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The Tom Clancy series will always have a special place in the video gaming section of my heart. While the modern monoliths of GTA IV, Bioshock and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare often frequent my hard drive, there exists a small collection of games that are never removed.

Within this group can be found classic adventures, such as Grim Fandango, Age of Empires 2, and the earlier Tom Clancy games. In fact, if someone was to ask me to name my three favourite series of military games based loosely on the novels of the prolific American author Tom Clancy, I’d have no choice but to answer with Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six.

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Flipping Through The Books
By: | January 25th, 2010

Flips

This one is for the parents out there, and just by sheer statistics, that must be some of you. The latter period of 2009 saw EA release a range of books on the DS – Flips – aimed at encouraging those little chaps; you know the ones that are out of diapers and into school to use their DS for more than just just Pokemon, and get their head into a book.

As a parent myself, I can understand why people would stand behind a product aimed at encouraging more reading, but, one question that can’t help but crop up in the addled grey matter that science would call a brain: Why not just read a book?

Read on as I take a look at EA’s release, and see if it really can grow the DS audience, as they claim.

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In a game that essentially has no ending, one of the most sought after achievements in Left 4 Dead 2 is finishing each of the five levels on expert (Still Something to Prove).  While it’s a notable and reasonable accomplishment, achieving that goal is no easy task.

So if you’re tired of dying to the hordes of zombies, tanks nailing you with perfect accuracy, killing Jockeys and Hunters feels like you’re shooting air, and being shot by teammates boils your blood, then read on for a complete guide to getting through one of the most difficult modern day gaming experiences.  Don’t worry baby, Gamer Limit is going to make it all better. Read more… »

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Stop It: Preconceived Notions
By: | January 19th, 2010

Stop It

["Stop It" is a new editorial I am taking on which is a forum for me to express my opinions on things in the video game industry or community that need to stop. Despite the fact these things may never stop, this will, at the least, fuel discussion. In turn, discussion can fuel change. A man can pray can't he?]

Preconceived notions are something every gamer is guilty of at least once. In all honesty, it can make or break a game for one or many individuals, even before playing the game. This isn’t fair to anyone, especially yourself. It needs to stop. Read more… »

Be A Pro

It’s been out for a few years now, and while it perhaps didn’t get the makeover it deserved for 2010, Be A Pro has been integral to both the online and offline success of EA Sports’ annual franchises.

I guarantee that most sports fans have, at some point, fantasized about playing at a professional level; scoring the winning goal and earning the adoration of your fans. Be A Pro is only in its embryonic stages, but there are already countless reasons why it could easily be the future of sports titles.

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Lost Odyssey's "A Thousand Years of Dreams"

A couple of weeks back, Jeff Effendi posted that “games without storylines suck”. He claims that without a strong narrative to guide our actions, not even the deepest mechanics or the most cohesive designs can carry a game. Players do need direction, but only basic incentives are required. Expanding the role of story very rarely makes games any better.

Where is line drawn to separate “good” narrative from “bad” narrative? A lot of the most beloved games feature the simplest of narratives that, while not Oscar-quality epics, are not necessarily “terrible” either. As long as the game provides the right amount of context for your character and his/her mission, you’ll never worry about not getting enough mileage out of your ride.

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swg-anniversary

If there was one MMO in my life that drained the most out of my day, it was Star Wars Galaxies.  It wasn’t my fascination with the lore, or my lack of friends, but it was the game’s dedication to player interactivity, deep character progression, and fantastic PvP mechanics.  Other MMOs funnel players into arenas for PvP conflict, create skyscraper monstrosities for groups, and build a glass ceiling out of loot.  Not SWG.

Granted, all of this was before the dirty combat upgrade or the piss-poor new game enhancements.  These two updates destroyed everything the game stood for, and are the primary reason the game is desolate today.  However, that topic has been drilled more than the middle east’s oil reserves. Let’s focus on the positives instead because, before that happened, Star Wars Galaxies was on the right track. Read more… »

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[Each week, our goal is to scour our news posts, Gamer Limit blogs, and our forums looking for topics that make us laugh, sit in shock, or just sit in confusion making us ask the question: WTF?  The top three stories from the Gamer Limiters who make us evoke those reactions will be featured in our brand new editorial called Three Jeers of the Week. So c'mon Limiters, if you find something interesting, let us know about it.  You could be the feature for everyone to see.]

Three Jeers of the Week returns after the holiday hiatus.  The last time we were together we focused on the shame behind the industry, but this week we return with a different approach.  This week’s attention is on our blogging community, and what we realized is that we shouldn’t be playing video games.

It’s not because it turns people into fat slobs and diminishes creativity.  On the contrary, it prevents us from experiencing real life video game scenarios, and the slightest mistakes will have the largest ripple effects.   Read more… »

Don't replay

I have this friend (believe it or not) that is on his fifth playthrough of Infinite Undiscovery.  “Can’t afford a new game?” I joked.  “I have lots of games,” he said, “but I only buy and play the really good ones.”

Now, I’m not bashing on Infinite Undiscovery (a very capable JRPG, I’ve heard), but at some point, you just need to move on.  Don’t replay games; there are too many other games you’ve already missed, and more are being created every day.

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You Shall Not Pass

We tend to forget about some of the inherent binaries present in all games. For instance, in any given game, player actions can be thought of in terms of a dichotomy written into the very foundation of the game: you are either allowed to perform an action, or you are not. Thanks to the limitations of coding, it’s unavoidable that players will run into situations in which the game says “no, you are not allowed to do this.”

It’s a source of frustration for players and developers alike—how can players have as much freedom as possible within the programming limitations of games?

There’s actually a fairly simple principle that games can follow: a game should never say no to a reasonable request from a player. Simple in theory, yes, but is this even realistically possible? Read on to see why I think this is an achievable and important goal.

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Wing Commander III

Here we go again. I always get a bit teary when it comes to Retro Day, especially on a week when it’s my birthday and I realize that we’ve seen out yet another year of spectacular titles.

But enough of that soppy crap, let’s get stuck into some juicy retro morsels. This week I’ll be taking you back in time to the good old days of FMV, with a game that was – at the time – the most expensive video game ever produced.

So strap yourself in, keep those fidgeting digits away from the eject button, and prepare yourself for a trip back to Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger.

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Gamer Limit's 2010 Gaming Resolutions

The decade is coming to a close and I still don’t know what to call it. We had the eighties, and then the nineties, and then… what? The Ohs? I’ve heard people use “oughties” and “naughties.” I kinda like that last one. Sounds provocative!

On topic, it is tradition to welcome the new year with a list of resolutions that will never be met. I figure that if we are going to make promises to ourselves that we aren’t going to keep, we might as well make them as frivolous as can be. And what is more frivolous than video games? Nothing… except maybe the World Rock Paper Scissors Society.

So raise your glass and ring in the new year with these 2010 resolutions as suggested by the the Gamer Limit crew! Read more… »