Giant Bomb News


Worth Reading: 10/19/12

A dose of emotional platforming from VVVVVV designer Terry Cavanagh, a view on video games from an outsider, and the usual batch of games, stories, and piles of links.

Yes, Clock Tower for SNES is a great game. Yes, I'm shocked that sentence is a true statement.

Much thanks again to the patient viewers who tuned into the second installment of Spookin’ With Scoops on Wednesday night. I’ve finally given up on this quest to play and broadcast (recent) 3D games on this MacBook Air, and the feature will be better for it. We’ll table those games until I’ve built my PC next month, and return to them in a form that better serves the games and the viewing audience.

I’m researching how to build a pretty solid PC for $800 or so, and I’ll be dropping into Tested’s second annual Oktobercast on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PST to talk about building that box. Those guys will have been up for nearly 24 hours at that point, so I’m sure Norm, Will, and Gary will be in a great position to dispense useful advice that directly correlates to spending hundreds of dollars.

All that said, I’m happy this the turn of events prompted Clock Tower for the SNES. Had I been able to drive right into 3D games, it would have been months before I’d gone nostalgic. It turns out Clock Tower for SNES was a game well ahead of its time, from the multiple endings, convenient auto saving before death, and making the focus on running away from a monster, rather than engaging with it. It’s a game we’ll definitely be returning to a few times.

I should also point out that I’m currently reading a FAQ about Friday the 13th for NES...


Hey, You Should Play This

VVVVVV and Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh actually created Don’t Look Back in 2009, but as part of continued experimentation with mobile development, he’s ported Don’t Look Back onto iOS and Android. Having only learned about Cavanagh after VVVVVV, I’ve never played Don’t Look Back, but it comes highly recommended. It’s a short, difficult platformer with some action elements wrapped in a surprisingly touching story about dealing with the passing of a loved one. You can imagine why that might strike a chord. I found myself staring at my phone for a few minutes after I’d finished the game, flipping it between my fingers, considering its message. Sigh.

The less said about The Visit the better, really. Being surprised by what’s around the corner is what makes The Visit work, so rather than espousing a bunch of words about why The Visit works, I’m just going to suggest giving it a few minutes. Plus, you’ll need an emotional palette cleanser after Don’t Look Back, and The Visit guarantees laughs.

And You Should Read This, Too

We all need a good look in the mirror every once in a while, and Lucy Kellaway gives video games (and us) that chance. It’s always fascinating to read observations about our favorite medium from the outside, and Kellaway is the perfect candidate. Kellaway was tasked with judging a series of games as part of GameCity, and went down a rabbit hole that included New Super Mario Bros. 2, Fez, Mass Effect 3, Proteus, Journey, and Johann Sebastian Joust. I’m not surprised Kellaway had the strongest reaction to Journey, a game that has prompted similar “oohs” from people I’ve shown it to without an affinity for games. It’s hardly shocking the games she gave the most credence to--Proteus, Journey--are ones very distanced from video game stereotypes. Her dismissal of Johann Sebastian Joust was interesting, and makes me curious if the incredible response to that one within the industry has more to do with our little exposure to physical games, making Joust fresh air to us but not those on the outside.

As a companion piece, critic Mattie Brice provides perspective on why Kellaway reacted the way she did.

“The next game to arrive is the sort of thing I’ve always hated from afar. Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing game: a big commercial sci-fi blockbuster about people in spacesuits killing each other. My elder son greeted the arrival with approval and got to work building a character to look like me. The result was a sleek avatar with pointy armoured breasts and two guns on her back, to whom I couldn’t relate in any way. I couldn’t make her walk in a straight line, let alone duck, aim and fire. I gave up and settled down with a glass of wine to watch my son play instead, deploying a skill that I would admire had not half his life been spent acquiring it. The amount of violence was both staggering and curiously untroubling: it was bland and empty – just like the game itself. Boring, sci-fi tosh, I wrote in my notebook. Alien both literally and metaphorically.”

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool

Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible

  • Hard to argue with Crashtastic's name, or its pitch to allow you to crash shit into each other.
  • Just about everything Incredipede is pitching has me running for my wallet.
  • RGB is a platformer whose hook involves swapping between red, green, and blue colors to traverse.

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by Sparky245

Don't Look Back is a great wee game.

Posted by TheVideoHustler

Can I please have my time from reading Lucy Kellaway's article back?

Posted by Contrero

Love these articles. Brings much insight on the vast culture of gaming. Don't Look Back was challenging and brought in an interesting mechanic, and The Visit made me laugh out loud, I haven't laughed out loud from a game in ages! Lucy Kellaway's article was a good read. Keep 'em comin' Patrick

Posted by dropabombonit

Some great features this week. The Kellwaay article was an interesting read because I have found that my non game playing friends always react best to games like Journey and Unfinished Swan. Also more TV shows need to use SR3 music

Edited by Laiv162560asse

Better follow-up reading for the Kellaway article than the Mattie Brice piece would be the comment on the article by Russ Clarke. here gets it too. What caused her problems with her appreciation of games was not their impenetrability or her age, but simply her faint tone of intellectual laziness. She's far from the worst offender there's ever been in this regard - at least she devoted some time to checking games out, something it was obvious that Ebert didn't do. However, it speaks volumes that the most insightful things she says relate to the psychology of disliking things you're bad at, or being taught by an angry teacher. Both are insights into her, not games.

Brice's piece is just wrongheaded. It stems from a feeling of self-conscious, cultural insecurity towards one's medium. As a fan of a niche genre of music, I've seen his mentality manifested there too, in the efforts of artistes and listeners to make their chosen music more amenable to mainstream criticism. All this does is create output which is in equal measures either pretentiously eclectic or disposably low-brow. Ironically, making gaming more recognisable to outsiders actually creates more of the kind of vacuous blockbusters that Kellaway dislikes, in the vein of ME3 and CoD. This is because game designers turn to film techniques, namely Hollywood, as an easy cultural reference point and a means of validation.

The reality of any complex hobby, or even simple one, is that it is difficult to get into. It requires prior knowledge and years of experience if you want to talk about it with authority. It is difficult to know enough about film to be able to review it. It is difficult to become a wine critic. It's difficult to critique beer! I've spent much of my adult life going out of my way to spend extra on obscure brews that have exactly the same alcoholic qualities as Bud or Miller but which cost 3-4x more, just because I know some of the craft stuff tastes great and I want to find more that does. But 'tasting notes'...? 'Mouthfeel'...? Anyone who paid me to write my beer opinions down for a contest would legitimately piss off a lot of CAMRA-type aficionados.

An outsider's perspective can be very valuable, but that does not translate into saying that every outsider's perspective is valuable. With Kellaway, what she says is of very little use to anyone and there are hints in her writing that this is because she is of an easily frustrated character, not to mention disinclined to challenge any of her preconceptions. Hopefully some of the other judges in the GameCity awards possessed more insight, otherwise the entire thing is ill-conceived. Her difficulty with games is her own construct - call it her unwillingness to appreciate anything that doesn't fit her idea of artistry, or simply her home entertainment preferences, whatever. Maybe her son should make more effort to get into things she likes, who knows. Fact is, I've seen more evidence of open-minded emotional investment in games from: my 60 year old dad, who never played a game in his life, getting frustrated with the amount of times I was crashing in Road Rash; my mum, who only ever played Bonanza Bros coop when I pestered her, being equal parts angry and genuinely amused when I flattened her in all the traps meant for enemies; and my friend's 80 year old Vietnamese grandma, cackling at the farcical onscreen deaths in Bushido Blade (EDIT: or indeed Christian Donlan's dad, watching his son play LA Noire - great article btw). These would be the type of people for whom you'd want to break down the barriers of entry* to gaming: people who indicate that they might enjoy them. Not dilettantes of Ebert and Kellaway's mould who turn it into a cultural validation contest between gaming and books/film.

*The control input method is essentially the only barrier there is.

Posted by LentFilms

I'm always surprised and disappointed at the small number of people that even know about Clock Tower for the Super Famicom. I'm really glad to see that GiantBomb has given this game some more attention and I hope more people will play this forgotten classic.

Posted by metalgearstl

I totally dont get the Dont Look Back thing. Did he jump off a cliff and die and meet the girl in hell and brought her back and see himself standing at the grave? Did he go get her from hell and bring her back only to find another dude at her grave and was like 'what a slut no wonder you were in hell' and got mad and exploded? Was he supposed to be imagining all of it? If he was imagining it why would he go get her and be like 'yo check this out' and take her to her own grave? And why imagine that looking back at her makes her go away? Maybe I am just a idiot and either looking to far into it or not enough.

Posted by matti00

I had no idea Don't Look Back, VVVVVV and Super Hexagon were made by the same guy. What a talent.

Posted by kyrieee

I remember playing Don't Look Back a few years ago. For being such a simple game it's actually a pretty good adaptation of a written text (Orpheus and Eurydice). You can tell what it is despite the minimalism.

Posted by paulunga

Yes, Clock Tower is one of those great SNES gems no one's heard of. Very much ahead of its time. Looking forward to seeing more of it on the next Spookin' with Scoops. And please open that third door in the first corridor. You know, the one some creepy music plays at and you hear dripping noises, right before getting into the room with Scissor Man and Ann dropping from the ceiling.

Posted by FLStyle

@Crysack: @ImHungry:

What Maddy Myers described was just a bunch of ignorant randomers, not Fighting Game Community members. Allow me to show you a girl in the actual FGC courtesy of Team Spooky.

Edited by development

@cyraxible said:

I do appreciate a view from the outside, but Kellway had already decided what she thought of games. It was an article that had words and sentences but said a whole lot of nothing. She already had a disdainful view of games and wasn't about to challenge that seriously.


edit: but it was a nice article. a bit depressed that she didn't love Journey.

Edited by bybeach

I read Tom Bissell's article about Dishonored, and I enjoyed it. I mildly dispute the one paragraph or so concerning the imparting of personal motivations..I my self like them and sets the tone of the character I play. I may justify myself becoming a killing machine, or may hold to a strict non- lethal approach more rigid than Batman Arkham Asylum and City, say. But I do prefer the 'why' in my game. However I also know that is my opinion, or personal preference.

So, I went on to read another review of his concerning Max Payne 3 and saw this; "Max Payne is, among many other things, really bad at his job. Always has been. In previous Max Payne games (and one extraordinarily ill-advised movie) Max worked as an NYPD police officer with an unusual knack for getting everyone he loves — wife, baby, girlfriend — " Tom Bissell, Vicodin Visions.

I firmly disagree, and even believe I have heard this said before. Max Payne did not get his wife and child killed. It was rather something that his wife did, though inadvertently, to get his family violently rubbed out by hired thugs. Nor did he get his girlfriend, Mona Sax, killed. She was actually a female version of Max, out to avenge her murdered sister. They actually have very much in common. She does die, in cannon at least.. But she was a fellow soldier, and not a victem of Max's actions. It is the whole point of Dark Noir that ppl. like Max, despite their very best intentions and abilities, are condemned to tragedy by a dark, dark world. As a result, they often become what I call flawed heroes, fighting through say drug addiction and alcohol consumption.. and against all odds, and winning. Or what passes for winning in such a world.

And bad at his job? No! At the end of the first Max Payne you have the main villainess exhorting her men. 'You are better trained than him(Max). You are better armed than him. There are many of you and only one of him. Why is it you cannot kill him?' She was feeling the heat, Max was closing in. This is not the result of Max being bad at what he did, which Bissell does note as 'weird'. Max Payne was good at his job, but he lived in a cruel and often ugly world where what is good is often decimated by the evil that exists, it is an uphill battle aided by painkillers, though by his admission often stumped by whiskey. Max is the epitome of playing with a pair of 2's against a Royal Flush and still winning...though it may have the semblance of a Pyrrhic victory.

Like I said, I have heard the 'Loser' explanation of Max Payne before, which I think totally misses the mark. What Max becomes, an addict and alcoholic, is the result of his experience, and not the causation of the story events. They factor in, yes, but in such grey circumstances, pain-killers support and extend life, while booze makes him forget..except it doesn't, his mental anguish. At least the pain killers work, as unsatisfactory that may be. Anyways, sorry just think it's a wrong take on Max Payne.

Just to say, I still enjoyed the rest of what Bissell has to say about Max Payne 3, The Rockstar ultraviolent approach to what was already a rather hardcore shooter, etc.

Edited by Laiv162560asse

I'm not sure what the Maddy Myers piece thinks it is illustrating. It seems to be a tale of social awkwardness, no less her own than anybody else's. The tale about the guy kicking the TVs and the awkward joking surrounding that shows how clumsy these guys are even at interacting with eachother, yet when they behave the same way with her it gets catalogued as gender prejudice.

She's so conscious of how her gender makes her stand out, that even the ticket guy's hesitation gets implicitly catalogued as some kind of prejudice. Yet when one of her opponents tries to be open about it, to set her at ease (clumsily), she skewered him. This isn't a story of "one woman’s battle against the anxious masculinity of the fighting-games scene", it's "a bunch of geeks in an awkward social gathering, failing to be all that friendly with eachother".

She got hit on by two guys at two gatherings, and dicked over by a bunch of people who played her copy of a game without letting her in. The first is a universal constant of any gathering that contains men and women. The second is a kind of passive aggressive bullying of the outsider, which ignores gender. You don't have to be a girl to be the kid who brings a ball to school and then gets pushed out of the ball game.

Posted by laserbolts

Thanks for this Patrick a good read as usual. I really enjoyed the article about the fighting game community and fight nights. The whole idea of these little get togethers people have at game stores is pretty interesting. I didn't even know that sort of stuff existed.

Posted by Silver-Streak

That LA Noire story is incredibly fascinating.

Posted by TheBluthCompany

Saint's Row and Chopped is not the most obvious media crossover I can think of.

Posted by KiddoMac

God I hope this comment gets me the damn quest, sorry for the useless post. not useless for me =P

Posted by Galiant

Both the XCOM review and the LA Noire piece were a treat to read. Thanks!

Posted by TehBuLL

Think it is actually Chris Donlan. Was a great read.

Posted by King9999

That FGC article...I don't know about that one. It sounded like the author could've done better to be more friendly at some points. Like when the dude was asking her various questions and she brushed him off completely. Of course he's going to ignore you after that. I don't think Maddy is as much a victim as we want her to think, especially not with the attitude she gives off. I know that the FGC welcomes all types of people; we only care about what you play and how good you are. Otherwise, women like Kayane wouldn't have stuck around as long as they have. What I dislike most is the narrow-minded view of the FGC that sites present to its readers when it's so much more. Where were the journalists when Chris Hu's home got burned down and lost his life savings, and the community donated money to help him out? What about the handicapped players? Like I said, all types of people.

But the article is a small part of a much larger problem: there aren't enough women involved in game development in general, or in IT. Basically anything that involves technology, and working directly with them. I'd be interested in some kind of survey that asks females why they seemingly aren't interested in computer programming or becoming a network technician.

Posted by tourgen

@TurkeyFried said:

The Kellaway article was frustating, as she went into this with a closed mind, and will never bother trying to understand why it is that games connect with so many people. Instead, she wrote a long article that could be summarized in "damn kids and their toys".

got to write for your target audience after all - I don't think thoughtful inspection and consideration of video games was ever on the table

Posted by biggiedubs

Maddy fought a guy who started with Phoenix....? What?

I'd like to think that every newcomer / person who hasn't proved themselves get treated like she did, but I think I'd be lying if I did. Fight Nights generate anger, frustration and trash-taking, and the first thing that most people jump to when wanting to trash talk a girl is to simply just say that she'll never be good as a guy. Which is unfortunate, because it's probably the most hurtful.

Posted by IanYarborough

@Giantstalker: Well put.

Posted by FirearmsKill

They put Don't Look Back on iOS and Android? Awesome.

Posted by Psychohead

For anyone completely flummoxed by Don't Look Back, I might suggest brushing up on your Greek mythology a bit. It's a reimagining/reinterpretation of the story of Eurydice.

As for the Game Theory article: meh, another stodgy old fart with no base from which to relate to games and no inclination to develop one. If I want insight, I shall seek it from the insightful. I see no point in why we should be so taken aback at how supposedly impenetrable our chosen passion is, when the same is so laughably easy to say about any other art form.

Picasso's faces look stupid. Shakespeare's dialog is impossible to follow. Tchaikovsky is boring. 2001: A Space Odyssey makes no god damn sense. Woo-hoo, look at me, I'm providing a much-needed outside perspective on shit I don't understand.

We don't need these people. They are not contributing to the discourse. And while I felt that the other article on Real Talk did raise some salient points about gaming's culture in general, its main question of "well, why don't They like our stuuuuuuff" is easily answered: it's the same reason anyone doesn't like anything. Not everything is for everyone. And that's okay. Ultimately, it's just fine if there are people -- yes, even highly learned people -- that don't give two halves of a shit about gaming and never will.

Posted by bybeach

Also I am no expert but I think 800.00 on a PC is a tad short. It will pobably get you a good media performer, but I just feel you will come up short with some demanding games.. Very much included in my opinion is upgrading...that you already may want top heavy like your PSU and perhaps..but not necc. a decent, sli/triple channel board. Whats then subject to change-out like your vid card. Maybe your cpu, but MB's chip settings are fickle.. All I know is I spent waaaaaay too much on my build and now have to depend on the excuse of head-room for some kind of justification.. thats kinda of hard when they discard CPu/chip-sets. I bought some redicoulous HDD's and wish I had stuck to my origonal choice, a WD Black 1 Terrabyte. SSd's don't do it for me, give me more affordable storage and they will.

Posted by HazeMisoSoup

Hmm interesting...

Posted by YummyTreeSap

@Crysack said:

I can't imagine that there are too many fighting game aficionados hanging around the comments section here, but does anyone else find Myers' article rather insulting? The whole thing where she presents the fight night regulars as a bunch of socially maladjusted nerds who can't interact with women just smacks of passive aggression to me. It isn't at all a fair representation of the FGC at all - as one can see from simply watching events like WNF.

Au contraire, I've found the fighting game community to be probably by far the worst in all of video gaming.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I always love it when I spot one of my screenshots in the site's articles and blogs and stuff.

Posted by scottygrayskull

Patrick, I'd suggest checking out Tom's Hardware's buyer guides. They basically give you a complete shopping list for several price ranges, and explain why they picked what they did. Even the low end stuff can run most games in good detail.

Posted by Tgarrett45

Alot of the games look fun and the dont look back game is weird as hell but amazing!

Posted by Langly

Don't look back is one of my favorite flash games, next to VVVVVV

Posted by CakeBomb

I played Don't Look Back before VVVVVV was even announced. 
I played it back in the day.
I played it before Patrick. 
I feel like the biggest hipster ever. 
Oh god.

Posted by PurpleMoustache

Loving Terry using the engine he made for porting flash games to iOS. Hopefully iOS gets some more banger hits with this

Posted by CilliaBlack

@YummyTreeSap said:

@Crysack said:

I can't imagine that there are too many fighting game aficionados hanging around the comments section here, but does anyone else find Myers' article rather insulting? The whole thing where she presents the fight night regulars as a bunch of socially maladjusted nerds who can't interact with women just smacks of passive aggression to me. It isn't at all a fair representation of the FGC at all - as one can see from simply watching events like WNF.

Au contraire, I've found the fighting game community to be probably by far the worst in all of video gaming.

This, but also that the article wasn't exactly pointed at the FGC. It's really just the experience of a woman gamer as she tries to do the exact same things a guy would do, but gets hit with entirely different situations than a guy would for no reason. Nothing in the article really screams how awful the writer thinks the community is, it's just her personal experience where she lets the reader make their own conclusions.

The only part of the article I thought was off was the very end, where she loses her cool because the dude just walks off after she won. Opponents being pissed that you won is pretty gender neutral (though their reasons may not be), and you can't let sore losers ruin your own time.

Posted by Flawed_System

"All that said, I’m happy this the turn of events prompted Clock Tower for the SNES."


Posted by Shnippie