Friday, October 28, 2011

Gender and Horror Games

So I've not written up much on my blog as of late but there's a reason for this! I've been writing up a load of reviews and opinion pieces elsewhere. Also, I think not much of interest has been happening game-wise to get me to fire up a post. :(

Anyway, yesterday I put up an opinion piece that I'm kind of a fan of. Usually what happens is I write something and then really dislike it and never look over it again. That's probably not the best mindset to have but that's just my reaction for one reason or another. Either way, the post I'm a little proud of is about the presentation of men and women in the horror gaming genre. If you're at all interested in either horror games or gender it might be an interesting read.

In other news, I'm going to be having a party this weekend! Yay!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Post Isn't Really About Video Games

So, over the past week or so two gaming sites have written a little bit about why "gamers make good bodybuilders". Both GamePolitics and GayGamer have made note of how the site Fitocracy turns exercise into a bit of a game, and why gamers have the right mindset for this sort of thing. The two correlate because Fitocracy lets users level up after they get a certain number of points. These points are gained through doing exercises and if you keep progressing enough you even get achievements and can place on leaderboards. It's very much like a game.

Fitocracy isn't a new site, although it may have recently opened up to public registration. I've been a member since about the inception but have only started using it recently. After using it for a few months I do think that gamers may make "better" exercise types when exercise is combined with this kind of gamification. I remember watching a TED Talk where someone discussed the future gamifying all sorts of parts of our life. Personally, I would like that. As is, I have my own personal methods of turning my to-do list into a progressive game as well as some other tasks. It just seems to be the way my mind is wired to enjoy these things. 

If you like to grind in RPGs or do whatever then maybe you'll like the site too. Watching yourself level up is pretty neat as well as seeing all the work you've done so far. Seeing workout sessions laid out like stats are cool and so are the achievements and quests, although I wish there were more of them. 

Once I do my regular workout routines I still engage in exercise-related games. Now that Dance Central 2 has a fitness mode you can bet I'll spending a lot of time on it. In the past I used DDR for about the same purpose and might go back to it simply because it's easier. Does any of you enjoy the gaming/fitness overlap? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

PS Vita Owners Might Need to Buy Memory Cards

Well, this put a slight damper on my day as I looked through my RSS feed this morning.

So, Sony's Vita looks like it is going to be a great little handheld. Anything that can play PS2-caliber games portably is basically my dream device. Either way, some time ago there were reports that the new proprietary memory cards for the unit are going to be painfully expensive. Of course, we still only have the Japanese prices (which are always extremely inflated) but even the PSP Memory Stick Pro Duos were pretty pricey for a long time here. I expect the same of Vita.

Now, memory cards shouldn't really be a big deal if you're not downloading games or extras to your system. As the Vita has absolutely NO internal storage anything being put on it requires a card. Simple. The 3DS also has no internal storage but it does at least come packed with a little SD card. It's still unknown if the Vita will come packed with a card or not.

Anyway, needing a memory card for downloaded content is perfectly reasonable. It's just like how you need a hard drive or one of those eensy overpriced memory cards for 360 to save Marketplace stuff. The point of what now bothers me about Vita is that apparently some physical retail games will still require saving to a memory card (Ex: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Ridge Racer).

It made sense for disc-based games to have memory cards. Video game discs of any type are DVD-ROMs (Read Only Memory). As they are "read only" they cannot have any new data written onto them, which is why all disc-based media requires some storage. Cartridge based games can typically write to themselves, but since most carts we are familiar with could only hold so many KBs or MBs some of the larger saves needed a memory card.

As far as I know, the Vita game cards are rather large in size and will not be completely filled to the brim with game content. Even now, PS3 titles barely ever reach their 60GB Blu-Ray disc capacity. In fact, the majority hover around 5-35GBs. Because of this I don't think it is purely a technical necessity to have physical game carts saving to an external memory card. I think it's business.

This is all just a rumor at the moment but I have faith that this will actually be the case. If it isn't then I will breathe a heavy sigh of relief and resume praising the Vita to no end.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

61 - GrimGrimoire (PSN)

Genre: RTS
Rating: E10+
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PSN (PS2)
Release Date: 2007

For some reason I never got around to purchasing or playing GrimGrimoire. Despite being a crazed PS2 fan from 2004 onward I skipped over a lot of gorgeous-looking games (Eternal Poison, Odin Sphere). Why? I think there wasn't enough money going around for me to pick up each and every cool game. So, it was super lucky for me that the game recently came out on PSN. I grabbed a review copy of the title and finally got to experience it. Review can be found here.

First thing that must be mentioned about any Vanillaware game are the graphics. The game looks fantastic. The 2D character portraits appear to be painted and even if they aren't it is extremely pretty. They also "breathe" and emote more interestingly than most do for other games employing the same static character technique. The in-game RTS battle stuff at first looked kind of like a gussied-up Flash game but I got over that. By the time I was halfway through I was totally immersed in strategizing and stopped noticing the slightly lower quality of the monster sprites.

There were some weird things in the game. Like, it may have just been me but there appeared to be some LGBT subtext between certain characters throughout the story. If that really is the case then I'm impressed since it's not pointed at as some odd token thing. It's just there... somewhat. Perhaps I just had my gaydar turned up too high.

Overall I'm sad I missed out on this game when it first came out. It's super fun and a pretty good challenge too. I'm mostly surprised they managed to make a RTS game that doesn't suck on a console. I'm still on the lookout for a physical copy of the game but until then my PSN one will have to do.

Would I play again?: Yes!

Friday, October 14, 2011

TGIF: Turtles Edition

I love when there are video games that seem so perfectly tailored toward me that I've never heard of. Apparently Power Shovel for PS1 is one such game. I'm not sure what the whole game is about but I can only assume it has you doing various tasks with your "shovel" AKA a giant machine.

It's this clip in particular that made me decide I need to find a copy of the game. Why would someone need to save turtles from a pool? If they did have to, why would they do it with a huge vehicle? Neither question is answered in this clip but that makes it all the more enjoyable. Hopefully this game's not expensive.

Gaming Wedding Invitations

These are awesome. I was just looking at PACROID and they had posted that really caught my attention. Apparently this blogger Larry makes gaming-themed wedding invitations and the like.

I don't know why I never thought about this but it's an awesome idea. Not only do they look really good, they have a lot of obvious work done on them. For example, the Nintendo seal of quality is actually changed into the name of the groom. There are various other touches and each one of them is sweet. When you open the card up there are even "pins" at the bottom like you'd see when examining a NES cartridge.

If I ever were to get married I think I'd enjoy going all out indulging in things like this. Well, as long as we were both gamers anyway otherwise it might not go over so well!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Hey folks, sorry for the relative silence over the past week. I got weirdly sick or something which made it really tough to get much of anything done but thankfully I'm over that slump. But then I realized this is midterms week! Oh no, but at least I'm about half done with them already. That will probably contribute to a bit more quiet on my end.

Either way, just wanted to share a few things with you folks. I've been playing a LOT of downloadable games lately. Usually it's easy enough to ignore them as there's so much dull stuff. It seems like XBLA and PSN are pulling out the big guns for fall though as already a bunch of neat things have popped up. Orcs Must Die!, Rochard, and Eufloria are a few of my favorites at the moment. I've also been playing through and streaming Uncharted: Drake's Fortune in my downtime. I'm hoping to be able to go through the second one as well before the 3rd launches.

I'd like to stream horror games but really the only ones I've not beaten yet are really difficult and/or too scary. Still, since it is October maybe I'll get around to streaming something spooky before the month ends.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Are You a Fan of Games and Food?

If so, there's a great blog for you out there. It's called Gourmet Gaming and I found it through GameSetWatch over the weekend. 

Basically, the point of the blog is to try and recreate food items from games. Not only that, but then the recipes are shared and then pretty pictures are taken. I think it's a genius idea. It may be more of a niche than, say, the Destructoid blog, but there's nothing wrong with that. I'm looking forward to seeing the things that are made in the future (and you can vote on the food you want made!). 

My personal favorite food so far is Thomas' biscuit from Deadly Premonition. Of course, it certainly helps that I'm a huge fan of the game so anything related to it tends to please me. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Late TGIF: TF2

Hey folks! It's the start of October and this means some really exciting stuff in my world, but it's not especially worth detailing on a video game blog. I'll probably post up something on my movie blog about it, for those interested. Either way, that has nothing really to do with this late TGIF post so let's get to that, shall we?

Okay, so every once in a while I get really enthralled by Team Fortress 2. Now that it is free to play I think anyone who can try it really should. I'm not a big FPS fan myself but it's more of a party FPS game, if that makes any sense. Either way, here's a silly little video of TF2.

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