Archive for August 2010

Games List

August 19, 2010

I’ve been taking a somewhat spontaneous break from World of Warcraft, and MMO’s in general of late. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until my wife mentioned that something she sent my character came back to her, which meant it had been a while since I had logged on.

What I HAVE been doing lately is playing several single player games thanks to a great sale on Gamersgate. I didn’t even know about this site until I read it mentioned on a blog somewhere right when the week 1 sale started. I figured that since I’ve been playing all of these games, some of them older, I’d give a rundown of what I bought and what I think of it so far, and maybe a few games I’ve just been playing through again.

Mass Effect: 26 Hours (Since I installed Raptr): I’ve owned this game since it came out. I played through the game in it’s entirety back then and uninstalled it when I needed the room. When Mass Effect 2 came out I reinstalled it and, lacking a save file, played through the entire game a second time, then carried that save into Mass Effect 2. Last week I played through the game a third time, this time as a girl renegade to get a drastically different view on the story once I import it into Mass Effect 2.

Alien Swarm: < 1 Hour: This is a free game from Steam. I downloaded it and played it for about 30 minutes while I was waiting to go to school. It was fun and I’m looking forward to playing some more. Primarily a multi-player game, it is surprisingly fun to control one of the marines from a top down view. The best way I can describe it is a Left 4 Dead with aliens and a more top down/strategic view. I think I’ll really enjoy playing this one with my wife and two random people.

Red Faction: Guerrilla: 5 Hours: I’ve played this game off and on since it came out and never really gotten past the first “zone”. I finally buckled down and really blasted forward with the campaign and it’s getting interesting and holding my attention a little more. Once the “Reaver” type people are introduced it’s much more enjoyable.

Transformers: War for Cybertron: 11 Hours: I bought this due to the multiplayer preview on Xbox live. Of course I bought it for PC since I will almost always do that given the choice. I was sad to find that while the multiplayer combat was extremely fun, second only to Modern Warfare 2, there was only one match type with ANY people it it, and it had about 10 on average. This is really depressing for me. Luckily I very much enjoyed the single player campaign. At about 10 hours the single player was the perfect length. I decided to follow the Decepticon Campaign first,  then head into the Autobot Campaign and I’m glad I did. When the game came out the developers were raving about how you could play either campaign first and enjoy it and that is true. Just as you can watch any of the original Star Wars first and enjoy it. You may not have any frikkin clue as to what is going on, but you COULD do it if you wanted.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: 10 Hours: Again the perfect amount of time for me for an action shooter. I enjoyed this game once I realized that stealth was pretty much useless and pumped all of my talents into brutal murder. Killing people by kicking them off a platform, having them land on another enemy and force another to stumble into a wall of spikes never gets old. The story is pretty much fantasy trash but it’s enjoyable in it’s own way. The ending was anticlimactic but it was worth the $3 I paid for it.

More games are coming on this list, and I want to go into more detail on Mass Effect and Transformers, so keep an eye on the blog and I’ll be posting again soon.

Piracy is Killing PC Gaming! Abandon Ship!

August 14, 2010

happilydyingsince1985

The biggest excuse most people and developers are using for abandoning the PC is piracy. They claim that piracy is destroying their profits and running entire companies out of business. I am here to tell you that this is 100% true.

Take Modern Warfare 2, one of the biggest releases in recent years. According to Kotaku Modern Warfare 2 sold 6 MILLION copies on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in it’s first month. The PC helped contribute to that, selling 170,000 copies in one month. Not surprising that it’s so low, as most people I knew with a PC AND a console inexplicably decided to go with the not as good console controls. The point however is that the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 sold 170,000 copies on the PC AFTER it announced that it would not have dedicated servers, and would cost more than the average $40 PC gamers are used to.

Now imagine just how many PC sales there would have been if it had been a PC exclusive. Not quite 6 million in it’s first month surely, but assuredly enough to stay in business. If RPG developers can make a polished 80+ hour game and make a profit with a quarter of those sales, then I think Infinity Ward would have been fine selling  170,000 copies of their five hour long single player game, and six or so maps.

But that was a year ago now, and of course piracy has gotten worse. It’s getting close to PC gaming just dying, and as proof I give you Blizzards Starcraft II. It only sold 1 million copies in its first day according to PCWorld. Let’s be clear, in one day Starcraft II sold 1 MILLION COPIES. That is at $60 a copy on the PC. Even if Starcraft II stopped selling ANY copies after one day they’ve probably made a nice profit. Of course they didn’t, and Blizzard believes it will reach 7 million by the end of their fiscal year, gaining $350 million in sales.

These two are gaming powerhouses of course and I’m sure people will point that out. They might even point out that smaller indie developers have a hard time selling enough copies to stay in business. Of course, that is how gaming has ALWAYS been. Sure, there are indie games out there that are worth $10 or $15, but it’s hard to track them down. It’s much easier on a console, such as Xbox Live Arcade. Of course, this is solved by making the PC MORE like a console, which is exactly what Steam does.

Steam makes it harder to pirate but not impossible by any means, it is a condensed store where indie developers can get exposure just like a console, and it allows games to add achievements and a community. Another thing that might help the PC industry is OnLive. OnLive seriously is a console with a PC interface when you think about it, and I think the industry might be better off forcing OnLive down our throats. It would kill the traditional view of PC gaming because OnLive would keep their hardware all the same until they did a mass upgrade, just like consoles. Is that what I want? I’m fine with it. I’ve played several hours of OnLive gaming and it’s been a very pleasant experience. It’s not like I’m rich so I can’t upgrade my graphics card to a $400 card every other month, so OnLive controlling the PC gaming market would make me pretty happy. Besides, we don’t need to concentrate on better graphics at this point, they are already pretty amazing. It might be time to work on selling PC gamers “Logic Cards” and program game AI to be smarter than a brain injured drunken bear.

In short: Make good games and people will buy them. Will far more people pirate them? Yes. Would those people have bought the game anyway? No. You can’t say “We have an 80% piracy rate” and not be misleading. Out of those 80%, perhaps only 2% would have actually bought the game in the first place. In truth the industry has no idea how much piracy is truly effecting sales, and they need to stop throwing around numbers that even they don’t understand.

Is Half-Life Half-Good?

August 7, 2010

634030538784335525-GordonFreeman

I have a confession to make. I have never played Half-Life or Half-Life 2. The problem is that I didn’t have a computer good enough to run Half-Life when it came out, and when Half-Life 2 came out and everyone  was raving about both, I never picked it up because I had never played the first one.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change that. I’m going to play through Half-Life, Half-Life 2, and Half-Life 2 Episodes 1 & 2. The problem is that it’s not exactly simple to figure out which Half-Life I want to start with. So far I’ve seen Half-Life, Half-Life Source, and several graphical update mods, some of which are released and some of which aren’t.

I figured I’d put my problem here to get some feedback from the community. Which Half-Life should I buy, and then which graphics mod/mods if any should I install in order to better enjoy the experience?

Thanks in advance for the feedback. I’m looking forward to playing this classic finally.

Raptr Forum Signature

Why 3D Will Not Be the Next Big Thing

August 3, 2010

bridgehouse

Look at those crisp graphics! 3D IS the new HD!

Every game company, movie studio and electronic manufacturer is touting 3D as if it’s the second coming. Oddly enough it kind of IS the second coming, of 3D anyway. The first time they tried this it didn’t work because the technology just wasn’t up to snuff. The 3D was expensive as hell and it didn’t look all that impressive.

Now days the 3D, while still expensive, looks great when done right. The problem is that it is not, and never will be, the new standard. You may be asking why I think I know this and the answer is simple. When we all upgraded from standard def to HD, every movie that came out was put out in HD. Every game was put out in HD. Eventually almost all consoles, TV’s, monitors etc could handle HD and so everyone already had an HD capable device, so they just bought HD movies/games. Heck, even most older movies were re-released in HD.

The problem with 3D is that very few games and movies will support it. Sure every console/TV/whatever may support 3D in the future, but there still won’t be many movies in 3D, and the number of games in 3D isn’t going to increase for a while, though that might take off as a niche like dual monitor gaming or multi-boxing is now.

Can you see a “Sex in the City” movie in 3D (not that you would want to) What would be the point? Rare movies like Avatar would be big draws in 3D just as they are now, but what about your random Romantic Comedies or dialog heavy movies? How about a television show in 3D? They aren’t going to spend the money for that. Especially on a NEW series, and if costs go up that much, what are they gonna do with struggling shows?

Gaming might have a niche for 3D though. The 3DS already has a leg up in that it requires no glasses, and you can set the depth of the 3D effect, even turning it off it you don’t like it or are playing a game that doesn’t support it. Now if I have a 3DS and a game comes out in 3D, of course I’ll play it in 3D. Will I go grab a 3D TV for several thousand dollars so I can play one or maybe four or five games in 3D on the PS3? Not a chance in hell. If EVERY game that came out had a 3D option, and it was well done 3D, then yes I could see spending the money on it, but just like the Move and Kinect, I’m not going to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a peripheral that will  see use in four games, one of which might not suck.