, | News

Crowd-funding has brought gamers some great stuff. We have Divinity: Original Sin, FTL, and even potato salad thanks, in large part, to successful crowd-funding campaigns. Is it possible that we could finally get Half-Life 3 thanks to an IndieGoGo drive? Probably not, but that didn’t stop Chris Salem and Kyle Mazzei of the marketing firm McKee Wallwork & Co. from starting the We Want Half-Life 3 funding campaign. As the video above shows, this is not just a couple of guys sending an email to Valve. They have wacky sounding goals that will at least bug the heck out of Valve head Gabe Newell.

At $3,000, they’ll start a Google AdWord campaign that will target all Valve employees. With $9,000, the campaign will hire a mobile billboard truck to drive around Valve’s home turf of Bellevue, Washington. If they reach $45,000, the fund will pay for Gabe Newell impersonators to show up at Valve HQ. Last but not least, if they gather enough pledges to hit $150,000, the marketers will host “the biggest Half-Life concert possible” in Seattle to get their message to Gabe.

Are they mad, or are they savvy chaps demonstrating their own marketing skills for their company? If we’re all sitting around playing Half-Life 3 shortly after the campaign ends on November 17th, I guess we’ll all know for sure.

, | Games podcasts

Jason McMaster, Chris Hornbostel, and Charles Moran talk horror movies, board games, horror games, and the upcoming game releases for the next couple of months. Stay a while and listen!


Rob: Why not cut to the chase? I think The Orphanage is the best horror film of the past two decades. Maybe more. It has all the ingredients I personally love most in a horror movie including a haunted house, a disfigured child, and a deliciously gory close-up. Director Juan Antonio Bayona is clearly inspired by some of my personal favorites like Rosemary’s Baby and Poltergeist, probably the single most formative scary movie I saw in my impressionable youth.

I think this film is an absolute master-class in how to build tension and create fear. It’s a fascinating, intricate, and rewarding mystery. And it’s a deeply moving tragedy about a desperate mother and her lost, little boy. And it all starts with a childrens’ game.

After the jump, one, two, three, knock on the wall. Continue reading →

, | News

Shiver me timbers! Taleworlds has announced Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest. The DLC adds Vikings to Mount & Blade Warband. Yarrr, me mateys! It will feature bearded Norsemen, manly new arms and armor, a new sandbox map, and new game modes like sea battles and coastal raids. Avast! The team behind the popular Brytenwalda mod is working with Taleworlds on this conversion.

Viking Conquest takes the Mount & Blade franchise into historical Dark Age Britain, at a time when Norsemen began to raid the British Isles, looting monasteries and burning coastal settlements.

Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest is coming to Steam early access “soon”. Ahoy! The full sequel, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, is still being worked on by Taleworlds.


Chris: Have you ever heard–rather than seen–a car accident happen? You’re outside and maybe a block away or more and you still pick up the sudden sound of a quick squeal of brakes and then there’s a sickening crunch. It’s hard to describe the sound of that impact. There’s a heaviness to it, a weight. You don’t just hear it, you feel it, even if it’s not close enough to be particularly loud. [REC] has a nerve-jangling scene early where sound plays a key role and it feels a lot like this. It puts us on notice that this movie is not going to be a slow burn.

After the jump, not your older brother’s found footage movie Continue reading →

, | News

Halo: Spartan Strike, a follow-up to Halo: Spartan Assault, is coming in December. IGN reports that the twin-stick action shooter will continue the story from the first game. Set during the events of Halo 2, Spartan Strike will feature new Promethean enemies and vehicles. It will not have microtransactions on any platform, a feature that drew criticism for Spartan Assault. Vanguard Games, the developer, is working with assistance from 343 Industries. The developer says there are “no plans” to bring it to Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

Halo: Spartan Strike will be available on Windows 8, Windows Phones, and Steam for $5.99 on December 12th.


Bill: As far as I’m concerned, The Descent has two monsters: the blind, inbred cannibals that make up the active participants in the downfall of our heroines, and the claustrophobic spaces within which this struggle takes place. I just wish that there was more of the latter and less of the former.

After the jump: John becomes Juno and Ben becomes Beth Continue reading →

, | News

We’ve talked before about various methods of traversal in open-world games. Some games get it right, and some get it very wrong. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V gets it mostly right. Driving the streets while jamming to the in-game radio is a great way to get immersed in the faux SoCal setting. On the other hand, the times when the player isn’t in a car can be frustrating. Walking and running is sometimes a chore thanks to the slow shuffle, goofy turns, and Rockstar’s insistence making you hammer a button to get your character to run.

Color me surprised then that Super Meat Boy co-creator Tommy Refenes has been walking across Los Santos to raise money for family medical needs. Just ambling along. It took him a little over six hours to make it from one end of the open-world to the other. He started streaming his Grand Theft Auto V march on October 9th to get donations to pay for his mother’s service dog. Once the pledges passed the $15,000 goal, Refenes vowed to put the extra money raised towards another person’s dog. He’s since walked across the maps of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Maybe casually strolling through open-world games is a better option than violently careening through traffic, while shooting an Uzi? Nah.


Chris: Conceived, written, and created by a group of H. P. Lovecraft enthusiasts, this film aims to bring the pulp horror author’s best known short story to the screen for the first time in a faithful adaptation. It’s a tremendously creative and ambitious idea, given the additional twist of creating the movie in the style of a 1920s silent film, which (except for the digital video used for shooting) will use only technologies available to filmmakers of that era.

After the jump, great gimmick or worthwhile movie? Continue reading →

, | Game reviews

It’s a bad sign that the weakest parts of Alien: Isolation are the parts with the alien. You’d think getting that right would be a priority. Instead, the best parts of the game involve running around space corridors and turning space handles and flipping space switches and pressing space buttons and getting through space doors and turning on space generators. But then an alien comes along and forces you to play something else entirely.

After the jump, why couldn’t Alien: Isolation be a little more isolated? Continue reading →

, | News

If you haven’t been playing the PlayStation 4 exclusive DriveClub, you’ve been missing out on some quality launch issues. Evolution Studios’ slick racer is probably best known so far for its confusing pricing scheme and server troubles. The servers just aren’t up to handling the traffic of actual players. It’s been bad enough that some in-game features have been disabled, the free PlayStation Plus version of the game has been put on hold, and players are limited to a frustrating one-in-one-out policy while Evolution tries to sort out the mess behind the scenes. Paul Rustchynsky, the game director of DriveClub, has been busy on Twitter trying to explain the situation to disgruntled fans.

“We ran a beta test and none of these issues occurred, we had confidence everything was ready. These issues were unexpected.”

Rustchynsky acknowledged that the server issues have been severe enough that the studio is considering compensation for players affected by the service interruptions.

, | Movie podcasts

This week we tell the story of Dracula Untold, which runs cross purpose to the title of the movie, but whatever. If you don’t want Dracula Untold spoiled before you’ve had the chance to see it, go to last week’s movie alternative at the 1:05 mark for a little talk about One False Move.

Next week: Fury


Bill: The amount of exhausting labor that goes into haunting people in horror films is ridiculous. Hurling furniture across a room, tossing people around like sacks of laundry, waking up at 3am to pull the bed sheets off…seriously, that’s just too much damn work. If I were ever to become a ghost, I assure you that I would do the absolute minimum to qualify as such. If the phone was left near the couch, you might see it float in the air for a second or two before dropping to the floor when I realized South Park was back on; or you might find your bookmarks moved to different pages in a book every now and again. But good lord, expecting me to float alongside a car going over 60 mph on a highway is a level of commitment I’m just not prepared for. So the ghost in Shutter does get my grudging respect for not being as lazy as I am.

After the Jump: I just wish it starred in a better film Continue reading →

, | Features

[Editor's note: Every two weeks, we'll pick a classic game to play and discuss. Then the choice of the next game will be made by a randomly selected participant from the current discussion. It's like a book club, but with videogames. We'd love to have you join us. Register for the forums and hop into the discussion! This week's choice, by DireAussie, is Zeus, Impression's city builder set in Ancient Greece in which the gods walk among us.]

My first and second picks were Fantasy General and Warlords 3. Unfortunately, they’re not available anywhere. It is a little too soon for the likes of Civilization 1 and Planescape Torment since we’ve recently played those two genres in the Classic Game Club. They’re also true classics, so many in the club have probably already played them. Looking back on past choices, nobody’s picked any city builders yet. And there are so few of them on the market these days, but quite a few old ones to choose from. I have my genre!

Why Zeus? I wanted to pick something I’ve never played before. Sorry, Tropico and SimCity, you’re both out. It came down to Pharaoh, Caesar 3, or Zeus. We already have more modern builders for Egypt (Children of the Nile) and Rome (Caesar 4), both of which are fine games. Zeus is the last in the Impressions Games series and presumably the most well-refined. It also has great reviews on Good Old Games, so Zeus it is!

I’ve started playing through the tutorial already. Being a fan of the Tilted Mill builders (after Impressions closed, many of its employees formed Tilted Mill), I’m already feeling quite at home with the mechanics. I’m hoping to start on one of the adventures soon.

You can get Zeus from Good Old Games here. A community widescreen patch is here.