Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making Racing Games & Doin' Schoolwork...

Sorry for not posting sooner.  I'm not dead.  Anyway, Happy Belated Thanksgiving.  Not much else to say that I didn't say last year.  Although there was a fourth life-or-death situation I was in.  In Little League Baseball, I was the pitcher...well, I was the guy standing next to the coach who tossed pitches to the batter.  And I got hit in the chest with a line drive.  There was a kid recently who died from the same incident but I went to the hospital and came out that night uninjured.  So that is good.

But about this Thanksgiving.  I was miles away from my family, I went to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by one of my students at FIEA.  Most everybody was playing video games (Halo, Marvel vs. Capcom) which is okay.  I got the chance to play NFS: Hot Pursuit which is good but I'll reserve my opinions for later.

Strangely, when I asked everyone what they were thankful for, they had little to say.  Which is a shame since this is a religious holiday...the Pilgrims offered thanks to God that they actually survived for as long as they did (and received help from the Indians).  But I don't know.  People use any occasion as a means to socialize and just let go for a while.  Gamers don't seem respectful of tradition anymore.

So what have I been doing for school?  Well, I've been working on it non-stop.  We're given one assignment for Programmers only and that is to make an OpenGL game mimicking some old-school arcade game such as Pac-Man and Asteroids.  We're paired into teams of two.  I fortunately got to make Super Sprint.  Click here to read more about Super Sprint.

Now this is a super-beta screenshot but I've added more levels (including the ability to drive over and under bridges!!!).  While I'm working a lot on this, it's been "fun" work.  So at least that's good.  I split the track into three layers (the road, the rest of the screen, and any bridges/overpasses/things that obscure the track).  So I use a getPixel system to see if the car leaves the original road layer and have it bounce in the other direction accordingly.  But collision detection is a bitch, I'll tell you that.

I know that I'm being graded on this assignment although it's mostly on how much effort you put into it.  Unlike most people, I'm working hard on this because I personally want the game to be good.  I'm feeling this game, man.  It can have at least three players (everyone gathers around the keyboard) and multiple levels.  Just shoot me 1024x768 .png's of levels and I can insert them into the game.

Seriously, I'm getting friggin sick and tired of working my ass off on projects that get shoved into the file cabinet or thrown away after they are done.  So I want this game to MEAN SOMETHING.  Is that too much to ask?

The thing that's so sad about this is that it's due Wednesday--three days from now.  And by then I really can't work on it anymore.  Well, we're going to port it to the original Xbox (not the Xbox 360, DAMN!!!) but that's not much to add.  I may be able to add more features after the due date, we'll see.

Funny...had my racing game pitch gone through, I would've had to devote more time to that instead of this game.  So even though one door shuts on me, another one opens.  Yeah, because tiny OpenGL games are really worth it!

Plus, I'm also working on another racing game right now for some Rapid Prototype class.  The same class that gave the world 30 Seconds or Less.  A fun tangent--many people worked on game using the Kinect in previous rounds, including I with my How to Train Your Dragon game.  And guess what--all of them had awkward, delayed controls.  Congrats people, if you don't already know the Kinect is a piece of crap, then now you do!  The only good Kinect games are my HoTYD game and a South Park game in which you Kick the Baby.  Not making this stuff up.

But anyway, this fifth and final game in the class is a sequel to my A.R.I. game but with Grand Theft Auto free-roam and Crazy Taxi delivery-system.  The goal is to polish the game rather than create an entirely new one.  But frankly, my teammates aren't really into this project and I'm getting sick and tired of working in Unity.  So right now, I place more stake in my Super Sprint clone.

With this semester nearing the end, I go home for Christmas then head back to FIEA for another semester.  And this is when things get worse.  Most of the semester is dedicated to entering "Programming Boot Camp" and working on things like our own graphic shaders and game engines.  Plus I'll also be working on capstone projects, none of which I'm too enthusiastic about.  So does this semester sound like fun?  No, it doesn't.  It's like Time kill a boss and then you go to Level 2.  So it ain't over yet.

"We're game designers!!  We're the VSSE!!"

"Damn, this game is hard.  I need more quarters."

And thus, once this semester ends, that's the last chance I really get to make racing games.  It's really sad.  All I wanted to do is make great racing games but not now.  Too busy working on other stuff that I'm not really feeling great about.  But that's the breaks.  Gotta do stuff you don't like to get what you do like.  Still, I hate working towards something that presumably adds up to nothing...or a job at Electronic Arts that makes me want to jump off the roof of the building.

Anyway, off to sleep.  Then I'll work on the Super Sprint game even more.  But I'll end on this.  In an Intro to Art class, we worked on texturing a player model in Maya.  I made Matt Damon in a business suit.  Needless to say, this model is so realistic, you couldn't tell the difference between my guy and the actual Matt Damon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buy The CD: The Passengers--DRIVE IT!!!

This is a quickie post.  OH WELL, I don't have time for meaningful posts now.

A couple of years ago, when I was at Southeastern Louisiana University, I had to take an interdisciplinary art course.  One of the assignments was to create your own CD cover.  We had to cut out pictures from old magazines that the instructor had lying around.

And yeah baby did I ever create the best CD cover ever.  The band "The Passengers" with their latest platinum album "DRIVE IT!!!"  You're sitting in the back seat, well...go take the wheel.  And drive, baby.  A combination of Arena Rock (Boston, Aerosmith, and AC/DC) and Southern Rock (Lynyrd Skynard, Tom Petty, and Doobie Brothers).

Note how I didn't use any fancy sports cars.  Well, how many sports car ads are you going to find in old art magazines??  But you don't need to have expensive cars to get by.  Just drive what you got.  And maybe, someday, Ricardo Montalban will give you the keys to his Chrysler...

Download all the .mp3's from the iTunes store!!  Or pirate/download them from YouTube, what's the difference.

EDIT: If you didn't know already, this album is fake.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NASCAR Drama: Tony Stewart Wins

Oh yes, NASCAR is a strange thing, even if you don't like watching it...

So today was the last race of the season at Homestead, FL.  Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart were the last two drivers who had a shot at winning the championship.  Whoever won the race won the whole thing.  The point difference between the two was that close.  Actually, the score was tied at the end of the race, but Tony won the tiebreaker purely because he won more races than Carl.  Spoiler Alert: Yes, Tony won the race.

6:30 is when it gets interesting.

In the final couple of laps, the Top 2 drivers were Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.  Seriously, it was almost movie-esque that both drivers would rise to the occasion and completely smoke the rest of the crowd.  You figured at least one of them would run into bad luck or simply fall behind but no.  Actually, Tony had some back luck (some wreck debris hit his grill but did no serious damage) and fell back to around 30-ish position but he came back again and again.  The rest of the pack just parted like the Red Sea to allow these two to race.  It was a drag race to the finish for both of them.

There were two rain delays.  After the rain and a few caution flags 38 laps were all that remained.  Tony was in 1st, Carl was in 2nd.  And I swear, watching this live, you KNEW that Stewart was going to win.  The possibility of a spinout or mistake was completely out of the picture.  It was destiny.  He drove PERFECT laps.  He drove like a madman.  And so did Carl cause he was able to hang with him.  Tony had a one-second lead on Carl the entire 38 laps.  That lead never deviated from there.  Nothing could have stopped Tony outside of an Act of God or running out of gas on the final lap Dale Jr-style.  And all Carl could do was finish second.

I don't have a preference on who won or not.  It's great that Tony won his 3rd championship but damn, Carl really deserve a lot of credit for giving Tony a run for his money.  Seriously, if Tony didn't drive out of his mind, Carl would've won the championship, hands down.  He congratulated Tony after the race...ran up to Tony's car and gave him a handshake.  Took the loss like a champ.  He deserves credit for being the best loser in NASCAR history...well at least in the last few hours of history.  I'm not brimming with NASCAR knowledge here, please bear with me.

Tony Stewart & Carl Edwards.

And I also must say something about Jimmie Johnson.  He won the last FIVE championships.  Yes, FIVE IN A ROW.  An unprecedented streak.  But he missed his chance for a sixth.  You know he was bound to lose eventually.  Well, that's life.  You can't win them all.  It's nice to win as many as possible, but as long as you keep trying to win, you'll lose.  And thus is the harsh reality of competition but there is something to learn from losing.  Carl Edwards was a good sport about it and said it made him a mentally tougher person.

Heh, Tony SMOKED the Duck...funny joke.

Congrats to everybody (except for classless Kyle Busch, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU JUST LOST YOUR SPONSORS!)...sad there won't be any NASCAR until the new season in February.  The next Daytona 500!!!  Will Dale Jr. finally win a race next season???  Tune in to find out!!!

Sega Racers Are Slicker Than Grease

I read an interesting article on Kotaku lately.  And I normally skim over 95% of that site because a lot of it sucks but this one really got my attention.  It pertains to Sega racers, don't worry.  Will get to it in a sec.

Is this the reason why people love Call of Duty?  Yes, I know there's many haters out there reading this.  But what is it that makes the game so popular...?

IT RUNS FAST.  Call of Duty runs at 60 frames per second and delay from controller to game is just 50 milliseconds.  Compare that to Battlefield 3 which runs at 30 frames per second and has a delay of 110 milliseconds.  This is huge when you think about it.  It's a subtle thing that very few people mention.  It's that ingrained into the experience that you're too engrossed with the controls to even notice.

Now CoD haters can come up with all sorts of complaints--the game takes no skill or teamwork, it's horribly unbalanced, there's no tanks or jet fighters.  I'm not here to disagree with these points.  But that means nothing to many since CoD at its core runs fast.  It's very responsive and also very rewarding to shoot people.  I mean, that's a fact.  Battlefield 3 sounds great but in terms of good old-fashioned arcade shooting, Call of Duty wins.  Well, that's the general consensus, I suppose.

Now Call of Duty trades graphical prowess for pure speed.  CoD, in its 5th iteration on the X360/PS3, is running on a dated engine.  From a technical standpoint, Battlefield is leagues ahead in terms of visuals.  But do graphics really matter??  I'd much rather play a fast game with lesser graphics and better performance than one that looks great but isn't as responsive.  I know many gamers won't admit this, but I believe more people feel the same way too.  There's a reason why Call of Duty outsold Battlefield by a mile...

Also, this is why I personally prefer GoldSource Valve games to Source games...Counter-Strike 1.6 runs faster than Counter-Strike Source, especially on older computers.  So shove it, Source...

EDIT: I do read from a few places that some would gladly sacrifice 30 frames for a much better looking games.  I don't know...isn't the game all about GAMEPLAY and not graphics?  And that 60 FPS instead of 30 would have better gameplay?  It's an opinion, but one that I believe holds some credibility.

So about Sega racers.  Is that one of the reasons why games like Daytona USA, Daytona USA 2, Scud Race, and OutRun 2 are so amazing?  Because Sega, first and foremost, put the most emphasis on ensuring optimal graphic performance and top-notch handling?  I hear plenty of people complain about next-gen racers like Forza, GRID, DiRT and (dare I say it) Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing because they run at 30 FPS.  Well, some of those may run at 60 FPS, I don't know for sure, but you get the idea.  Even if the human eye can only detect up to 25 FPS or so (maybe faster in certain situations), me and many others do notice the difference between 30 to 60 FPS.  It makes a big deal and now you know that.

And obviously, I haven't talked about the response time between the controller & the game for said racing games.

So there you go.  Another reason why game devs should get off their high horse on outstanding graphics and make a game that just plain runs fast.  It's much more satisfying that way.  Then you can go for great graphics (which is what Sega did...Scud Race and Daytona 2 both look gorgeous and run fast because of the outstanding Model3 hardware).  And Sega racers (most of them anyway), got that aspect down.  Not much else to say here.  That's just my brief rant.

There's a big NASCAR race this Sunday.  Final race of the Sprint Cup season at Homestead, FL...Carl Edwards vs. Tony Stewart.  Should be interesting.  Thankfully the Saints have a bye so I should be able to watch it.  Too bad I'll be doing schoolwork in the meantime!  More on school stuff later, things are getting interesting...  EDIT: Read my take on the race here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Daytona USA Guide: Make A Paper Hornet!!!

I have great, great news!!!  I've finally gotten around to scanning part of the official Daytona USA guide!  Well, some of the pages anyway.  I scanned interviews with Suzuki, Nagoshi, and Mitsuyoshi and some other stuff but not much actual guide stuff.  I didn't have time for all those pages and they're quite redundant anyway so big whoop.  Had to use the scanner at FIEA and I was afraid to bend the book's crease back more than I did today.

Click here for whatever Daytona guide pics I have so far!  More to come soon.

If you're still confused as to which books I'm talking about, click here (the Daytona book on the right).

Sorry, I can't help posting these hough jazz picks but since they lag, I uploaded smaller placeholder pics instead of the larger pics on Photobucket!!!  Go to the Photobucket link above for the larger pics.  But as a teaser to get you going, here's the paper Hornet car in question.....

Haha, I made this paper car, beotch...


Nagoshi-San...minus the tan & bling...

Mitsuyoshi-San!!!!!  Tu tu lu tu lu tu lu tu lu tooooo DAYTONA!!!!!


Tha Hornet

Dayum, look at those cars!!!!

The Daytona USA Cabinet!!!

More Fantastic Arcade Games Plus Daytona Logos!!!

I just thought this page was weird.  Take a look on the right.  Seems like Sega knew about the pitstop exploit way earlier than we expected.  And they're encouraging




Can you craft the Hornet car with your hands?  Well, here's your chance.

Friday, November 18, 2011

GREAT Day For Game Reviews! NFS, Zelda, MW3!

Hah!  I knew this day would come.  The day when I'd see Need for Speed and Electronic Arts exposed as the loathsome cretins that they are!!  MWAHAHAHA!!!

Need for Speed: The Run gets taken down by the game reviewers.  Well, it's not horrible but compared to Hot Pursuit, it is mediocre.

The Giant Bomb review, in particular, is my favorite but I'm looking at various reviews for reasons why.  One, the story is just a load of BS.  Predictable Michael Bay crap and an unlikable protagonist.  Second is the rubber-band AI.  Why do game devs keep bringing this back?  It was in practically every Cruis'n/FnF game, every Mario Kart, Split/Second, and now Need for Speed.  Third, just not enough options in the game.  No free-driving, little car customization, yada yada yada.  Fourth, the game is too linear.  Fifth, the car handling sucks, etc.

I love Quick Looks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

But just for kicks, I decided to go back and take a look at previous Need for Speed games.  Now there's a game called Need for Speed: Undercover.  It was released two years ago.  The formula is basically the same as this--hype up a huge-ass storyline but this time, you're a cop trying to crack down on drug dealers/black market smugglers or something like that.  On the other hand, NFS: Hot Pursuit is less story oriented and thus is much better received by the public.

Seriously, take a look at the GameRankings reviews.  NFS: Hot Pursuit = 87.45%.  NFS: The Run = 68.34%.  NFS: Undercover = 64.60%.  So isn't it obvious that a heavy focus on "epic storylines/cutscenes" is total garbage?  Me and many others have been calling this game BS since the start and now it's readily apparent.  I really have no idea what the producers' thought processes were throughout development but it's just baffling to me.

Wait, am I playing a racing game or watching a terrible movie?  EDIT: Seriously, this feels like Sega CD.

Then again, if the game manages to sell well thanks to the EA's marketing machine, then does it really matter how "bad" the game is?  We'll see what the sales numbers are.  Until then, stick to Hot Pursuit if you really want NFS action.

I mean, damn....remember when Need for Speed games were about DRIVING?  Pure unadulterated driving?  And it was legitimately cool?  This is from 1999 (with a custom car model).  Screw graphics, THIS IS AWESOME.


Now before I go on, I know that professional game reviews are full of BS.  I recently had to deal with a few bad Daytona USA reviews myself.  But the difference here is that I'm looking at the average game reviews.  Yeah sure, there will always be a few trash reviews that do a piss-poor job of explaining everything, but with a large sample of people coming down on the game, know something stinks about it.  Doesn't mean you have to agree with the average score--hell, you may think The Run is a great game.  But I do think reviews are vindictive of SOMETHING.


And now let's move on to Legend of Zelda.  For what it's worth, I don't give a damn about the games nowadays but it's really funny what has transgressed with this new Skyward Sword game.

Remember in the past how GameSpot (back when Jeff Gerstmann was still around) gave Twilight Princess an 8.8 and all the Zelda fanboys lost their s*** over it?  When Jeff said that the motion controls felt tacked on and that the graphics looked a bit dated (both of which make sense because this WAS supposed to be a GameCube title)?

Well it gets worse!  So the same website, GamesPOT, gave Zelda: Skyward Sword a 7.5!  A Seven Point Five!  A 7.5.  So what happens next?

And the same guy who wrote the review (Tom McShea), also gave Super Mario Galaxy 2 a perfect score of 10 so don't say he's a "Nintendo hater."

Well, the main hook for Skyward Sword is that the game actually has meaningful sword combat.  You can't just waggle the stick around and expect to kill the bad guy--you actually have to time your moves, just like in a fighting game.  So that's kind of neat but Tom fudged up the controls by using a regular Wii Motion controller as opposed to a Wii Motion Plus controller and that ruins everything.  Later admitted that he was wrong by not using the Plus controller.  However, GameSpot won't change the 7.5 score.  The game is still "slow to start" and "hasn't changed much over the years," yada yada yada...  EDIT: Click here for more Tom McShea shenanigans.

So now GameFAQs has put a bounty on this guy's head.  Here's some posts although I think many have been deleted for being off-topic.  It's funny because you think I had "problems" when some new guy working at OXM half-asses a 4.5 review of Daytona USA.  But I know that guy's a joke.  On the other hand, Tom McShea is considered "legit."  Well, not anymore I guess!!

I don't even care anymore.  GameSpot sucks, GameFAQs sucks, Skyward Sword is already getting great reviews from elsewhere, and I wish Skyrim had gotten that review score also I'm f***ing sick and tired of everyone pissing themselves over that game too.  STOP MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF DRAGONS & SWORDS ALREADY, DAMMIT.  Well actually, dragons are pretty cool BUT NO SWORDS plz.

...Hey, I just realized something.  GameSpot gave Sonic Generations an 8.0.  And they gave Zelda: Skyward Sword a 7.5.  So you know what this means?  For the first time in The History Of The World, a Sonic game > a Zelda game.  Who would've thunk it...SONIC IS BETTER THAN ZELDA.  I LOVE GAMESPOT!!!


Also in the news.  Nobody likes Modern Warfare 3 despite it selling a billion copies on release day (more like  12 million or so).  So quick, downvote the game on every site imaginable!  Even one of the developers tweeted to get users to upvote the game but that must've backfired, seeing how anal the average gamer is.

I snapped this screenshot this very day, ten days after the game was released.  I also see this on any major gaming site such as GameSpot.  Well, it's just a tiny minority of pissed off gamers but it may be bigger than you think.  Doesn't matter since Activision is sitting cozy with nearly a billion dollars in sales for just the first 5 days alone...

MW3 is a lot like MW2.  Which really isn't that bad of a thing.  If idiots buy it, then good for them.  Hey, take a look at all the OutRun 2 games we got.  So it's bad that we got OutRun 2 then Outrun 2006 then Outrun Online Arcade?  I don't know.  That's my one cent.

BTW, a truck full of explosives blows up a little girl and her mother.  And Soap dies.  And Price hangs Makarov with a helicopter cable.  And dogs with C4 come after you in Survival Mode.  There, now you have no need to play this game now.  No spoiler warning.  Rofl.

TLDR: Reviews suck and no one cares any more, rofl.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daytona USA: When You See It, You Can't Unsee It

Been playing lots of Daytona USA online. I don't know how many of you noticed this but here goes:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What This? A New Hedgehog Game From Sega???

Sick and tired of hearing about Battlefield 3.
Sick and tired of hearing about Skyrim.
Sick and tired of hearing about Zelda.
Sick and tired of hearing about (how everyone hates) Modern Warfare 3.
Sick and tired of hearing about Skyrim (again).
Sick and tired of hearing about Skyrim (ZOMG BEST GAME EVAR).

What the hell happened to Sonic Generations???  It's two weeks old but don't gimme that nonsense.  I really ought to stop reading Reddit Gaming, that website sucks.

It's an ode to Sonic.  It has both Sonics, both Tails, and both Eggmans.  Plus every other Sonic character.  Thereby proving that in Sonic games, more characters =/= worse game (but you already knew that).  It also has the original Sonic the Hedgehog game playable as well as unlockable trophies and music (Smash Bros. anyone)?

Reviews for the game are good.  Most are in the 8.0 range.  It's great but not excellent.  In all honestly, I didn't expect the pro reviewers to come out and say "YEAH!!!" over the game.  They'd save 9's and 10's for games that actually make them piss themselves, like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim.  But I played the demo and thought it was really good.  Eff the reviewers.

BTW, looking at that review list again, I see GameInformer gave Sonic Generations a 6.75 out of 10.  Am I surprised?  No, because GameInformer blows and everyone knows this.


But it's not my job to come on here and tell you every minute detail of the game cause that's dumb.  And I haven't played the game...well, I don't have money or time for new games.  This is just me telling you what I see and what's so interesting.  And I'm looking at this Sonic Wiki page here for most information.

First of all, I'm looking at the stage selection and they're different for both the console and 3DS versions.  I'm always intrigued by stages, maps, levels...whatever.  I was a CS 1.6 Mapper in the past.  I even made maps on Space Colony Ark, Mushroom Hill, and Hydrocity Zone so I clearly know what I'm talking about.  Let me tell you what I see.  You can read this SEGAbits article as an opinion piece.

Console Stages (asterisk denotes boss stage only)
Green Hill (Sonic 1)
Chemical Plant (Sonic 2)
Sky Sanctuary (Sonic 3&K)
Speed Highway (Sonic Adv. 1)
City Escape (Sonic Adv. 2)
Seaside Hill (Sonic Heroes)
Crisis City (Sonic '06)
Rooftop Run (Sonic Unleashed)
Planet Wisp (Sonic Colors)
Stardust Speedway*** (Sonic CD)
Death Egg*** (Sonic 2)
Station Square*** (Sonic Adv. 1) EDIT: Destroyed, of course
Final Rush*** (Sonic Adv. 2)
Eggmanland*** (Sonic Unleashed)

3DS Stages
Green Hill (Sonic 1)
Casino Night (Sonic 2)
Mushroom Hill (Sonic 3&K)
Emerald Coast (Sonic Adv. 1)
Radical Highway (Sonic Adv. 2)
Windmill Isle (Sonic Unleashed)
Tropical Resort (Sonic Colors)
Launch Base*** (Sonic 3&K)

First of all, the levels are great but complaints are to be expected.  Let's look at the console versions alone.

Green Hill is a gimme.
I think Chemical Plant is interesting, but I would've preferred Casino Night instead.  Just because many Sonic games have that night-time casino level so I'm a bit shocked it was second tier to Chemical Plant.
Sky Sanctuary is a cool level and they certainly did a beautiful job with it, but I wish there was one more Sonic 3&K stage they could've put in there.  Something "Eggman-ish" like Flying Battery or Death Egg Zone.
Speed Highway is the token night-time stage.  Shame there was no Mystic Ruins stages seeing as the ancient Central American motif was so vital to that game.
City Escape is awesome though I would've killed for a one more Sonic 2 stage.  Space Colony Ark.  Yeah sure, Final Rush makes a great boss stage but I want MORE!!!
Seaside Hill is good but another bright "first-level" stage.  Eh, I don't know.
Crisis City, disregarding how terrible Sonic '06 was, is fine by me.  Token hellish lava stage.
Rooftop Run and Planet Wisp.  Just strange that, like Seaside Hill, it's another standard green stage.  Not that I have a problem with that but come on?  Where's the snow levels?  Or where's the desert levels?

Now looking at the 3DS stages.

Green Hill, again.
Casino Night, here it is.  Wish it was in the console versions instead.
Mushroom Hill, one of my favorite levels.  Too bad they couldn't bring back Hydro City, Ice Cap, or Lava Reef.  Geez, you could make a 3D Sonic game based on the Genesis Sonic games alone.
Emerald Coast.  Surprised they didn't go with a Mystic Ruins level.
Radical Highway.  Just like Speed Highway.  Come on, a Prison Island, Pyramid, or Space Colony Ark level would've been tight.
Windmill Isle, another blue city level.  Not much else to say.
Tropical Resort.  Night-time stage in space.  Pretty cool.

So anyway, those are my opinions on the stages.  Someone did say that the reason there were so many "blue" levels is because Sonic Team was able to recycle stage assets.  Well, what can you say.  No use nitpicking because everyone is going to disagree with the stage selection.  Nonetheless, the game is very good and it shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Strange there was no Shadow the Hedgehog stages.  Or Sonic Adventure/Rush stages.  And only one Sonic CD stage.  Oh one cares about those games, lol.


I'm also going to point out the game's plot.  SPOILER ALERT FOR MANY SONIC GAMES!!!

Now the final boss is called the Time Eater.  You fight him in a stage called the Center of Time.  Why does Sonic Team continue to pull these absurd climaxes out of their ass that have villains with dimension-shattering abilities?

Like let's take a look at previous Sonic's.  Every Sonic game before Sonic was Eggman's up to no good, Sonic stops him.  In Sonic Adventure 1, Chaos becomes a big monster and floods the city then Super Sonic defeats him.  Plus not to mention the burning town, the dead chaos, and Tikal says "Oh no, how could this happen???" or something like that.  Pretty deep.

In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman accidentally sends Space Colony Ark flying into the Earth but Sonic & Shadow stop it from doing so at the last minute.  Then there's the whole thing about Prof. Gerard and Maria dying.

Then there's Shadow the Hedgehog (I completely skipped Sonic Heroes because I forgot what happened) and it's all fudged up.  There's Black Doom and the aliens which kill everybody.  Then there's the profanity, the guns, and Shadow kills Eggman (in one ending).  Then in the final ending, Black Doom gasses everyone to death except for Shadow who is the only one able to save mankind.  Ooooooookay....???

Now Sonic 2006.  First, Sonic "dies."  Then Elise kisses Sonic and everyone shouts "BEASTIALITY!!!"  Then Sonic, Shadow, and Silver uses the Chaos emeralds to fight Iblis, a revived deity who is able to alter and destroy time itself.  Eventually, they save the world and send Elise back in time who forgets all memories of Sonic.

I don't even know what happened in Sonic Unleashed or Colors.  I'm not saying those games are bad but why can't we leave the world/galaxy/universe destruction to Final Fantasy or Zelda?  Like whatever happened to Eggman capturing innocent animals and putting them into robots?  I don't know, that's just my two cents.  The plots have become too ridiculous for Sonic, that's all.  Well, this Time Eater guy serves as an alibi to get Classic & Modern Sonic in the same game and I guess I'm cool with that.  As long as they don't descend into Shadow/Sonic '06 territory.


EDIT: I'm going to give an addendum to this post.  A few days after I made this post, I watched someone play from start to finish for a few hours.  Game seemed a bit short going in a straight line from start to finish.  Bosses didn't seem that hard.  The end fight against the Time Eater is another cheesy Super Sonic in space "touch the bad guy in the weak spot" thing.  Also, why isn't Big the Cat in this game?????  And why no Chao Garden?????

All the levels were gorgeous.  The visuals alone can sell the game.  Seaside Hill is a good substitute for a "water level."  Planet Wisp is a good substitute for an "Eggman level" although it's really damn damn long and annoying in terms of difficulty (SPIKES!!!  ROCKETS!!!).  Rooftop Run has strangely addicting music.  Anyway, Sonic Team must have taken the whole "omg too many similar levels" thing into consideration because they tried to differentiate them with different colors and stuff since even though there were four city levels (well, three, since one of them is nuked), they each had different stuff.  Like I spotted a fitness club in Speed Highway (treadmills, wtf).

I also like how in areas where you can fall to your death, you see the red sign.  Really helpful.  Worth giving props about.

Seriously, Sega must've poured a copious amount of effort into stellar visuals and audio, they should be commended for this.  Also worth saying many, many times.

And HAHAHA at these FOUR Spoilers Specific To Sonic Generations: Chaos in Space Pt. 2, the goal post sign blowing away in Crisis City, beating the crap out of Shadow and Silver for not showing up at Sonic's birthday party, and both Eggmans getting "stuck in time" in the ending.  GETALOADOFTHIS...

On a positive note, I really like the job they did with Classic Sonic.  I especially like his walk cycle. Kind of funny cause his feet look like a bicycle spoke.  He looks funny.  He's doesn't even talk, he makes funny noises like *bwoop!* and stuff, rofl!!

Secret Sonic Generations Easter Egg:

Hey, check it out guys, I found all the game's cutscenes!  Please do not remove for copyright infringement, Sega!!!

And Sega has yet to release the Sonic CD port for consoles.  So Sega is not resting on their laurels.  You shouldn't either.

Well, let's end on this.  Sega recently held a skateboard competition in Venice Beach, CA.  And Venice Beach is the mecca of Skateboarding.  Atta boy Sega, Sonic is BACK, BABY!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

500th Post Special: EPIC Daytona USA Multiplayer Battle

Well, let's see here...this is supposed to be the 500th post (on my Blogspot dashboard here) but seeing as there's a few posts that went AWOL (I deleted them), I don't know if this is really the 500th.  Nonetheless, let's party!!!

You know what.  I'm done talking about this FIEA game pitch nonsense.  The way I see it, The Powers That Be wouldn't have green-lit a racing game anyway, even if it made it to the Top 10.  So f*** it, I don't care anymore.  Let everyone else haul the load of planning & presenting these games.  I'll just sit back, eat popcorn, and watch as everyone else trips over their own shoelaces.

I'm going home now.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

This doesn't mean that I have a 0% chance of making another racing game.  During the 2nd thru 4th semesters, we may get the chance to make more minigames of our choice.  So if we get another racing game going just for kicks, then it'll be awesome.  Prove the doubters wrong--just check out my l33t game.  Thumbs up their asses...

So anyway, good news: We now know that Team Marubaku, a pro Sega-racer team out of Japan, is on YouTube now.  Now their speed runs have been on YouTube for some time as uploaded by other users.  But they've asked anyone who posted their videos to remove them and make way for their account.  So I was happy to oblige and got rid of my Scud Race videos (the ones they made).  They DID upload Sega racer vids way before any of us did (before the days of YT when you had to download huge .avi/.wmv vids) so give them props.

I will end on one thing.  Most racing games really come down to one thing--repetition.  Kind of like a golf swing or a free-throw.  It's a matter of learning what works best and practicing it until you can do it consistently.  A racing game involves learning how the car handles and how to handle each turn.  Once you learn it, you can do it nearly consistently...assuming you have no interference, that is.

"An amateur practices something until he gets it right. A professional practices until he can't get it wrong." - an unknown author from a year between 1 AD to 2011 AD.

See the Marubaku video above.  Guy just runs the same routes over and over and over again.  I think this is one reason why people are turned off by racing games.  Disregarding the learning curve and difficulty to be able to do this consistently, there's not much variety there.  For the record, most every video game relies on repetition to say racing games are so repetitive compared to other genres is a bit absurd.

But....this makes me think.  I was playing Daytona USA online again recently.  And I was playing against evenly matched competition.  And I remember going two-wide with some people on the turns.  And that's when my rote memory flew out the window.  This guy is blocking my optimal driving line.  What do I do?  Red alert--figure out another way to take this turn.  Usually this involved fighting for position as we just bumped each other around.

Sometimes, due to opponent interference, I would wreck or my speed would drop below normal.  Turning at a different speed than normal affects how you perform.  Yeah, you'd think driving slower makes turning easier but it doesn't always.  Like I'm used to taking the Sonic turn on Beginner at 180 mph.  If I somehow drop to 150, it gets complicated because I don't know exactly how I should shift and when to slam on the gas.

Then later, he was drafting me on a straightaway.  Do I try to cut him off?  Now let's flip flop positions.  Can I keep drafting him?  When should I make my move and try to overtake him?  Really, I must decide these things on the fly and prepare for the worst.

And at least there's the intimidation factor.  If this were a time trial, I would drive 100% full-speed always--take all the risks and restart if I make a mistake.  But with multiplayer, time doesn't matter--just finish before everyone else.  So there's a guy about a second behind me.  Should I continue to drive to the max but risk crashing?  Or should I play it safe and hope he can't catch up?  Any slight mistake on my part would lead to me falling back.  It's a nail-biter.  Can I hold him off?  Or what if I'm behind in 2nd place--do I take extreme risks to move up to 1st when I could possibly wreck and fall way back to 5th or 6th or so?

I did pass a few people on the very last turn on the Expert course.  I nailed that turn PERFECTLY while everyone else floundered.  An exhilarating comeback.  If I were in the presence of company, I would've yelled and gave everyone a high-five.

Then all of a sudden, a "repetitive" racing game took on a whole new layer of complexity.  Another reason why Daytona USA is so legendary.  Bravo, Sega, bravo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Racing Games In Decline Pt. 4: Choose Wisely...

While I did talk a lot about how my racing game didn't get picked for FIEA, I've yet to talk about the games that have.  Here are the ten games that I must pick from.  None of them I'm truly enthusiastic about but whatever.  I must pick my poison.

1. 1st Edition: A Megaman-style sidescroller in which you create your own superhero(es) and pick up powers to use.  It's supposed to be a colorful game, plus I'm good friends with the guy who pitched it so this'll be my likely game.  Superheroes are okay in my book so this pick gets major kudos from me.

2. Apocalypse Valley: A Facebook isometric strategy game.  You're supposed to defend villagers from volanoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, whatever.  Nonetheless it will be a colorful game.  I don't know.  I hate Facebook but considering the rest of the awful games to choose from, I must take this one seriously.

3. Battle Fortress Tortoise: You play as a bunch of tribal gnomes/elves who ride on gigantic tortoises with cannons on them.  The evil hyenas are trying to kill the tortoises so you must fight back at them.  Either that or you fight against opposing elves & tortoises.  Don't really know about the gameplay but the guy who pitched this is also a good friend who rated my racing game 1st on his list.  So I feel better about this game already.

4. Corporate Defense: It's the future and corporations fight amongst each other for government contracts.  This involves sending robots out to destroy other robots.  In the process, robots destroy the city by mistake (like Godzilla).  You use voice commands to indirectly control them.  This game was pitched by an art student who was supposedly too scared to speak so he convinced the teacher to do so instead.  And guess what--he's also planning to have others present for him in the Top 10 pitches.  I have no interest in this game--it's a suck-up arty-farty game the whole way.  G**-DAMN ROBOTS!!!

5. Junction: A puzzle/action adventure game with plenty of objects colored red, yellow, or blue (Wonder Bread!).  You put on red/yellow/blue glasses to render any one of those three colors "invisible."  So put on red glasses to make way to the red machine gun BUT you can't walk on a red bridge.  Okay, I guess.  Feels Portal-ish but otherwise, not a very involved game.

6. Pantheon: A Kinect 300/Lord of the Rings style war game.  You move armies with your hands and then slash at other players during battle.  Features infantry, calvary, artillery, and giant trolls/monsters.  Just think about it--dark gritty colors AND Kinect = a resounding NO.

7. Penned: An "educational" action/adventure game.  You play as a librarian (a hot babe librarian, mins the hot part) who has to fight evil forces, or something.  You go into books like Lord of the Rings or Gulliver's Travels.  At many points in the game, you are asked to fill in a sentence with one of three vocabulary words.  Depending on what word you pick, the action changes.  EDIT: For instance, you'll be given a few adjectives to describe an enemy and depending on your selection, the boss changes in scope (strong, weak, absurd).  All the vocabulary is taken from an ACT Prep Book.  You gotta be kidding me.  GAMES ARE FUN.  QUIZZES ARE NOT FUN.  PUT THEM TOGETHER AND IT SUCKS.  The ridiculous artwork this game got lots of artists' votes, that's for sure.

8. Plushy Knight: You play as a stuffed animal who partners up with a girl.  The protagonist fights while the girl heals/casts spells.  You both go around fighting evil monsters under the bed.  The "customize your own character" aspect is what appealed to many artists.  I give this a resounding "meh".  Plus the pitch was half-assed in every sense of the word.  Plus the presenter is one of these big, macho dudes you met in high school thus he kind of gets on my nerves (we are still "friends" though).

9. Shades of Gray: Zelda-style dungeon crawler.  The catch is that shadows come into play.  For instance, if your sword's shadow clips the monster's shadow, you "kill" the monster.  You can throw the lantern down to change where the shadows go.  The idea sounds okay but it reeks of fantasy/medieval/Nintendo/Square nerd-gasms.  I pass.

10. Sky Men: It's the gritty future (*shoots self*) and there's an evil scientist out to kill everyone.  Or something.  So you play as these Iron Man-type good guys who fly in the air and fight robots.  Psssh.  The presentation for this game absolutely sucked too.  Guy didn't talk at all--just played a short video with some awkward subtitles.


So that's it.  Which games do I pick?  1st Edition and Battle Fortress Tortoise are my Top 2 picks, then Apocalypse Valley, then MAYBE Junction, then a steep drop where everything else remains.  Odds are super-good that at least one of my favorites make the Top 5 and that I'll get to work with them.

NOTE: It's worth saying that slight adjustments can be made to each of these games for the Top 10 presentations.  It's up to the presenters to make their game more marketable, I guess.  So take these descriptions with a grain of salt.

My guesses on which ones make the Top 5: 1st Edition, Battle Fortress Tortoise, Pantheon, Plushy Knight, Shades of Gray.

I'll let you know what goes on later...they're not picking games until December, you remember?

Salute The Veterans On Veterans Day

Thank the servicemen and women today.  God bless 'em.  Semper Fidelis.

The military rocks...therefore we salute you.

EDIT: BTW, today was that day of the big Carrier Classic, the college basketball game on an aircraft carrier. That's interesting.

After Burner.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Racing Games In Decline Pt. 3: The Smoke Clears

Well, like I talked about earlier, my racing game pitch at FIEA didn't work.  Since it's been a day before the news, I've had the time to recompose myself and go back to school.  I didn't get in any heated exchanges with anyone so don't get that idea.  I wasn't so much mad as I was sad and mellow the whole day.

Today, after it had been decided that my game was out of contention, I had a talk with the Production teacher about my pitch.  He had a lot of good things to say about it.  Like I said before, every Producer must give a pitch.  This is essentially an assignment for them--they're graded for how well they present themselves and how good the game idea is.  I'm a Programmer which means I'm not graded for this assignment.  So I go up there and speak and yada yada yada...

He said that out of 27 people, I would've had the 2nd highest grade out of all the Producers for that one assignment.  Wow.  That's nice for a socially-awkward Programmer.  He was that moved by it.  Apparently, many others were too and I can't believe it, no matter how many times they told me.

Now why did the game fail?  Well, the teacher changed the grading scale at the last minute.  The ratings were completely determined by student votes.  Part of them were by Producers only--the other by Programmers and Artists.  So if I could at least win over one side, I'd sail to the finish, right?

Out of all 27 games, I ranked 7th with Producers.  As for Programmers, I did okay.  The Artists are the main reason I tanked.  Putting aside the general dislike for racing games, the main reason why is because they want more than anything else to animate lots of characters for their portfolios.  Animating cars doesn't cut it.  I pitched the idea for immersive, detailed environments but that wasn't good enough since environment art takes a back seat to character art, it seems.  I ranked 20th out of all games in terms of Artists.  That's horrible.  I really wish I could've devoted more time to character animation but I didn't think to do that.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that artists are taking other classes in which they get to chance to model characters outside of the capstone game.  So it's not like a racing game means they'll never get the chance to animate monsters/robots, they'll have plenty of those opportunities...

In the end, I was one of those bubble games that didn't make it.  Had I actually managed to persuade a few more Artists, I would've made it to the Top 10.  And when you get to the Top 10, you get a bit more freedom to pick & choose who works on your game.  Basically, the Top 5 games don't have equal teams--the same number of Producers, Programmers, and Artists.  The faculty allocates however many people is needed for whatever project.  So if there's a very detailed game with many characters, then that game gets many Artists.  If there's a complicated game, then that gets many Producers and Programmers.  You get the idea?

And that's when I realized I missed the point as to what games get picked.  See, going into this, I thought it was all about picking a game that you personally liked the most.  I don't think this is the case.  The game is basically a placebo for one to bolster one's portfolio.  So that's why huge AAA games (within the scope of 20 students working for a few months) with a few action/adventure characters in a story arc are so popular there at FIEA.  Cause it gives employers something to chew on in interviews.  It doesn't seem like it's about the "passion" for the game anymore.  It's just there.  It's not as emotional to others as it seems.

Circumstances like this are one of the many things that affect my attitude towards video games.  Some days, I wake up and say to myself, "My God, I'm a friggin loser gamer going to gaming college!"  And then I want to run away but then I realized I must proceed with my other schoolwork.

So, anyway, racing games don't cut the mustard.  I see that while we're in college and we have the manpower and the software to work on what we want, we should go for what we desire the most.  I mean, there's no guarantee I'll ever get to work on a racing game ever again.  And my pitch did hit home with some.  I don't think everyone there hates racing games, but I was set back by this unfortunate fact...

If anything, I can walk away with my held high planting a seed that it is possible to make a good racing game if you just follow the recipe.  Also, it was nice to make a couple of producers, even for just a moment, sweat it out, thinking "Oh my God, my pitch may lose out to a Programmer pitching a lousy RACING GAME..."

Sooo...about my teacher.  Had he not changed the judging method, I would've most likely made it to the Top 10.  But what can you say?  I don't hate the man.  As a matter of fact, some lucky SOB took my place in the Top 10.  So to go back and wretch the game from his hands and say "Now we're making a racing game!" would be a complete asshat move on my part so there's no turning back.  So, whatever...

There were also a few Producer friends of mine who pitched games that didn't get picked that I thought should have.  Like one guy pitched a Walking Dead-type survival game which centers around people and what they have to do to liberate the whole town and survive.  The other pitched a Hunger Games-type strategy game for Facebook.  The visuals were 2D but they looked colorful enough for me.  This guy is a professional--he speaks clearly, dresses nice, practices his speeches often, and designs enough sample material for you to get a grasp on the game.  Like he made prototype screenshots of his game.  He also typed out a fancy manual detailing all the rules of the game.  So the fact that this guy didn't get picked blows my mind.  There was one other Facebook game that got picked--why not this guy's?  I ranked both these games near the top of my list.

So that's that.  And then I went home and drank grape juice, played a lengthy session of Daytona USA, and indulged in some massive Country track pack for Rock Band.  20 Pro Keys songs for $20, what a deal.  Good to get back into gaming for once.

To all doubters who thought my pitch sucked, to quote the great Duke Nukem, "Suck it down..."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Racing Games In Decline Pt. 2: Real World Relevance

As I said in my previous post, I'm upset that my call to arms about making a racing game failed at school.  Failed miserably especially since I was misled by many people into believing I did a good job but I really didn't.

Look, one of the things I mentioned in my presentation was that many racing games are just plain "mediocre."  They try to go for realism but end up boring everyone.  Or they try to go for arcade style but in the end are too shallow, ridiculous, or have little to do with actual racing.  So let's try to take the good parts of racing games and make something great.  Something Daytona-like (without harping on that point for long).  I also aimed to make a colorful game that had cool tracks and stuff, just like in Scud Race, Daytona 2, and OutRun 2.  A truly "exciting" game.

Many racing games are completely oblivious to this.  They keep making bomb after bomb after bomb racing games.  Split/Second sucked.  Blur failed miserably.  Fuel was a joke.  Motorstorm made me want to punch a baby.  And now we have Daytona USA, Sega Rally, and OutRun 2 on XBL and they will all wither away very soon.

So why is it that so many racing games, regardless of whether or not the game is actually good, fail?  I wouldn't have posted this if my game pitch succeeded but it didn't so now here goes.  CONSIDER THIS AN OPINION PIECE.  It may be true, it may not, I don't know, you figure it out...:

Racing games are dead.  They're not in a state of inflation but instead deflation.  They were once a great genre years ago but now they are a laughing stock.  There will always be a few people who like racing games (like you, me, and 17 other people in the world) but most won't like 'em and never will.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing (I don't want racers to be whored out like MMO's or FPSes) but when you have so underwhelming support, this is bad.

So why are racing games failing?  Let us go back to the birth of video games.  Back in the Atari days.  Now games back then were incredibly simple.  Most involved moving dots around the screen.  There wasn't much to do with them.  So some wise guy got the idea to make one of those dots a car.  Driving a car was a primitive idea that perfectly fit the "move stuff around" motif.  Some of the first racing games were Space Race (1973), Speed Race (1974), and Gran Trak 10 (also 1974).  So it's like you're driving a car around the screen, cool!!!  See the Wikipedia page on racing games for more details.

And this game was in 1977...imagine how much worse it was a few years earlier than that.

Well, fast forward to the 80's and 90's.  Racing games are still around.  Arcades were able to capitalize on the racing genre by including their own unique hardware in the form of wheels, pedals, and seats.  They were somewhat "iconic" like the DDR or the Time Crisis machine.  Every arcade needed at least one driving game to get by.

But with the technology getting better, that means that more genres are popping up.  Games aren't just limited to 2-D overhead/side-scrollers anymore.  You were getting all sorts of cool 3D games.  It was nice to see racers in 3D but it wasn't really that good for the genre.  It meant that a bevy of new types of games popped up, particularly massive story-based games like we see today.  Games were more popular than ever before hence less emphasis has been placed on pure gameplay/skill and more on cinematics and production.  Anything shiny and cool sells nowadays, so visuals trump gameplay.  Also, arcades died and so the unique peripherals went with it.  Yeah sure, you can run to the store and buy a racing wheel for the 360/PS3 but who's buying them?

Racing games have hardly any legs to stand on anymore.  The only reason they are still around was because of tradition's sake (racing games were a very early genre) and because there's always a few car buffs around.  No way a racing game can stand face to face with the likes of Call of Duty, Zelda, Mass Effect, all those shiny pretty games.

Honestly, whenever I look at whatever few racing games remain, I see total desperation.  Need for Speed: The Run is basically a car game with tons of cutscenes, advertising, and gimmicks.  Split/Second, Burnout, and Motorstorm have completely given up on racing altogether, narrowing in on the crashing aspect to such an asinine level.  And arcade racers like Fast & the Furious are just so dumbed down that any schmuck with a dollar to waste will play it and leave feeling just as empty on the inside as before.  Just a bunch of mush.

The only racing game that is truly successful is Mario Kart and that's because it's a Nintendo title--pure and simple.  If Sega tried to make a game like Mario Kart, it would only be a one-hundredths as successful...yeah, they released Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing which had a few flaws but was really good.  But now it's toast and is not likely we'll get a sequel any time soon.  Then there's Forza and Gran Turismo which is still going strong but is only really popular among car aficiandos, not necessary among the "racing" populace that is.  There's also Grand Theft Auto which has lots of driving in it although it is not technically a "racing" game either.

If I'm wrong about the racing genre, then prove me wrong!  I don't see racing games going on this massive upswing any time soon.  That is, as long as people keep copying the failed ideas of Burnout & Split/Second.

Can racing games make a comeback?  Or are they destined to...burnout?  HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Debbie Downer.

TLDR: Racing was one of gaming's oldest genres as well as an integral part of the arcade scene.  However, the expansion of technolog, shift towards cinematics, and death of arcades have left racing behind in favor of high-production action/adventure games.  Modern racing games are reaching for absurd designs in an attempt to legitimize the genre with little success and that is sad.

Racing Games In Decline: Gaming School Says It Is So...

Well, I didn't talk about this now but since it has come to its conclusion, now would be a good time to do so.

I talked before about pitching a racing game at FIEA.  Well, I did so, on Monday.  There were two days worth of pitches on Monday & Wednesday.  Each pitch was limited to five minutes.  There were 27 pitches.  All the producers had to pitch but any programmer/artist who was interested could participate also.  Names were drawn randomly out of a hat.  When the pitches were done, everyone ranked the games from 1 to 27 depending on their pitches.

I went second out of 27 people.  My pitch began and end with enthusiasm.  The goal--to create a fast-paced racing game with iconic graphics and awesome sound effects.  How we can do better than the "generic" racing games we have today.  I got a lot of compliments for a "good" presentation.  Even the instructor sent me an e-mail saying I did a good job on Monday.  I was glad I went early and hit a home run, so to speak.

But that's all I heard.  All I heard was "good presentation" this, "good presentation" that.  Nothing like "wow, let's make an awesome racing game, Eric."  No, none of that.

And as you probably guessed, as the list of games dwindled from 27 to 10, I wasn't chosen.

I'm pissed off.

One reason why I'm utterly surprised was that my Producer teacher said that it's THE PITCH that makes the biggest impact on whether or not the game gets green-lit.  Not the idea itself but THE PITCH!  So I went up there and gave 110%, all emotional, letting everyone know my heart was in this.  This really came through in my pitch.  My instructor has a good say in what games get picked too so for him to say "great job Eric," and then drop what he said was kind of stupid.  It was certainly a lot more heartfelt than a lot of people who had silly ideas and talked out of their ass, TBQH.  So I thought I had a tactical advantage there.  I should also say I was quite humble about it, not running my mouth and twisting arms to get people to support my game.

And what else sucks is that 14 people (me included) went on Monday.  That means that on Wednesday, the other 13 people had the chance to tweak their presentations to one-up the ones that were already given.  One guy on Monday included all sorts of movie clips from 300 and Braveheart.  So what happened next?  On Wednesday, a bunch of people came in with movie clips and music.  Even one student didn't go up and speak to the class--he convinced the instructor to speak in his place!  What the hell?  Not to mention that by going two days after everyone, the emotional impact of these presentations would've been better burned into our heads (seeing as they happened minutes instead of days before we voted)?  So I go up there and give a passionate speech for the ages (apparently) and get nothing?

I'm just ticked off because all these compliments I received misled me into believing I did a much better job than I did.  That just makes me more pissed off.  Felt like I had a chance.  But you know what--racing games are garbage and FIEA just made it known today.

But we will not quit.  We're here to make racing games.  Colorful racing games.  Ones that aren't loaded up with all this crap like Burnout or Need for Speed.  And we're gonna keep trying and I'm not letting a couple of mainstream gaming tards get in the way.  That is all.  I'm glad I went up there and wasted everyone's time with my presentation.  Suck it down since at least I fought back even though I may have failed that one time, we will persevere.  Can't do it this way--we'll make the game through some other means.

And this has to be the last time I talk about my coworkers since the last thing I need to do is start a way.  I already got tons of homework now and in the future.  It's sucks enough as it is so I cannot make it worse on myself.

Read the conclusion here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Daytona USA Reviews--Kill Me Now

It's worth mentioning I revised the Kyle Busch article to include the Ron Hornaday mutiny that occurred last Friday.

Ok, so Daytona USA has been out for two weeks and most of the "professional" reviews are in.  And most of them fall within the 8-9 range which is good.  You can see the list of reviews here.

Now there's really nothing amazing about any of the average reviews.  I can't go through them all.  They say stuff like, "It's Sega's classic arcade racer with funky tunes but it's nonetheless old."  Okay, I see what you mean.

But first, I would like to commend the website Gamestyle for giving this Daytona port a 10 out of 10, the only reviewer to do so thus far.

Wasn't a fan of Daytona in the arcade? Then don't expect any different here. That is the 1% dealt with. For everyone else, this port brings home the magic of the arcade version in the best way possible. Rose tinted memories are transferred to reality, both in terms of how the game looks and how it plays.

Well said.  How nice of you to bring up the 1% of people who don't like Daytona.  I would say that number is larger than that but let's deal with the heathens, shall we???  Descend into the abyss, if I don't come back in 15 minutes...just wait longer!

From a review site called HonestGamers which gave the Daytona port a 5 out of 10...

This is the best Daytona USA ever released for play at home.

BOOM, there you go, review's over.  If it's better than the Saturn, PC, or Dreamcast versions, then how come this isn't higher than a 5?  Let's continue...

And herein lies the trouble with Daytona USA. It’s always been extremely limited. A few cars, a handful of tracks, the choice between automatic and manual transmission, and four vantages points from which to survey the action. That's essentially it. Being able to take on mirrored versions of tracks or tacklekaraoke mode – well, those are just fleeting distractions. The sobering truth is that there's not much here, and there never was.

What a load of ass.  Let me say two things: one--this is an Xbox Live Arcade Title.  THESE KIND OF GAMES ARE MEANT TO BE SMALL!!!  HENCE THE TERM, "ARCADE"!!!  Two: come say this game is "lacking" to me.  Or my friends on GameFAQs.  Or the guys from Singapore/Japan/wherever who play the crap out of this game.  Cause it certainly ain't "lacking" to us.

What made this game a phenomenon in the nineties – besides the fact that in ’93 these graphics were considered slick and ahead of their time – was the ability for us arcade-going gamers to sit with seven drunk friends in aligned cockpit cabinets, hammering the pedals, locking the wheel into turns, jamming the shifter down to screech into straight-aways, all while we hoped that hot girls looked on.

This just seems strange to me.  This paragraph could apply to just about any lousy 90's arcade racer, like Ridge Racer or Cruis'n World (YES, I SAID IT).  Daytona was different because it was deep man...  They don't make arcade racers with that kind of handling and quirkiness anymore.  So for you to take that for granted is kind of sad.  BTW, ever considered buying a racing wheel for your 360/PS3 and inviting over the boys, girls, and booze for the "authentic" Daytona experience?

Daytona USA was an experience. And it’s the sort of experience that can never be brought home. Sure, we can search online for seven like-minded old school players to have a go, but that doesn’t come close. What might have come close, would be local multiplayer, so that at least you could invite friends over and split-screen race to your hearts’ content. Guess what? Local multiplayer is not available. Oops.

Like I said before, the game's scope wasn't meant to include local multiplayer.  Not to mention that Daytona is that heavy of a game that you wouldn't want to share the screen with another player.  Do you even have ONE friend you know in real life that plays Daytona USA?

It’s a shame, because there is a demographic of players who want simpler, easier to pick-up-and-play titles in the face of the growing complexity and luster of the today’s top racing games, but Daytona USA swings the pendulum too far the other way, and gives us extreme barebones action, which manifests a definite fun factor, but one that cannot be sustained. Especially not when you’re playing all by your lonesome. And remotely racing with whichever few strangers you can find on the Net is less consolation than you might think. At least the kitschy main theme can still elicit a laugh or two: Daytonnnnaaaaaa! Let’s go away!!

I tell you what--I'd rather pay ten bucks to play Daytona online with seven other people at home, even if it's just for ONE HOUR.  But no, we can play "forever." Try finding working 8-player Daytona setups in a real arcade, including friends.  Sega did the best job that they could to port this.  To say this game is absolutely gimped is disgusting.  Oh, it's also nice you tacked on an additional .5 overall to the score just for the "kitschy" theme alone.

I'm done with that guy's review--it was mediocre and it pissed us all off.  I've never heard of this website before nor will I ever hear from it again.


I know this is paining ya, but there's MORE!!!  The Official Xbox Magazine scores this game a 4.5 out of 10...

Once upon a time, texture-mapped polygons, bare-bones drifting, and gradual loss of tire grip were enough to earn a cheering crowd, but those days have passed. Daytona USA might lazily scratch a nostalgic itch, but there’s little else to entice modern audiences.

Arcade mode’s three bright tracks offer differing course lengths, lap counts, and turn severities. You’ll slipstream behind opponents to improve acceleration and top speed, coax your car to just the right drift angle as you squeal around tight turns, and try not to slide into walls when your tires turn to mush. Now you can even rewind time Forza-style from the pause menu. If your car didn’t control with all the grace of a buttered concrete block, those features might be worth exploring.

Online multiplayer rekindles fond memories of linked arcade machines, and 30 brief challenges break up the solo routine. But clunky handling and crayon visuals are a harsh reminder of why we rarely visit with the ghosts of videogame racing’s past. Daytona USA was once a pace-setting leader; now it’s a museum-ready relic.

+ Rewind feature lets you correct mistakes; serviceable multiplayer; retro arcade simplicity.

– Jittery handling; just three tracks; irritating soundtrack only true fanatics will love.

– Smoothed textures and a steady framerate can’t mask its age.

? Why doesn’t it include local split-screen multiplayer?

And that's it.  I'm dead f***ing serious.  That's the whole review.  And it's going up in this piece of trash magazine.  "Official Xbox Magazine," my ass.  This review addressed NOTHING other than that the "handling sucks" and that "it has a rewind mode."  Nothing else.

The handling.  MY GOD, THE HANDLING.  Learn to play the G-D game, you nebbish.

Barebones drifting??  Give me ONE game in recent history that has a SEMI-DECENT drifting system.  No, there isn't one because it's all this "Formula-D" crap or "boost to gain nitrous" or some load of ass like that.  So, no dice.

Tires melting???  What the hell game mode are you playing???  If you play the regular arcade/time-trial modes, there's no tire wear whatsoever.  The fact that he harped on it more than once is just downright idiotic.  A better line would be "The Survival mode sucked," but no, the handling eternally sucks, the game is unplayable, etc.  Wtf.

Crayon visuals?  I'd rather be staring at Daytona USA than the dreary, generic landscapes of Split/Second or GRID.  I mean that times a thousand.

Soundtrack???  You kiddin' me?  You mention the words "Daytona USA" to any arcade connoisseur and the first words you get back are "Roooolllinnnnnnnggg  Sssttarrrttt!!!!"  People hate the Daytona soundtrack?  Where are these people?

"Rarely visit the ghosts of videogame racing's past?"  "A museum relic?"  Alright, bro.  F*** it, let's throw all old racing games in the trash!  All aboard the Need for Speed/Burnout train!  First of all, why is that, of all old games, RACING GAMES must be ignored but other genres don't???  We still play Mario, we still play Zelda, we still play Contra, we still play Street Fighter, we still play Doom, we still play Final Fantasy, but we CAN'T play Daytona USA.  Just burn all bridges to the past and replace them with a shiatload of production value, useless cinematics, and a trail of DLC.  What a putz, a pustule, a schmuck.

Let me just conclude saying this.  What good does this review do?  We're talking about a ten-dollar XBLA title that'll probably be brushed under the rug within a month.  So you played the game for five minutes and didn't like it?  Why does it MATTER that this review's in the magazine or not?  I learned NOTHING about the game at all other than one (stupid) man's opinion of the thing.  Besides, you can always download the demo and try the game for yourself.  Who cares what this guy thinks when you have the demo???

Official Xbox Magazine...does anyone really care about this trash?  Like do you wake up in the morning, read gaming news on GameSpot, Kotaku, Reddit, Joystiq, etc. and see tons of wonderful media about OXM?  No, and that's because it's garbage so it needs to go away.  Not to the museum but to the dumpster behind the museum.  Then thrown in the incinerator.  Good riddance.

Oh, and I expect that there will be one intrepid reader out of a thousand who will say this.  "Eric, why do you trash games like Split/Second and Need for Speed when you've only played them for five minutes???  Isn't that hypocritical???"  Five things:

1. I play these games for more than five minutes.  As much as it pains me too, it's my solemn duty to do so.  I've plunked numerous quarters into Fast & Furious and I had a stroke.  So, never again, I said.

2. I write better reviews with MORE INFORMATION than these guys do.  Like if a game sucks, I don't say "the tires are made of butter," and then call it a day.

3. I'd like to think I have more clout on traditional racing game reviews than some guy who's only been reviewing games at OXM for just two weeks (seriously, here's the guy's profile).

4. I'm not getting paid to do reviews.  The other guy is.  So I do these reviews purely for my own respect and integrity.  Lord knows that this guy was probably shuffling through game after game to make a buck off of a few paragraphs he types down on the fly.


The irony of this whole situation is while OXM scored the game a 4.5, the UK version of OXM scored it a 9.0.  Its review is actually more informative and gave a nod to Daytona USA 2.  Thus proving that American gaming is dead as we know it.  Seriously, the United Kingdom is friends of Sega...we know this very much now.

An arcade classic and a reverential conversion mean that the definitive version of Daytona is finally available on XBLA. We can't wait to see which of Sega's spectacular arcade back catalogue will be next to receive the same attention. You know, Daytona USA 2 never got a proper home conversion either...


Oh, and one more kick-in-the-ass for the road.  So, a few months ago, my mom unwittingly got another subscription of GameInformer the last time she went to GameStop.  Oh, God, no.  But I still read it anyway just to gain surveillance on the "enemy."  My mom brought a few of these magazines down to Florida when she visited so I scanned through them as usual.

They reviewed a game.  What game you ask?  Burnout: Crash.  Gave it a 7.5 out of 10.  I s*** you not.  EDIT: Forgot to post the link to the review so here it is.  I couldn't even get through this whole review before it came up with the blanket statement--"uh, it's good, just go buy it."  Love this line at the end:

Crash also includes Kinect functionality for Xbox 360 owners, but I wouldn’t recommend this sloppy option. Hopping and stepping around replace the simple analog stick and button controls with disastrous results.

Wait, so using the Kinect with this game is BAD?  What about the commercial with David Hasselhoff and all the posers??  I thought the Kinect was super-awesome-fun??   Well, that's ONE thing Criterion did right.  See Sonic Free standard 360 control, no dice.

And you remember way, WAY back when I brought up the GameInformer reviews on Burnout 3 and OutRun 2?  OutRun 2 got a 6.5 score.  Burnout: Crash got a 7.5.  That means that Burnout: Crash is A WHOLE POINT BETTER than OutRun 2.  Doesn't that make you want to kick a baby?

Oh, and God Forbid if GameInformer were to actually review Daytona USA.  They said that OutRun 2 was "an old man on Viagra" so what does that make Daytona USA???  A mummified corpse from the seventh century??  Forget about it!!


EDIT: And there's another bad Daytona USA review I missed!!  This one is from a site called Thunderbolt Games.  Gave it a 5 out of 10.  It said "omg not enough cars & tracks to unlock" and "wtf no local multiplayer" but I already dealt with that.  Lousy short-ass review.  NO MENTION OF HOW "GOOD" THE CONTROLS ARE.  They also said this:

The Xbox Live play was decent, though it took me quite a few tries to find races to join. And it may seem a little nitpicky, but I hate it when racing games don’t give me an option to restart the current race from the pause menu. Overall,Daytona USA is a lazy port that could have offered players more.

Um, you CAN restart the race while in pause menu.  Press Y to restart, right next to the rewind button, another feature you forgot to mention.  Another garbage review, guy didn't even bother playing it for more than 5 minutes.  PISS OFF!!

Get out, you enemies of Sega.