StarCraft 2 is upon us!

July 27, 2010

That’s right, folks: StarCraft 2 launched today. This is the one and only time I will advise you to stop reading my blog and get thee to a video game retailer, be it online or brick & mortar. I will soon see you on the field of battle.

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And that title is “as sung by Johnny Cash” in case you were wondering.  The unfortunate truth is I actually did hurt myself when I started writing this two weeks ago – on a shark-tooth, no less! About 7 or 8 years ago, some friends went to Hawaii and brought back a “ceremonial dagger” which was probably made in Indonesia or Central China, but the edges of the colorful piece of wood are lined with shark teeth. As with all things like this, it has found its way to the bottom of a box which happens to reside in my closet. While searching all around for my journal (yes, I keep a journal – it’s very therapeutic…although, not so much when you’ve misplaced it for the past 6 months), I stuck my hand down in said box and managed to find the ceremonial dagger or rather, one of the dagger’s shark teeth, with the tip of my finger. Cut. Blood. The whole 9.

That said, the title is actually in reference to a game I somehow stumbled upon on AdultSwim called Amateur Surgeon 2. It is not for everyone as there is excessive cartoonish blood and you are essentially using a pizza cutter to operate on patients, but the premise is hilarious and the gameplay is addictive. Imagine, you are a blackmarket surgeon who uses a few household items to repair even the most devastated bodies. Witty one-liners and ingenious levels that recycle the tools for new uses make this free-to-play flash game a must.

Since beating this particular title (at least the 2 available acts), I have begun playing the original Amateur Surgeon. I can see how much they’ve improved with the second title: sewing wounds rather than stapling, upgrading the usefulness of the tools rather than leaving you (or your patients) to rot, etc. My, how the young Alan Probe has aged in the past 50 years, but he’s still got the chops to pluck your glass and suck out your body poison. No innuendo.

A Touch of Marketing

January 27, 2010

So, I would be remiss to not cross-reference my other blog that is currently taking up most of my free time: The All-in-One Gamer Project is a few weeks underway and I’m feeling pretty good about it so far. In essence, I’m trying to familiarize myself with all aspects necessary to lead an independent game development team. So, for the thousands and thousands of you who are fans of this blog (am I rounding up too high?), jump on over and subscribe, comment and be merry!

…and speaking of Games

September 24, 2009

I’m sitting here at my desk eating some Ketchup chips (thanks Dyana and Canada!), reading a bit of gaming news on Kotaku, when I decide that a carbonated beverage would hit the spot. Lucky for me, I have a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper at my desk (courtesy of the IGDA Writing SIG’s Leanne Taylor – Ooo, I need to blog about Austin GDC last week, don’t I?) and I reach for one. The others roll down to take its place (I could see through the handle hole) and it took me back to my skeeball days as a kid.

OVER THE LINE! Donny, mark it zero.

OVER THE LINE! Donnie, mark it zero.

Remember throwing the wooden balls up the lane without so much as a glance to see if you were scoring points? I was always fascinated by the remainder of my wooden ammo rolling down my way. And there was often a window to see the remainder of your shots. Sad was the time when I would come to the last wooden sphere. I would try to make it really count and either granny-throw it into another lane or try to put some sort of strange spin on it that resulted in a 12 mph roll that would just crest the lip up to the scoring area and fall in the “gutter”. Tragic. At least until I would drop the next token in and see a new full rack of opportunities roll my way.

Do you have any fond/funny childhood memories of gaming? I wouldn’t mind compiling a little list of “I remember when”s.

Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the online petition:

   “LAN in Starcraft 2 Please.”

hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
service, at:

   http://www.PetitionOnline.com/LANSC2/

I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too.  If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
signing yourself.

Best wishes,

Drew McGee

"My Preciousssss"

"My Preciousssss"

Catching Up on Things

April 9, 2009

It’s easy to be the first to report on such things as Game Developers’ Conference and World of Goo, etc. It takes passion, talent and determination to be the last to report on these things. So, here I am, bringing you the greatness of late news.

Drew McGee in "Manifest Destiny!"

Drew McGee in "Manifest Destiny!"

First things second, I’ve been playing a couple of games including Midway’s last ditch effort at a Mortal Kombat game: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. My complete coverage of this game will be available soon on www.GamersInfo.net, but for now, steer clear. The game was obviously rushed, lacks the gore that MK fans yearn for and the overall fighting mechanics leave you more frustrated than ecstatic.

I also played TellTaleGames new launch: Wallace & Gromit in the Fright of the Bumblebees. My complete coverage of this game is already up here. As you will read, I highly recommend this game for about 5 hours of pure fun.

Okay, San Francisco and the GDC 09. Brilliant! I tip my hat to Aaron Murray, Founder of Tandem Games, for flying me out there and allowing me to experience the greatness. I spent most of my time on the expo floor where we displayed our new casual game, Bumble Tales, in the Garage Games booth. Speaking of which, BT will be available for download in May from sites like www.BigFishGames.com and various other portals, so look for it. A match-3 style game with content galore including 35 unlockable characters and stories, high-res art, full voice-over and more than 100 levels of fun!

There was an awesome game right behind these girls, but they wouldn't move!

There was an awesome game right behind these girls, but they wouldn't move!

I was given a copy of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune by Naughty Dog’s own Richard Lemarchand (couldn’t ask for a nicer guy than this) and immediately popped it in when I got home. If you’re a fan of the Tomb Raider series, this will be right in your wheel house. The music is amazing! I literally found myself sitting there waiting for the music to loop before moving on in the game because it was so big. The music took me back to the movie theater when I first saw Jurassic Park…that good. The puzzles weren’t difficult at all, but the story really made the game come together (and no, I’m not saying that just because I’m a writer). I’m going to say “Buy It” because it’s a good 10 – 15 hours of solid gameplay and finding all the treasures will have you OCD gamers enthralled.

Lastly, World of Goo. Play it! Buy it! I loaded this last night and wanted to try it for 30 minutes. I ended up playing for almost 3 hours. The game design is fan-freakin’-tastic: beautiful levels, hilariously cute Goo balls AND it makes you think! Again, the music in this game could be a soundtrack you listen to for recentering your chi or something. Take my word on this: you won’t regret this purchase.

Post-lastly, Domain of Heroes made a few headlines here and here!  Okay, that catches you up on a lot of things. Leave comments, wishes, or money. Whatever you like.

Just Before GDC

March 24, 2009

The title might be a little innaccurate, as technically this is the 2nd day of GDC 09, but I am heading to San Francisco tonight, so, the title works. Moving on.

I’m writing partially because I have failed to do so in a month and partially (or I’d like to think mostly) because I read two interesting articles on Kotaku just now: one made me mad, one made me happy.

Starting with what made me mad (so I can have a happy ending 😉 ), Apple: please do not do this. It only takes a moment to see what will happen here. Indie developers with little capital to create their games put out their product and yes, maybe it’s not great, but maybe they make a little coin off it and their next title is a hit. If they end up getting smacked down with returns, they could very easily go in debt repaying consumers and then the creative flow stops. Meanwhile, larger companies who can afford to take the hit will continue producing the same drivel they’ve always put out there and consumers will buy it out of sheer lack of options. The iPhone has been wonderful for the indie development scene. It would be a shame to have a major drop off now.

The second article makes me happy because I own a PS3. For the longest time, I’ve listened to friends talk about how great their exclusive XBox titles are and have been saddened a bit on the inside that a powerhouse like Sony hasn’t grasped the concept that devoted fans of their system need games to play. I appreciate the Blu-Ray player (though I’ve had to replace mine twice), but I wanted a gaming console, not a glorified DVD player. Finally, with a lower price on the dev kit and easier-to-use tools, hopefully 2010 will be the year of the PS3’s domination!

Check back soon as I will be covering my first GDC 09 experience with pictures, audio and whatnot! If you’re lucky, I’ll double the whatnot. 😉

That’s right, for all you audio lovers, the silky sounds of me are on Cryptic Allusion’s Anniversary Cryptocast. Be forewarned, it’s long and I’m only in it for about 15 – 20 minutes somewhere in the middle, but the guys and gal at Cryptic Allusion are great and worth listening to.

"That's right, I said a PODCAST. They'll be huge one day!"

"That's right, I said a PODCAST. They'll be huge one day!"

For those interested, I pretty much plug Tandem Games and Domain of Heroes and talk about recent games I’ve been playing. I’ve been considering adding a small 5 – 10 minute podcast to this blog maybe twice a month. Do you think it’s worth it? Post a comment and let me know (yes, that means you).

Wii Must Increase Our Bust

February 3, 2009

This is the first time I’ve ever linked to a Yahoo! article, but as I avoided covering Wii Fit last time, Nintendo has forced its way into my blog with this headliner.

wii-fit-chuck-norris-1024x768

Another reason for accepting this as tonight’s topic falls on my parents’ shoulders. They actually played Wii Fit a week and a half ago and they loved it! My dad couldn’t stop telling the story of how my mom faced her brother and was punching at him instead of at the TV for Wii Sports Boxing. My mom talked about tipping forward while trying to do the ski jump. I cannot believe I had nothing to do with this moment whatsoever. They didn’t even bother to tell me about their delving into the gaming world until I Skyped them. Kids these days.

In all seriousness, the article really hits home with what my hypothesis and personal experience have hinted at: actively playing a video game (more than twitching the thumbs) is something that sounds like a great idea, but quickly loses its charm. I have no doubt that certain members of society are getting the maximum benefit out of the Wii Fit, either through inhuman willpower or a bet, but for the most part, this is a device that will go the way of the Nordic Track or the ThighMaster…or the Dodo. People love novelty ideas such as this and they especially love the idea of having friends over to make fools of themselves trying to hula five hoops, but when the newness wears off, the balance board gets tucked away and forgotten.

If you are one of the seperatists that have actually been using the Wii Fit balance board for its intended purpose for longer than a month (and at least 3 times a week), or if you know someone who has, I’d love to hear from you. I won’t ask for any alibis, I’ll take you at your word.

Currently, I do not own a Wii. However, this weekend, I was in San Antonio visiting some family and had the unexpected opportunity to play both Wii Fit and Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009. I’m choosing to cover this title over Wii Fit because, seriously, I think Fit has been covered.

"Simba, it's me! The great white hunter!"

"Simba, it's me! The great white hunter!"

Dangerous Hunts places you in the role of the hunter of all hunters, Flint Abrams (totally fictitious character, I looked it up). This man puts the late Steve Irwin, if not Steve McQueen, to shame. He can barrel roll with crocs, stab leaping cougars in the throat and rifle butt three hyenas with ease! Mix that in with Flint’s Hunter Sense, which darkens the screen and highlights surrounding beasts and you’ve got an expert who is called around the world to quelch daily issues with wildlife.

There was a bit of a learning curve with the zapper controller (Wii-mote on top as a barrel and the nunchuck as the stock) but once I understood all of this, the game became incredibly fun. One level stood out to me as a writer: India. Tigers escape from a truck hit by a rock slide. Your mission is to track the tigers and tranquilize them; any harm to the tigers results in a failed mission. The interesting part to me is the the herd of water buffalo. Peaceful giants grazing in a field quickly turn to angry, charging death-machines if you disturb them in the slightest. Because there is a time limit to achieve maximum upgrade points (the coolest part of the game: upgrades!), I wound up slaughtering all of the buffalo from a distance to avoid their horns while searching for tigers. It was a decision that gave me pause because I really did not want to kill them, but alas, my greed for a new rifle scope won out.

Pick up the game as a rental and if you end up enjoying it as much as I did, buy it. My nephew loved simply walking in circles and hearing the gun fire. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Flint’s athleticism compared to 95% of the hunters I actually see in Cabela’s.