Keyboard Geniuses

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Divide And Conker

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Matt Kodner • February 22, 2013

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

Scary Space

After chiming in on last week’s Dead Space 3, Drew Toal was on double duty for shooting-spooky-things-in-space games and took a look at Aliens: Colonial Marines. Drew didn’t care for the revisionist adaptation/continuation of the famous Aliens film, and neither did Valondar, who pointed to larger issues behind the series’ troubles:

Besides the saturation of below-par Aliens franchise entries, the other problem for Aliens is its many, many imitators. That it was released on the heels of Dead Space 3 sort of underlines that, but the omnipresent first-person shooter narrative cliché of the badass space marine blasting away at some safely nonhuman menace (”toughest space trooper to ever suck vacuum,” to use a certain game’s precise words) owes a lot to James Cameron’s film. Just to cite a less-mentioned example: 1993’s Space Hulk, a game set in the Warhammer 40K universe where you play as marines charging around abandoned starships killing aliens and other monstrosities.

And on the other hand, the actual extent of the setting people are interested in is fairly limited. Hence a game that revived a planet that had been blown up. This isn’t a fast, open space universe like Mass Effect where we can just go see what humans and aliens are doing on Exciting Locale X. It’s humans in grimy spaceships and abandoned facilities, and also there are aliens. It’s a powerful set of settings for two movies, but to endlessly recycle them in games is a bit samey.

In response, Kid van Danzig elaborated on what unexpected elements worked best in Aliens’ favor:

It’s ironic because the Aliens setting is probably its strongest element. It provides a perfect contrast to the clean and idyllic (read: boring) human futures of Star Trek and the like. Alien is all about space truckers being exploited by their lawless bosses and chased by a space monster in a space haunted house. There are no space truckers in the Mass Effect universe.

Aliens kept the corporate exploitation theme but expanded the haunted house element to a Roanoke scenario, which was smart. The most ingenious thing about it, that which none of its legion of descendants have bothered to replicate, is its disruption of viewer expectation. Like in the first film, the people you think are going to be most important die in pretty short order, but unlike the first film we actually expect the characters to give as good as they take, and that sense of misfortune and doom is what makes it an effective horror-thriller in addition to a seminal actioner.

Really it feels like all of the properties’ stewards (excepting maybe David Fincher’s famously troubled production) have only really paid attention to the space marine action element and wasted the Lovecraftian/body horror elements of the series as cheap shock.

Metal Gear Rising On The Cake
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Scott Jones reviewed Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a stylish slasher where a disguised cyborg ninja slices his way through enemies and all the way into the player’s heart. Since Revengeance is the 10th-or-so entry in the Metal Gear series—albeit a spinoff—Enkidum asked where a novice should start getting into Metal Gear. Colonel gave a simple answer:

Just strap on in for Metal Gear Solid 3. It’s a prequel to everything, and aside from a few references and in-jokes, you need absolutely zero knowledge of the series. It’s still got lengthy exposition, but the cutscene-to-gameplay ratio is better than the other games.Also, you’ve got The End and a fucking fantastic final boss/ending.

Going more in-depth, Caspian Comic elaborated:

Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 3 I can recommend with only a few qualifications. Metal Gear Solid 2 is particularly unusual even by the standards of this series and requires a bedrock of knowledge gleaned from MGS1. Metal Gear Solid 4 is probably the worst of the lot, with a shameful cutscene-to-gameplay ratio, and on top of that, it requires you to be intimately familiar with the entire series to care about or even understand at the most basic level what’s going on.

And for what it’s worth, while I consider the series one of gaming’s greatest dynasties, and familiarity with them will improve your gaming vocabulary on the whole, I don’t know if I’d really consider them “essential reading.” Especially if, unlike, say, me, your time is valuable and actually at a premium due to work or family commitments.

You can think of the Metal Gear Solid series as gaming’s equivalent to the works of James Joyce. They’re interminably long, impossible to really understand, and while they’re seminal examples of avant-garde storytelling in their respective mediums, you can fake your way through most conversations about them without having actually experienced them yourself.

John Teti alerted us to a new Gameological side feature that answers just such questions:

Hey, everyone, we’re trying a new experiment on our social media tendrils. We asked our followers on Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook to send us specific questions about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and then we chose a few of them and made Scott Jones answer them, via Skype video. Consider it an add-on to the full review.

It’s the brainchild of Gameological’s assistant editor, Matt Gerardi, and we’re creatively calling it a “Review Check-In.” You can catch the new videos (and the calls for questions) if you follow us on one of those thousands of social networks. We’ll sometimes be posting these before the full review is finished, to give you a sense of the critic’s impressions and whet your appetite for the review.

Here’s the first one. These are a quick and dirty affair, but two out of six people have already given this video a “thumbs up,” and I couldn’t be prouder.

And Now For Something Completely Different

If you found yourself wondering what questionably titled games besides Revengeance were released this past week, then look no further than Drew Toal’s Out This Week column. Responding to literally no part of Toal’s article, Beema linked us to an interesting article on older gamers banding together to play games online:

Apropos of nothing, I just stumbled upon this fucking awesome stuff.

Online communities for older gamers to network and play online! Without all the damned kids! FUCK YEAH!

Bar Crawl In The Family
Skyrim Bar Crawl

Drew Toal walked us through some of Skyrim’s most notable bars with a handy guide that would put Zagat’s to shame. Horatio Scornblower shared a favorite Skyrim story that took place in Drew’s “Best New Bar,” complete with passion and revengeance aplenty:

I have fond memories of the New Gnisis Corner Club when I just started out with my Bosmer thief (and later assassin). I was very low level, probably around 10, not as much concerned with leveling up so much as with wandering around the way I hadn’t with my first character.

So I get to Windhelm and decide, hey, no one can see me in here except this guy, how about I steal that piece of Imperial armor that’s on the table? So I did, and it turns out that he didn’t see me! Sweet!

A few days later, I’m back in Windhelm and about to try to start the Blood On The Ice quest when what do I see but a band of mercenaries charging at me straight through the gate? I’m still very low level and don’t have much to my name, either in terms of money, potions, arrows, or mana, so what commenced was about five to seven straight minutes of me running and jumping around Windhelm, firing the occasional arrow if I could spare it, spewing a weak ass fire spell, occasionally getting a good hack in, and repeating that process until all three were dead. I checked the note on one of them, and apparently the owner of the Corner Club knew I stole that damn armor after all.

Needless to say, once I was around level 25 and the best goddamn assassin in all of Tamriel, I went back to the Corner Club and very discreetly slit his throat and killed his assistant outside. Good times.

Rectangle Of 4Tune
PlayStation 4 controller

John Teti gave us the inside scoop on Sony’s recent press conference announcing their newest, and techiest, console the Playstation 4. Dan Whitehead also responded, noting the importance of social media in the upcoming generation:

I think this is why there’s such an expanding gulf between the mainstream games industry and indie developers these days. One side is constantly hungry for more polygons, more RAM, more everything, and the other is looking for ways to be more interesting while using less. What’s interesting is that with Facebook games and iOS titles, it’s clear that the general public is out of step with the core industry. Sony’s presentation did nothing to address this, which doesn’t bode well. The console that succeeds this generation won’t be the one with the biggest veiny throbbing teraflops, but the one that comes up with an accessible and open marketplace for independent developers that can rival the App Store. In other words, it’ll probably be Apple.

And Soredomia left us with this quote:

“They do not possess the true fire. They speak of creation and they boast of their potential but they do not create anything beyond the mundane. Their imagination is poor, obsessed with the small details. A true Dreamer, I say, creates a grand scheme and then concentrates on the details. Starting with the details is for the ants of the imagination—the small insects who aspire only to be fed.”

Apparently, that’s a line from Planescape: Torment. Cool! Well, that’s it folks. As always, thanks for reading and commenting, and we’ll see you next week.

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  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    So that PS4 thread kind of exploded. Anyone know where all those people came from? Just twitter or whatever?

    • PugsMalone

      It got linked as the top story on the main AV Club site, although it already had more than 100 comments by then.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

        Yeah I was wondering the same thing and then I saw it every time I went to AVC and it made sense. I figure all the people who migrated to Gameological but never actually bothered to follow through post here clicked on it and came over.

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

      Many of them were refugees from 1UP and Gamespy, I suspect.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Let’s get some FEMA trailers set up for those poor bastards.

        • KidvanDanzig

          I take it the senator was agreeable?

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

        :(

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

          I will really miss them. 1UP was really great, especially in its prime “1UP Show” era. 

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

      It was also ‘featured’ in the Penny Arcade news scroll.

    • ApesMa

      They came from all over, the article spread quickly across the internet, and according to @ChumJoely:disqus ”large numbers of people in the industry are posting this link back and forth to each other”.

    • GaryX

      Saw Gary Whitta and some other industry guys tweet the story (along with a few Kotaku writers). An article like that was definitely going to attract some people to it.

      Though, my response to it is basically this:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tgbzf3EevJE#!

      • ApesMa

        About that video; yeah we haven’t had a new console in a very long time except the Wii U, but the point is that this is the first time there’s nothing to be excited about.

        What does this thing have to offer that the PS3 doesn’t? Seriously, what? The Wii U has the gamepad, that’s way more interesting than anything presented in that conference.

        • KidvanDanzig

          A shit ton of RAM, in relative terms at least. The 8 gigs of DDR5 (which is straight VRAM iirc) should basically clear it of the sort of memory-throttling problems that constricted engine rendering last generation (generally meaning a tradeoff between visual fidelity and area sizes). It’s sort of baffling to consider, but the PS3 had just 256 MB of DDR3 memory, which is kind of insanely small, and it was widely acknowledged to be the most powerful console of its generation.

          Basically what we’re seeing with the PS4 (and the inevitable Xbox sequel) is an effective elimination of the divide between consoles and custom PC gaming rigs, with the only major difference being the OS used. My custom-built PC is, pound for pound, almost as powerful as the PS4 will be (I have DDR4 RAM which is not as good).

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          @KidvanDanzig:disqus I really don’t think that’s going to be the case. PS4 is about on par with adecent midrange PC from right now, right? Isn’t that generally how all consoles are always? Consoles are moving even more towards the closed platform thing too, as far as I can tell. The few advantages consoles had (ease of use, control of your games, etc) seem to be disappearing in favor of a more watered down PC experience. That ram is pretty cool I guess, but it’s nothing revolutionary. Like what else would they have done?

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

          The purpose of the event seemed to be to attract developers. The problem is that it got built up as a big public reveal for consumers. 

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

          @KidvanDanzig:disqus : I care less about whether it has DDR RAM than I care about whether it has DDR. 

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Increasingly less impromptu Friday open question!

       I’ve been playing Mega Man X Maverick Hunter on my Vita, which is super fun.  Even if the expanded script makes Mega Man out to be a bit of a chump and a dick.  But structurally, it’s a fantastic remake.

       What game would you like to see remade, and what features would you like to see added?  If it was originally sprite, would it be polygon -or redrawn 2D?  Multiplayer?  expanded features?  New content?
       Craft the ideal remake.  

    • PaganPoet

      Final Fantasy VI:

      Full 3D, with cel-shaded characters, in a Yoshitaka Amano-meets-Okami watercolor style. Fully reorchestrated soundtrack. The original version of the game is also included as a bonus/unlockable extra. Keep the gameplay basically the same, but add an extra quest or dungeon to flesh out each character’s motivation/story, particularly the ones like Gogo and Umaro who didn’t have much to do in the original game. Each character has at least two outfits to choose from: one that matches Amano’s artwork, and one that more resembles the stumpy little sprite from the original game.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I was going to cite pretty much this exactly, but figured you’d be along to flesh it out even better.
           An Amano style is ideal, but I’d be happy with Akihiko Yoshida helming the art direction as well.

        • PaganPoet

          I was thinking SE was going to remake the game for its 20th anniversary, as they did for FFI-IV, but then they let FFV’s 20th come and go with no remake in sight, so now I’m not so sure.

    • PugsMalone

      There are so many games that were really rushed and had a lot of cut content. Two that I’d like to see extended remakes of are Illusion of Gaia and Secret of Mana.

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

      I remember in the later games, as X got more dialogue, he quickly became a member of the Luke Skywalker Whiny Protagonists Club. Lots of “Why must I fight? Waaaah!” followed by levels of him blowing the shit out of everything the moves…

      While I can understand how purists might not enjoy it, the (seemingly stalled) DotT-style remake of Maniac Mansion, Night of the Meteor looks pretty awesome.
      In the world of hypotheticals…I’m actually having trouble thinking of something that would be good. I’m hard pressed to think if a remake I genuinely enjoyed as much or more than the originals – I suppose Metroid: Zero Mission and Lunar for the PSX were pretty good.

      I think a remake of Super Hexagon that you could play with a Pong-style controller would be pretty freaking sweet, I suppose…

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Yeah, his reluctance to fight his former allies is somewhat undermined by his enthusiastic fist-pump upon destroying them utterly.

    • Chum Joely

      So in other words, your question is increasingly promptu.

      I’ll have to think about this one. Get back to you real soon.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Unnervingly promptu.

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

      I would love to see a Battletoads remake. If they took out the bugs, gave out lives more freely, and maybe tweaked the difficulty on the “clinger winger” level, then it would be much more playable while still retaining its legendary difficulty.

      There are also numerous NES-era RPGs that would benefit from modern inventory management.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      The original System Shock, with an updated 3D graphics engine, but keeping the awesome techno soundtrack (and muzak in elevators).  Possibly with a co-op mode, though that would be tough to pull off in a story-driven RPG shooter.

      Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy converted from text to a Telltale-style graphical adventure game.

      Below The Root, my favorite C64 adventure game, also in a full 3D environment, though I would also settle for a 2D platformer with just updated graphics.

      • KidvanDanzig

        The original System Shock is abandonware, and if you google “System Shock Portable” you’ll find a free download of a modded version that looks and plays presentably on modern PCs!

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

      I’d like to see a remake of Rogue, but with the Bickham Script font. You know, to classy it up a bit.

    • SonjaMinotaur

      Skies of Arcadia! Jet Grind Radio! A new SSX game that doesn’t suck!

      I’m not sure what I want from them, but I’d be happy to see them again. A multiplayer JGR that stressed the street art aspect could be an amazing DIY fest like Little Big Planet, though.And all games should have more costume changes. Even games that let you change your outfit, there are never enough outfits. (Except maybe Animal Crossing, LBP and Saint’s Row)

      • SonjaMinotaur

        Ok, now I’m stuck on trying to remember a game that let you create your own stickers/graffiti/logos that actually worked well (and wasn’t just repurposing clip art) 

        • PaganPoet

          Grand Theft Auto: Project Runway Edition

        • SonjaMinotaur

          Well, except GTA never has a female protagonist.

          And that’s my other fantasy: BioShock, with a female lead! InFamous, with a female lead! Dishonored, with a female lead! Deus Ex, with a female lead! 

        • djsubversive

          The later Tony Hawk games (at least Underground 2 and American Wasteland) let you put together graffiti tags. Most of it was, yes, clip art, but there were some neat things you could make there. 

          The SKATE games, at least 3, also let you do make logos and stickers and board designs online and share them with other players. Somebody made an old-school Powell Peralta/Bones Brigade deck design and I stuck that on my board and never looked back. 

          APB Reloaded is a free multiplayer GTA-like game that lets you murder people and design your own wardrobe. It’s easy to spend all your time in the social district making decals to put on your clothes and vehicles, and some people are really really good at it. It’s also a frustrating game, where you’ll regularly be matched against people with far more experience and better gear than you, and hackers are belligerent and numerous, so it’s not a game I’d recommend highly.

          However, it lets you have a team made of two Miami Vice extras and Spider-Girl (I’m the guy in the turquoise suit, my buddy’s the guy in the white suit, and Spider-Girl is a random player we got teamed up with during a match).

        • http://twitter.com/droopymcjackass Andy Fernandez

          Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Trane gets into some sticky situations.

    • caspiancomic

       I wouldn’t mind seeing a remake of Shining Force II. The original got a remakish sort of thing on the GBA, but it didn’t really change much besides updating the graphics and script, most noticeably giving the main character tons more dialogue. It was really more of a facelift than a remake. Most of the time olde-schoole games get modern do-overs they get tainted with the scourges of modernity, but SRPGs have only gotten more complex and involving over the years.

      Shining Force II with relatively simplistic polygonal characters on a 3D plain, where things like height and terrain actually influence how your characters behave (the game as it exists now has a rudimentary terrain based defense+/movement- system, but the game is so easy you can ignore it on all but the highest difficulty), with a more in depth magic system, character units that are actually meaningfully differentiated from one another, maybe a more engaging script for giggles.

      Part of my love for Shining Force II is how in its barebones simplicity it serves as a decent blank canvas for projecting my own interpretations of the characters and their relationships to one another. Plus the fact that the characters are almost entirely made up of personality-free interchangeable knuckleheads means you can use pretty much any party you want, since the game is notoriously non-challenging. And while I love the game with all my heart, I think it would really benefit from a revisit, on the 3DS or something.

      • https://twitter.com/tymcast Tyler Mills

        There was a GBA remake of Shining Force Two???? I loved that game. Played it on the PC as part of a Sega Smash Pack. I loved it for pretty much all the reasons you stated. Also there are a few songs from that game that get caught in my head to this day, but most of them are just kinda genericy bleh.

        • caspiancomic

           Er, by “original” I meant the original Shining Force. Sorry, it was a bit ambiguously worded. The awkwardly subtitled Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention for Genesis was remade the more appealingly subtitled Shining Force: The Resurrection of Dark Dragon for GBA in 2010. Apologies about the confusion.

      • djsubversive

        I really like the “facelift,” as you put it, that the original game got on the GBA. It was nice to see it modernized but not simplified. There’s even a New Game+ mode that gives all the enemies more levels (another useful addition – giving monsters levels, or at least making those levels visible to the player).

        Good stuff, and Shining Force II would be an excellent candidate for another similar remake. 

        I will also settle for a re-release of Shining Force 3. Doesn’t even have to be remade, just make it available.

      • https://twitter.com/tymcast Tyler Mills

        No, not your fault at all. I misread your comment, that’s all. 

    • His_Space_Holiness

      Not so much a remake per se, but I’d love to see a version of Grim Fandango that I can play on a modern computer without emulators and whatnot. That thing needs to be on Steam toot sweet.

    • Effigy_Power

      There are a lot of classic adventure games that you can’t play anymore without some weird intrusive emulator or putting half your computer under water. Unless it runs on ScummVM, a lot of older games just have real issues and there were some lovely point and click adventures back then.
      If Steam, just throwing it out there, could come up with a unified surface to play all these games, the way ScummVM did it, it could resurrect a lot of “abandonware” and sell it for a nickel or some sort of charity or whatnot.
      That is something I’d love to see done.

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

        GOG is doing some tremendous work on that front, including offering a great deal of (non-Lucasarts, unfortunately) classic adventures (and other old games) that run just fine out of the box.

        • Effigy_Power

          Daikatana for $5.99? SIGN ME UP.
          No, but seriously, they have a good assortment, but it’s not quite covering the games I like. Well, some of them.

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

          @Effigy_Power:disqus 
          LAST EXPRESS FOR $5.99, FOOL! THAT’S SOME SERIOUSLY GOOD SHIT!

          It’s worth digging through their catalogue, there are some gems in genres I never played as a kid that I’m now curious to revisit (your Fallouts, your Mysts, your Syndicates, your Dungeon Keepers, you Star Controls) as well as some of the bigger non-LucasArts adventure series.
          But, yeah, while there are some nice obscurities, I think the sheer hugeness of the number of classic PC titles, coupled with weird rights issues and platform-compatibility means it lacks a lot of the more obscure, interesting (and sometimes really important) older games you see dumped on abandonware sites (like non-Zork Infocom games, or Legend’s text adventures). For that kind of stuff, if it’s truly unavailable anywhere that will support the creators, I’m an unrepentant patron of DOSBox and Abandonia.

        • valondar

          @Effigy_Power:disqus I’d recommend browsing gog’s community wishlist: http://www.gog.com/wishlist

          And voting up any titles that you’d be interested in. I mean for most it’s just pro forma nonsense, but hey, nobody expected System Shock 2 to seriously show up on gog.

          And @paraclete_pizza:disqus I can strongly recommend the first Dungeon Keeper, although the gog version unfortunately doesn’t install the expansion. The second game… not as much, although it too has many defenders.

    • valondar

      Well one remake I am genuinely interested in is Abe’s Oddysee, as a HD version of that game’s gorgeous 2D sprites would be nice and shiny, and it was an unforgivingly difficult and ergo FUN platformer game. However, that’s actually going to happen and I think is actually due for later this year (and another game I’d like to see get a remake, Dungeon Keeper, has a spiritual successor due with War for the Overworld).

      So hmmm.

      I realize my comments are sometimes boringly obvious as I keep circling back to my favourite games, but I’m going with Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. If any 4X title from the 1990s deserves a revival, it’s this surprisigly well-written game of rival ideologies competing on an alien world. Brian Reynolds, who – contra the game’s title – was the main talent behind the game, is currently out of a job. I’d like to see him come on and  hopefully get the tone of the new cinematics just right, but also make a modern 4X game with all the attendant bells and whistles and fun.

    • EmperorNortonI

      There are a few I can think of.

      First off, a re-make of Ultima V, using something like the Skyrim engine.  Retain the elements that made that game awesome, such as the enormous world, hundreds of characters with in-depth conversation trees, and unforgiving difficulty, while bringing in a whole wealth of environmental elements that were impossible back then – like that Hypothermia mod. 

      Second, StarControl 2′s SuperMelee, rebuilt to be bigger, faster and better.  3d ships, better inertia modeling, larger systems and playing arenas, and better modeling of range and distance, but the same tactical balance and skill-based combat.  Tack on on online matchmaker and arena designer, tournaments and ladders and you’ve got a winner.

      I’d like to see a new version of Castles.  You could manage a good chunk of the game with the Total War engine, but I really enjoyed designing Castles, and I’d like a version where your designs really got tested out in real tactical situations.  That would be awesome.

      A new Railroad Tycoon would also be nice, not necessarily a remake but rather just a new iteration of the series.

  • stakkalee

    Well, we have a new record for the most-commented article!  John Teti’s In-Your-Face attitude and non-sufferance of fools sparked a ton of conversation across 552 comments, beating our previous comment thread record holder, the Q&A on unfinished games.
    And now for the Top 5 Most-Liked (non KG) comments:
    1) – @feisto:disqus gets 55 likes for the response!
    2) – @Llodes:disqus get 53 likes for the criticism!
    3) – @DwigtKSchrute:disqus gets 41 likes for telling us it’ll all be ok.
    4) – VS (@twitter-272119069:disqus) gets 38 likes for the praise!
    5) – Zach Handlen (@twitter-18700305:disqus) gets 36 likes for telling us a story.
    Nice job folks.  Some spirited discussion, some passionate replies, some funny jokes; a good week all around!
    And now for the new inductees!  We have 3 commenters getting their plaid jackets today.  Everyone please say hello to beema (@twitter-259492037:disqus), @Horatio_Scornblower:disqus, and soredomia (@google-e2001670d61438db7480e56d1f619bd4:disqus), who does it in one comment!  Nice work everyone!
    And now for our returning members.  Almost everyone else selected by Soupy today is getting their first stud, so a big round of congratulations to valondar (@google-ad11b5fc6e812fcfddafc59b953591fe:disqus), @KidvanDanzig:disqus, @Col_Roy_Campbell:disqus and Dan Whitehead (@facebook-789605656:disqus).  And of course, @caspiancomic:disqus is getting his 18th stud, moving him into third place behind Effigy and Girard.  Never a dull moment!
    And now, Linkdump: Kittykat edition!  Cat owners, you love your cats, right?  Then why not build them some videogame-themed furniture?  Or, you could get them their own iPad and pack it with games specifically for cats!  Now, this last link isn’t videogame related, I just thought it was neat – Sixteenth century cat pawprints, showing that even hundreds of years ago, cats would walk across your desk, absolutely heedless of whatever you happened to be working on.  Who’s supposed to be the pet again?  And so another week comes to a close.  Enjoy your video games, and remember to keep it scintillating!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I saw your avatar featured on an i09 article today.  I always figured it was a an electron microscope image of a bug or maybe a stylized skull drawing.
         But nope!  It’s a blooming mushroom cloud!  How freaky.

      • stakkalee

        Neat, I just tracked down the article. When I was setting up my Disqus account I grabbed this picture from my desktop background collection of vaguely circular or spherical shapes – it’s from the Tumbler-Snapper nuclear tests.

    • caspiancomic

      *cracks knuckles, looks meaningfully in the direction of Eff and Girard*

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

        ::meaningfully lifts corner of jacket, revealing big-ass hunting knife tucked into belt::

      • Effigy_Power

        *cracks knuckles, palms 6 foot wired remote control for tactical nuclear warhead*

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Good luck, kid. Now that I’m beaten I kinda’ have to admit I’m glad. Seems maybe now I can find some peace. Maybe get some work done on that damn garden I’ve let go to seed in my obsession to find trenchant and witty insight on things I right honestly don’t know jack shit about.
        But you be careful, hot shot. There’s always gonna be some young Turk who reckons they’s gonna make a name for themselves by taking you down a stud. I hope you enjoyed sleep, ‘cuz every night you’re gonna lie there half awake with one observation cocked, for someone to out expound you in the dark.
        Good luck, kid. You’re gonna need it.

        *immediately has heart attack on the veranda*

    • KidvanDanzig

      Hmmm, coulda sworn I showed up once before, denigrating Hitman: Absolution I believe?

      I mean don’t get me wrong, I am by all accounts an excellent commenter and deserve to be recognized.

      • PaganPoet

        Your first recognition gets you a plaid jacket. Every recognition after that gets you a stud. Your first stud means Soupy has shined his golden light on you twice now.

      • stakkalee

        Indeed, you got your plaid jacket on November 30th for this insight on Hitman: Absolution.

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

    So I generally regard Facebook games with as much esteem as a festering pile of excrement, but Game of Thrones Ascent just launched, and well, I’m kind of curious because it’s Game of Thrones. I think it got a favorable review at Kotaku (who I also don’t regard very highly), which is kind of interesting.

    Dare I approve the app?

  • http://acksed.myopenid.com/ Colin

    That integrated touchpad… If one were paranoid, one could say it was cribbed from the Ouya.

    If one were paranoid.

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

      That seemed pretty obviously the case to me – I didn’t really feel “paranoid” about it, it just seemed obvious. They’re covering their bases by having WiiU functionality with the Vita, motion control with the light on the controllers, and having Ouya-style touch on the controllers.

  • KidvanDanzig

    Speaking of Alien, it seems like the release of Colonial Marines must have lifted whatever NDA was keeping ex-Obsidian employees from presenting their work on the Aliens RPG online. First there was a short animation / mocap reel, and then a few days ago this 13-minute demo recording of the game in alpha popped up - 
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxmb1s_ac_videogames#.UShlG1QR-Sq

    It’s in a rough state (this was made 1 or 2 milestones before SEGA dropped the axe on it, so about a month before cancellation), hence the humorous placeholder sounds when aliens get shot and the jerky animations. Contrary to what the Obsidz CEO had said, it was still about a year and a half to two years from completion. Still, you can see the basic gist of what they were going for. Most interesting is probably the dialogue system, which was a full departure from the “stand and deliver” dialogue of traditional RPGs all the way up through the Mass Effect series. All dialogue (probably save for that which took place in safe spaces) was ambient dialogue, the sort of thing you see in, say, Dragon Age when your party member sees something in the environment and comments on it. Aliens: Crucible basically gave players the ability to participate in ambient dialogue so as to not stop the game in its tracks.

    I’m obviously a big Alien fan, and a big Obsidian fan, so it’s tough to see this whole concept wasted, but if Aliens had never been canceled we might never have gotten Fallout: New Vegas (which those members of the Aliens: Crucible team who weren’t laid off went on to make).

    • valondar

      Obsidian did say they wanted to do a new Star Wars RPG to be on next-gen consoles (NOT a KOTOR 3, for obvious reasons, supposedly set between the prequel and original trilogies) and did say they sent a ten page summary of content to Lucasfilm.

      So… yeah. One can hope, eh?