What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Billy Campbell

Billy Campbell, actor

The star of The Killing imagines the video game version of his show.

By Scott Jones • May 4, 2012

In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.

Billy Campbell is a veteran film and TV actor whose career credits include Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Dynasty. He was a series regular on the USA Network sci-fi show The 4400, and he played the title role in the 1991 film The Rocketeer. Campbell currently stars as Seattle politico Darren Richmond in The Killing, the second season of which is now airing on AMC.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend? 

Billy Campbell: Right now, I’m working my way through Red Dead Redemption, Dead Space 2, and Uncharted 3. This weekend will likely be devoted to Red Dead—I really want to go to Mexico. I haven’t had much time or headspace to play during the run of The Killing, so my progress in each of these three games has been slow and incremental. Multiplayer has been a big distraction, as well, especially with Red Dead. Hell, I can just ride around in that game looking at the countryside and skinning the occasional bear.

Gameological: What was the last game that you played start to finish?

Campbell: Grand Theft Auto IV. I still break it out on occasion. It has endless replay value. I mean, one of my very favorite experiences—still—is to cheat myself to six stars [the highest level of police aggression], then see how long I can stay alive. 

All things considered, though, I think Rockstar left some of the fun out. They went for increased reality with GTA IV. Look back at [Grand Theft Auto:] San Andreas’ missions. They were a good deal more varied and fun. And though GTA IV’s environs were more realistic, its missions were repetitive, and the—what’s the word?—mischief, some of the twinkle in Rockstar’s eye, had gone out of the game. I think a lot of people felt that way. Here’s hoping Rockstar puts it back in for GTA V.

Gameological: You recently wrapped season two of The Killing. Congratulations on that. It’s obviously a heavy show, filled with drama and gloom. Was there any gaming going on on the set between takes?

Campbell: No. But there was some gaming on our days off, especially with Eric Ladin and Katie Findlay. Those two are a hoot to kill cowboys and whores with in Red Dead. I think I annoy Ladin, as I can be a bit of a back-seat gamer. Findlay’s a chatterbox, and they both love to talk smack to me as I’m playing. But I could kick either of their asses in a shoot-out, for I am the baddest ass in all of metropolitan Armadillo.

Gameological: Sounds like you’ve got a weakness for Rockstar games. What is it about Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption that you find so irresistible?

Campbell: It’s the whole open-world, sandbox concept that gets me more than anything. Rockstar’s dedication to it always advances the believability of the worlds they create. GTA and RDR are completely believable places for me, which allows me to more easily feel like the master of my destiny, as opposed to when I’m playing some game that takes me through on rails. When that happens, I feel like a rat in someone’s maze.

Gameological: Did you try L.A. Noire?

Campbell: I haven’t given it much of a chance yet. I was in there once, for five minutes, and I realized that I couldn’t steal a car and get chased, so I quit. I’ll go back and give it a fair shake at some point. But really, GTA, RDR, and especially Minecraft may have ruined me for all other games.

Gameological: There were a couple of video games based on your 1991 film The Rocketeer (one for the NES, the other for the Super NES). Did you play them?

Campbell: I never played them. But it would be kind of neat to eventually see a proper Rocketeer game, no?

Gameological: Let’s imagine for a moment that there’s a video game based on The Killing. It could happen. We’ve had games based on CSI, Alias, Lost. What would it look like?

Campbell: I’d like to see a game based on the show. Here’s how I see it. You would play as all the main characters. You’d make money as Terry, turning tricks for Beau Soleil. Maybe take random furniture-delivery jobs around Seattle as Belko, with a constraint that you have to be home in time for dinner with your nutcase mother. You could gamble in the Kulamish casino, or work as security, trying to keep drunken patrons from wandering the grounds and stumbling into Indian graveyards. You could also maybe play a Stan Larsen mini-game that challenges you to try to make Mitch stop crying. And you’d do all of it in that damnable pouring rain. 

And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.

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121 Responses to “Billy Campbell, actor”

  1. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    Never heard of this guy. Would prefer if Jones had interviewed Bruce Campbell for this segment instead. The wrong Campbell!

    • HobbesMkii says:

      He’s the Rocketeer! From the movie, The Rocketeer. With Timothy Dalton and Jennifer Connelly. It’s about a guy who finds a rocket pack and becomes a superhero (sort of). It’s also a great comic book from the 80s, and one that’s full of absolutely stunning art.

      Also, I don’t think he’s trolling Jones. He said he was playing RDR this weekend, but that he was working his way through Uncharted 3 and Dead Space 2 in addition to that game. 

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        The Rocketeer was the best!  Plus, Jennifer Connelly at her hottest.  Campbell was pretty good in The 4400 too…though for some reason my wife and I got the entire series on DVD and never watched the last 1-2 episodes.

        There’s been at least one movie with both Bruce and Bill Campbell in it.  I thought they were related for a while, but as I recall they aren’t.

        Also cool that he mentioned Minecraft…I just started playing it last weekend, and am having fun with Survival Mode.  (I actually played Terraria before Minecraft…so a lot of the mechanics are familiar.)  Amazingly I haven’t died by creeper yet, despite two of them exploding next to me (thanks, iron armor!)

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Never saw The Rocketeer (and according to his imdb page, nothing else he’s been in either). And no disrespect to the guy, I just read it at first as Bruce and was disappointed.

        I do like his taste in games though, it’s as if he’s gone on my AVC profile and looked at my favourites.

    • Raging Bear says:

      If he was Mike R, they’d never have let him play The Rocketeer. Imagine the screaming matches he’d get in every day with the director over all the flowery words in the script like “nazi” or “gun” or “fly.”

      • Colliewest says:

         If you say his name three times you know what happens.

        Don’t do it, people.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Agreed. Whereas Candyman has the decency to tear your guts out with a hook, (you-know-who) just turns up and spends a year trying to annoy everybody to death.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        I know you had a feud with the guy @RagingBear:disqus , but back in the days when I just used to lurk, I enjoyed the whole back and forth repartee you two had. Ok, the whole metacritic petition thing was the work of a lunatic, but when you think about it AVC/GS doesn’t grade games anymore so Mike R sort of got his way.


        • Raging Bear says:

          If he ever does turn up, I’m sure he’ll take credit.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           He was kind of all right when he wasn’t being an absolute nutter. As long as metacritic wasn’t a part of the discussion, every now and then he’d make a good point.
           Heh, check out how many qualifiers there are in those two sentences. I still wonder if he just wasn’t a very good troll. If not, well, the guy had issues.

      • fatandsloppy says:

        aww, mike hasn’t been around in ages and you’re still waxing poetic about him. 

        • Raging Bear says:

          And you’re still trolling vicariously through another troll. Can’t manage to troll on your own terms, eh?

          Must be hard, looking up at the lowest form of internet life, wishing you could do what they do.

        • fatandsloppy says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqus i don’t even know what you’re sputtering about.

        • Raging Bear says:

          @fatandsloppy:disqus Don’t you? I’m sorry. It’s just there was this one troll on the AVC — a real idiot — who really played up the “RB and mike are in love lol!” angle and always fell back on “i don’t even know what you’re [verb other than “talk”]ing about” when he couldn’t think of a comeback.

          Sine you took the time to protest as you did, you clearly couldn’t be the douchebag I’m thinking of. You must be some other douchebag entirely. My apologies.

        • fatandsloppy says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqus awwww! i just think your obsession with mike r is cute. you literally can’t stop thinking about him. 
          he haunts your dreams. 

          i’m not judging, but based on your limp-dicked attacks you’re feeling pretty defensive about it. face it, he’s moved on. you’re going to have to fantasize about hate-fucking someone else.

          …me? i think you’re gross, but i cant stop you from rubbing one out while you think about me, unfortunately.  

        • fatandsloppy says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqus also, you should probably look up the word ‘vicarious’ before you use it again you little goofball.

        • Raging Bear says:

           @fatandsloppy:disqus Let’s see…”vicarious”: experienced through the feelings or actions of another person. And you can’t troll without constant reference to another troll, trying to ride his trolling achievements. It’s almost like I knew what it meant all along, but thanks for reminding me it never hurts to look these things up.

          I’ll return the favor: go look up “sex.” I bet there’s a thorough Wikipedia article about it. One of the things you might learn is that it’s not the same thing as message board bickering. Really! All the best researchers agree on this point. Since you still conflate the two in pretty much every line of you post, and did so regularly back on the AVC as well, I think you be a little confused.

          Or maybe you know that, and it’s just that the one is as close as you hope to come to the other, and you’re projecting? After all, moments after joking hilariously about me rubbing one out thinking about you, you started following me on Disqus!

      • fatorsloppy says:

        you’re such a little tattle-tale! i love it!

        i also love that you think swapping out one anonymous, pretend name for another anonymous, pretend name somehow equates to ‘vicariously’ “trolling” through someone else (myself…? can one live vicariously through themselves? you’ll have to explain that one to me.)

        i guess if all of my social interactions were conducted through the internet i might hold the sanctity of av club  comment screen names in higher regard, so i get where you’re coming from.

        • Raging Bear says:

          You mean, I wasted that whole vicariousness bit on someone too dim to even get it? What a shame.

          Well, I was planning to flag you when you (as you obviously have every intention of doing) continue to try to start shit in the future, but I never actually flagged you in that thread. I guess you thought everyone but me finds you charming? Oh yeah; the dimness.

        • fatorsloppy says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqusi hope me changing my name again didn’t confuse and throw you in to a blind rage again – i know screen names and pretend identities mean more to you than they should. it’s confusing but don’t worry about it too much if you don’t get it. 

          and i’m sure your peers actually find phrases like ‘oh yeah; the dimness’ as insulting rather than delightfully simple like i do, which is good. you should probably be focusing your limited faculties on them rather than me.

          honestly, i’m just waiting for you to explain how i’m trolling you vicariously through myself. i love it when you try to overextend your intellect, it’s so cute!

    • Effigy_Power says:

       You didn’t know Bill Campbell? Who will eventually marry his true love Campbell Scott and finally become…
      Campbell Campbell.

      PS: Somehow I can’t see Bruce Campbell being much of a gamer. I can’t say why, it’s just a hunch…

    • LimeadeYouth says:

      I was kinda hoping for an interview with Tisha Campbell. Actually, that’s only half tongue-in-cheek; not to go all feminist, but featuring female gamers, especially outside of a cosplay context, would be appreciated.

      • John Teti says:

        Yeah. This is something we need to work on, and are working on.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           However, and I employ you, try to avoid the whole Geek-Girl-Power stuff. I’ve been put off by a lot of communities that way. It’s all female empowerment this, guys are noobs that. I’ve heard that stuff for years when I was more engaged in the LGBT during college and that’s what eventually turned me off.
          In all that the aspect of actual gaming goes completely out the window and is co-opted by some weird version of digital feminism. There’s nothing wrong with female empowerment, but it’s not supposed to overwrite the actual topic.
          Plus I am pretty sure that a lot of the people I talked to were actually guys who liked to hang around girls while pretending to be girls.
          So, all I am saying is… don’t buy into that “slut-walk geek-gurrrrl yaya stuff”. It’s phoney and pretentious. I mean, why do chicks have to play with an agenda anyways? I can’t just sit on the couch with my pants open, eating cookies and swearing at Ezio for not jumping far enough? I have to sit there splaying my tats and being all hyper about being a girl?
          Bah… humbug, I say. Let chicks play like everyone else… and suddenly I’ve become political myself… damn.

        • John Teti says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus I hate that stuff as much as you do. I find the “Wow, a geek grrrrl!” thing to be implicitly condescending. And along the same lines, I think the “Being a geek is cool/geek chic!” thing is pretty spent, too. You’ll NEVER find us trafficking in any of that stuff.

          We need to get more women into the mix for the simple reason that both men and women play games, so our coverage ought to reflect that.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Good. You get to live, John.

          For now… Muahahahaha.

        • ToddG says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus   If you employ him, I would imagine you have some level of input as to what is posted on the site.

          Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Ah, yeah… didn’t catch on to that. My wording is a bit wonky lately. Also I almost wrote wording as woring… which is also not good.
          John, apparently I employ you now. Get used to being paid in pints of salsa.

        • Dr_John_Zoidberg says:

           I say you do a hard-hitting expose on PvP imbalances in Hello Kitty: Island Adventure.

    • Kirlis Ioannis says:

      http://www.economycarhires.com lesvos car hire company

  2. David Gray says:

    I like this guy, he seems pretty cool.  Clearly taking the piss when it comes to The Killing game.

    • Shain Eighmey says:

      You know it’s true though. I mean, they never did do the Rocketeer justice, and that one seems almost obvious for a game compared to The Killing. 

      • Raging Bear says:

        Didn’t I hear once that The Rocketeer was supposed to develop into a franchise? Shame that didn’t happen.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Looking over the comments section, there’s clearly an untapped market for a Rocketeer video game that hasn’t been explored.

          I see it being sort of like Arkham City.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           As long as it isn’t like Dark Void…
           So much potential wasted on that game.

  3. Shain Eighmey says:

    I’m planning to play some Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai this weekend. I nearly have those Shogun supporting dogs where I want them, and I need to wipe them off the map and declare victory! 

    Also, I’m feeling a little itch for Minecraft and possibly trying Bastion, but I’m probably going to be too busy to do that this weekend. Come to think of it, I would love a good Rocketeer game, but we’ll probably only see that if we get a movie remake, which I don’t really want. 

    • doyourealize says:

      It took me a while to play Bastion, too, but when I did, I couldn’t stop playing.  I think I beat it twice in a weekend.  Thinking about it, maybe Bastion lends itself more to this kind of gameplay.  It may lose some of its charm if you’re forced to play it in 1/2-hour increments rather than large chunks.  But maybe not…and I loved it.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I played through Bastion in hour-long segments, and it didn’t lose its charm at all.  Fantastic game, and I loved how the plot was revealed as you explored.

  4. doyourealize says:

    I like how his description of The Killing game has nothing to do with solving a murder case.  You win when you accuse as many as possible without sufficient evidence and never get it right.
    I might be spending some time with ME3 multiplayer, FFXIII-2, the Souls games, and Arkham City is calling to me on Steam at only $15.

    • Shain Eighmey says:

      I have to wonder if he’s giving a subtle jab about the lack of murder solving in “The Killing”. 

      • doyourealize says:

        Yeah, I think so, too.  At first, I thought he would have mentioned it if that’s what he was doing, but he’d probably get into some trouble if he publically announced The Killing didn’t give a shit about solving a murder.

    • Merve says:

      I lol’ed at his description of a Killing game. Looks like the guy has a sense of humour.

      Also, Arkham City is only $15 on Steam? Why would you tell me this? Must. Resist. Buying. I probably won’t be able to hold out until Monday. (Thanks a lot.)

      Speaking of which, have y’all seen the box art for the GOTY edition of the game? It’s horrific.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         God, it looks like a teen magazine. It’s so bad it gave batman a nosebleed.

  5. Raging Bear says:

    I’ll play some of my current rental, Red Faction: Armageddon. After an hour or two with it, I think my ultimate opinion of it will hinge enormously on how much they abuse on-rails segments and excessively spawning enemies. Other than that, it seems pretty solid.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       It’s surprisingly solid all around. They should have put something along those lines in the box: “You probably won’t hate this game!”

  6. Merve says:

    I’ll be dividing my time between New Vegas and ME3, with maybe a little bit of this game mixed in.

    • However, and I employ you, try to avoid the whole Geek-Girl-Power stuff. I’ve been put off by a lot of communities that way. It’s all female empowerment this, guys are noobs that. I’ve heard that stuff for years when I was more engaged in the LGBT during college and that’s what eventually turned me off.
      In all that the aspect of actual gaming goes completely out the window and is co-opted by some weird version of digital feminism. There’s nothing wrong with female empowerment, but it’s not supposed to overwrite the actual topic.
      Plus I am pretty sure that a lot of the people I talked to were actually guys who liked to hang around girls while pretending to be girls.
      So, all I am saying is… don’t buy into that “slut-walk 

  7. The_Misanthrope says:

     I just finished LA Noire, the main story anyway.  I’m likely not going to run about looking for all the hidden stuff or finishing all the street crimes unless I get super-bored.  Well-done (albeit cliche-riddled) story, great performances, and the thinnest gruel of gameplay.  It says something about the gameplay that the game is eager to remind you that you can just skip it without any consequence (That awful Alone in the Dark reboot from a few years back had a similar feature).  If perhaps they had shifted some of that enormous budget away from “making everything shiny and realistic” department and into the gameplay department, it could have been a decent game.  Instead, it can’t help but feel like a movie that begrudgingly allows me to wander around in it from time to time.

    GTA:  San Andreas was just the right mix of all the elements.  You have a smattering of drama, a cast of  memorable characters, the freedom to wander all over a sprawling open world (mostly), just the right dose of humor (Vice City suffered from trying a little too hard to be funny), ans fluid fast gameplay.  If there is a complaint, the one that kept me from completing the game, it is that the missions can be very narrow and restrictive in how you can complete them (a trend that has gotten worse and worse from the start of the series).  Any mission that requires precision driving is an exercise in frustration, since the cars drive so sloppily.

    Currently playing:  Shadow of the Colossus (PS2 version, not the recent PS3 re-release), another of my rescues from the Gamestop bargain bin.  Once I got past the temperamental camera controls (I had forgot how bad they could be during the PS2 age), I really was drawn into it.  My only petty gripe:  that damn horse.  I have yet to play a game where a horse wasn’t a pain in the ass, either to control or to have tagging along.  “Hey, Agro, I appreciate your loyalty, but could you please get the fuck out of my way while I line up this shot?”

    • HobbesMkii says:

       It’s pretty funny to me that LA Noire has come up regularly over the past couple of weeks.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Just like Dawes over on the other side.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Must… resist… the call…

           OF COCK

        • Merve says:

          @dreadguacamole:disqus: One of these days, someone is going to start a gimmick account called “The AV Club Comment Robot,” and every post it makes will be one of:

          – Dawes!
          – That sweet Laurel Canyon sound
          – OF COCK
          – CancerAIDS!
          – COMMUNITY SUCKS!
          – Swag Onion!
          – Failed firsties!
          – Ugh. You totally Britta’d this.
          – Fuck you, the Killing.
          – MPDG
          – Save Community!

        • dreadguacamole says:

          @Merve2:disqus- Hey, what about firefly?

        • Merve says:

          @dreadguacamole:disqus: The AV Club Comment Robot will occasionally also post “Bring back Firefly!” 50% of the time, this will be sincere. The other 50% of the time, this will be ironic.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           It will also have to extoll the virtues of Allison Bree on a constant basis.

  8. Chip Dipson says:

    Rayman 2 is out for the PSN. I’m tempted to see if it’s as wonderful as I remembered.

  9. “Look back at [Grant Theft Auto:] San Andreas’ missions. They were a good deal more varied and fun. And though GTA IV’s
    environs were more realistic, its missions were repetitive, and
    the—what’s the word?—mischief, some of the twinkle in Rockstar’s eye,
    had gone out of the game. I think a lot of people felt that way. Here’s
    hoping Rockstar puts it back in for GTA V.”

    You know, part of this was our fault. I don’t know if people remember this, but at the time there was this pretty aggressive push for more realistic, more heady, more “legitimate” games. And then they came – GTA IV, Heavy Rain, LA Noire – and everyone kinda was like “OK, BUT WHERE’S THE CRAZY STUFF!?”

    I find myself enjoying more crazier, audacious games than the minute, heavy-handed ones. I… kinda wish there were more mascot-based platformers/shooters – there’s really only Sly Cooper 4, and Ratchet and Clank (which seems to have dropped the ball on their most recent game) 0 interesting stories with strong, character humor. If they updated games like that with a Gears of War or Deus Ex mechanic, then we’d be in different era of gaming.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       Yeah, the people complaining about what’s missing always seem to either scream louder than those who are genuinely happy or are heard more.
      San Andreas, which obviously also had its weaknesses, is probably the better game, while GTAIV has the better setting, story and atmosphere. I think you can totally do crazy shit if you keep it separate from your serious storyline. I would even say that you could have separate characters for story and free-roaming, in order to keep those things … separate… really need to hit a thesaurus later.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Yeah, San Andreas was probably better than IV but getting up to crazy shit in IV was more enjoyable because of the (relative) realism. The ragdoll effect when being knocked off motorbikes, getting hit by cars etc made for some hilarious stacks.

        And IV has another plus over SA: no fucking flight training. Some of those flight training tests in SA produced fits of rage that i never knew I was capable of.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           A friend and me chewed on those for an entire weekend, it was very rage-worthy. But that’s what I mean, stuff like that is okay as long as it’s not mandatory to continue the story. Once you got a hold of the jetpack, airplanes were pretty much out anyways.
          I do however miss raining death from above… the armed heli in GTAIV just doesn’t do it. Weakest, most unaimable chainguns ever.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus This is the second week in a row on the GS that talk of San Andreas has made me remember how much that game made me angry. Flight training, trailbike missions, RC helicopter mission, police car training, Claude car race, long drives needing to be repeated after mission failures etc. It was great fun overall but in retrospect some parts totally sucked.

          My girlfriend at the time had to put up with a lot of my SA-induced rage when I was playing through it. When GTAIV was announced I told her I’d be buying a PS3 so i could play it. Her reaction was to tell me ‘if you buy another Grand Theft Auto game then we are splitting up’. I didn’t buy it but she dumped me soon after anyway. It wasn’t long before I had my shiny new PS3 and a copy of GTAIV. Good times.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           I forgot the RC helicopter missions… no wait, the red haze of hatred temporarily erased them from my brain.
          There were a lot of “mini-game” style missions in SA that really, really bordered on the edge of terror. IV was pretty much devoid of that, which was great, but on the other hand it also made IV seem a bit empty.
          I guess it’s a bit of a case of having one’s cake and eating it too.

        • Merve says:

          Flight training was nowhere near as rage-inducing as some of the actual flight missions. The one where you had to fly straight behind a plane to board it from behind made me want to throw bricks at kittens.

      • NephewOfAnarchy says:

        The GTA IV add-on The Ballad of Gay Tony brought in more of the big action and crazy stuff. But if you want more Crazy Shit up in your GTA, you could check out Saints Row 3. Gritty realism is not on the menu, you get military weapons, lasers, jets, tanks, some kind of prototype flying bike thing, insane Japanese violent gameshow levels, zombies, steroid mutants and so on.

    • doyourealize says:

      The internet lends itself to allowing small portions of people to be very loud.  There’s always going to be someone that hates something, but now we can type it in all caps and it doesn’t matter who we are.  The Mass Effect 3 ending petition got something like 75,000 signatures, which sounds like a lot, but 3.5 million people bought the game (at least), so it’s really not that much compared to the whole (although I’m sure there were a good portion of people unhappy with the ending but didn’t really feel like it was necessary to petition BioWare).  We all heard about it, though, because those 75,000 were pretty loud.

      Point is, I wonder if RockStar -or others- lets the loud minority affect game decisions, or if they just go ahead and do what they do.  Can you really blame “us” for these decisions?  Is it really something that needs to blame assigned anywhere?

      • dreadguacamole says:

          Dan Houser of Rockstar has frequently said he wants his games to feel like hollywood movies, so I don’t think the normalization of GTA is something that should be blamed on us – it’s just them getting closer to the game maker’s vision. Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire really fit that theory, we’ll see what happens with GTA 5.

      • Yeah, I shouldn’t have really said “us” so much as it seems like the general feeling at the time was “SRS BSN,” which came up around the whole “gaming as art” debate. I think that, in combined with the whole fallout of the Hot Coffee/Bully/GoW violence stuff, there was an attempt to try and contextualize it all with something more meaningful. And I get that.

        But it’s increasingly clear that 1) that line of thinking is severely limited and 2) gaming as art is not about serious meanings but the depth one interacts with the gaming experience. It’s not passively contextual, but actively immersive. How else can you explain Double Fine’s kickstarter success?

  10. ToddG says:

    I’ll be starting my ME3 Insanity playthrough this weekend.  I’m hoping to be able to complete it before Future Soldier hits.

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      Unfortunately ME3 insanity is a pushover compared to insanity on ME2, but it’s still really great. In ME2 everything got armour even husks but they didn’t go down that road with ME3. Nothing beats the Reaper IFF mission in ME2 on insanity.

      I went with Engineer for insanity, overload and incinerate ensures you don’t need to rely too much on squadmate powers, and only used the Viper except when had to pull out the SMG for Kai Leng. Took Liara along on every mission, Singularity followed by Warp explosions is great crowd control.

      Have fun!

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Was it just me or did the Engineer seem infinitely more powerful in ME3, due to the fact that far more enemies had armor to burn off? Using Garrus’ team-power I had unlocked in ME2, armor-piercing ammo (which also penetrates light cover, yum) I more or less just picked targets off with very few shots. Once I could afford the expensive Specter pistol, the game was more or less a one/two shot affair. Even hulks went down fairly quickly.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          Yeah the Engineer in ME2 wasn’t as versatile. I don’t think Engineer class could use a sniper rifle (or maybe I just never thought to use it) in ME2, but in ME3 Engineer with a sniper rifle is the best way to break the game.I love that you can be an Engineer in Mass Effect, as I’m an engineer by profession and all I do is sit at a desk. Another reason I like Dead Space. Always played Engineer class in Battlefield 3 MP too. These engineers lead much more interesting lives….though I don’t get shot at sitting at my desk so it’s a trade off.Anyway, I tried that Spectre pistol you mentioned but didn’t like it. I momentarily was annoyed at wasting the credits then realised there’s nothing else to spend them on!

        • Merve says:

          You guys both play as Engineers? That’s rare. It’s apparently the least-played class, coming in at 2.59% of players.

          I usually use the Infiltrator or the Vanguard, but I did play through ME1 as an Adept once.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @Merve2:disqus Wow, what’s with all the soldiers? Engineers are so versatile, people don’t know what they’re missing.

          Playing through ME3 at the moment as an Adept, it’s fantastic. Singularity + warp, hardly ever have to fire a shot. May try Vanguard one day but they shit me in multiplayer so don’t know about that one.

        • Merve says:

          @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus: I was about to ask you how the hell that worked, but then I realized that singularity duration is, in general, much longer than cooldown time.

          I’m going to have to try doing a series run-through with an Adept. (I’ll probably do it next year, so Mass Effect will feel fresh again.) I just really like the idea of using magic powers while everyone else is firing weaponry. It’s like, “Suck it, I’m a motherfucking space wizard, biatch!”

          Right now, I’m playing through ME3 as an Infiltrator, and I’m loving the Cryo Ammo / Incinerate combo. It’s not particularly efficient, but it’s fun to watch enemies shatter. It’s also fun just to use Incinerate by itself to explode the various pyro enemies into chunks of burning flesh. But what I really love doing is using the Tactical Cloak to sneak up on enemies, then taking them out with the Omni-Blade. There’s just something so satisfying about the slicing sound it makes. Plus, for most enemies, it’s a one-hit kill.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Vanguard is fun too, tho I didn’t use the melee/shotgun stuff that much.
          As an engineer I made excessive use of the Mattock rifle, which I leveled up to max, using armor-piercing ammo and incinerate. I had a few issues against shielded enemies, especially Banshees, but otherwise… the ability to blow right through cover or the annoying riot-shields was priceless.

        • ToddG says:

          I have only ever played as the Infiltrator I made for ME1.  I love that you can carry fewer weapons for faster power cooldown in ME3.  I’m rolling with just my level X sniper rifle and Incinerate, with the Inferno armor (or whatever it’s called; the red one that boosts power damage and cooldown).  My Incinerate’s cooldown is like a second and a half, it’s awesome.

  11. stakkalee says:

    It’s a big nerd holiday this weekend (Avengers and Free Comic Book Day) but I’ll find some time to get back into Skyrim (I’ve been holding off waiting for the DLC, but we’re a month out from even getting any info about it so screw waiting) and I’m going to spend some time with the Fall From Heaven mod to Civ 4.  I’d also like to request some Gameological articles about game mods.  I’m thinking of FfH (which completely changes Civ 4 for the better) or some of the Elder Scrolls game mods – I remember this one mod from Morrowind that was just some guy making custom houses in all the major cities.  It was awesome, and I really miss that customizability in Skyrim since I’m playing on a console.

    Edited to add Fuck Yeah on The Rocketeer. Hot Jennifer Connelly? Evil Timothy Dalton? Mobsters fighting Nazis? Motherfucking Terry O’Quinn as not-crazy Howard Hughes? Hell Yeah.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       In other Betheseda news, there’s this:


      I may actually have to think about considering the idea of getting myself a legitimate, top-of-the-line PC before it comes out.

      • stakkalee says:

        Oh god, I saw that article yesterday and I’m so stoked.  That’s been my only complaint about the Elder Scrolls games – I want to play it with a group of friends.  I’m with you on wanting to play on a PC instead of a console, too.  The console version is fine, as far as it goes, but like I mentioned above I really miss the customizability of running an ES game on a PC.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Well, they did sort of announce Elder Scrolls Online before, which then turned into Skyrim (not the project itself, just the announcement).
        I am not sure this is a great setting for an MMO.
        I really like the “Use it to learn it” skill system and that doesn’t really work well for MMOs, because the possibilities to cheat are just too manifold. Want to max out One-handed? Just get a max-level friend with a shield and wail on him for a few hours…
        The storyline also traditionally changes a lot about the world in TES and no MMO, no matter how much they try, can convey that properly. The opening of the Oblivion Gates, the arrival of dragons, the emergence of Ash vampires… those things are universal events in Single Player, but in a Multiplayer-setting they can’t work that way. The only game I can say has achieved something resembling this type of change is EVE and there only because the story-changes are more or less forced, which is probably the way to go.
        I am going to keep looking at news about it, but in general I am not all that hyped.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          They could tweak that, though, so you don’t gain experience from PvP. I don’t have particularly high hopes for it either. The whole attraction to me is being the main hero in my story. I don’t need a bunch of other people, running around, also being heroes. The guards in Skyrim used to be adventurers like me, and I fucking hate them.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          I’m fairly hopeful. The only thing I seem to enjoy about MMOs in the end is the exploration of the world, and whatever their flaws, Bethsoft excel at making worlds I want to get lost in.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           That, @dreadguacamole:disqus , really is the only shining glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for me right now.

      • Mike Mariano says:

        Unfortunately this is a World of Warcraft clone.


        This will be objectively terrible.  Sorry!

        • itisdancing says:

          That article is (a) very general and (b) not convincing me it will be terrible.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Yeah, I think it’s a little too early to make specific decisions about it. And the term “WoW Clone” is always hard to avoid, since it really was the first mass-market MMO. Sure, there were others before, but nobody can deny that WoW made the whole genre ready for hotdogs.
          My problems with the idea are much less specific. Of course it could be the best MMO ever, but to me personally (and only after wasting countless months on them) the entire genre is flawed. Never making an impact in a story-driven game is a no-no for me and MMOs sadly are forced to go that route.
          If they come up with a way to change that, I will gladly eat my words.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I am, as they say on the sister site, “cautiously optimistic” about the idea.  There’s also the not-small issue of challenging the dominance of WoW for market share.  There have been MMOs that have manged to carve out a niche in Wow’s wake, but none (that I can think of) that share MMO’s genre have thrived.

          The upside is that Betheseda have never half-assed things before.  I may have had issues with some of the design issues in the past–*cough* *cough* Oblivion–but they always put their full effort into their games.

    • Joe Keiser says:

      FCBD and Avengers are the priority events for me also, but I’ll probably kick Pandora’s Tower around a bit more on Sunday. That game takes way too long to open up but now that it has it’s sustaining my interest more consistently.

      • stakkalee says:

        I love throwing around that acronym – even some of my nerdiest friends take a second to recognize it.

        I’ve never been able to get into the JRPGs – is Pandora’s Tower sandbox-y or is it pretty straightforward?  Also, how is it with the Wii controller?  Nowadays I only ever fire up my Wii when I want to do some Mariokarting.

        • Joe Keiser says:

          It’s completely straightforward–just a series of dungeons you enter from a hub location. As for how it handles the Wii controls, it binds a variety of whip mechanics to to both Wiimote and Nunchuk waggle. This actually gives you a lot of options in combat, but it’s also never as responsive as you want it to be. I’m actually pretty conflicted about the quality of this game, but the relationships at the heart of the story are twisted enough to keep it interesting so far.

  12. Colonel Mustard says:

    You know, I played those CSI computer games, and they were actually pretty fun.  Well, the engines that ran them were terrible, and they tended to crash a lot, but the game design was good.

    I know we’re just kidding around when we talk about The Killing video game, but I would really, really like for game companies to start putting out new murder mystery titles.  I’ve wanted it ever since Murder on the Zinderneuf, but they’re so few and far between.  What gives?  I feel like technology has advanced to the point that the old problem of murder mysteries having low replay value can be tackled.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       As I was playing LA Noire, I did wonder if the only big difference between it and the many, el-cheapo CSI cash-in games was the budget. 

      Yeah, the murder mystery genre is pretty hard to come by in video games.  I suppose it’s just the issue of it being a very intricately laid out story, where each piece has to fit perfectly to work.  Randomly-generated mysteries might work, but eventually–unless a lot of variations are programmed in–patterns will start to emerge that make the mystery too easy to call.

      Perhaps some enterprising yet small game studio has read your comment and is putting up the Kickstarter pitch as we speak, @Colonel_Mustard:disqus .

    • Sarapen says:

      There’s like a million Nancy Drew games out there dude, I think there are also a bunch of Agatha Christie adaptations.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        Aren’t they all just hidden object games, though?

        • Sarapen says:

          Actually they’re more like Myst, but I guess that wasn’t what the original request was for. But hey, adventure games are still being made. How about that?

  13. hcduvall says:

    I like them, but Rockstar games realism just really added commuting to the game. Sometimes it’s a shooting game, and sometimes like LA Noire it’s an adventure game.

  14. Ken Shafer says:


  15. dreadguacamole says:

    I’ll be playing Risen 2 heavily, I suspect. Despite having one of the worst combat systems I’ve ever seen and some pretty glaring flaws, the exploration and oddball touches have sunk their hooks in deep.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       I was tempted, but, and I don’t want to sound like a bra-burning harpy, I was pretty turned off by the total disregard for women as anything more than rescue-items and eye-candy. No choice of character? Big no-no for RPGs in my opinion.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         I won’t defend Piranha Bytes’ feminist record -god knows it’s horrible- but I don’t think it’s fair to criticize a game for not offering the option to play both genders, especially if your game has a character that is shown on screen and has lines of recorded dialog; not every company has Bioware’s near-infinite resources.
         Also, it really looks like someone got through to them regarding their depiction of women. There are at least two very strong, well drawn female characters that you can take with you most of the time, and while their wardrobe may be a bit airy, their figures are realistic. It also acknowledges the chauvinism of the world and makes fun of it. It’s not perfect, but to be honest, I’m pretty impressed.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           I admit I am judging it in the context of all their games, all of which had the same macho hero and infinitely saveable females.
          Risen 2’s pirate addon looks sort of interesting, maybe I might give it a try.
          Still, in an RPG I am supposed to get into the character and I have a hard time with that sometimes.

  16. Phillip Collector says:

    I fired up Uncharted 3 for the first time since they patched the aiming/shooting. Unfortunately the combat still annoys the crap out of me, (which wasn’t the case for me when playing Uncharted 2).

     Aiming/shooting issues aside Uncharted 3 still has a bevy other combat issues. There are simply far too many enemies being thrown at me for my taste. And the types of enemies are freakin’ excruciating: snipers, RPG guys, heavys, foot soldiers forcing me into prolonged hand to hand combat matches.

    Plus it doesn’t help that enemies are bullet sponges, (a problem the series has always wrestled with but was at least partly rectified in Uncharted 2).

    Hopefully the combat in next Uncharted will be more like it was in Among Thieves. 

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      Uncharted 2 was perfect when it came to shooting controls. I don’t know why but Naughty Dog decided to completely fuck it up for Uncharted 3. And the multiplayer is rubbish because of that as well (and there are many other reasons). The patch you mentioned didn’t seem to make any difference to me.

      As for the bullet sponges, it made sense (kinda) in Among Thieves as the guys you were up against all had armour (doesn’t explain the boss on the train level though). But not in Drake’s Fortune as you were mainly fighting non-armoured pirates, and in Deception I only remember a handful of armoured guys. Still, realism isn’t something I’m expecting from a game with ancient zombie spaniards.

  17. cokebabies says:

    He already has my eternal love for being The Rocketeer.  But then he goes and gives an interview about video games, with legitimately good opinions.  Then very obviously, yet with just enough subtlety, insults his own show.

    What an awesome guy.

    • SamPlays says:

      Yeah, this was my highlight of the day. He has similar tastes in video games to mine so he’s alright in my books – not so hot on the Dead Space series but it’s great to see a middle-aged man who’s not part of the gaming industry talking knowledgeably about current games. That said, I may be assuming that most everyone who visits Gameological is younger than me. 

      Plus, The Rocketeer was a great movie for it’s time. Hell, I even played The Rocketeer game when I was younger – I really enjoyed it but it was hard as hell, especially when you made it up to the blimp.

  18. gaugebozo says:

    “Eric Ladin and Katie Findlay… are a hoot to kill cowboys and whores with.” – Billy Campbell, actor

  19. urthstripe says:

    I’m playing through Dead Space 2 right now, too! I’m loving it. Fantastic atmosphere and great action cutscenes.

    • doyourealize says:

      I just played that, too.  Picked it up a couple months ago on Steam for $5.  Play that game with headphones on!

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      Yeah, Dead Space 2 was one of the best last year. In the first game the protagonist is just an ordinary guy who is only trying to survive. In the second, he’s seen it all before and knows how to look after himself so is a total badass which makes the action even more satisfying. Plus they tightened up the kinesis and threw in some fun new weapons, a great sequel.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         I freely admit that DS2 was too scary for me to play. The moment I had a swarm of xeno-elementary-students on my ass, I threw in the towel.
        Gore, violence… none of that really fazes me, but the constant threat of “cat jumping out of dark corner” moments made me capitulate.
        I only barely managed to finish DS1, which seemed less to depend on these shock-moments, as far as I remember.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          DS1 was a bit creepy, but in DS2 it’s all action with the odd cheap scare tactic. I love how Isaac gets more batshit crazy as the game goes on. I encourage you to give it another try.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        I’m not a huge fan of the sequel, but the very last line is absolute genius. I’d buy whoever came up with that ending a beer.

  20. Scott Jones says:

    I’ll be attempting to polish off Darksiders this weekend. (I’m on the let’s-needlessly-extend-this-for-a-few-more-hours quest at the very end of the game.) I’m not sure why, but I really got pulled into that damn thing. 

    I’ve also set aside a bit of time to frown at the PlayStation Vita, which is something I try to do every weekend. And Sonic Colors is sitting on my coffee table for reasons that escape me at the moment.

  21. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    Yeah the Engineer in ME2 wasn’t as versatile. I don’t think Engineer class could use a sniper rifle (or maybe I just never thought to use it) in ME2, but in ME3 Engineer with a sniper rifle is the best way to break the game.

    I love that you can be an Engineer in Mass Effect, as I’m an engineer by profession and all I do is sit at a desk. Another reason I like Dead Space. Always played Engineer class in Battlefield 3 MP too. These engineers lead much more interesting lives….though I don’t get shot at sitting at my desk so it’s a trade off.

    Anyway, I tried that Spectre pistol you mentioned but didn’t like it. I momentarily was annoyed at wasting the credits then realised there’s nothing else to spend them on!

    EDIT: This was meant to be a reply to @Effigy_Power up thread somewhere but ended up as a new post. DISQUUUSSSS!

  22. Sarapen says:

    So, is anyone else out there doing Interactive Fiction? No? Not even Photopia?

    Yeah, it figures.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Haven’t played any IF in a couple of years; anything to recommend? (I do have a look at the competition winners).
       I assume you’ve played Galatea if you liked Photopia, but I’ll throw it out there in case you haven’t…

      • Sarapen says:

        Actually I was asking because I have no idea what’s good. So you’re the blind guy asking for directions from the blind guy with locked-in-syndrome. Galatea looks interesting, actually.

        What I’ll actually be playing this weekend is Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. All those Japanese hikikomoris need my help!

        Seriously, they’re on at like 3 pm Eastern, that’s 4 AM in Japan.

  23. Steel Indigo says:

    Billy Campbell is well known. He has done many movies and is prominent in TV as well. Bruce Campbell is OK but not of the stature and ability of Billy Campbell. You haven’t heard of him probably because you didn’t watch the things he starred in for some reason. He was outstanding in The 4400 and The Killing to name a few and Enough with JLo is one of my favorite movies. He definitely is not an obscure actor. He was up for the part of Riker in Star Trek the Next Generation but they chose Jonathan Frakes. They gave an episode instead to Billy where he plays a wily profiteer in the show. He also played in a two part story on Star Trek Voyager called Shark with Geri Ryan. He was in Gettysburg and Gods and General and even played Moses in In The Beginning. He is billed in various ways, Bill Campbell, William Campbell, William O. Campbell but more commonly Billy. He is one of my favorite actors and is interested in many things including gaming.

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