Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Medal of Honor: Airborne

Monday, August 27th, 2007

The title logotype for Medal of Honor: Airborne.

This weekend, I was lucky enough to get some time with the newly released Medal of Honor: Airborne demo and it really impressed me. After being unseated by Call of Duty as the premiere WWII shooter, then sliding into the dumps with the terrible Pacific Assault, the MoH series was hurting in the eyes of gamers. This new installment may put them back in the race.

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Resident Evil 5: Is It Racist to Kill Black Zombies?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

So, Capcom is developing the fifth Resident Evil videogame in the series. The Resident Evil series is about various misdeeds of corporations and cults that lead to zombies. In the fifth installment, it appears that there’s an outbreak in Africa, and the lead character who you play as has to kill African zombies in Africa. This worries a woman named Kym Platt, who writes a blog that focuses on African Women’s issues. She writes:

The new Resident Evil video game depicts a white man in what appears to be Africa killing Black people. The Black people are supposed to be zombies and the white man’s job is to destroy them and save humanity. “I have a job to do and I’m gonna see it through.”

This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of Black people as inhuman savages, the killing of Black people by a white man in military clothing, and the fact that this video game is marketed to children and young adults. Start them young… fearing, hating, and destroying Black people.

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I Know You Got That Sweet, Sweet Peggle for Me

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

The logotype for Peggle Deluxe, on a cheery rainbow and grasslands background, flanked by two characters.

Don’t start playing Pop Cap Games’ Peggle. Doing that will require you to stop playing.

That is hard to do.*

If you’ve got some spare minutes, Peggle’s a lot of fun. It’s a buffet of bite-size levels that offer variations on a simple mechanic: fire a bouncing ball into a Pachinko-like game field. Throw in zany power-ups, lots of good audio and visual feedback, and it’s a recipe for an addictive “just one more level” game. Peggle is a PC-only game, so you Mac-only people are safe from the bottomless pit of sugar-coated gaming fun.

But be warned, at some point you will have to stop playing. And that is hard.

*But I do manage to stop. I swear.

Hotel Dusk Not as Good as Fla-vor-ice Pop

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

So, I have a DS Lite, the first portable gaming console I’ve owned since my Game Boy, and I love playing it. It’s a great little system, but that’s a whole other saga. Right now, I’d like to discuss a particular game I picked up a while ago, based almost entirely on the discussions and reviews from these guys. The game is Hotel Dusk: Room 215. And to put it simply, Hotel Dusk fails where Fla-vor-ice pops succeed.

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PS3 Reveals Why the Terrorist Really Hate Us

Friday, November 17th, 2006

I’ve been reading, over the past week or so, about all of the ridiculous human behavior here in the U.S. (and elsewhere, but I’m focusing on my fellow citizens here) related to and surrounding the launch of Sony’s newest game console, the Playstation 3. Robbery, fights, waiting in line for days in the cold, acrimony, shadowing people to smash and grab from their cars, etc., etc. All of this and more. I have one thing to say to you all, both the law breakers and the line waiters.

You are all idiots.

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Half-Life 2: Episode 1

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Half-Life 2 Episode 1

I’m a bit late in getting to it, but Valve released their much-anticipated expansion to Half-Life 2 on June 1st, and it is pretty damn great. I played through it when I got home that evening, and really enjoyed it. With rich level design, new game mechanics, a new enemy, a newly improved partner, and more of the wonderful Half-Life universe, Episode One delivers as promised. But that isn’t to say I don’t have a minor gripe or two…

SPOILER WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know anything about Episode 1.

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Tomb Raider: Legend

Friday, May 12th, 2006

Lara, seen from above, holding onto a ledge with one hand as she looks down and behind herself past a waterfall.

Lara Croft sporting a new look, new graphics, and some new moves.

The original Tomb Raider is one of Those Games. You know, a game that people remember. A game whose main character non-gamers know the name of; one that launched a franchise that cut a unique groove for itself and created its own sub-genre, in a way. However, the series began to flag as sequels became not only repetitive but also lacked quality and strayed too far from their progenitor’s strengths. Legend, which I played through a few weeks ago on a weekend, is a very clear move to reclaim the name of Lara Croft and bring it back to its place of prestige in gaming. Many have hailed it as a successful return with a rare shortcoming here and there. I’m not so sure about that. Entertaining and visually lush, Legend is also flawed and diminutive in the face of its heritage. I see this installment as a proof of concept: Tomb Raider is still an IP with life and possibilities. I do not see it as the revelation some are stretching to tout it as.

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Call of Duty 2: Collector’s Edition

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Call of Duty 2

“When it comes to the top World War II shooter, that battle’s over. Now we’re on to the top shooter, period.”

—Thain Lyman, executive producer at Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty 2, in the April 2005 issue of PC Gamer

For most games, that’s bold talk; unrealistically bold, in fact. But for Call of Duty 2 it was what we all wanted to hear, I’m sure. It certainly has the pedigree for that kind of talk. The original CoD emerged when the WWII shooter-fest was in full swing. The Medal of Honor series had recently swept the FPS scene with a whole new world of visceral and intense experience. The WWII experience straddled the line between high-tech and no-tech, real-life heroism and gritty on-the-ground situational tactics, and I loved it. It was a great series (excluding that Pacific drivel). Then, 22 members of the team behind MoH broke off and showed us what a WWII shooter really looked like with CoD. I was a full-on MoH devotee right up until the demo for CoD was released. In the short time it took to play that demo, it ruined MoH for me completely. I bowed at the altar of Infinity Ward. This was a new world for action shooters. It was the Band of Brothers you could experience. In fact, I enjoyed it (the demo) so much I wrote about playing. I’ve included an excerpt below the fold.

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F.E.A.R. Director’s Edition

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

A clone troop leaps over a handrail off a raised level, lit by muzzle flare.

Clone troops like this one make F.E.A.R. a game worth playing. Behaviors like this one are unscripted, and will most likely catch you off guard. These guys are serious soldiers.

The weekend before last I beat F.E.A.R. and it was one hell of a game. It’s one of those games that exceeds expectations in enough ways that it’s easy to understand why so many gaming journalists were slavering over it and hailing it as the best thing since sliced Half-Life (or something). I agree that it’s setting some new standards. However, when it strayed from its strengths, its weaknesses were glaring. Fortunately, those weaknesses were more scenic and secondary as you progressed through the kinetic audio visual blast of the game’s core.

Spoiler Warning: While I don’t reveal any significant plot points you won’t already know, I will be discussing certain elements of the game that might give away some of the experience.

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Call of Duty 2 Pre-release Demo

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

German artillery on the beach, still unaware of your presence.

Last week, Inifinity Ward posted a pre-release demo of Call of Duty 2 on their site, which was a surprise to me since there seemed to be no preceding announcements. This was probably motivated by the recent release of the Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood demo, and the release of Valve’s Day of Defeat: Source and is more of an effort to maintain their presence in the gaming media and gamers’ heads, particularly since they’re investing very substantial efforts in a genre (WWII games) that many people are growing weary of…or so they say.

Without a doubt, I’ll be buying CoD 2. The graphics are sharp, the gameplay is solid, the enemies are compellingly scripted (in terms of A.I.) and, as always, Infinity Ward has created what looks like the next step in WWII games, and perhaps more. However, the demo didn’t wow me in the ways I thought it would, even though I’m still replaying it after a dozen times through.

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