Friday, December 3, 2010


Killer Instinct always felt like it was trying to be a cooler Mortal Kombat.  Did it succeed?  No, not really, though I always found the characters more visibly pleasing, and the moves were easier to pull off.

Those who remember the game, and I know they are out there, remember the Harryhausen-like Spinal, Cinder, the nod-to-Universal Sabrewulf, Raptor and so on.  They looked fairly unique, they were fully animated, and there seemed to be one for every personality type.  The Super Nintendo version of the game, which came with a soundtrack CD, was a toned down version of the arcade game due to memory limitations, but that didn't seem to matter to thousands of players.  This was the shit.

A sequel came out, which only the die hards seem to remember, and while there has always been talk of returning to the franchise, it hasn't happened yet, and some wonder if it ever will.

If this game came out today, I doubt it would be as well-received (even with a graphic upgrade and whatnot).  In its time, however, when fighting games ruled the arcade, it felt different.  It was a fighting game that attracted those put off by the mathematic play of the other biggie (Mortal Kombat) again, and the seemingly undeserved popularity of Street Fighter.  Now it would be just another blip on the radar, as fighting games have to be something truly special to warrant anything other than a passing glance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

God of War The Hydra Battle Demo Disc Up on eBay

Rarely do I put games up for sale, but I'm selling this one. Click here to bid on it on eBay.

This is a must-have for GOW fans, as it has directory commentary and a making of video.  I wouldn't be selling it, but I need money for a computer, turntable and car repairs.  My misery is your gain.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Attacks Continue ...

With the recent elections ancient history (of two days ago), there is one thing that should alert the die-hard gamers amongst you. 

Nothing has changed.

Video games are still threatened much in the same way comic books and music have been in the past.  Democrats and Republicans alike are not your friends on this subject.  The games are something they don't understand, and since they think that only kids play them and kids don't vote that makes the gaming industry an easy target.

The only thing on our side is that the politicos have so much on their plate right now that going after video games makes it seem like they aren't dealing with important issues like the economy, war and all those wonderful things that come with them.  That's our safety net right now.  2012 may be different.

Voting for or against a candidate based solely on whether or not he or she wants to ban "violent" video games is a bad idea.  Using it as a barometer on how the candidate feels about freedoms and the sacred free market is perfectly acceptable, however, as those who want to ban one thing usually want to ban multiple things.

Keep your eyes on the candidates, and don't let them dictate your entertainment choices ... or any other choices for that matter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kill Me Now!

This posting's title is just one of the many phrases heard in the Postal video game.  Like Doom and the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Postal came ready-made with controversy. 

The game was pretty simple: Kill people.  Shoot them.  Blow them up.  Use a flame thrower.  Whatever you had at your disposal.  Kill enough and exit the level.  Start again.

I played my copy (which I still have) on the Mac.  Getting to the final level, which was a school, if I recall, gave me a feeling of revulsion.  Things, however, weren't as they appeared, which helped me feel better about the game.  It was the first time I can ever remember thinking that maybe a game had gone too far.  (If you've played it, you know what I mean.)

I didn't play this game for the challenge or some great storyline.  I played it as tension relief.  Bad day at work?  Shoot a few civilians in the safety of a game.  It beat doing it for real, and that's what I think a lot of people missed.

Games like this are a great way to get the stress out in a way that isn't harmful to anyone.  Little kids play war, and then they grow up and do this.  It has nothing to do with real violence, and little to do with anti-social feelings, either.  It is, first and foremost, a game.

The clerk who sold it to me (I was over 18) was hesitant.  He said something about not being sure he should even be selling it.  I didn't need his social commentary, but politely reminded him that it was just a game.  He did not, it should be noted, refuse to take my cash.

Every time a politician or parent group gets up in arms about a video game, I think back to this one.  I think of how some people will never understand it, and maybe they aren't meant to.  Games like this should raise questions and cause debate, but they shouldn't be banned.  The real problem, something that is never discussed in these debates, is not that the games are violent, but that we live in a society that is so stressful that these games exist as stress relief.  That is something that is never looked at in the arguments, but is essential nonetheless.  Perhaps if we lived in a saner world, there would be no need for these games.  Until that day comes, though, I'll happily blow things up in pixel and polygon form instead of steel and concrete.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yet Another Addiction

Lumines.  Yes, another addiction on the PSP.  I have always wanted this game, but finally found it at an acceptable price.

Jesus.  This is more addictive than Tetris.  At first it seems easier, too, and it is, but once things get out of control they get out of control fast. 

Now I want to pick this up for the PS2, as well, and it makes me wonder if the Wii has a variation on it.

As most people already know, this is a puzzle game where you have to make a square of the same four colors.  Music, which is not my style, plays in the background and interacts with the puzzle (you have to play to understand).  You can seriously sit and play this for like a half an hour before it starts to go crazy, but by that point you are so hooked you can't help but continue.  In the past three weeks since I've bought this I've played it about a hundred times.  I'm convinced it will keep me from getting Alzheimer's or something.  I am also getting all the sequels ASAP.

I had been cutting back on video games for a while, instead using the time to work on my manuscript.  After trying this out, though, it became a great way to clear my mind between writing sessions.  It is not ideal before bed, as is often the case with any video game.

And now, time for yet another session ... until a new one comes along.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I finally broke down and bought my daughter a Wii, which I will, of course, also use.  I must admit I was hesitant to purchase it, as the name threw me off, and I couldn't see how the control use could be fun.

I was wrong on the latter, though the former still bugs me.  Not only do the Wii remotes work well, they are also fairly intuitive, though the only two games I have used them on so far are Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, both of which my daughter kicks my ass on regularly.

Using the remote to make Miis (something my daughter is very into) or surfing through Wii channels or the web, also gets no complaints from me, though I wish typing were easier.  (You can buy a keyboard for that.)  I'll soon be streaming Netflix films through it, too, which from everything I've heard also goes smoothly.

We've logged in a lot of hours already, and I suspect plenty more are to come.  In all, it was an expensive investment, and I'm not sure the available Wii games are up to par (though I am curious as to what can be downloaded), but the sheer entertainment of what little we have played so far makes it money well spent.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Robot Tank, Mofos!

I have been playing Robot Tank like mad on my PSP.  Originally released on the Atari 2600, this Activision game actually kind of kicks ass.

Activision was my favorite video game company back in the day.  I don't remember if I had this game back in the 1980s, but I'm glad I have it now courtesy of Activision Hits Remixed.  As far as those old video games go, this one is kind of advanced.

First, you have to ignore that your journey to Santa Clara, California takes you through rain, fog and snow all in the course of a few days.  It just isn't likely, but it does show that Activision was dedicated to throwing in different environments in which to destroy tanks.  Fog cut visibility.  Rain and snow affected your movement.

Another interesting and rare feature was damage.  In early video games, a hit destroyed you.  That can happen here, too, but an indirect hit can affect your visuals (screen goes black at random), your cannon (it only works sometimes), radar (essential in the dark and in fog and if your visuals go out), or treads (which lets you move only at a snail's pace).  It leads to some fairly intense action ... for an old video game.

I could see this game being remade today with updated graphics and the like, but quite honestly, this one still presents a challenge as you traverse the elements and go from day to night.  For an Atari 2600 game it is fairly advanced.  By today's standards it is something to do while waiting in line somewhere.  That said, I'm having a hard time putting down, as I'm trying to reach the goal of 60 tanks destroyed.  I've made it to 58.  I will hit 60 and probably unlock a patch or something (Activision used to award them as prizes).  Then I'll move onto the other games in the package and probably go through some nostalgia.  I doubt many will hold up as well as this one, though.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Gear in Gran Turismo 5

11/2/10.  That is the set release date of Gran Turismo 5.

We all know how that goes.

I love the franchise and may buy a PS3 for this one, but should, in all honesty, get the Wii first.  That said, there is one thing that really has me chomping at the bit, so to speak.

The Top Gear test track is in this one.  That's right.  The best show on television, which has often referenced and used Gran Turismo, is now getting its turn in the game. 

I'm donning a white firesuit and describing myself as a man who is afraid of ducks (Stig reference for all you ignorant types).  This is, of course, grand news.

I have my doubts about the release date, because we've heard this before.  I know Polyphony seems pretty firm with this date, but I'll believe it when I see it. 

3D.  Chicago.  950 cars.  This is ... a wet dream.

Monday, June 21, 2010

But is it Art?

Roger Ebert, a film critic I happen to respect (he's also a huge inspiration when it comes to my own film journalism pieces), posted a piece on his blog a while back about video games not being art.  You can read it here.

I obviously love video games, and if you read my other blogs, you know I am a big supporter of art over entertainment.  Ebert's piece, which has raised all kinds of hackles in the video game world, was well-written and it proved his point.  He even went so far as to question why video games should even concern themselves with the art issue.

So, how do I feel about it? 

I agree with him.

Video games can be artistic, but none of them have risen to the level of fine art yet.  Not a single one I can think of.  The problem is they can be artistic, and can even be played artistically, but at the end of the day -- they are games through and through.  Games have scoring systems, rules, certain criteria that must be met to win or complete them.  That's not art. 

Ebert asked why games had to be considered art, and I have to agree with that, too.  Why can't they be satisfied being great games?  Why is there no pride in that?  Look at what happens to artistic mediums when they aspire to be something else.  For example, comic books.

Comic books have been doing things like "director's commentary" and printing in widescreen format, both of which seem ridiculous in a comic book format.  They aren't satisfied with being comic books (and they are artistic).  They want to be movies because that is where the respect is at.  Even when there is a movie being made of a comic book, the comic book will do a movie adaptation! 

Video games aspire to lofty plateaus.  They want to be art.  In doing so, they have forgotten what appeals to gamers -- a good game.  I love video games, but I don't care that they aren't art.  They can still be things of wonder and beauty, but no video game has ever inspired me to create (my art of choice is writing, if you don't know).  And if they have inspired people, I believe it is probably only inspiration to create more games.  Sort of like a chocolate chip cookie may inspire you to bake.

Ebert is right.  As of now, video games aren't art.  They may never be, either, unless we change our definitions of games.

Let me know I'm wrong.  In fact, I'd like to be proven wrong.  Game Informer did a fairly large piece on this issue, and I am far from convinced. 

Ebert is right.  He not only knows film, but he knows art.  And while he may not play video games -- I do, and I agree with him.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jack Black Loves Pitfall Harry

If you had an Atari 2600, you had Pitfall.  It sold something like 4 million copies and was one of the best selling games on the system.  A young Jack Black did one of the commercials for the game.

I'm not a huge Black fan.  I mean, he's not the worst actor around, but he's not a box office draw for me.  This commercial may be the most low-key thing he's ever done.  It also doesn't do the game justice.

Granted, this game drove me nuts when it came out (and so does the version in Marvel Ultimate Alliance).  Those alligators you have to jump across always got me as I got nervous and died right before the last one.  That didn't stop me from putting days into this game.  I even attempted to take a picture of my score so I could get the jacket patch.  (The photo turned out to look like some weird Polaroid porn.) 

One of the reasons I bought Activision Hits Remixed was because I thought I could lure Black to my own personal dungeon.  Well, not really.  It was Pitfall, which, ironically, I have to play on that game.  I'm sure it's not as good as I remember it, but for months I couldn't be budged from the original. 

Younger readers may not understand its allure, but let me tell you.  Back in 1982 this was the shit.  Swinging over weird self-closing pits, cobras, gold bars, rolling logs -- no other video game had that.  Say what you want, but this was a lot like the first time you played Grand Theft Auto III ... only with worst graphics and no hooker killing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leatherface and the Atari 2600

Some days (like today), I just feel like doing damage.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original -- not that prettied up remake that passed itself off as disturbing, has always been a favorite of mine.  That spirit of wanton nihilism that is present in every frame makes me smile and really encapsulates what's in my mind.  Had I been able to get the Atari 2600 game when it first came out I would have never stopped playing it.  Now I don't have a 2600, and I really have the hankering to give it a go despite the fact that I know it would be horrible.  (I somehow doubt it is on my Atari Classics Evolved.  It's not like I can unlock any of those games anyway.)

If the game were made today, it would suck.  The developers would screw it up so badly that it would leave fans of the game cursing in disappointment.  A 2600 game would be pointless fun.  A PS3 game would have a story

Let's face it, the movie is meant to be experienced, not played.

There are days, however, where grabbing a chainsaw and ripping through idiots is the most appealing aspect of the next 24 hours.  Some people drink.  Some snort cocaine.  I write.  But I also address the the more violent side of myself and don't shy away from it.  As one friend once said, "It looks like you're having another 'Don't Fuck With Me' day."  Oh yeah.

I'm sure this game would be lacking everything that should make for a great game, but most of the 2600 games were like that.  Very simple, but sometimes very addictive.  This would possibly be an addiction despite its crudeness.  I could actually see that adding to the experience. 

Yeah, I never got to play it.  But boy, I want to.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Bunch of Donkeys

I have not tried Farmville yet on Facebook, and most likely never will.  I have, however, started playing Texas Hold 'Em Poker on there, and while I've come out ahead on every game I've played but the first one (where I was just testing the software), I must say it is some of the worst poker I've ever seen.

When online poker for real money was legal, I played ... a lot.  A lot.  I won money, tournaments.  It was good.  Hell,  I had so many people ask me how to get started that I wrote a book on it. (You can find it toward the top of this blog.)  When the game became quasi-legal, though, sites started shutting out American players.  I stayed away from the online poker then, but after some people sent me chips on Facebook I decided to return to the Green Hell and partake.


I have never seen so many people just play shit hands to see what will happen.  All-in with a 3, 8 off-suit?  Why not?  This happens all the time.  If you've played it on Facebook, you know it's true.  I understand it's play money, but players should be taking the opportunity to hone their skills at the real thing.  I guarantee that if those players would play like that with real money, they would not be enjoying game very long. 

When I run into these players at a table (and it's every table), I play them the way they are supposed to be played.  I wait.  I have the patience of a yogi master.  I wait until I have the right cards and then I wipe them out.  They come right back, and I do it again.  They get confident because I give them small pots, but they don't learn when I take all their money.  And that's the problem with these players: They don't learn.

I'm almost embarrassed for them.  It is actually quite ridiculous.  To face them in real life would be a pleasure, but I would take no honor in it.  I would take their money, because that is the rules of the game we are engaged in, but there would be no honor in defeating an opponent who is so unskilled as to think that is an effective strategy.  To be quite frank, I'd rather face a skilled opponent and lose my money than to face these morons and take all their chips. 

So, if you are interested in playing me, I play under Doug Brunell on Facebook.  I'm not there all the time, but I am there a few times a week.  I'm playing at the lower end tables usually, though I will be playing tournaments soon.  Hope to see you there, but don't be an idiot or you'll soon find yourself refreshing your chips.  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Big Disaster

My daughter loves Little Big Planet for her PSP, and I will admit that I have grown quite fond of the game.  What I've become even more enamored with, however, is it's level design editor.  It is one of the most encompassing and complete one's I've ever encountered in a game, and I decided to use it to create a few levels for my little girl.

Every night she's with me (not nearly often enough), I tell her a bedtime story.  I've been doing this for years, and they all revolve around this central theme of her being a princess.  Mentally, I have her kingdom laid out, her castle laid out and a cast of characters that populate her world.  I decided this would be the best thing to do a few levels on.  Unfortunately, my idea is bigger than my talent.

I was populating the first level with traps and score bubbles when something devastating happened.  Everything fell apart.  I came into the game and gravity had taken control of everything I had not fastened correctly, leaving a mess that looked like Chile after the most recent earthquake.  This was not cool.

On the plus side, though, it showed me what I needed to do to prevent this from happening again.  Months of work were done the proverbial tubes, and if I didn't want to have this become a habit, I had to figure out exactly what I needed to do to prevent such a tragedy.

I think I got it now, though I am slightly hesitant to test it out on play mode just yet.  I have one or two more tweaks, and then I'll be ready.

Creating a video game from bits and pieces has given me all kinds of new respect for game designers.  Granted, this is nowhere near as complicated, but it's difficult enough.  Plus, I only get to design one level at a time.  The makes of something like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are doing things are a far larger scale with a lot more going on.  Frankly, I don't understand why more game designers don't kill themselves.

Eventually this first level will be done.  I won't post it to share (nor will I post any of the levels based on her bedtime stories) because it is for her and her alone.  The only accolades or complaints I'm seeking shall come from her.  I will succeed only if she enjoys, and fail if she doesn't.  That's the only criteria I care about, and it's the only one I should care about.

The next level, though, is going to blow her mind ... guaranteed.  I'm ready.  I know what I'm doing, and I mapped the whole thing out on paper (something I should have done here).

But if that one falls apart ...  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Just Got Some Hay Bales!

Farmville is one of those things I just don't get, like binge drinking and the Irish.  I have friends who play it (obsess over it is more like it), but I've never tried it and have no real desire to do so.  It's not because I think it looks ridiculous (I do), but because I'm afraid it may become one of those new addictions that I run into from time to time.  Soon, instead of writing and trying to get crap done around the house, I'll be planting pumpkins and trying to get acquire donkeys.

About the most gaming I'm doing these days is Lego Batman with my daughter and designing a Little Big Planet for her.  I can't see spending an hour or so a day sowing rows of corn and loading wagons (or whatever the hell it is you do).  It has been said, though, despite my dislike of it, social gaming is to be something gaming companies are going to be paying far more attention to, though the way to make money off it is still a bit cloudy.

Maybe someday I'll engage in some wars with Mafia or vampire types.  Until then, though, I'm staying off the fucking farm.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Minis Have Arrived?

Considered a miss, the PSP Go may not have set sales on fire, but it did show the world that Sony is giving serious consideration to the path cell phones are on.  Minis, the games you can download on the PlayStation Network, are Sony's answer to iPhone (and the like) apps.  This plan seems to be working.

The PSP,  which is what I play Minis on, is obviously a handheld system.  When dealing with a handheld system, I tend to think the games should be shorter in length as opposed to the epic games you play on the PS3.  I don't mind the longer games, but sometimes you just want to dive into something that's going to last about 15 minutes.  That's where the Minis come in (though they haven't taken off like gangbusters just yet).  There are all kinds of titles to fit just about every taste, and they are meant to be played in short bursts.  They appeal to the app mindset, as well, but I don't think they'll cause anyone who plays games on their phone to consider a PSP simply for the Minis.

If you want a PSP, you either already have one or are saving up for one.  I can't see some iPhone user who has downloaded a Tetris-clone thinking, "This is great!  I bet the Minis on the PSP are even better.  I've got to get one."  It's just not going to happen.

For PSP users, however, these games are like a godsend, and if they sell well I can only see them getting better.  They are affordable, enjoyable, and don't eat up a lot of your time.  As they become greater in number, though, there will be more crap to wade through, so the reviews and word-of-mouth will become even more important.  (Big fan of Tetris here.  Nobody likes blowing $60 on a bad game, but at least you can always say you got a few hours of play out of it.  $5.00 for a crappy game that is short in length almost seems worse.

Sony, which has had a series of missteps that seemed to start with the pricing of the PS3 and most recently occurred with the aforementioned PSP Go, has it right this time. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Final Fantasy Freaks

I want to make two things perfectly clear: I'm not a prude, and I know there are all kinds of weird kinks out there.  There is porn dedicated to women having their feet glued to the floor, to men who like to screw horses and so on.  What I never guessed was porn created around the world of Final Fantasy.

I've never played any of the Final Fantasy games.  I never played them because I didn't like the name.  I know it sounds weird, but if it's the final fantasy there shouldn't be more than one of them.  I know the story behind the name and all that, but it still won't get me to buy them.  Yes, I'm picky, but I bet you do some pretty stupid shit, too, like look at Final Fantasy porn.

So how the hell did I come across this (no pun intended)? 

I was going to do a post on the world of Final Fantasy games and wanted some art to go with it, so I did a Google search for "naked Final Fantasy."  That, of course, led to the wonderful world of Final Fantasy facials, fellatio and female submission. 

One site is Final Fantasy Hentai.  From here you can find porn dedicated to Tomb Raider, too.  What the hell?  Is there such a lack of porn on the Internet that masturbating to images of Lara Croft is the only thing that will get people off now?  Do people have so much trouble relating to real females that polygons are easier to deal with and more exciting?

I always looked at the Final Fantasy universe as something inhabited by people with spikey hair fantasies and the mindset that bigger is always better.  Now I realize it is also populated with socially awkward bedroom masturbaters with little to no communication skills.

We live in a world where Senators (who are also sexually deviant in their own boring way) take the Grand Theft Auto franchise to task for its use of sex and violence, yet make no mention of "A Real Yuna, and a Real Cum Shot."  Perhaps they, like pimple-faced 13-year-old boys and sexually experimenting twentysomething females, are enjoying the world of Final Fantasy filth a little too much.

More power to you, freaks!  I'll stick with crush videos and secret footage of drunk girlfriends urinating.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That Sick, Sweet Addiction Returns

It started off innocent enough.  My daughter challenged me to a game of Space Invaders Extreme.  I am not one to let a challenge go unmet, so I agreed. 

And I was hooked again.

Previously it had been months since I touched the PSP game.  Not that I didn't like it.  I do ... a lot.  I just thought I'd give it a rest for a spell and focus on a few other games.  This one, however, is like crack.  You can tell yourself you'll play a few games, and then three weeks later you are still going at it.

If you've read my previous posts on the subject, you know I was never a huge fan of the original game, though I had it for my Atari 2600.  This version of the game, however, is so insanely addictive that three minutes of it sends me on a bender of massive proportions.

I think every gamer has one of those games.  A game they just strive to better themselves at no matter how often it's beat them or they've beat it.  I have a few of those, but this one ranks at the top.

I suppose soon I'll put it away again, vowing not to go back to it for a few months.  Telling myself I want to play something else.

And then my daughter will throw down the gauntlet and it'll start all over again.           

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mortal Kombat Vomit Attack

The man on the left is Bo' Rai Cho from Mortal Kombat: Deception.  If you have any interest in video games, you've heard of the Mortal Kombat franchise, which includes outrageous attacks and fatalities.  The man on the left has one of the strangest attacks in the series.

Puke Puddle.

That's right.

Punk Puddle.

Attack with Bo' Rai Cho and one of the things you can make this drunken warrior do is spew vomit onto the ground so that his opponent slips and slides in it, giving you an extra few seconds to attack.

Effective?  Yeah.  Civilized?  Only if you live in a frat.

I'm not a huge fan of the franchise, but I play the games sometimes to relieve stress, and while my daughter enjoys the Soul Caliber franchise more, she's been known to kick my ass at this game, too.  I've never shown her the Puke Puddle, though.  I may have to now.

If there is a stranger attack in the Mortal Kombat games, I am unaware of it.  I don't find pulling out spines or beheading people to be all that strange, but puking on the floor for your opponent to mess their boots up in?  Yeah, that kinda takes the cake.  It's over the top even for this series.

What's next?  Penis bludgeoning?  Breast smothering?  Scabs into eyes?  Maybe those exist, too, and I just haven't found them yet.

It would not surprise me ...  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Conquered, Yet Defeated

I did it. Finally. I finished the first Skatefest round on The Simpsons Skateboarding yesterday. It was, to say the least, a frustrating exercise in nonsense.

If you read my previous post on this game, you know how I feel about it and the thing it calls a "control scheme." Wonky, at best. Torturous is an even better description. It is one of those games you never expect to be good, but are surprised by how flawed it is.

But I finished that first round. Wound up getting the last Constitution and then finally achieving the goal of a new skateboard. And then I couldn't help but think I have to do that for a bunch of other areas.

And then I promptly took the game out of the PS2 and buried it deep in a stack of other games so it would not taunt me.

I will play it again ... someday. I will finish it, and then I will most likely sell it. This game will not break me, but if the other levels are just as hard I may end up breaking it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Demon Attack!

Back in the days of the Atari 2600, any game was a good game. If the game had an exiciting box, all the better. As a kid interested in sci-fi, fantasy and video games, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to see Demon Attack at the mall. Just look at the box. . I mean, fuck! Crazy looking robotic dinosaur-like things with rockets flying through space! How could that be bad?

As with all Atari 2600 games, however, the box was more like the concept you were supposed to imagine while playing.

The game itself, from what I remember wasn't horrible. Bird-like creatures swooped down and you shot at them. It's a concept that worked for countless games like Space Invaders, Centipede and Galaga. Simple idea. Fun game because of it.

Imagic, which put out the game, often made games that used the full color palette of the 2600. The game would seem quaint now, but at the time stuff like this was hotcakes. It attracted you to it, and it kept you playing. It sure beat the minimalist Pac-Man approach to gaming.

Despite the fun factor, I do remember feeling slightly ripped off, as I usually did whenever I bought a 2600 game. These things from the sky did not resemble the awesomeness that was on the cartridge box. Instead, they looked like the things from other games with different titles. Still, with a name like Demon Attack, you kind of can't go wrong.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Torture Porn Comes to Video Games

I hate the term "torture porn," but it applies in this case. The game in question is The Simpsons Skateboarding and its only goal in life seems to be to torture its players, but since it's the Simpsons you can't stop playing (that and you take it as a personal challenge).

First a little history.

I did not buy this game. Years ago, when it first came out, my local Fox affiliate had a contest to win a copy. I decided I was going to win it ... and did. I regret it.

I used to skate a lot, but I was no master. I didn't expect this game to even give me something like a reasonable skateboarding experience. I did expect, however, for the controls to be at least responsive and there to be some semblance of balance put into it. None of those things exist.

The controls respond every time except when you need them to, like doing an ollie off a ramp. If you are trying that, it is hit or miss. I remember, also, from my skateboard days that you could actually stop the board if you had to. That's not always the case here. Again, it seems like the more you want to stop the board, the less likely you will be able to do so. And if you want to head in a specific direction? Well, don't bump into anything or you'll be turned the opposite way.

It goes without saying that much of what you have to do is timed.

I hate letting a game defeat me, so I keep trying with it, and I keep getting frustrated enough to want to break the fucking game in eight pieces and bury them in my compost heap.

But I won't. I'll keep trying until I get mad enough to put it down for a while, and once I complete it I will sell it.

I wish I never entered that contest.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010