We all know that there is a section of the journalist community where ‘research’ is considered a dirty word, nothing matters as long as you have a opinion and the gaming industry has been on the receiving end of this on more than one occasion. So a piece on Fox News where author and psychologist Cooper Lawrence (no I’d never heard of her either) wades into a video game she has never played to condemn explicit graphical digital nudity which the game does not actually contain, has caused the great unwashed mass of gamers to look up from their controllers and cry foul. Her latest book on Amazon has been the target where the rating system has been hijacked to ensure it doesn’t garner more than a one star rating, oh sweet irony as I guess these fifty odd reviewers didn’t actually read her book either. EA have also asked Fox to “set the record straight on a number of errors and misstatements”.
It’s refreshing to see the gaming industry and it’s users not just sit there and take it on the chin yet again and maybe, although pretty unlikely, certain pundits, journalists and news outlets might actually take the time to learn a little more about games and the gaming industry before blaming it for the destruction of civilisation.
Just played the 360 demo and it’s pretty impressive. As an RTS addict C&C has been the drug of choice since for sometime and the 3rd installment looks like if might give me the fix the Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II didn’t quite deliver. My only concern is that the RTS genre hasn’t really moved on since Dune 2…build a ton of units, move across map, wipe out bad guys, rinse then repeat.
Well according to Orange it does. I was on the train the other day and I thought to pass the time I’d do a bit of web surfing, so I break out the Windows Mobile fire up IE and type in http://www.boardgamegeek.com/, but rather than perusing one of my fav web sites I came across something called ‘Orange Safeguard’ which blocks any adult themed content including gambling services, violent gaming, unmoderated chat and sexually explicit material. Now I understand why they might do this after all you don’t want your ten year old to max out your credit card on 888.com or be downloading Paris Hilton’s lastest ‘oops who left the camcorder on’ personal moments, but how on earth does a web site about board games end up of the Orange blocked list? Even sillier is the fact Safeguard gives you the option to ‘Request a Review’ presumably so they can flag the content as safe if indeed it is, but no…
“Your request has been actioned and the content is confirmed as only suitable for customers over the age of 18.”
Maybe Orange Safeguard stopped them from checking.
Interesting article from the Motley Fool on the Xbox 360 and they have a point. As the 360 is not only a great games console but also a media extender why don’t the Xbox troops push this gentler side of the console? With Sony in a mess over PS3 and the Wii in short supply in the run up to Christmas, what a fantastic opportunity to broaden the appeal of 360 in areas they can’t touch.
Before we kick off it’s probably best that I fess up and say I like Gears of War…I like it alot. It borrows from about every popular science fiction and fantasy source you can think of, Aliens, Pitch Black, The Matrix even Lord of the Rings gets a look in there’s even a bit of a homage to Halo.
It hangs together by melding all this until the last section where Epic decided to tack on their signature train sequence as the finale and it spikes what is an enjoyable and intense shooter.
Is it better than Halo or Halo 2? In the end no as both Halo’s are more varied, less prone to you feeling your being pushed down a particular path and both finish well. I can’t help but feel without the train nonsense at the end this would have compelled me to go back and play on a tougher level but at least there is the rather smart co-op multi player mode.
Don’t get me wrong it is alot of fun but the best shooter on 360? Maybe until Halo 3 comes along.
One genre that doesn’t suffer from a lack of choice is the 1st person shooter and sometimes I think how little things have moved on from Doom, graphics aside of course. So as life is to too short to play cookie cutter shooters it got me wondering whilst playing Call of Duty 3 last night why some compel me to finish and others I start yawning even before I’ve finished the first level, after all the mechanics are all pretty much the same…pick up guns etc, run around and shoot stuff before it shoots/eats you.
The best way I can describe it is ‘atmosphere’. Does it in some small way make you feel as if you’re there? As much as a video game can do without the smell and the body parts. It doesn’t have to be much just something that causes you to pause and think that something else apart from the graphics, sound or gameplay are at work here. I had it with Doom, Quake, Half Life, Halo and GRAW and more recently with Call of Duty 2. CoD 3 does the same thing in spades, the start of the game captures exactly the experience I mentioned and despite the odd bug/physics/AI it is an intense a shooter as you can get. On the 360 it looks stunning, almost movie like on occasions and the sound is incredible.
So get it not for the graphics, sound or gameplay but because for a moment at least you’re not just in front of the TV.
It’s only recently thanks to eBay that I sold my faithful GBA, I had a great deal of affection for the little box despite it being out gunned by Nindendo’s own DS and Sony’s PSP. However the temptation for a replacement was too great and thanks to eBay again the GBA has been succeeded by a DS Lite. So far it gets a big thumbs up, the dual screen works well and whilst it doesn’t have the graphical grunt of a PSP the DS proves that Nintendo understand Mobile Gaming and there is still something quite special about a certain fella called Mario.