Out This Week

Ni No Kuni

Every Witch Way

Ni No Kuni leads the pack of somber new games.

By Steve Heisler • January 22, 2013

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.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch
PlayStation 3—January 22

A little boy, whose mother died from a heart attack while trying to save him from drowning, is transported to a parallel universe by his stuffed animal (rockin’ a killer nose ring), who comes to life from his tears. Meanwhile, a cabal of nightmare villains send a terrifying dreadlocked wizard to murder this orphan, or at the very least steal the part of his soul that makes him human. Rated E for everyone.

The Cave
Playstation 3, Wii U—January 22; OS X, PC, Xbox 360—January 23

Seven strangers, each with their own set of skills, are drawn to an odd talking cave to learn about the puzzles within. But maybe—just maybe—they’ll learn a thing or two about the puzzles within themselves. Welcome to The Real World: The Cave.

Dungeonland
PC—January 22

Knights and mages put their life on the line defending those who cannot defend themselves. Why shouldn’t they be allowed a respite every once in a while, you MONSTER? Dungeonland offers just such a break—it’s a medieval-themed amusement park where our regal protectors can let loose with knives and fire spells, in the same way that we enjoy spending time in our regular-person-themed amusement parks full of prostitutes (Las Vegas). And much like the time my college friends and I prank called all those escort services, Dungeonland is overrun with troublemakers who must be dispatched using your wits and a quick *-6-9 call to hotel security.

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  • Citric

    I just bought Ni no Kuni! First time I’ve bought a release on day 1 in forever

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Please report back with your impressions.  I played the demo and found it gorgeous.  But I also got my ass kicked in every battle and had no idea what I was doing.  Granted, that might be in part due to a lack of tutorial, but I think I was surprised at the relative difficulty for a game designed by my favorite animation house.
         You know, like when you finally get to meet Sir Patrick Stewart and the first thing he does is slap you.
         For instance.

      • Citric

        Hopefully I get to play it a bit tonight, but stupid things at work might complicate matters. I’m sure I’ll get somewhat into it by the time we hit this week’s what are you playing.

        • GaryX

          Responding to below but I want you to see it damnit:

          The Dark Cloud 2 story is indeed insane. Not only does it keep unveiling mechanics and systems deep into the game (it feels like one long tutorial at times), but it keeps coming up with insane plot twists to justify these mechanics. On top of that, then it throws the ol’ JRPG secret bad guy behind the bad guy nonsense into the ending as well.

          Wish they’d make another one though.

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        That was exactly my experience with the demo, too! I had no idea what I was doing, and I got slaughtered in minutes. Then I shrugged and went back to Mass Effect.

        Level 5 generally makes RPGs that keep the player on the very edge of dying. You have to take your time, grind a bit, and never take a single encounter for granted.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          That’s not true, is it?  Inazuma/Lightning 11 series actually gets complaints about being abusable if you min/max your team, Rogue Galaxy was easier than Tales Of games, and Yokai Watch is unfortunately an R.P.G. and unfortunately looks like an easier version of Venus And Braves: The Witch, The Goddess, And The Prophecy of Destruction and 7: The Cavalry Of Molmorth.

          This is in a category with those, as it IS a children-focused game.

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

          @GhaleonQ:disqus : That’s been my experience, but I suppose I’ve only really played Dragon Quest 8 and the Dark Cloud series. And in the case of those games, the difficulty one experiences depends on their tolerance for grinding. I tend to build my levels up to the bare minimum, so the difficulty would stay high throughout.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          Ah, well, that’ll do it.  They’re more like modern Sega: Virtua Fighter, and then a bunch of really, accessible games. Of course, Level-5′s tend to be better.

        • Citric

          On the subject of the Dark Cloud series, I loved Dark Cloud 2 (and regret selling it) but man that story was completely insane. I don’t remember the details that well anymore – was a magical train involved? I’m sure there was a magical train – but I do remember saying “Buh-whaa?” a lot.

          Level 5 needs to do one of those PS3 re-releases of those games, so I can play dungeon golf again.

        • GaryX

          Supposedly, this game is pretty easy, but the demo just unloaded you into game without context. People who’ve played it says the actual game unveils it all slowly and has a lower difficulty curve. I haven’t played the demo though, but I’m going to check it out tonight.

      • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

        Seconded on eagerly waiting a review.  I hadn’t heard a thing about this game until today, but scanning around the nets is making me want.

        If I’ve been away from JRPGs since around FF7 (having HATED it), is there anything for me here?  Does it satirize JRPGs, celebrate them, or both?  I don’t know I’d dig it unless it has some meta-ness.

        • GaryX

          I seriously doubt a Studio Ghibli is going to be anything other than sincere.

      • mad

        I got it first thing on release day and it’s sitting there patiently for me to have some free time this weekend.  Maybe we can all share our impressions on the (surely, forthcoming) review?

    • PaganPoet

      Can’t wait to play it myself. The graphics remind me of Popolocrois, a decentish JRPG that had great style and art direction.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-John-Agnello/1362601810 Anthony John Agnello

        Much as it looks like Popolocrois and even has a similar set up to the original Popolocrois, it is not much like Popolocrois!
        It is pretty great, though. Recommended for single-player Dragon Quest devotees, people who like pretty things, and Derrick Sanskrits everywhere.

      • Enkidum

        I have nothing useful to say other than that I read that as “Poopopolis”, and I don’t care how good the style and art direction is, I’m not buying it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

      I had to cancel my pre-order of Ni No Kuni on Sunday to
      help pay for medical bills after my fiance got in a car wreck. She’ll be alright thankfully, but we certainly can’t afford anything like video games for a while. Sadly, this is also the first day 1 purchase that we’d planned to make in about 2 years and was the game she was most looking forward to playing this year.

      Could you help me out Citric by telling me how awesome it is so I can relate it to her and let her play vicariously while she recoups?

      Thanks.

      • PaganPoet

        Sorry to hear about your fiance, that’s a terrible turn of events. Hopefully her recovery is speedy, and the financial hit is not too severe.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

           Thanks PaganPoet, I appreciate it.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Yikes, man.  I’m sorry to hear about your fiance and I’m glad she’s safe.
           A deeply involved rpg would be just the thing to keep the brain occupied during recovery, too.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

          Thanks Spacemonkey. I know, it would be the perfect thing. Ironically, she had just been making a comment a couple of days before it happened on how she never has time to play games anymore.

      • Citric

        Daaamn that sucks. I’m not sure how good I’d be at relating the story, since I don’t tend to play anything at a consistent rate – I tend to do things like 4 hours at a time, and then a week of nothing – but I’m sure that we could all figure out something.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

          Thanks Citric. I’d really appreciate if we could work something out maybe in collaboration with some other Gameologists who’ll be playing as well.

      • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

        Hi Morgan — Can you email me, john at gameological dot com? I think we might be able to help, as it happens. Gameological takes care of its own.

        And best wishes to your fiancée on her recovery.

        • GaryX

          I know you aren’t just fishing for compliments with the sight and I have no affiliation with @facebook-579674289:disqus (though you and your fiancee are in my thoughts!), but I just wanted to say that this site and you are the best, John Teti, for posts like this and beyond.

        • Fixda Fernback

          Wow. Holy shit do I love you guys here; just being a member at a place that is so incredibly awesome feels like some sort of honor. Thanks, to you John Teti, to the rest of the contributors, to the other commenters, everyone that has even a small hand in this community in some way. It really does my heart and soul good to see the things we’re privy to around here… kindness that people can’t even compete with in the “real world”, let alone in the vast sea of vitriol that tends to be the internet. 

          Morgan Filbert–I hope your fiancee recovers quickly and thoroughly! And hopefully gets to enjoy a little awesome gaming in the meantime.

          Now, if everyone will excuse me, I apparently need to go dust my room… something keeps making my eyes get all watery!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

          To the Gameological Community, and especially John Teti, I want to say thank you. Sarah and I have been so moved by the outpouring of goodwill and generosity that I can’t do justice to it. We both teared up last night as I read the comments to her and she says “Thank you! You’re all the best!”

          Thank you all so much!

    • indy2003

      I haven’t bought something on Day 1 in ages, but I’ll be picking this up when I get off work. It looks unbelievably gorgeous.

  • rvb1023

    The good news is Ni No Kuni is finally out.

    The bad news is my Wizards Edition only shipped today and my PS3 faulty with the replacement in transit.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    I’m cautiously optimistic about The Cave. And vicariously excited for PS3 folks who get to play Ni No Kuni (has there been any word about when the DS version is supposed to drop?).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-John-Agnello/1362601810 Anthony John Agnello

      Word is the DS version won’t be making it to the US. Not a terrible loss from what people who’ve played it say. Supposed to be a bit of a snooze.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        That’s a bit of a shame.
        Is the PS3 version not a snooze? I’ve heard that the Ghibli production design is gorgeous, but that the gameplay is a pretty by-the-books JRPG (part of me is curious how they rectify the JRPG convention of ending the game with a climactic one-winged-angel boss battle against a hulking Big Bad with the Ghibli penchant for not having clearly-delineated “bad guys”).

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      Ni No Kuni looks gorgeous. This is one of those rare times when I wish I owned a console.

      As for The Cave, that’s what I’ll be playing tomorrow. I’ve been mindlessly making my way through the 2008 Prince of Persia recently, so it’ll be nice to have something that requires a bit of thinking. Plus, Ron Fuckin’ Gilbert.

      By the way, Steve, the game is also being released for Linux (unless “PC” includes both Linux and Windows, in which case I apologize for being “that guy”).

      • Asinus

        I don’t think I’ve been this jazzed to buy a game based almost entirely on screen shots since I first saw screen shots of Valkyria Chronicles (this was long before I had a PS3, too). I want to get it, but I feel like I should wait until after payday… but I have decided to wait on games before and found that they quickly vanished from shelves, never to be replaced. 

        • Pandas_please

           Fortunately the game has been released on the PSN. So if having a physical copy isn’t too important to you you’ve got nothing to fear.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      Also, both versions bombed in Japan, so they really don’t need to try localizing/creating or digitizing a book which is necessary to play the game.  Plus, it’s like Lunar Legend to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete: slightly different, unique, and interesting, but a downgrade redundancy.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Yes, but it was a redundancy I was counting on since I only have one of the systems! No worries, I’ll just add it to my PS3 dream list for when I actually bother to get one of those things.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          *laughs*  Well, that’s what happens when Level-5 somehow can’t sell Gundam and Studio Ghibli back to Japan!  Also: 100 Professor Layton sequels get made.

      • Citric

        Lunar Legend might be the reason I’ve never given Lunar much of a chance. I didn’t like Lunar on Sega CD either – I played it a bit after – but it’s possible part of my hatred of that is just residual hatred of Lunar Legend.

        Maybe one day I’ll try again. Probably not though.

  • Cloks

    Debating buying The Cave now or waiting until summer when it’ll probably be half off.

    • Basement Boy

      I pre-ordered the Cave. As a huge Psychonauts fan, I’m pretty excited.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I pre-ordered it from Green Man Gaming with the pre-order credit I got from pre-ordering BioShock Infinite. It’s a chain of pre-ordering!

        • lokimotive

          Green Man Gaming, who I never heard of before, had it at a discount for a time: it was something like 12 bucks. So, despite really not having the funds, I bought it anyway. I’m looking forward to it. Double Fine and Ron Gilbert? Come on!

  • GaryX

    I want Ni No Kuni in my eyeballs now!

    Though, I haven’t been able to convince myself to buy it just yet.

    • Asinus

      I bought it as soon as money showed up in my account. I’m not very far into it yet, but It’s making me pretty happy. I can imagine that it would be a fun one to play with your kids, too, if you had them; so far, it’s been like playing a Miyazaki film. There are a lot of cut scenes (both hand-drawn animations and game engine animations) and they’re actually fun to watch with good dialog that is accessible, I think, by children while not being insulting to adults. The tutorial stuff isn’t patronizingly stupid or tedious (see modern Zelda games for counter examples), and there has been some genuine emotion drawn from fairly cliche JRPG tropes. 

      Another big plus in my book is the lush world map– god I love world maps in my JRPGs. The first dungeony thing I did was fairly linear, but it was also short and still introductory and, of course, you had to run through the world map to get there, which is not linear. 

      The music is goddamned wonderful if you’ve liked the music in Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc. It remains to be seen if the cut scenes will scale back a little bit or become a little further between, but, as I said, I often have little patience for early cut scenes in games I’m looking forward to playing (see my as-it-happened freakout in the comments for the review of Skyward Sword; that game was definitely a high-water mark in pissing me off by not letting me play). I’d say that it will have a lot to do with what you think of Studio Ghibli’s style.

      I’m playing it with Japanese voices, but I might switch them to English to see how good they are. I think it was localized in the UK and the little sidekick thing with the lamp in his nose is Welsh. I’d like to hear that. 

      I’m pretty excited about this and decided to make today a game day– I ran to the gas station and grabbed some unhealthy snacks to shove in my face (Funyuns, amp, gummie things) and do this right. If the game doesn’t suck, I might burn tomorrow, too!

  • caspiancomic

    I haven’t heard any news yet about my Wizard’s Edition of Ni No Kuni shipping, which is concerning because Namco Bandai was famously shitty about allowing Canadians to pre-order the special edition, so they might now follow that act by being shitty about shipping it too. Then again, maybe I’m just being paranoid because I’ve been anticipating this game for like, years.

    • Citric

      You’re Canadian too? It seems like something I should have noticed before actually, maybe I forgot.

      • HobbesMkii

        GS became a videogame site catering to the Cannuk crowd so gradually I barely noticed. Now where will we Americans go to sate our appetite for web content about gaming?

        • PaganPoet

          What will we do when they start posting articles in French? =[

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          I’ve been forced to go to Fox News for my gaming coverage.
             Incidentally, did you know that Night Trap for the Sega CD is responsible for both Hurricane Sandy and Obama getting re-elected?

        • PaganPoet

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus Also, the inclusion of m/m relationships in Mass Effect 3 directly lead to the Aurora theater shooting.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          Mwaahahahaa! First they sent me to invade your country. Now we’re all invading THE INTERNET.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          The main indicator was when the subject of every “Digest” became poutine.

        • Citric

          @PaganPoet:disqus Bonjour! Ouvre le petite fenetre dans le salle de bain. La lune est dans la toilette, et le pamplemousse est dans la bibliotheque avec les livres. Oh la la! Un croissant!

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          @Citric:disqus: That reminds of this A&P ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJk7pWeDHcM

        • PaganPoet

          @Citric:disqus Pour etre honnete, je parle le francais parfaitement, i vient taquiner. Mais, j’ai un clavier americain, donc pas des marques d’accent, et je m’en fous.

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

          @citric: That sounds like a walkthrough for an Infocom adventure game. “Step 1: Open the window. Step 2: Grab the moon. Step 3: Put the moon in the toilet. DON’T FLUSH IT”

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          @PaganPoet:disqus: N’as-tu pas mémorisé les combinaisons de touche Alt?

        • PaganPoet

          @Merve2:disqus pft, ain’t nobody got time for dat

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          Agreed @PaganPoet:disqus , I have an accent circonflexe in my name and I don’t know the keyboard shortcut for it.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          Il y a presque 15 ans depuis que je parlais le Francais (aussi, mon clavier n’a pas des touches avec les marques d’accent, ni des touches avec les numeros pour les faire  avec ‘alt’), mais je ne laisse cette realite m’arrette de faire un ane (?) de moi-meme!

        • Citric

          If there is one thing Macs do well, and there is only one thing that Macs do well, it’s the ease of which you can do funky letters. Option i, gîvês yôû thîs. 

        • Enkidum

          Tabernac, sommes-nous tous Canadiens? Et en plus, je suis Québecois, mais d’une village anglophone.

        • PaganPoet

          @Enkidum:disqus Not me, I’m American. =] Living in Denver, Colorado here.

        • Chum Joely

          @PaganPoet:disqus @Merve2:disqus @twitter-495079299:disqus I don’t know about Linux, but on Windows and Mac, you can just add an extra keyboard mapping (I use “US” for English and “Canadian French”, on Windows). Then you can swap between keyboard layouts with a simple Alt+Shift.

          You do have to kind of memorize where the French keys are (US ‘/’ is French ‘é’, etc.).  I do both languages all the time since I work in a bilingual office in Montreal, so it’s normal for me, but maybe not for more occasional users of French.

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          @ChumJoely:disqus I have that Alt-Shift setup too, but it’s hopeless unless they keyboard has the french accents on it.

          It also leads to near constant frustration when my work computer defaults to franco keys.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          @PaganPoet:disqus: Speaking of English video game websites posting articles in French: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/22/voulez-vous-un-remake-de-flashback/

        • caspiancomic

           Je m’appelle… uh… il y a… ah shit, I should have paid more attention in school.

        • PaganPoet

          @Merve2:disqus You see…we were so worried about our southern neighbors immigrating to our country, we didn’t notice all the French Canadians pouring in in droves until it was too late…

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        You can tell he’s Canadian because he’s such a nice guy. By the same token, it should be abundantly clear that I’m American.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

          Oh Girard, you and your constant “Manifest Destiny.”

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          I’m going to start a new “men’s rights” blog called MANifest Destiny. My first article will be entitled “Feminintendo” and will detail how feminism has eroded True Hard Core Gamer Culture to the point that the once-great Nintendo has over the years reduced its pantheon of flagship gaming icons to a castrato plumber, an androgynous elf, and a (gasp!) female bounty hunter. The logic will, of course, be impeccable.

          I imagine the readership/commenters will likely be adherents of the “Chronicles of Gor” lifestyle, but you are of course all welcome to attend.

        • Citric

          I have an anecdote about manifest destiny! One day I was in a film class, and we were discussing a film. In the middle of class, a visibly drunk man comes in, sits down, and takes a nap. Class goes on as usual. Then, the drunk man gets up and starts asking about manifest destiny for some reason, and the prof was visibly confused and had no idea what was going on. Then the drunk man said something was wild, and soon thanked him and left, as class resumed as normal. It was pretty amazing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

          You know what’s odd about this, @paraclete_pizza:disqus ? Gamers that were (rightfully so) upset over how Samus was portrayed in Other M are the same gamers that lost their shit because people were complaining about things like Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider game, or the bloody torso from that stupid zombie game.

          I just don’t know any more.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          @facebook-501651:disqus I really doubt those were the same people. 

  • Effigy_Power

    Good for fans of JRPGs, but for me it’s slim pickin’s.
    Skyrim DLC soon, please.

    • HobbesMkii

      Feb 5th. I wonder if it’ll cause a huge conflict with all the mods I have installed.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      In the meantime, read this comic strip that I think you’ll enjoy: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/critical-miss/10154-Dishonored-Operation-Layarteb

      • GaryX

        Ah, dammit. Shouldn’t have read that.

        EDIT: Though, I pretty much knew that was going to happen the second those guys opened their mouths.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      Be careful what you wish for. The next Skyrim DLC will be all spikey hair mods, ludicrously proportioned swords, and the final boss will be Yahweh.

    • HobbesMkii

      Also, speaking of Elder Scrolls: Elder Scrolls Online, do we all think it’ll suck?

      • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

        Yes.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        Yes.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Yes.  “We’ve got two audiences here, the ones who like Elder Scrolls, and the ones who like MMOs!”  And we will almost definitely alienate at least one, if not both, of those audiences.

        It’s bad enough to have NPCs breaking immersion with “Have you been to the Cloud District” and “Arrow to the knee”.  I can’t wait to have kills and loot stolen and hear “LRN2PLAY NOOB” as well!

        • HobbesMkii

          It’s odd that they felt like an MMO was the next step. The protagonist of an Elder Scrolls game is generally the driving force behind the plot of the game. They’re the central character around whom all stories are told. You can’t have that in an MMO. 

          I can understand maybe wanting one or two people to join you in your Elder Scrolls world a la Borderlands or Fable II, where the additional player is somewhat ancillary to the action, but in Elder Scrolls I have never looked at one of the many other adventurers that populate the game and gone, “Oh, I wish I could be that person, rather than the important character.”

        • Travis Stewart

          Considering how much TES has trimmed down its plots and added in Radiant Quests, and the general lack of outcry this seemed to produce, a full-blown MMO isn’t that unexpected. Then again, I have long since passed the point of having no idea what the core identity of The Elder Scrolls franchise consists of.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        *Aggressively quells Gameological instinct to expound at unnecessary length about impressions, caveats, missteps and aesthetic, philosophical and business underpinnings to the production decision.*

        Yes. 

        • HobbesMkii

          In my reply to @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus I did all that. Come join us. The water is nice and warm (I’ve peed in it).

      • ToddG

        Yes, but I don’t like the other ones, so take that for what it’s worth.

        • GaryX

          The other Elder Scrolls? Well then you’re in luck because this is nothing like it!

      • Fluka

        No.

        Wait, wait, I thought you said “Will it be any good?”!!  

      • Effigy_Power

        It might, might very well actually, but I’d still like to take a peek at it in a beta-test or something… just to make sure that it really, truly stinks.
        Which it probably does… but then I buy almost everything with “Elder Scrolls” on it (I’d even buy the cereal), so I might be tempted regardless.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          “Elder Scrolls the Lunchbox, Elder Scrolls the Action Figure, and Elder Scrolls the Toilet Paper!”

      • lokimotive

        I usually have zero amount of enthusiasm for any MMO, but somehow for The Elder Scrolls Online, I have even less.

        I’m so uninterested in it that it is taking away interest in other things.

  • PaganPoet

    The blurb for The Cave reminds me of my friend Leilani’s speech she gives every neighbor on a flight: “Hi, my name is Leilani. I’m going to warn you upfront, I’m a talker! You know, we’re going to learn a lot about each other over the next few hours, and, maybe, a little about ourselves.”

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      It always interesting when you’re next to a talker. The last time I was on a plane, it turned out my neighbour was one of my sister’s science teachers from back when she was in high school.

      Then again, there are only about 134 people in Canada, so it’s not such a huge coincidence.

      • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

        And 90% of us post on Gameological.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          I think you might enjoy this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GhWu-QwpBc

          You know what the biggest downside to living in the States is? Not being able to watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

        • Chum Joely

          @Merve2:disqus … I don’t think missing “This Hour” is really that much of a loss. Believe me, it’s a lot worse the other way around.

          Then again, since I didn’t grow up in Canada, I was not bred to appreciate dorky TV comedies in quite the same way. For example, some people were apparently sad, rather than relieved and/or jubilant, when Corner Gas (spits) went off the air.

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          @Merve2:disqus , with all due respect, I daresay I could live without This Hour.  That said, I’d watch a hundred This Hours before one Royal Canadian Air Farce.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          @twitter-495079299:disqus: Royal Canadian Air Farce used to be hilarious back in the day when they had John Morgan (RIP). But Craig Lauzon is just…blerg. He has the worst Stephen Harper impression ever.

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          @Merve2:disqus I enjoyed the radio version… twenty years ago.

      • HobbesMkii

        I sat next to the guy who directed this Super Bowl commercial on a plane from Charlotte, NC to Providence, RI once. He was also a talker (until he ended up watching Blowup on his Macbook. Among other things, I learned he was an HP Lovecraft fan (thus the plane to Providence; to visit Lovecraft’s grave), and that he was greatly perturbed to discover that the critical reaction to his Super Bowl commercial (which I hadn’t seen at the time) entitled “Man’s Last Stand” was that it was fairly sexist. When I told him I hadn’t watched the Super Bowl that year, or seen any of the ads, he described his ad to me. I neglected to tell him that I thought it sounded sexist, as the flight was four hours and we were only midway through Hour One.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          “Okay, set up the camera.  No, it needs to be higher so you can see their faces.  Maybe put some books underneath it.  A tripod?  Whatever, buddy.  You’re the expert.  Okay, now guys, I need you too look at the camera.  Yeah, like that.  Just like how a person looking at a camera would look.  That’s perfect.  Man, I’m fucking genius.”

        • HobbesMkii

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus You kid, but that shot of the Charger actually driving (you know, the only extant one of the car in the entire ad) is filmed on Sunset Boulevard, which they shut down a portion of for the production of this ad.

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4

          splendad.com says the director was Mark Romanek.  He’s slightly famous, having directed Robin William’s in “One Hour Photo” (which was so horrible and insensitive that I can see it being the same guy), last in the news for quitting the latest live-action Cinderella.

          edit: oh, and he’s also the jerk who gave us the dancing Kia Hamsters. You should’ve taken him out when you had the chance.

        • PaganPoet

          You sat next to Mark Romanek? Holy cow! He directed one of my favorite music videos, Madonna’s “Bedtime Story.”

        • HobbesMkii

          @Mercenary_Security_number_4:disqus Boy, that puts a damper on this story. The Google image searches turn up a fellow born in 1959 who is somewhat heavy and has a grey beard, as you might expect from someone who would have been 50 at the time I might have met him (and would be 52 today). 

          The guy I met was a bubbly clean shaven tall, thinnish man, who seemed quite young (I would have pegged him in his early or mid thirties). 

          Moreover, I’m not sure why he brought up that ad, rather than One Hour Photo (I guess because OHP got poor reviews?) when I asked him if he’d directed anything I would have heard of. I seem to remember him saying he pitched the ad, so he might have written it. I’m not sure. He did help convince me to steer clear of an idea for a comic series I’d had (it was post-apocalyptic, which he felt was played out) in favor of a better idea I’d been working on.

        • HobbesMkii

          @PaganPoet:disqus He also directed one of my favorite movies, Never Let Me Go, although I wouldn’t watch it until at least a year after I *may* have sat next to him.

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4

           Well, here are the full credits if you feel like tracking him down.  http://www.splendad.com/ads/show/3480-Dodge-Charger-Mans-Last-Stand

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4

           ”He did help convince me to steer clear of an idea for a comic series I’d
          had (it was post-apocalyptic, which he felt was played out)”

          hey, neat segue to the next GS article!

      • Effigy_Power

        I once sat on a plane from New York to San Francisco next to what I can only describe as crystal-gripping hippie BS. (I have nothing against hippies, they are in a way dreamers who are a bit naive, but this was the full blown stereotype from MAD magazine.)
        She told me her name was some sort of spice, I can’t remember, and then did some sort of neo-shamanistic ritual on her tray (which was totally supposed to be up!) and called out to the air spirits to aid these people when “traversing the realm of the winds” (quote).
        She talked to me for 3 hours about how crystals have the power to relieve menstrual pain (which I can only imagine as some sort of cork), herbs can make your poo smell like orange sherbert and what kind of toxins (and that’s a word that makes me suspicious every time) there are in meat.
        She wasn’t impressed when my meal came and it was bacon. Apparently I would become more animal with ever soul-fragment of a living being I’d consume. Although apparently you can essentially “shed” all that via colonics. It devolved more and more into poopie-talk. When she finally opened some weird little satchel with stinky herbs in them I was all but ready to scream “Anthrax, anthrax” at the very obvious air-Marshall and run for it.
        She eventually fell asleep with her headphones blurring Enya or Vangelis or some terrible crap loud enough to piss off everyone within 5 feet of her.
        That was a long flight.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       The last time I was on a plane next to a talker, I happened to be knee-deep in some of Foucault’s more rare publications — in particular his um, very 1970s take on sex with children.  Every time she started talking, I just started reading aloud.  It kept things awkward but silent.

  • Brian Stewart

    I so want to play The Cave but… a side scroller? I think I need a demo first. My brother-in-law brought me Ni no Kuni last summer but I never got around to playing through it until this past December. I don’t want to spoil anything…

    SPOILERS

    but there’s a village of forest sprites that spend all their time boozing and doing bad stand-up (until it’s actually brilliant stand-up). Also there’s a kindergarten in Mother Earth’s womb. It’s a wildly inventive game.

    SPOILERS

    The story is pretty classic, but also full of surprises.

  • Effigy_Power

    PS: I NEVER DO NOT WANT TO SEE A HALF NAKED JOE BIDEN WHEN I READ THE GAMEOLOGICAL!

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      ‘Cause I want Joe Biden, need Joe Biden.