Category Archives: Gaming

A Model Salarian


I’m now at hour 13 of Mass Effect 2 and it just threw me a curve ball. My favorite character of the game, a speed talking, nerdy alien named Mordin reveals his love for showtunes:

Gotta love the big awkward pause at the end.

Let’s Talk About Our Feel-HEADSHOT!


You looked hotter on Facebook.

I’m about 5-6 hours into Mass Effect 2 and I’m 1 part amazed and 1 part bewildered.

If you haven’t heard, ME2 is an “open sandbox” game that runs a lot like one of those “Choose Your Adventure” kind of books – You remember them as a teen: reading along, your character encounters a fork in the plot. Do you… “Go to page 23 if you want your character to pick the glowing fruit of STIs or choose page 45 if you want him to slay the dragon of apathy. Maybe.”

The game is Mass-ive (See? See that?) with controls and modifiers that affect the game outcome, popping out of the ying yang, controlled by multiple button mashing. Literally everything in this game can either be customized or upgraded as you play long ensuring OCD kids will keep their asses on couches during game play. As example you start the game by having your lead character undergo facial reconstruction after a vicious battle, effectively letting you off the hook for trying to remember the exact eyebrow arch you designed for your character in Mass Effect 1 (though it does let you import your construct if you’ve played the previous game). Regardless, things like this make me take notice as to how good the game design is.

Speaking of design, the characters are rendered so sharply your eyes will bleed. I can only describe the prop/alien design as being rather satisfying – when aliens are introduced, something inside me says “Wicked! That’s exactly how I’d render it!” (like I could operate 3D Studio Max…pffft). The look of the game resembles those 70s style impressionist science fiction artists, rendered in three dimensions.


The game play is like watching paint dry after you blasted a wall with the coolest high pressure paint shooter, evar. I’ve never experienced more hurkeyjerky game play flow. One second you’re killing 6 eyed aliens with impunity and then suddenly you’re stopping to chat with survivors, choosing a multitude of story branches through real-time character conversation options. It’s like practicing yoga with a room full of really angry pitbulls effected with narcolepsy.

And what kills me the most while I’m trying to remember how to call up weapons menus (LT+A button, rotate Left stick, Press A to choose, and *PEW PEW*!! Oh CRAP!) is that you’re thrown so many story options at once, trying to remember to complete them all gets me stressed out a bit.

So I’m torn. Much like Borderlands, ME2 looks amazing but the game play has massive valleys of meh so deep it divides my geek-gasm in twain.

Just What Do You Sell?

Distractions, Gaming, You Stupid Dick

I’m at the Laird and Eglington FutureShop buying my hubby a new Bluetooth headset for his iPhone. I also picked up Season 7 of The Golden Girls. Because I love him and will suffer and embarrassment for him. The smarmy clerk scans my purchases. When he gets to the DVD of wrinkly comedy, I ask my standard purchase question:

“Do you judge people on which DVDs they buy?”

“No. I use to work in the game section. I’ve seen some pretty wierd purchases there, let me tell you.”

What… ?

I imagine that there’s a director’s cut version of “Se7en” for the Wii back there. “A button to see what’s in the box! A button the box!!!”


Celebs and Media, Gaming, Hobbies, Toronto

Fortressofsolitude, SharkBoy (check out the new site!) and I wandered around the stalls at WizardWorld comicon yesterday. Seriously, dudes, change the name. It sounds like a Harry Potter cash in.

Much smaller than the massive FanExpo in Aug, this comicon was more personal and less stressful. Although the stars were definitely Z-list (Numerous female wrestlers who would let you touch their g-strings, the guy who played The Gorn in the original Star Trek, Winston from Ghostbusters, etc.) the booths were well spaced and not so claustrophobic as the big Expo. Prices were through the spectrum ($30 for a toy… er… action figure?).

Still, the day was spent in good company and I did manage to get a Japanese Star Wars remix t-shirt AND meet up with Doug, who I interviewed a while back here.

Here are some pics! Please enjoy responsibly.

[nggallery id=17]

Hey Ash! Whatcha Playing? Orson Scott Card is a Dyke

Celebs and Media, Gaming, Queer stuff

I just finished Ender’s Game a week ago and thought, ok… I can see how this would rile up some people. Kids being killers, unrealistic portrayal of child geniuses, ends justify the means, bla bla bla. But I thought the newly revised forward was much more interesting, where Mr Scott Card (Or is it just Card?) rants on for page after page of how much trouble his book stirred up and how many people responded saying he was a literary god. I swear to you it’s 40 pages of ego masturbation that crosses over the borders of embarrassing into megolomanialand. Much like a blog, really.

El Yawn-o.

I know. I shouldn’t pay this homophobe any attention other to mock him with signs that say “I Have a Sign!”, but I got caught up in the hype and thought I should read one from him, if just to figure out what makes him so controversial. I can assure you, after gnawing through that forward alone, I’ll never bother again. No the book wasn’t that shocking – maybe it was in the 70’s, like a meddling John Hughes film, but it doesn’t stand the test of time in a post 9-11, liberty eroded society. What actually made me think this man a dork was his comments about same sex marriage, utter flabbergasting and so tired (open the link, read the first paragraph and die a little inside. That’s all you need.).

Take heart in knowing there are people out there who can make light of the whole “Should an avid gay gamer buy an amazingly developed game that puts money into a homophobe’s pocket?” conundrum. HAWP’s “Ash” has impeccable comic timing. I wish she was my best friend.

Video Via GayGamer

Uncharted 2 – See This Is How You Make a Game


Blood… blood? A lot of blood. A lot of my blood!

-Nathan Drake. First lines of Uncharted 2 – Among Theives

I’m 20 minutes into Uncharted 2 – Amongst Theives and I’m thinking of sending the jerks over at Krome, makers of the insipid Clone Wars – Heroes of the Republic a copy so that they can learn how to actually write/design/develop a game.

The first ten minutes is the best tutorial run through I have ever experienced in a game. As you play along, fans of Uncharted (one) note that nothing has changed in the game play as flashbacks scenes as to how Drake winds up in his latest adventure are juxtaposed over the action. Brilliance!

There’s a commercial for U2-AT that suggests the game is very much like a movie. I say “Hells yes!”

I just wanted to stop for a moment and write this. You need to stop reading this and go get this game, PS3-ers!

Clone Wars – Republic Heroes, or Holy Crap, George! Man up, willya?!


“Disappointed will you be.”

I’m 90% through the game and I’m stopping the action to report to you, dear internet, that this game is bad. Shockingly bad. But because of my love for the franchise I continued to play, but purely out of curiosity. Just how bad could this game get?

So. Very. Bad.

The kind of bad that resembles getting kicked in the balls by who you thought was your best friend. And as you go down, their laughing face is burned into your psyche for the rest of your life.

Okay I realize that the whole Clone Wars offshoot is meant for a pre-teen audience but being from the old guard (saw Star Wars 20 times in the theatre the first year it came out, kids), we have to protect the next generation of Fandom from soul sucking predators the likes of Krome Studios. Because it’s a “kid’s game” it shouldn’t mean you can cut corners. That’s like smoking around kids.

Let’s start with the characters. You’d think a game based on a CGI TV show would use the same models, even if they were scaled down for game purposes. No, these avatars look like they were crafted by Miss Giroux’s 3rd Grade Art Class (the same class where they’re not allowed sharp objects in the room). When characters talk they’re given only three mouth shapes: the “eee” shape, an “oh” shape and a comically weirder, bigger “OH” shape which ultimately ruins the originally stylized character designs of Obi Wan and Count Doku, turning them into mongoloid wooden mannequins. By the way, the texture mapping on these characters were done by blind, one fingered shut ins. In other words: they animate and look like (lifeless) shit. The Thunderbirds Brothers were more lifelike – wires and all.

Okay let’s skip the fact that they look like shit-smeared marionettes and move onto the cut scenes. As characters advance the story by …uh… “talking”, edges of their clothes flash in and out of place like they’re standing in a tornado. Whole swaths of cloth pop in and out of existence as the camera pans around characters – some bug in the rendering/camera software that I haven’t seen since pirated copies of Maya. This is an obvious sign that the art director or project manager cared little for the name “Star Wars” and decided to churn out a paycheque, not a quality game.

Game play. Oh Christ where do I start? This game has every thoughtless design choice ever created interlaced throughout it. As you fall, die, jump, fall, die over and over again It literally becomes laughable (if it weren’t for the $50 price tag). Yoda kills the action by halting things mid-sabre swing, and offers help, even after you’ve done the same move hours before. Jumping to and from obstacles become a lesson in guesswork, not intuitive game play, due to your frustrated need to line your character up with the camera positioning. Thankfully you have an infinite number of lives because you’re going to need them as you battle not only repetitive droids but ridiculously touchy control actions. 15 minutes into the game I encountered a bug where Yoda (in one of his preposition reversing yammerings) advises that I jump up on a robot leg to destroy the enemy. I obey and then flail my lightsaber. Nothing. I die. I do this for about 100 tries and then shut the game off in frustration. When I return, repeat Yoda’s advice I do, and the droid goes down in one swing. Save and return could have benefited from some sort of reminder system of where you left off since restarting jumps you to a chapter’s beginning.

I guess if I had to end this on an upbeat note, I’d say the sound is pretty good. The voice characterizations were the same as the show and the Droid Army comments did make me laugh. But that’s it.

If you’re a fan, rent it and get incensed at this bastardization of the Star Wars franchise. Then email Skywalker Ranch with frothing of the mouth. There are much more interesting ways to sell the mythology.

If you’re not, then disregard the last 600 words. This doesn’t pertain to you.