20 Times Video Games Meet Viral Video
January 28, 2009, 12:01 am
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All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Internet memes have become a driving force of filling boredom and really we have a lot of things to thank for this. Where memes were slow to build in the past nowadays a meme can pop up and then disappear within days and one of the big reasons for that is Viral Video, clips that seem to get passed around at a quick clip.

One of the earliest viral videos that existed pre YouTube was Zero Wings classic mistranslation of its opening sequence. An animated gif exited on the website Zany Videogame Quotes for years but it too the Something Awful forum goons joy in photo shopping, a trippy dance version of the quotes and some flash animation to turn it into one of the first and biggest video game viral videos of all time.

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The Cult of the Game: Shenmue
January 25, 2009, 11:33 pm
Filed under: The Cult of the Game | Tags: , ,

What happens when your eyes are too big for the world around you? We are often told to reach for the stars and never hold back, but sometimes when you reach too high disaster strikes. In the entertainment industry these are affectionately known as “flops,” endeavors that fail far below the expectations made by their creators. Such notable flops like the film Heaven’s Gate had destroyed their studios while others like Mariah Carrey’s Glitter left artists in holes they would need to claw their way out of.

The video game industry has had its share of flops. And while some are understandable others are tragic. It’s sad to see genres, platforms and games despite all their good intentions and best efforts fail and possibly crush portions of the industry. The fan base is fickle and hard to predict and often their cruelty, by withholding the dollars that keeps the industry alive, can be costly and stifle the notion of building interesting games in favor of “safe dollars.”

This brings us to a man and his magnum opus. Yu Suzuki is often regarded as one of the best game designers of all time. He was Sega’s answer to Shigeru Miyamoto, was the man behind some of Sega’s early coin-op hits like Space Harrier and Hang-On and brought the idea of 3D gaming to the forefront with the Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter and Virtua Cop series. In the dying days of the Saturn Yu Suzki would embark on his “Project Berkley”, a massive undertaking of a game that would prove to be one of the death nails into the Dreamcast coffin but would influence and inspire gamers from that point on. The game cost millions and while it sold well there was no way for Sega to recoup its cost unless it became a mega hit.

Project Berkley ended up being Shenmue and while Yu Suzuki would use lots of buzz acronyms to describe it gameplay (he would often refer to the game as a FREE game, which stood for Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment) it was, if nothing else a daunting undertaking of trying to revamp, remake and pull the adventure game genre into the twenty first century.

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The Primer: Hockey Video Games
January 23, 2009, 12:04 am
Filed under: Primer

In case you didn’t know this upcoming weekend is the NHL’s All Star weekend celebrating 100 years of my favorite team and one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports, The Montreal Canadiens. Hockey is an odd bird among the major sports, wildly popular in Canada, practically unknown in the states and yet still among the communities who do support their teams there’s a lot of loyalty and passion for the game.

I’ve always assumed that it was this loyalty that has caused EA and 2K sports to not abandon hockey video games entirely. Sure one could argue that EA’s NHL series is a big hit in other territories but those are to be honest small potatoes (namely Canada and Scandanavia.) Even I, staunch Canadian hockey fan, owe it to American Hockey fans for keeping this series alive.

Another thing mind you that keeps the EA series going is gamers. While few sports can match Football for how well it accurately portrays the game its based on Hockey comes really close. Basketball, soccer, golf, while fun, often have hang ups and issues that stem from it being a video game that ruin the experience. Video game hockey however can be as smash mouth or as finesse as the real thing and its combination of skill and violence make it a great gaming experience no matter if you’re a fan or not.

Hockey has always appeared on game consoles for better or for worse and has always been a reoccurring franchise for all systems. We’ll look at the history of hockey video games and set you on right to exploring the world of the hockey video game and its many incarnations.

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25 Terrible Video Game Covers
January 21, 2009, 12:23 am
Filed under: Player Inventory | Tags: ,

Mega Man 1 (North America), Mega Man 2 (Europe) and Mega Man 9

megaman1megaman2 megaman9

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but damn if it doesn’t influence people buying video games. I once watched a woman in an EB pick up a copy of American McGee’s Alice for her daughter because she “liked the box art.”

So Continuous Fire is doing one of THESE, I’m certain this sort of article has been done to death but we’re going to try and avoid your Phalanxes, Cosmic Fantasy 2’s and Suikodens.

That said I don’t think any list can exist without at least MENTIONING Mega Man 1. It’s a notorious example of how a terrible piece of box art can affect game sales, as Mega Man failed to garner a good audience until after Mega Man 2 sold well and people were thinking “eh? There was a number 1?”

However few ever bring up the absolutely dreadful Mega Man 2 Europe box art, with Mega Man sporting the best long sleeve blue tees under his armour! And while the Mega Man 9 cover is INTENTIONALLY bad (Ninja Wily! Buzz Saw Robot! TWO GUNS!) we here at the Player Inventory don’t deal in irony, so on it goes too.

Karnaaj Rally

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The Cult of the Game: Skies of Arcadia
January 19, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: The Cult of the Game | Tags: , ,

Final Fantasy 7 changed things for better or for worse. For better one could argue that without Final Fantasy 7 Japanese RPGs would remain a cult genre in the general mainstream. The big production, big graphics and big story of Final Fantasy 7 offered the right mix of action, character and gameplay that would allow the JRPG to be a hit rivaling its popularity in its home country.

However people like me (“haters” though I like to consider myself to be more of a person who knows what he likes) sometimes see Final Fantasy 7 as a step back. Gameplay wise it’s not as deep as the job system from Final Fantasy 5 nor is it engrossing with mix max possibilities as Final Fantasy 6. The story is grand in scale but feels small as it focuses on one main protagonist unlike Final Fantasy 6 which truly shows that it’s possible to have an ensemble cast be highlighted in an RPG. The story relied on more melodrama than emotion and ultimately the game itself lost its sense of fun, it was far too serious in my eyes and there were few if any moments of levity.

This seemed to be the MO for JRPGS for the next decade. Brooding protagonist, dark desperate worlds with the exception of the “over-compensating-to-the-point-of-parody” FF 9 JRPGs would take a more “mature” turn in their storytelling, art design and setting.
It’s no wonder then that a select group of JRPGs fans would gravitate to the Dreamcast gem Skies of Arcadia.

Skies of Arcadia is a classic JRPG through and through with seemingly small events escalating to a mucher larger grander story. The game starts Vyse, an air pirate from Pirate island who happens upon the Silvite, a magical race of people, Fina who was lost in a ship wreck. Vyse along with child hood friend Aika take her in but after trying to get a moonstone from a nearby island the two find Fina and the rest of their crew and family, the blue rogues, to be captured. From there airship battles, national turmoil, rescue missions and battles with monstrous magical being occur, thus rolling the events to a massive political world war.

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How to Be a Video Game Snob: The Introduction
January 16, 2009, 12:28 am
Filed under: Random | Tags:

To me when there’s something to be enjoyed then there’s always a group of people who feel they have a better grasp at enjoying it better than you do. Food snobs think that grease ball McDonalds burgers are an atrocity to your taste buds, movie snobs thumb their noses to loud obnoxious summer blockbusters and book snobs look at the best sellers and simply shake their heads. It is human nature to take something that is fun and to turn it into your own personal pedestal to inflate your ego.

It would seem inevitable then that video games will enter this sort of era where the doe eyed early adopters who liked what they liked strip away, analyze and judge on the past time of millions. Video games are more than just distractions, some claim them to be art and they’re definitely part of the new media cannon of entertainment. And where there is entertainment there is a connoisseur waiting to be smug about it.
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9 Non Essential Game Elements That Helped Define Their Game
January 14, 2009, 12:55 am
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Portal – “Still Alive”

What makes video games something beyond designing great mechanics is the fact that you can install emotion and humor into the game and enhance the experience whole not necessarily effecting the “game” aspect of it at all. As amazing and revolutionary as Portal’s game play was if it weren’t for its whip smart script and dark humor it’d be nothing more than a really good proof of concept demo. While numerous elements could’ve made this list (GLaDOS’s dialogue, the weighted companion cube, Cake) “Still Alive” stands out of them all, acting as a strange climax in the form of a catchy pop tune sung by a homicidal living computer. Just do a Youtube search to see how many people have decided to do their own version of the song and you’ll learn how infectious it has become.

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