Last week, I went into a bit of why I think it’s important to remember what has come before without actually dwelling on it. I focused specifically on old video games. I don’t wish to give the impression that I’m down on older games, far from. So, in the interest of equality I thought I’d throw out a pair of old titles that I feel, not only still hold up, but are in my opinion must plays.
Myth series: Everyone knows Halo, the Bungie series that took the world by storm and single-handedly made the Xbox a success. But not everyone is as aware of Bungie’s older efforts, that were for a while, Mac only. Myth was a real-time strategy game and was Bungie’s first cross platform game for Mac and Windows. It was also the first RTS to use a 3D rendered world with realistic physics. Set in a fantasy universe, it ditched the -craft formula of resource management, upgrades and the dizzying array of special abilities and brought it down to it’s simple essence. There were two factions, though in the single player campaign you only played as the the forces of the Light. There were only a few different units in the game and each only had one attack type, some units had one special ability that had limited uses. The focus of the game wasn’t about getting all sorts of fancy toys and then building up a massive force, it was about how you used what units you had. Through the simplicity of the armies the game gave way to incredible depth in strategy. Formations were key, height and weather conditions could spell the difference between victory and crushing defeat. It was beautiful. Not to mention one of the greatest single player campaigns I’ve ever played. And it still enjoys a strong following today as nothing has really matched it since. I still regard it as the best RTS ever. Head here to check out the community and download patches to play it on modern hardware.
Freespace: Here’s one that I missed back in the day, but thanks to Good old Games I’ve been able to pick it back up and get into the meat of it. I’m not saying I didn’t play it mercilessly way back when. I just had to go to my friends house because my machine couldn’t run it. The game that really defined what a space flight sim could be, it pushed your hardware to the limit. It still looks and plays great, and the engine is still used today by the modding community. And thanks to GoG it’s cheap and easily accessible to anyone.
I’ll be back with more of these. There are just too many old gems out there.
Over the weekend, Fantasy Flight held their big brouhaha in Minneapolis, The Star Wars Game Day. I’m sure much fun was had by all at the various events. But the big news was the reveal of the next four ships to come out for the X-Wing miniature game. And they are…. The B-wing, Tie Bomber, Lambda class shuttle and HWK-290 aka the “Moldy crow.”
While the B-wing and the Tie Bomber, being the only two fighter-class ships from the original trilogy left, were a sure thing. The Lambda Shuttle was also not terribly surprising. Like the Millennium Falcon, it’s a mid-size transport with a lot of guns, and should fit in nicely on the imperial side. The HWK-290 on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise. For those who don’t recognize it, it’s Kyle Katarn’s ship from the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games. So, the Moldy Crow marks the game’s entry into pulling ships from the incredibly vast expanded universe. This means it won’t too long before we can start seeing Z-95 headhunters, Tie Defenders, Skipray Blastboats, E-Wings, maybe even the IG-2000. There’s a whole lot of great stuff that may be coming down the pike for this game.
But, what do these four ships mean for the game right now? Well, with the B-Wing and the Bomber, it means some heavy hitters for each side. With the last set introducing larger ships, we now see fighters that are designed specifically to pack heavy firepower to counter them. Perhaps in the future we’ll see even larger ships like the Corillian Corvette– then these heavy bombers will really start to shine.
With the HWK and the shuttle, we have a pair of good combat vehicles, but where they really will shine is in the support role. Its the offering of bonuses to friendly ships and creating synergy between your fleet that we haven’t really seen outside of Vader and Biggs. There are a couple of teasers of the new boats and their new cards on the announcement. I strongly encourage you to check them out and let me know what you think. How do you think they’ll fit into your fleets?
So we’ve all seen these games, probably played a few. Maybe we’ve even dropped a few of our hard earned dollars into them. It seemed to start with Facebook Apps, but it soon spread. Now they’re on Xbox Live! The Free to Play (F2P) scourge is everywhere! Filling up the iOS store, the Android store and clogging up your Facebook feed. Well to me, it’s now gone too far! Just yesterday, Transformers: Legends hit the Appstore, and then this morning SquareEnix announced Final Fantasy Tactics S (social)…Now it’s personal.
Let it be known the original Final Fantasy Tactics for PS and more recently for PSP and iOS is one of the greatest games ever made. Scratch that, it’s the greatest game ever made. There I said it, gauntlet thrown. Then it got two mediocre sequels for GBA and DS that felt like little more than a Final Fantasy version of Pokemon. Fun, but there was no heart, which was the whole strength of the original. We’ve all had to watch the steady degradation of everything Square over the last decade and it’s been truly sad. It’s really hit a peak in the last year as everything we’ve been seeing from them lately has been a f2p phone game that attempts to leverage nostalgia to sell very expensive in-app-purchases in terrible, terrible games. Final Fantasy ATB anyone?
And then Transformers: Legends. It’s just a Facebook game with Transformers art. The concept of the card battle game is old and can be pretty awesome, SNK vs Capcom: Cardfighters was a blast. But this game takes the idea and turns it into misery. Everything, including fun, is tied up behind a paywall. Now I’m more then happy to pay for a game, but when I do I want to be able to actually play the game. In TF:L you’re allowed to play for a minute or two before you have to wait an hour and half to play for another minute. You can speed this up by buying in game currency, but it wont get you far. Another minute of play will cost you a real world dollar, and that’s with the launch sale. Normally, each additional minute will cost you $3. And the whole focus of the gameplay is collecting Transformer art, that’s pretty much it. And everything you do and receive is completely randomized to a maddening degree, so you could spend $50 and still receive absolutely nothing. The multiplayer is an absolute joke so that’s no draw. The whole thing is just a tragedy of a company leveraging nostalgia to milk consumers.
This madness just has to stop, and the only way that’s going to happen is if people STOP PAYING MONEY FOR THIS CRAP! Seriously, stop it!
Yesterday, Kotaku writer Jason Screier posted this story about Atlus/ Vanillaware’s upcoming game Dragon’s Crown. I have to say, I was pretty relieved to see the page as I’d made the same observations and had the same concerns since the game was debuted last year. The one thing that I think Jason missed was that this presents, yet another reason why there needs to be more women working in the gaming industry.
Now let me just preface this by saying that I love Vanillaware. They’ve only had two games released in America so far, Odin Sphere and Muramasa, but those are two of my very favorite games of the last few years. I’ve been eagerly awaiting “Dragon’s Crown”, moreso, as it’s blend of RPG and side-scrolling, beat-em-up is aimed perfectly at my pleasure zone. However, since the release of the character trailer for the sorceress, that’s been tempered by trepidation. How are we supposed to push the idea that gaming is anything but a juvenile hobby when game developers are putting out juvenile crap like this?
It’s a huge problem and I’m far from the first to address it, and it’s by no means limited to video games. However, this game again highlights the need for more women in the gaming industry. I have a hard time believing that a character with a ten year old girls face and a twenty five year old porn star body, with breasts jiggling non-stop would have made it past concept had there been any women present as part of the creative process or, if the developer had any thought to having women even play this game. I already know this is one my girlfriend is going to turn away from immediately, and I can’t really blame her. It’s like Vanillaware has gone out of it’s way to tell women that they’re not welcome at this party. And it’s truly a shame, because otherwise it looks like it’s going to be a really awesome party. It’s just a shame it has to be a sausage fest.
Here at Geek Room, we know that if there is one thing almost as interesting as comics themselves, it is some of the legends that have grown up around them – though in many cases there is some confusion as to whether these legends are true or just urban myths.
Take for example the story of the rich man who supposedly paid DC in order to have them create a special Superman comic to celebrate his son’s Bar Mitzvah. It’s a great story, but is it true?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes! In 1998, Godfrey Bradman, a property developer in the United Kingdom, approached DC to create a comic book for the celebration of the Bar Mitzvah of his young son. It was written by DC staff member David Levin and drawn by Curt Swan, with the inking and likenesses done by Angelo Torres.
Another legend is that a famous scene in the Superman comic “For The Man Who Has Everything” from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. When Superman gets decidedly crossed with Mongul and uses his heat ray vision to attack him is the first time that that Superman’s power was ever used in an offensive manner. In this case, however, the legend is most decidedly not true, with at least one earlier example being a story from Superman: Issue 332 back in 1978, by Martin Pasko and Curt Swan, where the Parasite gets a blast of Superman’s heat ray.