Giant Bomb News


Worth Reading 02/15/2013

With a little bit of Siri's help, Worth Reading is now the FANCY pile of links you've come to expect every week.

I survived. Mostly.
I survived. Mostly.

I would like to start out this edition of Worth Reading by thanking everyone for the kind, funny, and ridiculous comments about my recent collarbone injury. You need a really good laugh when it's three in the morning and you can't get to sleep for the second night in a row because your arm is screaming in fiery pain. Too bad laughter feels like a knife jabbing me over and over.

(That part is getting better, though!)

The most awkward part about a broken bone is figuring out new ways to do things. Take this story, for example, which I dictated most of using software on my Mac. I didn't even know this dictation existed before a few hours ago! While it's a little weird to literally announce punctuation when crafting a story, I'm able to save the moments where both hands are required, which is awkward and painful over a lengthy period of time. (As much as I've been enjoying marathoning Fire Emblem: Awakening, I really want to get back to Dead Space 3!)

I won't know more about my body's healing process until sometime next week, so the meantime, I'm trying to come up with new ways to cover games that doesn't necessarily involve long form writing. More short audio interviews with game developers, perhaps? A Fire Emblem spoilercast? Answering more questions on a couch? I'm open to your ideas. I wrote features ahead of the site's relaunch, and those will roll out next week, including looks at the creation of Spaceteam, a history of Dark Sector (?!) and others.

Hey, You Should Play This

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This is another one of those games where I don't really want to say much, but how about this: it'll take less than five minutes of your time, and it's from the creators of the upcoming horror game starring a baby, Among the Sleep. Needless to say, these guys have some pretty, uh, interesting ideas for games.

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It's not often a game elicits a genuine "whoa" moment, but the gameplay hook for 400 Years, which involves holding down the space bar to fast forward through time, does that more than once. Manipulating time pushes the game's world through seasonal changes, which impact the environment in fun and surprising ways that are crucial to solving the game's few but worthwhile puzzles. Much like The Plan, 400 Years won't take you long to see through to the end, but the various eureka moments are worth it.

And You Should Read These, Too

  1. Virtue's Last Reward Postmortem Q&A with Kotaro Uchikoshi
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It's going to be a couple of years until we have another entry in the Zero Escape series. In the meantime, we have these wonderful interviews with the games creator, Kōtarō Uchikoshi, that shed some light on the complicated storytelling decisions made for the most recent game, Virtue's Last Reward. If you followed my response to the sequel, you know I wasn't particularly happy with some of the broader decisions made about the growing mythology, but that doesn't mean I'm no longer addicted--I totally am. An important note: please be careful regarding spoilers for 999 or Virtue's Last Reward in the comments, since most people probably haven't played either game.


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Reviewing games has become a lot more complicated. When is a review considered criticism? What kind a review do people want on the first day a game is out, or prior to its release? Does the score attached to a review actually mean anything anymore, or just serve as useless fodder for the comment section below? The games that push these questions to their breaking limit are the more esoteric releases like Journey, Dear Esther, or more recently, Proteus. Academic Ian Bogost tackles this in a unique way over at Gamasutra by writing three reviews of Proteus.

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

Let's Read Positive Reviews of "Bad" Game, Alien: Colonial Marines

(Note: I do not feature these reviews to mock them, especially since I have not yet played the game. Reading contrary opinions, especially ones on the polar extreme, is profoundly educational.)

"Even if Gearbox Software could craft an enjoyable sequel to Aliens in video game form, what could it hope to show players that they haven’t seen before? Yet, the developer stuck to its guns, believing all the while that it could create a quality first-person shooter based on a license that Gearbox obviously loves. And the really weird bit is that Gearbox was absolutely right."

"The visuals are subpar in places, but the overall aesthetic makes creeping through the shadowy, blood-soaked wreckage with a group of Marines a real nail-biter. While the core Soldier Xenos should probably figure out that ramming bullets with their face isn’t the best strategy, Gearbox’s other baddies offer up a great deal of variety. This sets up some dreadful moments of anticipation, fearsome firefights, and even a few harrowing escapes, making Colonial Marines’ campaign an intense experience that’s sure to appeal to franchise buffs and shooter fans alike. Sure, you’ve got some definite dents in the hull here—such as the occasionally oblivious squadmate AI, the training-wheel cover system, and the woefully heinous cinematics—but the hits far outweigh the misfires."

"The fact is, Alien Colonial Marines doesn't stand a chance if you compare it to James Cameron's seminal 1986 flick. Aliens is filed and receipted as one of the greatest horror films ever made, one of the best sequels ever made and an iconic entry in the canon of science-fiction cinema. Aliens Colonial Marines is a patchy shooter standing on the shoulders of a giant."

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Here in video games we invented a new word, "permadeath," to describe what in real life is called "death".

— Matthew S. Burns (@MrWasteland) January 23, 2013

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
122 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for wrecks
Posted By wrecks

Bold block quote font needs some serious changing. Other than that, cool stuff as usual!

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Edited By ch3burashka

I'm a bigger proponent of Dark Sector than most, but what the hell prompted an article on its history? Assuming internet content is mostly driven by interest (inb4 for the hits), where does this sudden interest in Dark Sector come from?

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Posted By Parsnip

That quote font is painful to read. Just really awful.

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Posted By Kyodra

@parsnip said:

That quote font is painful to read. Just really awful.

I agree, a thinner font would work better than this bold one. Otherwise very enjoyable reading.

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Edited By Abendlaender

The tweet is form the future! I always knew Patrick was a time traveler

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Posted By Winternet

@patrickklepek the font for the quotes makes it tough to read. Maybe go for something more traditional next time? Also, I see your New Year's resolution of watching TED talks has ended. Actually, as New Year's resolution goes, it lasted for quite a while :) Get better soon, Tricky.

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Posted By dungbootle

Get well soon Patrick

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Posted By mutha3

More FE content sounds good to me, but I don't know if a spoilercast is the right medium.

@erinisadrunk said:

Good stuff. Glad to see it back this week in the more traditional format.

As for none writing things you could do, I think it would be really awesome if you did some kind of audio interview with the 8-4 guys about the "Fire Emblem: Awakening" localization. The localization is aces and the brief time they spent talking about it on their podcast was cool and I would love to hear more about it.

This on the other hand...

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Posted By dr_mantas

Ok, I finally realised what has been bothering me about the new site.


I prefer minimalism and smaller text (like reddit)

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Edited By ComradeCrash

While the Wii U looks in dire straits, the 3DS has become something worth owning in my book.

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Edited By TigerDX

@patrickklepek Really appreciate the effort to crank the content, but seriously, the best thing you can do is rest up and get the hell better soon!

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Posted By BBQBram

Get well dude.

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Posted By synthesis_landale

I hate that people jump on the grave of living consoles long before they're even near dead. They did the same thing to the 3DS and now the WiiU. They did it to the Vita too when it launched.

Though.. it's kinda funny how little of this I see for the Vita NOW considering it still has a dire lack of good non-port games. That said, I'm still happy with my purchase of the portable Persona 4/Disgaea 3 machine.

Avatar image for chaser324
Posted By Chaser324

@patrickklepek: As someone that has been known to enjoy the occasional western and visual novel, you should take 10 minutes to play through the latest from Christine Love, creator of Digital: A Love Story and Analogue: A Hate Story.

I personally found it to be a very cool and unique approach to the visual novel format with a great payoff ending. The plot is also well worth bringing up the next time you have a "depiction of women in gaming" discussion.

You can find it over here:

Avatar image for noobsauceg7
Posted By NoobSauceG7

Get well soon Patrick. My brother had surgery on Thursday on his gums and can only eat none hot liquids for a few days (which is hard to find) so taking care of him I must see how bad you are doing. A Fire Emblem Spoilercast would be awesome since that game is really incredible, I have my Donnel at level 19 already and he is already one hit killing everything, even 2 hit killing bosses and I am at Chapter 10! We miss you a lot but this and your Q&A from earlier this week helped fill that Patrick shaped hole.

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Posted By Krathoon

It would be better if there was a remake of the 7th guest with a meatier story.

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Edited By Sheeshor

Man, you really like capitalism -take a few days off! (glad you didn't)

That tweet is really hilarious. Get well soon!

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In response to the "Proteus: A Trio of Artisanal Game Reviews" segment:

When it comes to game reviews, people don't want to say what is really on their minds at the moment of writing a review for fear of offending the audience, game developer, or publisher. And this is where game reviews, or gaming journalism, falls short. It is the responsibility of the media to light the fire under the asses of the industry to help improve and maintain innovation. Even if it means saying things that they don't want to hear.

For Gamasutra to intentionally write additional reviews that covers multiple perspectives is simply crazy to me. Might as well do a podcast about the game, at that point, which isn't a bad idea. But it shows that they don't want to offend anyone in the process of writing a review.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Honesty and integrity goes a long way.

As for review scores in general - it's crap and deceptive! Game reviewers love to use the 1-10 rating scale (thankfully not on Giantbomb) which is the equivalent of throwing darts at a dart board. Might as well say 1-1000. The scope is too wide. It needs to be narrowed down to help judge if a particular game is at least worth a rental. Using 1-10 scale who says if a game is good or bad when reviewers specifically say the game sucks, and in turn, they give it a 6 or a 7? That's an above average score, but they've written that the game sucks. It's confusing and deceptive to the reader if they only pay attention to the rating system.

Both the gaming media, and the console market, need to stop being in bed with each other. Media prostitution reveals who people really are. It's despicable and embarrassing to the rest of us who love this hobby of playing video games.

Avatar image for lyfeforce
Posted By Lyfeforce

I always save Worth Reading, the bulk of it at least, for Saturday morning when I can grab some whiskey, put on some tunes and make a morning of it. Thanks for that, Patrick. Hope the pain gets managed easily.

Also, on a tangent, I really like the new look for quotations. Still getting used to the new rounded, serif-y font though.

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Edited By Everyones_A_Critic


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Posted By Gold_Skulltulla

@zornack: I'm eager to try Esther, but haven't. I love Proteus though. I think Bogost nailed what makes that game special in his 3 part essay, essentially breaking out the major factors into separate criticisms. I find it helpful (and to the game's credit, quite rewarding) to approach Proteus like an artwork. Even a great painting can be "boring" if you go in with expectations that it has no intention of fulfilling. Does Proteus offer to quench our "gaming fix" or does it want to engage with a different part of the brain? For me, the cool thing is that it does a little of both.

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Posted By MattyFTM

7th Guest was awesome. I own it on GoG, but I'd buy it again if it were on Steam.

Avatar image for laiv162560asse
Posted By Laiv162560asse

Thanks for linking Greg Zeschuk's beer diary vid. Even if they're unrelated to games, I'm more interested in these than anything EA or Bioware have in development. It was a little dry but there's some cool info in there. I'd love to try a bottle of Thrash Metal Ale or Black Metal Stout just for the great label art alone.

Might even send a link to my local import business and see what they think of distributing some of the beers covered in the vids.

Avatar image for bamsaidthelady
Posted By BamSaidTheLady

You and Dave should definitely get together to talk more Fire Emblem. It's my first time playing a game in the series and I really think it's incredible. Maybe you two can dig back into the older games as Encyclopedia Bombastica entries.

Avatar image for satelliteoflove
Posted By SatelliteOfLove

I hate that people jump on the grave of living consoles long before they're even near dead. They did the same thing to the 3DS and now the WiiU. They did it to the Vita too when it launched.

Though.. it's kinda funny how little of this I see for the Vita NOW considering it still has a dire lack of good non-port games. That said, I'm still happy with my purchase of the portable Persona 4/Disgaea 3 machine.

It's branded as prediction, but is phrased in the present, giving off that "self-fulfilling prophecy" deal.

Avatar image for assinass
Posted By AssInAss

@patrickklepek The Longest Journey absolutely holds up, I only started playing it last year (before I knew a sequel might come out). It's incredibly progressive in its time for sexuality (you have lesbian landlords and there's barely any drama about it), deals with sexism, and one of the best female protagonists in games. April Ryan is the best female character I've come across, displaying her hopes/fears/insecurities/mundane life through sarcastic wit. Not to mention it's easily the most epic adventure game ever, traversing from a cyberpunk real world to a magical fantasy world with tons of cool lore and variety in locations. Check it out for the characters, and have a guide on hand if you get stuck because the characters, world building, and story are absolutely worth experiencing.

Gorgeous game even in a low resolution because of the pre-rendered backgrounds.

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Also, it predicted Twitter back in 1999:

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Avatar image for onekillwonder_
Posted By OneKillWonder_

I've owned Septerra Core for many years but have never played it. I found a Septerra Core/Shogo bundle at the dollar store one day and bought it just for the hell of it. I'm fairly certain I still have both of those games. Maybe I'll have to dig em out one day soon.

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Posted By MetalGearSunny

Nothing stops Tricky!

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Posted By George_Hukas

Quantity over quality

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Posted By chilibean_3

A data-driven analysis of the response to a female voice in a multiplayer video game.

Oh god that sounds like its going to be a real bummer article.

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Posted By Benny

Fire emblem spoilercast would be cool! In general just a long discussion on all of your tactics and strategies, characters, builds, all that shit really. It's fun to hear how others play games as customisable and strategy dependant as Fire Emblem or X-Com etc. Good luck with the cybernetics implants Scoop-o-tron 2084!

Avatar image for bkbroiler
Posted By bkbroiler

That EGM review for Aliens is a complete crock of shit. I've never been one to jump on the "this guy is getting paid off" train, but something is wrong about it. It reads like the guy has never even played the game.

Get well soon Klepek!

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Posted By TehPickle

Wow that LBP2 version of Hexagon was amazing!

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Posted By Reisz

@patrickklepek you trooper! thanks for getting this up, broken-ass bones and all. Above and beyond the call of duty. I was rifling through greenlight just this morning in the anticipated absence of Worth Reading, (gotta spend that coffee time somehow right?) as soon as I saw The Plan, I knew we'd hear about it from Scoops sometime soon. I figured that would be days however, rather than minutes!

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Posted By GreggD
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Posted By eulogize_my_baked_goods

Thank you for making me aware of the Continue magazine Kickstarter, Patrick. Many people here (and by that I mean non-UK peeps) will not recognise Paul Presley as one of the guys behind PC Zone. I read that magazine for years and in many respects it guided me through my gaming adolescence. It is great to see him working on this new project and taking a quick look through the three sample issues makes me think that it really is something that deserves to get funding.

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Posted By hanktherapper

I'm just so happy I get to play System Shock 2 again after all these years.

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Posted By gorom


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Edited By gorom


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Posted By kerse

So what kinda bionic collarbone did you get @patrickklepek? Laser beam? Some kinda healing module for the next time you ride your bike?

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Edited By siamesegiant

The Longest Journey totally holds up. One of the best stories in gaming, and really great voice acting. Be prepared to have a walkthrough handy though because, like others have said, some of the puzzles do require crazy leaps of logic.

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Edited By Christoffer

Feel better soon Patrick.

I CAN argue about The 7th Guest being on Steam. I already own and have played it. Yes, I'm a selfish and horrible monster.

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Posted By Subjugation

The bolded text is really difficult to read, especially the tweet.

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Posted By BawlZINmotion

"You need a really good laugh when it's three in the morning and you can't get to sleep for the second night in a row because your arm is screaming in fiery pain. Too bad laughter feels like a knife jabbing me over and over."

Yeah man, when I broke both bones in my lower leg every time I fell asleep I was quickly awoken by severe pain caused by muscle spasms. Apparently the spasms are normal when sleeping/dreaming, but two badly broken bones has the effect of someone squeezing your tender parts.

Bad stuff, but look at the bright side, it will only get better. :)

Avatar image for doskias
Posted By Doskias

I bought Septerra Core at Wal-Mart some years back, in a double-pack with SHOGO:MAD. Liked it so much, I stole a character's name and have been using it for years.

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Posted By Paindamnation
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Posted By Fram


Septerra Core was great fun, never got around to finishing it though.

Lost count of the amount of times I heard "I have no knowledge of such things." I took ownership of that phrase and say it often!

Avatar image for korolev
Posted By Korolev

Hey Patrick. Thanks for putting this up, despite the pain you're in.

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Posted By umbaglo

Am I the only person in the world who enjoyed Septerra Core?

Hell no. I love that game. I keep meaning to go back to it for a replay, but it always slips my mind. But when it was new, it was pretty amazing to see that style of game come from a Western developer.