My high-water mark of pure gaming joy came as a ten year old on Christmas morning unwrapping a Nintendo Entertainment System. Since then I’ve had any number of great gaming moments. So when those Amazon boxes showed up on my porch, one launch day followed by the other, I had a flashback to those gloriously lazy days of my adolescence and early adulthood, of holidays and summer vacations spent playing games all day and staying up half the night.
At the start of this new generation I wanted to try and get back to that youthful exuberance. To spend less time thinking, reading, and posting about games and more time playing them. To ignore my steam backlog for a while, consign my old consoles to the closet, stack up all those unfinished last gen titles, and jump in feet first. I was fortunate to string together a few long weekends and an extended Thanksgiving break to just sit back and play videogames as a kid would. Like I had all the time in the world.
Now, after the jump, I have an hour before bed. Which controller do I grab? Continue reading →
I’ve equipped my Cyclone FG Pro irons, Superior Shadow wedges, TNT Mighty putter, Pulse Tee-Time balls, and my precious Mass Driver Woods. As I step up to the tee of the 6th hole at the City Park Invitational golf course Astrid Claussen, my severe yet indispensable caddy, takes note of the wind direction. I try and block out the sound of police sirens in the distance and chirping birds in the trees around me. I wait for a train to pass overhead from the elevated tracks of the monorail.
My opponent, one Henry Copperbottom, has just hit a devastating drive. As his ball soars through the air it bursts like a firework scattering five balls across the fairway. His special ability, illusion ball, enables him to keep the ball closest to the pin.
My golfer, Reiko Kobayashi, breaks out her Mass Driver: its green head surrounded by turbo charged pistons. It glows with power, purple lightning pulsing up and down the club. I hit a perfect drive setting up an easy approach to the green. Even Astrid sounds impressed.
After the jump, the best (and only) RPG of this young generation. Continue reading →
The installs may take forever, the UI may look cluttered, odious monetization schemes may lurk around every corner, and my new best friend the Kinect is always watching, but hot damn if Microsoft’s launch titles aren’t good. Despite all the media center ambitions and social interfacing, systems are sold because of exclusives. So let’s talk some games.
After the jump, gladiator porn, car porn, and zombie porn. Continue reading →
Late Thursday night a fleet of black and green armored cars branded with the words “Xbox One” set upon Times Square; LaFerrari super cars emitting a green neon glow sped up and down the streets of Manhattan; and hordes of people dressed as zombies shambled across the Brooklyn Bridge. Forty miles away I was tucked in bed asleep as my preorder wended its way from an Amazon warehouse to my door.
I approached the launch of the Playstation 4, my first day one console, like a kid. I was filled with excitement and anticipation for my new toy. The letdown I had was probably inevitable. I’m not ten years old anymore. So with the imminent arrival of the Xbox One, my second day one console, I tempered my expectations. I’d try and come at this one like a reasonable adult.
After the jump, a Panopitcon in every living room. Continue reading →
I’m encircling the darkened dystopia of Acis in the starfighter Nemesis. Scouting reports call Acis a “derelict city run by the species known only as the sentients,” its primary function “a prisoner processing compound.” The city looks like a collapsing Atlantis, the light an aquatic blue. My mission? To save the last humans. Human prisoners are held in glass boxes elevated above a crumbling cylindrical cityscape. Fleets of voxel sentients patrol in patterns. Tanks and cannons launch fire into the sky. Green glowing keepers materialize with a warning. The Nemesis knows their flight path well.
I’m nearing the end of phase three. I’ve saved 9 of 10 humans. I haven’t lost a life or used a bomb. My main cannons are upgraded, homing missiles unlocked. My multiplier is up to 6.85. Overdrive is fully charged. The Nemesis is an agile messenger of destruction spitting bright colored death. I finish off a wave of keepers and a green bolt shoots halfway across the level, shattering the glass box of human number 10.
After the jump, the disastrous rescue of human number 10. Continue reading →
The Playstation 4 sold one million copies in 24 hours. It not only shattered the previous day one sales record, but torched the one week record in a single day. Sony had some last minute bad luck with the delay of Drive Club and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. They were left holding the bag with only two AAA launch exclusives: Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack, both of which suffered from subpar reviews. But the Playstation 4 did benefit from a number of cross platform (and cross gen) titles including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Need for Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, and all the usual sports games. But really, the system came out of the gate with a weak lineup. I guess most people didn’t notice.
After the jump, the games that launched a million consoles. Continue reading →
I kicked off the Playstation 4 launch just like any other day. I got up and went to work. I didn’t attend any midnight launch events. I didn’t wait in line at my local Best Buy. I preordered the Playstation 4 from Amazon back in June; I just had to wait for delivery. I had hoped the package would be waiting for me when I got home, but it wasn’t. Only later in the evening did I notice the Amazon box on my front porch. I have no idea how long it was sitting there. The UPS guy didn’t even bother to ring the bell.
It’s been seven years since the launch of the Playstation 3 and this banged up box on my front porch was the harbinger of the next generation. From press conferences to preview events, to day one system reviews, the Playstation 4 has been splayed open and laid bare. Before you even open the box you’re probably predisposed one way or another. We know about resolutiongate, firmware updates, network issues, defective HDMI ports, and poorly reviewed launch titles. But regardless of all that, here it was, this box, this new console, this is what I was waiting for.
After the jump, this is what I was waiting for? Continue reading →
I’m in bed sweating through my long johns. I feel so hot I’m on top of the covers. I have strep throat for what seems like the fourth time this year. It hurts to swallow and I’ve been having weird dreams. Two nights ago my folks told me I was walking around the house with my finger pointed like a gun, hallucinating due to a high fever. Last night I thought I heard my grandfather in the house. I look out the window and I see his car in the driveway, a big electric blue Thunderbird. I smell bacon cooking.
After the jump it’s Christmas morning and I’m 10 years old. Continue reading →