Archive for the ‘Editorials’ Category


You ever buy someone a gift for Christmas and while they are mercilessly ravaging the gift wrap you see a feigned sense of appreciation?  They stare blankly at what lies beneath and in the same breath they turn to you and say “Thanks (insert whoever you are to that person), I love it”, but you know that’s not the case.  You ask yourself why this person could be so callous in receiving a gift—well — it’s because you bought them a shitty gift.  Everyone says it’s the thought that counts, but not if you didn’t put any thought into it.  Most sites will tell you what to buy someone, but will seldom tell you what to avoid.  So let this list be your warning for what you should be averse to this year when you are doing your holiday shopping.  You’ll be a better person for it, trust me.

Ride To Hell: Retribution (Xbox 360, PS3)

ride-to-hell-retribution-ps3Why you shouldn’t buy it: Unsuspecting shoppers might stroll by this game and think it might be good time because it looks like the popular TV show Sons of Anarchy, but trust me when I tell you that Charlie Hunnam wouldn’t even wipe his ass with this game.  Messy controls, horrible story and abysmal voice acting firmly cement this as one of 2013’s worst titles.

Knack (PS4)

Knack-boxartWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Knack isn’t necessarily a bad game, but sporting a $60 price tag poses an issue.  It has the flair and charm reminiscent of older Sony platformers like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter, but this game is only next-gen in the graphics department and even saying that is a stretch.  With a multitude of other next-gen games that will actually make you think you own a next-gen system you’d do best to avoid Knack—at least for the time being.

NBA Live 14 (Xbox One, PS4)

nba live 14 box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  NBA 2K14.

OUYA (Android game console)

ouyaWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Alright I know the list says games, but the OUYA is a device that plays games so hear me out.  The OUYA had everyone’s attention when it was first announced because it was supposed to change the landscape of living room gaming, well it didn’t.  What we have now is a device that is poorly supported and to my standards is overpriced.  This device is primarily for the gamer that needs to have every device no matter what it does making it a very niche collective of people.  If you are really clamoring to buy someone an android device get them a tablet or MADCATZ’s MOJO that supports stock android, already making it a better alternative.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Xbox 360, PS3)

walking dead box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  It’s no secret that The Walking Dead has transcended its cult comic book status and became an entertainment phenomenon, but with that distinction comes the poor use of creative licenses like this game.  The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is no more than a cash grab and if you had the displeasure of playing this game you’d probably feel robbed as well.  This is a Walking Dead property in namesake alone and if you care about the future of this franchise you won’t buy this game.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

aliens box art

Why you shouldn’t buy it:  Aliens is no doubt one of the largest and most beloved science fiction properties out there and Colonial Marines was on pace to propel it to greater heights.  After numerous delays and studio swaps what was left was a soiled shell of a game equipped with poor controls and horrifyingly inconsistent AI.  If you want to make that Aliens’ fan in your life happy, start by not buying them this.

Fighter Within

fighter within box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Kinect 2.0 promised a lot of things for the Xbox One, one of them being a viable option for gaming.  Unfortunately for early adopters they are stuck with what is another haphazardly designed and aimless motion game—Fighter Within.  Combining awful gesture recognition with a completely pointless story you have Ubisoft’s sophomore effort missing the mark.  Kinect 2.0 is an impressive piece of tech—don’t sully your view of it or your living room for that matter with this garbage.

Star Trek (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

star trek box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Remember when I was talking about the poor use creative licenses?  The Star Trek game that came out a month prior to Into Darkness was a disastrous lead up to the summer blockbuster.  The game was ridden with a myriad of tech issues on top of an incoherent narrative.  This is one trip on the Enterprise you should overlook.

Fast and Furious: Showdown (Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU, 3DS, PC)

fast and furious showdown box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  The Fast and Furious movies are the mainstream representation of the tuning sub-culture.  They have ridiculous over-the-top stories, but at each film’s core it’s about racing cars dangerously.  Showdown fails at that in every conceivable category, making it possibly of the worst racing games ever made and something that you shouldn’t even entertain as a Christmas gift, unless you are a terrible person.

Dark (Xbox 360, PC)

dark box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Vampires are still kind of the rage these days, but like the deluge of TV shows and Movies based on Vampires—most—not all video games don’t do them right and Dark is no exception.  Poor controls, inconsistent AI and just bland gameplay make this game garlic to the Vampire genre.   Do yourself a favor and don’t let this game suck a dime out of your wallet.

This is but a small taste of things you should avoid when doing your holiday shopping.  Be wary of bargain bins and flash deals because more often than not—it’s something shitty.  Share the list with grandma and grandpa, hell your whole family for that matter.  I’ve given you the means to at least prevent one terrible gift, but only you can prevent the rest.

Sound off in the comments with your advice to uninformed holiday shoppers or even tell me if you disagree with a selection on this list by telling me why someone should buy it.

Advertisements

Another E3 has come and gone and with it some awesome new stuff to look at and some things we would have rather not seen.

Here at the TGA we are going to show you the top 10 the best things that you should look at and the 5 worst things from E3 2012.

(more…)


Nintendo had big shoes to fill at this E3. All eyes were looking to Nintendo and what the Wii U was going to bring to the table. Most of the conference was spent on Wii U with 23 titles shown during the conference and little of 3DS as well. Let’s get down to business and see if Nintendo hit a home run this year at E3.

(more…)


Next up on the list at E3 is Sony. Right out of the gate Sony does a great job at really dropping a bomb on the world with the announcement the makers of Heavy Rain are developing a new title. Not much is known about this title other than the trailer released at E3, but with Quantic Dream making this project it will sure to be nothing other than a smash hit. With Beyond: Two Souls you will play as Jodie Holmes and go through points in her life spanning 15yrs. But there is something very special about Jodie; she is surrounded by an invisible and powerful unknown presence that she talks to. In the video we see her sitting at a local police station not saying a word to a jabbering officer trying to help.  The officer later becomes frightened when the coffee mug he placed on the table is lifted off and thrown against the wall, and chooses to leave Jodie. Left alone she starts to interact with this supernatural being stating that she knew that SWAT was coming for her. Right after SWAT members start to storm the building and position themselves to try to capture Jodie. The door to where she is opens than the video than cuts to an amazing montage of what else is in store for the game. The video alone was enough to give me goose bumps.

(more…)


Out of the big 3 of press conferences Microsoft did not choose to step up to the plate. However, Microsoft had a very strong start and quickly gained momentum by revealing Halo 4 gameplay. Master Chief is in search of a ship that crash landed as it flew over his head. When the gameplay starts we were greeted with the trusted Battle Riffle (my favorite gun) and shortly after a familiar enemy, The Covenant. At this point I had yet to be impressed as Halo 4 seemed like it was just a graphically better Halo game, but quickly I was proved wrong as I saw new and interesting things. A strange red beam takes out the last Covenant as he disintegrates directly in front of you. As Chief pushes forward he as ambushed by a group of mechanical AI dogs. Once those are cleared another new enemy appears as well as a new gun. The new gun as equipped reminded me of something out of transformers and looked bad ass, Cortana recognizes that the tech is Forerunner. This new gun looks sick as does all the new Forerunner enemies. I was not sold on Halo 4 given that Bungie was no longer part of the project, but after seeing this at E3 I am sold on buying it. But don’t take my word for it, watch it for yourself and see.

(more…)


I want to start by asking a question to all of you and think about it because it is important.  Should a game developer receive a bonus for how well a game performs commercially or how well it performed critically or maybe even both?  Both are important, but to different degrees.  My personal belief is that performance based incentives need to be based purely on sales and not how a game scores on Metacritic.

I guess one point makes all the difference

The staff of Obsidian Entertainment is being denied a bonus because Fallout: New Vegas missed the Metacritic target set forth by Bethesda by one point.  The lead creative designer of Fallout: New Vegas Chris Avellone, tweeted about this on his account.

Fallout: New Vegas was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t.”

Fallout: New Vegas has an 84 on Metacritic and the goal was an 85.  One measly point of a score derived from people who had zero involvement in the creative process of this game decided the fate of many peoples’ paychecks.  A contract is a contract, but a stipulation like a Metacritic score target is for lack of a better term, unfair.

According to the same report on Gamasutra, Fallout: New Vegas sold 5 Million units and generated $300 million in revenue for Bethesda and even with such huge retail success Bethesda is denying the staff of Obsidian the benefits of a bonus.  This has been done before by publishers and is labeled as “quality ratings” during contract negotiations.  This is a huge issue for game developers, but the problem also disseminates down to an editorial level.

One point > $300 million in sales

With information like this readily available to the general public and video game pundits alike we need to think how this can potentially affect things.  The opinions of reputable (and smaller) video game sites can either create a great demand for a title or adversely affect the sales based on their reviews.  Each site out there has a particular brand of subjectivity and that is what makes each site’s editors unique.  People search the internet for that information to make purchase decisions based on those unique perspectives and if we know that our decisions are going affect not only the sales of a game, but the people making it, it makes writing negative reviews more difficult.  I am not saying that negative criticism should not exist because it needs to exist, it just shouldn’t alter a person’s paycheck.  If a publisher like Bethesda would implement such puerile stipulation into a contract I think developers working under that umbrella should find different shade.

What will they do moving forward?

You need not worry because TGA is not recognized on Metacritic yet, but if we were we would not let this troublesome ordeal affect our opinions.  We have a duty to you the reader/consumer to deliver honest content devoid of extreme personal bias and how it could affect others.  Negative criticism to a game should be used in a constructive manner by publishers to improve on further projects and not deprive or punish those who made said title.  Moving forward it will be interesting to see how things of this nature are handled and how we can keep developers accountable and also employed.

This is an important topic in both the industry and the outlets that cover the industry so please sound off in the comments about how you feel about this.  Do you think what Bethesda did was fair or justified?  Or do you fall into the second camp that believes bonuses of any kind should be based on sales not scores?  Let us know and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


There has been a huge buzz surrounding Quantic Dream’s latest tech demo entitled KARA.  The video which is posted in this article is a true sight to behold.  Quantic Dream once again proves what can be done with graphics in a video game and more importantly shows that the Playstation 3 still has some serious potential in that department.  Graphics aside Quantic Dream also manages to pull some emotional heart strings in the 7 something minute video (like the original Heavy Rain demo).  I applaud Quantic Dream for their achievement with KARA and also congratulate them on the immense reception it is receiving, but the minute I saw this video I immediately thought of a super obscure Japanese Xbox game called N.U.D.E. @ (Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment).  I have never played N.U.D.E.@ because it was a japan-only Xbox title, but it looks like KARA and this share some similar attributes from the outside looking in.

Meet KARA

Meet whatever her name is

I am unsure if Quantic Dream drew inspiration from N.U.D.E.@, but the similarities in the character design are far too coincidental to be ignored.  This similarity does not discount what KARA is or could be, but I do think this comparison is worth noting and is why I am doing it.  Watch the KARA tech demo and I am going to keep my eyes peeled for this comparison to surface somewhere else.  Let us know what you think about the video by sounding off in the comments section and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


In 2009 a movie by the name of Daybreakers hit theaters and offered up a unique twist to the modern vampire tale.  A virus had spread through the world reducing the human population to almost extinct levels and vampires were the preeminent species on Earth.  While it was a tale of survival for the human race an underlying theme of commerce resonated throughout the film.  The main protagonist Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) was tasked with creating a blood substitute that would help sustain the vampire population in light of the dwindling human source.  Various scenes throughout the movie showcased the immense need for such a breakthrough and that this “blood substitute” would be the solution all vampires were looking for.  So you might be wondering what in the hell does this have to do with video games or digital media?  I assure you some clarity is approaching.  Nearing the film’s conclusion the main antagonist Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) said something very profound along the lines of “even though we will have a working blood substitute, there will still be customers who are willing to pay for the real thing”.  While the quote isn’t exact it is essentially implying that even though a blood substitute would be a solution for all, there would still be those not satisfied and would pay more for human blood (also implying that humans would still be hunted and farmed).  This statement is in regards to something that hopefully never happens, but runs parallel with the debate between digital and physical media and the gaming landscape at large.

Would you pay more for the real thing?

Video game companies are not that much different from the fictitious Bromley Marks corporation (albeit they don’t hunt humans, yet).  The actual form of the video game has changed drastically in recent times and with that change raises the question of how will games be delivered and consumed in the future.  They are looking at current retail establishments and seeing how they can sustain with the giant obstacle, that is used games, standing in their path.  With used games continuing to be a huge part of video game sales for retailers, publishers are scrambling to reduce and eventually eliminate that market entirely.  Online passes and day one DLC has given incentive to some, but there are still plenty who wait for a cheap used copy to surface at GameStop.  We all know video games are a business like any other form of media, but eliminating physical media entirely would ostracize from what I can only assume is still a large part of the gaming community.  As crazy as it might sound there are still people who don’t have high speed internet or live in areas where the service simply isn’t available, so an entirely digital platform would cripple their ability to purchase and enjoy new titles.

The digital option, stressing the option part

Both digital and physical media offer great benefits and drawbacks and those still warrant choice from the consumer.  This dichotomy amongst consumers usually boils down to pricing and how that pricing is structured.  The costs associated with both forms of media are apparent and consumers of each already accept these terms (knowingly or not).  If I want to pay an extra $20 for a game with a case, box art, jacket and physical disc with that new game smell I should be able to.  Conversely if someone wants to pay $20 less and get the same game, but in digital form they too are free to do such.  Choice is paramount and is something that must always exist.  If one form were to monopolize the market a great disservice would beset the gaming community.

Physical games, will they remain an option?

As a consumer driven society it is one of our many duties to keep choice alive.  Choice keeps competition healthy and also keeps companies accountable for their products’ quality (well at least some of the time).  Digital media is a solution that would satisfy some, but for those of us that prefer the real thing we understand that we will have to pay more.  I am not looking for price equality and for those who want to go digital and pay less are entitled to that discount, but for the people like me, physical media should still be an option.  I hope that the events of Daybreakers never come true, but I do hope that video game publishers understand that two communities of consumers will always exist and moving forward they need not marginalize either of them.

If any portion of this article moved you, please sound off in the comments section and let me know how you feel about this debate.  It is an important topic and it will affect all of us in one way or another.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


With smartphones being as pervasive as they are I rarely think about how far phones have come in the past 10 years not only in terms of technology, but their capabilities for gaming.  You now have your Android, iOS, Black Berry and even (*cough*) Palm platforms for gaming, which offer a variety of content, but that wasn’t always the case.  Gaming on a cell phone was something people rarely did, not because it took some extraordinary ability, it just wasn’t enjoyable.  That’s right at one point in time gaming on a cell phone absolutely sucked.  The games were beyond primitive and bordered on having completely useless existences.  They were simply a menu option, which speaks volumes (no pun intended).  The purveyors of such worthless gaming devices included but were not limited to the folks over at Nokia.  For the purpose of this article I will target two devices in particular that had gaming capabilities, one that should have held off in the gaming department and one that shouldn’t have ever been created.  I don’t want to keep you guessing so let’s move forward.

The Nokia 3360

The first device pictured above was a device that I personally owned and is none other than the Nokia 3360.  Don’t get me wrong this was a great cell phone.  It always had great reception and texting was as easy as it could be on a basic phone, but for gaming it was pretty awful.  Many of you will remember the game Snake as it appeared on many Nokia phones and crept its way on to some Ti-86 graphing calculators (useless fact alert, remember Block Dude?).  This was one of two games that were playable on the device and really showed off the power of the phone’s monochrome display.  You might call it the Angry Birds of the late 90s early 2000s (reference made in terms of popularity not quality).  Anyways the other game was a version of brick out, brickle, bricks or whatever the hell it was called.  That game was boring as shit too and rounded out the awful offerings on the device.  You may think I am being too harsh on the device, but it was capable of more and I am simply holding it accountable for that (take off the nostalgia goggles people).  But enough of this Nokia 3360 jive; let us move onto public enemy number one the Nokia N-Gage.

One person is reaching out for another person because they are jumping off a bridge for buying the N-Gage

The dedicated handheld business was still booming and the immense success of the Game Boy Advance apparently had Nokia thinking that if they combined a cell phone and a gaming platform they would have a gold mine on their hands.  Wow were they f##king wrong.  I own the N-Gage (taco design) and as a gaming platform it couldn’t have had a more cumbersome design.  Everything from the controls down to switching games was downright awful.  You had to remove the back panel of the system to change games, which let’s be honest was a pretty terrible design choice.  Mobile gaming is supposed to be convenient and nothing about the N-Gage was such.  Most of the games being released on the N-Gage also had console counterparts that were far superior to say the least (Splinter Cell, SSX).  I know that is the case with most handheld devices, but the N-Gage was positioning itself as being more than a handheld and didn’t deliver.  The only thing N-Gage had going for it was its graphics which to be fair weren’t bad, but it doesn’t matter how good your games looks when they play like road kill.  If you want to say the N-Gage was ahead of its time you are entitled to think such, but one thing that will forever remain important is quality, which the N-Gage was severely lacking.  When cell phone developers are designing new phones they should have an N-Gage framed in carbonite next to them reminding them of what not to do.  For some freak chance that is happening somewhere in the world we owe some sort of thank you the Nokia N-Gage for taking that bullet of atrociousness.

Those who have been gaming on phones for years understand my pain and for those of you who are just getting into it consider yourself privileged.  Gaming on a cellular platform has made tremendous strides in the past 10 years and let’s hope that nothing derails that progress.  Nokia is making Windows phones now which have a great gaming platform on it (Xbox Live Woot! Woot!) So don’t fret.  You have heard my two cents about retro cell phone gaming, but I want to hear what you think.  Do you think I am being far too critical because of device limitations or are you in agreement with me?  Are you an N-Gage loyalist and wish to challenge me to a duel?  Did you think Snake was the best thing since Pong and I need to stop talking shit?  Sound off in the comments section and give us your two cents.  As always you can follow me on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


In today’s day and age quantifying success comes down to how a product performs commercially and how it performs critically.  When it comes to hardware however, success is usually quantified by sheer amount of units sold.  You can have a system with lots of great games (a la Dreamcast), but if it doesn’t perform well at retail it will be met with an untimely demise.  One thing about Sony hardware launches that had remained perpetual until now was with every launch a Ridge Racer game accompanied it [in the USA, forgetting about Japan for right now].  The PS Vita is the first system that Sony has released stateside that does not have Ridge Racer game available at launch.  The Ridge Racer that is already out in Japan will not release in the USA until June of this year.  While my hypothesis may be extremely wild in nature I still believe it should receive some examination.  So I ask propose the question; does having a Ridge Racer title at launch equal success for Sony?

A true classic

Listed below I have gathered some statistics which seemed to be the most accurate ones I could find, but I will disclaim right now that they might not be 100% accurate, so don’t be too harsh on me if they are wrong or slightly different.  But for the purpose of this small study they will give us a basis for analysis and possibly uncover either a fruitful or painful future for the PS Vita.

Could this be the Vita's saving grace?

Sony hardware launches in the USA with estimated sales figures to date (all regions)

  • Sony Playstation (1995) – 102 million
  • Sony Playstation 2 (2000) – 150 million
  • Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) (2005) – 68 million
  • Sony Playstation 3 (2006) – 55 million
  • Sony PS Vita (2012) – ??? (we will say not great yet)

Ridge Racer games launched with Sony hardware in the USA

  • Sony Playstation – Ridge Racer (1995)
  • Sony Playstation 2 – Ridge Racer V (2000)
  • Sony PSP – Ridge Racer (not the original) (2005)
  • Sony Playstation 3 – Ridge Racer VII (2006)
  • Sony PS Vita – ??? (Ridge Racer isn’t coming until June in USA) (2012)

By looking at the numbers, each Sony hardware release that has had a Ridge Racer at launch has performed well at retail (some better than others).  I will not come out and say that Ridge Racer is the sole catalyzing factor for said success, but I believe it stems beyond pure coincidence.  The Ridge games themselves haven’t evolved much over the years, but maybe that offers some level of comfort to those who decide to purchase a system at launch.  You know what you are getting when you buy a Ridge Racer title and I know when I invest a significant amount of money into a hardware purchase I don’t want to take risks with software that might not meet my expectations.  Every Ridge Racer game that I have purchased with new Sony hardware showcases the system in an alluring dimension and that could be another mitigating factor for hardware success.  I know when a new piece of hardware is being talked about Sony or not I wonder if it is going to have a Ridge Racer game available at launch.  Most systems in fact have Ridge games available at launch and go on to be successful (Xbox 360, Nintendo DS etc.).  Purchase decisions have always been a great topic in the world of psychology, because our own individual psychologies determine how we justify spending any amount of money.

For instance when you go to any store; let’s say a GameStop and you are looking to purchase a new system.  You want to be sold on the features, value and also the software that is available for that platform.  Most of us don’t like taking risks and with the lofty prices attached to hardware no one can blame you for searching for comfort.  Maybe subconsciously Ridge Racer offers that comfort.  It may sound crazy, but if you know that a piece of hardware has a familiar title on it, that in return offers comfort.  That is mainly the reason why many system launches have similar software as their predecessors; to offer comfort before you branch out into newer software.  Easing into a new piece of hardware or any product for that matter makes consumers more apt to attain comfort faster and branch out into different properties faster.  Could Ridge Racer be the underlying success for the game industry as a whole?  I’ll admit that is going a little too far, but it certainly will have you thinking about it for at least the rest of this day.

So will the PS Vita perform well stateside sans a Ridge Racer title [for at least the next 4 months]?  I do hope so.  I think that dedicated handheld systems are a sacred part of the industry and if they are willing to adapt to the current landscape of mobile gaming they will be able to compete.  The coming months will be interesting for the PS Vita and hopefully come June that Ridge Racer title will “launch” it to unimaginable heights.  So what do you think about my hypothesis?  Do you think I am insane and should seek a shrink?  Or do you think that there is possibly some validity to this and should be further researched?  Let us know by sounding off in the comments section and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.