Friday, 29 May 2015

Doing All the Things: Skyrim Edition Pt. 2 - Picking Sides

Dwemer Ruins Skyrim

It's been a while since I last checked in with my magical romp through Skyrim, and I have good news! Run-ins with spiders have been far and few between since then. Sure, there has been the occasional one to show up at the most horrible time ever (I'm looking at you, dropping-down-from-the-ceiling-spider in that one room in Hag's End...well, not looking looking, because ew...), but other than that it's been surprisingly arachnid free, so hurray! Instead, I've had an exciting week of exploring Dwemer ruins, collecting more books, and even picking sides.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Review: GTA V (PC)

gta v pc
It's safe to say that Grand Theft Auto V is one of those games that just keeps on giving. And two years after its initial release on consoles, GTA V has reached its most potent form on PC. Besides an extensive single-player story that stretches across an expansive world, the game packs in a full suite of video editing tools to create exportable films, a complete multiplayer mode that's heavy on action, and another awesome soundtrack that features just about every genre of music one can recall.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Review: 3D Realms Anthology (PC)

Most of what comes packed with the 3D Realms Anthology is a painful reminder of the period in PC gaming when there were many, many stabs at trying to match what consoles were doing.

In a year that saw the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System along with Super Mario World, PC gamers were saddled with the likes of Arctic Adventure (a sequel to 1990's Pharaoh's Tomb, also in this collection) that starred "Nevada Smith." It was sad attempt at capturing the, oh, I don't know what... FUN! of 16-bit console games. And no matter how bad the games were, we PC gamers, at least around my neighbourhood, stuck it out hoping the playing field would level off. It took more than decade. All through the 1990s Apogee/3D Realms -- the evolutionary line between the two has always been blurry for me -- there were incremental differences and improvements to making a platformer work on a PC with the likes of Secret Agent (1992), Hocus Pocus (1994), Alien Carnage (1993), Dark Ages (1991), Bio Menace (1993), Monuments of Mars (1990), Monster Bash (1993), the horrible Truxton clone Major Striker (1993), Crystal Caves (1991), and even the the first couple of Duke Nukem games. Most of the games from this era are curio items your eyes would scan over at a garage sale and there's this momentary flicker of memory that makes you appreciate today's video games a whole lot more, even the terrible ones.

Monday, 25 May 2015

A Short Walk Through The Long Dark

Growing up, my parents used to drag my sister and I along to go cross country skiing. The whole time, I really did not enjoy it, and it instilled a life-long disdain for the outdoors within me. I think that the problem was that my folks were out of shape, and as such very, very slow. My sister and I would go blasting along, only to have to wait for a good 10-15 minutes as our parents caught up. It was very boring. So much so that I would dream up far fetched survival scenarios if I were ever stuck in the wilderness in order to pass the time.

I think this may have been what got me somewhat interested in survival games years later. How would I forage for food? Where would I sleep? How would I repel the zombies? Well, maybe not the last one, though there have been no lack of games in the genre that have been eager to throw hordes of the undead at players. That's one of the things that really appeals to me while playing The Long Dark. It's just me versus nature. A harsh winter in the mountains. The biting wind. Seldom having quite enough food or fuel to be comfortable. The need to press on in hopes of finding a new shelter because the place you've been staying is fresh out of supplies. All the while, trudging through the snow hoping to find a place you're not even sure exists while jumping at anything that moves for fear a pack of wolves is stalking you. It's compelling stuff made all the better by the corpses I discover kindly staying dead.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Review: Zombie Kill of the Week (PC)

Tazman: Zombie Kill of the Week Reborn (ZKWR) on Steam is a re-release of a game that came out back in 2010 (or 2013 depending on the source). ZKWR tackles the trope of zombie horde destruction in a 2D map with your character being able to shoot 360 degrees in what can only be described as one of the worst rotator cup tears of all time. The game art is very simplistic – I'd go so far as to describe it as a flash-game on steroids, but the visuals aren't the draw – the game speed is.

Aaron: Let's be very clear about this. Zombie Kill of the Week started as an Android game in 2013 (or 2010). That's not to say that Android games can't be fun or should somehow be frowned upon, but the gameplay doesn't lend itself to a PC game.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Doing All the Things: Skyrim Edition - Getting Started

When it comes to big, open world, sandbox-like games, I have a tendency to wander around, poke some stuff with a stick, maybe drive around town for a while if possible, then merrily be on my way. Imagine my surprise to find out that games like Skyrim, GTA V, and the like have actual endings, never mind the scores of optional content. It's gotten me thinking of late, and I reckon I may actually want to give it a go at doing everything in Skyrim. This is going to be a mammoth undertaking (no puns intended), given the sheer size of the game, and made all the more daunting a task since I also have Hearth Fire and Dragonborn. Nonetheless, I want to give it a go. I will do it on a single playthrough, so a few sacrifices will need to be made, such as choosing between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks during the civil war, but other than that I plan to explore every nook and cranny of the game, find every goody, and I may even read every book too.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Feature: GTA V Comments (Part IV) - Stunt Island

Barnstorming circa 1992
In 1992 game developer Assembly Line and publisher Disney Interactive unleashed Stunt Island on an unsuspecting public.

Before buying Stunt Island I hadn't read anything about it and YouTube had zero videos of the game (owing to the fact it didn't exist yet). My decision to buy the game was based entirely on the information on the back of the box and how heavy it was in my hands. The manual was thick with instructions and it "thumped" into the sides of the box when I shook it. In 1992, I often considered a PC game's worth by the weight of the box and the sound of all the "extras" sliding around inside, so basing a purchase on this criteria wasn't unusual.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Feature: GTA V Comments (Part III) - Canadian

Okay, think of Canada.

What was the first stereotypical image that jumped into your head? Did it include bacon, hockey, maple syrup, moose, Mounties, poutine, donuts? A beaver galloping through the Rocky Mountains? Some kind of weird amalgam of all of those things on a poster shaped like a toque being sold by Bob and Doug McKenzie on kijiji?

I'll bet the character below never entered your thoughts:

Trevor Phillips, Lord of Chaos