Titanfall 2

So I beat Titanfall 2 last night, and it’s a weird game. Not weird in the “Let me scour the deepest recesses of Steam for the most indie game I can find” way, but weird in how it’s ostensibly a AAA game that’s just a bizarre hodgepodge of ideas that kind of works and yet also feels like a demo for a more substantial game. It combines these desperate game mechanics like wall-running/platforming in first person (I’m not a fan, but I can see how some folks would enjoy it), mech battles, and one level that has you jump across time periods, and any one of these seems like it could be enough for its own game, and yet they’re combined into a relatively short experience (it took me 12 hours to beat it because I am bad at video games, and I learned I should never be a streamer because no one wants to watch me be bad at video games).

It’s not a bad game, although its depressing to see what passes as story in video games. Yes, the relationship between your character and your mech is nice, but the uniqueness is trampled upon by yet another scrappy resistance fights the evil aliens/government/corporation/etc. narrative. I could not tell you three things about the main character, and while I understand that he’s a bit of a blank slate so you can project onto him, aren’t we a little past that? If you’re going to give him a voice actor and his own name rather than a mute where you give them a name like in a 90s RPG, give me a real narrative and not just scrappy pilot partners up with giant robot to kill a bunch of people. That’s fine for what it is, but it doesn’t make for a particularly memorable experience.


Image via EA

Friday, June 21st, 2019 videogames No Comments

Why I Don’t Like ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

Before I begin, let me be clear: I don’t think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a bad game. I can appreciate the care, effort, and most importantly, appeal it presents. But it also kind of clarified the kind of gamer I am and the kind of games I enjoy. I play games to unwind, and unwinding for me is not having to put a lot of thought into anything. It’s why I like building LEGO from the instruction manual. Here’s the manual, here are the steps, and it’s relaxing to just follow those steps and get a nice little set at the end.

Breath of the Wild is all about exploration and daunting challenges. It relishes in frustrating the player and then, for those willing to weather those frustrations, they’ll be rewarded. So if you fight through a lot of tough enemies, figure out how to get to the tower, fight even more enemies, survive the terrain, figure out how to climb to the tower, survive more enemies, and then finally climb the tower, you’ll be rewarded with climbing the tower. You set the goal, you choose the way to figure it out, and punishing as it may be along the way, you’re theoretically rewarded at the end.

For me, I just like more guidance in my games. I like knowing where to go next and a clear path to get there. I’m not opposed to challenge per say, but I do get frustrated with ridiculous levels of difficulty that require me to “work” at getting better (which is why I’ve never bothered to defeat the Valkyrie Queen in God of War). I don’t want to have to work to get good at a video game just like I don’t want to have to dump hours of my life figuring out how to climb a tower. I enjoy the simple pleasures of a game, and becoming invested in my character’s journey. But what Breath of the Wild is selling, I’m not buying. I can understand why it’s popular, but after spending time with the game, I can tell it’s not for me.

Friday, June 29th, 2018 criticism, videogames No Comments


So I’ve played a bit of Cuphead now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while the game is indisputably gorgeous and a wakeup call to other developers to up their game when it comes to art style, the actual gameplay is too grueling to be enjoyable. There are some gamers who get off on punishingly difficult games, but I am now one of them. When I push my way through a boss fight or a level of Cuphead, I don’t feel like I figured something out or I improved enough to proceed. I tend to feel like I got away with something and that with just enough breaks, I was able to win. That’s not a particularly rewarding experience, and even playing with a friend, there’s not so much a sense of camaraderie as there is a grim determination where after a few tries you feel more exhaustion than exhilaration.

In summation, Cuphead is fine for some, but if you’re looking for a great game to play with friends, check out Overcooked.

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 videogames No Comments

Funny Photos

Yeah, this blog can do that.  It shouldn’t, but it can, AND IT WILL:

Art by Chris Furniss via Super Punch.

 Via Uberhumor via Brother.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 humor, videogames No Comments

Too Nerdy to Live

Most cool people will never understand this, but for nerdy folks myself, there comes a time when you take a step back and go, “There is no reason this should infuriate me.  I need to find real things to care about.”  Then you go back to being infuriated over inconsequential matters.

Example:  Here’s the trailer for the upcoming video game X-Men: Destiny:

Set aside for the moment that even after viewing this trailer I have no idea what kind of game X-Men Destiny is.  Is it an Action-RPG?  An arcade brawler like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance?  A mixture of both?  But that’s not what I find maddening.

It’s the stupid tagline at the end:

“Some Destinies are Chosen.”

No.  No, they’re not.  Destiny cannot be chosen.  That’s what makes it “destiny”.  It is the unavoidable endpoint and you have no say in how you get there.  That’s why “Destiny” and “Destination” share the same root.  Destiny negates choice.  It happens no matter what you do.  The game should be called X-Men: Choice or X-Men: Determination or X-Men: Experience-Based Leveling System for Character Customization.  Not X-Men: Destiny.

I just spent fifteen minutes of my life ranting about this.  That’s what sadness looks like.  NEVER FORGET.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 personal, stupid, videogames No Comments



Friday, June 11th, 2010 brilliant, videogames No Comments

It’s Not Easy Being the Final Boss

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 humor, videogames No Comments

Best & Worst Video Games of 2009

I don’t play anywhere near as many video game as I see movies so I’m not going to do an in-depth list and there’s a high likelihood that there are better games from this year that I didn’t play.  But of the handful I did, here’s what I came up with:

Best of 2009

1. Batman: Arkham Asylum: This is the Batman video game I always imagined and the Batman movie that can never exist.  It’s dark, violent, but has Batman doing more than just punching people, although the fighting mechanics are superb.  There was just no great satisfaction for me in gaming than perching on a gargoyle, waiting for a henchman to pass by underneath, and stringing him up in less than a second.  Oh wait, there was a greater moment: every time a mad man charged you and you timed it right to just take him down with a strong punch to the face.

2. The Beatles: Rock Band: There was no way this game could disappoint.  It’s my favorite band of all-time paired with one of my favorite games of all-time.  It’s visually spectacular and will (hopefully) introduce a new generation to The Fab Four.  The only reason this game doesn’t edge out Arkham Asylum is because it does live or die with it’s Downloadable Content and Rubber Soul was a letdown on bass and guitar.

3. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: About a billion times better than Grand Theft Auto IV because it was…oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?  Oh, right: FUN.

4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Add this to the short list of videogames that are better than the movie they’re based on.  There’s no way the awful movie could ever match the violence of the game (in the first stage you rip a pilot out of the cockpit and shove his head inside the blades), and while the story is just as weak, video games tend to have lousy stories anyway.  At least the game was loads of fun, which is more than I can ever say about the movie.

5. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story: These games are always fun.  They mock the Mario universe rather than just pile on it.  The gameplay is also solid and while I wish there were more sidequests and less touch-screen controls (which almost always feel shoehorned into just about any Nintendo DS game), it was a DS game that wasn’t a disappointment (unlike The World Ends With You, which didn’t come out this year, but I did play it back in January and I hated it; if your game is still give you tutorials ten hours in, then it’s more complicated than it needs to be).

Worst of 2009

1. Brutal Legend: “Disappointment” is not a strong enough word.  This is a game that didn’t even believe in itself.  When I played the demo, I thought it was going to be one of the best games of the year.  But the demo left out what Brutal Legend actually was: a real-time-strategy game.  Not only does that kind of game bore me, but I felt tricked.  I thought it would be a fun hack-n-slasher from the guy who made Psychonauts, one of the all-time great video games.  If Hollywood made R-rated animated films, Brutal Legend would be fantastic.  But since video games actually require fun gameplay, it was failure.

2. Scribblenauts: This is how you trick journalists at E3: you offer them a game that supposedly offers 20,000 words which allow you to imagine just about everything, and then see how they think it’s fun to pit God against a kraken.  That is fun.  For about five to ten minutes and if you sat down and actually devoted time to play the game (which the journalists clearly didn’t have time to do), you would see that it has appeal for a few hours before you realize that it does limit your imagination and it probably only has a few thousand words and then uses them for the same item.  “Box” and “Crate” produce the same item, but so what?  It’s a trick to make you think that 20,000 words means 20,000 items.  But it doesn’t really matter because the game has very specific items it wants you to use to achieve your objective.  Oh, and the controls suck, so good work on that one.

3. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions: Yes, it didn’t come out this year, but it was also a massive disappointment.  I don’t get the love for this game.  It’s not a strategy game because strategy allows you to plan.  FFT forces you to choose your units and position without knowing the terrain or which enemies you’ll be facing.  Then it just falls to grinding your characters’ levels, because it’s not about who positions their units the best, but who gets lucky.  Luck is the opposite strategy.  And yet this is one of the highest rated PSP games on the market.  Then again, most video game critics are worthless so why am I not surprised.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009 criticism, videogames No Comments


I’m not sure if it’s possible to make a bad trailer for a game revolving around playing “Beatles” songs.  Either way, the trailers for “The Beatles: Rock Band” have me trying to accelerate the motion of the earth so it will be September 9th already.

Oh, and they finally give a brief look at the one song I wanted in a “Beatles: Rock Band” game: “Helter Skelter”.

Monday, August 17th, 2009 brilliant, music, videogames No Comments

Opening Cinematic From THE BEATLES: ROCK BAND

This opening cinematic is better than all of Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe”.

Monday, June 15th, 2009 brilliant, music, videogames No Comments