Archive for the 'Games' Category

01
Mar
09

Survival Horror, think of the children!

Ghosts. I don’t like ghosts, I don’t like ones with broken necks, bleeding eyes, long arms, or disembodied heads. They can sod right off, the lot of them. This ghost bigotry comes courtesy from playing through the Fatal Frame series of games (or as it’s known here in Europe, Project Zero). It’s been such a long time that I’d almost forgotten that games could actually be scary, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Looking at the current market of horror games it appears that game developers have also forgotten how to make a good scary game. Resident Evil 5 seems to have given up with the scares and is shaping up to be a third person shoot fest with a buddy, it’s about a chainsaw and a chest high wall away from becoming Gears of War. Monolith forgot what Condemned was all about and instead produced a game about a superhero with shouty powers. Dead Space lacks any real atmosphere. And the less said about Alone in the Dark 5 the better (Fire bullets).

What happened to the games that made me hesitate to even play them (as I type this Fatal Frame sits at the end of my bed taunting me, daring me to play it), games that drew me so far into their own twisted world that I’d have to check the closet and creepy little dolls had to be expelled from the house before I slept, you know, just in case. It seems Survival horror is drawing it’s last breaths, as the market moves away from deep psychological horror drenched in tense atmosphere towards a more mainstream acceptance of action horror (surely that’s an oxymoron).

But you know who’s missing out the most? The kids.

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22
Feb
09

That’d be nice; Better A.I.

Yes games have come a long way since the days of games composed of whiney static on tapes, and the main protagonist was composed of 4 pixels. We’ve come leaps and bounds since the games industry’s second revival in 1985, I still remember being mind boggled by the graphics of Desert Strike. Graphics have gone from two dimensional sprites in a world of tiled textures to a fully three dimensional rendered world of bloom and lighting effects. Audio has transcended from simple blips and beeps your computer made to dramatic music and delicious ambient background sounds. Stories have gone from saving the princess to epic tales that take multiple games to tell. And now even real world physics are being put into games, soon the games developers will need at least one physicist on the team.

While those have come many miles since their first incarnation, the A.I.’s progress seems to have all the progress of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a mountain. Sure A.I. now is far superior than that of yesteryear but it’s progress doesn’t seem to be as important to game developers. Everytime a developer raves of their A.I. improvements it turns out to be little else than a more refined version of the marines from Half Life. Of course this is an unfair generalisation, but it still seems that the dream of facing off against A.I. that could actually challenge you (without cheating, i.e. catch up A.I., see mario kart and nearly every racing game) has been lost in favour of online play. Only RTS games seem to really get a clever A.I. (Galactic Civilization 2)while us dumb FPS gamers are stuck with A.I. that still sometimes run straight off cliffs or into fire. So I have devised a shopping list of things I would like to see used more in games.

Continue reading ‘That’d be nice; Better A.I.’

19
Feb
09

When Games Go Bad

I’ve been playing a lot of Dwarf Fortress recently and things had been going well on my very first fortress. I couldn’t seem to attract new migrants but everything was ticking over rather nicely. So I decided to expand my base by digging underground eastwards with my head miner, Einstein. Unfortunately the river is also eastwards, Einstein had to run for his short rotund life when that water came. He made it to safety fortunately and I decided to pave over the lower stairs to help cover up this minor incident of losing the whole of my lower levels to flooding.

I enlisted all my mason’s to help and in no time it was done. It wasn’t too bad I didn’t have anything built down there yet and I could always make a well above it. Five minutes later a notice popped up to tell me one of my carpenter’s, Isaac Newton, had drowned. Yes in my haste I had forgot to check no one else was down there before bricking up my lower levels, and as a result Newton had drowned as the water slowly rose above his stubby head.

And how does the game decide interpret Einstein’s day? With two wonderful sentences:

Saw a friend die today. Saw a beautiful waterfall today.

Genius.

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26
Jan
09

FEAR 2 Demo (Idle)Hands On

February is quickly approaching and with it the release of Monolith’s favourite linear spooky slo-mo on-the-rails shooter, F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin. Yes it’s time to encounter some more ghostly apparitions with a shotgun to the face. Since I could recall fond memories of the original, I decided to get my, lately very, idle hands on the newly released demo on Steam.

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23
Jan
09

Diary of an underrated man

Phew, after that long piece I’m all worded out I is. So I’m going to be incredibly lazy and post up some select pieces of someone else’s blog I’ve been reading of late, although his updates are far and few between lately (the last post was back in Oct of 2007). On the outlook he appears to be a boring physics teacher, which isn’t far from the truth, but don’t be fooled by his simple appearance he has led a full and fascinating life and this blog is a keen insight into his world. I’ll post some of his early stuff, which in my opinion is some of his best. So without further ado I give you Dr. Kleiner!

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27
Dec
08

A Frank Mission

The last few months of this year have inundated me, and fellow gamers with a flood of good games all at once, I’m still trying to catch up with all of them but I shouldn’t keep neglecting this site. So I have decided to post a diary of a mission I did in Far Cry 2, this way I can game and blog, that’s multitasking people. Don’t look at me like that it’ll be fun, I promise. Yes I know it’s really long, but hey that means more funny to read.

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