Posts Tagged ‘video games’

When’s the last time you got excited over a video of a marching band playing at half-time?  It’s about to be right now.


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And no, I’m not talking about new television show Revolution, although after watching the first couple of episodes I’m afraid that’s true.  Nor am I talking about the first episode of Elementarywhich I was surprised to find I actually liked.  In fact, I’m not referring to a television show at all, and I’m not even sure why I brought it up.

I am referring to Resident Evil 6, the latest in the survival horror turned action shoot-em-up video game franchise .

I’ve been a fan of the Resident Evil games ever since I first played through Resident Evil 2 over the course of several nights in high school with a couple of friends.  We had a big screen, a dark room, and junk food.  It was fantastic.  I had the original Resident Evil on computer (no PS1 at the time), and I eventually accumulated my own copy of 2 on the Dreamcast, along with 3 and Code Veronica.  I own the remake of 1 on the Gamecube, along with 0 and 4.  But my most recent experience was co-opping my way through Resident Evil 5 with my friend Brian over spring break a couple of years ago.  We would play everyday during my son’s nap time.  It was fun, but I was keen on the ‘more action less horror’ path they seemed to be taking with it.  It’s like the games started becoming more like the movies instead of vice versa.

And now Resident Evil 6 comes along, and the critics are not pulling any punches.  It currently sits at a 66 on Metacritic, which, for as big a game as this is, is a  pretty terrible score.  Most of the descriptions confirm my fears;  lot’s of big action set pieces, very few moments of true horror.  I hate that.  Especially because the early trailers seemed to indicate it was going back that direction.  I’ll probably still get the game at some point.  But I’ll wait until it’s a bargain.

On a related note.  If you are looking for a zombie survival horror game done right, you will do no better than Tell-Tale’s The Walking Dead.  I’m a long-time fan of the comic, and the TV show, but this game blows away even my high expectations.  This is survival horror with an emphasis on survival.  It’s a game about making hard decisions when the world falls apart, and they don’t mess around either.  You have a finite amount of time with every choice, and if you waffle too much, the game just goes on.  So far I’ve had to choose who to save when two people are being attacked at once, what to do when a man gets his foot caught in a bear trap, and how to dole out four rations to ten people.   It’s a rough game.  Perfect for The Walking Dead.


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You may remember this post from a few months ago where I claimed Amnesia: The Dark Descent was the scariest video game ever made.  I stand by that claim, but it appears that there may soon be a rival for that crown.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Yes.  It’s the sequel to the scariest game ever made, and I can already tell it’s going to be frightening by the fact that the title makes no sense but still creeps me out.  Then, of course, there’s the trailer:

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Why do you want to kill me, Mario? Why?

I wish I could have sat in on the pitch meeting 25 years ago when Nintendo was developing Super Mario Bros.  I want to know who when posed the question “What is this plumber going to fight?”, answered “Turtles”.  I imagine the room going quiet before he says it, everyone’s mind racing, running through all of the possible villains, but knowing that none of them were quite right.  And then:


They all look at one another and nod wisely.  Of course.  Turtles.   What else could possibly serve so well?

I wonder why he chose turtles.  Maybe he has some deep-seated fear stemming from a traumatic terrapinian past occurrence known to his family as “The Turtle Incident”, that may or may not have involved a fat mustachioed man jumping on one’s back.

I guess some questions are best left for the philosophers.

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Grim Fandango (1998) introduced 3D graphics in...

Image via Wikipedia

Half Life 2
Labyrinth of Worlds

Image via Wikipedia

Aren’t All-Time Great lists fun?  I came across this one today that lists the top 100 PC games of all time as determined by PC Gamer.  Of course I think there are a few omissions (3 Lucasarts adventure games, and not one from Sierra?  Come on now, be reasonable.), and I believe Half-Life 2 should probably be number 1 instead of 2, but despite the flaws, there are some good things on here plus some stuff I’ve never heard of.  I have 32 of them.  Although a few of those — Fallout 3, Beyond Good & EvilKnight’s of the Old Republic — I have on a console, not my PC.  Here are the ones I have:

  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Far Cry 2
  • Ultima Underworld II
  • Crysis
  • Braid
  • Beyond Good & Evil
  • Monkey Island 2
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • The Longest Journey
  • Diablo II
  • Grim Fandango
  • Day of the Tentacle
  • Company of Heroes
  • Mass Effect
  • Mafia
  • Homeworld
  • Max Payne 2
  • Bioshock
  • Doom 2
  • Knights of the Old Republic
  • Baldur’s Gate II
  • Ultima VII: The Black Gate
  • Portal
  • GTA IV
  • Civilization IV
  • Fallout 3
  • Planescape: Torment (Best RPG ever, by the way)
  • Fallout
  • Rome: Total War
  • Half-Life
  • Half-Life 2
  • Deus Ex

So which of the greats am I missing out on?   Can I still claim to be a PC gamer if I’ve never played System Shock 2?  Can I still be a Star Wars Fan if I’ve never played Star Wars: TIE FighterI?  Please.  Help me fill the gaps in my gaming education.

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You can keep your Modern Warfares.  Here’s the game I’d like this holiday season.

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I set a few goals for myself at the beginning of 2011, and now that we’re half-way through the year I think it is a good time to evaluate if I’m on track to achieve them.

Goal: Watch an average of six movies per month

Status: 28/36

I’ve fallen way behind.  I thought summer would be a good time to get caught up, but I still haven’t watched many.  The problem is that my son has decided not to go to sleep until 10:00 or later, and it significantly cuts into my movie watching time.  I mean, he could have stayed up and watched 127 Hours with me the other night, but I think the language may have been too strong for him.  I did finally see the new True Grit, and it’s fantastic.  Go watch it.

Goal: Read 30 books at least 5 nonfiction

Status: 20/30 and 5/5

Two thirds of the way through my fiction books, and done with my nonfiction.  It’s a good time to accomplish my next goal.

Goal: Re-read The Lord of the Rings

Status: I’m about 200 pages into The Fellowship of the Ring.  They’re still brilliant by the way.  One new thing I noticed this time through.   As Tom Bombadil is digging through the Barrow Wight’s treasure, he decides to keep a brooch.  It says “He looked long at it, as if stirred by some memory, shaking his head, and saying at last: ‘Here is a pretty toy for Tom and for his lady! Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder.  Goldberry shall wear it now, and we will not forget her!'”.   Who is she?  There is considerable discussion on the internet about the mystery of Tom’s brooch if you search for it.

Goal: Beat more video games than I buy

Status: Beaten – 11, Bought – 9

I’m two ahead!  So far this year I’ve beaten Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Mario Kart Wii, Gray Matter, Fallout 3, Alan Wake, Darksiders, Ultima: Quest of the Avatar, and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.  I would be a lot farther ahead if Steam didn’t decide to do a ridiculously great sale this week.

Goal: Play more tennis matches

Status:  one

Well, that may be more, but it’s still not what I hoped for.

Goal: Write more

Status: 5 blog posts per week and one short story rough draft

Still doing well on this.  I’ll try and keep up the good work.

There you have it.  A quarterly review of my goals for 2o11.  I hope you are finding time to do something you enjoy.

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