“So do you guys have, um, any screenshots of this stuff?” I asked, in what was clearly the most professional possible way after getting a demo of EVE: Valkyrie from the Oculus Rift team at GDC.
It’s a little known fact that, behind the scenes at Tap, everyone is required to report every game they so much as look at. This is important so that we know who to ostracize for their gaming tastes in the secret staff forum. In this, the first installment of On Tap, our newest regular feature, we share some of our current gaming adventures: ones that don’t rate an article of their own – good, bad, or ugly – or ones still percolating in our tiny minds. This is important so that we know who to ostracize for not contributing to On Tap any given week.
Just…just assume everyone else’s contribution this time would have been Dark Souls 2. That’s probably where they are right now, in Drangleic. Except maybe Steerpike, who might be driving to Oklahoma as we speak with an axe and a shovel and fire in his eyes. But mostly Dark Souls 2.
Today, Dix and Steerpike take the tap.
The approach to meet with Jane Jensen kind of seemed like a scene from one of her games. I had an email, a time, and a location: an unnamed building off the main conference site identified only by a number. When I arrived, I had a secret code to enter into the door. Behind the door was one shiny elevator, and a series of mailboxes. One was marked with a mysterious note. I was worried that there was going to be a puzzle here to solve. But then to my relief I was buzzed up, and invited into the Phoenix Online Suite.
Then I checked out some of the games. Read on…
Dear Murderous Cockweasel,
Congratulations! You are an asshole.
You must be enjoying Dark Souls 2, with its exciting new fiction and hearty, vivacious PvP multiplayer. You must be! The exuberance with which you killed me as I stood idle at the Heide’s Tower bonfire proves this. As it proves your worth as a person – yes, you, carrying your ridiculous, giant-ass oh-so-obviously-compensating-for-your-pencil-junk Final Fantasy sword. Because it takes a true player (dare I say, playa) to kill someone WHO ISN’T THERE.
Hi Tap! I’m out at GDC 2014 this week, reporting from the expo and talking to the people who make the games. I hope to post some previews and news throughout the conference! This first writeup is just a trip report with some highlights from my first two/three days.
I thought Arkham Origins was good, even if it fell short of its predecessors. Tough acts to follow. In true internet form, of course, the narrative quickly became that Origins was hugely disappointing. Things are either a huge success or a monstrous failure these days, I suppose.
Of course, many – myself included – point at the decision to take Rocksteady off the series and instead develop Origins in-house at Warner Bros. Games Montreal. This seemed like the usual corporate tomfoolery that, at a certain point, we’ve all come to expect when a big publisher has a killer franchise on their hands, abandoning the studio that had forged a path and counting on name recognition to continue to move copies. This – coupled with the fact that Origins was a prequel – felt particularly egregious, considering the conclusion of Arkham City.
Rocksteady was mum for a while on what they were doing instead of a third Arkham game. It turns out that what they were doing was the fourth Arkham game.
Much has been said about Double Fine’s Broken Age. Maybe because it’s Tim Schafer’s first point-and-click adventure game since 1998′s Grim Fandango. Maybe because it’s a huge Kickstarter success story, earning well over $3 million by the end – one million of that in the first day – after only asking for $400,000. Maybe because of the near-catastrophic announcement last year that development on Broken Age was behind schedule and over budget, enough that hitting their original release goal would require cutting 75% of the game.
I’ve been really busy lately, so I’m going to step up to the plate and bunt.
If you like South Park, the TV show, you’ll like South Park: The Stick of Truth. If you don’t like South Park, the TV show, you won’t like South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Yesterday afternoon found me at my desk with the vague expression of a lobotomy patient or a recreational user of thorazine. If a passerby had said “whatcha thinking about?” I’d have said, “Nothin’,” which was better than the truth. I was really thinking about narwhals, and Kate Beckinsale. I rarely think of narwhals, since they don’t usually impinge on my day. Kate Beckinsale is a more frequent mental guest, though not one I typically associate with narwhals – or, indeed, with any marine life. Then, because I hate myself, this reverie was interrupted by The Other Voice: “No wonder that Thief article is four days late, you’re so busy there.” God damned Inner Guilt.
Being a couple days late on a game nobody expects much from isn’t a big deal, but yesterday had been a bad day – and I’ve been late on stuff a lot recently, and kinda kicking myself for not having as much time to write like I did, and the usual. Something about the day made an otherwise innocuous deadline push feel like a double helping of Ennui Cake topped by the Scrotum-Pulverizingly Judgmental Cherry of Self-Loathing. Fortunately, my mood was about to improve dramatically.
I love a good city builder, particularly classical or medieval-themed ones. From Caesar III to Tropico to Grand Ages: Rome to Hinterland to Pharaoh to others that escape me and must therefore not have been overly memorable, if you’ve made a game about putting together and running a city, chances are I’ll be in line to buy it. So when Rock, Paper, Shotgun shared what was – for me – the first gameplay video of Shining Rock Software’s Banished, the question was less whether than when.
Does it live up to my hopes? Read on to find out!