Sunday, June 29, 2008

Review Structure

The Sega Genesis is making a comeback here in my life. I was able to pick up a handful of decent games yesterday as I travelled around town to local thrift stores. I'm looking forward to playing Cliffhanger (the movie adaptation), ESWAT, IMG Tennis, Winter Challenge (Olympic party game), and Streets of Rage (an Arcade classic).

This puts my total genesis game collection at a measly 26. Sad, yes... but growing. Last night I started a cataloging system that may grow into something more then an excel sheet in the future. Right now it will serve as a database for all the games in the Genesis collection. It's got Title, Genre, Developer, Distributor, Avg Ebay Price (item must have Box, Manual, Cart), my assigned value, rarity and general demand; all the regular stuff but then I took it a bit farther by hashing out my own way to review games by breaking them down to 1-5 scores in several key areas i find thought and discussion provoking on top of accurately assigning a score I am satisfied with.

The categories are as follows:

- Story
- Objective
- In-Game Design (meters, game menus, maps, etc...)
- In-Game Artwork (graphics)
- Audio/Sound
- Gameplay (controls, too difficult or easy)
- Emotional Impact
- Longevity
- Historical Significance
- X Factor (is it fun?)
- Package Design
- Package Artwork

For me, something like this works because it levels the playing field a bit. It also forces me to consider the game instead of just saying it is fun and put's structure behind what I'm saying. It's more interesting with more to think about. I've taken what others might see as one category like story (writing) and broken out objective because a game can have a great story but be ruined by the games objectives execution (go there, get that, unlock this, etc).

Design and Artwork go hand in hand but are distinctly different. Some games have great design (Madden games), but completely drop the ball on graphics (Madden). Current generation games may have a leg up in this category, but have you ever gone back and looked ate a game like Comix Zone or even Jungle Book on the Genesis? The look great. That said though, some games don't look so hot but still work and innovate with the overall design of the game screens (both menu and in-game). Right below, you'll see screen shots from a couple Ghost Recon Games. I'm not going to comment here about which I prefer, but you get the idea of what I'm getting at. Graphics and Design in games are different.

Longevity and Historical Significance help the older games. Again separate things. Longevity can be aided by time based achievements, easter eggs, online play, updates, co-operative play, hi scores, just plain fun, etc... On the other hand Historical Significance is a game that made an impact on the industry or sometimes other industries. A good example of a game that has longevity would be something like World of Warcraft or Golden Eye and Historical Significance would be something like Spacewar! or Pong.

Design and Artwork are split out again for Package Design and Package Artwork. Warlords is and excellent example of greatness being achieved in both categories:

After seeing this image you have to wonder why games then began to use images like the below to sell games:

Structuring out a review based on certain cornerstones is nothing new. Nor is it necessarly the best way to approach anything. Had a professor in school told me to do this I would have gotten angry, stating that art is emotion. Perhaps the old me is right in a way. But using numbers as a way to gauge a video game ads backbone and heck, it is fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just Combine Everything Together

how, what, who... where now?

I, uh. when i found, this evening. Dancing, Star Wars... Is it just me or is this more entertaining then Episode I. I got it, no CGI. I'm going to bed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

wooden gates or to noble strength

i walk with pounding, around and around moving towards what only i can see in front of me, approach what only makes sense for a short while or so out. i continue, and continue. going one way, and then towards another. pounding, pounding. once now i reach one spot, i love, throwing my arms around it while continuing to move to the next. i'll hold to it till i have something else to grab. now two then three, then one has to go ((=sum(1+one+1parentheses-onedouble)es. all the while moving and holding more then i can handle. my feet are fractured now then, and fall to my knees but continue to pound as though nothing has been lost, nothing is in pain. so continuing but only on my knees my legs crumble, and can hardly move. afterwards only reaching as far as my arms can go and owning only what i can account for. finally pointing to open wooden gates or to noble strengths in name where shear interest, beauty, voice tone, gorgeous lines stop* once i would have gone but now see only reasons not to, and retreat to a lost time, to a youth that cannot change, more... that i fear deeply and do not wish to change. to shadows that others have become to shadows i no longer have the power to rectify, to ones i can no longer reach and are not with in my arms length. now i can only speak. talking of things that have might have been to shared memories that go forgotten and words and actions i can no longer take. in time i'll look behind for my shadows, then to my left, back round back to the right then finally in front where i knew all along i'd find it. walking slowly it'll be fully formed and begging me to move towards it again without consequence and fear till i inexorably will grab, hold and destroy again.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Commando 3

The Xbox Live game Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is worth a mention if only for nostalgic reasons. It's pedigree is old school, top down shooter action. Unlimited bullets? check.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunken Village

Last week ye ol' German Village nearly got washed away! It flooded very quickly and drained almost as fast.

Lots of water... maybe why I purchased BioShock over the weekend for the 360. I missed the boat (erm) hype on this game, but I am willing to give it a shot. A couple hours into it now and still waiting to get sucked in. I keep wondering if I am missing something here. The game is rated as one of the best on the 360 so I must be. I'll admit the scenery is impressive. Mid 20th century architecture completely underwater. It reminds me of an episode of Futurama where they rediscover Atlanta under water and everyone was mutated by the Coke spilling out of the factory. There are some genuinely creepy moments, which maybe why I'm writing about it and not playing it right now. I'm going to keep plodding along and report back if anything changes.

While I'm at it, I'll post a video on a game that I didn't find time to write about. I really enjoyed this one. The video below was made by the folks that made the game. I think it accurately portrays the games mood, it also lets me know the team creating it had something good in mind when creating it. I was, am, floored by the environment. So good it is a show piece.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


It's a warm, peaceful, Saturday morning in Columbus and I feeling the need to share. There are only a handful of good places on the web for reasonable reviews and features about video games so I thought I put a few here today...

I have a soft spot for this site right now even though it is not the most comprehensive place for reviews... the ones they do are written by folks who... gasp, enjoy games.

I found this after reading a feature piece written by Bill Abner that blew me away. I actually contacted him as he is an Ohio guy. If you want to read that piece (from the escapist magazine)... THE STAGNANT STATE Mr. Abner also has a book: The 2006 Gamer's Tome of Ultimate Wisdom: An Almanac of Pimps, Orcs and Lightsabers. You need not go any farther to find a intelligent, honest voice on gaming topics (board games included).

More of an industry site, but is very good.

It tries too hard, but it does have more then a few good feature articles to read. Honest good stuff.

Monday, June 2, 2008


saloin4: "Excellent,super.THANK YOU"
trevalot: "yeah YU, get your act together, we're waiting..."
molotovtube: "God Suzuki bring us SHENMUE 3!!!!please!!
azechirai: "Nozomi dont forget to say goodbye, see you" T3T
sharkonesega: "one of the best video on youtube, gratz. I'll remember these situations forever.Shenmue nel cuore."
sarpijk:"nice effort"

Sometimes it's worthwhile to take a look at comments on my youtube videos. My Shenmue video has gotten the best response by far. I'd have to say there is a bit of pride when someone says it is one of the best on the site, sort of embarrassing as well. The Teela video has gotten a lot of comments (had to delete a few actually... gross man, gross). The beer ad is off the charts, I've even had a few emails about that one... people sharing their experiences, usually they are related to baseball so I eat those up. One guy really got in to sharing his time at Polo Grounds. The Jamestown videos have attracted a few folks from my father's church. One watches them often for morning meditation.

Perhaps the most re-friggin' diculous was a video I posted about my travels back and forth to Columbus, OH from Raleigh. They were mean... hateful even, telling me that Columbus was a great town and that I was just an out of towner. One message was very long about how I was a looser, just filming myself. It was very interesting since I didn't really think the video portrayed Columbus in any real light at all except the intro text said "Welcome to Columbus". I guess it is possible that I got across my loneliness and disconnect from all the travel I was doing... but I doubt it. I pulled the video very quickly.

Now, after watching it again, it brings back many memories. Some very difficult, so in a way I'm happy that I have it. To me, it speaks volumes, which was the purpose of it. Maybe, in a way, I knew I would want to look back at it a few years later and remember the feelings. It's cliche, but like it happened to a different person on another planet. I filmed myself waking up, the complimentary continental breakfast (hardboiled eggs!), misty morning, 6am alarm clock actually going off (look for the red dot), my wedding ring, my old phone, the 6am TV shows, downtown Columbus, the cold... After watching it... melancholy. I miss my friends in NC. I'll say this... I'll be back, maybe not tomorrow, but I'll be back.

I'll put a link to it back up here now but... wow... Touchy people out here in O-H-I-O man, touchy. You want to jump in these shoes?! huh? youtube gangsters? What! Right. I didn't think so (wait, I'm the one touchy).

(you may have to reconnect the link once you get to the page)


Below is a revisited version. Maybe I'll post this one up on youtube and see what happens... as for now though, it will only live here.