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Metal Gear memories

Aug 29 // Nic Rowen
I remember the entire route through Shadow Moses. I remember the area with electrified tiles inset in the floor and steering a tiny rocket over them. I remember resenting not being able to use my guns in the nuke disposal area. The cave with all of Sniper Wolf's wolves running loose -- one of them pissed on my cardboard box. I'll sometimes forget the best way to get downtown, but the map of Shadow Moses is burned into my memory. The bosses were legendary, both for their design and the surreal conversations you'd have before, during, and afterward. One-on-one with an old west gunfighter, circling each other around a hostage in the middle of a room rigged up with C4. He showed off his fancy carnival trick-spinning and made comments that distinctly implied that he wanted to make love to his pistol, or that gun fighting was an allegory for sex to him. I don't know, he was a weird dude. There was that shaman who you'd fight twice, once in a literal tank and once while he carried around a gun the size of a small tank. He discussed ear-pulling competitions and the futility of struggling against fate. He was eaten by his own ravens. Then there was the suffocating tension and isolation of dueling a single sniper hundreds of yards away. The battle with Sniper Wolf would be eclipsed in every way six years later by Naked Snake's duel against The End, but at the time it was one of the most intense fights I'd ever experienced. I feel like there has probably been enough ink spilled on how crazy the fight with Psycho Mantis was, but holy fucking shit. How did any of that happen? It was like stepping into some alternate reality where Andy Kaufman had been a game designer and somebody cut him a blank check. Memes of plugging the controller into the second slot, or the infamous “HIDEO” error screen are well worn now. But I don't think secondary accounts can do justice to just how crazy and bizarre that fight, and the rest of Metal Gear Solid, truly was. All of that weird fourth wall breaking shit -- holding the controller to your arm for a massage, having the Colonel explain combat maneuvers to Snake directly referencing the DualShock and a bunch of video game jargon, it was something that had to be lived in the moment. It felt like Kojima was peeling back our skulls and attaching electrodes to areas of the brain that were previously entirely unstimulated. He was showing us a new way of making and thinking about games. I remember taking that instruction book with me while on a short shopping errand that Saturday afternoon in a calculated move to ensure I wouldn't have to stop thinking about Metal Gear. It had its hooks in me, and once I was in that world of spies, rogue special ops groups, and shadowy conspiracies, I never wanted to leave. We were supposed to visit our grandparents that Sunday, but stopping wasn't an option. So we took the PlayStation with us, hooking it up to an ancient TV in their dusty basement where we could continue to save the world from nuclear disaster and learn more dubious information about genetic engineering. I know, it was a scumbag move. But in our defense, we'd just finished the torture scene, found the corpse of the real DARPA chief, and escaped a jail cell using a bottle of ketchup -- neither of us were in the best head space to make positive decisions. It was a weekend I'll never forget. My brother and I tackled Shadow Moses together, experiencing the entire mission as a single unit. It was was a battle march, a do-or-die suicide mission to finish it in a single weekend. Even if it meant wearing out our welcome at our grandparents with multiple pleas of “just 15 more minutes!” as we pummeled Liquid Snake to death and tried to watch the hour-long ending without completely alienating the rest of the family. So yeah, we kept the stupid manual. Call it a battle trophy, or a war memento. My brother still has it buried in some desk drawer. Besides, we did Blockbuster and the next person to rent the game a solid. When we returned the game, we taped an index card with Meryl's codec number to the inside of the sterile white and blue plastic box. We had to crack that puzzle with brute force after we couldn't convince our mom to drive us back out just before midnight to look at the back of the CD case on the shelf. Kojima never accounted for us rental kids with his fourth wall shattering puzzle, but I forgive him. How could I not? He made some of my favorite memories. The best moments I had with Sons of Liberty all happened years after the game first hit the shelves. Nowadays, I consider Sons of Liberty to be one of the most important and subversive games of all time. When we picked it up on day one though, I thought Raiden was a turd and Kojima was playing a mean spirited prank on us. You want to talk about memories? I remember thinking “boy, I hope this is just a joke and Snake takes over again reallll soon” about a million times during the first few hours with it. That's not to say I didn't like Sons of Liberty or that it was a bad game or anything, it was just frustrating. It seemed to exist only to validate every criticism of the original. That it was a bunch of nonsense for the sake of nonsense, or that it was a nice movie with some neat game bits in between. I wanted to love it, but it didn't seem to care one way or the other for me. Subliminally, I was picking up on the entire meaning of the game. But it'd be a long time before I could fully appreciate it. Sons of Liberty isn't a game you tackle in a single weekend of obsessive dead-eye play. It's an intricate and nuanced criticism of the industry, players, and power fantasies that you revisit every few years with a scalpel and a fresh set of eyes. It's a game that was so prescient that only now, with games like Spec Ops: The Line and Hotline Miami, are other titles even attempting the same kind of criticism it levied. It's a game that I've enjoyed reading about more than I enjoyed playing. And I've enjoyed playing it a lot. It would be easy to dismiss Sons of Liberty's message as postmodern gobbledygook, or its criticisms of Raiden, and by extension the players, as overly impressionable rubes playing pretend at being a super solider as a creator taking a shot at his audience. But I remember a time in high school when I skipped Mr. Hogarth's class in the morning and couldn't afford to be caught. How the blood in my veins began to pump as I saw him looming just in front of the door of one of my afternoon classes having a conversation with Mr. Jones. How I slipped seamlessly, without consciously thinking about it into STEALTH MODE, creeping up just behind him, turning with him as he turned, like I was staying just outside of the vision cone of any of Metal Gear's hapless guards, slipping in just past him to take my seat, no alarms activated. The S3 plan worked better than Kojima could have dreamed. Even a pudgy high school nerd could have his own Solid Snake moment with the kind of training he provided us with. The Substance Edition on the Xbox was where I really came to love Sons of Liberty. The VR missions more than made up for the intractable cinematics and radio conversations of the main game, finally letting me feel like I played Sons of Liberty rather than watched it. With a few years to get over the shock of playing as Raiden and absorb the message of the game's screwy third act, I was able to enjoy the story and characters. It's one of the few games I can think of that benefited from a remaster in a way that was more meaningful than just a graphical update. But when it's all said and done, I think my favorite memory of Sons of Liberty has to be slipping on bird shit and falling to my death. I don't know why, but that's the moment that crystallized Sons of Liberty to me. Snake Eater is one of my favorite games of all time. I've completed it maybe ten or so times give or take. Certainly more times than any other game I've ever owned. The reason I played through it so many times is simple -- it kept giving me something new every time I did. I'm not sure how many people appreciate how incredibly dense and rich Snake Eater is. If you just want to mainline the game on normal mode, stick to dependable tactics, and don't care too much if you get spotted or have to drop a few extra people, it can be a fairly straightforward affair. If you want to dig deep though, if you want to get weird, that's when Snake Eater really shows you what it's really made of. I did all of the normal things. A regular playthrough where I slit every throat I saw, blundered into enemies and tripped off alarms, and was admonished by The Sorrow who seemed very cross with the number of Russians I set on fire. I did the professional thing, where I snuck in like a shadow over Groznyj Grad, with no alarms and no surprises. Then I did the goofy stuff -- theme runs where I would try and see if I could complete the game as a North Vietnamese regular (all black camo, unsilenced pistol, AK-47, grenades, and SVD only). I did runs where I would only eat fresh killed food, no Calorie Mates or insta-noodles. Runs where I tried to kill as many people indirectly as I could, to see how many I could poison with rotted food or knock off of bridges, the spirit of bad luck. Runs where I made a point of blowing up every supply shed and armory in the country. Every time I thought I exhausted the very last bit of Snake Eater, there was just a little bit more to find. A new mechanic or trick (that of course was almost totally useless and impractical, and great), or some new weird quirk of enemy behavior (did you know you can kill The Fury with a few swipes of your knife? He even has custom dialog for it), or a new radio conversation or song I had never heard before. I played Snake Eater for years, and I'll bet there are still one or two things left to find; Kojima's bag of tricks never seems to end. I still have the memory card with all of my Snake Eater saves on it, just in case I ever feel the need to get down on my belly and crawl through the weeds and marshes of Tselnoyarsk again. I had a whole library of saves, most of them right before discrete scenes or moments I knew I'd want to play again and again. The mountain infiltration right before you rendezvous with Eva and the treacherous march back down again. Dodging KGB special operation units armed with flamethrowers, mindful of the differences in elevation and the gun emplacements littering the hill. I've heard The Guns of Navarone was one of the movies that inspired Kojima when working on the series, and I like to think this area is his little homage to the cliff-side raid of the movie. I saved right before the sniper duel with The End, two different versions. One where Snake would run into his valley clad in camo greens, ready to fight a war of attrition with the legendary marksman. Another, where I assassinated the old man earlier on in the game with a single split-second crackshot (Snake Eater lets you do this because Snake Eater is a game that gives and gives every time you play it). In that version, his valley was full of Ocelot's personal entourage of soldiers to play with. Can you slip by unnoticed while being hunted by a pack of red beret-wearing hotshots? Or maybe it would be more satisfying to unzip each of their throats one by one, or to fight them all in one glorious running battle of machine gun fire and shotgun blasts (I never really used the thing unless I was goofing around). Of course, I saved just before the final showdown against The Boss. It's probably the single greatest scene in the entire series and one of the best boss encounters ever designed. Sure, taking down the Shagohod was satisfying, and sneaking up on The End and forcing him to give up his special camo and rifle made you feel like a sneaky master, but this was the real test. Fighting a person with all of the same skills and tactics you've spent the game developing and mastering, but she's better at them than you. After all, she invented them. I have less personal attachment to the other games. Guns of the Patriots I had to enjoy vicariously, reading about it and watching other people play. Same with the Metal Gear Acid games. I've spent a good chunk of the last month catching up, reading wikis about them and watching Let's Plays to fill in the gaps of my Metal Gear knowledge. I think I'm ready. I'm ready to finally close the loop on this series I've been playing my entire life. I'm ready to experience the last chapter in this decades long story of espionage, betrayal, and hiding in cardboard boxes. I can't wait to get into The Phantom Pain next week and see it for myself. I'm hoping Kojima can give me a few more memories on his way out.
Metal Gear memories photo
More than the basics of CQC
We stole the instruction manual when we rented Metal Gear Solid from Blockbuster. It's the one and only time we ever did that. Normally we were fine upstanding rental citizens who held manual-thieves in smug contempt. But in ...

Real-life FPS photo
Real-life FPS

Someone made a live-action FPS on Chatroulette


Voice-controlled zombie survival
Aug 21
// Jordan Devore
This seems like one of those "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" ideas. It is, in fact, rather cool. RealmPictures organized a live-action first-person shooter and "invited unsuspecting people on Chatroulette, Omegle, and Skype to t...
Half-Life x Hotline Miami photo
Half-Life x Hotline Miami

Half-Life 2 in the style of Hotline Miami is the best thing on the Internet today


We go to Miami, but not Ravenholm
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
We've all slaughtered scores of headcrabs, but we've never done it from this perspective. This fan-made game takes the Hotline Miami approach to Half-Life 2, trading Freeman's viewpoint for a chaotic overhead one. It ma...
FFVII fan game photo
FFVII fan game

Final Fantasy VII reimagined as an action side-scroller


Fan game
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
From LittleBigPlanet levels to Square Enix's actual remake, people love recreating Square's seminal RPG Final Fantasy VII. Here, a group of fans are working to turn the game into a Streets of Rage-inspired beat 'em up. There's even a playable prototype on the website, and the non-profit project will be released for free when finished.

Twitch Plays Dark Souls photo
Twitch Plays Dark Souls

Welp, Twitch is playing Dark Souls


One button at a time
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
Twitch Plays Pokemon happened a year and a half ago. Participants all entered individual button presses willy-nilly to get through the entirety of Pokémon. Monkeys on a typewriter, and all that. Twitch has not been playing Dark Souls for 18 hours. I mean, if one person could beat the entire game with individual voice commands...nah. If it's your sort of thing, enjoy.
Minesweeper photo
Minesweeper

Could you beat a game of Minesweeper with almost 40,000 mines?


I'm not even going to act like I could
Aug 13
// Brett Makedonski
One wrong move, and it's ka-fricken-boom. That's the margin for error in Minesweeper, as everyone who has owned a PC in the past 20 years knows. Those mines are everywhere, and it's up to you to meticulously sweep them. Knoc...
Ennuigi photo
Ennuigi

Luigi walks, smokes, and ruminates in Ennuigi


Playable browser bummer
Aug 12
// Steven Hansen
This is one of my favorite jokes. I just did this joke about that John Wick VR shooter (Johnnui), though that mostly stemmed from pronouncing John Wick with a bad French accident and just happened to be appropriate. Ennuigi (...
Protect your neck photo
Protect your neck

It only took 112 tries to beat Dark Souls' hardest boss with voice commands


The power of language
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
Please save your hardest boss arguments for someone else, as Dark Souls isn't even hard anyways, as I have deftly proven a second time. To enough folks, Ornstein and Smough are pegged as toughest. The duo, "was responsible f...
Birkin photo
Birkin

Probably the best Resident Evil cosplay I've seen


Workin' Birkin
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
How heavy is this? Is it painful? What if your nose itches? What if you have to piss? What if your have to poop? What if you have to piss and poop? This is some high level cosplay and dedication.
Pip-Boy DIY photo
Pip-Boy DIY

Still want that Fallout 4 Pip-Boy? 3D print your own


Needed: 3D printer, craftsman skills
Aug 06
// Steven Hansen
Folks bought out the limited number of Pip-Boy editions of Fallout 4 like they were amiibo and Bethesda has no plans to manufacture any more. What's a gamehead to do? Well, the enterprising among you could 3D print your own....
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed screenshots matched up to the real world


Rome-ing about Europe
Aug 04
// Joe Parlock
Tumblr user Haricotkenway recently went on a trip around Europe, and has managed to line up screenshots from Assassin’s Creed with the real-life equivalent of the famous landmarks. While the idea may not be new, I still...
Pretty good photo
Pretty good

Wreck up not-LA with the Grand Theft Auto V Iron Man mod


Pretty good
Jul 31
// Steven Hansen
Chest burst, hand missiles, floating/flight, rocket punches, bullets dinking off the suit -- this isn't just a cool costume mod. Seems suitably over-powered, but also like a better Iron Man game than most of the licensed tie-ins I've ever seen. Also him getting hit by the car made me laugh out loud. [Viia Eurogamer]
Nintendo 64 photo
Nintendo 64

These N64 spine labels look like a godsend


US gamers are in luck
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
Organizing loose Nintendo 64 game cartridges is a problem, but is it a $20 problem? That's how much one Etsy seller is charging for a solution: spine labels! "[T]hey peel off with NO sticker residue left behind," according t...
Fallout: The Frontier photo
Fallout: The Frontier

Huge upcoming Fallout: New Vegas mod introduces nuclear winter


But all we have is a video for now
Jul 27
// Brett Makedonski
Those who play Fallout: New Vegas are used to an arid and hot landscape, but one upcoming mod based on Bethesda's 2010 game flips those tables. It's trading desert stereotypes for a frigid tundra environment, and it all...
Kirby in Unreal photo
Kirby in Unreal

Kirby on Unreal 4 is, uh, kind of unsettling


And other classics
Jul 27
// Brett Makedonski
Just like the Dtoid staff's attempt at drawing him last year, Kirby on Unreal Engine 4 just doesn't quite sit right. Maybe it's the way his gums (gums?) flap open to suck up a whole lot of nothing. Maybe it's a gritty filter...
Coming this summer photo
Coming this summer

Full blown Resident Evil 2 fan remake in Unreal 4


Basically Resident Evil 4, playable soon
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Italian studio Invader Games is coming up on its summer release of its non-profit remake project, Resident Evil 2 Reborn. The playable alpha missed its October 2014 release, but is now in Unreal 4 instead of Unity, and will ...
Fan remake photo
Fan remake

Could Shenmue 3 end up looking something like this?


Fan remake: Original Shenmue in Unreal 4
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Korean modder Kid Nocon began his unofficial HD remake of the original Shenmue last year, before any of us knew that Shenmue 3 would burst onto the scene and become the most funded video game Kickstarter yet.  Nocon's o...
Mario Kart photo
Mario Kart

Cool dad builds custom Mario Kart nursery


Good on him for sticking with it
Jul 20
// Jordan Devore
It's strangely reassuring to know that this isn't the first time we've covered a game-themed nursery and it almost certainly won't be the final. Builder and father Wes Swain decided on Mario Kart 8 as "there didn't seem to be...
Camp Fangamer photo
Camp Fangamer

Camp Fangamer celebrates EarthBound's 25th anniversary for charity


PK Livestream!
Jul 18
// Ben Davis
A few years back, the folks at Fangamer and Starmen.net held an EarthBound Bash which raised $23,420 for charity. This year, in celebration of EarthBound's 25th anniversary, they're hosting a similar event known as Camp Fanga...
Doom photo
Doom

It's possible to play Doom inside of Doom


We're doomed
Jul 16
// Jordan Devore
Humans sure love getting Doom to run on things not meant to run Doom. YouTuber TheZombieKiller has taken things a step further by playing the game within the game.
Fun with engines photo
Fun with engines

Sonic looks angry to be in Unreal 4


Fun with engines
Jul 16
// Steven Hansen
Mario, icon that he is, was a brief stand out in various Unreal 4 tech demos. The baser instincts turn inward still: now it is Sonic's turn at an ill-fitting appearance among high fidelity grass blades and grazing herds.  He runs fast, jumps listlessly, and has a permanent scowl. For the record, Sega, since you are rudderless: no, don't do this.
#AssCandy photo
#AssCandy

Did they think an open Twitter Q&A for Randy Pitchford would go well?


#AskRandy
Jul 14
// Steven Hansen
This morning, the Develop Conference tweeted, "Question for @DuvalMagic [Gearbox's Randy Pitchford]? tweet us and we'll put the question to him for the Q&A. Use the hashtag #askrandy." Unfortunately for Develop, people on...
IDGAF photo
IDGAF

This kid gives zero f*cks about winning an Xbox One


Will's my new homie
Jul 10
// Brett Makedonski
This dude is cool, calm, collected. That's probably how he won whatever skills contest he did to be entered into an Xbox-themed giveaway. His calmness likely stems from him also being uninterested, which explains his reactio...
Weird engine tests photo
Weird engine tests

Mario, but completely covered in fur thanks to Unreal 4


More weird engine tests
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
Do you remember how many Super Mario Bros. recreations littered LittleBigPlanet? Mario is iconic. He is video games. So it's not surprising folks messing around in Unreal Engine 4 continue to use the model. It's more fun in ...
Baby costume photo
Baby costume

I hope this adorable Magikarp baby never evolves


Just the cutest
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
This baby's costumed antics put a huge smile on my face. I hope you have the same reaction. It's basically the inverse of that (also great) beefcake Magikarp from last month.
Fire Emblem maker photo
Fire Emblem maker

I'm hooked on this Fire Emblem character creator


Don't mind if I do!
Jun 29
// Jordan Devore
Since Fire Emblem Fates isn't going to release outside of Japan until next year, let's melt some time away with this web-based character creator put together by LuminescentBlade. I want to see your angsty people. [Via Tiny Cartridge]
AMAZING photo
AMAZING

Animal crossover: Oh my god KK Slider covering Outkast


Hey you
Jun 26
// Steven Hansen
Hey, what are you doing right now? Fuck you, because it's not as cool as what I'm doing right now, which is listening to KK Slider covering Outkast's "Hey Ya!" Now I'm listening to KK Slider doing Johnny Cash's "Hurt." Get on...
Broken games photo
Broken games

The Arkham Knight PC port proves yet again that only suckers pre-order


A real shame
Jun 24
// Nic Rowen
Tuesday morning, I had a moment of weakness. After reading some stellar reviews (of the console versions) I allllmost pre-purchased the PC version of Arkham Knight. I've loved every other entry in the series and with those re...

Steam Summer Sale, an embarrassment of riches

Jun 24 // Nic Rowen
Wolfenstein: The New Order Embarrassment factor: A Neville Chamberlain ass-tattoo From the moment I first laid eyes on Wolfenstein: The New Order I thought “that looks like a great game!” followed almost immediately with a second thought “I'll wait for a Steam Sale.” And so it was. Yes, I know, I'm the kind of scumbag that disincentivizes publishers from backing games like Wolfenstein, and I feel bad about that, really. But I know in my heart of hearts that between work and every other game tugging at my arm, I will probably never find the time to run through a single player shooter, no matter how much fun the nazi-murder spree looks. At least it's there for me now if I ever re-watch Jin-Roh and feel compelled to dump a belt-fed machine gun into a human wall of Wehrmacht. Long Live the Queen Embarrassment factor: Mortified monocle dropping Look, sometimes I buy games because I think they might be fun to play with my girlfriend. Stop judging me. Also, the trailer was cute, and it was $2.00, and sometimes I like nice things, and you're going to stop judging me right now or I will cut off your head and parade it around court on the end of a pike. Iron Brigade Embarrassment factor: Serving with pride I don't think I need to make excuses for wanting to ride atop a glorious mobile trench/mecha, obliterate endless waves of lethal cathode ray enemies with ridiculously oversized cannons, and sport a splendid hat while doing so. If you don't understand the self-evident joy of such things, we're just never going to see eye-to-eye. Sunless Sea Embarrassment factor: Muttering about mutiny Sunless Sea looks like Darkest Dungeon, but on the water, so it's bound to be a delightful time. The embarrassment factor isn't too high here because I'm sure I'll get some play out of this one and I love to support indie devs like Failbetter Games. Besides, any game recommended by our very own Ben Davis has to be worth a look. Borderlands 2: GOTY Embarrassment factor: C:/My Documents/DankMemes Ever hear of the sunk cost fallacy? Well this is it. I loved Borderlands 2, played through the main campaign with my brother, did a bunch of co-op and challenge stuff with Dtoid's StriderHoang, and bought the big dumb fancy DLC pack. Problem was, I did most of that playing during the first three weeks of the game's launch and never quite got back to all that expensive DLC. This is why you never buy the season pass folks. It's always loomed over me and I'd like to revisit those characters and see all that content I missed, but most of my 360 friends have moved on to other consoles and it's not like I'm going to solo another character through the game, that's not how I get down with Borderlands. But, the Steam sale gave me and my brother a chance to grab the game on the cheap on our PCs, so we can delude ourselves all over again that somehow we'll find 30 hours of mutually schedule-friendly time to plunder, raid, and explode all over Pandora again. Look forward to next year when I tell you all about how I picked up the Pre-Sequel Definitive Edition on the cheap and will toootally play through it.. Sometime. Westerado: Double Barreled Embarrassment factor: I aim to misbehave No embarrassment here. Everything I hear about Westerado makes it sound like a hell of a game. Rustlin' cattle, solving mysteries, and laying down the law by whipping out a gun mid-dialog scene, these are all things I can stare at over the horizon and give a knowing nod. Gravity Ghost Embarrassment factor: WHEEEEEE! Mea culpa. I did not do the research before I bought this game and I just assumed that you played as the deer wearing socks that you always see in the screenshots. 100% of my purchasing thought process was based on loving the idea of a deer wearing socks. Sadly, you do not play as a deer wearing socks. On the plus side, it's a beautiful, charming, and magical experience and all that... Sigh, I really wanted to play as a deer wearing socks. The Fall Embarrassment factor: File not found The only embarrassment here is that I didn't pick up The Fall sooner. Seriously, this is a gorgeous indie game about a possibly malfunctioning robot-suit trying to save his unconscious pilot while stranded on a planet populated by insane drones and fascist super-computers. Just saying that last sentence out loud activates my saliva glands. Payday 2 DLC: Clover Character pack, Alesso Heist, and the Butcher's BBQ pack Embarrassment factor: A poster of Waingro in the family room I picked up Payday 2 during last summer's Steam Sale and it was a gift that kept on giving. Surprisingly fun co-op heisting with months of content patches and bug fixes behind it, and I picked it up for a song. I ended up playing it for months before my attention drifted and I don't think I ever spent more than $15 or $20 on it all told. With that in mind, even though I'm living on the straight and narrow now, I thought it might be a good idea to pick up some of the cooler looking DLC bits I've missed just in case the bastards ever pull me back in. See, smooth over the truth enough and you can justify something as dumb as buying DLC for a game you don't even have installed any more. That's the kind of moral flexibility the Payday crew can respect. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Embarrassment factor: Listening to “Love Deterrence” by Paz Oretga on loop It's Metal Gear for like $5.00, how could I not? I know, buying Ground Zeroes is essentially paying for the privilege to play a demo of The Phantom Pain (which is not too far away from coming out itself now), but you know what? The demo from Metal Gear Solid back on the PS1 was dope as hell and I ended up playing it over and over again FOR HOURS. That demo was basically a loading dock and the front yard of Shadow Moses, so imagine the kind of fun I can wring out of an entire military base. Again, I miss demo discs. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Embarrassment factor: Mistaking a shadow for a ghost and making a little yelping noise The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks like a positively beautiful mystery/horror game that will sit in my Steam backlog with pride. I'll be glad it's there, and think of playing it often. “Maybe around Halloween” I'll say. But then the month will come and some big name title will drop hoping to get a jump on the November rush, or Team Fortress 2 will do some adorable ghost themed event and I'll end up plugging hours into an eight year old game again, and poor Ethan Carter will be forgotten. Left to haunt my backlog forever. More like The Vanishing of my Free Time, am I right? Wait, no, that doesn't make much sense. I'll show myself out. Alien: Isolation Embarrassment factor: Closing your eyes in the theater and hoping no one notices Oh man, I hope I don't lose this one to the backlog, because so far it's pretty great. Alien: Isolation is one of those games I was really interested in at launch, but just couldn't bring myself to cough up $60 for it. Now that I've had a chance to play it, I'd say it probably would have been worth the full sticker price (but I'm much happier paying the $10 or so it ended up costing me). The best part of the game so far has just been noodling around the station, checking out all the little touches and messing with the retro-future computers and technology. It's a lot like Gone Home, only instead of being “a little spooky” it's a full-on assault on the nerves that ratchets up the tension until finally skewering you on the end of a Xenomorph's spiked tail. I'm still holding out hope that Amanda will just find some nice girl to elope with and get out of the station. Marine Sharpshooter 2 Embarrassment factor: Marine Sharpshooter 2 I didn't buy this one. A friend “gifted” me a copy, and oh what a gift. Marine Sharpshooter 2 apparently came out in 2004, but after five minutes in it's muddy, jagged jungles, you'll swear it was 1999 all over again. With what I would describe as a “generous” Metacritic score of 52, it doesn't have many upsides. So of course I immediately installed it instead of any of the other many fine games I spent actual money on. In the clinical world, this is what they call “self hate.”
Steam Sale haul photo
We all have our vices
I still firmly believe that one of the greatest upsides of being a PC gamer are the twice annual fire-sales hosted by Steam. Those sales, alongside the multitude of other deals and bargains that can be scooped up from Humble ...

Minecraft photo
Minecraft

Minecraft's largest piece of artwork seems impossibly detailed


World record holder
Jun 23
// Brett Makedonski
A lot of people make a lot of impressive things in Minecraft, but none of them go as big as Thorlar Thorlarian. That's not hyperbole, by the way; he actually has the world record to back it up. Recently, Thorlar finished a p...

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