Archives for October 2010

In my hand

So I finally broke down and got an iPhone. It’s an older, used 3G iPhone that I plan to use mostly as an iPod touch, but I wanted some time with the system before I make the final plunge and get an new iPhone as my primary cell phone. But that still in the future, so for now I’m just having fun playing around with a new(ish) toy.

So please, some gaming recommendations. I’ve already got the wife and my 5 year-old hooked on Angry Birds. What’s next? I need games for myself and for the kids.

15 Games

Here’s a fun little exercise: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen video games you’ve played that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. (I saw this first at Forbes.com but have seen it elsewhere now)

Lemonade stand – I don’t remember what system I played this on first (probably my friend’s C64) but I’ve always considered myself a entrepreneurial/capitalistic kind of guy, so I was all about selling that lemonade.

Below the Root – Another game that I played non-stop at a friend’s house, Below the Root was a world I loved.

TSR/SSI/Goldbox Games – I’m cheating here a bit, but all the goldbox games will always stick with me, especially the Dragonlance series.

Tradewars 2002 – A precursor to MMO’s and browser-based games, BBS Doors were some of my favorite games, but TW2002 was my favorite. I always named my ships “Ride the Lightning” and I continue that naming system to this day.

Syndicate – I actually only remember playing Syndicate for maybe six hours total, but this mini-strategy game was one that tapped directly into my pleasure centers. I am still hoping for a remake.

Mortal Kombat 2 (arcade) – I may have mentioned this before, but I worked at an arcade in high school, so I had free arcade games for about two straight years, in the hey-day (in my opinion) of video games, the early 90’s. We’re talking X-Men, Ninja Turtles, Off-Road and of course Mortal Kombat. When Mortal Kombat 2 came out, I was already in college and no longer working at the arcade, but I couldn’t get enough MK2.

Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road (arcade) – Another video game I could play all day. When I buy my first upright arcade game, it’s going to be Super Off Road.

Doom – Opened my eyes and forever made me a fan of first person shooters.

Super Mario Brothers – Take which ever one you want and you’ll be fine. Right now, I’m loving Super Mario Galaxy 2. That’s TWENTY ONE YEARS of playing Super Mario. That’s got to count for something.

Metroid Prime – I loved the 8- and 16-bit versions of Metroid, but Metroid Prime was a transcedent experience for me. The atmosphere, the loneliness and the music. Oh, the music. It’s still on heavy rotation on my iPod to this day.

Resident Evil 4 – I’ve beaten it more times than I care to admit. And probably played Mercenaries more than that. Also: HUNK.

Neocron – Very misunderstood, tragically underplayed Sci-Fi MMO from Europe. Had the best crafting in the business.

EVE Online – Another misunderstood Sci-Fi MMO that I wish I had more time for. Spreadsheets in Space is not a bad thing. Another game that scratched that entrepreneurial/capitalist itch I have.

Dead Rising – It’s probably because I’m currently playing (and loving) Dead Rising 2, but Dead Rising will always stick with me as a game I loved. What a game.

My list isn’t in any order, other than roughly chronological. This would be a great weekend de-lurking opportunity. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, just list 15 games that will always stick with you. Let us know what they are in the comments! (Or throw up your own blog post and send us a link)

Back to the Future [Behind the Scenes]

Stoked!

In My Zombie Killing Hands

There Will Be (copious amounts of) Blood.

A Shattered Experience [Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Review]

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii is an interactive book you cannot put down. At times, it’s a book you want to throw against the wall.

A re-imagining of the original Silent Hill, Shattered Memories pits you as Harry Mason. He’s just experienced a car accident outside town and is now looking for his young daughter Cheryl.  With a flashlight and cellphone, Harry traverses the city to, well, wander. This is not a bad thing, per se, because this game is all about atmosphere. The music, graphics, and excellent voice acting add to it.

The city of Silent Hill is seemingly deserted due to an incredible snow storm that is blanketing the area. Harry runs into no one. Well, almost no one. There are a few souls stuck in the snow as well. In an almost linear fashion due to some well placed snow banks, Harry goes from building to building searching for his daughter. Along the way he comes across clues not about Cheryl’s present whereabouts, but more from her past or his past or his wife’s past or some total strangers. (Good luck figuring it all out).

All this confusion is one of the driving forces behind the game. The narrative is superb and the ways the developer used to tell it is probably the best use of the Wii controls to date. Harry’s cellphone is essentially the Wii remote. All the phone calls come through the controller’s speaker. This add an uncanny sense of realism, and just like a real cellphone, it texts, takes pictures, has a GPS, and a contacts database.

HINT: Call every number you see in the game. They are all worth it. Some are pointless to the games progression, but add a lot of life and detail to an empty town.

The remote also acts as a light for Harry. It’s so intuitive that if you can operate a flashlight, you can play this game. Point where you want him to shine the light and it literally works.

As Harry walks around the city in some places a faint trace of static will sound on the controller. Get closer and it gets stronger. Eventually it gets so loud it will squawk and a paranormal event will happen. The game calls these “echos”–traces of something important that happened in the past. On some of them, you can use the camera to take shots of the scene and a ghost will appear in the images. It’s a creepy effect that works.

what a nightmare
With a game like this, there cannot be a sense of danger and in each area Harry experiences a nightmare. The landscape changes, freezes over, and everything turns dark. Harry must then navigate his way out of the area while being chased by humanoid creatures. If they catch up with you, it’s waggle time. The player must shake the remote in the direction the creature is hanging on you.

This really stinks. Many times a player can be overwhelmed by the creatures or end up running in circles by taking numerous dead end paths. Harry never dies, but the sequence starts all over. Get ready for replay city. There were two times in the game I had to walk away from playing for a day or so because it was too much. I was so wrapped up in the narrative that I wanted to get going. I hardly ever consult a walkthrough, but I ended up doing it on both those nightmare sequences. It’s a huge narrative-breaking bummer. The developer should have chosen to continue the narrative with the consequences of being caught in the nightmare as part of the game play. (See Heavy Rain.) They did with every other choice Harry made.

NOTE: The last nightmare sequence is brilliant and what all of them should have been.

this game will profile you–seriously
The major scenes of the game are introduced by the player meeting with a therapist. He’ll ask you questions about violence, sex, gender issues, integrity, and other such areas. This allows the game to profile you and actually changes parts of the game based upon your personality. It also effects a lot of details in the end of the game. (There is one main ending with four minor results–and a traditional Silent Hill goofy ending.) The game even warns you of this at the beginning. It adds a foreboding touch that’s unparalleled in gaming.

It works really well, and I’ve got to admit my ending was really satisfying. A lot of critics lauded this as one of the best endings in a game for 2009. I’d have to agree. Saying anything more would spoil it.

Final Word
This is a game you should play. However, some of the nightmare sequences were almost deal-breakers. Fortunately, if it wasn’t for a walkthrough, I would have never finished it. If this had been played it in 2009 (its release), it would have been in one of my top five titles for that year.

Weekend Gaming

Fall is in full swing (my favorite season!) which means cool, early evenings and plenty of video gaming. Hopefully this weekend brings plenty of gaming for everyone.

It doesn’t look Dead Rising 2 will be showing up for me this weekend, so I am torn between finishing the Halo: Reach campaign and picking up a new game (Enslaved is currently at the top of the list). Have you picked up anything new?

What are you playing this weekend?

Video Game Power Rankings #19

Okay, posting around here has been light lately (UNDERSTATEMENT!) but for your reading pleasure, here’s the last couple weeks of Power Rankings in one post.

1. (1) Halo: Reach – Still going strong in the buttonmashing household. This past week or so was a lot of Firefight. I never got into ODST’s version of the Firefight, but I am loving Firefight in Reach. Got my first Killionaire in there, too. I’ve also been working through the campaign. I NEED MORE HALO.

2. (-) Bioshock Infinite – Ten minutes of Bioshock greatness.

3. (4) Dead Rising 2 – I finished Case 0 a couple weeks ago and I am ready for Dead Rising 2. Have you played it? I know what I’ll be doing, so I don’t need to ask, “What would Chuck do?” I already know.

4. (3) Zombies – Last Power Ranking it was the 18th century. This week it’s Zombie Samurai.

5. (-) Pokemon – It’s a little old, but this is a very cool fan made “trailer” for the Pokemon Apocalypse. Speaking of Pokemon, Portrait-Dex is a pretty cool Tumblr of cartoonists creating Pokemon self portraits.

6. (-) Achievements – Two things here. I don’t know where I saw it first, but I found “Mojo,” a system to put Achievements on your site and I think I’m going to give it a try here on buttonmashing. If it’s annoying, let me know and I’ll turn it off. (All you have to do is sign up). Second: Get achievements while skiing. (Yes, I am an achievement whore)

7. (-) Free Money – Microsoft is basically giving it away. Buy 30 Imaginary Space Dollars worth of XBLA and game-add on items on the XBL Marketplace and get 10 Imaginary Space Dollars back. They also offered some ISD for renewing your Xbox Live subscription, but I’m not sure if this deal is still available or not.

8. (-) Spelunky – Speaking of XBLA, Joystiq has some screenshots of the soon-to-be on the Xbox Live Arcade, Spelunky.

9. (-) OnLive – Is this is a sign of desperation or of a solid business model?

10. (-) Team Fortress 2 – Speaking of “going free,” Team Fortress 2, the three-year-old game that has been updated more times than I can count, just added a micro-transaction (read: trickle down economics, aka drain your wallet) store.

11. (-) Jack Thompson – Hello Jack. Didn’t know you were still around. Okay, time to go back to being irrelevant.

12. (-) Hacking This iPod Nano in a Dreamcast controller is just cool

Weekend Gaming

This weekend looks to be rather busy for me with non-gaming type commitments, but I’m hoping to get some form of gaming in. Whether it’s Firefight in Halo: Reach or catching up on my Online Dynasties in NCAA 11, I’m going to play something.

What’s on your plate this weekend?

October Releases

The hits keep coming. My wallet is whimpering, begging me to stop.

Xbox 360 banner

Week of October 4th
NBA 2K11 – Jordan makes his triumphant return. One of my first PC games was Jordan vs. Bird. I loved that game.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – I don’t have time for a Day One purchase, but this game intrigues me something fierce.
Two Worlds 2

Week of October 11th
Medal of Honor
ArcaniA: Gothic 4 – I’ve always wondered about the Gothic series and now I’m interested in how this game translates to the 360.
Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes of the Ring

Week of October 18th
Fallout: New Vegas – Sigh. It never ends, does it? There’s never enough time.
Vanquish
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
EA SPORTS: MMA
Rock of the Dead – This is what it’s come to, people.
Saw II: Flesh and Blood
John Daly’s Prostroke Golf
Nail’d

Week of October 25th
Fable III – At least I can skip this one.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Rock Band 3
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011
The Sims 3
Monopoly Streets
Hasbro Family Game Night 3
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011
CSI: Fatal Conspiracy
Shaun White Skateboarding
Backyard Sports Football: Rookie Rush

Wii banner

Week of October 4th
Wii Party
NBA JAM – Come on! Seriously? This month is loaded and we’re not even through the first week of October. I want NBA JAM more than anything else this month. IS IT THE SHOES?!
FIFA Soccer 11
Def Jam Rapstar

Week of October 11th
Just Dance 2
Disney Sing It: Party Hits

Week of October 18th
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
NBA 2K11
Flip’s Twisted World

Week of October 25th
Shaun White Skateboarding
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Rock Band 3
Hasbro Family Game Night 3
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011
Monopoly Streets
Reload: Target Down – “Outdoor Action”! In the running for worst box art of the week.

Nintendo DS banner

Week of October 4th
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Logic Machines
Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs
Vampire Moon: Mystery Of The Hidden Sun

Week of October 11th
Super Scribblenauts
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals

Week of October 18th
Labyrinth
Zhu Zhu Pets: Wild Bunch
Kung Zhu – I see what you did there.
Dungeon Raiders

Week of October 25th
The Sims 3
Crafting Mama
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
DS Dragon’s Lair – For some reason, I want this.
Rock Band 3

PC banner

Week of October 4th
NBA 2K11
Two Worlds 2
John Daly’s ProStroke Golf
Star Wars Fan Favorite I – SW Battlefront, SW Battlefront II, SW Republic Commando
Star Wars Fan Favorite II – SW Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, SW Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, SW Starfighter

Week of October 11th
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Medal of Honor Limited Edition
ArcaniA: Gothic 4

Week of October 18th
Fallout: New Vegas
Eve Online: Commisioned Officer Edition
Nail’d

Week of October 25th
Spellforce 2: Faith In Destiny
The Sims 3 Late Night
Fable III
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Lego: Universe

PS3 banner

Week of October 4th
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
NBA 2K11
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Limited Edition
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Two Worlds 2
John Daly’s ProStroke Golf
Def Jam Rapstar Bundle

Week of October 11th
Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes
Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes of the Ring

Week of October 18th
Fallout: New Vegas
Time Crisis: Razing Storm
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
Vanquish
EA SPORTS: MMA
Nail’d

Week of October 25th
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
The Fight: Lights Out
Rock Band 3
The Shoot
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011
The Sims 3
TV Superstars
Hasbro Family Game Night 3

PSP banner

Week of October 4th
NBA 2K11

Week of October 11th
DJ Max Portable 3
Invizimals

Week of October 18th
Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team
Blazing Souls: Accelate

Week of October 25th
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Tag Force 5
Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger Darkdeath Evilman
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011
Bakugan Battle Brawlers: Defenders of the Core

What are you picking up?

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