Back when the Wii U and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were all announced, I took a serious look at each and decided that I just didn't need a new console. Oh sure each system may have had a few games that would pique my interest, but the bottom line was that as a PC gamer I had become totally happy with the (nearly never-ending) selection of games that were available to me there. Basically the whole idea of 'consoles' had become antiquated to me. It had been almost a decade since I even played games on a TV rather than a monitor. To me, sitting on a couch across the room from the TV wasn't nearly as comfortable as sitting at a desk in front of my (far better) gaming monitor. But something weird happened a few months ago: I bought an Xbox One. And what's even weirder is that it's turned out to be a pretty great addition to my PC.
Continue reading I Bought My PC An Xbox One
With the new year upon us, I thought I'd take a look at my Steam library. I wondered: going into 2017, what are the games that I've spent the most time playing? This is kind of easy to figure out, as I have been PC-only for years. But the tricky part is non-Steam games. I don't know about those as much. Though in fairness, the only ones that would end up here are Heroes Of The Storm and Hearthstone most likely.
So let's take a look at what I've played the most, according to Steam's hours logged anyway. And let's try to make some sense of me as a gamer. Maybe.
Continue reading My Top 10 Most Played Steam Games - 2017 Edition
Wow... 2016 is coming to an end. Already! Maybe I'm getting old, but it felt like one of those years that just flew by. And what a crazy year it was for gaming. As a pretty much exclusively PC gamer, I saw some really wild developments this year. I guess the biggest one would be the real deal retail release of virtual reality as a thing that is now kind of, but not totally, normal for people to have in their homes. Indeed, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive along with PlayStation 4's PSVR and Samsung's GearVR are all making VR gaming a more normal reality. This year also saw Nvidia and AMD both put out super beefy and super cheap graphic card lines - most likely to help usher in the "VR revolution." Additionally, this year saw a shift in the way console makers seemed to view PC gaming. Microsoft seems to be pushing towards a shared ecosystem for Xbox One and Windows 10, while Sony has launched the PlayStation Now streaming service for Windows that allows PC gamers to play PS3 games. Even Nintendo... well, I mean Nintendo saw a hit with Pokemon Go and is bringing a Mario game to iOS and Android. So that's something.
Anyway, enough rambling I suppose. Within all that craziness I also played a lot of games this year. So let's take a look at the ones that really stuck with me. There's some surprises here, and some totally obvious ones. But these are the ones I honestly played and enjoyed the most. So here we go!
Continue reading noiseredux's Top 10 Games - 2016 Edition
As a hardcore fan of horror movies, there's something that I feel slightly embarrassed to admit. The truth is that I find many horror games actually scare me. Now you might be correct in telling me that that is exactly the point of those games. But it's still odd to me. It is extremely rare for a movie to scare me. I've even found that jump-scares in film have become less effective on me over time. And yet games that many of you play and have no problem with will often leave me totally stressed out.
So what is it about horror games that make me nervous while a movie may not? I've given that some thought and I think the best I can come up with is the way in which we interact (or don't) with media. Which is to say that watching a movie is a passive experience. Though I certainly may feel tense at times, I never really feel like I'm the one in the movie. But a game is an active experience. I'm the one controlling the character in the game. It's easier to put myself in the terror when my decisions matter. If I were to ever yell "don't go up those stairs!" at a movie, the actor wouldn't care less.
Continue reading Do You Like Scary Games?
In recent years, I've gone from being a console gamer, to a mostly PC gamer, to a totally PC gamer. I could go on and on about why I finally decided to be a PC-only guy, but it doesn't really matter - at least not for this blog post. Instead, I thought we'd explore the many options that PC gamers have in the area of controllers. Truth be told, I probably end up using the mouse and keyboard for the majority of games I play anyway. And yet, I've got controllers scattered around this room everywhere I look.
Now this post can really only be as thorough as my own experience goes. I mean, ultimately the options are nearly limitless. Basically anything with a USB connection is fair game, right? And pretty much any Xbox 360 device is going to be plug-n-play on PC. Not to mention the fact that nearly every classic console controller has some kind of USB adapter you could use. However, for the purposes of this article, I'll just focus on the major controllers just to scratch the surface of the options available.
Continue reading Taking Control Of PC Games
Summer is a great time to get outside and play some sports. It's also a good time to stay inside and play some sports video games instead. For the past two years, I've taken the Summer as a queue to take a look at the landscape of sports games available on PC. In fact, I'm now going to call it a tradition around here. As a note, these outlines are not meant to be a thorough list of all sports games released in the year, but rather more of a guide to let you know about the best current options you can play for each sport. I've also intentionally left out the management sims like Out Of The Park Baseball, as those are really their own sort of sub-sub-genre. The 2016 edition of our survey actually has some pretty interesting entries that weren't around last year. But don't get your hopes up... there's still no Madden, and hockey and volleyball games are still nowhere to be found.
Continue reading The State Of PC Sports Games - 2016
Another year ends, and another Top 10 lists needs to be assembled. I have to admit that this was kind of a weird year for me as far as new games went. There were actually a lot of unexpected disappointments really. I loved Wolfenstein: The New Order last year, but couldn't enjoy The Old Blood this year. I loved Shovel Knight last year, but the Plague expansion did nothing for me. Ori and the Blind Forest and Mortal Kombat X come to mind as well as let-downs. I also played a lot of indie games that just didn't leave a lasting impression.
The other weird thing is that this was a huge year for independent Dreamcast releases and a bunch of them were released in the latter part of the year. While many of these are either on their way to me now or still on my want-list, I unfortunately didn't get to play all of them. So for all I know, this list could have or would have changed by the time the year officially rolls to an end. I guess you could say that about any list of favorites: it's always going to be in-flux. But as of right now, at this very moment, as the words pour out from my fingers, these were my favorite games of the year. The top half feels really solid to me - the best of the best, but strangely, the lower half feels like games that were 'just good enough' to make it onto the list.
Continue reading Top 10 Games, 2015
Metagaming is a series where I force myself to play through Metacritic's highest rated PC games, working my way down the list one game at a time. There's no real goal other than giving myself an excuse to experience these critically acclaimed games. Sometimes I'll beat the games, and sometimes the games will beat me.
I started playing Undertale a couple of weeks ago, when it miraculously dethroned Half-Life 2 as the #1 PC game on Metacritic with a beyond impressive score of 97%. I say beyond impressive not because the top games are actually a six-way tie with 96%, but rather because Undertale is a pretty small, indie game developed by one guy using Game Maker Studio. I'm not knocking such a thing, since the same can be said for Spelunky, one of the most perfect games released in the last decade. But I mean, look at these graphics! The overworld map feels like we're in a SNES game and then the battles shift to something out of an Apple II game. It's all so lo-fi that I'm amazed - maybe impressed - at such a universal acclaim.
And maybe that initial hype simmered a bit as well. In the weeks since I've started playing, Undertale has received further reviews and dropped "all the way down" to #13 with an average of 94% where I suspect it will most likely remain comfortably wedged between Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Civilization II....still, not bad company to keep. Now before we go any further, I must warn you: to talk about Undertale at all is to give away spoilers. So if you're planning on playing these soon and want to keep as many surprises as you can, I suggest you stop reading here. There are plenty of other good posts to read on these blogs.
Continue reading Metagaming: Undertale
Some of you may have noticed that I took a bit of a hiatus away from writing here for the past couple months. Mostly I just needed a break from deadlines for a bit. The Summer months can certainly get busy between yard work, vacation, beach days, and BBQ's. So I mean, there's good busy in there, but busy none the less. I did however get some gaming done as well, so I thought I'd take a look back at some of the stuff I found myself really into recently.
Continue reading What I Played On My Summer Vacation
Oh to be young again. Remember "school vacation?" That magical time where you could sit and play video games for several months straight, and because you still had a working metabolism you wouldn't even gain any weight. But for some of us those days are long in the rearview. Now we have things like schedules, responsibilities and beer bellies to deal with. And so our downtime is more precious. Of course that doesn't mean we lose our hobby. Instead we find new ways in which the games fill these little cracks. Rather than gaming be all we do, we find that our schedules, responsibilities and beer bellies dictate how our lives flow and somehow the games themselves seem to figure out how they fit into our lives on their own.
Continue reading How Games Fit
Last Summer I published an article here that chronicled the current state of sports games available on PC. I decided to revisit this concept for 2015 because there's actually been some interesting developments since last year. So I don't know... maybe this will be an annual thing? So grab your favorite game-time snacks and big foam finger and let's explore the world of PC sports games in 2015 together after the break! (Spoiler: Still no new Madden game.)
Continue reading The State Of PC Sports Games, 2015
Gamers who grew up with consoles have been lucky over the years as far as nostalgia goes. In the last decade or two, we've seen a rise in and have been stuffed-to-the-gills with compilations of old console games. We've seen celebrations of the Atari 2600 and it's been shouted out loud that "Intellivision Lives!" We've gotten collections of Genesis carts and plenty of various arcade era releases.
But what if you are nostalgic for early PC gaming? Certainly there's plenty out there to explore. Services like GOG and DotEmu do a great job of bringing old games to a newer generation of gamers. And heck, if you know your way around DOSBox or Windows compatability settings, there's usually very little stopping you from finding old CD-ROMs or even 3.5" floppy discs of your favorites titles of yesteryear. Yet having said all that, it's nice to see a publisher throwing a bunch of their classics together and offering them up in a nice bundle. And that's just what the 3D Realms Anthology is.
Continue reading Review: 3D Realms Anthology
Toren is a game I've been looking forward to for quite some time. We might as well get the Ico comparisons out of the way now, since Team Ico's influence on this game is a big part of why I was anticipating it so much. In tone, story (or lack thereof) and setting, the likeness to Ico is undeniable. But thankfully, Toren never feels like a rip-off, nor does it try too hard to be like a Team Ico title. The developer Swordtales has done a commendable job in creating a unique experience here. But does it succeed at being an enjoyable game? Well, yes and no.
Continue reading Review: Toren
We PC gamers had to wait a long time for Grand Theft Auto V to come to our platform of choice, but it became immediately clear that it was worth the wait. I'm not going to bore you with all the additions made to this version, as it's been well-documented in every review out there. In fact, I'm not even going to review the game. It doesn't need that from me. Neither does Rockstar. Instead I want to talk about the beauty of games about nothing.
Now don't get the wrong impression here. GTA V is about something in the sense that it has a story. Actually it has a whole lot of story. But as good (or bad) as that story may be, this is a game that is justifiably celebrated just as much by everything you can do, even if you ignore the story. This is game that you can spend hundreds of hours on without actually playing the game itself. If you want to play the campaign, it's there for you. If you want to ignore it and just do 'nothing,' that can be an even more satisfying experience.
Continue reading Grand Theft Auto V And Games About Nothing
Dead Or Alive has long been my favorite 3-D fighting game series. While subsequent sequels constantly improved, for years the second game remained my favorite. That was until Dead Or Alive 5 was released and completely blew me away. It looked gorgeous, played fluidly, had an impressively huge roster and implemented a wonderfully ridiculous Story Mode that delivered so much fun and fan service for long time players. Yes, what made Dead Or Alive 5 so perfect to me was that it basically rendered its predecessors obsolete. Sure, I still loved Dead Or Alive II; I just couldn't think of any real reason to play it over this one.
Continue reading Review: Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round