An Analysis of the Movie Drive (2011, Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston)

Editor’s note: I caught this over Netflix the other night. While I enjoyed the soundtrack and the pacing and the way it looked, I thought it was a terrible film overall. I then read what Mischief Maker had to say about it a few months ago. I gained an appreciation for Drive.

There are spoilers for Drive here. Please see the film first. — ICJ

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”

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Phil Fish Giving Up is Great and I Hope More Assholes are Run Out of Gaming

I decided to finally write up my thoughts on the whole “Phil Fish Leaves the Internet” fiasco. This was partially because I didn’t want to write it and have him come back right away (which I’m sure he’ll do eventually) and because Polygon wrote an article very similar in theme to the Penny Arcade Report article where they characterized video game fans as awful monsters and game developers as messianic beings who are dying on the cross to bring us entertainment. I really hate and disagree with most of the assertions of these articles and I think they miss multiple obvious points and really try to build up Phil Fish leaving the net as something it isn’t. It might be that they’re just stupid or they may actually be the cagey truth-killers they are in my delusions, either way I’m going to try to set this straight.

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California Extreme 2013

California Extreme is a yearly show in Santa Clara where gamers from all over the world bring their arcade machines and pinball games together for attendees to play. It is an incredible convention that I got to attend for the first time this year.

The sheer number of games was astounding. I don’t know how accurate this list is because the first two games I did a search for (Wacko and Kozmik Krooz’r) were not listed. But there’s, what, 500 games here? Amazing.

Some guy complained about CAX over the weekend in Santa Clara on craigslist. Someone found it and posted it to KLOV. Here is what he said:

Goddamn 40-year old virgins with no lives clogged up all the toilets at the Hyatt Regency. I was in town with my family and there was an arcade/toy convention going on at the convention center. These overweight, bald, smelly, soup-stained t shirt wearing losers (who can’t let go of their childhood) stunk up the joint to high heaven. Puke in one john and another one was stopped up. The place smelled like dead horse, rotten fish and cotton candy. Sheesh, it made my 4 year old kid cry. He had to go real bad, but I didn’t want him to get tapeworm. So, we rushed over to the Chinese restaurant across the street. My advice? Avoid this area of town when these jokers are in town.

No offense to anyone that might be offended by this, but this guy is an enormous vagina.

There is a convention every weekend at the Hyatt. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED there would be one this weekend, too? Maybe if he had a fourth-grader’s understanding of what goes on at big hotels in California, his monocle wouldn’t have popped out of his head.

I’ll guarantee you this piece of soft serve will be similarly shocked if he takes his ugly family to Las Vegas some day. “People were trying to give us ads for hookers everywhere we walked! I am outraged!”

Lastly, if his kid is in TEARS throwing a tantrum when brought into public then this idiot has bigger problems than a clogged toilet. Dude is raising a hysterical sociopath.

To me, it sounds like the guy is frustrated that he is raising someone less equipped to enter society than he is, so he’s dealing with it in the most manly way he knows how: by posting anonymously to craigslist. Nobody cares about the opinions of someone who seems like the fifth guy at a Warlords table.

All conventions will have some bad apples. At least with CAX it’s a person who is excited to head to the grand hall and play games rather than have people trying to get other attendees fired or trying to organize threesomes with speakers. There were definitely a couple people that fucking stunk but I’ve been to conventions that were waaaaaaaaaay worse. The lack of self-respect some people have is amazing – wash everything before going. Never wear something twice. Separate used clothes and fresh ones. Shower every day and night. Every time you go back to the hotel, re-apply deodorant. CAX has the potential to be worse than E3 or PAX because of the sheer heat the arcade games give off, which is more than an equivalent number of computers at E3. It’s a problem that has been going on for ages, though, so it’s never gonna be fixed.

There was one row of games that were prototypes. You start to figure out why some games didn’t make it. “Marble Man” is a sequel to Marble Madness. Only there were two joysticks on the machine. A Marble Madness game with a joystick!! It played as horrible as you expect. Although my girlfriend said that she had three games for her NES as a kid and Marble Madness was one of them. She played that on a gamepad and still liked the game. I’m allowing for the possibility that a non-trackball version of Marble Madness could be good, but if she dumps me or something I am putting a strikethrough tag on this sentence.

Kozmik Krooz’r is a unique game that was present. Each person that brings a game gets some stickers to put their name on the marquee. They can also note if the game is for sale or not. The owner of Kozmik Krooz’r ran out of “not for sale” stickers, so he put a “for sale” one up with a preposterously high price. Well, he got contacted by an attendee saying that high price ($3500) was fine.

I am going to try to talk about why Krooz’r is so special. It is a sequel to Wacko. Wacko is the game where you are a green alien in a spaceship. (You have to shoot matching pairs of monsters.) Krooz’r gives you a joystick with a trigger and a dial that can also be pressed downwards. The dial moves the direction of where your ship’s gun points. Pressing the dial down activates the shield. The monitor on this thing is raised and virtually flat. You SORT of have to peer at the screen like you do in Battlezone, for lack of a better game to compare it to. There is also a reflected plastic spaceship in the cabinet that lights up and moves. It’s pretty creative, and it’s too bad that the gameplay consists of moving your guy in the ship around, shooting aliens and simply trying to get to the top of the screen. If this game had better gameplay it might be the “best” full package arcade game ever made.

Lastly, there was one very special touch. Someone made a little plaque that was placed on the cocktail Warlords table. It said, “Reserved for Ryan T. Davis.” Ryan was a founder of Giant Bomb and passed away a couple weeks ago. From context, I assume that the man loved Warlords, which makes him a great man as far as I am concerned. Rest in peace, sir.

Here is an album with some pics. I regret not bringing my real camera, so sorry for the shitty cell pics:

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Ice Cream Jonsey

Final Impressions: The Dark Spire (Nintendo DS)

After several ragequits and scrapped parties I finally beat this motherfucking cocksucking game. I’d like to say it’s because I’m so hardcore, but in truth over the last few years of playing my DS in public, even gfx-envelope-pushing games like Ninja Gaiden and Solatorobo, the Dark Spire was the only game that caused strangers to stop and say to me, “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but WHAT IS THAT GAME???” multiple times. So I felt obligated to beat the motherfucker.

Art-direction-wise this game gets a perfect 10/10 on the Fussbett Fable scale. It looks like a nightmare. The visuals are all bold colors against black, the camera angle is always a little “off” and even lowly goblins are drawn to look like nasty needle-toothed fuckers you would never want to meet without a baseball bat handy. These visuals wouldn’t look out of place in the movie suspiria. Etrian Odyssey 3 is almost completely superior in terms of gameplay, but that game sadly looks like anime faggot shit. The Dark Spire looks like a dangerous fucking place, the conquest of which would be a mighty achievement. No wonder it attracts so much attention.

Everything else is negative. All the worst parts of D&D RPG mechanics wedded to a “difficulty” that can be summed up as “the Random Number Generator says Fuck You.” Liberal use of the game’s ability to save anywhere is necessary to keep the frustration to a manageable level.

There’s a game-breaking exploit that will make the first 3 floors a breeze, relatively speaking. Only front-row heroes can be hit by melee attacks and if you set your formation to “heroic” only one character will be in the front row taking damage. Well in this game the characters are all naturally multi-classed and while wearing incompatible armor or weapons will stop you from casing spells, it doesn’t stop a character with 1 level in Thief from hiding in shadows. So if your single front-line fighter has a level in Thief and hides in shadows? Nobody takes his place, all the enemy attacks against him are cancelled, and next round all the melee-only enemies will only be able to defend.

Unfortunately the game fights back with its own bullshit: breath attacks. Spells can ruin your party or the enemy in one hit, so the game has a rule that if either you or the enemy get an ambush attack, nobody can cast spells that ambush round and destroy the other team before they can get at least some chance to fight back. Except breath attacks. They can be used in an ambush round, hit the entire party, never miss, and later in the game cause crippling status ailments, too. The true final level is crawling with such enemies and the only way I can beat them is to grind out a team of 4 wizard characters, then grind their dexterities to max for the initiative boost, and even then hope like hell the RNG doesn’t say “Fuck You.”

So I got the first 2 of 3 endings. The game makes all kinds of hay over the fact that the True Last boss is God. Commute or no commute am I going to do the grinding necessary to kill God? No.

Fuck this game. If you’re even slightly intrigued by the idea of playing a western-style RPG on the DS, get Etrian Odyssey 3 instead. Much better game, just doesn’t look unique.

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Mischief Maker

Deadpool: First Impressions

This game would hands down be improved by a DMC-style combo meter instead of the God of War type one. This would also imply that it had some cool dodging rather than using the dodge button to make fun of Arkham Asylum countering. Well that or it’s a simple joke, I guess it depends if you thought Arkham Asylum combat was a little dumb with all the countering or not.

The humor isn’t bad. Deadpool might have a case of the not gays, but it’s not really the main focus of the humor. Some idiot on reddit described it as “Too much Duke Nukem, not enough Bugs Bunny.” he is an idiot, however.

The controls are OK on keyboard. I tried it on a controller and felt like the trade-off of losing FPS aiming for less clunky swordplay wasn’t worth it. The constant switch between generic hack and slash and generic shooting is the best thing the game has going for it

Only 3 hours into it and I’m halfway through the third chapter so I’m guessing it ends up being 6 to 8 hours. Probably not quite worth 40 bucks, you can get it on gamefly for 31.99 with the code GFDJUN20, if you really want to take a look. It probably should be 30 bucks flat across everything.

I’m playing the game on the hardest difficulty, I always do this if a game has 3 difficulties until it gets too frustrating and I drop it down. It’s reasonably unforgiving but mostly because it feels like there isn’t a good answer to when enemies start shooting at you as you’re doing sword combat. You just have to shoot those guys first or melee fight somwhere else. Maybe upgrades fix that?

The whole upgrade system is probably a little unneeded it’s there but things feel too expensive mostly. I can’t imagine I’ll be fully upgraded by the end of the game, which is weird. Certain upgrades cost many times what weapons cost, so I guess the designer wanted me to unlock all weapons before upgrading my swords all the way?

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Let’s Not Play: The Humble Bundle

The Humble Bundle is a fantastic way to get a number of “indie” (well… sometimes they are indie) games at a low price. Or you can buy it at a high price – the Humble Bundle lets YOU choose. Surely, nobody could possibly be against this, right? Right? RIGHT?

Not so fucking fast. Here’s Worm to tell you why we shouldn’t play them.

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HGULAHGULA: Xbox One & Kinect

Thank you, Jerk City, for giving us the gift of HGLAHAGLUA

Watching contrarians try to spin this has been fun, because it’s really fucking hard to. There’s the tactic of saying what’s a negative is really a positive and ignoring all the other criticisms. Gizmodo, being a Gawker site, tries that approach.

Gamers who consider their core hard have always thought of Kinect as just some gimmick Wii-successor that they’d never use because true gamers use analog sticks or fight pads or morse code or something. And maybe the first Kinect was like that. The Kinect 2 on Xbox One? Completely different. It’s truly an extension of the controller without the constraints of a controller.

Because we all felt constrained by out analog sticks and morse code.

With Kinect, controlling the Xbox One is no longer limited by the number of static buttons on the controller. Imagine pointing at which enemy your AI partner should focus on. Or cycling immediately to your pistol or grenade with a quick hand gesture. Or motioning your troop to stop with a halt. Or cornering a turn in a driving game by leaning. Or calling for timeout in Madden like you would call for timeout in real life (okay, maybe that’s a gimmick). And that’s just what I thought of in 30 seconds. If you gave real game developers time? They’d blow away all the useless tricks we made fun of on the 360. We can’t judge Kinect today without wondering it will do for us tomorrow.

The only one he’ll acknowledge as a gimmick is the Madden example, which is a joke because the entire Madden franchise is one huge gimmick.

So don’t think of Kinect on the Xbox One as a Kinect you’d never use. And don’t think of the Xbox One controller as the only way of controlling things. That’s just needlessly limiting your view. They could stay different. They could become interchangeable. But they won’t exist without each other anymore. A Kinect is now a part of every Xbox controller. Is that really worse than slapping a trackpad onto every controller?

Yes, it fucking is. Christ, I bet most of the Gawker sites were pretending to care about the NSA scandal, but the internet has a consensus? We must forget all that and print some clickbait.

Yahtzee goes for the idea that everything sucks forever so who cares?

I worry we’ve all been focusing on Xbone too much lately, so quick reminder: the PS4 share button is bloody stupid and I hope Sony explodes

RPS is also confused as to why people are talking about this stuff, but they’re more too bored to be nihilistic. They’re so bored they can’t wait to tell you how much.

E3 2013 is in full swing, and – against all odds – it’s actually featured a few rather interesting developments. But there’s also been a lot of blah. And some bleh. And a whole, whole lot of yadda yadda yadda. I’m at the show, and I’ll have heaps more for you soon. For now, though, let’s start with the cream of the crop, the nextest of the future-gens.

Of course all the games listed are on PC/consoles, because only games that remain pure to the PC can be interesting. First comment?

roryok says:

this whole post seems like a big whinge.

Hahahaha. RPS has gotten to a point their commenters are telling them to fuck off.

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Jerry’s Top 10 Side-Scrollers, Chronological Order

1. Super Mario Bros. (NES, 1985) [EDITOR'S CHOICE: GOLD AWARD]

SMB is the best because it’s the purest. All subsequent Mario games would dumb down the physics to one extent or another, giving you more control over Mario after he was already in the air. But that would neuter this game, a laser-focused left-to-right (you can’t even scroll the screen backwards) momentum-based action game built around mastering the run and jump maneuver to make Mario land exactly where you need him to. To this day, it’s the Mario that’s most like a pinball table. The version in Super Mario All-Stars is still pretty fun, and it’s how I finally played The Lost Levels (which I ended up enjoying way more than Super Mario Bros. 2 USA), but they changed the way Mario bounces after smashing a brick, making everything slower and floatier and at least 25% less like pinball. Criminal!

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Paul Robinson Presents: Orgeenic Can Suck Tdarcos’s Sack


A hearty, sincere thank-you to TDARCOS for this amazing original content. We all enjoy the cooking videos.

Would you like to join the conversation? Join the conversation! Right here in the comments.

Commander Tansin A. Darcos

Let’s Not Not Play: Shadow Warrior Reboot

I remember playing Shadow Warrior when it was a new release – the Build engine really was incredible. There’s a few sites that talk about what sort of games made them the waste of space gamer they are today. Man, the Build engine really had an effect on me. Okay, we all laughed at TekWar, but if I remember correctly, we were hit up with Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood and Redneck Ramage. How many engines are capable of four games like that? Okay, plenty of them, but still. What a great series of games.

Unless you’re part of the fists-against-eyes offenderati, I mean. Worm explains. But let’s not not play the Shadow Warrior reboot!

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