Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gaming Links and Notes

I ordered some replacement drums two weeks ago. Over time, the yellow drum pad had gotten progressively worse about registering hits. I had the new drums in three days and they made a huge difference--I'm trying to five-star all songs on Medium, and I did eight in a row with the new set the first time I used them.

Run to the Hills on Hard? Not so much.

It's just not fun to keep practicing the same song over and over, particularly when it's just a basic skill issue. So I've been working my way through the early tiers on Expert, trying to four-star or five-star everything else on Hard, then dropping down to Medium for a few songs (I've five-starred everything except the last two tiers).

The amount of downloadable content for Rock Band has been nothing short of insane, and here are two links that help keep it all straight. The first was sent in by Matt Gindt, and it's simply called Rock Band Content. It allows you to view the difficulty level for any song in the game, by instrument, on a scale of 1-10. When available, videos are also listed, both for the full song as well as in-game videos by instrument.

Then there's Rock Band Downloadable Content Previews, sent in by Edwin Garcia, which inclues audio previews for all DLC songs as well as links to web pages for each band. I found that the audio previews were more than long enough for me to decide whether I wanted to purchase the song.

Now, let's look at a few other gaming links.

First off, and this is a ridiculous bargain, Big Fish Games is running a special where you can get any game for $10 off. That means you could get Puzzle Quest AND Fairway Solitaire, for example (two of the best games of 2007), for $10 each. Use the coupon code "DETECTIVE" (thanks to Brett Kugler for the tip).

N'Gai Croal has an excellent series of articles over at Level Up about the design of Burnout Paradise--in particular, the dynamic nature of the game world, which feels more like Test Drive Unlimited (which, in spite of less-than-stellar sales, was a brilliant and groundbreaking piece of design) than previous games in the Burnout series. The articles are in the "fight" format (with Stephen Totilo), and you can see round one and round two.

I think the design concept of selecting races while inside the game world is here to stay. Even with its potential annoyances, it feels so much more organic than exiting to a menu system to select races and I think it provides a far more immersive experience.

I would have written up some impressions on Burnout Paradise already, except I'm spending all my time playing No More Heroes. Which is utterly fantastic, and I'll tell you about it next week.

Kato Katonian sent in a link to a tremendously cool application he wrote that sends Halo 3 stats directly to your iPhone. It's called IHaloStats, and both the interface as well as the program screens are first-rate. Even if you're not into Halo, it's a very slick piece of programming.

Theohall sent me a link to a new, fan-created expansion for Thief 2. It's called Thief T2X: Shadows of the Metal Age, and it was five years in the making. Here's a link to the trailer as well.

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