GAMES I’M CURRENTLY PLAYING
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time off from work with lots, and I mean LOTS, of gaming. In the past week I’ve beat the story-modes of all three of these games and now I’m attempting to complete them 100 percent or at least unlock majority of the achievements. I’ve also been playing a bit of Mario Golf for the Gamecube with my wife. She recently discovered the game and is loving it. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve played it and it’s still an absolute blast.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two - Starved for Help - In The Walking Dead comic series the walkers are no longer the threat that they once were. Now, they’re predictable and manageable. At this point it’s other humans that are dangerous as everyone struggles to find the necessary means of survival. In similar fashion, The Walking Dead game is exploring these themes as well and it’s one god-damn intense ride. Screw the zombies, desperate people are what’s really terrifying. When the first episode was released, my wife and I spent the evening locked indoors with all the lights out - completely committed to the experience. This time was no different. I can’t believe how tense some of the moments in this game were. Especially the climax on the farm.
I do want to mention that there are some crippling performance issues with this episode. The game seems to falter or nearly freeze seemingly even couple minutes. Hopefully Telltale will release a patch to resolve the issue and allow things to run more smoothly. This episode was also light on the puzzles/gameplay elements which is a bit of a letdown. If you can get past these issues and enjoy the story, this is a GREAT followup to the first episode.
The Amazing Spider-Man - If you’ve been following this blog the past week it’s more than obvious that I’ve been playing this game a lot. I’ve already seen the story through to the end, completed all the side missions, and I’ve even collected all of the alternate costumes, so at this point I’m only left with unlocking all of the achievements. Possibly even reach 100% game completion. I don’t normally see most games through this far but I’ve been having a lot of fun with The Amazing Spider-Man and I don’t want the experience to end.
NOTE: I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man movie on Monday night and it didn’t really do much for me. I did think that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both did a good job as Peter and Gwen, and Marc Webb’s direction was captivating at times, but the story lacked focus. I enjoyed the first act quite a bit but my attention dwindled in the second act when the story spent far too much time on plot points the audience has already been familiarized with. There just wasn’t enough new material here to hold my interest through the whole film. Plus I’m still bitter because the Lizard doesn’t have a snout. He looks more like Killer Croc from Batman than the Lizard I’ve known my whole life. The movie really isn’t a bad movie at all, it’s just not very exciting and too much of a retread.
Batman: Arkham Asylum - So I finally decided to give Arkham Asylum a chance and I’m mad at myself for waiting so long. This game is friggin’ fantastic! But I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that because it seems everyone and their mother has already played it. My absolute favorite aspect of the game is solving the Riddler’s riddles. I also found the Chronicles of Arkham recordings intriguing and loved the twist/surprise at the end. I can’t wait to complete this one 100% so I can pick up the critically-acclaimed Arkham City sometime next week.
GAME REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man (XBOX 360)
I’m pleased to share that The Amazing Spider-Man game is not simply a cash grab set to coincide with the release of the upcoming film, it’s actually a good game. Let me be clear though, it’s a good game, not a great one. There isn’t enough here for it to feel entirely fresh and you’ll definitely run into some major bugs/glitches along the way, however, this is a noteworthy case of pros outweighing cons to make for the most exhilarating Spider-Man game of this generation.
Graphics - For the most part the graphics are impressive - especially when swinging around Manhattan. However, there are many situations, most notably during in-game cinemas, where some rough edges can quickly take you out of the experience.
Sound - The score gets the job done but isn’t anything to write home about. The sound effects are effective and the voice work is really good for not being done by the cast of the film.
Controls - While these may be the best controls ever in a Spider-Man game, they can still be rather problematic when it comes to crawling on walls/ceilings, web-rush detection, and all around responsiveness. Luckily swinging around the city with style and beating the crap out of enemies is easy enough to do.
Presentation - One thing that The Amazing Spider-Man ultimately gets right is the feeling of being in the wall-crawler’s shoes while maintaining the large cinematic feel of the movies. The climactic story, the diversity of the open-world gameplay, and simply swinging through Manhattan make for a well-rounded experience.
Replay Value - Once you finish the game and the side missions the city goes quiet and there isn’t much left to do. The 360 version adds more replay value in the form of achievement points. There are also items to collect/find in the individual levels that unlock character bios and concept art. Unless you are someone who likes to 100% every aspect of an open-world game, I recommend keeping The Amazing Spider-Man to a rental.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man is a strong package. Even though it may not last as long as other open-world games, there are still a good variety of things to do here. Sure, most of the enemies are generic, the side missions can get repetitious, and the game doesn’t offer much replay value once completed, but the sum of these parts creates a satisfying Spider-Man experience that is sure to be seen by many fans as a turning point in the series.
OVERALL SCORE - 8 out of 10
Being that this is the first review to be featured on A.D.D.generation, I want to make a few things clear. First, I’ve decided to limit this review to the basics considering there are already so many publications thoroughly covering the game. This review is strictly meant to offer my opinion on the experience. Second, if I continue to review games on this site, expect the format to grow and evolve into something more cohesive. And lastly, if you have any specific questions you want answered about The Amazing Spider-Man, I am more than willing to answer them if you message me.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE DRAMAS
This afternoon a good friend and I were discussing the movie Drive and everything we loved about it (which coincidentally is everything) when the conversation evolved into us sharing our top five dramatic films of all time. Normally making a top five list would be such a complicated task for me because I’d have to exclude so many great options but for some reason this was one of the easiest lists I’ve ever put together. These were all such obvious choices that they came to mind instantly and I can’t think of any other films to rival them.
My top five dramas, in no particular order, are…
The Departed is an amazing film that is gripping from start to finish. The performances are career defining, the direction is perfect, and the impact it leaves on you will last for days. The mesmerizing show put on by Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio is worth the accolades alone.
THE DARK KNIGHT
A truly great movie will live with you for days after you’ve seen it - sometimes weeks. I had no idea what to expect from this flick before seeing it at the theater on opening night. I knew that Batman Begins was one of the best superhero movies I had ever seen but I didn’t realize The Dark Knight was going to be more crime drama than superhero flick. I remember coming home from the midnight showing and laying in bed for an hour or so as I attempted to absorb everything I had just seen. Christoper Nolan fucked with my head in a major way and I still can’t shake this experience five years later.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
One of the greatest movies of all time - PERIOD. Frank Darabont wrote one of the most flawless and inspiring screenplays to ever come out of Hollywood. This may be one of the few movies where I couldn’t find a flaw if you paid me. This is cinematic perfection that just gets better and better with each viewing.
GONE BABY GONE
Gone Baby Gone is Ben Affleck’s directorial debut that stars younger brother Casey Affleck in one of the best performances of his career. This movie is powerful, chilling, and sure to incite heated discussions between you and your viewing partner(s). It’s a shame that it went largely unnoticed because it’s a thought-provoking revelation that marks an amazing turning point in Ben Affleck’s career.
In 2011 Ryan Gosling came out of absolutely nowhere to become one of my favorite actors in years. He delivered incredible performances in The Ides of March, Crazy Stupid Love, and my personal favorite, Drive. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that I have a vocabulary expansive enough to describe how I really feel about this movie. The 80’s synth soundtrack, the orgasmic cinematography, the flawless acting, and the less-is-more approach, make for one tense and haunting experience. Drive doesn’t try to tell you a story with dialog, it shows you.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The Amazing Spider-Man (XBOX 360)
I’ve been busy lately - VERY busy. And because of this I haven’t been able to do much blogging. I apologize for that. I definitely don’t enjoy being this swamped. Lucky for me I have all of next week off so I decided to pick up a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man for XBOX 360 to celebrate. So far I’ve only been able to put in about 4 hours but I wanted to share my initial impressions.
- Swinging around NYC is an absolute blast just like it was in the previous open world Spider-Man games.
- Some of Spider-Man’s greatest villains have been reduced to generic one-dimensional characters that lack the personality of their previous incarnations. I don’t like this. They are seemingly cool during their introduction in the lab but after direct interaction you realize they lack any character.
- The combat system is fast-paced and fun. It’s extremely simplistic but in all honesty, that’s half the fun of it because Spider-Man looks so bad ass in the heat of battle.
- Spider-Man’s suit becomes damaged as you progress through the game and it makes him look even MORE bad ass.
- I know I may be the minority but I really enjoy finding the comic book pages placed around the city. It gives me an excuse to swing around aimlessly with style.
- Spider-Man 1 & 2 on the original Playstation were my favorite in the series because I felt they were the best translation of the comic books. I understand this game is based on the universe from the upcoming movie but I still can’t get behind this vision 100%. Bringing these villains and bosses to life in a “realistic” way leaves them feeling flat and uninspired.
- The game has style. Lots of style. Some of the character designs may be flawed and undeveloped but Spider-Man looks PHENOMENAL. The city itself looks great while swinging around but many of the interiors and in-game cinematics expose some very very jarring and rough edges. Also the internal locales are mostly generic and underwhelming.
- At this point, I think I’d recommend a rental over a purchase. Unless you’re an avid Spider-Man fan. It’s a really fun game but I’m questioning its replay value and longevity. You could probably complete the game during a 5-day rental and feel pretty satisfied.
I plan on spending much more time with the game over the next week and possibly writing a full review. At this point in time, and I know this is premature, I’d say the game is inline for a 7-8 out of 10 score. Even with the missteps, there is no denying that this game is fun. I must warn you though, the game does reveal and hint at what may be major plot/turning points in the upcoming movie, so I recommend waiting until after you’ve seen it to play the game.
UPDATE: I sat down with the game last night and intended to only play for about an hour. Next thing I know, it’s 11:30pm and I’d been playing for four hours. This game is really fun. Most of my time was spent stopping petty crimes, escorting infected civilians to the hospital, assisting police in car chases, taking pictures of crime scenes, and collecting comic book pages. Don’t let me fool you into thinking these tasks have a lot of depth, they don’t, but they definitely help round out and bulk up the experience. As far as the plot progression goes, I just finished the 4th chapter. As long as the quality of experience doesn’t unexpectedly drop, this is most definitely the most fun I’ve had with a Spider-Man game since Spider-Man 2 was released alongside its movie counterpart. Now if you’ll excuse me, Scarlet Spider needs to get a serum to Oscorp labs ASAP and he’s in need of my assistance. Stay frosty, Tumblr.
Dinosaur Jr. is one of my favorite bands ever and considering Farm was probably the most focused effort of their career, I simply cannot wait for this release.
September 17th is right around the corner, right? RIGHT?!
I LOVE THE 90’s
RETURN OF THE NINTENDO 64
So, this past Friday I finally tracked down my Nintendo 64 and a decent amount of games. It’s been nearly five years since I’ve had this great system in my possession and I couldn’t be happier. What’s even better is how excited my wife was by this reacquisition - she LOVES the N64. We spent a good part of the weekend playing Diddy Kong Racing, Cruis’n USA/World, Star Wars Episode 1 Racer, Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls, and Mario Kart 64. I even managed to squeeze in a little solo play with South Park and Goldeneye - two games I’ve been longing to play for a while now.
Pictured Above: Perfect Dark, Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls, Duke Nukem 64, Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, South Park, Goldeneye, Banjo-Tooie, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Cruis’n USA, Cruis’n World, San Francisco Rush, Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA, All-Star Baseball 99, BattleTanx, Wipeout 64, Bio Freaks, Diddy Kong Racing, and Donkey Kong 64.
South Park was exactly as I remember it - fun for about five minutes then painfully monotonous. This is unfortunate because I actually enjoy the FPS presentation. The problem is that there is absolutely no depth to the gameplay. Shoot, evade, shoot a ton more, cross the finish line. Yeah, an FPS contains finish lines. I can’t completely knock the game though because I do enjoy the zany weapons and fast-paced multiplayer. That is, as long as the framerate holds up which it usually doesn’t.
I booted up Goldeneye with the hopes of tackling a few levels of the campaign but to my surprise, I couldn’t handle the controls. I’d never had this problem in the past. In fact, I used to prefer the controls of Goldeneye to the C-button based scheme of games like South Park and Turok but now - apparently - it’s the other way around. I forced myself to finish the Dam level and then turned the game off. Hopefully soon I’ll be feeling ambitious enough to relearn the controls and give the classic game a proper playthrough.
Yesterday I downloaded a handful of Nintendo Power magazines from the late 90’s to check out some of the N64 game reviews when I came across a game I forgot about completely - Beetle Adventure Racing. I don’t have detailed memories of this game but I remember frequently playing it at a friends house and liking it a lot.
Thank god for Ebay. After a quick search I found a copy of Beetle Adventure Racing for $7 w/ free shipping. Hopefully it’ll reach my mailbox by the weekend so I have adequate time to take it for a spin. I’m also looking to order Excitebike 64, Turok 1 & 2, Jet Force Gemini, Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest, Snowboard Kids 2 and Yoshi’s Story. It makes me sad when I realize that I used to own nearly 100 titles for the N64 and now only 18 remain. Luckily, I have Ebay to help build the collection back up.
Other than being bummed about my experience with Goldeneye, I had a great time with my “old friend” this weekend. As I type, I’m watching my lady play Super Mario 64 and I’m becoming distracted and overwhelmed by a heavy feeling of nostalgia. I know in the past I’ve admitted that the SNES is my favorite system but I definitely have the best memories from my time with the N64 and I’m ecstatic that it’s back in my life.
Welcome home, Son.
— The Vades
FAVORITE DREAMCAST GAMES
Crazy Taxi - When this game was first announced for Dreamcast I was ecstatic. I loved playing it in the arcades and now I could have it in my house to play whenever I wanted. And who could forget the music? Especially The Offspring song “All I Want” - it made this game.
House of the Dead 2 - Not long after the Dreamcast came out I started my first job as a dishwasher at a tavern not far from my house. I was in high school at the time so everything I earned was spending money. To celebrate my first paycheck I headed directly to the local Best Buy to pick up HotD2 and a light-gun. I was so excited to use the light-gun because it would be the first time I would use a peripheral like this since Duck Hunt was released on the NES. Anyway, I had a great time with this game and eventually purchased a 2nd gun so my neighbor could play with me. Good times.
Hyrdo Thunder - Every time I went to Star Theater to see a movie, I would get there at least an hour early so I could spend some time with the arcade version of this game. So when it was released on Dreamcast, I picked it up right away. I still boot up my DC from time-to-time for this game.
NOTE: Hydro Thunder Hurricane (the sequel/remake released on XBLA) is a good option for anyone that never got a chance to play the original.
NFL 2K - (shown above NFL 2K5) This was the first football game, besides Blitz on N64, that I really got into. That says a lot because I didn’t really know anything about football at the time and had virtually no interest in the sport anyway. I didn’t play NFL 2K for a long time but I did get surprisingly good at it. I loved that you could execute unconventional plays and it would actually pay off. I think that’s the reason I beat most of my friends that had a history with the sport and its virtual offerings.
Quake III Arena - Ah, my first experience with online play. I was staying the night at my neighbors house and we were playing the hell out of this game. At one point we studied the case and realized that it had online capabilities. We hooked it into the phone jack (yeah, dial-up) and within 15 minutes or so we were playing with people across the country. It was an amazing experience. This was the first time we had a “window-to-the-world” in our own bedrooms. Regardless of connection problems, we stayed up all night playing Quake.
San Francisco Rush 2049 - I don’t know if I’d feel completely confident in saying that this is my favorite Dreamcast game. To be honest, I barely even did any racing when I booted it up. All of my time, and my friends, was spent playing the stunt mode which was the same reason I loved the previous game, Rush 2. Even to this day, every now and again we’ll hook up the Dreamcast, crack some beers, boot up 2049’s stunt mode, set the timer as high as it will go, and fight for a high score.
SEGA Marine Fishing - I owned both this game and SEGA Bass Fishing. I enjoyed both games a lot but preferred Marine Fishing because there was more variety. I even purchased the fishing rod peripheral.
Shenmue - Never mind what I said about SF Rush 2049 possibly being my favorite game on Dreamcast. It’s not, Shenmue is. I rented this game on a Friday night and didn’t leave my bedroom until the following Monday when it was time to leave for school. I even faked sick and left school after a couple hours so I could come home and play it. This game consumed me. It was the first time I ever entered a living and breathing virtual world with this kind of depth and detail. It’s a shame that the trilogy was never concluded in America and a shame that so many people missed what truly is one of the most under-appreciated games of all time. It may seem a little dated when compared to the games of today but this game was revolutionary for its time. If you have a Dreamcast laying around and have never played this game, I recommend heading over to EBay and snagging yourself a copy.
Sonic Adventure - 9/9/99 is when the Dreamcast launched. I worked all summer cutting grass and doing chores to save up for the console. I ended up saving enough money to purchase the Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure at launch. This game was absolutely stunning for its time. My jaw was on the floor during the whole whale sequence of the first level. I only played through this game one time but it was one of the most memorable gaming experiences of my life. It’s a shame that there hasn’t been a great Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 1 & 2.
Speed Devils - This game had great interactive elements and cinematic set pieces. In one level you’d drive under a T-Rex that was stomping down an alley in Hollywood, in another you’d attempt to outrun a tornado, and in another you’d drive through a volcano that would spew lava. This game went unnoticed by most people but was one of my favorite racing games at the time.
Other games that I played to death:
- Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX
- Fur Fighters
- Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX
- Soul Calibur
- South Park Rally
- Sword of the Berserk: Gut’s Rage
- Toy Commander
- Unreal Tournament
- Power Stone 1 & 2
- Resident Evil: Code Veronica
The Dreamcast wasn’t really as bad of a system as many people perceived it to be and I always enjoyed that the games were more arcade oriented than what was offered on other consoles. Sure, SEGA made many mistakes with its final console but there were still some REALLY good games. I would go as far as to say that a few of these games listed above are some of my all time favorites.
FLASHBACK: 90’s NICKTOONS
As I get older I find my appreciation for the entertainment that defined my childhood constantly growing. I guess this happens to most people when they hit a certain age. Sometimes after spending many years in the adult world life can start to lose its color, so for most, the easiest form of relief is to escape back to a time when everything was still exciting and new. For me that time was the 1990’s and a major part of that excitement was thanks to the original Nicktoons on Nickelodeon.
Just to be clear, when I say original Nicktoons, I mean Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and even Rocko’s Modern Life - though it came two years after the rest.
On Saturday nights I would sit through an entire block of SNICK shows just for Ren & Stimpy and then Sunday mornings usually consisted of hanging out with my sister, playing SNES, and watching Nicktoons. During the week, I would even come in from playing with friends just to watch reruns of Doug from 7-8pm. For me 1991 to 1995 was all about Nicktoons and video games.
Today, after spending the majority of the afternoon watching Ren & Stimpy DVDs, I spent a lot of time reflecting on that era of my youth. It got me thinking about these Nicktoons and what they meant to me. Doug became my favorite show when I first began entering social situations at school. Rugrats was one I liked watching because my mom and sister really enjoyed it. Ren & Stimpy was attractive because it was vulgar and I probably shouldn’t have been watching it. And Rocko’s Modern Life was creative and comical enough to influence the artist in me.
I used to be all about these shows. I watched every episode, bought every toy/collectable, and had every video game. Now, I’m a 27-year-old adult who STILL has these reminders of his youth scattered around his home office. Everything in the picture below I was able to gather without even leaving my chair.
- Rocko’s Modern Life / Ren & Stimpy comics
- Surprise Stimpy farting plushy
- The 1st seasons of Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, and Doug on DVD
- SNES games: Ren & Stimpy: Firedogs / Veediots / Time Warp and Rocko’s Modern Life in Spunky’s Dangerous Day
- Stimpy Warped Coffee Mug
- Joy O’ Brushing Stimpy collectable figurine
And this past winter I completed my Ren & Stimpy comic book collection.
I know I have other stuff tucked away too; like full sets of Nicktoons and Ren & Stimpy Trading Cards, action figures, issues of Nickelodeon Magazine, VHS tapes, and other random memorabilia, but its been so long since I’ve seen any of it. Maybe one day soon I’ll head over to my parents house and dig it out of their basement.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a few cartoons left such an impression on me that they’re still apart of my life 20 years later.
NOTE: If you’re looking to revisit these shows or experience them for the first time I recommend checking out Netflix streaming services. If I remember correctly you can find Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and Angry Beavers. The only one that isn’t available out of the shows I mentioned today is Doug which I believe has to do with ownership of rights (Disney purchased the show from Nickelodeon in 1996).