All posts by Christopher Jones

no carbon copy.

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Lets talk console exclusives, remember back in the day playing your ps2, or your original xbox, and having games that the other consoles didn’t? always arguing which had the better games? what happened to that? for instance, xbox now has playstation exclusives such as silent hill, resident evil, and now metal gear solid and counting. whats next? soon all the consoles will be playing all the same game, having nothing unique about them at all besides an internet browser, or netflix, and eventual we will only be paying for the name of the system, whats the point of having multiple systems available at the market if they all do the same thing, for different prices. all play the same things, only difference is the paint job, and a few small features, its like Sony and Microsoft should just cut there ties and form one gigantic company within its own, and now you see systems copying off others, for instance, the wii, wireless controls and they were motion sensitive, so what happened? xbox has the connect and cut the cords to there controllers , and the ps3 has the move, and doing the same thing. the systems now adays are becoming carbon copies of there competition, and i really hope that within the next new systems, they come out with something so unique, that they don’t need to copy the competitors to boost more sales, and become completely content with there system, claiming its best at what it does, and doesn’t need to steel from the competition. that’s what a true company should do, anyone agree?

What If The Horror Genre Never Existed?

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I’m about to tell you a tale so twisted, so horrifying, that it isn’t for the squeamish or the weak of heart. Now switch off the lights, lock the door, and get real close to your computer screen. Yeah, just like that. Now imagine it’s Halloween and you’re in the mood for something a little scary. Maybe you’ve watched and re-watched your selection of horror flicks enough times that you’re a little tired of them, but you’re not quite willing to leave the house to satiate your hunger for horror. There’s another option available though: video games.

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Silent Hill: A Look Back on the Madness

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If you thing that finding  yourself mysteriously stranded in a fog and steam ghost town explicitly inhabited my Marilyn Manson stage props is your idea of a good time, I have the perfect game for you! The long running series places you in the most terrifying, heart racing and utterly nightmare educing town of Silent hill, (or in some cases, around the town.) spanning from 1999 to 2012, There have been some hit and misses, but when they hit, they made sure it was going to stick with you for a very, very long time. Talk is heating up about the latest Silent Hill title in development-Silent Hill: Downpour. Articles, screenshots, and music clips are leaking.

“Leaking”…”Downpour”. See what I did there? Terrible! Anyway, lets take a look back to where it all began, and explores the origins, impact and groundbreaking influence of Konami’s turn of the millennium masterpiece.

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In Danse Macabre, an excellent discussion of horror in literature, television and film, Stephen King raises the concept of ‘the Bad Place’ : a dreaded building or location inhabited by pure, unadulterated evil, where people fear to tread. The author points out that this archetype is to be found far and wide within folklore and works of entertainment, and has provided the foundation for a great many stories of terror and unease. Literature and cinema have given us Dracula’s Castle, Hill House and King’s own Overlook Hotel; by the turn of the millennium, video games also had their own established line of ‘Bad Places’, predominately taking the form of sinister, shadowy abodes such as Mr Barrows’ Clock Tower and the Umbrella Mansion. None of these, however, have become as synonymous with outright terror, or as enduring in legacy and infamy, as the town of Silent Hill.

 

In 1996, when Resident Evil was making waves and it became apparent that Western audiences had acquired a new-found taste for atmospheric, Japanese-developed horror games, the new owners of Tokyo company Konami decided to launch their own substantial American hit, and swiftly assembled a development team for this purpose.

Headed by project director and designer Keiichiro Toyama, this group of unconventional individuals, dubbed Team Silent, took an unusually leftfield and creative approach, spending a great deal of time experimenting with various concepts and ideas. Knowing that their aim was to capture a chilling experience that would play well in the West, they poured over the works of popular American writers, searching for inspiration in terms of setting and story.  Konami’s visionary team conceived a small, New England settlement that had become a deeply twisted, horrifying place; corrupted by a prevailing supernatural force and now alternating between two separate dimensions, one of which was only marginally less nightmarish than the other.

This creation was a vision of suburban familiarity plunged into a deep and illogical hell. Streets shrouded in thick fog hid prowling, winged beasts; a cryptic message in a blood-soaked dog kennel directing you to ‘go to school’. To follow this instruction invited a whole new realm of chaos; the school’s environment visibly transformed into a rotting, mocking husk as it shifted to the dark Otherworld, which brought creeping, deformed Halflings lurching out of the shadows.

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Xbox 360 Successor Rumored To go tablet route.

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around Microsoft and its plans for the next generation of console gaming so far this year. The latest comes from the print magazine Xbox World in a report that doesn’t attribute its details to any sources, anonymous or otherwise.

The next Microsoft console is described as a “matte-black media hub with… augmented reality, direction sound and a four-player finger-tracking Kinect.” It will also supposedly use a tablet-like controller that consists of “an HD screen surrounded by the traditional Xbox 360 buttons and sticks.” This contraption will supposedly make its first appearance at E3 in June.

I continue to have serious doubts about any and all rumors relating to the next generation of console, though it certainly behooves Microsoft to enter into the portable realm. The company has long resisted following Nintendo’s and Sony’s lead on releasing some kind of handheld gaming device, but it has now reached a point where Microsoft risks being left behind if it doesn’t follow suit.

Just look at what happened with Nintendo’s Wii. It hit the market without any HD output, reduced graphics processing capabilities compared to its competitors and an unwieldy, user-unfriendly interface for online gaming. Had it not been for the wider world’s embrace of the console’s unique motion control features, Nintendo would have had a disaster on its hands. It’s no surprise at all that the Wii U is the first console announced for the next generation; Nintendo has some catching up to do.

Sony’s PlayStation Vita arrives now at a perfect time. It’s easy to look at the less-than-stellar launch so far — something I think is more due to the marketing than the actual technology — and see nothing but doom ahead. Really though, the Vita has the potential to keep the PS3 competitive with the new bells and whistles that the Wii U provides. When you get right down to it, Sony’s new handheld is very similar to the Wii U’s tablet controller: you’ve got most of the functions that you would need on a standard controller PLUS an HD touchscreen. The potential is there for the PS3/Vita combo to play the same games that a Wii U will be able to.

So Nintendo is committed now to the Wii U, whether or not the planned fall 2012 release becomes a reality. Sony is similarly committed to the Vita, and likely won’t be announcing a new console until next year, at the earliest. All of this leaves Microsoft in a potentially advantageous position, if it plays its cards right.

Xbox Live has the community in place, and the features necessary to keep that community tight and loyal. Microsoft’s robust set of exclusives are also complemented by some strong third-party relationships. The increasingly obvious absence in the Xbox catalog is a portable solution. windowsPhone 7 doesn’t cut it. Microsoft is going to need a dedicated portable gaming solution to compete on all fronts in the next generation.

And now we’re back to the Xbox World report. I’ll continue to doubt all of these rumors that pop up until they’re confirmed as fact, but I also don’t think it’s a stretch at this point to assume that Microsoft has some kind of touchscreen-enabled control interface that could potentially double as a portable device in the works. Especially since the upcoming Windows 8 OS is meant to integrate Microsoft products across all platforms. We’re living in an increasingly tablet-oriented world, and it’s a safe bet that MS realizes it. That gaping hole in its product catalog will almost certainly be filled soon, and I’d frankly be shocked if that tech wasn’t a fully integrated member of the Xbox family.

Special Editions: Then and Now.

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This year, followed by the past, has come with the infamous “special edition” branded in bright golden lettering across the cover, making them as eye catching and desirable as possible, but what are you really getting? and is it all really worth it? and how has it evolved from the simple slightly altered version of the original, to a $2oo dollar investment.

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Crysis for 360 Quick Review

 

The original Crysis was less of a game and more of a demented stress test for your computer. If you were able to run it at very high settings, you must have had some futuristic light-speed hive-mind computer from Mars. At the time, people wondered if Crysis could be played on current generation consoles at all, because it seemed they were all far too weak to even run the game on low settings. In fact, there was so much hype over how taxing the game was, few actually paid attention to its gameplay, which is a shame because Crysis was actually pretty fun. As a result, Crysis went silently into the annals of video game history as a cult classic hit. Then, of course, Crysis 2 came out on consoles and did fairly well for itself. So it’s only natural that the first Crysis would see a re-release, though we didn’t expect it to show up on current-gen consoles. Somehow Crytek has managed to squeeze all of the original game onto the Xbox and PS3. Still, the question remains: does Crysis hold up when put on consoles?

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Quick Review

 

 

Call of Duty: MW3 had a lot to prove onto its release. Not only was it a sequel to a very controversial game for its story elements (No Russian) and Multi-player issues (rampant cheating and hacking.) It’s also the first game from studio Infinity Ward after it’s much publicized bitter termination by Activision of it’s 2 Founders Vince Zampella and Jason West, along side the firing and leaving of many other employees from IW. So this game is sitting on the precipice of oblivion, showing that the company can either live on without it’s founding fathers or spiral out of control, leaving behind a trail of destruction Does the game live up to it’s previous installments of the CoD franchise?

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