Category: Portfolio

A Retrospective: In the Wake of Console Exclusivity

A Retrospective: In the Wake of Console Exclusivity

I won’t be playing Alan Wake for the XBox 360 any time soon. When my 360 died at the beginning of this month, I was given the choice of either paying to repair it or buying a new console. I chose the new console option, figuring it was time for an upgrade, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a PlayStation 3 or stick with the XBox 360. I debated both choices for a few days because I like Microsoft and I like Sony equally; I support whatever gets me the most titles and the best experience. And while I believe both consoles do these things equally, I’d heard very good things about Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series and had yet to experience either, so I purchased a PS3.

I don’t regret my purchase, although I do regret being unable to play Alan Wake.

But more on that later.

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Clever Uses of Game Mechanics

As long as there have been video games, there have been ways to cheat in them. They range from harmless codes that change the weather in Red Dead Redemption to serious hacks that make your aim perfect in Counter-strike. There are different layers of the severity as well; while wallhacking will get you a VAC ban on Steam, it’s likely that no one is going to care if you turn on The Sims 3 and give everyone in your town some free Simoleons.

Cheating, for me, all started with the first Pokémon game. It all went downhill from there. In fact, it almost killed gaming for me.

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Microsoft’s Complete Diskinect

Add half a cup of surrealism, two dashes of Cirque du Soleil, and several hundred white ponchos together and the end result is the latest recipe for gaming disaster–the XBox 360’s Kinect.

After Sunday’s pre-E3 engagement party, Microsoft proved itself to be teetering out of touch rather than ensconced firmly on the edge of innovation. Unfortunately, instead of redeeming itself the following day by expanding on the Kinect’s capabilities, the company only dug itself in a deeper hole with a presentation that continuously fell short.

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Mr. Marston, I Implore You to Care

Red Dead Redemption is John Marston’s story and not mine. This has become somewhat of a mantra as I follow the antihero to the end of the West and back. I use it to explain his odd choices of company, his sometimes off-putting quips, and the entire part of the game that takes place in Mexico. But by divorcing myself from the avatar constantly, by forgiving narrative blunders and being forced to justify poor characterization, I am removing player agency–and effectively making the game mean a little less each time.

Eventually, it adds up.

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A Second Look: Majora’s Mask

Everyone remembers The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but how many people remember The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask? Well, a lot of gamers probably do, but not in the fondest of lights. As a game, MM really frustrated many of its players with a non-traditional plot and a tedious time travel mechanic; the latter a feature that was considered so aggravating it caused many people to just turn off their Nintendo 64 and never look that title’s way again.

Recently, I found my N64 along with a copy of Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time. Remembering both my intense love for OoT and intense hatred of MM, I let curiosity get the best of me and set out to save Termina–once and for all.

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How to Train Your Hype Dragon

I have a list in my head. It’s like the list that the Bride in Kill Bill keeps, only instead of people who tried to do me in on my wedding day, it’s a list of video games that broke my heart and crushed my dreams. Get out the Companion Cube plushie, and I’ll show you where the bad video games touched me.

See, for me and most gamers, the hype machine is a double-edged sword. We hate it, we love it, and we’re addicted to the process.

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