Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bitch, yeah.

My friend Aimee linked me a blog post with a comment, “I hate feminists.” The reason for this comment? A post on a Game of Thrones blog about the upcoming RPG game based on the series. The author has decided to boycott the game as your only character choices are male.

Once I’d read through the blog and consulted Aimee, we’d come up with this response:

“Really? You’re going to make a big deal out of this!? Considering most of the main characters in the TV series are male, it’s no surprise that the main characters of the video game are also male. Why would you be upset by this? It only goes to show how immature women who play games are as immature as some of our male counterparts.

If you’re going to boycott this, why not boycott every game where you play as a male character only. There are a lot of games out on the market where you can’t choose the sex of your avatar. It’s not oppression or sexism. It’s just a load of code.

If you want to talk about rampant sexism in games, why not talk about how Lara Croft is still a highly sexualised woman or something relevant and quit making mountains out of mole hills.” (more…)

The GAME saga continues today with the release of Diablo 3 (colour me surprised it didn’t break street date). It’s now well known that the unfortunate souls who pre-ordered Diablo 3 won’t be getting their box of goodies as GAME aren’t honouring pre-orders as they plunge into debt, but the developer Blizzard have come through and made a bad situation a little less bad (and got some wonderful publicity at that.) An announcement on the Diablo 3 forums from Lylirra says

We’re aware that some Australian GAME customers have been left out in the cold on what should be the hottest night of the year — the launch of Diablo III. To help with this situation and get these players into the game as soon as possible, we’ve put the following process in place.

Australian GAME customers with a valid preorder/prepurchase receipt dated before May 15, 2012 can do the following:
1. Purchase the digital version of Diablo III from http://www.diablo3.com now or anytime before May 21, 2012.

2. Download and start playing when the servers go live!

3. Submit your GAME Australia preorder/prepurchase receipt to us before June 30, 2012.

4. Receive a credit from Blizzard, for the amount you paid in advance to GAME Australia for Diablo III. This credit will be applied to the payment method used for the digital purchase.

We’ll post further details here on how to submit your GAME Australia receipt to our customer service team as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you in the Burning Hells!

So there you have it! While it’s unfortunate that GAME can’t honour their customer’s purchases, Blizzard are doing a very nice thing. How often can you say that about a games developer?

The Australian gaming industry took another blow today with brick-and-mortar store GAME announcing it’s going into administration. Sending emails to their stores and confirming the story with Kotaku, all the speculation about whether the Australian arm of the company would follow its UK brethren who entered administration earlier this year. While it looked good for the brief period between GAME UK’s march store closures and now, it’s clear that we won’t see pretty purple signs in our shopping centres for much longer.

It was good while it lasted.

Hey guys!

If you follow the Facebook page, you’ll have noticed I’ve been somewhat excited about a competition I’ve entered to go to E3! So there’s two parts to it.

I had to write a 500 word review on an Xbox Live Arcade game from a small pool of games. As there were only 4 games (Trails: Evolution, Bloodforge, Fable: Heroes or Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition), I went through and read a little about each game.

Trails: Evolution didn’t appeal to me at all since it’s a racing game and I’m not that into them. Fable: Heroes looked okay but I don’t like the Fable games much. Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition was what I choose to review until I saw that it wasn’t available for some reason. WTF?

So I went with Bloodforge, a pretty typical hack-and-slash game that’s visually appealing. I only played about an hour of the game before writing my review since I felt I had learnt everything I need to know about the style, controls, storyline and characters. I knocked that out pretty quickly and sent it off to Seth! Seth had a small accident and through no fault of his own couldn’t return an edited version of my review so I did the best I could and edited it myself.

The second part was the harder part. I had to record a 2 minute video of why I should go to E3. I’d recorded that video a dozen times or more before I settled on my submitted work.

The Top 5 are meant to be revealed around May 17th-18th and they it goes to a vote. If I make it till then, I’ll be asking everyone to help me get there. Voting, sharing it with your friends, spamming everyone you know. Bribery won’t be looked down on as long as you vote.

Thanks for all your support!

The newly released hack-and-slash game BloodForge features Crom, a war-weary warrior who gave up the days of battle to settle down with his beautiful wife. Based around the Celtic mythology, you find references to Gods, deities and folklore of the age.
When you’re introduced to Crom, he’s out on a successful hunting expedition and stops to rest being woken up by the terror his nightmare instills in him. Racing to his village, it is being pillaged by demons sent by the angry Celtic gods.
Since hack-and-slash games are based around fighting, they need combat that flows easily from one enemy to another. BloodForge does this well, making high combo scores an achievable goal. It also doubles as a button masher. As X is your main combat button, it’s easy to spam until everyone is sliced into neat little packages. You also can use the power of the Gauntlet to improve your fighting abilities. While you do have access to a long-range hunting bow, without the ability to aim, it seems pointless to use unless approaching closer enemies.
The most amazing thing about this game is its graphics. BloodForge has dark gritty visuals and when you combine that with the crimson blood that enemies seem to be giving away, it’s a mix of beauty and terror. The floor under Crom’s feet become almost artistic once you’ve finished with a group of foes.
The game is a visual gore-fest and I think that the almost comical use of blood and the art style are trying to make the impact of dismembered bodies and limbs less of a shock. It works to a degree. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t let a young person play even if the violence isn’t made to be realistic.
Celtic mythology is incredibly interesting and diverse, but it seems to be more of a gimmick than anything else and the story seems to be just thrown in. This isn’t a bad thing since I don’t normally play games like BloodForge for the story. These games tend to have a story thrown together and jammed in to make it work.
BloodForge is visually wonderful and fun to play. It feels a little rushed with some glitches presenting themselves at the most annoying times, but they’re easily overlooked when you’ve achieved a 40+ hit combo. Not a game I’d play for the story, but after a hard day at work, this game will scratch the itch that will distress you.

I’ve been on a horror games kick for a good part of this month and while I don’t have a lot of knowledge in the area, I’m starting to understand what I like and don’t like about the genre. To me, it comes down to how the game presents its terrifying self. For this post, I’ve got two games lined up to go: Alex Wake and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Both are classed as horror games, both isolate the main character, both are making me scared of the dark. While they share those common denominators, they’re quite different games. Let’s start with Amnesia. (more…)

The Sound of Music

There are a lot of elements that go into a game but there are a lot of things that are over-looked because of gameplay or scripting. The thing that I find drawing myself into a game is music.

Games like Bastion and Mass Effect are praised for their musical score and for good reason. You can have amazing graphics, deep characters and amazing scripting but if you don’t have something to tie it all together; your audience may just miss the message. And sometimes, music just happens to take over.

Take the aforementioned Mass Effect. It’s not a secret that I wasn’t a huge fan of the series until lately and even not I’m still not entirely sold on the game but something I adored was the effort that went into the soundtrack. Mass Effect 2 soundtrack was composed by a guy named Jimmy “Big Giant Circles” Hinson and for me, the sound made the game. In addition to the work that made the game, he’s released unused music for Mass Effect 2. (Available here) (more…)