Thursday, June 21, 2012

Videogame Journalism... Sounds like a dream

I am rather interested in a career in videogame journalism though I have found that the only steps I have taken toward this goal is starting a blog. I guess you could include my having attended college for a full year as of this moment as a step but I am studying a completely unrelated field: Biomedical Engineering. I like math, unlike most people, but I also enjoy writing about things I enjoy. Engineering, however, isn't a field that contains a writing intensive curriculum unless you consider lab reports and the like to be a form of journalism - Not me!
I first became interested in the field of videogame journalism upon finding the antics and opinions of IGN's editorial staff at the age of 12. It was love at first sight. I was ecstatic to find that people got paid to play and write about video games - sounds like a dream, huh?
Thanks Daemon, Greg, and Craig for another
amazing  episode
I continued listening to IGN's Game Scoop! Podcast until, well.. now! They still record new episodes which make hours of Chemistry and Mathematics a bit more tolerable at best. The fact that these humerous, opinionated individuals seem to have so much fun just talking about the industry that they are a part of makes me want to be a part of that world even more. Though it seems like I am doing nothing to achieve this goal, I feel as though someday my unrelated degree will find me a home in their offices. Maybe I could join the ranks of a fellow by the name of Erik Brudvig who worked at IGN until 2010 after having achieved a doctorate in Physics! So, I know its possible but it'll take some persistence to get there.

Until next time... so long.

You can find other posts like this here.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger !

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Indie Game: The Movie

A film that came out recently on a number of electronic mediums including Steam and the like that gave me an interesting perspective into the world of video game development was Indie Game: The Movie. This film, from Canadian directors Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky provides insight into the interesting world of video game development - namely indie games.
For those of you are unfamiliar with what exactly an "indie game" is, do not be alarmed for it is not a racial slur of any kind:) It is, in fact, a video game title whose artistic direction and vision are sole properties of a group of individuals (most often team sizes range from 1 to 5 members) that exclusively handle the  burdens of financing and developing their projects entirely on their own. A task that seems daunting at best.
The film highlights the creative exploits of three developers (Team Meat, Polytron, and Jonathan Blow) ( known for the games they have created (the titles being Super Meat Boy, Fez, and Braid respectively).
The film not only highlights the rises and falls of game development cycle but also provides insight into the lives that these game developers and their families lead. It provides a level of characterization not often seen inside the many hacks and saws common to popular titles such as Super Meat Boy.

A Mario-esque platformer in which you, a "skinless" boy
must  save your "bandaged" girlfriend from impending doom
A level of intimacy is heavily encouraged from the film's directors for the stress-intensive periods of time that indie game developers have to endure in light of deadlines and important dates that occur during any game's development. These aforementioned elements come together to make for an interesting take on what many consumers may not consider when ingesting the newest independent title released for the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) or the Playstation Network (PSN).

Furthermore, the film goes into a brief history of independent game development especially emphasizing the advent of modern-day digital download services such as the aforementioned XBLA and PSN whose purveyors (namely Microsoft and Sony respectively) have allowed for lower budget titles to receive their fair share of the spotlight in light of mega titles like the Call of Duty Franchise and Halo series alike.
Polytron's Fez's artistic style is rivalled by few
In addition, a portion of the film is devoted to allowing the viewer to become acquainted with these fantastic titles. From the wall-to-wall platforming of Super Meat Boy; to the cleverly designed three-dimensional opus that is Fez; to the time-reversing adventure gameplay of Braid, gamers will have a blast rolling through hours and hours of beautifully designed titles that come from a group of individual's combined artistic vision rather than corporate grunts whose vision is all too often skewed by the needs and desires of their owners. The former statement truly encompasses the scope of this film's focus specifically the trials, pain, and infrequent success of independently developed game titles that share not only the burden of their creator's time but, in addition, their artistic vision as well.

Until next time... so long.

You can find other posts like this here.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger !

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Game that Would Send Demon Souls on a run for its Money

I stumbled upon a game the other day in one of those fits of boredom that drive you to sift through your begotten game collection in search of something... something that can quench your hunger for some form of entertainment and found myself staring at the logo for an SNES title by the name of Contra III: The Alien Wars. A difficult game to say the least, the title pits the player against well... aliens in the midst of their invasion - all in an effort to, of course, save the world. So, now that the game's opening cut scene has been explained please hear me out: THIS GAME IS NO WALK IN THE PARK!!!
Last boss from level one of Contra III: The Alien Wars
For those you who may read this and pick it up on the Wii's virtual console or Xbox Live Arcade I commend your bravery. For one, the game isn't hard to understand. It's actually quite easy to comprehend that once you gain control of the in-game character, you shoot everything that moves whilst picking up power ups and dodging all projectiles thrown your way. Truly, its a side-scrolling shooter that is simple in design. Yet, the terribly difficult part of the game is simply the degree to which the player is punished for failure. At the beginning of the game, the player is given 3 lives and 5 continues (credits) that, to an inexperienced player, will not be enough to get through the first level for their is no form of health whatsoever. From leaping out of the way of shots fired from every angle imaginable to consistently mashing down on the fire button in an effort to effectively end the lives of your enemies, the game has the player on the tips of their toes. A decent title overall, the game is a must play for hardcore gamers anywhere who are looking for a challenge. It is a testament to the great difficulty found in playing classic titles from a modern-day gaming heritage.
In addition, a game was recently released on the PSN that I found had a strange, almost uncanny resemblance to this classic title. The game I am referring to is Hard Corps: Uprising. A title that borrows greatly from the classic series and its earlier derivatives but incorporates a number of RPG elements that make for a title that almost justifies the many deaths that you, the player, are bound to experience. The heavily anime-inspired title has the main protagonist wielding a gun that is far beyond the capacity for any human being to carry while running through levels, shooting enemies that, at times, make it rather difficult to advance without taking damage.
Konami did it again, this time its Hard Corps!
 But that's an important addition: damage. A mechanic that Konami, the developers of Contra, thought to be too much for burgeoning young gamers to have at their disposal. Hard Corps (though the name implies a number of puns that will not be referred to in this post) is an excellent addition to any game library. The developers, Arc System Works, even with the addition of a lot of mechanics fundamental to modern-day gaming, have stayed true to the title's classic roots even going as far as including boss battles that require, in some cases, extremely repetitive sequences that involve a great degree of perseverance (that's right... perseverance). All in all, a great title.
If you're looking for a challenge, pick up either one or both!
And no, I was not payed by Konami or Arc System Works.

Until next time... so long.

Don't forget to add follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger!

You can find other posts like this one here!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Techland's Gem - Dead Island

Techland is a developer that has not provided the industry with the greatest quality of games throughout its history with rare exceptions given to its western-themed shooter Call of Juarez and, most recently, Dead Island.
Dead Island, zombie-island shooter taking place on a glorious tropical paradise that can be compared to a wonderful vacation spot... gone wrong.  The game pits you, one of four survivors, in a situation where you must use your skills (ranging from a knife specialist to a gun-toting fem fatale) to defend you, your teammates, and whoever you encounter along your way. Overall, the game delivers everything that it promises: a unique multiplayer experience where you and your friends are pitted against hordes of flesh-eating zombies. Sounds good, right? Well, yes, it delivers, however, it fulfills all these aspects to varying degrees. For one, the game looks beautiful with Techland putting my average-powered i5 PC to the test with impressive visuals and amazing use of lighting. Due to the fact that it is an online game, lag occurs occasionally but, for the most part, the game pulls through for tens of thousands of gamers daily. My roommate and I enjoyed playing this game for a few hours a week in the midst of exams and homework why, you might ask? Because the game was fun! That is all that should matter, right? Wrong!
Don't let the game's teaser trailer fool you, this title is in dire need of constructive criticism!
For those of you who have purchased the game, I hope that you have not had the same luck with the game that me and many of my compadres have encountered. Game-breaking bugs that seriously diminished the experience and forced you to literally give up after a good while of rebooting the game and your computer. For example, I once found myself, quite literally, stuck inside a safe house early on in the game's campaign only to find that I had to join another player in order to advance - a choice that was not prompted to me in any way. Another game-changing bug that occurs infrequently (but always at the most inopportune times) is the inability to retrieve projectiles that are thrown at enemies - a game mechanic that I heavily employed. The game includes a throwing mechanic that allows the player to thrust knives, machetes, daggers and the like at the undead in an effort to inflict damage; however, this ability's practicality goes hopelessly awry when a glitch in the game makes your thrown weapons disappear! Imagine your disgust after having thrown your prized, fully-modded dagger at a half-witted undead only to find that your weapon has vanished from sight! It would make anyone burn with rage. Whatever my opinions may include, I can only speak on the existence of these bugs on the PC as I have not played the console versions of the game; but for an otherwise great title these bugs made it an average title to me. A must-buy until it went awry.
Until next time... so long.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger !

You can see posts similar to this here!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bioshock - 2K Did it right!

I recently went back and purchased Bioshock from Steam and was humbly reminded of the incredible game that 2K Boston had developed. If you have not sat down and given that game a run through I heavily encourage you to reconsider your decision not to do so.
A Big Daddy. A new villain to add to the great halls of the video game  hall of fame.

To give you a rundown of what the game is: you play a character who was in a plane that crashed in an unknown location - of course! You find your way into a city that is submerged underwater - Rapture. The game grabs you right from the get go by presenting the player with a story that is not told by other characters perse but, rather, through the heavy use of imagery and sound (specifically the voice recordings that are found throughout the game that illuminate certain portions of the story as you go along). A strange, Orwellian world that seems so mysterious yet so very intriguing during the first run through. Overall, a must buy!
Until next time... so long.

You can also find other articles like this one here!

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger !

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"The Beginning" of Futuristic Gaming

Remember this gem?
Right around the Sony's Playstation 2 launch, their ad campaign included a strange yet awe-inspiring video depicting a gamer in the year 2078 who recently gained ownership of a palm-sized sphere with the logo "PS9" embedded on it.
As a 7 year old at the time, images of futuristic games that included holograms and the like was, as I said before, awe-inspiring and resulted in me begging my parents for a PS2 for years to come.
Anyways, enjoy, I recently stumbled upon it on Youtube.

PS9 Commercial

*You can also find articles like this one here
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @tsunamiavenger !

Friday, June 8, 2012


It is that time of the year again: E3!!!!
For those of you who have stumbled upon this new, infrequently updated blog and are unfamiliar with the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), it is one of the largest electronics shows in the world with thousands of people flying to California's Bay Area once a year to partake in an epic display of nerd-dom. Not to mention the millions of others who watch the event online (myself included) Of course, the term nerd being used subjectively and not in a negative context. The truth is that I am a nerd and to all my fellow nerds out there who chose to hide behind the social mores of life in order to appear more acceptable by peers, coworkers, et cetera: Fear not! For you are not alone. You are but one of a large multitude of individuals who enjoy, consume, live, and breath the entertainment industry. Believe it or not but without nerds, entertainment would be a different world entirely. Until next time.... so long.