Taking PC screenshots?

Hey folks,  
 
I know this is a bit of a stupid question, especially for a guy who's been PC gaming for over 20 years, but I was wondering if anyone could walk me through the basics of taking PC screenshots and saving them to my computer for possible uploading to Giant Bomb?  I've got a huge back catalogue of PC games, and I feel like I could contribute quite a bit, but I just don't get the basics.  If anyone has any tips, I'd greatly appreciate it.

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Sparky's dirty briefs and shorts...

...briefs and shorts about games and movies, that is.  Ohhhh, I've got jokes.  
 
-I played through a bit of Heroes of Might and Magic V this last week.  Still not a good game, despite my love for the series.  There's a sudden jump in difficulty towards the end of the Queen's missions that still has me shaking my head, as everything up until that mission feels right.  But the storyline is as bland as any fantasy game or novel I've ever read, the "reveals" are foreshadowed a mile away, and there's just a peculiar lack of care to the game, as though it were the PC's version of a paint-by-numbers project.   Uninstalled it, and am moving on to Might and Magic VI-VIII, which should hopefully get full reviews, write-ups, and the whole Sparky treatment soon. 
 
-Ended up keeping Red Dead a little longer, thanks to my brother, who is far more patient with people returning stuff than I am.  I feel like I've played through the bulk of what I want out of the game, and beyond maybe nabbing a couple of more achievements, I think I'm done with it for a good long while. 
 
-Only three more achievements in Forza 3 until I get my first S-rank.  Exciting stuff.  I nabbed the elusive "Connoisseur" achievement after finally earning enough money to purchase a car from every manufacturer - and mind you, that's after all the DLC car packs came out.  I should hit level 50 soon, leaving only the "get all gold" and drift achievements to nab.  Still practicing my drifting occasionally, but I've been mostly concentrating on knocking out gold medals and getting to level 50.  Favorite cars in that game to date, either to drive or to look at, are: Saleen truck, 370Z, Morgan, and just about anything Ferrari or Lamborghini.  Very stoked to see how Gran Turismo 5 turns out, though I'm still waiting to hear if it has hirable drivers. 
 
-Games I'm looking forward to the most in the next couple of months?  Fallout New Vegas and Fable 3.  There are a TON of great looking games coming out, which makes me sorta glad I can't afford to spend any more money on games at the moment.  Fallout 3 and Fable 2 were two of my favorite games of the last decade, and both would be in serious contendership f or favorite game of all time, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with their new releases. 
  
-Getting into Fringe.  It's a hard show to like at first, but once you get beyond the "case of the week" format, there's a lot to enjoy.  The overarching storylines are far more interesting to me than Lost's, although the characters aren't as compelling.  They're still fantastic and they definitely get a lot more interesting towards the latter half of the first season, so I'm really psyched to check out the second season when it hits DVD. 
 
-I Sell the Dead is a superb movie.  Starring Dominic Monaghan (of Lost and Lord of the Rings), it's a buddy monster movie that's light on the horror.  Good stuff, and excellent writing. 

Music I'm Gaming To 

1.  Korn - Word Up 
2.  Bubba Sparxxx - Deliverance 
3.  Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man 
4.  Radiohead - Reckoner 
5.  Jay Z/Linkin Park - Numb/Encore 
6.  Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies 
7.  Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Kiss the Sky 
8.  Tenacious D - Double Team 
9.  Mannie Fresh - Real Big 
10.  Flipsyde - Someday 
 
What You Should Be Reading Instead of This
 
Sweep's recent blog about the 10 GB features you never knew about is all sorts of awesome. 
  
TDS418 is running a hell of an interesting blog series on revisiting the early parts of the Xbox 360 catalogue.  Give it a read.

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Music I'm Gaming To #1

The title should say it all.  Or most of it.  OK, I'll settle for some of it.  This is going to be a semi-regular (insofar as "regular" meaning whenever I damn well feel like writing) thingamajig.  Feel free to join in, create your own, do whatever.  I'm going to limit myself to listing ten songs of the moment, so here you go, in no particular order:  
 
1) Rockafeller Skank - Fatboy Slim 
This song makes every game better.  I remember playing Driver 2, and playing this game as I purposefully hit jumps, big ass ramps, and other cars.  Today, it's my go-to song for all things cars, guns, and sports.  Really, it is the sort of song that goes with every genre of game. 
 
2) I Luv It - Eastsidaz 
Yup.  I'm white and I listen to rap.  Piss off, this song was great.  I think I first used it on a playlist in the days of Tony Hawk 3.  It's still a good song today, especially Snoop Dogg's bits. 
 
3) Show Me How to Live - Audioslave 
One of my favorite music videos makes the transition to being a badass gaming song pretty smoothly.  This is always a good choice for Halo 3, or just about anything with guns and general badassery. 
 
4) Ghetto Bird - Ice Cube 
Look, if you play Grand Theft Auto or Saint's Row without Ghetto Bird on a playlist, you're straight-up missing out on half the experience. 
 
5) Blood on the Dance Floor - Michael Jackson 
I'm an unabashed old school Michael Jackson fan.  Always have been, always will be.  This is a fantastic song that works very well in a lot of games, but I especially love it for racing and sports games.   
 
6) Hold On!  I'm Coming! - Sam and Dave 
Classic song.  Works fantastic for any team based game, but honestly, I could play this in just about any aspect of my life, and it would make it awesome. 
 
7) The Spicy McHaggis Jig - Dropkick Murphys 
Dropkick's one of those bands that has a ton of entries in my gaming playlist, so expect to see it a lot in future blogs.  They're a great drinking, fighting, and gaming band, and you really can't go wrong with any of their songs.  This just happened to be the one that came up when I was typing this. 
 
8) Requiem for a Tower - Clint Mansell and London Music Works  
Mixed among my songs are a ton of movie and movie-related songs.  This was a remix of Clint Mansell's excellent song from Requiem for a Dream, done up for The Two Towers.  Great for RPG's in particular. 
 
9) Never Gonna Stop - Rob Zombie 
My favorite song for wrestling games comes from Mr. Zombie, who will also make multiple entries in future blogs. 
 
10) Go Getter Greg - Ludo 
Not a song particular to any type of game, but just a fun song to have as background noise.  Ludo's a superb band - if you haven't heard of them, give them a go.

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Finding lost treasure!

Tonight, I felt a little like Tom Green's character in Freddy Got Fingered.  No, I didn't do the Backwards Man or shtup Drew Barrymore, but I did find some treasure.  Quite a bit, actually.  As I've mentioned on here once or twice, one of the ways I keep myself entertained while living at the folks' house until I find a job is to dig through our old boxes and storage in a vain effort to introduce some sort of order to the whole shebang.  Laughably lofty intentions besides, I have found some cool stuff, including a Nintendo 64, some NES cartridges (no, sadly, nothing worth more than a couple of bucks), and tonight, I found part of my old trove of PC games. 
 
One of the things I'm kicking myself for (and pay attention here, kiddies) is the fact that in my youth, teenage, and college years, I never ever kept PC games in their proper boxes or plastic cases.  Yeah, I know - really goddamn stupid.  Over the years, I've thrown out 99% of their actual boxes, and misplaced probably 90% of my PC games.  And let me tell you - I have a shit ton of PC games dating back to the mid-eighties.  I didn't find all that I wanted (where the holy fuck are my LucasArts and Sierra games?), but I did find the following: 
 
Lara Bow: Dagger of Amon Ra - Definitely not the greatest adventure game ever made, but there's a certain charm to it.  My copy seemed irrevocably broken when I first played it (there's a scene in a museum where I absolutely could not advance), so I think I might rip through it one afternoon to see if anything has changed. 
 
Starcraft - Perhaps the most exciting find in terms of GB's recent Starcraft 2 madness.  I also found the Brood War expansion, which I forgot I even owned. 
 
Might and Magic VI - IX - Definitely my favorite find of the night.  Holy shit, I played the hell out of these games.  I'm sure I logged in over 200 hours on VI and VII alone, and I fully intend on playing the hell out of them before Heroes of Might and Magic VI is released. 
 
Leisure Suit Larry VI - Cautiously optimistic about this find.  Some little niggling feeling in the back of my mind tells me that there are two disks for this, when I only found one.  Still, the last really hilarious Larry game (liked VII, but thought it lost its way at that point). 
 
So what am I missing, you ask?  Grim Fandango.  Full Throttle.  Monkey Island 1, 2, and 4.  The Quest for Glory collection (if I find that game, expect me to shit rainbows on blogs here - no, really, I will probably Photoshop my poo to look like a rainbow, and I don't even think I've run Photoshop in my life).  Leisure Suit Larry Collection.  Quest for Glory V.  Wing Commander series.  I know I've got 'em in a leather bound CD case somewhere around here, but the question, obviously, is where?

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Right Said Red Dead

Put on your beer caps, crank the switch to eleven, and prepare to have your very soul rocked, ladies and gentlemen, because Sparky_Buzzsaw (hey, that's me!) is bringing you the greatest and best write-up of Red Dead Redemption in the world.  Tribute. 
 
A long time ago, me and my brothers Rockstar here, we was playing and developing a long and lonesome game, when all of a sudden, there shined a shiny epilogue in the near-end of the game.  And it said... "Play the greatest game in the world, or I'll eat your soul."  So me and my brother Rockstar, we looked at each other, and we each said... 
 
Maybe. 
 
Bad Tenacious D Rehashing Aside... 
 
...I like Red Dead Redemption quite a bit.  It's a stylish return to form after an appallingly boring Grand Theft Auto IV.  The story is nice and meaty, with a plot that's relatively sane by Rockstar standards (that's a plus, in this case, though I do miss the marijuana-haze days of San Andreas sometimes) and some really great characters.  The music is an homage to the classics of the genre, most notably Morricone, which is predictable but works well in this case.  There are some sweeping vistas to gaze upon before riddling thousands of enemies with bullets and explosives, and all of it looks superb.  
 
Warning - massive, huge, enormous, spoilers ahead.  There, that should give the lady readers enough visual imagery to want to bang me after reading this, as if my words weren't panty-soaking enough.
 
Let's start with some specifics.  John Marsten is, without question, my favorite Rockstar hero to date, even beating out Ray Liotta's character in Vice City - and I fuckin' love Liotta.  Seriously, Ray, return my phone calls.  Let's hang out sometime.  You'll buy lunch and I'll regale you with my stories of how I single-handedly bitch slapped Godzilla through a time-space portal along with Fran Drescher and Mario Van Peebles.  Back on track here... Marsten is an admirable man genuinely trying to make up for a bad life.  It's not an original concept in any media, but it's a hell of a strongly written character with the right mix of ferocity and remorse.  He's a cliche, sure, but when the cliche works so well, who gives a shit?  Mario's been saving that retarded Peach for decades now, and I still lay down the pesos to play that shit.  What I particularly liked about John Marsten was the end-game.  I loved returning to the ranch and seeing him try to become a better man, both personally and to his family.  I liked the general idea of his eventual demise - again, it's a cliche, but the tragic end worked well on most levels save one. 
 
There just simply wasn't enough time devoted to the government agents and their motivation or their hatred of Marsten to really sell that particular ending.  It was effective because I had grown attached to Marsten, and hated to see him go.  But the reasons for his demise felt small and generic.  Sure, I get that the agent wanted him dead for his own glory and gain, but that feeling really wasn't developed until the last third of the game and it made it hard to hate the agents who did Marsten in, and that becomes a small problem for the epilogue of the game, which I'll get to in a minute. 
 
I really enjoyed the song selection for the game.  I'm talking about the pre-recorded music here, not the score.  "So Far Away" nailed it, pure and simple, and five minutes after I heard the song in the game, I had it downloaded off iTunes.  At some point, I'll probably be buying the entire score.  It's that good.  Having lived in the desert, the plains, and the mountains at various points in my life, the music perfectly embodies that vast sense of emptiness and loneliness of the land while introducing some fantastic guitar riffs and combat base line (I think that's what you call it, right?). 
 
Graphically, I'm mighty impressed while seeing that there is definitely room for future installments to run with the ball, if Rockstar continues to develop games in the series (please, please, please).  The desert, Mexico, and the water effects in particular look fantastic.  I liked having the mountain settings as well, but a bit more space dedicated to the plains between the mountains and the desert would have gone a long way towards making the environment plausible.  Given the already huge scope of the game, I realize that's asking a lot for the current generation.  But it's definitely something for Rockstar to work with in the future.   I think I was most surprised at how good the characters and the animals looked.  Everything moves and flows with such fluid animation.  It's really quite a stunning triumph for games in general.  I did encounter some pretty glaring flaws, most notably problems with wagons tipping over and my character getting stuck in environments or missions not loading properly.  But in a game with this kind of scope, I'm honestly surprised I didn't encounter more, and given the rocky developmental road of this game, it's a small miracle the game came away as bug-free as it did.  Still, Rockstar, don't sit on your keister - get to work on fixing some of these issues.
 
The Epilogue 
 
Man, oh man.... this is purely my own thoughts.  I have no idea if this is right or not, but I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts this epilogue was tacked on during the late development fiasco, when all the studios were brought in to help finish this game.  There is a serious lack of polish and care given to the world after John Marsten's death.  Jack Marsten's voice work is good, but really, that's about all the nice things I have to say about the end-game.  Jack's animations mirror John's precisely, making him nothing more than a new skin for the game.  There are very, very few (if any) modifications made to the land in the three years after John's death.  Some kind of development, like a few new structures or old structures changing for better or for worse, would have gone a long ways towards making me happier with this.  As it is, it just feels like they slapped on a cheap reskin of John Marsten, added a quick epilogue chapter, and called it good.  It all feels rushed and thrown together by people who wanted to allow the player to keep going after the end of John Marsten. 
 
I guess I would have preferred to see them break the fourth wall somehow and warn the player that John Marsten's defense of the ranch was going to be the absolute last mission - nothing more after it, no more wandering around, nothing.  Jack chasing down his father's killer could have been shown in an extended clip at the end of the mission, perhaps.  I don't know.  The tacked-on epilogue really, really hurts the feel of the end-game, though in the long run, it does very little to affect the brilliance of the game as a whole. 
 
I guess that's the point of this whole blog, really.  Red Dead Redemption has flaws, sure.  But it's an incredible game that pushes past all the little issues and delivers one amazing experience.  Rockstar, I'm glad to see you've decided to make your games fun again, and here's hoping for many more great open-world games like this one.

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Forza 3 Car Wishlist

Here, in no particular order, are the cars I want to see featured in Forza 3's future DLC.  Developers, get on this shit pronto, or I'll level Toronto... with mind bullets!  That's telekinesis, Giant Bomb! 
 
1.  Yugo 
 Also known as the Zastava Koral by the wine-sniffing fancy-pants bunch, the Yugo is a timeless classic.  I'm ready for it to make a comeback in a big way.  My guess as to why it's not already in?  This car would smoke Ferraris, make Lamborghinis into sniveling bitches, and use muscle cars to wipe its ass. 
 
2.  Dodge Omni 
 Ranked #1 in Sparky_Buzzsaw's annual "Best Cars in the Universe" magazine for 83 straight years, the Dodge Omni is also numero uno in my heart.  And in my pants. 
 
3.  1987 Chevy Nova 
I'm not pussyfooting around here with the pansy-ass muscle cars.  I'm going straight for the oil-filled jugular here with the rip-roaring badass beast, the 1987 compact Chevrolet Nova.  Yeah, suck it, muscly muscle car.  Your younger brethren beat your asses, and now, I want 'em on display for the video game world to see.  Hail Caesar! 
 
4.  AMC Pacer 
...but only if it plays Bohemian Rhapsody non-stop and offers up delicious red rope licorice. 
 
5.  Triumph Stag 
Look, the name should say it all.  Any car named "Stag" automatically tea-bags the competition. 
 
6.  VW Thing 
At your next party, you could offer up drinks, some thumping music, wicked flare-ups of herpes, and some awkward conga lines.... or you could rev up your old VW Thing and watch the panties drop to the floor faster than Lindsay Lohan snorting a line of coke.  Putting this car into the Forza 3 stable would create cosmic eruptions of sexy-happy-fun-time.  Do it.  Do it now. 
 
7.  Ford Pinto 
If this car was a pin-up girl, there would be no paper left in the world, and Jurgen's would suddenly be the richest company in the universe.  Forza 3's awesome physics could probably even simulate the explosiveness... uh, of the car's awesome power, that is. 
 
8.  AMC Gremlin 
AMC pulls double duty on this list with one of the most spectacular cars ever created.  Just don't get it wet, or feed it.  I warned you. 
 
9.  Fergie 
What you gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?  
 
10.  A freakin' tank 
Because every racing game needs explosions.  And ridiculously big guns.  And explosions!  Fire!  Fire!  KABLAM!  KERPLOOOIE! 
 
Now you share - what cars do you want in Forza, serious or not-so-serious? 
 
Thank you.  You may go.

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Quick Thoughts. Not by Jack Handy.

Let's do this, fools!  
 
--You know why I like the Starcraft 2 coverage last week, even if I never pick up that game?  It was fantastic to see some genuine enthusiasm and good spirits about a game around these parts again.  In a time when all I see (and feel) is cynicism, Brad's happiness over a game gone terrifically right is a breath of fresh air.  We should all be so lucky to have a game in the near future that gives us all that feeling.  Me, I'm hoping Fallout New Vegas is the ticket.  Man, do I love me some Fallout.   Seriously, Internet compadres, take a break from the cynicism and the hate for a while.  After about ten years of seeing the Internet become the home of callous douches, I don't want to see Giant Bomb turn into that place too. 
 
--No review will be forthcoming on Wolfenstein.  After the mission to save the resistance leader, my loaded games now won't let me fire a weapon.  Great.  I liked the game for its relatively fun (if slightly generic) campaign and excellent weapon upgrade system, but honestly, I'd never pay more than $20 for this game.  And don't even bother with multiplayer.  Yet another example of a game passed by others doing it bigger and better, which is too bad - some of these weapons and abilities could have been a blast in multiplayer. 
 
--Finished Sam and Max Season 2.  As a whole, I liked it a lot better than the first season.  I've started season 3, and I've got mixed feelings about it.  I don't like the new menus or the click-and-drag walking, but I like the variations in the environment and basic gameplay from the first two seasons. 
 
--I lost my slap bet to my brother on my Gamerscore bet, though I ultimately came within about 600 points of matching his.  I made up a hell of a lot of ground, thanks mostly to Lego Star Wars and Banjo and Kazooie.  I'll still overtake his score, perhaps in the coming month as I've borrowed a few games from him (including the afore-mentioned Wolfenstein).  I'm going to start Red Dead Redemption soon.  Hopefully I can play it without having to read the text or be able to see the map, though I'm a little doubtful.  After that is Left 4 Dead 2. 
 
And that's it.  What are all of you playing?  Up to anything fun in these crazy summer days?

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Friends don't let friends (or family) impulsively buy games

People, if you're on this site and reading this, no Vegas bookie would take the odds that you don't do your homework on games, be that a review, preview, demo, or a variant on Giant Bomb's own Quick Looks.  You're also probably smart enough to tell people, "Hey, you really should check that game out before you buy it, you know?"  Friends, I made a horrible mistake today by not emphasizing that point again and again to someone who should know better.  
 
You know the type of guy.  He knows just enough about computers and eBay to make purchases, and despite the fact that this person has been burned on a dozen different used purchases, still makes the same goddamn rookie mistakes.  He's the guy that opens every forward because he knows who sent it to him, and "that guy wouldn't send me a virus!"  He's the guy with a computer always loaded with viruses, bugs, spyware, and a metric ton of shitty bargain bin games, save for the ones you've purchased for him.  He's the guy with a console, with one or two good games and twenty copies of shit similar to Cabela's Big Game Hunting and Raving Rabbids.  Yep, he's That Guy. 
 
Well, today, I had a chance to stop That Guy from making one hell of a dumb mistake.  We were at That Big Superstore Run By Satan's Minions, and I was doing my thing, buying up stock in Axe, cheese, and chimichangas (oohhh, chimis - I'm gonna write you an epic later.  No, an ode.  Something.), when That Guy comes at me with a cart full of his junk and a big shiny copy of... you know, I have no goddamned clue what the name of this heap of steaming shit is.  I think it's called X5 Fishing, but I can't find anything about it on the wide, wide world of the 'net.  That should give you your first clue as to the high quality of this priceless gem.  It was bundled with an entire Wii fishing rod, which is far too cheaply made to be even a product of some Chinese sweatshop (by the way, Bai Xing, get your ass back to work and make daddy some money). 
 
I should have held up the hand and stopped this foolishness right then and there.  I should have just said no.  I should have asked politely if That Guy had ever heard of this game, the product, or hell, even any of the developers.  I should have punched him out, stolen his wallet, and ran before he could have spent his admittedly hard-earned money on this gaming equivalent to being the recipient of a Cleveland Steamer.  But no, ladies and gents.  I was tired, and I really, really, really hate That Gigantic Clusterfuck of a Superstore Run By Satan and His Minions, so instead of saying anything, I grunted a noncommital response to his orgiastic enthusiasm for the game, and we got the hell out of Dodge. 
 
Two hours later, and That Guy is powering up his Wii, putting together the fishing rod, and practically bouncing out of his chair.  Me, I was cringing and waiting for the inevitable "What the fuck?"  I wasn't disappointed.  After about five minutes of near apoplexy from winging his arm at the screen trying to get the broken game to read his movements, That Guy finally delivered that fabled cheap-ass game discovery phrase.  And I, dear Reader, was left with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach - and no, it wasn't from the ridiculous amount of Little Caesar's pizza I had scarfed earlier.  This was guilt.  Because of my laziness and abhorrence of That Huge Hellish Superstore, That Guy wound up with a shitty fishing game and obscenities stuck in his craw. 
 
Don't be a tool.  Never, ever let your friends implusively buy shitty games.  The more you know...

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Blog! It's what's for supper!

-The Book of Eli was a fantastic movie.  I just watched it today, finally, and I'm incredibly pleased by it.  The cinematography was excellent, and it had a surprising amount of inspiration to its story, especially in its final moments.  The only part I didn't like was the George and Martha sequence, which felt a bit too zany and not creepy enough.  It really could have been inserted much earlier into the film in a non-related sequence as a world-building element, and I would have been fine with it.  As it stands, it was a strange break and was the only jarring moment in an otherwise spectacular bit of film-making.  
 
-Enchanted Arms is cliched in just about every possible way it can be for a JRPG, and yet I'm still incredibly hooked on it.  I'm trying to finish it as quickly as possible in order to get to my achievement score goal of around 16500 by the end of the month, but I suspect I'll be returning to it at some point in the next few years.  The characters, story, and settings are awful, but the core mechanics and the Pokemon-like "catch them all" golems are a riot.  It's weird to say, but I'm enjoying the romp much more than I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII.  That's not to say it's the better game, but the mechanics are definitely a hell of a lot more fun and I'm finding myself more drawn into the gaming aspect as opposed to the "let's just get to the next checkpoint" feel of FFXIII. 
 
-Monkey Island 2 is still illogical and the worst in the series, but regardless of that, it's a hell of a fun game and its sense of humor holds up remarkably well.  Give it a go if you're looking for an adventure game to play. 
 
-Look for a blog on The Boondocks soon.  I have a real love/hate relationship with this show.  I think it's intelligent, witty at times, and has some of the best animation of any TV show since the 90's, but I do take affront at some of the show's stereotyped whites as being people who don't give a shit about the condition of blacks or just acting like ignorant dipwads.  Give some of us credit, Boondocks, and you'll go a long ways towards making me a more permanent fan.  Also, look for more thoughts on The Big Bang Theory, which I'm just starting to get into. 
 
-Fuck Aegis Wing.  I downloaded it for achievements, and can't even make it past the first level.  That shit got deleted after ten minutes.  I hate side-scrolling shooters.

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Slap bet over my achievement score

My brother and I agreed upon a bet last night.  I have until the end of July to beat his Gamerscore (about 2,000 more points than mine).  It should be easy for me to make up the initial 2,000 points, but here's the kicker.  He lives in a town with game rental stores, whereas I live in the buttcrack of nowhere.  But I've got several advantages of my own, in that I have a few "rainy day" games I've had around and never really played all that much, as well as a huge amount of free time.  We'll see who can win out!

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