Morning Hangover

Morning Hangover: Good Times For Real Time Strategy Games

I had the chance to check out EA’s upcoming Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight last night, and while you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear my impressions, the game got me thinking about the coming year in terms of RTS releases. I mean, between StarCraft II, C&C 4, and Supreme Commander 2, 2010 promises to be one for the books.

So what I’m curious about is which titles RTS lovers are planning to pick up, and why. For those who will only pick one title this year, what is it about that particular game/franchise that resonates with you more than others? Once things get warmed up here, I’ll have Jeff "Core Hard” Kanjanapangka jump in, because I’m sure he’ll love sharing his thoughts on the topic given his dangerous love of StarCraft.

Heavy Rain: Persist

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of winning and losing in games, thanks largely to the discussions going on in the office about Heavy Rain. (Also, thanks to the rather sad end to my recent trip to Las Vegas.) One of the things that always comes up is the classic adage, “It’s not about whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game/it’s about having fun/etc.”

This might keep some people warm and cozy at night, but the fact of the matter is, losing sucks. I think thousands upon thousands of shattered game controllers can attest to that, am I right? But when it comes to games, do you find yourself able to enjoy yourself even when you are “losing” or having a hard time progressing? Or can you enjoy yourself regardless of how “well” you’re doing?

Morning Hangover: Las Vegas And Fighting Zombies

I was in Las Vegas over the weekend, and when I wasn’t busy plotting out what my girlfriend and I would do should Dead Rising 2 suddenly break out all around us, I was busy losing cash at various casinos. Actually, I was up the whole weekend until the last day when everything fell apart, but the point is, I started thinking about the logistics of setting up shop in Las Vegas should/when a zombie apocalypse erupts, and I can totally see why it would be a pretty solid place to do so.

And while I don’t feel too comfortable telling you one of my potential zombie preparation plans, I think Vegas is a pretty obvious choice. Right? If you had to pick somewhere to fortify yourself against zombie hoards, where would it be? Would you prefer fighting in the busy urban streets of a Los Angeles, or the back woods swamps of a Georgia? And why?

In honor of this fine, fine President's Day, I wanted to prompt you with a little presidential trivia (gaming themed of course). And the question is this: what games have included a President of the United States character? The only ones I can think of are the Tom Clancy games since they always involve international incidents, but they are typically very dry and bland characters. Can you think of any memorable presidents in game? We're talking Morgan Freeman kind of memorable.

Not too many right?

DICE 2010

If you're interested in hearing, seeing and reading what's happening at DICE next week, G4 is the place to be. Several of us from G4 -- including myself, Andrew Pfister and Adam Sessler - are making the trek to Las Vegas for several days to cover the event. I've never been to DICE before, but while it's a low-key event compared to E3 or Tokyo Game Show (or even today's X10), it's the perfect event to meet up with gaming's top professionals and get a sense of where the industry's going.

Take a look at the schedule for DICE over here. What do you want us to check out?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

I've been playing a bit too much BioShock 2 this week. I clearly remember waking up twice during the night and having a Rapture-related memory. One of them involved hearing a Little Sister crying when I stumbled into the bathroom around 3:00 AM. Maybe I was just groggy. The other starred a Big Daddy, but my girlfriend shook me awake to get ready for work and the dream disappeared.


Can You Hear Me Now? Apple And Verizon In

* By your phone, I mean my phone.

An iPhone is a beautiful piece of addiction. It's hard to remember what times were like when idle moments of the day were spent in contemplation, rather than loading up status updates on Facebook, Twitter or playing a few rounds of Peggle. Even when I'm playing a video game, I have trouble "turning off" and getting away from loading an application or checking e-mail, especially when I'm faced with a pesky loading screen. It kept happening to me while playing BioShock 2 earlier this week that I decided to enforce a new rule: turn off the phone while gaming, especially during an experience that requires as much attention and personal immersion as BioShock 2.


2K Marin Already Developing Post-BioShock 2 Project

The story of Andrew Ryan and his, er, influence over your character in BioShock may have resulted in the game's most shocking moment, but one of the most important reasons to keep pushing forward was to see more of Ryan's creation, Rapture. The failed underwater utopia remains a breathtaking environment for a video game. Rapture is the heart and soul of BioShock and the most interesting "character" in the game. It's not unlike the -- cue obligatory Tuesday reference -- island in Lost. Returning to Rapture is the whole reason I signed on for BioShock 2, despite my apprehension about nearly everything else related to the game. I was one of the folks who would be just happy with an "expansion" to BioShock. More Rapture is, well, worth it. So far, BioShock 2's delivering.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to play many video games this weekend. I have a good reason, though: it was my birthday. Happy birthday to me! So instead of playing Mass Effect 2 and BioShock 2, I spent time with friends and tried to piece my brain back together after last week's episode of Lost.

What did you play this weekend?


Game Before The Game: Madden Super Bowl Predictions »

This weekend, The Saints play the Colts in the bowl-that-is-super. While Madden may have picked the Saints by 4 (see video above,) I'm going the opposite direction. I'm saying Indianapolis is going to win the game by 3 points. Also: I haven't ruled out the possibility of a robot attack on field at the beginning of the second quarter.

What do you think?

Throwing Away A Gun That Lights Things On Fire In Borderlands Is Hard

So last night I was playing a yet-to-be-released, eagerly awaited triple-A video game -- I don't even know if I can tell you the title of it. About 20 minutes in, my wife suggested we watch a movie, so I switched off the yet-to-be-released, eagerly awaited triple-A video game that I can't tell you the name of and watched Julie and Julia, a Norah Ephron-penned romantic comedy where Meryl Streep plays Chef Julia Child. That, friends, is True Love.

I included a badass screenshot from Borderlands above so you would know I'm not a sissy. Have a discussion below, if you wanna.


Morning Hangover: What Do You Name Your Dudes?

So what do you name your dudes? Like when you're playing an RPG, and you get the option of picking a moniker, do you try to hew closely to the "intention" of the game designers, or do you go with "AssFace McGhee?"

I usually try to pick a benign, middle-of-the-road name. I feel like a tool trying to craft the "perfect" name... ("Should I call my Dwarf 'T'orin Ackmodius?' Wait, does that fit with the naming conventions of the world?") but I find the juvenile fun of naming my character something filthy wears off quickly.

I usually just go with "Doug."

What about you?

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Good Morning, all. In a post late last week about the new Zelda, I described the series as an "RPG series." I was quickly corrected by readers: "It's not RPG. Those are action games."

I see everyone's point, but I disagree. Zelda games have sweeping storyline, sword and bow combat, quest based structure, character interaction and many other traditionally RPG elements, even if you don't have character stats, classes and other RPG elements. So maybe it's an "action-RPG."

Or maybe we need to change the descriptions traditionally applied to video games. If you think about it, every video is a "role-playing game." In Sim City, you're playing the role of a civic planner. In Rock Band, you're playing the role of a rock star. In Forza, a race-car driver. Also: Most games are cross-genre these days. Mass Effect 2 is an RPG, but there's a lot of third-person action. Ditto Fallout 3: Is that an FPS or and RPG? You could go on and on... even a straight FPS like Modern Warfare 2 has a ranking system and levels if you play multiplayer.

What do you guys think?

Mass Effect 2

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m in the middle of playing BioShock 2, and, again I can’t say anything about the game, but as I was playing last night, I started just thinking about the nature of sequels in general. And given that this year was pretty much the year of sequels, and there are a number of high profile sophomore efforts coming up this year as well, I figured I’d open the floor to see how you all approach second or even third installments in franchises.

What do you look for in a sequel? What makes a great sequel as opposed to just a 1.5-style iteration? Because clearly you want a game that offers something worthwhile, but you don’t want it to feel like a completely different game, right? I guess the argument against that would be Mass Effect 2, and to some extent Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. But are those the exceptional exceptions?

BioShock 2

I just returned from a last minute multiplayer power session for 2K’s BioShock 2, and while I obviously can’t share any specifics about my time with the game (you’ll have to wait for the review for those), I did want to get your take on multiplayer games, specifically first-person shooters.

What does a multiplayer shooter have to do for you to want to invest hours upon hours into them? What do you look for first and foremost? Maps? Weapon variety? Game modes? Can it be a great multiplayer game if it doesn’t contain all of these elements in equal measure? Do you care if the multiplayer has a narrative thread, either independent of the single-player game or tied into it in some way? What are some of the things that absolutely kill a multiplayer experience for you?


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