Archives for April 2008

Why I Am Not Playing GTAIV

Gamespot: 10 out of 10. Game Informer: 10 out of 10. X-Play: 5 out of 5. IGN: 10 out of 10. 1UP: A+. Gamespy: 5 out of 5.

I would not be surprised if GTAIV is Game of the Year. I’m not playing it, and I probably never will.

Here are my reasons in no particular order:

There are just too many reasons not to.

I’ve changed. In the past, I would play any game that was popular or a triple-A title without any regard to content or subject matter. I just cannot play a game where it’s good to be bad. I pretty much avoid games where you are a serial killer, psycho, or just some crazy going postal. The GTA games let you do just that. You’re rewarded for being evil, and not just a satiric or comedic type of evil. Generally, the worse you are the better. I’m not against violence. I like playing Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed, but even then I don’t play them all that much anymore. Now, someone will argue that I really don’t know the game because I’ve never played it. However, there’s so much about GTA in popular culture and reviews that I’m pretty sure I’m not too far off the mark.

Violence and language affects you. Argue this as much as you want, but playing games influence you. Any game. There is no way around it. Another argument is that anything we watch, do, hear, and feel influences a person. Over the past year I’ve come to realize that when I surround myself with violence I tend to be more agitated and have a shorter fuse. I’m also tempted to use language I shouldn’t when I hear a lot of it. That’s not good. I generally avoid movies, comics, books, and games with over-the-top violence and language.

I have two kids under the age of five. Why even fall into the trap of exposing my boys to this? Will I be able to protect them from everything? No. This is me being a responsible parent. By the way, the adult games I do own and play are put up and out of sight from the kids. I don’t watch movies or play games until after they are in bed.

My job. In working with teenagers, I am appalled at how many of them know about games such as the GTA series or any other type of game that the ESRB says they shouldn’t play. It’s only too obvious: they’ve played them. Gamers, publishers, and designers can scream all they want, but these type of games are being played primarily by kids. Who’s to blame? Parents? Retailers? Gamers? Publisher? Designers? You? Me? No one really knows, and that debate will go on forever. I’m trying to influence kids to live good, clean lives and uphold at least a modicum of morality. It gets difficult when I’ve got to break up a group of kids sharing gaming tips when it’s time to teach them. Oh, and it’s not just games either. Movies like Superbad (Quality matches title? Brilliant) and their ilk are just as to blame.

I know some of these reasons are tied together. Do I think anything negative about people who play these type of games? Not at all. Each person is allowed to set their own standards. I just feel that if no one at least stands up and reminds us what we’re really surrounding ourselves with and sucking into our lives what it is we might become. If not, we may see games where you can drive spikes through a person’s skull, come up with creative ways by killing a person by cutting their genitalia, and exploring all ways to strangle a man. Oh, wait…I think we’ve got that on a couple of titles.

In my hands

GTA and MK in the house

Impressions and Mario Kart friend code to be posted soon. Post yours so we can throw red shells at each other!

Mario Kart Wii is that awesome. Here’s my friend code:


…Nat cutting in. Here’s mine:


back to Tony…

I’m throwing GTA IV in now that the kids are in bed, so I won’t be going back to Mario Kart for a bit.

That social thing

Tweet!Usually, I’m a pretty early adopter for new technologies and what-not. I started blogging before it was really “blogging,” for example. But sometimes I resist new things, usually for no good reason. Services like Twitter and Tumblr just didn’t seem to make sense to me. I already had a blog — why would I want a micro-blog (Twitter) or a mini-blog (Tumblr)? Then I found a few interesting Tumblogs and signed up for one myself. Then I tried out Twitter and was instantly hooked. How did I not latch on to these earlier?

So I’m now addicted to Twitter. I’ve already hooked a couple friends on it and am actively working on a couple more to catch the wave. I tried to explain it to my wife, but that didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. Regardless, I’m now a Twitterer (Tweeter?) and completely hooked.

I’ve already started following some of my fellow bloggers and some of you have already found my Twitter feed, but those of you interested in seeing what the fuss is and want to follow the absolutely riveting minutia of my day-to-day life, can follow me on Twitter here.

Beyond Twitter, I’ve looked into Friendfeed, which basically becomes a life-stream of everything I do online. It borders on creepy-stalkerish, and it is complete information overload. I actually hesitate to post a link to my Friendfeed, because it’s a little weird. Does anyone really care what stories I digg? Or what video I recently favorited on YouTube? Maybe someone does. For the truly intrepid, my Friendfeed is here.

Finally, I’ve recently been following a handful of people’s shared items in Google Reader. It’s a great way to find information other people find useful. I haven’t been using it as often as I’d like, but if you’re interested in seeing things I’m sharing, my Google Reader Shared Items feed is here. Yet another form of micro-blogging.

Do you Twitter? Do you Tumbl? Do you share? As resistant as I was at first, now I can’t get enough. Let me know what services you use/like. And of course post links to Twitter feeds and the like in the comments.

A Wonderful Weekend

Let’s tally.

  • Our youngest (2) is going on his fourth day in the hospital with a rotavirus.
  • Our oldest (5) has a double ear infection.
  • My wife and I have not slept in two days. I get the hospital shift tonight.

Mario Kart Wii helps pass the time. I’ve not played it, but my son keeps me informed.

It’s snowed off and on all day. A weird weekend is more like it. A Monday Madness would pale by comparison.

Second Skin, an MMO documentary

I haven’t posted much in the way of MMO’s since I quit EQ2 a few months ago, but this just popped up in my Google alerts and looks interesting: Second Skin, “a quirky documentary about the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games and the people who anchor themselves to computers for up to 18 hours a day.”


In [Nat’s] Hands: FFVII:Crisis Core and Okami

I am torn. As hard as I try, I cannot play two games at once.

I’ve only played one Final Fantasy game all the way through. In fact, I played it to almost 100% completion. That’s not entirely true. In college, my PSOne was powered on for a single semester. It played one game the entire time: Final Fantasy VII. There were six of us who would play off the same saved game file. We did everything. Everything. It’s probably one of the fondest gaming memories I’ll ever have. Sometimes, we’ll still chat about it through email.

I’m not a big Final Fantasy fan. I’ve played the aforementioned title and I’ve played FFIX. See, it’s never really a final fantasy. They just keep making more. Actually, I’m more of a chrono-guy.

That’s my setup. Here’s my reveal.

On a whim (I allow myself two “whims” a year) I picked up FFVII: Crisis Core for the PSP. Simply put, this title is currently my PSP Game of the Year. I cannot get enough of it. It’s one of those titles that just hooks you and you never really know why. Maybe it’s the excellent story and presentation, maybe it’s the best cinematic cutscenes of any game I’ve seen, or maybe it’s all the great references to the original game? (Better yet, this game is a prequel and it still has future references).

FFVII:Crisis Core

This game has enveloped me so deep that I want Zack to be Cloud in the FFVII game. The character progression and growth is written in such a way that you don’t even realize it’s happening until you go remember back to where you started.

Now there is a fault. I hate, HATE, HATE the DMW. It’s basically a slot machine that you have no control over that interrupts combat sequences. It’ll occasionally level your character up and toss some bonuses your way. It’ll constantly break the flow of excitement during battle. Necessary? No.

If I was to rate this game, I’d give it a 10. The DMW (I keep wanting to say DMV) makes it an 8. Harsh? Yes. However, Square Enix have been making excellent games for almost 20 years. They should know better.


A week ago I picked up Okami for the Wii. Roger Ebert knows nothing when it comes to games—maybe even art. This game is art in motion, a moving picture worth ten thousand words, a watercolor that doesn’t fade, a…well, you get the idea. Be ready to read as well. A lot. However, it’s all excellent.

I’m only one hour in to the game and it’s been the most unique hour of gaming I’ve ever experienced. How do I describe it? You’re a goddess who has been reincarnated as a white wolf. You mist rid the land of darkness and bring it back to life. Your weapon: a brush.

Yep. You solve problems, rejuvenate nature, experience combat, and paint the town red with your trusty brush. It’s wonderful. This game was made for the Wiimote. The execs at Capcom must be prophets considering the game was made in 2006.

I’m told this game could net a person 40 hours of playtime. Excellent. This may be a game where I do it all. I really don’t have the patience for RPGs, but this may be my exception.

I just find it interesting that the only two games I’m playing right now are RPGs.

Oh, and Ikaruga.

Weekend Gaming, at last!

I have been swamped (SWAMPED!) at work the past couple of weeks on a project that has sucked up a large portion of my free time. When I finally to get a free moment, I’m so spent from my other duties that I haven’t had a desire to do much gaming. I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at work and my mood is already lifting. I’m ready to pick up the familiar controller and get back in the game.

In order to gear up for a great week of gaming when GTA IV and Mario Kart Wii are released, I figure I should knock out another game in my queue before everything gets pushed back to make room for the newcomers. I got very close to finishing Bioshock last year, so I figure now would be a good time to get back to that and finish it up. I really want to see how it ends.

I’m also making my way through Super Mario Galaxy, which I am still thoroughly enjoying. The kids love to watch me play it, so that’s our bonding game. I can’t get over how much fun platforming is again.

I’m also eying a couple DS games, but I’ll probably hold off on those until the real gaming lull hits this summer. I’ve got enough on my plate.

What are you guys playing? Planning on picking up either Mario Kart Wii or GTA IV?

Too good to pass up

You’ve probably already seen this, but I can’t help myself. I’ve been consuming a lot of retro game music lately, so this seems appropriate: – Watch more free videos

Monday Madness…on a Tuesday?

A twelve hour workday yesterday wiped me out. Enjoy your weekly links week late. (This post is brought to you LEGO free).

I actually keep this bookmarked on my toolbar for when I need a quick laugh. It’s how Superman II should have ended.

Lastly, two amazingly addictive flash games:

  • The Last Canopy, a flash shooter with an interesting charge mechanic: you suck the power out of your enemies and use it against them.
  • Compulse, a game where you control falling balls through exits using excellent physics rules, snappy Asian music, and uh…just try it. It even saves your progress. “A game has been created in your honor.” Love it.

Oh, that’s where they come from!

(from here)