Come Get Some Duke Nukem 3d, Wii is prime for Hardcore, and is there really a Hardcore or Casual division? – Welcome to the column that believes birthdays are kinda like the yearly edition of Madden football, you get all excited for release day only to find out nothing has changed from the year before known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. I had a birthday on Tuesday. I turned thirty-three. Yes, your favorite video game columnist turned thirty-three. The end is near; okay, okay not really. This year, I didn’t find myself reflecting all that much. I saw myself for the first time in a while looking ahead, looking to new avenues where I can expand my craft. I saw myself getting older, but gaining some grace and momentum. For you see my friends, my life is not destined to be trapped inside a cubicle typing away a column every Wednesday. Well, I wouldn’t mind the column part, it’s the cubicle portion that drives me up the wall. No, no, I’m not going to suddenly bust out and do construction or lay bricks for the rest of my life either. I’m way too accident prone for that scenario. Actually, I need to write and write more. This includes not just columns, not just dvd reviews, not just video game reviews, this includes primarily my spin on fiction. See, I didn’t start my craft with what I do now, I did it with writing good ole fantasy fiction. Give me a rogue, a town, a forest and a dungeon and let me weave my magic of a tale. My favorite three contemporary authors: Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore & Eric Lustbader are indicative of my writing style. From Terry Brooks I get my sense of how to shape a world and make it come alive. From R.A. Salvatore, I get my sense of how to forge a character and make the reader care. From Eric Lustbader, I just get how to create a good steamy sex scene. Hey, gotta make it sizzle babie!
A gold flashy number for this week. A rather curious expression with the fighting game backdrop of some sort too. Almost looks like Valis. Alright, raise your hand if you even remember Valis? It was a game on the Turbo Duo, you played this chick with a kick ass sword and it was heavily cemented in mythology. Pretty cool game, had a couple of cd-rom releases I believe. Leave it to me to carry on about some 15 year old game when the rest of you are staring at something else. Resume ogling.
There is a new Duke Nukem Game! No, sorry, not that one!
While we continue the Duke Nukem Forever death watch, 3D Realms has confirmed that the reissued Duke Nukem 3D for XBLA is not only finished, but has passed MS certification and ripe for release..
The original PC game (released in 1996! Good grief, I’m old) looks incredibly dated now, but the gameplay is still quite fun — especially on multiplayer. There is something just so satisfying about shrinking your opponents and squishing them beneath your size 13 combat boots..
Check the link below for a list of XBLA achievements that popped up on Acheive360Points.com.
1. Piece of Cake – 25 Points
Complete “L.A. Meltdown” on any difficulty or in co-op.
2. Let’s Rock – 25 Points
Complete “Lunar Apocalypse” on any difficulty or in co-op.
3. Come Get Some – 25 Points
Complete “Shrapnel City” on any difficulty or in co-op.
4. Game Over – 25 Points
Complete “The Birth” on any difficulty or in co-op.
5. Duke’s Mighty Foot – 10 Points
Step on 40 enemies after using the Shrinker on them.
6. Looks Like Cleanup on Aisle 4 – 10 Points
Step in a pile of excrement.
7. Shake It Baby – 10 Points
Tip an exotic dancer.
8. Oomph, Uugh, Where is it? – 10 Points
Find 70 secret areas.
9. Alien Maggots are Gonna Pay – 10 Points
Finish the “Hollywood Holocaust” level in under 3 minutes.
10. Gonna Rip Em’ a New One – 10 Points
Get 100 total kills in ranked Dukematch games (Online).
11. See You in Hell – 15 Points
Get 250 total kills in ranked Dukematch games (Online).
12. Hail to the King, Baby – 25 Points
Earn respect and get 500 total kills in ranked Dukematch games (Online).
Excuse me for a second. I need to go change my pants. Ahhhhh, much better. At this point, I could give a care less if Duke Nukem Forever becomes a reality in my lifetime. I will soon have a re-do of the best 3d FPS from my generation that isn’t named Doom or Wolf 3d. Duke Nukem oozes so much cool that I can’t see this not becoming a run away success on XBLA. Yes, Bionic Commando Rearmed is a wicked and cool game but this freaking Duke Nukem! “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum and I’m all out of gum.” The achievements look like they will be keeping the same adult theme of the PC game which is a very very good thing.
Achievements 1-4 will just require you to beat the various episodes in the game. Fairly easy, though I can’t remember how far I got in the single player. If it has the same save system as Doom on XBLA though, I don’t see a problem. Achievements 5-7 are the fun achievements, everybody should make an effort to get these just to have them on your gamercard. I am slightly crushed that relieving yourself at one of the urinals did not make the list. Achievements 8-9 are the skill achievements. Seventy secret areas? Unless we get a no clipping cheat, this could get tough. I’m not too worried about the time limit for Hollywood Holocaust however since I believe this is the first level. I’ve been through that one more times than I can count. The final three achievements (10-12) is just an exercise in patience and having fun. I could get 500 total kills using just a pistol and being forced to say “Hehehehe, what a mess” after each kill and still have a grand ole time.
Rockstar gets lots of things — like how to make and launch hugely successful games. But what’s one thing Rockstar does not get? Like at all? Company co-founder Sam Houser explains:
The division doesn’t make sense to us; good games will usually sell and be popular, bad games will struggle – of any type or genre or style. But we still believe big, high impact games will help the industry evolve and further surpass the movie industry as the next mass-market story telling medium.
…We always tried to make games that anyone could pick up and play. They may, over time, reveal a lot of structural and mechanical complexity, but the first mission of more or less any Rockstar game is very easy and engaging for a reason – because new people playing the game have to be gently led into the world of 3D action games, or open world racing games or whatever. This is the way we try to cater for a mass market ¬– but we are focused on making digital worlds that are fun to explore and interlaced with rich narratives, that even the most casual player can become a part of, if they want to. The challenge is to make a game in which ‘depth’ does not result in complexity the first minutes you play. This is a challenge we’ve always tried to embrace, and I hope we are getting better at it, just as I hope we are getting better at everything.
Also, in the interview, Houser says Rockstar doesn’t believe in focus testing, saying “it’s like asking an audience what album they want to hear – they don’t know until they hear it!” Yep, that sums it up perfectly. We’ve always wondered why there is a separation between “casual” and “core” players. Should all games support both? Otherwise, game companies are being elitist or just pandering.
In a lot of my commentary, I make reference to my distaste of the so called “casual division”. I am a “core” player. Does that mean I only play hardcore rpg games and make fun of noobs? Well, the noobs part sure. But I play RPG’s, Sports, Shooters, and even the occasional Puzzler or Racing game. Casual games can exist in any category. So I actually agree, the division doesn’t make any sense. A good game will always succeed, regardless of classification. A bad game should always fail fail fail, no matter how many marketing dollars go into the product. There are a lot of companies out there that think if they change focus to the “casual” market that they will make more money. Instead of changing their focus, perhaps they should look inside themselves and spend more time trying to make games that don’t suck. That goes for any system, including the Wii which takes us to our next article.
Lots of people own Wiis. I own a Wii and maybe you do, too. And because so many people own Wiis, that means we get lots of Wii games. And let’s face it, most of those games aren’t very good. SEGA America honcho Simon Jeffrey puts it best: “Crap.” But that doesn’t mean the Wii is a lost hope! Not at all. Echoing what Jeffery told us at E3, the exec says:
The Wii is a very cost effective platform to experiment with. There is a lot of crap coming out for the Wii in general. But if it’s not a good game, it doesn’t sell. That flood of crap will die down as publishers become more coherent. The Wii is a great opportunity for hitting hardcore gamers. No one is doing that. With Mad World from Platinum Games, we are trying to show that millions of Wii games want to move on to mature games. They don’t have to have an Xbox 360 to do that…
It’s [the Wii is a fad] very much disproven. People do play with the Wii like crazy for a while. It gathers cobwebs. Then they bring it out again. But kids are such a big part of the gaming community now and they’re demanding Wiis from their parents. Those kids will shape the future of gaming and they’re not a fad. Microsoft and Sony have to think about how to make their experiences more gaming in that way.
If more publishers thought like SEGA, you know, we’d probably have better Wii games.
Thank you! Amen brother, pass the Wii points would ya? A lot of people own Wiis. I don’t, but part of the reason I don’t is because of the release schedule each week. I look at the list and think hey that’s not a bad sounding game, but then the next three to four titles under the list look like a bowl full of crap. It turns me off. Sure, every game does not have to be a winner but the crap shouldn’t out weigh the good & decent stuff. The Xbox 360 has a good smattering of quality releases, a lot of semi-decent stuff and just a little bit of crap at the bottom. The PS3 has a few quality releases, a ton of semi-decent stuff but not really too much crap at the bottom. The Wii has a handful of awesome releases, maybe a few semi-decent titles and then a sesspool of crap lurking at the bottom of the sea. Whatever happened to the Nintendo Seal of Quality? I admit that the Wii has a ton of potential, even more than we have already seen. However, people think that they can release anything and get sales. Quality games need to be released that appeal to everybody and the crap needs to be kept to a minimum.
From the team that brought you Pac Man Championship Edition comes Galaga Legions. Old becomes new as Galaga is reborn with awesome visuals, more enemies & cooler dynamics. Oooooooooo. Outside of that I don’t have much more information to go on. The graphics do look pretty snazzy and as a Galaga junkie I do find myself more than a little interested. The interesting thing I find is that I’m not a big Pac Man fan, but I loved Pac Man CE. I still sucked at it, but at least I was interested in my suckage and improving it to mediocre. So if they can do that with Pac Man, think what they could do to Galaga. I’ll be downloading the demo and finding out this week.
This game reminds me a lot of a game on the NES called Casino Kid. In it, you played Blackjack & Poker against an assortment of characters in your effort to win a cool million dollars. Here the game is pool and along the way you are playing an assortment of other pool players with unique personalities. They range from a country music star to a biologist to a cop and more. They give tutorials and teach you cool shots to improve your craft. This is all to make your dreams come true in a tournament worth millions. Could be cool, could be something that you’ll play for ten minutes and go what the heck was I thinking?
The original Mega Man, well it is about bloody time. The first (and arguably hardest) game comprised of Dr. Wily, Dr. Light and of course the little blue guy who collects weapons from other bosses along the way. This is one of those pieces of awesome video game history and a chance for the kids out there to play a true original. Fantastic pickup and easy recommendation if you don’t have one of the collections (I have both the MegaMan and MegaMan X collections for my PS2) already.
Didn’t they just release the NeoGeo collection for Wii a few weeks ago? I love rehash. Neo Turf Masters is a pretty decent golf game. It has a variety of courses and has a very nice authentic feel to the game. The controls are also pretty unforgiving. It is the standard three-click interface, but the slightest over adjustment can send your ball flying in the wrong direction. Even worse, you might not hit the ball at all. Four courses & six golfers to choose from make this a very good golfing release. Just be sure to play smart and don’t place half your shots in the woods like I do.
Smash Court Tennis 3
Super Pick Ups
The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom
Well, at least the games are decent this week. I actually wanted to pick up a game that was released on my birthday this week but I’m not sure I have much to choose from. It’s basically down to two. Of course, first there is Too Human which has been delayed more times than I can count. The game was originally a 4-disc playstation release that never made light of day. There were some darn good 4-disc PS1 releases (insert Koudelka and either of the Lunar games here). A nice feature here is the co-operative online play where people can drop in at any time and unique class combinations due to re-spec’ing of various attributes. There is a lot of RPG love in this game and with the right price could be quite the gem. I’d say if you can find it on sale this week for around $50, it could be worth the plunge. The second game of interest is Shepherd’s Crossing. A budget release ($15 on Amazon.com), you build a farm and raise up to 80 different animals and crops. You barter and trade with the villagers and can customize your farm with many different objects. It might be cool? I really don’t know. It seems like a simple premise but if there is some detail there it could be one of those late period gems.
WoW time. 52/27/14/8. Magkick & Talloween have been re-created. Magkick is on Killrogg and has a leveling partner with my girlfriend who created a Blood Elf Paladin. Yes folks, I got a second WoW account. For the last 6 months roughly we have always wanted to play together since our styles are very similar and we compliment each other very well. So, this past week I bought a new computer from Buy.com, a reconditioned dual-core AMD computer w/ 3 gigs of ram, 500 gb hard-drive and 22 inch monitor for under $600 including 2-day shipping. Sure it had Vista, but I can always learn to adapt. So Friday, Talloween was created on the new account and was leveled some with help from her level 22 gnome rogue (former twink) and level 35 human warrior. I had decided that I was going to change his professions from enchanting & tailoring to mining and jewelcrafting. Jewelcrafting. No dwarf should choose jewelcrafting as their profession. Heck, outside of a Draenei or Blood Elf with a crapload of extra gold should anybody try Jewelcrafting. Needless to say I had to get a port to Shattrath City as soon as possible and set my hearthstone there forever. Well at least until I hit 60 I suppose. On Saturday, my girlfriend Sarah created the Pally above on the new account while I created Magkick on the original account. This is where we had our most fun. We picked up the same quests, had the same experiences and only separated to train our professions or classes. The two of us are very powerful and have not ran up on too many challenges as of yet. But most of all, we compliment each other to a tee. I’m the support for the group, I hit from the rear with my spells and craft tailoring & leatherworking items. Her pally is the tank for the duo and she has decided to gather (herbalism & skinning) while giving me all of her cloth. It’s a wonderful harmony and I have a true gaming comrade. She also kisses me a lot both in game and out of game. Woo Woo. Have fun kiddoes and enjoy your gaming.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)