Backlog and the Massively infinite sadness, with a Beat.

Alright, beginning one of these is always my weakest point so we'll just skip that part. You know who I am, I know who you are. I kind of need the Giant Bomb community's help right now. You see, I have amassed this giant backlog thanks to Steam and having a capable computer. However, I couldn't attack that backlog with a vengeance during the summer game drought because I got a 9-6 job in the middle of July. Compounding this is the tons and tons of new releases I want to play. Space Marine, Deus Ex, Gears 3 and more are all coming out at an inopportune time in my life. What's a gamer with a well-paying job and no-time to do? Are there games in my backlog* that could be eliminated quickly? Are there games that I should consider cheating in? Should just say “to heck with this” and buy Space Marine, Deus Ex, and Gears 3? So many questions, but I only have one answer so far. Attack that backlog like it's trying to eat your mom's hairbrush.

Mass Effect

You remember this guy, don'tcha?

Anyway, I've been playing Mass Effect in the worst way anyone can play it. Playing Mass Effect in a piecemeal fashion is not the way I want to enjoy that game. However, against all odds, I've been enjoying it immensely. Yes, the criticisms leveled against it back in 2007 are still valid. Elevators are weird, the MAKO is weird, and there's still a staggering amount of graphical problems. But if the broken graphics and gameplay can deliver a story and universe as exciting as people say it is (and so far I have not been disappointed) then I'm certainly willing to slog through the MAKO sections. I like the combat, surprisingly, I think there's a real visceral thrill in shotgunning a geth in the face. There's some inconsistencies in the way Shepard handles in terms of weight and speed, but overall I think the combat flows well and is kept exciting throughout. However, I have yet to make any real tough choices. Most of the missions so far have been pretty cut and dry in finding out which is the Paragon option and which is the Renegade options. I haven't really touched the inventory management either. I mean, yeah I've equipped better guns, armor, upgrades, and ammo but I don't even know what Omni-gel is. Maybe later into the game choices get tougher, and maybe I'll start caring more about my squad and inventory. Regardless of when Mass Effect starts getting heavy (with choices and/or inventory), Bit.Trip.Beat is heavy...on my eyes.

While not a Geth, shotgunning this target will prove equally satisfying.

Bit.Trip.Beat

While not half as busy as the rest of the game gets, this screenshot still makes my eyes burn.

Bit.Trip.Beat is not one of my favorite games in my backlog, but it seems like it would be easy to beat. With only three levels, it should be a cinch to complete right? Apparently, I'm not very good at playing Pong. At least, I'm not very good at playing Pong 2-on-1...in color...with rad music...while the game is trying to give me a seizure. Seriously, I'm surprised this game has very little epilepsy warnings on the title screen or before. Anyway, there's not much to say gameplay wise. It's Pong, but actively trying to send you to the hospital for a brain aneurysm. So I like it, when it's not making me bleed from my eyballs.

So that's my plight, and what I've been playing. I guess I just really needed to write something desperately, because I normally don't like telling people things they already know. In the future, I hope to break out of my “don't actually talk about the gameplay or story, cause that's boring” shell, and start writing a little more elegantly about the specifics of games I'm playing. And maybe, just maybe, one day we'll find the cure for cancer. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

*this is why I'm infinitely sad, any help would be appreciated

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The Problem of Original Games, Sequels, and Franchises Part Deux

Pay close attention, you might miss it. 
In late 2009, I did a blog defending Modern Warfare 2 from naysayers and haters who cried about it pushing lots of releases into 2010. Now, Modern Warfare 3 is receiving a similar amount of hate. The problem with this amount of hate is that MW3 has not pushed any late 2011 releases into early 2012. No, the hatred (from my perspective) comes from the fact that Modern Warfare 3 exists and was not cancelled when Infinity Ward was given the shaft by Activision. I want to take this opportunity to ask why. Why can't MW3 be a good game? Why can't it still be something that drives Modern FPS games forward in an interesting way? That horde-esque mode that was talked about in the bombcast sounds really cool. No it's not a brand new mode, in CoD's past there have been horde-esque modes, but even a slight twist on an old/common mode coming from such a troubled development should be welcome. We will probably never get another jump in tech like CoD4 to MW2, and we may never get anything like the end of CoD4 again, but there's still room for this franchise to grow.
 
Maybe it shakes some of its usual gravitas and puts on a self-aware, ironic tone ala Furious 4. Maybe it strives to America's Army levels of realism. Maybe it has an RTS spin-off. There's no counting or telling the directions this franchise could and will go. Has anybody noticed that there hasn't been a downloadable title in the CoD franchise yet? I'm not saying that Activision needs to have a pre-LC sort of game just for the heck of it, I just think that there are more things they could be doing with the brand than they are doing now. Yes, Activision will continue to make CoD games similar to past ones because they sell well, but how long will it last? It can't be forever, can it? One of these days Activision's marketing division will try a stunt like EA did with Medal of Honor. Right?
 
 Quite an elephant, indeed.
Okay, I've put this off long enough, it's time to talk about the elephant in the room. Battlefield 3 is what many consider to be the savior of the modern war first person shooter. Many people ask if it will indeed unseat CoD as the current MWFPS king. I think they should be asking if they want it to be saved. Let me take you back about 4-5 years ago when the WWIIFPS market was over-saturated and people were sick and tired of them. What happened to them? Did they die off in a flash? Did they just stop being popular while some unseen majority still paid money to fight the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day over and over again? Did they peter out into nothingness? Brother's in Arms: Hell's Highway came out in September of 2008, 6 months before that Medal of Honor: Airborne came out. There are still WWII FPS games, a new World War II shooter was announced at E3. So if WWII FPS games are still around why can't MWFPS games stick around? Certainly, they're not going anywhere soon, but do we feel it's time to put the tropes and markers of MWFPS games to bed? Do we really need several different modern conflict games every year? Do we really need Call of Duty to be as large as it is at this moment? Do we really need Battlefield 3 to save us from the boogeyman that is Modern Warfare 3? Does every modern conflict FPS need to focus on multiplayer and hit markers?
 
Anyway, I hope my ramblings entertained. I doubt I was very informative, but I'll never know until I get feedback from you guys.
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HEY GUYS!!! GAAAAAAAMES!!!!!!

Guys, I'm going to be frank with you. I haven't been an active member of this community. Sure, this is the only forum I frequent going only to the Tested forums for help and to talk coffee. However, since I hate coffee, I've just been goofing around on these forums and haven't contributed much at all. That probably won't change today, but I've made an effort. But before I put down the list I made, I've got a few questions for discussion.

1.Why does everyone hate Killer Instinct? It should be the best of the SF/MK ripoffs, because it rips off both games equally. What gives?
2.What would you like to see at the end of this year in terms of WM's GAAAAMES!!! LIVE show? I would like to see Dave installing and playing old PC games.

Anyway, here's my list. Enjoy!

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Armed and Dangerous (more like Adolescent and Hilarious)

Armed and Dangerous is a game I played recently, and since I didn't finish it I don't feel good about reviewing it. So instead, I'll write about it here. So Armed and Dangerous is a game made by Planet Moon Studios, the guys who later went on to boldly state that they were going PSP exclusive only to pack up their dev kits in a year-and a half after the PSP's security got cracked wide open. It's also a game that I needed to look forward to as I made the transition from boy to adolescent. Unfortunately, I had not the means at the time to play it, so I eventually grew up with franchises like Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank. I recently picked it up, though, and I have to say I was disappointed with it. Armed and Dangerous' biggest flaw, I think, is one mission in particular. It's a mission of defense, not offense. (which the game excels at the rest of the time) While the mission is justified from a story perspective, I feel it isn't in keeping with every other mission up to that point. Specifically, you need to defend homes from a Forge (the bad guys) invasion, so that the Book of Rule (Ironic MacGuffin) is safe from their clutches. However, every other mission I've played has been just me destroying houses, robots, and gates. 
 
However much I dislike the gameplay, though, I do enjoy Armed's humor. There's this one scene where....well take a look. 
  

  I'm almost willing to fight through that defense mission after seeing this one. Anyway, I really think that this game is best experienced on youtube, since the game itself is just a very shallow, arcade third-person shooter. However, I would like to see a tell-all book written about Planet Moon and how they gained and lost their potential. I think most of it has to do with the fact that they made the best parts of their games cutscenes.
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So many games! (with more or less the same amount of shooting)

So a steam sale is happening. I got most of my spending out of the way with. 

  • Armed and Dangerous
  • The OddBoxx
  • Serious Sam Gold
  • Trine
  • Sid Meier's Pirates 
  
Mind you, I still have games leftover from previous steam sales that I have yet to beat. 
  • Machinarium
  • Freedom Force
  • Freedom Force Vs. The Third Reich
  • Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War
  • Puzzle Agent (not from steam but from BTTF pre-order)
 
Not to mention my boxed PC games that don't get much play time 'cause I can't stand disks. 
  • Knights of the Old Republic
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Don't you just hate miscommunication between intelligence agencies conveniently creating a scenario where you can't kill guys who will kill you?)
  • Starcraft/Brood War
  • Empire at War
  • Rise of Nations
  • Thrones and Patriots Expansions
  • Call of Duty 4
 
So aside from all the stuff I'm not playing here's what I have been playing.  

Back to the Future Episode 1

 
Finished it and really enjoyed it. I can't wait for the next one, though I'm not so hot on the direction the teaser took. However, they did conjure up a good reason to stick around. After all the timestream is never stable, right?

Nuts and Bolts

 
I did put a pretty little bow on this one, but the prospect of more jiggies and trophies is calling me back. I kind of want to review this one, but I feel that I don't need to. You could probably just read Brad's review or watch it since I agree with him on it. Even then the price was certainly justified (and almost mandated by the pre-order bonus it carried) by its awesome gameplay and self-referential humour. At twenty US dollars today, you shouldn't pass up this awesome game. 
 

Super Meat Boy

  
Hell indeed. 
 

Starcraft

 
I figured out why I hated the Zerg so much. Every unit being built at the hatchery goes against everything that has been ingrained within my RTS mindset. Couple that with a need for creep, more than one button press to build a drone, and the need to expend a drone to build a building is altogether too limiting to me and my paltry Starcraft game. Protoss is pretty good though. Also, can you put ctrl groups on the function keys? Then I could seperate buildings and units in control grouping 
 

Serious Sam HD

 
I played some co-op last night and fought a boss. That was kind of fun, and the boss was HUGE!!! 
 

Doritos Crash Course

  Not a bad game, I finished every level got some gold medals on USA with my brother. 

Super Mario Sunshine

 
This is my main game to be playing after Nuts and Bolts. It's really not as bad as people say, and I don't mind FLUDD and its faux environmentalist mission. I really don't like it's lack of personality. Delfino Isle and its residents do nothing to bring Mario to mind. Still I can see why its a Mario game and even where Galaxy ran off of. Seriously, there's a section of a level that's in space! 
 
So that's what I've been playing how about you? Also, can anyone give me a link to a Brood War/General RTS guide to macromanagement?
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So much (jumping/driving/shooting)!

Jumping


I've been doing a whole lot of jumping in video games recently, I'd like to talk about a few of them.

Super Meat Boy

Awesome game. Really great game, but I don't know if I have the patience to finish it. Much less unlock characters, find warp zones and kill screens, or finish Dark World levels. Seriously, that game is chock full of stuff you will never see unless you play it all day every day for the next fifty years. I do like the game's sense of style though, and I'd recommend the style to more things if I could pin it down. It's like a celebration of all things video games, but not. It's also like a celebration of all things cute, but not. It's also a celebration of all things violent, but not. It's a masocore platformer with an equally masochistic style. That's it! This game is bringing hardcore S&M (minus the S, without a level creator you can't make torture of your own) to the masses.

'Splosion Man

I haven't really played enough of this to justify me talking about it, but this is my blog and I'll cry if I want to. I want to like this game, but It's just too sparse with rewards to be fun. For example, when you complete a level in Super Meat Boy you get to see a replay of all your little Meat Boys (heh) running to their doom. No such gratification when you die in 'Splosion Man, and none even at the end of the level. It is growing on me, (the titular character himself is amazingly frantic) but won't be able to water it or give it proper sunshine until I finish...

Doritos Crash Course

Nah, I'm really playing Banjo Kazooie: N&B. but free points is free points and they ain't gonna get themselves. Not really much to say about this one other than it's free and an okay platformer with a Wipeout (the TV show) kind of vibe. It's probably the best avatar game (at least where you play as your avatar) released right now.

Driving


I've also been doing a whole lot of driving in video games lately. I'll talk about a few of those, too.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

I thought it was fitting to begin the driving portion of the blog with a vehicle game formerly known as a 3D-platformer. Banjo Kazooie: N&B has probably the worst case of not being a Bungie game...let me explain that statement a little bit. BK: N&B is really great at letting you create your own blueprints, replays, and screenshots. What it's missing is a Forge-type option. Seriously, do you think it would've been that hard to implement? Then there's the lack of a bungie.net-style website where you could download all these blueprints, replays, and screenshots (and if challenges were implemented, why not them too?). Other than that omission, the game is awesome and mentally engaging. It gets you to think very hard about how to solve problems, which is essential for an aspiring programmer like myself.

Pure

It's an ATV racing game, and a great one to play whilst listening to the Bombcast. I'm going for the No Messin' achievement, and it's going alright. However, it's really annoying when you go off the track and have to wait a few precious seconds to get put back on. I mean, why not just keep from going off the track in the first place. I'm all for invisible walls when they're in service of me winning. Anyway, the backgrounds in this game are amazing. The huge jumps and the mountains you race on look awesome, and the framerate never really hitches when they show you these awesome vistas. I wonder how the online is?

Burnout Paradise

Uh...I don't know if I should talk about this one yet. Because I really love it, but I haven't played a ton of it. Tell me how the online challenges are anyone? Anyway, I really love the speed in this game as it keeps me forever on the edge of never not out-of-control. I'm not as big on the open city as most people might be, (I might be willing to trade it all for a restart race/challenge button) but I dig the secret stuff like shortcuts, billboards and jumps. This is also a great Bombcast game.

Harm's Way

Free points, but also not bad. Yeah.

Shooting

I've done a little shooting here and there, as well.

Modern Warfare 2

You can shoot down UAV's. Yeah, you already knew that, but in lieu of CoD: BlOps I've been playing a lot of last year's entry. I've mostly been playing as a break from whatever I'm playing whenever. It's just really fun to shoot dudes, and headquarters is an awesome mode. I've also never prestiged in a CoD game, so I'm kind of working towards that. Any general tips or tactics on getting more killstreaks/not dying/not being rubbish at the game? (I think I just answered the first two myself, can you lot work out that last bit for me?)

Conclusion

So yeah, that's basically what I've been playing recently plus Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Fallout 2 on the PC. I'll write about those when I'm doing so much driving, jumping, shooting, and coding.
 

Question of the Blog:

Should blogs spark discussion?
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I thought I didn't have to worry about "the slam"....

So I was looking at boxed copies of DuckTales on ebay today (don't ask), and I came across a copy of DuckTales 2 in a plastic bag. It was a "VGA Graded" copy, apparently graded an eighty-five. The guy selling it had posted it for a little less (like a dollar) than two-thousand dollars. That's a lot of money to pay for a game you won't be able to play. Seriously, does anyone think that games need to be "slammed"? I think games need it so much less than comic books, because a game is something you can play more than once and have a different experience each time. I'm a little disappointed in this, but I guess people will pay for anything these days. No I'm not disappointed in this, this is the next logical step for game collecting. However, games are meant to be played more than comic books are meant to be read. Actually, they are about the same in their meaning. I don't know, I'm just really upset that someone would lock a game away beneath several layers of plastic. What do you, the Giant Bomb forum, think?
 
Here's their website if you want to get something slammed so you can never play it again.

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