Video Game Physiques, Sixty Dollar Standard Disappearing & Michael Phelps: Next Action Hero? – Welcome to the column that brings in the New Year with as much booze, chicken wings and women that $10 and witty jokes will get him known as Dare to Play the Game.
This past week I found myself playing two games in the 360 arena: Fable II & Lego Batman. In Fable II, I went to the task of getting all of the achievements that I reasonably could on my “good” character. This included things like getting married, having a child, getting married again, etc. I am now currently up to 855. The problem is once I did those things it made me like the game a little less. It wasn’t because I felt I had reached the point of nothing else to do. Far from it. I still have about half the gargoyles and half the silver keys to find if I want to go that route. It’s because being married and having children opens up certain quests.
Very annoying quests. Your wife in Fable II will want everything from sexual favors to gifts to children to a new house or new furniture. She will also give you gifts quite regularly which require you to visit the household more often than you care too. The kids once grown tend to get in trouble by finding their way into dungeons. Furthermore, if you get married to two different people even in two different towns (for example: Bloodstone and Bowerstone), expect somebody to find out which sets up the Blackmail quest. It sounds crass, but I need to just get rid of one of them now. Spending time with the left part of the expression wheel (things like belching, burping and slapping them) might be just the ticket.
So I close the year of 2008 with a statement on GamerGirls. Once they were viewed as a myth or a legend that we many of us gamer guys wish existed. Or if they did exist, they were often shunned by us for trying to be part of our crowd. Truth is, gamer girls are just like gamer guys and there are a lot more of them now. Like ourselves, they are of all shapes and sizes and some are extremely desirable. I know, cause in 2008 I lived with one, my girlfriend Sarah. A beautiful woman who can cook a mean meatloaf and can whoop my ass in World of Warcraft or many other games. I love you sweetheart.
Video Game Physiques
Playing as super buffed up hunky dudes can make men insecure, according to a Kansas State study. But read on, if these stories are correct, this piece of scholarship has some serious problems.
The study’s investigators themselves say other factors may contribute to one’s perception of body-image. But, after watching groups of men and women play video game characters with “extreme” male and female body types, respectively. In as little as 15 minutes, both genders showed negative body-image behavior.
Two things: 1) It doesn’t take 15 minutes of a video game to make a dude conscious of his spare tire. Any reasonably attractive woman strolling into the room produces a response called “gut-suck-in-itis,” which is believed to be vestigial mating behavior from our days as savage eohippus-slayers and monolith-touchers.
Secondly, I did some searching around, and an AP story vows up and down the male study’s game was — record scratching sound — “WWF Wrestlemania 2000” That’s right, a wrestling game. And if that is enough to give a guy a complex, then our self-esteem is far, far more brittle than that of any girl gamer facing down the jiggly queens of Soulcalibur.
Oh, the AP story said the womenfolk played a volleyball game. Please, please, please let it be Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
Anyway, I am not a psychologist or a scientist of any kind of training, but as presently described, these findings aren’t worth much. Sure, I don’t make a super-realistic avatar when given the opportunity, but I’m not sent into depression just because I don’t look like Kratos. Come to think of it, it would be depressing if I looked like the Roid Dealer to the Gods.
I’m honestly surprised that the females didn’t play also Rumble Roses since the dudes got to play a wrestling game. Say what you want about Rumble Roses but it is one of the best cheap time-wasters out there for a current console. If only they had fixed some of the achievements. Anyway, I’m trying to figure out what head cases they gave this study too. Are people really that shallow? Do they really care about the body types of a bunch of pixels in relation to themselves? The human body is essentially imperfect anyway and a game always strives to be perfect. It could be that perfect muscled bound figure who is going to rip the villain limb from limb or that red-haired goddess with skin-tight clothing and enough cleavage to make Pamela Anderson jealous. Then again, maybe it’s just me but I don’t feel like playing a character who is actually realistic to my own body type. Hence when creating myself in a sports or wrestling game, I tend to make the height realistic but take usually about 20 pounds off the weight (and I consider myself fairly normal in terms of weight). Society is more to blame than some game with unnatural body types in a fantasy setting.
505 Games is creating a game based on Olympic swimmer extraodinaire Michael Phelps, but can swimming carry a video game? Probably not. That’s where the pure action comes in.
Swimming is a the sort of sport that is extremely exciting…for swimmers. 505 Games realizes this, and while there will be a healthy dose of watersports in Phelps’ game, it won’t be confining the action to the swimming pool.
“Swimming will be a part of it, but it won’t be set in an Olympic pool going back and forth,” said Adam Kline, president of 505 Games, the company releasing the series. “This is a pure action game”
A pure action game? With Michael Phelps? What the hell could they be planning? “Michael Phelps: SwimSpy”? A remake of Ecco the Dolphin? I mean, pardon my lack of enthusiasm, but as G4’s Adam Sessler points out in the Daily News article, “Swimming — in even a Mario game — is a miserable experience”.
Despite skepticism on the part of just about everyone in the gaming industry, 505 games remains unperturbed about the title.
“We will spend a very pretty penny in marketing this project because it’s important to us,” Kline said. “We believe it’s the next Tiger Woods project. … It could be here for the next 10 years.”
Oh joy! “Michael Phelps: SwimSpy 5: Swim Harder”!
Can I laugh now or when the game comes out? This is one of those things that you can see that is a bad idea a mile away. Phelps is an awesome athlete, there is no denying that. However, there is nothing in the free world that could make a swimming game enjoyable to 95% of the population. I’m sure there are 1 or 2 people on the edge of their seat thinking this might be awesome but I kinda doubt this is going to be the next Tony Hawk or even Shaun White franchise of games. Of course, when I hear they want to make it into an action game, more horror stories crop up in my head. Heard of Shaq Fu? Or perhaps that Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City game? Yeah, that’s like a bad wet dream with the cast of the Golden Girls. (Yes, I used a Golden Girls joke for the second week in a row)
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the economy’s in the toilet. Even the supposed “recession-proof” video game industry is feeling the pinch, with publishers slashing prices even on best-selling titles. Could last-gen pricing return?
Forbes points to cuts on titles like Activision’s Call of Duty: World at War currently Amazon.com’s deal of the day and Guitar Hero World Tour as indicators that sales may be slowing on top tier titles. Analysts, such as Lazard Capital Markets Colin Sebastian, say that the reduction on the latest Call of Duty, a best seller in November, “highlights the risk of lower software pricing moving into the new year.” That’s bad news for publishers, now accustomed to selling games a sixty bucks a pop.
Activision’s not the only one cutting prices. Pre-holiday releases form publisher Ubisoft like Prince of Persia, Tom Clancy’s EndWar and Far Cry 2 saw significant cuts.
Forbes’ Chris Morris theorizes that if publishers keep releasing new games at the new standard of $59.99 USD, “the inability to keep them at that level for a significant period could have some serious implications on revenues.” Especially if wiser buyers anticipate that big-budget releases will be inevitably slashed and decide to wait, we’d think.
We’d also think it would be difficult to find anyone on the consumer side losing any sleep over less expensive games.
Ever since I’ve got my Xbox 360, I haven’t been particularly happy about buying games at the $60 price tag. In fact, very few of my purchases have been at that level. The only notable ones I can think of are Halo 3, Orange Box, Fable II, and Fallout 3. The rest I waited and waited until they were at least under $50 and many around the $20-$30 level. Heck, just this week I purchased TNA Impact for the 360, brand new for $17 and some change. That game came out less than four months ago. The truth is, we are in a recession and it is hurting the sales of some games. But there are other truths. Truths that publishers are not willing to accept.
1) All games do not have to be released in time for Christmas. Many games can benefit being released at odd times of the year especially during the first few months of the year or during summer time when kids are out of school and need something new to play. Prince of Persia is a decent title. A very good title even, but it came out at the wrong time and got lost in the shuffle.
2) Certain games simply do not have enough content to be a $60 dollar game. With the multitude of first person shooters out there, you need more than a 10 hour campaign and some mindless multiplayer modes. The other culprit of this is those sports games that have to have a new full priced release every year when all they really have is updated rosters. Is there any wonder why these games are always the worst resale value of any type of game?
3) For a lot of games, we are simply sick of sequels. I think this is a prime case with Call of Duty. The hardcores bought it in November but when December rolled around they realized that there was nobody else to buy the game. It was the same ole Call of Duty. Most of them rightfully went to Gears of War 2 or some other game that was more likely to hold their interest.
Some games just suck as well. The problem is when years are lean, we only buy the best games. In previous years, a lot of us were willing to take chances on certain games which has perhaps lead to a lot of publishers that are still trying to get away with crap. It will be interesting to see where pricing takes in the New Year.
There was no actual news on this title until I turned on my xbox this morning to see if there was a release. This is actually already on WiiWare which is where I stole the screenshot from since no major outlet had apparently discovered it either. So, in attempting to figure out the game, I downloaded the demo as well. It’s a gameshow where you fill in letters based on a clue. Ever remember the gameshow Scrabble? It reminds me a lot of that but a lot less fun. The gameshow has a theme you can pick like ‘Videogames’ but maybe half a dozen questions are actually about video games. Another odd thing, the video game questions were mostly about Metal Gear, a Playstation exclusive or Nintendo. This is Xbox Live folks, we should be getting questions about Halo or Fable. Okay, there was one Fable question…about the first Fable. The most asinine thing about the game is the second and third rounds where you have 3 ‘spoilers’. These spoilers can come into your game, answer one question right and take your money and your spot. Sure you can get it back on the next question, but it comes to a point where you did all of this work and then cause of one question, they can steal your pot? I would assume this might make use of your avatars but it isn’t very good and looks to be a waste of 800 points.
This is another very odd puzzle title for the WiiWare lineup. In this one, there are three game windows with three different games that you must simultaneous control. I’m not that talented. Heck, I tried Rockband this past weekend singing and playing guitar at the same time on Easy and had the worst time pulling it off with songs I do know like Enter Sandman or Wanted: Dead or Alive. Nevermind, keeping your eye on three puzzle games. The games are supposedly simplistic in nature and have a theme based on a shape such as circle, stick or square. The goal of all these games is to score a million points. The problem is keeping all of the games going at the same time. This game also allows you to download a version to your DS which is a nifty idea for those who like cross-platforming.
I actually found myself playing a little Bankshot Billiards this week (XBLA) and then after 15 minutes I wondered what the heck I was doing. I’m probably safe for another six months. Pool is one of those games where you think oh wow that is so cool until you realize that either you could never play pool like that or you suck at virtual pool almost as much as you suck at regular pool. This game includes 9 Ball, 8 Ball, Rotation and Snooker. It also includes trick shots with an edit feature where you can make up your own special shot. The multiplayer modes will let you take on just about anybody in the Wii world. It’s a cool parlor game and for 500 points, there is probably worse things you can do with your time. Give it a shot.
Remember Star Tropics II? Chances are a lot of you probably don’t. It was actually the next to last licensed game for the Nintendo 8-bit system. Right before Wario’s Woods. This title had Mike Jones once again taking on the evil alien Zoda to control the fate of the Argonian people. This title had you traveling through time and visiting locations around the world rather than a few scattered tropical islands. Places like the Old West or Transylvania. There are more weapons in this game as well like a katana from Leonardo Da Vinci or a dagger from Cleopatra. Another improvement is that you could move & shoot in 8 directions as opposed to moving among squares in the original. For 500 points and classic NES action, it’s almost a gimme.
Hotel for Dogs
Pirates: Duel on the High Seas
Hurry Up Hedgehog!
Two dull weeks in a row. For the second week, I can’t even do the service of linking an actual game that came out this week. It simply is not much to speak of. Instead, this week I decided to link a book that tells the history of Mountain Dew. A 300-page book that tells the history of Mountain Dew. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is. Hey at least it is game related since MD is pretty much the drink of gamers, at least in the United States. Massive amounts of caffeine and Yellow #5 is a winning combination. I wonder if next week will bring us something else that is food or drink related or perhaps it will be an actual game. Don’t count too much on the latter.
WoW time. 60/58/43/30/18. My rogue made it to sixty. WooT! After clawing and scratching to get roughly 200 gold and exalted status with Undercity it was time to ride my troll buttocks to Brill and get me my purple Undead epic horse. But for some reason, I don’t feel the need to go to Outlands. I know the gear is better, I know there is more to do. But I guess at the same time, it blends the lines of being a casual WoW player which I still consider myself and something more serious. I don’t want to be like every other WoW player I suppose. It’s weird, I admit it. By the way, my rogue was able to solo Scarlet Monastery including Cathedral this week. I hadn’t really tryed it since my early 50’s and I was only able to get through Graveyard and parts of Armory. There was maybe one close shave during the whole instance and that was only because I let a couple of enemies flee a little too far. Furthermore, it netted me about 50-60 gold. Not bad, not bad at all when you consider I sent the greens to my level 30 hunter to be disenchanted for mats to up his skill. Anyway, have fun kiddoes and have the best of new years. Thank you for reading each and every week.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)