Archives for October 2013

How To Survive [Zombies]

I come across a lot of gaming related stuff online — Twitter, Tumblr, blogs — but I have been a horrible blogger. I started this site to share cool stuff I found that I figured anyone who had similar (read GREAT) taste in gaming as I do would enjoy. So I’m trying to get back to basics, even if the posts are short and sweet (like this one. Because it’s late and I should be sleeping).

So “How To Survive” is YAZG, but that’s never stopped me from loving them before, so why would it start now? It looks like it has a little State of Decay vibe, a little Dead Rising, and maybe I’m reading a little too much into it, but a little Syndicate. Maybe that’s me projecting my desire for a sucessor to Syndicate.

Either way, it looks interesting and actually comes out next week. Check it out

(via Gamefreaks)

Weekend Gaming

This week is a bye week for the Buckeyes, so I plan on having a little more free time this weekend to get in some gaming. I recently fired up my Xbox, updated Borderlands 2 (including downloading the newest DLC that came out a while ago) and then I started playing State of Decay. So now I have the urge to play some more Xbox. I felt like I had let my survivors down, that they were still holed up in that crumbling church, waiting for someone to save them. So this weekend I think I’m going to put some more time in State of Decay. It feels like I might be getting close to the end, but I’m not ready to be done just yet. I feel like I’ve only explored half of the map. So much more to do!

I’d also like to get back to Borderlands and finish up the last two DLC’s. I sort of petered out with my co-op partner over the summer, so I hope to get back to that this weekend.

What are you playing?

SteamOS – A Vision of the Future

There is no saying how much wit, how much depth of thought, how much fancy, presence of mind, courage, and fixed resolution there may have gone into the placing of a single stone of it. This is what we have to admire, – this grand power and heart of man in the thing.

John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

Valve has a vision.

And it is not some kind of short-sighted crash and cash deal; It will involve more than innovative hardware. This vision looks to the future of PC gaming, one that will be successful only if everybody participates. Yes. The task of building a gaming infrastructure of this type from the ground up will require the efforts of developers and gamers alike. Valve’s vision will blur the line between creator and player even more, thus creating a kind of synergy that will be beautiful and true. This will not happen overnight. Technical hurdles will abound. Forum naysayers will try to impede, to claw down the progress, to sow seeds of doubt. And while the heavy-hitters of the industry stroke themselves over their own regurgitated next-gen consoles, trying to stand tall in their artificial edifices, Valve’s vision will be that wide unnerving rumble they feel beneath their crumbling foundations. In time, these giants will topple and flail about, the naysayers will scurry off, and PC gaming will see a new and triumphant dawn – An enlightening era where the power to create, share, distribute, collaborate, modify and hack is open to all who wish to put forth the effort, and it will proceed with fervor.

It is a beautiful vision, though its implementation is still in the embryonic stages. In three separate announcements during the week of 23 September 2013 Valve revealed the tools for making their vision a reality: SteamOS, Steam Machines, the Steam Controller. The hook at this point is to use these products to get gaming into the living room, onto HDTVs, in front of players who prefer the couch, having never considered – for whatever reason(s) – the advantages of PC gaming.

The finer details about the Steam Machine and Controller are still fuzzy. The Steam Machine is being hyped as a hybrid between console and PC. Valve is presently shipping out prototypes that are stuffed with ‘off-the-shelf’ PC parts to 300 eager beta testers. The approximate dimensions are 12 x 12 x 2.9 inches. Other specs are available via a quick Google search, though let us recognize that the Steam Machines will run SteamOS. The Steam Controller is meant to enable playing of all genres including – that’s right – real-time strategies. Instead of dual analog sticks, it has two pads employing a ‘haptic feedback’ system. You can read about initial user experiences of the beta pad over at Gamasutra, but suffice it to say that the pads are indented to recreate the responsiveness and assignability of traditional keyboard + mouse approach.

If these two components sound an awful lot like just another console – you’re right. How then is this not folly? With the next-gen consoles set to unload during this holiday season, what the devil chance does Valve have to stand against these? Valve even assumes that a large percentage of their customer base already own high-powered rigs and are in no hurry to trip over themselves to acquire a Steam Machine. Many digital journalists and forum participants are already pooh-poohing these devices, citing that, for example, the Steam Box won’t solve any problems it sets out to correct, it will not achieve it’s glorified PC revolution with this hardware – the vision has faded before it has even begun to make itself clear. And were these the only two components, innovative and attractive as they may be, I would agree.

The linchpin holding this grand vision in place is SteamOS, which will run on Linux. The idea is to combat the closed ecosystems of consoles with the power and flavors of running an operating system that is open source. Myopic naysayers are already bellyaching about the immediate compatibility problems with their existing game libraries. And what’s more, mountains of more gritty technical issues also stand in the way (This isn’t meant to be an overhaul of Microsoft… yet). But herein is the glory of the vision. Herein is the power to overcome obstacles with open paths and collective efforts – To fight the good fight, and to do it together.

Valve’s vision has the potential to get more people coding. One of the approaches to get gaming into the living room is to reach a new source of untapped minds. This move is not about creating a friendly co-existence between the disparities and biases of console and PC users. Valve is out to convert. The first phase of their vision will jar loose and attract the attention of those select individuals who may otherwise be ignorant to their own creative and technical potential. Concerning the realization of creative and critical powers Ruskin asserts, “… and from that moment he will find himself a power of judgment which can neither be escaped nor deceived, and discover subjects of interest where everything before had appeared barren.” Living room gamers will no longer have to be passive consumers.

Valve and Linux are the appropriate flagships for this endeavor. When you account Valve’s business approach their success comes as no surprise. The ongoing mentality there has always been one of community and shared contribution. And now that digital distribution is so widely utilized by thousands upon thousands of users – a trend that Valve has perpetuated through their Steam platform – why not continue this mode to attract and support new coders. Each small developer, each contribution, will be a node in a growing infrastructure. Perhaps Valve could come up with special incentives to encourage active participation in some capacity or other. More than anything, it would behoove this entire effort to have a vision statement for everyone to march under – to have a mark of the legion. And let us not forget Linux, the workhorse of this vision. Recent years have witnessed widespread adoption of the Linux kernel, and not just by some weird influx of basement neckbeards and butthurts. We’re talking Google. We’re talking Android…

And now we’re talking SteamOS: a trimmed-down new operating system that is bound attract fresh minds that tore through the walled gardens of gaming consoles (a wild success in itself), fresh perspectives as a result of collaboration, and empowering leading ideas for games, media utilities, source code, pedagogy – all distributed with ease through the digital aether, built from the ground up. Power in the dedication and will of the users. Ruskin seconds these virtues, citing that the success of a construction is found in “pure, precious, majestic massy intellect”. This is the vision. It is glorious. It is right. May we keep it in perspective.

(TL;DR? Better just stick to playing on consoles.)

SteamOS

 

October Releases

October’s list really highlights the fact that this generation of consoles is coming to a close as publishers rush to get out “compilation” discs with their successful games from this generation. This might not be a bad time to get rid of some old games and consolidate them with these “best of discs”. Either way, it’s clear that publishers are wrapping up the end of the console generation with a last ditch cash grab. Either way, it’s good for gamers. There’s quite a few deals this month.

Week of October 1st
Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy Edition – Ubisoft kicks things off with the first of many compilation discs.
NBA 2K14

Week of October 8th
Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition – In addition to these multi-game offerings are also “Game of the Year” offerings, and I would concur that Borderlands 2 is a Game of the Year, and if you haven’t picked up Borderlands 2 yet, this is a great chance to do so.
Skylanders SWAP Force
Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition
Capcom Essentials – There seems to be quite a bit of value in the disc. I may pick it up just for RE6.
Just Dance 2014

Week of October 22nd
Batman: Arkham Origins – Arkham Origins looks like it might be the last day-one purchase for me for this generation. But it should be a good one.
Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Guitar Bundle
2K Essentials Collection
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Storm 3 Full Burst
2K Power Pack Collection
Just Dance Kids 2014
LEGO: Marvel – As Kevin McCallister once said, “It’s for the kids”.

Week of October 29th
Castlevania Lords of Shadow Collection
Battlefield 4
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
WWE 2K14
Angry Birds Star Wars
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures – AKA Super Pac-Man Galaxy

Week of October 1st
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – Here it is, my white whale. After much consideration, I have not yet purchased a Wii U. I don’t know if I ever will. If that happens, I will always rue the day I never got to play Wind Waker HD. Wind Waker is in my top 3 video games of all time and playing it in HD might vault it to #1.

Week of October 8th
Just Dance 2014

Week of October 22nd
Batman: Arkham Origins
Just Dance Kids 2014
LEGO: Marvel

Week of October 29th
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
Sonic Lost World
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
Angry Birds Star Wars

Week of October 1st
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl
Rune Factory 4

Week of October 8th
Pokémon Y – The 3DS is really coming into its own. With Etrian Odyssey, Batman and Pokemon X&Y, it’s quite the contender.
Pokémon X

Week of October 22nd
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
LEGO: Marvel
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate

Week of October 29th
Sonic Lost World
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land
Angry Birds Star Wars
Hometown Story (Harvest Moon) – Harvest Moon, you say?! Another chance to link my Harvest Moon review? Why thank you very much! (By my count, this is the TENTH Harvest Moon that has appeared in the monthly releases since I posted that Harvest Moon review in 2005. That means 1) I am old, as is this blog and 2) WE’VE HAD ENOUGH HARVEST MOON, NINTENDO.)

Week of October 1st
F1 2013 Classic Edition
Realms of Arkania: Blades of Destiny
NBA 2K14

Week of October 8th
Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition
Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition

Week of October 15th
Two Brothers

Week of October 22nd
LEGO: Marvel
Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Guitar Bundle
The Sims 3 Into the Future – Limited Edition
Batman: Arkham Origins

Week of October 29th
Football Manager 2014
Battlefield 4

Week of October 1st
NBA 2K14

Week of October 8th
Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition
Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition
Just Dance 2014
BEYOND: Two Souls
Capcom Essentials
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness – I still hold out hope that we’ll get Disgaea on the 3DS, but that looks less and less likely to happen.

Week of October 15th
Worms Revolution Collection

Week of October 22nd
2K Power Pack Collection
2K Essentials Collection
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Storm 3 Full Burst
Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Guitar Bundle
LEGO: Marvel
Batman: Arkham Origins

Week of October 29th
Castlevania Lords of Shadow Collection
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
Battlefield 4
WWE 2K14
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
Angry Birds Star Wars

Week of October 15th
Valhalla Knights 3

Week of October 22nd
LEGO: Marvel
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate

Week of October 29th
Angry Birds Star Wars

What are you picking up?

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