Welcome back to the stage of history!

Sunny Koda is a concept artist from Australia who went to the US filming a Documentary about Gamer Culture. He went from Sand Diego to Vancouver, from Comic Con to PAX. Now he's following his dream of working in the daunting US Games industry. Will he make it? I hope so. Because I am that guy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Party Time

Whether you are religious or not, by mid-December it's generally time to hit pause and just chill for a minute. Look back at what you've accomplished and celebrate the fact that another year has transpired and you have lived. You have lived well! I happen to be beset with the annoying notion that as long as I keep living, every day is something special. Yes it's very hard to argue with a man who finds the joy in spending 3 hours on a bus or getting the flu, but this zen awareness really helps remind me to be happy sometimes. Just because living, no matter how you spend your life, is awesome. Look at the sky. The fact that you can see is pretty damn cool. I'd be completely lost without it, my world being mostly about art and video games (If you are reading this on some blind-person version of the internet then my other big passion is music - pick up the Tron soundtrack; Daft Punk have been winning all over my ears while I've been working and it's awesome).

Living in the country and working from home I am getting a little lonely. Fortunately my fiancée and I went halves in an Xbox for Xmas (quick aside, the X is from a Greek root and is just an archaic spelling, it is not for use by atheists or whatever). She bought me the new Majin and the forsaken Kingdom from Yoshiki Okamoto, which I am putting off until I finish my work and have a few whole days to throw at. I bought her the Kinect thingey and Fable II (Fable II is proving far more popular right now and I admit is makes me love her all over again seeing her play through an adventure/rpg). I'd like to tell you all more about Kinect, when they release some actual games and they implement the voice features. Yeah that's right once again Australia has gotten the big old shaft* and the voice activation (which is apparently really effective) has been removed for the time being because 'the Australian accent is too different'. Arguments to the contrary- my accent is very mild, often mistaken for English AND the system was released in the UK and damned if they don't have some of the most difficult accents in the world. I do however clearly remember having to put on a Yosemite Sam voice to navigate automatic voice phone services in the USA.

Anyway, while I am still mainly playing Warhammer Online along with the occasional international bout of Starcraft 2 for my social component, I do miss my friends. Hopefully this season will afford me the chance to catch up with them. Ah, we'll see.

*I think the last one was removing the PS2 backwards compatibility from the PS3, which really sucked for me and my carefully manicured collection that somehow doesn't include a PS2. Hey, that's why I moved in with my girlfriend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Please stop making games for the Wii

...I don't have one!

Quite a few games recently (Capcom vs Tatsunoko, Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye) have been released for the Wii and while yes, it does have a large market, it pretty much puts the big fail-stamp on your product. The original Donkey Kong Country was a polished platformer that pushed the graphics of the snes to the limit while the Wii limits the graphics and ensures polish is replaced with wiimote gimmickry*. More importantly I DON'T HAVE ONE, I don't want one, and the only person I know who does wishes he didn't. So I get to play SSB:Brawl about once in a blue moon (now I'm thinking about sonic, who pwnes that game) but that's really about it.

Take into account that PC games only seem to come in the MMO variety and that I refuse to buy a DS game when they are three times the American price (Look at it this way; Professor Leyton and the Latest Adventure currently costs the same price as Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood which is on sale, which would you invest in?) and suddenly half the games store just isn't my concern anymore. Then so many games are released on both Xbox 360 and PS3 that I'm really just looking at one shelf. Why go in at all anymore? Why indeed. After bombing around all the stores in the local area and trying to balance the price of a new game with whatever enjoyment I thought I would get from them I went home empty handed (on three consecutive days). About half an hour ago I just hit up ebay and bought a really cool game I'm looking forward to playing for $30.

The game was Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. I played a demo of the second game at PAX and it was the truest and best rendition of the comic/anime that I had gotten my hands on. The Naruto game I had waited some 20 odd games for (still waiting for a great One Piece game, protip - oldschool rpg or the most awesome MMO imaginable... I mean, the Grand Line? COME ON! They even have the sea kings and calm belt to stop players wandering off the map, you know I could go on). I told the guy at the booth, who looked like he was about to die what with it being 4pm on the second day, that I would find it and buy it then promptly high fived him. I then asked what happened to the first game and he told me it was a big hit and just as solid. Huh, I didn't even see it in Australia. No surprises there. The first game covers the first anime with the new game covering Shippuden. I think I'm up to the 50th episode of Shippuden (because that's how many there were last I watched Naruto) and I'm excited to relive the story through a video game and perhaps even experience the new Shippuden storyline for the first time as a game instead of the anime. I really love the media overlap here and I'll let you know how it goes in terms of a familiar story with an interactive twist.

Finding it on ebay after fifteen minutes spent browsing hundreds of games, I was then able to pull up as many reviews and gameplay videos as I felt necessary to convince me one way or another (can it be played with japanese dialogue? yes? good). Then I pressed a button and waited for it to show up at my front door, literally meters from my console. WHY DO I STILL GO INTO EB? I mean, it's not like I enjoy the stifled atmosphere, garish sales posters, irritating prerecorded PA, incompetent sales staff and complete lack of soul in the place. I suppose games stores have been my generations arcade. My parents left me in them when I was a kid while they shopped. As a tween I paid a guy $5 to play Sonic 2 for 30 minutes. In my teenage years I hung out the front selling and buying second hand games just above the stores going rate until they chased me off. But now they've gone from gamer haunts to the the cheapest of fire-sale prostitutes. As dead as arcades. I wonder what the next generation will reminisce about in terms of a gamer environment? Their grandma's padded Wii-room? That sounds bad.

Yes it's been a while since I updated. Coming back from a three month trip to realise it's all over and now you have to pick up the pieces of the life you dropped so fast it smashed has a way of making you not want to write a blog for a bit. Also the trip's over, so the blog is done right? Well, while progress on the doco is slow (nothing really happening until my brother gets settled into his new home and I have some time between freelance jobs, which I totally have!) I do want to keep using this blog as a way to put down my thoughts and opinions on games and other miscellaneous brain-waste.

All I need to do now is pair it with a regular psudo-funny comic strip about two guys who play games on a couch and occasionally cause miscarriages and I will have the attention of teh interwebs which I so sorely crave. I have been meaning to start my most awesome of strip-form comics, ADAPTORFACE so maybe they (the comic and my blog) can be friends? I'm also "rebooting" a scrapbook comic I used to make to entertain my Warhammer guild. Yes, I said reboot just to make you cringe. But I'm playing again so I figure, why the hell not?

*blogger wants to auto-correct this word to 'goldbrickery' which is a term I will now endeavour to use. Yes, it's 'vour' not 'vor' Blogger... you idioth.