Friday, November 18, 2011

just a quick update.

Hi gamers.

Sorry for the long hiatus. I do go through long periods where not much is going on in my mainstream gaming that is worth writing about but it's probably a good idea for me to do a short update every now and then anyhow.

So, I am continuing to enjoy the stuff I have and get one or two new titles for my PS3. My two most recent buys are Mortal Kombat 9 and Rock Band 3. I am sorry to say that I have really not put as much time as I need to into either title so don't have much of substance to say about them yet. One comment I will make about MK9, if you've checked any of the other ones out in the past and were disappointed by the sound effects and the somewhat cheesy voice acting you are in for a pleasant surprise with this new addition to the series. While it is true that the voice acting is still a bit corny in spots, this is more just how the series has evolved and how the characters are portrayed than it is lack of good voice acting. The sound effects are also much more advanced than in previous versions while still maintaining that good old MK atmosphere. So, although I really need to invest much much more time in this title than I have so far I am very glad to have gotten it. As for Rock Band 3, I got it with the keyboard controller which is a new addition to the controllers available for the game, it is possible to use this to play guitar parts as well but as I said I really have not learned much of anything about this one yet. I may end up picking up a plain guitar controller just for simplicity's sake, I must admit the keyboard controller is somewhat daunting with it's numerous buttons. I am sure I will get going on this one hopefully fairly soon and when I do I will post another update.

Game on.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Marvel VS Capcom III is out!

Hi gamers, it's been a while since I've had anything of substance to write here, I've continued to make progress learning super street fighter IV and soul calibur IV which are actually two of the first games I got for my playstation 3. Somewhat to my own surprise I am not spending as much time with tekken 6 as I thought I would, I am sure that this will not be a permanent thing, I just only have so much spare time to spend on gaming. Very recently however, I have picked up Capcom's latest title, Marvel VS Capcom 3 which was released earlier this week and this is my main reason for doing a blog post here.
This game is a bit different from the ones I have tried so far. True it is a fighting game as are pretty much all my other titles but in this one you pick a team of three characters from a pretty impressive list that I will include later. These characters are from Marvel Comics and from various Capcom game titles. Who you pick is entirely up to you and is of course not set in stone, you can change teams at any time, my current team consists of Ryu from the Super Streetfighter series, the Hulk obviously from Marvel and some guy named Zero, not sure where he is from. Once you pick your team you can either play against the AI in arcade mode or you can go into the training mode to figure out what moves do what, something I highly recommend, or you can go online and fight other players which I am not near good enough for yet, I've had the game less than a week. Once you pick what mode you want you have to pick your operation mode either normal or simple. Basically what this does is set how you want your four main buttons to act. I am not going to go into a huge description of what button does what, not in this post at least, there are many places where you can find that out. Essentially, if you choose simple operation, then all you have to do to perform the special moves is hit one of your four main buttons rather than having to do something like a quarter circle forward or backward and hit one or two buttons simultaneously. Simple mode is obviously much easier to start out with and I am still using it sometimes but I can see how it will really limit what moves and combos you are able to do and it makes you much less flexible.
So, how do you go about playing? Once the match starts you come out as your first character that you picked, I choose Ryu because I'm the most familiar with his moves from Super Streetfighter IV. It is worth mentioning that when I say his moves I mean what happens when you perform an action, not the way you do it, the two games are quite different in that way. Because this game involves two teams of three, it is necessary to utilize some strategy when you are playing especially as you advance through the levels and they get harder. You have to pick which player you want to use at what time and how. For instance you can have Ryu standing off at a distance throwing fireballs at the opposing team while Hulk dashes in to do damage at close quarters. There are a couple ways to do this, I have only figured out one of them so far. This involves pressing either R1 or L1 and holding it for a short time this will cause your point of view to switch to one of your other players at which point you carry on the fight. It is easy to tell which character you switch to because they speak when you press the corresponding L1 or R1 button. Should you wish to go back to your first character just press the same button you used to switch to your second or third team member. As I said earlier there are other ways to switch characters that may be more effective than this one but this is the way I have figured out so far.
Now on to some general thoughts and impressions. First this is a very fast paced and potentially confusing game for the blind or V.I. Player. You have a total of six characters to deal with at a time, all of them different with different abilities. I know I was totally overwhelmed and basically said “what the hell is going on!” when I first listened to previews of this title a month or so back. I would probably not recommend this to someone as their first mainstream title unless maybe they have enough sight to help them figure it out, it would be very easy to get discouraged and give up. Having said that, I have to say that Capcom has done a very good job for us in terms of dealing with character selection. Each time you pick a character his name is announced, something we have seen in some but unfortunately not all of their other titles. If you go into the training stage that is announced as well. Best of all once you are in the training stage many though not all of the special moves and combos are announced if you do them right which will help you figure them out. Whether you are in training mode or actually playing, as with many Capcom titles including Super Streetfighter IV, audio cues are abundant and very useful, walking, dashing and jumping are distinguishable by sound as are the different attacks and special moves. While none of this is of course designed specifically with us in mind, we can and should definitely take advantage of it. Both English and Japanese audio tracks are available and I've got to say the English voice acting is pretty good in this title.
So, when all's said and done should you go out and spend your hard earned cash on Marvel VS Capcom 3? If you are at least a decent player of fighting games I'd say definitely. As I said earlier this title is very fast paced because you have six players at a time things are happening pretty much from the instant the match starts. If you are new to fighting games or mainstream gaming in general this is probably not the best title to start out with. Also, if you are looking for a game with a big plot and story mode this is not the game for you. The play is pretty simple, you have an arcade mode and another mode and an online mode where you fight other human players and that's about it. There are rumors that Capcom may release more advanced modes later as downloadable content but this is not confirmed at this point. So long as this isn't an issue for you, it isn't for me, then I would overall highly recommend this title and I consider my money well spent. My only difficulty is that I have only a rudimentary knowledge of the Marvel Comics characters never having been able to read the comics, this makes playing the game somewhat difficult because I don't really know who the characters are or what they can do but this is in no way the fault of the game.
Lastly, here is an example of the menus and character grid that you have when the game first starts. This example is not complete because several characters are locked when you first get the game, they are unlocked as you get better. Thanks to my gaming guru Clemant for providing this character grid and menu list. Note that this is the Xbox version, everything is apparently the same except for something in the sound menu, I will post the PS3 version of this when I have it.
offline mode:
operation mode:

characters (left to right)
row 1: wesker, chris, doctor doom, dormammu
row 2: tron, zero, super-skrull, m.o.d.o.k.
row 3: c viper, chun li, ryu, captain America, thor, iron man
row 4: trish, dante, random, random, spiderman, storm
row 5: amaterasu, spencer, viewtiful joe, wolverine, deadpool, magneto
row 6: morrigan, Felicia, x-23, phoenix
row 7: arthur, haggar, hulk, she-hulk


xbox live

view the movies used in-game. As u play, more movies will be available to watch character bios read up on characters once u have cleared the game with them character endings view the endings of every character u have cleared the game with model viewer view the 3D models of every character u have cleared the game with artwork view illustrations used in the game. More will be available as u play sound listen to tracks used in the game as well as character voices

(lists all controls for player 1 and an empty list for player 2) operation mode control select control type default

hud position

bgm style
se style
battle commentary
bgm volume
se volume
voice volume
character voice
(each character is listed and u can choose English or Japanese voice)

I hope you've found this useful and/or entertaining, if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask.

Game on!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

How I got Started

Hi all.

Well let's kick this thing off with a little introduction to how I got started with mainstream gaming, which was pretty much all there was at the time this saga begins. I began gaming on the Atari 2600 when I

was in high school, back then many of the games had pretty good sound cues

that actually meant something because of the limitations on graphics at the

time. This made for some really great games that could be learned fairly easily even by a totally blind person which I am if you wanted to put the time and effort

into it. I first saw the 2600 while staying over at a friend's house and we stayed up playing “combat” until all hours. I was hooked. I still own two 2600 systems and a lot of games, not sure how many at the moment I've lost count. I progressed through the atari computers of the early to mid 80's, the 400, 800, 800xl and 130xe. There were quite a few games that could be played by us on these too. I experimented with doing some programming, however with no speech access whatsowever it was simply too difficult to do anything really long or complex, although I do

remember sitting up nights and entering many a BASIC program out of some of

the old mags that I had access to. I actually have a programming reference

manual in Braille around here still, and I have an Atari 800, an 800xl, and

a 130xe around here along with numerous peripherals and games for them. But back to gaming.

With the advent of the early Nintendo systems which is what we had where I

lived from the late 80's to early 90's I found that gaming access was far

more limited than before. More emphasis was starting to be placed on graphics and the sound cues that were there grew less and less meaningful. For that reason I became somewhat dissolutioned and frustrated with mainstream gaming and pretty much gave up on it for a few years.

In the late 90's or maybe around 2000, I started reading about the Atari

Lynx which was the first color handheld system of its day and, like many

Atari products was extremely advanced and ahead of its time but failed due

to poor advertising on Atari's part. I picked one up off of ebay with maybe a dozen games and started experimenting with it. I still have this system as well.

Gaming access was somewhat mixed. While I can and do have fun with a few of the games that I have for the Lynx, Switchblade II, asteroids, atari pinball and

roadblasters come to mind, many are pretty much not playable for us or at

least I haven't figured them out yet. It's still a really cool system though

and I still get it out from time to time.

In the last two or three years I've really gotten back into mainstream

consoles with a vengeance thanks in no small part to some of the folks on the BlindGamers list, you know who you are and if you're reading this I say thanks again. I've picked up a Sega Gennisis, a psp, then a ps2, and most recently a ps3 with of course games for all of them. It is really great to see the resurgence of meaningful sound cues in many of the modern games, it's like the good old days in many waysexcept the sounds themselves are of course much much better than they were

back then. My ps2 is currently on loan to another blind friend who I am

teaching about gaming. He is a formerly sighted guy who used to really love

gaming and had pretty much thought that he couldn't do it since losing his

sight. My psp is pretty much inseparable from me it's always in my backpack

with its charger and games. I'm still just getting started with the ps3 but

so far it is the bomb! Thusfar, I would have to say that my favorite game on the system is probably Super Streetfighter IV because of the incredible variety of audio cues that are present in the game. In fact this game is 100% playable without sight which is not all that common if one is willing to put the time and effort into learning it. This is as good a time as any to mention that no mainstream games are accessible in the strict sense of the word. Menus and moves need to be memorized or written down and there is a great deal of trial and error involved in learning the games. If you are blind or visually impaired and are considering getting into mainstream gaming it is important to be aware of this from the getgo. If you don't have quite a bit of patience, at least a halfway decent memory and enjoy fooling around with things in general then mainstream gaming may not be for you.

Now even though this blog is mainly going to be about mainstream gaming I will say a few words about audio games. I think the first audio game I discovered was grizzly gulch from Bavisoft. This game is really quite fun and the sound work is

extremely good, I only find it very sad that their support is so poor

especially recently. After that I believe I got the first Troopanum from

BSC Games which led to my friendship with Justin Daubenmire, the president and founder of the company and my starting to work with BSC Games and Over the years I have also picked up all of the GMA games from although I have frankly never done all that great at Lone wolf, a World War II submarine simulator. I also have Rail Racer from when I get in a mood for some driving and racing, although again I have just not put the time into this one to get good enough to want to compete online all that often which is really one of the highlights of the game. Due to my spending what leisure time I have working on learning my mainstream games, mainly my Playstation 3 titles, accessible games have kind of got put on the back burner at least for now.

Well that pretty much covers my gaming experience both in the mainstream and

the audio gaming genres. Feel free to comment with any questions or experiences that you may have.

Game on!