Archive for the ‘My Crazy World’ Category

While the mere thought of indie games on the PlayStation 4 has some gamers generating tons of hate, I happen to disagree with them. Indie games happens to be the popular trend these days, and seeing the visionary ideas that indie developers bring to the table help shape the games we play in the future. Of course there’s also the fact that these games are relatively cheaper and sometimes are better than the big budget blockbusters that get all the attention. PlayStation 4 will be chock full of indie goodness, so I decided to highlight a handful of the indie games that have my interest when the next generation of gaming arrives on November 15. Here are a few of my picks that I’ll be playing.

Helldivers

Expected in 2014, Arrowhead Games has developed a title that in my opinion is a mix of Halo: Spartan Assault for the Windows phone along with the campy Starship Troopers movies. This top down co-op shooter for up to four players is no easy romp. Helldivers will challenge my gaming skills along with my patience with it’s random generated levels making every experience different each time I play.

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch

A game about an octopus posing as a human. Now I would have to file this game from Young Horses under weird, but fun. Dadliest Catch is a sequel to the original Octodad where the main idea is for this octopus to mimic human behavior without raising suspicion that he is in fact an octopus. The premise is absolutely ridiculous, but the idea that the human world has trouble noticing this could make for one of the most hilarious games ever made.

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Outlast

This is probably the one game that I really can’t wait to play. Outlast is a first person survival horror experience from Red Barrels that could bring the scare back into a genre that’s been a little tame through the years. Once I’m inside the Mount Massive Asylum I’ll once again feel the chills up my spine as I discover the horrors that await me. However, once I find the secrets will I be able to find a way out to tell the world, or will they die with me.

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Mercenary Kings

Calling this game a 2D Borderlands does not do Mercenary Kings justice. This game from Tribute (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game) combines the looting elements of Borderlands along with megahit shooter titles including the Metal Slug and Contra series. My mission is to save the world from the evil corporation known as CLAW at a secret laboratory base on a remote island. Taking out enemies will reveal loot that I can use to craft weapons and gear to help accomplish my mission.

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Ray’s The Dead

Taking on the role of a zombie, this Pikmin style of game from Ragtag Studio will have me recruiting fellow members of the undead and create an army all with the purpose of avenging my own death. There’s also that other question of why there’s a lightbulb on top of my head. How did that get there? Lots of questions, but plenty of zombie fun lies ahead.

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This is just a small taste of some of the indie games I’ll be playing once the PS4 finally arrives. Do you have any favorites your looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

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At the San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that the sequel for Man of Steel would feature Batman. Just the thought of a Batman vs Superman movie had fans, including myself, jumping for joy. The big question that followed this epic announcement would be who will play the infamous Dark Knight. Some people thought Christian Bale would return, but unfortunately he turned it down. Well after a few of weeks of speculation, Warner Brothers feels that they have finally found their man to play one of DC Comics’ biggest superheroes.

Ben Affleck

Hold on. Wait a second. Ben Affleck is Batman? Tell me this is a joke. Unfortunately, this is no joke. Ben Affleck is Batman. What’s next? Is Matt Damon going to play Robin?

The internet is buzzing after this blockbuster announcement, but the reaction from fans is rather mixed with more people responding in the negative direction. Where do I stand on this? Well, I have to agree with some of the haters out there who are outraged by this decision. Personally, I have to say that Affleck as Batman doesn’t seem to fit with me. I just can’t imagine him as Batman. To me it would look like Ben Affleck in a Batsuit. To this day I’m still trying to forget his disastrous performance as a certain Marvel superhero known as Daredevil. However, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since I think he might make a good Bruce Wayne, but we all know that being a billionaire is only half of the total role. You have to do more than just look good in a suit or a tux to play The Caped Crusader.

Now I’m not going to say that Affleck is a terrible actor, however he’s not a great actor either. I mean he’s a little “one-dimensional”, but has shown some range in films he’s personally directed including The Town and Argo. With him playing Batman, I have that bad feeling that the “one-dimensional” Affleck will return and phone it in. Then again maybe he won’t. I will say that Affleck will not go down as the worst choice ever to play Batman. That honor has to go to the “Anatomically Correct” Bat played by George Clooney. Surely Joel Schumacher would have to take most of the blame for the disaster that is Batman and Robin, but seriously bat nipples, a cock piece, and a Batman credit card with no credit limit. I rest my case.

While I’ll agree with the idea that either Karl Urban, or maybe a relatively unknown actor, would’ve been a better choice to play the legendary superhero, I’m going to give Ben Affleck a chance to prove me and the throngs of haters wrong. It’s not this is the first time we’ve hated a particular choice to play a certain role. Remember the hateful response when we learned that Heath Ledger was chosen to play The Joker in The Dark Knight? What happened? Ledger delivered a masterful performance that was an enormous step above what Jack Nicholson brought to the big screen back in 1989. Can Ben Affleck rise to that level? I don’t know, but he’s going to have to. The pressure is solely on him. If he fails, the future for the planned Justice League movies could also go up in smoke. However, if I’m wrong, I’ll be one of the first to praise him.

At Gamescom, the announcement heard around the world was finally made. Gamers including myself have anxiously awaited the news about the impending release of the PlayStation 4. Since E3, things have been pretty quiet at Sony, but there was no reason for anyone to be concerned. Unlike Microsoft that had to change their policies to keep up, Sony stayed the course by sticking to a vision that had gamers in mind as they brought the PS4 to life. The big question we all had was when, and at the closing moments of Sony’s press conference that answer as given. November 15. In less than three months the next generation will officially begin. While excitement rang, there was an ominous dark cloud looming that had some gamers rather upset. Why?

Indie Games

The main reason that had some hardcore gamers a little perturbed at Sony had to do with the large indie games presence at Gamescom. Hardcore gamers wanted to see more big blockbuster AAA first party games that has Microsoft execs busting out of their expensive Don Mattrick inspired jackets. However, Sony wanted to show gamers their commitment to the indie scene by showcasing games that don’t get the large stage, or over the top trailers to bring excitement to the masses. Microsoft may have all the money (due to the $60/year Xbox Live Gold price) to buy timed exclusive games and have DLC first, but Sony decided to flex their muscles elsewhere and give smaller budget game developers the spotlight which has some dishing out indie hate.

Now I’m not a hater when it comes to this subject, because I like what Sony has brought to the table with their endless supply of indie games. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted a PS4 over the Xbox One. Games including Helldivers, Hotline Miami 2, Ray’s The Dead, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Mercenary Kings, Outlast, Secret Ponchos, and countless others have me more excited than the usual big budget sequel driven franchises including Call of Duty, Battlefield, Dead Rising, Assassin’s Creed, and even Halo. Indie games bring some new visions and ideas to the table that help shape the way we will play games in the near future. Basically, indie developers are willing to take big risks and sacrifices to help broaden the horizons of the gaming world.

Do you want to know what really separates the indies from the big dogs? Allow me share something with you.

Let’s take a look at the big picture when it comes to video games. Big name publishers and developers are basically playing it safe by creating sequel after sequel of popular franchises knowing that they will get your money. Most of these games show up yearly including sports games, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed. These yearly games have either peaked, or they’re past their prime, because these games either make minimal tweaks to slightly enhance the gameplay, or are not willing to experiment with anything new at all. In essence, your just playing the same game with a minor graphical bump to make it look shiny and special. Still excited about Madden 25, Battlefield 4, or Call of Duty: Ghosts?

Indie developers, on the other hand, are willing to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating new and exciting games. These developers will take a concept that you and I are familiar with, and throw a monkey wrench within the programming thereby creating a new way to experience the game. Most will call this weird while others will call this genius.

Everyday indie developers are coming up with new ways to enjoy the genres we love. So why should we hate on them when a company like Sony is willing to invest big on these new and innovating ideas that they create? Sony is bringing these indie developers to the forefront, and not burying them in the back of a marketplace so that we would have to sort through a huge clutter of shit to find the diamonds in the rough. As gamers we should be happy to see that a company is willing to take risks, and not play it safe by buying up timed exclusives just for the sake of sales. Besides, these games that Microsoft has bought as so-called “exclusives” will soon be available on the Sony platform for us to enjoy. Add on all the indie goodness that came before it, and what you have is a win for gamers.

Once again it looks like Microsoft has announced another policy reversal. This time it’s in regards to the Kinect sensor with the Xbox One. Stemming from an Ask Microsoft Anything article from IGN, Xbox Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten has stated:

“Xbox One owners will be able to use all of the console’s core functions regardless of whether the new Kinect sensor is connected. Naturally, many of the tentpole features of the new Kinect, such as player identification, voice commands, etc., will be disabled as a result, but players will still be able to play games and access entertainment content.”

So what does this all mean? Basically, it means that the Kinect sensor is no longer required in order for the Xbox One to function. No more worrying about Microsoft “spying” on you. No more Kinect…period! While this latest reversal has Xbox fans once again rejoicing, I begin to wonder whether this change is a so called “victory” for gamers? Honestly, I don’t think so. The conclusion that I draw from all this is that Microsoft has raped the identity of the Xbox One leaving gamers confused about Microsoft’s next-gen vision.

Yes, Xbox One actually had a vision, however gamers including myself saw it as a console filled with restrictive policies that seemed to benefit the publishers more than the consumer. Personally, I was pissed off about the requirement of Kinect, DRM, always online, and no backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. All this gravitated me towards the PlayStation 4, and by E3 my decision was made after the Sony press conference as Jack Tretton stated that the PS4 was everything opposite of what the Xbox One was as well as $100 cheaper. I was sold. The PS4 was for me.

What has happened since E3 has had Microsoft backpedaling, and the results that followed had me wondering just what the heck was going on in Redmond. For a while I believed that Microsoft had it’s head on it’s shoulders, and was taking the correct steps in bringing a community of gamers together. Unfortunately, things have changed dramatically, because I now believe that Microsoft is absolutely clueless about what they’re doing. The last couple of months have been filled with reversals that include the Draconian DRM, self publishing with indie developers, always online, and now the Kinect. To put things in a nutshell, Microsoft has abandoned just about everything the Xbox One was supposed to be in terms of the future of gaming and entertainment just so they can compete with the PlayStation 4. Basically, the Xbox One is nothing more than a beefed up Xbox 360. Now why would you want something that you pretty much already have?

And what about the Kinect?

Now that the Kinect is no longer mandatory, developers might decide to no longer include the use of the peripheral when making their games. Why enhance the gameplay with a device that gamers were against using in the first place? This once again makes the Kinect nothing more than another useless gimmick. As of this moment, Microsoft has no plans to remove the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One which means first adopters will still have to pay the $100 extra for something that they might never use. For some this is a waste of money. Microsoft, on the other hand, can only hope that gamers will actually use it.

From excitement of the announcement to damage control that followed, it’s such a shame to see how far Microsoft has fallen in just the past few months. They’ve completely lost their way, and I just don’t understand why some people are such Microsoft apologists after all these reversals. The Xbox One now has a major identity crisis, and I no longer know what this console is or what exactly makes it so special. Maybe what Microsoft should’ve done was stick to their guns, and slowly ease people in to what could be the future of gaming and entertainment. Unfortunately, all Microsoft has done is continue to dig themselves further down the hole while still not finding a way to get themselves out of it.

* Source of linked IGN article written by Scott Lowe

Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the rumor mill dealing with anything from “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” was running at a feverish pitch. Not long after Disney signed the paperwork they announced a new Star Wars trilogy starting with Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, releasing in the summer of 2015. While that news was exciting, there was a tremor in the Force that was felt by the fans about a larger Star Wars presence in the Disney theme parks. It was time for answers to all the burning questions, so Star Wars fans all over the world flocked to the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. Sadly, there must have been a large Sith presence clouding our vision, because all we got was a tease.

The first bit of news that had fans upset was the lack of Episode VII news. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn started to tell fans what they already knew about the movie in terms of the director, screenwriter, musical score by John Williams, and release. Then the bad news came. Horn said “I do wish I could tell you more, but…” all of a sudden the “Imperial March” theme echoed through the building, and then came the words that nobody wanted to hear from Horn’s mouth. “There are dark forces. And they are watching.” No surprise here as audience booed in response to that announcement. Not even Marvel movie news, or the presence of Angelina Jolie promoting the upcoming Maleficent movie, could save the disaster that is no Star Wars news.

There is still hope. What about Star Wars Land?

With the Star Wars theme park attraction rumors exploding in the past few months on numerous websites, the big question amongst fans was what can we expect with this upcoming Star Wars Land at both Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Rumors centered around a Mos Eisley Cantina, speeder bikes on Endor, podracing, a walkthrough of the Millenium Falcon, and even a dueling indoor roller coaster featuring X-Wings and Tie Fighters. Disney had the chance to blow the roof off, and give fans something to cheer about besides a new movie. Unfortunately, all we got was a bunch of crates.

Orange Harvest. This should ring a bell with Star Wars fans when Lucasfilm was shooting Return of the Jedi, and code named it “Blue Harvest” just to keep fans off guard. Even though these crates were nothing more than hollow props, each of these crates did give clues of what to possibly expect while one of these crates contained “top secret plans”. Those “plans” however, were just a bit out of reach of fans to see what’s in store in the near future, but rest assured the Imagineers are hard at work and construction of this technical marvel will begin very soon. We know that once the walls go up Disney will no longer be able to hide their “Potter-swatter” from the masses.

A weekend full of hype was nothing more than just a false hope. We may have received no new Star Wars news at the Disney D23 Expo, so that means that the wheels of the rumor mill express will continue to turn for just a little while longer. I’m sure that one year from now we’ll know more than just rumors as Episode VII draws closer to release, and Star Wars Land will be off the ground and running for it’s eventual opening. Until that time let’s have faith in those who will help bring the saga to life in ways we’ve never seen before, because we all know that Disney won’t Jar Jar these projects.

Having trouble taking your eyes off this sexy photo of the Sorceress from Atlus and Vanillaware’s fantasy action/role-playing game Dragon’s Crown? Ok, well I’m having a bit of a hard time too. Game creator George Kamitani’s vision since 1998 when he was creating this game at the time for the Sega Dreamcast was to “have a game that would stand out from all the others”. Based on the artbook I received with my pre-order those concept drawings were nowhere near what I’ve seen today. It just goes to show that Dragon’s Crown has clearly come a long way in the 15 years that followed. Of course with all the praises from most media members including myself for the “sexy and edgy” art design there are others who greatly disagree including one reviewer deeming the material as “juvenile” and “one-sided and gross”.

Ok, so let’s go with the argument that supposedly George Kamitani went a little too far. We’ve got a game that features a woman with an enormous rack, an Amazon warrior wearing a G-string, and other female characters posing in rather compromising positions that pretty much send the message of “Fuck me now!” With this in mind Dragon’s Crown can be summed up as the closest thing to soft-core porn. All that’s needed is a “M” rating from the ESRB, and then teenage boys will be jerking off to source material in no time.

Now let’s look at the other side of the argument. The side that views Kamitani’s sexy and edgy art design simply as art. I stated this in my review for Dragon’s Crown where I said:

“I know there are people who may not like some of the female poses that look a little oversexed, but honestly it’s just art. The way I see it is that art is meant to be looked at as well as appreciated or even scrutinized. In the case of Kamitani’s depictions of the female body featured here in Dragon’s Crown (from the Sorceress’ huge breasts to other females in rather compromising positions) keep in mind that this is a fantasy game so this shouldn’t be treated as such a big deal.”

With all that said I want you to keep one word in mind from my statement. “Fantasy“. Dragon’s Crown is set in a “fantasy” world based on one man’s unique vision. Basically his game features some large breasted women in scantily clad clothing, in compromising positions, or portrayed helpless in scenes of bondage which to some is considered bad taste by portraying these women as helpless playthings. Now before some of you pass judgment on this “fantasy” I would like to add this statement. Keep in mind that what one person might find offending, others will find artistic. What really amazes me is all the heat that Dragon’s Crown is receiving considering the fact that this is not the first time this type of sex appeal has been portrayed in a video game. Who remembers Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, the female characters of Kitana, Mileena, Jade, and Sonya in 2011’s Mortal Kombat, Cammy in the Street Fighter series, Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series, and Custer’s Revenge on the Atari 2600?

I want to share with you a couple of things that I’ve learned through my years in journalism classes in both high school and college. There are a couple of phrases that stand out in regards to media. When you watch the news on television or read a newspaper how many times has the first story or headline been about a fatality? Well in the news world the phrase is “If it bleeds, it leads“. Now in the world of advertising there is another phrase that is used to help sell products and services. “Sex Sells“. Don’t believe me? Well think about it. Sex appeal is everywhere on television, film, print media (books, magazines, newspapers), billboards, music, the internet, and even video games. Put a good looking woman behind a cash register and she can sell anything to anyone. Sex Sells. A hot waitress at Hooters. Sex Sells. A female bartender, or a girl serving shots at a nightclub. Sex Sells. A big breasted female sorceress in a fantasy video game. I think you understand now. Sex sells and everyone’s buying. Deal with it.

Now for anyone who may find this offensive, or thinks that this selling point only exists in today’s world, I’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong. This type of advertising has been around since the early days of man, the Roman Empire, and even Medieval Times. Sex sells is still a concept widely used in the present day, and will continue long after you and I have left this world to the spiritual afterlife. Maybe we need to stop being so radical and politically correct about everything we see, and what we really need to do is just accept it. I’m not saying that you have to agree to it, but just realize that you can’t shelter yourself from it all. You can however keep it away from your children with a little parental control.

In closing, should the inclusion a big breasted female sorceress, or overall female portrayal in a video game be considered as offensive? No. There’s no need for the ridiculously overhyped negative circus. Just understand that it’s only art. Enjoy it for what it is. Besides, it’s ok to have an opinion. Just don’t complicate it with a bunch of useless nonsense, or downscore a game because of it.

* Source of linked Polygon review written by Danielle Riendeau

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Yes, the picture says it all about my back to work blues

Wow, it’s been almost four months since I was last laid off. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Summertime is in full swing, and I’ve been enjoying my lengthy vacation here at home. Movies, theme parks, video games, and having my niece and nephew here for some fun in the sun has been great. However, all good things have to come to an end. This means that I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do about going back to work, because unemployment isn’t going to last forever.

Working as a union electrician can be a tough life. Sometimes the going is good when work is in abundance especially when I was working at the nuke plant in Port St. Lucie. Of course with all the good comes the bad when things get slow. A partial solution to that mess would be for me to head out on the road. I’ve , found some small jobs in Georgia and Alabama, but these are only temporary solutions just to pad my bank account so that I don’t have to worry about going broke. I will say that I enjoy the freedom of working on the road, but I’d rather be home instead so that I can be close to family as well as sort out my personal life.

Part of me wishes that I made a career in the video game industry reviewing games and stuff. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so I need to think more realistically and constructively. So what are my options? Well here’s a few options that have been floating around.

OPTION 1: Fort Lauderdale
Well it looks like a fall outage at the nuke plant at Port St. Lucie is coming up. It’s not like the long outages that I’ve had in the past, but for a chance to work near home for 2-3 months would be nice. Sadly, the company may be only looking for 35 guys to man the job which makes this a longshot for me since I’m near the bottom of the book. Maybe they can add a stipulation for badging within in the last six months which would be right up my alley. There’s also work coming up at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and the Broward County Courthouse, but I’ve heard those rumors for the last two years and nothing has happened yet.

OPTION 2: Orlando
Disney’s D23 Expo is coming up next month. At the convention they’re expected to announce a full overhaul to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Star Wars Land, Monstropolis, and Cars Land) as well as the Avatar Land project for Animal Kingdom. These projects are expected to last at least three years which would give me some stability as well as being close to home. Disney always hires union contractors which is good news for me. The bad news is that the pay scale kind of sucks, but I can still make a good profit in the long run. The big question however is when this will all start.

OPTION 3: South Carolina
I haven’t done any work in the Charleston area so an initial signing of their book is needed. I’m hearing about a Google facility which will be a long term job for up to a year. A couple of guys from my local plan on heading there and asked me to tag along. Sounds like some good work as long as the books aren’t  jammed with names and hurricane season misses the coast. The other bad news is that I won’t be able to pick up my PlayStation 4 on launch day. I have it paid off so it looks like someone else will have to pick it up for me and I’ll bring it back to Charleston after Thanksgiving.

OPTION 4: Alabama
Ok, this is the worst case scenario due to the fact that there won’t be any new jobs coming until 2014 at the nuke plant in Athens. Two outages are planned in February and in October. Chances of me snagging those jobs if I have nothing else for the rest of this year are very good, but waiting for these opportunities to come up is not a good idea because it’s a drain on my bank account. I need something before that so here’s hoping it doesn’t come down to this.

Well, those are my options. What do I do? at least I have some time to figure it all out. Here’s hoping for the best. Also if anyone is looking for an editor for their gaming site let me know.