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9:40 PM on 12.15.2007

Fun with ads

Recently while visiting Another Site, some fool had put up a link to These Clio Award Winning Ads for 42 Below vodka or something. I'm assuming vodka because there's a million cute little ones but I still buy the cheap 10 dollar a handle plastic bottles that make fun of your stomach lining before tearing it right off.

These things are funny as hell, and super easy to make. I figured I'd share mine, since it's kind of relevant. This one illustrates my normal day as a game tester.



I have an awesome life. Share yours if you've got Photoshop handy.   read


10:14 PM on 12.13.2007

Burnout Demo and Altair's Syndrome

I just tooled around in the Burnout Paradise demo now out there on Xbox Live for about half an hour. Short version: it's boring. Longer version: There's lots of things in the world but they don't really amount to much. Sure there are jumps and traffic and shortcuts and the crashes are the nicest I've seen to date in a Burnout game, but they serve no purpose.



Maybe it's just because it's a demo, but in that half hour I found 1 race and 1 stunt challenge. And it's a decent-sized area to drive around in, too.

I worry that this is going to start a rash of what I'm coining Altair's Syndrome. A big open playground with very little to do. The term of course comes from Assassin's Creed's big cities that are fun to run around in, but there's really not that much to accomplish. Saving a citizen in AC is like winning a race in Burnout. It takes 5 minutes to get to and the challenge is done in half that time.

Burnout 3 was and remains popular because it's very easy to get into the action. Pick an event, and Boom, you're off. Assassin's Creed could have worked in this fashion. Pick a challenge, get warped there, and play the game-within-a-game. All this mucking about in the world is fun for a little bit but after so many hours, it gets tedious.

The recent Spider-Man games have this issue as well. The developers take a lot of time building these fantastic places to run around in, but they seem somehow empty and without purpose. The game takes a backseat to the world.

GTA solved this problem very well. At any time you could start a taxi mission, play a mini-game, or just start shooting people up and seeing how long you can last against the military. There are many levels of game stacked upon each other ranging from tasks that can be accomplished in minutes along with the longer tasks such as the story.

Skate is a good example as well. It's a HUGE world, but at any moment you can start filming and try to crank out a good video to add to your score. Not to mention the large amount of obstacles and challenges in the form of spots, races, picture challenges, and other junk.

Developers should start to focus on balancing the creation of worlds and filling them with content. A big place should have lots of little challenges. Say in AC for instance, at any time you could start a mission to steal some money from vendors or people. Or maybe more random bits of violence where a robbery is taking place and Altair can quickly kill one foe instead of dueling a dozen at a time. Sprawling epics need to look at the small picture too. It helps the player move forward, rewards them for finishing challenges, and gives them a sense of accomplishment all throughout the game.

Also, those flags should really do something besides give achievement points. If collecting a hundred flags gave me limited flight powers or laser beam eyes, then I'd still be in the living room searching for them.   read


3:01 AM on 12.11.2007

Ubisoft's QA should be ashamed

Hey guys, remember me? The guy who bitched and moaned about Assassin's Creed not having a proper producer? Well, it turns out I've been justified, because as a result of first-hand accounts, Assassin's Creed is BROKEN. Shamelessly, unabashedly, BROKEN. Broken beyond all compare of any game I've ever worked on, seen, or heard of.

Here we go.

I bought Assassin's Creed the day it came out because I liked the idea of killing fools. And I enjoyed doing so, regardless of the online critics telling me otherwise. And apparently it sold like gangbusters. It certainly didn't get any love at the VGAs, but I'm sure Ubisoft caught a couple bucks putting the game out.

My friends, this game is so embarrassingly broken nearing the end that I want to roll up on the QA staff and cockpunch them all in a row. Assuming, of course, the QA staff is to blame: usually it's the dirtbag asshole execs who pull a broken game out of QA to sell it, and in this case, cockpunches to them too.

Here's the meat: I got to the 95% ending of the game. I killed the 9 Evil Dudes, and was told to go to a new area and kill a new guy. So I went there. There were 3 archers guarding the area. I killed them and FELL OUT OF THE LEVEL AND DIED.

I reset my console, skipped pass those guys and FELL OUT OF THE LEVEL AND DIED.

I jumped off my horse, ran pass the enemies and FELL OUT OF THE LEVEL AND DIED.

I cannot restrain my detestment for the asshats who let this go! Did you not read through the 360 Technical Requirements? Did you not care that we might have a SECOND CONTROLLER ATTACHED?!

To the uninformed, each console company delivers a series of needs to the 3rd party developers. If said needs are not complied with, the game is refused and sent back into development. Not only do I blame the Ubisoft QA group, but I also blame the Microsoft group for missing this ridiculously obvious game-breaking flaw that at least 10% of the purchasers would find.

You know what? I bet the QA testers found this, but were ignored. So to MS and Ubi: FAIL FAIL FAIL. Treat your consumers like people, and treat your testers like consumers. We're not going to stand for this much longer. I'm not interested in your intricate workarounds. This kind of nonsense should have be found the first time through the game, reported with a big giant "A" bug MUST-FIX attached to it, and resolved by the programmers. "A" bugs are reported for a reason, because they completely break the game and impede in player progress. Shame on whoever let this flaw get through the pipe.   read


1:48 AM on 12.02.2007

So... Game of the Year then.

Okay, so at this point we've reached the end of the Really Good Games That Come Out This Year™ and now it's time to start nitpicking them to death so we can get that dreadful Game of the Year nonsense going.

The Contenders: Bioshock, Mass Effect, Ratchet and Clank, Mario Galaxy, Rock Band, Halo 3, Zelda DS, Assassin's Creed.

The preceding list was decided by two important factors. 1. They're popular and lots of people bought them, and B. I played some of them.

Right.
Bioshock:Having played System Shock 2 and BioForge (which, upon recollection sucked horse balls), I'm biased towards the game. The controls are great, the story is strong, and the gameplay elements like killing Big Daddies are great fun. On the other hand, Yahtzee already covered the bad, so let's leave it there.

Mass Effect:I'm about 5 hours in but I'm pretty unimpressed. The design is great, the characters are interesting, and the gunfights remind me of Gears of War which is always good. However, the random trolling through planets is dull, the Mako control reminds me of the Puma, er, Warthog from Halo (it still looks like a Puma), and I haven't gotten to the sex scene yet. So let's leave it there.

Ratchet and Clank: I don't own a PS3, and I only know about 3 people who do, but those that own one got Ratchet and Clank. From the demo at Fry's I found it was a blast to play with incredible graphics and a supposedly funny storyline. But having played previous Ratchet games I assume it's more of the same shooting and platforming like Jak and Daxter with a chaingun that shoots smaller chainguns that shoot tiny chainsaws. So let's leave it there.

Super Mario Galaxy:I'm not getting this until Christmas because I thought it would be heartwarming to get a new Mario game from my parents because they last one they got me was nearly 20 years ago and God I'm old. But from demos and opinions from friends, it will apparently bring me to a new form of self-actualization, and after playing it I will find my perfect job, my true love, and live happily ever having naughty, naughty sex until my head is placed in a jar and stuck in a museum in the 31st century. So let's leave it there.

Rock Band:Having mastered Guitar Hero a couple years ago the guitar sections are no longer a problem. But the drum peripheral is a treat to the nth degree and until I can beat the hardest song on expert I will keep my roommates up all night. The ability to create your own avatar is great too and I will not rest until I achieve the maximum amount of boobage on my hot anime rock chick. On the other hand, the guitar sections are pretty run-of-the-mill, the song list repeats a few GHIII songs and includes both Fallout Boy AND Coheed and Cambria, which takes it down a notch. So let's leave it there.

Halo 3: This game was pretty boring and I can't remember why I bought it since I don't do multiplayer outside of the office, but in the office my buddy Josh always wins so it's a moot point. So let's leave it there.

Zelda DS:I included this not because I played it for more than 30 minutes waiting for my plane to get to the terminal, but because it's where I get to puff out my chest and complain that Phoenix Wright never gets the coverage or the respect it deserves. The Phoenix Wright series is the pinnacle of funny, smart, entertaining portable fun and if you haven't bought any of these games then you should be locked up in a small box filled with horny weasels. So let's leave it there.

Assassin's Creed:No doubt the most controversial on the list, the ratings are all over the place with opinions ranging from the second coming of Christ© to a pile of hot steamy ass. My opinion is that it's fun to run around, climb up things, murder assholes, and be as sneaky as I want to be. Of course I can't play it because my roommates have taken control of my 360 to play Rock Band. So I'll leave it there.

And the Winner of Game of the Year: Kane and Lynch: Dead Men! I have nothing bad to say about this game because Eidos has lined my pockets with some weird form of nonsense money they call Euros. The piles of cash have warmed my cynical little heart to their crappy game and anyone who says otherwise should be fired.

Subnote: That last bit was an ironic musing. I actually think Okami should be game of the year even though it came out in 2006 but goddamn that was a good game.   read


2:01 AM on 11.20.2007

Take 2 and Jack Thompson: A conspiracy!

Everyone on the internets knows about Jack Thompson. Say what you want about him, the guy's the purest definition of the word crazy.

Then there's Rockstar Games, a company famous for making games that are usually pretty good, but also usually celebrate the darker side of humanity.

Jack Thompson, no matter what anybody says of him, no matter how many of his lawsuits are dismissed outright, even ridiculed. But why does he keep doing it?

The answer is obvious. He's being Paid by Take 2 to drum up cheap controversy and advertising for their games! SCANDALOUS!

Think about it! Even before Rockstar's Bully came out, Thompson was spreading scandal. Or should I say, ADVERTISING!

It costs an awful lot to put a commercial for a game on TV, doesn't it? But how much does it cost to file a lawsuit and get gamers' panties in a knot? LESS THAN ADS COST!

FEAR MONGERING! The mainstream media is painfully desperate for garbage that fills the 24 hour news networks. They demand CHEAP NEWS STORIES with NO DEPTH so they can get ADVERTISING DOLLARS!

BUY ROCKSTAR GAMES! Any news is good news, and bad news is definitely good news. That whole Hot Coffee thing? PLANNED FROM THE START! Ignore the massive drop in Take 2 stock! NORMAL PRACTICES!

Wake up, people! Jack Thompson is working on Take 2's dime! CONSPIRACY!

-The preceeding is a work of satire. Anyone who takes this nonsense seriously should be beaten with reeds. Or maybe with Jack Thompson.   read


8:49 PM on 11.15.2007

Fry's Electronics can eat a dick.

I'm incredibly bipolar with Fry's Electronics. From one moment to the next, I either love them or hate them. Currently my hate-o-meter is spiked. It's gone to 11. I had to scrape an 11 in the side of the meter so it made sense.

This whole thing revolves around getting Assassin's Creed. Tuesday rolls around and we go over to the Fry's at 1 o'clock (lunch break) to pick it up. Nope, says the guy who looks and speaks like he had gotten off the boat that morning and was hired at the docks by the company, they're not getting it in until Wednesday at 5. That sucks. And it took up our whole lunch hour looking for help. Complete bust.

Wednesday comes around and I open up the newspaper. Hey, there's an ad that says I can get Assassin's Creed for 40 bucks on Thursday! Sweet, I can wait a day.

So Thursday we all pile back in the van and head back over at lunchtime, 1 o'clock. Nope, says the chick who lacked both a clue and any shred of self-esteem, we don't get any in until 5 PM, a fact we confirmed with two nearby supervisors. Another bust. And we can't have any set aside or get rainchecks on the price.

So it's nearing 6 o'clock, time to get off work. I call up Fry's and ask if they've got their shipment in yet. Dude hangs the phone up on me. I try again, steam pouring off my forehead like I'm about to go Super-Saiyan. Nope, dude says, it sold out. They had 40 copies and they're all gone.

"Well when did you get that shipment in today?" I ask.

"A little after 1 o'clock," he says.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. My hair turns bright yellow.

I yell at the guy. He hands me to a supervisor. I yell at him. He can't speak English. I tell the supervisor to transfer me to the general manager immediately. So he hangs up the phone.

Mr. John Fry, CEO of Fry's Electronics, will be getting a nice letter explaining how bait-and-switch is illegal, how his employees are all ignorant dolts, and that the letter has been forwarded to the BBB.

I'm telling you this so you can basically avoid Fry's for any recent games forever. Oh sure, they have hundreds of copies of Gun and Trigger Man and Hannah Montana and X-Men United, but instead they order a small shipment of a game people might actually want, cut the price down, and when people are in the store asking for it, they can pull the rug out and say they sold out.

Supplies limited my achin' ass. Fry's can eat a dick.   read


10:34 PM on 10.30.2007

Guitar Hero 3 has Axe commercials. I want Five Bucks Back.

I'm a little pissed.

Okay, I'm always a little pissed, but now a little bit more. I like Guitar Hero. A lot. I've played it consistently since it first arrived on the scene back in 2005. So I was, of course, gleeful when the third iteration finally came out.

I'm pretty good, so I got through the first two song sections on expert pretty easily. Barracuda was a bit tough because I ain't the best at those long single-note streaks. But that's okay. Then Tom Morello walks on-stage. Wow, sweet, Tom Morello. I loved Rage, I like Audioslave, and I think he's done a lot for guitarists with his innovative style. Plus I want his "Arm the Homeless" guitar.

Then, as those two chicks walk out on stage, I hear something. It's barely audible, but I immediately knew I was hearing the "Bow chicka bow bow" bullshit tagline from Axe deodorants.

I immediately wanted 5 bucks back from my purchase. Gibson can be in my guitar game, okay? Krank amps, Zildjan cymbals, Audioline Mics, those can all be in my guitar game. Axe has no place in my guitar game, and I want 5 bucks back for that blatant and shameless product placement. I think the chicks in the Mitch venue have the tagline on their shirts, not to mention a couple of guitars available for purchase. Brought to us by Axe. Whoop-tee-shit.

Axe deodorant doesn't belong in Guitar Hero III. It's as far away from rock as a lace doily holding a toy poodle with curls in its fur. Famous rock stars don't need Axe. They could smell like badger shit and chicks would still bang them. Axe paid Activision to put their stuff in the game, but I still paid full price for the guitar and disc. I want the developers to see every penny they deserve for the game; they earned it. But Axe detracts from my experience. In fact, I bet the developers all moaned and shook their heads when they got that call from Activision saying "put Axe commericals in it."

So I want five bucks back. That's it. Maybe I'll buy a bottle of Axe. No, just kidding, I won't. Activision, call me. I'm on your speed dial. Under F.   read


1:34 AM on 10.28.2007

Demo Roundup: A couple diamonds in a sea of suck

If you're anything like me, and you probably are in that sense that you own a computer and read things that your monitor displays, you've either heard of or chomped down on one of the delicious morsels recently dropped into the internets in the form of demos. A good number of demos have appeared recently, no doubt in an attempt to sway that pile of cash you had planned to use to buy your mother that nice set of earrings she wanted but have instead decided to frivolously spend on yourself in the form of the glut of high-quality games coming this year.

Seriously. This year it's ridiculous. I can hardly keep track of all the good stuff.

But I'd like to run down a recent list of (mostly) PC game demos I downloaded and give you my horribly biased opinions on. I have no agenda aside from that whole "I hate multiplayer" thing. I'm also going to forego the drool part of graphics, because everything looks pretty damn good nowadays. Gameplay and story rule the roost for me.

Quake Wars:I guess this game's already out. Whatever. The demo level I played did not impress me at all. It involved driving a large vehicle made apparently out of kindling and gas through a thin stretch of road. In the ten minutes of this section, the vehicle was blown up about 9 times by the opposing team, while I ran around killing enemies by the truckful. This did no good as the vehicle just seemed to go up in flames at random times. Also it reminded me of Battlefront without the Star Wars edge, which kills it.

Hellgate: London: This one was decent, and kept me playing through to the end. It certainly reminded me of Diablo II which I'm sure it will to a lot of people, but the secret behind Diablo was the story and lore around it. The Hellgate demo yanked the story out completely and simply had me running through sewers fulfilling quests given to me by people I actively try to avoid in regular life. I hope, given some good backstory and an actual reason why I'm doing what I'm doing, the game could turn out okay.

Unreal Tournament 3: I played one round and deleted the demo. The game was better when it was called UT2004, and the vehicle levels just don't work. Can someone do a proper version of Battlefield for once? Even DICE, who made the original?

Crysis: Just got this one and ran through it. Surprisingly, it ran on my machine pretty decently without too many hiccups. Unsurprisingly, it's another bland shooter with some implants built into it. The player can choose to improve armor, speed, strength, etc. whenever he wants. That's a cool idea. But in the end you're still just running through a forest shooting North Koreans. Good in theory. Poor implementation. And the driving sucks.

Call of Duty 4: This one stood out for me. I'm not entirely sure why. I usually hate on basic shooters, but seriously, the game has so much going on all the time that it's hard to focus. In the demo the entire nation of Whateverstan has come out to shoot you, and you feel it all around with people yelling and gunblasts and mortars and everyone's crazy. There's just something charming about this title, and Infinity Ward has refined the scripted shooter really well here.

Mario Galaxy: Not a PC game obviously, but I happened upon a GameStop today to play a few minutes, and I ended up playing for almost half an hour. Immediately I got that wonderful old Mario 64 feeling, but with a lot more tricks and weirdness. The gravity is really goofy on the little planetoids, and I felt right at home figuring out the little puzzles stuck into the various star-fetching levels. If you haven't tried it, waggle the Wii-mote to fire Mario out of the stars.

That should cover it for now. Tune in next time when I actually figure out how to rip on Spore. Probably something about too many choices in character creation.   read


1:09 AM on 10.18.2007

RF Online: A lesson on how not to make MMORPGs

I always wanted to see a viable, visual, indisputable display on how to NOT make an MMORPG. Luckily, RF Online just became free, and now I can finally see how this is done.

I thought RF Online might be something to try out, something to soothe my aching brain after that Portal robot bitch got me and Hellgate was still 2 weeks away. 2 weeks, tops, my brain said.

I couldn't get past 20 minutes.

1. Character Creation: Good Lord, even WoW has more options than this. 5 different combinations for the head, legs, arms, blah blah blah. It's no wonder everyone looks the same. At least give me the tentacles option or scales or something. It's no wonder the guys who made the City of Heroes character creation system laugh their nuts off every stinking night over this trash. The CoH creation system is a game upon itself. The RF system is a failure to God and his children.

2. Tutorial: Christ, I haven't seen such painful Engrish since the early days of Ragnarok. Apparently the folks developing RF eschewed the localization stage completely and simply let whatever hideous nonsensical language they assumed was English into the game. After the tutorial, I had no idea what was going on, who I was in the game, or why I was even doing what I was doing. At least in WoW you had SOME semblance that you were on side A or side B and that side B was bad or something. RF has the back story of a Michael Bay movie without the opening credit crawl or the exposition or the car chases. Just a hollow shell of nothingness.

3. Graphics: Decent, I guess. All I saw was this elaborate fly-through of the tutorial area, the central city, and a small portion outside the town, but the environmental guys have shown their chops. My robot man looked like all the other robot men I ran across, my gun looked the same, I shot the same guys, and everything looked blurry for some reason. Maybe I wasn't running it at the right resolution.

4. Gameplay: Character control in this game fails at literally epic levels. The system was all figured out with Quake or Duke Nukem 3D or Marathon over 15 years ago. WASD = movement, right-click = camera. RF assigns the W key to walking. WALKING. Who in the name of Kratos walks in an MMORPG?! But no, you're supposed to swivel the broke-ass camera in the direction you might like to go, and then click where you want to go. In Diablo, perfect, I want to click there to walk over there. Oh, wait, Diablo isn't a shitty 3D MMORPG. This is the kind of thing that should be taught in the most basic of game design classes, like the 180 rule in film class or the 1+1=2 in math class.

Oh, and can I invert the Y-axis on the camera control like anyone who's played a PC game since TIE Fighter? Apparently not. Another Fail.

You know, I kind of like pressing space to shoot things in the game, but you press it once and everything else is automatic. It's kind of like WoW but the Space key is bigger than the 1 key so it's more demanding and there's no need to worry about the 1-9 keys, which are inextricably tied to the FUNCTION KEYS. At this point I use the function keys to look at and maybe accidentally load a document. You guys can use the numeric keys, we are not ashamed.

5. Sound: I dunno, I wasn't paying attention. It sucks.

Overall, RF Online is stealing your bandwidth if you download it. I really, really hate to say it, but WoW has really gotten the MMORPG system down to a tee, and anyone who deviates from it better have a DAMN good reason for doing so, like blowing the players where they sit, or making money spit out of their DVD drives. RF fails, fails hard, and this should be obvious because now they're offering it for free.

I have two hopes for the MMO religion: Conan and Warhammer. I pray fervently that one of these two actually takes hold. Please MMO God, let it happen. Let me feel joy riding an ultra-dimensional shark into battle. It's my only hope.   read


12:00 AM on 10.15.2007

Owned by Workman: My nuts hurt

Internet Drama!

Okay, this needs to be re-iterated because I actually do care about this community and drop in several times a day to check out the latest news and whatnots going around here.

So I tossed a backhanded comment into that Hellgate thread talking about Ron and the D selling out. You probably saw it because everyone's salivating over a beta spot in the Hellgate game. 666 comments to win, that's a lot for a still-blossoming site like this. I think maybe 2 threads have gone over a thousand.

Here's the point I'm going to make in a roundabout fashion: within MINUTES of me dropping that comment, I get an e-mail from Ron calling me on my shit. Now let me ask you, how many mods call you on your shit on other boards? I think the simple fact of him popping me in the balls over the internet is enough to know that the dude actually cares about the site, cares about the folks who visit it, and cares about what is said upon the website.

My comment was in jest, but because there is no /sarcasm button on my keyboard, it was taken literally. I spoke to Ron and explained it, and I trust we maintain at best a relationship where he gets three free hits. Regardless, the point of this nonsense is to bow to Ron, and to point out to the rest of the readership of the site is that these guys are serious about their work, they really care about the D, and they have no intention of selling out no matter what the price.

The fact that they won't sell out impresses me more than anything, because I would sell out for forty bucks and a corndog. So hats off to the Dtoid crew, and let's drop this nonsense. Please? I simply despise internet drama.   read


2:17 AM on 10.14.2007

A word on Multiplayer FPS's

Horseshit.

Now I will elaborate.

Deathmatch sprang to life in 1993 with the advent of Doom. 4 dudes, each computer plugged into the other with the IPX protocol, shooting each other with BFGs. Fast Forward 15 years, and we have... 16 dudes, each computer plugged into the other with the Internets, shooting each other with Rocket Launchers.

The only thing that has changed is the guns, a flag, and the amount of HDR lighting. I am of the vast, silent majority that has nothing to do with multiplayer, cares not about multiplayer, and wishes that games that tout multiplayer as their selling point would please die in a horrendous fire.

The fact is most gamers simply don't care about multiplayer capabilities of games. Sure, you have this and that many people buying Halo or Unreal and going online. These people are a minority, but they are VERY VOCAL. The power of the internet allows them to spout their aggressions. Folks like me, the majority who are happy to enjoy our single-player lives without the interruption of tourettes-stricken teenagers who have somehow coerced their parents into ignoring them for ridiculous amounts of time while they memorize Zanzibar.

The vocal minority is hurting the creative portion of the industry. For all those man-hours pumped into making sure the net protocols work, everything is synced, and all this cross-network malarky is flawless, they could be crafting a finer, more pronounced single-player experience that would uplift us, challenge us, and, oh I dunno, EVOLVE us.

Bioshock is certainly the champion of my cause. The single player game is stellar, compelling, insightful, and well-rounded. Trying to squish a multi-player aspect into the title would have been tedious and obnoxious and may have cost development time several months and a few coats of polish. It may have caused the mouth-breathing Halo addicts to look up from their drool-covered controllers to try the plasmid that shoots bees or the one that shoots flaming death, but that would confuse them. Sniper Rifle Bro, that's how you go.

I like Halo. It's fine. But Halo's popularity was born from its multiplayer. You yank that aspect out of the game and you would never hear a louder "meh" rise up from the Earth.

Also, Unreal Tournament 3 sucks and is boring as hell. It's a worthless piece of software that should quietly rot in a crypt where I can't smell it. I'd rather play Psychonauts a fourth time. in fact, I'm going to do that right now.   read


3:30 AM on 10.09.2007

Games you should play no matter how old you are

I'm old, folks. Not old in a get off my lawn old, but seriously stay off my lawn anyway.

But I am old enough to remember when King's Quest 1 hit the scene, when Wolfenstein was being traded on floppies at Ham shows (my Dad's a Ham Radio operator and I tagged along with him), and when CD-ROM games were a cute little ploy to sell tiny video files to idiots such as myself.

But there are a good number of games which stand the test of time. Like certain movies, games can remain important long after they become obsolete. Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, none of these movies are really sought after by the younger crowd. But they are important pieces of cinema and teach us many things.

I present to you the current list of Games You Should Try No Matter How Old You Are.

Day of the Tentacle: This classic masterpiece by Lucasarts and Tim Schafer is a sequel to Maniac Mansion, and is better and funnier in every possible way. Multi-directional time travel, selling a game idea before it's even invented to buy a 2 million dollar diamond, and the ol' tricking George Washington into thinking it's a Cherry Tree in order to save a friend 400 years in the future. Sweet.

Sam & Max: The recent episodes are an absolute blast, but one can never forget Sam & Max Hit the Road, in which our loveable friends save a Sasquatch from a midget in a toupee. Brilliant writing and animation.

King's Quest 6: I consider this to be the best in the series because of its branching plots, multiple endings, and sheer variety in settings. That goddamn Stick in the Mud needed to be taught a lesson, and any game that lets you take a Dangling Participle with you in order to solve a word puzzle needs to be mentioned. Also you get to die and go to Hades and make him FUCKING CRY. That's a helluva thing.

Leisure Suit Larry 6: This one I include because I was a teenager when I played it and basically sported a massive boner throughout. Sorry. But the graphic style and genius comedy made it perfect for its time. Neil Ross (the narrator) was pitch-perfect throughout the entire game, and I love everything he adopts his voice too. LSL7 was a treat too, don't forget it. Milk the beavers if you remember to do so.

Space Quest 5: The crux of the Space Quest Series. While many say that SQIV had the better story revolving a bunch of time traveling nonsense, SQV hit the nose with giving our hero Roger Wilco a crappy Dust Buster spaceship to clean up the universe, which led to once again saving the galaxy from a pile of gooey filth and really having a grand old time. I really wish Sierra had given this game the voice treatment, because the cast of characters was truly great, from Flo the navigator to WD-40 the evil robot assassin-turned science officer. And Ambassador Wankmeister was stupid hot. You don't even know.

Full Throttle: Yeah, you probably had your fill of Lucasarts adventure games by now, but you haven't. This is Tim Schafer's Magnum Opus in the 2D realm, and incredibly witty foray into the classic adventure format.
Ben, the leader of the Polecat biker gang, has been knocked out, the creator of his bike company offed, and he's been screwed six ways from Sunday. While shorter than other Lucasarts games, this one really gets under your skin with a cast you love, especially Ben and Maureen. It's a real shame we don't get characterization like this in games anymore.

Star Control II: I save this one for last, because it holds an important point in my life. When me and my friend played this game on his 3DO, it was inspiring. The music was just absolutely incredible for its time and nailed the setting perfectly. Every creature, every battle, every conversation with the Orz or the Ur-Quan or the Umgah was spot-on genius. The space battles were unique, the universe was excellent, and even the mundane task of collecting materials was challenging. But you, my friends, are in luck, because SCII has been released in free source. Just hit up This sweet link and try Star Control.. er, I mean, The Ur-Quan Masters. I might grab a strategy guide too, but trust me, if you haven't played through it before, you'll love every minute of it.

Well, there's my list. I'm sure my alcohol-raddled brain will think up others in the future, but this is your current assignment. Once you finish that I'll give you some more. I also recommend looking up ScummVM and DOSbox if you plan on playing these classics. Like a DVD player, jamming a VHS tape into it will only produce laughs and fire.   read


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