Retro Game Friday: Space Channel 5

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a classic game. It’s Space Channel 5!

Plot: The plot is pretty mediocre, and while it was fun as a kid I’d be pretty bored by the story itself now. Thankfully this isn’t a book.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty fun, with it being split between “Dance” and “Shooting” sections. I’ll admit I suck at the dance sections but that’s a personal failing because I can’t hold a beat to save my life, in this case literally.

Art: The art has aged pretty poorly since it was released, but considering this game first released in 1999 that isn’t a surprise.

Music: The music is still great though!

Overall: This is a fun game, although those who aren’t good at holding a beat might get frustrated, otherwise this is a great way to spend some time.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Music, Good Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Thoughts on 2020 E3’s Cancellation

Hey all I’m back with an answer to a question I was asked a couple times. It’s my Thoughts on 2020 E3’s Cancellation!

It was cancelled?!?: In case you’ve been living under a rock and/or stuck without an Internet connection for the past month and a half you should know that this years E3 was cancelled due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

So thoughts?: I’m not surprised at all, hell I had a personal trip to visit family in California planned for about a week and a half ago that got cancelled because all three West Coast states have had Stay in Place Orders statewide since March 23rd. So many people are taking this very seriously and are trying to slow the spread of the virus. E3 being cancelled is not at all surprising, I mean even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed till next year, although they’ll still be called the 2020 Olympics. So again I’m not surprised, I won’t be surprised if most of the United States is under a Stay in Place order by the time this column is posted.

What about all those announcements?: I’m almost positive we’ll be seeing a lot of Nintendo Direct style broadcasts from various publishers and developers this year. It’s still got the ability to hype up the holiday season lineup while being able to prevent the virus from spreading by hosting a huge event for a few thousand people to be near one another with very little distance.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Retro Game Friday: Pokemon Stadium

Hey all I’m back with a game that has no story for this week’s Retro Game Friday. It’s Pokemon Stadium!

Gameplay: It’s standard Pokemon gameplay, you battle with six ‘Mon from the first Generation and can either battle against another player or you can take on the “Stadium Mode” where you battle AIs. Beating them got you a Pokemon you could transfer to the Gameboy games. Really it’s not that amazing a game, though it was useful for those friendless or isolated people who didn’t get the chance to trade ‘Mon with said people to complete their Pokedex in the Gameboy games.

Art: The art has aged really poorly, but back in the day it was pretty cool.

Music: Standard Pokemon music, that’s all that really needs to be said.

Overall: Not a game to play just for itself, it only was worth playing when you had an accompanying Gameboy game to go with it.

For those who like: Pokemon.

Not for those who don’t like: Pokemon.

Video Game Tuesday: Stadia 4 Months Later

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m looking at Google’s new console now that is has been out on the market since November. It’s Stadia 4 Months Later!

Stadia? what’s that?: Exactly, Stadia was being hyped up to be the big console killer, to replace all consoles and allow anyone to enjoy a game in super high definition without having a super gaming PC. 4 Months later and it’s still pretty much an unknown and has a grand total of 29 games available to play. That’s a terrible lineup, but that’s not all! Nope it’s had mutiple technical issues, from streaming lag impacting gameplay to not actually meeting resolutions as “promised”. That last is in quotes because pretty much every single line on the Stadia webpage has an asterisk on it with at least a quarter of it being footnotes for gods sake. So while it sounds like a great idea, it just won’t be until the US has a standard internet connection that isn’t utter crap.

So it’s like I said prior to this being released and when it was being hyped up months ago. Stadia is a great dream, but that’s all it will ever be until the US gets better internet for everyone.

 

Retro Game Friday: Mario Hoops

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a Mario game that really doesn’t deserve any praise except for one specific part. It’s Mario Hoops!

Gameplay: This was almost entirely a purely gimmick game to take “advantage” of the DS’ touch controls. Honestly it sucked, and the fact this was never expanded on or got a sequel should be extremely telling. Making matters worse was the lack of online multiplayer, which really sucked.

Art: The art is mediocre, it’s aged very badly and looks little better than the Mario 64 port that happened for the DS on launch.

Music: Here is the one positive from this disaster and that is the fact it was Masayoshi Soken’s very first game he composed for. Since he’s since gone on to become one of Square Enix’s best musical wizards that is something I’ll be happy about regarding this game.

Overall: Stay clear of this game, it’s controlled purely through gimmicks and isn’t that great a game even taking that out of consideration.

For those who like: Mario Games, Mediocrity, Great Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the first two, the last one is perfectly acceptable.

Video Game Tuesday: Enemy Programming

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while. It’s all about Enemy Programming!

Enemy Programming?: What I mean is what goes into programming the various enemies you face in a game. For example in a First Person Shooter how to deal with enemies without them becoming too hard for the player to deal with.

Too Hard?: Yes too hard, most enemy programming nowadays at least when it comes to their behavior coding needs to be tuned lower so players can actually win against them in most AAA games. This has been the case for over a decade and this was one of my first lessons in Game Design and Programming. You had to plan out where and how enemies would act, where they would generate (spawn) and how they would approach the player. In most games this means giving them a specific path or paths you intend for them to deal with so they don’t just pop up from behind the player and waste them.

Pop up behind?: Yes, the enemies would actually flank the player and or leave a building and re-enter it to hit the player from behind. Think of it like this, when you command a large squad of Zerglings to attack a Terran Bunker and you don’t actually tell them to go surround it, no you just point them at their target and they do their thing, automatically swarming and circling the structure. This applies to pretty much most enemies in games. But say if that Bunker only had so much space to attack on certain side because it’s at the top of a ramp, but that same plateau it’s placed on has another entrance you’ve scouted out that would let your Zerglings attack it’s other sides. Well those extra Zerglings would move around to attack the other sides by going up that other ramp. In a First Person Shooter that would cause most players lots of issues, thinking that they only need to watch a certain angle and deal with it from there. That’s what I’m getting at when it comes to Enemy Programming.

What else?: Well this is where stuff gets fun or hilarious. Issues like this are what cause some really fun strategies to occur, like the infamous Atheon cheese of Destiny fame where you just used grenades to push him off the edge and instantly killed him and completely ignored the encounter’s mechanics. The programming was so constrained in certain ways to allow the players to actually beat the fight, but didn’t have certain other coding to prevent the Atheon from falling off the platform thereby completely preventing the fight from becoming trivial. Most developers have to take these sorts of scenarios into account for every encounter a game has in it. Most do a pretty spectacular job, although some like Bungie have failed spectacularly at times.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, see you next time.

Retro Game Friday: Nightfire

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering one of my favorite Bond games. It’s James Bond 007: Nightfire!

Plot: The plot is okay, it’s a pretty stereotypical Bond plot so it doesn’t have that great a story. Nonetheless that wasn’t the main draw of the game for me at the time.

Gameplay: The gameplay of the single player campaign was okay, but pretty lackluster. The Multiplayer allowed for Bots, which was a rarity in that day and age and allowed me and my best friend to play with each other rather than against one another. I remember playing with him for hours when I was younger, although I do remember thinking that it would be better if the Bots were better programmed.

Art: The art has aged really poorly since then, but back then it was pretty darn good.

Music: Classic Bond music, not much else need be said.

Overall: A fun game, although it was best played with a friend.

For those who like: FPS Games, Bond Games, Multiplayer.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.