How ‘Uncharted 3′ Is Like ‘Full Throttle’ (and Also ‘Angry Birds’)

In which I discuss the Eurogamer review “controversy” and also mention the hamster in Maniac Mansion.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Best game of 2011? Or harbinger of doom?

Does the fact that a game isn’t your kind of game, or the kind of game you expect, make it worthy of criticism? And how valid is that criticism, if so?

That seems to be at the heart of a recent review of Uncharted 3 over at Eurogamer. I’m sure you’ve read it. If not, give it a quick once-over. I’ll wait.

Welcome back. Now, while the reviewer makes some valid points, much of what he seems to be criticizing is Uncharted 3′s failure to be a different type of game altogether.

Uncharted 3 isn’t an open world game with tons of freedom. What it is, on the other hand, is a heavily cinematic, fast-paced, Hollywood-style romp. I’m sure you’ll get no argument there from the

But does this make it less of a game? That is to say, is it an 8/10 game?

Let me play a bit of devil’s advocate before I tell you what I believe. Think back, if you will, to a title that’s still near and dear to many today: Full Throttle.

Full Throttle animated gif

Full Throttle. SCUMM-powered awesomeness from LucasArts. "Yeah, when I think of Maureen, I think of two things: asphalt... and trouble."

A classic. Arguably a masterpiece (I’d certainly say so.) And yet… how much freedom did Full Throttle allow?

Not much. The game essentially forced you into a set series of static screens that you had to defeat so that you might proceed. Logic didn’t always enter into it. (Brute forcing — waving your cursor and ever item in your inventory over every inch of on-screen real estate –frequently did.) Navigation options were highly locked in; there was no deviating from the road or from the few possible paths the developers mapped out of each screen. In short, Full Throttle essentially funneled players into a straightforward adventure where they had little choice.

Yet we call Full Throttle a masterpiece — and rightly so. But clearly, not for the level of user freedom it allows.
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Dragon Age II: Yeah, This Is the Rant (OR: What BioWare Can Do to Fix DA3)

Dragon Age II: A typical dungeon

Dragon Age II: A typical dungeon. Get used to seeing this map.

So, to put this in context, my wife is STILL playing through Dragon Age II, off and on. And now everyone’s discussing whether downloadable content can help mollify fans of the original Dragon Age who (like us) have been so irked by DA2′s design. As big fans of the original Dragon Age: Origins, we got DAII immediately after it came out, and I’ve been meaning ever since to get my thoughts down on where DAII fell short and where DA3 will have to get the formula right — assuming, of course, that they really want to. I hope they do.

My chief complaint with DAII: Obviously and overly recycled levels. This has already been well discussed, but if you’ll indulge me, I’ll make a few points of my own. Whereas DA:O certainly reused the same maps, the effect was far less grueling and monotonous, particularly because paths through these levels were constrained much more artfully than in DAII.

In DA:O, paths were limited by huge boulders, trees, high fences or other insurmountable obstacles. The look of these didn’t stand out especially from the landscape, making the fact that they were blocking a particular path almost unnoticeable. The result was that players could be place on the same maps time and time again, but because portions were cordoned off each time and the landscape seeded with new obstacles and eye candy — spiderwebs, copses of trees; stones, boulders and such; fresh corpses and battlefield detritus, and so on — each experience felt to the player like they were visiting a wholly new region.
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Things are awesome once more

Captain James T. Kirk. I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

Wow. I can’t believe how much mucking around with MySQL I just had to do to get my blog — my whole site, actually — back the way it should be. I still have no idea what the hell happened, but thank goodness my new Web host, FatCow, runs a recent version of MySQL and PHPMyAdmin

I’m pleased that I’m able to rise to the challenge and learn something new, and quickly, when there’s some disaster with which I must contend (in this case, by picking up basic MySQL management and query-fu).

Of course, I’m also saddened by the fact that there’s often some disaster with which I must contend. Also, by the fact that no matter how quickly I can pick up something like basic MySQL management and query-fu, it’s never going to fully balance out the realization that I can barely remember what I had for lunch on most days.

Facebook’s ‘memorial’ profiles – kind of hilarious

I can’t get over this Facebook memorial thing. It’s so wonderfully morbid
and bizarre.

From a Facebook rep: “We try to protect the deceased’s privacy by
removing sensitive information such as contact information and status
updates.” Uh, status updates? From a dead person?

I think what they mean to say is that “We don’t want to creep out others by
enabling them to see old status updates from someone who’s kicked the
bucket.” I’m not sure this has anything to do with the deceased’s privacy — unless
there’s some previously unknown likelihood of a dead person posting
something unexpected. And if so, why not? Why don’t we make this opt-in,
just in case?

[Link: Facebook Offers 'Permanent' Online Memorials]

Posted via email from Christopher Saunders: The Blog Itself Incites to Rambling

InternetNews: Telling moments from the Facebook movie

Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook MovieBy now, you’ve all not only heard about the Facebook movie — now formally titled “The Social Network” — you may also have heard that it’s supposed to be downright fantastic.

At least, that’s what they’re saying about the script now making the rounds. But the script — written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Sports Night) is also dead-on when it comes to raising the Big Issues facing the omnipresent social networking site.

Sorkin’s script is based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, which is due for release next week.

(And with a title like that, how could it not be a hit?)

First, you’ve got to know the backstory, and the claims of betrayal at the heart of the book, the movie, and (maybe?) the Facebook story. While at Harvard in the early 2000s, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra struck a deal with Mark Zuckerberg to develop a social network for the university’s students and alumni — ConnectU.

Keep reading: blog

InternetNews: Twitpocalypse Now? Hardly.

Don't Panic!You can come out of your bomb shelter now — the Twitpocalypse didn’t happen! Mostly.

What am I talking about? My colleague Sean Michael Kerner maps out the glitch-that-mostly-wasn’t that had been widely feared (well, “widely” among the kinds of folks who live and die by the microblogging phenom.)

For the layman, think Y2K for Twitter.

(You can also get the gist of the technical discussion here.)

The real story, however, is how widespread the hysteria reached. But I suppose these kinds of mass online panics aren’t anything new in the Web 2.0 era — nor will this be the end of it.

Keep reading: blog

InternetNews: Twitter explores a TV show – really


In another confirmation that truth may be stranger than fiction, Hollywood trade mag Variety yesterday reported that Web 2.0 wunderkind Twitter is on the verge of creating a TV show.

Twitter brass confirmed that it’s signed a deal with TV producer Reveille — which has produced hits like “The Office” and “Ugly Betty” — and with Brillstein Entertainment, a talent agency that also has production credits under its belt that include ”The Sopranos” and ”NewsRadio”.

The result? Hard to say.

Keep reading: InternetNews blog

Thoughts on “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”

Some thoughts on the upcoming film, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” based entirely on watching the trailer of said film once, and not very closely:

In “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” Matthew McConaughey seems to be haunted by the ghosts of his ex-girlfriends. Wait, ghosts? As in, they’re dead? Isn’t this at all suspicious? If any normal guy had three ex-girlfriends who wound up dead, you can bet the local police department would want to have a few words with the guy.

On the flip side, does that mean that McConaughey’s character is a serial killer? Or just really unlucky in love? Let’s hope it’s the former!

OK, so clearly, the likelihood of me being hilariously wrong is quite high. Still, and assuming you’re anything like me, given this new possibility, what started out looking like another addition to McConaughey’s dreck-filled body of work may hold some promise after all!

I’m almost interested in this. Somebody, check it out and let me know.