Quite entertaining I thought, with plenty of points that definitely resonated with my personal gaming experiences, particularly the arcade years (not surprising as he’s only a year older than me). Just try to mask out the whooping, it gets irritating quite fast but I guess that’s par for the course…
A lot of people have been ranting online recently about the copy protection the PC version of Bioshock comes with. Now, I’ve done my fair share of ranting about dodgy copy protection before on this blog, but I now find myself in the rather surprising position of being on the opposite side of the argument on this occasion, to a certain degree anyway. Let’s get the hard, unpaletable facts out of the way - Bioshock has copy protection on it.
It would seem to the casual observer that in terms of pop-culture, much of Japan never left the 80’s in the first place, but economically and popularly anyway, Nintendo appears to be re-living those glorious years of big hair and colour blindness. I’m half expecting Miyamoto to turn up to the next game convention in a spiky, bleached two-tone mullet, because Nintendo has never had it so good since 1984.
I saw this linked on Raphs blog and just had to post it here too, it’s inspired. It’s a custom level for Super Mario World on the SNES (perhaps the best platform game, ever), where the only way to win is to do absolutely nothing at all: I dread to think how long this took to set up! It’s the video game equivalent of domino toppling…
My torrent finished overnight and I couldn’t resist having a go. In a word: “Wow”. On the surface the core gameplay is unashamedly FPS, but even the demo introduces you to subtleties of combining powers and using the environment to your advantage. But by far the best thing is the sheer quality of the entire package - not just the fact that their shaders are very nice (although with my graphical guy hat on, the techniques they’ve used have a lot in common with what Half Life 2 did, albeit cranked up a notch), and that the sound landscape is probably the best I’ve ever heard, but the creative direction and style is absolutely top quality.
I’d had a bit of a trying week, fairly fragmented and with the irritation of running the nvidia instrumented drivers that, in combination with the use of PerfHUD 5, brought me more blue screens and hard system locks than I’ve experienced in a fair while. Great tool though, in between the reboots & inevitable disk consistency checks. So, I was feeling like a bit of R&R for a couple of hours, and for a laugh I tried Dungeon Runners.
I’ve always had a nervous apprehension about Bioshock, simply because I’ve adored pretty much everything this particular team produced, which is to say Irrational (yeah, I know they’re “2K Boston” now, but that’s a crap name, sorry), who were the legendary Looking Glass before that. These guys are in a pretty elite club when it comes to my rather cynical view of the modern game industry - one of the few teams that I can say I’m pretty confident won’t stoop to producing lazy ‘War Shooter 12’ or ‘Licensed Property Tie In 8’.
If you don’t have a special place in your heart for Track & Field, or its arguably better sequel Hyper Sports, I have only one question for you; just where the hell were you in 1983 / 1984 anyway? Clearly not down at your local arcade where these machines were hot favourites, as indicated by the number of kids looking exhausted, sporting blisters the size of (old size) 10p pieces on the palms of their hands even whilst they stacked up more of said coinage on the panel of the machine to reserve their next turn.
This is something of a hobby horse of mine, but I am constantly saddened by the almost complete lack of any regional cultural style in video games these days. It struck me again today as I (once again) perused the upcoming games lineup for various machines, looking for a cast-iron reason to plant my flag somewhere (no, I still didn’t find one). There was a time when it was very easy to discern the country in which a game had been developed, because each country brought its own unique style to the table and wasn’t afraid to display it.
Ever wondered what would happen if a ZX Spectrum were to mate with a nextcurrent-gen console controller? Well, now you no longer have to let such questions keep you awake at night: To be fair those keys aren't in fact rubber, but other than that the resemblence is uncanny. Mr Sinclair, you dog you. It's always the quiet ones.