Category Archives: Gaming

The Crate Review System

Apparently a rating system was created years ago to judge First-Person Shooter (FPS) games based on how long you can play the game before you see a crate or barrel. Supposedly, the longer you can play the game without finding either, the better the game is.Old-Crate-241-Design-psd4933

Very funny article indeed, but the sad fact of the matter is that encountering a crate or barrel in any FPS game is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

It seems that level designers can’t even place their unimaginative crates and barrels in a logical manner. In the real world, crates and barrels are needed for carrying things that are too heavy to for a cardboard box. Therefore, they are almost exclusively found on top of pallets, and require forklifts to move them around. How many games feature their crates on pallets? How many games even feature pallets? And for the grand prize: How in the heck do they get crates in those crazy places where a forklift wouldn’t even fit?

Katamari Lottafunna

[Editor’s note: For purposes of contextual coherence, it may be useful to know that this post originally appeared on the discontinued Myers Family Journal before being folded into this blog. -KM]

I mentioned on here before that I would probably be buying Katamari Damacy, and wouldn’t ya know, only about a week later, it was in my hands. I think it was that $20 price tag that made it so attractive, with the average Playstation 2 game going for about $50 anymore. I had already been looking for a good non-violent, easy-to-control game that I could teach Kristopher to play. I could have went with some type of edutainment game or something based off a children’s cartoon show, but bear in mind that in order for me to teach Kristopher to play, I needed to be able to stand the game for more than five minutes.katamari-damacy1

So far we’ve had a lot of fun with it. Who would have thought that a game whose core mechanic is to simply roll a ball around could be so addictive? Kristopher is still trying to develop the hand-eye coordination needed to control a video game, knowing how quickly he picks up on things, I know it won’t take much longer. Man I just can’t wait until ten years or so from now when he’s kicking my butt at StarCraft 5 or Unreal 2015 or whatever is out by then. Katamari Damacy is already such a hit that it looks like plans for a sequel are already in the works.

As of this writing, Spring 2005 classes are officially over, though I still have finals week to suffer through before summer can finally begin. It’s been an awesome semester and it feels great to finally be back on track to finishing my degree. This was definitely the morale boost that I needed.

The Genesis Effect

This is a continuation of the rant Ode to a Console.

After giving it some more thought, I think it’s finally dawned upon me why I’ve been so turned off by consoles as of late… It’s all the bloody sports games. With the notable exception of the Final Fantasy series, when I think of console games anymore it’s nearly synonymous with sports and racing games. The Playstation 2 has fallen victim to what I have dubbed “The Genesis Effect.”sega-genesis-game-console

You see, before the Playstation hit, there were only two major consoles on the market to choose from: the Sega Genesis and the Super NES. Choosing one (if you were the type who was confined to choosing only one) was easy then. If you enjoyed sports games to the exclusion of most else, you chose the Genesis. If you didn’t really care for sports games, you chose the SNES. It was as simple as that, really. This is an over-generalization, I know, but my mind views the world through strange eyes sometimes.

So not long ago, fighting an uphill battle against the rising popularity of the Playstation and Playstation 2, Sega pulled out of the console war. Who now would publish all the sports games? That’s night – Sony. The available Playstation library is now polluted by games featuring ATVs, bikes, race cars, monster trucks, deer hunting, wrestlers, skaters… and let’s not even mention all the garbage EA puts out. The Playstation 2 has become the Genesis of our time, and from me, that’s not a compliment. Yes, I know other consoles suffer from these same afflictions, but none currently like the PS2.

My distaste for sports games is probably rooted in my overall contempt for professional sports in general, but I digress. I’ll save that rant for another day. Even so, I admit that I still own NBA Jam and Gran Turismo 3, though I can’t say that I ever managed to extract any measurable amount of fun from either. Now I simply can’t see myself purchasing another sports or racing game ever again.

My penchant in games and literature is nearly parallel. I am of the opinion that games should be an escape from reality, not a mirror of reality. In the same way I tend more toward sci-fi and fantasy novels than fiction novels and non-fiction literature. Like I hinted at above, my allegiance to the Final Fantasy series weighed heavily in my decision to purchase a PS2 in the first place. The knowledge that Squaresoft would be publishing on the PS2, coupled with DVD functionality and backward compatibility with the already huge PS1 library, pretty well sealed the deal for me.

So here I sit with a gaming machine that still holds a great deal of prominence today, unable to love it as I feel I should. I’ve even considered selling it a couple of times, but as a gamer I just can’t see myself parting with it. I continue to hold on the hope that one day I’ll dust it off and find out just how much I’ve under-appreciated it all this time. Until then, I’ll stick with my PC games.