This has been an eventful week for downloads on the PlayStation 3. Flower and Noby Noby Boy are now both available through the Store, and although I think it's correct to put them both in the same general category, my reactions to both couldn't be more different.
Flower is fantastic. I don't necessarily think it's the second coming as some seem to report it, but it is most definitely the kind of thing that makes a player step back and re-examine their entire conception of video games.
Capcom was nice enough to send me a note mentioning that a new Resident Evil 5 trailer was available on the press section of their site recently, so I went and grabbed it. Unfortunately, 12 drunken monkeys are probably better at figuring out most computer crap than I am. So, I had to head over to YouTube to find a version I could actually get to post on the site. Anyway, here’s the coolest trailer to date for the game. Enjoy.
I’m getting out of here now, before I blow up the entire internet…
The great film director Howard Hawks once said that "A good movie has three great scenes and no bad ones." Lately, I've taken to pondering how this sentiment might apply to video games.
When I think about big cinematic games like God of War, Resident Evil 4, Call of Duty 4, and Metal Gear Solid 4 (damn, that's a lot of games with "4" in the title), I think the formula holds. These are all games that, for me anyway, never really had any bad parts, and had at least three great segments that really stand out in my memory. I can still vividly recall fighting the giant hydra, clashing knives with Krauser, getting hit by a nuclear blast wave, and riding a motorcycle through an eastern European city. I'm a sucker for games that give me only a few amazing moments, even if the rest of the game never rises above being merely not bad.
Wow, a game for the Wii I'd actually play (and isn't a GameCube game or something on the virtual console). What the f**k is up with that? What's next? Original horror movies?
Anyway, Electronic Arts officially confirms Dead Space: Extraction, a Wii-based prequel to the popular survival horror game Dead Space. Even better, it's slated for release this fall. Speaking about the title this morning, VP and General Manager of EA's Redwood Studios had this to say about the game:
"We could not be more excited to extend Dead Space into an experience exclusive to the Wii. Nintendo has a wonderful history in the horror genre and we are thrilled to build on that tradition with Dead Space Extraction. As we were developing Dead Space, we realized that there was so much of the story going untold. Dead Space Extraction tells that story with all of the intensity, blood and gore that fans would expect."
There are times in my life in which I have felt despair, in which the presence in my life of the guiding force of a just and loving universe has not been immediately apparent to me. From now on, whenever I feel that way, I simply need to remember one thing—in just a few short months, everyone's favorite CoteWiNoLo is going to be back on the streets of Grant City...
Namco is publishing Dead to Rights 3.
Typing that sentence feels like being kissed by angels. Seven years after the original, five years after the attempt to make a sequel, four years and two years after the assets left over from that failed sequel attempt were crudely re-fashioned into Dead to Rights 2 and whatever the hell that PSP thing was, Namco has finally employed a development house to produce what the gaming community (by which I mean me) has been screaming for—another Jack Slate adventure!
Although I haven't had a ton of game time lately, I took advantage of the extended weekend and spent some time with two download titles, Lit and Flower.
Lit is from Way Fordward (Shantae, Contra 4) and makes its home on the Wii. An intriguing mix of Puzzle and Horror genres, the game’s hook is that touching darkness or shadows is instantly fatal. Naturally, the player must make his way through twenty-five rooms (and five boss battles) by taking advantage of paths and safe zones created by lamps, televisions, broken windows, and so on. My review is in the can already and should be making an appearance soon, but in a nutshell I'd say buy it if the subject matter appeals to you, just be prepared for some frustration due to a few poor design choices.
West Virginia was the first school system in the United States to incorporate a video game (Konami's Dance Dance Revolution) into its physical education curriculum. Now, West Virginia University, ResCare Home Care and the Special Olympics are conducting a study to see if the series has benefits for people with disabilities. According to the very small blurb I was able to find, "Participants will play the game three days a week, for eight weeks. If it is successful, the Special Olympics may consider making 'DDR' a competitive event during its annual games."
In preparation for this week's podcast (just wrapped up recording a few hours ago) we asked readers on the forums what title they'd like us to talk about, and they selected God Hand, from now-defunct Clover Studios. In all honesty, I never saw that one coming.
I picked up a copy back in '06 when it was brand-spanking new, and I think I logged somewhere around an hour or an hour and a half with it before I tossed it aside. I seriously hated the game at the time, my patience for its cumbersome controls and infuriating camera to be basically nil. It also didn't help that the game has an absolutely terrible first level, and does the bare minimum to introduce players to what it's all about.
Whenever I see hot American girls playing or promoting video games on the 'net, I invariably assume it’s some sort of scam. Hot American girls just don’t play video games. Sure, they might know what a video game is (in the same way they know that lesser female creatures actually have to pay for their own drinks), but it’s not from any actual experience. If through some miracle they manage to actually appear holding a controller correctly or answer a "favorite game" question with something other than Pac-Man or a Mario game, you can rest assured it’s because their handlers were on the ball.
Japan, though, that’s a whole different ballgame. When a girl like Battle Royale/Kill Bill’s Chiaki Kuriyama turns up promoting a game, I totally believe she plays games. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think so. I like to think it’s just one more example in the ever-expanding list of reasons why Japanese women are so much cooler than their American counterparts. I mean, aside from Megan Fox, can you think of one other hot American woman who’d spend a night gaming? I could think of dozens of famous Japanese women who would.
Video games are still a relatively young medium, and as such the vocabulary that we've developed to describe them is similarly immature. Nowhere does this seem more apparent to me than in the way the term gameplay is used. Most people who play and read about games probably have the same general sense of what the term means. As I understand it, gameplay refers to the experience of playing or interacting with a game without reference to things like graphics and sound. This seems pretty straight forward. But the more I read and write about games, the more I find the use of this term problematic.
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