The future and the games of my said future.

2012 has not been a good year for video games so far. It doesn't bother me that much since I have several games I can fall back on... yet I don't. So that's why I'm looking ahead at the games of the 2nd half of 2012 and early 2013. I won't bore you with the obvious ones (SimCity, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, Watch Dogs, Mario Bros. University) so I can tell you about some that haven't received much attention. Here we go!

3. Bit.Trip Runner 2

WiiWare had a few solid games, many of them are part of the Bit.Trip series. They were all great games and I include Bit.Trip Runner as one of the greats, but goddamn it's hard. It is not an easy game when you lack rhythm. So why Bit.Trip Runner 2? I'm hoping there's hope for me yet. I can still give Runner a chance now that I have both the Wii and PC (thanks Steam sale) versions. I'm also positive the game will be on the affordable side so I can skip Taco Bell for a day. For the benefit of my colon.

2. Retro City Rampage

I'm a sucker for faux 8-bit nostalgia, something Retro City Rampage is all about. Take your favorite NES games, add some Grand Theft Auto, and you've won me over. Now all it needs is to be released. I've been waiting for quite some time now and patience is wearing thin.

1. Little Inferno

Any group of people which includes one of the dudes who made World of Goo is okay in my book. If they want to make a game, go for it. And apparently that's happening. There's also some Henry Hatsworth dude and... another guy who did some stuff. It doesn't matter, the game looks promising, even if it's about a fireplace.

And that trailer. Fucking dark.

So excited for these and more. Video games.


Xenoblog Chronicles or Monado: Bloginning of the World.

Xenoblade Chronicles Edition
For those who know me well, you may know that I've always been a skeptic of modern JRPGs to the point where I avoid them at all costs. I believe I can count the number of post-SNES JRPGs I've played to some degree on one hand. And I think I may have a finger or two left to fill. So it's hard to believe that I even acknowledged Xenoblade Chronicles let alone buy it, play it, and spend nearly 100 hours taking out monsters and Mechon. A game like this would normally be ignored by the likes of me, yet here I am making my glorious comeback blogging about it. So what (or who) is to blame for this? 
  • The glowing reviews from critics and fans who praised Xenoblade Chronicles?
  • The grassroots organization known as Operation Rainfall who began pushing the release of Japan-only Wii games last year?
  • The lack of anything worthwhile on the Wii in 2012?
  • The hope of a JRPG that maybe I might like?
  • Hailinel?
To be brutally honest, I blame all of that. With the promise of a great and uniquely refreshing JRPG on the Wii during the end of its cycle, it was just a matter of whether I wanted to spend the money on something I can ultimately dislike in the end. Then I spent the money. It was well spent money. 

The part of the blog where I explain why Xenoblade Chronicles is awesome.

Yes, a Wii game can still be beautiful.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is its setting. The entire world consists of two sleeping gods, Bionis and Mechonis, who fought each other and... got tired I guessed. Or mortally wounded each other. Life forms on both gods, one bionic, the other mechanic. Makes sense so far. Now these gods are massive and make for some beautiful settings. With plenty of variety, lovely vistas, and spectacular landscapes, it's hard not to stop and just look around to enjoy the scenery. How did they pack in all this world on the Wii? The fuck do I know, but I don't care. 
The second thing that comes to mind is the story. My biggest gripe with the JRPG genre has to be the general "spiky-haired boy of destiny finds ultimate weapon, fights to save the world alongside a rag-tag group of friends." Xenoblade Chronicles is about a... spiky-haired boy of destiny who finds the ultimate weapon and fights to save the world alongside a rag-tag group of friends." To be honest, Shulk's hair isn't really spiky in the traditional sense... it points downwards so it's cool. The rest still applies. But to Xenoblade's credit, the characters are likable and there are some twists and turns in the plot that kept me interested. It's a good vs. evil story done right. Personally, I'm partial to Riki for a lot of reasons. I can't find a reason to hate the guy. He's great for comic relief and he's so underappreciated by the group. And from my experience, he's the most versatile of the bunch and a great asset to have. Also, he's a sex machine. 
Blades of steel.
The next thing would have to be the combat and sometimes, the lack of combat. It's much more action-oriented and fast-paced which makes it tougher to strategize at times. I did feel a bit overwhelmed trying to understand some of the nuances of the game and it does take many hours to discover and understand everything, but once you know the strengths and weaknesses of your characters and enemies and what weapons and gems are worth equipping, the combat feels great. The best part about the combat is the ability to not just avoid fighting anything not worth fighting. Basically, you fight enemies whenever you feel like it with few exceptions. And even if you decide to kill something, you can just jump right in and start slashing away. The only issue I have with the combat is how easy it becomes if you are like me and must finish every side quest you can find. Those who like a challenge should probably skip the more annoying side quests (the majority of them) and earn those kills. 
Another reason why Xenoblade Chronicles is awesome is all the moving parts in the game. Monolith Soft made sure to add as many mechanics in this game as they can. For those who like meeting everybody, there's the affinity system. Like making friends? Talk to your fellow allies... which may lead to intimacy. For those who like making stuff, there's gem crafting. Like learning stuff? There's an arts system with the ability to upgrade. Skill trees? Sure, why the fuck not? Achievements? Absolutely and on the Wii of all places. If you've played Xenoblade Chronicles for any extended period of time, you probably had to spend a solid 20 minutes or more just messing around with your inventory, learning and upgrading your skills, choosing which armor will give you the best advantage, and on and on just to maintain maximum efficiency. 
Lastly, Xenoblade Chronicles does all of the things above smoothly. If there's one thing Nintendo hates, it's waiting. And if there's one thing Nintendo knows, it's its own hardware. Combine the two and you have one of the smoothest games of this size and scope. Xenoblade Chronicles doesn't waste your time with loading screens or unnecessary traveling and I am so grateful because if some other company was in charge of the game, I'd lose a week of my time just looking at loading screens. Instead, I wasted time collecting flamingo nut sacks for the local cook. Fucking side quests. I can only take so many fetch quests before going mad. 
So in conclusion, it's a game. And it's really good. 

But Dalai, did Xenoblade Chronicles change your opinion on Japanese role-playing games?

But at least somebody dared to be a little different. With the sheer volume of games that are released, there will always be a few oddballs that stand out in the crowd. And with the world proclaiming that Japanese gaming is as dead as PC gaming, Xenoblade Chronicles came out and showed America that Japan is still a threat, or at least can be with a little originality and great design, but it's still the exception. Just like I believe Persona 4 and The World Ends With You were exceptions a few years back. What the genre needs is another Final Fantasy VII
If you're facepalming at the moment, I don't mean we need more Final Fantasy VII clones. That's the problem. I think what Japanese developers need to do is some type of dramatic Final Fantasy VII-esque shift in the genre, whether that means incorporating some elements seen in Western games without compromising the "Eastern"ness of JRPGs or... more guns, maybe? I'm drawing a blank here, but some things need to change. The Operation Rainfall constituency might like things the way they are, or maybe not. I don't know them all personally. I'll have to ask around. 

Speaking of Operation Rainfall, Dalai, did it change your opinion on petitions?

No. I didn't sign a goddamn thing and it made its way to my living room. The only ways I contributed to this operation was a simple tweet and actually buying one of the games. I don't think Reggie Fils-Aime is following me... yet. 
Nobody truly knows if Operation Rainfall made any impact in bringing Xenoblade to America, but it really doesn't matter at this point. What matters in the end is that two of those games championed by the group has or will be released in the U.S. But I think it was all about padding out the lousy 2012 Wii lineup and in a way, fulfilling a promise of a U.S. release that was hinted at long ago and less about a relatively small group of individuals pushing for games that are too Japanese for the general public at large. It's not like Xenoblade Chronicles came out of nowhere... remember Monado: Beginning of the World? It did have one of those vague TBD release dates back in 2009. People remember these obscure games that get little fanfare and will often never forget about them. I see these passionate cries for something unique as being healthy to the industry and helping get the word out about unknown games. Xenoblade Chronicles would not have done as well as it did if not for the outcry of support and it will likely be true for The Last Story and maybe Pandora's Tower if it rains down upon us. I do think petitions do have an impact on sales and spreading the word around, but I have my doubts petitions persuaded the suits to take a risk like this. 
But if it helps you sleep at night, go for it. I'm always up for different game experiences. 
Now all that's left to do is actually finish the damn game. Technically, I'm near the end, but I think I have some side quests left undone and if ZombiePie is listening, I also have some shit to suck out of a lead pipe. You know what the lead pipe is marked. 
It's marked "shit delivery system", son.

Coming soon to a blog near you!

Coming soon to Dalai's blog! 

  • Dalai talks about what the fuck he's been doing while not blogging. Mostly looking at pornography, but I'm sure I'll think of something else I did.
  • Dalai looks back at the 100 hours of Xenoblade Chronicles he has endured and wonders why he never finished it yet.
  • Dalai reminisces about the Steam sale that ended recently and the games he may or may never install.
  • And finally, Dalai looks ahead to the latter half of 2012 and all those games he is looking forward to not completing.
All this and more! I hope to see you there!


For those who follow me like a dirty stalker, you might know that I am a connoisseur of city-building strategy games, particularly SimCity. I am not ashamed to admit to the hundreds (okay, thousands) of hours spent between the 4 main games... and the two SimCity 2000 spinoffs. Remember Streets of SimCity and SimCopter? Not the greatest bearers of the Sim name, but it was the late 90s. Anyway, the last few years have been all quiet on the SimCity front as I expanded my horizons with other games. Then about a month ago, this happened.

I am an addict again.
I have found my drug of choice ever since a crippling glitch essentially ruined my Dead Island save. And I was really enjoying it, too. Seriously. Anyway, the peer pressure to jump back into SimCity 4 has been strong lately with the occasional forum topic that Claude always lets me know exists and just the fact that it's completely installed, in my hard drive ready to play at any time. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan didn't help things either. Finally about a month ago, the downward spiral began. A few days later, I announced it to the world.
 Follow me on Twitter.
152 hours later, here I am a SimCity 4 addict. I still perform normally, go to work, do adult things like eat, work, sleep, and even bathe. However, I now eat, work, sleep, and even bathe SimCity. Productivity is down, but it's not at critical mass just yet. I can quit whenever I want... right?
This also explains why I've been more lurker than active member of the community lately. And for that, you're welcome!
Time to get back to my region. My splines need reticulating, but you all think we can get Maxis to pull a Double Fine and ask for SimCity 5 funding? I would fully support it if EA wasn't such a massive gaming conglomerate with money flowing out of every orifice. Maybe I'll ask them nicely.

Dalai's top 3 of 2011... finally!

It's like cocaine, but without the snorting.

My procrastination has come to an end! I am here to because I still need to talk 2011... although I am the last to do so. It's not so bad finishing last, really. Nice guys finish there according to the quote, "Nice guys finish last."

Before you all think I've been drinking, let me move on and give you my top 3 games of 2011. And let me warn you now.

Spoilers ahoy!

3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Dalai's Nintendo Fanboy Game of the Year.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a Zelda game. And although Skyward Sword does play it safe sticking to what worked for Zelda in the last 25 years, it also makes some strides in other areas that make Skyward Sword stand out among the crowd this year. The most noticeable change I saw in Skyward Sword was the combat and its major overhaul to fit the underutilized MotionPlus technology. Right now, Skyward Sword makes a very strong case for the use of motion controls in the future of gaming with the some of the most immersive controls on the Wii. We're not quite at 1:1 controls yet, but controlling Link's sword and weaponry just feels more natural and more gratifying than a simple button press. Not everyone has had success with the controls, but somehow I was able to swing the Wii Remote accurately with very few hiccups. I will admit some of the motion controls might fare just as well without the MotionPlus. Bomb rolling feels like I'm back playing Wii Sports, the hookshot is just like in Twilight Princess, and gaining altitude on your giant bird is a waggling mess, but other than the flying parts, they pretty much nailed the controls.

Skyward Sword might also be Nintendo's best effort in storytelling in their history. Skyward Sword is a more cinematic experience than previous games, and it tells a great story of how Link, Zelda, and Ganon are intertwined in this never-ending battle for the Triforce... despite the lack of voice acting. Actually, this might be the last time I will forgive Nintendo for not adding dialogue to its secondary characters.

I guess what people expect the most out of a Zelda game is the actual adventuring, the clever puzzles, and epic boss battles, right? Well Skyward Sword retains what made the previous games so great in those fields and adds a little bit of spin to the structure. Not every boss battle follows the rule of three, the surface world where most of the fighting happens feels like 20 dungeons glued together, and some of the puzzles are among the best I've seen in the series. And no torch puzzles... not a one. There's still block pushing and arrows to the knee eye, but I loved how the game was able to utilize all of Link's gadgets in a meaningful way, and not just in that one dungeon where you found the item. Hell, the flying beetle might be the best thing to happen to Link's inventory since the hookshot. Even many of the bosses were great to battle... but not The Imprisoned! Sorry, but fighting the same boss three times was a chore.

Skyward Sword is not perfect and like Jeff Gerstmann said in his infamous Twilight Princess review, some of the game feels stuck in the past. I would like to see the next Zelda make a left turn like Majora's Mask or add those modern touches like voice acting, CGI cutscenes, HD visuals, and towns with more than a few signs of life, but Skyward Sword was able to make an impact without all the shininess we see on other consoles.

2. Terraria

Dalai's Timesink of the Year

I understood why Minecraft was so popular, but it was never a game that interested me in the least. And I am a fan of building shit. When I first heard of Terraria, it was just beginning to gain some buzz among the indie gaming crowd so for $9.99, it was worth a look. 150+ hours later, I can safely say that Terraria is a game about building shit... and mining, exploring, fighting monsters, PvP arena battles, and teamwork. I think what makes Terraria one of my favorite games of 2011 is how it combines what I love about games into a total package of awesome. 16-bit graphics? Check. Constructing structures to my specifications? Check. Epic boss fights? Check. Exploring strange, new worlds? Check.

If you're unaware of what Terraria is, it's an open-ended game where you explore a randomly-generated world filled with riches and evil. The ultimate goal is to kill every boss and search through as much of the world as humanly possible... and depending of the size of the world, it can takes dozens and dozens of hours to see it all. Finding all the goodies underground is great, but I find that building an underground fortress or a castle made of gold is just as much fun. If you've been to the Terraria community site or the defunct Giant Bomb server, you saw the extraordinary things people have built. And yeah, that includes giant dicks.

And Level 1-1. Look it up.

Terraria is a game where you make your own fun, plain and simple. And the tools given to you make damn sure you'll have fun.

1. Portal 2

Dalai's Game of the Year

I knew within the first hour that Portal 2 was going to be in the running this year. I came to that conclusion after I was introduced to Wheatley and his neurotic personality. After a few more hours, I knew Portal 2 was going to be tough to top after Nolan North's performance as the growing collection of hilariously broken defective turrets. A little while later, I was introduced to Cave Johnson and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. So Portal 2 is my game of the year, but it's not all because of combustible lemons and potato humor.

Portal 2 is my game of the year because it expands the original Portal while not adding cheap laughs and unnecessary filler. Spreading out one of my favorite games of the generation into a larger sequel was a little risky, but in the end, Portal 2 ended up becoming one of the funniest, best written games I have ever played and one of the rare games that made me feel both stupid and brilliant without making me frustrated in anger.

There's rarely a dull moment in Portal 2 as long as they keep throwing science at you. They added a few gels that add an extra layer of thinking to several of the puzzles, and the traditional tests are just as devilish as ever, yet all are solvable and very satisfying when passed. And if you remember the latter half of Portal when you escaped the test chambers and saw the gritty behind the scenes work of Aperture Science, well that's back, but it occurs periodically throughout the game and you're bouncing between the "outside world" and the test chambers. Some of the best parts are the more dramatic parts where you're running along catwalks while science is being made around you.

But it's Portal 2's story and sense of humor that places it over the top among the games of 2011. There are more memorable characters in Portal 2 than in any other game combined this year. GLaDOS is as lovely as ever, but it's the combination of Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and Nolan North that made me laugh out loud on more than several occasions while playing. There are so many hilarious moments that listing them all would take too long. And if the humor isn't enough, they expanded on the history of Aperture Science and you get a great history lesson of the company. Not only is it entertaining, but educational.

Finally, the ending. That beautiful ending. When that bright moon was exposed in front of my eyes, my thought pretty much went like, "You gotta be shitting me!" I'm not sure why, but that moment just came out of nowhere and threw me for a loop. That moment was just icing on the... cake. However Still Alive is the better song. Nice try anyway, Mr. Coulton.

And I barely touched the co-op, but what I've played was wonderful... and I'm not a big fan of co-op.

Portal 2 is another near-flawless game from Valve that I will fondly remember for many years to come. It's everything I could have hoped for in a sequel and more.

Now I'm ready for 2012. Bring me Bioshock Infinite!


This is how I would like to play Mega Man 2.

I have played Mega Man 2. Several times. Usually I've played Mega Man 2 alone with the TV turned up so all my neighbors can listen and say to themselves, "He's playing Mega Man 2 again. Awesome!" Never once have I had my session of Mega Man 2 accompanied by a band. This guy has done it.

MAGFest is an annual event that combines the world of video games with the world of music. When these worlds collide, you get the cosmic greatness above. Excellent job, Bit Brigade. You've destroyed us all... and it's glorious.

And thumbs up to the player for not dying and being super-efficient.


How I spent my 2011... because video games.

A true gamer may read my blog, but a true gamer would never like my blog.

2012 is here and everybody has reflected on 2011 in some fashion. It was a year of Charlie Sheen, Rebecca Black, smelly protesters, and that homeless guy with the awesome voice. In games, it was the year of the number 3, dragons, and SPAAAAAACCE! I can't say I enjoyed 2011 as much as previous years, but despite the numerous sequels, lack of originality, and overall fatigue of this generation of games as a whole, there was plenty for me to like. And with that, here's my 2011 in review.

Just as a fair warning, I did not play a whole lot of new games this year so I had to dig into the past... just like I do every year.

Pre-2011 Games


I did not play nearly as much Aquaria as I should have, but it makes my list this year because Aquaria was able to make an entire game set underwater good. Perhaps the other reason why I like Aquaria is its exploration and open-world feeling... like Super Metroid and Castlevania. I call it Metroidvania. Anyway, Aquaria separates itself from other Metroidvania games with its oceanic theme, colorful graphics, and amnesia. Another standout feature is the narration which is similar to how Bastion treated narration... except it's narrated by the character and she doesn't talk nearly as often. Unfortunately, it didn't grab my attention as much this year so hopefully 2012 is the year I finally get to sit down and get more acquainted with Naija and the surrounding world.

Chrono Trigger

If I were giving out awards, Chrono Trigger would win the "Best RPG of 1995 That Isn't Earthbound." I started playing Chrono Trigger just before Ryan and Patrick started their Endurance Run, but 16 years after its initial SNES release... but better late than never. I think you all know enough about Chrono Trigger now that the Endurance Run is nearing the end, but I can say that the classic gameplay still holds up well today. From the unique cast of characters to the wide range of settings, Chrono Trigger remains one of the high points in JRPG design and execution.

Indigo Prophecy

Or Fahrenheit if you will. Indigo Prophecy plays like no other game I've ever played. It's part point-and-click adventure, part Simon. However, the "action" is not what makes the game in this case. Indigo Prophecy is built around the story more than anything else so liking the game depends almost solely on whether the story and dialogue is well done. And... yeah, the story of Lucas Kane is an interesting one to put it lightly. It starts off with Lucas in a trance-like state murdering a guy in a diner and somehow ends with him being Keanu Reeves. Even though the Mayan connection and the Lucas/Carla attraction came out of left field, Indigo Prophecy was a one-of-a-kind game at the time and fans of adventure games who want something different should give it a try.


Limbo throws dark!

Of all the games I've played this year, Limbo has to be the darkest, most emo of the bunch. As a platformer, it ranks high among the best this generation. As soon as the game begins, you find yourself in a dark forest running through the dank trying to survive. You're just a boy... no superpowers, no background, no nothing. The goal is to traverse the landscape avoiding giant spiders, man-made traps, and the environment. As a puzzle game, it's brilliant and makes you think before you proceed, although trial-and-error can be used to pass through the game as well because Limbo is forgiving with its many checkpoints. Artistically, the lack of color and the silhouettes might seem lazy to people who like some color, but it works to the game's advantage making Limbo scarier than it would be if it were in full color. Overall, Limbo is an excellent game that... I still need to finish. Damn, I suck at completing games. It's my fault because Limbo is not a long game.

Mass Effect

Many of you have witnessed the tale of Commander Shepard and the gang through two games and are looking forward to the 3rd entry later this year, but I'm late to the BioWare party. Although the game came out back in 2007, I was still amazed by the scale of Mass Effect in both the size of the game's universe and the detailed history given to just about everything. It doesn't do everything perfectly, but the few issues didn't hamper my experience one bit.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Here's a game listed in my best of 2009 blog so... why bring it back? Because I spent more than a few hours with the game this time. However, I stand by my approval for Muramasa and its lovely style and action.

Plants vs. Zombies

Tower defense was never this good, but the premise makes zero sense. Why are plants fighting zombies? More accurately, why is Crazy Dave using plants to fight zombies? Because he's hardcore? Whatever the reason is, Plants vs. Zombies is surprisingly complex for a cutesy, casual game.

Now for this year's games.

2011 Honorable/Slightly Less Honorable Mentions


Of the 2011 games I played, Bastion ranks last in the amount of time spent. 20 minutes, actually. So expect Bastion on my 2012 list, but those 20 minutes of Bastion made me realize why people have been praising the game the past several months. Damn if that narrator is the James Earl Jones of video games! I must make room for Bastion this year.


It's still shooting dudes, but creativity is encouraged.

Somehow I was hoping Bulletstorm was going to be the game to break the mold and make shooters exciting again. That didn't happen, but it's not like Bulletstorm is a bad game. It's a shooter that doesn't quite take itself that seriously and the dialogue pretty much proves that. It put dicktits on the map, but for most of us, that's the game's legacy. I do have to give People Can Fly and Epic Games some kudos for developing a solid game with some great set pieces and dozens of different ways to kill. If you were hesitant about Bulletstorm, just get it for cheap and strap it on. Seriously, though. Dicktits?


de Blob 2

I will come out and say that I really like de Blob and getting the sequel was a no-brainer to me. I fully expected de Blob 2 to be a great game on par with the original, but sadly it wasn't the case in my opinion. De Blob 2 was a familiar game that brought very little that was new to the table and the biggest change (the 2D platforming sections) felt sluggish. I still believe de Blob 2 is a good platformer that stays true to the original with an underrated soundtrack and loads of gooey charm.

The Binding of Isaac

So it's a classic Zelda game made by someone who is mentally unstable.

The Binding of Isaac can be best described as fucked up. You mainly play as Isaac, a scared naked fetus boy who is trying to escape his overly-religious mother because she's trying to kill him. It's a classic Old Testament story... right? Anyway, The Binding of Isaac is my first true experience with this weird roguelike genre and the randomness has kept me from discounting this game. The design almost mirrors The Legend of Zelda (the first one) so a hint of nostalgia lingers despite the blood, ooze, and creepy enemies that want Isaac's flesh. The Binding of Isaac might take bit and pieces from older games, but it's a departure from pretty much anything out there and because of that, it stands out.

I have a top 3 which I will dig into later, but chew on this for a while.

As a side note, Dead Island will likely be on next year's list. I sneaked a few hours of that game on New Year's Eve and if I had played it earlier, it would be among the games above, jank and all.


Dead Island is a janky paradise.

So here's the deal. I wasn't really interested in Dead Island until about a week or two ago. Like many of you, I wanted no part in any games that showcase the latest in zombie technology. I've had my fill of Left 4 Dead a few years back and I was happy leaving the zombies behind. Then the Steam sale came along and Christmas. Combine the two and I get a nice gift from my brother, that gift being Dead Island. The game was chosen by me so I am to blame if I hated its take on the apocalypse by zombie infection. But I just said I was sick of zombie games... well... Dead Island actually looked pretty neat. It seemed like my type of zombie game. Little gunplay, sharp objects, blunt objects, and a strangely original setting on the fictional island of Banoi, originally called Hanoi until Ryan Davis thought swapping the H for a B would be hilarious. The pieces were there, but would it be any good?


Believe it or not, the answer might be yes. I'm not sure why because there are aspects of the game that I simply don't like. For example, everybody is either depressed or scared. I understand zombies are serious business, but most of the people on the island are either downers or cowards. They want me to do everything, selfish fucks. Speaking of me, I'm cursing a lot in the game. I figured I chose the white male douche because they make for the best fighters in zombie apocalypses, but tone the shit down, game. What else... Dead Island is fucking hard! I'm opting for the single player because playing with other people just ain't my thing unless it's a deathmatch or competitive scenario. I'm not sure if that makes a difference, but how am I supposed to fend off 7 or 8 walkers at once? Luckily the game doesn't exactly punish people hard for not living so balance? And oh, the jank. And the shitty driving. And the occasional mission where you have to fetch bottles of Jack Daniels.

So do I like anything about Dead Island? Well, the entire package works despite the issues. Think about it, it's a zombie infestation! People should be fearful and afraid to go outside. There should be large groups of zombies together to make the apocalypse almost impossible to survive. There should be fetch quests for booze because alcohol is cool and tastes great.

Several hours in, I find myself enjoying parts of Dead Island to the point that I will sometimes forget about the rough edges. For starters, killing zombies is fun because it's all about the melee. Shooting zombies is boring, right? Chopping off the head of a walker with a sickle or an axe is much more gratifying than just pulling out the gun and trying to pull off a headshot. Continuing onto the next point, Banoi is a lovely place for a zombie attack. It's like Sandals or Beaches, but without the kids running around bugging you for attention. The actual city I found myself in later in the game looks less inviting, though. I swear that city is actually a lost Call of Duty multiplayer map. But hey, zombies.

I can attempt to go on, but the bottom line is that I like Dead Island. It ain't perfect, but it's really great if you can live with the jank.

On an unrelated note, where is my 2011 in review? I have a Game of the Year to announce. No it's not Dead Island, silly.


How I spent my 2011... a prologue.

2011 is coming to a close, folks. Belive (sic) it or not, we are less than a year away from the end of the world. The human race had a good run so I can't complain, but what about video games in general?

If I can describe 2011 in a single word, I'd say it was "familiar." The number 3 was the big winner of 2011 and the only company not to release three-quel was Valve. Because Valve doesn't believe in the number 3. There were very few games that were both original and stood out among the pack and that's very unfortunate because 2011 could have been an awesome year. Some of you believe it was a great year. It was the year of Skyrim, Zelda, Uncharted, Gears of War, Portal, Batman, and many more. Now it's not like the whole sequel thing is a new phenomenon, but 2011 was an exceptionally horrible year for innovation and all things new. Some may disagree and I've seen some people compare this year to 2007, the year that has become the default best year this generation. Those people are morons... or not, some of them might just be misguided.

As I look back at 2011, I see fewer games worth talking about than last year and for some reason, fewer older games to talk about as well. One reason might be that I spent more time on a small handful of video games than other games in the past. I spent over 50 hours on a few games this year so I was somewhat occupied with a small amount of games. There are some games on the list I didn't finish, and even a few still need to dig much deeper in. But these were the games I played and deserved at least some of my time.

What were these games? Well... guess them all and you can win a 10% coupon off any Activision game on Steam! That's a WHOLE 10%! Hold on, here are some clues.

  • A game 25 years in the making that doesn't star Duke Nukem.
  • A 2011 tale straight from the Bible.
  • An epic and colorful shooter, both in language and box art.
  • A colorful 2011 platformer all about colors.
  • A tower defense game that matches the living against the undead.
  • A Vanillaware title I put on my 2009 list.
  • Shepard.
  • A Minecraft-ish game that looks older than Minecraft.
  • A 2011 game that is certainly no combustible lemon.
  • An aquatic adventure that has been humbled in the past.
  • A dark 2010 game set in greyscale.
  • And a game that felt like a quantic dream.

Remember, you can win a virtually worthless coupon. Come back on Christmas for the results.