Vaarna Comments

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  • Why we need more developers like Zoe Quinn

  • Vaarna 30/08/2014

    To say that Civilization, Grand Theft Auto III, Sangokushi Senki, Total Annihilation, Deus Ex, UFO: Enemy Unknown, Merchant Prince, Devil May Cry, Eternal Darkness, Spacewar, Planescape: Torment, Rogue, Battle Garegga, Wing Commander, Street Fighter II, Fallout, Quest for Glory, Bubble Bobble, Privateer, Counter-Strike, Doom, Metal Slug, Jet Set Radio, Halo, Dune, Master of Magic, OutRun 2, Dungeon Master, Quake, The Last Express, Virtua Fighter, Pirates, Tetris, Tekki, Syndicate, Alpha Centauri, Gekka no Kenshi, Nobunaga no Yabou, Metal Gear Solid, Age of Empires, The Secret of Monkey Island, Fire Emblem, Pikmin, Herzog Zwei, Max Payne, Elite, The Super Shinobi, Prince of Persia, Railroad Tycoon, Sim City, Samurai Spirits, Gun Valkyrie, Rainbow Islands, Daimakaimura, R-Type, Super Mario Kart, Ultima V, Ninja Gaiden, Zero Gunner 2, Super Metroid, and countless others — to say that all these games, the very best games we possess — the results of half a century of effort by innumerable extremely dedicated and talented individuals from across the world — are not art — to summarily dismiss the entire history of videogames — to dump it in the trash — and all their designers along with them, in order to raise high above them the piddling, the ludicrous, the contemptible little abortions of platformers and screensavers of a bunch of incorrigibly incompetent lazy bums — is the most vicious, most insolent, most insulting gesture imaginable against our hobby and all those individuals who have poured their souls and lives into it.
    Reply +19
  • "It's not historically accurate!"

  • Vaarna 06/07/2014

    A lot of game journalists are trying to become grown up and interested in politics, but are not yet old enough to escape the clutches of misguided idealism and the child-like beliefs surrounding issues of 'social justice'.
    Exactly. The most pressing issues of the day involve political and economic justice, which are currently being eroded in western societies that are ostensibly liberal and democratic.

    Besides, the social justice afforded to various groups of "unpeople" in the various client states of the current global hegemon (the US) has, since 1944, been derisory at best. Take, for example, Chile, Cambodia and Saudi Arabia, amongst others. Of course, this was (and still is) carried out with the silent connivance of Uncle Sam's junior partner: the UK.
    Reply +5
  • Video: Games stuck in development hell

  • Vaarna 05/06/2014

    Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar.

    19 years and counting...
    Reply 0
  • Introducing Games of the Generation

  • Vaarna 21/10/2013

    1. Dark Souls
    2. Demon Souls
    3. Bayonetta
    4. Dead Rising
    5. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
    6. Hitman: Blood Money
    7. Super Mario Galaxy
    8. Rayman Origins
    9. Metal Gear Solid 4
    10. Grand Theft Auto V
    11. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
    12. Earth Defense Force 2017
    13. Crackdown
    14. Shadow Complex
    15. Trials HD
    16. Binary Domain
    17. Vanquish
    18. Super Streetfighter IV
    19. Pure
    20. Mushihime-sama Futari 1.5

    ...and Deadly Premonition.
    Reply +7
  • Anonymous threatens to burn Zynga on Guy Fawkes Night

  • Vaarna 30/10/2012

    @kangarootoo Let me put it in simple terms. On one side of a highway are a cadre of businessmen and lapdog politicians; on the other is the larger part of Anonymous, the wronged Zynga employees and me. You're one of the dopey cretins stumbling blindly about in the middle, destined to be turned into a fine bolognese mist.

    Oh, and bolognese is a sauce containing meat, non-sentient.

    Reply 0
  • Vaarna 29/10/2012

    @kangarootoo That's all very noble and enlightened, but from the point of view of the transnational business class, you're either a member of their little club or you're an expendable resource whose human rights are determined by your value in the marketplace.

    The wronged Zynga employees and those "egotistical arseholes", Anonymous, largely fall into the latter category.
    Reply 0
  • Vaarna 29/10/2012

    I'm always stunned at people siding with Zynga — or any other corporate body.

    "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people" has long been the vile maxim of the elite business class. Their employees are, naturally, expendable.
    Reply +4
  • Vaarna 29/10/2012

  • Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos

  • Vaarna 29/10/2012

    Stuart Campbell on the GMAs

    RPGCodex weighs in (warning: some long sentences)

    This is the real, harmful, bloody-minded naivety of the gaming media community; a collectively-affirmed belief that their closeness with the industry makes them specially qualified to pass judgement upon it, without being able to accept that it might also have legitimately compromised their opinions - a little in the manner of a mother who believes it’s perfectly okay for her to be a juror at her son’s murder trial because she knows him much better than anybody else. And this translates into a defensiveness on behalf of the entire profession; Klepek's article, and to a lesser extent Sterling's, takes a moment to acknowledge the inexcusable (of course it isn't right to consult with a company whose products you're reviewing) before avoiding any in-depth commentary on this undeniable glimpse of an industry operating like a swingers' party - in which journalists are invited to become PR reps by PR reps at PR events, transform into creative consultants, then turn into reporters again, jumping back and forth directly between poacher and gamekeeper without ever having their credibility questioned until a bunch of internet detectives on Neogaf happen to notice their CV details - in favour of abstracts and private reflection; really, this story is all about trust between you and me. Really, it's all about how us critics sometimes can't take criticism. Even John Walker and Rob Florence themselves issued milquetoast oil-on-troubled-waters follow-ups to their initial condemnatory statements, urging the gaming public not to think too badly of gaming journalism as a whole, since from personal experience they can testify that most of the people they know are hardworking, decent, and trustworthy.
    Reply +5
  • Vaarna 27/10/2012


    Some of my best friends are journalists
    See, that's the problem right there. Rab's main observation is that the games media is institutionally corrupt — he's able to detect that because he's (almost) an outsider. However, you're one of the guys on the inside — if you believed there was something horribly wrong, you probably wouldn't be in the position you're in.

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Furthermore, I doubt that there are many cases of bribery and individual corruption in the industry. And I'm sure that many writers and PRs are the bestest buddies. Maybe you're all lovely guys at heart. But if the system you're a part of is increasingly doing things which are insulting to those on the outside, then maybe there's a problem?
    Reply +5
  • Vaarna 27/10/2012

    This story is poisonous for any mainstream games website to carry. As soon as you start delving into the reasons WHY Rab left his job, you begin to shine a spotlight on the activities of PR guys, advertisers, lawyers and corporate higher-ups. Such people are generally cowards who spend their lives hiding behind a corporate façade. They despise being singled out, and they'll use every trick in the book to block the reporting on this. Reply +10
  • Vaarna 26/10/2012

    Now come on: the PR guys, lawyers and executives would just LOVE it if all the focus was deflected onto Lauren Wainwright. Reply +9
  • Vaarna 26/10/2012

    Oh, and I doubt that corruption and bribery are a widespread problem in the industry, either.

    Rab is spot on: "almost, but not quite" will be the norm.
    Reply -1
  • Vaarna 26/10/2012

    Following on from my post above, I've come up with some final thoughts on this mess.

    Basically, if you're running a large commercial website like Eurogamer, IGN or GameSpot, there are a number of considerations that inevitably have an insidious effect on reviews and general written output over a *long-term* period:

    {1} The need to sell audiences to advertisers in order to stay afloat.
    {2} The need to maintain close relationships with PR & other 'authoritative' sources.
    {3} The need to comply with the aims of a parent (or partner) corporation.
    {4} The need to avoid litigation and other types of serious complaint.
    {5} The need to comply with various review embargoes which are dependent upon scoring.
    {6} Upholding a "pro-corporate, pro-business" orthodoxy.
    These considerations, combined with a general lack of journalistic ethics and a bit of youthful naďveté (in some cases), means you get a deeply fucked system — especially since most of its adherents seem to think there is nothing wrong with it. To see what I mean, witness the indignation of various "wronged" hacks and PR types on Twitter & Facebook. Pathetic.

    It'll probably self-destruct before it ever changes.
    Reply +2
  • Vaarna 26/10/2012

    Oh, and fuck off token clothes-selling bot. Do the PR guys send you in to disrupt comment threads they don't like?

    I thought they were too busy straw-manning it up on Twitter.
    Reply +3
  • Vaarna 26/10/2012

    You're never going to get "stronger, more honest voices" due to the way the system works. Numerous individuals — who, on the whole, have no intention of deceiving — unwittingly become the deceivers due to a host of commercial, social and legal considerations they're not always aware of.

    Repeatedly stating that "all reviewers are corrupt and accept bribes" or "all gamers are idiots who think reviewers are corrupt" is pure lazy-mindedness. It's far more insidious than that.

    Now continue to focus on personalities and misogyny, you clueless bastards — and neg this comment to oblivion.
    Reply +10
  • Vaarna 24/10/2012

    I wouldn't expect the average games journalist to accept a bribe or kickback. It's basically bad for business.

    Instead, myriad behind-the-scenes commercial pressures and PR wrangling do an excellent job in massaging the opinions of the Metacritic cartel.
    Reply +14
  • Vaarna 24/10/2012

    @carma I'm not acting as apologist for Keighley. The photo says it all.

    However, I find Rab's championing of John Walker slightly odd.

    Walker and RPS might not think they 'play the game', but commercial pressures mean that the game plays them, to an extent. To suggest otherwise would be slightly naive.
    Reply -9
  • Vaarna 24/10/2012

    Nice article.

    However, be aware that the RPS crew are under similar pressures to the likes of Geoff Keighley, GameSpot and IGN:

    (1) Selling audiences to advertisers in order to stay alive.
    (2) Maintaining relationships with various PR and marketing departments.
    (3) Being careful to avoid lawsuits and other types of complaint.

    Such considerations can have an insidious effect on reviews, regardless of whether a reviewer is aware of them.
    Reply +12
  • Lost Humanity 17: Dishonour

  • Vaarna 17/10/2012

    There's a lot of this type of stuff in James Ellroy's books. The dude used to go into women's houses to do 'things'. Reply 0
  • Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut out exclusively on PS3 Q1 2013

  • Vaarna 16/10/2012

    Reply +5
  • Dishonored Diary: Playing through in four different ways

  • Vaarna 13/10/2012

    Update #99: Player realizes that game is unbalanced, uninstalls, plays Thief 2 and Peace Walker HD instead. Reply -8
  • Cliff Bleszinski does the unreal and leaves Epic

  • Vaarna 04/10/2012

    Never liked the Gears series, but Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal and UT99 were enjoyable games. Reply 0
  • What's the deal with quick-time events in Halo 4?

  • Vaarna 29/09/2012

    I only trust a miniscule fraction of game developers to implement QTEs sensibly. Most Western developers seem to fuck them up in some way. Even the Japanese are having problems doing them — see the upcoming RE6 for numerous examples. Reply +3
  • Find out the truth about game reviews at Eurogamer Expo

  • Vaarna 29/09/2012

    Four things to bear in mind when reading a review from the likes of IGN, GameSpot etc.:

    1. Corporate ownership of said review outfit.
    2. Their need to raise advertising revenue to cover fees & production costs.
    3. Their symbiotic relationship with PR departments and other 'authoritative' sources.
    4. Their need to avoid overly negative responses from publishers, e.g. lawsuits & other modes of complaint.

    There's no conspiracy theory here — just a series of considerations that work together to influence the final form of the review. Oftentimes, the reviewer is completely unaware of them until the piece gets modified by an editor.
    Reply 0
  • Assassin's Creed 3 boss talks series' future, annualisation plans, no more trilogies

  • Vaarna 29/09/2012

    @gamingjustice But reading 'Candide' taught me that going outside, meeting people and reading books is shit. Reply 0
  • magreviewdraft1.doc

  • Vaarna 27/09/2012

    I get the joke — its just not that funny.


    C- (good use of satire, self-referentiality etc., but lacks self-discipline and bite.)

    Rab Florence ain't exactly an H.L. Mencken or a Bill Hicks (yet). Furthermore, his spoken delivery is often MUCH better than his spotty writing.
    Reply -4
  • Dark Souls Easy Mode quote a mistranslation, apparently

  • Vaarna 08/09/2012

    Demon's / Dark Souls are timely reminders of how satisfying games can be when they play to their own strengths.

    1983-2000: interactive movies vs. games
    2000-20xx: cinematic gameplay vs. games
    Reply +2
  • Saturday Soapbox: Adult Gaming

  • Vaarna 08/09/2012

    Another "Am I too old for gaming?" article by an aging member of Gen-X?

    Traitor. I knew you were never a real gamer. :)
    Reply -3
  • EA's Gibeau: "I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single-player experience"

  • Vaarna 06/09/2012

    Reply +3
  • Vaarna 06/09/2012

    Gibeau's not the only one destroying gaming. It's also those who buy big-ticket AAA games year upon year, and consistently ignore stuff like Alice 2 and Shadows of the Damned. Not to mention the output of Platinum Games. Reply +2
  • You've seen the cut-scenes, but how does The Last of Us actually play?

  • Vaarna 05/09/2012

    No bitter fanboy tears here; all this looks like is another AAA dinosaur made by frustrated movie directors. Besides, S. Mikami already gave a masterclass in how to make this type of game nearly eight years ago.

    I'm interested in the PS3 for Demon's Souls, but "cinematic" gameplay can fuck right off — except when I want to check out the latest attempt by Kojima to troll his fanbase.
    Reply -14
  • Valve "jumping in" to computer hardware space

  • Vaarna 04/09/2012

    Now we wait whilst Valve spends five years doing R & D — only to quietly shelve their ideas at the end. In the meantime, they'll release an innovative game based on an innovative game that some first-year programming students came up with last year.

    Besides, I can get all the 'Terminator vision' I want by popping down the off-license for a pack of Special Brew.
    Reply -1
  • A conversation with EA's Peter Moore on the thorny issues of DLC, Online Passes and all the rest of it

  • Vaarna 24/08/2012

    So now that Pete has had his cup of cocoa, has the EA stock price risen yet? Reply +2
  • Molyneux: we can't use Curiosity name because of NASA

  • Vaarna 23/08/2012

    Hypercubic Bolics Reply +3
  • Vaarna 23/08/2012

    'Beat a MolyCube' or: Before I Learned to Stop Over-Promising and Moved Onto Facebook Poker Games and Retirement Reply +1
  • Vaarna 23/08/2012

    Molyneux: Attention-Seeking Arsehole Reply -2
  • New Splinter Cell: Blacklist video shows off controversial torture scene, moral choices

  • Vaarna 18/08/2012

    I can't wait for this game to arrive so I can make deep moral choices by pressing the trigger buttons.

    What concerns me isn't so much the torture, it's that certain sections of the game seem to play out like a simplistic interactive movie from the early '90s. It seems that western triple-A developers have lost touch with the dark art of gameplay mechanics in their eagerness to deliver gritty, cinematic experiences.

    The fact that the video plays out like pro-US propaganda is expected. What did you think you were getting? Splinter Cell: El Salvador?
    Reply +2
  • Assassin's Creed exec: Japan devs' stories criticised less because of journalists' "subtle racism"

  • Vaarna 17/08/2012

    If this was Michel Ancel or Shinji Mikami speaking, I might take it seriously. However, Alex Hutchison's finest hour to date is probably "The Simpson's Game" or doing work experience on "Spore".

    Therefore: put your money where your mouth is, Alex. Deliver an AC that tops AC2 or AC:Bro. Then I'll fucking listen.
    Reply 0
  • Darksiders 2 Review

  • Vaarna 14/08/2012


    Reply +7
  • Why Gearbox created a Borderlands 2 boss so tough it's nearly Invincible

  • Vaarna 14/08/2012

    Why Eurogamer wrote a headline so hyperbolic it's nearly impossible not to click on. Reply +2
  • Loving the Crunch

  • Vaarna 30/07/2012

    Hang on a minute. These guys are making "Joe Danger" — not building a fucking cathedral.

    It's far too much intensified effort for a commercial product that'll be largely forgotten in a decade or so.

    "Sean Murray or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wage Slavery"
    Reply +1
  • Assassin's Creed 3's Alex Hutchinson: Stranger In a Strange Land

  • Vaarna 18/07/2012

    This reads like a PR piece, Patrick.

    I get the impression that Alex Hutchison is a "progressive" individual who doesn't like going into much detail about his progressiveness.

    So there's a minority main character and some important "narrative decisions"? What about actual gameplay mechanics?
    Reply +1
  • Apple preparing pocket-sized iPad production - report

  • Vaarna 05/07/2012

    You can buy as many of these slender white gadgets as you like, but you're still going to die one day. Reply +2
  • Bungie's MMO style sci-fi FPS Destiny out 2013 as an Xbox 360, next Xbox timed exclusive

  • Vaarna 22/05/2012


    Remember: Activision is involved, which means they're selling product to 18-34 y.o. guys who can't get a date on Saturday night -- i.e. Robert "Thrifty" Kotick's words entirely.

    End result: you WILL be raped by always-online DRM eventually.
    Reply 0
  • Vaarna 22/05/2012

    Microsoft are looking for that "killer app" that gets the 18-34 year-old demographic into disc-free gaming and always-online DRM. Unfortunately, this could be it.

    If there's lots of connection issues in the first week, expect IGN, GameSpot, 1up, Gamespy and Gametrailers to hold back their 9/10 reviews for a bit.
    Reply 0
  • Blizzard addresses Diablo 3 account hacks, outlines security measures

  • Vaarna 22/05/2012

    Never underestimate the talent of hackers. They're our brightest hope for the future.

    We live in the greatest Age of Conformity since the 1940s / 1950s — but it doesn't have to be this way.
    Reply 0
  • Diablo 3 accounts hacked, gold and items stolen

  • Vaarna 21/05/2012

    Reply +12
  • Diablo 3 Review

  • Vaarna 21/05/2012

    Instead of buying this, you're better off waiting a few years for:

    multiple rebalancing patches
    a LoD-style expansion pack
    a server emulator that allows you to play it for free, without lag

    In the meantime, play D1 / D2 / Titan Quest if you're bored. There's also Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn on the way too.
    Reply +17
  • Dragon's Dogma Review

  • Vaarna 21/05/2012

    After 12 hours of playing, I've encountered some negative issues:

    - Extremely fiddly UI which takes a lot of getting used to
    - Combat which is either too easy OR leads to situations where you get killed in one or two hits out of nowhere
    - Bulletin boards that give you quests like 'kill X number of rabbits'
    - Bulletin boards reserved for 'DLC quests'
    - No dialog trees / some ropey voice acting (so bad its good?)
    - If you're playing a ranged class, you can often snipe large monsters from a long distance without any retaliation
    - The black borders in the demo are still present, as is a noticeable amount of screen-tearing

    Don't get me wrong, I'm having an decent time, but there's a voice in the back of my head saying: "a sequel to this could be amazing".
    Reply +5