Out This Week

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

Fear Itself

In this week’s new releases, the hockey is back and fear kills Drew’s mind.

By Drew Toal • September 10, 2013

Out This Week is a look at a few new games that are out this week.

NHL 14
Playstation 3, Xbox 360—September 10

Hockey is the only sport that doesn’t necessarily get better with video game age. If you put two consoles in front of me, an Xbox 360 with NHL 14, and a dusty old NES with Ice Hockey loaded up, I’m going for the latter every time. Who needs hyper realism when you can reenact the “Miracle On Ice” and win the Cold War over and over again? Team USA, a bunch of unremarkable Medium Guys, was never as good as the Soviet hockey machine, which had a daunting mix of players (one Skinny Guy, one Medium, and a pair of rotund enforcers). At the end of the day, though, we taught those Ruskies that freedom means being the very best at being medium.

The Elder Scrolls Anthology
PC—September 10

All five Elder Scrolls games, with all accompanying expansions? Let’s see, if I put about 150 hours into Skyrim, multiply that by Morrowind, carry the six…Well, see you all in 2014.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
PC—September 10

My general tendency is to keep horror at arm’s length. (I have a very finite amount of clean shorts and would like to preserve them at all costs.) Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is the follow up to The Dark Descent, which scared the pants off the Internet back in 2011. It’s just not something I would normally choose to play, but Gameological right-hand-man and resident sadist Matt Gerardi tabbed me to review this one. Thanks, in advance, for the psychological trauma, bro! Just don’t be surprised when you see replacement underwear in my expense report.

DuckTales Remastered
Xbox 360—September 11

DuckTales remains, to this day, one of the best television-to-game adaptations. (Between Duck Hunt, Donald Duck’s QuackShot, and DuckTales, the late ’80s to early ’90s proved a golden age for duck-themed gaming. As for the show’s larger cultural influence, it is summed up beautifully by The A.V. Club’s Todd VanDerWerff.) Everybody else got this modern remake last month, but this week, Xbox 360 players will be able to dive into the cash-filled nostalgia train. Do I want to play a game where I have to climb up into a creepy attic where I will in all likelihood be brutally murdered and have my entrails painted all over the walls? No, I do not. A game where I join forces with Launchpad and the nephews to thwart the nefarious plots of Flintheart Glomgold and the Beagle Boys? That’s much more my speed, but tonight, I’ll probably dream of Huey, Dewey, and Louie plucked, gutted, and pinioned, hanging in a dungeon over a pentagram drawn with their own blood. Thanks again, Matt!

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98 Responses to “Fear Itself”

  1. WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

    Count me excited to download Machine for Pigs tonight when I get home. My only hope is that the trailer is a little misleading and it doesn’t rely on creepy British children and sinister nursery rhymes- which are the apex of trite horror tropes.  It also seems much of the “gamey” elements of Dark Descent have been cut: no inventory, health, sanity or adventure game puzzles.

    Trimming the fat, I suppose.

    • Fluka says:

      I just like the fact that Amnesia: A Game of Pigs‘ main character is named Oswald Mandus.

      As in Ozzy Mandus.

      As in “Hey, look upon my freakish pig monsters works ye mighty, and despair!”

      GEDDIT?

    • Knarf Black says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic about simpler mechanics. Splitting the gameplay difference between The Dark Descent and Dear Esther is going to result in either boredom or an immersion singularity whereupon pig monsters will eat my face through the computer screen.

      • WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

         I’m interested to see how it goes. It could be argued that shepherding your resources contributed to adding and releasing tension to Dark Descent and kept it more firmly in the survival horror (or best Call of Cthulhu video game) camp, but by and large I don’t think the game would suffer without it. Breaking it down to its most basic level, Amnesia is both a horror narrative and hide-and-seek simulator: an inventory isn’t 100% necessary for those two things.

      • WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

        Apologies if I replied twice, but I think my first attempt disappeared under mysterious circumstances- perhaps abducted en route by a highwayman and made to squeal like a pig.

        I can understand having the inventory for Dark Descent, as a means of maintaining tension when the Gatherers aren’t hunting you and releasing tension when you find a nice cache of supplies. But at it’s core, Amnesia is the world’s finest hide and seek simulator draped in the rusty chains of horror. While the inventory puzzles, supply shepherding, health and sanity keep the mechanics in the survival horror camp (and make it the best Call of Cthulhu video game) I don’t think it would detract from the experience if they were excised. So count me likewise cautiously optimistic.

        • Knarf Black says:

          A big thing for me is that mastering game mechanics deflates the tension. Removing them entirely strikes me as a gordian knot cutting type move.

          Of course it’s all moot now that I’ve fired up the game to find bonkers screen tearing and no vsync options. Time to twiddle the ol’ thumbs and wait for a patch.

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      At least they kept the nauseating camera-bob when you’re walking.

      No, I won’t stop complaining about this every time Amnesia comes up. I’m just that petty.

      • WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

         Bah! Next you’ll want an FOV slider to ensure a nausea-free experience. If you aren’t nearly vomiting or having a seizure while playing a horror game, I just don’t think you’re truly immersed. That’s also my view on Pokemon games.

    • beema says:

      I heard it’s basically what you’d expect from an amalgam of TheChinesRoom and Frictional: like Amnesia, only less interactive and more story-driven.

  2. Chum Joely says:

    I totally want to see that crossover now. AmnesiaTales: A Machine For Ducks, anyone?

  3. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    What kind of machine would pigs need, anyway? An exercise machine, presumably.

  4. Unexpected Dave says:

    I’m a little disappointed that the banner ads for GTA V don’t showcase the tennis element.

  5. The_Misanthrope says:

    How can the Elder Scrolls Anthology possibly be complete with the 2 or 3 games (I’m not sure how many) produced by that revered handheld console, the NVidia Ngage?

    Also, I may be imagining this, but the music for Battlespire sounds very Final Fantasy-esque (specifically FF6).

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I couldn’t imagine trying to play old Elder Scrolls games. I’d think Morrowind would be as far back as I could go.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Yeah, it’s depressing to play an “open world” RPG where the entire landmass is totally flat, so no Arena or Daggerfall for me.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          That’s the one thing I can’t deal with- flat 3D environs. The cheap “ramps” that Mario Kart for GBA tried to use just annoyed me even more.

      • Bakken Hood says:

        I played a little bit of Arena years ago when Bethesda started giving it away free.  I got what I paid for.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          I, uh…pirated it.  On a ridiculous amount of floppies.  Like eight or something.

          I’ve bought every other Elder Scrolls game I’ve played since though.  And other than Daggerfall, I’ve felt like it was money well spent.  (Daggerfall was a series of “wait for patch to fix A, patch breaks B, wait for patch to fix B, patch breaks C” until I quit for good.)

      • Vermes says:

        Daggerfall was the first Elder Scrolls game I played seriously, and I didn’t even pick it up until about four years ago. I had heard lots of good stuff about Oblivion and Morrowind, but I felt that I should start earlier in the series if I was going to appreciate it.

        I had given Arena a shot in the past and just didn’t like it, but Daggerfall I got into. It’s so absurdly open-ended and vague that it’s essentially a 1990s Minecraft. Plus, it’s “Dark Souls hard,” so you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something when you clear a dungeon, kill a rare monster, or get a powerful item. The first damn dungeon where the game begins is a genuine trial.

        Anyway, you can play Daggerfall and do almost whatever you want, which is a good thing, since odds are probable you won’t be able to finish it. The game is so  buggy– even when patched to the fullest– that it is practically unbeatable. I wonder if this new paid version improves on that, but I doubt it. Regardless, the game is fun in a DnD sandbox kind of way.

        Morrowind, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. Compelling plot, unique dark fantasy atmosphere, and neat music.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       It’s just a shame that it doesn’t include Redguard, a game I genuinely thought was great at the time. I’d love to revisit it and find out if it holds up in any way.
       Battlespire… not so much.

  6. rvb1023 says:

    No room for Puppeteer? I mean, I have to finish Outlast and Amnesia first, but then I’m diving in headfirst.

    I am also a little a little at ease that the critical reception for AMFP seems to be more on the “meh” side. I guess I’ll find out for myself.

  7. Merve says:

    “I have a very finite amount of clean shorts and would like to preserve them at all costs.”

    It amuses me that Drew doesn’t count his shorts in pairs, but measures them in the amount of fabric that they have for absorbing his terror pee.

  8. SamPlays says:

    I’m with Drew on the scary games deal. Hey man, if the new undies are going on the GS corporate account (thanks John!) maybe you can order an extra pair of those fancy Frigo No. 1s for me? Nothing says luxury like a $100 pair of underwear lined with the equivalent of a WonderBra for your balls.

    • Citric says:

      On a recent vacation, I didn’t pack enough underwear, so I splurged and bought something called MyPakage.

      My balls have never been so happy, I can’t imagine what Frigo does that could possibly compete.

      • SamPlays says:

        Shaft alignment, cock warmer, ball bra and anti-shart air vents. It’s an impressively absurd product.

        • Carlton_Hungus says:

          Can this product be linked to?  I don’t think I want to try and search for this at work.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I like that you can buy them with 6 and 9 inch inseam. You guys… you guys…
          “Well, I don’t want to brag, but my mankini boxers have a 9 inch inseam, if you know what I mean.”
          You guys.

      • PPPfive says:

        A different word to ‘splurged’ would have been welcome in this context

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’m fond of Andrew Christian myself. But that probably has more to do with their totally NSFW ads and taste in models.

  9. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    So, in anticipation of a new Amnesia, and in spite of the eventual sales, I decided to pre-purchase A Machine for Pigs last night, but at the same time I decided to pick up MirrorMoon EP, which released last week.

    First impression: “What am I doing? Why can’t I look up?”

    Second impression: “Well, I can manage this, but what’s the point of moving the mouse if I can’t– oh. OH.”

    The first ten minutes was a mix of confusion and experimentation. By the hour mark, things had taken shape. I have the basics down and traveling to new or explored systems and “solving” them is manageable. However, the overarching goal still escapes me. I must be searching for something, but I have yet to figure out what, and there must be a method better than chance.

    I’ve found this game equal parts calming and oppressive so far. All I can say is that it presents space in a most peculiar way.

    In a distant, unnamed system, I saw a lone star circled in the sky. I suspect that it signified something, about the star or the planet I don’t know which. I may never return.

    I also named one of the systems DANIEL. Take that, Elton John!

  10. Citric says:

    Doesn’t NHL 14 have an NHL 94 mode built in? I’m pretty sure I’d rather play NHL 94 than 14.

    • mizerock says:

      I destroyed my Canadian friend at NHL 12 because he couldn’t fathom the new controls. It was no fun watching him flail. It was only after he left that I found out that you can play with “classic” controls.

  11. mizerock says:

    Hello gameological, sorry to be off-topic, but I didn’t know where else to ask … are you all getting the Rockstar Crew back together for GTA V? Or starting a new one?

    http://socialclub.rockstargames.com/crew/gameological_crew

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      The Gameological crew was created by Aaron Riccio and I haven’t seen him around these parts for a while. I think you have to send him a request on the Rockstar social club to join up (his social club handle is illogicaljoker, and I think it can be done via the crew page which you have linked). It all depends on him accepting your request, which will be a problem if the guy has disappeared.

      The Gameological crew didn’t really take off (10 members), I’m assuming because the Max Payne 3 multiplayer sucked balls. But GTA V looks more promising, so I’ll be using the GLOG crew tag for when I venture in to the multiplayer.

      • Sam_Barsanti says:

        I’m down to GTAV. We can make a new crew if need be. GTA Online doesn’t come out for a few weeks still, so lots of time to figure it out.

  12. Electric Dragon says:

    Well, see you all in 2014.
    That’s a typo, isn’t it? Surely you meant 2041.

    • Merve says:

      I look forward to seeing a bearded, grey-haired Drew emerge from his man-cave in 2041, only to say, “Totally worth it.”

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Seriously. Skyrim is an easy 150, Oblivion felt bigger to me, and I can’t weigh in on previous entries, but man, I think you could spend an entire year of your life and still not be done if you didn’t get sick of loading everything.

  13. SamPlays says:

    “The only thing we have to fear is Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs”

    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      “Speak softly, and carry a big Machine for Pigs.”

      -Theodore Roosevelt

      • SamPlays says:

        “Driving is a spectacular form of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Drew’s fear to be discovered, his shorts to be obliterated.”

        – Jean Baudrillard

      • MarloweSpade says:

         “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Machine for Pigs or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

        — Arthur C. Clarke

    • WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

       “Mr. Watson- come here- I want to see your Machine for Pigs.”
      -Alexander Graham Bell

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       “Hell is owning a pc that can’t run a Machine for Pigs.” 

      -Jean-Paul Sartre

    • Merve says:

      The only thing we have to fear is… um… I forget…

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “Now is the winter of our continence, made incontinence by this glorious dark doorway and AAAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHH IT WANTS TO KILL ME! RUUUUUUN! RUUUUUN!”

      Shakespeare, Richard III.

  14. Cloks says:

    Hey Drew

    BOO!

    Of Cloks.

  15. beema says:

    I’ll be waiting on a price drop for Amnesia. I like interactive stories a lot, but not $20 much. I loved Dear Esther, but I loved it as a free HL2 mod. 

    I just wish TCR would god damn fix Korsakovia so I could finally finish it. But Mr. Pinchbeck has moved on to bigger and better moneys. 

    • SamPlays says:

      If you want an interactive freebie, check out the new Arcade Fire promo for their upcoming album (Oct.). Apparently you can only use the interact tech via Google Chrome but it’s a pretty awesome display of digital art. Plus, the new song is darn good.

      https://www.justareflektor.com/

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      yeah, Korsakovia was so broken

      but I love me some retail Dear Esther, it’s graphics are off da hook!

  16. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    I’m also very conflicted in my relationship to horror media.  I’m not really a dude who gets pumped to go to a movie theater and get scared, but I do like the adrenaline that comes with a good scare.

    I prefer it in mercifully short bursts though that allow me to take a break and untense my back, otherwise it just gets fackin’ stressful which is the last thing I need from my games.

    • SamPlays says:

      I’m a goddamn wimp for horror but I’m fascinated by the genre, what it has to say about human anxieties and how people interact with the films. I watch far less than I used in my younger days but I’m still haunted by several scenes from The Exorcist, The Blair Witch Project and, of all things, Insidious. Regarding the latter, I came across it on TV last year and just got completely sucked in. It’s not the kind of movie I thought I would enjoy but, man, it was really effective at scaring the crap out of me, which was kind of enjoyable at the time. But letting my imagination wander after the film was done has done me no favours when going upstairs to our second floor or down into the basement. 
      *SPOILERZ* 
      The scene where that gnarly guy jumps out of the cabinet in the living room put me back in my seat – I assumed it was another fake-out. I was wrong.
      *END SPOILERZ*

      Also, mirrors. They freak me the fuck out in movies and in real life.

      • Electric Dragon says:

        One of the heresiarchs of Uqbar declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men.

        • Xyvir says:

          ‘One of the heresiarchs of Uqbar declared that Machines and Pigs are not abominable, because they decrease the number of men.’

          – Borges

      • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

        I don’t mean to brag, but I got a thick skin when it comes to horror, nothing really SCARES me, you know what I mean? I love horror movies and games but they don’t really scare me

        the irony is I was a total pussy as a kid, horror movies used to cause me to break out into a cold sweat if they were scary enough, but I watched them anyway because I was addicted to the adrenaline, but like getting chicken pox as a kid it vaccinated me to getting scared by movies and stuff as an adult 

        however, horror books do manage to get under my skin a bit, because in that case you use your imagination and that’s scarier than anything you could see in a movie, Stephen King’s IT scared me to the point where I almost felt like a kid again, that’s a damn scary novel 

        • SamPlays says:

          I had low tolerance as a child, too, but I must have missed my booster because it has carried over into adulthood. As young as 4 or 5, I remember flipping through some sort of occult/paranormal encyclopedia set that my parents had – pretty sure it was by Time-Life. (Edit: Just Googled it and it’s called Mysteries of the Unknown – this is basically the intro curriculum to loving The X-Files, which I still do). A few years later I distinctly recall being mildly traumatized by Thriller, which is still an awesome video/song/album. Several years later, my cousins in NY were watching Robocop on tape – its not horror but the cop killing was visceral and tense for my 10-year-old mind. (It was my precursor to watching Terminator 2.) Then they were watching some messed up Indian/Middle Eastern horror film, which just blew my mind completely. Add in tons of disturbing family stories from my parents (From NB: haunted houses, spirit visits, murder; From Pakistan: resurrection, spirit visits, messed up kitchens a la The Sixth Sense, fecal matter splattered across an entire room – huh???) and lots of horror books. I’ve never been partial to Stephen King’s long-form books but I’ve always been a fan of his short stories. Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Skeleton Crew, Night Shift, Everything’s Eventual… all are great reads but they scared the shit out of me. Why do I do this to myself? I have no idea.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “I prefer it in mercifully shorts burst.”

      Drew Toal, ca. September 14th, 2013.

  17. I totes helped Todd with that Ducktales writeup! He did an awesome job with it, I just watched all 100 eps to give his piece context. I think the YT videos are down by now but the animation by TMS was fantastic.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Everything but the Hindi Ducktales theme is down from Youtube.  It is such a fascinating experience to listen to a song you know well in a different language; it is both very familar and an alien experience at once.  I have to imagine it is a pain for whoever has to develop the song in a different language.  It’s difficult enough to translate from one language to another without losing meaning or nuance, but translating and making the translation fit the rhythm and meter of the original song has got to be even more problematic. 

      • Chum Joely says:

        I totally know what you mean, because I worked on the localization of “Just Dance: Smurf  Dance Party” and oh please stop hitting me it hurts.

        • Merve says:

          Your conscience will never stop hitting you for foisting that abomination upon the world. :P

          (Who am I kidding? I’d probably play the shit out of that game…and have buttloads of fun with it too!)

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          Really? You’re a braver soul than I. The horrors you must have experienced…

  18. Boonehams says:

    The game I’m looking forward to most this year releases this week: Puppeteer.  That game looks so good to me.  It scratches itches I never knew I had.

  19. Aaron Rouska says:

    Can someone please tell me if that’s Childish Gambino singing the Duck Tales song?

  20. STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

    just finished Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs last night, I liked it save for a few reservations, one technical one not

    first off the game suffers from bad screen tearing even if you have vsync turned on, I even tried messing with my vsync settings in the nvidia control panel to no avail, it’s not a deal breaker but it sure is annoying and 100% unnecessary, a PC game should not have to suffer from that

    and secondly, like Dear Esther, the devs previous game, the closer you get to end of the game the loopier and vaguer the plot becomes, I don’t quite understand just what the hell happens at the end, that’s fine for something like Dear Esther, but the first Amnesia has a pretty clear ending