Out This Week


Back To The Stoned Age

This week’s releases take a step backward in visual fidelity and sobriety.

By Steve Heisler • July 17, 2012

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Heroes Of Ruin
Nintendo 3DS—July 17

This new Square Enix role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS promises to be the most “connected” recent RPG, given the 3DS’ plethora of social features nobody uses. So while your gunslinger or lion-faced beast can wander the towns and caves solo, in search of meaning (or, perhaps…love?), you also have the option to team up with three strangers and adventure together, getting in each other’s way and stealing each other’s treasure. I’m not quite sure Square Enix has met a fan of RPGs; we are obsessive collectors, and the thought that some 12-year-old Portuguese boy will steal my Blade Of Malfedor, or whatever, sends a chill up my spine.

Summer Stars 2012
Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—July 17

Note the year 2012 prominently featured in the title of this game, and remember it. Because when playing Summer Stars 2012, a collection of Olympic events (minus the official Olympic imprimatur), you’ll feel like you’re back in 1996 playing some Super Mario 64 given how UNBELIEVABLE the graphics are. Is that…is that a polygon? In a video game?!? Not since QWOP has the visual spectacle of track and field been so meticulously constructed! 

PlayStation 3—July 17

Look, if you’re going to play this F-Zero-meets-Hadron Collider racing game—in which your particle grabs onto others to propel itself forward—you need to be stoned. Get buzzed and admire the myriad colors and flashing lights like a baby watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. Obviously, The Gameological Society does not condone such behavior, but seriously, get yourself to the nearest crustachioed teenager and ask if he likes to “get fuzzy”!

The Phantom Thief Stina And 30 Jewels

Wii Ware—July 19

For a pretty dumb-looking puzzle game, this one sure does like to make itself seem portentous. “Thrive from the rush of breaking in!” it suggests of your quest to steal jewels, perhaps 30 of them. “Experience the invigorating thrill of the hunt!” it also says. Guys, it’s just a video game. I’ve played Duck Hunt before, and not even that felt invigorating. And I was using a real gun.

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86 Responses to “Back To The Stoned Age”

  1. stakkalee says:

    I prefer to buy my weed from old loadies, thank you very much.  Kids these days are less and less willing to give me a ‘cool guy’ discount, the little punks.  And the prices are outrageous!  Stupid inflation.
    The only games I’ve found where my recreational activities seem to improve my performance is in racing games.  Everything else and I just seem to lose all motor control.  Of course, my fine-motor skills aren’t great even at the best of times, which may be why I gravitate towards strategy games.

    • Raging Bear says:

      When I ask teenagers if they want to “get fuzzy,” they usually assume I mean something else.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        This is as good a place as any for me to shoehorn in a reference to “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy” I guess. So uh, yeah. There ya go.

  2. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Given the somewhat modest number of releases this week, I’ll just ask the obvious question; How’s everyone’s Steam Summer Sale going?
       So far I’ve kept it fairly modest at Terraria, Legend of Grimrock and Saints Row III.  I can’t think of too much else I’m really waiting on… possibly Witcher 2, except I have the first one and haven’t cracked it open once.  Which I guess makes me think maybe I should wait.
       Also, new to me this week: I got Gravity Rush and am completely enamored of it.  It is gorgeous, expansive and the art direction is just wonderful.  It’s the littlest things that really make it.  I like the sound effects in the graphic novel cutscenes visualized in the world’s made up language, and even the way the frames tilt in perspective when you move the Vita.  It’s an exceptional game and of a variety that’s made too rarely for any system.
       I still don’t have a lot of faith in Sony to carry the Vita to any great heights, but this game has singly erased my mild discomfit at indulging in the handheld.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Don’t have the Vita or 3DS, so I’ve saved myself a lot of purchasing that I would otherwise have done. Given the raves the 3DS XL has gotten, though, I’ll probably break down by Christmas, assuming they’ve got a package or sale. 

      As for the Summer Sale, I’ve picked up Stacking, KotOR, Dear Esther, . . . a few more, but Steam is going nuts right now, so I can’t tell you. I know this much: I am seriously contemplating buying the THQ pack. (Are those Warhammer RTS games good?)

      • Drew Toal says:

        I actually bought KotOR through Amazon a couple months ago. I got back up to the point where they’re training you to be a Jedi by having you solve a local dispute by gathering evidence. No wonder they always get trashed by the Sith.

        • obiwanchernobi says:

          How many times do you reload your save before you actually make your decision about the dispute?

          I think I’ve cut it down to about three.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I’m really torn on the 3DS XL. I was waiting for a redesign before I would let myself seriously consider picking one up, but it’s not really what I was waiting for I don’t think. Mostly I just wanted a second circle pad and longer battery. It’s certainly a lot bigger than it was before, which I’m not even sure is an improvement. 

        That said, I really want to play around with a 3DS. They look really cool.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       I bought the Orcs Must Die! DLC, PAYDAY: The Heist, and The Binding of Isaac. I’ve managed to keep the cost below $20, but I think it’s not going to last.

    • Merve says:

      I picked up Saints Row: The Third, Mirror’s Edge, and the Prince of Persia bundle. I’ve spent less than $30 so far, which is less than half of the release price of most AAA releases.

    • Raging Bear says:

      The Witcher, Indie Bundle IV (mainly for A Valley Without Wind, which I quite enjoy so far), Dear Esther, and some others I’m forgetting.

      I’ve never played Terraria with others, although I’ll have to if I ever play again, given that I’m at the point where the only thing left to do is fight bosses that are cussing impossible to do alone. I could also load a new player down with gear, although that would defeat most of the purpose of the game for such a player.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I have successfully managed to spend zero dollars so far. I am heavily leaning towards picking up Crusader Kings 2, Payday: The Heist, and Fallout New Vegas with all the DLC if those are on sale again. 

      I did manage to snag the Frozen Synapse expansion and the Binding of Isaac expansion by trading a TF2 item for them. 

      • obiwanchernobi says:

        My computer has flown downhill swiftly in the last year  so i can’t run any steam games, so I’ve just bought a couple of dildos to fuck myself with. 

  3. Aaron Riccio says:

    Hey, now. Big Buck Hunter tries to act all boss and shit, but nothing’s truly more invigorating than drunken Duck Hunt with a second player screwing with the movement of the ducks. Hogan’s Alley is perhaps a close second, with Lethal Enforcers right behind it, but those games can be kind of scary when “fuzzy.”

  4. The_Misanthrope says:

    I made it a full 7.9 metres in QWOP, then I gave up.  There was something dispiriting about watching my jelly-limbed runner shamble spread-eagled down the track.  

    • Cornell_University says:

      how the hell did you manage that?  I never got more than 1.4, and that was on a lucky head-forward collapse.

      though I have not laughed so hard while at my desk pretending to work in a long while.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

        The mistake is trying to stand and run like a normal athlete. You have to let one leg go all the way back while the other one goes all the way forward (you may have to travel backwards for a while to get in the right position). Then just slowly shamble–the best word I can think of to describe it–forward, alternating right and left thighs/calves. As long as you keep both legs extended on both sides, you won’t be able to fall over.

        Then again, since the point of this game is less about winning and more about seeing just how badly you or your friends fail and laughing about it, this method will likely suck the fun out of that activity.

        EDIT: If you only hit W repeatedly at the start of the race, you will get in the proper splits position for this method.

    • Merve says:

      I beat QWOP once, but that’s only because it’s possible to fall into a kneeling position and bump your way along the ground. It’s basically cheating.

  5. HobbesMkii says:

    So, um, it’s totally Co-Op Gaming Night on the Steam group tonight. Provided the Community page is actually functioning by the time it reaches 9:00PM on the East Coast.

  6. GhaleonQ says:

    2 things, since I’m only playing import stuff:
    1: http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/company/72682.html The Stina developer is actually not bad.  Rabbit X Labyrinth/Rabi Laby series is sort of good and a little clever.  RINGING ENDORSEMENT.
    2: http://www.siliconera.com/2012/07/02/little-kings-story-creator-starts-his-own-company-onion-games Yoshiro Kimura (Little King’s Story/Lovedelic/Punchline) is doing video games again.  He’s doing a social game to make cash while developing a “simple idea” for an art game.  I’m glad that he didn’t quit after quitting Grasshopper with Wada.

  7. indy2003 says:

    I may actually check out Dyad at some point, as I keep hearing good things. Also, I kinda love that part of 2001.

  8. obiwanchernobi says:

    Minecraft and Rez are the best stoned games for me.

    Also Skate 2 and Skate 3 are like chasing the dragon when your stoned. 

    Too bad none of my friends will give either game a chance cause they’re ‘too hard’.

  9. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I’ll pass on Dyad. I like to play games without worry for epileptic seizures.