World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2009/02/14

On This Day: Northern Illinois University shooting

A year ago today, The Northern Illinois University shooting was an incident that took place, during which a gunman, Steven Phillip Kazmierczak, shot multiple people on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, United States, killing six (including himself) and wounding eighteen.

He was apparently an outstanding student who reportedly stopped taking his medication at the time. He was twenty seven when this all occured

A story published by Esquire stated that he allegedly had a history of mental illness, was bullied in high school (he attended Elk Grove High School), and had shown an interest in previous school shootings, particularly those that occurred at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech.
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Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day.

I wrote an article recently on the subject of Valentine's Day and love, called What is Love, Actually?


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2009/02/13

Friday the Thirteenth!

Games I want: A proper Terminator game

Since 1990, there have been 24 Terminator video games released for many different consoles, and strangely, I can only remember playing one of these, T2: The Arcade Game, developed by Midway in 1991, which I used to play down at the local arcade.


There is a 25th title in the works, set to be released this year to coincide with the latest Terminator: Salvation movie. This just smells of a cash-in though, and remember the last time, when Terminator 3: War of the Machines was rushed to be released in time for the movie project’s release. It was junk, according to reviews.

Terminator: Salvation, the movie, is going to come out on May 22nd this year, and the game around the same time, probably. The only thing is that The Halcyon Company, who now owns the rights to the Terminator series, is developing the game through their game studio, Halcyon Games, as well as overseeing the film production, so you just know it’s going to suck. This always happens when they try to balance more than one project at the same time instead of giving just one the attention it deserves.

They could have chosen to go with a reputable outside company, but they chose to develop it internally, just to add to the suck. And who knows? The film might suck too.

What happened to The Terminator? The first two were some of my favourite films of all time.


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2009/02/12

On This Day: Trolley Square shooting

On February 12, 2007, Sulejman Talović killed five bystanders and wounded four others before being shot dead by police at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.

This massacre was mentioned recently in a research article published by Texas A&M International University assistant professor Christopher Ferguson, that states that scientific literature has found no significant relationship between violent video game exposure and school shooting incidents.


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What is it with all the post-apocalyptic themed games nowadays?

It seems that since the late 90s, we’ve been getting these post-apocalyptic themed games.

Think Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Fallout 3, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and upcoming titles like the rumoured S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 3: Apocalyptic and id’s Rage- and there are probably others I’m missing. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like these games. They’re usually very immersive and they have great stories and settings, and most of them have an RPG type gameplay to them that works well.
But think of this, why do some games have goals of building an empire, and others of destroying it? Is it because it’s a popular issue nowadays what with war raging all over, especially between Palestine and Israel, or Darfur, and Iraq? Is it because so many rave about it being the ‘end times’ and that we’re all doomed to a future of nothingness? 

Perhaps this is the only possible outcome for us, humankind destroying itself, wasting away into nothing after all the pain and misery it has wreaked upon this earth that some say it was bound to protect, but we were cursed, and damned right from the beginning.

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2009/02/11

Games I want (this year): Aliens: Colonial Marines

I watched the excellent 1979 classic, Aliens, last night.

It's funny how with all the raving about modern technology and CGI effects, along with promises to stay true to the series and the 'feel',  the latest films, like AvP and AvP 2, always seem to suck.

There are two new Aliens games due out this year. One is Aliens: Colonial Marines under development by Gearbox Software, and the other is an Aliens: RPG project by Obsidian. Aliens:CM was rumoured to be out in Q1 this year; we’re all ready in February and this quarter ends in March. Other sites’ scheduled release dates predict a Q2 release date for 2009.

I find it quite disgraceful that the Alien: RPG is still officially unnamed, and I first read about both games two years ago at the beginning of 2007.

I sincerely hope that both these games are good.

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On This Day: Final Fantasy VIII

On this day, February 11th, 1999, Final Fantasy VIII was released.

It came to PC a year later.

I was never much of a fan.


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Games I want: System Shock 3

It’s been nearly ten years, and I’m surprised that they haven’t done a true sequel to System Shock 2. Yes, we had BioShock in 2007, and BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams is due to be out sometime, with BioShock 3 planned as well, but that is obviously a spin-off series, which consists of spiritual successors.

We all know that the System Shock series takes place in space aboard starships and space stations in the future, and BioShock takes place under the sea in the 1960s- big difference apart from the similar sounding names.

The end of
System Shock 2 ended with Rebecca, one of the survivors of the Von Braun, on an escape pod with her partner, Tommy, heading back to the Von Braun. Rebecca was seen to look like a version of SHODAN, so obviously there must exist some form of an evil plot. Perhaps like Doom II: Hell on Earth, SHODAN, with her anti-humanist views, will crash the ships onto Earth and spread her cybernetic empire there.
 
Critics worry that if it is ever released, they will be debase any future prospects of the series, perhaps because they are under new developers’ leashes.

Some people who worked on the original games, from both Looking Glass Studios and Irrational Games, have concerns that EA won’t really bother putting the required and desired effort into the game that it needs.

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2009/02/10

PC Games released: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

According to the latest release dates, F.E.A.R.2: Project Origin is now out! I am a major fan of the original F.E.A.R. and its expansions, Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate.

This then is the proper sequel and takes place exactly where the last game left off, and ignores the expansions. The people at Monolith claim that Timegate Studios went in a completely different direction and it wasn’t what they planned for the series.

So, I’ve read that you now play a different character in the game instead of the pointman from the original, called Michael Becket, but some old favourites like Alma will undoubtedly be back to scare you well after you’ve finished playing it. Slow motion also makes a return. There are also some new additions like new enemies, and mechs to take control of.

I will likely get this game soon, perhaps in the next couple of months. Remember, play it at night with the lights off, the curtains drawn, and the sound turned up!

You can pick up a copy of F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin by following these links:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016N4A7E?ie=UTF8&tag=apocalypso-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0016N4A7E
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00163LW7A?ie=UTF8&tag=apocalypso-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00163LW7A

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00163LW7K?ie=UTF8&tag=apocalypso-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00163LW7K

Other PC games that were released today:

X-Blades 
Perimeter II: New Earth 
Warfare 
World Mosaics
 


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2009/02/09

Games I want: Thief 4

There have been rumours ever since the last Thief game, Deadly Shadows, was released in 2004 that there will be a fourth game in the series. It’s true that Ion Storm was working on it before they went bang years back, and that they planned to make a modern version of the game.

For years, Eidos has teased gamers with news of Thief 4 in development and even advertising for positions to work on the game, their next ‘AAA’ project, probably after Deus Ex 3 comes out.

The thing is you just can’t do that to Thief! You can’t modernize it, otherwise it just isn’t Thief. It might be okay if it goes off in a separate direction as a spin-off series, but don’t bastardize the main series that all ready suffered a blow from Deadly Shadows, that some don’t even recognize as a true Thief game due to its dumbing down for the Xbox. It could use a different name or the same name but with obvious indications that it is different, like having a new character to play as.

A modern setting could work for a Thief-inspired game, but not Thief, if you know what I mean.

At the moment there is The Dark Mod, a thief-inspired mod for Doom 3 that looks pretty good, and the thing here is that it is being developed by fans for the fans- a real DIY project that has taken a lot of time and labour of love. 

Other than this, people are still ‘taffing’ around with Thief, Thief Gold, Thief 2, and T2X; replaying them, modifying them or making new FMs (fan missions).

I don't know about a sequel, as far as Thief 4 goes, seeing as Garrett became a goody-two-shoes keeper at the end of T3. Maybe a prequel could work. If you've ever read the fan-fictions 'A Keeper's Apprenticeship' and 'A Thief's Apprenticeship' among others at thief-thecircle.com, there's a lot that could've happened before, during, and after Garrett’s training and even before Lord Bafford’s Manor, the first mission in Thief: The Dark Project. Perhaps there might have even been events in the gaps between T1 and T2 or T2 and T3 that could be explored.

 I think TDS started something though, even though it was called ‘Thief Lite’ by some, and that would be Thief meets GTA. I'm not talking about riding on horses and doing ride-bys, although it's quite a laugh- that was all ready done by GUN. I mean a main storyline, and then LOTS of side-quests, either for gold or new equipment, possibly other incentives, like an unlockable feature, ala Chronicles of Riddick: EFBB, like a map of The City, which fans of Thief have waited for and some have even devoted every waking moment to, creating their own versions.

Some ideas that I’ve read about on forums, specifically on TTLG.com, have suggested that 
they make a game based on the thief series, but more like Command& Conquer. You could have the hammerites versus the pagans; maybe have the mechanists and the keepers, possibly the city army, all the factions. It might be a good idea for a mini-game- a trading card like game, like trumps or magic.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Thief-The-Dark-Project
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2009/02/08

Games I want: Unreal 3

I was wondering about something the other day, and I decided to investigate a little bit: will there be an Unreal 3?

The answer for the moment seems to be “no”, with no official plans that anyone knows off, and if you Google it, you’ll most likely be inundated with results that show
Unreal Tournament 3. Not only this, but on some forums, if you look for Unreal 3 threads, you’ll get some humans, that even after explaining your case, will still assume that you obviously mean Unreal Tournament 3 and not Unreal 3 without the Tournament. They just assume that you must automatically mean that, and that you’re a noob for not including the “T” word in there.

What I mean, and I’m sure others will want to clarify this to other people too, is that I want to see a sequel to Unreal, the first game, or possibly Unreal II: The Awakening.

It’s been years, and it’s a shame that this seems to be the case: that Unreal branched off into another franchise, that being the Unreal Tournament series, and that nobody has even bothered to think about the single-player anymore, with it essentially having just become one of those multi-player games that you find a new release of every other year. Why? Probably because multi-player games are more popular; in fact, I wouldn’t be that surprised if they announced an Unreal MMORPG sooner that an Unreal 3.

What happened to Unreal, the “Quake killer”, the game that “ate Quake II as a snack”? It had an excellent story and the graphics were great for its time. Strangely, I even dreamed of Unreal before I even played it. In the dream I had that ripper weapon that shoots the blades out everywhere and they can bounce off of walls and decapitate enemies. The original game was even left on a cliffhanger when the player was left drifting in space in an escape pod of sorts.

I think a great solution that would satisfy everyone is this: develop Unreal 3 along with an Unreal Tournament 2010 (you know there will be), and released them together. That way, people will buy it for the multi-player game and they can get this other thing called a ‘single-player game’ as well.

One studio could focus on Unreal Tournament 3 and another Unreal 3, so we don’t get any of that, “Oh, the single-player was just an afterthought”- just like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament.

And just like in the forums, if anyone says, “Yeah, Unreal 3 is out now”, meaning Unreal Tournament 3, I’m going to scream as loudly as possible over the internet at them.

The above image can be found here in full resolution.


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What does AAA stand for?

It's not an abbreviation of anything. It just means the best of the best... 

"Well, now you know the truth: Apocalypso's Atomic Arcade!"

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