Thursday, 30 April 2015

Feature: Comments on GTA V (Part II) - Climate Change

gta v pc
Why don't more GTA V citizens ride bikes?
At first I couldn't put my finger on why littering in GTA V sparked in me a mixture of irritation, a high level of anger, and sadness. At first I thought it might be due to the casualness of the littering. Michael finishes coffee with an FIB agent, and Michael leaves his coffee cup on the patio table, the agent throws his on the ground. I switched to Franklin at one point as he finished off a can of Sprunk. He then tossed it to the sidewalk.

In real life, littering does irritate me, especially when the item being tossed is recyclable. Is your life so damn busy you can't hold on to that empty can for bit to drop it into a recycling bin? Or hand it over to a can collector? After some deep thinking, I think the reason it grates on me so much because Los Santos/Blaine County is a closed system. For all we know, it could be a biodome on Mars or trapped in a snow globe on the desk of Tobias Funke. Either way, the boundaries of the world in GTA V are clearly defined and there's a definite "Here be Dragons!" hard edges to the map. (Other countries and nationalities are name-checked but we never see those places.) So the fact that all the characters in GTA V seem to treat littering like it's no big deal is incongruous with what daily life should entail, which is a lot of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How to Make "Walking Simulators" More Fun

Jeff tosses around some ideas for how to make "Walking Simulators" more fun.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Feature: Comments on GTA V (Part I) - "Realism"

The simple warning logo for airbags (see above) found on most vehicles sold in North America today (exceptions include motorcycles and Hoverounds), demonstrates why Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is about as realistic as betting your rent and your insulin on winning the lottery and expecting everything to work out a-okay. As "real" as some people like to think the GTA series is there are these great big holes in "reality" that we all seem to willfully ignore.

Review: Tower of Guns (PS4)

Tower of Guns aims to try and mix a few popular ideas that show up in other indie titles, with the biggest one being procedurally generated levels, but a floaty control scheme and generally unintuitive gameplay makes this tower not worth the climb.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PC)

Quarter-munching video games used to be relegated to arcades. At least in North America, arcades, as a location, are basically extinct but somehow the DNA of those games were injected into games outside the confines of arcades. The so-called “Free to Play” games are always more than happy to take small bits of cash from you to shorten timers, provide boosts and buffs, or slap a new skin on your on-screen avatar. Traditionally though, arcade games were all about trying to squeeze every last quarter out of your pocket by making the games difficult, sometimes really difficult, and making the “Continue?” countdown seem like the most urgent thing in the world. That same DNA was infused into Hotline Miami 2, where reaction time and somehow dodging incoming fire from off-screen is the only way to prevent a level restart.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Hardware Review: Acer B326HK 4K Monitor

Acer B326HK 4K Monitor
It was only when I plunked the Acer B326HK 4K monitor -- a less catchier name than just about anything -- on my desk did I realize just how big a 32" monitor actually is. Suddenly, it felt like I should be an additional 4 or 5 feet away and initially that's what I thought would be necessary when I had to turn my head to look at different parts of the screen.

After some fine tuning and fiddling -- the stand is quite versatile, too; vertical movement and tilt is easy -- I'm a little further away from the screen; just far enough that I don't necessarily have to move my neck to view everything.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Review: Trapped Dead: Lockdown (PC)

Who doesn't enjoy Zombie games?

*random guy sheepishly raises hand*

It's cool, you're excused.

Trapped Dead Lockdown is a neat little isometric-view hack-slash-and-shoot zombie annihilation game. You choose one of five characters (each their own class) and live out their own personal missions inside a city gripped by a zombie apocalypse. The world is about as cheerful as you'd expect, with all the typical tropes of characters being the worst possible people you could imagine when things start to get hairy.