I’m not entirely sure who it was that first coined the term ‘Holy Chainsaw’ – it was either my brother or one of his friends, crammed into the spare bedroom and huddled around my father’s private work computer that held national secrets, government documents and for some reason a shareware copy of Doom. What we did all agree on however is which of DOOM’s many chainsaws it was. Towards the end of Knee Deep In the Dead’s second level you catch a tantalising glimpse of it through a window – standing proudly upon a tall pedestal surrounded by a moat and guarded by a couple of reverential looking zombie soldiers, it called to you by the very fact that you can’t reach it.
Why does @NWheeler_CMP always talk about scary games? :(
— Chris Evans (@chrisevoevans) March 21, 2016
I think Chris might have a point here. To be honest, the reason I generally play horror games is that sports and racing games scare me to death – I haven’t managed to get to grips with a football game since Sensible Soccer, whereas any game featuring words like ‘suspension’, ‘lap times’ or ‘drift’ send me searching desperately for a locker to hide in.
Sitting in the dim interior of my camper van, I stare intently at a low resolution monitor. On the bright screen before me, a remote feed transmits live infra-red images from cameras placed deep in the forest outside. I sit silently, impatiently flicking between the remote feeds, occasionally pausing to look up from the monitor and stare out of the windows of the camper van, listening intently to the whispers of the wind and creaking of the nearby trees.
Say any word often enough and it will lose all meaning. Go on, try it.
I like to use ‘blancmange’. Let’s face it, if any word is going to lose all meaning after saying it more than a couple of times, ‘blancmange’ is a pretty good candidate. Blancmange. Blancmange.
Back in 2013, I wrote about Fallout: Who Vegas – a small but polished mod that added a rather innocuous-looking blue police box to the Mojave wastes of Fallout: New Vegas. Inside the police box lay a massively detailed and functional rendition of the Tardis, pulled straight from the British institution that is Doctor Who.
Since an overall sense of disappointment with Hitman: Absolution, (a game I’ll be honest, I actually quite liked) fans have been pretty vocal about what they wanted from the next iteration of the Hitman franchise. Large, living-world levels, a freedom to choose your approach and a selection of ways in which to bring about your targets departure.
In short, they wanted another Hitman: Blood Money.
Being one of the most trend-setting gamers around, I’ve always got my eye out for the newest and most unknown titles. This month I’ve been trying out something called Grand Theft Auto 5.
For those of you that don’t know, Grand Theft Auto 5 is an impressive open world game in which you travel the fictional state of San Andreas with camera-phone in hand, taking pictures of the fascinating wildlife and interesting scenery. Occasionally you’ll run into mostly unpleasant characters who will try to encourage you to perform rather unpleasant and often unlawful acts, but otherwise you’re free to explore the land and oceans in relative peace.
My feet plant methodically into the dull, featureless sand as I count off each footstep.
Three… four… five…
Every few seconds I glance down at a small magnetic compass that shows me the direction of home. I’m not sure how far I’ve come, or how far I have left to walk.
I’m in the middle of a minefield, and I’m probably going to die.
If you want a game about the past, you need look no further than Gone Home.
I’m not talking about the past with swords and kings, or the past with Nazis, or the past with Romans. No, that’s not the past, that’s just stuff that happened a long time ago. This is the real past, a past I can remember.
Every Monday afternoon, I get just a little bit excited. At some point during the day I know that an email from the Indie Stone will drop into my inbox and let me know what the Project Zomboid developers have been up to that week. Sometimes it’s news regarding important bug squashing, other times it’s coding developments that I’m not even going to pretend to understand. Occasionally, however, it’s something that gets me all excited. This week was one of those times.
About a week ago, I read to my intense disappointment that GTA V will be very difficult, if not impossible to mod. News that much of the game’s data was encrypted meant that it seemed very unlikely that we’d ever be seeing the likes of Iron Man taking to the skies of GTA V, instead being limited to Rockstar’s admittedly expansive ambitions for their game. Whilst GTA’s a great game, it could never match the ambitions of a mod team unshackled by restraints such as IP infringement and, dare I say it, common sense.
For now it seems like I was right, but something else has appeared in the skies over San Andreas. No, it’s not Iron Man. It’s not Superman, Green Lantern, Batman or any other Marvel or DC hero. No, it’s something quite different.
So, Thunderbirds is back and to my complete astonishment I quite like it. Despite abandoning the traditional puppets in favour of more flexible CGI characters, I still found myself feeling just a little bit emotional the first time the trees flopped back and a redesigned Thunderbird 2 trundled down the runway.
Our trip started so well. With beautiful surroundings, good friends and plenty of beer it looked like being the start of a time to remember. Now, less than two days later my friends are dead, I’m hiding in a cupboard, my leg’s pouring with blood and somewhere nearby there’s a…thing trying to kill me.
Over the last couple of days, one publisher has been permanently dominating my Twitter feed and not in a good way. Jeff Minter’s announcement that Atari had brought down the hammer on TxK was made with frustration and anger, and coming from one of the industry’s most loved and longest running game developers, it spread like wildfire. Accusing him of stealing ideas and resources from Tempest 2000, Atari was demanding that Minter not only brought an end to TxK, but also that he not make any Tempest-like games in the future.
This week, Paste Magazine’s Austin Walker wrote a fascinating article about sanity systems in games. You can find it here and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time if you haven’t read it already. Having dozens of urgent jobs to do this evening, I decided instead to take a few minutes to think about how I’d deal with portraying a slow, uncontrolled descent into madness if I were a AAA game developer.