My friend Colin McComb is trying to decide what to do next. He’s wrapped his work on Wasteland 2, and some other stuff coming down the pike still leaves him with a bit of spare time on his hands. If I had spare time on my hands, I’d stare at the wall, or fail to clean the house, or watch something I’ve already seen. Colin, on the other hand, might be a bit more productive…
After a rush on Black Friday, I am now the proud owner of a PlayStation 3 console. That allows me to pick up on some games that I have missed (more on that later). But it also allows me to watch Blu-ray movies, such as the Red Vs. Blue full series Blu-rays that I was itching to dig into, but unable to previously view.
Even though I got these at the start of the month, I’m actually a little glad I was able to watch them simultaneously with playing Halo 4. (And more on that, later, as well.) Halo 4 actually turns out to contain a surprising amount of Red Vs. Blue inspired throwbacks. And Red Vs. Blue slowly develops, over the course of the series, away from being a pure farce and more into being an actual wing of the Halo franchise. It’s an interesting symbiosis.
Below, some spoilers for Red Vs. Blue, all seasons. Very minor first-hour spoilers for Halo 4.
Captain’s Log, Final Entry
In my ongoing quest to find the best games attached to the Star Trek franchise, I’ve delved into the depths of history, the formative years of PC gaming, the “golden age” of the fifteen years ago, and the slow death of the franchise in gaming. Somehow, though, I always knew that we would come back to one of the earliest Star Trek games, one of the first I ever played.
The year was 1992. The company was Interplay.
The final episode of The Walking Dead, Season One, dropped onto Steam this week. Now that the series is over, I’d like to take a moment to review that experience with a particular focus on the game’s narrative choice system.
My previous review was careful about giving too much away, but, this analysis will contain spoilers for episodes One through Four. If you aren’t totally sure if you want to read further, I’d suggest picking up The Walking Dead Season Pass and giving it a play before joining me below the cut. If you’re on the fence, know that it looks to be a Game of the Year nominee. And though I don’t ascribe ultimate importance to that award, I voted for The Walking Dead this year without hesitation.
“So that’s your homework,” said Ben Hoyt of 47Games, then chuckled. This was Friday.
Ben’s been a good friend for years now. I met him back in 2006, when he was working for EA. I’ve never known anyone who can deconstruct a game as skillfully as Ben; he’s made for this industry. He’s a ludic genius. We don’t hang out enough – he lives in California and I live in Michigan and we only see each other at conferences. My homework was to get a copy of Halo 4 and play it, because we’re planning to record a podcast on the Mass Effect series and he wants to add a discussion of Halo to it, since they’re both epic sci-fi shooters and we’re going to contrast them.
I haven’t even completed the first part of my assignment (get a copy of Halo 4) – I was going to do so today. But last night I thought I’d fire up the old 360 and watch some Netflix, only to see a painfully familiar series of blinking lights on its display.
I’d been on-again, off-again about doing a Culture Clash article for the IGDA on the Kickstarter phenomenon. I mean, would my observations add that much? And what you’ll see below isn’t exactly a Kickstarter article, but a rumination on the nature and future of AAA games in general. The idea came from a remark by Ubisoft’s Patrick Redding, with whom I tend to agree on most things.
How is it all related to Cultures and the Clashing thereof? Gamer culture is constantly in flux, and I think it’s often more nuanced than anyone – developers, publishers, gamers themselves – give it credit for. If the rise of the Kickstarted game leads to major financial success, that means that AAA production values aren’t the only way to make millions. Heck, Minecraft already proved that. The lessons of what we’re seeing in new funding models may give us insight into the way gamers think, desire, and buy.
When Kickstarter really took off, I told myself that I wouldn’t use Tap as a forum to promote every single Kickstarter that our readers ought to support if they’re really our friends. And I’ve done pretty well thus far, I think!
But Cloud Imperium’s Star Citizen is, put simply, the most exciting game I can think of coming out in the next few years. It has the outstanding Wing Commander pedigree (courtesy of designer Chris Roberts) and aims to resuscitate a genre thought dead. And as we speak there are only days remaining to help Star Citizen reach even more outrageous levels of funding.
I’ve already said what I would have gone on to say about the starfighter sim genre, in my first ever article for Tap! (The circle, as they say, is now complete.) So if you need convincing, read that.
If you don’t, go ahead and show Star Citizen some love – before it’s too late!
Please forgive my indulgence in some backloggery-related ephemera today.
A game called Halo 4 is out! Perhaps you have heard of it.
I would be writing up my Impressions, but I have not gotten to play it yet. The reasons for this are myriad but could mostly be summed up with the words “money” and “time.” I have been busy this week. I’m working on a game! And I have another thing on my plate too.
See, I got another hit of the Red Vs. Blue for a review. It was sent post-hurricane and the review embargo on it is lifted. There is a small problem, which I must enumerate. We are, in fact, a Halo Household. That means …
This week I was fortunate enough to dig into the demo for the upcoming title adventure game title Primordia by Wormwood Studios. Primordia is a game about artificial life, which takes place in a world where robots descended from Man. Left to find their own way, robots worship Mankind as God, while struggling to do Man’s work of caring for the world around them. I love the classic adventure game style, and Primordia delivers on that front.
After the jump, my preview impressions, and an interview with the designer. We discuss the game’s influences, but mostly, the subject of gender diversity in a world of robots.
I struck out pretty much as early as possible today to take in Disney’s latest, Wreck-It Ralph, partially because I was excited and partially because I wanted to get there before schools got out and the weekend commenced. I thought I’d do a little review, and also consider how the movie, which features an uncountable number of video game character cameos, fits into our recent troubles of game culture perception. Because, you know, that’s kinda what we do here, and I, for one, wouldn’t mind a little not-terrible news out of the gaming periphery.
I shall endeavor to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but there might be a few.
It’s been a while since a few of us got together for a group impressions piece. The last one we did for Bloodline Champions was, in all honesty, a bastard to organise. The ‘A Weekend With’ feature should have been called ‘A Painful Exercise In Arranging A Group Across Multiple Disparate Time Zones’, but that didn’t quite have the same ring to it. This time however, things have been a lot simpler, mainly because Matthew ‘Steerpike’ Sakey and Max ‘xtal’ Boone are a lot simpler, but also because they both share the same time zone (Center of Universe Time, I’m told).
With the help of our not-so-trusty AI gunner (who Max affectionately named ‘Chesty Larue’), the three of us were intent on conquering the skies in Muse Games’ aeronautical multiplayer shooter Guns of Icarus Online. However, our intent was one thing, the reality was quite another…
In the story of the week last week, the biggest story is that the story became its own story. Confusing? Possibly, but this is exactly why it serves as an awesome way to describe gaming culture in a nutshell: nerds debating tiny, insignificant details that make no sense whatsoever to people from the outside looking in and then succeeding in blowing the debate up so thoroughly that real people were definitely injured in making of this video… or news story… or opinion column, whatever.
The internet is a funny beast, no better demonstrated than the fallout from the Robert Florence/Eurogamer saga. What’s amusing about all this isn’t the fact that Robert dared to question journalistic integrity versus public relations, but the fact that one individual (and no doubt a collective behind said individual) chose to take it upon themselves to censor a fellow colleague, in an effort to save face – coming off worse in the process. The fallout from such …
Happy Halloween, Tappers. How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? All’s peachy here so far, so I managed to sneak out today to see the movie based on one of my favorite video games of all time. That’s right: Silent Hill 3 was made into a movie, which is technically Silent Hill 2, but the movie is based on 3, and not 2. Got that? I am going to review that film, which is called Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (but which I did not see in 3D) below the jump, in a manner that contains lots of bulleted lists, and lots of spoilers! But don’t worry too much: if you know the story of Silent Hill 3, you already know the story of Silent Hill: Revelation.
Dishonored and XCOM came out on the same day in the United States, doing few favors to the free time of serious gamers. As for me personally? I haven’t had any free time in the past six months. It’s been one very long, very exhausting sprint of professional responsibilities, leaving me scarcely time to check my email, let alone immerse myself in games. I haven’t seen anyone socially in months. And then Dishonored and XCOM arrive, both on the same day, and of course I bought them both because I’m me, and here I am trying to insert slivers of play time no wider than acupuncture needles here and there into the unyielding mass of my schedule. Luckily I think that’s a light further on down the tunnel, so hopefully things will go back to normal soon. And I have been finding a little time to play.