Thursday, 12 June 2014

Call of Doody.

I’ve played a lot of video games over the years. Starting when I was about 8, my Mom made my brother take me to Space World in Devonport Road next to the cinema. Space Invaders was the new thing, Pac man, Galaga, Defender, car racing games with a real steering wheel. My brother didn’t really want to take me, but me and my sisters had seen Mi-sex’s computer games song on Ready to Roll. And we were all frankly intrigued. Of course Tauranga being the lamest place on Earth didn’t have video game parlours. Auckland did, and my brother lived there so he knew all about them.

So at 20 cents a game, you could play video games, jostling with bigger kids and older teens to get a chance to not play a big pile of crap. I wasn’t very good at them. The ones I did like were connected to movies. The Star Wars trench run game was pretty cool. But Asteroids left me cold. Rampage appealed, mainly because you got be King Kong and smash city blocks.

My Friend Des was awesome at Galaga, he could clock that thing in 3 hours. We would go in to town on a Saturday morning, I would go mooching around town buying records and come back and there he was, clocking Galaga and entering his name on the leader board. Dez.

It was not till Sega came out with the Mega Drive that video games got any good. Even then I just played Sonic the Hedgehog and platform games like Robocop and Judge Dredd. Days were spent with friends playing Sonic the Hedgehog, trying to get to the end. But because they were basically more annoying than immersive you could take or leave them.

It was when the PlayStation arrived that video games became what they had promised. Film style animation and story telling, immersive graphics and a replacement for watching TV.  Tomb Raider, Resident Evil and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater were the games constantly played in my house. I think I did more game playing than actual work on my degree in the late 1990s. No loss really, it was only Fine Arts.

Then we bought a super-fast PC, well as fast as my smartphone is now but with less memory. And my kids very nicely bought me Call of Duty and the expansion pack United Offensive. I loved that game. Shooting Nazis was very satisfying; you could pretend you were Mel Brooks or Kurt Vonnegut and mow down as many Aryan ass clowns without the slightest feeling of guilt. It’s a shame they never had a level where you liberate Dachau or Auschwitz. Call of Duty 2 carried on this tradition, but with better Saving Private Ryan styled blood splattering/misting effects.  World at War conveyed the mud, dirt, smoke and destruction with dazzling lighting effects.

And then then the COD people stopped making World War 2 games and moved onto ‘modern warfare’, but instead of easily identifiable bad guys (and totally justified in raining down cyber destruction on pixelated Nazi asses) you got vaguely Arabian enemies, or vaguely Russian enemies or vaguely not American enemies, which under the leadership of George W Bush could be anyone.

After Modern Warfare I kind of stopped playing the Call of Duty Series and moved onto Battlefield 3, after my sons suggested it. It was Ok as the enemies are just that little bit far away, it's design means you can’t quite see your enemy. And the armies you face are mostly in an online multi-player environment so it makes sense that the other side are a well-equipped American army unit of some description.

A real modern war? Well that would mean wealthy Americans invading a third world country after shattering it with cruise missiles and fuel air bombs.

The whole game should be

  •  soldiers patrolling and getting blown up by IEDs hidden in rubbish piles. 
  • picking up the pieces of children who went looking for food and opened cluster bomb packets instead. 
  • Taking photos of yourself with prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison 

Not exactly an exciting run and gun multi-player experience.

I tried playing COD: Black Ops but the African scenes just put me off finishing the game. Mowing down identikit African soldiers was just kind of sickening and weird. The multi-player had the quality of Capcom’s Dino Crisis just lots of soft glowing edges and pastel colours. Plus it didn’t have my favourite perks from Modern Warfare. Which for the record, was three frag grenades and a suicide bomb timed to explode when your killer steps over your lifeless digitised corpse.

I have been playing COD: Ghosts a bit lately, mostly multiplayer. The game itself was OK the scenes in space were cool and very inventive. Its just the future war part on Earth didn’t grab me. If you had the destruction of the USA industrial base totally shattered by missiles dropped from orbit, how could the USA have a fully functioning small squad army doing anything remotely soldier like. The reality would be draftees working in large platoons like in World War 2, defending their country from further invasion with old equipment. 

But what sucks about it is the PC Multi-player experience.

It is just the same as the Xbox version, so maximum 12 players on host machines. PC games have traditionally worked off servers with maximum amount of modification of the game rules.

  • you could play a game with maximum players and long length and stable host(up to 64 players). 
  • High ping you get kicked, leave the game you just disappear not needing to find another host server. 
  • 30 minute rounds or 500 points Vs. 75 points and 7 minutes. 
  • Admins who kick cheaters, racists and jerks.

You could just get lost in a match, all that happens now is you play well and the game ends early. Or you get a laggy host you spend your whole time rubber banding and running on air until you get kicked. A frequent occurrence in Tasmania.

Luckily PC gamers are nice enough to not bother with headsets so at least I don’t need to put up with ass clowns calling me a noob or telling me about my Mom. 


Instead everyone is called a hacker or noob in text at the top of the screen.

The other issue is no one is playing it on PC. One the weekends world-wide the number of players averages 2400 people, weekdays in Australia it’s lucky to hit 1000. Seems the gloss has corroded off the once dominant franchise. Maybe the game makers just hate PC gamers and want us to buy a xbone or ps3. (I have both but I’m crap with controllers unless it’s a car racing game or skateboarding and I can’t stand the xbox culture of being a creepy sexist jerkwad 14 year old bonehead with a headset and a couch).

What I would really like is an HD remake of Call of Duty United Offensive with tanks , cool maps, artillery and real time promotions. And Nazis, lots of Nazis to shoot.

Just downloaded Enemy Front hopefully it will do what I want...I'm going to kill some Nazis, I may be a while....

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