Archive for the Videogames Category

Post-Apocalyptic Amazing

Posted in Comics, Videogames on February 14, 2009 by kickingupthedarkness

First let me preface this review of two absolutely amazing things by saying that I hate “the man.”  I will not be watching the Oscars this weekend.  I think Greenday’s new album will be absolute garbage and their transformation into the next U2 is nearly complete.  I have never watched a single episode of House.  I fucking hate nearly 99% of the things that other people like.

That being said, here are two things that cost me a total of 5 dollars and have brought me no end of enjoyment.

The first is Weapon Brown, brought to my attention at Comicon by the noticably-absent-from-this-blog Mr. Jordan Hue.  Here is Weapon Brown:

weaponbrown

Yep.  Tha’td be Charlie Brown, with a robotic arm, shooting the fuck out of Lucy’s Therapy Stand.  This comic, by genius and all-around nice guy Jason Yungbluth, collects the chapters of his Nuclear Holocaust vision of the Peanuts characters into one niftly little comic.  Everybody’s present, from Pigpen’s desperate offers of a blowjob for crack, to Linus’ worship of the great pumpkin, to Snoopy gnawing on the lifeless body of Woodstock.  And all for five dollars.  God bless you indie comics.

And now for something similar, and even less than 5 dollars.  This pretty baby cost me nothing but a quick download on my computer, and its already impressed me even more than Jason Yungbluth’s masterpiece.

comeonandjam

“CHEF BOYARDEE’S BARKLEY, SHUT UP AND JAM, GAIDEN”

Yep.  You play Charles Barkley.  The last known baller.  Originator of the “Chaos Dunk,” which killed thousands, leading to the goverments ban of the sport of Basketball which gave birth to the great B-Ball purge.  Barkley’s living his life out in shame, just trying to quietly raise his son, Hoopz.  His friends are all either dead, or have given up their baller lifestyles (Larry Bird is a minister, Michael Jordan works for the government, tracking down suspicions of balling activity). 

On a pure storytelling level, this is amazing.  It even ties in Charles Barkley’s adventurs in Space Jam, and Barkley’s serious bemoaning over the “destruction of slams and jams,” is enough to make even this reviewer, who has gotten most of his information about the sport of baksetball from the film Space Jam, passionate about balling.

As a game, however…this fucking thing is still fantastic.  It’s a straight RPG, with numerous references to other RPG’s, particularly those made by Square-Enix.  It adds in several action scenes with timed-button pressing, ala God of War, and the battles are always engaging, and it’s fun to level up and see what new Slams and Jams you can add to your destructive repertoire.  Currently I have the great grandson of Lebron James and a Cyborg version of Vince Carter in my party.  I love it.

Indie things make me happy.  I will be having a much better time playing “CHEF BOYARDEE’S BARKLEY, SHUT UP AND JAM, GAIDEN,” and re-reading “WEAPON BROWN,” then I would ever have watching the Oscars.

 

barktitle3

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All About Life Cycles

Posted in Videogames on January 1, 2009 by kickingupthedarkness

Grand Theft Auto IV vs. Saints Row 2

Posted in Videogames on December 31, 2008 by kickingupthedarkness

Hullo.

It’s New Years Eve and it’s snowing like nobody’s business.  I’d imagine most would be partygoers are going to be stuck inside watching movies and playing videogames so i thought i’d take a moment or two to reflect on two of the more popular games of the year.

Being the end of the year and all, i’ve been reading a lot of ‘best’ lists.  Time magazine proudly displayed its own list of the ten best videogames right on its front cover.  Grand Theft Auto IV was quite high on their list, as it was on just about every other ‘best’ list I read.  Inexplicably, Saints Row 2 was nowhere to be found.  As a matter of fact, Entertainment Weekly named it one of the ‘worst’ games of the year, calling it ‘misogynistic, crude and humorless’.

The most dramatic difference between these two games is in their tone.  Grand Theft Auto IV was one of the more serious and somber games of the year.  You could tell it took itself very seriously before even playing it because of the Roman Numeral in the title.  Saints Row just uses a boring regular number ‘2’.

Grand Theft Auto IV is a game of surprising depth.  The conflicted and disheartened Nikko Belic makes for a wonderful protagonist.  The nameless hero of Saints Row 2 has no interior struggle, other than which rival gang to fuck up first.

But, is that what we really want out of videogames: depth, inner turmoil, and conflicted protagonists? Sure, sometimes.  However, it is important to remember why we played Grand Theft Auto to begin with.

Did we play because we wanted a good story, thoughtful characters, and an engaging storyline? Fuck no.  We played that game to steal cars, shoot people, fuck whores, and cause general mayhem.  How many of you out there only advanced enough in the Grand Theft Auto verse to be able to have a shitload of weapons? Come on, be honest.  Did you give a shit about any of the missions? Sure they were fun, but wasn’t it more fun to see just how long you could keep five stars on the bottom of the screen?

‘Oh my’, you say, ‘But that means the games are deplorable!’.  Of course they are.  They always have been.  These games tap into that little, mean devil inside of us all who just wants to run amok.  Better to get that agrression out on a flat screen TV, than to actually go running through the street tossing people out of cars.

Saints Row 2 lets your little devil run fucking rampant.  No, it demands that your little devil run fucking rampant.  Try playing the game as a good person.  Go ahead, just try.  You won’t last five minutes. 

The game is filled with devious, demented activities.  My personal favorite, Mayhem, is just that: Destroy as much of the city as possible in the time given and you get a lot of money and even more respect.   Grand Theft Auto never rewarded you for doing such things.

You can also gain respect by throwing people from great heights, spraying shit from a septic truck all over the city, rounding up whores, chaffeuring whores, and another great one: dressing up like a cop and burning people with a flamethrower and other assorted weapons. 

Now, come one, isn’t that what you really want to do? Grand Theft Auto never needed to step into the serious world of gameplay.  The fact that it did is noble and somewhat astonishing, but it was never necessary.  Sure, you may be able to have a long-term girlfriend and make serious moral choices, but can you dress yourself up like a Leprechaun and do a jig after slaughtering thirty people with a samurai sword and gain respect because of it? I think not.

Saints Row 2 is also much easier to navigate than Grand Theft Auto IV.  It takes what feels like fucking decades to open up the entire city in GTA IV, but in SR2, the entire city is at your disposal right from the start.  SR2 also has a wicked sense of humor (Fuck you very much Entertainment Weekly), and the cut scenes are better than most action movies playing in theaters right now.

So, which game is better? Well, that’s easy.  GTA IV is better written, better produced, more intelligent and more complex.  But that is not the important question.  The important question is which game is more devious fun?

You know the answer to that.  So, tonight, while the snow falls and you feel miserable about being stuck indoors, take some of that agression out onto the Row.  Blow up cars, start a gang war, steal an airplane, throw a stripper off a building.  I promise you, you’ll feel much better.  And your little devil will be grateful.

A Final Note: I will never understand why both games give you the option to buy cars.  What boy scout twit would waste precious earned money buying a fancy vehicle when there are about three thousand up for grabs at any given moment?