Bioshock Infinite

More ink has been spilled about Bioshock Infinite in the past couple of months than any other shooter in the last few years. It has inspired fans to write long pieces on why the game is one of the greatest accomplishments in human history and inspired people who are tired of hyperbole in the gaming press to come out and vent their frustrations.

IMotorized patriot bioshock infinite irrational games1600 6 1600x900 markednfinite accomplishes something that most other games I’ve played recently fail to do: it was consistently fun. Enjoyment is the starting point for discussing the merits of a game. Dishonored, game of the year contender in 2012, fails to do this maybe 60% of the time… let alone consistently. The main element that helps Bioshock Infinite maintain that consistent enjoyment is that death is not that big of a deal. At first I was against this, but as I played on it started to feel right that death was a minor setback - not something to force you go replay the last five minutes of a game over and over again. The respawn upon death wasn’t a cheat either. Players do spawn with some ammo, but doing so places them at a disadvantage if they had a stock pile of a single type they planned to rely on.

Combat is nice and fluid. Shooting a gun feels incredibly satisfying especially - with the Hand Cannon, which just blows enemies away. The Vigors serve as an extension of the available weapons, not something the game encourages use of as opposed to guns. The one thing that bugs me about the vigors is that it feels like any vigor in any situation seems to work; it is rare that any specific vigor feels better in any of the situations the game places the player in.

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E3 2013 Wrap Up

 

I was a little bit down on E3 this year. I’m not sure why, but in the last few months I’ve been in a bit of fatigue around game news and game hype. Even so, I’m excited for a whole lot of games announced at the show because even if I’m sick and tired of how the industry and fans use marketing to manipulate people… I still love games.

I’m being too negative again. I’m going to try and work on this.

Pokemon X and Y

The Pokemon games haven’t gone through a lot of changes since Red and Blue, but the original formula still works as I said during my Pokemon White review a few years ago. This seems to be the biggest change to the series and if they manage to work through some of the more painful UI elements that still pelage the games this will easily be a Home Run. It also includes some Nintendog like functionality, if you’re into that.

The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

Having missed the original on Game Cube I’ve always wanted to go back and play Wind Waker. With the graphical update and small game play improvements this is the perfect opportunity to jump into the game. With the other games coming out towards the end of the year this is also releasing around the perfect time to grab a Wii U.

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I want more Gravity Falls... NOW

I’m sick and tired of waiting for new Gravity Falls.

Yes, I’m a bitter spoiled child. But there are two conflicting model for releasing serialized content and the one that is persisting, the one that has been around forever is delaying the release of popular content for as long as possible. It doesn’t make any sense in our current media landscape, and it does nothing but enrage the fans.

I’m not talking about the standard model of producing set number of episodes and then releasing them in a set number of weeks... that’s perfect if that is what you have to do. Even Doctor Who, where Season 7 of the show was broken up between 2012 and 2013 more for production issues than milking the show. I can live with that because they at least explained away the delay.

The stuff the drives me insane is stuff like Battlestar Galactica. Where they were finished shooting the final ten episodes eight months before they released them just to get the feeling a new season is coming. Breaking Bad is doing the same thing where they made the creators pad the series in order to break one season up between two years. Those drive me crazy... but even then we have a set number of episodes in a set time span.

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Destiny: Zenith of a poisonous hype machine

 There is a poison that has been growing in gaming culture for some time now. In the last year or so I think it’s reached a zenith, and it is time that consumers start fighting back. The core gamers are told that there are threats to their hobby. That congress is legislating against their games, that iPhones and iPads are causing dedicated game consoles and game capable PCs to disappear. However, the real threat to gaming culture is internal, and is inflamed by PR firms who want to manipulate and gamers into buying into their story so they can sell games. Hype. Hype is the greatest danger to the gaming market and it is time that the majority of core gamers realized how they are being manipulated.

Of course, this could be a problem with the greater geek culture that has risen to prominence in the last ten years. Fans line up for hours to watch ten minutes of a film they are going to see in theaters in a few months. That waste of time and money has always baffled me, as I have always found myself with more media to consume than time to consume it. In gaming I’ve seen fans line up for hours to play a few minutes of Portal 2 at PAX East less than a month before release. The same for L.A. Noir, a game that wasn’t even worth playing even after the price had bottomed out. At NY Comic Con fans waited in line to watch game play of Batman Arkham City only a week or two before release.

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Podcast Challenges

I love podcasts. I listened to some podcasts before even iTunes started to support them but it wasn’t until they got rolled into the iTunes store that I became seriously dependent on them for entertainment during my daily commute and the more mundane tasks I have to suffer through during work. And now, as a podcast producer, I have a vested interest in the ecosystem around podcasts.

Before iTunes allowed podcasts into the store the way to actually get and listen to podcasts was tedious at best. Users had to download them using a desktop based RSS feed reader to download the audio files. Then the user would listen to it in their preferred MP3player on their PC or sync it onto their iPod or other MP3 players. After iTunes worked it into their store, things got a lot easier. Users could find and subscribe to the podcasts they wanted, and then iTunes would download them and delete them from the users computer and iPod after they listened to them. Users would still have to sync with their computers but the management of the audio files had become invisible.

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Guest Appearance: The Geek Effect Ep 20 – E3 2012 Pressers in Review

Last week I was a guest on  Michael Camacho's (co-host of the Otaku in Review) Podcast "The Geek Effect." I briefly talk about my early experiences with Diablo 3, tasty ice cream, and then go over the E3 press conferences. Because I wasn't paying TOO much attention to them, and I had forgot about confirming my appearance on the show, I am quiet a lot of the time. Until the Nintendo discussion begins! I suppose this prove I'm the last Nintendo apologist? Who cares, as long as they keep making Mario I'll keep buying their hardware. So, check it out if you want to hear me lose my cool and yell at Michael. 

Because I'm bad at this, I had been a regularly featured guest on "The Geek Effect" on the segment "The Brony Effect" where we do a weekly recap of My Little Pony. Check out the season wrap up episode and feel free to go back through the archives to catch the previous episodes. 

Obligatory Avengers post

 By the time this post is going up everyone has said pretty much what needs to be said about The Avengers. It’s well written, the action is amazing, and it’s surprisingly hilarious. I have come to the Marvel films as someone who knows nothing about Superhero comics and I came to Avengers without seeing Captain America, which is one of the five movies that build up to the climactic battle. Even without that piece of the story, I didn’t have a problem following the characters or what was going on, which is just as it should have been.

Not to say that Avengers is completely standalone. I think if the audience hadn’t seen at the very least Iron Man and Thor they wouldn’t have quite understood the plot. Other than that, the other films simply filled in color to what is an amazing ensemble cast of broken, super powerful individuals.

The highlights is definitely the dialogue. Joss Whedon’s trademark banter works well among the bickering Avengers as they try to work together. Especially Tony Stark, who is more hilarious than he has ever been with his quick comebacks and pop culture references being served at an amazing speed. Stark is characterized as someone who pretends not to care, and thus insults and belittles people, but Whedon shows that when he flips that switch Stark can be bitter and terrifying. The line from the trailer, “If we can’t protect the earth, you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it,” holds a sincere menace and fear that I didn’t feel in the two Iron Man films. 

The action was stunning. The final scene features The Avengers battling against a massive army supported by giant floating snakes that looked like they were designed by the Final Fantasy 13 team. The action was kept fresh by having The Avengers face different type of foes, in different situations, and combining their powers and skills for maximum effect. Whedon is able to show, amid the chaos of a crumbling New York City, why this team was brought together and what each of them brings to make them work as a more powerful unit. I look forward to seeing the movie again, if for nothing more than that final scene. 

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