Black Ops 2 misunderstands the meaning of the phrase “Cold War”
So it turns out my predictions on what the next Call of Duty game was going to be were wrong. Yes, Activision have truly broken the mold and announced the tediously inevitable Black Ops 2. Be still my beating heart. For all the talk of innovation, what they’ve essentially done is taken Cod Blops, the only Call of Duty game not set in the present(ish) day, and made it exactly like a Modern Warfare game. I’ll concede that Blops 2’s trailer gave off some futuristic vibes, but all the robots and cool LED side tools in the world can’t shake off the sense of déjà vu I get seeing the footage. It’s the same war-ravaged urban environments that we’ve seen countless times before. Speaking of which, in what universe is this is a “cold” war? The whole point of the Cold War was that the two main antagonists never engaged in full-scale open conflict, choosing to fight their ideological battle through a hush-hush series of proxy wars, using foreign nations like pawns in a chess game. Blops 2 just looks too much like the all-out international hoedowns we’ve become accustomed to with Modern Warfare. To be fair, it does sound like Treyarch are experimenting a bit with more open-ended gameplay and narrative structure, implying you can fail to stop the main baddie if you fail certain missions, which sounds like it could be pretty interesting. Either way, until I see more of the game I’m going to take any talk of “breaking new ground” with a pinch salt.
Happy 10th Birthday Gamecube, you’re a man now
The Gamecube turned ten yesterday, and it’s another cruel reminder of how old I am (that’s two in a week, karma, you bitch). I have fond memories of Nintendo’s purple little funbox, but it got kind of a shit deal with being in the same generation of consoles as the mighty Playstation 2, which had by far the best game library of its generation or indeed any since. It’s true, the GC just didn’t have the third party support it needed; in fact, the console’s game library was woefully sparse. The machine was kind of like the Nintendo 64’s ugly duckling younger brother; the N64 – with its lineage of genre-defining masterpieces like Mario 64 and GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64 – cast a long shadow. Either way, some of my favourite games were on that thing: the HD remake of the first Resident Evil game is an excellent spine-tingler, Super Smash Bros. Melee is probably the best iteration of the series, and Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is the best game I’ve never finished. The console, unfortunately, could never contend with the PS2’s formidable game library of absolute classics. Oh well. You did good, kid.
Dick Move of the Week: Microsoft might not be able to sell Xboxes in Germany because of Motorola
Hold on to your butts, because we’re about to dive head first into the murky depths of patent law. Motorola recently took Microsoft to browntown when a German court granted Motorola an injunction that could see Microsoft forced to stop selling Xboxes and Windows 7 devices in the country. According to the complaint filed by Motorola, these devices infringe patents Motorola hold for Wi-Fi connections and video decoding and suchlike, and in the world of patent law that basically means you don’t get to sell Xboxes anymore. This kind of corporate one-upmanship really rubs me up the wrong way; the frenzied flurry with which technology companies register patents for staggeringly basic or fundamental systems and functionalities, only to use them as a stick to beat their competitors with, seems depressingly cynical. The story with Microsoft and Motorola is a lot more complicated than I’ve really let on, but it’s testament to how much of a shameless backstab patent suits are that Motorola only filed their original complaint because Microsoft wanted to take them up the cakehole to the tune of $4 billion a year with allegations the telecomm company had infringed patents they held. Do you see how quickly this can get confusing? To be honest, this whole mean-spirited, mercenary scenario makes me angry and a bit sad, so I hope people on both sides spill a latte on their laps on their way to work or something. Disclaimer: I don’t actually want that to happen. But seriously, cut this shit out.
Google zerg rush your search results
This is a neat little bit of Google tomfoolery that brightened up my morning. If you type “zerg rush” into the Google search box your results get savaged by waves of little Os – a nod to the battle tactic prevalent in seminal spacey strategy game StarCraft.