29 September 2010

The Decline of Video Game Quality

The games industry seems to have started following in the footsteps of the films industry - it's constantly releasing new titles that appeal to the "mass audience". In other words, most of the new games coming out are dumbed-down and simply aren't very compelling.

It used to be that developers would make games that took some thought. Whether this means they had interesting stories or complex gameplay, but these days it seems only gore-filled shooters sell.

With the huge increase in people who are new to this hobby trying it out for the first time in recent years, it only makes sense that there would be games that appeal to those who aren't familiar with games, but it seems that now publishers aren't interested in releasing interesting games - only sequels and watered-down shooters.

When you look at the popular titles coming out they're either clones of other popular games, like Medal of Hono(u)r, or sequels of the said popular games, like CoD Black Ops. Worse yet are the "reboots", like Wolfenstein and, again, MoH.

So please developers and publishers, please try releasing an actually interesting game. We're drowning in this wave of mediocrity. Both experienced gamers and new gamers alike need something challenging and thought-provoking to play.

26 September 2010

A collection of great shooters coming out in 2010 / 2011

2010 and 2011 look to have a lot of great shooters coming out. Some here to challenge Call of Duty's gigantic market share, and even an actual new COD title, here's a few picks of some of the great games coming out soon.

Call of Duty Black Ops

Set to be released at the end of 2010, COD Black Ops is the sequel of the extremely popular Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. The first trailer released shows off the multiplayer mode which made its predecessor what it is now.

Gears of War 3

The Gears of War series is one of the game franchises that gave gave the Xbox 360 the lead it has now. The third installment in the series promises new content, as well as some... "political correctness".

Crysis 2

The original Crysis, a PC exclusive title, impressed everyone with its jaw-dropping graphics, and even now, 3 years later, is still the best looking game there is. Its successor has had to overcome some serious technical hurdles in order to become a multi-platform title. Coming out in 2011 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.


Coming from id Software, the makers of the Doom and Quake series, the grandfathers of first person shooters, is a new game with a new perspective. Rage attempts to combine shooting and driving games into one great game, and will undoubtedly be loads of fun. Keep a lookout for this title, coming out in 2011.

Medal of Hono(u)r

A challenger to Modern Warfare 2's huge market share, MOH is developed by the same guys that brought us the Battlefield series, which were a huge success on the PC. The multiplayer is currently in open beta, and the full game is going to be released in late 2010.

22 September 2010

The 3 Most Influential RPGs

Like all game genres, RPGs have role models - other games they look to for inspiration.

The Zelda series started out back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, when it and the original Super Mario Bros became the most recognised NES games, and have evolved to be some of the biggest video game series there are.

Fast forward into the days of the Nintendo 64, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time was released, and it instantly became a hit. Annoying pixie aside, OOT is now remembered by a lot of gamers as their favourite childhood game.

Baldur's Gate
On the PC side of things, the Baldur's Gate series has always been held up as the father of modern PC RPGs. With its Dungeons and Dragons-inspired style of play, it captivated millions of gamers who spent many hours in front of their screens clicking away.

The series' little kids live on today in the form of Dragon Age Origins, and its yet unreleased sequel coming out soon, both developed by Bioware, the same company that made Baldur's Gate and its sequel.

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
Considered by many to be Bethesda's best game, Oblivion is praised for having great gameplay and, at the time of its release, unmatched graphics. Backed up by hundreds of hours' worth of just plain stuff to do, Oblivion was a huge success.

Fallout 3, another popular RPG developed by Bethesda, has been criticized for being too much like Oblivion. I suppose the developers figured that if it's not broken, don't fix it, which just goes to show what an impact it had.

21 September 2010

Game Politics

Video games are a bit of a touchy subject. Thought of as the work of the devil by one side, and praised as being art by the other.

But what's the real story? Are video games bad for you? Will they make kids want to go around shooting their neighbours? Of course not, that's just silly. On the other hand, however, we can't deny that young children would be affected by the type of... "conversations" that occur in a typical match of Halo over Xbox Live. Sexism, racism and just pure stupidity that is being constantly spewed out by 14 year old boys who just hit puberty.

There's even a push out there to make the sale of games to people under the rating body's age limit illegal, made popular by the infamous Jack Thompson. As a gamer, I feel that stupid, but you can't deny that some restrictions would do both the video game industry and us gamers some good.

The age restrictions put out by bodies like the ESRB and PEGI are completely unreasonable, though. Saying that only someone that is 17 years of age or older could handle the mind-melting properties of Call of Duty is just absurd. A 15 year old playing the Gears of War campaign won't be transformed into a blood-thirsty gun maniac, but at the same time we need to shield impressionable (and stupid) children from the types of chat that goes on over Xbox Live.

To conclude, this is a complex issue that requires a complex solution, but something must be done about it. Us gamers aren't gun-toting murderers waiting to happen, and nor are we immature kids who laugh at the word "tit", and the world needs to see that. Let's not allow people that have never played a game in their lives to distribute their fear-based propaganda.

20 September 2010

"Casual" gamers and "hardcore" gamers

"Casual gamer" is a term that is thrown out a lot by people calling themselves "hardcore gamers", or "core gamers" by those cretins working at Gametrailers. But what's the difference, and how does it affect us?

Well, people who have picked up Halo 3 or whatever the PS3 equivalent is a couple of years back and have played it online like to think that they're at the heart of gaming. They're the ones who call themselves "hardcore", because they're self-important teenage boys who like to think that their opinion matters, and who like to solve their real-life bullying issues by bullying people on the internet (lol).

On the other side of things, there's the "casuals", who are people that are new to gaming Maybe they play Wii Sports or maybe they like Farmville - they're the new kids on the block who like to claim they're "gamers" because they've played Cooking Mama.

What about those people that resent these terms? The gamers that identify themselves as simply... gamers? Well, they're the ones that really enjoy games. They're the people that recognize that those who claim they are "core" are idiots, and "casuals" are people trying to get deeper into our hobby.

You have to see it from both sides, though. The casual gamers are simply trying to enter this great hobby of ours, while the "core" gamers are worried that this new torrent of new people are causing developers to dumb down the games they make to accommodate this new audience. Both sides have good arguments, but please for the love of god stop calling yourself a "hardcore" gamer. All it does is make you look stupid.