Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fun Facts

I are a little bored, so I figured I'd post some things I find interesting.

- Grand Theft Auto 3 = first sandbox game? Well....not exactly. Developer DMA Design released a game called Body Harvest for the Nintendo 64 in October of 1998. This game had a third-person view, an open world enviroment, updating objectives/missions which you could choose to ignore, and vehicles that allowed for faster travel across the game world. Sounds very much like a sandbox game to me. By the way, in case you didn't know already, DMA Design was bought out and renamed...Rockstar North.

- The home console market nearly died in 1983. Sometimes called "the North American video game crash", sales of games took a nose dive straight into oblivion. This was mostly due to oversaturration. There were over 10 home consoles with an actively increasing library of games. Amoung these were the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200, the Bally Astrocade, the Coleco Vision, the Coleco Gemini, the Emerson Arcadia 2001, the Fairchild Channel F System II, Magnavox Odyessy, Mattel Intellivision, the Vectrex, and others. Each one of these had its own library of games, with a lot of third party support. Atari in particular had an interesting role in this. Despite the release of the 5200, and the announcment of the 7800, the 2600 still regined supreme. However, thanks to some HORRIBLE yet high-profile games (aka E.T. and the Pac-man port), its reputation began to decline. Unfortunately, nothing had enough behind it to take its place as king, and so the gamers of the time scattered to different consoles, dividing up the industry's potential profits too much for anyone to stay afloat for long. And all seemed lost.....until 1985...and a little console...called the Nintendo Entertainment System. So even if you don't like their games or their consoles, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Nintendo, the company that caused gaming to rise from the ashes, and be born anew.

- The first console to feature an analog stick is often said to be the N64....but this is not the case. The first system to feature an "analog joystick" was the Vectrex, released in 1982. Yes, that far back. The Vectrex was different from other consoles of the day because unlike other home consoles which connected to televsions and rendered "raster graphics", the Vectrex came with a vector monitor which displayed "vector graphics", which many arcade machines of the day used. Since the Vectrex was being marketed as a home arcade machine, it seemed only fitting that it have a analog joystick, just like arcade machines. Unfortunately, this did not save from the before mentioned crash of 1983. Production of the Vectrex halted in 1984, and analog sticks on home consoles didn't take off guessed it, the Nintendo 64.

Now that you're more educated on gaming lore, it's Halolz Day!

Tis true. Nothing can save you from the sniper, including the face of your friend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Retro Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

So now, I will do the first of what will hopefully be many reviews, some retro, some current.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released in 1998, a glorious year in gaming history. (Metal Gear Solid and Half-Life came out the same year) It was the fifth game in the already grand series of games. All Zelda games previous had been 2-D, and this was the jump to the third dimension. So, how did it go?

FANTASTICALLY. Ocarina of Time boldly took adventure gaming into 3-D. It took the average gamer several hours to complete, having 8 main dungeons (one of which you actually had to go through twice) and the final dungeon to battle through. In 1998, that was a biiiig adventure game. Not only that, but the graphics were nearly the finest that the N64 in 1998 had to offer. The storyline was an epic one, involving a king of thieves, civilizations in crisis, a traitor to the evil king who aids you, and of course, Princess Zelda, in danger as usual.

Where OoT really knocked it out of the park was its gameplay. It heralded amazing features that are now standards of the industry. Lock-on strafing, automatic jumping, and context senstive buttons are amoung its achievements.

OoT was released to huge critical acclaim. Despite being released on November 21, only 39 days before the end of the year, it STILL became the best-selling game of the year, selling 2.5 million copies before 1999. Two websites, and, which both compile separate reviews for games to give them an overall rating, give OoT shining reviews. On both, OoT is the top reviewed game of all time, having a 97.6% on GameRankings, and a 99 out of 100 on Metacritic. Nearly every gaming publication around in 1998 gave the game a perfect score. Oddly enough, one of the few (maybe only) publications that was around at the time to give the game an imperfect score was none other than Nintendo Power. It gave the game a 9.5 out of 10.

Personally, this is probably my all-time favorite game. I've played it all the way through at least 7 times that I can think of. It just doesn't get old. To quote Tony Mott, editor-in-chief of Edge Magazine, "Ocarina of Time's position at the top slot in Edge's 100 Best Video Games shows that great game design does not age." Amen to that. This game will forever have a special place in my heart, and currently stands as the pinnacle of gaming. So here's to Ocarina of Time!

5 out of 5

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So the last couple of weeks were crazy crazy. That and I'm horribly forgetful.

So what's been happening? In my world, I hate calculus 2, and my friend had quite the bad week. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do this summer. be more accurate, I know what I want to do this summer, it's a matter of figuring out how to do it. Unfortunately I am not a liberty to say anymore than that on the subject. Very hush hush.

Also, I'm terribly proud of Gidgett. She's doing a great job with her weight loss program! And she did great on her recent physics test.

Enough about me! GAMING! While I've been away from blogger, some interesting things have been happening.

- The PS2 is $99! Big news for anyone who never got to taste its glory, or those that can't afford a backwards compatible PS3.

- New Jak and Daxter game! The Jak series was one of the larger IPs that released onto the PS2, and outside of a couple of spin-offs, nothing's been heard from the main story since 2004. Now, Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier has been announced!

- Will Wright leaving Maxis! Wha wha wha? Will Wright, mastermind behind SimCity, The Sims, and Spore is leaving Maxis after 20 years. He's joining EA in a new venture, the Stupid Fun Club. No, seriously. Details here:

- Resident Evil 5 DLC This is raising quite the stink. RE5's DLC, in the form of a Versus Mode, was released online, and gamers came to wonder why the download was only 1.86MB for an entire new mode of play. Turns out, the Versus Mode is already on the game disc. It was simply locked away, and you have to pay five bucks to unlock it. I do not approve.

- Nintendo doing video on-demand? Nintendo announced that by combining the powers of your Wii and DS, that you will soon be able to download video on-demand and take it with you on your DS. Interesting.

- EA deals in illegal weapons Well, kinda. To help promote The Godfather II, EA sent out brass knuckles to a number of game journalists. Turns out, brass knuckles are illegal in many states, including California, which is ironically where EA is based. The company sent out a letter requesting that the weapons be sent back to them so that they "can be properly disposed of". Yeeeeah EA.....should have thought that one through a little more.

More things happened, but that's really all I care to go into. Also, I missed a few Halolz Days. I will now remedy this.

If you don't get this clearly need to play more Zelda. funny

This is honor of the passing of one of the creators of D&D...whose name escapes me at the moment.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My thoughts on OnLive

The recent announcement of OnLive ( has caused quite the stir in the gaming community. I figured I'd offer what thoughts I have on the subject.

For those of you who are not new to the gaming scene, you may recall a console named the Phantom. This console was designed to be able to play any PC game past, present, and future via a download service that would elimate the need to upgrade the console. While it was an interesting and certainly revolutionary idea, it tanked. The console was never actually released.

Now please understand, I am well aware of the fact that OnLive is different from Phantom in some significant ways. I only mean to point out that this is a furthering of the same concept as the Phantom. OnLive promises any game on any platform, not just the PC. That alone makes it very different.

I find a couple of problems with this. First, on the practical side of things, motion sensing is becoming increasing intergrated into games, and I have yet to see a computer capable of reading such input outside of a webcam. This is something that will need to be dealt with if Wii games(and possibly 360 games with the announcement of the Freedom controller) are going to be put on the service.

The larger problem I see is this: some are heralding this as something that will forever change gaming into a utopia where you'll never again need to buy a console, and you can play any game you want as long as you have a computer with Internet. Here's the thing though....if this works...if it takes off like you honestly think that another company won't start one of their own? After all, the American economy is based on competition. So if this works and is shown to be very profitable, it's only natural to assume that another company (or two) will try and get in on the market. They'll start competiting to get exclusive rights to service certain developer's games...and then guess what. We're back to where we started, only it looks a little different. Instead of shelling out a few hundred every few years for your console, you'll shell it out over the course of those years, and still have a limited selection of games. "You want to play Call of Duty 7? Well we have it right here! want God of War 4? Oooo...that's on another gaming service, we don't have the rights to it."

It may seem cynical, but I think it's a likely outcome of all this. But who knows, I'm just a guy that plays games. Maybe it will be a gaming utopia...but I doubt it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Twelve Commandments of Gaming

This is something that every gamer of any genre should commit to memory: The Twelve Commandments.

If you can't read it, here you go:
I. Gaming is thy holy pastime; thou shalt not have outdoor activities before thee.
II. Thou shalt not be fanboyish in the name of gaming.
III. Remember thou keep holy the release dates.
IV. Honor thy PC and thy console.
V. Thou shalt not kill steal.
VI. Thou shalt not frag...without gloating in the aftermath.
VII. Thou shalt lose graciously; thou shalt not bitch nor whine when fragged.
VIII. Thou shalt accept thy dice rolls as the will of the gods.
IX. Thou shalt teabag only in the wake of unquestionable ownage.
X. Thou shalt not cheat nor support the farming of gold.
XI. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's rocket launcher; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's epic mount, nor his video card, nor his high score.
XII. Know thy group function: Thy DPS shalt avoid aggro, thy tank shalt not attempt to DPS, thy mage shalt not forget mana potions, and thy healer shalt not go AFK without notifying thy group.

Dum dee dum

Just got off from work. My bosses are happy with me, as I've randomly improved on my ability to get people to apply for our credit card. Not sure how I did it, but I did. Woot?

Also recently finished a book called Farwell to Manzanar. It's about a Japanese-American family during World War II. While the War itself is just a backdrop and barely discussed at all, it's very revealing on what it was like to be Japanese on America's West Coast during the War. Pretty sad stuff. Got an exam on it tomorrow. Bleh.

Anydangway, it's Halolz Day, so here ya go!

Street Fighter + Super Mario = Halolz.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Another week of life down, and I'm about to go to church. Had some tasty dinner at Gidgett's house last night. Besides that, not much has been going on in life the past few days. At least in the real world. In WoW, I'm about to hit lvl 60. ^_^

Some fun little video game trivia for you.

- If you didn't already know, professional gamers are on the rise. The youngest signed professional gamer in MLG (Major League Gaming) is six years old. His gamertag is Lil Posion.

- If you do something in particularly bad taste on Xbox Live, Mircosoft will ban your gamertag...and in some cases, your Xbox itself. The longest ban of this type belongs to the gamertag and Xbox of Scar . He accidently downloaded Halo 3: Epsilon, a test version of the game used by Bungie employees to work out bugs. He played while connected to Live, and Mircosoft quickly noticed. His console and gamertag were banned until December 31, 9999.

- There are a number of sources that give ratings to games shortly after they come out, and luckily for us, there are a few sources that compile these ratings to give a game an overall score. The top five rated games of all time (excluding different ratings for this same game on a different console) are as follows:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - 97.61%
2. Grand Theft Auto IV - 97.33%
3. Super Mario Galaxy - 97.28%
4. Super Mario World - 96.70%
5. Soul Calibur - 96.26%

- Until recently, the best selling game of all time (including bundles, i.e., copies that come with the console) was Super Mario Bros. for the Famicon, or NES. This was recently surpassed by Wii Sports for the Wii, which as of the end of 2008, has sold 40.5 million copies worldwide.

- The best selling game of all time (excluding bundles) is Super Mario Bros. 3, released in 1988. The game has sold over 17.2 million copies.

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