Sunday, March 21, 2010


If this works out to be hype, I don't even know what I'll do. Likely something involving copious amounts of alcohol.


Good riddance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This was actually written in March, but it hadn't posted yet (presumably the fault of my oh-so-wonderful connection). Since it's still rather relevant, here it is.

I'd best warn you now, faithful readers. For this article, I'll be breaking from my usual attempts to avoid anything people would get offended by; if you do, for whatever irrational reason, find yourself offended by arbitrarily-chosen words, perhaps you'd best stop reading for now.

I've had a pretty boring day. My internet has been causing me no end of trouble - as usual - and so even Youtube was out of the question for entertainment. I couldn't start many of my games, because Steam kept crashing and then wouldn't switch to offline mode. I didn't really feel like playing any of my non-Steam games, either. Eventually, I resorted to a mix of Lock On and sitting around waiting for Steam to start working properly.

Eventually, I was able to get it running. I then found myself with only a few games to play, as I can't update anything (my connection is shaped, so I'm running at dialup speeds right now). I decided to give World in Conflict MP another shot, since I've been playing against the AI a little and I seemed to have made at least some improvement. I sign in, find an Australian server with a pretty decent number of active players, and figure I've lucked out. Not so.

We lose three games in as many minutes because our support player seemingly can't be bothered to get any anti-aircraft cover up and running. In light of this, and the fact that I'm sick of watching my units get slaughtered defending our last capzone while my teammates mill around an empty zone doing absolutely nothing, I decide to go support and drop some artillery. I settle into this pretty well, and when I don't actually make kills, I'm still denying the enemy any hope of taking the capzones.

Apparently, though, I'm violating some unwritten rule of the game by doing this, and my own team starts gobbing off at me and trying to votekick me. I raise the issue that I'm by no means good at the game, and instead of actually being helpful, they figure this is an even better excuse to harass me. Eventually, one bitches that I'm just dumping artillery and not providing air support; last I checked, nobody else had been in any of the previous games, but no complaints were forthcoming then. Not only that, I was actually dropping effective barrages, eventually dumping a nuke right in the middle of the map and shaving a fair chunk off of the enemy force. You'd think my teammates would be at least a little appreciative of this, especially since the explosion wiped out several helicopters. Nope. Not good enough, apparently. I got kicked about ten seconds later.

It's fucking well hard enough having to deal with sore losers and other pricks in general without your own team joining in. As far as I saw I had the second best score on the team, was constantly disrupting and destroying enemy assaults on my teammates' forces, and I actually saved up my tactical aid points rather than pissing them away like everyone else was. Just because some self-absorbed piece of shit thinks I should be personally sacrificing every unit I can to protect him as he ponces about doing sweet fuck all, I got kicked from a game which I was helping to win. With all the bullshit gamers have to take, you'd really think they'd be less inclined to act like absolute pricks to each other, but I guess not.

It sure is a good thing I like the game and I'm not easily discouraged by morons (quite the opposite), because this kind of thing is what kills off good games. Sorry if you don't like me using an effective weapon to maximum potential; I guess if WWIII comes, you're going to ask the enemy to stop bombing the shit out of your house so you can finish that one more game before you get up to the next rank by cruising around and dragging yourself up off of your teammates' hard (and utterly thankless) work.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A little originality, please.

Some time ago, I posted an article on the generic locations used by many games, and put forth the proposal of developers going to a war far removed from any they've portrayed (however accurately or poorly) so far. Perhaps I was setting the bar too high. Perhaps it's too much to expect from the modern PC gaming industry, where large developers are so single-mindedly fixated on churning out the next reiteration of the same game in time to seize the Christmas market (yes, Activision, I am talking about you right now) that any suggestion of originality warrants the deposing of a studio's chiefs.

Maybe we should take this a little slower, then. So here's my new proposal: why not stick with the same locations, but go to a different war. Surely this isn't too much to ask? There have been plenty of wars in every developer's favourite areas, so it's not as if there's a lack of choice. In Europe alone, war has been raging since the dawn of time and it's only since WWII that things have settled down. The Middle East has probably never been at peace in human history. Likewise, central and south-east Asia have been hotbeds for conflicts through the ages.

As the favourite of late seems to be the Middle-Eastern Area of Operations, let's go to Afghanistan. But how about we do it differently this time? No more ACU-clad Americans. No more high-tech rifles which will never actually end up replacing anything, let alone the M4. No, let's take a trip back in time to the 1979-1989 conflict with the Soviet Union, in what has come to be known as their own Vietnam.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I watched Charlie Wilson's War recently. By recently, I actually mean yesterday. I see no reason this game does not exist, aside from the industry's apparent reluctance to make anyone who isn't American (or sometimes British) appear good at all, let alone a heroic character. The war was long, was bloody, and had a distinct turning point; it had a spectacular victory by the underdog, only to plunge back into chaos due to cessation of support from the US government; it had plenty of intrigue, thanks to the incredible scheme that saw the utterly outgunned and outmatched mujahideen armed with Stinger missiles. The Soviet helicopters, in particular the Mi-24 gunships, had been the absolute scourge of the Afghan resistance fighters. However, as the imposing machines began to fall from the sky, the entire course of the war changed and the eventual withdrawal by the unsuccessful Soviet invasion force was considered a contributing factor in the crumbling of the USSR.

So once again, I'm putting out a challenge. Quit working on the tenth samey re-release of a tired series, and put the love back into games that has been missing from the mainstream for years now. Eventually even the drooling diehards, who are currently oblivious to the sharp decline in quality of their favourite franchises, will come about. Try actually doing something different, something which sets you apart from the rest of the industry. Who knows, you may even make a killing.