Creativity Isn’t Dead – Most Perceptions of Entertainment are Boring

I have been fortunate to know or be acquainted with artists, writers and even some people that work in video game production.  One thing that has never ceased to amaze me is their creativity.  There is always something new in their head.  Some sort of cool new project that is simply amazing because it is fresh and straight out of their creative mind.  The current mainstream gaming atmosphere doesn’t allow for this sort of creativity anymore.

Video-games-as-art-600x300

With games like Call of Duty and Madden being released every year it doesn’t say much for what corporate monsters think of gaming.  They don’t see it as art – they see a bottom line that must be met in sales or the studio will be closed.  As you start looking at the upcoming consoles do yourself a favor and ask why the games are getting stale.  While Madden can’t exactly change or implement something wild or crazy graphically or otherwise – it is still lacking creativity.

Another example of a great game that became over-produced quickly – Assassin’s Creed.  Really?  Is the character truly a different person?  Sure, the voice is different and the face may be structured with some new scars, etc… but this is the same damn game every time it comes out.  Attack, Counter, Attack, Kill, Run, Repeat.

There are many artists and developers out there that want to be creative in gaming and they are being held back because gamers don’t want new games or concepts.  They want a fresh veneer painted on the same crap they have been playing for 10 years.  People generally fear change and it is up to artists, musicians and writers to flip their world upside down.

I look forward to the day when I can look at video games and see them as new, fresh and risky art… right now all I see is what most people seem to want:

2/3 of a gun
Crosshairs
Poorly animated blood

The list could go on, but really if it needs to you are missing the point.

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Is It Time To Move To PC Gaming?

Now that we are coming to the beginning of yet another console generation you are most likely asking – “Should I wait this out?”.  That would be a good option if you could stick to it.  Considering the growing rumors that the next console generation will not allow you to buy games second-hand (used) or even bring a game over to a friends house to play it on their console;  It is starting to look more likely by the day that the PS4 (Oracle) and XBox 720 (Durango) are going to focus less on hard copy media (discs) and move further towards downloading and cloud based gaming.

This feels an awful lot like the console version of Steam/Origin.  Both of these game hosting services allow you to play your games through an online based client that essentially acts as a proxy game library.  Instead of actually having a collection of games on your shelf, they are in the Steam application under – you guessed it – Library.

With Microsoft’s online service already requiring users to pay $60 per year for online play and other features it will be interesting to see how they go about forcing people to do most of their gaming based on the ‘always online’ capabilities and the apparent desire to get rid of second-hand gaming.  This isn’t really that surprising in terms of the direction that gaming and entertainment have been going in recent years.  The sales of CDs and DVDs have plummeted because of services like iTunes and Netflix.  The question remains as to whether or not this is a good thing when it comes to gaming.

Console gaming is nice for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is the fact that you don’t have to sit at a desk on your computer to play these games.  You can sit on a comfortable couch, beanbag chair or even on the floor in front of a flat screen TV and game out.  That is slowly becoming a less exclusive reason as PCs are becoming easier to incorporate to your TV rather than a monitor.  The biggest downside to moving in the direction of PC gaming remains the initial investment and upkeep.

If you consider the amount of money people pour into their console gaming it isn’t really a good argument to say that it is cheaper than PC gaming.  XBox users are paying $60 a year on top of their initial console purchase.  Then there are DLC packages that often add another $20-50 to the price of the games they are playing.  After all of these expenses there are batteries for controllers or new controllers if the console is used regularly.  By the time you add up all of the costs a hardcore gamer might put into a console they could have easily bought a PC that could be used as a work station and gaming rig.  Not to mention the fact that most PC games feature free online play and more consistent patches and user mods.

A PC gaming rig also costs as much as you are willing to put into it.  You don’t have to have the same set up as someone else if you can’t afford it.  The best place to spend your initial money is going to be on a sizable case and motherboard.  The case is vital for multiple reasons (ventilation, size for expansion and video cards, USB ports, etc.) but the motherboard is the most important aspect when it comes to ‘future-proofing’ your PC.  Make sure that you have plenty of room for video cards and a powerful CPU to power everything.  You will need to also invest in a power supply to give your rig the needed juice to run.  Other than that, you can typically piece together everything else.

GPUs (video cards), RAM, Optical Drives and Hard Drives are all replaceable and changeable once the main components are installed.  If you are looking for a way to stick it to Microsoft’s XBox division and Sony’s Playstation division you should consider moving to PC gaming.  The time has come to take gaming to the next level and that means putting your PC in the living room and using your HDMI/DVI cord to link it to your television.

Looking for a few ideas on how to build a budget rig or a monster gaming PC?  Check out the wishlist section over at Newegg.com.  You should also talk to your computer savvy friends for advice or ideas on what could be the best build for you.  If you want even more input shoot us an email at officialnoobtubetv@gmail.com and include PC Building in the subject.

Happy Gaming!

 

Breaking The Trends – What’s Next For Shooter Games?

It seems that the entertainment industry has fallen into a rut over the past decade or so.

Whether it is gaming or movies – when something finds success the typical response isn’t “What will they do next?”… it is “When is the sequel coming out?!”

A recent article that features an interview with DICE suggests that the next movement is going away from Modern Conflicts and towards ‘Near Future’.  This brings a few things to mind and really presses for an honest answer that will only be given in sales numbers.

Are you getting tired of fighting the same war with different names?

What Is So Different Between Current Day and Near Future?

If you have paid any attention to the ‘new’ direction for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 you will see that it is now based in the Near Future.  The worst part about this concept is that it involves very little true innovation other than simply stating that it is based in a time period that has more flying robots and drones, etc. Modern Warfare 3 already saw places like New York City in ruins, now we get to go into new ‘future’ places and see them destroyed by war?… Yeah, really refreshing.

So… in the near future there will be guys dressed like Master Chief with Flying Drones like we already have in almost every game?…
So much for innovation.

Does Time Period Need To Be Stated?

Outside of historical reference, does it really matter ‘when’ a game is taking place?  If you have read any sort of fiction you will notice what happens in books that directly refer to technology or entertainment of the time.  It ages the story and often makes it difficult for future generations to relate to the ‘power’ of whatever is being referenced.  Try reading Jurassic Park or American Psycho without laughing about their references to CD-ROMs and Walkmans, or better yet – Huey Lewis and the News.

It isn’t as if time period should be cut out completely, but it should be merely hinted at in the presentation.  Bioshock did a great job of this when you see the character flying in an airplane that allowed smoking (even if it did make direct reference to the year “1960 – Mid-Atlantic”).  There is even the amazing presentation of NBA 2K12 that allows you to play with retro teams with a TV presentation style of the time period.

Where Is The F**CKING ORIGINAL STORY?!

There is something to be said for what Activision is doing with Call of Duty and that something is called ‘milking a concept until the game dies’.  Look at what they did with Guitar Hero and you will see what will eventually happen to Call of Duty.

If you take a look at the direction of Microsoft, they aren’t too dissimilar when it comes to milking games and game series such as Gears of War and Halo.  Speaking of which, new rumours have started creeping up about Halo 2 Anniversary Edition.  Not that anyone should be surprised… it is just upsetting for gamers that want to play something new… something fresh.

What type of time period or setting do you want to have a shooter game based in?  Leave comments below!

E3 Recap – Games To Keep An Eye On and Games To Give The Stink Eye

It was a great week for game fans of all ages last week, but that doesn’t mean that some announcements didn’t disappoint us.

There are some games that have great demos out there right now and there are also some games that shouldn’t have demos (because they are that terrible).

Keep and Eye On:

Spec Ops: The Line (Respawn Entertainment/2K) – This game plays smoothly and feels like a modern military version of Gears of War (executions and all).  In playing the demo there is something left to be desired from gameplay that seems slightly uninspired.  There isn’t a lot of holding your breath in worry that an army of baddies is coming to put you down.  However, the multiplayer gameplay looks like it could prove to be enjoyable, if not at least something different from Call of Duty’s first person syndication every year.

 

 

Madden 13 (EA Sports) – Finally, Madden has come out of the E3 gates with something to talk about other than their yearly subjective roster update.  Real-time physics, connected careers and a new XP system of progressing your players in career modes is a breath of fresh air that every football gaming fan will appreciate.  There are some tuning issues they are still working on for much of connected careers (which is to be expected); but hopefully they can use the next month or so before the game goes ‘gold’ to fix these things.  Don’t expect perfection off the bat, but you should expect some new joy in how Madden actually plays this year.

 

 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami) – Finally, something playable was present at E3 and did it ever live up to the hopes and dreams of Metal Gear fans!  Raiden was a character that upset many of the Metal Gear ‘purists’ (elitists…myself included) but when Kojima decided to make Raiden into an awesome Cyborg Ninja from Hell in Metal Gear Solid 4?… I was convinced that Raiden was cool enough to be a desireable character.  At this point, MGSRR is looking more and more like Ninja Gaiden put into the shoes of Metal Gear and it looks amazing.

 

 

Hitman: Absolution (Square Enix) – One of the favorites to make people gush over the wonders of Agent 47’s ability to silently make enemies hunker down in fear.  This is proving to be a game that you should be very excited about.  The gameplay is solid and the story of Agent 47 is usually an intriguing one.  Let’s face it, Hitman is a game that really has its set of fanatics and then the rest of the gamers that want to get their fill of digital violence.  The beauty of Absolution is that it seems to have a better feel and look than Blood Money.  There is a fine line for the Hitman series to walk right now but it is avoiding our list of stink eye games… for now.

Give the Stink Eye To:

NCAA Football 13 (EA Sports) – Talk about giving a game a fresh coat of paint and sending it out for the user to beta test.  NCAA Football 12 was decent, but with major flaws on release day that weren’t patched for over a month and a half (player tendencies after re-naming rosters, etc.).  NCAA Football 13 changed throwing trajectories but didn’t implement real-time physics like Madden 13.  They have the same button schemes this year, but after that similarity NCAA falls to the field with a thud.  The menu interface hasn’t changed and the game doesn’t seem to look different at all.  The demo is out there for you to give it a try – but it could be a 1GB file you regret downloading in the first place.

 

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Treyarch/Activision) – This series has been played out.  The fact that they are going to the year 2025 isn’t as impressive as some people want to make it out to be.  Not to mention the fact that they are ‘bringing back’ zombie mode.  What is going to be different from Black Ops or even Modern Warfare 3?  Nothing really.

You already know what to expect if you are a COD fan and that can be a good thing if you love COD games.  Black Ops 2 is like the third Transformers movie at this point –

All of the explosions, the hot girl that replaces another hot girl (albeit, with an accent) and our typical schlubs ‘heroes’ to save the world from bad foreigners (Insert xenophobia here) and you have yourself a “Brand New” Call of Duty Game.

Halo 4 (343/Microsoft) – Did you know that another Halo game was coming out?  Of course you did.   What better way to milk this cash cow of a franchise than to continue the saga of Master Chief from a ‘whole new perspective’?

Much like Call of Duty and even Gears of War, Halo 4 is a game that has many people excited because they worship the Halo universe and think Master Chief is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Say what you want about the books and everything else… if you love Halo you will buy this game.  After that what is there?  One of the ‘features’ listed for this game on Amazon is telling –

The Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. Humanity and the universe will never be the same again.”

If you pay attention to the last sentence of their description, it is one of the most hilarious marketing ploys ever.  Consider what has happened over the course of Halo, Halo 2 and then Halo 3.  Then consider what happened with Halo 3: ODST and then the prequel Halo: Reach.  It is something of a guess, but after 5 games that gave us a great trilogy a prequel and even the perspective of a different soldier (ODST) there isn’t much more to care about is there?

It is always a funny argument to hear when a Halo fanboy and a Call of Duty fanboy come into a game store or game department… or God forbid – forums.  Both sides love to present their game as being superior in some way shape or form.  However, in the end they are both arguing over something that they both share in… being duped into buying the same game every year or two.

Gears of War: Judgement (Epic/Microsoft) – Say what you want about the story of Gears of War, it was original and the voice acting was impressive all the way through.  However, the latest announcement is bringing up the same old argument we just made about Halo and Call of Duty.  The most insulting thing you can do to a gamer is try and squeeze out more money for a prequel.  George Lucas was able to fool some people into thinking the new Star Wars prequel trilogy would be worth the excitement.  However, in the end… people still prefer to go back and watch the movies that are now nearing 40 years in age.

This announcement of a new Gears of War game is exciting for people that enjoy the Gears story and gameplay.  Unfortunately, outside of that group of people there are many other gamers that would prefer to see something original come out and blow our minds.  Maybe this is the last Epic game that will grace the 360 before they move on and develop a new series for the XBox 720.  We can only hope that this game is a final conclusion… or pre-clusion?

E3 Coming Soon – Is It Still Relevant?

For those of you looking for a reason to get excited about upcoming games such as Call of  Duty, Future Soldier, Madden, NCAA Football or Halo – E3 is something you are going to be watching and/or reading about over the course of June 5-7.  Otherwise, you might be disinterested.

It is a new and strange development that has happened with what was once the ‘must see’ for all gamers just 5-10 years ago.

It used to be an expo that focused on gaming as a whole with the spotlight on innovation.  However, now it seems to be more focused on the big-budget titles that will over-shadow many of the other games out there that might need that moment in the spotlight just to garner enough interest to continue in their development.

With the recent closure of 38 Studios it should come as no surprise that many of the smaller developers (even if they are owned by huge companies like Electronic Arts) are the first to get cut if they aren’t producing the highest profile games out there.  The issue that this brings to the forefront hinges directly with the tagline for E3.

“Innovation Unveiled”

The issue is that most of the innovation that occurs is from upstart companies.  Whether it is gaming, internet development or something else.  The whole process of creating apps and independent games has been the driving force behind better and more intriguing innovation in gaming.  If you consider what will happen if expos like E3 continue to focus on the big budget/’big box’ games rather than pushing innovation in smaller or less publicized games and/or developers.

Over the next couple weeks we will be focusing some attention on games that you might not know about and whether or not they should be on your list as something to look into for a fantastic gaming experience.

PS – If you want to attend E3 you will most likely be shocked at the $800-$1000 price for tickets… just to attend.

Talk Is Cheap – Now Recruiting

After a lot of thought, it has come time to unveil our first Official NoobTubeTV Clan.

If you are new to clans or the concept of gaming teams, it is rather simple.  Think of it as a community of gamers that team up/party up and develop a more cohesive and enjoyable gaming experience.  What is our team called?

We don't have an obnoxious recruiting process. You don't have to be an MLG All Star. You just have to be a part of a community that is dedicated to providing an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Questions or comments?  Hit us up!

Quick Money In Skyrim – The Amazing Hidden Chest Is Only the Beginning!

For those of you that are wanting a faster way to achieve the 100k gold achievement, this is probably one of the fastest ways.

Happy (Treasure) Hunting!