Tag Archives: video games

The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 6: We Don’t Go To Ravenholm

Fun fact: Nicholas Cage provided a reference for that second face.

I can’t believe I am doing this.

After a long minute where I stare up at the ladder to Ravenholm I enlist my sister, hereafter known as Hobbit, to bear witness for this leg of the game. It’s nice to have someone watch your back, even if they silently sit in judgment of you for the entire time.

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I’M JUST TRYING TO TURN A CORNER WITHOUT SCREAMING, HOBBIT.

Okay, time out:  we need to have a Come To Jesus/No Your Godfather is Legit Dead, Harry © moment.

I took no pictures in this chapter. None. My ability to snap still-screens is inversely related to the proximity of a hell creature making its way for my face.

Instead, I have taken some stills from a very helpful YouTube playthrough (he-yo GamingReviews) and made small illustrations of my experience. (This is why it took me three fucking months to put this up. Well, that and I got really into RPG horror games. Don’t judge me.)

“You could,” I can hear you think, “just play though it again and take the photos.”

I am never playing though this chapter again. Ever.

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The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 5: Black Mesa East

Safety!

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Judith puts me through a decontamination process and begins to use aggressive tactical attacks against me: grating and self-aggrandizing monologues about ‘research’ and ‘science.’ By God, Judith, I am a physicist – I have no time for this rabble! I need to shoot things so they go boom!

*SCIENCE*

At first, I assumed the dust up between Judith and Alyx was about me.

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The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 3: Route Kanal and Ch 4: Water Hazard

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Happy almost Halloween, everyone! May your nights be full of good scary and not bad scary.

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I sincerely apologize if I just gave anyone nightmares. I’ll be entering my own horror show soon, but I’ve got these two chapters plus one sweet, character-driven chapter before that.

In the meantime, here… we… go!

This week in HL2 I save two civilians by applying a crowbar to a couple of CPs’ faces and get a gun.

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The Half-Life 2 Project: Chronicling An Attempt To Make It Through This Game With My Sanity Intact

RAVENHOLM IS UP. I AM OUT. NEED TO GO WATCH CAT VIDEOS ON REPEAT.

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Half-Life 2

Ch 1: Point Insertion & Ch 2: A Red Letter Day

Ch 3: Route Kanal & Ch 4: Water Hazard

Ch 5: Black Mesa East

Ch 6: We Don’t Go To Ravenholm

Ch 7: Highway 17 & Ch 8: Sandtraps

Ch 9: Nova Prospekt & Ch 9a: Entanglement

Ch 10: Anticitizen One & Ch 11: Follow Freeman!

Ch 12: Our Benefactors & Ch 13: Dark Energy

So I have a confession to make: Half-Life 2 is one of my favorite games ever, but I’ve never played through it.

Say what? you say. Come again?

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Dragons! Giants! Direwolves! Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Speculation

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When you combine my love of video games with A Song of Ice and Fire (known to the Unsullied as Game of Thrones) I do a happy dance. It involves a lot of arm flailing, Irish jigs and high-pitched squealing.

Even better, it’s coming to us courtesy of Telltale, which is known for tight story-focused games such as The Walking Dead series and The Wolf Among Us.

So the big question is this: what story is Telltale gonna… tell? (I know, I’m sorry.) As an ASOIAF supa-fan, here are my theories:

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The Wolf Among Us: Final Twist Explained

bigbyending copyWow.

Wow.

Let’s get started.

The woman we meet at the end is the real Nerissa. She glamoured herself as Faith and instigated the showdown with the Woodsman in Episode One in order make sure Bigby would recognize Faith’s head. Bigby never met Faith. I repeat: Bigby never met Faith.

When we hear Nerissa repeat “Faith’s” last words the initial “Keyser Soze” supposition is that it’s Faith who has been glamoured as Nerissa the whole time. But that doesn’t add up. Continue reading

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WHODUNNIT? Icky-Ichabod Crane: The Wolf Among Us

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Oh, Ichabod. Can we all agree that it isn’t him?

Let’s be honest: a man who runs, screaming in terror, from a horseman with less than optimal (optical?) eyesight is not exactly a man of brave constitution. Killing and butchering bodies takes a certain physical, as well as stomach, strength. While ~magic~ might solve the first, it doesn’t solve the second. For all his nastiness, I doubt Crane can stand the gore.

Also, this revelation happens in the second episode. Plot-wise, it’s crazy to reveal the killer less than half way through the story when the point of the game is to solve the mystery. (This might work for something like True Detective, down the road, but I think Telltale’s sticking to the beaten path here.)

Crane’s relative innocence is also reflected in key characters’ opinions: Snow intuits that Crane is not the killer and Bloody Mary laughs in his face.

“Bigby, I don’t think he did it.” Snow says. “Look at him. Do you really think this man murdered these women? He’s not… he wouldn’t be brave enough. Not to put his stamp on the world like that.”

She’s not correct about everything, but I agree with her on this. Crane can be a bully when he’s comfortable enough, but killing someone involves a level of risk he can’t stomach.

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WHODUNNIT? Bluebeard, the (Ex) Serial Killer: The Wolf Among Us

bluebeard copy3I just love that – “ex” serial killer. Oh, no worries, it was a college thing. I stopped butchering young women when I got my first job and became a real adult. I’m a new man now, babe, I promise. Marry me?

It’s even worse that he has sweet Lee’s deep voice. (Run Clementine! Run!) He probably lulls his prey with that smoky timber and then POW! Head detached from body. This man is Danger, with a capital D, but not in the same way that Bigby can be. This is the Lex Luthor to our muscular, but slightly clueless, Superman, and he’s already making a power play.

Ransacking Crane’s room? Roughing up Flycatcher? This man has a penchant for violence and something to hide. That is why he’s on our suspect list.

Bluebeard comes from a French literary fairy tale about a man who murders his wives if they open the secret room in his house. The secret room happens to hold the bodies of his former beaus. He has a blue beard which disturbs everyone profoundly, even his soon-to-be wife…. who quickly gets over it when she finds out how stinkin’ rich he is. Still, as a safeguard she makes her weapon-competent brothers promise to come running if she ever calls.

Bluebeard then runs off to deal with business, entrusting his new wife with the house keys, but making her promise to not use one golden key to open the small room beneath the house.

Naturally, she goes and opens it right after he leaves.

Turns out, she isn’t Bluebeard’s first wife: in fact, he’s had slews of them – they’re all hanging from hooks on the walls, dead. Horrified, she drops the gold key into the pool of blood, staining it so, when Bluebeard comes home, he knows exactly what she has done. Time to get a new bride!

The soon-to-be-dead wife pleads for time to say her prayers and, when granted it, promptly locks herself in the highest tower, where she screams her head off for her brothers to come. Smart girl.

Bluebeard’s not a fan of this and tries to break the door down, only to be stopped by the weapon-proficient brothers, who dispatch of him. And they all live happily ever after!

Now, this is the “mundy” version of the story: as Bluebeard appears to still be kicking, it must have ended differently in the Fables universe.

What can we take away from this? First, Bluebeard definitely has the constitution to murder someone, particularly women who enter into a sexual relationship with him. More importantly, it reveals something about Bluebeard’s nature: he likes to manipulate people.

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New Series: WHODUNNIT? The Wolf Among Us

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Hi all, long time, no post. Sorry for the absence, I had to take my GRE this past Friday, which was about as fun as it sounds. (Seriously, it was four hours long and manned by TSA agents in training.) But it’s done and my free time is actually free.

To celebrate my freedom, I’m kicking off another series of blog posts revolving around The Wolf Among Us. This game, like all Telltale games, is awesome. I’ve been watching since the beginning, and recently been going through on my own and with my siblings. (My little sister is in charge of the controls for our group play-through, so I have enjoyed yelling “Q! Q! Q!” in a loud, panicked voice. It is cruel? Maybe, but I like to think of it as concentration practice for high-stress situations. She could become a surgeon.)

If you haven’t played through The Wolf Among Us, do it – I haven’t “died” (or failed) once, and I die every five minutes I play Half-Life 2. Even when it’s on Easy. I know. Plus, the game’s got a strong story, fairytale goodness, a crime-noir feel and talking pigs. Talking, snarky pigs.

My one gripe is that most of these characters and their stories technically do not fit the criteria of a ‘fable’ so it’s a misnomer to call them one. Of course, they’re not all fairy tales or folk stories either, so there’s no categorical term we can use that adheres to its usual criteria. Oh well.

All literary-wanking side, this blog series will go through all the primary suspects – as well as some ancillary ones. Is it Bluebeard? Is Crane a nasty old pervert? Is Bufkin secretly a crime lord with a monopoly on alcohol? Two of those things are true. (Or not.)

I want to pull in some source material as well – and by source, I mean the fairy tales/fables/folk stories themselves. I took a course on the construction and history of fairy tales, so this should be fun.

Just a heads up: I have not read the comics. I want to, but I’m waiting until this series is over (which may or may not be when I retire at a ripe old age.) so all of this commentary/wild theorizing is based on the released episodes only. Please don’t spoil me. Please.

Expect profiles to come up soon, though I want to play through the last episode once more before I make my speculations/theories. (I may have left Bluebeard alone in Crane’s room the last time… whoops?)

Okay, it’s time to get my thinking cap on. Talk to you soon!

 

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Booker DeWitt is Not a Hero: Why Bioshock Infinite is So Violent

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ! booker copy

I’ve read a lot of controversy about the excessive violence in Bioshock Infinite – how it doesn’t make sense in the scope of what the game is about. It’s interesting, because I actually have the opposite opinion.

So first let’s get this out of the way: Bioshock Infinite is a violent game because it’s a first person shooter and that’s what people have come to expect. Half-Life 2, Metro 2033, Deadspace – even the first two Bioshocks, these games all have a certain level of violence in them, some give plot reasons for it, others do not.

But people have a gripe more with the level of violence in Infinite than the presence of it. To illustrate:

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