Geekgasm DS

Well, Halloween is approaching and I really want to take this opportunity to have some spooky halloweeny fun.

Recently I was at our local grocery store and bought a video game from a bin. The store’s called Real Canadian Superstore, they’re like Wal-Mart but in reverse. The price tag said $15 but when I went to cash out the machine said $10…I wasn’t going to correct them.

The game was oddly enough titled Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys…Eloquent. Also, it’s spelled Thingies. There’s no “Y”.

Anyway, the game itself is a puzzle-platformer themed around an alien invasion of Earth. The aliens appear similar to human brains, and apparently they smell similar too, because the stench of brains somehow penetrated six feet of soil to awaken three young zombies, kinda like how the smell of coffee wakes people up in a Folgers ad. Continue reading

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Myst Online: Uru Lives

Regular readers, of which there are probably one, will remember about a year ago, when I wrote about Myst Online: Uru Live. An MMO centred around the Myst Universe, which failed and was released as a single player game called Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, before being resurrected as an online game by GameTap for about a year before dying again. The online version was a game I never got around to playing, but I wrote about how, as someone who only played the single player version, it didn’t surprise me it never took off and how it was a flawed idea from the beginning.

That post received a record amount of feedback, nearly 30 comments, which is incredible, considering I rarely get any comments that aren’t spam. Of course the feedback was from those who were fans of Myst, including some who were major players in the Myst fan community. So of course they told me why I was wrong, some a little more crusader-like than others. One of them posted a link on the official Myst Online forums, and you know I just realized, he said I called Myst Online a “flop”, in quotes, which I didn’t, you can check, and one of the commenters said I used the word “facts”, in quotes, which I didn’t, you can check, although the leader of the crusade did. I believe that is called a straw man fallacy. He even called my blog “contemporary game review journalism” which is kind of embarrassing, primarily because it’s not…it’s a blog, it’s one asshole’s small-time blog.

Anyway, when people made me aware of the concept of instancing in Myst Online, politely, I retracted a lot of what I said while explaining that it doesn’t make sense in-universe…or in-cavern as they call it.

Of course, just to boast my own ego, I’d like to mention that most of the feedback I got was actually positive. Saying they agreed with most of my points but I missed the point of instancing.

So since then, Cyan got their shit together and brought Myst Online back, under their own servers and free. I would have liked it if they said free to those who already bought the original Uru, but whatever, it would have been difficult to coordinate and this is more open anyways, so it’s all good.

The first few days were apparently insane, with thousands signing up for the game. THOUSANDS! I know we are all excited it’s back, but seriously, I didn’t even know there were a thousand Myst fans who still gave a shit about the franchise, much less paying close enough attention to sign up on opening day. Continue reading

Portal 2: Portal Harder

Hype is one of those things you can’t get away from. There is always that movie, or TV show that one cannot wait to see begin or continue for whatever reason.

When it comes to hype, I like to refer to the infallible logic of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw.

It makes the logical sense to be pessimistic

Any questions? Now it may be presumptuous to take the word of an Anglo-Australian prick just because he has a yellow background and a sweet hat, but I honestly can’t see how he’s wrong. But in spite of this, I can’t help but be caught up in the hype virus. Continue reading

Portal 2, About Fucking Time!

Last week a new update to the classic Valve title Portal was released. For those who don’t know, Portal was a first-person puzzler, A unique genre, that revolved around the concept of Portals and was first released two-and-a-half years ago. For those of you who have never played Portal, I suggest you do so, or at the very least play the free demo available on Steam, or play the game that kinda sorta inspired Portal, Narbacular Drop. It maintains the same game play mechanics and was made by the same people but has a completely different story.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of Portal for one major reason: I wish it was real. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true, and that is why I think the best games are ones that people wish were real, that’s why I love Myst so much, because I wish I could visit other worlds that easily, and why I wish someone could come up with a really good game involving time travel, because time travel is awesome, and why I wish I had a Portal gun. Though one must use it responsibly.

There are other reasons I love Portal, but really, they come secondary. Continue reading

SimCity: Totally Not SimCity Edition

So as I said before, I like looking for cool games at discounted prices in bins. Last week I got lucky and found SimCity Societies for under five bucks.

SimCity is a game I have always held in my heart. I never got into the original but I recently played my old copy of SimCity 2000 in DOSBox because 64-bit Windows is too good for legacy games…elitist. Anyway, I had a fun time with it. SimCity 2000 has a depth to it that as a child I was never able to grasp. Plopping down buildings was not the only game mechanic. You also had to manage your city’s budget by adjusting the taxes to promote growth while still earning enough money to support police, hospitals, fire service, transportation and education. You would receive information through mini maps and various stat windows and could adjust your actions in response.

In SimCity Societies you get none of that. All you do is plop down buildings, but if you just look at that mechanic alone it has a unique depth that can be quite intriguing. It features a resource management mechanic that comes in the form of (what I call) social engineering credits. These credits can represent one of six social attributes: productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge. Some buildings produce credits and some consume them. It forces one to ensure they create a sort of balance between buildings that require knowledge to operate and those that promote knowledge. So the city doesn’t suck the life out of it’s citizens. Continue reading

Left 2 Spend Eternity In Development Hell

So in a little more than a week Left 4 Dead 2 is being released. Left 4 Dead 2 is a sequel to Left 4 Dead, a game developed by Valve that was released a year ago next week. So assuming Valve immediately saw how successful the first Left 4 Dead was and started development of Left 4 Dead almost immediately, Left 4 Dead 2 took one year to design, develop, test and tweak before it’s final release. So keeping that in mind lets look at Valves other major franchise, oh who am I kidding, their only major franchise, Half-Life.

A while ago…I can’t remember when exactly, probably about a year ago, I bought The Orange Box and for the first time got a chance to play through Half-Life 2 and it’s two episodic follow ups, as well as Portal and all three games are fun and worth the $50 I spent. Oh and Team Fortress 2 is in that set but who gives a shit especially when the sniper gets you before you can take two steps? Continue reading

The Future of D’ni

So my Myst Online piece got a record amount of feedback, mostly positive, thanks to a fanboy who hated it and decided to post it on the Myst Online forums. So thank you DerCerbr…wait, is that right…Cerberus?

Anyway, because of this I learned if I insult something sufficiently enough it will get more hits then normal, so I will begin by saying World of Warcraft is a complete load of crap and deserves to die! Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the Myst franchise. Continue reading

So I am Wrong

Ah, succinct and to the point.

With my recent post saying the basic theory of Myst Online was a bad idea, I got a lot of traffic and a lot of corresponding feedback, and all I have to say is they are right.

Apparently in Myst Online, for many ages when you visit them you are the only one there. You visit your own instance of that age. So in that case, Myst Online: Uru Live is a good idea. Now here is where people will get to hate me. Continue reading