Jun 072013
 

It won’t be long before a first person shooter franchise takes over the world. The FPS clubhouse is certainly filling up swiftly, with a multitude of titles trying to squeeze in the door and show their mettle. There are certainly some high-quality titles, BioShock having produced a particularly compelling latest entry, but really I think that at the moment we’ve only really got two big boys. Battlefield and Call of Duty have been running the show for a while now, and some of the more lazily designed efforts (I’m looking at you Medal of Honor reboots) should keep them from worrying about a usurpation for at least the time being.

Both DICE and Activision have become industry superpowers over the last few years, that’s undeniable. But even if you think I’m overreacting when I suggest that it’ll be global dominance next (let’s see whose laughing when Captain Price is suddenly running for the presidency), one thing that can be said with certainty is that a world run by either franchise would be decidedly dark and gritty. Now, I’d be mad to suggest that the advent of realism within gaming isn’t a winning formula; they’ve been such a resounding success both in sales and the sharpness of their technical execution, but that honestly never used to be the case.

Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-3-Screenshot-11

I’ve been gaming for the best part of 15 years, so I can say with some confidence that something has changed. Shooters were so much more vibrant and wacky, and never did anything as ridiculous as trying to take themselves seriously. Just to prove my point, here’s my idea of the sort of conversation that might take place between CoD and the hilariously unsophisticated Timesplitters. “My characters are persistent throughout the story, and even show emotional growth that allows the player to project onto them.” “My characters are cowboys. And teenage goths. And aliens. Oh, and I think you can play as a dinosaur as well.”  I think the change in attitude is clear. And while I’ve had so much fun with both, I wanted to know why the genre took such a radical turn. What was ‘genesis’ for the realistic shooter?

Happily, I know the answer. And even more satisfying is that the title in question happens to be one of my own personal favourites of all time. All the way back in early 2006, EA published a game titled simply ‘Black’, as in Black-Ops, a severely dark FPS that saw the player take on the role of Sergeant Jack Kellar. Framed as a series of flashbacks, Kellar tells of his efforts to uncover an arms smuggling operation, seeing the player guide him through some nicely varied missions in Eastern Europe. It was met with a sincerely muted and ever so slightly reluctant thumbs-up. Critics seemed to hover around the 7/10 mark, impressed by the detail of the weapons and with an approving nod towards the games unique selling point of destructive environments. What’s that? Interactive maps and realistic gun design? Sounds suspiciously like the main ingredients of our current big selling franchises.

With regard to the review scores, everyone knows that all the greatest artists aren’t fully appreciated in their own time. But even so, I have always been surprised at just how easily it slipped under the radar, both then and now. I checked as well; you can’t even get it on PSN download. It’s a disgrace! Retailers should screen anyone who wants to buy a modern FPS and make sure they have played Black first. That way, players can learn their heritage and respect their elders; this was the start of something BIG.

And I think EA may have even known that. The design was quietly sophisticated, trying to make sure that there wasn’t such a harsh shift from wacky to gritty. Hidden in every level was a ‘bonus’ gun, which tended to make the level easier or changed the necessary play style, and there was even a ‘Silver Weapons’ mode on level select that allowed you to replay completed missions with unlimited ammo. The best of both worlds, as far as I was concerned, and it softened the impact of several changes that could have been considered quite radical. Headshots killed in one, no matter what the weapon, but body armour and metal masks varied the enemy difficulty without compromising the ‘realistic’ tag. The kick was horrible on shotguns and snipers, and every round fired was accompanied with a rejected shell, a beautiful example of the attention to detail that made the game so real.

Black screen shot 1

As for why I love it? Aside from everything it has done for the genre, it takes a place in my personal Hall of Fame simply for being so utterly gripping. The set pieces made use of every last ounce of PS2 hardware, peaking in three wonderfully imagined sections. The insides of an industrial foundry, with moving cover and frantic fire-fights didn’t need the technically superior graphics to keep my attention, because it captured the essence of the game so beautifully that I could almost smell the coal fires. Emerging into a vast concrete expanse of the factory earlier in the mission was even better; the echoing, isolated shots did more to keep me on the edge of my seat and fully immersed than anything I had ever experienced. And just when I thought I couldn’t be any more impressed, the game gave me a sniper rifle and told me to defend a graveyard. Horribly tense silence, fleeting figures darting between the headstones, panicky and ill-timed shots. It was a hideously underrated, highly polished masterpiece of level design that I have yet to see bettered.

Black was easily one of the best and most unique experiences I’ve ever encountered in gaming. And even apart from my own nostalgic love, I think it made a generation of titles what they are today; essentially, a license to print money. So it makes me sad to think that Black, not even given a download option, is forever sentenced to go dusty on the shelves of second-hand games retailers. The only comfort I can take is that at least I’ve still got a copy to show my grandchildren.

Apr 012013
 

Despite what you may think of the sequel, we can all agree that Irrational struck pure gold in Bioshock upon its release back in August of 2007. The atmosphere and city of Rapture was unlike anything we’d seen in a video game before. This obviously set up some incredibly lofty expectations for Irrational’s next adventure, Bioshock Infinite. Those expectations only heightened once information begin to roll out and we realized that Rapture had been ditched for a new city, a city that existed high up in the air. Thankfully, Irrational and co-founder Ken Levine have become rather talented at taking expectations and exceeding them to a point that not even we perceived possible.

If you played Bioshock, you remember the intro. The plane crash, the elevator ride down, the broken glass, the imagery, everything, and it was without a doubt one of the best intros in the history of gaming. Irrational took that “one of” part seriously and decided to smash that over their knee by creating an intro that is so effective at inserting you directly into  a new world, you can’t help but call it the best intro any video game has ever produced. From slight hidden nuggets to the skyscraper esque buildings surrounding the beautiful city of Columbia, this is an intro that will be absolutely impossible to forget.

Columbia, the actual city itself, meets all the same notes Rapture did. It’s a visually stimulating environment filled with different little touches that demand your exploration. I’ve never been one to wonder around a city aimlessly but I found myself doing that multiple times throughout Infinite. Then you begin to realize that the more you wander, the more you learn of Columbia, which just makes you want to learn even more. Turning the setting of a game into a character in and of itself is an insanely difficult thing to achieve, though that hasn’t stopped Irrational as they’ve managed to do that multiple time now.

Bioshock Infinite

A lot of the character found within Columbia comes from the gorgeous visual design of every aspect in the city. There’s a certain level of attention to detail found in the smallest things, like a simple newspaper laying on the sidewalk, that you just don’t see in other games. It’s a testament to just how hard the art team for Infinite wanted to bring this city to life, and they succeeded with flying colors. However, one of the few complaints regarding Infinite comes in the form of the frame rate. Frame rate tends to take a dip whenever things begin to get heated which can dull the experience slightly. But you ultimately begin to ignore it as the story continues forward.

As for the actual characters, both Elizabeth and Booker are nothing short of spectacular. A lot of hubbub was raised over the inclusion of Elizabeth, a character that would remain by your side for a large part of the game. The obvious scare was what if the whole game felt like one big escort mission? Irrational quickly lays that to bed once you realize just how helpful Elizabeth is within combat. Throughout your many heated encounters, Elizabeth will provide you with items ranging from ammo to health. Her helpful nature is so useful that the few times you don’t have her by your side, you miss her tremendously.

That goes without mentioning her actual personal characteristics, which rival her helpfulness in combat. She, along with your character Booker, are set up with some unsettling mystery surrounding their existence and what led them into the beautiful city of Columbia. As the story goes on, those mysteries begin to unravel and unlike most things in life, the answer to the mystery was actually better than the mystery itself. While Booker is a fine character, I feel it necessary to point out that the connection you establish with Elizabeth is something that few games have ever achieved. I’ll be shocked if she isn’t strong in the running for best character come December 2013.

Bioshock

The real cherry on top of Elizabeth and Booker’s characters is the voice work performed by Courtnee Draper and video game voice actor professional, Troy Baker. Baker has obviously been around the block a few times as he voiced characters in Brothers in Arms, Red Faction, Persona 4, and many others. His experience shines through as he does a raw but effective performance of the emotionally scarred Booker DeWitt. This is only Courtnee Draper’s second appearance, however, as before taking on Elizabeth, she appeared in Kingdom Hearts II. That being said, I think Draper has found her calling if she so chooses because she brings Elizabeth to life like not even I thought possible. Expressing emotion through reading into a microphone is a tough thing to do, Draper makes it seem impossibly easy.

Elizabeth and Booker would both be nothing without a tremendous overarching story and Bioshock Infinite has just that. While the original Bioshock had its fair amount of insanity, Infinite tops that by a mile at almost every story beat. The game begins and seems like a simple tyrannical dictator needs to be overthrown narrative but that story quickly evolves into a whole new beast. I suppose we shouldn’t expect any less than stunning material from the guys that brought us the previous two Bioshock’s but hot damn did they out do themselves this time around. Infinite also features an ending that manages to feel “right” but also leave you scratching your head for hours after the credits roll.

Bioshock Infinite Xbox360

The combat is where Bioshock Infinite very clearly becomes a Bioshock game. You have a special power in your left hand, this time called Vigors, and a wide variety of weapons to choose from that you may insert into your right hand. This go around you gain power to unleash your Vigors by collecting salts, something that you’ll quickly realize needs to be used wisely. Not because salts are a hard thing to collect but instead because you always seem to run out of power as the worst possible time. Gunplay remains mostly unchanged, the real variety comes in the form of transit rails that you’re able to grind upon thanks to an object that Booker intelligently places on his hand early on in the game. Though it’s a rather small change, grinding around a combat area adds even more life to some already exciting combat.

I think we all knew Bioshock Infinite would at least be a memorable experience upon its release. What we didn’t know was just how memorable it would be. There’s no aspect of Infinite that won’t have a lasting impression on me in some way. Irrational has managed to stun even me by releasing not only one of the best games this year, but one of the best games to be found on this generation of consoles. Remember back in 2005 when we were all dreaming of what next gen games could achieve? Bioshock Infinite is the game we’ve been dreaming about for all these years, and it has finally arrived.

XBox 360

Graphics

95
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

95

Creativity

100
 

Execution

100
 

Offset

95
    

9.8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Mar 012013
 

Tomb RaiderTomb Raider
Developer: Crystal Dynamics Inc.
Release Date: March 5th  

After the four hundredth Tomb Raider release, Crystal Dynamics has finally decided to reboot the series and start anew. I’ve always had a love for Tomb Raider in my heart, like most people I’m sure, but the recent games never hit the spot for me. Sure, that the Guardian of Light was quite good, but it just didn’t seem to fit in the Tomb Raider universe. The reboot of Tomb Raider seems similar in that it isn’t a direct copy of the PS1 installments that we all fell in love with.

This go around, Crystal Dynamics seems to have went in the more traditional third person style, similar to Uncharted. Which is still rather close to the original Tomb Raider as many called Uncharted “Tomb Raider with a male protagonist.” One of the more intriguing aspects regarding Tomb Raider is that this is the first in the series to receive an M rating by the ESRB. One of the scenes described has Lara healing herself by popping her bones back in to place, Far Cry 3 style. Hopefully with the new rating comes a more mature, fully developed experience.

God of WarGod of War: Ascension
Developer: Sony Santa Monica
Release Date: March 12th

Hey guys, there’s another God of War game. I know, I know, I’m as shocked as you, I just didn’t think they’d do it again. But here we are, and here it is, but this time is going to be a bit different. Whether that difference is for the better or not has yet to be determined. For starts, this go around you will be playing as a not so angry Kratos. That is because you will be playing a prequel to the previous God of War’s, where you find the root of Kratos’ pulsing anger that he just cannot seem to shake.

Next up, there’s a multiplayer. I know. In this newfangled multiplayer, you’ll be doing normal online duties like killing friends, being killed by friends, and gaining/losing points while doing so.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a God of War fan, but even I know adding multiplayer to this franchise is going to be a terrible idea. But I suppose I won’t judge it until I play it, which will be never.

gears-of-war-judgement-box-artGears of War Judgment
Developer: Epic/People Can Fly
Release Date: March 19th

Speaking of yet another game in a dying franchise, Gears of War Judgment is sneaking its head out the door come mid-March. Unlike God of War, I’ve always enjoyed the Gears of War franchise and I don’t necessarily expect that to change with the new installment. That doesn’t change the fact that this series is getting old and because of that, my 360 is a bit tired of running Gears of War games.

New to the series is the fact that Marcus is no longer the main protagonist. In Judgment, you’re taking control of Baird (I call him “The Asshole”) just one month after the original E-Day. Similar to God of War, you get to hear Baird and Cole’s backstories leading up to their eventual meet with Marcus and Dom. A backstory that includes being charged with desertion, cowardice, theft of experimental COG technology, and treason.

The Walking DeadThe Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
Developer: Terminal Reality
Release Date: March 19th

If you read my top ten list from last year, you know I have a strong admiration for The Walking Dead adventure game. That being said, I was not expecting that quality from the impending Survival Instinct that was announced by Activision. Here lately, I’ve managed to somehow garner a bit of excitement, but I’m not so sure that excitement will pay off. On one hand, Terminal made Def Jam Rapstar, and I love me some Def Jam Rapstar. But on the other hand, they made Kinect Star Wars. Need I say more?

Another source of my excitement is the focus on TV characters Meryl and Daryl, the two stars of the game. Obviously, Survival Instinct is set in the TV show’s world as opposed to the graphic novels. You’ll be playing as Daryl as you traverse the wild lands of Georgia in your pursuit of reaching Atlanta, which is said to be safe. Gameplay will feature stealth mechanics and encourage players to scrounge for the scarce ammo spread across the mostly open-ended environment. Man, I just want this game to be good.

Bioshock InfiniteBioshock Infinite
Developer: Irrational Games
Release Date: March 26th

Bioshock Infinite has been my most anticipated game of 2013 ever since it was pushed back last year. My love and admiration for the Bioshock series knows no bounds and has been waiting to be fed ever since I completed Bioshock 2’s campaign. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Bioshock Infinite will be different from previous Bioshock’s in that the game will not take place underwater. Instead, the setting will be in a cloud based city named Columbia. Columbia was built by the Americans as a sign of their growing power and technological ingenuity.

There are a few worries that I’ve had on my mind, however, such as the constant AI character that follows you around throughout the game. Irrational has promised over and over that the character, named Elizabeth, would not be a hindrance of any kind. Time will tell on that aspect but one thing that seems to be shaping up nicely is the plot and integration of the new setting. The mystery surrounding the previous game’s location, Rapture, was arguably one of the most compelling things to be found within Bioshock. That mystery isn’t all there this go around due to us knowing the origin of the city, but I’m sure there will be multiple tidbits of information appearing throughout the game that will suggest that there is a little more than meets the eye to be found within Columbia.

Army of Two: The Devil's CartelArmy of Two: The Devil’s Cartel
Developer: Visceral/EA Montreal
Release Date: March 26th

I may be one of the only people in the country that feels this way, but I legitimately enjoyed the first two Army of Two games. Sure, the “broness” of the first game was corny as hell but the combat and customization both made up for that flaw. With the second one, the broness was relished by the writers as it turned from corny to just plain funny at spots. Main characters Salem and Rios even got into a heated discussion on who the best Wu-Tang member was… All while a combat sequence was happening. You just can’t beat that.

My excitement for this installment has been admittedly very limited due to the fact that not only has the developer changed, now made by Visceral, but so has the main characters. In The Devil’s Cartel, Visceral decided it would be best to kick Salem and Rios to the curb in favor of two new guys named Alpha and Bravo. I’ll withhold judgment until I see them in game but if they don’t fist bump or discuss 90’s rap, I’m out. As I’m sure many know, EA/Visceral Montreal was immediately shut down once the game was green lit for release. Hopefully this product will show off their hard work and lead them into bigger and better products in the future.

Also Releasing:

MLB The Show 2013
MLB 2K13
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition (Wii U)
Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 (I remain unconvinced that this game will ever release)
LEGO City Undercover
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014
Naughty Bear: Double Trouble! (Pretty sure this isn’t coming out either)

Dec 112012
 

This past week Spike TV once again put on their annual Video Game Award show in Los Angeles, and as per usual the focus of the show was centered squarely on trailers and exclusive reveals rather than awards. I’ve never been a huge fan of the show itself, but I am always interested in the announcements and trailers that come out of it, and this year was no exception, with things like Dark Souls 2 and the possible Metal Gear Solid 5 tease currently known as “The Phantom Pain” being announced. These trailers got me thinking about what my favorite video game trailers of all time would be, and that of course led the creation of this list. Simply because the production quality has gone up along with the increased prominence of trailers over the past several years, this list will consist mostly of newer games. Also, for this list I am going to simply let the trailers speak for themselves, it should be clear why each of these is awesome.

10. DC Universe Online

9. Fallout 3

8. Assassin’s Creed

7. God of War III

6. Halo 3

Sep 062012
 

Yes, I know.  You are probably reading this article shaking your head from side to side.  The answer is yes; I do dare resurrect this feature.  For those of you reading this and are unfamiliar with the backlog challenge, I’ll summarize it briefly:

I will not buy any new games in 2012 and I will try and finish games from my backlog.

The challenge was started back in January of this year.  I started with a few set of rules and some exceptions.  Some of these have been upheld and others have been broken.  I kept posting about this challenge roughly in a monthly basis; then the summer came.  Summer put a big dent on my available time, since I decided to go to summer school while working full time.

This was a blessing and a curse.  Because I had limited free time, I never had a chance to pay attention at what was being released during the summer.  However, this also meant that I had less time to sink my teeth into my backlog.  This was rather unfortunate because since the beginning of the year, I had been finishing games at a rather sluggish pace.  I had planned to finish at least one game per week for the entire duration of the summer.  This, of course, did not happen.   I ended up finishing two games over the summer:  Bioshock and Portal 2.   Both games are amazing experiences from beginning to end.

I wish I had invested the little time available I had into comparable experiences.  Unfortunately, I was playing 3 MMO’s at the time.  First up was my return to Final Fantasy XIV, which reminded me why the game is getting a reboot.  The original build of FFXIV was so atrocious, it will be remembered as one the worst MMO’s releases in videogame history.  Then was the death of Star Wars:  The Old Republic.  This MMO falls into the category of “gaming wounds.”  It is one of those games that you want to be successful, but ultimately they fail.  I knew it was over when I decided to take the game for a spin and my game character “woke up” to find a deserted capital city.  Every player was gone.  I was completely alone.  Last but not least is the original Guild Wars.  When Arenanet announced that they would be releasing Guild Wars 2 in August of this year, I was flabbergasted.  I simply had to get more points into my Hall of Monuments; and with that the grind for Hall of Monument completion began.

It is now early September and I do not play FFXIV or SWTOR.  Even Guild Wars has been cut from my gaming list.  Now I only play either Super Monday Night Combat or Guild Wars 2.  Currently SMNC is only used as a palate cleanser for those rare of occasions when I get temporarily tired of Guild Wars 2.  The challenge now is not to avoid buying new games because, quite honestly, I have enough games to keep me entertained.  The challenge now lies in leaving the wonderful world of Tyria to play any other game.  The Gauntlet has been thrown!

So here are my updated objectives:  A) Play more games B) Play less Guild Wars 2 C) Try not to use giftcards until I have finished a few games. D) Post an update every two weeks, even if I’ve slacked off.   That is all for this entry!  See ya soon!

Jul 242012
 

If there is one thing that most games have, regardless of the era they were made, the platform they run on, or the genre of game, that thing would be a villain. With the type of objective oriented stories that are inherent to the gaming medium, antagonists are pretty essential. Throughout the history of games, there have been a wide of variety of villains, from complex multidimensional characters to evil for evil’s sake mustache twirlers. There is merit to both types, and all will be represented as I count down my top 10 favorite video game villains. Also, be warned, there will be spoilers for some of the games mentioned.

10. Dr. Wily (Mega Man)

Dr. Wily is certainly one of those villains that falls more into the “iconic” category as opposed to some of the more complex modern villains. Like most classic 8-bit villains, Dr. Wily is a one dimensional bad guy that wants nothing more than world domination. Wily isn’t one to do the fighting himself, instead putting his genius mind to work creating an army of robot masters, usually eight at a time, each complete with their own unique theme. Even though he routinely gets defeated his nemesis Dr. Light’s creation, Mega Man, that doesn’t stop him trying again. Dr. Wily has appeared in an impressive number of games, and is one of the most memorable and iconic villains to come out of the NES era.

9. Saren (Mass Effect)

Saren Arterius can definitely be classified as a tragic, even sympathetic, villain. While at first he may appear to be completely evil with a lust for power and an irrational hatred of humans, it is later revealed that he originally had good intentions. When he first discovered the Reaper, Sovereign, his original intention was to save civilization from the Reaper threat. However, the more time he spent with Sovereign, the more his own will was bent and manipulated by the ancient machine. By the end, he was doing Sovereign’s bidding, working to bring forth the end of galactic civilization. The worst part though, was that somewhere in his twisted and warped mind, he still believed he was saving lives. It wasn’t just that his will broken, but that he was completely unaware his thoughts were no longer his own. Saren was initially a villain that was easy to hate, but as the game progressed, he became very easy to feel sorry for, and that’s what makes him such an interesting villain.

8. Dr. Breen (Half Life 2)

While the combine are the main enemy of Half Life 2, Dr. Breen is the face of the enemy. He was the head of Black Mesa, the research facility where Gordon Freeman working in the original Half Life. During the Combine invasion he became the liaison between humanity and the invaders. Basically, he betrayed his species and his planet to save himself and win favor with the new overlords of Earth. He lives in relative luxury compared to most of City 17, but what makes him truly despicable is his insincerity, both to himself and humanity. He spends a lot of the game trying to convince humanity and himself that he did what he did for the good of all, that he represents the best interest of humanity in dealings with the Combine. Dr. Breen is the most cowardly type of villain there is. His betrayal was not out of some desire for power or riches, but the feeble hope that by offering up the lives of millions, he could save his own.

7. Magus (Chrono Trigger)

For most of the first half of the game, Magus is the primary villain. At first it seems that he just another conqueror, waging war so his kind could dominate over another. Later though, it is revealed that everything he had done was for a single purpose, one that wasn’t so far off from the goal of the heroes. His methods however, were far from heroic. Magus is not evil, but indifferent. He had a goal, and used any means possible to achieve it. He was willing to wage a war that meant nothing to him, resulting in countless deaths, simply so he could achieve his goals. Later in the game, when his objective meshes with that of the heroes, he even joins them, ending the game alongside them. Despite helping the heroes, his prior actions definitely classify him as a villain. Morality is meaningless to him, making him much more dangerous and unpredictable than those with a clear stance.

6. Dr. Robotnik (Sonic The Hedgehog)

Even though he is now officially known as Dr. Eggman (his originally name in the Japanese version) in all versions of the game, he will always be Dr. Ivo Robotnik to me. Over the years he has been portrayed in many different ways, diabolical evil genius, mad scientist, and most often the continuously failing comedic villain. Whichever way he was being portrayed, he was always the big bad for pretty much every Sonic game. As a Sonic fan, Dr. Robotnik will always be one of the first characters that comes to mind when I think of the term “stage boss”. At the end of every zone, Robotnik had a new machine he would pilot to try to and thwart Sonic. In all his portrayals, he was never what you’d consider a deep and complex character, but he is certainly a memorable one in one of the classic platformer franchises.

Jun 042012
 

Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is one of the most interesting fighting games we have seen, drawing on all of Sony’s most famous characters to create the Sony version of Super Smash Bros. and it doesn’t dissapoint. The game focuses more on score than just a straight out fight to the death, with timed rounds and the highest score wins. The demonstration included both consoles.

The play seems flawless between both consoles, more than likely thanks to the large and familiar size of the Vita which makes it feel more like a PS3 controller with a screen added. During the demonstration there was very little difference between how all the players played, everyone seemed closely matched suggesting that the controls across both platforms are very easy to switch between and well matched.

The environment of the games is constantly changing up, sometimes introducing environmental hazard which can lead to death should you make the wron move or hang around. Some of the special abilities which can be acquired are particularly impressive, particularly Sweet Tooth’s level 3 special attack giving him use of a full size mech with which to wreak havoc on his opponents.

On top of all this beat down goodness, the showcase finished with announcement of two brand new characters in the form of Nathan Drake and Bioshock’s Big Daddy.

Gaming Irresponsibly will be bringing you updates as they are made available for the duration of E3. Stay tuned for more news and happenings from the industry’s largest convention here at GamingIrresponsibly.com! You can also follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter

 

Jun 012012
 

Over the course of the past two months or so, the gaming industry has played host to a number of various push backs, deadline failures and delays. The reason for each of these varies between wanting to put out a quality product or not meeting specific goals within their alotted time frame. Delays are nothing new to the gaming industry, and they are something that will always be present. It is easy to say, learn to live with it, but that seems like a terrible way to look at the situation. A better way to look at it would be to learn to love them. Here, we will list a couple of reasons that delays help benefit the consumers, as well as, the developers, and why having delays is really a good thing in the long run.

For many of the delayed projects, the reason boils down to nothing more than the developers not being happy with the current build of the game. This could mean unappealing gameplay, massive bugs or glitches, or even going a different direction artistically. Regardless of why they are delaying the project, it is to the benefit of both the gamer and the developer. The developer wants to create the best gaming experience for their customers. If they are not interested in that, then they are not a very good developer. By wanting the best experience for the gamer, the developer sometimes needs to make a bold decision. This decision is something as simple as stepping back, looking at the project and the direction it is heading, and telling everyone, “hey, this is not what we want”, then making the appropriate changes. What this really means is that the developer, no matter what, wants the best experience and does not believe it is possible to achieve given the current situation. This is a good thing, a very good thing.

Imagine if every game that had ever been delayed was forced to release at the time it was originally quoted. Think of BioShock, Metal Gear Solid 4, Twilight Princess, just to name a few. These were some of the greatest games to come from this generation of console gaming, but would they have been if it weren’t for critical delays in the creative process? Would BioShock have been the powerhouse AAA series it is today without going through some necessary bumps and bruises along the way? Absolutely not, just ask the developers. They thought it would take more time, people moaned and groaned, and after it was all said and done, the gaming community was given an amazing title worthy of numerous awards. By saying to all the excited and rabid fans, “hey, you are going to have to wait another six months”, they aren’t telling them it is going to be bad. They aren’t telling them it isn’t going as planned, they aren’t telling them it isn’t even going to come out. What they are telling them is that they want you to love their game, and if that means a few more months of hard work, sacrifice, and the occasional hurtful comment, then so be it.

Game developers want people to love their games. It is true that some games should be delayed, but due to certain circumstances (i.e. games released in conjunction with popular movies, cookie cutter annuals), they are not. Battlefield 3 should have been delayed a month or two, perhaps if that had happened, they may have avoided a poor start and a long lasting bug problem. Diablo III might have also benefited from a week or two delay, just to insure that the servers were ready to handle the millions of fans that had waited over a decade for the popular title. The cases are isolated and debatable at best, but you get the idea.

It used to be that when I was younger and heard about a game I had been waiting to release for sometime, I would be enraged. I would curse to the skies as if the developers were looking down at me, laughing as if they only delayed the game to piss me off for their own amusement. But eventually I came to realize that by delaying the game, I wasn’t so much guaranteed a perfect game. What I was guaranteed was that the people making my game want me to love it, they want it to be perfect. These guys that are spending endless hours slaving away at art design, story writing and coding were just as excited to finish this game the way it was intended to be finished, not the time it was intended to be finished in. They wanted me to wait, because by waiting, they believe that I will have a more enjoyable, memorable experience. Then I began to love the delays. I would say, “great, that game got delayed, it must not be ready to come out yet. Take your time and make it amazing”. I feel as though most people are in the same boat as me, but you cannot help but noticed the mod of angry internet users that bombard message boards with profanities.

Basically, learn to love delays. They are there to make sure you aren’t pissing away sixty bucks on a piece of garbage that you thought you wanted. So what if Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry, Aliens: Colonial Marines, South Park, BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light have been delayed until 2013. I say we all just sit back, relax, and use our income tax checks to purchase a slew of great titles lined up for early 2013.

 

May 092012
 

Take Two announced this morning that Bioshock Infinite has been delayed and will now be released on February 26, 2013, according to a report from Kotaku. The series’ third entry was originally slated for an October release, but Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine said that the delay was necessary to implement “some specific tweaks and improvements” that “will make Infinite into something even more extraordinary.”

“I won’t kid you: BioShock Infinite is a very big game, and we’re doing things that no one has ever done in a first-person shooter. We had a similar experience with the original BioShock, which was delayed several months as our original ship date drew near,” he said in a statement to the press. “Why? Because the Big Daddies weren’t the Big Daddies you’ve since come to know and love. Because Andrew Ryan’s golf club didn’t have exactly the right swing. Because Rapture needed one more coat of grimy Art Deco.”

The game, set in 1912, focuses on Booker DeWitt, who is tasked with rescuing a woman named Elizabeth from the sky-city of Columbia. Much like the dystopian setting of the original game was heavily influenced by writers such as Ayn Rand and George Orwell, Bioshock Infinite focuses on the idea of American exceptionalism and issues of race. The concept of faction also plays a critical role, drawing from the progressive movement contemporary to the setting of the game to the “Occupy” movement of today.

To paraphrase Shigeru Miyamoto, delays ensure that a game will be good, but a bad game will always be bad. I’m in favor of giving Levine and his team as much time as they need to deliver a stellar experience.

Source: Kotaku

Apr 122012
 

After the atrocity of last weeks choice, Alone in the Dark, I was forced to evaluate my life, as well as my game selection methods. This week, I stuck with something familiar, and something amazing, with 2K Games 2007 mega hit, BioShock. Now, for those of you that have never played BioShock, what the fuck are you doing with your life? You can find this title just about anywhere for under eight dollars, so all the excuses are over, there is absolutely no reason for any fan of video games to have never played this title. Time to man up.

BioShock takes you on a journey through Rapture, a beautiful underwater paradise, created by Andrew Ryan, where Man ruled, not Kings or Gods. It is a place where science would not be restricted by morals or bureaucrats, but allowed to evolve into anything it wanted to be. It is a place where man could reach his full potential, or at least, it was. Rapture had already seen its glory days by the time you arrive. Genetically altered ‘splicers’ litter the trashed structures, looking for more ADAM (the stuff that makes you feel good) and avoiding Big Daddies (we will get there). Elaborate decor has taken a backseat to chaos and ransacking. As you look around, you can quickly catch a glimpse of a future that never was.

The Story

The story begins with your character on what appears to be a small, commercial airliner. After a brief intro about how you are destined for great things, you plane unfortunately crashes in the middle of the ocean leaving no survivors other than yourself. Lucky for you (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you just so happen to land a few hundred feet from a large,  protruding object. After you enter through a large doorway, and make you way into a small pod at the bottom of the stairs, you are treated to a glimpse of the amazing sub-aquatic marvel that is Rapture. After you descend into the depths, you are greeted, via portable radio, by Atlas, the man who will lead you about this underwater labyrinth.

From there you will encounter genetically deprived, civilians of Rapture, known as ‘Splicers’. These men and women, have an addiction to ADAM, a genetic modification that allows one to dramatically alter their DNA in order to obtain amazing powers. There is a BIG problem with that, however. As you explore Rapture, you will also encounter some other inhabitants of the city. The small girls, knows as Little Sisters, gleefully skip the halls of Rapture, looking for the same ADAM that the Splicers are. Now, one might think that a little girl stands no chance against a crazed human with an insatiable addiction, but these little angels are not alone. They each carry with them a large, drill-armed Big Daddy for protection. These over-sized behemoths wear what can only be described as ‘diving armor’ and will destroy anything that he deems as a threat to his little girl. They are dangerous, and damn near impossible to kill when you encounter them, but if you want more ADAM, you had better deal with them to get to the Little Sisters. Once you obtain this ADAM, you can then use it to buy various Plasmids found throughout Rapture. Plasmids are a genetically altering injection that gives you specific special powers, such as the ability to fling lightning from your wrist or shoot fire from your fingertips.

The Game

The game itself controls beautifully. The left hand Plasmid, right hand weapon mechanic is both fun and well executed. The fluidity of the combat system is fantastic and the ability to choose between Plasmids, conventional weaponry or a mixture of the two, is both innovative and welcoming. As far as the visuals are concerned, for its time, 2007, the graphics are amazing. The way the water is rendered is better than most games to date. When it comes to Rapture, nothing could be more imperfectly perfect. The attention to detail in every nook and cranny of the city really gives you the feeling that you are standing in a place that once had such great ambition and life, but has since been subjected to failure and chaos. The beautiful environment and  vivid storytelling set up an atmosphere rarely seen in most games, and if you have yet to experience it, you are really missing out.

Final Word

The game is amazing, winning numerous Game of the Year awards back in 2007 with such stiff competition as Mass Effect, Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The gameplay is tight and polished and the story will keep you engaged down to the very end. The graphics are excellent and the visuals you will encounter are spectacular to say the least. This game is a must buy for those who haven’t played it. If you have played it, but don’t currently own it, now is the best time. You can find this game on nearly every major game retailer or auction site for around eight bucks, if not cheaper. It really is a steal for that price. Hours of gameplay, intriguing story line and a breathtaking underwater “utopia” will yield a very rewarding experience, and for around eight dollars, you really can’t do any better than that.

Dec 112011
 

So far, I’ve talked about a few different methods of storytelling used in games. I’ve discussed the merits of the silent protagonist, the implementation of player choice, and compared traditional cutscenes and interactive scripted events. This week, I am going to take a look at several different elements of storytelling that can be present in games that use the styles I’ve already covered. The first element is the use of in-game audio logs and diary entries.

"Who left this tape here?"

This has become a prominent feature in games this generation specifically, and  it is when the player can find either written or recorded journal entries left behind by other characters. These usually serve to fill in some optional or essential information, or to simply enrich the game world. One game that used audio logs to great effect is a game I’ve talked about briefly in this series; Bioshock. All throughout the game, you’ll be finding audio diaries left behind by a number of different characters. These audio diaries really help make Rapture feel like an actual place inhabited by real people. Even though most of the people you encounter in the ruined city have lost their minds to constant plasmid use, the audio logs really hammer home the fact that Rapture was once a thriving city, and what you see before you is simply the remains of this once great utopia. The audio logs in Bioshock also give great back-story for the city itself and the several prominent characters such as Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine. One little oddity that arises in Bioshock, and pretty much any other game that uses audio diaries, is that it is sort of hard to believe, especially in the 1960s, that all these people were recording their thoughts like this. Why is everyone recording their most intimate thoughts and secrets, then leaving these tapes all over the city? Aside from this little issue, audio logs can be a great way to flesh out a game world and provide back-story.

Another game series that uses this same concept, except in written form, is The Elder Scrolls series. In Skyrim, there are literally hundreds of books and journals to find that do a great job of bringing believability to the world. You can find journals written by individual characters that detail their last few weeks, or you can read some of the game many published books. There are books in the game that consist of dozens of pages, sometimes recounting past games or giving you a history lesson in the game’s extensive lore. The books in Skyrim are a great example of using addition means other than cutscenes and dialogue to inform the player of past events and the history of the world, and they really make what is already a fantastically realized world feel all the more real. Canonically speaking, the books in Skyrim make much more sense than audio diaries, even if it requires stopping and reading as opposed to listening as you go.

While similar to audio logs, but slightly different, some games deliver the majority of dialogue and story by having characters talk to the main character during gameplay via radio communications. This is a method of delivering story that is most common to first person shooters, though it is used in other genres. I personally, am not a fan of this means of storytelling. When the majority of dialogue takes place during gameplay, with you only seeing one side of the conversation, it just makes me feel disconnected from what’s being said. Oftentimes, you’ll be in combat while characters are conversing via radio, and you’ll either get yourself killed by focusing on the dialogue, or miss key information because you’re preoccupied with combat.

Nov 202011
 

Video Games have come a long way in the short time they have been around. Looking back at the simple games present in the infancy of the medium, it really is astounding just how far we’ve come. I don’t think many people playing their Atari 2600 in the late ’70s would ever have imagined that in a few short decades, there would video games that look as realistic as they do now. However, with all the advancements in technology and game design, one aspect that I feel is very important, story, is still somewhat behind the curve. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly games where the narrative and writing rival the quality of anything Hollywood produces, but unfortunately these games are in the minority. This will be the first installment in a continuing series looking at various methods of storytelling used in games. I’ll be comparing games that use each method successfully with ones that use it poorly, and examining the very nature of the style to determine if it really works at all as an effective method of storytelling for video games. The first style on the list is: The Silent Protagonist.

The silent protagonist method of storytelling is one of the more classic styles, and has roots in some of the earliest games that featured a story. The basic idea is that, whether the game has full voice acting or text, characters in the world have things to say, but the the main player character does not speak at all. The actual use of this method can vary, with several different ways that other character react to the protagonist’s silence. Sometimes it is simply implied that the character is speaking, meaning other characters will react as if the main character said something, even though he did not. However most games simply don’t address the fact that the protagonist doesn’t speak. In these games he is simply an observer, listening to everyone else speak, but never adding anything. The final use of this method is most common to role playing games, where the main character never speaks, but the player chooses from a list of dialogue options, and characters in the game react as if the text was spoken aloud. This is really more of a different category all together, so for now we are just going to focus on the first two.

The best example of the implied speech style is The Legend of Zelda series. In over a dozen games spread out over 25 years, Link has never spoken anything more than grunts and shouts; save for some really terrible, non-Nintendo developed games on the Phillips CD-I. Even from the beginning, more than any other Nintendo series, the Zelda games have put a large emphasis on story. There were always characters with text bubbles in the NES games, but Link never spoke. This was not uncommon for the time though, and with such rudimentary storytelling in those days of gaming, this doesn’t really stand out as the silent protagonist style just yet. A Link to The Past on the Super NES was a different matter though. That was first Zelda game that really brought the story to the forefront. No longer were you just going to the next dungeon because it was now time to go the next dungeon, but characters in the game would give you reasons to do this, all in your quest to stop the evil sorcerer Agahnim. All throughout the game, many characters help link but he never speaks back. Though each game in the series may feature a different incarnation of Link, they all share the same green tunic and the same lack of speech.

In most Zelda games, characters react to Link’s stoic silence as if he has actually spoken. This is where the implied speech comes in. Many times a character will ask Link a question that pertains to some action the player recently performed, or some information the player recently acquired. After a moment of blank text, or Nintendo’s favorite form of punctuation; the ellipses (…), the character will react as if Link has told them about his actions or given them the information. The prime reasoning behind this is that the main character is supposed to be a conduit for the player. The thinking is, that if the player hears their character speak, they can no longer envision themselves as the character. In some Zelda games, there is occasionally user selection of dialogue text, but these are rare and usually amount to an artificial choice, whereby one option moves the conversation forward, and the other has no effect or makes you choose again. Throughout its history, The Legend of Zelda series has has some of the best games of all time, and while by Nintendo standards they feature fantastic stories, they are not really at the top of the industry in this regard. While this implied speech style of storytelling is not really a detriment to the series, it doesn’t really make the narrative much better. There really is no difference between implying that Link said, “I need to save Zelda!” and him actually saying it. As much as most Zelda games feature an above average plot, the archaic use of text dialogue and this truly unnecessary implied speech style mean that the narrative is not on par with the plot, and that is really just as important.

Nov 152011
 

Those yearning for a film adaptation of the superb Bioshock will have a harder time getting their wish granted.  According to Bioshock designer Ken Levine, no one is rushing to get the film done.

In an interview, Levine stated that there are plans for the film, but things aren’t quite in motion and won’t be for a long time.

“We got very close to having it get made – we had a deal in place and a director. But for us there’s no burning [desire] to have a movie made just to get it made,” said Levin. “For us and for Take-Two, it’s really got to be something that will give the fans something that they want, and for those who don’t know BioShock, really introduce them to something that is consistent with the game, and is it going to be a good representation of the game.”

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski has slated to take the director’s chair, but left due to creative differences.  Then, 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadilo came aboard, but since then, no other cast or crew has been announced.

Bioshock is just another video game adapted into a film that is currently stuck in “development hell”.  Let’s hope that in time, gamers can witness the underwater world of Rapture on the big screen.

Source: Kotaku

Sep 062011
 

2011 has brought us some great games so far: Marvel vs Capcom 3, Killzone 3, Red Faction Armageddon, etc. More are on the way but 2012 is right around the corner. What does this mean? It means the next installment in the Bioshock series is fast approaching.
Bishock: Infinite is set to release sometime next year, although, there hasn’t been conformation on an exact release date for the game yet. Although this is the next installment in the Bioshock series it’s actually a prequel to the franchise. The game will take place in the very early 1900′s. The game will be set in the city of Columbia, a large city suspended in the air by blimps and large balloons. Like Rapture, Columbia was once a prosperous place but has quickly gone to hell. In the debut trailer (at the bottom of the page) you will notice American flags, banners, and propaganda related to the city. Players will be playing as Booker Dewitt, not much is known about his identity. He is set with the task of rescuing Elizabeth (a woman believed to be a native of Columbia) from a large robotic bird know as Songbird; along with many other things. Seen in the demo (at the bottom of the page), Elizabeth has a rare power but it seems she cannot control it. They are called tears and it seems the player can have Elizabeth use her tears for their benefit. The demo reveals clues as to what her power really is. At one point you can clearly see a movie theatre reading: “Revenge of The Jedi”. The actual movie “Return of the Jedi” released in 1983. My guess is that those tears can somehow open paths to the future, and possibly the past. The objective is to get Elizabeth away from Columbia but with the city suspended high above the ground, one can only wonder how this will work.
Eve has somewhat returned to the game but there is no certainty it will be called this. There are plasmids in the game and will be essential to freeing Elizabeth from Columbia. There is however the question of where the power comes from. As most of us may know, eve was stored in a syringe after collecting it from a dead body. Will they keep this theme alive? Who knows? As for the enemies, they look to be similar to that of Rapture. Sporting ragged clothes, some kind of facial hair or mask, and wielding some kind melee weapon; seems similar to me. The weapons are looking great just from looking at the demo. A new shotgun has been revealed along with other things. To get around in the city of Columbia you have to use a new system called the Skyline. It’s a large rail system spread around different parts of the city and you’ll have to use a skyhook to use the Skyline.

Its a new place and a new game. The graphics look amazing and the gameplay looks smooth, almost easy in a way. 2012 is shaping up to be a good year. Mass Effect 3, Border Lands 2, and The Secret World. All great games in their own design, but Bishock is first on my list. The Bishock series has yet to fail me and I don’t see it failing me any time soon. This is a must buy for 2012.

Bioshock: Infinite \’Debut Trailer\’
BioShock: Infinite \’Demo\’

Aug 252011
 

Alternate Reality Games are relatively obscure and haven’t really come to the attention of many console gamers despite being an awesome experience as well creating a great way to market a product. They show how the gaming community can work together as well as proving that many developers are willing to think outside the box, even when it comes down to promotion.

10. Frontlines: Fuel of War

The Fuel of War ARG was relatively simple but offered some awesome prizes including copies of the game itself but going right the way up to fighter pilot training. Damn flying a fighter jet would be sweet. The game itself was relatively simple compared to others that have made it onto this list, the basic idea was to find ten passwords which were scattered across the net. These passwords unlocked the truth behind the Exeo Incorporated as well as the prizes for several lucky players.

While the concept was good the game just didn’t have the longevity and complex nature of some of the others on this list which, in some cases, have lasted years.

9. Majestic

Some people will wonder why a game that failed pretty badly has made it onto this list, but number of players don’t make a good game. Majestic

Everything Was Against Majestic

had a wonderful concept, full of government conspiracies and shady agencies. One of biggest failures was that Majestic was designed to be self sufficient, relying on a monthly subscription fee in order to access the content and while other companies succeeded

Over time the clues could be solved, but progress was limited to prevent people from finishing the game in a very short period of time. The diversity and personalisation of being able to arrange phone calls with the characters will have helped to immerse the player but, eventually, people lost interest and around the time of September 11th, government conspiracy theories began turning up all over the place until Majestic’s proposed second season was cancelled along with the original game citing too few players as the reason.

8. The Beast

The Beast was one of the earliest, hugely successful titles to make this list. The name comes from the original number of files released to start the game off, it was 666 by the way. Clues went as far as the credits on promotional posters, bringing the game more into the real world than just a realistic blog. As a promotional tool for the movie A.I Artificial Intelligence and being developed by Microsoft The Beast had the funding and attraction to not only remain free but also generate more attention than Majestic.

As a promotional tool it was once again fairly short lived, lasting only 12 weeks, but still managed an awesome and complex story set around what was a relatively dull movie. Set 16 years after A.I the characters were just what you would expect, rather than Majestic’s option to have a warning stating phone callas and emails were from the game, The Beast made the characters as real as possible. What their employee record, blog and phone calls said made you feel as though they were a real person. Screw disclaimers.

 

Terrifying Link Is A Mii Apparently

7. Haunted Majora’s Mask

Haunted Majora’s Mask first appeared on the internet courtesy of it’s creator Jadusable who set the tone for the game by claiming he had acquired a mysterious copy of the game which contained a suspicious file called BEN.

Over time the story suggested the apparent haunting was getting worse due to how the new owner of the cartridge was playing the game and interfering with the way in which it had been left by its previous owner. This is one ARG which is still running, despite being on hiatus for quite some time the creator continues to promise that the story is not over and that it will rise again to continue and eventually finish the story.
6. There’s Something In The Sea

This ARG was canon from the BioShock universe used as promotional material for the release of BioShock 2. For the most part the clues and main basis of the game where again web based and over time strayed into the real world mostly in the form of props with the puzzles and clues remaining on the internet.

There’s Something In The Sea told the story of Mark Meltzer who was searching for his missing daughter, Cindy and provided some of the best real world items of any ARG. A lot of the clues which appeared on the net would lead people to beaches, early in the morning where items, designed to look as though they had washed up from Rapture had been buried. For those not willing or able to make it to the beach some items, including splicer masks where sent to players through the mail.

5. Missing: Since January

Missing: Since January arrived in the form of a standard, adventure based PC game which spilled over into the real world through

Where Are Jack & Karen

communication. Rather than paying a subscription you simply purchased the game as you would any other except this game had the alternate reality interaction.

Once again, all the staple were present and accounted for with the puzzles and clues scattered across both real and specifically created sites and focuses mainly on hunting down two journalists/adventurers ,Jack and Karen, who have been kidnapped by the  Manus Domini, a sun worshiping cult who are responsible for the murder of Karen’s Father.

The game offered a continuation after the main story was complete which continued the game for a short amount of time and secured a more definitive ending.

4. The Last Ritual

The Last Ritual was the sequel to Missing: Since January And had a much darker feel than its predecessor. The story follows the rise of The Phoenix, a notorious serial killer who has resurfaced to kill again. Clues this time came primarily through the games disc, based around videos but, for some, came into the real world in a different way making the game far more engrossing.

The difference in real world interaction came for the French who, at a cost, could opt to receive text messages from in game characters which was a stroke of genius on behalf of the developers and allowed for a more unknown feeling as to when certain pieces of information would become available to the player.

 

Chief Loves Bees

3. I Love Bees

ILB was a Halo 2 related ARG which was hinted at by the website name being placed within one of the official trailers for the game. Those who followed this initial clue eventually discovered a website dedicated to one woman’s love of bees which appeared to have been hacked.

Over the course of the game the hacker become known as an A.I. From the Halo universe who had appeared on earth due to the ship she was travelling on crashing somewhere on earth. Over time Melissa’s corrupt data revealed more and more information as to her back story.

The main real world interaction came in the form of calls to payphones which players had to answer for further clues. One man is even reported to have waited in Florida as a hurricane bore down on the area just to receive the call and gain another clue, that is dedication.

2. Potato Fools Day/GLaDOS@Home

As we all know Valve has a thing about potatoes, they turn up everywhere from story lines to achievements so naturally the Valve ARG included potatoes. The main premise of the game was GLaDOS attempting to reboot using the power of the mighty potato. Players had to play a range of games from The Potato Sack and find the hidden potatoes in order to reboot GLaDOS faster.

The reward was that working as a community and gathering as many potatoes as possible would lead to GLaDOS rebooting and thus making Portal 2 available sooner than 7a.m. on April 14th, the official release date and time. This was one of the most inventive ARG’s as it allowed people to unlock something as a community whilst supporting indie developers by playing some awesome games.

1.Perplex City

The Most Valuable Cube Out There

The city itself was set away from Earth but the inhabitants had a way of communicating with people on our home world and were searching for the Receda Cube which had been stolen and hidden on Earth. It was all down to humble Earthlings to safely secure the valuable cube and whoever could find it would be responsible

Perplex City is easily the single greatest ARG to date. It succeeded where Majestic had failed in terms of being self sufficient but in a way which didn’t single out non paying players. The funding was secured by the sale of trading cards. These 256 cards used a variety of different, original methods in order to reveal fresh clues. Two of the cards remain unsolved to this day despite the game having launched in April of 2005.

It was almost two years before The Cube was finally discovered, in February 2007, and even then the lucky winner had spent several long days, once he was certain of where to look, before he finally uncovered the artefact, ending the game and winning his prize of £100,000 ($200,000).

The accounts of the days leading up to the discovery of The Cube are a pretty awesome read so check it out here.

Aug 222011
 

For most people around the world, gaming is a casual thing one does in order to pass time. It is, for the most part, widely known as inefficient and a waste of time. The people that refer to video games in this sense, have rarely experienced those moments in gaming, that leave us in awe. Those very moments where nothing else in the world matters, except how this game is making you feel. The beautiful story that seems to fold together at the right moment. The villainous antagonist that jumps out at the perfectly unprepared moment. The death of a lovable character. Or even that first time you accomplished something that really made you feel special. Those moments are why we play, and those moments are what make video games as great as they are. We live and play every day for moments like these, and Gaming Irresponsibly has brought you some of our all time favorites in this list of the Top 25 Greatest Moments in Video Games. The moments are in no particular order because each of us has a different experience when we play these games. Some moments here may not be your favorite, but for many of us, these are some of the best moments we remember about our favorite games. Be warned, for spoilers are lurking throughout this article.

The Death of Aeris – Final Fantasy VII

We all know the pain we felt, as we strolled upon Aeris in the Temple of the Ancients, sending her message to the planet to help save humanity, only to watch our mortal enemy slice right through her and leave our world in ruins. It was then, I felt anger from a video game for the first time. Never have I felt such pain from a game that my eyes welled up, and I knew that I would take great pleasure in killing Sephiroth.

Return to Shadow Moses – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

This moment is actually linked to the first Metal Gear, but when revisited in Guns of the Patriots, we feel that it has more meaning. Seeing an aging Solid Snake step foot on the very island that helped make him famous, was enough to make any fan of the series reminiscent. Watching the cameras that you once avoided, dangle as a result of years of neglect gives one the feeling of better days gone by. We all remember when we first stepped upon the shores of Shadow Moses, and MGS 4 helped us all take a trip back in time to revisit such a great memory.

Samus is a Girl? – Metroid

Playing through Metroid as a young child, we all remember how bad ass Samus was. We wanted to be like Samus, look like Samus and blow shit up like Samus. Then we found out just how little we had in common with Samus. He was a she. Not that it was ever highlighted, but did anyone actually think that Samus wasn’t a dude before the epic unveil? I didn’t think so. It helped gamers realize that you never know what is hiding under the mask. Master Chief might even be a …….no, he couldn’t be? Could he?

First Epic Item – World of Warcraft

We spent months trying to get them. We blazed through levels, just trying to even become eligeable to obtain one. We had to wait hours, just looking for a group to form in order to even fight for them, but those who played WoW knew how accomplished they felt when they first got their hands on an Epic drop. That beautiful, gleaming purple, floating inside a sea of blue and green made you damn near jump for joy. Most of you probably ran around the room, fist pumping like you were Michael Jordan, hitting the game winning, buzzer beater. (I didn’t do that). But nonetheless, getting your first Epic drop has to rank among the greatest video game moments.

Descending into Rapture – BioShock

One minute you were on a plane, and the next, you were swimming around in the most gorgeously rendered water, looking for a way to escape your worst nightmare, only to jump into an elevator, ride down to the bottom of the ocean, and enter….your worst nightmare. The tingling jitters you felt, as you saw the great underwater settlement that is (ahem, was) Rapture, was nothing short of a great moment. The sprawling city, submerged at the bottom of the world, was a sight to behold. The memory of our first glimpse of this sunken labyrinth will stay with us for years to come.

Aug 142011
 

A little while back I was checking out what Redbox titles were available for rent and I stopped upon Call of Duty: Black Ops. I chuckled to myself, how odd was it that I help run a video game publication, yet I haven’t ever played Black Ops? I rented it and obviously played it and yeah, still feels like Modern Warfare 2 with new weapons. More recently, I went to my brand new Play n Trade store down the road. While perusing the used titles I came across the realization that there are a ton of “Great” games I have never had the opportunity to play (No, demos do not count). Here is my top 10 list of games I haven’t played (but need to).

Bioshock:

I know what a Big Daddy is and I am familiar with what Adam is… kind of. I don’t specifically know exactly what stopped me from playing this game, chances are that there was some other release within the vicinity of Bioshock’s launch date that made me overlook this title. In Bioshock’s defense, I also haven’t played it’s sequel (which has been critically panned from what I hear) so I have never been able to form an opinion on the franchise. I know this is one that I really need to sit down and spend some time with, I just need to make it happen. After all, Kyle Franco seems to think it is one of his favorite games of all time.

God of War III:

I liked God of War, I thought it had a great story and had some really enjoyable gameplay elements (Hell, I even figured out the Easter Egg). The second God of War wasn’t bad either, although it actually felt a little bit repetitive, I played my way through it and never picked it up again. When 3 was announced, I watched all the trailers and read up on it. The next gen graphics looked impressive and what looked to be the final game seemed to be going out with a bang. Unfortunately, 2 games had just came out and they both required my immediate attention. Final Fantasy XIII and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 happily took my hard earned money before I had a chance to get my hands on God of War III. Why haven’t I played it over nearly the year and a half the game has been out? I don’t know, can I borrow it?

Alan Wake:

In some strange alternate reality I’m sure that I would have played Alan Wake, I am also sure I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, a few weeks prior, I popped in my copy of Left 4 Dead 2 and was greeted with the infamous RRoD. The event itself was quite tragic and I didn’t get the console fixed for quite some time, so obviously I missed my chance to delve into the mysterious town of Bright Falls. Why didn’t I play it after I had fixed my Xbox? Well, 2 reasons actually. I got the Xbox 360 fixed in August, just in time for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair to take ALL of my gaming time, every other Xbox exclusive was just going to have to wait. The other reason (and also why I hadn’t played it over at my brothers’ or some nonsense like that)? You do realize that one of the best games of 2010 came out a week after Alan Wake, right? No? Well, hellfire and damnation! John Marston needs to have a word with you!

Gears of War 2:

How did I miss out on this little gem? I never beat Gears of War, I had fun while I played it but I just never really got into it. Maybe I hadn’t evolved my tastes in gaming? I had certainly been working a lot… Nope that wasn’t it either. You know what it was? World of Warcraft. Period. Seems that way back when, I was really into World of Warcraft. I raided 5 nights a week and was main tank and a guild officer. My online life was extremely awesome but it didn’t help me play many console games in the meantime. So long after quitting World of Warcraft, Gears of War 2 came out. Since I hadn’t completed the story of the first game, it seemed a waste to play the second. Unfortunately, I let me brothers borrow it and also Fable 2, both of which they traded into GameStop because they “Forgot where they got the games from”.

New Super Mario Brothers:

It’s on the Wii, I almost never play my Wii. I had it on my Gamefly queue for a few months but never got it. Sorry?

Heavy Rain:

I wanted to play this game immensely. The story of the game  itself seemed gripping, as a parent I know what that fear and panic is like when your child is in danger. The fact that 4 characters’ stories ultimately combined to make an epic tale that covers all of the spectrum of emotions seemed incredible. Unfortunately, I got tied up with birthday activities and I had already spent my money on the game that was coming out the next week. I still planned on picking it up and would have too but after everyone telling me how great the story was and how cool things were, a friend from work spoiled the big twist in the story. After I found out about the killer (it is FBI agent Norman Jayden, whose drug addiction has caused him to commit some horrible and unspeakable acts) I couldn’t bring myself to play the game. I should still sit down and play it some day, I just hate knowing exactly what the plot twist is well before it happens.

Dead Space 1 & 2:

The Dead Space series, I haven’t touched em. I can tell you exactly why too. The ad campaign that ran with both games struck me as rather obnoxious, therefor I really ended up not being able to care less about the games. However, after the first game came out, I heard rave reviews from friends about how much they enjoyed the game. Ultimately though, after playing the demo, I just couldn’t get into the game. After playing years of survival horror titles, I couldn’t help but feel like this was just more of the same. Enemies would pop up and try to spook you before attacking you in some cases, similar to the way enemies did from the Resident Evil series. I wanted to buy in to it but I couldn’t help but feel like I had been there before.

Resistance 2:

I actually have a pretty good excuse for this one. I played the first game and I guess that I enjoyed it. I mean, it wasn’t too ground breaking. I liked the grenade that launched spikes all over the place and the gun from The Fifth Element but everything else felt like “Medal of Honor: Alien Invasion”. I did like it enough to take Resistance 2 for a spin though and after hearing about the awesomely improved multiplayer, I was more than ready to go. Unfortunately, when I was ready to buy it, the company I worked for announced that they were going to be closing. This event became a time to save money since the future was uncertain but since we sold the game, I figured that I would buy 1 of our 35 copies before the doors closed for the final time. As time dwindled down, there ended up being about 15 or so left. I decided that $11 was a fair price for the still new video game and came in to work prepared to make the purchase. As I walked into the door, a CSR asked my to come over to make adjustments to a customer’s purchase. The dude was buying 14 copies of the game, just so he could trade them in at GameStop for more credit than he had purchased them for. I quickly went to go find the last copy and the guy working in games told me that he had handed the guy 15 of the games, they even counted them. That guy didn’t only buy all of the games, he stole 1 of them. Long story short: Resistance 2 and I just weren’t meant to be.

Halo ODST:

This happened once again during the RRoD period of my game playing life or at least I think so. I was quite loyal to my PS3 for awhile and during that time period I really did ignore some of the 360 exclusives. I was willing to shell out some cash for a new Halo game though and my brothers got it before I did. They almost instantly gave me the thumbs down. “The game that should have been DLC” never ended up being purchased by me. I’m sure I missed out on a few fun moments but by the time I had finally gotten by 360 fixed, we were already gearing up for reach. I am sure I’ll take this for a spin sometime, maybe after Halo: CE?

Crackdown:

Finally, this is the last one worthy of note (for now). Crackdown is a game that always seemed a bit under the radar for me. I really think that the game came out during my PS3 phase, but the only reason I even entertained the idea of checking out the game was for a chance to get the Halo 3 beta. As I prepared to buy it though, my brothers called me to tell me that they each had purchased a copy so they would get me hooked up with the beta. However, they were young and dumb, they didn’t realize that the game itself was needed to play the game. They ended up keeping both copies and I never ended up playing Crackdown. Was I missing out? Maybe. I played the sequel though, kinda wish I hadn’t.

Aug 102011
 

If you played a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, you may have earned a Trophy or Achievement. Some gamers, including myself, expand the lifetime of a game by attempting to earn all these digital rewards, with no actual prize besides the sweet bling of victory. For Playstation, if you earn every trophy (excluding DLC trophies) you also earn a Platinum trophy. This doesn’t mean that Xbox fans don’t get their fair share of Achievement hoarding. Now, before this snowballs into a console war, let me get to the subject at hand, video games should not have trophies that require going onto the online features.

The most obvious case I can make against trophies/achievements is that not everybody has online capabilities. Maybe they don’t have a router, or PSN crashed again, or their XBL expired. What ever the case, gamers should be able to acquire everything there is to the game offline. Yes, I also think all games should have a skirmish like mode that levels you up just like the online multiplayer, but that is a different rant.

Some games, however, feature trophies for their lackluster online features, in attempts to get people to actually suffer through it. One example of this is Bioshock 2. I know the game is great, but the multiplayer is nothing special, and probably uses online trophies/achievements in an attempt to get players to actually play the online feature.

On a stronger note, some games’ online trophies and achievements are just TOO hard to do, either because the insane skill you would need, or because if the servers die down a bit, you are screwed. If you look at Killzone 2′s trophy list, one trophy requires you to “Achieve weekly online honor rank #4″. For those of you who don’t know, this asks the player to be in the 1% tile of all Killzone 2 players of that week. This requires either one of three things 1) INSANE skill 2) A lot of free time 3) A lot of trading headshots with friends.

Everybody knows about the recent downtime Sony faced because a bunch of hackers. During that time, I decided to get Portal 2, get the free PC copy, platinum it, and sell it. One trophy/achievement requires you to beat the tutorial level with a friend online who has not beat it, after you completed the game. That alone stopped me from platinum until the servers went back up. What if PSN goes down forever? Will we not be able to obtain platinums for these games?

David Jaffe announced Twisted Metal was delayed, and one of the reasons was “There were two trophies that would require the player to do things that harm the team as a whole”. My guess is something like “get 7 team kills” or “remain AFC (away from controller) for an entire match”. This got me thinking that other online trophies/achievements could have the player completely ignore the objective to get the trophy, like Bad Company 2′s “Careful Guidance”.  This asks one to shoot down an enemy helicopter with a stationary RPG. This might not sound bad, but some people could spend the entire match attempting to shoot down the helicopter with the RPG that is dominating their team, instead of simply locking on and taking it down.

Let’s face it, these game servers will not last forever, and deep into the 8th generation of gaming I’m sure many of us will want to go back to the classics like Red Dead Redemption. What if we want to get all the trophies or achievements, but the servers are dead? Than there are those few that are just locked away forever.

What do you think? Do you love online trophies/achievements? Do you collect them? Do you even care? Sound off below!

Aug 042011
 

!WARNING! HERE BE SPOILERS!

Throughout the course of many games you are forced to make difficult decisions but few rely on the life or death of relatively innocent parties. There has however been several occasions where a game has made us do the unthinkable, or later turned round and showed us the error of our ways. Here are 7 occasions where you should have felt genuinely bad about what you did and just accept the fact that you are a terrible person.

Engineers – Halo 3 ODST

Throughout the course of the game you will encounter a new, suspicious kind of weapon. Brutes will unleash what appears to be a giant shield, generating bomb of ungodly proportions which wants to head your way. Naturally you will try and shoot the hell out of this thing before it gets anywhere near you. But come the end of the game you discover that what you have actually been helping to destroy is a poor, innocent, enslaved race of alien that the covenant have been attaching bombs and shield generators to. You murdering scoundrel– I hope that achievement you got felt good.

 

Mr. Bubbles – Bioshock

This evil looking, hulking beast was the protector for the little sisters and looked like the kind of guy you didn’t want to mess with. But we did, just walked right on in there and shot him to pieces so we could get our hands on the Little Sisters and their precious Adam. What we didn’t realise though was that the Big Daddy with his drill for an arm and menacing head piece was actually loved by the poor, innocent little girl he was traveling with and as she sobbed her heart out by his lifeless corpse I think we all died a little inside. Before stealing her Adam and either killing her or sending her off on her merry way.

Sasquatch(es) – Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Undead nightmare is possibly one of my favourite DLC for any game, ever and it bought with it a whole host of quirky, devilish new enemies for you to take out but you just had to pick on the Sasquatch didn’t you? Travelling through the woods and bunting these apparent menaces to society on behalf of some crazy hunter we pretty much just met–you never even gave them a chance did you. Eventually you had eradicated all but one sobbing beast sat by a tree, mourning the loss of his entire species. The only way you could have been any more cruel and heartless was if you had just walked away and left him to suffer rather than killing him like he begged you too.

Weighted Companion Cube – Portal

There were pretty much zero characters in either Portal game–but the few that were there are all brilliant, including the humble Companion Cube. This little cube was your only friend throughout either game so the first time we saw it helped us a lot then at the end of the level. We were forced to kill it, forced to drop our only friend into an incinerator. The only reprieve from the unwavering torture was when we met once more in Portal 2 and discovered we could sneak our friend out maybe, just maybe we could make up for the murder of the original cube but then GlaDOS decides to add to our horror and suffering by murdering the cube once more.

The Masked Man – Mother 3

This guy has done nothing but be as total douche to everyone throughout the entire game and now that you finally got to him it’s time for some payback. After duking it out you have obviously defeated him but wait. Yeah this cut scene here shows quite clearly that The Masked Man is none other than Claus your long lost brother and guess what? Now he’s dead. To add insult to injury having killed your last brother Lucas’ facial expression doesn’t even change from that stupid smile as he walks past his brothers’ corpse to pull the final needle. Lucas is cold man.

 

Alphonse Almodovar – Fallout 3

As we all know early on in Fallout 3 your father escapes from Vault 101 despite the Overseer, Alphonse, insisting on total isolation from the outside world. Following your fathers cunning escape this guy starts getting all up in your shit, sending guards to hunt you down and the like. So naturally you want a piece of revenge pie served ice cold. But, having put one right between his eyes you realise what you just did, you killed your best friends dad and more than likely did it with a gun she gave you to help you out. There is a special place in hell reserved for people like you (and me, I shot him too).

Colonel Lambert – Splinter Cell DA

The creators of this game were just down right evil. Depending on which version of the game you played Lambert could be killed in any number of ways, most of them as an indirect result of choices you made. However, on the second version of Double Agent you could actually shoot him right in the face, God knows why you would want to do that, but you still could if you chose too. Now, the biggest insult was that even if you didn’t kill him and you were a good Mr. Fisher then when Splinter Cell: Conviction came out guess what? They killed him off anyway Screw you Tom Clancy, I was young when I first played Splinter Cell and that man was like a second father to me!

Jul 152011
 

iDevices like the iPhone and the iPad are pretty powerful for what they are and capable of play so pretty big games like Infinity Blade. Well if you are an owner of an iDevice, I have some rather good news for you. A new game studio created by former art director from Irrational Games/2k Australia Andrew James and designer Ed Orman, who helped with games many games like Bioshock, have announced their new game called “EPOCH”.

This game (considering it’s a mobile game) looks HUGE! Gameplay and graphics wise. They are using the same Unreal engine that Epic Games used for Infinity Blade so I’m really looking forward to see what these guys have done with the game.

EPOCH is (as all games seem to be at the moment) a post-apocalypse third person shooter with a Gears of War shoot from cover feel about it. You play as a robot soldier that reboots during a post-apocalyptic catastrophe that is unknown to your character and you must fight to fulfil your ancient programming. We all know where this story is going, character awakes doesn’t know what’s happened, must find out what has happened to the world around them, must fight numerous enemies to get answers and uncovers some big mystery. It’s the same as all the other post-apocalyptic games like Fallout and RAGE, but what wins my vote is the fact it’s a mobile game like RAGE HD, that all started on the iPhone and iPad. Being a MAHUSSIVE Bethesda fan any game like this excites me. One thing I would love to see more of is Bethesda’s ideas heading to iDevices, that my friends would be pretty awesome!

I have also uncovered a trailer of the game for all you lucky gamers. From what the trailer shows you, it definitely looks like you’ll need to be in cover a lot of the time and that the gameplay is fast paced. It also appears that you will have the ability to pull off stunts like cartwheeling over rocks and pulling off back flips. The enemies in the game have different colours grey, yellow and red, maybe this if the way of telling how difficult the enemy you are up against is. Grey being easy and red being the hardest or maybe there are other colours like black that could be the hardest.

The only worry I have with EPOCH is the controls. Because it looks like you’re all over the place and never stood still and constantly shooting other tin cans the controls might be a little complicated for mobile gaming. I don’t want to be all fingers and thumbs. I may be wrong though; Uppercut may have a totally new control system to other mobile titles and make it easier for us to play.

There hasn’t been a release date given for the game yet but rumours suggest that it may be released in the fourth quarter of this year for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I will have a review heading your way as soon as EPOCH is released. Until then Gaming Irresponsibly will keep you posted on information about the game.

Jul 032011
 

Every credible gaming website has one indefinite thing in common; each one has amassed a list of the greatest games of all time. We here at Gaming Irresponsibly have polled our team and have come up with a list of what we believe to be the Top 20 video games of all time. So let us keep the introduction brief and begin our ascent to the top with the Gaming Irresponsibly’s Writer’ Top 20 Games of All Time!

20. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)

Back in 2002, Rockstar Games and Rockstar North combined to create Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a fresh new take sandbox style games that they helped usher in. The unique 80′s theme with lots to accomplish and seemingly unending gameplay made Vice City a must own title on the PlayStation 2. Stealing cars, killing civilians and soliciting hookers has never been so fun, especially when they are all done in a Hawaiian shirt.

19. Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Rockstar makes it on the list again with last year’s hit western title Red Dead Redemption. Rockstar San Diego develop this masterpiece that has players roaming about the old west. This gun-slinging, horseback-riding action game was a follow up to 2004′s Red Dead Revolver, and this title improved upon its predecessor in all areas. The detailed story line, unforgettable characters, and an epic ending helped make this game one of the best ever.

18. Okami (2006)

If you haven’t played Okami before, you better find a way to play it. Capcom and Clover Studio helped bring this unique title to life using beautiful imagery and water color style graphics that make each level jump off the screen. You play as Amatarasu, the sun goddess, in the form of a wolf. It is your duty to defeat the beasts of the world in order to restore color and life back to the realm. The story is brilliant, but the visuals helped make this game on of the best to ever grace the PlayStation 2.

17. Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

Everyone that has played Shadow of the Colossus will tell you how amazing this game truly is. Very few games can evoke the type of emotion that SCE Studios Japan brought with this stunning title 6 years ago. The world created by Shadow of the Colossus is breathtaking, and the mythical creatures you encounter will leave you in awe. The battles you partake in against each Colossus will test your wits and none of them will let you down. Shadow of Colossus is a game that will be on nearly every list of the greatest games ever made for years to come.

16. Gears of War (2006)

Maybe it’s the endless hordes of Locust coming from the ground, attacking the few survivors that remain. Maybe it’s the over the top dialouge and stunning graphics. Or maybe it’s just the fact that your rifle has a freaking chainsaw attached to it for optimal carnage, either way, Gears of War was a hit when it was released on the Xbox 360 back in 2006. Epic games took a chance on a “stop and pop” style shooter in favor of the usual “run and gun” action that we were accustomed to, and the result was an epic game (pun absolutely intended) that pushed the envelope of graphics, action and multiplayer.

15. Chrono Trigger (1995)

Square Enix, in 2001 Squaresoft, has had an affinity with Role Playing Games since the company came to be, and many of them have been nothing short of excellent. Chrono Trigger offered something a little different than most; time travel. Players were to go back and forth through time and space in order to change the course of history by defeating the evil LAVOS. Chrono Trigger had an instant following that spawned another great title as a sequel Chrono Cross.

14. ICO (2001)

What Shadow of the Colossus did, ICO did better, and before. SCE Studios Japan brought us this amazing title back in 2001, and it remains one of the greatest games to ever release on the PlayStation 2. The story of a boy, born every generation, with horns flees his captors and unites with a princess to escape an enormous castle. Challenging puzzles and outstanding visuals make ICO one of the best games of all time.

13. GoldenEye 007 (1997)

Those of us old enough to remember have fond memories of sitting at a friends house with four controllers, fighting to the death, as our favorite Bond characters. This game single-handily help usher gamers in to a new era of multiplayer shooters. Many attempts have been made to revitalize this title, but to no avail. GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 remains the best of the franchise, and one of the greatest games ever made.

12. Fallout 3 (2008)

Secretly, we would all love to find ourselves locked in an underground holding facility as a child, born and raised in captivity due to generations of fear for what may lie just beyond the outside gates. Well, maybe not, but we all secretly wish for a mini nuke gun to blast away at oncoming radioactive monsters. After Bethesda got a hold of the Fallout franchise, it blended a post-apocalyptic universe with the extremely successful Elder Scrolls open world gameplay.

11. BioShock (2007)

2K Games/Boston created the world of Rapture for us gamers to enjoy, and not for one second did it disappoint. The beautiful water rendering and addictive plasmids had us aching for more, as the BioShock series has become one of the best franchises to date. Ken Levine and his crew did a fantastic job of immersing players into a world that once thrived, but was ultimately destroyed, through greed and power. If you have yet to play BioShock, I have but one question to ask you; would you kindly?

10. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

Hideo Kojima’s supposed swan song to the Metal Gear series was met with heavy delays. Controversies surrounding the install times between chapters led to negative feedback from the community just before it’s release, but none of that mattered. The game released and it didn’t take long to realize the Kojima had created a masterpiece. The unrivaled graphics, deep story and a sense of nostalgia made this game great for the fans of the franchise. Also, act like you didn’t let one of those chicks come up and hug you after you beat her to see what would happen.

9. Halo 2 (2004)

Halo started the fight. Halo 3 finished it (kind of). Halo 2 however had the best multiplayer of the three and kept the original Xbox alive for as long as spartanly possible. The only downfall of this game was the removal of the Halo pistol (awwwwwww) which made fans of the first game furious. The Halo universe may have begun with Combat Evolved, but Halo 2 really took it to the next level in what to expect from first person shooters in the future.

8. Mass Effect (2007)

How excited were you to finally nail that chick on the Normandy, you sick bastards. Traveling from galaxy to galaxy seems overwhelming, but not in Mass Effect. BioWare took what they learned from Knights of the Old Republic and applied it to a fresh new IP and added a flawless story line. The added bonus that what you do in Mass Effect, will have impact on Mass Effect 2 and 3 is an excellent touch to make gamers think before they act, and that ending battle sequence, gorgeous.

7. Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare (2007)

Activision made the right choice in selecting Infinity Ward to help develop Call of Duty titles. This team of geniuses helped do what many thought would be impossible for years; kill Halo. But they did. Modern Warfare quickly became the most played game on Xbox Live, and the train of money and content has never stopped. This title helped bring us into the era of Call of Duty style shooters that we currently live in today, and without it, millions of more people would still be playing Halo religiously.

6. Super Mario 64 (1996)

Remember when you first saw our favorite plumber running around, trying to save the princess in three dimensions? Of course you do. Super Mario 64 helped bring in great titles from famous franchises of our past, and show them to us in stunning three dimensional glory. Jumping around smashing bricks and collecting mushrooms had never felt better, and the Nintendo 64 sold millions of units because of it.

5. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Many people will say that a certain Final Fantasy game was better, but it wasn’t. This title showed North America what Japanese RPG’s were all about. Squaresoft produced one of the most widely recognized set of characters, stunning CGI cut scenes and helped push the Final Fantasy franchise into a must have game each time one released. The gripping story and in-depth characters helped make one of the most emotional scenes video games have ever offered. You know which one I am talking about.

4. Half-Life 2 (2004)

The sequel to Valve’s extremely popular title Half-Life still remains one of the greatest games of all time. Recently re-released in the Orange Box, Half-Life 2 molded fantastic visuals with excellent physics. The storyline was epic and fans of the franchise cannot wait for more from the Half-Life universe. As far as PC gaming goes, Half-Life 2 will always have a spot in the back of gamers minds as one of the most revolutionary titles in ages.

3. Resident Evil 4 (2005)

The original Resident Evil was a great game, and year after year, it was watered down with sequels and spin offs that eventually discredited the franchise. Enter Resident Evil 4, Capcom’s new take on the Resident Evil series. The improved aiming feature with better camera angles helped make this game one of the best. The intriguing story, ability to relocate items in your inventory and upgrades purchasable through a mysterious man were all welcome features to a franchise that seemed to be on it’s last leg.

2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2005)

Bethesda can do something right, open world RPG’s to be exact, and Oblivion is the best of the best. Graphics at the time were remarkable and the playability was endless. Gamers all over still spend tons of hours each week on Oblivion, so much so that the game has re-introduced multiple special and collector’s editions since it’s release. This game is everything that is right with RPG’s and as helped build an insurmountable mountain of hype surrounding Skyrim.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

Hands down the best game we have ever played.Remember how you felt when you were first shown the vastness of Hyrule Field upon your trusted steed? Or how you felt in battle, when you pulled back that bow and arrow and laced an oncoming enemy with a perfect targeting system? The game fed our nostalgia for Link on his never ending quest to save Zelda and brought it to us in three dimensions, at a time when it was unfathomable to think of. They even brought back the gold cartridge, just like we remember it in the good ol’ days. Ocarina of Time helped make the Nintendo 64 a must own system and recently spawned the 3DS remake that dropped a few weeks ago.

And there it is, Gaming Irresponsibly’s Top 20 Games of All Time. Did we leave something out? Do you feel scorned and belittled because your favorite game didn’t make it? Leave us some comments below and tell us how we did.

 

 

 

Jun 252011
 

For many years now, Hollywood has done its best job of trying to take great, classic video game franchises, and turn them into money making blockbusters, and almost everyone has fallen flat on its face. So what is the problem? Hollywood has clearly chosen the wrong games to make into popular movie franchises. No matter how hard you try, Bloodrayne is not going to cut it. Neither are platforming games, Super Mario Bros., or fighting games, Mortal Kombat (even though the trailer from last year would argue otherwise, web series? Please.) What Hollywood needs to focus on is an interesting storyline, deep character development, and some action that isn’t so damn cheesy (I am looking at you Doom!)

So I thought to myself, what games would make great movies, so that the film industry can finally get over this hump of making terrible films adapted from video games. Below is a list of what I believe would bring a great lineup of films based on video games. I’ll tell you why they will work and give you an updated status of their current situation in Hollywood.

Can Bioshock break the mold of games becoming terrible moives?

BioShock

Why It Would Work: BioShock has a great, film like, story with tons of action and a great location; Rapture. With psycho, gene altered freaks, creepy little girls, and over protective fathers, BioShock will have enough action and excitement to lure in non gamers. There may be one small problem: How would you create a protagonist from a game where the protagonist is you?

Current Situation: As you read this, a film adaptation of2K’s hit game is currently under development. Gore Verbinski is leading the production, while Juan Carlos Fresnadillo remains in the director’s chair. Production is moving slowly with Universal Studios as everyone on board is still pushing for a solid “R” rating.

Will Master Chief ever see the silver screen?

Halo

Why It Would Work: Inter=species space battles will always draw in crowds of viewers. Throw in how large the Halo fan base is, the amount of sequels you can produce and a favorable rating that could appeal to a much larger demographic, and you have yourself a biannual summer blockbuster.

Current Situation: Much speculation has been made about the Halo film. First Peter Jackson wanted to get a hold of the popular game franchise and attach Neil Blomkamp as its director (Blomkamp filmed a live action short for a Halo 3 promotion). Since then, Steven Spielberg has also thrown his name into the hat as a contender for the adaptation. Microsoft isn’t buying just yet; they have stated that they will begin a Halo movie. “when the time is right”.

Look for The SS Normandy to make a big screen appearance soon!

Mass Effect

Why It Would Work: Massive intergalactic space battles, beautiful foreign planets and even some cool cantina scenes give you a reminiscent feel of Star Wars. Commander Shepard and the crew of the SS Normandy make for a great mixture of characters, and the story with the Mass Effect Relays and the Reapers is just too good to pass up.

Current Situation: Mass Effect is in the early stages of development, with the producers that brought you the Dark Knight and Spider-Man. Legendary Pictures will produce the film with father/son combo Avi and Ari Arad.

Dead Space would make a great horror flick.

Dead Space

Why It Would Work: If history tells us anything about movies, it’s that people love a frightening one, and Dead Space can sure deliver the goods. Maybe it’s the deformed, reanimated human corpses, or maybe it’s the fact that you are basically stranded on the largest space station ever constructed with little to no power. Oh, and your weapon is a plasma cutter, not exactly military issued weaponry. Either way, Dead Space would scare the pants of audiences around the world.

Current Situation: D.J. Caruso is currently set to direct the film adaptation of Dead Space. However, the film is in the earliest stages of development as no actors have been suggested and no writers are attached to the project. As the movie stands now, you can expect it to be a prequel to the original game, which I think may be a huge mistake. Also, let’s hope Mr. Caruso doesn’t put Shia LaBeouf in this film.

Marky Mark as Nathan Drake?

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Why It Would Work: Action and adventure in exotic, distant lands, searching for the lost South American city of El Dorado. Sounds like every kid’s dream, just like I used to watch Indiana Jones when I was growing up. Nathan Drake is a great character to follow through the trials and tribulations of treasure hunting, with a little womanizing on the side of course.

Current Situation: It’s rumored that Mark Wahlberg will be taking on the role of Nathan Drake. David O. Russell was supposed to be sitting in the director’s chair, but pulled out of the project due to creative differences. The movie is moving slowly, but there is still hope for its arrival.

There are currently tons of movies that are in development or are well on their way to be. These five are just some of the best of the crop that Hollywood is currently operating with. With any hope, these movies could be the ones to shatter the barrier that video games cannot make great movies. Only time will tell. Movie information is courtesy of IGN.

May 242011
 

Hey all of you Bioshock fans! If you love Bioshock as much as I do (meaning that if you love Bioshock so much that you dream of the sequel every waking second, have read every piece of news that graces the internet with its presence, have played the game more than five times, and possibly even have a shrine of Ken Levine in your closet that you look at while you touch yourself and cry that you will never be as great as he is) then you’re in for a great surprise!

Irrational Games has set up their shiny and brand new website for Bioshock Infinite, with all new screens, backgrounds, downloads, and information on the upcoming sequel. I don’t know about any of you other Bioshock fans out there, but I’m definitely going to spending some time surfing their new website and making sure that I download every itty-bitty piece of new content. So head on over to Bioshock Infinite to take a look at the new website!

I don’t know if any of you could tell, but I was totally joking about the whole “Ken Levine Shrine” thing. I would never spend a whole day constructing one of those out of various pictures of Ken Levine’s face and carved slabs of white marble.