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Worth Reading: 04/13/2012

Even though it's April, Patrick's going down the horror rabbit hole, which also means plenty of contemplation about everyone's favorite subject: death.

Maybe this guy will show up in Condemned 3. Actually, I don't care. Just give me Condemned 3.

An hour before everyone went home last Wednesday, Drew sat me down and showed me how to record a Quick Look for the site. I took some notes, mostly forgot about the whole thing, and then realized this past Tuesday, “Oh, god, I really have to figure out how this works.” You have me to blame for any audio issues, which was mostly because I didn’t know how to best tweak that on the fly.

It’s because of the added video responsibilities that I haven’t had much time to write features for the site, though I’ve continued to conduct interviews and gather material for stories that I will hopefully write next week. And, yes, that includes a follow-up to the fighting game story from not so long ago. Eventually! Right.

We apparently have access to a transcription service that should hopefully increase my turnaround on stories. It doesn't take me that long to write a basic feature, but it takes forever to carve out time to transcribe, the least talked about, most mind-numbing process within journalism.

In any case, I need to finish this up so I can go see Cabin in the Woods. Speaking of...

Hey, You Should Play This:

I intend to play more horror games than I actually do, which is probably true for just about, uh, everything. Deep. Horror strikes a chord with me because the unbridled emotional response to true fear is addicting--it makes me feel alive. I return to the horror genre over and over again like an addict, having to dig into deeper and deeper holes in search of something else that will get on my nerves. Horror games seem to have an easier time of that than horror movies, and I recently played through the original Nightmare House, a user mod for Half-Life that’s basically an interactive haunted house. I don’t want to say much more, though, except to encourage you to just download Nightmare House 2, provided you have a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, since it includes both--and it’s free.

Good luck. I’ll write something more substantial on both of these after I finish Nightmare House 2.

Also, You Should Read These:

You might have figured I’d be plugging a different piece from The Atlantic this week, but I haven’t gotten around to reading the publication’s profile of Braid designer Jonathan Blow yet, and I still have thatgamecompany’s Journey on my mind. Gaming academic Ian Bogost uses Journey as an opportunity to discuss the design philosophy of thatgamecompany as a whole--specifically, designer Jenova Chen. Bogost believes you can play Chen’s creations from the last few years and come to an understanding of his design process, walking us through his observations of flOw, Flower and Journey. I’ve also jotted down plenty of books I should read after finishing Bogost’s analysis.

Warning: it’s possible to infer spoilers about Journey reading this, and there are definitely spoilers in the article.

Yes, another exhausting piece using Journey as a jump point. Stay with me, as Douglas Edric Stanley takes a vastly different approach, instead contemplating the ways death is expressed within games, often as a gameplay mechanic, less as an emotional hook driving the experience. Any time there’s a discussion of death in games, you’re sure to see someone discussing Jason Rohrer’s Passage (which is available on iOS, apparently), and I’m reminded once again that I have not played (tried?) Tale of TalesThe Graveyard. In any case, while the various representations of death are Stanley’s starting point, by the end of his essay, which includes the most amazing “walkthrough” for Super Mario Bros. I’ve ever seen, he’s covered player choice, communication and plenty more.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Maybe this guy will show up in Condemned 3. Actually, I don't care. Just give me Condemned 3.

An hour before everyone went home last Wednesday, Drew sat me down and showed me how to record a Quick Look for the site. I took some notes, mostly forgot about the whole thing, and then realized this past Tuesday, “Oh, god, I really have to figure out how this works.” You have me to blame for any audio issues, which was mostly because I didn’t know how to best tweak that on the fly.

It’s because of the added video responsibilities that I haven’t had much time to write features for the site, though I’ve continued to conduct interviews and gather material for stories that I will hopefully write next week. And, yes, that includes a follow-up to the fighting game story from not so long ago. Eventually! Right.

We apparently have access to a transcription service that should hopefully increase my turnaround on stories. It doesn't take me that long to write a basic feature, but it takes forever to carve out time to transcribe, the least talked about, most mind-numbing process within journalism.

In any case, I need to finish this up so I can go see Cabin in the Woods. Speaking of...

Hey, You Should Play This:

I intend to play more horror games than I actually do, which is probably true for just about, uh, everything. Deep. Horror strikes a chord with me because the unbridled emotional response to true fear is addicting--it makes me feel alive. I return to the horror genre over and over again like an addict, having to dig into deeper and deeper holes in search of something else that will get on my nerves. Horror games seem to have an easier time of that than horror movies, and I recently played through the original Nightmare House, a user mod for Half-Life that’s basically an interactive haunted house. I don’t want to say much more, though, except to encourage you to just download Nightmare House 2, provided you have a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, since it includes both--and it’s free.

Good luck. I’ll write something more substantial on both of these after I finish Nightmare House 2.

Also, You Should Read These:

You might have figured I’d be plugging a different piece from The Atlantic this week, but I haven’t gotten around to reading the publication’s profile of Braid designer Jonathan Blow yet, and I still have thatgamecompany’s Journey on my mind. Gaming academic Ian Bogost uses Journey as an opportunity to discuss the design philosophy of thatgamecompany as a whole--specifically, designer Jenova Chen. Bogost believes you can play Chen’s creations from the last few years and come to an understanding of his design process, walking us through his observations of flOw, Flower and Journey. I’ve also jotted down plenty of books I should read after finishing Bogost’s analysis.

Warning: it’s possible to infer spoilers about Journey reading this, and there are definitely spoilers in the article.

Yes, another exhausting piece using Journey as a jump point. Stay with me, as Douglas Edric Stanley takes a vastly different approach, instead contemplating the ways death is expressed within games, often as a gameplay mechanic, less as an emotional hook driving the experience. Any time there’s a discussion of death in games, you’re sure to see someone discussing Jason Rohrer’s Passage (which is available on iOS, apparently), and I’m reminded once again that I have not played (tried?) Tale of TalesThe Graveyard. In any case, while the various representations of death are Stanley’s starting point, by the end of his essay, which includes the most amazing “walkthrough” for Super Mario Bros. I’ve ever seen, he’s covered player choice, communication and plenty more.

Posted by Astromarine

boom

Posted by Manekineko

Nice :3

Edited by Jster57

YAY worth reading

Posted by Zelnox

Is that a panda?

Posted by Spankmealotus

Sweet, Love these.

Posted by Landon

I recommended Patrick Nightmare House! Nice to see he is enjoying it as much as I did.

Posted by Zelnox

Oh yeah, my favourite bear commercial is the John West salmon one.

Posted by WalkerTR77

The bear sequence in condemned 2 always reminded me of the excellent bear attack movie The Edge, which I highly recommend. Condemned 2 I don't recommend, other than the bear sequence I found little to love.

Posted by spree4567

Unless I'm missing it I don't see the link to Bogost's article?

Posted by Yummylee

The only way they could top being chased by a bear in Condemned 2, is to have Bear Grylls infected with rabies hunting you in the woods. And maaaaaan, why must all of the best horror stuff be available exclusively on the PC? I still haven't gotten around to playing Amnesia because my computer's a disgrace.

Edited by Alo81
Posted by Jeust

Great article! You should also try Lone Survivor as it looks like a promising horror game.

Edited by IAmNotBatman

Somewhat fitting article (for me anyway) since I completed 3 Silent Hill games this week and am being pleasantly surprised by Lone Survivor.

@Abyssfull: Hahaha, I know how you feel about Amnesia, it's been sitting in my Steam library for about a year untouched.

Posted by Homeslice

Well at least Patrick didn't half-ass this piece like he did the Quick Look responsibilities. ;)

Posted by patrickklepek

Woops, link fixed.

Posted by mnzy

That Atlantic article is really terrible. Nothing against Blow, it's the author that apparently has never played a game before.

Posted by EndlessLotus

Angry bear is angry....

Posted by Icicle7x3

Nightmare House 2 is amazing, everyone needs to check it out.

Posted by Cowardly_Jacob

I would like a game in which bears invade your house and you must survive long enough for the police to arrive. To defend yourself you would need to go all Macaulay Culkin on their bear asses, I might be focusing on the bear too much.

Posted by RetroVirus

Nightmare house is pretty cool. I like the stuff it does with light sources.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Neat-o.

Posted by sagebirt

I still haven't played that amnesia game after downloading the demo. The trailer was enough to put the willies up me.

Posted by beef_melody

For what it''s worth, I thought the Graveyard was pretty awful. It's more of an (extremely slow-moving) interactive photograph than anything.

Edited by bkbroiler

This is my favorite 4PlayerPodCast video. It makes me laugh routinely:

Edited by thebigJ_A

Nightmare House 2, huh? I don't know, Amnesia has spoiled me with regards to horror games. Nothing else I've ever played even comes close. I'm even nervous that A Machine for Pigs won't do it, because it's basically a stopgap the Chinese Room (?) guys are doing while Frictional works on a proper sequel.

Were it free, I'd try it, but it's not for me, because I don't own HL2 on pc (I have the 360 Orange Box).

Is it really good, or just another of those scary games you play for the few creepy bits?

Edited by Christoffer

Sweetums Tricky. Just read this and will read the linked stories as soon as I can. Horror games doesn't affect me at all, but I will surely try out the games you listed some day.

Posted by BatmanBatman

I used to play horror games when I could stay up all night, but now that I have to play games during the day only It kinda lost the super immersion factor and it's been a while since I've play a horror game... sounds silly, but even when I re-played Alan Wake on the PC I couldn't play it before dark... still got Amnesia on my backlog though.

Posted by pekoe212

Fatal Frame is one of the few horror games that really unnerved me. I started playing it on a sunny Saturday afternoon, my friend was in the next room studying, and it still freaked me out. Most scary games I prefer to play after dark, but that one I had to play during the day.

Edited by me3639

I do like this feature and your recommendations PK.

Posted by Phoenix87

Death is the reward for surviving life.

Posted by GalacticPunt

The commentary in that Condemned 2 bear video is not up to the quality that Lemon and Kessler had in Fear Gauntlet, and it's bumming me out. Lemon's technically adept, they should figure out how to stream to each other and revive the Gauntlet!

Posted by Typographenia

Nightmare house sounds kind of interesting. I should probably look into that.

Posted by G0rd0nFr33m4n

I would really like to see a series of quick looks with patrick playing scary games, sounds fun haha

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

AddictIVE, addictIVE!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhh

Posted by BitterAlmond
Posted by Tidel

Cabin in the Woods is great.

Posted by ptys

Nice job filling in for the video team, although the question lingers why Drew would go on holiday around the time Vinny was on maternity leave? I'm sure there's a good explanation.

Posted by Brodehouse

Condemned 2 was a Goddamn joke.  A big deal of yang gets talked about jumpscares being horrible and atmosphere being really scary... Condemned 2 is 90% jump scares.  Condemned 1 has about a 50-50 ratio.
 
That bear sequence would have been effective if the three hours previous (and the stupid puzzle before it) weren't completely tone deaf and goofy.

Posted by impartialgecko
@Tim_the_Corsair: Damn right, nice to see people know proper Queen's English
Online
Posted by Gaff
@ptys

Nice job filling in for the video team, although the question lingers why Drew would go on holiday around the time Vinny was on maternity leave? I'm sure there's a good explanation.

A couple of months earlier...
WM: "This CBSi acquisition is taking forever..."
Drew: "Hey, guys? I'm planning on going on vacation, somewhere in April."
WM: "Hm, that's when Vinny should be having his baby. Oh, well, I guess Joey could help out on GB for video."
Posted by TorMasturba

@ptys said:

Nice job filling in for the video team, although the question lingers why Drew would go on holiday around the time Vinny was on maternity leave? I'm sure there's a good explanation.

That is a good point.

Posted by Abendlaender

@ptys said:

Nice job filling in for the video team, although the question lingers why Drew would go on holiday around the time Vinny was on maternity leave? I'm sure there's a good explanation.

He probably planed his vacation months ago, maybe booked a hotel or whatever. Babys have the tendency to come when no one is expecting them, maybe it was a preterm birth, who knows

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@Brodehouse said:

Condemned 2 was a Goddamn joke. A big deal of yang gets talked about jumpscares being horrible and atmosphere being really scary... Condemned 2 is 90% jump scares. Condemned 1 has about a 50-50 ratio. That bear sequence would have been effective if the three hours previous (and the stupid puzzle before it) weren't completely tone deaf and goofy.

Condemned is more than jump scares. A jump scare is JUST a jump scare, Condemned was all about the tension and anxiety of knowing someone is near, making noise, out to fuck you up, but you don't know exactly where, and you don't know when they'll strike. The difference is that the thing that makes Condemned (not 2, I haven't played that) so effective is the bit before the guy jumps out, which rarely feels like a jump scare, and more designed to test your reaction and keep you on your toes and tense the whole time because that increases anxiety. There were only a couple real jump scares in Condemned.

Edited by Will_M

Its dark outside and I'm about to hop into Nightmare House. Wish me luck!

Edit: Good lord, that NH2 game is fucking intense.

Posted by dropabombonit

The trick "tricky" is back with the hot scoops

Posted by Carousel

It's nice to see you featuring a 4 Player Podcast video.

Those guys are pretty cool.

Posted by Brodehouse
@MordeaniisChaos

@Brodehouse said:

Condemned 2 was a Goddamn joke. A big deal of yang gets talked about jumpscares being horrible and atmosphere being really scary... Condemned 2 is 90% jump scares. Condemned 1 has about a 50-50 ratio. That bear sequence would have been effective if the three hours previous (and the stupid puzzle before it) weren't completely tone deaf and goofy.

Condemned is more than jump scares. A jump scare is JUST a jump scare, Condemned was all about the tension and anxiety of knowing someone is near, making noise, out to fuck you up, but you don't know exactly where, and you don't know when they'll strike. The difference is that the thing that makes Condemned (not 2, I haven't played that) so effective is the bit before the guy jumps out, which rarely feels like a jump scare, and more designed to test your reaction and keep you on your toes and tense the whole time because that increases anxiety. There were only a couple real jump scares in Condemned.

I like Condemned the original. But yeah there's a few jumpscares and that's fine. The best part of FEAR that everyone remembers is a jumpscares.

Unless you're just morbidly curious, don't play Condemned 2. Unless you just think of the series as an excuse for retarded shit to happen (a bear! Bad acting! Shouting at a helicopter!) Condemned 2 has nothing worth getting involved. It seems like they made it with a grudge.
Posted by ptys

@Gaff said:

@ptys

Nice job filling in for the video team, although the question lingers why Drew would go on holiday around the time Vinny was on maternity leave? I'm sure there's a good explanation.

A couple of months earlier... WM: "This CBSi acquisition is taking forever..." Drew: "Hey, guys? I'm planning on going on vacation, somewhere in April." WM: "Hm, that's when Vinny should be having his baby. Oh, well, I guess Joey could help out on GB for video."

Yeah you're probably spot on with that, I'm sure Drew deserves it after working his ass off solo at Pax last week.

Posted by Brodehouse

@Napalm said:

@Brodehouse said:

Unless you're just morbidly curious, don't play Condemned 2. Unless you just think of the series as an excuse for retarded shit to happen (a bear! Bad acting! Shouting at a helicopter!) Condemned 2 has nothing worth getting involved. It seems like they made it with a grudge.

Uh, no. Condemned 2 is awesome and everybody should play it. Condemned 2 is fucked up, awesome and amazing.

Because you treat it like Ryan, just an excuse for crazy nonsense to happen. The nonsense doesn't have to have a reason, just wind it up and let it go. Everything about it is so forced and hamfisted, like a video of somebody being 'wacky' and 'random'. That's not how the original rolled, the insane parts of Condemned were effective because they didn't nod and wink at how stupid they were being. There are games I enjoy stupid nonsense in, I love stupid nonsense in Resident Evil (once again, because they take themselves deadly serious while they do it), I love stupid nonsense in Metal Gear, but in Condemned it's just...

If you treat that game like Ryan, as just a roller coaster ride of stupid moments ("He's an insane bear infected with The Madness!") I'm sure it could be fun. If you actually gave a shit about the fiction it's like getting kicked in the balls for 6 hours.

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