My most recent acquisitions… it’s good to be a gamer! ^^
Anyone has good memories on those games too?
May they smile upon your way!
Making a list of what is better, either the new console market or the older one, can be a topic amply discussed. After all, we already have different generations of gamers and each one has different perspectives. So, instead of making a “OMGs retro is way cooler!”-kind of post, I thought of better contrasting some points that make these “styles” (?) different. My way, the retro gaming, is and will be my favourite always, but this does not mean the other is bad.
Thus I will try to fathom this little list with the focus on old games; in other words, taking the pros and cons from my perspective and making thus a list that will talk to both kinds of gamers. I will, this way, defend the two play styles and through this try to give a neutral viewpoint of console gaming in general.
So here is part one, the pro section.
That is a good game!
The first pro is maybe an obvious one. No Superman 64 for you (unless you really want it), just the average to the above. Knowing which game is good by experience, opposite to reviews, can make your gaming experience something exciting. Many times you won’t play something new, but you’ll surely know how good it was. Or you can do what I do, find games you did not have a chance to play way back then, making them feel new. Yes, maybe I will miss the excitement of playing The Last of Us, freshly pre-ordered and out of the box, but quality is easier to obtain than just guessing if I can agree with the respective reviewer. For a a case study of that problem, just check Spoony’s review of Ultima 9 to see how badly media can lie.
Look at that price!
Back in the day the games sold to an equivalent price that we pay today. If you compare the prices time-wise, the there is no real difference. But the beautiful thing is that most old games sell today for relatively cheap prices, which makes getting a “new” game easier, and thus you can have a pretty big library in a short period of time. Specially I, who does not get much money and like to play a lot, getting new games ASAP is important. Getting a more or less good game for a few bucks is thus a huge advantage to getting an older used game for a modern console at 20$. You will enjoy both equally as much, but retro is cheaper (unless you aim for a Chono Trigger).
I plan to expand on this topic one day, but definitely a cartridge is much easier to maintain than a CD/DVD/Blue-Ray. I had many times problems playing a game just because of the scratches. It hit me since PS1 and I will always defend that a CD, despite its capacity, is easily worn off. Few cartridges have failed me, and those are mostly over 20 years old now. 50 points to retro gaming.
Look at those graphics!
Definitely one of my favorite aspects to discuss, it would be insane if I just said that the new graphics are bad. 3D has evolved a lot, and I can’t deny that modern game look better…. ordo they? Even though there are alternate titles and indie games today, I kinda feel that the loom of the games has lately blended together. All is 3D. Period. I also feel that the variation of looms has diminished. All is brown and with green tones, maybe yellow, but popping colors are not favored anymore. When I look at old games, making clear what you were seeing on the screen was extremely important. So you had to be creative. Realism was hard to achieve. Now everything is realistic. Except fora few exceptions, usually all we see is these “real” surroundings. I still remember how many of my friends complained that Wind Waker looked terrible because of its cartoon appearance. I loved it. It felt to me as a try to revert to the old looms, but in the 3rd dimension. The only exception to the rule is maybe the early 3D games. The polygons just weird me out up to now, specially when you see a fairy with pointy breasts that could gouge your eyes easily. But aside of that, we also have to remember that when new graphics were created, they almost always seemed innovative and different. Now it is just a little improvement, a little bit more of HD, whatever that means…
This music rocks!
This specific aspect is a little hard to argument in favor of it. Today’s games have incredible music scores, symphonic, electronic or rock master pieces that can really add a beautiful ambience to your game, a thing that old games did not tend to do. But somehow the old 8-bit, 16-bit and midis back then had a more fitting sound than the modern ones. Who of us old gamers don’t remember the soundtrack to Castlevania and later on to he fourth part? Even today the songs seem creative to me, having in mind the limitations that the creators had back then. This is definitely the most difficult aspect to defend, since the aspect depends too much on taste of music, realism and in certain a way, possibilities of creativeness. Many modern scores are just a delight to listen to. But then there is a reason that some people have resorted to bend the limitations of the old technologies to make new and excellent songs, like the project 8-Bit Weapon. And then there are all those modernizations of the old scores in acapella, rock and whatnot. There is definitely some magic in the old soundtracks that has not subsided in all those years,compared to the new ones. But you feel free to disagree and comment on this.
This was only the pros of retro gaming. As in any topic, there are cons to it, and I plan to make that list later.
May they smile upon your way!
Who likes to play arcade? A good coin-swallowing machine had always a specific game style that attracts many people. Time Crisis and House of the Dead are just classics despite the easy way someone can die there.Needless to say,there are multiple ports of those games, which became classics in themselves. Who doesn’t remember Turtles in Time? But the one I am referring to is not precisely an arcade adaptation. It has an arcade style, and back in 1996 it was a great game.
Starfox had just done its first successful experiment on the SNES, which sadly I never played. After that, as one of the first titles for the new console released the great Star Fox 64, foregoing the sequel for the older console (sadly).
I remember the hours of gameplay my friends and I spent on this. Maybe the multi player was not of a great notice, but the single player structure allowed for quick swaps between levels. It was quick and simple, but the greatest thing was that it had many pathways. In about half an hour to one hour you could finish it,so there was ample time to look for the other pathways.
The best parts were the dodge-fights with Star Wolf. As an enemy team equal to you and your team they made a perfect enemy. I only wish there had been more of those! The only negative side I found to this game was the submarine level. I think it was extremely frustrating, specially because the transport was hard to move. Even the tank had a better maneuverability!
Also, we have to consider that back then the graphics were pretty new. Even though I think the triangle based figures do not precisely look good, they were considered back then the best. No matter how awkward it looks, it is still something to look at and have a nostalgic moment.
If you are looking for a good, quick game, look no further. This action packed game is perfect for it. It may be no arcade, but it comes close to it.
May they smile upon your way!
If there is one criticism against Tolkien that is not fair, then it is his position towards women. Often enough the author has been accused of being a macho, specially because of the lack of active women in the books. The movies, on the other hand, tried to avoid any problems with their feminine public. But the role that is given to Arwen in the movies is something that irks me greatly.
Let’s thus analyze a bit the role of women in Tolkien’s epic, so we understand the position of our heroines. Arwen, for example, the most un-mentioned character ever, and at the same time less involved than some others. Thus it would appear on first sight that she is just there to knit Aragorn’s banner and then be the ever-obedient wife. Only once she talks during the novel (at the end), and this only to give up her passage to the Undying Lands. For those who read the appendices may see more of her, but not much to change the general impression.
The first objection I have to make here is the fact that most readers forget here the setting of the book. It is a medieval world after all,and women are not bound to go out very much on adventure, thus limiting their role in a society that is,at its base, male-oriented.
But even then, and that is the second objection, there are some other female characters that are much more important. For instance, there is Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan, who not only defies her uncle’s will to be part of battle, but also manages to kill a Ringwraith (as a matter of fact, THE Ringwraith that is the most powerful). Some might argument that her turning after the battle into a healer is a return to her womanly role, but what does this make Faramir, who after the books turns quite literally into a gardener, as a healer of the land of Ithilien,ravaged by the forces of Mordor? I don’t think he becomes less a man because of him taking a similar career as his wife.
There are many more examples! Take Galadriel, not only the most powerful Elf next to Glorfindel and Elrond, but also with even more dialog and action than his husband. After all, the Ring tempted her,not Celeborn. For those who also read the Silmarillion, they will recognize Lúthien, who multiple times rescues her lover from Sauron himself! As far as I can see,the female characters in Tolkien tend to show an even greater strength than their male counterparts, even though they may be scarce in appearance.
How does this compare to the films? Well, there we don’t get to know the Silmarillion women, but still have a strong appearance by Galadriel and Eowyn. Both were pretty well represented in the movies, and I strongly believe they themselves made a good case about the situation of the women of Middle-Earth. Thus, for me, the inclusion of this warrior Arwen was unnecessary. I know they tried to connect to the feminine audience with her participation, but at the same time they created a weak Arwen. How so? She doubts Aragorn. The patience of Arwen in itself was a great proclamation of strength and love. She was a character with a lot to lose, since if Aragorn had failed in his quest, she would have died in vain in Middle-Earth. The easy solution for her was to leave to the Undying Lands, but in the books she stayed. Second,she did not return because of an unborn child, which, in my opinion, made her role as a subservient woman even stronger in the films. Now it turns out that all she wanted was to get pregnant? I understand that the child was the prospect of the new future, but the fact that she initially flinched unnerves me.
Besides, there are two other women to look up to. Galadriel and Eowyn show other sides of feminism. Arwen chose in the books her face of being a woman to be less obvious, but she definitely represents loyalty and trust not only in the lover and King, but in the future of the world. Even at the cost of her own immortality. Isn’t that a stronger character? On the other hand, we also can observe that today, the choice of a good, home staying wife is not very well looked at, at least in urban circles. I somehow find that a little disappointing, since we have forgotten the nurturing side of our society. The depiction of Arwen in the movies clearly shows that the latter role of the woman is being forgotten, maybe even demonized. I know some cases of women that harshly condemn another woman for wanting t0 raise children and stay at home. But as Lois Griffin once said in a memorable Family Guy episode:
Look, I’m all for equality but if you ask me, feminism is about choice. I choose to be a wife and mother. And now I’m choosing to end this conversation.
May they smile upon your way!
As a guy who just gives opinions I love to create some discussion. As a man I am bound to make mistakes. But more often than not, sometimes I love to make mistakes. Such is the case of the new X-Box One controversy. At hearth I was pretty disappointed when Microsoft announced the limitations his games would obtain, even though I don’t play modern games anymore.
Now he good news arrived. It seems like they are going to drop the “features” and finally publish the games as the tradition goes: free to lend and free to resell. Just as a side note, I got wind of the news first through Blockbuster. They were the most interested in that development.
For me it was good to hear that even the “casual gamer” could not abide the new policies and it shows that we still have a voice. What Microsoft tried was terrible and I hope they learn from that experience, but believe me, something like this will be tried again.
I am glad to be wrong, that my last opinion was a false appreciation of the situation. Best mistake I made in a long time. But then, let’s not celebrate just yet.
May they smile upon your way!
As of late, after over two weeks of announcement, the new console presented by Microsoft has sparked some discussion amongst the gaming community. Most hardcore gamers have openly repudiated the decisions taken by the company to avoid piracy and occasionally getting a few bucks out of our credit card accounts. I think discussing the so called “features”, thus is not necessary anymore. What particularly interests me here is the future of gaming.
Some have come to interpret this little move as an end to console gaming, at least for Microsoft, since its machine focuses on so many features it does not know what role to play. From time to time you may hear even the word “sellout” to describe this. But then comes the obvious assertion that this is a business, where profit mandates the innovation.
This may seem at first glance as unimportant, since the video gaming industry has never been a charity, but then you forget that the situation has evolved since its early days. Even if unconscious, the video game market before had not the technology, neither the security to charge and overcharge. Consoles were not very popular, specially after the 80s crash, so they had to make playing a video game attractive. Today almost every person in the U.S. has at least one console or hand-held gaming device. Thus the market has broadened incredibly due to more spending power, free time and accessibility.
Let’s face it. Few games are still “Nintendo hard” and the amount of casual games, sports games and shooters has exploded. When in older times jocks shunned the consoles, today the nth installment of NFL Madden and similar games adorn their rooms. In a certain way, much of the creativity game designers have shown is buried underneath a landslide of generic games (although not all bad). Money can easily be made there.
This is similar to something I like to call the “IPhone 5″ syndrome: almost everyone mocked the supposedly innovative new Smartphone, but at the end the lines were huge at the day of the launch. The same will happen here. Most complainers will end up buying the system, may it be on launch day or a little bit later. Game reviewers, critics and all will need the system to keep in business. Hardcore gamer may ignore it, but the public that buys the game is not them anymore. It is now the ones we like to insult as casual gamers. The difference is that they have the money and they don’t care as long as they can play Call of Duty.
In a capitalistic world, the only way to express a dissatisfaction is through money. Today the industry does not need the hardcore gamer, as evolution has shown. They just need to dazzle a public. In a small private survey I did amongst friends , most of them did not care about the X-Box One issues. Some of them were kids, not used to the old games, others just players that looked at the best critiqued games and then bought every sequel. They don’t get our anger. And they like the idea of an interactive TV system with some games slapped on them. It is them that will make the new X-Box a huge success, not the older gamers. The question is: will you fall to peer pressure or, just like me, keep the old games? I’m not saying my way is the best. I am saying that this problem is a matter of stance and decision. What is yours?
May they smile upon your way!
Welcome to the first post on the comparison of The Lord of the Rings movies versus the books. Before entering the real discussion, the inevitable disclaimer: This is NOT a “I hate the movies” kind of discussion, this is a more ample discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of both medias. The fact is, movies are more visual and books appeal to the imagination. These limitations though, can be the greater benefits of each one. This is exactly what I want to convey in this analysis.
First I will address maybe one of the biggest questions I have received of new Tolkien readers and some comments of old fans: why is Tom Bombadil not in the movies? This charming character of the books has found a way to dig deep into the hearts of many readers and has been somewhat sorely missed in the movies. Apart of the typical excuse (“imagine how long the movies would take if they included him”), I think there is a bigger, second reason for not including this popular wanderer.
Althoug most of you could imagine the physical appearance of Tom, I very much doubt you would have liked the representation. He is a merry being, hopping all the time, bursting into song every minute. He is cheerful and powerful and it seems like he is far away from the dangers of the Ring and the Wraiths behind them. Now remember the tone of the movie: dark and somber, with casual jokes that make (mostly) Merry and Pippin look ridicolous. The detour in the story would have distracted the watcher from the happenings. That is what happens in the book, but somehow in feels like it is woven together so thightly. But remember: the adventure with Tom takes three chapters, and to make the character credible in the movies, it would have taken at least half an hour to make him more or less consistent. And then there is the scene in the Barrows.
This scene for many is not so important, but this is actually the first time Frodo is in actual danger and in actual temptation of putting on the Ring. The riders were tempting him before, but never was he in threat of dying. As a sacrifice he was in mortal peril. The scene is important in the book because it puts the bearer in the position of a choice: abandoning his friends with the power in his hands or singing that song Bombadil taught them a few hours ago. The result is thus the first real victory over the Ring. But in the movies it was not that important. The Nazgûl already seems very dangerous: insects crawl away, their horses are all mistreated and oily. The danger is already clear and easy to see. In the books they are still diminished compared to what they would become in later books, since they are far away from their territory and they can not reveal themselves. But elves still roam in this land, of which they surely are afraid, as witnessed in the part with Gildor.
Thus, including Tom Bombadil would have been unnecessary, since we can not think the character without the barrow-wights. They correspond to each other as part of setting the scene and the danger (and the resistance of hobbits) of the One Ring. He would even have looked ridiculous the way he danced all the time, making the ambience questionable.
For me, him not being in the movies was an excellent choice. I loved the magic that flows in his description and his interesting wordplays, all which require a quite active use of the imagination of oneself. Thus the character remains as of now mystified and incomprehensible to us, making us wonder about his nature even today. After all, it is not only the reader, but also Frodo, that will repeatedly ask: “Who are you?”
He just is.
May they smile upon your way!