Monday, August 24, 2009

Pac Man Mild Cold

I don't know how my dad did it, but he somehow managed to snag an Atari 2600 with one of the first copies of Pac Man to hit the East Coast. The arcade game was already a huge hit, and the Atari 2600 version of the game was highly anticipated. This made my house the hub of activity for a week or so. To this day I don't know why.

The arcade version of the game is simplistic, which isn't bad. Tetris is even simplier, and that's a great game. I liked Pac Man, I just wasn't thrilled with it. When we got the Atari 2600 version I was aghast. Don't get me wrong, I played that thing like mad, but looking at it made me kind of ill.

Normally I don't mind color schemes like the game used, but when these colors came out on the television I swear they could induce some sort of seizure. I don't know why they looked the way they did. I don't know why I had such a negative reaction, but I did. I did, and it tainted most of my feelings on the entire franchise.

I suppose I should have been more impressed. The Atari 2600, while amazing for the time, was still a primitive machine. It was garish, the controls were touchy, but it starred Pac Man and at that time period there was no better character to be.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Madden 10 ... Blah, Blah, Blah

I don't play a ton of football video games. I prefer racing and soccer when it comes to sports games, but I do own a few of the 2K variety. I've played some of the Madden games, and have had fun playing them against people, but there is one thing that has always bothered me about them.


I know Madden is an icon, but he's also kind of like the creepy uncle who gets drunk at Thanksgiving, makes bad jokes, and "accidentally" cops a feel off your fifteen-year-old sister. I will agree that he knows the sport, but I found his on-air commentary to be, well, annoying at best. His voice in the game is super-freakin' annoying.

Combine that with often times unrealistic gameplay and you have a football game that always not quite right. The series sells like beer on payday Friday, but never seemed as good as it could be.

I've read that Michael Vick (oh he of dog fighting fame) won't be in the roster until a future update. Having him in the Eagles at his skill level prior to his stint behind bars will mean that any player who keeps him on the Eagles will have one hell of a team. Frustration for fans of every other team to follow.

Strangely enough, however, Vick feels more like a character who should be in Grand Theft Auto. He's been reinstated in the NFL, however, which means players will be waiting breathlessly for until EA sees fit to add him to the game. In the meantime, however, players got McNabb ... and he hasn't killed any dogs that I know of ... yet.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kicked In The Ass Again

Soul Caliber III is one of those great fighting games that appeals to those who don't like fighting games. It's also got a fantastic character creation system that lets you do just about any character you can think of. That's the part of the game that appeals to my five-year-old daughter. And then she played it.

Admittedly, when we started playing the game I gave her a 200% handicap. I didn't want her to be discouraged from playing right away. There was a problem, though. She got real good real quick, and she liked it a lot. She liked it so much she started blurting out lines from the game at random moments.

Today I took the handicap away.

In other fighting games she's done well ... without any handicaps. Not great, but well enough to make the game fun. When I took the handicap away the game got really interesting because she got better.


Perfect, actually.

She was winning fights without me even laying a hand on her. Perfect.

Granted, I won a few, but she never got a "Perfect" when playing with the handicap. And my wins, it should be noted, came from me doing a running slide to knock her out of the ring. "Why would you do that?" she asked. It was a good question. I didn't want to tell her it was because it's the only way I could win.

Eventually she grew tired of the game because beating me so much wasn't as "much fun."

Seriously? She's five, and this is ridiculous. I'm now forced to break out a NASCAR game and school her in the ways of competition.

God knows I can't do it any other way.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Every Kill Is Clean And Pure

It would seem like a game made for me. A game built on snuff film culture. Manhunt. I bought it new at full price. There was some buzz about it when its arrival neared. Too gory. Glorified violence. You know, the usual stuff politicos like to target when drawing attention away from illegal wars, pork barrel spending, and sex scandals.

I enjoyed the game well enough, though I found it a bit tedious. The storyline was okay, but the stealth, kill, run, kill got to be a bit too much of the same thing after some time (though the villains were pretty neat). I didn't buy the sequel, and that's because it sounded like they developers tried to quell the controversy that time around.

Let's face it, video games are a lot like comic books when it comes to the eyes of the uninformed. These wanna-be censors, the morality polygon police, think that video games are the domain of children. To think that adults play just doesn't computer. Hence the Manhunt controversy.

This is not a video game for little kids, and I doubt any little kid would want to play it. My daughter, who loves video games, has not even looked at it when she's digging through the stacks. Now, thirteen-year-olds might want to play it, and I don't think that is all that horrible. There's nothing in the game that is going to cause a sane teen to question their world as they know it. Most kids I've met know the difference between fact and fantasy, and this game would be no different.

I'll admit that killing people in this game is therapeutic. I brings a smile to my face not because I'm a psycho, but because I'm not. I get stressed and I don't do typical stress-relief actions like drinking, drugs, or shooting up an LA Fitness. I play video games, and if I can play one where I am the psycho that does mean, horrible things, then so be it. People don't apologize for reading murder mysteries, and I won't apologize for liking violent video games. They aren't the only thing I play (or even the majority), but I do play them, and I do like them.

For all you well-meaning folks concerned about the content of games: If you have kids, monitor what they play. If you don't have kids, stop trying to dictate what others can play. If the games make you uncomfortable, don't play them. It's that easy. Don't spend the money. Don't play the game. You can't cry about the imaginery children that may or may not be affected because that's the parent's job. As a parent, I can tell you I don't trust you to do my job. And thanks for screwing up the sequel.

I'd much rather you turn your concern to healthcare or the economy and leave the game playing up to the people who know what they are talking about -- the players themselves.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Awards Won -- Lunar Lander

By some weird twist of fate, I was able to snag all four awards in the Lunar Lander game on PSP's Atari Classics Evolved. Up until this game, I had never played it.

Sure, I had seen the game back in the day but stayed away from it like it was Defender. Land a craft on the moon? How fun could that be? Nothing was shooting at you or coming at your ship on a chaotic tumble. Video games were not about landing. They were about shooting. Period. I still haven't played the classic mode of the game, but the evolved mode is actually kind of fun. What surprised me was that I was able to get all four awards in relatively short time (compared to my win rate on a game I am great at -- Centipede, which is confounding me every step of the way). I'm ever closer now to getting all 44 awards, but my patience is wearing thin, and I don't know how much more I have in me.