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My first console was the Nintendo 64 but my first experience with video games was with Doom. My dad would let 1 year old me sit on his lap and play it. From about then on I have harbored a healthy affection for gaming (it's totally unhealthy). I enjoy most types of games but I have switched from just a player's standpoint to a more analytical position. I am currently working on a research paper for one of my college classed that ask the question of video game's validity as an art form. I major in film studies but that may switch to some form of writing.
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"Lovecraftian" is the main word I've heard used to describe Eldritch, but I've never read an HP Lovecraft book in my life. That imagery doesn't help me to visualize the game so I wanted to help others who may be in my situation. I was able to get my hands on Eldritch, the yet to be released-soon to be beta, about 2 weeks ago and I've had a bit of time with the game to explore it's dark world and experience the myriad of emotions that punctuate its gameplay experience.

"The world's light is very low key and mysterious. The visuals and sound meld together and create an atmosphere that begs to be slowly explored and crawled around until the unknown is a little less abundant. Starting into a dungeon feels like diving off of the deep end into the ocean with so much space below and so little of it explored."

Eldritch is a first person rogue-like game, those familiar with Spelunky, The Binding of Isaac, and other games will be familiar with its single life system. In Eldritch you can venture into books in an attempt to escape the mysterious library you've been imprisoned in. Once inside these books you will face various creatures that want to kill you. Once you die you are sent outside the book and everything on your person will be lost forever but you can store money in a chest that you can access at any point which is the limit of what you can keep upon death. You'll find yourself making risk based calculations on how much money to keep in your chest.

Each of the dungeons is randomly generated the first time you enter, after which you can exit and re-enter the same dungeon and explore it to your hearts content unless of course you die in which case the dungeons change. Mobs can be killed and looted but the kicker is that looted mobs respawn so you have to make a call every time you kill one. Stealth is a big portion of the game, your boots make sound when you walk unless you have stealth boots, you can crouch and sneak up behind mobs for a one hit knife strike from behind or sprint firing bullets at their head. Sounds can call attention to yourself and have the whole dungeon heading your way so be careful. Bullets are scarce at first and you may find yourself using the knife and throwing rocks and bottles to get by alive.

Dungeons increase in difficulty after each successive book. Discovering the different terrifying creatures in each and what they do is part of the fun so I will leave that for you to discover. I've heard Eldritch describes as Dishonored meets Spelunky and that is a wonderfully accurate description. It's micecraft-esque graphics disguise how spooky the game can get. I have yet to fully explore everything in the game's dungeons I've unlocked.

It's going to be the next big indie game to be released and the beta is available starting September 26 for preorders and being released on October 21. It's made by former Bioshock 2 AI programmer David Pittman and his twin brother. Check out the game below and expect a more in depth examination after the beta has been released.

Eldritch Game

Valve has officially pulled The War Z from being purchased and is issueing full refunds to those who have purchased the game and aren't satisfied. Which happens to be almost everybody. The major news here is that Valve has taken the steps to remove a game that clearly wasn't finished.

I don't know how many of you remember the Towns incident; in which the indie game Towns was released via Steam Greenlight full of bugs and glitches. In that instance the game had a warning that it wasn't complete but that warning was moved to the description after a little while. Valve seems to not have a problem releasing a game before completion as long as a warning is available and it is made clear somewhere that the game isn't finished.

The War Z was full of false advertisement the first day, then some of the descriptions were moved to a future feature section so that the only false claim was one about 100 players per server when only 50 were allowed. Now on the third day Valve has completely removed the game from Steam to the point that it can only be found by typing the game's name into the search bar.

This whole situation is actually a good thing. It has forced Valve to act on a game that wasn't ready to be released and hopefully the selection process for games from third party companies gets better and doesn't allow games like this to get in. The gaming community will be more wary of the games they buy and hopefully developers will be held responsible for what they try to sell.

It takes a very special game to make me feel emotional attachment to its characters. Bioshock let me care for the little sisters, Half-Life made me say "Holy god-dammed fuck" over and over as Alyx Vance almost died on a table while I did all I could to protect her. One thing I've noticed is that I feel more attached when it's ME whose saving little sisters or Alyx Vance, not some character I'm just playing as.

This is why I think Dishonored had such an impact on me, and it wasn't even the main story that did it. I was attempting to play a completely stealth and pacifist run. This means not being detected and not killing a single person. I was also not using a lot of saves so that my decisions had more of an impact.

I was on the third level and my target was in a mansion on the top floor. To get there I had to get through a main room with stairs leading to the second floor on each side. As guards would patrol up the stairs I took them out one by one. Once I had finished knocking them all unconscious I starting running around looking for various items and collectables, thinking I was safe.

As I sprinted down some spiral stairs I saw a guard slowly walking up towards me, looking really bored with his job, probably thinking about all of the orphans he fed earlier. Now I was sprinting really fast and had no time to think, so perceiving my already started actions in slow motion, I pulled out my really cool sword... And shoved it into his throat, then threw him over the railing of the stairs. I screamed out "I'm so sorry!" to my computer screen then sat there in silence staring at my monitor.

I had just killed a man. A man with his own life, just doing is job. But not only had I killed him, I cut out his throat and threw his corpse over the side, with all the though of a reflex. I had not intended to kill him, but in the heat of the moment I just reacted, and now his life was over. The next words out of my mouth were "Oh my God..." I felt genuinely bad that I had killed this man merely because he was in the way.

Dishonored will always have a place in my memory for the emotions it allowed me to feel in its world. That was my best gaming moment of 2012.

So after a long 2 month break I decided to come back to my permadeath run. My first part is here. One thing I have tried to do is cover much more gameplay in one article.

When I loaded the world back up, this is what I was looking at.

I went outside and checked what I had to work with. Not too much. It seems that the first thing I need to do is reinforce my house and get a stable mine going.

As soon as I started mining this happened. That sand came out of nowhere and almost killed me. Always remember to not mine directly up in case anything falls from directly above. It was getting late so I went back home to wait out the night.

Ahh, the morning sun. So beautiful.

Afterwords I decided to set up a better mine. I knew that I would be down here for a while if I could find some coal so I built a door to keep out any monsters come night time. Now it's time to dig in and mine. (terrible pun)


So I've dug down pretty far and from the sounds I've been hearing this mine I came across isn't too friendly. I will proceed cautiously since a death means a permanent death.

Okay, I just killed three zombies and a skeleton, didn't give me too much trouble but this mine is full of coal and iron, but my last pickaxe is almost broken so I will return to my house and refuel.

Refueling done, I now head outside to find... Two Ender men and two Creepers outside of my mind. I'm going for it. I made it safely. Time to mine some more.

So the mine shaft that I found is really massive and full of iron. This may take me a while to map it all out in my mind. But as I turned around, I saw this, my heart is still pumping and I managed to unpause it quickly enough to grab this screen.

And now to run away really really fast.

I made it out alive and as it stands right now this is my inventory.

I forged some armor with my treasures and log off for the night.

So much for covering more gameplay, eh.
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I have recently become interested in permadeath running video games after hearing about a brave few people peradeath running Far Cry 2. The few that do it seam to really enjoy the different gameplay permadeath running brings to the table. I wanted to experience this first hand so I purchased Far Cry 2 only to learn that it doesn't run very smoothly with my graphics card, so I decided to permadeath run Minecraft instead. This was made easy with the hardcore option which ends the game if you die, so no cheating either.

What I will be doing is cataloging my play through for as long as I live. I have only set up one rule for myself and that is that beds are not allowed. I want this to be as difficult as possible and I feel beds make it way too easy. I don't know the schedule that I will be doing this in but I will construct one soon. Besides, no one will read all of these anyway so it doesn't even matter.

So without further a due, here I go...

I put it on hardcore mode and I put my alias as the world generator so if you want to play in the same world, here you go.

When my eyes first opened to this new, wonderful, world I was surprised. Trees. Trees as far as the eye could see. I needed to find land with a less dense biome and maybe some hills to build a safe house. So I looked to the right and there was a lot of sand, and a hill, so that was cool.

I decided that the hill in the distance there would make a good home. It's very close to some trees, pretty high up, and I have a clear view for quite a distance.

I then stacked up some dirt to mark this hill as the one that holds my safe house. I've learned that being able to find one's way back home is very important when in such a hostile environment. So now to build my safe house. I will need sand and wood. I walked over to where I spawned, spent a few minutes getting as much wood as I could then went to collect sand, seeing as how it was right near my home. It was nearing nighttime and that beautiful, flowing Minecraft music was gnawing at my conscious to come back home, so I did.

The night started off relatively peaceful. Everything was fine in my home and I was occupying myself with tidying up.

But I had soon realized that I was getting very hungry and with no food in sight. I couldn't go out right now to get some because the creatures of the night would kill me before I made it ten feet. No, I had to wait for daytime.

As the sun came up, it burned a couple of zombies and gave me a small supply of food that was quickly devoured. But it was enough. Enough to find more food.

I decided to head back to where the trees where. More likely food would be there than in the desert. I wondered around for a bit, getting more tense as my food bar had nearly drained.

At last, Food! I slayed some chickens quickly and took a few bites, just enough to make it home and cook up the rest.

It was close but I had made it through and now I had enough food for a few days. Night was nearing and once again that soulful, angelic, Minecraft music started reverberating through my heart, inducing a euphoric state in which I decided to call it a day.

And that was my experience of the first two days.

I will be doing more of these until I die presumably. So see you next time friends.

Also any tips on how to do this better would be welcome, give me all the constructive criticism you can.
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This is something that I have recently began to take an interest in when I was playing Left 4 Dead 2 in an online versus match. In Left 4 Dead very often players have to make decisions that determine the fate of other players, and I was tasked with that decision. I decided to let my teammate die in order to make it to the safe house by myself. Granted, I was doing it so we had a chance of winning, and the player I let die would respawn the next round so it wasn't a lasting impact. But I had still sacrificed this player to help myself. In my mind I thought, “Screw this guy, I want to live.”

That thought alone wasn't enough to make me question my decision; but what did get me wondering was when, in a later round, I was the one left behind. Not some random dude, but me. When that happened was that I found myself asking questions such as “Why didn't he come back to save me?” We would have a better chance of winning the game if he had successfully managed to revive me, but in his mind he considered the risk and decided that no, this douche isn't worth risking my virtual life over. And that's what interested me.

If the previous situation was a real situation with real lives at stake, would I have gone back to save this person and would they have saved me? Based on the decisions made in Left 4 Dead 2, no, we wouldn't have. And hopefully this is where the disconnect happens. I would hope that morality has more importance in meatspace (real life) than in virtual situations. (I mean, it obviously does but to what extent?) How much does one's video game morality reflect their real world morality?

I've heard from people who have seen studies (I heard it from a very reliable person) that say up to 90% of gamers, when given the choice between a good option (Ex. saving a kitten) and bad option (Ex. killing a kitten), will choose the good option over the bad. I think this correlates with the amount of people who choose to use the game as a way to emulate themselves (being the 90%) and as a way to play as a different person entirely (being the 10%). The reason I speculate this is because the people who are emulating themselves onto the game character will generally do what they find to be the right thing to do, because the choices they make are their choices and the people who do the immoral thing do it because they are playing as someone else. (I would go into more detail but that gets into non linearity and bad game design)

The general trend seems to be that gamers only have a relatively small degree of separation from their avatars. This degree changes with each type of game played and how meaningful the game makes the actual decisions. So the next time some guy leaves you to strangle to death in Left 4 Dead, know that he would probably do the same in real life if it meant his team would win.
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