Monday, April 27, 2009

You Crazy Kids and Your Mods…

Back in the archaic days of floppy discs and turning to page 42 of the user’s manual to get the authenticity code to convince your PC game to let you past level 2 little fledgling modders crawled out of the primordial ooze to crack open our favorite games and scoop out the sweet juicy insides. Years later we’d enter the Bronze Age of modding and these evolved creatures would use their powers for the good of all gamers and circulate discs of versions of DOOM where all the demons where replaced by Simpsons characters at tradeshows and conventions and all was good in the world. Years later, let’s call it the Iron Age, we’d see games being played online and now people were starting to develop their own levels and maps and still, all was relatively good. You see, these mods didn’t take control of the games from players rather they served to entertain us and give us new ways in which to play the games. Now that we’ve entered the Space Age of gaming (that’s the last of those analogies I promise) mods have in a SkyNet fashion become self aware and now seek to challenge our position on the gaming ladder as the “player” of the game and are moving towards our extinction.

Ok, that may be a little extreme but still, I don’t care for the current state of modding and I’ll explain why as to how it pertains to games like World of Warcraft. I’ve been playing WoW since its launch and as soon as they started emerging something felt inherently wrong about this new breed of mods hitting the streets. I’ll admit I dabbled in a few at first, “gateway” mods if you will that were meant to get me hooked at a young age and usher me into the harder stuff but mod after mod I began to see a trend emerging that every mod in some way took some level of control of the game away from me, even the seemingly innocent ones where actually hidden culprits lurking in the shadows. Take for example a mod that calculates what gear works best and what pieces to pair up with each other. Sure it seems all fluffy and sweet but let’s face it, isn’t that your job as the player to know what works and what doesn’t? I believe so. Back in my younger days of WoW I rolled a tank (if you don’t play MMO’s and don’t know what that is I’m not taking the time to explain it, sorry) in a high end raid guild and did so rather successfully completely mod-free. After months of tanking and successfully downing bosses I pulled back the curtain and revealed to my crew that I didn’t use any mods to play the game to which a very angry guild leader felt the need to chastise me for not using tools that will help me play the game. I was quick to point out that the evidence was there given my track record that mods didn’t make the player, but rather their own skill and understanding of the game. The truth was I had to have a better idea of what was going on in front of me than my guild mates because I didn’t have any add-ons serving as training wheels.

Now years later I still play (although not as a tank) and am still proudly mod-free. In fact, I haven’t been involved in a raid in several months where I wasn’t one of the top three people on the damage charts.

**side note, I don’t have a damage meter installed because I consider that a mod **

A few nights ago we were getting ready for a raid and I was listening to some guild mates discussing their character class. One of them suggested to the other to go online and find the “correct” way to assign his character’s skill points and a particular mod that tells you what moves to use and when. At this point ol’ Uncle Fuzzy (fuzzy being the prefix of my character’s name) decided to step in and offer up my two cents. A mod that told you what to press when was something that frankly I found disgusting. Why would you want to willingly apply something that essentially prevents you from the playing the game yourself? Truth be told, you could train a monkey to respond to cues to press certain buttons at the correct times and that’s what these players are to me. Let’s not forget folks, it’s a video game. It’s something you play for fun and not something you should be looking for shortcuts on that will play the game for you. If you were playing an FPS would you use a mod that reloaded your gun for you? Or how about a Ryu fireball spammer mod so you don’t have to be bothered with that pesky issue of pressing buttons and holding onto a controller during Street Fighter sessions?

Essentially, real gamers play the games themselves.


Last night after posting this I healed my first raid (10 man) free of mods and while it certainly involved a lot of fast clicking on my part, mostly due to being new at healing, it was a success and there wasn't a single death. Further proof that mods are not necessary and in my opinion, make for lazy players.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Look Back at Super Punch Out

So in my boredom this past week I dusted off my Nintendo Wii and browsed through its downloadable titles with as much intent to purchase anything as someone wandering into the Mac Store on their lunch break and playing with IPhones. However my eyes lit up as I came across Super Punch Out and raced for my wallet to make my purchase. To say I have fond memories of this game is an understatement. I love this goddamned game on a level that I hoped and prayed would stand the tests of time. Now I know that I’ve badmouthed retro games as downloadable purchases in the past but hey, exceptions can be made.

Like most video games of my youth (and by “youth” in this instance I mean college) it’s shocking how much of the knowledge about this game I’ve been able to retain over the years. In fact I was able to cruise through the game without being knocked down until Super Macho Man, the tanned bastard. This game incorporates much of what I still look for in games: A rising difficulty level, memorization of sequences and patterns, fast reflexes to specific cues and misleading Asian men with large sticks.

Even by my ultra-picky 2009 standards I still have no real issues with this game apart from its length. Only having 16 other fighters to compete against was at the time, and still is, a let down and the difficulty level on the first two circuits is a joke. For me the real game was and still is trying to beat the last circuit with a 4-0 record. Something I could easily do years ago but now I have to retrain my thumb pugilists and get them back into fighting shape.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I promise I’m not lazy, I’m just stubborn

My postings here at Epic Fail Gaming have been pretty sparse lately and I just wanted to take a second and address that. One of my guidelines with this blog is to only post 100% original content. Not that there’s anything wrong with reposting video game news or other stories, I just feel that there are plenty of other, and better, sites to get that information. I’ve been pretty busy lately and pretty broke so my gaming has slowed down but I promise as soon as I have something to write about you’ll see it here.