Sunday, 28 July 2013

The send off...

Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those long posts I usually write. But I felt I owed it to whoever reads this blog to let them know that as of now, Suicide Gaming is no more. When I jeered at VideoGamer for reducing their reviews to 300 words tops, and joked about reducing all news posts to simply a link and relevant emoticon and using either red, amber or red squares to score game reviews, I thought it was mildy amusing. Weird thing was, the more I thought it about it the more I liked the idea.

The main reason I don't write under my real name isn't because I work in games media and don't want to lose my job. It's because I wanted to actively go against the sad trend in UK games writing, for everyone and their sister to try and be the next Charlie Brooker. All of them throwing out elaborate metaphors and insults in the vein hope of breaking out of games journalism, fucking a children's TV presenter and getting  their own TV series. And even if you did know my real name, you wouldn't of heard of me anyway, so it was fine to be totally anonymous with my bitter rantings.
But things change, and I got sick of shouting  to myself in the dark. So that's why I'm following VideoGamer's example and then some. As much as I would stick it to hack game journos for being paid off, childish hypocrites, I was being just as bad by constantly droning on with my equally pointless opinions. This is the elephant in the room of games writing, the audience doesn't care what any games writer really thinks. All that concerns them is when is a game coming out and what review score did it get? There is literally no worth to games journalism besides the advertising it carries. The writer just facilitates the news and game score. No one gives a shit . You're like the man in a porno, you're needed but you're not the focus nor should you ever be.

 So I'm taking games writing to it's logical next step. Suicide Gaming is finished. In it's place is the Game Over blog. If you read the previous news and review posts here, then you'll see nothing but that on the new site. All you'll get is raw data. News posts will tell you all you need to know from the headline, should you wish to know more, the link to the source will be within the post, followed by a suitable emoticon to set the tone of the story. And the only content you'll see in a review is the format, price, release (if applicable) and the score, one of three colours. Green=good game. Amber= OK game. Red=poor game.

And that's all there is to it. Granted, I still need to design a proper logo and get my ad-sense account set up, but Rome wasn't built in a day. This is where games media is going, and I want to be at the front of the queue. To hell with all these pointless issues only a vocal minority care about, like DRM, online abuse etc. So what that Killer is Dead has a mode that views adult relationships through the eyes of a 14 year old boy?

...Who's business is it that the game journalist that recently called Phil Fish a "fucking hipster" works for a company that supported S.O.P.A., P.I.P.A. and whatever legislation that will try to destroy a free internet, while being one of the biggest copyright trolls on YouTube?

There won't be any internet riot because VG 24/7 doesn't like to give due credit and can give you the fuck off because they come under the mighty Eurogamer umbrella.

And that Call Of Duty players think it's alright to inundate one of the devs with constant abuse? Nothing to do with me...nothing at all. It's not even worth and let live, right? They're all none-stories, move on. What is there to get upset about?


Oh, no wait. I forgot I have less than  zero fucking desire to be part of anything related to being a games journalist, seeing as it's a continual drizzle of sold-off opinions and hypocrisy who's sites are no different from the GameOver blog. Except they write a paragraph to go along with their recycled news posts. It's called "news aggregation", which is exactly what it seems like on the surface, copying someone else's work to leech off their hits, but because there's a link to the original (that's if it even is linked to the original source) it's OK. If I didn't know any better, I would swear legitimate games journalism is no better than the plagiarising bloggers. So don't be surprised if MCV looks just like GameOver in five years time. Especially seeing as some people thought GameOver was actually a good idea and not the joke it was intended to be. That confusion is my fault, because when satire is indistinguishable from the subject then the joke is lost. It really speaks volumes about the state of games writing, that a blog that soley exists to blatantly leech clicks off the original authors and put in fuck all effort into writing reviews, gets met with approval and not the slightest bit of suspicion.

I may only have five people who read my stuff and half my twitter followers are spam bots and people doing the follow back thing but I can look at myself in the mirror and I can stand by what I've written  but still be open to change and taking on another way of thought and admit when I'm wrong, like when I said this wasn't gonna be a long post. I'm not quitting on calling bullshit in games media, in games culture or game publishing/development. I'm not quitting this blog or style of writing and I'm not quitting on my readers, all five of you. Because I'll be damned if I'll ever be anything close to a gurning, emo twat who has the cheek to call them self a games journalist while making adverts for EA,  an unfunny sex pest or Jason Bradbury. Who, to be fair, I've never met but I'm assured is a slimy cunt of a man. So fuck those three media scumbags and their mouth-breathing youtube audience and anyone like them or wishes to be like them. So if you thought I was packing it all in to play the game journalism game then I apologise for misleading you in the name of half-arsed comedy. As long as games media is a hotbed of cunting hypocrites and gaming has a climate of insecure bullies within it, I'm going nowhere.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

VIDEOGAMER starts the games journalism evolution

Gaming website, has caused a little bit of a stir with their recent announcement that all of their reviews will limited to 300 words max. Some gamers and writers have accused Videogamer of dumbing down for the sake of higher review turnover and essentially giving in to the barely literate gaming masses, that frequent IGN and the Kotaku comments section. Or worse yet, purposely stifling any personality a writer might try to insert into a "wall of text." So  everything is kept  to the Videogamer house style and does away with any desires to be the next Charlie Brooker -something 90% of UK games journos aspire to be once they find out how shit the money is.  And even if that is the case, I think they're doing the right thing.  Because lets be honest, most gamers don't read reviews. They look at the screen grabs and scroll right down to see the score so they can confirm their original opinion of the game or violently disagree with it. Hell, even the term, "games journalism" doesn't apply to 98% of the output of gaming media. We're not journalist, we're critics, and mostly questionable ones at that. We're not translating the dead sea scrolls, we're saying whether a digital toy is worth paying for or not, and there's no point trying to act otherwise. So I applaud Videogamer for having the sense to see what their audience really wants and give it to them.

Videogamer's example has made really think about how I write, making me look back over the one hundred previous posts that comprise this here blog. And some of what I said, and the way I said it makes me wince now. I've gone through a few changes in my personal life and I believe there's nothing wrong with learning new perspectives and changing your opinion on things. So I owe some small apology to Jessica Chobot for even hinting at calling her an attention whore. She works as a TV presenter, it's  part of her work to get people to pay attention to her and create a profile. You would honestly be surprised how important it is for a presenter  to have a social media presence these days. I still don't think much of her (or Olivia Munn) professionally, but I certainly wouldn't criticise her the way I did around the time (and before) her mind boggling inclusion in the Mass Effect 3 now, so as to distance myself from the frothing-at-the-mouth loons of the Men's Rights Activists.
There's also the issue of word count. Long before I wrote this blog, one criticism I would usually get from readers or editors would  be that I write too much. Well no more. This is the final time I ever write anything close to this word length ever again. Videogamer has shown what the future of games writing is, compression. But the thing is, they're not committing fully to the concept. To hell with written reviews, who in christ wants to read anything other than the title, format, release date and price on a game review any more? Nobody, that's who, just give a score and move on. That's all people care about, so it's time to jump into the future with booth feet.

From now on any reviews on Suicide Gaming will only contain the score. No intro, no explanation, just the score. And I won't be using something as cumbersome and complicated as a number score either. How the shit am I supposed to condense the varying quality of a video game into one of ten, or even one hundred, separate quantifiers. Fuck that noise. The new scoring system from now on will be a three-colour scoring system. If a game is good, then you'll see a green square next to it. An average game will get a amber square and a poor game will get a red one. There, no need for personality, ideas or opinions, just compression!
And that's not all, everything on this blog is getting the same streamlined treatment, because I'm not afraid of the future, all regular posts- where I link to a story or bring up a subject in gaming, then give you my thoughts on it-will just be a headline, a link related to it (if there is one) and next to it, to represent my opinion, will be a emoticon right next to it. For example,
Future publishing is losing sales and many may lose their jobs    XD

Progress! This is how it's gonna be now, because I've seen the future and I do not fear it, I embrace it. Unlike the half-hearted efforts from those pussies at Videogamer, who won't commit to this great upgrade 100%. Are you listening you hyperthyroid tosser? You don't need Julia Roberts' ex husband doing a comedy Northern accent all the fucking time to pull in the numbers. Just give people cold data and the hint of an opinion, so they can carry on with the rest of their day. That's where this business is going, where a single intern could run the news and reviews section of a whole magazine/website. And when that happens, you'll know who to thank

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Darkstalkers Resurrection (xbox 360) review: The underrated dead

There's something unashamedly primitive about  the fighting game genre. Pretty  much every other kind of video game has been deconstructed, reevaluated, rebooted and rehashed in multiple ways. But the fighting game keeps it's kung fu slippers firmly entrenched in the original definition of a video game as a electronic toy, a digital distraction via exaggerated one-on-one violence, using the same escapism ,with action figures, you would use as a child, having Mr T kicking the plastic shit out of Darth Vader on your living room carpet. That's why you're unlikely to ever see an arty beat 'em up... Christ, how I hate that label. I promise, during this review I will use anything other than "beat 'em up" as a term. Lets see how many we can come up with?

Poor Darkstalkers is like the overlooked middle child in Capcom's pantheon of whack-collectors(1) as the first Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors brought in the bold, anime-esque graphic style, that would soon be assimilated into Capcom's then favourite son, Street Fighter (with SF Alpha/Zero) right up until Capcom ditched 2D pixels for polygons with SF4. The only times Darkstalkers is mentioned is when one of the cast gets used in a crossover title, like Marvel vs. Capcom, or that dark point in one's personal history when I convinced my mother to dress up as Morrigan, in a desperate stab at popularity on 4-Chan. But thanks to Capcom relearning the law of diminishing returns- due to 3 successive releases of SF4 and the broken rip off that was Street Fighter X Tekken- don't expect a 3D follow up any time soon. However, you can rediscover this overlooked punch-up sim(2) thanks to Iron Galaxy, who have given the same kind of digital spit and polish they gave to cult slap-exchanger(3) SF3: Third Strike, with Darkstalkers Resurrection.

To the uninitiated, the Darkstalkers series is a 2D nut-kicker(4) where the entire roster are monsters from fiction and legend. Letting you choose from a selection of various  monsters, like a mummy, werewolf, vampire or punk rocker zombie. Using a over-the-top art style, that continued on in the Marvel Vs. Capcom games, which still holds up over a decade on and is still part of Darkstalkers' charm. Iron Galaxy have taken due care upscaling the sprites, ensuring your character's attacks are a vibrant body horror, contorting limbs into blood gauging weapons and invoking supernatural powers for special and super moves.

While the subtitle "Resurrection" may suggest it's a HD remake of the original Darkstalkers game. Iron Galaxy, knowing the  ruck shop(5) fans well enough to have skipped the fun but flawed first game and instead  gone for it's two sequels, "Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge" and Darkstalkers 3/Vampire Saviour. The reason being that Iron Galaxy had trouble deciding which sequel fans of the series would want more, so they converted both to satisfy fans of both games. Say what you want about Capcom's reliance on outsourcing the updates to their back catalogue, but Iron Galaxy know the hardcore fisticuffer(6) audience well, understanding that's exactly who is going to play a re-released Darkstalkers game, hence why both the second and third game were sold as one downloadable title. So as not to split the fanbase.

 Darkstalkers 2 and 3 play somewhat differently. "Revenge" has the traditional Capcom blow-swapper (7)  of a, best two-out-of three rounds system, where you beat down your opponent's energy until they're knocked out on their monstrous arse. Then repeat a second time to advance to the next fight. In Darkstalkers 3, you fight in one continuous round, with two energy bars being used throughout. If you've played Killer Instinct or any of the Marvel versus games, then you'll know exactly how this variation makes Darkstalkers 3 stand out from part 2. This leads to fights in Darkstalkers 3 being somewhat more hectic as you strive to gain the advantage of knocking off your opponent's first energy bar while trying to keep as much of your own. Being a old stick in the mud and having a long term dislike of Killer Instinct, I prefer the classic separate round system. But it's a shrewd move of Iron Galaxy to include both, so fans of either style are catered for.

Iron Galaxy certainly knew who was going to download DR, the hardcore head-knocker(8) player. Even the tutorials get straight into teaching you each character's strike and special move combinations, working up to effective move exploits that expert twatting-givers(9) love to use online over and over again. But don't feel daunted, if you're even remotely familiar with any Street Fighter game, then you'll pick this up quickly. That's one great advantage to having a (for lack of a better term) gaming heritage. If you've ever played a Street Fighter game before, you'll probably discover most, if not all, special movies just by go through the d-pad motions you would normally perform smacking E. Honda in the nuts.  And even if you're not, the single player experience isn't daunting and the cast in either game are varied enough that you'll find a character that you'll enjoy playing with in either DR title, even with just punches and kicks. And there's player assists for the truly hopeless on both games.

As is the case in any bollock-stomper(10) the real appeal is in the multiplayer. So long as you have a friend, and I do mean friend, online or sat next to you on the sofa, you'll be able to enjoy freakish combat to your hearts content. However, if you're reduced finding matches online then technically you're gonna have a couple of issues. Not with the servers (run on the tried and tested GGPO server) no, so long as you have a  decent internet connection and so does your opponent, then you won't experience any match-ruining lag. But if you're not the kind of person who spends hours pouring over frame data, tweaking the dip switches on your arcade stick and being a general sex pest, then you're in the minority of players online. You see, by the time of writing (some time after release) the DR servers will be mostly populated by the kind of joyless, knuckle-dragging scum bags, that comprise the "fighting game community" who are only a neck tattoo away from resembling a building site.  And this review being for the Xbox version, then there's the obvious handicap of the inadequate d-pad on the Xbox controller. So if you really have your heart set on being matched up against the same sex offender in training, that pounds you into a corner ad-infinitum, then at least invest in one of those fightpads   and, of course, don't put your headset on or read any messages.

Go make me a sandwich, because my mum took a restraining order out on me

If there's anything negative, it's that I wished there was a all-in versus option, where you had the option to pick a character from either Darkstalkers game in the round style of your choice. So you could play in the classic, best two out of three rounds, Night Warriors style, playing as Jedah. Because I'm old and set in my ways -going way back to stealing money from my mother's purse to play Street Fighter 2 on the arcade- and I slightly resent having to play the Vampire Saviour style to play as Jedah, who is an awesome cross of Go Nagai's Devilman and Resident Evil's Albert Wesker and is by far the coolest boss from any Capcom fist-lover(11) by far. Say what you want about M.Bison's nifty hat and Sagat's cool scar, but that pales in comparison to a dapper, smirking reaper who's stage is set in front of a giant devil-foetus  and his basic attacks involve thrusting his talons through the bursting flesh in his arms.

 fighting inside the womb of a  giant demon, next tuesday

Apart from that minor niggle, there's not a thing I can find wrong with DR. It's a faithful update of two lost gems of the arse-buster(12) genre with tight concise controls and the only DLC is to add character specific art on a virtual arcade cabinet, so you won't have to spend another penny on anything game-related. Which makes a nice change for a Capcom title. The price tag of 1200 microsoft points may seem hefty for what most see as a retro game, even for two. But if you're looking for a knuckle-digger(13) that has perhaps the most varied roster of fighters, is bags of fun and isn't totally designed to scare newbies away then give Darkstalkers Resurrection a chance. Enjoy the monster-bashing fun with your friends, but if you find yourself with the sudden urge to bully someone for their gender, race or sexuality, then take a little break and make your own fucking sandwich.