Yep, PC gaming is still pretty awful

Man, what a letdown today has been in regards to gaming. StarCraft 2 showed up in all of it’s collector’s edition glory today and I couldn’t have possibly been more excited to play. As it turns out, this game is still a PC game. Right from the get go I had issues. While installing the game I got an error at 94%, and I had to restart the installation process. After getting the game installed, I was informed that I needed to update my video card drivers to avoid less than perfect performance. I download the drivers, install them, restart my computer, and fire up the game once more. I decide to start a new campaign. As soon as that new campaign is nearly loaded, the game crashes and I’m asked to submit a bug report to Blizzard. After doing that I go and finally get into the single player campaign and play the first mission. I check my options, and the game recommends I run everything at Ultra settings (so it’s DEFINITELY not an issue of my computer being underpowered). After finishing the mission I click continue to move onto the second, when the game crashes again and once more I’m filling out a bug repair to send to Blizzard. Lovely. After that I try to restart the game, and I’m told that my installation is corrupt and that I need to run the repair utility.

Awesome.

I saw more of the image below and the install screen than I did anything else on day 1. PC gamers love to talk about the superiority of the platform, but holy jeez I won’t ever fault anybody who refuses to play on anything but a console when there are issues all over the place. It’s not like Blizzard didn’t have the last decade to get this thing right…

So yeah, PC gaming is a terrible thing. It’s too bad, because there’s a lot of awesome stuff on the PC, but once you venture beyond the friendly confines of Steam, it gets real sketchy real fast.

The Best Game Ever: River City Ransom

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

River City Ransom.

The NES saw many beat ’em up titles, but in my opinion not one of them was better than River City Ransom. Yes, I’m quite comfortable saying that RCR (as it’s known by it’s hip fans) is better than Double Dragon, the Ninja Turtles titles, and anything else released for Nintendo’s first home console. River City Ransom is quite unique, and incorporated features that wouldn’t become standards for years later. The game featured RPG elements, the ability to backtrack, upgrades to individual moves and character attributes, and the ability to continue playing through areas that have been previously completed.

Aside from the cool blend of RPG and beat ’em up elements, River City Ransom also offered some pretty quirky and funny dialog. Upon defeating enemies they’ll often yell out, “barf!” before dropping money for you to spend on upgrades to your attack, defense, or health attributes. Somehow this never, ever gets old.

River City Ransom really is hard to describe, but it’s easily found in a variety of formats, including Nintendo’s Virtual Console service on the Wii. If you like beat ’em games or if you’re just looking for a good co-op experience, River City Ransom is an easy pick. For these reasons, River City Ransom is the best game ever.

StarCraft 2 is out tomorrow

Yeah, it’s not like I have to report this to remind anybody, but it would just be plain wrong if I didn’t have a StarCraft 2 related post this week. Tomorrow is the official launch for StarCraft 2 and I’m hoping that everybody out there has their copy on preorder, their PC upgraded to run the game smoothly, and lots of free time. Today would be a good day to get some extra chores done around the house, love up the wife real good, and take your kid to the park for some daddy time, because all your extra time belongs to Blizzard starting tomorrow.

For those that didn’t play StarCraft between now and its release back in 1999, I do feel comfortable saying that you’ve missed out on one of the ten best released games during that time period. Even by today’s standards StarCraft and its expansions are still good RTS games, so if you have a chance to pick it up (you do, it’s cheap), it might not be a bad idea to play through the original before getting StarCraft 2. And yes, you should all be planning on getting StarCraft 2.

Last day to win the Nintendo Points card is today

Today is the last day to win the 500 Nintendo points card is today. You simply need to make a comment on the blog…on any article. I’m taking all the comments made, assigning each one a number, running them through a randomizer, and selecting a winner. Future contests will follow, but this is the final day to get in on this one.

Good luck!

Microsoft Kinect to cost $149.99, comes with a game

Microsoft has officially announced the price for Kinect this morning, and it will come in at $149.99 and will be bundled with Kinect Adventures. Most games, including Dance Central from Harmonix, are expected to cost $49.99. It remains to be seen how well received this will be by the casual gaming audience, but I have a few opinions on why it’s a steep uphill battle for Microsoft. If you’re hoping to pick up Kinect, at least you know it has some sort of pack in title.

Source: IGN

Beating down the cheesers in Super Street Fighter IV

So back when Street Fighter IV came out I was really excited. I hadn’t seriously played any Street Fighter games since Super Street Fighter II. Even with the Alpha series I barely touched them, and the SFIII family of games were just something I never got into even passively. I’ve always loved fighting games, so it’s weird that I went so long without playing. Anyway, I picked up SFIV and was really excited about it for about a week or two. I thought it was my return to playing Street Fighter regularly. It wasn’t. It’s not because I didn’t really like the game, I did, it was because I had no time to invest in learning the game and the new fighting engine. Eventually I sold it off, figuring I would pick it back up when SSFIV came out, if ever.

Well, I picked up SSFIV a little while back, modded my arcade stick to put authentic arcade parts (Sanwa stick with an octagonal restrictor plate and Seimitsu buttons), and sat down to play. This past weekend was the first weekend I went online to compete, and boy did it feel like old times when I’d walk down to the arcade with a pocket full of quarters to test my growing skills against the other kids and teens that were sucked into the game. Right from the get go I had success, winning my first 5 online ranked matches and earning a handful of achievements in the process. I noticed that the same sorts of players still exist–the special move spammer, the combo master, the rushdown aggressive type, the defensive player, the guy who keep jumping into your uppercuts, and that one guy that everybody hates…the cheeser.

A cheeser is a guy who basically knows 3-4 tough to defend moves and he relentlessly throws them at you. Typically this guy will just hold to this strategy, whether it’s successful or not. These guys will find out what move you’re not familiar with defending and it’s all they’ll do until the round ends. If you can’t figure out a good counter, you’ll lose.

I ran into a guy playing as Vega, and here was his strategy. Hold down and back to keep a move charged. If the other player approaches, quickly do an aerial special attack. If the player throws a projectile, he’d do a backflip to avoid it and return to his crouching charge state. It was all very annoying. After the first round where I got beat by a Super finish, I was already irritated. This was the first time I had faced Vega in SSFIV, so I was totally unfamiliar with which of my moves would take priority over his, and what counters were open to me. I reverted back to old standby strategies and made short work of him in round 2. It helped that he was being somewhat cocky and careless. In round 3 he came at me with his cheese tactics 100% again, so I had a tougher time. After a throw, he had me down to 0% on my health bar, just a sneeze would do me in. He had about 50% of his bar left, and he just let loose special move after special move. I got lucky and was either dodging or countering every single move. The round ended when he tried to unleash his Ultra 1 move, which I managed to jump over and hit him with a dragon punch to finish the round. The next 10 seconds were nothing but a stream of curses coming through his mic (I wasn’t wearing one, so it came through my TV speakers). Ahhh, it felt good. I saved that replay, and I’ll show it to my kid one day to demonstrate why his mom would choose to marry a guy like me.

A great way to punish a Blanka electric thunder spammer.

Throughout the weekend I ran into many more cheesers. They don’t seem to be as rampant as they did in the past, possibly due to the punishing Super and Ultra moves, but already I’m remembering how to deal with them. In round 1 it’s best to just play your game and see what they’re going to throw at you. If you can adjust in the first round, do it, but don’t worry if they best you at this point. In round 2 you have to start punishing those moves. Even if you win the round, they’ll stick to the moves into round 3. If you can get a lead, they’ll typically panic and start trying something else, this is when you hit them with everything you have, because they’ll be so flustered they’ll incorrectly block on cross-ups and it’ll be over quickly. After that, you’ll just have to grin and hold your tongue as they whine and cuss you out on the mic.

Ah yes, whine does go best with cheese.