The 404 Box

A Random, infrequent Blog

Quick little blog outlining an awesome little deal I fell into recently. :)

For some time now, I've been thinking of buying up an original Gameboy... mostly for nostalgia purposes; Maybe play some Pokemon or Robin Hood :) I happened to mention this idea to a co-worker or mine and she told me that her mom had one (her mom died about 2 years ago) and that she was looking to clean some stuff out anyways. It took a little while (2 months or so) and I asked her about it again, as we'd not talked about it since that day, sure enough she still had it and had actually gathered up a bunch of other stuff that belonged to her mom (whom was a kewl gamer btw) and listed it in a facebook message to see if I wanted any of it.

...I took everything :P

I got my original gameboy, as planned with some titles but also snagged an original (well cared for too) NES with controllers and games and even an N64 with the same kind of deal (controllers, games). At the awesome price of $100 for the entire lot. Some of the NES titles even came in their original cases... which kinda surprised me and really brought a kewl factor to the whole set. I took a few snaps with my phone to give ya a glance at the titles and goods:



The N64 is going to my sister, as I already have one, but everything else is staying. I'm even keeping the original boxes (though, I'm throwing them in the closet instead of having them out).

I was REALLY surprised to see Dragon Warrior in the mix... and Blades of Steel can't get any more awesome :P I'm extremely satisfied with my purchase.

Who needs graphics when you've got nostalgia. XD

I woke this morning to a couple bits of awesome news. The first, my copy of The Witcher 2 had finished downloading on steam (yeah!!!) and I see, through my sea of RSS feeds staring me in the face of my homepage, that Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is getting an HD port over to the PS3.

Sony, apparently happy with the result of porting PS2 games over to the PS3 with HD visuals and all the fancy trimmings a PS3 game would sport, is going to start in with the same thing for select PSP titles. The exact statement:


“PSP Remaster” titles will deliver rich and immersive gaming experience on the PS3 system through stunning high-definition graphics as well as through additional new features for these titles, such as operability on the PS3 Wireless Controller (SIXAXIS and DUALSHOCK 3), new add-on content or stereoscopic 3D support. Users will also be able to utilize the same save data from the original PSP game for the “PSP Remaster” version and enjoy the game on the go with the PSP system and continue the game at home on a large TV screen using PS3. Ad-hoc mode gameplay will also be supported through “adhoc party for PlayStation Portable” application on the PS3 system.


So, while this new Monster Hunter isn't built ground up for the PS3... it's much closer than I thought we were going to get for the foreseeable future. With Sony touting their new NGP to feature a hardware structure similar enough to the PS3, enough at least - to be able to port titles easily between the two, in theory being able to take your home games on the go, it's not hard to see why they wanted to test the waters with this kind of move.

With adhoc (a downloadable tool on PS3 which allows you to use the system as an internet hub for the PSP already) serving you to the online action and the comfort of 2 analogue sticks (on a PS3 controller) and some revamped visuals - Quite honestly, I love the idea. There are a number of amazing PSP games that would look superb on the big screen with an HD glaze over. I would hope a "collection" series would be in the works to see games like MGS Portable Ops and MGS Peace Walker bundled together. Maybe even the two God of War titles?


^_^ Right now, I'm pumped for MHP3 :)

Here's a clip of the game working on both PSP and PS3.


What did you think you were in for with a blog title like that? Rest assured, I'm not trying to sell you male enhancement supplements... rather, it's the name of the latest trailer for a game I'm kinda pumped for.

View it here: (link for those reading the blog somewhere other than my site)

So, yeah. Swing that Johnston! :P

The game at least got an eyebrow raise from me back when it was first introduced - simply because of the names behind the project. We've got Goichi Suda aka 'Suda 51' (Killer 7, No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Vanquish) sitting in the head seats for directing the project. Akira Yamaoka (composer for Silent Hill) is heading up the game's soundtrack (which is free with pre-order btw) with the lovely Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (voice actress for GitS's Mokoto and vocalist whom has worked with Yamaoka on most of the silent hill games). Quite the dream team if I've ever seen one :D

Cut to the trailers released thus far (the latest above) and one can tell it's going to be a title which is full of comedy. Something we don't get too often these days as titles that make fun of themselves and are meant for the player enjoyment are rare it seems... as most titles want you to be 100% serious about the subject matter. Not Shadows of the Damned.

The story is a simple one. You play Garcia Hotspur, a demon hunter who must make his way through Hell to save the love of his life. Aside from that, we know it's a third person shooter, with a crazy looking skull that turns into all of your needed weapons and helps you against these minions of hell. If the title had popped up from any other studio, from any other collaboration... I probably wouldn't be as excited.... but this combination they've come up with screams that it should be a worth while title :)

So, go a head and give it a look, to see if it's for you.

Hush404, out.

So... I picked up Dead Rising2: Case Zero on XBL a little while ago, as it was on sale... for like 200msp and I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't like the first Dead Rising game, for a few reasons and that's why I didn't buy DR2... but I figured I'd give this small download title a chance and see if I could get into the series.

It didn't help. When I started it up and went about killing zombies I was actually having some fun... you know... killin zombies isn't exactly a boring way of life... but I soon ran into some problems that bugged the hell out of me. Invisible walls, time limits, unrealistic time progression and erratic difficulty spikes. Those are some of the biggest issues I have with games at points and this game had them all. WTH? Really? Did Capcom set out to make sure I didn't like the game?

That said, I can't just leave you with a tiny list about stuff I don't like, you need some explanation! :P So, here is some stuff in games that bug the hell out of me and generally ruin the experience for me.

1. Time Limits and Unrealistic time progression

The fact that there's a modeled watch in the game bugs me even more

This is probably the worst thing for me to encounter in games... because I like to play the game at my own pace, which - a lot of the time involves me messing with the game and it's engine, stressing it's limits, seeing what physics are in play, how objects interact with others and the environment and so on. I've played many a game and instead of just powering through the story, I spend hours doing weird, little things that aren't necessarily something the developer would assume you wouldn't do for so long.

Example - I spent like an hour strategically destroying sections of a large bridge in Red Faction: Guerrilla which would allow traveling traffic to fall into and I would enjoy watching them struggle to stay on the bridge. It's a little odd, sure, but I love doing stuff like that in games.... and if I'm restricted by a game which tells me I have 5 minutes to do task X or 20 minutes to complete a day cycle - or something else equally ridiculous which ends up in me failing at what ever they outlined for me... I get mad.

Connecting with my above experience with DR Case 0, I felt that I didn't have enough time to do what I wanted (kill zombies with flare) without being penalized for it. Having staying pretty strict to what I had to do for the tasks at hand, I still barely made it in time to my end task.

Want to give me a time limit to complete a race for a side mission? No prob. I'm fine with that. If you want to include a day/night cycle in a game, I'm fine with that, but make it so it doesn't feel like I'd run out and barely able to complete one thing before the entire day is over... it's just silly. Especially if restrictions are then put on you based on the time of day.

Dead Rising abuses these ideas more than any game should. You can't play the title like you want because of the extremely strict game style and time keeping. For that I hate it.

2. Invisible walls and unrealistic obstacles

Really? It sure looks like I can go that way...

Honestly, I understand the need to section off levels and stop the player from reaching points where they can't go... but please get creative with it. I don't want to run down a road or alley way and have it look like I can continue to go, just to run into an invisible wall preventing me from doing so. Equally aggravating is the idea of putting every day crap in the way and telling us we can't get by it. It IS NOT acceptable to put a trash can in my way and say "Nope, you can't get past that!" it's insane. A dump truck... sure, I can see it being hard to get past a dump truck in the way... but not a trash can.

Another beef I have is locked doors. Especially in a title where I'm packing shotguns, axes and a million other items that could make dust of those flimsy doors and their crappy locks. Making me search for a key, hidden in retarded location X so I can unlock the flimsy door to get that med pack is extremely stupid.

Case 0 features both of these frustrating elements. -_-

3. Erratic Difficulty Spikes 

The image speaks for itself.

It's A-Okay with me to include various levels of difficulty or even an adaptive A.I that ramps up the difficulty the better you play or even a difficulty that ramps up evenly as you play through the title... I don't, however, condone random spikes of difficulty that make you shake your head. Why do games exist, where you can be enjoying yourself for a few hours, thinking "This is actually decently easy" or "The difficulty isn't too bad" and then run into something that causes you to rip your hair out?

Bosses need to be difficult, else they're not really memorable... but there's a limit of difficulty one should face, especially when it's near the first of the game. Many a game I've simply just dropped and never wanted to pick up again because of this.

Dead Rising: Case 0 may be one of those (which I never play again). I was dealing with my time limits and just managed to squeeze by, in time to give my daughter the shot she needed so she didn't turn into a zombie... and then some weird hick with a shotgun-taped-to-a-pitch-fork decides it's time to whoop my ass? WTH? I'm armed with a spiked baseball bat, a hotdog, a crowbar and a flashlight.... which do almost nothing to stop him from splashing my blood around the small area. Bam, time to load a new save, right? FUCK THAT. Back to the 360 dashboard and a "Fuck you" to that game.

This is also a huge problem with a lot of Japanese RPG games in which you can be going along, enjoying a story and then be forced with a boss that is 10gazzilion times strong than you.... but strategy really doesn't mean shit... you need to go back and grind for another 10 hours to get past the part..... FUCK THAT. Life is too short and filled with much better games to bother wasting time on that shit.

4. Partial Voice acting

Cutout pictures? Text boxes? No voice over? Acceptable during the SNES... but not now in 2011.

Why would you put voice acting in your game for some sections but not others? It's lazy. Either you're going all text or you hire them voice actors to do all scenes. Cutscenes, cinematics, conversation in game etc. Don't give me 2 of the 3 and think that's kewl because it's not.

Guess what! Case 0 does it.

5. Lack of control options or bad controls

"Just give me a min, I can't seem to stop aiming at the sky."

I play game with the camera inverted. Up is down and down is up in my world and that's the only way I play. If your game doesn't include an option for this, I won't play your game. It's really that simple... because any game that has camera control... generally needs camera control and if I can't used an inverted style... then I can't control my camera. Silent Hill: Homecoming doesn't have an option for inverted camera - and a patch for the game never came to include such a feature, so I've never played more that 10 frustrating minutes of it. I also remember playing Uncharted 2 for the first time and kept going into the menu to switch the inversion option, thinking it was sticking, but ended up not saving my preferences and spent the first half an hour struggling with it and wondering why - stooped me, I figured out and then instantly was able to run around with ease.

Equally maddening is the idea that I can't may controls to my liking, OR the controls are extremely bad choices for a particular title. 99% of shooters generally either have a scheme where my reload is the left most face button, which I love - some decide it's best on one of the top buttons? *shakes head. No. At least give me the option to change it.

-------

Okay, rant over. Dead Rising sucks. Peace.
Hey team (remember, that's what you're called now :P) I'm going to try something rather different for me as a blog post... just something quick that I can give me two cents on instead of slamming a lot into a big blog that a lot of people just skim anyways :P

**Let me know what you think of this new, quick format.

The Topic:

PSN is back online worldwide (except Japan).


The Breakdown:

Taken offline on April 20th due to the mammoth hack job someone (strong rumors suggest anonymous) pulled off on with Sony's servers, the Playstation Network (PSN) has been down nearly a month as Sony started rolling out the hook up just the other day, starting in North America. The world, except for Japan - due to some weird stuff, is now able to get their PS3s and PSPs online and play with friends, compare trophies and so on.

Sadly, the PSN (digital) store, where gamers get demos, download DLC and buy games (and so on) is not yet functional as Sony continues to work on it.

Sony has already laid out plans on a few fronts. Working with companies to prevent identity theft - if such a thing arises from the hack, they're offering their services free (paid by Sony) to anyone with a claim. More awesome to a gamer's ears, Sony is offering up some free "Welcome back" goods to anyone with a PSN account prior to April 20th as an apology offering to gamers who couldn't get online for the near month.

Full games like infamous and little big planet on PS3 and Mod Nation Racers and Killzone Liberation on the PSP are being offered for free once the store is brought back up.

A full list of the possible free games and services offered here.

My Thoughts: 

I'm glad to have PSN back, to tsee what friends are playing, to jump into some online games on my system - I had other online systems to play while PSN was down, so it wasn't too bad of a wait, but still :P it's nice to have back and to see Sony is making headway since this craziness started. 


Personally, I like the idea of the offer to give back to gamers on the service... but in my case I own all of the PS3 titles being offered, except for Wipeout... which I don't care for. So I'm left either downloading nothing or grabbing something I already have, now in digital form. On the PSP offering, I don't own Mod Nation Racers or Little Big Planet... so I may snag those... but I'm not that excited for them. The addition of 2 months of PS+ membership is a nice touch as it makes up for the near month that I've lost because of the service not being up and then gives me an additional month... but I still feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel... all because I buy lots of games.

I honestly feel like I should be able to nab what ever title of my choice from the store, rather than those in the list. Even if it was just one title, I'd gladly give up a choice of 4 ones I don't care to own for that one title I want. I've seen some comments on Sony's blog saying the same thing... but I doubt we'll be heard.

For anyone without the titles, it's actually a great deal! You get two full PS3 games (two of which are large retail releases) and if you've got a PSP, two full PSP titles as well. Throw in some PS+ for free, some home items (which I forgot to mention before now, there's suppose to be ~100 free items) and even some movie rentals for those interested (from Sony's movie download service) and it's quite the bundle. Sadly, not one that I can take too much advantage of.
Hey team, just a short blog today. I do have a few blogs done up, ready to be posted on a few subjects, but decided a light-hearted blog will do for today :P

So, blogger was down for about a day, EEK! lol, It felt weird having blogger down and not being able to A) Make random blogs or B) Post content on pinksquadron (we use blogger as our platform). Some posts were even messed up by the outage, as blogger reports they had to revert some data to a backup on Wednesday, which did funky things to posts that were posted after that point. Had to re-post some things and change some things that were effected by these errors. But all is well now :)

But, back on topic. Quarter of a Century... That's a sizable chunk of time hmm? Just so happens, today is my 25th birthday :) Cha, 25... crazy huh? I know I've got many a friend here on GS who are past that age... but for me, at least, it feels weird. It's one step closer to 30 and then... oldness :P lol. Dun worry about me though, I'm keep gaming till I'm dead :P

Oh, btw, if you wanted to get me cake, either of these will do:


It's amazing what some people can do with cakes, huh?

The absolute best thing about this day though... isn't my birthday... but the fact that it marks the first of 9 days I've got off from work :) Free time seems to be in short supply as of late and getting away from work to just chill is a welcomed break. 

What I'm playing:

Bioshock (PS3)

*Insert loud Big Daddy growl
 Holy fuck I love Bioshock :) I had originally played the game on my PC when it came out (as I didn't have a 360 at that time and the PS3 didn't get it until later) and I fell in love with the atmosphere and idea. I got the PS3 version as a Christmas gift... not this year, but I believe the year before and never popped it into my machine until now. Some updates and 5gb game install later and I'm back in rapture :D

Taking a look at the trophies... I decided I'd try for the one where you must defeat the game on Survivor Difficulty - without using Vita Chambers. Survivor difficulty is the 4th difficulty, a level beyond hard... and it lives up to it's name. I find it takes A LOT to kill even the basic splicers and ammo is scarce like you wouldn't believe. I had a robo-drone helping me out for a bit and before he blew up, he was quite handy. I notice the game goes much slower as I'm trying to stay alive (as opposed to just plowing through on easy). I've noticed that when I do get some ammo, the weapons beyond the pistol are hellish handy. Shotgun burst and shots from the Tommy gun are extremely effective at stopping splicers in their tracks. Hope I'm able to stick with it and complete the game on the difficulty I set out for.

Red Faction: Guerrilla (PS3)

Meet my giant sledge hammer, bitch.
 I had left this title alone after starting it sometime back in 2009 (that was when my last save was dated) and I guess... I haven't played it for an entire year (prob got buried under other titles) but I've come back to it and I'm REALLY enjoying it. Busting stuff really doesn't get old.... at all. lol, I've spent hours smashing the hell out of buildings.

I've done a large chunk of the main story missions and even tackled some side missions as well. It feels great as you can go at it, at your own pace and how you choose to do so. Generally, finding a mech and destoying everything in your path is the best way to go :P Sadly, mechs are scarce! I just unlocked the Jet pack for my dude and it's come in handy on a number of occasions. I was so impressed with the title, I went ahead and pre-ordered the new title coming out in June (Red Faction: Armageddon).

Brutal Legend (360)

"What do you mean the story is retarded?"
 Another title I've put of playing for some time, Brutal Legend. I'm iffy with the title. I love the comedy, the art is fan-fucking-tastic, the music makes me giddy and over all it feels very well done. That said, I have no clue what's going on in the story and the strategy bits usually just have me pressing buttons in confusion - having no idea what I'm doing. Too bad the game wasn't more adventure and less strategy... I would of preferred that.

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

Hunter monsters is a lot of fun - even when the game is kinda ugly :P
 
Damn, monster hunter is kewl. I've played one title before this on my PSP and really liked it so I instantly wanted to play the Wii version. I use the classic pro controller (looks kinda like a PS2 controller) for it instead of the actual Wii motion controls (which Im not a fan of) and it actually works rather well. Oddly enough though... the game looks bad... lol. I shouldn't expect too much out of a Wii game... but I swear the MH I have on my PSP looks sharper than this does :P I've just been playing the single player thus far, haven't tried it online.


Goldeneye (Wii)

Decent looking for a Wii title and it's fun to boot.
Another title I was really excited for on the Wii is Goldeneye. I picked this up the same time as Monster Hunter and I don't have a strong opinion on it just yet. I've played 3 or 4 levels on the single player mode and I like that some things feel like the old 007 title... but a lot of it has been reworked and thus - it feels a lot less like 007 than I wanted. During the level where you start off in the vents above a bathroom, a grin grew on my face. Once I jumped down and found myself in some strange bathroom not resembling the one I remember, my heart sunk. I did give the multiplayer a bit of a go and got to kill some random peeps online.

Anyways, that's it :) Peace sukkas.
^_^ The buried treasure segment is back! This time around, I was looking at some PC games that are much more independant projects rather than full scale retail behemoths of the past. These titles are generally made by just one person or a very tiny team and usually depend on their own websites as the main place for promoting the title. I would like to share with you some of the ones I've found over the years and enjoyed.

The Dark Ages 1 and 2
Price: Free
Genre: RPG
Link: DA1, DA2


The first Dark Ages game (subtitled "The Continents") really impressed the hell out of me when I first played it (many years ago) and going back to it today still leaves a grin on my face. It's a rather 'by the numbers' take on an RPG of old in which you quest to avenge your slain family and take down the powerful wizard responsible for their deaths. You set out to collect medallions in order to take down this wizard, whom is going across the world, conquering everything in his path.

Complete with it's own map of a land inspired by the likes of Lord of the Rings, Dark Ages has quite a bit of game space to travel in it's over world and the dungeons in which your traverse. The battles are turn based, as most traditional RPGS go and you collect your main stay of potions and weapons to outfit your hero with. It is a DOS made game and thus you'll either need a really old PC that does DOS naturally or pick up the superb emulator "DosBox" (which you can download from their site) for more current operating systems.

The visuals are charming (and way oldskool), the music on the same level and the whole experience something you'll probably enjoy if you dig older RPGs.


Michael Hoopman - the guy behind Dark Ages, went and gathered a few into a team to help him create it's sequel, aptly named Dark Ages 2: Engel (A german word for angel).

The new title, is a bit more updated and sports visuals that are a step up from the DOS original. You can use your mouse for this adventure (the first title is keyboard only) and it follows three characters as they begin in the thieves guild. Set 500 years after the events in the first game, magic is said to of destroyed any kind of governing system and now each town and area is on it's own (in regards to rules), with factions acting to protect the people.

The same charm is back from the first game and while I dug the art of the first game more (nostalgic?) the new game does well presenting itself. This title runs in XP and below and (unconfirmed) should run in newer operating systems as well.



Mark Leung: Revenge of the Bitch
Price: $12.99 - Free Demo
Genre: RPG
Link: MarkLeung.com


I'm not even sure how I heard about this game... but the idea floored me. It's a fairly modern game - which actually looks like it could be a download title on XBLA or PSN. It's an RPG in which you play a character whom dumps his girlfriend. Sounds simple enough.... but the game get's wicked crazy from that point on.

Cutscenes are live action pieces done by a cast of hilarious actors - in a world that actually resembles that in the actual game. Gameplay takes place in a cel-shaded world in real and turn based time. You start off fighting rabbits, squirls and other little creatures... whom spray blood when attacked. *shrugs.

The entire story is about making fun of the industry and the idea that all RPGs take themselves WAY too seriously. It's actually really hard to describe it properly... so here's an except from their site:


Journey into the world of Untitled with Mark Leung -- a selfish Communist and hapless Ginseng collector. He finds himself caught in a petty rivalry between two wacko religions -- and haunted by his ex-girlfriend to boot. Help Mark as he battles cute, blood-spewing cats, unremorseful loltrolls and the gun-toting McFunny. 

The game looks gorgeous, plays beautifully and makes you laugh the whole way through. The free demo alone is enough to check out and if you decide it's for you, it's just $13 to purchase. Here's a trailer:




Planeshift
Price: Free
Genre: MMORPG
Link: planeshift.it


This genre (of free MMOs) seems to be a growing trend in the industry as of late... however, this MMO is completely free. You won't find the good items as ones you need to buy with real world money or better servers and quests if you subscribe to their service, nope, this sucker is completely free.

The entire game runs from servers and donations made by fans and generous interested parties. You simply download the client application, install and you're ready to go with registering. The game is also cross-platform, so you can play on Mac, Windows or Linux.

It's graphical style is akin to WoW and you pretty know what you're in for when we say MMO. Hours of questing with friends and strangers a like in a world populated by creatures that need a slaying and baddies whom try to get in your way. It's not revolutionary.. but it's well done and a good bout of fun for anyone who likes the genre.


UltraStar Deluxe
Price: Free
Genre: Karaoke
Link: Ultrastardeluxe.org


Do you like to sing? Most people do... regardless of their talent, we all like to sing along to our favorite songs. Based on the idea of a game based solely on sings - in SingStar (a Playstation title), this game aims to provide gamers a place to sing all their favorite music without limitation.

The title allows you to import your own music to sing to - which the game creates a pitch map for, for scoring purposes. You can also play any video file in the background to that song. It's pretty basic in how it works, but it looks elegant doing so, adopting a style straight from the Singstar series.

With support for multiple singers and downloadable for Mac, Windows and Linux... it's really the ultimate karaoke machine for free :P

Shattered Galaxy

Price: Free
Genre: RTS/MMO
Link: Sgalaxy.com


Think - Starcraft (the first one) set in a persistent online world with a lot more people playing at once. The game boasts matches that top at 50 players controlling about 500 units in one mammoth battle. With as many as 100,000 simultaneous combatants in a single universe competing for domination. The game also boasts great tactics as you command small groups as generals to help the battles play out and even develop hero characters which take a bit from the RPG realm and level up as you win more battles; allowing you to raise through the ranks and take your beefed up heroes into fame.

I found, you really need to enjoy the genre to get the most out of this title. It's not going to sway those not into the idea of oldskool RTS games (read resource management - no tower defense here). If you like that, however, or are willing to give it a chance, it's quite a bit of fun. The graphical style screams starcraft (the original) and the controls feel very fluid and easy to navigate.
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