Spacetrucking's forum posts

#1 Edited by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
@Pessh said:

" Still fucked? thinking of picking it up, dude told me a patch fixed most stuff but he's Canadian so... "

After the patch, it's playable but still not very enjoyable. The load times are significantly better but the actual graphics are still murky & washed out. In a normal game, this would not be a problem. But in Bayonetta, the emphasis is on precise combat and last second dodges so the graphics end up getting in the way.  
In witch time (basically bullet-time where you do majority of your combat), the game adds an extra filter on top that almost gives your enemies a form of camouflage. It becomes hard to carry on with combos when you can't see where your enemy is. On the harder difficulties, things go from frustrating to game-breaking because the enemies are really jumpy and you need the clear visibility to handle them effectively.
In short, avoid the PS3 version if you can. It's broken in a way that no patch can fix.
#2 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
#3 Edited by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -

The eternally profane and wise Shawn Elliot tweeted this amusing collection of review hyperboles. If these are to be believed, 2010 represented the gaming renaissance. Probably like every other year before it.
If you go to Metacritic and read the review blurbs for some of the highest rated games this year, it looks like all the reviewers are trying to one up each other in terms of hyperboles. Maybe they have a secret pool going on as to who can write the biggest hyperbole without outright calling a game the Second Coming of Christ. Now I get that the reviewers really enjoyed these games and want to recommend it to others. But if they don't keep these hyperboles in check, then the players are eventually going to become deaf to their high praises. Like a comedian said not too long ago: if we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
The chances that someone will rectify this problem are nil. So let's just make fun of these buffoons while they still have a job.

The Year in Swooning

Match each of these games with the breathless quotation from its review.

1. Bayonetta
2. Mass Effect 2
3. Heavy Rain
4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
5. Red Dead Redemption
6. Super Mario Galaxy 2
7. Halo: Reach
8. Rock Band 3
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops
10. Donkey Kong Country Returns

A. "A knockout in just about every way it can be... you owe it to yourself to rush out and buy this."

B. "There are so many aspects... that make it an experience above and beyond all other open world sandbox experiences that we can't even begin to list them all. Some of the reasons that stand out are a wealth of content, a beautifully rendered and detailed world, an interesting and engaging storyline, a fantastic roster of characters with their own personalities, great and believable dialogue, the ability to experience the game world online with or against others; the list can go on forever. Rest assured that this is one of the greatest game we've played in 2010 so far, and possibly ever." 

C. "There is simply not a better, more complete shooter on the market, and with all this content, there isn't any way you can find something that you cannot sink your teeth into." 

D. "I have never played anything so momentous or revolutionary... In the coming years I expect the game's influence to be felt throughout the industry in terms of gameplay, storytelling and interactivity. This is a game that deserves all the plaudits it can get. So please go out and buy [this game] and reward those that have made such a groundbreaking videogame event."

E. "Far exceeded our expectations and is without question one of the best games we've played. Use whatever positive description you'd like. System seller, potential game of the year, landmark achievement; just make sure you buy it immediately."

F. "With a ton of incredible levels to conquer; gorgeous, perfectly designed graphics (wait until you see the first sunset level!); retro-inspired music; and smooth, flawless gameplay, videogames don't get much better... I can't recommend this game enough."

G. "Easily the best FPS I've played in a long time. Dialogue that makes me want to watch a feature film starring these guys. A virtually flawless single and multiplayer experience."

H. "One of the best first person shooters this year, and is obviously a must have for any action fan. Intense, gory and quite brilliant, maybe it's not refreshing but at the same time it's a stunning game."

I. "Across-the-boards perfection [that] can't be measured by any scale. It's simply in a class by itself. This is where games need to go for my money... A modern-day masterpiece."

J. "This is a rare occasion when the hype can actually be justified; ...quite simply, a masterpiece." 


1. I (Play Magazine)
2. E (GameDaily)
3. D (Boomtown)
4. G (GamePlanet)
5. B (
6. J (Gamestyle)
7. C (ZTGameDomain)
8. A (Atomic Gamer)
9. H (3dJuegos)
10. F (Destructoid)


Which game is Destructoid calling close to perfect?

1. The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom
2. Rock Band 3
3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
4. Deadly Premonition
5. Limbo

A. "Judged as a piece of entertainment, as a game that consistently surprises and amazes and leaves jaws hanging... It's pretty close to perfect."

B. "About as close to perfect as you're going to get."

C. "It's warm and satisfying with a near-perfect consistency throughout."

D. "It delivers a near-perfect competitive experience, in a way that few games... can."

E. " close to perfect at what it does as a game can get."

1. C (link)
2. B (link)
3. D (link)
4. A (link)
5. E (link)

Compiled with thanks, and apologies, to Metacritic.
#4 Edited by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -  
In typical Top Gear fashion, someone thought it would be a good idea to put one of iRacing's best online drivers,Greger Huttu, in a real Formula spec car. The results were quite astonishing. Barring the physical requirements (which are steep even by athletic standards), this guy has got it. He had never driven a real fast car before and got to within 10% of the experienced race drivers within 15 laps. The only reason he stopped was because the extreme G-forces at high speed were tearing his head off.  
This following quote is also quite a recommendation for the game:  

It might be a bit late for 30-year-old Greger to get into perfect physcial shape, but for all the younger dreamers out there, our advice is simple. Sit yourself at a PC, load up iRacing and give it a go - you could have some of the magic stuff too.  

The whole article gave me the impression that iRacing is probably the best driving simulator around. Are there any GB racers playing this ?
#5 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
@ahoodedfigure:  Thanks for the list. We share a few fav. writers.  
Yahtzee and Shamus Young are both excellent at critiquing even great games. Mass Effect 2 is my favorite game of the year but I loved how Young tore it apart in his story analysis. Young also suffers from the post-2004 syndrome like me, where every game in the last 6 years or so looks great. Seriously, I'm playing through the Sly collection right now and I find it to be pleasing to the eye - I guess I'm more of an aesthetics guy. I'm also continuously amazed at just how much quality content Shamus is able to produce in a single week, when it's not even his day job. And he has a family. And kids. 
Sessler is very articulate and manages to turn his unexceptional opinions into interesting listen. His soapbox is always entertaining but I get the feeling that's the only thing worth checking on G4TV. Apart from the Escapist and Sessler, I occasionally check Gamasutra's guest editorials. They have the largest collection of articles written directly by the developers and people involved in gaming. You can find punditry anywhere on the internet but insight from the devs is very rare. 
I'd love to read more but invariably the problem is time. I don't know how you can follow so many authors on a regular basis. Maybe I should invest some time in learning speed reading. 
#6 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
@ShaggyChu said:

" No Dacia Sandero? Pssh, fuck this game... "

Polyphony Digital: "We have some bad news!" 
@KaosAngel said:

" @Diamond: I shall lurk harder, and worse case...I'll be the first one to do it.  >.> "

I was thinking about modifying the wiki page to segregate standard and premium models but I haven't got the time for it yet. Maybe next week... I feel a little sheepish for all the points I got for a simple copy/paste job.  An easy way to do it would be a cast sensitive search for "P " (with a space) and "P/S" on the current list. There are around 250 premium models in total in the game. But there are a lot of redundant models and after ignoring all the racing models and livery swaps, the final number is somewhere around 200 .  
The following list is from the link KaosAngel provided earlier:

 8. P Acura NSX RM ‘91
12. P AEM S2000 (SEMA Gran Turismo Awards 2005)
15. P Alfa Romeo 147 TI 2.0 TWIN SPARK ‘06
19. P Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione ‘08
20. P Alfa Romeo Brera Sky Window 3.2 JTS Q4 ‘06
23. P Alfa Romeo GIULIA TZ2 carrozzata da ZAGATO CN.AR750106 ‘65 (Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Gran Turismo Trophy 2009)
31. P Amuse NISMO 380RS Super Leggera
33. P Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo
36. P Art Morrison Corvette’60 (SEMA Gran Turismo Awards 2006)
39. P Aston Martin DB9 Coupe ‘06
50. P Audi R8 4.2 FSI R tronic ‘07
51. P Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro ‘09
56. P Audi R10 TDI Race Car ‘06
60. P Audi RS 6 Avant ‘08
65. P/S Audi TT Coupe 3.2 quattro ‘03
66. P Audi TT Coupe 3.2 quattro ‘07
67. P Audi TTS Coupe ‘09
69. P Autobacs ARTA Garaiya (SUPER GT) ‘08
77. P BMW 135i Coupe ‘07
81. P BMW Concept 1 Series tii ‘07
83. P BMW M3 Coupe ‘07
88. P BMW M5 ‘08
92. P/S BMW Z4 ‘03
93. P BMW Z4 M Coupe ‘08
103. P Chevrolet 2010 Multiple Liveries CHEVROLET IMPALA ‘10
112. P Chevrolet Camaro SS RM ‘10
115. P Chevrolet Camaro Z28 RM ‘69
121. P Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (C3) ‘69
125. P Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5) ‘04
127. P Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C6) RM ‘06
130. P Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (C6) RM ‘09
139. P Citroën C4 Coupe 2.0VTS ‘05
141. P Citroën Citroën C4 WRC ‘08
142. P/S Citroën GT by Citroën Concept ‘08
143. P Citroën GT by Citroën Race Car
144. P Citroën GT by Citroën Road Car
149. P/S Daihatsu Copen Active Top ‘02
158. P Daihatsu OFC-1 Concept ‘07
167. P Dodge Challenger R/T RM ‘70
168. P Dodge Challenger SRT8 ‘08
174. P Dodge Viper GTS ‘02
179. P Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR ‘08
180. P Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe ‘06
183. P Ferrari 330 P4 Race Car ‘67
184. P Ferrari 430 Scuderia ‘07
185. P Ferrari 458 Italia ‘09
186. P Ferrari 512BB ‘76
187. P Ferrari 599 ‘06
188. P Ferrari California ‘08
189. P/S Ferrari Enzo Ferrari ‘02
190. P Ferrari F10 ‘10
192. P Ferrari F430 ‘06
193. P/S Ferrari F2007
194. P Ferrari SP1 ‘08
195. P Fiat 500 1.2 8V Lounge SS ‘08
197. P Fiat 500 F ‘68
205. P Ford 2010 AJ Allmendinger #43 Best Buy FORD FUSION ‘10
206. P Ford 2010 Carl Edwards #99 Aflac FORD FUSION ‘10
210. P Ford Focus RS WRC 07 ‘08
211. P Ford Focus ST ‘06
215. P Ford Ford GT ‘06
218. P Ford Ford GT LM Spec II Test Car
221. P Ford Mark IV Race Car ‘67
223. P Ford Mustang Mach 1 ‘71
225. P Ford Mustang V8 GT Coupe Premium ‘07
232. P Gran Turismo 350Z RS
234. P Gran Turismo PDI RACING KART 100
235. P Gran Turismo Red Bull X1 ‘10
236. P Grand Touring Garage 1970 Ford Mustang Trans-Cammer (SEMA Gran Turismo Awards 2009)
237. P High End Performance G37 (SEMA Gran Turismo Awards 2008)
238. P HKS CT230R ‘08
249. P Honda ARTA NSX (SUPER GT) ‘06
262. P Honda CIVIC TYPE R ‘08
264. P Honda CIVIC TYPE R (EK) RM ‘97
271. P Honda CR-Z a ‘10
274. P Honda EPSON NSX (SUPER GT) ‘08
279. P Honda INSIGHT LS ‘09
285. P Honda INTEGRA TYPE R (DC5) RM ‘04
300. P/S Honda NSX Type R ‘02
316. P Honda RAYBRIG NSX (SUPER GT) ‘06
324. P Honda S2000 ‘06
343. P HPA Motorsports FT565 twin turbo Audi TT (SEMA Gran Turismo Awards 2007)
352. P Infiniti Coupe Concept ‘06
356. P Infiniti G35 Coupe ‘06
359. P Isuzu 4200R Concept ‘89
365. P Jaguar XJ13 Race Car ‘66
369. P Jaguar XK Coupe Luxury ‘07
371. P Jaguar XKR Coupe ‘10
377. P Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 ‘08
378. P Lamborghini Miura P400 Bertone Prototype CN.0706 ‘67 (Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Polyhony Digital Trophy 2008)
379. P Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640 ‘09
380. P Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce ‘09
382. P/S Lancia DELTA HF Integrale Evoluzione ‘91
388. P Lexus BANDAI DIREZZA SC430 (SUPER GT) ‘06
390. P Lexus ENEOS SC430 (SUPER GT) ‘08
399. P Lexus IS F RM ‘07
400. P Lexus IS F Racing Concept ‘08
401. P Lexus LFA ‘10
402. P Lexus PETRONAS TOM’S SC430 (SUPER GT) ‘08
406. P Lexus Weds Sport IS350 (SUPER GT) ‘08
411. P Lotus Elise RM ‘96
412. S Lotus Elise ‘00
413. P/S Lotus Elise 111R ‘04
414. P Lotus Elise 111R RM ‘04
420. P/S Lotus Esprit V8 ‘02
424. P Lotus Evora ‘09
427. P Maserati GranTurismo S ‘08
431. P/S Mazda 787B Race car ‘91
433. P Mazda Atenza Sport 25Z ‘07
436. P/S Mazda Autozam AZ-1 ‘92
444. P/S Mazda éfini RX-7 Type R (FD) ‘91
452. P/S Mazda Eunos Roadster (NA Special Package) ‘89
453. P/S Mazda Eunos Roadster J-Limited (NA) ‘91
496. P Mazda Roadster RS (NC) ‘07
498. P/S Mazda RX-7 GT-X (FC) ‘90
501. P/S Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A (FD) ‘02
520. P Mazda RX-8 Type S ‘07
524. P McLaren F1 ‘94
525. P McLaren MP4-12C ‘10
528. P/S Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe ‘54
530. P Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG ‘08
537. P/S Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG (R230) ‘02
545. P Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (19inch Wheel Option) ‘09
546. P Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG ‘10
550. P Mine’s BNR34 SKYLINE GT-R N1 base ‘06
556. P MINI COOPER S ‘05
557. P MINI COOPER S ‘07
598. P Mitsubishi i-MiEV ‘09
603. P/S Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR ‘96
608. P Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI GSR T.M. EDITION Special Color Package ‘99
619. P Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR RM ‘05
620. P Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR Premium Package ‘07
655. P Nissan 370Z Tuned Car ‘08
660. P Nissan Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (SUPER GT) ‘08
669. P Nissan Fairlady Z (Z34) ‘08
672. P/S Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX TwinTurbo 2seater (Z32) ‘89
683. P Nissan GT-R ‘07
684. P Nissan GT-R Black Mask ‘07
687. P Nissan GT-R Proto ‘05
688. P/S Nissan GT-R SpecV ‘09
689. P Nissan GT-R SpecV (GT Academy Version) ‘09
692. P Nissan March 12SR ‘07
696. P Nissan MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (SUPER GT) ‘08
716. P Nissan SILVIA K’s Dia Selection (S13) ‘90
722. P Nissan SILVIA spec-R AERO (S15) RM ‘02
730. P Nissan SKYLINE Coupe 370GT Type SP ‘07
747. P/S Nissan SKYLINE GT-R V·spec (R33) ‘97
749. P/S Nissan SKYLINE GT-R V·spec II (R32) ‘94
752. P/S Nissan SKYLINE GT-R V·spec II Nür (R34) ‘02
764. P Nissan SKYLINE Sedan 350GT Type SP ‘06
769. P Nissan WOODONE ADVAN Clarion GT-R (SUPER GT) ‘08
772. P Nissan XANAVI NISMO GT-R (SUPER GT) ‘08
773. P Nissan XANAVI NISMO Z (SUPER GT) ‘06
774. P Nissan YellowHat YMS TOMICA GT-R (SUPER GT) ‘08
789. P Pagani Zonda R ‘09
803. P Peugeot 207 GTi ‘07
804. P Peugeot 307 CC Premium AVN ‘04
807. P Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Team Oreca Matmut ‘10
808. P Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Team Peugeot Total ‘10
818. P RE Amemiya Amemiya AsparaDrink RX7 (SUPER GT) ‘06
819. P RE Amemiya RE Amemiya FD3S RX-7
827. P/S Renault Sport Clio Renault Sport V6 24V ‘00
833. P Renault Sport Megane Renault Sport ‘08
843. P/S Shelby Cobra 427 ‘66
847. P Spoon CR-Z
862. P Subaru IMPREZA Sedan WRX STI (18inch BBS Wheel Option) ‘10
866. P Subaru IMPREZA Sedan WRX STI spec C Type RA RM ‘05
876. P Subaru IMPREZA WRC 2008 ‘08
877. P Subaru IMPREZA WRX STI (18inch BBS Wheel Option) ‘07
892. P/S Suzuki Cappuccino (EA11R) ‘91
894. P Suzuki Cappuccino (EA21R) RM ‘95
895. P Suzuki CERVO SR ‘07
901. P Suzuki SWIFT Sport ‘05
902. P Suzuki SWIFT Sport ‘07
903. P Suzuki SX4 WRC ‘08
905. P Tesla Motors Tesla Roadster ‘08
910. P Toyota 2010 Brian Vickers #83 Red Bull TOYOTA CAMRY ‘10
911. P Toyota 2010 Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx TOYOTA CAMRY ‘10
912. P Toyota 2010 Joey Logano #20 The Home Depot TOYOTA CAMRY ‘10
913. P Toyota 2010 Kyle Busch #18 M&M’S® TOYOTA CAMRY ‘10
925. P Toyota Castrol TOM’S SUPRA (JGTC) ‘97
933. P/S Toyota CELICA GT-FOUR Rally Car (ST205) ‘95
944. P Toyota FT-86 Concept ‘09
945. P Toyota FT-86 G SPORTS Concept ‘10
957. P Toyota PRIUS G ‘09
971. P/S Toyota SUPRA 2.5GT Twin Turbo R ‘90
978. P Toyota VITZ RS 1.5 ‘00
990. P Toyota YellowHat YMS Supra (SUPER GT) ‘05
998. P/S TVR Tamora ‘02
1000. P TVR Tuscan Speed 6 RM ‘00
1012. P/S Volkswagen Golf IV GTI ‘01
1013. P Volkswagen Golf IV GTI RM ‘01
1015. P/S Volkswagen Golf V GTI ‘05
1017. P Volkswagen Kubelwagen typ82 ‘44
1026. P Volkswagen Schwimmwagen typ166 ‘42
1027. P Volkswagen typ2(T1) SambaBus ‘62
1030. P Volvo C30 R-Design ‘09    

#7 Edited by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -

People were already pushing it by adding multiple images to hentai games. But do we really need to add extremely sexualized or just downright voyeuristic images to the wiki galleries of all characters ? 
A couple of months ago I was looking through the Samus Aran gallery for a decent image of a morph ball - her iconic ability. But I had to wade through 300 pieces of "fan art" - most of which had Samus looking like a 10 year with boobs the size of a planet. These images are Samus only in name and are worthless from a usability point of view. They just end up cluttering up the main image galleries, making it ineffectual and hard to use. Today, I was trying to use the Momohime gallery and had to sort through images like the ones below. I'd love to hear the justification behind adding them to the wiki gallery. The funny thing is that these aren't even the worst.  
Edit: Somehow this thread has become about carpet banning fan art, which was never my intention. Just be more discerning with what you add to the wiki people.  
Stay classy, Giant Bomb!


#8 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
@Claude: Both the Baldur's Gate have good characters but I don't know how you'll feel about the gameplay after Dragon Age (it refines a lot of issues from the BG series). 
Planescape Torment is the best written video game I've ever played. It's dense with complex and interesting characters. Morte is my favorite party member in any RPG and there are maybe three gaming protagonist more interesting than the Nameless One. The sheer amount of dialogue and story is a little terrifying to the uninitiated but if you don't mind a labyrinthine script, then it's very much worth the time & effort. The gameplay is broken but the game's dialogue options is so well done that you can avoid the combat for almost the entire game. You can literally talk out of any fight. It's available on now
Psychonauts has an interesting cast of characters that are bizarre and constantly amusing. If you're looking for exceptional character development and good writing, then stay away from most of the Final Fantasy series. Square's character arcs are predictable and unless you're going through puberty as well, most of them will come across as typically irritating teenagers.
#9 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -
@ZombiePie: You're getting progressively better at writing up these spotlights each week. Good on you mate!
Here are some recommendations for next week.  


  • It's a Fallout week so you could shine some light on the game pages. I thought of recommending Fallout 3 and New Vegas but every single game page is so detailed that it would be criminal to leave any of them out. It's interesting to see how the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system in particular has evolved over the years.  
  • unangbangkay has a knack for writing up hilarious and informative concept pages. His latest work is the Dear Diary, I Left This Note For Me In Case I Forgot
Along with @mracoon's recommendations, you probably have enough material for next week so I'll stop there :)




#10 Posted by Spacetrucking (1063 posts) -

Valve recently updated Half-Life 2 to their latest Source engine and added a plethora of Steam features like cloud support & achievements. This was motivation enough for me to revisit this dystopian society and so far, it feels a lot like catching up with an old friend. Welcome to City 17. You still owe me a beer Barney! What cat ?! When it comes to Half-Life, I clearly have my nostalgia shades on. I've always been fascinated by Half-Life's storyline and more importantly how it's conveyed to the player.
With their ingenuity & insistent ambiguity, Valve have turned Half-Life's simple story arc of "science goes wrong, aliens invade" into one of the most frequently analyzed narratives in gaming. They have embraced the show, don't tell admonition and taken it to new heights in games. It's a theme that runs strong in all their games. While other developers are still stuck using derivative methods of storytelling (i.e. snazzy cutscenes, constant narrations, characters forcefully dumping heaps of exposition at your feet), Valve seem intent on exploring new possibilities for the medium. For one, they let their environments do most of the storytelling. Instead of hitting you in the face with a script, the Half-Life series make you inhabit the world and draw your own conclusions from the happenings in your surroundings. Players are encouraged to seek out the details for themselves, instead of being handed a manual. Every little corner inside this world is a clue that the player is slowly collating to form a cohesive story in their head.   

Oddly enough, this song captures what a City 17 resident must feel like

Gordon is in the details

Facts in the Half-Life universe are constantly hinted at, but out-and-out revelations are few and far. Factors like the elusive G-Man & the mysterious nature of the Vortigaunt give Half-Life an ambiguous, almost puzzle like quality and makes it an alluring prospect for an inquisitive mind. One little piece of the puzzle that I came across today is an old abandoned house while driving along Highway-17. This building was off the normal path and a completely voluntary experience (which seems to be the norm for a Valve universe). 

I have a bad feeling about this.

When I came across this house, I was being chased by a legion of antlions. I was looking for a quick refuge and saw this antlion repeller on the top of the hill. Next to it was this old house that didn't look particularly interesting. The only thing distinguishing it from the others is a hand drawn danger sign on one of the walls. A skull and crossbones...a warning from it's former dwellers. This piqued my curiosity and I tried to break in through the front door ('cause that's what you do, right?). Predictably, it was locked. I investigated further and found the basement door. It had another danger sign and the door had been clamped down from the outside. These guys were more concerned with keeping something from getting out, rather than stopping someone from getting in. However, they didn't count on me wielding the gravity gun.

Crap! I mean Headcrab! 
Once inside, the first thing that struck me was the Combine headcrab shell and the broken roof it came through. As I took a step further, a mutilated body fell at my feet and a venomous headcrab crawled in front of me. After taking care of Lamarr's distant cousin, I climbed up the crates. And there it was - the anti-Combine graffiti that gave context to the whole picture. This was a resistance hideout that was shelled. One of it's former occupant was now a walking headcrab nest and his friends had to lock him in and flee. Friend condemning friend. It's a small, neigh-insignificant tale that hints at the greater struggle going on outside the player's immediate purview. Ravenholm let us know that the resistance was having a tough time (on a large scale) but encounters like these shine light on just how bad things can get on a smaller, more personal level. 

And there it is...

Every Valve game is rife with places like these. But engaging the player in this manner and telling a meaningful tale in the process is a tricky proposition. It is asking a lot from your average video game player; it challenges their investigative instincts and their intuitive skills. As a result, many dismiss Half-Life's story as non-existent and it's understandable why. Valve have eschewed all conventional means of exposition and players have difficulty grasping the narrative value of what's been shown to them. Valve tend to use their game's real estate as much as their characters to tell stories. It's alienating & abstruse to those who don't get it but immensely gratifying to those who do.

 Could you leave your friend in this state ?

Portal to a personal space

Over the last 12 years, Valve have become progressively better at steering players towards these nuggets. In Left 4 Dead, checkpoints and safe houses have innumerable posters & graffiti that hint at events that lead to the zombie apocalypse and how the other survivors are dealing with this calamity. There are many layers of graffiti and warnings in L4D and show how the situation has deteriorated over time. Messages like Mike was here are half covered by evacuation posters pointing to safe houses, which in turn have graffiti & corrections pointing to the current safe house - while all of these are overshadowed by warnings of "NO CURE" or "Nobody is going to survive". These message provide a small window into other people's struggle and nightmares. 

In Portal, players are invited to crawl into a secret chamber with the message "HELP", presumably written in blood. This is where the previous test subject hid from GLaDOS. The subject couldn't figure out a way through the live fire course for months (if the tally signs are any indication). But he did manage to break into this secret chamber and avoid the course altogether. He decided to hold up here, using an open computer case to cook his meals and wait for help, slowly losing his mind. There is little chance anyone missed the famous scribbles on the chamber walls. His ramblings indicate his insanity but the equipment he left behind show his resourcefulness.
Strange how a graffiti in one little corner of a game can turn into such a persistent meme 
Adam Sessler often mentions that movies can show you a place; books can describe them to you; but only a video game can truly deliver the feeling of stumbling into someone else's private space. The sense of discovery and exploration we experience in games is unmatched. It is an interactive medium and this fundamentally changes the way stories could and should be told. Unlike movie viewers or book readers, game players have an active physical presence inside these stories. We act like detectives, trying to investigate every clue the developers throw at us. I'm glad Valve is creating worlds that are worth investigating. It's a step in the right direction, towards creating the ultimate interactive experience: