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an awesome article about sex in video games, or more specifically how most games rely on what is already a shitty, outdated, and soul-crushing system of sexuality in real life: Women aren’t Vending Machines.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

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Transformations

Transformations

To the blog-mobile!


Racing down the grapevine!  Nippon Ichi, (cult-favorite strategy RPG developers behind the Disgaea series and more) recently released a teaser flyer for what looks to be a new PSP Strategy RPG supposedly under work by their Disgaea team.

Official reactions have been, thus far, as follows:

“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY”, Me.

In all seriousness, NIS has always had something of a flirting relationship with sentai heroes and masked heroes in general.  If the focus herein is on said goofy heroes entirely, I’m expecting a wholly good time.  It’s also nice to see an expansion on a transformation mechanic.  They’ve tried things like this in the past, I just always felt like they never quite panned out.

But with the news that Fat Princess is also hitting this week coming to me today, I’m sure as hell having a good day!

I picked up this story from the awesome GameSetWatch, who previously heard it from PSPHyper.  Spread the love!

This is hardly new news for those most devoted of internet scourers, but as far as I’m concerned the more people know about this the better!  Your faithful poster first heard about this on GameSetWatch, but a number of folks have posted about it since.

Intrepid chip-tuners Pterodactyl Squad describes their tribute album thusly:

“‘The 8-bit Album’ is a collection of Weezer tracks as interpreted by some of the brightest stars of the 8-bit music scene.”

As I’m too much of a noob to chiptunery to really say much about the artists, I’ll just say that, well, I love me some Weezer, and I love me some chiptunes.  And I’ll just let their teaser song for the upcoming album speak for itself.

I’ve listened to that damn thing at least 50 times by now.  Can’t wait to have it in WinAmp, as my clicking finger is getting tired of hitting play on the vid.  In any case, I just know I’m looking forward to Buddy Holly and Island in the Sun like a kid on Christmas.

Read all about the upcoming album, including a tracklist, at the “Weezer 8-bit Tribute” blog, and watch Pterodactyl Squad’s website for the actual release and more from the group!

Valve‘s multiplayer darling Team Fortress 2 got yet another class update this Thursday, and I can quite honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever had the urge to throw a jar of my own waste at someone.

I might have to backpedal momentarily, though, for the unaware: it’s not outrage that’s brought me to this juncture, but instead the fact that Valve has now allowed us to do just that.  After unlocking* Saxton Hale’s patented “Jar-based karate”, players battling teams in fortresses as the sniper class now have the classy option to fling a marmalade jar full of urine at their advesaries.

Dreams do come true!

Player reactions have been kinda varied thus far, from mic hogs getting a good belly laugh about their “piss jars” to bemonocled socialites decrying “Crass humor?  In my Team Fortress!?”  In any case, it’s a bang-up update, and aside from the predictable deluge of spies (notably, they also recieved an update in the patch, but nothing as eyecatching as man-lemonade grenades)  and snipers clogging the pipes of gameplay like so many urine jars, the game is only better for it.  Valve also used the update as an excuse to get a free-to-play weekend out there, so we’ve seen many new and guest players doing the TF two step.

I can’t say having so many cloak-loving spies around for the time being is a such a bad thing anyway.  This weekend marked the first time I’ve donned an eyepatch and fired a grenade at a completely vacant room corner to be subsequently greeted, like a party popper full of people parts, with a shower of spy-limbs and blood.  Happy New Year, you invisible French bastard.  I love you.

In any case, I’m sure as hell looking forward to the day when the Valve weapon-unlocking fairy puts a jar of pee in my stocking.  Now back to pushing tiny carts.

* Valve’s new meaning for the word unlock now encompasses something more along the lines of “you get a random doodad for playing the game for a while“, and not so much, “you get a reward for snagging reasonable/unreasonable achievements, likely on a server for farming them up like so many potatoes.”  The best way out there to get your hands on Saxton Hale’s warm jars for the time being is to get to playing and cross your fingers!  More updates on the new system, which will include trading to facilitate a better spread of items, will hopefully come soon.

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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!

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