This week, we welcome Dan Archibald, the guy responsible for the wonderfully creepy iPhone game, Pandemic 2.5. Look out, Kate Winslet! Dan talks about the game’s evolution, viral spread, and prognosis. We also discuss Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Starfarer, Portal 2, and the Bioshock Infinity delay. And Tom finally supports a Kickstarter project!
Plenty of movies have songs. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for example. Or whatever AC/DC song that is — they all sound alike — in The Avengers. But not many movies take the time to show us characters listening to songs. There are three points in Roadie when Ron Eldard’s character listens to a song and reveals something about himself. Regret, fury, and longing, in that order, and each for a different song.
The character, Jimmy Testagross, a recently out-of-work roadie for Blue Oyster Cult, is otherwise pretty bottled up. He’s a combination of childlike vulnerability and the guarded quality of a picked-on teenager. He wears on his face the perpetual ingratiating smile of someone always waiting to discover he’s the punchline of a joke that he’ll have to laugh at to get people to like him. I’ve previously written off Eldard as a TV lightweight who works best with a CG monster or Ben Kingsley doing the heavy lifting. But there is nothing TV lightweight about what he does in Roadie, from his paunch to his pathos to the way he takes a slap or steals a glance. During one scene, he lets down his guard and explains why Blue Oyster Cult is unique, and what the music means to him. It’s like Paul Giamatti talking to Virginia Madsen about wine in Sideways: so this is what this man is all about.
Then there’s Roadie’s supporting cast. Lois Smith smolders with a combination of confusion and anger as Jimmy’s abandoned mother; Bobby Canavale shows that being a smooth clown doesn’t have to mean being funny; and the remarkable Jill Hennessy is a revelation to someone like me who thought Crossing Jordan was the name of that post nuclear apocalypse thing with Skeet Ulrich. She’s far more than the usual object of affection. And as the person singing one of the songs Jimmy listens to, she’s got a sultry set of pipes. Queens is also a character in the movie, which is no surprise given that director Michael Cuestra and writer Gerald Cuestra have been here before. Their first movie, L.I.E., was a darker look at the same area from either end of Roadie’s age range.
But don’t be fooled by Roadie’s happy-go-lucky romcom DVD cover. This is no romcom. It’s a grown-up movie about the inability to be a grown-up, like Young Adult minus the double twee of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody.
After all those years of Playstation exclusives, it’s hard to remember that Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac is still independent. But they’re finally stretching their wings, collaborating with Electronic Arts for a game called Overstrike, which will be playable on systems other than the one you use as a Blu-ray player.
But Overstrike won’t be their first release with EA. They just announced something imminent called Outernauts!
Combining Insomniac’s immersive storytelling with a unique art style and sense of wit, Outernauts is an adventure role-playing game that casts players as members of United Earth’s elite Outernaut force. The Outernauts are charged with capturing and training exotic alien beasts as they uncover the riddle behind mysterious “ancients” while battling pirates and evil corporations seeking to control the galaxy. Players will explore planets, harvest loot, and fight asynchronously alongside or against friends to master a wild, untamed universe.
Sweet! So when can I play it?
Outernauts is currently in a closed beta testing phase and will launch on Facebook this summer.
If you consider games journalism the process of writing about games that haven’t come out yet, I’m a terrible games journalist for caring instead about the games that are already out. And I’m an especially terrible games journalist in the case of a few specific games that I don’t want to know anything about. For instance, Bioshock Infinite. I know everything I need to know to want to play it, and any additional information I get I’d just as soon get from actually playing. As you can see, I can’t even bring myself to post a screenshot of it.
So E3 was going to be a real pain in the butt, because everyone and his dog was going to be talking about Bioshock Infinite. But no more! 2K just announced that not only has Bioshock Infinite been delayed until February 2013, but it furthermore won’t be showing at E3 next month. Phew.