Project Ten Dollar, 451 Weeks & Obama Doesn’t Know How to Work an XBox? – Welcome to the column that doesn’t know the first thing about politics but at least we are honest about it known as Dare to Play the Game.
I spent most of this week in between good ole World of Warcraft and Final Fight Double Impact. For Final Fight/Magic Sword, I took the time to beat each game (or in the case of Final Fight 3 times) at least once and get half of the achievements. I did however screw up the Guy achievement by accidentally switching to another character halfway into the game.
Magic Sword was a lot easier to run through the game, even though I guess I skipped over a few rooms and didn’t get the all levels achievement (just the end boss related ones). So if I get some opportunity before my trip to play, I will take it a little bit slower through Magic Sword and re-do Guy’s achievement and get those two off the list. So the obvious question, are all 12 achievements feasible? Honestly, all but one when I looked at it.
Completing the vault is the most difficult. They require many different tasks on both the Final Fight and Magic Sword side. Some of them are rather simple, complete a level, score this many points, etc. Then some are plain ridiculous like only using two continues on a level (Final Fight) or find all secrets (Magic Sword). It’s like they gave you 11 achievements and then the last one required you to do 60 to 70 other things.
Normally, I post a gamer chick on here. Or perhaps some celebrity who is going to play the video game role in an upcoming movie. This is a picture of a very famous devilish girl of the night. Vampirella. The artist is Frank Franzetta. He unfortunately died recently at the age of 82. He was famous for drawing many fantasy creatures including this one and Conan. May he and his fantastic art rest in peace. Incidentally, Age of Conan comes out this week with an expansion. I somehow managed to tie it together.
Nine years ago, I was stuck. I was stuck in Vancouver, stuck in school, stuck in a life of habits – mostly bad – and stuck in the tragic comfort of doing the same things, and making the same mistakes, over and over again. There were plenty of good things going on too. I was writing a lot – working on my thesis and writing scripts for independent films. I was making those films even, and working on the film projects of friends. There were a lot of creative things going on then, but the thing that would have the biggest impact on my life was the one that I considered to be only a hobby at the time. I was fiddling around more or less constantly (to the detriment of a lot of my other work in many cases) with the Unreal Level Editor. I was editing existing Unreal Tournament levels and working on levels for Unreal Mods. When I received an email from a friend of mine linking to a job posting from Ubisoft in Montreal calling for people with experience using the Unreal Editor, I sent in a resume on a lark. Six weeks later I was living in Montreal.
Within the same year – with the upcoming release of PS2 and the original XBox, I would hazard to guess that 10,000 other people got their first job in the game industry. A good percentage of them probably didn’t last a year. Another big chunk probably never shipped their first title. Of those that did, very likely whatever the game was, it
wasn’t a blockbuster. And of those few remaining out of ten thousand who were lucky enough to ship a blockbuster for their first game in the industry, I suspect exactly zero of them can claim to have had the kind of luck I had starting as a level designer, then working as a game designer and scriptwriter on the original Splinter Cell. I was a rookie
on an upstart team that won the World Series in their first season in the Major Leagues. Official XBox Magazine gave Splinter Cell a 96 – topping the 95 they had given to Halo. And it didn’t stop there. In my almost nine years here, I have shipped three games with over twelve million units sold through, and an average meta-critic of over 90%. I’ve been very lucky to say the least.
But I am a person of habit. For me, habits begin to form when I am comfortable and content, and over time those habits settle. Their weight begins to rest heavily on the foundations of contentedness on which they were built. All the courage and hard work required to overcome my bad habits and forge myself a place where I can be happy, leads me back, inevitably to a place where I am once again comfortable and content. It’s a tragic spiral that I have been through a couple of times in my adult life now. It’s the fractal of my emotional landscape; habits recursing through habits, great pustules of discontent revealing themselves to be whiskered with golden curls of incredible joy which themselves, on closer inspection, reveal an acne of sorrow speckling their surfaces, ad infinitum. In the 451 weeks that I have been here, I have adopted many new habits. It has taken tremendous effort to prevent those habits from atrophying into bad ones. Pride burns into hubris. Willingness wilts into desperation. Confidence slows to stubbornness.
Passion boils into anger. Each of these faults and others – without care and constant self-examination – risk becoming habits.
I am too comfortable. I am too content. And I know where that can lead for me.
Fortunately, for the first time in my life, I know the way forward. The way forward lies in my having the courage that I did not know I had a decade ago to bid farewell to those tragically comforting habits. I need to walk on hot coals and sleep on a bed of nails. I need to chew on broken glass. I need to drink paint. This post has gotten long enough
and I am still afraid to come to the point, but what I really need more than anything is to write these words; I gave notice of my resignation to Ubisoft on Monday, April 26th, 2010.
That’s me, acknowledging that I am unsustainable and taking the steps I unfortunately feel I need to take in order to rectify it. The odds of me having the same luck I had the last time I took such a step may be 10,000 to one against, but this time I hope my ability and willingness to do the hard work are beyond question. In that context, I guess we’ll
find out just how true or false my modesty is. And I’ll be happy to admit it if I was wrong (but not too happy, and not too soon, I hope).
That was a blog by Clint Hocking, one of the head guys over at UBI Soft. Here is something you don’t hear from me everyday, I’m praising an UBI Soft Employee. *wait for it* *wait for it* For leaving the company. Haha, okay I promise I won’t start anything. The real purpose of this commentary is to look deeper into the blog and read between the lines.
Clint basically yearns to feel passion once again. He’s spent many at a year working at UBI Soft and wants to burn with feeling. He wants to make that game that rises to #1 from the ashes. I’m sure there is another fire pun I can throw out there, but the real point is that he loves the business and wants to succeed and make something out of nothing. That’s about as noble as you can get.
There aren’t many people who would start at the bottom, rise to the top of their chosen profession only to resign so that they can start all over again. But sometimes, success isn’t measured in money or worth, it is measured in spirit and passion. I can kinda understand where he is coming from. I’ve been at my paying job for 7 years. I rose from the bottom to the middle (LOL) but have become complacent in the last year or so. Here is hoping that Clint and myself find the fire we have been searching for.
A screenshot from the very first Splinter Cell. It was truly ahead of its time back then. The most recent one scored an 85 on the MetaCritic scale. This is certainly a good score but when you made games that scored in the 90’s, you can understand the whole passion argument.
Publisher EA is extending its “Project Ten Dollar” scheme to make buying used copies of
EA Sports games a bad idea. Don’t expect to play your EA Sports games online without the “Online Pass” included in new copies.
What is Online Pass? It’s a game-specific, single-use registration code included in new copies—and in new copies only—of games like the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 that will grant Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners access to online content—”online services, features and bonus content” according to EA.
Yes, that does include head-to-head and multiplayer online gameplay modes. Online Pass also grants access to online leagues, roster and playbook updates, user-created content downloads and tournament features. More details on that sweeping change at EA Sports’ official site.
Those who purchase Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 used can purchase an Online Pass for $10 USD. EA is also offering a “free 7-day trial to experience Online Pass.” According to the official Online Pass web site, Madden NFL 11, EA Sports MMA, FIFA 11, NBA Live 11, NFL 11, and NCAA Football 11 will also employ the “original purchaser” targeted plan.
EA has implemented similar anti-used game measurements with games like Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and The Saboteur, leading to one class action lawsuit against retailer GameStop, which specializes in used game sales.
If this sounds unappealing to you, let the soothing words of EA Sports president Peter Moore ease your troubles. “This is an important inflection point in our business because it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA SPORTS online community,” said Peter Moore. I feel better already!
Ugh, I know I’m in the ever shrinking minority, but I still buy used games. Certainly not as much as I used too, primarily when I buy used games I’m buying them for an older system such as the Playstation 2 or Xbox. One of the games they mention, Saboteur I bought new (but waited until it dropped to under $20) because of the anti-used game measurements the article mentions. So, I guess it is working.
However, as I have stated many times before, it leads to a dangerous precedent. The intention is that everybody buys their game on day one from Electronic Arts. You can’t save a few dollars by going into Gamestop (or other used store) and buying a used copy because the game is hardly worth the paper the manual it is printed on. But what ends up happening more often than not is people wait until the game is in their price range.
Say that price range is $30. They go buy it new at $30 from Electronic Arts, problem solved. Or is it? Electronic Arts cuts their servers all the time and might not offer Online Pass at that point. The game isn’t going to get much play probably. Say, you are a person like me who sometimes doesn’t buy a game until a generation later because he was curious about it.
He then finds out that half the functionality is gone and he can’t even go get it from the game company. That person isn’t going to be buying too many future games either by that company. It’s a domino effect really and I really hope this doesn’t lead to what I like to call, the sharewareing of console titles where you buy episode 1 and then you are forced to go buy the other five episodes from another source (with no resale value). However, this isn’t too far from reality and practices like this that do nothing but punish the consumer only hurt the cause.
Addressing graduating students at Hampton University, Virginia on the weekend, US President Barack Obama has spoken out on the challenges facing government in an information age, one dominated by “Xboxes and PlayStations”.
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter,” he said.
“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.
“All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”
Interesting choice of devices there. I’ve always thought content was the important issue with news, not the delivery platform. It’s not paper’s fault if magazines suck.
Also interesting he goes out of his way to say he doesn’t know how to “work” them; would it matter if he did know how to work them? I mean, it’s not like a 360 or PlayStation is any harder to switch on than a Wii…
Obama talks about a truth meter, I have a similar device. It’s called a BS meter. Oh look there, it’s going out of control. It’s practically blowing out of proportion. Really, Obama, so basically you are saying you are ignorant. If you don’t mess with one of those devices like an Xbox or Playstation, that’s perfectly okay. But if you go out of your way to say you don’t know how to work them and act like you are proud of that, then that’s just plain sad.
But wait. Didn’t Obama during his campaign make a big thing about his Blackberry and how he can’t live without it? The Blackberry with its ridiculous small keys is basically a more primitive iPhone. The iPhone has very similar software as the iPad or iPod, both of which Obama has no idea how to work them. I’m calling complete BS. Here is what I think you should do Obama.
Stop lieing to yourself and to your country. Admit, that deep down inside you do know how to operate an iPod or an Xbox and you are really just tired of being fragged in Modern Warfare 2 50 times in a row. It’s okay not to like any device you wish, heck I’ve done it with the Nintendo 64 for years. But don’t play stupid and say you don’t know how to work something when we see you glued to a similar device and can’t bear to be without it.
A picture of Obama huddled over his Blackberry. Photographical evidence, ain’t it a bitch?
You might remember an older game called Rocket Knight Adventures. Well, he’s back in a sequel. See, after the first one where Sparkster beat the Devotindos, everything was supposed to be calm. But then he found that his old enemies were fighting alongside his friends against an army of wolves. Well Sparkster had to put back on his old gear and fight again.
This game is in 2.5d and jetpack use is a little more restricted. There are no consecutive boosts, only a second additional boost for those longer jumps. Furthermore, he can only bounce off walls if he hits them just right. Arcade mode has no save points, but there is a Freeplay mode where you can select levels and save your progress. It really doesn’t seem to be worth the 1200 points, but perhaps somebody will find promise in it.
Phoenix Wright is back with five more cases to try as he tries to keep his moniker as the Ace Attorney. This game plays the same as the previous titles where there is an Investigations Mode where you will look at crime scenes, talk to witnesses and find evidence. Then in Court Mode, you get to ridicule witnesses, fumble evidence and laugh at various testimonials. Okay, that would be Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Anyway, you know what to expect in this courtroom drama themed game.
Need a chess game? Well, here is one for five bucks on your WiiWare service. Playing against the computer is available as well as playing people around the world. There is full Mii character support and the game supports what is known as Elo-rated matches. It looks like just the thing for those who need a chess fix on their Wii. May it find the Bobby Fischer in all of us.
Naruto Shipuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3
3d Dot Game Heroes
Lost Planet 2
Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition
Super Bike World Championships SBK
Lost Planet 2
Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition
Winter Sports 3
Most people are interested this week in primarily a couple of games. The top game of the week is probably 3d Dot Game Heroes that brings back a lot of old retro 8-bit rpg goodness. Think Zelda but in a 3d environment. There are dungeons to explore, enemies to face and a little puzzle solving. Plus you will be able to create your own character model with the 3d sprite editor. Lots of nostalgia and homage to the Link dude might make this the sleeper hit of 2010.
The other games of note are Lost Planet 2 and Skate 3. Lost Planet 2 takes place 10 years after the original events and it’s no longer frozen tundra. The game has become tropical which presents some unique issues for the inhabitants. In Skate 3, in order to bring more people into the fold, they have added an Easy Mode (simplifies the trick system) as well as a Skatepark builder. This game is also a little happier this time around and not so skateboarding is a crime mentality of the first title.
As you might have seen the quick mention, I will be leaving for a vacation on Friday for about a week. Most of you know that I rarely take vacations (though I’m starting to get better), so this is so needed. I’m going to rest and live life. There will be no video games (unless I find an arcade I suppose), no computers (well maybe the laptop for directions) and instead we’ll be trying to catch a baseball game or some horse racing.
There probably won’t be a column next week, I’m just admitting that in advance. I’m not supposed to even come back before next Wednesday which is when this column typically posts. However, that column would have been the 200th column I’ve done here at Upcomingdiscs. So I guess the anniversary will have to wait a week, and we’ll see what we can cook up. Have fun kiddoes and enjoy your week.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)
05/27/2010 @ 1:33 pm
I rarely buy new releases until their prices drop below $30, and am primarily an offline player. Thankfully this $10 fee won’t effect me, though I prefer to buy my games new whenever possible.
3D Dot Game Heroes has been constructed from pure awesome. Just FYI. 😉