Moonlighter: 3 Days Left for the Zelda-Like Rogue-lite Kickstarter Game

     It isn't often I toss money towards Kickstarter projects, an even less often for crowd funded games that are tied to larger companies like the Square-Enix Collective, but today I spotted Moonlighter and was genuinely intrigued.  Sure, it already has well over twice the budget goal it initially asked for, but I threw some money their way anyhow, as this project looks amazing.

     As many might be able to tell, Digital Sun has drawn inspiration from the likes of Rogue Legacy, The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and the tremendous works of Studio Ghibli to create this game.  It's got some beautiful top-down adventuring and wonderful art, alongside what appears to be some great worldbuilding.
Moonlighter is an action RPG game with rogue-lite elements about Will, an adventurous shopkeeper, that secretly dreams of becoming a hero. 
To earn the daily bread, he needs to venture into the dungeons near his town, defeat strange enemies, and obtain loot to be sold at his shop. 
Wisely managing the gold from those sales is the only way he’ll get strong enough to risk into deeper gates and, maybe, open the sealed one. 
Moonlighter has endless randomly generated dungeons, a myriad of cool and expensive items, many weapons, dozens of weird enemies, five incredibly tough bosses, and gold... tons of gold! 
You start with 100 gold coins. 
Some cheap equipment. 
And a shop.
     I like the idea that Moonlighter presents and it answers the question that's always bothered me in RPG's through time, where do the shopkeepers get all their wares?  I have a feeling I won't feel so bad about spending so much gold on a sword after learning the shopkeep had to defeat a boss to obtain it.

     Moonlighter has an estimated delivery of March 2017.

     [ Digital Sun Games on Twitter ]

     Source [ Moonlighter on Kickstarter ]


Ghost of a Tale: Early Access Play Might be Available Soon-ish

     Ghost of a Tale creator Lionel "Seith" Gallat has posted an update today on the official website that if the closed beta goes well, we might be able to play an early access version of the game in "not too long" a time in the future.  It's been a long three years of development, and you can tell the game has come much farther than expected because it looks absolutely stunning.

     Ghost of a Tale is about a small minstrel mouse named Tilo on Periclave Island.  Rumors are that the island is haunted and there is a tower that holds some wonderous treasure, but there is great danger surrounding the path Tilo looks to travel.  It's up to the player to piece together what has happened on the island and find why there are undead rats roaming the land on the way to obtaining the treasure.

     I had first come across Ghost of a Tale from a Gamasutra article, and shortly thereafter from an Analog Addiction article [ EDIT: It was actually this AA Article ], and decided to periodically keep checking in on it.  With each new tidbit of information the game looks better and better.  What else would I expect from a game that takes it's inspiration from 3 of my favorite games ever- The Legend of Zelda, ICO, and Dark Souls.

     Plus, it takes an anthropomorphic approach, bringing up memories of a childhood favorite book of mine, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  The film version was also amazing and called The Secret of NIMH.  Regardless, this is a game I'd highly recommend looking into supporting.  Seriously, it has come so, so far from the Alpha trailer 3 years ago, and the Gamescom trailer from 2 years ago.

     Official site [ Ghost of a Tale ]

Death Road to Canada: Arrives July 22nd!

     One of my favorite developers, Rocketcat Games, has finally given us a release date for their new game Death Road to Canada.  I've been hyped for this for quite a while, and especially after their ridiculous live action trailer, it's great news that in just under a month we will be slaying zombies on a trek to the great northern wilderness.

    Death Road to Canada will cut swathes through the undead on July 22nd.

     It will be available on Steam, PC, MAC, and Linux.
     And at a later date on iOS and "possibly other platforms."

Masters of the Universe: Kellen Lutz as He-Man

     I saw that Kellen Lutz, star of the box office turd The Legend of Hercules, has apparently been in talks to possibly play He-Man in the cinematic reboot of Masters of the Universe.  He had tweeted that he had a meeting about the film and claims it's in "GREAT HANDS!"


Flexing my acting chops is WAY harder than flexing my abs!
     This news, in combination of ties to McG, make my hopes for a proper film adaptation of this beloved 80s property quite small.  The old 1987 Dolph Lundgren version was a tremendous mess, and I still have some enjoyment of it- like Frank Langella's Skeletor and Meg Foster's Evil-Lyn.  Too bad there wasn't Tri-Klops or Stinkor...

     What I'm wondering is why they don't get people on the project that have a vision for Eternia like the awesome sculptures below by DeviantArt-ist EdgePang.

This is how to handle it.
     As it sits now, the Masters of the Universe film sounds like it's being handled as horrendously as the JEM film, which is to say it's looking like a pile of Beast Man's rotten shit.  It doesn't help that it's being written by Christopher Yost, the person responsible for the terrible Thor: The Dark World.  Seriously, not a single thing I've read about this project makes it sound even remotely decent.

     I currently hope that this Masters of the Universe film will never reach my eyes.  In "great hands" my ass- it sounds awful.  


Disney Infinity: Cancelled Spider-Gwen Figure

     So shortly after the reveal of the cancelled Doctor Strange Disney Infinity figure, we now get news and images of the cancelled Spider-Gwen as well.

     Once again, I must say this is awful because the game had so much potential that wasn't being capitalized on.  As amazing as these figures were, the in game content was severely lacking and is, at least I believe, why the sales weren't nearly as good as Disney was hoping.
     The situation could be remedied by greatly expanding the in-game content, and- to cut costs- make the figures smaller.  An even $9.99 would be considerably better than the typical $15, especially because the figures had a limited number of resets (2), and could only be used in certain play sets.  Disney Infinity was very constricted in terms of play and ridiculously limited in scope.  But the potential was there.  So much potential wasted.  I mean really, no online play?!?  That is almost a standard in every other game made, so why not here?

     A part of me hopes another company swoops in and Disney licenses the game out so we might see more Disney Infinity.  The odds are extremely slim, but at least if some group handled it like Skylanders or the LEGO Dimensions with much larger open worlds, the game would sell much better.

     We'll sadly probably never get this wonderful Spider-Gwen for our shelves or game.

     Source [ Infiniteer Adventures ]


Transformers: The Last Knight: Barricade!

     I really wasn't too surprised when it was announced Transformers would be getting a 5th film, and it's not too surprising that one of my favorites Decepticons is returning- Barricade.  He's gotten an upgrade from his last appearance in the first film in 2007.

A photo posted by Transformers (@transformersmovie) on

    Now I'm really hoping that Soundwave makes an appropriate return, but not as a damn Mercedes Benz SLS ARG as he was in Dark of the Moon.  At least he was a subterfuge and intelligence agent as a satellite in Revenge of the Fallen.  He should be doing spy work, and not be an agent of brute force.  And he definitely needs his army of smaller spybots- Laserbeak, Ravage, Buzzsaw, Ratbat, Rumble, Frenzy, Slugfest, and Overkill.

     For more of the pics check out the Transformers Movie Official Instagram page.

     Transformers: The Last Knight is set to hit theaters June 23rd, 2017.


Disney Infinity: Cancelled Doctor Strange Figure

     After hearing the awful news back in early May that Disney Infinity was stopping production, along with all of Disney Games, and seeing this new Doctor Strange figure makes it sting just a bit more.

     Infiniteer Adventures has posted a video showing not just this amazing Doctor Strange, but also concept art for Jafar, Peter Pan, and a second Hulk figure.  The main figure is based on the upcoming Doctor Strange film, and the look of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Dr. Stephen Strange.  And it is just wonderful how well they captured the look and feel of the character.

     A small part of me hopes some other company buys up the rights to somehow continue to produce these things.  But if someone does, I can only hope they focus more on the gameplay in the actual games, than the figures themselves.  That is, I believe, what really killed the sales and subsequently Disney Infinity, in the long run.  The games had no real substance, and no online play- which is a fundamental part of play in damn near every other game made.

     Currently, after hearing about the Marvel Ultimate Alliances being rated for the new consoles, and hearing that the new PS4 Spider-Man is indicative of what's to come- I'd like to guess we might be soon getting actual games that are large and fun to play.  Not a two hour campaign and 4 dinky mini-games.  The companies being licensed these games could have far more potential than the Infinity line would've- so despite my disappointment with Disney Infinity being shuttered, it might turn out to be a very huge blessing in disguise.

     And damn, does that Doctor Strange figure look awesome or what?

     Related posts [ Disney Infinity ]

     Source [ Infiniteer Adventures ] via [ Comic Book Resources ]

Titan Quest: Hits Android (Google Play) July 7th!!!

     DotEmu has revealed that Titan Quest will be hitting Android devices on July 7th!  It's been a hard wait for all of us non-iOS users.  The iOS version itself has had some issues with the UI and framerate drops, but recent patches have fixed them.

    I look forward to playing this on the go for somewhere around a thousand hours, it's been years since I last played, and I can now enjoy it all again.


Marvel Future Fight: Update: Hyperion & Doctor Strange: Quick Thoughts

     The always outstanding mobile game Marvel Future Fight just got another update with a new playable character and a bunch of new costumes.  Once again, the menus got changed, for the better, and a slew of other little alterations and such.

     What I wonder is why after their last big update teaser from two weeks ago showed Thanos and had a big Doctor Strange teaser at the end, why didn't they didn't add him?  They instead went with Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme.  More so, why go with Hyperion and not the Sentry, whose powers would offer some potentially amazing light versus dark flip-flopping with his dark alter ego the Void.  Think of how cool it would be if his 6 star power completely changed him to a dark version with different powers!  That could be absolutely amazing.

     Anyways, Strange was datamined, along with the Enchantress, a long time ago, almost a year ago if I recall correctly.  I figure they are just teasing him and withholding until around the time the film hits theaters in November.  An annoyance for sure, especially with Future Fight's blatant tease two weeks ago.

     I'm not really interested in many of the new costumes, except Yondu's, and Hyperion really isn't a character I care to play- but I have to say the game changes are holding up well.  Hopefully we'll keep getting more costumes and characters to round out the roster.  Perhaps some more of the Squadron Supreme...

     And maybe we'll get Doctor Strange sooner than November.


Gravity Rush 2: E3 2016 Trailer!

     This is a game I've been hyped for for a long time.  The first game was what sold me on the Playstation Vita and how awesome that system truly is.  Sony has pushed this to the PS4 and essentially ignores their Vita, but Gravity Rush 2 will definitely benefit from the boost in console hardware.

     What also kind of bothers me is why did they not play this during the Sony E3 Press Conference?  It seems like something that would garner a lot of welcome attention.

     Gravity Rush 2 is expected in 2016.

     For my previous related posts [ Gravity Rush ]


The Last Guardian: Release Date & E3 2016 Trailer!

     After nearly a decade, The Last Guardian has now received a release date.  October 25th, 2016.

     Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

     And it looks like there are now more than one of the Trico beasts out there...

Sony E3 2016: NEW Open World God of War!

[ UPDATE ] Sony Santa Monica creative director Cory Barlog has stated the game is, "It's open, but it's not an open world."

     I've had a long running qualm about the God of War series, and it looks like they've fixed it- this new E3 show makes it look like a true open world for Kratos and company to explore and probably completely wreak ultimate destruction upon.  He is a God of War, not God of Hugs and Happy Shit.

     This time it appears Kratos is wandering the Norse mythology, and I hope we get to see some other cultures like a trip to Egypt or Japan or something, but as it is, it looks amazing.  I'll have to wait and see how the story progresses- to see if they can avoid repeating the God of Cliches story that Kratos' emo self has wallowed in for the last decade.

Huntdown: Dystopian E3 2016 Trailer

     The pixelized, side-scrolling platformer, and old-school shoot-em-up Huntdown has a second trailer out, and it is every bit as wonderful as the first teaser.  In the future crime has overrun a city and it's up to the player to hunt down these villainous gangs.  The future is going to be full of bloody justice.

In the future, crime is king. Mighty gangs rule the streets while the police desperately lose control. The authorities put their trust in hired guns to do their dirty work. A price is set on all the gang leader´s heads. 
It´s time for the Bounty Hunters. 
It´s time to hunt ´em down.
     Creators Tommy Gustafsson and Andreas Rehnberg have been heavily influenced by action movies of the 80's, with films like John Carpenter's Escape from New York and Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon and it definitely shows.  This game looks to be a perfect homage to the action games of that time

     As I wrote back in early March, the creators say they're sick of IAPs and microtransactions for health and weapons and so on creating barriers in mobile gaming.  They wanted to make an old school game that had some challenge, but more importantly- was the type of game they wanted to play- with fun gameplay.

     Huntdown looks to be a glorious homage to classic arcade shooters made by people that actually grew up playing these type of games.  Games like Contra, Rush'n Attack, and the ever-persistent Metal Slug series.  Honestly, this trailer brings me back to the days of playing Blackthorne, Robocop vs Terminator, and Alien 3.  Frankly, it looks like simple and amazing fun.

     Huntdown is expected to release in 2016 for iOS and Android devices.
          In addition, the creators have announced it will now also arrive on PC and consoles!

     Source [ Huntdown ]


Conan Exiles: More Rust and Less Skyrim Means Huge Disappointment

     I had been pretty excited for a new brutal and violent Conan game when it was announced in December, but this new trailer has given me great pause.  A couple days ago when Conan Exiled put up their first in game trailer, I saw that the survival/building gameplay is highly reminiscent of Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved and those are games I just don't enjoy.


     What gets me is the fact that the world building aspects of this game look to be a necessity.  Having to build a shelter instead of exploring the land isn't something that interests me at all- and I definitely don't want to be forced to do it.  I was really hoping to be getting a Conan game that was a lot more like Skyrim.  The Hyborean Age era from the Robert E. Howard books is more than large enough to create a game of the same scale as any of the Elder Scrolls games, so who made the decision to go the Rust route?  Not everyone wants another damn crafting game.


     I do think Funcom got the combat relatively right.  The trailer is from pre-Alpha footage so I can't be 100% sure yet.  Some of the spear thrusting and movements are still clunky, and the characters in general look fairly bland, but there's still time to get better.  Th beasts are decent, such as the bat monster.  And of course we might surmise that the giant serpent is a Set creature at a temple.


     Conan should be about killing, not crafting!  I mean the Playstation 3's Conan in 2007 was actually pretty damn good, and Age of Conan on Steam is still fun as well.  So why go with crafting as a major gameplay element?  This really baffles me.

     Overall the game has a nice polish and I'll still give it a go when it hits PC's via Steam on September 13th.


Captain Marvel: This Sideshow Collectibles Statue of Carol Danvers is Flerkin Amazing

     While I still have some qualms about Brie Larson apparently landing the role of Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers, this Sideshow Collectibles statue has me still behind the character 100% regardless of who is playing her.  I'm still a bit disappointed she won't be making a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 either.

     This first pic is the Sideshow exclusive helmeted version.  I mean they're both really awesome looking, but if I had $500 to spare I'd totally want the helmet with sweet mohawk.  The scale is nearly two feet tall and a decent 12 lbs.  Glorious.

     Personally I was hoping for Charlize Theron.  She's a bit older and still powerful as hell.  She's talented and could pull off a military role and make it work so well, but Marvel's probably going to go with the young actors and actresses for the next wave of their cinematic universe.
     I think some of the Sideshow people might have wanted Theron as well, especially if you see these two pics.  The bear a fairly striking resemblance to her...

     For more pictures swing by [ Sideshow Collectibles ]

Styx: Shards of Darkness: E3 2016 Trailer and Update

     Styx: Shards of Darkness is a sequel to 2014's Master of Shadows, and a sort of prequel to Of Orcs and Men.  Today publisher Focus Home Interactive, and developer Cyanuide Studios, have released the E3 2016 trailer and it looks amazing.

     In addition to the new trailer we also get a bunch of information on what the story is about- as it brings us into a new city, and encountering new races, we'll get a much more diverse enemies to have to outsmart.

     Official website's synopsis:
While Styx is in business in Thoben, the City of Thieves, he makes an unexpected deal with a mysterious human officer Helledryn. As Styx, you must steal the ambassador’s scepter, a very coveted object, which other, more nefarious, parties are interested in. Of course, the reward shall be worth the risk, in return the officer promises you great quantity of a resource you are desperately looking for: magical amber, the source of Styx power. 
Sneak your way to your objective, evading dwarves, elves, and all manner of races, hunting down the scepter. Creatively utilize all of Styx’s tools: assassination, amber powers, talents and skills, equipment, and crafting! 
Each race excels at a different thing. The Dark Elves, for instance, have experts at goblin hunting while the Dwarves have a supernatural sense of smell, enabling them to track you down (even when invisible!). Learn their strengths and weaknesses if you want to survive long enough to snatch the scepter.
     In addition it's been stated that there are more features still to be revealed!  Shards of Darkness looks amazing with the new Unreal 4 engine and it seems the game will be a huge improvement over Master of Shadows, which was really good in the first place.  This is definitely a title to keep an eye on.

     Styx: Shards of Darkness is set to arrive this year.

     For related posts [ Styx ]

     Source [ Styx Official Site ]


Ghost Rider: A Rambling Open Letter to Marvel Studios and Nicolas Cage

     So as a long, long, LONG time fan of Ghost Rider, and after watching Netflix's Daredevil Season 2, then seeing Hellfire appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and today's Norman Reedus news clinched it- I decided I needed to dig out this old draft from 2012 and touch it up with some new information, thoughts, and sources.

The single best shot in both Ghost Rider films.

     Today Norman Reedus, of The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints fame, has expressed interest in playing the Ghost Rider, in either film or tv (ie Netflix).  Though, I have seen plenty of people pulling for Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam as well, which would be equally awesome.

     To start with a point of reason, the way Marvel has handled their portrayal of Frank "The Punisher" Castle in the Daredevil series is a brilliant way to begin.  I've complained time and time again about this flubbed ways the films had been handled in the past and they finally are getting things right now that Marvel has the film rights back.  Although Marvel (via Disney's Chairman Bob Iger) has already stated they will not be making R rated movies, that doesn't mean other avenues are off limits.  Which would rule out the Scorsese quality Punisher film I've dreamed of for years, BUT- the Daredevil series is pushing those limits so the possibility of something close is still a potential especially since they announced he's getting his own series now.  His prortrayal is pretty damn close to what I've been wanting so far.  It's brutal, it's violent, and it's extremely well depicted in the show.  Though I must note that I definitely do not believe that every Marvel property deserves the mature R rating or treatment.  Far from it, an R rated Avengers would be absurd while the grittier titles could benefit from it.

     Since re-obtaining the cinematic rights to Daredevil, Punisher, Blade, and Ghost Rider Marvel has set a good tone with the first two properties.  I'd really like to see what can be done about the second two.  I've written a small bit about Blade, and the never-aging Wesley Snipes has said he's been in discussions about the future of the character, but the Ghost Rider is the one I am truly hoping to see again.  In addition, they're opening the doorway to the other realms with Doctor Strange this fall- a wonderful opportunity for our favorite Spirit of Vengeance to hit the streets again.  I mean "there's been talk of Ghost Rider being added to Netflix."  That is a good start seeing how they've been handling Hell's Kitchen so well, and opening the doorway to the astral planes will presumably happen with Doctor Strange hitting theaters this fall.


     If Ghost Rider is to appear on tv or screen again, he would unquestionably need to be handled more seriously than his past movies.  What I mean by that is that they need to ditch the comic book idiocy of the Nicholas Cage films.  Both films had a couple scenes that were handled well, but they quickly devolved into campy garbage.  Some people blame Cage, but in reality, he's a tremendous actor in films like Adaptation, Leaving Las Vegas, and Joe.  What he needs is a good director and a much better writer.  I'll discuss Cage a bit more below this section.

     To me directors like Bill Paxton (with Frailty) or Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) could do some damn amazing work and I'd cite films like John Carpenter's The Thing, the Alfredson directed Let the Right One In, Ridley Scott's first Alien, and The Exorsist as references for well handled horror material that should serve as inspiration.  

     What I personally believe is that he needs to be handled in the same vein as traditional monster movies combined with a psychological horror movie's depth.  The Rider shouldn't even be shown for the first 70% of the role.  There should only be hints of him and the aftermath of his presence.  He'd leave a gruesome wake in his path- he's someone that'd make the Punisher tremble in fear.  
     In the early parts of the story, there'd be things like dead bodies, maybe some mystical iconagraphy, and the like.  Slowly building to larger things like human sacrifices and alters to the devil, but not from the Rider, but by those he's slain.  
     Tons of imagery pointing to something more than human killing off tough as nails villainous people.  Things like bootprints burnt into the floor, trails of fire and ash, chain links embedded in the walls, scorch marks from the chains, bodies and parts strewn about, and a few petrified bodies of those especially vile and guilty criminals.  He's a force of supernatural destruction that cannot be stopped and should be treated as such.  Think of it using the Jaws effect- simply avoiding showing the full beast until later in the story, and rely on inducing dread through glimpses and hints at the real nature that continually evades our sight.  
     Ghost Rider should be a slow and plodding individual.  Never in a hurry, like the unstoppable killers of old movies- creating the imposing threat that no matter how fast or how far you go- he will find you.

Nicolas Cage

     Back to the Nic Cage casting.  He's been in plenty of films that are good and plenty that are terrible.  I mean he was even great in the absolutely preposterous Drive Angry, which is somehow a much better Ghost Rider film than the actual Ghost Rider films he was in. 
     Regardless, Cage said in an interview with Collider that there could be a third installment (before the rights reverted to Marvel), "It’s possible, but it won’t be with me."  But then went on to say, "I don’t want to say never…anything’s possible.  But I doubt, highly, that I would be in a third installment of that."  So I would actually be curious to see if his interest in the role would be renewed now that Marvel holds the reigns.  When I say renewed, I don't necessarily mean as Johnny Blaze either.  While it would be cool, he could always be the new Blaze's father as a cameo or some such thing.  If, on some off chance he did reprise the role, he could be a small part with the major Rider being Daniel Ketch for a change of pace.
     But, Marvel will probably go with someone completely different and Reedus has a decent chance here, following in fellow Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal's footsteps as he went on to play a damn amazing Punisher.

     I guess we'll all have to wait and see.  And we'll all be hoping that we won't have any more abominable versions of the Ghost Rider, on screen or in comics as the more recent Robbie Reyes series was quite disappointing.  I can only assume that with the way Marvel's been using the Netflix characters, adding Ghost Rider as a character or series would be a tremendous addition in creating a new type of anti-hero show, creating another whole level of meaning with dark and gritty.


Deus Ex GO: Trailer Revealed

     Deus Ex Go is officially a GO!  I knew this was coming last August and my suspicions were boosted in November, and now Square-Enix Montreal has now put up the official reveal trailer, which doesn't show off much, but gives us a mighty nice taste of the future.  It looks every bit as sleek and clean sci fi as we'd expect, and there's just a bit of Jensen doing his thing in the wonderful GO style.  If the Square-Enix Montreal have done anything, it's prove they can handle the minimalist design on gaming perfectly.

     The official description:
Deus Ex GO is a turn-based infiltration puzzle game set in a stylized interpretation of the Deus Ex Universe. As double agent Adam Jensen, you’ll use hacking, combat, and augmentations to solve the most challenging puzzles of the entire GO series. Work alongside your allies in TF29 and the Juggernaut Collective as you infiltrate locations to unravel the conspiracy behind a terrorist plot.
     Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and its DLC The Shard of Life are all amazing, and I truly look forward to seeing what they can do with Deus Ex GO.  And I'm still crossing my fingers for Square-Enix Montreal to take on these games in a GO fashion: Chrono Trigger GO, Secret of Mana GO, Murdered: Soul Suspect GO, Thief GO, and maybe a Final Fantasy GO while they're at it.

     Deus Ex GO is set to arrive this summer roughly alongside Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.


You’re All Idiots, Everything's On Fire, and Nothing Ever Changes: Yet Another Critique of Gaming Culture (GUEST POST by @Nintendo_Legend)

Idiots, all of you.

This happened weeks ago, before I wrote a blog post called I am a Hardcore Casual Gamer about the silliness of overvaluing video games (someday I’ll have the balls to write about how overvaluing any leisure activity should be a bad idea yet how doing so seems to have become the coutume du jour), before the Any Number of Currently Ongoing Gaming-Related ‘Controversies.’

I happened to eavesdrop on a few tweets exchanged, as I do. I do not even remember who the two people were. One of them had mentioned their complaint about a modern gaming industry practice that had something to do with how the product is sold to consumers. I do not remember the exact game/issue, I do not remember whether it was on-disk DLC or microtransactions or releasing a game episodically or Sony’s weird new 4.5 console or what it was, precisely, only that the original tweeter had a general “this kinda sucks” type of complaint and linked to an article.

Then came the responder, someone who multi-tweet-ranted about how the industry has become predatory with their anti-consumer practices, and has gotten “greedy” and that it’s all such B.S. and it’s so wrong and…

And, I dunno, I just kinda thought, can we unpack these ideas a little?

I am the old man who yells at clouds. Hello, clouds.

This whole buzzwordy online dialogue of the Consumer Vs. Industry idea is funny. Like, the way gamers get all pissy-whiny about this stuff (yet, lo and behold, usually end up buying the game anyway, right?) makes me wonder: If you get this way about a $60 purchase, how do you react when something goes wrong with your car? Have you ever tried to buy a house? Is this really the pinnacle of your outrage, or are you just one of those angry-all-the-time people that makes for absolutely dreadful company?

Or maybe, hey, everything else in your life is going well and the game thing is the lone thorn in your side, in that case I hear ya maybe, but that’s besides the broader point.

Can I talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System? Some of you are likely familiar with this one.


Gosh, I loved this game.

I was already a fan of the Ninja Turtles, so this was a real treat for my boyhood self. I could choose different Turtles, roam through big 8-bit levels, and use sweet ninja attacks to dispose of familiar enemies in a relentless action fever dream.

I put so many hours into Turtles II. I played through it over and over. It was its own little Thing To Do. “Hey, let’s play Turtles II!” I played it by myself, I played it with my sister, I often played it with my mom. In fact, it was totally a source of bonding between me and mom, something we would play into long hours of the night way past when my bedtime should have been. We played it with the code, without the code -- sometimes we beat it altogether, but usually we would get to Shredder and lose all our turtles. We would fight playfully over stealing each other’s extra lives (remember when you could do that?), we would argue over which Shredder is the real Shredder, we would debate the proper pathways through the stages.

And while I have no doubt that many hours of craftsmanship were spent on the pixel art, the music, the programming, and other elements -- Turtles II is a dumb game.

Turtles II (NES) is a stupid game that I love utterly.

I mean, this was not exactly a culturally enriching experience. This was a button-masher. Every single area had the same objective: Kill every enemy on the screen, then move forward. That was it, over and over, again and again, repeated and repeated. Attack, attack, attack, maybe with some jumping and walking in between. This was a blunt-force object of a video game. This was a caveman’s club of a video game.

Yet I enjoyed it greatly. I mean, it was better than the actual Turtles arcade game, which people seem to remember with nostalgia-tinted goggles. In actuality, that thing is a quarter-chugging slog, an overly repetitive grind, as was the trend at the time (see: Simpsons, Captain America & the Avengers, X-Men, etc.). When is the last time you played the genuine Ninja Turtles arcade cabinet? It is terribly difficult, with an absurdly skewed ratio between how much damage you deal to enemies against how easily they can kill you first. The NES port is impressive enough, by managing to summon the spirit mostly (as many other 8-bit arcade conversions failed to), but even actually added content to the game that never appeared in the original cabinet.

Back in my day...

People complain about microtransactions today, but I am here to tell you: Arcades had the original microtransactions. Twenty-five cents to start playing, then again if you wanted to continue? That sounds like a microtransaction to me. Hell, in many sports games, you could get suckered into paying a whole dollar’s worth of coinage to begin -- only to discover, once the first quarter ended, you had to keep paying just to finish a single complete match. That sort of scheme has been going on for decades.


The console scene was not much better, prior to the Information Age of the internet. You could waltz into a store and select a fine-lookin’ game on the shelf, only to get home and discover that it was utter garbage. I hope the place had a nice return policy, because the experiences that today we would regard as “antiquated” and “horrible” and “diarrhea” were still the same full-priced $50 and $60 packages.

Isn’t that crazy, too, how prices on a new game have remained so insanely level? No wonder companies have had to come up with ways to squeeze out extra income. If they jacked up the price of a new game to $110, it might be defensible by some measures, but gamers would riot in the streets.

I don’t mean to sound like I am completely defending The Industry, though; sure, they have their share of sins. They have shown time and time again that they clearly make bad decisions, terribly misjudge what people want, and cannot execute plans to the quality you would expect. I just think many of the people complaining about their attempts at increasing revenue may not quite understand how business works.

Components such as subscription programs and pay-to-win and all the other tricks of the trade are to be expected. Sorry, Western world, but that’s capitalism. The nature of such an economy is one that rewards selfish predators and greedy swindlers. That is the system we live in, largely. It has been that way for a while, and it is not something that will change any time soon.

Even my beloved Nintendo is guilty of some head-scratching moves. You will never convince me that “Wii U” is a good name for a gaming system, or that it makes any sense for a company that size to release a social-networking app with a broken friends list and such inefficient navigation. Nintendo, like any other organization, is comprised of human beings -- and human beings are awful.

Once you understand that human beings are generally awful, everything will make sense and nothing will ever surprise you again.

Internalize this: People suck.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should burn every corporate executive at the stake, nor should we not have compassion on our fellow members of humanity. We sure like to jump to extreme judgements though, don’t we? It is so much easier to paint every issue in black-and-white terms, with a Good Guy and a Bad Guy. Everything is either Awesome or The Worst.

After all, in today’s Outrage Culture, we have incentivized the Hot Take. All those precious views, clicks, likes, shares, favorites, and retweets are going to go to the person with the most obnoxious voice and the loudest, most extreme opinion. What else would we react to, if not the outlier, and thus form the next link on the unending chain of the ‘conversation’ cycle?


I am guilty of adding to the problem, sure. And many of my words here are not new insights. I just think it is disappointing to see people continue to think in these ways about their games, like everything happens in a vacuum, like the entire universe is somehow obligated to grant them some kind of sublime experience, as if they are the Glorious Exception to everyone else, chosen divinely to receive a brand of joy that nobody else deserves.

That’s another thing I want to explore further someday: This modern idea that it’s offensive and unacceptable to have to undergo any kind of struggle or hardship. That is so dumb. I will leave it at that, for now, but it is… just so dumb.

And it works both ways: You have people decrying any kind of disagreement as harassment, and then you have the kneejerk other side of the equation who think that you shouldn’t block anyone on social media who disagrees with you because “being open to opposing ideas is the only way anything changes,” and all the even-keeled rational-minded people in the middle are never paid attention to in the first place.

In fact, if you look hard enough, you may discover that gamers love self-defeating contradictions. We like to decry publishers for pushing out the same iterative titles, then turn our noses up and ridicule the result when someone really does try to do something truly different. We go insane when another delay is announced, yet complain at the same volume if a game is released unfinished. We place reviews (of video games, of all things) under the biggest, brightest, most scrutinizing microscope to make sure none of the scores are unusual (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!), yet wonder why the ‘average’ game gets such a lofty mark.

Reviewing reviews.

Actually, let me riff on that last one, just a little bit more: Why do people care so much about review scores? More specifically, why do people read reviews with an expectation of a specific score -- then flip out if the score doesn’t match their expectation? At its simplest: How can you disagree so strongly when you have not even played the game yet?

Here’s the real kicker, for me. I suspect that, for many people, the reason they react so strongly to a perceived “poor” review is because they feel an intense fandom loyalty to a chosen game franchise. Maybe you utterly love the Uncharted games, but some jerk gave the last one only a 7.5 score and you were enraged, for example. I really think that’s the sort of thing it is, most of the time.

Then this is the catch: If you know your own tastes so well, and you know what you like, and you have an understanding of what your favorite franchise has to offer, and you can quickly identify whether or not the latest title is something you would want to purchase… then why the hell do you care so much about what exact score some rando writer gives the game?!

I am confident that nobody can give me an answer to that question that makes any sense. Let’s have some more intellectual honesty in this discussion: I’d love to hear someone say, “You’re right Eric, of course there’s not a good reason for that. I just love getting mad about stuff -- which is another behavior that I cannot explain rationally!”

And yet… slivers of optimism?

Overall, though, life is just so much more colorful and rich and complex than making every issue black-and-white, judging someone by one thing they say, or assigning an out-of-ten score to an item. We exist within a world where millions of different influences all collide with each other in every moment to affect a vast organic tapestry. Each of us makes hundreds of decisions throughout our day, and by sheer mathematics, we are likely very often choosing courses of action that are worse than an alternative. We are meat bags, filled with water, piloted by ghosts, slowly deteriorating.

You’re dumb. I’m dumb. But maybe the next time you encounter a situation or person you disagree with or dislike -- you can take a minute to actually consider your words and your reactions, you can consider the fact that being a vocal angry idiot is much worse than being an encourager elsewhere or being quiet altogether, and if we all just do that sometimes then the whole scene will be a bit less moronic.

That probably sounds like real sunshine-and-roses thinking, but here is my parting thought. No, seriously, I promise, this is my conclusion.

I used to be an angry guy. I am much less angry now. Between “angry guy” and “much less angry,” there was a lot of personal growth. Yes, people suck, but they are capable of greatness. People can be smart enough to identify specific ways they can improve, then do it to become better in their future than they were in their past. Change happens when you acknowledge a problem and take real steps to alter it.

I may not be able to convince every angry gamer to be a more constructive member of the community, but if I can be part of the impetus to get one person to grow personally, then I know it is worth it -- because it has been worth it in my own life.

Thanks for reading!

     Guest post written by Eric Bailey [ @Nintendo_Legend
          Admin of [ skirmishfrogs.com ] [ @SkirmishFrogs ]

Captain Marvel: Brie Larson- Are You Flerkin Kidding me?

    The Hollywood Reporter has noted that recent Oscar winner Brie Larson is current front runner for the role of Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers in the coming Captain Marvel film.   I have to say this is the first time Marvel Studios casting choice has had me truly wondering, "What the Flerk?!?"

I'm the leading contender? Are you sure?
     Larson has been great in a lot of things, such as The United States of Tara, Community, and the 21 Jump Street remake, but she's never displayed any physicality.  It's all just been boring talk with her, which makes me wonder why she'd be ahead of someone of a truly high-caliber like Charlize Theron who is damn amazing, and has shown herself able to be equally as physically imposing as emotionally able.  Plus, Theron has the perfect look for the part.
     Personally I think Marvel might be banking on the youth and current popularity angle to sell tickets.  Granted, I could turn out to be wrong, but really, when has Larson displayed any raw power on screen?  She's someone that's always maintained a low energy level in everything she's in- making me think she's got as much range as Vin Diesel- with all the nuance of a slab of ham.
     I mean I heard about Emily Blunt or Katie Sackhoff being considered, and they could pull it off.  I just don't get it, Larson is so young and girl-next-door, that I really, really, REALLY have to wonder why is she the first choice.  She just comes across as so mundane, so blase, that I can't really imagine her as the badass pilot Danvers is supposed to be.  Where's the energy and power she should be exuding?
     I guess I'll have to wait and see if Larson can pull off the role.  Perhaps she can make it work, I'm just a bit doubtful about it right now.  Marvel's proven very good about their casting choices so far, so if she gets the role, I'll wait to see how the part gets played and see how she does.  Obviously, as an Oscar winner, she's definitely got the talent- it's just she's been so typecast it's hard to imagine her in a heavy duty action role.

     Also rumored to be attached to the film are directors Niki Caro (Whale Rider) and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), as well as writers Meg LeFauve (co-wrote Inside Out) and Nicole Perlman (co-wrote Guardians of the Galaxy).

     Captain Marvel is set to arrive in theater July 2018.

     On a side note Guardians of the Galaxy 2 director James Gunn has already stated that Captain Marvel will NOT appear in the film- a sad thing, but having her appear on her own could work out to her benefit.

     Source [ THR ]


Is Deus Ex Go a Go? Square-Enix Projects Revealed Before E3 2016

     Back in August last year, while playing Square-Enix Montreal's wonderful Lara Croft GO, I had a thought stemming from an in game costume.  The "Augmentation" costume to me was an Easter Egg and possible teaser for a future Deus Ex GO game.
     A couple months later I tweeted to Square-Enix Montreal asking if we'd be getting a Deus Ex GO, and they favorited the tweet.  It was not a confirmation by any means, but it was a little tease.  Then, in March of this year, three domains were registered, Life is Strange GO, Just Cause GO, and of course, Deus Ex GO.
     This morning Square-Enix announced a "Deus Ex Universe Pre-E3 Showcase."  The show will air on June 8th at 11:30 Eastern, 8:30 Pacific time on the Deus Ex Twitch channel.

     Personally, I'm also hoping for a Thief or Murdered: Soul Suspect to be adapted into Go games.  Both would provide some intriguing mechanics and potential that could be used.  Perhaps Life is Strange GO will have a time-warping process included in the turn-based system to keep in line with the main game, possibly working a bit like the dimensional warping in Ghosts of Memories, which would work tremendously as a supernatural element for a Mudered: Soul Suspect GO.  But as is, the three titles sound pretty good.  Although, I wonder if Just Cause GO would be a small 3rd person mobile game, because that would be fun as hell and possibly bring some competition to games like Aralon or Marvel Future Fight.

     Beginning with Hitman Go, Square-Enix Montreal followed up with Lara Croft Go and its DLC The Shard of Life, and have kept up a wonderfully elegant and distilled form of gameplay.  And I would genuinely like to see what they can do for these other properties in the Go style.

     Source [ Official Deus Ex Twitter ] via [ Game Informer ]