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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Redoing the affiliate directory page at my site

Just fyi, if you are planning to visit my site at http://www.xboxfreak.ws/, you will find that the related affiliates link has been deleted.  I am planning to revise the affiliate directory and give it a new name, called "sponsored links".  It should be up and running later this week.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ghost Busters Game review

Check out the Ghost Busters Game review I wrote at hub pages.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Twisted, but fuan and sometimes popular games and series worth mentioning part 1

Image caption: here is a typical "finish him" message in Mortal Kombat that appears when you have knocked out your opponent's health bar 2 rounds in a row. Note that Liu Kang has the option to perform a brutal fatality on Kano if the person playing him chooses to do so. The Mortal Kombat series is one of many twisted games out there.
In my years growing up and seeing the evoloution of gaming, I have noticed a very interesting trend these days: there have been many different twisted games out there and some of them are surprisingly popular. In this blog I will talk about a few of these games. I have at least 7 games in mind, though this post will be too long if I talked about them all on one post, and so I will break up this article into several posts. The first two games I will talk about are the Mortal Kombat Series as well as Grand Theft Auto.
Disclaimers: 1)given the mature nature of these games I am about to talk about, this post may be offensive to some (though the idea with this post is to give a commentary about these titles), and 2) never try anything you see in these featured games (especially) at home. Ever! No fights to the death, jacking cars or anything like that (unless if you are trying to go to jail as doing stuff you see in these featured game in real life will certainly land you in hot water for sure).
Game #1- Fight to the death (literally) in The Mortal Kombat Series
Fighting games have been around for quite a while, with early titles including Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Double Dragon, Battletoads, as well as the classic Street Fighter series (especially Street Fighter 2), with modern hits beign titles like Street Fighter 4, Wii Sports Boxing, and Soul Calibur. In most fighting games, the aim is to knock out the opponent and win. Usually the fight goes the best of 3 rounds and you win either when you wipe out your opponent's health bar 2 rounds in a row or when time runs out. Of course, there is also the Mortal Kombat series, which puts fighting games into a whole new ball game. On the surface, the Mortal Kombat series will appear to be much like any other typical fighting games out there. The fights lasts 2 to 3 rounds and the objective is to wipe out your opponent's health bar. However, one huge thing that sets Mortal Kombat appart is that upon defeating your opponent in the final round (unless if time runs out first), the game's narrator (Shao Khan?) will say "FINISH HIM!" and when that happens, you basically have the option to literally kill your opponent (if you know the right button combination as well as the distance of course). Every character have their own unique personalities, moves as well as fatalities (the classic fatality for Scorpion, for example, is to take off his mask, revealing his skeleton self and fry his opponents). Some characters have relatively quick and painless finisher moves (such as decapitations), while others may have more brutal moves (such as Nightwolf in his Animality finisher where he transforms into a wolf and mauls his opponent to death). Of course, if you prefer not to kill your opponent, you can always just knock out your opponent with an uppercut or in some games, perform a friendship move, where your character becomes "friends" with his/her opponent and lets the defeated foe lives.
video caption: here is a fatality demonstration from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 that Igi40 posted on youtube. Warning: this video may be offensive to some (though it does go to show the twisted nature of the Mortal Kombat series)
So, there you have it with the Mortal Kombat Series. Despite the brutal nature of the game, it hs been surprisingly popular since it's debut back in the 1990's and has produced many sequels (with the latest ones being MK Deception, Armageddon and Shaolin Monks), 2 movies, as well as a short lived cartoon series that was on USA Network back when cartoons were being showed on it (networks like TNT and USA network used to have lots of cartoons on them before Cartoon Network came into being). Perhaps my favorite in the series was probably Mortal Kombat Trillogy (which is a spin off from the Ulitmate Mortal Kombat 3 game). By the way, does this game remind anyone of how it was at the time of the Roman Gladiators? Because, fights to the death were a real sport back in ancient rome, where Gladiators (usually slaves and other outcasts of the roman empire) would fight either other Gladiators or beasts (like lions) in fearsome death matches. Sometimes public executions were also performed in the colliseum as well. Thought that I would ask.
Similar titles and games:
- Celebrity Death Match from MTV (this was the hit series on MTV where celebrities fight each other to the death)
- Killer Instinct (no mercies replace fatalities here)
Game 2 - Become a common criminal in Grand Theft Auto 4 (and other GTA games for that matter)
video caption: here is a short video I made a few months ago via a flip camera showing my guy going on a short and cheesy rampage in GTA 4 (I got wasted both times of course) just for fun. This video shows one of the many things you can do in GTA 4, as well as the twisted nature of this game.
Ever wondered what it might be like living the life of crime? I've only been to the Los Angeles area twice since moving to the Seattle area and though I did grow up in Chicago, I lived in the suburbs near the Wisconson border, and so I am not familiar with living in rough neighborhoods. Even medium cities like Seattle do have gangs and rough neighborhoods (such as Rainer, Capitol Hill and White Center). Anyways, if you are looking for a good game where you get to be a common criminal without becoming a real life criminal, you do not have to look much further than the Grand Theft Auto series, with the latest one being GTA 4. The grand theft auto series has evolved alot since its inception back in the '90s and has a huge storyline to follow and has gotten lots of good reviews in gaming magazines. Of course, there are lots of common themes throughout the series:
- you control a thug (such as Niko in GTA 4) who does jobs for various criminal masterminds (ranging from petty thefts to assasinating deliquent business contacts that the your boss has developed a grudge against).
- there is an open ended universe out there. Even if you don't want to play the storyline missions, you can always go on a rampage in the game, hang out with girlfriends (in GTA San Andreas, for example, CJ can have up to 6 girlfriends provided he has met special requirements), explore the huge map that the games cover (especially GTA San Andreas where you have 3 cities to operate in instead of one, with a huge country side seperating each city).
- The primary mode of transportation (besides walking) is to steal cars from unsuspecting people (usually by car jacking) and driving off with them. Even if you wreck one car, you can always steal another one.
- There are no rules on the road. You can drive like a maniac and nobody will care. Police officers will only go after you if you either hit them, hit another car in their presence, if you already have a wanted level, or if you are driving drunk (in GTA 4).
- You can go around killing people and commit other crimes (such as committing arson with Motogiv Cocktails in GTA San Andreas). Of course, as you commit crimes, your wanted level will rise represented by wanted stars and police officers will try to bust you or kill you. The more wanted stars you have (usually up to 6), the more officers will come after you and try to either kill or bust you (3 stars, for example will cause a swat police helicopter to spawn and hunt you down). Of course, if you get busted, cops will simply arrest you, strip you of your weapons, take some money from you as a bribe and release you at the nearest police station, after which you can go around committing more crimes, and then when you get busted, the same routine happens: basically catch and release (even if you commit the most henious crimes in the game). Unrealistic isn't it? Try crimes like the ones you see in GTA in RL and you are probably going to be looking at lenghty jail sentences or worse in real life. Also, if your guy gets killed, he will simply respawn at the nearest hospital.
- If you do storyline missions, you will get involved with organized crime, whether it is working for the mob (as is the case with GTA 4), join in a gang war system (such as the Grove Street gang in San Andreas), work for corrupt police officers (such as Frank Tenpenny in GTA San Andreas, as well as other criminal masterminds doing various quests.
- In later games like GTA 4 and San Andreas, you can also get multiple girlfriends (and other girls will usually not care if you date more than one in the GTA universe). This is unrealistic too, since if you try to take on more than one girlfriend in real life, they are bound to get jealous and break up with you (sometimes even the slightest act of disloyalty such as cheating can produce disasterous results in your relationship).
Well, this list goes on, but you get the picture, and the m rated nature of these game have spawned lots of criticisms and controversies from parents, law makers, as well as other opponents of these games. Interestingly the Simpsons Game (which was released for the Xbox 360, PS 3 and Nintendo Wii not long after the Simpsons movie) has a huge parody of the GTA series, with Bart wanting to get Grand Theft Scratchy and Marge, being a typical mother (no offense intended, though I know my mom does not like the series for example), wants to have the game banned (there is even a level where Marge and Lisa will find themselves in the Grand Theft Scratchy universe and try to make Grand Theft Scratchy world "G" rated instead of "M" rated by cleaning up the 'hood to say the least). By the way, never try anything you see in the GTA universe (i.e., stealing cars, joining your local gang, going on rampages, etc) as that will certainly land you in hot water (to say the least) if you do.
Similar works:
- other titles in the GTA series
- Scar Face (GTA Vice City seems to have gotten its inspiration from Scar Face)
- Saints Row
- Simpsons Game (has a few parodies of the GTA universe)
I will talk about more of these games on a later post.
Have a twisted game you want to share? Feel to post it in my comments thread.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Ghost Busters game brings back my childhood memories

Besides the Nintendo Wii, I did get two new Xbox 360 games: Batman Arkane Asylum and the Ghost Busters game. When I was a kid, I used to watch the Ghost Busters cartoon series all the time and even watched the two movies that were made featuring the crew from Ghost Busters. I tried the NES version back during the NES days, but did not like it. However, the new one for the Xbox 360 is quite cool. In the game, you play as the new recruit who joins the ghost buster crew (which features voice actors directly from the movies: Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray and the rest of the ghost busters crew) and you go to many different locations in search of ghosts, equipped with ghost hunting equimpent as well as the signature ghostbuster equipment and traps going after evil entities bent on taking over New York City. And there are plenty of memorable missions and moments. In the first mission, you explore this haunted hotel (which may remind you of a real life haunted hotel, such as the Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, Colorado) in search of the paranormal and fight this ghost pirate at the end of the mission, along with a mission where you fight the notorious Stay Puft creature from the first Ghost Busters Movie (who ends up being the first major boss in the game). In the third mission, you tour a haunted library in search of the infamous Grey Lady (I acutally live close to the former location of the Snohomish Library btw). This game in my opinion rocks. Reminds me a bit of Ghost Hunters on Syfy, except you actually fight the ghosts at paranormal hot spots. (more will be added to this post over time)