Monday, October 31, 2011

We're Back With Guns Blazing

After an unplanned absence, we have returned with more gaming knowledge to cram in your face.  First up, lets take a look at Battlefield 3 (BF3).  Even though BF3 is a sequel to the 2005 game, Battlefield 2, I am going to be throwing out a lot of comparisons to 2010's Battlefield: Bad Company 2.  There's a couple reasons for this; first, I never played Battlefield 2, and second, it doesn't seem fair to compare a game to it's six year-old predecessor. 

The solo campaign in Battlefield 3 takes place in the Middle East, and features a military rush on extremist rebels.  Following the token recipe for first-person shooters, BF3 is played almost exclusively in tight, urban backdrops with the occasional open area to romp around with armored vehicles.  One of the big differences between Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 is the super visceral feel.  Shooting weapons, jumping over items, and shifting weight while reloading are all expressed really intensely.  The graphics also give a very realistic feel with dramatic detail and impressive, natural lighting.  While all those features were great in Bad Company, they are that much more impressive in the newest title. 

I can't decide if it's harder or easier for me to review the multiplayer.  I have played the last two Bad Company games and spent several hours playing Battlefield 3.  With that amount of game play under my belt, I am far from an expert on this particular franchise, so this review will simply be some of my rookie observations.  As with the solo campaign, the multiplayer has great graphics; it looks great on the Xbox 360 and downright amazing on the PC.

Matches run a little bit longer than I care for, but that is probably due to my short attention span and Call of Duty preferences.  I noticed a lot of people camping, but that tends to happen more when a game is new and people are less familiar with the maps.  There is only so much hiding that can be done when players are allowed to control tanks, helicopter, and fight jets.  One of my big pet peeves with this game is that you can't back out of the lobby in between games.  Players have to wait until the game starts before they can go into menus to drop out; the only other option being to kick all the way to the dashboard.  It's a minor inconvenience but its a pesky thing I wish they would've changed. 

When the vehicles are not in play, Battlefield 3 seems to be more for the hardcore shooter fan.  It doesn't really break the mold of the genre, but it still makes for a great addition to your gaming library.

I was happy to see I could now go fully prone, until I spot guys doing this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Finally Feel Your Pain

I didn't play Batman: Arkham Asylum; despite this, I was really excited to get my hands on Arkham City.  Most of our readers are well aware of this games outrageous reviews.  The top names from print to online have given it perfect scores thanks in large part to the title's amazing graphics, super villain lineup, and intense action.  I usually do more research then just reading a handful of reviews, and I still regret that I never checked out Batman more.

Skipping back a few years, Linz has always had a propensity for motion sickness when it comes to videogames.  I have always felt sorry for her, especially when one of the games she couldn't play happened to be one of my all-time favorites, Oblivion.  But the tables have turned and I am the one reaching for a sick bag.  Lindsey's condition and my lack of research crashed together when I realized that Batman: Arkham City is played in the third person.
This doesn't look impossible, but it sure feels impossible.
Not all third-person games get my stomach moving.  While I primarily played Oblivion in the first person, switching to the third was not a big deal.  And other games like Fable never gave me a problem despite my dozens of hours of play time.  But that tight, over the should, third person perspective is definitely going to be the end of me.  I had problems with Gears of War; I couldn't handle watching them run in multiplayer without wanting to upchuck, and I never did get the aiming under control.  In Arkham City, it's the characters' walk, especially the overly-sensual sway of Catwoman's hips, that makes me queasy.  If a seductive little strut can make me want to barf, imagine what diving, flying, and swinging through buildings does.  For the first time ever, the graphics in a game are too good.

We'll just say she's a tough act to follow.
I'm not really complaining about this particular title, I'm more upset about my total inability to pick up this game type.  Almost any game that comes out today, I can get the hang of the controls and game play pretty quickly, usually within 15 minutes.  Racing used to be my kryptonite, but I have even managed to get a grasp on driving.  Still, I cannot play over the shoulder games for the life of me and it is beyond frustrating.  They have become my personal, final frontier.

So this is a call out to you, the reader.  If you have any tips or tricks for conquering the third person gaming experience, hook a sister up.  Shed some light on this for me, because without it, I might never be able to restore order to Arkham City and its prisoners.  And finally, to Linz, I'm right there with you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Psychosomatic Gamer

Guest blogger Kevin WK recently admitted his ADD in a post, and it got me thinking.  And by thinking I mean "self diagnosing".  And I have realized that I have a whole range of mental issues that have stemmed from and are fed by my gaming, shall we call it, addiction?  Basically I'm warning you that this is pretty much a series now where I figure out that I have an issue and then tell you about it.  But while admitting it's a problem, I still think it's kind of awesome because I love to game and anything that assists me in that is FTW.

Today's problem: dependency.  I was going to say co-dependency, but after researching I find that isn't quite the right diagnosis.  See, co-dependency is defined as "unhealthy love and a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life" (Thanks Wikipedia.)  Whereas dependency is defined as ": something that is dependent on something else" (Thanks Merriam-Webster.)

I thought I was co-dependent because I have devolved into this kind of gamer who doesn't want to play unless someone else is online and I can talk to them while playing.  But that's not co-dependency, it's just normal old dependency!  See how mentally healthy I am!?
I love you.
So what is my deal?  I have the desire to play games like Mass Effect 2 (which got shelved months ago - *shameface*) that require my full attention...yet I sit down to put them in, check my friends list, no one is on...and I leave the Xbox.  That's right.  I turn my back on my old friend, because it can't have a conversation with me.  I don't even want to play Halo or something multiplayer, I only want to play with people I know and can talk to.  And I only want to play when I'm talking to them.  SO not only is the amount of time I'm gaming suffering, but the quality of games I'm playing, because really I max out at Peggle and Bejeweled when I'm talking in party.  I just miss out on every iota of a game's story if I try to play Fable or Mass Effect.

What is wrong with me?!  I used to play alone!  It used to be enough for me!  I've been spoiled by Xbox Live and readily available friends, and now I've been ruined by Xbox Live and friends many time zones away from me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The New High Price of Gaming

In today's tumultuous economy, it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest gaming innovations without breaking the bank, but buying used games is far from a new trend.  Convincing consumers to spend $60 for a new game is harder than ever before, but some companies are making it tough to just stay in the black as a gamer.

Looking at Uncharted 3, the multiplayer portion will require an activation code.  When this title is purchased brand new, the code is in the case and will just need to be redeemed at no extra cost.  However, the code is only valid for a single use.  So when a player trades in Uncharted 3, the person who buys it behind them will not get multiplayer unless they purchase an additional code from the PSN store to activate the online content; the cost being $10.  Within the first few months of a major title release, like Uncharted 3, the savings are typically not very big, somewhere between $5 and $10.  Doing some math would show that buying a used game for $55 or even $50 will grant you absolutely no savings when taking into account the $10 activation code.  At that point, you might as well buy it brand new on release day.

Want to follow Catwoman around Arkham City?  If you buy it used, it's going to cost you.
Uncharted isn't the first title to employ this technique.  Resistance 3 had a very similar system for accessing their entire online multiplayer experience.  Video game giant EA has taken it a step further by asking people to pay for an online pass for all their sports titles.  Access to online or even regular in-game content will be restricted by single-use codes.  EA has outright denied that this kind of behavior is to increase profits by cutting down on used game purchases or piracy, and that they have chosen to do this to enhance the customer experience.  Understandably, there has been very little explanation from EA as to how something like this is beneficial to the customers.

It doesn't take much thought to realize how this is detrimental to a huge demographic of gamers.  My glorious co-blogger Linz almost never buys brand new games.  Now she must do more work research before buying to make sure that she isn't going to be missing content that might have been part of the title's appeal in the first place. 

Did you tap into the Cerberus Network when you bought ME2 used?  Probably not.
The other demographic that will be missing out are renters.  The $15 per month that someone is spending on Gamefly will no longer guarantee them the full content that is expected.  The same goes for renting from Blockbuster, Red Box, and eventually Netflix.

Policies like this make me furious.  I completely understand that the video game industry is first and foremost a business.  Their goal and the goal of shareholders is to make as much profit as possible.  While developers and publishers have the right charge as much as they want, I have the right not to pay, and that is exactly what I intend to do.  Some titles will be unavoidable for me.  I refuse to pass up on the new SSX which is published by EA.  But outside of that, I will make it my goal to avoid buying games that employ the single use code as much as possible.

I won't be able to avoid buying every game that utilizes single use codes.  And I am fully aware that my not purchasing these games won't make anyone change their policy, but at least it helps me feel like I took a tiny little stand for all of us broke gamers out there. 

EA apparently eats money the same way it eats my soul.  They have found a whole new way to make it rain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Defense of Duke Nukem Forever

In Defense of Duke Nukem Forever - Because Somebody's Got to Do It
by Elyse Schuler-Cruz

And so it seems twelve years worth of hype is a damn hard thing to live up to.  Everyone and their mother got so worked up over the long-awaited release that it came as no surprise to me when it failed to meet the lofty standards that had been set for it.  I mean honestly, what did we expect?  The Godfather?
(I'm talking about the Oscar-winning film; not EA's repetitive GTA cash-in.)
I hate to break it to you.  Yes, they hold their hands in the same manner.  No, they are not of the same caliber.
We've had over a decade to create this ideal game in our imaginations.  There was no way that we could ever get what we wanted.  Personally, I wanted a touching look into the childhood and repressed memories of Duke in relation to their current effects on his motivations.  That and I wanted the aliens to also be Nazis, so I could double my murderous satisfaction.  What can I say?  I'm a simple girl with simple tastes.

One of the common complaints about Duke Nukem Forever was the inability to carry more than two weapons at a time.  Yeah, I know the Duke of the 90s could carry two-elventy handguns, five shotguns, numerous rifles and a howitzer, and it was really inconvenient to get to a boss fight only to realize that I was lacking the right boomstick for the job.  Then I'd have to go back to a previous save and play through again whilst keeping the needed gun on me...oh wait.  That never happened because the right gun for the boss fight was conveniently located at my feet.  If you're judging a game's quality on how many weapons can be carried then you probably 1) hated Fatal Frame, and 2) should revise your rubric.

Now, I'm not too biased as to claim that this was Game of the Year material.  It wasn't.  All I'm saying is that just because it's not the ideal game you created in your imagination doesn't mean it's an abomination.  I reserve that title for Legend of Dragoon, and nothing's managed to usurp it in over ten years.

But seriously, that air hockey was bullshit.
Really, Duke?  You want me to win 7-0 for 30 gamerscore?  I can not even do this in real life.

Elyse Schulyer-Cruz, today's guest blogger, has been gaming since it was old school.  She started out on the NES/Master System, and has always had a soft spot for Sega.  She went to college with Debbie & Linz, majored in theater, and has recently returned to school for a teaching degree.  That's right, she could one day be schooling your kids both on the quality of game remakes and how to use a comma correctly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hi, I'm Captain Basch From .... Where ?

Those guys from Mega64 gift the world another classic clip.  As an intense fan of Final Fantasy, I found this video particularly entertaining.  I hope it brightens your dreary Tuesday like it has mine.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye !

It's a Trapp !!!
It's announcement time with just a couple quick reminders to start your week off right !  First up, our winner of the random package of PAX goodness is ...... Jimmy Trapp !  What did he win?  Jimmy will be receiving a t-shirt, some buttons, a sticker or two, and any other random item I feel like tossing in there; his dreams really are coming true.  Congratulations Jimmy !!!

Remember, we still have a lot of prizes left to give away including a free OnLive console !  We only had five entries for this last contest so your chances of winning in a future giveaway are great.  But the only way to win is to read and comment when the time is right !!!

Last, but certainly not least, that rascally bunch at are having another midnight launch event !  Go say hi to the crew from PixelsnPopcorn and the Sugar Gamers at the Game Stop at 2603 N. Elston here in Chicago !  They are kicking off the release of Batman: Arkham City tonight; prizes and good times await you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Can't We Just All Co-Op ?

Everyone plays video games in a little differently.  Here at Achievos, we usually speak in terms of single player or online mulitplayer.  I have spent a significant length of time this past weekend playing almost exclusively co-op, but is that really the best way to play?

Age of Empires has definitely been my recent favorite due to the ability to play while lying in bed and streaming some Netflix.  The entire game is designed to be played alone if you choose.  There are no missions that require co-op and even though some missions are more difficult than others, there is nothing that prevents someone from leveling up enough to conquer them all.

I bring this up because I received some unexpected flack.  I was hanging around in some chat rooms looking for a co-op partner when some random person questioned my gaming abilities due to my need for assistance.  This individual expressed that if I used co-op, then I wasn't playing the game correctly.

So the real debate is to co-op or not to co-op.  The developers of Age of Empires clearly expected and encouraged players to utilize the co-op function.  With the presence of chat rooms and co-op enable on over half of the quests, playing well with others was something they thought would be fun or beneficial.  Also, while looking at the general concept of Age of Empires Online, the key word here being 'online', what would be the point of having a multiplayer game if we are not expected to complete quests together. 

Looking at the views of the heckler in the chat room, does playing with others really mean I have less ability, or am I simply more social?  Does constantly playing co-op make the game too easy and keep me from truly experiencing the full scope of the game?

Luckily, I'm an adult that really doesn't care about what some random person says in a chat room.  But it does pose an interesting question and thus an interesting debate.  Is it better to go for the glory and knowledge by playing alone, or to have more fun playing with others while potentially missing small parts of the game?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Have a Few Words...

You see, the title is a double entendre.  First off, we're seriously having some words, readers.  Did you see our last entry?  Did you read to the end?  We're offering you free stuff!  All we want is your measely comments.  Justify our love, and all that.  And we've had 92 views since Kevin WK's guest blog went up and the giveaway went live.  And we've had one comment.  You're not giving iDiivil much competition here, people.  I'm sure she appreciates that.  But I want to give you one more chance: make a relative comment on this blog, on the link on Facebook, or on Twitter and you will be entered into the drawing for awesome free stuff.    You have until midnight (Pacific time zone) tomorrow, October 15.

Now for my second set of words for you, and these are significantly more cheerful.  I just have to wonder, am I the last person on Earth to get behind Words With Friends (WWF)?  I think I might be.  But you know what?  I'm just glad that I'm finally on board.  As an English major, any time I can play a word game I am happy as a clam.  A clam that get seriously un-happy when I have 4 N's, an E, an I, a Q and a Z.  Because REALLY?  Or oo, oo, the eternal word-game problem when you have all vowels.  It's too bad I can't spell the noise that my brain is making in frustration, or I'd get 14 points!

I love being able to play against my real life friends though, except when they are totes slow and I am waiting 12 hours for them to play a word.  Just check your game, people!  Don't leave me hanging!  Lucky for me I have like, 10 games going at once so I usually have something to do.

Two beefs - One: I am back on a Facebook game.  Every time I think I break free.  Every time I leave my farm or my mafia or my fishtank behind, let it go, free myself... I'm sucked back in.  This time by beautiful, beautiful words.  And I wouldn't have to be attached to the world of Facebook if I didn't live in the dark ages and just had an iProduct.  But I don't.  Yet.  (Is it ridiculous to actually consider getting an iPhone so I can play Words With Friends more conveniently? - The answer: A Resounding Yes.)

Second beef: For whatever reason when I first open up WWF it totally freezes up my browser.  I don't know if it's really labor intensive on my computer, or if it's not all that friendly with Firefox, or if it's just the E.M.P. fetus I have inside of me... but it's super irritating.  If I just leave it open in a tab then there's no issue when I open up my laptop, although earlier today I was having a lot of "not responding" time from Firefox, so that leads me to believe I'm back to the worn out computer. My computer is neither that old nor that slow, so it shocks me that a web browser game can dominate its capabilities so easily.  When I asked my Facebook friends about this issue in a status, all I got was a lot of invitations to play and made fun of for not playing WWF on an iProduct.  You are all so helpful.

So what's your most celebrated WWF moment?  So far one of my greatest was playing the word "kraken".  I released it, to much joy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Blogger Kevin WK: Gamer, Nudist, and Activist

Hi, my name is Kevin, and I have Gamer A.D.D. I can't to commit to a game for more than a few hours at a time, let alone finish it, even if I enjoy the game.   It’s a problem many people face, so bad that over the years, games have been made shorter to appeal to gamers with my condition.   I don’t know how many of you are out there, but if you have Gamer A.D.D. too, I feel your pain, temporarily…

There are many games out there that cater to this disorder, some great, some not.   We are going to look at a few of both.

I love you but, I'm not in love with you.
Games like the Call of Duty series, for instance, are great A.D.D. time fillers.  The single player experience can usually last 5-7 hours, making perfect play time for people who can’t commit.

Portal 2 so far holds my heart for best game of the year.   Its story is great, simple, and short, but not “I wasted 60 bucks for this!?” short.  The single player campaign clocks in at about 6-8 hours long, with a separate multiplayer story that can last about 4 hours.   Even then, only 63% of Steam users who have Portal 2 actually finished the single player campaign.

Shadows of the Damned is a bit of a niche title but I played this game from beginning to end in one sitting, the whole 6 hours it was.  It was entertaining with enough innovation to keep me playing without getting too bored.   The storyline was hilarious as well and kept me wanting to know what would happen next.  Shadows is pretty cheap if you can find it and definitely worth your short attention span.

Along with the good, here comes some games that people with Gamer A.D.D. should avoid, not for the game being bad, but just being a game that you would never see the end of.

Let’s just get this one out of the way early. You have to dedicate a lot of time to RPGs.  A person like me will never know the endings to any of these games. Don’t get me wrong, I love these games and will continue to buy and support them, but I’ll be surprised if I could put more than 10 hours into it.   I know my limits, and there is a point in RPGs where I’ve reached my level of enjoyment.  Once that hits, it goes on my shelf or is traded in at the game store for something else, never to be played by me again.

There was a time when all I played was RPGs, now I can only watch from the sidelines as friends tell me their experiences.   Final Fantasy has always been one of my favorites, since the beginning on NES, I have a special place in my heart for them.  But once again, ill start the game, love the first few hours, then I'm done.   Final Fantasy XIII had potential to win me back, it had everything I wanted in an RPG and looked amazing.  Still, I was too far gone to enjoy it.
There is one exception to the rule, and this is out of pure love , but I have always made time for this series…

Snake, I wish I could quit you ....
MGS is a game that can take a long time to complete, not because of the gameplay; this game is full of story.  Metal Gear Solid 4 rang in around 6-8 hours of actual gameplay, but the cut scenes made it last 12 hours.  There is one scene that is 90 minutes!!!!  I did laundry while I played MGS4, I folded all through Act 4.  Despite this, I will continue to play and enjoy every Metal Gear game that comes out.

In closing, I know that I’m not alone on this issue. There are many gamers out there that buy games just to trade them in within the first week of release, not because they hated the game, just because they got their fun out of it. Whether they saw the end credits or gave up during the beginning tutorial, here’s to you, my fellow gamers!  Have fun with your games, until there’s something else that comes out next week…

"What's in the box???"
Remember all that wicked awesome PAX swag I bragged about?  Of course you do.  We are giving away a little package of goodies to a lucky reader with our first ever giveaway!  The way to win is to tell us about your best Gamer A.D.D. moment!  Comment on Kevin's Facebook link, Lindsey's Facebook link, Debbie's G+ link, replying to our twitter (@achievos) or comment right here on the blog!  What exactly will you win?  You'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Felicia Day Strikes Again

Felicia Day is amazing in the gamer-entertainment world.  Her first show, The Guild, is a great take on what it's like to be in a very involved, very disjointed guild on an MMO.  That show just wrapped season 5, and today she's posted a link that her newest venture, a take on Dragon Age: Redemption is now up.  The preview video is above, and the link to the first episode is here .

Where The Guild is pure comedy gold, Dragon Age appears to be written a little darker.  At the very least there's more bloodshed in this first episode than I expected.  Although this new show is actually based in the game world, where Felicia's character Tallis is a warrior, versus The Guild which was just normal people playing a game.

Whatever your fancy, check out Dragon Age: Redemption and The Guild.  (You can watch The Guild on their website, stream the first four seasons on Netflix, and see the latest season on Xbox's Zune app.)  Felicia is gamer gold, and, as far as I'm concerned, she's an Honorary Achievo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Digging Up Dirt on Megan

I'm sure you all remember our fabulous guest blogger Megan from her three part review of Rift (found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).  Well, we dug up some dirt on her and are here to fill you in on what's the haps in her gamer life.

Gamer tag?  Maegaan (So creative, I know!)

Where do you spend the majority of your gaming time?  The majority of time spent gaming is now on PC, a shift from my console based roots. Most time is spent playing Warcrack, but I also enjoy playing Spore from time to time still, and am avidly looking forward to the release of Diablo3. I also enjoy Rift, though trying to keep up two different MMOs to the standards I've set for myself don't allow much time for it anymore.

We have seen that your love is mostly spent on WoW.  What is your favorite character race/type to play?  My hunter was my first character, and I never truly enjoy playing on another character as much as my hunter. I like ♥trolls, but goblins are way fun, as are Worgen (and are now the only alliance race I'll play). 

How do you feel about game guilds?  They are almost impossible to avoid in a game like WoW.  Game guilds can be both a blessing and a curse. I tend to view them much the same way as I do cliques in real life. Having a built in group of people to do things with is fantastic, but if you have no good way of 'breaking in' to one of these groups, it can be rough going. Much rougher on games like Rift or, to a slightly lesser extent WoW, where much of the end game content once you get to max level is solely ran by guild groups. People claim guilds aren't necessary in WoW, and it's true that they aren't 'necessary,' but having a group of people committed to completing things efficiently and well makes the world of difference in how much you enjoy your playtime (see: amount of Megan's swearing when forced to run a dungeon in the Looking For Dungeon matchmaking system, good lord there are a lot of idiots out there!)

And what about achievements?  They are a fairly new addition to the WoW world.  Achievements are a nice bonus for people that care about that kind of thing. I go on streaks where I will try to get more, but it's not something I care to focus on. Most of them are silly and don't mean much besides the point total. I am a closet DPS meter whore though, and that is what I focus my game around. I very much try to not gloat in game or anything, but I ♥seeing my name at the top of the DPS meter, and I will pout and complain incessantly until I am able to achieve that. I don't let my love of meter topping keep me from avoiding standing in fire though!

She hunts. She heals. She focuses on DPS.. And when she's bored she creates beautiful fireworks shows.
If you're on WoW, look for this girl (server Ner'zhul).


Friday, October 7, 2011

My Break-Up With Wii Motion Control

I remember camping out for the release of the Nintendo Wii.  It was a very cold November weekend with everyone huddled up in my tent drinking hot chocolate and exchanging dirty jokes.  It was a super fun two days, but little did I know that the fun and good times would end so soon.

I had a lot of fun with the Nintendo Wii in the beginning.  Family and friends filled my apartment to try their hand at bowling or tennis.  Despite this, I quickly found myself spending far more time using the Wii to play through my old Game Cube collection.  Playing more serious games like Zelda and Splinter Cell didn't pack the same punch as similar titles on the Cube or the Playstation 2.  The games designed for the Wii lack adult content.  I'm not looking for pornography, but I would like to see some more explosions and overall maturity.

Another blossoming issue is that not only are the games not as fun for me, but the motion control itself loses me every time.  I play video games for a couple of hours every single day and with the Wii, I would get tired or have sore wrists after three or four days.  Maybe its a sign of my poor wrist fitness, but I think that motion controls just aren't condusive to my gaming style.  Even now, years later, I still find that the only games I play on the Wii are the occasional downloaded old school games.

The Wii is not the only culprit, I don't care for the Playstation Move either.  But the Playstation 3 console has plenty of games outside of the Move that are full of adult, stationary good times.  Please remember, this is an opinion blog and this is my opinion.  Lindsey and millions of others love the Wii and I respect that.  I know I'm probably missing out on some fun things, but motion control just isn't for me. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Game Inspired Music Video

Think you're having a stressful day at the office?  Check out this music video from the band Biting Elbows.  The whole thing is inspired by the video game Mirror's Edge and its executed almost perfectly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Spoiler Statue of Limitaions - Don't Worry, No Spoilers

There is nothing worse than sitting down to read a book when someone walks by, looks at the cover, and says "Oh yea, I read that.  I lovde when So-and So won the big case at the end".  Or when you have begged and begged your co-workers to not talk about the big game you DVR'd to watch when you get home from work, only for the bagel boy to come in and immediately announce the winner complete with score and detailed synopsis of how suspenseful the game was.  I've never been burned by spoilers from video games, but that has all dramatically changed.

I have never played the Gears of War games.  I'm not dishing out any hate, third person shooters are just not my thing; more importantly, I am awful at them.  While I admit to being shockingly, I aboslutely love a well constructed story.  So when I began hearing from grown men how emotional the game was, I knew I had to jump in.  I posted my new adventure on a social networking site only to have someone immediately reveal one of the game's most emotional, surprising, and pivotal events.  Thread ruined. 

The attack on this person from my friends for spilling the beans was immediate and intense, and I kind of understand why.  I watched the summary movie at the beginning of Gears of War 3 that explained what happened in the first two games, so I was more than ready and eager to see how it was all going to end.  Having this blown for me really sucked.  A lot of people I know had extremely emotional reactions to that specific part of the game and then when I played, my response was greatly diminished.  The person who posted the massive spoiler lashed out and said that the game was six days old so everyone should have completed the game by now.  That's when it struck me, how long before a peice of information is no longer a spoiler?

I can definitely say that six days is not even remotely enough time to drop those kind of bombs.  If the game goes on sale Tuesday, it is not reasonable at all to expect people to finish it by Sunday.  Most people have jobs or families that prevent them from playing substantially during the week.  Also, numerous people that I know played on the hardest difficulty so they could take their time and really soak in the final chapter.  Just because people are not hardcore fans that plow through the game, doesn't mean they don't deserve to enjoy it.

So having ruled out the obvious that less than a week is still a spoiler, what other time restraints are there?  I probably wouldn't consider saying anything about Gears 2 a spoiler because that game is three years old and there is a summary movie at the beginning of the latest title.  What about other story rich games like Mass Effect 2?  Its been one year since that game came out, which is a significantly less amount of time, plus Mass Effect 3 isn't out yet.  Is it safe to openly discuss that ending?  And what if a game doesn't have a sequel, is there a flat out time limit?  Maybe the amount of time one must wait depends on how significant the information is.

At the end of the day, be mindful when discussing games.  Even our super guest blogger Kevin had been careful about not reading spoilers when two guys ,who had both completed the game, began discussing pivot plot points right next to him.  Just because you already know, doesn't mean that others do.  What do you think the limit should be on spoilers?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hypest Game !!!

It is truly amazing what things people will record.  This guy shows us how to make Mortal Kombat even better with his soundtrack.  Thankfully, there is someone out there to keep the mood light with some well timed captions. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fruit Ninja At Home and On The Go

While I'm not a huge fan of ninjas, I do enjoy a well sliced piece of fruit.  The mobile app game and Kinect downloadable Fruit Ninja gives you the maximum amount of the healthy snack with minimum interaction from the ninja.

I would typically begin this type of review with a background of the story, but this game doesn't really have one.  This arcade style game depends solely on your desire to reach that coveted spot of "Highest Score".  Fruit is tossed up onto the screen and its the player's job to cut it in half all while avoiding bombs that either reduce points or flat out make you lose.  Classic mode can go on forever, but you are given a three strike policy for missing fruit and the added danger of slashing a bomb which ends the game.  Arcade mode challenges you to get the highest score inside of 60 seconds, encouraging you to string together as many combos as possible while avoiding bombs that lower your score.  Hitting special, super charged bananas will help you by increasing the amount of fruit, allowing for temporary double points, or making things move ultra slow.  Zen mode increases the times to 90 seconds and gives you nothing but fruit.  Combos are the only way to boost your score so Zen relies pretty heavily on timing. 

Luckily there is not one but two different ways to get your hands on the game.  First, it is available for Android and iOS for a measly 99 cents.  Seriously, it is well worth that miniscule price.  An even better upgrade is available for download in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 800 points.  This game allows you to utilize the Kinect and actually hack your way through fruit like a real ninja obviously would.  The Kinect version takes it one step further and has DLC packs that include new backgrounds and fancy blades as well as a co-op mode so you can murder fruit with that special someone.

When comparing the two games side by side, its hard to say which is more fun.  Even though they are nearly identical, the Xbox version allows for some pretty hilarious arm flailing, which may be more fun for those around you.  But after about an hour of this, I started to feel the burn.  Unfortunately, I am awful at listening to my body and played for another hour.  Not until the next morning did I realize what a bad idea that was.  The lesson here is that this game is so fun that it is easy to miss out on how tired your body is.  One thing that is lacking on the Xbox version, and understandably so, is the precision.  Fruit Ninja's mobile app is really precise and responsive to finger controls, while the Xbox would periodically slice a bomb on accident while I was shifting my weight.  In all fairness, I am a very hippy girl so I forgive my Xbox for thinking I had another limb.  The mobile app clearly doesn't have the whole "tired arms" problem; it can easily be enjoyed for hours on end.

Imagine doing this while standing.  In your living room.  While looking at fruit.
So with all that said, I recommend that you buy both versions of Fruit Ninja.  It is really fun and entertaining for a group or to play by yourself while waiting in the car.  Lets face it, those flying fruits deserve what's coming to them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011