Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Playstation Has a Hit with the Female Gamers

Or at least I think that's what they're aiming for with the new PlayStation3 peripheral, the Move Motion Controller.

PlayStation Move controller
Because really?  Really??

Hitachi Magic Wand "Massager"
I guess PlayStation wants to take care of all our needs.  What do we say?  Thanks?  I'll call you in the morning?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quench Your Gaming Thirst

Quench it - but literally this time.

We all know that gaming as a hobby takes up a healthy chunk of time.  Because you are so busy being glued to your television/computer/hand-held/tabletop you have to make certain sacrifices.. Like eating a healthy meal.  Now don't get all bent out of shape, you can eat healthy meals sometimes - but I'd like to see you 5-star "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on hard while eating a rib-eye.

But this opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities: gaming snacks!  Certain companies have even specified products and hardcore marketing schemes to hit up the gamers who don't want to be bothered with what keeps them going.  I haven't had a Mountain Dew since about 9th grade.  They taste disgusting to me now.  So I have missed out on the Gamer Fuel - anyone had it?  Does it truly fuel your ability to game?

So what is your favorite food to eat while gaming?  I find the snackier foods to be easiest: chips, pretzels, candy.  (Why is candy always so easy to eat? Oh candy, you saucy temptress...)  When I'm really starving a simple sandwich.  I am always drinking my Nalgene bottle of water, but I find that a Nalgene bottle is a HORRIBLE vessel while gaming, specifically on console.  I am more likely to spill all over myself while trying to nab a quick drink in between reloads.

And I love tasty chips, but man...many a times I have gunked up my controller with flavorants.  Fake cheese is my undoing - Cheetos, Doritos...  They are the best tasting, but also the messiest, chips.  Certain friends of mine are giant fans of the Fun-Yun, (you know who you are), and I have to say I am too, but I never remember to pick up this treat unless I'm on a road trip.  Therefore I cannot judge how the Fun-Yun treats the gamer in me.

It may sound boring, but my most common gaming snack is the pretzel.  It's sturdy.  Basically crumb free.  Keeps my hands clean and on the controller for the most amount of time.   I can even dip it if I'm in a casual enough game to allow me that sort of luxury.  (Pretzels + Ranch.  Try it.)  What do you eat?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What is Your Biggest Habit ?

This blog is going to be more of an aimless ramble, but it is a topic that has always interested me. Athletes have superstitions. Students have studying rituals. But one thing that has always varied, is each gamers' habit.

One huge difference is the people who chose to game socially and those who dont. Some people are really content just playing a video game all alone. Even if they are doing a multiplayer online, the talking is definitely a distraction. On the other hand, there are people who are social gamers. Both Lindsey and I fit into this category. Whether we are doing a co-op over Live or playing our own solo campaigns, we always talk about video games and so much more.

One of the more technical habits is inverting the Y axis. The video games that I grew up playing almost always had the inverted Y axis (looking up and down). It was an option to switch it back to normal. Now the trends have shifted and it is more and more common to play with the look straight instead of inverted. Some games don't even come with the option to invert. I think this is a habit found in older gamers. Flying games on PC and in arcades relied on the old school joysticks. Now, its literally anything goes. Some people call it a control advantage to invert, but its mostly just preference.

Some people only play at certain times of the day as well. Most people only play at night. But some gamers definitely always want to get at least one round in after school, work, or right before bed. I get pretty crabby if I don't get to play a couple rounds in the morning and before I go to bed. But that's also where I communicate daily with a lot of my friends.

There are a lot of little rituals too that you can find many people using in everyday activities. They might only sit in a certain chair or insist upon using their favorite controller. I know I like to have a beverage in my favorite glass at my side. And you should keep an eye out for an epic blog from Lindsey about the best gaming snacks. But I want to know, what are some of your gaming habits ?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Your Epic, Gaming Fantasy

Final Fantasy is easily one of the most successful franchises in video game history. The true measure of any real geek is how extensive their knowledge of these games is. But for those who have never played the series, the whole thing can be really intimidating. What's it all about and where does one start? Well here are some answers and knowledge to wrap your happy gaming brain around.

Each game in the series is its own stand alone story. No one game in the major line is a continuation of another installment. This means you can jump in anywhere and play the games totally out of order without missing a beat. That being said, there are definitely a lot of similarities to be expected from each game. Almost every game will have a group of characters with one or two leads. This group will fight a universe altering evil. And many times, this evil is not always what it seems. The story lines usually involve at least one romance, but there have been a couple games that lacked this aspect. Many of them also contain a country or people ruled by a monarch or government that they are rebelling against. Sometimes, even the likenesses and the names of characters and weapons carry over from game to game.

There is always going to be a constant debate over which Final Fantasy is the best. It is usually linked to which game first got the individual player hooked on the series. My personal favorite is Final Fantasy X. I loved the story, the graphics, and the fighting system. Now many people will say that Final Fantasy VII is the best. It has by far one of the best stories ever told in a video game. Now there are obviously stragglers that chose FF VIII or III or even XII. But really they are all great. Well, not all of them. I think everyone will agree that FF X-2 was crap to the highest degree. I don't mean to offend anyone or knock on your personal preferences, but X-2 was definitely the blemish on a nearly perfect record. And when considering games, I looked at the ones that are traditionally considered part of the series (ones ending in Roman Numerals). There are lots of expansions like Crystals and Dirge of Cerberus. These don't really count in this situation.

There are definitely some tips for anyone fresh to the Final Fantasy series. First and most importantly is Be Patient. These are extremely long games. Most of them average somewhere around 100 hours of game play to complete comfortably. Much longer if you do all the side quests and missions. Next tip is to take your time to level up. If you don't take the time to do those side quests I just mentioned, you won't level up sufficiently. This is important because there will come a point in the game where the enemies get harder whether you are ready or not. They will literally become unbeatable if your characters aren't prepared. I had to learn that one the hard way the first time I played, as did my mom when she first started. Take the time to know your menus. These games are crazy intricate. You can customize weapons, learn new skills, improve your character's attributes, and so much more. The more you use these, the better you are going to do and the more fun you will have. And of course, if you are having problems, go check out the internet. This game is no joke, they are not designed for the casual, once a month gamer. There are dozens of sites with tips and videos made just to help you out. And if you are new to RPGs and Final Fantasy, you will need the help. Lastly, save as often as possible and make a new file, don't overwrite. There is a good chance you will need to go back and reload at some point.

So my final recommendation for the first-timer is Final Fantasy X. Yes, I said X. Let the hate mail roll in. But there are a couple really good reasons why I think this one is good to start with. It has a solid, easy to understand turn-based fighting system. You can take as much time in each fight as you want as well as being able to see the order of turns for the fight. The story is also really good. There's a budding romance, revenge, a deceitful government, and some epic father-son friction. Now this is true for Final Fantasy VII, but the one huge advantage with X is that its modern. The graphics are pretty good and will keep you entertained. Plus, since it is so new, there are tons of websites with tips and videos to show the rookie mage exactly what to do when they get caught up for the first time.

In the end, it really is a great RPG series. The stories are memorable as is the music. The fights are great and the characters are usually pretty sexy. And I can't think of a developer that makes a better looking, graphic packed game as well as Square Enix can. They truly are amazing to sit back and watch. Completing a Final Fantasy game comes with built in bragging rights and the ability to truly call yourself a gamer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So many options, so little time...

So Final Fantasy XIII released today, something I have been looking so forward to for quite some time.  And quite frankly, I haven't got the time to play it right now.  (Thanks a lot, newborn!)  But that is not the issue I want to address here... The issue I want to look at is this: what platform?

In my house we are far from loyal to any one platform.  We have the 360, the PS3, the Wii, a DS, and play computer games too.  We don't want to miss out on any gaming opportunity for lack of the required system.  But now, in this day and age where games are more likely to cross-over and be on all consoles instead of loyal to one, it's become an issue choosing which console to buy for.  For Final Fantasy I would think the PS3 for it's graphics capabilities vs the 360, but I read a review that said they are virtually the same.  I would lean towards the 360 because, well, I still prefer it.  I prefer the multiplayer functionality (not an issue for FF), and I way prefer the achievements feature.  Trophies still make no sense to me.  And the PS doesn't seem to offer the same competitive spirit with your friends that I find with Xbox's achievement/gamerscore.

So what affects your decision about where to game?  Do you wait until you can read reviews or do you just jump in and hope for the best?  I find myself dragging my feet on this particular purchase.  (If you're playing FFXIII on either console let me know what you think!)