Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Game Pitches

Open your eyes. You are Magnus Ahlquist, a young Swedish symphonist of the 1930s. You are standing in the Berwald Hall in Stockholm; before you stretch the expectant faces of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, instruments poised like weapons from a distant, long-dead culture. In less than two months time, Germany will invade Poland and World War 2 will begin.

You are here to conduct the premier of your new symphony, which you have entitled "The Sallow Dove." It is a fraught, anxious work; you drew inspiration from Sibelius' Fourth. The hall's 1300 seats are all occupied, and a successful performance tonight will propel you into the ranks of Europe's most eminent living composers. Not that it makes much difference, because in less than a year you will be in Munich, living under a new identity and passing secrets to the Allies.

You try to calculate how much time has passed since you took to the stage. Have you waited too long? Are the audience becoming restless? It is impossible to tell; the room and everything in it justs hangs there, as though it were a sophisticated network of marionettes, with you standing motionless at the strings. I am powerful, you think. Then you feel ashamed and absurd. Your 31st birthday is two weeks away; a month before your 33rd, you will be shot dead in the street by an agent of the Gestapo. His name is Walther Fuhrmann. You wonder if you should have reduced the dynamic in the opening brass passages of the fourth movement.

You wonder if the choral in movement two should be faster. If the string scoring is too thin, too frail. How many people in the audience will cry? When and why? If more cry than don't, have you written a good piece?

When you were a child you fell from a tree on to a rock, and now the scar on your back is beginning to tingle. The bullet that kills you will pass through this scar; hot metal will triumph where cold stone failed. If you knew about this now, would it change how you will feel about helping with the war effort? About fate? (Is the scar, which sits over your heart, a warning to guard that heart from grand causes?) How many more symphonies might you have composed, had you lived to old age? How many would it take to annul that beautiful and confused sacrifice, whose worth neither you, your superiors nor even the Gestapo will ever be able to calculate?

The baton twitches in your hand without warning; you wonder whether you are just another marionette, after all. A message comes on screen: "Press A to begin conducting the debut of Magnus Ahlquist's 5th Symphony." You wait for a stranger's thumb to fall.

Dragon Age Discussion

Ciaran says:
so I bought Dragon Age, it makes me smile

Roland says:
everytime i go on xbox live
and it says Anoush is a level 12 human warrior it cracks me up
i've not played dragon age yet
i do want to
but i heard it's not that good

Ciaran says:
well
it's basically Neverwinter Nights
with dialogue that's not quite as good as Mass Effect thrown in

Roland says:
admittedly i liked the dialogue in mass effect, generally
almost every aspect of that game that wasn't to do with the main plot was absolute shit though
it was like
"Ok we have a good game, now let's fill it with awful useless shit"

Ciaran says:
yeah exploring planets
wasn't fun
at all

Roland says:
no
in fact
what's that thing
that's the opposite of fun?
is it...not fun?

Ciaran says:
defun

Roland says:
defun yes of course
"oh this planet looks exactly the same as all those other planets, in that it's completely barren and devoid of any land marks or anything interesting whatsoever"
"good job we're here having fun"
when is the new one even out?

Ciaran says:
next year
I shall buy it
apparently they made it better
like assassin's creed 2
which is supposed to be considerably better

Roland says:
yeah i've heard it's good
shame
as i have no money

Ciaran says:
haha same
I havent even got fifa
or call of duty

Roland says:
i've got call of duty
it's quite good

Ciaran says:
I could only afford dragon age because it was £26 on pc

Roland says:
oh
you're PC playing
the PC
what a fall from grace

Ciaran says:
yeah, I heard it was better on pc

Roland says:
1995 - "PCs are sort of shit, but haha i love them"
2009 "get this fucking PC THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME I HATE IT"
the plot
for dragon age
sounds so generic
in fact
isn't it the same plot as oblivion
except with characters that aren't the same as empty coke cans

Ciaran says:
actually
it's the same plot as mass effect
you are a man
recruited in to this elite order
OH WAIT FUCK EVERYTHING GOING WRONG
THERES SOME KIND OF EVIL SCOURGE THREATENING US
AND THIS GUY WHO IS LIKE GOOD AND A SAVIOUR
IS TURNING ON US

Roland says:
uh ohhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ciaran says:
WE MUST TRAVEL TO FOUR LOCATIONS TO MAKE SHIT RIGHT

Roland says:
it would be good
if it was the exact same bad guys from mass effect
those alien squid fuck ups
and there was just no way to beat them

Ciaran says:
Saren/Loghain

Roland says:
because all you have is swords and a fireball

Ciaran says:
there's a complete breakdown of how bioware's plots are exactly the same
and the developer actually responded to it with something like "fuck off, it works"

Roland says:
nice
oh games
when will you learn
right
well
i'm probably gonna copy/paste this into make hands
i'm literally doing it right now
if you want to stop me you better travel to four locations and cast a spell

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Modern Warfare 2

Most of the time I feel like my life totally lacks direction. When this feeling isn't completely crippling and I'm lying, numb, arms limp, basically dead, staring a blank computer screen, slowly allowing the blinding light from my 200" monitor to wear away at my retinas or gibbering and moaning about how everyone in the world has got it together apart from me, I play games.

Modern Warfare 2 is the only game I have been playing the last few days.

This isn't because it's good. It's because some part of me believed Cod4 was one of the greatest games ever made. I would play that game every day with my friends and comrades. We'd just chat shit and sometimes shoot a guy. Oh, but it's really balanced and well polished and etc, etc and really, who cares?

We're playing Modern Warfare 2 now, instead. And sometimes it's a good distraction. If I can allow it to make me forget about the awful, every-day-the-same-nothing-bullshit of my life. But you know, masturbation is the same. And really so is writing shit like this. And neither this writing nor Modern Warfare 2 is as good as jerking off.

The biggest problem with Modern Warfare 2 is that there is no point in not using an assault rifle at all, for anything. If you need to kill a guy, from far away or close quarters, or if you want to tame a wild horse or open a Cajun style restaurant: you only need the Scar-H.

Sure, I've made some fruity classes and named them things like "fear" and "tremendous poopan'" and they utilize sniper rifles or SMGs. But the Scar-H, or the M16, or FAMAS, or M4 are like an SMG and a sniper rifle COMBINED. THEY ARE PERFECT.

But really, playing COD:MW2 with your buddies is the best part. When you have a great back and forth and you own some useless fuck who was chatting shit the entire time you were in the lobby, that's what the game is great for.

So what about all the guns? Maybe this should be a casual game for the games lover.
Or maybe this just means masturbation is better with more people?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Zebra Trooper: Wall Street Intervention

Okay, this is beginning to get silly. Just one year after the release of Fighting Zepplin Clerics, the award-winning strategy game in which rival theologians do battle in the skies over a mythical medieval Europe, France's premier indie studio, Pantalon Rouge, returns with yet another bizarre and brilliant concoction in Zebra Trooper: Wall Street Intervention.

Imagine this: it's August 1929, and the Wall Street Crash, one of the most devestating events in global financial history, is just two months away. When it comes, it will send the western world into a deep recession, the most notorious result of which will be the Second World War. If only someone were able to intervene!

Well, help is at hand, in the form of the legendary Zebra Force Combat Patrol, a team of time-travelling commandos from the year 2253. It turns out that the Wall Street Crash was the pivotal event in human history; it sent us off down a path of misery and destruction that was to culminate in something called the "Szymanowski Shit Loop," whereby the entire history of Homo sapiens, from roughly 180,000BC to 2255AD, repeats indefinitely, but with everything omitted apart from the bad bits: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Death, the Holocaust etc. And the Zebras represent our last chance to turn the tide.

The player assumes the role of Pzilpop Demitard, the Zebras' courageous leader, at the moment he completes his time jump to 1929. Unfortunately, his genes have been disrupted by the journey, transforming him into a bunch of seedless grapes. But just as it seems that all is lost, an elderly rabbi named Josiah Goldman eats one of the grapes, and by some miracle Demitard is able to take control of his body.

Consequently, the player has to proceed through the whole game in the role of a time commando controlling an ailing old man; the health system works a bit like the one in Assassin's Creed, in that when Demitard takes damage he becomes "desynchronised," and in order to recover he must eat more grapes. However, there are only 23 grapes to begin with, and they are never replenished, even when you start a new game. Additionally, Demitard must do his best not to offend the rabbi's sensibilities, so he must avoid eating non-kosher food, working on the Sabbath and owning a strip club.

The game's early stages involve the infiltration of the stock exchange: stealth-based team coordination in a Rainbow Six style. But after level three, the action switches to a spreadsheet format, and continues in that vein for roughly 26 hours.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Game Pitch: Scavenger: Siege of Leningrad

In Scavenger: Siege of Leningrad you take on the role of Alexei Grushenko, a 12-year-old war orphan fighting for his life in the streets, sewers and ruins of Leningrad, circa 1942. Food is scarce, and Alexei has turned to cannibalism to survive; he stalks through the night, feeding on the bodies of the freshly fallen and, when necessary, adding to their number.

Scavenger: Siege of Leningrad is a third-person-perspective sandbox game. A historical survival simulator that calls upon the player to use sophisticated stealth tactics. It also features challenging cannibalism sub-games, which demand a detailed knowledge of anatomy, not to mention a strong stomach!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Tekken 6

Do you remember 1998 and how it brought out Tekken 3 and it was good?

Of course you do, everyone does.

But do you remember Tekken Force being a good idea?

No, this is an impossible thing to remember. Tekken Force was the shittest thing about any game ever, at that point, I am fairly certain.

And yet Namco have NEVER GOTTEN RID OF IT. It's still there in Tekken 6.

You know all the special moves in Tekken? Literally hundreds of unique combos and attacks? None of them are in Tekken Force, you have only the basic punches and kicks.

The story and dialogue does seem like it was put together by a ten year old, but as such it's lacking in the goofy cameos of Indiana Jones and Batman, which it sorely needs.

I would have genuinely prefered it if they hadn't bothered translating the dialogue at all and I could draw my own conclusions as to wtf is up with this pink haired chick with chainsaw hands and why all these fighters are hanging out in parks and on the docks.

The actual fighting element, the vs mode (which is obviously what Tekken is all about) is still GOOD and the new characters fit in with the spirit of the game pretty neatly.

Online it's just so laggy it's almost unplayable. Particularly annoying is one of Lee's moves, three low kicks followed by a mid kick. Easy to block, except the lag means the last kick ALWAYS hits me. Maybe I'm just totally cack handed at this game; I've seen no evidence to suggest otherwise, so maybe other players will do better.

It's nice to see Tekken again, but it's not the triumphant return it should be. But this is what we were all expecting, right?