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Jack Gardner

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Everything posted by Jack Gardner

  1. Oh, wow! Thank you for the recommendation! I just looked that up Epistory, and I'm super impressed by what I saw. I'll include the trailer below for other people who read your comment. I'll definitely be checking it out! To clarify, the show premise is not that every game we talk about is one of the best games of all-time (though some of them are), but that they are at least worthy of an in-depth discussion about what they do well and where they fall short - basically, we like talking about what makes video games so gosh darn interesting! I actually agree with pretty much everything you said and it's why I came down as a hard no as to it being one of the best games of all-time. The ableist "jokes" and the way the game treats its female characters are both huge issues for me in my enjoyment of the game even if I recognize them as stylistic throwbacks to the grindhouse films of the past. It was dated in 2013, but especially so in 2018. I really wanted to do the original Typing of the Dead, but like you said, the availability of it is just absurd. One of the things we bemoan is that typing seems to be a criminally underused mechanic in video games, so thank you again for the excellent suggestion of Epistory! Also, wow, congratulations on holding a speedrunning record! Even for just 12 hours, that's amazing!
  2. Jack Gardner

    Bowsette Becomes a Video Game Character

    In case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Bowsette is all the rage. Following an announcement from Nintendo in early September that depicted a Toadette donning a pink "super crown" and transforming into Peachette, internet comic artist Haniwa posted a fateful strip. The comic showed both Bowser and Mario facing rejection at the hands of Peach before Bowser puts on the crown and appears to become Mario's girlfriend in the final panel. Since then, the internet seems to have gone crazy for the new character. Despite the craze, which has been attributed by a bump in the stock value of Nintendo, the makers of Mario don't have much to say about the character as of yet. However, modders have now taken up the cause of bringing Bowsette into the wild world of video games. YouTuber and modder Lynard Killer, whose previous work includes modding Linkle into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, uploaded a video of Bowsette running around in the open world Legend of Zelda game. Her now iconic black dress blows somewhat realistically in the wind and reacts to different stance changes and environments. Much like Link in the unmodded game, Bowsette can also strip down to her underwear - because it is the internet and of course she can. Overall, this is a pretty neat mod, though it's unclear if others can download it yet. Oh, and modders? Put Bowsette into Mario Odyssey because that would be freaking rad. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  3. In case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Bowsette is all the rage. Following an announcement from Nintendo in early September that depicted a Toadette donning a pink "super crown" and transforming into Peachette, internet comic artist Haniwa posted a fateful strip. The comic showed both Bowser and Mario facing rejection at the hands of Peach before Bowser puts on the crown and appears to become Mario's girlfriend in the final panel. Since then, the internet seems to have gone crazy for the new character. Despite the craze, which has been attributed by a bump in the stock value of Nintendo, the makers of Mario don't have much to say about the character as of yet. However, modders have now taken up the cause of bringing Bowsette into the wild world of video games. YouTuber and modder Lynard Killer, whose previous work includes modding Linkle into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, uploaded a video of Bowsette running around in the open world Legend of Zelda game. Her now iconic black dress blows somewhat realistically in the wind and reacts to different stance changes and environments. Much like Link in the unmodded game, Bowsette can also strip down to her underwear - because it is the internet and of course she can. Overall, this is a pretty neat mod, though it's unclear if others can download it yet. Oh, and modders? Put Bowsette into Mario Odyssey because that would be freaking rad. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  4. A PC adaptation of a Wii on-rails shooter that shifted the shooting mechanic into a typing mechanic in homage to a surreal 90s Dreamcast title doesn't sound like something that would turn out well. However, Typing of the Dead: Overkill inexplicably works. The quirky game asks players to improve their typing skills while also playing through a grindhouse schlock-fest of gore and f-bombs. Despite the educational nature of its mechanics, kids should definitely not play Typing of the Dead: Overkill. We can't stress that enough. But adults? You make your own choices and decide whether this C-tier romp through zombies and low-budget film cliches might just secretly be one of the best games of all-time. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Undertale 'Gaster's Legacy' by DS (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03761) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  5. A PC adaptation of a Wii on-rails shooter that shifted the shooting mechanic into a typing mechanic in homage to a surreal 90s Dreamcast title doesn't sound like something that would turn out well. However, Typing of the Dead: Overkill inexplicably works. The quirky game asks players to improve their typing skills while also playing through a grindhouse schlock-fest of gore and f-bombs. Despite the educational nature of its mechanics, kids should definitely not play Typing of the Dead: Overkill. We can't stress that enough. But adults? You make your own choices and decide whether this C-tier romp through zombies and low-budget film cliches might just secretly be one of the best games of all-time. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Undertale 'Gaster's Legacy' by DS (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03761) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  6. Star Citizen has been in development for the past six years following a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. The game has been envisioned and pitched as a spiritual successor to the Wing Commander series with modern sensibilities and a massively multiplayer galaxy. Though Star Citizen has received most of the media attention, the original Kickstarter was also for a single-player campaign set within the Star Citizen universe. That single player campaign was originally slated for release in 2014. However, one thing that neither Cloud Imperium Games nor the fans who backed Star Citizen could have planned on was the massive and ongoing crowdfunding that has gone on since the initial success of the Kickstarter. To date, the company has raised well over $150 million from players who have fallen in love with the dream of what Star Citizen could be. With all of that extra money, the scope of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 has expanded. The new single-player game will have considerable star power, like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, John Rhys-Davies, Mark Strong, Andy Serkis, and more high profile actors and actresses. The acting chops going into Squadron 42 is pretty astounding, even by blockbuster gaming standards. We get to see snippets of that throughout the trailer as Cloud Imperium also shows off their impressive game tech, interesting sci-fi universe, and proves that Squadron 42 still exists and will eventually release. So it is that four years after the projected release date of Squadron 42 we are just now seeing an extended trailer full of gameplay and story (but still no release date). Overall, the trailer is incredibly impressive and looks to be the next hard sci-fi experience on the horizon with a chip on its shoulder to tell a compelling narrative. Add on deep and engaging space combat, and you have a great recipe for something really special. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. Star Citizen has been in development for the past six years following a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. The game has been envisioned and pitched as a spiritual successor to the Wing Commander series with modern sensibilities and a massively multiplayer galaxy. Though Star Citizen has received most of the media attention, the original Kickstarter was also for a single-player campaign set within the Star Citizen universe. That single player campaign was originally slated for release in 2014. However, one thing that neither Cloud Imperium Games nor the fans who backed Star Citizen could have planned on was the massive and ongoing crowdfunding that has gone on since the initial success of the Kickstarter. To date, the company has raised well over $150 million from players who have fallen in love with the dream of what Star Citizen could be. With all of that extra money, the scope of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 has expanded. The new single-player game will have considerable star power, like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, John Rhys-Davies, Mark Strong, Andy Serkis, and more high profile actors and actresses. The acting chops going into Squadron 42 is pretty astounding, even by blockbuster gaming standards. We get to see snippets of that throughout the trailer as Cloud Imperium also shows off their impressive game tech, interesting sci-fi universe, and proves that Squadron 42 still exists and will eventually release. So it is that four years after the projected release date of Squadron 42 we are just now seeing an extended trailer full of gameplay and story (but still no release date). Overall, the trailer is incredibly impressive and looks to be the next hard sci-fi experience on the horizon with a chip on its shoulder to tell a compelling narrative. Add on deep and engaging space combat, and you have a great recipe for something really special. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  8. Frictional Games, the developers behind Penumbra and Soma, have released a free update for their most famous title to date. Amnesia: The Dark Descent revolutionized horror with its physics-based gameplay and use of tension to make it feel like an ominous presence constantly pursues the player as they progress through a haunted castle. It was so successful that the classic first-person horror game changed the way games handled horror for years. The update adds a hard mode to the game for veterans looking for a new experience while replaying their dark descent. The hard mode disables autosaves, but don't worry! Players can still save - in exchange for four tinderboxes, the items that allow players to light the very important torches that illuminate the environment and restore sanity. In hard mode, dropping to zero sanity will kill the player. There will also be fewer tinderboxes and oil refills. Monsters will be faster, more alert, stronger, and more persistent when it comes time for them to hunt. And those hunts? They'll be more dangerous than ever with the removal of music cues announcing their presence.... If you're planning on conquering that hard mode, good luck. Since its initial announcement last week for traditional PCs and Xbox One, the update has been slowly extended across other platforms like Mac and Linux. Currently, Frictional has partnered with Blit Works to bring the mode to PlayStation 4 in the near future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  9. Frictional Games, the developers behind Penumbra and Soma, have released a free update for their most famous title to date. Amnesia: The Dark Descent revolutionized horror with its physics-based gameplay and use of tension to make it feel like an ominous presence constantly pursues the player as they progress through a haunted castle. It was so successful that the classic first-person horror game changed the way games handled horror for years. The update adds a hard mode to the game for veterans looking for a new experience while replaying their dark descent. The hard mode disables autosaves, but don't worry! Players can still save - in exchange for four tinderboxes, the items that allow players to light the very important torches that illuminate the environment and restore sanity. In hard mode, dropping to zero sanity will kill the player. There will also be fewer tinderboxes and oil refills. Monsters will be faster, more alert, stronger, and more persistent when it comes time for them to hunt. And those hunts? They'll be more dangerous than ever with the removal of music cues announcing their presence.... If you're planning on conquering that hard mode, good luck. Since its initial announcement last week for traditional PCs and Xbox One, the update has been slowly extended across other platforms like Mac and Linux. Currently, Frictional has partnered with Blit Works to bring the mode to PlayStation 4 in the near future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  10. With some trepidation, Pribi leads Arakial and Sean Valjean down into the hidden depths of the temple of Gruumsh. We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Stormfront"Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  11. With some trepidation, Pribi leads Arakial and Sean Valjean down into the hidden depths of the temple of Gruumsh. We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Stormfront"Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  12. For those of you with long memories, Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San last graced this site back in 2016 as an interesting indie game dev project struggling to be finished. Almost two years later, developer Christophe Galati (ChrisDeneos on Twitter) has entered the final stretch of game development and shared the expected release date for Save Me Mr. Tako: October 30. With the help of the Nicalis gaming company, the game will also be released that day on Nintendo Switch. Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San stars the titular Mr. Tako, a mild-mannered octopus who gets wrapped up in the bitter war between octopi and humans. However, when push comes to shove, the brave ocean creature saves a drowning human. A fairy witnesses the act of heroism and grants him the ability to survive on land. With this newfound power, Mr. Tako takes it upon himself to scour the world for a way for both sides to put aside their grievances and live in peace. Designed as a loving tribute to the glory days of the Nintendo Game Boy, Save Me Mr. Tako transports players into a 2D world constructed out of four colors and big ambition. It consists of six different worlds that hide sixteen dungeons for Mr. Tako to explore and conquer on his quest for harmony. Expect to find plenty of side quests and puzzles sprinkled throughout the game, too. Players will also be able to swap game filters for different visual flair and colors as they progress. In addition to being able to survive on land, Mr. Tako can wear up different hats to take on different powers like the ability to shoot arrows. There are fifty such outfits throughout the game, each with an adorable costume change in store for Mr. Tako. Those are on top of Mr. Tako's ability to turn enemies into platforms with his ranged ink attacks. Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San releases on October 30 for Nintendo Switch and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  13. For those of you with long memories, Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San last graced this site back in 2016 as an interesting indie game dev project struggling to be finished. Almost two years later, developer Christophe Galati (ChrisDeneos on Twitter) has entered the final stretch of game development and shared the expected release date for Save Me Mr. Tako: October 30. With the help of the Nicalis gaming company, the game will also be released that day on Nintendo Switch. Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San stars the titular Mr. Tako, a mild-mannered octopus who gets wrapped up in the bitter war between octopi and humans. However, when push comes to shove, the brave ocean creature saves a drowning human. A fairy witnesses the act of heroism and grants him the ability to survive on land. With this newfound power, Mr. Tako takes it upon himself to scour the world for a way for both sides to put aside their grievances and live in peace. Designed as a loving tribute to the glory days of the Nintendo Game Boy, Save Me Mr. Tako transports players into a 2D world constructed out of four colors and big ambition. It consists of six different worlds that hide sixteen dungeons for Mr. Tako to explore and conquer on his quest for harmony. Expect to find plenty of side quests and puzzles sprinkled throughout the game, too. Players will also be able to swap game filters for different visual flair and colors as they progress. In addition to being able to survive on land, Mr. Tako can wear up different hats to take on different powers like the ability to shoot arrows. There are fifty such outfits throughout the game, each with an adorable costume change in store for Mr. Tako. Those are on top of Mr. Tako's ability to turn enemies into platforms with his ranged ink attacks. Save Me Mr. Tako: Tasukete Tako-San releases on October 30 for Nintendo Switch and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  14. Jack Gardner

    Disabled Gaming

    I know this post was originally made almost a year ago, but Microsoft's Adaptive controller was made with a bunch of input from various organizations that help people with disabilities game again. It's a really cool piece of tech, and if anyone out there is looking for said groups, a bunch of them are listed in the article I linked.
  15. The GameCube launched amid a wave of enthusiasm for a next-gen Nintendo console. The star of the launch line-up of games was a quirky little title by the name of Luigi's Mansion, the first game starring Luigi since the dud Mario Is Missing. With fluid animations and a fun ghostbusting mechanic, the horror-lite game became one of the biggest hits for the system. So, does Luigi's Mansion hold up well today? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario World 'Turning Terrors' by AeroZ (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01760) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  16. The GameCube launched amid a wave of enthusiasm for a next-gen Nintendo console. The star of the launch line-up of games was a quirky little title by the name of Luigi's Mansion, the first game starring Luigi since the dud Mario Is Missing. With fluid animations and a fun ghostbusting mechanic, the horror-lite game became one of the biggest hits for the system. So, does Luigi's Mansion hold up well today? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario World 'Turning Terrors' by AeroZ (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01760) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  17. Jack Gardner

    Review: Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads

    If you go into Life Is Strange 2 thinking it will be a similar journey to its predecessor you are going to be in for a shock. Life Is Strange 2 retains the same humanizing sensibilities and just slightly surreal world-building that made the town of Arcadia Bay come to life, but what it does with those strengths in the first episode looks very different. This change up will leave some people reeling and others deeply invested in where this story will be going as more episodes hit digital storefronts around the world. Roads plays very much like the previous Life Is Strange episodes before it. Players can walk around gorgeous environments that manage to find the beauty often hidden within the mundane and interact with objects or people, complete with a running internal monologue. When interacting with some items or character, players will have the opportunity to make choices that could affect what happens later on in ways ranging from whether a small token appears on a backpack to whether an entire town exists or not. That framework still functions as well as it ever did, though I particularly enjoyed its incarnation in Roads. Early in the episode, players have the opportunity to gather a collection of supplies, including money. That money is then used later on to buy food and other essentials from a gas station. Based on how much money you were able to scrounge in the beginning, players will face different pressures and choices about what to buy and what decisions seem to make the most sense. The way the team at Dontnod designed the scene leaves a lot of room for players to fill in the blanks for themselves and presents a great moral dilemma, the bread and butter of any narrative-heavy adventure game, in an original way. I will also say off the bat that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit does not have a ton of overlap with the first episode of Life Is Strange 2, though it did tease some of its inciting incident. From what Dontnod has revealed so far, we can probably expect more Captain Spirit-related events in future episodes. Whereas the original Life Is Strange focused on the struggles of a young white girl in the early 2000s and her life in an aging coastal town on the decline, the sequel takes a look at the life of a young Hispanic boy named Sean Diaz living in the Seattle, Washington of 2016. At first, things seem like they will follow the same sleepy, nostalgic setup seen in Life Is Strange. It's near Halloween and the kids at the local high school are throwing a party, complete with all the pressures and concerns that go with that scene. However, a small disagreement with a neighbor kid escalates when punches are thrown and a police officer arrives, drawing his gun. When Sean's dad comes running out to see what's going on, the officer panics and shoots, killing Sean's father in front of both Sean and his 9-year-old brother Daniel. The trauma of the event causes Daniel to lash out with some unexplained power, sending a massive shockwave through the area that destroys parts of the surrounding homes, flips cars, and kills the officer and possibly the neighbor. Upon regaining consciousness, Sean takes in the situation and realizes that there's no explaining any of this away; running becomes the only thing that makes sense. So it is that Life Is Strange 2 becomes about hitting the road in the modern United States. As they travel, they encounter a small slice of people from across the socio-political spectrum. The first game painted a clear picture of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, but Life Is Strange 2, at least from the first episode, holds the larger ambition of reflecting the entire country. And that reflection doesn't pull punches. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the fluff of nostalgia that permeated the first Life Is Strange (and perhaps made some of its more disturbing moments palatable) has been replaced by a more immediate and applicable sense of time and place that, frankly, we aren't used to seeing in video games. It's surreal to hear characters throw slurs mixed with rhetoric about building a wall between the United States and Mexico or demonstrate a nonchalant attitude toward marijuana that reflects its legalization in Washington state. The veracity of these attitudes hits home as I have seen people act the same way in the real world. Especially when it comes to the uglier topics Roads touches on, the experience does not feel comfortable, but that's precisely the point. In some ways, it feels as though Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1 is having a conversation with the player. The developers must have been aware that some people would fall into the category that firmly believes games should be meaningless fun and wanted to subtly make the case that maybe some games should have more substance than just fun. Roads hits several extremely polarizing issues right off the bat, from police violence to racial prejudice, in such a way that it might shock people who aren't used to games that have pointed things to say about those subjects. Then, near the end of the episode, a character comments that, "Everything is political," both to the characters in their scene and also as if to directly address the player. And what are we supposed to do with that information? One of the closing conversations of the episode asks just that question. And the answer seems to be to continue pushing forward, whether that's for truth or for some kind of safe haven. Because that's all anyone can ever do. Conclusion: Life Is Strange 2's first episode blew me away. It manages to both be a heartfelt examination of the relationship between two brothers while unflinchingly engaging with incredibly weighty and difficult topics. It also doesn't leave the player with any easy answers or ways to address those issues in the real world. I suppose those might be coming in future episodes, but if I had to guess from how Roads played out we won't be presented with feel-good solutions. The story of the Diaz family left me constantly wondering what would happen next. While the episode ends with a somewhat concrete plan, I wouldn't be shocked if it veers off in completely unexpected directions. This episode manages to be equal parts gorgeous, funny, and searing all at the same time; gripping in such a way that you'll finish it in one sitting. It's going to be a long wait for Episode 2. Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. If you go into Life Is Strange 2 thinking it will be a similar journey to its predecessor you are going to be in for a shock. Life Is Strange 2 retains the same humanizing sensibilities and just slightly surreal world-building that made the town of Arcadia Bay come to life, but what it does with those strengths in the first episode looks very different. This change up will leave some people reeling and others deeply invested in where this story will be going as more episodes hit digital storefronts around the world. Roads plays very much like the previous Life Is Strange episodes before it. Players can walk around gorgeous environments that manage to find the beauty often hidden within the mundane and interact with objects or people, complete with a running internal monologue. When interacting with some items or character, players will have the opportunity to make choices that could affect what happens later on in ways ranging from whether a small token appears on a backpack to whether an entire town exists or not. That framework still functions as well as it ever did, though I particularly enjoyed its incarnation in Roads. Early in the episode, players have the opportunity to gather a collection of supplies, including money. That money is then used later on to buy food and other essentials from a gas station. Based on how much money you were able to scrounge in the beginning, players will face different pressures and choices about what to buy and what decisions seem to make the most sense. The way the team at Dontnod designed the scene leaves a lot of room for players to fill in the blanks for themselves and presents a great moral dilemma, the bread and butter of any narrative-heavy adventure game, in an original way. I will also say off the bat that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit does not have a ton of overlap with the first episode of Life Is Strange 2, though it did tease some of its inciting incident. From what Dontnod has revealed so far, we can probably expect more Captain Spirit-related events in future episodes. Whereas the original Life Is Strange focused on the struggles of a young white girl in the early 2000s and her life in an aging coastal town on the decline, the sequel takes a look at the life of a young Hispanic boy named Sean Diaz living in the Seattle, Washington of 2016. At first, things seem like they will follow the same sleepy, nostalgic setup seen in Life Is Strange. It's near Halloween and the kids at the local high school are throwing a party, complete with all the pressures and concerns that go with that scene. However, a small disagreement with a neighbor kid escalates when punches are thrown and a police officer arrives, drawing his gun. When Sean's dad comes running out to see what's going on, the officer panics and shoots, killing Sean's father in front of both Sean and his 9-year-old brother Daniel. The trauma of the event causes Daniel to lash out with some unexplained power, sending a massive shockwave through the area that destroys parts of the surrounding homes, flips cars, and kills the officer and possibly the neighbor. Upon regaining consciousness, Sean takes in the situation and realizes that there's no explaining any of this away; running becomes the only thing that makes sense. So it is that Life Is Strange 2 becomes about hitting the road in the modern United States. As they travel, they encounter a small slice of people from across the socio-political spectrum. The first game painted a clear picture of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, but Life Is Strange 2, at least from the first episode, holds the larger ambition of reflecting the entire country. And that reflection doesn't pull punches. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the fluff of nostalgia that permeated the first Life Is Strange (and perhaps made some of its more disturbing moments palatable) has been replaced by a more immediate and applicable sense of time and place that, frankly, we aren't used to seeing in video games. It's surreal to hear characters throw slurs mixed with rhetoric about building a wall between the United States and Mexico or demonstrate a nonchalant attitude toward marijuana that reflects its legalization in Washington state. The veracity of these attitudes hits home as I have seen people act the same way in the real world. Especially when it comes to the uglier topics Roads touches on, the experience does not feel comfortable, but that's precisely the point. In some ways, it feels as though Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1 is having a conversation with the player. The developers must have been aware that some people would fall into the category that firmly believes games should be meaningless fun and wanted to subtly make the case that maybe some games should have more substance than just fun. Roads hits several extremely polarizing issues right off the bat, from police violence to racial prejudice, in such a way that it might shock people who aren't used to games that have pointed things to say about those subjects. Then, near the end of the episode, a character comments that, "Everything is political," both to the characters in their scene and also as if to directly address the player. And what are we supposed to do with that information? One of the closing conversations of the episode asks just that question. And the answer seems to be to continue pushing forward, whether that's for truth or for some kind of safe haven. Because that's all anyone can ever do. Conclusion: Life Is Strange 2's first episode blew me away. It manages to both be a heartfelt examination of the relationship between two brothers while unflinchingly engaging with incredibly weighty and difficult topics. It also doesn't leave the player with any easy answers or ways to address those issues in the real world. I suppose those might be coming in future episodes, but if I had to guess from how Roads played out we won't be presented with feel-good solutions. The story of the Diaz family left me constantly wondering what would happen next. While the episode ends with a somewhat concrete plan, I wouldn't be shocked if it veers off in completely unexpected directions. This episode manages to be equal parts gorgeous, funny, and searing all at the same time; gripping in such a way that you'll finish it in one sitting. It's going to be a long wait for Episode 2. Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads was reviewed on PC and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. Arakiel, Sean, and Pribi find themselves trapped in the cogs of a larger plan set in motion by unknown and dastardly forces. We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  20. Arakiel, Sean, and Pribi find themselves trapped in the cogs of a larger plan set in motion by unknown and dastardly forces. We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  21. Google has announced a new initiative called Project Stream that aims to smoothly stream HD video games to players via the company's Chrome internet browser. This would mark one of the biggest attempts Google has made to enter the gaming market thus far, especially if it turns out to be a successful alternative for third party developers and publishers looking to release a typically console-focused games to a larger audience. It would also mean that most devices capable of a steady internet connection and running Google Chrome could be turned into gameplay streaming hubs. The ambition of this endeavor is striking, but also faces some significant hurdles. Specifically, consistently running smooth, HD graphics via stream poses pretty big problems using current technologies. The requirement of high-speed broadband internet could limit the availability of Project Stream for people in the general market as will the need to be close to Google's data centers (for now). Latency has long been another factor holding streamed games back from reaching their full potential in the United States with its lagging internet infrastructure. Finally, part of Project Stream will be dedicated to figuring out exactly how costly running such a service might be to Google. If it can figure out a way to make the tech work and it finds a market among gamers, the floodgates will open for Google-powered services to take on gaming applications like Google's Cloud or Daydream VR equipment. It would also offer the chance for Google to enter the digital game storefront business, competing directly with the likes of Steam and Good Old Games for exclusives and sales prices. Those who find the idea intriguing and are 17 years or older can sign up for a beta trail of the service which will allow those selected to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Google Chrome. There will be no charges for the beta though they do recommend an internet connection that holds at 25Mbps download speeds. The test will start on October 5 and the number of participants will be limited. This seems pretty neat and, if you have a solid enough internet connection, a good way to possibly play Assassin's Creed Odyssey for free. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  22. Google has announced a new initiative called Project Stream that aims to smoothly stream HD video games to players via the company's Chrome internet browser. This would mark one of the biggest attempts Google has made to enter the gaming market thus far, especially if it turns out to be a successful alternative for third party developers and publishers looking to release a typically console-focused games to a larger audience. It would also mean that most devices capable of a steady internet connection and running Google Chrome could be turned into gameplay streaming hubs. The ambition of this endeavor is striking, but also faces some significant hurdles. Specifically, consistently running smooth, HD graphics via stream poses pretty big problems using current technologies. The requirement of high-speed broadband internet could limit the availability of Project Stream for people in the general market as will the need to be close to Google's data centers (for now). Latency has long been another factor holding streamed games back from reaching their full potential in the United States with its lagging internet infrastructure. Finally, part of Project Stream will be dedicated to figuring out exactly how costly running such a service might be to Google. If it can figure out a way to make the tech work and it finds a market among gamers, the floodgates will open for Google-powered services to take on gaming applications like Google's Cloud or Daydream VR equipment. It would also offer the chance for Google to enter the digital game storefront business, competing directly with the likes of Steam and Good Old Games for exclusives and sales prices. Those who find the idea intriguing and are 17 years or older can sign up for a beta trail of the service which will allow those selected to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Google Chrome. There will be no charges for the beta though they do recommend an internet connection that holds at 25Mbps download speeds. The test will start on October 5 and the number of participants will be limited. This seems pretty neat and, if you have a solid enough internet connection, a good way to possibly play Assassin's Creed Odyssey for free. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  23. Jack Gardner

    The Best Games Period - Episode 113 - P.T.

    Ephemeral, like the spooky apparition that froze the blood of players in-game, P.T. was here for a while and faded into the ether, killed by Konami. However, its memory lives on in the hearts of fans who rabidly unraveled its secrets and jealously guarded prized hard drives containing the game that is no more. Some even set out to completely remake the horror game from scratch, despite Konami taking down such projects, leading to full retail titles releasing with P.T. hiding in their DNA. But was it even a game? What was P.T.? With that question looming large over the discussion, can P.T. be considered one of the best games of all-time? Outro music: Silent Hill 'Nay Tomorrow' by Tamimi (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00756) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  24. Ephemeral, like the spooky apparition that froze the blood of players in-game, P.T. was here for a while and faded into the ether, killed by Konami. However, its memory lives on in the hearts of fans who rabidly unraveled its secrets and jealously guarded prized hard drives containing the game that is no more. Some even set out to completely remake the horror game from scratch, despite Konami taking down such projects, leading to full retail titles releasing with P.T. hiding in their DNA. But was it even a game? What was P.T.? With that question looming large over the discussion, can P.T. be considered one of the best games of all-time? Outro music: Silent Hill 'Nay Tomorrow' by Tamimi (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00756) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  25. HOF Studios, a small, four-person team based in Atlanta, has been working on Depth of Extinction for the past few years. Fueled by a nostalgia for classic '90s tactics titles like XCOM: UFO Defense and drawing from more modern strategy titles like XCOM 2 and FTL: Faster Than Light, HOF Studios has created a game that makes use of those familiar mechanics to tell a new, challenging tale that delves deep into the unknown depths of Earth's oceans. Depth of Extinction takes place thousands of years in the future. An apocalyptic event shrouded in mystery caused the sea level to rise drastically, plunging most of humanity into its freezing bottom. The remnants, known as the Creators, rebuilt society as best they could, before quietly fading from history. Their advanced technology still litters the planet, leaving great power open to plundering and abuse. The most stable civilization formed out of the ashes of the apocalypse is The Republic. Denizens of The Republic have long relied on Creator machines to live in the new world. However, those machines have begun to fail, leaving it vulnerable to high sea marauders and a rumored army of killer robots. To survive, The Republic needs to send out its bravest warriors to explore the unknown and discover solutions to its mounting problems. Of course, solving the issues facing The Republic will put players into violent conflict in the outside world. To that end, players can customize their soldiers from eight classes and outfit them with over a hundred different pieces of armor, weapons, and special items. Players will have to contend with random encounters with the ever present threat of permadeath looming over each and every action while they move through the . Mike Stumhofer, the founder and lead developer at HOF Studios, released a statement reflecting on the release of Depths of Extinction: I started playing tactics games in the ‘90s with the X-COM franchise. It’s funny to think that I’ve had a long-running love for the genre for a couple of decades now. My favorite game at that time was Terror from the Deep. Depth of Extinction is essentially a spiritual remake of that game with a fresh take on the modern XCOM gameplay mechanics – including random encounters. Most games focus on creating threats to humanity like aliens, zombies, vampires or other monsters. Our game is grounded in something more realistic. The greatest threat to humanity is humanity itself. Our characters don't know what caused the fall or how we got to where we are, but we know that the root of the evil was humanity itself. Depth of Extinction is now available on PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
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