Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Microsoft’s Project Natal Pt. 2

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

So, I may have seemed pretty excited about Project Natal in my last post, and I am. However, I don’t look forward to playing lots of games with it. Let me explain. (more…)

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Microsoft’s Project Natal

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

At this year’s E3, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft displayed interesting new ways for gamers to interact with their video games—motion control. With this technology, they are trying to expand the video game market by eliminating remote controls.

While all three companies had impressive showings, Microsoft stood out the most with there product codenamed “Project Natal.” Essentially, it is hardware that can be added to Xbox 360’s that allows for voice, facial, and full 1:1 body recognition. (more…)

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Violent Video Games

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I recently read an article by the Physicians for Global Survival entitled Video Games that Promote Positive Social Change (pdf). The beginning of the article denounces violent video games, but then list several games the author believes “educate youth about some of the most pressing social ills around the globe. Such games can serve as effective tools in educating our youth about ways in which they can bring about positive social change.”

The title and aim of the article sound great enough, but I strongly disagree with some of the claims the author makes. (more…)

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Game Designer: Jonathan Blow

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Seemingly over night, Jonathan Blow has become a household name. Well, at least in households that consist of all gamers. But the truth is, Jonathan Blow has been making noise in gaming circles for some time now. In fact, he’s been on Wikipedia since February of 2006 so that must mean something.

For those who don’t know, Jonathan Blow is the man behind the recent Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) hit Braid. Braid is a two-dimensional puzzle/platformer game with watercolor-esque graphics where the goal is to control time to solve puzzles. It’s one of those games that needs to be seen to fully understand.

The point of this post is not to talk about Braid though—I want to talk about Blow, the designer. (more…)

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PixelJunk Eden Review

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

I’ve had Xbox Live for years now and only downloaded one Xbox Live Arcade game—Streets of Rage 2. However, after only having Playstation 3 (PS3) for a few months, I’ve downloaded two games from the Playstation Store. One is an addictive, yet frustrating puzzle game called Echocrome where players must use perspective to distort reality. The other game I downloaded is PixelJunk Eden. (more…)

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The kind of game I would design

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

When I was in school people would ask me, “what do you want to do after college?” and I would say “I want to create games.” “That’s cool,” some would say, and say nothing more. But creative people would continue on and ask me, “what kind of games would you create?”

Now a college graduate, I still get asked that question, usually after being asked why did I move to Los Angeles and me responding with, “to get into the game industry.” (more…)

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Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

Monday, June 16th, 2008

The latest game of the greatest series ever, Metal Gear Solid 4 (MGS4), was released last Tuesday at midnight. Konami, the company that designed the game, set up midnight launch parties in New York and in Los Angeles, which is where I recently relocated. The senior producer, assistant producer, and three voice actors including David Hayter were there signing autographs.

As a huge MGS4 fan, I decided to wait in line for 12 hours to ensure that I got a limited edition bundle of the game along with a Playstation 3 (PS3), and get them signed by the 5 people who were there. I ended up being 12th in a line that consisted of well over 100 by midnight. As a result, not only did I get the bundle I wanted along with leaving with an autographed PS3 and poster, but I also appeared in photos on several gaming web sites. (more…)

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Grand Theft Auto IV

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

As some people may know, I am an avid gamer. While due to be busy working two jobs, being on the e-board of two student groups, and going to school full-time I don’t play video games as much as I use to, I still read up on them at places like The Escapist, Kotaku, and Joystiq, because I want to be up to date with everything happening in the industry. After all, it is my dream to get into the game industry.

Not all, but most sites created by game companies to promote a game suck. It’s goal should be to make me more excited about the games release, and too often game companies fail. So, when Rockstar first launched the site for Grand Theft Auto IV (GTAIV), I ignored it. “I’m already excited about the game,” I thought to myself. “I don’t need to go to the site.” But then, I read and listen to a Kotaku post that had clips of Lazlow Jones (the DJ for GTAIV) on a radio show talking about some aspects of the game, particularly the in-game branding.

Essentially, everything you see and here in the game has been built up to be an actual brand, making Liberty City (the fake New York that the game is set in) seem like a real city. You can, for example, go online IN THE GAME and use a dating service and actual meet up and date someone.

There are also advertisements for cars you can actually drive in the game, and places you can go see, and things you can do. And then their are radio stations that you can listen to within the game that are actually complete. Rockstar actually recorded hours of fake talk shows like WKTT, so that if someone like myself switched to that station I would have hours of entertainment. Or, I could never listen to that station at all and instead listen to a funk station like IF99 or a disco station like K109 The Studio.

All of the stations in GTAIV have been built up to the point that everyone will have a favorite station, just like in real life. The reason that I know all of this is because of the official GTAIV site. It goes over all of the different brands that were created for this game and also shows you where they are located in Liberty City. You can listen to snippets of radio stations and watch advertisements for companies and services, and much, much more.

The sites design is basic and to the point, but not boring. This is good because it’s easy to navigate and there isn’t too much visual noise to distract the viewer from the main content. It’s a white on black site, but still it’s easy to read. In short, it’s a great site every other game company should be taking notes.

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Rocking out pt. 2

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

“For one, playing guitar on expert is too easy. Way too easy.”

I have to admit. Once you get a little further in the game, it does get harder. Still, it’s not as challenging as Guitar Hero III.

“The accessories look nice, though I managed to get a faulty guitar, so I had to request a new one to be sent. That entire process was rather easy, so I commend Harmonix on that.”

My new guitar came rather quickly, although I think this new one is also defective. With my original one, the strum bar felt really loose. And, when shook, something inside the original guitar would rattle. This new guitar does not rattle, but the strum bar still feels loose, and when I strum up and down, I feel like its not being registered–there is no clicking noise or some type of tactile response. I wonder if that’s normal…

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Rock Band Review

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I finally got around to buying Rock Band for my Xbox 360. I planned on getting it soon, but a sale that was running at Target pushed me to get it sooner than later.

It was everything I thought it would be. It’s pure fun, especially when playing with friends with the volume blasting. I do have a few issues with it though. For one, playing guitar on expert is too easy. Way too easy. I do own Guitar Hero III, but I’m struggling on expert in that game, and I was hoping Rock Band would be just as challenging. It can be unsatisfying when you pick up a game only to realize not only is their no learning curve for you, but it will never be challenging. Maybe near the end the songs will get harder…

The accessories look nice, though I managed to get a faulty guitar, so I had to request a new one to be sent. That entire process was rather easy, so I commend Harmonix on that. When I do get the new guitar, I probably won’t use it. The fret buttons are too close together when compared to the Guitar Hero III guitar.

The drum set is pretty cool. It makes me feel like I’m actually playing the drums, and I suppose I am actually playing drums in a way. I would be totally submerged in the entire drum playing experience if it wasn’t for the “tap-tapping” noise that occurs every time I hit a pad, reminding me that it’s just a toy. There are pads to lessen the noise, which I plan on getting soon.

I agree with the notion that if you are a solo gamer, you should stick to Guitar Hero. If you are social, and have plenty of friends, pick up Rock Band.

I predict in the future that Guitar Hero will add drum accessories, and maybe a microphone too. It seems only natural. It would be Rock Band, but more challenging, and there is definitely a market for that.

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