Time to don your mythril helmets, draw your two-handed battle axes, and start writing some reviews of some of your favorite RPG titles! This week, we're trying something new at Playitreviewit, where we select a particular genre for people to wax poetically about.
You can go as recent as Fallout 3, or transport back to the days of yore, and conjure up a review of your favorite Zork title.
This is the first installment of Playitreviewit's themed review week, and if you aren't a big RPG fan, don't worry; there will be plenty of other genres to work with in the weeks and months to come.
After a relaxing holiday, we're back with another exciting installment of Dipswitch for you all to enjoy.
This weeks comic deals with an issue that is bound to touch the nerve of quite a few people. There was anonymous post on the site F13.net in which the poster outlines an encounter he had with a recruiter. He happened to mention, in passing conversation, that he was highly addicted to MMO's in the early 2000's, but kicked the habit in 2006, and barely plays anymore. The recruiter proceeds to tell him that some companies he is involved with refuse to even accept applications from known World of Warcraft players because of side-effects from addiction to the game.
Whether this is in fact true or not, I'm sure some people are going to feel the urge to throw their hands up in disgust at this kind of accusation. I have to admit, from my own personal experience with playing MMO's, I can understand where employers are coming from. I played countless hours of Ultima Online and Everquest 1 back in the day, at the detriment of my real life. I happened to be in school at the time, so the only person I was potentially hurting was myself, but I am able to extrapolate my behavior at that time, to how I would behave if I was working a full time job.
Obviously, there are some people in the world with the self-discipline to dedicate themselves to a game like WoW, and also fulfill their other responsibilities. Unfortunately, there are probably more people that fall outside of that category, and who's entire lives suffer because of an addiction to ANYTHING, let alone a Massively Multi-Player Online Game.
It's really a difficult situation. I don't believe people should be utterly disqualified from applying for a job, just because they play a game. It would be like rooting out people who play Grand Theft Auto IV for fears they will shoot up the office. That being said, I can also understand at-will employers taking precautions from hiring someone who may turn out to not be able to fulfill their responsibilities.
My 2 cents? I would recommend that if you play WoW, or any other MMO, just don't say anything about it at a job interview, just like I wouldn't recommend posting pictures of yourself passed out in a pool of your own vomit at your sisters wedding on your public Facebook account (common sense). If it's going to interfere with your work, it will do so, and you will most likely be terminated. If it doesn't, then you will be gainfully employed, and no one will be the wiser.
Cross-over games rock, in some cases. Marvel Vs. Capcom is a great example. There's a game that most people in the US wouldn't know about called Namco X Capcom that provides for hours of fun with your favorite Namco and Capcom characters. All wonderful examples of taking two different franchises, bringing them together like peanut butter and jelly, and having an explosion of awesome in your mouth.
And then there are the lesser known cross-overs that make you want to check in for a treatment of shock therapy.
* Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis, which pits you against some of your favorite Namco characters such as Richard Miller from Time Crisis, Heihachi Mishima and Yoshimitsu from Tekken, and Pac-Man. You spend hours of fun lobbing balls at Pac-Man and watching him mistake them for tiny power pellets.
* New International Track and Field, staring such namstays as Simon Belmont, Frogger and Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2 engaged in the track and field events we know and love. Nothing like watching Pyramid Head try and negotiate a trip over the high jump bar!
I'm still waiting for the inevitable cross-over of the Gears of War guys, with the ladies from Barbie Horse Adventures.
The blame game is one of my least favorite activities, especially since there's no achievements. The media loves playing the blame game with video games, from anti-social behavior, to obesity, to violence, there's nothing that people can't blame video games for. I'm surprised we haven't seen a story on how video games are causing the economic downturn! Ok, maybe that's a little overboard. The point is, people often like to shift blame to others, in order to avoid facing the reality of the situation.
If we focus solely on the blaming of violence on video games, I see a severe gap between reality, and what the media portrays reality to be. If someone commits an act of violence, and has had any interaction with a violent video game in their life, then the focus becomes that the violent video game drove them to a life of violence. The problem is, I know dozens of people who play violent video games, and do not have violent tendencies. Furthermore, there have been countless violent attacks throughout history, and yet violent video games have only been in our lives for the past 20 years or so, and in the mainstream for even less.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for this situation. The next time there is a school shooting, or a murder, or someone is attacked, and video games happen to be in the criminals life, they will be blamed. The only defense that we as gamers have against this phenomenon is to act like respectable, honest, and mature individuals who do not engage in acts of violence or dereliction, so that the media can not hold any more of these instances over our head.
We're doomed :(
Rumors fuel the collective fire of the video game industry. I can't imagine what sites like N4G.com would do without them on a day to day basis. From the sublime, to the ridiculous, it's as if some people couldn't handle a daily dose of reality without a sprinkling of what could be.
I have to admit, I love rumors just as much as the next person. I read one, and if it tickles my fancy, I sit there and feel my inner child begin to awaken and bounce with excitement.
Sometimes, I do wonder if whomever came up with a rumor was on drugs, but invariably, I believe rumors are founded in some form of fact. Perhaps some of the more outlandish ones are expanded upon in order to garner more hype (*cough* traffic *cough) but you will invariably find out something down the line that you can connect to dots to.
The one disappointing thing about the advent of the internet, is that there are so few secrets anymore. From Barack Obama's cabinet choices, to the exclusives being shown at the VGA awards (don't forget, first God of War 3 and Uncharted 2 footage this Sunday, December 14th at 9PM Eastern!), there is a severe dearth of surprise left when it comes to announcing anything of consequence in our daily lives.
I really do miss the days when I would be utterly blind sided by an announcement.
Hearken back to the days of yore, when Nintendo was known for titles that scintillated the mind, body and soul. Hold that image in your mind. Caress it, coddle it, love it. Now, take the heaviest object you can find, and crush it with all the strength you can muster, and watch it shatter into a billion twinkling pieces.
Welcome to reality! As this weeks Dipswitch dutifully reminds us, we stand at the precipice of a holiday season that does not contain a single compelling title for the Nintendo Wii; unless you like gardening, and watching fireworks. I can not think of a console released to this point that does not elicit a feeling of want from deep inside my belly, other than the Wii. Nintendo has successfully brought in many new console users (although I do not know a soul who actually use their Wii anymore) and at the same time, alienated millions of people who stood by them for all these years.
I wonder if, in the long run, will it be worth it?
I have to apologize about the delay in posting the latest Dipswitch but I ran into some technical difficulties and was unable to access any of the new content!
This weeks comic makes me wonder where the initial idea to Legofy movies into video games came from. I'm going to guess Microserfs may have had something to do with it. I can remember reading that book in my teens, and day dreaming of not only working at Microsoft, but also of a game where you could build anything you want with Legos, and go nuts with it in a virtual world. This really never came to pass, although, LittleBigPlanet came the closest so far.
The games created by Travelers Tales have truly become a phenomenon, but definitely fall short in terms of real depth. While it is quite apparent that the Lego games are designed for kids, I can't help but pointing out that running around pressing one or two buttons, never really being able to die, can get pretty mundane after a while. I'm really hoping that TT will one day step outside of the niche they have dug for themselves, and try creating some Lego games that really push the genre.
Until that point, enjoy Dipswitch, and have a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!
LittleBigPlanet has come and gone now, and well, I don't see much of a revolution having occurred to this point. John Davidson had an editorial in the most recent EGM, in which he extolled the virtues of LittleBigPlanet (if it succeeded), while at the same time pointing out that when LittleBigPlanet was shown to the uneducated masses, they were either totally befuddled, or utterly turned off by what they saw.
In fact, the only interesting news I have seen emerge from the release of LittleBigPlanet, is that which alien captures so well in this weeks Dipswitch, that of Big Brother Sony swooping in when people even begin to overstep their bounds from a copyright perspective.
Seems to me, that if you are going to create a game that encourages people to think outside the box, and tap into their creative reserves, you shouldn't go about punishing them when they start to tread into familiar territory. I assume Sony doesn't want any more lawsuits on their hands at this point, which is why they are choosing to stave off any unwanted visits from another companies legal team.
Unfortunately for Sony, it is human nature to idolatrize that what you love, and since LittleBigPlanet is a video game, on a video game console, played by people who enjoy video games, it seems within reason that the creators will dip into what they know and love to design much of their content. Hell, people are even doing it with politics.
Seems like something Sony should have dealt with long ago, as to not discourage users from exploring all sorts of ways of expressing their creativity. If LittleBigPlanet is built upon the shoulders of creativity, how can Sony hope to make this concept a success, when they are basically saying "Be creative... but not that creative..."?
Dipswitch travels into territory this week that no man has entered before; MAGIC PC LAND! Yes, he went there, folks, and it was a place filled with magic and mystery. A land where computers actually functioned the way they were supposed to, as opposed to only running certain applications. A land where man and game can come together as one, in high resolution, anti-aliased, anisotropic goodness.
This land is unimaginable for some, but for others, it is an attainable reality. Crysis actually runs there - some say at maximum settings - a legend often told to young children to make them goto sleep at night. They would awaken the next day in hopes of being able to experience this reality themselves, only to find that their PC was not filled with enough magic.
Some day, science may be able to figure out how to truly unlock the power of the Magic PC, and bring it to the lives of every man, woman and child, so that they can finally experience what it is like to truly immerse themselves in this mystical reality.
Until then, we can only dream, can't we?
Unfortunately, today's Dipswitch enters into another realm of which I have never ventured before, although I easily can infer what the jist of the message is.
I actually enjoy it when there is some incongruity in different forms of media. Sure, the guy manning the Guerrilla Radio in Fallout 3 is trapped in a bunker, but it sure adds a lot more to the game than hearing him talk about the quality of the mold in the bathroom, or the state of his recent bowel movements.
There are plenty of people out there who literally pull their hair out when a particular monitor on their favorite Sci-Fi show is showing the wrong readings from the gamma burst cluster in the system, but those people are obviously too far gone to realize that it's just a TV show, and people make mistakes. Other times, you enter into the realm of awesomeness, like when you introduce the Gears of War Toaster. I think we can forgive the guys at Bethesda for the indiscretion, which can easily be explained away by the fact that Three Dog recently acquired the omnipotence perk. Begs the question, though, as to why he's still in that bunker.
Stay tuned for next week's Dipswitch when we finally move away from the realm of Fallout, into a world that I am slightly more comfortable with.
I haven't had the chance to play Fallout 3 much, so this weeks Dipswitch is out of my league.
I did get a chance to dip my feet into Fallout last week, and I have to say, the water felt pretty tepid. I understand the grandiosity of what lay before me, but there was nothing about the title that made me feel like there was a connection, a charisma to the title. In full disclosure, I only made it out of the Vault, and wandered around a bit, smashing random objects with my baseball bat, so perhaps things will pick up once I actually get into a groove.
The magic just wasn't there, and I've found that a lot with sequels lately. Gears of War 2 arrived recently, and I was left with the same sour taste in my mouth at the start. Fortunately, after a couple acts, the magic began to return. Fable 2 was a disappointment at the beginning as well, but once I started to get the ball rolling, everything about Fable was enjoyable to me. I literally found myself looking forward to going back to the game and serving ale at the pub, or chopping wood in Oakvale.
My only explanation is that I have developed an anti-disappointment mechanism, so that I won't be disappointed by games anymore. I think this developed after being so let down by Fable 1 on a deeply unconscious level, and it is activated now whenever I play a title I'm excited for. It's funny, because when Dead Space arrived, I was instantly enthralled by the title, and never really felt that rope slackening until it was over.
Once I have waded through the other titles on my plate, I will get back to Fallout 3, and I will most likely enjoy the hell out of it. In the mean time, I hope others who have played the game already will enjoy this comic just as much, and Thursday's Fallout 3 themed comic as well.
Another day, another Fable 2 comic at Dipswitch.
I don't get the dog. I'm sorry if it's short sighted, or even insulting to some, but I just don't see the point. Is it neat to have a dog that follows me around? Sure, and I enjoy throwing it a ball sometimes. Unfortunately, it seems like its sole purpose is to act as one of those metal detectors you see on TV to help you find junk at the beach.
I've always admired Molyneux's drive to create a more realistic experience in games (see Black and White). Not only is he trying to improve the experience, but he tries to do it in a more subtle way than just having a hyper realistic human AI player following you around. I thought the interaction with pets in Black and White, although not perfect, was really impressive in terms of how the AI would react throughout the game. Unfortunately, I feel the dog is a huge step back, and almost dumbs down what he's trying to do. Don't get me wrong, it's neat to have a dog around, but it just seems tacked on to the experience. Based on the fact that it is with you all the time, you would think it would play a slightly more pivotal role.
Hell, he could at least have installed a dog park in Bowerstone where you could use your dog to pick up chicks.
Well, being the artist of Dipswitch here at PiRi is an honor, and doesn't have as much clout as you might imagine. However, last month I contacted James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd (nee Angry Nintendo Nerd) and asked him for an interview.
He obliged to a net-terview, and would answer some questions for me. So, sending him a picture I did of him as Link to sort of grease the wheels, AVGN mailed me the answers to my questions.
1. What do your parents think of what you do?
I'm not aware if they watch it, but they've always been supportive of what I do, no matter how eccentric.
2. Have they always been supportive? I have to ask, since my favorite episode 'The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout' has stuff that would make my father laugh, and my mother cry.
Yes, they have. Visual shit gags have that kind of mixed reaction. Again, not sure if my parents have seen that.
3. What's your favorite game on the old school systems?
Hard question. I've always liked the 3 on SNES, Super Mario World, Zelda: Link to the Past, and Super Metroid. Amazing games.
4. There's a lot of similarity between your style of action sequences and direction to other indie-style directors of horror fare, like Sam Raimi, and Tobe Hooper. Who would you say are your influences when it comes to direction?
The early Peter Jackson movies like Bad Taste and Brain Dead. Sam Raimi, the Evil Dead movies for sure. Romero movies like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, yeah.
5. Do you use reviews to determine what you buy? Or do you rely on the recommendations of fans, friends, etc.?
I do take a lot of recommendations for movies to watch. I do read reviews sometimes.
6. What's the advice you'd give any aspiring web-based humorists out there hoping to get exposure? (Full Disclosure: This was a bit of net whoring on my part. I wanted to go to someone who's good at driving traffic for some free intel.)
Find something new, and something that people can relate to, perhaps.
7. What's the one movie from the 80s you'd like to see made into a video game?
Hmmm. What hasn't been done? Maybe Big Trouble In Little China. There was a Commodore 64 version amongst others at the time, but maybe that one could be remade.
8. Do you get recognized on the street at all? What's that like?
I do. It's weird. I don't mind it. Just don't expect me to be like AVGN in real life. haha
9. Will there be a Nostalgia Critic / AVGN battle part 2? And will it have a proper number for the sequel?
No plans yet. It would probably be called "The Last Final Conclusive Battle II" or something ridiculous.
10. Finally, what are you most proud of in your body of work?
The Deader the Better and Legend of the Blue Hole are two movies of mine that sort of hint to what kind of feature films I plan to make in the future, so usually I would point people to those.
Thanks for having me
Well, James, thank you for the answers. If you guys are interested in checking out James' movies, you can see The Deader the Better here and Legend of the Blue Hole here.
You can reach AVGN's video reviews here. I recommend his Godzillathon. It was funny as all hell.
Again, thanks to James Rolfe for the interview. I'm currently seeking to interview someone over at Raven Software on the upcoming Wolfenstein game. Check the forums for the thread!
Dan (Alienmastermind) Houser
Dipswitch this week tackles the long awaited Fable 2. Fable 1 was a game I was truly excited for, until I had my hopes dashed when the game was finally released. In same old Peter Molyneux fashion, much was promised, not too much was delivered. It's almost as if he views making games as political campaigns; promising everything he can, and then under delivering in the end when reality sets in. I actually was so disappointed, that I returned the game 2 days after purchasing it, and never looked back until I downloaded the game a few months ago on XBox Live.
After the stinging pain of disappointment had worn off, I actually enjoyed Fable for what itw as. It has a great sense of humor, and it definitely was ambitious in scope, but it definitely did not revolutionize the way it was supposed to. When Fable 2 was announced, I greeted it with cautious trepidation, yet I can't deny there was a glimmer of excitement after watching the title in action. I was not going to let myself fall into the same old trap that I had before, and was able to look at it with a rational maturity that I did not apply to the previous incarnation.
Co-op was one experience that truly had me jazzed for Fable 2. I was looking forward to being able to share my experience in an RPG with a friend, something that I had never done before aside from my old days playing Ultima Online and Everquest. No matter what you say about the Fable series, there is something magical about the world that Lionhead creates, and I was really looking forward to sharing that experience with a friend. Putting on dance parties for fame and renown, fighting off hoardes of bandits, perhaps even taking our significant others out for a nice meal.
As I stated in this piece, the Co-op for Fable 2 was a huge letdown for me, and many others as well. Had the functionality not been there in the first place, I would have still bought Fable 2, because I wanted to see how it was itterated upon from the first to the second. I enjoyed the concept of Fable 1 with the power of the 360 behind it. Unfortunately, that enjoyment was only heightened by the idea of the Co-op functionality, only to be dashed by the fact that I cannot bring my good friends along to do the things that I want to do.
Regardless, I am enjoying Fable 2. Someone said the other day that Fable reminds them of the world of Harry Potter, and I definitely agree with that summation. It definitely doesn't have the same level of charm and magic that HP does, but there is a charm, a spark, about this title, that makes invokes a smile whenever I play.
Enjoy the comic, and stay tuned for more Dipswitch later this week.
Today is a very special day for everyone; Adult Cosplay Is OK Day!
Feel free to dress up as all the fantasy characters that you normally do in the private of your own home, and wander the streets without fear of being ridiculed! Get drunk, steal candy from little children, and be sure to egg and TP as many houses as possible.
Nah, stay safe, and check out the special Halloween edition of Dipswitch!
I'm really glad alien decided to pen this weeks comic having to do with Dead Space, as I have been literally steeped in the title for the past week.
I have played a lot of games in my time, so I'd put my judgment up against anyone's when it comes to whether a game is good or not. When it was still warm outside, and the sun was up until after 7 PM, I began to examine the coming holiday catalog, and plan out what I was going to be plunking my money down on. Dead Space was pretty far down on the list, mostly because the initial media I had viewed on the title was pretty underwhelming. I felt it would fall somewhere between decent, and totally over-hyped garbage, and pretty much forgot about it. I'd like to thank whatever force drove me to pick up the title when it arrived in mid-October, because I would be kicking myself at this point if I hadn't.
Dead Space is simply superb. I won't go too much into it, (review coming soon at Playitreviewit), but what I will say is, if you do not have a weak heart, and you are not absolutely opposed to third person shooters, you must play this game. There is a very good chance that I could crown this title my Game of the Year (although that probably would only happen if Gears 2 is a total turd). Everything about Dead Space exudes quality, intensity, and gore. It will leave you absolutely on edge until the last second, coupled with some of the best production values I've seen in a title before.
Buy the game, read the comic, enjoy it, you will not be disappointed.
For everyone who has doubted EA, and said that they make recycled crap, Dead Space is an enormous F U.
What are you waiting for?
Today, Dipswitch takes us to the not-so-distant future, where all our problems can be solved by digging holes and creating miniature mountains. Think about the possibilities: you stumble home from a night at the bars, and can't find your keys. No problem! Just dig a hole under your doorstep.
Am I the only one who enjoyed the Fracture demo? I was impressed with the functionality of manipulating the world around me. Unfortunately, I saw no reason to move past the demo and buy the game, as I couldn't see playing the game for more than 20 minutes and enjoying it. That's the problem with a lot of games now adays; a developer creates an innovative, interesting idea, puts it on a pedestal, and places it on a giant mound of shit. Why can't a game with a really interesting new mechanic, be built around a really great game?
My feeling is, with the incredible budgets of many titles now a-days, you cannot take a chance on a title that has a new mechanic that may not work, and build an epic, AA or AAA title around it. Furthermore, there has to be an aspect of taking quite a bit of time to flesh out and test the game mechanic, which takes away from the other aspects of the title.
[URL='http://deadspace.ea.com/"]Dead Space[/URL] is a great title to reference in this situation. I am absolutely jiving on this title, and while I attribute it to some great design by the developers, I also attribute a portion to the fact that the Dead Space mechanics are pretty tried and tested. Third person, over the shoulder, shoot em up game. There's nothing too fancy being done here, so time can be spent polishing everything about the game, as opposed to focusing a microscope on one portion of the title.
Even if you were to bring in a comparison to Half Life 2, and the use of the Gravity Gun, it's pretty easy to realize that while the Gravity Gun was innovative, the game was not built around it, and it was used in a way that did not detract from the focus on the rest of the title.
At end of the day, though, it comes down to the fact that Lucasarts probably felt that the idea was interesting, but did not put the necessary budget, or talent, in order to make it really successful. The game industry truly needs to come to the point where it can try new ideas, and not have to worry about taking the risks necessary to bring those new ideas to market.
A man can dream.
See you next week for more Dipswitch!
One of the core reasons that I was going to purchase Fable 2 for, was the co-op functionality that was promised to me. Although I had not followed every single facet of the title, I did read a decent amount, and tune in to quite a few live presentations of the game. Not once was I greeted with the nugget of information that Fable 2 co-op would be an utter waste of time. In fact, my good friend bapenguin over at co-optimus - who's site is dedicated to co-op gaming, and who went to an event for Fable 2 just a few days before it launched - was totally unaware of the lacking features from the game.
Bait. And. Switch. Bait. And. Fucking. Switch. I seem to remember a few weeks ago when they said co-op would not be included until a week after it came out due to it not being finished. I wonder why? Maybe because Molyneux didn't want the reviews to point out that "Oh yeah, there's co-op in the game, but unfortunately, it's utterly gimped, and Lionhead has been lying to you this entire time".
We all know that Peter Molyneux is known for promising more than he can deliver on, but this is in a whole different league. There's the utter hyperbole that he has unleashed in the past, and he has been very honorable and eaten his crow pie for his mistakes, and I respect that. Unfortunately, much of that respect he garnered in my book has been erased by this, simply because this has been such blatant obfuscation of the facts.
Let me explain my gripe for a minute. When I play a game, I want to feel that I am accomplishing something. Whether it be progressing my character, or with the advent of the Xbox 360, receiving achievements, it's really appealing to have a sense of progression. Co-op, to me, is such a wonderful feature in a game. I have had hours and hours of enjoyment from playing Gears of War 2 with half a dozen different friends, not just because of the time I spent with them enjoying the game, but also the sense of progression I felt for being able to progress in the achievements. In fact, they reward you for playing co-op with the Dom achievements in the game. My time happens to be precious to me, and if I am going to spend hours on end playing a game, I'd like to feel like I am actually accomplishing something with what I'm doing. With the number of hours that I'd like to put into Fable 2 progressing my first character, and then potentially even starting the game over and following a different path with another character, how can I justify spending time playing co-op with a friend? I also have to factor in that there are a plethora of games that are out, and coming soon, that I will have to invest my time in, including Fallout 3 which will devour many many hours. So I have to ask myself again, why would I want to wander around in a game, making no real progress to my own game that I spent $60 on, so that I can help my friend make progress on his game?
Just so I don't seem like I'm ignoring it, I understand that you can get gold and experience playing co-op that transfers back to your game, but I'd like to point out that I can get gold and experience playing my own game, while advancing other aspects of my save file. Have a big quest ahead of me that I need to do? Can't go and join my friend and do it with him, because I'll have to just do it over again on my own game.
But even then, the crux of my issue is not with the actual featureset, but moreso with the fact that I was lied to.
The fact that this has gone fairly unnoticed across the web is also quite disconcerting, because the gaming public seems to be ok with being lied to. In the past, there has been the occasion where a feature will not work properly due to lax bug testing, or a feature will be promised and not live up to what was laid out, but I cannot ever remember something like this happening. What happens when an even more integral mechanic is promised in a game, and when the game arrives in stores, it isn't there with no warning from the developer? Is that the way we want to see the industry go?
I haven't had much of a change to play the single player campaign of Fable 2, but from what I've heard, it's terrific. I really have no doubt that Fable 2 is going to be a good game, but it doesn't take away from the utterly sour feeling I have in my gut that I was lied to by the people who made the game. I find the whole situation totally unacceptable, and I'd really love to get an explanation from someone at Lionhead.
I won't re-hash the old debate of waffles versus pancakes here. Today, we are all waffle eaters.
It's true that many out there have suggested a sort of uprising of our robotic slaves was just a heartbeat away. So, in this spirit, the online gaming spot known as Tsumea along with THQ have put up a bounty on the first programmer who can create a 'bot that can play like a human. The first one to create lifelike AI will be granted money, and an automatic target painted on his back for time travelling resistance fighters.
Event Date: 15/12/2008
This year will see the first international competition to create a
perfect computer game playing bot – a bot that you can't distinguish from a human player.
The 2K Bot Prize Contest will take place this December, as part of the Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games, in Perth, Western Australia. Australian game development company 2K Australia (creator of the award-winning BioShock) is providing a sizable prize of $7,000 cash plus a trip to their Canberra studio for the team that can create a bot to
fool a panel of expert judges into thinking it is actually a human player.
A "bot" is a character in a computer game that is controlled using artificial intelligence. Bots are common in combat games. The very best bots act a lot like a human player: they run, they hide, they make surprise attacks - they even taunt the other players with well-chosen words and gestures.
Bots that play like humans can make a game more fun. But it's not easy to make a bot play the way a human does. A bot that never misses or makes a mistake is frustrating to play. A bot that always does the same things is
predictable and boring to play, and easy to beat.
While the contest is all about fun and games, there is a serious side to it too. More realistic bots could help make a game a commercial success. Bots are also used in serious simulations for defence and security planning
(but then they're called "intelligent agents"). A bot that can adapt to different opponents
and learn to play different games as well as a human can would be a breakthrough
in artificial intelligence, with far-reaching consequences.
Man, why is it ALWAYS Australia trying to bring about the apocalypse? Well, I for one will NOT be calling gasoline 'petrol' any time soon. I love my Aussie and Kiwi brethren, but stop trying to create a robot annihilation, thank you very much!
Yeah, far-reaching consequences. Skynet is here, gentle reader. Thanks, Toy Headquarters. First it was the Home Alone NES game...now, the whole world is your horrid petri dish!
I have to apologize for lack of a comic update last Thursday, I have had a lot going on and it totally slipped my mind. I promise it will never happen again.
This weeks comic comes a little late after the announcement of Ensembles closure, but it still is relevant. It is a sad day when one of the old studios goes under, especially one with a pedigree like Ensemble has. Age of Empires was one of the first RTS' that I cut my teeth on, and I believe they truly had a grasp on the genre. It is disheartening that RTS's haven't found their place on console, and it really comes down to the controls. You truly cannot replace a keyboard and mouse with a console controller and hope to have the level of control over an RTS title. I haven't gotten a chance to try out the Endwar beta yet, but from what I've heard, the voice controls are decent, but nothing to write home about.
What we need is a game like Halo, only in RTS form. Many of us had been playing first person shooters for years and years on the PC, so Halo was nothing that new (albeit a great game). To the people who never had never truly enjoyed a good FPS game on a PC before, it was a total and absolute kick to the head, and ignited the FPS console genre as the staple of console gaming. If someone could implement a strong, userfriendly, competent user interface, then it would at least ignite a fire under the genre, and developers could figure out a way to itterate, and innovate.
I eagerly await that day.
This weeks comic is a little late to the party, but it still makes me smile. After years of enduring Jack Thompson's tirades, he finally got what was coming to him. It warms my heart that Thompson was finally stopped from perverting our legal system with his own personal crusade against video games. I often admire people who stand up for what they believe in, especially when they are a lone voice amongst many. That being said, Thompson stood up for what he believed in, in a totally disrespectful and unprofessional manner. I may not have liked, or agreed with what he was arguing, but had he approached it in a way that wasn't reminicent of a child throwing a tantrum, I would have at least been able to respect what he stood for.
Anyways, alienmastermind titled the comic based off the old arcade game Karate Champ. In full disclosure, I've never heard of this game before, let alone played it, so it holds no nostalgic value for me, hopefully it does for someone else. As for the actual crux of the comic, alien felt that Thompson reminded him of what the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice and Wonderland would have been like had he been real. I have to agree, and would love to see him arguing a case looking like he does in this piece.
Check out the next edition of dipswitch on Thursday!
In another new feature for Playitreviewit, I am going to start cobbling together some reviews from other sites, in order to give people a better idea of what the internet is thinking about the hot new games. Unfortunately, at this point, we cannot get any review copies of games, especially to people who use the site, so all reviews of games have to come after the title has arrived, and people get a chance to play. The ultimate goal on this site is to get publishers to buy into the idea of letting regular gamers start to review games, but that will only come when the site is a lot more popular, and people have built up some more credibility.
The first game to come under the microscope, is a title some of you may have heard of before called LittleBigPlanet. I was lucky enough to have tried the Beta, and I can tell you, this game is special. Personally, I was worried that the magic had worn off after the length of time it was in development, but I can honestly say that I had the biggest smile on my face while frolicking through this magical world.
Eurogamer had one of the first reviews up, and they started off the eventual wave of reviews by heaping a lot of praise on the title. The reviewer gushes about the graphics, and the charm of the game. He also does everything he can to compare LittleBigPlanet to a Nintendo game - appropriate since Nintendo is the king of platformers - and for those who are fans of this kind of fare, he clearly states that he believes LBP would achieve the Nintendo Seal of Approval. The only real downside he finds with the single player aspect is the lives and checkpoint system, which I have to agree with. You are only allowed a certain number of lives per checkpoint, and if you run out, back to the beginning of the game for you. The game exudes a relaxed experience, and yet, when the going gets tough, relaxing it is not.
The create mode is where things are slightly more gloomy, and I definitely can agree with him on his concerns here as well. The create mode of LittleBigPlanet is flush with features, and the ability to literally do almost anything your heart desires in the game. This is reflected in the fantastic levels already created in the beta. Unfortunately, the actual creation process is not quick, not easy, and not always so fun. The upside to this is that you will probably see a lot more quality out of the levels created, as opposed to the quantity created. The downside is that for those who were really looking forward to creating their own areas, the bar of entry may be a little high.
IGN also got their review of the game churned out today, and it was just as glowing as the Eurogamer review. The IGN review covers every minute detail of the game, so if you're looking to learn as much as you can about the title, head on over to their review instead of the Eurogamer one. Whether this is positive or not, IGN seems to reinforce much of Eurogamers feelings on the game. Regardless, IGN emphatically states that:
If you own a PlayStation 3, you cannot miss this. If you don't have a PS3 yet, this is the reason to get one.
I'd have to agree.
Keep an eye out for more Review Roundups in the future, especially with the fall rush already having begun.
Sorry that I didn't get this latest version of Dipswitch up yesterday. I was having interweb problems, and it was my birthday, so give me a break.
Can anyone tell me what was up with TGS this week? Was there one iota of interesting news that spilled forth from the conference? What happened to Sony's 13 unannounced titles? What happened to shock and awe, and all that good stuff? Team ICO, where are you? Sony needed a big hit at this show, as it has not only been lagging in the US, but also getting killed in Japan.
I remember when conventions used to ellicit excitement amongst the populous. E3 was a bust, Leipzig was a bust, and now TGS. I find myself wondering lately what there is that I have to be excited about. Oh yeah, Fallout 3, Gears 2, and Left 4 Dead.
Have a great weekend!
With the recent events that have been occurring, Playitreviewit has seen an uptick in the number of reviews being submitted for the site. This is a wonderful thing, and I encourage everyone to review on a regular basis, as it will help the site to continue to grow and flourish.
This week, we have some new comers to the review table, and they bring along some fresh new opinions on games both new and old.
First off, a review of Civilization IV: Colonization from the very prolific Ox. Here's a little sample of what Ox had to say:
I was a great fan of the original Col -- I still putter around with it a couple of times a year -- and this version compared nicely. Obviously graphics are much sharper than the original, but there are a couple of nice improvements over Civ IV: reflective water, for example. This cuts both ways: while the old game was highly cartoonish and iconic, the new version is more realistic (albeit still cartoonish) and therefore makes it more difficult to distinguish different types of colonist and different colonial buildings. Music is nice and understated. Anyone who has played the original Col, and even those who haven't, will find the basic gameplay pretty easy. Load European migrants onto your ship, take them to the New World, settle them in promising locales, ship valuable resources back to Europe, and repeat. Throw in diplomatic negotiations with native tribes who look askance at the theft of their ancient lands, rival Europeans who covet your colonies, and the King continually demanding greater and greater tribute, and you have a winning formula.
He liked the game, and suggests considering the game, especially if you are a fan of other Firaxis titles.
Next up is a review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, by our very own Dipswitch Author, alienmastermind. I have to interject here and say that although I haven't bought the game yet, I loved the demo for this title, and it seems that it carried over well to the full game for alien, even if it hasn't for many other people. Here is a snippet of what alienmastermind had to say:
This is the game that Star Wars fans are looking for. It's fun, it's well-told, and it has characters that everyone will care about. Most of all...IT'S CANON. This is the actual bridge between the prequels and original films. So, if you have a hankering to wield the Force, pick this game up. Download the Demo if you don't believe me. Though, understand that you're VERY powered up in the demo, which is about half the first level, with a few chopped cutscenes.
Tel Prydain weighed in on a title that I've been interested in trying out for some time: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Sonic titles have been suffering as of late, with the latest next-gen offering bombing beyond comprehension. Fortunately, it seems as though Bioware sprinkled some of its magic powder on the series, and came up with a winner. Here's a bit of what he had to say:
Having played a few other RPGs on the DS, I now count Sonic as one of my favourites. The combat is fun, the plot is interesting and I appreciate the fact that there are dialogue trees rather then screen after screen of never-changing text. It doesn’t require mindless grinding and lasts an acceptable length without wearing out it’s welcome - which is nice considering that some other RPGs on the DS keep going on and on long after they stopped being fun.
There were quite a few other reviews written, (in particular by Tel himself), and they are all really well done. Keep up with the good work everyone, and we're working on some new events at the site, as well as hopefully some giveaways in the near future. Don't forget to rate, and share the reviews with others as well, as it really helps out!