Cracked LCD- Dragon Con 2012 Post-Mortem

Dragon Con 2012 was my 20th year attending the Southeast’s largest fan convention, and if you’ve followed my coverage of it over the past couple of years you probably know most of what I’m going to say about it. Yes, the kinds of things that got me more or less excommunicated from their press list. Hey, I didn’t realize they’d actually go and read my articles. I’m not sorry for pointing out the rudeness and lack of hygiene of the geeks in attendance, nor am I sorry for jabbing at the has-been and never-was celebrities that make up the guest list. The toilets in the gaming area really are the most unsanitary place on Earth, I’m not making it up. Continue Reading…

The Walking Dead Episode 3 in Review

If the first episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was about the dangers of zombies and the second was about the the dangers of humans, the third is about the dangers of choices. Granted, the spectre of the wrong decision has loomed over the game ever since Lee Everett first crashed outside of Macon, but this episode brings with it the hardest set of choices yet. Compounding the severity of your decisions is the vague, unsettling feeling that the impact of these choices are not only unpredictable, but far reaching.

A proper discussion of this episode can not take place using the vague, shadowy language of a spoiler-free review, so I’m not going to try. If you haven’t played this episode yet, I would strongly suggest, beg even, that you stop reading this until you play it. The spoilers herein would rob the game of some very important moments, moments that are very much the point of this episode.

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Super Hexagon (IOS) in Review

Terry Cavanagh’s latest, Super Hexagon for IOS, is a throbbing, pulsing, electro-psychedelic experiment in video game minimalism that calls to mind classic games like Tempest and Reactor. But it’s more elemental, evidencing a purity of design that isn’t common even among simplistic, retro indie games. Super Hexagon is not retro. You don’t get to this level of reductive, razor-thin design without having decades of antecedents to harrow away to get to the core of what video games are. Or what they should be. Continue Reading…

NHL 13 Review

You have heard this all before.

“We rebuilt everything from the ground up!”

It’s the most common mantra when it comes to yearly sports games. Well, that and “we have added thousands of new animations!” which very well might be true but when in fact you may end up actually noticing maybe a dozen or so.

It’s the nature of the 12 month release cycle beast. You need a new hook to get both old and new players interested in what is essentially the same game you played or are still playing from last year.

NHL 13 is no different, really. In this case, however, the hook works.

If you’re a casual player of this franchise, many of the gameplay changes won’t smack you across the chops. However, more ardent fans of NHL will most certainly not only see but perhaps even struggle to get accustomed to the new skating model, which EA is dubbing as “True Performance Skating”. In this case, the “new from the ground up” thing may actually be true.

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A New Chris Roberts Game in the Works

If you head on over to robertsspaceindustries.com you’ll see a screen like the one captured above. The little question mark doo-hickey asks for the answer to the Ultimate Question, which anyone who’s ever read the legendary Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knows is 42. (You have no idea how smug I felt when that log-in actually worked.)  At that point you’ll see a message from Wing Commander creator Chris Robers revealing his intent to make a new game, or in his words, “And if you would indulge me I would like to create a world for you.”

More from Mr. Roberts:

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Dreadball Gameplay Video

As I mentioned last week, I supported Dreadball on Kickstarter and today there is a gameplay video online that’s worth a watch if you are considering tossing your cash into the ring. The stretch goals they are reaching make this really, really hard to pass up.

Borderlands 2 Skill Point Calculator Available

As my dad always said, proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. In other words, take some time out of your day to visit the newly released Borderlands 2 skill point calculator and figure out how best to assign 50 levels of glorious skill point madness. That link is for the siren’s skill point calculator, but there are links at the bottom of the page for every character class.

Now, I know that you may be confused as to all of the options, so I’m going to make it easy for you. These are, in no uncertain terms, the things you should be most concerned with:

  • Keeping me alive
  • Reviving me
  • Killing those that would prevent the previous two points

Now, if you’re playing a Commando and you want to roll with Team Binky, I better see not one, but two saber turrets drop when you call ‘em forth. They also better have rockets and they better be magnetic. If they don’t, go back home and don’t come back until you can spec your character properly.

Me, I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to do more damage and cause neat things like explosions and elemental damage when I phaselock someone, or if I should focus on more healing oriented skills. Seeing how I tend to rush into battle in a desperate effort to collect every bullet fired in Pandora and store them in my liver, I’m thinking healing might be the better choice. Then again, if there are no enemies to shoot me, what need do I have for healing?

Decisions, decisions!

Jumping the Shark Podcast #142

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For Jumping the Shark #142 Brandon and Bill play some games. No, I mean that literally. Bill loads up Dark Souls and laments the shoddy state of Games for Windows Live while trying to kill some horrific spider queen type beastie. Brandon plays some Darksiders II while talking about the difficulty of the end-game and reminding us all of the depths of his achievement-whoring ways. (There’s also some talk of Inquisitor lodged in there.) In between I talk about my time spent captaining FTL: Faster Than Light and why this $10 starship simulator, straight out of the early 90s, is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had this year. (Game to be released 9/14.)

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Edit Type: Skype
(The embedded feed is after the break.)
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Calendar Man – Week of 9/10

Hey, it’s a week until Borderlands 2! Hooray! Things are coming out this week, but none of them are Borderlands 2, so they don’t interest me. If you like hockey, you may feel differently, as NHL 13 comes out. NBA Baller Beats also releases, but I’m not sure anyone would admit to wanting to play that game. If it had nothing but jump shots, we may have been able to convince Bill to play, but alas, nary a long bomb to be found. Bill Abner’s relatively Kinect-free existence continues to this day.

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Diaspora: Shattered Armistice Trailer

Up to this point I knew absolutely nothing about this game, but Battlestar Galactica fans, this freeware mod for Descent: Freespace 2 is for you. Hopefully the game itself is at least half as cool as this trailer for it. Seriously, it makes me want to go suit up. Right. Now.

If only I knew what became of my old CH Flightstick Pro and accompanying throttle. Not that myPC has an serial ports to connect them to. My goodness, it really has been a long time since the days of Wing Commander and X-Wing/Tie Fighter. And just why did I never get around to the Freespace games? Folly, I tell you. Pure folly.

Spotted at RPS.