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Saturday, August 18, 2007

If your name is Jeff, look away now:

Space Giraffe (Electorubbish)

'Space Giraffe is NOT Tempest!' screams the instructions in Jeff's 360 music visualizer, Minter's latest interactive audiovisual orgy. Okay, but Space Giraffe does take nearly all its cues from Atari's classic coin-op (which Minter has reworked before).

As in Tempest, you're an abstract creature on the edge of an electric grid floating in space, relentlessly basting the geometric creatures that shimmy up its lanes. Giraffe enhances that letting you jump over enemies, steer your shots, and ram baddies off the playfield, but user-friendliness has been thrown out in the name of psychedelic presentation.

You'll frequently die because you couldn't pick out the pulsing assassin from the wrapped playfield floating over the throbbing LSD nightmare that is the background, which makes this game uniquely aggravating.

With incredibly poor visibility (apparently by design) and a thumping electronic soundtrack peppered with sophomoric sound effects, Space Giraffe offers a generous 100 levels of damn-near-unplayable technoslop.

- Dan Amrich (Senior editor, Official Xbox Magazine)

+ Unlike anything you've ever seen (except Tempest).

- Too visually noisy to figure out what going on.
- Actually made us angry when we played it.

? Is this a failed game or a failed art experiment?

The Verdict 2.0 - BROKEN
Just really bad. Lacks a single redeeming quality, or it's busted to varying degrees in its own design, quality or basic functionality. No gamer of any stripe should bother.

For a more favorable review, click here. New screenshots and gameplay videos can be found over at the Llamasoft Blog. [thanks to Caff of Retro Remakes]


Blogger Jeremy said at 8/18/2007 04:27:00 PM:  
or a successful art experiment.
Blogger Raigan said at 8/18/2007 04:27:00 PM:  
i'm glad i'm not the only one who thought it sort of sucked..
Anonymous Kon-Tiki said at 8/18/2007 04:33:00 PM:  
Ok, with permission of Jeff, I'll quote his reaction to OXM's review:

"If all the scores were homogeneous then I would accept that the game is "unreadable" and that the "OMFG you can't see what's happening!" criticisms were real. However that simply isn't true. Want to call me on it? Sure, bring it. I'll play any of my critics on SG and if it's as random and broken as they say then they'll have an even chance of beating me. I'm saying that I'll beat them by several orders of magnitude.

Bring it,. OXM Dan. If you're right there won't be much to call between your score and mine. If I'm right I'll fucking bury you by thousands to one. Call it. Come on, I dare you. Put up or shut up."

As found here
Blogger konjak said at 8/18/2007 05:19:00 PM:  
Wait, is he saying he'd be able to play his own game?!
Anonymous Kon-Tiki said at 8/18/2007 05:28:00 PM:  
He's saying that, to prove to OXM that it's his (OXM) skills that're lacking, not the game, he's challenging him to play the game against him, both the same levels, with the same backgrounds, etc. If Jeff doesn't have any trouble with it, it's not the game, but OXM that has a problem with it. If Jeff has trouble distinguishing the bullets and such as well, then OXM is right. That's the reasoning behind his reaction.
Blogger Raigan said at 8/18/2007 05:51:00 PM:  
what about the criticism of the game being boring and tired both graphically and game-wise?

i'm all for procedural graphics and weird abstract visuals, but minter "style" has been tired for decades.. isn't it time to move beyond "tons of blending, trails, and neon colors"?

what about something like these?:

there are so many things waiting to be done with geometry/graphics, and SG does none of them. even just having colors based on authored hue sets so that they can be pleasing (i.e a level with just shades of blue and yellow) rather than random neon and plain interpolated RGB values would have been awesome. why not interpolate in HSV space?! it would at least be a bit different-looking.
Anonymous Oddbob said at 8/18/2007 06:59:00 PM:  
I like Jeff's style.

Sure his attitude at times towards criticism gets my goat a bit (although little has changed in that regard since 1986) and I find it hard to reconcile with the person I do class as a fantastic game designer, but I'm seriously looking forward to getting my hands on Space Giraffe.

If the bullet visibility does turn out to be a problem, aye - I'll be disappointed, nay, gutted.

GR++ and T2k are easily a pair of the most wonderful games I've ever had the pleasure of and honestly, I can't get enough of the Neon engine style.

I adore it as a lightsynth and from the first time I laid my hands on it I really hoped he'd bang out a game on top of it.

As a foot in the door and a statement of intent, I see little wrong in continuing the Tempest legacy on a tangent.

I look forward to the Wednesday it drops, knocking the lights down - settling on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and the above bullet caveat providing, monging the heck out to the visuals and hitting the zone.
Blogger Dominic White said at 8/18/2007 08:49:00 PM:  
From what I can gather, the vast majority of reviews for this have been positive - I'm not sure why the amazingly negative one (from somone who sounds like they played the game for half an hour and sucked at it) gets all this up-front press.

In fact, it strikes me as really rather assholish to make this an unedited front-page piece, and have the positive reactions as a side-note.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/18/2007 11:58:00 PM:  
It's getting up front press because it's the first review. None of the gaming sites or mags have reviewed it yet apart from OXM.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/19/2007 03:12:00 AM:  
What about the criticism of the game being boring and tired both graphically and game-wise?

I see no mention of that in the OXM review posted above, or do you have a more detailed copy to post here?

I'm glad i'm not the only one who thought it sort of sucked..

Have you actually played the game?

Many people have played the actual game and got vastly better scores, one person (a veteran games mag journalist) even managing to complete the game, so for OXM to say the game is "broken", "damn-near-unplayable" and "busted" is blatently untrue.

Like all Live Arcade games, the best thing to do is download the demo read the instructions and play the tutorial, then decide for yourselves.
Anonymous Oddbob said at 8/19/2007 04:51:00 AM:  
I thought it was pretty clear that Raigan was referring to his own opinion of the game not the OXM review?

Chances are, given what Raigan is up to - yes, he has played it. So, lets not start petty attacks like "have you actually played it?" because I might not agree with Raigan's opinion, I'm sure as heck going to trust him.

I'm tired of any discussion on this game being stifled by the same old rubbish and near verbatim "corrections". Let people talk about it, let them form their own opinions.

It is allowed, y'know. Or have we got The Giraffe Police running round the net right now crushing any dissenters?
Blogger Raigan said at 8/19/2007 07:30:00 AM:  
Yes I've played it quite a bit, it's been on partnernet for weeks; it's not terrible, but it's not any more fun than tempest2000 was.. and as fun as that game was many years ago, i had my fill then. So in a sense it _is_ terrible, or at least a terrible waste/disappointment.

Maybe SG is only 90% tempest, but that's hardly "not tempest". That's mostly what really bothered me -- you start the game and it's obvious that mr. minter is either confused or lying. It may not be identical but if you had to find the most similar existing game you'd obviously choose tempest.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/20/2007 04:13:00 AM:  
Having played the game myself I have to say that your failure to be awarded a single achievement highlights a SEVERE lack of effort on your part to play this game (which is surely a sackable offense for a GAMES REVIEWER)

Not a single valid negative point in the review either. For 400 points, this game represents INCREDIBLE value for money.

I suppose value for money means nothing when you get sent every game that is released and can't even be bothered to play them before writing a review.
Anonymous Oddbob said at 8/20/2007 04:41:00 AM:  
You do realise the review is from a magazine don't you?

Just out of curiosity who mentioned where that someone hasn't got a single achievement on it? Or is this the good ol' internet detective work in action again?

Man, cyberstalking is brilliant!

Sorry, I meant pathetic. That's the one.
Blogger haowan said at 8/20/2007 04:47:00 AM:  
Jeff did the cyberstalking, checking up on the reviewer's XBL gamertag and finding that he was basically unable to comprehend the game and hadn't been awarded a single achievement by the game. His score for level 31, which IIRC is the level he played to, was terrible.

Yes, that's a terrible way to do a review but I think Jeff's actions tell us as much about Jeff as they do about OXM Dan.
Anonymous Melly said at 8/20/2007 08:33:00 AM:  
I haven't played the game (nor do I have the ability to, no 360 for me), but I'd like to say a few things about Minter.

I do respect Minter for one thing: he does whatever the fuck he wants to do. The public, the market, the reviews, none of that will make him change stuff on his games because he does them to please himself as much as the other players. That's the way I see him, and it seems to give him this unusual aura.

There is the fact, however, that Jeff is not a criative fellow. From all the games made by him I've played, not one was totally original, always remaking an older classic or taking most of its ideas from it. He's a very talented coder, yes, but it wouldn't kill him to try and come up with a fresh concept every now and then. I don't think he should be so eager to state SG isn't Tempest, because it does take most of its core design and concepts from Tempest, adding new stuff (Of course, I'm also sceptic of 95% of FPS's coming out stating they're 'revolutionary' and 'innovative', considering their core design is the same tried and true thing we've been seeing for years).
Blogger Richard said at 8/21/2007 06:14:00 AM:  
I can't wait to play this game tomorrow. I don't care that the graphical style is still stuck in the 90s, there is nothing else like it on XBLA, and plenty of utter shit worse than it (Yie Ar Kung Fu anyone?) - quite frankly it could have been a complete pixel for pixel copy of T2K and I'd still have bought it, because the ability to play a game like that on my massive TV in HD is too good to pass up. For a lot of Minter games you've got to be totally 'in the zone' when playing them. I doubt this is an exception.
Anonymous Oddbob said at 8/21/2007 07:39:00 AM:  
No sleeping in for me tomorrow ;)

It's National Giraffe Day in Chez Bob!
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/23/2007 11:22:00 PM:  
I have to tell you guys that this game is a lot of addictive FUN if given an honest chance. What bugged me is that some of the instructions are vague, but once you figure out what you're doing, it's a blast.

I *DO*, however, agree that there's too much going on in the background. Does it make the game unplayable? Absolutely not. Would I prefer less eye candy? Absolutely! :)

Lastly, I'll say that it will take a fan of T2k to truly appreciate SG. It would be a hard sell to anyone else though.
Anonymous Cycle said at 9/04/2007 09:01:00 PM:  
I'd just like to point out that this game is pretty awesome! I rarely have a problem seeing things in the crowd... you have to try and look past the distractions, you know?

Also, this game really isn't Tempest. If you think that's the case, you're obviously playing it like Tempest and it's litle wonder you don't enjoy the game.
Anonymous gaz196 said at 9/11/2007 05:20:00 PM:  
like the game but it's slightly spoiled by all the aye candy imo.
i'll keep plugging away tho.