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The Gamers’ Temple Oracle

Hands off my roll!

August 11th, 2009

The official press release for the release of the DS game C.O.R.E. included this snippet:

“Taking the roll of Jason Crane, a member of an elite military unit, players will have the opportunity to explore the vast C.O.R.E. complex, traversing through living quarters, warehouses and laboratories all in an effort to find the parties responsible for the atrocities that took place within. ”

Sounds like fun, but what happens when Jason wants his bun back?

War Bad, Torture Good

April 29th, 2009

Konami created a flurry of controversy when it announced that it would be publishing Six Days in Fallujah, a game based on the bloody battle from the War in Iraq. Too insensitive! Too disrespectful! Too violent! Too soon! Once again those who love to denigrate videogames were up in arms about a game they’ve never seen or know nothing about .. and they won. Konami pulled support for the controversial game shortly thereafter. Now here’s the part that strikes me as odd. At the same time Konami announced Six Days in Fallujah, it also announced Saw, a game based on the movie series of the same name, and yet it didn’t generate a peep. On the one hand we have a game based on an historic event, which makes it deeply offensive, while on the other we have a game based on a movie series starring a psychopath who tortures people for his own amusement. I don’t know how you can protest the first while not even being phased by the second. And if you would have asked me a couple of weeks ago which game I thought would have the videogame morality police up in arms, I would have guessed that it would have been Saw without giving it a second thought. I really don’t get it. I guess I’ll leave the policing of videogame subject matter to those who know what they’re doing…

At least your cooking coach will be healthy

April 6th, 2009

Today Ubisoft announced My Healthy Cooking Coach for the DS. Apparently grammar is not the company’s strong suit,as the object of the software is to coach users in the art of healthful cooking and not to keep a virtual cooking coach in good health. It would be nice to see the title renamed to My Healthful Cooking Coach, but I suspect grammar will just have to suffer another indiginity at the hands of marketers.

Are they serious?

November 19th, 2008

PETA has protested the cooking of animals in Cooking Mama World Kitchen for the Wii. Apparently the wholesale slaughter of humans, aliens, zombies, and other two-legged critters in shooters is acceptable, but whipping up some virtual ginger pork is morally bankrupt. To Majesco’s credit, they’ve decided to roll with it. Here’s their official response:

Mama wants people to know that World Kitchen includes 51 recipes from around the world, ranging from vegetarian fare like miso soup and rice cakes to international delicacies like ginger pork and octopus dumplings.

“I would never put rat in my Ratatouille,” said a feisty Mama while beating some eggs. “Like any accomplished cook, I create my recipes to appeal to a broad range of tastes and preferences. My only goal is to ensure you leave the table well fed.”

Cooking Mama World Kitchen includes more than 25 vegetarian-friendly recipes including delicious breakfast, dinner, dessert and snack options. And, while Mama is not a vegetarian, she fully supports the humane treatment of animals, particularly for her canine protégé Max who makes his doggie debut in World Kitchen.

Hey PETA, now that you’ve put Cooking Mama in her place, what about all those virtual boars, cows, and wolves in World of Warcraft being killed just for their hides???

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Avatars!

August 14th, 2008

If you’re ever tried to search for a download on Xbox Live then you know that the interface makes it time-consuming and difficult to find what you’re looking for. The interface has been long overdue for an overhaul, so there was little surprise at E3 in July when Microsoft announced that it was also overhauling the entire blade system and replacing gamer pics with new Mii-inspired avatars. This has got to be the worst news that came out of E3 this year. The loss of blades is disappointing enough on its own, but what is really depressing is the addition of the game avatars. I like gamer pics - they’re a simple and unique way to personalize your gamer tag. I want to keep the scowling monkey that I’ve used as my face to other gamers since I bought my 360 when the system launched. Now I’m going to be forced to spend a lot of time creating a teenaged-looking, slightly effeminate, baggy clothes-wearing avatar to prance around the screen while I’m in a lobby waiting to play Gears of War 2 or something. Thanks a lot Microsoft. Do you really think that cutesy avatars are going to persuade soccer moms to buy an Xbox 360 instead of a Wii for their six year olds? Like everyone else, I have a Wii that sits by the TV gathering dust until the next first party Nintendo game is released or friends who’ve heard of the Wii but haven’t played come by for a visit. Personally, I have a very low tolerance for the cutesy Miis and peppy elevator music tunes that accompany everything you do on the Wii. When I want to get my game on I invariably power on my 360 and sign on to see my scowling monkey staring back at me and crank up the speakers. Now I’ll be greeted by a peppy avatar and be filled with loathing for what’s been lost. Once again, thanks a lot Microsoft for trying to ruin a gamer’s system in in the hopeless attempt to get grandma to plunk down cash for a 360. I can only hope some game developer uses XNA to create an avatar torturing game. You killed my monkey, you bastards!

Far From Perfect

May 4th, 2008

So Grand Theft Auto IV was finally released this week among all of the hype and controversy that usually surrounds a new release in the series. Adding to both the hype and controversy this time around is the fact that IGN released their exclusive first review of the game and scored it a rare 10 out of 10. Now there are plenty of things wrong with that picture and plenty of people have cried foul over the way the whole affair has a foul odor about it, so I don’t simply want to repeat what you can already read all over the internet. Instead, I’d like to point out that there is an issue with this controversy that no one seems to be willing to touch upon, and that is that GTA IV is simply not that great a game. IGN may claim that their review was completely unbiased, but I really have to question whether or not they actually played the game or simply posted the score based on the series’ history and hype. How can a game achieve a perfect score when it features terrible driving, fighting, and shooting controls? Seriously, the cars handle about as well as bumper cars on an ice rink. Sure, the story in the game is good, but why does it have to be wrapped in so many repetitive and boring missions. Several hours into the game I was still driving people back and forth across the city. And what about all of the innovations of the previous games that simply dropped out of sight? You can’t own property, visit other cities, make yourself stronger by working out, … the list of features that have vanished from the game is extensive.

GTA IV is a better than average game, but that’s it. Recent games such as BioShock and Call of Duty 4 have been able to suck me in right from the moment I started playing. I’m hours into GTA IV and there are times I feel like I am forcing myself to play so that I can write a review of the game. This is hardly the hallmark of a “perfect” game.

A Call For Heroes

February 20th, 2008

How come every time there is a crisis in a fantasy kingdom the people turn to some kid wearing a loincloth and carrying a butter knife? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? And yet that’s the way just about every RPG ever made begins. Does anyone out there fantasize about being a knight so they can experience the glory of killing rats and spiders? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to begin a game as an uber character with the chance to develop that character to even greater heights of uberness? Next time the kingdom’s most precious relic is stolen by an evil wizard, please, please send in the dragonslayer … and leave the rat killing to the farm boys…

Something’s Fishy Here

December 10th, 2007

Spike TV recently announced the winners of its 2007 Video Game Awards. Spike’s Video Game Awards have always been a little suspect as it’s never been made quite clear as to how the winners are selected and who actually is doing the selecting. In the past games have won awards before they were even released. Not to be outdone by prior years, this year’s awards also have a few suspect selections among the award winners. Rock Band took home three awards this year - not to take anything away from Rock Band which is a great game, but it’s a bit suspect when the top award winner is published by MTV which also happens to own Spike TV. However, this is not nearly as egregious as this year’s winner of the Most Addictive Video Game Fueled by Dew award (yes, that was one of the categories). The winner was, of course, Halo 3. What other game could possibly win an award sponsored by Mountain Dew than the game that the soda already sponsors? There’s even a “Halo 3″ flavor of Mountain Dew available. With blatant instances like these, it makes you wonder what’s the real story behind the other awards as well.

Guitar Hero IV

December 3rd, 2007

While many gamers may be dreaming of unwrapping a new copy of Guitar Hero III or Call of Duty 4 this holiday season, the corporate guys at Vivendi inadvertently revealed that Guitar Hero IV and Call of Duty 5 are in the works. In the flurry of activity surrounding this weekend’s surprise revelation that Vivendi and Activision are merging to form a new company called Activision Blizzard, a corporate bulletin was posted on the Vivendi site outlining the rationale behind the merger. Make your way about a quarter of the way down the first page and you’ll find a mention of the games in Activision’s development pipeline that lists Guitar Hero IV and Call of Duty 5 as games in development. Also mentioned are a new James Bond title, a new Tony Hawk game, and Marvel and Dreamworks games.

Read the full bulletin here

The Long Awaited PSP Right Stick

October 19th, 2007

Apparently this reviewer of NBA Live 08 for the PSP has an advanced PSP prototype:

“In its place are go-to moves that have been individualized for certain players and that are performed with the right stick. ”