The Lonely World of No Man's Sky

August 21st, 2016

This may be one of the most hyped media properties of the last two years. There was no way the finished product would live up to expectations, especially when those were built on unrealistic assumptions.

This isn't an outer-space shoot 'em up. Players looking for a fast-paced action game are going to be disappointed. Is it the fault of the developers? No. They promised an exploration game built on a dynamic, procedurally-generated universe. On that score, they delivered.

What we do get is a haunting, quiet experience. It rewards, well, just walking around and enjoying the world it creates. There …

Grand Theft Auto V

September 19th, 2013

They had it coming. I regret nothing.

They were hippies.  They had it coming.

Borderlands 2

September 18th, 2012

Bandit SMG

It's out, and it's good.

Little of Borderlands 2 will come as a surprise to those who played the first. The graphics and environments are slightly improved, but they aren't a departure. The interface is simplified, particularly regarding inventory management, and the mini-map is a welcome addition. Other than that, it's Borderlands, except it's Borderlands 2.

That's in no way a bad thing. The original game was phenomenal, but it could have used a few tweaks, which is what we've got here. There's more variety in weapons and locations, and the new classes are more versatile, …

Skyrim

November 15th, 2011

Balgruuf

As much as I'm enjoying this game, there's one thing that keeps poking in to that whole "suspension of disbelief" thing for me.

The entire cast talks like Motörhead roadies.

No, really. Half the characters speak in an accent just like this, and the native people are called the Nords. One of the towns is named Hrothgar, after the Danish king of the Scylding line. Whiterun is ruled by a Jarl, and one of the mead halls is called Jorrvaskur, which basically means "spunky pony."

It quickly becomes obvious that Skyrim is little more than a thinly-veiled piece of anti-Scandinavian …

On Civility

September 7th, 2011

Tea Party Zombies

Oh, this is just lovely. A company called StarvingEyes Advergaming is hosting a Flash game called Tea Party Zombies Must Die. It's a first-person shooter that allows the player to kill zombiefied versions of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and other Tea Party celebrities.

What's that again about conservatives being hate mongers?

Teabagging=Protected Speech

June 27th, 2011

The Supreme Court has ruled [pdf] against the state of California in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, striking down AB 1179 as an unconstitutionally vague restriction on free speech.

The law at hand provides for a fine of $1000 to be levied against retailers who sell or rent violent video games to minors. Using a modified version of the Miller test, the state would determine which games contained the necessary quotient of violence to qualify.  The majority opinion of the Court states that California's law does not address a "compelling" interest, and thus does not meet strict scrutiny.

Rejecting the notion that depictions of violence in video games are more vivid or dangerous than those in literature, Justice Scalia writes:

Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones. Crudely violent video games, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy, and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny-a question to which we devote our attention in Part III, infra. Even if we can see in them "nothing of any possible value to society . . . , they are as much entitled to the protection of free speech as the best of literature [footnote, p. 9]

He goes on to point out that many great works of literature, such as Grimm's Fairy Tales, the Odyssey, and Dante's Inferno feature harrowing acts of violence.

Spaaaace!

May 16th, 2011

Space Core, in space

Cave Johnson would be proud of the Space Personality Core.  No employee of Aperture Science has ever shown such utter devotion to a singular objective as this little guy.

His joy at the consummation of his duties is obvious, well-deserved, and enunciated with no small amount of enthusiasm.  Here's a short edit of his utterance, suitable for a ringtone.  Good luck out there, little buddy.  We're all proud of you.

Mass Effect 2: Life in the Margins

February 8th, 2010

Mass Effect was the story of a plucky commander uniting an oddball crew to save the galaxy.  Sure, there was a seedy underbelly, and folks tended to do some pretty shifty stuff at the fringes of civilization.  Part of the game involved confronting that from time to time, but we were led to expect a Gene Roddenberry happy ending for the most part.

That's certainly not the case in the sequel.  While the first game encouraged the player to navigate a fairly well-defined good/evil moral course, Mass Effect 2 forces us to wade through some fairly gray areas.

Spoilers ahead.

Flower

October 2nd, 2009

Flower

I can see why some folks wouldn't care for this game. You can't dual-wield weapons, the team deathmatch mode is sorely lacking, and the final boss is a pushover.

If that last sentence meant nothing to you, then you'll likely enjoy it.

Team Assegai

September 9th, 2009

Team Assegai

Ah, Wipeout.  It's only been ten years since the last proper release from the series game on home consoles.

Mass Effect and virtual pr0n

January 24th, 2008

Mass Effect

I've come to realize something very sad about myself.

I can't even get laid in a video game.

TF2: the Sniper

January 3rd, 2008

Now, back to the Sniper. Sure, everyone wants to play the Sniper. It's a class designed for the antisocial gamer. Sit on a hill, line up the scope, and nail someone who never saw it coming from half-a-mile away, right?

Not in this game. Most of the maps have you moving quickly, and at close-quarters. The Sniper's usual methods are actually a liability here. He needs to get solitary and keep his distance, and that's a hard thing to do in TF2.

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