Crispy Gamer

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  • I took the dreaded Cathay Pacific red eye from Vancouver to JFK last night. I had my prescriptions handy, and was ready to KTFO myself for the flight, when I decided to load up Fieldrunners on my iPhone. Yes, I have an iPhone now. I know! I swore I'd never give into the iPhone bullshit. I'm tired of trying to have conversations with people who are more interested in seeing what their phones are doing instead of what I have to say. Now that I own one, I've realized that it's not the iPhone's fault; it's the proselytizing, easily distracted iPhone owners who give the thing a bad name.

    My other problem has to do with how fashionable it has become to tell everyone within earshot how awesome iPhone games are.

    I was a skeptic until around 4 a.m. this morning. As everyone on the plane dozed, as my plane sailed high above Pennsylvania in the pre-dawn dark, I was playing Fieldrunners. I should have been asleep. I was due at the CG offices in the...

  • As we get closer to E3 in June I have been thinking about the things that I love and hate about the show. Admittedly I haven't been in a long while, but the last time I was there I have to say I didn't enjoy it too much. While know the average gamer loves scantily clad women and the giant displays that all these game companies put on - complete with blaring music and over-zealous mic work - I find it jarring.
    One moment that stands out for me was at E3 1999 in Atlanta. I was there with IDG Games covering the show and trying to stay sane amidst the chaos of the floor. Situated behind the / Gamepro booth was a horrible booth for an equally horrible game: Godzilla Online. The booth was as loud and as obnoxious as that giant reptile that once terrorized Tokyo and now terrorized Atlanta. Besides the rumbles and screams of...

  • Over the weekend I found myself loading up KnightShift, a European RPG-RTS game for the PC from Reality Pump Studios. To say the game has its own set of shortcomings and issues would be an understatement, but for some reason there is something about this game that I love that I can't quite put my finger on. The only explanation that I can think of this that I enjoy the occasional mediocre game.  Some might say that KnightShift is the kind of game that  should be burned Fahrenheit 451-style..

    I have no problem admitting it - sometimes I enjoy bad food and drink, horrible television and movies, and mediocre video games are no exception. Chalk it up to whatever you like - boredom, bad taste or self loathing - but I finding myself playing games that aren't all that great and still find some small sliver of enjoyment in them.

  • In chatting with the developers for the Origins story, many of them acknowledged how lucky they were to be in the right place at the right time. I pushed it a bit further to see what advice they'd give to aspiring videogame developers.

    Gabe Newell (Valve Software): The most important decision you will make is who your colleagues are. They more than anything else will determine how much success you have and how much you enjoy going to work each day.

    Sid Meier (Firaxis Games): Get a good well-rounded education first, take advantage of internships, play lots of different video games and get together with other folks who want to make video games and make a prototype -- that...

  • People, people, people! Did we learn nothing from Driv3r? The conventional wisdom says that game recieved a critical drubbing because of a buggy engine, lackluster combat and ridiculous AI. But I'd argue that the low review scores were just a collective, subconscious reaction to game's obnoxious, use-a-number-to-replace-a-letter naming scheme.

    It was hard to get too worked up about this when it was just a single, isolated naming incident. But then comes today's official announcement of a sequel to Thief 3 named, no, not Thief 4 but Thi4f.

    Look at...


    Part II of Eight Virtues in a Duffel Bag: The Richard Garriott Interview is live today, so go check it out. It picks up where Part I left off - with the room full of killing children. The interview was supposed to be a discussion about the Ultima series and Ultima VII in particular, but towards the end it veered off into other territory.

    While that stuff didn't fit very well in the context of all this Ultima talk, I wanted to share a couple of questions (and answers) about space travel and the lawsuit and some other odds and ends. 

  • Taking this simple survey - which takes less than five minutes to complete - will enter you into a drawing to win Peggle: Dual Shot and Rhythm Heaven for the DS.  If you don't already have these great games this is a good opportunity to get them for free.

    And who doesn't want to own these excellent games? Seriously, tell me, and i'll go to their homes and shake them vigorously! I'll shake them with so much force that they'll suffer from Shaken Adult Syndrome -- okay I won't do that, but I might send them a strongly worded email if I can gather up enough courage.

    But more importantly (?) you'll earn my undying respect,...

  • [youtube:3_Tv7wZSFzA]

    Our series of the World's Greatest Videogame Toilets has finally drawn to a close with today's Bonus Flush, 3D Realms' highly dubious Shadow Warrior. What I've learned from this series is that videogame toilet humor died out a long time ago. Today's virtual toilets are photorealistic but not a whole lot of fun. Then again, breaking toilets in real life is kind of a drag. See above.

    (Check out the toilet archive here.)

  • "No! It's too strong! I ... oh, damn it, the f*cking troll killed Carbomb."

    "What the hell are you talking about?" asks my wife Charlotte, who with a quick glance toward the little bed perched on our window-shelf can see that our cat, Carbomb, is still totally alive and sleeping peacefully.

    "Oh," I say. "I set the game so that if I start with a pet cat, the cat's name is Carbomb."

    "That's a game?"

    "Sure. This little 'at' symbol is me, and that 'T' is a troll, and this is a ..."

    "Sounds great," she says, and goes back to her book.

    Okay, so perhaps not everyone understands the appeal of Nethack. Actually, it seems likely that the vast bulk of today's gamers have never heard of Nethack, which really is something of a shame. How many games do you know of which have been in near-constant...

  • The Crispy Gamer crew is working on a lot of cool projects this month. It's going to be an exhausting May, and with a stretch of gray weather lately in New York (where Crispy Gamer World HQ is located), conditions were ripe for office doldrums. A veritable powderkeg of low morale, if that makes sense, which it doesn't.

    As a pre-emptive strike against the impending malaise, Scott Jones and I put together this inspirational video to end all inspirational videos. I thought I would share it with you so that you could view it any time you need a boost.

  • "Gaming by the Numbers" is an occasional series examining the statistics that make up our gaming lives.

    Number of hours it takes to become an expert at a specific task, according to Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers: 10,000

    Number of hours the average American boy spends playing video games between ages 8 and 18, according to a 2007 Harris Interactive study: 9,7761

    Number of hours an average American child spends in grade school: 12,9602...

  • I'm fairly certain that of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse, this is number four. (Swine Flu was number three.)

    Kiss your loved ones goodbye, clutch your beloved DreamCast to your chest, you pathetic nerd, and close your eyes tight.

    The end of days is nigh. Pestilence is upon the land! Repent now!

  • You truly beat the life out of your enemies in Zeno Clash. An uppercut to the jaw sends them flying across a grassy field. It takes them a moment to get back up. While they're dazed, you can run up and kick them a few times for good measure. More than in other games, you can watch yourself doing this: Like an anarchic version of Mirror's Edge, your field of vision swings with your body as you reach back for an uppercut, and your view of a downed opponent heaves forcefully as your leg thrusts outward to kick him in the side. 

    Another factor is the sound of your punches and kicks landing -- it's nice, loud and slappy, like a...

  • This is the fearsome Orland, weakened and about to recived a death blow at the hands of my Raptor. Be forewarned. Clan Beard does not easily forgive those who speak ill of Noby Noby Boy.


     FYI: I'm not a crazy person. Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift really does name some of the random characters "Orland." 


    .. says journalrhythm, who raps about it in this YouTube video:



    I hope it doesn't suck, but the last X-Men game I played was just awful.






    When I first started thinking about the idea of an alternate replay of The Black Gate, I knew that I would have to catch up with Richard Garriott to talk to him about it and the series in general. I had a lot of questions that couldn't be answered by playing the game or reading about it at my favorite fan sites.

    Luckily Richard loves to talk about the history of Ultima as much as I enjoy listening, so he obliged me an hour of his time to pick at his brain.  What I learned was that, despite my feelings to the contrary, it was never his intention to tear the world the world he created in the final three games. It was obviously the grand...

  • Somerville, MA- After a night
    of beer drinking last Sunday, Cambridge resident Bill Prince, 35, woke
    up Monday morning to discover that Sonic Spinball (800 Wii points)
    had been downloaded to his Wii Virtual console. "I'm not 100-percent sure how
    this happened," Prince said. "I never owned
    a Sega Genesis. None of my friends owned Genesis systems. And I'm definitely
    not a Sonic fan, or a pinball fan. I was a Nintendo man
    growing up."  

    Prince, who admits to consuming somewhere "in the vicinity" of 12 to 14 beers that night,
    isn't alone in finding the some of the Virtual Console's bottom-of-the-barrel offerings mysteriously winding up on Wiis after a night of overindulging. An informal poll of U.S. gamers revealed that
    eight out of 10 Wii owners have at least one embarrassing Virtual Console...


    Passion Play:

    Unlike Paul on the road to Damascus, there was no enlighten for me as I made my way to Britain - unless you count the Guardian’s helpful interjections. Just north of Trinsic a trio of Fellowship members put on a passion play... about the Fellowship. Good to see they were thinking outside the box. Now they aresleeping inside a box.

    Men Killed: 2

    Women Killed: 1

    Passion Killed: 0

    Dungeon Destard Entrances:

    A unicorn and a trio of adventurers walk into the dungeon Destard. The adventurer says to the beast "How do you know if someone is a virgin?" The Unicorn replies "I don't know - the Avatar just stabbed me in my face."...

  • While performing my daily ritual of avoiding work while surfing the Web, I came across this nugget:
    This without a Sega warranty, no less.
    Why would anyone want a last generation console more than seven years out of production and one that all but bankrupt one of the fine old companies of gamedom?
    Because the Dreamcast rocked.
    No game critic of the era (seven years ago, that is) would disparage the Dreamcast. You couldn’t do it. House of the DeadSoul Caliber,...

  • Video games will not be art until the people that develop and publish them stop caving in to public pressure. If you need an example of this, then look no further than the news this morning that Konami has dumped Six Days in Fallujah. Sure the game is controversial, but that is irrelevant to me. What is important is that a publisher gave in to public pressure in a way the movie industry never would.

    Do you think if Columbia Pictures was making a film called "Six Days in Fallujah" that it would just cave in to public pressure? Hell no. It would know that, as a business, controversy can be buzz and could have the potential to translate to big numbers at the box office.