Wednesday, 30 January 2013

What's this?!

What's that all about? Looks familiar somehow... Oh, right, I bought the domain and some hosting space and now johnnydfox.com is mine once again (in case you didn't know, I had it once upon a time). If you've heard me complain about it's vertical price before, know that I did not pay the asked amount for it. I didn't even have that much money at hand, but you see, closer inspection of Internet business practices revealed to me that when purchasing existing domain names one should always expect to be able to get about a 75% discount to the public asking price, and what I did was I did an inquiry on the actual price I could get it for and shaved off a tidy sum.
So, now I have a website again. What will I do with it? I don't know. I guess I'll update it and shit. What do you do with websites? Look at them? I guess that's what I'll do with it, look at it. Could also start posting blog posts on the front page there, maybe my newest YouTube videos too... I could even release videos early on the site with the unlisted option. The most biggest thing I was thinking about using the website for is giveaways. I have at least 4 giveaways coming and the site is a good place for people to sign up for them.
So, whether you care or not, I'm giving you the heads up that johnnydfox.com is back. Do what you will with the information.
Be seeing you.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Recap of 2012: The Frightening Sequel

Not talking about the film, by the way.

Oh, what happened after Dishonored's release? Let me think.
I know I played and recorded Costume Quest for Halloween and would've recorded Grubbins On Ice as well but unfortunately the videos weren't very popular and Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise was getting so many views I decided to focus on it instead. Costume Quest is quite fun and I recommend it to people who haven't played it yet, although I highly recommend it to be played on Halloween for the obvious reasons.
Halloween overall for me wasn't very special this time around, usually I've played some scary games and then watched great movies all day and night on Halloween, but now I just gave my mother Ghostbusters the Video Game and watched her play through it in a day.

Leading up to Halloween I did play and finally finish Ghost Master, and my opinion didn't change anywhere; the game is very disappointing and yet I still wish they could have made a Ghost Master 2 and improve on everything that didn't work in the first game. The idea has great potential, I just really don't like the execution. The humour and references, the music and the level and ghost concepts are good, the gameplay is unpolished crap and after the first scares and solved puzzles the completion of the levels becomes dull waiting for the characters' fright/insanity bars to fill up as the final goal is always to scare everyone living away. The random Sims AI of the people you must scare also ruins many of the puzzles which I personally found to be the meat of the levels, as sometimes I just simply wasn't able to lead the stupid humans to where I needed and occasionally the ghost powers required to solve problems didn't seem to affect the correct people, making me either wait for an immoderate amount of time or just outright restart a level in hopes of better luck.
Annoying puzzle: How to get stupid AI to go into a room
and pick up a book after you have cleared the door and laid
the book on the ground? You wait. Can't do anything else.
Or use an Obsession power, and then wait.
I once, long time ago when I hadn't yet played it, read an article about why Ghost Master failed, a post mortem, written by it's game designer. Reading through it would make you believe Ghost Master is a hidden jewel, a truly innovative masterpiece that never succeeded because of mostly just bad luck, bad marketing and wrong crowds playing it. I don't know if the problem in my case is that I'm in the wrong crowd of gamers or what, so just to make it easier for you to decide let me tell you something about myself: my favourite strategy game of all time (currently) is Evil Genius, I don't care much for RTS games other than the type of Commandos where you control a small team of specialized units at (in my case) a casual pace, and as far as the genres go I tend to prefer turn-based strategy instead. RTS games where you need to quickly control a number of units here and there and give specific orders to specific units fast or lose aren't my cup of tea at all, and from reading the post mortem of Ghost Master you'd think the game would be perfect for me, right? However, that talk of not being in direct control over your haunters is total bullshit.
Ok, let's take the level The Unusual Suspects, one of my favourites of the early stages, for an example. In this level your goal, as per usual, is to scare everyone away from a building, here a police station. Admittedly the first 2-5 minutes of the gameplay are spent on observing the level layout,  locating and then completing the on-average three puzzles you can do to unlock new haunters and warm up the people for a night of horror by causing rain in the waiting room to just build belief in the supernatural and keep frightening the people locked in the cells for some easy starting ectoplasm as the jailbirds can't leave the place, and it's all fun and good and you're enjoying yourself. Then you start the actual scaring, and what happens for the next 10-50 minutes (the level completion times can indeed fluctuate that badly) you may ask? The Sim-people run around the entirety of the level from basement to the darkest unreachable (to you, at least) street at the edge of the stage while you try your best to keep up by placing and then replacing haunters from fetter to fetter, giving new, specified orders constantly. Yes, YOU directly control where exactly your haunters will appear, limited by the amount, type and locations of fetters they can be chained to, YOU directly control which powers they use, and YOU CAN directly control whether they focus on some specific person on the level. The haunters can learn to obey very specific, direct commands and do not do anything on their own unless given orders to, in some specific cases, use their own AI as limited by their fetters and availability of the type of orders. The game always becomes a frantic moving of haunters from one place to another and then another because of limited amount of both haunters and the ectoplasm that governs how many of your haunters and their powers can be active in the level at the same time.
Maybe my favourite level, called "The Ghostbreakers"
A professional team of ghost eradicators have set up anti-
ghost force fields and alarms in the local police station.
Problem: How to get in there to haunt? Fun puzzle.
The AI of the humans in the game is so random that there is no room for "planning" or "anticipation" because they might be walking towards a certain room at one moment, then quickly and for no reason turn around and go the other way for a second before going back where they originally came from. They can run away so fast that they've left the small room before your haunters have actually appeared in there or activated their next power and whenever the people momentarily leave the level or at least the area you have any control in, which they often do to get a breather before later returning, they walk back so slow you might as well go get a sandwich. And yes, of course any small fright will then make them run away out of your reach again, and yes, their fright bars fill up ever so slowly. Once all this "action" starts in every level everything will be happening so fast all around the place that you no longer have a chance to enjoy the cool sounding ghost powers, and the much talked about casual, adaptive tactical gameplay is gone. After the first 5 minutes of a level you might as well be playing an RTS game where you individually control a number of units around the map yourself, and a very boring and horrifyingly repetitive, broken, unintuitive RTS game at that.
That is my problem with the game.

Dots. Better than Ghost Master?
Sadly I cannot find the actual game I played
that featured dot zombies. Wish I could.
I once came across a zombie simulation online. It was a black box filled with moving dots of different colours, one colour being a zombie that then infected the other dots it came in range with, turning them into new zombie dots. For a bunch of moving dots in a box this was fascinating enough to stare at for 15 minutes, but a strategy game was then made from that idea where YOU strategically placed the zombies around the map yourself, aiming to infect everyone before the armed forces on the map killed all the zombies away, making for an incredibly addicting and fun gameplay. In essence, that game was what Ghost Master tried to be. You placed specialized units on a map with the AI controlled units either fleeing from or attacking yours, and the goal was to empty the area. The key was careful observation of the placement of obstacles and units and anticipation of their movements. Once you placed a unit, you watched it work it's magic on it's own. Ghost Master offers nothing as engaging or entertaining like that.
Ok, Ghost Master has it's fanbase as well and I didn't hate every single second of playing it myself. In fact I almost loved playing the last and third to last levels. The thing is, every piece of crap has it's fans and nearly every piece of crap has it's moments of glory. I once knew a guy who said Crime Life: Gang Wars was his favourite game of all time. Incidentally he actually died soon after stating that, and I theorize that it was his bad taste and the bad games he played that killed him. There is also a reason for why I personally liked the final levels of Ghost Master; they are the ones where you start out with considerably more interesting objectives than just outright scaring everyone, as first you must combo the powers of your haunters to successfully smuggle some of them past anti-haunting force fields to sabotage the anti-haunting security devices, before you're forced to, again, start chasing the AI with your haunters like you were trying to catch greased pigs in heels. Only catching greased pigs, whether it's you in heels or them, is always more interesting than Ghost Master.

This recap will continue before the year 2014.

Ghost Master images from VisualWalkthroughs.com
Zombie Infection Simulation from http://kevan.org/proce55ing/zombies/

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

It is 2013, right? Good.
So, another year lived down. I briefly visited the army again at the start of 2012 and quickly left again with bad knees and for the rest of it I spent a lot of money on new video games and a lot of time procrastinating when I should've written blog posts and recorded videos, but that's all something I probably did write about previously.

A few things I don't think I wrote about since it was ages ago I last posted anything here.
I played Max Payne 3, on Hard difficulty from the getgo no less. It's pretty good, started out as awesome, but I was a bit disappointed with it at the end. The damn awful loading times (hidden behind cutscenes but still) make it a painful second playthrough, the arcade mode is nearly unplayable because of the loading and that mode's something that could've kept me playing on, and I felt the story was largely meh at times, like scenes were artificially made longer just to have enough footage to cover the loading screens. Some bits of writing were substandard considering the usually outstanding writing we've come to expect from Rockstar Games, and I personally hate the colour/blur/distortion effect.
I bought, played and recorded Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise, but that you probably already knew since I uploaded it last November. I was excited when I heard about the disguise system and other new abilities, but sadly it wasn't nearly as good as I had expected. I enjoyed the dark humour and the narrative in the original Naughty Bear, but Panic in Paradise has no narrative and instead of dark humour it's just plain dark when it's not dull or glitching and kills are shared between weapons so even though you are offered a good hundred items to kill with, as far as the animations go you only really have a handful. Even at it's best the game is just more of the basic gameplay of Naughty Bear with none of the flavour that made it special.

As a big stealth man I, naturally, bought and played Dishonored on release day, and it's a good game. It's very reminiscent of the Thief series in many ways, but goes it's own route so much that I wouldn't really say a fan of Thief would definitely be a fan of Dishonored. Instead of open like in Thief the levels in Dishonored are more in alternate paths and choices, and there is no reason to go through more than one path in one playthrough (it is often impossible anyway) and Dishonored is at it's best when you take advantage of the tools and play ever so slightly more aggressively, whereas Thief was at it's best when played with absolute stealth.
There are some problems with Dishonored and in my usual fashion I'll pick it apart as well: the enemy detection is so buggy that I highly recommend playing it on Normal difficulty even if you're big on stealth games like me, because all the improved vision, hearing and reaction times of the guards on the harder difficulties do is make it clear just how broken the system behind it can be. The randomization of things in Dishonored bugs me a bit, because while it can be entertaining on several playthroughs, it annoys me immensely that some interesting bits of text from books and enemy dialogue can only be experienced on SOME playthroughs, and it especially annoyed me when recording my walkthrough that the steam-room assassination of one of the Pendleton brothers wasn't available to me. Yes, an entire kill sequence, a pretty entertaining at that, is only randomly available to the player and you may be forced to do a boring old stab or rat attack at other times. Killing the Pendletons is actually one of the most boring tasks to accomplish in the game anyway, so I don't see why the steam room kill couldn't just be set to always be available to you. Rewiring alarm panels ahead of time NEVER works for me as the alarms will still ring eventually, only it might take up to a half a minute longer in which case I might as well not ring the alarm at all, and enemies can apparently trigger the alarms WITHOUT actually activating them, which I noticed during my walkthrough. I thought they were supposed to run to the panels to activate them when they see Corvo, but I guess not. Or perhaps that was a repeating glitch? I also feel that many of the powers available to Corvo are there only to make you feel like you have choices even though only some are really useful or work at all and I'm fairly certain most people who play Dishonored will have unlocked all the powers they want before they're halfway through the game. Turning knocked out/killed enemies to ash? Might just be me but I really don't see the point in that no matter how you play. Dark Vision, for me anyway, ruins the fun and atmosphere of sneaking around and it has such a short range anyway that might as well not use it. Vitality and adrenaline, while pointless to a stealth game fans, I could see as potential choices for somebody who just fights his way through everyone, but the wind blowing power, whenever I used it, never did anything even at level 2. Possession is an easy way to get one of the trophies but I have to personally plan and work to try and make it more useful than simply sneaking past things, and the rest of the powers are something you almost can't be without. Blink 2 is almost mandatory since the entire game was planned around the power, faster moving and double jump are required for navigation of the more complex areas as Corvo can't jump for shit, and who doesn't want to stop time, although I admit I also often forget I even have that power since I do just fine without it. So there, those are all the powers you can have, and I personally always end up with more runes than I can spend.
But regardless of some of the game's shortcomings and despite it not being even close to the top of the list of my favourite stealth-based video games, it is still  a good game that will surely warrant several playthroughs and I can easily recommend to people. I am very grateful for the fact that it exists and that along with the releases of other games like Hitman: Absolution, Far Cry 3 and Mark of the Ninja this year and Deus Ex: HR and Batman: Arkham City last year, and the surprising popularity of all those games, stealth games may just sneak back into the mainstream for a short while and maybe spawn more new stealth games than last time. I wouldn't even mind if some action games were bastardized and made more stealth-based, as opposed to the previous trend of bastardizing stealth games and turning them into shooters.

I have plenty more to say about what happened at the end of last year, but I guess I should try to get in the habit of writing little but often and leave it for a later post. I'm not expecting anything to happen in the upcoming weeks so I don't think there's any rush.

TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wall of Bad Luck

So, some corrections to the hastily written previous blog. Naughty Bear's third episode doesn't take place in the evening, it takes place in the early morning. Also, the narrator isn't annoying on his own or during the cutscenes, but because of the repetition of the gameplay, him announcing the kills and combos gets very tiring. When I started recording the walkthrough and just played it casually without repeating episodes, I realized I had no reason to hate him anymore.
After having recorded a Tomb Raider Legend walkthrough (going public who knows when) I once again changed my opinion slightly. It's actually better than averige like I preciously claimed. It's actually a very good game, very competently made. It does have some problems, like the camera always overriding the players adjustments and the controls sometimes just do not work right, and the most common cause for death in-game is the combination of those two issues since the combat is really easy but long drops are almost always an instant game over.
I often change my opinion slightly when recording a game, because then I tend to pay more attention to all of the game's features and how they work instead of just soaking in the experience and getting hung up on the few, often irrelevant things that bug me. That's the problem with amateur critics on the Internet, and with the crappier professional reviewers as well; you can easily let insignificant issues overshadow everything good in a video game, or sometimes in reverse let some good features greatly affect your thoughts about a game that is in full context a piece of crap. When reviewing a game, or anything for that matter, you have to look at it through many different eyes, not least for the reason that you will be in different moods throughout your life and will personally view same things differently every day. When I record a walkthrough for others to watch I constantly think about how people who haven't played the game themselves would then see it and whether their impressions based on prerecorded video would be accurate. I think Tomb Raider Legend looks like an awesome game when just watched, and it honestly isn't that far off even though the problems the game has can only be experienced by playing it in person.

I finished Max Payne and Max Payne 2, and I cannot stress enough that while I had high hopes for those two games based on all the praise, they exceeded my expectations greatly. Max Payne is simply awesome and should be considered one of the few hundred cornerstones of good video game design, and Max Payne 2 is even better. I am being completely honest when I say the original two Max Payne games are as close to being serious art as video games will probably ever be. I'm not saying other games can't reach the same level, but I think there's very little chance of improvement in the art department. I am also not saying there aren't overall better games, but even better games might not be on par with Max Payne in every aspect.
The reason why I call it serious art is that Max Payne isn't just about the presentation like many artsy "indie" games these day, Max Payne is a full-fledged, balls-to-the-walls, well done 3rd-person shooter that also happens to have a great narrative delivered in a fantastic way. Max Payne is about both from AND function, when some more pretentious and even not-so-pretentious games these days are much, MUCH more about form.

I played some Port Royale and Port Royale 2 a while ago and I've already forgotten what exactly I would've said about them if I made a quick review, but I can say this: I really like Port Royale 2. I had my doubts with the series being an economic simulator where you just pretty much move a ship from port to port on  a map, just clicking some buttons to buy and sell when the numbers seem good, but Port Royale 2 is something I think I'll go back to later once my backlog of games to play gets slightly shorter (which it never will, I got 10 new games in the past 5 days). The first Port Royale is fun enough for an evening but I didn't feel the need to continue playing. The second game seems more rewarding at every new step and the combat seems a more viable, and fun, option. In the original I found combat to be frustrating the few times I tried it and can't imagine how piracy could be profitable at the beginning of it.

I have also played Tropico and Tropico 2: Pirate Cove. The first Tropico is something that I think I will try to practice playing every now and then because I love building cities and it offers both the fun and the challenge of it, and I like the presentation, but Tropico 2 felt a bit boring largely due to the small amount of different types of buildings to construct. Being about building a pirate hideout instead of a country the selection of government buildings is naturally cut out, housing options are basically one or nothing, I think the farming and such is more streamlined and the choices for entertainment establishments are eatery, brothel and gambling, with only upgrades for those three types bringing in any new building types and there's not much reason to build the crappier ones after you are ready to build the bigger ones. It's like a Tropico lite, a themed campaign from the full game, and not being in any danger of losing your status as the ruler and only repeating the same buildings over and over again just gets a little dull after while.

The new update for Minecraft came out that added things like placing logs sideways, books you can write in and experience from mining ore (why wasn't that included earlier?) for example. I kept pushing back the urge to play Minecraft in anticipation of this update, but now that it's out I find myself too deep in other games to have a chance to play it.

I also finally played another one of my most wanted video games of all time, Messiah. Sadly, it was a huge disappointment. First of all it's marred by serious technical issues that are worsened with modern computers, but even the basic game, technological issues aside is not that much fun. The game is about using the bodies of others to complete objectives discreetly in what is supposed to be a humorous setting by Shiny. Think Hitman if 47 was a baby and he didn't just take people's clothes but their bodies as well, and the setting was a twisted dystopia. You'd imagine a game like that would be awesome and basically made for me, but it's not. Messiah is not funny, not because the humour sucks but because it's not really even there, the combat outright sucks but the player is still occasionally forced into fights, the controls are not just clunky but strangely designed and screw the player over constantly because you often need to be fast and precise at what you're doing and with these controls you usually can't be, the player isn't rewarded for trying out alternative methods but is instead punished for it, when combat has started even once enemies then have a 6th sense of Bob's whereabouts, and I would love to see one of the developers try and beat the game on Messiah mode. Don't think they could even pass the first level.
I do see how the game can have it's share of fans, but Messiah is riddled with so many HUGE problems that I cannot ever recommend it without losing the last bits of my credibility. The game is simply a mess and a nightmare to try and run in modern days. Plus, it's damn difficult to find help for it online by searching for "Messiah, PC" because of Jesus. Not that Jesus is to be blamed, the game came out like 2000 years after him, but I'm just saying it's a bitch to find help for all the problems and I think Jesus himself is too busy with other stuff to provide me technical assistance.

That's about it. I'm aiming to get the Tomb Raider Legend walkthrough scheduled so that starting next Friday there will be one video out a day at 3 PM GMT until the next Friday, but it seems a bit unlikely right now. Legend is one of the easiest games to beat that I have ever recorded but because of an incredible amount of unforeseen problems, like constant thunderstorms for example, a simple 3-4 hour job of recording turned into an 8 day long trial by frustration. After that the editing process caused me trouble with the first video for two days before I had a usable video done, but I still prevailed and busted my ass to get the first part out by last Monday. I would've even made it with 6 hours to spare, but then the video looked so screwed up on YouTube that I had to reupload it and miss my personal deadline, and after that YouTube screwed up the reuploading process so I missed my next best chance to publish it last Tuesday. I couldn't possibly get it out by Wednesday and what the hell, with so many delays I might as well skip Thursday as well, so I pushed the planned publish date to next Friday, even though it's looking more and more like even that was too optimistic of me.
Not a great omen. I was planning on starting to upload one video every day from now on, as I now have the technology to do that once I iron out the kinks and get the cogs to run smooth, and my best personal efforts notwithstanding nature, technology and YouTube just don't seem to want me to reach my goal.

Oh, yes, my PC monitor just broke some time ago and while I can manage the basic stuff with my Samsung TV monitor, it's really not the best choice for playing and recording PC games, so I am also pushing back all planned PC game walkthroughs until I find a suitable replacement for my old monitor. That means no Max Payne walkthroughs this month like I promised. I will, however, record console games and that actually helps with uploading videos every day because console games are faster to record, when you're not met by a nigh impenetrable wall of bad luck like I just recently was. If only the editing and uploading process wasn't such a bitch to me.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A few words shared about Tomb Raider: Legend, Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers, Naughty Bear, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations, and a couple of others, too.

Another month and a half or so has passed without a single blog update from me. It's actually kind of strange. I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time on the Internet doing literally nothing in order to avoid doing something constructive in real life, yet these days when I would have actual things to do online I find myself avoiding the computer entirely. Might be I have a somewhat similar problem as Donald Duck did in one comic where he had a habit of falling asleep at work because of his subconscious need to avoid work altogether, and when his doctor told him he'd pay Donald just for going to sleep, Donald couldn't help but stay awake because sleeping had become work.

Last month I had my "Summer holiday", and I was planning to write a blog post before leaving but then remembered the cardinal rule of online posting: do no share information that could put you, your belongings, your pets (aside from cats), your friends or your family in physical danger. It's always safer to just refrain from posting anything even if you think there's no chance in hell you'd suffer for it, and I'm afraid I actually can think of people who could recognize me online, live in my area and know exactly where I live, and are unfortunately the type of people who might get the bright idea to try to break in just for fun if they knew for certain that nobody's going to be home for a long time. Whether they'd do it to actually steal anything or just for kicks is irrelevant. I believe everyone knows these kind of people if they just think hard enough.

I've bought a lot of games in the past 6 weeks, which shouldn't be any news at this point and I've apparently given up posting an update here everytime I have new games. Honestly, what's the point of flaunting around games I own when I can't even play them fast enough. I may collect games, but even I understand that gaming is about playing the video games, not hoarding them. I don't want to end up on that show where people's floors are covered in used toiler paper and their Teddy-bears move on their own due to the bugs. Those houses creep me out.

I finished Tomb Raider: Legend on PS3 and got the platinum trophy. It's actually a decent game, there's nothing to really latch on to complain about. The only real problem I can think of is that it's really not remarkable in anyway, it's really just your run-of-the-mill action-romp. Everything in it, from visuals to voice acting to level design is adequate, and that's both the positive and the negative.
Only other problem might be the availability of some costumes. In Tomb Raider: Legend you can unlock and wear different costumes for levels, and I don't think I would necessarily be too far off the trail if I assumed two of the most wanted ones, at least for the male Tomb Raider fans (which there seems to be less of than female fans), are the black bikini and the white bikini. They are the last ones you can unlock, but strangely enough they cannot be worn in the actual levels, only in the Croft Manor which you also have to finish in order to acquire the bikini costumes, leaving you nothing to do there with Lara in her bikini. Well, some sad git can probably think of something to do, but joking aside, it does make you wonder why they added in two costumes specifically for those perverts out there who then jerk off while trying to get Lara to perform cartwheels in the Manor.
My guess is that it was some really lonely developer who got an idea how to brighten up the day after everyone else had already gone home.

I also started playing Tomb Raider Anniversary right after finishing Legend, but before I even got through the first level I decided to stop and finally play Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers, a game I preordered on GOG.com the same night it was announced and was released on the day I left for my holiday.

Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers is an indie game where you're a guy named Tiny, adventuring through old ruins in the desert, armed with a laser cutter and other tools to help you change the landscape, chasing after Big who stole your Grandpa's ancient underpants that give telekinetic powers to anyone who wears them... on their head.
The game does have some weaknesses. For one it's a pretty short adventure. There's six levels and even then a couple of them are pretty short and pointless, and all of them could be described as "easy". You also end up having basically the same boss fight with Big more than once, which I noticed has annoyed a few people. The humour is also a bit of hit and miss as the overall writing of it lacks good structure, and whether you think the game's plot is even slightly amusing depends on whether or not you think it's funny to wear underpants on your head.
But the game is quite fun. Being hit and miss means that the humour is good at least sometimes, the art-style is quite nice and there's some good music there. The act of cutting stone and wood with the laser, pulling pieces closer with the grapnel gun and sending useless bits flying away with rockets in order to progress is a lot of fun. In fact it's so much fun you'll probably spend two hours at the first half of the game doing nothing but slicing things into bits. You see, this isn't your usual mansy-pansy namby-pamby cutting game for sissy pregnant women and their babies where you chop a few small blocks into a couple of neat cubes, no. Here you can take a gigantic pillar and cut it into a hundred cubes for no reason other than that you can, and probably screw yourself by destroying the very object you needed to continue. Never fear, though, because the game does have a quick one-button retry option for all those times you slash everything you can into bits without even a hint of a plan, and the game does have checkpoints quite often, although occasionally not at the best possible points.
There's not that much to the game beyond cutting through the short story. There are some mini-arcade games you can find in certain places of the levels that you can try and beat with leet cutting skills and naturally you can also try to collect all the hidden collectibles and boring rocks, as well as open the games soundtrack that is hidden here and there as another form of a collectable. You may also replay levels and try to beat them faster and with fewer cuts, but personally I don't really care much for all that jazz. I don't have time to care, really, as I am at the moment looking at playing about 110 different games I own that I haven't had the chance to even try yet.
Honestly, Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers is worth it's price on GOG.com no matter what negative things you may have to say about it, and everyone knows I absolutely hate paying too much for games. If you don't agree, then you're wrong, and I recommend you think back to all those times you paid twice this game's price for crappy DLC for an already overpriced game you only bought because everyone else did also. This game is the type of game that despite it's flaws, and partly because of it's flaws, demands a sequel, and if there's not a sequel coming, then screw you Black Pants Studio!
Oh, and guys, if you're listening, for the sequel I would like an option to loop just one song. I love Mr. Noone's Retro Blues, but the song is too short. Thanks.

After Tiny and Big I didn't feel like going back to Tomb Raider Anniversary, and instead started playing Naughty Bear for PS3.

Naughty Bear is basically a poor-man's Manhunt with teddybears, and all around it's the epitome of a budget title. The story of Naughty Bear is told in the style of a twisted children's show about the mistreated Naughty Bear who ends up murdering and scaring the other bears on the island to the point of insanity in each episode of the game. I can say mistreated despite the fact that Naughty Bear is a really naughty bear, killing and scaring others as he does, because most episodes begin with the other bears brutally mocking him and laughing at his honest attempts at making friends and helping others, and usually the main target of the episode is actually planning to kill Naughty Bear. This is the type of game in which the point where you're controlling a straight up bad guy in the context of the story is much, much further away than usual, and one DLC episode actually starts with Naughty Bear going to save another bear from what he believes to be certain death only to find that the other bear is actually not in any danger and is really planning to get Naughty Bear killed. Who is the bad guy, I ask.
This type of dark, twisted humour really works for me and find quite a bit of entertainment in the cutscenes, so much so that I bought the three DLC episodes solely for the "plot".

The gameplay is rather simple and eventually gets very repetitive. What you do is you hide from the other bears in the woods where most other bears don't ever go into, and wait until you are ready to wreak havoc by sabotaging items to get bears to go fix them and provide an opening for a context kill or a powerful BOO! scare, simply destroy items for good, place traps on the ground and sneak up on unsuspecting bears to scare them with your BOO! shout or simply smack them with any of the dozen or so weapons found in the levels, and slowly but surely make them all lose their shit.
The end goal is to punish, meaning either kill or scare, one specific bear in each episode while trying to gather points by causing mayhem in quick succession in as many ways as possible in order to keep up the multiplier meter and progress through each area in the episode.
Basically everything that happens because of you gives you points, whether it's a more hands-on attack by you or just the other bears witnessing another bear being nervous after he heard some glass breaking, and as you cause more and more destruction the gameplay gets more and more frantic and soon you'll be running all over the place yelling BOO! at bears trying to phone for help, smashing machinery, kicking bears in the nuts and watching them blow up on mines, flushing presents down toilets and curb stomping bears trying to escape the island by either car or boat.
It all sounds great fun and for the first couple episodes it does stay relatively fresh, but it doesn't take long to realize that this is first and foremost an arcade game where you play for points, not progression. There are only four different areas in the game, and these four areas are then repeated throughout the 10 episodes (7 in base game + 3 DLC) with only cosmetic changes made in order to fit them with the theme of each episode. For example, in the birthday party episode it's a sunny day with balloons and presents around, in the army episode everything's camouflaged and it's evening and in the undead episode it's midnight and there are gravestones strewn about. New types of bears, like ninjas, soldiers and zombies do also appear in new episodes, but the episodes all still generally play out the same way from start to finish. Ninjas for example are faster and will follow you to the woods, sure, but they will still be scared the same way and follow the same tactics as the regular bears, only they're slightly faster, so one episode doesn't really differ from another as far as the gameplay goes.
A couple of dozen unlockable costumes for Naughty and some "different" game modes do not provide any breath of fresh air either, sadly. The costumes, while each has different stats and some may even provide small extra abilities like silent movement, do not change anything about the way you'll handle the other bears, and the different game modes are just the base episodes with a small extra rule added, like don't get hit or make every bear go insane before killing them. So basically the game just repeats each episode five times, and when I was still trying to play them all, the modes started fusing together in my head and often I completely forgot which specific mode I was playing and forced extra rules on myself in the confusion. It really doesn't help the game's defense that actual new episodes can only be unlocked by beating a certain amount of these "different" modes of earlier episodes, so if you have low tolerance of blatant recycling of gameplay elements and artifically lenghtening the time it takes between starting the game and seeing the end of the final episode, you'll be sick of Naughty Bear fast.
Then again, if you do, why would you be playing a simple budget arcade title like Naughty Bear in the first place? What I really really do have against Naughty Bear no matter how good of a mood I was in is that it has often absolutely horrendous framerate and clipping issues. Also, the narrator is annoying. He's the only voice actor and he's annoying. At first it's funny how he's annoying in the way of a typical childrens' TV-show narrator, but soon enough you'll realize that joke's on you as you can't just change the channel.
Overall I can give Naughty Bear a careful recommendation IF, and only IF you realize that it's a very small game, a budget title, with a lot of repetition for the sole purpose of getting higher scores than the last time. Be warned that if you're the type of gamer who tends to just rent games for a short while and move on to get new experiences, don't even bother with Naughty Bear.

After I got tired of Naughty Bear I decided to play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is little more than, say, a few AC2 DLC packs put together on one disc. It's a direct continuation of Assassin's Creed 2, and I mean DIRECT continuation to the point I wonder if the developers originally planned 2 and Brotherhood to be on the same disc. What Brotherhood adds to the mix is just a couple of new weapons and gadgets to use, the ability to build a Brotherhood of assassins and call them to help take out enemies at your leisure or send them on missions across Europe á la Evil Genius to get XP and level up, and... that's about it. Other than that it's AC2 in Rome, with a few more missions to do and a lot more Borgia flags to collect, video packages from 16 to unlock and shops to renovate for faster income all the while the game loads and loads and loads and takes forever to let you actually play. I'm not kidding, the loading is unsifferable... I mean, insufferable. The loading screens are long and in the case of some side memories they can literally take several minutes, and due to the fact that you can control Ezio in the loading screens and in some cases there is another person in there running away made me think I was supposed to catch the person because nothing was happening for such a long time. It's strange that the loading screens are as long as they are when the game also loads during cutscenes, making the option to skip cutscenes absolutely pointless as you'll then have to spend the same amount of time looking at the loading screen, and takes a decent amount of time installing crap on the harddrive before you can start playing for the first time. Furthermore, the game also often freezes momentarily when riding a horse fast, and it occasionally takes a long time loading people and textures. I once failed an escort mission's bonus objective because guards first took half a minute to load on the map and then eventually spawned right on me. The game is not flawless.
AC: Brotherhood's additions to the series are so insignificant and the plot is so irrelevant that I really don't need to say anything indepth about it, and no, I am not mocking the game. It's just an absolute fact that you have no business playing Brotherhood if you haven't finished Assassin's Creed 2, and if you have played AC2 all the way through already and still intend to play the upcoming Assassin's Creed 3, you are obliged to play Brotherhood as well. Consider AC2 and Brotherhood to be one single full game, nothing more and nothing less.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations is another story entirely. Gameplaywise it's the same as the previous games, same old gadgets return, the main character is still Ezio as controlled by Desmond and the only new additions to the series are the hookblade, crafting bombs and a fun little base-defense minigame you don't get to play enough even if you try (seriously, I got to play it only three times total and I made an actual effort to get it to start). However, I feel the story of Revelations has a different, a more mature feel to it and I honestly think it could be considered a shorter standalone game if it weren't for the beginning recap of past events in the series and a few little references to what took place in Brotherhood. I mean it, Assassin's Creed's overall plot is so strange and messed already, Revelations doesn't advance the on-going Desmond plot almost at all and Ezio's previous adventures aren't referred to apart from a passing remark regarding Caterina, and overall Revelations' bonus first-person puzzle-platforming minigames help shed about 10x more light on Desmond's life and personality than the previous three games combined. I have played standalone games that gave far less context for the story than Revelations does. Anyway, I think Revelations will still be played as part of the series by everyone who'll ever play it, so pointless of me to try and separate it from the other games. I'll just say it has the most class out of all AC games thus far.
To add to Revelations' credit it also managed to make me interested in replaying the original Assassin's Creed, which is quite a feat considering my... immense dislike of that boring, over-hyped, over-priced, often glitchy turd of a game. It's just that Revelations, with Ezio's quest to travel the footsteps of Altaïr and unlock the secrets of Altaïr's library gives some reason for the original game to exist.
Yes, I am thinking about recording HD walkthroughs of the entire Assassin's Creed series. Even the first one.

After AC: Revelations I think I bought Payday: The Heist, Terraria, Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne from Steam's summer sale.
Payday is the Al Pacino/Robert De Niro film Heat made into a Left 4 Dead style game, only the zombies are pretending to be cops. I know the Heat/L4D thing is something more than one person has said and I have already joined the choir, but it is actually the first thing that popped in my mind when I played it the first time. The game seems like it's fun to play with friends, but alone I did get somewhat bored of at least the first three levels in one day, and it only has six levels and I have no friends. None that have Payday: The Heist at least. I'll record it if I can find other people to play with.
Terraria... I didn't get hooked. I can see how it could be slightly addicting, but I just don't feel any need to play it myself. It also has LONG level-generation and loading times, and I also can't play it in higher resolution than 800x600 without a hit on the framerate. I can play Condemned on PC at max settings, at least until big special effects get splashed on the screen, but I can't play a simple 2D-platformer type of thing at higher than 800x600? Not that I honestly needed to, though, as the game only shows a larger area of black surroundings at higher resolutions, but still. Funny.
Max Payne, finished first eight chapters. Game has so far been every bit as good as people always say it is, it does deserve it's praise.
Max Payne 2, haven't played it on PC yet but I do own it and have almost finished it on PlayStation 2 and can say that the game is great, maybe better than the first, and I am looking forward to playing all the way through it with better graphics on PC.
I am planning to record walkthroughs of the two Max Payne games, starting sometime next month in fact, and theoretically I could do Max Payne 3 someday as well since my mother is planning to buy it herself and once she's done with the game it is then passed onto me. Don't know when she'll buy it, though, as she right now has Dead to Rights Retribution and Yakuza 4 under work and I'm certainly not going to buy it as it doesn't look as good to me as the original two and I am already overloaded with games to play as it is. Just earlier today I bought the two Witcher games from GOG.com since they were on sale. You think I'll ever get to play them? Fuck no. I'll die of old age and my grandchildren will get to try them instead.

Wait! I'd first need to take time off to find me a woman and figure out how it works and make some children that will then pop out grandchildren before they can exist enough to inherit my collection... ... ... Never gonna happen.

That's it, this blog post is over so I can have the new super-secret special thing up and ready and then MAYBE I get to actually play more Max Payne. I left it on part 1 chapter 9 three days ago!
And yeah, yeah, I would've added images but I can't be bothered. You want images? Search the games on Google, that's what I would've done anyway, so there.

Monday, 4 June 2012

More money, more games

Good news for me: I can once again get my hands on my own money. I won't go into any detail, but due to some EU regulations PayPal has to comply with, some network errors with my bank and my own negligence with the renewal of my ID card, for the entire month of May I didn't have as much control over my own bank and PayPal accounts, and subsequently all of my own money, as a person in modern society is normally expected to have. I really mostly have myself to blame for this, though, because what could've easily been fixed in one week ended up taking 4 weeks instead just because my ID card had expired only some days before I needed it at the bank. But, that's all straightened out now.

Because I could use money I again, I of course went and bought some video games.
I got myself Ghostbusters The Video Game for PS3, a game which I've been looking for since it's release but has always eluded me until now. It's pretty ridiculous how difficult finding a copy, new or used, of a somewhat popular and well known 2009 title can be. Well, I have it now and I actually already finished it. It's a really fun game, really well done and I wish I could record a walkthrough of it. Probably can't, though. Copyright notices just forced me to reconsider my Mafia walkthrough, and Ghostbusters surely has more copyright claim bait than Mafia.

I also bought a game called Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn, which I assumed was going to be either a hilarious game or an unintentionally hilarious game considering the whole game is about an old angry man riding an angry unicorn around and smacking mutated magical creatures while they whizz past, and way back when I saw some gameplay footage of it it actually looked fast-paced, but I was wrong. It's played completely straight, and it's boring, and pretty bad. I tried playing it but there's absolutely nothing there to keep me playing. I've bought a lot of bad games in the past but I think Pryzm could rank quite high on the disappointment meter.

Of course that wasn't all I bought. I also got Tomb Raider Trilogy for the PS3. It includes Underworld and HD remasters of the PS2 games Legend and Anniversary, and I bought it on a whim. I already have Legend on PS2 and I quite liked it when  I played it, but I never finished it and I figured, why not try to finally complete it in HD when I can also get Anniversary and Underworld along with it at the price of one older PS3 game?
I think I actually own all Tomb Raider games now, with the exception of Guardian of the Light, and I find that fact quite funny because I am not a fan of the series and have actually never finished any of the games legitimately, ever, except Curse of the Sword on GameBoy Color. I liked that game.

After having played Rayman Origins and seeing how few long-time fans of the series were as amazed by it's top-notch quality as I was, I take it that the rest of the games are pretty damn incredible as well, and so I bought Rayman Collector's Edition, a supposed "4 game collection" which actually does not include the first game despite what the title of the collection would make you think. I mean, when I hear "Rayman Collector's Edition", I think "the original game plus bonuses", not Rayman 2, 3, M and 3 Print Studio. What the hell is a print studio anyway? I admit I haven't actually yet taken a look at it but I would dare and guess that it's not a game at all, so why is it a "4 games in 1" and why the hell is it titled "Rayman Collector's Edition"? Why not just Rayman Collection? Or Rayman Generations? Or Rayman Super-Pack or Rayman Über-Bundle?
Well, anyway, I'm going to buy the original on GOG.com sometime soon when I actually have time to play it, and then I believe I will install and try out 2, 3 and M. And Print Studio as well, but only if it's just a really poorly named game. Which I think it's not.

I have also bought the L.A. Noire DLC cases on PlayStation Store for my mother to play as she's almost done with Call of Juarez 2, and I bought myself the Double Fine indie game called Stacking. And since I had just the perfect amount of money left in the wallet I spent the rest on a MiniS (do you always add the 'S' in the end or no? I'm confused) game called Golf Mania. Or something like that, could've been any of the zillions of golf games there.
Apropos, if you want a laugh, check out the 2012 Tiger Woods-PGA-World-Tour-Something-or-Other in the PS Store. Look at what the DLC packs include and especially take a look at the prices. Ri-freaking-dickilous! Do people really buy the game downloaded for 70€ and then buy 3-4€ DLC packs that only have two new golf club designs for the game? GOLF CLUB DESIGNS, for Pete's sake. 70 euros for a downloadable golf game, and then about 40 DLC packs for several euros each, which all only add some new golf clubs, just because the game's titled after some golfer fuck... When you're paying that much for a golf game and DLC clubs, just take up golfing for real. I would imagine it's much more fun even if you suck. Probably better if you do suck, actually, because then you get to play longer per hole and get bigger scores.

But now I'm just ranting about nothing and it's 1 am, so bye.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Uh... Tuesday 5: Tuesday Harder

Just a short post here.
Had to go out today to handle some very serious business downtown that I don't think I should talk about publicly yet just to be on the safe side, but after that business was dealt with me and my mother went to buy video games and this post here is written to tell you about my new purchases.

I'm a fan of Video Games AWESOME! and have enjoyed their Rayman Origins playthrough so far, and seeing how much fun the game can be and after listening to the soundrack on YouTube for an hour I decided to buy the game myself for PS3. If you recall, and I'm guessing you don't, last year when I did my shitty E3 2011 recap I wrote that, and I quote myself here, the game "looked interesting" and had "fun looking levels". What does that have to do with me buying the game now? Nothing, I just remembered mentioning it in the past.
By the way, I want to wish the best of luck for the VGA crew in these perilous times as they are the newest victims of Google's unexplained AdSense-account closing sprees. If you've ever heard of AdSense accounts closing in the past you know that Google does not provide people any reason for banning them from the service, which is incredibly stupid because you supposedly do have a chance to appeal and have your account reinstated, but in order to appeal you must tell them first what it is you did wrong. But then, how can you admit your guilt to them when you haven't done anything wrong and don't know what they're accusing you of, and if you have done something wrong and admit to it then why would your appeal pass? It's insane, and Fraser was actually spot on in his video when he called it Kafkaesque. The whole ordeal is indeed very much like 'The Trial'.
And Google making the decisions to ban people from using AdSense for life at random... talk about draconian. Don't think a single human works at Google, I think all these things are just caused by automated systems with faulty design that the people over there never redesign.
The FFSTV crew has created some of the most entertaining video game related content on the Internet (AVG and VGA) and the most entertaining unscripted video game related content on the Internet so I really hope they get through all this with minimal amount of financial trouble and can continue to entertain all of us, but most importantly me, till the end of time. Hopefully with more AVG.
And if I understood correctly from the video, at least Fraser's email from Google seemed to be longer than the one I got when my AdSense account was closed, so he should consider himself special.

Another game I bought for PS3 is LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. The first three Indiana Jones films have just recently come on TV with the fourth one to be aired next Sunday, and naturally I watched them all and am now in the perfect Indy-mood which greatly affected my decision to fork out 30€ for the game because the fourth movie, while I do not hate it, will not quench my thirst for more. Also, LEGO games of this ilk (LEGO Star Wars, Batman, et cetera) have always been fun and top-quality, though, so I am confident that this game is great as well. I will not, however, play the game immediately through. I own a few other of these type of LEGO games and in the past I've always done the first playthrough co-operatively with my sister. It's just so much more fun trying to figure out what to do with another person and it's well worth the wait, which I'm guessing will be a long one seeing how busy and ill people seem to be these day. Don't think my sister will come over and play any video games with me any time soon. But there's always hope.

I also bought Way of the Samurai 2 for the PS2. I hope it's as good as I expect it to be.

My mother also bought two games for herself. She got Call of Juarez 2: Bound in Blood and James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace, both for PS3.

Aaand that's about it. I've bought some more games on GOG.com as well since the last post, but I'll talk about those once I finally get around to playing them.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

I am awful sorry

Sorry that for the last two months there hasn't been anything new posted here and that the last post posted was the usual not-very-entertaining-to-read crap I always write. And here I will go again and you can't stop me!

Two months... that's a long time when you think about it. A man could do a lot of interesting things in that time to later talk about on his blog, but unfortunately I don't know who that man is so I can't offer you an alternative to my blog.
After the previous post I bought and downloaded Evil Genius and Constructor on GOG.com. I don't like Constructor, but Evil Genius... man, that was the most fun video game I have played in a while. It's a base-building game with the emphasis on base-building, with everything about the game depending on your ability to build a base. I can't stress enough the importance of a well built base, because if you suck at designing and building bases, you won't like the game. Do you understand what I'm saying? Base. Building. You think Dungeon Keeper 1 or 2 were base-building  games? Nope, they weren't, not even close if you compare to Evil Genius. At least in DK2 the design of the lair didn't matter one bit just as long as you had enough rooms of certain type to get good minions for combat, and I played it like a 1st-person hack 'n slash game for the most part (it may have not been the intention of the developers), but in Evil Genius the design of the lair IS the game. I won't talk about it any more here because ever since I beat Evil genius the first time I've often felt like I need to replay it and I think I'll write a review of it when I do, so wait for that and remember to hold your breath for the best effect. I'm just sad it's not the kind of game that can be walkedthrough.
I also bought Call to Power 2 and I played it A LOT. It's like the Civilization series, only better in every way so screw you Civ fans! And then I've bought about... shit... 40 other games from GOG.com, not counting the individual games in the collections and bundles.

YES, I HAVE A PROBLEM! I have been telling you for years now that I have a problem with buying video games. I can't stop, I don't want to stop. I get so high off of new video games, they help me forget about this awful, sad, pathetic, depressing shithole of a world we live in.
And besides, almost all of the 45 items purchased have been during sales so I have actually SAVED money by spending it on games I will probably never have the time or interest to play.

But, seriously, I buy games on GOG.com so casually for several reasons that I actually think are very good. First, I appreciate what GOG.com stands for, DRM-free classics for equal prices all around the world with a ton of extra goodies packed in that you don't get these days even with the physical copies and the latest patches already installed and the games made to work with newer machines. For that GOG.com deserves my business, I want to support them. Alright, maybe I could help them out even more if I didn't wait for sales, but I am a cheap bastard and you can't weed it out from me.
Second, currently I am making all my money from video games, most of my freetime (I have nothing BUT freetime) is spent on video game related activities and I hope to continue spending a lot of my time with video games and video game related activities until I die, so why not buy video games in bunches with the money I make from video games now and prepare for the future? I'm making decent enough dough already and I'm not baking bread if you catch my meaning. More like making bread. Not baking, because, you know, not literal bread but money, and dough is also slang for money. Yeah, I'm witty like that. I should have my own column in a newspaper.
I also had third, fourth and fifth reasons, but I'm getting tired and bored here and the first reason I wrote is good enough on it's own to justify my spontaneous purchasing of large amounts of video games so I'll move on to talk about the games I have actually played.

I played Return to Krondor for 2 hours and it's boring. Don't think I'll ever give it another chance.
I played Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood with very high expectations because it's very similar to Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive and the Commandos games, which I like immensely, but I was disappointed by it. It's also very buggy. I guess I could enjoy it if I really gave it a chance but right now I have several dozen other games to play.
I played Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project up until the first boss and it was kind of fun but I just didn't have the energy to continue. I was sort of hoping it would be good for walkingthrough, and I guess it might be, but not right now.
I played some of the original Alone in the Dark, but then I remembered that I don't actually like survival horror games. Then I was really shocked that I had actually bought The New Nightmare from GOG.com as well. Why did I buy it? Probably because I'm anticipating my genre taste to change in the future, and if and when I start craving for survival horror I'll have the Alone in the Dark series ready.
I also bought the Zork anthology and Grand Inquisitor because I have this morbid obsession with adventure games that require too much intellect and patience for me to actually ever finish them. So I played a bit of Zork: The Great Underground Empire with the intention of playing through the whole series (or the games I happen to have), but that plan died. People in the 70's might have had nothing better to do with their lives than typing random things into their computers in hopes of getting through short adventure games for points, but not me. Me, I'm a young, virile, wild-eyed anarchist tiger heading for Good-Time City on the Freedom bus to pick up broads and break the rules. That is, when I'm not sitting at home playing video games. I did play Zork for three days and got pretty far once I read the instructions to getting through the mazes online. Zork mazes are especially stupid because logic doesn't work when moving in Zork. If you go south, west and south, going back north, east and north does NOT get you back where you started, but infact possibly even deeper. And then you also have to go up when not prompted. Zork mazes take fucking hours to finish on your own even if you know before-hand that you can and have to move in three dimensions, which I didn't realise at first.
Anyway, I was just kidding (not about the mazes, though), I actually kind of liked Zork and do intend to play the rest of the games sometime soon since I already have them all installed. I stopped playing only because I had other things to do.

I also bought Minecraft. I like a lot of the additions that weren't in it back when I first played, but I think those two weeks I spent digging straight 2x6 tunnels deep underground while listening to the live D&D games on LordKat's stream really did it for me because I just can't stay interested in building crap for more than an hour at a time now. Also, playing Minecraft alone just seems pointless. I can build entire cities and it would still all just end with me alone wandering aimlessly past hundreds of hours of wasted time turned into stacks of blocks. I don't want to be that sad and miserable. Even I have standards.

Not all my new purchases have been downloadable games, though.
I bought Velvet Assassin because I like stealth games and it's a very polished and stylish little sneaker, if a little dull in it's linearity, but what I don't like is that it's a Steam game. I noticed after I brought it home that it's one of those "must connect to Steam in order to play" type of retail games. I hate that, because I like Steam even less now than before. Regional pricing for downloadable games? WHAT THE FUCK?! It's DOWNLOADABLE, there is no reason for regional pricing. Not even the regional prices of the physical copies can explain it because if you make the decision between physical copy and Steam download solely based on the price then you'll buy the Steam version regardless. Hell, you might as well just buy all these kinds of games straight from Steam since that's what you'll basically be doing with the physical copies anyway, never mind the price.
Alright, maybe it's not Steam that decides the pricing, but if a money-grubbing bastard publisher asks you to cheat more money out of people outside the US only because people are idiots and actually go along with it, you say NO because you have ethics. But Steam won't do that because then they'd be more respectable and make less profit, and that's not good. Profit, profit, profit. God damn you assholes, where's your spine!

I also bought Ghost Master, Ghost Recon and Mafia 2. I really like Mafia 2, it's a very good game that I will play again soon on my own (as soon as my mother has finished it and returned me my disc) and then soon after that a third time to record a walkthrough of it after I've finished the first Mafia.
I found Ghost Recon really boring and technically confusing.
Ghost Master... well, I really like the whole idea behind the game, I like some of the gameplay mechanics, I like the casual feel of the gameplay, I like the references and I just love the music, but even still it just doesn't do it for me. I can't quite put it into words what bugs me about the game even though it has to be something special since I like almost every aspect of it and should love the game as a whole as a result, but I don't. Spooky, isn't it. I wish Ghost Master 2 had been made, because most likely it would've been an amazing game. I think I will give Ghost Master another whirl someday, I've just been in a bad mood a lot lately, as you might have guessed from me not liking a lot of games I've played. I even got tired of Hitman: Blood Money at one point and that should be impossible, so a lot of the fault for games not entertaining me lately must be mine own.

I also had a birthday just last month. As presents I got Assassin's Creed: Revelations and a Donald Duck toy that's supposed to move with the power of sunlight, but all it really does is make this annoying high-pitched sound whenever there's any light, which is almost all the time. WEEE-uu.... WEE-uu...WEE-uuuu-up. Argh!
I haven't played AC: Revelations yet because I want to buy and play Brotherhood first. Oh, and if Brotherhood and Revelations are really good, I will break my promise of never playing the first Assassin's Creed again and go and record walkthroughs of all the games in the series. And AC3 is coming out soon as well, so I'll probably do that as well if my YouTube account stays up.

Because the most important thing about birthdays is getting a lot of presents, I went and bought myself a few as well. I got Saboteur, Saints Row 2, GTA: Episodes From Liberty City and Primal. Well thank you Johnny, you always remember my birthday and get me the best presents! You're so great, I love you. Take off your pants and let me g... uh... yeah, anyway.
Saboteur, fun game, and even better with the nudity DLC that turned free right before it was taken down. Yup, EA removed the DLC entirely and I nabbed it free right before it became unavailable at the start of this month. Ha ha ha, I bet you guys who paid for it back when it wasn't free feel pretty stupid now, right? Well, I suppose if you're willing to pay money for DLC just so you can see a couple of nipples in a video game you should feel pretty stupid all the time, huh. But hey, friend, don't be sad. Just think about those losers who buy Saboteur later and don't get the DLC AT ALL! But really, uncensored nipples and a chance to kiss some loose women to hide from the nazis is all the DLC really adds. EA really knows what people want, eh?
I hate EA. Just throwing that out there.

Saints Row 2, a really fun game and better than Saints Row the Third to a stupendous degree. I recommend playing it. I'm just sad they never released the first game for PS3, because now I can't record the trilogy.
GTA: Episodes From Liberty City, fun. Would've probably been better if the last time I played GTA IV hadn't been so many years ago, but I did still manage to catch on to where the storylines intertwined. A fun addition to GTA IV, good DLC.
Haven't played Primal yet and I don't know when I get around to. Don't even know if the game will play, it's scratched to hell, something's been spilled on the manual and the pages have been crumpled up and I'm not sure but I think there might be some mold on the cover... eww... how can some people be such dicks as to purposefully defile a perfectly good video game and then sell it to others, I'll never know. I also don't know why I bought it in such a condition. There's a lot of things I don't know, so what's new.

My mother just recently bought her own PS3 really cheap. She's already finished Red Dead Redemption and now she's getting through Mafia 2. She also bought Uncharted: Drake's Fortune with the PS3 and I've played it up till chapter 13. I have to say, and don't get mad at me here, but Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is really boring. Not a lot of going for the plot so far, the areas are dull and the gameplay has been all about shooting the same exact guys with the same exact guns over and over again in mostly very similar looking jungle areas. Okay, there's been a couple of short climbing sequences, two quick jetski rides and a short but action-packed jeep-chase to break the monotone, but it's not enough. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was huge leap ahead in every meaningful way and I highly recommend buying Uncharted 2 and 3 if you haven't already, but Uncharted 1 might just kill your brain. I paused it in the middle of a firefight and for 10 minutes I had no thoughts going through my head whatsoever, it's that boring. When I finally snapped back to Earth I just had to quit playing to save my sanity.

Other than playing the aforementioned games, recording Thief: Deadly Shadows and Mafia very slowly, feeling like crap, turning 23, offering hurtful criticism wrapped in dry humour and sarcasm to my mom while she plays video games, catching up with Video Games AWESOME! playthroughs and watching a lot of Shitcase Cinema reviews, I haven't really done anything. That's my life in a nutshell, fortunately I'm not allergic to nuts.

With spring coming and the snows sloooooowly melting away I should become more energetic soon and then I think I'll use all that energy to do nothing but waste time writing blog posts and uploading video game videos on YouTube. At least I'm hoping that will be the case. I'm living the dream.

Now I think I'll go buy something new from this weekend's sale on GOG.com.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Good Old Games are awesome!

So, nothing much has happened so here's a short post. I've begun uploading HD videos, starting with a 720p walkthrough of Thief: Deadly Shadows, which, despite what I claimed in the description of the first part can't be considered to be too good of a quality because of the occasional texture flickering. The flickering is caused by my AMD HD graphics card with it's updated drivers and whatever, as apparently new AMD stuff doesn't mesh well with older games made with NVIDIA in mind. I could potentially fix the flickering by downgrading something specific related to the drivers but considering how dumb I am and what problems I created for myself in the past when I started tweaking stuff with the first two Thief games, I better just leave things be. I did try to remove and/or resize some of the intrusive HUD elements to make the walkthrough a more comfortable viewing experience, but that caused some game breaking issues in various spots in the levels. I also decided against turning on subtitles, because they are LARGE, right in the center of the screen and easily broken by random noises in the world. And, well, honestly Thief is one series of games where the hard of hearing cannot get the experience due to an easy 50% of the game being all about the sound. I'm sorry, deaf people, but there are certain things in life you just can't be a part of, same way that double-leg amputees can't have foot-rubs and I can't enjoy anything that requires thought. We all have our problems.

I also uploaded an HD Hitman: Blood Money fukkaround video because I thought I fixed the issues I hads with the sound recording, although I still couldn't hear a lot of the stuff I know I said and had to edit out certain sentences where it sounded like I was just whispering or moaning even though I actually spoke out loud. I recorded some more fukkingaround in A Vintage Year the same night, or to be more precise I recorded the cutscenes and briefing and only a minute or two of the actual level, but decided to stop for the evening as recording in HD takes a lot of space and I realized one thing: no matter how much I love Hitman: Blood Money, I just can't come up with anything to say about it while playing. So what I guess I'll do is upload A Vintage Fukkaround someday and then leave the rest of the game, as usual with my LPs and Fukkarounds, to be finished later and start thinking about doing Fukkarounds of games I haven't played yet, including Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery. I promised to do that and I stand behind my words, especially since it should be a lot more interesting for a Fukkaround than a game I like and know inside and out. And there's people's testicles involved, more specifically Martin alias GamerBomb's. Only reason I wish to stall with the Barbie stuff is that the games cost a fortune and while I don't mind making myself look stupid buying and playing a Barbie game, I do mind making myself look stupid by buying and playing an expensive Barbie game. I may be a bit insane, but I am still primarily a cheapskate.

Admittedly it has been a long time since the last Fukkaround and some people have asked me what Fukkarounds are. The answer is simply that they're Let's Plays done by me, just named differently because some sad elitist LP wankers spend more time trying to shoot down others for crimes against the artform know as "Let's Play" than recording their own videos, and Fukkaround is a more descriptive title for my videos. Sure, "A load of Bollocks" could be an even better title, but Fukkaround is fine. When the LP crowd, and I am exaggerating when using the term "crowd", asked me why the hell my videos suck so much, they couldn't understand it when I said that it's my way of doing LPs, but now that I call them Fukkarounds nobody questions the quality of my running commentary. Some people think LPs are guides, some think they're comedy riffs of games, some think they're casual gameplay, but Fukkarounds are always bad. It's that simple. If you do a Fukkaround it sucks, and if it doesn't then go LP.
I don't really hide the fact that personally I don't like my own LPs and Fukkarounds. I find them to be crap and I'm mostly just ashamed of myself, and one (or more) could ask then why I upload them for the public. Because some people like them for whatever incomprehendable reason, that's why. I find the process of recording videos so amusing that it doesn't take a whole lot away from me to record and upload some bad ones for others to see if they enjoy them, just as long as I don't have to watch them myself. I'm really bad at doing commentary, sure, but why stop because someone like myself criticises myself for something I've done to hurt my own reputation?

The HD videos, I'm still only trying out different video settings to see what's the best for me and iron out the kinks. Basically every Thief: DS video, which I have six done now (three uploaded), has been rendered differently. Oh, and the videos aren't 1440x900 anymore. I still do record the game at that resolution, but the edited videos I upload are smaller to save some time. Still large enough to be 720p, though, don't worry. In fact, try and spot the changes in quality if you can. I doubt you're able to.
Naturally rendering and uploading considerably larger files than before takes more time and so there's no way I'll upload more than one video a day even when I have some already done, but the only times when people have actually complained about my rate of uploading it's always been about uploading too many videos at once, so there shouldn't be any problems there. Nobody complained even when I didn't upload anything for 6 months, which is kind of sad if you think about it, so why start now.
One thing I really hate about HD, though, is that I get much more video errors now and often can't use the recorded footage "as is" without encoding it with some other program first or re-recording the whole thing again. Fraps recordings sometimes suffer from these small errors that only cause slight stuttering in certain media players, which wouldn't be a big problem if it also didn't cause freezing and crashing in the horribly picky video editing software known as Sony Vegas. But, Fraps is still the best screen capture program, wouldn't catch me saying otherwise. Sure it has it's limitations, but I've tested several other programs in the past and Fraps is easily the best for my line of "work". If something's gotta go, it'll be Sony Vegas when I have money for another editing software again. It's just too bad that Studio 10 and Pinnacle stuff in general doesn't seem to work with 90% of computers and other programs, from my experience.

And, lastly and leastly, I have created a GOG.com account. I had some spare dollars left on my PayPal account that I didn't bother to withdraw so I created the account on a whim and bought Deus Ex GOTY and Dungeon  Keeper 2. I also finished Dungeon Keeper 2 after so many years of yearning to play it again, and it's a really fun game, albeit quite easy. I wonder why so  many people give it so much shit. I know, a lot of people do love it like I do, but in the past I have read more negative reviews of it (usually tagged along with nothing but praise for the first game) than positive.
Also, in the past, some people asked me how they could donate me games to record. Most wanted to send me copies in the mail or pirated ISOs through email (probably just to steal my identity and send me worms) and nobody ever donated me money, not even when I cried and begged them to on my knees, but if you really want to send me free games then the only way I'd ever accept them is if you gift them to me on GOG.com. Or Steam, but I'm still not big on Steam. But you never will send me anything now will you, you cheap bastards, even though I know you either have a GOG.com account or will have one because signing up is free and nets you 6 free games (good ones at that) and GOG.com is simply put awesome, even if I do rather sleep with physical copies of games. Hell, I can burn the GOG.com games on DVD discs and sleep with them if I really want, am I right?

Go join GOG.com! It's the only way of downloading games that I condone!
And send me free stuff and money, you freeloading cheapskate bums!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

High Definition is today's word. Or two.

When I was young, we didn't care about screen resolutions and picture quality as long as we had a vague flickering image of the Knight Rider on the telly in the afternoon, but in today's modern world, however, a person without the means to receive, or in my case record and stream HD video footage of something people only care to glance at work because nothing else is available is practically worse off than the starving deathly-ill oppressed orphan children in Africa. Well, except that the children don't have High Definition either, they still use old VHSs and SCARTs, so we're pretty much even.
Because of this HD fad I have bravely taken the leap of faith into the mysterious new world the rest of you call "today" and I have put all my money that I could invest in my education into high-end technological hunkajunks in hopes of earning heaps of more money doing basically nothing. In the previous blog post I already informed you of my new Personal Computer with loads of cores to handle tasks, and now, just earlier this week I went out and bought a Hauppauge Highly Definitive Personal Video Recorder and a component cable to boot. Funny thing, I never knew about the other U in Hauppauge. What all that means is that I can finally record PS2 and PS3 games in 1080i. Not that PS2 games were viewable in 1080i, but they will look sharper. Just thought I'd let you know.
Here, take a look at my stupid little HD video I made:



And if the world keeps turning and churning and all this expensive electronic stuff of mine turns into yesterday's toys before it has paid itself back thrice over, I'll murder someone with an HDMI cable.

On a nearly related note, why doesn't YouTube allow embedding in widescreen? The video changes back to 4:3 when I post this even if I edit the width and height in the HTML code manually. Also, doesn't it just suck that YouTube forces everyone to use that ugly and boring new channel design come March? I honestly gave the new design a fair chance already, and I hated it. Sort of makes the waiting for it even more depressing, knowing for sure what's coming.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I bought a new computer

For all my life I have had the habit of lagging years behind everyone else in terms of gaming technology, especially when it comes to PC gaming, but I think I'm finally catching up as I went out today and bought an expensive piece of machinery. It's an AMD P6-2020 A8-3800 with 2,4 clock speed and 8GB RAM and Radeon HD 6570 to handle the moving pictures. Naturally with Windows 7, 64-bit.
I have no idea how good of a PC that is these days and how soon it's declared absolute deadweight for the common user by the more technologically inclined out there, but I can at least play Hitman: Blood Money, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Thief: Deadly Shadows on it at max settings with 1400x900 resolution with perfect framerate. Never done that before. And from what I have seen of the system requirements of the more recent PC game releases, I should be set to play quite a few games with quite high graphical settings quite well. The gaming side isn't the only reason for this purchase, but it is something I'll probably do quite a lot.

What my new PC purchase means for my walkingthrough business is this: I can, in theory, record and upload videos in HD quality now. At least PC games, but I have thought about also buying an HD capture card once my bank account recovers from today's beating.
I promised already to record more of Deep Water (a surprisingly popular game on my channel) and try and record Animaniacs for SEGA Mega Drive, and I suppose I should stick to my word once every 5 years or so, but I do want to at first test my ability to record and edit high quality videos that take years to upload with my slow internet connection.
Some games I'm already planning to record on PC are the aforementioned Hitman: Blood Money (probably a LONG series of Fukksaround), Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Thief: Deadly Shadows, as well as Death to Spies and Condemned: Criminal Origins. I would also possibly do XIII and Beyond Good and Evil if they work properly, but both of those two I had issues with before despite meeting the system requirements with my old PC.
I am still planning to record more PS2 games, especially Maximo vs Army of Zin, but unfortunately having a new PC doesn't change the fact that Dazzle only records low quality video and since I have plans to upgrade that part of my technology as well I'd like to wait until I can get the best possible footage from the consoles.

That was about it.
Regarding my physical condition, the legs are healing fine. I do still walk a bit funny due to the minor pains and certainly couldn't run a marathon. Not that I'd ever run a marathon, working legs or no.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Johnny Comes Limping Home. Again.

Well, as you may or may not know, in Finland every man who turns 18 is drafted into the Finnish Defence Forces. Three years ago it was my turn and the visit was shortlived due to my knees failing. I spent 5 days trying to march with the pain in my legs, then 5 more days lying in bed of a temporary hospital in the garrison listening to some large metallic thing bang on the wall outside my room day and night. I was sent to an actual hospital where the doctors screwed up in a few ways and sent me back to the garrison too early. I was then released from service and driven to the parking lot of a hospital in my home city with only a modest amount of cash on me and a nearly dead cellphone.
Only things I got from that fun little trip were a haunting pain in my knees that has lasted over the years, arms badly bruised for weeks from literally more than a dozen bloodtests they took during the last 5 days in the all of them hospitals (4 times in a row at one of them because the nurse kept screwing up my social security number and had to redraw my blood every time) and a rather large hospital bill that my mother had to pay because I had no income. And I never got my pay for those weeks I did spend in the army because the clever bastards released me exactly 6 hours before the payday, so I wasn't in their system or eligible to receive the payment anymore at the moment they would've sent it.
There's lots that went wrong that I'll leave out from this post, but overall I can say that it was a shitty trip and I never figured it could get worse.

Well, three years passed and earlier this month it came time for me to retry this shit again. My class was lowered from A to B due to my knees so I thought I could handle it this time. Those in class B are supposed to have it slightly easier due to their physical conditions, you see. Well, on the first or second evening there a corporal came and told all of us that we shouldn't expect anything to be easier even with our class B papers, that it's just for publicity and in reality it has no bearing in the army. He actually said that, I could put quotation marks around that sentence.
Of course I thought "what the fuck?" and decided to ask about it from a doctor later that week and see if it's true. Indeed, when I asked about it the doctor said "yep, it's true, everybody goes through the same treatment the first two months before you choose you specialisations." Well, I didn' get through even one month three years back, how the hell am I supposed to get through it all now? The doctor told me to "just try" and sent me away.
Of course, over time the pain in my knees got worse and worse to the point that walking became difficult (again) and I had to go see a doctor about it (again), and I was again told to just try and finish my service anyway. I didn't get any painkillers or anything, and I had to still try to do the same shit that everyone else did that I couldn't have done even with healthy legs.

I got so pissed off that I made my mind and decided to quit the army and pick the alternative way to handle my duties as a Finnish person. Of course, it wasn't easy because at first the lieutenant asked me to rethink and go talk to the captain the next morning if I hadn't changed my mind. Of course I didn't change my mind, I was dying in there and I didn't get any help from anywhere, what fucking choice did I have? Stay there until I couldn't even crawl anymore and then get driven back home again to pay a few more hospital bills with no money?
The captain tried to talk me out of it as well, only he wasn't as nice about it as the lieutenant. I'm not even going to try and explain everything he said, but he's a stuck-up dick who doesn't seem to care about other people, and I'm not just talking about my situation. The captain was an overall jerk and tried to scare me to stay. What he basically told me, in a nutshell, was that he couldn't just throw me out of the army with bad knees and insisted that I at least go speak with a doctor (again).
Well, I'll skip the waiting and walking and talking even though it was a pretty rough day and just get on with it. The doctor at first didn't want to get involved because it's not his job to discuss with me about my choice to leave the army, but agreed to sign a paper that basically said that my knees would get better over time and that I would be able to walk normal and handle my civil duties someday (even though he doesn't really know that for sure). And then he fucked up and had my classification changed to "capable of regular military service", but nothing ever came from that so I won't dwell on it. And I still didn't get any painkillers or anything.
I finally returned to the captain who made another speech about how I shouldn't quit and blah blah, but grudgingly let me go and fill a form that you quit the army with because he had to admit that it's my right to choose and he couldn't keep me there against my will. It's one of the few rights people still have in this country, I do believe, but it seems to be a constant struggle to keep it. At least in my case it was.
Well, I returned the form but of course it wouldn't get sent anywhere that day because I was running stupid errands all day and apparently the big shots in the army like to stop working an hour and a half too early and since it was Friday my paper would't get processed until Monday, so I decided to go home for the weekend. This isn't the end of my day, though.

We were released 1 hour 40 minutes AFTER the last bus for the day had left and our garrison is in the middle of nowhere, so of course getting back home was going to be a teensy bit tricky. Thankfully I got to know some great guys in the army who offered me a ride to the bus station of a nearby city so I wasn't left just standing there in the snowstorm, but unfortunately what none of us knew was that this city is apparently a shithole and has no busses going to my home city. Yup, great, now stranded in a slightly larger place in the middle of nowhere, at night when it's cold and snowing.
Well, long story short (too late), I took the next bus to a completely different city where I then caught another bus home and when I got back here I had to take another bus from downtown (dubbed the "drunk-train") to get all the way home. I arrived home at 05.30 Saturday morning, and I had left the garrison 17.30 Friday evening. 12 hours of traveling with a fever and two legs I can barely walk on. I ran out of money paying the bus fares and only barely made it home, by the way. And the army doesn't compensate for those rides either. They would if I had only taken one bus, but since I had to take several they won't. Kind of a shitty situation to be in.
I spent the weekend at home and then on Sunday evening went back to the garrison for one night to wait for my paper to get processed, and indeed the next morning I got the word that I was getting out. It was a rough day, running back and forth carrying loads of stuff around, but I got through it with the help of a cruch and loads of painkillers I took from home since, once again, the army didn't provide me anything, and at last I were a free man again. Still not quite the end of the story.

I missed the last bus home. Yup, I had very slowly walked to the nearest bus stop in the middle of nowhere and missed the last bus to anywhere for the day. I actually got to see it as it drove past me as I had gotten to the stop, which is much more infuriating than missing it by 20 minutes or something. And it was again cold and snowing, and I hadn't eaten all day. Well, nothing else to do but walk about 5-6 miles in the middle of dark woods I don't know to the nearest "city" I've never been in (it's a smaller place than the neighbourhood I live in, not much of a city). Took me several hours and several stops for moments of silent crying, but I pushed through. Probably mostly thanks to the painkillers.
Once I finally found my way to the "city" I had a quick bite in a local fast-food joint and then sent a message home regarding my current whereabouts. Of course this "city" was the very place where all those "last busses for the day" leave from so now I would've been promptly stuck there for the next 10 hours. Thankfully my sister claims to be wealthy (she's only doing better than me and my mother) so she called a taxi to get me home and paid for it.

Now I'm home, unable to walk and I'm told I have bronchitis. At least I didn't lose 20 kilograms like last time.
That's the story of Johnny in the Finnish Defence Forces. I'm never going back there!

By the way, walking 5-6 miles in pitch black woods in the middle of nowhere when you're sick, have two busted knees, are dehydrated and haven't eaten anything besides painkillers is a really fucking stupid idea and I can't blame the army for that. Though as far as I'm concerned, they now owe me about 330 euros for all the expenses.


BUT I'M BACK!