Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ten down

Last night, I finished my tenth game of the year. That's probably some kind of record for me. I'm not sure what kind, but it's got to be some kind.

Amazingly, the game I finished last night, Uncharted, was done in two days. Total playtime was 7 hours, 51 minutes. That's probably one of the shortest games I've played, and absolutely the shortest game of the year for me. Contrast that with Persona 3 that clocked in at 103 hours. Fun fact: Persona 3 cost $30 brand new. Uncharted cost $30 used, and that was a good price, and sold for $60 new. Wut?

Of course, the catch is that I played the game on Easy difficulty.

I know, I wussed out. Instead of manning up, setting it to Normal or Hard, I decided that replaying all of the many, many combat sections over and over and over again in order to prove that I'm tough, I decided to save myself the frustration and set it to a reasonable level. Yeah, that means I probably finished the game faster than I would have, but if the extra two hours it might have taken would have involved having extra holes punched in my lungs, I can live without that.

So my gaming life has gone from demolishing buildings on Mars (awesome) to killing non-white people in the jungle (not so awesome), and now I think I'm going to play Prototype. This game casts you as a guy who has been infected with a mutagenic virus that's running rampant through Manhattan, turning everyone into monsters. Many games would task you with saving the city. Prototype says "well, they're all fucked anyway, so go get revenge!"

Literally everyone and everything that's not you is expendable. Bystanders can be slaughtered in huge numbers if you want. They can also be picked up and consumed to regain health. Basically, they're amulatory, screaming health packs. An indication of the mindset of the game: once you pick someone up, there is no option to set them back down. Your only option is to consume them or throw them 100 feet. You cannot play a good person in this game.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New tattoo!

So I've been wanting a new tattoo for a while now. Really, ever since I got my first one. But I've been holding off getting the next one because I haven't known what to get. Well, I figured it out.

When I thought about it, it was obvious, really. I've been a Pats fan for a long time, and I don't see that changing, no matter where I end up living. So I started thinking that the Pats logo would be a good choice. However, I didn't want to simply follow the crowd and get the current swooshy, Nike-looking logo. I wanted something classic, timeless.

So I decided to get the old school, football-snapping Pats logo. It says "Pats" without saying "I've only like the Pats when they're winning." So over the weekend, I went down to the guy I know at Regeneration, and told him what I wanted. A few hours later, I've now got my new tattoo.

I'm really happy with the way that it turned out. It looks exactly like I pictured it in my head. I can't wait to show you guys! Here's a preview from this morning. I'm wicked psyched about how well it's healing up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wide open spaces

It's been far too long since I've written one of these.  Fortunately, things have been slowing down at work, so here I am.  Hooray.

Lately (as in the last few weeks), there have been a bunch of open world games released.  An open world game, as defined by Chucker's Dictionary, is a game where instead of levels, the player is plopped into the middle of a big city/planet/galaxy/Sea Monkey farm, and allowed to do whatever they want.  Usually a number of different missions are available, but those can be undertaken in any order, at any time, and usually allow the player a lot of options in how to do them.  The poster child for open world games is called Grand Theft Auto.  Perhaps you've heard of it?

Now, not all open world games involve hooker killing.  In fact, none of the games I referred to earlier have any hookers at all, yet they don't suck (see what I did there?).  In fact, they all wind up being very different games. 

The first is Fuel.  This is an offroad racing game, and takes place on a map that is literally the size of Connecticut, weighing in a 5,000 square miles.  The map is crisscrossed with roads and trails, and covered with races and new vehicles and paint jobs to find and collect.  One of the downsides of most open world games is that while you explore them, you're usually being attacked periodically.  Fuel does away with this, letting you just wander around if you want, or go run a race while avoiding a tornado.  It's a good feeling.

The second one is Prototype.  This takes place in Manhattan.  The gist is that you wake up with no memory, but with the new ability to leap 30 feet, run up buildings, transform your arms into Wolverine claws from hell, and consume other beings.  This is all due to an experimental mutagen virus that was being tested out on you.  As these kinds of things are wont to do, things go wrong, and while you set out to find out who did what to you, and kill them, the virus starts spreading in Manhattan.  As you progress, you gain new abilities, like being able to glide like a flying squirrel or transform your hands into giant hammers, which allows you to elbow drop tanks.

Let me restate: YOU CAN ELBOW DROP TANKS.  Obviously, this is the best thing ever.  You can also do all manner of other incredibly violent things like charge down the road, do a flip over a cab, grabbing it on the way over, and throwing it at a helicopter before you land, but really why would you do anything besides the elbow dropping tank thing?

The third game is called Red Faction Guerilla.  In this one, you arrive on a terraformed Mars, and are greeted by your brother, who turns out to be working for the Red Faction, an insurgent group fighting against the Earth Defense Force, the military organization that came in to liberate Mars from the oppressive Ultor corporation, and who are now violently repressing the people in the name of social order.  Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation in Iraq.  NOTHING!

Thinly-veiled political commentary aside, the game's hook is that every building can be destroyed.   The game starts you out with a sledge hammer in one hand and a fistful of remotely detonated sticky bombs in the other.  Virtually every mission can, if you're creative enough, be accomplished by destroying a building.  Need to take out a building? Make the smokestack next to it collapse onto it.  Or maybe you'd prefer to simply drive a mining truck through it.  Or plant a bunch of bombs on said truck, park it next to the building, then blow up the bombs.  Need to eliminate some snipers? You could plant a bomb under their position on the ceiling of the floor below them.  You could also knock a hole in the ceiling above them and fall on their head.  Or just plant a singularity bomb, sucking the building and all of its contents into a single point before exploding it back out.

There's also a multiplayer mode where everyone has to cause as much destruction as possible with limited time or ammo, highest score wins.  There's also Aliens-style walking loader things.  Awesome.  We will be playing this at the next movie night.

So after many months of role playing games, I feel the time for conversation, leveling, and careful battle strategy is over.  If I can't run it over, slash it in half, or blow it up, I don't care.  At least for the time being.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quick self-promotion

Still not much time at work for blogging.  In case you want to see what the hell's been keeping me so busy, check out www.thebeatlesrockband.com.  The front page has a sweet trailer of gameplay footage, and the even sweeter (and incredibly trippy) intro video.  In case the style looks familiar, that'd be because the director of the video is the same guy who did the videos for Gorillaz.