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Posted by patrickklepek (3464 posts) -
By the end of our podcast marathon, you'd just as soon use this to pick the year's best games.

Our game of the year coverage starts on Monday, and, boy, it's a doozy. That sounds so cheesy, but Vinny and Drew have outdone themselves this year. I'm actually glad to be out of the office and incapable of seeing the finished product come together. I'd rather be like all of you, and see what it looks like after it's been through the editing process. It's ridiculous, ambitious, and (probably) funny.

Besides our video stupidity, the awards and deliberations that lead to them start going online. I'd left 1UP before their game of the year awards started, and we didn't have them at MTV Multiplayer. G4 was my first exposure to a room of people getting together and debating the merits of games at length for awards purposes, but in a year with games like Assassin's Creed II and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, we were really arguing about which totally amazing game we loved even more than the other. It wasn't exactly a fight. There weren't many people in that room, though. GameSpot and IGN are very different stories.

That's not really the case at Giant Bomb. Five people (six, if you count bringing in Alex for a few awards) is enough to have a list that is both reflective of the collective taste of the staff, and also include our individual obsessions. Sure, some of those are lost to the chopping block, but that's the way it goes. Plus, we arrange our personal awards before the staff picks are made, which means you can make peace with a game that you know won't have much chance on the staff list. I said that last year, though, and I'm always surprised where our list ends up.

It was a very good year for games, if inconsistent for "AAA." That's fine. In previous generations, we'd be lamenting the lack of releases as hardware manufacturers prepared their games to debut alongside fancy new consoles. But in 2012, we swam in a sea of terrific games from developers with voices, and they all had something to say.

That, friends, is progress. See you next year!

Hey, You Should Play This

"Patrick! You already featured January earlier this year." Okay, you're right, but designer Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace of Fez soundtrack fame) has continued to toy with January since it "released" earlier this year, and he's made fabulous strides. January started as a simple interactive music generator, and while, at its core, it remains exactly that, January is now much more versatile, and it's entering full-on tool territory. Plus, without any talent whatsoever, you can create something that sounds downright beautiful. I uploaded the "track" I made below.

There may be a profound message at the end of Old Man Baby, but it doesn't matter. Its defining mechanic of changing ages, baked into the puzzles rather than an at-will option, was good enough to keep my attention for 20 minutes. That players do not have direct control for swapping ages is what makes Old Man Baby worth a damn, as it forces players to start thinking what each character is capable of well in advance of actually change.

Dude, Housefly. Besides making me nostalgic for Mr. Mosquito (it's possible to be nostalgic for Mr. Mosquito?), Housefly is just the right kind of dumb. It won't take you more than a minute or two to finish, but when you solve the biggest puzzle in front of you and the annoying buzzer, I guarantee you will crack up in response. So great.

This marks the second time I've highlighted a game from Denki. Not long ago, Save the Day was here, too, as not only was it a decent action game, it represented how far HTML5-based games have come in such a short time. Denki's next game, Word Quest, only reenforces that feeling. The game is littered with sound effects ripped from Nintendo games, and I'm not at all sure how the hell someone missed that. Unless they didn't miss that, and then I'm even more confused. Anyway, it's a turn-based RPG whose combat is based on word puzzles. Love it.

The most recent Ludum Dare's theme was "You are the villain." The most interesting villains have motivations that are, at some level, sympathetic. It doesn't happen very often in video games. I'd love to see more games take on the idea of being the villain from a thoughtful perspective, even if that means you're ultimately defeated at the end. Sword of Truth tackles this concept from a deceptively simplistic angle, but the story can play out in eight different ways.

And You Should Read These, Too

Far Cry 3's story ranks as one of this year's disappointments (that's not a preview of our game of the year discussion, btw), and not only because of its lack of payoff for a promising premise. The traces of racism and lack of engagement with the topic of rape are some of the game's biggest crimes, and Far Cry 3's writer, Jeffrey Yhalem, has been giving a series of interviews in response to the growing criticism. Instead, he's just digging himself a deeper hole. Yhalem believes Far Cry 3 is a different game than the one we played. I wish I had played that game. I can applaud Yhalem for going out on a limb and trying to be subversive, he's only making himself look silly.

[Becoming agitated again] The sex scene [at the midpoint] – first Jason is shooting at that gigantic monster. He kills the monster, and it jump-cuts to him orgasming with Citra! He’s firing sperm at this gigantic monster, and then suddenly he’s on this alter with Citra, having sex with her, and then he thinks he’s the leader of the tribe and makes the big speech, and it’s his power fantasy! That’s the other thing – it’s all from first-person, so it’s completely unreliable. There’s a reason why Jason is a 25 year old white guy from Hollywood – these are all ideas that are in his head. You’re seeing things through his eyes. That’s why the Alice quotes are there, and why Willis’s database entries are written from Willis’s perspective, and not written from a universal perspective. So the game is all from a series of perspectives, and I think it’s all there. And again, you could say to me, “Why isn’t this even more exaggerated?”, but why should it have to be? I don’t understand why what I did isn’t so insanely exaggerated already. What you’re saying is that games are so bad with this stuff that it has to be so through the roof – I mean, male rape, having this transition, having the end of the game be that she kills you while having sex with you? And she says, “you win,” as you’re dying. The only thing more outrageous I could think of is if she castrated him.

This profile suggests Kotick's time at Activision may be drawing to a close. Activision has given its CEO a low profile since his last, fumbled foray into becoming a cherished figure amongst players. From what I'm told, Activision believed it was possible for Kotick to become a beloved CEO, but when it was clear the audience wasn't receptive or didn't care, it gave up. Instead, the company has tried to make Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg that person. I've never talked with Kotick, but I have spoken with Hirshberg. He fits the bill, and that leaves Kotick to pursue his agenda without worrying about whether his status as "evil" is impacting the business. It honestly doesn't matter.

On this particular Sunday, it’s those Photoshopped horns that really irk Mr. Kotick. He is seated at a corner table in the cavernous breakfast room of the Pierre hotel, across the street from Central Park, shaking a leg nervously and whispering in a conspiratorial hush.

“Think about what it’s like for my dating life when the first picture that comes up is me as the Devil,” says Mr. Kotick, who is recently divorced. “You see all this chatter and you realize that they game the search results. These super-sophisticated 19-year-olds are smarter than our expensive P.R. firm.” (His publicist, Steven Rubenstein, shrugs sheepishly.)

Nintendo Power was and is a weird thing. I have the same fuzzy memories most of you do, but I'll confess it's weird how much I enjoyed a blatant piece of marketing I was too ignorant to comprehend. It was a publication much more than fluffed up marketing, obviousy, and the stories behind its creation are seriously fascinating. Luckily, we have Frank Cifaldi, who last went down the rabbit hole to try and determine the U.S. release date for Super Mario Bros., to keep tracking down the people who crafted the pieces of our youth. Some of the stories are remarkable.

Looking at Japan with Famitsu and Famicom Tsushin and things like that…I would get these really thick, dense magazines as part of the regular weekly shipments from Japan. I'd get these in the warehouse and I'd crack them open and look at the cool new games that were coming out. I'd almost get down with a magnifying glass to look at screenshots and things like that. It was natural for us to think that the kids in the U.S. would be eager to have that as well.

I grow tired of gaming's obsession with violence more than I worry about its societal impact, but I shake my head at how quickly the industry is willing to throw itself under the bus under scrutiny. Games are now explicitly protected under the First Amendment, remember? Games are powerful. Let's not pretend they aren't. Games are, yes, disproportionately concerned about killing people or aliens or some other thing. I do not expect that to go away, given its popularity, but let's not pretend it isn't a problem worth, at the very least, having a conversation about. Games about killing are not necessarily about killing (this NYT pieces tries to address that), but we need a better comeback.

But this discussion has become stale and repetitive, and the knee-jerk defensiveness of gamers and games writers has become dogma. Hashing out the same gamers-as-victim fantasy — which was constructed at a time when gaming really was a fragile subculture, not a $50 billion-plus industry — seems both absurd and insensitive in the shadow of real, and heartbreakingly pure, victimhood.

If You Click It, It Will Play

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

  • Galcon was one of my early iPhone favorites, so I'd love a fully upgraded sequel.
  • Meriwether is an interactive version of Lewis and Clark's expeditions? Sign me the eff up.
  • The Ship remains one of the most fascinating multiplayer games. Surprised this isn't doing better.

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

  • People keep recommending The Cat Lady as an adventure game I should play. Are they right?
  • You Have to Win the Game seems like the right kind of "hey, I'm gonna invoke retro" platformer.
  • I almost brought my PS3 home to play Knytt Underground. How is this not already on Steam?

Some Video Game Comics That Actually Put a Smile On Your Face

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3464 posts) -
By the end of our podcast marathon, you'd just as soon use this to pick the year's best games.

Our game of the year coverage starts on Monday, and, boy, it's a doozy. That sounds so cheesy, but Vinny and Drew have outdone themselves this year. I'm actually glad to be out of the office and incapable of seeing the finished product come together. I'd rather be like all of you, and see what it looks like after it's been through the editing process. It's ridiculous, ambitious, and (probably) funny.

Besides our video stupidity, the awards and deliberations that lead to them start going online. I'd left 1UP before their game of the year awards started, and we didn't have them at MTV Multiplayer. G4 was my first exposure to a room of people getting together and debating the merits of games at length for awards purposes, but in a year with games like Assassin's Creed II and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, we were really arguing about which totally amazing game we loved even more than the other. It wasn't exactly a fight. There weren't many people in that room, though. GameSpot and IGN are very different stories.

That's not really the case at Giant Bomb. Five people (six, if you count bringing in Alex for a few awards) is enough to have a list that is both reflective of the collective taste of the staff, and also include our individual obsessions. Sure, some of those are lost to the chopping block, but that's the way it goes. Plus, we arrange our personal awards before the staff picks are made, which means you can make peace with a game that you know won't have much chance on the staff list. I said that last year, though, and I'm always surprised where our list ends up.

It was a very good year for games, if inconsistent for "AAA." That's fine. In previous generations, we'd be lamenting the lack of releases as hardware manufacturers prepared their games to debut alongside fancy new consoles. But in 2012, we swam in a sea of terrific games from developers with voices, and they all had something to say.

That, friends, is progress. See you next year!

Hey, You Should Play This

"Patrick! You already featured January earlier this year." Okay, you're right, but designer Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace of Fez soundtrack fame) has continued to toy with January since it "released" earlier this year, and he's made fabulous strides. January started as a simple interactive music generator, and while, at its core, it remains exactly that, January is now much more versatile, and it's entering full-on tool territory. Plus, without any talent whatsoever, you can create something that sounds downright beautiful. I uploaded the "track" I made below.

There may be a profound message at the end of Old Man Baby, but it doesn't matter. Its defining mechanic of changing ages, baked into the puzzles rather than an at-will option, was good enough to keep my attention for 20 minutes. That players do not have direct control for swapping ages is what makes Old Man Baby worth a damn, as it forces players to start thinking what each character is capable of well in advance of actually change.

Dude, Housefly. Besides making me nostalgic for Mr. Mosquito (it's possible to be nostalgic for Mr. Mosquito?), Housefly is just the right kind of dumb. It won't take you more than a minute or two to finish, but when you solve the biggest puzzle in front of you and the annoying buzzer, I guarantee you will crack up in response. So great.

This marks the second time I've highlighted a game from Denki. Not long ago, Save the Day was here, too, as not only was it a decent action game, it represented how far HTML5-based games have come in such a short time. Denki's next game, Word Quest, only reenforces that feeling. The game is littered with sound effects ripped from Nintendo games, and I'm not at all sure how the hell someone missed that. Unless they didn't miss that, and then I'm even more confused. Anyway, it's a turn-based RPG whose combat is based on word puzzles. Love it.

The most recent Ludum Dare's theme was "You are the villain." The most interesting villains have motivations that are, at some level, sympathetic. It doesn't happen very often in video games. I'd love to see more games take on the idea of being the villain from a thoughtful perspective, even if that means you're ultimately defeated at the end. Sword of Truth tackles this concept from a deceptively simplistic angle, but the story can play out in eight different ways.

And You Should Read These, Too

Far Cry 3's story ranks as one of this year's disappointments (that's not a preview of our game of the year discussion, btw), and not only because of its lack of payoff for a promising premise. The traces of racism and lack of engagement with the topic of rape are some of the game's biggest crimes, and Far Cry 3's writer, Jeffrey Yhalem, has been giving a series of interviews in response to the growing criticism. Instead, he's just digging himself a deeper hole. Yhalem believes Far Cry 3 is a different game than the one we played. I wish I had played that game. I can applaud Yhalem for going out on a limb and trying to be subversive, he's only making himself look silly.

[Becoming agitated again] The sex scene [at the midpoint] – first Jason is shooting at that gigantic monster. He kills the monster, and it jump-cuts to him orgasming with Citra! He’s firing sperm at this gigantic monster, and then suddenly he’s on this alter with Citra, having sex with her, and then he thinks he’s the leader of the tribe and makes the big speech, and it’s his power fantasy! That’s the other thing – it’s all from first-person, so it’s completely unreliable. There’s a reason why Jason is a 25 year old white guy from Hollywood – these are all ideas that are in his head. You’re seeing things through his eyes. That’s why the Alice quotes are there, and why Willis’s database entries are written from Willis’s perspective, and not written from a universal perspective. So the game is all from a series of perspectives, and I think it’s all there. And again, you could say to me, “Why isn’t this even more exaggerated?”, but why should it have to be? I don’t understand why what I did isn’t so insanely exaggerated already. What you’re saying is that games are so bad with this stuff that it has to be so through the roof – I mean, male rape, having this transition, having the end of the game be that she kills you while having sex with you? And she says, “you win,” as you’re dying. The only thing more outrageous I could think of is if she castrated him.

This profile suggests Kotick's time at Activision may be drawing to a close. Activision has given its CEO a low profile since his last, fumbled foray into becoming a cherished figure amongst players. From what I'm told, Activision believed it was possible for Kotick to become a beloved CEO, but when it was clear the audience wasn't receptive or didn't care, it gave up. Instead, the company has tried to make Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg that person. I've never talked with Kotick, but I have spoken with Hirshberg. He fits the bill, and that leaves Kotick to pursue his agenda without worrying about whether his status as "evil" is impacting the business. It honestly doesn't matter.

On this particular Sunday, it’s those Photoshopped horns that really irk Mr. Kotick. He is seated at a corner table in the cavernous breakfast room of the Pierre hotel, across the street from Central Park, shaking a leg nervously and whispering in a conspiratorial hush.

“Think about what it’s like for my dating life when the first picture that comes up is me as the Devil,” says Mr. Kotick, who is recently divorced. “You see all this chatter and you realize that they game the search results. These super-sophisticated 19-year-olds are smarter than our expensive P.R. firm.” (His publicist, Steven Rubenstein, shrugs sheepishly.)

Nintendo Power was and is a weird thing. I have the same fuzzy memories most of you do, but I'll confess it's weird how much I enjoyed a blatant piece of marketing I was too ignorant to comprehend. It was a publication much more than fluffed up marketing, obviousy, and the stories behind its creation are seriously fascinating. Luckily, we have Frank Cifaldi, who last went down the rabbit hole to try and determine the U.S. release date for Super Mario Bros., to keep tracking down the people who crafted the pieces of our youth. Some of the stories are remarkable.

Looking at Japan with Famitsu and Famicom Tsushin and things like that…I would get these really thick, dense magazines as part of the regular weekly shipments from Japan. I'd get these in the warehouse and I'd crack them open and look at the cool new games that were coming out. I'd almost get down with a magnifying glass to look at screenshots and things like that. It was natural for us to think that the kids in the U.S. would be eager to have that as well.

I grow tired of gaming's obsession with violence more than I worry about its societal impact, but I shake my head at how quickly the industry is willing to throw itself under the bus under scrutiny. Games are now explicitly protected under the First Amendment, remember? Games are powerful. Let's not pretend they aren't. Games are, yes, disproportionately concerned about killing people or aliens or some other thing. I do not expect that to go away, given its popularity, but let's not pretend it isn't a problem worth, at the very least, having a conversation about. Games about killing are not necessarily about killing (this NYT pieces tries to address that), but we need a better comeback.

But this discussion has become stale and repetitive, and the knee-jerk defensiveness of gamers and games writers has become dogma. Hashing out the same gamers-as-victim fantasy — which was constructed at a time when gaming really was a fragile subculture, not a $50 billion-plus industry — seems both absurd and insensitive in the shadow of real, and heartbreakingly pure, victimhood.

If You Click It, It Will Play

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

  • Galcon was one of my early iPhone favorites, so I'd love a fully upgraded sequel.
  • Meriwether is an interactive version of Lewis and Clark's expeditions? Sign me the eff up.
  • The Ship remains one of the most fascinating multiplayer games. Surprised this isn't doing better.

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

  • People keep recommending The Cat Lady as an adventure game I should play. Are they right?
  • You Have to Win the Game seems like the right kind of "hey, I'm gonna invoke retro" platformer.
  • I almost brought my PS3 home to play Knytt Underground. How is this not already on Steam?

Some Video Game Comics That Actually Put a Smile On Your Face

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
#2 Edited by ThaDun (22 posts) -

:(

edit: I feel like a douche right now

#3 Posted by Nightriff (4910 posts) -

Wow, this is earlier than expected

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (35978 posts) -

Wait, what's Soul Reaver doing here? The game was kinda average, from what I remember.

#5 Edited by SonicBoyster (348 posts) -

Thanks for the article so close to the holidays. The violence in games thing is definitely something that needs to be addressed again. It's back in the spotlight now due to the recent shootings, as are music lyrics and movie content. The most common reaction whenever someone criticizes one of these elements as being a reason for someone going off of the deep end is, "If someone is going to go crazy, they'll find any inspiration to due so." There's a strong correlation, though, between culture and calamity. Maybe it isn't video games that are directly at fault, or music, or movies, or the constant discussion of violence on TV... but what if it's all of those things in concert with one another? Let's put it all out on the table and figure out what's really going on in our cultural subconscious and what we can or should be doing about it.

#6 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4583 posts) -

Patrick really didn't pick up on the whole "islanders are using Jason" angle of Far Cry 3?

Seriously?

Online
#7 Posted by LordKorax (278 posts) -
By the end of our podcast marathon, you'd just assume use this to pick the year's best games.

That's a... weird... sentence.

#8 Posted by patrickklepek (3464 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Wait, what's Soul Reaver doing here? The game was kinda average, from what I remember.

SHUT YOUR TERRIBLE MOUTH.

Staff
#9 Posted by TheHT (10871 posts) -

That January thing is really cool. Should have a thread to share midis or something.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (35978 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Wait, what's Soul Reaver doing here? The game was kinda average, from what I remember.

SHUT YOUR TERRIBLE MOUTH.

You missed a perfect opportunity to use this.

#11 Posted by Food (382 posts) -

Patrick: I think you may be about to have one of those mind-blowing moments where you realize that you've been hearing a common phrase incorrectly your entire life... In the caption of the first image where you wrote 'just assume', you should have wrote 'just as soon'.

#12 Posted by Ted_Mosby (73 posts) -

Worth mentioning that Word Quest costs money after the second level, unless I'm just doing something wrong. :(

#13 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -

Man, super early Worth Reading.

#14 Posted by dr_mantas (1789 posts) -

you'd just assume use this

#15 Posted by megalowho (959 posts) -

That Tim Schafer "interview" is pretty amazing.

#16 Posted by The_Nubster (2045 posts) -

@Food said:

Patrick: I think you may be about to have one of those mind-blowing moments where you realize that you've been hearing a common phrase incorrectly your entire life... In the caption of the first image where you wrote 'just assume', you should have wrote 'just as soon'.

, is that what you meant? I assumed it was just a typo.

#17 Posted by Phatmac (5721 posts) -

I don't get why people like Super Hexagon so much. Anyway, Merrry Christmas Patrick!

#18 Posted by SharkMan (628 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

Patrick really didn't pick up on the whole "islanders are using Jason" angle of Far Cry 3?

Seriously?

i didn't pick up on anything besides the island natives who cant wipe their own ass much less drive a car straight, and Jason Brody being one of the most despised asshole "heros" in video game history, it would have been a better story if you actually did turn out to be Vaas. (even though a bit cliched)

#19 Posted by aicohtherapist (12 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: The memories, man..... they betray you.

#20 Posted by aicohtherapist (12 posts) -

also correction in the first paragraph:

"...merits of games at lengh"

#21 Posted by Video_Game_King (35978 posts) -
#22 Posted by aicohtherapist (12 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Well it certainly didn't age well. All I know is that game blew my mind when it came out. I remember it fondly. Never played the sequels though.

#23 Edited by Zeg (83 posts) -

That Half-Life 2 mod with the human voice clips... I did that back in the days of Incoming and Re-Volt (with a friend), because the 'human sound set' was an unlock for Tank Racer. Though ours were less about replicating the sounds exactly and more about recording something we thought would sound funny. And they inevitably did. More games with their sound effects in easily editable formats please heheh.

#25 Edited by AjayRaz (12418 posts) -

oh hell yes. it's nice to see Black Out Band's Video Games up there. also, that Housefly game is great

#26 Posted by Parsnip (1076 posts) -

Zac Gorman is genius, I thought everyone knew this already.
And that Soul Reaver intro holds up. So badass. And that music, damn.

#27 Posted by BlackLagoon (1381 posts) -

...enjoying Knytt Underground on my Vita... It's like Knytt you can play outside!

#28 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@SharkMan said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

Patrick really didn't pick up on the whole "islanders are using Jason" angle of Far Cry 3?

Seriously?

i didn't pick up on anything besides the island natives who cant wipe their own ass much less drive a car straight, and Jason Brody being one of the most despised asshole "heros" in video game history, it would have been a better story if you actually did turn out to be Vaas. (even though a bit cliched)

Far Cry 3 is a second-person shooter. You have control over Jason but are actually playing as Vaas.

#29 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Wait, what's Soul Reaver doing here? The game was kinda average, from what I remember.

It's there because it has a terrific intro, obviously.

#30 Posted by KaneRobot (1416 posts) -

Always wind up watching that Black Out Band video at least once a year.

#31 Posted by abara (225 posts) -

@Nekrokreuz said:

A new A Lesson is Learned? Holy fucking shit.

mind blown

#32 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

When Jeffry says Far Cry 3 was meant to be deliberately bad, I can see it because that's what I thought while playing it. I don't see that interview as him digging a hole, I just don't think he executed very well.

I think deliberate execution is a good direction for video games to go in.

#33 Edited by ReaganStein (86 posts) -

I like how patrick just happens to post that half-life video the same week they mention it on idle thumbs. First he steals scoops, then the mention of the video. What's next, their jerbs?

#34 Posted by Prestige (84 posts) -

There's a word for that "just as soon" thing. They call it an eggcorn.

#35 Posted by PillClinton (3290 posts) -

@Prestige said:

There's a word for that "just as soon" thing. They call it an eggcorn.

Huh, interesting. "Peaked my interest" comes to mind.

#36 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Far Cry 3's story ranks as one of this year's disappointments, and not only because of its lack of payoff for a promising premise.

I would really like to know what this so-called "promising premise" is. Are people really upset that at the end you didn't wake up in the Animus? Because I hate to tell you, I'm pretty sure beside the weird preorder content missions, there isn't any other precedent for something like that to happen. Also, the game is subversive and goofy. Everybody is either unlikable, hilarious or completely over-the-top. How could nobody've gotten this? What, did you guys still not get it when Jason says, "use the force," and the Star Wars theme started playing? If that didn't seal it, I really don't even know what to tell you guys.

#37 Posted by KoolAid (836 posts) -

Far Cry 3 digs itself a deeper hole...? Uh? I thought it shed a lot of interesting light on the story. My quote after finishing Far Cry 3 was "Well, that was either the worst writing ever... or the best."

It's true I felt uncomfortable. It's true I felt like it was really really weird. Nothing really made sense! But I also felt like it was doing that on purpose. (I mean, the writing couldn't have been that bad, could it?) And it turns out I was right! The interview helps confirm that.

Whatever, I feel like reviewers have their pride on the line and don't want to admit it might not be as bad as they say. I mean, I assume reviewers are under the gun to finish a game as quickly as possible, they must have to relay on first impressions. I feel Far Cry 3 requires some reflection and maybe two playthroughs.

#38 Posted by Phished0ne (2479 posts) -

Far Cry 3 Made sense to me, the story isnt some great twist filled masterpiece, but i didnt get why people were so weird about it. I totally got a lot of the stuff the writer was talking about. Maybe just me i guess *shrugs*.

#39 Posted by Animasta (14648 posts) -

@KaneRobot said:

Always wind up watching that Black Out Band video at least once a month.

fixed for me lol

#40 Posted by Buckaroosamurai (26 posts) -

@patrickklepek: @patrickklepek said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Wait, what's Soul Reaver doing here? The game was kinda average, from what I remember.

SHUT YOUR TERRIBLE MOUTH.

Amen. Was bored at work recently and watched all the FMVs and read up the wiki on the LoK universe. Still one of my favorites and handles time travel pretty well.

Also curious to know if after all the end of the year stuff you'll find time to finish Eternal Darkness. Still IMO the best Lovecraft game other than Dark Corners of the Earth.

#41 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1667 posts) -

@Nekrokreuz said:

A new A Lesson is Learned? Holy fucking shit.

I'm glad it's not only me whose mind was blown by this!

ALIL was basically my favorite webcomic when it was active - such a weird, brilliant, crazy thing it was. The art and writing are both so excellent, and the way the panels and different sections are laid out always added something unique to each one. I hope David and Dale actually keep this up, this new one was pretty awesome.

Anyone who hasn't checked it out, I would highly recommend going through the archive, there aren't a ton. I was going to try and pick a favorite, but it's probably impossible for me to do so. Maybe "Morning, Sleepyhead"?

#42 Posted by billyhoush (1192 posts) -

Did I just get the ending of Far Cry 3 spoiled for me? :(

#43 Edited by Neurotic (632 posts) -

I'll read/play some of these later when it's not 1AM but right now I just want to say: 'Fuck yeah, Soul Reaver!' Patrick knows what's up.

#44 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

@Napalm: That was Flight of the Valkyries playing during that scene. It was a reference to Apocalypse Now, which is the film they effectively were sending up with large portions of the game. The text in italics has deep spoilers about Far Cry 3, so skip it if you don't want to spoil that game for yourself.

I totally "get" most of the things Yohalem is on about, I just don't think they're very well done and, as a result, didn't come across when I was playing the game. For example, all the stuff he has to say about the Keith rape stuff. I did totally gloss over it because the more interesting parody was Buck's parody of Nathan Drake/Nic Cage from National Treasure, and that was still pretty surface-level. It didn't help that Keith wasn't a character before or after that scene, so I did totally ignore it. If Keith had spoken a word to me before that scene, I'd forgotten about it. That went for almost every single character in the game.

To actually accomplish that kind of stuff, you have to engage us emotionally. I think it's safe to say that the only character who really engaged most players was Vaas, which is why his exit from the game is as frustrating as the dissatisfaction one feels at the end of Fight Club. The badass everybody likes, the one character actually sent up by the text, they kind of lose, and not very satisfyingly.

The reason Far Cry so desperately loses out to Fight Club in that comparison is that Vaas exits 60% of the way through the game after he's only appeared in four scenes, and you have a ridiculous amount left to play. Then they abandon every other character you might've found kind of interesting up till that point, with the racial allegories Yohalem's so obsessed with being washed away so you can hang out with some asshole who yells "Blitzkrieg" and the bad guy from Max Payne 3. During Hoyt's island, they establish too much narrative motivation to get the "good" ending where you don't murder your friends because Jason's already decided he's not gonna do that and he's gonna save his brother and stuff, so, yes, you can force Jason to do the other thing if you want, but it's not motivated in the fiction whatsoever.

He's talking about "what if it's all a fantasy," "what about my ending as a subversion of games," but EVERY game can be taken as that, and it's never good writing on its face! That's why most people think Inception is so bad: they think it's a movie literally about whether or not the world Leo is in is real or not. But it's actually about life, love, loss, letting go, denial, and honesty prevailing far more than it's about some ridiculous notion P.K. Dick tackled years ago. Yohalem seems to be arguing that his game is literally just that metatextual reading, that his game is about how bad his game is. Well, guess what, asshole? You guys made a bad game, and you showed the two best of the game's four or five really fantastic scenes at E3. Way to go? That's not an inherent artistic achievement; it's equivalent to me sitting down and writing a 250 word flash-fiction parody of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's ridiculous episode set-ups with a kindergartner and a janitor as the characters. Like, woo, you parodied Law & Order. 2/5.

Yohalem's game has an in-narrative statement that is offensive, kind of racist, dissatisfying, and ultimately left me cold on the game. Its metatextual statement is...okay, I guess? But even Max Payne 3 has all of the things Yohalem claims conspire to his grand satire, let alone Spec Ops: The Line or, god forbid, Hotline Miami. Simply making a subversive metatextual statement makes you...well, it basically makes you Marcel Duchamp, the Dada artist who submitted a urinal to an arts festival under the title "The Fountain." Like, congratulations, you said "Fuck You" to your medium. I'd still rather look at Journey.

Sadly, Yohalem's yelling about how brilliant his story is happens to damage the idea of metatextual statements more than it does the misogyny, racism, and killing in current games. It makes me examine whether or not games like Max Payne, Mass Effect, and Red Dead Redemption lay down a similar groundwork to be examined as deconstructionalist games. And the answer is absolutely! Yes they do! And, better yet, they're not constantly yelling at me about how intellectual they are! They're willing to give it a fucking rest and give me a game that is simultaneously narratively satisfying, thematically sound, and intellectually stimulating. Meanwhile, Spec Ops The Line, Hotline Miami, and Far Cry 3 now feel like the fucking elitist Teacher's Pets of video games, insistently screaming that they're smarter than everybody else and you should feel bad about hanging out with games like Mass Effect and Binary Domain. Like, fuck OFF. At least Spec Ops: The Line focuses the needle by delivering a not-so-nuanced critique of real-life warfare and Hotline Miami offers aesthetic and thematic resolution.

End rant.

Uh, I really didn't get the "A Lesson Is Learned" comic, and I enjoyed the rest of this week's Worth Reading.

#45 Posted by GreggD (4477 posts) -

@AjayRaz said:

oh hell yes. it's nice to see Black Out Band's Video Games up there. also, that Housefly game is great

It's such a terrible song.

#46 Posted by Psychohead (139 posts) -

That Far Cry 3 interview was amazing. "Nuh uh, my game is super smart, and it's just that nobody gets how much of an artiste I am!" Sorry, chuckles. If your supposed message glanced off the brows of nearly everyone who played your game, you done fucked up.

#47 Posted by AutoBarn (78 posts) -

Shit Patrick, a spoiler alert on the Far Cry 3 quote would have been good. Thanks for ruining the ending for me.

#48 Edited by NoelVeiga (1069 posts) -

So I'm all for recurring viewings of anything Legacy of Kain related, but why link the intro right now? Do you know something that I don't?

I almost hope not, actually. I don't know that I want to play a LoK game with no involvement from Amy Hennig.

#49 Posted by ch3burashka (5004 posts) -

I think the most important thing that will come out of the Giant Bomb GOTY's is Paul Barnett's guest list of games. He always brings the crazy. Maybe his list will be brought to you by the letter Q this year.

#50 Posted by Mr_Scumbag (42 posts) -

@AutoBarn said:

Shit Patrick, a spoiler alert on the Far Cry 3 quote would have been good. Thanks for ruining the ending for me.

I've finished the game, but yeah, not spoilering that is pretty uncool.