I've noticed a trend lately and it is really starting to upset me. Actually that’s being nice about it. I don’t want to be nice about it. I am starting to get pissed off! Co-op games, and in particular those that allow for single console co-op are being hunted and killed. There are a number of games that say they support single console co-op but there is only a handful that do it right. The Halo franchise, Borderlands 1 & 2 and Diablo III are shining examples of how to do co-op properly. these games shine at co-op play online and on single console couch. They also will allow you to do both at the same time! I shouldn’t be shocked by that but sadly I am.
Back in the good old days
I grew up with consoles but turned to PC gaming and online play with Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D and endless sessions of Warcraft II over a 56k modem. That changed in 2001 when a buddy of mine bought an Xbox. He invited a couple of us over for game night and we played Halo on 4-player co-op. The next day I bought the game and the console and we rotated our game nights. We had lan parties and death matches but the most fun we had was when we were working as a team against the Covenant on legendary.
With the advent of Xbox Live, online gaming exploded into the console world. Even so, Mrs. Soup and I spent hours playing Baldur’s Gate and other RPG/ Hack and Slash games together. Halo 2 changed that. Co-op was still supported but we didn’t have to leave our houses. That actually worked well for me at the time as we were expecting our second Souplet at the time. Staying at home with the first and a very prego Mrs. Soup while still being able to play with my friends worked out very well.
However I would single out that the success of Halo 2 and Xbox Live meant that it became harder and harder to find good games that Mrs. Soup and I could play at home or that friends could play co-op online. The focus turned from gaming together to online deathmatch and all of it’s iterations.
That is where I come from in terms of co-op, and likely many of you had some of the same experiences. What is really pissing me off is that for those games that could benefit from it, same couch co-op seems to be a complete afterthought (if it is actually there) and punishes those people who play with you. I now have a family of four that loves to play games and we love to play together as a family. Our choices of games to do that is an increasingly short list but worse yet is a trend that actually deters people from doing so. I will give you some examples.
Disney Infinity, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Rayman Legends, Child of Light and Disney Universe have one single fatal flaw. Whoever starts the game is the ONLY one who gets recognition for playing the game. The other players don’t get any achievements or trophies. I still have fun, but I feel cheated in the end. If I am doing the same thing my 8 year old daughter is doing and I hear that little bock sound I expect both of us to get the achievement.
Sadly, not one of those games recognizes that. PvZ:GW comes right out and says it. The player playing with me is a guest and gets no recognition. When it’s me and my 11 year-old playing and I am the one holding up the team, she gets the achievement. WTF!?!? You know what PvZ:GW? Fuck you! Am I being greedy? Selfish? Admittedly, yes, but I am also a believer of credit when credit is due. When they hand out team medals they don’t pick one player at random to get the medal. Each player on the TEAM gets a medal in recognition of their combined effort. You could argue that there is only one Stanley Cup, Super Bowl or Grey Cup and you would be right. However, you failed to remember that each player on the team gets a ring and likely a healthy sum of cash to go along with it.
New Super Mario Bros Wii, Rayman Legends, Little Big Planet and Disney Universe also like to punish the weak and slow, or those that are helping the weak and slow. If the one person goes too far ahead, the people behind either turn into bubbles or die. In NSMB and RL, if everyone is in a bubble the level starts over. This usually ends our fun family time with tears and yelling. Awesome...so awesome. My oldest daughter used to race for the end of the level while my youngest would have trouble navigating some of the obstacles. This devolved into at least one in a bubble yelling at the other to stop or if we went back to help that meant we likely ended up in a bubble only to watch helplessly as we die. Now everyone under the age of 12 is in tears and those over 12 are frustrated as fuck! Well done game designers! Well fucking done!
What’s Your Definition of “Design”?
From a game design standpoint I understand you need an element of expediency to push the player through the level. However, if you are making an E for everyone or E10 game keep that audience in mind! Pushing a player through a level works when you have a game that is built for the more seasoned players. When the game is designed for kids why punish them and in turn their parents? Here is a tip. When I watch my kids play sometimes they could give two shits about getting to the end of the level but would rather screw around and see what they can do...or as some may call it...play!
Neither the lack of recognition nor the “if you’re too slow you die” rule are fun. Can you hear me UbiSoft? EA? Nintendo? games in general should be FUN! Co-op games should be fun and rewarding for each player not a big ol’ F.U to the face when you work together to bring down the final boss! This latest trend is killing the fun and killing House of Soup co-op night. Sadly I find these games are at their best as single player. I don’t have to endure yelling or tears because someone missed their jump and is now dead. I don’t have to endure my or others disappointment that they didn’t get the achievement or trophy. I am master of my own destiny.
Problem is, that gets lonely after a while.
We’ve all spent countless hours shooting the shit out of each other with shotguns, miniguns, assault rifles, pistols, BARs, DMRs, SMGs, and RPGs. Lah de fucking dah. Sometimes a developer has to go sci-fi, surreal, or just fucking weird to deliver a unique trigger squeezer. The criteria for this list is that the weapon must be a gun, it must be unique, and, above all, it must be cool.
10. Demon Laser: Doom 64
The Demon Laser has only appeared in the Doom crafted for the Nintendo 64, and resembles a red biomechanical demon phallus with a trigger. The Demon Laser can be upgraded, using demon artifacts, to shoot three lasers at once, capable of taking down a Cyberdemon in mere seconds. BFG...big fucking deal: the Demon Laser is the only Doom weapon with Satan’s personal seal of approval.
9. Fat Man: Fallout Series
Bethesda upped the arsenal when they took control of the Fallout series and turned it into a FPS/RPG, providing players with an array of conventional firearms and more than a few futuristic goodies, like laser and plasma weapons. However, nothing quite matches the firepower and awesome destructive bliss of a Fat Man and a sackful of Mini-Nukes. When absolutely everyone has to die, nothing matches the crowd pleasing destructiveness of this mushroom cloud laying hand catapult. Don’t leave the vault without it.
8. Radar Range: Bioshock Infinite
During the Burial at Sea DLC for Bioshock Infinite, players get the chance to harness the power of a microwave oven in gun form: just point and cook. Those unfortunate to be on the receiving end of the Radar Range are briefly cooked then turned into a living bomb, taking out any baddies unlucky enough to be in the blast radius. As an added bonus, the radar range is fairly efficient with ammunition, so feel free to share the warmth.
7. Dubstep Gun: Saints Row IV
Why drop the hammer when you can drop the bass instead? The crowd pleasing Dubstep Gun incapacitates entire blocks at a time, giving President Sarcasmo Jones a little elbow room when aliens and rival gangs try to crowd the man. Warning: Dubstep has no effect on giant energy drinks.
6. FarSight XR-20: Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark, on the N64, contained a fair share of unique weapons, like auto-aiming SMGs and a Laptop Gun that doubled as a protective turret. However, the weapon of choice for those seeking the ultimate dick move in deathmatch was the FarSight XR-20: a railgun that could shoot through any obstacle. Not only could this weapon shoot through walls, it had an x-ray scope, which allowed assholes to kill you all the way across the map, regardless of how many walls stood between you and the perpetrator. Kill em quick and don’t let them reach a camping spot.
5. RYNO V: Ratchet & Clank- A Crack in Time
The Ratchet & Clank series is famous for its batshit-crazy guns, but the RYNO V is the batshittiest gun in the series. Is batshittiest even a word? Who cares. Imagine a gun, comprised of two overlapping gatling barrels that fires rockets from a center barrel to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture: that is the RYNO V. Nothing kills like a classic.
4. Portal Gun: Portal/ Portal 2
Guns are generally simple things to operate: point it, squeeze the trigger, and something dies. Yeah, the Portal Gun doesn’t do that. The good folks at Aperture Science have developed a gun that creates dimensional doors. Create an entrance, then create an exit. How hard could it be?
3. Shrink Ray: Duke Nukem Series
Duke had all the cool shit: chain guns, SMGs, heat guns, freeze rays, but the best gun in the game shrunk even the mightiest foe down to rodent size. The effect was, of course, temporary, but gave you enough time to Duke stomp them into oblivion. Make sure you keep the safety on when not in use...you do not want this one going off in your pocket.
2. The Gravity Gun: Half Life 2
This is Valve’s second entry on the coolest guns list, and the Gravity Gun is one of the coolest. The gun emits a beam that allows the player to hold and project almost any object in the game: explosive barrels, humans, circular saw blades, whatever. The Gravity Gun requires no ammo, so it’s always there for you. Players pick this one up right before heading into Ravenholm, and I can’t imagine going there without it. Okay, you can call it the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator if you really, really want to.
1. Cerebral Bore: Turok 2- Seeds of Evil
Before the series self destructed in the reboot, Turok was one of the better game franchises. The dinosaurs were especially problematic, until players got their hands on the mighty Cerebral Bore. Part explosive, part Phantasm Ball, the Cerebral Bore fired heat seeking ammunition that drilled into the victim’s brain, ejecting blood, gore, and brain matter out of the entry wound. Once the bore ran out of grey matter to pump out, it exploded, taking most of the head off in the explosion: extra special fun in deathmatch. Turok 2 may have had some of the shittiest cutscenes in gaming, but the Cerebral Bore more than makes up for that. Drill, baby, drill!
Fellow gamers, we have all bought into the hype on a particular title at one time or another, only to be disappointed by the game once we actually started playing it. Aliens: Colonial Marines is a good example of a highly anticipated turd, GTA IV was way overrated, and I personally shelled out eighty bucks for the Duke Nukem Forever: Balls of Steel Edition... it happens to the best of us. Titanfall is another game that, despite its “believe the hype” ad campaign, wasn’t worth all the drooling and nipple twisting over screenshots and trailers. Titanfall does not live up to to the hype.
Where’s The Rest of the Game?
Many developers have received criticism for releasing a game with only single player content. Even 2K was slammed for the lack of multiplayer in Bioshock Infinite, despite the fact that the multiplayer side of Bioshock 2 was a bit on the blah side. If a single player experience is only half of a game, why would gamers be satisfied with only the other half of a game?
Very few games are able to balance the MP vs SP experience. Concentrate on a compelling single player campaign and the multiplayer suffers. Great multiplayer games generally feature shallow, abbreviated single player experiences. I would have enjoyed Titanfall more if I didn’t have to play it with other people every fucking time I wanted to play it.
Hey, Let’s Gang Up on Sarcasmo!
The lack of any type of single player means a trial by fire in online lobbies. I’m no slouch at shooters, but getting my ass handed to me on every single match tended to devalue my Titanfall experience. Inevitably, I would be paired up with people who were just as shitty as me or with dickheads who quit two minutes into the match, leaving me and some eight year old to fend off a cohesive clan of veterans. The learning curve is appallingly steep and there is no place to get better at the game without the humiliation of being serially executed in public. I was on the losing side of every single match and never even made it to an evacuation point. Fucking backshooters.
Titanfall could benefit from a rating system that paired players with opponents of similar skill and experience. Let the noobs fumble around until they get their bearings, then upgrade them to the next tier.
You Call That a Campaign?
In lieu of a single player campaign, Respawn has provided a multiplayer campaign experience. I played the campaign, as both Militia and IMC, and still don’t know what the fuck happened. There were two guys chattering over the radio, but I’m pretty sure one of them was already dead. Maybe he was just playing dead. Didn’t he die again later near the end? I’m pretty sure they knew each other but it was kind of hard to tell with all that dying going on. That guy died nearly as much as I did. I would have expected to have a better understanding of what happened by the end of the game, especially since I completed both campaigns. So much for the art of storytelling.
I had the same problem with Titanfall that I experienced during my Crysis 3 playthrough: there was just too much shit for me to remember. I thought I had it all down, but during the course of the campaign I forgot how to do that jetpack wall thing and how to change grenade types. I never really knew when to use burn cards and had trouble differentiating between friend and foe titans at close range. I wasn’t real sure how to capture one of the building things: was I supposed to just guard it for a while or something? There were computers there and some guy yelling at me over the radio. Was I supposed to hack it? Fuck it.
Is Titanfall Really That Groundbreaking?
What innovations doesTitanfall bring to the genre? The non-existent plot thing has been done. There have been other mech games. I’ve been shot to death in other online shooters. The cloak thing has been done. Sonic had a wall run thing, and he did it faster. Metal Gear and Fallout had people babbling over a radio, so that’s been done. I guess the only new thing I can think of is being able to eject from your Titan. Yeah, that was worth sixty bucks.
Titanfall is an immensely popular game right now, but I cannot see folks playing it for years like Halo or other shooter games. It’s lopsided, it’s short on environments, and provides a very weak case for continuing to play other than just shooting shit. If the game hadn’t launched when it did, it would have found itself struggling against some more formidable competition, and Respawn should be thanking the gaming gods for the "rush to gold" tactics of Battlefield and CoD Ghosts, and their disastrous launches. I’ve played all three games, and I’m still waiting for the must have shooter of the Xbox One generation: Titanfall ain’t it.
The gaming landscape is peppered with with moments and images that will stay with us for a very long time. Few gamers who have played the original Bioshock can forget seeing Rapture for the very first time. MW2 gamers who chose not to skip the Terminal sequence were treated to an event not easily forgotten.
While some of these pieces of games are memorable pieces of digitized art, some hit the nostalgia button, and others are just standout moments: the greatest hits of a lifetime of gaming, none of that shit has anything to do with this list. The “Oh Shit” list is the moment when gamers realized that the situation was much more dire than previously estimated. These are the moments when we realized that we may have been in way over our heads, but kept playing anyway.
Warning, this article contains spoilers.
10. Tomb Raider: Shantytown
Just over a year ago, Crystal Dynamics rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise, forever changing our perspective of Lara Croft. In an effort to save her friends, Lara attempts to cross a powerful river, but is swept away. After a deadly swim down the rapids and impromptu parachute ride, Lara lands at the entrance of a makeshift village, in need of medical attention. Not only does this sprawling complex house two separate tombs, but the main force of bad guy island dudes is armed, waiting, and ready for business. Lara is low on ammo by this point in the game, and must singlehandedly fight a war against an army of psychos in order to make a high-altitude escape from the town. Shantytown is jarring, disorienting, and nearly hopeless; if you cleared this level with your controller intact then the rest of the game is yours for the taking. Kudos, amigo.
9. Metro 2033: Fresh Air
Living in Moscow’s Metro subway system can be a difficult experience. The entire game is a mix of over the top difficulty and a disastrous organic interface that, for me, resulted in a broken controller and subsequent disc fling. But that is nothing compared to when those doors open topside and the protagonist wanders into the poisoned air of the ruined city. The player is forced to wear a gasmask, which means that you can’t see shit. This is unfortunate because the water is toxic, the animals are aggressive and mutated, and the air filters have a very limited life span. In Metro 2033, going outside meant that I was out of the game and short one controller.
8. Forza Motorsport: Fujimi Kaido
Turn 10 has presented racers with some challenging tracks over the span of 5 games (no, Horizon still doesn’t fucking count) but nothing compares to the drifter’s paradise of Fujimi Kaido. Players are first introduced to this metal-bending peak of despair in the original Forza, early in their career, during a race against AI drivers in AWD Evos and a Tommy Kaira Scooby, who promptly left you behind with treadmarks on your nutsack and a bruised ego. Fujimi Kaido challenged players to upgrade their ride and tuning abilities or go back and play in the sandbox with the rest of the shitty drivers. The mountain returned in Forza 3 and 4, but was no longer the career hurdle that it was in the first game.
7. Skyrim: The Western Watchtower
The protagonist, the Mighty Sarcasmo Fjones, meets his first dragon in the opening minutes of Skyrim. However, the first actual dragon battle occurs later in the game. The Dragonborn has just presented Balgruuf, Jarl of Whiterun, with physical evidence of his success in raiding his first tomb, when some dipshit guard rushes in to whine about a dragon attack on a tower just west of Whiterun. The Dragonborn follows a rather bitchy Dark Elf, named Irileth, and a complement of guards, to the tower to slay the dragon. Clever gamers will save at the rendezvous point before investigating the scene, because the Dragonborn is short on weapons and abilities at this point in the game, and has yet to receive his first shout. It is at this precise point in the game when the player realizes that iron arrows don’t do shit against dragons. Good luck, amigo.
6. Far Cry 3- Blood Dragon: Here There Be Dragons
Rex “Power” Colt regains consciousness in a cave on an island after losing a battle with his former commander. As Rex approaches the exit to the cave, an avalanche of gore pours down the mouth of the cave. Rex expresses his dismay and looks up to behold what appears to be a T-Rex munching on a human. That’s no T-Rex amigo, that’s a blood dragon: a huge lizard that shoots lasers from its eyes. The good news is that they possess very poor eyesight. The bad news is that they are everywhere and consider Mark IV Cyber Commandos a delicacy. It’s probably a good idea to stay out of their way.
5. Dark Souls: The Asylum Demon
Dark Souls has earned the respect of the gaming community for its apparent disdain for the people who play it. The game’s incredible difficulty is showcased in the tutorial level, forcing a player to combat a giant demon almost immediately...and it only gets harder from there. You will die, and die often, but this is why you play. I gave up on Dark Souls, but I’ll never forget that giant son of a bitch guarding the asylum exit.
4. Bioshock Infinite: The Handyman
Columbia’s Fair gives Booker DeWitt a preview of things to come later in the game. There’s a carnival game booth with a Vox Populi shooting booth, another booth displays the attributes of the Bucking Bronco tonic, and there is a Handyman on full display. The Handyman is a hulking mechanical man with an organic heart, huge porcelain hands, and a whole lot of fight. The “oh shit” moment occurs while Booker is in pursuit of Elizabeth, after losing her trust. The Handyman beats the shit out of Booker and knocks him off the city, leaving him to plummet to his death. Reminiscent of the Big Sister introduction in Bioshock 2, the Handyman seems to be an unbeatable character that you have to put down anyway. He’s big, he’s bad, and he’s surprisingly fast and agile. The heart is the Achilles Heel of this biomechanical menace, but its glass casing is only about the size of a tea saucer. Good luck putting that big bastard to bed on the 1999 difficulty setting.
3. Dead Space 3: Belly of the Nexus
Isaac Clarke’s third installment of “Fun With Necromorphs” delivers the biggest “oh shit” moment of the series when Isaac must go inside a titanic necromorph to drive sensors into the beast’s synaptic clusters in order to locate some machines and end the necromorph menace. The beastie is thought to be “quite dead” but it starts moving anyway...oh shit! Isaac escapes and the necromorph wanders off, but I wonder if he will have to fight that thing later. I’ll ask my Magic 8-Ball. Signs point to yes.
2. Mortal Kombat: Raiden vs Shao Khan
The single player campaign in the Mortal Kombat reboot is nefariously difficult, often pitting the player in unfair fights or against multiple opponents. However, Raiden’s fight against Shao Khan after the third tournament is one of the biggest WTF moments in gaming. Not only is Shao Khan ridiculously overpowered, Raiden’s attacks do little or no damage to the blatant cheater from the Netherrealm. Khan will beat you with his hammer, taunt you, and kill you repeatedly...and there’s nothing you can do about it. This fight is a kick in the crotch, quickly followed by despair. Keep your distance and hit him when he starts his taunt animation for any chance at winning. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.
1. Fallout 3: Welcome to Old Olney
At some point during Fallout 3, the player will be tasked with retrieving a Tesla Coil from the defunct power station in Old Olney. What the player is not told is that Old Olney is a city of Deathclaws who have taken a stab at urban life and thrived. Deathclaws inhabit every building, patrol the streets, and infest the sewers. Strolling into Old Olney is a death sentence: you will need a tactical, preferably stealthy, approach. Never, under any circumstance, fast travel directly into Deathclaw City. It’s worth the walk to strategically plan your ingress. Old Olney has to be seen to be believed.
This list is, of course, only one opinion. If you disagree with any game on this list, or feel that I have neglected to mention your favorite moment, feel free to leave a comment. We dig feedback from our readers.
The Xbox 360 is an amazing machine. I watched movies on it, used it to share achievements to Facebook, communicated with friends across the world over XBL, bought and played games without having to leave the house, watched other people play games, accessed YouTube, and even used it to surf the interwebz. I kept it clean, maintained it, and added parts to soup it up. Now I have a new machine in the man cave, and I feel like I parked a brand new Corvette next to my old Camaro. My new machine does more, looks better, and outperforms the old machine in almost every way. However, I am not ready to put my 360 up for sale or cart it off to storage just yet. The old girl still has plenty of life in her, but her relevance is waning and she is no longer the Queen of the Streets. So to honor the achievements of my beloved Camaro I invite you, dear reader, to sit shotgun as I take a drive to some of my favorite places that the 360 has taken me. These are the 10 games that, for me, defined the Xbox 360.
I led my silent protagonist into an underwater Ayn Rand dystopia, met a nice fellow with an Irish brogue and a family in peril, got juiced up on some plasmids, and made my way to the medical center of Rapture where I came face to face with my first Big Daddy. After I dispatched the big guy I was presented with a moral choice about the fate of his Little Sister: harvest the girl for her Adam, destroying her in the process, or cure the girl, receiving only a drop of the stuff in return. The nice man on the radio urged me to harvest her and assured me that the Adam would be necessary to save his family and escape the city. There was also a lady German doctor who reminded me of the girl’s humanity and ultimate importance. Although I have happily played the villain in numerous games, I could not bring myself to destroy the squirming, dirty little girl that I held firmly in my grasp, and found that the paltry drop of Adam was enough to get me by.
As I progressed through the game, I spliced away my humanity one shot at a time until I became the most terrible thing in Rapture: the deadliest Big Daddy of them all. In Andrew Ryan’s underwater paradise, no one is who I thought they were, even me. Especially me.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Infinity Ward dropped this bombshell of an online military shooter back in 2007, and it is now considered to be the FPS archetype that almost every modern shooter patterns itself after. Modern Warfare innovated the killstreak, airstrike, cover and heal, multiplayer XP, and the three position stance. I would like to say that it changed the way that online teams worked together to accomplish a common goal, but the backstabbing bitches willing to fuck their team over for a better K/D ratio was much more prevalent. This is also the game that introduced the word “camper” into our modern vernacular: we had them before, we just didn’t have a name for it.
This is the game that convinced me that online multiplayer shooters were not for me: I had a hard time differentiating friend from foe, I died a lot, I was laughed at, and I was cussed at by thirteen year old punks. Nothing tests my patience and temper more than being called a “faggot cunt ni**er” by some kid who hasn’t had his first shave yet. However, I was very good at the single player campaign, which in turn helped my foul-mouthed preteen son destroy campers and confused dads like me. Iconic moments such as the shootout at an abandoned Russian amusement park and getting nuked to death are standouts in a game that excelled both in online gameplay and single player satisfaction.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Although Skyrim is the fifth game in the series, Bethesda’s glitch-riddled masterpiece stands out as the very best. Focusing more heavily on player choices than Morrowind or Oblivion, players could choose to be the good guy, the bad guy, or the very bad guy. Playable beast classes, like the Khajit and Argonians, were able to utilize the same armor used by humanoids, dual-wielding was improved, and there were fucking dragons. Dragons, I said!
Skyrim added powerful shouts, obtained from the souls of vanquished dragons, to an impressive arsenal of weapons and magic to transform the Mighty Sarcasmo Fjones into the most formidable hero, or villain, ever to ply his trade in the land of ice and snow. The opportunity to become either a werewolf or a vampire was an added bonus, and the two excellent DLCs were icing on the Cake of Awesomeness. For those of you counting DLCs, Hearthfire doesn’t count, and if you bought it after reading my review then I cannot be responsible for you pissing away your money. Jackass.
Fans of the original Fallout games cried foul when Bethesda whipped out this action RPG, casting players into the postapocalyptic Capital Wasteland, until they actually played it. The Wasteland is an inhospitable place for the vault-dweller looking for Daddy, voiced in epic fashion by Liam Neeson, and is full of radioactive hotspots, irradiated food and water, mutants, Deathclaws, psychopathic raiders, ghouls, slavers, and dangerous robots: no place was truly safe.
In typical Bethesda fashion, players were rewarded for being good, bad, or Switzerland, which encouraged me to play through the game multiple times. I mini nuked a Behemoth Super Mutant into dust, cured a suburb of its fire ant infestation, collected all the bobbleheads, met a talking tree named Bob, followed Liberty Prime into battle at the Jefferson Memorial, and killed President John Henry Eden. Yeah, I’m a badass. The four DLCs were all fulfilling expansions to an already awesome game that I still play from time to time. Don’t forget to visit me at my house in Old Olney.
My first introduction to this hidden gem of a game occured after I completed the Half-Life 2 content in the Orange Box. I gave Team Fortress a cursory look, then turned my attention to the silent protagonist, Chell. What seemed like a kid’s game at first very quickly morphed into something both dark and addictive. Since Chell has no voice of her own in the game, the lone voice of the increasingly malevolent GLaDOS, voiced by Ellen McLain, sets a perfect atmosphere of isolation and imminent mortal peril inside the Aperture Life Enrichment Center.
The game almost perfectly progresses the difficulty of each test, which you must pass if you want to continue living, because GLaDOS wants you to fail...and then kill you. Armed with my portal gun, I was able to push through with the help of my trusty sidekick, companion cube, and the promise of cake. Portal 2 would have also been a great game, if Wheatley hadn’t ruined it. Fuck you, Wheatley, I hate you.
If I were to number the games on this list, which I intentionally neglected to do, Forza 3 would be number one. This is the game that brought me to 2old2play, so naturally it is particularly important to me. So if you’re one of the folks who doesn’t like me, this is the game to blame. It is a magical game steeped in the land before AWD was nerfed, Positano was a particularly long and challenging road track, Camino Viejo was extreme in reverse, and Fujimi Kaido came back in a big way.
This is the game where I discovered the 2old4forza clan. These guys taught me how to tune, made me faster on the track, and taught me humility. I was ranked in the top 50 on the Forza leaderboards when I joined 2o4f, but I wasn’t even close to being as fast as these guys. I made friends with some of the fastest virtual racers all over the world, and we’re still friends today. I’m sure most of the folks here at 2old2play have a similar story to tell about their clan and drug of choice. My drug is Forza, and there are a lot of Forza addicts running around this site. It must be good shit.
I am not a Halo fan. I played through the first two games on the original Xbox and had enough. I played the third installment some time after I finally acquired a 360, and only played about fifteen minutes before I decided I didn’t like it and traded it in for Mercenaries 2. However, the importance of this game, in particular, cannot be denied, especially since it happens to be the game responsible for the genesis of 2old2play.
I eventually played Reach on my own accord, and hastily purchased Halo 4 at a Gamestop in Schaumburg at the last LAN, with the intention of playing it at the LAN, but being lost and hopelessly outgunned I hid Master Chief in my gym bag and went back to Forza 4 and deep dish pizza. I love this site, and most of the people here, but Halo 3 is not one of my favorite games.
The Walking Dead
The television show was a hit, so naturally a game based on the show would be a hit, right? Nope, but the game based on the source material was surprisingly deep, emotionally touching, and terrible to behold all at the same time. My time with Lee, Clementine, and Kenny forced me to make some hard choices. Would I save a man trapped under a tractor instead of the annoying child who caused the accident? Yep. Would I allow Clementine’s friend to fall to his death to give Kenny some closure over the death of his family? Yep. Would I abandon an ally in the zombie-infested darkness over a fatal misunderstanding? I’m afraid so. I hope you packed some running shoes, bitch.
Telltale Games delivered on a zombie game that, on paper, shouldn’t have worked. The game looks like a comic book and isn’t exactly chock full of zombie headshot action. The Walking Dead compelled me to look around and interact with the other survivors of the zombie apocalypse. It was a game where the murderer could be the hero, where a little girl could survive and be as lethal as any adult, and a game that taught me that any old slab of meat on a plate wasn’t necessarily food. The Walking Dead gave me very little time to make some hard choices that carried consequences for the rest of the game, and then told me what kind of guy I was at the end of each episode. Thanks Telltale, I already knew I was a dick.
Mass Effect Trilogy
Yeah, I know the ending was a huge kick in the crotch to Mass Effect fans all over the world, but the original Star Wars trilogy has a shitty ending too and I still like the movies...fucking Ewoks. Anyway, there are no Ewoks in Mass Effect, but there is a whole lot of heroic action RPG goodness. I liked Commander Shepard, and whether you started as a guy or FemShep, your reputation in the ME universe was legendary. I liked the fact that Mass Effect 2 and 3 remembered that I played the game before, and carefully omitted the folks that were killed because of my actions in the previous games. It made Mass Effect more personal to me, and I redoubled my efforts to keep everyone alive on every mission. Voice acting from Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer as the two Shepards, Lance Henrickson, Martin Sheen, Keith David, and Seth Green delivered a familiar authenticity to the folks trying to save the universe from extinction. Does anyone else think that Garrus could have been an awesome protagonist?
I felt like I always had my hands full playing this game. I was dealing with Reapers, fulfilling my Spectre duties, punching reporters, keeping morale high on the Normandy, trying to finish off the Geck, deciding the fate of other races, dealing with political squabbling, and doing my best to insure humanity’s place on The Citadel was deserved. Never a dull moment, never a lull in the action, and rarely have I had more fun playing video games.
Assassin’s Creed II
There was nothing wrong with the first Assassin’s Creed, aside from the fact that Altair was an unlikeable dick and every environment was a dreary shit hole. Assassin’s Creed II greatly improved upon both issues: I thought Ezio was charismatic and fun to play as, and the Italian cities he worked in were both beautiful and (mostly) historically accurate. Florence and Venice lent themselves to video games quite nicely, and the inclusion of historical figures, like Leonardo DaVinci, only made the game more appealing.
Scouring the tombs of my assassin predecessors, stalking the Venice street festival, and the ambush at the ruins stand out as classic AC II moments, and some of the very best in the series. Although the difficulty bar may have been set a little high for a sim racer like me, I did eventually finish the game, which is more than I can say for Connor’s stab (see what I did there?) at Assassin glory. If you missed out on this one while it was free on XBL Games With Gold, then you missed a milestone in gaming history.
Grand Theft Auto V
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Keep in mind that this list is just one gamer’s opinion. If you think a game doesn’t belong here or I committed some sort of injustice by not including your personal benchmark 360 game, let me have it in the comments, amigo!
All games have characters. It’s pretty much the one unifying trait of every videogame ever made. Some are as utilitarian as Doom’s space marine, whose soul expressive outlet was the occasional grunt or scream. Others are damn near fully realized humans with realistic personalities and intriguing stories and lives, such as John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. Boring or entertaining, fully-formed our merely a bare outline, most characters serve the singular purpose of putting you, the player, into the game. They’re there to give you a more enjoyable experience.
Then you have the occasional character that is so messed up, so freaky and disturbing, that they leave you with no proper response other than to pause the game, step back and ask “What the fuck did I just see?”. These are a few of those characters. As always, this list simply reflects my own opinion. If you disagree or want to put in your own example, then get to posting in the responses.
5: King Hippo (Punch Out & Mike Tyson’s Punchout)
Both the original Punch Out! and its ear-bitingly rebranded follow up are full of insanely cartoonish, stereotypical characters. All of them, however, make sense as boxers. You have lightweights (Glass Joe), middleweights (Great Tiger) and the heavyweights (Bald Bull). Then you have the “whafuk” weight class. King Hippo can jump around the ring like he’s on a pogo stick, but is unable to shift his massive bulk up from the canvas when knocked down even once. Also, while punches to the mouth have no effect on him, a quick jab to the gut has him pissing blood for a month.
We should all be eternally grateful, by the way, that the Punch Out! games have been relegated to 8 and 16 bit systems or cartoony Wii games. I shudder to think what King Hippo’s moobs would look like flopping around in the uber-realistic graphics engine of the Fight Night games. Hell, I still have occasional nightmares about his big mushroom nipples in the Captain N cartoon. How that got by network censors defies reasonable consideration.
4: Shade (Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlet’s Pirate Booty DLC)
Shade is a supremely messed up man. He lives in a dried up, desert, ghost town, and his only companions are a surly shopkeep who won’t even talk to you unless you have some seraph crystals and five corpses. Corpses that Shade has wired up with speakers that spout out creepy one-liners that were recorded in barely altered voices, and tied up into poses, making them into gruesome mannequins being used as characters in a one-man play. It also doesn’t help that Shade looks like the Joker if he were on his way to a Hunter S. Thompson convention.
3: King Of The Cosmos (Katamari Damacy) & Captain Kabuki (Jumping Flash! 2)
I put these two characters together at number 3 because they are, essentially, one and the same. They’re both gigantic, bothe have over-sized faces with the unsettling, pouty of a serial killer whose newest victim just learned the rule about the lotion and the basket, both are mystic creatures who live in deep space and both wear disturbingly tight unitards. Captain Kabuki’s game may have come out nearly a decade before his majesty’s, but I’d be willing to bet that they graduated in the same class at Creepy Bastard Academy.
2: The Entire Cast Of The Cho Aniki Series
I don’t pretend to be an authority on Japanese culture and art, but videogames have taught me that subtlety doesn’t seem to be a requirement in Japanese storytelling. I’m not saying that American games, movies and television are beacons of low-key entertainment (if that were so, the entire Wayans family would be homeless), but while an American TV show might have a character run on screen and scream “A shark just ate Uncle Joe!”, on a Japanese show that same line would be delivered by a grown man, who’s wearing a diaper, that’s riding a dragon that shits gold coins. Also, the shark would only eat Uncle Joe after it had finished raping him with its many tentacles. Tentacles which ejaculated rainbows.
What I’m trying to say is that, in Japan, if you want to make a point, you have to make it clear enough that Helen Keller couldn’t fail to get the message. Therefore, to portray someone as being homosexual, you have to make them the gayest person that has ever existed (search for “Super Gay” on YouTube for a prime example). They have to be so over the top gay that the cast of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy would be tempted to seek membership in the Westboro Baptist Church after being exposed to them.
Enter the cast of the Cho Aniki. Rather than try to describe them, I’ll just show you.
1: Tingle (The Legend Of Zelda Series)
Ahh, Tingle. Volumes could be written chronicling the night terrors that this guy has inspired. Tingle first appeared in The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where he fawned over Link’s “fairy” clothes and expressed his desire to find his own fairy and live like the “fairy people”. He reappeared in The legend Of Zelda: The Windwaker. This time he had apparently enslaved several men, whom he forced to dress like he does and work at his map-making light house. After being rescued from prison by Link, Tingle proceeded to stalk the young boy, following him around for the rest of the game and spying on him as Link worked his way through the game’s dungeons (if you ponied up the cash for a Game Boy Advance and a link cable, that is). Tingle’s creepiness was even strong enough to get him his own spin-off game for the DS.
Everything about this guy screams “molester”. His picture should be use to educate children about what signs could indicate that someone is to be avoided. His weird, green body stocking, his John Waters moustache, his obsession with Link and Link’s clothing and his strange private language. All of these things, when put together, say “I’m a predator, and I’ve got a van full of lollipops, comic books and small, K-Y scented corpses to prove it.”
While there are plenty of cantankerous old bastards (like myself) who’ve been playing videogames for 30 years or more, our industry is still seen by many as a pastime for children and teenagers.
Though we’ve moved out of the total lack of mature content that defined gaming in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there are still many game elements that are removed from games before release, because the publisher doesn’t want to court the dreaded ADULTS ONLY rating, which pretty much guarantees that the game would be carried by no major retailer.
While the most famous case of game censorship is the infamous “Hot Coffee” scenes from GTA: San Andreas, there are many others that don’t make it onto most gamers’ radar. While most instances of game censorship are understandable, I’ve put together a list of the 5 most ridiculous cases that have stuck in my mind over the years.
5: Playboy The Mansion
OK, this entire game is pretty much an excuse to play the Sims. but with bare tits and actual sex. Simple, right. You play as a young Hugh Hefner, just getting the Playboy empire up on its feet. You build the mansion and host lavish parties to make connections that you then use to fill the pages of your magazine with articles, interviews and pictorials. About those pictorials.....they extend to just topless photos, which is understandable. Heaven forbid a teenage boy who gets ahold of this game sees a three polygon bush. What always stuck in my head about the game was the sex. Another famous aspect of Hefner’s life that the game tries to recreate is his famous hedonistic attitude. Hef is famous for fucking just about every woman who sets foot in the mansion (I think that they hand out a Viagra tablet and tube of KY as you come in the door). Well, the in-game Hef can indeed engage in sexual relations with many of the women in the game, but the developers censored themselves to the point that the sex became less titillating and more laugh inducing. After talking up a female character successfully, Hef will invite her to have sex in either a bed or on a nearby couch. You need not be in private, Hef will drop his load in public, no sweat. The sex itself consists of the female participant stripping to her panties and Hef to his boxers. They then proceed to have what can only be described as sex as imagined by a spastic 8 year old who was raised in the monkey cage at a zoo.
It’s easier to show you than to describe it. The show starts at the 4:30 mark.
4: Samurai Shodown
Samurai Shodown was famously censored for the home console ports. The blood fountains that resulted from the game’s fatality like power moves were removed, the zoom out feature when the fighters moved apart was left out and several of the fighters’ taunts were toned down for language and content. One character’s opening taunt was reduced to idiocy, however. Charolette, the female French knight wears a suit of full armor. In the arcade version of the game, she sometimes tells her opponent “Don’t ever talk about my breast plate again!”. Nintendo of America apparently thought that gamers were too sensitive to read the “B” word, though, so they removed it, changing the quote to “Don’t ever talk about my plate again!”. Really, NoA? Was the word breast so upsetting that you had to make it seem that the poor woman was being remorselessly taunted about her choice of flatware?
3: Indigo Prophecy (Xbox)
This game from “Heavy Rain” developer Quantic Dream was presented as an interactive murder mystery/supernatural thriller for adults. It was released on the Xbox (and later the PS2 and Gamecube), a console seemingly aimed at more mature gamers (Halo 2 Timmies aside). Why, then, was it so stupidly censored whenever the slightest adult situation occurred? The game contains two shower scenes, both of which are rendered ridiculous by the same juvenile method of censorship. Take female lead Carla’s shower scene as an example. Carla, fresh from a day of detective work (a day that was that was capped off with a boxing match, no less) comes home and decides to relax with a nice hot shower. Sounds, reasonable, no? However, American audiences were considered incapable of dealing with a little fuzzy, 128 bit booty, so underwear was added to the character model. Tyler, one of the male leads, also does this. Showers while wearing his boxers. Hell, why do laundry separately, right? Now I’m not some digital pervert just aching for polygonal tis, but this kind of thing just draws you right out of the story. It still happens today, as well. In Mass Effect 3, if you manage to romance Samantha Traynor, she and FemShep take a shower together while fully clothed. Mmmmm...sexy.
Head to the 7:30 mark:
2: Mortal Kombat (SNES)
We all know the story behind this one. The SNES version of MK came complete with neutered Fatalities and copious amounts of sweat replacing the blood. Only Liu Kang’s retarded cartwheel uppercut and Sonya and Scorpion’s nearly identical fatalities survived unchanged ( because ripping someone’s spine out is too brutal, but burning them to death is just fine). The stupidity is not in the way the game was censored, but that it was censored at all. This was at the height of the SNES/Genesis wars, and Nintendo had been holding a firm lead up until this point. This game is what allowed the genesis to pull ahead of the SNES and take a large chunk of the big N’s game sales for the rest of that console generation. The Genesis port, through the use of the ABACAB code, sported gloriously unaltered blood and gore. This meant that, even though it was more technically superior and more arcade accurate, the SNES port came in a dismal second to the offering from Sega. The loss was so great that Nintendo actually made a point of advertising that the SNES port of MKII would be uncensored, basically saying “Hey, we want to protect the kids, but we want their money more”.
1: Conker’s Bad Fur Day (Xbox)
Back when RARE was exclusively a Nintendo developer (and when RARE made games that were worth a shit) they released an adult-oriented adventure game called Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It was dirty, vulgar, scatalogical, politically incorrect and hilariously brilliant. To this day it’s my favorite N64 game. So, when Microsoft purchased RARE and announced that they were going to release a graphically updates port of the game for the Xbox, I was understandably excited. New graphics and a controller that’s not a hand-cramping monstrosity! What could go wrong? Well, Microsoft could misplace their testicles, that’s what. Historically, Nintendo of America has been the company known for censoring games for their consoles. They’ve always chased the family-friendly image, tending to the extreme when sanitizing games, but even they didn’t cut Conker’s up as badly as Microsoft did.
On the N64, pretty much the only word that was censored was fuck. Shit, twat, damn, bullocks; all flew by the Big N’s censors. Move forward a few years to the Xbox; a console marketed as being more mature. A game system for those of us who don’t get the whole summer off for vacation. A system laden with games whose characters routinely drop more ‘F’ bombs than Andrew “Dice” Clay pissing on an electric fence while suffering from an urinary tract infection. But not Conker. Not only was fuck censored, but most other curses were also bleeped. I’ not a fan of swearing as a shock tactic, or vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake, but when I play a scene in which an animated shit golem, who’s standing in a lake of shit that is itself inside a cave made of shit, sings an operatic tune about shit, and the word “shit” is censored, then I have to call Shenanigans.
They even changed the tune to the point that it sounds like it’s been re-recorded (it may have).
The remake( go to the 10:15 mark):
Feel free to post your own ideas in the comments.
So I was going to create this last night but I managed to kind of screw things up. Long story short, I should know better to use the wireless in that part of my house. It works but its weak and that may have been the cause of the 1 hour+ update. I realized my mistake and tried an old cable I had lying around but I think it was too late. Anyway..unboxing time!
After removing it from its sturdy brown wrapped container (and after 18$ is custom fees..WTF!??!) the OUYA was packaged in an attractive black box with somewhat shinier black letters that surprisingly spelled out O..U..Y..A..
Here are the pics of the box...
Once I removed the tape circles that seem to be so in vogue and slid the inner case out...I found a friendly little note inside..
Pulling back the note revealed the OUYA and the controller...
The "broken" look of the controller was a little alarming at first until I realized what they were trying to tell me..."Put Batteries in here!" It was not shipped loose but instead it was pressure fit into one of the attachment points. I was a little relieved but moreso impressed with the design consideration there..
This is all that was underneath. Batteries, HDMI Cable and Power supply. There is also a lovely paper booklet that has the OUYA logo on it and....that's about it. Other than the obligatory safety jargon and compliance statements it is pretty much useless. Not that I think it needs more instructions but I always default to the lowest common denominator. Some folks just need a little help so even a quick little how to on the batteries and hook up may be helpful to some.
Speaking of which, it took a minute for me to realize that both sides of the controller open up like the picture above to allow for 1 AA battery in each side. The pull out string in the battery compartment is actually pretty sturdy and made it a little difficult to seat the battery properly in each side. However a good shove down in there and they were ready to go!
I am not sure how many remove and installs those covers are designed to take but I am hoping its a fair bit.
Here is the OUYA and the controller free of their confines
Both still have the protective film on as that is Mrs. Soup's job to remove...it's some weird kind of fetish of hers but harmless so she gets to have at 'er!
The side is etched with the names of the backers that paid for that priviledge...such as Notch (minecraft) and FourZeroTwo (former COD community spokesperson) to name a couple.
The bottom is vented as there is a small fan at the bottom that either sucks air in or more likely forces it out
The all important connection ports! It looks like there is a micro HDMI out as well. I was wondering if it was a Micro USB connection but that seemed odd especially since there is a standard USB port available. I think I have a micro HDMI cable around...maybe I'll give it a shot.
Here is is turned on and roughly hooked up. I will put it in it's proper place later.
I threw it on the big screen to see how it would fair and it did...ok. The initial splash screen and the update screen both looked pretty nice. Not as sharp and clean as say the PS3 or XBOX but nowhere near the pixilated mess the wii at 480i would look like either.
All in all I was pretty impressed. I am going to play with it for a while and see what I think. I believe one of the other writers recently acquired one as well so we will probably compare notes and throw an article together for you in the near future!
Let me know if you are online and maybe we can try some of the multiplayer games currently available.
Editor's Note: The content of this post was originally submitted on ChunkySoup's Blog on May 29, 2013.
As a product of the latchkey generation, I played my fair share of video games and have seen a lot of trends, exclusive to the industry, rise and then play out. What I have noticed lately is the fact that video game developers are making shorter games. Just in the past few months I completed Aliens: Colonial Marines in under eight hours, Tomb Raider in about twelve hours, and Bioshock Infinite in just under twelve hours. Max Payne 3, Halo 4, Dishonored, Far Cry 3 and Dead Space 3 also provided short gaming experiences around the twelve hour mark. Why are these games so much shorter? Will players support these shorter games in a market where games providing more content are in no short supply? Who would these shorter games appeal to?
Brace yourself! It’s about to happen again. Spring is that wonderful time of year when germ-carrying geeks converge in the Northeast for games, good times and drinking at the much loved annual convention, PAX East. As PAX makes its fourth appearance in Boston later this week, many attendees focus on packing and planning various shenanigans throughout the weekend. Though one thing that seems to fall unnoticed until it’s too late is the invasion of the PAX Plague. If you plan ahead, you can avoid this hideous beast of illness that seems to devour even the most healthy of souls. With four PAX events under my belt and no plague in sight, I have some tried and true tips for avoiding the plague.
Tip #1: Start taking Vitamin C supplements....now.
This will help build up your immune system and help you fight off any lingering germs. Any basic supplement will do so don't worry about finding something high-end or expensive. Also a 500mg pill should do the trick if you plan to follow the rest of the tips below.
According to WebMD:
Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it's thought to help prevent more serious complications). But the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
Tip #2: Don’t touch anything or anyone on the way to or at the event!
OK, that’s not really possible, so be sure to carry some hand sanitizer with you, at all times. It is ok to shake hands and hug people, but just be sure to gel up before touching your eyes, nose, etc. Here’s an example of what I do.
Me: Oh hi [insert name], it’s so great to see you! *gives a handshake that awkwardly turns into a hug*
We chat for a minute and then I point over to someone else I know (or pretend to know).
Me: It was so great seeing you, but I really need to go catch up with [insert another name].
*as I’m leaving with my back turned, I grab some hand gel from my pocket and lather it on*
According to the CDC:
Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
Tip #3: Start taking Airborne the day before you travel and continue it through the entirety of PAX.
Twice a day, every day. Airborne has an interesting blend of vitamins and minerals that is said to boost your immune system. There is a variety of ways you can take this supplement, from effervescent tablets in water (my favorite) to on-the-go packets. They even have a new plus energy formula that I plan to test out this weekend.
I do not consider myself a germaphobe but I saw what can happen to people at these events and I do not want any part of that. This is the one time of the year that I get to see many of my gaming friends in real life and I do not want to miss a second of it. While following these three tips is not a guarantee that you will not get sick (no lawsuits here!), they can certainly help you stay healthy at PAX East as well as any other gaming event you may encounter. They worked for me and I hope they will work for you too!