Monday, September 19, 2011




Long time no type.

The duties of my real life away from the keyboard got in the way for a bit (and still do, more often than not), but I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get back to my little corner of the interwebs in an attempt to balance things out. 


I’ve been thinking a lot about gaming in general, and what we talk about when we talk about gaming- and when I say ‘we’, I’m referring to gamers as a whole: let’s face it, gaming preferences pushed to the side, we all share the common fact that we like games. 

But how do we talk about them?

I read somewhere (can’t remember, sorry) that one of the main factors as to why video games aren’t seen as a legitimate artform by some critics/luminaries/whoever’s in charge of Liking Stuff is due to how we write about gaming… and I agree.

Who’d want to take the following fabricated statements as a viable opinion:

“shit sony fanboys always piss me off get a clue 360 ruls!”


“fuuuuuuuuuck u capcmo”

I certainly wouldn’t.  And while my major in college might have been Tomfoolery (my minor was in Shenanigans), I can speak Internetese, so I know that the previous statement doesn’t have any weight in the grand scheme of things.  It means nothing.  It was written by a person who might actually have an opinion to offer, but doesn’t want to take the time to express it with a bit more detail, and that’s okay.  They can do what they want.

But it makes the rest of us gamers look bad.

There are reasons why there are stereotypes about gamers, and I think some of our comments- the way we express ourselves when we talk about games, what we post at our favorite websites, what we say about developers and creators in this medium- all of that collectively paints at picture, and more often than not, it’s not a good one.

Granted, I’m not perfect when I talk about gaming- far from it.  Have you read my Twitter feed?  I say some dumb shit.  But I’m realizing that in order to talk about gaming and be heard, we have to go about it the right way. We’ve got to be intelligent when we have a dialogue about gaming.  We can be passionate, angry, thoughtful, and provoking in our expression of our thoughts, but we’ve got to do it the right way

What that is, I don’t know.

But I’m willing to make an effort to find out.


Duke Nukem Forever: On hold indefinitely.  Almost snapped the disc.  Waste of money.  Looking forward to what Gearbox can really do with the property next time out, though.  If it’s a prequel, however, I will kick a llama’s ass in fury.

Shadows of the Damned:  Near the end.  Stuck on a boss.  Can’t aim right due to getting old.  Probably never could.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution:  Just bought it!  It is awesome.  Can’t wait to play more of it.

Gears of War 3: No, I don’t have it yet- but I’ll be getting it tomorrow.  Time will be gone.


I’ve been playing Gears of War 2 like a fiend over the past month or so in an attempt to get Veteran Gear status before Gears of War 3 drops.  I made it to level 61.  I failed miserably.  It was still fun though!

Just read the news that DC Universe Online will be going free-to-play in October.  Will Sgt. Toh, intergalactic asskicker of justice, fly again?  If my save data still exists, then yes.  Yes he will.

Does anyone want me to play Duke Nukem Forever again?  I sure don’t… but I’ll finish it if someone gives me one Brand Spanking New Internet Dollar.

I wish Capcom and Fox would hug it out so I can finally see ALIEN VS. PREDATOR be released for Xbox Live Arcade or the Playstation Network.  It’s my favorite side-scroller of Capcom’s.  I would like to play it again in a legitimate fashion before I die.


Take care, spike your- wait, that’s not my catchphrase.

I guess I need a catchphrase…

Until I get one, goodbye.

Thursday, June 30, 2011




Before I get into it about this Shit On A Disc, a note.  No one’s talking about this game anymore and I’m fully aware of that fact.  However, as a gamer, I have an obligation to myself… and that is to finish this damn game and share my experiences with you, dear reader.  I don’t get advance copies of stuff, and I can’t run through games in one sitting anymore because I, allegedly, have to be an adult and go to work and pay bills and things of that nature. 

So, I do this for fun… and unfortunately, this game is not fun for me.  I’m slogging through it, and it is the worst $57.99 I have spent on a full retail release in quite some time.

Amazon gave me a two dollar refund the day it was sent to me.  I found that funny.

With that said… let me say just exactly what’s on my mind concerning this game.

Fuck this game.


I said it.

Let’s talk about the Hive level, shall we?


I’d heard a lot about the Hive level and the perceived misogyny and extreme immaturity seen throughout it concerning the subject matter, and I was wondering what all the fuss was.  In Duke Nukem 3D, the same basic concept behind the motivations of this level was present- there are women that have been kidnapped by aliens and you have the option to kill the women who’ve been impregnated by said aliens.

However, there’s a difference between the games in the execution of this bit of gameplay, no pun intended.

In Duke Nukem 3D, this aspect is pretty much glossed over.  It’s just there, there’s not a focus on it.  In DNF, it’s in your face.  You can’t ignore it; it’s a part of the game’s DNA, if you will

And it’s FUCKING STUPID.  All because of the approach.

Specifically, I’m referring to the crying.  And the whimpering.  And lines like, “I shouldn’t have swallowed!” or “We swear we’ll lose the weight, Duke!” If the game was actually funny, and if I was seventeen again, then MAYBE… just MAYBE… I wouldn’t mind.


The game isn’t funny and I haven’t been seventeen in fourteen years, so it fails on every conceivable level.  I get it, I really do- this game should not exist in this format; it is a relic of a bygone era, and if it came out during it’s intended development cycle, then MAYBE it would be something worth while.  Maybe it would be a contender. 

But it didn’t, it isn’t, and it’s not.

There’s a forced approach to make this game as juvenile and stupid as possible- and some games can pull that off quite nicely; Bulletstorm and Shadows of the Damned come to mind instantly.  DNF cannot.  It’s stuck in a mindset so bad and so outdated that anyone with the mental makeup of “Huh huh huh, GTL time, BROFIST~!” would suddenly start quoting Plato and rip the game to shreds out of sheer hatred of what it stands for.

The approach of Duke Nukem Forever insults me as a gamer.  I think that’s what pisses me off about it the most.

It’s not a case of “we’re not trying to compete with the Modern Warfares and the Halos and the Battlefields out there, we’re just making a Duke Nukem game” because it is.  If it was released alongside those same games, then it is.  No one with sixty magical game buying dollars in their hand is going to take a look at Duke Nukem Forever and go, “Wow!  This game exists in a class by itself!  I’ve just forgotten that there are other games I can spend my money on! Fuck Call of Duty- HAIL TO THE KING BABY!”

But, it’s out there as is, and it exists. 

Oh well.

I’m still slogging through it.

The boss of the Hive level is known as “Queen Bitch”, and she has three breasts.

fuck this game.

Two more posts about this Shit On A Disc and I’m done, I swear.

Griff is procrastinating with finishing Duke Nukem Forever.  This means lots of Shadows of the Damned and Mortal Kombat in the interim.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011




During this playthrough, I lost my mind.

The following is an account of those moments.

I’d just destroyed the mothership and headed to the pay window to continue playing, when I accidently stepped into some alien gunk and shrank.  TIME FOR A GAMEPLAY CHANGE!  I then hijacked some kid’s RC car and drove that thing around, slowly making my way through the level.  True to life, I wrecked the damn thing after not being able to drive worth a lick yet making a sweet and gnarly jump.


My brain started to leak out of my ears, but I saw my salvation ahead- they were letting me play with a shotgun, which is my go-to gun in single-player first person shooters.  I was giddy until the next setpiece kicked in, and the aiming got all sorts of dumb.

There was no spread for the shotgun, and I was fighting some stupid jetpack using guys, which a shotgun was not made for.  I felt very sad at this choice, but I persevered… only to have my brain completely flee my noggin thanks to a simple joke about Halo.

The setup is simple- you meet up with some Earth Defense Force Cannon Fodder on your way to the Hoover Dam to stop the aliens, and one of the punks tells Duke that his green power armor is ready- basically, it’s Master Chief’s SPARTAN armor, har har har.  Duke says, “Power armor is for pussies” and the level continues… and even though I had my favorite gun and now had my favorite gun from DUKE NUKEM 3D- the Ripper, a multi-barreled machine gun, something in my brain broke due to the lameness of the joke.

You see, Duke Nukem doesn’t have a set number of hit points; now, like Master Chief, he has regenerating health under the heading “EGO”.  Take too much damage without your ego getting built back up, and you die.


It was the sheer easiness of the joke that caused me to snap.  Remember, this game had been in development for over twelve years- from its inception to its release, the Halo series has seen FIVE FPS based releases.


Something unintelligible erupted from my throat and I went on a frenzy. 


I screamed at everything that made its way onto my screen, as their presence infuriated me anymore.  I raged at the Pig Cops and their slow, lumbering animations.  I switched back to the slow-ass shotgun and screamed as I struggled to shoot down the stupid jetpack wearing assholes.  Dozens of enemies fell at my feet after I missed hitting them at least eighty-seven times.  I hollered unintelligible nonsense as I grabbed a cache of explosives, and started winging pipe bombs at everything in sight.  I screamed so many unpronounceable words that I was sure some forgotten Elder God was going to knock on my door and ask me why I was mad.

Eventually, I fought a boss. 

The Battlelord is huge, and after screaming at my controller to work for me because I paid for it with cash, I blasted enough rockets off to wear the dumb thing down so I could rip of its horn and punch it in its balls.

Not making that up.

I calmed down by flinging more explosives, shooting more things, and trying to ignore all the stupidity.

Nothing would prepare me for the complete and utter stupidity that awaited me in THE HIVE…

THE HIVE is so vile and moronic in its’ existence in this game that I’m going to save my rant concerning it for the next post.

The kid gloves? 

They’re coming off.

Griff notes that he will finish playing this piece of crap game.  No matter the cost.

Thursday, June 16, 2011




DUKE NUKEM FOREVER should not exist.

Announced way back in 1997 for a projected release date for sometime in the middle of 1998, it was delayed again and again and again until finally seeing an actual, physical release in June of 2011.

This game was synonymous with the term “vaporware” for YEARS.

I own a copy.

Isn’t life weird?

When I say that the game should not exist, I truly mean it.  It is a product of the time period it should have come out in, from the game’s animation to level design and even the actions of Duke himself.  It’s almost as if the Gaming Gods are fucking with gamers by sneaking this late nineties relic of a game onto store shelves.  We should have been able to find it in bargain bins right next to copies of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil sometime in the year 2000but here it is, new and fresh as a frozen daisy right in 2011 for sixty hard pressed American dollars.

Life is weird, folks.

 And since I gravitate toward all things weird, I ponied up the cash, threw the disc in my Xbox 360, and got ready for the worst.

As the kids say:  “what that is?”  That’s right, because if kids had any sense, they’d know that “what that is?” is horrible English, so they would say “what is that?” if their brains were working.

Since the opening made my brain hurt… that’s what happened.

I mean, what that is?  That’s a fucking timewarp and a half- when’s the last time there was a game intro like that?  I can’t remember and it freaks me out.

The kicker for me concerning this intro- the framerate stuttered during it while I was playing it on my fancy current gen console machine.  What’s up with that?  Most developers would weep in a corner for six days if the introduction to their game made a system’s performance go all herky jerky… and then they would man up and make that shit work.

Not Duke Nukem Forever, babies.  Get it on the shelf!

Eventually, after I expressed my shock via Twitter, I manned up, hit start, and went on my way to find myself in the first level.  Was I using Duke to kill aliens right off the bat? 


I was pissing.  As Duke Nukem.

The tutorial level involves pissing.

My brain began to hurt.  There was a quiet voice in the back of my head that sounded like me when I was a sophomore in high school- “I don’t even find this funny.  I know I’m supposed to laugh, but… this isn’t funny.”

I blocked that voice out and did my best to get used to the controls.  Why did it feel like I was running through molasses?  My gaming reflexes are pretty slow these days, and I’d already turned the sensitivity down the lowest it could go, so why the hell were things so slow?  And why was it loading all the time?  I briefly wondered if I was dying, then just realized that the game hadn’t been optimized for the Xbox 360 one bit.

That’s when I realized that the game should not exist.

But it did.

And I was playing it.

I plodded my way through the tutorial level, still coming to grips with the archaic controls and cringing at the animation involved- it looked like all the characters were being controlled like the tank controls from the first Resident Evil.  After fighting with the sprint action, I beat the first level boss, and got thrown into a scene of Duke playing his own game.


Not really!

Here’s the run down- Duke’s playing his own video game while getting a blowjob from two twins known as the Holsom Sisters.  In 1998, that would have been an AWESOME TO THE MAX JOKE, BRO.  You then go to a talk show where Duke’s appearance is canceled because aliens show up.  From there, it’s off to the Duke Cave, where you are warned by the president to not attack the aliens.

That’s gonna end well.

The aliens attack Duke, and in between punching them to death and watching their stilted death animations afterwards, you make your way through some of the finest unused set pieces from the Atari Jaguar’s version of Alien vs. Predator before strapping into a gun turret and blowing up a mothership.

And that’s all I could stand for my first trip back in the Land of Duke. 

I shut the 360 off and stared at my hands in shock.

Had I just done that?  Had I just played a game that was obviously twelve years past its due date?


Yes, I did.

And I plan to keep playing…

…because this game should not exist.

It’s rare that in an industry where developers pride themselves on putting out what they think is the best absolute product that they can release, that Duke Nukem Forever made it onto store shelves.

I can’t wait to see how much more outdated this game can get.

Griff notes that the most horrific thing about the game so far is the Holsom Twins.  Good lord, they will haunt his dreams.

Friday, June 10, 2011



This year, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years concerning the Electronic Entertainment Expo:  take the entire week off and react to all the news and announcements as they dropped each day.  G4 was offering twenty-three hours of live coverage on TV, and since they have an extensive Twitter presence, I loaded up on my favorite snacks, hunkered down in my own personal Batcave and said, “Why the hell not? LET’S GO FOR BROKE!” 

I thought about the best way for me to discuss the onslaught of news- should I type up feverish responses at the end of each day, or let it all sink in and offer up my thoughts after the expo was over?  Sensory overload was a factor- I ran the risk of devolving into a sputtering mess each night that could only say “cool” or “sweet” and typing “the” wrong. 

I respond to things better after I have a chance to think about them, so I decided to go with the rapid fire snap judgments over Twitter all week, and then gather all my thoughts here for a blog post.


Coverage for E3 started on Monday, or “Day Zero”.  The show floor actually opened on Tuesday, but Microsoft and Sony had their press conferences on Monday, so that’s where my coverage was going to start.  On Monday, June 6th at 12:30 PM EST, I fired up G4’s livestream, and… well, here it is if you want to fiddle with the video and skip around to look at things and all that jazz:

How did Microsoft open their presser?  With an extended look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and I thought it set the tone as far as what their goal was:  to speak to their established user base by spotlighting the titles that would be guaranteed hits- stuff ending with a ‘3’, as it were- as well as continue to support the idea of “casual” gaming through their Kinect titles.

At this stage of the game, I liken Kinect, and a good portion of the current motion controlled gaming movement, to eating a bunch of cotton candy- it’s tasty, great, and delicious in small doses, but if it’s all you shovel down your throat, you’re not going to enjoy it in the long run- you’re going to get sick of it, eventually hate it, and you’ll want nothing to do with it again.

There’s a bit about the “Gunsmith” feature in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier that screamed “Minority Report”- the demonstrator would make arm motions and pick guns out to create his perfect gun, or just say something to the effect of “best setup for sniping” in order to make the gun; I find extraneous uses of Kinect to be tacked on just to use the hardware kinda like a winky blinky “See, we DIDN’T sell you on this for nothing!  You can use it during your game rather than fiddling with that analog stick on your controller!  This is how we move forward into the future!” aesthetic. 

Conversely, and surprisingly to me, I found Kinect’s application in Mass Effect 3 to be what I’d want it to do- to enhance the gameplay if you had the ability to do so or not- namely, via spoken squad commands.  While being able to say what’s in the dialogue tree as a response is a neat little perk, I don’t sound like the two voices for Commander Shepard, so that’s not something I’d gravitate to- however, being able to say, “Garrus, move up” or “Tali, Overload” while I’m busy controlling Shepard manually stands out immensely.  I think it’s thank kind of Kinect integration that will make the technology a lot more easier for gamers to adopt in the future- I think that forced integration because the tech merely exists benefits no one in the long term, and it’s better to have the option of using it rather than shoehorning it in.

But… no one would make any money that way, would they?

I wasn’t too impressed by Microsoft’s presser, overall- it was almost as if they just shrugged and said, “Meh.  This is what we got.  Same old stuff. Spend some money.  Here’s Halo 4.  Pre-order it.”

And with that, it was Sony’s turn.

Sony started off with something I was hoping they’d do: an apology for the PSN hacking fiasco that took place about a month and a half ago.  They then trotted out a look at Uncharted 3, and from then on it, it was all about games and Playstation Move support.  Again, there was even more stuff ending in three’s- Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, and I found myself almost bored with it all, as I was waiting for that one title- that one, brand new title- to come out of left field and wow my eyeballs.  While titles like Dust 514 looked great, I felt like they were just going through the motions… until they trotted out the Playstation Vita. 


Two analog sticks, OLED touch screen, face buttons, and a partridge in a pear tree… while I’ve found myself slipping further and further away from handheld gaming, the Vita does come off as being an impressive piece of hardware, and with it’s $250 price point, Sony’s definitely looking to eek in on Nintendo’s share of the portable market.  The AT&T partnership announcement could be seen as a bit of a misstep… ‘cuz if I have a cell phone, why the hell would I want to put a handheld system under a contract?

Uncharted does look great for it.  Now, besides a Bioshock announcement, where’s the other software?  There’s a system seller lurking in some third party’s development house, because that’s usually how it works…

But, enough about Sony, let’s talk about Nintendo.

Nintendo knows how to yank on gamers’ heartstrings- hate them or not, but that 25th anniversary Zelda presentation was gorgeous. 

From there, there are two things we can glean from their press conference.

One, besides the release of “The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword”, Nintendo’s Wii support is DEAD.  It’s been almost five years- it’ll be pushing six by the time the next console generation war starts.  That’s a decent run… and better than what some systems got.

Two, they understand that there’s a divisiveness between gamers- unfortunately, I can’t find the quote that was said during the press conference, but it was something to the effect of the fact that Nintendo feels that there doesn’t need to be this blatant divide between gamers- or, in easier terms, there shouldn’t be a feeling of “casual vs hardcore” among gamers.

We’re all gamers, so let’s game together.


From their press conference, it’s clear that Nintendo has a vision and an idea, however- if you can’t articulate said idea well enough so that people aren’t confused as to what you plan to do, then there’s going to be a problem.  This problem is something that we ALL face, but when a company with as many, how do you say, ‘duckets’ and ‘resources’ as Nintendo has can’t even unveil their new console without confusing the motherlovin’ shit out of most people in attendance… then there’s a problem.

Is it a console or is it a controller?  That was the main question being lobbied back and forth after the presser was over, not to mention questions about system specifications, backwards compatibility outside of any current Wii-related peripherals, and everything else in between.  It’s almost as if Nintendo brass said “AIN’T OUR CONTROLLER NEAT?!” and whipped up a visual presentation based around that particular sentiment.

Applied properly, what they’re hinting at is potentially amazing stuff- I see this whole venture as having a Nintendo DS in your living room with the TV being the top screen, and the Wii U remote serving as the bottom screen.  Lots of interesting ways to apply that set up, I think- but it’ll be interesting to see if this new technology gets stuck in a rut like the Wii did- will we see some honest-to-God games for it by people other than Nintendo, or will this system’s gaming library also be full of more shovelware than you can shake a stick at?

I can’t say anything about that right now, except:  good thing we have a year before this launches.  If this Wii U shindig was launching at the end of the year, I’d be very, very worried.  It’s Nintendo, and while the Virtual Boy still haunts everyone now and again, they’ve proven that when they go against the grain of the gaming industry they can do some serious business.

And that was it for the major press conferences; both EA and Ubisoft had big presentations, but I think they’re more at war with each other this point, so I won’t comment on those except to say: more new IPs, please.  Every gamer can’t start by picking up a sequel, after all…


Since I do play a fair amount of video games, E3 is always a bittersweet time of the year.  Part of me screams that I should be there in some capacity, and the other part of me is just giddy for all the surprises that are in store.  The old man in me is always torn- each year, I wonder where the industry will go, and each year I wonder how long it can sustain itself.  I wonder where the groundbreaking ideas will come from this time, and I wonder what that one piece of software is that will inspire a generation for decades to come.  Each year I wonder if the video game industry is one step closer to collapsing under its own weight, or if this is the year that countless lightbulbs will go off and there will be a united push towards innovation and redefinition of what gaming is and what it can become.

As this current console cycle limps to the finish line, I’m curious to see who will strike first as far as new hardware is concerned- Sony or Microsoft?  Nintendo, once again, isn’t interested in what everyone else is doing and is trotting down their own path, so the other two companies are going to be battling it out constantly in order to stake their claim yet again.

Speculation is fun, but watching it all play out?

That’s where the magic truly is.

In closing, here’s to E3.  Due to the magic of modern day technology, I had a blast all week.  There’s a lot of fun stuff on the horizon for us as gamers, and this week was only the beginning.

Enjoy the ride.

…too bad we don’t have hoverboards yet.



Trapped in this gaming generation, I am an old man.

I was born and raised on 2D blips and bloops on screen.

My Atari 2600 had a special controller for a Sesame Street Cookie Monster game. 

A Magnavox Odyssey lived in the crawlspace of my parents’ basement.  I never could get it to work.

I played Spider-Man and Tapper on our Commodore 64 obsessively.  Spider-Man actually made me a fan of Madame Web, somehow.  The Transformers game was dumb and slow, though… but it was the greatest thing ever to hear the theme music crackle out through the speakers.

When I played Super Mario Bros. for the first time, I tried to talk to a Koopa and died.  These days, that would be known as interacting with an NPC, which means that I was ahead of the industry at the time.

I bought the shareware for Wolfenstein 3D from Radio Shack for a whopping $5, showed it to my dad, and he lost his shit over the graphics.  Flipped out for a good twenty minutes.  Greatest day ever.

Doom came out when I was in middle school, and everyone lost their minds.

When the Super Nintendo came out, I couldn’t understand why it had purple buttons.  I played Super Mario World, and I didn’t care about the stupid purple buttons.  Mode 7 was great.

Conversely, “blast processing” hit for the Genesis, and I could care less.  Rah rah, Sonic was fast… but did he have a pet dinosaur that he could ride?

Battle Arena Toshinden was the greatest thing ever… for a day.

I had a 3DO.  I had eight games for it.  That… was a dumb decision, but it still had a great port of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.  Did anyone else play Road Rash for that thing?  Good lord, that was great- okay, I’ll stop now.

I almost started a fight between employees at Software Etc. and Babbages’ over who would get my money depending on which store got their shipment of Resident Evil first.

I spent A LOT of money I should have used on my college campus for food and books importing games for my Dreamcast.  Taking a look at those games now being out for Xbox Live Arcade, that was another dumb move.

In between late nights of playing Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate on Xbox Live and holding down job after job after job and quietly buying system after system in hopes that the magic and wonder of my youth returns, my place in the gaming world has been overrun by foulmouthed twelve year olds and people on message boards that can’t spell.  I am a dinosaur of a gamer, lumbering off towards whatever asteroid is going to come down and wipe me out.  I may have forgotten what it means to care about which scope to use for my sniper rifle, or how many frame rates there are in a jump kick animation, but I still remember that “down, down-forward, forward + fierce = fireball”, I still know what it’s like to not know what the hell you’re doing and use nothing but strong attacks to win, and most importantly?

I can still press ‘A’ repeatedly faster than you.

With that said?

Welcome to Old Man Gaming.

These are my adventures in a gaming world split between “casual” players, “hardcore” players, and players like me.

Enjoy yourselves, and don’t let the Ghost of Sega’s Saturn scare you during a dark night.