GameFAQs GuidesWhen I was a younger man, I spent many an hour working on guides for which I dutifully submitted to GameFAQs. I wouldn't go so far as to say this time was wasted (after all, I have received untold numbers of emails thanking me for each of them), but I do feel that they are slightly out of my current realm of interest. Still, as I intended DigiFAIL to be a collection of all of my work I feel obligated to put them up, even if it is just for the sake of completion. They certainly don't need the exposure, as collectively these documents are mirrored on more sites than any of my other projects could ever hope to be.
Unfortunately, GameFAQs had (and may still have, I have not been on the site in a few years) a strict set of guidelines for all of their submissions; one of which being that no document could be over 80 characters wide. As such, all of my guides were written and formatted to exactly 80 columns. I experimented with expanding this a bit for the site, but it was simply too frightening a prospect to seriously consider.
As such, I will not put the actual text of each document on this page, but rather a small foreword for each. The full ASCII files for all of these guides are available in the "Text" section of the Downloads page.
DS Networking GuideThe "Nintendo DS Wireless Networking Guide", was my life from 2005 into 2008; it is a massive document that quickly got far, far, away from the scope of the original work. It started as a simple guide which would document the various WiFi settings and functions of the newly released Nintendo DS. However it quickly became an obsession, and I began branching out into completely new territory as I saw more and more people fail to grasp the ins and outs of wireless technology. I started documenting ways of sharing an Internet connection out from a desktop PC, which expanded to cover all three major operating systems. I then started documenting the different ways to secure a wireless network in relation to the DS. So on and so on.
The main reason I continued development for so long past the original goal was the tremendous amount of support I got from people who read the Guide and got some use out of it. I received hundreds of emails about the Guide, ranging from the expected requests for help to people suggesting I take up a career in writing technical documentation. I received assistance from a number of people as well, who were listed among the "Credits" or at least the "Version Information" ChangeLog.
All told, the "Nintendo DS Wireless Networking Guide" clocks in at 36,988 words and has been downloaded over 100,000 times on GameFAQs alone (I have long since lost track of how many sites mirror it). But even with as large as it is, there could still be additions. For example the Guide does not cover the newer DSi system, which adds WPA support and vastly improved Internet connectivity functions. Though I think somebody else is going to have to handle that one...
Wii Networking GuideThe "Nintendo Wii Networking Guide" is very similar to it's DS counterpart. So similar in fact that I was initially worried it would not get accepted due to about 80% of it being identical to the DS version. I will admit it, I only did it because submitters on GameFAQs were often judged by the disk space their contributions used, so by duplicating the already massive DS Guide, I could get myself some easy e-cred. Of course, the Wii Guide does cover things that the DS one doesn't, most notably the addition of Ethernet support and all of the things that entails (such as much easier ways of sharing an existing Internet connection with it).
The Wii was also a paradigm shift of sorts for Nintendo, as they began to seriously persue various forms of digital distribution on their home consoles. With the Wii, users could not only download their favorite classic games, but also get information like news and weather downloaded automatically into their consoles, they could even surf the web with the included Opera-based web browser. The up-side to all of this is that even more people wanted to get their Wii's online than they did their DS's, which comparatively had very little in the way of online functionality (until the DSi that is, but that's another story entirely).
The "Nintendo Wii Networking Guide" is a strong second in terms of overall popularity, which is simply because the "Nintendo DS Wireless Networking Guide" had a large head-start. Not bad for a copy-and-paste job, if I do say so myself.
Battlefield StrategyAnyone who knows me will tell you that one of the greatest passions in my life is playing Battlefield. I have logged hundreds of hours into every game in the series, starting with 1942 and continuing right on to the newest releases. There is just something about these games which works so well, even when I am doing bad in a match I still want to keep coming back for more.
"Battlefield: Modern Combat" was the first Battlefield game for home consoles, launching on the PS2 and Xbox (with a vastly superior Xbox 360 build coming a few years later, and yes, I have both versions), which was great for me since I hate PC games anyway. Out of all the games in the series, I would have to say that I spent the most with this one, simply because I could come home, boot the PS2, and get right into a helicopter. DirectX be damed.
After a few hundred hours logged, I started to see the maps as real battlefields, visualizing the movements of enemy combatants based on the geographical layout of the region and the outcomes of past engagements. Once I began to notice and react to these trends, my game got noticeably improved. I started telling my teammates about some of these patterns, and began giving them mission briefings before we started the match, predicting which points would be captured in which order, and which ones would be the most difficult to attack and defend at any given point in the battle. I even started to analyze the performance of the various vehicles in the game, and could identify the weak spots or shortcomings of a particular vehicle on it's approach, giving my squad the competitive edge in the engagement.
Eventually I decided to start documenting all of the things I noticed, and the result was the "Battlefield: Modern Combat Online Strategy Guide". This document aimed to cover everything I learned about combat in this game, from the most likely sniper positions on each map to how to best deal with an enemy tank.
I say aimed, because I never finished it. After working on it for months, I eventually didn't have the energy to continue. I noticed that a lot of the strategies became repetitive, and the fact of the matter was that I got much more detailed than necessary on a lot of aspects. Me being obsessive? Who knew?
I did finish enough of the guide to publish it online, and as a matter of fact the version hosted here on DigiFAIL is a bit more complete than the versions floating around on other sites, so we can consider this one a bit of an exclusive.
Tomcat Alley GuideYou remember this game, don't you? Well? No, of course you don't. That is because very few people in the world gave this game enough attention to warrant remembering it any longer than absolutely necessary, and that includes it's developers (more on that in a second).
"Tomcat Alley" is a product of a very awkward phase in video game development. SEGA had just introduced their SEGA CD console, marking (sort of) a quantum leap in game technology. SEGA gave developers the relatively unlimited storage capacity of CDs and the processing power necessary to play full motion video. The problem was, not a whole else changed about the console, so basically you had the ability to play movies tacked on to a regular SEGA Genesis. Accordingly, that is what most SEGA CD games ended up being, and "Tomcat Alley" is a prime example of this long-dead game genre.
Essentially, "Tomcat Alley" is just a bunch of videos of F-14's zipping around the sky and with poor actors wincing their way through an equally underwhelming script. These video clips are played in different order depending on what you do during the brief times you are able to actually select something on the screen. For example, when engaging an enemy fighter you need to move your targeting reticle onto the plane flying around in the video. If you hit the plane, a clip of a jet exploding will play, otherwise a video of your missile missing and the enemy plane circling back around you will play. So technically you do control the game, but it is more like a chose your own adventure than an interactive air combat game; in fact you never even fly the plane, you just shoot the weapons (for which their can obviously be only two possible outcomes).
You may be wondering why anyone would possibly write a guide for a game that is essentially the same as hitting the chapter select on a DVD. That is an excellent question, and one which I don't really have an answer for. I figured I might as well document the order the missions progress in, and how many enemies you could expect to face at a certain waypoint.
However, there was at least one part of the game that needed legitimate documentation, the secret mission. One day I noticed on the back of the box that it advertised having 7 missions, while I had only ever done 6. I went online and tried to find some information about this hidden mission, but not surprisingly there was very little online in regards to this game, let alone any secrets it may hold. After searching for weeks I eventually tracked down the game's developers "The Code Monkeys", and sent them an email about it. A few weeks later they responded that nobody on the staff could remember much about it. Amazing.
So I put the guide up as it was with 6 missions, and made a note at the end about looking for information about the 7th mission. Within a few months I had received a few emails about it with hazy details, and then finally received the exact requirements for triggering the mission from somebody who managed to do it accidentally. I was then able to play through the mission and document what happens for anyone who manages to get there.
While I don't think anyone who grew up on the modern generation of game consoles could possibly enjoy "Tomcat Alley", it will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember the first time I put the disc in and saw real live actors on the screen, I was simply blown away. Keep in mind that the game console I was playing on before I got the SEGA CD was an Atari 2600, so the jump was a bit of a shock to say the least. I do occasionally wonder if we will ever see such a huge leap in interactive entertainment in the future as we did in the early days, and if so, will our current games eventually be as ridiculous to us then as "Tomcat Alley" is now? Yeah, probably not.
The X-Files Game GuideIf "Tomcat Alley" represents everything that was wrong with the FMV point-and-click genre, then "The X-Files Game" could easily be considered it's antithesis. This game is one of the last major entries into the genre before it sulked away into a niche, and it is interesting to see just how far the technology had come; only to get utterly squashed by the 3D powerhouses that would soon end the need for live actors in video games.
"The X-Files Game" is essentially an interactive episode of the show. In fact, it even has an episode number and was written by the shows writers. While it isn't in the X-Files mythology (I.E. nothing of importance to the overall timeline or story occurs), it is still recognized as part of the series. If that isn't enough of an incentive for fans of the series to play this game, then I don't know what is.
Oh yeah, maybe it is because you don't play as either Agents Mulder or Scully, and even when those characters do show up it is only for a few brief scenes. Still, all of the principle actors from the series are here, and they give an excellent performance that wouldn't be out of place in a regular episode.
The game itself I found very entertaining, both from the standpoint of the story and how well it was all presented. Everything from the opening title sequence to the font used in the credits (which roll by even as you are playing the game, just like in the beginning of the show) is exactly the same as in the series. If you are a fan of the "X-Files", you are going to want to play this game. Even the box is worth the purchase price, are you seeing how cool that thing looks?
While the game was released for both the PC and PlayStation, my guide only covers the PC version. I understand that the PlayStation version is missing some content, and that the video quality is considerably reduced. The PC version is a massive 7 discs (only 4 on PlayStation, that should tell you something), and runs relatively well on modern computers. I wrote the guide using WINE on Linux, but I included information on how to get it running under recent releases of OS X and Windows as well.