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I just stumbled onto this list of Game Commandments put out by Cracked. Some of the mentioned rules include:

#7. Thou shalt let us play your game with real-life friends.

The advantage that consoles have over, say, PCs, is that you can play from your comfy sofa. The reason the sofa is considered the pinnacle of furniture technology is because there’s room for other people on it.

#5. Thou shalt not force repetition on the player.

Well some video games are like tossing cards: sports games, fighting games, racing games. The fun is in repeating and practicing them. But other mission-based games are like having sex. There’s a specific progression and goal in mind, and repetitive interruption only ruins the mood.

#3. Thou shalt admit when enough is enough.

No one has ever liked an escort mission, ever, in the history of gaming. So why do they still exist?

The average gamer has killed more Nazis than the entire Russian army. Where the hell are the World War I games?

Read the article, it’s fairly funny, especially if you’re a gamer.

I have one complaint I’d like to add to the list, as well:

#8. Allow people to map their keys.

I can’t believe that so many of today’s games are so anal about their control scheme. Honestly, is there a good reason not to allow people to, for example, switch the jump and the shoot buttons in Crackdown? It’s not like those values are hard-coded in the game. And if they are, well, we’re all up the creek at that point.

Some of the older games allowed us almost infinite freedom when it came to changing controls. Now, there are usually “profiles”, settings that affect the entire scheme and not individual buttons, but it’s becoming more common for a game not to present the user with any options at all, save for the obvious “invert y-axis” setting.

Why?! Will it cost you more money? Will it take away from the overall experience? Sure, some people might be painting themselves into a corner when they remap the controls to DOA4 in such a way that some button combinations are impossible or even dangerous to attempt, and maybe in such cases some structure would be nice, but let us make that choice!

That is all. I will now go home and play GTA IV, a game that offers no ability to remap any of the controls.

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In one of the more bizarre pairings, here’s GTA IV and Toosie, brought to you by Conan.

While we’re on the topic of GTA IV, and that’s a topic that I am constantly on, I am really loving this game.

I’m just learning to use the cover system and I have to say, it’s a welcome improvement from the older games in the series: it makes firefights more exciting and longer. Well, not so long, since the cops do show up in large numbers, but it’s still great.

I’m also enjoying the in-car free-aim mode. Whereas in the previous games you could only fire to the left or to the right of the car (without using a cheat), now there is a clear separation between where you’re driving and where you’re shooting. Last night I did a spectacular run from the cops where I reversed down the highway and shot at the police cars as they were pursuing me. I’m still horrible at aiming, but I did manage to shoot out the tires of one car and actually made it flip over!

At work I use a little program I wrote that inserts random signatures into my outgoing e-mail. It’s quite a nice thing and works wonderfully, though every once in a while I find myself requesting new signatures because the current one is either too long or not exactly work-friendly. Every so often, however, I decide to skip a signature just because it’s too good to be wasted on such silly things as bug-related e-mails. So, I present to you some of the signatures that, for one reason or another, didn’t quite make the cut:

A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.

J. B. (John Boynton) Priestley

Watching football is like watching pornography. There’s plenty of action, and I can’t take my eyes off it, but when it’s over, I wonder why the hell I spent an afternoon doing it.

Luke Salisbury

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

Carl Sagan

This is going to be a fairly short entry, as there’s only one postcard this week that I want to comment on.

Oh, what a glorious religion Christianity is. No matter what a person does, no matter how good they are toward others or how close they themselves feel to god, they’re still terrified of hell because their parents imprinted them with this crap at an early age. Some people would say that pushing religion onto a someone so young is a form of child abuse. I agree.

To the author: try not to think about it. There’s no god, so you’re not going to hell.

If you really want to believe that god does exist, know that a benevolent god will not send a good person to hell, no matter what religion he subscribes to.

This is an assumption on my part, but I don’t suppose you think that god is evil. However, if you do believe that god is malevolent and only likes people who believe what your parents believe… Well, I don’t have much there. That god really seems like a dick. The only bright side (and it’s not bright at all) about that reasoning is that 99% of the world will join you in hell as well, so don’t feel too bad about it.

Umm, that’s probably 99.99999%. Or something. Basically, it your parents and half the people who go to your church.