Friday, March 30, 2012

How Video Game Hype Works

It's a strange irony that even with the added technology that we have today, people who use the technology to interact with others don't seem too happy at all. This stuff is supposed to make life easier but for some reason people still seem as miserable as ever (or probably more so)

Take any kind of pre release hype for any big game. Online conversations always start with great hopes and aspirations, reflections of games past and how "good" older games were. You find people who like the same game as you do and you start talking on the internet to hype each other about how great it will be when the game comes out.

But it always, always ends the same. Expectations aren't lived up to, none of the hype turns out to be real, and the game always looks worse than it really is. But I sometimes think that the Internet is what really adds to that effect. Imagine, you have these thousands of people finding anything and everything wrong with your 60$ game. Instead of making the most of what you have, you wonder about what you don't have. Because one guy online said it, and 2000 of his anonymous buddies agreed. It's like we want to be miserable by asking others to feed our misery. Instead of enjoying the 38 characters in your fighting game, worry about the other 12 that aren't there yet. Instead of enjoying a 40 hour fantasy epic, worry about the last five minutes and figure that you were robbed, even if you did have 40 hours of shooting aliens over and over again. It's one thing to tell a close friend about what you didn't like about a game, but its something else entirely to share it with a million strangers, and find yourself just forced to agree to the majority.

At the end of the day, when you read that 9.0 review to that awesome game and convinced yourself to buy it, there's no point in validating your opinion after you've let go of your money. You can be miserable about your choices, but only if you want to.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Using Globe DSL? Playing Street Fighter X Tekken? Make a JP PSN Account!

So out of curiosity I made a Japanese PSN account. In sfxtk matchmaking I noticed that, most of the time, players in Japan appear with yellow or green bars. Every other game had 0 to 1 bar. I was getting annoyed sitting there waiting for games on the Ranked Match screen half the time...so I guess this was worth a try....

Making a Japanese PSN account was easy...the form fields are almost the same as the others, and the postal code had no validation so I just put in a lot of 1's. When I looked for games in Endless Battle, all the games that appeared had yellow bars! I was able to play a lot of practically lag free games thanks to this!

Some other positives:
- spectator mode works!
- ranked match fight request occurs very often
-fewer rollbacks

This is on a 2mbps Globe connection.

So if you're on Globe Telecom DSL and are loathing the fact that you always get laggy games from the USA, try making a JP account. The net code really shines on good connections!

I'm on PSN as takeshicastle227....if you're also on Globe, send me an invite.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Street Fighter X Tekken - really short review + commentary on everything going on related to this game

It's pretty easy to review SFxTK if you play fighting games already. I wouldn't call myself a competition level player; I really just play for fun, but I wouldn't say that I don't hold my own when playing online. SFxTK is really a fun game and if you already enjoy fighting games and obssess over how to play them right, you'll surely enjoy this.

If you don't enjoy fighting games, this game can try to convert you but if you don't handle losing very well, it will be the same story as other fighting games. Honestly I didn't handle losing in Marvel Vs Capcom 3 very well, which is why I didn't invest in the next game, UMvC3. Marvel can be pretty infuriating, even with all the practice you put in, it all seems to boil down to character tiers (which characters are really the 'best' in the game). Unlike with SF4 where, while tiers do matter, you'll still have a fighting chance if your opponent is not very skilled.

Early on, SFxTK does not seem infuriating at all when you win or lose. No character seems too ridiculously overpowered though again that could change in a few weeks, with people already playing it. I must say that I am enjoying this game a lot, being able to juggle with Bison is really cool, and I found a new character in Juri that actually deserves my time to learn and play.

So the short answer is, if you love fighting games and know what a 'cancel' is in fighting games and how to do it, go right ahead and buy this

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Now, in relation to everything else going on with this game in particular, there's a lot of controversy now related to Capcom putting in DLC in the game disc and not allowing people to use it. I also think it sucks but I don't think people who enjoy FGs should miss out on the game despite this. As a FG, SFxTK is really excellently made, I like the quality and production values on everything (even the music is better than SF4's). It's so unfortunate that a well designed game such as this is going through negative publicity because of what seems to be a very bad business decision on Capcom's part.

For me, I'd rather just enjoy playing the game with the characters that are there, enjoy it for what it is, and not think about what I can't get right now.

Now, with the network code of the game, they're using a new technique for online play which improves input lag but causes 'rollbacks' to happen (where the game could 'undo' an event if it gets data from both consoles involved in a match that tells the game that the wrong thing happened during the fight). As a player from the Philippines I can't really do anything about my online situation, it's going to be red bars everywhere. But what's the alternative? I could just go back to SSF4 but I've already played that game for more than a hundred hours. I'd rather take my chances with this game, warts and all. I've had a lot of good games in the past few days even with the rollback system and in some cases my experience is better than with SSF4's netcode.

And, FINALLY, flying kicks now work!

Well, in SSF4, I could never time my flying kicks right because of input lag. I have to input so early just to get it out in time, and it can be a pretty annoying experience.

With this game, I react a bit similar to how I would in an offline game.

Lets all hope that the sound bug gets fixed eventually.

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Last thing, there's a lot of stuff being said about the Xbox version missing features like characters, local pair play, etc. All I have to say about that is, in all my dealings with MS, it's pretty clear to me that fighting games are not very important to them. Shooters are their bread and butter and that's why they devote more attention to that genre than everything else. Can't blame them, honestly. I'm really not surprised that we're not seeing MS pitch the fighting genre as strongly as Sony does. Sony is in second place in the US and that's why they're getting their hands on anything that can help them to compete in the gaming market. They're gambling on the fighting scene to grow a bit more in the next few years.

I personally do hope that happens, but it really depends on the online experience improving for fighting game players, and it also depends on fighting games being more inclusive of new players and new fans. The culture of calling people 'scrubs' in the FGC has to end someday, if they want it to 'blow up' / become as important as other major competitive genres like RTS and FPS. The trick is figuring out how to lower the discouragement players get in fighting games when they lose. Maybe the rewards should be different after you enter a match? Maybe you should still get something just for playing? Capcom and Sony have to think really hard to make the genre more appealing outside of its hardcore fanbase, without destroying the elements that make fighting games an interesting sub-culture in the first place.