Oldies but the Goodies 2

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Faxanadu 

Faxanadu, is a game that doesn’t ring through the ears at first mention. Although, if you have come across this gem, the music will without a doubt bring you back memories of of your playtime. This game does a lot with the very little it was offered spec wise and it does it well. It is probably the first rpg/platformer that I enjoyed the whole way through being aware of it’s flaws which back then were not so apparent. Faxanadu can still be played in this generation without cringing at all. A sequel of this beauty would be highly appreciated.

 

Jet Set Radio Future

I haven’t played Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast so I can’t speak for it, nonetheless I received Jet Set Radio Future with my Xbox. It was the kind of game I preemptively gave a bad rating because it came with the console and it wasn’t mainstream, but I quickly withdrew my comments on it as I decided to give it a try. The Soundtrack is a big part of this game as it is sampled urban style music from a variety of artists. This means that you may have come across these tracks through the radio or other forms of media entertainment. The beauty of this game comes through the mix of all the ingredients that is gameplay, music, controls and the setting. The story itself is quite mediocre in its presentation but it plays a very little role in offering the fun the game. Each character has a lot to offer and there were a lot of challenges to keep you busy.

Jet set radio isn’t that old but I had to post it because it had a track called “oldies but the goodies”.

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Oldies but the Goodies 1

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

While everyone was looking forward to the new games featured at E3, I looked back at all the games I’ve played in the past. Taking the time to explore the memories of the gaming experiences I grew up with. Many games have gone unnoticed by the general public throughout the years due to them being trapped under the pile of fans roaring for the need of more mainstream franchises. Someone should go back and give these games a ray of light, at most one person wil come across them and give them a try. I will contribute  name a couple that I came across only today.

PC

Descent 1-3

Descent is the first person vehicle shooter from the 90’s  that exceled in it’s controls to simulate space physics. I recieved a CD with my Windows 95 and to be honest as a child I had no idea what to expect. As the game got harder and the more features were introduced to me the game grew on me to the point where I replayed that game and it’s sequels for years to come. If you can get this to run, it’s a must buy.

Maui Mallard in: Cold Shadow 

This game obtained a release of the Snes and the Sega Genesis but I am bringing it to mention in the PC Section as this is most enjoyable with the score that presented on this specific platform. I must say for a Disney game it is really challenging and also quite innovative in terms of how punishing it can be with the players. I’ll add that this is a game that will not at any point be boring throughout the playthrough and even after 21 years of my existence, I could replay it and enjoy it just as much.

Pitfall: The Mayan  Adventure (Sequel)

Scary german incoming in video!!!!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not talking about that 8 bit pitfall or the ports to the Snes. This was a gem on the PC and I think is still playable for abandonware. Not only was this game challenging but it’s full of puzzles and for a platformer, that is pretty hard to manage. The last boss is beatable but very hard to face straight on in this version. Well at least that’s how i remember it… I may just have been not thinking straight as I played the game when I was about 4 years of age. I’ll admit kids are stupid even when it comes to gaming, that’s why we grow and learn.

Veturing the MMO realm of gaming I recently landed on a gem. A game published by SEGA and created by Three Rings named Spiral Knights, which at first glance seems like the standard hack and slash genre, but as you spend a few days into you notice something that will change your experience all together.

I’m not reviewing the game but I will cut straight to the chase, this game is a 3rd world country embellished (and by that i mean without the physical representations and atrocities that are usually implied with the picturing of the meaning). In this world you start off as  a knight from a robot like race informed that your ship has crash landed on a planet and your resources scattered. You must now learn to survive on this planet as you venture through it. If you need a visual example,think of it of something similar to the mining alien’s perspective in the movie District 9. You gather materials and resources which are needed to venture through the worlds subbterrain, but to go even further and get even more income you will need to invest on equipment and complete multiple challenges and missions. There is something very important that this game doesn’t warn you about as you are introduced to the core concepts of this game.

There are 2 types of income in this game, one which acts like monetary value, and the other acts like real value (for example a natural resource). Energy which  is a necessity in this game is very scarce  as a resource but it is what will allow you to get further into dungeons and explore the game even more.  It is used for crafting, working machinery, to heal from death and to enter new areas. You are given 2 types of energy at the start, Mist Energy and Crystal Energy  where: Mist Energy is energy that replenishes over time and Crystal energy is energy that can stored but doesn’t increase until you invest into it. You can only introduce Crystal Energy into the world of Spiral Knights by paying with “real cash”  A Crown in the world of spiral knights is a form of paper money, it is used for almost all the same things as crystal energy except it is easily manageable compared  to crystal energy. Nonetheless everything looks alright and dandy on paper, but after seeing it in action you start to see a major problem with this system.

The implemented economics of this MMO quickly turns what looks like a dandy casual game into a game where countless amounts people are just looking to survive. There is a stock market for Crystal Energy which shows how much crowns they are worth, the data is updated quite frequently. Let me just say this, the game has been out for 3-months and I haven’t seen situation that represents an economic depression as well as this game. Energy is like gasoline for robots, where you can use it for yourself like water and everything else like fuel. Just like gas prices, the price of Crystal Energy will continue to fluctuate after each event, patch and population/resource changes.

It’s a situation that would need to be fixed asap by the developers but I’m entertained by the players as they are vigorously looking for a solution for this problem. It makes me feel like we could learn a thing or two from situations like these in gaming. Not only does it add a challenge but it also adds a little of something that developers in the past have completely failed to do in the realm of video games, merging entertainment and learning into one and the same being. Although this game isn’t perfect and what has happened to it may be accidental as well as might lead it to die.  Think about it,  this is the first massive multi-player online game where the community itself can collectively experience a game over but one person can emerge and control everything, now isn’t that a unique experience!

There is so much to say about this one specific resource in Spiral Knights that I could write a 10 page report. It’s an idea that should be refined and could possibly make educational games fun through not making it so obvious that your product serves that purpose.

I didn’t expect much as I pressed the play button on my stream as I randomly took a glance at this movie. It only caught my eye because I had not seen an animated film for a while and from the past few experiences with animations, they have been mostly are above average in areas where a lot of other representations would usually fail. Nonetheless as I  walked myself into the first few minutes of the film I was doubting myself on how good this film was going to be.

From the start you’re introduced to your protagonist through a first person perspective as he is narating through text without a voice. He is a soul about to enter the train leading to death. On the way there he gets interrupted by a child like character who informs him that the is lucky, as his boss is going to give him a second chance at life. All he has to do is figure out what his greatest sin was. He is hesitant to go but the childlike character informs him that he has no choice. His soul is then implanted in the body of a child who has committed suicide, called Makoto Kobayashi and he must live as him as he tries to complete his trial.  At that point the story starts to unfold and you meet various characters such as the family members and who Makoto was familiar with during his lifetime; but it’s also around this very moment where the movie will either win you over or turn you into a savage beast filled with anger towards it. In other words you might  feel very uncomfortable.

To be clear, after the movie is done introducing you to the plot naturally you get into the character and his development throughout the film. But not only does it feel slow in its progression, but this soul who is inhabiting Makoto is a total dick with everyone. He’s an asshole to the point where I almost pressed pause to slap my screen back to it’s senses. The soul seems to not care for the trial at all and on top of that if you’re thinking what kind of person that soul was in his past life, the only thing that comes to mind the worst  of criminals. The problem is though that this goes on for very long to the point where if you’re very impatient you may be very angry and just leave. Nonetheless I encourage you to stay seated as there are some very powerful scenes that are very rewarding to sit through.  Notably near the ending they lay down quite a few powerful scenes at once, and it feels like the movie  throws down a left hook followed with an uppercut to knock you back in your seat.  I can say if there’s one thing this movie does right is make you feel emotional.

Some other areas in this production are quite average, for example the music which although it did stand out, wasn’t as memorable. Although the setting for this movie is incredible, whoever did the drawings did a good job on the characters and the setting. Nothing too exaggerated to the point where it just seems a little bit comical. There’s even an awkward looking girl who is drawn quite surprising how you’d picture one to look like if it were drawn. Usually the artists get carried away to the point where you’re thinking if you’ve met a similar person that that’s what their personality feels like but it’s not what the person actually looks like. An easy example of what I mean is a nerd who is usually depicted as having big glasses and teeth that stick out or braces that are really obvious, there is none of that in this movie.

Colorful is one of those movies that gives you a good sense of satisfaction as you reach the conclusion. I would really love to see a live action version of this as it really reminded me of the movie “Eve and the Fire Horse” which led me to think that it is entirely possible. You will probably watch the movie more than once if you’re already the drama type or if you want to understand some of the Japanese literature they implement in this movie, but even as a person who enjoys other genres, I really had a great time with this one, even if it does feel a bit long.