Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Counterfitt's pick #7 - GTA San Andreas

Since you've already talked about this game I guess I don't have anything else to say... oh wait, this game is massive. Finding something else to say shouldn't be very hard.

Lets start with the soundtrack. The GTA3 series has some of the best music (not composed for that game) around, with San Andreas being a particularly high point. There are ten different music stations with music ranging from The Ohio Players to Public Enemy to Soundgarden to some techno or reggae band you'd likely know if you were into those genres. Each station is based on one you might've heard during the mid-to-early nineties so it's almost certain to be a trip down memory lane for anyone who plays. And of course, the djs only help to fill such a memory. The greatest of these for me was the host of Radio X, the alternative rock station. While completely satirizing the people who appear on such a station, she managed to say almost exactly the lines used by the host of local alternative station The X 103.9 while cutting to, in some cases, the same music (Mother by Danzig as an example).

One of the cool features added to San Andreas is the gang wars minigame. The object is to claim turf by entering a enemy controlled area and taking out a few waves of bad guys. The larger the area of your gang's influence, the bigger the monetary payoff you receive. Every so often your territory will be attacked and you have to chase off the enemy gangs to continue earning revenue.

You've talked about the open world already, Dave, but of course that's the biggest draw to this game. Anything from jumping out of airplanes to gambling to pissing off the cops and outrunning them and the freedom to explore the entire tri-city area is what makes this games so great.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Counterfitt's pick #8 - SimCity 2000

Ok, so maybe sc2k isn't the best version of SimCity. Perhaps the third and fourth iterations have improved over this one in different ways, but guess what- I barely played those where as I spent the entire nineties playing 2000. Through the nineties, "sandbox gameplay" was associated with SimCity 2000 the way it's been associated with the Grand Theft Auto series and its clones in recent times.

The game is a city building simulator, the only one really. The object of the game, if you can call it that, is to attract people to your city while keeping citizens happy and the budget balanced. The fact of the matter is that the object of the game is to play around and do whatever you want. It's actually quite revolutionary for a videogame- at least it was when the first one came out. Think about it, how many non-Will Wright created games can you think of that don't have any goals. It becomes like a bunch of army men or a doll house. There's a general theme and from there you make your own fun.

Another great thing about 2000 is its one of (if not the) first games to come out with a development kit of sorts. The SimCity Urban Renewal Kit allowed you to create your own buildings and alter the way your cities looked as a result. It was rudimentary and hard to edit, but it still opened my mind to the possibilities of game design and creation.

SimCity 2000 is possibly the most influential game of my childhood.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Counterfitt's pick #9 - Final Fantasy Tactics

With a top ten list like this it's hard to say something new about any game, and I really have to acknowledge it with this game. Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical rpg as good as they get. Until recently this was a very hard game to get a hold of, commonly selling for upwards of $100 on ebay. Just recently a port has been delivered to fans via psp, allowing more people to play and the rest to understand the convoluted plot. The English translation was a distractingly negative point in an otherwise shining idea of a game. In fact the world of Ivalice the game is placed in is said to be spelled four different ways throughout the story.

Of course, the story and translation must fall to the side when the subject of gameplay arises. If you are not an expert, you will find yourself grinding levels and abilities, or facing the game over screen regularly. Using familiar ff character classes, a turn-based grid-based combat is the core of tactics. As you level up characters' classes, new classes become available and a big part of the game becomes training your characters in hopes of finding a new class. Of course, if you've played console games during the past ten years, you already know this.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Counterfitt's pick #10 - Pokemon Diamond/Pearl

Often overlooked in the past because of it's childish premise and graphic style, it seems that this time around the word is out that Pokemon is the real deal. It's a solid rock/paper/scissors rpg with small but competent improvements with each iteration. There's really not a big difference between the latest iteration and the first two games back in '97. With the ds there's finally a wifi connection for internet battles and touch screen for a different and well done interface; past that it's more of the same- collecting pokemon, leveling them up, and taking the best to fight the evil (if a bit incompetent) team rocket and the elite four pokemon trainers.

This is as addicting a game as you can find. There's rarely a moment in the beginning where you can avoid thinking that well known, "just one more _____," though it does get a bit repetitive later when the map is largely explored. There are some 120 more creatures added to the tally, bringing the total to over 500. Everything in this game is well balanced and even difficult, if you're rushing through the map. The nice thing is, less than a year later I'm ready to play through it again. It's a good thing when my biggest concern with a game is that I want more of it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

First Runner Up: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Of course, it's hard to decide which of this now dead franchise is the greatest. I can say that I've put more hours into the first installment than all of the others combined. The thing is, the tony hawk series starts as a streamlined, well crafted game and ends up as a bulky, over-saturated poorly designed game; somewhere in there they started to add moves, set pieces, and design elements just because they could and not because they're fun. By thps3, the moves added and combos allowed had completely changed the way the game had played before it started to go downhill(no pun intended).

Second Runner Up: Rock Band

It's hard to tell at this early stage where a game will stand ten or twenty years from now, but I'm willing to cast my ballot early for this one.
It seems that after 2 years, the mainstream has finally caught on to Guitar Hero and how great it is. This creates a great opening for Rock Band to come in and take over the multiplayer space that Guitar Hero never can. Rock Band has succeeded in creating a new genre of game.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Top 10 video games of all time, ready go!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

This is also a test ^^ ROLF get it?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First! lol

Test post. Blah blah blah.

The End.