Game info sites epically fail

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 in Gaming Life

Just like any other gamer out there, I frequent the gaming info sites; IGN and Gamespot mostly. I guess there are others out there but for the most part those are the mainstream guys. They have people that only review or cover certain genres or titles, have departments with different staff for each of the game consoles, and then branches in each country for coverage of different regions.

Everyday I hit up my iGoogle home page’s RSS widgets and check out any of that day’s reviews. Even if it’s a game I’ve never heard of, I’ll check out the article. I even share these articles with coworkers and colleagues. A lot of times there will be games that come out of nowhere for me and I end up really admiring the way they look, only to be get quickly turned off by the critic’s opinion, making that game have little to no chance of ever being within five feet of me unless it’s next to a game I want on a store shelf.

There are many problems revolving the fact that these sites are so heavily relied upon for decisions on buying or even renting games. Working at a technology company myself, I understand how difficult it is to have products that are looked down on by the major influences of my work industry. So since major sites like these go out of their way to make the development studios seem like the lowest of the low, many games go overlooked and (like I said in the Speed Racer review) end up in the “twofor” bin at your local GameStop. And since there really isn’t a cheap way to rent games anymore, I personally don’t even play many games that I would actually like to. Back in my day, games were only three bucks to rent down at the corner store for a week, and you could swap the game out for any other if it wasn’t satisfactory. Now you can’t even look at games at Blockbuster without swallowing the bill and having the risk that you’ll get the game home and it will suck total ass. (I learned this the hard way a couple years ago and eventually had to quit wasting my money when I took Jet Li: Rise to Honor back after an hour of ungodly gameplay and controls and they wouldn’t let me switch it out.)

So, again, bad reviews come from two things: uneducated writers with no sympathy for poor studios, or really just a horrible experience. There will always be both, but it seems like the game info sites are given too much credit. Most of them are horrible journalists and have no idea how to write, and the others get stuck reviewing games they’d probably never play if it wasn’t for a deadline. If you go to any of the bad reviews out there most of them don’t cover more than a screen’s worth of space, and the explanation of exactly what is so horrible about the game is usually lacking proof or reason. Take this blurb from the Operation Darkness review by IGN for example:

1.0 Graphics
The game technically does have graphics.

What the fuck kind of description is that for such a low rating? IGN ratings can get no lower than a 1, and with no elaboration in the textual review for why the game received such a low rating in what seems like a given department for any studio on next gen platforms, I’d have to say the guy is being a bit unreasonable. I’ve had no knowledge of this game until it showed up in the widget today, by the way.

My issue with reviews like this is that they give entry level games made with low budgets the absolute worst ratings imaginable for what seems like no apparent reason, especially if the publisher isn’t paying their bills for the month. This is exactly what I think happened with Assassin’s Creed. AC was definitely no low budget game, and it definitely wasn’t 6.0-range worthy. The whole thing makes me believe that game studios, or people with great game ideas for that matter, will never make it in the industry unless they have unlimited funding or have already sold themselves out to the big publishers.

The reason I thought to write this in the first place was after reading the Alone in the Dark review. Ryan talks about how he was looking forward to the game because he is into the genre (so…we let people review games because their “into genres”…awesome). He talks about the stiff and unforgiving controls, especially when driving (well for a game that’s not focused at all around driving, I wouldn’t expect the few levels that have it to bust out into it’s on franchise…). Ryan then goes on to say that instead of being creeped out, he’s annoyed by the amnesiac main character’s rants and raves while dropping the F-bomb left and right. Apparently this didn’t matter in GTA: San Andreas

Alone in the Dark stills
Alone in the Dark: apparently 3.5 (out of 10) glorious points of suck.

This game has been in development for over 3 years. What I imagine happened is after the release of the horrible movie by the worst director alive, Atari went into crunch mode to make up for their loss with an understaffed development studio that had the game looking great but not playing great yet. GTA: Vice City felt like that, but no one seemed to mind because the franchise hasn’t been full of flops since its first release.

Sigh…Godspeed to any of the studios out there, big or small, betting on their game to be the next big franchise. Just make sure you wine-n-dine your friends at the local game review site. Good night, and good luck.

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Someone get a bucket and clean up this fail!

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Friday, June 13th, 2008 in Firearms /Videos

People that operate guns that don’t know how to operate guns just crack me up. This is probably the best compilation video I’ve seen of all the greatest clips of firearms owning people and shattering their reality. The guy at :23 gets put in his place, and the dood at :32 with what looks like a prank disintegrating .44 magnum. Awesome show!

In all seriousness, I totally understand the zone an incident like this would put you in, being the victim of my dad loading up a Colt Python with five .38s and a surprise .357 Magnum. That was definitely a blast of noise and gunpowder to the face I wasn’t expecting. Fail. 🙁

More video capture fun

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Sunday, June 08th, 2008 in Gaming Life /Videos

Had to make the switch today from the Saturn to my 360 to record some ideas I had for GTA IV.

Niko & Kate – So happy together
I found out late last night from Tor that there is this swingset in Broker that is glitchy. After messing with it for about three hours at 2 in the morning I kinda started to think there is something about it that was purposely put there. Either way, the Firefly Projects’ playground has a new meaning. This is a short about Niko’s dying love for Kate, so much so that he….literally wants to die with her…I guess.


Video capture rocks my socks

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Saturday, June 07th, 2008 in Computers /Videos

I have no idea why, but I’ve never messed around with this stuff at all. Tonight I vigorously tried to figure out how the video inputs on the front of the DreamBox worked, and finally had some success. I hooked up my Sega Saturn and went at some of the classic 3D orb collecting in NiGHTS, and recorded this test video:


“I would encourage people who want to be creative to invite miserable circumstances.”

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Friday, June 06th, 2008 in Art /Quotes

Nicholas Gurewitch of The Perry Bible Fellowship is one talented individual. His online comic strip is apparently record-breaking. How or what records were broken I have no idea, but only because I haven’t done any research.

“I would encourage people who want to be creative to invite miserable circumstances. If you cram that brain into a dangerous situation, it will work your butt off.” ~Nicholas Gurewitch


That’s what you get for reading Car & Driver

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Tuesday, June 03rd, 2008 in Autos

The boys at Autoblog seem upset that Car & Driver prefers the BMW M3 over the new GT-R or 911Turbo. You have to remember guys; the magazine is out there to sell itself to people who are generally uneducated about cars and loves to display “hot” autos on the cover to materialistic fools who know nothing about a real driving experience but feel like they’ve made up for it by purchasing an overpriced German Lexus. They like to save money and share that “knowledge” with their readers. If you can look “hot” while doing it, why not pick up a new beemer for a low price that has not-so-comparable results against cars that cost sometimes $20k+ more. You might get absolutely destroyed by a car whose manufacturer you likely can’t pronounce correctly, but DAMN do you have a BMW! What a CHICK MAGNET! Come on guys, stick to Road & Track.

Source: Autoblog

Hacked Roomba looks like Pac-Man, still a crappy vacuum

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Monday, June 02nd, 2008 in Hacks & Mods

OK, to take a vacuum that already sucks and turn it into an LED lit Pac-Man is a pretty cool idea.


MegaMan X4 CD Label

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Monday, June 02nd, 2008 in Art /Gaming Life

Damn, another CD label already?? Yup. This one is for MegaMan X4 for the Sega Saturn again. I think I enjoyed doing this one a little more, and I’m happier with the result. It shows the characters from the game more, and there was a lot more customization. Enjoy!

MegaMan X4 Disc Label

I wanted to mention the level of customization here, as most of the time you’ll be hard pressed to find images of this kind of stuff on the web. You’d think it’d be the other way around, but quite the contrary, it isn’t… Here is the old logo and the one I made myself, respectively, using the old as a template of course. Yeah… that ESRB logo is mine too… 😉

MegaMan X4 Disc Label

Speed Racer IS live action anime

Posted by SpaghettiOh on Sunday, June 01st, 2008 in Movies /Reviews
Speed Racer movie poster

From what I’ve read in the reviews, this movie is extremely underrated. Usually, a movie being rated as low as this one means two things: A) the reviewer really didn’t understand what the movie-makers were trying to do or convey, or B) the movie just really sucked.

So here we have Speed Racer, the newest film by the creators of the Matrix movies and fictitious world. A flick highly anticipated by myself and some colleagues, and quite frankly advertised as two hours of eye-candy.

I’d like to point out first off that if you’re wondering what the movie is like if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s basically 120 minutes of trailer-esque cinema; pumped full of anime-related humor, dialogue, and cinematography. Basically, if you liked what you saw in the trailer and you were any sort of fan of the show, be it a religious watcher or in passing, go see this movie. I went into it as someone who used to watch the seemingly endless re-runs on Cartoon Network over a decade ago and always thought it would be cool to see it live action.

Here’s where my complaint about bad reviews comes in. I’m not going to sit here and tell you why “Speed Racer is the best movie ever made!”, or rave up and down how cool it was like some lame-ass fanboy groupie. Instead I’ll just tell you straight up that if you admire, at all, the style of anime from the ’60s and ’70s and have any sort of imagination of how it could be conveyed in live action (or any imagination at all…) that this IS the best movie for that. I sat through the entire film laughing my ass off at how amazingly simple yet complex everything about the movie was and how well the Wachowski brothers were able to bring this depth-less show to life.