Category Archives: Rant

Opinion: Always Online

It’s been a while since I’ve done an opinion post, and this week we’ve got some frustrating news about the possibility of an always online Xbox console. For some people, this isn’t a big deal. For many, many others, it is. Always Online is NOT something that works. It’s not something that has worked many-a-times, and it’s something that not only isn’t worth it, but it’s a big hassle for everyone. Even if you don’t care too much about it and are always online anyway, I can almost guarantee there will be a time where you can’t connect for one reason or another. Earlier this week, Adam Orth (Microsoft Studios creative director) shared his opinion on Always-Online devices. This has led many to believe the Nextbox will be. Here is how the conversation inspiring this post went down (courtesy of NeoGAF):

OEY5yp8 Microsoft apologizes for employees Xbox Durango always online tweets, claims customer centric approach

The first thing I would like to say is this: I have the internet. I have had the internet and I love the internet. However, I offer three major reasons why no video game console should EVER be always online.

1: It will potentially destroy local gaming parties.

I am a tournament organizer for the biggest fighting game community in Maine, and I will say that out of the several events we have hosted over the past two years, maybe one or two had internet. Keyword, MAYBE. Running a tournament or an internet-less LAN will be a nightmare. No tournament organizer, event host, or even big conventions and organizations will want to use the Nextbox to run tournaments, simple.

We have run many fun, successful and memorable community sessions without the internet, and it should BE that way. If they require us to connect to the internet in order to play a local game of Street Fighter, I just won’t have it. At big conventions such as PAX and E3, the internet is horrendous because of the amount of people connected at all times. You think that trying to get a few games playing in Console Free Play or during a tournament will work when you have 75,000 other people connected with their phones, laptops, iPods, tablets, other consoles, and even DESKTOPS? You’ll be lucky if you can even get it to play at all.

2: Not everybody has internet all the time.

But if someone buys this console, they will have access to the console all the time. In the twitter discussion, you can see that they talked a bit about how they discussed how vacuum cleaners require electricity to function, and relates spotty internet to the power going out. The difference here is that the vacuum cleaner REQUIRES electricity to run. An Xbox console should not REQUIRE internet to function. It doesn’t NEED internet. A vacuum cleaner literally will not function without some form of electrical power.

Not only that, but some people have jobs where they move around, travel, or are stationed somewhere. We have troops overseas that LOVE playing Halo when they have downtime. Some of them DO NOT have internet. Not only does it help them relax, and if anyone deserves to unwind after a long day’s work it’s a soldier who had been in an extremely stressful moment of his life while on duty. Some people move around a lot and bring their Xbox from place to place. It would literally be a useless paperweight if they stayed anywhere without internet, with internet they could not access or with spotty internet.

3: SimCity, Diablo III

This was also mentioned in the twitter conversation. These are two PERFECT examples of why this is a terrible idea. SimCity is published by Electronic Arts. Diablo II is published by Activision. Both companies are major publishing companies and if any third party developer could get servers to handle first-week launches, it’s them. Guess what, they didn’t. Both games were complete and utter disasters when they launched. They literally didn’t work for the majority of players. This is what could and probably would happen if Microsoft actually did decide to take the Always-Online route.

Imagine getting home after waiting in line outside your local game distributor waiting to get your hands on the next Xbox at launch with a slew of exciting new software to play. After waiting all night (possibly longer if you’re insane) you finally get your impatient little fingers on this slick new piece of hardware you’ve wanted for the past year and a half (or more if you’re impatient). You rush home going 50mph in a 25mph because the risk of getting pulled over is TOTALLY WORTH the reward of playing that new console just a few minutes earlier. You bust into your house faster than you ever have before, fumble the wires around while plugging it all in, toss in Halo 5 and get ready to have the time of your life…

And then the servers just aren’t working, so you can’t actually play the device you just spent $500 on. You try again tomorrow, same problem. Three days from then, same problem. A week later you’re finally able to play the campaign for Halo 5! The campaign. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PLAY OFFLINE, BUT YOU CAN’T BECAUSE OF THIS STUPID AS SHIT REQUIREMENT.

Conclusion:

This summarizes my feelings for Always-Online devices that don’t need it to operate. It’s just a bad idea and will ruin things for many, many people. Over 50% of America lives in rural locations, many of which have spotty internet at times. It’s even a bad business idea for Microsoft since it’s such a massive turn off for so many people.

Adam Orth really needs to remember: when you’re an important figure in a massive community that is generally always watching (Gamers in the gaming community), you cannot, and I repeat, cannot do this kind of thing in social networking. It’s immature, irresponsible, and completely in bad taste to joke when people are anxiously awaiting your next product.

Always Online = Tragedy.

End of story.

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Opinion: Review Scores Are Lame

Hear me out; it’s not what you think.

“Combined with the host of subtle and overt improvements to the array of other systems, the additions to make it more appealing to Esports, and the more fleshed out Zombies mode, this is not just a fantastic Call of Duty game, but one of the best shooters of the last decade.”

– IGN’s review on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

IGN, in the past decade has given several First Person Shooter games a HIGHER score than a 93.

This includes the following:

  • Halo 2, 3, Reach, 4
  • Metroid Prime 1, 2 , 3 and the Trilogy (Separately)
  • Half-Life 2 & The Orange Box (Separately)
  • Bioshock
  • Resistance 2
  • Crysis
  • Killzone 2
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2

So why is this game “One of the best shooters of the last decade”? First off, this isn’t a slap to the wrist to Call of Duty, this is a slap to the wrist for review scores. This is evidence of why giving review scores is not something I do. I feel that giving a score will never do the game the justice it deserves, especially since they are usually either watered down to the point where anything below a 8.5 is bad, even when 8’s and 7’s are supposed to stand for good games with 6’s being fun but not great and 5’s being average. 8.5 is the new average. When people rely on review score averages, it makes the scores mean nothing. A 0-7 score means the same thing to most people: It’s a bad game. This isn’t supposed to be the case. This is why I use a badge system instead. It gets my point across, my feelings towards the game across, and it gives you something quick and easy to refer too.

Opinion: Modernized “Hardcore Gamer”

Remember when a “Hardcore Gamer” was the one who spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours leveling in Final Fantasy, or obtaining every piece of heart in The Legend of Zelda? Remember when a “Hardcore Gamer” was that guy down the street who beat M. Bison on Hardest, or had caught all 151 Pokémon (getting Mew through a Toys ‘R’ Us promotion) in Red/Blue Version? How come the modernized “Hardcore Gamer” specifically points to a competitive gamer who most likely plays an FPS or RTS?

Playing Call of Duty shouldn’t make you a hardcore gamer. Being passionate about games in general is what should make you a hardcore gamer. Think about it – a Pro Star Craft gamer, for example, is a Competitive Gamer. He/she puts loads of hours into mastering the game. My proposition is, however, if that is the only game he/she has ever played then why is he/she a Hardcore Gamer? To be hardcore, you should also fit into the “Core” department, one who plays lots of different kinds of games.

I’ve always felt “Hardcore” was a step up from “Core”. The Core Gamer would be the guy who likes to play a wide variety, but isn’t top notch. The Hardcore Gamer is the kind who plays a wide variety and IS top notch, while a competitive gamer is hardcore in a specific game, he/she doesn’t spend enough time on other games to be considered a generalized “Hardcore Gamer” and should instead be known as a “Pro” or “Competitive” gamer.

In the end, I guess it really doesn’t matter. We all do what we love doing. It’s just frustrating that hardcore gaming is almost solely associated with the FPS genre.

 

Opinion: Skyward Sword (originally written on December 21st, 2011)

As much as I love Skyward Sword, I still think it is behind the times. The reason I don’t like Twilight Princess, is because it is a 5th gen game marketed as a 6th gen game. In other words, it was a game that could have been released in the early 2000s. The story was rehashed from A Link to the Past’s and the gameplay was severly lacking. Worst of all, if you played it on the Wii, the controls felt tacked on (because they were). It was a Wii game that was supposed to be a Gamecube game. Skyward Sword is the game I’ve been waiting for since 2006. Skyward Sword was a great game, but would have been absolutely AMAZING in 2006, but instead we got this title five years later in 2011.

It still feels behind the times compared to more modern titles like Batman: Arkham City and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What Nintendo needs to do, is take more elements from these modern titles and implement them into their game. Skyward Sword did this with quite a few, such as the Stamina Meter and item reinforcement. Not only that, but Nintendo needs to take Zelda to the next level. Zelda once revolutionized gaming. It needs to do it again.

The only problem with that, is that Nintendo thinks they have. Series producer and director, Eiji Aonuma stated in an interview “I honestly think we cannot go back to button controls now, so I think that these controls will be used in future Zelda titles, too.” They believe Motion Controls is what people want, when in reality this isn’t true. Why is Zelda the only nominee for Action/Adventure Game of the Year in 2011 with motion controls? Why didn’t it win Action/Adventure GotY? Because Motion Controls are unnessisary and actually turn more away than they realize.

The Legend of Zelda has to find it’s own place in modern gaming before it will be able to stand at the top again. If I had it my way, I’d have a massive fantasy world with multiple side quests, epic dungeons ten fold of what we’ve seen before, and some of the most exciting boss fights a player can handle.

This is what the Zelda series needs. The Legend of Zelda used to be able to blow my mind. It hasn’t since 2004.