Friday, December 24, 2010

Get Off My Lawn: Game of the Year Awards

   It's 1:30 in the morning and I just can't do it. I can't bring myself to write about the games that came out this year and why one of them is better than the other, or who the best Nolan North character was, or even why Mass Effect 2 was overrated. I just can't.

I've been watching Firefly again. I'd take any excuse to post Malcolm Reynolds at this point. 
I want to tell you why Super Meat Boy is awesome, or why I'm disappointed that people seem to have forgotten (or just haven't played) Cave Story. I mean, it was a great year for independent games, and for music, and for platformers. But why would I write that? You already know that. If you pay attention to the industry at all you already know what most people think of games this year. So what's the point of all of it?

   Look, I know I don't handle the end of things well, so maybe I'm a little more hysterical than usual. I just don't see what the point of all of these comparisons are. Who does it serve other than the advertisement committees who slap "Game of the Year Edition" on a box as an excuse to keep it from dropping in price. Hell, I'd be willing to bet most folk haven't even played all of the games. You see that stack. It's taunting you.

   I'm not saying  "let's just all get along." I'm saying anybody who truly cares about video games should be getting their hands on anything and everything they possibly can, not trying to validate that their purchases were the best purchases. Nobody is truly qualified to make any of these broad decisions, and they only serve to smother games that still do important things.

   This was a pretty awesome year, and if we want to reminisce about all the different games that came out, great. But games like Amnesia don't stand a chance to games like.. I don't know, what did kids like this year. Mario Galaxy 2, right? Sure, we'll go with that, that was pretty good. How is Amnesia, which is unique, but clumsy as fuck supposed to compare to Mario Galaxy 2? It's not like Amnesia has Nintendo's funding or distribution. And how do you fit Super Crate Box into any of this? You can't, you shouldn't, so why won't people stop?

   Alright. That's probably enough about this from me. I just needed to get my word in. What do you think about all of this madness? Is there any game you wish would get any more spotlight before the year ends and we all move on with our lives? Feel free to drop a comment, and thanks for reading.

Turns out I don't need an excuse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Music Appreciation - Super Meat Boy

Because music is all that keeps the silence away.

   What is Music Appreciation? It's where I present the fine work of the men and women in the video game industry's long under-appreciated music design. What are my qualifications to do so? Virtually none. I'm a writer by trade, and have little to no understanding of what makes the funny sounds come out of the round things on my desk. What I do know is what I like; video game soundtracks.

   For my first run, I have the esteemed pleasure of presenting a few samples of the soundtrack to Super Meat Boy. When I first started following this Indie Darling, I was hooked with the neo-retro design, the outrageous sense of narrative, and the good ol' fashioned controls. The game delivered all of that by the pound and then some. What really caught me off guard was how striking the soundtrack was. It's almost immediately apparent exactly what Super Meat Boy is going for: something that throws old school and new, without disappointing on any front.

   (I always told myself I wouldn't include these jumps, but honestly, it's probably much easier on my page viewing. My apologies ahead of time.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Always Hate the Beginning...

It's so hard to start off well without falling back on reliable staples. Some people try and draw comparisons or they'll try to set up their credibility or knowledge. Every so often, they start you with something from the end and then, when you're like "What the hell is going on?!" and then they hit you with a "48 hours earlier..." screen.

I like it short and sweet so I can get to what I'm here to do: talk about games.

Video games, card games, board games. I've got things to say, and things to show. Let's be clear: I'm not reviewing games. That's not what I'm here for. I can't tell you whether you will like a game or not, so I'm not going to bother. But I think Video Game Music deserves more credit. I think glowing red is not an acceptable substitute for a clear life bar. I think even bad games can have merits, and sometimes a bad game can do something amazing... It's just still a bad game.

In any case, you'll see a lot from me. My obsessions, my interests, the little things. And every so often you might get a piece of creative writing. I'm currently working on a piece about Professor Layton. I'm not talking about Fan Fiction, although I suppose it is in the loosest sense. I'm talking about something... well, different. You'll see.

Any questions? Care to get to know me? Feel free to hit me up the comments. Also feel free to follow my frequent quick-rants on Twitter @docrandle