I think I lost it...

I've been playing videogames now since I was 8. My first game at that time was Doom. Still I get great flashbacks when I hear the soundtracks of various games that I have on my MP3 player. As my life moved on, games were always a big part of that life. The tension I had during the times I had to face Wesker and his Tyrant on Playstation, the tears that rolled down my cheek when I had to kill THE BOSS on my PS2, the excitement I felt when I walked through Rapture with my XBox360 and the Badassness I endured during the fight with Hades on my PS3. These and many other moments are memories I fondly remember, but for the last 2 months I'm kinda "burned out" on games. When I started my new Job, the first thing ( well actually the first thing I did was getting shitfaced drunk) I did when I received my first paycheck was to buy a big pile of games. Warhammer, Bulletstorm, Alice, Crysis 2, Rage, Conviction and Reckoning were some of those games.

It is the same scenario since then: Start one game, play it for an hour the first time I put it in, play 20 minutes the next day, get bored, let it rest for a week and install a new game, play it for and hour and so on. Now I have 6 unfinished Games on my Harddrive (not to mention the Arcade ones) and no urge to finish them. If you would have told me a year ago that I have an unfiished game in my console I would have played the shit out of that game until it dropped its pants and gave me all it's gamerscore, but these days: no such thing.

Maybe my inner child and its love for games died, maybe it's the stagnation in the industry that killed it. Or maybe I just need a break. Like a break in a longlasting relationship (not that I have any clue about such a thing, I'm a nerd after all ;) where you simply have to take a few steps back to realize what you were having then come back with fresh energy. Maybe it's the weather or the moon. Maybe the games I bought were just aweful.

Maybe I should finish this blog for now. Yeah, sounds like the right thing to do.


An obituary

Dear community,
today we gathered to give a last farewell to an old hero. I am talking about the Dukster. He was never shy with the babes (that's women for those of you not familiar with the slang of the 90's) and saved us and our values more than once from the scum of the universe. But every hero has his time. Duke Nukem died on June 10th after suffering 13 years of the "3dRealms are lazy"-desease. He is survived by his two girlfriends and was laid to rest by Gearbox. Rest in pieces...


Conquering the west the old fashioned way...without analog sticks

Being the budget gamer that I am, I just came around to play Red Dead Redemption. It is like Rockstar looked into my soul, saw what game i would love and programmed it. But since it is "nit-picking-saturday" I won't go into detail how awesome it is but adress an issue I have with it: The lack of analog. No matter how hard you push the stick you walk. To run you have to tap the A button. While doing so, you have of course no control over the camera which leads to less control over hectic action-sequences, which leads to virtual death, which leads to anger in real life, which leads to broken controllers etc. etc.
I remember when Sony introduced the Dual-Shock 2. It finally brought us out of the dark ages  into a bright and flashy future. Shooters, Plattformer and Racing games alike could be controlled smoothly, everybody was happy and world peace was at hand. But Rockstar and Rocksteady (The creators of awesome Arkham Asylum) simply don't seem to share that opinion. It's like Mercedes Benz would say: "yeah, suspensions make a car better but we are not into that, sorry". 
Anyhow, that's what grinded my gears today. See you soon (maybe in another two years).


X is reload... because the developer says so...

Usually I don't have a problem with that because 99% of the action games I play have more or less the same button layout. But there are exceptions like Crackdown that have the reload button on the bumper and X is for weapon switch. It was no surprise that I fucked up many times during the game because it simply took me a while to get used to the different control scheme. Sure, you might say " Strongschwartz , you handsome devil, why don't you change the button layout?" see, that's the problem: You simply can't. Almost all games I own have 2-3 predetermined button layouts (if at all) and if none of them suits you, good luck learning the layout. Right now I play Half-Life 2 (I know I'm reaaaaaaaally late with that one) and in that game EVERY button can be configured individually, which is no surprise since it's a PC port. Flashlight on B? No problem. Sprint on the stick? Bring it. Primary fire on A? Impossible to play, but why not since you can do it. Guess what I'm trying to say is: Why do console games lack the convenience of free button configuration?
Next time I tell you why crowbars are better than any swiss knife, why carrying a little bearded guy around in an action game is annoying but worth it and why mysterious guys in suits know everything. See you soon.


Real ads in videogames. A good idea?!

I just wrote a blog a few hours ago but something came to my attention a couple of minutes ago, I not only wanted to share with you but also hear your opinion about. I was driving around in Mercenaries 2 and shooting billboards usually rewards you with 5 K. So I took out my rocket launcher blew it to hell and... nothing. I turned around to another billboard and what do I see: TRANSFORMERS. IN THEATERS NOW! (In German, eventhough my settings are in English, but I guess the add detects my IP). Not only do I get bothered with stupid ads in a game I PAID for, it also screws up the game by not rewarding me anymore. Don't know about you but I don't think it's cool, funny or anything else positiv. If I pay good money I expect not to be bothered with ads, I mean that Transformers crap is not even game related.


BUGS!!! The only thing you can't blow up in Mercenaries 2!

I love my sandbox games and after having a blast with Crackdown (I'm officially a free runner now) I went back to finish Mercenaries 2 only to realize this game is buggy as hell. During my playtime I encountered over a dozen enemies that got stuck in rocks, debris and houses. Containers were floating in the air like somebody was using medicloriens and npc committed suicide by walking off of houses and cliffs. The last mission had to be restarted three times. Twice because my pilot didn't drop the nuclear bomb properly and the third time the camera got stuck in the choppers and didn't go out anymore. Last but not least 2 Achievements weren't unlocked. I verified 55/55 HVTs and reached max mood with the Allies but did I get the achievements? No. I can imagine that sandbox games are hard to develop but GTA, Crackdown and Saints Row 2 show that it is possible to get rid of most glitches and flaws, not to mention game breaking bugs. I really hope Pandemic create a smaller world next time and take more time to polish Mercenaries 3 (if it ever comes out).
Next time I tell you why...running gags have to be interupted from time to time. See you soon.


I got the need, the need for.... orbs.

My hands are shaking, my guts are burning, my body is sweating. I can feel the desire. The urge. The need. 497 orbs are mine already. Just three more and the pain might go away. Just three more.... What was that? While I was jumping to the other roof, I heard something. This unique noise. The one only an orb can make. I look around. Did I miss it? Was it my imagination? No, it's up there. Right above me. All I need to do is reach out and grab it. 498, just two more orbs to go, just two more...
I know Crackdown is over two years old but I just picked it up recently and it's so much fun. I can't wait for the sequel that hopefully gets rid of the few flaws the game has (no cover system, problems with the lock on targeting, more unlockables) and it has serious potential to become my  favourit sandbox game. (Saints Row 2 still owns that crown)
Next time I tell you why hidden orbs suck, why pidgeons are dirty and why flags are lame. See you soon.


What about Sigmund Freud? -Not Sigmund Freud, a f*#?ing fraud.

Don't know about you, but I order my games in online shops. It's cheap, convenient but the most important reason is that I live in Germany and most games for adults are censored because of our great "youth protection". Never understood why adult entertainment that was never meant for kids in the first place needs to be youth friendly but, hey the government knows best, right? But that's not the reason I'm typing today. I just love it to wake up in the morning walk to mailbox and take out the package. It's always a feeling like chrismas just with less snow and less annoying family members. I get back into the house open the package and take out the NEW item that is NOT wrapped in plastic and has NO seal of authency and then... wait a minute... this item isn't new it's used. I paid for a brand new game and got a used one. Granted, if you write an email to these shops they usually refund you or sent you a new one but why are they trying this crap in the first place? Are they hoping that nobody notices? Don't try to tell me that's a missunderstanding or a mistake because that happened more than once and it is what it is: fraud.
Next time I tell you why you should buy stocks of cyberdine systems, in what horrible situations a portal gun can bring you and why there is a horse's head between your sheets. See you soon.


Achievement unlocked. Nothing else. Nothing else?!

Is it just me or has the introduction of achievements caused a lack of unlockables? In GTA 3 you collected 100 packages and unlocked a huge arsenal of weapons. In GTA 4 you find 200(!) of these nasty pidgeons and what do you get? The famous 1 sec message "Achievement unlocked" and a chopper that can  far easier be stolen in the next police station. Different game same story: Assassin's Creed. Hundreds of flags to collect. Your reward: Nothing, nada, rien, nichts. Call of duty 4: The developers even added these Intels just for the achievements. As far as I know they don't even exist in the other versions. (You're free to correct me, if I'm wrong). I mean achievements are surely a fun invention but where's the reward  for me as a gamer? Where are the alternative costumes, the unlockable cheats and special weapons that prolong my gaming experience? I really hope that Unlockables will have their coming back.
Next time I tell you why Bill O'Reilly will never cut my mic, why car washes are absolutely useless in a sandbox action game and why Christian Bale and I are done professionally. See you soon.


In my restless dreams, I see that town. Fuck yeah.

First I wanna say that I like America. (I believe in America, Don Corleone). I like the convenience of public restrooms and the always nice treatment you get from the people over there. (At least in restaurants). Other great things are the anthem and the variety of landscape. But there is one typical american thing I absolutely don't like. It's definition of Horror.
Japanese games are really creepy. You're always alone. Isolated. Armed with a flashlight in a dark narrow corridor or a foggy town. You see strange "things" lurking in the shadows, or was it only your imagination? Then you hear a noise behind you. You turn around and see nothing . Then a different noise from the other direction and when you think you can't handle it anymore, a crazy looking monster slowly wanders your way and the only weapon you have is a piece of wood. It's moments like these that create tension. The true horror develops in your head, created by your own imagination. Silent Hill 2 is a perfect example for that. To this day I like to dust off my good old Playstation to hit the roads of this stinky, disgusting town, simply because you always see new things and find new symbolism in the deep story. Not to mention the always present feeling of goosebumps crawling down your spine.
On the other hand, the american definition of horror seems to be: "Let's give a dude a chainsaw and let him slaughter hundreds of cool looking creatures. Dead Space and Silent Hill Homecoming are games of these category. Don't get me wrong, Dead Space was a fantastic and entertaining game. But was it scary? Always running around in well lit hallways. Seeing everything that lays before you. Having enough ammo in the space suit pocket to blow away the Death Star. Twice. I mean if you have seen one horror flick you basically know all the cheap scares in Dead Space. "A monster is laying on the floor, uuuhh it's still alive. Didn't see that one comin'".
Normally I wouldn't complain, variety is always key, but the developers of SHH degrated one of my favorit franchises to a horror game of that category. They used symbolic monsters from Silent Hill 2 that have no connection to the new plot, just because they look badass and made it a predictable action game with an obvious story. Topping this is only the use of the cancer of Video games these days. The HIV of videogame entertainment. The black plague of gaming: QUICK-TIME-EVENTS. To this day I don't know who invented this bullshit but I swear if I find that guy I will concentrate all my nerd power and give him the evil look. Oh this look will be so evil you can't imagine. Well that's what grinded my gears for today.
Next time I tell you how awesome bottomless pits are, why the companion cube is actually a nasty fellow and why you should never order water in a spartan restaurant. See you soon.

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