Friday, December 25, 2009

Rocket Launchers and Thirteen-Year-Olds

I have been playing Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron a lot online these days. I am not great. Not even close to it, and any little kid with a sniper rifle or rocket launcher takes me out pretty easily, but boy is it fun.

There is no voice support, but that's okay, too. I don't need it when I'm on a speeder bike protecting Darth Vader from oncoming rebel hordes. And there is something uniquely satisfying using that same speeder bike to mow down a bunch of Wookies, which I normally love.

This was the first PSP game I got. I bought that bundle pack with the white PSP (or whatever strange color it was called -- maybe ceramic). I was hooked from day one. I enjoyed the other Battlefront games,so that was really no surprise. I never played those online, though.

So, if you happen to be playing, look for me. I'm godkiller13666. Some of you may have killed me before. Some of you may have been taken down by me. I think the former is probably more true, though.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Sweet Pass

Man, Gran Turismo for the PSP just gets better and better. I'm currently driving the Kompressor ('98, for those who care). Took it on Laguna Seca and made some beautiful passes.

Racing simulators are best when played as you would really drive. If you play them like an arcade racer you are going to be disappointed. If, however, you drive the car like you would in real life, you get such a sense of accomplishment when winning race. It's a state of euphoria that I can't say I've ever experienced in a video game.

A lot of players of this franchise are notorious for using other cars as guide rails when going through the corners. They also try to knock them out of the way. If those same players would play the game as if it were their own car they were driving they would quickly see how incredible it is.

Face it, few things in video games can match a 80 mph pass in a tight corner on the inside while you're in a Skyline up against any Mazda you can dream of. It's just mind blowing.

I never want this game to end ... and it never will. Serious GT players know exactly what I mean. You see it in your dreams. You think about where you could shave .002 off your time. You see a glimpse of a track on television and you immediately know where it is because you've been around that same turn 800 times.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Doom Generation

Everyone old enough remembers Doom. It was the first first person shooter game I ever played. I played it on a PC using a keyboard, and while I was less than impressed with the controls, I could tell this game was going to change things.

There was Wolfenstein before it, but Doom upped the ante a bit. It didn't necessarily feel like a better game, but it definitely felt like a different game (I played the Nazi fps well after Doom, so that's how I make the comparison.) It was a game that caused casual gamers and non-gamers to take notice. In a few years it would be named as part of the reason the Columbine massacre happened. Duke Nuke 'Em never got such press.

Doom is not one of my favorite games. I can play it at any time, but quickly grow tired of it. At times it seems like it tries too hard. I'm not the only one who thinks that, either. So why did this game capture people's attention? It was the promise of what was to come.

Doom clearly showed that first person shooters had life. The level designs were clever, the story was at least momentarily interesting, and the creatures showed imagination. Playing that game made gamers realize that in the right hands, magic could be created. You could be immersed, and that's why that game took off. People caught glimpses of greatness, and for that it was worth some of the more groan-worthy aspects. For some, it became an addiction. For others, inspiration. And then there were those who feared it. They really helped the success of the game.

There's no denying this game's place in game history. There's no denying its influence. I would say that people's memories of the game's greatness are exaggerated, however. It was fun and different, but it wasn't the spectacular god people remember it being.

For me, fps games are something I turn to once or twice a year to blow off some steam. They don't engage me the way other games do. I'll give it credit, though. It changed quite a bit about gaming, and I think the entire industry owes it some thanks. I just think gamers need to be more realistic about it, too.