Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Guys Did It Again!

The moment I type this, my blog has 13163 views and 106 followers! I'm kinda speechless, of how much attention this blog got in so little time.
Celebrating this, I'll redesign this blog in the next days/weeks, depending on how much time I have for it. Also I have some new ideas on blogposts, that you'll see eventually.

So thanks guys and I hope you look forward to the "new" blog as much as I do!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nostalgia Sunday Special: Demo Discs

Todays Nostalgia Sunday is a special one. I'm going to talk about what once was a key factor to buying games:
Demo Discs

This envelope used to hold all my PS2 demo discs.

Once upon a time, many, many, many years ago, publishers of video games would make a demo version of their game and put it on a so called "demo disc". This demo disc was mostly part of a magazine, which promoted a certain console (e.g. OPM). Some demo discs were only available through certain stores, or promotional stuff. This would ensure a hunt for certain demo discs, even though you could still buy and play the real game. Some demo discs are even worth hundreds of dollars today.
In this post, I will only talk about Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 demo discs, because that just were my consoles. I'll try to point out some games, that catched my attention and were good as a demo alone.

Playstation 1:
The first demo disc that comes to mind, when talking about the PS1, is the disc, which was included with the PS1 itself. Every country and every version of the PSX/PS1 had a different one. It was the only PSX/PS1 demo disc I had. I don't remember exactly what was on mine, but I remember one game:

WWF SmackDown!:
When we got the PSX at Christmas, the only games we had were Spyro 2 (Check out that Nostalgia Sunday) and the demo disc. It had several games and trailers, but this demo stood out. We weren't really into wrestling, but we knew it existed and this demo was fun as hell. The roster on the demo was awesome, as far as I remember it had The Rock, Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Goldberg and Kurt Angle. Getting out of the ring and walking through the crowd was awesome too, because we never saw something like that and we found it by accident. The surprise was big as you can imagine. The gameplay itself was fun and even when I already had my PS2 with the SmackDown! vs Raw games, I still got back and played this demo.

Playstation 2:
The whole thing started with the PS2 demo discs. My aunt worked, and still works in a store, which sold those Official Playstation Magazines. When a copy of the magazine wasn't sold, we'd always get the demo disc. Fortunatly that was the case with almost every OPM. So we collected alot of these demo discs, with alot of game demos. Here are some, that were really good:

Red Faction (1 or 2, I really don't know anymore):
This demo literally blew my mind. At first, it looked like a normal FPS. Shooting people, doing objectives, getting to the end of the level. But then you throw a grenade or shoot a rocket launcher for the first time and BAM! Destroyable enviroment! In my mind this was so revolutionary, I hadn't seen anything like this before. Most of the time, I wasn't doing the objectives, but rather shoot a wall, to see what happens. It's too bad, I never bought the game, because I think it would be really fun. In Germany it even got on the index (you can't sell or promote the game publically), which meant, I would forget about it for a long time.

This game was a rhythm game, something I have never played or seen before. You play the different instrumenttracks and hit the "notes" the intrument plays. You can make combos and such. It had two songs, Cherry Lips by Garbage and Quarashi's Baseline, which both were really fun to play. You could only play singleplayer, but that doesn't really matter. I really wanted to buy this game. I don't know why I didn't. It's weird, because my brother and me had arguments to our mother like "Finally we want to buy a game, that isn't a shooter or rated for a mature audience". Seems like it didn't work though. What this game achieved though, was that I noticed rhythm games. My favorite game right now and for the past four years is Rock Band (made by the same people at Harmonix as Amplitude) and it's sequels. I invested so much money in it, but it made me play real instruments like the guitar, bass and drums. I owe so much to it.

Timesplitters 2:
This game was litteraly a shock for me. Till then, I didn't play any horror games and Timesplitters 2 isn't a horror game by any means, but the demo scared the hell out of me. You start of in a "GoldenEye" like setting, where you have to infiltrate a base in snowy mountains. Everythings cool, till you have to activate something in the base (excuse my non knowledge of something I played ten years ago). Alarms go off, red lights surround the room and then: Zombies. I was scared as hell. I didn't expect anything like that, because at first it looked like a normal shooter. I was eleven years old or so too. I even tried to scare my friends with it and told them to play the demo. It wouldn't work on them though haha. I heard the game is really good and funny, so I might try it out, once I'll be able to emulate games for the PS2.

That's three demos now, that had an impact on me. There were more, but I think those three took the spot. I might do another Nostalgia Sunday based on this, if there's enough people, who want it.

Game Demos Today:
Today, there aren't demo discs anymore. Everything works through the internet. Consoles offer marketplaces, where you can download the newest demos, without buying a magazine. I think demos lost its charme. Back in the day, you couldn't get all those demos and it was something special. Today, it's always there for everyone. 
I already talked about this subject, so you might want to check out my blogpost about something I miss.

I hope you enjoyed this little special Nostalgia Sunday. Leave a comment, if you have any suggestions for new Nostalgia Sundays. I need to have played the games though, because otherwise it wouldn't be nostalgia ;).

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Xbox with "Anti-Used Game"Technology?

Source: http://kotaku.com/5879439/why-an-xbox-with-anti+used-games-tech-makes-perfect-sense

To start this off, Kotaku isn't the most reliable source, but it's worth discussing anyway.
The "source" of Kotaku says, that the new Xbox will have a technology, that prevents you from using already "activated" games on your console. This technology isn't really something new though, because we have been using Multiplayer passes for the last months already. I'd hate it though, if we would be forced to have those passes for the whole game, including singleplayer.
On the other hand: Steam has done this for a long time already. You buy your game and can activate it once on your Steam account. It is different though for consoles. People lend their games to their friends, which would be impossible then.

It's all still a rumor and people would still buy the console sadly, if this happens. I certainly wouldn't.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Megauploads takedown and moving forward

The picture you see when visiting megaupload.com

I guess you all heard about the recent closing of Megaupload and the arrest of the founder Kim Schmitz. Everybody seems to be scared as hell and fears being arrested for downloading copyrighted material. Other filesharing services, like Fileserve and Filesonic changed their sites, so you can only download, what you uploaded yourself, or even closed all accounts, so no material can be uploaded anymore. Rapidshare even wants to shutdown the site out of fear. 

Now what I think about all this.

Everybody's overreacting. Surely it is a wise move to shutdown the service for a small amount of time, to search for copyrighted material and to delete it, but then it should reopen again. It is not the filesharing services fault, if people upload copyrighted material. It's hard to track every upload and even the FBI should acknowledge that. As far as I know, only Megaupload encouraged its users to upload copyright infringing material.

Now to the people, who downloaded movies, games, etc. Unless the filesharing services give their logfiles to the FBI, pretty much nothing can happen to you.
Also: Those filesharing services taken down will be replaced eventually. There's always someone who wants to make profit out of this business, so don't take it so hard.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nostalgia Sunday: Cool Boarders 4

Cool Boarders 4
One of the first games we bought for the Playstation. It was a really fun game and also a real challenge. There was so much stuff, we didn't unlock and so much that surprised us, when we unlocked it. We didn't even know how to grind on rails, until a friend of mine told us to press the triangle button, who hasn't even played the game. There was so much different, when you played games as a kid. I think, if I played the game today, I would just rush through it. Back then, till we sold the PS, I didn't even "finish" the game.
The Story:

At first, you can choose between several snowboarders, choose your footing and customise your board. The campaign of the game consists of different challenges. There are several mountains you for example do slalom, time attack, or point challenges. If you win enough challenges and be the first place on that mountain, you unlock a new mountain and other stuff. That's basically your story.

The Game:
The game is your basic snowboard game. You do time attacks, point challenges, slalom etc. Apart from the normal challenges, you also have for example a track, where aliens invaded the place and you have to do tricks through rings. You can also unlock new characters, luck one called "Honey Bear", which is obviously a bear, who rides a treelog. Like almost any game back in the day, you have a multiplayer mode, which lets you do the challenges with up to four players. It's basic, but really fun. I don't know, if the game and its mechanics and modes still hold up today, but back then it was awesome.

Prequels and Sequels:
The "4" in the name indicates, that there are more Cool Boarders games...who would have thought that? There were Cool Boarders 1,2 and 3, which improved and added more stuff after another. There was also a "Cool Boarders Pocket", which was made for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The last entry in the series was "Cool Boarders 2001", which was released on PS1 and, as first in the series, on PS2. I never played any of these games. I think Cool Boarders 4 was just enough, or well...you know...money as a kid was short. It's a shame the series ended so early. I'd like a new Cool Boarders game, with everything the old games had and new stuff added to the old.

I might aswell play this game on a PSX emulator again, since my PS is long gone, but I fear that it won't hold up today. It was a fun experience and I might keep it that way.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mod: Elevator Source

A nice little mod I found in certain forums. The premise of the game is that you ride an elevator.
That's it.
But it sure can be fun, like in the video above I recorded. Every room is different and at the end you can chill in the penthouse, with a TV, Pool billard and gambling.
To play the mod you need Garrys Mod and Half Life Episode 2.

Download it here: http://www.pixeltailgames.com/elevator/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ubisoft DRM Madness

Source: http://www.guru3d.com/news/why-guru3d-probably-never-will-review-ubisoft-titles-anymore/

Ubisoft takes their DRM even further. What we knew was, that you have a cd key, which you can use on three different PC's to play your game. It's stupid, but kinda okay. Now, the DRM gives your PC a number, based on your PC specs, so it can identify it. If you change one part of your PC, for example replace the graphics card with a newer one, the number changes, using one more of the three possible activations. While the guys in the source now got their key unlocked, so you can activate more often, normal players will still have that problem.
Ubisoft driving their paying customers into piracy. I don't think that's what they intended.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nostalgia Sunday: James Bond 007: Nightfire

James Bond 007: Nightfire
I don't remember how I got this, but I was lucky to have it. The story was good, the gameplay partially too, but it all got topped by the multiplayer mode. I even bought a Multitap for my PS2, so we could play with four people. So many hours played, we created the mode "Snipertown", which was basically only sniper rifles on a map called Ravine. The map had 2 mountains, connected by a skyrail. So much fun...

The Story:
At the beginning, you start in France, where you have to protect Dominique Paradis with a sniper rifle from a helicopter, who is chasing after a truck with a stolen nuclear weapon. After you catch the truck, the real story begins. The story focuses on a multination corporation known as Phoenix, which is supposed to have been contracted to dismantle nuclear missiles and clean up nuclear power plants around the world. But Phoenix's intentions are, of course, evil to the core, and the company's leader intends to overtake an orbital missile defense platform and use it to essentially destroy the world. Your part, or better, Bonds part is it now, to stop Phoenix and save the world.

The Game:
The game offers you a variety of weapons to choose from, if you can find them in the levels and has also a large varitey of different places and missions you will visit in the campaign, like shown in the above picture. You'll visit Japan, Austria, the South Pacific and even Space. The controls would be something you'd have to learn these days. Todays standarts are left analog stick controls the movement and the right controls the view. Not in this game. You'll walk forward and back, and turn left and right with the left analog stick, and walk left and right, and look up and down with the right analog stick. Weird indeed, but it somehow worked.
Like said at the beginning, the multiplayer was AWESOME! The levels were cool and so were the weapons you could use. Nothing could go wrong. There was no internet for the PS2 back then, so it was all splitscreen. I miss those good old days.

Prequels and Sequels:
I never played the prequel Agent Under Fire, even though I wanted to buy it. But you know, money was short as a kid. A friend of mine had a Nintendo 64 and the game "The World is not enough", which also was awesome. Nothing tops splitscreen multiplayer. Of course there was "GoldenEye 007" before that, but guess what. I never played it. I always hear, it's the best 007 game, but I had my fun with the others, so I think I didn't miss out on something.
After Nightfire, if I remember correctly, the 007 games went Third Person with "Everything or Nothing". I think that was a bad move. I rented the game and played through on one weekend. It had coop too, but it just wasn't the same. 
Activision recently released a remade version of GoldenEye. I played a demo at Gamescom 2011 and the demo from Xbox Live, but it didn't really appeal to me. I guess it doesn't have the same charme as back in the day.

I don't know, if the new GoldenEye was a success, but I hope they will make another 007 game, with a great new story, not from the films, and in first person. Just like Nightfire was.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Hitman Absolution Trailer

I think, I don't have to really tell you, why I'm looking forward to this game. It's the obvious "sneaking stuff". But also, I really enjoyed the prequel Hitman Blood Money and hope, it goes in the same direction, even though it seems to be more story driven. I don't know what to think of the new "Instincts" feature yet. It looks like, it will make the game too easy. Luckily, there will be a "Hardcore" game mode, which doesn't let you use this feature and several other stuff. Hopefully they can keep the 2012 release date, because I don't want to wait another year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption (A life changing experience)

I write this really quick, because I don't have much time!

I saw this movie yesterday...and...it just blew my mind! It was such a life changing experience. I'm a huge movie enthusiast, so I checked the imdb (Internet Movie Database) for the 50 best movies of all time. I picked three and went to the store to buy them. The other two were "Taxi Driver" and "Se7en", which both I enjoyed too. It's weird, that it's hard to find those movies, even though they are considered to be some of the best movies of all time.
So I watched the movie, and at no time I was bored. It was one of those movies, which captivates you till the end. And at the end you're getting that sudden feeling of happiness. Knowing, that even if all hope is lost, there is still a way to get out of the dark.

I'm not gonna spoil anything from the movie here, I just want to tell you this:
If you ever get the chance to see this movie, DO IT! You won't regret it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nostalgia Sunday: Rollercoaster Tycoon

Rollercoaster Tycoon

One of the first games I ever got and one of the first games, I couldn't get enough of. It just was a game, you could do something new everyday. And to think, it was created mostly by only one man named Chris Sawyer, makes it even better, seeing the complexity and yet the user friendliness of the game. 
The Story:
The "stories" in this game are called scenarios. You can choose a park at the beginning, which has a goal you must reach, in a limited time. Mostly you have to have a certain amount of guests in your park, or lift the value of the park by creating more attractions and keeping it running smoothly. By completing certain scenarios, you unlock new ones. The standart game has 21, so you certainly won't get bored with it. The last park you will unlock is called "Mega Park" and gives you the simple objective to "Have Fun!", by unlocking every attraction and allowing you to build everything you want.

The Game:
Like said above, your goal is to create a successful park. You can do that however you like. You'll get a loan at the start, with which you can buy or build attractions, refreshment stands, items, such as banks, trash cans or flowers, to improve the visual quality of the park, or certain handymen, like entertainers, mechanics, or security guards. Everything has a certain purpose, mostly to keep the guests of the park happy, which means income. Every guest has a liking towards something, like thrilling rollercoaster rides, or a clean park. If you can satisfy all the guests, your park will become successful. But it doesn't end there. Most of the fun comes from building your own rollercoasters. It sometimes can be hard, but seeing the guests ride your own rollercoaster is something special.

The Sequels:
The first game had two expansion packs, which added new scenarios, attractions and items, which assured the longevity of the game. The second game, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, which was released in 2002, improved mainly on the graphics side to the first game. It wasn't received too well by the fans of the first game, but outsold its predecessor, creating a new hype for the tycoon games. It also got two new expansion packs, with again, new scenarios, attractions and items. The third game in the series, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, took a whole new turn, by adding 3D graphics and leaving the isometric view behind, which were part of the older games. It finally added a sandbox mode, which gave you the opportunity to give yourself as much money as you want and build, whatever you dreamed of. It also was possible, to import attractions and scenarios from other people, which created huge databases on the internet. Although it improved more on the first game than the second, it got lesser good ratings, because of the many bugs it had. RCT3 also got two expansion packs. The first was named "Soaked!", which added the option to build water parks and in general, water attractions. The second was called "Wild!", in which you could build your park like a zoo, adding safari rides and animals. A new game, called Rollercoaster Tycoon 3D, was announced in August for the 3DS. There's not much information on it right now, but Atari asked the fans on their forums, what they would like in the game.

Such a classic game, and I still have it. I have the original CD for the first game and from time to time, I play one or two of the scenarios. This game still hasn't got old and I wish for more tycoon games in the future. As I have no 3DS, I guess I'll have to wait, till they release a new PC version of the game.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thief 4 announced!

Thief 4 has been announced (or rather the website went online)!
I'm looking forward to it, even though I never played any of the other Thief games. I know it's about being stealthy and since Deus Ex Human Revolution, that's something I really like. And it's even made by the same studio, Eidos Montreal. Right now there's only the teaser website, but I hope they'll release a trailer soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Steam Holiday Sale Conclusion

The image above shows what I got during the sale. I didn't pay anything for it. I just traded the stuff I got for other games or coal and this was the final outcome. I had several games like Super Meat Boy, Demolition Inc. and Dota 2, which got me these. It's obvious that Valve screwed me on the coupons. Crafted 21 coal and I got 50% Valve three times. The luck I have...