Archive for the ‘Video Games’ category

TAGTIST 061310: Contra vs Tetris

June 13, 2010

Can’t seem to get the embed to work- here’s the link

TAGTIST 060810: Real life in 8bit

June 8, 2010

How Nerd Culture Became a Mainstream Culture

June 5, 2010

I remember growing up being classified for most of my youth as a “nerd”- I stopped playing sports very young, I read comics, I knew too much about topics only a few people cared about, and I managed decent grades in school.  I learned very quickly that- until I found my own kind to run with- to stay quite and keep my head down.  This was the pox given to those labeled “nerd” in that time, that of the outcast.  Move forward to today and “nerd” is the new cool.  Now it is okay to be different and be involved with things that were once considered too “nerdy” for the general public culture.  How did this happen?  How did being a “nerd” go from being a bad thing to being a good thing?  While I make no claim to be an expert, here are the reasons I believe the views have been changed over the years:

Video Games become one of the most successful forms of entertainment: For several years now video games have kept pace with all other forms of media in total sales both in the US and globally this includes movies, music, video and books.  There are also more gamers in more genres playing now more than ever.  In a report released in February 2009, there was 50 million users on XBOX LIVE and the PSNetwork.  Lets not forget the over 5 million that still play World of Warcraft like a religion.  The simple fact that there are so many gamers out there now makes it easy to see how video game culture become excepted as a norm so quickly.  The terms “WOW” and “Gamertag” are now common terms for anyone age 10-30 and even beyond.  We were a generation that grew up gaming and have made it the powerful entertainment industry that it is today.

The “Always Connected” Age of Computers: When I was a kid, it seemed odd if you knew too much about one thing.  Now, with the ease of the internet and the ability at any time to connect to it, anyone can quickly become an expert even if it’s in their own mind- about any topic within minutes.  In fact, it was seen at one point that owning a computer or such device was the factor that instantly made you a nerd whereas now if you don’t have at least a computer of some kind you are the person out of the norm.  We now live in a technical world that requires knowledge of things that once seemed only possible to those in the nerd world.  Even the computer age has grown more excepting of those that were once outcasts- at one time it was odd to have a “website” and “post on a messageboard” but now nearly everyone in on Facebook and has several blogs they read and message boards they post on.  The sub culture changed within itself to except what is actually happening: everyone is connected almost all the time and are part of the ever-growing universe that has become the Internet.

Nerd Topics go Hollywood: Breaking into the mainstream in the US is actually an easy feet if you can accomplish one goal: make a successful media item- especially in the form of television or film- and get people to watch it.  You can either let it happen naturally or you can market your item to the point where you tell people they are supposed to like it.  But all sarcasm aside, topics generally seen as only for nerds have become not only popular forms of media but huge financial successes, leading to even more media from those genres being created.  Look at all the franchises that used to be seen as “for nerds only” that are now part of “must see tv/films”: Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Lord of the Rings, Stargate,etc.    Then think about all the media that grew out of their success: Heroes, Twilight, Harry Potter, all the Stargate and Battlestar spinoffs, all the other vampire tv shows and movies.  Add to that the retro franchises like Transformers and don’t forget the huge success that comic book movies have had over the last decade, especially the Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Batman franchises.  Anything that was once seen as nerdy is now fodder for possible success in various forms of media.  In fact, there are whole movie and tv shows made based on the nerd lifestyle- Big Bang Theory, The Guild, Superbad- and they have all had success.  True that this is due in part to the quality of some of these works, but also to how fans of these shows support what they like.  In fact this helps to complete the cycle- at one time it was the ultimate in nerd to be a die hard fan of something -like a Trekker- while now it is all part of the experience of enjoying what you like.  Being a fan of something is actually cool now, and even a socially acceptable way to spend ones spare time.

Nerds outnumber the Norms and take control: I think everything above is due to one simple truth- there are more people now than ever that consider themselves nerds than ever before.  And, for the first time, it’s okay.  You can get excited a new Mario game is coming or a new Spider-Man movie is being made or the last Scott Pilgrim book is coming out.  People have become not only more tolerant about each others differences but also more free to add there support and love as well.  Nerds don’t have to fear the jocks anymore.  In fact, it is now the nerds of the 80’s that were once so tortured that control the output of entertainment of the world.  Why do you think all of a sudden all those movies were finally getting made?  Those same grown up nerds are also the bosses of their one time tormentors.  They can freely talk about anything they like without fear of abuse simply because nerds now outnumber the cool kids.  In fact, this balance is so off that in most cases the cool kids ARE the nerds, at least to some degree.

Sure, it’s odd to live in a time where being a “nerd” is not a bad thing.  But it’s a welcome change. Now let’s all get our +5 Dexterity vest, lightsabers and NERF guns and have one good LARP session.  Wait, that might still be too nerdy….

It’s that time again….

July 18, 2009

Just dropping in between trips to let everyone know I’m off to San Diego this week for Comic-Con once again.  I’ll be updating regularly through the Twitter account-this time with pics from time to time.  It will be a hectic mess, but a good time should be had.  Hope everyone is having a great summer and I’ll be back in a week or so.

Thoughts on E3 2009

June 4, 2009


My general thoughts?  Kinda boring this year.  I think with the internet being as informed as it is it is making it harder for company’s to keep things under wraps so the press conferences -while having a few surprises- have lost their punch from years past.  And was it just me or did it seem like this year was the year of the racing games?  Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan but it seems like everyone was making a new one that looked just like the other ones coming out.  It also seemed like there was a focus on big titles for portable devices as well.

But anywho, here’s my more in-depth thoughts, in order as the conferences came:

Microsoft /XBox 360


I have to say I was very underwhelmed by everything up until the end.  Sure I’m interested in Rock Band Beatles and the art directions looks great thus far, but the rest just seemed sort of there.  Splinter Cell looks interesting, but I played the first game and hated it (I know I’m in the minority there, so sue me).  It wasn’t until Project Natal that I started to get interested.

Rumor had it that Microsoft would bring a motion control device, but I don’t thing anyone expected it to work -with cameras sensing motion with scanning capabilities and mics to pick up sounds and commands- like it did.  It short it looks straight out of science fiction.  I’m interested to see it used outside of mini-games and creepy robot kid demos (You Tube the conference to see what I’m talking about) but it’s interesting to see what the future holds.  I also liked the comment, “will work for all past and future 360’s” meaning my recent purchase wasn’t a waste and it looks like the big companies are going to hold out on new consoles.  I also liked all the media features they announced.

Nintendo Wii & DS


Not extremely impressive but not the huge mistake that last year’s conference once.  After seeing more of it on ScrewAttack.com (shameless plug) I  have to say that New Super Mario Bros. Wii looks interesting and four player mode might be fun at times.  As others have said- if the challenge and fun is there then I’ll pick it up.

Also, not a huge surprise but a welcome addition was Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Looks like more of the same with the addition of Yoshi.  And that’s not a bad thing.

They had four games featuring Mario which seems like a lot and they showed nothing but a title card for the new Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks DS game.  I wanted more there.  They seemed to spend a lot of time showing Wii Motion Plus and promised that you can feel the difference when you actually play it.  Many have been questioning that statement, but didn’t they say the same thing about the Wii when it first was announced?

The last big news was the epic looking Metroid: Other M.  It looks as if they are taking all the other Metroids -both 2 & 3- and combining them into a new look and feel for a more ‘hardcore’ Metroid experience.  One of my favorite franchises and this was a welcome surprise.  Too bad, though, there was no Zelda Wii announced.

Sony Playstation 3 & PSP and PSP Go


I know I’m gonna sound like a Wii60 fanboy but here me out:  Is Microsoft still shilling the original XBox?  Is Nintendo still releasing new Gamecubes?  Then why is Sony still pushing the PS2?  Wait, I know the answer.  Because it lets them start there press conference again by giving inflated numbers for “Playstation” sales (notice no number?  Shh, they don’t want you do do that).  I will say that after the initial “we’re still okay!” beginning they did get to message but they did seems a little like they were sayings “please don’t give up on us” a bit too much.  And I was impressed with there willingness to give probable release time frames to most of their products.  And the Final Fantasy MMO is a big deal.  Along with DC Universe online, could the PS3 become more MMO centric?

On to the PSP Go: It looked okay but I think most people are disappointed by it not having a touch screen (what portable device doesn’t now?).  They also made it clear that it was their “casual” portable unit to go alongside the standard PSP, but who knows if that will last.

Now it’s Sony’s turn for motion control.  If you didn’t see it imagine a WiiMote with a glowing ball o nthe end of it.  It works along side the Eye Toy and you can use two at a time.  I’ll say, it did look like it worked well, even though it was very much in the demo stages.  But I’ll admit: after Natal at Microsoft it looked like a sci-fi copy of the Wii.

Then the showed God of War III.  Forever.  Things got killed.  Yeah.  It’s God of War.  Man, am I pissing on Sony this year….so this is what it’s like to be a fanboy?

Overall, as I said before, not much with a few big surprises.  Here’s a rundown of what I liked:
5. The new Metal Gear coming to XBox: I don’t play them but that’s a huge get for the 360 and huge loss for Sony
4. A crap ton of Mario coming out
3. Assassin’s Creed 2: what they showed looked so good it made me go rent the first game and I’m kinda enjoying it.
2. Metroid: Other M
1. Project Natal: has potential for good and evil (yes, I’ll make the Skynet joke everyone else is already making…)

TAGTIST 1309: Guitar Hero Lego

January 3, 2009

Only Guitar Hero folks may get it, but holy shit…that had to take forever

TAGTIST 1109

January 1, 2009

Augustus “Cole Train” Cole…how I love you….