Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cinematic Trailers of War-!

Yesterday I discovered that there are new cinematic trailers available for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion and for Warhammer Online. Most of you are probably already aware that the trailer to Warhammer: Mark of Chaos is my favorite video game cinematic of all time, but this new Warhammer Online video comes close. In fact, if you haven't seen these yet, I would recommend watching the World of Warcraft one first, just because the Warhammer one is so far superior that the Warcraft video, though impressive in its own right, will seem boring in comparison.

While we're here, I thought I would run through some of my other favorite video game cinematics:

You already know it's coming, so let's start with the Amerigo video from Starcraft.
On the topic of Starcraft, my other favorite video from the game was the intro video to Brood war.

Warcraft 3 also had some excellent cinematics, most notably the human ending and orc ending.

Diablo's cinematics were never as good, somehow, but this one from Diablo 2, featuring a fight between the Wanderer and Tyrael, is okay.

The opening cinematics to the original Dawn of War and the upcoming sequel are both very impressive.

And the opening cinemat of what would have been Starcraft: Ghost wasn't bad, either.

I'm sure we've all already seen the trailer to Starcraft 2, but have you seen this meeting between Raynor and Zeratul? (Not a true cinematic, but still cool)

I realize that all of these are either for Warhammer games or Blizzard products. What can I say? They do seem to have the best cinematics.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I've gone through my blog and added labels, so if you'd like to read posts of a certain nature, you can do so.

"Ruminations" are my thoughts on things, and they are usually the most Steampunk-themed posts.

"Trivia and minutiae" are shorter posts, usually links.

"Ideal steampunk movie" posts deal with my dream cast for a truly great Steampunk movie.

"Moving pictures and sound" posts deal with television shows and movies.

"Meme watch" posts watch memes.

"Bound tomes" deal with books.

"Personal" posts are self-explanatory.

"Computational engine-based entertainment" posts are about video games.

"Shared storytelling involving assumed personas" is the category for RPGs.

And now the real dilemma: what to label this post?

Friday, August 8, 2008


The first thing I have to say about this game is: where have you been all my life?

Or, more precisely: why hasn't anyone told me to buy this game yet?

One thing I've been meaning to blog about here is what you might call the "FPS Pistol Syndrome." This is the annoying tendency of games to start you off with crappy, boring weapons, supposedly to make you appreciate and enjoy the big, fun weapons more. Even when you do get the big weapons, ammo for them is scarce, so you're stuck using the crappy weapons most of the time anyway.

Of course, the game I'm referring to is the grandaddy of the genre, DOOM, which forced you to start the game with the nearly-worthless pistol that takes several shots to kill even the most basic enemy. It takes ages to get the famous BFG 9000 which, though fun to use, eats through the rare plasma ammo like a fat kid with a jar of caviar. And what happens when you run out of plasma ammo? It's back to the good ol' shotgun and minigun.

The question I have is: why? The point of playing a video game is to have fun. Wouldn't the game designers want to maximize the amount of fun their players are having? If you ask me, forcing a player to run around with the pistol is like forcing Sonic to spend half the game walking, or making you go through boot camp before deploying to Normandy.

In Painkiller, your starting weapon is awesome. I can only describe it affectionately as the "spinny killy blade," as this is exactly what it is. Essentially, you dice your enemies to pieces with a madly spinning weapon. Its alternate fire shoots the blades from the gun, allowing you to either do impact damage when it hits enemies or, if you hit a structure, you can create a lazer beam between the blade and yourself to hurt enemies that cross it.

And that's just the starting weapon! The second weapon you get is a fairly standard shotgun (though it's still very satisfying to blow apart monsters at close range, and it can freeze enemies). The third weapon is the famous stake gun. If you've heard of Painkiller, you've heard of this weapon. I played the demo first, and the experience of nailing a crawling enemy to the floor through the head was what sold me on the game.

So far, most of the enemies can be killed with one shot from the stake gun, a close-range blast or two mid-range blasts from the shotgun, or a split-second meeting with Mr. Choppy.

I haven't gotten very far into the game, so I've only seen the first few levels. I imagine it probably gets somewhat tedious after a while. Nevertheless, I must tip my hat to the game designers who really went out of their way to make the game fun to play.

I should also mention that the weapons in this game are delightfully Steampunk. It's fun to watch the moving parts of the weapons... when you're not employing those weapons on the twisted minions of darkness, that is.

(Side note: Steam told me that I'd be buying Painkiller: Gold Edition, but when I installed it, said Painkiller: Black Edition. From what I understand, the Black Edition comes with extra DRM. I understand this can be a deal breaker for some people, so you have been warned.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Taking the day off from work

It feels strange, but I'm at home, somewhat groggy and flu-like. I used to never stay home from school, so it feels somehow like a loss to stay home from work. That said, it's been sort of looming over me for a while now, like I've been sort of sick but not sick enough to take the day off. Then today I decided that I had nothing scheduled for the day and I felt pretty lousy, so I was just going to rest.

Sorry for not blogging much lately. I've got some ideas, I just need to write them up. We'll see where that goes.