Thursday, June 14, 2007

A passion's need

I love reading articles about Assassin's Creed on Eurogamer. Not because I like to soak up every detail about the game, but because the comments are always an hilarious shitstorm.

On one side you have people banging on about how they'd like to bang on Jade Raymond, and on the other you have the glorious white knights of the internet defending her honour.

I particularly liked this post:

There is no denying that Jade is pretty, but I think it would do the industry a world of good if we are able to attract a greater representation of females in all level. Jade do make us look more normal you know? She is not just a face but articulate and our school boys response would just confirm that our beloved gaming is an immature one!

Please dont drive Jade away especially if she read this comments! Led, absolutely shocked at your immature and sexist comment.
What a noble and thought-provoking comment. Whoops, hang on - he's not finished yet...
Jade if you do happen to read this I am happy to be contacted for anything.. anything at all!
Oh I see, you just want to get into her pants as well. I find these posts funnier than the lewd ones - the idea of someone thinking that by writing a long and serious comment telling off all of the naughty boys being rude about a lady they will somehow attract her attention and result in some kind of romance, tickles me.

(And somewhere between them you get about 5 posts of people talking about the game, which is looking quite pretty, and worth a play - much like Jade Raymond. Hahahahaha.)

(Sorry Jade.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Humple pie

I recently read an article on Eurogamer where David Doak talked about various bits and pieces Haze related. It was interesting enough, but then I had a brief flick through the comments on the article (I'm my own worst enemy really, but sometimes you just feel like being astounded by the stupidity of your audience, you know?) and came across this gem.

Other developers are usually humble
I have no idea where that idea came from. If I was to list my major peeves with the games industry and the people who work in it (which I almost did once, before I decided that I liked having some bridges left available to me), somewhere near the top would be:

People who appear to not like any games at all, or say everything "looks shit" without playing it, or watching it for more than two minutes.

So many people who work in the industry appear to not like any games at all. I mean, I've not conducted any kind of survey to find out exact numbers, but I've seen it myself in the past, and I know from talking to colleagues that it happens just as often in studios they work at.

I have a firm believe that this particular behaviour is down to a deep-rooted fear that other people think everything they do is shit, too. Or possibly because they know that most of the things they do are shit. It's okay to like a game, or to think it's pretty. Or even to say that they have good tech. There's no crime in offering praise to the competition, it's a good thing.

And I'm still looking forward to Haze.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Picross (DS)

I'm a bit of a Picross fan (it turns out that I'm easily addicted to any puzzles based on grids and numbers), so I snapped this up.

Initially I thought it was rubbish, but I've gradually come around to it- I'm starting to think that it does what it sets out to do pretty well, and it's just that I don't really agree with that initial goal.

This is a Picross game for people who have never played Picross before. The puzzles never get any larger than a 25 by 20 grid, and are rarely challenging (I couldn't imagine why you'd release a puzzle game that has no real 'hard' mode for people who are already good at it, but it's part of the Touch Generations lineup, so maybe it's been decided that they should all be a bit easy).

It fills up a lot of space with utterly pointless challenge modes (based around the raw mechanics of the puzzle, instead of being about trying to uncover a picture - you know, the 'Pic' bit of the name) and even worse timed reaction mini-games that have nothing to do with the puzzles except that they're based on a grid and coloured squares (they're kind of like finding a shoot 'em up featuring the numbers one to nine in a Sudoku game).

The stylus controls are surprisingly uncomfortable since you really need to keep a thumb on the direction pad to avoid having to keep clicking on the edge of the screen. It would be nice to be able to tap on a square to be able to cycle through its states, but because of the "help" mode (that you can't turn off at the default difficulty level) this wouldn't be possible. You also have to access a different mode to mark down 'possible' options. Again, because of not being able to cycle a space's state.

The stylus control system also insists on making you zoom in. A key feature of Picross is being able to see a lot of the board and the numbers clearly, and the zoomed mode just confuses things. I could see it as a necessary evil if the grids were too large for a single screen, but they aren't - and tellingly the d-pad control scheme leaves you zoomed out the whole time.

Presentation-wise it's quite nice, though. As you complete each puzzle you get a nice fully coloured and animated version, and the menus are clear and easy to navigate. It does have an annoying pop up that seems to happen before every grid asking if you want to cheat (yeah, thanks game), and there's no option to turn this off. Also the themed grid colours are awful and distracting, but thankfully you can set it to always use a plain colouring. It would be nice if the menus automatically started the highlight on the last unsolved grid too - I should just be able to turn it on, keep pressing 'A', and start playing the next puzzle, instead I have to scroll past all of the levels I've completed.

But like I said, I've grown to like it. The short simple puzzles fill the time between waking up and having to get out of bed much better than the 45 minute Slitherlinks I'm battling these days. If you're new to Picross you'll probably like it too.