Tag Archives: Gaming editorials

What I Don’t Like About Modern Gaming

The next generation of gaming is on the horizon. November-ish and well be playing on our shiny new XStation 6 and PlayBox 19 consoles. I don’t even really need a new console to be honest, I have such a backlog of games to get through that I really have no need to jump over to the next gen for a good couple of years or so… though I’ll most probably still buy one anyway… cos I’m stupid. Anyway, as an older gamer in his mid-forties, I’ve seen games and gaming in general evolve (in some cases, devolve) over the years.

Now, I’m not some old-timer who thinks modern gaming is crap. In many ways, it’s better now than ever… but in some ways, gaming is getting worse. So right here, I’m going to take a look at some of my gaming grumbles. Things that annoy me about modern gaming. From silly little niggles to a couple of quite serious issues. Get ready, cos and old man is about to yell at a cloud…

Installing Games

I remember a time when you’d buy a new game, rush home from the shops (pre-digital), excited to play your latest purchase. Removing the box from the bag, tearing away at that annoying cellophane wrap and opening the box. To then thrust the disc or cartridge (or tape if you really want to go back) into your console/computer of choice. Flick on your machine and (depending on format), you’d be playing your game instantly (negating load times). That was it, simple. 

C64 LOADING

But now, oh now you can’t do that can you? Now you buy a game, thrust it into your console…. then have to wait for it to install. Depending on the size of the game, install times vary from several minutes to an hour or more. Yes I know with some digital purchases, you can pre-install… which is nice. But you can’t do that with psychical games can you? So you just sit there, having to wait to play the game you’ve already waited several weeks and months (sometimes years) to play. I just miss being able to pop the game in and start playing it. That’s before I get in the need to buy bigger external HDDs because we now have to install games instead of playing them direct from disc. Don’t even get me started on day one patches…

Lying Loading Bars

I really don’t have a problem with loading screens, in fact, they can be good fun (see my next point)… but I detest loading bars or counters that just lie to you. Whether it be a simple straight line that fills as the game loads, a percentage counter that goes from 0 to 100%, a unique design/symbol that fills up. Whatever the method used to countdown the loading until you can play, the reason for them to exist is pretty simple. To let you know that the game is almost ready to play.

LOADING BARS

So why do we have loading bars that lie to us? I’ve played games that feature loading bars/counters that reach 100%… to then continue loading for a minute or so after they are finished. So they’re not 100% then? I’ve even had the converse happen with a bar that was two-thirds of the way filled up, for the game to start before it was finished. If your loading bar can’t keep track of a correct period of time to tell when when it’s ready to play, then why is it there?

We never had this in the ‘good ole’ days’, those micro-computer days of the eighties. If a game took four minutes and thirty-seven seconds to load, then that’s how long it took. It was never four minutes and thirty-eight seconds or four minutes and thirty-six seconds. It was exactly four minutes and thirty-seven seconds every single time. We didn’t have counters that lied to us, the game loaded when it loaded, no bullshitting.

No Loading Screens

It seems that one of the key features for the next gen is to remove loading and loading screens. The idea is to hide the loading within the game itself, therefore cutting out long pauses in the gameplay to create one long flowing experience.  But I like loading screens, I may not like lying loading bars, but the screens themselves can, sometimes, be really enjoyable.

From beautiful looking game art, hints and tips to just outright funny jokes and references. Plus there’s the fact they offer a nice break from gaming (when you don’t want to pause) to challenge yourself. I can’t be the only person who does the fridge dash when a loading screen pops up. Can you put the controller down, get from your seat and to the kitchen, open the fridge, grab a drink or snack and then back into your seat with the controller back in hand before the loading screen finishes? That’s what loading screens are for, to do the fridge dash.

BAYONETTA LOADING

But even if you remove the fridge dash challenge, loading screens can still be really great and part of the game itself. What about Bayonetta’s loading screens that let you practice the various moves and combos? Or take a look the cover/shooter Spec Ops: The Line as an example. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you here if you’ve never played it, but that game has some of the best and most amazing loading screens ever. They go from standard guff offering you game tips, to… well they change into something far more sinister and actually part of the narrative of the story. Loading screens can be great when used well and to see them go next gen is a bit disappointing… I’ll have to buy a mini-fridge for next to my gaming chair too. 

Gaming ‘Journalism’

I don’t consider myself a gaming journalist, I’m not simple enough to do that. I’m just a gamer with a passion and his own blog. I like to share my views and opinions, I like to throw in some gaming memories and so on into anything I write. For me, this is more of a personal thing than a job, it’s a fun hobby that I really enjoy doing. But ‘proper’ gaming ‘journalism’ I really do detest for the most part. 

Big name sites throwing together half-arsed articles with no passion or drive just to get traffic to their site. I really don’t like click-bait, I’ll never do click-bait myself. The headline of my articles tells you what you are going to get, and often I throw in extra stuff just for fun too. So you are getting more for you click. But there are so many ‘respected’ sites that thrive off click-bait and badly written drivel. But you know what annoys me more than anything else? Click-bait articles that are literally written about nothing.

GAME WRITING

Here’s a prime example of what I mean. Rare have a new game coming soon-ish (no release date yet, it’s all just guess work). The game is called Everwild and very little is known about it outside of its title. A few screens and trailers have been released, yet they don’t actually tell you anything other than give you a glimpse at what the game looks like. Anyway, here’s an article from trustedreviews.com about everything they know about Everwild. Now, in their ‘about us’ bit on the site, they bang on about their expert team of journalists and many years of expertise and so on. But the article is utter shit.

It’s these kind of ‘what we know’ articles that really annoy me. Other sites do them too, the amount of GTA VI ‘what we know’ articles I’ve seen over the last few weeks is astounding, the truth is that they don’t know anything. Just taking that linked Everwild article up there ^^^ as an example. they even admit they don’t know anything in the article about what they know. These quotes are taken from said article…

“Beyond a few trailers and screenshots, we currently don’t know much else about it.”

“It remains unclear exactly how Everwild will play”

Aside from a very rough outline of the (unconfirmed) plot, they don’t know how it will play, they don’t know anything about the gameplay mechanics, they don’t know a release date, they don’t even know what genre of game it will be. So they know nothing in an article written about what they know. It is quite literally an article about nothing. So why does it exist if it doesn’t tell you anything? Could they have written an article speculating on what the game may possibly be? Yes they could… but that’s not what the headline says is it? The headline very specifically claims the article is going to detail what they know. I guess the fact they don’t tell you anything means the article kind of delivered on it’s headline promise. They don’t know anything and the article delivers just that.

But, this is fast becoming a trend too. People are being paid to write articles that may contain plenty of words, but not any information. This is how the above article should’ve looked…

Everwild: Everything we know about Rare’s next big
adventure

TRUSTED PIC

EVERWILD

Nothing, we don’t know anything. See you in the next article about nothing.

TRUSTED PIC 2

There you go, that’s a far more accurate and honest article on what the headline promises. If you don’t have anything to write about, then don’t write about it. It’s pretty simple really. Destructoid, GamesRadar+,  Game Informer, IGN, GameSpot and more are all guilty of this shitty click-bait crap and articles that really don’t say anything. I hate that click-bait crap and yet, I keep falling for it regardless.

Not Actual Game Footage

This isn’t a new thing, in fact, it’s been going on for a number of years now. But recently, it’s become more and more prevalent. I’m talking about game trailers that don’t contain gameplay footage. Now, there are some exceptions to this. If a game is recently announced and in early development, then it is often the trend to release a teaser trailer that is purely a CGI movie. I don’t necessarily have a big issue with this as the game is in early development. I’m not a fan of these early teaser trailers, but I understand why they exist. So those are exempt from my rant. Also, live action trailers also get a free pass as I don’t expect them to have game footage… doesn’t mean they can’t though.

NOT GAME FOOTAGE

However, it’s those trailers of games that are currently out or are soon to be released and the trailer is part of the main marketing campaign for that game… yet they still do not contain game footage? Even worse are those trailers for games that are/soon released and have full computer generated imagery to sell said game, but that CGI is not of the actual game. Ergo, not actual game footage. Why? That means they have used a computer to create images for a trailer not in the game for game that is made from computer created images. What kind of backward thinking is that? They’ve just created needless extra work for themselves instead of using the already existing in game graphics to sell the product they are trying to sell.

Multiple Game Versions

You know what I miss? Buying a game and getting a game. That’s how simple it used to be. You picked up the game from the shelf, took it to the counter to pay for it and then, the game was yours. Now though, games are released in all sorts of different flavours that contain all sorts of extras and bonuses. I’m not strictly against DLC, but I am anti-crap DLC. But it’s not just DLC that grinds my nuts, but more so all the different versions of one game, even to the point where the one that sounds the most complete still has stuff missing. Seeing as Forza Horizon 3 is soon to be discontinued due to licensing issues, I’ll use that game as my example.

So, if I were to go to the Microsoft store to buy Forza Horizon 3 (currently on sale due to its being discontinued), there are three different versions of the game. There’s the standard game, the deluxe edition and the ultimate edition. Standard version is exactly that, just the base game with no extras. The deluxe edition though gives you, along with the base game, VIP membership and cars, Forza Hub App, and the Motorsport All-Stars Car Pack. Then there is the ultimate version of the game, this one you get all of the above and early access to the game (before it was officially released) and the Forza Horizon 3 car pass, which gave you every DLC car released for the game. It is called the ultimate edition so of course, you get everything for the game… that’s what the word ultimate means: being the best example of its kind. So there is nothing more to the game and you get everything with the ultimate edition… only you don’t.

There is still the matter of the Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheel and the Forza Horizon 3 Blizzard Mountain DLCs that you don’t get with the ultimate edition… so it’s not the ultimate edition then is it? If there is extra stuff outside of the ultimate version of a game… then how is that game the ultimate version? This keep happening too, different developers/publishers use different terminology, but the end result is always the same. Collectors editions are another thing I have an issue with because all the useless tat you get with them are just not for me, but I do know people who enjoy all that stuff. Still, have you seen the various editions for the up and coming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? Standard version, gold edition then the ultimate edition. So that’s it then, no more because they have the ultimate edition right? No, because there is still yet another version of the game after the ultimate edition…. so not the ultimate edition then! There’s still the collectors edition… which isn’t the ultimate edition? If you don’t get everything with the ultimate version of a game, then it’s not the ultimate edition. The word ultimate, look it up.

ASSASSINS CREED EDITIONS

Why has doing something as simple as buying a game become so complex? Now, you have to research to see what version of what games comes with what specific content. And because these publishers don’t know what words like ultimate means, you the consumer get screwed over when you think you have purchased the version that is ultimately the best one when it’s not.

Games Are Getting Are Too Big

It’s all about size these days with AAA games. As the rumours surrounding GTA VI continue, I keep seeing people commenting on how it would be great to have all of the previous GTA maps in one game, a huge map that’s more of a state with multiple cities in it and similar ideas. Why? Don’t people think the map of GTA V was big enough or something? There’s that clip on YouTube that looks at map sizes over the years.

Not counting (pretty much) endless games like Minecraft, Elite Dangerous, etc and just looking at ‘normal’ maps. Some of them are stupidly big to the point where you don’t even see some of the map while playing the game.

But even some games with more sensible map sizes just have too much going on in them and soon become tiresome. Plus there are games that have huge maps and yet still offer way too much to do. I’m looking at the more recent (again) Assassin’s Creed titles. With both Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, I personally gave up after putting in several hours. Seriously, I clocked up around thirty hours on Odyssey, which for me should be when the game is ending. Yet I popped up the map screen and I had only revealed about a third of the map. Plus there was dozens and dozens of icons for things to do that I just got completely bored with. Some say ‘at least your getting plenty of game for your money’. No, I’m getting bored for my money. If I’ve put thirty hours into a game and I’m still not even halfway done, that’s way too big. If I were to pay a normal price to watch a ten hour film at the cinema, the cost is irrelevant if I’m bored.

I’m older, I have kids, I write and other things like life get in the way. So my gaming hours are not as free as they used to be. These games that keep getting bigger and bigger, year after year just pass me by as I don’t have time for them. Smaller and more original indie games are the way forward, not these ever expanding open world things. Yet whenever a new game is announced, one of the first things the developers/publishes brag about is the map size. 

Wasted Licenses

So this is something that very recently came up on my radar. Licensed games do have a bit of a bad history. A game based on a movie or TV show is often just lazily thrown together just to cash in on the popularity of the IP it’s based on. Now, this isn’t new and you can find plenty of examples through gaming history of terrible licensed games. But, the idea of just farting out some old tat of a game based on a popular name really hit me hard today when I saw the trailer for the Cobra Kai game. I’m not even going to directly post in on my blog as it’s so offensively terrible, I’ll just do an external link instead.

That looks unbelievably shoddy. A lazy, shovelware game shat out because the show it is based on is pretty damn popular. For those not in the know, Cobra Kai (the show) is a continuation of the Karate Kid films, and you know what? It’s bloody excellent too. It’s a show that clearly has a real passion and drive behind it, one that does a lot of new things and yet still pays a lot of respects to its source material along the way. But just look at the game. That’s not respecting the source material. I love a good scrolling beat ’em up and I think that Cobra Kai is perfect fodder for a game of that style too… but it still deserves better then that poop in the trailer. You remember that The Warriors game? No, I don’t mean the pretty damn good version from Rockstar Games a few years back, I mean this one. That’s what the Cobra Kai game reminds me of… only difference is that it’s not 2009 anymore.

RAMBO

There have been other wasted licensed games too. Remember Rambo: The Video Game from 2014? I recall seeing the teaser trailer before the game was released and despite some pretty low standard graphics, the trailer made the game look pretty good. The cops stalking Rambo through the forest of the first film, it looked like it could be a really interesting action/survival game. You playing as John Rambo having to survive off the land, taking out the cops before they get to you. Building traps, finding places to hide, kill wild boars for food, etc. A blending of stealth, survival and action game, all using the Rambo film license… amazing. But no, what we got was a shitty on-rails shooter with terrible controls and awful gameplay. That’s how you waste a great licence and completely miss the point of the IP you are trying to capture in game-form. 

If you’re not going to respect the licence of the famed IP you are using, then why bother? (I already know the answer to that, it really was a rhetorical question) 

Grindy Games

I’ve already moaned about some modern games getting too big, but this is a different spin on the same problem. Games that make you needless grind out to level up to move onto the next part (yes, I’m looking at the recent Assassin’s Creed games again). This is just padding and forcing the game to seem bigger then it really is, or worse, make an already huge game pointlessly bigger.

Side quests can be great, a nice little distraction from the main story when you feel like taking a break. But I’ve begun to notice that games are getting into a trend of forcing you to level up in order to keep progressing through the story, and the only way level up effectively is to grind away at side quests. Meaning, they’re no longer side quests as they’re not optional. As previously mentioned, the recent Assassin’s Creed titles are guilty of just this. It’s like going to the cinema to watch the new James Bond film, it opens with the classic of Bond being on a mission before the main plot kicks in. It cuts to the iconic gun-barrel opening… to then force you to sit through twenty minutes of cute kitten videos on YouTube before you can watch the rest of the film.

DESTINY 2

Then there are games that are built solely around grinding. Games where you have to play and re-play the same sections over and over to progress. See the Destiny games for a perfect example of grinding to progress, and yet, they’re still popular. I just don’t understand why so many people want to play a game where they have to repeat the same bits over and over for little reward or progression. The fact that there is now a sub-genre for grinding games, I just find that a bit sad really.

Microtransactions

So this really is a big one and my final rant. My previous gripes were meant to be taken with a bit of humour. Yeah they still piss me off, but in the grand scheme, they are just minor annoyances. This however, this is a very serous problem with modern gaming. Microtransactions are the cancer of gaming and they need to be cut out before the cancer takes over.

It’s easy to put the blame of freemium games, ones that are ‘free to play’, but in order to progress (and not grind for countless hours), you really need to pay real money to get anywhere. These games are everywhere, usually found on mobile devices, but they have started to creep into console gaming now too. From one perspective, you can kind of see why the ‘need’ to include microtransactions in free to play games, as that’s the way these titles ultimately get funded… but then, when you take a look at some of the prices for in game items and so on, it really make no sense.

CURIOSITY

Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube?, that experimental tappy-tap game from Peter Molyneux’s 22Cans studio featured a diamond chisel that allowed you to tap away faster, it’s price? £50,000. That is one of the more extreme examples of a one-off microtransaction i admit. But what really boils my piss is those games that have lots of smaller ones. Games that sell in game currency for real world money in various bundles, smaller single use items for lower amounts but ones that all mount up to so much more. I mean, here’s a story about someone who spent over £113,000 ($150,000) on the ‘free to play’ Transformers: Earth Wars game.

The thing is that microtransactions can and do become an obsession or even an addiction to people. Even worse is that many of them are presented like gambling machines, or loot boxes as the big name companies like to call them. It is gambling. You pay money to see a animated box (or similar) open and give you a prize. You have no idea what that prize will be, could be great, could be crap… it is gambling.

But things get worse because these things are not only found in free games. Big, AAA titles now have them, games that you already pay full price for are now fleecing people for every penny they may have. EA’s FIFA games with their FIFA Coins that cost real money, for you to spend on players to build your team. Let’s not forget the fairly recent NBA 2K20 gambling controversy. EA are not some small, independent game studio struggling to make money, they are a worldwide famed developer and publisher who bring in literal billions year after year. Rockstar Games with their Shark Cards of GTA Online are another guilty party. Rockstar Games who made the biggest and fastest selling piece of entertainment ever, who also bring in billions in profits.

But it gets even worse. A lot of these freemium games are often aimed at kids. Here’s a game called Coin Master

It’s a fucking slot machine and one you can pay real money to play it too. On the app store, its age rating is only a 12+. It’s a slot machine, you can’t play those if you are twelve years-old in the real world, so why is it okay in games?

This really is a a serious issue and there have been thoughts of making any game that features this kind of gambling to be automatically rated for adults only. For me, that’s just not enough. It’s quite clear to me that parents don’t pay attention to a game’s age rating, just look at how many kid play GTA, CoD, etc. Slapping an age rating on a game won’t do anything. Then there are certain companies who refuse to accept that microtransactions are gambling, they give them clever little names to try to create a loophole…

‘Surprise mechanics’? Fuck off with that. It’s gambling. See, this is what these companies will do if microtransactions are allowed to continue, they will worm their way out of the bad press by creating loopholes and buzzwords. As I said, these things are the cancer of gaming. The loopholes surrounding them need to be closed sooner rather than later. Slapping age rating on games won’t do anything, microtransactions need to be made illegal across the board, no exceptions. If not, then this cancer of gaming will be allowed to grow until its un-treatable. I have two small children and my eldest had begun to take an interest in gaming, but if this shit is the future, then I’ll be doing my very best to ensure my kids don’t grow up as gamers.

End rant!

E.T. is the worst game ever!

Or is it?

title

Short answer. No, not at all.
I was originally going to just do one of my “game overviews” of this game, but I feel this game deserves a little more depth than that due to it’s infamous nature.

But before I get into why it’s not the worst game ever, lets just recap on the infamy surrounding E.T. for the Atari 2600.

Often labeled the “worst game ever” (not true) and often cited as the game that caused the infamous game crash of 1983 (also not true), it was also the spawn of the “rumor” that Atari buried 1000’s upon 1000’s of E.T. carts in the desert as it was so bad (again, not entirely true).
E.T. has been the subject of many reviews, ridicule and blame over the years. Most of that comes from people that either do not remember E.T. at the time, did not understand the game or just taking misinformation from the many, many people that have done exactly what these people are doing themselves by remembering the infamy of the game and not the game itself, kind of like a bad game of Chinese Whispers.

I decided to read a few E.T. reviews in research for this article and I mostly found reviews by people that would have been either 2 at the time of release or even -20. But as I said, these are people that are acting on the infamy and not the game itself.
E.T. is just too easy a target to rip apart and quite frankly, it’s tedious and dull.

Now I’ll not sit here typing a defence for E.T. being a great game…cos it’s not. It’s just not “the worst game ever”…not even close.
First, a “Little Bit of History”: E.T was was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw who also developed Raiders Of The Lost Ark for the Atari 2600 and both games were relased within weeks of each other. But with Raiders being released just a few weeks before E.T., making Raiders the first ever fully licenced movie video game.
E.T. was rushed through development to cash in on the upcoming Christmas season and Howard Scott Warshaw himself was burnt out after developing Yars’ Revenge for seven months and then spending six months on Raiders of the Lost Ark previously.
Upon release, E.T. actually met with favourable reception and success. It even went on to be one of the biggest selling games ever on the Atari 2600 selling over 1.5 million units and back in 1983 that was a hell of a lot.

The whole infamy comes not from that E.T. was bad, but due to Atari massively overestimating the gaming market at the time and overproducing the E.T. game cartridges along with many other products. E.T. did not cause the infamous game crash of 1983 either. The game was released in December of 1983, so how could 1 game bring down an entire industry in only a few weeks?
So if E.T. did not cause the game crash of 1983, what did? Well, around the same time console hardware and software sales were dropping fast as more affordable home computers started to hit the market. As consoles could only play games, but computers could play games and so much more as well, the computer was a more logical choice for the consumer.
The reason the game crash of 1983 occurred was simply due to the fact manufactures like Atari over flooded the market with products no one was buying at the time. There were many games caught up in the game crash, not just E.T. There were great games as well as terrible games. In fact the game crash was already underway when E.T. was released at the end of 1983 and part of the reason it was rushed through development was an attempt to counteract the already plummeting sales at the time as Atari believed a game based on the massively popular film could turn sales around.
Yes 1000’s of E.T cartridges were buried in the desert…but so were 1000’s of other gaming cartridges, game consoles and phererials. They were buried, not due to the fact they were bad, but because they were simply unsold and they were unsold because Atari overproduced during a time when the consumer was just not buying.

Anyway, about the game itself. For it’s time, E.T. was actually a very innovative game and ahead of it’s time (much like Howard Scott Warshaw’s Raiders of the Lost Ark). Yes of course when you play it today it seems pretty poor…but that is from today’s perspective and where pretty much every (mis)review of this game comes from.
At the time however, E.T. was a striking and original game. That is why it became one of the Atari 2600’s best selling games. It had an original concept and it was also one of the very few games that you could complete at the time with an ending and a plot to follow, which was relatively unheard of back then.

Is E.T. the “worst game ever”? No, but I admit time has not been kind to it even though it was a very solid game back in 1983. E.T. was very playable back then and offered us gamers a fair challenge. Give it 30 years and games of today will also be getting called “the worst game ever” as some games just do not stand the test of time, but that does not mean they were bad when they were first released.

So what is “the worst game ever”? That’s up to you as games are subjective. I just wanted to set the record straight on the undeserved infamy E.T. has.

I’d rather play E.T. for a while than any QTE based game anyway.

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Duke Nukem used to be awesome.

Duke

Duke Nukem Forever took…well forever to be released. It was to be called “Forever” as it was (at the time) the 4th game in the series (get it, FOURever?) to be made after Duke Nukem 3D (get it THREE-D? Sorry I’ll stop now) from 1996. But delays meant Duke Nukem Forever would not see the light of day until over 15 years after it was first announced as the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D.
Due to the delays there were other games released in the series in between the 15 year gap.

Duke Nukem Forever when finally released in 2011 was one of the biggest disappointments in gaming history and seemingly buried the Duke Nukem character. But I’m not here to talk about the Duke Nukem series of games and the bitter disappointment that was Duke Nukem Forever…yet (it’s coming though).

I wanted to cover one of my all time favorite game characters from his early low budget start to his meteoric rise in the mid 90’s and his fall from grace in 2011.

Duke Nukem was created by Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software. Being a parody of 80’s action heroes by meddling elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell as well as throwing in a bit of Roddy Piper from They Live and smidge of Bruce Campbell’s Ash from Army Of Darkness.
Duke was essentially the best of the best (or worst) of action heros mixed together to make one bad-ass mofo.

Voiced by Jon St. John (from Duke Nukem 3D onwards) giving Duke a rather unique, iconic and instantly recognisable voice. Seriously try saying “What are you waiting for, Christmas?” without thinking of or hearing Duke Nukem’s voice in your head. Duke Nukem became one of gamings all time greats.
Duke was sexist, misogynistic, confident, aggressive, and beautifully politically incorrect with a soft spot for “the babes”.
His was skilled with a variety of weapons from explosives, automatic and even energy weapons…oh and his “mighty foot” for kicking alien pig-police in the face. He would also use vehicles such as his monster truck or even a jet pack. He is never seen without his trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, even at night and often seen with a nice fat stogie hanging out of his mouth.
His ego was so huge he even wrote an autobiography called: “Why I’m So Great”.

Duke’s first appearance was in Duke Nukem from 1991 and has been in a total of 18 official Duke Nukem games, sequels and spin offs as well as making cameos in other games like: Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure (1992), Blood (1997) and more recently Choplifter HD (2012) along with several other games.

There was a time when the name Duke Nukem really meant something in the gaming world. From early 16-bit visuals to full on 3D and textured polygons, Duke Nukem was a hugely popular character despite really being a huge, egotistical (insert slang term for a lady’s front bits here). The humor of the character was often really childish…but still funny. Mr. Nukem was certainly controversial as a character.
Often found on top lists of all time great gaming characters along with the likes of Mario, Sonic, Lara Croft, Pac-Man and many others and he is even listed in The Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition. Duke Nukem still remains a fan favourite and a character that has earned his rightful place in gaming history.

Alas, the dismal Duke Nukem Forever may have buried the character for good. Aside from the game itself, may a reviewer just did not “get” the character. Calling him out on his sexism, mysongism, childish humor, stating he was outdated and so on…yes, that is the point of the character. He’s supposed to be a parody, a pastiche of 80’s cheesy action heros.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever the game was bad, but Duke himself as a character was just as great as he ever was and his puerile humor was much needed in the sterile world of straightlaced characters and very “brown” personalities we have today.

Since the release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, Duke has been laying low and not really heard of since and it does look like Duke Nukem may finally be dead. But I really do hope not, while Duke Nukem Forever was a horrible game and definitely not worth the 15 year wait. The character is just too important and impactful to sweep under the carpet.
We need Duke Nukem back to inject his humor and style back into gaming, he just needs better games to be in.
I’d most definitely like to see Duke return, but let’s just ignore Duke Nukem Forever and pretend it never happened.

Duke 2

“Hail to the King Baby.”

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To next gen or not?

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So I was at work and we were just chatting about games and gaming when the question was asked of me, “what next gen console do you own?”. I replied with “none” and I got looks from my work colleagues as if I just insulted all their mothers with a bad “yo momma” joke from the early 90’s.

Yes that is right, I do not own any of the next gen machines…why is this such a taboo?
I mean, go onto any gaming website/forum and just talk about the fact you do not own a next gen console, and you’ll be greeted with abuse and insults.

There are several reasons why I do not own a next gen machine…

Money: It’s not that I can not afford one, more a case of there are other things I would rather spend my money on. As of now you are looking at around £300 for one of the new consoles with a game bundled in. Then I’d need other games to play as one is not enough, so we are looking at £450-ish. Plus there is the fact another controller would be required which sell for around £40 right now, batteries and charger for the controllers which go for about £30. So even just to start up I’m looking at roughly £490…and to be honest there are other things I’d rather spend that money on. Oh I could go out right now and buy myself a shiny new Xbox One, but close to £500 just to get started is just not worth it.

Games: In all honesty there is NOTHING I really want to play on any of the next gen machines, Not on the Xbox One, Playstation 4 or even the (cheaper) Wii U offer anything I am interested in. The only games so far that pique my interest are remasters of games I already own and have played on the last gen and I’m not paying again for a game I already own for slightly improved visuals and a handful of extras. I really have not seen a single game that is honestly “next gen” gameplay and not just improved graphics. It always takes a good few years before developers truly get to grips with the hardware and start developing real “next gen” games anyway, and by then the prices drop and I’ll get into the next gen cheaper and when there are more worthy games out there. I really do not feel like I’m missing out on anything here.

Last gen: I still have a few great games I’m playing through on last gen. I recently bought Fallout 3 & New Vegas, Oblivion & Skyrim all special editions with all the DLC included and I got them really cheap too. While I had previously played the games, I only played the vanilla versions and they took me a good while. So these versions with all the DLC included will entertain me for a good while yet. There are also other games I’m only now catching up on that I either missed previously or replaying as I really enjoyed playing them. That before I get into games on my PC and even iPad.

Space: As I currently have set up under my TV a Playstation 3, Xbox 360, a Bluray player and even a PVR set top box. Oh and my internet hub. I really do not have the space for another machine right now. It already looks like an explosion in a spaghetti factory behind my TV with all the wires, power cables, HDMI cables, etc.

No backward compatibility: This is not a big thing for most people, but it ties into the last 2 reasons of last gen and space. Seeing as I’m still playing games on the 360 & PS3, seeing as I do have a lack of space. If the new consoles did have backwards compatibility (the last ones did) I could get a new machine, replace my older machine and still play the last gen games I want to while not taking up any more space. Yes for some (including me) backwards compatibility is a big issue and a major selling point.

Time: Tying into my previous point as playing through some last gen games takes up time. I also work fulltime and invest as much time as I can into this site too. Then there is the fact I have an amazing girlfriend I live with, a house to maintain…and a 7 month old puppy to take care of. Oh and we (the girlfriend and I) are at it like rabbits as we are trying for a baby too. I just do not have the time like I used to a decade ago when the last gen was in it’s early years. There are just more important things for me to spend my time doing and spending around £500 for a machine that is more likely to gather dust rather than be played on just seems inane.

So those are the main reasons I have not gone next gen and to be honest, I really do not see these reasons changing anytime soon. Sure I could go out and buy a new console today…but why would I? I really do not think I’d play on it even if I did own one.
I may get into the next gen in the future maybe when the prices drop, maybe if they start making worthy games, maybe if I ever have the time, maybe if I’m brave enough to untangle the mess of wires behind my TV.
But as of writing, the next gen is just not appealing to me at all and I’m more than happy with my last gen machines and working on this site to get my gaming fix.

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Bad game endings.

You put hours into a game, you pay attention to the plot and enjoy the engaging characters…only to be greeted with an inane, underwhelming and disappointing ending. Making that journey you just took leaving you feeling deflated and asking yourself “why?”.

Of course not all game endings are bad and a bad ending does not necessarily equate to a bad game either, but they can leave you really disappointed and wondering why the developers even bothered.

So lets take a look at some of the worst game endings ever from classic gaming right up to today and look at what makes them bad.
I’ll start with one of the most notorious bad endings…

Ghostbusters:

Ghostbusters NES

Ghostbusters for the NES was based on the film and tasked the player with defending New York from ghosts. Not a great game, but even this title deserved a better ending…

GB end

Not just a lazy black screen with white text, but also badly spelt and presented too.
“CONGLATURATION” and “PROOVED” were just some of the highlights of this bad ending that looked like your average 13 year olds comments on Youtube.

Even great games can be guilty of bad endings.

The Legend Of Zelda:

Zelda

The Legend Of Zelda is easily one of the very best games on the NES and went on to spawn a huge franchise that is still going to day…but about the ending…

Zelda end

Another one of those black screens with white text, but not as bad as the Ghostbusters one it is spelt correctly and the grammar is fine. The problem is that The Legend Of Zelda was an immense game for its time with a great story and characters. Something this epic really should have had a more satisfying ending other than the lazy black screen and white text that essentially just says “well done”.

Next let’s go for a popular choice.

Mass Effect 3:

ME 3

The Mass Effect trilogy was a really enjoyable series and took us on a space adventure not matched by anything. The characters were engaging and well written, you could make choices/decisions that would carry over from one game to the next.
So where did all those decisions you made throughout the trilogy lead to? Well, nowhere to be honest. Nothing you said or did over the course of the games made any impact on the ending. The ending to Mass Effect 3 was so bad the developers issued an “extended” ending via DLC which left players even more disappointed than before. The more you follow and understand the plot and narrative of Mass Effect, the worse the ending is for you.

Now one of the best games from one of the best developers of the best genre of the early 90s.

Monkey Island 2:

MI 2

There was a time when Lucasarts made amazing point n’ click adventures. Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2 were among the best. But the ending of Monkey Island 2 really did turn out bad which basically made out that Guybrush and LeChuck were really just two kids playing a game at a carnival. It was a cop out ending that was just a hair short of being a “it was all a dream” ending.
The ending was so bad that Monkey Island 3 just swept it under the carpet and pretended it never happened.

Here comes another great game with a bad ending.

Ghosts n’ Goblins:

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Ghosts n’ Goblins was one tough game, it was also really enjoyable and one of the best action/platformers of the mid 80’s. So playing as tough knight Arthur trying to get your kidnapped girlfriend back from none other than The Devil himself. So what happens once you reach Beelzebub? Well he tells you you have to go back to the beginning and play through the entire game again…only this time it’s harder. Screw that!

Now for a bad ending a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2:

KOTOR II

The two Knights Of The Old Republic games were immense and a genuinely great addition to the Star Wars expanded universe. The first game had one hell of a great ending with an amazing sting in the tail, so we were pumped to see what the next game would bring us and how it would impress us again with a jaw dropping ending.
What we actually got with the ending of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords was an ending where Kreia attempts (and fails) to wrap up all the loose ends from this game with could take 20-30+ hours to complete with a brief conversation in which nothing is really resolved. Plus you never got to cross lightsabers with Revan either.

Those are just a handful of bad endings of which there are many, many more.
Do you have some bad game ending memories? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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