Unless you are hiding under a rock, or your name is trace, you probably know that Halo 3 has just been released with the hopes of becoming the fastest selling game ever. Regardless what you think of the game or the series, you will probably agree that this video is quite funny. I won’t be playing the game until next week, but I’m looking forward to it.
A demo of Crash of the Titans from Radical is also available for the 360. I haven’t played it yet, but Penny Arcade apparently liked it a lot.
I finally bought a Wii, so I’m playing Super Paper Mario (thanks Houmi!). Very entertaining, although the switching to 3D thing becomes more a gimmick as you play. Still, very imaginative maps and characters.
I also bought Blue Dragon on the 360, and I’m impressed. This thing is HUGE, I can see in excess of 40 hours to complete the main story, and god knows how much more for the side quests. Some grinding may be required to see all the powers and skills, so I imagine I will be playing this on and off for quite a while. I’ve never been a fan of Toriyama (or manga in general), but the art direction is really good.
Finally, I watched Eastern Promises and 3:10 To Yuma. Eastern Promises is quite good, a contains a particularly brutal fight. Yuma was so-so; the story is good, and both Russell Crowe and Christian Bale deliver top notch performances, but I found many details of the script quite poorly done.
Very interesting material from Siggraph here. Information overload available at ACM’s SIGGRAPH Course index; take it easy. 🙂
Trace wants to know less about the games I play, and more about the games I work on. 🙂 I joined Radical Entertainment to work on the Advanced Technology Group (known as ATG). We create the technology (the "Titanium" engine) that all game teams at Radical use to create their games. Radical’s ability to make that happen was one of the things that attracted me here. As I learn more about how they got to this point, I realize that it has been far from easy, but it’s not an impossible task like *ahem* previous experiences might suggest.
Prototype is the first "proper" next-gen game that Radical will release. Read the articles and coverage in the net for more details, because I don’t really know what is public and what isn’t. 🙂 All I will say is that the game is shaping up quite nicely, and even if it’s still a long way before it’s finished, it has the potential to be one of the most fun and thrilling games of this-next gen.
Bioshock is really good. It’s not perfect, but it does so many things so well, that it has won a place in my "best games of the past few years" list. I’m close to the end now, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t play it again after I’m done… but the very fact that I asked myself that question should be quite telling. The only modern games that I replayed immediately after finishing (normally at a higher difficulty) have been… Commander Keen, Doom, Quake, Quake2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein (see a pattern?), Total Annihilation, Devil May Cry and Supreme Commander.
Another incredible game I’ve been playing lately is Guitar Hero 2 (thanks bro!). I’m a late convert to the Guitar craze, not because I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, but because its coordination and physical requirements scared me. Yeah, it can be very intense, although few players should expect to become proficient enough to ever do that.
Still, it’s amazing how well crafted it is. I remember the first time I tried it (some easy mode song), and how unforgiving and impossible it felt. After that, I probably came back to my PC and beat a couple of Supreme Commander AIs to regain some lost self-esteem. After a few sessions, however, easy mode songs proved doable, and beating my first medium difficulty song made me feel like a true hero. Progress again, then it’s time for a new challenge: hard mode is like being at square one again, unable to keep up with the barrage of notes the game throws at me. Jump back to medium, and it’s almost too easy. The learning curve is among the best I have ever seen in a game.
A very interesting thing about Guitar Hero is how easily and naturally puts you in the fabled state of flow. At some point you stop trying to think what you need to do, and you just do it; you are distantly aware of what you’re doing, but trying to consciously affect it breaks the spell. In intense programming sessions I have definitely reached it, but few games have achieved that: Geometry Wars and other shmups for a few seconds, maybe Quake 2 multiplayer way back when.