Today is the last day of my series of posts on what I like and dislike about the last generation of consoles, the Wii, the 360, and the PS3. While I loved the PlayStation 2, I actually didn’t have any intention of getting the PS3 because Naughty Dog was still refusing to make any more “Jak and Daxter” games, the “Kingdom Hearts 3” release date was nowhere in sight, and because I could just keep up with the “Final Fantasy” games on the 360. And then, because of a sale on used games at GameStop, I bought myself a few PS2 “Ratchet and Clank” games, causing me to really get into the series. And that’s when I found myself with an unstoppable need to buy the PS3 and catch up on all the “R&C” games I had missed. Nevertheless, at first, my PS3 didn’t have much to motivate me to play it aside from a few short “R&C” games, and I wondered if I may have wasted my money. The console did become much better, however, when I added to my collection “Portal 2”, “Rayman Legends”, and the Final Mix version of “Kingdom Hearts”, and now I’m starting to really love it. Not as much as my PS2, but it still turned out to be a pretty grand console. And now, I present you with my pros and cons for the PS3! (With the focus, again, on gaming, and information found on Wikipedia.) Continue reading The Duck Discusses the Wii, 360, and PS3 Generation: Part 3-Sony Still Can’t Think of Creative Names
Not long ago, I published a post discussing what I like and dislike about the Wii, and seeing as the next console of this particular generation that I bought was the XBox 360, it makes sense for Microsoft’s console to be the subject of the second post in this series. It’s a funny thing, though, how I got this console in the first place, because I am more of a PlayStation fan than an XBox fan, so it would stand to reason that I would have been much more inclined to purchase a console made by Sony over one made by Microsoft. Unfortunately, at the time, the PS3 was much too expensive, and it didn’t have any games I really cared for yet that weren’t already on the 360 (this was obviously before I became a “Ratchet and Clank” fan…). Since the games I wanted at that time were all on the 360, plus that console would also allow me to play any new “Halo” games, this became the next console I added to my gaming family.
And when I first started playing the 360, I was immediately impressed with the graphics, which were way ahead of the Wii, and even though the first two games I played were not as good as I was expecting (“Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”, the 2006 version, shudder, gag, shiver), I did have a good time playing “Halo 3” (even though it was short) and “Final Fantasy XIII” (despite its flaws), the latter of which came with my console. (I even got this little waste of time thing on one end of the console that says “Final Fantasy XIII” on it. Jealous?) Plus, I was just pretty thrilled that this new XBox had “Final Fantasy” games as part of its library now, as during the last generation, only the PS2 had such an honor. My game collection was further improved with the addition of “Halo: Reach” and “Halo 4”, which were awesome, and I even had the pleasure of expanding my game library with over 40 Sega Genesis games on “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection”. In the end, I ended up really enjoying my 360, and I loved it way more than the original XBox. And now, anymore of my thoughts on this console will be listed below. (As usual, my main focus is on gaming, not the other features the 360 has to offer, and extra info was found on Wikipedia.) Continue reading The Duck Discusses the Wii, 360, and PS3 Generation: Part 2-360 Boxes
Most of the time, when attempting to think of a part of a game that really stuck with you, very few would cite the ending credits as something that stood out to them, wouldn’t you agree? Because, in all honesty, most ending credits are downright boring. Sometimes they give us videos to watch during them, either some events that come after the game or a recap of things that already happened. Sometimes they have some epic music. But nevertheless, credits are always the most boring part of a game and are one part that we would all much rather skip than have to sit through. Like tutorials. They’re boring, too.
And then there are the rare occasions when the credits are not so boring. When you might, gasp, actually want to watch them. Wait a minute, Duck, when on Earth does such a phenomenon ever actually occur, you say? This is nonsense and poppycock! Well, there are a few occasions where this is true, and that is when those credits just happen to be at the end of two games, “Portal” and “Portal 2”. Continue reading Unforgettable: Still Alive and Want You Gone
Sometimes, I like to think about how things would be if I made different decisions. Like, if I had never decided to buy the PlayStation 2, my first venture outside my previously Nintendo-only domain, what games would I be playing now? What would my collection look like? I’m sure we all have times where there is a great game we didn’t plan on getting, but we ended up playing it because of what a friend said about it or because it caught our attention in the store during a search for a completely different game. And when this happens, I often think about how close I came to missing out on such a good game. And maybe we all do that, or maybe it’s just me. Because I think too much into things sometimes.
And when I get to thinking, I realize all manner of things. If I didn’t just happen to spot “Okami” and “Vexx” and decide to give them a try, I would have missed out on some fantastic games. And “Portal 2”, actually, was thanks to good things Cary and Hatm0nster said about it, or I would have never bought the game. (Thanks, guys.) Seriously, I saw it in the stores, and all I thought was, “That game sure has a weird cover”, and that was that. Then, I heard people talk about this game, looked it up one day, and there it was, a game I had seen before and just simply passed by. Small world. Or just, small video game section of the store. I dunno. But, it’s weird. Also, thanks to more good reviews on blogs I’ve read, I bought “Chrono Trigger” and “Chrono Cross”. Never heard of those games before, but now I own them, and I really look forward to playing them. Continue reading Great Games I Almost Missed
Around this time a year ago, our Playstation 3 died. During a round of Sleeping Dogs, the console just quit and started in with the blinking red light — the deadly “red light of death.” We tried to get the thing up and running again to no avail. And since it died with the game still inside, we had to take our beloved machine apart to get it out. It was a sad, sad weekend. After the PS3 was in pieces, we discussed our options: get another PS3 or wait for the PS4, which was then a mere rumor. It was a couple months before we finally made the decision to get another PS3. We had so many games already for it, and so many games to start over (since we lost all the old save data…grrrr), it seemed a shame to not give them the chance they deserved. I’ll do my best to keep my PS3 up and running on my island, but my list won’t include Sleeping Dogs…I still feel like it’s somehow cursed.
We use them in metaphors, often negatively. Granted, there’s the whole “man’s best friend” business, but otherwise we’re wading through piles of thoughts like “sick as a dog” or “puppy love.” They aren’t necessarily the most flattering of comparisons. Among this stack of idioms is the well-known “like a dog chasing its tail.” When we say this, its most often to imply that the subject is acting in such a way that yields no fruit. They are acting pointlessly, spinning in circles. This is, in almost all circles, a bad thing to say to a person. It’s insulting.
Bad News: Cooperative gaming — in board, card, and video forms — is a lot like a dog chasing its tail.
Good News: I think dogs are brilliant.
At the heart of most games is some form of competition. Whether it be against the difficulty of a game or against another player with a similar set of objects, games need something to “beat.” Even if the game doesn’t end, there has to be something we’re working against to achieve our desired ends (points, kills, apples, whatever). This is often another human being. In League of Legends, The Olympics, online shooters, most sports, and trick-taking card games, the opponents are other humans. They see you as an opponent, actually. This seems to me the most pure form of competition; skill against skill.
The problem with this sort of competition is that someone has to lose. Now, losing is not a bad thing. Losing hurts. That pain can — and often does — propel us into success, and it very well should. Life is, after all, filled with failures and responses to those failures. However, losing hurts even more when you get to see your opponent, that person standing on the other side of the field, glowing with pride and satisfaction upon their recent victory. Or, if you’re playing any online game, mocking / shaming you with the intensity of a really sweaty guy asking you “for a glass of water, or some gatorade, or something.” Not the spirit, but the intensity.
This mockery sucks. I hate it. I hate it when I’m tempted to do it, and I hate it even more when I’m subjected to it. Losing is bad enough; losing to sore winners is one of the worst things that happens to me on a daily basis. But I love the shared experience of gaming. I love losing with a team, or winning with a team, or going through anything as a team. So I kept playing online. I kept being ok with the mediocre, less than dream-like state of competitive gaming.
But then, I started discovering video and board games that had cooperative mechanics. I was thrilled. Finally, we had figured out a way to eliminate most of the potential for Loss Shame.
See, cooperative games are like tail-chasing, because we invent opponents. Humanity, in its flawed but eager ambition, found a way to simulate strategy. Those simulations then act as our opponents. It’s amazing. When we win, we feel great, and nobody feels bad. When we lose, we can curse at the game as much as we please, and nobody feels bad. There are the occasional situations in which a teammate can feel as though they let down their compatriots, but other than those, cooperative gaming is one of the best ways to have a shared experience while still being able to feel the thrills of victory. Basically, if you take away the real opponents, you greatly diminish the chances that somebody’s feelings are going to get hurt.
Co-op gaming isn’t the end-all be-all, and competitive PvP is still absolutely a legitimate thing. But the ability to avoid pain while maximizing pleasure — the ability to chase my tail — is why co-op gaming has such a special place in my gaming ideology and my heart.