Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Ten Video Game Pets That Would Be Awesome to Own (and what I would use them for)

10. Cerberus from Resident Evil

Take this sucker to the vet, see what happens.

Sure, he’s not much to look at and he might end up tearing you to shreds. But as far as a guard dog for your yard, used car lot, junkyard, daycare, or whatever, he will never falter, except against a well placed shotgun round.
Good Uses: Protecting beer supplies, fighting terrorism, doggie kisses.
Evil Uses: Sending out into shopping malls, Lady Gaga concerts, marching band events or other large crowds to destroy.

9. Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.

You’d never know this guy could eat you, then fart you out as a egg.

He’s a dinosaur you can ride on and he won’t try to kill you. You also don’t need to take the time to train him and modify with thousands of dollars worth of armor. He also wears boots. I mean, isn’t that enough? Sure he has a lot of strange fanboys/girls out there, but if they get in your way, you can command Yoshi to eat them. Amirite?
Good Uses: Charity parades, educational petting zoos, beer delivery runs.
Evil Uses: Eating just about anybody or anything upon command.

8. Chocobo from Final Fantasy

Take a wild guess what he tastes like.

There isn’t much to say about a chocobo other than after years of playing Final Fantasy, you just gotta have one. Sure, he may not do much but run really fast (unless you find a rare flying one), but who wouldn’t want to mount up on a giant two-legged bird and run circles around their friends?
Good Uses: Delivering messages in a timely matter, saving people from floods (if flying), finding and reporting news about good deals on beer across town before it sells out.
Evil Uses: Commanding it to kick people in the face, putting it in fights for gambling purposes

7. Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog

It’s ok Tails, there’s always gonzo porn.

Tails? Seriously? The little whiney twerp from Sonic? Yeah… because, if you are a guy, you can train him to shut up and not talk and then put him on a leash and the ladies will DIG it. A two tailed fox? OMG KAWAII !!!! Oh yeah, the furries will dig it to, if you’re into that kinda thing.
Good Uses: uh….
Evil Uses: Impressing ladies, tormenting furries.

6. Donkey Kong

Hi kids. This is what’s called a “shit-eating grin”.

Let’s face it, having an intelligent ape who won’t punch you to death is pretty damn awesome. This is all about strength and intelligence.
Good Uses: Lifting kegs of beer, defending the helpless, chasing down bad guys and punching them to death, opening up stuck jars
Evil Uses: punching people to death.

5. Spyro the Dragon

Spyro obviously knows that purple = pimp.

He’s cute and he’s deadly. Best of all, he’s compact so you can take him on airplanes and into little snooty cafes in Beverly Hills.
Good Uses: heating up food, melting ice so children can go to school (debatable whether this is good or evil), warming up your hands with a gentle flame after you have dranken too many cold beers
Evil Uses: Burn! BURN MY PRETTY!! MWHAHAHAAA *cough*

4. Dragon from Panzer Dragoon

RARRR! That’s it, just “rarr!”.

Another mount pet… many of us born in the early 80s might have dreamed of riding that freaky Luck Dragon from Never Ending Story. Those of you born past 1995 have no idea WTF I am talking about. Needless to say, having a dragon that can breathe fire, is loyal to you, and can fly, is pretty damn sweet.
Good Uses: Anti-terrorism operations, burning poppy fields, flying you home safety after beers with your friends.
Evil Uses: More burning, more evil.

3. Ecco the Dolphin

That’s not really Ecco, but I bet you couldn’t tell the difference anyway.

Of course Ecco had to make our list because he is like… a super dolphin... Not only does he have some kind of weird super sonar that will kill just about anything, but he can swim REALLY fast. Hitch a ride on this guys fin and he can take you anywhere. Okay, maybe he doesn’t belong at number three, but he is just so classic!
Good Uses: Bringing imported beer across foreign waters, destroying poachers with sonar, saving manatees and other marine life.
Evil Uses: Destroying intercontinental underwater internet cables so people can’t download porn or twitter anymore (evil?)

2. Amaterasu from Okami

Yep, rad as hell.

She’s a wolf God. She can fight like it’s nobody’s business. And she looks rad as hell. She also can command the celestial brush to make shit happen. I’m talking, like, anything.
Good Uses: drawing up more beer when it runs out, keeping your feet warm on a cold winters night, bring to schools to educate children about demi-gods.
Evil Uses: drawing doors on people’s houses so you can sneak in, the ability to destroy anything with a metaphysical paintbrush actually brings a lot of things to mind.

1. Rush

Can your dog turn into a submarine? No, so shut up.

Rush, simply put, is a kick-ass dog. Let’s start with the fact that other than some (probably expensive) maintenance, you don’t have to feed him or walk him. Hell, you might not even have to pretend to love him since he is pretty much idiotically loyal. But let’s look at what he can do: he can turn into a flying jet sled, a trampoline, a pogo-stick thing, a submarine, some kind of super strength armor, a jet pack, a motorcycle, and who knows what else… I mean, if that isn’t rad, I don’t know what is.
Good Uses: Thousands of uses, in fact, Rush could probably turn into a micro-brewery too.
Evil Uses: Don’t get me started. I’m the kind of guy who would take The One Ring and use it for evil, imagine if I had Rush. Writer - TinyDinosaurs

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nintendo's Third Party Disasters

“Nintendo’s Third Party Disasters”

Ever wonder why Sony dived into the gaming industry suddenly in the 1990s? The major reason: Nintendo’s third party licensing sucks.

Ironically, Nintendo came into the spot light by developing games as a third party publisher party to begin with. In the early 1980s, Shigeru Miyamoto, created Nintendo’s two stars, Donkey Kong and Mario, and began porting their classic arcade games to home systems at the time, which profited the company enormously.

Eventually this led to the creation of the NES later in the decade and the rise of video game fascism would begin. According to David Sheff, author of “Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children,” Nintendo had strict guidelines for its third party publishers, such as:

· Licensees were not permitted to release the same game for a competing console until two years had passed.
· Nintendo would decide how many cartridges would be supplied to the licensee.
· Nintendo would decide how much space would be dedicated for articles, advertising, etc. in Nintendo Power.
· There was a minimum number of cartridges which had to be ordered by the licensee from Nintendo.
· There was a yearly limit of five games that a licensee may produce for a Nintendo console. This rule was made due to caution of over saturation which caused the North American video game crash of 1983.
Simply put: If you didn’t salute the f├╝hrer of video games of the 1980s and early 1990s your company was out of luck.

Companies such as Konami formed two companies, Ultra and Palcom to get around Nintendo’s rules so that they could publish more games. To me this is ludicrous because if a company can consistently produce quality games why limit them? That’s just outrageous.

Think of the possibilities that could have happened if Square-Enix or Konami wasn’t limited at the time. How many more games would we have to remember? How much more profit would they have made? It just doesn’t make sense to me to put in so many rules and regulations on third party developers.

Earlier in the 1990’s, Sony tried to reach a deal with Nintendo trying to add a CD drive to the SNES that would be attached to the bottom of it. If you don’t believe me, check the bottom of your SNES. See that port on the bottom? That’s where Sony’s CD drive would have gone had Nintendo had their way.

Thankfully, Sony stood up to them and created the Playstation, which many of us have fond memories of.

With increased competition from Sony in the 1990’s to the present Nintendo still hasn’t learned its lessons after being pummeled by Sony and Microsoft over the years. It still has strict rules about what can and can’t be published. In fact, it’s the main reason why Final Fantasy 7 was published on the Playstation rather than the Nintendo 64. Square-Enix was tired of all the red tape and decided to move on.

Fast-forward today and take a look at Nintendo’s Wii. Is there a Final Fantasy on it? Nope. A Metal Gear on the Wii? Won’t happen. Third party publishers are tired of Nintendo’s unflinching desire to just let go of the rules. As a result, the Wii is just a novelity to most serious gamers. It’s something you play when you have your grandma over and that’s pretty much it (excluding a solid game that comes out once a year which is rare).

Nintendo: Either loosen up your third party rules or join the graveyard along with Sega. This isn’t the 1990’s or 1980’s anymore. People are so over Donkey Kong and Mario (including myself, who grew up with them). Get rid of the garbage rules or Microsoft will dominate yet another aspect of our lives.

- Smiling Cobra

Thursday, December 24, 2009

“No Russian” Scene – Has Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 gone too far?

You’ve seen it, you’ve heard about it on the news and you’ve probably had a friend talk about it. Yes, the gory “No Russian” mission of Modern Warfare 2.

For those who haven’t experienced it, check it out here (warning graphic content):

The first time I went through this mission I was just utterly shocked, to the say the least. I remember hearing the guns cocking, the men zipping on their Kevlar and the elevator opening and the final quote “remember, no Russian,” before seeing a bunch of people lined up outside of a security clearance.

I thought “This can’t be happening, is it what I think it is,” and I saw the four men around me raise their guns and fire at all the people in line. “Wow, I just felt like what it feel likes to be a real terrorist,” and really feeling horrible at the carnage that was unleashed on my screen.

After walking through the airport for what seemed like hours, executing people left and right, encountering the Russian police and finally getting shot and killed the end; shot right in the face.

So has Infinity Ward gone too far with MW2? My answer: No, they haven’t and here’s why.

Whenever an action movie or a horror film comes out does the media ever criticize it for being too gory or too sexual? In most cases, they don’t. In fact you’ll often see quotes from popular movie critics about the movie being “visually stunning” and what not. But when it comes to video games? Oh, no we can’t have that!

MW2 simply allows you to view things from the eyes of a person who has been murdered or is a terrorist. It’s an action movie that the player gets to control. Can a movie really simulate your own death or having you pull the trigger on innocent people? Maybe, but no one has done it so far and it wouldn’t be as entertaining as a video game.

How is that any different than any other movie out there? There are ratings on the games so parents can know who the target audience is just like movies and yet video games are treated differently. Hypocrisy if you ask me.

Other video games have been put on the cross in the media. Bioware’s Mass Effect is perfect example. It wasn’t as “violent” or “gory” as MW2 but it did include a “romance” scene. The media (Fox News in particular) erupted with criticism about the game’s scenes.

Bioware and the creators of the game were taken back from the out lash that Fox News gave them and decided to further instigate it in their latest game Dragon Age: Origins. Simply put, they added more “romance” scenes including a gay scene for some hot man on man action. Take that Fox News.

I digress however and should get back to MW2. Before the game was released the “No Russian” scene was leaked. In my opinion, this was a smart tactical move by Infinity Ward and it had to be a controlled leak. Here’s why:

They knew that the media would go ballistic over such a scene like the “No Russian” one. This would get the media into a flurry of activity and create free publicity for the game, and you know what they say about publicity: Any publicity is good publicity.

So has this scene gone too far? Certainly not, it’s an interactive action game. How often do you get to be put into a situation where you get to murder people and actually feel how horrible about it? If anything it would remind players that life is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted. It also shows that all of us, no matter how much of a hard-ass we think we are, we do have morals for what is right and wrong. It shows just how truly evil terrorism is. Writer - Smiling Cobra

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Memories in video gaming: One Old-School Gamer’s Perspective

A Link in the Past

I must have been seven or eight years old, and I remember when my brother and I received that very first Legend of Zelda NES cart. We tore apart the plastic cellophane and opened up the box to reveal… a gold cart.

We, along with millions of other kids, then spent their every waking hour on the first Zelda game released in the United States. Video game magazines then were hardly available (most having died off in the Video Game Crash of ‘83), there was no internet, let alone a, with easy-to-access information… everything was word of mouth. So when we put the cart it, we didn’t know what to expect… hell, we didn’t even know what to do. But we loved it.

When we found the first dungeon, walked inside, and the music turned to ominous (keep in mind, in those days we were used to only one or two music scores for an entire console game) we all looked to one another and wondered “Just where the hell were we?”. I think we may even have gotten scared and ran out of the dungeon, fearing that Link’s three measly hearts wouldn’t cut what we were about to face (which would end up being a few measly bats and a pretty weak boss).

We spent hours trying to figure our way through dungeons, hand drawing maps, not knowing where to go, finding items we had no idea what the hell they did. We fought through bad engrish, and we didn’t have one single walkthrough to help us. We had to rely on friends of friends whose friends had parents who would let them call the Nintendo hint helpline, or who had an older brother that had figured it out on their own.

I remember dungeon eight could only be found on the map by blowing a whistle at a certain fairy pond. Mind you there were no hints to lead you here. We spent close to a year trying to figure this out, and nobody we knew had even gotten that far. Lo and behold, one day my brother’s friend was goofing off, and blowing the whistle in every screen, and when he got to that particular fairy pond, blew the whistle, the pond dried up and the staircase appeared. We all looked at each other as our mouths dropped and just sat speechless for minutes.

In the end, I think it took us two years or so to complete Zelda… not that it was a hard game, not that it was we were dumb (maybe we were a little dumb) but because there was nothing that would tell us where to go or what did what (especially if you were one to lose the instruction manual, as we children so often did). Now you can onto the net, and in two clicks your answer is solved.

But back then, there were very few complex adventure games (console wise that is… if you were into Sierra dominated PC gaming back then, you were screwed and destined to log onto sierra BBS’ or buying hint books), so it was possible to take a year or two to solve and beat one game.

Into the future

Now every month (sometimes, every week) epic games that take hundreds of hours to complete are released, with complex gameplay and complicated puzzles, and lots of extra content… yet, it seems it only takes a couple weeks to a month of heavy playing (okay, sometimes two, max) to beat these games. I wonder how many of us (me included) can sit at one RPG or adventure game, get stuck on an area and then feel the itchy fingers and desire to head onto the internet to check for the answer.

But why waste time when the next best game is coming out tomorrow, or sitting on your shelf ready to play?

There is definitively something gone from the classic feeling of gaming in the retro era, but it’s a double edged sword. I would rather have the selection of games now than the selection I had back then, because if we had the same selection back then, we probably wouldn’t have spent two years playing Zelda.

But if you ever find yourself wondering… just wondering…what the hell it was like to be us back in the mid to late 80’s, go ahead, put in (or ROM up, or virtual console it up) a NES game you’ve never played (give Castlevania 2: Simons Quest a go!) and try to get through it without anything other than the manual it came with…hours of brain numbing exploration…trial and error…maybe a good ol' pen and paper.

- TinyDinosaurs 12/11/09