thisisatempaccount Comments

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  • Video: Why Telltale's new IP might be its best game yet

  • thisisatempaccount 27/02/2015

    @TekMerc What an inspired idea. The problem with Star Trek games is that shooty combat (the go-to genre for licensing in games) is only really about 10% of the series - I think they spend less time shooting at things in The Next Generation than they do trapped in the bloody holodeck, and even Jim Kirk was more of a lover than he was a fighter.

    What the series really was, to me at least, is a sort of grand, Ferrero-Rocher themed adventure full of diplomatic tensions, cultural misunderstandings and political dilemmas. The Telltale style isn't a good fit for everything, but I can't think of anything it'd be more perfect for than letting you hang out with Data, Worf and pals while negotiating a peace treaty on a planet full of crinkly-foreheaded telepaths.
    Reply +2
  • Eurogamer has dropped review scores

  • thisisatempaccount 10/02/2015

    I always thought review scores did more harm than good so I applaud both the sentiment and bravery required for EG to make this step. That said I'm not sure how removing a 10 point scale (albeit more a de facto 6 point scale, based on how scores between 1 and 4 were so rarely awarded) and replacing it with what amounts to a 4 point scale is going to be less reductive, exactly.

    The other changes to review policy, well, frankly they should have always been in place, shouldn't they? They're welcome nonetheless.
    Reply 0
  • Resident Evil HD Remaster review

  • thisisatempaccount 20/01/2015

    Perhaps Mr. Parkin would like to share some examples of games that he feels have bettered this one's formative designs? Don't be coy now, Simon. Honestly, I have no horses in this race or anything, but I am genuinely curious to know. Reply +3
  • Club Nintendo to close later this year

  • thisisatempaccount 20/01/2015

    This scheme really came to my rescue when I was at uni. I was flat broke and some bell-end of a best mate stubbed his (cough) cigarette out on my mouse mat, warping the plastic. I couldn't really get on with a piece of paper - the best replacement within the cheeky bugger's means to provide - but a misspent youth's worth of GBA games translated to juuust enough points to secure me an Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City!® mouse pad, delivered promptly and straight to my hall of residence.

    To this day I've never played a game from the series, but it taught me an important lesson about the value of free promotional tat. Probably the wrong one, but...
    Reply +28
  • Nintendo experimenting with free-to-play, cross-buy for Mario and Pokémon spin-offs

  • thisisatempaccount 14/01/2015

    Ugh. We've seen how this sort of thing has been the thin end of the wedge on pretty much every platform on which it's arrived. Sometimes it feels like Nintendo are one of the few developers who aren't treating their audience with total contempt, so this feels like a bad direction to be moving in. Reply +23
  • Succulent is a popsicle-sucking parody game you have to see

  • thisisatempaccount 14/01/2015

    I have to see it? Am I on buzzfeed? Reply +17
  • How Duke Nukem 3D managed to be ahead of its time while trapped in the past

  • thisisatempaccount 13/01/2015

    @DeLoftie All right, I think we've reached an understanding. You don't see evidence of subversion in those early levels (it's worth noting that the game doesn't actually revisit the red light district over and over, even if that's what it's remembered for), and I do. That's actually totally fine.

    A creator's responsibilities when creating, versus their right to create what they want, well, gosh. That's a whole other can of worms and not something I've frankly taken the effort to hammer out a coherent opinion on. I do sometimes worry about the term 'problematic' being deployed euphemistically by critics in an attempt to circumscribe the sphere of permissible art, but I can hardly fault its use in connection with Duke as he's obviously a divisive figure whose games pose for many people obvious and legitimate problems. And I totally agree that the game deserves critical assessment, I just didn't happen to agree with the job Dan did of it, or at least not all of it, because he seemed to come at the question of the developer's intent with a very straight bat.

    At any rate I'd like to thank you for the discussion, which I enjoyed and feel I got a lot out of.
    Reply +3
  • thisisatempaccount 13/01/2015

    @DeLoftie We seem to be arguing past each other. I just don't accept this idea I'm getting from you that you can only subvert something didactically. Incongruence and absurdity can be hung around an environment for the player to notice, or not; the player can continue blithely to receive gratification that the surface level a grubby game like Duke provides (a handy way to get sales from the immature, I'm by no means arguing that 3D Realms wasn't using this stuff to sell games), while still leaving open (encouraging, even) the possibility that at some point they might have a little think about what they're doing - whether the game has earnestly created that environment as an altar of eroticism to be celebrated, or whether its secretly quite amused by it and its adherents.

    Maybe it's just me, but I think stalking the aisles of porno mag shop, the level following the cinema, the representations of individual titles too grainy to even decipher, much less be titillated by, couldn't fail to give players pause. What am I doing here? Was I really getting turned on by this stuff in the last level? I wan't, right? That would have been.. pathetic.

    I agree totally on your points about the normalisations of strip clubs in other media, I think you made them very well. But let's not forget that Duke doesn't wow the sex workers with his alpha status in this game, he doesn't get 'a free show'; he has to pay his dollar like any other hapless schmoe. The seedy environments Duke inhabits are absolutely constructed from 80s Hollywood pastiche, but I feel like if you look at the details there really is a lot of subversion going on. It just isn't the explicitly communicated, take-a-trope-and-tweak-it-like-a-clown's-nose stuff you seem to demand be the bar for permissible satire.
    Reply +1
  • thisisatempaccount 13/01/2015

    @DeLoftie I dunno mate. I definitely think it's possible to subvert something without needing Duke to wink to the camera while THIS IS SATIRE is flashed up on the screen.

    Does anybody - did anybody ever - really think strippers are cool? Having to pay for sex (or more pathetically, a voyeuristic skin flick, jazz mag or flash of tasselled nipple - Duke never actually gets his bone on in the game) is a socially derided act, the behaviour of the sexually desperate and ineffectual, at complete odds with Duke's portrayal as the all-conquering hero. That juxtaposition is subversive, as is the early levels' depiction of L.A. - that vaunted beacon of American affluence, culture and spiritual home of those supposedly-admired 80s action movies - being that of a grimy, dismal hell-hole barely worth the saving.

    It may not be not very clever, it may not be very nuanced, but it's there.

    I know wikipedia isn't much of a source, but for what it's worth, from the opening paragraphs:

    "Reviewers praised the interactivity of the environment, level design, gameplay, and unique risqué humor, a mix of pop-culture satire and lampooning of over-the-top Hollywood action heroes."
    Reply +4
  • thisisatempaccount 13/01/2015

    Even as a teenager, I always thought the grossness in this game was intentional parody. If Duke is such an awesome babe magnet, it struck me, what was he doing hanging around in these porn shops and peep-show booths anyway? Why was I? (Not that I didn't lap it up of course.) The game is depicting his hyper sexual/sexist identity with a tongue firmly in cheek.

    As the article acknowledges, Duke was a throwback on release and a knowing one at that. His rampaging id may impress on its own terms, all bombastic machismo and priapic delight, but looks ridiculous when placed in pretty much any other context besides those grubby environs.

    Don't get me wrong. Many games are casually sexist and I find that frustrating, from Samus getting progressively more stripperific in Smash Bros., to MMOs that only let you create an obese avatar if you're playing a man, or make the femmes in all their monstrous races inexplicable supermodels. EG are right to call that out, be it overt or covert, but I feel this is a game that needs examining beneath surface values. Which is to be fair is exactly what Dan's tried to do, but, well, I dunno.

    Think of it this way: is this a game that's trying to normalise, much less glorify, the hyper-inflated representations of gender it portrays? It seems impossible to me that it's doing anything other than subverting the mindset of trashy Hollywood macho-man culture by holding it up to a circus mirror.
    Reply 0
  • This third-party Wii U GameCube controller adapter works with PC, too

  • thisisatempaccount 13/01/2015

    My theory is that everyone's hand sizes are different, but pad sizes are constant, so the comfort/discomfort in using a given pad deriving from this probably has a vast amount more to do with how 'well-designed' it is for a given person than things like ergonomics and symmetry.

    Personally I found the N64 and gamecube controllers to be absolute brillo, but couldn't get on with either xbox or 360 controller (too big). I also quite like the various species of dualshock so it's with some trepidation that I must conclude I have smaller than average hands.
    Reply +4
  • Reader's top 50 games of 2014

  • thisisatempaccount 02/01/2015

    Alternative tagline: 8 out of 50. Reply 0
  • Video: The Tekken characters more ridiculous than Lucky Chloe

  • thisisatempaccount 17/12/2014

    @AoifeLockhart As per Hurricane's image, surely it's Gon with the Wind?

    I'll see myself out.
    Reply +6
  • The serene, interconnected world of the brilliant The Settlers 2

  • thisisatempaccount 14/12/2014

    Yes! I also loved the clockwork intricacy of the settlements in this game. What breaks that illusion a bit is how literally all activity in the game only furthers the end of fuelling your military. There's no resource in the game, no technology that doesn't terminate in improving your capacity to make war - and therefore no point to your villagers' existence, whatever hat they're wearing, beyond that ultimate goal. It isn't a grand, chin-strokingly emergent triumph of the game that your 'Utopias' all bend this way, Richard - it's literally stamped into the game's DNA like a stick of rock.

    Which isn't a fault, I should stress - otherwise I'd be criticising the game for something it wasn't. But I do sometimes look at the beauty of this game in motion, which the article paints so well, and wish more games had borrowed it for more interesting ends. I say more interesting not because I'm a wet liberal - OK, not only that - but because the actual combat in this game was bobbins, and turned the campaign into a dreary slog past the first few levels.
    Reply +2
  • The Crew review

  • thisisatempaccount 10/12/2014

    "Where the grind really manifests itself, though, is in the quest for new cars. Anything desirable is guaranteed to be phenomenally expensive and, in one of The Crew's more insidious moments, it bestows 100,000 of its secondary 'Crew Credits' currency upon you - enough to have you mooning over the Ferraris, but not quite enough to buy one without dipping into microtransactions."



    Reply +39
  • Escape Dead Island review

  • thisisatempaccount 27/11/2014

    Good review, Dan. If I were to take issue with one aspect of it it would be this line:

    "The only way Escape Dead Island could be reasonably enjoyed is if it were actually a game from 1999, and in terms of both visuals and gameplay there's no reason it couldn't have been."

    It's probably not what you intended, but it's kind of a weird picture of history you're painting here, that in the last fifteen years the industry has seen nothing but successive improvements in gameplay. I think most gamers would tell you that for all the improvements in technological grunt and graphical fidelity, things have been stagnant on the gameplay front for the best part of a decade. What freshness there is in the market has largely come from the indies, and let's face it, even the most celebrated examples there have been remixes of Rogue, Mario and Zelda.

    And some mechanics which are becoming more widespread are actually backwards steps for gaming - real money transactions, grinding, energy gating, QTEs, obsession with Hollywood and cutscene overload, always online requirements, companion apps, content removal by mandatory update, in-game advertising, pay2win, cheats repackaged as DLC - etc etc etc.

    Whereas 1999 was arguably one of the most exciting times to be a gamer. Rare, Valve, iD, Epic, Nintendo, Square, Sega, Westwood, Shiny, Looking Glass, Black Isle, Blizzard and so many more devs were in their arguable primacy. The transition to 3D was an exciting milestone and was delivering real, new concepts, verbs and possibilities to play that we'd never seen before. I would take 1999 over what we have today in a heartbeat!
    Reply +4
  • Who needs games: PlayStation 4's first year

  • thisisatempaccount 15/11/2014

    "the shambles that is the one exception, Assassin's Creed Unity"

    Reply +46
  • How Assassin's Creed Unity's micro-transactions work

  • thisisatempaccount 14/11/2014

    @menage Fair enough if that's your opinion, mate. I would have agreed with you a few years ago. But that was when the business model didn't need reviewing, because most games were on an even footing and so it could be taken as read that you'd pays yer money and you'd get yer content in return. That really doesn't seem to be the case any more:

    I think it's only fair that our friends in the games media adapt to the changes that are happening to the industry they cover. I don't see how the status quo of the past thirty-odd years can really be maintained; when the business model pursued by some publishers gets as invasive as we're beginning to see now, that's going to have an impact on whether the game's any good, as you put it, and reviews are going to have to reflect that when delivering their verdicts.
    Reply +11
  • thisisatempaccount 14/11/2014

    Not EG's finest hour, this. Notice this article has followed on only after the review, which relegated any mention to a mere screen-shot caption. Even if it isn't, it very much looks like a cynical ploy to draw in those delicious outrage-clicks while foregoing the ire of the publisher in question by holding them to account via the review score.

    Pricing has been allowed to positively influence scores in the past on this site - budget games, especially indie ones, haven't been held to the same scoring criteria of a full-price release. So surely the fact that the true cost of this game could run into the hundreds of pounds should be factored in the same way? It's all very well protesting that they weren't privy to what was going on here, but now that they are, will they change their review? Considering the game is a technical horror-show and even that hasn't moved them to make amends, I'm doubtful.

    As long as EG keep waving games that employ these gross practises through with 7s or higher, they'll be a complicit party in the slide of our beloved hobby into a trashy, hyper-commercialised sludge, even as they decry exploitative mechanics in their weekend op-eds, character-assassinate their own readership as mindless consumer Neanderthals, and churn out paragraph after purple paragraph praising gaming as the greatest growing art form of our time.

    Unfortunately my prediction is that this gutter they've made their bed is one they'll be only too happy to lie in.
    Reply +17
  • Volgarr the Viking review

  • thisisatempaccount 07/11/2014

    It's weird that throughout the '00s this sort of challenge was seen as typical of a Dark Age of gaming, out of which there was widespread relief we had progressed. From same-screen checkpoints to regenerating health, a whole panoply of cures were discovered for the great gaming ailment: frustration.

    How frustrating to not instantly get what we wanted! To have to see the same level more than once! Frustration in games is a real thing, I'm not trying to deny it exists, but somehow a whole industry still managed to flourish, rather than spiralling into terminal decline, while we were grimacing our way through the three Ms of gaming difficulty: Megaman, Maximo and.. er.. Mgradius.

    Back in the noughties, phrases like 'trial and error' were routinely deployed in op-eds to inveigh against the sorry past; 'quality of life' to depict the Whigsian march towards a better, less frustrating tomorrow. Dara Ó Briain was wheeled out now and then to demand developers provide us with chapter select menus, the better to give us (as consumers with Consumer Rights) access to the content we had paid for; you know, like that other life-enriching, ultra-modern technology, the DVD.

    It's funny then that after a scant few years into this great new future of accessible gaming, critics seem to have been afflicted with a terrible ennui. The penny seems to have dropped that games now all but play themselves, and the thrills that most offer come not from the intrinsic satisfaction of having risen to a challenge, but the extrinsic food-pellets of meted-out, sub-Hollywood-quality cutscenery, and a collection of unlockable tchotchkes for their arsenal of murder-rifles.

    Ok, so they were a few years behind the rest of us, but it's good to see the press is now recognising the reality of the gaming landscape with the cold sobriety that only a Mountain Dew hangover can provide. Challenge is back in vogue. Dan is right that hard games aren't for everyone, but easy games aren't for everyone either, and for a long while the dominant philosophy demanded everything defer to the lowest common denominator.

    Just one request. Please. Stop comparing every and any difficult game to Dark Souls. I know it's a useful short-hand. I know it was the first hard game in a few years to catch the public mood. But it wasn't the first hard game EVER. Difficult as it is to keep track of gaming's labyrinthine web of ancestry and influence, it'll be all but impossible if people start actively re- and overwriting it for the sake of conveniences. And that's a challenge I don't think anybody needs.
    Reply +29
  • Destiny guide

  • thisisatempaccount 05/11/2014

    Actually, it's about the frequency of Destiny articles in games journalism.

    Reply +10
  • EA cancels MOBA Dawngate

  • thisisatempaccount 05/11/2014

    It's not that new Lane-Pushers* shouldn't be made. By all means, developers, have a crack at it if that's what you want to do. Competition is healthy for everyone, despite what we might instinctively feel when we're invested in something (I know well that it's hard to resist being a fanboy, even when I also know fanboyism never produced any good in the world).

    But you have to be realistic about breaking into a genre like this. These are games which require an enormous level of commitment just to be have a handle of what's actually going on on the screen - as much as 500 hours, give or take. Then the road to becoming good at the game? That's more like five thousand.

    I'm not bragging with misplaced pride for being a genre vet here (well, I'm not just doing that); this is really just how complicated these games are. (Could you make one that's less complex? You could try, but I wouldn't be surprised if you found it was the complexity that kept people interested in the first place.) And that's important, because if you're going to invest your resources trying to make a hit, you have to consider your potential audience.

    On the one hand you've got these people whose dedication to getting good at one particular game has led them to play it to almost exclusivity - and on the other, you've got people who think the former people are completely barmy and would much rather be able to keep up with the new releases / occasionally receive exposure to sunlight, thank you very much. There might be a third group of people who want to play a Lane-Pusher, but have been waiting for just that perfect-looking, er, indistinguishable League clone to come along before they get on board.

    But is that niche going to be enough to sustain your game? I can't honestly say that I'm surprised to have seen the answer in this particular case.

    (*come on everyone, the MOBA acronym is dumb - Counterstrike is an Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.)
    Reply +13
  • Death to the mini-map

  • thisisatempaccount 01/11/2014

    It has always amazed me that developers and publishers will spend tens of millions of dollars on art and world asset production, all for more or less nothing, because they are framed within a nagging UI that constantly drags the eye away from the world-as-it-is-presented. Not only does it shatter any hope of player/world immersion, it prevents the assets, be they yawning canyons, dense foliage, wondrous alien structures or painstakingly recreated geographical landmarks, from even being seen, rather than parsed like so many turnings or roundabouts en route to your destination.

    In this way, open world games are essentially reduced to a sort of grandiose Pacman - follow the dots and stay within the lines. Except even in pacman that was the actual world, not a UI element, so you felt a greater sense of connection and exploration within that 30 year old game than you do with today's mega-blockbusters, for all their fidelity and expenditure.

    Great article! I also agree with the comments, however - this stuff should always be optional, for the sake of the time poor (although I think most games just need less bloat and filler in that regard, but that's a whole other rant...)

    As other commenters in this thread have also noticed, to some extent this is also bleeding into real life as well, with the advent of smart phones and GPS. Will Self wrote interestingly (and at some length) on this phenomena for the Graun, if anyone is interested in further reading.
    Reply +5
  • Capcom: no new Darkstalkers any time soon

  • thisisatempaccount 09/10/2014

    "When Famitsu's reporter expressed disappointment over the situation with Darkstalkers, Ono joked: "Well, in that case all you have to do is buy about four million copies of Darkstalkers Resurrection!"

    Later in the interview, Ono said that if a game does not sell over two million copies, then Capcom won't greenlight a sequel."

    So.... Darkstalkers Resurrection sold... lemme do the maths... -2,000,000 copies?!
    Reply +10
  • FIFA 15 Ultimate Team: time for a shake-up?

  • thisisatempaccount 29/09/2014

    @dogmanstaruk You've come across as a tad bitter there, but as a card-carrying feminist I actually agree with you. Woman's league football is something I'd love to see in FIFA games.

    I'd even venture even further into MRA territory and suggest it's a significant double standard for Eurogamer not to be holding EA's feet to the fire over this, because - more than in the case of Assassin's Creed or other fantastical series - greater and better female representation (or any at all!) in sports games could have a positive knock-on impact in the real world, where the slant in media coverage has a massive male-centric focus and does little to encourage girls/women to participate in sport or aspire to careers in it.

    My feeling is that EA would never do it, though, not because of the 'cost of animating female models' nonsense we've seen trotted out by Ubisoft et al, but because the question of how they balanced female players' statistics against those of their male counterparts would be politically inflammable (to use a massive dollop of understatement).
    Reply +1
  • Destiny becomes world's best-selling new IP

  • thisisatempaccount 17/09/2014

    @arcam The most sensible thing I've seen posted on here in a while mate. Good on you.

    @George-Roper So, EG, have you been made privy to this 'number of sources'? Or are you just taking Activision's word for it? And journos wonder why so many in the gaming community see them as just another arm of the PR industry. Poachers and game keepers at tea together indeed.
    Reply +2
  • Planetary Annihilation review

  • thisisatempaccount 16/09/2014

    This review left a fair few questions hanging in the air for me. In what way does optimising your construction, managing your armies and responding to your opponent's counter-moves - or speed, efficiency and swarming your opponents as you put it - not count as strategy? What sort of strategy do you have in mind that takes a back seat to these other things?

    And what about these 5v5 or 2v2^6 matches? I'm sure a lot of ears pricked up among your readers when they saw that line - so why mention and then immediately dismiss it in the most cursory manner? Why couldn't you give us an insight into what these intriguing modes are like to play - you say a lot of people would look past the game's flaws to experience such things, and I'm sure many would - if, you know, the review gave any inkling as to whether it would be worth doing so.

    Reply +6
  • Destiny UK's biggest new IP launch ever

  • thisisatempaccount 15/09/2014

    @el_pollo_diablo The weird thing is that without download data the numbers are obviously suspect if not entirely worthless, so why on Earth do Eurogamer give them the credibility of taking them seriously? Reply +1
  • Sometimes I wish more games were just a vertical slice

  • thisisatempaccount 06/09/2014

    I'm not too sure I read this properly, but a game with 426 levels has probably been padded a bit, yeah. Reply +6
  • Why we need more developers like Zoe Quinn

  • thisisatempaccount 30/08/2014

    Hi Dan, thanks for writing this article! I enjoyed it and found much in it that was challenging and thought-provoking. I have three points that I'd like to try to make in response:

    1) I agree with the premise. I like the idea of games with stronger voices, games with something to say. I don't mind the idea of games becoming less game-like in search of that (provided they remain compelling experiences) - as you mention, 'proper' mainstream games are already becoming more and more like films anyway, so what's wrong with games that are more like novels, more like toys, more like paintings or theatre or art installations or happenings or anything else?

    2) That said, I've always had major issues with auteur theory - big games are the product of the blood, sweat and inspiration of dozens, if not hundreds of developers, so how is it fair that one person should get all of the credit? Even if they have nominal creative control over the project, it isn't as if every aspect of the game - writing, art assets, level design, direction, feedback loops, control schema, animation, voice work, music - was born as a pure droplet of concentrated Muse in their minds, woven together to be shared with their disciples to nobly go forth and make into reality. 80 to 90 percent of that shit wouldn't have come out in the form that it did were it not for anonymous schmoes in the company rank and file, each working to accordance of their own hopes, ideals, politics and dreams and producing art in their own voice. Kojima aside, replace half a dozen key people from the production effort of, say, MGS 3, and you'd have a massively different game on your hands.

    Now I'm not saying we have to get rid of collaborative art, because obviously it works: good games and movies and TV shows do get made (occasionally!). But I've always thought it's pretty exploitative to credit the whole outpouring of effort to just a single name. Depression Quest (which I'd call a good game, problematic in parts but still good) is obviously something of a different matter; it's a much smaller game, but hey, weren't there were still two other people on the credits to that game? Can anyone reading this name them off the top of their heads? I can't and I was playing the game last night!

    3) There are more developers like Zoe Quinn out there. There are thousands of Twine games available to play out there. I would imagine most if not all of them were written from an equally personal space. There were thousands of Interactive Fiction games before Twine even existed, just as for decades people have been pouring their souls into Game Maker games, flash games, html5 games, Clickteam games, RPG maker games, AGS games, Megazeux... these people exist. Their voices aren't being heard, and never will be; they'll always go undiscovered and the pains put to expressing them will be in vain.

    And that's probably inevitable because this is how so much of art has always been - only .001% of any creative work ever reaches the audience it deserves. That's alway's been unfortunate, but in the context of articles like this, articles that cry out for personal expression while pointedly ignoring the existence of scads of it everywhere on the internet, I find it poignant and sad.

    Is that gaming's fault? Is it gamers' fault? Yes. Those of us who want more from our games shoud demand more from them, and we should make more of an effort to find games that offer more. But it's also just as much the fault of sites like Eurogamer who have built wide-reaching platforms but fail or refuse to give these very types of games the one thing they depserately need, which is exposure. You could give the oxygen of publicity - I know that's a term loaded with negative connotations, but it needn't always be a bad thing - to nourish hundreds of such developers, simply by reviewing their games.

    Let people know which voices are worth listening to, Dan. Moralising in an editorial will whip everyone up into a frenzy for a while, it might nudge a few onlookers into your camp, but how is it going to really change the status quo? These developers are already out there - come on, of course they are - and these types of article are fine - if a little rude for handwaving a lot of extant creators from reality - but the business of actually finding these games, and letting us know about them, why they're valuable and where we can get our hands on them - that sort of spadework is what I'd be more interested to see.
    Reply +20
  • Video: Ellie's Gibson's best bits

  • thisisatempaccount 29/08/2014

    @Mods Not to be that guy, but both the interview links go to the Mark Rein piece.

    @GamerFreak Ellie's been a part of EG for as long, I'd guess, as pretty much anyone's been reading it. Feels very weird to see her go.
    Reply +2
  • The worst games I've ever played, by Ellie Gibson

  • thisisatempaccount 28/08/2014

    Thanks for the reviews, and the interviews, and for everything else, Ellie. They were good times. You made a pretty crap era of gaming - all middling out and compromise - brighter with your words. The thought that we'll have to soldier on through the next one without you leaves me feeling really quite sad.

    I'll be eternally grateful to you for giving us the [link=">gift of Fruit Mystery. The site is long gone, but fortunately the wayback machine has managed
    Reply +1
  • Ninja Theory: Don't call Hellblade Heavenly Sword 2

  • thisisatempaccount 18/08/2014

    Indie AAA? Really? Put the bread knife down and step away from the English language, Ninja Theory. Reply +2
  • The Pokémon Trading Card Game is coming to iPad

  • thisisatempaccount 18/08/2014

    Format wars aside, I'm surprised only masterofchaz seems to remember the GBC version of this game. It was without doubt one of the best of the era - you could learn it in minutes and still be playing the damn thing years later. I know I am. There's an elegance to its design which is breathtaking. Better than Yugioh or Hearthstone for me, the only genre rivals that have it beat are Magic and Netrunner. Reply +1
  • Has Valve just soft-launched the Source 2 engine?

  • thisisatempaccount 07/08/2014

    Has Wesley Yin-Poole just refreshed NeoGaf? ;) Reply +6
  • Michel Ancel starts new studio, but remains at Ubisoft

  • thisisatempaccount 01/08/2014

    "while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game."

    So is this going to be Beyond the Creed of Good & Evil, or an iOS auto-runner? Place your bets!
    Reply +4
  • Five Chinese Dota 2 players win $5m

  • thisisatempaccount 22/07/2014

    It was an incredible tournament. Looking at the final in a void then yes, it was a disappointing spectacle, but that's failing to appreciate the context that serves as a backdrop to the clash.

    VG looked unstoppable coming into the final. It was if they had discovered a legal cheat code for Dota. They seemed like a stampeding herd, an innumerable swarm: they'd grab the momentum with a first blood kill in 2-3 minutes and turn that into a tower push. In the confusion and tumult, they'd steal across the map and swipe another double kill, and another tower would fall. Then another. Titans of the sport, teams that had crushed tournaments and slugged out 80-minute bouts for the ages were being consumed like a T-Rex falling to the furious onslaught of a pack of tiny, tenacious velociraptors. In their lack of respect for this meta-challenging strategy, the old guard buried their heads in the sand - and were buried in turn.

    Meanwhile, despite being well-respected and much-touted for the title, Newbee had almost been knocked out of the tournament in the group stages. They had to fight tooth and nail to scrape out of a tiebreaker set just to claim one of the final available slots in the main event. They then went on a tear of their own, winning five best of three matches - against teams who had done much better than them in the opening days of the tournament - to leap frog their way up from last qualifiying place, first into the winner's bracket and from there to the grand final itself.

    And in that first game, VG rolled over them as they had rolled over everyone. It was a straight-up demolition. The 'deathball' pushing strategy seemed to annihilate everything in its path. VG had one hand on the title.

    But then something happened in the second game. VG didn't get first blood. Then they traded two kills away for one in another lane. Simultaneously, in the third lane, they lost another man. They didn't have the momentum, but they had drafted for early tower-pushing, so they had little choice but to go ahead and push. It failed miserably. Newbee had concocted a coherent counter-strategy and the screw was beginning to turn.

    From seeming invincibility the flaws in VG's strategy were suddenly all too apparent. It wasn't an all-conquering ultra-strat but in reality, more like an all-in gambit. Like the wham moment in some action movie, the formerly invulnerable archvillain was suddenly confronted with the unexpected sight of his own blood. 'How can this be..?!' Panic set in. You could read it in the draft of game 3, and game 4, as VG doubled down on what they thought - what they knew - had served them so well up to now. They clung to heroes who were serving them no value, while panickingly picking others who Newbee had taken earlier in the set in a rash attempt to keep them out of their hands. Meanwhile, Newbee were growing in confidence. They had rallied in the face of a devastating opponent and were on their way to an emphatic comeback.

    And that's very much the point, I think. If you look at the individual matches, it was disappointing that there was no back and forth. No epic rosh fights, no six slotted carries, no buyback teamwipes, no backdoored barracks and no YOLO 322 throws. But take the longer view of the grand finals - think of losing the first game as being like losing a first set of rax - and it looks very much like the stirring from-behind reversals that we so love to see in our Dota 2 matches. Take an even longer view of the tournament as a whole, and the narrative becomes even more compelling.

    This is to say nothing of some of the other amazing games we were treated to. Some of the sickest comebacks of all time - LGD versus DK game 1; Titan versus Newbee. Some of the most dramatic base races - Big Daddy grabbing the rapier and trying to storm Mous's base single-handed. Singsing's Meepo and DDZ's Invoker. I hope the slightly bitter taste left by those individual games in the final doesn't overshadow what was a feast of sumptuous doto that produced a worthy winner. Congratulations to Newbee!
    Reply +18
  • What the FAQ?

  • thisisatempaccount 21/07/2014

    FAQs were, for a while at least, the embodiment of gaming community. Now with the arrival of the wiki scene, they resemble so many cold, remote, towering edifices. We move away from authoritative voices to collaborative wisdom because it's that much more efficient. It's sad, but only if you're weirdly sentimental like me. Reply 0
  • Fortnite builds a hopeful future for Epic, free-to-play

  • thisisatempaccount 08/07/2014

    @7M7 Agreed. This time vs money spin sounds very fair and balanced, but you can guarantee a clear pecking order will emerge. It'll go:

    those with no time and no money < those with time but no money < those with money but no time < those with time AND money.

    Money will be the final arbiter, and even if it isn't, letting it have any influence on the outcome of a supposedly skill-based game is madness. Not sure I'm understanding the hype from EG here, beyond it being the done thing in previews for whatever reason.
    Reply +1
  • Distant Worlds: Universe review

  • thisisatempaccount 30/06/2014

    Anyone looking for a slightly more glass-half-full companion piece to this review should check out Adam Smith's take over at RPS.

    The game is so frigging big and so frigging complex that if you wanted Marxism in your empire you could probably implement it manually - or at least try. But you'd probably go mad doing it and the results wouldn't look anything like what you were hoping for. Which is maybe where that metaphorical weight comes in!
    Reply +14
  • The sickening side of the Steam summer sale

  • thisisatempaccount 28/06/2014

    Would you rather have a surfeit or a drought? Would you rather gaming was the exclusive preserve of the comfortably well off - a demographic in full blown regression under the vice grip of the neoliberal corporate hegemony? (Average earnings have been going backwards for the best part of a decade now.) And would you rather developers were forced to cater to said demographic - let's not forget that companies wouldn't be making these discounts unless they were satisfied with the returns?

    Never mind the first-world problem of a gaming backlog - would you rather that gaming was, once again, a first-world privilege?

    Just to be clear, I think this is a great article. It has all the reasoning and caveating and on-the-other-handing that you'd expect from Richard Cobbett. He's done justice to the subject and he's only raising concerns I think we've all had in the back of our minds when it comes to Steam, but look. Look at consoles. Look at the £50 reaming console gamers repeatedly undergo to get ahold of their games. You can't say that's preferable. You can't say that's satisfactory. I'll take the sales.

    (Another clarification - it's actually for the greater good that the keener among us pay full whack for their games. That's the trade-off for getting them while they're brand new, before the spoilers are circulating and while you can feel part of the zeitgeist. That's fine. But being expected to cough up top dollar for every game, even older ones? Especially considering the digital nature of most distribution channels means there's essentially no overhead to make up for? Eff that.)

    And on the point of the summer adventure - buying games isn't the only way to get cards and badges, you know. Almost every game on Steam now has the badge/card system implemented - meaning that if you actually play the games in your backlog, you can work towards getting points for your team! And that's just what I've been doing. Playing amazing games like Risk of Rain and Telelglitch, unlocking some cards, trading any duplicates on the marketplace (you can make surprisingly ok money doing this - just for playing games!) and using the proceeds to round off collections and craft their badges. Crafting badges itself leads to more card drops and booster packs, which will produce duplicates you can sell on the market, which can be put back into finishing badges, which leads to more card drops and booster packs...

    All without spending a penny!
    Reply +11
  • Weapons are never the solution in Alien Isolation

  • thisisatempaccount 10/06/2014

    " Turns out there are other humans, some hostile, like my unfortunate chap, some ambivalent and some friendly. How they react to you is as random as how you react to them."

    Are you sure about this? Did you play the segment twice, for example? Seems like you'd need to have done so to be sure said behaviour wasn't actually scripted.
    Reply +6
  • Why the new Gauntlet is wise to keep things simple

  • thisisatempaccount 22/05/2014

    @Porcupine_I I believe the game you are thinking of was called 'Pacman'. HTH Reply 0
  • Ridge Racer retrospective

  • thisisatempaccount 18/05/2014

    I honestly thought this might have been a Revstu piece. Reply +1
  • Soul Calibur: Lost Swords review

  • thisisatempaccount 07/05/2014

    a wallet-busting £11.99 fox

    I dunno, in some parts of London a fox will set you back far more than that. Still, 'micro' transactions can fox right off.
    Reply 0
  • Block rockin' beeps: What's behind gaming's greatest soundtracks

  • thisisatempaccount 30/04/2014

    Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon 2. Some of Konami's old hands from the Beatmania series were brought together to put out a soundtrack that is the happiest meeting of Eastern and Western aesthetics I've ever encountered - eat your heart out, Tarantino. That it provided the backdrop for one of the finest 2D platformers of its generation was just the icing on the cake. Too many great tracks.. I really struggled to choose just one. Look up the whole OST in youtube; it's simply incredible. Or better yet dig out your N64 and get on ebay!
    Reply 0
  • Super Mario Land retrospective

  • thisisatempaccount 27/04/2014

    The game is good. Pacey, fun, and that soundtrack. I agree with some of the commenters here, there are notable differences compared to SMB but I'm not sure they feel like a team trying to stamp their mark on the series so much as creative workarounds to things the gameboy couldn't handle. The fireballs vs. 'powerballs' for example - by not faithfully translating the slighly complex movement rules of the NES game's projectiles, the developers probably freed up a few bytes of space for something else.

    I also love the evocative minimalism of 'Oh! Daisy' - it's just so sad! - and then when you finally reach the end, it becomes

    'Oh! Daisy

    transforming the refrain from melancholy to triumph with just the repetition of one word. Then they get into a rocketship and fly into the sunset. Puts most modern games' cutscenes to shame, anyway.
    Reply +7
  • The Story of DOTA

  • thisisatempaccount 07/04/2014

    @Number1Laing - It is. Or, it isn't. I thought much the same way, once. My resistance to these games was strong. They seemed antithetical to the kind of experience I (thought) I wanted from my games. I was irritated by the countless articles they generated, invariably with someone or other gloating about their titanic success, be it measure in accounts they had activated, or man-hours sapped out of the economy, or moneyhats hoovered into the corporate swimming pool, or feature films generated about the importance of staying in the trees. Then a friend linked me to a couple of games that were being broadcast of the last International (basically the World Cup of Dota 2). I had more or less zero idea what was going on, but it was enjoyable, in the way that a game of Starcraft or Street Fighter or even (whisper it) football can be when both sides are really, you know, going for it.

    I didn't realise at the time, but that was the first step taken on an irreversible path.

    Over the coming weeks we downloaded the client and had a few games together. I played my first game against bots, and on the proceeds cheerily dismissed the entire genre. Staring at the post-game screen, trying not to pay too close attention to my own Kill/Death/Assist score, I reeled off a list of damning indictments: the start of the match was clunky and weird; some of the mechanics seemed counter-intuitive; it was too easy to die and too hard to get kills. I had played both better RTSs and bettter aRPGs. But when my friend asked me for another game, for some reason I didn't say no. And so we played the next night. And again a couple of nights later. Then again the night after that...

    We logged about 100 hours before we even ventured online. Not because we had to, but simply because the game was compelling enough against bots. When we did, it was a revelation. The toxic community we had been so terrified of from the denouncement of a thousand eurogamer articles simply failed to materialise. The single best tip I can give you here is to find a 'stack' of two to four other friends to matchmake with - it's much better to play against strangers than with them.

    What we encountered instead was a competitive climate like no other. It turns out forty minutes is more or less the perfect time to invest in a battle of wits and reflexes. The investment is substantial enough that you can't simply dispose of the experience when you're done. It lingers in you, emotionally, be it the adrenaline highs of sweet, hard fought victory, or the cognitively dissonant lows of salty, bitter defeat. On the other hand, it doesn't take so long that you can never manage to get a game going. You might only snatch time for one or two games of an evening (we all work 9-5s), but you'll come to value those games vastly more than any rotation of TF2 or Battlefield maps. You get drawn in. Something, somewhere along the line, just clicks.

    One day you open a new browser tab and seven of the nine default bookmarks are Dota related: sites that dole out handy guides for how to play heroes and what to buy for them, sites that hook you up with live broadcasts from the world's best competitive teams (at any given moment, it seems, somebody somewhere is playing this game, breathtakingly), subreddits that g̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶t̶e̶a̶m̶y̶ ̶p̶i̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶e̶'̶s̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶o̶i̶n̶e̶s showcase the best and brightest moments of lunacy that the fanbase can provide.

    Somehow I've accrued more than 600 hours with the game. I still feel like a bit of a noob at times. That's probably the reason I keep coming back, why I came back after that first, unelatory experience: like Dark Souls or Monster Hunter, the game always leaves you with the sensation that there's more you can do to grow and improve. I still play other games, and I still have a social life (albeit one that's retreating faster than my hairline). I never thought I would have the time for this type of game, but if you discover something valuable, you just sort of make time for it. And this type of game, be it League or Dota or whatever, has real value in it. The phenomenal player-bases aren't evidence of some sort of Candy Crush-style herd-mind activity. These are some of the gameiest games you'll ever play. You just have to give them a chance.
    Reply +1
  • Rome 2 killer camel DLC backlash prompts rethink at Creative Assembly

  • thisisatempaccount 20/02/2014

    I'm not a Total War fan. I don't feel aggrieved about anything. But Rob, this "sounds like a 'get out' on a technicality" to me, and to anyone else reading this with more than a couple of neurons to rub together, you miserable shill. Reply -2
  • Taking games seriously

  • thisisatempaccount 01/12/2013

    HotCoffee and Frybird's comments are so good - really, guys, just so, so good - that it feels adding anything to them would be redundant. But dashed if I don't I want to get in on the fun, as Penhalion has it, and enjoy trying to win at the whole criticism a̶r̶g̶u̶m̶e̶n̶t meta-game, so here goes!

    Like Frybird, Hotline Miami will forever be my touchstone for this subject. So good was that game, so pure, that on release gamers and critics cried out in united delight, causing such a disturbance in the force that George Lucas recoiled in psycholiminal horror and immediately ordered twenty seven terrible new Star Wars games to restore the balance.

    For the critics' part, on the evidence of what got written about the game, it seemed like the delight seemed to stem from, to borrow from the article, the opportunity to at last take a game seriously. (Better yet, a game that wasn't even another f***ing indie puzzle platformer!) The strange, shifting layers of the game's narrative, all those snatched scraps of context and inferred significances, set up against what were at first shocking, then quickly naturalised acts of ultraviolence comprising the game's meat and bread activity - as well as it's drippingly acidic self-awareness of such - was a heady cocktail to be slammed back with abandon, fueling endless pages of yearning and soul-searching prose. Finally, gaming had an artefact that confronted the rampancy of violence indelibly written throughout its very core, like writing in a stick of rock. Finally, a game that held up a mirror to the carnage. Finally, this was a game about the meaning of games.

    Meanwhile, gamers were delighted with the game because Hotline Miami was seriously fucking excellent. I know I'm being glib here, and for no better reason than to add contrast to the comparison: it's not like gamers couldn't or didn't genuflect on the visceral thrill provided by the games' immutable heart-beat (or dance beat) of intrinsically satisfying gameplay-loops; that nobody ever put down the controller to contemplate as to whether the fact that these interactions happened to be brutal and hideous acts of murder might bring into sharp focus whether such acts where in themselves intrinsically compelling; that thousands of gamers didn't, through their time with the game, explore these issues, or respond to them, or enfold the experience in myriad tiny ways into their lives, opinions and identities. And many journos did do a fine job of trying to analyse what made the game such a damnable thrill, as opposed to wittering on for longer even than this comment is becoming about the game's higher, more purposeful message for humanity.

    But if the developers did intend for the game did have any message at all, I don't think it was one about violence. Rather, it was about the secondary value of all this Deeper Meanings business to gaming. Secondary, that is, to the value to be derived from the act of playing itself.

    Consider the god-awful stealth level that comes towards the end of the game. It feels like a rare misstep in what has heretofore been a flawlessly crafted experience - jarring and frustrating, it ruins the flow the player has perfected over god-knows-how-many previous massacre ballets, and he or she can only be grateful when it is over. Could Devolver have really dropped the ball to such a degree as to release the game with this sore-thumb speed bump of anti-fun having just been overlooked? Or was it included intentionally? Does it, dare I say it, have a meaning?

    It almost feels as if Devolver are saying: "you want to prioritise narrative from your games? You want to have meaning? You want these things to such an extent that you'll accept developers twisting and wrenching the mechanics of their games to facilitate these things? (Or just never include compelling gameplay in the first place?) Well, here you go. Here's that bed for you to lie in, the one marked Stealth Levels (And Related Superfluous Dollops of Shit Design).'

    (It should probably go without saying that stealth can - and often are - brilliant in games that are designed around making stealth an intrinsically satisfying mechanic, and not just thrown in because the narrative demanded it.)

    Devolver's crowning achievement in this is that not just any game would have been suitable as a vehicle for this message. They had to design and develop one that was almost flawlessly fun up to that point, was in fact basically perfect, in order for this message to come through without falling on its face.

    But there's the problem. I've fallen into the trap; just like everyone else, I've failed to talk about the mechanistic reasons why the game is such a joy to play. I'm talking about what it's about! Or what it's not about. Narrative and tone, meaning and context: the fatal attraction for any wank-hatted member of the enlightened gaming ubermensch.

    Anyone who wants to see what games criticism can really be, when a fine mind hones in with laser-like accuracy on the parts of a game most worth discussing, I encourage you to check out just about anything written by Stuart Campbell. He doesn't write so much about games these days, or really at all, which really is a huge shame for the medium.

    TL;DR - What HotCoffee andFrybird said, Hotline Miami is amazing, RevStu and Kieron were our industry's finest critics and we went and lost them bloody both.
    Reply -1