I'm just a bill

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | 01:31 PM | by
I'm going to talk for a moment about video game politics before getting to video games.

On Monday I posted a link to the Video Game Voters Network, because I think it's important for us gamers to be aware of these issues. I'm just going to touch briefly on why.

I'll start by saying that I don't think M rated games should be sold to minors. That's my personal take on it. I don't think an eight year old kid should be able to walk into a store and purchase Postal. If I had an eight year old son, I probably wouldn't buy him Postal. However, if I had a fifteen year old son, and I knew him as a person and felt he had a firm grasp on the lines between reality and fiction, right and wrong, I'd probably go ahead and buy him Postal.

And that is where the heart of this issue lies for me. I think that video games should be regulated, but I don't want them regulated by the government. I have two main reasons for this.

One, letting the government step in takes the responsibility off of the shoulders of the parents, and you know what? Fuck that. Parents need to be responsible for their children, and I'm sick of the government legislating morality for these lazy people. If you're not ready to sacrifice the better part of your daily life for a good fifteen years, don't have kids.

And two, no other media of this nature is government controlled. So allowing video games to be restricted by the government is like waving a huge flag that says "Yes, video games are more dangerous than all other forms of media. So much so that we needed the government to step in and regulate them", and we all know that's horseshit. I'm not about to let them stamp a big guilty sign on our forehead when I don't believe that video games are any more dangerous that violent movies or books.

Anyway, enough politics for today.

I've played some Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter over the last couple of days. Despite my uncertanties, I'm enjoying the campaign. However, I find myself a little disappointed in the multipler. Now I'll admit, I haven't played multiplayer extensively, but what I did play was a bit of a let down.

It seems like when it came to online play, they said "ok, now let's throw all of the tactics out the window and make a point and shoot game". I was expecting to be dropped into a map comprised of a section of their incredible rendering of Mexico City, where I would use cover and tactics from any number of hiding spots to eliminate my enemies.

What I got (when I played), was flat, boring levels like I would expect from any first-person shooter, and no tactics at all. Just run, shoot, and duck. You can't  conceal behind cover and pop out like you can in the campaign mode.

Maybe I'm missing something here, and I'll go play some more to be sure, but it's not as fun as I was hoping it would be. The single player campaign is pretty cool though.

And Oblivion is now less than a week away. I'm psyched for that game. And I'm sure most of you know already that the same company is publishing Fallout 3.

It's good to be alive

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | 05:03 PM | by
As I finally recover from Digital Overload and all the travelling around it, I would like to take some time to talk about how great it was.

First, you have to understand that I don't even consider myself a gamer and have never attended any kind of LAN party. In short, I didn't know what to expect and to be honnest, I was a little scared. The internet is full of horror stories regarding these things and it creped me out.

But boy, was I wrong. Digital Overload was a complete success and a total blast. Well organized, extremely well planned and so much fun, you can make sure I'll be there again in 2007, newborn or not.

Here are my list of thanks for DO 2006:

- Thanks to Ryan and Randy of Blind Ferret for putting together such a great event. I know you guys gave it all you had and frankly, everything you did simply blew me away. I can't even think how good 2007 will be, considered the extra time you'll have to do more planning. I hope you'll be able to fit more of that "sleep" thing into your schedule next year though.

- Thanks to Ni! for being such good guys and for putting up with me and my little webserver. Nimby, Wayne, Pug and all the others, you really know your stuff and it showed. You are by far the best networking team I worked with and I can't wait to do it again. I'll bring the rum this time.

- Thanks to Tim for the new video card and for inviting me to Digital Overload. I'll kick your sorry ass at Starcraft any day.

- Thanks to Brittany and Briana for the wonderful gift. It meant a lot to me and my wife.

- Thanks to Mookie for introducing me to Guitar Hero. When you come over this year, I'll be trained and we'll be able to actually jam together ;).

- Thanks to Louis for the Warcraft III schooling. You got my email, make sure you get in touch with me. I would like to beat you at least once before 2016 when computers will have taken the world and won't allow us to use them for entertainment anymore.

- Thanks to Scott for the photoshop class. Now, I know you can actually do things with that software other than printing existing files.

Finally, thanks to all the CAD fans I had a chance to meet and play with. I said it before and I'll say it again, CAD fans are the best people out there. See you again in 2007!

GRAW multiplayer

Thursday, March 16, 2006 | 11:13 AM | by
Yeah, I think it's safe to say that Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter multiplayer just doesn't do it for me.

I will admit, the play is better when you've got good teammates, but it still lacks everything that makes the single player so outstanding. You can't flatten against object and then peek out. It may sound like such a trivial thing, but it's huge for me. Without it, the game seems like just a Halo clone, only slower, if that was humanly possible.

In single player, I can flatten up against a fence, and then tap the thumbstick to quickly peek around the corner. This gives me a quick look at what's waiting for me on the other side, without exposing too many of my soft fleshy bits to harm. If I was in a combat situation, this is how I would do it.

But in multiplayer, you have to move your whole body out to see around corners, which immediately gives away your position in most cases. And it's a slow and awkward movement.

I'd call this laziness on the part of Ubisoft, but that can't apply. The multiplayer team had to have made a conscious decision to leave these moves out of the game. Because all the animation/code was obviously done for the single player mode.

That cool move you can do while running, when you click down on the thumbstick and you do a slide into crouched position? Yeah, you can't do that in multiplayer. Oooh, or the ability to climb over small barriers? Nope, can't do that in multiplayer either. At least not in half the maps. It's pretty frustrating to run up to a wall only to find out it's one your soldier can't manage to climb over.

GRAW Correction

Thursday, March 16, 2006 | 11:47 AM | by
A reader has informed me that you can do leans in multiplayer, it's just a different mechanism. You hold down the LB and then can pop out from your position. I'll go give that a try.

Thanks for correcting me on this, Sam!