I promised a nuanced account of my experience with Amnesia: The Dark Descent's endgame last week, but I've been swamped with other, more time sensitive features that have placed that on the back burner. If you want a taste, download this week's podcast, which is basically a rough draft of where I'm going with it, anyway.
The next games in my horror backlog have already been lined up, too: System Shock 2 and Eternal Darkness. These experiences are giving me (and Ryan) some good ideas about what we could do here at Giant Bomb to help "celebrate" Halloween later this year.
System Shock 2 is a weird one, since it's not available on Steam or Good Old Games, and the only reason it's functioning on any modern operating system is because the fans have put in the work. It actually runs beautifully on my MacBook Air, despite System Shock 2 never having being released natively for the Mac--it's using an emulation wrapper called Wine. There's a whole rabbit hole of mods, too, including two-player co-op, widescreen support, improved textures. People love System Shock 2, and I'm anxious to join them by finding out why.
I'm just as curious about diving into some broken games that have gone under my radar, too. I Am Alive has all sorts of problems, but I stuck by my podcast statement that it's a really good game, at least insofar as being a game with truly compelling ideas that fumbles the execution. It was a fascinating experience, one I got much more out of than, say, Lollipop Chainsaw, a game that would run you a hell of lot more if you picked it up at the store.
Hey, You Should Watch This
This will actually be a new feature going forward, but since this week was interrupted by my flight back to Chicago, I didn't have much time to play much of anything. Instead, let's get hyped for some weird games, shall we?
Also, You Should Read These
- "The plight of Metal Gear Online and the limits of videogame preservation" by Patrick Elliot for Kill Screen
Metal Gear Online turned off the lights this week, and that's a fact unlikely to change anytime soon. Metar Gear Online found its niche, and though it wasn't a very large niche, it had its champions, and it's aways sad when an online game makes the switch to permanently offline. It's a tragic fact about video games, one that writer Patrick Elliott explores in this piece for Kill Screen, in which he laments about how games have not taken much time to consider how they'll be preserved as they continue evolving. Sure, the lucky few who are paying attention have a chance to experience everything along the way, but what about when our memories fade, or we want to show our children? In many cases, we won't have any options, and games like Metal Gear Online will be a footnote in history. Also, I'd never heard of Nintendo's Satellaview before reading this article--holy shit!
When the inevitable server shutdown does come, it will fundamentally alter the experience of Demon's Souls. The core mechanics will remain – combat, weapon systems, boss battles – but the experience surrounding them will become irrevocably isolated. When the last summon sign fades away, when the threat of invasion vanishes and the devious interplay between players comes to the end, the game becomes a shadow of its former self. In the darkness, a message appears: My heart is breaking.
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- There's a fascinating story on Kotaku about a player who cheats, and a response from a pissed off developer.
- Ignore the top 25 lists and read the editorial about the medium's recent conversations about sex and violence.
- It's unfortunate this female journalist had such a rough experience at E3. We need to move past this.
- Before you read my take on Amnesia, maybe read about what the developer's have to say about it.
- Most of the big-budget horror flicks that come out of Hollywood are crap. Sinister looks really good.
- Did you know there's a whole series of post-mortem interviews with Looking Glass Studios employees?
- This thoughtful comic summarizes my feelings on the last few weeks pretty well.
- Speaking of video game preservation, there's there's an academic movement to make it better.