Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Life Messages And A Lot Of Gaming  


Life: While I don't usually spend a lot of time talking about things like politics or social issues, every once in a while I do feel the need to speak up about something. That time is right now.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you probably know that I'm a father of two. Having kids is an incredibly enriching and wonderful experience, and being the best father I can possibly be is something that I think about a daily basis. I don't just roll out of bed and have a random “Day + Kids” everyday, I actively, consciously think about my role and the import it has on my young ones. My actions, their effects, and whether whatever I'm doing at that moment is the best thing for my children.

Last night my wife passed along a link, which I read and then promptly retweeted. If you don't follow me on Twitter, then I definitely suggest that you CLICK HERE and read it now. Essentially, the author has encapsulated my stance on parenting, almost perfectly. If you are a father or have ever entertained the notion of being one, even for a moment, I would say that this is required reading.

Please take it to heart.


Life: No, I'm not done with the soapbox quite yet. If you've been plugged into the news lately, you've likely heard at least a little bit about the student at Rutgers University who killed himself after being videotaped in a homosexual encounter. It's an incredibly tragic story, and even more tragic is that it's not the first time someone has done something incredibly drastic like this.

Dan Savage
Although I can only imagine the kind of heartbreak that person's family is going through right now, I'm sure that they would want to spare other families that same kind of suffering. While I can’t personally do a lot to rectify this particular situation, what I can do is pass along THIS LINK to the It Gets Better project, launched by Dan Savage on YouTube.

Essentially, it's a collection of videos from Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer people telling their life stories and how incredibly hard they were. However, it's not a pity-party. The message they're trying to get across is that life does get better and there can certainly be light at the end of the tunnel for people who are struggling to find a happy place for themselves in the world. It's about hope.

If this is something that can help you, please take the time to check it out. If you know someone who might benefit from these positive messages, please pass it along.


Games: I've been in a bit of a holding pattern lately. I keep waiting for specific titles for review to show up, and… none of them do. Since I hate putting something on hold when a must-review game arrives, I've been burning through a bunch of random stuff in the hopes that the UPS truck will drop something off sooner rather than later. No such luck yet. In the meantime, here's what I've been doing… RAPID-FIRE STYLE!!!

Deadly Premonition
>My most recent piece just went up at GameCritics. CLICK HERE to check out my Second Opinion of the notorious Deadly Premonition (360). Don't be surprised if you see it end up on my year-end Top 10 list. Seriously.

Sin & Punishment
>I ran through Sin & Punishment: Star Successor on the Wii. I'm not the biggest Treasure fan by any means, but it was fairly enjoyable and I liked much of the visual style. The story was complete nonsense and some of the sections were more difficult than I prefer, but I would definitely recommend it on the cheap, or as a weekend rental.

> I popped in Metroid: Other M… and then promptly popped it right back out. I think I played something like two hours or so, and that was more than enough for me.

The voice acting was atrocious, and the cutscenes are ridiculously absurd. It's no secret that (dev house)Team Ninja has never been a model of gender equality in their designs, but I was quite shocked that Nintendo didn't iron out some of these ‘colorful’ tendencies.

My distaste for the writing aside, the game design just makes no sense. I'm utterly baffled as to why the game uses only the Wiimote when the Nunchuk attachment is so readily available to most players. Using a 2D control scheme to navigate in 3D space? Not exactly the most brilliant idea. Pass.

Toy Soldiers
>I was gifted a copy of Toy Soldiers (XBLA) by an extremely benevolent soul who shall remain nameless, and I'm happy to report that I have at long last finally found a Tower Defense game that doesn't make me want to toss my controller through a window. Really, really enjoying it so far, and the art is fantastic. Totally recommend this to anybody. Plus, the developer (Signal Studios) is local... about 15 minutes from my house -- score one for the home team!

Playing Hydrophobia was torture
>Spent some time with Hydrophobia, although not much. I can hardly think of a less enjoyable beginning to a game than being stuck in dark, complicated corridors with an unreadable mess of a map and an extremely sketchy camera. Add in some pointless Metroid Prime-style environment scanning to drag the pace of everything down, and it’s a recipe for disaster. I have to seriously question some of the early review scores awarding it high marks…

Alice in Wonderland (DS)
>Tried the DS version of Alice in Wonderland thanks to my friend @Zolos, and he wasn't wrong to suggest it. The art is nice and abstract, and the developers have come up with some nifty mechanics to match. I haven't spent a lot of time on it, but I really like what I've seen so far.

Sums it up pretty nicely...
>Played a bit of Left 4 Dead 2 with the wife in online co-op. This is the first time playing it for both of us (we ran through the original L4D together and had a blast) but I have to say that things did not get off to the best start.

The mission we played (the mall) had fairly boring level design until we got to the main area of the shopping center, which went from boring to annoying. The task of collecting thirteen cans of gas for a racecar was a bit insipid to start with, but then our baby woke up before we finished.

Like I said, we were in the online co-op mode. We prefer to look at a full screen -- splitscreen is great to have, but if the option for full-screen is there, we're taking it. Despite the fact that only two people were playing and both of us wanted to pause, we could not pause the game. That was bad enough, but as I was putting the baby back to sleep, the game registered us as ‘inactive’ even though I was only away for a very short time. The server booted us, and we lost all our progress… needless to say, neither one of us was very happy with the game at that moment.

Tonight's events don't really inspire me with confidence, to be honest. Our baby doesn't usually sleep through the night, and if the game is going to boot us off the server every time we have to put him back to sleep, this is going to be an extremely difficult playthrough.

> Last but certainly not least, I got a chance to spend some time with a pre-release version of Explosionade, from Mommy’s Best Games. I can't say a lot about it except that I was enjoying the hell out of what I saw, and with this game launching at the insanely low price of $1.00, there's absolutely no reason in the world for anyone not to buy it. Really, really looking forward to getting my hands on the final version!

What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

1 comments: to “ Two Life Messages And A Lot Of Gaming

  • Zolos


    Hehe, Alice in Wonderland (DS) was a really enjoyable little game. I am glad you are digging it.

    (sigh of relief tbh :))

    The only major issue i had with it was the repetitive/fiddly combat. But overall i was surprised they did such good work on a licensed game.

    I mean they probably could have made a cheaper/lazy game and sold as many copies.