Since I feel bad for making rmsk8r08 witness my haul last blog, but don't have too much new to talk about or any real New Years plans yet (minus enjoying a drink or two since my parents are proud enough of the 4.0 they're willing to let it slide a bit, and who knows maybe I'll find a real party like last year's Victory Square celebration in Dallas and not the typical late night TV watching 95% of my New Years have been), I figure I'll just steal my ideas from the editorial staff at 1up and comment on all their Best of 1up stuff currently advertised on the front page. I'll let you know how I feel about them and whether I've read or plan to read them.
I was planning on giving my impressions on everything in this mammoth but that would not be remotely practical so I'll just tell you how I feel about features instead. I have to get up at some point.
One criticism I will give is that many of these features are poorly edited, missing entire words. It would have been nice if before all this was stuffed here they went back and fixed stuff like "These are sound novels, or more commonly as visual novels" to say "These are sound novels, or more commonly KNOWN as visual novels". Stuff like this is distracting and makes me pause when reading to figure out what the hell just happened. I realize that they have harsh deadlines and I'm sure to make similar mistakes in my blog, but it does look unprofessional. Anywhoo:
Impression: Very cool. I love music and videogames, plus some of the videogame versions of these pop songs in my opinion are better than the real deal, ripped off or not. I like Ken's theme better than Cheap Trick's song, prefer Sonic's tunes to the Janet Jackson singing they rip off etc. It's true, everyone rips off "Bringer of War".
There is at least one instance where I feel the comparisons came a bit too far out of left field however when Purple Haze is compared to Sepiroth's theme music. Now I'm not particularly biased to either Hendrix (great guitarist and always top 10 material yes, but I would contest that he's the best ever, at least if we're taking it purely from a technical prowess standpoint) or Final Fantasy (it always looks amazing graphically, but I for one can't stand anything turn-based unless it's Pokemon, which I haven't played in years) so I feel it's fair for me to say I don't see the similarity.. hear, rather. Same thing with Mega Man 2 music and Metallica's "Seek and Destroy". Now I enjoy the hell out of both Metallica and Mega Man 2 music, so again no bias here and again I fail to see any real ripoff going on between them.
Also enjoyed the final section, with real music ripping off games.
Learning through Play
Impression: An interesting, but overall dry read about a college course over videogames. It's probably more enjoyable if you've been in college and can picture the students being described. It does have some interesting points about active vs learned memory.
Harbingers of Doom
Impression: Shifting from the essay approach of "Learning through Play" to this collection of vignettes makes this a more accessible read, but not one without depth. It's interesting to hear the inside stories behind games like Shenmue, Lair and Myst, and it's also got some Madden curse and Dreamcast 666 voodoo joking in it. It's a much lighter and accessible post than the previous two, though still packed with enough behind the scenes information to keep it intriguing.
Why Gamers Still Play Pokemon
Impression: Good enough article, but probably won't tell you much you didn't already know. While you may ask out loud why people still play it, you know why: it's much easier than meatier turn based RPGs, making it perfect for those like me who aren't particularly into hardcore strategy during my leisure time and it hooks the hardcore by letting them collect a bunch of crap and "max out" and whatnot. Again, decent read but nothing I couldn't have told you.
Sequels We Want
Impression: Hit or miss for me depending on whether or not I wanted the same games. I was interested in reading about games I knew about but didn't really care about just to see what was said about them, so I had no qualms reading about Contra 5 despite never playing more than 5 minutes of Contra, but I have no idea what Axelay was about nor do I care.
It's definitely fun for nostalgia though, making me reminisce about my fondness for SNES' NBA Jam and prompting me to find old favorites like Rampage online.
101 Free Games 2009
Status: Plan to Skim
Impression: Not really something meant for heavy reading analysis, but just a list of games you may want to play. I probably won't read most of this, but will look up anything in here that strikes my fancy online and see how fun it really is. It's also convenient you can browse by genre.
Fear and Mistrust in Videogames
Impression: An interesting take on how videogames are inadequate at the moment at handling pure psychological factors like trust the same way movies can represent these themes. Sure, there are instances in which you must trust your partner in Halo but it's not the same as... well, just read the article if you're interested, it's only two pages long.
Hey Covers You Suck! Part 5
Impression: One of the only of these I had read previous to 1up posting this best of whatnot, because I love the off color humor in these. Its writing has dwindled in recent entries, but it's still a fun feature and there's still a ton of bad game artwork. I sometimes disagree with them on game covers (I think some of their trash is my treasure taste-wise and vice versa) but even then the jokes are good.
Delay of Game
Impression: Almost all of these are explained by two factors: polish and wanting less holiday competition. Still, if you want to see what happened to your tracked game that fell off the radar plus one or two stories that are somewhat interesting (for instance, I didn't know Splatterhouse's entire task force was changed), here ya go.
Hardcore Gamers vs. Madden
Impression: Like the Pokemon feature, it doesn't tell you much you don't already know. Hardcore gamers expect massive upgrades in their sequels; Madden delivers this in a much different way because they release one each year. Hardcore gamers tend to have been/be nerds, Madden players tend to be jocks who like Halo but will never play Okami etc. Still, an interesting read for those wondering; it's just that I'm friends with both types of gamers/people and it's no secret to me.
The Weird World of Japanese Novel Games
Impression: Mostly focuses on Chunsoft and doesn't offer much but "hey, text-based games are really popular in Japan and gamers like to read too" yet is nice to read nonetheless. Personally, I used to read guides and instruction booklets for fun, so I can relate to that portion of this feature.
Status: Unread, plan to read
Impression: I'm not an RPG player. That being said I do own Golden Sun, and I own and enjoy Twilight Princess. There are also some games here like Fallout 3 and TWEWY I could see myself enjoying and will read about... at some point.
Fine Foods of Beat Em Ups
Impression: The menu presentation plus the snarky humor that made me purchase EGMs makes this a standout in the features section despite that its extremely short and I just forgot almost everything I just read minus the fact that certain games are more heavily featured than others and X-Men capsules say "ENERGY".
Learn Japanese through Videogames
The first section seemed pretty boring, only addressing games geared specifically towards people wanting to learn Japanese (which I don't; I want to learn French for purposes having nothing to do with videogames outside of "role playing"... and I took Spanish in high school cause I live in Texas and it'll probably be a job requirement at some point), but it also delved into some music and adventure games, making it a much more worthwhile read than it could have been. Side note: Talkman teaches you to grope people apparently... Arnie?
Developer Roundtable: The Motion Control War
Impression: Meh. While it is certainly cool they got four well-rounded developers from various backgrounds to comment on this, the lack of any ideas for these motion controls systems is a bust for me. If you're interested in how developers view this from a business perspective, read away but I care more about how this affects my gaming.
The Role of Elevators in Games
Impression: I hadn't really thought about this element of games before, so I found it fairly interesting. Personally, I tend to like elevators in games; they're more futuristic than stairs and less tedious to boot whether or not they're a loading mask. I would like to see more escalators in games though. I was happy Metroid was mentioned but surprised Metroid Fusion's use of elevator cutscenes wasn't.
What's the Deal With World War II?
Impression: Another why? feature that anyone who's thought about for very long knows the answer to at least partially. This one's a bit better than Madden v Gamers though, because it provides more emphasis on factual data and has a more complex reasoning going on, despite being only 1 page long. Personally I think WWII sells because it sells America as a good guy and Nazis are easy to hate without much guilt. Other ideas I would agree with are brought up, such as Vietnam's negative psychological influence on most people making it particularly unenjoyable as a shooter.
Impression: One of the most substantial and enjoyable reads in this best of with 7 pages of idiotic corporate double talk for your pleasure. Both interesting and hilariously bad quotes plus a crapton of linkage and trips down memory lane make this one of the most accessible and deep features in the best of.