Angry Robot

The Adventures of Eyeless Max: Mass Effect

I only wish that you were not so filled with minor little problems. Problems like your cursed impossible to navigate inventory lists that don’t tell you who is armed with what when you are trying to sell goods. Problems like the inability to easily examine your teammates when they are not present.

But I will still play you… because I am an enourmous science fiction fan, and finally you are providing me with a rich world full of possibilities.

Sooo… I wish all the games I want to do comics about didn’t involve armour, becuase I HATE drawing armour so very much. Because I SUCK at it. However this was much better that my original comic which involves taking uppers and cats (I fit them into a Mass Effect comic… it didn’t work)

Next week, I hope (key word: hope) to publish some failed ideas and sketches. Maybe one day I will be famous and you can all say “I saw his original work!” but more likely I will get creamed by a bus.

"Thinking About the Camera Is Game Design Too"

Gamasutra has an excellent interview with Yoshiaki Koizumi. It touches on the development of various Mario and Zelda games, and even includes consideration of motion sickness. He’s clearly a very thoughtful designer.

Gamespot Editor Fired

This just can’t be ignored. Of course, Penny Arcade is all over it.

What Are You Playing? Second Edition

TokuAssassin’s Creed (XBOX 360): Awesome, but I may have talked about this quite a bit already.
Mass Effect (XBOX 360): I play this and feel like I am drowning a little bit… but in a good way, like drowning in jell-o. It’s a huge sci-fi game and I am an enourmous sci-fi addict, so for all it’s finicky little details and faults I will love it regardless.

Nadine – I’m all about Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3) right now and it’s so sexy and sleek and makes me very happy. Like Ratchet, I don’t want the experience to end. These jungle island adventures (play King Kong) are so soothing for some reason and the PS3 is just seducing me so hardcore right now….Lucky for my 360 as soon as I finish Drake there will be nothing left to really play on the PS3 for me besides Pain, and since I am not a guy I don’t really think I’ll play it for more than 5 minutes. More on that after the 5 minutes. I’ve saved Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed for the dark winter months ahead….after I replay Ratchet and Clank…Seriously.

GigerHR – This week’s pretty much been all Assassin’s Creed, all the time. It’s a great looking game, and the gameplay is top notch. Climbing walls, stabbin’ guards in the back and more collectibles than you can shake a short blade at. I’ve also been adding some songs to my list of “Guitar Hero 3 tracks I’ve 5-starred on Hard.” Cliffs of Dover – Check. Stricken – Check. Only 6 more to go, baby!

DMass Effect (Xbox 360), as you could tell from the review. I also played some Beatiful Katamari with my lady friend and I’m happy to report that she wants to play it again. As for me, I keep on looking around seeing objects that are just begging to be rolled up. EVERYTHING must be rolled up.

Assassin's Creed: My Bad Idea

I had the idea for this game long ago. “Sure Toku” you might reply, “whatever you say.” But it’s true. I was among many who bought Grand Theft Auto 3 when it was first released and played it to death, wishing there was more. Then I played Splinter Cell and had this wonderful idea, what if there was a game that involved espionage and assassination, but took place on a city-wide scale filled with people? Why wouldn’t that be great? Alright, so my idea took place in a futuristic wonderland, not a medieval landscape… close enough.

After I got over my slight annoyance I started to play the game… and loved it.

It starts off in the present-day and follows a former assassin named Desmond Miles. Desmond wakes up one day and finds himself in a lab as a prisoner. The doctor there has strapped you into something called an Animus. This doctor tells you that somewhere in your genetic memory is a secret held by one of your ancestors, Altair Ibn La-Ahad. So, in order to access this memory Desmond has to relive certain events via “the animus.” We then jump into the memories and play the assassination missions that Altair went on. The story of Altair is pretty heavy-handed and involved, and I don’t think I’ll even try to explain it. It deals with mortality, morality, duality and all sorts of other philosophical questions that warp your perception. My suggestion, don’t do what I did and play this ‘til four in the morning, because after three beers your brain screams at you.

The game has been called repetitive by some critics, and to a certain degree it is. Each assassination mission goes by a pretty predictable formula:

The mini-missions that uncover your information about your target are all the same. There are only four sources that you can go to:

  1. you can intimidate a guy
  2. you can pick-pocket a guy
  3. you can eavesdrop on a guy or…
  4. you can ask a guy.

And really that’s it… There are some B.S. citizens you have the option of saving, but it’s not important to the assassinations, nor does it help a whole lot. There really isn’t a lot of variance in the story, but fortunately the gameplay completely makes up for it.

For me the highpoint of the game-play is the free-running. Last year Crackdown came out and suddenly everyone was leaping across rooftops like anime character. Assassin’s Creed has a much more down-to-earth approach to those rooftop shenanigans. The way Altair climbs and jumps around is more reminiscent of Lara Croft, and feels much more real. Altair can’t fall ten feet and magically grab onto a ledge like John McClane. Because of this climbing and roof-jumping feels much more precarious, and is better for it. Now, instead of being able to leap small buildings in a single bound and survive bone-shattering falls like Crackdown, we are left with something that requires a little more patience and tact, which is the nature of the game itself.

The only problem with the free-running system is it can be a bit glitchy. There are an abundance of moments where Altair gets stuck climbing a wall… and you KNOW he can keep climbing and you can SEE the next handhold, but he just refuses to go for it, and you are just left there hanging over a street like and idiot, made worse by the fact that the crowd below makes irritating comments at you while you dangle.

I have a love/hate relationship with the city populace. Beggars harass you, crazy people push you, people yell at you when you knock them over, they make comments about you, they point you out to the guards. All-in-all they are very well done… I just wish they weren’t so damn irritating. Every once-in-awhile I stealth-knife one or two just to get them out of my way. It’s against “the creed” but fuck! Those goddamn beggars blocking my every move yelling “please sir, I have nothing!” while I am so tactfully trying to sneak up on a target makes me want to jam my Corona through my TV screen –

And if knifing beggars is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

So… the combat.

I personally like to silently take out the archers on the rooftops, and then let them drop into the streets and waiting for the delayed screams. It’s fun. However, every once in a while some of the other guards will see you do it and then comes the combat. The Combat is… well…alright, though nothing spectacular. So, I won’t say a lot about it. It’s alright, it’s reasonably challenging if you don’t know how to counter-attack. Altair can do some pretty cool shit, but all in all it’s not the selling point. Luckily, if you play right you don’t HAVE to get into combat all that often (although I did unlock that one achievement for defeating 25 guys in a single combat… yay.)

So finally, because everyone wants to hear it: THE GRAPHICS.
yes, there are indeed graphics in this movie, and they are quite good. The mix of the archaic world with the modern images from the Animus works surprisingly well. The look is original, and even though the odd Animus “flash” is slightly distracting, it doesn’t take away from the gameplay. The cities look awesome. They actually look like people may, in fact, be living in them and could very well pass as authentic. There has been a moment or two when I have fallen through the map and died. Oh well… It looks so good, it’s forgiven.

So why am I playing this game like a drug? Because it’s kinda good. Despite all the hype that usually goes with BAD games this is actually quite good. It’s challenging without being impossible, it’s fun, looks pretty and has a decent story. So it’s got the odd problem here and there, but who cares? I liked it.

Even if they stole my idea.

Angry Robot Sounds 7

Is this the “Golden Age of Gaming”? Discuss. We did, with reference to Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, Zelda, GTA III, Oblivion and our usual share of griping about games media. Cast: Mags, Nadine, D.

Angry Robot Sounds 7 (17MB mp3, 37mins)

Subscribe on subscribe in iTunes

BEST GAME OF 2007: Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Now before I go all “Ratchet is the best game ever” let me tell you a little about what this game series is all about. I had never played a Ratchet and Clank game before (this whole life without Sony is not that cool in retrospect…I wish I had known earlier) and I didn’t know much about the story. The previous games have always been about this dude named Ratchet, who is the last living member of the specicies called the Lombax. The Lombax are these catlike peeps who have the most amazing ability with building technology. Throughout his adventures Ratchet, along with his trusty super robot friend Clank, has saved the galaxy repeatedly but never found out the truth about his mysterious past. Tools of Destruction begins with Ratchet and Clank going about their ship building business when the planet they’re on is attacked by weird wee fish men in giant robotic killing machine suits. Fun! From then off the actions takes off in classic platforming style that takes the genre to new extremes of fun at a frantic and fantastic pace!

Why is Rachet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction the perfect game? Because it brings a player back to the very simple combination of elements responsible for that first perfect moment of gaming. You’re not concerned with the button position or the mechanics or this or that technical aspect. You don’t need to be worried about tech specs because the controls work perfectly! You’re so fully engrossed within world upon world full of spaceports, ruins, and buzzing futuristic cities that you don’t want to shut your eyes and go to sleep even though it’s 3 am, but then you sleep anyway because you don’t want to burn through this adventure too quickly. Yeah that happened to me, repeatedly.

solution = groovatron

Your ears are treated to delightful dialogue by masterful voice actors with a fun script that seamlessly melds humor and action adventure and leaves you wanting to hear lines over again just to relive the quirk of it all. The soundtrack has all the elements that made the original Star Wars soundtrack so unforgettable (yeah…Star Wars again but in a good way!) and you don’t get tired of hearing the action score loop because each level has music that blends so well with the visuals.

The gameplay is so varied and so fun that even a simple “collect these parts” mission is fun and I can replay it no problem. In fact, when I beat the game I started playing the unlocked challenge mode immediately. Challenge mode is basically this: you have an insane multiplier for bolts from enemies, you play the game through again on a higher difficulty and get even more upgrades to your already awesome weapons. Oh yeah and you start with ALL your weapons and devices. So sweet.

The power of the PS3 blinds you to load times because when you go to a new world you’re flying in your ship and it doesn’t take long to get to the planet so that’s one hidden load there that goes by fast. Then when you land you get a sweeping overview of the planet/city/factory so again it hides itself right before your eyes.

Back to the ship! Space combat is everything I loved about Star Fox. Star Fox is my favourite game of all time ever. Seriously, first Robot Sound that for confirmation peeps. So you can imagine my delight while flying through intensely colourful and expanssive solar systems shooting space pirates.

give me zoni, give me zoni!

Unfortunately, the game has that whole “yeah you saved it mid level, but if you stop playing you have to replay it” thing but you skip through stuff so quickly after the first time it doesn’t take away from the experience – but some (D) might disagree. I usually hate collecting things like coins or gems or whatever because I feel like I’m forced to explore every lil niche and corner to get them for if I don’t I’ll miss out on cool stuff later type thing. But bolts? Whole other story! I love getting bolts!

I love upgrading my weapons and buying devices that do cool things (Leech Bombs, Death Springs, Dreams made Reality made Awesome anyone?). The variety on the guns and devices is great. My personal fav device wise (so far) is the Groovatron, which you throw into the fray and watch as your enemies dance helplessly as you slaughter them to bits with your main weapon of choice! The weapon I’m most addicted to is the Lightning Shocker (upgraded to the Lightning Ravager!)- an electric whip that works wonders on organics but not electrical creatures so I just bust out the ol’Fusion Grenade launcher and have at it. Me likey the weapon selections big time. You can get armour upgrades as well but that’ll set you back mucho bolts and aren’t available as often.

Leviathan souls RIP

I never played any of the previous Ratchet and Clanks. I always liked the commercials but I wasn’t a Sony player at the time. Now I’m super Sonyfied and part of me wants to go back and play through all of them (definitely gonna play the PSP versions), but another part of me says “Wait, lo, nothing will compare to the PS3 version! “ And, indeed, this must be a fruit of many a labor so pause I give to this pursuit.

The thing is (as I was saying before) I just felt like a kid again with no worries in life and just exploring a world of adventure. All I was concerned with was playing in this fabulous world where I was so into it and I was having such fun and it really brought me back to the reason why I love gaming. Beyond that, it made me realize where my allegiance truly falls – Action Adventure is my preferred gaming choice. And because of that choice it would follow that my favourite game of the year would be an Action Adventure…Not a FPS. I haven’t felt this happy about a game since Beyond Good and Evil.

i want a robot on my back...

I don’t usually agree with Best of Year type stuff but I guess this is a big year of gaming for me and even though Halo 2 came and closed that chapter within me, much like Return of the King, I believe you have to take a trilogy ender as a greater part of a whole. So that being said the Halo Triology is one of the best gaming series EVER. That’s just written in the bones of the first gaming cartridge ever made: it is deep ass magic peeps. This year I was very happy to play through the whole series, but for 2007 my most happy and solo experience (because Halo is as much the game as it is playing with others who love it) was Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. That game is amazing. Insomniac Games is amazing. The game made me see that the PS3 is amazing. And that, my friends, is a miracle.

So I’ve said it now, agree or disagree on your own accord but please do share your thoughts on you favourite game this year.

I can wait; I know you have to finish Mass Effect first.

Mass Effect: Review and Thoughts Part 2

(the first part is here)

Side missions are of two sorts: those set on unpopulated planets, and those set on the populated worlds where the main quests take place. The former are generally not interesting, full of repeated levels, enemies and textures. Shoot everyone in the room, proceed on to the same two rooms filled with randomly generated loot. Meh. There are a couple that fill out the story a little, but that was maybe one in ten. Interestingly, the story in that one was told through text, and rather a lot of it – an alien artifact triggers a vision that tells you a bit more about the Proteans. At least three pages of full-screen text. Sounds like a cutscene got cut!

The side missions set on main quest planets are a different sort. They tend to be dialog-based, free of repetition and generally a lot more enjoyable, though I suppose that depends on how much you like the dialog part of the game.

The whole item system leaves something to be desired. Amping up your character with new items is a big part of RPGs and when you get a unique item, you feel pretty awesome. There aren’t really unique items in this game (I think there’s one set, the special SPECTRE gear, maxed-out versions of all the weapon types). Mostly, you find different sorts of Armour by manufacturer name and add-ons by description with a level added designating how powerful they are, so “Polonium Rounds IV”. That is hard to get excited about. It doesn’t help that you pick up a LOT of items but there is a 150 item limit AND the design of the menu you use to ‘drop’ items (aka convert to omni-gel) is extremely unwieldy. So this crucial aspect of RPGs feels like it was botched somewhat. As far as I’m concerned, if you make an RPG shooter, it should have some serious love and detail with the gun types, and this game don’t.

My whole playthrough took 23 hours. I did a bunch of side missions, but they got so dull I stopped way short of all the ones in my list.

It’s not really fair to mention this since you can’t really judge a game on what it doesn’t choose to do, but… If you’re making a space opera, aren’t spaceships a big part of that? So shouldn’t there be some space combat aspects? Since it’s an RPG, shouldn’t flying different ship types, or at least upgrading your ship, be a part of the game? And tell me space trading space goods wouldn’t kick space ass. Yup, I wish this game was more like Escape Velocity. As irrelevant as that desire may be, it speaks to one’s implicit expectations of an all-encompassing scifi epic.

The main-quest missions are good though. No complaints about that, and I’d generally recommend you stick to the main storyline for an optimal experience.

The overriding impression I get of this game: it’s good, it could have been great, it should have taken more development time but it was rushed to ship by Q4 2007. Really, Jade Empire was a much better game.

Two thoughts. First, are the dialogue-and-story-based parts of this game evolving in a different direction from the twitch-shooting parts? They feel increasingly unrelated in this sort of game, and you wonder if someone shouldn’t make a Mass Effect with no shooting whatsoever. I suppose you might call that an adventure game, so here’s a followup question: how could you make a dialogue-based game that retained RPG elements of character classes, levels and skill development?

Secondly. I think that you may get the impression from what I have written that I hated Mass Effect. That’s not true; if I hated it, I wouldn’t have played it for 23 hours. And I guess I can’t help but think of my writings in the context of all the other reviews of the game – there wasn’t much point in waxing poetic about the game’s strong points, since so many other people have already done that. It’s got a 9 average on metacritic, which illustrates the “game critics give a pass to major releases” theory, at least from where I’m standing. It’s the overwhelmingly positive reviews, but also the hype. We were all talking like 8-year-olds passing a nitrous balloon around for months leading up to it, the expectations were raised, and they could not be met. So you’re left feeling disappointed when the game is, to quote Hardcore Gamer Magazine, “merely very good”. These destructive expectations are only partly Bioware’s fault, in that they made some great games before this. But the real blame lies with the gaming media and the incessant previews.

That's No Couch, That's an F-16!

Chris brought some Super Deluxe Limited edition of the game, so it came with even more goodies:

An Ace Combat 360 faceplate…

…nd the Ace Edge: two jet fighter style controllers

The controllers add to the immersion in the game, but they don’t do much for co-pilots. Chris kept telling me to get out of his F-16!

You get a variety of jets fighters to choose from, starting with this one.

At the begining you start of defending the capital city “Gracemeria” from the Estovakiaian air force. According to gaming gossip, they had to change the names of countries and cites so that consumers couldn’t live out their dreams of international terrorism on digital replicas.

I found controlling the plane to be a little difficult at first, so I saw a lot of this screen you see here.

Missile locks help a lot when fighting a multiple squadrons of fighter jets

You can even dog fight in between the buildings if your feeling like a true “Top Gun”.

You can’t hear it but all the chatter between pilots also adds to the feel on the game

The game by itself wouldn’t have sold me, but the Edge controllers make Ace Combat 6 pretty enjoyable. I’m not really into the military style games, but playing with friends really takes the edge off and makes it more fun. Try it out if you get the chance.

Free Book!

Go over here and grab a free PDF copy of Steven Poole’s book Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Video Games, “a book about the aesthetics of videogames — what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics.” Cause hey, free book!

The Adventures of Eyeless Max: Assassin's Creed

I was pleasantly suprised. There is a lot of repetition in the story and game play. From the four assassination missions I’ve been on, you have to enter a city and do the same thing every time. Get information about your target (which is always done the same way) and assassinate your target.

I quickly decided that this is the GOOD kind of repetition… the Shadow of the Colossus Kind.

The game play is challenging and incredibly fun, and the freerunning is almost perfect (I say almost because climbing can still be a bit glitchy at times.) Running across rooftops, though not as superhuman as Crackdown, is actually more exhilarating.

I hope Altair works well here. In the second panel I tried to draw a more defined version of him leaping at my unnamed poker player, but after an hour I got frustrated and decided to draw the swooping “action” version that involves fewer little finicky details… hope you folks don’t mind. Maybe when I am a bit more confident of my abilities I’ll redraw it.


Top Ten Disappointing Things About Halo 3

10. They replaced the needler with a potato gun.

9. The endless product placements. I was okay with the Mr. Lube decals on the Warthog, but the cutscene where Master Chief declared he was “going to kick some extreme ass… right after I deal with my extreme thirst!”, and then chugged a frosty Mountain Dew™ was a tad gratuitous for my tastes.

8. To be honest, the whole gay love triangle subplot seemed a little tacked-on.

7. The way Master Chief took on an entire alien invasion single-handedly, and then, despite overwhelming odds, managed to emerge victorious. What is he, some kind of one-man army? Ludicrous.

6. Way too much Nickelback on the soundtrack.

5. I have a sneaking suspicion the only reason this one sold so well is because of all the people who bought it just so they could sign up for the Bratz Fashion Designer Superstarz beta test.

4. Only the people who dropped $130 on the Legendary Edition can unlock the “For The Same Amount Of Cash, You Could Have Bought Malaria-Preventing Mosquito Nets For An Entire Mid-Sized African Village” Achievement.

3. Cortana’s ongoing refusal to get her tits out for the lads.

2. The big plot twist where the Chief gets busted down to private right before the last climatic battle. Call me crazy, but ending an epic war trilogy with a potato-peeling minigame seems like a bit of a letdown.

1. Just didn’t live up to the high gaming standards set by 50 Cent: Bulletproof.

From the Future Bargain Bin Dep't: The Simpsons Game

It’s the writing you’ll really play for, though. I can’t agree that it’s “never funny”. Hell, I haven’t watched the Simpsons in ages, and whenever I get into one of those “it used to be good” conversations, my definition of the canonical seasons is drastically narrower than anyone else’s (I like 3 to 6 and that’s about it). Yet, to me, the following lines are up there with the best:

The latter made me laugh out loud and thereby miss the platform I was trying to jump to.

But there is no god but gameplay, and no matter how good the writing, it’s hard to recommend this title over those which are actually a lot more fun to play, like a lot of the A-list titles currently flooding every platform. So wait for it until you can get it cheap, or rent it, and when you’re done with the big names sometime in february, check this one out.

Mass Effect Review

Mass Effect’s world and story are rich and deep. I will leave their details to the masses of coverage elsewhere and your own experience of the game, but suffice it to say it’s a space opera on the scale of Star Wars, Star Trek etc. It has many similarities to Halo (Proteans, meet Forerunners! Thorian, meet Gravemind! Space Marines, meet Space Marines!), but the amount of story you can actually explore without picking up a spinoff book handily dwarfs anything you’ll find on everyone’s favourite ring world franchise. The sheer importance of the story to this game is encouraging for anyone who enjoys games with rich story, or sees the potential of interactive narrative experiences.


That said, for every advance in game storytelling that Mass Effect perpetrates, there is a shortfall. I love the dialogue wheel, but more often than not the choices it presents are superficial. The interactive cutscenes are indeed more film-like than any game I’ve played, but any film critic worth her salt would blast them for their sometimes-wooden dialogue and the non-existent blocking and camera movement. I haven’t played the entire game yet, but from what I hear, your choices don’t have as much effect on the outcome of the story, or change the gameplay, as they did in previous Bioware games.

The combat is enjoyable and presents many options. There are different character classes: soldier for straight-ahead shooter action, biotic aka magic-user, and tech, which is sorta like a thief with a little bit of magic, too. The action is real-time, but can be paused to bring up a command wheel from which you can select orders for yourself and two squadmates. There are squad controls as well, but they’re pretty basic and unfortunately, the usefulness of your squad members is marred by the game’s shoddy AI. You can tell your soldiers to target a specific enemy, but they’ll often stand behind a crate firing rounds into it rather than get to a position from which they can actually help.


But watch which squad you choose. I got to a point where rather than lose the same boss battle for the 20th time, I had to restart from an old save, losing 2 hours of game progress. The problem was I hadn’t brought a tech character along, which meant over the course of that 2 hours since landing on the planet, I had been unable to get into a fair portion of the containers of loot since they required a character with a reasonably high decryption skill. So my characters did not have the level of armour, weapons etc. you might associate with their experience level, and they could last mere seconds against this boss. This is a problem that could have been avoided if the game had simply explained itself a little better. How the fuck would I know I needed a tech to get loot? The game is in dire need of a proper tutorial; many things you need to know are just never explained at all. Which is not what one expects of a modern game.

Let me go over that replay scenario again. Every time that boss killed my dudes after 5 seconds, I get the loading screen for a good thirty seconds. Then, since the game forbids saving during combat, I’m thrown back to the last autosave location, which is before a really lengthy cutscene. I soon learned to hit ‘x’ to fast forward through the scene line by line, but that still means a whole lot of meaningless, repetitive button-pressing. There are a lot of things that you’ll have to put up with to play this game, including lengthy loading times, an autosave ‘feature’ so halfassed as to be actively harmful, some poorly designed item menus, and plenty of severe bugs. Suffice it to say, save hard and often.

If you can put up with all that, you’ll find plenty to like. Once you get the hang of the combat, and once you start figuring out how to balance your squad and what all the various items and powers do, there are many ways to approach every combat encounter. The ‘Mako’, the rover vehicle that’s kind of a cross between a Warthog and the SUV from Crackdown, is lots of fun. And, you’re just going to want to know what happens with the story. That this game has turned cutscenes from skippable filler into something you actively look forward to is no mean feat.

I’m in the thick of it now, so I’m heading in for more and if what I see changes what I’ve said here, I’ll report back.

The First Person


I’d like to like Half-Life 2. I’d like to finish Portal. I wouldn’t mind trying a bit more Call of Juarez even, but they all make me sick. Motion sick. First I blamed the games, then I blamed myself. Then I read a lot of other people had the same problem with the Marathon Xbox Live port.

First Person makes we sick

Then I read this, in an interview with Ryan Payton, a developer of Metal Gear Solid 4:

So, obviously, the first-person perspective is something that the Japanese have a hard time with, because they actually get a lot of motion sickness … What I’ve found is that my Japanese colleagues will play Gears of War every weekend for three months, but they’ll play Halo for maybe a day or two and they’ll get sick from motion sickness. [emphasis added]


So at least the entire nation of Japan shares my disability. It’s not just me. In fact, it’s not even just me and Japan. From this Looniegames article: “there is research from the military that shows that between 20% and 40% of tested pilots experienced some form of simulator sickness following exposure to a flight simulator.” That’s in fact where the phenomenon first cropped up, and got its technical name: simulator sickness. The working theory is that like motion sickness, the feeling is caused by a disconnect between the senses. In the case of games, your eyes tell you that you are moving through a virtual world, but your inner ear knows you’re sitting on your fat ass on your couch. The exact ways that the game presents itself play into the disconnect. Lag between player input and resultant action on screen is one factor, but I’m convinced that the wide camera angles in games like Half Life 2 and Portal are what prevent me from playing them, whilst I have no problem with the Halo series.

First person is not how we see

At the root of the sickness is a profound oversimplification of human perception in first person games. Sure, our eyes are in our head, so first-person shooters take that literally and reproduce that view. But take a look at this passage from this article:

In his “rest frame hypothesis,” Jerrold Prothero states that the human brain processes sensory information to form a mental image, in which we know which objects in our environment are stationary as we physically move through it. Our subconscious perception of these stationary objects helps us maintain a sense of balance. If this internal model is disrupted, simulator sickness can happen.

If Prothero’s theory holds true, game makers could help players reduce sim sickness by including a visually noticeable object in a game’s environment, which cannot be ignored and which doesn’t move on the screen much, if at all. That would explain why games set in a third-person viewpoint, like the Tomb Raider games, as opposed to a first-person shooter don’t cause sim sickness as readily. (Who would have thought staring at Lara Croft’s butt could be good for your health?)


It’s a lesson that could have been learned from film. When I was in film school, a professor showed us a picture, Dark Passage, in which the entire first reel is shot in first person style. It illustrated perfectly why the style doesn’t work: it’s disorienting and confusing. That was her way of leading into a discussion of point of view in cinema. You can certainly show things from a character’s point of view in a film, and in fact it’s an effective way of building the audience’s connection to a character, but you intercut it with shots of the character who is seeing those things. (See No Country for Old Men as a contemporary example, or nearly anything by Hitchcock.) This is the way film builds your mental image of the virtual world, and ironically puts you more in the shoes of the character than if you literally put the camera where their eyes should be. Since that’s not how we see. We see by forming a model of the world in our heads.

The game equivalent of film POV is, then, is the third person viewpoint. It accomplishes the same thing.

First person is confusing to newbies

We hardcores hail the Halo dual-stick FPS control scheme as intuitive. But I’ve tried to force Halo on enough non-gamer friends to know that it is far, far from it. And the lack of any character on screen to ground the action makes first-person games far harder to control than even a doom dual-stick-controlled third-person game. We all know that casual players don’t play first person games, hell it’s practically part of the definition. Not that casual players play much in the way of any shooters, but given that games like Syphon Filter, SOCOM, Gears of War and Ghost Recon (hell, even Saints Row ) have shown that you can have a perfectly awesome third-person shooter, why limit the appeal of any game by going first-person? Why potentially scare newbies off games in general?

Again, I’m a guy who can still play and enjoy most FPS games. But it’s just frustrating to miss some, like I can never experience Half Life 2 because of this thing which feels so arbitrary. And I’m starting to get the impression that the first person viewpoint might simply be a passing evolutionary stage; games’ early, tentative step into the third dimension, soon to look as archaic as films made before the invention of editing now do to modern eyes.

Afore I go, during my research for this article I did run across some tips on alleviating simulation sickness, so I might as well add them here.

OK I made that last one up. Aight I’m off to drink ginger beer.

Halo Uprising: A Gorgeous and Rocky Start

So it was with mixed feelings that I plucked the comic off the shelf, dreading what I may find inside. I feel it only fair that first, however, I tell you what I thought of the hardcover Halo graphic novel that had been released a year prior.

The Halo Graphic Novel Published 2006:

Alright, obviously a great deal of effort and money was placed in this. The writers and artists read like the who’s who of the comic world, and the introductions and artwork make me want to rub it all over myself like tanning oil. The graphic novel consists of 4 short stories that take place from various viewpoints and time frames throughout the first two games.

And, my god, one of the artists is Moebius. It has to be good!

Alas, the entire work suffers from one major problem; Master Chief… or the lack thereof. Oh, we get a glimpse of him in The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor. It soon changes into a yarn about how the SpecOps Commander (the jawless alien in Halo 2 for those who are confused) earned his wings. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a pretty cool story, but it is so visually jarring and inconsistent with the games that it is hard to follow. If you look very carefully, you may even see how the Commander loses half his face (bring your magnified glass or you’ll miss it among the chaos.)

The high point for me was Breaking Quarantine, drawn by Tsutomu Nihei. Personally I like the original title Sgt. Johnson Gets The Heck Out Of Flood Central, but really… it’s all semantics. What makes this story so good (aside from being visually scrumptious) is that it doesn’t bother with dialogue or cerebral bombardment. Instead it chronicles Sgt. Johnson’s escape; the escape that we were all wondering about from the original Halo. It’s simple, transcends language barriers (note: Tsutomu Nihei’s introduction is translated) and is confirms what I suspected all along: that Sgt. Avery Johnson kicks ass.

The other stories I can take or leave. They don’t really matter one way or the other. Those who only bought Halo to play online and didn’t bother with the campaign may be in for a few surprises, but really neither comic answers anything that you couldn’t get by just paying attention to the things that came before. They’re both well illustrated, but are fluff.

And anyone who believes that Second Sunrise Over New Mombassa by Brett Lewis and Moebius is in any way “deep” can bite my scrawny ass. What do we learn from it? That The Covenant attack the city for some reason that only one guy knows… but we never find out what. We end up with nothing, just a pretty but word-heavy comic. Just because something SOUNDS intellectual doesn’t mean it is… It’s like techno-babble on Star Trek; it sounds good but doesn’t mean anything.

And now Halo Uprising part 1 of 4: published 2007

According to the back cover, this is the first part of four that is supposed to chronicle the adventures of Master Chief between Halo 2 and 3. But wait a moment, At the end of Halo 2 we see Master Chief hurtling toward Earth in a pod, presumably to kick serious brute hiney, and at the beginning of Halo 3 we see him crash and kick said hiney. So… were does this comic fit in?

Ahh… Who cares, The Chief barges in like he owns the place and starts kicking it old-school right off the bat, so plot-hole forgiven.

But wait, where’d he go?

Oh dear, it seems that we’ve forgotten our previous sins and once again created a Halo comic that is in desperate need of the Man who makes it. Yes, after the first few pages we are abandoned by Master Chief and forced to follow two far less interesting characters. But I’ll get back to that.

Halo Uprising is gorgeous. Maybe not in the Moebius or Tsutomu Nihei sense. But the visuals (by Alex Maleev) are absolutely spot-on to the comic, which is more than I can say for Second Sunrise or Last Voyage. Everything here has been reproduced perfectly from the videogame, and fits beautifully in the comic form. Special note to the guns, which actually look better carried by the comic characters than they do by The Arbiter and Master Chief in the game (when you play co-op, take a look at the other player. Like really, who holds anything straight out in front of them like that?)

There; a little praise and kudos to the artwork. Now the story:

There are two plots going on here. The first involves the Brutes looking for “the key” which is somewhere is Cleveland. I can only assume this plot is cool, because it’s REALLY hard to tell. If the key is anything like what we see emerge from beneath New Mombassa in Halo 3, then my disbelief lies in imagining ANYTHING mysterious could be buried below Cleveland. However, it is only the first part of four and I suppose anything could happen. It could ACUALLY be a key for all I know.

The second plot line, which takes up the majority of the comic, involves a concierge and a lounge singer trying to escape the city, and here is where my trouble begins. I was hoping a bit more from Brian Bendis, but the dialogue is a crime. When these two talk, it is in the least natural, most awkward way possible. There is a moment were the concierge is thinking to himself “I think I am going to throw up on my own shoes” (or something, I don’t have the comic in my hand at the moment) which is a weird but acceptable thing to think, but it is followed shortly by the Singer actually SAYING “I think I am going to throw up on my own shoes.” Someone might be fooled into thinking it’s funny, or clever, or that maybe the strange style of dialogue is even artistic in a contemporary sense… but it’s not… it’s just dumb, and takes away from the story.

These two are not interesting, they do not do anything interesting, and in a story about survivors in war they could have been far more sympathetically written.

But hark! On the horizon! Master Chief returns and gives us hope. For this first installment we are at least left with a good-looking cliff hanger involving our favourite Spartan to keep us reading.

This comic looks SO good and has the potential to pick up. I am definitely going to continue with it and cross my fingers In hopes that something heavy will kill the concierge and the lounge singer before we have to put up with much more of them.

An Epic Review of Epic’s Newest

Everything had “weight”: the characters, the movements, the voices, the battles, and the cut scenes – it made you feel like everything you did was important. When you took cover behind a wall, it didn’t “let” you hide behind it, you took the cover and the cover be damned if it didn’t like it. It was a truly visceral experience.

That was, right up until the end of Act IV.

Act IV ends with Marcus Fenix and pals being chased from his father’s mansion by a 40-foot living tank. It’s awesome.

Act V starts with Marcus Fenix and pals hopping on a train that’s carrying a bomb into the heart of Locust land to blow them to itty bitty bits. It’s awes… WTF?

No, I didn’t leave anything out, that’s how it goes. The first thing I did was reload the previous chapter and played through the last part again, just to be sure I hadn’t missed something. I hadn’t. There was no mention of a bomb and certainly no reason for us to be getting on a train that carried one. No mention of the 40-foot Brumak who, by now, I was starting to feel sorry for leaving behind. Poor guy’s probably just misunderstood; I can’t imagine he got many dates in school, and now we’re leaving him out of the rest of the script? I don’t blame him for chasing after Marcus and pals. The big lug just wanted to toss around the ol’ pig skin guys… anyway, I digress.

So, after determining that Epic had just decided that skipping a whack of exposition was a good idea, I played through Act V. Completing the act took a little less time than opening the game’s packaging, but I have to admit, I wasn’t racing when I opened the box. Don’t get me wrong, the train was good fun, but the act was decidedly incomplete, and far too short.

When all was said and done, Gears of War amounted to an amazing experience, and one that I recommended to many people, and still recommend to this day. But, there were so many unanswered questions: Why Marcus? Why did you get on that bomb-y train? How did you even know it was there? What about poor Bill? The Brumak… his name is Bill now. What’s your story? Why are you so angry? Who hurt you? Do you need a hug? These questions burned within me, haunting my dreams and tormenting my waking hours; the Answers lost in the unfathomable depths of the space between Acts IV and V.

Lost, until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Answers have arrived, and their bearer goes by the name of Gears of War for Windows. But, more on the Answers in a minute! To do this new edition justice I must start at the beginning.

My first experience with this new edition was to put it simple terms, excellent.

If you get a chance to play a game on one of these:

HP Blackbird

(an HP Blackbird) hooked up to a 30” widescreen LCD monitor, you do it – you do it like your life depends on it.

I always liked the GoW multiplayer; it was the first multiplayer I truly enjoyed. So when I got to sit down with some MP action right off the bat, I was pretty excited. Everything was just as I had hoped. The control is still tight, and the action just a fast paced. Graphically, the detail is all still there – even more so when you crank that resolution up. And the atmosphere has not suffered in the transition from console to PC. Some ports just feel like cheap knock-offs on the new system, but not Gears. It’s a solid translation.

The new King of the Hill is a welcome addition to the multiplayer game modes, and it’s really a lot of fun. I also had a chance to try out the new maps, and each one is a good addition to the game – creative, detailed, gritty, Gears-worthy. Sadly, my multiplayer experience was short lived – an evening can pass so quickly. Fortunately, this led me to my second experience with the new edition: Single player campaign.

First off, I played almost the entire game with a wired 360 controller. I’m a mouse and keyboard guy through and through, but I just couldn’t quite get the hang of it with this game. I kept wanting to hit that A button to slam up against a crumbling wall, and the space bar just wasn’t cutting it. AND there’s no rumble in my keyboard! So, the controller won out.

As for the game itself, it was like coming back after a vacation: everything was where I left it and it felt like home. My grit was there in full force. My good buddies Marcus and pals were still ready to kick ass and take names. And it all still felt important. As I made my way through the game, however, I could feel that the guys had a secret they weren’t telling. Marcus, did you have a party while I was on vacation? The place looks the same, but something feels different. I’m keeping my eye on you. And it’s a good thing I did, because lo’ and behold, the boys did have a secret: Gears of War “The Lost Chapters.”

The campaign is the same, right up until the end of Act IV.

Act IV ends with Marcus Fenix and pals being chased from his father’s mansion by Bill, the 40-foot living tank. It’s still awesome.

Act V starts with Marcus Fenix and pals being chased by Bill, but now through the war-torn town of Timgad. Bill, apparently, is persistent in his desire for a little game of pickup, but the boys are having none of it. It’s awesome.

Epic has inserted all of the chapters and exposition necessary to fill the gaping hole that was the space between Acts IV and V. The new chapters feel like they should have been there from the start, and fit in seamlessly. We’re treated to some of the most action-packed battles of the game, and some great new environments. There’s a perfect mix of locales: indoor and outdoor, close quarters and wide open spaces. For those of you who played the original, there are also more COG tags to find. And the new cut scenes provide the answers to all of the questions that have tormented me for a year. I can’t reveal the Answers here (you’ll have to play it to get them!), but I will say one thing: Bill does not want a hug – he may need one – but he does not want one… don’t try… he’ll likely kill you.

Bill is also very upset that the boys don’t want to hang out with him, and in the end you’re forced to fight the 40-foot monstrosity that is Bill the Brumak. It’s a great fight, and I think everyone is going to really dig it. It’s just so BIG, in such a wide open space, you really the sense that you’re doing battle with the biggest kid on the block and there’s a really good chance he’s going to kick your ass. Fun times!

Once you’ve completed the new levels, the game picks up at the old start of Act V, with one more slight change: it all makes sense now. Now, I support Marcus’ decision to jump on the bomb-train – I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it!

And when it’s all said and done Gears of War for Windows amounts to an amazing, and now complete, experience, that I highly recommend. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with the Answers, Epic, it’s appreciated.



Achievements for the Masses: We’re looking at most of the same as for the Xbox 360 version, minus “A Series of Tubes,” but with an added “Not so Serious” for killing 10k people in any kind of match, and a secret one that you’ll pick up just playing through the campaign.

Level Editor: I wanted to touch on this for those creative-types out there. In case you’re unaware, the newest version of the Unreal Editor is included on the game disc, and you can now create your own multiplayer maps for Gears. It took some forum searching, however, to figure out how to access the editor. It requires creating a new shortcut to the game’s executable with a target that looks like this:

“X:\Path to game directory\Gears of War\Binaries\WarGame-G4WLive.exe” editor

Apparently the editor is built into the game’s main executable and just needs that “editor” switch to make it start up instead of the game. Neato!

In any case, the editor itself looks to be super full-featured and should allow users to create some great new maps. Myself, I’m a total gimp at that kinda stuff, and the editor scared the crap outta me, so I bolted. I’d rather take on Bill with a pen knife.

Rock Band…. Denied!

I just saw this unfortunate tidbit over on Shacknews. Two words: Effing. Shafted. Not. Happy. Makes a body want to cry… or throw things…

Oh well, the Mass Effect and Creed releases are imminent, so I guess we’ll all still have something to play.


In fact for the very brief time it takes for you to finish it I fell in love with the game. But, it ended far to soon with very little to show for it, and I was left used, lying on the sidewalk begging for more.

Why, oh why must you hurt me so, dear Portals?

So I decided to make my comic about it, it was suppose to be about Eye of Judgement and was debating on making a comment on its ‘eye’ and Max’s lack thereof. However, I soon shrugged that idea off as stupid and made what I think is a better one.

In the last panel I wanted the flying helmet thing to say “psht… I dunno… Hell?” and have Pinhead from Hellraiser poking his head through. In the spirit of gaming I stuck with this instead.

Plus I kind of like the idea of Max having free riegn to wander through the world of video games.

What Are You Playing? Inaugural Edition

This is where we Robot writers speak up about what we’re getting down with. Let us know what you’re playing in the comments yo.

MagsLegend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii). The head-scratching dungeons are so deliciously puzzling they make running to Gamefaqs for quick relief seem like an ethical failure. The buckets o’ plot-twisty goodness makes it more addictive than Robocop 2’s “nuke”. And swinging the Wiimote like a sword turns me back into an eight year old at Cub Camp, battling pretend giant spiders in the forest with nothing more than a stick and an endless supply of imagination.

GigerHRNaruto: Rise of a Ninja (Xbox 360). The most fun I’ve had leaping off of tall buildings since Crackdown, and the best cell-shaded animation I’ve ever seen in a game. Naruto looks fantastic, and plays even better.

NigelNaruto: Rise of The Ninja. I agree with Giger, it has best cell shading ever and I like the idea of charging chakra to do special moves. The game is very much like the anime, I just wish it had Japanese language option.

Dracula X Chronicles (PSP). I love having my Castleviana on the go and the music sounds even better on the headphones. “Symphony of Night” needed equal billing to the Re-do of “Rondo of Blood”.
Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS). Love the game, but I HATE the Sea kings temple. I’d have given up by now, but I feel honour bound to finish it after trading my Cube and unfinished twilight princess in order to get my 360 and Halo 3.
TokuPortal (part of The Orange Box, Xbox 360). Far too short a game for its type, incredibly fun to play but I could use some trickier puzzles and more enemies. Hopefully this will spawn a sequel in the black mesa world that was so subtly suggested at the end of the game.

DThe Simpsons Game (Xbox 360). Fun and good writing, and lots of great parodies of games, but the camera is driving me insane. Also trying out Heroes of Mana on the DS.

NadineGuitar Hero III (Xbox 360). I beat Slash last night. This game makes me so angry sometimes that my fingers move in ways I didn’t know they could. And I started a new strumming technique to get my anger out and although it hurt my palm after a while it was really fun to do. I love this game.

Portal (Xbox 360) I keep playing the first ten levels over and over again to show it to people, but I watched Toku finish it and I just adore this game. It’s just so satisfying, what more can be said?

Guitar Hero III: Rage Within Righteousness

Oh there were single copies of the game but I was hunting for the bundle with the new wireless guitar for a friend’s birthday present since her guitar currently has a sticky yellow key. Anyway, I picked up the copy but was sorely displeased when all the stores had an abundance of PS2 copies – and even Wii copies! – but no 360.

My feelings on this are this: people want to play GH3 on console that has achievement points. That’s all I could think has I hunted for that bundle. Sure, I love the Wii but I don’t want to get a 200 note streak and not get credit for it with a mad awesome icon people can see. Yes, you can track your online status via a code that you put into the GH3 website and it shows your career and stuff but for me…not the same and also I’m not super interested in that.

Moving on to the play of the game! Love it, love it, love it! The friend previously mentioned had a birthday gathering on Saturday and I went over early so we could play. After playing Portal for a while we started the Mega Rockstar Simulator Cool-a-Tron and were greeted with the most glorious option ever: Co-op Career.

Out dreams and hopes answered we played for hours until my contacts were but a thin sheen of glue on my eyes and my hand was cramped so bad I thought I had unnecessarily caused super arthritis damage to my fingers. It was a great experience.

The next day I wanted to play it on my own console at home so I popped it in and was ready for a repeat of awesomeness. Not so. It appears that in an effort to try to make the game their own Neversoft decided to mess with the single player. Instead of the simple challenge of unlocking songs in sequence and feeling awesome for doing it they’ve introduced a wonderful little piece of crap called Beat Boss Battles.

Basically in each set of songs you have to beat 3 out of 4 to get the Encore song unlocked and move to the next set of songs. But after a few sets you are introduced not to an Encore song but to a pro guitarist avatar that you must beat in battle mode. Battle mode has you facing off against the pro and having to collect Battle Power (in place of Star Power) and using it against him in various ways to make him mess up his playing and then you win. You can do things like whammy, amp overload, increase difficulty, and a few other annoying when they happen to you moves.

The thing about thing mode that pisses me off is that it makes you feel stupid and lame if you can’t do it and for the first few tries you don’t know if you’ll be able to proceed or not if you don’t beat it and that causes one thing – RAGE! I was so pissed off that this was included because I was channeling all the casual players who just want to play the songs through to unlock them and pick it up to relax and play pretend. I know all the wee cyborgs out there have no problem picking up new and complex game modes so they would appreciate the flushing out of the Guitar Hero gameplay, but that’s what expert mode on super fast is for! I beat the first boss (Tom Morello) after two stabs at it and was extremely pumped afterwards but also still raging. I felt a righteous anger against Guitar Hero for subjecting me to a skill test when all I wanted to do was groove and pretend I was playing the guitar and unlock my songs so I could quickplay any ol’thing I wanted to at any time. I was also angry because it makes selling the game to certain people I know (D, Toku, my roommate) that much harder when something silly like this is included.

All in all I mastered that stupid game mode so I will continue on my quest to unlock songs this week. The graphics are nice except whenever the 50 Note Streak pops up in the middle of my screen it always makes me mess up. Very noisy to look at that 50 Note Streak thingy….very noisy indeed. It’s also nice to have the actual singers of the songs this time and not just generics, which just makes the mind reel at the production cost of that there vidiot game. I still love Guitar Hero but that sudden disruption to my smooth fret lovin irked me.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Hope For The Future

This will probably sound like heresy to some Halo fans, but ‘Knights’ was THE reason I bought my Xbox. Even before its release date, KOTOR was my game. I carefully followed its development in the Bioware forums and upon its release I was completely satisfied with what I got. An all-encompassing Star Wars experience in ONE game… (can we get a moment of silence for awesome gaming goodness………..annnnd we’re done)

A sequel was an undeniable must, but Bioware turned down the offer due to the quick turn around that Lucasarts wanted. In the end the job was passed to Obsidian entertainment. On December 2004, Knights of The Old Republic: Sith Lords was released. Yes, it still got high marks and yes, even many game of the year awards. Financially it was a success, but for me it was barley playable.

First off was the story. It’s not that it was bad… it’s just that it wasn’t Star Wars (to me at least). From the opening text crawl to that non-ending at the end of the game, Sith Lords never really created any of the Star Wars moments for me. That was the key to the original’s success The worst was near the end of the game when a main character theorizes about how all the current and past Sith Lords like Darth Malak might be just pretenders and the real Sith live somewhere beyond the galaxy (WHAT THE $@#!%???!!! Did Lucas co-sign this!!?).

My second problem was with the good ole spit and polish. In layman’s terms, the game was rushed. Missing planets, unresolved characters and plotlines – even the graphics seemed toned down in comparison to the original Kotor. Many reviewers and starwars fans have commented on these problems since the game’s release. And even Obsidian has gone on record about how the deadline affected the finale product.

Why would Lucasarts allow such a great game to be rushed? Well it wouldn’t have surprised me if they wanted it out by Christmas 2004. This way it wouldn’t cannibalize the sales of their own “Revenge of the Sith” game, which released simultaneously with the movie in 2005. It’s a move that may have gotten them more profit, but it tarnished what could have been another classic title. Another game looked upon with more admiration then even some of the prequel trilogy of films.

So now that the original Kotor collaborators are back together I know that whatever they put out is guaranteed to be impressive. But I hope they would show appreciation to their gamers and gaming quality and allow developers enough time deliver the best.

Up and Coming

So 2 reviews are in for Assassin’s Creed, and they are glowing. Not that it means much to me personally, considering what I thought of the glowingly-reviewed Phantom Hourglass, but it’s a little bit encouraging. I was beginning to panic that if that and Mass Effect turned out to be disappointments, the normally bounteous holiday release harvest would turn out to be barren and dry and covered in cold sores. There’s Rock Band, but I need some games I can really get lost in, y’know?

I know after saying that focusing on upcoming games is a problem I shouldn’t talk about upcoming games, but still: what are you looking forward to?

My adventures at the Northern Digital Expo

So at very first I reacted like a hyperactive 12 year old kid in… well… a gaming expo. There were bright shiny screens everywhere and scantily clad Old Spice Models roaming around offering free samples. Truly this was a place of the Gods.

Okay, before I change tones and go on a rant I should let readers know that:

A) I hate Guitar Hero. I’m Sorry, I want to like it, but every fiber in my body cringes whenever I see it. When I play it I stumble over the keys like a drunk epileptic and struggle to understand why I should play any game with my pinky finger, and…

B) I’m a cynical ass.

That said…

MLB is… um… boring

I realized something very important; I’d rather play video games than watch them. There is something extremely draining about dozens of teenagers hunched over screens, slacked-jawed in mind numbing concentration. Some of the events were put up the large screen and they were still dull. How can people chainsawing each other in two be boring? I don’t know… but it was. I didn’t watch the Guitar Hero competition, which would have been much more entertaining because of energy involved. Unfortunately, like I said, I hate Guitar Hero.

As for the rest of the expo…

It was partially sponsored by Doritos, specifically the chili cheese lime flavour. They tasted like someone took all the sadness in the world and combined it with a steaming pile of ass and crammed it into a bag of chips. They were fucking vile. I ate the entire bag because I thought that maybe it’d get better, but alas, it tasted like death from the first bite to the last.

After I got over that I visited the various booths; Nintendo, X-Box and… uh Playstation? That’s strange, Playstation seems to be missing. Old Spice was there, Seneca college was there, Even Zellers was hocking goods from an enclosed version of their own store, but one of the staple three gaming systems was decidedly absent. Hmm…

<img src=”” width=”420″ height=”315″ title=””Um… Playstation? Hello? We’re all here. Anytime..”” />

I tried the HeadPlay gear. What is it? Well… it’s a helmet that you strap across your eyes and it allows you to play your games in (apparently) 3-D on your own personal screen. It was light, comfortable and surprisingly easy to view through. The adjustment was incredibly finicky, and I can imagine that if you were a little out it would be incredibly disorienting. At $499 I was hoping that it would be cooler. I was hoping that then you turned and tipped your head Master Chief (I was playing HALO 3, natch) would do the same. Sadly this was not to be. I wouldn’t say that HeadPlay was bad, it would be very handy for multiplayer, or for when your roommates are hogging the TV, but not $499 worthy.

There were some other shiny things to look at. There were 3-D TV screens, A Wii paradise with couches, Guitar Hero 3 (shudder), Naruto, even performances by some subpar falloutboy/AFI-ripoff, EMO bands that had the kids swaying in a typically melancholic manner.

Was it worth it? Well, the bottled water they were selling for $3.25 a pop was definitely NOT worth it, but I can’t claim it was a complete waste of time. I enjoyed the time there. It was small, and the expo itself was far too small to spend an entire weekend at unless you were one of the competitors at the open. Perhaps if it picks up in popularity next year there will be more to do. Cross your fingers and hope I guess.

Maybe next year there will be no Doritos.

Guitar Hero III Teamwork Insanity!

These guys are like brotherhood in guitar arms crazy!

They deserve the name Guitar Heroes, for serious.

And yeah…you could argue that it’s cheap but I think it’s a wonderful celebration of gaming together. Some people can rock the GH alone and be awesome, others need to do it like a team…Either way they’re playing and it’s great!


Screw that above noise!

This guy is the true Guitar Hero! And his pack of dudes cheering him on? They actually hold hands by the end of it they are so in awe of his mad awesome inhuman skill!

THAT is brotherhood!