Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter Driving Updates

Alright, so...we're back.  Happy Easter and have a great day.

Let's cut to the chase--there's a couple of reasons why I've been posting less.  The main thing I've been at work for a month already.  It's a 9-hour workday (includes the 1-hour lunch) in a office with a bunch of nerds floating about.  I'm adding new features to the game but just last week, I've had to play the role of that guy who needs to find the needle in a haystack--basically, solve an easy chicken-shit problem that takes days worth of trial and error to crack and every passing hour puts your job security even more in jeopardy.  I'm kinda bummed out about work now but I'm hanging in there.  Only a matter of time before I get the experience to work at Sumo Digital, I pray to God...

And even worse is that there's really nothing going on Sega-wise...  We got The 90's Arcade Racer plugging along without me.  I'm still bitter about that.  Then there's Sega All-Stars Racing which is getting a patch to fix all the bugs and the difficulty issues but that doesn't change the fact the game has devolved into talking about two things--glitches (they're still at 'em) and tier lists.  The mystery DLC character hasn't been revealed yet and still, if that's the only extra character we'll ever get, that's a bit of a letdown IMO.  Then there's the Supermodel emulator which has basically stalled (Bart's getting a Doctorate, give him a break).  And,'s up to me to pull things outta my ass now.

There was also a rainstorm in Orlando which was a 30-minute hurricane that descended upon my house...really strange cause there was a very tiny red blip over where I was.  Huh, okay so it's worth posting about.

But anyway, it's really the little things now that get me by these days.  Like driving to the airport to pick up a friend while accelerating around the terminal blasting AC/DC and Metallica.  God forbid I drive 10 MPH over the speed limit but it was good fun to pretend to be a NASCAR driver.  Then there was this--on a simple trip up the road to a Checkers drive-thru, I drove through a verdant wavy part of International Drive by the convention center, near the Dave & Buster's I visited twice already.  And what I experienced was rather wonderful...

I wish I saw more happy things like this in my racing games.  More trees, more colors, more fancy architecture, more blinking signs (like those in Scud Race and Daytona 2 that flash "3 LAPS TO GO"...why don't they have those anymore???).  And how funny is it that I'm near the place that inspired the Sega-AM2 crew to make Daytona 2 as colorful as it is.  Check out the Saturn Magazine Interview with Makoto Osaki and how he mentions going to Daytona International Speedway and then Disney World & Universal Studios (on this page).  I'm so close to where this magic happened and yet I feel like all these game designers are trying to beat me down.  It's like...people don't even try to make their racing games feel good anymore--it's basically "let's make it as gritty realistic as we can and drown out all the fun."  Boo, hiss, go away bad game designers...

On the other hand, Eutechnyx may not be as bad as we thought...

But one more thing, I was on my way to work one day when I found this fun-tastic van next to me.  Tell that Aggressive Appliances of Orlando didn't take AGES to get that good, did it...???

Want to talk about the NASCAR stuff going on (like Joey Logano who "killed" Denny Hamlin) and other garbage later.  Like THIS:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SimCity Razed To The Ground

You know what guys, the EA circlejerk must continue.  "SimCity 5" is one of the most broken pieces of trash in recent history for a multitude of reasons.  I won't parrot the news but rather just give you my quick opinions as to what went down.  But first, a quick recap in case you simply haven't paid attention or you're from the future:

EA and Maxis announce SimCity 5 will only be playable via online connection.  Game is released and the servers keep crashing.  Hardly anyone can sign in and play it and those that do can only play for minutes before getting disconnected.  Those that do play it find the game has a multitude of flaws such as the city borders are too small and the traffic pathfinding is hideously broken to the point the game is hardly fun.  Maxis starts slashing features in a vain attempt to fix it, such as removing the fastest game speed and leaderboards, with little success.  Eventually Maxis & EA "fix" the servers, but not before a bunch of gamers complain about wanting to patch the game for offline play (LORD BLESS 'EM).  Maxis says "maybe, maybe not," EA say "no it can't be done" but hackers prove otherwise and prove that EA's PR machine is either ignorant or a bunch of liars.  EDIT: Oh, and you don't even need to be a l33t hacker to play offline--just change two config values in a text file (although you can't save your game offline).  Oh, and EA CEO John Riccitello rEAsigns.  In the meantime, anal gamers do what they do best and that is run to Amazon and other rating sites just to "stick it to the man" by downvoting the game.  DAMN IT'S A GREAT DAY FOR REDDITORS EVERYWHERE (kinda shitty when you think about it.../r/gaming sucks is abysmal too)...

Emphasis on the words: LIMITED EDITION.

You know, maybe EA is not to blame for all this.  Maybe this is Maxis' fault.  Good little Maxis with the Stockholm Syndrome, running to defend poor daddy EA, "it's not their fault!!!"  Yes it is, even if they weren't directly involved with the SC5 Lockdown.  They're like the problematic child on the playground who's always coincidentally around whenever trouble strikes.  SimCity 5 disaster?  Mass Effect 3 ending sucks (plus the on-disc DLC)?  Origin "spyware" and lousy customer service?  The assimilation and dismantling of smaller studios?  Monetization spam in all their games?  Need for Speed sucks?  There's just too much crap EA is tied to at this point for one to say "well, it's really not their fault" or "you people are overreacting."  If crap like SimCity and Need for Speed are the "future" of gaming, then I will not stand for it.

Look, here's a video. Despite how utterly embarrassing it must be to be this guy, there's one line the guy drops half-way through the vid that really gets to me. "When the servers go down, you can't play the game anymore." I pointed this out before but I guess now it's official--SimCity 5 will be NULL AND VOID in a couple of years. Tell me, how asinine is it that I can pick up a 24-year old copy of the original SimCity on the PC (1989) and still play it to this day yet in 24 years from now (2037) odds are I won't be able to play my copy of SimCity 5? I mean, not just the multiplayer aspects, the WHOLE ENTIRE GAME will be gone by then! For you "games are art" folks out there, isn't that kind of shitty--like burning a museum full of paintings or sculptures? It's 2013, I think we can preserve everything on computers, especially if its a game from a wildly popular franchise such as this one.

But this is the "rebuttal" of my point and it is this: How do we know if people will care about SimCity 5 in 20+ years?  And wouldn't there be a better SimCity out by that time?  Good question!  We don't know what people are going to want in the future.  But look at today--some of us still care about old games like the SimCity 1-4, Pac-Man, Street Fighter 2, Doom, DAYTONA USA, OUTRUN, and so forth.  It's why we have crap like emulators & ROMs for the sake of preserving these games "forever."

Also, who's to say the next SimCity will be better than SC5, or better yet, even exist at all?  Game franchises have fallen off the map before.  Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is a great example.  Loved the series up until Underground 1 but then it went downhill from there.  Underground 2 and American Wasteland's story and designs got less appealing and glitchier in nature but were still "playable."  Then comes Project 8 with a brand new engine and the game is even less fun.  A few games later and you have Tony Hawk: Ride.  Hell, at least I can still play the old Tony Hawk games so we should be thankful!

But yeah, we do know that SC5 has gameplay flaws and can be played offline but we don't know where it'll stand in a year or two--Maxis and EA may relinquish the game and allow modders to salvage it at last but otherwise, I'm not holding my breath.  I've been a SimCity diehard most of my life, playing the crap out of SC2000 and SC4, but now the series is dead to me.  Congrats EA on strangling another one of your franchises to death.

Also, here's another thing that really sucks about this DRM.  It doesn't allow any kind of user mods whatsoever.  Look, I've played enough of these old PC games where you can create your own mods, scripts maps, skins, models, gameplay rules, other fun stuff (Half-Life mods come to mind) and they were wildly enjoyable.  Yeah, this makes way for hackers and pirates but do tell me which games DON'T have that as a problem (last time I checked, Spore, despite the DRM protection, was the most pirated game of 2008).  As for SimCity, check out this screenshot:

Check it out--this is a whole gallery of SimCity 4 in-game screenshots made possible with modifications.  I'm serious, you look at SimCity 4 from 2003 and yeah, the game was rather glitchy and had performance issues when it came out.  But guess what--you can download fan mods like the Transportation Mod or the Opera House Fix which really tweak the game and make it much more playable.  Yet without any sort of fan-made mods, you're basically at the whim of EA/Maxis to fix the damn game for you...and odds are that they'll fuck it up more than the fans can.  Seriously, over the years, I've learned that fans can tweak a game better than the game designers themselves.  Dammit, EA, really?

EDIT: I guess one more point about this server nonsense is that it fosters multiplayer gaming. C'mon people, multiplayer is fun! You alway want to be in multiplayer, right? Um, not always! What if I *le GASP* don't care for playing with other people or I want to develop a metropolis without being molested by other pinheads out there on the Internets, how about that?? Like check out this city. Think this dude gives a crap about online play?

Honest to God, I'm not talking about SimCity anymore.  I do, however, want to talk about another EA published disaster.  It's called Real Racing 3 and it's an iOS/Android game similar to Gran Turismo/Forza's sim racing model.  It's free-to-play which means it's going to suck ass.  Seriously, check out the Eurogamer review--trashed it by literally limiting gameplay (making you wait X minutes before you can race again) and encouraging overpriced microtransactions for underwhelming car upgrades.  You know what, I'm not gonna fuckin' lie--I'd rather up front pay $10 or so for an unmolested, disturbance free experience instead of a "free" one that looks to inhibit me every step of the way.  But someone I know did say, "ain't nothing free, soon" but I counter by saying there's a difference between "offering microtransactions/advertisements" and "offering microtransactions/advertisements in such a way that it destroys any semblance of gameplay and fun."

To prove the point, here's a fun little game I downloaded for my iPhone recently.  It's called Tiny Tower.  It's a FREE game.  It's a "grind-it-out" Facebook-y kinda game that you really can't lose at.  You just save up money by clicking on crap and building new floors on your tower.  The only kind of advertisements that appear are ones on startup and they're very innocuous popups for games like "Sky Burger" and "Hungry Squirrels" that only last for two seconds before you click the red X.  As for monetization, there's a sly little option in the game's menu labeled "Get Bux" which lets you spend up to $30 for the in-game premium currency used to speed up construction, restocking of stores, etc.  But the good news if you play the game efficiently, you can earn tons of Bux easily.  Basically, I'm at 76 floors, have the best elevator, and I've spent ZERO United States Dollars on this game thus far.

I imagine the real life Samuel Willis has a James Earl Jones/Danny Glover voice as he utters, "Boy, my dream since I was a child was to work at the cheese shop."

And besides, even if someone DOES choose to buy Bux in the game, so what?  At least this game isn't being an ass about it like in EA games.  Seriously, man, if you're going to be a free-to-play game, you don't have to suck dick like an EA game.  Or at least grow a pair and charge $4 bucks or something like the Kairosoft games.  I got a lot of value and little grief out of games like Grand Prix Story and Mega Mall Story because Kairosoft chose not to go the shitty route when it came to monetizing games.

What a piece of crap.  When I choose to play a racing game, I want one where I can click a button that says "Go Drive/Race" and that's the end of it.  It's like the time Penny Arcade discovered that you had to wait in line to play bowling on Playstation Home.  WAIT IN LINE INSIDE THE VIDEO GAME.  Thanks EA (and Sony), thanks.

Anyway, this has been a scintillating discussion.  I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much as I should have.  Not only am I pissed about SimCity, I'm also pissed about the Rock Band weekly DLC coming to a close in a few weeks (although I have no qualms against Harmonix for choosing to do so).  Sucks man, everything does these days.  I only hope and pray to God that Sega doesn't make these mistakes.  That's all, goodnight everyone.

Also check this out: MAH TINY TOWER.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First Week On The Job & Moar Sega Racers

Well hello there, everybody.  It's been a while since I posted because I've been readjusting to Orlando, particularly my new job and my crappy old apartment.  So about my job, I am a "Junior Software Engineer" at a modest game studio here in Orlando.  I can't tell you what studio it is and I ESPECIALLY cannot tell you what game I'm working on.  I literally found out the game I would be programming for the day I arrived. I will give you a few hints though:

1. It's a third-person shooter.
2. It's done in the Unreal 3 engine.
3. It has driveable vehicles in it.
4. It's a "clean, family-friendly" game (as in I don't find it completely repulsive)

That's all there is too it.  I started working on the vehicle stuff when I arrived!  In a few months, if this game is greenlit, then the game will be announced.  I don't want to talk about it anymore since I've come close to dropping buzzwords that would give it away.

Since I wasn't fired yet, I celebrated by eating five Chipotle tacos and two Jello pudding things.

Oh, also in local news, remember that Warp Derby game made at my grad school I told you about last December?  Well it survived Vertical Slice and will be made into a "full" game by the end of August!  So we all wait in aniticipation for another generic UDK drive/shoot-em-up (just kidding, it'll be awesome).

Also, I'm fairly certain everyone has seen this.  So a site called Liberty Games (which specializes in arcade machines) posted an infographic of many Sega racing games with pictures and a description of each.  I actually got an e-mail from these guys, saying "Hey I saw your blog, we like Sega games too" and other compliments.  I think they may have seen my Sega Racer Timeline (which still needs to be updated BTW) but I don't care, I really appreciate the comments.

You can read the whole thing here.  Now I wouldn't say it's the whole history of arcade racers--it's missing some like Scud Race, Indy 500, Initial D, Rad Mobile but it covers many of the popular ones so it's not that bad.  It also mentions Drivemobile, Motocross/Fonz, and Head On (Apply Directly to the Forehead), old-ass games that only teh hardcore Sayguh nerdz would remember.

Look at it...just look at it...that's the first Sega racing game there, ladies and gents.
1968, the birth of a movement.  THANKS, FLIPPERS.

Great job Mr. Poster Artist, it's like I'm looking at a colorblind test!!

Anyway, one more Sega racing game I never knew about until recently.  It's called "Storm G."  It's one of those strange Sega "amusement park" arcade games that you'd find at the Joypolis park in Tokyo.  You drive a bobsled through a bunch of pipes (errr, F-Zero?  STUN Runner?)  as the capsule-shaped cabinet rolls back and forth.  I imagine a couple of visitors had become ill playing this but it doesn't look as violent as you'd think.

I'll get back to you guys later with a couple more racing games and EA diatribes.  Just be patient.

Patient, MY ASS.....

Monday, March 4, 2013


Wow, you guys, the day after my birthday (you READ the last post in full, did you???), I make the 1,635,632th 9-hour Louisiana-Florida road trip back to my old apartment for video game work starting MONDAY.  I only stopped to refuel ONCE.  I'm a boss.

I'm on a Top Gear UK kick.  I was watching it at home in Louisiana on Netflix.  One of the episodes they drive in cheap used cars along a similar route as me.  And this is one thing that happened:

I saw the Florida Road Trip episode and laughed my ass off at this's so brazen that you would paint "MAN-LOVE RULES OK" in pink on the side of your truck and drive through Alabama.  No way, they just did that, trolled 'em, HAHA!!  And Fat Stig, man, the US was the butt of every joke that episode.  I didn't even bother showing it to the rest of my family since I knew they'd flip their s*** over it.

EDIT: Worth mentioning there's more controversial Top Gear episodes like this.  I recently watched the Middle East and India road trip episodes.  When they got to the parts where they showed the "baby Jesus" and the "Shit for your company/Eat English muff" signs, my laughing woke up everyone in the house....come on, get a grip people.

But I don't care.  It's the British humour I like...they make fun of EVERYTHING, including their cohosts whom they insult and sabotage their cars constantly.  I mean I kinda do that, I make fun of every video game there is basically.  And besides, here in the states were are a little bit fat and anal when it comes to these things.  We say 'MURICA, they say INGLIN', just deal with it. I love America but prefer the UK Top Gear to the US one...

Oh, and I'll just leave this here.  Yu Suzuki is considering a Kickstarter for Shenmue III.  Can we raise the $50 mil we need?  I guess so, let's find out!  *sleeps before first day of work*

Friday, March 1, 2013


I hope you all enjoyed the Danica 500.  There isn't much to say about this race other than Jimmie won and Dale Jr. and Danica fared well (2nd and 8th respectively).

Gonna go off on a tangent on NASCAR.  I seem to be noticing a trend with a lot of these super-speedway plate races and that is people are constantly complaining about them being boring.  There wasn't a whole lot of passing this race--they rode single file to the finish and anytime someone like Dale Jr. tried to make a pass, no one would help them slingshot.  So Jimmie Johnson with his "cheating" car just stayed out in the lead and despite drafting his ass the whole way, no one could touch him.  Race over.

Overall, I'm just glad to see NASCAR on TV again with the rolling starts and the roaring engines and the burning rubber.  Even if the race is "boring," it's still NASCAR.  DAE LIKE THIS GEM WE CALL NASCAR????

Oh yeah, so leading up to the race, I'm watching commercials and there's this Daytona 500 promo.  Take a look at THIS!!!

"Daytona 2" confirmed for XBL/PSN.

I don't have much to say.  I mean, here's your daily token EA antic/comment but I won't bother with it (related news: Real Racing 3 on iOS/Android is getting butchered by EA microtransactions).  BUT BESIDES THIS...

Today is my 25th birthday.  Happy birthday to me.  I'm getting older, Sega getting older, Daytona USA, Scud Race, Indy 500, OutRun getting older.  We are too old.

* - pronounce this in Jeremy Clarson's British accent