Friday, September 27, 2013

Video Games and the State

I'm a voracious reader, I read like 5-20 articles before doing almost anything else in the morning. Or I listen to Morning Edition as I work out. Anyway, I stopped at three articles today because I felt compelled to write something.

The article in question is "Video Games are Making Us too Comfortable with the Modern Surveillance State" by Michael Thomsen and published in The New Republic. It's a great piece and I encourage you to read it, I'm fairly critical of it but that's because it's a great read. (Good writing should invite criticism, scrutiny, and commentary, not deny it).

Anyway, please read Mr. Thomsen's piece, it's really great, and I'll go over some things that occurred to me after the break.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Miss My Friends

All of this playing Madden and other online games has really got me missing my friends. It's not as though I miss them as people, I see them all fairly often. However, what I do miss is playing together. I love people watching me play, playing with others, and watching others play. But I love those things when we're all in the same room. Playing online has really taken that away and the new console generation is not going to help.

Let's look at games as being inherently social and talk about what changed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Valve Announces Steam Machines

So Valve announced something we've all seen coming for awhile now, Steam Machines.

In my modest opinion Steam Machines sort of boil down to computers that are designed for TVs (read: traditional consoles). However, Valve is known for one thing, execution and executing very very well.

I've attached the link to Valve's page and I'll be doing a few impression update type things as I get more information.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How Much Does Pedigree Matter?

We often talk about a game as being from the makers of one game or another. It's often used a lot in advertising to promote a game based on the success of it's predecessors. However, recently I've noticed it being used to put down games. Instead of promoting a game based on the success of it's predecessors I've seen detractors rip a game based on the previous work of it's developers.

This isn't about meaningful commentary in a context, this is in response to writers who dig up the long dead portfolios in order to say mean things about a game.

Which leads us to the question: how important is a game's pedigree?

Monday, September 16, 2013

GTA: A Retrospective

Four years ago I wrote a piece on Grand Theft Auto IV that was essentially the productive of an argument I had had earlier in the day. Thankfully, that original thing is pretty hard to track down and I'm glad that it is. Since then, I've grown as a writer and a critic.z

Based on the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto V, I thought it might be nice to do a retrospective. What follows is a heavily edited and updated version of my original 2009 work.
Grand Theft Auto IV is one of the games that tends to attracts a lot of people, mainly people who love the series, games in general, and also people who would like to scapegoat video games in arguments about media violence. I'd like to take some time to counter some claims that are often made and talk about some things I think are special about GTA IV.

Friday, September 13, 2013

J.J. Abrams on Video Games

As a personal point of pride, I rarely, if ever, feel bad for J.J. Abrams. What did he do to deserve the two most powerful mantles of science fiction cannon? But I digress. GamerHubVideos recently did a short interview with the Lord and Master of Science Fiction (tongue buried in cheek) and Polygon did an article about it which brought it to my attention. They mainly distill quote's from him so I thought I'd break things down and do more of a write up.

To be honest, I've always had mixed feelings about Abrams but this really irked me. Obviously he's on the spot and probably not prepared to be talking about video games, something that he doesn't specialize in. However, he says some interesting things and I'll break them down after the break.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sony Misstep, No YouTube? (Updated)

I tweeted about this last night after seeing Adam Sessler post about it.

TL;DR version: for some strange reason Sony's PS4 will not allow sharing of video to YouTube, the world's most popular video sharing service. I'm going to state the obvious and say that this pretty lame and doesn't make a lot of sense.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Few Hours: Puppeteer

I'm incredibly comfortable saying that Puppeteer is one of my favorite games of the year. I've said it before and I'll say it again, execution is one of, if not, the most important things in game development. Now a lot of other things need to go right in order for a game to be successful, or good, or even fun. However, well executed games often have a bunch of other things going for it.

Puppeteer was developed in house by SCE Japan Studio and is in limited release. It's only $40 dollars and available on disc and on PSN.

More on my time with it after the break.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why I can't love (or even really like) Madden Ultimate Team

I rarely sit down at my computer and make my main mission to write about something I don't like or complain about something. Don't get me wrong, I do both of those things but usually as a consequence of being a person on the internet. This time I am sitting down to do both at the same time.

I don't like Madden Ultimate Team. Not only is FIFA Ultimate Team better in almost every regard but I can't even begin to understand why people like MUT. It's that bad.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Remember Jade Empire?

Last night a really good friend of mine and I went to see Wong Kar-wai's new film, The Grandmaster. It's a wonderful film and I really enjoyed it. The fight scenes are absolutely beautifully choreographed, they're intense and really gripping.

However, all that got me thinking, when was the last time we had a really good martial arts video game? The answer, for me at least, is BioWare's 2005 triumph Jade Empire.

New Releases 9/9-9/16

Exciting new games for the week!
  • Killzone: Mercenary (PS Vita)
  • Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (PC)
  • Puppeteer (PS3)
This list isn't exhaustive, not even close, it's mainly to point out games that I would probably consider solid buys across the board for a lot of different gamer types. There will definitely be exceptions to that, obviously Amnesia is not going to be even a weak buy for most people but the release is notable, to say the least of the Amnesia series. It's also in no real order. PS3 owners, pay special attention to Puppeteer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Penny Arcade Problem

This is a complicated issue. There are lots of emotions, feelings, and opinions wrapped up here. I've sat at my desk for hours going back and forth on whether or not to write anything about it. I've decided that silence is worse than anything well thought out and measured that I might write.

Video games are bigger than the games in isolation, its more than any singular part of the industry is anymore and what has happened with Penny Arcade, PAX, and Mike Krahulik.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Watch Dogs "14 minute Gameplay Demo" Breakdown

Yesterday Ubisoft Montreal posted this extended gameplay video of their upcoming release, Watch Dogs. I've been hot on this game since it was first announced although people have tried at various points to cool that fire.

If nothing else, the game looks amazing. More after the break.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Not a Review: Saints Row IV

Reviews have a place in the game industry. Like anything that's designed to be consumed or entertaining there's a place for reviews. However, Scholar Two: Press Start and LoneGameMan are not one of those places. Instead I'd like to do recommendations of games, talk about what makes them good, what makes them bad, and talk about who might enjoy the game the most.

I just set down Saints Row IV for what I imagine will be at least several days. It's the kind of game that I think I see myself coming back to again and again and finding new things to mess around with. It's also one of those games that I'd love to have people over with and watch them play. Don't get me wrong, I love having the controller in hand but sometimes it's really nice to kick back and enjoy watching someone else play. So here is my Not a Review for Saints Row IV!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The (Perhaps Accidental) Brilliance of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (SPOILERS)

This was the least scary picture I could find
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified does a lot of things in a less than spectacularly good manner. The shooting is mediocre, the squad control is spongy, the graphics aren't the greatest, and it took too long too make and costs too much money. However, all that aside, the final act of the game gets bizarre and actually does something really really cool.

Massive spoilers after the jump

Support Mighty No. 9!

I'm a big supporter of Keiji Inafune and the games he's worked on, Mega Man being chief among them. So, of course I'm very excited for his new project, Mighty No. 9. Now I've been critical of Kickstarter in the past, and I am still very critical of a lot of the things it does, but I think this is a worthy cause. Especially so when you consider that it's beginning to feel like Capcom might never release another Mega Man title.

For $20 you get a digital copy of the game. Personally I'd feel more comfortable at the $15 price point but that's just me. I like when I can support a game and then receive the actual product for the funding amount.

Kickstarter Link

Post Labor Day Deluge

It was a nice three day weekend but it is time to get back to the grind. Friday's post was sort of phoned in so I'll be doing a lot of work today and throughout the week. Plenty of great stuff from PAX Prime, also the next 2 weeks promise plenty of amazing new releases. Keep Calm and Game On!

New releases this week:
  • Total War: Rome II (PC)
  • Diablo III (PS3/360)
  • Rayman Legends (PS3/360/WiiU)