Sunday, 8 April 2012


There's a lot of Minecraft clones out there. There's bad clones like FortressCraft or TotalMiner, but then there's devs that did it right. They were inspired by Minecraft and went on to make games like Terraria, although it's stopped updating, I believe. One of such games is Cube World, a game still in the development process and not yet open to public playing. 'Tis a shame, too, I'd sacrifice my first-born in the glorious name of Wollay to play it. I could do that anyway, I mean, there's no harm trying.

Look at those dead, soulless eyes. He'd totally accept my sacrifice.

So why am I so firmly up Wollay's ass? Well, Cube World looks absolutely stunning, even this early in development. The art style's so charming and invitingly warm, Makes you wanna build a virtual house there and slaughter your family so nothing's between you and your dearest cubes.
The gameplay's even better. You know the Minecraft combat of "poke with sword, poke with sword, poke with sword"? Well, this actuall has some pretty cool mechanics. There's tons of weapons to pick from, and you can build your own pixel by pixel. The game is in fact an RPG and your items, as well as yourself, levels. The monsters you fight are also pretty varied, ranging from winged demon-like beasts to giant boss ogres.
The terrain is randomly generated, but don't let that put you off. The scenery always manages to stun, and with the pretty awesome movement animations, physics and controls it looks like a lot of fun just wandering around the place.

That's family slaughtering worthy scenery, no doubt.

Wollay himself had been offered work at Mojang, but he turned them down when he found out he'd have to move to Sweden. Which is a relief, I wouldn't want to see Cube World "taken up a Notch". I'll leave you with one of the more recent updates featuring the combat.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Actually, I'll Take the Flood.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm pretty Liberal. I'm perfectly fine with homosexuality and the like in video games, really, it's totally cool. The developers though, it's like they've never met an actual homosexual person. Here's a hint: they don't hit on anything that moves, nor do they announce that they're gay every few minutes. Maybe some guy does, but fuck that guy. The worst for this is anything recently made by BioWare. Hell, in DragonAge 2 you lost points if you turned a guy hitting on you down in any of the four occasions he tries to make a move.
Which brings me to this eldritch abomination, The Arkh Project. Let's put aside the awful writing, complete lack of any creativity and general sense of weaboo one gets from any of their previews and just address the game's goal: 
"To make a game that focuses on queer people and people of color as main characters, and beyond that, allow people who are tired of mainstream gaming to have something completely off the wall and step into a new role".

This is so carefully treading the line between advertising and propaganda.
Why why why why why. They're not under-represented, hell, it's been talk of the town for the past year or so. People of colour? Since when has racism been an issue in gaming, plenty of games feature black people and Asian people and all bloody people under the sun. It's never been something that needed addressed, it's the 21st God-damn century, not the 1950's. Now, those of you who have more opinions than brain cells right now are thinking that maybe I don't see the issue, maybe I'm just missing the bigger picture. I'm really not, you know why?
This game is a scam, the whole project is. At some point the creators sat down and thought to themselves: "what kind of people are well-off, have too much free time and are easily manipulated"? Not politicians, but the good folk on Tumblr. Some of the worst of our generation who are just bored and look for issues to be angry about (shut up, I have plenty of reasons to be angry about things). So when they hear "under-represented people" and "video game" they get so excited they throw off their lensless glasses, run out of Starbucks and tweet everyone they know about The Arkh Project.
The thing is, you don't hear much about homosexuallity outside of BioWare because sexual orientation has very little to do with anything in the vast, vast majority of games. The hero's saving the day, not exploring his sexuallity, there are more pressing things at hand. It's like picking up a copy of Diablo II and saying potted ferns and under-represented in it, it just doesn't make any bloody sense. Then you take it one step further and make a game about potted ferns and how evil non-plotted ferns are. 

Coming soon: The Plant Project. Like on Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Digg, Reddit and Google+.

What happened to tolerance and compassion? My favourite quote is "tolerate all but the intolerant", and it works perfectly here. That is my issue with this thinly veiled, cancerous scam that will no doubt get plenty of donations and make it to a finished product; it will then go on to cause controversy and make everyone angry at folks like myself for actually having a God-damned brain.

Unreal Turn of Events

Two pieces of good news in two days? Somebody call Chicken Little, find out if the sky is falling.
A very special event in the gaming community is running right now, PAX East: the Penny Arcade Expo. Even if you're not a fan of the webcomic, the show is still worth keeping up with because of the developers it attracts. Plus, you know, something has to pass the time until E3.
One specific developer, Epic Games, recently had a panel in which they announced that they're currently working on a PC exclusive title (after a bit of teasing).
"We might be working on a PC-only title" said Epic Games President Mike Capps. He was quickly followed by Epic's Creative Lead Director Cliff Blezinski with "Let me say that again: we are working on a PC only title". My, my; I think Cliff is excited as us about this. 
The most popular speculation is that this could be next installment in the long running Unreal Tournament series,  an arena shooter that was always a PC gaming favourite. However, the last UT game, Unreal Tournament 3, was released on Xbox 360 alongside PC. Epic has strong ties with Microsoft, hence their Gears of War series being an Xbox exclusive, so could it be they've brought the UT series back to PC? There's a few good reasons why they'd make this decision, the first being the PC's power.

Man, that searing flesh is gonna look so real I'll be able to smell it.

With Epic's Unreal Engine 4 not too far in the future, it would make sense for the flagship game of the engine to come out alongside it. Placing it on PC will allow the new Unreal Engine to be pushed to it's very limits. The best part of this is that the UT4 being the first to show of UE4 will give it an edge to other shooters, maybe even spawning a few copy-cats and the come-back of arena shooting! Or so I tell myself as I gently sob, clutching on to old copies of UT2004 and Quake.

He's Dead, Jim.

Just a quick post about "controversial" vidya game journalism. The always interesting Mr. Jim Sterling posted an article entitled "How Kickstarter Made the Video Game Industry Greedy". In this article he got his facts oh so very wrong and made a complete ass of himself. Unlike him. However, this time there's a very special comment to the article from an unexpected commenter:

"Hey Jim! Paul Trowe, CEO of Replay Games here. I find your article insulting and quite ignorant. I wish you would actually get your facts straight before spouting so much hate in to the world.
To set the record straight, in October we announced we aquired the rights to the LSL franchise, not that it was actually in production. We in fact only had, and only still have, a one room “proof of concept” that we used to get Codemasters to license the rights to us. We then took that licencing agreement, our business plan showing that we’re profitable after being in business for 3 years and bootstrapping it (with myself investing over $250k of my own money) and our forecast for the sales of the Larry games and other lines of business we have. Since the VC’s think Larry is too controversial to invest in, and seeing that it would take way longer to close a round of funding AND seeing how Al wanted to release LSL 1 in 2012 because it’s Larry’s 25th birthday, we turned to Kickstarter to get it done faster. VC deals typically take 6-9 months to close. So, having the platform to speak your mind, while it’s in your full right, it would be nice if you called the source (us) and got the facts straight, or at the very LEAST a comment from us.

-Paul Trowe
CEO Replay Games"

To which Mr. Sterling replied:

"The article was already updated to reflect that Replay was not so much being surreptitious, but had instead bought and announced a series of games that it did not know it could actually make."

Oh, Jim.

PopCap Does a dEAl With the Devil

If you've been following the rumours after the leak from an ex-viral marketer, you'll know that EA has plans to buy out a company, and one that "people will be upset with". Well, the most recent victim of EA's vampiric strategies is PopCap. If you're not familiar with PopCap, they're the indie developers behind Plants Vs. Zombies, that game your mother sometimes plays on her iPhone. Although I'm sad PopCap's taken the nose-dive to creative suffocation, it's a better alternative to the other rumours: Rockstar was a particuarly popular one. Could you imagine? GTA V would be released with one square mile of playable area, everything else would be locked on-disc.

Actually, you know what? Pretty sure PopCap makes up 90% of the demos I got with my 360.

So EA is trying to get a hold on the casual market. Not bad from a marketing strategy point-of-view, awful from an anything else point-of-view. DragonAge 2 had a Facebook game, so don't think this is all predictions, EA is trying to break ground with the stay-at-home Mum market. We're gonna be seeing a lot more Shepperd and Ezio on iPhone and Facebook.
You get your hopes up that the industry hasn't forgotten about the hardcore audience when you get news like Dark Souls on PC, then EA waltzes over and proceeds to drop its trousers and let off the foulest fart right in your God-damn face. Next year's Spike VGA's will have a smartphone category, mark my words.

Well, at least they're more literate than EA customer support.

Notch's New Project

Unless you've found the world's largest rock to live under, you've heard of Minecraft, the popular indie game from Mojang studios about setting fire to your friends' creations and laughing yourself into a coma as you listen to their tears of loss and rage. Or punching trees, or something, whatever. What's important is alongside the upcoming Scrolls and Colbalt (although that's Jeb's project, so it may actually turn out okay) Notch is creating 0x10^c; the hardest game title to remember since DragonBall Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
Not a whole lot is known about the game yet, but in essence we know that it's a pretty complicated game. With the redstone in Minecraft, at least there's a little bit of assurance that it can be pretty complex. So complex you can actually code in-game with DCPU-16 implementation. Fu.... un? The game's set in space and you control a ship, you can mine planets, explore and junk. Like somewhere in-between Mass Effect 2 and Roblox.
There are a few screen-shots released and, honestly, they're far from impressive. Like the following, released on Notch's Twitter.

I was having a pretty great day, computer, then I seen this.

Yes, yes, it's in the very first stages of release. That's why those blocks look like that, it isn't devoid of any form or hint of an art-style. Oh, wait, what's this?


There goes those straws to clutch on to. You would think he'd have learned with the outrage of the unfinished release of Minecraft to put in some damned aesthetic style, but clearly you don't know Mr. Presson. Even if you do, "untextured"? That isn't thinking outside the box or swimming against the current, that's just lazy. He'll get away with it too, of course. Hell, he won awards for the buggy unfinished Minecraft. The innovation award, actually. No, I never heard of Infirminer either. *Cough*
If you want to know more about the game's development and Notch's vacations, go to the site at

You Died: PC

The villagers are cheering in the streets, the bells are ringing, birds are spontaneously exploding. Oh what, oh what could it be? Could it possibly be, it seems to me, that Dark Souls has finally been announced for PC? Well I'll be.

Now PC players too can have their shit slapped at any given time.

Confirmed from a German magazine cover here. Although this has been a long time coming, it's still a relief that FromSoftware's chosen one has made it to the PC. Not just that, but with the added promised bonus of added bosses. If you listen really, really closely, you can hear the neckbeards squeal with joy from here. Personally, I'm more excited for the modding community to develop around Dark Souls and see what they can do with it; we'll be fighting at least 4 giant penis boss monsters before the year is out.
This all derived from a single petition from a single fan. I know, I know, developers listening to players? Well I've never been so flabbergasted in all my days. Fortunately, not every dev follows BioWare's customer support policies. 'Tis truly a glorious day in vidya, a strong step forward for developer-player relations after the long plummet due to EA being EA. A new sun is rising, and I for one shall be praising it.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Devs They Are A-Changin'

Come gather 'round gamers
Whetever genre you play
And agree the industry
Has been led astray
And foresee D.L.C.
Plus the games turnin' grey
If the games to you
Are worth playin'
Then you better not buy codes for
Any on-disc content.
For the devs they are a-changin'.

Come video game critics
Who give 9.5 outta 10
To keep your wage high
For games I can't play again
But don't crack so soon
For we're all blowin' steam
Oh you see now who
That I'm blamin'
For the indie now
Will be later mainstream
For the devs they are a-changin'.

Come designers, programmers
Please hear our plea
Don't sell out to EA
Just listen to me
'Cause when you get big
Attending E3
You think we'll be at your side
When you're stagin'
You'll see your profits fade
Like your integrity
For the devs they are a-changin'.

Come hardcores and neckbeards
All around the net
And wave the flags high
Of blood and of sweat
For all the casual gamers
Can never understand
The old days are
Rapidly fadin'
Now made in a couple o' days
What was once caref'ly planned.
For the devs they are a-changin'.

The gauntlet is thrown
The players come last
The good dev now
Will become balf-assed
What we must do now
Together stand fast
The industry
Needs some upgradin'
And D.L.C. now
Must become a thing o' the past
For the devs they are a-changin'.

Expand No More

Back in the not-so days of yonder, times not-that long past; we had these delightful things called expansion packs. A while after I'd finish a game, I'd think to myself, "that was a barrel of fun. If only I could continue my adventure in Morrowind as the great hero ToasterBane". As Todd Howard has the ability to read the minds of mere mortals, he listened in and decided he'd bring out an expansion pack. What this was is an extension to the game that added new story, gameplay and adventure. Not quite a sequel, not quite a patch.
Somewhere along the line of the last 5 years or so, it occurred to developers that they could start making more dosh in the form of bite-size updates to games, called DLC. At this point, gaming had long since shifted its focus to consoles as opposed to PC, so expansion packs were becoming more and more rare as the younglings who'd gotten a 360 or PS3 for their birthdays used their pocket money to buy a different coloured gun for their Cowadooty character.
I'm getting ahead of myself. Due to the popularity of bite-size updates, expansion packs were all but deserted in favour of microtransitions; better known as one of many firm but steady kick to the bullocks of the gaming community. No longer could ToasterBane fight the tyranny of toasters for another good 10 hours at least of gameplay, rather he'd fight but a spork for an hour if he's lucky with the purchase of the Spork Add-On Pack for only $12.95. The soul-crushing part is, the likes of Spork Add-On Pack is actually the better side of D.L.C. nowadays. That'll take a post in it's own to get through, mind you.
Now, we stand together peering down into the grave of expansion packs as the final shovel-fulls of dirt are thrown over the casket. The murderer's still at large, everyone has their theories. In the end, it comes down to the ultimate question in the downfall of the gaming industry: is it the fault of the developers, or is it the fault of the players? Is it on their heads because they cut the content, or is it on ours' for watching as it happened?

All that fun you were having was just pretend.

Don't believe me? Follow my ramblings and you'll find out pretty quickly that, all odds are, the games you enjoy are the worst things to grace the Earth since your mother. Or the lizard people, but we don't talk about the lizard people.
ANYWAY. This blog is, in a nutshell, me giving back to the gaming community by keeping you up to date with the latest terrible turn of events in the wide world of vidya! Vidya here being video games, not knowledge. Hey, that's almost ironic when you consider how little sense I'll be making. I kid, of course, I'll be making perfect sense as long as you understand the core concept that I hate fun.
So keep reading, oh dearest stranger, and follow me as I lead you down a blog-based journey showing you everything that is wrong with vidya today. Maybe some good things, too, if we have time.
Probably not though.