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Aaron Waite

Aaron Waite

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014 23:14

Dumbing It Down

Correcting multiplayer balance

A few months ago, I wrote on the subject of 'Halo 4' and how it was a completely different beast than the previous iterations of the series. Rather than continuing to work with the core gameplay that made the series great, 343 Industries took unnecessary measures to make sure that the skill gap was roughly an inch. Between sprint, random weapon drops, changing the scoring system and loadouts, the game was built for one purpose, and one purpose alone: to make sure casual gamers felt like they weren't left out.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 18:00

Little League of Legends

Can Gaming Co-Exist With Sports?

As an expectant father (or more accurately, husband of an expectant wife), I have a lot of tangents that I tend to go on when talking about my child's future. There's a reasonable amount of speculation when it comes to my offspring: Are they going to be a nerd or jock? Bookworm or computer geek? Ginger or non-ginger? (My wife and I are both redheads; poor kid doesn't have a chance.) 

I was discussing some of these possibilities with my sister when I broached the idea of how gaming would be viewed by the next generation. Where the NES generation is getting older, gaming is becoming more ubiquitous while the stigma attached to it lessens by the year. No longer the basement-bound hobby that it once was, gaming has achieved an incredible amount of mainstream success and coverage. However, the thing that intrigues me the most is how some games are becoming a spectator sport in and of their own right. 'League of Legends' has had upwards of 32 million concurrent viewers watching top teams vie for the Summoner's Cup. 

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 20:18

Modded For The Better

Games saved by modders

The vast majority of the time, developers tend to be a pretty savvy lot. Most games run well on their system of choice, are fairly well-balanced and devoid of glaring crashes, bugs and exploits. But every once in a while, developers, through ignorance, time crunches or a mixture of both, drop the ball in such a spectacular way that the community steps in and decides to fix it out of sheer dedication to the core idea of their choice. Here's a few instances where modders have saved games from themselves:

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:18

Getting Better, Not Older

Nintendo, meet the modern age

While I may have been extolling the virtues of Nintendo's newest 3D Mario game last week, that doesn't exactly take them out of the hot water that they've placed themselves in. They recently lowered their Wii U sales forecast by 6.2 million units. Now, I don't follow the mindset that Nintendo is immediately doomed by this, but I will absolutely say that they are completely out of touch with all the possibilities that could give them a huge boost in income and potential console sales. Lemme break it down for you:

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 01:18

Time Waster - Deep Sea Diver 2'

In 'Deep Sea Diver 2,' you are surprise, surprise - a deep sea diver searching for treasure. You've gotten some hot leads about where to find some treasure. 

This is a mouse-only game where you can dive deeper and longer and ward off more difficult opponents.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 23:30

Mario Party like it's 1985

I hate saxophones.

You need to understand this. It's incredibly important that you comprehend how much I loathe saxophones. I'm not sure what my reasoning is, but that particular instrument unleashes a very potent brand of hate into the deepest parts of my brain.

Thursday, 26 December 2013 14:10

Homemade vs. Factory

Do we need more than 'go to the cave'?

I love polished, shiny AAA games. Games that show off the pedigree of the developer. Games that are a picture of the dedication (and size) of the team involved. Games that just scream that they've had a long and arduous climb through rigorous quality assurance and they've come out shining onto the mountaintop of legend. It's honestly a really beautiful thing to see that kind of buildup turn into the game that you knew it'd be.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 22:03

Extra Life

Author's Note: Just a bit of a heads-up, this article has barely anything to do with gaming, so if you've come for my normal brand of gibberish, you may be slightly disappointed. However, if you'd like to read a slightly different brand of gibberish, come on in.

My brain hasn't been functioning lately.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:12

The sheepish veteran of internet wars

If you recall, a few months ago, I was in a right old tizzy about Microsoft's Xbox One. At the time of E3, it truly seemed like Microsoft was ushering in a new age of draconian DRM, assuming their true throne next to the devil as the dark lords of the gaming industry. I was livid. I ranted, raved, traded in my Xbox 360 toward a pre-order of the PS4 and swore to uphold the virtues of actual game ownership and fight these servants to Big Brother. 'Games should belong to those that buy them!' I declared vehemently, waving my torch and pitchfork and declaring war upon Redmond's resident evil.

As it turns out, less than a few days after I wrote my article, Microsoft recanted their position on their always-on, DRM-riddled stance and adopted a more traditional means of game ownership. I crossed my arms and scoffed. They weren't going to win me back that easily, for I had been spurned, and I had run into the warm embrace of Sony's arms. The Playstation's master was my master now. Microsoft's silver tongue spouting gold-covered words could never sway my dedication to my new cause, nor could it make me forget how they attempted to crush us underfoot with their means to control ownership.

Time went by, and as I've spoken of in another article, I actually ended up cancelling my PS4 pre-order in favor of picking up a Wii U. I'd grown tired of fighting the console wars that I'd sworn I'd never let myself be drawn into. I just wanted a console right now to play games, have fun, and most importantly, to play 'Wind Waker HD.' I stepped back from my initial rage and looked at the bigger picture: I loved gaming, and if I really thought about it, being a wronged and indignant consumer is just too bloody exhausting.

So let's bring this full circle: yesterday, I was watching the news from launch events for the Xbox One, seeing the excitement from news sites and fans reporting in on how awesome their new consoles were. Full reviews of the systems on Polygon, Ars Technica and various other tech sites were glowing with positive reviews and new hope for the next generation of consoles.

And all I could think was, 'Man, I really wish I had an Xbox One.'

I know that there's not a very good launch library right now, but I truly thought that this would be the first generation of consoles that I owned at launch. Again, logically, I know that neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One will full hit their stride until a year or so down the road. But I could have been an early adopter for the first time in my still-relatively-young life. That feeling of being one of the first was stolen due to the fact that I couldn't make up my mind on what side of a non-existent war I wanted to be on, got tired of fighting said fictional battle and settled for something that wasn't quite what I was looking for.

I guess the entire point of this is that the internet as a whole is easy to rile, quick to anger and quick to forget, and while I always made fun of it in the past, I actually fell for it this time. I had already forgotten the 'wrongs' that Microsoft had supposedly brought upon me, and more than likely, it was because I had gotten angry for absolutely no reason at all.

So the next time the internet hivemind decides to wage a holy war, I think I'm going to sit it out and actually take a good look at the entire situation before I get swept along with the crowd.

Aaron Waite does have his favorite torch and pitchfork behind glass, just in case.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 20:51

The Mind Wanders

Things from video games that need to be real

We've all been there before, committing some ridiculous act of digital impossibility with some Bond-esque gadget and thinking to ourselves, 'Geez, that'd be handy to have in real life.' For your reading pleasure, I've compiled a personal wish list of such reality-defying gadgets:

Diplomatic Relations View - 'Civilization' series

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