4 Most Important Games I Played in 2014 (and 2015)

I am sitting here having just played Nuclear Throne for the 2nd time and having just realized that Nuclear Throne is a game I may play over 98 more times during my lifetime. I have then began to think that I played some Important games over the course of 2014 (and the first few days of 2015). Some of these games I played before 2014 also, but now is the time of lists attached to years, and therefore here is a list attached to a year.

1 - Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne is a video game by Vlambeer Entertainment about shooting guys and dying. I have played two sessions of this game for a total of 48 minutes of gameplay. In my last life, I played as the diamond man and I reached level 5_3, and then a lot of things exploded, including me. This game can be compared to another video game: Binding of Isaac. In some ways, Binding of Isaac is a much heavier game. It is slower and your bullets adhere to the laws of gravity in an interesting way. However, Nuclear Throne is a shooting game that makes shooting a bullet that adheres to zero laws of gravity feel heavy. I have not checked whether shooting bullets in this game actually pushes your character back on-screen, but it pushed me back in my chair, and I found myself ~5ft away from my computer desk by the end of my last life. Very few shooting games treat shooting in the way that Nuclear Throne treats shooting. It is an absolute joy.

I have not played all the characters in this game. I have maybe played four, but I have determined that diamond man is the character that makes the game the most fun for me. Playing Nuclear Throne as diamond man is what I imagine playing Ikaruga is like (I have not played Ikaruga). Playing Nuclear Throne as diamond man makes you think about what enemy bullets really mean. Instead of simply being things to be avoided, they also provide a risky way to inflict damage to your opponents by reflecting the shots back. Playing as diamond man (I just looked it up and the official character name is "Crystal", which makes a lot more sense) makes you wonder why all single-player video games do not provide you with a shield at the very least, and a reflective shield at the very most. It is a great mechanic. It may be the greatest mechanic.

Nuclear Throne is a game I received for free, and I am thinking that it is probably the best game I have ever played without paying money for. (The demo for FIFA 10 is second, I think.) If you can find a way to get this game for free, I would recommend it. You may also want to buy it. Apparently, the game is not finished, but I am not sure what they can do to it, because as far as I'm concerned this game would be amazing even with just one randomly-generated terrain and four enemy types. (The bonus levels/parts in the game are good too. I am not implying the first tile-set/enemy types are the best. I am using hyperbole to say the game is good.) I have not reached the end of the game. I don't think the game ends.

2 - Castlevania (and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (and not Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse))

I once put forward a theory that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was the last real video game to be released. I have not thought about this theory in a long time, so I'm not sure if it actually holds up, but it seems pretty legitimate. This does not make Castlevania: Symphony of The Night the realest video game though, because Castlevania is the realest video game.

Castlevania is a game I play when I don't feel like playing video games anymore. When I hit the button and Simon Belmont flails his whip, it is the most satisfying moment of the year every single time. I hit a bat and the bat dies. I cry. Castlevania might be the greatest actual video game of all time. Castlevania is Dark Souls before Hidetaka Miyazaki was even born. Every time I find a chicken, I feel like an entire secret universe is being opened up to me, even though I already know where all the chickens are. When I use the time-clock and kill the Medusa head, I feel like the smartest guy in the world. When I use the Holy Water and kill the Grim Reaper, I think about the purpose of life. Even getting hit by an enemy and falling backwards gives me an absurd joy. I enjoy every moment of playing Castlevania. Sometimes, I turn around and duck on a tile, because it makes money appear. I know the money doesn't do anything, but I do it anyway because how cool is it that when you duck on certain tiles, money appears.

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is probably not as good as Castlevania. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is definitely not as good as Castlevania. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is a lot easier from a mechanical standpoint than Castlevania, though the actual feelings of whipping and jumping are almost exactly the same. Simon's Quest takes the money-ducking idea from Castlevania, and extends it into a whole game. When you play the game for the first time, the places you must go and things you must acquire are seemingly random. Your IQ would have to be at least 73 points higher than mine to actually turn the game's clues into hard objectives that one could attempt to complete. I completed Simon's Quest using a walkthrough. It felt silly. I felt kind of dumb. But Simon's Quest is such a great idea. I have not gone back and played Simon's Quest the way I have the original Castlevania, but as a game that exists in my head, it is almost genius. The ideas presented by Simon's Quest are so cool that they detach themselves from the actual act of playing the game and become their own imaginary game that I imagine to be probably the actual greatest actual video game of all time.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is okay. I think they gave up.

3 - Euro Truck Simulator 2

In 2013, I made a list I entitled "Supermike6's Official Top Ten Games of 2013 List". Euro Truck Simulator 2 was supposed to be Number One on that list. I'm not sure why it wasn't. I placed it Number Seven, behind Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Link Between Worlds wasn't even that good. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. That list wasn't official at all. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is the actual best game of 2013, and it is probably the greatest driving game ever made. This year, I got Forza Horizon 2, hoping that it would be a good driving game. But that Forza Horizon 2 is a racing game, not a driving game. Forza Horizon 2 does not feel like driving at all. It feels like playing a video game. I like video games a whole bunch, so I still enjoy and play Forza Horizon 2. As far as racing games with the number 2 on them go, DiRT 2 is still the best one. That's okay.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 purports to be a game that simulates driving a truck around Europe. I have never been to continental Europe, nor have I driven a truck. I have, however, been to England and Wales, and I have driven a car. As far as I can tell, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a perfect video game simulation of what it is like to drive a truck around Europe. It looks like Europe, but more importantly, it feels like Europe. Green hills, large highways, signs with words on them that I don't fully understand. (Where the hell is Ausfahrt?).

I love to drive my car in real life. I love to drive my car to new places, because I don't have a GPS, and I try very hard to not get lost, but then I get lost. When I play EuroTruck 2, I turn off the GPS. I go to the World Map, and I use a real literal actual piece of paper and pen to write down directions on how to get from wherever I am to wherever I am going. I then drive using only this paper as my guide and see what happens. My trucking business is not the most efficient trucking business in Europe. It feels great to make it to the city I was trying to get to. It also feels great to make it to other cities I wasn't trying to get to.

In a lot of driving games, crashing is recommended; deemed okay; or vaguely frowned upon. In racing games, crashing is bad because it means you are not making it to your destination fast. In other driving games, you might get some damage to your car. In EuroTruck, crashing feels devastating. It costs a lot of money to repair your truck. Crashing means your delivery will not be on time, and you will lose money for damaged cargo. If you crash 5 minutes into a 1.5 hour drive (These times are real times. There are deliveries in this game that take actual real-life hours), you must drive the rest of that drive, and then at the end the company who hired you will laugh at you, and then take money from you, on top of the money that you already spent repairing your vehicle. I drive very carefully when playing EuroTruck. When I almost crash, it is a near-death experience. When I actually crash, I cry. I only want the best for my truck, and my customers.

4 - Super Mario 3D World

For some reason, whenever I try to refer to this game in real-life conversation, I call it New Super Mario 3D. That's unfair. Super Mario 3D World is a great name for this game because it's the best Super Mario game since Super Mario World. Super Mario as a series has changed a lot in the past 20 years. A lot of that change has come fairly recently, with the creation of the New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 3D series'. Old Mario is about challenging platforming levels that tested your reflexes and punished poor moves. New Mario is about secrets. (The period in-between this, from 64 to Galaxy 2, is called "In-Between Mario".) Super Mario 3D Land had many secrets. I would argue that Super Mario 3D World has even more secrets.

Super Mario 3D World makes it indescribably fun to fully explore relatively small worlds. Getting through the levels by itself in Super Mario 3D World is pretty good. In fact, it's pretty damn great. Mario jumps as well as he always has and the levels are beautiful and satisfying. I would talk about things that are surprising in 3D World, but I already have. I will quote myself:

"For example, in World 2-4: "Really Rolling Hills", there is a baseball. You can pick up this baseball and throw it at enemies. I did not expect this! The game surprised me again in World 2-5: "Double Cherry Pass", when I ran into a cherry and was suddenly in control of two Super Marios! Two Super Marios! Then, I picked up a second cherry, and a third and so on, until I had five Super Marios."

These are two moments in Super Mario 3D World when I was so ecstatic to be playing a video game that I felt like calling all my friends and telling them that video games are the best. Unfortunately, they were all out partying at clubs or whatever it is they do instead of playing Super Mario 3D World. They are not the only examples of this sort of moment; there are many more. For example, there is a suit in this game that turns you into a goomba. There is another suit that is Kuribo's Shoe, but instead of a shoe, it is an ice skate. There is a suit that makes your face into a cannon. You shoot face cannonballs at enemies. It's the greatest shooter of all time.

Of course, if we're talking about suits, I would be remiss to fail to mention the Most Important Mario Suit of All Time: the Cat suit. Cat Mario is the only video game character ever made that feels better than Super Mario. When you walk as Cat Mario, he walks like a cat would walk. It's very cute. Cat Mario also has the ability to glide through the air like Super-Man. I don't use it much. It's actually not good. If Cat Mario did not have this ability, he would be 34% better. Staggeringly, even with this ability, Cat Mario is the best video game character of all time.

Cat Mario's Number One Most Important Ability is the ability to climb walls. One might argue that this makes Super Mario 3D World easy. It kind of does. Super Mario 3D World is not a hard game. Kids can beat it. I didn't even know video games could be completed until I was fourteen years old. Damn kids. What climbing walls does to Mario 3D World is allow the level designers to be incredibly devious people, and hide green stars on top of walls that you must climb. When I play the game, I try to always be Cat Mario, and I climb every wall. Sometimes, I die because I am trying to climb a wall too much. Sometimes, the level timer runs out because I climbed too many walls. (I think the level timer is a dumb idea. It's okay though; in Captain TOAD they took it out. I think they're learning. (I would talk about the Captain TOAD levels in 3D World right now, but it would take me 100 years. Maybe later.)) Most of the time, climbing walls leads to more wall. One time, I climbed a wall and went above the clouds, and then walked to the left for five seconds and there was a green star there. I smiled. Those devious people.

*

These are the four most important video games I played in 2014 (and 2015). Happy New Year.

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Ah, the Games of our Youth: Super Mario 3D World

Many people over the years have played a video game and said, "Ah, this reminds me of what it felt like to be a youth!" Now, I'm no old man, and old men themselves may describe me as some sort of youth, but I assure you that not only am I not a youth but I am very mature for my age, and therefore am able to take a serious look back on my youth-times and say, "Well, yes, I was a frivolous young bob but I certainly had some good times, I tell you what." A lot of these good times were spent playing video games on the Nintendo 64: the flagship console of millennial childhoods. One of these games was Super Mario 64.

Super Mario 64 was an important game for many people and many reasons, and therefore I am going to assume you know either these people or these reasons and move on to say that Super Mario 3D World is a game that is similar to it. Super Mario 3D World, in true Nintendo fashion, capitalizes on both those who have played Super Mario 64, and new youths who are playing it as one of their first video games of their life. Startlingly, both of these "factions" have very similar feelings evoked in them while they play. The old players will say, "Ah, this reminds me of what it felt like to be a youth!", while the youths of today will say, "Ah, I feel like a youth because I am one!" Be sure to keep in mind that both of these "factions" are feeling like youths while playing this video game.

The baseball.

While being a very similar game to Super Mario 64, as previously mentioned, Super Mario 3D World is a game that consistently surprised even a hardened veteran like myself. For example, in World 2-4: "Really Rolling Hills", there is a baseball. You can pick up this baseball and throw it at enemies. I did not expect this! The game surprised me again in World 2-5: "Double Cherry Pass", when I ran into a cherry and was suddenly in control of two Super Marios! Two Super Marios! Then, I picked up a second cherry, and a third and so on, until I had five Super Marios. I took a videotape of this with my phone and sent it to my friend, and she said, "Wow!" I felt just like a youth! (Because youths use phones.)

Super Mario 3D World has provided me with a level of connection and communication with youths that I have not felt since the release of the iPhone when they all suddenly became too busy playing Angry Birds and texting their mates to have a good conversation with one of their elders. In Super Mario 3D World, at the end of each level users are given the option to draw a picture (either by themselves or with the help of cute collectible stamps) or write a text post to communicate to others their feelings about the level, or to communicate that they find it funny to imagine a world in which Super Mario can fart. You are graced with a slideshow of other users' posts, and boy howdy are there some great posts on there. It is often very hard to tell which are created by adults (like me) playing the game as a means of escape from the daily drudgery of the "rat race" and "corporate politics", and which are created by young tykes who are just god damn weird.

Kids love trains.

For example, I once saw a post that stated "The publisher of Donkey Kong Country should sue Nintendo for stealing their barrel gameplay." Ah, to be young again! To not be jaded by the in-depth knowledge of the publishers/developers involved in the creation of each video game we play. (A brief aside: When I was a wee young lad, in a similar vein to this young fellow, I believed that upon the release of Lays Stax, Pringles should have sued Lays for the fact that they made similar potato chips. I sent them an e-mail to this effect, but upon reflection I realize that I failed to check whether they actually owned the e-mail "pringles@hotmail.com".) The image posts are often of high quality, but they are so absurd and surreal that they are almost impossible to describe. I myself have provided the Miiverse with around 20-25 pictures I created, and I'm certain that if I looked at those from an objective view, they would seem as if they were created by a 5-year old. Therefore, I continue to have no idea if the audience of this game is entirely children (except me), or entirely fully-grown big cool adults (including me). In my opinion, this makes Super Mario 3D World Miiverse posts the most pure form of art, where the identity of the creator sinks deeply in the background and is enveloped entirely by the message conveyed through their art.

And that's really what video games is all about, isn't it? Letting our identities flow away as we all enjoy life together in a cosmic playground. A place where an old haggard man (like me) can relate with a youth in a way that transcends language and culture and "corporate rat races". A place where we can all be youths at heart, especially the youths. Nintendo makes this all possible. Nintendo says, "Gosh darn, can't we all just be youths for a bit?" Yes we can, Nintendo. Yes, we can.

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The Top Seven Greatest Driving Video Games to Ever Exist.

Hello everyone. I am supermike6, Giant Bomb's most committed racing/driving game aficionado. I have played so many driving video games that sometimes I get in a real car and wonder, "Am I driving in a video game or am I driving in real life?". That is how much I play driving video games. Over the years, I have played at least 9 games that include driving vehicles, but for the purpose of this list I have had to narrow that list down to 7. There were some hard cuts. Feel free to leave comments that ignore my list and just say your favourite driving games. That's cool. We all have opinions. But just remember that my opinion is here at the top with a big title and yours is down there, just a child of my cool opinion.

Here is the list:

Top 7 Driving Video Games of All Time

1. Deadly Premonition(As alluded to in my previous blog about Deadly Premonition.) Driving in Deadly Premonition does not necessarily feel like driving a car, but it feels like what you'd think driving a car would feel like if you had only played Deadly Premonition. It's squishy and squashy, but sometimes you drive past a lake, and in my life I have driven past plenty of lakes, which makes this game realistic.
2. DiRT 2DiRT 2 was originally designed for the iPhone series of devices, as evidenced by the lowercase "i" in the title. Fortunately, halfway through development they decided to make the jump to big TV consoles, and created the greatest actual-racing-game of that generation. During approximately 70% of your playtime, you will feel like you have almost no control of your car, and that chaotic nature is what sets the game apart. Other cars will come out of nowhere to crash you into walls; water will get on your windshield to blind you; and random clumps of dirt will send you flying; which is why the Flashback feature is so important. It turns the game from stupidly frustating into stupidly awesome. Also, you get to pretend that Dave Mirra is your best pal, when in real life he won't even answer your many lovingly-crafted e-mails.
3. Euro Truck Simulator 2EuroTruck 2 follows in the vein of Deadly Premonition, prioritizing the realism of looking out of the car rather than the actual driving of the car. While the controls are ultra-real (your truck can flip!!!), what's most important is that each country kinda looks like itself. Switzerland has hills in it, for example. When you are in London, people walk past your truck, and it is implied that they are going to get a "pint" and then partake in the viewing of a match of "footy".
4. Star Wars: Episode I - RacerStar Wars: Episode 1 - Racer is one of the rare video game titles with both a colon and a hyphen, which gives it major bonus points in my Driving Game Ranking Matrix Algorithm Matrix. On top of that, this game lets you drive podracers, which are the coolest part of Star Wars. Featuring all your favourite Star Wars heroes, including Sebulba, Bozzie Baranta, Fud Sang, and Toy Dampner, Star Wars: Episode 1 - Racer is a video game that will never be forgotten.
5. Halo 3Mongeese are awesome. Sometimes I like to play the Valhalla multiplayer map alone and drive around alone and enjoy my life in a way I can only do with my favourite person, myself.
6. BullyIn this game, you drive a vehicle that is known as a bike. In my list of Greatest Bike-Driving Video Games, it barely edges out GTA V and Tour De France 2014 to reach Number One. Just like when a frothy teen drives a bike in real life, Johns Hopkins (the game's protagonist) does not keep his bum on the seat, and sways the bike back and forth to gain speed. Rebellious.
7. Pac-ManIn this game, you drive an experimental military vehicle, the "Pac-Man". Unfortunately, the "Pac-Man" has gone haywire, and is eating the military's carefully-collected horde of pellets. Once the "Pac-Man" starts moving, he is unable to be stopped except by Ghosts, which make their first video game appearance, before going on temporary hiatus and re-appearing in Starcraft: Ghost.

And there you have it.

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Talkin' About Deadly Premonition - Part Two: Combat

This is part two in my attempt to write the most extensive in-depth look at Deadly Premonition that has ever or will ever exist. This ???(I'm thinking about ten?)-part series will explore every aspect of the game I can think of, and hopefully document every thought I have had about this video game over the past four years. (Part One is here)It is recommended that you have a very basic knowledge of the game first, as I am in far too deep to try to explain basic facts about the game. It's rambly, it's thought-provoking, it's silly, at times it's downright nonsensical: it's me talkin' about Deadly Premonition.

Deadly Premonition is a game that would probably have been better without combat. It's hard for me to say something like that about my favourite game, but it's true. The combat in this game had a few interesting ideas, but was generally a mundane, simple mechanic used to extend the game's length and give the player a bit more to do while investigating crime scenes. This part will be more tongue-in-cheek than Part One, because as a whole, I don't think the combat in Deadly Premonition is good.

I once said to myself that Deadly Premonition's combat would be perfect for H.E.A.T.: The Video Game, if it were to exist. Now, I've only seen H.E.A.T. once, and I don't remember a whole lot of it, but from what I do remember there is a lot of bullets being shot, and very few people getting hit with bullets. I first noticed this connection while standing in the hotel lobby, (a common place to find yourself near the beginning or end of a Deadly Premonition session) firing SMG bullets around the room whimsically. In Deadly Premonition, unlike other shooting video games, there is no reticle on the screen for where you are going to shoot. Guns have a laser sight, but it doesn't actually shop up on objects in the world, so you generally have no idea where you are shooting. The only time the game gives feedback to where you are aiming is when you have your laser on an enemy. This means that you have almost no idea where you are aiming unless you have already aimed at the place where you want to aim. This is incredibly silly. In terms of playing a shooting video game, it makes it hard to do. In terms of making you feel like Val Kilmer, it does a pretty good job.

This does not mean that the combat in Deadly Premonition is very difficult. Despite your character having restricted movement while aiming, and the aforementioned reticle ridiculousness, the combat is pretty simple. You sprint away from enemies, turn around, and then shoot bullets at them until they die. There are three enemy types in the game: Melee guys, Shoot-y guys, and weird wall-crawling Ring ladies. The ring-ladies we will get to later; for now, we will focus on the other enemies, which make up 80-90% of the combat scenarios in the game. The enemies have basically no AI to speak of; they just run at you with their weapons, or stand in one spot and try to shoot you. The most dynamic aspect of the combat is when sometimes there are exploding barrels. The dynamic here is that you shoot the barrels and they explode. Then everybody dies. It's pretty exciting.

The way the enemies get more difficult throughout the game is that they take more bullets to kill. That is the only way. Deadly Premonition takes bullet-sponges to an entirely new level. The average enemy about 3/4 through a playthrough on "Normal" difficulty takes approx. 30 shots to the head from an SMG. I'm no scientist, but I'm not actually sure that many bullets can fit into a human head. This may seem like a poor experience, and in some ways it is, but there are two key features that make even the most mundane enemy encounter in Deadly Premonition interesting. The first is that when enemies are hit with headshots it puts them into a stumble-backwards animation. This animation has zero priority, meaning that when you get many headshots in quick succession, such as from a rapid-fire SMG, the animation just repeats the first ten-or-so frames over and over in a loop of head-cocking, neck-snapping action. The second great feature is that whenever a headshot is landed, Francis York Morgan, the player character, utters an exclamation. These, too, have no priority, so when you are landing multiple headshots quickly, you will get a monologue that goes as follows: "Great, great, amazing, headshot, amazing, great, great, headshot, amazing, amazing, headshot, great." These two factors lead to hours upon hours of entertainment.

About halfway through the game, you start encountering a new enemy. At first, this leads to a rush of excitement; finally, the monotony of shooting the same dudes forever is over. Soon, this turns to feelings of resentment, as this new enemy is actually 110x more tedious than anything you have yet experienced. This enemy, of course, is the notorious Wall-Crawling Ring Lady. The Wall-Crawling Ring Lady, as the name suggests, crawls on walls (and the ceiling). She also has long hair like the Ring Lady. When you approach an area with a WCRL, walls are constructed ahead and behind you, limiting your combat area. WCRLs only show up in hallways; they also show up in every hallway. Whenever you walk into a hallway with no boxes in it, you know a WCRL is about to show up. It is the worst feeling; they are the worst. WCRLs are not hard. There is a very simple pattern to beating them; it is just time-consuming and soul-crushing. There are two weapons that make the fights bearable. If you have these two weapons, the fights will be tolerable. If you did not have these weapons and beat the game, I am honestly very impressed by your dedication. If you did not have these weapons and did not beat the game, I understand. It's okay. You didn't know. How were you to know that Keith Ingram's guitar is the key to beating the WCRLs?Yes, that's right; his guitar. It takes two hits to defeat them, while most other weapons take at least ten. The other weapon, a clear second best, is the flame-thrower. While it pales in comparison to the guitar, it is at least better than most things. (The grass-cutter is also pretty good, if I recall correctly.)

Of course, it is very possible that you can make it through the game and never find the guitar, the flamethrower, the grass-cutter, the laser sword, the RPG, the chainsaw, the infinite wrench, or even the infinite-ammo versions of the four core weapons. In fact, I'd say this is the largest detractor in the entire game. The best, most time-saving, and frankly, the most interesting and fun weapons in the game are hidden in side-quests, many of which aren't available until a significant amount of time into the game. If you aren't exploring and doing side-quests as you go, the combat quickly becomes unbearable, especially when the enemies suck up finite amounts of ammo very quickly. I generally don't like to advise people too much on how they should play a game, but I would strongly suggest looking at a guide and finding out how to obtain these weapons when you play the game. Saying this is a large negative to the game is weird for me. Personally, finding the weapons was fun and satisfying for me, as I did not know where they were or what they did until I found them. But if you flip this around, the experience of not obtaining these makes the game significantly more tedious, and extends the least interesting parts of the game to an even more sizable chunk than they already are.

The main time you will find yourself in combat is during investigative missions, mostly involving the exploration of recent crime-scenes. During these sequences, York enters what is described as the "Other World"; basically, everything goes all spooky and zombies come out of the ground. There is an "Other World" version of every area in the game, and it is never explained whether these are a real concept or all going on York's head. The way they treat the environments is interesting at times; certain innocuous rooms will be given creepy undertones just by a few minor changes. For example, in the police station, the equipment room: usually packed with a rack of coats and shelves of policing supplies, is refurbished with racks of the killer's notorious Raincoat, and shelves of murder supplies. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay of walking through these environments is marred by the poor combat, and inane puzzles.

Every once in a while, these sequences are interrupted by the Raincoat Killer, forcing York to either hide, or run away as fast as he can. These two sequences are actually pretty cool ideas, but neither are executed as strongly as they could have been. The hiding sequences are as simple as walking to a hiding spot and hitting A to hide, and then pressing another button to hold your breath. The tension in these scenes is rather evocative of a horror movie, as the Raincoat Killer will walk around the room, including right in front of your location, before getting frustrated and leaving. Because of the style of the game, they come across as goofy, but it is an idea that could be well executed in a more horror-focused game. The chase sequences, on the other hand, are purely goofy. The player is forced to rattle the control stick back-and-forth to make York run, while doing minor quick time events to jump obstacles. These look silly, because the game is controlling how York turns and moves, and often you will find yourself tapping a button maniacally to move a box out of your way, when it could have easily just been stepped around. During these sequences, the game changes into a splitscreen mode to show the first-person view of the Raincoat Killer chasing you. It's a neat idea, but you never end up looking over at it, since you are too focused on the other screen, trying to not die.

Enemies don't only show up during pre-set missions though. Every night, Greenvale turns weird and evil, causing the enemies to crawl out of the ground and attack you. While driving, this is not an issue, as the enemies tend to spawn about three feet in front of your vehicle, and then die immediately upon impact. But it does discourage you from exploring the world on foot, which I think is both clever and maybe a misstep. Mechanically, it provides a perfect time for your character to sleep, which is an important thing you have to do. However, I do think it would have been nice to more easily explore Greenvale at night. My favourite time to walk around my neighbourhood is at night; everything is quiet, and the world seems to be all-but-stopped. It's a great time to see what everything really looks like, behind all the stuff that is always happening. I would have loved to do the same in Deadly Premonition, but alas, it was not to be.

Now that we've covered the least interesting part of Deadly Premonition, it is time to move on to the real meat and potatoes. Next week, I will begin discussing the story, the characters, and the game world. This will take multiple parts, and is the main portion of this series. I will explore how the story is told, how the characters are introduced and developed, how the world encourages the aforementioned exploration, the enigma that is Francis York Morgan, the use of cut-scenes, the un-use of cut-scenes, and a whole lot more. I am trying my best to have this all fit together cohesively, without a lot of backtracking and traveling back-and-forth between ideas, but it is very difficult. I will probably end up doing another part about exploration as well, as even now I have thought of plenty of things I forgot to mention in Part 1. Stay tuned!

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Talkin' About Deadly Premonition - Part One: Driving and Exploring

Edit: This is part one of a ???-part series on Deadly Premonition. This is an in-depth look at the game; my attempt to explain why I find the game so interesting, and a catalogue of all the strange thoughts I have had about the game over the past four years.

Writing about contentious games is tough because it's difficult to avoid spending the whole time responding to external sources. Generally, writing about these sorts of games ends up being either antagonistic (like Jim Sterling), or very defensive. There are people who leap to respond to every criticism, saying "No, you just don't get it!", and there are people who accept the criticisms and say "Yeah, it sucks; it's the worst, but I like it". Neither of these feel very worthwhile to me, so I am going to attempt during this piece of writing to not respond to others, but instead explain my own very personal and very cool opinions on this very cool game, Deadly Premonition, by Swery and the fellows at Access Games.

I have now been thinking about Deadly Premonition for three years. For most of those three years I have had the idea of writing something about the game, but never before have I felt like I could find the words. I was finally inspired by the latest Bombin' the AM where Patrick and Danielle discuss games that are difficult to make sentences about, but how satisfying it can be when you do finally find a way to express your opinion. When I used to discuss Deadly Premonition with my friends, the best I could come up with was "You drive past a lake! And it feels like driving past a lake! You're like, driving! It's in Washington!" While these sentences do, in fact, pretty much sum up why I like Deadly Premonition, it takes a bit more to turn them into something that human people can understand.

I live in a suburb of Vancouver, about five minutes away from the border between BC and Washington state. I've lived here my whole life! And I absolutely love this area of the world. I love the big trees; I love the open roads; I love wooden houses and fish and the ocean and everything. Media that take place in the Pacific Northwest speak to me like no other thing. Obviously, I adore Twin Peaks (which I actually watched after playing Deadly Premonition) and I even liked Alan Wake. Before playing Deadly Premonition, I had no idea how much I would enjoy playing something that feels so close to home. But it's not just the fact that it is the place near to me that makes it cool. Deadly Premonition does a better job of evoking a sense of place than most other games I've played. The graphics are unintentionally low-fidelity, but as you drive past the environments, the individual objects, which look bad on their own, blend together into a backdrop that creates a fantastic atmosphere. This is what I mean when I talk about driving past a lake. It really feels like driving past a lake! And you're like, driving! In Washington!

Speaking of driving, Deadly Premonition is the greatest driving simulator of all time. (And I've played like 40 hours of Euro Truck Simulator 2. (In reality, I'd say they're probably tied, but it sounds better to just say Deadly Premonition is the Greatest of all time.)) I played this game first before I knew how to drive. I have since learned to drive, and I have to say that it feels very similar to playing Deadly Premonition, though obviously not in a mechanical sense. The cars in Deadly Premonition (of which there are about 20 to unlock, each being a copy of the vehicle a character in the game drives, and each with their own theme song) control like slippery snakes. Technically, they all control differently, but none of them facilitate driving like a rational human being. However, they all have windshield wipers, turn indicators, and a built-in GPS, which is awesome. Also, mirrors that seem functional, but on close inspection, are not. Of course, the only way to notice any of this is to drive in first-person mode, which obviously I did for the whole game because I am a smart guy. The game defaults to that, and the car models are very poor and don't interact with the ground that well, so it's best to stay inside instead of switching to third-person. In first-person mode, the game allows you to move your head around (sadly without TrackIR support) and look outside the windows. It is from this perspective that the game's environments look best, as it is difficult to see the details. Just like when driving a real car, it's best to look ahead, but sometimes you will find your eyes wandering over to the side and then bam, you've struck an oncoming vehicle and losing honour.

Driving erratically is easy to do in Deadly Premonition, but not fully supported, as is evidenced by the speed limit enforced in your car. This is probably there because of some weird bug that occurs when you drive fast, but I prefer to believe it was an intentional restriction to force you to drive the town slowly and really understand it. In a similar vein, the map in the game is difficult to understand at first, as you can not rotate it, or zoom out very far. I enjoyed the way this forced me to learn the town, and for my last twenty hours or so, I only checked the map to find out locations of NPCs, not to find my way around. There is technically a fast-travel mechanic in the game, but the only way to get it is to do a certain quest that gives you the item. I did the quest, because I did all the quests, but I never used the item. I preferred to drive everywhere. It was very relaxing.

The game takes place in a fictional logging town called Greenvale, which used to be quite populated, but then was vacated when the main logging business was shut down by protests. Because of this, the town is very big, but very empty. There are no random civilians that walk the streets, and few random cars that you see driving along the roads with you. Inside buildings, you will sometimes see weird faceless people, but most of the time the only people you will see are the thirty-or-so characters that are associated with the main story of the game. One of the remarkable things about the game is that all of these characters have regular schedules, and can be found wandering around town and doing jobs throughout the day. They all have routines, and if you follow one in your car, you will find that they are actually going somewhere, instead of just driving around aimlessly.

This ambient character development is probably the strongest facet of Deadly Premonition. It is the one thing in the game that I would actively suggest developers look at and think about, a lot. This is a way of telling stories and interacting with characters that is entirely exclusive to the world of video games, and has amazing potential for story-telling. In Deadly Premonition, you will see a character drive across the town just to have dinner with another character, when you had no idea previously that they ever interacted. There are a lot of things that are never explicitly described to you by the game, but are learned just by observing what they do. This is brilliant! You feel like you are actively participating in the process of learning about the characters and understanding the underlying workings of the town. In a more traditional game-y mechanic, each character also has one or more side-quests that you can do for them to reveal something about their character. These, while less interesting than the open-world mechanics, are well-done, and give the world a large amount of character. The town is interconnected in ways you would not expect, and exploring and learning about these are the main appeal of the game.

This is part one of a somewhere-between-two-and-a-thousand-part series about Deadly Premonition. In the next part, I will talk about the least-loved aspect of the game: Combat. I will also probably talk about seven-to-ten other things. I tend to get a bit rambly when discussing this game. I have a lot to say about it!

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Reasons Why 2010 Was The Best Year of Video Games of All Time

Sometimes, people need reasons to believe things that they should already believe. There are people in this world put here to provide those reasons. This list is a list that shows why video games were the best in 2010 and 2010 had the best video games.

Reasons Why 2010 Was The Best Year of Video Games of All Time

1. Deadly Premonition Just by being released during 2010, this game automatically makes 2010 The Best Year Of Video Games Of All Time. In fact, it makes the 2000s the Best Decade Of All Time In General just by purely existing. Sometimes, you find a game that is so purely excellent that it makes all other games seem better just by sharing the medium with it. Deadly Premonition is that game, and also that movie, and also that album. It makes Art better.
2. Vanquish Wow! This game would also singlehandedly make 2010 The Best Year Of Video Games Of All Time, except it doesn't even have to! Vanquish took third-person shooters, a genre stuck in the mud, and gave it Rocket Boots, allowing it to fly from the dreaded claws of mediocrity into the sky of being one of the best games ever. Thanks, Vanquish, you truly are the Best Third-Person Shooter Of All Time.
3. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty If you like e-Sports, or V-Sports, or Sports Electronica, you already know that Starcraft II is one of The Best Video Games Ever Of All Time. If you need proof, you just need to watch that time when Squirtle Archon-toileted Mvp’s battlecruisers in the GSL finals, and then you need to watch all of Squirtle’s games ever because he is the Best Starcraft II Player of Being My Favourite. If this game had a campaign, it would probably be swell also.
4. Nier Most people don’t really know Nier, including many people who played it. It’s a game where it changes from being a Really Great Game to one of The Best Video Games Ever Of All Time after you have beat it the first time. The second playthrough is the video game equivalent of being really great. It almost made me think video games were cool.
5. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Assassin’s Creed 2 made assassinating into a rock party. Brotherhood took this party and made it so you could buy a lot of stuff. Like, drinks, and kazoos. As it turns out, buying stuff is the key to video games, and owning banks is the video game equivalent of eating a nice steak. Also you can sit on top of buildings.
6. Picross 3D Picross 3D is the Greatest Picross Video Game Of All Time. I would know, I have 3-starred every puzzle on two separate profiles. That is not a brag, that is just me telling you how good at Picross 3D I am. Knocking bricks, painting bricks; these things are the essence of video games. This game is my home. I love it.
7. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Man, this game is boss!!! If you’ve ever wondered why your life isn’t where you want it to be, it’s probably because you have not been appreciating this video game enough! Move over, Pacman, and Ms Pacman, and Pac Man Championship Edition, there is a new video game in town and it likes to call itself Double Xtreme and it is here to Kick Your Face.
8. Red Dead Redemption Cowboys are nature’s way of saying that we are not as cool as cowboys. Rockstar appreciates nature. This game is really really cool. Undead Nightmare was not as cool. That was unfortunate. It’s a good thing this list is not about 2010 having the Best Red Dead Redemption DLC Of All Time.
9. Limbo Children are the future of video games. This game attempts to bring children into the video game experience, by making a game that finally stars them! Little Timothy goes searching through the woods looking for his sister, with only his glowing demon eyes to help him. Good luck Timmy!
10. Super Meat Boy This game is the Most Visceral Video Game Of All Time other than Bioshock. It’s very hard, just like my smile when I play it. What a game.
11. Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent Ahh, to be back in Minnesota again. The joys of partaking in the pleasurous joys of the Twin Cities. We could even watch a Twins game. But wait, we could also solve puzzles in this video game equivalent of a boiled egg done just right! This game is why PCs even still exist.
12. Alan Wake If you like the Pacific Northwest, then we are buddies. Alan Wake buddies, that is! Also, regular buddies! Alan Wake takes flashlighting your way through rural Washington to a whole ‘nother level. I don’t really know what the story meant.
13. VVVVVV The soundtrack to VVVVVV is actually the Best Video Game Of All Time. The game is pretty good also, but the soundtrack outshines it like it is the Sun and the game is the Sun’s little brother. The VVVVVV soundtrack is so versatile and lovable that you can do almost anything while listening to it. That includes playing VVVVVV.
14. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Bad Company 2 made Bad Company 1 look like a prequel. Of all the modern military shooters that have been released, Bad Company 2 features the coolest shooting with guns of all them. I like to play this game.
15. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West British people sometimes deserve recognition for more than making good television. In this case, they made a very good video game. I usually don’t like video games where the player-character is named Monkey, but I make an exception for this game.
16. Super Mario Galaxy 2 I have never played this game, but I’ve also never played the Mona Lisa and I still recognize that as one of the best poems ever.
17. Halo: Reach This game is near the bottom because it doesn’t feature the 2010 Style that makes all the other video games feel like 2010. This game feels like 2011 because it is the future of video games. In 26 years, you will look back at Halo: Reach, and be all “Wow, that game influenced every video game to come after until eventually video games became the way they are today.”
18. Super Street Fighter IV Street Fighter IV made fighting games fighting games again. This game made fighting games Super again. Juri kicks fireballs.
19. Mass Effect 2 This game is important, but it is on the bottom of the list because I am still bitter that they did not let us ride around on the moon like they did in the first game.

2010 transcended years. 2010 is the Best Decade of Video Games of All Time.

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Hello, I am the Future of E-sports

Hello, everyone.

You may know me as supermike6, but I prefer the name "The Future of e-Sports", for today I have cemented my place in the upper echelon of competitive video game players. While it may seem crazy to know that someone you talk to on these very forums happens to be one of the best, you must face the fact that this is indeed a reality. Because, I'll have you know,

I AM THE THE 9TH HIGHEST RANKED DEADLY PREMONITION PLAYER IN THE WORLD

Yes, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT.

I AM THE MOTHERFUCKING 9TH BEST DEADLY PREMONITION PLAYER EVER

You can check for yourself if you wish, my Xbox Gamertag is Mikus606.

Guys,

I'm pretty proud of myself. And I know you are proud of me too. I will go out there and represent Giant Bomb as I work my way up to become the greatest. When the Deadly Premonition fansites interview me, I will be sure to send a heartfelt thanks to all the people here who have supported me in this endeavor. It's been a long journey, and it's not quite over, but I have made it to the Top 10, and that's pretty fucking sick.

Thank you.

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Girl's Generation - An Album Review

Hello, I'm going to review an album. It's gonna be pretty sick, you should read this.

Okay, so So Nyu Shi Dae is a Korean pop band who is popular in Korea, but they also have fans all across the world. This includes me! I am a fan! Now, Girl's Generation should not be confused with Girl's Generation, which was their debut album. This is not that! The one I am talking about is their first Japanese album. These two albums have different songs. They are also in different languages. This is important (?)

Now, you may be thinking, "Hey, what's up?" Well, not much is up really. I'm writing an album review. I think it's going pretty well.
 


The album opens with a song named "Mr Taxi". As you can see, they are all wearing outfits that are the same colours as taxis. You see, these girls are clever. They know about taxis. They also know how to dance. Um, so this song is, like, good. I like to listen to it. Occasionally it makes me want to dance. That is a good thing! I like to dance. The next song, Genie, also makes me want to dance, but less so. Why? I'm not really sure. I guess this means it is not as good. Sorry, Genie. After Genie, there is a song called "you-aholic". I will forgive this terrible name because only two of the nine members are well-versed in the ways of English-speaking. This song is pretty friggin' meh. It's basically just super filler. That's okay with me! They can't all be winners after all.



The next song is Run Devil Run, which by some crazy craziness has also been sung by Kesha. How? Why? These are questions with answers. These answers are not relevant right now though. The key is that I like this song too. I also like this one. And this one. Heck, I like every song on this album. Yes, 70% of them are just filler, but at least they are sung by pretty ladies. That's really good enough for me.

In conclusion, I just wrote an album review of this album. I'm not sure why. Maybe you know? Please tell me. I would like to know.

Final Score: 12/5

It's like perfect times two plus two. That's really good.

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A Thing About Things

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THIS THING

 
Hi! This is a thing that I am writing, because I am one of those people who likes writing things. There's not much more to it than that. A lot of people like doing weekly blog things, but I don't think I'm consistent enough to do that, so I'll just call this a "periodical" thing that may or may not ever happen again. I've written blogs in the past, but since then I have realized two things:
 
-  People love pictures 
- People also love headers. 
 
So, I will be trying to incorporate those into whatever this is, because I base my self-worth on how many people look at my writing, even if they don't read it. Oh yeah, this thing is about games. I should have mentioned that. 
 

YAY VIDEO GAMES

 
 Due to the recent Steam sale, I have bought some video games! I have also been given a couple games because it was my birthday last week. I'm going to write about these games now!  
  
BIT.TRIP RUNNER 
 
How do you like bold underlined italics? Pretty snazzy, right? BIT.TRIP Runner is a video game where you run and get gold and shit. It's sick as hell! I feel like this is the
RAINBOWS 
 perfect game for Gaijin Software, since the pace of the game is constant and determined by the game, due to the fact that the running is automatic. This means that every jump is perfectly timed to the beat, which makes the game sound awesome as well as looking awesome. I don't know about anyone else, but I've always wanted to leave a trail of rainbow wherever I go. My only issue with the game is that it can be super unforgiving, since one missed jump will always send you back to the start. It's understandable, since the whole game is about getting into a groove, and restarting the whole level is better than just continuing in the middle with all the music fucked up. I give this game four stars out of six!
 
 
BIT.TRIP BEAT 
 
 This is not the hard part!
Woah, two BIT.TRIP games! What a coincidence; it's almost as if there was some sort of franchise sale on Steam where you could get both games for $5! In this one, you  don't run as much as the last one! In fact, you don't run at all! You beat! Beat the levels, that is! Except in my case, where you don't beat the levels because they are too difficult. The first level is cool as heck, but in the second level there are just so many colours and so many blinky things and effects that I would often lost track and then have a seizure. If you're unaware, this game is like single-player Pong, but instead of making an extremely boring game, they added a musical component to it that makes it actually fun to play. As some one who enjoys listening to things, it really appeals to me, and I will go back and hopefully try to beat the second level at some point. I give it three stars out of five! 
 
 
TERRARIA 
 
I was going to go in alphabetical order, but I just realized that I already screwed that all up, so I'm just going to skip straight to Terraria! My friend describes Terraria as "Minecraft for hipsters", which is kinda funny but also not particularly accurate. As many people have mentioned, Terraria is more about fighting monsters and shit than building things. Though, where I'm at in the game, I don't have good enough armour or weapons to fight bosses (also, I'm too scared!) so I have just been mining a lot. 
treeeeeeeeees
A lot! It's strangely satisfying to just keep digging farther and farther underground and find new things. You have to set up torches and platforms so you can get back up to the top, which makes it feel like you're building some sort of underground city just for yourself and evil monsters. (Just a thought, maybe it's kind of weird that the two things I feel make up a city are torches and platforms. Remind me not to play Sim City ever.) It's good fun! It's certainly not bad fun! Eight stars out of seven!
 
 
 
 GARRY'S MOD  
 
Is this even a game? I don't know. I attached a bunch of thrusters to a fountain and then I made it fly around. Ten stars out of five!   
 

THE END

 
Karma Chameleon for me was one of those songs that I knew the general gist of but had never explicitly listened to. That all changed this week, when I watched the music video about a hundred times and realized I want to become a cross-dresser. 

  
  
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Yesterday I Played Solar 2 Instead of Sleeping

Spoiler Warning: You should buy this game.

So, the other day I was sitting around on the street with my buddies drinking peach punch when I saw some fat kid trying to ride a scooter. I turned to my friends and said, "Man, I want to play a space universe simulator game that's way more arcade-y than Universe Sandbox." My friends all called me crazy! So, I went on my favourite video games website, Giant Bomb Dot Com, and found a quick look for Solar 2! "My my my," I said, "This looks like the thing for me."

 I heard that people like images, so here you go.

(None of that actually happened.)

So, Solar 2. It's on Steam right now, if you want to buy it. It's like nine bucks. Also, it is awesome! Basically, you play as an asteroid, and you try to become bigger and bigger until you become a black hole and suck up the whole world. "But wait," says the imaginary man in my head, "That only takes about thirty or forty minutes to do! What the heck do I do after that?" Well Jim, don't worry. Solar 2 has this all under control.

Solar 2 is a sandbox game in SPACE! That means that there is a lot you can do! After you bash your asteroid against enough other asteroids until you become a planet, you can grow life on your planet! You can't control your life directly; it just kind of makes space ships and they fly around shooting everything near you. When you're trying to collect asteroids, this is annoying because they shoot all your asteroids, but when you are trying to shoot aliens, this is helpful! As your life kills things, it levels up and becomes more and more badass. At this point, you can go around killing everything you see, or you can suck up enough asteroids to become a star!

 This picture has 5 stars; take from that what you will.

Now, being a star is where shit gets real. As a star, you can have several planets orbit around you, and all those planets can have life. This means you have a ton of little space ships flying around your system ready to fuck up anything that tries to mess with you. (The only problem with that is that the space ships have very bad pilots, meaning they will run into your planets if you move your system too quickly. That must be pretty fucking embarrassing for a pilot, running into a planet. Though, it is pretty funny to watch.) It seems like as you get bigger and more powerful, the game would get a lot easier. That is not so! As you progress, there is just more and more to manage, as all your planets need to suck up asteroids to become bigger, while also avoiding asteroids that are about to hit them. And then, if one of your planets becomes a star, then you can have two stars and ten friggin' planets to manage! That is a lot.

But, if just making big shit and running around aimlessly  isn't your thing, you are crazy you have other options in Solar 2! There are also missions you can take on, and while these may not seem awesome at first (I didn't do any of them for my first 2 hours of play), they are actually pretty fun if you don't feel like just fucking around as a planet anymore. The Steam achievements, while a weird thing to call out, are actually pretty cool and encourage you to do some fun stuff, so check those out too. That is, only when you are done becoming a large star and then holding down the left arrow key until you collect like eight planets and then crash into a bigger system. Because you should do that first, it's pretty fun.

In conclusion, Solar 2 is a good fun game and you should buy it unless you hate fun.

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