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Aaron Waite

Aaron Waite

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 16:09

Old-School Payne

Coming back to a classic

The pressure bore down on me like a lioness hunting for her cubs, relentless and cunning. I sat in a daze at my computer, $20 in credit for Steam in hand and a mind muddled by multiple shots of Mountain Dew. The Summer Sale was clamoring for my attention, the various sellers virtually leaning out of their stalls in an attempt to tempt me to pay them some modicum of focus. I hadn't seen this many $5 deals since I'd worked my gig at Wal-Mart. Then it hit me: I should find something I had played as a child and hadn't really had the intelligence to think through and fully understand. Cocky and precocious as I was, there was still so much lost on my adolescent mind, a sin that I had to redeem. If buying older games was holy, I was the Pope.

I sifted through the various offerings, feeling the overweight monkey of decision eating bon-bons on my back. 'Delta Force'? No, there are places even this grizzled gamer doesn't go anymore. 'Tachyon: The Fringe'? I hadn't piloted a starship in years. Perhaps 'Thief'? The steps to get it to work on a Windows 8 machine formed a rap sheet as long as my arm. It seemed my nostalgic quest had evaporated with the heat before it even had a chance to see the light roasting it into oblivion.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:18

Romantically Influenced

Best couples of the digital age

At the time of this writing, I'm getting married in two and a half days. Two and a half days until my inner bachelor dies a bitter death (but not before consuming a last meal of Hot Pockets and Ramen), so you'll have to forgive me, because romance is one of the only things on my brain right now. Romance, and the savory taste of pork-flavored Maruchan deadening the pain of the last few fleeting moments of being able to sniff-test the wearability of my laundry. Seeing as you're not going to get much out of me other than that, I've decided to put together a list of my favorite classic geeky couples.

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 17:11

A Choice From Hell

Alienate Newcomers or Longtime Fans?

Blizzard, I want to be completely up front with you here: I absolutely love your games. The amount of polish you apply to your games is legendary, and the sheer scale of the gameplay has always been incredibly accessible, yet is always paired with a Marianas Trench depth that takes hours upon hours to master. There's a good reason you have a fanbase that is bigger than most countries. You've created a national sport for Korea with 'Starcraft.'Basically, I'm not trying to toot your horn here, Blizzard (unless it gets me free stuff). The fact I'm trying to get across is that as an experienced game production company, you generally know what you're doing.

Except, perhaps, with 'Diablo III.'

Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:23

Another Boredom Movement

What will it take for us to be taken seriously?

There is a huge wave of semi-panicked individuals (generally politicians and journalists) who are scared of anything the 'Internet' does. Many of these so-called professionals seem to think the entire web is in cahoots, ready to steal their money, their identities and quite possibly their babies. From the outside looking in, it looks as if they feel there's an inherent danger simply in people coming together, whatever the cause.

Frankly, I find this trend disturbing.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 17:09

Bastion of Storytelling

The Kid wrote an article...

It's a long-accepted fact that I have a thinly-spread attention span when it comes to gaming. I'm constantly bouncing between four or five games at any one time, so when you can actually lock me down with one game for more than an hour or two, you've accomplished a feat that few can actually lay claim to. In 2011, two games did this: one was the open-world opus known as 'Skyrim,' and number two was a little indie number called 'Bastion.'

Easily one of the most beautiful games I've ever had the privilege to play, 'Bastion' has a bright, light palette that disguises one of the most deeply-narrated stories you will ever be involved in. You're dropped into a world that has literally fallen out of the sky, with no backstory or driving force other than to move forward and seek out shelter and supplies.

Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:56

Bit Tunes With Brain

Musing underappreciated game soundtracks

5. DuckTales' - NES

Brain: Aaron, no one else played this game as a kid. No one.

Waite: I know of at least two others.

B: Your siblings don't count.

W: Anyway, most of this game would meet your exact expectations for a Nintendo game based

on a Disney Saturday morning cartoon. The gameplay is bizarrely unrelated to the cartoon

(Scrooge's attacks consist of bouncing on enemies with his cane). However, the strange and pleasant surprise came in the form of the game's fantastic music.

Friday, 08 June 2012 12:42

Stuck on Repeat

Connecting the cubicle farm with gold farming

I'd like to warn you in advance: This one is going to be rife with my patented brand of pseudo-psychological gibberish. Please brace your BS meters in advance.

Today, I'd like to discuss the impulse that drives us to grind in video games. Now, I'm not talking about that nasty little dance move that creep from the local club likes to pull off when he's had one too many Jell-O shots. For the layperson, grinding is any activity in games that requires an incredible amount of repetitive action spread over a long period of time in exchange for experience, skill levels or items.

Long considered a lost art, grinding was not only expected in the early days of RPGs, it was a downright necessity to lengthen games that otherwise would be fairly short. Hundreds of hours would need to be spent running back and forth in fields, forests and dungeons, enticing random monsters to throw themselves on your character's swords in order to gain level after yet another level. As we progressed in terms of technology and gameplay mechanics, we never really abandoned grinding, we just refined it. Random encounters in 'Dragon Warrior' became strategic material gathering in 'Mass Effect 2.' Experience was added to shooters and gave new life to the genre, possibly most prolifically with 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.' MMOs introduced epic quest chains to obtain the most powerful weapons and armor in the game, and some, such as 'EVE Online,' actually require days and sometimes weeks to train certain skills.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 15:23

Good News, Everybody!

Gaming's Top (And Not) Website

It's a wide, wide interwebs of gaming-related knowledge and know-how. I'm here this week to toss you in a few directions I feel are proper bases of video game news and pertinent discussion, while also warning you away from a couple badniks. Without further ado:

Joystiq
joystiq.com

For years, Joystiq has been a proper bastion for consistent news. The writers are professional yet creative and obviously passionate about their subject matter. A few feature articles break up the news stories nicely, and their layout leaves nothing to be desired. Joystiq also has a couple of decent sister sites in Massively (for MMO affectionatos) and WoW Insider (for fans of Blizzard's online behemoth World of Warcraft).

Aaron's Verdict: Four waffles out of five.

Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:58

Social Networking's Quiet Curse

Quietly cursing at social networking

In the dark, quiet days of the beginning of the 21st century, there were many places to express yourself on the interwebs. These ancient relics, some still in view today, were known as 'blogs.' These grammatical punching bags offered a way relieve the stress from the everyday grind. Hidden behind anonymity, we could unleash a torrent of vitriol and suppressed thoughts, relieving stress and making our opinion known to all. Problem is, you needed the exact address to get to these blogs, making it a little harder for prying eyes to find.

Enter Myspace.

While not the first social networking site to come along, it was the first one to reach mythic proportions of popularity. MySpace offered a way to connect you with all of your friends by name, so you suddenly had an audience with which to share the thoughts you generally hid throughout the day. Problem is, now people knew exactly what you thought of them after you'd been far too nice to them. Your anonymity couldn't save you from being labeled a hypocrite.

Then we all found Facebook.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 17:45

The Dark Door

A record of discovering Minecraft hell

Jan. 12, 2012: It's impressive, and that's about all we know at this point. About 10 feet tall, five feet wide, and completely immobile. It's like a brand-new Stonehenge, except in this desolate location, it doesn't seem like this was used as a worship location. Maybe a guru-esque retreat? Don't know at this point, but this is definitely going to be our home until we do figure it out.

Feb. 15, 2012: Ate our last steak today. Looks like apples are on the menu for the long-foreseeable future. I'd strangle an Enderman for a decent porkchop. Still no noticeable progress on the 'portal,' as we've taken to calling it. It's just a hollow doorway to nowhere. Part of me is wishing I was still punching trees at my dad's business back home, but no, sir, I had to be adventurous. Some adventure. I'll go down in history as the man that led an expedition to stare at a door.Feb. 18, 2012: Sometimes luck is a funny mistress. After all of my other expenses, I only had enough to hire a couple of second-rate assistants. First one I found was Cary, a bright young fella, but has tendency to run off on his own, claiming to have an incredible ideas to support his wanderlust. Just the other day, we had to save him after he wandered into a desert. Found him clutching a cactus like a baby, saying it was 'the beginning of a beautiful deathtrap.'And then there's Weeks.I found Weeks in the streets of Spawncity, holding a sign saying 'lost pie, will work for cake.' Being incredibly low on cash, I asked him how he felt about going on an adventure. He jumped up, threw his arms around me, and whispered very sweetly in my ear that I was his favorite 'broomhilda.' Strong as a bloody ox, though. I think it's the Creator's way of evening things out.

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