Keyboard Geniuses

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Tune In, Game On

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Landon Gray Mitchell • August 2, 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.

Movies, To The Max

According to Steve Heisler, the ending of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has many fine qualities, including an always-on laser shuriken called the Killstar, but the aptly named Kilzor says that the best stuff in Blood Dragon is lifted from the worst of the worst ’80s movies:

The absolute best thing (in a countless list of best things about this game) is that the over-the-top ’80s montage song (”Hold On To The Vision”) used during the Killstar training montage is actually a real over-the-top 80’s montage song from an 80’s action movie (Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “No Retreat, No Surrender”). It’s so ridiculous that upon hearing it, at first you insist to yourself it’s a perfect parody. No, my friends, that’s just how great the ’80s actually were.

And if watching Jean-Claude Van Damme spin kick while wearing an all-white power suit isn’t enough ’80s chaff for your suddenly incredible Friday afternoon, Charlotte Grote suggests Miami Connection, the source of Blood Dragon’s end credits song:

“Friends through eternity/Loyalty, honesty/We’ll stay together through thick or thin!” That amazing end credits song comes from the brilliant piece of movie cheese known as Miami Connection. In the film, a rock band of tae kwon do black belts face off against the local drug dealers as well as an evil gang of motorcycle ninjas. That song is an example of music they play in a club. It’s possibly the best “so bad it’s good” movie this side of Troll 2, and it’s on Netflix Instant.

Choose Your Own Sandwich
Rob Sherman

Anthony John Agnello interviewed the people behind an interactive story/text-based adventure game/harbinger of all things to come, The Black Crowne Project. The piece inspired The Helmaroc King to share a few excerpts from his choose-your-own-adventure novel. SPOILER WARNING: There are sandwiches.

This sounds neat, although I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t consume a lot of interactive fiction. I am, however, surprisingly keen on horror in general. For some reason, the tie-in novel reminds me of those various alternate-reality games that pop up now and again, if not quite so elaborate.

Sadly, you can expect this to be overshadowed once my own piece of interactive fiction, a masterpiece in the classical style of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. My inspirations are H.P. Lovecraft and corporate sponsorship. An excerpt:

Hands trembling, you pull yourself from the still chasm beneath the manor. It mocks you with the echoes of your haggard breathing. The floorboards groan, but they hold. You once felt alone in the universe; you wish you could feel that way again.

You have seen beings innumerable and incomprehensible, beings more than capable of wiping all that you know from the face of the universe. Why have they not? Are we merely beneath contempt, or have they some grander scheme? You have never been more aware of your insignificance.

To go mad from knowledge man was not meant to know, turn to page 17.

To make yourself a sandwich, turn to page 29.

Make your choice and read the thread to see what happens next!

Sarapen went off-topic and pointed us to the forthcoming Viscera Cleanup Detail, a game that asks who exactly mops the pools of blood left in the wake of a probably totally awesome space war:

I’ve just discovered an alpha gameplay video for Viscera Cleanup Detail, a “Janitor Simulator” game where you play as the poor minimum-wage sap who has to clean up the space station after the marines have fought off the eldritch horrors from beyond space and time.

There’s something oddly fascinating about watching a pair of disembodied hands mop a floor of pools of blood and throw unidentified chunks of flesh in an incinerator. The ludicrousness of being in a kick-ass creepy space station that was the site of a desperate battle for survival—and not giving a shit because you have to clean pus off the ceiling—comes through strongly from the sample. I should probably not buy this game or else I’ll spend my free time cleaning fictional rooms when I should probably be doing that in my actual apartment.

Lost Boys, Bare Knuckles

In Adapt or Die, Anthony John Agnello argued that Steven Spielberg’s Hook and its 1992 Super NES adaptation were each weak where the other was strong. GhaleonQ called attention to the Hook arcade game, which was a different beast altogether:

[Another adaptation of the Hook film] was the totally bizarre beat-’em-up made by the great Irem. It’s not good, but totally anticipates how good Baseball Combat Fighting League would be a mere year later. Peter and three Lost Boys beat up some kind of West Asian ascetic on an ice floe, a giant with a pipe, a fat butcher, and HOOK CLONES.

The Cyberpunk Is Now
Shadowrun Returns

In a review, Drew Toal compared the comfortable, upper-crust Seattle of Frasier with the weaponized, cyberpunk, future Seattle of Shadowrun Returns. Hobbes Mkii considered how user mods will make Shadowrun Returns better (there’s a sentence that sounds pretty cyberpunk itself):

I wonder if it’s fair to judge this game on what it shipped with? As some of the other commenters have mentioned, it was a fairly anemic release. Some of that isn’t liable to change—as stakkalee mentioned over in our Gameological Society Steam thread, items and spells aren’t editable, so combat is likely to remain the same.

But I’ve also heard that the next campaign that Harebrained will release will be far more sprawling and open (and include Berlin content). Moreover, the fostering of a healthy modding community suggests that users will help create the most compelling stories—as might occur in a proper tabletop role-playing games.

Almost all modern games support mods, so user content isn’t exactly unique to this game or new. But some games thrive on mods. My first thoughts fall, of course, to Paradox and Crusader Kings 2 (I’m biased—I briefly worked on the A Game Of Thrones mod), but also to games like Close Combat V, where modding has taken the base framework of a fairly old game (13 years) and built versions that are just amazing, sometimes surpassing the game’s creators themselves.

Having opened this can of worms, I also wonder where the lines could possibly be drawn. Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas are both hugely popular platforms for user content, but they also shipped as fully-realized (albeit sometimes buggier) ideas. In fact, so have all the games I’ve mentioned have, with the exception of Shadowrun. For some reason, though, I’m willing to cut it a ton of slack. It’s not a building—it’s a foundation with a frame and some plywood walls—but the potential for grandeur is there.

Just Say Nintendo
Surgeon Simulator 2013

This week’s inventory of playable drug trips included a bevy of reader suggestions as well as this observation by Kyle O’Reilly:

Wavy visuals and wild hue changes seems to be the go-to motif for drug scenes in video games, but from my experience, it would be more accurate if your character just got really hardcore anxious and the camera spun 90 degrees every 15 seconds when you thought you heard something and man you just want to calm down.

Ha ha what was that oh my god I feel so tiny inside my chest are you a cop? Perhaps play a video game to calm down. Cloks asked:

What kind of video games do people enjoy playing on drugs? I mostly partake socially, so I don’t get a chance to play video games while in an altered state of mind very often, but I’m a fan of Team Fortress 2. It makes it much easier to put up with every terrible player saying “this team fuking suks” and all the weapons they’ve added that I have no idea what they do.

And there were plenty of responses, as Gameological readers apparently like to experiment. Here’s one from DrFlimFlam:

I found that a few beers made me really good at Rainbow Six 3. I get nervous in multiplayer matches sometimes, jittery, and that smoothed it right out. Nothing major, just literally two beers, and I was at or near the top of every match.

Girard went the Timothy Leary route, at least in theory:

LSD + Silent Hill 2 seems like a winning combination to me.

But social_bobcat said not so fast:

I foresee someone in such a situation spending an hour on the “noose” puzzle, just constantly pulling down that deadly circle in front of James’ face, hearing the robe fiber stretttttch. Yes, awfully wrong.

Driver’s Licence To Kill
Dark Souls first-person mod

John Teti highlighted yet another mod—this time to Dark Souls—that conjured memories of King’s Field, a role-playing games series for the original PlayStation made by the same studio that later produced the Souls games. Back in that long-ago PS1 era, Aurora Boreanaz played King’s Field all night, and he suffered the consequences:

King’s Field was the first PS1 game I owned. I bought a PS1 the day before I took my driving test, and I bought King’s Field because I wanted a role-playing game. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I couldn’t save without a memory card. So after playing for about 10 hours, I paused the game and drove to Wal-Mart (thankfully open 24 hours, as this was probably about 1 a.m.) to buy one. I can’t remember for sure, but I think I failed to save when I got back and had to start over.

Also fun, I stayed up all night with a friend and then went to take my driving test the next morning on no sleep. I passed by eight points.

George_Liquor provided his own coda:

That story should really end with “There were no survivors.”

That’s it, folks. Everybody, thanks for reading and commenting. See you on Monday!

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147 Responses to “Tune In, Game On”

  1. PaganPoet says:

    Ai ya! None of topics this week were about stuff that I know. Thanks, Obama.

    That coupled with the fact that I’m not intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable in general means Soupy shall continue to raise his adorable nose up at my posts.

  2. caspiancomic says:

    [This space reserved for link to new Game Theory article which isn’t quite done yet. Check back later.]

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’m glad you’re updating it more often now.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Hey, do you take topic suggestions? If so, I have one that I think would be pretty cool, especially because you have such a better way with words than I do. I’m not sure if you’re okay with revisiting games you’ve already covered, but this would be about Persona 3 again (and Persona 4 if you ever get the chance to play it).

      I think it would be cool to have an in depth discussion about the tarot/Major Arcana angle of the game, and discuss how those particular characters and social links relate to the meanings of that particular tarot.


      For example, Yukari’s tarot is The Lovers. The Lovers represents love, desire, attraction, human relationship, friendship, bonding, etc.

      The obvious connection here is that Yukari is an attractive and popular girl at school who has many admirers. She doesn’t reciprocate any of that connection, however, except with Makoto (the MC’s canon name, btw) as he progresses her Social Link.

      In addition, her social link is very about her revisiting her relationship with her mother, which is very much severed and bitter at the beginning of the game. She’s able to reconnect with her mother, and while she’s still wary and skeptical at the end, she has at least opened up to giving her mother another chance.

      You could even go into gameplay mechanics, if you want to get serious. Yukari’s personas and other personas in The Lovers Arcana are skilled in healing and wing magic. The healing part is obvious. If you love and care about someone, you obviously want them to stay safe and help them when they’re hurt. But what about wind? Well, we know that much about attraction is chemical and involved scents and pheromones. What spreads pheromones? Wind!

      Anyway, it’s just a thought. You’re a much better writer than I am, and I think it would be a cool article.

      • caspiancomic says:

         I actually quite like this idea, although frankly you seem perfectly capable of writing something along those lines yourself. I’ve been thinking of ways to revisit the world of Persona somewhere down the line but hadn’t yet thought of a decent angle for approaching it, so I might keep this one in my pocket for a rainy day. I’ve already got my next… *checks calendar* …nine articles more or less lined up and at various stages of completion, so it’d probably be a while before it saw the light of day (also, since the Arcana are common between games it’d be fun to incorporate elements from Persona 4 once I’ve actually played it), but I’ll definitely consider it. I tend to work on multiple essays simultaneously, slowly adding to each one as inspiration strikes, so I’ll start something like this running in the background. Cheers for the idea, mate!

        • PaganPoet says:

          (very minor Persona 4 spoilers ahead)

          Persona 4 would be extra interesting too, because of the shadow selves. They represent the “reversed” Arcana. For example, The Lovers social link in that game is the character Rise Kujikawa. Shadow Rise reveals Rise’s biggest shame: that because she’s a popular singer and idol, she knows that nobody knows the “real” her, and all of her relationships are superficial and fake.

          The shadow self and the reversed Arcana are not really present in Persona 3 (with the exception of Shadow Makoto showing up in The Answer of P3:FES)

  3. Dave Dalrymple says:

    Since it’s so quiet, I’m going to start the Weekend Prompt inspired by Aurora Boreanaz’s story:

    What are your best/worst all-nighter video game experiences?

    A very embarrassing one for me happened with Star Control 3. I was exploring space, and ran out of fuel. I hadn’t saved in hours, so reloading wasn’t an option. My only solution was to establish a colony and build a fuel depot. Sadly, my colony options were extremely limited. The only planet in the system with any resources was only inhabitable by Mycon, and even then just barely. And I only had 19 colonists. It took three hours of real time (months of game time) for my colony to finally produce enough fuel to get to another system. Through all of this, I was constantly getting distress calls from other systems.

    • boardgameguy says:

      Growing up, we never got a console past the original NES. So I had to get my 16-bit gaming fix at friends’ houses. One memorable sleep over we rented NBA JAM TE. After everyone fell asleep around 2 or 3, I stayed up the rest of the night, determined to beat the game since it was the only chance I had. I played as the Rockets by couldn’t get past the Sonics in the playoffs.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      In 7th grade I didn’t have many friends, and had a habit of overstaying my welcome with the few I had until they stopped inviting me over.  (Horrid hellbeast step-mother and my father out of state for work for six months meant I tried to spend as little time at home as possible.)

      One time a kid from school invited me to spend the night, I think because one of his closer friends cancelled at the last minute.  We played Castlevania 2 from six until midnight and, with the help of the Nintendo Power when we got stuck, finished it.

      After that the kid avoided me at school, and turned me down the few times I offered to have him visit my house in return.  He pretty much never wanted to talk to me again.  It took me a few years to realize the probable reasons why:

      1 – I hogged the game for almost six hours straight, with him reading the Nintendo Power and telling me what to do.

      2 – He had just received the game, and probably wanted to play it for longer than a day before finishing it.

      3 – He was in marching band, and had a parade to perform in the next morning, and kept telling me we should get some sleep, but I was too intent on finishing the game to listen.

      So yeah, if our situations were reversed I probably wouldn’t have hung out with me again either.

      • EmperorNortonI says:

         It’s funny, I sat with a friend a beat Castlevania 2 using a Nintendo Power magazine in a single sitting too.  However, we were good friends before and after, and did it during the early-late afternoon, so there weren’t any problems.

        I remember the first Castlevania being simply impossible.  One time, I think, he got to Frankenstein, but just barely.  So it was a real bit of triumph to actually beat the sequel.

        I’ve not played a Castlevania since.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Oh yeah, I made it to Frankenstein several times in the original Castlevania, but never could beat him.  Always infuriated me when I got him down to 1 or 2 hits left and Igor would always cheapshot me.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Damn, dude, you’re not even giving me an hour?  Are we going to have to meet at the band shell and fight?
         My best gaming all-nighters were all sleepovers as a kid.  The first Final Fantasy, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom, anything that would keep you engaged well until you emerged from your bedroom to the cool light of dawn, amazed that you’ve spent the last ten hours in a room stuffy and oppressive with snack farts and an overheating Nintendo. 

    • Labrat85 says:

       Sneaking out to use the shared computer at night to do freaking chicken races in FF7 because i was obsessed with finishing that thing is pretty embarrassing.

    • caspiancomic says:

      When we were in high school, my butties and I had a habit of spending almost entire weekends awake, hanging out, talking about girls, eating pizza, and playing video games. One night we rented the first God of War, and fired it up around the time my friend’s mom was turning in for the night. We played the game until she woke up to go to work the next morning. She was, quite rightly, shocked to see us still going.

      Another sort of one, although it didn’t go on all night: one year my fam and I were visiting old school friends of my mom’s in North Carolina, and I spent that trip really quite bored. I had one of the guest rooms to myself, though, so at night I downloaded Truck Dismount on to the guest room computer and spent hours at a time amusing myself with it. It was some of the only genuine entertainment I got on that trip. Although I probably created a vicious cycle by staying up all night playing video games, then being cranky and irritable during the day.

    • Citric says:

      Metal Gear Solid + rum + good friend = good times. Until you get so drunk you can barely do anything, then it’s still good times but you’re not progressing any further.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I remember renting Brave Fencer Musashi from Blockbuster and having a sleepover at my friend’s house. We drank Mountain Dew and ate corn nuts all night.

    • Boonehams says:

      When I was really little, my brother had a sleepover birthday party where all of his friends came over to play video games.  Even though I was about three years younger than everyone else there, to their credit, they still let me watch/play.  We got into a real jag playing Mega Man 2, a game that no one there, nor anyone we knew, had beaten.
      We kept dying, but as long as we kept hitting continue, it didn’t take us back too far, which we saw as incentive to keep going.  When one person got the continue screen, we handed off the controller, and each person inched closer and revealed more of the game to us.  It was past dark by the time we reached Wily’s castle.  No one knew what laid ahead or how much further we had to go.  Screw writing down the password–we were beating that game that night.
      When we finally defeated Wily, everyone else in the house was fast asleep, so us young gamers had the quietest of celebrations, loudly whispering, “YEAH!” and “ALL RIGHT!”
      We watched the ending cinematic and I remember when it got to the part when Mega Man took off his helmet and the music died down right before the credits, I looked up and saw the first rays of sunlight peek in through the window blinds.
      It was beautiful and poetic, really, and one of the best all-nighters I ever pulled.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I used to spend most Friday nights at my friend’s house in high school, playing whatever rented game he had on his PS1 until we fell asleep at 5AM. What passes for an all-nighter these days is BioShock Infinite, which I played until the ungodly hour of ONE IN THE MORNING, and then I read about it UNTIL 230. IN THE MORNING.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       I’m trying to remember a single un-ambiguously positive all-nighter that I’ve pulled, period.  I don’t do well on little sleep, and I’ve realized that I’m something of a morning person anyway, so by the wee hours of the morning I’m not usually all that functional, and am not having all that much fun.

      So, let’s see.  There was the time I went out to my friend’s house for a weekend, and we played Magic a lot.  I was just learning the game, and used my whole collection, against his 120 card deck.  120 cards is way too big, but it’s better than 700 or so, and I lost time and time again.  Incredibly frustrating.  The idea of a 60 card deck seemed impossible, almost like cheating.  I don’t know if it was an all-nighter, but it kinda felt that way.

      Then there was the time I went out to the same friend’s place with a big group for the weekend.  Stuff happened during the night, and we were all pretty out of it in the morning, when we busted out Cosmic Encounter.  This turned incredible silly, as the Terrorist somehow managed to bomb, like, EVERY world on the board, leaving the remaining players with no homeworlds and, like, 2 ships each.  That was a strange game, and we probably weren’t playing it right.

      When the first Civ and MOO1 were new, I was totally addicted to those games, and stayed up pretty late playing them – but never until dawn.

      Most often, my all-nighters went something like this.

      10-2 – fun, but not all that fun, because the other people don’t have their shit together and promised gaming doesn’t take place.

      2-4 – other people are dicking around, but it seems like gaming might happen, so I stick around anyway.

      5 – fuck, it’s dawn now, maybe if I go home now I can get at least a little bit of sleep.

      6 – nope, no sleep today, I’ve gotta waste the whole next day as a zombie.

      i stopped going.

  4. Fluka says:

    For those of you who didn’t have enough of internet arguments for the week, there’s a new Tropes vs. Women in Games video up.  Maybe a bit more contentious than previous ones, what with the focus on indie games and ironic sexism, which may ruffle a few feathers.
    At least we can all agree with the conclusion that Braid is totally amaaaazing.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      Not my Spelunky!!!!!!!!!! 

      But in all seriousness, I got no beef with Anita. I think it’s cool that she’s putting together high-quality videos that really ask tough questions that make a lot of gamers uncomfortable (really really uncomfortable judging by the reactions she gets).  The more voices we bring into the game criticism community the better.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        The standard she’s being held to is ridiculous, and after a soft opening episode the second volume did a great job of ramming home the story-telling shortcuts writers use where women are disposable motive machines suitable for torture or justifiable murder, which seems worse than treating them as sex objects.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I very highly disagree with her point about Spelunky. There may not be a long-standing cultural stereotype about STRAIGHT men being weak and helpless, but you can NOT say the same thing about GAY men. It seems to me that the “dude in distress” added to Spelunky HD was a nod to gay gamers, especially given his physique and outfit.

      • Fluka says:

        The Spelunky one is an interesting one.  On the one hand, it’s definitely acknowledging the existence of gay gamers.  Damn, the “hero rescues his prince” is even rarer than the gender-swapped variants she mentioned, and society’s stereotype of gay men as “effeminate” certainly makes things even more complicated.  On the other hand, I think it’s presence here is serving as an illustration of the problem at the heart of the trope – people (usually, but not always, women) reduced to a reward or object.  Either one of the two characters can be swapped out for a dog, or thrown as a weapon, after all.  The savior/damsel power dynamic strikes me as kind of squicky regardless of the gender of the damsel, too.

        • PaganPoet says:

          That’s true. The character itself is problematic regardless of gender or…species I guess.

          But to me, it’s like the developers said “Hey, maybe some people would prefer to rescue a muscle hunk in a thong (or an adorable widdle puggy-poo) rather than a busty bombshell.” Sure, the character is little more than a prop, but it’s cool that they sought to be inclusive.

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus It’s always a balancing act, isn’t it?  It’s like when the Ice King Disney finally added a black princess to their princess collection.  It’s still the same old princess crap, but it does feel meaningful if you’ve been shut out of that idea of femininity (or in the case of Spelunky, romance and heroism) in the past.  

        • NakedSnake says:

          In re: The Dog. I found it good and satisfying that you could switch out the hapless prisoners with a dog. It seemed to me to be an explicit opportunity to opt out of the damsel in distress trope. I don’t think it implies (or at least was intended to imply) any kind of equivalence between dogs and dudes/damsels in distress. I thought it was a nod to the people who find rescuing dudes/damsels to be a bit tiresome.

        • caspiancomic says:

          Question from someone unfamiliar with Spelunky: can you choose the gender of your character? Do you always have to be a dood rescuing ladies or doods? Or could you conceivably be a lady rescuing ladies or doods? Or dogs? (Can you… play as a dog who rescues dogs? What are the gender politics implications of an all-dog Spelunky?)

        • PaganPoet says:

          @caspiancomic:disqus One of the four starting characters in Spelunky HD is female. There are two more female characters which can be unlocked.
          I should also add that the characters also seem to be very racially and culturally diverse. There’s a south Asian guy in a turban, a black pirate female, A Mexican guy, a Chinese guy, and central American native. And Super Meat Boy.There are more that are DLC.

          No playable pugs. :(

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus That’s pretty neat, actually!  Except for the “no playable pug” part.  That’s BULLSHIT.

        • SamPlays says:

          Speaking of Disney, there was a debacle recently when they unveiled a newly “feminized” version of the lead character from Brave. In the film she’s fairly “boyish” in her design but a redesign saw her with a lower neckline, smaller waist, bigger hips and a glammy hairdo. Plus sparkles. Lots and lots of sparkles.

        • SamPlays says:

          @baneofpigs:disqus I think the issue at hand was the damsel in distress trope being the default. If it’s a tiresome narrative device, it’s fair to ask why the designers bothered to include it in the first place.

      • SamPlays says:

        Interestingly, there’s an implicit assumption being made that a man rescuing another man must somehow be “gay”. I think the problem being highlighted by the critique is that a “damsel” is synonymous with a “homosexual” or a “bitch” (I can only assume given the context that the dog is female). I’ve never played Spelunky but my jaw dropped when I saw the female character being thrown as a weapon (but I’m just an outsider looking in).

    • caspiancomic says:

       I don’t know if Sarkeesian’s videos are actually starting to get through to people or if the trolls have just tuckered themselves out with their last two consecutive tantrums, but the reaction to this most recent video has been relatively benign. Not healthy, mind you, a lot of people are still dismissing her out of hand or refusing to give her arguments any sort of thought, but it’s been weeks since I’ve seen someone wishing death on her. Which counts as progress on the internet!

      Fun fact: my site saw a modest spike in views around the time her second video came out because it included footage from The Void. People having a forum dust up at Rock Paper Shotgun linked to my article about feminism and The Void as evidence that Sarkeesian’s larger point was somehow invalid. I felt unclean.

      • Fluka says:

        I just figured they were all tuckered out from yelling at this lady for not being 100% enthusiastic about Dragon’s Crown.  It’s nice to think that the videos might have opened up the minds of even 1% of the misogynistic troll viewers to some new ideas, though.

        • Pandas_please says:

           Yesh! I’ve got admire her for keeping that in the review without a doubt knowing the response she’s received so far was the only response the internet could give.

        • stakkalee says:

          Yikes, a 1200+ comment thread!  That seemed like a very reasonable, generally positive review of the game – I can’t understand how one minor complaint about the game can produce so much frothy rage.  Kudos to the commenters fighting the good fight over there; they have more patience than I could muster.  Once again it makes me glad to have GS, a nice little oasis of quiet sanity.

        • Girard says:

          Those comments bruised my soul. Polygon is generally a pretty interesting site, but it apparently still has enough Kotaku in its DNA to foment some truly toxic commenters.

          Her main beefs with the game were regarding the shitty repetitive gameplay and dearth of levels, but people completely ignored that and just kept accusing her of marking it down based on some feminist agenda because she spent a paragraph or so discussing how the artwork – beyond the character art already flogged to death across the internet – contained some problematic gender stuff.

        • SamPlays says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Even more problematic than the character design is the fact that each breast seems to bounce independently despite being attached to the same body. IGN review summary: “Animations are fluid.” I guess we have to live a little longer with negative gender stereotypes but ill-conceived jiggle physics are completely intolerable!

        • Fluka says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus It’s not even so just the mind-numbing misogyny of the comments which is depressing; it’s the anti-intellectualism.  The refusal to believe that the art and story of a game should be part of its appraisal, and that reviews must be “objective.”  And people wonder why reviews at places like IGN are totally meaningless…
          @SamPlays:disqus My primary reaction to watching those jiggly Sorceress animations is “OH GOD.  THE PAIN.”

      • Chum Joely says:

        Fewer death wishes because she closed the comments on YouTube? (which of course everyone on Polygon was absolutely blasting her for– “shutting down intelligent debate” and all that…)

    • Jer Link says:

       My favorite part of this video was her game concept. Especially the ending where the princess abolishes the monarchy. This game not only features not only a reversal of the damsel trope, but also classic American themes of Freedom and Democracy. And stealth mechanics. I’d defiantly play that.

    • Girard says:

      Her videos have generally been on-point and good about choosing particular areas of the broader ‘damsel’ problem to focus on. I generally find the posture of ‘absolution through irony’ taken by many artists to be deeply problematic, and think she did a good job of calling it out within the context of gender representation in video games.

      Beyond that, I didn’t feel this one went quite as deep as the prior two, but that may be because she ceded so much time to listing/discussing games that were doing (some) things right, which left less time for criticism.

    • SamPlays says:

      This video has made my week! I have a very strong interest in gender roles and it’s something that pervades my research. On a personal level, I’m not sure why it’s a topic that makes anyone uncomfortable but it’s true. Slight digression: A few years ago I wrote a report on gender segregation in our organization and it got sidelined because my executive (a female) at the time felt it was “too sensitive” despite that every observation and statement was backed by our own workforce data. Thanks for the link!

      • Girard says:

        It’s the third in a series, with many more to come. If you really liked that one, you should check the previous ones out, too.

        The same person also used to do shorter, similar videos on tropes in broader popular culture contexts. They’re much less substantive (and much more your basic ‘snarky YouTube video’), but they make some on-point observations, and you might enjoy them if you like her newer work.

  5. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Weekend Prompt!
       I can envision myself at fifteen, sitting in my cramped computer room, well into my 70th hour of Crusaders Of the Dark Savant, and still thrilled at the tinny “ughs”! and Ahs!” earned through my purchase of a PC sound card!.
       And I imagine older, wiser me appearing through some dappled, empyrian space/time tunnel bearing a really nice LED tv, sound system and a copy of Skyrim.  And I would sit myself down and bring forth the Sibylline word of ambient light effects, fully voiced NPC’s and fucking rad looking armor.
       Or twelve year-old me who would stare at magazines with preview images of Super Mario World and note every pixel, every color previously impossible on the NES with the fevered studiousness of a mental patient.  To be able to show that kid Super Mario Galaxy would be a delight.

       What video games would you most love to be able to show your younger self?   

    • George_Liquor says:

      I’d show my 12-year-old self how every single video game produced to date could fit on a storage device the size of my pinkie nail.

      Yes, I am that old and lame.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Seriously.  I was playing Temple Run 2 on the my phone in the water closet thinking, this is magic.   

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I say something along those lines on a regular basis, so at least you’re not old and lame alone!

        Seriously – when I remember having to delete Wasteland (all 660K of it) to make room for another game on my IBM XT because the 10MB hard drive was full…

        • George_Liquor says:

          Yep, I had an XT as well. I remember trying to shuffle off Space Quest III onto a stack of 360KB floppies to make room for God-knows-what; probably some crappy CGA game that ran slower than dirt on that underpowered beige box.

          I’ve been doing IT since the late 90s, and storage for just over a decade. It occurred to me recently that I have more disk storage in my house now than at the very first datacenter I worked in.

      • Labrat85 says:

        USB flash drives are fucking magic, we should be in awe of these advances however commonplace they may become.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      TWO Weekend Prompts?  What have we done to be so lucky?

      I can imagine my younger self sitting at the PC, enjoying the isometric view and tiny figure tactical action of Syndicate, and suddenly being shown the glory of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

      Cyberpunk settings and stealth action have always been two of my favorite things, and to have them both combined in such an amazing form would have likely blown my mind.

      (And I would have also liked to be advised to avoid Syndicate Wars, which completely sucked.)

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Given what my younger self most appreciated, probably Skyrim as well. I would like to claim that the younger me would be all over Dwarf Fortress, but deep down I know he wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the 18 year old me did when I first played it.

      But Skyrim would make good ol’ Betrayal in Antara that I was always playing when I was eleven look like a piece of shit. And then I’d recede back into the future, taking the game with me, crushing my own spirits for over a decade.

    • stakkalee says:

      I think you’ve asked something similar before, but as a HUGE D&D nerd I think I’d blow younger-me’s mind with both the Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights series.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Shit, did I?  Am I washed-up @stakkalee:disqus?  Should I let young guns like @davedalrymple:disqus do what I’m no longer able?
           I won’t lie.  I’m getting tired of looking up every time the doors open, seein’ if it’s some other kid with a question about video games perched on his lips.  Hopin’ to prove him or herself as a casual instigator of pleasant conversation.
           Aw, shit.  My old man was right.  I shoulda stuck to farmin’.  

    • caspiancomic says:

       This one’s easy- Sonic Generations. I think my head would have exploded.

    • I’d show younger me all the bad games for PSP and tell her “Now don’t buy that, spend that money on good DS games instead.”

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I only need to go back six years to tell myself not to sell my damn GC games like Wind Waker and Luigi’s Mansion because a young Dr. Flam was coming and someday those would be awesome games to play with him.

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      I think “New Vegas” would have impressed my younger self the most. The freedom, the silliness, the character customization…

    • Effigy_Power says:

      What kind of a question is that even?
      “Look at what games are going to evolve into, you cynical slacker! Get into that industry!”

    • Pandas_please says:

       I’d have shown myself FFVII mostly because I was a kid when it came out and could have enjoyed it instead of trying to play it for the first time last year and having my eyes burn from looking at those chunky character models.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        See, having played it back then, I mostly enjoy the increased resolution of the 3D models. The pre-rendered backgrounds are a disappointment, but the smooth polygonal models are quite nice, and the in-combat character models are surprisingly good for what they are.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I would love to drop the ME trilogy on my younger self. In junior high my love of Star Wars was so well-known that it was worked into the graduation ceremony (anyone remember Jawa Trader?). So a space opera with this kind of ridiculous action with light role-playing would’ve been right up my alley.

      I do not envy my younger self learning how to control a game like that with a controller, however. It took me until Unreal Tournament for Dreamcast to get used to using an analog stick, and Halo to finally split looking from moving (thanks to UT, ironically).

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      It sounds lame because Online First-Person Shooters are treated kind of like the michael bays of the video game world but if 12 year old me found out he could have 24 player deathmatches with people across the country and drive tanks, shoot rocket launchers through walls and ramp ATVs with dynamite on them into helicopters, he’d flip shit.

      So yeah, Battlefield 3.

  6. stakkalee says:

    What a week – video games and drugs, two great tastes that taste great together!  Our most commented article this week was the WAYPTW thread with 148 comments, narrowly edging out the Fez 2 news item, which only had 147 comments.  And now for the Top 5 Most Liked (non-KG) comments:
    1) @Citric:disqus gets 45 likes admitting he’s a Yoshi-lover.
    2) @Fluka:disqus gets 36 likes for some common sense.
    3) The Internet’s Zach Handlen gets 27 likes for this Grand Unified Theory of Assholes.
    4) With 23 likes, @HTTPLovecraft:disqus knows when people just need to shut up.
    5) And with 21 likes, @Douchetoevsky:disqus lets us know who is just the worst.
    And now for the plaid jackets!  Before we begin, @Charlotte_Grote:disqus is one of today’s awardees, and I know she used to comment under another ‘nym but I don’t remember which one, so Charlotte, let me know and I’ll make sure you get every stud you’re entitled to.  And off we go!  @Sarapen:disqus and @social_bobcat:disqus are each getting their plaid jackets today, so hooray!  @Kilzor:disqus is getting his first stud for his second selection!  @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus, @GhaleonQ:disqus and @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus are each getting their third studs, @DrFlimFlam:disqus gets his fourth, @KyleOReilly:disqus gets his fifth, @Cloks:disqus is at eight studs, @George_Liquor:disqus gets his tenth, @HobbesMkii:disqus is at 17, and @Paraclete_Pizza:disqus reestablishes a comfortable lead with his 28th stud!
    And for the linkdump, Geeks Are Sexy put together a collection of video game memes, good for a few chuckles and a few guffaws.  So enjoy your gaming, and remember to keep it scintillating!

    • Hah! It was WaxTom, so update your scorecards!

    • Citric says:

      People’s Champion!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      On the subject of @Fluka:disqus ‘s beatdown of beloved webcomic creator, is anyone reading the current serial Sand on Penny Arcade?
         It’s a hot mess, is what it is.

      • Labrat85 says:

         9 pages now and no jokes. I always find their serious stories strange, and this one is no different, except maybe longer.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I don’t mind the lack of jokes, but the whole Western, sci-fi, Jesus allegory gumbo is going to take more deftness to execute well than the writing and pacing are managing.

        • Labrat85 says:

           I mind the lack of jokes because the story still has “punchlines” which i guess are supposed to be profound.

          Mainly visit Pennyarcade for a quick laugh as well, so the only reason i know there are 9 pages of this western/sci-fi mesh is because i keep checking back hoping it is over. Latest panel makes it look like the two stories are about to mesh which i suppose might be an endpoint?

        • Dave Dalrymple says:

          I absolutely loved the original “Lookouts” 

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Yeah…I want to like it, but what the hell is it?

        It’s like 5-year-old me watching Yellow Submarine on TV, completely enthralled by the animation, then when a commercial came on, asking “Dad?  What is this about?”

      • stakkalee says:

        Oof, I just read it.  That’s … certainly something.  It reminds me of the portentious, “meaningful” stories teenage me would tell.  And that’s not a compliment, in case you were wondering.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          No, I remember being a teenager.  That’s the most damning condemnation of all.

      • Citric says:

        I appreciate the ambition, but I’ve always got the feeling that Tycho isn’t quite as good a writer as he thinks he is.

        Speaking of people who aren’t as good at writing as they think they are, I mentioned previously that I’m writing a novel (smooth segue Citric!) and I’ve been at a bit of a barrier, because I have set up a sex scene and I really, really hate writing (and reading!) sex scenes. This one is also kind of gross because it involves paint. I’m probably not going to be explicit or anything, but damn I have been putting this off for a while. Mostly because sex scenes are so silly. This has been my silly frustration for the day.

        • Labrat85 says:

           Sex scenes are the worst, books or movies. They should all just insinuate>>>>skip to aftermath.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Just have the paint have sex and leave the people out of it!  Problem solved.

        • Pandas_please says:

           I’ve always thought no one is as good, or as bad, a writer as they think they are.

        • WarrenPeace says:

          If it was a movie, the paint could splatter on the screen and cover up the view of what’s going on, leaving the actual scene up to the imagination. You just have to figure out how to do that using only words.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Please use “stuck to each other like gum on a hot summer sidewalk” somewhere in the scene. PLEASE.

        • Dave Dalrymple says:

          @Labrat85:disqus : Lust/Caution is one movie where the sex scenes weren’t awful. It sounds silly, but they really were great character moments. 

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          Heh, I wrote a novel with a sex scene and just skipped ahead from the first kiss to when the characters were done. I figured I’d give them their privacy.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Cover what’s important to the characters and skip all the rest. And sometimes that’s all of it. And sometimes that’s none of it. Usually it’s a bit.

        • Citric says:

          I’ve mostly skipped over them in the previous chapters, but this one needs a bit more than just an admission that it happens, given that there are some specific things it’s supposed to lead to and whatever.

          It’s not going to get too explicit, I’m not going to describe the nitty gritty, but I have been aggressively putting it off. 

        • HobbesMkii says:

           Do you live in a place with a writing workshop group? Sometimes they have ‘shops devoted to very specific topics, such as writing sex scenes in literature, in which they’ll talk over what makes a sex scene bad and what makes it good. Cons include being in a room full of erotica writers, listening to sexy talk for one to three hours.

          In my writing experience, I’ve often established a baseline by watching others fail, rather than striving to rise to the level of someone who’s succeeded, so I might suggest that you consult books with sex scenes in them (both those you do and do not like), as well as erotica. Get a sense of how it is when someone’s really bad at it, and the pitfalls they encountered, and then make a checklist of “Don’ts”

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Would it be weird for me to say I like Penny Arcade, but not the comic itself? I’ll stick up for The PA Report, I think The Trenches is okay, and I’ll read Tycho’s (Holkin’s?) news posts regularly, but I find the comic itself fairly lackluster.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        It’s interesting to a degree, and I have no problem with them doing something different and fun, but yeah, it’s a bit long to go without the strip.

        Which I think is more or less as good as it’s ever been.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I feel like I should call attention to the fact that Girard keeps getting one-liner mentions, but I am not petty, so I won’t.
      Oh well, too late now. ^,..,^

      • Girard says:

        I’d say I’m a man of few words, but we all know that that’s a total fucking lie.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Only few print-worthy words, Girard, only few print-worthy.
          Well, that’s also not true. Stop being a nice guy so I can be a nastier opponent.

    • Fluka says:

      Ooo, don’t forget Staggering Stew Bum!  He got the much-coveted main page Comment Cat Callout! 

      • stakkalee says:

        Actually, we made a decision the front page mentions by Soupy are their own reward.  It’s glory or studs, not both.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          This is the worst kind of discrimination, the kind against me!

          When am I, a healthy educated middle-class white male living in a rich and stable democratic western nation with a decent job and a happy marriage, finally going to catch a break?

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Does anyone else get incredibly embarrassed reading their own writing? I can’t be the only one. It’s a good thing I’m not a novelist, I’d probably never leave the house out of embarrassment.

      I remember, on at least one occasion, reading an old comment thread on The AV Club from when they allowed anonymous comments and thinking to myself, “Who the hell wrote this? This is awful.” Sadly, it was me.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I find an embarrassing amount of typos, grammar mistakes, and awkward turns of phrase when I read things I posted 10 minutes ago. I’d probably benefit from a read through glance or two before I push the post button.

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        Fortunately, my narcissism and my self-loathing are constantly at war with each other. Over time, they balance out.  

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Yup. Everything I write looks like a twisted-up washcloth to me. My tenses, word choice and sentence structure all look so convoluted.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        There’s a weird mix of pride and shame that comes from seeing my writing or comments out there. But it could be worse. In high school I was asked for the yearbook what I’d want to be doing in ten years. I said, “Defending criminals for ludicrous amouts of money”. It was a joke. My answer was “translated” in the yearbook to “I want to be a lawyer and make lots of money!”

        So it could be worse.

    • Sarapen says:

      Disqus used to alert you when someone tagged you, right? I’m not imagining that? Why would they actually make things less convenient?

      • Electric Dragon says:

        This is Disqus we’re talking about. Just be thankful we’re not on the hideous new version which replaces “likes” with up and down votes, but doesn’t let you see who those votes came from. (I can’t be the only one who mentally scores likes based on who they come from?…)

  7. Labrat85 says:

    Anthony John Agnello Looks alot like Adam Pally.


    • Merve says:

      That’s actually a photo of one of the interviewees, Rob Sherman. He does look a bit like Adam Pally, though.

      • Labrat85 says:

         Anthony John Agnello “Interviewed”,heh so reading one more word could have spared me from looking stupid, oh well.

        PS. A bit? Come on! They could be brothers.

  8. George_Liquor says:

    I’m kinda surprised Soupy picked my comment. After I posted it, I thought it sounded a bit dickish, which was not my intent. I betcha that tabby’s got a mean streak.

  9. Chum Joely says:

    I can’t believe that I missed the “games on drugs” discussion. I, of all people!

    Well, for the record: For my preferred gaming combination of mild weedage and 2-3 beers, the winners are Child of Eden (of course) and Rayman Origins.

    Driver: San Francisco too, but I can get pretty much the same experience just by hopping behind the wheel in real life in that state…