Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Future.

A toast to you!

Don't mind the fish in the glass. (He wasn't harmed.)

Thanks, readers, for making this blog so fun all semester. I’ve been writing The Gamer Guy Rants as part of a curriculum for one of my college courses. The class just finished and I am about to graduate from college.

According to our class syllabus, this is supposed to be my final post for this blog. I like for it not to be. I’d like to keep writing for all of you and hopefully even more people in the future. I hope to become an even better writer and make this blog even more interesting and entertaining.

I’m not yet certain when or where I am getting a job after I graduate in two weeks, but I’ll keep covering around Purdue University until then. I’ll let you know where I go next and be sure to localize some of the news wherever I end up.

It’s been a lot of fun, guys; I don’t want it to end.

If you have any ideas for where you’d like me to end up (so that you can learn more about gaming in the area) rant about it in the comments below!

For now, I leave you with the uplifting words of He-man:

Video Games May 2012

The gaming industry is always exciting. There is never a shortage of awesome new games, events, and innovations. That said, here are the biggest events happening this May (to my knowledge, and in my opinion):

May 9 Minecraft on Xbox Live

Officially made with joysticks in mind.

All the Minecrafty goodness of the original title is promised on Xbox. The  game supports Kinect play (I can only assume to yell your blocks into place). Most importantly, and most excitingly, the game features cross-platform play with the PC version of the game. Finally, Console gamers can enjoy the game with their PC brethren. PC folks can finally have even more noobs to make fun of.

May 15 Max Payne 3 for PS3 and Xbox 360

Either this is the cover of Max Payne 3 or Lawrence of Arabia. What an epic cover.

The latest outing from rockstar is set to be a gritty epic that spans years in-game. The storytelling is supposed to be amazing. Indeed, this is the first game in the series to have Dan Houser as the lead writer, the head scribe of most GTA titles and Red Dead Redemption.

The multiplayer is also poised as unique and intense. You form gangs with your friends, or public groups, to take on other gangs in deathmatches and other online modes. There are rewards and rankings for individual players and their entire gang. Equally interesting is the fact that gangs can be transferred between Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto 5 when it is released.

Max Payne 3 will be released for Windows May 29.

Bullet time is back, baby.

May 15 Diablo 3

Many of the environments are destructible and some of the bosses are enormous.

The only thing that might stand in your way from buying Max Payne 3 is Diablo 3 (besides a bad economy). Rabid Diablo fans like myself have been waiting for the sequel to Diablo 2 for 12 years. Diablo 3 looks to bring back everything that we loved about the previous entries into the series: classic elements like hacking through oceans of demons, unique classes, and more loot than pirate crypt.

The new game adds features like in-game cutscenes, followers to protect your character that are more fleshed out than in the first game and will talk, and an auction house that allows players to trade in-game items for real money.

There is also the hardcore mode for the thrill seeking players (if your character dies once, they are dead permanently), and a PvP mode will be patched in later for those more murderous players that try of only fighting evil beasts.

May 22 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for PS3 and Xbox 360

Just hanging out and shooting people with my robot buddy.

One of the most critically acclaimed squad-based shooters of all time is debuting its newest game. Future Soldier is set in the near future. Gadgets like tactical cloaks to make you nearly invisible exist as well as crazy robots that look like Metal Gear’s granddaddy.

As always, the emphasis is on squad cooperation and tactical planning more than just running and gunning, but the gunning part looks fun too. If you like shooters or squad games you should check this title out.

May 2012 looks pretty awesome for video games. Play on, my friends, play on.

Purdue’s Biggest LAN Party Exposed!

Alright, so the title is just to get you to watch this video, but it’s still an awesome Soundslide full of cool people.

Watch it and realize how cool LAN parties are. Come to Boiler Frag next year if you can can (check out PUGG.net later in the year for the date/time), or host your own awesome LAN party. Just whatever you do, invite me.

Note: I spent an hour with the Purdue Itap people trying to figure out how to embed a Soundslide (it doesn’t seem to work like regular videos) on a wordpress page. If anyone knows how to, let me know and I’ll have it up embeded in this post right away!

420 Special: Best video games to play high

Why are they sucking on trash bags?

It’s 420. I can only assume that you are high from smoking pounds of weed by now. As a fine upstanding blogger I’ve never smoked mariweed before (that’s what you kids call it right?). Despite this, I shall try to appease you, gentle readers, on the number one holiday in America by showering you in weed facts and foibles relating to video games.

The best games to play high

What’s better than video games on 420? Don’t answer that. If you are paying enough attention to answer it, you aren’t high enough or playing enough games. Good. Now I imagine you want to know which games are best play high. After a great deal of research on Google, I’ve collected the advice of experts on the subject of marijuana induced recreation such as highideas.com, grasscity.com, wearebaked.com, wonderfulworldofcannabis.com, and the highest of them all, digg.com. After this research I can share a group of games that made the most lists.

Yep. This image just made you high.

Super Mario Galaxy

Blow your mind with the gravity bending effects of the different worlds that Mario visits. The colors and whimsy will also have you rolling on the floor in an emotion that you can’t quite remember the name of.

I'm as surprised as you that marijuana users can relate to this title.

SSX Tricky

The quirky snowboarding classic will have you jumping thousands of feet in the area to do five cartwheels in the air before landing and speeding away like gravity never existed. The colors! The boards! The ridiculous soundtrack! You’ll be so happy and high that you will almost believe that snowboarding is real. A new version of the game came out to great reviews earlier this year. Check it out to be the most relevant bong hitting snowboard game player on your block.

After smoking this image makes perfect sense.

Super Smash Bros.

None of the Super Smash titles really have a plot anyway, so you won’t be too confused to follow it. That way you can focus on the many colors, lights, the constant and crazy action in the levels, and the zany cast of characters. Nothing beats floating around as Kirby on practice mode for four straight hours.

To help ground the insanity you play as a rapping and break-dancing dog.

PaRappa the Rappa

This game seriously sold me on getting a Playstation, and that was just a demo of the title. You complete actions to listen to catchy, trippy songs. A fan favorite is learning about karate from an a rapping Japanese man with a smelly Onion for a head. It’s amazing. It only gets better with substance abuse. (I’m told.)

Nintendo must be meant to be played high

Mario Cart

It’s great to play high for all the reasons as Super Smash Bros. Only, Mario Cart has you speeding around at a breakneck pace. On a rainbow. A RAINBOW ROAD!

Hot boxing the city.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV is an open world game where you can steal and destroy anything. You can also shoot anything, and more importantly go bowling. Grand Theft Auto IV pretty much gives you the opportunity to see what would happen if you could get super blazed and just do anything. It’s not a pretty sight, but it sure is fun.

Somehow works well high.

Katamari Damacy

You are an alien prince tasked with rolling things together to make a giant ball. Why? Because the developers must have been as high as you are! Anything and everything can get rolled into your ball as you gain power, from nickels to people to skyscrapers. If rolling people into a ball while giggling maniacally sounds fun to you, then you are the average person. Unleash your fun.

AHHHHHHHH!!!!

Left for Dead 2

It might seem strange at first to see a game about a shooting disgusting undead monsters on so many best games to play high lists, but that’s just the point. Playing this game high is terrifying. Want to know what it’s like to be in  the middle of a zombie apocalypse — pop this puppy in and blaze up. Apparently, people scream like babies while they play this. Deep down they learn something: how to survive a fictional disaster. That, and how to have some fun scared.

The colors! The overwhelming colors!

My addition: Geometry Wars 2

How can this not be on lists? This game is about being a colored shape, shooting other colored shapes with more color to make them explode into color fireworks. That sounds like the perfect game to play high. I’m convinced that the game was meant to be played high. I’m pretty sure that playing it will make you high. Play this game high. You’ll thank me later. When you get to it. Someday. Not today. Today is 420.

Editor’s Note: If you happen to read this post on a day that is not 420, fret not. We have been told that you can smoke potijuana on other dates. We are sure what dates. Just know that this article is still relevant to you …if you’re into that.

Crazy video game world records

A couple of nights ago I had the good pleasure to watch my friend, Casey Drummer, set the record amount of hot dogs eaten in a single hot dog eating contest at the Purdue University bar, Jake’s.

Casey is a rightfully proud man having pounded down 18 hot dogs in eight minutes, winning him the nickname of, “Holy crap, that guy just ate 18 hot dogs in eight minutes! Guy”.

Casey Drummer: Better at eating than you.

I hung out with the proud and sickly Casey after the contest. In between his second and third trip to the bathroom to vomit an idea hit me: there are a ton of video game records just as awesome as this! (Probably less vomiting involved too!)

Check it out; here are some of the craziest video game world records that I could find.

Highest score in Mario Bros (NES)

 The record is 2,727,840 points and is held by Phil Timmons. After setting such an impressive record Timmons can have any princess in any castle that he wants.

Lowest score in Super Mario Bros. (while still managing to beat the game)

What do I want to get today? The world's highest or lowest score?

 700 points. This record was set by Bryan Singh as he set out to prove once and for all, that yes, he is better at being worse than everyone else.

Highest score in a Tetris game

Rodolpho Gargaroj earned 1,178 points in Tetris. He was promptly named the greatest engineer in the universe.

Tallest tower in Minecraft (more like a pillar, it’s only one block wide)

Held by Simon Hoke at 256 blocks tall. See if you can break his record! He just broke the previous record of 194 that had been set earlier this month.

A previous record holder. This tower is actually only half as tall as the current record holder standing at a measly 127 blocks tall.

Longest time an arcade game was played on a single token

Ed Heemskerk played Q*Bert for 68.5 hours on a single credit. I can only assume that stopped because the machine exploded from being unable to handle his mighty skills.

Fastest time to solve two Rubik’s Cubes while playing Guitar Hero

Julian Aguirre solved two Rubik’s Cubesin five minutes and two seconds while playing Guitar Hero, setting this not at all specific record.

Highest scoring word in Words with Friends using four tiles

A record score of 648 points by playing the word “OXYPHENBUTAZONE” was set by Todd Miller of Carmel, Indiana. No one dare write him for a comment about his win.

Highest Single Move

Why didn't I think of that word?!? I left him wide open for that...

Most video game consoles played in one minute

Ryan Sullivan played 13 different video game consoles in one minute. In order for the record to count Sullivan had to make forward progress in every game that he played. Well done achieving my eleven year-old dream, sir.

Most barrel rolls in Star Fox 64 in a minute

75 barrel rolls in one minute set by Brandon Roudebush. Even as he set the record Peppy kept screaming “DO A BARREL ROLL!”

WE GET IT!

Fastest speedrun through The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is a massive game that many people sink dozens if not hundreds of hours into. Bethesda Softworks QA tester Sam Bernstein beat the game in just two hours, 16 minutes, and ten seconds

Each year a competition is held at Bethesda to see who can beat the newest game the fastest. Sam is the fastest QA tester at beating both Skyrim and Fallout 3.

Bernstein seen shouting, "I was disappointed at the length of this game!"

Almost all of these records were found on Recordsetter.com. The website shows you current world records and tells you the rules to break the record. Maybe you’ll be on my next list!

The website has world records for just about everything, not just hundreds of video game records. Try not to get too famous!

Did I miss any of your favorite video game world records? Share your favorites in the comment section below.

Outdated Review: Alan Wake

Prologue:

 I’ve always wanted to write a review of a video game. Just the thought of all that power rushing through my veins. The power to condemn a game to never being bought or played or to make sure that it is what you spend you time doing instead of paying attention to a loved one. Oh, how I’ve wanted to write a video game review.

By the power of video game reviews!

Unfortunately, there are dozens of video game website that have editors that are skilled in things like “writing” that I can’t compete with. These sites also have games sent to them by developers to play them before the game is even released. It’s nearly impossible for any reviews that I could write to be relevant to readers when an army of gaming journalists can publish a review of a game before I can get my grubby little paws on it. Seriously, they review a 60 hour game before I could even buy it on opening night.

I found a loophole in the system. Sure, I can’t write the earliest reviews of games. That essentially means that I can’t affect whether or not people buy new releases. But what about of the titles that we all kind of thought about buying but never got around to it? These titles are now sold at bargain and we could buy them if we really wanted to try them out and could be convinced to throw down $15.

That’s right; I’ve invented a new type of review. One that isn’t so much a “BUY THIS GAME BECAUSE IT’S GREAT AND/OR THEY PAID ME FOR THIS BANNER!”

No, this review is a simple persuasive piece by a fellow gamer discussing why the game will break your expectations that kept you from playing it in the first place. I too was leery of this game. That’s why the title in an outdated review was out so long before I gave it a shot. I’ll share why you should play this game or why you should just keep on living life not playing it.

Worth playing? I missed this one...

There is no longer need to lose sleep over whether or not you should play this game. I offer closure. I am the funeral home director of video game reviews. So sit back, relax, and let my first video game review ever inspire your very soul (and wallet).

Outdated review of Alan Wake

More like, "Alan *yawn* Wake me up when this post is over".

I never wanted to play Alan Wake. Never. I thought it was being hyped up too much due to its long development time and high exposure. I never would have played the title had my friend not said, “you should borrow this game. I bought it used. It’s pretty good.” Such persuasion.

After playing the game, I can safely say that it actually is quite great. I know, you’ve heard that before (only about a year and a half ago when the title was released). You have your doubts. I’ll have to persuade you better than that.

There are lots of reasons why I didn’t play Alan Wake just like you. Reasons like:

The enemies seem repetitive and dull

Hi. You'll be seeing me. A LOT.

The trailers make it seem like you just fight some dark men (not racist!) over and over again. It looked so dull. In actuality, the enemies are quite interesting and terrifying.

Sure you fight lots of shadowed guys of different shapes and sizes, but there are far more enemies in the game to fight. Birds clouded in darkness that swoop down from the sky to attack you are a welcome new enemy type that is hard to locate and can easily sneak up on you.

Throughout the game nearly any inanimate object can be controlled by the dark force that is pursuing you and can attack you. This is a great twist that makes every room frightening and alien. Anything in your surroundings from a tire to a train engine could be thrown at you at any moment. This effect makes the darkness itself appear to be your enemy, not the possesed men that attack you.

Even the many men taken by the darkness are much more interesting to fight than they seem from previews. There are enemy humans that are demonically fast to the point where you can hardly see them as anything more than a brief blur. Some enemies are huge, hulking, and require half a dozen bullets to put down.

Throw in some ranged troops and some obligatory chainsaws and you’ve got pretty varied enemies. The fact that  these “Taken” can instantly spawn to completely surround you in the dark makes these enemies seem extra interesting. (Although, I still question what happened to all of the women in town. You only ever fight possessed men.)

Enemy variety = good

The dark presence can possess anything and everything. Then everything tries to kill Alan

Flashlight combat seems boring

Killing monsters with flashlights seems super lame on paper. My eight year-old niece can come up with cooler ways to kill her dolls. (She may be troubled.)

Despite how lame pointing a flashlight at a monster to harm it may seem, the combat in Alan Wake is surprisingly tight. The flashlight doesn’t actually hurt half of the enemies in the game.

Cool sparkles, Twilight.

Instead, the enemies have a layer of darkness that makes them invincible until you bathe them in enough light to make them possible to hurt. Point a flashlight at them all night and they will thank you for holding still as they rip you apart. Flashlight’s destroy darkness; good old fashioned guns kill most of your enemies.

Having enemies that cannot be harmed by weapons until after a shield has been taken down by something that can’t actually hurt them is effective and often horrifying. I’m sure I wasted 100 bullets on reflex shots at enemies that didn’t even need to shrug the shot off, because it did nothing to them.

The variety of enemies thrown at you at once also make the combat balanced and fun. You generally are facing a faster enemy that can attack from afar or up close, and couple of bruisers that can take a lot of hits and will charge right for you. The sections of the game where you fight alongside allies also play out well and remain a challenge.

Finally the use of light in combat is just brilliant. Flares can buy you time to reload and pray without really harming enemies (they just back away from the light), while flash bangs can kill a group of enemies but provide no protection against the other enemies no doubt hot on your tail.

Time out!

I loved the many areas of the game that had infinite waves of enemies. This forces you to run like the cowardly, normal guy that you are. More than half of the game feels like a desperate dash from one light source to the next. Too many survival horror games let you still feel like an action star against gross monsters. The combat of Alan Wake forces you to be a regular guy running for his life with a handgun and a flashlight.

(Don’t worry, the weapons are decently varied as well. You also get to blast away with a rifle, flaregun, two types of shotguns and of course, three types of flashlights.)

Alan Wake’s combat is a triumph in that it is fun, fast, and most importantly scares the crap out of you and forces you to run like a pansy. That’s the way survival horror games should be.

Combat = great

Real survival horror heroes never stop running. Or crying.

A dark forest seems like a lame setting

That was spooky 5000 trees ago.

You’re absolutely right. A dark forest does seem like a lame setting. Luckily, Alan Wake is full of plenty awesome set pieces such a hedge maze, pitch black mines, and ghost towns.

The woods and idyllic town are great settings that feel alive. Setting up such normal and peaceful settings and then tainting them with a dark presence is powerful visually and does wonders for the narrative. I was definitely not expecting the amount of different locals that I visited over the course of the game.

The maps were large and didn’t have load screens. There are easily over a half dozen maps that are so large that the game provides vehicles for you to traverse the landscape in. Simply point, the setting of Alan Wake is a great strength of the game.

Setting = great

Try and pretend that you don't want to defeat an army of monster on a stage while explosions go off to a metal song written specifically for the game.

The game seems really short

No, games aren’t inherently bad if they are short, but I am less likely to by a six hour game than I am a 50 hour game if they both cost $60.

I had heard that Alan Wake was split into episodes that recap themselves and play out just like a TV miniseries. For some reason I had assumed that meant that each episode would not be much longer than half an hour like on TV. This is not the case. Alan Wake has six episodes. I played through the game on hard (which was fairly challenging) and it took me at least over two hours to complete each chapter.

I would estimate that it took me at least around 15 hours to beat Alan Wake. As the game has unlockables that can only be reached during a second playthrough on the second playthrough and plenty of hidden collectibles, I felt like this was a rather great length.

The friend that I borrowed the game from said that he beat the game in a day, but he must have been on crack. And didn’t sleep. And didn’t eat. And was surrounded by a pool of his on urine and stool. Seriously, I was very happily surprised at the length of this episodic thriller.

Length = good

The story just looks like a Stephen King knock-off

This is super easy to believe. The story makes many obvious nods to Steven King and even mentions the writer verbatim once. After all, the plot follows a male fiction writer as he is plunged into a real life nightmare: total Stephen King territory.

Stephen only writes autobiographical nonfiction.

However, the plot of Alan Wake separates itself from the great horror writer by its fun light mechanics and interesting story of a location where artists can bring their work to life but with dark implications.

Alan wakes (pun!) to find no memory of the last week. His wife is missing and he must save her from a dark presence that seems to be coming to life based on the events in a novel that he has no memory of writing.

I was very surprised at how attached to the characters I was by the end of the game and how life-like they felt in their motivations and actions. The dialogue is quite consistently excellent throughout the game, as well as the voice acting.

The game was full of plenty of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I was certainly satisfied with the unexpected ending, but then again, I just beat Mass Effect 3.

Story = great

This really exists. Alan Wake is a game with a strong enough story to be adapted into a novel.

The bad

Alan Wake is a great game worthy of your time and $15ish dollars, but it is not without its embarrassments.

The platforming in Alan Wake is terrible. If I were Simon Cowell I would call it absolutely dreadful. I’m glad that the game attempted to break up the combat of the game with exploration, but the execution could have been better.

The environment of the game is great (see the awesome setting), but crap man, it’s hard as balls to get around in the game. I would guess that over half of my deaths in the game were due to falling off of logs and cliffs that most games would auto jump you over.

This happens too often.

Alan proves that white writers can’t jump, or climb, or walk with any balance.

At one point in the game I died at least four times because I wasn’t sure if I was failing to walk across a beam because the game was being finicky or because you can’t walk across it. That’s how rough the platforming is.

I exclaimed aloud several times, “this game is bad, this is bad!” In between game sessions of loving every other aspect of the game. I cannot emphasize how bad the platforming is.

At the same time, I cannot emphasis how little the platforming is in importance in the game. True, you will fail a jump or two that you definitely should have nailed in each chapter,but these minor inconveniences in an otherwise excellent game just become fun little jokes almost.

Alan Wake’s platforming sucks, but it won’t crop up all that often and won’t prevent you from loving the rest of the great package.

Platforming = god awful

Alan attempts to climb stairs.

Summary

I’m as surprised as you; Alan Wake is good, great even. As one of the few great Xbox exclusives and one of the few survival horror games that dares to be very different, you should check out Alan Wake. The story and episodic content is engrossing and addicting: you’ll want to just finish one more episode.

Do yourself a favor and check out Alan Wake. It’ll light up your night.

Worth every discounted penny.

Now it’ll just be another two years before we try out the downloadable sequel, Alan Wake: American Nightmare.

Purdue Gaming LAN Party Boiler Frag 4.0

If you’re interested in LAN parties, then you need look no farther than Purdue. Boiler Frag 4.0 will be occurring next Saturday, April 21 at the Purdue Armory starting at 12 p.m. noon and raging until the next morning. Boiler Frag, hosted by Purdue University Gamer Group, is the largest LAN party at Purdue each year.  This going to be THE gaming event at Purdue that you won’t want to miss. Tournaments will be held throughout the whole day and prizes will be awarded all day.

PC and Console Welcome

Both PC and console tournaments and playing will occur at the fourth annual Boiler Frag. PC tickets must be bought in advance for $20 and then your seat must be registered online. You can inquire about PC tickets at info@pugg.net. Better hurry if you want to participate in the PC playing as there are only 11 PC seats left as of this posts publishing. If you want to play PC, you’ll have to bring :

  • Your computer, (1 tower & monitor or 1 laptop)
  • Ethernet cord (Don’t forget this!)
  • 1 set of Periphals (keyboard, mouse, etc.)
  • Headphones (No speakers)
UPDATE: PC tickets are sold out! Console tickets are available infinitely at the door the day of.

Console tickets are sold at the door for $15 dollars. The only thing that you need to bring is a USB if you want to use your profile as no online downloading is allowed. You also cannot bring any custom controllers other than arcade sticks.

Even the chairs look sleek and futuristic.

Tournaments

This why you’re here (besides meeting and playing with other great gamers). Check out some of the tournaments already decided on. (Watch out, they’re all single elimination!)

PC

  • Starcraft II, 1v1
  • League of Legends, 5v5
  • Battlefield 3, large teams
  • Quake 3, TBA
  • Others to be anounced

CONSOLE

  • COD Mw3, 4v4
  • Halo Reach (Covy Slayer), 2v2
  • Halo Reach (Jousting), 1v1
  • Mario Kart, FFA
  • Super Smash Bros Melee, 1v1
  • Street Figher X Tekken, 1v1
  • Mass Effect 3, Team Time Trial

Other tournaments will be decided by you, the gamers, this Monday on the PUGG Facebook page. Cast your vote so that you can show off your mad skillz. Help me vote for a speed petting competition in the Skyrim My Little Pony mod.

Prizes

I’ve been told that their will be awesome prizes rewarded throughout the day. The website promises “slick computer cases to wicked apparel”. I’ve also been told that PC and Console gamers will receive different prizes. A slick computer cases doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a gaming rig. PUGG knows this and they’ll get you the hook-up with the things that you want.

Food

The icing on the cake (maybe literally). As much as I love gaming, this is what won me over. FREE FOOD! That almost pays for the price of admission by itself. Hotbox is serving pizza at 6 p.m. and breakfast will be served at 6 a.m. That’s right. This event is raging all night.

Drinks are free the entire party and there is a snack bar until 3 a.m. The snack bar does cost money, so bring some cash for it. I’m as disappointed as you that I can’t eat my body weight in snickers for free. Still, these are some amazing food deals.

It's cool. The soda's free.

What are you waiting for?!? Get ready for Boiler Frag 4.0! This event will be crazy. Between the tournaments, prizes, free food, and awesome company you’ll be in gamer heaven. Leave it to PUGG to lead the way there. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you planning on going to Boiler Frag next Saturday, or are you planning on making a mistake? Let us all know below in the comments!

Video Game Conference Schedule

I’ve never had the good fortune to attend a video game conference. I blame this on poverty and lack of information. Okay, so I might not be able to do much about the money thing until my “Sea Apes: Better than SeaMonkeys!” idea picks up. I can still make sure that you guys never miss another conference this year due to not knowing when or where it is.

We just missed PAX East 2012 in Boston mere days ago. I wasn’t even aware that I missed it until recently. No more! Knowledge is our power.

Video Game Conferences (for the remainder of) 2012

The Big Ones

E3 2012

The granddaddy of conferences

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) – June 5-7  Los Angeles Convention Center, CA

GamesComAugust 15-19  Cologne, Germany

 You need more potassium, Snake!
Tokyo Game Show (TGS)September 20-23 Tokyo, Japan
PAX Prime (Penny Arcade Expo) – August 31st through September 2nd Seattle, WA
  • Redemption if you missed PAX East

Local Conferences

Some of these events are large, some are small. Some hardly have any details yet. No matter what, you know about them!

April

  • Khaotic Kon                                           13-15                                   Tampa, FL
  • T-MODE                                                  20-22                                  Rockville, MD
  •  Nature Coast CGA Show                  21                                         Crystal River, FL
  • PariahCon                                               27-29                                  Lakeland, FL
  • Eastern Shore FanCon                       28                                        Princess Anne, MD

May

  • Outlantacon                                            4-6                                      Atlanta, GA
  • ScoreCon                                                  19                                        Nashville, TN
  • UltimaCon                                                25-27                                New Orleans, LA
  • NashCon                                                    25-27                                Franklin, TN
  • Forge                                                           25-27                                Lexington, KY
  • Alabama Phoenix Festival                 25-27                                Birmingham, AL
  • MisCon                                                       28                                       Missoula, MT
June
  • AniMinneapolis                                     June 29- July 1              Minneapolis, MN

July

  • Omnicon                                                   8-9                                       McAllen, TX
  • ConnetiCon                                             13-14                                  Hartford, CT
  • Ancient City Con                                  20-22                                  Jacksonville, FL
  • Ryu-Kon                                                  22                                          Canandaigua, NY

The list goes on and on to infinity… If I missed a convention near you, please add it in the comment section! Let’s get game together! In person! In costume! Like the good old days.

Lost Planet 3 announced/ Why you should care

Who cares?

Lost Planet 3 is lighting up every gaming website for a good reason. It might just be the next big thing in the survival horror genre.

Sure, the first two entries into the series weren’t all that amazing. The after buying and playing the first Lost Planet I decided to give it a personal rating of, “Meh.” The second game received pretty bad reviews and I avoided it at all costs. All logic would dictate that no one should care about Lost Planet 3. Heck, I didn’t expect the series to ever get another sequel. Everyone should pay attention to Lost Planet 3 because…

It’s Different

The first two Lost Planet games were third person, squad-based shooters. Lost Planet 3 is a game that is supposed to place just as much emphasis on survival horror and exploration as it does combat. Oh, yeah and the game’s protagonist is essentially a blue collar mechwarrior. That got your attention, didn’t it?

The game has all the elements that it needs for greatness (according to Gameinformer and ign sources).

  • Detailed graphics to whisk you away into the world and amazing character models and faces to bring you into the game emotionally through visuals.
  • A mysterious and dangerous icy world setting that requires exploration of dark and dangerous locations to unravel its conspiracy filled past.
  • Unique aliens that can be absolutely enormous and require unique ways to destroy just like in the previous Lost Planets.
  • A fun protagonist that is just the right amount of badass, snarky, and vulnerable to make a Tony Stark in space with a much bigger Iron Man suite.
  • Mech suite combat against massive enemies.
  • To top it off, survival horror elements like tight, eerie corridors and an environment that could kill you at any time.
The Awesome Trailer 


The Setting

Home sweet PLEASE DON'T EAT ME!

The setting is a the foreboding, ice-swept E.D.N-III. This is the same planet that the other two Lost Planets take place on, but Lost Planet 3’s events take place before those in the first two games. (They just blew our minds.) The unforgiving planet is home to frequent ice storms and nasty aliens called Akrids.

The Plot

The future will have beards

The game stars a construction mech worker named Jim. Jim is no action hero, he’s just a guy that signed up for a crappy job on a scary planet to save up money for his wife and kid off-world. Jim communicates with his family through videos sent to him. This establishes a real sense of empathy and motivation for the character. Jim is tasked with moving equipment around with his mech and scouting the planet. He is told that he is one of the first explores of the planet, but he keeps discovering old frozen bases that seem to be part of a dark conspiracy by the company that he is working for.

The Survival, The Horror

Young love...

Sections of the game where Jim is on foot can be downright terrifying. Indoors, Jim walks through dark, tight corridors of eerily abandoned settlements that shouldn’t exist. These sections are already being compared to Dead Space. That’s a good thing in my book. Outdoor sections on foot are just as dangerous. Jim has no compass or map on foot and can freeze to death if he is out in the elements for too long. Radio transmissions also become increasingly faint as Jim moves away from his mech. At any moment a snowstorm could annihilate Jim or Akrids could burst from the ground or frozen walls. You must always be on edge.

The parts of the game spent inside a mech are no cup of tea either. The combat is faster and more powerful, as Jim can kill some massive enemies in his mech and wade through Jim-sized enemies like they aren’t even there. The combat still feel dangerous, as the mech is no combat mech; it’s built for moving things and drilling. As such, your mech has no guns. It only has melee moves and its giant drill to kill enemies with. Even more terrifying, the mech rig slowly freezes outside. Jim must leave the mech to melt the ice periodically or the rig will freeze to the point where it can no longer be used for the rest of the mission. Finally, the mech portions of the game are in first person. This severely limits your view and can disorient you in the huge machine.

The Naysayers Point

Let’s just get this out of the way. The game is published by Capcom but developed by Spark Unlimited. Spark has only ever made three games. None of them were good. I think that this promising reimagining of a mediocre series is a chance to equally reimagine a less than stellar development company. (But that might just be the PR training in me.)

Why You Should Really Care

HELLO!

Lost Planet 3 seems to have great graphics and promises to have a strong story. Most importantly, it features fun, tight, and varied gameplay. The horror situations indoors are very different from the still terrifying survival situations outside in the cold, which are in turn, very different from the mech portions of the game.

What’s won me over most is the promise that the title will indeed be a survival horror game. I love survival horror games for the heart-pounding and unique situations that the great ones put you through. The game wouldn’t be scary if it was just the same as the last survival horror game. It’s very rare to see a new survival horror series in a world where we have Resident Evil 6 to look forward to (and even then it’s an argument if it even is a survival horror title.) I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be frightened and awed in a new setting with completely new characters to me. We really don’t know what to expect, which makes the horror all the more  real.

I’m excited about the announcement of Lost Planet 3 and you should be too.

Chill with the Purdue Starcraft Club

Every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. the Purdue Starcraft Club hangs out and plays Starcraft II in Stanley Coulter Room 289. I say that the group hangs out because there is no better way to describe the laid back but intense matches held by this close group of friends.

The group plays competitive matches amount themselves and sometimes online players. Although many of the members are veterans of the space-themed strategy game, players of all skill levels are invited to every meeting.

The meetings are optional so generally about a dozen of the clubs players show up to a meeting. Each week,’s meeting may find almost a completely different group of players than the week before.

When I visited the group’s weekly meeting this Wednesday I found a group of gamer friends playing in a single team deathmatch together. The group was casually yelling funny quips and jests throughout the entire meeting. The meetings are as loud as they are fun.

Despite the casual nature of the meeting you could tell that these very skilled players were serious about Starcraft. A projector in the front of the room constantly plays footage from Starcraft II tournaments.

If you have some interest in Starcraft II but aren’t great at the game yet, or don’t even own the game, don’t worry. Each meeting at least a couple of the club members will bring in a flash drive with the game saved on it. The game is then downloaded to every computer that is being used. Purdue doesn’t allow the game to stay on their computers so deletes the game after each meeting.

The good news for you: You can play Starcraft II at the Purdue Starcraft Club for free.

It’s awesome that you can play the game for free, but you still may be worried about your Starcraft skill level. I went to the meeting having (shamefully) never played Starcraft II. It had been a long time since I was any good at the original Starcraft. Despite this, the group encouraged me to play with them; I didn’t even have to ask if I could.

Ravi Pareek, the club’s event planner and someone that I had the pleasure to interview earlier, took half an hour to give me a crash course on playing the Protoss Race. After Ravi offered me tips while I played for just 30 minutes I feel like I am better at the Starcraft series than I ever have been. (Now I’m merely ‘pretty terrible’.)

I was very impressed at how at ease and friendly all of the players were. They accepted me in with open arms and went out of their way to have fun with me and to instruct me on how to be better at the incredibly competitive game. Thanks the the Purdue Starcraft Club I can no personally vouch for how insanely fun Starcraft II is. I suggest that any gamer check the group out even if you’ve never played the game before.

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