Hell Followed With Me: Jimmy Chinless in the Capital Wasteland

Posted October 7, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games

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Fallout: New Vegas is released this weekend, and I’m dead stoked. Fallout 3 was one of my favourite games of the last few years, and I played it to death. I created one of the most unusual characters I’ve ever made, defied my own expectations, and got down for weeks of big big radioactive fun. I had a fantastic time – but right at the end of my time with the game, something happened. Bethesda did something I hadn’t thought them capable of, and they blew the game wide open. I stopped playing soon after. What follows is the story of one of my all-time gaming highlights. Hang on tight.

WARNING: Big ENORMOUS SPOILERS for one of the best quests in Fallout 3 follow, so if you still haven’t done Tenpenny Tower in the aforementioned, steer clear.

Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

The Stage Is Set

Jimmy Chinless was not the man I expected him to be.

I use certain games to scratch certain itches. Mount & Blade* for when I want to death everyone up real good. Max Payne 2 for modern day deathing, but with diving around and growling. Football Manager when I want to gaze at statistics, storm out of press conferences, and scream impotently at non-existent people. Civ for when I just need screaming howling rage, stat.** Outrun 2006 for when I want speed. And a girlfriend, natch. Fallout 2 is my bastard-‘em-up.

I loved Fallout 2. For the first time in a game, I wasn’t a glittering goody-two-shoes, but rather a murderous depraved gangster, more concerned with wealth and with bonking and killing his way to the top of the heap in New Reno than saving his crappy village from slow radioactive death. It was a tremendous breath of fresh air, and it still draws me back occasionally, when my inner nob just won’t be suppressed any longer (although that engine is getting harder and harder to deal with). I had expected something similar from Fallout 3 – a chance to sex and violence my way through post-apocalyptic DC with a snarl on my manly chops and a sub-machinegun in my hand. Cracking.

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What I Did On My Holidays

Posted October 5, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games, THE NEWS

Tags: , , , , , ,

As you might have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here. Month after month has gone by with nothing of any kind from the ElectricDeathRay Internet Word Emporium. Dead calm. It’s been sort of spooky actually. Day after day of that charming young lady below, staring out hopelessly into the world wide web, with only the gentlemen Googling for Jeanette Voerman pictures* for company. Poor girl. What a tough time she’s had. Somebody should stump up the cash and play Borderlands with her to make it all better.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, we’ve been gone a long time. While we were away, sunning ourselves in the exotic fabled lands of Work**, the world of games got up to all sorts of tomfoolery. This included, but was not limited to;

  1. All Points Bulletin (not-quite-GTA-online) was released.
  2. All Points Bulletin (not-quite-GTA-online) collapsed in shame and failure.
  3. PSMove (or whatever it is they’re calling it now) was announced and demonstrated. Terribly exciting. Imagine if they’d thought of it five years ago! It would have revolutionised gaming!
  4. Microsoft properly demonstrated Kinect, nee. Natal. No more playing with virtual children / dogs. Now you get to… Actually, I am genuinely not sure what Kinect is for.
  5. 3DS! This was announced as well. It’s like a world inside your DS. If your DS was brand new and cost five thousand pounds. And only worked from one angle. And probably gave you headaches (hypothetical – please don’t sue me, Nintendo).
  6. Exciting new flavours of CODMODWAR were announced. Some of them had fancy names, like Medal of Honour or Bad Company.
  7. F1 2010! Fast cars that sound like lawnmowers started appearing in adverts on websites. Later, people got angry when the AI cheated shamelessly. Except the AI didn’t really. Except it sort of did.
  8. Randy Pitchford whisked Duke Nukem Forever away from right under George Broussard’s bankrupt nose, and made it into a real game. He then ruined all the jokes by showing them to howling American journos over and over. Sigh.

Phew. Big list. Some of that stuff would clearly benefit from the precise and unforgiving word-laser fired by the ElectricDeathRay. After a few more hours with F12010 (which would make a much better name for a telly programme about aliens and explosions in space) I may even have some thoughts to force upon you all.

I haven’t said a word about what I did on my holidays. What a tease I am. Well, I played Outrun a great deal. And Alpha Protocol – rest assured, you’ll be hearing about that at some point. And that thing on the Xbox where you chop people up with a chainsword and then shoot them in the face. Main problem with the last two?  Not enough drifting. Or dodging meteors. Or being dumped by your girlfriend for not ramming enough civilians off the road.

Stay frosty, y’all. I’ll be back.

Probably.

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*All true. I checked the stats. All our hits in the last month or so have been forwarded by the Google search “Jeanette Voerman”. Try it. We’re surprisingly high on the list of places to look at hot Vampire chicks from videogames. Or, you know. Don’t try it.

**Bloody Thomas Cook diddled me on this one. L’Hotel Salaire-Esclavage Sans Signification is a lot less welcoming than you might imagine.

Me & My Wii

Posted October 3, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games

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In the living room downstairs lies a Wii. Christmas excepted, the poor thing doesn’t get much love. Every now and then I’ll switch it on and have a forlorn attempt to get it to recognise the wretched wireless network, but the Wii whirrs and makes appeasing blingly blongly noises, and then tells me to sod right off.

You see, I don’t have very many games for the Wii. In fact, I have two. One of them is Wii Sports, which is all very nice I suppose, but mainly entertaining for the just-plugged-the-console-in-for-the-first-time novelty of wanging your hands about and clobbering your girlfriend in the chops. Good, clean family fun – but hardly the stuff of six hour red eye gaming marathons.

The second game is a bit different. It is that game, brothers and sisters, that heralds the rebirth of ElectricDeathRay. Testify.

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Pay 2 Play

Posted March 24, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games, THE NEWS

Tags: , ,

Erk.

GOOD NEWS, GAMERS!

At last, those considerate people of the internet have come up with a way that social outcasts like you and me can encounter the Females.  Here is a tantalising nugget from the press release

“On GameCrush, players can find their perfect PlayDate through browsing their profiles and chatting live with them. Players can then purchase a live one-on-one private gaming session, complete with two-way video and text chat.”

Oh my.

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IMPERIEX MUST CONSUME MY RADEON!

Posted March 14, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games

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"Your antediluvian GPU is mine. I WILL NOT BE DENIED."

EDR, I need you.

My beige box (actually purple) has been shuffling off the mortal coil for about three years now, inching painfully towards the grave with fatal inevitability. Recently, artificial means of resuscitation (new processor, new RAM, new HDD, new mobo etc etc) have prolonged it’s miserable life. But Death is a cruel master, and much like Imperiex, he will not be denied. His mortal grip is now upon my graphics card.

Basically, I’m artifacting hard. Salvidor Dali is going on surrealist improvisational graphical solos in the bowels of my PC, and then the whole thing breaks down like George Best locked in a distillery. Anything more demanding than Quake causes great dark plumes of smoke to curl straight off my monitor. This ain’t good.

So I need a new card. This is a problem, as I am fairly strapped. As an alternative, I need old and undemanding games. Forgotten gems. Under-appreciated classics that I skipped past while I wasted hour after hour in Oblivion and Total War. I can play Galactic Civilizations. I can play Civ IV (although it’s no good at all for my blood pressure). I can play World of Goo, and I can play (thank the bountiful lord) Peggle.

But what else should I play, EDRites? What should I wander through and possibly write about at a later date?

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK.

RPG! Now With Added J!

Posted March 13, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games

Tags: , , , , , ,

This is girl is undoubtedly a deadly warrior, and not an undernourished April Ryan impersonator at all.

This week a great big game about playing roles* was released on those consoles that the kids seem to like so much. It had a picture of a FEMALE on the front! She was flashing a bit of thigh, too. These boys know their audience. Anyway, this game is Final Fantasy 13***, and it’s a bit different from all those other RPGs I can’t seem to shut up about. For one, it’s not by BioWare (steady on), and secondly it’s not an RPG – it’s a JRPG.

The JRPG is an excruciatingly bizarre thing, and a genre that I’ve never really been able to get on with. As in, I loathe the wretched things.  Call me a crazy, but shouldn’t hours and hours of non-interactive cutscenes have been gutted and buried at the four points of the compass when the interactive movie went to the wall? Maybe it’s the fault of my wildly liberal hippy PC gaming background, but I like a bit more interactivity in my RPGs. I like a combat system with a bit more going on than picking an attack off a list and watching a movie. Give me freedom or give me death! Or at least a tactical combat system and dialogue options, eh?

But I am nothing if not open minded.**** I’ve always wondered if I’ve been missing something beautiful. To that end, I’ve dabbled in Lost Odyssey (miserable), Final Fantasy 3 (agonising), Final Fantasy 4 (painful, but bearable) and, eventually, Chrono Trigger (surprisingly enjoyable). But even Chrono Trigger, which was perfectly passable, left me a little cold. While others drifted through spasms of delight at it’s various strengths, I was having fond thoughts of Baldur’s Gate and Fallout. Are western RPGs just, y’know, better?

JRPG fans seem happy to take what I would see as flaws in their stride, to celebrate them. Interminable cinematics and a story with as much room for deviation and individuality as Robo-Stalin come with the territory and are happily accepted. People come for the story, despite it being delivered in a manner which would surely be a lot more effective if it was just a great big twelve hour film (Metal Gear Syndrome). Interestingly, when I’ve introduced JRPG fans to the joys of the Black Isle or Bethesda Models (the prevailing and bestest models for the western role-players), they have managed to enjoy the experience. The same is not true in reverse – at least not for me.

But perhaps that’s the fault of my rabidly dogmatic nature. Maybe it’s just me being tribal. So, if you would be so kind, any JRPG fans reading should belt out some comments for that little offshoot below, and let the EDR devouring world know the perfect, non-interactive joy of the JRPG. They’ve been going hungry of late, so a word glut would surely go down a treat.

As a coda, I am actually considering picking up FF13. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that there must be something there to be enjoyed – after all, FF7 is widely regarded as the second coming in videogame form. Am I just doing it wrong? Is it worth shelling out forty British pounds to find out? Again?

Stay frosty, you lot. I’ll be back.

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*Translated, this means numbers increasing and picking up new swords. And gold. And, in this instance, Phoenix Downs.**

**Record for post start to first asterisk? Must be.

***I’m in no mood for numerals.

***LIES.

Trouble at the Top: Infinity Ward Layoffs

Posted March 2, 2010 by Paul S
Categories: Games, THE NEWS

Tags: , , , ,

Interesting times over at Infinity Ward, eh?

For those of you not glued desperately to an intronet all day long, let me fill you in.  Two of the top hombres at IW, president Jason West and studio boss Vince Zampella (short for Vincent I assume, but as a responsible paraphraser, I take no chances) have been shown the door by Activision generalissimo and all-purpose bogeyman Bobby Kotick, apparently for “insubordination”. Better and more reputable version of the story from our Go-To Guys here.

Strange how Actvision have usurped EA as the big bad wolf of the games industry. A few years back, EA were terrible monsters relentlessly forcing gamers to buy copy after copy of FIFA (it’s a football game, apparently). Now though, EA find themselves the plucky underdog boldly championing poor mistreated proles like me and you, while Activision’s Dark Lord terrorises various news sources with words like “monetize” and phrases about the annual exploitation of intellectual property.* What’s more, ask me about CODMODWAR2’s developers twenty four hours ago and I’d have nothing but venom for them. Turns out we’re now on the same side. Isn’t life funny, eh?

So what does this mean for CODMODWAR? Treyarch take the reins, I assume, and make something even less inspiring than their predecessors. Which, in all honesty, will make very little difference. Gamers will probably buy the next in the series irrespective of developer, as brand recognition is a powerful thing. Did the change of developer do any harm for the Guitar Hero franchise? Did it bums. That’s assuming the developer changes – this is all happening at the top, after all (although fearsome muscle was deployed to the IW offices today to keep those dangerous developers in line, so who knows what’s going on over there).

Whatever happens, casually discarding a pair of gentlemen who played a major role in gift wrapping a vast fortune in greasy cash seems a peculiar decision. Maybe Activision feel confident that the brand is strong enough to sell hugely no matter what – Kotick has been refreshingly up front about not caring about the quality of the games his company produces. It must be a worrying time to be a games designer.

Interesting story, and bound to get interesting-er as time wanders on.

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*Whenever you hear the words “intellectual property”, you know you are in dark and treacherous waters. Who uses those words? Money men, that’s who. As human beings who confine their vicious heartless pillaging and slaughtering to virtual worlds, we quite rightly wish humiliating medical conditions upon these vile creatures.