Titanfall (PC)

Titanfall is good. There. Happy? It’s fine. Everything it sets out to do it does well and even if you’re not one of those insufferable losers who only buy 3 games a year, go to the Titanfall forums full of Titanfall jackoffs who have Titanfall race-car beds even though they’re 35 and argue about whether one fictional gun is OP and another isn’t, you’ll still have a good time playing it. This game is probably what the Mechwarrior reboot should have been, or Mechassault to begin with. Infantry with heavy bipedal armor support and mayhem. If you’re so broke that you can only afford one or can only beg and plead with your parents to get you one game this year, get this one.

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Review: Might & Magic (PC)

No, Seriously, You Should Play Might And Magic

I know, I know–it’s like how you’ve always meant to watch Citizen Kane. Didn’t they do some kind of social science study about that, how people have these should watches on their Netflix queue but screw that, I’m’a watch Buffy again? Yeah, you say you want to play the old-school games, that you’re this Person Who’s Interested In Games And Gaming History And All Of That, but when it comes down to it, I mean, do you really want to be staring at this for the next several dozen hours of your gaming life? Fuck that, pass the Skyrim.


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Web Comic Artist John Campbell Set Fire To His Kickstarter Stuff

About a year ago John Campbell started a Kickstarter going for a reprint of his stupid zany webcomic. Somewhere along the line he admitted that he had faked being depressed to excuse the fact he hadn’t mailed anyone shit. You can read about it here

Starting in January 2014, Campbell’s postings on his tumblr blog started getting really weird. I mean, at this point you don’t think he’s crazy but it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s ranting in that terrible faux-HEY LOOK EVERYONE I’M SO WAAAAACKY style. By mid-February he is full on pants-on-head Timecube crazy.

Then, he decides to respond to this genuine reply from the creatore of HijinxEnsue to a woman asking an innocent question about how to help her daughter make webcomics with a flippant, crazy rant about how she’s probably going to get sexually assaulted. This does not go over well with Joel Watson of Hijinks Ensue. and things get heated.

On February 21st, Campbell write an I quit post where he basically implies that Joel Watson should quit writing webcomics and go save a predominantly black orphanage or something.

On February 27th, Campbell writes the most fucking insane rambling screed since Nixon’s White House tapes and posts a video of him setting fire to the books people ordered for his Kickstarter.

(I think we all owe Joel Watson a world of thanks for sending this guy completely off the deep end, even though as he pointed out to me in reply we all should have seen the signs of this coming awhile ago.)

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State of Decay (PC)

A very fun but glitchy open world/Grand Theft Auto clone that is perhaps a bit too short. It could definitely do with some polish and shows its console roots. Still it is ridiculously fun when everything pops off well and perma-death really does give you a sense of danger.

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Who Will Stand Up For Dungeon Keeper?

(Editor’s Note: There is a new game by Electronic Arts called Dungeon Keeper. It is a “free to play” microtransaction game that is a pile of shit. They are trying to filter reviews at the Google Play Store, through a process of only taking you to the review screen if you first say you will give it five stars. Thanks to Eurogamer for the article.)

Let’s get the low-hanging fruit out of the way. Fahey from Kotaku wrote some piece of shit article talking about how all mobile gaming is shit, so he doesn’t get why people are mad. It’s typical Kotaku linkbait and there’s nothing worth even quoting except this:

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BRAWLERS: The Best Brawling Games In The World Right Now

Call me a weirdo, but I say brawlers have more in common with Robotron than they do Street Fighter-style one-on-one fighting games. In brawlers the enemies don’t try to mimic human opponents, they have set patterns of movement and attack. You are more than a match for any enemy in the game on an individual basis, the challenge comes from handling them in numbers with various combinations of enemy types while navigating an environment full of hazards. While you may have all manner of combination attacks and counters to unleash on a single hapless foe, the real game here is taking apart the entire mob of enemies without getting too torn up yourself in the process. Position and crowd-control are the top priority in brawlers. Think “Oldboy.”

Over the last couple years there’s been a miniature explosion of brawlers for the PC, so let’s take a look at some highlights:

Shank 2

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3k3y for PS3: An Exercise in Frustration

The 3k3y (“three-key”) modchip is a device designed to let PlayStation 3 owners execute “unsigned code” on their consoles. Technically “unsigned code” is defined as any code Sony hasn’t authorized you to run on your system. Publicly people proclaim this means things homebrew games and custom applications, but privately everyone knows they are primarily used to run pirated games. The only legitimate application for running games from a hard drive is to keep your kids from scuffing up your original discs, but regardless of how handy this might be, due to current DCMA laws, even this is illegal.

You can run “unsigned code” on a PlayStation 3 by using one of two methods: either by running a custom firmware, or installing a modchip. The advantage that modchips like the 3k3y and its competitor the Cobra have is that they allow you to run the original firmware (OFW) versus custom firmwares (CFW). Custom Firmwares are easily detectable by Sony; running CFW and connecting your PS3 to the PlayStation Network (PSN) is a good way to get your console banned for life from online play. Additionally, to install a CFW you have to be running a specific, older OFW that, unless your PS3 has been sitting in a closet for a couple of years disconnected from the Internet, it’s unlikely you’re running. You also can’t downgrade firmwares on the PS3 without purchasing additional hardware (or paying some kid on Craigslist $50 to do it for you), and many newer PS3s aren’t even capable of running the older OFW needed to install CFWs. Long story short, if you’re not already running a CFW on your PS3, chances are you won’t be able to install one and a modchip like the 3k3y is your only alternative.

When I hinted to Santa that I was interested in getting a 3k3y, he told me he had no idea what I was talking about and that I was on my own. So, I ordered one for myself to see if the chip lived up to the hype.

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Penny Arcade’s Forum Moderators Are Also Virulent Losers

So I’m on the Penny Arcade forums ONLY for a very specific subforum involved with running community activities that has nothing to do with Penny Arcade proper.

So I try to get in today and it says I don’t have permission. All the subforums are gone. Did I get banned? What the heck did I do? Given how universally shitty mods are, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was banned without notice for no reason.

The actual reason? Christmas shutdown. Every subforum has been disabled for a week, with only a “Christmas hangout” forum available.

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Eurogamer puts Turn 10’s feet to the fire, brings them a mug of warm cocoa

(Editor’s note: quickly find all past and future columns from Jerry Whorebach, Senior Writer at Caltrops.com, through this tag.)

Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson interviews Turn 10’s creative director/media daddy, Dan Greenawalt

In terms of the free-to-play mechanics that are coming into it – because it came as part of a wave of Microsoft games that introduced mechanics more typically found in free-to-play games in full-price games, what’s your take on that and how do you justify their inclusion?

Dan Greenawalt: So that’s how you felt about Forza 4?

Ha ha ha! I love how Dan calls Eurogamer out on their bullshit narrative here. They want you to believe Forza 4 was perfect and Eurogamer didn’t have a bad word to say about it, then Forza 5 came out and it was different and Eurogamer noticed it was different and sounded the alarm. When the truth is, Forza 5 was about the only game you could get for your brand new Xbox One that wasn’t already available in a much better version on some other platform, so a lot of people who hadn’t played a racing game since the days when they were actually supposed to be fun got stuck trying to wring some enjoyment out of it. Needless to say, they were FUCKING APPALLED at the kind of bullshit Turn 10 has been perpetrating for years, egged on at every turn by those staunch consumer advocates at Eurogamer.

I did feel that way about Forza 4, so I’ll admit an inconsistency there, but it wasn’t pronounced as much. It’s certainly much more of an issue in Forza 5.

Dan Greenawalt: I understand that if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck… I know the statement. But honestly if you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you’re slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay. That’s not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn’t our goal in Forza 5 either. We don’t have paywalls. We have acceleration, and that was based on feedback from players in Forza 4 – there’s a small group of players that can’t be bothered to do things and they have disposable income. They’re the sim guys in a lot of cases. They don’t want to do the career, and they don’t value those aspects, and that’s alright by me. With Forza 4 we had car tokens that range from one dollar to three dollars – the most expensive car was ten million credits in game, and it only cost three car tokens which would have been three dollars.

That felt like it was not making the car exclusive enough for those who are willing to pay. So we made car tokens equal to credits – it’s not about making more money, it was actually about saving people’s time when doing the grind.

I’m not sure how Dan reconciles the statement “we don’t have paywalls” with the fact that every Forza ever has required you to pay a monthly fee to access the multiplayer features (multiplayer features such as custom races against CPU opponents), but there’s not really any time to call him out on that one since he immediately doubles down on the bald-faced lying by claiming they decided to charge more real money to unlock pretend cars because gamers honestly felt they were getting them too cheaply before. At least, I hope to God that’s bald-faced lying. It’s probably not bald-faced lying, is it?

I remember you saying last time we spoke that this felt like the first Forza that wasn’t compromised – but do you think you could have done with another 12 months of development, and didn’t have the pressure of having to launch alongside Xbox One?

Dan Greenawalt: Not really. We’ve developed a team that’s made to have process around concept, and prototype and production and close-down in a very set cadence. It’s how we hire and how we staff, and it’s kind of how we are. In statistics there’s the idea of the inverse U – the more time you have something can get better, and the more time it takes eventually it gets worse. In game development it’s similar that way. You can’t make a triple-A game in a month – I’m being hyperbolic here – and as you take more and more months, you get more time to get the quality required, the innovation required and you have to be able to throw things away to make a triple-A game.

But – and I’ll be hyperbolic again – after, say, six years, your technology starts getting old. It starts getting outdated, and you have to rewrite it, so you’re in the state of constant rewrites. Looking at most games being developed, the two to three year basis is the sweet-spot for triple-A games. But we’ve optimised our team to do the two year product cycle. It’s hugely disruptive to add another year – you’re having to throw a lot of work away. Since we’ve made a team that’s able to make games in two years, I think another year we’d have to change our processes to make the most of that.

The version of this article that went up this morning had “inverse U” – the statistical concept better known as Broussard’s Lament – spelled as “inverse you”. This indicates two things: one, Eurogamer’s copy editors aren’t getting paid to Google every obscure piece of trivia that comes across their desks, and two, Martin Robinson’s articles in their unedited form most likely resemble text messages from a harried gorilla.

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Jerry Whorebach

Foodfight (2012, Animated Movie)

Is Foodfight the worst animated movie ever made?

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