Sunday, 29 November 2009


I thought I could hold off, but I got too excited when our newly designed banner appeared in my inbox earlier this evening. I've been on at my good friend, Rhiannon Griffiths for some time now to do me an awesome banner. I knew that she was the lady for the job after seeing plenty of her designs, and after we almost did a comic together. I asked her to go nuts and she did just that. I am both honoured and flattered to have her work on here, not just because she's so good at what she does, but also because it helps to solidify a lot of the ideals I have in my mind for this little old blog.

I want to make a place for the people I know and care about, and this is just one more piece in the puzzle. I know she'll be reading this, so Rhi-Mixx, you have my deepest thanks. I know I kept on about it. Like, really kept on. But only because I knew how awesome it could be. It has exceeded all of my already high expectations and I couldn't be more flattered that someone would do this for me, just because I asked - just like all you other wonderful souls who contribute here. Thank you.

I hope you all like the change, or at least learn to love it, expect to see our new graphics adorning all sorts of promotional crud in the near future. Here's the full version:

The Split-Screen Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza! Fourth entry update.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so I'll give you five minutes to take in this entry from the notorious D4WG:


A re-interpretation in the truest sense of the word and a deeply, deeply moving piece I'm sure you'll all agree. This is the kind of shocking that makes even my long-suffering girlfriend laugh. There's just no other way to react. Remember, you saw it here first.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

This isn't about Street Fighter....honestly

I've just spent the last hour scouring the Internet for gaming news that isn't related to Street Fighter. Plenty of it exists, but none of it is very interesting. I want to take this opportunity to apologise to the non-street fighters that come here. I'm doing my best to keep you interested, I promise to make it up to you eventually.

Today I learned that Final Fight will be making it's way to XBLA and PSN, with a brand-new HD skin. The download will also allow players to run the original graphics and, strangely enough, also comes bundled with 'Magic Sword'. No, this isn't some sort of game-breaking, kill-em-all super weapon, but rather another Capcom scrolling brawler that, if you're me, you hadn't heard of until 5 minutes ago. Here is a screenshot to prove that it exists:

I know that this is not exactly a million miles away from Street Fighter, but it's a start. Think of it as weening.

So, to summarise: Final Fight as an HD download, coming in April = good times.

Friday, 27 November 2009

I can haz win

It has recently come to my attention that the street fighting fraternity of this community are not playing the Ken game properly. Please read and follow this guide. It will lead to win.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Cody, Guy and Adon join the ranks of Super Street Fighter 4 *UPDATED WITH VIDEO!*

Look, it's not like the only thing I want to write about is Street Fighter tit bits, it's just that when they keep dropping little information nuggets, what am I supposed to do? Cast them aside like an unruly child? No, of course not. It is my duty to re-package and over-hype these things to breaking point.

For those of you not in the 'Street Fighter Club' there is a very simple solution if you are getting annoyed with this 'favouritism'. Just buy Street Fighter 4, or commit to buying Super Street Fighter 4. Get on the train. There's obviously going to be another awesome-as-fuck tournament which I'm going to be bullying everyone to take part in, so why not save yourself the trouble.

I'm going to hold back now. I've got an essay simmering in my brain, one where I gush over the importance of character and why Street Fighter does it best. This post did have a point at the beginning, and that was to show you these scans that confirm Adon, Guy and Cody as playable characters in SSF4.

By the looks of it, these scans come from Japanese gaming bible, Famitsu. Most hot-shit news scans do. If the Japanese gaming industry were a little healthier right now, I'd probably subscribe just to stay on top of announcements. Then again, I could just let Kotaku do all the work for me, which is, incidentally, where I swiped this news from.

Debate in the comments: good additions, or bad ones? Like the world needed a quicker Sagat, right? Prison Cody is rad. Still no Haggar.

UPDATE (cheers Cr0nt):

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Split-Screen Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza! Third (!!) entry update.

Wow. At this rate, this competition may even start to pass for halfway competent. Seriously. Three entries! I am stunned. Now come on you fucks, I dare you to challenge me to find new ways to express my surprise. I double-dare ya! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Enter already. Don't you want free goodies?

The ever-productive Cr0nt/raisedbyfinches has concocted a delightfully witty, behemoth-referencing cover to Newgrounds favourite Super Meat Boy. What, you haven't played it? Go here then.

Now I can honestly say that the competition is 'hotting up' and in the future I hope to use other such cliche's. You wouldn't deny me that pleasure now would you? Come on then, enter already. Entries scrawled on the back of fag packets and taken with a camera phone are acceptable and frankly, something I'd encourage. Email

Finished. Photos to follow on the weekend hopefully!

Okay, so I finalised the design for my arcade stick, and here you go

The plan has changed slightly, the black will remain, all of the white will become the lighter grey (around the buttons) and on the back will be this:

Hopefully this will get any of you with MadCatz (or Hori) sticks to mod them and put a split-screen splash on them somewhere. Team Battle mode 4 lyfe.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Split-Screen Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza! Second entry update.

As the time goes on we will hopefully see more and more of these updates - I'm still riding high from getting one entry so having a second has completely spun me out. Now, feast your eyes upon Sir Gadd's offering:

Genius, right!? When asked for an insight, I was met simply with 'Shit Happens' - an apt title that I feel further highlights the existential undertones of Frogger.

I'm sure that we can all agree on the awesomeness of the submissions so far and I hope that there are more of you working on your own entries as I type. If it's a question of motivation, then perhaps a peek at this week's new swagbag additions may do the trick:

XBOX 360 Guitar Hero Aerosmith guitar faceplate
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 XBOX 360 console faceplate
Resident Evil 5 Chris Redfeild mini figure
Assassins Creed 2 t-shirt
Lego Indiana Jones keyring

I eagerly await more entries, so bare in mind that there's still plenty of time to enter and bag it all for yourself. Personally I'm just glad that I don't have to personally choose between our already awesome entries, otherwise I'd be forever conflicted. Remember that I'll post anywhere, so pull your finger out of your own behind and e-mail your submissions to

Good Luck!

Bang bang bang bang! Vaminos! Vaminos!

Formats: PC, Xbox 360[reviewed]

[Edit: for anyone that's interested - this is the 301st post on split-screen!]

Well, here it is, a pseudo-review of Left 4 Dead 2. Having only been out two days I have already spent a good 14 hours on it and this is what I found.

This game is not an expansion pack

OK, so when the petition to boycott Left 4 Dead 2 was abandoned (largely in part because the leaders of said petition were flown to Valve HQ to play the game before it came out and given a sneak peek at the plans for continued support for the first game) there were some splinter groups. The first of which was the rational 'I'll rent it when it comes out and based off of playing the full game I will decide whether to buy it' and the other 'what else can we say about it to make ourselves not want to buy it in such times of financial hardship'. Their idea was to claim that it was an expansion pack for the first and so not worth between 25-40GBP (shop around). They are wrong. The game feels, looks, behaves very differently. The AI director has improved, there are tons of new weapons and add ons, and just so much content that it is actually larger than the first game by FAR.


To be honest I was kind of disappointed in the demo - Valve had promised us so much more, including dynamic weather, multiple routes etc. but the only thing they highlighted was the gauntlet in the second part. This moment is amazing in multiplayer on expert (I have survived it as far as making it to the alarm but no further) but have managed to pass it on advanced. This is one of my favourite changes to the game, no more is it just a press the button and fight off a wave of infected. There are some really intense times where the infected do not stop coming until you turn off an alarm or a parade float has passed by. There are moments where you have to fill a car with petrol or the expected press a button and hold ground: crack open the escape hatch on a crashed airliner. The finale for the Dark Carnival campaign is the one I love the most and look forward to playing through with some of you.

Scavenge mode is the single freaking greatest addition to any game ever

There I said it. I have only played it with yanks online who were in party chat, and still had a hoot. I can only imagine how good this is going to be when (or rather if) 7 of my friends get the game. Beg, borrow or steal a copy of the game to give this a go.

One for the achievement whores

Valve should design every achievement list for every game ever made. Its going to be a real test of skill to get your 100% on this but it is attainable if you get a good set of friends together, and it'll be a hell of a lot of fun trying to get through it.

The bad points

Of course the game isn't perfect. None is. Except maybe Return of Flight of the Navigator (release tbc). So here are the downsides so far.

The computer AI is even more stupid than before - if you don't have 3 friends, then I feel really sorry for you as there are going to be some really tough sections for you.

Witches seen to be freely walking about instead of sitting crying are sh*t scary.

Scavenge mode will ruin my life.

Zombies, there are LOADS of them. The tagline for the game is 'New friends. More Zombies. Better Apocalpse.', all three of these things are true, the difficulty is really ramped up from the first, do not expect an easy ride.

There are some server issues at the moment, but I don't think that anybody has expected any game to sell as much as they are when fighting with Modern Warfare 2 (most of all Randy Pitchford and Gearbox for their excellent Borderlands) and so weren't prepared for the load. I'm sure that Valve will have this remedied ASAP but if you play it this week you have been warned. The way to get around it is to play with your friends, the lobby leader can set the server to be local and that seems to work fine.

The new female Boomer variant is no doubt what my brother would deem a 'serious 10 pinter'. She is the rather beautiful far right in the above picture.

There are probably some more but I've been having so much fun with it that sitting typing this instead of playing it I'm only seeing the good points.

Loose ends

No doubt I have left out parts of what I had intended to say about this game, but it is late and I have red eye and zombie twitch. The crux of it is that if you liked the first game then for the love of God and all that is holy get this game (even if, like me, you are a heathen - do it for those who do believe).

This is as much 'more of the same' as any sequel, in the sense that it throws apocalypse at you and expects you to fight through it. It is much more accomplished and complete than the first. If you have no friends on Steam or an XBL silver account then don't bother with this - it'll take you 5 hours and you'll be done. Otherwise, rent it, I'll play with you and if you want more, buy it.

Seeing as I am the only person who actually owns it to my knowledge at the minute (at least half of you are on my XBL friends list) then I am creating a new pecking order. I call Coach. Whoever appears next can call. I'll keep count. Screw the rest of you. For those who do get it, I'll see you online.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The cock-teasing continues.

I don't remember the exact day that I became so obsessed with Street Fighter 4. It certainly wasn't from the beginning and it's not a recent development, but it's still difficult to place all the same. Whenever that moment was, it's clear that my obsession is going from strength to strength when I thoughtlessly get in on Capcom's marketing hype by asking 'Who's beating up Chunners?'

I have to know. There's no logical way of dissecting this screenshot though, right? It could be Ken for all we know, but at least we get to see a nice new level. A very Final Fight-esque level: the kind that Rolento would hang out in, maybe. Anyone have any thoughts? As always, I'm holding out for the man, the legend - Mike Haggar.

Oh, look. Here's Dudley:

Gotta love 'leaked' screenshots!

Update: Jackie Chan does Street Fighter. Cross-dressing Chun Li Chan just made my day.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Too far?

Many of us tend to build up a weird sense of attachment to things that we love. For instance, I myself, found that today I could not bare to part with my original copy of Fallout 3. I could have traded it in to save money on the game of the year edition, but I just couldn't do it: after all the hours of joy that game brought me, it just seemed wrong. Now, I understand this behaviour to be a little weird, sad even, but this story made me feel just a little bit more normal.

Dating sims aren't anything new as far as Japan is concerned, but Love Plus seems to be getting a fair bit of attention lately. If the mark of a successful dating sim is seeing its players reach the dizzying heights of obsession, then Love Plus is a bona fide hit. Yes, the guy married his in-game girlfriend. They had a real ceremony and everything. There's even a reception. I wish I was funny enough to make this up. The picture, I believe, is of the certificate and 'their' wedding photo. I wonder what the cake was like. How would you consummate this? All manner of dick-slamming-in-DS scenarios are running through my head. Perhaps he just jerks off onto the screen. Can a DS handle a jizz-soaking? This is something that I need to investigate.

In summary: fucking hell.

via Tinycartridge

Holy screaming suckbags Batman!

There have been a great number of posts in the last two days, so here's reminding you that we are currently running a competition to win loads of game related schwag including a much coveted Borderlands tee! The contest is to rework the cover art of any video game ever made into something more apt, comical or beautiful. The winner will be decided by a community vote. Just in case anyone forgot. Full details here.

[EDIT: I have been slammed for the next paragraph because it was initially the suggestion of my common law wife. All credit to her.]
It seems that my idea to rework a particular game as a Penguin Modern Classics type cover has already been done, and worse than that one of the very games I wanted to do is on the list and better than I'd ever be able to do (sucks not having a graphics tablet). Here is a sample of what is possible (and not the one that I wanted to do).

To see the full collection of these go to the website of the guy who did it: Olly Moss. Click on the video game bit on the left. And then click on the 'threadless' link and buy each and every t-shirt design here. Be warned, I already own the 'Horde' and 'Right angle' tees.

This has completely nerfed my idea - but there is another game I could do in this style, so you'll have to wait and see...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Split-Screen graphical collab

In an effort to overload you with detail to aid my chances of winning the swag I'm looking for your collective input for my design to modify my MadCatz Tournament Edition arcade stick, below is the image, click here for a far larger, much fuzzier version.

The button surrounds aren't finished, but the plan is this:
I buy some vinyl dye that is the same colour as the background - or similar and can change the background to match it, but pretty much a slate grey affair. I then proceed to spray the black and white areas (including the white buttons and their surrounds) in this grey colour, I also get a pink spray similar to one of the stripes and use that for the boundary of the faceplate. The two remaining buttons will become black, as will their surrounds. The ball of the stick I'm undecided on and might just leave it white for now.

The image is a modified version of The 6th Child by j3concepts (whom I love) and will be for personal use only, and it is clearly unfinished at the minute so I think that's fine. I'll only provide substandard pictures of the finished thing! To tie it all in to Street Fighter's current iteration the areas around the button surrounds will have the stylised ink splashes that make this iteration so beautiful to watch. (these are currently just dark grey circles...)

Any input would be greatly appreciated and may make it onto the final thing! Obviously I have to fit 'split-screen' on there somewhere, but I'll figure that out later.

No longer will my arcade stick be a thing of hideous facade, but a beautiful and personal entity to be cherished. Provided the common law wife permits such things.

Arise, NFL and fantasy nerds....

because the game of our turn based dreams is soon to be released on the 360.yes, blood bowl. this has a very holy place near to my gaming heart, as i spent a small amount of my youth playing the board game against my brother in law, who introduced it to me. its probably one of the few things that tore me away from my snes, megedrive, and hoop shooting. you see, as amazing as having a game world given to us to marvel in is great, games such as blood bowl allow you to adapt things for how you wish to play. make rules or teams up yourselves, and as long as they're balanced rules, much fun can be gained. painting the small miniatures was also another popular part, being able to paint any such detail of a character any colour you wished was a big draw for my imaginative mind, and so many pots of paint were emptied oonto ainting umpteen teams for the hardboard pitch.

back in my mega drive days, there existed a game that was sorta like this, ableit a little more strange. this may ring a few bells....
it was very much like a john madden game, very similar controls and gameplay but levels had you floating in space or in other strange fantasy lands dueling with skeletons trolls and even aliens taking to the pitch. while this was fun, it was never anywhere near the fun i had playing a boardgame back in 1994.

about 20 years after its invention, its now in virtual form, and its the first game i've preordered for over a year. it may be dire, it may be ok, but i have a strong idea that personally, i'll find it amazing. the trailer on xbox live made me moist, and if honest, i'm more excited about this game than any other this year. that also goes for you modern warfare 2. as i said, this is a very personal choice as i dont think many people i know will enjoy a turn based american football/fantasy experience on their tv, but for me, its been a long wait

ok, so i cant paint the models again, but i can relive those days of being 14 and introduced to a world that has since kept me hanging in and around in interest, only this time its £30 and i dont need any geeky friends to play. dawn of war was amazingly good fun, and also space marine is coming out next year. xbox, grow some spots, put some specs on and become afraid of girls.... we have some geekage to attend too.


As a "small" aside whilst you are working eagerly away on your entry for our swag(-errr)-bag giveaway here is some food for thought.

It has long been speculated that Valve is working away at porting its Source engine to the linux platform, and before the nay-sayers post anything, if they were not doing so why would they post a job advertisement for a senior developer to port games and applications to linux? The dedicated server is already there and doesn't need to be tweaked.

A cry of "Why would they do this?" is what most Windows users (cf. fanboys) will spit out, and the answer is money. Out of the ~2million steam installs in the last fiscal year 0.25% of those were on linux via some kind of emulation, and this number hides those that have linux but can't abide the emulation so dual boot windows purely to play games and those who refuse to install windows (at a cost of roughly 100GBP) to play a game made by a different company again (read: me). With the Steam client available for linux Valve can certainly expect their annual installs to increase and that percentage to greatly improve.

There is also a performance boost with using linux, provided that Valve, Epic et al. can optimise X11 (the thing that draws the graphical interface on the screen) and openGL to somewhere close to DirectX. Currently it is a much faster operating system but the 3D acceleration isn't quite as good as that of MS (but is still better than the Cocoa currently used in MacOS).
Linux is also a community led, open source (and free, as in beer) product which no doubt would lead to people writing their own optimisations for the engine and generally improving it (Valve would need to hire some kind of operative to read through all the proposed mods and to try to implement those decided to be of worth). It is a LOT of work to do these things.

Okay, enough of me gushing about my OS, what does this all mean for you? Those of you who have Windows PCs, are happy with them and play games mainly on their consoles - well it runs like this.
If Sony were to give Valve a free license to their developer tools, the PS3 has a unix (linux is the kernel - unix just has a different way of managing the hardware and the hardware calls, but they are very similar and the software available for both is nigh-on identical) backend with (no doubt) a proprietary openGL, the APIs for which would be in the developer tools, and so Valve releases could become available as ports to PS3 instead of eulations. The PS3 development licenses are generally very expensive but for Sony to have games made by Valve would be a big fingers up to MS and its rival console, and this would make an excellent free gift to Valve provided the linux client's existence can be substantiated.

Would being able to play Gabe Newell's latest and greatest provide you with more impetus to purchase a Sony product in the next iteration (or when you RRoD)? For me, I think the answer to this is yes. Despite most of my friends being on XBL and not wanting a PS3 currently, I think that having my favourite software house (from whom I am yet to see a single duff game and who proactively support their mod community) release games on it, as well as the bluray player (I do love jRPGs but I do not love a lack of japanese language/subtitles track and having to change discs - read Final Fantasy XIII [in figuring out which release number it actually was I found out that XIV has its own website!]) would be too much to pass up. I would however have to sell my X360 arcade stick and get a PS3 equivalent, but that is not such a problem.

Where Valve lead others will follow and the Xbox exclusives could be a thing of the past, but PS3 ones would continue to grow as the hardware differences begin to become known. We shall see where this takes us, if the PS3 would become the gamer's console and the 360 the casual option (project natal = not for me, I'll stick with a pad or stick thanks), despite MS offering a better Indie game package (the XNA is excellent) for those interested in homebrew. Although Sony could counter by offering 'homebrew' editions of their tools with a legally binding contract (i.e. not a EULA) that the software will not be passed on or used to steal information etc.

If I had the money to sway Sony and Valve into doing these things I would be a very content person and would happily give all of it up for this to happen.

So, what Valve developing its client for what some still see to be a hobbyist OS (those who clearly have not used it in the last two years) means is that the whole future of gaming is in the balance. Please Valve, don't let me down.


A quick addendum: the PS3 version of The Orange Box was put out by EA and I would bet a fair sum of money that it has the aforementioned emulation libraries combined with the original MS compatible games on the disc.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Resident Silent Pingles Evil Hill

Possibly the single strangest advert ever made... to my knowledge most gamers don't have pringles to hand a lot because they leave greasy mitts which then makes pads greasy - still Capcom probably made some money out of the HUD on show

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Split-Screen Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza! First entry update.

I honestly thought no-one would enter, so it's with an extra sense of pride that I present you with the first entry to our Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza. At least now we can have a winner by default, right? It comes courtesy of our very own Justtherightbullets and heavily features a ladies ass and latex. Other entries should count themselves lucky that I'm not judging this, seeing as these are two elements that could be used to sway me in just about any situation (girlfriend: take note).

Enjoy, as I have. Well, maybe not in the same way that I have, exactly, but well, you know what I mean. Or maybe you don't. If so, good. Just umm, look. Heh. It's for Bayonetta. Consider the gauntlet thrown down.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Seasons greetings

Just in time to try to butter up The Faux Bot to give you that ever so coveted Borderlands tee Valve have released some pretty immense Left 4 Dead (2) and Team Fortress 2 themed Christmas cards.

Hit the jump to find more.

Click here

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Split-Screen Christmas swagbag big awesome giveaway bonanza!

Yeah, you read that right; big awesome, swagbag giveaway and what the hell, why not call it a bonanza too? Over the past few months I've been accumulating as much free game-related crap as I possibly can. Thanks largely to the ever-generous and consistently-awesome UltimateGMX, I've managed to amass a sizable amount of goodies. Enough at least to officially classify as a swagbag - believe it or not there is actually a specified criteria that legally must be met. We met it, and some.

Below you will see a picture of the swagbag as it stands now minus a few items that weren't to hand. Depending on who wins, I plan to throw in some extra goodies such as PSN credit, MS Points, or even those Nintendo ones - this prize can be chosen by the winner of course. Anything else that I can get my hands on will be added during the run-up to Christmas and I will regularly update with posts letting you all know what items have been added.

The swag so far:
MySims Agents agent pack
Buzz Lightyear DVD
Sonic Plush
Mini Ninjas Figure
Assassins Creed 2 leather wristband
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City art postcards
DLC for Forza 3 and DJ Hero
Tekken 6 limited edition character cards
Dissidia Final Fantasy art cards
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood bullet USB pen drive
Professor Layton character phone dangler
GTA IV Character posters (several, double sided
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 poster
GTA IV New Era cap
Rockstar Social Club enamel pin badge
Beatles Rock Band
Transformers: ROTF
Devil May Cry
Modern Warfare 2
Fairytale Fights

If that gets your motor going then you'll be wondering what it is you need to do to bag the swag........uuhhh...bag. I know we have a lot of buddingcreatives in our community, from artists, to designers and photographers, so I thought it appropriate to set a creative challenge. All you need to do is re-interpret the cover artwork for a game of your choice. Submissions can be hand-drawn, painted, digital, pretty much any visual format, so long as it can be posted here. The competition will not be judged on creative prowess, but on the most interesting, amusing or appropriate re-interpretation. For example, a photo of a steaming dog turd would be more than suitable as a new cover for Two Worlds.

Winners will be decided by a community-led vote to make it fair and all submissions should be emailed to
I hope I can count on a good amount of entries. This competition is open to everyone and I will happily mail the swagbag anywhere. Closing date will be around the 15th of December to allow enough time for mailing and deciding the winner before Christmas. Now get designing!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Holy fucking shit

Yes. A shocking headline, with two swears in it and not a lot else. What does it tell you? 1) I am crass, vulgar and inarticulate. 2) Something so awesome has happened that I cannot contain nor properly express my emotions. You see, aside from games, my other passion is for clothing - specifically anything made by Mishka. I won't detail that obsession or justify it here, but if you know me, it shouldn't be too much trouble to imagine the mess I made in my pants when I heard that my beloved Mishka have teamed up with Double Fine to produce a duo of Brutal legend t-shirts.

From now on, my time will be split between Modern Warfare 2 and watching the Internet like a techno-hawk as I await details on how to get hold of those beautiful items. Seriously, this is TOO rad. Don't believe me? Then how about adding the fact that the artwork is by James Callahan; who has also produced artwork for my new favourite band: Municipal Waste. Seriously, I'm tapped out.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Medic! 18 Men down!

Infinity Ward have added yet another reason for PC gamers to pirate Modern Warfare 2, as well as scrapping dedicated servers ALL FORMATS will have games capped at 9 vs. 9 - I'm not sure what this means as even the largest game on Modern Warfare is Ground War which accomodates 9 vs. 9 (which will take the full weight of my PhD in Mathematics to show is the same as what they have planned).
Why PC gamers are annoyed at this in particular I don't know but they are, and Infinity Ward don't care.

Do you think that this is because they are expecting the majority of PC users to pirate the game or that they see their product as being so successful anyway that they think that it is ok to alienate thousands of gamers?

For those of you looking forward to this coming Tuesday at least you have the new tv advert to whet your appetite.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

WHY...Zombies and I are done. Professionally

“Where their pointy-toothed cousins are all about sex and bestial savagery, the zombie trumps all by personifying our deepest fear: death. Zombies are our destiny writ large. Slow and steady in their approach, weak, clumsy, often absurd, the zombie relentlessly closes in, unstoppable, intractable.”
- Simon Pegg

It seems, unlike the shambling rotten husks themselves, we can’t get away from zombies these days. Every game developer worth their salt is adding a green mouldering tinge to their wares in a bid to rake in the punters. Meanwhile, cinemas fill with the groans of the living dead, and authors lovingly detail the zombie on their blood-splattered pages. George Romero fanboys have never had it so good.
But for us gamers? (Admittedly they aren’t mutually exclusive) This is rapidly becoming a BAD THING


However much you dismiss pretentious study of pop culture, a very strong reason why certain monsters have become so famous is because they play on our most basic fears, beyond the physical danger they pose to us. It’s the reason the classics continue to evolve and grow, and the mutant hillbillies are left to skulk in the shadows.

The most obvious example is vampires. Back when Bram was a lad, vampires were a dreadful symbol of sexuality run amok and immigration. The vampire was the foreigner, stepping on our soil, not only staining our chaste women but perverting them to become wanton sexual creatures. It offered men the chilling face of a beast that rendered them comparatively and figuratively impotent, and toyed with the concept of a woman they could not satisfy.

Of course, things have changed since then…

You know he'd sort it out.

On the other skinless hand, Zombies obviously represent our death. But they are also a far more existential, atheistic take on death, instead of the faith-centric vamp. I believe a strong reason why they have risen to modern-day #1 monster status is because they are “living” proof of the absence of our specialness.

They frighten people on a core level because they expose us to be nothing more than meat, bits to be dissected and digested just like any other animal. And with their reanimation, they show the body to be devoid of consciousness, devoid of soul. As they shuffle towards us, they flaunt our own nothingness. Our concept of a “person” means nothing, because our personalities lie in a grey meat sack that will eventually be devoured – by worms, that last blessed bullet, or in the maw of a zombie. And if the line between life and death can be blurred, and our systems exposed as powered by electrical sparks and nothing more, well... No fighting back these things with religion, no siree. They’ll spit that cross out and laugh at your holy water as they feast on your hand.

Of course, you may have your own take on what they mean. And that’s the point. Zombies are a fantastic tool for social commentary. And slightly macabre greetings cards.

So as games sort of grow up, what has the zombie become? A moving shooting gallery target, a blood sack to explode for lulz – a joke.

“Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.”
Seth Grahame-Smith.

Yes, the green of zombie skin has become a different sort of green in the eyes of publishers everywhere. Keen to get their hands on that fanboy money, everything’s gone ghoulish. And while the zombie starts to lose its punch in all mediums, games really expose their flaws.

When Dead Rising 2 can pack in a wheelchair with machine guns as a viable weapon, it really points out in luminous writing “ZOMBIES ARE USELESS IF YOU HAVE INFINITE RESOURCES AND ARE A SMALL DISTANCE AWAY”
So why keep using them in this manner? Why keep denigrating the good name of Mr and Mrs Braaaainnss for the sake of Smash TV ripoffs (Dead Nation, Zombie Apocalypse), red against blue shooters (Left 4 Dead) and tower defence games (Plants v Zombies)?

Buy this game now. Compulsive isn't the word.

This is not a knock on the games quality, but in a day and age where you can almost smell the decay in glorious HD, why waste a chance to create a genuine survival horror? Small city, foraging for any crudely improvised weapon, sneaking through desolation and the death of any shred of life you once had…there’s a lot of potential, but instead it’s being wasted to reskin game types we already have in abundance. And in a post-Bioshock world, why can’t we have a mature social commentary?

So it’s time to stand up for our zombie brethren. Stop spending your money at the first sign of them, and instead demand something better. They can’t fight for their rights like us, but our biological future selves need our support. Otherwise we’ll get pig sick of it all, and it’ll be back to Nazis again.

- Paperboy


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