ET: The Urban Myth, Free Quake, and Critics show to be the cheating bastards they are – Welcome to the column that promises not to cheat as long as you don’t include the Contra code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right B, A; ha!) known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. In World of Warcraft this week I have moved up to level 23. 3 levels a week seems to be my number. The highlights of my week had to be actual use of my blacksmithing skill. Before I was just leveling it to level and producing items for auction house or vendor trash. Finally I made something I could use, Bronze Darts and a Pearl Handled Dagger (off-hand). I was originally going to make two pearl daggers but I got a sweet dagger from one of the bosses in Wailing Caverns. I have moved into expert mining but I’m still trying to find my first Iron vein. Now if I could just procure the next first aid manual (maxed out at 150) at a fair price (less than 2g), I’d be set for the next few levels.
Look, Morgan’s cheering. She’s happy. She’s still the covergirl of the most famous Wednesday column on Upcomingdiscs.com ever. (maybe the best column on Upcomingdiscs.com ever, but don’t pass that around too much) She’s going to be jumping through hoops any second and then drive a motorcycle through a circle of fire. Then she’ll meet up with an old caretaker who looks like Sam Elliott who will tell her that she must defeat Mephistopheles. (I really need to stop watching Ghost Rider)
In-game advertising specialists IGA and id Software have partnered to bring you the next iteration of the classic Quake franchise, Quake Live, and it’s definitely not your normal web-based, free-to-play game. Quake Live will deliver a full community experience, including stat tracking, friends lists, matchmaking, and sponsored tournaments, all within your standard web browser. Integrated with IGA’s proprietary SDK, it is the first title in the company’s “freemium category”, offering premium gaming experiences for free thanks to integrated advertising.
“id Software is among the proverbial godfathers of modern gaming and we are thrilled to be working with them on their first title in our ‘freemium’ category,” said Justin Townsend, CEO of IGA Worldwide. “This partnership is only the latest testament to the increasing acceptance of in-game as an effective, measurable advertising medium and a strategic revenue opportunity for publishers and developers.”
While I know many of you folks aren’t too fond of in-game advertising, this is free Quake we’re talking about. It’s not like they are delivering some Peggle clone or something. And the features? It’s like they’re packing a mini Xbox Live into the website. Seems like a fair trade-off for a few “Sponsored By” banners to me.
IGA is banking big on Quake Live, hopeful that other forward-thinking publishers will give the “freemium” concept a go. No word yet on when the game will officially launch, but you can bet we’ll be keeping you posted!
Freemium, it’s like fancy except it’s free. Sarcasm aside, it is a decent concept but hopefully every title doesn’t come off like a Smash TV offering. “Alright, you have just fragged 15 fellow Quake Players and made sure you teabagged 5 of them, this has been brought to you by fresh Lipton brewed Iced Tea.” However, I suppose you could think of worse sponsors. Just remove Iced Tea from the last ad and replace it with KY Jelly. Oh you know I was going there. I’m for it, as long you don’t come out looking like a Nascar driver (or talking like one).
E.T. will never phone home again
Some Auburn University students are planning a documentary on the famed E.T. landfill. The landfill, which many still claim is an urban legend, has been widely discussed in video game circles for years. Now our intrepid filmmakers are out to find the legendary dumping ground with their film E.T.’s March.
We are proud to announce our upcoming documentary, E.T.’s March. Over the course of a week this March, we will go on a road trip from Auburn, AL, to El Paso, TX. From there, we will take the actual path those fourteen trucks took that fateful day, into the heart of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Along the way, we will take in the video game culture of our great country. The documentary will be released for free via the internet this summer.
I’d hope they would release a dvd, I’d probably buy it. (Am I the only person who thinks watching things on the internet are a major pain in the tukus?). However, once they get there, they are probably going to be disappointed. More than likely, it’s under a few feet of concrete. I’m pretty sure it exists because it was crap like this that led to the video crash of the 80’s. Fourteen trucks with video games in it. Wow, I can’t even imagine (but I have fantasies about it). But it’s more than just E.T., there were other really crappy Atari 2600 games out there too. Custer’s Revenge. Go Google it if you don’t believe me.
Critics – Who Needs them? Oh wait…
Chris Dahlen has an interesting post up on the issue of cheating in video games, in particular whether game reviewers can (or should) cheat. Of course, anyone is capable of cheating their way past a tough spot, but should reviewers be held to a higher standard? Dahlen points out that reviewers who admit to taking shortcuts or blowing past extra features or side quests tend to cause people to throw a fit; on the other hand, is galloping through a game at a blinding pace good for anyone, reviewers especially? Is there any hard and fast rule for this sort of stuff?
Here’s what it comes down to, for me: we argue a lot about what game critics “should” or “shouldn’t” do to be worthy of writing their review. But the most important thing in judging a game is to figure out what makes it fun, and then try to enjoy it for what it sets out to do …. Sometimes, you have to stop rushing and just not finish the game in order to actually enjoy the time you spend with it. Other times, if you’re driving yourself nuts over one stupid puzzle, it’s worth cheating your way around it – which is what a lot of your readers would probably do anyway. In trying to decide if it’s “okay to cheat,” I’m basically down to my core philosophy: you should just figure out how to have fun with the damn thing. And if you can take that fun and distill it down to a letter grade, you’ve got yourself a review.
I’ve reviewed a handful of games for this very site. I would do more but I tend to get my games used and 6-8 months after they get released. I rarely get a new game. So unless I sometime in the future start to get games from publishers before they get released, the game reviews won’t be as plentiful as I hope them to be. But when I play games, I am always aiming for fun first. I usually sit down and play the game straight for a couple of hours on the first run through and then follow it up with several sessions after that of varying time length. I don’t cheat during the review process because I’m under the assumption that the average gamer won’t either. Sure I know how to cheat, I just don’t usually until after the “reviewing” process ends.
All-Pro Football 2k8 is a good example. I played straight up games in single player, season mode, etc. Didn’t mess with the difficulty settings, just played it straight up. Once I finished up the review, I start cheating like a mofo (replaying games in season mode, playing with difficulty sliders, turning off penalties, etc) just so I could get a slew of achievement points. I also agree with the original post that is okay to “cheat” past certain points if you need to get ahead to cap off the review. I mean I had game genies and code breakers that made a game insanely more interesting but you have to assume that Jack or Jane out there just got their 360 for Christmas. They are deciding whether or not to buy this game and be able to share the same experience as the reviewer.
N+ was of interest to me several months ago when it was announced. It had the flair and a level editor like a game I hold very near and dear in Lode Runner. It was about Ninjas (not pirates) and simplistic gameplay. You could run, jump, and get through obstacles designed to kill our ninja friend. Enemies were also varied in what seems to be a pretty neat little game. However, I am curious as to the user created content portion of the game. I love level editors and one is included with the game. But I am wondering how it will be distributed and how easy it would be for me to trade with somebody else. Hopefully Metanet software & Klei Entertainment will create a portion of the marketplace for this. That is if it becomes a hit. We shall soon see.
Subtitled the Ancient Ship of Doom, this Ninja Gaiden wrapped up the original trilogy on the Nintendo system. The gameplay was virtually identical to previous offerings with a few notable exceptions. Ryu when he takes damage flew back less (which was quite annoying in the first game) and his jumping took on a wider arc. However, as with many things it was less easy to control. Powerups could be seen and Ryu was able to grab pipes, vines and other objects and move horizontally. However, as with many Ninja Gaiden games, it was insanely hard. Maybe I need to go mess with Ninja Gaiden Black again.
Mmmm, role playing goodness. Back in the day, Phantasy Star was “the” alternative for somebody who didn’t want to play Zelda or Final Fantasy. (I wish I knew what happened to the franchise, oh that’s right…they went online *sigh*) This is arguably one of the best rpg’s of the 16 bit era and maybe ever. Turn based combat and you had options to select from eight different characters. Furthermore, these eight characters had a different set of weapons and armor. The story helped to set it apart as it featured the main character Rolf who had been having reoccurring nightmares. In the dreams, a girl who resembles Alis from the original Phantasy Star is battling a demon and he awakes right before the demon kills the girl. From there, Rolf starts going on missions for his government and on the way starts to solve the riddle of his dreams. This game is also available on the Sega Genesis Collections for PS2 and PSP which I highly recommend (since they have PS3 & 4 among many other wonderful Sega Genesis games).
Dungeon Explorer: Warrior of the Ancient Arts
Need for Speed: Pro Street
Fifa Street 3
Dynasty Warriors 6
Fifa Street 3
History Channel: Battle for the Pacific
Dynasty Warriors 6
MX vs ATV: Untamed
Pimp My Ride
Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors
Kidz Sports: International Soccer
Fifa Street 3
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Some decent games from most of the consoles this week. The Club gets a PS3 and 360 offering and might be a good third person shooter with loads of multi-player capabilities due to its shooter nature. Dynasty Warriors 6 attempts to prove that people still actually play the games. I bought 5 a few months ago, still sealed. I probably will Ebay it before I ever play it. Dragon Quest Swords should be a very fun game for the Wii, it certainly gets an award for the clever title. However, I frown slightly again at the Wii list when I see Pimp My Ride or Balloon Pop. I really wish the shovelware and unnecessary porting for Wii would stop. Stick to games like Dragon Quest Swords or No More Heroes. Stay away from something that a 5 year old can produce.
I only got one more achievement this week (Gold Defender getting two interceptions) on All Pro Football 2k8 to bring it to 33 of the 41 single player achievements. I think the game is starting to lose its steam. It’s a real good game but without a franchise mode, it doesn’t have as much depth as I would like. So I’m stuck doing these achievements which I still think I can do the remaining eight but I feel like I want to move onto something else. I never pulled the trigger on Poker Smash even though Sarah and I are still playing the trial. I even find myself going back and playing Texas Hold Em on XBLA to get over my fix. On that one, I have 9 of the 12 achievements. I’m missing the winning all tournaments (all but one), getting a 1,000,000 bankroll (I currently have a measly $108k), and getting all hands which is really a crappy achievement. Here is why, it is total luck. There is skill involved in playing poker. However, there is zero skill involved in getting a royal flush. Anybody can walk in and get a royal flush or 4 aces. But you can play thousands of hands and also not get it. Also if your playing style involves bluffing or winning before the river, your odds of getting 4 of a kind or a royal flush are greatly diminished. The later of which (I do bluff sometimes) is happening to me. Anyway, enough rants for one week. Have fun kiddoes and join me next week. Take care.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)