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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Aliens: Colonial Marines - My biggest letdown of this generation.
Posted on Tuesday, February 19 2013 @ 11:26:44 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

"GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!"

Background: I am a huge Aliens fan. I have played, at one point or another, almost every Aliens game in existence. I even own the original Alien vs. Predator on the Atari Jaguar and Alien Trilogy on both the PlayStation 1 and SEGA Saturn. I bought Aliens vs Predator 2010 on release day and while it was a pretty good game, it just wasn't the definitive Aliens experience that gamers have wanted for years now. One day I knew that just had to change, and I was hoping that Colonial Marines was going to be the game that finally did the iconic franchise justice.

I first heard about Aliens: Colonial Marines about 5 years ago, and ever since I've been following it as much as possible. There was very little information for nearly all of its development cycle up until about its final year when Gearbox Software started heavily promoting the title. Once the initial release date was finally given, I was pumped! Aliens: Colonial Marines instantly became my most anticipated game of 2012, until it got delayed into 2013. Unsurprisingly, it then became my most anticipated game of 2013. What can I say? I'm just a huge Aliens fan.

Launch day: Up until this point, I had not read a single review for the game. A review embargo was imposed so that no gaming publications could post a single review until 2/12/2013 (has a complete review embargo until launch day EVER been a good thing?). Anyways, it is now launch day, and in a few minutes I'm heading down to GameStop. However, it is not to pick up Aliens, but instead to CANCEL my pre-order. Yep, the game that I've been looking forward to for 5 years is now out and I couldn't be any less excited.

The review embargo was lifted and a tidal wave of rage crashed down upon Gearbox. The reviews are BRUTAL. The game is just a complete mess and rumors are starting to leak out from an ex-Gearbox employee that the development cycle was a trainwreck and was eventually outsourced to another developer. Gearbox gave up on the title and paid someone else to finish it for them. This is simply unacceptable and critics let Randy Pitchford know how they feel about it.

IGN: 4.5/10
Joystiq: 1/5
Destructoid: 2.5/10
Eurogamer: 3/10
Game Informer: 4/10
Kotaku: Buy? NO. "There is nothing redeeming about Aliens: Colonial Marines, unless you count the inevitable relief you might feel once it's over.

The biggest brown-eye burner: Randy Pitchford, CEO of GearBox Software, lied straight to us this whole time. I watched those promotional videos he did telling us all how Colonial Marines is the canonical sequel to the Aliens film. Well, it isn't. He lied, plain and simple. Here is why:

"Colonial Marines falls apart almost immediately, taking the established narrative of the Alien films and retroactively altering their events in an attempt to strengthen its own adventure. Using the laziest of approaches —bringing back the dead—the rewrite may have been intended to give some importance to the new group of grunts pitted against the xenomorphs, but it serves no purpose. Gearbox's narrative is a poorly constructed patchwork of moments you've already experienced in the films, with locations and action beats that are, in one fell swoop, both inspired and uninspiring. New to the series? Be prepared for confusion, because Aliens: Colonial Marines does little to explain anything of substance." - Xav de Matos, Joystiq

"As for Colonial Marines’ much-hyped story, there’s clearly a reason why a canonical bridge between the films didn’t exist: Absolutely nothing of any consequence happened. A bunch of no-names walked through the aftermath of Aliens (Nuke? What nuke?), fought some more xenomorphs, and met up with a familiar face in a ridiculous bit of revisionism." - Jeff Cork, Gameinformer

So Mr. Pitchford, you took the single most important concept to Alien franchise fans (the long-awaited canonical sequel to Aliens) and used that as a selling point, when in fact it was nothing more than a complete lie. It simply doesn't exist. So to that I say, F%CK YOU.

Conclusion: The game is a complete disaster and it is painfully obvious that Gearbox gave up on this title long ago when they shipped it off to another developer. It is an abysmal failure.

Here is a summary of most critics: "The story is nonexistent, the graphics suck, the PS3/360 ports run terribly and are un-optimized, the gameplay sucks, the campaign is unbalanced (super powerful shotgun makes the game easy mode, ability to carry numerous weapons simultaneously), the AI is downright horrible, mulltiplayer sucks (survivor only has 2 maps, maps in general suck, full of chokepoints, aliens underpowered), and the game is glitchy."

If you opened up the game case and found an actual steaming pile of **** inside instead of the game disc, you would be better off.

So who is excited for the WIi U port that was shipped to an even different developer than who made the 360/PS3 version? Could it actually get even worse? Will the Wii U version actually be scored Duke Nukem Forever out of 10? I will no longer be waiting to find out.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick

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CD-ROM Technology and the Video Game Industry
Posted on Tuesday, December 4 2012 @ 08:36:16 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

Back in the early 1990s, CD-ROM technology was still in its infancy. The technology was unproven at the time, but developers have always tried to incorporate future technologies and saw a great deal of promise in the new storage medium. Up until this point, nearly all forms of entertainment came in the form of cartridges or tapes, such as the cartridges used by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Video Home System (VHS) tapes used by the movie industry. The old cartridge-based software storage philosophy was about to get replaced, but not without a fight.

On October 15, 1992, SEGA released the SEGA CD (SEGA CD, 2012). This was the first mainstream CD-ROM-based video game console released in the United States. The developers were amazed at the massive storage of the CD-ROM medium compared to the traditional cartridges of the day. The Super Nintendo had a cartridge capacity of 16MB, while a CD-ROM had 700MB (SNES 1st-gen, 2012). This is almost forty-four times more storage, but that is not the only plus side of CD-ROMs. CD-ROMs are also significantly cheaper to produce than cartridges. During the late 1990s, the MSRP of a Sony PlayStation CD-ROM was $39.99 while the price for the same game ported on the Nintendo 64 was $59.99 (N64 US Launch, 2012).

The difference was clear to not only software developers, but to the consumer as well. CD-ROM technology was the way of the future. Having such massive amounts of storage available has led to sweeping changes in the video game industry. For the first time ever, large amounts of cinema-quality full-motion video could be interwoven during gameplay to richen storylines and immerse the user in the game world. Massive worlds could now be created which would lead to monumental changes and open new doors for developers. Games such as Final Fantasy VII, the genre defining role-playing game which was released on the Sony PlayStation in 1997, had such a massive and cinematic world that the game required three CD-ROMs to contain. Video games of this magnitude were impossible to reproduce on a cartridge-based system, as the game would have required dozens upon dozens of cartridges to contain it.


However, as amazing as early CD-ROM technology was, it was not without its own faults. Fast optical drives were expensive to produce, which resulted in hardware developers to install 1X and 2X speed CD-ROM drives into their systems. These single- and double-speed drives were slow, which resulted in long loading times. The 4X speed technology was a massive improvement, but was too cost-prohibitive to produce until the late 1990s. Furthermore, because a CD-ROM does not contain any physical hardware like a cartridge does, they can’t hold any saved data storage nor contain any hardware accelerator chips. The game CD-ROM simply holds the game data that was burned into it by the manufacturer and cannot be altered in any way. CD-ROMs are also very fragile, with the data portion prone to scratching, making the disc unreadable. Cartridges tend to be very sturdy, built using thick plastic that can take years of abuse and still perform flawlessly.

Even with these cons, CD-ROM technology has changed personal computing and video gaming forever. It has allowed the user to enjoy vast worlds that are no longer limited by storage constraints. The significantly lower cost of production has given the consumer an incredible amount of bang for the buck, while still allowing developers enough room to turn a generous profit.

The future is bright for CD-ROM based technology. Over the years, optical data storage has improved and increased with the release of DVD-ROM technology. Yet again, disc technology has changed the way consumers think about video games. Even further advancement in the form of Blu-ray has allowed the storage capacity of optical discs to rise to a staggering fifty gigabytes (Blu-Ray, 2012).

All home video game consoles have been using optical discs now for over a decade, and all signs point to the future generation using optical discs as well (PS3News, 2012). While cartridges carried video game advancement for generations, the time came when they hit their ceiling. From that point on, the CD-ROM took the reins and charged forward into the future.

References:
Blu-Ray. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/Classic Games. (2012). Retrieved
from http://classicgames.about.com/od/history/tp/History-of-Video-Games-Pt-5.htm

N64 US Launch. (2012). Retrieved from
http://www.pennoaks.net/archive64/Miscellaneous_Articles/N64_US_Launch.htm

PS3 News. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ps3news.com/playstation-3-psn-news/rumor-
sony-ps4-to-use-optical-storage-discs-like-blu-ray-on-ps3/

SEGA CD. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.giantbomb.com/sega-cd/60-29/

SNES 1st-gen (Super Nintendo). (2012). Retrieved from    
http://gdgt.com/nintendo/snes/1st-gen/specs/

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. ~Ed. Nick

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My sickening Black Ops 2 experience
Posted on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 16:19:52 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

Every year I always greatly anticipate the next Call of Duty release, and this year was no different. I had my PS3 standard edition pre-ordered and went to my local GameStop for the midnght release. I was pumped! I've always been a huge shooter fan, and I love the fast, silky smooth gameplay that Call of Duty multiplayer brings.

The transaction at GameStop went smooth, which sadly has been the only part of the experience that wasn't a headache. Of course the part where they take your money goes smooth... Anyways, I get home and that's when the downward spiral begins. Freezing, matchmaking issues, hardlocking which resulted in data corruption on my harddrive, and the list continues on. This was release night though, AND the PS3 version (which almost always is terrible) so I wrote it off as release day issues.

The next day got worse... during initial bootup of Black Ops 2 the game would immediately hardlock my system. I scoured the internet trying to figure out a fix, doing absolutely everything I could. I would end up getting 12 more hardlocks in a row before I gave up that day. A day I couldn't play a single second of Black Ops 2.

The next day would end up being a living hell for a Call of Duty fan. The Black Ops 2 team released patch 1.03 and claimed that all is fixed in the world of Black Ops. The team then took the next few days off work to celebrate making over $500 million dollars in a single day. However, myself and thousands of other have gotten the "22.0.-1" server error which means you can't connect to any Black Ops 2 online services whatsoever. No multiplayer, no zombies.

So here I am, I can't connect to the Black Ops 2 servers. Before the Black Ops 2 team goes on vacation they announce that this weekend is Double XP for pre-ordered players. I pre-ordered the game, yet since they wanted time off, I ended up missing the entire weekend of Double XP, something I paid for when I pre-ordered the game.

Once the weekend was over, on Monday David Vonderhaar, the lead game designer at Treyarch, stated that the 24/7 Nuketown 2025 pre-order DLC content was being removed. Playing nonstop Nuketown 2025 was a major selling point of Black Ops 2, and having that content removed where thousands upon thousands of users were never even able to access it once is pathetic.

The great David Vonderhaar then goes on to state "I'm really enjoying Multi-Team Hardpoint right now. 3 on 3 on 3. Slows down the pace a little bit, keeps it tactical, rewards patience." Really? You are that much of a disconnected ******* that you are going to post this while thousands of your loyal customers have been unable to play at all, and have been completely ignored by you for almost a week now?

By this point, the Black Ops 2 forums have been completely blown up by angry users who have not, even to this day, been able to play the game a single time. Activision Support has been telling the user that the problem is on the user's end. The user needs to fix their router, or ensure they downloaded the patch, or ensure that their console has power. Basically, Activision has completely placed all of the fault on the user and claimed their servers are working perfect. However, dozens of hardware nerds and networking majors have posted proof numerous times that it is not the user's fault, and that the Black Ops 2 servers are broken or glitched. Pictures have been posted, showing two PlayStation 3s playing Black Ops 2 on the same router, with one PS3 connected and the other PS3 recieving the 22.0.-1 network glitch. Activision has continually denied any wrongdoing and is steadfastly sticking to their claim that it is the user's fault and their problem to fix.

I haven't been able to play Black Ops 2 for 5 days now, and apparently it is my problem. The forums are still blowing up this very minute, and Activision/Treyarch have stated nothing except that they are "really enjoying" their game. They now know that they no longer need to release a working product to rake in piles of cash. What precedent is this setting? I am pretty pissed off and am sorry for posting such a long BLOG, but I just had to let you all know the plight that myself, and thousands of other gamers, are currently in. Black Ops 2 on PS3 is the worst console experience I have ever had in my life.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. ~Ed. Nick

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MAG - The Most Misunderstood Game/FPS of this Gen.
Posted on Friday, August 3 2012 @ 08:48:33 Eastern


My favorite game of this generation is MAG. Yes, MAG. Massive Action Game. It's not even close either, and I've played all of the big titles released for Xbox 360 and PS3.

I know you think I'm crazy, and most o...   read more...

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Ebay Scalpers Targeting The Gaming Industry Is Getting Out Of Hand
Posted on Thursday, July 19 2012 @ 11:07:29 Eastern


Imagine yourself anxiously awaiting the release of a new game from one of your favorite video game series. You are a diehard fan of this series, and a recently announced Collector's Edition looks absolutely amazing. You MUST have it....   read more...

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