Thursday, November 7, 2013

The 10 Worst Video Game Controls

Here's one from The Angry Video Game Nerd, ironically enough, a fellow Edgewood Regional Senior High School alumus. Take it away, AVGN...

Hmmm... and I can't even make controllers work for games with no glitches...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Dark and Gloomy Halloween World of Springfield

Halloween is over. Well, it's over in most of the world. In Springfield, the world of the Simpsons, and especially the videogame The Simpsons Tapped Out, it's still Halloween, until at least November 7th.

Halloween in Springfield is a little like Snake Whacking Day diversion in that you have extra things to do, or rather distractions to deal with. In this case, we're talking about houses and other places being haunted by fellow players, ghosts to pop, and goblins to stop. There are also a number of bonuses you can get as well.

The problem with this version of the game is how dark and gloomy it is. Literally. There is a fog and mist that covers the screen so it's hard to see stuff. At least it's a little brighter in Krustyland. Let me tell you, as much fun as I'm having with Halloween, I can't wait for clear blue skies again.

It's all fun and games while it lasts. There are some things that I just won't get because I'm not willing to put out the extra cash for the game, but that's life in Springfield...

Now excuse me, I have some ghosts to pop...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Yeah, I've been delinquent over here on The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog. It's been at least since June that I've done anything here, and now it's November. I haven't forgotten you, I've just been busy.

I am still playing games. My recent purchase of an iPad Mini has attracted me to a few games that I continue to play. I am still addicted to Simpsons Tapped Out, currently cleaning out ghosts for Halloween, and of course, Candy Crush Saga. I'm also playing Avengers Alliance, a whole lot of Injustice and one or two others. It's notable that I'm spoiled by the iPad, and no longer play any of these on my tiny iPhone.

Right now however, it's November, and November is NaNoWriMo, so I will be very busy. So I just wanted to check in, and I'll see you in December.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Avengers Alliance for iPhone at Biff Bam Pop!

The Facebook game, Avengers Alliance, is now available for iOS and your iPhone. Check out my review over at Biff Bam Pop! right here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Simpsons Tap Back!

The new update for The Simpsons Tapped Out opens up the waterfront for the summer, giving dozens of new options for new characters, new buildings, and new gameplay.

Take that, Candy Crush. Wait, what's Candy Crush?

Different day, different addiction.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Candy Crush Wants My Soul

Some of you may have wondered where I've been.

 It is a sordid tale of woe and degradation.

 Let me just sum it up by saying that yes, you can play Candy Crush Saga until your eyes bleed. Yes, that is a thing.

Above, "Candy Crush Saga Is Evil," as seen and talked about on the GAR! Podcast.

Candy Crush Saga is a deceptively easy and evil game, a cross between Tetris and Bejeweled Blitz, only with candy, it goes from fun to compulsive pretty quickly. You go from shushing from friends, "Shhh, playing game now." to getting the shakes while waiting to play again in a snap of the fingers.

In just one short week, I went from playing harmlessly and cheerfully to full on screaming obsession. Now, here in rehab, I have the time to think, reflect and write, free of the fascist little candies and their lascivious lure.

At least Candy Crush broke me of my Simpsons Tapped Out addiction. But then again, I think meth heads probably have the same thought about their former coke habits.

Even now as I write this I can see the candies in my head calling me back. Candy Crush is more than a game, it's an addiction, it's a religion... Candy Crush wants my soul...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Injustice on iPhone

So while waiting to see who has the best deal to buy Injustice (cuz $60 is just not cool), I happened to notice there was an iPhone app called Injustice Gods Among Us. I thought, could it be? It was. Much smaller, but at least it had more characters to use.

Now warning up front, my phone informed me right away that the fame was not built for iPhone and there might be some technical difficulties. That's all right, a funky game I want to play is better than no game at all, right?

The graphics are pretty intense for the phone. I was very impressed. It's not my Justice League, mind you, in this fancy-schmancy armor, as more than a few toy lines have ruined the JLA with extra armors, but these animatics looked very good.

The iPhone version had a swell tutorial, however unrealistic, allowing the player, as Green Arrow, to wallop Superman something fierce. GA beats Supes so hard he probably went home to foster momma for a new pair of shorts (which he is sadly lacking here - the real Superman wears his undies outside his pants, period).

Once the tutorial ends, I got to play for real, and was introduced to the true reality of the game. Nobody, absolutely nobody, just stands there like tutorial Superman and let's you hit them. I learned this very very quickly as first Sinestro, and then a very nasty version of Solomon Grundy, took turns taking my ass to school.

The game is similar to Avengers Initiative, also on the iPhone, but with more fun characters and backgrounds, has more characters than the Injustice demo for PS3, and should sate most of our appetites 'til the real thing comes out. I dug this.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Injustice Demo

My friend Ray and I got together to try out the new Zinburger in Cherry Hill, then came back to the house to chill and of course, sooner or later, the PS3 was turned on. I always cruise through the PlayStation Store before I do anything with the PS3, and lo and behold, there was a demo available for the new Injustice: Gods Among Us. If you think these two comic book nerds could resist trying it out, you're fooling yourself…

Once it downloaded, we found ourselves with a two-player fight game that only allowed us the use of three characters (well, it is a demo) - Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor. Once we started playing this game, that Ray had initially heard bad off-putting things about, we were having a ball.

Once Ray started to actually pay attention to what controls did what actions, and I started getting into my button mashing groove, we started to not only have fun, but also really get the hang of the game. We really dug it, and I'm betting we're both getting copies of the game the day it comes out. Yeah, it was that good.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Simpsons - Still Tapping

I talked about this one before, The Simpsons Tapped Out. Well, I'm still playing it on my phone. A lot of the folks who were playing when I started have stopped or just faded away, but really I continue to enjoy it.

I have tried other games of its ilk. A few Sims things, Megapolis, stuff like that. But it's just not the same, and I don't like them, so keep your Farmville requests away from me please. It's the familiarity of the characters and the situations that appeals to me. So with that logic, I have to wonder why DC Comics with their amazing fictional cities or Marvel Comics with their fantastic Marvel Universe New York City haven't jumped on the bandwagon. I would be all over either of those two games.

There is one thing I do wonder about however. Where do folks get all the donuts from? Donuts are the currency in this game, and you get one or two per level (currently 27 is the highest level), or you can buy them outright. When a new building is available I see folks who get it immediately, no matter if it's only costs a handful of donuts or hundreds of donuts. Do people really buy that much for one of these games? That's a serious cash put out…

New updates happen all the time, some relating to holidays, or upcoming episodes, or even very Simpsons-centric things like Whacking Day, currently going on. If you want to add me to your Other Springfields, you can find me at monsura2 or if you want, help The Bride out at glenifer. We'll both still be tapping away.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Videogame of The Walking Dead

Okay, zombies are hot right now, and The Walking Dead, whether you're talking the comics or the TV series, is really really hot. So you knew sooner it later there'd be a videogame. This one is probably not the first, but this demo for the PS3 is the first one I've had access to.

It starts with Episode One : A New Day. You play Lee, a limping survivor of the zombie apocalypse as you explore the new world left behind for The Walking Dead. As you move forward, you meet and save a little girl named Clementine. You move through the scenario, guided, if you wish, by hints on how to play the game. This was good for me, the controller handicapped non-gamer, and in this way, I was pretty good at this. See what just a little help and a nudge in the right direction can do?

Some research on the magical Internet shows your player character is actually Lee Everett, apparently a college professor and a, believe it or not, convicted murderer. His backstory unfolds through the course of the game. Lee comes home from work and finds his wife in bed with another man. Lee kills him, is tried for murder, and on his way to prison, an accident frees him in the midst of the zombie apocalypse happening around him.

Brought to life by voice actor David Fennoy, Lee Everett has been celebrated in the world of videogames as a very human character, both sympathetic in the game story and still reflective of the player's actions and motivations. A unique character in the gaming arena. This was the first time I experienced gameplay like this in a game I could actually play, I was impressed.

Gameplay is set solidly in the Walking Dead universe, and continues that way episodically, literally. There are a total of five episodes and three characters from the comics/TV series appear. It's what is known as a point and click game (see, I am learning something), but focuses more on character development than the usual puzzle solving tactics. The writer in me loves this aspect.

I really dig this game, both for its innovation and for its handholding instruction. Maybe if Sleeping Dogs or Saints Row were more new gamer friendly, I'd like them this much too.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Million Time Bombs

I'm taking a break from the usual stuff I do here on The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog today to reply to something Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said today. You probably know what's coming because it's been all over the news.

"I think video games is (sic) a bigger problem than guns. Because video games affect people. But the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games and the Second Amendment limits what we can do about guns." He said these words in a discussion, on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown," laying the blame of recent school shootings on guns and video games, but noting that video games were a bigger societal threat than guns.

My reply is simple. You, Senator Alexander, are ignorant and misinformed, and should learn to think before speaking. If you are right however, we have a huge problem in this country, and the entire world.

The video game industry is gigantic. Certainly not as big as the gun lobby or the tobacco lobby, but still very big. Their profits range into the billions yearly. Do you know what that means? Somebody is buying a lot of video games. Millions, tens of millions, buy and play video games every single day, for hours and hours at a time. Many of them could be considered obsessed with their chosen hobby. I'm not judging, I'm just saying.

If video games truly do affect people, and cause them to go on shooting rampages at schools, we as I said, have a huge problem. If even a fraction of these people as affected as the Senator says, there are at least a million time bombs out there. Ready to blow at any minute.

But that's not true. After all, what were the violent video games that Hitler played? Or Caligula? Was Al Capone a big Call of Duty player? It's not true at all.

The NRA used to have a slogan they were proud of - "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." it's partially true. Guns help, but it is people who kill people. And let's face it, if you give a psychopath a butter knife, somebody might die. Do we outlaw butter knives? No. But there are better ways.

I grew up around guns, hunting specifically. I had to take a course before I could use a gun. In my father's home the guns and ammo were stored separately, and locked away. And I grew up as not a gun guy, but I'm educated, and have ideas how we could make this better.

First, get over yourselves, you don't need automatic weapons to hunt. And guns should not be available at gun shows or Wal-Mart. If you want to collect guns, you're not allowed to own ammo. You're just a collector, remember? If you want to own a gun, take a three week gun safety course, that's what I had to do. Also I would take a hint from Chris Rock, and tax ammunition. A lot. If one bullet cost $100, you will think before you shoot. Have the money go to victims of shootings.

And Senator Alexander, get off of video games, they are not to blame. And please start thinking before you open your mouth, because if you're right... I would guess you're surrounded by Halo players, who are also potential time bombs...

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Namco Museum and Xevious

Just to show you all what a big old fart I am, and how out of touch gaming-wise I am, the very first free download I ever got from the PlayStation Store was this - Namco Museum. Yeah, I'm old. Deal with it.

As the name might imply it's a small collection of old games from the 1980s, namely Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, and Xevious. To be fair, it's actually the trial for Namco Museum Essentials, and has much more available but I haven't purchased the whole package yet. And I have looked, but there doesn't seem to be an option to buy it. One problem with this one is that the games are presented in their original arcade form - vertical, on a horizontal screen. Oh well.

With the exception of Pac-Man, these are all games I spent a generous amount of time with at the arcade. I was never big into Pac-Man, but the others I loved. Dig Dug I've talked about before, everyone knows about Pac-Man, and Galaga is really just a color evolution up from Space Invaders. Xevious is the one I want to talk about today.

Xevious was a vertical scroller from back in the day, 1982, known for its bouncy tunage and unique breaking glass sound effects when you blasted the disc things that spun through the air at you. That effect is recreated here but the controller again makes what was easy on the arcade game difficult here - shooting and bombing simultaneously.

Xevious is a fun game without becoming too monotonous, although it remains much the same throughout. I remember the ship you pilot is called oddly the Solvalou, and that the sides of the arcade game showed pics that didn't exactly match the game itself. Always fun, even in this format.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Not Dig Dug

Digger is not Dig Dug. Or at least that's what I've been told. I had never heard of Digger before I downloaded it for free from the PlayStation Store, and despite looking a heck of a lot like Dig Dug or even Mr. Do, I am assured this Canadian game created by Windmill Software in 1983 is an original.

The PS3 version is in HD, making it quite crisp and vibrant on the TV. In its first form it was quite a feat of computer and sound engineering, but now is available in many formats for free online. The theme music is called "Popcorn," a catchy tune that unlike a lot of videogame electronic tunage does not get annoying quickly. Older folks will remember the song from decades past.

The game itself does unfortunately resemble Dig Dug quite a bit. You are a miner in a digger/bulldozer rolling around underground in a mine. There are prizes to grab, monsters after you, and instead of pumping them up, you shoot them. Same result. Sound familiar? It does have its own peculiarities, but is just as fun. Not Dig Dug, but still fun.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's a Fish Eat Fish World

I am always leery of movies, especially sequels, with long names and longer subtitles. I guess I should have the same aversion to that type of thing in video games as well. Here, we have another free download from the PlayStation Store called Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown.

Now I had never heard of Feeding Frenzy before, but apparently the game from Pop Cap and Sprout Games has been around for a while and is even available to play free online. The set up is pretty simple, you're Boris the Butterfly Fish, you eat the fish smaller than you and avoid those bigger than you. When you eat enough little fish, you become a bigger fish. Simple as that, survival of the fittest basically.

I really kinda dig this very simple game and wish I'd tried it sooner. Regular readers of this blog know I have a lot of trouble with the PS3 controllers. Feeding Frenzy actually offers an easy and efficient way to get used to using the controllers. The more I play, the more practice I get in for future games of other types.

Besides being a great gaming practice games, it's also kind of relaxing with a fun score. I dug this game a lot.