Monday, December 17, 2007

Something I didn't fully grok until just now

The Next Karate Kid is really, really awful. What a turd.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I haven't blogged anything about Bioshock, but for the record I did enjoy it very much, even though I found it a bit too easy and the DRM really pissed me off.

Eurogamer has this article which tries to defend Bioshock from the backlash that followed its release. It's a great read, but it doesn't get around to one of the problems which I think underlies the entire game review scene: hype.

Things have gotten bad enough that reviews for games aren't really informative anymore. Halo 3, which I thought was good but not near great, piled up dozens of perfect scores and drooling raves from reviewers. Any game that's hyped as hard as Halo 3 was (and Bioshock too) is going to have awesome reviews which don't really map to the quality of the experience for most gamers. Publishers can hype games almost to the point that it distorts the reviewer's critical thinking skills -- even the Gerstmann firing, which stinks to high heaven, implies that a publisher holds the review industry in such contempt that it can have people offed who don't toe its line.

So what is to be done? I don't know.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Aperture Science

We do what we must
Because we can.

Um. Sorry. Anyway, past time to mention Portal.

There's really not much I can say beyond how awesome it is. You've heard that from others by now, but I'll just add my insignificant voice to the chorus.

Bad points:

  • Too short. Your first runthrough (there will be others) takes maybe three to four hours. Once you know the puzzles, you can speedrun the thing in maybe an hour. MOAR.
  • Too easy. The extra puzzles you unlock after beating the main game are pretty hardcore, and the developer commentary (a feature that should be in EVERY game) explains that Valve were terrified of confusing the hell out of players; they were, after all, breaking new gameplay ground. Hopefully the deliriously joyful response will encourage them to take more risks.
Good points:
  • Genuinely clever and funny.
  • Addictive and really hard to stop playing.
  • Simple yet pleasing art and level design.
  • An honest attempt at something new.
  • Jonathan Coulton.
  • Voice acting -- Ellen McLain does an amazing job.
  • A bargain at $20.
Basically, if you haven't played it, shell out the $20 for it and enjoy the hell out of it.

Rating: ***** (5/5); if I can't give five stars for an experiment in new gaming that succeeds beyond all expectations, I should just stop playing games entirely.