The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Resident Evil news!

Polygon reports today that a remaster of the GameCube-exclusive Resident Evil remake is coming to PC, Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One in 2015. It seems that any changes will be largely to improve graphics and controls- basically a spit-shine to a game that already looks terrific even on hardware that's more than a decade old.
You will also have a choice of playing the game in its classic 4:3 ratio or 16:9 widescreen, while an additional choice of controls will be available including the classic Resident Evil control scheme.
Ah, the classic control scheme. I'm playing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on Playstation 3 right now and boy, it's tough to go back to that old play style. Not gonna lie, I've died a few times just trying to get Jill to run in the right direction! An update-ening will be most welcome.

I don't know about you, but I'm super psyched for this. The REmake is on my "favorite games of forever" shortlist, and it's pretty much the reason I've held on to my GameCube all these years. Seeing it with a graphical polish and playing it with the DualShock 4 is going to be such a treat, I can't wait.

Now Capcom just needs to read the other pages in my Game Dream Diary and give RE2Nemesis, and Code Veronica the remake treatment...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's face it...

...the best thing about the Resident Evil series is that the official soft drink of Raccoon City is called Trish.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am totally Destiny's child

I'm sure glad the Destiny Beta is offline for a few days, because I am having so much fun with it that I don't want to do anything else. For real! Sleeping? Pfft. Eating? Whatever. This is how people end up dead in South Korean internet cafés...I need to watch out!

But there's just so much to do, even if it's a Beta. Sure, the level cap is set at a mere 8 and there are only about five story missions to play, but there's so much to see and discover that there's always something new around the corner. And since there are three classes (Titan, Hunter, and Warlock), well, I'd might as well try them all...I'm telling you, it's dangerous.

straight-up reposin'

Destiny is my first MMO and to be honest, I wasn't sure I'd dig it. I have always been a Single Player Lady, vastly preferring the story-driven experience (I'm a huge lore nerd) and the ability to explore and linger as I please to people being all up in my virtual grill. While I have soloed plenty of Destiny (it works very well as a single-player game, at least so far) I find myself loving the community and I'm endlessly entertained by the antics. The first time I saw a group of players dancing together at the Tower (the social/vendor hub), I lost my mind. ("You've never seen that? It's an MMO thing," said Travis. Suddenly I felt like Encino Man or something.) There's something really special about teaming up with a stranger for a moment in the field, simply to take down an enemy or complete a random event, before saluting each other and moving on. Again, this is old news to MMO vets, but I find it fascinating.

I'm even super into The Crucible, where all the PvP matches take place...and believe me, that's not usually my thing whatsoever. The only multiplayer I've had any enthusiasm for is that of Mass Effect 3, because it's more teamwork-based and goal-oriented beyond "kill the other players". However, I'm having a helluva good time killing the other players. My skills are quickly improving, but even when I'm consistently murdered by some opposing superstar, it's actually fun. Who knew?

Look at these badasses...that's Travis holding the flag, and me getting my face obscured by said flag.

I'm loving it all so much, in fact, that I started an online clan: Mo Glimmer, Mo Problems. Sign up and participate in the forums! You can sign up even if you're not playing Destiny, though that will certainly be a large focus of the group. Become clanmates (on PSN or XBox) with fellow members and play online together! I'm hoping folks actually join; forming fireteams is much fun and helpful for taking down the big bad guys. Might as well reap rewards with people you know!

I was a robot lady for a while

As far as my issues with the game go (story is pretty thin, context is desperately needed, the world feels sparse), I'm taking the "it's just the Beta, I'll wait and see" approach. Overall, this taste of Destiny has me even more excited for the full release on September 9th. I just hope I remember to sleep...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The men of Resident Evil, ranked!

Yesterday my friend Travis and I ranked our favorite lady-folk from the Resident Evil series, and today we're fixin' to do the mens.

Favorite Male Characters (Stacie)

1. The Original Zombie

That's a guy, right? I assume? What a way to introduce the player to the fact that there are zombies all over Spencer Mansion! You're just wandering around empty hallways, looking for your missing S.T.A.R.S. teammates, then BAM, there's a zombie layin' the chomp down on a very dead Kenneth of Bravo Team. And then the zombie looks at you! And it's gross! And then it gets up and starts shambling after you, and if you are me (or Jill Valentine) you momentarily lose your shit and you run. So good.

2. The Guy Who Says "Resident...Evil"

Sure, it's not the same guy every time, but you know what I mean. I can't say "Resident Evil" out loud without doing a horrible impression of this "scary" voice. That is just a warning, should you and I ever meet in person. I love love love how corny it always is (and sometimes it's so bad. SO BAD.)! If a Resident Evil game is ever released that doesn't feature this series staple, my anger will tear apart the heavens! Or I'll at least be like "Aw man."

3. Barry Burton

"I found something. It's a weapon. It's really powerful, especially against living things!" How great is Barry? Jill's Spencer Mansion partner and BFF is everyone's BFF. He's so befuddled by everything going on, and this befuddlement is a source of never-ending amusement ("I hope this is not Chris's blood!"). As if his dad jokes ("Jill Sandwich", anyone?) and his beard didn't already put him over the top, then he goes and fixes that annoying broken doorknob. Whatta guy!

4. Alfred Ashford

I talked about how super and superior Alexia Ashford is yesterday, remember? Well, her twin brother Alfred is like the Dollar Tree version of her. Inferior in every way, which has given him such a complex that he's taken to busting out his Caboodle and slathering makeup on his mug in an attempt to steal some of Alexia's shine. I don't blame him, though...we've all been there.

5. Clive O'Brian

BSAA Chief O'Brian pretty boring, right? How the frig is he my #5 favorite? Well, I find that he bears more than a passing resemblance to Peter Falk, which means that whenever I play Resident Evil: Revelations, I get to do my exceedingly bad Columbo impression ad nauseam. Why, just looking at his picture there is giving me all sorts of "Ah, just one more thing..." feelings.

6. The Merchant from Resident Evil 4

Man, when Resident Evil finally decides to give players an item shop, they sure do it in the weirdest fucking way possible. Out in the woods, in a cave...wherever you meet him, he's got some rare things on sale, stranger! What're ya buyin'?

7. Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil 2 only!)

I'm not sure why Capcom has such a boner for Leon, putting him front and center in all the CGI movies and so many games. Overall he's pretty damn bland if you ask me (GO AHEAD AND ASK ME), but I admit I have a soft spot for overwhelmed little baby rookie cop Leon in Resident Evil 2, because I love that game so much.

8. Brian Irons

As if battling your way through a walking dead-infested Raccoon City wasn't enough, you find out that Police Chief Irons has sold out to the evil Umbrella Corporation. Even worse, he's a total lunatic who murdered several officers under his charge. Even WAY worse, he killed the mayor's daughter and want to stuff the body and keep it as a "trophy". He's one of the biggest lunatics in the entire series, so of course he's on my list!

9. Helicopter Mike

We never even see his face, but oh how Helicopter Mike flew directly into our hearts! Or my heart, anyway. Is that a Noo Yawk accent? A Bahstun accent? Who cares! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go write some fanfiction where Helicopter Mike survives and he and Leon go have those drinks and then they fall in love and then they get married and Claire is at the wedding.

10. Brad Vickers

What! Brad "Chickenheart" Vickers? He deserves no place on any list! Oh yes he does! Wait, why am I arguing with myself here? Sorry about that. Listen, I know Brad is a big jerk, flying away in the chopper right when his teammates could use an evac. Or when he runs away instead of really telling Jill what's going on, that a huge fucking monster is about to relentlessly hunt her down. He's the worst! How did this wuss ever make it into S.T.A.R.S. to begin with? All that said, I really admire his full commitment to being an asshole.

Favorite Male Characters (Travis)

1. Barry Burton

Barry is your best friend in the Spencer Mansion. He’s there for you giving you grenades, lock picks, and saving you from getting all smushed-like. More than that, he’s representative of that enormous feeling of relief you get when you run into another living person in the Mansion. He’s also got a lot going on with his personal life, thanks to Wesker, and that leads him to have to make some pretty heavy decisions.

2. Albert Wesker

Albert is a big ol’ meanie head. Like, seriously, what a jerk. He makes for a great villain, though. Especially in Resident Evil. You don’t really know what’s going on with him. Do you trust him? With so much going on in that mansion, you don’t really time to think about it. He’s smart about his shenanigans, using the Spencer Mansion goings on as a diversion. It takes one heck of a team of S.T.A.R.S. to thwart a menacing menace like Wesker.

3. Piers Nivans

I love Piers. Seriously, he’s really great. He’s there to knock some sense into Chris when Chris is being obnoxious. Which is like, all the damn time in RE 6.  I’ll get into that later. It’s obvious that Piers cares a great deal about Chris. They’ve been through a lot together and when Piers makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Chris, it has a definite impact. The chapters starring Chris in RE 6 were almost unbearably annoying, but seeing Chris and Piers grow to depend on each other was really believable.

4. Richard Aiken

Oh, man. Richard wasn’t around a ton in Resident Evil, but he played a really impactful part. That whole section of the game where you have to save him from the poison was really gripping. It speaks a lot about the feeling of dread and loneliness that old school Resident Evil was able to evoke. When I rushed to get the antivenom for Richard it wasn’t just so he could live, it was also so I could have another friend alive in the mansion. Saving Richard was such a small but rewarding victory that allowed you to be briefly hopeful. When Richard ultimately meets his doom, it’s not only sad, it’s representative of how easily that hope can be snuffed out.

5. Chris Redfield

Let me be honest. I don’t really like Chris. Not anymore. It doesn’t have to do with his giant muscles or anything to do with not liking the newer games he stars in. I’ve always thought Chris was a little bland. I didn’t really get into his story in Resident Evil. Heck, I didn’t even save him from the Spencer Mansion detonation my first playthrough. But at least then he wasn’t incredibly offensive. As time went on Chris devolved into a massive man-child. Obnoxious doesn’t really begin to cover it. He’s been through a lot, that’s for sure, but his reactions don’t always make sense to me. When everyone else is moving on and dealing with what’s going on, Chris is throwing tantrums. He’s become selfish. So the Chris on this list is the one who picks himself up and deals with the shitty shitfest situations placed in front of him. Strength is representative of character, Capcom. 

6. Robert Kendo

Classic RE dialogue such as “Whew, sorry babe, I thought you were one of them!” and “But don’t you worry, girly! It’s safe in here. I’m keeping a close eye on things.” Unfortunately Kendo meets his demise almost immediately after uttering those last words. On the bright side, you get a shiny new weapon!

7. Jake Muller

Jake is kind of annoying to begin with. Eventually he becomes more likable, especially as his relationship develops with Sherry. At the conclusion of their scenario I was honestly a bit disappointed that they didn’t fly to Honolulu for an impromptu wedding. Jake’s macho compensation bullshit rebel attitude becomes much more tolerable when you realize that he’s not just in it for the money and ends up FIST FIGHTING the monster that has been tormenting you the entire game. As an added bonus he can be a pretty snappy dresser and he’s easy on the eyes.

8. Freaky Leech Dudes from Resident Evil 0

I’m not taking about the mega-leech dude. I’m talking about the ones that whip their arms back and forth in a manner that would make Willow Smith’s hair cry in a corner. Them dudes was freaky. I remember I spent TWENTY MINUTES psyching myself up to run past one of those assholes because I knew he was in a hallway just waiting to slap Billy’s ass as he ran by. Ugh. FREAKED ME OUT.

9. Marvin Branagh

Thanks for info…sorry I had to shoot you. R.I.P.

10. Alfred Ashford

Loopy doesn’t even begin to describe Alfred. He were crazy, he were. Dressing as his sister, sniping at you in a somewhat annoying battle. In fact, somewhat annoying is a pretty good way to describe Alfred overall. He was an extremely entertaining nuisance, that really made you realize you had gotten yourself into some mad shit.

And that's that, all our favorite humans! If there's one thing we've learned from all these lists, it's that Resident Evil is so great. Wait, we already knew that! Hmm, maybe we didn't learn anything. That's okay...learning is for nerds.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The ladies of Resident Evil, ranked!

I still remember my first encounter with Resident Evil: I saw the original big box version at a Blockbuster and rented it for a weekend of gaming with a friend. We started playing and it promptly blew my mind. There was a live-action opening sequence! There was exploration and puzzles! It was scary (dogs crashing through windows, man...)! I could play as a female character! I fell in love fast and hard, and over the years my ardor ain't abated a single bit. This is not to say that I'm a total dummy about it; I have more than my share of qualms with the direction Capcom has taken the series. Once upon a time, I used to buy consoles just so I could play an exclusive Resident Evil title on them, but since Part 5 they're no longer Day One buys for me. Hell, sometimes they're not even Year One purchases anymore. I play them all eventually, though, and even in the worst games I can find a lot to praise (Operation Raccoon City is a shit ton of fun...SO SUE ME). All of this is to say that while I may have been a normal(ish) lady prior to discovering it, Resident Evil is simply a part of me now. You know, like a giant eyeball growing out of my arm.

My love of Resident Evil is a bit like herpes: it's always there, and it will never go away. But sometimes it flares up and consumes my everything. Right now, the fever has got me in its grip, y'all, and I've been playing everything I can get my hands on. I've been subjecting my friend Travis to gaming sessions and endless blah blah blah about it all...and he doesn't care a single bit because he's pickin' up what I'm puttin' down. After ample "I love this character..." / "Well, I love this character...", we decided to formalize our character loves with some Top 10 lists because The Internet fucking loves lists.

Today, we're gonna talk about our favorite Resident Evil ladies because let's face it, the women in the series are way more interesting than the men.

Favorite Female Characters (Stacie)

1. Jill Valentine

I mean, this is a big fat DUH, right? Of course. But listen, as a lady gamer it's important to me that I can play as lady characters (and that the characters are, you know, not lame), and Jill is one of the best lady characters of all time. She's no second-class member of S.T.A.R.S. who flails around with her boobs going every which way, flirting her way through the horror, oh no. Jill is all business, and her business is getting shit done.

2. Jill Valentine

That's right, she's also my Number Two because her greatness cannot be contained to a mere one spot on my favorites list. The advantages to playing as Jill instead of Chris in the original game (increased number of inventory slots, lockpicks, grenade launcher, avoiding the Plant 42 battle altogether) mean I'd choose her even if she weren't so badass.

3-5. Jill Valentine

She took down the Nemesis while in her civilian gear. She isn't all that phased to find her hair newly-blonde after surviving Wesker's mind control experiments. Jill has seen some shit, but she keeps on keepin' on in her quest to take down Umbrella and any other assholes who create bioweapons. She's the motherfucking Master of Unlocking, and she's just the best.

6. Claire Redfield

I'm not sure that Claire ever gets enough credit in the scheme of things. She's not some highly-trained special forces soldier who's been gettin' her combat on for years. At the beginning of Resident Evil 2, she's just a college kid who rides into Raccoon City (on a motorcycle! Claire is so rad.) looking for her brother Chris. When she discovers the city is overrun with zombies, she's all "Okay." and rescues a kid and gets the hell out of there. She has no qualms about following Chris's trail to Umbrella's goddamn headquarters (so brave, Claire, SO BRAVE), and after she's captured, she basically responds to Steve Burnside's "I'll rescue you!" with "I'll rescue myself, thanks." I know one of her amazing jackets says LET ME LIVE, but that shit needs to say LET ME BE GREAT.

7. Helena Harper

If you played Resident Evil 6, then you know that ex-Secret Service Agent Helena has a secret. She'll tell you what her secret is real soon, right after you get to a place! Okay, she won't tell you then, but she'll tell you when you get to the next place, honest. Or maybe the place after that. For real this time! Aw, I don't mean to tease...Helena is awesome and super protective of her little sister. She's also the gayest lady in all of Resident Evil. Come on, she is such a big ol' dyke! Her outfit makes me wish that she'd star in a new TV detective show called Cagney and Lacey and Helena.

8. Alexia Ashford

A super-brilliant badass bitch who is better, smarter, and insanier than me and you and everyone else ever. She injects herself with the t-Veronica virus and lets it gestate during a 15-year cryogenic sleep so she can become even more superior. Oh yeah, and in one of her mutations she turns into a giant vagina-looking thing, so that's obviously worth something.

9. Ada Wong

Ada Wong, aka FLAWLESS QUEEN. She is an oh-so-mysterious double/triple/quadruple agent whose only loyalty is to herself. Who does she work for? Is she a good guy or a bad guy? Do we really know? Do we actually care? NO, because no matter the circumstances, Ada will show up at the last second, backflipping her way onto the scene in some hot red number, throw someone a grenade launcher, and she'll save the day. To what end? I don't care!

10. Rebecca Chambers

I have to admit, I forget about Rebecca a lot of the time even though she's been with the series from the start and even starred in her own title (Resident Evil 0). But when Resident Evil Fever really has me in its clutches and I re-read (YES, RE-READ) all those trashy novels- especially Caliban Cove, aw yeah- I'm reminded that I can, in fact, love a character who often wears a headband and can best be described as "plucky."

Honorable Mention: Lisa Trevor

The Resident Evil remake for GameCube is perfect, thanks in large part to the addition of Lisa Trevor to the RE mythos. She is one of the most tragic figures in the franchise, horribly disfigured thanks to the experiments foisted on her by Umbrella since she was a young teenager. She's also fucking terrifying, moaning and groaning and clanking her chains as she slowly pursues you through the dark. She's a monster who just wants her mommy!

Favorite Female Characters (Travis)

1. Rachael Foley

Rachael really deserved better. She’s only alive for about .5 seconds in Resident Evil Revelations and whoever designed her decided that her breasts should be on the brink of a destructive nip slip at all times. She’s a classic Resident Evil NPC, born to die. There are many reasons that I love Rachael, and it’s sort of hard to explain. Let’s just say Rachael’s on the scene and call it good.

2. Claire Redfield

Everyone wants to be Claire. And why wouldn’t they? She’s effortlessly badass. Like she was born into that Made in Heaven jacket. There’s no bullshit, in your face attitude compensating for anything. She’s tough as nails and she proves that when she saves herself and some annoying kid from many, many horrifying creatures in Resident Evil 2. Afterwards she casually decides to stroll on up to an Umbrella facility and rescue her brother. Just ask Claire’s old pal Steve Burnside how tough she is. He’ll tell you.

3. Jill Valentine

Everyone loves Jill. She’s the OG RE hero and she doesn’t mess around. What I love most about Jill isn’t that she picks locks or that she would go great on any sandwich. It’s that she really grows as a character. And you grow with her. She starts out getting freaked by that zombie eating Kenneth (May he R.I.P.) but by the end of Resident Evil Jill is done with everyone’s shit and you are right there with her. Jill is a survivor, through and through. She gets turned into a remote controlled villain, gets chased relentlessly and poisoned by one nasty Nemesis. She even gets turned blonde by the magic of Resident Evil science. My bff Jill does not give one.

4. Cindy Lennox

It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite from Resident Evil: Outbreak. Alyssa was a reporter investigating Umbrella. She was way sassy and took shit from exactly nobody. Yoko, on the exterior, was as bland as a living piece of printer paper. Eventually you come to realize she’s an ex-Umbrella employee who’s dealing with the knowledge that she played a part in what is happening to Raccoon City. Cindy, however, is nothing more than a waitress who has been thrown into a really shitty situation in which she is forced to survive. A true underdog who, at least in my game, single handedly cured herself of infection and defeated a Tyrant when all of her fellow survivors fell around her.

5. Sherry Birkin

How can anyone not love Sherry? Sure, there was no one who was more of a pain in the ass in RE 2, but she was just a doofy kid who got dealt a pretty crummy hand. She survived Raccoon, thanks in LARGE part to Claire, and went on to become a central character in RE 6. It’s unfortunate that she starred in a game so many people were disappointed with because she turns out to be pretty flippin’ awesome.

6. Rebecca Chambers

Rebecca is pretty cliché in the grand scheme of things. Weak on the exterior, but ultimately proves that there is more than meets the eye. So what makes Rebecca so special? Well, her circumstances. She’s an 18-year-old genius amongst a group of hardened veteran men. Cliché or not, it makes sense that she isn’t physically tough. She’s spent her whole life just being smart. In the end, it’s those smarts that outmuscle her companions and lead her to be the single surviving member of her entire squad. And let’s not forget that when Chris and Jill arrived, Rebecca was all like “Been there, done that.”

7. Ingrid Hunnigan

Hunnigan is never on the frontlines, but she is your lifeline in RE4. What makes Hunnigan so special is that she makes you feel like you aren’t alone. Partners are an important part of Resident Evil as we’ve come to learn over the years. (If you didn’t know that, just listen to Sheva groan incessantly about it for your entire playthrough of RE 5.) Hunnigan does a hell of a job from behind that monitor. When Ada is giving you the middle finger and Ashley is annoying you to the point of no return, Hunnigan is there to make you feel sane again.

8. Ada Wong

Perhaps you’re surprised that Ada isn’t higher on the list. Frankly, for a long time, I’ve been tired of Ada’s shit. We get it, you’re mysterious. She’s the Resident Evil trump card and it’s getting old. Ada was perfect in Resident Evil 2. Back then, the mystery was still charming and you really cared when she seemingly died. Then RE 4 happened… and it was too much. I really feel RE 6 did a good job of re-humanizing Ada. She’s forever a badass, but it was nice to see that she still has people feelings. The ending to her campaign in 6 gave me goosebumps.

9. Helena Harper

Helena grinds my gears for a large part of RE 6. She feels a little forced in her conviction that she won’t tell Leon what is going on. The whole “Just trust me,” bit is a little played out and that’s Helena’s WHOLE DEAL for too long. But when you finally realize what’s going on, it starts to make sense and you realize that Helena really is on your side. A nice change of pace from the super mysterious spy kids bullshit routine we have seen from entry number 7.

10. Carla Radames

The woman you love to hate. I mean, she is as vicious as they come. But she has an agenda and she sticks to her guns. She’s great at what she does, and that’s messing with everyone and everything. When you find out who she really is you can almost understand why someone would do the things that she does. There’s really no excuse for her behavior, but her entire existence is a funked up mess of sad and disgusting psychopathy. It’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit of sympathy.

Honorable Mention: Excella Gionne

Excella was one classy villain. She be lookin’ good and she be knowin’ it, y’all. Her outfit, her hair, her shoes. Immaculate. Unfortunately her attempt to ride Wesker’s coat tails to evil victory led her to become a giant grody to the max leech monster along with hundreds of decomposing bodies. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. Maybe don’t trust super weirdo villain dudes, no matter how hunky they are? Maybe don’t get involved with gross leech monster bidness? Just don’t ask Sheva what happened. She’s still reeling at the fact that not everyone in the universe understands the importance of PAHTNUHS.

So there you go, our favorite Resident Evil ladies. Who tops your list? I have to admit, that amazing picture of Excella kind of makes me want to give her an "Honorable Mention #2" spot on my list. Tomorrow we tackle the menfolk, stay tuned!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LONE SURVIVOR: I don't wanna die alone...

Never in a million billion years would I have guessed that a 2D pixel art sidescroller would be more Silent Hill than the last...oh, five games in the series. And yet, Jasper Byrne's Lone Survivor transcends the limitations of its mechanics and aesthetics, giving you a true survival horror experience. I'll never try to guess anything ever again!

"You" are the protagonist, a young man in a surgical mask who just may be the only survivor of a mysterious plague that has turned the rest of the world into fleshy, zombie-like creatures. Unwilling to accept this fate, you leave your apartment in hopes of finding others who may yet live...but, as you might expect, it ain't easy out there. During your explorations, resources such as ammo and batteries for your small flashlight are in short supply. Even worse, reality, dreams, and hallucinations intertwine and overlap, so you're never quite sure what's really happening. And, of course, there are those fleshy, zombie-like creatures everywhere.

As I mentioned, fans of Silent Hill will find plenty of familiar elements during the course of the game: shifting architecture, doors that can't be entered until keys are found, weird skin monsters growing out of walls, holes in walls, mirrors that transport you to places both strange and familiar. Lone Survivor adds a layer of difficulty and tension to the already-challenging gameplay by requiring your character to eat and sleep frequently. (Sure, sure, it sounds easy enough...until you're starving and you've got no opener for the can of beans in your backpack.) Your sanity is also at stake here, thanks to the ever-encroaching darkness, the various drugs that are readily available, and the horrors you witness. In the end, your mental health determines the outcome of the game so there's replay value to be had in testing the various levels of wackadoo-ness.

Combat isn't difficult per se- it only takes a handful of bullets to put the creatures down- but as ammo is scarce, sneaking and stealth are your best options. Sure, sure, it sounds easy enough...until you've nowhere to go except through a door on the other side of four monsters and you've only got two bullets left.

Characters both real and imagined appear and disappear. The story feels very Twin Peaks-ish at times (and occasionally it's too ambiguous for its own good) but there's no denying the subtle horror underlying all of it. The setting is creepy, oppressive, and yes, disturbing, even though it's all rendered in a deceptively simple art style. Adding to this is the fantastic sound design and score, also created by Byrne, who's truly a one-man show here.

It's a fairly short adventure, but one well worth taking. As on-screen text suggests before you begin, turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and settle in for a survival horror game that feels straight from the good ol' days. It's available on PC, Mac, and PS3, where it's currently FREE for Playstation Plus members. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go add a can opener to my emergency/disaster/zombie plague kit.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Check out this vintage news story about Super Nintendo

Okay, obviously, before anything else, we need to talk about the gorgeous Rogue from The X-Men realness that anchor is giving us.

Then, we can talk about the fuckery of the reporter "playing" F-Zero badly.

THEN we can get to the beef in this stew, which is parents (calmly) raging over the $200 price tag of the Super Nintendo, and letting their kinds know they don't have to have every new thing that comes along. It's quite a shock how much things have changed; nowadays everyone has every fancy new thing, from phones to Kindles to 55" TVs to computers to Poopourri. There's more technology for the consumer to consume than ever before, and we're consuming the hell out of it. No one blinks when a new console appears, nor do they balk at the hefty costs that inevitably accompany it because consoles are now "entertainment centers for the family", not just happy fun boxes for the kids. Scare-mongering news stories about video game systems involve customer-on-customer violence on console release day or Black Friday rather than "hmm, do we need this expensive thing when the old one is still great?"- buying it is a given, it's just a matter of when.

My point, I think, is this: I'm old.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

more questions answered

Okay, hi! Here I am to continue yesterday's post and provide more scintillating answers to gamer questions. What a wonderful time to be alive. Come, let us grow ever closer, invisible fake cyber-friends!

16: Character you've hated most? From what game?
Sure, there are some really hatable characters out there, whether they're just smarmy villains (Arl Rendon Howe from Dragon Age) or incredibly difficult to beat (feeling pretty good after some playthroughs of Dragon's Dogma, I finally picked up the expansion, Dark Arisen...every single encounter led to me promptly getting my ass kicked dead, repeatedly). But oh man, if there's one character I'd like to obliterate from the face of gaming, it's this motherfucker:

That's Barry from Alan Wake. He's an agent with that wiseguy, whiny New Jersey accent, which is undoubtedly the worst combination of everything possible. Whenever you're with him, he won't fucking shut up, and he constantly calls you "Al" in this obnoxious, nasally way that even Peg Bundy would find irritating. Ahhh, just looking at his stupid face has me all riled up and trying to resist the urge to punch my computer screen. I hated Barry. I really, really, really hated Barry.

17: What game do you never tell people you play?
I don't have any deep, dark gaming secrets I'm ashamed of. No stockpiles of tentacle-filled eroge or some such, sorry. Well, okay wait...I do indulge in some mindless Diner Dash clickery from time to time. PLEASE DON'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT MY SECRET SHAME

18: A game you wish your friends knew about?
Trust me, if there's a game I want my friends to know about, I will absolutely tell them. Over and over. That said, I will yell about The Last of Us, FTL, and Papers, Please until the cows come home.

The drudgery of bureaucracy has never been so much fun. Also, it just took me three attempts to spell "bureaucracy" correctly.

19: Which game do you think deserves a revival?
BALDUR'S GATE: DARK ALLIANCE PLEASE. Yes, I had to yell that because I feel so strongly. I love those two games, and Champions of Norrath as well. Although Diablo III sort of satisfies my isometric action RPG itch (I should really get that looked at), I would love to see BG: DA remade, rebooted, continued, whatever. So long as there's more of it. 

20: What was the first video game you ever played?
Combat on the Atari 2600, in all its glory. I talked a bit about it here.

21: How old were you when you first played a video game?
Nine or ten? I think? Video games weren't much around before that, at least not at the in-home level. If they were, I would've started earlier, I'm sure!

22: If you could immerse yourself in any game for one day, which game would it be? What would you do?
No brainer: Mass Effect. Flying around the galaxy, landing on planets, wearing spacesuits, meeting aliens? Fucking yes, please.

23: Biggest disappointment you've had in gaming?
Should I say the original ending to Mass Effect 3? Naw, why beat that dead horse (except I'll probably carry that grudge to my grave, honestly)? 

Instead of opening old wounds, I'll say Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. The first two games in the series were so wonderful, and then the quality began to slip. It was a gradual decline, though- I still bought every new TR that came along, hoping for an upswing. Then TR: AoD came along- the first Lara Croft on the PS2!- and oh boy, what a buggy, tedious, difficult, dreadful piece of shit. Just terrible. It completely put me off the franchise...until the next one, Legend, came along. Thankfully that was a vast improvement (to put it mildly) and my weakness for Tomb Raider paid off. And, it's obviously been paid off in spades with the 2013 reboot (GLORIOUS GAME). But Angel of Darkness? Go fuck yourself!

Nice texas tuxedo, Lara.

24: Casual, Hardcore, or in the middle?
Oh hardcore, no doubt. I say that without a lick of shame. NOT ONE LICK.

25: Be honest; have you ever used cheats (like ActionReplay or Gameshark)?
I've used some codes. In Grand Theft Autos, I've used codes to lower/eliminate my wanted rating so I can play for more than ten minutes without getting dead/irritated. And, of course, back in "The" "Day" I used the famous Konami Code when playing Contra. FUN FACT: if you enter the Konami Code whilst here at Jill Sandwich (just substitute "return" or "enter" for "start"), you will get a treat. YOU'RE WELCOME.

26: Handheld or console?
Console, although Resident Evil: Revelations almost forced me to pick up a Nintendo 3DS when it was exclusive to that platform. Eventually it was ported to the 360, however, and I could be at ease with my choices once again.

27: Has there ever been a moment that has made you cry?
I'll admit, I found myself a little misty-eyed during the death of Songbird in Bioshock Infinite. I cried actual tears out of my eyeholes at the end of the beginning sequence in The Last of Us. Wasn't expecting that, for sure.

28: Which character's clothes do you wish you owned the most?
I can’t really think of anyone, as I am not a style maven...not to mention, video game clothes tend to be crazy and silly and would look terrible on me. It's weird, but to an uncanny extent I dress (and have always dressed and wonder if I will always dress) like Ellie from The Last of Us (HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT GAME YET), all jeans and long-sleeved shirts under t-shirts and hoodies and Chuck Taylors and the such, albeit without the post-apocalyptic tatters and grime (usually). I don’t know whether to high-five myself or to punch myself for dressing like a 14-year-old.

29: Which is more important, gameplay or story?
While shitty gameplay can certainly turn me off to a game (or even stop me from continuing), story rules supreme for me. A fantastic story is not 100% essential to have good time- I come from the Atari 2600 era, after all- but games with fantastic stories are my favorites and generally stick with me the longest. I mean, I loved the crap out of Gone Home and one could easily argue that the gameplay is negligible and it's only story.

30: A game that hasn't been localized in your country that you think should be localized?