Monday, November 29, 2010

Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

This is just for show

This was something I read off Kotaku.  Ever heard of this iRacing game?  It's an online racing simulator that's arguably one of the most realistic.  You can drive stock cars, Formula 1, and other miscellaneous road cars.  You have to pay for online subscriptions though, just like World of Warcraft.  Except this is a thousand times better than WoW if you know what I mean.  I don't know if I would get on-board with this because my computer sucks, I don't have a steering wheel or money, and I don't think I'm in the mood for a hard-ass racing sim right now.

Now, what about it?  Well, I've always wanted to be a real race car driver.  However, that's not easy, especially to be a Formula 1/Le Mans driver for the undesirable factors behind professional racing: tons of practice and car tuning, motion sickness, extreme G-forces, grueling body conditioning, possibility of a wreck/injury/death, the pressure of competition, and so forth.  I talked WAY back about the dangers of racing.  And on top of this, it takes a lot of skill and a bit of luck to even reach a level of racing where you can do it for a living.  Then again, Cole Trickle jumped off the motorcycle and became a stock car racer just like that, but that's the movies we're talking about.  Okay, so what?

Well, make way for Greger Huttu who is arguably #1 at iRacing.  Just some normal gaming joe schmoe from Finland.  Since he won, he got the chance to drive a real Formula 1 car around Road Atlanta (a track I've played enough of in Forza to hate it).  Click for the article/slideshow to see what happens:

He does fifteen laps.  His best lap time is 3 seconds off the benchmark time, which is pretty damn good for someone who's never driven professionally before.  However, he throws up halfway through his run and has to change his helmet and down some medication.  Then after that, he does a few more laps until he is physically worn out and has to stop.

Dammit, and I thought I could pull a John Daly and cruise right into professional racing without having to undergo a professional workout regimen, but that's not the case.  Of course, this is Formula 1 we're talking about--maybe try something slower like go-karts instead?

Huttu is only 30 years old and it's already "too late" for him to condition his body for racing.  Now this isn't entirely true because if Brett Favre can still play in the NFL then anything goes, I guess.  Well, that just sucks because it's another instance of "you can't do this when you're old."  Football, basketball, tennis, Starcraft, you name it (the only exception to this is golf and shuffleboard).  Life isn't fair.  I'm only 22 and even if I wanted to drive SOMETHING, I better start getting prepared now, but with college and computer science calling, there's very little room to maneuver.  And when it comes to "racing," my options past getting an old muscle car and taking it out to the drag strip is nonexistent.

That leaves two options:

1. Skip Barber Racing School!  Yes, this looks like fun.  It's like college in that you can take lessons in  a wide variety of areas.  However, the price usually goes for $1000+ a day which means I could save up for a Daytona USA 2 cabinet instead.  The closest courses from where I live would be Sebring (Florida) and Road Atlanta (Georgia).

 2. 24 Hours of Lemons.  You take a car that's $500 or less and race it around for a few hours or something.  This one's really stupid...only if I'm extremely desperate.

Well, when you compare real life racing to...say, Daytona USA or OutRun or whatever, they're two different things.  You can be a good real-life race car driver but you may suck at Daytona USA.  That's what makes these games fun, because they're games, not simulations.  I'd like my Sega racers to have a lick of realism in them (and they do to a certain extent...gotta hit the braking lines, control the sensitive pedals and wheel, and so forth) but I like them how they are.  Real-life driving and Sega racer driving are two different worlds.

Now, would I rather be a paid race car driver or work for Sega and make a new Daytona game?  Which would I pick?  I would like both, but give me Daytona USA--make all the people happy, deliver justice, and SAVE VIDEO GAMES AS WE KNOW IT...  Sega first, then race-car driving later.  Besides, you can press the restart button in a video while in the race, you just crash and die.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let's Go Make Some Crazy Money! (Crazy Taxi With Guides/Maps)

Crazy Taxi came out a few days ago (along with GT5, but we'll get to that in a minute).  For just $10, Crazy Taxi isn't bad.  Let's get into it.

This is basically the same thing as the Dreamcast version.  You get to pick from the Arcade and Original courses, both of which are drastically different.  The graphics are crisp with the same sense of speed and no slowdown, but the blocky graphics and occasional pop-up are clear as day.  You can tell this is a ten year old game off the bat.  Not a big deal though, still looks good.  As you know, the old logos are gone so no KFC, FILA, Pizza Hut, etc.  No big deal, you get to transport people to the "Fried Chicken Shack" now or something.

Now about the soundtrack.  No Offspring or Bad Religion--we know that.  Instead, you got some new licensed punk bands.  Here's the soundtrack from some guy's post on GameFAQs.  Try to identify any of these bands...

Burn the Fields - Escape Artist
The Hooks - Get Out
Jonny Rumble - Black Radio
Three Against Four - Jump, Sink
Lions, Lions - Radiator
One Light Out - Orange Wednesday
The Juliet Dagger - Flinch
The Juliet Dagger - Taking It Back
The Juliet Dagger - Ragdoll
The Vicious Five - Your Mouth is a Guillotine
Theron Bay - The Chase
The Days The Nights - Radical Sabbatical
We Are Invisible - Spy Chaser

I really don't like any of the music in the game at all, but it's not terrible.  It's filler music--not happy with it but not too bad for me to turn off.  I could put some punk music on a USB drive and pop it into my 360, but I'm too lazy to do that.

Now about the gameplay.  Just like the original--run over to people, pick them up, drive them over.  You do it fast, you get more time.  You pull crazy tricks, people throw money at you.  It's crazy fun and also very difficult.  Now having played this for the first time in years (I owned it for the PC), the handling feels the same as before.  However, it sure is slippery.  Your car can rub off traffic and just bounce all over the place.  Guess the best way to describe it in Grand Theft Auto on major steroids.  I also hear a lot of "phomp" sounds (like an old car exhaust) when you hit jumps and whatnot which kind of got annoying.

Besides the usual arcade mode (get people and drop them off), you have the Crazy Box.  The Crazy Box is just sixteen ghetto little missions where you have to slide around on a few primitive levels and make it to the end in time and whatnot.  They remind me of Gran Turismo license tests but with no purpose whatsoever.

As for the achievements, if you can earn an S-license (make over $5,000) on both Original and Arcade courses as well as pass all the Crazy Box missions, then you have 200/200.  Not hard, I did it in a day.

Come to think of it, this is a fun game and it's worth the money, but it's a shame that there's hardly any changes in the game at all.  Just copy and paste the game from one console to another.  I wish Sega put a little more time in each Dreamcast port they work on to show they really care, but no dice.

DISCLAIMER: This was before I knew how to limit cut which greatly helps your taxi abilities...

Read how specifically to do a Limit Cut here.

Now here, I'm going to offer you some guides.  I'm not that good at it--the most I've made so far is $6,000 which is pathetic compared to others who can go into the six digits*** (read footnote).  I know how to do tricks with the throttle and shifter (such as the Crazy Dash) but I still need help with it.  I can do good and keep my time around 45-50 seconds until I plow head-first into a bus and end up going in reverse which wastes enough time for me to drop off a "Slow" customer which means no bonus time and then it all goes downhill from there.  But you can do better than me, I hope.

Click to enlarge pics...

 Arcade Course, a big loop so a map really isn't too helpful:

Original Course, you're really gonna need a map for this one.  The GPS arrow is horribly off, especially in the NW part of the town:

NEW: Found out about this Crazy Taxi Techniques site.  One of the best around.  I linked to it multiple times in this blog already but hey, knowledge is power...

Also check out MKim's Crazy Taxi guide from GameFAQs.  He already wrote massive guides on Daytona USA 1/2 so this guy has some credibility.  It's for the arcade version, but the 360/PS3 versions are practically the same so yeah.  He tells you how to do tricks like the Crazy Dash (huge acceleration boost from stand-still; just shift from R to D then hit gas immediately after) which are insanely helpful.

And finally, some Crazy Box guide on GameFAQs if you're stuck on one of the missions.

Will talk about other stuff later.

 EDIT: Just got $9,138.78 with Gena (with default settings)!!  May do better someday. (like I said, no limit cuts...)

***EDIT2: Had no idea about this until now.  You can go to Options and increase the amount of starting time as well as reduce difficulty (arcade dipswitches).  And that your score is saved to the Leaderboards anyway (I just tested this).  No way, this is BOGUS, man.  BIG advantage for high scores.  It also makes the achievements easier to unlock...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving And Dramatic Life Stuff

Hello everybody.

It is Thanksgiving in America.  When the pilgrims gave thanks and we do too.  Cause giving thanks is good.

I'm thankful for my family.  My friends.  Video games, especially SEGA for making games that give me some sanity.  The guys at the OutRun Online Arcade board.  Our armed forces, police officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel who go through hell to keep society normal.  Our country and the freedoms we have at this time.  The New Orleans Saints winning the Superbowl.  Not having to go to school for a few days.  Oh and Sega games, again, let it be known.

Try reading 1 Chronicles 16 from the Bible for good verses on thankfulness.

I'm tired of seeing all these commercials about Black Friday before Thanksgiving was even here.  Just pissing me off.  Like I don't want to see some little Santa elf dude or a Radio Shack superhero to tell me what to buy.  Now Black Friday sounds like "fun" but I'm broke right now.  Case in point, I hate 95% of the commercials on TV.  Those Geico and Ray Lewis Old Spice commercials are funny though, good times...  So is The Most Interesting Man in the World, what a pimp.

Now we're talking about thankfulness, well one thing we take for granted is our health--our lives.  It infuriates me to no end to hear about how everyone is depressed and that they can't do anything.  Well look, I have opposable thumbs, I can see, hear, walk, and so forth.  That I'm thankful for because I can still drive a car.  But imagine if I didn't have one of the following or worse, I was dead.

Let me tell you a few stories.  This was way back, when I was around six years old (1994).  I was riding my bike without a helmet and fell on the concrete road.  Now this wouldn't be so bad in itself, but there was this groove sticking out to form a ditch that I hit which speared the top of my head.  All I can remember beforehand was crying profusely until I blacked out.

So my parents hauled me to the hospital.  They learned that I had fractured my skull.  OUCH indeed.  So I was unconscious for three days.  The doctors ran some tests on me in the meanwhile.  They told my mom that if I didn't regain consciousness in the next few hours that they'd have to do something drastic to me.  So basically, my mom was crying, watching over me, praying I would wake up.  She prayed "Lord, if you wake this boy up, I'll see to it that he'll do Your will."  She gets up to wash her face then comes back to see me rise from the pillow seemingly normal.  My parents bought me a GameBoy and I left the hospital a day later.  That's how it went down according to my parents.

Now I'm a Christian.  I believe in God, Jesus, Heaven, and so forth.  I just wonder exactly how close I was to death and what it would've been liked if I had actually died.  Wouldn't it have just been better if I died and went to Heaven right away instead of having to put up with all this crap?  Going to school, getting in fights with people who don't like me, complaining about the miserable state of video games, and watching as the world goes through its usual cycle of mutinies.  How would history have changed if I were not here?  Everyone asks that question.  I guess we're alive for a reason so take it, it's a gift from God.

If a skull fracture wasn't bad enough, add in a car collision.  This was about three years ago. (about 2007)  I'm on the highway coming home from school, it's daytime, and I'm driving carefully in my little blue car, not over the speedlimit or anything.  All of a sudden this green sedan in front of me came to a dead stop.  Now I thought this guy was slowing down a little, but then I realized "Oh no, he's really going to stop."  So I slam the brakes assuming I had ABS but no, I didn't.  Assume the position.  WHAM, hit the guy in the back at about 30-something MPH as my car flopped to the left onto the grass median.

So there's this elderly couple across the road who wrecked.  Now at this time, I didn't know how bad the damage was to my car, so I cruised over.  Surprisingly, there was no damage to each car.  Hell, even the music on the CD I was playing didn't skip.  No airbags too.  We just about walked away unhinged.  So I can say I was in a highway wreck, but with no damage whatsoever.  Now that's just weird.  Even if I didn't die, I could've been severely injured someone, even myself.  It's just damn weird.

Now, you think one wreck was bad?  How about a wreck and a near-wreck?  So this is two years ago (one year after the first wreck, about 2008) and it's late.  I just got done taking one of my final exams for the semester, it was late and raining hard on my trip home.  And whaddya know, the person in front of me pulls the "dead stop" trick AGAIN.  No, I'm dead serious, these people think it's appropriate to go from 70 to 0 mph in a highly-congested road.  So I have a cushy space from him, but because of the rain, I didn't realize I was about to hit him right away.  Step on brakes!

Thankfully, I avoid hitting him but once again, lack of ABS bites me in the ass as I slip sideways on the highway.  Oh dear God, I'm going to get in a wreck for sure as I shout "OH BOY!!"  I'm thankful for two things--one, that I spun clockwise (so traffic would've hit from the passenger side on the right and give me a cushion--American car we're talking about) and two, that there were no cars behind me at all.  So I just cruised off like nothing happened.  I just wonder if the guy that slowed down noticed me.  Probably not!  Thanks for nearly getting me killed, jerk.

Let's see, one, two, three life-changing bullets dodged.  Now say what you want--call it divine intervention or dumb luck but I'm alive and I have to be thankful.  There's still much more stuff for me to do.  Hey, I still have this blog and even if you don't agree with me on anything, I hope this has changed SOMEONE for the positive.  That I'm thankful for too.  And REMEMBER TO WEAR YOUR SEATBELT, DRIVE DEFENSIVELY, AND OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS.

Anyway, as an aspiring race car driver, I can safely say that I've been in a hospital for major surgery, a spinout in traffic and a wreck.  All while driving the same car, one that I rubbed on the side of my fence too (it was a rare accident but I got it fixed).  Balls to the wall, I say.  I'm never gonna give up on that blue car so that I'm thankful for too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kotaku Proving Their Racing Game Brilliance Once Again...

No surprise that a day after I post my big-ass list on all the game companies and their racing titles that Kotaku has to come out with this.  Just take a look for yourself.

First of all, I don't even know why they made this guide in the first place.  I thought racing games were "crap" according to the mainstream gamer.  In the words of Marie Antoinette, "Let them play FPSes and RPGs."  Okay, so she didn't say that, but you get the point.  Racing games will soon be merged with "action games" and then no one will care about them.  Which is why you get ridiculous crap like Split/Second and Carmageddon, cause normal racing games are too boring, lol

Anyway, if you didn't pick up on the main glaring flaw on this list, then let me kick it into your head: NO DAYTONA USA.  No way, no how.  Instead you get Ridge Racer.  There's only two things related to Sega in that article and that is OutRun (original) and Yu Suzuki (referenced as creator of Hang-On).  Other than that, nothing.  Let me spell that out for you--
Makes me wanna puke.  Why this is relevant is because Daytona USA is one of the highest--if not THE HIGHEST grossing arcade racer ever.  Up there with Pac-Man and Street Fighter 2 in terms of profits.  Sad that games like Daytona USA 2 and Scud Race will get zero face time too, but that's to be understood since even Sega has abandoned them.  No one knows about those games anyway.

Hey, some comments on that article are crying out the same thing!  Wow, we actually have more than five our six people in this world who like Daytona USA.  I'm stunned.

Hey, I just noticed no Cruis'n USA/World/Exotica, Fast and the Furious, or Split/Second on there MWAHAHAHAHA.  So this list isn't so bad after all.  It mentioned a few games that I should've added to the that list--click here to read it because it is educational.  Let the idiots bicker over the lack of F-Zero as well as how Forza is referred to as a "semi-simulation" racer.

I guess the list was made to cherish racing games and not put them down, so you can't totally hate the man.  Then again, it's nice that Kotaku would "give the dog a bone," so to speak.

Also, check out the quote at the top:

Faster isn't good enough.

Speed alone will not win the race.  You need the cunning to out-think your opposition, the awarenes to find your opening, the courage to take risks, and the skill to bend your vehicle to your will.  Without these skills, speed means nothing.

You can always fail faster.

That sounds awe-inspiring--put it on an inspiration poster, please (first person to photoshop me something wins a prize).  However, it seems they forgot to spell-check the damn thing.  Congratulations, you guys are geniuses.  Bend the vehicle to your will--wow, now that's a foreign concept to the little geniuses out there.  I thought racing games weren't supposed to take skill.  But really, this is flattering, I must say.

Now that's it, I'm done, I quit, I hate video games and I hate everybody, goodbye.

Good Perfect Dark XBLA Review

I just saw this and thought it was cool.  Give it a try even if it sounds boring at first.

"The thing that has just popped up at the top of the screen is called a HEALTH BAR."

(In Call of Duty) "There's no punishment for taking damage so you take more risks and are less cautious."

"This game is ten years old and it plays better than modern shooters."

[insert pokes at little brats of this generation]


I like Call of Duty but there's something about Perfect Dark that's more of a "pure" experience.  That's all I have to say.  Good old times, too bad the XBLA remake didn't get any extra DLC...the game still has potential but it's done forever.

Racing Contributors Informative List -- Why Sega Is Number One

1/14/11: Moved this article to its own page in the green taskbar on the right; click here to read it.  Very intriguing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Do Maury And Cruis'n USA Have In Common?

Well, they're both pathetic, but that's not what I'm looking for.  The Drunk Driving episode, back when the Maury show had a shred of intellectual value:

Playing Some Initial D, Black Ops: The "Nuketown Secret," and RB

EDIT: Updated a few days later.

Today, I wanted to go back to the old mall arcade where Daytona USA 2 once was.  Yes, there's still an arcade nearby that's alive and kicking.  So I'm checking it out to reminisce on old times and there's no change in the game lineup from a few months ago.  They've always been stubborn when it comes to games which is good if you're a fan of anything so you can play it for years (my Daytona 2 career was extended this way).  There's Initial D and Fast and the Furious, but that's it.  So I decide to give Initial D a try.  For 75 cents, it better be damn good cause I'm not paying a dollar for anything besides Daytona USA and stuff.

I really apologize for giving Initial D a hard time in the past.  It is one of Sega's creations after all.  I once was like, "This game's stupid, it's taking away from Daytona USA," which is sort of true, but I'd rather have Initial D than that Cruis'n/FnF junk.  Before today, I only played the game once a few years ago with a broken steering wheel.  So I was going in cold turkey here.

So I picked the '98 Subaru WRX, manual (yeah baby), that easy level, the second guy (2-stars).  I whoop his ass.  1:00 first lap, :58 next two laps.  It's fun drifting and stuff.  I don't like how you can rub off the walls like they're coated in vaseline (see Gran Turismo) but other than that, get a few powerslides going OutRun 2-style.  I can assure you I wasn't wall-riding or driving like a lunatic.  It was good, made me feel happy afterwards...  I didn't buy a card though but I found one lying around with a Honda S2000 with the name "MUNKY" but I don't know if I wanna use that one.  I'm a big Subaru guy anyway.

I'll say this.  If a decent Initial D port is released someday, I'll try it out.  It has to be something for Xbox 360 and all that.  I hear the most recent Ridge Racer is okay, but I don't's Ridge Racer...RIDGE RACER!!!...that we're talking about.


About NASCAR's Sprint Cup, this is the final race of the season.  This race is at Homestead, Miami (during the day which sucks).  It's between Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick.  Johnson is only a few points behind but he has a much greater starting position than the others so he'll probably win again.  I don't have a favorite here.  I know no one really cares but it's worth mentioning cause of the Daytona-themed blog and all.

UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson won; this is his 5th straight title.  Hamlin and Harvick, you are both chokers who should be ashamed of yourselves.


Now this has to do with Black Ops.  Anyway, Treyarch loves to put little easter eggs/mysteries in their games for astute gamers to try to solve.  We've seen clues in CoD:WaW zombie maps and with the GKNova/Henry Langham transmissions so this is not new.

There is a multiplayer map in the game called Nuketown.  It's a '50-style neighborhood in the middle of a desert built to demonstrate the results of an atom bomb test.  In this map, there are 30 mannequins lying around.  In one interview, a developer dropped a little tidbit--if you shoot off all the mannequins' heads in a certain amount of time from the start of the match, you unlock a "secret."  So people scrambled to see what this secret was, but it was obscenely difficult because the mannequins are in random locations every time.

People made up stories about what happened when you accomplished the goal, though no one had any proof because "they forgot to record it" or "they didn't have a camera."  Remember, pics or it didn't happen.  According to rumors, this event triggered a combination of any of the following:

* Screen fades to pitch black
* Warning sirens go off
* Red strobe lights
* Military planes drop napalm
* MW2-style nuke countdown occurs
* Mannequins turn into zombies
* Mannequins drop weapons
* Unlock a new zombie map
* Unlock a new title
* The map goes from a standard multiplayer to a zombie game on the spot

Well some people actually did it.  And do you know what happened?

The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" starts playing over the speakers.  That's all.  Proof:

The same song plays in one of the campaign missions (shooting up Charlie on a gunboat).  So Treyarch loves messing with the people, I love it.


Ooh, one more thing.  This is Rock Band 3 we're talking about.  I was fooling around with my capture card, playing a random setlist and I got that Ace of Spades Expert Guitar FC just like that (FC = hit 100% of the notes without breaking your combo).  What an absolute shock.  I played this song like 100 times before and I always missed one or two notes.  It's not that hard of an FC though.  I also FCed Carry On Wayward Son, Welcome Home, Monkey Wrench, The Metal, Pinball Wizard, Smooth Criminal.  I have screen captures of these for proof.  Hwevero, this video's just for fun.  Check out the cool characters.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Sorry, I want to talk about Sega racers too, but I saw this article and I wanted to address something...

Music Games are on the decline...

In 2008, music games - think series like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, SingStar & DJ Hero - made over $1.6 billion. In 2009, that dropped by almost half, down to $870 million, and in 2010, well...things are looking even worse.

From January through to October, music games have yet to break the $250 million mark. Which considering this is a year which has seen Rock Band 3 (which is a great game), a new Guitar Hero game and a new DJ Hero title is dismal reading.

It's worth saying that I'm a big Rock Band fan who doesn't like Guitar Hero.  You know that.  Anyway, business is business and if people don't buy RB stuff anymore, then well, that's the way that it is.  It does suck that Viacom has sold Harmonix (which I talked about earlier) which means that Rock Band could be without financial support for a while.  This is when things get hairy, but not much I can do about it now.

But that's not the point.   There's some idiotic assertions that I hear quite often and I want to address them.  Here goes:

If the genre's profits are down, then it must mean the games suck. - Bull.  If anything, all the hyperactive little Guitar Hero 3/World Tour kids jumped ship so it's time for the REAL Rock Band fans to come through.  The newer Guitar Hero games tanked anyway so with their numbers down, it makes RB looks worse than it really does.

And another thing--you have to expect the number of peripherals sold to decrease over time.  I already own three RB guitars, two RB drums, and three USB microphones.  I just bought RB3 ($60) and skipped the keyboard ($80).  Most people already own the instruments so expect less profit to be made.  Makes sense, right?

It's only a party game. - Well, the name of the game is Rock BAND so naturally you will want to play with other people.  However, look at it this way--what OTHER games "need" multiplayer?  Let's look at Call of Duty, Halo, any FPS.  So you're just going to play the single-player campaign on your own?  Or are you going to play with other people?  So WHAT if some games are fun with other people?  You're right, cause it's more fun to just play my little RPGs all by myself.

And another thing--you don't need other people to play the game.  As a matter of fact, other people can be annoying.  Ever tried to play for high scores?  Ever tried challenging yourself?  Ever tried to take the game a bit more seriously than that one time you were drunk at your friend's house and you couldn't even hit 25% of the notes on Easy?  Look at Pac-Man, you're eating dots like you hit notes in RB.  So Pac-Man sucks because it doesn't have simultaneous multiplayer?  Screw it.

You want to know where the REAL GH/RB players are?  Check out Score Hero.

The music market is oversatured. - Thank Guitar Hero and Activision for releasing about five music games a year.  Also weird stuff like Power Gig and Rock Revolution.  Since Guitar Hero has the benefit of the name behind it, most people think Guitar Hero is the definitive standard while Rock Band is a ripoff.  However, it's the other way around.  So when Guitar Hero sucks, Rock Band takes a hit too.

And about Rock Band, you have a few recent titles.  You have RB: The Beatles which is a shrine to probably the most popular band in the world.  You've got Lego Rock Band and RB: Green Day which are moreso cop-outs but they at least focus on the material at hand rather than have 30 songs from the title band and another 30 from miscellaneous bands (see GH: Metallica/Van Halen).  Also you can import these songs (barring The Beatles) to major RB titles which makes them leagues over GH where new games are basically separate expansion packs with little connectivity to each other.  Pathetic on GH's part.

And if you want to see oversaturation, just look at all the FPSes available, there you go.  There's only a handful of decent music games while there a ton of viable FPSes.  FPSes up your ass.

There's nothing new to the series, just same-old, same-old. - Rock Band 3 added Pro Guitar/Bass, Pro Keyboards, Pro Drums.  It also added a bevy of other options (such as convenient No-Fail switch) that make the game more accessible to veterans of the series.

If you've been paying attention, then you'll see that Rock Band receives new DLC songs on a weekly basis.  Click here to see a big-ass list.  Currently over 2000 songs!  Now you're not stuck to playing the same 50-80 songs over and over again!

But seriously, take a look at Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, Assassin's Creed, God of War.  Anything REALLY new about these games?  You get your guns or knives, you kill the other guys.  Maybe there's a few new maps and game modes, but nothing significant.  Besides, when significant changes are made, everyone hates them (ex. see MW2's "unbalanced" perks).  Also, sports games like Madden, NBA 2K whatever, same thing with a roster update and a few new touches every year.

What I'm trying to say is....why does Rock Band need to reinvent the wheel?  Why does it suck but other games are fine?  Really?

I don't see what's fun about playing little scrolling notes on the screen/It's repetitive. -  Have you ever tried to play the game past the Medium difficulty?  Ever play on Expert where you get your hands dirty with some big solos and tough chord changes?  If you play on Easy/Medium, most every song in the same.  But when you get to Hard/Expert, the game really becomes taxing.  Try playing for high scores too in solo and band play!  If scores are stupid, then why bother keeping score in ANY game you play?  Really...

Oh, and you don't necessarily have to play Guitar/Bass.  Try drums.  Everyone loves drums.  You have four pads and a foot pedal.  It's a completely different experience.  Or if you don't like that, try singing.  Yes, vocals are fun too.

And what makes it better is that you get to listen to some great music too!  You gotta feel the music, man.  I love incorporating some of my favorite Classic Rock hits into a challenging game...and no, Audiosurf doesn't count since it's not rhythm-based in the slightest.

And most of all, this is a game that really tests your's like sports, chess, card-stacking, what have you.  Not like Zelda or Final Fantasy where you read a guide beforehand and it gives you steps on what to do.  This is the purest form of gaming--play for high score and don't "die."  That's why it's quite intruging.

I get tired of playing the same songs over and over again. - Go buy some DLC.*  Buy Rock Band 1/2 and Lego RB and import songs to your RB3 library (you must get RB2/Lego new though).  You can easily up your library 250+ songs for a modest price.

See, this is what I appreciate about Rock Band.  They actually try to compile hundreds of songs in the same game.  MAJOR CONTENT OVERLOAD.  That makes me happy.  On the other hand, Guitar Hero has a bunch of extra games which act like expansion packs.  Want to play song X?  Well, pop in this CD.  Want to play song Y?  Oops, that's not on the game you have in now, turn off the game and put in another.  Rock Band 3 circumvents this to a grand extent (no Beatles and a few licensed songs) can play most every song you own in the game.  How sweet is that?

To be fair, GH5 has some import features, but lose so many songs due to licensing and the DLC library sucks.  GH is just weak when it comes to gathering a huge setlist.

Rock Band is ruining the music industry/It's for lazy people who want to play real instruments. - That's stupid.  I have zero interest in playing real guitar or being in a band.  My only musical experience comes from piano lessons for several years.  I want to hit those little notes and listen to music at the same time.  And if anything, playing Rock Band has enhanced my musical knowledge ten-fold.  I know plenty more bands than I did before.  So I have to thank Rock Band for what they've done.

I'm no good at it. - Go buy the game and practice.  Cry me a river.

I've played Rock Band and I just don't like it. -  Assuming you actually gave the game a fair shot, then there's no way that I can debate this.  It's like trying to persuade to like baseball or NASCAR--you can't strap them to a chair and force them to like it.  Just give the series some props while you're at it; that's all I ask.


* -  Get started by checking out these sites for recommended DLC so you don't get duped into buying a "stupid" song:

DLC Quickplay, RBDLC, My Top 10 Recommended DLC

That's it.  If there's any other questions that I think of, then I'll address them.  Adios, will post other stuff later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010



Best racing game ever...?  Eh, you're're CLOSE.  Which racing games are better, I'll let you figure that out on your own (Hint: Look around my blogspot).  But because you're Kevin Butler, I forgive you.

We love cars again!!!  November 24, 2010!!!  (I accidentally used the Japanese release date, Nov. 25) Really, it's coming out, REALLY?  Wait, isn't that the same day as Crazy Taxi's release (Nov 24)?  Oh no, we have a conundrum, people.  What to play...CT for the 360 or GT5 for the PS3.  Oh, I'll wield two controllers and play both simultaneously.  YouTube it and I'll be on all the gaming blogs for sure.


Made in Venezuela, ehhh??

"Gameplay" Footage Here (MegaDrive) - Yes, this is an actual game.

And you thought the list of ten awful racing games was bad.  *faceplant concrete*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thank You, Activision

I was going to post this in the previous post, but I decided to split this one up.

If you don't know already, Bizarre Creations is nearly dead at the hands of its parent company, Activision.  Let us talk about it for a little while.  Its first hit was Metropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast), a precursor to the Project Gotham Racing (Xbox) series.  I know my boy rjay loves MSR, so here one's of his videos:

And then there's PGR 1 through 4--this time with Microsoft.  I actually had a lot of fun with PGR1 and 4 though most prefer PGR2.  It was a good diversion for someone who's been depraved of Sega racing goodness for some time.  I filmed this video on PGR4, check it out cause it's wicked sweet at the end:

And then this is where Activision comes in.  First, Bizarre makes Blur which I talked about back in July '10.  Yes, I may have opened up on it, but to be fair, it's not THAT bad of a game.  I hear it sold over 360,000 copies, but the article says it didn't sell well at all.  Is this game a failure?  *shrug*

Then, Bizarre (despite being a racing dev first and foremost) is told to make an FPS.  This one's called 007: Blood Stone: click here to check out the review.  It's kind of like Quantum of Solace (by Activision themselves) which came out two years before.  With Call of Duty in the way, I highly doubt this game's going anywhere.  Surprisingly, Blood Stone does have driving sequences...albeit mediocre ones.

And that's it.  Blood Stone sucks, Blur's not getting any more DLC/updates, and Bizarre is dead.  So Activision killed Bizarre to keep up what they've done to Infinity Ward and RedOctane.  Hey Sega, maybe you can pick up these guys again and teach them about your SEGA RACING GOODNESS and recruit more soldiers in the fight...too bad no one's listening.

EDITEDITEDIT: Day later, looks like Bizarre may get a new owner after all, but they won't say who.  So they're alive! I guess...


Oh yeah, and how about this:  Tony Hawk: Shred Sells 3,000 Units In The First Week. Man, I tell you this.  The old Tony Hawks were super-fun, just busting out sweet combos and stuff.  But starting with Tony Hawk: Underground 2, the series has become a laughing stock.  Now it's gone from a laughing stock to a coma patient because after the abysmal failure that was Tony Hawk: Ride, Activision ditches Neversoft, gets another dev to make Tony Hawk: Shred, and it sucks, sucks, sucks.  I didn't even know this game existed until now.  Why oh why does this happen.

Well, goodbye skateboarding genre, you were cool for a little while...  I know there's Skate but nothing will replace the old THPS feel.  Then again, after watching videos like this, the whole game feels gimmicky as hell now so, uh...there goes my Tony Hawk career as a poor loser.  I'm done ranting.

Shenmue 3, Crazy Taxi, School Sucks, Et Al.

I'm really sorry that I didn't post in the last few days (especially anything Daytona/Sega related)...wasn't feeling good and something bad came up.  Turns out that I have to take more than just two English classes next semester to graduate.  Need to take one course in public speaking and one in Visual Basic.  So now I go from 6 to 12 credits/hours left.

Turns out that leading up to this point, my advisors lied about what courses I could/couldn't substitute.  "Hey, take this!"  "Wait, no, that class is useless now.  We're sorry!"  I'm taking as many as I can online--I'm not traveling anymore.  This is my tenth semester here and I'm tired of taking advice from advisors in the Computer Science department who are "100% sure" that these are the right courses for me to take.  I give up with this place.

I also beat CoD: Black Ops on Veteran.  Finally, done with that garbage.



Yu Suzuki Wants Shenmue 3 -- Ok, this is a few days old, but this is from an interview with Famitsu magazine:

"I want to make 3 with the same volume as in the past," Suzuki said. "There have actually been a lot of requests from fans for 3 as well. There were even petitions signed by by tens of thousands of people."

But it appears that the biggest issue for SEGA and Suzuki is investment. "Shenmue has the image of grand scale,"
he told Famitsu. "But making something of grand scale requires appropriate preparation."  

I don't know he was prodded into giving a positive response because the interviewer intentionally brought up the issue (what's else is he gonna say, 0% chance of Shenmue 3??).  However, I bet there's tons of Shenmue fans who are breaking down over this.  The most important part of any project is...ya have a leader that WANTS to accomplish a goal.  And having a bunch of people behind you certainly gives you a morale boost.  I really don't have much to say about it because Shenmue isn't my most favorite game, but this is Sega's baby we're talking about.  Two things that I want to bring up though...

One, how much fan campaigning do we have to do to get their attention?  Like if 50,000 fans start screaming for a Shenmue 3, making , they get it?  How about Daytona fans?  Despite our "dwindling" numbers, could we produce out such an effort?  I don't know how many would be onboard since some Daytona fans are happy with their 8-player setups anyway, which is good but like the Queen song says, "I want it ALL."  I want as much Sega racing goodness in one package.  I want to knock all the Burnouts, the FnF's, the Split/Second's of the world to be knocked back on their ass by pure awesomeness.

Sega employees are people too (I think)...they probably look at the internet and stuff.  I wonder how often they look up fan sites, message boards, and stuff.  Yu Suzuki acknowledged the fans, but to what extent does he know about us?  I'd like to think that there is SOMEONE from Sega who has read this blog, but I don't know.  If I do become an employee for a game company (preferrably Sega, of course), then I'll try to get more hands-on with the community--take more time to get input and make a game that doesn't suck.  How much investigation do devs do nowadays?  They don't say.  Like a bunch of games nowadays where the devs just sit there locked in their little bunker, slaving away, game's out and it has a bunch of flaws.  That's great--wasted energy for nothing.

Throw this in here too:  If someone from Sega (in seriousness, of course) asked "Eric, please tell me what you want," I will break down EVERYTHING that I want for a Daytona game.  I'll discuss everything--the cars, the tracks, the menus, the online, whatever.  Break it down.  Talk with you guys in the Sega community too.  Fly me over in a plane over to Sega HQ in Japan (not likely, of course lol).  I'll get my hands dirty.  I'll do it because this is what I've been waiting for.  I just hope I don't get too nervous cause...uh, I don't have any actual professional game design training yet (stuck learning how to program in Silverlight and stuff ROFL).

The second thing is that Yu Suzuki says he wants to get prepared for something of grand scale.  YES, finally, people treating their games well!  Like I've said before, and this is apparent with "backbencher" devs like Sega, you rarely have more than one chance to make a game right.  Screw up and you can throw a few patches at it, but you can't redo it from the ground up.  So if Shenmue 3 comes out and it's crap, well then congratulations--you blew it, Suzuki-San.  No Shenmue 3 remake, it's sealed in history now.  But no really, take the time to make it GOOD.

Like when it comes to Daytona, I'd much prefer if Sega took years to make a great game than it would be if they gave us a port.  ANYTHING other than a sub-par game.  I tell you this--if a new Daytona game were announced, I'd sweat bullets and bite my nails more than anything.  I'd rather take NO Daytona game than a sucky one.  Yes, it's true, let the series die with HONOR than to let it live in disgrace.  Live off of old memories if we have too!  We've gotten this far with just that!  There's a lot of stake with iconic series like these, Sega.  Listen to Yu Suzuki, people.


Crazy Taxi Now Out For PSN - Really, now it's out??  I completely lost track of this.  The Xbox 360 game's coming out Nov. 24.  I highly recommend you buy it.  I will...OBVIOUSLY.  I'll find the money somewhere.  So go buy it, really, just go buy it.  BTW, I know this version will be in Widescreen, but it will ditch the old music and logos.  Hopefully the car handling is the same...


New Mario & Sonic Crossover Game? - I don't think I heard anyone talk about this, so don't take this too seriously.  Some 4chan "prophet" who correctly posted all the details to Sonic Colors claims there will be another crossover that some will be surprised about.  It won't be a sports game.  I mean, it was really weird to see Mario and Sonic in that Olympics game and in Brawl, but can you imagine a normal platformer with the two in it?  It'll probably be something subdued like an RPG.  Good luck trying to come up with a semi-decent plot that than combine the, the canon's gonna be all effed up now.


A "Dreamcast Collection" At Gamestop? - It's $30 and it's stated to come out February 2011.  Gamestop pulled the item from its website because they may have released it too soon.  It sounds absurd to me though.  How many games will it have?  I'm guessing it will have Sonic and Crazy Taxi along with Space Channel 5 and Bass Fishing, although with the rate at which Sega's been porting DC games, I don't see them getting just four games out the door.  Besides, if they sell 4 games on XBLA for $40 combined, why would a hard copy be worth $30?  Good deal then!  I'd take a hard copy of these games any day, I'd tell you that.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Call Of Doody Black Ops And Rock Band HOLY EXPLETIVE!!!

EDIT: Update a few days later

I seldom run out and buy a brand new games because odds are my brothers will go for the impulse buy first and then I get to play it for $0.  It happened with Dead Rising 2 and now it's Black Ops.  Kaching.

Anyway, I heard that Black Ops sold more than 5 million copies in the first 24 hours which is more than MW2 sold (4 mil).  All I have to say is holy crap, Call of Duty is making Halo look really, really bad.  Like I prefer the contemporary look of CoD to Halo's futuristic look, but who cares.

I think that Call of Duty is way too popular...when you get these massively-produced packages that are distributed to a wide audience, it really doesn't feel like it satisfies "everyone" everyone says Call of Duty is for noobs because it doesn't take "skill" to play.  I mean, imagine if this game were as difficult as Counter-Strike 1.6.  You'd lose like 50% of your target audience right there.  But still, it takes skill to play, I know.

Ok, so what.  Let's talk about what I've done so far.  First, there's the campaign.  You play as Alex Mason who's this macho badass who's gone on about ten deadly missions in his entire life.  So you're strapped to a chair and some creepy dude (the Banker from Deal or no Deal) is interrogating you.  You won't answer his questions so you say "Don't tase me, bro!" but he does anyway.  It turns out that this interrogation is in the present and you play missions (from 1961 to 1968) as you recall them to the creepy dude.

It seems more thoughtful than a lot of the previous CoDs--like I really wanted to know what was going to happen next.  It's nitty-gritty stuff, but so what--there's tons of little kids playing this game anyway so society's already screwed as it is.  And about zombies, the campaign never references them so no, just regular old "kill the bad guys" plot.  You just have to play the game to see for yourself.

Campaign Mode:  Well, I've already made it through half the game on Veteran.  I guess you can say I'm a Call of Duty Veteran...HAHA, that's gold.  Anyway, like other CoDs, you sneak out, shoot the guy, and if you get hit, you duck for cover.  Nothing fancy, it's quite easy if you take your time.  But there's a few parts in the game where they throw infinitely-respawning enemies at you.  I think they had them back in World at War, but I'm not sure.

However, this time, infinite enemies are REALLY APPARENT cause you're like "Oh God, when are they gonna stop!?" and they never do.  You can't wait them out like the old days so you need to pull some tricks out of your ass.  Throw smoke grenades and move up, causing your NPC friends (who never die BTW) to move up as well and hopefully take some pressure off your back.  Then you run back and hide and don't pray you die.  Repeat until you reach the given trigger point then the enemies stop spawning and you reach a checkpoint.  Gosh, I love these trigger-based campaigns.

The two parts I got stuck on was on Mission 4 after you shoot the rocket/missile down.  Then you go into a Soviet bunker (just like No Fighting in the War Room from CoD4) and MY GOODNESS, you have these multiple hallways with guys pouring through both ways.  Like you had to throw two smokes, move up and get your NPCs to follow you.  Then you throw smokes at one hallway while you sprint into another room, hopefully kill the few people there at point-blank, then maybe you'll get the checkpoint.  Took about three hours to do this one segment.

Oh, and there's this other part in Vietnam where you have to climb down a hill and throw gas cans at a line of never-ending Vietcong that can pick you off from a football-field's (which football, it's up to you) away.  Also took another three hours here.  BS BS BS BS, I've already beaten four CoD's on Veteran already, but it's just utter crap what they make you go through.

I made it halfway through the game then my jackass brother came in and snatched the game away.  Then he and his friends go to the other Xbox and play Dead Rising 2.  So basically, he takes his copy of Black Ops and just sits on it so I can't play it.  All that just to be an ass.  You suck.


Oh, and this picture's been floating around on the internet lately, but I'm gonna let you guys see it:

Sad that it's so linear nowadays.  2010, it's like playing out a movie.  A movie where you can just sit there while the guy says "SHOOT THA HINGIS!" and nothing happens.  Now I don't have problem with movies, but come on, give me some variation.  I miss missions like those in Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, those were boss.

Multiplayer: I didn't play it much but I got about two hours in with some friends on XBL.  It's just like old Call of Duties, that's about it.  Less killstreak abuse.  The RC car is here but it's not terribly overused.  Also, I did have a problem with being on one side of the map looking inward and then the other team will spawn right behind me and shoot me in the ass.  Other than that, I guess it's ok.  Honestly though, I think the most fun I had playing CoD online was in World at War.  Yeah.

Zombies: Didn't get the chance to play it, but there's two zombie maps on the CD.  One is in some abandoned Nazi theater and you play as your old crew--Dempsey, Nikolai, Richtofen, Takeo.  It's cool I guess.  The second level (you have to beat the campaign to unlock it) is in the Pentagon with JFK, Castro, Nixon, McNamara.  Sweet, I can't wait to play that one...  Treyarch better roll out an ass-load of zombie DLC--it would be a shame if they didn't cause Zombies = Money, there you go.

So I guess Black Ops isn't that bad.  It doesn't matter if I give this game a negative one million out of ten, y'all still buy it anyway.  So I guess EIGHT OUT OF TEN BABY.  It's Eric4372's Game of the Day, so check it out boys and girls.

Also, one more thing about Black Ops, remember that Henry Langham and GKNova stuff?  What does that have to do this now...?  We already know that previous zombie maps are laden with easter eggs, so why does Treyarch keep amusing us with this stuff?  I hope it comes into play in future DLC zombie maps.


Oh, and get this.  I'm playing Rock Band 3 again with No Fail On.  With No Fail on, it really doesn't matter if you can pass the song or not anymore (your score still saves to leaderboard), so let's go play some Expert Drums!  I played thirty songs in a row and I got all sweaty.  I'm playing for "fun" at this point so I dig into some hard junk.  Then I get to the quintessential pain-in-the-ass song in RB3, Llama by Phish.  Congrats, I can't even get three stars on this.  GOD, MAN.  Not the hardest song in the history of RB, but probably the hardest on-disc song of all RB games.


And you thought that was hard?  Well, here you go, the ELDTRICH ABOMINATION, hardest drum song.

Not much else to say.  I did FC Go Your Own Way (one of my favorite songs of all time) on Expert Vocals (yes I can do vocals, did you know that??).  And I'm gonna go ahead and embed that song cause it is worthy of being implemented into the blog entry.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day, No Really I Mean It

I've always said this and I'll say it again.  We salute all of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we have in this nation.  It's a very tough thing for a person to do, but they're honorable people.  People who go through hell and possibly die just so that we can do normal everyday stuff.  God bless you all and thank you for your services.  You're more of a man (or "woman") than I am, lol.

"Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference.  The Marines don't have that problem." - Ronald Reagan

Viacom Sells Harmonix (Rock Band Devs)

BREAKING NEWS.  Viacom is the company that owns MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, etc.  Well, because the Rock Band franchise has supposedly lost money in the last three years and because the price is right, Viacom has sold Harmonix.  Hopefully, someone else will buy it, such as Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Apple, oh...ACTIVISION, as long as it keeps the RB series on life support.  Besides, Viacom is garbage anyway with its diehard YouTube video removal campaign.  And we all know that MTV is the epitome is evil/stupidity anyway.

This is somewhat startling news because of what happened between Activision and Red Octane (GH Developer).  Activision throttled the life out of the GH series and then closed down Red Octane.  Also, the newest Guitar Hero game (Warriors of Rock) absolutely bombed.

At least Harmonix still promises to continue work on the series while the studio is on the auctioning block.  This is somewhat relieving news since I'm a huge Rock Band fan (as you could tell) and it sucks that a studio that actually cared about its product so much almost assumed room temperature.  I just hope the choice of music doesn't suck because Harmonix is no long connected to the Viacom pipeline.  If Harmonix is bought by someone else, I'll let you know.

Even then, Rock Band has had a nice run so far so if the series were to die, then at least it did so with a sense of pride.

Worth mentioning about GH and RB history:  Guitar Hero 1 and 2 were made by Harmonix and Red Octane.  The two studios split afterwards.  Harmonix (under Viacom) made Rock Band while Red Octane (under Activision) made Guitar Hero 3 and then on.  So if you assume Rock Band is a crappy Guitar Hero clone, then you're wrong because the RB devs were there from the beginning.  The more you know.

Also check out my list of RB DLC you should and shouldn't buy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

California Speed -- Garbage With REDEEMING QUALITIES

Well, everyone knows about Midway (they're long gone now).  The Cruis'n series was Midway's bread-and-butter racing series.  At first, there was Cruis'n USA.  Then they expanded their sights larger and made Cruis'n World.  Then they decided to "up the ante" with Cruis'n Exotica which covered more intriguing locations not covered in the prequel.

However, let's focus on Atari Games.  In 1996, they were consumed by Midway.  Atari Games was renamed to Midway Games West to avoid confusion with regular old Midway.  Atari was responsible for some old school games like Paperboy, Marble Madness, S.T.U.N. Runner, Super Sprint, Hard Drivin', Gauntlet, Area 51, and so forth.  Read more here.

But Atari isn't the main focus of this article.  It's about California Speed.  You see, while Midway was cooking up Cruis'n games, Atari was cooking up Rush games (SF Rush, Rush 2, Rush 2049).  Now IMO, I think the Rush series is far superior to the Cruis'n series.  However, Atari, seeing what their Midway brethren had done, also felt the need to get their hands dirty and make their own Cruis'n style game and they called it California Speed.

Supplemental Material: San Francisco Rush N64Cruis'n World N64.

Why not California?  The largest state in size and population in the continental US.  Highest and lowest altitudes in the continental US (Mt. Whitney and Death Valley respectively).  It has the 7th-10th largest GDP in the world.  Its population also consists of 7.3% illegal immigrants, voted heavily Democrat in the last 20 years, and in San Francisco, you can't buy Happy Meals with toys anymore.  What else do you need to know...

So while Midway was going BIG, Atari was going SMALL.  The state of California packs more action in it than most of the world combined.  And for the most part, they're right.  Along with big cities and noticeable landmarks, California Speed contains plenty of crazy courses and environments in it, such as supercomputers, roller coasters, shopping malls, and so forth.  Midway only started to up the ante with Cruis'n Exotica and by then the "crap racer" genre has already overstayed its welcome...

In retrospect: Cruis'n World was released 1996 (arcade) and 1998 (N64) while California Speed was released in 1998 (arcade) and 1999 (N64).  I'm not even going to talk about the arcade version since it sucks IMO (mostly because of the music).  This one's entirely about the N64.

However, despite the "praise" I give to California Speed, lest you forget this is still a mediocre racing game only exceeding the Cruis'n series in certain aspects.  The handling and graphics in California Speed is awfully similar to that of San Francisco Rush--like Atari just took the source code, ripped it to pieces, and tried to make an awful Cruis'n clone.  I think that the Cruis'n games have sharper visuals and you'll notice Rush's blotchy visuals and sparse detail in selection locations will come into play.

Which one has the better sense of speed is debatable.  California Speed cars top 180 mph while Cruis'n World cars average 150 mph although the latter allow higher speeds due to upgrades.  You make up your own minds there.  Either way, I think both games' sense of speed is rather dry so neither is too spectacular IMO.  I know that California Speed has the longer courses of the two, clocking in at over 2:30 while Cruis'n World's last around a mediocre 1:45 per run.

In California Speed, your car is much more glued to the road, you can't explode, you can't do stunts, and you can't even flip into the air.  At least in Cruis'n games, you have to avoid contact with other stuff and turn on a dime.  In California Speed, there is relatively less interaction with the game as you generally cruise forward dodging occasional traffic.  In one old review (IGN's if I recall), they described the game as a "one-finger game"--that you only need one finger to succeed and that is hold the gas and that's it.  You can bounce off everything and you can't fail.  On the other hand, the AI cars are way too stingy and will ride your ass the whole way unless you don't touch anything, so that's weird.

But regardless, let's get to the game footage, which I find fascinating for some reason.  The car selection is rather bland, but it has some funny as hell cars, like a golf cart or a forklift.  Also, the music in the N64 game just kicks ass--I can't explain why, but some of it is damn good driving music.  So here we go:

Los Angeles:

Drive down interstate, through an aqueduct, then through Beverly Hills.  Pretty standard stuff but the music is AWESOME.  I also love how the guy destroys a tree at 2:17 and doesn't lose any speed whatsoever.

Santa Cruz:

This track starts of normally then it's blandness continues for a while until you start driving on a roller coaster.  Holy crap.


Drive along a beach (the water doesn't slow you down at all WTF), then through an aquarium (Scud Race Underwater Tunnel!!) and then along a golf course.  This game knows no bounds.

San Francisco:

A fairly decent replica of San Fran with the hills and the row houses.  BTW, you don't just drive on the Golden Gate Bridge, you drive UP the sides.  You can see some elements from the old Rush games here, such as the sneaky subway tunnel.


BOY, this stage has a TON of elevation changes.  Otherwise, just your normal outdoor stage.  Flopping through the river and trees and whatnot.  Not a big fan of the New Age Techno, but it does sound like Rush 2 music to me.

Central Valley:

Well gee golly, if this isn't the greatest banjo pluckin' I've ever heard.  The music changes to some sexy disco beat in the mall.  DAMN, this is the world's longest mall--must be 5 mi / 8 km long.  You could actually "hit" sprite people in the arcade version, but not here.

San Diego:

JUMP THE BORDER WOOHOO!  You drive on aircraft carriers and stuff.  Yo, look at this dude in the golf cart at 1:50 LOLOLOLOL

Mojave Desert:

You drive through a desert, a military base, then into a large UFO.  It's stupid but I love this damn song for some reason.

Mt. Shasta:

Wow, the volcano level.  You'll see that a lot of out the wilderness areas in this game are relatively similar (just trees and crap) but then you enter that volcano which looks like Red Mountain from Sonic Adventure.

Silicon Valley:

This is the big supercomputer level.  This one's pretty cool.

That's about it in terms of tracks.  There's also Highway 1, and some other crap bonus courses like Fuji Speedway (although that's in JAPAN), San Andreas fault, and a small replica of California.  There's also Laguna Seca and Sears Point, but I think those are only available in the arcade version.  You do your own research.  Overall, the game sucks and has nothing on Sega who was busy kicking ass with Daytona USA at this point in history (1998-1999), but it shows that some other developers out there "have it" when it comes to making crazy racing games.  So adios, amigos.

NASCAR Fighting Game!

I saw this live last Sunday but am posting it now (not my video), this is Jeff vs. Jeff, Gordon vs. Burton...:

Fighting minigame between drivers!  Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA combined--MAKE IT HAPPEN SEGA!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adventures In FPSes Part 3 -- Tips To Win

Part 2 of the FPS series on Perfect Dark.

I don't know what I'm talking about right now.  I figure I might as well give you a little advice if you feel like you need it for Call of Duty: Black Ops and whatnot.  I guess this can be applied to many other games as well or even sports.  So here goes:

* Losing a lot and getting in a slump.  If you really are playing way below your expectations, the natural reaction is to play even harder which may make you play even worse which leads to extreme frustration.  Really, go outside for a walk and don't talk to anybody to contain the anger.  Let the anger go away before you return back to normal life.  Your skills won't go away overnight so don't be ashamed to take a little break (maybe a day, a week, whatever works) if you're sucking bad.

* Sometimes you may be a victim of lag.  If it means getting less angry, then use lag as an excuse.  At least try joking about it.

* If you're really afraid to feel the shame of a loss, then deliberately put yourself in a crap position.  Like give up the host spot, play against a larger team, or use an inferior gun.  If you lose, then you can always say, "Well, I was in a bad position."  Although only do that when you aren't 100% dead set on winning cause shooting yourself in the foot is a STUPID idea.  Use this in "practice" mode.

* If you fall behind in a crucial game DO NOT PANIC.  One of the worst things people do in ANY game, whether it be racing, FPS, fighting, etc. is that when they are losing, they do really stupid ass things like rush in, waste ammo, don't think things through, etc.  I see this all the time and even I'm guilty of it occasionally.  Really, try to wait out the guy and hope that he screws up.  This reminds me of three stories:

1. This is one of the only times I played Daytona USA 2 multiplayer and it was against some cool black dude and his friends.  Never seen them before but they looked like they knew what they were doing.  So we're pick Beginner course, Phantom cars, MT.  Okay, so I'm leading in lap 3 then I just rub the outside wall in the last turn and fall behind.  Okay, panic mode?  Well, I just wait the guy out.  I know that my regular laps are faster than his and sure enough, he wrecks twice in laps 5 and 6.  So that gave me a cushy lead and I won.  Sometimes, you have to be more consistent than anything.

2. I was playing my friend on Call of Duty 4 (online so no screen-watching).  We were playing Shipment (the smallest map in the game) with MP5's.  So we were creeping around the map trying to find each other first (not really camping) and he spots me first and then I'm behind 1-4.  So I say to myself, "He can't get THIS lucky in the future."  Then I creep around, keeping a defensive (as opposed to camping) stance and I kill him a few times in a row.  Sure enough, his instinct is to spray ammo and sprint across the map, giving away his position.  Relatively easy win from there.

3. I was playing another friend in Madden '09, this time in the same room.  He was the Cowboys, I was the Bucs.  He doesn't play often but I did so I had an advantage.  So I forget what happened up until then, but I throw an interception he returns for the TD.  Then he gets a fumble or something--all I know is that he was up seven on me.  But then, not getting any turnovers until then, I thought "He's gonna screw up EVENTUALLY, he's not that good at this."  Sure enough, he throws his share of interceptions and I kept running the ball and playing steady O.  Then he was forced to pass even more and make stupider mistakes which led to a cozy win on my part.

Speaking of #3, here's a good rule of thumb from Tecmo Bowl: 

4. Not Taking Your Damn Points Will Come Back to Haunt You. For the love of god, just take your damn points. Do not go for the glory of a TD or try to force anything in there. Once you get inside the 40 just say to yourself "ok, now come away with some points." Of course all bets are off if you got LA, since LA has Bo Jackson. Going for the TD and not getting it, especially early in a game, will always lead to a 3 point loss. The lesson here? Take Your Damn Points. Take them, or you'll pay for it later. Of course this law is regularly broken by all players no matter how many times you say I'll just take my damn points. Anyways, Take Your Damn Points.

So basically, the rule is to not hurry anything UNLESS you are nearly out of time and you HAVE to make a big play--like run headfirst into enemy fire for that last kill or take that final turn slightly faster than usual.  I hope you learned something here.

* On the other hand, if you keep making the same mistake over and over again, then you will need to re-evaluate the situation.  Remember the saying, "Fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me twice...WE WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN!!"  If you end up making a mistake that makes you kick yourself, you better damn well learn not to do it again.  Like from every match (especially ones you lose), try to think of ONE thing you could've done better and learn from it.

* Keep your back to the wall.  SERIOUSLY, KEEP YOUR BACK TO THE WALL.  Last thing you need is someone sneaking up on you because that's free points for him.  So basically, always maneuver in such a way that you can watch all approach points.

* Something else that compliments the above statement--ALWAYS STAND NEAR COVER.  If it's a crate, a wall, a pillar three inches thick, just have something to put between the line of fire you can heal, reload, deflect bullets or whatever.  Hiding behind railings, crates, or anything that can conceal part of your body from the enemy is a good idea too, obviously.  Regardless, you should never stay out of cover for too long.  This tip is much more apparent in Call of Duty since there's a lot more objects to hide behind.

* This is vital in games like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike where it takes time to line up a shot from run to shoot.  ALWAYS walk slowly so that you can draw up your aim faster than the other guy.  Seriously, just play a normal CoD deathmatch and count how many times the guy will just run into your line of sight, see you, and then lose because you had your gun drawn first.  Also, walking is quieter than running, so use that to your advantage.

* Even better is if you're creeping around a corner, SWEEP SLOWLY AROUND and expect a guy to pop up always so you'll be ready.  Never, ever "assume" the enemy won't be there or you'll pay.  If you're going to turn the corner, you want to detect him before he does.  And this is one advantage you'll have over campers (who are forced to concentrate over a long span of time while you don't).

* Contrary to what I said above, you're supposed to ACT FAST always.  Be decisive.  Basically, still move slow, but try to make up your mind and go do something to help the situation always.  Never spend time doing nothing--always be trying to complete little goals in your head at all times.  This is important in Perfect Dark in which you need to sprint for the best weapon, grab ammo and shields, tactically cut off other players, whatever it takes.

* Don't camp.  Move around in the same area if you must and follow the above rules, but camping almost never works.  Plus it makes you very unpopular.

* Always try to remain unpredictable.  It doesn't mean replacing good strategies, it just means taking different routes, cover locations, whatever it takes to at least irritate the other player.  This is especially important with proxy mines, Laptop sentries, etc.

* If you're playing in a huge deathmatch game, you win by getting to the set score, not by having the best kill-death ratio.  So you want to move around and not camp so you can frag the most people, but never rush.  You want to be like a venus fly trap--you want to get those suckers to run right into your line of fire (going back to the "wait for screwups" strategy).  Also, if you go slow, you'll seldom receive fire by more than one person which is good since multiple people shooting at you at once usually means death.  Pick them off one by one.

* Aim sensitivity.  We're going back to gamer frustration again.  One of the dumbest things you can do is change your sensitivity by a large amount.  The last thing you want to do is screw up your equilibrium.  Drastic changes to sensitivity MAY help in the short-term, but not in the long-term ever.  High sensitivity isn't always better BTW.  Did you know that the professional CS players have very LOW sensitivity with LARGE mouse pads to compensate?  Change sensitivity in small increments at a time and then your brain will adapt to it much quicker.  If you want to go back to your old changes, then go ahead, be my guest.

* Know the maps, know the guns, cause knowledge is power.  It certainly helps a heck of a lot.

* Always be a considerate player.  You're a human being first and foremost.  Don't need to make an ass of yourself over a game when there's more to life than just that.  Of course, it's still very hard to do this, I know.  Besides, you don't want to get too emotional in a game anyway since too much stress will interfere with your ability to play.

* Practice, practice, practice.  Play against bots or in these crappy little DM servers--just get a lot of time in to get used to the flow of the game and learn to aim for the chest/head region (the neck) and control recoil.

Not much else to say.  Hope it helps.

Link to my Perfect Dark Multiplayer Guide.

Anyway, that's about it for FPSes for a little while.  I'll get to some Daytona stuff relatively soon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures In FPSes Part 2 -- Perfect Dark Showdown

This is Part 2 to my FPS article.  Click here to read Part 1.

This one's purely about Perfect Dark on Xbox Live.  Hoo boy, this is when things get dicey.  Like before, none of these stories are embellished--trust me.  These accounts are the first time I've ever shared them with the public and I'll keep all parties anonymous.  I'm playing quick matches: random maps, random weapons, ten point limit, ten-minute time limit.  I'll begin with one story that happened about a couple of months ago (around May/June 2010 IIRC).

Back in May, I was in the 8-player Team Lobby and it's me versus two other guys on a team.  So it's a 1 vs 2, just great.  I don't mind being the lone wolf since I've done this before and I like the challenge.  Plus, if I lose, then I have the "I was outnumbered," excuse.  However, completely unexpected to me, these guys were GOOD. They hunted me down like a pack of wolves. I really couldn't get into a good position to take down one of them especially since they stuck together.  I only won one game and that was Close Combat on Temple.  I just got lucky with my Crossbow shots.

After about eight or nine games, I got fatigued and started giving up really stupid kills to the point I was ready to "tap out." They eventually quit after about ten games. I'm actually surprised these people managed to play for so long, but they did. If I were in their shoes, I would've done the same thing, sadly.  At least they were good sports about it so the drubbing didn't sting that much.  They sent me a message like "Find yourself a teammate, you'll be good."

I then go back to playing some normal FFA games against mostly novices. I start mopping up, getting some good runs, then all of a sudden (this was in June BTW) who else pops up but ONE OF THE GUYS FROM THAT DUO EARLIER....and he was the host. So basically, this is a head-to-head game I knew would be a matchup for the ages. Like Rocky vs. Apollo Creed.

First game was Farsights on Base. In case you didn't know, the Farsight is a gun that can slowly lock onto and one-hit kill enemies through walls. So basically, get the Farsight first, play competently, and you'll win. We trade blows at 1-1 early, then he gets the Farsight. I am absolutely destroyed with a 1-10 loss which obviously is a piss-poor start.

Second game is Classic Power on Ravine. Get dual RC-P45s and you will destroy others. Since Perfect Dark has very quick innings (it takes just a few well-placed shots to kill someone), you can still come back if you only have one RC-P45 while the other has two, but it didn't work out that way. Falling behind 0-6 early, it seemed like he was poised to deliver a complete shellacking.

...But then, something completely changed that I don't know why. It can be best described like this. You're at the arcade and you're playing the original OutRun. You're puttering around slowly thinking, "Why the hell am I going so slow?" Then you realize that you're stuck in Low gear and you stick that lever into High as tires start to kick up.  I start to zone out again and crank it up a notch and what happens next could best be described by this:

Wielding one RC-P45 and a shield, he turns the corner with his dual RC-P45's and I get the best of him.  1-6.  Now I'm the hunter and he's the hunted.  And I swear that when this happened, I PROCEEDED TO HUNT THE GUY DOWN AND PUNISH HIS ASS EVERY CHANCE I COULD.  Like a cheetah going after an antelope.  It was quite possibly the most satisfying win ever as I hustled to come back 8-7.  Chalk up one win for our side.

The next seven or eight games, I proceeded to just absolutely rip this guy a new one and win a bunch in a row.  I vaguely remember what the game settings were but all I know is I did win.  And I didn't even take the time to celebrate--I was that into it.  He saved face on one match which was Classic Pistols on G5 Building, 5-5.  Since none of the guns were powerful enough to break through shields, it was a stalemate as we both hogged the shield and tried to get in some weak shots from afar.  Eventually he called it quits.  We didn't speak to each other since, but really, I don't want to insult this guy since he is clearly good.  I'm just absolutely stunned by what happened that day.  The complete change in momentum.


I have quite a few stories like this (none nearly as epic though) but here's one that I had recently.  This one was really late--around September 2010 or so.  My skills were a little rusty since I hadn't played in a while.  It was another head-to-head versus some guy I've seen around before; someone completely different than last time so there was no "revenge" factor at play.  He was the host so that's not good.  The first match was Classic Power (oh geez) on Pipes.  First match, I hustle and finish the guy off at 10-0.  Just a beautiful game and that's when I underestimated him.

The second game was Grenade Launchers on Villa.  First kill of the game was when he mowed me down with the Dragon, but because of a lucky grenade rebound on my part, that's 1-1.  So we both have Devastators now, but when I tell you I couldn't get a good shot to save my life.  My trajectories were all screwed up while his were dead on.  I don't even get a single kill the rest of the game as he goes on to win 10-1.  Now I knew I was in for a fight.

Every single win I had was a blowout.  One was on (regular) Power on Skedar.  Power has the RC-P120 which allows you cloak but it eats up your ammo.  So we're scrambling around trying to get as much ammo and seek each other out.  He sneaks up on me, but then I get the turn-around kill, giving me first score.  Then I hustle to finish 6-1--the only time I died when we both killed each other at the same time (I had low health obviously).

Another game is on Automatics on Temple.  This one has the Laptop Gun which can fold up into a sentry gun (though you can only have one deployed at a time).  He really got clever by tossing laptop sentries in all sorts of locations, completely catching me off guard.  Then again, he hung out around the Laptop Gun spawn and I couldn't reach it.  I only lost that one 5-4 as he was also clever enough to hold off from spawning as long as possible near the end so that he could run the clock out.

I also lost on Proximity Mines on Base as I kept stumbling into my own mines though he made some crucial mistakes at the end that I almost made a comeback in the 6-7 loss.  With about 30 seconds left in the game, I had the K7 Avenger and the shield so I could've ran right over to him to get the equalizer, but I wasted too much time looking for proxies.

EDIT: And let me throw this in here too.  I know that Perfect Dark takes some garbage for not being as "deep" as Halo or whatever, but screw that.  It's very interesting to see the way games play out even with radar on like "screen watching."  One of these games that I won was Classic Power on Fortress.  Once again, get the RC-P45's.  However, those guns are at the bottom of the map while the shields are at the top.  So you can get the RC-P45's and monopolize the shields, but you're bound to run out of ammo eventually so you have to scramble back and forth.  You can't guard both of them.  I won that game 4-1.  I think you could make the game a little more balanced if you put weapons that are relatively similar in strength (no way a DY357 or Shotgun can compete with the RC-P45), but what I'm trying to say is that it gets tight in these close games.

I'm upset that on top of one blowout loss, I lost two other games by one point because I'd rather win the game than show off.  I think there's a lot to learn about what happened in both games.  I'm proud of how I did because I won about seven games while he won three, but there's still many things I could've done better.


So that's my experiences in competitive FPS.  No, it wasn't for Game Battles or MLG, this is just a bunch of "try-hards" going out there, playing the game, doing their best.  I will probably lose some in the future if I play again.  I do feel by playing these games, I feel that I've undergone so much stress in each sitting that it aged me a little.  I don't know if I'm cut out for this kind of stuff even if I had the skills because there's more to life than just winning at a game.  But we still keep coming back anyway

 I was going to conclude the article here, but I'll throw in a bonus here.  Check out Part 3 on Tips to Win.