Gaming's Strangest Player-Characters

So you’ve played the stealthy assassins, the hardened warriors, the spell-flinging wizards. You’ve beaten off Big Daddys as a constantly mutating prisoner of an underwater city, mowed down hordes of alien fanatics as a cybernetically-enhanced super-soldier, taken down serial killers as a grizzled detective, launched into the skies as a super hero from your favorite comic…

And you’re bored. Because you’ve played ‘em all. The same honorable bad-guy-kicking champions of justice, the same characters that could have could have walked straight out of Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. Sure, you’ve dabbled as a dark lord, or might even have tried your hand as a customs officer, but what you really want is play a character that’s completely out there. What you’re really looking for is a list of the most zany creepy, surreal, or weird characters you could ever get to play in a game.

You’re welcome.

 * * *

The Binding of Isaac Afterbirth Review

I feel pretty confident in saying that The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky are the best the rogue-like genre has to offer. The two games exist on opposite sides of the spectrum, Spelunky being a deceptively minimalist game that makes the most out of its few components—its Mario world structure, the items you can use, the patterns of foes and traps—to create an exciting experience that changes from game to game. The Binding of Isaac, though it follows the same philosophy of harshly punishing players for failure by sending them back to the start of the game, operates on a different level. It showers players with power-ups and modes that mutate the game and change how you play, constantly presenting them with new challenges.

Planetbase and Ongoing Updates

With the recent release of planet-colonization sim Planetbase, combined with four swift patches to it, we've seen another example of the fine line between a bug and a feature. After its release on October 15th, it quickly climbed to become a best seller on Steam with SteamSpy reporting 80,419 owners at the time of writing.  Social media, Kickstarter, and the their ilk has made it easier than ever for fans to voice their ire and pleasure directly to publishers. For some games, like Planetbase, patches are rolled out to change how the AI of the game sets up priorities, but other companies have stuck with their original vision, refusing to respond to customer demands.

This reflects one of the ongoing challenges with modern game development – the audience is essentially part of the process now. In an interview with Martiño Figueroa, responsible for the design and programing of the game, from Madruga Works, the team behind Planetbase, said that the Reddit community that grew up around their company was without any particular planning on their part – “It just happened.”

Fallout 4 Review

Developed by:Bethesda Game Studios
Published by: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC (tested)
Price: $59.99

Fallout 4 made me remember why I love video games. It’s the kind of game that’s so absorbing you will forgo eating, drinking, or sleeping to play. It’s the kind of game you’ll get up off the couch to turn off and only realize later that a half hour has gone by and you’re still standing there, controller in hand, before giving up and just sitting back down to play. It’s a game where there’s always something more to be done, another location to be explored or new problem to fix, some new enemy around the corner that needs to be turned to ash with a laser rifle.

The Goofiest Weapons in Video Games

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m kind of tired of all these guns that military shooters keep throwing at my feet and expecting me to be impressed. The M14s, the Benelli shotguns, the oh-so-real guns with customabizle bits and bobs that don’t make them anymore exciting. All the weapons in these particular video games look and feel the same, creativity sacrificed to the altar of reality.

No no no. Let’s forget that trite. Give me the goofy guns, the absolutely outrageous stuff that spews rainbows and dangerous fish. Give me more of these.

Destiny 2.0 Makes Bungie's Latest Essential

Now is the best possible time to get into Destiny.

You might have heard about all of the issues players had with the game after it launched. You might have heard that it features a garbled story, mindless grinding, and a community of players that seem to love to hate it. You might have even played it yourself and thrown it aside in frustration for another game, wondering just how Bungie made so many wrongheaded decisions along the way. 

I’m here to tell you that all these concerns are valid, but they’ve all been fixed. It just took a year for Destiny to figure out what kind of game it is. 

Cibele Review

Out of all the minutiae to appreciate about Cibele, my favorite is the clicks. This is a game that simulates what its like to look through a 19-year-old's computer desktop—the old blog entries, the old photos, the writing assignments, and the emails—and the best part is that when I click my mouse, the game clicks back. It's small, but important. The clicks mask the real sound of my mouse, connecting my finger taps with main character Nina's finger taps. For a game about a girl desperate for a connection via her computer—a story that could be my own—the clicks are essential. We're in this together.

The 15 Most Memorable Creepy Game Soundtracks

When you first dive into a game, there may be no better indicator of what you should expect than the music. This holds especially true when it comes to scary games, where mood and tension are everything. Not every game is frightening in the same way, and music plays an essential role in helping each game tell a uniquely disturbing story. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I’ve hunted down the most memorable music from creepy games across the years.

Prison Architect's Early Access Strategy

Back in 2012 Introversion Software launched the alpha of their game Prison Architect upon the world. Now, three years later, version 1.0 has launched to critical acclaim and has already sold well over a million copies, thanks to the team’s unique alpha funding model. Mere days before the official version 1.0 launch, we sat down with Mark Morris and Chris Delay of Introversion Software to see just how well their alpha funding model and regular early access updates worked out for them. 

Undertale Review

There are games that come screaming into existence, demanding that you play them. Games with loud and expensive year-long PR campaigns. You know the games I’m talking about. The Call of Duties. The Dark Souls. The games that demand you subject yourselves to their flames and gauntlets, to the virtual bullets whizzing past your ear as you pump your own rounds into nameless, virtual foes, each falling one after another to your might like dominos.