April Fool

I suppose I could just post some ridiculous news you’d never believe here, but I’m not like that. The only April Fool I pulled today was claiming the bus was on its way before it really was, thus driving the kids crazy thinking they would miss it. You gotta do that kind of thing to kids once in awhile. It’s part of the reason for having them, to drive them as nuts as they drive you…

I also figured I owed people a post since Troy at Flash of Steel said he’s too busy this week. I know how that goes! While I don’t have nearly as many readers as him, I figure there’s a tiny bit of crossover. If you haven’t been checking out his series of articles on Roman computer games, you owe it to yourself to read them. Start with the most current entry right here.

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It’s been about a week since I last updated. Since then I’ve been mildly busy with game work while staying very busy with my day job, soccer coaching and baseball coaching. As for the game side of things, look for a preview of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue to appear at Crispy Gamer soon. Those soccer reviews should be available this week and the lost Dragon Quest Swords review will appear one day too. I know from experience that it’s hard to get a new site up and running efficiently so I don’t envy the staff at CG the tough job of making everything work just so.

Speaking of web sites, Andrew Bub announced that GamerDad.com will be going dark as he turns his attention to a more blog-like site and other projects including WhatTheyPlay.com. You can find the announcement right at the top of the main page there right now. As a going away present, he’s re-published the first review that ever appeared on the site, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It’s hard for me to look at that one without noticing many of the mistakes in my writing back then. I think I’ve improved a heck of a lot in the last five years. Has it really been five years since the start of GamerDad? *sigh*

Wind Waker will always hold a special place for me. I played through the entire game with the help of my three boys and my youngest, Ben, became so attached to Link he still runs around here with swords shouting HAH HAH SHAAAAKKK!!! I think he’s been the little green elf on at least three Halloweens so far and probably a few more before he’s done. Link is a hero to him and that reminds me of just how much videogames need heroes kids can identify with to keep them coming back. I think a lot of the adults in the media and development part of this industry forget that we all became fans of this hobby as children and the games we were playing were nothing like the gun-laden realistic shooters that dominate the market today. I try to always keep that perspective when I’m reviewing current titles because I fear I’m one of the few that still has it thanks to my kids.

The game itself also has one of the most poignant moments in all of videogames when Link has to leave home to find his sister. I dare any of you not to get just a tiny bit heartsick as he waves to grandma from the deck of a ship. Few games have such an emotional scene in them and I think the expressive graphic style used in the game delivers that one with a realism that many “realistic” games never achieve.

Thanks to the GamerDad, Mr. Andrew Bub for the chance to write about some of my favorite games (and some not so favorite… just see the list) and help a few parents get a handle on what’s in them. Highlights of my time there include the Oblivion review, which along with The Long Shot column “Murderer’s Remorse” was, I believe, part of the reason the ESRB took a second look at Oblivion and re-rated the game to M. All The Long Shot columns in general are favorites of mine, and it’s a shame they won’t be available for me to link to anymore. Same goes for the reviews. I guess I better make sure I have an archive before it all goes away, eh?

This one’s kind of fun to read now. It’s my look at hardware at the end of 2005, right after the 360 had shipped and PS3 and “Revolution” still weren’t near manufacturing. I really need to scan through all those old columns for the “I told you so!” moments, though I’m sure I got it wrong as much as I got it right. I’ve always enjoyed evaluating industry trends, so hopefully I get to do more of that here on the blog or elsewhere soon. Anyway, once again, thanks to Bub for some great years. I’m sorry to see the GamerDad.com site go away, but I’m glad he’s landed on his feet elsewhere including Crispy Gamer.

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In addition to all the above, I’ve had a bit of a stomach virus bugging me since Sunday night. I think it’s finally at an end this evening but I guess I’ll find out in the morning. Illness at this time of year is tough for me with all the sports and day job junk that comes up in March/April.

It definitely kept me sitting on the couch or at the computer playing a few games. When it wasn’t GT5, it’s been Forza Motorsport 2 for later comparisons, Patapon on PSP, a tiny bit of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on the DS, a little Super Smash Bros. Brawl online and with the kids, and finally tonight I installed Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath on the PC.

Regular readers will remember that C&C3 was my number four game of 2008 so I was pretty pumped to get back in Kane’s world tonight. I’ve played through a couple campaign missions so far and man, I really do love the full-motion video they went back to in these games. People moan about it being badly acted, but I think it’s great that they take it so seriously. That’s part of the entertainment! As for gameplay, infantry is definitely more powerful than it’s been in the past and I just love the speed of these games. It’s an action-RTS that never lets up and for me that’s a massive part of the appeal. You simply can’t sit still. Graphically, the game looks better than ever. I figure I’m going to put a bunch of time into it until my next review starts so expect more in depth impressions here. Tom Chick didn’t seem too thrilled by it in his Crispy review, but if he’s bagging on the campaign, then I’m already enjoying a piece of it he didn’t so who knows where my opinion will end up.

All I know is I’ve got too many games to play and too little time, as always. If it’s not Kane, then I’d like to play more Frontlines or finally play through the single-player part of Call of Duty 4 on the PC. I haven’t even touched multiplayer in that game yet. I barely scratched the surface of Sins of Solar Empire. Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts gets older by the day. Viking: Battle for Asgard seemed pretty cool and I’d like to get back to that. I really ought to spend some time with Universe At War on PC and oh I could go on for hours. Better to put an end to this 1300 word post right now and either play another game or go get some sleep so I can play again tomorrow night. Have a great day. Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow With more.

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