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Gray Times's blog

3:48 PM on 03.26.2015

Dusty old games and the dusty old hoarders who buy them.

Until recently I had considered my collection of PS1 games complete. I had ticked every one of my childhood memories off the list, studied ‘best of’ lists for any gems that appealed to me, and decided I was pretty much done. But before I knew it, I was seeing conversations about Dino Crisis and War Craft II and knew I was far from finished really.

The same goes for the other consoles in my collection. Despite that my video games now dwarf my books and DVD’s I still find myself searching, pricing and collecting these old games. I have always been a retro gamer, even when I was a child I would want to play the older, weirder, and frankly harder to grasp games of the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum. And this has continued throughout my adulthood, bargain bins and thrift shops are raided for treasures regularly, and I make constant ‘want’ lists arguing with myself over which ones are more important that others.

But, something has dawned on me; I rarely play any of them.

Sure they get dug out occasionally. A friend who found the allure of retro through Game Grumps will indulge in a stack of weird and wonderful games and a few beers. But these nights are few and far between. The majority of these games gather dust lovingly filed away In a collection of retro gems. I remind myself that they’re there if I need them, or that there will come a day when I want to smash Donkey Kong Country one last time, and on those days I’ll be so glad that I’ve got them.

But the problem is that this isn’t limited to retro consoles, this attitude of purchase and don’t play extends to current gen as well as last gen. my PS3 collection is pretty ridiculous, and I’m buying back every Wii title that could be considered solid before I move on to X-box and X-box 360 exclusives so that I have all the bases covered. All of these purchases on top of trying to keep up to date with modern releases.

So is it fair to call this a ‘backlog’ still? I don’t think it is, I think the term collection is far more apt. Whilst I have every intention of playing these games, I don’t know if I’ll ever get round to it. Rather it is borne out of a desire to have every version of every game across the many machines at my disposal. A desire to complete my collection and look at it with glowing pride, to be able to dip into the treasures I have amassed when the mood takes me. And if the mood rarely takes me, that’s my prerogative.

But does this make me much of a fan any more? Sure, I play games most nights and can wax lyrical to whomever is listening about SNES versus Genesis or why the Dreamcast was revolutionary. But when it comes to my ‘collection’ I wonder if it is little more than a collection of vintage vinyl. Too sacred to be played, too delicate to be touched, and owned just to be able to say I’VE GOT THAT.

Perhaps the true retro heads are the ones who sit for hours playing ROMS and not spending a penny. I do enjoy them yes, but I get more masochist pleasure from seeing the holes in my collection rather than the vastness of elements of it. The obsessive list making and ebay checking, the trawling and digging to find precious copies is where I get the majority of my retro joy. The gaming itself is relegated to second.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, being self aware enough to know that I enjoy the chase more than the pray is perfectly acceptable. But it does make me wonder about other retro heads. The hundreds of pounds that change hands across ebay make me wonder if these games are even being played or if they are being filed away like I find myself doing.  And whilst I am still a games enthusiast, I fear many of these people know they can turn a profit on software, using retro resale as a back room business.

Take for example my recent spate of selling off some duplicates in my collection. 2 out of every 3 sales went to someone running a company. These games won’t be played or enjoyed, but rather they will be re-sold again. Like I, these games will be filed and stored and perhaps they will be sold onto someone who will cherish them.

What inspired this blog was something my mother would say “have you not got enough son?” when I bugged her about getting a new game. “aren’t they all the same really? Do you not have enough?”

The problem for both my bank balance and my sanity, is there is never enough, and I’ll never be finished my collection. I know I’m falling into the hands of the re-sellers, and I know I haven’t got enough time, but dammit do I adore the collecting.  


11:44 AM on 03.20.2015

Videogames… what’s with all the candles?

Whilst romping though the not very good FPS Fear 3 (or F3AR as it is want to call itself) I noticed something that stuck out more than the legions and legions of genetically modified super soldiers and predicable level design.

It’s bloody full of Candles.

Right from the get go, the moment you stumble over one of the standard “oooo creepy!” bits the candles start popping up. It seems that it is now in the “spooky by numbers book of game design” to have drippy candles everywhere. I always assumed that the troupes for horror games would be a little more horror-ful. I can enjoy carcases or skulls and bones, in fact I’m fond of them, and everyone loves a bit of sinister string music to get them in the pant filling mood, but all these candles… I’m just not into them.

And the reason is the same for so many complaints about our beloved media format. Logistics. It just does not make logistical sense for all these candles to be everywhere. I don’t care if the evil spirit of the mutant child Alma HAS infected an entire city to lose their minds and turn on each other, why has she also encouraged all these people to get out every candle them own, light them, and place them in oooo spooky arrangements?!

Why when losing your mind does the lighting and placing of candles seem to be so prolifically important? Is this a thing? Are asylum’s consistently full of candles? Is that the first sign of building madness? The constant need to light candles? If this is true, then isn’t it a fire hazard to have so many flames exposed to those who are most vulnerable in society?

And where are all these candles coming from? It can be fairly argued that I am “a bit of a goth” the tomb stone tattoos and perchance for Edger Alan Poe all point towards to someone with more than the average number of candles. Even with that in mind, it’s still in the single digits. Think how many goths would be required for something like THIS!

And the expense!  A big box of Dr Creepy Dribble Candles costs a fair few bob. When the darkness comes in these videogame nightmare worlds, are those afflicted spending their life savings on candles so that the way to progress for the hero of the piece can follow them? I can only imagine how the discourse goes when the darkness spreads over the land…

“I say Clive, I appear to have succumbed to the deranged nightmare that is effecting the local populous!”

“As have I Rudiger! The overwhelming urge to attack people and possibly eat their flesh is quite the delirium!”

“Well my good sir, you know the rules, before we can go all crazy and write creepy things in our own blood and shit, we have to make sure the place is covered in candles. Fetch my wallet as we will have to visit Ikea before we can begin. “

“Marvellous, shall we position them in elaborate displays that boggle the mind at how they were and remain lit?”

“I should say so! Let’s get hotdogs at Ikea as well”

Dead Space was pretty terrible for this as well, but almost worse as it was set in well…. space. I’m no expert but countless oxygen guzzling candles doesn’t seem like a smart move. It also struggles because again, they are in space and can’t pop round to Walmart to pick up a shit ton of candles. Sure it’s creepy, but it’s so over the top.  

 The strangest part is that the illogical use of candles is mostly in modern to future setting games. Period or fantasy settings, were liberal use of candles would make a lot more sense, are in fact sparser. Skyrim? A few candles, Dark Souls? Hardly any. Insomnia? Absolutely balls all. And I could have done with a few more and a clean pair of pants during my play through!

Candles in video games have the best of intentions, but it’s just too illogical. Too forced and too impractical to be taken seriously. Please, no more elaborate use of candles, there must be other creepy things you can use? I always liked a single swinging bulb myself.


12:22 PM on 03.06.2015

Gaming’s great moments: Ruining someone’s childhood. 

Gaming has some wonderful moments, moments you’ll cherish and think of fondly. The beginning of Half Life, the death of Aerith or “Would you kindly” all spring to mind. But sometimes there are moments that revolve around the playing of games which transpire that no other medium can quite touch upon.

Let me tell you a little story…

The scene: Glasgow’s beautiful west end in the cold winter of 2004. A young man is over the moon to have been bought a copy of Mario Kart for the SNES. My girlfriend at the time knew how much I adored retro gaming, in particular the games that had slipped though my grasp in my accent to adulthood. Mario Kart was one such game, and as any retro gamers will know, it fetches a pretty penny on Ebay. I truly was overjoyed.

Have you guys played Mario Kart? Its amazing. It was revolutionary at the time and goddamnit if it doesn’t hold up pretty damn well. Each character handles differently, each item needs mastering, and each course is a joy in terms of design and in imagination. With trepidation and excitement I put the Kart into my aged and worn SNES and prepared for an afternoons delight.

And it was bliss. I tore round the tracks like a pro. My heart leapt to the sounds of Donut Plains and Koopa Beach. Despite it looking a little rough around the edges compared to my PS2’s graphics it was still bright colourful and joyful at every turn. With Yoshi and a feather I discovered shortcuts that gave me an edge, I lined up some cracking green shell shots like a pro.

I tore through 50cc, I decimated 100cc. When it came to 150cc though, I had to up my game. See back in the 16 –bit era, we just accepted things. If it was hard, or it was unfair we just accepted it. And in the case of Mario Kart, I was expected to accept that the computer just plain cheats. And over the last two generations I had forgotten quite how much the computer is allowed to cheat.

But back to our tale…

After a few weeks of racing in between lectures and drunken chaos, I was nearing completion of the game. It had been a struggle, but I had Gold trophy’d all the courses except for 150CC special cup. I was pretty pumped, and keen to complete the game completely as it had been quite a struggle. All of which paled in comparison to this demonic finale.

I tried once. I failed. Okay, no big deal. I had made a few mistakes, mistakes I’ll iron out in my next run. I tried again. And again. And again. In fact I played those same five courses over and over again for five hours.

Every race was the same, I would smash into the top 3 with a boost start, handle the contours of each course like a pro, weaving through banana skins and green shells as if they were nothing. Occasional pretenders would jossle for my position but they were swiftly dispatched, until the final section.

Without fail, every single time, Luigi would soar past me at some ungodly speed, claiming 1st place and pushing me into 2nd. I mean every time. It was almost comical if it wasn’t so infuriating. I had mastered the game, I was the best I could be, and yet I was constantly foiled by this dickhead in green. The cheating little bugger was stealing my pole position without playing fair!

I psyched myself up. One more time. I can do this! Each time I’m inches closer I can feel it. I assumed the pro gaming position (leaning slightly further forward than I was previously) and loaded up the dreaded special cup. The first race, I screamed round the track, obliterating the competition, Donut plains 3 wasn’t too hard. Same goes for Koopa Beach 2 which was dispatched without issue.

And now, the dreaded trio. I slipped to 3rd place on ghost valley 3. I missed timed feather jump and plummeted into oblivion. But I was still top of the pack in overall points. Luigi’s constant smile gurned at me from second place, daring me to try for gold. On Vanilla Lake 2 I scrapped 2nd, whilst that Nerf Hearder Luigi took 1st. we were neck and neck, it had all come down to this.

Rainbow Road.

This bloody course. How many controllers have been destroyed in frustration at its bumperless chaos? I was ready, and refused to give up. This was the time, i could feel it. I screamed into 1st place, and held onto it for dear life. I played it cool around the thromps, but fired on all cylinders when I could. Luigi, biting at my ass at every moment, until half way round the third lap I got him.

A perfect shot. A one in a million green sheller. The 2nd fiddle plumper was blown out of 1st place and off the side of the course. “YES!!” I screamed! I was going to do it, I was actually going to do it! The finishing line was in sight! I could consider myself a master of Mario kart! Until just at the line, Luigi passed me.


I screamed, as I threw my controller asunder and stormed out of the room.

Five minutes later, there was a knock at the door. I had decided video games were now rubbish and had my nose in a book, but I gingerly opened the front door of our student hovel. There stood an exhausted looking man in his thirties, in his arms a screaming baby of no more than a few months. With furious eyes that looked close to tears the man turned to me:

“I’ve no idea who Luigi is or what makes him a bastard, but you woke my daughter up with your profanity. Please resolve your domestic problems quietly!” he snapped.

Video games man.


2:12 PM on 02.25.2015

Pieces of Heart: Silent Hill-Downpour

Eek! So I ruffled a few feathers with my last few blog, hope no one was too irritated. In penance, lets  dig out another forgotten treasure and sing its praises, this time something a little more modern, but still a gem and still sadly forgotten about.

I’ll level with you, I’ve not played PT, but I did play Silent Hill: Homecoming, which are about as far removed from one another as you can get. In fact, Homecoming was so mediocre, so dull and so infuriating, that I abandoned it half way through and wrote off a generation’s worth of Silent Hill games.

More fool me, as luck would have it a bargain basement copy of Downpour has really got my Silent Hill gland pulsing, and I recommend you grab hold of this diamond in the rough.

Straight off, Downpour grabbed me by the goolies. It was not to be a game about a Man with a DARK SECRET, but rather we witness the dark secret in the opening few minutes. The game asks why has our lead done what he felt compelled to do, making for a more investing and ponderous story. My favourite Silent Hill’s and survival horrors begin with a question, which they answer over the course of the game, and Downpour follows suit. Hints and musings are drip fed to the player through the normal method of journal entries and flash backs, but never play their hand completely, leaving the player to wonder about the plot as it unfolds.

The player will have plenty of time to muse as well, as Downpour contains large portions with little but atmosphere to keep you company. I adore it when a game uses the lack of excitement to build tension, and Downpour does it so well. The bleak horror of the town and surrounding areas feel genuinely threatening, even when there’s nothing there, adding to the purgatory-esque style of the series as a whole.

The feel of the game is refreshingly old school as well. Our lead handles like a car with a squeaky wheel, and the clumsy combat adds layers to the tension. At first, I thought it was bad game design, but as you progress it actually is a stroke of genius. In modern “horror” titles, you can cut through waves of evil thanks to intuitive controls, but by making them difficult and awkward, the combat takes on a far more threatening and lethal atmosphere. Murphy flings his weapons with fear and fury, making every landed hit a small desperate win.

Silent Hill the town has never been so desolate and yet so full. Littered throughout the main story are side quests which give pant filling views into the tortured lives of the residents. Whilst not important, they add an almost RPG feel to survival, encouraging the player to explore and delve further into the mystery of the town. A slight complaint however, there is no need for Murphy to do any of these things. Whilst we the players want to learn more, he has no reason at all for faffing about with a broken cinema or returning stolen goods. A small complaint, and perhaps its to encourage moral and immoral play through, but a little more effort and the side quests could have been Fallout levels of awesome.

 Opinions differ on what makes a game scary. Some people hate jump scares, whilst I’m quite fond of them. Tension obviously is important, and with Silent Hill an otherworldy sense of disconnection and confusion is vital to maintaining the heebie-geebies. Downpour manages to do all of these and more, creating a scary experience no matter your preferred type of horror. Building from this, Downpour adds a very adult edge to its horror. Whilst there are bloodier games, and there are grosser games, the inclusion of some of the darkest elements of humanity adds to Downpour’s tension. Child murder and suicide for example are in Downpour. And rather than pouring buckets of blood all over the place, they are dealt with coldly and cruelly, reflecting the true skin crawling nature of these crimes.

Downpour is by no means perfect. It has some irritating bits, and some down right problems. Plus, the PS3 version is buggier than Klendathu. But, if you can look past those issues, it’s a superb horror title with tension, story and terror in generous servings. Give this game a go, and you’ll remember why Silent Hill isn’t quite done with us yet.

Silent Hill : Downpour is available for PS3 and X–box 360    


12:58 PM on 02.17.2015

How Short is too Short: A rebuttal.

Dtoid’s own beloved review shaman Chris Carter recently pointed out that The Order: 1886 is a short game, and he is perfectly okay with this as long as it’s a solid short game.

I respectfully am not okay with this.

And like Chris, my reasons for feeling this way are that “value is relative”. But in a market place filled with tacked on multi-player, micro transactions and DLC, has the concept of value been lost? I fear so, whilst a solid 10 hours for £40 is fine for some, its not something I would even consider. Even if The Order: 1886 is solid gold, I will still be waiting for it to come down to around £20.

To begin with we must first accept that different people play games for different reasons. And with that in mind, we have to accept that no one game will please absolutely everyone. Therefore, the concept of what makes a game “value for money” can be somewhat diluted, as this concept depends on varying factors for each consumer.

For example, Lylat Wars (or Starfox 64) is the greatest game of all time. And it is very short. But this is expanded with multiple routes, a multiplayer and a score attack mode. Perhaps this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely adds value to a short game.

But, where does this leave games like The Order: 1886? As Chris points out the game does not include multiplayer, whilst not something I enjoy I can respect that lots of people love it and will happily clock in the hours justifying their purchase. But without the multiplayer, and without other functions, what does the game offer in terms of value and longevity?

DLC I would bet- That vile little acronym that is fast becoming the plague of the games industry. Perhaps there will be extended chapters, additional levels, new weapons or whatever other crap they can think of, but all at another price. This is unfair longevity, intentionally taking concepts away from the original product with the intention of selling it back to us.

Without multiplayer and additional options, and before the DLC is released, the Order: 1886 will have to have ONE HELL of a good game to warrant second and third play throughs. Don’t give me the “expert mode” completion bonus, or achieving 100% on the trophies, we play games a second and a third time because they were stellar. The Last of Us was flawless and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it again, Mirror’s Edge…. Not so much.

That is a serious gamble, one that I will not be risking. If as I suspect, it is a solid but fairly standard affair, £40 would leave me with a sour taste. To spend that sort of money and then file it away after a measly few hours would be disappointing, but to do so knowing that there is a butt ton of additional content behind pay walls coming your way just rubs salt into the wound.

Personally, I am quite frugal with my purchasing. I’m not made of money, and £40 is a lot to me. A lot I could be spending on beer and porn. I have begun to operate a simple equation to calculate if a game was worth the money:

Price/Hours played = Y

If Y is less than the minimum wage of an 18 year old the game was worth it.  

So for the Order: 1886? Eek, sorry game. You’re 21p short. What I’m trying to get at is that an hour of my time is valuable, but not so valuable that I want games to be over in a flash. Gambling on the game being a stellar classic which goes down in the history books is a dangerous one. And if this is a ploy for DLC additional, then I will vote with my wallet and not bother my arse with The Order: 1886.

Sorry Chris, but this consumer refuses to spend that sort of money on a mere 10 hours. It would have to be a heart wrenching, jockey tightening mind fuckery of a 10 hours, and I just don’t see that happening. 


2:25 PM on 01.12.2015

I finished Ride to Hell:Retribution and you should too...seriously.

I mean it! Not because it’s good, I mean we all know how terrible it is: but because its so so bad we should all bear witness to this master class in fail. Like Shaq-Fu in the 16-bit era, Ride to Hell: Retribution should be held up as a golden turd that makes all other games shine by comparison. As a perfect example of a bad game it should be marvelled upon. Like old grind house or made for TV movies, this celebration of shit-ness should be used from here on out as how NOT to do video games. A rare game that deserves its 5 out of 5 turds, it has to be witnessed to be believed.

Released in 2013, Ride to Hell was panned like no other. Originally planned as part of a series of games, this iteration was forced through development and plopped out like the metaphorical shite it is. But what I found fascinating and down right hilarious, was the ambitions of the creators; the concept and the ideas behind RTH show a genuine desire to make a decent game. Trouble is, it was a game that should have been released in 2007 for PS2 and it should have been playable as well.


For example, the quick time events. Everyone has mixed feelings on QTE’s I personally don’t mind them, as they can make a cinematic moment feel more involving. For example the Far Cry 3 or Bioshock used them really well. RTH tries to do the same trying to make fight scenes exciting and interactive. The reality is they are horribly animated, difficult to judge and sometimes unbearably dull. By making them so bad that on occasion you have to guess what the next input will be, RTH gives a perfect template of what to avoid. After suffering through these god awful fight scenes and the “toys out of the pram” rage mode, all other QTE’s will seem like button mashing blessings from now on.

Are you a human? Do you like the sex with other humans? Want to know how it doesn’t work? Play this game. RTH is so far from “portrayal of woman in videogames” it needs to be studied for its “portrayal of humans in videogames”. Jake our hero is sexed by a series of women in a series of locations for murdering people. Seriously, its bleeding hilarious. Murdered their pimp? Sex. Murdered their boyfriend? Sex. Murdered all the people in their bar? Sex. Murdered everyone at a house party? Orgy. With the dialogue of the worst fan fiction (or like a good version of 50 shades) Jake has the sex with these women fully clothed for no reason. There is no sexiness, no tenderness, no romance and no reason for any of it. Why was it included unless to cause no end of amusement? Next time you lay with someone, remember how the developer Eutechnyx thinks its done and crown yourself lover of the year, while RTH gets another turd.

 This doesn't seem right to me.

Hit detection is weird. I don’t know how to programme the Tivo let alone a videogame, but I assume someone at some point makes some physical sorta boxy thing to show where hurts and where doesn’t . RTH throws the rule book out of the window with distant explosions that kill you, and bullets that can be spat out in seconds. Jake goes from unstoppable tank to wet bit of loo paper depending on his mood. It makes for exciting (read infuriating) game play. No one even bothered to check if it worked at all, which is at least refreshing. To make matters more interesting, RTH has both melee and gun fighting…neither of which work, but at least show ambition! For the hours wasted floundering around like a damp cake, RTH manages to warrant another poo.

I used to ride a motorcycle. It handled like a motorcycle, not a fridge on pram wheels like in RTH. What I’m sure were intended as thrilling ‘Sons of Anarchy’ esque chase and race scenes are more like trying to pilot a bike whilst wearing oven mitts, flaming oven mitts covered in rat’s faeces. It is hilariously bad, in part because you’ve no idea if you’re going to crash and fade to black, or if your indestructi-bike will sail through the hazards as if nothing happened. While it is horribly bad, No other game has made me laugh so hard as when Jake spontaneously combusts for no reason. Admirable effort was put in at some point, but it was all for naught.

When I was nine I wrote a story about Sonic the hedgehog. It was better than RTH’s plot. It was probably better than Sonic Boom, but that’s for another day. RTH makes Sonic look like fucking Shakespeare. All the characters’ are 2 dimensional non-people, with the worst motivations for mass murder I’ve ever heard. When the credits role, you’ll be none the wiser what the hell happened or why. The voice acting is more akin to having a conversation with Siri when you’re drunk than how actual people talk. Every line is solid gold crap, as unintentionally hilarious as the next, some truly have to be witnessed to be believed, the horrible story spurred me on, I had to find out how much worse it could get. And thankfully it delivered. Bravo you rancid squirt of whale sperm.

As Yahtzee said, this is our Plan Nine from Outer Space. It should be hailed as a testament of awfulness, celebrated for being the best worst thing ever. Every moment of the game was both criminal and hilarious, they tried, by god they tried, but this game is like a thousand monkeys with typewriters trying to code for the Unreal Engine. If you see a copy buy it, really I mean it. I’ve no regrets with my time with this game. If you finish it every game for the rest of your life will seem like an orgasmic dream. Ride to Hell :Retribution will become a cult legend, and I can see why. Truly nothing will ever touch this 5 out of 5 turds, vomit educing, side splittingly funny, horribly written, piss stained excuse for a game. Go buy it!


1:08 PM on 01.05.2015

I sold my Gran for an Amiibo and all I got was a blog about marketing.

Ah the humble toy. All of us have hungered over lumps of brightly coloured plastic moulded into shapes; in fact I’m a grown man and have a few on my desk at work. When Nintendo announced Amiibo I was sceptical, sure it would be kinda cool to have a Mario or Kirby toy, but the Wii U compatibility holds no real appeal. But as they were being released, and with the maelstrom of rumours over rarity and stocking issues I began to see Nintendo’s plan… and by god its genius.

 You see, Nintendo isn’t marketing them at me. Or you for that matter. They have very subtly taken aspects from different franchises and meld them with the appeal to collectors to create a toy that appeals to EVERYONE simultaneously. Its staggering marketing that I think deserves capitalist praise. Let me elaborate.

Cool things are cool.

First and foremost, the toys themselves are aesthetically pleasing. Very few of Nintendo’s characters have got their own action figure run. Sure you can get a few Link’s and Mario’s here and there, but if you wanted a Little Mac toy or a Metaknight toy you were fresh out of luck. With Amiibo they have opened the flood gates for all their franchises, allowing ones that were less well known be placed on the pedestal next to more established characters. This instantly attracts media attention, and also encourages people to dip into their wallets for something they’ve never been able to buy before.

Because no matter how old you get, there’s things you just plain love. And I love me some Star Fox. So already there’s one sale as this is my first chance to have a Fox McCloud figure to display with pride. You multiply that with the bright packaging and recognisable characters you are going to get a fairly solid passing trade, both from adults such as myself, to younger children who love Mario and Donkey Kong.

Supply and Demand.

Want to create hype? Get a naked chick on the box. What to create NERD hype? Make sure that not everyone with disposable income can collect the whole set. McDonald’s struck on this piece of fried gold decades ago, if you want to make people salivate at the thought of your product limit the number available to just a few of them.

Sure you won’t see a penny of that Ebay dollar as they are exchanged from sweaty palm to sweaty palm, but you will get vastly more media coverage (D-toid… I’m looking at you my lover) and it very easily creates buzz and excitement. Anyone with a passing interest will have checked out their local store, they may have price checked, and they may even have bought in bulk with the intention of making fat stacks later in the game. Hype, hype, hype and more hype.

Skylanders and Disney Infinity are worth mega bucks.

Just look at that those figures. This is insanity money it really is. Skylanders and Disney Infinity successfully tapped into interactive toy making and the gamble paid (and paid and paid) off. Why shouldn’t Nintendo get a slice of that delicious money pie? They have a bulging stable of amazing characters, which children would play with and interact with anyway. By making them Skylanders-esque, they are rightly trying to entice children into parting with their parent’s money for the next set of plastic toys which make things happen on their consoles.

And its not cheap to play with either, remember that a “starter” set for all these franchises runs to around £35 then couple that with the £5-15 figures (of which your precious crotch fruit will want all of) it’s very easy to see how these franchises have produced insane revenue for their respective companies. Its far more than just a toy, its an experience that you’re buying. It’s not just a game, it’s a model and a toy and a trading card. It’s everything children want in one box, and admit it, you’ll buy it if its what your loved one wants.

Nintendo is ALREADY streets ahead with interactive toys.

Don’t believe me? Gray's about to drop another graph on you son….


You can see that in the last console generation that The Wii was miles ahead of the market and sale of interactive toy games. Now perhaps this because the Wii sold like gang busters, but I think there is more to consider here.

Nintendo have previous of marketing toys, think of the bright colours and recognisable characters of their franchises. Whilst these games aren’t toys per ce they are marketed in a similar way. This is another cunning ploy, as it will give the Wii U a needed injection of sales. Utilising Nintendo’s marketing power, the fan base for interactive toys it already has from the Wii and of course that it will be completely unique to Nintendo products, Amiibo will have the market sewn up, increasing the sales of the Wii U in its wake.

I know we’re all pretty sick of talking about it, but Amiibo has smashed Marketing 101. Think how many posts have been written, how many excited people there are, we’re only just started the Amiibo craze and it looks like it’s going to build more and more momentum. I’m by no means an expert, but by taking a step back you can see how genius Nintendo’s plan is.  Nintendoomed? Not on your Nelly.


2:44 PM on 12.27.2014

Gaming is destroying the world

I hate to say it, but its time we sat up and noticed the damage that our hobby is doing to the world. Jack Thompson was wrong, its not that games are corrupting the young, games are corrupting THE WORLD.

I began by flexing my statistical muscles for a separate article I’m working on. As i researched deeper and deeper into the topic, I came across evidence that cannot be ignored. Quite frankly I'm both staggered and deeply depressed to have drawn these inevitable conclusions. But the evidence cannot be ignored any longer. The facts speak for themselves, and we are all to blame for this decline in society.



X-Box One sales by million units.

In the above graph you can see the total sales of that pop strumpets records over a series of years. Follow the graph to the 2013 mark with the release of the paedophile prick teases 4th record the painfully titled "Bangerz". See how there was a marked increase of sales with this forth record. Know what else was released at the same time THE X-BOX ONE!

Without even knowing it, by purchasing an X-box we have also encouraged the popularity of that oxygen thief Miley Cyrus. The facts speak for themselves, with zero X-box Ones sold in 2012 there was a marked down turn in the sales of tinnitus inducing audio vomit, but upon the release of Microsoft's mighty new machine we see that Robin Thicke's dick warmer has had a resurgence in popularity.  This is our fault! we bought the machine, we all gushed over Titan Fall and Killer Instinct and now our radios are filled with horrific songs about demolition equipment! If only we had all bought Wii U's then at least we would have encouraged the rise of Nikki Minaj. And say what you like about Nikki Minaj... there is dat ass, which i would forgive war crimes for.



I don't want to say it as much as you don't want to hear it. But again the stats don't lie. Take for example, the prison population at the release of the first Mario game. When Donkey Kong was released in 1981 the prison population was a pleasantly low 500,000. However, I know a mean when i see one, and as each Mario game was released so did the American prison population increase. With the release of the 154th game (to the best of my reckoning) with Mario in 2013 with Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U the prison population has risen to a colossal 2,400,000.

Clearly the exploits of this rebellious plumber are encouraging young and old alike to take up a life of crime. If Nintendo continue to publish this rabble rouser's doctrines of violence and crime, then the population of American Prisons will no decrease in any significant factor. "but Gray!" i hear you cry "prison populations have taken a slight dip in 2013-14" this is obviously because the 154th Mario game was released for the Wii U, and as we know no ones bought that console. Lord help us and the police force if those dark crime lords at Nintendo are able to shift the numbers they hope to.  Rioting in the streets is no exaggeration judging from my research.



number of infections per 100,000 people

Its not just those people at Nintendo and Microsoft that are adding to the worlds downfall. At the start of 2014 it was confirmed that PS4 owners were jacking it (or jilling it) to pornography on their consoles almost 3 times as often as other consoles on the market. Through some more of my flawless and utterly unquestionable research, it turns out those mucky little buggers are also increasing the number of reported STI's.

STI's or sexually transmitted infections are gross.  They really are one of life's little pains, spoiling the transmission of bodily fluids. Whilst treatable with a course of antibiotics, the number of counts of Gonorrhoea is on the rise, and all the signs point towards the rising domination of the PS4 amongst video gamers. While countless robes of jizz are being spilt in front of televisions, those dirty boys and girls are venturing out to experience physical love with one another and are not doing their homework before hand. PS4 with its "free love" approach is increasing this crotch plague that is infecting the young. I mean there is no other interpretation to this rising level in itchy bitties other than the deluge of jizz covered PS4 controllers. Lord only knows why Microsoft aren't cashing in on this gross factoid.

Lets all wash our hands now.



Miley Cyrus is one thing, but Nickelback are possibly mentioned in the book of Revelations... somewhere in the back. And unlike X-box, Final Fantasy could have stopped those purveyors of mind numbing spirit crushing agro acousto-rock. Looking at the above graph, you can see that with the release of the first final fantasy game there were zero Nickelback albums. A simpler time when the airwaves were clear of vile music. But as you can see, as the number of Final Fantasy games released increased, the counts of Nickelback sightings were beginning to increase.

With an incline that would give a mountaineer a hard on, these endless Final Fantasy games are directly increasing the volume of Nickelback records. If FFXV drops next year then we are staring at a total of 8 albums. 8 entire records of machismo, poodle air, brow beating four chord fail rock. The most terrifying aspect of this conclusion is that Final Fantasy is well loved and respected game series, therefore it is highly unlikely the Square-Enix will cancel it any time soon. This can only mean that Nickelback will continue to release records for THE REST OF TIME. Ladies and gentlemen, I would forgive you if you have a quiet evening in with a pencil and your ear canals after this bombshell.

This is only the beginning, there is a mountain of information pointing to the down fall of civilisation and it is all in line with the increase in the success of video games. Take a match to your collections, melt down your controllers and get a new hobby. We are all destroying the world, i mean what possible other interpretation of these facts is there?


2:28 AM on 12.04.2014

There is BDSM in videogames. [NSFW!]

Seriously not safe for work, not for content, but your colleagues might look at you weird from now on... 

BDSM, or bondage, domination, sadism and masochism is everywhere. It really is, you’d be surprised by how many different relationships, sexual fetishes or fantasies revolve around these core concepts. I am by no means an expert, but I believe there are elements of BDSM in video games.

Not everyone likes their love with a side helping of kink, but if there’s one videogame forum that likes to stare straight into the darker areas society its my beloved Destructoid. By its very nature BDSM is divisive and can be some what exclusionary. It is often misrepresented in the media as the practises of deviants, perverts and those with daddy issues, something that irritates me deeply on a personal level. BDSM and those who practise it are mostly perfectly normal people, just with a few extra kinks in the way they express their love for each other. Monstrous villains who love crushing the skulls of the weak whilst dressed in leather straps need not apply; this is my top 5 BDSM relationships in gaming.

Super Meat Boy is a masochist. 

Masochism is a form of BDSM where upon the masochist receives pleasure be it sexual or otherwise, from suffering pain in a specific way. As with any kink, it is completely up to interpretation. Some like to be hurt, some like to put themselves through punishment for their Dom, some just like to be punished by their Dom, and some are just adrenaline junkies that thrive on the flood of endorphins that pain and exhaustion release. (see also marathon runners… though there’s less bonners)

I love Super Meat Boy, partly because its brick hard, but also because it has such a simple and graceful goal at the end of it. Consider this: Meat Boy throws himself through a gauntlet of violence, death, danger and blood all to get to his Bandage Girl. When they are united he is rewarded with a brief embrace, before he does it all again. Over 300 hundred times. Remember Meat Boy has no skin…. as he runs and slides he leaves a trail of blood and meat juice behind him… just let that soak in. ever movement must cause him agony, without even considering the risk of death that is around every obstacle. But that wee cheeky chappy embraces every moment, all worth while to save and embrace his lover. A warped love story, and a true masochist whose grown to love the pain, and will do what ever it takes to please his bandage girl.

Bayonetta is a Sadist

Sadist and sadism are words that stem from the infamous Marquis De Sade of 18th century France. A pretty warped dude was De Sade, penning some seriously blood chilling prose that mainly feature sex and death. Sadism now is primarily someone who receives pleasure from causing pain and discomfort in others within strict parameters. Often these are cruel or unusual, unprovoked or unnecessary. A Sadist will reflect their darker desires on to others, for their own amusement and pleasure.

And if that doesn’t sum up our favourite hair clad heroine I don’t know what does. In the first Bayonetta she looses her memory, and yet her sadism is so ingrained that she still knows that she enjoys (and benefits from) elaborate tortures and cruelties. This punishments and tortures are tailored to her whims, often involving elaborate set pieces she can conjure at will (jealous!) Also a true sadist is well aware of the attention they crave, as they need others to indulge their passions. Bayonetta’s knowing looks and lollipops for example, imply that she enjoys being the centre of focus, and lavishes the power that she has. A true Sadist, and a great one at that. 

Nathan Drake is a brat

I mean, of course he is a brat, anyone who has had the pleasure of the Uncharted series knows that Nathan is a brat. But in the kinky context of the BDSM world, his actions could possibly be because of a certain longing. See a brat is usually considered to be someone of a submissive nature, but who acts out for attention and discipline. A troublemaker really, and someone who enjoys being the cause of that trouble.

So is this the real reason for Nathan’s constant acting out? possibly! It would explain why he’s constantly making things worse, constantly causing trouble and constantly murdering hundreds of people. If only Sully or Elena would tell him “NO!” and tell him to behave, then things would be much more peaceful for all involved. Particularly of interest is that Nathan has fabricated his childhood, thinks aloud and shows little remorse or concern for others as a result of his actions. These childlike attitudes point towards the brat, as they wish to be treated like a naughty school boy, rather than a fully grown man. These unnecessary complications that Nathan happily piles on himself and his friends cause me to wonder what exactly he’s been searching for all these years. It might just be someone to tell him to behave.

Tom Nook is a Financial Dom. 

A financial Dom is pretty much self explanatory, someone who indulges in a relationship with another willing partner, which involves fiscal constraint. This can be someone who controls the others spending, requests lavish gifts or makes the other live in poverty for their own and their sub’s enjoyment.

Tom Nook, the cute little dude who give you your first mortgage is a shark. Don’t be fooled by his pleasant demeanour, this is a creature who relishes the fiscal purgatory he puts the villager under. Just like a true Dom, he baits and teases you with the promise of improvements and extensions, only for the villager to be forced into even more dire straights. All the money raised and paid to Mr Nook seems to evaporate, as if the real aim of that wretched mammal is to watch the villager struggle on the end of his financial hook. Still, whatever creams your twinky I suppose, the villager never looses that smile of his so I guess he enjoys the financial servitude.

Voldo is a 24/7 submissive.

Again this one is quite self explanatory, a 24/7 sub enjoys the servitude and dedication of their master or Dom on a constant basis. Many kinky people love to play around now and then, but few can (or want to) commit 100% of the time. Work, for example can get in the way. So committed to this lifestyle, some 24/7 subs will change their bodies and eventually their minds to please their master.

And that’s our Voldo! A definite favourite from the Soul Calibur series, Voldo fights with a mixture of contortionist, fetishism, martial arts and go go dancer aesthetics. Clearly clad in bondage style clothing, he battles without sight as his eyes and mouth are always covered. Its very easy to take one look at Voldo and mark his as a freak and a weirdo, but this blog is about kink, and we don’t stoop that low. Voldo is so committed to his lifestyle that he has adapted to fight without sight, now that IS commitment. But what makes Voldo my favourite video game fetishist is the ending to Soul Calibur 2. Upon victory Voldo "welcomes his moment of bliss" like a true sub, Voldo savours his moment before thinking of his master. Using the power of the Soul Edge he resurrects his fallen master, having fought and and risked death to reach that point, where upon he vows to protect his master for all time. Despite being a strange man, Voldo relishes his servitude, but all that he endures and all that he goes through is because of love. Love for his master, and love for his place by his side. A beautiful thing, despite being wrapped up in a kinky outer shell.

BDSM is everywhere, but at its core is respect, care, love and truthfulness. I hope this little blog has given you a new perspective when viewing your videogame heroes, we all have our individual motivations, some filthier than others.

Bizarre capitalization is to give roles their appropriate respect... Its a thing, look it up! 


2:06 PM on 11.24.2014

Press forward to walk forward.

Its time we took a stand. Its time to stand up and make our voices heard, its time that those same voices build into a chorus that is heard the world over.


We don’t need your shitty tutorial sections anymore.


Really we don’t. We’re all pretty good at this now, if 4 year olds are better with Ipads than their parents, we definitely don’t need to be told how to move and look around in video games.

Oh I get it, I see the logic of including these sections. Some argue it’s for first time players so they can get to grips with the way an FPS, 3rd person or driving game works. We all had to learn once, and we all were sorta rubbish at it the first time. I remember my first attempt at mouse/keyboard control… well let’s just say Quake’s floor art got scrutinised involuntarily.

But! I got the hang of it, by trying and failing. No amount of “use the right stick to control the camera” makes someone a lethal circle strafing machine. All it does is delay the beginning of the game for seemingly no real reason. We have reached a point now in the evolution of gaming that the vast majority of us know how to interact with the software without much prompt. An FPS has fairly predictable controls, ones that have evolved, but haven’t really changed since Doom. Sure, minds were blown when Goldeneye 007 introduced sniper scopes and head shots, but the core of move, duck, jump and look has been locked in for twenty years.

Russian face lifts leave a lot to be desired...

If FPS and 3rd person are on one hand, on the other some guided help to begin with is much needed. Final Fantasy and X co would both be painful cluster fucks if it wasn’t for the gentle introduction that these games provide. But the difference here, is that they are indeed complicated games. Even for the most seasoned RTS-er or RPG-er there are always new things to learn or intricacies that have to be developed and matured before the player is allowed to play with wanton abandon. In these sorts of games, where complication, tactics and information are common place, a gentle intro is preferred.

But this same approach should not be used for ALL games. Take two fairly recent examples of excellent player guidance. Alien Isolation and Resogun.

Alien Isolation embraces the “learn by doing” ethos that taught a generation to rocket jump. Ripley is free to wander around her space ship, completely safe as the player begins to get to grips with her running speed, inexplicable inability to jump and how to interact with items in the world. Simple cues appear on screen showing the player what can, and can’t be achieved. Gradually we figure out about maps, save points and crafting, all in our own time, and all without much prompt. It’s a simple approach, but one that does not patronise the player, giving you the feeling that you’re off on your adventure already.

press X to shit your drawers.

Resogun goes for a very different tack, but one that works equally well. As a frantic high octane shooter, a guided section would give a false sense of the game. Rather whilst it loads you’re given a flash of the controls. Some of which make little sense. “Throw human” seemed somewhat bizarre at the outset, and it wasn’t until a solid half hour of game play did that begin to make sense, let alone come in handy. But that fits with the style of the game, a game in which you will loose and die over and over again, all the while understanding fractionally more of what is going on. Like Pac-man, the eye is drawn to the different colors and shapes, and with practise and a little time the pieces come together to prepare you for the game at hand. Resogun teaches the player through trial and error, so when you get good, you get good because you earned it. Not because you were spoon fed how to succeed. 

There is one caveat to this humble rant. Which is when a tutorial adds to the overarching world and story line. For example the Half Life expansion pack, Half-Life: Opposing Force placed you in the boots of a low level grunt running the gauntlet of boot camp, complete with bellowing training sergeant. It added to the atmosphere and to the character that the player inhabited. No easy feat considering this was one of Valve’s silent protagonists. But the inclusion of this section improved the game and made sense in context, also proving to be good fun. If we had been taught how to run and shoot whilst the aliens massacred our brethren, it would have removed all sense of atmosphere and tension.

While there is a place for training scenes, please stop patronising us, we get it. Unless you can justify it and it adds to the quality, just leave it out. Sure we might die a few times, but I’ll thank you for improving the flow of the scene. 


4:17 PM on 10.23.2014

STFU and listen to my awesome ideas Dtoid.

How lovely was that wee update from Niero? There has been some losses within the Destructoid community recently, but the thing i love dearly about this site is that no matter what happens the community rallies and we continue to have fun, continue to argue like drunk beavers and of course we know when to STFUAJPG!

 However, I've been a reasonably active member of the community when i can, and i have a few little ideas for the team. I'm not going to go down the "Dtoid sucks now!" road, as i don't think that at all. But as someone who works hard and is unable to be constantly active, but really appreciates regular additions, I think there are a couple of small changes and ideas that might benefit everyone.

Dtoid mammies and daddies- I'm not trying to step on your toes at all i've no idea how a website works- these are just ideas. Thank you for all your hard work.


I got promoted to the front page once. It was that piece about video game tattoo etiquette. It was such an amazing feeling not only to receive the support and praise from the community, but also to have something i'd written provoke discussion, debate and communication. People were showing pictures and stories of their tattoos, it was pretty sweet.

There are regularly some amazing articles being loaded onto the community blogs. Some of them do require a proof read and a tidy up, but the content of them shines through. I would love to see more being put forward, opinions, stories, artwork, music... pretty much anything promoted. It gives the community that lovely warm feeling to see their work put forward, and it will mean more clicks for the Dtoid coffers. Mr Andy Dixon does an amazing job, but sometimes great works sink without a trace despite being upvoted a good few times.



We all come from a million different countries, backgrounds, races, sexes, classes and political views. So it would be fun to see some more stuff about the community, what they're into, what their other passions were. The ten things... and the ten fetishes blogs were SO cool as we could touch on other things that matter without detracting from our overwhelming love of videogames.

 It builds communities, and it offers us all a quick 5 minute read we can fit into our working day. its also a fun way of getting to know each other and to get us talking about other issues despite games. As games and internet culture go hand in hand, we can merge them to get us talking about all sorts. I don't just mean gamergate and the portrayal of women, we could be talking about other issues that matter to us.



Who remembers "the memory card" series? i adored it. many hours were spent reminiscing over some gamings great moments. It picked moments that i had forgotten, moments that i'd never experienced and moments that i remember fondly. Some of the Dtoid staff as well as some of the more prolific bloggers could begin writing columns with regular promote dates.

It would ease some pressure on slow news days, because the full time staff would know Occams column on gamings best invisible walls was ready to print or RedNeckPeak will be dropping another great observation. Plus, it would make finding new writers easier, as it would give normal bloggers a chance, without overwhelming them and getting in the way of their careers or commitments.



I'm in Britain, so when i wake up most of the 'merican Dtoid articles have been up and commented. I know that there are Dtoid staff all over the world, so why don't they get some publishing access? maybe have someone working the weekends too, even if its just a few bits and pieces to tide us over. I find a marked drop off at times and at weekends and i don't think it would be too difficult to coordinate amongst editors, contributors and community members to make Dtoid a consistent 24 hour gaming and culture site.


  Maybe these are silly ideas, but i really like this site, and i really like the community. I'd much rather see some amateur writing, some silly writing and some non game writing than no writing at all. The will of the community is a resource, you can use sexy and non sexy ways depending on mood.


4:00 PM on 10.08.2014

Fangs for the Memories. The Blackest of Mirrors.

I don’t scare easily. I never have, whilst I love horror in all its forms it rarely scares me properly. Never the type of scare that keeps you awake, that has you reaching for another drink and another cigarette, and that makes you wish someone would say it going to be alright.  I think it’s because I know its fiction, and how could make believe scare you? There are no aliens, no bumps in the night or bogymen coming for me, just taxes and exes, oven meals and bitter Scottish weather, none of which is particularly scary.

What keeps me up at night are my memories. Those gnawing pangs of past mistakes, misspent days or words I can’t take back.  I’ve battled depression for as long as I can remember, and when you mix those dark and morbid thoughts with an overactive imagination and a mind full of questions, your left with sleepless nights and regrets. Friedrich Nietzsche put it best,

If you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you."

That’s why Spec Ops: The Line is the singular most terrifying game ever made.

SPOILERS AHEAD-Normally I wouldn’t emphasise this so much, but if you haven’t played this game stop reading and play it. You'll thank me.

You back? Good.

Spec Ops: The Line is both a 3rd person shooter and a hell ride into the human psyche. I’m not going to wax lyrical about the reasonably solid game play, or even its superb plot. What we’re here to discuss is why it’s terrifying.  The horror that the game causes works on multiple levels, and its only when those pieces begin to fit together and you turn that camera on the wretched soul clinging to a control pad do you see the true power that this game processes.

It begins so simply. Like all great descents you don’t even realise that you’re being dragged down. The game begins and for the first few hours you’re firing off bullets and ploughing through insurgents as if it’s Call of Duty with Resident Evil controls. The action gets more and more heated, the violence of lost Dubai begins to increase. The voices over the radio begin to get more and more urgent, the soldiers under your command get more and more reluctant yet more insistent that we report back to HQ. When suddenly and yet so gradually you realise you’re changing. Your voice over the coms is getting more frayed and desperate, you grip on the controller is getting more frantic and each bullet is more valuable than its last fellow. This is not your average shooter, Captain Walker is far more than an avatar, he is you, changing gradually. Acts of violence that you would have baulked at in the first half become common place in the second. You brush off the murder of hundreds of men. Using weapons of such devilish design becomes normal. You have gradually become inhuman, and only when you stop to take a breath do you see how different Captain Walker has become, how angry and blood soaked he is, and how you, the player were the one who led these men through hell itself.

You and Walker become shells of the people you once were. Or perhaps your mask slipped and the true evil that has bubbled beneath the surface all these years is showing its face. Spec Ops: The Line makes you the monster. Without even realising it, those binary good/bad choices it throws at you are not what they seem- they are shades of grey. Its only when the game is over, and you read the tales of others experiences do you realise you didn’t have to do all those monstrous things to progress. You didn’t need to pass judgement on those men, you could have walked away… but you didn’t. You could have fired in the air to scare the civilians who were hanging your comrade… but you didn’t. You opened fire, you executed those men. You took life and death into your hands and you made your decision. Spec Ops: The Line plays with your associations of military shooters. You as the player, have been programmed that fighting is duty, that killing the enemy is progression and that victory and safety is only a check point away. Only when the credits roll do you see how far you have sunk, only then do you question your actions. And NO ONE has chose the path of least resistance.

And the game knows it. Gradually the messages on the loading screens start to change. The game reminds you that it’s just a game, that none of it is real. The game breaks the 4th wall to tell you that it’s all make believe. But it is real. All you have to do is look in a newspaper, read a military book or hear of the horrific things humans are doing to each other all over the world to know that it’s not all make believe. And even if this game is fiction, you’re the one pulling the trigger, you’re the one who didn’t even try to go back for back up, and you’re the one that skipped over to the white phosphorus and weaponised it. You’re the one who continued to play the game, despite it being about horrible men doing horrible things. The load screen knows it too, pushing your buttons and rubbing salt into your wounds. Until right when the perfect storm is at its most chaotic, when the only way for you and your team is through the centre of hell does it twist the knife perfectly.

It’s the signature of a game that knows what it’s done to its player. Spec Ops: The Line makes the player hate themselves. It holds up a mirror to what’s bubbling beneath the surface of us all. Spec Ops: The Line doesn’t need buckets of viscera, it doesn’t need jump scares and creepy atmospherics. It chills the player to the core because it forces the player to look at themselves. It forces us to think of our own actions, it makes us think of those millions of NPC’s we’ve gunned down over the years with smiles on our faces. Perhaps we’re not as damaged and unhinged as Captain Walker is, but we are not saints. We are after all, simulating murder for fun. We are soaking ourselves in the mire of man’s misery. Perhaps we are all capable of inhuman atrocities given the circumstances. Now tell me one thing more terrifying than that.  


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