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Apologies for the complete and deadening silence around here lately.  Since QuakeCon we’ve been spending quite a lot of time gearing up for another year of college, which is a multi-layered and frightening process for yours truly.

QuakeCon was…well, like I said, fun, but with some painful bits.  It had its fair share of good times, but there was also more than enough hooting, drunkeness, and a surprising number of “bros”.  It didn’t help much that our group had little or no preparation beforehand, and the facilities made operating Steam a pain.  The worlds biggest lan-party: great.  Being stuck there without a bed to sleep in at will, a place to hide when it all becomes too much, and not being entirely sure when or where from your next meal will come.  Maybe not as much fun.

Also, read an awesome article about sex in video games, or more specifically how most games rely on what is already a shitty, outdated, and soul-crushing system of sexuality in real life: Women aren’t Vending Machines.

Or basically: instead of being the result of a good relationship and something that happens between two equally interested partners,  sex in games is really fairly often presented as “push button receive bacon”; basically something you trade and barter for one way or another.  Which is, again, shitty in real life and equally shitty in games.  In a lot of instances, I suppose this is a combination of a byproduct of societal “that’s just the way it is” statements combined with the fundamentals of give-and-take game design.  But the funny, and extreme, example in question is the upcoming Alpha Protocol.  Which apparently features a James Bond type main character that can reportedly have sex with every woman in the game.  Which is dodgy in the first place.  There’s no married women?  No lesbians?  No women who just, I don’t know, are full-fledged human beings with feelings and preferences that might, say, exclude Mr. psuedo-Bond from their list?  Nope.  In Alpha Protocol, women exist to have sex with.  That’s just great.

Oh, wait!  I forgot to mention that there’s an achievement for sleeping with every lady in the game.
And I really don’t know what else to say about that.  The level of shit therein is practically self explanatory.


It’s been sort of a hard journey (though not as hard as some), but here we are at QuakeCon.  Hell, all of our writers are!

First con ever of any sort for me.  Though this is debatably more a huge LAN party than a con, but hey!  It’s equal parts wondrous and terribly frightening, to be honest.

Carried a bunch of stuff?  Check.  Stood in a line?  Check.  Stood in a line again because I’m an idiot? Cheeeck.

Well, so far really I’d classify it as the gathering and personafication of all the best and worst of our community.  There’s a lot of goodwill here and really an interesting sense of…community.  But at the same time, it’s hard to deny the presence of all your typical internet vices and psuedo-masculine nerdisms.  I hope I can take in s’more of the crowd, maybe even do some…networking?  And give more of an impression here!

Note:  I hit Save Draft instead of Publish before walking around the show floor like a zombie, so here’s a two-day-late post about QuakeCon!

So far at QuakeCon we have had the opportunity to play an almost limitless supply of games, and what does my group decide. We played Warcraft tower defense till 4am, I was greatly disappointed with my friends as I walked back to my car to get some shut-eye. That’s right my fair readers, your intrepid blogger had his plans to sleep in a nice bed dashed by a friend who decided not to show.

So the rundown goes:

10:30pm-arrive at quake-con

Midnight- gain entrance to the BYOC (bring your own computer)

1:30am- finish setting up my stuff.

4am- leave to go to sleep

8:30am- alarm fails to go off…

12:30pm- wake up

1pm-go to the Brink show…

So I arrive at the brink show feeling a little groggy and in need of a shower, but the guys at Splash Damage managed to wake me up with an impressive display of their game. I love the class based structure of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and brink uses that general structure and throws in customization elements to make you feel like your character is an individual fighting a guerrilla war in the future. The mission objective system looked dynamic pulling you from place to place by enticing you to help your team. While it was a pre-alpha build many parts looked polished. The only thing I want to see more of is the Mirror’s Edge style free-running button that allows you to traverse obstacles with ease, if the level design works with this feature it could be the first time that the nimble infiltrator class actually gets to be nimble.

Keep posted as we continue to muse about whatever the hell it is we are doing here at quake-con, I’m going to find a real place to sleep for the night.

Hello from Quakecon. I hope all of you are ready for HARDCORE BLOGGING!!!!! (guitar wail).

Thats right, your friends at the Other Castle are here live at the Gaylord hotel in Dallas Texas ready to soak up all the super-LAN goodness. We just got set up and yours truly just finished with a very successful round of Team Fortress 2, and while a wait for a few files to finish downloading I’m going to run into a Left 4 Dead game.

Keep up with us for any col updates we can think of and random musings about the biggest LAN from the biggest contiguous state (Alaska shouldn’t count anyway).

Not like there aren’t enough reasons as is: Plants Vs. Zombies is a PopCap title wherein you defend your lawn from cartoon zombies with a bevy of particularly aggressive plant life.  The game is massively fun and beyond charming with a cute sense of humor.  We’re talking pole vaulting zombies, crazy neighbors, zombie dolphins, adorable kitty-faced waterside cat-tails, and even “zomboni” drivers.

The comedy doesn’t seem to stop there, though.

See, it’s not unusual to see terrible ads for browser games on gaming sites.  Usually, of course, they’re along the lines of vague features that may (possibly!) be something resembling elements of a game.  PVP!  Space Combat!  Panda Breeding!  Well, whatever.  These guys have nothing on Evony‘s advertising might:

So is it about strategy or heavy petting?  I'm confused.

So is it about strategy or heavy petting? I'm confused.

This is not Photoshopped, people.  This is on the internet.

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The Other Castle is a blog by video games, for video games. Wait, let me try that again. The Other Castle is a blog by a few nerd friends, about video games. As long as we're entertaining ourselves, there's a good chance somewhere out there, you might be getting a little kick out of reading this, too!



August 2009
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