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[Warning: there are links to some potentially disturbing material, and distressing images, within this piece.]

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about my distaste for calls for “realism” in military first person shooter titles, both in comment threads and in my own, original work. What’s somewhat disheartening is that the conversation usually comes down to arguments like “Do you know what getting hit with a Squad Automatic Weapon would actually be like?” or “You understand that modern infantry tactics bear absolutely no resemblance to Modern Warfare 2, right?” or “Even mil-sims like Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising have medics that can heal missing limbs with their magic syringe.” It’s all a very clinical conversation.

EA premiered at GamesCom a video of a new Apache helicopter gunship level from the upcoming Medal of Honor, and in doing so have given me a golden opportunity to make my point in a more direct, human, and hopefully poignant fashion.
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["Stop It" is a weekly feature which serves as 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. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

The video game community is full of a bunch of whining babies. I am one at times, I will absolutely admit that. After all, isn’t this feature just me whining like a baby? Oh no, what will you have to comment about now that I already beat you to the punch? Something constructive maybe? Probably asking too much, nevermind.

Anyhow, while these members of the community are full of a number of annoying idiosyncrasies, the one that I wish to discuss this week is purchasing a game without enough knowledge of what it will provide and then bitching about said game. You’re being stupid. Stop it!

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[This month is officially Driver Month here on Gamer Limit. Join us as we embark on an exhaustive road trip in a series of retrospectives for the Driver franchise in the run-up to Driver: San Francisco.]

After the gargantuan success of Driver, the inevitable announcement of a sequel in 2000 came as no surprise, and with the dawn of the PlayStation 2 fast approaching, the anticipation for the Wheelman’s second and final lap on the PlayStation couldn’t have been higher. Likewise, my hopes for a worthy sequel were just as astronomical having enjoyed its predecessor like nothing else.

Reflections also had similar hopes for their sequel to be the most successful driving game of a generation, with ambitions of expanding the series to heights many couldn’t have foreseen.

Join me as we shift into the second gear of Driver Month.

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iPhone Graduation Day
By: | August 16th, 2010


Prior to the purchase of my first iPhone, I did not take it seriously as a gaming platform at all. In fact, I actually recoiled at the idea conceptually. I’ve also never been one to subscribe to the hardcore gamer tendency of dismissing social games and so-called “casual games.” On the other hand, I couldn’t look at the iPhone and consider it in the same category as my Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, or PC. Those are all “platforms.” The iPhone, however, was “a phone with games you can play on it.”

My wife won her iPhone two years ago in a raffle, and fell in love. She’s a blogger and social media junkie, which is what she mostly used the phone for. When I discovered the existence of Mass Effect Galaxy, being a junkie of the franchise, I ordered the game up on her phone and gave it a whirl.
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[We Need to Talk is a weekly feature that puts you in the driver's seat of the discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Last year, I played H.A.W.X. for something like three hours. It was an experience that I have to struggle to remember, buried amongst the many superior experiences I had that year. I found myself impressed more by the graphics on the ground than the action in the air, which was far more uninteresting than I ever imagined flying a fighter jet could be. For me, it was the final straw. Air combat was over.

However, a trailer emerged just a few days ago that changed all that, rekindling the flame of excitement that I felt was lost forever. The short announcement trailer is full of visceral action, enormous explosions, and even helicopters! I want to play the game I saw in that trailer, and I want to play it now.

The question is, will I ever play that game, or will I just play the lifeless, tired game that the trailer is meant to conceal?

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The problem with most third party video game accessories these days is they all feel like cheap pieces of plastic that were made for kids.  This makes little sense when close to 75% of all gamers are over the age of 18 and the average age is 35.  These sensible adult gamers demand a higher quality product, and that’s where the new premium brand CM4 steps in.

CM4′s mission statement is to create a line of video game accessories that they themselves would use in their everyday lives.  I’m talking high quality sophisticated accessories that not only do the job they’re designed for, but do so with style.  Their first batch of products is the Catalyst line, a collection of soft cases for the WiiMote, Nintendo DSi/XL, and PSPgo.

I’ve recently gotten my hands on the PSPgo slim cover and I’m here to tell you all why this is the only case you need for wherever your travels take you. Read more… »


There’s no two ways about it – gaming isn’t a cheap hobby. Luckily, the creeping rise of the digital distribution market is giving many budget-conscious gamers a break these days. XBLA, PSN, Wii-Ware, and others are all playing with how to offer alternatives to AAA titles, both in terms of content and cost. However, the pricing model for this market is still in an experimental, Wild West phase.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Apple App Store. There’s a ton of games out there, and separating the wheat from the chaff can be an arduous task. Even when you do find the good games, there’s no consistency with pricing versus quality. A poor game can run you upwards of ten dollars, but the good news is that you can often find extremely well-designed and fun games there for next to nothing.

If there’s one thing I like more than a good game, it’s a good game that’s also cheap. If you’re of like mind, then read on! Gamer Limit’s got your back with four great titles that will only cost you a buck.

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Stop It: Selfish Gamers
By: | August 11th, 2010

["Stop It" is a weekly feature which serves as 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. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Gather around gamers. Yes, I am especially looking at you whores of all kinds – selfish gamers if you prefer the more socially acceptable term. Pick your poison: achievements, trophies, points, kills? What will it be?

Whatever your choice is, I am sure it makes you feel uber leet. Multiplayer games are both collaborative and competitive, and the former is being ruined by the likes of you. All so your epeen can be slowly stroked. Stop it!

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[This month is officially Driver Month here on Gamer Limit. Join us as we embark on an exhaustive road trip in a series of retrospectives for the Driver franchise in the run-up to Driver: San Francisco.]

Have you ever felt like a game was made solely for you? Well, this is exactly how I felt when a soon-to-be-revolutionary driving game sped onto the PlayStation completely out of nowhere back in 1999.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had an unrelenting admiration for cars, with a particular love of seeing them being bashed about and pushed to their very limits in high speed car chases from Hollywood movies. You could therefore stipulate that I’m a self-confessed fanatic of this particular genre of film, a fact that is testified by my mammoth machinima project Collateral Collision. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm either, seeing that there was another soul who happened to share my passion.

His name was Martin Edmondson (see, we even share the same name: coincidence? I think not), founder and Creative Director of Reflections Interactive who were previously responsible for the Destruction Derby series. If I were to ever meet the man, it’s abundantly clear we would end up spending an endless amount of time nattering away about our favourite car chases. Because just like me, Martin wanted to pay tribute to his infantile fantasy and developed a project of his very own – that project turned out to be not only the ultimate homage to cinematic chases but one of the most influential driving games of the generation; one that is still deeply cherished by its loyal fanbase.

Take a ride with me as we uncover the Wheelman’s untold legacy.

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This is not a piece about Starcraft II reviews. I want to make that very clear; but I do take issue with calling the authors of these reviews “critics,” and Starcraft II is merely the latest title to bring this inappropriate verbiage to light.

To wit, the headline of the GameSpy article was “Critics Praise it, But a Number of Players Have Some Big Complaints About StarCraft II.” The video game media uses the words “critic” and “reviewer” interchangeably, as though they are synonymous. Most of the current reviews of Starcraft II have absolutely nothing to do with criticism.
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The Grand Theft Auto series is often credited with the popularization of the open-world genre. For over a decade, Rockstar’s infamous series has been at the center of the evolution of sandbox games. The most recent major title in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, is currently the highest-rated title on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and is one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

With such a stellar reception, one may be forgiven for thinking that Grand Theft Auto IV is the pinnacle of the genre, a shining example so near to perfection that developers looking to make open-world games would do well to look to it for inspiration. Sadly, that is not the case. Grand Theft Auto IV has a myriad of problems.

One may think that a game that largely revolves around stealing cars, crime, and random acts of violence would at least have competent driving and shooting mechanics. It doesn’t. However, Grand Theft Auto IV and the countless other open-world titles that look to Rockstar’s flagship franchise for inspiration and guidance  have a flaw far more substantial than such superficial problems – poor mission design.

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[We Need to Talk is a weekly feature that puts you in the driver's seat of the discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

A few short years ago, we hadn’t even begun to fathom the idea of downloadable console games. We previewed our games by subscribing to official console-branded magazines that included demo discs, and we awaited new console releases with a measure of uncertainty, asking employees in stores like Babbage’s when their stock would come in.

Today, games exist that cannot be preordered, resold, or placed on our shelves. They’re becoming as much a part of our gaming lives as major disc releases, and their quality is often comparable. Yet a strange thing occurred to me recently: I don’t think the gaming world is ready to crown a downloadable game as the year’s very best game, even if it is in fact the best.

Well, why the hell not?

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