Cutting Through the Shooter Fat

hot-dogThose of you that frequent this site know something of my sordid disdain for the FPS overflow of the current generation. It seems that nearly every blockbuster title for the last couple of years has been some kind of shooter, be it Resistance, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Halo, Left 4 Dead or Killzone. Shooters are bombarding us from every corner, and after some time, I grew rather sick of them.

So for the last few months, I’ve been on something of an FPS diet. I’ve been on a real diet, too, coincidentally enough. The funny thing about losing weight is that people always want to know what your secret is. You say that you’ve lost x amount of pounds, and people always ask, “How have you been doing it?” When the answer is “getting off my ass to exercise and not eating like a wildebeest”, they tend to get a tad upset. As if I’m holding out on them. Oh right, there was also a secret pill that made it really easy. Forgot to mention that part.
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A Little Reason Goes A Long Way

sinkingTake a look at any video game news site and you will be sure to find a story about how the PS3 is in third place in the Console Wars and how Sony should just give up and go the way of Sega and make games and not consoles. Yeah, cause that worked out so well for Sega. But I digress. The Playstation brand has seen rough days but it would foolish to count Sony out just yet.

Now, I understand that costs are very high to make video games and that making games on the PS3 is very complex and probably more expensive. I also understand that 360 has a higher install base, but I have news for you: it’s not that much higher. The 360 has sold about 30 million worldwide compared to the 22 million sold for the PS3. Consider the fact that the PS3 launched a year later and around the same time as the Wii. Factor in the admittely high cost of the PS3 and an 8 million unit lead is nice, but not nearly as big as everyone makes it out to be. From the way people fanboys talk, you would think the 360 has a 112 million unit lead or something. Oh wait…112 million units is the amount that the PS2 outsold the original Xbox by. But you didn’t hear this kind of doomsday talk for the Xbox then, did you? I know I didn’t. And the PS3 has already sold as many units as the original Xbox, which is not a mark of success by any means, but it sure does make you stop and wonder where all this negativity is coming from.

Let’s face it: the PS3 has had a rough launch. The high price and lack of killer games really hurt for a long time. But that time is over. With LittleBigPlanet, Killzone 2, Infamous and God of War III all out or soon to be out, the future for the PS3 is looking very bright. This article is not meant to prop up the PS3 or bring down the Wii or 360. I am merely trying to point out some facts that seem to fall by the wayside in these debates. Sony is not going anywhere and neither is Microsoft or Nintendo. Sony thumped everyone in the last round of consoles, so losing this one isn’t going to be end of the world for them.

Besides, these consoles are just getting going. Nintendo has jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable lead, but Wii sales have already slowed down and while mining the casual market seems to have done them a great service, the loss of the hardcore market might mean that the Wii’s days of ruling the sales charts are over. The 360 and PS3 will only get stronger, so we have a long way to go before this battle in the Console War is over.

Just relax and enjoy the games and try to let the guys who get paid tons of money worry about the business side of things. You want to support your console? Buy new, not used games. Other than that, it’s out of our hands. Except for the controller, of course. Until the Natal comes out.

Your System Sucks: A Rant About Fanboys

fanboy-3A few months ago, I wrote a feature about the things that are wrong with the gaming industry on the whole. Some of that had to do with the games themselves, some of it had to with the journalists that covered and reviewed them, and some of it had to do with the gamers that played them. In terms of gamers that are hurting gaming and its culture unknowingly, console and even PC fanboys rank right at the top.

What is a fanboy? A fanboy used to be someone that just played and loved their system or machine exclusively. I think we’ve all done this at some point in our lives. I remember loving the Sega Genesis and the Nintendo 64 and being just fine with not owning the rival systems.
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GamerSushi Asks: What Are Your Gaming Quirks?

monk173dqGame time. I turn on the PS3, go to the bathroom and wash my hands. I hate sticky controllers and my hands get sweaty when I find myself in a vicious cock fight with the Helghast of Killzone 2. I sit on the bed, make sure my cell phone and the TV remote are in front of me, slightly to the left and if my controller is charging, I make sure the wire is not snagged on anything in case I have to make a sudden move. I sit Indian-style on my bed, never laying down because this is no time to relax. I check my message box and then sign off. I don’t need to be bothered during killing time with invites.

My laser-like focus will not be moved.

So, as you can see from reading the above, I am a little quirky when it comes to playing games. I am pretty set in my ways and I like things the way I like them, even outside of games. You should see my organizing system for my books! So what quirks do you guys exhibit when you play games?

Cliches I Never Want To See In Game Reviews Again

idol_lVideo game reviews have a difficult existence. Some people use them to decide whether or not to buy games, others use them as ammunition in the Console Wars. Usually, very strong emotions are attached to these reviews. But one thing we seem to be missing that we should get mad about is the lazy and irritating cliches that constantly pop up in reviews, even from such esteemed sources as EGM.
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Generation Gap: Video Game Stories

51hz0r4pdnlA while back, I asked what video games you fell in love with  in terms of story. Not surprisingly, most of your responses centered on games in the more recent era. This is an obvious trend because in the old days, games did not need a story to exist. But now, we need motivation, cut-scenes, back-story and lots and lots of twists. Too many, some would say. Like me. I think that people’s love for game stories depends on when they started playing.

See, when I was younger, stories in games were very basic. Some games didn’t even try to have one! Endings were short, usually text based. Hell, people were stunned by Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’s FIVE minute ending. Minds were blown, heads exploded, etc…Since I have been playing games since about 1986 or so, I have a different perspective than someone who started in 1996. I play the game for the GAMEPLAY. If a game has a great story, awesome, but it’s only a bonus. If a game has poor gameplay, I don’t care how good the story might be, I am not playing it.
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GamerSushi Asks: The Most Beaten Games?

vc-2I’m in the middle of trying to finish way too many games right now. Currently, I’m doing a massive battle royale with Dead Rising, Valkyria Chronicles (still), Killzone 2, Resident Evil 5, Fallout 3 and Halo Wars. This was a bad move on my part, as now I’m nowhere near finishing all of these games. Actually, it’s been awhile since I’ve beat a game at all.

This got me thinking- when I was a kid, I used to beat games like nobody’s business, and then go back and beat it again immediately. Those days are kind of long gone, but it’s fun to think about the ones that I used to play over and over again, to the point where I knew them like the back of my hand.

The main games for me were Shadows of the Empire (loved the final space battle), Metal Gear Solid (skipping cut scenes, I could beat this game in 2 hours) and Super Mario 64, where I once got 40 stars in an hour and a half one day.

So what about you guys? What are the games that you’ve beaten the most in your lifetime? Go!