Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TROLL TIME: "This Thread Already Exists!"

I am a huge fan of discussing things on forums. Whether it is game design, shopping for a new gadget, learning to make tripple chocolate brownies or getting dating advice... Forums rock! Or at the least they do if people are actually allowed to write in them. Unfortunately there is a phenominon that plagues the forum writing community. "This already exists!". There is nothing that pisses me off on forums more then this. If you wanted to run an FAQ site you should have made one. Its really that simple.

Now don't get me wrong... If something is being repeated again and again that is causing "flame wars" I can understand this. But that sort of topic should only be had on a debate forum anyway. Topics that I see get this issue a lot that do not generally deserve it are polls "Is game A or game B better?" and "Should I buy...?" threads. I get it: some people work their behinds off writing excellent guides on making certain purchases. And its great that they do. But that does not, and should not, give those people the right to feel that they are the sole authority on said subject henceforth through eternity.

There are three very interesting topics I have been following on forums this month: advice for my upcoming PS3 purchase, research on Sims 2 vs.s Sims 3, and comparisons between InFAMOUS and Prototype. In my reading I have come across two "This already exists!" retorts. One was actually on my own PS3 advice thread on and the other was on a Prototype v.s. InFAMOUS poll on IGN. It was nice of the gentlemen who commented on my thread to link me to his advice column -- it had some good video links that were quite handy -- but I was rather shocked at his insistance that I post nothing more about the topic without first consulting his thread first. Get. Over. Yourself. !!!

There are reasons that certain topics are going to be repeated a thousand times over on certain types of forums. There are always going to be "I am buying XYZ system -- Advice?" threads on a gaming forum. Its as certain as the sun rising in the east. I think that the poster on GameSpot did have a good idea having a guide for mundane things like system types, necessary v.s. unnecessary accessories, history of the console in question, getting started, etc. I do not think telling me not to post again was a wise move in increasing his (or her, I am asuming its a guy since I was on a gaming forum. Ironic since I am a woman, I know.) reputation or that of his guide.

The problem with autocratic and static guides being the only permitted method of getting information on something is that you lose the human aspect and are unable to ask questions you might want to get answered in contexts that are specific as an individual. I do not need some game-guru wannabe using a mass discussion platform to try and pretend they know everything. If I want a singular opinion on something from a professional reviewer I will go look up a review of whatever I want on, or I will just hop onto YouTube.

So, how could we fix the problem? First off, if there are good guides that a forum has on something like this that they want people to refer to those should be stickied at the top of the board, they should be clearly labelled and they should be well written. Second, if such a guide is going to be a manditory source of information then it needs to be updated accurately and quickly when changes happen and it needs a Last Updated specification. Lastly, while encouraging users to use the guide should be important, paying attention to what they write and its specifics should never be pushed to the wayside. It is annoying to have 100 topics on the same thing. But if everything on a forum becomes a "check this guide" reference then we no longer have a forum.

Thank you for reading. How do you feel about repeated topics on forums? Do you have a solution? Discuss!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where the Hell is Bioshock 2?

I did not know what I would end up wanting to buy once E3 rolled around. I often use E3 as my tool to see what is up for grabs and that usually works very well. This year has been exceptionally quiet for fall -- although spring is looking very loud. The one game that I know I am buying -- and the one game I was most looking forward to viewing at E3 -- was Bioshock 2. So the question is... Where is it? I cannot believe that I have seen no new footage or information for the game. Yes, it is coming out November 3rd. Yes, there is a wonderful demo and a strong interview for the game on YouTube (that I watched prior to E3) but nothing new has popped up. Grr...

Anyway, since E3 is not giving the game any love then I suppose that I will be compiling all the Bioshock videos I have found onto this blog post for your viewing pleasure. You may have seen these before, or you may not have. Feel free to check them out either way. I will be updating if I do find any new details about the game. Enjoy!

Bioshock 2 Demo: Hunting the Big Sister

Bioshock 2 Trailer: Dream

Bioshock 2 Gamespot Interview

E3 2009: Sony Press Conference

Sony and I have been at war this generation. It did not start out that way. I had every intention of buying a PS3 without a second thought when announcements of the new consoles came out. But Sony's reps started sounding too cocky, and I started wanting to play Oblivion. So I went ahead and got an Xbox 360, figuring that since Sony's console release was still a ways off I could just get one later. Then I read that a Sony rep stated (basically) that Sony could sell dogshit in a bag and their customers would buy it. I was infuriated and I decided that Sony needed to be taught humility and a respect for their customers. So I bought a Wii (which I wanted anyway) instead.

Fastforward to 2009. I am not a huge fan of the Wii (see my "Nintendo" activle) and Microsoft's fall lineup is looking rather quiet. My best friend, RJ, just got a PS3 and is encouraging me to join him and "expand my options as a gamer". It has been three years now. Sony has (seemingly) learnt a few lessons in that time. So I will be paying attention to what the PS3 can offer me this year as a potential buyer. In short, their E3 conference will be playing a large role in my ultimate decission. Check back soon to read my discoveries from Sony's presentation. Right now, its time to go and watch it.

Final Fantasy XIII

Yesterday witnessed the first viewing of Final Fantasy XIII being played on an Xbox 360. It was an exciting and historic moment for Xbox fans everywhere. But today, Square Enix shared a much deeper trailer for the PS3 version of the game, filled with many interesting new faces that I am sure we will grow fond of in the future and asking many questions to which I am sure any Final Fantasy fan will be itching to find answers for. Here is the trailer that was released at the conference.

Final Fantasy XIV... ONLINE?!

(As a quick aside: Jay, I can see you cringing. Stop! *hug*)

Yes, you read that right. In 2010 Square Enix plans to release not one but two Final Fantasy games. The first is the much anticipated Final Fantasy XIII which is suppose to release in the spring. But wait... There's more. At Sony's press conference it was announced that Final Fantasy XIV will also be releasing in 2010. This was followed by a trailer for the game, which you can view below.

As much as I love Final Fantasy, this is the game that stole E3 2009 in my opinion. Its new, its exciting and its innovative. The fact that this will let me design any character, any car, and any track my little heart desires. The best part is that all of this stuff can be shared with family and friends. The design is very fun and enjoyable: its old school kart-racer gaming. Yes, that means crazy driving, weapons, launchers, stompers, etc. and more. The video below took me half an hour to find but I am delighted to share it as I was quite honestly stunned by what I saw here. Tell me what you think. Enjoy!

The Last Guardian

I am not 100% sure whether I will buy this game. Why? Because I am not 100% sure I would be able to play this game. But the art style looks cool and the critter your character is with looks so cute that I could not resist posting it here and giving my support. Take a look at the trailer and decide what you think.

Sony's New Motion Controller

Everybody is getting in on the motion control gig it seems. Yesterday we saw Microsoft unvail Natal. Today Sony is unveiling their new motion sensing controller that works (if I understand correctly) in conjunction with the EyeToy. The actual level of control and the focus on how this could actually effect specific "hardcore" games are definately this new system's strengths. For me personally my biggest concern is whether I will physically be able to use this and whether it will be optional, manditory or game-specific once it enters the market. (This is especially important for me regarding my purchasing decission.) Only time will tell how this project will pan out for Sony. Want to see this for yourself? Check out a video:

All in all I feel that Sony had a good solid showing at E3 2009. They did not surpass Microsoft in innovation in my opinion (which is likely biased based on the fact that I am unsure how the new Sony tech will work for me.) But I do feel that Sony had a very strong showing with regard to games. There is a lot more adventure and RPG stuff here, as opposed to the majority of FPS fare shown by Microsoft. There is nothing "wrong" with FPS but they are not my favorite genre.

E3 2009: Nintendo Press Conference

I like Nintendo. My first game console was the original NES. We had Mario, Fester's Quest, Pinbot, Final Fantasy 1... Good memories. I love Nintendo DS. I don't spend as much time with it as I use to, since I own an Xbox 360 and I love social gaming. But I still pick up a game for that system here and there. The DS broadened my interest in gaming and I have a lot of respect for that system for that reason. The Nintendo Wii has been a large disappointment for me. I really wanted to like it and hoped it would be somewhat a console equivelant of the DS. It is not. Why? Because I do not have the ability to use a Wiimote and a Nunchuk at the same time for medical reasons.

So if it seems I am going a little too hard on Nintendo today, please recognize (as always) that this blog focuses on what is of value to me. Nintendo is a great company and did much good for gaming. But since I cannot play their main console my current views of them are not necessarily the most favorful. I wanted to be upfront and disclose my bias so that it will not color the judgement of my readers.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

I did not get to catch a video of this until just now since I decided to spend time with Jay and skip part of the Nintendo conference (good choice -- I missed a lot of the marketing mumbo-jumbo that I don't care about.) I also missed hearing about this game, but thankfully IGN's Nintendo Recap gave me a good guideline to use about which games I would likely have wanted to see. I am a huge DS fan and a huge fan of RPGs so this fit the list. I will try to get more details but for now you can check the trailer right here.

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Yet again, this is one of the games that I missed. I still need to get Phantom Hourglass, but I still stand by my belief that playing zelda with a stylus would probably go over very good for me. Anyway, the video that is shown here looks pretty cool and this is another game that I may need to keep an eye on in the future.

New Super Mario Brothers Wii

This. Looks. Awesome. Remember what I was saying about not hating the Wii but being frustrated that I have trouble with some games? Well this looks like it should be a joyously comfortable fit for me. You flip the Wiimote to act like an old school controller. With modern TVs (either me 37" one or my parents 42" one) and four player coop with competitive stats, this shows major promise and looks very fun. Care to see more? Check out a video:

Other Interesting Things

Do not let the smaller number of videos here fool you. Nintendo did show some other interesting things, noteably Metroid Another M and Super Mario Galaxy 2. As I stated at the beginning of my article, I am sticking to stuff that I can actually play. Galaxy is a no in the hugest way (my brother bought me the first one and it was BAD with me playing it.) and the second is fairly dicey, although it is interesting to see Nintendo collaborating with Team Ninja. Overall Nintendo seemed to have a pretty good conference. Oh wait, there was one more thing I wanted to show you...

Wii Vitality Sensor

I think my pulse went up when I saw how far some people are willing to go in order to make money. And I think if I can't sleep this video would definately do the trick. Sorry if I sound harsh here, but really... What will they think of next? Don't believe me? Think I am pulling your leg? If you can see through your tears this will show you that I am being 100% serious...

Monday, June 1, 2009

E3 2009: Microsoft Press Conference

Many big things went down at the Microsoft Press Conference, which took place today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at 10:30 a.m. PST this morning. Below I am going to cover some of the highlights that I personally found interesting. To view the full conference I recommend that you check out, or and look for their E3 coverage sections.

Rock Band: The Beatles

I have been a huge Beatles fan since shortly before my first year of university (yes, it took that long!) and I was both thrilled and delighted to see a game of this nature being released. This is definately getting added to my wishlist. Among the comments made regarding this game were that "All You Need Is Love" will be available for purchase on Xbox Live with all proceeds going to Doctors without Borders, that there are 45 songs that are included on the actual game disc and that entire albums by the Beatles will be available for download and purchase for the game, starting with Abbey Road. A further interesting surprise was the fact that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were actually at E3 to show their support for the game. Here is a video showing gameplay and revealing ten of the forty-five included tracks. Enjoy!

Final Fantasy XIII -- Playing On Xbox 360!

Yes, yes, yes! Not only does this look awesome, it looks very fun. Apparently it is currently aiming for a spring 2010 release but my money is still on a 2010 winter release knowing how Final Fantasy tends to work. Here is a video with some combat that was shown at Microsoft's conference:

Joy Ride

This looks like it will be cute, fun and charming. You get to take your avatar for the ride of its life in a vehicle that you can chose different things about. I do not know a great deal about this yet but it looked like it could show promise for having some casual fun. Here is a nice little video of the trailer included at the conference. I wish that I could have found a video with the spoken introduction but that was, unfortunately, not possible.

Other Goodies...

In addition to many other games shown, Microsoft also announced that a partnership with will be coming to the 360 and that a new video / TV service will allow more people then ever to take advantage of the console's multimedia functions. Further, there are plans to add social networking via Facebook and Twitter. Looks like I will need to update the former more more often, and get an account with the latter. No point in letting good tech go to waste.

Natal: The Future of Gaming(?) Awaits...

The Final announcement from Microsoft's conference confirmed two suspected rumors: a camera focused on motion gaming, and a presentation of a new project by Lionhead Studios' Peter Molymeux. First we will look at Natal itself.

So, what is it? It is a full body motion camera, complete with face and voice recognition. Don't believe me? Just check out the video below. As the presentation claims: You are the controller!

But what does Mr. Molymeux have to do with all of this, you might ask? Plenty! It seems that Lionhead have had access to the technology for several months now and what they have managed to do with it is quite astounding. Prepare yourself: this may feel like you have stepped into the pages of a science fiction novel. Also, please note that this is (at least currently) a demo to my understanding, so do not attempt to judge what you are about to see as a complete product.

*shiver* Tell me that is not the most -insane- thing you have ever seen?! Is Natal a Wii clone? Definately Not. I dunno about you, but I have never seen the Wii do stuff like that. So, guys... What do you think? I look forward to hearing your opinions. Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will be writing about Sony and Nintendo's conferences. I will also try and find a way to view EA's conference so that I can get e3 2009 information about Mass Effect and The Old Republic.

I hope that you have enjoyed my coverage of Microsoft's 2009 E3 conference!