Friday, February 25, 2011

The Real Episode 4: Gaming Accessories

Michael and Jeff have a “Who has the most video games to talk about” fight

John Cleese is ridiculously awesome

Michael has a memory challenge, and has only killed one hooker

The indie games I refer to are I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 and Epic Dungeon

Things get uncomfortable when talking about a certain indie game

Dice: Surprisingly Controversial

Sandwich: The Deliciousing

Cardboard Cutouts

Writable Maps

Mark gets cut off, and What Would You Bring to a Mystery Game?

Use of devices at the table

GM Screens

Mark wants to know everything ever and the Great Beast of Gsdefjgruh is ungrapplable

The Game Space

Michael’s a Jerk and a Mooch

This Modern Death is awesome, go listen\

Gaming Peripherals

Do the Hadouken Dance

The Internet is Stupid

WASD is Serious Biznizz

No One Listens to Mark

Mark Concurs

Hypothetical Peripherals

Michael’s Wins and Fails:

+ Deus Ex “Icarus” Trailer

+ Game Informer’s Replay

- XBLA Indie Market (also, akward again)

- marketing

Mark’s Wins and Fails

+ Retsupurae (I think)

- Marvelous Entertainment Pushing Release Dates

+- Mythos Cards and the Art of Playing It

Jeff’s Wins and Fails

+ GamesPlus in Chicago

+ Duels of the Planeswalkers for XBLA Magic

- Duels of the Planeswalkers for XBLA Magic

- The Enemy of All Mankind: Itself (Duh duh DUUUUUHHHHHHHHH)

An Inside Joke Put In To Torture You

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Are Aware of The Issues With Episode 4

We are aware of the issues with Episode 4's length, and we are working on solving it. A full episode should be out by Friday evening. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and hope you used this time to listen to other excellent podcasts, or devise concepts for a show you would like us to do. Or, if you are mad, we hope you took this time to spell-check your rant. Thank you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Episode 4: Gaming Accessories

This episode be SCREWED UP, with only 5 minutes being actually in it. This is because Audacity crashed while MP3inating the file, and I wasn't paying attention. For Episode 4, check the post labeled "The Real Episode 4"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Shorty: The Duty of the Player

This episode got cut short due to some connection issues combined with file loss. There should still be some good stuff in there though. There will be a full sized episode next week.

-Mark is oddly existential, and plays hard to spell games that inspire other games that are disturbing

-Jeff likes board games

-Michael has lame problems, and cannibalized Julius Caesar

-The Duty of the Player, both to the other players and partially to the GM (before the audio explodes)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Multiplayer Complexity and Staleness (Also, An Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Rant)

Bioshock Multiplayer had the opportunity to be amazing, but it was trite and boring
Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter 4 and Dead Rising 2, especially their multiplayer. This is mainly because before this I had a FPS stint, and now I’ve decided that I’m really sick of when “multiplayer” means, “those same 4-5 gametypes that have been around since Doom”. I honestly am getting quite tired of Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill, and I’m starting to reach out to games that don’t have those. Street Fighter may be a fighting game, but it’s deviation from the usual. Dead Rising 2’s multiplayer I was hesitant on at first, but it’s uniqueness has drawn me in.

Dead Rising 2’s multiplayer comes in the form of a fictional Pay-Per-View-esqe program called “Terror is Reality” in which contestants fight in a variety of games that range from awesomely gorey to downright ridiculous. There is no Deathmatch or Capture the Flag here. Many of the gametypes involve, unsurprisingly, killing zombies, but the various twists on it keep me interested. One gametype, Slicycles (did I mention this game is quite punny?) involves driving your motorcycle pimped-out with chainsaws through zombie hordes, and it requires proper risk-reward factoring, as you must determine which path will bring you the most kills. My favorite game type is Stand-Up Zomedy, in which you must deck out zombies with a combination of silly hats, tutus, and impaled stick ponies to get max combos, while also ruining the other player’s silly outfits by combo-breaking with your own items.

However, these game modes are also generally minigames, and once you figure them out, it becomes more or less a match of speed. I’ve come to realize while playing DR2 that the reason that the usuals stay in multiplayer is that there is inherent complexity that comes with those game types. Dead Rising, while original, is too simple for it’s own good. One win and you’ve probably figured out the secrets of the game type. I need some sort of new multiplayer gametype that is enough of a deviation that it feels original, but not enough to lose complexity.

Enter Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.

The core of AC: Brohood’s multiplayer is Wanted (Free-For-All). However, the team at Ubisoft has crafted these modes into something that probably has topped my top list of Multiplayer Games. For the uninitiated, in Wanted, every player has two factors of the match to deal with. They get a target player, and that player is the only person they are allowed to kill. That’s it. At the same time, they are being chased by anywhere from 1 to 4 people, and they must hide in the level’s NPCs (who are copies of the game’s players). Also, kills are not measured by themselves, instead they bring in point values, with each vanilla kill netting 100 points plus stealth bonuses, variety bonuses, and the like. Thus, the focus of gameplay is not the parkour that the series is famous for, or some sort of gung ho maneuver. Instead, the key is stealth. By being stealthy, the people you are chasing won’t know you are coming (plus, sweet sweet stealth bonuses), and people chasing you won’t pick you out of a crowd so easily. Running should only be used when your pursuer has gotten too close to you.

This guy has faked out his target with an NPC, and is about to own
With these factors, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood creates a tense cat-and-mouse stealth game, and entices me with the prospect of learning whole new tactics for a whole new game. Those tactics that are useful in every FPS are pointless in Brotherhood. Camping is pointless, as you aren’t pursuing your target while your pursuers get closer. Sniping with the gun nets minimal points, and the gun in general is pretty much only good to clear out morons running in plain sight on the roof. You need to develop new tactics, like the Morph Crowd, or proper use of a Decoy, or, my personal favorite, picking out a person from a crowd of NPCs through slight giveaways. It requires stealth, it requires skill, it requires new tactics, it requires focus, it requires intellect, and if more games had such requirements, I’d have much less of a social life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Uniqueness in Video Games

This is going to be the first in a series of video game/role-playing game blogs.
By: Michael Burdick

We need more of this. Well, not exactly this, but you get the idea
I am a major hipster when it comes to my video games. I don’t tend to pick up games like Call of Duty or Halo, because they generally are tired concepts that, although are at the top of their specific genres, their ideas, both in gameplay and general concept, are generally stagnant. I like games that tread some sort of new ground, either in story, gameplay, or settings. I am by no means thrashing CoDs or Halos, I am merely stating this: games are expensive, and why should I buy Reach when I already have a copy of Halo 3? They are both a fairly generic space opera setting, and their plots do nothing special. The only vast change is the inclusion of some semi-original game types and Armor Abilities. Here’s the kind of change I enjoy, and am very willing to shell out cash for.
Great Story
I’m a sucker for a good story. If you, as Mr. Hypothetical Game Developer, put time and effort into the tale your game weaves and don’t make it ridiculous, I will enjoy it. I like a good story, and I like it better when I can’t tell the twists. Mass Effect 2 is my typical example for this. It combines general space opera goodness like Halo, but it adds in a nice Lovecraftian twist and also mainly centers on 10ish generally (cough all the humans cough) fantastic stories that you as a player can twist and bend to your desire. These side plots are what takes the good plot to greatness. There are grand plot twists, including a few on the mysterious Collectors and soulless Reapers, that kept me on my toes, kept me interested, and when that was combined with the investment I felt in the game thanks to the choices, and I was hooked.

Gameplay Revolutions

For this example, I use a game that, without it’s Gameplay Revolution, would have fallen to the wayside: Left 4 Dead. The L4D series made by Valve hinges on having an amazingly teamwork based Co-op system. The game is built so that a team must work together in order to win, or else even a slightly more organized team will steamroll them. This is especially true for the Infected team. A single Infected, with the exception of the Tank, will get crushed quickly under concentrated gunfire. That’s why that team needs to work together, with each member working in tandem to take out the team. The Smoker drags Coach away from the group. When one person tries to get them, they get pounced by a Hunter. A Boomer quickens the death of the Smoked person, and finally a Charger either stuns or completely drives away the standing two. Boosh, ¾ of the enemy team is dead. This teamwork was unheard of before Left 4 Dead, in an age where a single lone wolf could destroy a sizable chunk of the enemy team.
New Settings/Mythologies
Space opera is good, and so is WWII, and everyone loves a zombie apocalypse. When a game takes from a completely new source of inspiration, or better, creates a unique image, then we are talking my style. For instance, Condemned (1, at least) is a mostly realistic tale of following a serial killer’s mad journey, something generally untouched. Darksiders is a fantasy retelling of the Revelations Apocalypse. These things have been untouched by gaming for the most part, and the sales of these games reflect that the gaming populous does have plenty of space for new ideas, ideas that allow a player to explore a story that has never before been explored. However, my favorite example of this is Bayonetta. A ridiculous story made by Platinum Games, Bayonetta explores a future-esqe setting in which two clans of spellcasters fight for either Paradiso or Inferno, somewhat based on the Christian Heaven and Hell. This game is in a totally unique setting with a hellish twist (Bayonetta is an Umbran Witch, i.e on Team Inferno), and altogether the enemies, settings, and especially bosses are unheard of and will make you swear in amazement. Don’t believe me? The final boss of Bayonetta is this game’s supreme deity, and it is ridiculous. The only more amazing thing is how you kill it.