By Toby McCasker on July 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm
I’m just playing Dishonored now. I’m late to the party not because I’m a cool guy with loads of bitches (I’m really not, I sometimes read the dictionary on Saturday night). I’m late on this one ‘cos Dishonored was one of those “hype” games.
Hype games, I think, are really hard to see clearly when they first come out, ostensibly because the smoke belching from the hype train does its best to obscure any and all of those flaws that tend to become apparent much later when nobody cares anymore. I always wait (it’s also cheaper), just so I can experience this blown-up million-dollar thing with an unfettered gamer’s eye and judge it true.
By Toby McCasker on May 29, 2013 at 11:04 am
When the bullets are flying thick and fast like swarms of flies with knives, I don’t like being out there by myself. I want a brotatoe at my side. Not only do the odds of being killed by a knife-fly go from 100% to 50% (maybe 25% if the brotatoe in question is really into potatoes, fried ones) but there may come a time when I would prefer not to stab-tackle a madman strapped with bombs through a plate glass window and would instead like Frank Woods to do it for me.
Many such brotatoes have similarly saved my ass with their badass, but after much ado about eating chips and thinking, I have realised my fave brotatoe is not a bro at all, but a sister.
By Toby McCasker on May 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm
I like to laugh because life is a dynamic experience and it can’t rain all the time. Nor can a man or woman or transgender individual laugh constantly either, because you would edge closer and closer to insanity in the eyes of everyone around you, especially if you were, IDK, at the vet putting the family dog to sleep forever. While I favour giggling over glowering, there are times and places whence a lad such as I need court the grim of drawing breath (please forgive me, I’m reading A Song of Ice and Fire right now and I can’t stop talking like a halberd).
By Toby McCasker on May 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Have you ever taken a particular interest in a game that is, at base, really not that good and in fact pretty awful? I know some of you have, you Alpha Protocol-loving goons (AMBLE TOWARDS MY PERSON, BROTHERS). The reasons for this are strange but powerful, like whatever passes for Tyrion’s sex appeal. Something beyond the dodgy mechanics and screaming imperfection calls to your gamer’s soul, or maybe even beyond that too. There is a unique setting at play, or characters that speak louder than what follows before and after them, or a particular sheen of fantasy rarely – if ever – explored by the “brown” and “military” status quo.
All three of those things apply to one of my most enduring and troubled romances in vidya. You see, I love Clive Barker’s Jericho.
By Toby McCasker on May 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm
I’m fascinated by the moral quandaries as often posed by games now. More specifically, the bad choice. I always bet on black. Always.
I love to cringe, but it’s more about: How far is this game gonna let me go? Really? It’s a game, surely it won’t be that far. Nasty surprises all. So far I’ve managed to put myself in some stupidly uncomfortable places. I worked negligently hard to get Heavy Rain’s worst ending. It was worth it. That has got to be the most depressing and confronting finale of your own devising I’ve ever seen go down in gameland.
I don’t want to spoil it but Ethan, y’know, he doesn’t find that kid. No one does. And Ethan, he can’t live with that.
What I find surprising is that most if not every single gamefriend I’ve talked to about this never bets on black. Ever.
By Toby McCasker on April 10, 2013 at 10:39 am
If FPS games have taught me anything, it’s that you always shoot first, shoot some more, and then keep shooting until everyone and everything has been shot. We expect that from games like this. We have for years and years now. Occasionally there will be the option to not shoot; to approach your target(s) in a more considered or subtle way. It’s always a clear and present line between force and subterfuge, maybe diplomacy too.
The choice is yours, so make it quickly before someone notices you and we default to shooting first, shooting some more and continually shooting until everyone and everything has been shot.
I was shocked to realise that this isn’t the way the world actually works during wartime.
By Toby McCasker on April 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm
Even though this completely legitimate open letter has most likely been penned from the perspective of an American person, I must thank you. I must thank you for readying your weapons of mass nuclear destruction for pointage at my home. Let me explain, and tell you a little bit about myself in the process. I’m middle-aged and pale and probably male, and I have a great job. It’s a great job but also a frustrating one at times. I help make video games.
By Toby McCasker on March 29, 2013 at 11:02 am
17 minutes is a long time to sit and watch somebody else play some Battlefield 4, but it’s Battlefield 4 so we all did it. The guy or gal playing it was definitely human (maybe too much), there were definitely some dramatic things that happened (I yawned really loud), and it was definitely believable if you prefix “believable” with “un.”
By Toby McCasker on March 6, 2013 at 11:03 am
Dead Space 3 is not the clucking fuster its preamble suggested it might be. A lot of its more contentious ideas work on a few levels. The Bench is cool. A lot of the creations that come out of it are redundant, but you can have fun with it and fun is good. Shooting at other guys with guns isn’t that bad, either. They don’t take up much… spaaace and for the most part, it’s pretty close to the Marker the whole way through (which is saying something. This game is impressively long).
Co-op was the big one, though. Having another gun at your back just doesn’t seem very conducive to crapping your space suit. And, you know, it’s not.
By Toby McCasker on February 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm
I have played and finished the new Tomb Raider. There. I said it.
I was one of those lucky so-and-so’s tasked with writing ‘er up somewhere, and if one thing dawns on you when you yourself go a-Lara’ing, it’ll be this: Hot damn there is a lot of shooting in this game. And brutal shotgun-to-the-face finishing moves. Oh she looks like Bambi now, but she is soon as unlikely a mass murderer as Nate Drake. Those two should just date. More than any other game I’ve played of late, the distinction between Tomb Raider’s modest array of cannons is sharp enough that you work out what you like and what works for you pretty quick. Shotgun to the face.
It got my thinking about how I best like to dispatch digital people and creatures, and how.
By Toby McCasker on February 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Because I try not to be mean even when someone is being mean to me, let us just say that Aliens: Colonial Marines is somewhat… divisive. In that it has divided the patience of many an expectant fan. You can’t win ‘em all, although some people like it. That is cool for them and their happiness is my happiness.
More people do not, though. Metacritic collate-paints a fairly unflattering picture, and I must admit that after less than ten minutes with it I had the same impulse that I’m sure lots of other peoples did: I just wanted to find Randy Pitchford and ask him why.
By Toby McCasker on February 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm
I don’t like replaying games. I think you’re either/or. Some guys and gals endlessly wring every bit of fun to be had out of a game by constantly going back for more (I know a crazy man who played Turok three times. That is dedication. Maybe even the gaming equivalent of waterboarding). Some guys and gals, like me, play it once and make it an event; a grand ol’ experience to be treasured but not, under any circumstances, repeated. That would say to its initial impact, “You were not an impact.” Which isn’t true, but the first impact would listen and fall into a depressive haze, eventually dissipating.
Mass Effect 3 has made me break this rule for the first time in years…
By Toby McCasker on February 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Confession time: I am an anime fan. Not quite otaku, but if I didn’t have to afford cans of salmon, I would probably live in a cargo container on top of a Tokyo apartment block and have a comfort pillow in the likeness of Rei Ayanami.
Speaking of, I’ve been rewatching Neon Genesis Evangelion lately and something occurred to me: Why are there almost no amazing shooters based on anime licenses? You can count them on one hand with most of its fingers amputated because of gangrene or severe boredom.
By Toby McCasker on January 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm
I, like you, was surprised by how good Mass Effect 3’s multi turned out to be. I played it a lot, became hopelessly addicted. But while hopelessly addicted, one thing bothered me I could never find my niche on the battlefield. Then I discovered the Vorcha Sentinel…
By Toby McCasker on January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Alright. Who called it? Yes. It was me, thankyou for asking.I’ve written extensively about my jacked-in love for ‘80s sci-fi baby cyberpunk in the past, both for games.on.net and elsewhere. Naturally and because every game dev hungrily devours just about everything I write ever*, the resurgence I picketed for in an annoying way has not stopped at Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Syndicate and even Gemini Rue.
In fact, it looks like it’s becoming a thing all over again in 2013. This year alone we’re gonna hear from Watch Dogs, Remember Me, maybe Prey 2 (I’m an optimist), and most blinding and recently of them all, Cyberpunk 2077. Okay, that last one’s slated for “when it’s ready”, but it’s definitely got your attention. Kick. Ass.