Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Duke Nukem Forever

Great gobs of unpleasant avian sinus drainage! It's a review! Do we do that on this site? I forget!

After 15 years, Duke Nukem Forever has finally come out. All the vaporware jokes, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth... the king is back. But is he still the king?

Alright, you've probably read a lot of other reviews that tell you Duke Nukem Forever isn't a good game. Some even say it's a bad game. Myself, I'm not so sure. And I definitely don't agree with the reasons other pundits put forward when they call DNF a bad game. They want to talk about the dated references, the sexism, all that rot.

Well, I'm here to tell you DNF is not a bad game. It's not a GREAT game. It's hard to even call it a good game. Maybe that's why everybody badmouths it so harshly, because Duke Nukem 3D left some impossibly huge shoes to fill. Duke3D(dot ee ecks ee) was an absolute revolution in the first person shooter genre. The first FPS game that let you have multiple floors in the same 2 dimensional space (later referred to as "2.5d" because it used chicanery in a 2D plane to create the effect), the best multiplayer of the late 90s, and of course the shocking, edgy content - it all created a perfect storm that made Duke3D the staple of just about every LAN party and gaming rig I ever saw.

DNF could have been that again. The problem is not that its conventions are too dated, the problem is developers tried to shoehorn in too many "contemporary" conventions and paradigms. For example,
  • Duke3D let you carry one of every weapon in the game
  • DNF lets you carry two weapons.
  • D3D let you carry huge amounts of ammo
  • DNF lets you carry very restricted amounts of ammo, but boss fights and other heavy conflict areas usually have an inexhaustible ammo crate you can return to multiple times
  • D3D largely consisted of open, free roaming levels that had you hunt keycards to find the exit
  • DNF largely consists of highly detailed rooms and hallways, each with one entrance and one exit
  • D3D let you shoot, reload or sidestep while sprinting, and there was no limit to sprint distance.
  • DNF does not let you do any of that while sprinting, and your sprinting is limited by a fatigue mechanic.
Starting to see the pattern here? What hobbles DNF and makes parts of it irritating are not dated old 90s paradigms... it's the adoption of the bad "quasi-realistic" modern gaming mechanics that everybody gripes about today! I remember late nights with friends playing deathmatch, sprintstrafing in circles firing unbelievable numbers of rockets at each other until someone got lucky. Can't do that in DNF.

A particular sticking point for me as well is the way the alien-stolen "chicks" are handled. Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling "sexist" here or anything, but consider another difference here between D3D and DNF - In D3D, the stolen chicks in alien pods were largely scenery. Usually there were ways around them, so you didn't have to kill them even though they would beg you to do so... but if you did kill them, the game penalized you in the form of health loss or by spawning extra enemies. DNF however turns all that on its head - the girls do NOT beg for death (in fact they beg not to be DUMPED), they are placed in bottlenecks in the levels so you HAVE to kill them to get past, and if you leave them alive for too long they will die anyway and you will be punished by additional enemy spawns. That whole part just didn't sit well with me.

And don't even get me started on the load times.

It's not ALL bad though. The "gimmick" portions of the game are mostly enjoyable - the "Duke gets shrunk" portions I found particularly entertaining, less so the strip club scavenger hunt. I liked the driving portions, but maybe I'm the only one who did. I thought the ego mechanic was a nice innovation, where you raise your max health by interacting with objects (though I could have done without the blinding red splatter whenever you get wounded). And I have to tell you, it felt to me like the final boss of the game almost came halfway to redeeming the single player campaign. It was the first part of DNF that felt like the Duke I remember.

So that's basically the story - Duke Nukem Forever isn't as good as Duke 3D felt back in the 90s, but I can name several recent games that are worse - such as Homefront, Turning Point: FOL, Call of Juarez 2... At this point though, that it even came out at all is something of a triumph.

Grade: C+.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Minecraft: Back in the office, and some words on 1.7 and 1.8!

Looks like Minecraft's "Adventure" mode is pushed back to 1.8. 1.7 will have pistons and some bug fixes. The 11/11/11 release date also likely to be pushed back.

Back in the office, and some words on 1.7 and 1.8!: "After a few weeks out of the office (E3, then Italy, then F.3.A.R this weekend (great game!)),..."

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

There Ain’t No Drama Like Spaceship Drama Cause Spaceship Drama Don’t Stop


There Ain’t No Drama Like Spaceship Drama Cause Spaceship Drama Don’t Stop: "

This week in Eve:

Incarna shipped! You can now walk in your spaceship. No one else can see you walk in your spaceship but yep you’re walking. So there you go.

The in-game clothing store also shipped. You can now spend $60 on a monocle. To be fair, it’s a really nice monocle and I think monocles cost about $60 in real life. Oh wait, sorry, I meant $6. So there you go.

Most players responded with “What was CCP thinking?” This being Eve, someone promptly leaked exactly what CCP was thinking. (hint: pretty much exactly what you think they were thinking)

The Eve player base responded with the calm demeanor you’d expect by, um, literally rioting. The devs responded with, uh, yeah.

People have been shocked by the price range in the NeX store, but you should remember that we are talking about clothes. Look at the clothes you are currently wearing in real life. Do you have any specific brands? Did you choose it because it was better quality than a no-name brand? Assume for a short while that you are wearing a pair of $1,000 jeans from some exclusive Japanese boutique shop. Why would you want to wear a pair of $1,000 jeans when you can get perfectly similar jeans for under $50? What do other people think about you when they see you wearing them? For some you will look like the sad culmination of vainness while others will admire you and think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread. Whichever it is, it is clear that by wearing clothes you are expressing yourself and that the price is one of the many dimensions that clothes possess to do that in addition to style and fit. You don’t need to buy expensive clothes. In fact you don’t need to buy any clothes. Whatever you choose to do reflects what you are and what you want others to think you are.

If you do not buy a $60 monocle A LOSER IS YOU. So there you go.


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Saints Row: The Third Trailer

Saints Row: The Third Trailer: "GameTrailers has a new trailer from Saints Row: The Third, with a walkthrough of open world gameplay in the sandbox action game sequel. This includes beating on random pedestrians, hitting homeless..."

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Star Wars Galaxies Ending in December

Star Wars Galaxies Ending in December: "The Star Wars Galaxies Website announces SOE's Star Wars MMORPG will be ending on December 15, 2011, which clarifies how it would operate alongside BioWare's upcoming Star Wars The Old Republic..."

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Team Fortress 2 now Free to Play

Great googily moogily, they did it. Team Fortress is now free to download and play off steam, having been switched to a "freemium" model. That is, you can play for free, but spending money in the store gets you extra stuff. FAQ here.

Details at

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Study contends that video games decrease violent crime

Study contends that video games decrease violent crime: "For years, decades even, we've been told that violent video games are bad, mmmkay. The violent ones are supposed to be particularly insidious because they desensitize folks to brutality and encourage them to act out virtual fantasies in the real world. What if violent video games actually decreased..."

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Zero Punctuation: Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time)

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TF2: Don't stab me now

Seems like a good time.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TR's Summer 2011 system guide

TR's Summer 2011 system guide: "AMD's next wave of processors may be on the horizon, but some of us need to upgrade sooner rather than later. So, here's a new edition of our system guide replete with some of the fastest gear and best deals money can buy right now."

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And The Lamb Lies Down In A Crate On Broadway

From Brokentoys:

And The Lamb Lies Down In A Crate On Broadway: "

Your frequently asked questions about the dude shipping himself cross-country while playing LotRO.

1: He has a friend driving him across the country on a truck, so no, it’s not just “sticking a tag on a box and mailing yourself Fed-Ex”.

2: Performance art would be my guess. Also the fact that bloggers like myself really can’t resist stupid stories like this.

3: Probably not a Warden since they’re pretty latency-dependent!

4: 7 days.

5: Yeah, it is pretty dumb

6: I’m pretty sure it’s not technically against the law to lock yourself in a crate for a week.

7: Yeah, I’d be worried about the hard drive, too.



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LEGO Universe Going Free-to-Play

LEGO Universe Going Free-to-Play: "The LEGO Group announces that LEGO Universe will go free-to-play this August. This involves the addition of a free zone, though they are not adding microtransactions at this point: 'LEGO Universe..."

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City of Heroes Going Free-to-Play

City of Heroes Going Free-to-Play: "The City of Heroes Website announces that City of Heroes Freedom will launch later this year, brining a free-to-play component to Paragon Studios' MMORPG. This will be a hybrid method which will..."

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Tropico 4 Trailer



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Serious Sam 3 stays true to franchise's roots

Serious Sam 3 stays true to franchise's roots: "Earlier this year, we learned that a third chapter in the Serious Sam franchise is due out this summer. The game isn't ready yet, but Rock, Paper, Shotgun spent some quality time with one level and came away impressed. Serious Sam 3 appears to stay true..."

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GRID online multiplayer meets early demise on PC

GRID online multiplayer meets early demise on PC: "Allowing users to host dedicated multiplayer servers was once a staple of the PC gaming scene. Such freedom is rare these days, which is a real shame. As Bruno highlighted in his 10 commandments of PC gaming post, dedicated servers are desirable because allow for user customization,..."

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Minecraft: West Freeport


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I Have Nothing I Could Possibly Add To This Story

I Have Nothing I Could Possibly Add To This Story: "

Fox announces Family Guy Online


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40k MMO news from E3

It Came from E3 2011, Part 15: "Warhammer 40k MMO playable next year at E3."

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day II: "'We're blackballing any sites that don't love banana pancakes from reviewing Serious Sam 3: BFE. You've all been warned. #BetterBetOnSam.' -- Devolver Digital."

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DNF Review Dust Up

DNF Review Dust Up: "Ars Technica has a screenshot of a since-deleted tweet from PR firm The Redner Group with an overt threat about negative reviews of Duke Nukem Forever, saying: '#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far..."

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Crysis 2 dropped from Steam, others may follow

Crysis 2 dropped from Steam, others may follow: "Could we be on the cusp of a war between game download services? Valve has dominated the market with Steam, but at least one major title has been pulled from its catalog. Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports Crysis 2 will now only be available through EA's new..."

(edit) or not...

EA Didn't Pull Crysis 2 from Steam: "GameFront has a statement from Electronic Arts saying they did not pull Crysis 2 from Steam (thanks Computer and Video Games), in spite of the implications of the 'only on Origin.' button they..."

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The 10 commandments of PC games

The 10 commandments of PC games: "Picture this for a second: you just unpacked the latest PlayBox 720-X blockbuster game, Gran Gears of Duty Fantasy XVIII. It's a game so juicy and dreamy that it'll send you flying into all the colors of the rainbow, twitching and jerking with pleasure-induced spasms just from looking at the..."

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Codemasters, Epic fall victim to hax0rs

Codemasters, Epic fall victim to hax0rs: "Sony and its PlayStation Network have been hacked multiple times in the last little while, but they haven't been the only victims. As Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports, Codemasters and Epic have both been hax0red. Neither intrusion compromised customer credit card data, the companies say, but it looks like email addresses and passwords were nabbed in the attacks. Codemasters also admits that user addresses and dates of birth were exposed. There's word that Nintendo is the target of a new phishing scam, as well.

At least some of the attacks on Sony were in response to the company's lawsuit against George Hotz, who hacked the PlayStation 3 console and posted its root keys online. So-called hactivist group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the initial assaults. However, it doesn't appear to be behind the latest attacks on Codemasters and Epic.

While it's comforting that the most recent efforts to nab customer information fell short of gaining access to credit card numbers, it's unsettling to know that game publishers have now become targets—seemingly for no reason at all. I guess everyone with a web presence is getting hacked these days. Here's hoping Steam remains immune to the onslaught."

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Gaming – now and then

Gaming – now and then: "

Something for you to think about..

Which games pop in mind if you look at that comic?


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Minecraft coming to 360 and Kinect this Winter

Minecraft coming to 360 and Kinect this Winter: "

Man, Mojang's little indie darling is getting some major mileage with the gaming industry's biggest players. The Microsoft E3 press conference brought the announcement that Minecraft would be making its way to Xbox 360 with some unexplained Kinect support this Winter. No other details were announced, but we're thrilled to punch trees to extract logs using our real hands.

Update: Microsoft has announced in a press release that Minecraft will 'feature cross-functionality between the PC and Xbox 360 versions.'

JoystiqMinecraft coming to 360 and Kinect this Winter originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 06 Jun 2011 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments"

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Cheap GPUs Rendering Strong Passwords Useless

Cheap GPUs Rendering Strong Passwords Useless: "StrongGlad writes with a story at ZDNet describing how it's getting easier to use GPU processing against passwords once considered quite strong.
'Take a cheap GPU (like the Radeon HD 5770) and the free GPU-powered password busting tool called 'ighashgpu' and you have yourself a lean, mean password busting machine. How lean and mean? Working against NTLM login passwords, a password of 'fjR8n' can be broken on the CPU in 24 seconds, at a rate of 9.8 million password guesses per second. On the GPU, it takes less than a second at a rate of 3.3 billion passwords per second. Increase the password to 6 characters (pYDbL6), and the CPU takes 1 hour 30 minutes versus only four seconds on the GPU. Go further to 7 characters (fh0GH5h), and the CPU would grind along for 4 days, versus a frankly worrying 17 minutes 30 seconds for the GPU.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New Carmageddon!

Between this and Duke Nukem Forever, I feel like I'm regressing back into high school.

Via Kotaku

Carmageddon Returns With New Car-Smashing Game

Avatar for Luke Plunkett Luke PlunkettVintage car combat series Carmageddon is making a comeback, with original developers Stainless Games having quietly re-acquired the rights to its old property.

The new game is called Carmageddon: Reincarnation, and will be a downloadable title due sometime next year. No platforms or any more tangible information are available than that.

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