Angry Robot

Playing Tron on XBLA Makes You Think…

These things I considered as I tried (repeatedly) to box my opponent via light cycle to little or no avail. It was frustrating to say the least. When I play older games I try to relax my brain and see them for what they really are: math made into flashing lights and sounds. I don’t have to be stressed out, my iPod has more power than these wee games and yet the difficulty astounds my monkey instincts. My sissy next-gen player antics have caught up to me and wiped clean any remnants of skill previously recorded in my 80s-born grey matter.

Oh yeah, sure I am a kid born in ’82, what do I know of arcade games? Well, I did have a Texas Instruments badass with tons of cartridges and I did have a NES and I did rock the 8Bit no matter what you may think. Did I have access to a super lot of titles? Hells no, I was raised in the country! I was lucky to even get a game to rent every month let alone buy any new ones! That damned Game Genie? Where I was from that gold piece of blessed magic meant only one thing = Rich Kid Bitch Face McHas-A lot-o-Stuff. And I was not one of those.

Back to Tron. I like Tron. I like the colours and ideals of Tron. Fight the machine IN the machine! Awesome. Get me some of that. Have I seen the movie? No…Have not. Weird. Yeah. Will I? Someday maybe…Do I like to play with light cycles regardless? Shit yeah, bitches. And so should you so try the demo and test you skillz. You may be surprised when it takes you half an hour to uncover them again…30 minutes of piss ass angry…But success is as sweet as the smell of a new MacBook!

Action RPG, the Speedball of Gameplay


It’s a delicious cocktail of button-mashing coke and character-leveling smack, and that’s why I’m still playing Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom, a game with so many flaws you fear it might shatter into a million pieces in your 360’s drive tray. But I’m not going the way of Belushi, Phoenix and Farley, I’m gonna kick this habit. Or at least find a dealer with a better supply.

You face wave after wave of submoronic AI, the quote-story-endquote is so incomprehensible the developers don’t even try to tell it – why am I selling swords to the Buddha? Fuck knows! – and if the repetitive level designs don’t get you, the shamelessly linear paths through them will. Hope you like invisible walls! Yet, it has the odd charm – monsters like the four-headed spinning top turtle boss and the ‘flesh spears’, aka Freud’s nightmare aka subterannean rape sticks, are pretty neat-o.

Some people love action games; I can take ‘em or leave ‘em. But throw in some RPG elements like leveling up, modifying weapons and unlocking spells and suddenly gameplay takes a giant leap from the 80s into – well, at least the mid-90s. This game has just enough different characters and nice weapons and spells to keep you hacking and slashing just a little more to see what new kind of ‘bommyknocker’ or ‘headbanger’ or ‘gunsword of piercing’ fat, slow Duane might rend from the bones of his vanquished foes’ magically vanishing corpses.

But I’m trying to quit. I could probably find a better action RPG on the DS, say, or just find a Mac port of Diablo and be done with it. Yet in the back of my mind there’s Duane, flailing the shit out of some poor mentally-challenged Lightning Knight. Damn!

Bizzle Rizzle vs. Hizzle Dizzle

So it’s over. Warner is dropping HD DVD support and going all Blu-Ray, all the time, and the rumour has it that Paramount, and Universal will follow when their contracts run out in a few months, completely ending studio support of the format. Warner’s reasoning is as follows (from the press release):

The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers.

I.e. if we’re not careful, people will give up on HD discs altogether and stick with their DVDs. Clearly they have data indicating that HD disc player sales lag far behind HD monitor sales, which is scaring them.

Let’s skip the inevitable discussion of how downloads are the future and just concentrate on one point: Sony was right. About everything. After all the mockery about the ludicrously high price on the PS3 when it came out (because of its Blu-Ray drive), everyone points to the PS3’s Blu-Ray drive as the deciding factor in Blu-Ray’s victory. Yet to be seen is whether a focus on the HD optical drive (Sony) or a focus on games (Nintendo) is the more lucrative path. Yet, console and game sales aside, obviously Sony will clean up with Blu-Ray licensing fees and patent royalties. I just can’t find data on how much money this might make them.

Death Stars and Deathmatches

Let me branch out here from videogames to nerd culture in general. First off, the Crate Digger Deathmatch is on, and you can vote on the singles here. Full disclosure: I’m a participant, under the name Snake Eyes. If you like both country and hiphop – which you probably don’t, what are the odds – you just might like my track. But check out all the tracks, and the full albums where available (some of them are linked from that voting page there).

Also, I thought this was pretty good: Paddy K reconsiders the Death Star as rebel atrocity. It’s sort of derivative of the scene in Clerks, but it’s still funny.

And oh yeah: wrock, wizard rock! (I’m totally stealing links from Hipster, Please here)

Oooh…Future Play Fantastique!

So I was stumbling around and found this article about these scientist dudes who have developed a small device that simulates a condition known as Synethesia, which is a crazy blip of the brain I’m just fascinated by.

Anyway, the article got me wondering about the future of tech like this on gaming. I mean, if you can feel words what would a txt based RPG feel like? I know there is way more to it and way more complicated…but if we could change the way people interpret their senses…well that just opens a world of crazy in terms of gaming.

At least I think so.

I like science fiction too.

Top Ten Stuffs I Learned From Gaming in 2007!

10. If you have a bag of doritos beside you when you’re playing Halo online and then eat one chip every time you die it soon becomes apparent that you’ll eat the whole bag in like 15 minutes. Seriously, your hand gets all sticky so you don’t really have enough time to get back in the flow of playing before you get killed again so then you eat another chip and the whole thing starts again. Vicious, but delicious, cycle.

9. Waiting to buy your 360 simply because you want a limited edition game version is silly to most people. But for a hardcore fan silliness is next to godliness.

8. The PS3 is beautiful, wonderful, and sorely in need of some actual games…but when that day comes a terrible power will overtake all the free 360 players of this world…

7. I should read Atlas Shrugged.

6. The stupid and lame boss battle PUSH THE BUTTON RIGHT NOW!!!” technique spawned in God of War is fast becoming an epidemic throughout the gaming world.

6.5 The above mentioned disgusts me.

5. I actually don’t Wii that much anymore…I think I need another Zelda.

4. Motion control belongs to the Wii – all other consoles should NOT attempt to implement it. Serious Games + Motion Control = Anger and Violence against $40 controllers.

3. Sex with aliens is finally becoming a priority!

2. Lesbian sex with aliens is finally becoming a priority!

1. Portal is the next best thing to having a holodeck!

Awesome Gaming Short Film – Mauvais Rôle

My friend Kris Abel gave me the heads up for this wee film. It’s hilarious! And extremely well done! For more info about the creators check out their site.