BioShock Replay: Neptune’s Bounty to Central Misting Control

Forgive the crummy formatting here – not sure why the paragraphs are all wonky (meaning, you get none unless you drop cap something). Anwyay, here’s today’s musings on BioShock.

Mostly, it’s been a lot of fetch questing with some inconsistent arrow pointing. I like the way BioShock keeps me on track with the floating pointer in the center top of the screen, but when it goes away, I’m lost. The map is somewhat useful, but mostly for finding which areas I haven’t searched, yet.

The story continues with “friend” Atlas shouting at me in his Irish brogue about saving his family, who I guess get exploded (it’s kind of quick and unclear). Then he’s out for revenge against Ryan, which makes sense. The final bit here is a brilliant bio-engineer who planted all the trees to keep the air breathable in Rapture. She dies (of course) and then you have to run all over the place to find a bunch of distilled water, chlorophyll, and enzymes, which exist as random drops or pickups hidden in various places. It’s alright, but mostly serves as a way to really up your game in managing all your plasmids and weapons.

I died. A lot. The respawn mechanic in this game is pretty good for players like me – you die, end up in a Vita-Chamber, and can go back tot eh fight where the enemies haven’t cycled back up their health. It’s nice to be able to die and pick up the fight with a Big Daddy until you whittle its health down enough to kill it.

The sense of place here is great, too. When you run through the underwater tunnels, you really get a sense that you’re, well, underwater. Looking out at the city through the transparent tunnel walls is stunning.

Now it’s time to hit the bathysphere and, as Atlas says, head to Ryan’s home. Wish me luck.

BioShock Replay: Beginning to Neptune’s Bounty

Neptune’s Bounty – Image from BioShock Fandom

The water still looks amazing, but the fire (especially in the crash sequence) looks dated. I still hate the way the hands look – not super realistic.

The gameplay, however, is as joyous as ever. The controls are solid and easy to remember, the plasmids and weapons are fun to experiment with.

The story? Still as interesting and intriguing as the first time. It’s been long enough I don’t remember the nuances. I’ve been running from battle to battle and only picking up the story audio diaries to listen to later, so I’m missing out on some of the subtleties, but I’m ok with it.

The Save/Harvest mechanic feels a little simplistic, but I’m willing to commit to saving every last little sister. The animation where she struggles a bit, like a child taking gross medicine, then thanking me for saving her, has the same emotional impact it did when my kids were 7 and 5.

I watched the Developer’s Commentary (basically an interview with Ken Levine and another team mate from BioShock and Infinite by Geoff Keighley of Mountain Dew ethics fame). You can find it just after the first Big Daddy fight. It’s fun listening to Levine talk about how little money he had and how unable he was to sell the idea of the game until Andrew Park at GameSpot came out and wrote up the demo. The age of journalists influencing game creation begins.

(no idea why these won’t do paragraph returns without drop caps – they USED to work just fine)

BioShock RePlay

Big Daddy in Rapture (Image from Microsoft Store)
I picked up the BioShock Collection on my PS4 for $15 a little while ago and now it’s time to play all these games again. I was 37 the last time I played the original title; now I’m 49. Let’s see how this series (which seemed so good in my memory) plays to me now, shall we?
Source: ThatGameCompany

GrE Rewind: A Chat With Austin Wintory at GDC 2012

As I watched my girlfriend play through Journey for the first time last night, I was again struck by how incredible that score is. It’s emotional, poignant, and is an equal partner in the story, along with the incredible visuals and mechanics.

Here’s an interview that our very own Elle Janecek did back in 2012 with the composer of that score (and countless others), in today’s GrE Rewind.

PS: I found this interview archived over at Austin Wintory’s own Press Page and was able to enter the link into the Wayback Machine. Yay!

GDC 2012: Austin Wintory, Journey Composer

Posted by Elle Janecek

Have you ever played a game and found yourself humming the music hours after you shut off the tv? Maybe you kept playing Bastion because the music is great and reminds you of Firefly. Perhaps you customized the ring tone on your phone to play the main theme song for Portal (yes, I personally know people who did this. Some of them are me). It’s ok to admit it, you’re not alone. Just as a soundtrack can make a good movie even better, so can a, er, gametrack.

What I have heard of Wintory’s score for Journey makes it clear that this is one of those soundtracks, and I can’t wait to hear how it all fits together with the intriguing and mystical new release from the same minds who brought about Flower.

It seemed like a great idea to interview award winning composer Austin Wintory because I’m a musician. After the interview time was all set up and there was no going back, it suddenly seemed like a terrible idea to interview Wintory because I remembered that I’m a very amateur musician.

Luckily for me, Wintory is a very kind guy and is at ease with chatting. He feels that games are poised to become the dominant storytelling medium of the 21st century and I am intrigued by his idea that every stage in life can glean new meaning from replaying a game, just like reading a book or watching a favorite movie again.
An admitted gamer himself, Wintory started his working life aiming to be a game designer but music and composing became the “creative blob that took over everything else.” It makes a lovely kind of sense for him to compose for games, then. He has a number of impressive awards and credits to his name, including music for thatgamecompany’s flOw. Check out the movie Grace if you get a chance; Wintory’s incredibly beautiful and creepy soundtrack is hair-raising in all the right ways.

Journey makes its official debut March 13, and Playstation Plus subscribers can download it now. In the meantime , you can go to Wintory’s website and watch the incredible cellist Tina Guo perform “Woven Variations,” a piece Wintory wrote as an exploration of the musical themes in the game soundtrack. I hope it whets your appetite for more.

Image: BadLand Games

Creepy adventure game Dead Synchronicity  Hits PS4

Not much gameplay footage here, but the art style really reminds me of 30 Days of Night‘s Ben Templesmith.

Point and click games aren’t usually my jam, but BadLand Games is behind a couple of great ones for Telltale GamesMinecraft: Story Mode and Game of Thrones.

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today might be the next good one. Just check out the story, from the press release:

Published by BadLand Games, Dead Synchronicity tells the story of Michael, a man with no past who must recover his identity and decode the two events that brought the world to the edge of collapse. The first is the so-called “Great Wave,” an inexplicable chain of natural disasters. The second is a pandemic that has turned humans into “the Dissolved,” infected beings with special cognitive powers whose sick bodies will eventually dissolve into blood. If Michael doesn’t hurry, he won’t be able to avoid the impending moment of “dead synchronicity” … when time itself starts to dissolve.

The $19.99 Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is ready for a download to your PlayStation 4, with a full-on box version set to show up Friday, October 7th. Still no confirmed release date for Xbox One, but we’re guessing it’ll be out soon.

GrE Retro: Critical Thinking and the Chainsaw Gun of Gore

From way back in 2008, here’s an essay that might still resonate with you as we look forward to Gears of War 4 coming out.

Let me know what you think in the comments below – the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s interesting to note which of the blogs survived thus far; I know I didn’t. I moved on past the long-form video game essay into video gaming freelance news, then into tech/Apple blogging, and now most of my actual writing is about highly technical behind-the-scenes stuff for companies that pay well.

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large group of cosplayers from last year's GaymerX conference Inclusivity is the new normal.

New Collaboration Brings Diversity and Inclusivity to Gaming Conference

Bringing together diverse people and viewpoints is the big-picture concept behind a new team up between GaymerX and XPO Game Festival this year in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

GaymerX’s founder, Matt Conn, says, “GaymerX’s mission includes exposing people to rarely discussed social concepts and issues in games while creating a fun, inviting space. Our collaboration with XPO Game Festival will let us share this message with parts of the country that might not regularly have the chance to openly debate these issues.”


It seems surprising that a festival that takes place in America’s heartland would choose to connect with a diverse audience as represented by the GaymerX group, but Matt Stockman, Events Manager at VisitTulsa, is excited to include new voices.

“Like GaymerX, everyone has a place at XPO — regardless of gender, ethnicity, or orientation,” Stockman said in a statement. “Closely following the trend for more inclusiveness, XPO will feature transgender restrooms and open discussions on any and all topics related to the game industry and gaming culture.”


To learn more about these two organizations and their respective events, head to:


Tickets for both XPO and GaymerX are discounted this week, Sept 12 through the 16, by 15%, so head on over and grab your spot for both GaymerX and XPO now.

So, whether you’re in Santa Clara, CA, or Tulsa OK, you can get yourself to an inclusive gaming conference that respects all gamers. All means all.



Play Your Cards Right in Where Cards Fall – The Portable Gamer

There’s nothing better than a game that’s both visually stunning as well as mechanically deep.

Where Cards Fall is an upcoming game from the folks behind Alto’s Adventure, and we’re super excited to get this first sneak peek. Click on through to The Portable Gamer below to see the whole, beautiful dream, then read to the end to find out where to enter to win a killer t-shirt.

Source: Play Your Cards Right in Gorgeous Game, Where Cards Fall – The Portable Gamer

Accessibility matters to gamers with disabilities

Just remember to use person-first language when you talk about it, ok? It’s a person with a disability, not a “disabled person.”

You might not have dug into Uncharted 4’s extensive set of accessibility features, but for fans with disabilities, they’re incredibly important. The reason Uncharted 4 has so many is thanks to a fortuitous meeting at GDC.

Source: How One Disabled Player Convinced Naughty Dog To Add More Accessibility Options To Uncharted 4

Winston likes peanut butter with his bananas. Photo: Blizzard

Blizzard drops a brand-new Overwatch video on YouTube, Xbox One

Winston likes peanut butter with his bananas.  Photo: Blizzard

Winston likes peanut butter with his bananas. Photo: Blizzard

“Recall,” the first of four Overwatch animated shorts by Blizzard, is ostensibly only on Xbox One, but it’s also on YouTube, and embedded below.

But I can’t help but ask myself, does any of this of any matter to the FPS crowd? Do we really need the backstory — however adorable — of any of the characters in Overwatch, when all we’ll be doing is shooting each other, capturing territory and flags, and the like?

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SNES games will ‘run on the system with quality results,’ says Nintendo

Super Metroid needs a faster CPU than the original 3DS?  Photo: Nintendo

Super Metroid needs a faster CPU than the original 3DS? Photo: Nintendo

When we realized that only the New 3DS hardware would run these older-than-many-gamers games from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, we were hard pressed not to think of it as yet another cash grab by Japan’s venerable gaming company. I mean, how many portable Nintendo gaming systems do we really need?

Today, however, Nintendo tells Game Informer that the reason you need new hardware is because the new hardware has a better CPU in it. To run games from 25 years ago. Ok.

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Why are upcoming Super Nintendo games limited to New 3DS models?

The one game i'm excited to play on my New 3DS XL. Image shamelessly stolen from TechnoBuffalo

The one game i’m excited to play on my New 3DS XL. Image shamelessly stolen from TechnoBuffalo

Looks like SNES classics Pilotwings, Super Mario World, and F-Zero will be available today in the Nintendo eShop.

Super Mario Kart, Earthbound, and Donkey Kong Country will be available on March 24.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest will make it to your handheld on April 14th.

Why, though, will these older video games require Nintendo’s latest handheld hardware, the New 3DS and the New 3DS XL?

During today’s Nintendo Direct announcement, Nintendo said that the games will feature a “Pixel Perfect Mode,” which will let the games to be played in their original resolution. I’m unsure why “older” hardware, like the 3DS, 3DS XL and even newer 2DS won’t be able to run these games.

Is it Nintendo trying to push us to all get a New 3DS? Is there some technical reason?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Via: The Verge