Man, what a shock the world woke up to on January 11th. The death of David Bowie was not something that I was ready for, not by a long shot. He was a guy who left an impact wherever he went, from music to movies and yes, even games. David Bowie’s involvement in games wasn’t substantial, but he was involved in what was, at the time, a rather groundbreaking game in Omikron: The Nomad Soul. What better way to market a game than featuring a soundtrack written and performed by David Bowie, as well as Bowie helping out with some aspects of the game’s story and design?

Saturday, 09 January 2016 00:00

Orchids to Dusk will make you enjoy your life through death

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In the great ether of all energy in all of time and space in this universe and every parallel universe that follows it -- you only exist for a blink of it. In the grand scheme of things, nothing you do will ever be remembered. People may have memories of who you once were and the likes you accumulated on Instagram, but even those will eventually fade off into obscurity. Let's say you had enough money or military control to construct a statue in your honor to let future generations know how much of an egotistical barney you were. On a long enough time span, your marble statue will begin to crumble and eventually erode to beach sand. If you go with bronze or iron, your inanimate self will just wither away from rust and corrosion. According to David de Vries's 'Life After People' that premiered on the History Channel, the final remaining relic of humanity that is sturdy enough to withstand time will be Mount Rushmore, and even that only has a 10,000-year life span. On an even longer time frame, our sun will dwindle to a white dwarf star and then fade into the background temperature of the universe. The Earth, without a sun to keep it alive, will stop its rotation and tumble through the universe as a cold, forgotten rock.

I have no qualms with openly talking about how much I love science fiction. In fact, I’ve kind of dedicated myself to being immersed in the world of science fiction and writing sci-fi books. Science fiction has gripped the box offices ever since the advent of Star Wars in the late 70’s and the world of videogames has been no different in its undying love for science fiction games. In a way, videogames are the perfect outlet for science fiction to come to life. Entire immersive worlds can be created, elaborate backstories explored and it all serves as the perfect backdrop for futuristic heroes to save the world/galaxy/universe.

Virtual Reality has been a viral hit over the past year, with videos featuring everyone from security guards to dads to grandmothers checking out VR and being blown away by it. No doubt, VR is pretty incredible and there have already been talks of it being the hottest new technology that will change lives when consumers can get their hands on it. The biggest question mark has been the price and release date, with many believing that the $300 - $400 range would be where we’d see consumer headsets launching at. That price itself comes from the cost of Oculus Rift’s dev kits.

We're just four days into 2016 and we've already discussed racist puzzle games, walking simulators, and now a game in which you're forced to watch your son die from cancer. What an uplifting story for this Monday afternoon.

When I look back at 2015 there are a lot of games that stick out in my mind for being great, but one of those wasn’t created by a huge studio and didn’t involve me killing much of anything. Instead, it was a contemplative journey through a fascinating story and it has been divisive among the gaming world, much like many other games that play similar to it. This game is Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “walking simulator” assigned to games such as Rapture, you may have even dismissed it or similar games because of that title.

No, ladies and gentlemen. Not only do #BlockLivesMatter -- but #ALLShapesMatter. Granted, the entire Block Lives Matter movement would mean nothing if there wasn't a disproportionate number of blocks killed in comparison with the other shapes. Therefore saying #AllShapesMatter disregards the very real concern that blocks are getting unjustly murdered on the streets.

Thursday, 31 December 2015 00:00

Behold, The Stoned Gamer 2015 Awards have arrived

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The second annual The Stoned Gamer Awards -- in the same month as our second The Stoned Gamer Tournament. All of this stoned tomfoolery happening at a record-setting pace -- and my mother doesn't even know I'm in the cannabis industry. Let's keep it like that, stoned gamers. If you feel like obsessing over someone, direct your attention to Kristin Kreuk. She can use a couple stalkers in 2016.

Of course we're just kidding. Don't stalk Kristin Kreuk. Leave that to me -- I've been doing it for over a decade.

We’ve pointed it out before, but damn, was 2015 a great year for games. That being said, not everything was roses when it came to our hard-earned cash. Sure, everyone has their share of complaints for games like Halo, Metal Gear and Fallout, but in the end, those games were still enjoyable and hit most of the right notes for fans. So what game was full of hype only to deliver next to nothing and quickly slip away from view? The Order: 1886.

Holiday sales were enough for a few friends and myself to cave in and purchase Star Wars Battlefront, with a huge help from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You know, $20 off a new game is a pretty good deal and the game just really nails the feel of the Star Wars universe unlike any game has ever done before. Some might complain that it’s just a generic shooter, but what really would you want for Star Wars other than just good, plain fun?

Sunday, 27 December 2015 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Prison Architect (8.5)

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420 Character Reviews: Prison Architect (8.5)

The learning curve is steep here, there isn’t a real tutorial to explain everything you will need to run a successful house of criminals. You decide the toilet placements, that is if you want a toilet. This game is a ton of fun and will totally pull you into a vortex of building, maintaining, and disciplining. Oh, inmates CAN escape into the outside neighborhoods. You're on the wrong side of Shawshank Redemption.

As someone who is prone to playing games on PC often, even opting to buy multiplatform titles on PC depending on my mood and hoping that they’ll both look and play better on there, maybe this is exacerbated for me considering that I’ve been playing games on higher settings for a while now. The leap from the previous console to this console generation feels merely iterative in a lot of ways, though. The graphical leap simply wasn’t as huge as everyone expected it would be. The promise for a new generation is always mind-blowing visuals and while some games have delivered upgraded visuals, we’ve seen a lot more of the same.

After a few less-than-stellar years, the usual transition years that come after a new console generation is released. That’s okay, though, because 2015 was a pretty damned good year for releases big and small. We were treated to a lot of solid games, including big, hyped-releases that either delivered or didn’t depending on your tastes, but undeniably made an impact. So here are some of the biggest releases for the next year, let’s see how they stack up.

You know, looking back at 2015 it’s pretty difficult for me to ignore just how good of a year that it was for games. Usually I make a lot of dumb purchases that I regret later on, which means buying games that I really wasn’t sure about only to play it a bit, kinda like it, then cast it aside after I grow tired of it. That absolutely happened this year, but it happened a lot less than has in past years. In fact, there were games that I actually enjoyed a lot. That’s huge, folks, I’m kind of a grump.

Just a heads up, don’t worry about spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this article. We wouldn’t do that to you.