420 Character Reviews: I Get This Call Every Day (9.4)

This game has done a great job of capturing the nature of a mundane cubicle job and its impact on your spirit. Working in a call center, you try to guide the caller through security questions to verify the account in question. An email from the boss means you’re fired so pick responses wisely. Replayability is high, as you give it try after try to salvage your job. A profound message is delivered to you via MS­paint.

It’s August, and Halloween is ever so close. We need to take Halloween back to the old days when mothers and fathers would hide their children in the attic to shield them from the demons roaming through the village. Currently, October 31st it’s all about high sugar levels and uninspired costumes. Adults are forced into celebrating Halloween two weeks before the actual day at their office party, or some club dancing instead of scaring kids in the streets. Certain things shouldn’t be frowned upon. Where’s the fear? Still, every year I get excited about All Hollow’s Eve, and this year I want to sprinkle some Norwegian fear into your lives.

Our cat's name is Bobbi Grey because we got her around the time that Bobbi Kristina Brown died and we decided to make a sort of mock in memoriam. Her made sure her last name was Grey instead of Brown because she is a grey cat and not brown cat.

Dwarf Fortress is one of the most ambitious and non-traditional games being developed in the modern era. It’s essentially the closest you can get to a 'free will' simulator when interacting with a computer. On the surface, it looks like a bunch of ASCII characters flashing rapidly around a screen with a few menus; charmingly dated visual nonsense at best. To the initiated, those colored characters mean so much more. Behind the primitive art-style and somewhat dated controls, the most detailed simulation of a fantasy world ever conceived is pulsating with life. Everything from your dwarves' moods and relationships to the mineral properties of the soil, temperature and fluid dynamics enjoy as faithful a simulation as is possible in ASCII graphics in Bay 12’s genre and trope-defying title. Minutiae as small as musculoskeletal interaction of combatants during fights, the density of the material your hammer is made from, and the interaction of the mucous tissues in eyelids on eyeballs enjoy mechanical consideration in the Dwarf Fortress universe.

420 Character Reviews: Human: Fall Flat (9.3)

Grab physics by its complicated hand and guide yourself to solve the puzzles found only in your dreams. Human: Fall Flat is an amusing game with puzzles that aren’t too hard and it still manages to maintain a great level of fun. The controls do take a bit to get used to but who expects easy controls in a game about physics. There are many ways to solve a puzzle or you can give up and just explore the environment.

We were gifted a trash bag full of books when I was around 9 years old by some nice people who had no clue of the value in books. In it there was a Spanish book of ghost stories. I used to be terrified of this book but I loved reading it. Truly enjoyed it. Anyway, my mom reads the book for some reason and quickly proclaims the book to be that of satan. Even at that age, my brother and I thought “Mama, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me…” You have to understand that at the time my mom had a room full of statues and pictures depicting the ‘Virgin’ Mary. Yes, they were the type of parents who used to rub an egg on our bodies to cure us from everything. They’re not like that anymore, but, man, it was so much fun egging them on.

There's not a insignificant amount of time after any encounter with the more powerful plant teachers, when you’re filled with nervous energy, but the other, more desirable effects have all but left you. Whether you value entheogens for their recreational or spiritual uses, this jarring transition can put a huge damper on the experience. With the amount of thought that goes into set and setting for the beginning of psychedelic experiences, you’d think there would be just as much focus on getting something out of the tail end, as it is an excellent time for reflection. While I find myself more and more attracted to nature during my brushes with the otherworldly, and feel that the potential of most psychedelic substances is wasted on video games when their effects are in full swing, I’m starting to see the value in using games to aid the transition back to reality.

I’m vocally skeptical of anything that gets put into Kickstarter and belched out with successful funding, and especially so with games. For every Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, and Planescape: Torment, it seems like we get ten Ouyas, Mighty No. 9’s or Exploding Kittens. As it happens, a concept doesn’t have to be good or executed well to get funding on the platform, and a lot of projects are there because they could not get funding from venture capitalists (read: people who make it their business to determine what projects are worth the money) or other traditional sources.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of impetuous climate I’ve been dealing with here in Clearlake, Texas. It was like that one Married With Children episode where the English town is in eternal darkness until all the male Bundy’s are slain. Now, I’m not sure who was sacrificed in order to bring the sun back out but as long as I’m able to puff on my blunt out on the terrace -- good riddance. After the rain cleared up, the transformers exploded while we had guests from Spain. While I was quite angry at the sequence of events, I knew it was a higher power reminding our Spaniard friends that it’s dark and hell is hot. Listen to more DMX, Jesus.

Overclocking goes hand in hand with building a PC these days, and a big part of that is verifying that your CPU will run out-of-factory spec properly after doing so. It’ll save you a lot of hassle later on if you properly stress test your PC up front. For me, it feels a bit wasteful to load down my PC with a synthetic load and let it sit there for hours, doing nothing productive, though.

Friday, 15 July 2016 14:56

Vice's Motherboard Is Making Us All Look Bad

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The opinion that more traditional game journalism is on the way out is a very popular one with YouTube influencers and the younger people involved in the hobby. I can’t say I agree with it for a number of reasons, but I understand the driving sentiment, especially when articles like Motherboard’s recent op-ed, titled “PC Gaming is Still Way too Hard” enjoy widespread circulation on social media. The title isn’t what I have the problem with, so much as the lazily constructed and misleading content.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Rot Gut (8.8)

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420 Character Reviews: Rot Gut (8.8)

Rot Gut makes prohibition violence is the best way to facilitate relaxation between bong hits. Providing a grimy atmosphere to the era known as the Roaring 20s, become an agent out to gun down the gangsters who want to make sure everyone has a good time. This is your opportunity to experience what it’s like to be on the law enforcement side of the drug war and, frankly, it’s quite entertaining. Give me a badge ASAP.

I’ve been a fan of trading card games, online or otherwise, from about the time I started reading onward. I played Pokemon competitively as a kid, moved on to MTG and Yu-Gi- Oh! Once I could afford it, and jumped on Hearthstone and online Magic The Gathering as soon as I caught wind of them later on. I’ve also suffered from a lifelong weakness for novelty, participating in the launches of more ill-fated trading card games, like Duelmasters, Android: Netrunner, and even the original Warcraft CCG that predated Hearthstone by nearly a decade. Problem being, satisfying that craving for new gaming experiences can quickly become a dangerously expensive pursuit in the era of the Free-To-Pay-To-Win digital distribution. The vast majority of digital card games I’ve tried have been a combination of cash vampires, thinly disguised slot machine mobile games, and blatant HS and M: TGO rip-offs.

We greatly under appreciate what our phones can do now. You might use your phone to receive and spread local gossip, or, you might pull out your smartphone to take pictures that nobody wants to see. I mean it, I do not want pretend to be enthralled by the selfies you took at some trendy tapas restaurant. They are grossly overcharging you for snacks. Grossly. And I refuse to love you to death, get help today. In all reality, I can’t be judgmental because I use my phone to look up things such as who that sexy lady is from the Liberty Mutual commercial. Her name is Raushanah Simmons, and whoever knows her should tell her to read this article. Hi, Raushanah.

Friday, 08 July 2016 00:00

The Macabre World of Limbo, a Retrospective

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It has been almost six years to the day since the release of the side-scrolling platformer Limbo, the Playdead studios creation that puts players in control of a young boy who works his way through a perilous expanse of puzzles, obstacles, undefined enemies, and death. The latter of which occurs frequently, often in gruesome ways that aren’t matched when it comes to violence inflicted on children in the gaming world. With the release of Playdead’s new adventure, Inside, a look back at the brilliance of Limbo seemed appropriate.

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