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Withywarlock

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Withywarlock last won the day on January 13 2021

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About Withywarlock

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  1. Before I wanted to be a games designer I wanted to be a cartoonist. I loved the Beano and Dandy, as well as other long lost comics from the UK. Still to this day I could easily pick up a Beano and, well, have a beano with it. I later found adult comics like Viz, Zit (yes, that really is the name of a comic) and a decade later underground comics from the US. While I'm more into Marvel and Image Comics today, I still enjoy comic strips with webcomics and those in Private Eye magazine. So that would likely be the path I'd pursue: keep having comics mailed to me while I continue my exercises in creative writing, and who knows, maybe actually getting those books I used to love writing published.
  2. Depends on who's giving the 10/10 more than anything. Every Sonic game ever made has received a 10/10 from someone. But from major publications it's doubtful. However good, innovative or simply faithful to the core of the design, it's my belief that there'll never be a Sonic game rated highly by gaming magazines. Sonic is as good as it'll get, and no amount of ports, HD re-releases, modern sequels or spin-offs is going to change that. The novelty is long over, and at this point I have to wonder if people only play newer Sonic titles because of the name value. If the upcoming game wasn't Sonic but instead Squimble: Frontiers nobody would bat an eyelid because it looks like incoherent cack found only on the depths of the Playstation Store and Steam Greenlight. At this point Sonic has the same problem as Guitar Hero. It's tired and it needs a break. At this point Bubsy games get more fanfare and the memes are ironic; the dread of whether this will be one of 'The Bad Ones' is very real (unlike the article, which I hope was obvious). Given time, Frontiers may be seen as a well-meaning if poorly executed Sonic game that is untrue to the formula that works. Until long after release, it's not going to be a 10/10 in anyone's books. And I may be wrong, but I've been long dead on the hill that Fortnite wouldn't be successful with a Battle Royale mode.
  3. I confess I only really played some Atari games before they were 'Atari Only In Name' and even then that assessment is easily debatable. By this I mean most of what I've played were their 3D revivals on the Playstation One, like Centipede and Pong. I've never really been bothered about their other games, and while I appreciate the history (Shagger's list of innovations is far more useful to me than the hours of complaints AVGN had about the consoles, as amusing as they are), Atari systems will likely never be for me. That said, one thing that astounds me to this day about Atari is the story of Swordquest. To this day there's nothing that begins to reach the level of hype that Swordquest must've generated. For those unfamiliar with this, it was essentially four games, each named after one of the four elements: Firequest, Waterquest and Earthquest. Airquest was never finished nor released because of the state of the industry at the time. What made this special was that there was a competition tied to each of the games, involving real rare stones like gold, diamonds, sapphire and rubies. The clues to beat the game were solved by reading comics that came with each of the games (tying story and gameplay, a very rare thing for the time), and sending off a photo of you beating the game with the hidden message. Furthermore, the winners would join for one final quest to gain the namesake sword... or were supposed to had the games industry not shit the bed. You can't buy that sort of marketing, and I doubt anyone would do something like that these days to such a scale, but I'm glad it was done so early in the industry's life (and death, come to think of it).
  4. It probably will in some fashion or another. It's as you say that 3D has come and gone every so often, so when there's some worthwhile momentum in its marketing and applications, it'll boom as it did before either fading away quietly like it did the last time, or it'll become a mainstay. Hell, I didn't think the current iteration of Virtual Reality (VR) would have a foothold as strong as it has in the tech and consumer space, but that's mostly because it's become practical. 3D caused headaches, eye-strain and earlier versions required glasses (or were just red and blue), but while VR still struggles with those hurdles, VR's applications are far greater than visual entertainment hence the greater budget put into its development. PS: Nice to see you back on the forum!
  5. Johnbonne Reviews was my review channel, now used to upload Let's Plays whinging about just about everything. Currently I'm playing Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, and afterwards I plan on playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds. Not video gaming as such, but I also do D&D session recaps on this channel. Neither are monetised (if there are ads, it's due to copyright issues with music) and I only really make the videos for my darling, but if anyone's interested in watching the content, here it is.
  6. Because I can't get - nor commit to - a session of D&D every day. Even if I could I'd probably want a social break, and in between comics and videos, computer games are the best activity for me to wind down.
  7. At the National Video Game Museum at Sheffield, South Yorkshire I had the luxury of trying out different controllers for iconic games. Unfortunately, whether it was due to their overuse, age, simply not being used to them or a combination of all three, I really struggled with the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) controller. The action buttons were responsive but the directional pad was stiff and unwieldy. The NES controllers there weren't up to much either, the buttons loose with no feedback upon pressing them but the D-pad at least felt serviceable. I appreciate that ~2 hours in a museum trying out different controllers for a short while isn't going to give much of a first impression. When I was a reviewer of Playstation One games I also critiqued various paraphernalia, and you'd be surprised how many controllers I'd give a pass to: the G-Con 45 is still an impressive piece of hardware; and even the NeGCon - a controller you twist to move left and right - is an astonishingly precise tool for driving games such as Ridge Racer. The Playstation Mouse was required for the Infamous Goat Puzzle of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars if you were playing the PS version. The Dual Analogue controller (not to be confused with the Dual Shock) was my favourite for its convexed analogue sticks so the thumbs can slide down into them and grip comfortably, whereas the Dual Shock - particularly the painfully heavy vibrating of its PS2 model - was my least favourite. Its concaved sticks meant my thumbs rolled off the sticks, which is especially tough when you need to perform fast circular motions for quick-time events or other such rapid tasks. Being made of dog noses the thumb sticks attracted so much natural grease from one's thumbs, and they weren't particularly easy to keep clean for long. The rumble feature of the Dual Shock was not worth the extra expense (as far as I'm aware the Dual Shock set the precedent for controller price hikes), but then no vibration tech at the time was (at least, for gaming). The button to turn off and on the dual analogue sticks was inconsistent at best, and a spongy stress relief as you jam your thumb into it repeatedly and fruitlessly at worst. Sorry for such a rambly reply. I guess that's what happens when you binge Paul Harrell videos whilst toiling away in Kenshi.
  8. I do remember, and below is the only one that's survived house moves, poor treatment and frequent consultation. This is my 'Cheats Bible,' a battered, dog-eared tome from Games Master magazine that's been with me for donkey's years. Why I decided to graffiti Sonic, Knuckles & Tails' first initial on their heads like Doctor Neo Cortex, or give the Prince of Persia antennae I don't know. The pages have gone yellow with age and being kept in all manner of environments: plastic boxes, dark shelves, a floor littered with crumbs and goodness knows what else. And of course, who could forget the cheats lady on the blurb, back when publishers didn't rack up the bill for selling solutions to problems they'd created. "Call me 24/7," says the cheats chick, "I've got what you need." Doubtful, as the freephone number is still in use but the ones in enlarged fonts are not. Now strategy guides on the other hand I used to frequently purchase, most no longer in my possession. I will however never part with my The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Game of the Year Edition one by Prima, however.
  9. In fairness I will amend my earlier statement about 'evidence' as one cannot disprove the existence of something. What I will say is that if Death Cult exists, it is not the 'game' featured in the ARG. What we're seeing in the tweets is a television either displaying a video to look like a game, or it is recently homebrewed game made for the Saturn which is not commercially available (i.e not sold by Virgin Media, nor rated Kids to Adults by the ESRB). I do concur this ARG's content is interesting, even if the tweets themselves leave a lot to be desired (the forum posts are somewhat more believable). I think the legend of Polybius has the advantage of being from a time where these sort of myths weren't anywhere near as common and were much harder to debunk. "Haunted video game" et al has been done to death with the horror game boom brought on by YouTube personalities, but there's still some gems every now and again. What makes Polybius special is that like all the best lies it's based on half-truths: yes, the government was looking into arcade machines but to see if they were used for illegal gambling; yes, two Portland arcade gamers fell ill within 28 hours of one another but it was not because they injected marijuana or however Joe Bloggs thought drugs were taken in '81. Today's video game myths are told with scratchy music and visual distortion effects, which I'm guilty of using myself. Back in my day we had to go ten miles uphill through the snow both ways to be told you had to keep your Gamecube on for 24 hours to unlock Sonic in Super Smash Bros.: Melee.
  10. Putting aside the creative writing exercise for the moment, the game itself doesn't exist. I base this on information others have provided in this Reddit thread and this one (the user asking in all these places has a history with ARGs). Any other evidence I can provide is flimsy. The only clues you'll get are those they want you to see, and even then many Alternate Reality Games (ARG) are tests of reading the creator's mind. I wish you luck in cracking the case, but you'll only do so by carefully reading their tweets, closely observing their imagery, and watching their spooky videos.
  11. Anger Foot is essentially the best part of Duke Nukem distilled into monotonous music, too many energy drinks and irony. It's very Devolver Digital, and it's not often that's a good thing in my book. I'm rather pleased to say today's one of those days when it is a positive:
  12. Here's another one, and I invite the mods to come and stop me if I keep bumping this thread. Crash Bash (Eurocom, 2000) Crash Bash was the second spin-off Crash Bandicoot game, and the final Playstation One exclusive. Intended to be a party game and rival to Mario Party, much like how Crash Team Racing was to Mario Kart 64, Crash Bash tried to go for substance over style... and still failed compared to Nintendo's hit-and-miss approach to mini-game design. The first salvagable thing to take from Crash Bash is its continuation of the theme of cosmic balance, particularly the battle between good and evil which began in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Aku-Aku and Uka-Uka, enchanted and sentient masks which champion the causes of good and evil respectively, debate on which is stronger. The idea of who the Ancients are, who do not allow them to fight directly, is not developed upon (a shame as Uka-Uka stole the spotlight in Crash's rogue's gallery). So a contest must be held by agents who subscribe to their cause. Unfortunately evil outnumbers good 3:1, so the teams are balanced out. Interestingly enough a new member is introduced to the aforementioned gallery: Rilla Roo, an obvious knock-off of Ripper Roo, and combination of gorilla and kangaroo. Whichever team wins (both good and evil are playable) gets a different ending, and I must say the evil ending is rather bleak: the Earth is doomed, and all that Crash and Coco can do is run on a tiny asteroid where the two masks reside. The good ending, however, gives a sense of triumph... if you can reach it. Crash Bash is more a Crash game than Crash Team Racing. Everything about it oozes consistent style and an understanding of what makes Crash Bandicoot just that. The art style, the colour pallette, the navigation of the hub world, the themes in each level, and the level design of each game matches everything you know from a Crash game. The best part is it does the opposite of Bethesda/Zenimax design: it takes more than just the latest styles. It takes level designs from all three mainline games, from the dense jungle thickets to the sci-fi urban sprawl, from the depths of the underwater stages to outer space. Compare that to Crash Team Racing: what's the difference between Cortex Castle and any old castle save for the villain's faces appearing in stained glass? What does Dragon Mine have to do with Crash, besides havign Komodo Joe's face plastered on a few walls? Since when was Pinstripe Potoroo associated with airships? Crash Bash, despite its bosses' placements in contrasting places, knows how to make these villains threatening even out of their element. The final good thing worth mentioning is the audio. What few voices there are add a more primal, desperate and straight up wacky feel to the characters. Dingodile's lines are bestial rather than the cunning jabs he usually makes; N. Brio is buffoonish rather than the vastly more intelligent (if clumsy) version seen in the previous games; and Dr. Neo Cortex makes a lot of frustrated groans which are always good to hear after years of painful boss battles. The music is to die for, once again rivalling Crash Team Racing quite easily for the better soundtrack. Its songs are upbeat, matching the games and are worth playing the miserable attempts at mini-games for alone. So, the most important question: what makes all of this greater than the whole? Crash Bash is a party game with limited function for parties. It's fun with a friend in the cooperative campaign mode, but its attempts at trying to attract up to 4 players (using the Multi-Tap peripheral) were abysmal. Anyone who wanted a party game could play a myriad others like Bomberman Land or... Bishi Bashi Special? Its selection wasn't that great: four-way pinball, throwing bricks at one another, a bad racing game and literally watching paint dry weren't much fun, especially with frustrating controls and AI that was either inept or on red alert. Without the campaign the game had no staying power, making it no better than its knock-off Dinomaster Party. The takeaway is that Crash Bash's story, characters, visual and audio elements far outweigh whatever little good the few uninspired and clearly rushed minigames which existed achieved. All of this could've been added to Crash Team Racing, a job that was done in Crash Nitro Kart... whose purpose was to be the opposite, being an alien game in an alien setting with Crash characters. ~ I would hope I can continue posting in this thread as and when I have more ideas, with the OP/moderators/admin's approval. I'm always happy to be reminded to keep on topic if I end up infodumping more than I do staying within the perameters of the subject.
  13. Not a city but a county: Yorkshire. You've got the dales and farmlands, the steel city of Sheffield, the coal towns, the shattering village of Skelmanthorpe, and some coastline. Set it during post-WW2 and you could have quite a strong atmosphere for a game. Call it Forlar' Farv (that's Fallout Five for those outside of God's Own County) and sell it for For'y Quid. In the meantime we'll have to settle for that Southern tripe, Fallout: London. I guess that'd be an alright place to explore. Might even work as a Yakuza-style world: compact and true to scale, if your hardware can handle all the pigeons.
  14. The discount (or freebie) would be nice for previous owners (which can be proven more easily with digital ownership than physical), and it's not like the companies doing these things can't afford to do it. I've no strong opinions on the subject really: it's only business. The good thing about these sorts of scheme is that if I want to play the original there's next to nothing stopping me, and the original must've been good enough for it to get a re-release in some fashion. If it was a bad game it wouldn't stand a snowflake's chance in Hell at being remastered. Even all the harumphing about The Elder Scrolls games is nothing compared to the sales figures before mods entered the equation. My point is that I can get the original used or heavily discounted elsewhere; Sony will make more from a single - and more expensive - copy of the remaster than they'll lose from a used copy.
  15. This has to be my absolute favourite topic brought up on the forum, and yet I strongly doubt I can do it justice in response. I'll give it a go. Spyro Fusion/Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy (Vicarious Visions, 2004) It was the dream crossover for the Playstation One: Spyro and Crash Bandicoot working together to defeat their most hated nemeses, Ripto and Dr. Neo Cortex, respectively. In The Cortex Conspiracy, Spyro took on Crash's antagonist. Sounds fun enough: the two have had cameo appearances in each other's games, from the Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped demo being available in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, to Spyro appearing as a playable character on Crash Nitro Kart on Game Boy Advance. The problem is the crossover came over four years too late, which is particularly bad when a working and fairly competent game could be released in 8-12 months. Furthermore, this wasn't on systems where the characters' designs could be realised with greater graphical fidelity, but instead the concept was made for the Game Boy Advance. The concept not being fully realised due to the technical limitations of its sytem is one thing, but the execution was also bad. A constant complaint I have with Spyro and Crash is the unnecessary amount of vehicles in platform games (full disclosure: link is to my Let's Play of Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly), and the Fusion games are nothing but vehicular mini-games. They're not particularly good either, the game only being more favourable over Crash Fusion/Purple: Ripto's Rampage because the vehicles control slightly less shoddily than Crash's mini-games. So why is this game less than the sum of its parts? Some of the vehicles stages perform better compared to their console counterparts in Enter the Dragonfly and later A Hero's Tail. But the main reason is the fact this is the first Spyro sidescroller which worked incredibly well, especially in contrast to the Season of Ice/Flame games earlier released. It wouldn't be until The Legend of Spyro on Game Boy Advance where we'd see it again, except now with health bars, enemies requiring multiple hits and breath weapons... again, the consoles doing all that already in full 3D. Its music is phenominal to say Spyro veteran Stewart Copeland (yes, the drummer and founder of The Police) didn't make it. Instead we have Martin Schjøler to thank for the smooth audio beats, meanwhile making crunchier, upbeat tunes for Crash Fusion. Its graphical fidelity is also pretty good, doing a better job of matching the style of Spyro than previous games. Its story isn't half bad either, with frequent updates between Crash and Aku-Aku, and Spyro and Sparx on their next moves and their progress in their respective games. ~ This is the first game that I'll probably mention here. I'll come back with another game, hopefully without risking clogging up the page, but I'd like to contribute more to a question I'm deeply interested in and when I've got more time to type. Thanks again for posing this question. Never would've thought to ask it myself!
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