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.

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