Archive for the ‘ Games ’ Category

The War Crimes of 50 Cent: Thoughts on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

In the world of film there’s good movies, bad movies, and a lot of movies that lie somewhere in between. But it’s the ‘B movies’,the special, lower budget films, that turn out to be weirdly endearing. Sure they’ve got faults, but there’s enough good things in them to make you watch them. There’s usually some wild, crazy aspect that makes you appreciate them for what they are. Good entertainment.

The 2009 video game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is the game that I’ve played that feels most like a  great B Movie. It’s got a silly premise, it’s over the top, offensive, partially retarded,  and it’s damn fun.

The plot of the game is basically non existent and serves only as an excuse to propel Fiddy into a series of increasingly ludicrous and violent situations.

You play as Mr. Cent, and the game begins with you performing a concert in some giant stadium in some unnamed city in some geographic area that resembles the middle east. We have to assume it’s the middle east, cause there’s lots of sand, hence the title, and everyone speaks with a bad accent. Promptly after finishing the concert, Mr. Cent tries to collect eh 10 MILLION DOLLARS that his promoter guy is supposed to owe him, but his promoter guy is broke.

He got robbed by some terrorist/gangster/warlord guy and has no cash. So when Fiddy ever so politely threatens to kill the shit outta him unless he pays, he forks over a priceless artifact, the McGuffin of the story, a diamond and jewel encrusted skull.

Which promptly is stolen by people who work for the terrorist/gangster/warlord in the next scene. Fiddy gets double crossed, tripled crossed, and I’m pretty sure at one point even quadrupple crossed by various people who either want to kill him for no reason, or steal his skull. So he sets off to shoot a ton of dudes until he can get his skull back.

And shoot a tons of dudes he does, like so many dudes I’m pretty sure Mr. Cent could rightfully be charged with war crimes of some sort. And in shooting tons of dudes there’s some blood, also hence the title.

The game plays just like Gears of War, but without the roadie run and unfortunately also without the chainsaw gun.

You run into new areas, duck behind cover, shoot terrorist henchmen and then proceed into the next area to repeat the process. It’s fun, cause it’s not especially difficult, you can pretty much run n gun most of the time. So they gameplay’s not bad, it’s just basic stop n pop, and it’s fun in a mindless sort of way, it’s just the whole game itself is kinda offensive to anyone with moral sensibilities of almost any sort.

First off lets begin with the main character 50 Cent. He’s not a soldier, he’s a rapper. He’s not fighting through the middle east in an effort to liberate some country from the throngs of terror, he’s not trying to save anyone, he’s just in this whole situation for the money.

It’s a little hard to identify with him honestly, I mean I’m just a white guy livin’ in suburbia, I’ve never performed at a concert and expected 10 million dollars, I’ve also never been shot. The biggest problem is the motivation moving the story along, Fiddy wants to get paid. That’s it, you’re killing all these guys because you want a skull covered in diamonds. There’s just not a bit of nobility there.

So all the dudes that you kill in the game, you kill in the quest for money, your own personal greed as Mr. Cent. You want your skull back, and you will murder as many people as it takes to get it.

Sure they’ve all got machine guns and bad dispositions, but when you’re raining down hellfire and machine gun bullets at them from a helicopter, killing at least a few hundred guys in one level, you can’t help but think about the cycle of violence begetting violence, is getting a priceless skull really worth having the lives of all these men on your conscience?

Should I just go cut my loses and go home, cause I think what happens in the game might be considered an international incident.

It’s something I’ve never had to ponder before in my video games. In Call of Duty, the bad guys are either nazis or terrorists and you’re a soldier in a war, so it’s ok to shoot them in their faces. In Halo you’re shooting monster aliens, so it’s not just ok, it’s required to shoot them in their alien monster faces.

But in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, well I feel that it’s safe to say that all the people that Fiddy shoots are at least “Bad Guys“, cause they work for a terrorist/gangster/warlord, but it still seems a little bit unnecessary. Fiddy comes out of the experience looking like a monster, he can kill hundreds of men, call them all bitches, and then continue killing, all so he can get his bling.

In addition to proving to being a cold hearted, gangsta killa, Fiddy refers to all the women in the game as “Bitches”, which would be more offensive, if half the women int he game weren’t middle eastern hookers/strippers. YAY FOR MISOGYNY!

50CENT IS THE BEST ROLE MODEL EVER!

So yeah If you can get past the moral quandaries and general douchitude that Fiddy brings to the table, you’ll probably enjoy 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand.

Cause to be honest the game’s hilarious. It’s so fucking stupid, I can hardly believe it even got made.

SERIOUSLY. YOU’RE THE RAPPER 50 CENT FIGHTING TERRORIST BAD GUYS IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO GET SOME BLING.

The game even has a taunt button that you can use to say various offensive things.

I’m pretty sure if you were a dumb ass 13 year old kid into rap music this would be “The Best Game Ever Made OMG!!!

But the problem is that the game plays well enough that all the stupid shit manages to become just part of the charm. It’s like Army of Two but even less serious, it’s like the short bus version of Gears of War.

I’m pretty sure that the people who made the game did so with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. There’s no way to go about this material without a sense of humor. Which is the reason that the game gets a pass, because to be offended by something this retarded would be stupid.

Nothing this dumb should be taken seriously, and because the game is so silly it somehow manages to work.

There’s an undeniable charm to shooting a ton of faceless terrorist bad guys, hearing Fiddy yell something about getting his skull back, all while listening to really classy lyrics like these:

Nigga, it?s not a war when there’s casualties on one side, I ride
Turn it up on you niggas after Jay ride by
I click-clack, that?s that, I don’t flash, I mash
I wave the Uzi at ?em, I make a movie out ?em

Nigga, my gun go off
You see the barrell turnin’, you feel the hollows burnin’
Nigga, now you learnin’, nigga, my gun go off
Call it attempted murder, nigga, I’m tryin? to merk you
When I come back bustin’, nigga, my gun go off

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ENOUGH by Kerry Turner might be the most depressing game ever

Sure the ending of Shadow of The Colossus is all sad and stuff, and some other recent games have tried to hurt our feelings, but it’s been a while since I’ve played something that’s just bleak.

Enough is a new flash game from reallyfancy.com, made by Kerry Turner. It’s a little bit brilliant.

You’re a rabbit. A cute little bunny.

Your whole world is a barren brown chunk against a black void. You can movie back and forth and jump.

There is a swarm of crows that swoop around randomly and try to hit you.

At the top of the screen it says Please Stop.

Any time you get hit by a crow the message changes. It progresses to I’m so tired, Just stop, Please, I’ve had enough, and finally I don’t want to go on. When you’re hit the final time you disappear from existence.

The whole experience is ominous. The black void, the inevitability of you perishing. The fact that the game itself is asking you to not continue.There’s no music, and there’s only about 5 sound effects total. Every little bit, there’s a sound of cawing crows, ugly, and preceded by a half second of white noise. It happens to remind you of the unavoidable threat that surrounds you, and it’s frankly a bit unnerving.

It’s hard to know what to make of Enough.

From the instant you start playing you’re under attack, and the common survival instinct says that you should jump to avoid player death. But you cannot survive. You cannot win. The bunny itself tells you that there’s no point, and that all you’re doing is making things worse. The game itself has already accepted the fact that there is no pleasure in the game, that there is no winning, so the real game is accepting that as a player.

It’s like the movie Funny Games, whereas in the film, horrible things only happen to the character because you, as a viewer, have chosen to watch. In Enough, the rabbit/the player suffers only because they choose to play.

Unlike Canabalt, another game, where death is inevitable and will happen with every game session, there is no incentive to try again. No high score, nothing to strive for.

It’s hopeless.

And because of this Enough is brilliant.

I don’t want to make a definitive statement about what the game is about. But I feel that the game is about being an anti-game. If that makes sense.

The only way you can really win, to really prevent the rabbit from perishing into blackness is to not play.

CANABALT is the best thing about the iPhone

As of beginning this article I was sitting in a doctors office waiting room. I drove my sister there because she is I’ll. I was there for a little over an hour or so.

I surfed the net, listened to music, and played a whole bunch of the best game on the iPhone: Canabalt.

The main reason that Canabalt is the best game on the entire platform is the effortless nature in that you can begin to play. It is a fundamentally simple game that can last for a few seconds or a few minutes.Waiting for the bus? Canabalt. On Break at your job? Canabalt. Sitting around for a few minutes with nothing better to do? Canabalt.

It’s instantly engrossing, even in the smallest chunks.

Canabalt has the same main objective that almost every other game has; avoid death. Simple as that. Well slightly less simple. You’re a guy, inside a building, and something is chasing you. You’re trying to escape whatever it is, some sort of alien or robotic menace you can infer from the “War of The Worlds” tripod-esque things moving around in the background and the occasional ship that flies overhead shaking the screen.

So you run. To the right. Automatically. So the game is about running, but since the guy who you control runs automatically it’s really about what you cause him to do. JUMP. As you jump you enable him to avoid death and keep running, and he speeds up.

You tap the screen anywhere and he jumps, how long you hold the tap for controls how long he jumps, it’s simple and elegant.

Zoomed in picture of Canabalt's style

As you’re running you have to jump to avoid various crates and boxes that cause you to stumble and slow down. If you slow down too much you die, cause you can’t get over the gaps in the rooftops, but if you go too fast you die because you jump too far, and the game becomes faster than you can react. The game quickly becomes a balancing act, as you try to keep the perfect death preventing momentum.

The thing with Canabalt though, is no matter how well you are doing, you will die. Every single game ends in the same way, with the death of your small black and white guy. You can die within the first five seconds of the game even if you don’t do anything he will just tumble out of the starting building to his death. You can hit a wall, fall onto a collapsing building, or even be turned into a fine mist of former person by hitting an alien rocket. It’s inevitable, and it’s why it has been said that the game is not about neither running nor jumping, but dying. It happens every time you play.

Game Over Man, Game Over

This screen shows up the instant you die, you see how far you’ve run and a brief, few words reflecting upon your death. With those few words as your only comfort, your only options are to exit the game or “Tap to retry your daring escape”. The retry message is a small glimmer of false hope. You never escape, and that is something that you have to come to terms with. You tap the screen and are immediately thrust right back into the same world of terror as before. You don’t win, all you do is play the few moments of this man’s terrified life, it kinda reminds me of “Groundhog Day” if Bill Murray were to die all the time.

The achievement is all in living just a bit longer. It’s addicting. It’s a distillation of the basic tenant of most games, continue living via player input. It feels pure.

The game has a soundtrack consisting of a total of two audio tracks “RUN” and “Daring Escape”. Each fluctuates between ominous and fast paced, giving the game’s soundtrack the perfect tone.

The sound effects are the real important part of the presentation. They’re minimal to be sure, but wear some decent headphones it’s great, the first screen of the game states “For Maximum Awesome, Headphones Recommended”. You hear the little mans footsteps as he runs, and you hear him grunt and gasp when he makes impossible jumps, and you hear windows shatter, and buildings crumble with a threatening amount of bass. It all goes to add an even greater sense of urgency to the game, it make you care just that small bit more, makes it that much more important that he survive for just that much longer.

A fun way to play though is to turn the music off entirely. You lose some of the distraction and can better focus purely on his footsteps and the world crumbling around you. Without the music the stakes seem greater. The sound of the building you start in shaking tells your brain one thing, MOVE. It’s less about the excitement of action gameplay, and more about the focus of survival. I feel if they could gave you the option to play with a backing track entirely composed of the noises of your city’s downfall, it’d be even cooler.

Canabalt is one of the best games of all time. It is the short sad story of a man who dies, and the struggle of the human spirit against the inevitable. You will die, that’s a fact, and the amount of game you get out of Canabalt is directly proportional to your willingness and need to survive, if even for only one terrified second longer.

I linked to the games original website back up at the beginning, and here is the official current site, where you can play the free version of the game right in your web browser.

The game sells for 2.99 and is the best app you can download from iTunes.

The Games I Finished This Past Week pt1

Ok so my video game playing habits aren’t exactly timely.

I usually buy a game when I see it on sale, play the first few hours, and then let it sit on a shlef for a few year before picking it up again.

So as I’m currently single, and not really in the mood to pursue anything beside laziness, I’ve decided to make up for some lost time and actually beat some of the games that I started back in the day.

CONDEMNED 2: BLOODSHOT

So back in the day there was an Xbox 360 launch title “Condemned: Criminal Origins”. It was a first person shooter where you play as a detective in a spooky, dark city and you go around in dark, spooky places looking for clues and stuff relating to some horrible murders. There’s a conspiracy plot of some sort, and all sorts of creepy homeless thugs try to kill you.

Now calling the game a shooter is kinda a misnomer, as you spend most of the game hitting bad dudes, who are probably angry crackheads or something, with various blunt or sharp objects that you pull from the environment. Some things are better than others, axes hurt more than pipes for example, but mostly you just beat crackheads and sometimes ghostly crackheads to death with whatever is lying around. The game was scary as shit, cause everything is dark and spooky, and Monolith, the guys who made the game are seasoned pros at the scary game business.

I enjoyed the game a whole ton, cause it pretty much plays like this:

Walking through dark, spooky, burnt out building/subway/school/library. Lots of freaky shadows. Hey I found some evidence for that crime type thing we’re investigating! Hey now I’m walking through this even spookier section of this burnt out, dark building. OOOHHH SHIT THIS FUCKIN CRACKHEAD GUY JUST JUMPED OUT AT ME. HE’S ALL FREAKY AND SHIT!!!

SPOOKY CRACKHEADS!!!

Proceed to taser and then beat crackhead(s) till they stop attacking you.

Repeat.

Now I know my description doesn’t really do the game justice, but It’s the scariest game on the Xbox 360.

But unfortunately I wasn’t finishing up the first game I was finishing up the sequel. For some reason your detective character from the first game has turned into a dark, sinister, alcoholic version of himself; who looks almost as menacing as your average video game bad guy. You look freaky as fuck, and kinda snarl at just about everything. Your partner lady named Rosa from the first game also returns, but now she’s changed ethnicity.

The game starts out alright, with you goin’ through spooky places beatin’ spooky crackhead guys to death, but now there’s a full fledged fighting system with all sorts of annoyed moves and button pressing. You no longer are just beatin’ crackheads to death in self defense, you’re performing combos and finishing moves! It feels unnecessarily complex at times, and at other times can be kinda annoying.

Then the plot kicks in, and the conspiracy gets much wackier, with you traveling through a doll factory full of creepy toys, a mountain lodge, a magic theatre, and all sorts of gross burnt out places. There’s all sorts of blood and grue, and all manner of unspeakable nastiness. The game as a whole seems to have just gotten dirtier for the sake of being gross. That’s not a huge qualm for me, but it is noticable.

The thing is the last portion of the game just gets silly, with mercenaries trying to kill you, the evil conspiracy gets dumber, and you get the magic power to explode people’s heads by yelling at them. The whole thing just gets more and more ludicrous, I honestly had to use Wikipedia to figure out was supposed to be going on.

For the most part, the biggest flaws are in the second half of the game, the game ends up relying too much on guns, and that kills the atmosphere. You get a magic head exploding power, which is just dumb, and the plot turns retarded.

The graphics are much improved, and the game is still quite scary at many parts, just overall I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first, it just felt like the developers were trying to hard to be gritty and dark and disturbing and cool this time around and they lost track of what made the first game so enjoyable.

The bottom line is that you can pick up the first game for about 8 bucks used and the sequel for about 10 bucks. So for less than 20 dollars you can get one great survival horror shooter/crackhead beating simulation, and its sequel full of wacky plot developments. I recommend the first game as one of my favorites on the Xbox 360, and I figure if you like the first one you could do a lot worse for 10 bucks.