Monday, November 26, 2007

Tokyo Flash watches

Check out these cool watches O_O
I never wear watches but these seem too geeky-cool to pass up on. I might have to get myself one for Christmas :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Come check out my Company of Heroes game idea at the Relic forums. I came up with it while thinking about World in Conflict, Team Fortress 2, and World of Warcraft. Tell me what ya think, or write a supportive post in the forum thread if you think it's a good idea!

Here's the gist of it:

"I think it'd be cool if Relic made a spin-off game (or game mode?) of COH, one that's designed more for casual gamers, for people who aren't really into RTS's, but still think COH is very impressive and fun to play.. if the game could be simplified, that is.

The idea is that instead of having each player control/build an entire army on his own, each player would instead be given a single unit (or squad) to control. If the game has 16 players, it would have 16 units/squads running around the map, battling it out. The game would mostly still play out the same way as it does currently: players would still fight over control points in order to gather resources. So, for example, Player 1 would be an Engineer squad, and nothing else. His goal would be to run around repairing friendly vehicles, setting mines, defensive structures, and so forth. And with a carefully tweaked resource system, he would have to spend resources in order to do various tasks. Meanwhile, Player 2, on the same team as Player 1, is a MG team. Player 3 is a Sherman tank. Player 4 is a Halftrack. And so forth. Each player has his strengths and weaknesses, and each has his role to play in the battle. And if any of them wanted to change to another type of unit or squad, they would select a new "class" and go."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sign the "Allow Xbox360 to play with keyboard and mouse" petition!

Although I've owned the 360 for a while now, and have played and enjoyed many FPS games on it using the gamepad, I still want keyboard and mouse support. FPS games and RTS games would be so much more enjoyable. Plus, MMORPGs like World of Warcraft could come to the 360.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Video game onslaught!!


The next few months is going to be a crazy time for video game enthusiasts. There's just so many great games coming out! Student grades will fall, sleep will be lost, spouses will threaten divorce, and the nerd population of the world will increase. To help prepare you for the coming months, I present some of the games I'm looking forward to the most.

Ace Combat 6 (Xbox 360)
Release date: October 23rd

Ace Combat 6 is an action air combat game where realism takes a back seat to having simple, action packed, cinematic-style fun. If you ever thought the movie Top Gun was cool, this is the game for you. The basic game goes like this: hop into a sleek jet fighter of your choice, target and destroy enemies with missiles, dodge missiles shot at you, rinse and repeat. As you play, you'll unlock more powerful weapons and jet fighters to play with. It may seem hard to fly a jet fighter (and in real life I'm sure it is!), but in the Ace Combat games you merely need to point your jet's nose towards a target, let your missile lock onto a target, then shoot the missile. The main challenge of the game is knowing when to shoot your missile so that its chances of hitting home are highest.

Why am I looking forward to this game? The graphics are incredible! And the number of planes flying around in the sky at one time has been significantly increased since Ace Combat 5. Plus, in some of the missions, you'll get to defend a fictionalized version of San Francisco, and its Golden Gate Bridge. Cool.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 3)
Release date: November 5th

Call of Duty 4 is a first-person shooter game, and much like Ace Combat, it presents a "Hollywood" approach to war. Pick up a weapon, manually aim it at your enemies, and shoot.

While all of the previous Call of Duty games have been set in World War 2, this one is set in the current day. You play from the viewpoints of soldiers from different national militaries, all cooperating to stop a terrorist plot. Personally I think the story is pretty cheesy, and from reading previews of the game, it's obviously a rip off of the most recent season of TV's 24. But the Call of Duty games have never been about story, but exciting and chaotic gameplay.

COD4 emphasizes movie-style military heroics through heavily scripted action sequences. What that means is that as you play, a carefully orchestrated series of events will take place, with you right in the middle of it. You might be running along, chasing after retreating enemies, when all of a sudden... an enemy tank comes crashing through a wall. It fires its gun, causing a building to come crashing down around you. As debris surrounds you, you try to escape the building before being crushed to death. This series of events is a game "script," and if you play the mission again, these events will unfold again in the exact same way.

Many games have scripted gameplay events like COD, but the COD series is commonly seen as the king of scripted gameplay. Each of their scripts is memorable and fun to participate in.

Rock Band (Xbox 360, Playstation 2, Playstation 3)
Release date: November 23rd

This is the game that everyone can, and will, enjoy. Rock Band gives you four different game controllers, each a simplified version of a real life musical instrument. One microphone for a singer, two guitars, and a drum set. With this, you'll play this music rhythm game with up to 3 friends and pretend you're all part of a rock band. The singer must sing along with the music, much like you would during karaoke. Meanwhile, the guitarists and drummer must play their instruments, hitting buttons on their controllers at the right moment in order to score points.

Publisher MTV Games and distributor Electronic Arts plan to include hundreds of popular songs in the game. For a list of some of the songs expected at release, go here.

(Side story: During the summers, I work as a game tester at Electronic Arts. I was *so* close to being a game tester for this game! Argh! If only I had told them I was a good singer, instead of a mediocre one... I was only being modest, I'm sure I sing better than most of the other applicants, even if that's not saying much. Haha.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation

The next robot game I want to recommend to all robot fans is Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation for the Gameboy Advanced (reviews). One of many games in the long-running Super Robot Wars series, Original Generations and its sequel, Original Generations 2, are the only Super Robot games to make their way to the United States.

The game is a strategy turn-based role-playing game. During your turn, you move your robot units around the map, then choose actions from a menu to attack your enemies or activate special powers (such as dodge the next attack, or increase the chances of hitting your next target). Unlike action games, this game doesn't require fast reflexes at all, so it can be a great game for people who prefer the more methodical pace of strategy games like chess. For example, an enemy that has highly powerful but inaccurate attacks would prefer you stand right next to him in order for him to blast you, so your counter-tactic would be to keep your distance away from him and pelt him with long range and accurate attacks.

As with most role-playing games, character dialogue and plot development are key features of Original Generation. The story begins with two warring factions on Earth, the Earth Federation and the Neo Divine Crusaders. Meanwhile, an alien menace is expected to invade Earth at any moment. It's up to your command skills to end the Earth civil war and defend Earth from the aliens!

Original Generation has over 30 characters, each with their own unique personality, motivations, and back story. Like an action-packed soap opera (or "space opera" as some call it), characters betray one another, fall in love, and get revenge over past injustices ("Archibald Grim, you killed my sister-in-law! I will have my revenge!"). It's all pretty fun stuff, although the huge cast can make it very hard to keep track of all the different story arcs.

Where the game really shines is in its art style, animation and music. Whenever you launch an attack, or are attacked by an enemy, the game presents you with a highly stylized 2D animation of the combat. You can check out an example in the Youtube video I embedded above this post. Each one of your characters also has catchy and energetic theme music whenever they battle. As you defeat enemies, you gain money and experience points, which you can then use to upgrade your pilots, robots, and weapons with.

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is a game that all robot fans need to try. Even though I'm not a fan of turn-based games, nor RPG games, Super Robot is such a great homage to all things robot that it was impossible for me to resist. The game has humor, drama, action, great music, and art. Plus, with around 40 missions (each taking between 30-60 minutes to complete!), the game has an incredible amount of play value in it. Check it out :)

Oh, and if you play the game and really get into it, check out these model kits for the robots of the game. That's right.. the game has its own toy line o_O

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cool robot games: Gundam SEED

Seeing how my blog's title is now ROBOT ATTACK!!, I thought I'd dedicate a post or two to robots and cool games in which they do their robotic work!

Michael Bay's Transformers film broke a box-office record this summer. Spider-man actor Tobey Maguire and Warner Brothers Studios recently announced they've begun work on a Robotech film, where transformable giant robots defend the planet from an alien menace. Robert Downey, Jr. stars in the film Iron Man, opening in 2008, where the hero flies around in a robot suit with laser cannon hands (always convenient to have). And FOX will be airing the Sarah Connor Chronicles this fall, a show set in the Terminator universe. Robots seem to be everywhere these days!

And there's been no shortage of video games featuring robots. But what are the best robot games that have come out in recent years, you ponder? Well, ponder no more!

Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED: Rengou vs ZAFT

In this arcade game port for the Playstation 2, 1-2 players can play through the battles of the hit animated show, Gundam SEED. You can choose from over 30 "Mobile Suits" (giant robots) to pilot, each that has its own unique look, special attacks, strengths and weaknesses. The presentation is great, with the graphics, sound effects, and music all top-notch stuff. The audio is almost all borrowed from the TV show, including the rock, pop, and orchestral music tracks.

The gameplay is easy to pick up, and even the most inexperienced of video game players can hop right in and have fun with the game. As each game mission begins, you and your teammate (human or AI controlled) take on 2-4 enemy Mobile Suits in a simple battle area. There's no need to manually aim your robot's guns at enemies like in some other games, as your Mobile Suit automatically locks on and tracks a single enemy for you. Just press the Fire button and your laser beam will fly out towards the enemy. Simple and fun, at least on the easier difficulty settings. Where the game's challenge comes from, especially on the harder difficulties or against human opponents, is knowing how to maneuver your Mobile Suit, and when to shoot. A quick double-tap of the directional pad will let you dodge an attack, and because your laser attacks take a few moments to reach their target, it's important to judge when your shot is most likely to hit.

Story-wise, the game is very bare bones. If you haven't seen the show, you'll have no idea who the characters are, or what each battle is about. So don't expect well-crafted cutscenes here. It's a pure action game.

The game is unavailable in the US, but can be bought from import game sites. Although nearly all of the text and menu options are in Japanese, you don't need to know any Japanese to fully enjoy the game.

With fun and simple game play, and great production values, Gundam SEED: Rengou vs ZAFT is one of the best robot games of recent years. Any fan of robots or competitive action video games should definitely check this game out.

In a later post, I'll go over the Gameboy Advanced game, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generations. Until then, you can check out this Youtube video of the the Gundam SEED game in action.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New name and banner

Changed my blog's name to Robot Attack, and added a banner. What do you think? Cool, ya? :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your favorite game system stinks!

If you follow video game news or discussion sites, you know there's a "console war" going on right now, with millions of fanboys flaming owners of competing systems while praising the system they personally own as some kind of machine god. This post is an attempt to show that each of these systems have horrible, horrible flaws.

I own all three of the current generation of console game systems, have played each of them extensively, and I think I'm well qualified to say the following: ALL OF THE GAME SYSTEMS STINK! Here's why.

1. Xbox 360

One of the biggest blunders in console manufacturing history, the 360 has a massive failure rate. The estimated number of 360s that have broken or will break is between 30-50% of ALL the 360s sold. And even when it's not broken, a large number of 360s run at an incredibly loud volume due to a flawed DVD-ROM drive. I have to hide my 360 behind a cabinet in order to keep its noise from distracting me.

Recently, Microsoft announced it would fork over nearly $2 billion dollars (BILLION!) to extend the warranty on the 360 to 3 years. This was after more than a year of deceptive press statements from Microsoft execs saying that the 360's failure rate was marginal and nothing to get worked up about. Fans of the 360 praised Microsoft for extending the warranty and giving out free repairs for broken 360s, but they forget that nothing is "free." Microsoft is a profit-driven corporation, and it's not going to just throw $2 billion out the window. They're going to try and make up for this elsewhere. Microsoft consumers of all kinds will be paying for this $2 billion mistake through higher prices for Microsoft services and software.

2. Playstation 3

The PS3 runs games at lower graphical quality than the 360, and yet the PS3 costs $150 more. One of the reasons the PS3 is so expensive is because Sony decided to use the PS3 as a way to introduce its Blu-Ray disc format to the public. Blu-Ray is a disc format that can store around 50 gigs of data on a disc, which lets people play HD quality movies on their HDTVs. The problem with this is that most people who buy the PS3 would've preferred the PS3 be cheaper, and devoid of Blu-Ray functionality, instead of having the technology forced into the console and its price without any benefit to the PS3's video game playing ability.

The PS3's controller is a step back in most ways from the PS2's controller, and is far inferior to the 360's. It lacks rumble features and instead features a terrible motion sensor gimmick. Unlike the Nintendo Wii's Wiimote, the Sixaxis controller's shape is not suitable for motion sensor gameplay at all. Even on this post here on the official Sony Playstation forums, many owners of the PS3 admit that Sony screwed up when it came to the motion sensor feature of the controller.

3. Wii

The Nintendo Wii is currently the leader of the "console wars," with sales far outnumbering and outpacing its competitors. At $250, the system is far cheaper than the 360 and PS3, and its motion sensor "Wiimote" controller makes games easier to play for the huge casual gamer market. But is it really a good value?

At its core, the Wii is nothing more than a Gamecube with a $200 controller attached to it. Its hardware specs are nearly identical to the Gamecube's, a system that came out 6 years ago and can be bought for $50 on Ebay. The Wii doesn't support HDTV resolutions at all, despite the fact that PC gamers have been in HD resolutions for more than 10 years now. And HDTVs are expected to become the standard TVs of households within the next few years. This poses a problem for the Wii because SDTV quality content looks considerably worse on an HDTV. In other words, as people get HDTVs, the graphics quality of Wii games will actually appear to get worse!

The Wii feels like it was outdated at the time of its release. The motion sensor controls are fun, but paying $250 is just too much.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

3 blogs about video games

I like to visit the following 3 blogs about video games.

1. Blue's News

Blue's News is a blog that focuses on PC games. The author of the blog, Blue, updates the site twice a day with dozens of links to computer game related articles, such as game industry press releases, computer game hardware reviews, computer game reviews, and downloadable user-created game content . Much of the blog's links are links found by readers of Blue's News, who e-mail Blue with stuff they think their fellow PC gamers will find interesting, useful, or funny. At the end of each batch of links, Blue writes a small section called "Out of the Blue" where he briefly comments on his personal life or a video game he's been playing, then finishes that off with links that are not necessarily related to gaming, but are interesting and/or funny things to check out.

Blue's News is my favorite game blog and probably the site I visit the most on the Internet. I visit it at least once a day, usually every day, and have been doing so for at least 5 years. I really like the "no nonsense / no frills" approach to the site. The site has very little advertising (at the top, there are only 2 small ads), and the advertising that is there is not obtrusive or distracting like other websites' ads. And besides the 2-3 ads on the site, the blog has no images at all, which gives the site a clean look and an efficient layout.

2. Joystiq

Joystiq is a blog that covers both video and computer games, while adding in a bit of humor in their news posts and/or custom-made images. In many ways, it's the opposite of what Blue's News is. Instead of just throwing out dozens of links at you, Joystiq usually focuses on just a few news stories a day, and each story is often accompanied by a funny picture and a joke or two in the post itself.

I especially like the user comment sections of the site. You can choose from a variety of video game-related Avatars to represent yourself with. And your fellow commentators can then judge your comments with a positive or negative rating. If you comment is rated negatively too often, your avatar and your comment will lose its "health hearts" and become less visible and harder to read. Joystiq also supports and Digg it features.

3. Kotaku

Kotaku is similar to Joystiq, except with much less of the Funny. A lot of the attempts at humor kinda fall flat for me. Another difference is that one or two of the site's authors live in Japan and they sometimes comment on gaming news coming out of Japan faster than most other blogs.

One gripe I have with the site is that to subscribe to the blog's RSS, you have to look at the left-hand side of the site, past a lengthy staff list, to find the RSS buttons. It's much easier to see the RSS feed buttons of Joystiq and Blue's News. Kotaku supports only Digg it features.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Robotech movie in the works. Sweet.

TORONTO -- After slipping on a mask for Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire might be slipping into a giant robot for "Robotech."

After a lengthy negotiation, Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to bring anime classic "Robotech," which featured giant robots known as mechas, to the big screen. Maguire is producing through his Maguire Entertainment banner and is eyeing the lead role in what the studio plans on being a tentpole sci-fi franchise.

"We are very excited to bring 'Robotech' to the big screen," Maguire said. "There is a rich mythology that will be a great foundation for a sophisticated, smart and entertaining film."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Got Bioshock on launch day, completed it the next day on Medium difficulty. Great game, cool story, great writing, but terrible endings. Amazing graphics, sounds, and atmosphere.

It's not really an FPS, but an RPG from a first person perspective. Like RPGs, reflex times and hand-eye coordination isn't really what's important. What's important is that you make the right decisions that will equip your character with enough power, or the correct types of power, to take on a challenge. In this way the game feels more like a battle of number crunching, which I'm not really into. I think it's more like Neverwinter Nights than Rainbow Six Vegas. I still really enjoyed the game, but I would've liked a little more Rainbow Six Vegas and a little less Neverwinter, I guess.

Anyway, here's an idea for multiplayer Bioshock that I posted over at the Penny Arcade forums.
I think this game, with a little (or a lot of) work, could be tweaked into a Diablo-esque style hack-and-slash game (or "plasmid and shoot" game). Or even a World of Warcraft style game. Bear with me.

Basically, the current level environments would be maintained exactly as they are. But all the singleplayer quests would be removed from the game. You and, let's say, up to 16 players can join the game and roam around Rapture as you will. Your goal? To collect ADAM (Bioshock's way of "levelling up"), rare and unique items, tonics, weapons, and to get money. Bioshock already has respawning monsters that roam the world, so that's already an online RPG element built into the game. These 16 players would freely explore and grind up the ADAM tree if they wish, or they could meet with each other to form parties. Of course, PVP combat would be an important part of the game. Your party might run into another party, with a Little Sister and a Big Daddy in the middle. So, both parties shoot the crap out of the Daddy, then after he's dead, immediately start shooting each other. The victorious party takes the ADAM and runs off. The moral choice of the game also comes into question here, too. If your party of players is "good", you kill the enemy players because you wish to rescue the Sisters, not harvest them.

Basically, it would be "World of Rapture." And I think it would fit perfectly with the ideology of Rapture.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ymm... I love video games ^_^
Finished Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Simply awesome. I feel ashamed that I didn't play Ninja Gaiden to completion until now. Shoulda picked up Ninja Gaiden Black when it came out! I don't know if Heavenly Sword will impress me thanks to Sigma. I tried the Heavenly Sword demo and the character models have that "clay face" look to them, which I dislike. Ninja Gaiden Sigma, meanwhile, is just smooth goodness everywhere.

Pre-ordered Halo 3 and Bioshock. Ymmm.... video games.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I posted this over at the official Chromehounds forum.


I've logged about 85 hours in Chromehounds and enjoy it a lot. But, a lot of the game design choices seem odd to me, and I'm not all that surprised that the game isn't well known or very popular. So here are some of my ideas on what I think would make Chromehounds better. Please post your ideas, too Smile

I've tried to keep my ideas fairly modest. I understand that programming a video game isn't simple work (I've been a QA tester at EA games for 5 different projects), so simple game changes are much more easy to adopt than massive ones.

1. Let players join Neroimus War missions regardless of squad affiliation.

When creating a mission in the Neroimus War, players should be able to toggle whether or not they want the mission to be "Squad-only" or "Open" to all pilots of the nation. In my opinion, forcing the War into a "squad-only" system was a critical mistake of this game, and really sank the game's multiplayer appeal.

Just let players open up a mission to all players in the nation, and you'll see a lot more 6 v 6 matches.

2. Text communication through USB keyboards and the upcoming 360 "chatpad" accessory.

For those not aware, you can hook up a USB keyboard to your 360 and can type messages on it. And soon Microsoft will release a "chatpad" accessory for the 360's controller. It's basically a keyboard you peck on with your thumbs.

Text chat is simply a "good thing" and the game will benefit from it's addition.

Plus, it would be GREAT if we could at least text chat with the enemy team during the Briefing Room portion of the Neroimus War. Find out what's taking so freaking long for them to launch, for example Razz I understand that this game is a "simulation" and is trying to simulate real war, but I think some liberties can be taken and people wouldn't mind.

3. Fix or remove the monetary system of the game.

Money has no value whatsoever in this game, and the Sell button in the Shop has no purpose, either. The money system is extremely broken, and what's worse, this has severe consequences on the combat balance of the game, too. Either fix the money, or get rid of it entirely and balance the game appropriately.

It appears the game designers intended money to be something that discouraged you and encouraged you to use certain Hound builds, certain weapons, certain ammo, and even attack certain areas of the map. But even below average players like me have insane amounts of money. I can always buy the most expensive parts and ammo, and mission rewards and costs are totally irrelevant.

So, please give me a reason to care about money, what I do with it. Give me a reason to use that Sell option in the Shop.

4. Get rid of those "_____ has made a Massive Donation" messages. 'Nuff said.

5. Add Weapon Restriction options for the Free Battles.

It is very common to see people request that people not use certain weapons, and I think the game should give these people a real way to enforce these desires. Rainbow Six Vegas, a very popular Xbox Live game, has this option.

6. When a player is destroyed in a War battle, let them observe the game through the viewpoints of their teammates's Hounds.

It's boring walking around as an infantry man, waiting for the game to end. Give us something to watch, at least!

7. Take away ALL my stuff at the end of each war.

I saved this idea for last as it's my most extreme one. At the end of each war, I think every player's inventory should be stripped. Let the players keep their Assembly Data, but take away all their parts.

Why do this? To give players a reason to fight, to make money, and a desire to buy goodies again. A reason to use that Trade option. In the real world, people make money so they can buy more stuff, to trade with people, and so forth. But in Chromehounds, you have everything in the game. There's nothing to buy, because you have everything already.

And if the money system is fixed (idea #3), this would also force players to make their buying and selling decisions wisely. And with the addition of a text chatroom (idea #2), players could easily buy/sell things to other players within their nation if they prefer that over the Shop's deals.

Give players one Hound of each roletype at the beginning of each War, though. Or at least enough parts that they can play different roles right from the start. Don't want to punish people too severely..

I think this idea also works well in the context of the game's story. If the war has restarted because we've gone back in time, we shouldn't keep all our stuff.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Chromehounds. A brilliant, yet retarded, game. I picked it up for about $15 shipped on Ebay.

Chromehounds is an Xbox 360 game in which you create sluggish and giant tanks (kinda like Mechwarrior but even slower!), and then take them into online combat against other players. The game has what seems like hundreds of different parts and weapons you can use to create your "Hound" with. And you can arrange them in all sorts of funky ways. It's kinda like a really cool and militaristic version of LEGO. :-P That's the "brilliant" part of Chromehounds.

The "retarded" part comes from the really crummy and needlessly complicated online matchmaking system. Online, players choose from three different nations that are fighting in a persistent war. This war serves as the game's Ranked Matches system, where you can fight against people of a similar experience level. You *must* form a squad with other players in order to participate in the war. And you can ONLY play with your squad against another squad. So if none of your squad members are online, you can't really participate in the war. (You can create a mission that is only 1 vs 1, but in a teamwork game like Chromehounds, this is pretty boring.) Imagine playing Rainbow Six Vegas, or Gears of War, and never being able to join 99% of the games because you're not part of whatever clan the host is in! That's Chromehounds. Ughhh.

So here's how it works. Let's say you and your friend are online and in a squad. You go and choose a mission (which is like hosting a game) for 2 players. Now you wait and hope that an enemy squad of 2 players also joins up. Your squad cannot team up with another allied squad. You must always play with your single squad, and only your single squad, against an enemy single squad. Blech. So you wait, and wait, and wait, because you have no idea how many players are playing in the enemy nations. No idea what kind of squads are over there. Maybe there's a 3 or 4 player squad over there. They can't play with you. 5 or 6 player squad. Nope. Boy, it'd be great if we could merge our 2 player squad with a 4 player squad for a 6 v 6 game. Nope, can't do it.

The game is full of baffling game design like this. You can spend 20 minutes trying to get a game going, 5 minutes actually in the mission. In combat, you can be killed in seconds. No respawns. If you die, you turn into a little infantry soldier. You can't spectate the battle. And the battle may very well last 10 minutes more. The game has such an frustrating amount of downtime, times where you're not playing but just waiting... it's maddening.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Well, I turned 26 years old on Friday. GOOD LORD, I'm getting OLD! And I don't look my age. For example, I recently won a prize in a school raffle, and one of the items in the prize was a bottle of wine. But my teacher offered an alternate prize because she thought I wasn't of legal drinking age yet! Yeeeesh.

Being young looking blows. Obviously I don't want to look like Gandalf the Grey, but it can be hard to be taken seriously if people think you're still in high school. I mean, dang, I'd love to be considered for a Test Lead position at a game company some day, but who's gonna want to promote a tester to Lead when he looks like he just got his driver's license? :-P

Anyway, on to my impressions of CAPCOM's Lost Planet. Lost Planet puts you in the role of a guy, who has lots of cool guns that make cool explosions, on an ice planet full of aliens, who, when killed, freeze into ice then explode in cool ways. This gun-toting guy also has a cool grappling hook that lets him grapple up to higher areas. He can also climb into "Vital Suits" which are like 10 foot tall robot suits that have a lot of firepower and armor. Mmhmm. Good stuff.

So what's so great about it? Well, while the storytelling is a joke, the production values are really high, and the audiovisual experience is great. It's an exciting game, and has a lot of diverse and demanding challenges that I've rarely seen in shooter-style games. Each level has a boss fight which will remind you of the boss fights of CAPCOM games like MegaMan or Resident Evil 4. The bosses each have a unique pattern of behavior that require a great deal of concentration, reflexes, and memory to defeat. This is a big contrast to the combat of Gears of War, IMO. In Gears, each battle pretty much plays out in the same exact way every time: Take cover and shoot, repeat.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

D'oh! Been two months since I last posted. I haven't been up to much. Mostly been watching lots of old Gundam shows, playing Lost Planet, and Command and Conquer 3. I also got hired by EA again for some more game testing. And of course, been going to school :-)

Gundam's an interesting series of shows. It's described by its creators as a humanist show, kinda like how Gene Roddenberry envisioned the Star Trek shows.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's entry on Gundam:

The narrative revolves around the emotions of the characters, who are usually thrown into conflict without much choice and faced with the death, destruction and dehumanization inherent to war. With few exceptions (mostly in side stories), there are no absolute heroes and villains; all have their motives, failings, and virtues. Political battles are as likely to determine the outcome of battles as the heroes, as it often is in real wars. Gundam also features debate on various important philosophical issues and political ideals - both historical ones, and some of those likely to crop up in the future. Of particular note are the frequent explorations of the nature of war, the ideal of pacifism, and the continuing evolution of humanity. These are often framed in the series as a debate between the protagonist and antagonist over the course of a duel, as they try to convince each other of the rightness of their causes.
So, Gundam usually takes on a strong anti-war stance. What's interesting is that the show is full of violence and explosions. So it kinda lures you into the show with its violent, visual spectacle battles. Giant robots and capital ships float around space and/or Earth and blow the crap outta each other. Great stuff!

It then mixes in some romance and other space opera elements, and finally some anti-war humanist political views. A primary goal of the show is also to sell Gundam merchandise to the fans. Each "Mobile Suit" featured in the show can be purchased as an action figure or model kit.

So it's a strange show. On one hand, it celebrates war, war machines, and aims to profit off of young people's fascination with all this. On the other, it condemns war as cruel and always leading to great evils. In the end, I guess I enjoy watching the show for all these traits, in the same way I enjoyed watching Star Wars Episode 3. That movie tried to step away from the generic "good vs evil" dynamic we saw in all the other Star Wars, and I thought the series was made better because of that.

Welp, that's all for now. I'll come back later and give my reviews of Lost Planet and Command and Conquer 3.

PS - here's a couple Gundam videos. The first is a trailer for the PS2 game, Gundam Climax U.C. The second is a music video for the Zeta Gundam film.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


School started last month so I've been sorta busy juggling that with my gaming addiction.

I've been playing Super Robot Taisen Original Generation, Gundam OMNI vs Zaft Plus II, Rainbow Six Vegas, X-wing Alliance TIE Fighter Total Conversion, Freespace 2 Source Code Project (amazing!), and Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Warcraft 3. Gadzooks that's alotta games.

Freespace 2 Source Code Project is incredible. It includes both Freespace games with rewritten code, upgraded graphics, the works. And it's all free to download. If you don't own Freespace 2, you can get it for free here. If you've never played Freespace, I highly recommend it. While I prefer the X-wing series' game mechanics, Freespace is still a great game to behold :)

It's a shame the team behind this project aren't making any money off such a AAA project. If only they could figure out a way to port it to the 360 and/or PS3... maybe make it a downloadable game, ya know? Ah well, I hope they all get great game jobs at least, for having this in their portfolio.

Here's a youtube trailer..

Here's a cutscene from the FS2 campaign..

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm playing Final Fantasy 12 right now. I'm like 32 hours into the game and... I don't like it. Yes, that's right. I'm addicted to a game that I don't even like. Bizarre.

It's like a Diablo-syndrome all over again. Did I actually enjoy Diablo? Not really. But I couldn't stop playing. Ugh. I'm starting to think that many RPGs, thanks to their gambling-like mechanics, form the same addictiveness that real gambling does. There's always that chance that an awesome piece of treasure will come out of the chest and make the world an easier place to live in.

FF12 is like the total opposite of NWN2 in every significant way. FF12 is hard, aesthetically pleasing, professionally-polished in every way, but the story and dialogue is sparse. You run around slaying things for hours for every few seconds of story/dialogue you can get. NWN2, on the other hand, is so easy that it's practically not even a game. It's fairly hideous to look at. It's sloppy. But it has story and dialogue and personality up the wazoo.

But what game comes out on top, gets all the fame? FF12. Final Fantasy gets live sold out concerts, while NWN2, based on D&D, which brought about FF to begin with.. gets nothing. The circle is complete. The student is now the master. Heh :-P

Monday, January 8, 2007

We need mouse and keyboard support for R6 Vegas!

Here's my post on the official Rainbow Six Vegas X360 forums requesting support for mouse and keyboard. I make the argument that the mouse is far more familiar to the mainstream consumer than the gamepad and joystick is, therefore adding mouse support will likely increase sales and profits of FPS console games. I use the examples of the highly popular Nintendo Wii and DS systems to illustrate my point, describing their mouse-like "point and click" features.

If you agree that FPS games on the 360 need mouse and keyboard support, please go the forum and state your support.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Everytime I hop into the 2142 APC, I hum the Aliens track "Ripley's Rescue", which plays as Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) takes the controls of an APC and runs over a buncha aliens in order to rescue some Marines ;)

If you've seen the movie, you'll probably recognize this track:
Click here to listen to Ripley's Rescue by James Horner.