November 20, 2007 (8 Responses)
GOOD GAMESÂ are easy to come by these days, given the growth of the industry, the improvements in production quality and general focus on pushing the envelope again and again to keep pace with technology. Great games however are few and far between, and even when a great game is produced it doesn’t guarantee anything from its audience. Ultimately the success or failure of the game is driven not just by the sales performance but also by the cult status it achieves amongst gamers and the level and intensity of discussions it promotes online. Typically a really excellent game will have an outstanding gaming moment, hidden somewhere within it.
I have just experienced one of those outstanding ‘gaming moments’ in playing Crysis, a moment which – for me – has justified my investment in this game, because up to this point I was beginning to loose the faith and this game was falling into the category of so many other games before it; good, entertaining but nothing “that special“.
Before I tell you about this let me first clarify a few things. For starters, if you have not played this game, or you don’t want to have any information which may spoil your gameplaying experience – then don’t read any further, because in order to explain what happened I’m going to have to get into the details. In other words… SPOILER ALERT!
SoÂ what makes an outstanding ‘gaming moment’ for me? Well, it’s those elusive occasions when you’re playing a game and the combination of all elements of that game come together into something – an event, a challenge, a scene – some unique occurance that just causes your jaw to drop. It is generally accompanied by uncontrollable expletives like ‘Fuck me!’ or “You clever, clever bastards“, and it inevitably ends in a huge appreciative grin on behalf of the player for the game designers and developers, for it was their ingenuity and forethought which crafted this moment, this special unique thing within the game in question.
It doesn’t happen very often,Â so when it does it’s worthy of mention. Read more
January 23, 2007 (4 Responses)
OK – SO WE’VE had the nostalgia trip, the eye candy, the cheesy goodness and even the adventure on the first part of this countdown… but what does that leave then? Well – for those of you who can count – it leaves three games spread across distinct genres. We have a frag fest spectacular, some teamwork taken to a new level and of course the most ambitious game of the year too. So let’s get started then and complete the list of Howl @ The Moons! top 7 games for 2007 (Part 2):-
Next up is an evolution of one of the main reasons I got so into playing games online in the first place. Up until I played Enemy Territory (ET), I was pretty much a confirmed offline gamer with the odd addiction to a game called Tribes, but for the most part I didn’t get much of a kick from online gaming. ET changed all that. For starters – it was free, and to make things better, it was also the best implementation of a teamwork and role/class based game available at the time. Winning a round wasn’t possible unless the sides worked together as a team, sharing roles (such as Engineer, Medic, Covert Ops etc.) in order to achieve common objectives.
Now flash forward a few years and the team behind ET are releasing Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (ET:QW). Picture the teamwork from ET, combined with latest state-of-the-art graphics and the character attributes of the various half-human and pure monsters from Quake. Now add a dash of strategy, a pinch of tactical control and a lot of repurposing (salvaging parts from partially destroyed vehicles to improve or repair your own, ripping out body parts from your fallen enemies to help repair your fellow team mates etc.) ET:QW has all the signs of a brilliantly balanced online shooter which cannot be dominated by just FPS heads with a quick trigger finger. It’s fast and it’s futuristic but it will take teamwork, tactics and some seriously explosive playing styles to win this one.
Check out the video promo on the EnemyTerritory website and you will see why I’m excited about this one. Might be worth a read of some reviews as well (IGN, Eurogamer, Gamespy). Current release date is set for the end of March, but this is one that I’d also count on slipping into Q2. Read more
January 22, 2007 (No Responses)
OH MAN, 2006 was so dissappointing from a PC gaming perspective. There were some near misses, lots of delays and just enough anticipation to keep things moving along, but basically it’s up to 2007 to deliver on all the promises. From my perspective there are 7 games in particular which will make it all worthwhile, for very different reasons, however I should point out to all you elflords and demonhorde out there that this is a personal list, so it doesn’t include any MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or Dungeons & Dragons Online.
When I sat down and thought about this I realised that I wanted each of these games for very specific reasons, some of which surprised me. I’m going to list them in alphabetic order, because to be honest I’d probably go slowly insane if I tried to seperate they into some sort of priority list; basically I’m going to be happy whenever each game hits the shelves, no matter what the sequence. So – if PC gaming is your ‘thang’ then sit back, get comfortable and prepare to drool as I give you Howl @ The Moons! top 7 most wanted games of 2007 (Part 1):- Read more
July 27, 2006 (2 Responses)
NOT THAT LONG AGO I wrote an small piece on how a Dutch gaming addiction clinic was opening it’s doors to treat Europeans for all kinds of gaming addictions. Well, this latest report suggests the buggers are actually overwhelmed with business since they opened, and in particular cites the cries of help from worried parents about their wayward gaming offspring who might just love their joysticks a little too much.
I have to be honest here… it still sounds like a whole load of horseshit to me, but then I suppose there are always those kinds of people who just can’t seem to get themselves sorted, and need someone else to point them at the blindingly obvious conclusions. It seems to me that people these days just have it far too easy and half their ‘problems’ are just silly. I mean come on, sex addiction anyone?
Anyhoo – back to the joystick lovers. The clinic seems to have a range of unusual treatments to help ‘cure’ gamers, including parachuting, meditation, fitness training and group therapy. At least it sounds better than the Chinese approach to curing errant gamers, particularly as it doesn’t involve wiring up your genitals.
So – if you’re worried that you might be a gaming addict, or if you think your [insert appropriate title] might be addicted to gaming, why not contact these good folks over in Amsterdamn who will be only too happy to take some money off you and do all kinds of funky things to ‘cure’ those poor unfortunates who just don’t know when to quit?
And sure – if it doesn’t work first time around, send ‘em back again and again until it does, or until you run out of money. Addictive behaviour anyone? Feeling cured yet?
June 14, 2006 (No Responses)
RECENTLY I REPORTED that Take Two InteractiveÂ had resorted to offering a $500K bribe to developers 3D Realms in order to get the long awaited title “Duke Nukem Forever” launched before Christmas 2006.Â As expected much speculation ensued and many questions found their way to the 3D Realms website and forum, and as a result there is now a further update to this saga.
In a post on the 3D Realms forums, George Broussard – 3DRealms outspoken president – has dismissed the prospect that they would be tempted by a half-million-dollar sum. To quote from the post:-
“As for the 500k completion bonus, I don’t even know were that came from. I do know that we never cared or asked for it, and I think it was just tossed in as part of some other agreement. We’re certainly not motivated by that amount of money, after all this time, and getting the game right is what matters. I would never ship a game early (even a couple of months), for 500k.”
So there you have it – business as usual, it will be “done when it’s done”.
Of course the conspiracy theorists and more optimistic amongst you might make mention of the reference to “even a couple of months” in the statement above, and possibly surmise that the release date is now looking like Q1 2007 as a result, but far be it from me to lead you down that garden path
June 11, 2006 (No Responses)
ANYONE WITH EVEN A PASSING INTEREST in games or the games industry will have heard of Duke Nukem Forever. For the rest of you here is the 30 second summary. This is the PC game title which was announced in 1997 and has yet to emerge due to every conceivable kind of change/screwup/delay/spin possible. It holds the record for the longest game in development and has probably received the most negative press as a result. For all the wrong reasons Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) has become legendaryÂ - with a long litany of failed release dates and promises. Perhaps the best way to sum up how the company behind this title feels is to quote from their website:-
“And yes, we know the game has taken a long time.Â There’s no possible joke you could make about the game’s development time that we haven’t already heard.”
SoÂ - why am I talking about it today? Well – it seems that the latest technique being used to “encourage” the developers to finally release this beastie is a $500K bribe (or incentive in corporate speak). Take-Two (the publisher) has offered the 3drealms (the developmnent studio) $500,000 in the form of a promissory note if the game sees “commercial release” by December 31, 2006.
Hmm – It’s about time for a new spin on this so let’s see if I can guess the next iteration… how about DNF is announced on the HL Source engine?
June 10, 2006 (No Responses)
DO YOU PLAY WITH YOUR JOYSTICK a little too much? Well do you? No mother, honestly I don’t. Actually – I don’t even have a joystick, I’m more your mouse man but for those of you who are well endowed in ‘that’ area there is news, especially if you live in Europe. It seems that video game addiction has reached profitable proportions, enough for some loons to open a centre to treat the addiction anyway.
A detox center is opening – in Amsterdamn of all places – to help ween people (kids?) off their addiction to Video games.Â TheÂ program begins in July. It will run four to eight weeks, including discussions with therapists and efforts to build patients’ interests in alternative activities.
I’m guessing there will always be extreme cases (you know, playing for 30 hours solid, ignoring food and water and eventually dropping dead from a heart attack!) but the vast majority of gamers know when the quit… it’s when you can’t see straight any more and everyone else in the game is kicking your arse around the place, right?
Hey – I’ve just had a great idea. If trends continueÂ in this way it won’t be long before our addicts will need some life coaching as well. Hmm… video… virtual coaching…voaching. That’s it VOACHINGÂ – Virtual Coaching for you poor addicted sad bastards lost in MMORPG land. Hell even I could do that… I wonder how much someone would pay for me to administer some voaching to them?