Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2015

Why Fenix hasn’t been added to Heroes of the Storm yet

It is because he comes back in Legacy of the Void. With a name like ‘Fenix’ (phoenix), it would be easy for him to come back… somehow. Once his character is established in Legacy of the Void, then, and only then, will he emerge in HOTS. Putting him out there now would be a huge LOTV spoiler.

I imagine the same is true with Artanis and the other heroes. Artanis will likely be given away for free if you pre-order LOTV.

One thing that many people, erroneously, do is to divide Heroes of the Storm through Warcraft/Starcraft/Diablo/Other themes. World of Warcraft is NOT warcraft. It is WoW. Warcraft is this…

If you’ve noticed, Blizzard is not putting in WoW heroes so much as Warcraft heroes. Look at Jaina. She is exactly like the Warcraft 3 version of Jaina. Uther is Warcraft 3 and plays no part in WoW. Kael-thas and Illidan are Warcraft 3 heroes. Muradin is totally Warcraft 3 (even though they retconned him back into WoW). Sylvanas using poison arrows is totally Warcraft 3 from when she poisoned Arthas.

I think a better predictor of future heroes will be to look at Warcraft 3’s roster instead of World of Warcraft. I expect to see the Blademaster, Pit Lord, and Sea Witch soon.

One very interesting thing about HOTS is how Blizzard is prioritizing Warcraft 3’s universe over WoW’s universe. Tell me, what type of WoW heroes are in the game? Rehgar? Maybe Falstad and Stiches? I’ll give you Lili.

But only one true hero is from World of Warcraft.

Murlocs were never a thing until WoW, But we had Pandas in Warcraft 3. The dirty secret about WoW is that all the cool WoW content came from Warcraft 3. It’s no mistake that every “Warcraft” hero either has a strong tie to Warcraft 3’s heroes or actually is a Warcraft 3 hero.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2015

Hardcore sports jocks being driven nuts by Heroes of the Storm

“Something very familiar about all this…”

This is how the ‘hardcore gamers’ reacted when the Wii was released. Don’t think this implies that HOTS will be big, but the reaction is Blizzard marketing HOTS outside normal gamers. Traditional sports fans are reacting like how ‘hardcore gamers’ did to the Wii.

It is worth pointing this out because it is absolutely hilarious. (Yes, I know the guy is intentionally over-the-top.)

I feel my life is stuck in this movie. 1:02. Why do I keep seeing the same thing over and over again. At least it is the year 2015. Excuse my while I get into my flying car:

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 26, 2015

Email: Valve Corporation

Valve Corporation’s resorting to simply blocking discussion of paid mods, your predictions were correct. Valve does not care about its users, only money.

Linky.

 

Remember, gentlemen. There is no such thing as ‘Valve’. It is only ‘Valve Corporation’. The actual name of the company is ‘Valve Corporation’ which is easily evident from its wikipedia page.

Gabe even went to Reddit to ‘explain’ the situation. You know he didn’t want to do that. I can’t wait until he starts telling us how many ‘hats’ Valve Corporation makes or how their desks have wheels on them.

Gamers care about only one thing: games. When companies make great games, gamers love them. When companies make bad games, gamers may not love them. But when companies do not make games, why should gamers give a damn about the company? Valve Corporation is not interested in making games. They just take mods from other games and declare them ‘new games’ which they are not. Gabe even erroneously, on Reddit, says that Icefrog made DOTA. He did not. The Warcraft 3 community made map modifications (which is what it was) like DOTA, Tower Defense, and so on. I know this because I had a hand in it.

Making games is very difficult and there is a TON of very, very boring, technical work involved. It is EASY to make a mod because a mod is not doing the actual hard work of game making. In the case of DOTA, Blizzard made the game engine. Blizzard made the art assets. Blizzard made the sound assets. Blizzard actually made the RPG RTS style that works with Warcraft 3. Blizzard made the items. Blizzard also made an editor where all this could be edited, copy and pasted, and moved around.

I cannot wait for Half Life 3 to be released. There is no way such a hyped game can succeed. I have never seen a highly hyped game ever succeed except one and only one. Valve Corporation is very dodgy in not wanting to be judged based on its original games which may be why it doesn’t make any.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 26, 2015

The Upcoming Fall of Apple

I see it, and others are seeing it too. Here’s a great article on the upcoming fall of Apple and why it is largely inevitable if one looks at history.

I predict within decades that Apple will become a shell of its former self and become known mostly as a fashion company. Computers are going into everything, obviously. High Tech Fashion will be in its own industry. I expect Apple to be a huge part of that. However, Apple’s big advantage is that it has no competition in High Tech Fashion. Microsoft cannot compete in High Tech Fashion. IBM can’t. Google doesn’t. Yet, competitors will arise. I see companies like Samsung doing the ‘good enough’ route with their competing Apple products, but I don’t see Samsung as the great Apple competitor. I see Apple getting stuck in the fashion market and competing chiefly within it against other fashion companies. Once fashion companies go high tech, which they will, we will see something else quite entirely.

The Apple Watch seems more fashion than high tech. It is high tech, but it is Apple becoming more fashion than computing high tech. It’s a sign of the future.

Remember, Steve Jobs aimed this ad against IBM in 1983.

I had forgotten that IBM actually made discoveries within science itself with its Nobel Prize awards. Fascinating stuff. But you must understand IBM’s huge stature in order to understand the following scene:

“It is called… DOS.”

Ahhh…. DOS….

Above: Click to view Gaming Goodness. You know you want to, reader! Click it!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 25, 2015

Email: Two more ‘perfect games’

Diablo 2

How could this one have slipped past your list?

Good singleplayer? Check

Good multiplayer? It’s a ramped up version of gauntlet, playable online, so check

Still fun to play today? Definitely
This one was easy though, and you’ll probably agree.
Jet Force Gemini

You may not care for it since it was on the N64, but I’m going to pitch it:
The core gameplay consists of 2 modes of movement, which would be a standard walking/shooting mode and behind the back aiming mode. Unlike goldeneye, you can actually strafe while aiming using the C buttons while aiming with the analog stick. You can’t jump in this mode, but you simply release R to end it. You can jump, swim, and grab ledges to navigate the environment. You can even shoot grenades out of your enemies hand, making it explode prematurely.

The game is an adventure game, much like Rare’s “Banjo” games, and you explore a wide variety of planets, which are interconnected environments. You eventually play as 3 characters during the singleplayer, and can switch to them spontaneously (Take that GTA5!). Each is pretty similar, but they have special abilities which let them travel to different environments, and on each planet they visit they see a different section from the other characters. You eventually then can go to each section with each character, though this isn’t always the case.

You go through the game shooting “Ants” which are giant anthropomorphic alien bugs. The bleed green blood, and can be blown apart, which is quite gory. It has a somewhat Starship Troopers feel to it, which is probably a comparison that’s been made before. There’s a large variety of other insectoid enemies as well, some that can fly and some with armor. The game has an amazing soundtrack that sounds almost orchestrated, and some terrifying environments as well. There’s a molten hell planet for example, where half the level takes place inside of a gigantic worm.

There’s a ton of weapons, with many different functionalities. At the end of the game, you are literally godlike from all of the ordinance you can carry.

Good singleplayer? Check
The multiplayer is as good as the singleplayer. You fight other players in local co-op, split screen, in specially made maps designed with multiplayer in mind. You can play as many characters, often enemies which you encounter in the singleplayer. Some even have special abilities, like jump differences or armor plating. Some characters naturally blend into the environment (the smaller screens and the ability to go prone help this). There are quite a few maps and cheeky tactics which you and your friends can engage in, all while trying to destroy each other.

Another thing you can do is play the singleplayer with a friend. Early in the game you get a little follower droid which player 2 can aim and shoot with. It’s a bit overpowered but quite fun. They can also drop in and out with little setup.

Good multiplayer? Check

But is it still fun to play today? The multiplayer certainly is if you have the system in-tact after all these days, but what about the singleplayer?
The singleplayer has many secrets, such as health and ammo upgrades, and a few easter eggs and minigames. There’s 2 racing mini-games. You can play it with a 2nd player as the droid. You can do other characters levels with different characters. It becomes somewhat of a collectathon at the end, and some environments are a bit too dark to see in. It is also easy to forget what you are supposed to do, or know where to go next. But these are fairly minor, as you can always look up a guide. The game’s graphics, for an n64 game, have aged OK, which is better than what can be said for most games of that system.

Still fun to play today? I’d check it

 

I think people have given up Diablo 2 for Diablo 3, Exile, or another type game.

To clarify: fun to play today means new players getting into it. I can point to children, today, playing Super Mario Brothers 3 for the first time or Contra or Pac-Man. But I do not see them playing Diablo 2. Those who are playing Diablo 2 today are those who played Diablo 2 yesterday.

I’ve been meaning to replay Diablo 1 and 2 but… man…. some of those mechanics. The constant potion drinking for example. I don’t have that much free time anyway so I’d rather spend what it is on newer games.

It’s a damn shame Diablo 3 is not as good as Diablo 2. I keep trying to get into Diablo 3, but I just get… bored. I’ll probably get the second expansion just to complete it all. I have fun first time around in the game.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 25, 2015

Email: Homeworld is a Perfect Game

Based on your criteria:

1) Still playable today:
I just replayed the original version (not the remaster), and it’s just as fun now as when it came out. The graphics have aged nicely compared to nearly every other 3D game from 1999. It’s not looker anymore, but it’s still very playable. Being able to create your own Battle of Endor over and over again never gets old for me. I love to watch my bombers make attack runs on capital ships while my own capital fleet rips them apart with ion beams.

Additionally, while I generally find the adding of 3D elements to 2D games to be annoying at best and game-breaking at worst, Relic was able to use 3D here in a way that enhanced RTS gameplay. There are some cool tactics that playing in 3D space opens up.

2) Great multiplayer:
I personally didn’t play multiplayer back in the day, but apparently it was quite popular. Wikipedia states that there were over 18,000 people registered on the ladders at the height of the game’s popularity. All of the good stuff I’m about to say about the single player also extends to the multiplayer. There is also a skirmish mode against bots for a “single player multiplayer” experience.

3) Great single-player:
The story in the single-player game remains the benchmark by which I judge all other RTS experiences and is one of the best stories in a video game, period. No game has gotten me as emotionally involved in the story as Homeworld, to the point where I’d replay missions until I could complete them without losing a single unit. There really aren’t any “characters” on your side besides the disembodied voices of Fleet Command, Tactical, and your pilots/crews, but their constant chatter and announcements do a lot to pull you into the world and get you to buy into their struggle. I don’t want to spoil the story if you haven’t played it, but the journey of the Kushan people to find and reclaim their homeworld is an incredible one.

That story is also in service of some pretty cool gameplay. Aside from assigning tactics and formations to maximize the amount of firepower your forces can deliver, your objectives change up constantly and are only rarely the typical “build a base and destroy the enemy base” crutch that RTSes lean on. One of the first missions has you en route to meet up with a supply ship only to find it destroyed by raiders, which you then need to defend your mothership from. Another tasks you with destroying an enemy base near an active supernova, which throws off radiation that damages all ships unless they’re within protective dust clouds. The final battle for the homeworld is about as epic of a mission as you’ll find in an RTS, throwing wave after wave of enemy ships at you while you desperately drive to your objective.

One other cool thing that Homeworld did was fleet persistence, meaning that any units left alive at the end of a mission carried over to the next one. The enemy forces you’d face in the next mission would increase or decrease in number depending on what you went in with. It’s possible to game this system by retiring/scuttling every ship you have before moving on, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this as it considerably reduces the epic scope.

In short, Homeworld is awesome. If you’ve never played it, I’d recommend the remastered version because it fixes the one major issue, which is that the game came out in 1999 and looks it.

Like with Tetris, I wanted point out one instead of the entire genre (Dr. Mario and all). There are many RTS games that could also fit assuming if one finds them still enjoyable today. RTS is such a fantastic genre because it sports both compelling single player and multiplayer sessions. It used to be that the single player was just training mode for multiplayer. This, however, did change. Despite my misgivings about the ‘APM god for multiplayer’ for Starcraft 2, I still recommend the game to people because of the fantastic single player and many ways to play multiplayer.

Homeworld has a very strong musical score. Let’s listen, reader:

Hi Master Malstrom,

.
I just want to know what you think about Valve’s new plan on letting modders charge for their work. Apparently, modders get to charge however they want but the catch is that Valve gets 75% of the cut which will also be shared to game publishers and the modders will only get a measly 25% of the cut.
.
This should start having more PC gamers question their false gaming god “Gaben” as the savior of PC gaming. I wouldn’t be surprise if Valve Corporation will start doing a massive steam sale of all game being 75% off just to cool the big fire they caused with PC gamers for this news.
.
.
It’s a good thing Steam exists or games like Minecraft would never have become popular. Oh wait.
.
It’s a good thing Steam exists or mods like DOTA All-Stars would never have become popular. Oh wait.
.
Why do we even have Steam? What is the point of it? Steam is a digital Ottoman Empire swollen from taken money of goods passed from one place to another. The solution: find an alternate trade route. Go around Steam. We need a video game Columbus.
.
Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 25, 2015

Is Cammie Dunaway an evil human being?

Do you guys remember Cammie Dunaway? This should bring back memories:

Nintendo really did have everything going for them. In the United States, the Wii was completely sold out. The DS was hot. And yet, 2008 was when it all began to fall apart. The Wii excitement just vanished. Aside from the 2d Mario Revolution of 2009, everything after 2008 was just decline for the Wii and DS. We also know how the 3DS and Wii U ended up.

“How could this have happened, Malstrom?” People ask me this question. I want to bring you back to that time period as someone, I forgot who, asked me what would be the appropriate response Sony and Microsoft would have to Nintendo’s ‘gamer expansion’. Do they make their own motion controls? What do they do?

Thinking about it, I said: “They should make their marketing as casting Nintendo as an anti-masculine entity, completely fruity, suitable only for non-men, women, and children. Likewise, they should have their marketing cast their products as consoles of the testosterone.” In other words, cast their marketing as Nintendo not trying to ‘expand gaming’ but going complete feminist, progressive nonsense and trying to eradicate actual gamers.

Now the hardcore are insane, but gamers’ instincts were right about Cammie Dunaway and NOA in general. Someone brought in these rabid feminists (Cammie Dunaway is one as we will see), placed them in an executive position at the peak success of a company (as if associating them with such success), and began preaching ideology (e.g. ‘diversity’, etc.).

“You go too far.” Do I? I remember Cammie Dunaway, in an interview with Kotaku, squealing with delight about Obama becoming president. I was very surprised because business executives do not make political bias statements… i.e. saying they like one candidate more than another or anything like that. The reason why is obvious. First of all, there is no profit in doing so. Half the population voted for the other guy. They have money too. Second, you never know what a politician will do. A businessman doesn’t want to be linked with a filthy politician of any order. This was a clear signal that something was really wrong with Nintendo and Cammie Dunaway. (I’m actually hearing a similar signal with Tim Cook and Apple. That company is ripe for a major fall.)

Anyway, here is Cammie Dunaway today:

This is pure feminist talk. Poor son. Imagine if a man said he wished he didn’t have a daughter and decided to come to find peace by making that woman view her life’s value based on being a utility to men. Such a man would be declared evil on the spot for saying such a thing. Is a woman evil for doing the same?

There was a ton of crap coming from NOA during Post Wii success. I could never understand the move to create an office in San Francisco. “That is where many game companies are at, therefore, we need to be there.” BS. With modern technology like Internet and all, there is no need to be physically in any location. How did Nintendo do it from Seattle back pre-Internet? And there are game companies all over the place… such as Texas. After all, Retro is there. Much of NOA’s decisions weren’t making any sense.

What really didn’t make sense was the removing of the old guard. We’re talking about the ones who stuck it out through the N64 and Gamecube days. AS soon as they get their Wii success, they get canned. Then, mediocrities like Cammie Dunaway get brought in. Why? Seeing that Dunaway is an ideologue with political agendas, I wonder if there is much more to what went on at NOA than we think. Why is Iwata CEO of NOA today? It has to be due to Nintendo cannot find someone to trust for that position at current. There can be no other reason. But why is Nintendo not trusting? Something happened then. We know Reggie Fils-Aime has been effectively sidelined. He appears to be nothing more than a figurehead at this point. There is a story here.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 22, 2015

Incredible Humble Bundle…

Go to Humble Bundle. Go there now, reader! Go!

OK.

For $5, you get the following games:

Dragon Age: Origins

Peggle

Dead Space 2

Medal of Honor Warchest (3 games in this?)

Command and Conquer: Generals

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

Dragon Age II

Bejeweled

Mass Effect 2

Sim City 2000

Wing Commander 3

Wing Commander 4

Ultima 7 Complete Edition (Ultima 7 + Forge of Virtue Expansion + Ultima 7 Part 2 + Seeds Expansion)

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 19, 2015

Email: Perfect Games

Some (obvious?) omissions from your list, staying within your criteria:

Street Fighter II. Super Turbo is still played by fighting game fans to this day and probably still will be for years, if not decades, to come.

Tecmo Super Bowl. Possibly the only sports game with an active fanbase DECADES after its release. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! comes close, but it’s single player so it doesn’t matter.

There’s some stuff that I personally would rank up there, but they’re mostly super niche games that would only be “perfect” to me and a few other people. The above two are really the only other ones I can think of that I’d objectively call “perfect games” based on your criteria.

The only entry on your list that I somewhat disagreed with was TMNT. I would rank Final Fight (arcade version) above those, but I can see where you’re coming from.

I also think you’re selling SMB1 short and would put it up there alongside SMB3.

One last game I just thought of: I’m tempted to say M.U.L.E. is “perfect”, but not particularly confident in that statement.

I’m also somewhat surprised that you left off Dr. Mario. Though I guess Tetris does the same job better, so no big deal.

 

Does Street Fighter 2 have a good single player experience though? The bots get really old fast. Same with Mortal Kombat and Smash Brothers. Brawl had a full fledged single player as if it was trying to be the ‘perfect game’, but I don’t think Brawl’s single player experience was that good.

Tecmo Super Bowl? Maybe.

M.U.L.E.? Is it really that fun in single player?

Yeah, I’m putting Dr. Mario together with Gameboy Tetris.

Some other possibilities might be some racing games like the Burnout series.

Some sports games might fit if they age well. Mario Strikers Charged? Maybe.

If Pac-Man VS had a single player mode, it would be a Perfect Game. Pac-Man is awesome single palyer, VS is awesome multiplayer, and the game doesn’t age.

Hearthstone might be getting up there since it now offers full fledged single player campaigns. We’ll see how that game is in five years from now.

Splatoon has that potential but only if people are playing it ten years from now.

Super Dodgeball is a good possibility. I forgot about that one.

Oh man, I forgot one of the best examples of The Perfect Game.

Super Monkey Ball

The game has a solid, solid single player. It takes time to master the levels. But the multiplayer mode is something else. It isn’t just turn based single player, they have all those fantastic ‘mini-games’ there. These ‘mini-games’ like the hang-gliding and the racing are just too much fun. They’re not mini-games like a bunch of small games thrown in there for the hell of it. It is like they came up with other games around the ball physics.

The game is aging wonderfully. Monkey Ball is a Perfect Game.

Warioware? Maybe.

Wii Sports? It will be if people are still playing it years from now.

Worms? If people are still playing them. I don’t think the single player is that great in them but oh well.

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