11.30.2006

Ebayin' It

I love ebay! Check out these cool auctions. Something for the collector in all of us!

Please keep in mind that I am not selling any of these items or advertising them. I just think they're cool. Also note that these are ebay auctions and the links will die when the auction closes.


Masamune (as in Sephiroth's Masamune)

Skeletor's Sword

Liono's Sword from Thundercats (it lights up!)

The Master Sword

A Gunblade (I still don't get the physics behind why these things just don't explode.)

Tetsaiga (I know I spelled that wrong...)

Buster Sword

Woozy (of Devil May Cry fame. She's a good girl.)

And last but not least:

Auron's Sword

Because Auron is awesome!

11.29.2006

Too Complicated?

Even though I haven't posted in a bit, I'm pleased with the amount of hits I've been getting anyway. I would gloat right now about Sony's PS3 debaucle, but I think I've done that enough in previous posts predicting Sony's soon to be fall from grace.

I really hate the PS3 commercials. Not only are they creepy, they don't convey what the system can do. If you look around, you can find the 3 minute promo Sony used to convince investors that the PS3 was worthy of their monetary support. Though 3 minutes is way too long for most media outlets (the 30 second comercial spot being king), Sony should have taken the millions they spent on the crap their marketing department came up with and just paid for the air time. The 3 minute promo sold me on the product and all they showed was one game.

But on to the reason for my post:

I read a book this morning on computer game graphics by Liz Faber. Though I gave you an Amazon link, don't bother buying the book. It's from 1998 and makes two assertions that left me in stitches.

The first was that Daikatana was going to be the first person shooter, displacing the legendary status of Doom. I remember that piece of crap. The only thing Daikatana managed to do was find itself a very tiny, yet rabid following. Doom, even for all it's flaws is still the top dog. And for good reason. It's flaws are what make it great. It's easily exploitable code gave rise to millions of WADs, including "Barney " Doom, "Happy" Doom, and "Star Wars" Doom where the gun became a lightsaber.

The second assertion actually blew me away with it's stupidity. Faber claims that with the advent of Final Fantasy VII, video games were now too complicated for young gamers.

What?

Okay, just because you found the materia system a little difficult doesn't mean my sister, at ten years old, didn't breeze through it. The materia system is, in fact, the most difficult to understand magic system that the Final Fantasy games have ever presented us with. Even so, young players, many of whom had FF7 as their introduction to gaming did not find that game, or the many that followed, complicated at all.

I know a great many of the people who read this blog aren't even old enough to vote, let alone drink, and don't find any game presented to them complicated. The very idea that a game would be 'too tough' for them is insulting. Content too mature, yes. But too complicated? I'll just hand you a fire extinguisher and hope the flames don't get too bad.

As an aging gamer, some of the newer games are a bit too much for me. Those games require more of my patience while I master the controls. But that's only a dexterity issue. The gambit system of FF12 is no more complicated than the skill point system of Star Ocean 3.

The only thing I find that young gamers have a hard time grasping is the story of a game. Video games today are interactive novels. And just like "Hamlet" and "War and Peace," Shadow of the Colossus and God of War are hard reads. A young gamer may enjoy aspects of the game, but the totality of the experience is lost of them.

With this in mind, I am a big supporter of keeping games rated M out of the hands of minors. Though Generation Y is vastly more intelligent than their predecessors (as noted by the drop in violent juvenile crime, drop in teen pregnancy, and rise in teens who pledge and stick with abstinence), there is content that just shouldn't be available to them. Though I'm sure my little sister can handle Grand Theft Auto, I don't want her to ever think that the way women are treated in the games is appropriate.

And that's why games are rated by the ESRB. Certain age groups have a basic maturity level that allows them to separate different levels of fantasy from reality. The ESRB does a great job handling the ratings. The ratings are simple and easy to understand and found on both the front and back of the box.

The fact that they are so simple is why I find news articles about parental inability to read them disturbing. To be honest, I believe that this can be chalked up to basic laziness. There is no reason a parent, upon walking in a game store with no prior knowledge of a game, cannot take it from the shelf, turn it over, read the ESRB label, and determine whether or not a game is suitable for their child. If the parent has questions, there is no reason why they can't ask the clerk for help or advice.

I know that every single person out there knows a real, live, hardcore gamer (every member of the staff at my library can point me out). If you are a confused parent, find that gamer friend and ask for help. Don't be kept in the dark by politics and rhetoric when you can get the skinny yourself. And you should be absolutely ashamed to have to be told basic parenting from a gamer's blog.

At this point, the only thing too complicated is the reactions of parents and politicians to games.

11.15.2006

Geeking Out

If you haven't seen Weird Al's new White and Nerdy video, you are missing out. It's really about us and all our friends, though I don't have much of a handle on Klingon yet.

On an equally cool, but just as geeky level, here's a video of Dice Stacking. Super cool!

11.14.2006

Quick Your Bitchin'

Sarah had FFXII on release day and has played it non-stop since. On a random day off, I made dinner (she is the cook), so she could sit down and immediately start playing. She's apologized to us several times about monopolizing the only TV in the house. We've all told her to shut up and play. For us, video games aren't just about playing. They are also about watching. It's a community thing. (You should have seen us during Bard's Tale.)

FFXII has gotten rave reviews. This coming after a whole lot of bitching about the battle system. I love it! I wish I could do the Tri-Ace move until your bar is gone, but the gambits work really well. Sarah has only had to pause when I walked in front of her or for a cut scene, while we waited for someone to get their butt back on the sofa. The battle system is so intuitive, that I think I might have found a Final Fantasy game I can play (Dirge of Cerebus does not count).

The characters are actual people from their dialogue to their actions. Each have real motivation for what they do and say. And, for the first time in a long time, we have real heroes: people who aren't either muscle-bound dimwits, depressed loners, or triple D cup tomb raiders. Aaron Linde wrote a very insightful article on Balthier, so I'll leave it to him to explain why the characters are so fantastic.

I once told a coworker that video games were really just the new form of the novel, a story telling device. This is one of the games that proves it. It has one of the finest RPG battle systems around. It is hope for the gaming future.

So stop bitching and go play.

And take your kid sister to watch. You'll need the extra pair of eyes for the treasure chests.

PS3 vs Wii

I was asked recently if I was excited by the release of two big consoles so soon upon us. The answer is no.

I didn't even pre-order either of them.

I am a Sony girl, but between the glitches they know about, the ones they don't, problems with back-compatibility, and a few stores refusing to even take pre-orders, I figured I can wait. It's a good idea in the long run anyway. I save money and get a better product in a year. I really want to play a game? Rent-a-Center has me covered.

And for the Wii. I grew up with Nintendo and I'm excited about being able to play old games like Life Force again. Because I love Life Force. If you haven't played it, you've missed out. Because Life Force is awesome.

Anyway, as much as it interests me, the one game I'm interested in Wii-wise is Zelda, which is being released on the Cube as well. I'm covered. I'll wait for the first price drop saving myself money and a whole bunch of glitches yet to be discovered.

To be honest, I haven't been less excited in years. I have my PS2 and DS. Castlevania, Portrait of Ruin is coming out in a month and I've already put down most of the cost on my pre-order. I just got a brand new video card, so my computer game habit will not go neglected.

So which do I want? Neither. I'm good.

11.05.2006

Send in the Clones

Because mc-chan asked, here are the clones of This Army Life!

Number One:
This clone is the only perfect clone of Sephiroth and has the number one tattooed on his wrist. Personality wise, he's a much more relaxed version of the General, though he does have his 'Nibelheim delenda est' moments. He has a thing for Aeris.

Number Two:
This clone is the total invention of the Crow That Caws At Half Pass Six. He is a Hojo wannabe, and is honestly better than the good doctor, but Number One keeps him in line.

Number Three:
If Sephiroth ever turned into a California surfer dude, he'd be Number Three.

Number Four:
If Sephiroth ever went into the punk rock scene,he'd be Number Four.

Number Six:
A misshapen, green skinned, dog like Sephiroth. He loves frisbee, pizza, and licking peoples faces. He does, occasionally, like to prove that he is just as intelligent as his siblings, just not often.

Number Seven:
Seven is a basic clone of normal intelligence. He's a great singer and directs the Jenova Mako-Chamber Choir.

Clone Eight:
Makes a brief appearance. Basic clone.

Clone Ten:
Makes a brief appearance. Basic clone.

Number Thirteen and Fourteen:
A set of clone twins. Thirteen is the girl. She was recently given a growth serum, but now is back to normal. Here is the fan art Koi-Chi drew of them!

Clone 15:
Member of the Jenova Mako-Chamber Choir.

Clone 25:
Member of the Jenova Mako-Chamber Choir.

Number 43:
This clone loves to talk and wants desperately to be experimented on.

Clone 56:
An amorphous blob with an excellent singing voice. Don't ask how that works, I don't know. Member of the Jenova Mako-Chamber Choir.

There are thousands of clones, but only a few make it into the story. The clones have decided that they won't be numbered anymore and the new ones will have names like Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. The baby sister mentioned in Episode 24 will be named Lu. Short for Lucretia.

11.03.2006

Games, Games, and, uh, Games

Gamasutra has a list of the games that advanced story telling. Without these games, we wouldn't have had games like dot.Hack, Beyond Good and Evil, and FFX. Say what you want about them, they offered up story elements that just didn't happen before and made you see things in a different way.

Destructoid, on the other hand, has a list of the best levels from various games. Avis Praeda from SotC makes an appearance in the list. RevAnthony said that if you play this level and don't feel remorse, you need help. Well, while I did feel sad, I didn't feel like I was a complete chode monkey until Cladeds Candor. I seriously wanted to give up playing after I dropped the building on him. His face being smashed in didn't help either.

I know I'm a girl, but I'm also a gamer. If you play this game and think it's worthless, you aren't. Enough said.

11.02.2006

Cure on the Horizon

Game Politics has a great article on using video games to treat ADHD. Check it out.