Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ocarina of Time Party of Five

Four party people and myself are taking the day off and playing through Ocarina of Time. Check out the live show of epic proportions. The resolution might be small (320x240!) and the sound quality only half of an illegal mp3 from 1997, but the fun factor is out of control!

Check it out live on

Or you can scroll down a few posts and watch the embedded player on the blog. Either way, it's sure to be wacky with a side of beer. Maybe we find the triforce? Never know. 

Most of the ppl talking are not me, I swear.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Best Ever Mirror's Edge Review

The image says it all.

Tomb Raider LIVE

Lara Craft might have huge boobs and a well-toned ass, but her games are good too! Actually, they are even better than her peppermint creams; like a Zelda game on crack, these puzzles just don't stop. Plenty of games had busty babes on the cover, and most didn't become cultural phenomenons (see: Lester the Unlikely, Wargasm

It's one of the greatest 3-D adventures of all time, and the original 3 games represent some of the bet the '90s had to offer. 

Tomb Raider Gold was the very first CD-ROM game I ever bought with my own money. I played the hell out of that game, for years. It was an amazing game. But it has been about a decade, and what if my memory is contaminated with nostalgia? I am revisiting my past and re-completing this game live on twitch. The current plan is to play through the first three entries and the new (2013) prequel. 

Having seen footage of the new game on twitch, it is certainly different, but still seemed admittedly epic. Nothing, however, can quite capture the sense of space that the early TR games have. You explore gigantic areas, performing life-and-death jumps over deadly falls in every single level. You will get a real sense of exploration and isolation as you adventure through the many ruins and temple.

Finally, you'll some great CGI cutscenes that show Lara kicking ass. It's another thing that people might forget; that the character in the games is a total badass and does all manner of superhuman crazy shit.  

If you want to talk about objectification of women in video games, you'll have no shortage of material; but I don't think Lara really gets as much credit as she deserves. She is feminine without being a stereotypical "girly-girl" (pink guns?). There are (at least in the early games...) no stupid romance plots. She's not a "nice" person; she's tough. In an opening cutscene, her guide dies. She doesn't cry. She barely gives a shit, like an '80s action hero.

Her body has only gotta more realistic with time, and I honestly think that some of the earlier cartoon look was just stylized art to compensate for the technology. Early Lara looks more like the people in Toy Story (or an anime character, i.e. FFVII) than as a realistic representation of a person. The "2013 model" looks freakishly realistic and much better proportioned. Her waist and shoulders finally look the way a person looks, and not like a photoshopped supermodel.

I'll admit to ignoring the franchise for years after seeing all the movies. The movies weren't even bad, just sort of bland in the end. I just assumed that the games wouldn't be any good, but this was an assumption based upon franchises in general. With so many iterations, I'm sure there are some problems, but I'm looking forward to seeing what I've missed so far. The "reboot" sequel is supposed to be incoming next year.

Watch me play the game live on, or watch in the feed below.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Playing Resident Evil 2

I've played (beat) through Resident Evil and Silent Hill for the first time this week, and I find myself wondering why I never played any of these games before. The only answer that makes any sense is so I could play them right now. Both games were intense and amazing (don't let my Silent Hill review fool you). I plan on playing at least the first 3 games in both franchises, but I don't know if some of the later Resident Evils and Silent Hills look that interesting. I'm not really into games much recently. Hitting that X button gets old.

But for now, the epic saga continues with Resident Evil 2, watch it on

The broadcast will go live as soon as I post this, and last a few hours. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Silent Hill Gives the Fun Kind of Nightmare

That is to say, the kind of nightmare in which unspeakable horrors attack with butcher knives and not the kind of nightmare in which your teeth fall out during a business meeting.

The puzzles are rather cryptic, and although you do feel accomplished when you complete them, the game isn't really designed to be fair. This isn't a good thing. Almost every puzzle I've encountered so far has only been difficult by exploiting the fact that monsters respawn every time you go through a door. The school I am exploring has about 30 rooms connected via hallways, with the idea being that I will explore around until I find something. The respawning monsters "feature" isn't fun, or challenging, or anything really (except lazy). Resident Evil had both respawing and non-respawning enemies, and in every case the respawning enemies were a cheap, unbelievable mechanic. In that game (RE), it's not surprising that the later (rushed?) levels use this sort of mechanic, while the first 5 hours (professional review time required?) are perfectly crafted and require no respawning monsters because every encounter was interesting and unique (dog through the window, shit!).

Just let the fucking monster stay dead when I kill it. Your character sucks at everything except saving the game (bot not, apparently, his family). A child could swing the pipe (basic melee weapon of choice) with more competence.  The missing daughter isn't missing, she's just 100x better at killing demons than her crippled father. She already beat the game, and you are just really slow. I understand that the player isn't supposed to be a combat-veteran, but it doesn't take Rambo to swing a blunt instrument with a little speed. T-Ballers would undoubtedly fair better in Silent Hill. You will swing the pipe so slowly, that in real life you would not even do damage to an organism.

Performing the finishing move sucks as well. Monsters stay on the ground a painfully long time, and your character doesn't like to stomp them unless positioned in an arbitrary and subtle way. All this, and you then pop into a storage room to check it out. Nothing. Back outside, the monster grabs your leg and starts gnawing at your knee. This is the standard Silent Hill experience.

I'm not being too harsh on the game (and it is a fun game), but these are some problems with the controls. Especially after playing Resident Evil this past week, in which the difficult controls add to the challenge and fun, in Silent Hill it becomes a weakness. I'm not asking for an easy game, I'm just asking for better gameplay. One idea that comes to mind would be giving the character a kick move that would knock enemies back, but leave them unharmed. Something like this would be perfect.

I will probably power through the game. Despite the shitty cheapness, I still like overcoming a challenge. The creepypasta splattered around 3-D rural Japan is excellent, and the shitty combat is fun as long as you aren't forced to refight some respawning monster 6 times ("I already DID this, let me do SOMETHING ELSE!"). Also the pistol sucks because monsters have invincibility frames after being shot, and they still walk toward you.

Areas are either foggy or light/dark. The light/dark areas are amazing, filled with high contrast camera angles that any film nerd will love. The fog, however, is too grey to look good.

This sounds like I hate Silent Hill, and I really don't. I was hoping for something that topped Resident Evil. It doesn't. But one can't just compare every game to Resident Evil; that's not really fair. As far as being scared, or isolated, or w/e in the game, I can't really say. I think it is fun to be "scared" and so I don't actually get scared of movies or games or rollercoasters. Silent Hill is a fun game. It will probably give you the fun kind of nightmares.

UPDATE; I started using the pistol more and it's much better.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Wave Retro Equinox EP

This is a free album published by New Retro wave. If you ever wanted to listen to noir techno, then this is the first and last place you need to go.

I started listening to this stuff because of the music from Hotline Miami features several artists in the genre. The labels are whatever your want: sometimes called synthcore, new wave (that is, without any other distinction), synth, noir, edm, '80score, etc. It's basically all of these things. It uses synthesizers. It sounds '80s and dark. Tons of artists are publishing free albums on youtube. It's all new.

This EP, Equinox, makes the perfect background music for playing the original Silent Hill. Instead of a freaky game I have a freaky '80s game in 3D. You cannot argue with that.

Listen to the new Equainox EP

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lizard Banner

I know many readers are not actually visiting the website so they won't see this crazy banner. Check out 8-Bit City on your phone, but check the real deal sometimes too!

Thanks for reading, as always! I started the site with the intention of reviewing games that needed more attention. Five years later, I'm glad to do other stuff too, even if that means less interest in the site overall. Maybe I just want to explore the connection between video games and art without being a pretentious snob. Feelings and emotions don't make something artistic. 

Feelings and emotions are boring, and boring isn't good art. Art is strange and prompts the individual to think in new ways. 

But generally, I think, people are too closed-minded to really think about art and adding video games to the equation only further complicates the problem. Your typical "art game" looks like a painting no matter how you move the camera, and while that's fine, that's not all art can be. Games like Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft prompt real problem solving and creativity in the mind of the user. That's infinitely more interesting than a pretty commercial and orchestral soundtrack.

Yet the same individual who will appreciate say, the beauty of a Skyrim field, will probably be quick to denounce a De Kooning painting as trash.

So my real argument here is that the cultural difficulty facing video games is not about video games at all, but about all art in general. Humans prefer easy art that is quick to process and that which does not upset our understanding of the world (including our definition of what art is and can be). Humans, in this aspect, are much like apes for whom any change is always met with frustration and anger.

It's been years since critics could accept "pretty"/"beautiful"/"moving"/"serious"/"emotional" games as art. Society still needs to confront the artistic illiteracy enshrined at its core, and shed its limited capabilities based upon highly conservative definitions of art. How to do this? It'll probably have something to do with the internet.