my blog is back (i wish)

i have a car again. a guy in the car video is coming

cutting it together at 2am has been more futile than i thought, so when i wake up it will happen. i just wanted to remind myself to do that tomorrow, along with my laundry list of shit to do over the last two months or whatever

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my blog that i didn't forget about (and the crappy side of Sony)

i have been very, very busy. and i didn't forget about my blog. well i ignored it, but i didn't forget. ignoring is like forgetting but that you're doing it on purpose, or being lazy. my laziness... well here's a carcast from like a month ago that is now new

catching up, yeah! oh also i moved to california-- so no more of those any time soon, as i have no car... which i'm kind of bummed about. on the other hand, i'm closer to the industry and stand a half percent chance more of cracking the mold into being a part of that-- be it games or film

to move i had to find a job, and right now i'm learning to barista for this chain called specialty's. if there's one way to light a fucking fire under my ass to get serious about getting a job in my field, it's re-entering food service. i already want out and it's been like a week

and i have like no time to play games at all right now (outside of reviews), but i have managed to watch movies and finish catching up on Breaking Bad. things should cool down within the next few days though, which could provide me with enough time to catch up on all those high profile games like Gears of War 3 (which means i have to finish Gears 2 before i can do that)-- and the same for Resistance 2/3. you know, whenever i get my PS3 set up to be serviced by the geniuses at Sony

i gotta sleep so i can get paid. and i will do this blog thing more often

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no sleep and no games makes for no fun

here's a carcast from sunday. watch while i actually edit the one i shot today:

some days i wonder what it would be like to have an internet connection that cooperated and let me get things up in a timely manner. i did finally get through ms. splosion man, and get to write that up now-- after editing a carcast and doing whatever else has kept me from a normal life of playing video games and happily discussing them

i don't have much to say in this blog except that i wanted to get the video up for whoever to watch, and that applying for jobs is eating up more of my life than it should. hopefully that means someone will get back to me at some point

see you in a day, audience

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summer games bring in some much-needed character

these carcasts are finally starting to get weird:

i spent the week agonizing over a cover letter for a job, which i'm trying to temper my expectations about, despite being excited at the prospect of it. now that i'm done with that, i can enjoy a weekend of gaming before the flurry of next week's continued job hunt-- which is a more full-time job than a real full-time job. it's making enjoying games harder than ever because i feel like i should be putting all of my energy into finding work, but then reminding me that if i'm not playing games then i'm not participating in the only industry i've ever cared about

so fuck it, it's the weekend and i'm going to treat it like one. the first game i turned to for stress relief was obviously The Witcher 2

there is a save file near the end that has a branch i've been curious about exploring since i finished the game like three months ago. i guess that says a lot about The Witcher 2, and affirms the score i gave it when i wrote the review. generally after reviewing a game, i have second thoughts on the final score i leave it scarred with, and generally end up feeling like i was a little gracious. sometimes i go back a month later to see how well it held up and usually feel okay with that final mark, which i was happy to find out about The Witcher 2 as well

in any case, while the game ends up in the same place, the 16 paths players take tend to feel more unique than other branching storylines in other games, thanks to unique environments and great care put into all the areas that your decisions treat you to. the first game had more blatant decisions, but despite how much more subdued some of the branches are in TW2, i still feel like everything matters. i forgot how much i love that universe, and it probably helps that it has one of the best game trailers ever attached to it

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what i should be playing is Child of Eden, which i would have finished a week ago if i didn't give up on the fifth level due to lack of sleep. it's going to need to grow on me like Rez did, but that game is Rez 2. it's more organic and less structured than Rez, and that's for better or worse. one thing's for sure, though, and that's how gorgeous the game is. i plan on writing a feature on it if i can scrounge up enough content for one, but the fact of the matter is that i'm glad i bought that game and will treasure it like i do the few dozen that i still own

a part of me wishes for some more geometric-based environments as well, rather than the plant life, but that would contradict the game's prerogative to stylize earth and its living organisms. knowing nothing else about CoE, i also wonder if there's anything ese to play after the fifth level, but i know i'm going to dig through this game until i know its every pixel

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and then there's the Catherine demo, which i wish i never downloaded. i can't afford any new games right now and i already want it. it's easy to watch video of something and enjoy the idea of that game, but just like seeing that animal in the shelter after only knowing its picture-- getting to interact with it is something altogether different. now i have an idea of how much fun that game could be, of the ways it could challenge me, and the strong presence of the Persona team it carries with it

i may have found the final push to sit down and play Persona 4 for once. then again, Catherine's intro practically made me place a pre-order right on the spot. that part of me that loves style and art direction is really being fucked with over the last few months. this bodes extremely well for the state of video games, though

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i'll link my Half-Minute Hero Super Mega Neo Climax review once it's up, but i also dug that game. it's cute, charming, and a great way to preven tmissing a great PSP title. other than that, i appreciate you lending me your ear for a while. if you can't get enough, there's a carcast from last week that i never got around to attaching a blog post to

who knows what i'll play tomorrow, but i'm going to let myself god damn enjoy it after this week

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i just leveled up in not wanting RPG elements in everything

here's a very short blog, with a video:

long story short, Sanctum is right between Monday Night Combat and Trenched. i feel like Trenched is impeccably balanced, however, and haven't spent enough time with MNC to really get a feel for it. then again, MNC is like Lead&Gold with turrets, and Lead&Gold feels a lot like a focused 3rd-person Team Fortress 2

what i'm trying to say is that every game is the same. not just from this small gaggle, but every single game you played is the same

these days games seem to be better with derivation. for instance, RPG elements help augment an experience in nearly every genre, and core RPG games may eventually die off once their philosophies are stripped from the genre and implemented in more modern, immediately gratifying ways. who doesn't like leveling up? the more overlap, the better-- i think. just so long as there's no stepping on toes, and a product doesn't get lost in its own ass when trying to wear too many hats

on the other hand, sometimes i just want my Rez or simple fucking Ridge Racer. if arcade games ever disappear, then i'm quitting this hobby. and in that regard, i also want my pure Final Fantasy and persona RPGs. this must be that bar you hit at a certain age when you decide that there were 'good old days'

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and now a minute for everything i did over a week

a LOT of nothing. that's a half lie, but turntable.fm ate up way too much time on that initial discovery. here's something to watch:

one of the things i like about writing for Gaming-Age is that it forces me to play games. not that i need to be forced-- i like games. they're the thing i'm married to, i do need to be forced not to give up on one before i finish it, though. seeing things through to completion is a weak spot for me, because once i have my fill, i'm usually leaving something behind right as things take a turn for the best. right before story falls apart in the third act, that is

reviewing material means i have to see it through, which i have about a 30% average of doing with games on my own. it's a great tool for reminding me that the best things about a game are the time you spend with it, letting its philosophies sink in until you 'understand' what it wants to show you. this doesn't apply to all titles, and a lot of the time extended play with a title can make you sick of it with mechanics that just plateau after a strong opening. this is the other side to a slow blossoming of philosophies; it's the unraveling of ideas on execution

funny enough, a lot of these lessons apply to real life and whether or not we get sick of something

i'm especially bad with multiplayer titles, unless there's a group of people or someone who a game really clicks with and keeps me invested. because of this i stick to single-player games, and have found them to be my bread and butter. the other half of having trouble sticking with a given game is that there is so much to see; it's hard not to let a new shiny thing drag me away from the last one.

i'm just kicking my feet around in the dirt here, but when a game is really fucking fantastic, it holds my attention and i kind of bond with it. i have a really special place in my heart for Persona 3, for instance, and that has made penetrating Persona 4 difficult. after i clear out some backlog and tackle more review product, i may finally get around to that... it has been a year after all

this wasn't a problem with The Witcher 2, or Bayonetta. these were games that i needed to play, because they appealed to me on a personal level. for everything else, the diamonds in the rough that aren't apparent in their payoff for investing myself into the whole product, well i get to pretend it's just part of the job. faking a responsibility to have perspective on a title really gets me through to the end on games i otherwise would have given up on

i have to wonder what it takes for people who need a little push to be enveloped in a game, when they might never come back after a few sessions

here's a bonus video (as if there aren't enough Frozen Synapse gameplay captures on youtube) of one of my favorite rounds of the game so far. mostly because of the bloodshed. team green is yours truly:

also Steam sales are the best and this is one of the best that was on sale. all the good things you heard were true, and if you have anyone to play it with, or like strategy games in the slightest, it's a must-buy

back to work

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as long as i'm up, here's an interim

let's start with my stupid sunglasses:

i realized why i couldn't figure out what new games were out this week because there's really nothing special hitting stores. Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D is out and you like excuses for 3DS software, SSFIV Arcade Edition patch happened and i don't need to tell you to get on that if you're crazy about Street Fighter. there's also a Gundam game that i feel like has come out four times already, and a few other things that are equally weird

the betas for Uncharted 3 and Journey did release though, and have my attention more than any retail releases this week or next. i want them both

guys... i'm pretty fizzled right now. it's late but as long as i'm up it's blog time. all i can say at this point is thanks for reading and watching that video. tomorrow i should be more competent. i also have an exciting interview with Nintendo World Report to help out with one of their podcasts, so i'll at least have a good time yapping it up with some dudes about games, if anything. i always forget what it's like to be able to reference Psychonauts and to have people understand what i mean

come to think of it, there is one crazy thing coming up soon. next week, the new Earth Defense Force is out. my broke ass won't be able to afford it, but i'm happy enough that it will be in stores for whenever i start making money again. here's a taste for your hungry eyes

now i'm leaving

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playing a game with pretty much no idea what it is

today i rented Shadows of the Damned:

now that i've gotten to spend a couple of hours with it, this game is pretty fuckin fly. it even taught me to swear a goddamn lot, so egg on the faces of those pundits who claim that video games can't teach people things

my review for Trenched is also up, so you can have another writeup to pale in importance to whatever the industry heavyweights have to say. verdict on that game is to buy and love it-- oh son of a bitch i just spoiled the fucking review

thanks to Shinji Mikami and Suda51 teaming up for a game, Shadows of the Damned hit my radar this week. there's a freaking trifecta - in fact - of talent here thanks to the involvement of Silent Hill sound director Akira Yamaoka taking helm of the game's audio atmosphere. well, those dudes along with a whirlwind of chatter on twitter, that is. you know you're into games something fierce when there are developer names who you recognize and follow, as if they're a decades-old movie director. be that as it may, they sold me on checking this one out, and i'm very impressed at the time. i draw a lot of comparisons to Resident Evil 4 when taking this game for a spin, as it plays like a more refined and action-oriented RE title

it also makes me hate myself even more for playing RE5 now, because this handles a lot like what RE5 should have. Resident Evil may have hit franchise fatigue, though, because it's also worn out its welcome of over-the-top craziness that SotD pulls off really well. it's hard not to draw parallels between SotD and RE4/5, ;f not for Mikami's direction on RE4 and how that changed in RE5, but also because i found out that i really really like having a button to 180 in a game-- something i didn't even realize i missed in shooters

another comparison relevant to SotD seems to be the extremely offensive, gory, and at times juvenile character of the game is against Duke Nukem forever-- if only for the close window of release between the two. i don't think this is a compelling topic, because the games are being evaluated based on far more than their attitude, and that doesn't seem to be part of what is taken into account when comparing their polarized receptions. it was worth mentioning, though

worth talking about moreso, is going into games nice and fresh-- intentional media blackout or not

for Trenched, i knew i would play it eventually due to it being a Double Fine title. while i may love that company, I never messed with Brutal legend, and Stacking wore down on me pretty quick, despite its appealing take on adventure games and unique art direction. if you couldn't tell, a game's style is a pretty big deal to me. don't get me wrong-- without some solid gameplay then you have a shiny-looking turd. that doesn't mean i'll always settle for bare-bones aesthetics or audio, either (unless it's a purposeful stylistic decision). for whatever reason, Stacked just didn't click with me. to round out their downloadable curriculum vitae, i had a good time with Costume Quest, but wasn't crazy about it

Trenched changes a lot of that, as it's the most gamey, and action-oriented game of their to date. that humor is more snuck away in favor of a lot of character, and the world they created hit a lot of the right notes for me

i also went into it knowing pretty much nothing, which meant there was nothing to lose and nothing to gain

as much as i love getting hyped up for games, i tend to have a better experience by taking trusted developer pedigree and word-of-mouth from people i can count on, without exhausting preview material and building fantasies of what could be. an unbiased, fresh experience with no preconceptions of what i 'should' expect have been yielding some fantastic results lately. i walked out of Bayonetta feeling so good because of this, again more recently with Trenched, and am finding another great discovery in Shadows of the Damned

note that these aren't completely blind investments, but are based on knowing what i like and what to expect from a developer or studio, or who to rely on for a quick elevator opinion. try it out sometime

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june 19, the father's day that was about Nintendo

who wants to go on a car ride:

i just got done talking about game tutorials in my last post. i forgot what games were like when instruction manuals were king-- when you got to learn through trial-and-error, or 'what does this button do' gameplay. i must prefer that rough, tumbled style of teaching oneself to play, because i'd rather let my hands learn than read text that i know my brain isn't committing to memory at the time. Ocarina of Time. that's a segue

video spoilers, i found it. Nintendo tricked me into buying this game as soon as possible, which i would have done anyway, butnow i have the wonderful added worry of ushing back home or to the nearest wifi hotspot to register the game for a free soundtrack. a free, physical, really real CD of Zelda music that i don't have to pay for. there's an expletive here, but i can't put my finger on which one it is

because i'm dog tired from being up forever and teaching my body to forget about caffeine, i'm not totally firing on all cylinders right now. i did want to get a blog up, and may do another one later. there are enough retrospectives and posts on the remaster of OoT to fill everyone's day already, and i don't think i have anything to add to those except that walmart dropped the ball today

you know what, i do have one thing to add: my personal thoughts. they're short. after 30 minutes getting settled into the game, i had a weird.. feeling.. like an emotion. this is the game i would have taken with me to school and played under my desk during class. i would have brought it on road trips, and camped out in the bathroom with it. it's exactly what the phrase 'portable Ocarina of Time' conjures up, and that's good enough for me

hopefully it helps the 3DS install base so that we get some actual new games on it

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i want to really want to play Persona 4 but i have 4 games first

i had a lengthy blog all typed up and apparently it went into Crazy Nowhere Land after i submitted. because i couldn't hunt it down, i get to just write another one.i here's a video blog:

at this point it seems like Persona 4 is ages away, and for once that's not because we hit a wormhole into June 2008. i'm eking my way towards being able to sit and commit to that game, but just when it seems like there's a clear horizon, L.A. Noire comes out, or inFamous 2 comes out, or review product shows up, or it's E3 2011

speaking of which, i accidentally put thought and effort into my list for the Giant Bomb E3 quest. here it is, "Mr. Spinnington's "lies from E3", but i know you won't click that so i'll nutshell it for you: i'm a Sony fanboy now and Skyrim was dead last because it appeals to me as one of the last normal games

at this point in my original entry, i broke nostalgia and reasoning into dichotomies which defied definition and overlapped at the end

i was arguing with a friend about tutorials in games. she was agonizing over the beginning of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and i had to remind her that in-game tutorials are comonplace now. we only notice them when they sit on our faces for the first 10-30 minutes of a game, but can be invisible teachers when done right. Valve games are a good example. Portal 2 is a game. tutorials essentially murdered the art of instruction manuals, and the consequences of that are debatable

i nearly died happy when i saw all the 3DS booklets

thanks to technology, we have more room than ever on a game disc for content, where back in the day developers were tasked with the strategy of breaking down elements of game instruction and game playing. in-game instruction manuals exist too, and while serving their function they also lose a lot of value. they can't be taken to school in order to help survive the day, or poured over in a bathroom while the illustrations and text whisk us back to the fictional world that we weren't currently in. the question starts to become whether or not game manuals are necessary, or just a thing we loved being able to have as a kid. are they nostalgic

there's a parallel example of technology-versus-tradition in film, which will be in the limelight once peter jackson's The Hobbit hits theaters at 48FPS. you see, theatrical releases are played by default at 24 frames per second, but that may soon change. that 'film' look that we're used to-- the one that still has motion blue, also comes with its flaws-- one of which being the juddery motion that camera pans assault audiences eyes with. the steady tracking doesn't fit a filmy framerate, but the higher we go, that problem starts to disappear. audiences will be challenged with a framerate closer to the home video camera 60FPS, and while this is optimal in games, it can in many people's eyes, cheapen a production-- making it look like a daytime soap opera

but then i hated 60fps when i noticed it in Call of Duty 4. i was at the time used to my Halo, and shooters running at 30fps. i grew used to it, and perhaps taht won't be an issue after a few minutes into the film. video games are still young, however. they're young to the point that we still review them based on technical performance rather than their theory or storytelling. in fact, i thin it says a lot about a game when people mention that it looks gorgeous, forget to keep counting pixels, and focus on the gameplay or identity of a title instead

in any case, in-game tutorials are a very new standardization. Nintendo is aiming their games at an audience of all ages, and may have a more obvious, archaic teaching system so that even walmart customers are clear on how to jump. over time, the tutorial segments in games will become more invisible, but what it leaves behind is the corpse of game manuals. i'm a sucker for video game paraphernalia, and in no time at all will be forced to read new material on the can, rather than revisit the same two paragraphs of backstory between Sonic and Dr. Robotnick whether i like it or not

here i find a can of worms on the subject of new technology and whether it warrants use in every part of our lives that were fine before. do we need to put motion and touch controls into everything? probably not. is it a thing we can do? yes, so we're going to see how much we can integrate that. 3D as a topic in general is a whole other entity i don't want to tackle right now, but i'm the kind of person who sits back and waits for thing to mature before i judge how great of an idea they were. if any of us were graded as a baby, we'd all be fucking failures from the offset

and i didn't even talk about the four other games. that doesn't matter so much as the fact that they're a roadblock

back to work

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