Star Craft II: Here's Hoping

Blizzard is on full publicity mode today, with a number of sites posting preview stories and interviews with the people behind the game.
More over at Ars Technica.

So I'm looking at Star Craft II and thinking to myself "damn I've been waiting a long time for this" quickly followed by "oh crap, please let it be more like Star Craft and Warcraft II then Warcraft III"

You see I'm a rare bird, I didn't think Warcraft III was all that good, oh the story was okay and some of the missions were interesting, but I thought it was more an RPG then an RTS, it focused too much on the hero units then the strategy, and frankly that's not what I play an RTS for. Dawn of War is an example of what I want in an RPG, Warcraft III isn't.

But that's in the future, I'm sure I'll buy a copy of this game even if its a dog turd in a cardboard box.

Anyway onto the other things I've been thinking about, the single player looks cool, three games rather then just one, at first I thought it was a shameless money grab, not something blizzard is above, but I've got hope, it looks as though those games are going to have some pretty cool storyline elements and that's something that is seriously lacking in todays games.

The noob friendly stuff in the article I linked just makes me go "MEH", I've been the kicker and the kickee in the ass kicking and frankly you learn by doing, if you're too much of a wimp to try again after getting your metaphorical teeth knocked down your throat you shouldn't be playing online.

That may some just a touch elitist of me, so I'll explain, I have no issue with ranking systems or different game zones for different player levels, but the whole idea of dumbing down a game to the lowest common denominator just rankles, it would be like chess where all the pieces move the same, so I hope they do it better then they did in WoW.

Now onto the real rant, no lan-play??? WTF? Wait sorry... W-T-F? Sorry that's just plain freaking rude, LAN play and Internet play are the same fucking thing, TCP/IP, there is bugger all extra work in putting it in, the only reason not to put it in is to force people to use their battlenet service, which I'm better is going to have a subscription fee now... if so... suck me blizzard.

Yea, you heard me, blow me you over-paid monkeys.

Transformers 2: Humans are Boring

Okay let me just say there were parts of the new transformers movie that I loved with a passion, and there were parts that I wanted to carve my eyes out over.

<--- is one of the bits I loved, especially when its on a huge ass screen.

But other then Megan Fox hawting it up, most of the bits with the humans were plain fucking dull. I'll try to keep the spoilers down, but there will be a few.

The movie could of been a lot better had they cut maybe 30-40mins out of it, frankly cut every screen with the parents from the first movie out and it would of been a much better movie, they served no purpose and were plain fucking annoying, the pot brownie bit especially.

And what the fuck was up with the new Autobots? The twins? GRRRRRRRRR Jar-Jar Binks is at risk of loosing his spot as the most annoying CGI character of all time. Christ.

Now don't get me wrong, I did like some of the humans, the soldiers made my day, just as they did in the first movie, one of the things I didn't like about the old show was that the only humans doing anything were an old dude and his kid, at least in this series humans are fighting along side the Autobots!

All in all the movie was too long and could of been made much better with more focus on the Transformers... you know the title characters... They set up some cool stuff with Arcee in the opening but she got one fucking line in the entire movie... There were times in the movie where they had me interested and I sat forward expecting some plot information about the big ass robots from space... only to have the screen flash to some dumb ass human bit and never be picked up again.

Well worth going to see, but do yourself a favour, if you like me have a bum leg and have a hard time sitting for 3 hours, wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it at home.

Motion Sensors: Why?

First let me just say this to all you people out there thinking that the Wii, Project Natal, and the PS3 thing are innovative and exciting; you're all morons!

Its been around for decades, and that's just in video games, who could forgot The Glove of Childhood Arthritis?

That isn't to say that these devices don't have some appeal or use, but frankly, I don't want to play a fighting game where I'm actually kicking and punching, I want the fantasy where I'm a ninja bad ass capable for kicking ass.

The Wii sports games are fun to play with friends, and I can see the appeal of games like Guitar Hero and what's its name golf on the Wii, but after trying to play Zelda on the Wii, a game series I love, I was begging for a controller.

I want to sit in my comfy chair and get drawn into the action, challange and storyline, what I don't want is the most challanging thing about the game to be the damn controls. I know its not a popular opinion, but I enjoy games for the fantasy, and its hard to get immersed in them if your arms are aching and your bum leg is acting up.

All that being said the non-game parts of Project Natal actually look pretty cool and I'll likely grab it for the voice commands and menu system, not to mention the video phone.

Leave the 80s Alone!

Between remakes of classic 80s video games and shameless profiteering off my childhood memories in movie form my rose coloured glasses of nostalgia are starting to chip and get all scratched up!

The most recent game is Bionic Commando, a remake of a classic game I first played on the C64 back before I hit double digits, its an okay game really, but because of the memories I have of the original game I, and I guess others, are expecting it to be a lot more fun then it is.

Don't get me wrong, its a fun enjoyable game, but the memories of the other game are dulled by 20+ years, and we only remember the hours of enjoyment me had, not the mind numbing joystick crushing frustration moments.

That's the problem with remakes, the old expression things get better with time is true, we remember the good things and forget the bad things about something we liked, if they had called Bionic Commando something else and not tied it in, I expect it would of been more enjoyable for me, but once again the rose coloured glasses ruined it.

Its a lot like the outcry from Transformers fans about the movie a few years ago, they didn't see it as its own thing, they saw it from the romanticized view of 20 year old memories.

So in short, stop remaking stuff from the 80s, as much as we love it, it really wasn't that good, come up with new shit already!

Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO Trailer

Sweet Merciful Yogi if the ingame action is half as cool I think we've got a wow contender... and its by freaking Bioware! You know the makers of Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect amoung others!

Karma Meters are Bullshit

I've touched (bitched) about this before, but I just can't stop! Karma Meters in games are bullshit, it always comes down to black and white moral choices, either help the <insert poor group here> or eat their livers while they are still alive.

What brought this on was last night another session of Fallout 3(there will be spoilers), you see I was playing through some side quests for shits and giggles when I got frustrated with not being able to find the stupid "Family" and I goggled the wiki entry on them and printed it off without reading it.

So I stomp on in to their super secret hide out, and yes I will admit to drooling a little bit at all the weapons, ammo, and armour laying all over the place, but that wasn't my main motive for what happened next.

You see this group of wankers had been raiding a settlement for a while, all part of life in post-apocaliptica, but what really set the settlers off was the fact that on the last raid they killed a family, kidnapped a kid, and killed off all their cows. Now personally that would tank me off as well, but not out of any moral indignation, but out of pure stupidity! When your livelihood depends on "harvesting" settlements destroying their ability to feed themselves is a very stupid thing to do.

Anyway enough back-story, so I trump on in, and talk to the head honcho and find out that they aren't just a normal band of raider dickheads, they are a band of vampire/canible raider dickheads. Wow didn't see that coming... what with the bodies drained of blood, the dark underground lair, the sledgehammer sized hints that they only come out at night, oh and the pale skin along with the trench coats... nope not at all!

So after listening to this guy blabber on for a few minutes about how persecuted they are, how normal "humans" will never understand them, how they don't need to reform as they are doing nothing wrong, I just took out my shotgun and blew his head off, killed the rest of his "family" and looted the place to the bedrock.

I hear a ding and low and behold I take a freaking karma hit (I'm trying to play as a good guy for a change) and quest failed! A WTF moment followed and I grab up the wiki sheet I printed off and read it, turns out to get a good karma score you're suppose to talk the settlement into bleeding themselves for these wankers so that they'll provide protection.

I know vampires are hip and all these days, I love vampire movies, books, and tv shows, but WTF is up with this twilight bullshit infecting my damn games.

Vampires are parasites (in fiction, I know they aren't real), these guys even worse then the normal versions, they don't have any supernatural excuse (not even going into the whole living off just drinking human blood...), they just like eating people, they are freaking sick, they refuse to change, so the only thing for them is a 12 gauge to the face!

I don't see how not setting up a protection racket for a bunch of cannibals should in anyway negativity effect my karma and this kiddies is why karma meters are bullshit. They impose moral choices based on arbitrary rules the programmers and writers make up without any regard to the true measure of a moral choice, intent, intent is king in moral choices, is the medic who givers the soldier with his guts falling out a fatal dose of morphine a bad person? No! His intent is to stop the pain, even if his actions result in the ending of a life.

That isn't even covering what I'd really do in a sand box game with a real moral choice system, I'd take every good choice in public and build up enough of a support base that I could get away with murder behind closed doors... you know like anyone who subscribes to the The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord list.

Until such times as they can actively measure intent (and wont that be a hoot) in a game, karma meters are conceptually flawed and shouldn't be given such a huge impact.

At least in Fallout 3 you don't grew horns or a halo like in some games I could mention....

"Games On Demand" for Xbox 360

Whitten announced "Games On Demand" for Xbox 360, a feature launching this August that will allow users to download full retail games to the console's hard drive. Whitten called the the feature a "natural progression" of Xbox Live's current offerings. The service will launch initially with 30 games, including titles such as Mass Effect, BioShock, Assassin's Creed, Crackdown, Oblivion and Call of Duty 2. Prices will be in line with physical retail, and new games will be added regularly.

Okay so impressive and cool and all, especially since a number of Australian ISPs offer free traffic to XBox live (go Westnet!), but what will happen when gamers who are fed up with gaming stores start downloading games rather then going out to buy them and drive the traffic up?

There are already full games on the xbox live system, not just arcade fun ones but 4/5gb monsters. "Classic" games from the first xbox, I've got a few like Max Payne and Halo 1, but I doubt they'd even come close to the amount of traffic a new game like Assassins Creed 2 would generate release day.

Will we see ISPs drop Xbox live traffic from the free list? I know if I had to download an 8gb game and effectively pay for it twice I'd think twice, that's the reason I bit the bullet and went into town to buy my copy of warhammer online (bad investment, I played for a month before uninstalling it) rather then just download it like I wanted to as I hate my local game store and only go there when forced, like in that case.

I doubt the ISPs will drop it, free content like the xbox live stuff actually costs them less then a lot of stuff we download as its mirrored locally, I wont get into the details as its a pain in the ass to explain and frankly I can't be bothered, but by steering users to free traffic ISPs save money.

The price of the downloads is another thing to consider, currently we Australian's are royally ass raped (I don't like to use that term, but it really applies here) by game prices, check out the difference of Fallout 3 in AU $109AUD and US $56.99US (roughly $70AUD) so we pay a whopping $40 more then people in the US, yes you could argue we are a smaller market and there are fright costs, but when you start talking about online content those arguments drop away very very quickly, so if we pay even the difference you're going to see a lot of very happy Australians.

Another issue I see with this is the insane prices of xbox hard drives, you can buy a 1TB drive for less then an official Microsoft 120gb drive, that's just pathetic, there is no difference at all between them, and games now days take up a lot of space, I've got an 80gb hard drive in mine and I've already burnt 50gb of that on installs and downloads without even trying, so unless they drop the prices to a reasonable level, they are going to have a hard time selling this in some markets.

Though personally if the game price drops I'll likely just delete games as I'm done with them and redownload them later, if the system is like the xbox live current system which remembers what you've paid for and lets you grab as many times as you want. After all my xbox downloads content off the Microsoft servers at my full 8mb connection and 10gb at that speed takes only a few hours.

That's not even taking into account the game stores reactions... but frankly I don't give a shit about them, smelly dicks conning people into buying shit they don't need.

All in all, interesting news but not enough details to really go into it.

W-T-F Is the point of Twitter?

So I was poking around the xbox live video marketplace last night and came across a video featuring Felicia Day at E3 (you know that gaming thing that use to have relevance), now since I think she's hot and funny I grabbed it not giving two shits what its about, yes I know this makes me sad, but at least I'm not oggling Paris Hilton like 99% of you dipshits online.

But back to the point, I was actually interested in the first part of the video about integrating Facebook into the Xbox 360, I can get behind that, Facebook and to a lesser extent Myspace are actually valid social gathering places online, but the second part just tweaked me off...

W-T-F Is the point of twitter? You post a 120 character description of what you are doing, okay wonderful, except for the face 99.9% of the shit each of us do each day is boring as sin and we ourselves don't even want to think about it, let make others read about it.

And that's not even taking into account what some people I know would post... there are just somethings I don't need to know about people.

So I ask you again, w-t-f is the point of this shit? Its all over the place and everyone is doing it, but it seems to serve no other purpose then telling people when you are taking a shit. And I use to get yelled at for doing that on IRC and later WoW, and now people are falling all over themselves to do it.

Out of Game Content

Well I don't play WoW any more, but there will be a fair few WoW references in here, so fair warning, but out of game content purchased for real money in games where Character customization is king is getting to be a real problem.

This rant first came to mind when I was playing Fable 2 the other day and noticed this guy I was playing with had a sweet coat, called a High Roller Coat, its freaking awesome, but when I asked how he got it, I was crushed.

To get it, I have to go buy a different game on X-Box Live, called Fable 2 Pub Games... which is basically like the little gambling mini-games in Fable 2... you know the games I can't stand.

Or I can trade ridiculous amounts of in game items and cash for it.

Now I don't begrudge people who like the Pub Games in Fable 2, or even want to buy the X-Box live version, more power to them, but its just one step away from the WoW Collectable Card Game bullshit that's been around for the last few years... you know the one where to get the cool mounts, pets, and other items you have to shell out tons of real world mount either on ebay, or by buying the stupid card game.

I call it a stupid card game as if it was good enough to stand on its own, they wouldn't need the "loot cards" or as I prefer to call them, "bribe cards" to get people to buy the damn thing.

The problem is, games like WoW take a, rightful, hardline stance on RMT (Real Money Trading) or Gold Selling as its more commonly known, but at the same time induldge in this shameless profit milking.

It just riles me up, everytime I saw a Spectral Tiger in WoW I wasn't impressed at how cool it was, all I saw was the amount of outgame money it was worth and what I could use that $400-500 on... like rent or food.

The Register: Remembering the true* first portable computer

"Atomic explosions in the atmosphere can disrupt radio communications. Missiles at the time were controlled by ground-based computers, so huge amounts of radio interference made America's ability to direct a second volley of fission sandwiches unreasonably hard. And on the other side of such an exchange, not being able to control your rockets can make mutual assured destruction up to 50 per cent less mutual. What's the fun in that?"

An awesomely funny article from the talented folks at the Reg, go read it in full.

Is it me or is Fallout 3 Clunky?

So I'm on my second attempt to play Fallout 3, first time it was on the PC, I quit shortly after I made it to GNR and got sick of the game stuttering about like my grandmother. This time its on my Xbox 360, much smoother I must admit, but I don't know, the game is a little clunky.

First off the encumbered system... ugg... I thought we got rid of that crap years ago in games, yes its realistic, but its also highly annoying, espaically since you pick up tons of crap with no real purpose other then selling it, that brings me to my next point, shops have a limit amount of cash... annoying, realistic, but annoying!

Thirdly the time system, 120 caps at the start of the game for the ability to sleep? I don't want a hooker, I just want a damn bed, so I can get pass the stupid night time crap and go shopping in town.

More rants coming as I play.

No Honey, You're Not Special

I'm getting old.

My brothers and sisters are popping out children at an alarming rate and a subject that is near and dear to my heart is once again driving me barny.

You see in schools today, and indeed when I was a child myself, kids are told "you're special, you can do anything, you can be prime minister, you can be a doctor or an astronaut!"

That message is drilled into kids all throughout their childhood, when the simple fact of it is that its not true, and unlike the other white lies we tell children, such as the stork brings babies and Santa, its harmful.

That message has lead to the current problems in society, there aren't enough people willing to work "lower class" or "trade" jobs, everyone wants to be the star, but the problem with that is, not everyone is capable of being the star, I know this, I'm never going to be a doctor or a writer of great renown, I'm happy with being a rung in the ladder. After all without the rungs, there is no place for the guy at the top to stand.

The problem is, people feel they have "failed" if they don't get a high paying skilled job working in a posh office doing "important" things, never mind cleaning the hallway out after everyone else has gone home is just as important as the guy researching cancer in the lab during the day.

Society needs everyone, not just the bright stars, the people who drive taxies and sell groceries are just as important as the guy working out a way to cure AIDs, after all without them, how is the researcher going to eat or get to work?

So next time you hear some dozy twat of a teacher tell some kid he or she is special and might end up being a doctor, do us all a favour and smack them upside the head.

Its Offical, Dan Brown Movies Suck

So the other night I gave into a friend and watched Angels and Demons...

He claimed "Its not as bad as the Devinci Code, its good!"... Its not good... Its just not as totally horrible as the Devinci Code, at least they don't attempt to make the "history" in it out as anything but pure bullshit...

Now onto the real bullshit, w-t-f is up with the plot and travel times? I can't make it across town in 10mins and I live in a town of 20,000, let alone a major city of millions.

And then their is the anti-matter bullshit, I can buy the "containment" system, but the ugg... I can't even be bothered, just go to CERN FAQ on why the movie and book are full of crap.

I'm a sci-fi fan, and I can totally get behind screwing with science in order to make a story work, so long as you don't fall into the Star Trek trap of "invert the technobable and save the day", but come-on, some effort would be nice people.

Anti-Matter is produced in ATOMS, meaning really really small shit, the amount they had in the movies would take BILLIONS of years to produce at the current rate, and even then using it as a bomb makes less sense then... oh I don't know a nuke. They are a hell of a lot cheaper, but I'll give it to them as a plot device, as anti-matter is a lot more cutting edge then nuclear weapons.

If they wanted to make something up, they could of used some real science, not just some pop presudo science that everyone seems to be into these days.

For the love of god, its SCIENCE FICTION, but that doesn't mean you can throw out the laws of physics without a reasonable explanation

Also, Tom Hanks needs to find better rolls, the guy is an awesome actor who is wasting himself on this shit.

/rant off

Killing people attracts attention!

So I was on IRC last night with some people and was talking excitedly about the new season of Burn Notice when a guy I don't know started complaining about how "wimpy" the main characters are... mind you you've got an ex-spy, an ex-IRA bomb maker, and an ex-Navy Seal, and he calls them wimpy for not killing people.

News flash, killing people when you're not being protected by some big powerful goverment agency attracts attention of the bad kind. Cops are busy, after a while they put a stolen car on the back burner, they forget about the report of the guy trespassing at a building, they write off some gun shots as gang activity if no one was harmed, but Murder?

That they look into, and keep looking, so killing when you don't have too in the context of the show makes no sense at all.

The main thing I like about the show (other then the actors which are great) is that they use their brains and plan things out, careful to keep things from attracting attention.

So yea. Go watch Burn Notice, its freaking awesome, and it has Bruce Campbell in it.

Mass Effect 2 Trailer

God I can't wait. Early 2010 I hear, but I'll believe it when I see it.

We're Suppose to Hate Kirk!

So I've been talking with people about the new Star Trek movie and apart from a few people who scare me, and I'm a life long trekie, with their obsession and personal hygiene, most agree its an awesome fun ride, the type that hasn't been seen since Star Trek: First Contact.

However, most everyone detests the new Kirk, they are forgetting that pretty much everyone hated the old Kirk too, not just Shatner either, but the character. He is and always was a douche bag, but as assholes go, he's not as bad as Archer or Janeway.

We loved the show, we loved the characters, but we always hated Kirk, the guys a jerk, a man whore, and just all around egotist, no matter who plays him.

I just hope they go in a new direction with this series of movies rather then rehashing what was done before, ST2 and ST4 were good movies, but they've been done, we don't need them done again, please, write something new and interesting... oh and please hawt Vulcan/Comm Officer sex in the next movie.

Things I love about Fable 2

1) The Freedom
God there is a lot of freedom in this game, go pretty much anywhere at any time, and it doesn't stop after you finish the main "story". There is so much to do and explore.

2) The Side Quests
It seems like they put more effort into the side quests and those stories then they did the "real" story, some of them are funny, some are pretty down right depressing, and some are really insightful, such as the cross-dressing guy who gets Stockholm Syndrome while living with a bunch of hobbs.

3) The Real Estate Market
You can own EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, its awesome.

4) The Relationship System

You can get married 30 million times, have gaggles of kids, and spend more time with hookers then a sailor on shoreleave, and its all up to you, though granted it does get old after a while.

5) The Ability to Kill (pretty much) Anyone
Sure you can't kill the people who really need it *cough* Reaver, but if anyone else pisses you own, out comes the sword, off comes the head!

Things I hate about Fable 2

First let me say I love this game and I've been playing it a lot, its an awesome game, but its got some horrible horrible faults.

1) The Morality System
Don't get me wrong, I love the angle/demon forms and the fact you can make choices, but dear god the food thing is just plain stupid.

Eating tofu doesn't make you a good person, eating fish or meat doesn't make you a bad person. Humans are animals, we evolved as omnivores, we still are, eating meat is good for us, eat fruit and veg is good for us.

2) The Main Story
Ugg. The story is just plain bad. I could go on for days, but this guy has done it for me... 1,2,3,4 times even!

3) The Voice Actors
In theory this should be part of my bitching about the main storyline, but I'll give it its own section since its just plain horrible... not the acting or the actors, they are freaking awesome, but the way they were wasted... They had Ron Glass, Julia Sawalha, Zoƫ Wanamaker, and Stephen Frickin' Fry for the love of god and they wasted them!

Those guys are legends, and they wasted them on that tarpit of a plot! How many of those greats will never do another video game again because of the cesspit of the Fable 2 plot?

4) The money
I don't know how they could of done it better, but they definitely could of, the system for earning money while not playing from rent is just absurd considering its partly an online game, competing with a guy who's left his console on for a month while he was out of town and now has 30 million gold isn't fun.

5) Muscle != Fat
Ugg. If I want to be a great melee fighter I need to dump points in the melee tree... but even eating right if I put on a robe or a cloak I look like an extra from Supersize Me its just plain annoying.