Monthly Archives: August 2008

Co-op and Multiplayer

When I was younger, gaming was a very social activity. My friends would come over and spend all weekend (and all summer) sitting with my playing video games. Sometimes we would take turns, and sometimes we’d play against one another. Some of my fondest gaming memories are of playing co-op Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2 on SNES with my friend Adi, taking turns playing Super Mario Kart (and later Mario Kart 64), playing Clue on SNES, and playing a shit ton of Kirby’s Dream Course. This has become more and more rare. Hell, now multiplayer primarily means shooting each other online. Sure, it’s fun. But I miss the other stuff. Multiplayer used to mean multiple players. Now it implies a deathmatch style competitive game. Playing together through a story mode is now called co-op. Both co-op and multiplayer games are now online and rarely local. Local play is where the real fun is.
Besides online FPSs like Call of Duty 2 and 4 and Team Fortress 2 and MMOs, I haven’t done a lot of multiplayer. When I’ve played those even, it was with random Internet folk not people I actually knew or set up a game with in advance. Since I started college, my co-op and multiplayer experiences have been pretty limited. I used to play a lot of Mario Kart Double Dash with Will and Patrick during freshman year, and that was great fun. I really had a blast. Later I played Gears of War with my brother and again with Collin. Gears of War is a terrific first person shooter, and I really like the co-op campaign. I’m looking forward to the sequel. I also played through Contra 3 in co-op with both Edward and Jon. Back in freshman year, I beat Secret of Mana for the first time with gem. That was the last RPG I beat on a console! That year I also played Diablo 2 with Andy and Antonio.
When Smash Bros. Brawl first came out, I played it all night with Collin and Duncan. However, after that first night, I’m not sure I ever played against anyone again. Mario Kart Wii got quite a bit of play with gem, Jackie, Jo, Ed, Hannah, Justina, and Laryssa. I also played a night of Kirby’s Dream Course with Collin as well as some co-op N+ obsessively for leaderboard positions.
A few years ago, my friends and I played quite a bit of Wario Ware Inc., Mega Party Game$ for a short while. We played Wario Ware Smooth Moves when it came out, but it definitely wasn’t the same. We did have some good times with Rayman Raving Rabbids and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 though. gem and I also went through LEGO Star Wars 1 and 2 as well as the co-op Guitar Hero 3 campaign. Tetris DS also got a lot of play, especially at AX 2008.
Of course, gem and I played a lot of Guild Wars. We made the guild Divine Alliance. I played a bit with Antonio, Jon, Gabby, and James a bit too but not very much. I also played Hellgate: London with gem and a bit with Antonio, making the same guild. I PVPed a lot in World of Warcraft with gem and William. I also ran instances with them and Antonio, Tri, and Andy. We actually ran 10 different instances (counting SM as 4). Our guild is called Playground Justice, and I do enjoy playing World of Warcraft with them.
This week I’ve been playing a lot of Castle Crashers co-op, but I’ll write about that in its own post. I know I mentioned a lot of games here, but this spans over four years. I’d really like to play more multiplayer, preferably local co-op. In those four years, it looks like I’ve played 24 games with other people. I might be missing a few, but that’s just 6 per year. Only 11 of those were co-op, counting the MMOs.
I’m not intending to make this post just to rant. I enjoy multiplayer and co-op especially. Rather than wish, I’m going to try to seek out co-op and local multiplayer games more often and will post my experiences here. Hopefully I find some good games out there!

Game Mods

William pointed me to an article at The Hottest Gadgets that shows 25 really awesome video game related mods. My favorites are the SNES in a Wii case and the Rainbow Six Vegas cityscape with a PS3 as one of the buildings. It’s gorgeous!

Ubiquity

WebMonkey reports on an excellent sounding plugin for Firefox called Ubiquity. Using everyday English input, users can perform specific tasks on the web. For example, typing the word “twitter” followed by any other text will post that text on your twitter. This should eventually allow everyday users do complex things on the web, even mashing together multiple web applications.

Samba de Amigo

It’s no secret that I’m totally looking forward to Samba de Amigo. I really enjoy rhythm games, this has a bunch of cool songs I haven’t seen in other games, and I also really like Sega mascot characters. It’s nice to see this game coming out! Joystiq has some information about the maracas, which are gorgeous, and a full song list. Looks good!

Blow Still Hasn’t Made Enough

In an article titled Counting Rupees: Sustainable Indies, Joystiq examines the cost of Braid to Blow, how much he made, and how much he needs to make. He has sold 55K copies of the game, yielding $825K. After Microsoft’s cut, that’s $578K. The article suggests that he invested $180K of his own money and that the cost of the game was probably near $400K. That means he’s just breaking even now. For Blow to have enough money to make another game without having to take out loans, Braid would need to sell one million copies.

X-Ray Photos

Wired reports on photographer Nick Veasey who takes x-ray photographs. He takes photographs of everyday autographs as well as life scenes using cadavers or skeletons in rubber suits because x-rays would of course be harmful to humans. He photoshops photos together because he can’t take everything in one photograph. They’re really awesome shots. Check out the bus on page four!

Zoe’s Tale

Zoe’s Tale was very good but not as good as Scalzi’s previous works in the Old Man’s War series. Because this is aimed at young adults as well, that’s to be expected. It was very good at giving more details about the universe though. The book is told through the perspective of teenager Zoe. While I really love Scalzi, I have to honestly say that the sarcastic, teenage girl voice in Zoe did seem a bit unrealistic at times, but I know I certainly couldn’t do any better! She also made friends very quickly with her best friend. What I love most about this book is getting a closer look at the Obin, most specifically Hickory and Dickory, General Gau, and the Conclave. I do really hope that John Scalzi continues to write in this universe in the future. The Conclave is an exciting concept, and I look forward to hearing more!

Game Log

This past week I spent a lot of time on WoW again. The three of us did one final round in the 30-39 PVP bracket at level 40. Shadowform is nice! We also ran all four instances of Scarlet Monastery. I played some Pacman C.E. and beat Guitar Hero 3 in co-op as lead guitar. I’ve been playing some more of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games as well and just a little bit of Rhythm Tengoku Gold!

Body Parts in Songs

Wired reports that artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg have created a visual representation of how much each musical genre incorporates each body part into their lyrics. The eyes are sung about most with blues and gospel singing most about hands and hip-hop singing about, no surprises here, asses.

Badly Drawn Sonic

There’s a superb thread at my favorite forum, SelectButton, in which people post their terrible Sonic the Hedgehog drawings. Some of them are so terrible that they’re amazing. I really think there’s a lot of quality art here. It takes a devout Internetatarian to consider MS Paint art a viable style of art.

13-Hour Arena Match

God, more WoW news. Wowinsider also had an article today about a 13-hour arena match. That’s a long fucking time, but it doesn’t compare to that 18-hour long battle against a boss in FFXI that caused players to give up.

4G is a lot

Today Wowinsider talked about a dagger called Blade of Eternal Darkness. The article wasn’t terribly interesting, but it does mention that this weapon that requires a minimum level of 49 “[s]ells to vendors for 4g 67s 96c (which isn’t a lot at 70, but is a whole lot of money at level 49)”. Excuse me, but 4.68g is definitely not a lot at level 49. What the fuck? Has it just been so long since these fuckers have actually played the game (because they obviously spend more time on forums and blogs) that they thing 4.68 gold is a lot? And the excuse that they’re already at level 70 doesn’t hold. Level 70s need alts.

Palm Doing Badly

I recently read a Wired article titled Analyst: Palm Needs a Savior, and Treo Pro Won’t Cut It in which Palm’s demise is discussed. They go in to what makes a great handheld device and where Palm went wrong. In my article, I’ll discuss where Palm actually went wrong and why the Wired article is incorrect. Palm screwed up first by going to Windows Mobile, second by not making the Treo widescreen, and third by keeping prices too high.
In the article, Peter Hoddie, president of Kinoma, a software company that makes Palm applications, says “Operating systems don’t matter to most customers. What matters to them is what they can do. …Why do [people] love iPhone? They love the apps. Why don’t people love Windows Mobile? It’s in fact an amazing operating system … but the apps on top of it? Not so inspired.”
Sorry dude. Why did Palm lose me? Because they switched to Windows Mobile. He talks about Palms as running Windows Mobile, but they were much worse once they did. The iPhone is nice because of the big hard drive, wide screen, built in wifi and EDGE, great map program, and of course, iPod functionality. However, the Palm OS was great. In addition, the article mentions that people love the iPhone because it’s 320×480 while the Treos are only 320×320. Um, is the iPhone supposed to be my first 320×480 handheld device? I’ve had 320×480 devices before (Clie NR-70/U, Palm TX). I agree that the iPhone’s widescreen makes viewing the web great, but I did that with my Palm TX as well.
I’m not saying the iPhone operating system isn’t nice. It has Apple’s usual wonderful aesthetic to it. However, the Palm OS was full of features and very nice. What really brought me to the iPhone was the iPod/iTunes functionality and the wireless data access. Yes, I could have had wireless data access on a Treo, but Treos weren’t widescreen! On top of all that, data access was cheaper with the iPhone, I think because Apple was offsetting the cost. If Palm had made the Treo 320×480 and kept it using the Palm operating system, it would have been a much harder decision to choose between Treo and iPhone. Palm OS vs iPod? Close call. Windows Mobile, 320×320, expensive data access vs iPhone OS, iPod, 320×480, cheap data access? Good bye Palm.
SplashData coming aboard with their fine apps helped too. And Warfare Incorporated is being ported. Hell yes.