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Roberto Plankton's blog

8:54 AM on 08.04.2015

Forums - I Had Them

Three years I've spent among the Forumites. Gradually, I became one of them. - this is my graphical journal, testimony of the ways of the lost tribes.


PREFACE- a Juxtaposition (aka: stolen from other sources)

"Ethnography (from Greek ethnos "folk, people, nation" and grapho "I write") is the systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group."

"An ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations, using concepts that avoid causal explanations."

"The Chaste Ethnographer" – When ethnographers participate within the field, they invariably develop relationships with research subjects/participants. These relationships are sometimes not accounted for within the reporting of the ethnography, although they may influence the research findings."

Calty, Panza, Phil and myself

"The book portrays their descent into savagery; left to themselves in a paradisiacal country, far from modern civilisation, the well-educated children regress to a primitive state.At an allegorical level, the central theme is the conflicting human impulses toward civilization—living by rules, peacefully and in harmony—and toward the will to power. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality. How these play out, and how different people feel the influences of these, form a major subtext of Lord of the Flies."

Piggy, Piggy, Piggy!

"Cultural imperialism is the cultural aspects of imperialism. Imperialism, here, is referring to the creation and maintenance of unequal relationships between civilizations favoring the more powerful civilization. Therefore, it is the practice of promoting and imposing a culture, usually of politically powerful nations over less potent societies. (...) The term is usually used in a pejorative sense, often in conjunction with a call to reject such influence. Cultural imperialism can take various forms, such as an attitude, a formal policy, military action, so long as it reinforces cultural hegemony."

"Conflict escalation is the process by which conflicts grow in severity over time. This may refer to conflicts between individuals or groups in interpersonal relationships, (...) In systems theory, the process of conflict escalation is modeled by positive feedback."

"Positive feedback is a process that occurs in a feedback loop in which the effects of a small disturbance on a system include an increase in the magnitude of the perturbation. That is, A produces more of B which in turn produces more of A. "



I couldn't salvage that much after its sudden collapse but bits and pieces, predominantly my own contributions.

Sadly it is all just a broken reflection of former glory.

Rite of Welcoming:

  The Sacred Grounds


The Holy Words of Passage:

Socially Differentiated Forms of Welcome Greetings:


Power Animals, Avatar Creation and Ritual Objects


Exhibit Nr. 4s77X: Cuddle Masks


Coping with conflict and friendly banter: When Nerds Go Wild


discussing the perils of "advid" marijuana-usage and having a civil debate with Panza

fierce resistance against raiding spam-bots, fortune-tellers and shills is a necessary evil

tact and respect

Campfire Tales



Acceptance: My Transformation


 I am complete now - Thanks to you.

Thank you, Forums. For Having Me



9:06 AM on 07.16.2015

game, what are you talking about? TLOU & ART

I played The Last of Us on the PS3 when it was first published (borrowed it from a friend). I didn't like it that much. I got as far as the first Clicker-encounter outside of town and decided to return it. I wasn't too fond of the cave-system- level-design then and always had the suspicion I should play the game exactly as it was supposed to be played although the game itself tries really hard to create the illusion of openness. No real creativity allowed. The characters act in their respective environments or stages like puppets on strings. Slight nausea because of the overly detailed models. Kind of a meh-experience for me.
When I bought me a PS4 the game came with a bundle (Little Big Planet, never touched it, Driveclub - traded it in, unopened). A few weeks ago I thought about giving The Last of Us a last chance.

Artworks in The Last of Us


When I started the game I found myself spending quite some time in the house you wake up in - looking at furniture, household appliances, personal stuff, the paintings on the wall. Because I suspected that I might not get that far the second time around either, I started to make screenshots of the paintings on the wall.
They repeat themselves throughout the game...which is due to ressources-limitation, I understand. But If I take a cultural artefact seriously I try to take it seriously in all its respects.

What does the limited selection of artworks in the Last of Us tell us?

What I've encountered so far (approximately one hour into the game):

Joel really likes animals, ducks especially, one can discover significant clustering withing the first stage-set, the house: bear, ducks, stags, deers, horses, and fish
Then there are some landscape paintings: canyon rocks, cliffs, lighthouse, boats (mostly some kind of derrivate-impressionist paintings). All very...very, very inoffensive stuff.
It is a little bit creppy how Joel decorated his room with pictures of horses, bears and stags - all animals associated with virility and dominance. The horizontal format depicting running horses is especially kitchy, cringeworthy in fact.

Following shamanistic ideas of transfering animal characteristics to oneself via a fetishised object (fur, teeth, pictures) it makes one wonder what abilities Joel wants to appropriate from the mighty duck since he possesses two depictions of this avian creature. Fishes above the loo make perfect sense but ducks? I had to think about that for a while.


the ducks of TLOU

In heraldry the duck stands for resourcefulness, they are graceful and agile both in the air and the water. So these proud animals are rightly respected for their beauty and adaptation to nature. We are save to assume that the duck represents both Joel (in his struggle for survival) and mankind as a whole. The duck as a beacon of hope, as early indication of the game's general direction.
It has also been suggested (though a little far-fetched to be honest) that the duck marks the fourth son. By laws of primogenture the first son inherited all the estate, the second and third traditionally became part of the clergy whereas the fourth son had no defined place or position. In this sense the duck may also be a symbol of perseverance and nomadism. The duck as a prognostic of things to come. Again.
Joel has a differentiated taste concerning animal painting and landscapes. For animals he prefers a more classic, naturalistic approach, for landscapes it is some kind of naive impressionist style. The quality of the artworks has to be called mediocre at best, utterly uninspired to be honest. Nothing too daring. Reflections of a lowbrow mind.


All of this isn't out of the ordinary since the role of the main protagonist is one of a modern-day-everyman. Refined taste in art would paint a picture too ambivalent and ambiguous to be enjoyed by an assumed brainless audience. I, for my part would welcome a main character who fancies Arte Povera or baroque erotic miniatures.
It really becomes uncanny when we finally leave the prologue-section of the game and start to explore the remnants of human culture struggling with survival.
The game doesn't become weary to indulge in showcasing those remnants: relicts of a glorious past, aesthetics of decay. It has been 20 years since the outbreak of the cordyceps-infection and the consequent downfall of human kind. So we are allowed to assume that only the most important or most widespread cultural artefacts have survived: the quintessence of human arts and culture.

The horror starts here.

During the first few minutes in the quaranty-zone those surviving artworks (in the sequence of their appearance) are:
- early 19th century streetscape
- ducks (again)
- farm house with sunflower field
- photography of a limousine
- abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
again: photography of a limousine
again: abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
again: photography of a limousine
again: abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
again: abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
again: abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
again: abstracted flowers (of asian origin?)
Finally we reach Robert's room after the first real enemy-encounter and again: a photography of a limousine and abstracted flowers (of asian origin?).

Abstracted Asian Flowers is by far the most widespread artwork during the early stages of the game. An important question might be whether this is a result of  pre- or post-apocalyptic behaviour: What kind of society are we looking at? Everybody seems to have got the same 10 to 15 artworks. Where have they got them from? Since the player moves through an isolated secured area within a hostile environment this could be the result of the survivors looting Ikea or an interior decorator, having nothing else left to fulfill their aesthetical desires. Kind of sad really.
If we are talking pre-apocalypse the prospect becomes even more glum.
At this level the only possible distributors are either a governmental agency or a multinational enterprise. Which agency already mainstreams culture in such a way? Ikea comes to mind again.

They sell pictures that look handmade, their surface structure imitating brushstrokes and hence faking authenticity. I can't understand why anyone would buy such a treacherous thing. Treacherous in many ways: claiming to be something it is not (an original), telling something about it's owner which is not true (being a self-determined individual).
Anyway, if the motifs repeat themselves in such a way they simply must convey some kind of deeper meaning, signifying something beyond their immediately conceivable contents.

deep deep

Quite obviously they tell the story of the things lost in the world of "The Last of Us": the technological advance came to a sudden halt, nature has become a potentially deadly "outside". Technology has lost its aesthetical appeal, design has become obsolete. People need tools and not iPods. The same applies to the natural environment - the luxury to contemplate the beauty of nature, the romantic look beyond nature's nurturing functions ...all lost.
What might be another important question would be which subjects are missing in the array of artworks of The Last of Us. So far (in the game) this would concern the human figure, be it a portrait or any other form - there are no people in these paintings at all. For humans within the quaranty zones other people are the primary threat: army, criminals, fireflies - "homines homini lupus" a man is a wolf to another man. I wouldn't like to look at my wolf all the time as well.

so sad...

What is missing are subjects that might be offensive and it is the human figure which is intrinsically equipped with offensive potential. This marks a politcially correct society: no experiments, nothing inspiring, nothing too activating, a sedated society.
The threat outside, the egalitarian fungoid world order (before the Clicker everyone is just meat) re-introduces concepts of diversity and creativity. We all want to survive, by all being creative and offensive again.
Behold the Abstracted Asian Flowers!

What is your favourite piece of in-game-art?


2:19 PM on 03.28.2015

Dtoid's 9th: My 109 French Girls

9 Dtoiders that left an impression. A petty number and a broad term. I am going to hard. So very very hard...even 10 times harder. I drew an avatar-name associated freak show. I drew you as one of my French girls. It's one glorious to be afraid of.

I stumbled across Destructoid accidentally. In 2010 I pondered over the idea of buying "Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage". In order to justify that purchase I was in desperate need of an even remotely positive review of said game.
Destructoid gave it a 8.5 score.
Let me quote the Dtoider Sam Spectre: "this is such a broken home omg"
(from: "How did you find Destructoid???", the Forums)
I bought the game and stayed. Only 2 years later I wrote my first c-blog.
I am not the extremely extrovert type, even in the depths of the darknet I am kind of reluctant to spill my guts. I don't comment too much on the FP, I write the occasional c-blog, I don't involve myself in the more serious discussions in the Forums.

Most of the time I am posting pictures. I consider the Random-Picture-Thread, the Animated-Gifs-Thread and the Forums' Meet&Greet-section to be my very own shangri-la of amusement. As English isn't my first language the lack of fluency and efficiency in my writings gives me the Angst. I am more of a voyeur.
I enjoy to observe the daily drama. And I like the participating parties.
So you might not know me but I am watching you. With my eyes.

It is not solely about videogames anymore.
I like that.
And because I don't have so much to say I drew my own personal monster-gallery of impressive Dtoiders.
I like monsters. I like you. Match made in heaven.

9 Dtoiders: 109 French Girls - challenge accepted

Orginally my plan was to draw my top 9 Dtoiders. As cuddly monsters because I like monsters.
By setting up some rules of conduct beforehand, I tried to limit my efforts to a sensible extent of time and energy and to avoid getting lost in fiddling around with single drawings.

It got out of hand anyway…sort of.


Rule 1: No sketches, no tracing
Rule 2: once started there is no going back, one try per customer.
Rule 3: use a gel pen, so every line is permanent.
Rule 4: coloring – maximum of 9 minutes (...or less...mostly less) per character.

The drawings differ in quality quite a bit, some were done with more verve than others depending on my condition, stress-level, the place where I worked on them, the paper, the pen etc. What to expect: A lot of weird anatomy, strange and (re-occuring) color-schemes, disgusting (sorry Seph!) and/or misshapen designs (sorry Seph!), etc.
Actually this is what I liked the most about the whole process. The surprise at the end.
Whether or not I was content with the outcome I did it with love in my heart. And a whole lot of enjoyment.
So if your monster-alter-ego looks particularly crappy don't be sad...those were the rules.


I started with 9 and ended up with a hundred more: Forums, c-blogs, frontpage...perhaps you wrote something meaningful, posted entertaining that as it may, you definitely made some kind of positive impression, you entertained me. Thank you for that.
Since there are so many of you I refrain from posting the whole bunch here and consequently clutter my blog but I want to present a selection in my special-mention-section further down. You can watch the whole bunch via the video provided further down or on my Tumblr.
If you are not on the list: there could have been more but I simply ran out of steam at some point.
I forgot BadStar and Shinta for example. That's a shame


here they come.

Karlmariaseeberg the Sheik of Smut was so kind to meld all of my pictures into one super-duper video which you can watch here:

FRENCH GIRLS (in glorious motion)

My heartfelt thanks to Glowbear and Panza for letting me use some Scary Granules footage.  karlmariaseeberg is a GOLDEN GOD. You are awesome. Thanks again.


Alternatively you can browse through my Tumblr:
FRENCH GIRLS (not in glorious motion)


because some are more equal than others. In no particular order.
Observe the inconsistency!



#1 Panzadolphin
a devious fish

#2 Glowbear
a graceful bear

I heard them talk on Scary Granules and fell in love.

#3 Usedtabe
Papa Turkey's Drunken Discipline Hour

#4 Orlion
the lions...their names...they are legion...a piece of my blue period (it sucks)

#5 Opiumherz
I despised the guy when he first arrived. He is a wonderfully terrible person. With a terribly wonderful sense of least I think it is humor.

#6 MikeMartin / Phil
phil calls you names and you start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

#7 Nihil
genie in a bottle (German pun)

#8 Occams
I want him as my dad

#9 Andy Dixon
I want him as my mom

#10 see how bad I am at this? Zombieplatypus
un artiste

this is getting better and better:
#11 Char Aznable
a genuine Steve McQueen



- karlmariaseeberg
I know karlmariaseeberg from RL. I think we've first met around 2001? Since then we share certain obsessions. He doesn't post an awful lot on Dtoid (shame on you!) but he did a wonderful Random-Pictures-Thread-Mash-Up (watch it HERE) and generally is one of my favourite human beings. He is a mean Kabal though.

- domanz
I ran into domanz in the Forums' Meet&Greet-section where we discovered that we actually live in the same city (Vienna). Which by itself is already a rather strange experience, you just don't expect it when you move through an alternative reality like Destructoid. We even went to the same school, shared some teachers. We will have a baby. And the rest is SILENTIUM!



In 2012 I decided to join the Forums and wrote a terrible introductory-thread. I met the friendliest scavengers imaginable and they ganged up on me. It felt like they were taking turns in puking into all of my gaping orifices while panza was holding their hair, humming strange maritime melodies.

I loved it. The first few days are crucial for fresh meat and because of these guys I prolonged my stay here. Well done.
They might be oblivious to the fact that I have a special place in my heart for all of them. So I want to list them here.

Jon Bloodspray
Mr. Gobbldigook    

nothing more to add


bye bye


8:38 AM on 02.22.2015

game, what are you doing to me?

Too much nvg-related activity made me neglect the c-blogs for some time now: new line of work, new year, next-gen. My motivation to write during my sparse spare time had reached a spectacular low. Approximately a week ago two isolated events triggered my desire to share something:
Firstly I came across some nasty videos about an old lady hoarding dead cats (provided by the merry band of Dtoid's very own Forumites) and secondly: I experienced a relapse into carving; I started to play Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

At a first glance these events don't seem to have anything in common but let me elaborate a tiny bit on the connection between carving monsters and a fridge full of decomposing kittens...I am sure that provides an interesting read for almost everybody.

Anyway, I consider playing videogames to be a great opportunity for introspection and observation of group dynamics, you can watch yourself and others act in all kinds of hypothetical settings and situations. It allows me to watch myself from a greater distance.
I always wondered why games are not even more widely used in a therapeutic context.

the omniscient hive-mind says:

"Hoarding is a general term for a behavior that leads people or animal to accumulate food or other items during periods of scarcity. Some hoarding in humans may be a form of an anxiety disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), where the perceived importance of the hoarded items far exceeds their true value. Humans may lose the desire to throw away unneeded items because of a feeling of attachment to these items."

A lot of us here are collectors of some sort...rare gems, obscure japanese niche-games, cheesy yet overpriced figurines and whatnot.
Although I have the sturdy build of a mighty hunter I am more of a gatherer myself as well.
Countless unused systems gather dust somewhere in the deep space that is my flat. Right next to my collection of graphic novels and vintage medicine books (so super-dandy).
And as many others I am obsessed with loot. Whenever I play games like Diablo or Borderlands I usually spend more time assessing, organizing and selling weapons than with actual gameplay. My inventories usually look like the ninth circle of hell. Attempts of putting things in order tend to result in adding yet another level of complexity to an already convoluted system of disorganisation.
Obsessing over loot is what prevents me from enjoying certain games, let alone finishing them…having entered a loop of getting ready …forever.


In item- and grind-heavy RPGs or any sort of game where you can spend skill points or items to strengthen your character I save all those elixirs, armor, points, whatever…for later, for when I  have a greater insight into what character traits are likely to become more significant than others (I have got this system and it makes perfect sense, thank you very much) - only to notice that there is no “later”. The game long forgotten, skill points still unspent, the once shiny armor rusty and mucus-ridden. A behaviour that makes progress in games harder than it has to be. I am 13 hours into MH4. I have slaughtered Great Jaggi after Great Jaggi and still I am not sure if is wise to get me the Jaggi-Armor-set. My fridge is full.

I come from a family background of  unobtrusive or lets say functioning hoarders. My mother being great at creating unspeakable chaos in a relatively short amount of time, my father collecting all kind of  things and gradually building his own private empire of clutter, paintings and second hand trinkets. In his flat the walls show only sporadically that they once have been innocent and white and pure. We had fights over dust covered nests made of dry spaghetti.

In real life I try my best to deal with signs of my chaotic heritage as soon as they arise. Every picture on my own four walls is a result of hard and painful inner struggle. So neurosis strikes again. Yay.
I love my father and I appreciate his artistic approach to life but when you have to live inside an outsider-art-artwork it becomes exhausting sooner or later.

I know that I am somewhat inclined to develop similar behaviour-patterns and I struggle against that on a daily basis.

In games I let my hoarder urges take over. I collect potions like mad only to not use them. And when I use them eventually I experience every sip of that life-giving brew as a kind of personal defeat. Because I’ll need that very potion desperately later on in the game for sure.Without it my future is clearly at a high risk of becoming a tale of pain and sorrow.
Items exist to be collected, to be saved from consumption and to behold them with wonder. Not to…use...them.

I find it rather interesting that game developers more often than not implement some kind of restriction to their inventory systems. Sometimes your movement tempo is reduced to a crawl whenever the last slot gets filled with some more junk or the quick-travel-options are out of order all of a sudden. Too much stuff literally slows you down. The storage space available might be incredibly small to be begin with, resources slowly decay over time or atrocities of similar cruelty.
Those games offer worlds and identities of wonder but have to hinder me in my gathering joys?
I don't get it.
The only horror I experience when I play survival horror games has always been the lack of space for my travel necessities. Oh, the horror! the horror!


I even had an intervention once…when the 1.2. update for Terraria (on PS3) killed my save-files. I really tried to get into the game again but the abyss stared back and oogly boogly...too much for my weak nerves. Which is a real tragedy, because Terraria is the perfect game for the everyday - hoarder: you accumulate resources you'll possibly never use…or at least not to the extent which the time and work you invested would insinuate.

"The Terraria team has just unleashed its 1.2 update for the PS3, Vita and 360 platforms"

Every single one of my many bank-worlds had been affected, nothing had been spared. In order to make things work again I likely would have had to delete and re-install the game, since the corruption (lol) spread to new save-files as well. I'll never know because that process would make my loss a final one. I avoid it.
I am through with that game. The shock simply was too much for me to handle.
Alas! This intervention did not cure me completely, my inventories are still swollen with shiny treasures but concerning my anxiety and my fear of using and losing, things seem to have gotten better...a bit at least. I am much faster at selling stuff now. Hooray.
And I make backups.



Where did I start off now? Monster Hunter…I spent about 200 hours in MH3 (hardcore-hunters are allowed to pityingly smirk at me now) in a relatively short amount of time. I felt relieved when I finally felt strong enough to stop all that binge-playing. Now I got me MH4 and my hemorrhoids begin to grasp the concept of gravity. Handheld gaming and toilets are a combination made in hell.
Anyway, I entered the vicious circle of looting and self-improvement via items again. I gather resources without ever using them.
My inventory is filling up again, slowly but steadily...with a bunch of dead kitten.

 Perhaps it is time for another intervention


1:21 PM on 10.09.2014

game, what are you talking about?

It was the moment of the final confrontation between Kratos and the Hecatoncheir when I realized that what I was watching on the screen was essentially porn:
 a muscular white man (in shades of gray) rhythmically opens up crevices and orifices, penetrates flesh with his "tools", jumps on backs here and there while pressing all the buttons in the right order. The foe's flesh becomes a ressource, a stock which I as a player of games have to deplete: repetitive movements, change of position, close-ups.
As soon as I had beaten the first stage I had to visualize my thoughts and impressions:

For all of you who have never played the fourth iteration of the God of War-series ("God of War Ascension") I'll gladly summarize the first few minutes of this game:
A Hecatoncheir is a very big Greek with hundreds of hands, his touch is firm but gentle...the whole hairy body possibly shimmering with olive-oil. One multi-limbed giant out of three, all sons to Gaia. Where was I...ummm, yes: in "GOW Ascension" the Hecatoncheir Aegaeon functions both as the first level  (his flesh tranformed into the Prison of the Damned by scary SM-siblings) and as the final boss of said level, driven mad by giant parasitic penes (Titanic STD by courtesy of dominatrix Magaera). For whatever reason Kratos doesn't like bondage (or forgot the safety word) and starts to split skulls.

I am not new to extreme violence in videogames a/o other media but the extent to which "GOW Ascension" plays that card is hilarious. It is explicit in a vulgar way and adds climax after climax. Like porn. When I finally beat Hecatoncheir (or to be more precise: the giant parasitic penes controlling the poor fellow) I experienced the usual flush of triumph but it felt somewhat dirty. I thoroughly enjoyed this obscene joyride of violence, I rummaged through filth and trash and squeaked like Piggsy from "Manhunt" while it lasted.
Nevertheless, guilt kicked in afterwards.

Now I see porn everywhere. In videogames.
I am not a hardcore adult-entertainment-afficionado (I think not), so it shouldn't be due to a toxic over-exposure to erotica that my perception is kind of porn-sensitive.

I don't know if our society is over-sexualised or not.

I don't know whether it is really the case that the porn-industry is the spearhead of techno-societal development and aims at world-dominance by manipulating all of our cultural artefacts.

I just noticed that "GOW Ascension" is not erotic at all (boobies...yawn) but nevertheless exhibits mechanisms and aesthetics of porn-movies.
And now I can't turn it off. 


Nemesis of the "Resident Evil"- games is the John Holmes of survival-horror.

He/It has a giant retractable genital.

You have to destroy his/its body. Before it/he destroys yours


The Super Mario Bros. are supposedly in an incestuous relationship

I have fantasies about Princess Daisy ever since Super Mario Land.

They all look like 80ies porn-stars in Mushroom Kingdom

They all look like 80ies gay porn-stars in Metal Gear Solid

I mean, Solid Snake, Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater? A mustached roughneck obsessed with a bossy mother-figure slides into close-combat-"situations" with guys called Ocelot, Vamp, Fatman, etc. on several occasions?  Crawling on all fours, teasingly waggling his behind?

I better keep my mouth shut abouth the following gems:
"Double Dragon"
"Fist of the North Star"
"Unfinished Swan"
"Thomas was alone"

Wrong list..."Pushmo" just confuses me.


7:41 PM on 07.07.2014

game, why are you so good?

I watch myself getting older and my backlog getting bigger and bigger. While this happens, the excitement about gaming in general dwindles at an alarming rate. Perhaps not that alarming a rate as I still burn a lot of time in front of the screen and waste whole nights with playing co-op games (wasted) – but that might be due to an addictive predisposition and my inability to break a habit.
So I still think that I caught the gaming ennui. Oh no!
Now I pondered a little about what exactly has fuelled my original excitement about the medium, what triggers the tingling sensation that makes you think about certain games even if you are not playing. What makes you plan your Terraria-mansion or your Final Fantasy Tactics setup while doing boring stuff, like work for instance. What makes you remember a boss-fight after years and decades of abstinence.
You all know that sweet pain. YES YOU DO!

It's my party and I cry if I want to

Since establishing categories is of the utter importance for whatever you do, I tried to establish categories for what makes a good game. Since establishing categories and sorting things accordingly is also one of the most boring activities imaginable the following might look like an incoherent mess. That's because it actually is an incoherent mess. Please forgive me. Let me indulge myself in self-referential reveries for once. I try to convey an idea, I just have a vague idea of. That's kind of difficult but it feels so good.
- the novelty:
games and concepts which are new to you tend to leave a deeper impression…obviously. Even if it is just above excremental by today’s standards I have special place in my heart for Battle Arena Toshinden 2. And I always will call dibs on Chaos, don’t you dare.
The first 3d-arena-fighting game will be dear to you till Alzheimers finally erases the very memory of the good old Hidou Drill itself (B, DB, D, DF, F, Kick).
Part of the novelty effect is the light bulb moment.
I mentioned it before: press button B in order to run faster… is secret lore. During my formative years I had a lot of that aha-experiences. That might be due to the fact that I never bothered about reading manuals back than (except to prevent me from smashing the TV).
When you start playing videogames these moments are legion. You simply don’t know what a game wants from you. You painstakingly learn that you run from left to right and suddenly Battle of Olympus demands backtracking… that crazy world of videogames.
Bare-knuckle-pro-gamers like us crave these moments of  course (in remembrance of the first fix or something) and with the rise of indie-games there is still hope for those who can handle surprise and a challenge.
- elegance
Elegance both in aesthetics and narration are important factors, at least for me.
I never owned Totally Rad for the NES for example, I played it for about 15 hours in total but still I remember the strange graphics, especially the phenomenal bosses. The same applies to a more recent example, El Shaddai - never beat the second boss but the memories are vivid nonetheless
Because this game is covered in style. Because ART.
By default the human mind works a lot with story-based principles (as I take it) and is fond of external activation but also gets bored easily. So elegance in story/narration are important as well. I think I don’t have to elaborate on that.
And I won’t mention Journey.
My third point in establishing elegance as a category is elegance in execution. If a game is mediocre concerning every one of the aspects I mentioned above but delivers elegant gameplay I can live with it. Alien Zombie Megadeath for the PSP is a simpleton in every respect but delivers. Anyway.
So I've got two categories so far. Great. 
I warned you.
I would say a really good game draws its goodness from all of these categories. And of many others, which I am too lazy to list a/o can't think about in the moment.
When I am completely honest with myself a game could be really good in the sense that it more or less excels in all (two) categories mentioned above...and still...
It could be good according to general agreement and still be forgotten soon after it hits the shelves. Or it could turn out to be a real goldmine and I still won't care (aka The Last of Us).
A really really good game stays a really good game over a period of time, even if it isn’t played regularly anymore. It retains that special aura of relevance, becomes an “important” game. For me a really good as well as important game needs a final ingredient: the Other. Somebody you can share the excitement with – so that the game can build up something like emotional impact. Actually, a game can be really bad and shit on categories worldwide. If it somehow manages to create  a bond between yourself and the Other it might well just become such an important game. And by some kind of complicated osmotic process transform itself into a state which at least has the appearances of a good game (especially through the veils of nostalgia). I never actually played the Gremlin-game for the NES but I remember it vividly. Because some kid told me about it in great detail. Gremlins are lilac btw.

To me an indicator for an equally good and important game is its impact on RL. That magic moment when a meme comes into being. When you suddelny start to play Super Mortal Basketball (and your PE teacher invites your parents to visit him at the conference day) and language gets infiltrated by some strange new ideas.
True Pinball is a pinball simulator for the Psone which I hold dear for many reasons. And I am not even very much into pinball. The Vikings-table had so many memorable moments, I still quote them today when talking with friends who played it too.
"Let’s see how much you Vikings can drink" and the sound-effects of the multi-ball-pig-rally are both part of my everyday communication. Not to speak of "Hadouken" and "Finish him!"
Puzzle Quest is a nice little game too…in versus-mode I spat and cried because of the Mana-Burn ability (which a certain someone used to use all the time). Now I think back to it fondly and just throw a fit when a certain someone whispers “your hero is near death” into my ear.


The same applies to Super Puzzle Fighter, the best puzzle game mankind has seen up to this point.  I don't know what "Yohizee!", "Brotzeit" and "Karij Karij" actually mean but I yell these words nevertheless from time to time. Preferably unprovoked. In public space.
I know at least one person with an academic degree that also wants to be in a Parappa/Um Jammer Lammy cover-band.
I did a lot of father-son-bonding via Dr.Mario. The Dr.Mario-OST became synonymous with tedious tasks or repetitive actions. My father (who played it non-stop back in the days) still jokingly (I hope) accuses me of stealing  his only source of joy when I eventually packed the NES away. And sometimes he sings the well-known tunes in his “GnaGnaGna”-voice when he deems a chore to be beneath his dignity.
Gitaroo Man is hilarious but gets so much deeper if you can share your fear of Mister Yasuda and his band of costumed musicians.


The Might&Magic-iteration for the SNES had a monster called “Horvath” in it. In school there was a girl going by the same name. She was infamous for various reasons. Until this day my attitude towards breasts is a strange mixture of horror and fascination (more fascination than horror, though). And I always think of Horvath when I see some.

I don't need therapy

Competition and cooperation with friends is influential of course: Doom 2, Rival Turf, Streets of Rage, Bloody Roar, Star Gladiators, Micro Machines, Bomberman, Gunstar Heroes. EDF… all gone, but not forgotten.  Alcohol and the ancient art of drunken gaming comes into mind here as well. The demon that is alcohol affects the capacity of reaction, which makes it the natural enemy of the dedicated player of games, yet it enhances the pleasure of playing in a group. Once we repeatedly tried to catch all stars in Mario 64 after reaching a certain level of intoxication. We never made it. But we have managed to get Mario's cap get snatched by one of those vultures in the desert world.  I think we will never see it again. We endured so much together. We had a lot of fun.
Online-modes and their social media-appendices perpetuate this idea of interaction with a RL-Other but still feel kind of anonymous and stale in comparison. Dealing with other human players naturally sweetens the competition and enriches the challenge a good bit. What I miss there is the talking part. Shooting COD-kids all night long and yelling obscenities at each other via mic gets old pretty soon. The experience gets so much richer when there is the possibility of all-embracive interaction, for example punching each other in the face.
It isn't necessarily all about immediate interaction though. Not for nothing next-gen-consoles focus on enabling gamers to put their videos online (and get them viral if possible). We all want to share our experiences with one another.
I guess that’s why most of us are here after all..
Not to punch each other in the face but to have a decent chat about games.
The game that you play all by yourself and tell no one about. Does it make a sound? I daresay it does but no one cares. And you won't get past that damned second boss anyway.


...   read

3:35 AM on 04.22.2014

Terraria Terror - a Swan Song

Last night my Utopia - heaven on earth - was destroyed. Terraria got an update. Normally I avoid short entries in the c-blog section. If I deem my contributions too short in quantity I even call them stubs. How humble a person I am. But I am in the mood for a swan song. And it might turn out to be a short-circuited rant.
Last night was a night of terror. And tears. So many tears.

Let me quote Commander Chris Carter:
"The Terraria team has just unleashed its 1.2 update for the PS3, Vita and 360 platforms, which basically tweaks every single aspect of the entire game. Everything looks better, and gameplay is overall smoother. There are a ton of bug fixes on tow on top of all this, as well as new content, enemies, friends, and tools."

Since Terraria was released for PS3 I wasted uncounted hours creating worlds, digging holes, sealing off corrupted parts of my maps, killing guides ( I miss you Gerry!) at a whim. Glorious.

I simmered with excitement while waiting for Terraria to finally get released for my system. A feeling I haven't experienced since Zelda - Occarina of Time for the N64. I even checked the corresponding tweets for news. They took their time.
I love the concept. It is like a condensed version of everything I love about gaming:
a simple yet elegant system of explorating, fighting and building. Delivered in delicious 2D-pixel-animation. You got to love those pixels.
I love this mixture so much I even put up with the terrible controls for placing tiles and other materials (which gets even worse when your controller has issues and moves the cursor by itself, only slightly and ever so slow but with rage-inducing effect).

Yesterday I allowed my self a nocturnal trip to one of my smaller maps where I wanted to collect snow. Yes, snow. I was informed of an update but didn't care much. I was delighted about new, exciting drops, umbrella wielding slimes and soon lost myself in the game. New content - Yay!
During that time I also experienced some serious hiccups, some ugly looking blocks, maybe.

Shadow of a Doubt.

After much longer than I originally wanted to immerse myself in the game, I just had to check my favourite hard-mode-map, perhaps just fooling around a bit with my newly acquired snow-blocks. Just another five minutes, because what the heck.
The 1.2 update for the PS3 which "basically tweaks every single aspect of the entire game"  basically tweaked every single aspect of my entire map.
The whole thing looks like a distorted glitchy nightmare version of its former self.
Talk about Corruption. Half of my base is mirrored vertically into the air. Block-material has changed its nature randomly. Pits of lava are forming a funny looking maze throughout the mutilated corpse of my former manor.
I have never seen something quite like this, it is so extremely bizarre I am not even mad.
Hours of collecting and looting - all in vain. It is like a giant, evil-minded child has been destroying the ultimate Lego-utopia.

At least I am not alone in my pain:
"Yep world's torn in half. All items list. Hundreds of hours of collecting gone. We lost heart and shut it off. Terrible job I've ever seen updating game. (...) why don't yo u just delete everything you do, every day, that's fun, right.. " (slapshotsaint)
"Same problem on xbox my world was cut in half and I lost everything in my chests."
(Ian Carbo)
"Same here. Lost months of gathering and storing in my chests.
Alex... You seem to have it worse than me. Basically the right hand side of my map has shifted down about 40 blocks. All the chests on that side are empty." (MogDuff)

So...thats that I guess.
But wait! A tingling sensation!
Now the anger kicks in.


4:42 PM on 12.03.2013

Animal Crossing Angst

I have played "Animal Crossing" on the Wii. And I traded it in. Now it came back. Via my 2DS it is sucking and tugging at my soul. I completely forgot about all that sucking and tugging. The great Animal Crossing Angst.

"Animal Crossing" is a game about imprinting its players on socially as well as economically conformist behaviour.
You are getting trained in the predatory exploitation of nature and abundant consumerism. An Astro TV is equal in value to ten crucian carps and two sea stars. An Astro TV gives you personal satisfaction and ensures admiration by the so called community, temporarily at least. Hence it is okay to kill twelve living beings and destroy the ecological balance.
Hey, it is an ASTRO-TV.
You learn that personal property is equivalent to personal value. You learn that self-abandonment and being an emotional wastebin for everybody else is the only way to friendship. You learn that friendship is a superficial, inconsistant thing.
L'enfer, c'est les autres.

You are getting used to live a life in debt, in order to finance your emotional and material well-being. You accept that you will die alone in your two-story Xanadu, surrounded only by your exotic furniture set and a flickering Asto-TV.
The fact that "Animal Crossing" is essentially all about conditioning the player to become well adjusted for neoliberal reality is generally accepted.
Yet, my current Animal Crossing Angst is following a different tack nowadays. Yesterday i saw Robin Hardy's "Wicker Man" (1973 UK) again. And i noticed things.
In "Wicker Man" the police sergeant Howie is sent to the obscure Scottish island "Summerisle" in search for a missing girl. "Summerisle" is famous for its crops, which can be harvested all-year due to certain climatic conditions (Gulf stream or whatever). The community is led by shady Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee)

Howie soon realizes that the locals are pagans, practicing arcane rituals, in one of which he will partake (he is burnt in the eponymic Wicker Man). Christopher Lee (as Lord Summerisle) wears a wig at some point. And there is a remake. With bees and Nicolas Cage.


You arrive in small, tight-knit community, filling in for a formerly vacant  public office. As poor Howie performed the executive function in Wickerman, you are legislative as well as judicative agent in "Animal Crossing" - a pseudo-authoritarian figure who is not democratically appointed but seemingly chosen by fate (by arrival).

As "Summerisle" is economically dependant on the export of crops, so is your standard Animal Crossing village.
You are confronted by people impersonating animal avatars, displaying peculiar social, cultural and sexual behaviour. These people are celebrating strange holidays in order to honour nature (Earth Day, Weeding Day, Burn-A-Cop Day) and constantly singing songs (Kapp'n, K.K. Slider) to praise their gods and focus their exuberant sexual energies. Archaic fetishes are everywhere, you cannot move without falling over Gyroids, which are buried in the ground for some reason...


Other than that I am very dissapointed with my copy of "Silent Bomber" for the Psone.
At a certain point in the game everything goes black, which makes it impossible for me to finish it. Somebody should do something about this. It makes me sad and ruins an otherwise very enjoyable game.


5:03 AM on 10.05.2013

Game City Vienna 2013

I went to a gaming convention. The last time I made this kind of experience, the event took place in a concrete monstrosity somewhere in the outskirts of Vienna. Videogames had to compete with hifi-systems and tv-sets. The only hand-helds there were actually blenders. The only game worth playing was Raystorm for the PSone.


In 2013 I went to Game City Vienna.
I have to say in advance, that I am not made for this. I get all excited for the games the day before but freeze at the sight of all those people lining up in front of the screens.
I ended up wandering around, somewhat aimlessly. I guess there is something like being too informed - makes everything kind of stale.

As I mentioned in the preceding blog-entry this whole event takes place in the townhall of Vienna, which is amazing in itself and contrastive considering the nature of the event.
I guess that the building comes with a lot of restrictions concerning the architecture of any convention taking place there (monument protection and regulatory requirements and stuff) - so the stands look a little lost within the huge halls.

                              I'd like to think the two of us had a moment there

When I got there late in the morning, hordes of pupils had already infested the building – pestering older visitors with uncharming attempts of trading these little strings of plastic you had to wear if you wanted to gain entrance to the 16- or 18-plus-section.

                                                   going in for the kill

Supposedly cosplayers had been hidden somewhere on the premise. I have not seen any trace of these flamboyent creatures -just this one guy, dressed up as a Disney-slave-labourer.

                     "We've been outside! There's another world outside! We've seen it!

I really wanted to try out Wonderful 101, but the booth-guy was like really far into the game and I did not want to disrupt the flow. I hope he felt the hate.

                                            no chance

So instead I played a litte Mario 3D World, some kind of  mini-game, which looked pretty enough but left a stale taste. I had to team up with another guest. I think she had some kind of personality disorder. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was fun. I played it solo...thank God.

                            Don't try and play this game with crazy people

You also had the chance to compete in Killer Instinct. Because there was almost no waiting in front of the two screens. And the slots didn't have to be rationised. People tended to stop playing in between matches. Muttering or even laughing.
Leaving prematurly - by instinct.

The big herding of the nerds took place elsewhere, in front of the Battlefield 4-Box of course.

                                                nom nom nom

(I passed that one). And went right to the Bungie-cube outdoors: a lot of  people waiting in a queue, wondering about how to fit so many screens in this cleverly designed but also really small box. Oh boy, were they surprised to find out that they were going to watch a pseudo-gameplay-video in there, telling you how to have a really good time with the game. I wish I could forget the unnatural bits of dialogue I heard.
The game looks interesting though.

Indie-developers had to huddle up against a staircase. I only remember Senoi, a kind of outdoor-role-playing game for your cell-phone, utilising GPS and geographical data of Vienna. One of the very friendly developers showed me his golden box.

                                 As always Panza is thinking outside the box

The F.R.O.G. (no idea) -symposium's lectures would have been interesting too. Jasper Juul and people were speaking. But you would have had to dish out 125€ for 3 days in order to participate. I wonder how many people did actually do this. Strange.

Beyond Two Souls' could be played inside a truck. I don't know exactly why.

                                              wroooom. wroom

You could also play it in a more comfortable position in the official Sony lounge. I wondered a bit about the huge presence the console-version of Diablo 3. I went home and started my nightmare-playthrough. No, before that I had a coffee.


4:25 AM on 09.25.2013

Another Stub: Game City Vienna & Avatar Vacation

Game City Vienna is an annual event, dedicated to electronic games. It is taking place in the beautiful townhall of Austria's capital. This year I am going to attack like the giant, knife-wielding robot that I am.

Another stub.
Is it already that time of the year?


Game City is going to happen this weekend. The one and only game-related event in a country lying beyond the seven mountains and deep down in the forest in that respect.
Happy Happy! Joy! Joy!

Besides the usual suspects there will be a presentation of BEYOND: Two Souls.
And if I am not hugely mistaken by Guillaume de Fondaumičr himself.
Definitely looking forward to that, I have to admit.
Anyone's avatar in dire need of vacation?

To the birthplace of Mozart (uuum...?) and myself?
Tell me, I’ll give you a lift.
Also PM me a quote you deem quoteworthy of yourself or any other honored member of C-Blogs. I will use it as caption for whatever I am coming across at Game City.

Best Regards,
Plankton   read

3:05 AM on 07.05.2013

Why I quit playing games (with my heart)

I think I mentioned it before - this problem I have. I don't finish my games. I can't claim that I never do, because sometimes I do. But mostly I don't. It is not a matter of increasingly limited time, it's more of a general attitude. During an extremely painful process of self-analysis I established three categories: the Good the Bad and the Ugly.
You need categories.

That moment I dread

The Good
Whenever I really like a game, especially if it has an elaborated narrative structure I reach a point in that game (usually towards its grand finale) at which I quit playing it. As if I was afraid of all the good things to come to a sudden end. Which they do, since I stop playing the game. I am afraid it is not a very logical approach. When I was just a sapling I used to get me every JRPG there was. I only finished Suikoden. The first one. Until this day (and Breath of Fire 3 to be honest). At a certain point people actually started to make fun of me.
My last Fallout 3 save file is embarrassingly old and it took me about 4 years to finish Red Dead Redemption. I just picked up Metal Gear Solid 4 again. After several years of hibernation I eventually started to miss Snake's steel-buns, forged in heaven.


It's not because I grow bored with these games or due to the constant stream of exciting new entries into an increasingly intimidating backlog-queue. Far from it. I was really into Demon's Souls for example but after beating up a GIANT CRYSTAL DRAGON I danced this little dance of joy, turned off my system and never took it up again since then.
What is wrong with me?
The Bad
Skyrim is a good game, no doubt about it. But if you have to reckon with your system to freeze the moment you leave a town or jump into water or attack a dryad or open your know what I mean. I also had a lot of fun with Legasista which turns my screen into a black void after I complete a certain dungeon. Game-breaking-bugs!
Ha Ha!
As mentioned before I regularly take breaks from my games - long breaks. These breaks in combination with complex design or convoluted control schemes usually mean the death-blow for games in my library. Bayonetta, which I really admire, makes it difficult for me to pick it up again. I gave up the recent Batman-series entirely for that matter. Who can remember all that gimmickry? I depend on calendars and notebooks for survival in RL - if I need one of those for playing a game I thinks it is time to run for the hills.

Insert Triple-Baterangs here

I also notice very soon if I like a game or not. The time-slot for that decision-making process is a veeery narrow one. Enslaved lasted about an hour until I got sick with the game's fighting system. The last iteration of Tomb Raider left my PS3 after approximately 10 minutes. I can't stand that spoiled brat.

The Ugly
I also stop playing whenever I lose myself in a more or less secondary aspect of a game. So very often this aspect involves excessive looting and/or grinding. I like to follow the yellow brick road. Preparing for the next major encounter with the ultimate fiend I get stuck with all the preparing - mistaking repetitious labor for a big fun-time - often to an extent where I am appalled by the game that tricks me in such a devious way and by my obsession with it.
At a time when I still used to smoke and play games with a stoned grin on my face, I had a moment of clarity and disenchantment once  - with Dynasty Warriors 3 for the PS2.
After having spent days and weeks with leveling up my favourite officers I noticed the game's messages to me for what seemed to be the first time ever: the constant affirmative background noise, computer voices telling me how well I am doing and what a swell warrior I was. I felt brainwashed that moment and abjured the ghastly time vampire (until Warriors Orochi came along that is).

Pang Tong told me to do it

Monster Hunter for the WiiU is a textbook example of course. After 120 hours I just can't cope with the treadmill again. I feel a physical resistance within me to pick up the gamepad. I might never hunt again.

Follow the yellow brick road

The same happened with Ni No Kuni. Not such a revelation to begin with, I spent hour after hour with hunting the infamous Toko for the massive amount of experience points they shed when getting killed. These battle-critters don't evolve by themselves, you know. And I got to see those final transformations.
It was a massacre. I felt dirty.

Kawai this, Kawai that

I was about 50 hours in the game when I finally quit. It rests on my "play-it-again-some-time-soon-pile" though, slowly gathering dust. All in all I still don't know why I turn around and leave just before the finishing line but I definitely feel much better now.   read

4:50 AM on 05.15.2013

another stub: Data Dealer

Games by Austrian developers are a rare and delicate breed and yet there is some movement beneath that thick eggshell. I am from Austria (wisecrack) and I usually don't care. But when it comes to games the corneal on my thumbs flashes red-white-red (in a sickly unsettling fashion...ew, gross). Data Dealer, a browser game by a very very very small developer indeed is such an Austrian game and might prove to be an (if not the) Age of Wushu-killer.
I usually don't play browser-games (it's not that I hate them, they just don't interest me) and I know that Data Dealer won't be a game that I will invest 50+ hours in but I can't deny that I like the project.

Data Dealer is mimicking smash hits like Farmville (never played it, I swear) or other Zynga-abominations. At its core it plays similar to those games (which I never played) - a constant struggle for the optimization of ressources and time - with a twist though: you deal with data. You are the anonymous behemoth who collects all of this precious bits of information floating around and you sell it to the corporate ringleaders. You do this by bribing your sources and organizing the usual internet-shenanigans like psycho-tests and sweepstakes.

I tried the demo-version and it's mostly moving things from A to B, which feels satisfying enough. Some meters to observe (like bribe-money, stolen profiles and such) and a lot to read and to compare. Actually I enjoyed the reading the most. It's evident that the developers really want to communicate their ideas about privacy and data safety to their audience. When I think about all those insane juveniles on facebook I wished for games like this one to be integral part of informatics-classes at schools.
It's an entertaining read as well, satire-heavy and a little silly from time to time. The fact that Data Dealer makes fun of quite a few public figures of Austrian society/politics might not translate too well if the developers release the English version eventually - beefcake-governers and stratosphere-suicide-commandos aside. Allusions to a former finance minister are going to be overlooked but I think an opportunistic puke is a staple which is intelligible globally. The Southparkesque art direction helps of course.

I believe I would have completely overlooked this one, if it wasn't for its socio-political aspiration. Data Dealer is a game that wants something. It wants you to be aware of your actions. It doesn't resort to pedagogical banalities but lets you switch sides and be an accomplice of evil deeds. I think that deserves a hug.

Ah ja, and it's all free and open source and fluffy and whatnot.   read

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