the-inbetween posts categorized as Gaming

Revisionist Gaming History

I like this illustration showing the (incomplete) history of videogame console controllers. It’s part of MoMA’s Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit and it does a decent job of documenting console user input evolution. There are some understandable gaps in the history (where’s the TurboGrafx-16, with its two buttons and totally useless turbo switches? Or that Atari Jaguar monstrosity?) and some odd errors (the analog nub on the PSP is omitted) but the thing that stands out for me is…

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Team Fortress 2 Free Weekend

The Team Fortress 2 Free Weekend is nearing its end. I downloaded the game and played for an hour and a half on Friday evening. I do have The Orange Box, which contains Team Fortress 2, on the 360 but I never felt compelled to play it there. Partly because there were some serious lag issues when it first launched. I like the game — it’s a very well made shooter — and I love its art direction and design…

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Sins of a Solar Empire’s UI Designer

As a long time web user it really bugs me when games have really poor user interface design and architecture. It’s one thing when it’s in-game, with all the engine and graphical and game data considerations, but when the menu interface is broken and/or archaic it’s downright annoying. Sins of a Solar Empire is one such title. I like the game — played a three-plus hour battle online yesterday — but my experience, on the whole, is lukewarm because of…

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Kudos to Microsoft

It’s back. I’ve bitched about the reliability of XBox hardware before. I’ve complained about the lousy call centre experience I had last time my XBox 360 died and the time it took to get my console fixed. This week, however, Microsoft has done right; I received my replacement 360 Friday afternoon. That’s a turn-around of six days. System broke and reported on Saturday, I received the box Monday afternoon, sent it Tuesday and I was delivered a replacement on Friday.…

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April Blues

April is the time of the year when all the huge mounds of snow on the sidewalk start to melt leaving, in their wake, huge mounds of cigarette butts, grime and dog shit. All the filth that accumulated in the winter months is now in full display for the spring. It’s a wonderful time. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer it’s best to start heading outside. It’s time to leave the shelter of home, turn off those…

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Probably Promotion

If Duke Nukem Forever is released in 2008, everyone who comments on this post* will get a free, RETAIL game from me. I’m not sure what the buzzword for this type of advertising is but it seems to be coming up more and more. It all basically follows the same formula: if event X (outside of the company’s control) then free (or discounted) Y. In the above example, if Guns N’ Roses releases Chinese Democracy this year, Dr. Pepper will…

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SimCity

I’ve been playing SimCity lately. The Super Nintendo version. On the Wii. I don’t know why I was compelled to pay eight bucks for this when the original PC game is now open-sourced and available for free. More to the point, I don’t know why I was compelled to pay for a game I already own. Granted, it’s boxed up, along with the Super Nintendo, somewhere in my parents’ house, but if I ever felt the desire to play it…

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Crystal Castles vs Chiptunes

Edit (May 5, 08): Hey, it turns out Crystal Castles are thieving bastards and full of shit. Read more. Crystal Castles is the latest buzz-making indie band to emerge out of Toronto, which has been a relative hotbed of cool independent (and post-independent) music. It’s a scene that has spawned the likes of MSTRKRFT, Holy Fuck and, before them, Death From Above 1979 and Broken Social Scene and the multitudes of artists connected to them in every conceivable way (like…

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Videos for the Nostalgic PC Gamer

A little trivia: without clicking through to YouTube, can you identify the following video before its end? Click through for the answer. YouTube user MetallicO1985 has posted the whole series of these videos and do they ever bring back memories. They’re relics of the days when live video was the next big thing in games, but they retain a character that all new sequences. This Shakespearean one in particular. Additionally, there’s also the following compilation: They’re amusing now, but I…

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Run Button

Eight years ago when I was looking for a domain and dedicated web host for my fledgling weblog, I came across WestHost.com. It offered a lot for a very fair, and student friendly, price. I registered the-inbetween.com through them for the full $70/2 year price tag that domains had back then. The package had unlimited bandwidth (remember those days?), a capacity of 15 MB and full PHP3 support. It was good for the time. In those years that account has…

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Two Piece Rock Band

Well, I finally jumped on the Rock Band tourbus. Partly because I’m just about done with Burnout Paradise and partly because it was overdue and partly because the disc (not the complete package) can be had for cheap and partly because the latest downloadable content releases were “March of the Pigs” and “Perfect Drug” by NIN (in time for the new digitally distrubuted album release). I am enjoying it — so much more than Guitar Hero 3 — but I…

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Burnout’s Battle for your Eyes

One of the main tasks in Burnout Paradise is seeking out, and driving through, the 120 “Burnout Billboards” scattered around the city. It’s standard collect-a-thon game design, much like the orbs in Crackdown. However, where as the orbs in Crackdown were these floating nonsensical game-ish items, the billboards in Paradise make contextual sense and are nicely integrated into the city. As I was driving around the city looking for my last three or four billboards, carefully going through every street…

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The Value of Rez

Video game collectors are strange creatures. They buy up all sorts of merchandise for all sorts of reasons — scarcity, nostalgia, perceived value and completion — except the collectible’s original purpose. In the case of sports cards, this is fine. Unless the collector has an unusual craving for hard, twenty year old bubble gum there’s no purpose to sports cards beyond collecting them. That’s all they’re there for. Toys and video games are different. They are meant to be played…

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