Summarizing the year; I played some video games

This year is about to end so here is one of my year-
end post trying to summarize the year of 2013. I will be posting one each Monday throughout December, each 
taking a look into a certain area of entertainment. 
It shall be as an autopsy, digging through my guts to find what kind of popular culture I'd put into my 
digestive system during the year 2013. Or maybe it's 
more a list for myself to remember what I did spend 
my time on during the year.

fuck you oh oh

I guess she’s an Xbox and I’m more Atari
But the way you play your game ain’t fair

Text from: Cee-Lo Green’s song Fuck You

I don’t think 2013 has been such a great year for video games. To be fair I haven’t been spending too much time playing any this year either, only four 2013 releases (referring to the four in the picture above) and apart from those most of the games were played on my Galaxy S3. I lend my PlayStation 3 to my brother so I haven’t used it very much lately, and the only computer I have is a cheap laptop that couldn’t play a game even with a gun pointed to its motherboard.

OBS: These are not reviews.

The Last of Us, which got some buzz a few E3s ago is a contender on a lot of people’s GOTY-list. If you haven’t already heard about the game, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic era where people got infected by some sort of parasite and got turned into something resembling the offspring of a garden gnome and a zombie (could this be a Romeo and Juliette meets Plant vs. Zombie spin-off?). Society crumbles and the game picks up many years after in a chaotic world that can barely manage to hold itself together. Anarchy and thievery lives among the infested ruins of mans former glory. Those who seek safety in some of the saved cities live under harsh rules and restrictions. In this world you are playing as Joel an old man who’s been beaten down one time too many and who has turned his back to the brighter sides of life. He’s being partnered up with the joyous teenage girl Ellie and pushed out on a road trip to potentially save the human race and beat the infestation. The game is beautiful and a lot of time has been spent on the detail of the enviroment. It can at times feel very tense and is a really exciting game. It can also feel just like your run of the mill Naughty Dog action/adventure game. I really feels like it was a sort of mod for Naughty Dog’s big Uncharted series, I don’t know that this is a bad thing per-say, but to say it’s uncharted with an old grumpy man and a young girl set in a broccoli-apocalypse really sums it up for those of you who like short summaries.

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Grand Theft Auto V, the game for you who likes either freedom in a large beautiful sandbox-world and/or characters screaming sarcasm in your face for long stretches of time. Luckily if you happen to like freedom and hate screaming in your face sarcasm and social criticism you can always skip the cinematic sequences, although you won’t be able to skip the screaming that takes place as you drive from one checkpoint to the other in certain missions. I don’t know about you, but there came a time in my life where I stopped cheating and started to play the story mode “as it was intended” and watched every cut-scene as a well-behaved audience member, but I just couldn’t stand the dialog in this game and sometimes had to force myself to keep holding on to the controller and play the game. I might be putting in some extra strong hatred into this text just for some entertainment purposes, but this is the first GTA I’ve disliked. This is one of those video game-series I can remember were and when I played each installment. GTA I played at Ken’s house on his modded Playstation one. GTA III I played partly at my cousins and also I played it at my friend, and we made it rain tanks from the skies on his PC. Vice City which is my favorite in the series I lent from my cousin, the disc broke and my father gave him my Metal Gear Solid II game as punishment. San Andreas I played with a lot of friends in my room (many chairs were broken), and we used to turn of all sounds except the radio and only listened to the Country station. GTA IV I played for hours and hours, going online with a classmate from high school, shooting all the pigeons, and finishing it multiple times. I kept playing it regularly for many years, booting it up and casually driving around New York. So it’s weird to have a GTA game come out that I dislike as much as I dislike GTA V, and then I’m not mentioning the online part because I gave up and won’t return.

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Thomas was alone is a downloadable game for Ps3, you control a collection of blocks and try to use their different abilities to solve levels and progress. This game has gotten a lot of talk and I just don’t know why, I thought it was OK, but not a very good game with nothing new to offer. There’s a British fellow narrating the game, there is some sort of meta-story in there aswell, and the game was developed by one man. I believe that it was one or several of these that might have contributed to this game being talked about so much.

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Papers, Please is a game where you play as a border control agent and have to review everyone’s papers and deciding whether or not to allow them entrance to you land, Arstotzka. It took me about 4 hours to play through the game, and then I managed to get one out of twenty different endings. The story is very interesting, although I couldn’t make myself return to the game to try to get the rest of the endings. It’s was a very interesting and different experience during these four hours of play, though.

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Except the four 2013 releases I’ve returned to and quit both Dota 2 and Minecraft. I haven’t played a lot of Dota 2 and I’m never going to play enough to get any good at it, but for some reason I played it semi-intensely for a short period of a handful of weeks. I got bit by the bug and then the sore healed as quickly and surprisingly as it had come. The same with the highly time-consuming and addictive game creation-Minecraft. Back when it first came out I used to put a lot of time in, digging tunnels, walking through the landscapes and building long stretches of railroad tracks. Then my save got lost as my old computer shut down permanently. I managed to get some time in and build a new world full of half-finished houses and vast square rooms in underground tunnels, but things weren’t like before and then I stopped playing.

I’ve already written about Don’t Starve, The Unfinished Swan and The Walking Dead S01 on here already.

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And lastly, this was the year that I sat down and played through Batman Arkham City. It was when around the time Origins had come out and a lot of Batman talk was going on through out cyberspace that I decided to pick up my controller. I started a save on my already downloaded and installed game. I remember purchasing it when it was really, really cheap on Ps-Store and now was the time to play it. It’s a great game that continues to offer the same levels of quality that I remember the previous Arkham Azylum offered. You play as Batman (and Catwoman) running around the open world of Arkham City. The game includes a ton of Batman villains and is really a treat to play, for any fan or novice of the franchise.

-B

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In My Head: Watch Dogs E3

Welcome to the new feature “In My Head”. Where you get the unabridged and uncensored version of whatever sauce is my mind feed.

A phone. Nice, looks like Android. He should be using Swipe while texting. They sure have lot’s of surveillance in Chicago. Aren’t baseball caps so 90’s? You can tell someone’s been sitting in a basement hacking since then. 4 seconds yadayada, is he bragging? That must be the weirdest smiley of all time. I wonder what that was on Stefans computer, can’t have been homework can it? Wait, did he just hack that guys account? Skull ascii art is also very 90’s. 28% less crime, due to an OS? Weird manikins there. This is a shady place I can hear it. Is that guy eating sushi from her back? D: He is, yuck. Is this game about food hygiene? Didn’t that sound just like GOB? And there’s the weird smiley again. Manly handshake-hug, these guys are tight. Oh I see. This is a game about traficking and how a hacker has to take the law in his own hands because the people involved are so high-up in society that they can’t be touched by the slow bureaucratic monster that is the police. Also his sister is kidnapped. Bad guy is coming. Why didn’t he just read that text? Filesharing AND gunning, dream come true? It’s gonna get wet. Damn cops, always ruin the fun. Oh man! I’d KILL for that app on my phone. And finally some public humiliation. It is as if anonymous was actually hackers embodied in a Batman from the 90’s, without a suit.

 

-Ken

E3 2013 – Nintendo Direct

Nintendo

News came out right before E3 that Nintendo would not have a present conference this year. Instead the company has decided to release a E3-special video for Nintendo Direct giving you some information on upcoming titles. The game manufacturer known for their first-party game franchises released the Wii-U console late last year, being the first hardware from the eight generation of gaming consoles on the market.

The Nintendo Direct video starts of with a trailer for upcoming Pokémon X and Y for the portable gaming device Nintendo 3DS. This latest edition to this ongoing RPG-series introduces a new Fairy type as well as a tamagotchi-like mode called Pokémon Amie. The game is set to release October 12th.

A follow-up to the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land for the Wii-U was given a trailer. Super Mario 3D World will be coming out this December and this Mario title features four player co-op play. And the latest addition to this game is a new suit for Mario which let’s Mario dress-up as a cat.

That’s not all from Nintendo’s flagship character but a new Mario Kart was also given a trailer, showing off the impossible gravity breaking level layout for Mario Kart 8. This latest game in the classic Mario Kart racing-series will be coming out on the Wii-U console in spring of 2014.

There were also two trailer shown for Wii Party U and Wii Fit U, two titles which originally were suppose to get released during the spring/summer period of this year. Due to some unforeseen events after the release of the new console an apology was given out together with a new release. The release of Wii Party U got pushed back to October, and Wii Fit U to December of this year.

For all the creatively talented Nintendo fans out their who has shown their love and appreciation for the company through different paintings posted to Mii-verse, the Nintendo social network, there were a new paintings app announced. Art Academy will give all the Nintendo fans better creative-tools.

A whole list of third-party supported games as well as a list of Nintedo E-shop games were also presented during the video. Approximately twenty different titles coming out for the two devices were shown and given released dates for the coming future. Games such as Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins and Sonic Lost World.

A trailer for the HD-remake of the beloved Game Cube Zelda-game Wind Waker was also shown. With a new graphical make-over and improved Tinkle Tuner-features this Wii-U game might be something to look forward. The game is set to be released this coming October.

The Wonferful 101 was a Wii-U game which got revealed during last years Nintendo E3 press conference. The features a small army of super-powered beings fighting from a top-world view against attacking enemies. You control this army and direct their attacks by drawing on the Wii-U touch-pad controller. The game is set to release on September the 15th.

Donkey Kong is one of the key characters in Nintendo’s line-up besides other characters such as Mario or Zelda. The latest 2D side-scrolling platformer Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, featuring the monkey, will be coming for to the Nintendo Wii-U console this coming November.

The witchcraft empowered female witch Bayonetta will be coming to the Nintendo hardware in the sequel Bayonetta 2. This gun-heeled equipped bad-ass developed by Platinum Games in this trailer shows of her new costume and hair-cut. This raunchy Wii-U title will be available sometime next year.

An unexpected surprise game to the Wii-U games line-up was presented through a new game trailer. The game developed by Japanese game studio Monolith Soft shows of mecha gameplay set in a open-world game environment. A name for the game hasn’t been announced but the game trailer hinted at a 2014 release. So look forward to be picking this game up at a game store near you in 2014.

And lastly a new trailer for the upcoming game in the Nintendo fighting game Super Smash Bros. was shown. It’s a true-to-form game now available for the Wii-U as well as the Nintendo 3Ds-console. Some new additions to the character select-screen includes the main character from Nintendo management game Animal Crossing and Mega-man from the famous platformer series with the same name.

E3 Press Conference 2013 – Sony

E3 2013
concludes this years press conferences with PlayStation. Sony revealed the successor for the current PlayStation 3 back in February with their own PlayStation 4 event. Then they talked at length about the power of the machine and showed new games coming for the next-gen machine without giving us a release date, a look at the console or a price for it. So it was with high expectations, and with the Xbox One information given at Microsoft’s conference that we sat down in front of the PlayStation stage at this years Los Angeles E3-event.

After the opening montage came to an end the PlayStation spokesperson told us about how popular the PlayStation Vita is and about all the different games available for the portable gaming device and the many games still on the way.

On to the current PlayStation 3, we got a look at a hand-full of trailer for titles exclusively coming to this, soon to be prior, gaming hardware. First out was the critically beloved The Last of Us, one of the games which made us excited last years at E3. The game will be coming out this coming Friday (06.14.13).

Second out of the gate was the Japanese developed Puppeteer which is set to release in September. Rain, a game to be published through Playstation’s online store, should be coming out sometime this fall. Quantic Dream’s latest game Beyond: Two Souls featuring movie-actor Ellen Page, and Willem Dafoe was given a spot to show us a trailer, the game will available to purchase this October.

And lastly the racing game Gran Turismo 6 which might be released later this year, though looking back at Gran Turismo 5 you never know. There were also a new trailer for Warner Bros. Games Montreal’s new game Batman: Arkham Origins featuring batman villain Black Mask. The game is set before the other games in the Arkham-series made by Rocksteady Studios. It will be available this October, with exclusive Batman skins only for PlayStation.

Lastly to close of the PlayStation 3 section there will be a console bundle with Grand Theft Auto 5 and a Headset for $299 for the release of the highly anticipated open-world game, this September.

Moving on to the next-gen console the PlayStation 4 was finally shown. I think it looks ugly with the tilted front and back portions, although it seems to be a bit smaller than I expected.

PS4

A short trailer was shown for a new video game IP exclusive to the PlayStation 4. The Order 1886 seems like it could be a four player co-op game set in London. Not much more than what’s said in this trailer is known as of this moment.

Four titles told to be available exclusively for the PlayStation 4 back in February at the consoles reveal event has been given four new trailers and estimated release dates.

Killzone: Shadow Fall a first person shooter set on a distant planet will be a launch title for the console.

Driveclub a game which will be made available at the launch of the console and made free for the first year to all PlayStation Plus-subscribers.

inFamous: Second Son is a Superhero action game which will be released for the console shortly after its release in early 2014.

And Knack a third-person adventure platformer, another launch title for the next-gen PlayStation console.

Here’s where they told us how PlayStation also will be an open platformer for Indie-developers to be able to self publish their games. And a list of indie-games we can expect on PlayStation 4 included Jonathan Blow’s latest game The Witness and Supergiant Games, the studio behind Bastion, new game Transistor. Aswell as eight other games (Don’t Starve, Mercenary Kings, Octodad: Deadliest Catch, Secret Ponchos, Ray’s the Dead, Outlast, Oddworld: New n’ Tasty & Galaxy) that will have their console debuts exclusively on PlayStation 4.

The console release for Diablo 3 was mentioned

And trailers were shown for Square Enix’s upcoming titles Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XIV.

Two Ubisoft games were “performed” on stage, one for upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (which crashed) and the other for Watch_Dogs. I think Watch_Dogs looks great and fun but it’s been shown so many times and is so close to release that I don’t care, really.

Some video for upcoming basketball-title NBA 2K14.

Elder Scrolls Online, the MMO game in the Elder Scrolls series was shown a trailer for and given a release period, spring 2014.

And finally the fucking last trailer of Sony’s press conference was for the Mad Max video game developed by Avalanche. I’ve chosen not to include them all because there’s nothing interesting anyway, if you want to see them then go Google it.

During their press conference Sony also made a point of PlayStation being a used games friendly device. Their shall be no restictions for the consumers who want to buy their games used for a lower price. The console doesn’t need to be connected to the internet and validate your disc for you to play it. This was such a big middle finger pointed at Microsoft, who’s made a statement for being against used games. You can read more about it and watch a mocking video from Sony at: E3 HIGHTLIGHT: THE WAR.

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As I’ve been expecting you’ll have to be a PlayStation Plus subscriber to be able to play multiplayer games online on PlayStation 4. The subscription is for $5/month and will besides grant you access to online multiplayer also give you access to one free game per month as well as being able to play the racing game DriveClub for free for the first year. Other games included in the so-called Instant Game Collection will be the indie-titles Don’t Starve, Outlast and Secret Ponchos.

Even if you chose not to be a Playstation Plus subscriber you’ll still be able to use the console to access apps such as the movie streaming service Netflix.

Formerly known for the development studio behind the Halo series, Bungie came on stage to play a demo-section for their upcoming first-person shooter Destiny. The Activision published title will be released next year. In this demo a group of friends travel through earth far into the future.

Sony ends this years last E3 press conference with the price for the new console. Hundred dollars less than  Xbox one this generation Sony goes for being the cheaper alternative.

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Bobo’s x3 13/02/01

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Greetings everyone! I’m here once again to taste your entertainment for cyanide. Because we don’t want you to die when all you wanna do is be entertained.

So it might seem like I’m playing a game of ‘How late can I get?’ even though I’ve actually been playing…


Don’t Starve is a survival game by a development studio named Klei Entertainment. The game is in beta right now and you can get access to this beta if you pre-order the game for 13,99€ (as I’m writing this it’s available for 11,19€) through Steam, and you’ll also get a second copy which you can give away to a friend. That’s how I got the game, it was donated to me by my friend Andres.

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So when you first start the game you are lying asleep(?) on bare ground and a man in a suit wakes you up and you’re asked for how many days you’ll be able to stay alive. The beginning of the game might remind you of the beginning of a Minecraft-game. You start in the middle of a randomized world by cutting down trees and mining stone. You can build a little camp with chests, farm-lots and your very own science-machine if you want. You use the science machine to research(gather science-points) so that you can get new recipes and build new things and survive and explore more efficiently.  Though Minecraft stops being a game of survival and starts being a game of creativity pretty quickly, whilst this game does not.

For example this game has a day/night-cycle that spans over eight minutes and the longest I’ve managed to stay alive is eight days, so that’s just an hour long game. On average I probably just survive for three to four days so that’s about 30 minutes per game. When death happens, whether it be because you didn’t eat, you didn’t have enough material to make a fire or some monster just appeared and took what was left of your health, you will have to start from the beginning again. The only progression that you get to keep from game to game are your science-points and your researched recipes.

There are a lot of different monsters and creatures all around the world; pig-men, spiders, toads, birds and a goat who wanders around with a sack on his back and gathers stuff. So when you decide to kill something you click on it and your character hits it. It’s almost like a dungeon crawler, like Diablo or Torchlight in that sense. And Wilson (a play-able character) will have a line like “It’s you or me”. There are also cages so that you can capture wild animals and perhaps one day will be able to tame them, though I haven’t been able to figure out if that’s even possible yet.

The art-style of the game is rather Gothic and Tim Burton-esque and everything in the gameworld looks like it was made out of cardboard. I actually think it looks like it could have been taken from some kids pop-up book.

Well it’s an interesting world to adventure through so get the beta or convince your friend to buy it and steal the left-over copy.

Batman: Dark Knight Returns is the newest direct-to-video movie from DC-comics. It’s an animated film retelling the story from Frank Miller’s cult-classic Dark Knight Returns. It got distributed in two parts, the first came out September 25th and the second part Januray 29th. It’s the fifteenth direct-to-video animated movie to retell a DC-comics book.

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So the Dark Knights starts ten years after the last batman sighting and Bruce Wayne is an old retired man by this point. Gotham is overrun with criminals and a new gang, the Mutants, are ruling the streets. Harvey “Two-face” Dent has undergone a huge facial surgery and his psychologist from Arkham Asylum deems him to be ready to go out into the real world again. Of course Bruce Wayne decides to put on his cape and cowl and the story continues from there.

I think it’s an interesting take on the Batman universe for three reasons.
1. Bruce Wayne is now an old-man who’s haunted as much by his parents death (Yes, still. It’s fucking batman what did you expect!) as by his former partner Jason Todd’s (The 2nd Robin). And I think that more in the comics than in this movie we get a view of Batman having to push himself far beyond his limits. And not just physically but a Batman who fights his own mental demons and insecurities. Having a constant struggle between reason and will.
2. We get to see Batman’s villains later in life with many of the gone through years of psychological treatments. And the effects this has had on them. They don’t seem to be the same as they were ten years into the past.
3. The view-point of the media. We get to see a bunch of news reports reporting on the Mutants and on Batman. Also a lot of televised debates on the topic of Batman, masked vigilantes and psychology. And the debate on whether the former crime-lords from Arkham should be let out to reunite with society again.

I’ve really enjoyed most of the direct-to-videos that DC has provided so far and can really recommend them to anyone who wants to get into DC’s world some other way than through comics, or if you’re a fan of the comics already, I really think it works both ways. Some of my favorites so far has been Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern: First Flight and Batman: Under the Red Hood so go check them out if you’re interested.

It’s been a while since I read Dark Knight Returns and the story wasn’t all to fresh in my head when getting into this movie. I’ve found that these books are really close to their source-material and don’t stray too far away from the comic-books. Though I thought one of the major characters seemed to be a bit older in this version than I remember her being in the graphical novel.

Atom Zombie Smasher is a post-apocalyptic zombie strategy game from Blendo Games. They’ve also released the great games Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving, which I’ve talked about before. It’s a low-budget game where you are set with the task of saving a city’s inhabitants from the on-coming zombie-horde. It was released in January of 2011.252px-Atom_zombie_smasher_cover

The game is played from a top-down perspective where you see the whole city as almost like a board with buildings, streets, people and zombies. Before the zombie horde begins to creep into the city to feed on it’s inhabitants you get to position you’re troops throughout the city. You can put out barricades and bait to steer the direction of the zombie-waves. Get your gunmen out into the field to protect the people. Place explosives to, you know, turn the undead into blood-splatter on the concrete.

When you complete your mission and have saved the required amount of civilian lives you’re brought back to the world-view. Here you can see a map with different areas. Areas which have people to save, areas which you’ve saved or areas which are controlled entirely by the zombies. It also keeps count of how many humans have been saved and how many have been turned into the undead through out your play-through.

I haven’t been playing this game all that much I have to confess. It’s a mix of me having a shitty computer which can’t run it all that well. It doesn’t seem to be a game that requires that much from you’re machine, but however my computer don’t have what it takes. And secondly this game also gets really tough really quickly, I’ve gotten stuck on a mission which I’ve played through multiple times and just can’t figure out which approach I should be taking. It’s similar to a puzzle-game in that way.

It’s available through Blendo Game’ own website as well as through Steam. I think I got it from some Humble Bundle but I’m not sure.

There we go, just a week behind but also just on time. Just like some sort of wizard one could say.
One could say.

Ha en bra dag
/Bobo

Heavy Spoil

Spoiled.

 

Here we go again, this time with spoilers. It’s been a busy week, and I will be away all of next week – meaning – there won’t be a comic next week. It is to the great and ancient city of Rome that I will be going. Becoming another tourist. I am quite excited to see Rome for real, as opposed to the Assassin’s Creed version. Most of my time, though, will probably be spent eating a lot of that italian ice-cream. Oh ice-cream.

We went to see the Rise of the Dark Knight last friday, and it did live up to the hype. Nolan certainly knows how to create a film going from each high to the next and finishing on the highest high. Like some sort of mountain climb. I realized late that I probably should have watched the earlier two movies in preparation, but meh.

Peoples lent me the first volumes of the Walking Dead and as I brought them home my wife took one out and asked me about it. She is of the mindset that zombies are ugly features of very gory, plot-lacking films. So she pulls it out, laughs at the zombies on the cover, continues on through laughing at the ugly as she browses the volume. Then something weird happens. She goes back to the start, and reads it all the way through. And it apparently wasn’t enough, as she swallowed the next two volumes too, begging persson to get the rest of the series so that I can borrow them – giving her the opportunity to read them. Somehow Kirkman seems to have been able to translate the Zombie to people that don’t necessarily like the Zombie-film. I’d say that it’s quite a feat.

Cheers,

-Andreas