Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We have moved!

Like I promised, Some Kill Giants is now on its own domain! You can reach it at

I have moved the feedburner rss so you don't need to resubscribe, but for those of you who usually visit the site manually, please bookmark the new url.

I am still tinkering with the theme and so on so please excuse the mess, although I made sure I could grab a theme that would allow me to focus on what I feel is my strength - Imagery! So, be prepared for random wallpapers made using found art related to videogames as well as any other videogame related imagery I come across (of course with related credits where necessary).

I am going to leave this page as is for a while.

See you at the new place.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And the 100th post is...

I just finished playing this and I had to share. It is an excellent spy thriller viewed from a first-person perspective with an aesthetic reminiscent of the CG anime TV series and PS2 game, Gregory Horror Show and Team Fortress 2, all rendered lovingly in the Quake 2 engine. Yes, the quake 2 engine. It also won arthouse game of the year over at Game Tunnel if that sort of thing wags your tail. The creator of the game Brandon Chung who is the developer at Blendogames seems to have a series of games that look just as interesting, so I highly recommend checking out his website.

I have recently been taking a lot of issue with people who in my eyes focus too much on the narrative elements of videogames and not enough on the actual ludic elements, but in this case, the actual experience of playing the game, from the art direction to the music to what actually happens in the game, all work together to form something a lot more than if the game was solely about its game mechanics. AND, it is something that could only work in videogames. He works very well with the unspoken rules of videogames and subverts them for the purposes of the experience I am assuming he wanted to give the players.

Anyway, it will not take much of your time I promise. I don't want to say much about the game as a lot of it is from the experience of playing it so go play!

Oh! And speaking of Gregory Horror Show, it is actually pretty funny.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Aaaaand we're back!

And so we enter another year. 2009 seems to have started off pretty hectic around here, hence the late new year post, and I am kinda liking that.
Gaming-wise, we have Killzone 2, Street Fighter 4 and Resident Evil 5 on the imminent horizon filling up February and March rather nicely, and there are loads of new indie games that were released over the holidays and are also due in the next three months so there will surely be loads to talk about.
I spent the initial part of the holidays playing and loving Mirror's Edge. I finished the main campaign AND got the test of faith achievement on my first playthrough so I don not understand what all the fuss is about the game being too annoying or broken or hard. Yes, I died a hell of a lot, but once you get into it, it is certainly one of the freshest experiences I had in the whole of 2008. The time trials are definitely going to keep me busy and I am already trying to sort out a way to get cash on PSN so I can purchase the DLC later this month.
I also got Little Big Planet for Christmas from my mum. This is another game that I do not understand the lack of sales for. I haven't even started using the level editor, and I can already say that it is a classic platformer. Yes, the jumping is floaty. Yes, the physics system takes some getting used to, but what is wrong with that? The Metroid Prime series had an unconventional control system, but once it was learned it was highly intuitive and worked perfectly for what it was. You can't jump in Bionic Commando: Rearmed. I am sure I can think of loads of games with unconventional control schemes and/or ways of interacting with the world and a lot of them are great games. I think we should stop insisting that every game perform the way we expect it to and approach them all with a blank slate ready to learn what the game has to teach us about exploring its world. One should not be surprised to encounter an FPS that controls exactly like a 2d side-scrolling platformer. As long as it works for what it wants to accomplish, sweet!
Anyway, I also played a bit of Dragon Quest IV on the DS(which is really awesome by-the-way, the first JRPG in a while I have enjoyed playing) and Bionic Commando: Rearmed on the X360. 
All-in-all, I think I spent the holidays in the company of some pretty sweet games. 
This year we are looking at expanding the blog, first with the move to wordpress and its own domain, and then by organising a gaming meet here in Lagos! I am still working out the details of venue and so on, but I am aiming for March 2009. There will be loads of competitive gaming in the forms of Halo 3, SFIV, some football for those that want it (yech!), and maybe even some racing! I also plan to have some PC systems here and there with repositories of indie, abandonware and other freeware games for people to get a hold of and maybe even some exhibition games by those still heavily into competition here. It will be great!
I also met up with a guy at an anime meet (Yes, there was an anime meet in Lagos! Crazy!) who knows the guys behind LaKraft entertainment. They organised the Nigerian group that was hoping to go for the World Cyber Games that I wrote about last year. My plan is to get in touch with them and we will see whether we can get something going together.
In other news, my first game is coming along nicely, and I should be able to have an alpha version in about one or two weeks time depending on how work goes.
I also want to ask for more interaction from you, our wonderful readers and subscribers. SKG is about building up the Nigerian gaming community, and yet, I barely hear from any of you. So, speak up. Oh! And in case you were trying to escape, the same goes for our foreign readers as well. We know who you are. :-)
Well, a happy new year again to everyone. 2009 is going to rock!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Well, this is probably going to be my last post for the year as I gear up for the Christmas holidays. 

Looking back, it has been pretty interesting to say the least. I am pretty happy with the fact that I have been able to keep writing on the blog so far, and of course getting Niyi to help out with more content and then Wale, Siji and Mike for the podcast. Next year should see a whole slew of more interesting stuff as I dig deeper into more old games I played years ago as well as more independent titles, and hopefully some Nigerian-developed games too, some of which I am hoping to drive through the MAG site, and others I will hopefully discover from digging around. I am also working on moving the blog over to wordpress and its own domain at by next year, hopefully organising the blog better as well as the podcast. Once I can work out how to migrate the feeds and so on it should be done, but yeah, by January it should be done.

To all those that are reading, thanks for hanging in there and being our audience.

Happy holidays, and to those that celebrate it, a merry Christmas! I leave you all with a link to a great album by Doctor Octoroc, featuring Christmas music done in the style of classic NES games.

Enjoy the holidays and see you all next year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Next Metal Gear is...

on the iPhone.

Yea. So that this post is not just about that dull announcement (exciting for iPhone owners?), there is gist that Kojima is working on some sort of new ip which is cool.

I am also got my hands on Mirror's Edge which I am actually enjoying immensely despite being crap at it. I can see how the constant starting and stopping might put some people off, but different strokes right? I am actually looking forward to playing through the game again once I have the encounters memorised. Oh and then there's the time trials and I finally have something to do on PSN besides update and browse for themes. Yay!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Omikron: The Nomad Soul (retro)

After the last podcast took me down memory lane a little, I started thinking about all the cool games I played years ago and either didn't finish, or wanted more of.

Reading on Eurogamer about Heavy Rain got me thinking about Quantic Dream's first game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul. I never finished it, and I want more of it.

Omikron: The Nomad Soul was released in 1999 and I think I got it in 2000. The version I had was on the Dreamcast, and as buggy and shoddy a port as it was, it still managed to make me fall in love with it completely. Back then, I had no idea about what was going on in games like this, literally blundering from one plot point to the next, and right now if anybody was to ask me what exactly the game was about, I couldn't tell you. I did remember the beginning though.

I had never seen anything like it before, a game that 'spoke' to you! Wow. I mean before that I had played Metal Gear Solid on the PSOne and faced off against Psycho Mantis, but this was different.

Anyway, so I agreed to 'inhabit' the weird guy's body and off I went into an adventure. The first thing that struck me about the game was how beautiful it looked. Not that the graphics were anything fantastic, in fact, they were quite laughable i some respects, but the art direction, the lighting and the colours, and the music. Oh yes, I remember the music. They had David Bowie in there and he handled music duties alongside Reeves Gabrels , and Xavier Despas  in the game.

It really was unlike anything I had played up till that point really. Now I can tell you that it was a hybrid of adventure game (in the sense of the lucasarts monkey island, grim fandango style of adventure but without the pointing and the clicking), first-person shooter, beat 'em up, and had separate swimming sections. You can see some of that in this trailer for the game. There was also another interesting story/game mechanic. Your character could swap bodies, getting the person's memories and abilities upon the soul swap, just like what happened in the beginning of the game. What I don't remember though, is whether or not this could be done at will or only with certain key characters or at specific times.

Special mention must also go to the visual aesthetic of the game which seemed to have been informed by a futuristic, haute couture renditioning of Bedouins and Maghreb nomadic cultures.

Even the buildings had a heavy Moroccan flavour to them, especially in one of the cities where the buildings are even painted white. It's unfortunate that the main reason I remember this is because I made  myself nauseous running around the rooftops trying to figure out where I had to go. I am even getting slightly motion sick just remembering it.

David Cage, the lead designer (and writer and director) of the game seems to be one of the last people who is out there trying to keep adventure gaming relevant and fun. It's quite odd actually that even though I really enjoy these types of games I haven't played any of the more recent ones like Broken Sword 3 or its sequel or The Longest Journey or its sequel , I have to do something about that state of affairs some time next year, time and money willing.

Quantic Dream went on to release Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy and are now working on Heavy Rain for the PS3. There is also some rumblings about a sequel, but will wait for more concrete info. I haven't played Fahrenheit, but as soon as I am done playing Omikron and finishing it, it is next on my list. I really enjoy the sense of imagination and the visual aesthetic that was brought into The Nomad Soul and from what I have heard about Fahrenheit, even though it is not based in such a fantastical universe, the same level of imagination has been brought to bear.

Any way, the game is pretty tough to get right now, especially from Nigeria, so I guess eBay and amazon are the best bets to buy a copy if you have someone overseas that can ship a copy down to you. It does take some messing about with drivers and compatibility and possibly even a no-cd crack in order to get it working on windows xp, although vista seemed easier strangely enough. You can find out more about getting it to run on modern PCs in this video here and with google. It is running on my system and I have played about 10 minutes so far and I am hooked all over again. The graphics are a tad bit blockier than I remembered, but it does look a LOT sharper than the blurriness of the dreamcast version.

It's a really cool game though and worth playing. Besides, how could you resist a game that has David Bowie looking like this?

I found the majority of the artwork on this very comprehensive Quantic Dream fansite, and you can see more of the excellent artwork here. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Freeware Games for the Holidays - Part 1

A LOT of people I know, and know of, pirate games. Partly it's because the availability of games here is pretty bad, and the prices are atrocious as I spoke about here. But, I think most of the time, it's the same reason people pirate games anywhere else in the world. It's free, and no one has suffered any consequence for it here.

The whole piracy discussion is a whole separate issue which I do not plan on going into here, what I want to do though is make a couple of recommendations based on my own impressions and suggestions based on other peoples' reviews and impressions of high quality, good length freeware games available for the windows PC, Mac and for those who have them, hacked PSPs as an alternative to getting more pirated games this holiday season. Think of it as getting good karma.

I was originally going to break the list down into sections (PC, MAC, PSP) and then into genres (shmup, platformer etc.), but I am too lazy to do that so you will all have to go through the list and check the description to see if it is for your chosen platform.

Here we go.

Cave Story
(PC, MAC, PSP) get it here

Okay, this is hands down one of the best games you will play on any platform guaranteed. It is a platformer/ side-scrolling shooter with heavy exploration elements and a simple but well told story. You will gain hours of play from this as you discover secrets, different paths through the game, hidden weapons and an entire hidden area. You can get all the various versions from here with instructions on setting them up. The game is also being released on the Wii via Wiiware and I will encourage you to buy it, if you can, to support the developer and to try out the extras they are sure to include with its release.


(PC) get it here

Iji is an side-scrolling action/adventure game with a graphical style reminiscent of Flashback. I haven't finished the game yet, but what I have played is of very high quality. The game features rpg mechanics allowing you to tailor your character in such a way that can even allow you to complete the game without killing anybody at all. It also has rave reviews from all over the indie game web, so it is definitely worth a playthrough.


The Spirit Engine (PC) get it here

This is another side-scroller, but this time its an rpg! The Spirit Engine has good dialogue and an intriguing story. The combat system is quite unique in its approach, and although it may take some getting used, is quite fun once you get used to it. I never finished this because it kept crashing at a particular point in one of the later chapters, but I can recommend it wholeheartedly.


Dwarf Fortress (PC, MAC) get it here

Okay, first a disclaimer, the game fresh off whichever server you get it from doesn't look like the screenshot above. In reality, everything is represented by ascii text until you get a new tile set and replace them, but I didn't want to scare you guys off. Anyway, this is one of the deepest and most rewarding strategy/simulation/rpg roguelikes you are likely to play in the next couple of years. You control a band of dwarves as they make a home in the side of a mountain and fend off all manner of creatures and deal with pregnancy, going berserk and competing craftsdwarves. The Sims Extreme in other words. And I haven't talked about the adventure mode or the fact it generates an entire unique world history and myth for you.


(PC, MAC, PSP) get it here (PC & MAC) and here for PSP.

Exult is an engine developed to emulate the old computer rpgs Ultima VII: The Black Gate and The Serpent Isle. These are some of the most acclaimed rpgs ever so this is basically a no-brainer. The exult platform does a great job of bringing these games to modern audiences so you should definitely give it a shot.


La Mulana
(PC) get it and the English patch here

La Mulana is a side-scrolling adventure game made to resemble an MSX title. It is fiendishly hard and in fact this is one of the few games I haven't finished due to difficulty, but damn is it FUN! I am including a link to a series of Let's Play... videos on youtube where you can watch someone play through the entire game. So, if you do get stuck, have a look at the series here. It is also one of the longest games on this list, with a full playthrough taking up to 10-12 hours even if one knows what they are doing.

That's it for part 1. Dunno when I will get around to a part 2, but look forward to it and I hope you find something that catches your fancy among these games.