Forging a Golden Age

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Television's in the middle of a golden age; what about video games?

I want to open this article by saying that over the past three nights, I've been in vastly different social situations with different groups of friends and acquaintances, and somehow I've managed to blatantly steer the conversation toward Game of Thrones each night. Apparently, as the upcoming season premiere approaches, the portion of my brain that gauges socially appropriate behaviors is slowly being invaded by brutal Dothraki armies.

I'm excited for good reason: Game of Thrones is objectively awesome, as are many TV shows now. People often cite this era of television as a "New Golden Age of TV." More than a few of the shows that have aired over the past ten years or so have advanced the theory that TV shows can be smarter, subtler, and more complex than previously thought possible (or at least than previously thought marketable). From The Sopranos to Breaking Bad to Arrested Development, there are signs that television producers are understanding in larger numbers that choosing substance over style can actually get you viewers.

I have a couple questions about this concept of a new golden age. First: does a golden age occur naturally when a medium reaches a certain level of maturity, or is it caused by innovators in the field boldly pushing the boundaries instead of remaining content with the status quo? And secondly: if the latter is true and golden ages are made instead of simply lived through, what are the ways developers can incite one in video games?

More >>

Run For Your Lives!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 10:00 am
​This isn't strictly video game related, but I'm going to take a wild guess and assume it'll be of interest to many of you anyway. Some genius folks have come up with a way to get people like myself interested in running a 5K: add zombies. 

The event is called Run For Your Lives and it's coming to various cities around the country this summer. The setup is simple: it's a 5K obstacle course that's infested with zombies. While no headshots are allowed, the presence of one of gaming's hottest enemies was definitely enough to get me interested. I'll be running in the Minneapolis event on June 2.

Check out more below!
More >>

Are You Playing The Hunger Games?

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Always one who's suspicious of seeing movie tie-ins before reading the source material, I JUST started reading The Hunger Games last night, giving in to my friend's pleas to give it a try. I suspect I'll see the film when I comes out on the Blu-Rays. 

We know the book and the film have destroyed sales lists, but what about the iOS game, The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire? Is it worth playing?

Get it here.

Semi-Serious Nostalgia

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm


Nostalgia is something that seems to strike gamers often. If filmmakers are dead set on remaking classic films with new technology and appealing to newer audiences with bigger, sexier, and louder spectacles, then gamers are certain not above embracing older games either remade, remastered, or simply rescued from the bin of obscurity. Fondly recalled experiences with video games drive the industry in some aspects, and, sometimes, I think nostalgia for other forms of entertainment drive the interest in newer products.

Roaming the aisles of video game stores has the potential to bring out one's inner child at all times. Consider the number of Mario, Zelda, and Sonic games on the market; any adult who played those games as kids can't help but want to play a little bit of the new product, if only to feel like a little kid again. Granted, as gamers, we usually feel like little kids getting to play make-believe in a pixilated world, regardless of the types of games we play.

 As good as my memories of old television series, books, and even some previous generation video games are, looking at those products now I see flaws, issues with writings, presentation problems, and more than a few cringe-inducing moments. Sometimes an advertisement can really make you question your inner child, and what the wisdom of following such a thing is. 

Enter Lollipop Chainsaw.


More >>

Sine Mora Is A Shooter For The Ages [Review]

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

I have to admit that I wan't looking forward to Sine Mora for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not a big fan of Grasshopper Manufacture, who co-developed with Digital Reality. I've always thought that the developer made interesting games, but interesting doesn't necessarily mean "good." A game can have the weirdest, most unique story around, but if the gameplay mechanics don't hold my interest or work properly, I'm not interested.

The second reason has to do with nostalgia. Namely, I'm not interested in it. Michael Bay can turn the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into aliens if he wants. I don't care, despite the fact that I loved TMNT growing up. Changing something I grew up with affects neither my past or present.

Past and present are big issues in Sine Mora. Not only does the game revolve around the concept of time, but it is a "shmup," (shoot-'em-up), a genre that was popular when I was young and has evolved very little in the last few decades. Shmups are still being made and gamers are still playing them, but nostalgia for the genre is basically required to enjoy them.

To my surprise, Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality have created a game that honors the past while modernizing the genre. And it is very, very good. 

More >>

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm
This weekend I will be working. Over the whole weekend. And not for this site. For my big boy job. And I will be sad about that. However I do not want you to be. I want you to bust out your console and jam to your favorite games with your best friends. Because the weekends are fun winners like you, not for shmucks like me.

And I want you to tell me what you intend on playing. If it is Mass Effect, just scribble bunch of words like this: "adkljawe;lgkjas;dglakwrgh" into the comments section. If not, please legibly write (<--split infinitive) what game you are enjoying at the moment, and what I should be playing when I am not breaking my back for the man. And listen to this song, it is especially to get you jammed for the weekend.

Enjoying the Seasonal Slump in New Game Releases

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Drought cover.jpg
I feel like something of a hypocrite for saying this, but these slow months for new game releases sure can be nice. Usually I'm the guy moaning and groaning about the last quarter of the year being crammed too full of must-have titles, pleading with publishers to spread the love throughout a bigger portion of the calendar.

While I certainly still wish for more evenly distributed releases, however, I can't deny how nice it can be to hit a dry spell from time to time.

The first quarter of the year is usually pretty slow. A decent surge occurs through the spring and, come summer, we're faced with that infamous gaming drought.

My usual argument is that those slow seasons would be the perfect time for some of the AAA titles usually reserved for the winter rush to pop up, giving gamers something meaty to snack on while they wait for the usual holiday madhouse of mega releases. But I've been singing a different tune these past few months.

More >>

Infographic: The Social Benefits of Video Games

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 10:00 am
game changer snip.JPG
We've got a fun infographic for you today. Check it out below!More >>

Bioware Caves to Pressure, Loses The Respect of This Gamer

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

You've probably heard the news by now that Bioware is changing the ending of Mass Effect 3, due to the fan outcry. I won't go into details or spoilers here, just in case you haven't beaten the game, or if, like the fellow on the mulitplayer server last night, you aren't interested in the single player campaign at all. Bioware has chosen to listen to a vocal outcry among a group of fans, and it sounds like they will release alternative DLC and other content to meet those fan demands for closure, and a more definitive ending.

Personally, I think this is a terrible decision. I loved Mass Effect 3's ending. It had me thinking, choking back tears, and admiring the sheer amount of creativity, passion, and drive of the writers and developers. I feel as though Bioware has created one of the finest gaming trilogies, and one of the finest stories that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

And now, all I am seeing is them caving to pressure and changing the ending to please their consumers, their fans, who, quite frankly, don't have any right to demand anything.

More >>

MLB 12: THE SHOW - PS Vita or PS3? [Review, Part 1]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Cueto and the Reds crew.

Sony and the minds behind MLB 12: The Show want you to buy the game's PS3 and PS Vita editions, touting their unmatched, super-realistic presentations, mechanics and controls. Both editions, we can say, will juice your baseball fanaticism (Reds, Reds, Reds) well before Opening Day.

Which should you buy? It's a tough call. That's why we're reviewing both editions, starting with the Vita. This one, with its line drive towards reality, has gotten me so worked up, I thought it best to recap a blood-boiling battle between the Reds and the Cubs. It was ugly, ugly, ugly ....
More >>
Tags: MLB, Vita