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Worth Reading 02/15/2013

With a little bit of Siri's help, Worth Reading is now the FANCY pile of links you've come to expect every week.

I survived. Mostly.

I would like to start out this edition of Worth Reading by thanking everyone for the kind, funny, and ridiculous comments about my recent collarbone injury. You need a really good laugh when it's three in the morning and you can't get to sleep for the second night in a row because your arm is screaming in fiery pain. Too bad laughter feels like a knife jabbing me over and over.

(That part is getting better, though!)

The most awkward part about a broken bone is figuring out new ways to do things. Take this story, for example, which I dictated most of using software on my Mac. I didn't even know this dictation existed before a few hours ago! While it's a little weird to literally announce punctuation when crafting a story, I'm able to save the moments where both hands are required, which is awkward and painful over a lengthy period of time. (As much as I've been enjoying marathoning Fire Emblem: Awakening, I really want to get back to Dead Space 3!)

I won't know more about my body's healing process until sometime next week, so the meantime, I'm trying to come up with new ways to cover games that doesn't necessarily involve long form writing. More short audio interviews with game developers, perhaps? A Fire Emblem spoilercast? Answering more questions on a couch? I'm open to your ideas. I wrote features ahead of the site's relaunch, and those will roll out next week, including looks at the creation of Spaceteam, a history of Dark Sector (?!) and others.

Hey, You Should Play This

This is another one of those games where I don't really want to say much, but how about this: it'll take less than five minutes of your time, and it's from the creators of the upcoming horror game starring a baby, Among the Sleep. Needless to say, these guys have some pretty, uh, interesting ideas for games.

***

It's not often a game elicits a genuine "whoa" moment, but the gameplay hook for 400 Years, which involves holding down the space bar to fast forward through time, does that more than once. Manipulating time pushes the game's world through seasonal changes, which impact the environment in fun and surprising ways that are crucial to solving the game's few but worthwhile puzzles. Much like The Plan, 400 Years won't take you long to see through to the end, but the various eureka moments are worth it.

And You Should Read These, Too

  1. Virtue's Last Reward Postmortem Q&A with Kotaro Uchikoshi

It's going to be a couple of years until we have another entry in the Zero Escape series. In the meantime, we have these wonderful interviews with the games creator, Kōtarō Uchikoshi, that shed some light on the complicated storytelling decisions made for the most recent game, Virtue's Last Reward. If you followed my response to the sequel, you know I wasn't particularly happy with some of the broader decisions made about the growing mythology, but that doesn't mean I'm no longer addicted--I totally am. An important note: please be careful regarding spoilers for 999 or Virtue's Last Reward in the comments, since most people probably haven't played either game.

***

Reviewing games has become a lot more complicated. When is a review considered criticism? What kind a review do people want on the first day a game is out, or prior to its release? Does the score attached to a review actually mean anything anymore, or just serve as useless fodder for the comment section below? The games that push these questions to their breaking limit are the more esoteric releases like Journey, Dear Esther, or more recently, Proteus. Academic Ian Bogost tackles this in a unique way over at Gamasutra by writing three reviews of Proteus.

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

Let's Read Positive Reviews of "Bad" Game, Alien: Colonial Marines

(Note: I do not feature these reviews to mock them, especially since I have not yet played the game. Reading contrary opinions, especially ones on the polar extreme, is profoundly educational.)

"Even if Gearbox Software could craft an enjoyable sequel to Aliens in video game form, what could it hope to show players that they haven’t seen before? Yet, the developer stuck to its guns, believing all the while that it could create a quality first-person shooter based on a license that Gearbox obviously loves. And the really weird bit is that Gearbox was absolutely right."

"The visuals are subpar in places, but the overall aesthetic makes creeping through the shadowy, blood-soaked wreckage with a group of Marines a real nail-biter. While the core Soldier Xenos should probably figure out that ramming bullets with their face isn’t the best strategy, Gearbox’s other baddies offer up a great deal of variety. This sets up some dreadful moments of anticipation, fearsome firefights, and even a few harrowing escapes, making Colonial Marines’ campaign an intense experience that’s sure to appeal to franchise buffs and shooter fans alike. Sure, you’ve got some definite dents in the hull here—such as the occasionally oblivious squadmate AI, the training-wheel cover system, and the woefully heinous cinematics—but the hits far outweigh the misfires."

"The fact is, Alien Colonial Marines doesn't stand a chance if you compare it to James Cameron's seminal 1986 flick. Aliens is filed and receipted as one of the greatest horror films ever made, one of the best sequels ever made and an iconic entry in the canon of science-fiction cinema. Aliens Colonial Marines is a patchy shooter standing on the shoulders of a giant."

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Here in video games we invented a new word, "permadeath," to describe what in real life is called "death".

— Matthew S. Burns (@MrWasteland) January 23, 2013

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
122 Comments
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Posted by ikabubu

Nothing stops the Worth Reading! NOTHING!

Posted by johncallahan

My favorite part of the week. Well... one of my favorite parts.

Posted by RelentlessKnight

wow... someone finally started a kickstarter for dreamfall chapters...

Edited by MrMazz

Has someone done a list of all the games he recommends on Worth Reading? I remembered playing one that involved like souls and stones, it played a lot like a tower defense game, it was flash bases maybe on newgrounds?

Glad to see this still up and it looks really really nice with the new site design.

Edited by ErinIsADrunk

Good stuff. Glad to see it back this week in the more traditional format.

As for none writing things you could do, I think it would be really awesome if you did some kind of audio interview with the 8-4 guys about the "Fire Emblem: Awakening" localization. The localization is aces and the brief time they spent talking about it on their podcast was cool and I would love to hear more about it.

Get well soon!

Edited by SharkMan

'the plan' is very cool, even though it is only about 5 minutes or so long, i found it to be a very touching allegory on the struggles of life. very interesting.

Edited by The_Ruiner

We should hire a dude dressed as Spider-Man to show up at Patrick's bedside...

Edited by Bistromath

The Longest Journey holds up reasonably well, excellent voice work really helps an old game. The puzzles are still insane though.

Dreamfall has some really weird mechanics and is a bit awkward to control, though it does have gamepad support.

Zoe's new face for the kickstarter project kinda freaks me out.

Edited by Rabidlamb

I love adventure games and enjoy the longest journey but I do think it is a bit overrated in adventure game circles. It tells a good story intertwining scifi and fantasy settings and the characters/ voice actors are very good. I frequently refer to it as "The Longest Conversation" as good as the game is sometimes it just drags its feet way too much, especially in dialouge. Maybe if I didn't feel compelled to click on every topic in adventure game conversations it wouldn't be so bad. This is nit picky tho overall I do think it is a worthwhile play. If you enjoy adventure games there's no reason you wouldn't enjoy it.

Posted by DaMisterChief

NOTHING STOPS THE KLEPEK

Posted by Sticky_Pennies

@patrickklepek Hey, Patrick! Glad you're hanging in there.

The news about the Wii U's unusually low sales for January should make for some interesting Bombcast discussion next week. It's kind of worrying, to me at least, that it would hit such low sales numbers so soon into its lifetime. Doubly worrying is the fact that Nintendo is already selling the Wii U at a below-cost price (from what I've read). Do you tend to agree with the general notion that the console is not being marketed well, with not enough exclusive titles backing it up?

Posted by Crunchman

An overwhelming trove of awesome, as always. I really like the default font with the dark theme, but the bold lettering is weirdly scrunched together, which makes it a little difficult to read.

Posted by owls987

The Longest Journey games are a bit broken by modern standards, but the story is awesome.

F yes you should give them a try.

Get well soon Patrick

Posted by squiDc00kiE

The Plan was awesome, thanks for that. I've played 400 Years before, wasn't a huge fan. It just got really tedious rather quickly.

Posted by triviaman09

The copy for Bus Simulator 2012 is riddled with hilarious typos. Can't wait for the inevitable QL.

Posted by Zeemod

Wow, realizing how much blood, sweat and tears you put into these Patrick, I feel obligated to fully read these more thoroughly and more often.

Posted by m3ds334

Sure is a lot of dissonance between EGM's actual review for Aliens and the score they gave it.

Posted by Chango

Thanks, Patrick! New layout looks great.

Posted by prestonhedges

That guy should have just emulated those games. Save himself 400 dollars.

Posted by tamriilin

PATRICK GET BETTER SOON WE LOVE YOU

Also thank you for recommending the plan, I just played it and w o w.

Posted by Dizzyhippos

NOTHING STOPS THE KLEPEK

quick someone get this to the photoshop thread stat!

Online
Posted by BeachThunder

I really enjoyed Septerra Core (but it really dragged on in some parts)...

Edited by mrfluke

@patrickklepek i do hope you continue answering tumblr questions through video, someone as opinionated as you i think really benefits by having a "video soapbox" as your able to fully articulate your opinion and make it more well rounded, vs writing a opinionated story and having people make their assumptions and tear it apart in the comments and rage about you.

u shouldnt worry about when you're talking into a camera in your questions videos about when said video is going too long, as essentially the people that are watching a solo video of you speaking are interested in hearing you speak :)

maybe watch one of Jeff's Jar time videos for research and see how he carries himself talking into a camera?, dude answers questions, but when he also has something big to say about a topic he does go all out, and he's been doing these soapbox style videos for years since the launch of the 360.

so in short to condense all that ramble above, my suggestion is, you should mix answering tumblr questions and talking about news into one "video soapbox" weekly or bi weekly video.

Edited by Zornack

Anyone here like Protues and/or Dear Ester? I found both incredibly boring.

Posted by Efesell

Longest Journey has some psychotic adventure game logic, and Dreamfall has questionable combat but the stories will always hold up.

Edited by TruthTellah

@patrickklepek I really enjoyed your video from home and I'd welcome more videos like it. Having that kind of fun and personal aspect to it fits so well with Giant Bomb's aesthetic. Vinny's at home video was one of my favorite's, and Jeff's are always nice and odd. You and that adorable dog and creepy doll just gave a great atmosphere for talking about games. :)

And please do get better soon! My prayers are for you and your continued recovery!

Posted by Talon64

I went ahead and bought System Shock 2 the second I read right here that it was finally available at gog.com. Patrick's perseverance in the face of fucking-awful-broken-collarbone to put this together finally got me System Shock 2, so many thanks for that!

Posted by mrfluke

Good stuff. Glad to see it back this week in the more traditional format.

As for none writing things you could do, I think it would be really awesome if you did some kind of audio interview with the 8-4 guys about the "Fire Emblem: Awakening" localization. The localization is aces and the brief time they spent talking about it on their podcast was cool and I would love to hear more about it.

Get well soon!

@patrickklepek yea im with this guy, more interaction with 8-4 would be good as well.

maybe like a video podcast (sort of in the vein of what Jeff did with you all in the beginning of this year with skype or with google hangout?) in which you talk with the 8-4 guys about video game localization, or weigh in with them on various topics (i believe "Gaming Jesus" Mark Macdonald wanted to do a gaming journalism podcast one day, and hey if you do get to playing dark souls or monster hunter, you should join in on that when they do those podcasts), or heck, just join in and be a guest on the 8-4 podcast every now and then. they streamed in the skulls of the shogun guy on this latest episode of 8-4 via skype. so it seems they got their skype stuff working now.

Posted by mrfluke

@zornack: i like L.S.D. cause of the aggressive weirdness of the game, and i think those 2 games take inspiration from L.S.D

Posted by Phatmac

Thanks for the VLR story link! Didn't know a new one was available. :)

Edited by Lazyaza

I wrote 99% of the Septerra Core wiki page, have completed it 5 times and absolutely 100%ed the entire game twice, so no you aren't alone Patrick ^_^

Edited by DanTheGamer32

Hmmm that section of the EGM review doesn't *sound* like a 9/10...

Posted by Seb

Thanks Patrick!

Posted by Kinapuff

That super hexagon lbp stage is mindblowing.

Posted by Walker_Boh

Septerra Core was one of my first PC games (along with Shogo) and one of my first RPGS. I loved it so you are not alone Patrick.

Posted by Patman99

@ikabubu said:

Nothing stops the Worth Reading! NOTHING!

NOTHING EXCLAMATION POINT

Posted by ryusko

My vote is for Fire Emblem spoilercast! I'm not getting the game for a few weeks, and consuming as much media as I can about it keeps me sated in the meantime.

Posted by BombKareshi

No, you're not, dammit! I enjoyed Septerra Core too! I loved it to bits. I just wish I could get that game to work on my Windows 7 PC, though. Feels like I've tried everything.

Posted by BeasMeeply

The Plan made me giggle because the Horsehead Nebula is not inside the Eagle Nebula! Also, there are not light bulbs in space.

Posted by Nekroskop

Damn. Scoops is still going strong. Nothing stops the Klepek train.

TOOT! TOOT!

Posted by cmpLtNOOb

Man, the comments on that LA Times article...

Posted by FrostedMiniWheats

One thing you could do both to keep generating content and keep yourself from going insane from boredom is to seek out games that can be played with only one hand, since that level of accessibility isn't normally considered. Since Giantbomb just got the new connecting cable to do video coverage of iOS games, there's a ton out there. There's also a limited selection of games on PC, Wii, and DS/3DS that use only the mousese/wiimote/touchscreen respectively. I've been playing Puzzle Quest off the DSi Ware service recently, and I realize that one is touch only. Then you could write a piece about it once your through the ordeal sharing which games worked and hooked you and which didn't.

Of course, more coverage of Fire Emblem is always welcome too. When last we heard you were uncertain about whether to allow your units to die or not. Follow up! What did you decide, and how did it work out for you?

Edited by Castiel

Holy shit is that Klepek on that pic!?!

He looks different. First of all he has stubble and because of the lighting it looks like he has a tan.

Edited by happymeowmeow

Have vague but fond memories of Septerra Core. Still have the disk and manual somewhere.

Patrick have you ever tried any of the Etrian Odyssey games? If not, with Etrian Odyssey 4 coming out this month it might be worth your while to check out the series. In the spirit of exploring games off the beaten path and outside your comfort zone and all. They are definitely time consuming, but nothing else quite like em.

Edited by Y2Ken

Rest well, young Klepek. If anything that you got this article out just proves how much you must love your job. Most people would have just let it slide for a few weeks, but not our Scoops. Here's to a speedy recovery.

Online
Posted by princess_zelda

I liked Septerra Core a lot as a young child, but I tried revisiting it about 5 years ago and it was rough going. Hasn't aged well at all.

Posted by Inquisitor

Thanks for this wonderful mostly gaming related Worth Reading :)

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