New Blog Schedule

Hey,

I’m going to be on holiday and, more importantly, without the Internet until the 25th of January. So that means no posts for two weeks. A little annoying because I’m getting into the groove of writing these things.

When I get home the blog schedule will change a little. Because the new school year is starting, I’ll write posts sporadically instead of updating the blog daily.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

Dark Souls Heads to PC with Your Help

From Software’s Dark Souls seems like the sort of game PC players would warm to, but until recently, Dark Souls looked to be confined to the console market. Surprising considering the number of things-PC-gamers-like boxes it ticks. Fantasy setting, check. RPG mechanics, check. Kick-you-in-the-crotch difficulty, check.

However, many of us PC gamers were given hope after Rock, Paper Shotgun sighted this admin post on the Namco Bandai Forums. The post is in response to a call for Dark Souls on PC.

“There is always possibilities to have games adapted on PC and the good news is that Dark Souls is not a 100% typical Console game so the adaptation is possible. Now to make things happen, let’s say the demand has to be properly done. someone to make a successful petition?”

And the community has answered. A petition has been created and already has 54,994 signatures and counting. Sign it here.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

Action Replay: The Pitch

Hey,

I’ve recently had a craving to play some older games and write about them. But, as I want to stick to my post-a-day policy, I don’t feel as though I can write a full review in one day and be satisfied with the quality.

So I’m going to write the review in three parts and over a week, the parts being: the first impressions (impressions after an hour of play), the second movement (impressions after six more hours) and the endgame (the verdict after finishing the game or, if it has no definite ending, after playing for much time as I deem necessary to form a solid opinion).

I term this feature (if the title of this post didn’t give it away) the Action Replay, hence replaying older games. Watch out for one of these in the next few weeks.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

Devil’s Advocate: iPhone Gaming’s Biggest Issues

My last post should have made clear that I’m pretty optimistic about the iPhone’s future. As mentioned in that post, the number of good games coming out outweigh the number of issues that the iPhone suffers from. But issues there are, and they’ll have to be addressed if Apple wants to make waves the mobile gaming market.

The most undeniable issues with the iPhone are the amount of garbage on the App Store and the number of games with poor controls.

The garbage is the lesser of the two problems because trash is naturally filtered out as the best products rise to the top. A certain amount of trash should be expected with any store composed mostly of games ‘made by some dude in his basement’. This is not to say that games made by some dude in his basement are bad, just that for every gem there are ten piles of shit.

But low-budget games are only part of the problem; uninspired clones made by larger development studios clog the App Store just as much. Developer Gameloft is notorious for cloning successful franchises mercilessly, from Diablo (Dungeon Hunter) to God of War (Hero of Sparta) to, perhaps the most brazen steal, Modern Warfare (Modern Combat).

While some of these titles make me want to say “Really Gameloft? Really?”, this is not a particularly major problem. In fact, despite the cringe-worthy names, some of these clones are good, even great.

The real threat to the future of iPhone gaming is poor controls. Perhaps the most common failure in developer logic is not realising that my thumbs take up space on the screen, block the action and generally fuck up the experience. There are way too many times when I’m playing an iPhone shooter, I move my thumb up and tap the screen to throw a grenade, and I’m already staring at the ‘Retry Mission’ screen. It’s way too common for enemy A.I. to snap out from behind cover and kill me while my thumb obstructs the screen. It’s just not fun.

And it doesn’t just apply to shooters. RTS games and high score games (in the vein of Doodle Jump) can fall victim to this gameplay frustration equally easily. Building control schemes specifically for the iPhone and not trying to replicate PC and console control setups is the only way around this. It’s disappointing to see something as fixable as a bad control scheme ruin an otherwise great game.

So those are the biggest issues with iPhone gaming. But, as stated in my last post, I believe that they can all be fixed. Large numbers of bad games are only a minor annoyance and bad control schemes stem from trying to emulate console controls and lazy design. All will be dealt with in time.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

Is the iPhone the Future of Mobile Gaming?

We’ve come a long way since the App Store went online in 2008. It’s hard to believe that in the space of just three years we’ve gone from the clumsy launch title Super Monkey Ball to the console-quality Infinity Blade 2. If this is the improvement over three years, imagine where we’ll be five, or even ten years from now. I believe that iPhone games will become more and more ubiquitous as time goes on, and that they will only get better in that time.

The iPhone has high hopes as a gaming platform, not just because there are so many stellar titles available, but because so many of them are available at such cheap prices. Between iPhone devs Gameloft, Ngmoco, Chair and Popcap (I could go on) there are a staggering number of outstanding games being released. If quality games continue to appear on the App Store in such numbers, there is no question that Apple will remain the dominant factor in the mobile market.

Sure, an amazing new handheld/phone hybrid (we all saw how that worked out for the Gizmondo) could come into the picture and burst the iPhone’s bubble, but Apple’s name, in my opinion, carries far too much weight for that to happen. The iPhone, as a brand, is too well established to be overthrown overnight.

To answer the title of this post, yes, the iPhone may very well be the future of mobile gaming. However, this is not to say that it is without problems; a slew of them are definitely present. But, to use a cliché, the good definitely outweights the bad.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

Why I Love Bethesda Softworks

As a long-term Bethesda fanboy, one of the defining moments of my gaming life was my first time playing Morrowind. Having never played an RPG and being oblivious to the concept of an open word game, I was excited and a little shocked when I murdered an innocent dark elf after accidentally clicking on him. I know this sounds like Dylan Kleebold’s origin story, but this formative gaming experience (unlike what Fox News would like you to believe) was a psychological release rather than the trigger of a crazed killing spree.

Over the next few months I spent embarrassing amounts of time killing Daedra, trekking through lush wilderness and terrorising villagers, often neglecting basic needs (eating, sleeping) in favour of a night of exploring Dwemer ruins. Little did I know that this was only a precursor of things to come.

When Oblivion and (later) Fallout 3 were released it was the same story; way too many hours sunk into a Bethesda product. And Skyrim has been the same. If anything, Skyrim has been more addictive than any previous Bethesda game, the clear result of one studio’s experience with a certain style of RPG.

Playing Skyrim after a two-year hiatus from Bethesda games is like falling in love again. It’s reminiscent enough of Morrowind to satisfy long-time fans (myself included), but cuts away the clutter that was present in past Elder Scrolls games to create an accessible yet deep experience.

I have no idea what will be next for Bethesda Softworks, but I would love to see a new IP. Given that Todd Howard’s team has only worked on sequels for the last decade, they are long overdue for something original.

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.

How To Get a Job in Video Game Journalism and 2011: Year in Review

Damn, 2011 was a crazy year.

My own personal growth combined with the economic meltdown and the number of fantastic games that have been released made this one of the strangest years of my life. Between Arkham City and Battlefield 3 and Skyrim I’m surprised I was able to do anything productive at all, but I have improved my writing (something important to me). And that’s exactly what I want to do with this blog; further my understanding of the albatross that is the English language.

I’ll write one post every day unless something physically stops me from writing.

I leave you with these two articles on getting a job in the “video game journalism” field. Both are insightful and both are written by people I respect (Ryan Geddes and Hilary Goldstein).

How to Get A Media Job: The New Rules

Why You Don’t Work at IGN

‘Till next time,

Seth

Read my blog at IGN here.