Category:  Rage of the Day

By Tom Farndon, April 23, 2013 0 Features, Rage of the Day

A friend recently lent me Fire Emblem: Awakening, and despite the aesthetic departure from previous titles, I loved it. The writing is great, and the combat was similar enough to previous games in the series to be comforting to veterans, while still being fresh enough to garner interest from newcomers. Not to mention that the art direction is a wonder to look at, be it either cutscene or battle animation.

But even the best of games have things that will irk and drive you to the brink of maddening frustration and beyond. In my case, it’s the new team attack/assist function in battle in Intelligent Systems’ hit 3DS title.

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By Tom Farndon, January 30, 2013 0 Features, Rage of the Day

I admit that I’m fairly new to the online gaming world; my PlayStation 3 wasn’t connected to the internet until four years after I bought it. As a result, I had no prior expectations of what an online videogame store should be like. Sure, I puttered around Amazon looking for cheap Lufia 2 cartridges, but I was still relatively naive when it came to online design.

Then I finally connected to the PlayStation Network for the first time and brought up the PlayStation Store. It was fairly intuitive, and it did its job, so I was happy enough. A year later, I wake up from a late night and go to play some Jumping Flash, only to be prompted by an update. Groggy, I just spammed the confirm button until it was all taken care of.

My next foray into Sony’s digital storefront was one of woe and confusion. That one update, which rolled out back in November of last year, completely changed the layout for a more modern looking store and in turn, completely borked the experience.

To start, the entire store suffers from lag. I’m not even playing a game, and I have to wait for things just to load. As a result, the transition animations are choppy,and I find myself selecting things I didn’t mean to because I was furiously hitting the X button in order to get through things quicker. A terrible mistake.

Then there’s the overall aesthetic itself. Honestly, it’s ugly. I expected a much sleeker execution of menu, something innovative and engaging. Instead I get a boring drop down list of categories on the left side while a jumble of game and movie advertisements litter the right side sans any cohesive order.

The categories aren’t even well organized. Multiple redundant categories in the shape of “hot deals” make it confusing for me to navigate the store itself. And when I went to classics, I couldn’t even separate my PS1 and PS2 classics at first. Only a great deal of finagling with the filter options makes browsing any easier.

The whole experience was a disappointing one. I was promised an update. I was given a downgrade where even just opening the store is a chore. I sincerely hope they come up with something better soon, because there’s only so long I can spend trying to buy new games.

Although, I do have the option to (finally) access the store on my computer, so I suppose there’s some good news there.

By Tom Farndon, October 29, 2012 0 Features, Rage of the Day

Backseat driving: a phenomena where a person dictates how the driver should drive while sitting comfortably in the backseat. The aggravation mostly stems from being told how to do something that we obviously know how to do, and this same concept can also be grudgingly applied to videogames.

I’m not referring to those dear friends who tell you what elemental spell to use on an an enemy, or what the correct code sequence is for those tricky puzzles are without you asking for them.

What I’m alluding to is much more sinister, as it chips in its two cents without the need of actual human company.

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By Tom Farndon, October 3, 2012 0 Features, Rage of the Day

Popularity in the videogame industry can either be a title’s best friend or its most visceral enemy, with both instances usually happening at the same time. Take a look at the this week’s release of Resident Evil 6, for example. Rabid fans of the series have been outspoken from both sides of the fence, creating a whirlwind of attention that Capcom is sure to not be too thrilled about.

This long-running phenomenon is a powerful conundrum – one that requires an open-minded and patient audience. Unfortunately, given the anonymity afforded by the internet, such discussion of popularity versus how good a game really is can be a breeding ground for both open-mindedness and contagious negativity. Especially for the games we love the most.

In my opinion, there’s no more popular game to get this sort of treatment than Final Fantasy VII. (more…)

By Tom Farndon, May 22, 2012 0 Features, Opinion, Rage of the Day

(Editor’s note: In this feature series, our staff gets the chance to let off some steam -Bennett- and talk about some of the more infuriating aspects of the games and systems we love. After all, not everything can be rainbows and sunshine.)

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of the rogue, the rebel, the vagabond, and the all-around jack-of-all-trades thief. I grew up idolizing Robin Hood, Autolycus from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, (who was played by Bruce Campbell, so no shortage of awesome there), and even though they were always a pretty weak class, I always chose to have a thief in my party in any iteration of the Final Fantasy series.

Thieves were always emblematic of skill and dexterity, with just the right amount of wit and charm to see themselves through any tough situation. A thief made up for a lack of brawn with a surplus of cunning. Thieves are usually the lucky type, but their character doesn’t hinge on that single attribute alone. That’s what the Gambler class is for.

So why on earth, with a skill set so dedicated to dexterity and ability, do all my attempts at thievery in videogames boil down to a game of chance?

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By Tom Farndon, May 8, 2012 0 Features, Rage of the Day

(Editor’s note: In this feature series, our staff gets the chance to let off some steam -Bennett- and talk about some of the more infuriating aspects of the games and systems we love. After all, not everything can be rainbows and sunshine.)

I, like many gamers of my generation, started my life-long relationship with videogames with the venerable Super Mario Bros. franchise. It was simple, charming, and above all, accessible to gamers of all ages and aptitude. I played it when I was three, and haven’t stopped since.

Unfortunately, this beloved series was the first time I encountered my most hated mechanic in videogames – platformers in particular.

If you touch an enemy, you die.

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By Tom Farndon, February 22, 2012 0 Features, Rage of the Day

(Editor’s note: In this feature series, our staff gets the chance to let off some steam -Bennett- and talk about some of the more infuriating aspects of the games and systems we love. After all, not everything can be rainbows and sunshine)

Ever since the advent of competitive gaming, players have been susceptible to bouts of frustration and aggression while playing videogames. Some of these are attributed to a gamer’s personal sense of perfection, while others are attributed to the desire to be the best. And a lot of the time, these feelings don’t end well.

I’m not here to judge or keep track of everyone’s gaming prejudices and horror stories. I’m here today to tell you that you’re not alone. Many other gamers – no matter how good they say they are – are frequently frustrated by an enemy they can’t beat or a “cheap” opponent.

That doesn’t meant that those are the only things that get a gamer’s blood boiling. I’ve seen people get mad and reset their system because they didn’t pick up a potion from a treasure chest on their first playthrough, or they’ve given up on a Rock Band song because they missed a single note.

It seems that gamer frustration spawns heavily from the players’ concept of perfectionism and fair play. Since today’s grievance is with the fighting game genre, the idea of what’s “fair” and what’s “cheap” probably contribute heavily into a gamer’s frustration.

So allow me to take you into one of the most messed up, sadistic modes in a fighting game. Of course, I’m talking about the Legendary Souls mode in SoulCalibur V for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.

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By Adam Ratte, February 17, 2012 0 Features, Rage of the Day

(Editor’s note: In this feature series, our staff gets the chance to let off some steam -Bennett- and talk about some of the more infuriating aspects of the games and systems we love. After all, not everything can be rainbows and sunshine. Also, SPOILERS!)

Greek mythology and videogames are two things I am very fond of. Naturally, one would think I am a fan of the God of War series, right? Well, it’s complicated. My relationship with the series is a love/hate one, and as each subsequent entry in the series gets released it has started shifting more towards the latter.

In an effort to come to terms with a series that is so exasperatingly enjoyable I have decided to create my own trilogy of articles detailing why I both love and hate God of War and how it could and should be better.

So why does the series make me so angry you ask? The three biggest problems in my eyes are the story, the ease of its boss fights, and the lack of fealty to the original myths. So let’s start with the biggest offense, the story.  (more…)

By Patrick Kulikowski, February 6, 2012 1 Features, Rage of the Day

(Editor’s note: In this feature series, our staff gets the chance to let off some steam -Bennett- and talk about some of the more infuriating aspects of the games and systems we love. After all, not everything can be rainbows and sunshine.)

Game saves. If you play tons of games like me I’m sure you’ll find these tufts of data incredibly precious. Hours upon hours of game progress stuck inside a little CR2032 battery (for us 80s and 90s gamers), memory cards, hard drives, etc.

I’m sure many of us take this now-simple technology for granted. They made the save passwords of yore obsolete, although you would still see several games utilize passwords for a long time afterward.

With saving game progress comes the inevitable kick in the pants: some sort of phenomenon (be it a glitch, power-outage or that evil little brother) that happens to take your precious hours and erase them from the world forever. The phenomenon then leads into something that can only be regarded as the game save woes. These are my stories.

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By Damian Kulikowski, June 11, 2011 0 Features, Rage of the Day

(Editor note: Our semi-regular feature, “The Rage Quit” is a place where Pixelitis writers get the opportunity to share their biggest beefs with the gaming industry. Whether it’s where games are headed or what they are today, our writers definitely have an opinion and that’s exactly what this is – their opinion. Enjoy.)

You know what modern first-person shooters lack? It’s not weapons. It’s not maps. It’s definitely not terrorists. It’s a little square character portrait shifting their eyes left and right located on the bottom of the display.

I’ll say it: Shooters have been on a downward slope since Doom II. Improvements like graphics and coherent story lines (when they rarely happen) are overshadowed by the lack of a character portrait that bleeds profusely when you’re down on health.

In the last several years many different FPSs began duplicating vastly overdone game mechanics, each more played out than some of Nintendo’s franchises. The most significant one deals with regenerative health/shields. It wasn’t soon after Halo on the original Xbox, that many shooters began copying this mechanic – and it was not long before action and adventure games quickly followed suit. Whatever happened to the good ol’ days where you needed to find health packs?

Now every character is virtually immortal with Wolverine-like regenerative powers. For me it is less about realism and more about the building tension and adrenaline as you battle to survive to find that health pack. It’s ironic that many games like Call of Duty try to inject as much realism into the gaming experience as possible, yet they rely heavily on a mechanic that is more unrealistic than health packs.

To keep on the topic of realism in gaming I frankly miss the days where characters could carry more than two weapons on them. Remember when you could carry a pistol, a shotgun, chainsaw and a BFG 9000 all in your pants?

Recently some games tried to recapture that magic like the Serious Sam games. Yet, now we are forced to choose between a shotgun, a rifle and which kind of grenade to carry. Though having a limited variety of available weapons may increase difficulty, I enjoy the advantage of having the right weapon for the right kill. To sum up my feelings on this issue I will quote the late Freddy Mercury – “I want it all, I want it all and I want it now.”

The last problem plaguing FPSs is the notion of leveling up or gaining experience points for upgrades. I love roleplaying games, but when I join a server that has players beefed up with powerful weapons and character classes – it makes it unfair and quickly frustrating. Especially if one decided to pick the game up a couple of months after its release. The new player quickly realizes they are on the lowest rung of the food chain as they strive to fight off supped-up battle rifles and abilities with a sharp stick and a prayer.

Even worse, players are able to get quick upgrades by paying for them through downloadable content; it’s all about spending even more money just to take advantage of developer supported shortcuts instead taking time to really grow with your character.

Developers take heed. Bring back the health packs and ludicrous guns like the BFG 9000. Take a hard look back and try to find a way for players to kill fireball launching Martian demons and a Hitler packing two chainguns – preferably in the same instance. Instead of lush orchestral soundtracks  bring back the music heavily inspired by Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

If anything, just please bring back the grinning shifty-eyed character portrait. It would revitalize a genre.