23 November 2009

FU2 Codemasters

I purchased OVERLORD 2 because I liked the first one. Then I hit some issues with the installation. Yeah it was copy protection stuff. As usual a 3rd party company created it. So I muttered a lot and started sending e-mails copying Codemasters to the to line so they could be aware of the issue. After a day the company responded. It was an easy fix. But, Codemaster's also responded with they did not think the game would run on my machine as my video card was too old. Sigh. It is not THAT old, but ok.

It loaded, the registrations went through so I had hope. The cut scene started fine, but when the game went to start, it turned out Codemasters was right. It was a no go. The game still sits on my shelf laughing at me.

So sometime, not so long ago I got a survey request from Codemasters to tell them what I think of Overlord II. THey noticed I registered the game. COOL! A chance to let them know why I was disappointed. A chance to let them know I love their games but cannot afford to upgrade every year just to play a game. So off I go to the site to fill in the info. A site run by another 3rd party company.

The survey starts out with the usual qualifying questions. (Yeah i did that for a living for a while too) Do I work in any of the following industries - no, Do I own this game, yes. What age and sex am I? I answer. Suddenly the screen pops up and and get Sorry you do not qualify. So first i have to ask myself. Why send the email inviting me to the survey when you got that info off the registration? Did they not share that infor with the survey company?

Then I get more annoyed. You see, since I did do that for a while I sort have an idea of how a company decides who to survey. They base it on who they perceive their market to be. Which means that they are not reading the refistration infor or at least not querying it before they contact the buyers of the game. That or they just do not like females that are older to purchase and play their product. In speaking to other gaming friends it seems many companies do not like males over 30 either. So I got some news for ya CODEMASTERS. PEOPLE OVER 20 PLAY GAMES AND GUESS WHAT SOME OF US are *GASP* FEMALE. So deal with it.

16 October 2009

Sound and Fury

Another disappointment this week. Assassin's Creed was originally slated for this month for the PC. So I saved my 60.00 and went off to the store to see if this machine can handle it. It is not out. It is now due out in March of next year.

So instead I spent 35.00 and reassessed my desire for the game. Of course now it will be bigger, better and require more hardware. And that is the state of gaming. Gone are the days of companies that came out with great games like Thief, Eye of the Beholder and Lands of Lore. Beautiful graphics, great story and good game play. Instead everything must be online, interactive and require more hardware, different o/s's and twenty tweaks. I sit here with games I would love to play but in this economy cannot justify upgrading the machine just to play a game. What starts out as a 60.00 purchase becomes 260.00 or more by the time you get the latest graphics cards, sound cards, and RAM needed for this generation of games. Games that in my opinion are no more exciting than those mentioned previously that ran on less of a machine.(2MB ram, 486 processor or less and 1MB or more hd space.)

Why? Perhaps that should be the big change made in the industry. Set machine specs before the project starts and hold the developers to them. Set them so they run on a machine that is one back from the state of the art. Why? Because delays in the production of a product point to issues in the industry which means low profits. Low profits mean people are not buying games. If the industry is losing money perhaps they need to poll their player base and not rely on the propaganda put forth by marketing sites and what they claim. Sure I would love a 7,000.00 machine just for games, but honestly it was a chore getting a 600.00 one.

Yes I am one voice. One buyer one gamer. But I plan what I will buy and save for it. So do others. When it turns out I cannot run it on the equipment I have, I move on. Even Guild Wars seems to have made changes to the old game so that now some areas lock and freeze due to graphics issues, areas I made it through before on this machine on dial up even. Overlord for the Wii pushed the limits of the machine. That still blows my mind. It was MADE for a console with very definite specs, yet there were still points when the graphics overwhelmed the machine.

So if anyone in the industry truly listens, which I am doubting more and more. Here is a suggestion. Go to the gaming sites incognito. READ and I mean READ the forums regarding installation and issues with games. See what people truly complain about. Look at what they are really running for a machine. Not what they want, not what they drool over, but rather what they have now.

Delays are acceptable if it results in a good game that anyone can run on their system. Delays are fine if the game is worth it. But tell your marketing group to lose the hype. We are tired of all the sound and fury about airware. Too much hype leads to disappointment and disappointment leads to money going elsewhere.

Oh and on what did I spend my 35.00? 2 games - Trine for the PC and a used copy of Baroque for the Wii. Sorry guys someone else got the money I had planned for Assassin's Creed, because they had the games in the store for systems I have.

26 July 2009

Overlord: Dark Legend

Let me start out with a little background on this. I already own Overlord for the PC. I like the game, it is fun. I plan on getting Overlord 2. So when it came out for the PC I went to my local Gamestop to purchase it. They were out of stock. So I asked price 40.00 within my acceptable budget for a PC game I want. Since they are a local store and know us and what systems we buy for and been listening to me complain about the lack of Wii games for me, they pointed out Overlord Dark Legend.

My first thought was how fun! I can use the wand to sweep my minions around. Then i saw the price 50.00 hmm. So Chaos wanted a copy of Persona2 for the PS2 we got that and I decided to do something I have never done before. I rented a game. This means I had a time limit so I did something I rarely do. I played the fame through in less than a week. That means I missed some stuff and did not go searching for everything. Keep this in mind as your read.

Start up:

I almost did not play this game. Imagine this, you rent a game from your local Blockbuster. You bring it home and put it in the system . The first screen that comes up in your less than 6 month old system is that it needs to upgrade the system to play this game Yes or No? No detail, no explanation of how - nothing. I should add that I have no Internet connection on this system. It is not an option where I live. No cable, satellite is cost prohibitive so I was doubly unsure if it would even work. With a lump in my throat I selected yes expecting it to fail.

Start up:
It started the update bar and stopped around 30%. After a while (probably less time than it seemed) I had decided it has frozen I put the controller down to go restart and WHAM it finished. I guess Codemaster and Nintendo have been taking lessons from Microsoft. Information would be nice guys!

Usual historical cut scenes start. The game is presented as a bedtime story told to a young Overlord about another young Overlord on his 16th birthday. The upshot is this:

Once this was a great evil family with the Black Duke who built the area up from scratch. Over subsequent generations the family frittered away the fortune and the present Overlord is absent a lot. His wife ran off with a hero and the older siblings are either frolicking with Elves or cavorting with Dwarves leaving the youngest alone on his 16th birthday. The cook gives the young master his birthday present. Which leads him (eventually after a bit of tutorial type running around) to the throne room that has been sealed. Now the fun starts. Yep it is a Cinderella story with a slight difference.

I am still playing the first version of Overlord on my PC. I missed having as many buttons to use to get to things. A few things are a bit difficult with the controller (like selecting default spell). On the other hand after you get used to it, it is actually a pretty natural feel to use the wand and nunchuck on this game. I liked it more than I thought I would. Fairly good job Codemasters you get get a B+ on that.

The story romps right along and a lot of the old favorite stuff is there. Yep nasty hobbitses, tricksey elves and drunken dwarves. All are there. Over all the game is pretty easy and any RPG player can see where the plot is going, but it is fun enough to follow along. (I still LOVE my minions! Those and the imps in Dungeonkeeper have to be my favorite support characters of all time)

There were only two things I found annoying. The first was the repetitive phrases uttered by NPCs when you venture near them. If I hear that phrase "The way you cut through those plants.." one more time I may engage in a little Overlord activity against the television. Give us a repeat or ignore option PLEASE. The second was along the same lines but was a bit more frustrating and that was the Bard kept telling me about the bug that needed squishing after I had completed that side quest. The cook did the same about the posters in town. I went back to each and checked my journal to ensure I HAD completed them. I had. That needs to be revisited

I wish there had been more cut scenes with the Minions, I may not have found them all though. The ones that were shown I liked.

The two final bosses are a pain (as they should be) But the Elf may have had other issues. See next section for that. So I will not address that until I figure out what was technical difficult and where it really was. The game is rather short it came in at 16 hours or so. I am not complaining about that. I enjoy a game based on its story and difficulty. Parts are difficult but nothing was impossible. However it ended faster than expected. I expected a confrontation of some sort with my siblings or a final battle of semi epic proportions. At least the townspeople throwing rotten veggies at the siblings. I do not mind the way it ended it just seemed a bit abrupt as if the coders were told "ok that's enough now tack on something to end it."

Technical stuff:
Ok already mentioned the update. I had locks and freezes as I approached endgame. They occurred after I got the side quest with the gnome statues and continued until I defeated Erasmus. I suspect memory issues from the way it acted. It would lock at a loading screen for the town of Meadowsweet and for the Elven areas both at load of area and during battle. Once I was past the elven areas it ran fine again. The issue MAY have been a scratch on the disk, but I think not. Locale and actions performed for locks was too varied. I considered trashing the game more than once due to this.

Some graphic weirdness ala old Sonic games. i.e.: something did not load then finally did. Usually it was an obstacle or background but still I noticed it.

One area kept telling me there was a mana device present even after I picked it up. I wasted time and locked up several times looking for it.

Fun factor:

I liked the game. I was prepared to not based on some other gamers' feedback. I would definitely replay it. So that ranks high. The minions are hysterical and the jester is fun. The missions are doable in a reasonable amount of time. I like that I do not have to spend 4 hours to get 1 mission done.

Upshot: I like it. It is great little game and immensely enjoyable. I give it a 4 or 4 and half out of 5 (provided the tech issues were a bad disk and not bad programming otherwise drop it .5 for that.) I encourage you to try it. However, I will not pay 50.00 for it. Sorry guys that is too much 40.00 MAYBE if I feel flush. 30.00 probably, 25.00 definitely. Maybe your pricing structure needs to be revisited.

15 July 2009

Gaming Backlog: Devil May Cry (PS2)

Ah HA! I finished one. Fr those of you who do not know I have a gaming backlog like you would not believe. But at last I finished Devil May Cry. Game play was good. I did not do a completest game. So impressions are from a first play through without annoyances.

Start up and synopsis:
The game starts out with a cut scene of Dante sitting in his office as a long willowy woman comes crashing through the window. Interesting way to get some one's attention. She proceeds to try to kill him, then when that fails she hires him. All normal for Dante.

So off they go to a Castle on an island and now things start to get strange. First Trish as we have been told her name is goes vaulting up to the top of a cliff leaving Dante to walk up the long way. This theme runs through the whole game. Yep, that's right Dante can't jump for shit. So off he goes walking.

Several hours (game play time), a few platforms and some cool weapons later, he finds Trish again and guess what? She is working for the bad guy. Shock! You mean the woman that looks a LOT like Dante's mother who just happens to come into his office through the window and can jump sheer cliff-faces in a single bound is a DEMON? (or are they devils? Still fuzzy on that.) So now it is time for her to deliver Dante to her boss and guess what, yep she fails.

Now comes the weirdness. Dante is starting to clue into what is happening (never mind the PLAYER is smarter than the supposed professional in this and has figured it out LONG ago.) Dante goes for the big guy. Big guy almost gets him but guess what yep the woman saves him (why? Dante gets all emo over it (Talk about picking the wrong women) Goes off fights some more and guess what? Yep, Trish shows up able to function in spite of being deaded a while ago by her ex employer. OK Then comes the REALLY stupid stuff. Starfox/Sonic Adventure style flying of a museum relic that Dante just HAPPENS to know how to fly and a last minute getaway before the bad guy's corpse and any remaining minions are supposedly buried under a ton of rubble.

Well we will see about that there are 3 sequels after all.

The moves are fun to do, not annoying ones that you have to contort your fingers into pretzel shapes in order to accomplish anything and even auto mode is playable. Except once it is on, you cannot turn it off. The biggest complaints I have are lack of the ability to change my camera and Dante can't jump. Look I do not mind the occasion engine controlled jump from the correct spot but I should be able to jump BACK. Not fall down and have to climb all over.

Game is mission oriented grades applied to mission upon completion based on object collected, NPCs whacked and time.


Don't know if it is my set, the switcher box or what but at times backgrounds and graphics were too muddy. Had to turn it up all the way on the game to see things like ladders against the wall. I do not have to do that on other games so suspect it is the overall clarity of the graphics in the game. Dark is good, muddy is bad.

No locks, no bugs, no issues Good solid coding. Great job on that.

Fun factor:
Overall the game was good. Dante definitely earns the title of Badass. Missions for the most part go fast with a few exceptions caused by the difficulty seeing and getting used the inability to turn the camera to get in the right spot for a jump. Will probably replay it at least one in Dante Must Die mode.

Bosses in the game on Normal Mode are hard, but for the most part not impossible to beat even first time through. The story line is acceptable and only gets ridiculous near the end. The female character, Trish, is rather lame. There are major holes in the RPG plot. But hey for a shooter it has more plot than most. Give it 4.5 out of 5
The ending was a too stupid to warrant that last .5.

I started DMC 2 Can anyone tell me why Dante now reminds me of the Prince in PoP Sands of Time? Hmm

27 June 2009


Ok so, here is what happened. After years (ok maybe not years, but a corrupted card and a restart, I FINALLY finished Fire Emblem Path of Radiance on the GameCube. It was not my best game, being my first play through of it and I rushed through the parts I had already done the second time. (Could they have made those ending sequences ANY longer? I was falling asleep.)

I HAD to finish it because my daughter wanted to see me port the gamecube came over to Fire Emblem Radiant on the Wii that the family Holiday present. So I go to port the Path of Radiance data to Radiant Dawn. I follow the onscreen instructions and lo and behold, frozen Wii at the port point. Sigh, technology is great when it works.

Being a big RPG gamer. I have many branch points and saves on the card. I figure perhaps they are the issue. Having learned my lesson when the card corrupted the first time on Darkened Sky RIGHT BEFORE THE BOSS BATTLE. I made a backup card. Realizing I have bee slacking about keeping the backup up to date and thinking maybe it was the unfinished games on there that were the issue; I decide to back up the whole shebang and delete all but the finished game off the real card. It is not able to be copied. OK that just pisses me off.

So off I go to the game sites to see who knows what. Fire Emblem site has nothing about this where I can find it. Wii site has nothing about this where i can find it. So I start checking Gamespot, GamerDNA, and their ilk. Gamespot paid off.

It seems that If you have any game that is saved in easy mode on the card, it will not copy or transfer. It will NOT allow you to copy the game blocks onto another. Ok that is just kinda lame. I deleted the easy branches and Presto it copies onto my back up and is able to be ported over to the Wii. Now the rant moves to the old style I would RTFM if there were any entries in FM about this! DOCUMENTATION IS NECESSARY WRITE IT AND INCLUDE IT PUBLISHERS.

18 June 2009

One Answer

I have been ranting about games going to the marketeers I mean dogs. Well J. Radoff had one answer over at Gamesutra. He mentions a lot in the article that is from a marketing point of view, possibly because he IS a marketeer and not a designer, but a many of the things he says holds true.

First and foremost Gamers talk to each other. In any given week 2 or 3 of my gaming friends will pass on a website or a game to me to check out. Some are flash in pan interests for us, some retain our interests. Let me add to Mr. Radoff's list of things that make a game virile as he calls it.

1. Accessibility - people who are visually or hearing impaired or have other needs are a large minority of gamers. Make certain the game can be played by anyone. This includes making a game that you do not have to squint to read the fuzzy font or that you have to be a contortionist to get the move needed to complete a level out of the controller (think fighting games)

2. Cross platform. Over 50% of my gaming friends run some form of *nix. Many games are still too Microsoft dependant. Not all console gamers are on a cable modem. Do not make the game require the latest hardware just to start. We will put up with slow if it does not crash. I liked Cutthroats. Too bad it fragged my hard drive to hell and back every time I ran it. I still liked it enough to run it off a dedicated drive so that i could defrag every time. But as the game progressed it became unplayable. OPTIMIZE the game for a lower end machine.

3. Cross browser I do not use I.E. Most of us do not use I.E. Firefox is the favorite. Opera is up there, Safari, to name a few.

4. Affordable. Make the core game affordable. Guild Wars is a good example. The core game is cheap in comparison to many other games. Pay for stuff is 10.00 per item (pretty much). The mud I play starts at 15.00 per item. That we can probably afford off a paycheck; anything we have to save up for is probably not going to generate as much overall income.

5. Even playing field. It really irks players when someone buys a character in a game. When items are bought make them useful, in game attainable or status items. Extra storage in Guild Wars, the spell pack that saves the player from having to spend 3 years on line to get all of the spells.

6. Humanize the staff. In an online game let the coders owners admins marketing people be seen sometimes. It lets the players know the developers are still involved.

7. Make the game a challenge but not impossible. Skies of Arcadia was fairly easy but people come back to it over and over because of the way the game was put together, the character interaction, the graphics and the storyline. Toy Commander was hard DAMN hard but the story, graphics and sheer strangeness kept that one going. And I swear one day I WILL beat the Lands of Lore series, I even keep an old machine around so I can play it.

8. The above leads to the most important. Your players have to LIKE the game. Something has to keep them interested during the XP grind periods. Character interaction, other player interaction, quests and storyline. In Guild Wars the what will happen next kept me going. In Zork, Lands of Lore, Eye of the Beholder, Doom and even Descent little surprises along the way, red herrings, sub plots and character interaction are all things that kept my interest. These days Overlord, Devil May Cry, Titan Quest and the Fire Emblems are my interest holders. Eldar Scrolls and Assassins Creed beckon to me, but what I would not give for another good game like the Thief series (in no kill mode) or almost any game put out by the old Westwood Studios.

Game makers by all means listen to Radoff. But the thing he says that rings the truest is that gamers talk to other gamers. And if you are not hearing what they say then you need to get out of the business. Because the best games are those made by gamers for gamers.

15 May 2009

Is the Gaming Boom Going Bust

For the past 3 years or so games and gamers have been high profile. Yet this year it seems that some of that is falling off. I have some theories as to why.

First and foremost is oversaturation. Everyone and their brother has gaming blog, podcast, or whatever. Non gamers have stopped being curious about the sub culture and started being annoyed.

No diversity in L&F. Bartle said it when he said he had played Warhammer, it was called World of Warcraft. The games are starting to all look alike. Many years ago the trend was to look like EOB then it moved to the Diablo look, now it is Warcraft look. Very little in the design or the functionalty makes a game stand out within its genre.

Economy. Yes it is hitting the gaming market. People are starting to think about what game they are going play next and count their pennies. People are returning to titles and online games that are safe or at least that they know they like.

The morph of the craft into a business. Game coders used to be the renegades of the programming world. They were the true geeks, they did not work for deadlines. They worked to make it good. This was not always the utopia some make it out to be. Games did not work or worked only on some systems or with some co processors, games went way over cost and were outdated when they came out. Or they never came out. Many companies went under, suffered from hostile takeovers or were flat out bought out. The pendulem has swung too far in the opposite direction now. It has become big business and markleting rules all. Game companies announce release dates and are held to them. Too much structure stifles creativity.

More in a day or two.

12 April 2009

What does an admin do all day?

The other day I was on Guild Wars. Players as usual are standing around talking in Ascalon. One was trolling for flames. People got upset by his or her verbal abuse of others and started trying to report and get an admin to respond immediately. When they did not, players immediately began complaining about the admin staff.

Ok so, you have a favorite game that you play online. Suddenly something happens or is not working as you think it should be. So what do you do? Maybe you look for an admin. But while one shows as around, they are not responding. What DO they do all day anyway?

Well first let's start with some information. Some games have 1 admin (most likely the owner/designer whatever) while others have 20. Specific tasks differ according to the game, but here are some of the tasks that are assigned to admins on any game.

Read and respond to mail sent to admin.
Check bug reports sent to admin.
Check reports of cheating sent to admin
Prioritize both of the above for action
Ban proven cheaters
Check with other staff members as to actions they have taken
Check change log
Recover/reset passwords
Read complaints about game balancing
Read ideas for game balancing
test and monitor new areas and areas reported as having issues
perform copyovers or reboots as requested by builders or other staff
(and sometimes by the players)
And be visible at times so the players know that the Admin are around.

Getting the idea? Now places with multiple admins split up these tasks, but 10 to 1 they add more such as Play testing, Code review, implementation, coder/builder liaison, etc. Unless it is NC or Blizzard, you can bet that the Admin does all of this unpaid. Some places even ban the admin staff from playing the game they admin. (though this is an unwise move on so many different levels that companies that do this are far and few between.

So please remember before you throw a fit that the Admins on your favorite game are never there, that it may be true - but most likely they are just busy trying to make the game a little more fun and or enjoyable.

18 March 2009

Why is there always the need to blame something?

First read this blog about another homicidal student. And here is the article on the shooting.

Now when I was growing up Rock and Roll (specifically Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles) were blamed for Son of Sam's and Charles Manson's killing sprees. By the tome I was in college violent television and movies were the cause. Now it is video games. The fact is there is something WRONG with the people that do this. Outlawing violent TV or video games is NOT going to change it. Outlawing comic books or graphic novels or even fictional accounts are not going to change it. People like this find something to obcess about and as a result to justify their violence. YES, they need help, yes they need monitoring by their parents, keepers whoever. BUT stop blaming an outside source. Rant over

14 March 2009

Games used to be fun

First read this MMOs vs the World Part II and if you did not follow the link to the Bartle interview there read that as well.

I know I have pulled back on my gaming so that I basically play one in each genre type. Why? because like Bartle I have seen most of them before. Unlike Dr. Bartle, I still enjoy playing games, but then I do not design them for a living. That is basically where I am right now in gaming, I want something to grab my attention and suck me in, but nothing does really. Well nothing that hasn't already that is. So, yes the design DOES matter as does the game itself. But one thing that I think Dr. Bartle is missing because of his proximity to the Industry is also a coherent story. Why am I going in here and blowing away these monster? Where did they come from? Why me?

Games that have stuck with me do so because of the story as well as the mechanics and the blood fountaining in slow motion. The characters matter. I have to want to save the world. Add to that what I call the creator's fun factor. Did they have fun making this game. Are there things in there just because? What about easter eggs? Does anyone remember what Zork replied when you typed in Fuck you! out of frustration? Those things stick in my mind to this day. Maybe when gaming companies start having fun creating games again I will find one that sucks me in again. Until then I will continue to play the others that never let go of me in the first place- that is good game design!

08 March 2009

Old skool vs New Skool

So this evening I am on the MUD doing the usual stuff when one of the older players (in time on the game not in age) logs in. He has been playing pretty regularly for about a year now after a hiatus for a couple of years. He was in a less than happy mood. Perhaps the weather, perhaps he was feeling his age, but he began to echo some of what I have been going off here for a while.

The conversation started off with a discussion of players he suspected were botting. For the few of you who may not know the term, that consists of logging into a game and farming or leveling by using a script to perform repetitive actions. Most online games from WoW to MUDs deem this as illegal and will delete or ban any player they catch doin this. The problem is it is sometimes difficult to catch someone. In a mud environment heavy xp means heavy spam. This means lots and lots of text scrolling so a player may miss a tell from an admin checking on scripters. Add to this a myriad of scripts out there that you can set to respond to a tell and you have a difficult time discerning a scripter from a slow responder.

Now, the question arises why would anyone bother to do this? Well back in the day of door games it made some sense usually you got only so many moves or so much time per player. Many helpers or scripts existed. When MUDS began to spring up and allow unlimited play time, it was logical that some things were moved over. Except, now there were other people around with whom a player could interact. So the game had another dimension of enjoyment added like meeting and talking to people, roleplaying live in an environment and ganging up against a big boss. Now you could work with other people to solve quests or explore the world and you had plenty of time to do this! But there were always the few who felt that they had to be the biggest, best or get to the top fastest. They scripted and when caught they paid for it.

MMOs. Now there is WoW and there are thousands of people online at the same time. People do not know you unless you stand out in someway. So.. again for those who feel the need to impress or think people will be impressed by such things, there are those that spend lots of time online to get to the top. Fine, except, most people have real lives, real things to do and cannot spend a lot of time online. So what is the easiest thing to do? Find one of those big boys make 'friends' with them and get them to lead you to the top. Except where is the fun in that?

This is the point of the conversation WHY play a game if you are not going to play it? Once you are the top dog, why ridicule others that are not anywhere near your level of play for not being higher than you? Most of all why let them use you to get there? You learned to play the game and enjoyed it enough that you wanted to be seen as the best. Help others - yes, add to their enjoyment by challenging them to something they CAN do. But that does not see to be the present mode of thinking. So can anyone tell me why?

06 March 2009

Titan Quest

Last night my ISP decided I needed a break from online gaming. So I fired up Titan Quest to wait for the connection to return. It had been a while since I had played so, there were some things I had forgotten. Like you cannot pan back. I have gotten spoiled in games being able to scan into the next area or pan back and look ahead. Again a game allows it's npcs to attack you from offscreen, but you cannot see them to do the same. This is just plain bad design.

But that was not the thing that annoyed me and that made me put the game aside for now. It is set up like a lot of RPGs. You got through an area, defeat a boss, etc. If you fail you are rebirthed at a local shrine with a minus. That is fine. Except, if you do not have time to complete, you are sent back to the start of the chapter. So the 2 hours you just spent playing to fight through the area and get to the boss's lair has to be done all over again. WHAT is wrong with SAVE points?

This is what keeps casual gamers from becoming hardcore. many people just do NOT have 4 - 6 hour blocks of time to put into a game. They become discouraged and stop playing. So add more save points guys. If I have the time I can ignore them. If I do not then at least I have the option of getting back to where I was without having to redo some pain in the ass level that does nothing to advance the story and is there just to level up the character through the grind.

24 February 2009

Where's My PoP?

Many months ago, nay even two years ago there was a huge to do about Prince of Persia moving to Wii, Except Ubisoft released the newest title on xbox, Mac and PS3 only. They even scrapped the PC verson. Now, I love the Prince series and have since I first saw it back in 89. The Cube version rocks, so while what I saw of the upcoming title looked good so far I waited. I wanted to try it on Wii.

Alas Someday my Prince MAY come, but not today. Only the two evil empires in gaming were able to get the tiele on their consoles. So I ask Where's my Prince Ubisoft?

04 February 2009

Gaming, writing and works of art

Nintendo has Sony in their sights. That is nothing new. Sony was the original Evil Empire of the console world. All Microsoft's entrance into the console market managed to do was topple a tettering Sega and force the industry to put more effort into handheld units. Nintendo is still the nemesis of the other gaming companies.

We finally gave in last year and bought a used PS2. Why? The reason is basic, it is the same that brough down Sega and unless things change may turn that net sales figure of 1 trillion 536 billion 3 hundred million yen into red ink. It is the games.

The Wii is a good console (yes we have one, it is different, but so far I like it.) the foray into the market of the casual gamer seems to be quite successful, but gamers are shrugging their shoulders and turning toward the buggy Xbox and PS3 consoles because as long as they are running, they have what gamers buy a console for. Games.

The Wii has the same issue the gamecube had. (i liked that console too btw) It needs games for gamers. It needs a Devil May Cry, a Halo, SOMETHING. And I do not mean a poorly ported game that is on another system (think Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance - great game sucks on the cube). Zelda is all well and good, we grew up with Zelda, it a great trip dowm memory lane, but I really want a game that I will not want to put down. One that will draw my daughter's attention (and get her off MY PC). One that will make people want to buy a Wii because it is the best console to play it on.

Ninetendo needs a work of art, not another Zelda or Sonic. As much as I love those games, they are not engrossing. Nintendo showed us they are risk takers that can succeed with the new Wii. Now more than ever with people being cautious about what they spend their money on, they need a must have game. Because before I drop between 40 and 60 dollars that could buy groceries or clothing on entertainment I want to know I will be entertained, not disappointed.

28 January 2009

Gaming addiction - Old problem new awareness?

So a few weeks ago a player on the MUD went postal and started player killing everyone. Some logged off most retaliated. At that point the player started whining that people were cheating and reported to the Administration the perceived cheat.

The admin looked into it, spoke to the players involved separately, spoke to witnesses then ruled it as not a cheat or a rule infraction. The admin then informed the accuser and the accused of the decision. The accuser was upset.

Phrases were uttered like I have spent so much on this game and I do not have a job. I will leave and take my friends with me. This game is my life. I have nothing out side of it, don't take it away.

Obviously this player has issues. The issues are not game related, but personality related. This person (whether it was true or a put on) has now told everyone who plays the MUD that they are not capable of functioning in the real world and has retreated to games as his life. True or not the thought is sad. There are people who rely on outside sources to validate themselves to the world.

We see it in business, people can;t function if they lose their prestige, they fall apart if their department is taken away. In relationships it is what makes people stalkers and in personal ties hobbyists who turn into fanatics.

It is a form of addiction and of escape from reality. So why are there so many these days, or are there? Is it like the perceived increase in woman gamers, just easier to find people or is it truly new phenomenon? Where does the responsibility of the game owners and other players start and finish. Most states have tap laws so that bar tender may not overserve a guest. Should game owners siteban perceived addicts?

On the other hand.. If this is a fairly new problem, why is gaming the chosen form of escape now? What is it replacing? Television, books, or something similar? Or is it because people cannot meet face to face as they did. Are the less tolerant of differences in spite of the lip-service paid and as a result ostracize those who do not fit into a their image of themselves. Or worse does it allow those who are insecure to hide rather than try?

I do not know and am seeking an answer. It worries me that so much mainstream emphasis is placed on gaming lately. All I do know do know that games are supposed to enrich life not be life.

26 January 2009

If wishes were Bugs then Gamers would Rule

Lately I have been quiet here because I have been busy with the MUD. Valhalla is growing again and it is because we are 'restructuring'. No we are not laying off non paid MUD staff, but rather organizing and adding.

Here is what we have done so far - reinstituted the bug, typo and idea reporting tools. They have been there but no one was using them.

Help file update. The owner of the engine (whistler) and the main big boy Admin (Darg) have added a LOT of changes over the years. But many have never been added to the help. The new admin (Etna) has started on that huge task.

Brought back the MUD paper so that progress can be read by all those who care in it as well as to involve others who wish to contribute, but do not have the time, inclination or knowledge to build or admin.

Implemented 1 new zone, brought back 2 that had been removed for correction and contacted all builders we could find that had zones in progress on test.

Hardware admin (Bakka) has added new eq and been tweaking things.

So perusing the bug reports there are lots of real ones, some that are the usual WAD (working as designed) then something I never saw in the 'real world' The wish bugs. Ones such as this quest must be broken because I cannot find the people I need to, or the reward must be bugged because I cannot use it or it has higher reqs than i like.

So what is this? This is a game.. not all characters can use all items nor should they. Not all quests are easy to solve. And no the admin will not change or fix so you can have the most powerful character in the game.

I really wonder about gamers somedays, I thought it was all about the challenge. That is what most SAY, but it seems when it comes down to it, all the things that are being done, have been done and are slated to be done do not matter. To the players, it is not about making the game better, it is about bragging. Even though if the game were to be made easy it would not be worth bragging about.

So, next time you go online and check a cheat site or a walkthrough for ANY game, think about this. Why are you really playing the game?