Welcome to My Blog page, glad you came by. Please feel free to take a look around and while you are at it, also visit My Image Gallery and check out my art at My DeviantArt Page, leave a comment and/or a critique. I want to keep improving so if you have a tip or know a cool art site, let me know, and thanks in advance!
23Nov 12Does the gaming review apparatus needs to take a step back and reevaluate what is the true meaning of the numbers it associates to its reviews? Using a 1 to 10 scale, as most review sites use, is rendered pointless when most of the gaming crowd consider that any game below a 7 or 8 is not worth their time, where a 6 is a death sentence for a game and half of the scale (1 to 5) is just five ways to tell you how bad the game is. So effectively for most people's perception, the scale is really a 6 to 10. Think about it, half of the entire scale is dedicated to explain the "degrees of bad", it simply is not an balanced method to grade games.
Shouldn't in a 1 to 10 scale the 5 be the "Average" score?
Is it so absurd to ask for a scale that reads as:
10 = Masterpiece
09 = Excellent
08 = Great
07 = Good
06 = Decent
05 = Average
03 = Deficient
02 = Bad
01 = Mediocre
In such a scale, a 5 would represent games that do everything right but don't do anything new or only includes features that are standard in other games in the genre, that are functional without being original, in other words, just average in the most literal sense possible. Not bad but not relevant either.
A 4 would be for games that "lack" in options and features as other in the same genre but still enjoyable. Even a game scoring a 3 would be playable even if flawed (Yes, in this scale games that begin to show technical problems begin at 3! the kind of game that usually gets assigned 6s in current score systems.)
I also fail to see the need in granularity in scores, does it really make a difference for a game to score a .5 decimals between 2 whole numbers, to change someone's decision to either buy or bypass any particular game?
And it really doesn't help matters that there isn't a standardized review system across publications. Everyone understands what a "Four Star" film is, or what is the difference between a 3 star and a 5 star hotel. Shouldn't all reviewers adopt a universal system as well, one that is less granular and more definitive like a 5 star system? Or at the very least a 1 to 10 scale where public perception of it is changed to understand that a 5 just means "Average"?
I know it sounds like a pipe dream to ask consumer criteria in such a hype driven industry as this is, but it seems the reaction from fans to review scores has gotten way out of hand as of late with flying accusations of all ilk. With claims of lack of professionalism, the demand of retractions or downright terminations of employment of reviewers just for the crime of having a "less than stellar" view of any particular game by scoring it less than an 8?
Today, Shigeru Miyamoto has received the "Principe de Asturias" Award in the area of Comunications and Humanities for his life long achievement in the realm of video games as someone that has created a relevant contribution to universal culture.
The other personalities and organizations to be awarded this year include:
Martha C. Nussbaum - Philosopher
Rafael Moneo - Architech
Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández - Football players
Richard Lerner - Pathologist
Greg Winter - Biologist
Philip Roth - Writer
Red Cross and Spanish Federation of Food Banks
2Oct 12If you are reading this, chances are, you are a Survival Horror fan as myself, or rather tries to be a fan of the genre, because in this current generation such a genre has diluted into a mire of bastardized hogwash of game play mechanics and settings that have little to do with the words "survival" or "horror".
As you all know the reviews for Resident Evil 6 are out, and it doesn't even really matter on which camp you stand on regarding the positive or negative scores, there is a fact about the game that all reviews agree upon: Resident Evil 6 is an action packed, 3rd person shoot fest that leaves no space for subtlety or prudence. You see enemies and you empty your gun's magazine on them with total abandon because the ammo is plentiful and a partner is always there to back you up. Now I ask you, what is scary about that? It is official, Resident Evil is Zombie, a sad parody, a shell of what it once was. Lumbering clumsily, bereft of the attributes that made it once great. Now it simply walks lunging at the passing opportunity to grasp the flesh and get a bite of that crowd of people that are only into running and gunning anything in sight.
Hey monster, explain to me again why should I be scared of you and not the other way around?
And the problem is it is not only RE the one series to fault, this whole generation has seen the downfall or downright disappearance of previous survival horror franchises that were truly remarkable examples of the genre: Silent Hill has been degrading with each new entry, trying to recapture the magnificence that Silent Hill 2 was and has failed miserably, now transmogrified into the joke Book of Memories is; a co-op based dungeon crawler in the vein of Diablo or Torchlight Oh how fun! Here is a little secret: Silent Hill fans don't play to have fun, they play SH to have the hairs on the back of their neck stand on end and have their skin crawl!
I can see clearly around me and 3 other people are in my party, THE HORROR lol j/k guys, let's get some lootz!!
Fatal Frame (Project Zero) is another casualty. Last gen it was one of the most memorable and scary survival horror games to arise after RE and SH yet managed to create a brand of horror of its own. Tecmo really impressed with their approach, but after Fatal Frame 4 rights were purchased by Nintendo the game never saw a console release on the west and the only entry that made it after that was the mediocre and uninspired Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir on 3DS - a handheld system- probably the worse format and least immersive method to deliver a scary or unsettling experience.
Translation: Project Zero: Too good for barbarian foreigners Edition
"Have this instead..."
ERMAHGERD, ERM A SCERE U, DEEEEERP!
And then there are those rare Survival Horror games that, while less know, were worthy representatives of the genre but faded into nothingness never to be seen again: Forbidden Siren, Clock Tower (whose 3rd entry was greatly regarded) and even single entry attempts such as the disturbing Haunting Grounds or the bizarre and unnerving Rule of Rose.
Most sad even is that truly next gen success stories into the genre such as Dead Space is already bound to fall into co-op action shooter territory by its 3rd entry.
Nothing heightens the excitement of achieving a successful strategic dismemberment than the possibility of a follow up brofist
Did developers forgot how to make these kind of games? Or rather did they forgot the purpose of such games? Is there no hope for this situation? Yes there is: looking for those experiences on PC, but you have to open your mind to what is there.
As it turn out, the Survival Horror genre has experience a renaissance thanks to the experimental independent nature of the PC platform and the rise of the online distribution model. If you have reached this far into this blog then take this opportunity and just let go of all previous knowledge of the franchises you associate to survival horror and give a try to the following titles instead, games that manage to deliver an experience that can really be described as scary because they reinforce the feeling of oppressiveness, of feeling alone, almost helpless. These tap on a basic and primal part of our brains to achieve fear while unveiling mysteries and stories worth discovering: (Links to Steam or GOG game pages)
Penumbra Black Plague
Amnesia The Dark Descend
Plus other games that while not purely Survival Horror these venture into themes that are more psychological and unsettling by their story lines alone:
And last but not least, a game that needs no introduction because it has managed to prove that horror can be achieved by harnessing our fear of the unknown, the unsettling, by calling uon some of our most primal instincts and doing so more effectively than any other high budget title, and all for free:
Click for larger version
Developed to function as a heavy weapons platform to work alongside the troops in the battlefield. It is equipped with a wide array of sensor and data gathering hardware such as radar, wide spectrum optical scanners from infrared to ultraviolet, night vision, telescopic cameras and specialized targeting sensors and lasers.
One of its key features are its wide angle stereoscopic lenses, two mounted at either side of the head, giving the unit a complete 360º tridimensional field of vision, allowing it to maintain complete battlefield awareness. This is complemented with antennas for short range communication with the soldiers within the squad and other S.A.U.R. units and satellite antenna to relay mission status and orders to and from HQ.
Acting as a "walking gunship" its armament is comprised of Vulcan cannon, Hydra rockets, head mounted quad chain guns and a retractable - hip mounted launcher capable of deploying different kind of grenade ordnance such as standard grenades, chaff and countermeasures.
Other complementary equipment include a tail mounted grapling claw that serves as a battering ram and drill to take down and puncture entry points into structures and if necessary it is programmed to use it within close quarter combat situations.
It is powered by a [***CLASSIFIED***] power plant outputing a maximum of [***CLASSIFIED***]
It is armored with a special anti impact, anti heat [***CLASSIFIED***] alloy.
Its versatile frame allow this unit to maneuver with ease in the enclosed scenarios of urban warfare while maintaining the capacity to run up to speeds of 40 MPH. ( aprox. 64KPH) [DISCLOSED SPEED]
Height at hip joint: 6 1/2 ft. (2 meters) Length (variable): Aprox 14 ft. (4.25 meters)
UHHGG!! FINALLY! the constant construction and renovation activity has died down and while there are still some details here and there to iron out, I'll be able to finally get back to properly update my gallery in the next few days with some real illustrations. But at least I had found some time between the whole mess to at least draw some sketches in my down time and with real pencil and paper! Boy has it been a while since I last did that. Kinda crazy to think how everything gets done digitally now.
I'm definitively going to make proper illustrations of all these pics but I haven't decided yet in which order. Any ideas which one should I do first? Click on each to see a larger version of it.
1. Project S.A.U.R.
2. Aqua Armor
4. Ruby Thorn Demonic Flight
5Jun 12I have never been this letdown by an E3 in years, complete disappointment across the board. I could not believe my eyes, not a single conference from the big 3 delivered a worthwhile reason for me to get into any of their consoles this year.
What the Hell happened!?
I was only really interested on the third party offerings: Tomb Raider, Dishonored, FarCry3 and Splinter Cell. (probably all will be on PC so no reason to get a console for those.)
Here are my personal highlights and low points of each of the big 3 conference:
Microsoft: - Highlight: Halo 4 - Letdown: Trying to sell us Kinect for voice recognition for core games instead of using a headset.
Sony: - Highlight: The Last of Us - Letdown: The Last Guardian nowhere to be found.
Nintendo: - Highlight: Pikmin 3 - Letdown: No new 1st Party IPs, nothing about Retro Studios new game.
27Apr 12Just a sampler of some of the pics I've done lately, a simple diagram in honor of The Big Bang Theory, a bit of speed painting and a flash animation to show the steps taken and one illustration featuring Juri Han from Street Fighter IV. Also as you may have notice I added an animated banner to my profile as well.
Sheldom Cooper made me do it:
Speed painted Mora for Chalosan: (About 3 - 3.5 hours for pics like these)
Here you can see a Flash animations of the different stages of the development of the pic:
Annie for Jesonite:
And finally a Super Street Fighter IV inspired pic of Jury Han:
As always you can get bigger downloads of these files in my deviantArt profile: scificat.deviantart.com
Observations, comments and constructive criticism is always appreciated.
5Mar 12I can understand new content for a game such as a full on expansion pack that adds a new campaign, new settings and characters, usually it takes months to produce such content but it shows the developers took the time to add new life to a game and serve their fans more of something they love.
I can even understand content that while does not add much to the overall game experience, it doesn't need to be obligatory and it is just optional such as costumes, weapons, maps, etc.
Launching a game brand new that out of the gate has 12 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS locked in the disc, of which NONE the player has a way to access them but by paying extra money for an unlock code, it is not DLC. 12 playable characters is not an optional thing in my book, it is a huge chunk of gameplay that gets denied to the player. And some of these characters are longtime fan favorites of both SF and Tekken fans such as Blanka, Sakura, Jack and Lei Wulong ... explain to me on what freakish universe does Blanka and Sakura are considered extra characters?!
This is not DLC, it is blackmail.
I don't want to beat on a dead horse, but remember when locked content meant something to strive for? an incentive to get good at the game and get that unlock as a reward for you dedication and long hours of play?
And what it comes down to is precisely that, as fans, we are not even given the option to unlock the characters by simply playing the game, our only option is to fork over or say thank you Capcom for this crippled-from-birth game.
When did they become so lazy that their idea of character customization is selling colors swaps? When did we began to be such sheep?
26Jan 12*Warning, the following blog will cause inflammatory reactions on the sensibilities of fanboys of all ilk and graphics whores alike, continue reading at you own risk* For the very first time in my life as a gamer, I decided that it is not worth to buy any of the consoles this gen.
I've been watching and waiting, expecting to see something that would make me change my mind, but I only see how little by little the gaming machines that I once loved for their convenience and no frills ease of use have become boxes that have all the inconveniences of PCs without any of its inherited advantages.
Mandatory installs, mandatory updates, buggy code, patches, day one DLC, Term of Use/Service Agreements, etc.
For the first time in my life a laptop is my main gaming devise and no one is more surprised by this than me. Most of the 3rd party games that I care for this gen (which surprisingly aren't that many) I already own on PC and have the option to play either with mouse/keyboard or with a controller on an HDTV (so that is not even an advantage consoles have anymore)
I have both Steam and GOG accounts which give me easy and cheap access to a myriad of titles that surpass the catalog of any console, plus I'm loving the indie game scene (Bastion, Amnesia: The Dark Descend, The Humble Indie Bundles), the incredible Free to Play scene (Team Fortress 2, Runes of Magic, TrackMania Nations Forever, etc) and mods. Is PC gaming perfect? of course not, I still have to deal with everything that PC gaming entails, but when compared to the way console gamers are being treated now, I'm willing to do that trade off.
To top it off, cutting edge graphics are not a concern to me, neither is online multiplayer or achievements and I don't care if the game I'm playing right now is the greatest or latest release, I just don't. I continue playing on PS2/Gamecube most often than not and loving it because those consoles are about convenience and ease of use, of "put the game in, sit down and play dammit!" not "Please wait 2 hours while your console updates its firmware and another half hour until the game installs on the hard drive, oh and accept this terms of service otherwise you won't be able to play the game you just purchased, oh wait, you bought Skyrim on PS3, HAHAHA, sucker!"
I just finished playing King's Field IV last week and loved every minute of it, and not a single bug, slowdown or glitch in over 50+ hours of gameplay. Skyrim can go to HELL!
So one issue remains: the console exclusives. Those elusive beasts that make fanboys rage and salivate. I'm going to put bluntly: 360 has NOTHING that I care about. The few games that would have made me buy one I already own on PC: Mass Effect 1 and 2, and Alan Wake is going to be released on February. As for Gear of War or Halo, there is no MEH! big enough I could give about them.
PS3, by far the console with the exclusive and 3rd party games I care about the most: Uncharted series, Infamous, Ninja Gaiden series, God of War 3, Valkyria Chronicles, Dark/Demon Souls, The Last Guardian (if it ever gets released) and most of Capcom fighting games and the upcoming Dead or Alive 5. Games that, while it would be awesome to play, I can do without for the moment and since, as I stated before, I don't care if the game I'm playing is new or not or if its multiplayer component is no more, I would have no issue buying and playing them years down the line when PS3 and those games cost next to nothing.
Wii: Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, MadWorld, No More Heroes 1 and 2, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and that's it. Seriously Nintendo, no StarFox? And Metroid Other M is a joke, so not even considering getting one, ever.
With the rumblings of a new generation of consoles in the horizon, my stance may change if thing are done better by Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft next time around, but as of now. This console gen cannot be gone soon enough.
29Dec 11More than a year without any proper updates in this abandoned blog of mine, and barely any post on my friends' list here at GameSpot as well, and for that I'm very sorry guys. I just had to focus on other things happening in my life that needed my full attention. I'll do my best not to be a stranger from now on.
Also, I've picked up my digital pen again, if circumstances allow it, Loose Buttons will resume as well. Here is a little something for now:
Click for larger view
Wishing you all happy Holidays and a preemptive Happy New Year.
22Aug 10In no particular order, these are game series that have featured in some sort crossover efforts from different companies:
Street Fighter Vs X-Men
Capcom Vs SNK series
Kingdom Hearts series
Marvel Vs Capcom series
Street Fighter X Tekken (and Viceversa)
Mortal Kombat Vs DC
Soul Calibur series (Link, Spawn, Kratos, Yoda, Darth Vader, The Apprentice among others)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (Dante Sparda)
Lost Planet 2 ( KillZone, Gears of War, Resident Evil)
Uncharted 2 (KillZone, Resistance 2, inFAMOUS)
Namco X Capcom
Cross Edge Dash (DarkStalkers, Disgaea, Ar Tornelico)
Super Robot Wars series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Solid Snake, Sonic)
Metal Gear Solid series (Ape Escape, Monster Hunter)
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series
Jump Ultimate Stars
... these are the ones that come to memory, I'm sure there might be others I'm not mentioning. (Feel free to do so) The case is that crossover games have become very popular and can become a cash cow for developers if the formula is successful (Kingdom Hearts, Marvel vs Capcom, Mario & Sonic ) But most importantly, crossovers that were unthinkable just a few years ago are becoming a reality such as SF vs Tekken. So as an exercise in wishful thinking I'm postulating the folllowing crossover as a sort of personal wish list:
Mortal Kombat Vs Killer Instincts:
Think about it, both games are bloody, full of combos and both use fatalities. It would be the perfect opportunity to revive the series and give KI fans a long overdue update.
God of War x Devil May Cry
Lets face it, Kratos pretty much killed every God in the Greek pantheon, might as well for him to start killing every demon in hell since he is already is there and while he is at it, he might get a helping hand from a veteran Demon Slayer called Dante Sparda. Hell (pun intended) both have a certain affinity for the color red and sharp objects and Dante personality could help balance out Kratos' own. The Buddy action comedy of the summer
Uncharted X Tomb Raider
Screw Totec, We all know who we want bumping into her, inside a tomb trying to recover a precious artifact. (Talk about innuendo) Nathan is the kind of guy who would be happy just getting a piece of that action. (Interpret that whichever way you fell like it.)
These are just some ideas for crossover games, Do you have any particular crossover you'll like to see become a reality? Go nuts, let your imagination fly, who knows if it might become a reality in the future.
The Long Absence
So lo and behold, after several prolonged and hectic months, I finally decided to show proof of life of my continued existence. Way too much time without any update for my comfort and for that I'm sorry, and as John Lennon once said: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." and it most certainly fits my past and current circumstances, so explanations are in order:
Work, or rather the lack of:
As it is not unknown to anybody, the last few months are not what we would call shinning examples of economical stability and as such I too was a casualty of the work market. Let's just say that Spain's unemployment rate is not something to be proud of. As I found myself in such a situation of unemployment, a few months ago, I was contacted by one of the Human Resource offices I had drop my resume by, a hotel in this case, to be informed that I was chosen for a professional training program to form "Local Tourism Promotion and Visitor Information Agents" or Touristic Agents for short. At first I wasn't too excited about the prospect since tourism does not fall within my field, knowing English did factor into the screening process, but still..., part of the course contents besides Tourist information, organization, management and client attention techniques, it also involved a hefty chunk of German. That last part was the one that interested me the most, since I found the opportunity to learn another language a big chance to improve my opportunities as a whole to find future jobs. But there was a catch; the whole program lasted 3 months and it would take my full time and attention to properly complete it, worse, the place where the training took place was located at a 90 minute trip distance from my home. While that made me a viable candidate for a travel distance subsidy, it meant that, as a whole I would have to spend 10 hours every day on this between course attendance, study and transportation to take on this endeavor. Needless to say, by the time I got home every day I really did not have much of a free time, or energy to dedicate myself to any kind of side personal project. I had to drop overnight everything I had been doing up to that point, hence the lack of art or blog updates as of late.
But finally, the course is over and this is the first time I've been able to sit down and write a blog in quite some time. Also, I'm glad to say that I went from not knowing a single word of german to being able to at least read and understand a text written in that language ... for the most part, I still need to brush up and learn tons of vocabulary, but hey, it is a start. The actual work is scheduled to begin in mid August - early September, the hours are good and the pay is fair, so everything should be stabilized by then. And I hope to have the necessary time to dedicate some of my free time into what you know me for, my art and comic strip, not having to spend it studying for evaluations and such might actually give me a chance to do so.
One of the things that I gained from this professional training more than anything was contacts with a lot of like minded people. It has been a very long time since I encountered such a group of interesting and pleasant individuals. Spending time with them made the effort worth it. We have planned a get together next week for a barbecue to celebrate the end of the program and the beginning of the job, I'm really looking forward to it.
The Writing Escape Valve:
We all have escape valves, either sports, reading, going out, video games, etc. For me art is not only what I like the most but what I hope one day will help me earn a living. As part of this I have come to the conclusion that I have to focus on creating something of my own. Being a good artist is not enough, I have to be able to use my art as a means to an end and that end is to become a storyteller. So before I was entangled into the training program I mentioned early I was involved in a personal challenge: I wanted to create a series of characters and a solid storyline to go with them, so I took the logical first step, putting it down all in writing: defining the names, characteristics, personalities and motivations for each and everyone one and how these would interact with each other, the more I wrote the more the project began to grow in size and scope, not before long I realized that this would require a real commitment because I was, for all intents and purposes, writing a novel. Now we have all heard about someone talking about writing a book, but actually doing it is another matter altogether.
So far I've put down into writing about 20,000 words, but the interesting part is that I'm writing it in script mode. As you may know, scripts can only describe things that you can see or hear on screen, since that is how most storytelling is delivered to us nowadays, by audio and video. And since comics are a step before that it only makes sense to do it so, otherwise it would be difficult to adapt it otherwise. To even further cement my commitment to this undertaking I've go so far as to actually registering the first 4 chapters of the story. I'm serious about this and I want to finish this project in the near future. Pretty much that explains why I haven't uploaded anything in the last few month but I will begin to upload character art of the story to complement my writing. As time goes by I will continue to shape up and give form to this story that is in my hands.
Activity to Resume
Many things have changed and will continue to change in the following months but I hope my daily life will stabilize and allow me to resume on my regular updates, I'm really sorry for not checking any of my friend list's blogs and unions.
I hope to have some art updates up by next week, I did manage to sketch a couple of drawings in the last days when finishing up the course so at least there is that. In the meantime, I'm glad to be back online. Now comes the part where I have to wade through an endless list of updates in my watched list for all the sites I'm a member ... O_o!!! Oh boy!
To be continued...
DISCLAIMER: If (and this is a big IF) there ever is a crossover game where these two franchises ever meet, well, then I'll know Hell has frozen over or my head has exploded, whichever comes first. The again weirder crossovers have happened: Like this or like this other nonsense.
P.S: Yeah, I'm not dead and yes, this series of comic strips are still alive as well. You won't get rid of me that easily!
18Dec 09Sorry for the lack of updates and comments on your blogs guys. I've had to concentrate on a project that is taking my full attention recently and until it is not finished I just can't keep up to date with the site. I'll resume regular activity in 3 weeks or so. Till then, have Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
14Nov 09To anyone that has grown playing videogames, there is an image that is universally recognized and has been fire branded in our brains because of its visual impact and narrative effectiveness.
Don Ivan Punchatz not only did a superb piece that depicted the desperate struggle that the player faced against the hordes of Hell itself, it created a logo that combined both the arcane and technological overtones that permeated the game's enviroment and storyline; The heavy font, the jagged contrasts of the shapes within the letters and the overall strength of the whole piece has made of this one of the most memorable game covers ever and a image that is indelible part of the video game legacy. He in great part helped cement the legacy of one of the watershed moments in gaming.
Oh and that demon on the lower left corner of the image, it almost says: "Yes, you are next." Don Ivan Punchatz (September 8, 1936 - October 22, 2009)
Gamers of all generations thank you and remember you.
28Oct 09Were does the true nature of the hero lies? Is it on the high tech armor and weaponry that envelops the wearer? or does the essence of heroism lies deeper inside.
Click for larger view
Samus Aran was a revelation to gamers around the world once her true gender was uncovered at the end of her first adventure. Now this common knowledge has been accentuated to such a point that she has become a character with two distinctive and defined facets to her: There is the iconic Varia Suit Samus Aran; the relentless and deadly powerhouse capable of taking down the most dangerous alien creatures in the galaxy and hunt the most elusive of bounties ever to have been set price upon. And then there is Zero Suit Samus Aran; the agile, nimble woman under the armor. While she was revealed to us as a beautiful woman, first and foremost she is the heart and soul that made possible what the Metroid games are. And for once showed a female character in a strong lead role that, going against the grain, wore the logical kind of armor for the task at hand. While admittedly the newer facet of the Zero Suit has permeated Samus with a charge of eroticism that was mostly absent in her previous outings (give or take the SNES "under 3 hours game completion reward") I don't believe this has cheapened her appeal as a strong lead character, for being attractive is not contrary or detracts from being a competent, strong and intelligent female character. Samus has demonstrated through her actions why with armor or not, she is a great hero.
I just could not decide if I wanted to draw Varia Suit or Zero suit so I said: "Ahh screw it, I'll do both" This is my biggest piece to date: 7112 x 4000 pixels, it took me about 25 hours give or take, although I was not able to work on it as frequently as I wished. Way too many interruptions during the process :/ But finally I was able to set some time aside to finish it.
NOTE: Please hit "Download" at left side of the deviantArt page to get a 1920 x 1080 version of this pic. and do enjoy!