Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It's Keen

I was playing around at DOSgames.com and found this game called Commander Keen. Apparently it's an oldie-but-goldie that was really spectacular at the time. I love the way they meld RPG-style level selection with platform gameplay. It's all very fun to play and makes you think about how games were made back then. Not much else I can say, I guess you'll have to play it for yourself and find out. A very nice game by Apogee.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

IVAN't to Play!

Don't jump out of your skin, but I have finally found a rogue-style RPG that contains original concepts! That's right, and it's called IVAN.

Here are some of the original ideas it contains:

It uses a limb based damage system. You and all the other monsters take damage on one or more parts of your body, including left and right legs, left and right arms, head, torso, and groin (ouch!). If a body part is damaged too much, it is severed and falls next to you. This applies to monsters too. There's nothing like fighting a zombie and seeing at the bottom of the screen, "Alex the Puppy has finished eating the Zombie Leg."

It combines dungeon adventuring with outdoor adventuring. If you check out this screenshot, you'll see it's another one of those random dungeons. Oh joy. But wait, there's more! Come see this screenshot. There is a huge map waiting for you to explore. Although most of the game is underground, they nicely balance this with outdoorsiness (is that a word?).

It has graphics that don't look like text characters. I'll give you a minute to get back into your chair. Alright, that's better. You heard me right, and you probably noticed by those screenshots, the graphics are the best of any rogue-type ever made (but that isn't saying much). And the effects are cool too. Occasionally your sword or helmet will twinkle, and if you're hurt, blood will drop to the ground as you walk.

And the best thing is that it's free. And it's constantly updated. In fact, it's only at v0.5 right now, and I think they could easily sell it the way it is.

This is an excellent and long-due remake of the old rogue games that far exceeded my expectations. I congratulate IvanDev for their superior quality and attention to detail.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Asphalt Urban GT for DS

One of my favorite games right now is Asphalt Urban GT for DS. Although some people might think it a little incompetent, I beg to differ.

First off, the graphics really take control of the DS and use its unique graphics capabilities to the fullest extent. That tree might look like it's the same from every angle, but hey, it's 100Mhz! What can you expect?

The collision detection is a little off. Hitting another car hardly affects them as much as it does you; you sometimes spin out of control while the pizza truck keeps moseying down the road. It does affect them, but only a fraction as much as it does you. Also some of the obstacles, i.e. lamp posts and palm trees, don't generate collisions at all, and the ramp cars are sometimes really hard to hit properly.

The neatest thing about Asphalt is the boost system. Your boost is your only weapon against the opponents that they don't have (besides skill :D ). You start out with three boosts, but you can have up to five at a time. Boosts charge slowly, and doing special things, like drifting around a corner or hitting a phone booth, add a lot to the boost charger, giving you a huge advantage.

The other awesome thing is the fact that you can tune your cars. Sure they stole the idea from N4S Underground, but this time you can own multiple cars instead of trading in.

Not up for story mode? No problem! Play arcade mode, where you can do Instant Play (a random car and track are chosen for you), Road Challenge (beating a car category unlocks the next, and maybe wins you a tuned car), Time Attack (you keep zooming around the same track to see how fast you can finish laps), or Cop Chase (you drive around in a souped-up cop car and pull over speeders).

Here's a hint for Cop Chase: Don't try to catch up with the speeders. Turn around right at the start of the race and drive backwards around the track until you meet the guy in front. Pull him over first, then slow down and wait for the next one to speed past, etc.

All in all, it's an excellent game, and very complete. I've had it for two months now and have yet to beat it. It's a challenge for the best of us, and it uniquely combines many elements of gameplay that makes the whole game sing in harmony.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

XBOX Sucks

So I've been thinking a lot about it, and I have come to a decision: The XBOX sucks. Here's why:

The XBOX uses full size disks for games. This means they are easier to break through bending, and are harder to store.

The XBOX doesn't have any good games. This doesn't seem to matter; all the hard-bore gamers I've talked to say that the XBOX is awesome because of the graphics. Again I say, why is that more fun?

Besides, I played several games on an XBOX, and thought the graphics sucked. It didn't make the games less fun, but it was weird to think that the XBOX's bragging point is its mediocre graphics.

The XBOX controller is too hard to use. All the buttons on the right side are the same size; you have to look at the controller to hit the right button. This often leads to button mashing as you try to push a button but can't find it and can't take your eyes off the screen either.

And another thing; so many people hate Microsoft. Don't they realize the XBOX is made by Microsoft? The XBOX is nothing but a high-power high-speed PC. It even uses the same processors PCs use. You could easily build a PC with as much or more power than an XBOX, if you had the money. This is something XBOX-huggers just can't admit. They paid a fortune for a PC and now they have to stick to their story.

So what do I think is the best gaming console?

The PC is the most adaptable, most affordable, most expandable console ever invented. You can play any CD-rom game, have as much processing power as you can pay for, and use any game controller for PC on the market, most of which are better than any other controller for other gaming consoles. You can also use the same service you are already paying for to play multiplayer internet games, instead of paying a fortune for XBOX live, or wiring a bunch of GBAs together, or whatever. The PC is the best system available.
And the best thing is, most people already have a PC! All they have to do is upgrade a bit, and POW! They have a gaming console! Yes, it's that easy.

There are also some newer computers rigged up directly for gaming, like the Dell XPS, XPS Laptop, and XPS Laptop Gen 2. They are expensive, no doubt about it, but they are way more powerful than any game console.

So spend the money on a nice PC. And skip the XBOX.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Halo 2: Bigger Guns

In all fairness, I have not played Halo or Halo 2. But based on the comments and raving reviews of my hard-bore gaming friends, I can make the following conclusion.

It's another shooter. It has different guns, it has better graphics, but all in all, it's just another shooter. Why do graphics and weapons rule out entertainment value? How come people buy a game for the graphics? Why not buy a movie if all they want to do is watch it move around on the screen?

And what about guns? Why are the guns such a huge factor? Whatever happened to new ideas in games? Sure it might have new guns, but what about new ideas, new concepts?

It's all summed up in a comment from one of my Halo-loving friends: "Halo 3 will be so fun! You can actually see the Master Chief's face!" And that's fun why?

Monday, April 11, 2005

More Bias Notes

Please forgive me for all this stuff about Nintendo, but I must vent a little here.

The PSP is good because:
  • Better Graphics
  • Camera
  • MP3 Player
The DS is better because:
  • It's $100 cheaper
  • The games average $15 cheaper
  • The games are better
  • It has a touch screen
  • It has a microphone with speech-recognition
  • It has wireless multiplayer play
  • It has cartridges that don't wear out and with onboard storage
  • It can dial in to hotspots (if the game supports it)
Besides, the MP3 player can easily be implemented into the DS using the GBA slot, the camera is already on your cell-phone (and can you think of any games that could use it?), and which would you rather have: better graphics, or funner games?

Anyway, I'm done now. If anybody tells me, "dude, the DS is lame. Get a PSP," I now have a place to point them to.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Anti-Nintendo DS

Alright, I have officially seen too much anti-Nintendo stuff lately, especially regarding the Nintendo DS and PSP systems. So I must say a few things.

First, the DS rules. It kicks ass. Anybody who has played one for longer than a minute and with a game other than the Metroid demo would know that.

Secondly, the PSP sucks. It uses a disc system for games which is bad for two reasons; the discs wear out, and they have no on-board memory. It also has no touch screen or microphone, and it doesn't have games that are, well, ANY GOOD!

Who cares if the graphics are better? Does that make it funner? No. Does it make it more realistic? Yes. Is that better? Not necessarily. So why bother with better graphics?

Another thing is all the anti-Nintendo bias to come to light from all this. I was in a Fred Meyer the other day and noticed the various headings for the gaming systems in the Home Electronics section. XBOX, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, Playstation 2, PSP. Where's the DS?

Then I saw it. Crammed in the GBA section, a small stack of DS equipment sat in a corner.

It wouldn't be so bad, if it was only Fred Meyer. But it isn't. It's everywhere. Just look at GameSpot.com. The DS has to share a forum with the GBA, while the PSP gets its own spot. Why is this so bad? They are implying that the DS is the next GBA. It is, in reality, a whole new product line, totally distinguished from the GBA. But they are making it look like a toy. It isn't; it's a serious portable gaming system.

Also on GameSpot, even before the PSP was released there were a dozen news articles for it, while the DS only had one.

Is it just me, or does everyone hate Nintendo?

MMORPG Accomplished

Check this out. This guy is absolutely right. I have actually found a MMORPG that partially corrects problem #2, and pulls in #6 in the bargain. Ready to hear it? Puzzle Pirates.

The best thing about this game is the way the players actively affect the entire game. Want to buy a ship? Some of the players have to go build it first. Need to sail to another island? Join a crew, and either sail, bilge, navigate, load the guns, repair the ship, etc. etc. etc.

That is the other thing it does better than any other game; it greatly encourages teamwork. If you don't have a crew, you can't sail a ship without taking severe damage and probably sinking.

Of course it also has all the regular features: combat (in the form of swordfighting and drinking contests), equipment, and shops. You can train, but training is drastically different than in, say, RuneScape. In RS you mindlessly click on monsters to increase your level. In PP, difficulty increases with experience. If you have already beat an NPC at swordfighting, the next one will be a level higher.

Not only that, but the experience system is also completely different from most conventional RPGs. Your experience amount is not measured in swordfights won or shipwriting done. It is instead measured by where you stand in relation to other players.

By far, this is the best pay-to-play MMORPG out there.

Blastoff

Well here we are. Welcome to Gaming Avenue. I am your host, BusterBot858. In case you haven't heard of me (which you probably haven't), I am the proud founder of LegionSoft, the owner and sole proprietor of the online RPG Shadow Redemption, and a Visual Basic 6 teacher at Game Making School. I have been using VB6 since I was 10 (back then VB5 was the latest), and I've been using a registered version of Game Maker 6 for two years now.

I started this blog because I knew it needed to be started. Not too many blogs exist where the word "game" does not necessarily mean a First-Person Shooter. I knew that there needed to be a place where serious gamers - who believe games should not be mindless shoot-em-ups - could gather.

So that is why we are here. And hopefully why you are here. If you disagree with me, if you think running around blowing people to smithereens with hyper-super-rocket launchers is the definition of a perfect game, this is not the place for you. You are not a serious gamer. You are a hardcore, or better put, "hard-bore," gamer.

All else, stay and prosper. Together we can alter the gaming medium forever.