The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘computer games’

Get Your Geek On – Day Five

Posted by BigWords on September 16, 2011

It is no surprise that games have played a large part in my life, though it may surprise some to learn that the games which have had the most impact on me were not the usual suspects – partly because of location, and partly because of finances, the early nineties wasn’t the Nintendo era for me – it was when I was getting into the classic games of the eighties. I had an Amstrad and a Commodore from as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until the notion of coding my own games that I really started to understand the appeal of gaming. Being in control of the world as well as the character on the screen was a massive step into the immersion. The first game I wrote was a horrible, truly awful side-scroller with half of the code lifted from the games around me – all in BASIC, with a number of gameplay issues which would take me a few years to fully understand. Aside from being completely broken, unimaginative and rather rubbish, that first game was exhilarating.

I’m probably going to reveal just how long I’ve been gaming when I say this, but the Batman game which came in the big box with two cassettes and a poster (I think it was the Joker and the Penguin, the villains of the game) was probably more instrumental in getting me to keep playing than any other. It wasn’t a pretty game, by any means, though it was probably the first I completed all the way through to the end. I worked my way through the back catalog of games from the 80s which I could pick up in small newsagents – and the thought of those spinner-racks full of games cassettes holds serious nostalgia value – then looked for something to fill the need for more complexity. I think I’m missing a generation there, but there wasn’t that many games on floppy for the BBC – or, I should say, I didn’t have that many of the games. One thing people might not remember is the long loading times, which I spent gathering together paper and pens for conspicuous note-taking.

Round about the time Windows 95 rolled along (though it would have been a year or so after release that I actually got my hands on the giant desktop) I went looking for games which would test me. Most of the searching was in vain, though a few games came close to appeasing the growing need for something more than shooting and jumping. Puzzle games have, for the longest time, irritated me as much as they have entertained me, and some of the worst offenders *cough* Tomb Raider *cough* fall firmly into the “PITA” category. There was a clutch of games released in the late 90s and early 00s which reaffirmed the notion that new things could be done with gaming, and – as joyful a kid who has found a new toyshop – I was back to playing for three or four hours a day. Hostile Waters, Thief, Half Life, Red Faction, and the sublime Deus Ex. Of all the games of that era, Deus Ex rose to the position of the game I would play when I needed cheering up.

Of course, with the addition of consoles, my collection of games required that (once again) I was putting things in storage whenever my apartment got too crowded. I’ve still got a lot of the games I bought, but I rarely look back to the older titles unless, as now, I’m writing about them. Deus Ex still holds up as an amazing achievement – moreso than the middling Invisible War – and it is one of the handful of older titles which I still play. And yes, I started on a mod for it. The complete conversion never quite got to the finished state I had planned, but that was more to do with the awkward toolkit than a lack of ambition. Over the years I have spent as much time tinkering with the games themselves as I have playing them, and the beautifully simple Half Life was the game which cemented my skills putting ideas to work. Lousy graphics, in retrospect, but oh what a joy to mess with.

My own game – the one which has been burning away for nigh on ten years, through several incarnations – is looking more and more like a side-project now, with the increasing complexity required to put together a decent game making it difficult to imagine completion, never mind a solid release date. As I add more details to the script (a hefty document with multiple pathways as it is), I get the feeling it may be easier to write “choose your own adventure” book rather than expend more energy on the increasingly futile effort of putting the whole thing together. But that, right there, is what being a geek is – it’s not the necessity to go build a game, but the enjoyment of all the stuff which happens when getting there. It’s the fun of making sound effects, and recording dialogue, and playing through the wireframe working builds with friends. Again, the community aspect of geekery is at the forefront of everything.

Oh, and all those notes I used to take while playing? Those came in handy for a few different reasons. I learned how the storytelling in games worked, and wrote more walkthroughs than anyone should ever consider writing.

All those words, and I didn’t get to the boardgames, or the fan videos, or the ARG’s.

Remind me to cover those next year, when Geek Week returns. I may even have come up with a nifty graphic to celebrate the occasion by that point. Don’t expect miracles.

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How Unforgivable Does An Artistic Work Have To Be Before Enough Is Enough

Posted by BigWords on October 26, 2009

There is a thread on Absolute Write about reading a second book by an author whose first book ain’t quite up to scratch, and it got me to thinking about how bad something has to be before a creator’s entire canon is ignored. In some ways I am able to see past the voice of a writer, or filmmaker, or musician, or any other art, to accept the output for what it is, but a small part of me knows that there is more to life than slogging through an annoying or ill-conceived concept for a few good moments. There are some big event releases coming up which I’ll be waiting a while for due to this very topic.

Avatar, James Cameron’s return to the big screen may be endlessly hyped by some, though after the dumb True Lies, an obnoxious Titanic remake, and his terrible Entourage cameo, I don’t see how he has any reason to expect my money. I’ll wait on the DVD, only if the film gets good reviews, or the television premiere if it sucks ass. The notion that he has anything new to say in the realm of SF is doubtful, especially when the idea behind Avatar is examined closely. It sounds like the plot of any number of novels by people who have something to say.

George Lucas, the man to blame thank for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is another individual who has lost any respect from me. Did he fall on his head and forget how to direct? Jeez, it’s a good thing that the fanbase ignored the terrible aspects of his second trilogy long enough for him to turn a quick buck. I’ve been wary of Star Wars properties since those films, but there have been a few games (The Force Unleashed and the Lego tie-ins) which pulled back some of the wonder from those first Star Wars films. Better than Jedi Academy at any rate…

I’m more forgiving to people who strike me as people I could have a drink with and not be irritated by. Even after Land Of The Dead and Diary Of The Dead failed to impress me, I guess I would still check out any new film George A. Romero comes up with. Is that an asshole / box office equation that I’ve just come up with? There are other creators I forgive poor quality work from, and Clive Barker – once hailed as the future of horror by no less an authority than Stephen King – is one who goes straight to the top of that list.

Cabal, a book I love as much as I am infuriated by its missed opportunities, is still with me after fifteen years of re-readings. His Books Of Blood were brilliant, and I can forgive him pretty much anything for their existence alone. His film career may not have panned out quite so well, and I’ll comfortably ignore Rawhead Rex despite it sitting on my DVD shelf alongside his other cinematic outings. I bought it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ever watch the fucking thing – collector mentality only goes so far.

Those are familiar names. My opinion on their talent is irrelevant. Suckers will still shell out money for any old crap that is associated with Star Wars (and how else could stores shift Jar Jar Binks toys?), but that kind of loyalty has long since left me. I (thankfully) missed the One More Day storyline in Spider-Man as it was happening due to endless and awful Spidey crap from the late nineties. I hold my grudges well. Only… The Spirit (the DVD of which I finally managed to get running) is shit. I’m sure everyone is in agreement on this. Does that mean I should wait and see if Sin City 2 is okay for human viewing?

Frank Miller, whose work is divisive when discussed in polite company, is one of the very few comic book creators who have yet to create something completely unreadable. DK2 is a hard book to love, but it isn’t as terrible as some make it out to be. There is a rhythm and a specific cadence to his writing that instantly appeals, and his artwork on Sin City, while reminiscent of both Hugo Pratt and Jim Steranko in places, is a breath of fresh air. The Spirit is an anomaly, and I’m sure he will put it behind him.

I haven’t mentioned music yet, because that is trickier to separate the artist from their work. Many times I’ve heard a song which is catchy but at the same time doesn’t sound like it belongs to the performer. It isn’t necessarily that they are doing a cover of a famous track, it’s just that they aren’t the best singer for the song. Can you imagine anyone else but Roy Orbison singing In Dreams? No. That is a perfect match between singer and song, and it is a good benchmark for anyone to compare against.

Most people deserve at least two opportunities to prove themselves. If we implement the one strike rule, then James Cameron’s career would have amounted to a shit sequel to Piranha. No Terminator, no Aliens and no Titanic… It’s a good way of looking at most artistic endeavors.

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Pick A Genre, Any Genre…

Posted by BigWords on October 16, 2009

NaNo is approaching fast, and I still haven’t even decided which genre I’ll be using for my entry. That’s right, I’m completely and totally out in the wind on this. I should decide soon, but there are so many crazy things that seem like they would be fun to try. If November rolls around and I still haven’t decided on a specific genre I’ll be forced to sit down and type the first thing that comes in to my head, which won’t be pretty…

The options are endless, though somehow intimidatingly small. A western? Nope. Still tinkering with the mess I’ve got the last one into. A thriller? Too plot-heavy to wing it, and there wouldn’t be enough time to come up with an amazing twist or three. A detective story? Maybe. I like the work-backwards’s way (mangling the English language here, bear with me) in which they work, but the one month rule is a bit tight to do one justice.

Fantasy? Very possibly the genre which will save my ass. I like the strangeness I’ll be able to play with. SF? Tied with fantasy, though perhaps too much to deal with in one month. Horror, then? Oooh, yeah, a very real possibility, but it won’t be zombies. The zombie novel I dusted off and checked through looks too good to waste energy on aping, and I will be coming back to it after November.

So I’m left with… Erotica? Sheesh, trying one for the first time with the whole pressure of NaNo would be insanity, and I’m not sure what new insight I would be able to offer that genre. Comedy, possibly? Aaah, yes, my old friend comedy. Though my taste in humor is very, very dark, the prospect of trying to remain in a funny mood for a whole month will probably result in one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever written. Parody might be do-able.

Maybe autobiography would be too self-indulgent, unless I decided to drag up a lot of old shit that is unresolved. I’ve been witness to some incredible, and some very illegal, things over the years, so settling old scores by telling the world where the bodies are buried (metaphorically) would also be therapeutic. It might get me greenlit by an unhappy reader, but at least it would be interesting and a unique angle.

And I have yet to work out if it will even be a novel. I’ve always wanted to write a musical along the lines of the Morrison-era Doom Patrol comic. A giant ball of light in the middle of a stage singing how having sex with one’s self is so grand… Heh heh, that’ll probably be my Christmas pantomime idea, so I better leave it till later. A comic-book script will be tough to hit 50k with, unless I come over all Alan Moore with the descriptions.

A computer game? Which brings up an interesting question I hadn’t thought of until now… Does computer code count towards the final word count? Hell, I could hit 500k (maybe more) if I was allowed to go wild with code, and I could turn in an actual finished (if kinda small) game if I was left alone for a month. Maybe I’ll bolt myself away and unplug the ‘phone so I have no distractions…

Wow. So much choice, and so little time left to make up my mind.

I want to keep clear of anything anyone else is doing as well, just to add to my problems. That’s one of the reasons I’m so picky about my work – I can see so many similarities to the works of others. I’ll check the SYW area of Absolute Write every now and again, and nearly every time I do so – or closer to every time – I end up scrapping a handful of ideas because they have been covered so well by others.

Nathan Bransford said that originality was impossible over in his blog, but I still want to strive for something that feels unique. Something that rings with a sensibility that could not have come from the mind of any other writer. I want, to put it bluntly, to be so fucking original that it hurts. Yeah, that’s the ranting of a spoiled child, but I’m not gonna apologize. I’m in crisis mode here.

Two weeks and counting. This is probably gonna be a very long two weeks, filled with possible storylines emerging, bad ideas being mocked and an unhealthy amount of liquor being drank. Two weeks of worrying – because worry is good – and frantic scribbles to see if I’m able to come up with a unique idea, told in a unique way, with unique characters. Hell, I might as well give up right now…

Maybe nobody will notice if I just re-write my favorite myths as extended superheroes-by-way-of-horror film mash. A drunken, mean Heracles bitch-slapping people for no real reason. I could even write it so it reads exactly like early Image comics. Hmmm… There’s an idea.

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Engaging People Is The First Hurdle

Posted by BigWords on September 28, 2009

Shovel in hand, I’m resurrecting an old (and I thought obvious) argument about writing.

What is a writer’s first hurdle?

When people talk about ‘writing’ they usually mean writing novels, or poetry, or artistically stimulating mediums that afford the author some artistic gratification which should be obvious in the reading, viewing or listening. It is a bit less obvious when the medium is not immediately engaged in a conversation or emotional attachment to the characters or situation, though the basic framework which governs any form of writing is still true in many of these other forms of writing.

On the borderlands of writing there are hundreds of small yet vital writing opportunities that may not – at first glance – be the exact same thing as crafting the complex plots and intricate characters which epitomise writing as an art form and mode of expression. There are the wonderful RPG books to consider first of all, because I definitely class them as closest to epic storytelling in their set-up. The fact that the reader has some input into the narrative is irrelevant.

They exist for the sole purpose of character building, storytelling, and the realization of worlds which don’t exist. Some rulebooks (the Dungeons & Dragons ones especially) are so complex that they must be viewed as a higher level of storytelling than mere novel-writing… How many novelists, if they had the ability in the first place, could cope with the balancing, levelling and complex threads of storytelling that run through the books? Not me…

I’ll admit from the out that I could never cope with writing one of those fuckers. I’ve read through enough rulebooks (and seen the covers of White Wolf #4 and #5 reprinted enough times in other contexts) to know that the creators of such tomes require a special kind of patience. RPG books are close enough to aspects of computer game writing that I would also include the creation of those games as great writing as well. I’m not going to trawl through which games have great writing, ’cause you should know them when you see them

Sometimes games can take on a life outside the initial release, and this is down to the writing. It might seem as if there are complex equations to be made in assessing which parts of the game are most important to which gamers, but good writing can save a game with poor graphics, or filled with glitches, or has an awful camera. Tomb Raider‘s success was as much down to the prevailing atmosphere of alt-history in the mid-nineties as it was due to Lara’s ridiculously large breasts.

The number of ways available to a writer to engage with an audience has become even more complex with the internet, and that is something which hasn’t been examined as seriously as other forms of writing. Is the format as good as paper-and-ink? Maybe or maybe not. The readership is slightly different, and – if I’m going to be completely honest here – there are an awful lot of spammish pages on the net. I’m not sure is Wikipedia counts as anything other than gifted insanity, but as a home of writing…

Minor diversion from the topic: People seem to think that making shit up about famous people is a reasonable way to pass the time. It ain’t. Neither is altering pages on history due to political or religious motives, both of which have been evident. There are a lot of people who take the idea of disseminating information to the masses seriously, and the scribblings of a few simple-minded morons has made the task nigh on impossible.

But I’m getting back to the point: Does the site engage a readership? The simple answer is yes. It is high on the list of most-viewed websites, surpassed by a handful of search engines and other essential sites. It is an amazing achievement, creating a popular and highly-regarded – in its’ theory if not its’ actual undertaking – website. The readership is there, therefore it is serious writing, if only because of the number of readers. It gets a passing grade.

####

This subject resurfaced from a comment I made about Salmand Rushdie’s writings. I like the ideas he throws around, but he has become one of the laziest writers around in the years since he turned in such memorable and engaging ad copy as “quote here” for company. He seems to have forgotten that the reader has, perhaps, better things to read than confused text which rambles rather than rattles, and that is where most people fall – the first hurdle. The first hurdle of a writer…

A writer’s first hurdle is to engage people.

Ad copy, which I haven’t touched on in a fair while, is as important in social media as any novel, and it reaches a far greater number of people than any novel. The words from a successful ad campaign can far outlast a bestselling novel in the collective memory of a generation, and influence artistic trends that most novels could never hope to. There are still references made, on television and in print, to the adverts of the sixties, when creative types threw away the rulebook and started to use tricks that nobody had ever seen before.

The introduction of a color supplement in newspapers might have been the focal point through which the lens of creativity was focused, but it was the accompanying words and ideas which fueled the boom in advertising. It was also the point at which newspapers began the slow slide into mediocrity and facile celebrity-watching which now dominates the industry, but for one shining moment, for one brief second of true artistry, the magazines and newspapers which had been in a rut suddenly came alive.

People bought newspapers for the ads as much as the non-news, eager to discover the latest campaigns. This is engaging with an audience on a level that strikes an immediate and lasting relationship, because they could then go out and purchase the products and feel part of a like-minded group. When readers of books try to do the same thing… Not so much luck, unless the book in question is a ultra-hyped product, replete with tie-in toys, games, films and other kipple.

If an audience isn’t engaged by a performance they tend to walk out.
If a reader isn’t engaged by a book they might not finish the text.
If a television series does not engage with viewers it is cancelled.
If a game does not engage with players it will be ridiculed by geeks.

If a comic does not engage with readers you get the situation Hawkman found himself in, bouncing between creators and mired in horrendous continuity issues that effectively killed off the character for the better part of a decade. Somehow, through luck and bloody good timing, the character was salvaged. Why? Because readers are engaged with the struggles that the character faces. They like the winged misery-guts, whose soap-opera history adds to the fun of his adventures.

Engaging readers in the narrative is hard.

The first duty of a writer is to engage is some manner, and the point of any writing – with the format, genre, medium, length and style being largely irrelevant – is this magical connection. Once you have people by the short and curlies you have them forever. You just have to get over that first hurdle…

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All The Subtlety Of The Tet Offensive

Posted by BigWords on September 4, 2009

Damn… I keep meaning to keep on top of things, but trying (badly) to memorize worksheets, books and other important stuff to bluff my way through essential work-related stuff has had the odd effect of turning my brains to shit. All the walking I am doing isn’t helping, as I’m often operating under less than optimal performance. I’ll share some of the projects from my To Do list here, and show you why things are a bit more insane than normal.

There’s a small company which needs technical manuals, class handouts and such, so I’m putting together a comprehensive pack of computer literature for them. I’ve sorted out most of the important (and essential) basic material, including the fundamentals of HTML, Java, the history of the internet, clear guidelines on website creation and some Photoshop stuff. I’m not going to get myself involved in the teaching aspect, but I’ll help out where I can.

And that’s put in the shade by a massive commitment to a group which has approached me for assistance with a British comic-book guide along the lines of Overstreet. I’ve got a lot of comics from the eighties and nineties… well, some 2000AD, and a shitload of Viz, Oink!, Scream and lots of seldom-heard titles. The girls comics alone (Misty, Judy, Bunty et al) are going to take a lot of research, so I’m sticking to the stuff I’ve heard of.

Re-reading some of the eighties’ relaunch of Eagle reminded me how much I hated the photostrips, especially since the Doomlord strip was eminently readable in strip form. Not sure what to make of the pictures of eighties television though… I must have blanked all memory of big hair, shoulder-pads and oil barons from my memory banks.

My involvement seemed a good idea when I added the project to my schedule, but I’m stepping back for a couple of months to complete my course and get some free time for real writing. The fiction kind. They’ll still be there when I’m ready to concentrate on the project, unless somebody manages to fill in a shitload of information on pre-1930’s comics… I think I’m safe in that regard.

And there’s the continuing saga of the WIPs to take into consideration.

So there is little in the way of free time. Yet I’m still fucking away the small hours of the night with endless games. Between about 2am and 5am is the best for playing something that requires a moody setting, such as Doom 3 – or the tunnel sequences of most FPS titles. All the better for frightening myself with.

Time seems to be slipping away.

November is scratched out in my calendar for NaNo, the end of December will be wasted with Christmas parties and alcohol, and I’m almost certain that the first couple of weeks of 2010 will be hazy at best. October, being ignored for the most part till now, seems to be filling with work.

The endless e-mails flying to and fro at the moment, proposing my involvement in groups, asking if I need work (and generally sucking up) are welcomed, but I really don’t have time to jump into another commitment without going completely fucking insane. Which I’m sure would amuse everyone, but I’m not giving anyone the satisfaction of seeing me in a straight-jacket. (cue bug-eating and shit-flinging)

Did I miss anything? Probably. I’m lost without my post-it notes, and those are upstairs. If I have promised anyone that I would do anything then I guess this is as good a place as any to badger me into progress. I check in with this blog every day, even if I don’t post anything, so I’ll answer anything that comes up.

Just don’t ask me to start a new project…

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Achievements Aren’t An Achievement

Posted by BigWords on August 5, 2009

The advances in the Xbox360’s Achievements put the kibosh on one of my ideas, which was to be a handbook of bastard-difficult boasts which people could share and add to. I thought up some simple ones which – while being very hard to get – managed to stay within the realms of the do-able. It is pointless to ponder the possibilities of such tasks while the spectre of cheats hangs over the process, but the idea isn’t so much about the accumulation of achievements as the achievement itself.

I’ll explain better, because the prospect takes some getting used to.

Think about GTA: Vice City for a moment (which was one of the games I had included in the outline), and you will see some hardcore gaming opportunities. If you can complete the game to 100% in one sitting, and managing to avoid being busted or wasted, then that would qualify as seriously hardcore gaming. Similarly, the Thief games are well-known for their unforgiving combat, so completing the game without saving at any point would also buy you major bragging rights.

Call Of Duty. Use only handguns. I know, you can’t complete the game without the rocket launcher, but still… No rifles. Ever.

Deus Ex. Play without using upgrades, and kill no more than twenty people in the entire game. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially near the end stages.

Hostile Waters. Don’t collect any more energy once you have four units, and keep them alive until the end of the level. And, to make things even more interesting, don’t use the ship’s cannons in portions of the game where they are non-critical.

There was going to be strata of difficulty, so that people who didn’t play games compulsively weren’t left out of the fun, and I came up with some simpler challenges that everyone could partake in. You did find the hidden message on the wall in GTA III? Didn’t you? Or find the part of the roof which could only be reached by climbing onto it from a van, then you fall through a whirlwind of colors before being plonked back on the sidewalk…

The main thrust of the idea was to get people thinking about games in a completely different way, to look beyond what you’re meant to be doing, and see what is possible with the game. There’s a world of opportunities waiting if you look beyond the traditional linearity, and a massive amount of fun in trying to break personal records.

Achievements has, as with all popular concepts, degenerated into a mindless mess. People aren’t getting the brilliant games and struggling with hard levels in the numbers they should,, and the shitty film tie-ins (are there any good ones?) are being used to boost Gamerscores to ridiculous levels. It should have been so much more important than a way to shift an otherwise unexceptional game.

“Hey kids, want 1000 points? Shitty Generic Film Tie-In 2: Even Worse Than The Original will give you those points in less than two hours of gameplay…”

Bragging rights on the size of your Gamerscore is now suspended…

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The Very Worst…

Posted by BigWords on July 28, 2009

Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the worst examples of anything, in case anyone feels the irresistible need to waste their money on them, so I’ve set out the five worst DVDs, computer games and comic-books.

DVDs:

  1. 48 Days Later. Ripping off a successful film is one thing, but ripping off a good zombie film when the market is already full of top-notch films is another entirely. This is an entirely unproductive and irrelevant waste of both time and money. Steer clear.
  2. Jigsaw. Nothing to do with the Saw film franchise, this is a cheap horror flick wherein a group of art students piece together a dummy which comes to life and kills them. The film is too slow, too stupid and too terrible to describe, but to give you and idea – this is much worse than Plan 9 From Outer Space.
  3. Super Mario Bros. When you absolutely, positively have to bore every motherfucker in the room to death, accept no substitutes. This is one of the shallowest game adaptations ever made, even outdoing Street Fighter for sheer stupidity.
  4. Meet The Spartans. The first rule of a parody- no, waitasec… The ONLY rule of a parody is: be funny. This redefines the extremes of unfunny, once the private domain of films such as Spaceballs and Lethal Weapon 4. It’s marginally less painful than watching paint dry, but not by much.
  5. Elektra. This makes the list due to the butchery of a classic comic-book character. You might think Catwoman, Howard The Duck or Batman & Robin deserves to be named and shamed more than this, but it was the only comic-book film with the opportunity to revolutionize Eastern combat scenes for a Hollywood audience. Epic fail.

Computer Games:

  1. Hellboy: Asylum Seeker. I had high hopes for this, but it is so ridden with bugs and glitches as to make it completely unplayable. The constant crashes, awkward controls and ugly appearance are enough to send anyone rushing from their computer screaming in agony…
  2. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. If being told “It was all a dream.” is annoying in a book, then in a computer game it is fucking unforgivable. Seriously, if people want to make a computer game based on Star Trek, at least let us play as Klingons so we can rip the heads off the alien enemies…
  3. Chrome. I had nearly forgotten about this, seeing as how it manages to have no original ideas whatsoever. It steals from nearly every FPS of the previous five years, manages to have the worst ladders in gaming history, has a story that barely counts as one and… Aw, hell- It’s too depressing to think about.
  4. TMNT. Film tie-in’s are meant to be bad, but this is terrible even for one of those. A piss-poor camera, terrible speed-challenges and unappealing style choices. There are small homages to previous games, but even those aren’t enough to make me want to play this again.
  5. Kingpin. The idea is fine, but the execution (no pun intended) is terrible. Characters who have joined you wander off in important shoot-outs, exploding barrels crash the game, there are solid walls you can walk through and the music is awful. The exact opposite of GTA.

Comic-Books.

  1. The Spider-Man Clone Saga. This felt like it ran on and on for nearly a decade, but it only ran for a couple of years. I was surprised that the storyline didn’t kill the title off, but it appears other people are willing to shell out cash on never-ending torment. Worse than One More Day
  2. Archie Meets The Punisher. This might have passed under your radar, but it did happen. Unfortunately. With a dumb plot, awkward art and one of the most unlikeable characters in comics (uh… Archie, obviously), this is a safe bet as one of the worst comics ever.
  3. Anything by Rob Liefeld. It’s a cheat, adding the entire output of an individual into a list like this, but the man has no talent whatsoever. Consider this free advice for any wannabe comic-book artists – Learn anatomy. To think I wasted so much money on his books, hoping he would improve…
  4. Comics Greatest World. Dark Horse rarely stumbles so badly as they did with their first attempt at a superhero universe. Never has a character been so aptly named as Hero Zero, and the majority of the other characters are equally as lame. That Barb Wire was the most successful title really says a lot about the idea. Read Ghost and X, ignore the rest.
  5. Extreme Justice? Extremely unreadable would be more appropriate. All the reasons JLA (and variations thereof) are fun to read is stripped away from the setup, and we’re left with a bunch of angry and unlikeable characters who are badly written.

There you go… Fifteen things to avoid.

Agreements, disagreements or rants are welcome.

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