Let me tell you how easy it is to make a great videogame. First you need a bunch of zombies. Then you need a ton of great weapons like shotguns and cross bows. Then add a pinch of four player cooperative play. That my friends is a fucking recipe for success. Gamespy has delivered a very complete preview of Hunter: The Reckoning. Now I know what you're thinking. "But Gabe, that is an Xbox title! I heard it gives you a terrible itchy rash all over your body if you just look at it!" That may very well be true but this is the game I want to play. Sega won't step up to the plate and deliver a Zombie Revenge 2 so I have to get my un-dead fix someplace else. Between Star Wars and Zombies it looks like the Xbox has me by the balls.
Two things to keep in mind when sampling today's product: one, I love Warlords. It's got these cool castles, and you have to kind of bounce these things. Two: due to lack of sleep, poor diet, or some commingling of the two, dreaded Continuity has us at a disadvantage. We will do our best to cast off its deleterious effects by Friday - but we promise nothing!
(Longer, deeper sigh.)
I would say that I get around 10 or so requests each week to sign some wacky petition. I have never signed a single one. I especially wasn't about to sign a petition asking me to boycott fucking Blizzard. I mean what the hell? They have delivered some of the finest gaming experiences since the mid nineties and you want me to boycott them because they are making an effort to protect their copyrighted material? I know some people out there are gonna use the product for legitimate purposes. But the majority of people are going to use the thing to play pirated software. I don't care if they did ask Blizzard to allow them to implement CD key checks. Blizzard doesn't want them making the product period, and that is their right. I read all the posts on Slashdot talking about the purity of code and how information should be free. I have a message for all these hacky sack playing Volkswagen owners. They can read it on their Apple iBook's brilliant 14.1-inch TFT XGA active-matrix display. "Fuck you hippy, get a haircut!" In all their frenzy they seem to have forgotten something most of us learn when we are old enough to walk. You shouldn't steal. Sure shit should be free, I agree one hundred percent. But what if it's your shit? It's a fantastic idea until people start taking your work. I can't count the number of times I have seen my artwork in other people's galleries or posted in forums with their fucking name at the bottom. People get this bug up their ass about how the internet is for the free trading of information and it's all just code man. That's bullshit. My creative work is not free information. I salute Blizzard for what they did. You need to go after these fucking people whenever and wherever you can. I'm glad they sent a cease and desist letter. Hell if it was me, I woulda sent the letter and man over to their house to punch them all in the dick.
Did IQ's just drop sharply while I was away?
It is an issue like the one before us today that makes me glory in geekdom.
Today's comic touches on Knights of the Old Republic, and the recent decision to (exclusively!) release first to the Xbox while PC users grouse and sweat chicken fat. I've told him, Gabe, we - collectively - have an Xbox. We have one. He can play it the day it comes out, he can even keep the thing at his house if he wants to - but he says it's the principle. And I said, "Well, you got a Genesis for Mortal Kombat, right? Isn't this cooler than Mortal Kombat?" And then we're back to the principle thing. I know how he feels, as I used to feel much the same way. It was only Sega's Shenmue 2 (and the possibility of 3, etc.) that dragged me kicking onto this very large path, and that was so long ago that I hardly remember being angry. I mean, I used to think of it as the Dark Side, and sometimes it's Darkish I suppose, but most of the time it's a nice mauve. Join usss! Of course, we can be certain that he'll be by later today, just in case I need him to mutilate the true facts of our conversation.
This week is rapidly devolving into a cavalcade of Obscure PA references. We've got Monday's adventure, where the watch that was stolen and then returned is once again in enemy hands. Today's offering is perhaps less hidden than the one before it. For a couple guys who purport to loathe the undead, we can't seem to get enough: Don't Say It!, Z Is For Zombie, The Rain, and Auditions Of The Damned are just a sampling of our paranormal encounters.
Last week Nintendo was kind enough to release two (2) screen shots for a few of its big titles this summer. These are some of the most highly anticipated games ever and we don't know a damn thing about them. Meanwhile every game that falls out of the X-Box's ass gets at least 50 shots and a two page "hands on impressions" write up. Why Nintendo? I understand that you don't want to flood the market with screen shots, that you want to keep some surprise but there has got to be some middle ground here. I want desperately to know more about Mario Sunshine. The little bits I hear about deforming levels and giant blobs of paint intrigue the hell out of me. I want to see more of the outer space shit is Star Fox Adventures. Show me some screens of Metroid that are actually interesting to look at. Give me the scoop on Eternal Darkness, I gotta know why that dude in the trailer is such a wack-job. What are you doing Nintendo? You've got me chomping at the fucking bit here…oh wait…I see. Well played Nintendo…Well played indeed.
Nintendo is making it real hard to be a Nintendo fan right now.
I wanted to step up to the plate and give you some of my own thoughts regarding State of Emergency. As many of you know I'm a big fan of old school gaming. Some of my favorite games of the past were games like Streets of rage, Double Dragon and Final Fight. Old school brawlers have a special place in my heart. I think that is why I loved and continue to love Zombie Revenge so much. I mean that is a game that takes all the best stuff about a side scrolling brawler and "kicks it up a notch". When I first saw SOE at E3 last year I thought I was in for more of the same. After playing the game I can see that is not the case. SOE is like a brawler without the stuff that makes a brawler good and a mission based adventure game without the stuff that makes one of those good. You get lots of great weapons and plenty of people to beat up. However there is very little progression. Mission after mission has you running around in the same mall doing basically the same thing. Or China town which, lets face it is pretty much just the mall with pagodas. I mean I like shooting people with shotguns as much as the next guy but it's just more fun to do in a game like zombie revenge where you are progressing through different environments. When you play zombie revenge you'll be all like "ooh I'm in the sewer", "ooh now I'm on a fucking train", "ooh fuck ya now I'm in a goddmaned haunted house." Whereas with SOE you'll be all like "ooh I'm still in the mall, why won't Jesus just take me back home and end my suffering." So maybe SOE wasn't trying to be a brawler. Maybe they were trying to strike out and form their own genre. Well more power to them in that case. The problem is their genre is really boring.
I don't know if there'd be any interest in this, but it can't hurt to mention it. I've zipped up the course Gabe and I goof around with in SimGolf, and it could be a lot worse. Hole 9 is a travesty, please don't judge us by the ninth hole.
Hotly anticipated - by Batjew - State Of Emergency has arrived, and it's largely irrelevant. Like some mini-game run amok, creeping to the edge of the platter until the entire disc is overcome, SoE takes (arguably) the worst parts of GTA3 - the running around and shooting - and stretches out that Dentyne-esque five minutes of flavor into this epic cord of mediocrity. I guess it's sort of controversial - I guess - but it wants it so bad that I'm loathe to grant it. Here's something to keep you occupied while you aren't buying it.
To be honest, this conversation actually took place in the car on the way back from SpokVegas. Other than that, everything else in the comic is factual, provided you don't count the room or our representations in it.
The story you are about to read is true.
Around the time we signed, sealed, and delivered the Lameboy Advance strip, we mentioned a site called Portable Monopoly. A place to discuss the relative satisfaction of consumers with Nintendo's (in many respects) excellent machine, it also focused on devising a true, elegant, and replicable solution to the problems of glare and visibility. Taking their most recent updates into account, they have engineered a kit - soon available for thirty-five dollars U.S. - that will allow GBA owners to perfect their handhelds. Today's comic fast-forwards to a dark future, where people who couldn't be trusted to transform Optimus Prime from a semi into a robot are suddenly skewering their palms on soldering irons. As for our representation of the Big N: truth be told, though we probably aren't supposed to say, we've been to Nintendo, and it's not all that bad. Everyone we met was really nice, except for the (like) twenty guys that came in to gangbang us at Super Smash Brothers. We hate those guys. But everybody else was fine. I don't know if you downloaded that Star Trek: Bridge Commander demo or not. It's hard to know what to make of it, and I've played through it a couple times. It's exactly what you think it is. I mean, you're the Captain of this massive thing, and you look all around and talk to people. There were zero surprises for me in the demo, none at all, which begs the question: is it because there's nothing here, or because they did absolutely everything right? It's like I imagined the way the interface would work, and it just does that. I already knew how. Obviously, not everybody wants to sit in a chair, even if it's a Space chair, and there are plenty of keys to let you manage everything manually, but I have a feeling that the more naval pace of the combat might not appeal to those fond of the experiences Totally Games is widely known for. I wish I had more than what's available in the demo to go on, as it's made me very curious.