Monday, June 30, 2008

See no evil, play no evil, review no evil

Hey folks,

In the world of media and entertainment, there is always suppose to be a nice line between the creators of new content and the critics of said content. This is how it is suppose to be and in a perfect world its what it should be. Back when video games first started coming out and critics started to review them, this is how things were. However over the last few years, I have been noticing that this policy has been going out the door in the game industry in favor of the new policy game companies buying good reviews.

Currently the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with Sony, Microsoft and even Nintendo bringing in near or over 1 billion dollars each year. What some people may not know is that its the games themselves that bring in a huge chunk of this money, not the systems and or accessories. Every game company, be it first or third party, rely totally on game sales of course and making games lately has become a somewhat costly venture due to the newer systems requiring a lot more tech be put into new games. With this is mind, game studios are scared to invest millions of dollars into a game that could totally flop and thus put them in the red. Because of this, major game companies have been trying their best now to make sure their multi-million dollar games sell well and one way to due this is to buy critics off.

Buying a good review from critics is nothing new of course in the entertainment world, but its something many never thought would occur in the video game industry. In the last few years however, many people both in and outside the industry have been noticing the warning signs of video game critics being bribed into giving good game reviews.

One major example of this was the recent review of Grand Theft Auto 4. IGN had gotten a exclusive early review of the game a few days before the game's release date and their review of the game happened to be a perfect 10 of all things. Now if you read the review of the game, the IGN reviewer had said the game had several faults and even listed them. Yet with all these faults, he still gave the game a perfect 10. Do you think the fact that Rockstar let the IGN people play the game earlier and do a exclusive review only on their site causing mass amounts of people to flood their happens to factor into the 10? How about the fact that Rockstar had paid IGN a nice little sum to have tons of GTA4 advertisements on their site?

There are many other stories along the lines of the IGN one that have happened in the last few years. Ones ranging from the critic over at who got fired for giving a game a horrible review while the game maker's company had payed a large sum of money to promote the game on their site to reviewers admitting that game studios brought them to the studios and wined and dinned them while they got to play that studio's game.

Even recently in Electronic Gaming Monthly I was reading a review of Metal Gear Solid 4 that gave me a sneaking suspicion as to the merit of the review. EGM had three different people review MGS4 and all three gave the game a "A" while a better part of their reviews were spent it picking the game and saying the second half of the game was pretty bad. Now does that sound like a A game review to you? They barely spent anytime really saying how good the game was, yet went on and on about how bad it was yet they still all gave it it a A. During the review though, they did happen to mention that Konami invited them to their studio to let them play the game for as long as they wanted. Seem a little weird doesn't it? I mean don't you think that inviting a bunch of fanboy critics over to a game developer's studio to get to play a game early as well as probably get some free swag won't taint their opinion on the game? Where is that tfine line that separated critics and creators because it really has begun to blur as of late in the game industry due to things like this happening.

Like I said, there are plenty of other examples of things such as this like Bungie all but buying hookers for reviewers who went to their studio to play Halo 3 and review it or how about the fact that Game Informer is owned by Gamestop and gives every game good reviews so they will sell. This trend is definitely happening with the bigger games and studios right now, but who knows when every other game studio might do the same?

Mind you, I am not saying to stop reading all reviews nor think every critic is on the take. What I am saying is that you need to be careful now a days with what you read and who you trust. My advice is to check out what other games the critic has played and see if those reviews matched with your own experiences. Even then, it could still be a trap of course. Thats why my other piece of advice is to go outside the normal gaming review sites and magazines like EGM, IGN, Gamespot and 1up and start finding your own sites. Check out geek blogs, go to new sites like Evil Avatar or Zero-punctuation's page on or even start reading gamer forums as well. There is a lot more you could do of course, but I wanted to get the ball rolling. Don't sit around and let the main sites spoon feed you their payed for by "insert name here" reviews. Go out and seek better reviews, read up on games and see if you would actually like it or even go out on a limb and take a risk by renting a game and trying it out.

This post isn't a call to arms by any means, but more of a indication of what sort of bad juju is going on in the game industry right now. With video games becoming such a major part of our society and culture, its really sad to see game companies take advantage of their fan base. One day this may change and hopefully we never reach a point where no gamer can trust a critic anymore.

Well thats it for now. I could dive deeper into the fact that many game critics have basically lost their way and are becoming frustrated wannabe game designers, but I will save that for another time of course. For now I just wanted to get the point out that don't always trust what you read.

-P. Knight

The future looks bad

Hey guys,

So far we have had two new Futurama movies thanks to Comedy Central picking the series up from Fox and Adult Swim. The first film, which came out late last year, was the somewhat sub-par Bender's Big Score. The movie had some good moments and some of the old school Futurama smart wit that made the original series good, but overall it was just lacking and was more about fan service the anything.

Now the second movie recently came out, called The Beast with a Billion Backs, and all hope that the second movie would be better then the first flew out the door in a loud dry sucking sound. Actually that isn't fair, the second movie was a little bit better, but not by a lot really. The second movie takes place right after the first and the events that ended the first movie are what lead to the big events in this new flick.

Just like int he first film, the story in Beast could of been really cool but ended up being played out and way to hackney in the long run. The first movie dealt with time travel and cosmic events while the second movie deals with a giant cosmic creature who wants to unite everyone. Like I said, both sounded good on paper, but weren't implemented all that well.

Fan service one again seems to be the real drive of this movie just like the first since both movies are purposely trying to address things that happened in the original TV series and are using nearly every fan favorite character they can fit in the movies to give fans a smile. Now I do love nearly every Futurama character there is, but cramming them all together in this manner is like a elephant trying to fit in a Mini-Coop. They try to use every character they can and use them for to many forced jokes and you actually end up getting sick of seeing these great side characters since they become to played out and stale.

As usual though, Fry plays the main character in this movie as well and he seems to be getting stupider and stupider in these two movies. Much like with Homer in the recent Simpsons seasons, Fry seems to be loosing his main drive as well as character type. Instead of being the lovable happy go-lucky goof who is still getting use to the year 3000 and has many weird adventures, he has become a pathetic sap who wants nothing but love and acts so insanely emo when he can't find love. All the other characters of course act the way they normally do but tend to be there for more one liners then normal. But it just seems that in order to drive the story for these movies, they made Fry into this total one dimensional character who seems to have only one goal in life now and isn't the same guy from the original series.

Overall, I would give this film a 6/10. For those fans who have been watching Futurama since the beginning, its still worth watching of course. Just like in Big Score, there are some great comedic and funny moments that make me miss the old TV series writing even more and shows how could this movies could of bin. I honestly have no idea what happened in these years the Futurama crew was off, but it really seems to have taken a toll. Hopefully they can get over this comedic slump they are having and remember how to write the kind of comedy gold that made the original series so great. We still have 2 more movies as well as a new half season that Comedy Central will be airing next year I believe. So finger's crossed that the rest of the Futurama movies and episodes pick back up and regain the same wit and geeky humor that the original series had.

-P. Knight

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Diablo 3

Hey folks,

Well as many may know by this time, Blizzard announced that their next game after Starcraft 2 will indeed be Diablo 3 like many people expected it to be. They made the big announcement as well as released some more details about the new game, including the new Witch Doctor class they announced, this past weekend at the Blizzard International Invitational. To check out the pretty nifty looking trailer, just hit the video below.

Diablo3 - Cinematic Trailer from on Vimeo.

Honestly, that was a pretty nice looking trailer though a bit of a cocktease much like the Starcraft 2 trailer. Some really nice CG as well as some teases with some of the characters from the first two games. Whoever made the trailer though watched to much Lord of the Rings though since I think the Diablo 3 trailer looks exactly like a trailer for the LotR trilogy trailer including giant castles built into the hillside, a old man as well as a young person having a nightmare about the big bad guy.

Anyway, some new game play was shown off this weekend as well and it looks very good. Much like how Starcraft 2 looked compared to Starcraft one. You can check out the new game play footage below.

Diablo 3 Gameplay-Video from mmozone on Vimeo.

As for more info on Diablo 3 as well as all the info that was released this weeked at the Invitational, just hit the link below:

Diablo 3 coverage at World of Raids!

-P. Knight

While you were gone...

Hey folks,

Back from my little trip to Las Vegas. Had a great time, saw some good shows and ate a boat load of food. While gone, it seems I missed a few interesting things due to the Blizzard International Invitational. I will get to all that later and more. While in Vegas, I got to mull over a few things and have a few ideas, reviews and observations I want to post on here in the next few days.

Anyway, glad to be back. Got a lot to catch up on including weekly manga chapters like Eyeshield 21 and One Piece, some new anime to watch like Code Geass as well as all the new game info to catch up on. Hopefully everyone had a good weekend of course and caught either Wall-e or Wanted in theaters.

-P. Knight

Friday, June 27, 2008

Solid Snake shows Sony some selling skills

Hey folks,

As many may know, Metal Gear Solid 4 hit the world 2 weeks ago. So far, over 3 million copies of the game have been shipped to retailers around the globe with over a million already sold. Now as impressive as those numbers may be for a game series that has always been more of dark horse game both here and in Japan, the fact that PS3 sells numbers went way up due to the game is what really has people talking.

Just a few days ago, PlayStation president Kaz Hirai announced during a Sony meeting that in the first week of launch of MGS4 in Japan, 8 times as many PS3 systems sold then in the previous week. There are no numbers yet on American sales, but that is still really impressive none the less. When I was at the MGS4 midnight launch, I remember they had about 50 PS3's in stock at the Best By on La Brea and all 50 sold out that night including none MGS related ones. So when they say a game is a system seller, this what they really mean.

Honestly, its really great to see MGS4 do so well. I have been a big fan of the MGS series since the first Playstation release, but always felt bad since it never was considered a huge "mainstream" game. The MGS series has always been known as more of a cerebral type series with more emphasis on sneaking around, light action, heavy story and cool adventures. Due to this, the series was always on the cusp of becoming mainstream and oddly enough the games always sold better in America then in Japan.

Finally though, the Metal Gear series is getting the real attention it deserves with pretty much anyone and everyone talking about MGS4 and even people who never played the other games wanting to check it out now. Its sort of ironic though that Solid Snakes last adventure is what finally gets people to check out this series.

One thing though that seems to have really helped MGS4 sell so well I think is that it had some great marketing behind it. As oppose to the previous three games, MGS4 was all over the place. Thanks to all the new game news sites popping up over the last few years, the growing awareness of the video game culture as well Kojima Productions getting involved in their own word of mouth and Sony actually really backing the game this time around, MGS4 is really doing well for itself.

I would get into how important internet and viral marketing has become for games now a days, but the proof is in the pudding. Despite MGS4 being the best looking PS3 game to date, I really think all the internet hype is what really helped sell this game and these new internet marketing ideas are the wave of the future. Hollywood has already caught on to this idea as evident with all the Dark Knight stuff that has appeared over the last few months. With developer blogs, videos made directly for internet sites and designers really making sure their face is out there, we are really seeing a new birth of marketing that is really helping the game industry I must say.

Anyway, I am glad MGS4 is doing so well and I hope that Mr. Kojima and crew are working on another great game for us to feast on. Till then though, I think I am gonna keep walking around doing my best Liquid Ocelot voice calling everyone "Brother!".

-P. Knight

Out fishin!

Hey folks,

Despite the fact no one is reading my blog of course, I am still doing a post informing you all that I will be in Las Vegas the next few days. I leave mid-Friday and will be back mid-Sunday. I am going to be hanging out with my dad there and we are catching the shows O and Spamalot. I hear great things about O and I already saw Spamalot in New York a few years back, so I know it will be good. Other then that, a bit of gambling, checking out all the hotels and shops and trying not to die of to much eating at the buffets is what we have planned right now.

So everyone have a good weekend and don't forget in 1 more day, we will know what Blizzards big new announcement will be thanks to their splash page over at as well as their international invitational which is happening this weekend. Have a good one folks and go check out Wanted or Wall-e this weekend as well.

-P. Knight

Thursday, June 26, 2008


A instant classic and still being sung by WoW players all over the world, I give you the Roflmao video that took a classic Muppets song and made it even more geekier. Enjoy!

-P. Knight

When doing evil means doing good

Hey kids,

Have you ever gotten tired of the good guys in manga and anime always being to wimpy when to defeating the bad guys. Don't you always wish that the good guy would just take out the bad guy already because of everything he has ever done instead of letting him go, try to change him or let the guy get taken away by the cops? Don't you wish these good guys would stop being such goody goodies and grow a pair? Yeah, I wish that to.

The good news is that I recently started a new manga series by the name of Akumetsu that actually has a good guy who is willing to go all out against the bad guys and isn't afraid to get blood on his hands. To do evil to better the world.

The general plot of the series is about a high school student named Shou Hazama who has the ability to "clone" himself. Using this new ability, he has decided to hunt and seek out the evil in Japan to try to help save the world from greed and destruction. Taking on the name Akumetsu and having all his clones wear a black demon like mask he made himself, he sets off to find these bad guys and bring them to justice.

The bad guys though are not your typical mad scientists or corny bank robbers, but more your industrial thieves and bank owners who rob people of their money. So off the bat, Akumetsu is looking to punish real bad guys and not your normal villains. These are the sort of guys who do actually exist in the real world and the sort of evil things they do have happened to people in the real world as well. The one catch though to having more realistic type bad guys like this is that there tends to be a lot of explanation of why these guys are bad and why they need to die. So be prepared for a bit of reading as well.

Now instead of doing the usual superhero bit and using his clones to bring the bad guys in, Akumetsu actually kills off the bad guys and usually ends up killing himself as well. But since all these guys are clones, killing themselves means nothing really. The way he tends to kills these bad guys is indeed a bit brutal, but even I found myself cheering for their deaths. Just as a example, the very first bad guy he takes out he uses a axe to split the guys head open. So like I said, not your typical heroic way to take care of bad guys.

There is definitely a bit of a social message in this series so far (only a little over 30 chapters have been translated into English so far while the series is done in Japan), and its nice to actually see a series tackle a few real world issues even though its all fictional. In a way, this series is a bit like Death Note where a single person wants to change the world by killing off all the evil in it. The real difference is that Akumetsu isn't in it for himself like Light was in Death Note and Akumetsu has a bit more comedy and explains more about how evil these bad guys are.

Art wise, Akumetsu has some amazing artwork and a very slick look. The art is done by newcomer Yuki Yogo with the story done by Yoshiaki Tabata. Yogo does an amazing job with the art of the series with the art style looking a little bit like Frank Miller mixed with the manga Berserk series. So it has a bit of a realistic comic feel to it. Its not your typical manga look and it really makes the series pop a bit and gives it a more adult feel.

Anyway, for anyone who wants a good solid series that has a bit of action, some really funny comedy (odd for a series with this much killing and blood I know), and actually tackles some real issues, give Akumtesu a try. To check the series out in English, just hit the link below to read the mass amount of chapters that are out now online. Enjoy!


-P. Knight

2 more days till the end

Hey folks,

You gotta love how Blizzard teases it fans. For the last few days now, has had a splash page that each day has been revealing a little bit more of what looks like a person or demon of some sort behind a ice barrier. This little teaser is what Blizzard is doing to announce what new game they are doing next and man are fans squirming in their seats to find out if its more Diablo 3 news, Starcraft online or something totally new.

According to many gaming news sites, the final image on will appear in 2 days time which is when the Blizzard World Wide Invitational kicks off. So I guess we will just have to wait till then to figure out what this little teaser means. Also of not is that the splash imagine also has all sorts of hidden ruins as well which point to several different games including one from Starcraft. Here is the splash images from the last 4 days. Click on it for a bigger view of course.

Anyway, you gotta love Blizzard. Seeing this many gamers going this feverish over what could be a new game announcement really shows you what sort of power Blizzard has in the gaming community. 2 more days though folks, 2 more days.

-P. Knight

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The sad truth

Recently I came across a very interesting article over at about how to make a perfect action video game that will sell well in todays market. You can check out the article below:

Now that article is partially joking while also being a bit serious as well. The truth is, I do agree with the article for the most part. To sum up the article, they are saying that to make a successful video game you need the war torn bad ass main hero, some hot chick who serves no real point, sick weapons that blow things up and a story line thats sole purpose is to just get the main character to different areas.

Like I said, this isn't to far from the truth. If you look at the top 10 selling video games from the last 10 years, you will notice that all three Halo games as well as all three Grand Theft Auto games are on there. In a way, that is a sad state of affairs. I am not saying those games aren't great by any means, but they are very formulaic. Despite having lots of flashy graphics, big guns and decent stories, they are all still the same when broken down.

I could really rip into those games, but there really wouldn't be much of a point in doing so since even I think they are really well made games. But what really scares me about all this is that with these sorts of games, good story telling is getting thrown out the door.

Who here can tell me what all three Halo's were about besides blasting aliens? How about the background story for Kratos in God of War? What about the reasons behind what the main characters in the GTA series do? What the bloody heck is Gears of War about? Hell, can anyone tell me who Dante's father was in the Devil May Cry series?

Thats the point I am making here. Instead of players being apart of the game's story, the story for each game takes a back seat to the action. Most people I know who play these games tend to skip the cut scenes or cinematics just to get back to the action. Now I love action games as much as the last man, but I still think pure action can't be the only thing that drives games anymore.

I honestly do wonder if the directors behind these games actually care that people don't care about their game's story and that most people just want to kill stuff instead. Honestly, some of those great action games also have solid stories as well, but no one ever pays attention to them it seems. I think the problem is that the stories aren't included that much in the game play. The way these games are done are usually in a way so its get the main character from Point A to Point B and kill everything in between. Since that is how the game plays out, why would someone pay attention to the story?

Stories need to be more incorporated into the games I would say. Give a reason for players to actually want to know the story and care about what quest the character is on. After playing Metal Gear Solid 4 for a bit, I think Kojima is one of the few people who can actually do that. He does it very heavy handedly, but he still was able to get people to pay attention to the story and to the characters. Granted the story is all over the place and there are a butt ton of characters, I think my point still stands. If Kojima ever did another game with this sort of game play and story immersion and scaled back how insane and twisted he made the story, he would make a amazing game that had a near perfect balance of action and story.

I know I sound a bit bitter about action games, but I actually do love to play them as well. I just want something a bit more to them is all. I want to be apart of the story and not just see it sitting on the back burner like some bad stew. I miss the days of when action/adventure games actually made the players feel like they were apart of the game's story and not just waiting around for more action to happen. I partially blame this new mentality on many of the game designers out there as well as many of the video game marketing departments. Instead of actually trying to do their jobs and market smart or good games, they just want to market the big action ones out there that require zero marketing skills to do and know will sell well thus earning them a bonus.

So that is the sad truth really. I really wish designers would start to regain some of their former glory and create great stories and include them in their games, but it honestly doesn't seem like that is gonna happen. All these new action games are turning into Michael Bay movies and I swear I can feel the IQ's of my fellow gamers dropping every new release.

-P. Knight

So does he have a green thumb as well?

Hey folks,

Recently I checked out the new Incredible Hulk movie in theaters and I must admit, I was pretty impressed by the film. Right off the bat I will say this is not a sequel to the the Ang Lee Hulk movie which was released a few years back. This is a brand new retelling of the story. So basically a restart. I know some thought the Lee version was decent, but pretty much most didn't like it and thought it was to "emo" and ato wordy for a Hulk movie. Well the good news is that Incredible Hulk actually delivers and is a good adaptation of the Hulk character.

As soon as the opening credits kick in, you know this is a retelling of the story since the entire credits are showing how Bruce Banner became the Hulk and that he is now on the run and that General Ross is now chasing him around the world and that he left his girlfriend in a hospital after the Hulk nearly killed her. Once that little intro is shown, we jump 5 years into the future to see Banner now living in Brazil, working at a bottling plan and trying everything to keep the Hulk from reappearing. The rest of the movie is spent with Banner trying to find the "cure" to get rid of the Hulk as well as avoid being caught by General Ross and his newly formed squad of hired guns that are hunting him down.

Since I don't want to ruin the rest of the story, I will talk about the actors for a second. Pretty much the entire cast in this new film is spot on. The biggest issue people had about casting though with this movie would be Edward Norton as Banner. Eric Bana played Banner in the last Hulk movie and looked more like the comic book version of Banner then Norton does for sure. But to be honest, Norton really pulls it off. Instead of being a wimpy emo scientist with parent issues like in the previous Hulk movie, Norton's Banner is more a Jason Bourne type scientist who actually thinks on his feet, learns karate and is actually pretty bad ass. Like I said, I like this Banner a whole lot more. He is still a little wimpy and is human, but he isn't the total self-loathing pathetic Banner from the previous flick which is good.

The rest of the cast is all very solid all around from Tim Roth as a hired military trained gun who is on the hunt for Banner to Liv Tyler who plays Banner's ex-girlfriend, Betty Ross. Everyone does a great job with Tyler probably being the weakest of the cast but still doing a solid job none the less. And yes, they set the movie up to have sequels due to some of the characters they introduce in this movie.

Now whats a comic book movie without action? Thankfully Incredible Hulk has tons off good action. There are about 3 massive fight scenes in this film with each being a little different. One being Hulk vs some humans in a dark building, one with Hulk vs a mini-army that has tanks, helicopters and even sonic guns,and then the final fight between Hulk and the new bad guy in the streets of New York. All three fights are really cool cause they aren't all the same and they are all how Hulk fights should be. So seeing this in theaters is really worth it since any good sound system will make these fights even more bad ass. Also of note is the CG in the movie is really spot on as well. I was afraid during most of the Hulk action scenes, the Hulk would look a little unrealistic or campy. But my hats off to the company behind the CG for the movie cause all the action and especially the Hulk flowed very well with the rest of the movie.

Overall, I give this movie a 8/10. Its not as good as Iron Man was of course, but its still really up there and definitely worth checking out for any comic book fan out there. So far Marvel is two for two with their new movies now and we still got another four more coming out in the next 3 years. And yes, Tony Stark does show up in here and I really wished they would of waited till after the credits to show him. Still, its cool to see Marvel setting up the Marvel universe in these films and actually connecting them all. I just really hope they can keep Norton on as Banner cause the guy does a great job.

-P. Knight

Playing with your food

I find this video pretty amazing and a little disgusting at the same time. The person who did this must still smell like BBQ I swear. None the less, its amazing what he did with some just ribs and sauce. Check it out! If not anything, it will make you hungry.

-P. Knight

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When E.T. comes to work

So what would you do if aliens really invaded earth? Would you scream and freak out? Would you start praying? Would you hide your ass from anal probes?

Well one game idea I had is based on just that question. What would you do if you were at work in some huge skyscraper building and one day during work a "alien" invasion occurred. Imagine waking up to realize all the power in your building was gone and that the top of your building was beginning to crash down.

The basic premise of the game would be for the player to work his way down to the exit of the building and escape before the building collapses. There wouldn't be a timer or anything, but the threat of the building collapsing would still be there.

Game play would be very puzzle based with a bit of action here and there. The main character is your average schlub who gets thrown into this scary situation and must use everything around him to get out of the building. Imagine MacGuyver and you sort of get the idea. You won't be alone and there would be survivors near you, but end up leaving you alone since your escape plans seem to risky.

Since the building you are in is a mix of business and entertainment, other levels in the building would have different type of environments and puzzles. Everything to fighting off wildlife to figuring out how to escape from a mall jail.

Mind you, you will never actually see the aliens. They aren't really the threat. Its the building caving in on you that the giant threat in this game. I wanted a more "real" threat for the player to have to deal with then the already used and somewhat tired "killing aliens" concept.

Meaning I don't want this to turn into a third Half-Life game. Valve and Bungie got the whole killing alien thing down, so let them have it. I want a game where you end up having to fight other humans for survival and its about you escaping a real threat that was caused by something fictional.

I think this would be a good way to test out people's brains since the game would have multiple items that could be used to escape as well as a few different paths that could be taken out of each building level.

Anyway, thats it for now. Just a short concept since I haven't given it to much thought in a little bit. I just like the idea of a puzzle type game with a creepy atmosphere where its dog eat dog and you are just trying to survive against your fellow man.

-P. Knight

Dick reversal....

Hey folks,

So one game design I have been working on in my head is sort of a mix between Cowboy Bebop, Dark City and Sin City. A bit of a noir-ish detective story but done in total reversal. Meaning the beginning of the game starts at what would be "the end" of the game for most video games. Its a strange notion I know, but I think it could be pulled off really well if done properly. Remember how the movie Memento was done? Something to that extent basically.

What I mean by all this is that the game first starts with the main character being beaten, shot and nearly dead when the player first sees him. He is near death and is having a flash back about his life. Each flash back would be a different chapter of the game and it would basically lead all the way back to how everything built up to the situation he was first in.

The game play itself would be either first or third person depending on how the player wants to play. It would be a action game of course with a few puzzles here and there to keep people's brains going.

The world itself is a bit of a mix of steampunk and Dark City where there would be new sorts of weapons and gizmo's while keeping to a noir-ish feel like in Dark City. So you wouldn't have our worlds type of weapons, but you would have really cool new ones powered by a new type of energy source that is in this new world.

The main character is a private investigator who was asked by a old man to investigate the murder of his best friend. I am a bit tired of the "dame needing help" idea, so I thought I would go with something a little different. The plot seems very basic at first, but when told in reverse, everything gets a little twisted.

I don't wanna go into full story here, but its basically going to be about the detective getting caught up in this whole weird web of lies while trying to find out why this old man was killed. Like I said though, this would all be in reverse. So you actually don't find out who the real killer is till the very end of the game which is the beginning of the story. Lets just say there would be a few twists here and there to throw players off the real trail of who the killer was.

As for general game play, this will be a adventure action game. There will be some car chases, lots of fist fights, some heavy gun fights and even fights on top of a zeppelin type air balloon. As the memories keep unfolding, the player would be getting more weapons as well. You don't buy the weapons like in MGS4, but you get them at the beginning of each memory and loose them at the end usually during a boss fight or chase scene. That way the beginning of the game you only start with the typical pistol type weapon (remember the beginning is the end).

This could be a sandbox type game for sure, but I think that would be a bit hard to pull off without having huge amounts of side objectives to do as well which wouldn't fit with this game I would say. So a straightforward action game would be best with each "memory" being a sandbox type level that presses the player to move forward.

I am still working everything out in my head, but I wanted to get the basics down in this post. Basically a detective story told in reverse with a noir/steampunk feel to it. Some good action, a really deep story and some cool characters.

Anyway, thats it for now. May come back to this later if anything else pops up in my head.

-P. Knight

WoW Lich King Alpha Info

Hey guys,

I know a fair amount of people play World of Warcraft out there, me being one of them of course. With the recent Lich King expansion alpha going live a few weeks ago, many people have been wondering what new info from the alpha is out there. Recently I came across a great little site that had all the up to date alpha info and thought I would share it with you fine folks.

So for those wanting to check out the newest info on the alpha, hit the link below and enjoy!

-P. Knight

How your average geek gets into the game industry- Part 1

Hey folks,

Having been in the video game industry for about 4 years now and being just your average Joe, many people always ask me how I got into the industry and how they could as well. Due to this, I wanted to get start a mini-series of posts about how your average geek can break into the game industry and what is needed of them. This way, people have a general idea of how to get into the industry and will leave me alone!

I kid of course, but I hope these few posts will give people a general idea of how to get into the industry and answer a few questions at least. With this initial post, I am going to be talking about skills. Basically what skills are needed and what skills may help when trying to get into the game industry.

First off, let me start with a few answers to some general question I have heard over the years. No, you do not need to go to college to get into the game industry. No, you don't need to have super programming skills or be a master of Maya or Photoshop either. You don't need to know the inter workings of computers, knows tons of different languages, know what a PS3 or 360 is made of nor have amazing drawing skills either. Having some solid computer skills, knowing how to communicate with others, keeping up to date on new info and making sure you soak up everything around you is what you really need.

For most geeks, this is some good news of course. Knowing all those things I listed before or even some of them will help of course, but they are all not totally necessary honestly. For your average geek, having good computer skills, a love for video games and a strong work ethic is all you really need. Good social skills are also required which is probably a concept which will scare some gamers out there.

But before getting more into that, let me talk to those who do have those skills and or more then that. For those folks who are going to college and or are learning how to use 3-d programs or are becoming artists, you already have a little bit of a lead then most average folks like myself. With more and more colleges lately offering classes about video game making, I would honestly suggest taking those as well. Lots of those classes are taught by people in the industry and you will definitely learn a lot from those classes. Even taking some night classes or community college classes on those subjects are a bit of a help for you average gamer.

Anyway, not all is lost for those of us who don't have those skills or never taken those classes. There are many ways to get in the game industry and not all of them require you to have flipping awesome skills to do so. Many people I know in the industry didn't have any skills in the beginning of their careers. They just loved game and had a strong work ethic and that is what really matters. They learned to do more stuff on their own like Photoshop, Excel, Word and Maya and that helped them get pushed further along in the industry, but it wasn't the original reason they got in though now they say it would of helped a bit more.

I am not saying don't try everything in your power to try to learn new software or even take some classes, I am just saying that its not the end of the world if you don't have those skill sets yet. Though without those skill sets, you of course are gonna start off at the bottom rung of the industry like many other have. So the more skills you pick up before applying to get into the industry, the better really. My goal here though is to show that people who don't have amazing skills can still get into the industry, so don't give up.

Kojima Productions' Ryan Payton put it rather well though in a recent interview with

1UP: If someone wanted to get into a role similar to yours in the industry, what would you tell them?

RP: I get this question a lot. Some people write in to tell me that they're taking Japanese classes or that they're watching anime. They're also playing a lot of games, and that's fine, but you need to give recruiters more reasons to sign you on than the fact that you love videogames. When I joined Kojima Productions, I laid out what I could offer the company -- not only that I knew a lot about games, but that I could speak Japanese and that I was a good writer and had experience in radio and international business. Also, I was fanatical about American history, and coincidentally, Metal Gear does pull a lot from American and world history.

Kojima was more interested in what I was into outside of videogames. If somebody wants this kind of job, and they just play games all day and study Japanese, they're not going to have much to say when they get asked that question. You really do have to give employers as many reasons as possible to hire you.

One thing I'd recommend now is learning video content immediately. Start cutting your own movies in Final Cut. Familiarize yourself with HD. What's the difference between 1080i and 1080p? The industry needs people who understand that stuff.

So like Payton said, you need a bit more then just being a good gamer or anime fan to get into the industry and move up. Work on getting to learn new skills and software. Trust me, it will really help.

For those who want to start off other then at the bottom rung, for those who do have some good solid skills already or even for those who just wanna see what skills it takes to get into certain jobs in the game industry, I found a really good write up you may want to check out.

The three part write up was done over at and basically breaks down each job position in the industry and what is needed to get into that position skill wise. Its a great read and will definitely help those looking to break into video game making. Check it out below:

That should just about do it for now skills wise. Next post will be how to find and apply to get into the game industry and some good started jobs to get your foot in the door.

-P. Knight


Hey folks,

I wanted to get some posts going under the subject of what I am currently reading. Since I am reading a lot both American comic and manga wise, I thought this would be a good idea to let people see what I am checking out right now and even throw in my two cents on what it is I am reading at the moment. These posts will come at a pretty good rate since I am usually reading something new every few days or so depending on what comes out.

First up though is the American comic series from Image Comics, Invincible. The series is written/created by Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman and since issue #8, has been drawn by artist Ryan Ottley.

The series is a good mix of action, comedy, and a decent amount of teen angst and drama oddly enough.

Story wise, the series starts of pretty basic with main character, Mark Grayson, finally getting superhero powers in his mid-teens. Mark is the son of the worlds most famous superhero, Omni-Man, so he has been waiting for these powers for some time. After finally getting them, the story really picks up as we see Mark learn how to use his powers, find out where to get a superhero costume, fight some zany badguys, deal with friends who wonder where he keeps going as well as deal with other superheros he runs into.

I don't wanna go into full detail of the story so far since there are a lot of twists and turns that people should read about and not be spoiled to. Kirkman does a great job even setting up side stories that don't come into full effect until many issues later on. Overall though, the writing for the series is very good and despite a few corny moments and some weird heroes and villains. There are some very deep moments in the series as well and things do get a little depressing and sad later on. So despite mainly being a bit of fun and adventurous series, there are some really good serious moments as well that pop up a lot more as the series continues on. But those moments are done with a light hand, so you don't feel totally weighted down when reading them.

In general though, this is just a great series for pretty much any comic book fan out there who loves the idea of superheroes and wants something solid to read that has lots of good humor, some real life issues, as well as a few dark moments. Since Kirkman is going full steam with Walking Dead at the moment, Invincible has been slowing down a bit lately release wise. Thankfully the first 9 books are out right now and easily buyable at any bookstore. So give the series a chance I would say since it will definitely grow on you.

-P. Knight

Music fight!

I was shown this video awhile back and have been trying to pass it on to as many people as I know since its just to funny to pass up on. Its a very creative video to say the least and will definitely have you laughing your butt off over the whole premise. Enjoy!

-P. Knight

Why some gamers should be level designers!

Can't even how much time this took, but the people behind it have some real skill and put a lot of effort into this Quake 3 map I must say. Enjoy!

-P. Knight

It's a trap!

Hey folks,

Lately I have been missing comedic games of old. The old classics like the Monkey Island series, Full Throttle, Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango. Remember those? They were all great games with really spot on smart humor that actually had good gameplay to back it up. Those sorts of games aren't really around much anymore and the ones that are are either on the underground gaming networks or lack good gameplay which means it won't get played.

But with those games in mind, I recently started to work on a game design in my head that is sort of a throw back to those old type of humor games.

The general plot for the story is sort of the classic space exploration one. A small crew of about 5 explorers are sent out to space to check out a new anomaly in space that is in the shape of a triangle and appeared all of a sudden near the moon. Earth started getting weird unintelligible from the anomaly and now the crew was sent to check it out.

The crew would be the sort of stereotypical lot of people. The sort of badass captain everyone looks up to, the hot analyst who is a flirt, the know it all doctor and the war veteran hard as nails weapons expert. Lastly rounding the crew off would be the main character, Thaddius Guy, who is in charge of Operations.

Now not to get into to many details, the crew flies out to this anomaly to see what it is. As they get closer to the giant triangular thing, they notice they are getting pulled in by the anomaly and that they can't slow down. Next thing you know, everything goes black and Guy wakes up on the ship which is now all torn up after having crashed into the anomaly. As he collects his thoughts, he realizes he is alone on the ship.

Once Guy gets out of the ship, he realizes he is on land and now staring out a huge massive entrance way. Imagine an old Greek entrance way that look massive and epic with huge columns and you get the idea. As he gets closer to the entrance, a giant beam comes flying out and scans him and then disappears back intot he darkness. Dazed and scared, Guy looks up at the entrance way again and all of a sudden some bright lights start to flash and he sees something he thought he would never see in space. In giant neon lights and in English, he sees a new sign saying:

Welcome to the Universal Labyrinth!
Fun for the whole family!

Yes, ladies and gentleman, this giant space anomaly is actually a tourist trap!

The anomaly was built thousands of years ago by a alien race who wanted more people to come visit their solar system but had nothing to offer since all the planets in their system smelled weird and didn't have complimentary pillow mints to offer to guests. So they built this giant tourist trap in space to attract more people and now poor Guy is forced to figure his way through the Labyrinth to find out where the rest of the crew went, how he is gonna get back home and why the Labyrinth is now abandoned.

Since I haven't really thought everything through for the game yet, here are just a few little things that would be thrown in for some fun and laughs.

- A universal freakshow

-The main hub of the Labyrinth is the souviner shop

-The food at the food stands has evolved over time and are waging wars with each other

-The main person to be on the lookout for is the Labyrinth's "minotaur" , since now that someone is in the Labyrinth, he has to go back to work and is very unhappy about that.

-A complaints line that Guy must get to the front of but still has some very lively aliens.

Like I said, this is still just a idea bouncing around in my head. Most of this stuff can be taken out or changed of course. Just the main idea behind it all is what I really want to keep. That aliens created a giant tourist trap in order to get other life forms to come visit them. Imagine Halo mixed with Futurama and Monty Python would be the best way to describe it. Very Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but with a more American with then British since that doesn't always go over so well here.

I just really like the idea of doing a epic space comedy since so many games lately that deal with space are either to serious or turn everything into a giant war. So I think its time we get a little bit of comedy in space and see what happens.

As for gameplay, that would be the tricky part. Personally I think going with a third person perspective would be the best. This way the player can see everything that is going on around him. The gameplay itself would be more adventure type gameplay where there are mainly puzzles the player has to get through with a bit of action as well thrown in for good measure. Its more likely using your hands and brain to figure things out then just running around shooting everything. The puzzles wouldn't be insanely hard and most would actually be a bit humorous to keep the player going and wanting to finish the puzzle. Stuff like having to figure out how to get to the front of the Complaints Line and finding a lost "child" to hiding from the "minotaur" and helping stop the great "Concession Stand Civil War"There wouldn't be a lot of back tracking in the game and different parts of the Labyrinth would have different themes as well.

There of course would be a slew off oddball characters in the Labyrinth ranging from the weird by helpful Universal Freakshow aliens to the out of his mind Souviner Shop caretaker who has gone nuts from staring at snow globes to long.

Basically I want the game to be a totally odd experience, but all the while a really funny one. With as many serious games we have out now a days, I think a bit of humor is needed now and then and thats why I came up with this game idea. Its nothing ground breaking of course, but I don't think a game needs to be groundbreaking to be good.

Anyway, thats it for now. Just something I wanted to get out of my brain and see written down on here.

-P. Knight

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting Smart

Hey kids,

So this weekend I decided to go see the new movie remake of the classic TV series, Get Smart. I decided to see it because I did like the original series and Steve Carell is always funny in these sorts of rolls. Plus my only other option was the Mike Myers abortion, the Love Guru.

In both the series and new movie of Get Smart, its the basic story of good vs. evil. After reading the reviews of Love Guru, I think the whole good vs. evil thing can apply to these two movies as well since they both opened this weekend and were both being named "Comedy of the summer".

Despite being a TV remake, the Get Smart movie was actually good. Not The Office good of course, but it still had me rolling and laughing most of the movie. There are a lot of throwbacks to the old series, but this is still revamp and origin movie. We find out how Maxwell Smart becomes a agent of Control and see him and his partner 99 first pair together to stop the agents of C.H.O.A.S.

As per normal Carelly, we get his very spot on dry humor and wit as he plays Smart in a bit of a different way then Adams did in the original show. I think thats good really since it means Carell wanted to make the character his own and give it his own touch then be a Adams clone. He does a spot on job and really pulls off the over confident goofball agent who always messes up, but manages to get the job done in the end.

The rest of the cast includes Anne Hathaway as Agent 99, Alan Arkin as The Chief and The Rock as Agent 23. Arkin does his usual great job as the Chief and you honestly want to see more of him since he is just does a great performance. The Rock plays the ladies man, super badass Agent 23 who Smart looks up to. Surprisingly, he does a pretty decent job in the movie and is actually funny. After making The Rundown, I wish we would of seen him in some better movies then all the kid friendly ones he did. The guy can act and is funny. He should really drop the Disney crap and start doing more flicks like this.

As for Anne Hathaway. Its Anne fricking Hathaway. She is hot, cute and sexy all at once and is great as Agent 99. Hathaway can actually act and pulls off sex appeal like no other actresses from her generation. Thats all I really need to say.

As for the rest of the movie. Its the typical good guys vs. bad guys story. Nothing groundbreaking, but its not suppose to be. Its suppose to be easy to follow and fun to watch and it was. Lots of great other actors in the film as well as a few celeb cameos as well.

So overall, I would give this movie a 7.5/10. Its worth seeing in the theaters since it has some good action as well and pretty much everyone in the family will find something to laugh at including your crazy drunk uncle who hugs you a little to long at family reunions.

-P. Knight

Pow....Right in the kisser!

So in World of Warcraft, you get to meet a lot of interesting folks especially when you are in a guild. These folks usually have some interesting stories.

This is one of them.

In my old WoW guild, Still Life, we had a certain Warlock who's real name was Wayne and worked at a tattoo parlor on the east coast. Wayne had been a tattoo artist for many years and had seen some weird stuff.

Now one summer day, Wayne was doing a lower back tattoo for some hot blond girl who came in. While doing the tattoo, the girl had pulled her pants down a bit exposing a fair amount of her ass crack.

So half way through the tattoo, the girl started to freak out and began to have a seizure. Wayne didn't notice at first until the girl started to shake and next thing he knew, brown stuff came flying out of the girls ass crack and was landing all over his shirt.

Yes, you read that right folks. Poor Wayne was shit on at work.

Now normally you have to go to Germany and pay lots of money to certain women there to do that, but Wayne got it for free.

Thankfully the girl came out of her seizure and was ok while Wayne had to get a new shirt from his boss. The girl got the rest of her tattoo done and then left while apologizing for what happened.

So now when you think your job is shit, think of this story and smile.

-P. Knight

My night with Solid Snake

Sit right back and hear a tale....

So about 2 weeks ago, Metal Gear Solid 4 was released. A joyous day for many gamers of course. A very joyous one for me personally as well since I was one of the people who went to the MGS signing they had here in Los Angeles.

They had 2 signing thats night here in America, one being the one I was going to and one in New York. The New York one has Kojima himself there as well as one of the models who was used for one of the Beauty and the Beast villains in MGS4. The signing I went to though had David Hayter (voice of Snake) as well as the American and Japanese Producers as well as the voice actors of Drebin and Liquid Ocolet. So some power players for sure.

Anyway, the day the signing was gonna happen (Wensday,midnight release), myself and a few of the studio animators decided to get together to head down to the La Brea Best Buy for the signing. Before heading down though, one of the animators came up with a great idea to take the latest game our studio had made and get it signed and take it down with us to give to the guys. Originally we thought only three people were going to be there for the signing, so we got three copies signed by everyone in the studio.

After doing that, we all seperatly headed down to the Best Buy for the signing. I had thought getting there about 10pm would be fine and that the line wouldn't be to bad. Of course, I was wrong. When I got there, about 200 people were in front of me and the other 2 guys had yet to arrive.

As I waited there, I got to see many people dressed as different MGS characters and got to shoot the shit with some cool geek folk. Soon after, one of the animators showed and we started to hang out while I held onto the signed copies of our game.

To make a long boring story a bit shorter. The next two hours of waiting consisted of us (the third animator showed up around 11:30pm) talking to lots of cool people, wishing we had chairs, and hoping that all the cops passing by didn't thing all the guys dressed as Snake with guns were robbing us.

We had found out we were numbers 227-230 in the line and that the Best Buy had 300 copies of MGS4 in-stock half way through the wait. Also found out thanks to a crazy David Hayter fan girl that the celebs would only be there till 2am to do the signing stuff. So we were sitting pretty really. Midnight hit and the line started to move. We kept waiting, moving, waiting and more moving. Some young hot girls handed out free power drinks that tasted like Minute Maid mixed with moose piss.

Around 1:15am, we had about 30 more people to go before we three got to the front of the line and thought we would make it in time. At 1:30am, a guy from Kojima Productions comes out and tells us the celebs are going to be leaving and won't do any more signings sides the people who already got the game and were in the separate line to get their covers signed.

So now the three of us were sad and depressed. The guys with me had the same thing happen to them when they went to a MGS3 signing years ago in Los Angeles at the City Walk that had Kojima there. As sad as we were, the Hayter fan girl in front of us was freaking out and nearly crying cause she really wanted to meet him.

As we make our way up the line and into the Best Buy, we saw the celebs at a special stand finishing up the last of the signings. We got our copies of MGS4 and started to leave when one of the animators asked me to give him one of the signed copies of our games. I handed it over and next thing I know, he is talking to a Best Buy guy who was guarding the celeb booth and telling him who we were and that we just wanted to give the signed copies of our game to the celebs since we are huge fans of the game series. Some Kojima guy cam up and argued with the Best Buy guy for a second, but next thing I know, they are lifting the rope that was around the booth and letting us in.

Wait.....what is happening now?

I was in shock. As soon as we passed the rope, all three of us were next in line in the signing booth and were talking to the Japanese producer. The animator who got us in was telling the guy who we were and gave him a copy of our game. Next thing I know, we are shaking hands with the guy, he is saying how much he loved our game and that our studio should be the one to make the new Castlevania game. As this is going on, the producer grabbed three blank game covers of MGS4 and started to sign them. After him, we got to talk to Snake himself, David Hayter.

Hayter was very cool of course. Once again the animator with us introduced us and gave him the signed copy of our game. We talked a bit with Hayter and he said how he loved our game and even did some Snake voice stuff for us. After that, we got to meet the voice actor of Ocelot who looked like a old biker guy who showed us his tattoos. Talked to him for a minute and then got to move onto the American producer as well as the voice actor for Drebin (looked like Chris Tucker a bit). We talked to them for a bit and the American producer gave us his business card since one of our animators gave him his. We gave the producer our last signed copies and he handed us the MGS4 covers signed by everyone there.

I nearly fainted.

In the blur of excitement, we left the store with everyone yelling at how we got signed covers while everyone else wasn't able to. We ran out, said our goodbyes to each other, and got to our cars. After nearly inhaling enough air to fill a new planet, I was able to drive home at about 2am with a copy of MGS4 and a signed game cover.

So that is my story. I need to get the signed cover framed of course. But below is a picture of what the cover looked like as well the the cool business card we got as well from the American producer.

Next time on Particle Stories, the time I ended up in a Mexican jail tied to a goat...

-P. Knight

1 geek, 1 blog, no cup!

Hello folks.

This is my first initial post on this blog. I have blogged before, but that was many moons ago and saying that makes me feel old for some reason. Anyway, I wanted to start this blog because I have begin to noticed that I need some sort of outlet to post all my thoughts, stories and opinions that have been piling up in my head for many years.

I will cover many topics on this blog. Some good, some boring. All very geeky of course. One of the main topics outside the normal geeky type posts like anime and movie opinions will be posts about what its like to work in the video game industry as someone who is a bit of a sideliner and gets to view the industry from sort of a third person view.

Hopefully some people will view this blog and find it interesting or at least something to laugh at. If not, thats ok of course. I just wanted a place to sort of vent and post ideas I have.

Anyway, I will post on here as much as I can of course. So let the games begin.

-P. Knight