What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Stacie Ponder

Stacie Ponder, comic artist and writer

The comic artist talks about the decline of horror games and her abusive gaming relationships.

By Cory Casciato • September 21, 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.

Stacie Ponder is a comic artist, inker, and blogger perhaps best known as the woman behind the horror site Final Girl and the creator of the webcomic RPG. She also blogs about video games at Jill Sandwich, and creates an enormous amount of fan art, which she posts on her site stacieponder.com.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Stacie Ponder: There’s a lot of good stuff out right now, the Mass Effect DLC [Downloadable Content] just hit yesterday, Leviathan. So I have a bit of Mass Effect fever right now, as usual. I’ll be playing through that, and The Walking Dead: Episode 3 came out today, so I’ll be playing through that. I finally picked up Silent Hill: Downpour. I’m going to pop that in too, I think. Even though Silent Hill—I loved the first three games, and it’s been diminishing returns ever since, but I have faith it’s going to be okay. I’m in an abusive relationship with Silent Hill for sure.

Gameological: You’re originally known for horror blogging. How do horror games compare to horror movies?

Ponder: Horror games have changed a lot since the first Silent Hill and the first Resident Evil to become more action-oriented, which doesn’t really do it for me. I downloaded and played the Resident Evil 6 demo, and it’s the first Resident Evil that I’m not really interested in at all. They’re moving away from the survival-horror feeling, and they’re getting into action-shooter stuff. I think they’re the same as modern horror movies tend to be: less atmospheric and more about the gore and crazy situations, something like Human Centipede, or of course Saw. [Playing] the early Silent Hills, I would actually wait until it was dark out, and would turn out the lights out to play. [Laughs.] I was so creeped out.

Gameological: Did you ever play Eternal Darkness?

Ponder: Yes, it’s so good! I love how that game fucks with you as a player. I didn’t know anything about it when I played. Then all of a sudden, it would say that it lost your save file, or your volume would turn down, or all of the sudden you’d be on the ceiling. The whole insanity mechanic was terrific. Speaking of the insanity—Dead Space, that’s another series that’s moving away [from] whatever atmosphere it had. Minor at best in the first game, but it was still pretty creepy in part. But now it just feels like a shooter…There’s not a lot of smart horror going on these days—not even smart, but mature. I think back on something like Picnic At Hanging Rock, or The Haunting Of Julia, these movies that felt more adult oriented. We’re back in the slasher cycle, which is dumb horror. Which I do enjoy for sure, but I need the other stuff.

Gameological: You were a pretty vocal proponent of the controversial ending in Mass Effect 3, correct?

Ponder: What?! No, no. Here’s the thing, I liked it when I thought they were pulling a fast one on us, and it wasn’t really the ending. [Laughs.] I thought it was going to be this amazing thing. I thought, “Oh this can’t actually be the ending, BioWare’s playing a trick on us. That’s genius!” and then it turned out, like, “No, this is actually the ending.” I hate to sound like one of those internet whiners, but it’s hard for me to think about the end of that game without Tiffany’s “Could’ve Been” running through my head. [Laughs.] Because it could have been amazing. I think it was a let-down ultimately. But I still love it. I’m in an abusive relationship with BioWare as well. Whatever they put out, I’ll buy.

Gameological: Your love for games is palpable, even when the games themselves don’t do it for you.

Ponder: I feel like I could end up being an article on some news site some day, like some person in the Korean cyber-cafe who dies sitting in a chair for three days straight. Like, “Oh, she didn’t even eat or go to the bathroom. She just sat there for three days, and then she died.” That’ll somehow be me, I feel. Which is nothing to be proud of, let me tell you, but I really love games. I’ve always loved games. I’m old. I’ve been around since the Atari 2600 days, that was my first gaming experience. It’s hooked me. I can’t explain it.

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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219 Responses to “Stacie Ponder, comic artist and writer”

  1. Cloks says:

    After seeing ads everywhere, I said I wouldn’t buy Borderlands 2. It didn’t look like my kind of game and I would wait for it to fall to the same price that Borderlands is frequently sold for on Steam. That said, Borderlands 2.

    • GaryX says:

      I’ve been blown away by their scope of advertising. Even two large walls of a building down in Times Square.

  2. Merve says:

    This weekend, I’ll try to get in a couple of hours each of Jade Empire and Sleeping Dogs, but I’ll probably be spending most of my time playing one of the most challenging games I’ve ever experienced: Try to Stay Awake While Reading 80-Page Papers About Taxation.

    • Swadian Knight says:

      Having played that particular game many times, I think the people who write about Tax Law should just take a page out of Dark Souls’ book and add Prepare To Die Edition as the official go-to subtitle to all of their works.

  3. feisto says:

    Gonna be working all weekend…but I’ve got some TGS impressions if anyone’s interested! (Sorry if some of this is old news; I don’t check out many previews and such.)

    Okami HD for PS3!!! Yay!!!

    Shin Megami Tensei 4!! Yay!! …for 3DS. Boo!! (Nothing against the 3DS, but the epic world of SMT deserves a bigger screen.)

    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has some really fun melee combat. There’s an all-purpose attack button, but there’s also a kind of sword-time mode that lets you swing your sword however you like (as you watch your opponent get diced into pieces in the exact places that you cut!). I can’t wait to play around with it some more.

    Devil May Cry: I haven’t played the previous installments, so I can’t say how the combat compares, but it’s got a nifty grapple mechanic that makes it feel pretty free-flowing. Too bad the script (clearly translated from Japanese) sounds like it was written by a teenager.

    Soul Sacrifice looks amazing, and I would have totally tried it out if I
    didn’t have a splitting headache at that point (playing all those games so close to the screen will I guess do that to you) and there wasn’t a
    one-hour wait (the longest in the Sony booth, I think).

    Between meetings, that’s all I had time for. Have a nice weekend!

    • rvb1023 says:

       SMT IV on 3DS is just really annoying, even though I will get it.  I like my 90+ hour RPG ‘s on a screen bigger than my head, thank you.

      Can’t wait for Revengeance or Soul Sacrifice either.  There are actually more Vita games I want than 3DS games at this point.

    • caspiancomic says:

       My anticipation for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (a title which, I don’t care what anyone says, is totally kickin’ rad) has been oscillating dangerously ever since it was announced. I was thrilled at first, since it looked like a fascinating evolution of MGS’s stealth mechanics into a combat focused game, instead of MGS4’s relative stagnation. Then, when Platinum came on board, I actually sort of lost interest, and their first trailer really bummed me out. It looked like a typical hack-n-slash game where you run up to enemies and wail on them with a sword, while I was expecting more of a dashing-quickly-through-the-town, stealth-kill-a-dood-and-rip-out-his-spine, disappear-into-the-shadows, repeat kind of affair. But then I saw a video of a demo mode available at some games show or another and my faith was instantly renewed. It wasn’t exactly the game I was hoping it would be, but it had a lot of the elements I was hoping would make it to the game, and it seems like you have the option to play it as a pure stealth game if that’s your jam.

      And it is my jam. So now I’m pretty excited again.

      • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

        Kojima Productions, Platinum Games, guys who made Vanquish. ‘Nuff Said.

        • blue vodka lemonade says:


          I got stuck on an early multi-stage battle in that game about a year ago and never made it past that point. Also, right now my pants are so tight that I think they might be cutting off circulation to my arms, somehow.

        • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

          @green_gin_rickey:disqus Vanquish has been known to have that effect on people. I too get tight in the pants when thinking of Vanquish.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      3-d Ace Attorney/Turnabout Prosecutor 5: no.  No.  Save it for the Layton crossover.

      Animal Forest/Crossing: Jump Out: they’re trying!

      Tokyo Game Show: is it depressing?  Has it rebounded?

      • feisto says:

        GhaleonX, I don’t think anything will be as bad as TGS two years ago, when it was just really empty and, yeah, depressing. I’d say last year was a good turnout, although very little on offer was interesting to me except for remakes of games I wanted to but never got around to playing the first time around. There was a lot more original content this year that interested me, and turnout I think was about the same. But I guess the real test will be the weekend, when the public gets to go.

    • GaryX says:

      I just honestly don’t understand handhelds anymore. They were great as a kid, but fucking annoying as an adult. Just give me the game on a real platform please.

  4. His_Space_Holiness says:

    I’ll be trading off between Darksiders 2 and Guild Wars 2, depending on whether I feel like playing on the couch or at the computer at any given moment. It’s funny, but years after finishing college, I still feel vaguely guilty about playing video games during the day, as if there’s an essay I should be writing or something. It makes no sense, but I still almost exclusively play in the evening.

    Speaking of Guild Wars 2, I’d like to get in on the Gameological guild there. So if one of the guys running it is reading this, hit up a level-14 Asuran thief named Flimflam Sam. He’s young, but he has the power of Space Catholicism on his side.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I’ll get your info to Mooy and he’ll set you up.
      The fact that you play an Asuran makes you both interesting and terrifying at the same time.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        They’re like a race composed of Mordins, but not nearly as well written. Still, they’ve got some of the funniest moments in the game.
         And we need to set aside a night where we can roll as a guild; people are barely ever representing.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Too bad their city is so confusing that it took me 20 minutes to find a way out and their starting area isn’t much better.
          Seriously, the Asura city may be the worst designed RPG/MMO map I have ever seen.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Yeah, the portals make it a huge pain in the ass. I find the… what’s their name, the cabbage patch supermodel people – I thought their city was at least as bad.

        • Effigy_Power says:


      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Hooray! Thanks!

        And of course I play an Asuran. Wouldn’t you expect a Pope to be un-Orthodox? Badum kssh.

    • Merve says:

      Space Catholicism, eh? Does he follow the teachings of AstroJesus?

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I too will be playing GW2, with an added bonus – my wife started playing on Wednesday!  We created a couple of cabbages – er, Sylvari – to play together.  Sadly her break from online grad school ends on Monday, so this weekend will probably be the last time we play together for more than an hour for a while.

    • ShrikeTheAvatar says:

      I’ll probably try to play some this weekend as well.  I’m at about level 12 on an Asuran Warrior.  

      Also, I’m a huge MMO noob, so take that for what it’s worth.  

      I did just craft my first item yesterday – gloves of some kind.  

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        The fabled “Gloves of Some Kind”?!  Wow!  You can get a set bonus if you wear them with “Hat-Thingy” and “Chestpiece Maybe”!

  5. caspiancomic says:

    First and foremost I’ll be polishing off Super Foundation Drawing Assignment 2 on Hard mode, because I am an idiot and spent my week’s extension catching up on sleep instead of homework. After that I’m going to attempt a speedrun of Foundation Design Project 64, which is pretty ambitious because I’ve never actually played it before. If I get anything resembling free time this weekend, I’ll be spending it working on my next Game Theory article on The World Ends With You.

    But, knowing that I have no willpower whatsoever, I’ll probably sneak a bit of gaming in there somewhere. I’m desperate to play more Half-Life 2, and frankly I can’t believe it’s taking me as long as it is (having to get up at 6 am to make it to class is really putting a dent in my stay-up-until-4-AM-playing-videogames habit). I’ve also been gagging to replay Ico ever since Heisler’s Ico/Amy article from a few weeks ago. Not unlike Ms. Ponder (spectacular name, by the way), I like the “atmosphere” to be just right for playing most games. One of the reasons it took me so long to finally get around to playing Dear Esther was because- I kid you not- I was waiting for it to rain. To me, Ico needs to be played on a bright, cold Sunday afternoon in Autumn, and thankfully there are some of those coming up. I think I could actually finish it in one sitting if I set my mind to it, so maybe if I get my homework and personal writing out of the way by Sunday (and it doesn’t rain. You can’t play Ico if it’s raining, that’s absurd!) I’ll settle down with a cup of tea and a blanket and spend the afternoon with Yorda.

    • PaganPoet says:

      What happened to Persona 3 FES? :(

      I ripped your style, FYI. I shall also be bolding my gaming conquests for the weekend!

      • caspiancomic says:

         Oh, don’t worry, Persona 3 FES is still in the pipe, it’s just that with everything else going on there is no way I’m going to have enough time to start a new JRPG this weekend. Stay tuned though!

    • Girard says:

       Yay, homework! This weekend I’m starting Super Thesis Bros. in earnest, I have to complete the Grading Undergrad Digital Art Assignments level of Adjunct Instructor in Monster World. I’ll also probably make some headway on Lesson Planning: Middle School Edition. And other work that I can’t be arsed to think of cute names for.

      What? Oh. Actual video games? I probably won’t be playing much of those until winter break…

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         Forgive me if the answer is something Man Is Not Meant To Know (Because It’s Too Awesome To Believe,) but what do you do for a living? Camp counselor-professor-middle-school-teacher-rock-star-physicist? Is your last name Bonzai?

        • Girard says:

          Right now I’m a master’s student in an Art Ed program in VA, where I’m also working as an adjunct instructor for one of the undergrad Art & Technology in Education classes. My current courseload includes a research/theory independent study thing, my thesis work, and ‘secondary practicum’ (which is what I’m writing middle school lesson plans for).

          The arts camp counselor stuff was “What I Did on my Summer Vacation.” I got to design and teach 3 really cool art classes (green screen video, portraiture, and a weird course on outer space and science fiction art), and after that camp, I spent a week teaching video game design to middle schoolers at the Smithsonian.  Summer vacation is a nice side-benefit of becoming a student again, as well as a benefit I’ll presumably get if I become a school art teacher.

          So I’m kind of all over the place. And my answer to that question will probably be wildly different in a year’s time (though will likely involve art and pedagogy in some capacity).

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

          @girard I’m in the second year of a 5-year MAT program in elementary ed in western VA, near Lynchburg. Fun times! I am glad that I don’t have to work with middle-schoolers; I get the feeling they’d eat me alive. I’ve got my hands full with both kindergarten and elementary (2nd grade) “field experience classes,” which means that I’m taking 18 hours of classes per week along with about 4 hours per week total at two different schools in the area.

          Working with the kids so far has been pretty challenging (the counties adjacent to my school are very depressed, and have some of the lowest-achieving schools in this part of the country,) but it’s definitely rewarding and far more satisfying than, say, the government class during which I am typing this comment.

        • Girard says:

          Yeah, art ed certification covers elementary and secondary levels, so we have coursework covering pretty much the whole age range. My background and interest lies mostly with younger kids (I just finished teaching preschool for 3 years, and before that I taught ESL overseas to everyone from preschoolers to pensioners, but focused on Pre-K to elementary kids).

          So going into this semester, teaching middle and high school kids, as well as younger undergrads means I am dealing almost entirely with teens, pre-teens, and just-post-teens, which is a much harder headspace for me to get into than the little guys. When I taught ESL overseas, my t(w)eenage classes always took me, like, 4 times as long to plan, and even then weren’t as consistently successful as my adult and kid classes. Ugh. Luckily, the semester seems to be going well – the middle school kids are surprisingly genial, and my undergrads have been turning out generally excellent work (which makes it easier for me to navigate the hellacious task of assigning a numeric grade to an arts-based project…).

          5 years seems like a long program – is it like a bachelor’s and master’s all-rolled-into-one kind of deal?

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

        This computer won’t let me add @thingies while editing. So: I wrote a comment! I did! It’s probably below this one! etc

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       The magic of living in a shoebox of a single at school is that it’s very easy to provide my own atmosphere via cheap dollar-section string lights, the overhead fan, and the blinds.

      I’ve never really believed in only playing scary games at night or whatever, but it’s fun to play with the ambience and see how it changes the experience. One thing that is never fun is having the overhead (flush with the ceiling) light and the ceiling fan on both at once, which makes a persistent subtle strobe effect, which slowly erodes my sanity until the point where I have a pounding headache and want to punch God.

  6. rvb1023 says:

    Jet Set Radio HD and watching others play Borderlands 2 as I save money for a new PC.

    • Is Jet Set Radio HD a remake of the Dreamcast game? (“Jet Grind Radio” was its English title)

      • rvb1023 says:


      • caspiancomic says:

         It’s not a remake so much as one of these omnipresent HD rereleases. I think they’re releasing it under the proper title because everyone called it Jet Set Radio anyway.

        (Also, I think they changed the name for copyright reasons originally. Maybe all that got cleared up?)

  7. HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

    Three month’s wait has finally paid off! This week I got an invite to the Alpha for “Stompy Robots wot Bang Their Shins on Rooftops While Not Being Faggy Robot Angel People wot Shoot Infinite Laser Yo-Yos”. See ya in a week, suckers!
    * Performs Robot out of the room while making ‘boop boop’ sounds to Herbie Hancock *

    • Effigy_Power says:

      -10 life-points for using the word “f@ggy”. Feel free to miss another week.

      • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

        I’m sorry, I thought I could get slide with the adjective form. I usually don’t talk (type?) like that. I apologize. But there’s no word in my lexicon with the connotative sting to front load my unified hatred for anime and their idiot man children fans.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          It’s fine, but it shouldn’t be a word that slips out. People learned to stop using other slurs and this one should be no different.

  8. HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

    Kojima Productions, Platinum Games, guys who made Vanquish. ‘Nuff Said.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      But similar burnout has occurred even without big publishers: Clock Tower, Monolith’s games, Project 0/Fatal Frame.  I think, as with horror in other media, too many creators come in with 2 few ideas.  The 1st game, though not always the best, is always the most focused and original.

      If directors became producers but still cared for the project as if they were still directing, I think you’d get the necessary experience with the ideas of the new blood.

      • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

        Yeah, I was being a bit flippant. It does occur with other developers, but these same developers refine their software over iterations and sequels, adding deeper functionality and features that make their predecessors almost unplayable, not excusing the original sin. 

        I think it also may be a case of ‘Too many cooks’ as well. Counter-proof: If you have a development team and producer carry over from one original title to a sequel, then there’s a certain vitality that is preserved. Look at Itagaki/Team Ninja’s Ninja Guy Dan II.

  9. PaganPoet says:

    So what IS the scariest game, in the opinion of GS readers?

    For me the winner has to be Fatal Frame 2. Any of the Fatal Frame games would be a good contender for me. The fact that you have to switch to a limited movement/vision camera mode in order to do damage to enemies, and to do optimum damage they have to be mid-attacks…that’s some sadism at work right there. Not to mention that sometimes, it’s not even the hostile ghosts that are the scariest. The random one-time visions, neutral and even friendly ghosts you come across sometimes give you the biggest scare. But Fatal Frame 2 overall had the creepiest setting and story, and there’s that whole creepy, possessed twin angle.

    How I wish they’d make another of those games.

    • Merve says:

      A while ago, Jim Sterling made a great case for Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars being terrifying. I have to agree. My six-year-old self had nightmares about the Vorticons.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I never played this game, but after reading this article, I can see how it could be terrifying. I remember being terrified of the awful Friday the 13th game on NES that I would run into Jason at any time.

        Hell, the all-powerful, un-killable baddie who is chasing you is pretty much the whole premise of horror games like Clock Tower and Slender.

      • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

        Jim Sterling is the Carlos Mencia of game journalism. Ugh, sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

      Scariest Indie Game in production right Now: SCP: Containment Breach. It’s based around the Society of Creepy Pasta’s anomalies. The game is procedurally generated, and has a ‘blink’ function, where your character’s eye fatigue is represented by a steadily decreasing bar. Something is chasing you. Something, un-human. Inhuman? No, that at least implies alien or abomination. What stalks you is, more abstract. That is where true fear lies; the feeble mortal mind’s flailing inchoate attempt to define the undefinable.

    • Captain Internet says:

      System Shock 2. Genuinely horrific. I’m not sure it’s aged that well- early full-3D games in general haven’t- but it was all we talked about at school for ages.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        YES!  Also the first game I played with stereoscopic 3D glasses, which when combined with headphones = extreme terror!

    • Girard says:

       Playing the Windwaker level with these things all over the place is probably the most genuinely scary, nerve-jangling experience I’ve had playing a game.

      The “bug room” in Silent Hill 2 made me jump out of my skin, but beyond that, I wouldn’t call the game exactly “scary,” so much as a “pitch-perfect creeping dread inducer.”

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I have to agree with you there.  Despite all other aesthetic trappings of a series that highlights storybook wonderment, Zelda’s ReDead manage to be completely nerve-jangling in a way that plenty of ostensibly scary games don’t manage.
           Something about the bloodless neck-chomping with those giant teeth just makes me shiver.

        • Girard says:

           The ambiguity of that bloodless chomping makes things even stranger, and perverse, too. You’re already horrified by this insane screaming thing, and then it jumps on you and proceeds to do…some weird, repetitive thing to your body, while you are frozen, powerless to stop it.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         Silent Hill 2 made me kind of uncomfortable to be alive for a short while, so there’s that! It’s definitely an exercise in atmosphere and dread and sticking your hand into things into which no rational man would stick his hand.

        • Girard says:

           Oh absolutely. It’s the best “scary game” I’ve ever played, and fills me with the kind of rich, satisfying bone-deep dread and disorientation of a great Lynch film. But, like a Lynch film, I’d have a hard time describing it as “scary” in a horror-movie sense of the word.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           What@paraclete_pizza:disqus said; I love SH2, found it disturbing and even affecting, but I really can’t say I find it scary at all for some reason.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Fatal Frame 2 is a great pick – it’s genuinely scary. Though I’d have to give the edge to Amnesia, which managed to sustain dread for far longer than the Fatal Frame ganes ever did for me.
       There are a lot of games that do a single scary level better than most horror games these days – the Cradle on Thief or the Hotel in Vampire:Bloodlines are the ones most usually brought up, and with good reason. I’d put the System Shocks in this category as well, since I personally classify them as action games with really good atmosphere.
       For an unconventional pick, what about Minecraft? When you’re lost underground, with a haul of materials, it’s hard not to get at least a little bit nervous when you hear zombies moaning from all around. Then, of course, sssssss-BOOM! and you get knocked into a pit of lava.

      • WorldCivilizations says:

        No survival-horror game discussion is complete now without mentioning Amnesia. Resident Evil was pretty scary (I’m referring, of course, to that horrifying control scheme… *shudders*), but Amnesia is really a cut above the rest. I stopped playing the game for a week when I reached the prison (just seeing the word “prison” on the door, not even entering) because I was too scared to go in.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         The single-scary-level-in-a-not-scary-game (the two you mentioned are the first two I think I’d come up with, also) tends to work for me in terms of gimmicky encounters and happenings but not overall. I loved the fleeting moments in the hotel where something dashes down the hall or crashes across the room, but the whole thing lacked that overarching atmosphere to make it a really scary experience, personally. The same more or less goes for the Cradle, which I thought in general was a little too similar to the rest of the game.

        Amnesia and Minecraft both didn’t work for me as horror because in both I was more annoyed by the monsters than afraid. There wasn’t any creeping dread, just the momentary OH SHIT A MONSTER and then running into a cubbyhole to hide for a minute until the monster goes away.

        Minecraft I think is scarier to me than Amnesia, and pretty much any game where you have some combat options are scarier to me than Amnesia, because in Amnesia you know that the correct solution to each and every monster encounter is “hide;” when you also have some flimsy weapon (or not-so-flimsy weapon) there’s more tension for me because there’s the possibility that you engage the monster and lose, forcing you to face it more personally than just avoiding the thing altogether.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         And while I’m on a roll being contrary and irritating, I’m going to put it out there that as soon as the origin of the spoookiness in Amnesia was more or less made clear, it pretty much killed what little scaryfun I was getting out of the game. And then the end happened and I was like: well okay.

        I didn’t like those annoying invisidudes, either. Damn splashy mofos.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve got a weird sense of fear, but what really did it for me was Silent Hill 3. It’s not my favorite, but no other game has come close in terms of keeping me anxious and disturbed in a pretty profound way. It’s the sense of utter wrongness and corruption that permeates every environment, character, and encounter, and it’s the just-perceptible feeling that the world is bigger than what you’re shown in the game. The story is unsettling and fractured and you can almost parse what’s going on, but no one seems to react in the right way and maybe you’re just seeing things, and then they kill Harry Mason and dammit, I got choked up and had to explain to my concerned mother that my video game just killed someone who I used to be. And then I think I went outside for a while.

      I’ve never tried Fatal Frame, any of them, though I always intended to. Tragically, my PS2 is living in Nebraska with my ne’er-do-well sister these days, so it will probably be a while before I get to check those out.

    • Electric Dragon says:

       Night time missions in UFO:Enemy Unknown are their own kind of terror. Especially if it actually was a terror mission. The fear of the [HIDDEN:ALIEN MOVEMENT] screen combined with the sound effect of a Chrysalid is guaranteed to put the wind up you.

    • KidvanDanzig says:

      RE is pretty good but the RE remake for the gamecube was much, much better. They added some sort of unkillable baghead thing and forced you to come up with ways to burn zombie corpses or they would reanimate as 28 Days Later-style sprinters within a certain amount of time. It was always fun to walk into a room with that forced perspective and hear one of those things coming.

  10. PaganPoet says:

    I finally picked up Gravity Rush for my Vita after hearing so many great things about it. I also downloaded the PSP remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, craving any and all things Persona-related until Persona 4: Golden comes out later this year.

    Not to mention I’m still playing catch-up on PS3 with Uncharted 3 and Arkham City. I’m not sure how I let myself get so behind with these two, considering Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2 easily make my top ten list of games from this generation.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Gravity Rush is gorgeous and fun.  You will to enjoy.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Apparently, Keiichiro Toyama said that he’s working on the sequel, so I really want to see how they expand on the idea.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I’m pleased to hear that.  In no small part because I’m surprised a Vita title is doing sufficiently well to merit a sequel.
           Handshakes all around.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I don’t have any current Sony devices, and I’m trying to decide whether I want to save up for a PS3 or a Vita. I have a 3DS and a 360, so I have a few handheld games and am set for most non-PS3 exclusives, but at the current pricing I’m having a tough time picking one or the other and I’m not sure whether I should be. Should I get a PS3 before I think of getting a Vita?

      • PaganPoet says:

        I think the PS3 has a good list of strong exclusives at this point that it’s probably a safe buy.

        The Vita? I bought one because I got a bonus at work and I was feeling impulsive. I do think it’s still having some growing pains at this moment–not enough games to choose from YET (although it does have plenty to download from the PSN, especially if you missed out on PSP games). Plus you know a cheaper, better model is inevitable.

        I say go for the PS3. Take a wait-and-see approach with the Vita unless it has some exclusive that you’re just dying to play.

  11. Fluka says:

    I am at a science meeting for my experiment this weekend, which means I’ll be editing my stupid plots for the 10th time and listening to the world’s most boring plenary talks.  However, my generous/devious/geeky coworker just gave me a copy of FTL, because he is a stupid jerk and doesn’t want me to get any work done.  *Wonders where the hell the last three hours went.*

    The good ship Kittenmittens SR1 died in a fire right after launching, and the Kittenmittens SR2 was boarded by pirates and its crew mercilessly slaughtered.  The Kittenmittens SR3 just unlocked an achievement, though!

    This game is kind of stressful.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I don’t know what this game is, but thanks to your ships’ names, I’m imagining dozens of fuzzy little kitties burning to death in the depths of space, and that’s just not an image I need to have at this time of night. :(

      • Fluka says:

        Don’t worry – the Kittenmittens line was staffed purely with dispensable human red shirts and officious space-managers who wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, etc. etc.

        *Nonetheless, now looks at some photos of her kittens before bedtime…*

    • Maudib says:

      Congrats on unlocking an achievement, I haven’t even accomplished that.  I agree on the stressfulness, I know I will fail.  I know I’ll get a good streak and suddenly turn around and it’ll fall apart in a horrible mess.  Really feels like you got to jump through those hoops and unlock those ships and alternative layouts to have a chance.

  12. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I’m currently replaying Banjo-Kazooie. I know people dump all over collect-a-thon games, but I forgot how compelling the good ones are. I’m only barely into the first world so far (Mumbo’s Mountain), but I’m already obsessed with getting every trinket.

    It’s unusual to see how I view the size of the world now. It seems physically smaller now (as does Mario 64, which I once thought was mindbogglingly huge), but now I’m more actively impressed by how much they’ve buried in the environments. Even little things like hidden areas underwater are a pretty significant change from the level design I’m used to in current games.

    I swear that the best of these games are timeless, even though the graphics and controls feel clunkier. The hook is strong, and I miss open-ended environments like this that are both sprawling and meticulously crafted.

    • Link The Ecologist says:

      I just recently started a Banjo-Kazooie play through as well (recently gained access to a N64 for the first time in years) and I’m up to about 400 notes. I agree completely on the ability of the well crafted environments more than making up for any gripe one might have about graphics. I think that this game is just plain fun compared to many modern self serious titles.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:


      That is all.

      Actually, no. Here’s my demand of all games from now on: Please have some underwater thing to find. You have no idea how excited I was any time I found a chunk of a building or a hat or whatever swimming around in Oblivion. I actively seek out terrible games if I know that they have underwater crap to find. I do not understand this compulsion thoroughly, but I have it.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        What is it about underwater hidden areas that are so great?
           Is it some sort of psychologically primordial thing?  A Jungian response to the mystery and subconscious secrets represented by the element?
           Or is it just because waterfalls and lake beds look like a place where things should be hiding, but often aren’t -so when they are, it’s doubly exciting?

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           Partially I’m terrified of stuff in deep water, like if you’re out in the open ocean (or a deep lake) (or a particularly river-like stream) and your feet don’t quite touch the bottom so who even knows what’s under there. There could be a giant squid, or some horror from the deep, or just a regular scuba pervert, or treasure, and you wouldn’t even know until it brushed against your leg. Or swallowed you whole.

          See: Aqua Ring, The; Assassin’s Creed 2 “Giant Squid” Easter Egg; any damn game where when you go too far out in the damn water you get eaten by a shark HOLY SHIT; that one bitchin’ helmet in Oblivion that’s just sitting on the other side of a little sandbar out to the left a ways.

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           Plus the ocean is so big, you know? Like whoa. There’s some scary shit in there. There’s scary shit in the bathtub. There’s scary shit in all of our nation’s junior-high swimming pools built over old graveyards.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Wow.  Those kids couldn’t be less lackadaisical about a blood-zombie emerging from their pool if they tried.  Should I bear recreational  supernatural horror with such grace.
             And I understand what you mean about deep water.  I love to swim, but deep bodies of water and sea life in general gives me the heebie jeebies.
             A reoccurring theme in my dreams is finding myself in some massive primordial body of water where my every movement forces me to brush up against some strange, squiky proto-creature.
             Frankly, it freaks me the fuck out.
             But all that said, a treasure chest on a tiny island behind a waterfall remains one of gaming’s greatest treasures. 

  13. HobbesMkii says:

    Saints Row the Third, Torchlight II, and Dota2, because sequels are cool.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      You are such a slave to franchises.
      -goes back to play Guild Wars 2 and Crusader Kings 2-

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Have you started Torchlight II yet?  Impressions?  Fun facts?  Juicy gossip?

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Started today, played for about an hour. I find it pretty enjoyable. It feels larger and more open than the first Torchlight, which I appreciate. Plus I have this honking big cannon I shoot people with.

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        Faithfully recreates the Diablo 1 -> Diablo 2 feel. Much more fun than D3.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve been wanting to get into Dota 2, having never played any MOBA. I had a friend explain the gist of it to me and then I spent a couple hours watching matches. I read a bunch of guides, and everything!

      I still do not really understand what is going on! It’s going to be a while.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Neither do I. I got some great help from other people in the Gameological Society, though, so I think I know how to play one or two different heroes, although I wouldn’t say that I play them well.

  14. EmperorNortonI says:

    I would be playing Borderlands 2, but they decided to hold the Japan release date on Steam for another month.  At least it’s available for purchase, and not region blocked.

    I’m still on my Dark Souls hiatus, but I feel the urge to die rising up within me once again, so maybe I shall return soon.

    My time is currently filled with FTL, which is totally and utterly awesome.  I’ve made it to the Rebel flagship three times, and my loadout was woefully inadequate every time.  The first time, I was so tricked-out on defensive and evasive tech that I simply couldn’t hurt it – but then again, I had no idea what was waiting for me in sector 8.  The second time, my ship was just crappy, and it was a miracle I’d gotten that far to begin with.  The third time, I’d made the horrible mistake of buying a Glaive Beam instead of a  Mark II Anti-Ship drone, but I still managed to get the bugger down to nearly half health with my Hull Laser and Pegasus Launcher.  The achievements seem neigh-impossible, though, even on Easy.

    I played Red Orchestra 2 for the first time in months.  With the player-made maps, several of which are adaptations of RO1 maps, it was much more playable – for a few minutes, I was almost able to forget that I was on RO2, rather than RO1.  That has to be the best example to mind of a sequel completely failing to even match the original, let alone best it.  All they had to do was allow tanks to drive over fences and wooden shacks, and let heavy artillery and explosives damage buildings, and it would have been incredible.  Yet, failure on all counts.


    • djsubversive says:

       Have you ever played Op: Flashpoint or the ArmA games? I haven’t played any of the Red Orchestra games, but they seem to be similar, and I was wondering how they actually compare (particularly ArmA 2, as it’s the one I’ve got the most recent experience with).

      • EmperorNortonI says:

         Sorry, I’ve played neither of those games.  However, maybe you’ll get an idea if I talk up the key points of the Red Orc experience.

        1 – Big teams, up to 30 something a side, but most team members are stuck with a bolt-action rifle and 2 grenades.

        2 – Big, flat maps, with lots of spaces to get shot.  Usually, you have to crawl to the line of battle prone – or maybe crawling, on urban maps.  On the other hand, aiming is not exactly easy with these weapons, as only the sniper class has a scope, and the recoil is rather monstrous.  Red Orc 2 messed this up a bit, by giving a little bit of zoom on iron-sights – I really hope this is modded out sometime, as it’s murderous on MG’s.

        3 –  Objective points with clearly defined and stable spawn points.  As you cap, the spawn zone may move up, or not, depending on the map, but they’re set up to always create a clear line of battle somewhere in the middle.  One good run can dramatically shift the line, though, so figuring out where it is on spawn is the key to not dying a pointless death before getting set up.  I’m so used to this that I find games with random, shifting spawn zones to be unplayable.

        4 – Artillery.  Squad Leaders can call it in, and it’s absolutely murderous.

        5 – Tanks.  They are invulnerable without proper AT weapons, and on well-designed maps, these are rather limited in number. 

        • djsubversive says:

          Thanks! It sounds like a more “hardcore” Battlefield – pretty much what I’ve wanted since I started playing Battlefield (so sick of snipers with lasers, in every game).

  15. Captain Internet says:

    If you’d ask me last week, I’d say I’d be playing Dark Souls. Thing is, I’m fed up with it- not because it’s too hard, but because it’s a bit boring. 

    It was all going fine until I had to take down the Four Kings. It’s a boss battle with no nearby save points, and every boss battle in Dark Souls entails dying a few times to work out how to win. So this meant a fifteen minute trudge through two areas- first, a valley full of murderous dragons, and then a waterworks / mausoleum featuring emo kids with big swords. 

    Taking down the dragons was easy- I just shot them with my super-upgraded bow. The emo kids, or “Darkwraiths” as they called themselves were easy too- I had a super-upgraded lightning claymore to match the bow, and I could dispatch them in two hits. But it had to be done carefully, because if you get complacent in Dark Souls you get killed. 

    So I’d get to the boss, which would kill me in a really cheap way, and I’d have to do it all again. About nine times. Eventually I won, but it felt completely hollow- I’d not outwitted it. I was using the strategy that I’d come up with on the second attempt, which- according to the Internet- was the correct one, and I’d just got lucky. I ploughed on to the Duke’s Archives, but at this point I was only dying when something completely unavoidable and unexpected happened. There weren’t any good surprises, only bad ones. The mystery and wonder had faded, and that revealed a time-consuming and rather boring game.

    So I’ll probably be playing Borderlands 2 like everyone else.

    • Most of Dark Souls seems really well designed in terms of being able to get between areas reasonably quickly so stuff like that sounds really frustrating. At least when you got cheap killed by the Hellkite Drake you just had a ladder and a flight of stairs between you and another try.

      Fortunately, I’m still exploring the Darkroot areas so I’m a while off doing battle with the kings and getting to any really annoying bits.

    • goawayinternet says:

      Just a quick FYI, there is a *much* quicker way to the 4kings.  Start at firelink, go down to the Ruins, keep going forward.  When you get to the part where you encounter the first two ghosts, don’t go up the stairs but drop off to the right.  Run up the stairs, past the darkwraiths (you may fight them if you like, but you can easily run past every enemy between you and the 4K without getting hit), through the big room and bam, you’re right outside the 4kings.  

      And Dark Souls will give you periods where you are seriously fed up or bored and need to shut it off but it has the unique power to hold a spot in your mind and you WILL come back to it. 

  16. Effigy_Power says:

    I made the glaring mistake to give Torchlight 2 a quick tumble last night and instantly fell into the “just one more quest” pit, so that’s not going to be great and at the same time awesome. It’s really neat and my Embermage is throwing zappy lightning like a Tesla coil with indigestion.

    Mooy and I are in the deep throes of putting together a whole lot of artwork with our new fictional characters Owl and Lilly, so expect quite a few good things there. My cartoony stuff and Mooy’s super-color art really complement each other, who would have guessed.
    You’ll be able to find all of that on my new blog… yes… I know, I feel like I am copying the game-reviewers amongst the GS readers, although I am not reviewing games as such. The blog contains parts 1 and 2 of my first major article titled “The Henchman Problem” and while part 1 is a bit all over the map, part 2 is pretty good, I think. I’ll be writing some more for that this weekend and you can find it and some random art here:


    The fact that I am the creator of the somewhat popular webcomic “RPGeneric” and this article is about the also female creator of a webcomic called “RPG” is in no way really interesting or surprising, but always a great pretense for me to remind everyone that I once had a successful webcomic. Hooray for subtlety.

    • caspiancomic says:

       YEAH! I’ve really been hoping more people would start writing their own stuff, since I’ve been secretly hoping the commenters here would transform Keyboard Geniuses into an ad hoc blog-trading farmer’s market of such. I’m gonna read these essays like a motherfucker. I’m also pretty amped to see this thing brewing between you and Mooy.

  17. Final_Girl says:

    Had we spoken this morning, one of my answers would surely have been FTL: Faster Than Light, because I bought it last night and became immediately obsessed. My crews both large and small have been shot down in many a blaze of glory.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I didn’t know that I wanted to play that game, but apparently I did.  It reminds me of something that would come with a Windows 3.1 operating system.

    • Fluka says:

      I knew I was in for something fun when I first started playing, distracted, and after one jump was all suddenly “Wait, why am I am fire?  Why am I suddenly breaking into tiny pieces?”  The game is harsh and beautiful.

      (Additional like denoted here, for the awesome avatar.)

  18. Raging Bear says:

    Borderlands 2, which, so far, is a good deal better than the first – insofar as being more varied and engaging, gameplay-wise. Some of my gripes from the first are still in evidence, like assault rifles being almost entirely useless, and the writing…dear God, the writing. I didn’t think you could be a frat boy when you’re 12, but that description seems to fit whoever they brought in to write these things. Still, otherwise, it’s improved in just about every way.

    I may also play Torchlight II if it decides to let me. Or I might just periodically do what I did yesterday, which is try to navigate its overwhelmed website to link my Steam account to it, fail for half an hour, and angrily go back to Borderlands.

  19. Cornell_University says:

    It’s laundry night at the University household, so I will be either trying to finish FF2 or restarting Baldur’s Gate (which I forgot I put on my laptop like a year ago) while the night withers away at the laundromat (WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY TOWELS THERE’S ONLY TWO OF US).  There’s a laundromat across town that has a Ms. Pacman cabinet, but I will be burning through enough quarters as it is.  I know that everyone says Baldur’s Gate 2 is where the money is, and I think it might be included in the collection disc that’s… somewhere in my house, but I feel obligated to play thru 1 first, since it’s already on my hard drive and all.

    My parents are in town this weekend, so I don’t know how much else I’ll have time for.  I dusted off the Capcom Arcade collection V2 this week.  Black Tiger and King of the Dragons rule, and I recommend everyone play Eco Fighter at least once.  Seriously bonkers.  The train is killing the air!  Also: It seems weird that you can keep your score intact on the various games when you have to continue.  Isn’t that sorta cheating?

    And a brief follow up to last week: Dave and Busters does indeed suck.  No pinball, and dinner took 3 hours because the waitstaff was so lousy.  If you ever go, sit at the bar.  And don’t expect to be playing much besides skeeball.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      1. doo-doo-DOO-dum, doo-doo-DOO-dum: it’s time for “GhaleonQ Jabbers About Final Fantasy Ports In Cornell_University’s Direction!”  So, you know I mentioned how Final Fantasy III PSP/Vita wouldn’t be out in the United States in time for you to start it soon?  Well, apparently, the Japanese version has an English option already and it’s coming out “quietly” as a download-only next week.  Soooo, if you didn’t want to play the DS version, there’s that.

      Final Fantasy II’s endgame: underrated.  Its remake end-endgame: really top-notch, as I mentioned.  You should make sure to get through it.

      2. 2 was such a fun combination, right?  You have the famous classics like Strider 1 and Captain Commando, the interesting ones like Street Fighter I and Eco Fighters (Japanese title: ULTIMATE ECOLOGY, which is just great), and the hidden gems like King Of The Dragons and Side Arms Hyper Dyne (I adore that subseries, and the Bangaioo series is 1 of my favorite ever).

      However, I think 3 Wonders/Wonder 3 is legitimately 1 of the best 3 or so games released in 1991.  I love that golden age Capcom’s just like: do we want to build these prototypes up, or do we want to keep them sort, near-flawless, and jammed together for no reason?  Do people in arcades want to play Eggerland, quasi-Gradius, or a Super Nintendo-like action platformer all at once?  Yes!

      • Cornell_University says:

        I TRIED TO NOT TALK ABOUT FINAL FANTASY THIS WEEK TO GIVE YOU A BREAK!  But for serious, I, as always, appreciate your encyclopedic brain bone and google alert like knowledge of current events.  I own neither a DS or a PSP (tho I’ve been considering buying the latter cheap on craigslist, what up retranslated FF Tactics), so when I do get done with 2 I will be looking down the barrel of downloading another emulator or trying to find a fan translation for one I already have.  I’ve enjoyed 2 more than I remembered, and now that I know how it ends (from accidentally reading the end of a walkthrough) some storyline beats make a lot more sense (insomuch as they existing in a universe where a mythril weapon fetch quest is needed before you can progress to fighting against an airship of doom).

        Was Captain Commando famous?  I definitely missed that one on the first go-round.  Speaking of crazy pants beat em ups.  “See, it’s Streets of Rage like the kids love, but with a Mummy (kids love mummies, right?) and a mech warrior piloted by a baby.  Thank you very much, I will take that raise now.”  I also don’t understand how anyone could beat the final boss without spending at least $40 at the arcade.  I’d get in like 1 hit for every life I lost.

        I may or may not have almost peed my Detroit Piston sweatpants as a child due to my refusal to stop playing Black Tiger at the arcade until I beat it.  I know, totally weird I didn’t have more friends.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Wait, can you clarify about FFIII? Are you saying it will soon be playable on a PSVita?

        It’s the only main entry in the series I haven’t played (other than FFXIV, but really, who cares about that?) so I’m very interested if this is the case.

    • Maudib says:

       The best part of Baldur’s Gate 1 that most people hated was the inter-party conflict.  One of the funnest runs I had was where I intentionally stocked my party with people who’d fight, and let them slug it out to the death.  Whomever survived stayed in the party, whomever died I kicked out.  If my party got maxed, I’d kick off members in order to free up space to recruit more members that found each other intolerable.  Made me wish there was a mod where you could choose to assign rivalries.

  20. indy2003 says:

    I’ll be continuing with Oblivion this weekend. Just finished off the Arena portion of the game (unless I want to keep going back to fight creatures) and will probably focus on continuing progress in the various guilds (I’m at least halfway through with the Mage’s Guild, Dark Brotherhood and Thieve’s Guild – alas, I was kicked out of the Fighter’s Guild and have to find a ton of bear pelts before they let me back in). I also have Shivering Isles waiting for me, which I’m really looking forward to after all of the Wabbajack talk on the site this week. Not sure whether I should finish off the main quest before I tackle that or not, though.

  21. dreadguacamole says:

     Not sure how much time I’ll have to play this weekend, but I intend to go through the new Secret World missions (always a treat!), some GuildWars 2, and Torchlight 2. Lots of Torchlight 2, if possible.

  22. I’ve finally “clicked” with Skyrim, nine months after I first tried playing it. I have the Treasure Contest to thank.

     Wabbajack, I want you.

  23. Reuben says:

    Borderlands 2, which has pretty much pushed every other game off the table for now. 

    As I’m sure most people on here know, it’s really the indie/modding scene that is doing the best things with horror these days. As the interviewee said, all the big names in horror are moving towards almost pure action. Although I’ve been highly disappointed by the latest Source horror mod, Grey, as it just plods through the motions of every horror game trope and offers nothing new or interesting.

  24. blue vodka lemonade says:

    Hey, I’m in an abusive relationship with Silent Hill, too! We should start a support group.

    (and I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone call Picnic at Hanging Rock “horror,” but that’s okay.)

    I might finally plow through the rest of Dragon Age this weekend, and then finally finally get back into The Secret World before it dissolves back into the luminiferous ether from whence it came.

    • Final_Girl says:

      Downpour ain’t too bad! I think it’s the best SH since 3. So that’s…something?

      Hmm, I’ve always heard Picnic at Hanging Rock classified as horror. I’d consider it such. It’s not horror of the same flavor as Halloween, but I think the way it delves into the inexplicable makes it horror.

      It’s a conversation that comes up fairly frequently on my site- does THIS MOVIE count as horror? Films like Silence of the Lambs.

  25. boardgameguy says:

    i have a friend visiting for the weekend who has expressed interest in playing all manner of table top games.  this may include Ra, Settlers of Catan, Scotland Yard, 7 Wonders, Carcassonne, Small World, Tikal, and Boggle.

  26. Link The Ecologist says:

     Several weeks ago I said that I would be building my computer and buying some games for it. Well, that didn’t happen as the case was damaged by UPS, so now I’m finally ready to begin construction on it tomorrow. The first games I’m getting are I think Half-Life 2 (as I’ve only played 20 minutes of it and quite enjoyed it) and Diablo 3 (as that is what all my friends are playing). Before I get started on those though, I have several games I’m in the middle of that I want to finish. Including: Skyward Sword, Okami, Fire Emblem Path of Radiance, Banjoo-Kazooie, and Super Mario RPG.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Congrats on your new PC! It’s always a great feeling finishing a build and installing a bunch of games you haven’t been able to play before. Get Steam and be ready to drop loads of cash on super cheap games. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I think once I pass Bastion, I’m going to go back and complete Skyward Sword as well.
         I really enjoy it, I just tend to wander away from games as I get close to the end.
         And to reiterate what @Douchetoevsky:disqus  says, get Steam.  You’ll be able to pick up Half-Life 2 for next to nothing and plenty more besides.
         Have fun with the new rig.

  27. stakkalee says:

    I’ve been playing Red Dead: Redemption but it’s just not clicking with me for some reason.  It’s not a bad game, per se, but there’s nothing about it that really engages my interest.  I’ve never been much of a fan of the western genre (don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them) but RDR is boring.  Oh, look, another rustler I have to catch!  Oh, another cart I have to drive to Amarillo while fighting off bad guys!  I’m not very far into it – I haven’t even crossed the river yet – but I’m wondering if I even want to.  I don’t find John Marston to be a particularly compelling character, and most of the NPCs I’ve run across are straight out of Central Casting.  It’s not a problem with the controls, and it’s certainly one of the more beautiful games I’ve ever played, but it’s missing something.  And although I got the GOTY edition (or whatever it’s called) I have no intention of playing the Zombie version of the game, because if there’s anything more boring than westerns, it’s zombies.  Eh, maybe I’ll do a Game+ of Arkham City, or maybe another runthrough of Assassin’s Creed II.

    • ShrikeTheAvatar says:

      I could definitely see that.  I got about 15 hours in or so and lost interest.

      It’s definitely all about atmosphere.  I actually had a serious hankering to play it after I finished reading Blood Meridian, and I’d imagine listening to some Nick Cave wouldn’t hurt either.

      • stakkalee says:

        Actually, Nick Cave is my favorite musician, but when I’m listening to him I usually skip the atmospheric film-score stuff and head straight to the classics – Tender Prey, From Her To Eternity, Prayers On Fire, Grinderman, Murder Ballads.  I have 24 straight hours of Nick Cave music on my iPod.  Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll pull out The Proposition and throw it on while I’m playing tomorrow.

    • KidvanDanzig says:

      That whole thing is in large part why Sleeping Dogs was so fun – you never started a mission only to think “Good God not this fucking thing again”. Plus they don’t write “clever” characters that you have to spend hours droning on w/ (looking at you, snake oil salesman / Irish stereotype / gay graverobber). Even the racing missions, a thing I have always hated with an intense passion, are mercifully short.

  28. dmikester says:

    I’m being a total masochist and finally trying to get 100% in GTA 4, and I don’t just mean the main game, but the expansions.  I’ve actually already gotten 100% in both the main game and The Lost and The Damned, and now I’m slowly working my way through The Ballad of Gay Tony.  That expansion has both the best and worst of GTA; extremely fun and goofy missions and great characters, but also unbelievably tedious and/or poorly designed tasks in order to get 100% (cage fighting, I’m looking at you).

  29. alguien_comenta says:

    I have a long backlog that I might try to take a stab at. I’m on chapter 10 on Dead Space so I think I could finish that (I’m trying to do the Plasma Cutter achievement). I think that I’m also near the end on AC Brotherhood, but I just lost two assassins (I didn’t know they could die =p), so I don’t want to finish it without them being full assassins (the new ones are around level 4 I think). I also started ME3 with my renegade girl Engineer (who’s obviously blond) on Insanity, but this is gonna take a while.
    Regarding RE, yeah it’s a different genre now, but I had a lot of fun playing RE5 with a friend, so I think I’ll buy the new one (the MSFT store has a good deal on preorder giving 1600 MS points and $10 credit)

  30. Electric Dragon says:

    So last weekend I finally got to the point in New Vegas where the game basically tells you “this is the last bit, once you start that’s it”, so I’ve been avoiding committing myself. May try Old World Blues this weekend (included as part of the GOTY edition I picked up in the Steam Sale). Also I finally got started on ME3, so I’ll probably make some progress on that. The Mass Effect games fit in fairly well with the way I find time to play, in that I can fit in a few missions each night.

    • djsubversive says:

       If you have Old World Blues and haven’t played it yet, you’re missing out on some of the most fun there is in New Vegas. There’s a unique weapon for every weapon skill (a couple, actually), you get the best player house ever pretty much as soon as you start, the conversations are great, and it’s a decent-sized map with plenty of places to explore and critters to kill (and backstory between Ulysses, Elijah, and Christine to dig up, if you’re into that).

  31. Bouncing back and forth between Black Mesa: Source and the first Darksiders, since there’s lots of talk about 2nd one, which triggered people to mention how the first one is underrated.

    And it is. Yeah, it’s definitely flawed (most beat-em-ups have their harder/annoying enemies about 2 or 3 hours into the game, but they introduce them pretty much in the damn tutorial), but the mashing of Zelda/God of War works better than I expected, and the more cartoony story works SO much better than God of War’s emo take on Greek mythology.

    Oh, and Black Mesa: Source is EXCELLENT (save for crouch-jumping). I was rolling with 6 people once, owning aliens and blathering about mail servers. I miss them so much. ;_;

  32. Ghostfucker says:

    I’ve been playing nothing but FTL. It’s kind of ruined my life; it scratches an itch I didn’t know I had. It’s a roguelike spaceship simulator that focuses on things like power-rerouting, opening airlocks to vent fires and repel boarders, and micromanaging your crew actions. It’s also tough as nails; even though I’ve played it for hours, and it only takes about 90 minutes to finish, I’ve only been able to beat it once. Every playthrough is different, and every jump could put you into a disastrous situation. I’ve had to limit myself to a single play-through per day or else I’d devote an unconscionable portion of the day to this game. Get it from GOG DRM free for 8.99!

  33. KidvanDanzig says:

    In honor of Obsidian’s new isometric RPG project, I’m replaying Icewind Dale 2, which is the last of the Infinity Engine games. It was, I think, the first JE Sawyer lead design job (the guy on the new project / Fallout New Vegas). It’s a punishingly cruel game – last time I played I got all the way to the final battle and my party was literally unable to beat it. Game gives you more character creation options than any other IE game and then makes a slim few of them actually viable. I’ve modded it to add damage resistance to armors, since that rebalances the game a bit to make heavy armor actually good. The side effect is that any character wearing heavier stuff than leather will absorb most damage, so you end up in marathon slugfests. I shudder to think of what the first dragon fight will be like.

    Anyway, the Obsidian thing (Project: Eternity is the working title) sailed over the finish line of $1.1 million in 27 hours and crossed the $1.8 line today. Mac and Linux versions confirmed, 2 extra races / classes / companions and an expansion to the core storyline. Next stretch goal is a “player house” (think less Crossroads Keep from NWN2 and more The Sink from FO:NV Old World Blues). pledge pledge pledge if you haven’t – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity

    • djsubversive says:

       *high fives Eternity buddy* I’m playing through Mask of the Betrayer right now for the same reason, and probably Arcanum afterwards. I remember IWD2 being fun but I never got very far. I still have the box hidden away somewhere… I might have to dig it out.

      MotB has so many great little things – I mention the “frost giant jarl” thing below in my other comment, but I’ve had Gannyev-of-Dreams jump in and save a conversation that would have otherwise ended in combat (the bhuer hag or however it’s spelled, in the Ashenwood section of Act 2).

      Also, Kaelyn is such a great companion, and not only because she’s a cleric with awesome cleric powers.

  34. djsubversive says:

    first, quick mod news: it’s sort of dead, but I’m at least going to put my scripting knowledge to use and eventually come up with something cooperative for 4 people (rather than the 8 or more that most ArmA 2 missions require). It won’t be as awesome (no terminators or exploding cyber-dogs), but I hope it’ll at least be playable. And maybe if/when ArmA 3 comes out, they’ll have somewhat more user-friendly mod tools and “co-op STALKER with Terminators” will rise again.

    What am I playing this weekend?
    7.62mm High Caliber – unstable, poorly-translated, difficult, and unforgiving, but I’ve got a gaming masochistic streak (and a strange love for ambitious eastern European games) so I like it. It’s a real-time-with-pause tactical game, with a really neat time-based action system. Everything you do takes some amount of time, and you can pause and cue up orders at any time. It takes some getting used to, and I’ve seen the “Load Game” screen a lot, but I’m enjoying it, especially now that I’ve upgraded to SMGs and an M1 rifle rather than pistols and a shotgun. Fights are very much guerrilla affairs – shoot a couple times, then move to another position to do it again. Since the “realism” of the game includes not showing enemies unless one of your team members actually has line of sight to them, you have to watch your back all the time. I should spend some of my hard-earned money and get a third (and possibly fourth) merc before I go looking for fights, though.

    Other than that, maybe a bit of SimCity 4, Mask of the Betrayer (“You have earned experience for becoming the honorary jarl of a clan of frost giants, then kicking them all out of the clan.” so great), or Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura. Thanks, Captain Internet, for making me dig that one up again!


    I’m late on this, but I finally started playing the original Assassin’s Creed after half a decade and I like this game except for one thing, it is EXTREMELY repetitive, tell me, does it shake things up a bit as it goes on?  

  36. goubian650 says:


  37. natural biotech says:

    Im still waiting for the new half life!!!! i cant wait!!!or a new REAL f.e.a.r !!!!דיאטת סימונס