DOOM unlocks at 11pm in my time zone…

this timely video is courtesy of /r/doom
I’m going to be so tired at work tomorrow.

* * *

So I finally saw We Are Twisted Fucking Sister. It’s streaming on Netflix right now and it’s not bad.

I was waiting for it to get to all the stuff on VH1’s Behind the Music when it just kind of ended without warning. I’m guessing there’s a Volume 2 in the works?

At any rate, tonight’s midnight movie is Bloodsport. Come back around midnight CT if you’re not playing DOOM.

11:44 UPDATE:

I don’t remember any other pre-loaded game taking this long to unlock!

The "You vs. Fiction" Game [rules]

A few weeks ago I was browsing /r/whowouldwin. That’s the site where users are invited to design battles between (usually) fictional characters and the commentators decide who will win, citing canonical facts and feats of strength along the way.

Some of the best scenarios pit the army of Mordor against the Roman Empire, Jackie Chan holding a baby vs. Jackie Chan holding vases “but doesn’t want any trouble,” and Home Alone’s Kevin vs. the characters from The Purge. More recently, it seems “MacGyver with a $1,000 gift card to Home Depot” is becoming almost as popular as “Batman with preparation.”

I love this kind of stuff.

My favorite scenario from the site was “You vs All of Fiction,” but for reasons unknown to me the detailed list of rules were removed and it didn’t get much attention in the first place. Nonetheless it kept me awake for hours. It’s a really great (and kind of dumb) excuse to get your imagination flowing.

Here’s how it essentially worked:

  • You have the ability to inherit all the powers of any fictional character you kill.
  • The object is to become so powerful that no fictional character can possibly defeat you.
  • You want to do it in as few moves as possible.

The catch is you will be fighting these characters in the real world and not their fictional universes. Initially, you have to choose a character you could defeat with your actual strengths and abilities in order to gain their powers before moving onto the next character (and so on). You only get an hour to prepare before each battle and you can only use weapons and resources you have in your house right now. So no, you can’t visit the army surplus store beforehand.

There were a ton of other rules the original poster laid out, but I don’t remember them all. If I remember correctly, he or she did state that Suggsverse was fair game, but I personally think that’s cheating. I think it’s best to stick with more popular characters and franchises, but it’s fun coming up with your own rules, too.

One of the hardest parts is choosing that first character to fight. They shouldn’t be chosen haphazardly. Part of the fun for me was approaching the exercise with complete seriousness.

My choice for the first character to fight was initially Carrie White, before her awakening, but then I immediately ran into a problem: it was stress which more or less unlocked her true power. If she finds herself in a duel to the death, who’s to say she wouldn’t realize her telekinesis then?

After that I briefly considered Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife (the book version because the movie looked fucking terrible). Then I reminded myself he was an active jogger and I’m an ex-smoker with a penchant for pizza. Maybe I could fight him after the frostbite got a hold of him, but even if I could score a serious blow, I’d run into the stress-activation factor again and possibly just knock him into another year. Never mind his version of time travel was so random it was more like a curse than a power.

Bruce Banner was an even briefer consideration. Again: the stress factor bites you in the ass.

I’m also beginning to think it’s probably cheating if you choose to fight them at a certain point in their lives, e.g. “before the awakening” or “after the frostbite.” After all, that would require time travel, which doesn’t exist in the real world where the fight must take place. I suppose the advanced rules of the game would specify that you have to fight them as they presumably exist today, i.e. ruling out characters who died or who would otherwise be dead today. So that means no John Coffey, because he died in his story, and no period-specific characters like Indiana Jones or The Shadow because they likely died of old age long ago.

So if you kill a mutant who’s been “cured” of the X-gene (as seen in X-Men 3) do you get their powers? I personally don’t think so, but hey, it’s all for shits and giggles so play any way you want.

At any rate, I’m still trying to come up with my definitive answer for #1.

DOOM campaign trailer is out and it looks awesome

The list of things which had a big impact on me is too long to mention, but DOOM is right up there with Mad Magazine and monster movies. While I didn’t hate DOOM 3, I love that the new colors and some of the art design reflect the 90s graphics that helped make the original games a mind-melting addiction. DOOM works better as a nonstop action game with horror (and SF) elements rather than going full-blown horror. It looks like they’re hitting that mark.
For those of you who missed out on the craze, RetroAhoy has a comprehensive retrospective on why id Software’s masterpiece was so damn significant to video games and pop culture in general:
I know most of the original developers have moved on, but if it’s anything like Wolfenstein: The New Order, I probably won’t be terribly disappointed.
read the hyper-90s comic at Doomworld… it’s radical, dude

Best Games of 2015

10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Even though it’s (barely) in my top ten, I’ve enjoyed almost every other Metal Gear game a lot more than this one. I suspect it only makes my list because I didn’t play many games this year. It’s a pretty good game, but doesn’t scratch the same itch the previous entries did. I understand a lot of people disliked the rampant cutscenes in the other games, but those people didn’t really like Metal Gear Solid, did they? It just feels like the developers were trying too hard to appeal to a more general crowd with the addition of episodes, losing what made the series special in the first place.

9. Prison Architect

Full disclosure: I played Prison Architect while it was still in early access and haven’t touched it since. If, like me, you enjoy older architect games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital, and Sim City 2000, but despise their modern day sequels and reboots, then you’ll probably love Prison Architect, too. Its addictive gameplay kept me entertained for days.

8. The Escapists

The Escapists is like taking control of an NPC in Prison Architect. I enjoyed the routine of prison life so much, I sometimes almost forgot to escape. It’s a lot of fun with a gamepad.

7. Resident Evil HD

Having beaten the original on Playstation a billion years ago, I didn’t expect to enjoy replaying it as much as I did. It’s a great value for twenty bucks.

6. Mortal Kombat X

The only cheat still bouncing around in my head from the nineties is the Mortal Kombat blood code for Sega Genesis. I wasted a lot of quarters on the series and kind of lost interest after it went 3D, but I was surprised to find I had just as much fun with MKX as I did the original three. The sound and graphics are brutal and awesome, but why the fuck do they keep cramming godawful storylines and sub-par voice acting into the series nowadays?

5. Grand Theft Auto V

I already played GTAV on Playstation 3 a few years ago, but—no surprise—it’s so much funner on PC. I still think no other series pulls off interactive crime movies better and I love the fact you take control of morally reprehensible characters whose problems aren’t that they have to save the world, but that their wives hate them and their children are brats. Online is a blast, too, provided you have friends who own a copy. Playing with strangers is shit, though.

4. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

A part of me knows The Witcher 3 is probably the best game of the year, but there’s a difference between the best and my favorite. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the lore of a video game more, which led to my reading (and immensely enjoying) Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish soon after the game came out. It’s sure to be a game I revisit in the future.

3. Fallout 4

I know the internet has unanimously decided Fallout 4 is a disappointment, but any game I spent so many hours with deserves to be high on this list. I agree, though: technically it’s not as good as The Witcher 3, it’s a helluva lot more buggy, and the graphics are a step down. I don’t give a damn. I love the character I’ve created, love battling super mutants with Fat Man atomic weapons, and love the sense of humor.

2. Sunless Sea

I may not have put as much time into Sunless Sea as I did Fallout 4, but I fully intend to revisit it in the near future. The Lovecraftian feel of it all just came at the right time for me, I guess, as I’ve been rereading a lot of the writer’s stories this year. It’s extremely atmospheric and the sense of dread is, understandably, something many people won’t like, but my sheer desire to survive the situations it threw at me (without resorting to cannibalism) really made me feel alive in a way that made me forget I was playing a video game with popcorn crumbs and soda stains on my shirt.

1. Kerbal Space Program

So yeah, maybe it’s a bit of a cheat as the early access version has been available for years, but the full KSP did indeed release this year. It’s one of the very few early access games that didn’t get boring by the time it reached its full release date. The number of mods for this game sends the replayability factor through the roof. It’s a must-have for science and/or science-fiction fans.

So, in the interest of transparency, here are the 2015 games I haven’t played yet, but suspect might end up on my list after I finally get around to playing them:

  • Homeworld Remastered
  • Infinifactory
  • Invisible Inc.
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Rainbow Six: Siege
  • Technobabylon
  • Westerado: Double Barreled
I should also note that I sunk 29 hours into Empyrion: Galactic Survival this year, but as the game is still in early access as of 2015, it won’t be appearing on this list. If they finish it next year, I guarantee you it’ll be on the list. And now, without further ado…

Dishonorable Mention: Star Wars Battlefront

For anyone who’s unwilling to purchase the ridiculous amount of DLC content, Battlefront gets boring within days, not weeks. In fact, I may have played it more in beta than I did after purchasing it. The maps and Star Wars flavoring (particularly the pitch perfect sound effects) are awesome while they last, though. But man, what a letdown. I knew not to get excited when it was announced so long ago, but buying it (on sale) seemed like less of a hassle than trying to get the older Battlefront games to work online again. If you’re on the fence, I’d suggest staying there. There are at least a dozen better Star Wars games, all of which are cheaper, too.

Some Fallout 4 tips (PC)

A lot of these tips aren’t necessarily hidden, just kind of unclear at the get-go, so I’m aiming this at players who just got the game. I’m 16 hours into the game, so I’ll probably be adding tips as I play a little more. Also, a lot of this stuff is subject to change with future patches and updates.

sure, you can run the game at 60fps… if you’re willing to jump through hoops

First of all, you can run the game at 60fps, but it totally breaks the game physics. According to Reddit user Dynasty2201: “You run faster and lockpicking becomes impossible.” Look, 60fps would be nice (and its exclusion is fucking ridiculous, to be honest), but is it really worth breaking the game?

To auto-walk or auto-run, press X on the keyboard.

Most people are aware Caps Lock toggles between run and walk, but it also toggles between a slow sneak and a super slow sneak. I was having some trouble sneaking by a group of mutants until I realized this.

Radiation matters more than ever now as it lowers your maximum HP. This means Rad-X and Rad-Away are a lot more important than in previous games. Short of paying a doctor 40 caps, Rad-Away is, as far as I know, the only way to remove radiation sickness.

Early on, you’ll probably need concrete for Sanctuary quests. I wasted several minutes looking for it until I realized you can “scrap” various things in the settlement (including cars, collapsed houses, fences, and mailboxes) by pressing V on the keyboard to go into Workshop Mode. You will see the option at the bottom of the Workshop menu, which is activated by pressing R while facing (highlighting) whatever you wish to scrap.

sit… good boy!

Throwing grenades is way more confusing than it should be for PC players. I understand console players have limited buttons, but assigning it to the same key that performs a melee strike is probably the dumbest thing about Fallout 4’s controls. You can reassign the key all you want, but you can’t split the functions up between two keys. This means whenever you try to pistol whip someone, it’s all to easy to toss a molotov instead, setting your enemy as well as yourself on fire. I have a feeling this will be fixed in a future update, but not soon. Anyway, if you want to melee, don’t hold the key down. If you want to throw a grenade, make sure you’ve equipped the grenade and hold the key down until you hear a click.

The Sort option at the bottom of your Pip-Boy’s Inventory menu is your new best friend. To the right of “Sort” you’ll see parentheses which shows what you’re currently sorting by, such as value, weight, and damage.

When bartering, you can highlight your own inventory or the trader’s inventory, then press right or left on the arrow keys to sort by weapons, ammo, junk, etc. Speaking of junk…

In most games you can safely sell or ignore junk. In Fallout 4 it’s a lot more important for construction. This makes deciding what to take and what to drop a little more overwhelming, but having a companion carry some of the load makes it a little easier.

Fallout 4: First impressions

I just spent a little over five hours in FO4. I apologize for the lack of action shots, but hey, at least there won’t be any major spoilers. Here’s what my sleep-deprived brain thinks so far…

The character editor is a little wonky.

Update: Having seen some of the character creations players have posted this morning, I’m convinced my brain broke during this part of the game… maybe I just didn’t entirely understand how the controls worked. What I originally wrote is as follows:

I had some trouble adjusting features exactly as I wanted and I was a little disappointed in the range. After spending around twenty minutes in the editor, my character’s facial features barely looked any different than the stock facial type I chose when I began. You get another chance to change your look before you leave the vault, but I have a feeling I’m stuck with what I’ve created. Which is kind of a bummer. I want my character’s look to grow as she does. (I thought it was cool to give her gray hair after coming out of the cryos.)

Update: Apparently there’s a barber in Diamond City. He can change your hair, but it doesn’t look like you can change any other features elsewhere in the game. I’d personally like to add wrinkles and scars as the game progresses. They should patch in a tattoo parlor for superficial stuff like that.

The prologue is short and sweet. 

I was eager to get into the wasteland as soon as possible. No birthdays, no ink blot tests, no bullshit. There’s around twenty minutes between the opening credits and leaving the vault. It’s just not as plodding as previous FO games, which will make replays a little less painful.

The main objective, so far, is kind of a downer. 

I had the same complaint about Dead Rising 2: when I play an open world game, I don’t want too much responsibility. With an objective like “find your kidnapped baby boy,” it’s hard to believe your character would be enticed by relatively pointless side quests like “build a chair.” If you play games purely for the challenge rather than the roleplay, you probably won’t be bothered by this at all. Those of you who like to submerse yourselves into the character, on the other hand, might feel pressured into rushing the main quests. I just wish the plot was a little bit lighter so that I could go screaming into the wasteland like a maniac from Mad Max.

Companions are kind of annoying, but helpful… usually.

I really dislike the dog (so far) because it has an annoying tendency to place itself in my line of fire. Codsworth is good for carrying loot when you get encumbered, but his lights and inexplicable disappearing acts get annoying. So far I’ve had trouble getting him to follow my commands. He often says, “I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” even when it’s perfectly clear he should have no problem at all. Having said that, I usually hate companions in games and FO4’s friendly AI can be pretty impressive at times.

The graphics and gameplay are smooth on day one.

I’m running my graphics on ultra with an Intel Core i5-4690k, 16 gigs of RAM, and a GTX 970. The first ten minutes of gameplay felt a little choppy for some reason, but after leaving the vault I haven’t had many, if any, complaints. It’s sad I feel the need to commend a game for simply working, but that’s the state of the video games industry, I guess. Nonetheless, this feels a lot smoother than New Vegas and part 3.

It’s kind of easy to get stuck.

Be careful when walking or jumping between walls and objects like cars because you might end up having to reload a previous save. So far, though, it’s not nearly as sticky as a Grand Theft Auto game.

The controls are kind of annoying.

If you want to exit your Pip-Boy, you have to press Tab. If you want to exit a work station, you have to press Tab and then Esc. It’s just the tiniest bit frustrating that Esc will exit some menus, but bring up the pause screen in others. You’ll see what I mean when you play it.

It doesn’t do anything new.

That’s not a complaint. This feels like a Fallout game turned up to 11, which is probably what we all wanted. It’s already a lot more polished than New Vegas and a helluva lot more exciting. We’ve got a good contender for game of the year here. It’s not as smooth as The Witcher 3 yet and some of the additions like crafting and power armor and the new perk system might become intimidating to more casual players, but so far I’m having a blast.

It’s going to be hard going to bed tonight. Hell, it ‘s going to be hard going to bed for many nights to come.

A countdown appeared on the Summer Camp website

The first trailer for Summer Camp appeared last Halloween and, as far as I know, there hasn’t been any gameplay shown to the public yet (which is usually a bad sign). Whereas the website used to have a bunch of bios and other media, it now redirects to the image seen above. The active countdown timer is currently at eight days. 
What happens when Summer Camp’s countdown clock reaches zero? I’m guessing it’ll just be more hype, such as a long overdue gameplay video and maybe a release date. I’m having a hard time getting excited over this game anymore, but Kane Hodder seems to think it’s worth the wait so I guess I’ll keep paying attention, though not as much.

I just worked it out and the countdown will end close to Tuesday the 12th. I hate to add to the hype here, but it’s worth noting that Tuesdays are when games typically release and a smaller game releasing without making its release date known in advance is not entirely rare. Again, since we haven’t seen any solid footage, I really doubt that’s the case.  

Here’s the website so you can sign up for the newsletter and here’s the official Twitter.

Hitman 2015 offers a form of early access, although they’re not officially calling it that

I love Hitman games. Blood Money is the only game I’ve ever beaten more than twice so what more can I say? I even loved Absolution, though I admit it didn’t have any missions nearly as memorable as the previous games. I’ll probably buy any game with Agent 47 in it, so with the latest title it’s not a question of if, it’s more of a question of when.

According to PC Gamer, the full game won’t be available until 2016. What you get in December, for $60, is one-shot missions. Initially I reacted pretty negatively to this news, but hear creative director Christian Elverdam out:

What we’re thinking is you get nothing more than a portrait, so you can’t really find the guy on instinct or anything like that. You’ll have to work your way around the level, finding his routine. If you make him nervous and he escapes, he’s gone forever. And then when you finally figure out what you want to do, that kill you do is going to be the kill you can do. You need to really pay attention because you’re not going to get a do-over. We really believe that you’ll have a segment of players who race to be the first. There’ll be bragging rights, Twitch streams, discussions of different strategies.

Sounds pretty intense to me. As long as the target A.I. doesn’t get easily spooked or you can easily fail a mission through no fault of your own—as in previous games—I think I’m going to have a good time with early access Hitman 2015. Naturally I’ll stay away if early word-of-mouth is severely negative (although I’m glad I checked out Absolution for myself), but I’ll probably wait to pick this up until I’m finished with Fallout 4… which, in turn, I won’t be picking up until I’m done with Witcher 3. And, at this point, I’m wondering if Witcher 3 actually ends.