An Update… A Rather Large Update

October 20, 2007

Another ridiculously large gap between posts, another lacking excuse. Well, actually, I can’t really think of any excuse at the moment… wait, I got something. Get this, my excuse is school – you know, school work and such, or did I use that already? Anyway, let’s get down to business. I present to you a condensed post that touches on numerous topic, from my latest obsession in the realm of video games to the most recent quip of mine that I’ve chosen to expound upon.

Halo 3. Yep, you’ve probably heard of it by this point. Even those who play no video games at all have most likely seen it in a magazine or television ad. Microsoft’s 100 million dollars of marketing was very much helpful in bringing this gaming juggernaut to the attention of all. And despite numerous claims of my own that I would wait a while before buying it, I have indeed caved in and purchased my very own copy of Halo 3. At least I didn’t fall for the ludicrously priced legendary edition, right?

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with the improvements on the single-player campaign and got just about what I was expecting in terms of multi-player. There’s really not much to summarize considering Halo 3’s still working from the same old formula as its predecessors. A couple of new features including the theater, a tool that allows the playback of multi-player and single-player matches, and the forge, a simplified real-time map editor, were surprisingly well done additions to the typical Halo features. The production value is about as high as I’ve ever seen in a game.

Secondly is a game that has been occupying much of my time lately, a game that was simply meant to be a side show, but became an instant favorite for many fans. It’s called Portal. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the result of Valve hiring a team of Digipen university students to create a small game to include in the recently released Orange Box, which also includes the newly released Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

Portal is a puzzle game that takes a simple concept and crafts a number of elaborate, fiendishly clever challenges with it. The only weapon (if you could call it that) that you will use in Portal is the ever so creatively named Portal Gun. The Portal Gun will create a blue portal if you left click and an orange portal if you right click. These portals are linked together, so going through one with send you walking out the other. Simply messing around with portals provides an enjoyable time. Infinite jumps, the house of mirrors effect, and other nifty situations can be set up with portals.

While quite short clocking in at only around 3 hours, Portal is still a source of tremendous fun and exactly the type of material well suited to re-playing.

And here comes trouble. Stop reading now if you wish, for another of my infamous rants looks to be next up on the schedule. For today my topic is social networking sites. Many of you may know I have a Facebook and formerly owned a MySpace, so I hope you don’t consider me hypocritical for criticizing that which I make use of, but it’s not that I dislike social networking sites, simply that I consider them misguided in their purposes.

The core purpose of any social networking site is to, well, network people together. While you will connect and communicate with existing friends on these sites, a large focus is put on making new friends through these sites.This seems like a ridiculous waste of time to me because the large majority of people do not reach out in any way to people they don’t know, and they shouldn’t. Social networking sites, in my opinion, should be solely focused on communicating and having fun with already existing friends.

Friendships through networking sites are forced and rarely last for long. On site like MySpace, people compete to get a larger friends list, but most of the people on the list barely even know them. Simply adding friends to your list on these sites is very different from actually considering them friends. People would be better off meeting new friends through other interactive online sites such as forums that relate to their interests.

Social networking sites, in my opinion, should take a new approach which is more prominently focused on providing existing friends the tools they need to have fun with each other through the site. Facebook is a bit ahead of MySpace at the moment because of their so called “application” feature which allows anyone to develop applications for user profiles, and many of these applications are designed for existing friends.

Well, that’s all for now folks.

Blogged with Flock


Starcraft 2 Announced

June 1, 2007

I swear, if I hear one more forum n00b raving about Starcraft 2 I’m going to poke the person nearest to me with a very sharp object. It still escapes me how someone can declare a game absolutely amazing when it’s more then a year away from release and only a few lackluster screenshots have been revealed. Sure, the original Starcraft was a good, if not great game, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the sequel will be a grapically updated version with only some slight game play updates: maybe a new unit here and there.

 All together it just seems far to early to judge. So, I recommend that you wait to pass judgement on it’s awesomeness until something more substantial has been released. This is for the sanity of myself and many others.

On the topic, here’s a strip from Ctrl+Alt+Del that I found to be quite amusing, as well as realistic since it seems most Koreans worship Starcraft in some kind of weird unearthly way. ::link::


Tried and Not True

May 26, 2007

The video games released in recent times have been amazingly devoid of imagination. Everything sticks with tried and true concepts, but these concepts are in fact tried to the point of not being so true. The majority of releases in the past years have been either: sequels, licensed beat-’em-ups, or clones of well known games. It is extremely rare for a game to introduce a new concept, and when it does, it often flies under the radar. The reason for this, in my opinion, is split into two groups.

Feeding the flames are the giant publishers that essentially own the video game market. The foremost of these is EA Games, a well known company that picks up the majority of movie licensed games and create yearly sports games that bare amazing resemblance to their prequels. EA and a number of other large publishers are intent on sticking with old concepts in fear of financial loss. Sure they can be sure that they’ll pick enough money out of the hands of the legions of existing franchise fanboys, but, what about people like myself. These publishers leave people craving innovation in the dark. Perhaps if these publishers would take a risk, they might make a game that is not only financially successful, but also well remembered as a game to introduce a great new mode of play.

The second cause of the “Tried and Not True” issue is the hordes of series fan boys and girls. Gamers who beg for the next Halo or GTA games, their accents thick with 1337-speak. These gamers do not realize the merits of change. Through their own ignorance they fail to see that innovation is an amazing power, one that started the many series they fanboy over.

So, that is my rant for the day. A propaganda I’ve attempted to push on those I know, once and again. Unfortunately, few seem to understand. I only hope that you exhibit some common sense and join me on my righteous crusade for innovation 😉