. No one knows 5, but it really belongs with the pack. And 5 has longer tracks than its predecessors. Gravity, Napalm, and Charge Man stand out.
6: Okay, yeah, it was weird. Still, like 5, they had longer, more complex tracks. Check out Knight Man and Tomahawk Man (the latter is best between :30-1:00).

In conclusion, very few people played all the games, some of the best tracks were in 5 and in castle stages other than 2, Guardian Heroes goes for about 100 dollars on Ebay, and I hope you're not sick of the music.

Monday, September 22, 2008

If You Know WoW and Your Friends Are Playing WAR and You Don't Know Why, Let Me Enlighten You

While all games elicit a range of opinions, the range of opinions on any specific game is usually narrow. You get a range of 60-83 on a scale of 100, with more than half between 65 and 77. You get numerous mentions of that one cool gun, the fact that they used the wrong button for crouching, or how the options are limited. Games are scientific that way; we're conditioned to like the familiar, comfortable and workable, and to only accept the new if it's an improvement or amusement.

Perusing the comments made on the dozens of videos, previews, and features about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, you'll see two common and fiercely defensive sentiments: Warhammer is a copy of World of Warcraft, cheap and derivative, or WAR is an improvement on WoW, the next big thing.

I'm in the latter camp. WAR has very little in common with WoW, but you'd not think so at first. One or two hours of WAR won't impress you if you still like some things about WoW, but try playing about ten hours of WAR and going back to WoW, playing a low level character. That's what I did.

WAR is for the informed, tasteful, higher-thinking MMO player. If you're older and more critical of games, if you often have the contrary opinion or are quick to find fault with what everyone says is awesome, you'll love it here, even if everyone is saying it's, well...awesome.

Here's why it's slow to impress: it does play a lot like WoW in some conventions. The action bars, bag space, and looting system are obviously influenced by the greats before it. There is some reorganization: different hotkeys, XP bar on the top, that sort of thing, but really, when you immediately start to kill 3 marauders or 4 squiggs or 4 guards, 5 ghosts and rally farmers and plant pikes with heads on them, your first thought has to be "Oh, God, this? Again? Nothing has changed!" then, you'll go back to your other MMO.

If you play for a while, different things happen, like public quests, dying, or (of course) PVP. One of the first quests is to do a scenario, which is a battleground. If you're unwise enough to choose the cool side, destruction, and to do so on a server which has a hell of a lot more of them than they do order, you may have to wait. Some people claim to have waited for hours. I've played on four different servers and not had to wait more than 10 minutes.

At any rate, the bell dings in your head if and when you reach another rank through doing some RVR (realm vs. realm, the game's term for PVP). A scenario was the first thing I did on one of my characters, and he reached rank 2 within minutes, because we were winning. In the permanent world, I hadn't moved more than 50 feet from my starting point, and I'd already gotten to do some instant RVR.

This is the first moment of realization: player against player combat gives everything to you. It is not an option. It is required, and you won't be punished for doing it. If you play WoW for the PVP, there's no reason to stay there and not go to WAR. The tank classes have the choice of being damage dealers, debuffers, choke point holders, or protectors. The non-clipping means a melee class can literally get in the way of enemy players. The healers aren't instant meat and can actually kill things. At this point, the dps classes sound like they've been hung out to dry, but they are still very popular and worthy of choice; they don't die easily if they fail to get the quick kill, and they're still necessary against any targets that are difficult to take down. The mechanicis and workings of these mysteries will doubtlessly be unfolded in the near future; already, message boards and guild chat is inundated with statisticians obsessed with the numbers as if they represented baseball.

RVR is tired at first, but only because (or if) your rank is so much lower than everyone else's. So it's back to the PVE, killing things for credit. Back to the tedium. Perhaps it's only WoW with a better PVP system, with a handful of features being an improvement. But the public quests come quickly enough; these are fun. Remember how in WoW, if there's a huge thing out there, some group quest, you must talk to the leader, must get in some preformed group? Not here. If there are 100 things to kill, and that cap is reached, everyone gets quest credit. Then, a huge dragon or giant, or some tough wizard comes out and bellows threatenings. Groups are open to join, and someone who isn't the party leader can "refer" people to join, helping the party combine at a quick level. WoW has never generated raid groups so quickly. And even if you're not in the group, every point of damage and healing goes toward helping your rank in rolling on the public chest for the public quest. That's right--after this awesome huge guy goes down, you're all rolling for the right to pick your item of choice from the chest. And no matter who was in whose group, everyone rolls, and everyone's stats count for assisting in that roll. By the way, you might be a mere rank (level) 3 at this point.

Another realization: WAR brings people together, if not personally. There is no penalty, no reason not to be in groups.

The regular quests, it must be admitted, are not very engaging or original. If you like the huge PVE "raids" from WoW, this game will disappoint you. But if you are sick of them, if you are tired of waiting around wondering if anything is going to happen or if you will even get to do anything interesting tonight, WAR is the place to go. Unlike that familiar place, your guild will always want you. Rank 6 and I'm already in a group of 5 to do a scenario.

I've gotten farther into the world at this point and I finally make a mistake. I die.

What happens? Do I take 2 minutes and 15 seconds to walk back to my body, make sure I won't be attacked, resurrect, then wait for my health and mana to go back up using materials I bought or looted? This is what happened when I went back to my alt, a level 17 mage on WoW.

No. I get a debuff. Minus ten percent to my total health for 15 minutes. Also, I can pay to remove it.

I'm back where I am and realized I wandered into an area with creatures that were a bit higher than normal. I must have taken a wrong turn. I look at the map again to see where I should have gone. Then I see it. Red patches.

I'm not kidding here: when you are told to talk to a person, it's marked on your map. When you do a quest, the area where that quest is located is marked on your map, even if you haven't been there yet. This game helps you level. And anyway, when you are killing things it's usually not 12, it's 3-5. You aren't collecting 15 or 20 of something. You're collecting 1 or 2. You don't have to walk far into the barren Barrens, halfway across the zone. You aren't redirected every which way so you can waste your time. You don't have to eat food. You don't have to drink water. You don't have to walk 20 minutes to "get the flight path"--when you arrive at one of them, you get the equivalent flight path in two other areas. Your progress in flight paths is linear, not lateral--you go from point 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 until you are ready and done.

Your gear doesn't need to be repaired. There is no aristocracy of players where the people who have the most time are the wealthiest and best-geared, where there are disparate gaps between hardcore and casual.

The best thing about WAR isn't public quests, awesome as they are. Those are there to ease the pain of leveling. The best thing about WAR is that it doesn't act like an arcade game, there to suck the new version of quarters, 15 dollars a month, by forcing you to stay on and take longer for various arbitrary reasons. Your time is not wasted with graveyard runs, getting flight paths, repair bills, quests whose directions are unclear and require long bits of travel, eating and drinking, weapons and armor that aren't ideal for killing both players and monsters (why would an awesome shoulderpad be like that?), and doing business in the city all day. Don't mistake me: there is a very large city, and there are items to sell and buy. But let's be clear: this city is not the city of bored people lounging around drinking, arguing, and trying to find someone who wants to buy their enchantments. This city will be a base under siege, a place to restock your potions and potion materials and then get back to the fight. There is a crafting system, but it's not there to make you stay on so that you can eventually find a group in a world where it's increasingly difficult to find one.

WoW's got character, sure. The Postmodern worldview is cleverly applied in a fantasy setting where Alaskan-style pipes erode Netherstorm and the definition of who is good and bad is fuzzy. The difficult grouping system makes WoW feel like you are on New Jersey street at 3 AM, frequently bumping into people but rarely into someone who you want to communicate with.

WAR, on the other hand, is simple; it's fantasy, where there's good and evil, us vs. them, with all the objectives and desires in the game being circumscribed into one great whole. Everyone's on the same team here unless they're on the other team. You can't be lonely here, not from a gaming point of view. WAR is neat and tidy; it knows what it's supposed to do, and does it. It doesn't distract you, it doesn't try to buy more time so you'll buy more time, and it doesn't make you stressed. Perhaps best of all, you can play it at your own pace and at your own dosage without regretting it or without missing out on what's best in it.

WAR makes it fun to roll alts. People are already doing it. WAR doesn't make you regret a short economic attention span. WAR doesn't separate people from each other. WAR doesn't have any content that conflicts with itself.

Unlike WoW, WAR is war done right; not at war within itself. It's people fighting the right people. It's an MMO that has beaten WoW at PVP and at managing to reduce conflict amongst players, and that's why it is an impressive achievement.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Changes may stink, but no permanent losses

Across formal and informal outlets the discussion about the direction of games journalism has become somewhat of a dry topic, juicy stories withstanding; but the direction of the games industry hasn't. Writers, commenters, teenagers and "older" gamers everywhere are concerned about this or that trend in the games industry.

While there are unfortunate and foreseeable changes coming, none of them mean "never" or "always". Regrettable events occur, but I'm here to tell you that unless you're in Germany or Australia, gaming the way you want it is here to stay.

I'm optimistic because of good things. I'm also optimistic because bad things aren't so bad. First, the not-so-bad bad things.

The Neglect of the "Hardcore"

I can see why this is a worry for some. Nintendo's behavior at the last E3 was disappointing, and did not cater to the more serious gamer. The "hardcore" demographic is being left behind by the Wii.

But this is old news. The "got a Wii, don't play it" attitude is not a new one, and we've still seen lots of great stuff come out for the "hardcore". Not on the Wii, of course, but I doubt anyone who considers himself "hardcore" relies solely on the Wii for gaming.

There are numerous Halo projects coming, Gears of War 2, more Command and Conquer crap, Starcraft II, Left 4 Dead, Mad World, Team Fortress 2 is still frequently updating, Call of Duty 5 is coming out in November. There's also more Rock Band, more Guitar Hero, and more Fallout. Street Fighter IV is hitting early next year. And there are still a great deal many of players playing Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4, and Halo 3.

There are enough games to play now, and there are enough new ones coming out to replace them. As long as people will buy these kinds of games like they're chicken nuggets, they continue to be made. Speaking of money...

The Shift of Money

Another common worry regards the "big money" that is involved in games. Some developers wonder aloud about the impact that advertising will have on games.

Advertising will change games that have advertising. Advertising won't change the whole industry--we have no reason to think it's gotten to that point yet. Even as it increases, there will be a split; independent games, "artsy" games, and any other games that refuse to be ad-driven will still be here. There will be a demand for them, and they will be created.

To think the fact that corporations and shareholders are ruining the industry and screwing it up shows a vast misunderstanding of how the industry works in the first place. Every console is backed by a lot of money. It isn't possible to produce consoles without a huge sum of money, and the only people who have a huge sum of money, regardless of whether it is one person of a few hundred shareholders, are not going to spend money solely in order to further the field of video games. They are doing it to make money themselves.

Anything else that is "cool" is also money-driven, even if it has artistic influence. Jonathan Blow understood this. Numerous times he has said that Braid wasn't about money; it was about making a game he wanted to make. Yet he wants to make more games; in order to do this, you kind of need money. So the money matters a lot, even if something matters more.

Any other industry that involves entertainment on a level of mass distribution is going to have big business and money principles behind it. Our other comparisons of books, comic books, music, movies, radio and television have the same shit going on in business deals. Mergers and business failures and sellings-out abound; gaming is not the first form of entertainment to have people howling with joy, laughter or despair at the most recent industry news or the most recent gossip or comment from some respected or infamous insider.

Even if games do get worse because of money, the "indie" thing hasn't gone away. The RIAA, music industries, and publishing industries have gone vastly downhill in the last decade; they are doing much worse than games are. And yet, the way of "indie", the way of how you want it prevails.

So many people want to be in a band, write a book, or make a game that we will always have them the way we want, even if not exactly how we want. Publishing on demand, indie music, and the fact that for every successful indie band, 999 other unsuccessful bands are willing to take a chance and fail ensure us that there will always be something there.

Points of Optimism

The game industry, games, and consumers are all maturing.

Players are getting older. There are a lot of shitty games. I frequently hear people say "gee, there sure are a lot of shitty games coming out." Game reviewers complain about being drained by having to play bad games all day. Their situation is not unique. All serious reviewers mostly review stuff they don't like. Most of the selection that is available is junk. If you go to a large used bookstore, like the one we have in SLC, you can see numerous books from 1900-1950. Rare! Hard to find! Unique! OMG! I once saw 4 of the same one from about 1910. They cost 8 bucks each. I was confused, until I started looking through it: it wasn't very good. It was what you might call "commercial fiction". Music, movies, books, games, TV: the majority is forgotten. 80-90+% of it is crap, especially by any one person's standards. The gems are precious and few. It's always been that way.

The nature of industry news is becoming very similar to that in other entertainment industries. It is a self-aware industry; journalists and bloggers are known by name, and so are company executives and game developers. Because it lends itself more heavily to social media and the Internet, it's a little bit more "open". Game developers and publishers (some of them, anyway) are listening and hearing actual game players more than they have been. Game players know better how to communicate to publishers and developers. And industry coverage provides bridges and forums for discussion; even if it's two people shouting across a canyon to each other, that's better than where we were before.

Take Spore. The DRM has been a hot issue. So hot it mobilized players. They took action, then gaming news outlets covered the Amazon hate, the Sporepedia hate, and it's piracy rate (higher than normal). What did this do? It prompted EA to respond. Not only did they speak directly about Spore concerns, but they also spoke about Red Alert 3; they didn't really have to do this, but they chose to anyway as they'd heard much about it on their forums.

Are they doing anything anyone wants? In the eyes of most, no. Are they at least saying something about it? Yes. This is the worst, but it's still better than where we were before.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


A long time ago, I wrote an article and I've been anxious to see it posted so I could add it to my uh...vita.

Eurogamer! Why yes. This is another first for me--it's the first thing I've had published that wasn't published by Gamasutra and friends.

I really would never have thought to pitch them had it not been for Kieron so even though he doesn't have time to read my wimpy little blog, I have to thank him again for the tip.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Castle Crashers: an homage

No, not an homage to Castle Crashers: an homage by Castle Crashers. The developers have publicly stated being influenced by the classics, and it shows. Now for an attempt to cover the basic elements of design that all beat 'em ups are held to:

Thugs + Baddies

1. 1 in 6 enemies will be just like the rest, only huge. Players must hate every single one of them. They must have twice the life of a regular guy and they must do more damage and difficult-to-avoid moves. Also, these guys are the only non-boss characters allowed to grab the players.

2. At least one baddie should be doing something that looks extremely out of place just before getting into a brawl. Sitting or leaning while pretending nothing is happening is common. Also permissible is eating, drinking, smoking, or (in CC) reading a newspaper.

3. There must be at least three creative ways for baddies to enter the scene other than simply being on it when the player arrives there. Suggested ideas include jumping through windows, opening doors, dropping from ceilings, taking teleports, and arriving on moving vehicles.

4. For at least one point in the game, the player must be surrounded by a shitload of enemies. Watch the first half a minute of this video:

Level Design + Theme

1. The dramatic beginning: there is either a death or a kidnapping at the beginning and the fight is done out of a need for revenge or rescuing. In every beat'em up there must be at least one beautiful woman, and at least one is either in need of rescue or a selected character.

So, a Turtles game has no selectable woman, but you must rescue April. In a Streets of Rage game, there isn't a woman to rescue, but you can kick their asses with Blaze.

There is either a death, kidnapping, or both.

2. It's best if it shows the boss or collection of bosses take something at the beginning. It can be the girl, some public official, an object, or both. Better if the final boss is part of it.

2a. Ideally, a different version of this will be occur at some point in a later level.

3. At least one level must include traveling through air or water in an object as if you were driving a car. Better if both.

Sorry for the ugly pic, but you get the point.

4. There should be at least one level or a part of a level where fighting occurs on a high-speed object. The object doesn't arrive at its destination until you beat up all the guys who are chasing or awaiting you. It is preferable that if the player falls off, the players takes damage and is magically dropped back on the object.

5. There needs to be an elevator ride that doesn't end until you beat up all the guys who jump on to or into the elevator.

6. An obstacle course on a high speed object is optional. It must be one of the most memorable parts of the game.

7. There should be a finger, hand, or arrow that tells the player to go, even if it's not an arcade game with a time limit and doesn't need it.

7a. It is preferable to have a pointless, slow, time limit.

7b. If your game is cool enough, there can be a time limit that matters. This time must be the amount needed to escape from a very large explosion.

8. There is kissing somewhere in the game, whether it is sexual or sweet. It is usually given to the main characters as a reward for rescue. Watch the ending of this video:

9. It is strongly recommended that players or characters be required to beat each other up in jest or out of competition. See above. If these options aren't available, consider making them able to hit each other at anytime.

10. If there is conflict between groups or a few individuals groups, the motives for that group are quite unclear and usually amount to basic despotism. Bosses and villains can only be memorable because of their moves or even their looks, but not for their motives or words.

11. Obstacles in regular levels that work by alternating between on and off must are optional. So are pits and holes. Alternating obstacles must deal in elements, crude substances or high technology.



Required, unless in a fantasy setting:


Gear + Powerups

1. The main method of replenishing life will not be first aid kits or anything having to do with technology. It will be food. Junk food gives you the least, appetizers, fruits, and vegetables give you a medium amount, and meat of any form gives you all, or almost all of your life back. This food can come from:

--Greasy guys you just beat up with your bare hands
--Revealing them by breaking hollow objects like barrels or boxes
--Out lying in the open, unattended, in the sun
--Revealing them by breaking large concrete items that are not hollow, such as statues, rocks, and signs

2. It is preferable that there occasionally be something for the player to ride on and hit people with. If there is, when you reach the end of an area, the screen goes dark and a new area loads, the ride must disappear. Enemies who are not part of number 8 or are not bosses can use these as well.

3. Shops are permissible, but only if the game is badass and has a basic inventory system. It is unfortunate that Double Dragon III broke this rule.


1. There must be at least one boss who is either completely mechanical or is a person relying on a machine. It is preferable to include both.

2. There must be at least one boss that is a giant mutant or abnormal or created creature of some kind.

3. At least one boss must have a bunch of regular baddies surrounding him. At least one must be able to call for reinforcements.

4. At least one boss will come back to challenge players again. This can be in different form or state if desired.

Think I covered most of it, though I'm sure people can point other stuff out. Jokes aside, Castle Crashers is amazing and combines the best of the old with a dash of the new.

The things that excite us

I've been quoted in a Wikipedia article twice--once as part of the introduction and once in the summary.

And no, I didn't do it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Warhammer Online beta news

I waited over 24 hours to download this stupid thing and the file is corrupted.

EA/Mythic, you guys suck. Can't even get people online in the beta...what's going to happen at the actual launch, hmm? Hmm?!

Things Muschie says, II

This is regarding the last post.

LameStop: "Would you like the bubble gum pink, or the metallic pink?"

Musch: "The bubble gum."

L: "Oh, that's an old model, they don't make it anymore, I should've checked to see if we still have one; let me go check."


L: "Looks like we don't have bubble gum. Want me to call another one of the stores?"

M: "Yes, please."

L: "Looks like they do have one. It's at the Sugarhouse location--"

Me: "On Highland Drive?"

L: "Yeah, been there?"

Me: "Yeah."

M: "Great!"

Me: "Honey, just so you know, that's the one with the obese guy who you said was rude and weird and leered at you."

M: "Oh." *turns to L* "I guess we'll take the metallic pink." *turns to me* "It's not really pink, it's more like rose."

Me: "I really don't mind going over there so we a better color." (Note: the location is 15-20 minutes from us).

M: "Yeah, but I hate that guy."

The deal was I had to get a pink one

I was born in 1981. I didn't get a cell phone until 2005, and except for a short period of my life, I hardly ever use the thing. I'm an old man at the age of 26, already insisting I don't need these gadgets and plenty of online software getups. Other than a cell, and a basic one that I don't use for anything at all, not even texts, I don't use anything. I figured out why; it's because I'm an introvert, and that means I need to take breaks from people. I don't need technology to help me get over my cravings for extroverted needs.

So I never really gave much thought to getting a DS, and it wasn't until I'd edited a lot of Snackbar reviews that I considered the fine library it has available. But I do have one, and now, I feel safer. Am I stuck at a movie theater watching a movie I don't like? Am I waiting outside the changing room for half an hour? Am I waiting in line for ten minutes? Waiting for Muschie to get out of work for fifteen minutes?

In all of these situations save the last, a book doesn't suffice. A book does not fit in your pocket, and a book is usually not carried with convenience all over the place. Books are harder to read in distracting surroundings.

It wasn't until I got it that I got it. I'm converted to the way of the portable.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Battlefield Heroes isn't "ripping off" Team Fortress 2

Battlefield Heroes is frequently being compared to Team Fortress 2, and for good reason--it's the only other FPS with a similar style of art, and a very unique style at that.

This has led to frequent criticism that it's just some copy, just some clone, and that for that reason it's going to be inferior. The topic of making decisions about games based on trailers or previews is a dry one, and the people who still engage in such fallacies aren't open to other methods or techniques of evaluation, so right here I'll stop myself and think in my head: fine, let's look at it.

My own excitement about the title has decreased, too, for reasons I'd like to think are more intelligent; still, let's not talk about the gameplay or the rest of it. Let's talk about the art, and why the art doesn't matter that much.

Battlefield Heroes:

Team Fortress 2:

Okay, so it's similar. And? What does that mean about the game? How is it a copy of Team Fortress 2?

Is it also copying TF 2 because you have guns? Because it's an FPS? Because it's a team game? Because it's multiplayer only? Because there are classes?

Look, instead of complaining that Valve is being imitated, maybe we should be rejoicing that there is a new standard, a new paradigm, a new sub-sub-genre: a different style of FPS, titles that are just there to be fun, with extreme violence that is even more unrealistic and is merely humorous at best, and gross at worst.

I mean, if you want, they could give you more of this grit:

These guys are totally ripping each other off. OMG.

Also, you get 100 achievement points or 3 trophies if you can tell me where each of these are from.*

*As Mitch would say: you do not get 100 achievement points or 3 trophies.

Spore links

Spore is one of the most anticipated games of all time, and certainly one of the most innovative. To anyone with a PC: if you consider PC games as part of the canon, this will be one of the titles of the year that you had to play. Add it to your stack.

Now for links:

Real biologists who are real gamers talk about Spore as a game. Not only about the game itself, but its potential impact on how people view evolution and science. Must read for those who are interested in the topic of "games and society"

Kieron, master of of the universe, gives you the real, almost exhaustive rundown on Spore so you can know what you're getting into.

One of the weirdest and coolest marketing methods I've ever seen. No, not the cool street art in Boston, but a bunch of miscellaneous celebrities' creatures. Melissa Joan Hart and Stan Lee included, if you're into those kind of people.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Things Muschie says

"What are you playing? Pixar Terrorist?*"

"No, Final Fantasy."

"Final Fantasy? Only really nerdy people play that.**"

*She assigns made-up names to half of the video games I play. It should be obvious which one she's referring to.
**This is probably true.