Tag Archives: games

Want to be a part of a "Debate-Cast"?

Here’s your chance to get into something I’ve come up with. Something that I call a “Debate-Cast”. It goes something like this…

  • I create a debatable subject.
  • I then get hold of some people on Skype and talk about it, and record it as a podcast.
  • I edit, and transcribe the recording onto the blog, and release the recording as a podcast to download.

So… Who’d like to be a part of the first “Debate-Cast”…?

The subject will be…

Are Video games toys?

Head over to the GameGavel Forums for more details, leave a message there or leave a comment below if you’d like to join, I’m hoping to get a balanced number of people who agree and disagree with the subject.

Before the internet… Part 1

Before there was the internet there was Television, and what television was good for back in the eighties and nineties was advertising and commercials. It was a time where if you weren’t reading gaming magazines, you would find out about games through television Adverts. Here’s a few I remember from back in the day…
This advert for Super Mario Bros 3 was just epic, as a kid I always wanted to know how they pulled off having so many people to make that mosiac of Mario across the United States…  Well it was all computer generated!

“To be this good takes Sega” was a set of adverts I really remember well with it’s crazy mechanical and robotic themes with a dude living inside a huge American eighteen wheeler lorry. As much as I was a Nintendo Fan Boy at the time, they used to show these adverts a lot in the early nineties.

I got into reading gaming magazines when I saw a cover of Nintendo Magazine System with Super Mario Land 2 on the front of it, I had to have it! I needed to know what the next Mario game is like, and just as I saw this Magazine cover, this advert appeared on TV around the same time in winter of 1992. Just the crazy look on Wario’s face in this advert made Wario Mario’s next big enemy!

Sony’s “Double Life” TV ad in 1998 is by far, the darkest, but powerful advert I’ve seen, that makes people know that as much as society has a habit of labelling gamers as antisocial individuals, we have witnessed a form of art they are not aware of…

“Up to 6 Billion Players” was the slogan Sega used for their adverts when the Dreamcast started to release Online games such as Chu-Chu Rocket, Phantasy Star Online and a bunch of Football and sports games.
With the internet age on our hands, at least I don’t need adverts to tell me what game to get, websites, blogs, podcasts and game news and reviews can be seen on the web. However in Part 2 of “Before the Internet”, I’ll be blogging about TV shows about video games in the early nineties.

Alarm clock games!?

I have a hard time trying to get out of bed, it seems that no matter how much sleep I have, I either under, or over sleep, feeling like crap, and wanting more precious time for beddy bye byes… Well here’s a crazy concept, what if you turned waking up into a social game!?

Say hello to Wake Up Club. A free game making its way on the PlayStation Vita on the 15th of January.

The game is pretty simple, it encourages you to get out of bed rather than hitting snooze by comparing your ability to get out of bed with your friends and people over the Internet.

The game play is rather simple. As the alarm goes off, the PlayStation Vita screen unlocks and turns on. Your PlayStation Network avatar will bounce across the screen, and in order to turn the alarm off, you have to touch your moving avatar on the touch screen. However, if you continue to sleep, avatars of your friends and other players who have been successful in tapping their avatar will appear in your game and make more noise with the existing alarm. To get rid of noisy friend avatar you have to touch and swipe them off the screen, and you can only move one at a time. After clearing the screen you’re joined with friends and others who wake up at around the same time as your avatar invades the sleep time of other snoozing gamers.

Personally I think this is an AWESOME idea for a social game! Thing is, way PlayStation Vita? Well it’s a first party Sony developed game, so of course it’s going to be a Sony console exclusive. However…  I have found an alarm clock game for Android devices…


Here’s Brain-A-Wake!

The game isn’t as socially involved as Wake Up Club, but what Brain-A-Wake does is mix an Alarm clock with Brain Age.

When the alarm on your Android device goes off. It challenges you to a set of Brain Age like games where the player has to solve to turn the alarm off. But the idea behind this is that by the time you answered the questions right, your brain is awake because you had to force yourself to become alert to answer them. It sounds like a really cool idea, shame it’s presentation isn’t as flashy as the PlayStation Vita’s Wake Up Club. But it is earning high scores from users, so it might very well be a descent alarm clock game under some sub par presentation…

That’s not all though, there are alarm clocks out there with games built into them whereby to turn the alarm off, you have to play the game! This one for example is an alarm clock that been built using an Arduino kit that plays Tetris on it, but it’s aware of if you try to sleep again. A very cool home made alarm clock!

And somewhere out there on the internet you can actually purchase a Dance Machine alarm clock where you have to play a game of rhythmic simon to turn off a really loud 70s disco music.

As much as I liked Dance Dance Revolution back in the day, I’m not getting one of these! lol!

Personal Opinion: Console gaming now…

OK, I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up with this blog, so I’m going to write this up, my opinion on the current state of console gaming…

Recently, well I say “Recently”, over the year, I’ve hardly touched any of my consoles; sure people use the classic “Hur hur! my Wii collects dust” quote to sound like everyone else. But for me, all three of my current generation consoles are sitting around not doing a lot. I might go and check what the latest downloadable game is, but with this thing called “The Internet” and “Other people doing it for you”, you can use open up a web browser on your PC and look it up. Plus with downloadable games on Steam out beating the likes of retail prices on current console games, the price of PC components dropping in price (OK, OK, I know about the stupid Hard drive Indonesian flooding thing that happened last year and the prices haven’t dropped since after the shortage, blah blah blah) and the shire amount of promoted indie games; PC gaming is just that much more attractive to me than console gaming. Let me elaborate!

Nintendo Wii:

Great game…  But it was the only great game this year for the Wii

Apart from the new Rhythm Heaven game, nothing has really come out, I mean sure La Mulana FINALLY came out on WiiWare, but that got busted when 3 weeks later it got released on GOG, and since then I haven’t touched the Wii since I went stupid and bought the same damn game on the PC through GOG. Now it’s understandable that Nintendo hasn’t done much with the Wii this year due to the release of the WiiU in November. But what a well to knock out a format that made you print money! Sure, half the internet bashed the Wii with the typical “It’s underpowered wah wah wah””, “The online sucks wah wah wah””, “I hate motion controls wah, wah, wah!”; but in my honest opinion, I liked what the Wii offered, even if every other company tried to make their own pathetic version of Wii Sports, there was a good amount of games on the system. But now with the Wii U out with hardly any worth while games on launch and with a silly price tag, Nintendo has kinda stubbed it’s little toe on the door frame this year, not to mention releasing four “New” Super Mario Bros games, all which have similar game play mechanics, in six years. They’re re-using Mario like how Activision is pumping out a new Call of Duty each year!

Sure there might be new online content, challenges and levels, it’s still pretty much the same game it was on the DS.

Microsoft XBox 360:

My PC brings all the games to the yard, damn right it’s better than yours…

Like to spend money on a service that already exists on other systems where it’s free!?!?!?!  Sure you do! You’re an Xbox Live Gold account owner, and you are totally oblivious to the fact that people playing games online on the PC don’t have to pay a thing…     …well unless it’s an MMO. Still! As silly morons pull out $50 a year to play Call of Duty and Halo 4 (Seriously now, Halo 4! talk about sticking to a “TRILOGY!”), I can play Left 4 Dead, Dark Souls, Portal 2, Serious Sam 3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dead Island, Earth Defence Force, and good ol’ Killing Floor! (…oh dang, that’s not on 360 is it now?) for no additional fee, and the online experience is pretty descent. Non of this “Super Lag” that Live bozos think PC gaming is like. But apart from things such as online gaming, the hilarity of the 360 is simply the fact that about 75% of it’s games will get it’s way on the PC, and the likelihood is that it’ll be cheaper on the PC too.

OK, OK, the prices are barely any different here, but the PC version is still cheaper!

Plus, my PC’s specification kicks the 360 in the balls big time. We all need to remember that the 360 was released back in 2005, seven years a go! The system only has 512 Mega Bytes of RAM for crying out loud! My PC has 8 Giga Bytes of RAM. Now sure I spent about £600+ on my PC, which is 3 times the price of an XBox 360, but after paying £40 a year over the course of seven years, if you had XBox live since it’s launch, you would’ve invested the same amount of dough that could’ve been spent on a descent PC that could a lot more than what a 360 do, I mean come on, it took seven years to actually get Internet Explorer on the 360, and you need to use Kinect, sorry I’m going to laugh full heartedly to myself…

Then again, this year for my 360 wasn’t totally dead, at least I played a game on it that hasn’t got a PC release, Red Dead Redemption. My friend gave this game to me a couple of Christmases a go and I wasn’t interested in it, however just like with Hotline Miami and Fallout 3, I would discover that Red Dead Redemption is a pretty good game. But still, if it did have a PC release like L.A. Noire did, I might have picked up the PC edition of the game.

Sony PlayStation 3:

OK, I’ll admit, this has some recent love from me as there’s a small community of people on the GameGavel forums setting up online games of Worms Revolution on the PS3. This year, I have purchased games for the PS3, but most of these felt like expensive short thrills rather than engaging entertainment. For example I got Catherine, a great puzzle game that I was waiting for ages as it got released this year in Europe, but it was released last year in the US. I purchased Street X Tekken too, and had the same experience, a game I really wanted to get, to find that I would barely play it. Hopefully with Worm Revolution, and playing it with the folks at GameGavel might spark an interest in playing more PS3 games, but looking at what’s coming for the PS3 and nothing interests me, apart from the undated “The Last Guardian”…

You have no idea how much I want this game!

As a big fan of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, the Last Guardian is the next game in the series, featuring a huge monster that appears to be friendly to you, together you avoid guards who are trying to find you and put you back into the temples prison. As exciting as it might be, the game has been in hiatus for a stupidly long time, and a lot of the team behind the development of the game have either retired or quit, which isn’t a good sign! Seriously though, to have such a big title like this slip would be bad for Sony and Team ICO. I don’t know the details, politics and reasons for such a long delay, as this game was first shown back in 2009. But with it’s release in question, it’s pretty damn sour and makes me wonder if Sony understands what they’re doing.

OH WELL! LET’S DUPLICATE SUPER SMASH BROS!
Trolololololololololololo!  …urgh…
So there you have it. I ranted enough for this evening…

I’ll make sure the next blog is a review, heh!

What made this Nintendo fan-boy broaden his horizons?

As a kid in the nineties, Super Mario was my hero, and Nintendo is where you played Mario games. My first experience with Sega and Sonic wasn’t a great one as I thought it was too fast and too hard for my 7 year old mind. So through out the nineties I was a big supporter and fan of Nintendo, disliking Sega, and eventually disliking Sony due to the PlayStation’s “slow” loading discs. But by the turn of the Millennium, my tastes in video games were going to grow a lot, but how did this once Nintendo Fan boy buy himself a PlayStation in 2001 you ask?!

Dance Dance Revolution and Dancing Stage…

Yup, it’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but when I went to the Millennium Dome in London back in 1999, there was a tiny arcade inside, and one of the few machines inside, with a couple of Pinball machines and crane games was a Dancing Stage. For those outside Europe, Dancing Stage was the name to Dance Dance Revolution in Europe, no idea why, hunting on Google and Wikipedia didn’t give any results either, but regardless to the name change, it was the same game by Konami with a couple of licensed tracks thrown in. I popped in a £1 coin and began to play the game. As to anyone playing a dance machine for the first time, I was terrible at it, but at least I got to my third and final round before failing. There was a lady in this tiny booth watching me play the game. And when I had finished she walked out and pulled out a plush toy from one of the crane games and had told me that I was the only person who had gotten to the third round since the Millennium Dome was opened. I was kinda chuffed, accepted the toy, and began to think on how to could get that game home.

That’s where it struck me. The only Nintendo versions of Dancing Stage and Dance Dance Revolution were only available in Japan, there was a version on Game Boy Color that came with a mini platform you mounted on top on the portable as you make your fingers do the dancing. I thought that was pretty silly (I say that when most people think stomping your feat on pink and blue glass panels is silly!), there was an actual version of DDR on the N64 in Japan, but it was the Disney Rave Mix, Disney “Rave” Mix? I’d hate to see what happens to Mickey when dropping Es at a rave. In the mean while, I was waiting to go on holiday to the coast to scour the piers and arcades for actual Dance Machines. The waiting and hoping that a version of DDR and Dancing Stage could appear on the N64, Dancing Stage Euro Mix got released in 2001 for the PlayStation. At that point I thought to myself, I can’t play DDR on the N64, I gotta go and get myself one of those “Slow Loading” PlayStations. At the time the PS2 was reaching it’s first year in Europe, and I didn’t care for it then, I wanted to see how cheap I could get a PlayStation 1 just so I could get my DDR fix. Before Christmas of 2001, I managed to buy an original PlayStation 1, not the PSOne, from a bloke at a Market/Car Boot sale for £40 (I still regret paying that price for a second-hand PlayStation) and got myself a copy of Dancing Stage Euro Mix and a dance mat from GAME. So I got what I wanted, a system that I got my DDR fix from. But as time slowly moved on, I would return to the same car boot sale for other PlayStation games that might grab my interest.

Someone bought this for £94.90!? Ouch…

Going with the Rhythm game theme, Europe got Beat Mania, think DJ Hero before DJ Hero existed, and was made by Konami, the same people who made Dancing Stage and DDR. It was a pack that came with a poorly made turn table controller that broke on me. I handed it back to the bloke at the car boot and demanded a refund, but he refused; at around the same time I noticed that GAME were selling off copies of Beat Mania to clear space in their warehouses for a fiver a piece, I bought one, then handed over the one I bought from the Car Boot Sale inside the box that I got from GAME to get my money back.

And into more Rhythm Games, I got a copy of Vib Ribbon. Now this is an interesting game as it never got a US release. Developed by Nana Onsha, the same team behind Parappa the Rapper. Vib Ribbon was a simple game whereby you jump over obstacles of different shapes generated from the sound being made from your music CDs. There are 8 different obstacles, each obstacle had to be jumped over in a different way by pressing a different button on the PlayStation controller; some required you to press two buttons at once. Think of this game like a Canabalt or Temple Run; you play as a wire frame bunny rabbit character who is running to the right (or the left depending on the camera angle) and you jump over holes and walls, it’s a rhythm version of an endless runner game, except it’s not really endless as the level would end at the end of the track.

Something a little different from Rhythm games, Final Fantasy IX. Before I got the PlayStation, I owned the PC version of Final Fantasy VII, and loved the crap out of it. There was a version of Final Fantasy VIII for the PC, but I didn’t know where to find a copy, and Final Fantasy IX never had a PC release. But with my own PlayStation, and a WH Smith £10 book voucher, I got myself a copy of Final Fantasy IX. For the time I had it I enjoyed it, though I didn’t beat it, and by the time the GameCube came out, I traded it in for a copy of Super Smash Bros Melee at a local small Games Shop that I would eventually hate big time.

After this revelation in gaming, this Nintendo Fan Boy was fan boy no more, my taste in games were broaden, and soon after picked myself up a DreamCast, and used eBay and Car Boot sales to pick up other consoles such as the Master System, a Mega Drive, and later on pick up a TurboGrafx and an Atari 2600.

So yeah, DDR made me like other systems, Let’s dance!

Dont ask me why exercising anthropomorphic rabbits and Cotton Eye Joe have in common…  Only Konami knows! lol!