Sunday, December 25, 2011
This is the first game I complete in iOS, and essentially the main reason for buying the iPad. I started working on Digital Legends months ago and I hadn't played any game of that platform, including this Angry Birds about which everyone was talking about. It was the first game I bought in the Apple store and played it for a while until my sister discovered it and out-played all my progress, which I hate.
So I deleted the game, downloaded again and played it from the beginning. It contained some more chapters than the first release (I understand Rovio is still updating it) and took some more time to finish, but it became my 'bathroom' game and I was able to complete it right before coming back to Cordoba, so my sister can't ruin my feeling of finishing the game by myself.
Anyway it's a great game, possibly the best of 2010. It's design is particularly well adapted to the platform (tactile interface, easy-to-learn difficul-to-master, short but intense levels, simple rules and lots of rewards), good scaling of the mechanics and addictive as hell. If I need to highlight some negative aspect, I can only say the 'story' (those short cutscenes where the pigs steal the eggs and eventually are defeated) are improvable, even with the limitation of not using words. But it's such a secondary element of the game that it's not a big deal.
So if you have an iOS device there is no excuse to buy the game, it's really cheap. And if you don't, it's possibly the killer app of the platform.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
With the upcoming release of Knights of the old republic online, Sony online has forced the closure of the previous MMORPG based on the Star Wars franchise: Star Wars Galaxies.
I played that game for almost 2 years. As the matter a fact it was my first MMO ever, and I was passionate for it not only because I'm a Star Wars fan, but also because of the idea of a living world with its own logic and story-telling created by developers and users. I still dig into that idea and I'd love to create a world like that someday. Maybe writing, maybe in videogames.
Anyway, it's sad to know that a game and a world that you were so involved in is dead. I actually tried to re-activate my old account to take a look at the game before it was closed, but unfortunately my account was linked to an old and lost email account, and the Sony CS representatives were not particularly helpful, so I guess this is it. Rest in peace.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Some quick lines to let you know another game of the miCoach suite has been released in the Apple store: miCoach Running. Also, I was involved in the development but not as deep as in miCoach Football. Still, another title released in my list.
After all, this has been a productive year at least in terms of titles: Toy Cars, Lightfish and these 2 miCoach games.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Nobility are not fun. Apparently the spanish royal house has complained in the past for the use of the king's uniform applied to Magneto in some Marvel comic. It was recently announced this character would be playable in an upcoming fighting title and it would be dressed like the king. Exciting, isn't it? I don't play much games of that genre, but I was planning to buy it just to kick ass as the spanish king.
But nah, they complained again and I don't know what the developers will do. Hopefully they won't back up and keep going.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Finally I've finished Portal 2. I started playing last time I was in Cordoba, where I have a computer which can run the game (here at Barcelona I used to have a laptop). But now that I bought a new computer I was able not only to make it work but also Steam stores your advances and when I installed it all the episodes I'd completed were still there, so I could resume the game from the very point where I had left it.
What a game, Jesus. One of the best sequels I've played if not the best. They just add 3 new gameplay elements, the gels, but the story is so much better and still works as rewards after each puzzle.
Ah, puzzles. If there is something I can say I didn't totally like it's the fact that it's essentially a puzzle game and whenever you don't find the right solution (and there is only one) you're stuck. As usual, after 5-10 mins failing to find the way to crack the puzzle I look for an internet walkthrough and bypass the game. I'm not the hardcore type and I can't spend hours trying to understand the designer's logic.
Anyway it's a remarkable game. I'd love to play the co-operative but some time has passed since the release and I'm not sure if I'll find some friend to help me. In any case I strongly recommend anyone interested in puzzle games to buy it. Maybe the game of the year for me.
I've just found this video where a couple of guys visit Super Potato, a shop you can find in Akihabara (Tokio) dedicated to retro-gaming. I was there when I went to Japan 3 years ago, you can find some pictures here.
It's a unique place, kind of the Mecca for gamers. If you're ever in Tokyo and you like videogames, that's the place you have to go.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Just dropping a few lines to let you know the project in which I'm working at Digital Legends has been announced: miCoach Football. You can see some info here.
The screenshots are out of date, but the description is accurate. I'll keep you informed as soon as more info is released.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Aside from those I've worked in (Toy Cars, Lightfish) and another one released by a friend, I had not bought an indie game in XLIG until now: DLC Quest. I liked the proposal: Sense of humor, videogame cliches and basic gameplay.
And essentially that's what it offers. I had fun and sometimes laughed of the different situations and NPCs, and I completed the game in less than 2 hours. And that's because I insisted until I got the 10 achievements it features. You can blame DLC Quest for being too short, but since it costs 80 MS points (1 euro) I think it's fair to say it's worth what I paid for it.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Someone said people look in their adulhood for the things they lacked in their teens. Now that I come to think about it, I lacked many things back then, but I'm putting a solution to one of them: MSX.
In the mid-eighties, you had to have a personal computer. The most popular was the Spectrum, but there were many Commodore users too. I don't think Amstrad was particularly popular in Spain but it should be in other countries so there were plenty of games for it. And then it was the MSX.
As far as I know it was successful in Japan, were it was first created, but also in Holland (Phillips manufactured several models, including mine) and Spain. I owned an early version of that system and it became obsolete quite soon. I couldn't play the latest games because my model was limited in memory. I couldn't afford to buy another one so I gradually lost interest in computer games... until my cousin Pedro got rid of his first PC and gave it to me.
Well, I've just bought a second-hand MSX2, which allows me to buy all those games that I couldn't play back them. Right now I'm betting in Ebay for cartridges, and I'm planning to make myself a nice collection. Vintage rules!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Ok, from now on Double Fine (Psychonauts, Brutal Legend) is my new best videogame studio forever an ever of the month. Tim Schaffer is not new to this blog, but from now on he's got a little bit of my heart.
Take a look here to find out why.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Steve Jobs passed away today. I've never been an apple guy, but the importance of iPhone and similar devices for the videogame industry is huge. I always wondered if Jobs expected so many companies developing for iOS, or it was a lucky move. Anyway, small companies never had it so easy to create and market their products.
Rest in peace.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The other day I found a list of the most anticipated games for Christmas. Take a look here.
As you can see, the vast majority are sequels or games created onto a pre-existing IP. Only Dead Island manages to get into the ranking.
Unfortunately this is old news. The top sellers in the videogame industry are generally follow-ups. As far as I can tell, only during the transition from one generation to another there is some space for new IPs. The rest of the time we have to content ourselves with new iterations of already-known IPs.
It also happens in movies, particularly in the last 10-15 years. The only good thing is that in videogames the 2nd or 3rd iteration is generally better than the first game, specially regarding graphics.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I value myself as a creative person. That means I have ideas for fresh content in movies, tv series, books and of course videogames. I have dozens of folders with lots of ideas for potential games, the vast majority pure crap. However, some of them I think are great.
Nevertheless I've had little opportunities to turn those ideas into real games. Practically my whole career is based on developing someone else's creations. What does happen to me from time to time is that some of my ideas becomes a real game, made by others. This has just happened with 'Breaking news', a game that I envisioned in which the user controls a journalist, armed with a camera, and his goal would be to collect evidences of corruption and crime in his city. The newspaper offices would serve as a hub to deliver and get missions, and gameplay would be based on stealth and taking pictures in the proper moment.
It doesn't sound bad, but the only chance this idea had to become a real game was while I was working at Pyro. Management organized an idea contest and I presented 'Breaking news'. It was rejected in favor of one of the manager's idea. But I recently found out there is a company making a game based on the same premises: Warco: The news game.
I guess I was right and the idea had potential. Let's see how it evolves. I'm definitively interested in that title.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I recently completed Twilight Princess and while I was playing I took notes of all the improvements I'd made on the game. I ended up with more than 2 pages. It's not only the difficulty level (the game can be really hard to complete. It's not that it took me up to 50 hours to finish it, it's also his creator kind of agrees with me :D) but also the whole concept of 'you're alone in the world with no help whatsoever. Ain't that fun?'.
Anyway, it is my opinion that the series has aged without major changes. Maybe the DS versions have advanced the design a little bit, allowing more agile travels and a clearer interface which helps you to know where you are and where you are supposed to go, but it could also be simply that DS peculiarities (such as taking notes with the stylus) forced those changes and we won't see them in future titles.
Let's see the upcoming new Zelda. I'm not planning to buy it, but it would be good if they eventually try to make the concept evolve. It's one of the most important videogame sagas, design-wise. It deserves it.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
After 4 years, I finally finished Twilight Princess. I bought the game when the Wii was released, and I was determined to make it the first Zelda I completed. I was wrong. The game was not interesting enough for me, and I abandoned it for a long time.
But I have this policy that every game I buy I finish, so after completing 2 Zeldas (those two released for the DS), I decided it was time. I had not played for 4 years, but my save game was still there. It took me 55 hours, I think it's the longest Zelda so far, and not exactly worth it. It's not a bad game, but it lacks something. I've checked with some Zelda hardcore fans and they can't define what the game it's missing. The most common accusation was 'it doesn't have charm'.
The game it's not cute, I guess that's what they mean. It's slightly dark and realistic (although graphically it's no more good than a PS2 game). However I didn't enjoy it mostly because of the Zelda gameplay itself, common to other games: The gameplay is too based on puzzles, and there is only one possible solution to any of them. Too many times it's not the most logical solution but one the designer thought it would be cool. I don't have the patience or the time to spend a whole afternoon figuring out what they had in mind when they created the dungeon, so I had to check internet walkthroughs VERY often. No, I don't find any joy in finding the solution by myself after 4 hours.
Aside from that, I think Zelda's design (and particularly Twilight Princess) is out of date. Supporting mechanics such as saving, health, interfaces, lack of achievements and multiplayer makes me think the series could really use a serious revamp in the following titles. I doubt they will, anyway, and it's a pity.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Just a few lines to let people know that I was recently requested to write an article for Videoshock. Apparently they want to make a series from industry professionals, talking about their favourite classic games. Mine was The secret of Monkey island. The most important idea I expressed in the article was...
Look, a three-headed monkey just behind you!!!!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
At last, I completed Braid. Like 3 years ago I loved the demo in Xbox, and I promised myself to buy it, which I never did. Recently Barkley bought for Lucas and me the humble bundle, and Braid was included, so I decided this was the time to play it.
My initial feeling about the game was extremely positive. The main mechanic was fresh, there were interesting iterations in each level and the visuals were unique. However, now that I've experienced the whole game I think some of the puzzles are too obscure (this often happens in the puzzle genre), too skill-based and the story (if like to call it that way) is a bad attempt of an amateur storyteller.
Anyway, it's definitively worth to buy it if you didn't. It's not the GotY as I initially thought, but the best indie game that I've seen so far. And now that I come to think about it, the first indie game I ever complete, I think.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Well, I just finished Duke Nukem Forever. I had to wait 'till I came back to Cordoba to play the final levels, since I don't have a computer in Barcelona, only my laptop.
Anyway, it's not a memorable game. Not even great. But it's not the piece of shit that most journalist insist it is. It currently ranks really low in metacritics, and I think that's unfair. Although the graphics in some levels are out of date, it's not particularly rich in animations and the story (as could be expected) sucks, the level design is good, the weapons are enjoyable, the length and additional features (multiplayer, unlockable items, achievements) are appropriate and my overall feeling is that it deserves the money I payed for it. Furthermore, if you like Duke's politically incorrect humor, you may even like the game.
Then why all that bad press? Can't say, but my gut feeling is videogame press is far too often a victim of hype. Any game with 'Call of duty' before a number receives automatically ratings over 90, no matter how repetitive the formula may be. Not to mention Halo series, the hypest game in history.
So I wouldn't recommend Duke Nukem Forever unless you dig his main character and humor, but considering the game was so close in so many occasions to be canceled, getting to gold is an outstanding achievement for the guys at Gearbox. Well done!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Not sure if I already mentioned, but I think the videogame industry is currently in a unique moment, regarding the indie scene. Back in the 80s 1-2 developers could create a game and get money and credit for it.
The post-8 bits era brought more powerful consoles, bigger budgets and bigger teams. The individual was absorved by managers and different layers of publishers, editors and marketing requirements.
But now, and thanks first to PC and later to Microsoft, a single developer or a small group of them can create a game, be innovative and get profit and recognizement out of it. There are several channels you can use to make your game public (Steam, XLIG, XBLA and more to come) and the indie scene is quite active. Granted, there are still visibility problems and good marketing is a pending task, but anyway is promising.
From my side I'm proud of being a small actor on the spanish indie scene. I also suspect indies will play a much more important role in the upcoming console generation. We'll see.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Although I finished Red Dead Redemption days ago, I've been busy with some funny achievements I wanted to do. Mixed feelings about the game, but mostly good:
- On the 'plus' side the production values are huge, as it's common when you deal with Rockstar games, the multiplayer has many options (possibly the free-roaming game I've played with more features in this area), the length and challenges of the game are definitively worth the money, and your overall feeling about the game is great.
- On the 'minus' side, the main problem I see in the game is the story. Apparently it was written by the lead designer, and you can see that. The starting situation is poorly conceived and the main character has uninteresting secrets and few inner conflicts. Although the resolution is nice, the overall storyline is clearly improvable. Also, Rockstar creates big games with lots of mechanics but most of them are not polished 100%. Glitches are common, and some unbalances too.
Well, the truth is I liked the game, but it didn't drive me crazy. Maybe all the hype created around the title played against it while I was playing. But what the hell, it has to be a good game, otherwise I wouldn't have finished the 100% of it. Or maybe it's simply that I like western games, I also completed the 100% of 'Gun'. Or maybe it's that I like games based on historical times. Who knows.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Many times I’ve read papers regarding how to handle virtual economies in online worlds. Lots of great minds are thinking about it, and so far (especially when considering the success of many free-to-play models) they’re doing a good job.
But what about economies in single player games? I’ve been playing Red dead redemption lately, and a funny economy issue has arisen. I’ll try to explain it without spoiling anything: At some point of the story, the main character complains a lot during cut scenes about how poor he is…. But since I was very active finding hidden treasures, in fact he had a really wealthy position. Or he should if he would have paid any attention to his inventory/wallet.
This is not the first time it ever happens to me. While playing GTA Vice city stories, and quite early in the game, the main character justifies all the violence around him with the need to get some money to help his sick brother. Thanks to certain side missions, I’ve managed to make him so rich he could have afforded not only to provide his siblings the best medical care, but to buy a brand new brother from some third world country (if you know what I mean).
A similar situation has arisen in the project in which I’m currently working. Since it lacks of any story I don’t think we’ll have inconsistencies between story and in-game economy, but still seems to me an area that most developers leave for late in the project, and not always solved effectively.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Oh, man, how I hate those executives who pay zero attention to people putting their hearts onto something. How can he treat like that to the creator of classics such as Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and The day of the tentacle? Heartless bastards... this one is a real monster.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Although it was during the week and I was working, I found the way to attend some conferences at the Gamelab 2011. Nothing I haven't seen before, but definitively the best spanish videogame summit. Aside from certain organization problems, I think it was a remarkable event which could be very good for the future of the industry. Let's see in the following years.
Oh, and here are some pictures I took or I was taken.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
It has just been announced Star Wars Galaxies is going to been put to sleep in December. I have mixed feeling about it. I spent almost 2 years playing that game, but I have to admit it was really crappy. The developers tried to create a game without challenges or design-oriented content, and just let users create all the fun. They obviously failed.
However there was a hidden objective which allowed users to become a jedi, and that was what I tried to achieve for all that time. I eventually made it, but the game was re-designed and everyone was allowed to create a jedi character, which sent all my efforts to the trash.
Now Raph Koster, the game director, tries to convince people he created something unique. He just fucked it up. He's probably one of those guys who sell themselves much better than they really work.
Anyway, I may re-open my account in December to say goodbye to my characters, travis-san, truman-san and trantor-san. So many hours together...
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Well, after many years resisting, I eventually bought an Apple device. It was the iPad2, but in its most basic version (16 gigas, no 3G). Why? Well, iPhone and iPad have become videogame platforms, and I felt guilty for not having one of them. I somehow felt a bad designer for not having played Angry Birds at least once.
Anyway, right now I'm looking how to integrate the iPad in my life. I can't make it use as an agenda since I don't have the intention of carrying it everywhere I go. I'm currently using it as a secondary device for checking my email, browse internet and listen music since my laptop is slightly old and slows down dramatically when it's multitasking.
On the other hand, I've found some excellent videogames. Ok, I'm not impressed by Angry Birds but I paid for it... and I think it's money well spent. I dowloaded other apps such as Doodle Jump, Helsing's lite, Paper toss, Traffic rush... and Game Dev Story. I love this game, a videogame company simulator. It reminds me when I used to work for Dinamic Multimedia (creator of PC Atletismo, PC Futbol, PC Basket...) and we joked about making a game entitled "PC PC".
Sunday, June 5, 2011
And another game I finished: L.A. Noire. This time was special since I was really eager to play it since I found out they were making a 'neo-noir' videogame. I love movies and I like that sub-genre. I pre-order the game and I've been playing it as much as I could since I got it.
My impression is the game is great, but not the best of the year. They've tried to do something different and in general terms they made it. I respect that deeply. However there are minor mistakes and bugs that make me think the game is not perfect. I'd say it's an 8. 8.5 maximum.
The best of the game is the fabulous face animation system which is nicely integrated in the gameplay during interrogations. The documentation for recreating L.A. in 1947 is remarkable. It has a variety of game mechanics and it's the game that made me feel for the first time that I was really investigating a case. Aside from that it shares many interesting features with GTA, like a big city to explore and some optional challenges that made me (and still is) invest my time on it until I complete 100% of the game.
On the minus side the final outcome of the interrogations is often random, you never feel you've complete control over what's going on in them. Also I think the storyline has several black holes, but at the end they solve some of them. And not to mention several bugs, one of them crashed the system and I had to reboot the console.
In summary a great game, but I suspect L.A. Noire 2 can be much better. I'll buy it for sure.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I didn't know about it but seems like the Academy of interactive arts & sciences has like a hall of fame for concept art images. They've just added some more to the list. You can see them here.
I've always liked good concept art. They help at an early stage to understand what the game will be in a future. And some of them expand your gameplay ideas with potential features or feelings.
Also, at a certain extent, I think there is more creativity and hard work in videogame concept art than in most painters I've seen in Arco or some museums.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Ok, after 3 years I finally completed the last levels of Super Mario Galaxy. Why did I wait so much? Didn't I like it? On the opposite, I consider the game one of the finest design of history and the level design is incredibly creative. There are tons of lessons to learn in that game.
Then why took me so much to finish the game? Well, I think it's because the story sucks. Like all Mario games, the plot involves princess peach being kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario going level after level after her, only to hear 'Well done, Mario. But the princess is not in this castle'.
Oh, there is a nice story in the game, the only involving Mom, that blonde girl who adopted the little stars. Small pieces of her story are provided as rewards, and the final story has a certain flavor close to The Little Prince. Although small, I liked it.
But no, from a story point of view the game is poor. As a consequence, I never felt compelled by the characters or the storyline. While I was not playing the game I knew Mario was not having a hard time. As the matter a fact he smiled all along the adventure. Is he some type of sadist who enjoys thinking about her girl's suffering? Or is he a sociopath? Maybe gay? Who knows.
The thing is Super Mario Galaxy is completely focused on gameplay, and excels on it. But I need a story to make me go back to a game. Is it possible for a videogame to be too focus on gameplay?
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Here is a nice conference offered in 2011 GDC by John Romero and Tom Hall, designers of the original Doom, the game that in most aspects defined the modern FPS genre.
Although the title, the conference it's not a postmortem per se. It's more a nostalgic 'How we did it', with many private jokes and funny moments to remember. However it includes footage of early stages of the game's development, and it's definitively worth to watch. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Barkley, a former Pyro colleague and friend has just finished a small indie game called TOY CARS. It involves a couple of single player modes and multiplayer for 4 users. Considering it was done by a single individual (including graphics), it's amazing.
Since I have the time and some experience about the subject (aside from designer I was also Grin Barcelona's press manager) I've been helping him with the QA, some design contributions and mainly Press issues. We've released a couple of press notes and so far the game is performing well (for the indie scene). Barkley is even thinking about a potential sequel.
Anyway, if you like racing games and you've got 1 euro (the equivalent to 80 MS in XBLA) I recommend it to you. More info in the company's website.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Here is an interesting thought I recently had while playing Uncharted 2 and Super Mario Galaxy: Are videogame stories important because they interest you over the upcoming events, or because they create a common past with the player?
Let me explain this point: While playing Uncharted 2 I realized the plot was not interesting enough (as I explained in my previous post How they made a movie-like videogame) but nevertheless I wanted to keep playing. Why? Somehow I had spent so many hours with Drake and his problems that I was willing to end his story. I kind of felt like I owed that to him. Ain't that weird? It's like an old friend asking me for a favor: 'Ey, Alvaro, remember all that crap we went through in Istanbul? C'mon, old buddy, you can't abandon me in the middle of episode 12. I need to get to the end of this'.
On the other hand I still have to finish Super Mario Galaxy, and I bought it right when it was released. It's one of the best videogame designs I've played in years, but still I don't feel encouraged to finish it. I eventually will, but I'm not in a hurry. The lack of a story makes me feel like 'well, Mario is not really worried about the princess, why should I? we both know he'll rescue her sooner or later and frankly, our common experience together in the galaxies we've completed has not created a strong bond between us'.
Just a thought, but still it's kind of disturbing. I'll see in future games for more examples.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
While playing Uncharted 2 I thought a lot about how they achieved that movie-like videogame experience, and this would be the list of how I think they made it:
- Great visuals, making the game look closer to a movie.
- Lack of HUD.
- 3rd person view, thus allowing the player to see Drake as an external character instead of identifying with him.
- Frequent cutscenes with lots of dialogues.
- Old artifacts and misteries related to History, common to most blockbusters (i.e. Indiana Jones, National Treasure)
- Lots of exotic locations, much like you see in adventure movies (i.e. James Bond)
- The use of flashback (the player starts in a train wreck and the subsequent levels resume how he got there), common in movies but not in games.
- The use of sidekicks, allowing dialogue between the characters.
- Some plot twists (initial betrayal, Chloe's defection), a standard practice in movies but not that much in games.
- Blur effect applied to backgrounds, simulating an old cinema lens.
Unfortunately, in the case the game is ported into a movie (and apparently they're working on it) I don't think it would be a good one. This would be the list of things that make me think it would be a B-movie:
- All characters are stereotypes. Every single them.
- There is no inner conflict in the main character, not to mention any other.
- Characters come an go in every level without much justification, as the level design requires it.
- Flynn is a poor antagonist. He has countless chances to kill Drake and fails miserably every time.
- Not enough plot twists (it doesn't follow the 3 act's canonical structure, or twists between acts).
- In general, lack of surprises. After Chloe's second (or was it third?) defection there is nothing that makes you go 'wow!' about the story. In fact it's frequently confusing.
- Not only during gameplay but also in cutscenes, the hero sustains an appaling unrealistic amount of bullet shots without consequences.
- In the final encounter the final antagonist claims Drake and him being just the same. A line I've heard in a thousand crappy movies.
- Unrealistic reactions, like when someone is shot and instead of hurrying for help they stop and talk about how unfair life is.
- Drake's final decision about which girl he'd finally stay with is plain stupid.
- A story revolving old artifacts and misteries related to History: Another one? Oh, c'mon.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Not sure if I ever mentioned, but whenever I finished a pirated game I buy it. Since the only pirated console I have is the DS, practically all games I finished on that platform have gone through that process.
The latest is Plants vs Zombies. I was unable to buy it yet since it has not been released in Spain, but I sure had fun playing it. As the matter a fact I've finished adventure mode twice, and also finished all minigames. I'm currently trying to complete some achievements. Anyway it's a brilliant concept, the first tower defense game that pops into mainstream, as far as I know. Simple, fun and adapted to all audiences. A great game.
And the final video is really awesome!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The first videogame I ever owned was an Activision one: River Raid, for the MSX. With the years, Activision has transformed into hell for developers. It has recently closed several studios they owned. But why?
I've seen that before, like in Telecinco: The CEOs are fully focused on getting profits for the stockholders, so they exploit annually their studios and IPs until they are exhausted. Then they fire the people working on those IPs and buy new studios. The CEO gets outstanding results and when he sees things going wrong he quits and gets a better job. Remarkable.
However, things indeed will go wrong. Ask EA, they've been there, done that. When you over-exploit IPs you eventually run out of them. Developers are not eager to work for you and instead they prefer to go someplace else. Even the public (or at least the most informed of it) will know that company treats people like shit, and sales will start to go down.
From my side, I recommend to start a Boicot on any Activision product. Funny thing, it turns out I've been boicotting them (for other reasons) for almost 2 years. The last Activision game I bought was Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. I haven't bought any Guitar Hero or even Blizzard games lately. And I won't until that sucky Kotick leaves office.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I need to get rid of all the games I bought and never completed. I have like 12 of them waiting. That's why I've pushed for finishing Uncharted 2 in the last weeks, and I finally completed it this morning.
To be honest, I'm impressed with the level of visual quality and master crafting of the development team. The game is excellent in many ways. However I don't feel it deserves the 96 it currently has in Metacritics. The users score (8.9) looks more accurate to me in this case. It's not that I didn't like the game, it's just that I value design innovation above anything else, and Uncharted 2 barely has some. I've seen all his game mechanics in other games, sometimes even better implemented. The game features them nicely, well polished and perfectly integrated, which is remarkable but it's the type of thing you expect from an experienced team like Naughty Dog.
I'd say the best of the game is the effort they made to make it look and feel like a movie. Good visuals, sidekicks to exchange witty comments, the lack of HUD and many other details help the game feeling like a Hollywood flick. No wonder some moviemakers bought the rights and are currently on pre-production. However, IMHO, the plot is not good enough not even for a B-movie. It's really nice for a game because it supports many level design decisions, but for a movie you need some more both from the plot and the characters. Let's see what happens.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Well, the people who organized the Congreso Internacional de Videojuegos in the Complutense University have published the conferences we gave into a book. In case you're interested in the theme you can buy it in Bubok.
Also, I may be wrong but I think it's the first time I'm published, which is always nice. Let's see what the people in Don Benito do with my short tale that won that contest.