Too Long; Didn't Play: Bastion
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 May 2015, 6:12 am

Sponsored By: Onion Bubs

Time Played: 59 minutes, plus commercials.

The Kid Review

Welcome to another installment of Too Long; Didn't Play, where our motto is "Late to the party, and going home early." Today we're here with The Narrator and The Kid for an exclusive interview about life, destruction, and federal regulations.

I'm your host, Pinta Winkles. Let's get this party started, after the break

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Unhappily Ever After
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 May 2015, 8:22 am

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the endings of inFamous: Second Son and BioShock, with brief details from the endings of Drakengard 3 and Halo: ODST.]

A sense of déjà vu gripped me as firmly as I gripped the controller while the credits of inFamous: Second Son rolled by on the screen. I had been playing the game obsessively for just a few days as protagonist Delsin, a naive hero with a rather optimistic outlook and sense of right and wrong.

That is, if you're playing the "good" path.

Throughout his journey, Delsin encounters a number of characters balancing themselves upon the fence of morality, swaying in the open air, capable at any time of falling into the realm of good or evil. Delsin's – and thus the player's – choices often pull these characters down to whichever side of the fence Delsin has chosen, or challenge Delsin's ability to stick to an extreme. It becomes clear by the end that nothing is as simple as "good" versus "evil".

Before I even launched my assault on her fortress, I had chosen to spare Augustine, the game's antagonist. As I entered her lair, I was treated to her personal history, one that broke down the wall of extremes and sought for a third moral option. The game had me hooked. It was about time we had a story that challenged these ideas of black and white morality, where our protagonist would learn that "doing the right thing" would have consequences of its own. As I fought and defeated Augustine, I was eagerly anticipating a bittersweet, unhappy ending. Delsin's plans for a better tomorrow would only result in greater conflict upon the streets. Even if Augustine wasn't right, she wasn't wrong, either, and our naive hero was about to learn things the hard way.

Only, no. That wasn't the ending at all. Augustine was defeated, and Delsin's naive sense of right and wrong was rewarded with a bubblegum-happy conclusion. Everyone held hands and sang songs in a perfect world of tolerance and glee.

I felt cheated and betrayed. This wasn't the ending I wanted. This wasn't the ending that said anything meaningful about its characters or the state of the world. It was the ending of a fairy tale, and I hated it.

It was BioShock all over again.

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May 18 - May 24
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 May 2015, 10:47 pm

I was into The Witcher before it was cool. That’s right, I said it. From the moment it was announced as the first game to use the Aurora Engine (Neverwinter Nights) outside of Bioware, I kept an eye on the series. It took a long time and a lot of engine upgrades before it finally came out in 2007. It took nearly four years for the sequel to emerge in 2011 and another four to bring us to CD Projekt RED going for broke with this big, open world expression of the series. The major review sites have lauded The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt with near-perfect scores across the board, some comparing it to Red Dead Redemption just to twist the knife and make the wait that much more excruciating.

Strutting around a dark fantasy world like Clint Eastwood with a sword is pretty much 80% of my gameplay aspirations so you’d better believe The Witcher 3 is my Game of The Week. Also happy to see Life is Strange Episode 3 is launching. The first two episodes have been tops and I have high hopes for the remainder of the series.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Luftrausers
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 May 2015, 6:04 am

Sponsored By: Me, enabled by you

Time Played: 99 minutes

Achtung! Review

Vrrreeeooooowww! Pew pew pew! Bbbrrrremmmmmm! Pshoo! Pshoo!

Ach du lieber! Review

I should just buy stock in Devolver already. Literally every game they've published has been a real winner with me. Time and again they capture the essence of video gaming as I understand it. Every game is a fine meal: delicious, easy-to-eat gameplay, gorgeous presentation that still manages to be unobtrusive, and an inevitable lump of gristle that would mean some dental work if I were slowing down enough to chew.

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The Case for Social
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 May 2015, 6:24 pm

A few weeks ago I was presenting at a speaking engagement as part of my job. Part of my presentation talked about social media. After the event, one of the audience members approached me, and pointed out how much they didn’t like social platforms. As it happened, the amount of how much this person didn’t like social platform was "a lot."

I’m far from being the great advocate of Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, but I understand their place in our society and I get why so many people like them so much. What I began to realize as we talked about this person's not-particularly-veiled dislike for social media is that two things were influencing the dislike. The first was a fundamental predisposition – part of the dislike just came from the sense that disliking social media was what this person felt like they were supposed to do. The second thing influencing the dislike was a fundamental misunderstanding of why these networks exist.

“People get on there, and it’s all just self-serving. It just feels really pointless to me. Like, why should I care about your picture of what you ate for lunch?”

I actually can’t remember the last time someone Tweeted me a picture of their lunch, and yet I hear this particular criticism all the time. The reality is that social media isn’t creating some new vehicle for narcissistic egoism. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. It is replacing a relationship-building tool that has been around in one form or another for centuries.

Because, as it turns out, doing something like sharing what you had for lunch – in case that’s a thing people are doing in droves just ever so slightly outside of my vision – has very little to do with aggrandizing the person sharing the photo and everything to do with the people at whom that shared moment is aimed.

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May 11 - May 17
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 May 2015, 11:22 pm

My first impulse this week was to just shrug it off as a loss and pick the re-re-release of Final Fantasy X/X-2. We've long established that I'm a AAA vacuum that is "what's wrong with this industry", after all.

Instead I chose to break free of my comfort zone and look through these indie games, walking away with some surprising discoveries. When a trailer opens up with "From the Makers of Mark of the Ninja", I'm sitting up straight, eyes lit by lanterns of interest. A tactical stealth game from the creators of perhaps the best stealth game in years, you say? Why yes, sir, I'll grab that order of Invisible, Inc. right quick.

But my actual pick of the week must go to Toren. It's an adventure about a young girl taking up sword to face the dragon. From the gameplay to the story it just feels like the sort of game I've dreamed of making – had I the talent – since my niece was born. How could I not choose it?

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Transistor (For Realsies This Time)
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 May 2015, 6:04 am

Sponsored by: Me on the PC, PS+ on the PS4 (which means me again).

Time Played: around 90 minutes between the PS4 and the PC

Limiter Review

I feel a certain amount of atonement is necessary. The last time I put Transistor in the title of a review, it was a joke and, judging by the response, not a very funny one. Since I fancy myself a humorist, and a humorist is only a humorist if the humorist is funny (otherwise the humorist becomes a "humorist"), I feel no small amount of shame over the affair.

No matter. Today isn't yesterday, nor is it tomorrow – and a good thing, too. Otherwise I'd miss out on whole weeks of pages from my pun-a-day calendar ("The word's a stage, and a pun is a play on them.")

Let's get down to the business of finally reviewing Transistor.

It's great!

Goodnight, everybody!

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GWJ Plays Dread - Part Three (Final Episode!)
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 May 2015, 12:16 am

One of our 2014 Donation Drive stretch goals was for us to record an RPG session at rabbitcon so you could finally see what all the fuss was about! We've brought together some of the finest roleplayers around along with master GM Kevin Kulp to take you through a complete game of Dread.

Daring adventure! Space! A Jenga tower! Horrible visions that will keep you up at night! This is the third any final episode of the adventure. Will they make it out alive?! Youtube link in case embedded video doesn't work for you.

Once you've watched all three parts you can read the Q&As the players filled out ahead of time to fill out their character backgrounds and give Kevin ideas on how to tie everyone into the story.

Starring Lara Crigger, Karla Andrich, Graham Rowat, Rob Daviau and Shawn Andrich as the players.

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GWJ Conference Call Episode 447
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 11:56 pm

Episode 447 - May 6th, 2015
RimWorld, Axiom Verge, Kerbal 1.0, Marvel Heroes 2015, Early Access Squatting, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(An Early 37.1 MBs, 1:04:52)

This week Sean Sands, Cory Banks and Allen Cook talk Early Access.

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Game Faces
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 8:14 pm

I slide the truck into an open spot and put it in park. I sit for a moment while the podcaster finishes speaking, because I am Greg – and Greg has a hard time interrupting people. The voice finishes. I stop the playback, disconnect the iPhone and turn off the truck. Through my windshield, I see the squat, two-story building that holds my work stuff.

Time to change. As I open the door and step into the parking lot, I'm Work Greg. Not Mr. Decker, like my grandfather, or Decker like my father. I go by Greg here, but I'm not the Greg I am at home. I'm louder, more confident, not necessarily funnier, but funny in a different way – the leopard can change his spots, but not remove them completely. My jokes become less witty, more socially acceptable. Occasionally I'll let a joke that's a shade too geeky slip out – and then immediately wish I hadn't, because I get the blank looks and awkward silences that remind me why Work Greg exists.

I'm affable at work. I make small talk, even though it hurts my head to make small talk. I work my butt off, and I do it smiling because nobody wants to be around Work Greg when he's a sourpuss – and if nobody wants to be around Work Greg, then Work Greg ceases to exist, because there will be no work for him to be Work Greg at.

I'm Work Greg for nine hours, sometimes more, and by then Work Greg is starting to get on my nerves. He's always on. They never let him sit down. He can't get tired, because he's Work Greg, so I get tired for him. Eventually I pack it in and say "it's a day," because that's how Work Greg calls it a day. Nobody laughs. Work Greg tells that joke because he knows I like it.

Work Greg is a real mensch. Everybody likes Work Greg. At least they pretend to. I've never been sure about that.

Work Greg and I head for the truck. Ignition, podcast, drive. Sometimes memories run through my head unbidden.

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May 4 - May 10
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 6:25 am

There are no easy choices this week. The industry didn't make it easy. I was hoping, for example, that there would only be two releases for the PS4. That way I could have said, "This week I'm picking the game that was released on PS4."

And everyone could ask, "Which game on PS4?"

And I could reply, "Oh, Ether One."

Yes, I did work hard for that joke. Thanks for noticing!

Notable this week we have Cosmophony, a former WiiU exclusive, making its way onto the Sony platforms for today and yesterday; Syberia 2 on PS3, because that game is totally still relevant; and another Shin Megami Tensei game, which I'm sure will get its proper tongue bath from everyone in the 3DS thread who is not me.

High Strangeness is on my watch list because the marketing hinges on me knowing the difference between 8-bit ARPGs and 16-bit ARPGs, and I didn't play enough of either for that short-cut to tell me anything about what the game actually is. They also lose points for calling the game "12-bit" when the programmer in me knows the game is 16-bit all the time, regardless of how much space the graphics take up.

Sometimes, though, you just have to ask yourself: "What would the Game King do?" I feel like the answer is to flip a coin between Project Cars and Wolfenstein: Old Blood. Since I don't like racing games in general, that leaves me with Wolfenstein. If they don't let me blow up Hitler in a mech suit, I shall be sorely disappointed.

Let's see what everyone else thinks.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Car Mechanic Simulator 2014
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 May 2015, 6:02 am

Sponsored By: Aristophan

Labor bill: 99 minutes, but we don't bill you for estimates.

Estimate

Customer reports no knowledge of how cars work at all. Repair with a copy of Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 and an undefined number of hours.

Oh, and while you're at it, tell him you replaced the zwieback lubricator and that it costs four grand, plus labor.

It was a lot harder to play than we thought it'd be ... .

The automobile has always been something of a mystery to me. I'm not a stupid man – I'm an electrical engineer for crying out loud. Ask me to design a stripline band-pass filter for 10% around 12.5 gigahertz, and I'll draft it, fab it, and slap it on a network analyzer to prove to you that I just did what you asked.

Cars, though? I might as well be a frog trying to comprehend, well, an internal combustion engine.

That's for mechanical engineers.

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GWJ Plays Dread - Part Two
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 April 2015, 11:44 pm

One of our 2014 Donation Drive stretch goals was for us to record an RPG session at rabbitcon so you could finally see what all the fuss was about! We've brought together some of the finest roleplayers around along with master GM Kevin Kulp to take you through a complete game of Dread.

Daring adventure! Space! A Jenga tower! Horrible visions that will keep you up at night! Stay tuned next week for the final part of our three part series!

Starring Lara Crigger, Karla Andrich, Graham Rowat, Rob Daviau and Shawn Andrich as the players.

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Employee Profile: ukickmydog
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 April 2015, 6:07 pm

Hey, kids! I just found this profile sitting on my desk. Turns out this guy's been on payroll for years, though I can't find him in the org. chart anywhere. Anyone know who he reports to?

Maybe I'll bring this up with HR. This could be one of those "Milton" issues.

Anyway, here's ukick.

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April 27 – May 3
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 April 2015, 8:00 am

Gazing into my magical 8-ball reveals that there is no treasure to be found within this week's releases, not for me at least. Yet I feel compelled to put forward Omega Quintet as my "pick" of the week before Wordsmythe has the opportunity to throw me once more beneath the bus with some damning commentary about me and panty shots.

From what I can gather from the trailer, Omega Quintet takes the aesthetic of your typical post-80's space opera anime with monstrous alien creatures, and swaps the characters out with a J-Pop Idol Group, plus token boy wielding a heavy sword. Why is he there? I don't know, as it is most certainly not to be a cipher for the Otaku male this game is clearly targeting.

Here and there these seemingly obvious panderings have also been acting as deconstructions of Otaku culture and obsession, so I'm going to throw the game (and likely community member Mantid, who eats this sort of stuff up as a midnight snack) a bone in hopes that there is more to this particular book than the cover suggests.

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Want to Be a Guest on The GWJ Conference Call?
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 April 2015, 11:10 am

As part of our 2014 Donation Drive we reached the goal of having special community guests on the podcast. This will be a draw so everyone gets a chance! All you have to do to enter is post in the comments below and we'll collect all the names and draw them out of a hat on one of our planned live shows.

What do you need to be on the Conference Call?

- A solid microphone. A good headset or even newer laptop mics are doable. A $20 headset or webcam mic isn't going to cut it.

- The ability to record your local audio track. We can help set that up, no biggie.

- Ideas for topics you're interested in!

- Availability to record on an evening over a weekend. Talking North America here, but we can figure out overseas stuff too.

Comment in this post if you'd like to be on the show! We'll leave it for a few weeks before we start to draw names. Good luck!

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Want a Custom GWJ Forum Icon? Enter The Draw!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 April 2015, 11:42 am

Another one of the cool benefits of not locking prizes behind big individual donations is giving everyone a shot at a fancy custom forum icon done by the amazing Elysia. We have the usual tiers based on years donated of course, but you may notice some community members have unique, one of a kind icons. Want one of those? Of course you do!

All you need to do is post in this comment section what kind of icon you'd want and we'll do a random draw of six winners! Only thing to keep in mind is that these icons are really small and gold in color, so if you want something too detailed it may end up being unrecognizable. Like a companion cube looking a bit like an owl. *cough*

Good luck! We'll do the draw in a couple weeks so everyone has a chance to enter.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Akane the Kunoichi
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 April 2015, 6:05 am

Sponsored By: Mr. Rojan

Time Played: 41 Minutes

Short Review

Remember back when every game had a ninja in it? I do, and so do the people who made this game. It's $3 and, for a competent Shinobi clone like this, you can't go wrong.

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A Home Among the Star Wars
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 April 2015, 9:03 pm

I first saw the original Star Wars the week after I turned four years old. My dad took me, and I have only the vaguest, most foggy recollection of this event.

When Darth Vader appeared on the giant screen, I’m told I took refuge under the seat, spending the next few minutes there as the great Dark Lord of the Sith lifted a man off the ground and broke his neck, and then accused a woman of being a part of the rebel alliance and a traitor. My initial fear, however, rapidly sloughed off me as the magic of what was happening on the big screen replaced my gut-level fight-or-flight response, and, by the time Luke Skywalker appeared, I was back in my seat and utterly transfixed.

Like many people, Star Wars holds a relevance in my life that is likely far greater than it deserves. I’ve bought the movies in various formats and various states of enhancements more often than I care to admit. The soundtrack makes a periodic appearance in my listening schedule, and to this day I get dopamine-induced goosebumps when I listen to the final two minutes of music from the Death Star trench run.

In a way, when I revisit the universe of Star Wars, I feel like I'm home.

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The Pile
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 April 2015, 9:17 pm

There are three types of game in my world:

  • Games I play and trade in right after I decide to be done with them,
  • Games that I keep until it's literally impossible to play them anymore, and
  • Games I finish and keep for years until I decide to trade them in
Well, okay. There are four kinds if you count games I never buy in the first place. Or five if you count the games in my Steam library that I'll never play again but can't get rid of. Do you mind? I'm trying to generalize here.

So: three. Three types of games. I suspect you have a similar grouping of categories, based on whether and how often you trade in old games. Maybe you have:

  • Games that you store in the basement
  • Games you store in a box in the closet under old issues TV guide that you think will be valuable someday, and
  • Games you keep near the entertainment center in case you want them again.
Perhaps you group your Steam library into Games you don't want to play again, games you think you really should reinstall one of these days, and games that you never uninstall.

The point is you have games you play again, games you think you'll play again but won't, and games you don't want to play again.

I brought up trading games in because there's a finality to it that isn't there with the basement-closet-bookshelf sorting. Once you decide to trade a game in, it costs actual money to get it back if you change your mind. Since I still do some console gaming that involves refined petrochemicals, I have to think about this, and I have to think about it hard.

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GWJ Plays Dread - Part One
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 April 2015, 3:42 pm

One of our 2014 Donation Drive stretch goals was for us to record an RPG session at rabbitcon so you could finally see what all the fuss was about! We've brought together some of the finest roleplayers around along with master GM Kevin Kulp to take you through a complete game of Dread.

Daring adventure! Space! A Jenga tower! Horrible visions that will keep you up at night! Stay tuned next week for part two.

Starring Lara Crigger, Karla Andrich, Graham Rowat, Rob Daviau and Shawn Andrich as the players. Thanks to Julian Murdoch for producing and editing all the footage!

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April 20-27
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 April 2015, 6:43 am

Once upon a time there was a child named Reemus. A long time ago, when people slept on mats because the beds used to bite, Reemus lived in wild Frontera. This was long before the wizard wars, so there wasn't yet a second dungeon in the land of Ziggurat. One day Reemus received a note from far-away Kavkas. It read simply "WE ARE DOOMED." Reemus immediately set out upon the Fermi path to consult the monks of Kiai Resonance, who were learned in scrying and other mystical arts. It seemed that a terrible dragon, named Dragon, had slaughtered an entire village.

"I must go at once and stop this beast!" Reemus cried.

"Slow down, bull," the monks replied, urging caution. They counseled Reemus to Journey first to Kalimba and then to Siralim, where Reemus must seek the aid of the leaders of the twin clans of Hypt. "They are fierce warriors, and will fight for food."

Owing to Reemus' age, one of the monks volunteered to travel with him as far as Kalimba. They hired two mules, and together made a convoy. In the highlands of wild Frontera, they encountered Alice, who was laying mind snares to trap escaped dreams. As it turned out, the dragon was a feral nightmare that had been accidentally freed by a careless novice while using a resonance pool. She assured Reemus and the monk that there was nothing to fear, that the bloodbath at Kavkas had never occurred, but until the loosed nightmare was returned to its resting place, the resonance pools all across the world would bear false witness of savage dragon attacks.

So the five of them – Reemus, Alice, the monk and the two mules – set forth to capture the dream once again and tame it once and for all. This is their story.

But first, a word from our sponsors:

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 April 2015, 6:16 am

Sponsored By: Humble's Squeenix Bundle Sequel

Time Played: 53 minutes

Lara's Pants review

Dual-stick shooting mix with platforming and puzzle-solving in this cooperative genre mash-up featuring everyone's favorite grave robber, Lara Croft.

Lara's Hair review

I want to make a confession: I've never played a Tomb Raider game.

Well, okay, maybe that's not completely accurate. I played five minutes of the original PS1 game at a Toys "R" Us demo kiosk. Beyond that, my experience with Lara Croft comes mainly from watching the movies.

My impressions of things featuring the character are, needless to say, not the best.

My thoughts on the game were that those controls were better suited to the 2600 game Combat rather than a game about an agile explorer. Given my love for Indiana Jones movies and my respect for Angelina Jolie as an actress (Girl Interrupted was one of the best movies I never want to see again), the movies should have been like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

They were not.

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Blind Eyes
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 April 2015, 6:57 am

For the longest time I thought open-world style games weren't for me. I never really enjoyed frolicking about such a large and directionless environment until Assassin's Creed. One might consider it odd to call that game "open world." Despite the motto, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted," echoed throughout the series, the games also limit the player in a lot of ways. Ride too fast on a horse, and guards will begin chasing you down. Hop around on rooftops long enough, and a sentry will surely spot you. Spend your days on the streets, and prepare to get harassed by beggars and lepers. Assassin's Creed may have an open world, but it certainly isn't a "sandbox" environment for most players.

While the term "sandbox" is more likely to describe a game like Minecraft today, it was once used for titles such as Grand Theft Auto III. You could even argue that Grand Theft Auto III's mainstream success is why open-world and/or sandbox style games have become so common.

The idea behind the sandbox game is that the player inhabits a world where they can follow their impulses and do whatever they wish. To me, however, if Grand Theft Auto III were a sandbox, then it was a sandbox built of rotting wood with rusted nails jutting free of its cracked surface. A strange and reddish family of insects would crawl around the grains of sand, their bites itching feverishly for days. Over in the corner some child (oh dear God I hope it was a child) had chosen to defecate without even the cat-like decency to bury their own poop. Yes, it was a sandbox, and there's plenty you could do in such a sandbox, but it always just looked like a rather uncomfortable place to play in.

When I first played inFamous, I thought I had found my perfect open-world game. It wasn't a "sandbox", per se. It wasn't even a LEGO set. It felt like I had finally gotten one of those awesome, expensive playsets they showcase on television, such as the Technodrome from Ninja Turtles. It couldn't do everything, but it excelled at everything it sought. "Finally," I said to myself, "a developer that understands a well-polished experience". Whenever I read complaints leveled against the game, I was confused and couldn't understand why they weren't having as much fun as I was.

Or perhaps I always could understand, but chose not to. I finally got myself a Playstation 4 recently, and the first game I went and purchased was inFamous: Second Son, prologued by inFamous: First Light. I hungrily devoured the content of both titles, completing them in what felt like record time for me. It's easy to conclude that I greatly enjoyed the experience of both games.

But I couldn't ignore their faults this time. The Technodrome wasn't the perfect toy after all. I could feel myself thinking the many complaints I once dismissed. inFamous: Second Son and all of its predecessors could have been better if they had only made a few adjustments here and there.

How many other games had I turned my blind eye towards, I wonder?

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You'll Never Make It Out Alive
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 April 2015, 10:45 pm

Back when the world was young and Nutting Associates was still trying to figure out how to get people to give them quarters, a game was usually something competitive. Chess, football, Barrel Of Monkeys: These were things called "games" that pitted two sides against each other, which mathematically and empirically designated one side as the winner by the end of the game.

That's because games used to be a metaphor for war. Let's not forget that the first marathon race was a single messenger running twenty six miles with an invading army at his heels. Let's also remember that the winner of that particular race died because of it, which is why I spend Patriot's Day indoors. It's no accident that the Olympic Games largely favor martial skills – the javelin throw, the 100 meter dash, and rhythmic gymnastics all have rich military traditions and clearly defined martial allegories. They all represent how well you can attack, run from or befuddle your enemies on the battlefield.

One can imagine the conversations during a siege at Thebes:

"I say, Sergeant, why is that chap flapping a ribbon at us? And why is he in his underwear?"

"Couldn't say, sir. He seems to be having a jolly good time, though."

"Yes, but ..."

"Javelins incoming! Run!"

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