Tuesday, December 16, 2008
While the Xbox 360 remains strong in North America and the United Kingdom and the Nintendo Wii continues to fly off store shelves the world over, Sony is hoping to stake its claim on Europe with the help of the world's largest demographic: grade A fucking morons.
Citing Nintendo's success with simpletons' infatuation with digital doppelgangers and gentle gaming, Sony Europe feels that Home, the new social playground where user created avatars wait around for hours until the opportunity to mime-rape the rare female avatar appears, is the ultimate lure to this elusive yet profitable buying base.
During a recent visit to the Robotronic Dynamite! offices, Home's European service manager, Dan Hill, said, "We've put together the ultimate user experience. You can buy, with real money, digital clothes licensed to feature name brands for your avatar!"
When asked if he felt Microsoft might have preempted Sony's attempt at reaching the casual gamer with its Avatars, Mr. Hill responded, "While Microsoft's Avatars are a nice attempt at luring soccer moms, nascar dads, senile octogenarians, and bachelor uncles into buy the 360, the fact remains that you can't take your avatar and do rad stuff like buy fake crap at fake stores to dress up your fake apartment! Sony knows what people need in these tough economic times; to waste money on useless shit that won't enrich their lives to any extent whatsoever!"
RD! put in a call to Mr. Fils-Aime of Nintendo to find out if he was at all concerned about Sony's aggressive push for mainstream relevance, but were unable to reach him as he had apparently eaten his phone.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Time Spent Playing: 13 hours
An hour or so into Layton I was prepared to write it off as a 5 dollar grocery store puzzle book, gussied up by a charming cast of characters and gorgeous aesthetic. Having now finished it, that's pretty much exactly what Professor Layton is.
That doesn't make it not fun, I just find the disconnect between the world your exploring and the puzzles you're solving in it to be unappetizing. While I should have been more interested in the carefree goings on of Layton and Luke, I was more focused on finding and solving the inventive and involving puzzles, often to the detriment of my investment in the story and characters. I find that to be a shame because within five minutes of turning the game on I was in love with the whole concept; as if Layton were some cherished cartoon from my childhood given new life on my DS. This is probably why I'm more interested in seeing the upcoming movie than I am playing the sequels.
Thinking about it now, it seems ridiculous that I'm finding such fault with marrying the two aspects of the game that I enjoy so much independently of each other, but I really do think the two don't compliment each other. I will probably give a sequel a try, but I really hope that they make the puzzles more context sensitive to what is actually going on in the story.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Time Spent Playing: 20 hours
This is the kind of game I longingly dreamt of when I was a child. Well, that hypothetical game probably had more boobs in it.
My meaning is actually quite simple: Fallout 3 feels, more than any game I can recall, like the evolution of the medium. Instead of being bound to the designer's linear will, I'm free to make my own way. In his infamous essay arguing against video games as art, Roger Ebert cited the observer's control over events as a key reason as to why video games were not art. I would offer this game as the antithesis to that argument. Were it not for the tremendous freedom the player enjoys in Fallout, its commentary on mankind's natural inclination toward petty barbarism and its message that doing good is its own end would be completely lost because it's the choices the player makes that reflect these themes.
But Roger Ebert was silly for writing that article. His point of reference was Myst and, as Bioshock cleverly highlighted last year, the observer generally has little to no control on the outcome of events in a video game.
Fallout 3 begins with your character's birth and gives brief glimpses into his life before he follows dear old Dad into the unknown. As an escapee from an underground vault meant to preserve mankind from annihilation, you will embark on a journey across a ruined world; a wasteland of humanity where might makes right, mutants pillage, abominations devour human flesh, and opportunistic slavers ply their trade. The waste is sparse, irradiated death and the waste is your constant companion.
I find myself drawn to combing the hellish desert more so than kicking around towns and the magnificently rendered ruins of Washington DC. Every moment feels dire. Every moment feels like a possible end awaits nearby. The desert, largely quiet, is indifferent to my trespass; knowing that I too fade away with time.
Fallout 3 isn't perfect, but to list any complaints seems an obtuse task. Much better to use my time reflecting on what an amazing game Bethesda has put together.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The Robotronic Dynamite! crew is a fickle bunch of semi-evolved apes, spending most of
their time hanging outside liquor stores asking people to buy them a six pack of
Hamm's or submitting letters to Fangoria magazine. When free of those
primary activities, they're usually playing television games! Their
opinions of such things range broadly and trying to guess which
softwares they'll adore is a nigh impossible task. But don't fret!
Take my hand as I peer unto the future and foretell which cd-rom
entertainments will be the apples of our collective eye.
Best Downloadable Game: Castle Crashers
You can throw your dual stick shooters and your artsy fartsy nonsense
and your retro sequels out the window. Castle Crashers combines
beautiful art, great music, fun cooperative play, allusions to classic
gaming moments, and addictive item hunting into the best downloadable
game this year. I hope they release a full priced sequel that's fully
Braid - It's good. Damn good. Plus, it's for people who drink and smoke!
Wars 2 - I personally am awful at this game, but there's no denying its
popularity and high quality. The new gameplay modes and score baiting
display a thoughtfulness not often seen in downloadable games.
Mega Man 9 - A poetic ode to gameplay past, it's likely to leave you crying on the floor with a sore tush.
Best Survival Horror Game: Dead Space
Without Resident Evil to defend its crown, Dead Space is likely to usurp the throne; for the time being.
Siren - Downloadable horror goodness, made by a man who hates scary things. Makes sense when you think about it.
Silent Hill: Homecoming - A competent iteration of the series that more or less holds course in lieu of trying anything new.
2 - The average attention span of a Robotronic Dynamite staffer is like
that of a fruit fly. Being released way back in February makes it far
too dim a candle in our memory to be our survival horror king.
Best Racing Game: Burnout Paradise
Let's face it, the only genre more stale than racing is sports. Burnout continues to expand its formula while maintaining the fun, arcade style driving. This iteration featured an open world and a streamlined online interface. While its initial merits would likely cement its position as the year's best racer, the devilish lads at Criterion have continued to add value to the title free of charge. New gameplay modes and even motorcycles have been released via DLC. In the future, entire islands will be added to the game.
Pure - This ATV racer seems to have blind sided gamers, coming out of nowhere with its intense gameplay and stunning visuals. This is a Disney game?
Motorstorm Pacific Rift - The sequel to last year's million plus seller, this version features more varied environments and 16 player online races.
Wipeout HD - Slick visual and six axis enabled gameplay makes for a compelling downloadable package.
Best Platformer: Prince of Persia
The oft beleaguered prince returns in an all new adventure with a beautiful visual overhaul and further mining of the Ico design document. I'd cry foul at Ubisoft's "borrowing" if it didn't make for such an amazing end.
Little Big Planet: The creation tools look amazing, intuitive and deep, but that'll likely come at the expense of actually playing the game. In terms of sheer platforming joy, I'll stick with the Prince.
Mirror's Edge: I've been hot for this ever since all that was known of it was that it's a spiritual successor to Breakdown made by DICE and we had one teeny weeny thumbnail to ogle. It's unfortunate they farmed out the character designing to Westwood University.
Sonic Unleashed: Somehow, expectations have slowly been warming up for Sonic's next adventure. Needless to say, recent showings prevent me from forecasting this new iteration as this year's likely winner.
Best Action Game: MGS 4
Though it may over indulge in its story telling, there's no denying the
creative attempts by Kojima Studios to try something new. From fourth
wall breaking to visual allusions to previous iterations of the series,
there's little doubt that Kojima and company want to change the way
creators and users approach games.
Theft Auto 4 - A great game that's betrayed by uneven tone and
storytelling in the single player and multi player that needed better
organization. As it is, the online component is akin to John Holmes
with erectile dysfunction; the potential is there, but it's too flaccid
to satiate our desires.
Ninja Gaiden 2 - With finely tuned
gameplay, Itagaki's swan song for Tecmo is a gaming triumph. If only
the camera weren't from crazy town.
Mad World - I actually can't
remember if this game will land this year, but the Wii needs some
actual representation on this list.
Best Shooter: Gears of War 2
Joystiq writer and future Beautiful Boy of Gaming
inductee Ludwig Kietzmann once described Gears of War as "monsters versus
testosterone." It's simply impossible to top that descriptor. A
hardcore game made by hardcore developers for hardcore gamers. While
there is a number of high quality shooters releasing this year, Gears
is king. Plain and simple.
Dead - If Gears weren't releasing, this would undoubtedly take the
crown. Zombies, shotguns, multi player, and on-the-fly scenario
adjustment. What part of that isn't amazing?
Resistance 2 -
This will likely be a great game but the only reason you're playing it
is because you're a moron and don't own a 360. Way to go moron!
In Arms: Hell's Highway - Lacking in chainsaws but bringing on the
tactics, this will be the WW2 shooter to beat this fall. Now get to
work on Borderlands!
Far Cry 2 - Someone finally took the basic scenario from Yojimbo and made a game. Can't believe it took so long.
Best RPG: Fallout 3
If you're not into exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland with your
loyal pooch, dismembering mutants, and detonating nukes, I don't want
to be your friend. In fact, it bothers me that you continue to draw
breathe. Go die.
Lost Odyssey -
Again, another game lost to the depths of pre-fall release hell. And
only a couple of us played it because, despite the vast amount of
evidence to the contrary, we're actually straight and don't cotton to
pretty mens gallivanting across the countryside.
Fable 2 -
Because everyone's grown accustomed to diminishing their expectations,
it's hard to put this game on a pedestal before it releases. The
recent news that online co-op isn't ready for launch is disconcerting,
to say the least.
Tales of Vesperia - Not winning because I'll
likely be the only one to have played it by the end of the year. It's
only real fault is that it isn't Fallout 3.
Best MMORPG: None
notion that any parties involved with an MMORPG, whether developer or
player, is a winner is a complete paradox, therefore, no award is
Best Box Art: Mega Man 9
Too obvious a choice? Perhaps. But look at it. It's amazing.
A nice, highly detailed cover that tricks you into thinking you won't be committing an unforgivable sin against the self and your fellow man by purchasing and playing it.
It features a caveman with sneakers and a t-rex in the background. How did this one not get the win?
Biggest Disappointment: Contested!
Personal disappointment is a tricky thing to gauge, a delicate mixture of unjustified hype and crushing disappointment. So, this particular "honor" will be left undetermined until the end of the year. There are, however, a few titles that I know some RD staffers have soured on.
Spore - Spore is a pretty good game that should have been great. The creation tools are top notch but the meat and potatoes of what you actually do during gameplay makes for a light dinner.
Lost Odyssey - A big budget jrpg from master game designer Hironobu Sakaguchi that was promised to make JoE Shieh cry. It did, but not as expected!
Too Human - Risking a three hour seminar on respecting people's feelings over the internet, it's fair to say this game hit with a large thud. It isn't bad, but a few awful design decisions really drag down the fun. Also, Dyack is kind of a douche.
Alone In the Dark - The game included some novel approaches to game design with its DVD style chapter skipping and a truly intriguing inventory system. Unfortunately, the answer to every monster seemed to be to set it on fire, making most of the item concocting useless. Hopefully the fixes in the PS3 port will redeem this title.
Game of the Year: Gears of War 2
certain as I am that Fallout 3 will be my personal fave, I'm fairly
certain the consensus will be behind Gears 2 and its expanded online
gameplay. Plus, we're aching to see its illogical and
indeterminable story. Just, please, no more invincible bosses.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
On the 25th day of November, all normal day to day activities will come to a halt in lieu of picking up the newest novel based off the Halo Universe. In a world wide exclusive, Robotronic Dynamite! has been granted permission to post the prologue from the tome most anticipated by literary critics this year.
Space Year 2506
22 hundred hours
Planet Epsilon 4
The Spartan strode around the death and destruction in a manner that was bad ass even for a Spartan. Around him were the dead bodies of many Elites. Blue, red, white, and other ones you haven't seen in the games. One of the bodies twitched and the Spartan pulled his gun from his gun holder.
Suddenly, a giant tank attacked him from the rear. The Spartan spun around and shot him with two guns like in a John Woo movie.
"Tanks for playing," he quipped as he stuck a sticky grenade on the tank. The tank exploded.
An Elite crawled out of the top. Half of its was body gone. The Spartan pulled out his rocket launcher and shot it. Parts of it flew all over the battle field.
"You did a fine job, son," said a voice from his walkie talkie.
"Thanks, Captain Blackheart," said the Spartan.
"We need you two clicks over for a fight!" said Captain Blackheart.
"Yes, sir!" Said the Spartan. He cocked his shotgun and jumped into his warthog. No, it was a scorpion. He jumped into his scorpion and rode toward the new fight.
This is the stroy of a Spartan. A Spartan name Logan. Logan Kaine.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Nintendo announced that Club Nintendo, a loyalty service in Japan that awards points for Nintendo purchases that are redeemed for useless shit, will make its way to American shores by the end of the year. The move is seen by many industry insiders as Nintendo making amends for its disastrous E3 presentation.
"We want the hardcore Nintendo fans, the ones who have been with us since Mario humped his first flagpole, to know that they come first with us. So, this fall, when they're dutifully buying our shitty games and going on message boards and justifying why they blindly support us, they can do so in some ridiculous, oversized Mario hat that only a complete douche bag would wear," said VP of Thuggery Reggie Fils-Amie shortly after bursting through the wall of Robotronic Dynamite! offices like the Kool-Aid Man.
When pressed for further details, Fils-Amie pushed us against the wall and threatened to beat us up if we didn't hand over our milk money. After we did, he exited through the very hole he'd created only moments before.
Friday, September 26, 2008
For the second week in a row, the Xbox 360 has managed the seemingly impossible and bested the PS3 in Japanese hardware sales. Long considered a lost territory to the American born system due to the complete failure of the original Xbox and the mild reception the 360 had garnered up till now, Japan seems to be slowly awakening to the console's hissing siren call.
In an exclusive phone interview with RD!, Xbox Japan Boss Takashi Sensui said, "We think the audience is responding to the great exclusive RPGs like Tales of Vesperia and Infinite Undiscovery and they are also enjoying the robust online experience provided by Xbox Live. Also, they really enjoy how it sprouts tentacles and rapes young women."
Sensui revealed that as part of tailoring the New Xbox Experience to Japanese tastes, they've included a feature that allows the Xbox 360 to sprout giant, cephalopodic tentacles that seek out nubile women and rape them. It was planned to release with the rest of the NXE later this fall, but the situation in Japan was deemed so dire, Sensui approved the release of the beta.
"The full version will be so much more robust," he added. "You'll be able to choose the color, the texture. Right now they only commit vaginal rape, but the final version will seek out any opening for violation. It also won't be limited to women; we don't want to leave you guys out on all of the fun! The best part is, the number of tentacles is tied to your gamerscore. If you have very little gamerscore, you'll only get one tentacle, but if you have over 20,000; oh man, watch out!"
RD! was allowed to download the full version and will be posting our impressions soon. Needless to say, use of the updated Xbox 360 around the office has proved a great distraction.