Thursday, May 29, 2008

So ... who's been keeping track of things?

First and foremost, since a lot of you have been wondering where all my updates have been, here's the latest. Most of you probably already know that I've been writing regularly for TeamXbox. What games have I been reviewing? Well, here's a handful of links from April:

Okay, so there's the start ... I'll post links to May's stuff later. I've also done a couple of podcasts for Crispy Gamer, as well as working the news beat for the site. Now, the all of the pieces fall into place, I'll also be starting up a weekly column there, reviewing the week's news and offering up my ... umm ... "unique" take on the stories. Expect a healthy does of wit, sarcasm, and just about everything else.

I'll have more news soon, and I'll be working harder to keep this blog updated.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It brings a tear to the eye ...

For all you video game fans out there who missed the news, Judge Dava Tunis has released her preliminary report on the Florida Bar's case against Miami-based lawyer Jack Thompson. In the report, Judge Tunis recommends Thompson be found guilty on 27 of the 31 charges levied against him.

You can read the GamePolitics article here.

For those who missed it the first time around, I've had more than my own share of dealings with Thompson. Check out the piece from my time at Game Almighty, Dealing With a "Jack" Ass.

Now, if you guys know me, you know I'm not petty ... I usually take the higher ground. Of course the key word there is "usually". In this case, I still have to ask one thing:

Who's the piss ant now, Jack?

Ahh ... that felt good.

End of line.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vindication and satisfaction ...

Ahh ... the life of a game journalist.

So, early last week, I had the pleasure of writing the TeamXbox review of Assault Heroes 2. Now, I spent the better part of the weekend before the review playing the game AND the original one, long before I ever typed the first letter for the review. I compared both games and weighed the sequel against the first title and on its own merits. I was wavering between a 7 and a 7.5 before finally settling on a 7 for the final score. In my mind, a 7 isn't a bad score by any stretch of the imagination ... but it just shows that there was plenty that could be better too.

Overall, I simply felt like the game didn't bring anything really different to the table. To me, the game felt more like an expansion than a sequel. And considering that you can get the first game for half the price of the second ... well, it's the better deal. Still, fans looking for more Assault Heroes action would probably enjoy it. So, I settled on my score, wrote the review, and then things went ... "wonky". I won't go into too many details, but no sooner than my review got posted, I started getting flak for it. Apparently TeamXbox had scored the first game an 8.5, and there were people who felt like I scored the sequel too low by comparison.

Now, let me start off by saying that I had nothing to do with the review of the first Assault Heroes game. If I HAD, I'd have probably still scored it at around an 8 ... considering how it stood out at the time. Keep in mind that when AH1 came out roughly a year and a half ago, the Xbox LIVE Arcade library was a lot smaller. These days, though, there's a lot more on the service, and if AH1 came out today, it just wouldn't stand out as much ... especially in the light of other similar games I've played, like 1942: Joint Strike and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 ... both of which I recently previewed.

So, here I am catching heat from all different sides about the review. In retrospect, maybe I could have explained a couple of things a little better in the piece, but I still stand by the review and stand by the fact that a) a 7 out of 10 ISN'T a bad score, and b) the game WASN'T scored to low. As I've said from the beginning, a review is simply one person's opinion of a given thing at a given time. I don't expect everyone to agree with me when I write a review, but I do my best to explain my opinion and why I think the way I do. My reasoning has always been that, whether you agree or disagree with me, you hopefully understand me.

Having said all of that, and taking the heat like I did for the review, I've gotta say that I felt a little better about everything after taking a new look at Game Rankings ... and found that, despite the initial reaction I got, it looks like I wasn't so far off the mark after all. The Official Xbox Magazine apparently gave Assault Heroes 2 a 7.0 score as well, and GameSpot gave it a 7.5. Neither review took away from the enjoyment of the game, but simply said it could have brought more to the table.

Admittedly, none of this would have changed my thoughts on how I do my job. Hell, if I scored a game at a 4/10 and everyone else scored it as an 8/10, I'd still stand by whatever I wrote. Even so, it's more than a little satisfying to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts ... and that some people out there even decided to stick by me and my work.

Okay ... that's my rant for now.

End of line ...

Monday, May 12, 2008

More to come

Yes ... it HAS been a long, long time. Too long. But no, I haven't forgotten about this little slice of internet real estate. I'll be doing more to update this soon, possibly with a whole new bag o' tricks. It'll take a little while, but bear with me.