Update status: Complicated.

While you wait for an actual post, here’s the most beautiful video game song ever.


God, I love this game.

Edit: This is my 400th post. Yay.

Waterslide Extreme (review)


screen480x480

I’ve found myself constantly on the hunt for a good mobile game to play, because let’s face it — apps that are capable of starting revolutions like Angry Birds did are few and far between. I did my usual, periodical trip to the top free games chart at the App Store. At the #4 spot was a seemingly intriguing game called Waterslide Extreme. Lured into a sense of false trust, I downloaded the game. After several plays, I can only be amazed that it even got in the top 10 at all.

First of all, the game hasn’t been updated since 2009, and I’m pretty sure that’s a really big red flag, and only adds more to the enigma of how this game is doing so well amongst the likes of Subway Surfers, the mobile port of the online Agar.io game, and a mobile solitaire (which is another mystery entirely). Additionally, the game has almost 230,000 ratings, which meant that there were people that really had to push this game to the top with as much effort as it would take to cut down a tree using a package of toothpicks.

“But Sam, is the game itself good?” Well, if you’re a fan of cheap downloadable browser games from 2004, then I think you’ll find yourself seated cozily in the “niche” that Waterslide Extreme carves out. The visuals are pretty shallow, even for 2009 standards; that year brought us Canabalt, the founder of the “endless runner” craze, which had more visual polish (even with an arcade-style interface!) with its 2D gameplay. When I start connecting dots and realizing that your app that has been released in the age of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 has worse graphics than the original Playstation or even the deader-than-disco Dreamcast, you know there’s a problem. The drab visuals are accompanied by even shoddier music consisting of Garageband compositions that give away all too well when one loop finishes and another starts. For some reason, there are no additional sound effects. Just because. It’s at the very least good that the game has the decency to offer to turn off the music.

Gameplay-wise, the game isn’t really much more than a spitting-image precursor of the water segments in Temple Run, down to the steering mechanics and the coins to nab and the obstacles to avoid. However, in this case the coins aren’t coins, but rather plumbobs ripped straight out of The SimsTHEY’RE NOT DIAMONDS. THEY’RE PLUMBOBS. GET IT RIGHT. Waterslide Extreme also has all of the generic collectables:

  • A “Mario star”, so to speak, something that grants you brief (emphasis on brief) invincibility
  • A boost that is so fast that you are virtually control-less for five seconds

The two games do have some differentiations, unfortunately. The obstacles are sensible in Temple Run, like having to sway out of the path of a blockage, or submerging yourself underwater to avoid a tree branch that you can’t sway out of. This game could’ve had you swerving to avoid breaks in the waterslide, but nooooooooo. That would make too much sense, so what are your enemies in the game? Crabs and evil rubber ducks.

What. Is. This. Game.

There isn’t really much of a change to this algorithm, except sometimes the sky gets palette-swapped for a sunset, although calling it a sunset would be disgracing one of the most beautiful parts of the day. What I should call it is a purple-orange crossfading gradient.

Besides that, I have to let the gremlins inside me run free. I need to address how if this were a real-life waterslide, both its ludicrous design and its safety disregard to both workers and customers would be absolutely implausible. This brings up two questions:

  • Why and how would anyone make a giant waterslide careening through the city?
  • Who would be ballsy enough and stupid enough to try and ride said waterslide?

Even if you did muster the courage to take on the slide, the ride would probably be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life. The waterslide is even made to have a glass bottom at times to show you how high up you are and what a horrible life decision you’ve made by getting on this contraption of death. Of course, it’s only traumatizing given that you survive through the whole thing, considering the game proposes a threat that if you lean your phone too far to one side, you can potentially fly off the waterslide. If you happen to do so, the game slaps you on the wrist with a tongue-in-cheek “Whoops!” that totally overshadows your grim fate in a way that almost feels taunting.

review-games-waterslide-img_0179

WHAT. IS. THIS. GAME.

(I’m sure that if you can afford to construct let alone conceive this giant water park fever dream, you can afford to clear up a few lawsuits from casualties’ families.)

In the basis of formulating opinions for this game, I’ve coined a phrase that I’d like to connect to this game. The phrase is “dumb-addictive”, and it describes anything that doesn’t really make a high goal for itself yet at its core has a basic mechanic that is so easy to get hooked onto that you keep coming back. As film critic Gene Siskel once said, “A film that aims low should not be praised for hitting that target.” At the end of the day, Waterslide Extreme is just another dumb-addictive game that doesn’t even require touch so as to simplify the gaming experience further. It makes you feel belittled and you are all the lesser for allowing this game to rob your time, energy, and phone space. Had it been released as an early-2000s browser game, it would’ve worked better and made more sense. As a game that “boasts” 3D graphics that are outdone by many a 2D mobile experience, the only way Waterslide Extreme could’ve dug itself any deeper is if it asked for money.

Final rating: 3/10

Do you have any good mobile games to recommend to me? Leave them in the comments and have yourself a good rest of the summer.

Stay classy,

~S~

hey


sorry about all of this

i’d like to apologize on behalf of the 200+ drafts that will forever remain in limbo

i’d like to apologize for my incompetence

i haven’t updated this site since last august

and in the time between then and now

sammwak has turned five years old

over 400 posts of raw, concentrated thought

but i couldn’t be propelled to do a single post without you

thank u

i’ll try uploading more frequently since hey it’s summer

i’ll basically just take my brain and dissect it for you

i have the energy to create ideas but not enough to execute them for some reason

let’s see what happens, friend.

~S~

Quickscope Simulator


quickscope_simulator_1

Over the decades, the first-person shooter genre has grown to become the commercial colossus of the gaming industry, with games like Doom, Half-Life, Goldeneye, and Halo shaping the genre to what it is today. But ever since Call of Duty came in to town, society’s look on what a true FPS is has never been the same. And it’s about time someone took the time to make fun of that.

Quickscope Simulator was introduced to me by PewDiePie, who made a video for the game back in late June–if you can even call this thing a game. The pleasure and humor of this game comes from the vanilla algorithm of obnoxious (and quite loud) Call of Duty montage videos featuring people that get so excited they blow out their speakers over every kill they get. KnowYourMeme refers to this as “the 420 MLG montage“.

In Snipars: The Game, the only thing you can do is perform quickscopes in an assortment of crudely designed maps which are essentially just a collection of similar pictures that create a vague representation of a three-dimensional environment. My attempts at taking panoramas with my iPhone would look like art compared to these maps. And in these vague representations of three-dimensional environments, images slowly grow larger as they get closer, and as you shoot them they disappear in an explosion of spinning text, logos, Doritos, and Mountain Dew cans, all while some screaming kid can be heard in the background. If you’re lucky, you might get a snippet of a song instead.

There are five difficulties, and I will list them from hardest to easiest: “Insane”, “Try Hard”, “Quickscoper”, “Camper”, and “No enemies”. I’m serious, there’s a difficulty with no enemies. Now, there’s no point in trying anything higher than “Camper”, as you will only survive a maximum of 30 seconds, give or take.

If you get a certain amount of kills, you will be rewarded with a killstreak aka a “Care Package”, which includes items that have the sole purpose of taking out everybody on the screen, with some exceptions. The game says that after 50, 200, and 420 kills you get a Package, but from my experience with the game it goes comes randomly after you hit 50 and get your first Package.

With enough kills, you do level up and once you hit a certain level, you unlock a tweak. These tweaks enable stuff like making every enemy Shrek, replacing the explosions of text and images with all Mountain Dew cans/Doritos, playing left-handed, and my personal favorite: the “gotta go fast” mode. In this mode, every enemy is a poorly-drawn Sonic which goes either to the right or the left while simultaneously getting closer to you in a gradual manner. All while a gleefully distorted version of “Green Hill Zone” plays in the background.

That’s pretty much as far as Faze Clan Simulator goes. Quickscoping enemies so you can see bunches of text and hear a funny sound. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the multitude of vague representations of three-dimensional environments found in this game. They include such maps as…

  • Kush Town“, a quickscopified version of the Call of Duty map Nuketown
  • Minekush“, where you can quickscope Steves and Creepers in suits (as well as other stuff)
  • Green Dank Zone“, where if the gameplay does not amuse you, you can also be amused by the poorly-drawn Sonics spinning wildly in the background
  • Untitled” – This level literally has no title, and is also inspired by Giygas (I pronounce it “geegis”), the villainous entity from the legendary, amazing, and downright classic SNES game Earthbound
  • Highjacked” – Quickscope enemies on a conveniently abandoned boat
  • Shrek’s Swamp” – A class all on its own

Enough funny talk aside, is the game good?

If you enjoy Youtubers like Snipars and Vagabonds who have “420 MLG montages” in their DNA, you will probably love this game. If you’re a Call of Duty fan–heck, a fan of the FPS genre in general, you might get a kick out of the sort of parodic madness this game has to offer. Similarly, you might think the game is stupid and immature, and I will understand where you’re coming from if you do believe this. As of me, I think the game serves no better purpose than killing time or having a good laugh at it. I would never actually play this game for hours at a time like I would with a game on my Xbox. Besides the extra modes that will keep you entertained for a maximum of 5 minutes, there’s not much that Quickscope Simulator provides besides–well, quickscoping. And loud funny noises. And logos. And explosions of text.

Final rating: 5 headshots out of 10

You can download the Call of Duty Snoop Dogg DLC here in its latest version. Check it out, leave a comment if you like the game, and until next time, folks…stay classy, and perfect those quickscopes.

~S~

My Opinions on Mortal Kombat X


Greetings, fellow homosapiens.

Now, ever since the eighth generation of gaming began with the big brawl between the PS4 and the Xbox One while the Wii U kind of just sat in the corner, there has been two words that have spread like wildfire.

“Next gen”. As in “next generation”, as in “the future of video games as we have already established them”.

Big triple-A titles like Titanfall and Watch Dogs being pampered with crazy amounts of hype at E3 only to be released to polarization and backlash from the audience have gotten me to think about what these games have in common.

I started to analyze their aesthetics, and I then realized one thing.

They are all trying to live up to the “next gen” title by means of visual appeal, in trailers or promos or just general footage that is being shown to the public.

And this perfectly describes the new Mortal Kombat X teaser that just dropped.

(Warning: Graphic content because, you know, it’s Mortal Kombat.)

With their 2011 reboot, Mortal Kombat pulled off an excellent recovery from the wholly disappointing Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. (The game actually managed to get a T rating, and I’ll leave it at that.) Rumors about a tenth MK game had been surfacing from as early as last year’s SDCC, with one of the producers of the web series MK Legacy saying that there were plans to release this game alongside an MK movie. Back in February, Kiefer Sutherland of 24 fame claimed to be in on it. The game’s poster was leaked, and rumors continued about stuff like it having a completely original story. I’ll just assume it goes somewhere on the arc, whether it be in the original trilogy, the middle, or after the events of the reboot.

However, everything was just a possibility until the game finally received an official announcement, with a little two-minute teaser to accompany it (see above). The teaser does literally nothing more than tell you that the game exists. That is it. No character reveals, nothing about the story, not even a “coming soon” or anything.

It’s Sub-Zero and Scorpion fighting in a wintry forest to Wiz Khalifa. That is a sentence I never thought I would type. The trailer also frequently alters between “next gen” cinematics and what could possibly be actual gameplay, although it still has the cinematic tint to it, so I highly doubt that’ll be the final look. At the very least, it is shown that x-ray moves will be returning. Yay.

I thought trailers were supposed to entice people into watching the movie/playing the game that it sponsored. At the very least, it should help make some sort of decision. You can use actual game footage or use cinematics/live-action/CG to at least set the atmosphere and tone of the game. The Dead Island trailer (also pretty graphic) was hailed for the sheer amount of emotion that it portrayed and its subtle ways of explaining the game. (And it is absolutely crushing that when compared to the trailer, the game was so meh.)

If you enjoy fancy graphics and good old-fashioned violence, then you might like the MKX teaser. If you want to find anything out about the game, don’t bother. Hopefully, the game will get some more light shone on it when it debuts at E3 this year, and as of now it’s scheduled for a release sometime next year for the PC and all next-gen/past-gen Playstation and Xbox consoles.

Farewell, fellow homosapiens.

~S~

 

 

A palette of video game music.


Hey guys.

(insert unnecessarily long paragraph about the essence of game music)

  • Leaving Earth” from Mass Effect 3 – After having Jack Wall as composer for the first two Mass Effect games,  for the third game an entirely new composing team led by Clint Mansell (who’s done scoring work on Black Swan, among others) was introduced. The majority of people were polarized, thinking that Mansell’s work would be inferior to Wall’s legacy. Then came this. A brass-knuckled wallop of raw emotion right into the haters’ faces. Or their ears, I suppose.

  • Adventure” from Fez – This game was one of the biggest indie hits since Minecraft became an overnight cultural phenomenon. Never have I listened to a chiptune song that has made my heart feel so nostalgic and warm. Now I feel like snuggling up in bed with a teddy bear, a turkey sandwich, and a warm glass of milk, while watching the sun set.

  • Mice on Venus” from Minecraft – What a convenient transition. This song actually took me–heck, the prospect of Minecraft having an OST took me by surprise. There’s nothing playing for the majority of the game, so when my friend and I played the Xbox edition, I was taken aback by the sheer beauty of the tracks. This is probably one of my favorites. It (or something like it) would be playing while the sun rose and it was the most amazing feeling of my life.

  • Simian Segue” from Donkey Kong Country – As I’ve said before, this is my favorite game on the Super Nintendo and one of my favorite games of all time. It’s not just the gameplay and the visuals (even though they’re both stellar), but the soundtrack by Dave Wise is killer. And here we have the absolute most infectious menu music of all time. Sure, compared to the atmospheric qualities of “Jungle Groove” (the iconic de facto theme song for the series) it’s just decent, but this song is bound to get your head bobbing, or your toes tapping, or something.

  • Prince Fleaswallow” from Parappa the Rapper – A quirky rhythm and nonsensical lines like “I’ve been working here since my mama was a baby” add to the surreal charm that this game provided. Probably when I go to a flea market now, this song will be echoing in the back of my head. It also goes without mentioning that it really sounds like this guy’s on…something. What does he sell again?

  • The Concept of Love” from Jet Set Radio Future – All I can say about this song is that it just embodies the feeling of rebellion, and gets stuck in your head really quickly. The grit that you can just feel throughout the song is a perfect accompaniment to the high-speed action within the game.

  • Fiesta de los Muertos” from Rayman Legends – This is one of the greatest games I’ve played in months, considering my gaming schedule went from regular and finely stretched to compressed into little clumps. And I spent one of those little clumps playing this game. Much like Dave Wise as mentioned above, Christophe Heral (who composed this game) knows what he’s doing when it comes to setting the proper music for the proper times. While the music’s awesome on its own, playing the level that it corresponds with and listening to it makes the experience five times better. Still a great song, though.

  • Peril” from Halo 2 – This song’s been with me for a while, despite me having no memory of playing the actual game. When I uploaded this some time ago on my Tumblr, I described it as something along these lines. “This song is playing while I’m smoking a cigar, gunning someone down with one hand and slitting another’s throat with the other. In slow motion. In a burning building.”

  • Sign of the Colossus” from Shadow of the Colossus – Even to this day, this game is highly acclaimed and revered for its powers to bind gameplay and music to create groundbreaking aesthetics never seen before in any prior gaming experiences. From the instruments that jump in and fade out ominously to the excellently jarring piano, this song could probably epitomize the game. That is, if every track didn’t stand out on its own already.

  • Mine, Windbag, and Mine” from Bastion – A highlight off of a critically acclaimed OST. A very vast soundscape that starts out mellow and acoustic but then gets energetic, building up steadily and getting gradually more awesome as the song continues. The appropriate sound effects of metallic clangs in the background add to the atmosphere.

—-

So those were some tracks.

I hope you liked them.

Until next time.

(jumps into unknown abyss)

~S~

An update of what’s to come.


Hey guys, I’m back.

Now, last month Sammwak turned four years old.

This is by all means a milestone for me, considering I’ve never put so much effort and energy into a single thing ever.

Along the way we hit 100,000 hits, which was an even bigger achievement for me. Even now, I receive comments from people who sincerely enjoy my content. If my site statistics are right, I’m getting viewership from all around the world.

After my little hiatus last year leading into this year, I decided to dust off the old keyboard and whip up two posts that I put up back in April. But those two posts probably required the most work I’ve ever had to put into this blog, and I started to think about the future of the blog. Whether it would still be getting traffic, and how long it could be until it loses its sliver of limelight.

For a while, I thought about deleting the site as a whole and putting it behind me.

But that would put four years of hard work down the drain, never to be seen again.

I would blog more frequently, but school and personal obstacles are more often than not the reason behind my diminishing post frequency.

I remember back in 2010, when I was just surfing the Internet.

And I found an opportunity to make a blog right then and there.

And I took it and never let go.

I made an average of 5-10 posts a day with zero knowledge of blog etiquette, but still.

That is why I’m making this update.

I’m not saying Sammwak is over or anything.

I’m just sort of re-birthing it.

It’ll be an entirely new blog.

But not in the sense that I’m going to start talking about a brand new topic like fashion or nature.

It’ll still be the games and books and movies and videos that I started with.

Let’s try once a month, if I can keep up with that.

Maybe I’ll shave it down to once every other week.

Or I’ll just be usual and have a sporadic, unpredictable uploading schedule.

I could go back to the old days and do it every Monday.

Whatever I do,

just know that we’re in for a very crazy ride.

~S~


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.