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