A SMART AND SASSY ADVERT FOR ALL YOU CLEVER TYPES
First of all, yes, apologies for
not updating this site in almost two months, but
I'm having a devil of a busy time right now.
Concocting trivia nights for the bar, doing ZP,
working on games, working on books, working on my
tan, one or two other paid projects that keep
looming overhead, and of course I just moved
house and my internet won't be on for weeks,
apparently, so I'm having to come into the bar to
use the wi-fi. Christ, I'd be useless in a
starting to hate how cluttered this site is with
old work, a lot of which is shite, so I'm
thinking of jamming everything higgledy-piggledy
into a big cupboard and bracing the door shut
(incidentally how my home accounting system
works) and just redirecting the URL to a Blogger
account or something. Even that may be more work
than I'm inclined to do. Ah well.
Trivia night at
the Mana Bar has proved popular and more to the
point quite enjoyable for me to do, so it's a
regular thing now. Every other Tuesday, and
there'll be another on this Tuesday night. I'd
like to put a call out for more clever people who
know lots of gaming and general knowledge trivia
to come along and ensure that Team Destructoid
don't win for the third time. We kick off at 7
(team registration from 6:30) but it's best to
show up as early as you can to be sure of getting
in. 50 person venue, don't forget.
In other news,
Mogworld can now be preordered from Amazon UK! Only 5 English pounds!
Which is good, because you probably need a
British sense of humour to 'get' it.
The last trivia
night at the Mana Bar went well. Everyone was on board,
there was drinking, laughter, friendships were
made that would last a lifetime. So I'm doing it
again this Tuesday, the 6th. Bring five friends.
And ideally show up about seven hours before it
starts if you want to get in.
that book I wrote that I keep talking about? The
one that's coming out in August from Dark Horse
Books? Well, now you can preorder it on Amazon, just like a real book!
You can also still do so from TFAW.com. Some people have asked
if we're doing a version for Kindles, and as far
as I know, yes, although there're still some fine
details to be sorted out. Other people have asked
if there will be an audiobook, and then gone on
to ask if it will be read out very quickly, the
the big day. The Mana Bar will be open to the public for
the first time from 12 noon to 12 midnight. I'm
going to be around apparently so that people can
challenge me at Guitar Hero. Which I anticipate
losing frequently at because I know for a fact
that, as nerdy as I am, I could never hope to be
in the same league as some of my fans. Anyway,
the friends-and-family night on Thursday went
well as did the VIP and media event last night.
Today will be my third consecutive night of
forced partying, but just like the 500 people who
have pledged to show up to our 50-person venue
today, it's not really a problem I can complain
draft is done and we're moving into the marketing
phase. It's now available for preorder in the US
from TFAW.com, and should become
available for international preorders when it
gets an entry on Amazon, hopefully in the next
few days. Beat the rush!
forgot: Guitar Hero competition at the Mana Bar,
tonight (Monday 22nd) from 7:30. Compete as bands
of three (guitars and drums) or alone. Scores
given for skill and showmanship. Prizes to be
won! Compered by me! Blimey!
UPDATE: Tomorrow night (Tuesday 23rd) is
trivia night at the Mana Bar, going from 7 to
whenever we're done. Teams of 2-6 players!
Questions on both gaming and general knowledge!
Also prizes to be won! Also compered by me! Also
Remember when I
used to update this site every day? Blimey, what
exotic substances was I pumping myself with back
in those days? Oh yeah, I didn't have a weekly
video to make, a novel to edit, and a bunch of
various other personal projects and creative
partnerships. Anyway, as yet unmentioned ZPs: Bayonetta, Dark Void, Borderlands and Mass Effect 2. Each one of those also
has a spicy Extra Punctuation article that went
out the following Tuesday, and which I can't be
bothered to find links for.
I also (if the
damn thing's finally working properly) embedded
some Twitter on the left there, so this site can
have something approaching regular updates again.
Besides that, not much else to report. Maybe I'd
update more often if more things were happening,
but so far everything's pending: the Mana Bar doesn't open 'til March 20th (or
at least, that's the current estimate,
disregarding being fucked around by local
government bureaucracy which frankly has been
going on for about two years), and Mogworld doesn't come out 'til
August. Final draft's still being worked on.
So it seems I
registered a Twitter account. In all honesty, I'm
trying to figure it out. It's absolutely bloody
everywhere and yet it seems so insubstantial. So
I'm going to work the system from within. My
username is YahtzeeCroshaw, and now you can get
up-to-the-minute reports on all the most
excrementally boring things I do in life, if
that's your thing.
I seem to have
become everything I despise, now that I have
Twitter, an iPhone, and Facebook. Yes, I have a
Facebook, but I haven't put my real name on it,
that's for fucking certain. It's a social
networking site, and my fanboys are the very last
people I will ever socialise with. So the
Facebook profile for "Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw" is most DEFINITELY
not me. Up to now I've been content to let
whoever-it-is live the lie, but he keeps posting
absolutely dreadful 'jokes' that are starting to
reflect badly on me. So stop it, you little
Let's see, what
else... oh yeah, the Mana Bar is all over the media right now.
We've been on news.com.au, the Courier Mail and Rave, as well as a multitude
of gaming news sites. Sometimes I wonder if we've
set in motion something that will destroy us all.
I mean, it's a 50-person venue. It's basically
just one big room. And our Facebook page has 4000
followers. If one-hundredth of those show up on
opening night with ten friends between them, we
have to start turning people away. Which is a
good problem to have, for us at least.
Finally, I was
watching some old Reeves & Mortimer stuff on
Youtube the other day when I realised that
Trapped In My Flat, one of their intro songs from
their 1993 TV series, reminded me quite heavily
of Silent Hill 4, a game about being trapped in
your flat. So I spliced the song together with
some footage of the game. I was thinking of
working it into a post-ZP extra, but it might be
a bit too obscure for that. In either case, I'm
not terribly happy with it, so here it is on
Youtube, a.k.a. the video creator's dustbin.
you for writing, Siobhan*. Thank you also for
writing it on a scrap of paper and pushing it
under the door of the future Mana Bar. In answer
to your question, it's because I have very heavy
is the enigmatic Siobhan? A Fortitude
Valley-going member of the public who had drunk
just enough alcohol to think her note was
incredibly witty? Is she a crazed stalker writing
cryptic messages in the lead-up to kidnapping me
from the street and having her devious way with
me in a dingy basement? Siobhan, if you're
reading this, I am a bit old fashioned and would
prefer if we had a drink and dinner somewhere
Spent the last
few days in Melbourne for GameConnect
Asia-Pacific. It was fun. Caught a few sessions.
Took part in a panel about how much video games
suck, talk about money for old rope. Stayed in a
hotel room with a TV in the bath and a minibar
full of Kit Kats. It's nice to go to a trade
convention and hang around with game developers
without the risk of running into sweaty
cosplaying weirdos who all expect a hug. And I
could do some of the all-important networking, of
about getting into some more freelance game
writing. I do like getting a chance to practise
what I preach. Most of all, though, it's nice to
be able to go into an actual office and sit at a
desk, where you can actually turn around at any
moment and communicate with another human being.
That probably doesn't sound so great to you
schlubs with regular full-time jobs but I've been
working out of my bedroom for two years now.
Back from the US
now. Actually been back for quite a while, but
you know how it is, you go away for a week and
all the work piles up like a big heap of mail
holding your front door closed. But that's all
shovelled away, so we've got time to update the
And my goodness
me, there have been an awful lot of videos about
me on the Escapist lately. We've basically been
getting through the backlog of footage that was
taken at GameX and various other events, so it's
been a good week if you're keen on me. And if
you're not keen on me, what're you doing here?
Unless you're looking for something to complain
Still in the US,
but having acquired some time and a decent
internet connection I thought I'd better chime in
and confirm that I'm working on a debut novel
with Dark Horse Books, as reported on the Escapist a few
is the culmination of a few years' work from an
idea that took root back when I was playing World
of Warcraft. It's NOT a graphic novel, as you
might assume from Dark Horse publishing it. It's
a proper wordy thinky brainy book. I feel that if
I give myself free reign to go on about it here
I'll end up calling it a lot of pretentious
things that it isn't, so at the most basic level
it's a fun little comedic fantasy. But it's also
a bit of a satire on MMOs, the games industry,
and the concept of heroism, and incorporates
perhaps a hint of existentialism WHOOPS there I
coming out in August 2010, but watch this space
for more detail as we get closer to that date.
What a lovely
day to rattle off the latest ZPs for the benefit
of stupid people who still come to this site for
their ZP updates: Scribblenauts and Wet. And tomorrow is another
one but I like to keep you guessing.
tomorrow, that's also the day I leave for the US
until the end of the month, in order to (amongst
other things) make an appearance at the GameX Expo (or possibly the
Gamexpo, I'm never sure) in Philadelphia this
weekend. Perhaps I will see you there. If I fail
to answer any emails until the 31st, it may be
for this reason, or it may be for some other
reason (i.e. you suck).
ZP's of late: Beatles Rock Band and
Guitar Hero 5 twofer, and Darkest of Days. Is it just me, or are
the number of comments steadily going down each
week? Am I just losing my touch, or has everyone
wised up and realised that commenting on internet
videos is viciously futile? Also HOLY SHIT new
Game Damage trailer:
We completed a
second full-length pilot a while ago as a new
pitch to various networks, and this is a
three-four minute highlight reel to whet a few
appetites. Personally, I'm confident that it
would not be overreaching to say that this new
pilot is a million billion times better than the
first one, and probably all other TV shows in the
world, too. Feel free to discuss it on the Game Damage forum.
thoughts, let's not call it being 'asexual'. That
feels a wee bit pretentious. 'Celibate' will do.
I can still see the appeal of emptying one's
grubby little speed bag, I'm just lost on why
it's so important that you catch the residue in
another person's organic waste paper basket.
But having made
the decision to not pursue any of this sex
business anymore I've discovered a strange new
world I never knew existed.
It's like I've
eaten spam a few times from a few popular brands
and in a few serving suggestions, and found I'm
not really keen on spam, 'cos it's salty and
slimy and looks like something you might find in
the alien queen's litter box. But I've found
myself in a world that's completely obsessed with
spam. People spend their entire lives in pursuit
of spam. Every single advert on TV sells their
product by placing it alongside spam. Movies have
to work in at least one spam scene to reach the
broadest audience. People break up and get
divorced because they don't exchange enough spam.
Soldiers are given time out to go have some spam.
Low-risk prisoners are given spam visiting
rights. People die for spam. Entire economies
have been based around spam. Selling spam is the
world's oldest profession. The lack of spam has
been linked to mental disorders. The only thing
getting teenagers through difficult puberty is
the thought of one day getting to have spam of
their very own.
And when I
explain to people that I'm not that into spam
they tell me I must be some kind of hopeless
cissy girl, or that I just haven't found the
right spam yet. It feels like when a theist says
"I'll pray for you." Or when a parent
of some hideous mewling womb dropping says
"You'll understand when you have one of your
own." Quite infuriating. It's just tinned
But on the other
hand, as a white middle-class anglo-saxon male
between the ages of 18 and 35, it's fun to be in
a minority for once. Finally I've got my very own
thing I can get offended at. This must be why gay
chaps always seem to be having such a good time.
Oh blimey it has
been a long time since my last update. I'm still
having problems connecting to my FTP from home
and circumstances prevented me from finding a
different connection up 'til now. Still, least
said, soonest mended. Here's some housekeeping in
case anyone's still around.
complained that my horrible Irish accent in the
Tales of Monkey Island review made me even harder
to comprehend, so here's a transcript of the
Irish bits. Don't spoil it for yourself if you
haven't seen the review yet, just reveal it if
you are one of those who were having trouble.
First Irish bit:
faith and begorrah, look at this lovely pirate
game I've honestly never heard of. You play a
pirate named Guybrush Threepwood, coh, what a
silly name, who accidentally releases an evil
plague upon all his pirate chums or something, I
wasn't really paying attention because I was
thinking about potatoes at the time. Sadly the
situation can't be resolved by murder like with
most games and protestants, so the gameplay
revolves around exploration, dialogues, and
harvesting every loose object from the four
corners of the map and rubbing them all against
everything else. Have to say I'm not a big fan of
the push me-pull you mouse movement controls, as
I was saying to my wife Moira the other day,
navigating a 3D environment with a 2D interface
is like standing outside the living room window
and trying to teach your dog to do his poos on
shiver me shamrocks, there's some clever puzzle
solving to be had here to be sure. The zenith is
where you get strapped to a chair and use various
signalling devices to instruct a small monkey.
But the clever bits are in a minority, and
there's an overreliance on puzzles no more
complex than finding a weird-shaped key to put
into a corresponding hole, which I think is
cheating a bit - what is this, Resident Evil? And
the inventory system is a bit poor. If you want
to combine items - and when you're stuck and have
rubbed every item you have on every static object
in the world, this is all you have left - you
have to go through the little square dance of
dragging both items into a little combiney
machine and pressing the on button. Don't see why
we can't just click one, then the other, seems
like that would save me some time which I could
have spent beating me wife.
action takes place over several islands, and they
all feel rather empty, with most of the important
objects and characters crammed together in one
location. In episode 2 you need to find bait and
get your ship repaired, and on one island you
find a 'bait and ship repair shop'. It's lazy
design dressed up as a joke that doesn't even
make sense, like putting a fake moustache on a
cat's arse. God, what am I on about. Well
speaking of laziness, I genuinely thought that
the three identical characters on the first
island would turn out to be a joke, like they're
all the same fella wearing different clothes, but
no, turns out they're just all based on the same
model and I wasn't supposed to notice.
In other news
we're entering a bit of a convention season for
games - PAX is on right now, and while I'm not
there in person, I did do something for Graham
and Paul's LoadingReadyRun panel on the Sunday.
In the realm of conventions in which I will
manifest corporeally, I'm appearing at the GameX expo (say that ten times fast) in
Philadelphia as a special guest. It's going on
from October 23-25 so come along and watch me
fearfully from fifty yards away like you usually
negotiating appearances alongside Yug and Matt at
GenConOz in Brisbane and eGames in Melbourne. And there
will probably be a major Game Damage announcement
before then. Gosh, what a busy time it's going to
be. I haven't even done my tax return yet.
incarnation of Game Damage may well be going places
very soon. If this infobyte interests you,
citizen, you are hereby advised to follow this twitter. Yug set it up. I
didn't. Twitter is balls.
Zero Punctuation news!
have been Ghostbusters and Overlord 2. They are also balls.
But the second review is also accompanied by the
first edition of my new weekly column on the
A chance for me to clarify issues and address
complaints in a format that doesn't require
constant knob gags. Check it out every Friday (or
Saturday if you live in Australia like all the
Chzo Mythos news!
After much soul
searching I've decided to stop taking
donations. The Special Editions for the
Chzo Mythos and 1213 have now been made available
FOR FREE. Go to the former donation page for the URLs.
There was once a
time when donations were pretty much my only
means of support. Those days are long gone. I
keep myself afloat in plenty other ways now and
frankly having the little beggar bowl on there
was getting increasingly embarrassing. But
there's still avenues if you're a dangerous
obsessive who feels they absolutely must give me
all of their money - I hear there's this online store somewhere with perfectly good ZP
As for making
new games, I'm working on a couple of ideas. It's
just that all of my free time is gradually
melting away. They're interesting ideas, though.
And having less free time can be a positive
thing. It means I don't veg out and procrastinate
as much, and doing nothing makes me antsy. Is
that neurotic? Oh well.
sorry for the lack of updates but things are
busier like they've never been busy before. I've
been spending a lot of time filming, as you may
have inferred from Yug's twitter, the big fat
much else, actually. Not that I can talk about,
anyway. Workin' on a book. Thinkin' about some
more freeware game ideas. Stalkin' some
non-threatening middle class young white people.
You know. The usual.
Oh yes, people
have been asking if I'm gay. Evidently my
constant switching between homophobia,
homoeroticism, misogyny and effeminism within my
writings have made my true sexuality a
labyrinthine puzzle. Well, I'm definitely not
homosexual. But then, I can't honestly call
myself heterosexual, either. I find that these
days I am equally uninterested in sex with
anyone's holes, and I care even less about
maybe. Celibacy. Whatever you want to call it.
But I'm not unhappy. It's possible I'm just too
self-centred to form meaningful relationships. If
I want companionship I'll just hang out with my
mates. If I want cuddles I'll buy an official Zero Punctuation
imp plushie (only $9.95!).
ZP this week is Bionic Commando (last week it was Duke Nukem Forever, sarcasm quotes), and I
wanted an opportunity to talk about the twist
ending. So if you're still playing the game or
care in the slightest about having the plot
spoiled, try not to accidentally trip, fall
forward and highlight all of the following text.
so your chap has a great big robot arm. It shoots
a grappling hook and can punch people into space.
He has it because he lost an arm in a war or
something and the government made him better,
stronger, faster, etc. At around the same time
his wife disappeared, leaving only a note, but
our hero suspects that there's more to it than
her simply doing a runner.
this point I wasn't really expecting that subplot
to have any sort of twist, because it made
perfect sense to me. Obviously his wife left him
because she was creeped out by him being half
robot monster (and the game establishes that this
is a common feeling amongst normal humans), and
judging by his violent tendencies he probably
wasn't above smacking her around a wee bit. Our
hero keeps yelling on about WHURR'S MAH WAHF
throughout the entire game so I was expecting it
to be revealed that she'd gone off on her own
accord and he was just a jealous clingy ex. That
would have been a very human and relatable
then comes the twist. At the very end of the game
it is revealed to us in flashbacks and old
records that bionic limbs require a human mind to
function, and that it has to be someone close to
the recipient. So in order to create your bionic
arm your asshole superior kidnapped your wife,
cut her brain out and put it in the arm.
description I just gave was a little bit dry, so
go back and read it again in a really sarcastic
tone of voice. This is the bit where I clutch at
the brim of my hat and yell "WHAT?!"
doesn't make even the slightest bit of sense.
Firstly, your arm is ENTIRELY mechanical. It
shoots hooks on the end of a bit of string,
that's ALL it does. There's no evidence (or even
any particular need) for it to contain any kind
of intelligence, not even the AI of one of the
Pacman ghosts. If the game had established that
there was some kind of support AI inside the arm
that showed you where to go and gave you advice,
Navi-style, the twist would have been an
appropriate payoff, and may even have made us a
bit guilty for inevitably hating the chatty
bitch. But it's JUST A MECHANICAL ARM. You pull a
switch and it fires a hook. It'd be like needing
HAL 9000 to power your electric toothbrush.
top of that, what possible fucking use would a
brain be in the thing? You can't reel the string
back in by thinking really hard. You can't
regenerate the explosive material necessary to
fire the hook by conjuring it from dreams. The
only possible use I can think of is to guide the
trajectory of the hook to hookable places, but
this is a function that could EASILY BE PERFORMED
BY THE BRAIN OF THE PERSON WEARING THE BLOODY
let's just assume for a moment that the mechanics
work. Why not. A human brain is the only thing
that can make a grappling hook launcher create
enough pulling strength to support a full-grown
human and an arm the size of a caravan, much more
efficiently than, say, a really powerful winch.
Assume that all makes sense. Now. How the fuck do
the military get away with this shit?
the many bionics would have noticed that every
single one of them had a close friend or relative
disappear at the time of their accident? If not,
surely SOMEONE involved with the project would
raise a stink about the STAGGERING lapse of
ethics and the inevitable lawsuits such a policy
would create. And considering that risk, was
there really not a single other solution to the
hardware issue than stealing people's brains?
Come on, get the techies in the meeting hall with
a weekend's worth of pizza and Jolt and I'm sure
they could come up with something, ANYTHING, that
doesn't entail Dr. Frankenstein-esque organ
harvesting. Like, say, an artificial
intelligence. Or a REALLY POWERFUL WINCH.
yet, it instantly removes any decent
characterisation the wife may have had. She's
just now and always been a personality-less
non-individual whose life revolves around the
hero. And he's just a noble injured party looking
for his twoo wuv. YAWN A RAMA.
What a stupid
mess they made of that plot. I'm going to play Infamous
* BONUS INFAMOUS
ENDING SPOILER *
Oh okay so the big
baddie was actually you from the future? Well that sounds
perfectly reasonabRRAAAAH YAHTZEE SMASH STUPID
Also, I did
another podcast with Yug and Matt the
other day. For the benefit of people waiting to
see something come out of GAME DAMAGE,
yes, there is something happening, and it may be
happening sooner than you think. As to where that
something will end up being broadcast, watch this
space. Or better yet, watch this space.
People ask me if
I have a twitter. No I do not. You twats. Firstly
because it's another short-lived internet trend
to soon go the way of Napster and Chuck Norris
jokes. Secondly because I agree with the point
Lore Sjoberg made once in that there's nothing
more unfathomably dull than any given
individual's answer to the question "what
are you doing RIGHT NOW", especially when
it's usually going to be boring enough that they
felt they had to update a fucking microblog while
they were doing it. And thirdly because most of
my entries will probably be along the lines of
"I'm supposed to be writing something, but
instead I am watching old British sketch shows on
Youtube. I hate myself."
But if I did
have a twitter, here is what I would say on it
today: "It is my birthday tomorrow. I am 26.
That means I am officially in my 'late' twenties,
rather than 'mid'. This thought weighs strangely
heavily on the beginnings of my receding
hairline. I probably ran out of characters just
Here's a recent
candid shot of me idly hanging out with my awards
That's the Screwattack Gaming's 1337 award for Best Reviewer
on the left and the Sun Microsystems IT Journalism award for Best Gaming
Journalist on the right. And now you can help us
win even more awards by voting for the Escapist
in the People's Voice Webby
and helping us take it home for a second year
running. Only takes a second of your time, and
really, have any better gaming sites magically
materialised since last time? Didn't think so.
Don't you think
it's weird how so many awards these days look
like rough crystal formations freshly carved from
the rock? Oh I guess you wouldn't know because
YOU DON'T WIN AWARDS
Recently I was
given cause to reminisce about a game I played
through a while back - Call of Cthulhu:
The Dark Corners Of The Earth, an
underrated little adventure gem with some nice
little touches if a little bit too reliant on a
dodgy combat system. With this in mind, I decided
to actually sit down and read some of H. P.
Lovecraft's stories, for the sake of context.
All I can say
is, blimey, old Howard P. must have been being
paid by the word, the verbose little git. And I'm
surprised how closely Dark Corners adhered to the
plot of Shadow Over Innsmouth. I assumed that
whole 'ancient underwater city of the Deep Ones
being destroyed by submarine in a US naval
operation' was a little bit too video game-y to
have been in the original text, but there it was.
It's also interesting how much casual racism
Howard P got away with back in his day. The prize
for that I think goes to the bit in Herbert West:
Reanimator where he goes on about how a zombie
negro wasn't much more ugly before the whole
myself inspired I wrote a bit of Chzo Mythos tie-in fiction, and
originally I think I was deliberately trying to
do it in old Howard P's style, but that sort of
went away at some point. Here's a passage:
Gosh, I wonder
what the narrator could be describing there.
Anyway, here's the full text if you're interested,
but don't click it yet, I want to give a head's
up. HEAD'S UP! This is NOT A FUNNY STORY.
This is a horror story intended to tie into some
of the darker elements of the Chzo Mythos series, particularly Trilby's Notes. If you want something
funny try to imagine that all the characters are
chimps. Nazi chimps, so you don't feel bad when
they all start dying in nasty ways. Anyway, it's
called The Expedition.
update 31/3: I'm doing a bit of an Escapist video
crossover with Graham and Paul of Unskippable this week. Watch
me intrude upon their latest episode here.
ZP targets up to
now: House of the Dead:
50 Cent: Blood on the
and Resident Evil 5: No
Subtitle Given. There was another complaint I
wanted to mention about RE5 but it seemed so
hopelessly petty I figured I'd edit it out and
put it here: Why do your characters make so much
bloody noise when they're running around? Rustle,
rustle, rustle, all the way, it's like they've
got their feet trapped in Weetabix. I don't know,
it just got on my tits.
watching a lot of Let's Play stuff lately. This
is something that grew out of the Something Awful forums and Youtube - basically
someone takes it upon themselves to dissemble the
entire course of a game into screenshots and
videos, annotated with their own commentary. Some
LPs are there to highlight an underappreciated
gem, some to tear apart a big fat turd, but a
well-conducted one is always a criminal timesink
for me. Mileage may vary, but such things are
extremely useful if, like me, you're occasionally
expected to blab knowledgeably about video games
and there aren't enough hours in the day to play
them all. For example, I've never played any
Resident Evil all the way through besides 4 and
5, but I know pretty much everything one needs to
know about the gameplay (crap) and the story
(craaaap) thanks to various amusing runthroughs
by SA forum poster The Dark Id.
Of course, the
quality of the LP depends on the author, and
talent isn't something that they hand out with
AOL free trials. I wouldn't give any Youtube LPs
the time of day, frankly. Dark Id's work is all
put up on a site imaginatively called the Let's Play Archive. My sole LPing effort
from a while back is up there too, one of the old Delphine
platformer Flashback, which I would immodestly call
quite entertaining. Ialsorecommendtheseones, and you should find
some good stuff from a good old explore on the dedicated SA subforum.
ZP this week was
Spider-Man: Web of
a rather obscure game from last year. Some of you
have been a little perplexed by this choice when
such red-hot titles as Street Fighter 4, Killzone
2 and Resistance 2 are jumping up and down in
front of my nose clamouring for attention. I
thought I'd take the opportunity to write about
this eloquently without having to think of a dick
analogy every other sentence.
Street Fighter 4
can be simply explained; I don't give a shit
about Street Fighter 4. Or less inflammatory, I
don't 'get' Street Fighter, or fighting games in
general. They're certainly not deep enough to get
a full-length review out of. As single player
games, they're little more than one element of a
game extended out into something you can justify
selling for 60 bucks. They're chiefly for playing
against other people, which is one point against
it for me already because I don't have any
friends. But when I do play against another
person, if we're both novices, then both of us
are really only going to be smashing the controls
randomly, and losses and victories consequently
don't have much in the way of impact.
you spend embarrassingly large amounts of time
playing over and over until you know all the
special moves and character strengths, and
presumably compete against people of an
equivalent level. And then victory comes down,
not to skill, but to whoever can reliably
remember the appropriate button combinations on
the fly. I find them all breathtakingly asinine.
Please send me emails filled with cunning
arguments that will completely alter my
personality until I can retract this statement. I
will burn them. All of them.
As for Killzone
2 and Resistance 2, basically I'm just so fucking
bored of shit like this. The improbably Warhammer
40k-esque power armour. The automatic healing.
The overcompensating macho beefcakes with voices
like they've had their lips clamped around
exhaust pipes their whole lives. The
schizophrenic design-by-committee flitting
between whiny drama and goofy wisecracks. The
obligatory female support character with the
no-nonsense attitude and permanently cocked hips.
The monstrous, dehumanised, unequivocally evil
baddies. The inevitable betrayal from the jaded
authority figure. I've gone through the same
banal motions so many times it's increasingly
hard to talk about them in any meaningful or
But you know
what? I'm pretty sure that a lot of this is my
fault. I've long been resistant to get out of my
comfort zone when it comes to games. Won't play
sports games, won't play fighting games, won't
play strategy games, won't play JRPGs, ADAMANTLY
won't play multiplayer on consoles, these
severely limit my capacity to relate to gamers
worldwide. Now, virtually no-one likes *all*
kinds of games. That's why most sites and
magazines hire more than one reviewer, so that
they have at least one hopeless antisocial weirdo
on board they can offload all the new Total War
games onto. But that's no reason to not at least
try to expand my horizons. That's why in the near
future I'm going to embark upon a voyage of
discovery to see if I can find shiny colourful
nebulae hiding in the dark unexplored horrors of
the gaming universe.
I did another podcast with Yug and Matt to
tide over fans of our three-way dynamic. And on
that subject, Game Damage is indeed in motion,
even if we've all been a little quiet about it
lately. We're in talks with a couple of parties
with lots of free money and we'll almost
certainly be making it in some shape or form. So,
good news there.
As Yug also lets
slip in the podcast, he and I are also partners
in another business venture, namely the opening
of a gaming bar in Fortitude Valley. Not, I
hasten to add, a LAN cafe; this will be an adult
drinking establishment which also happens to
feature various games that one might play with
one's buddies while drinking at home. Rock band,
Wii games, that sort of thing. We've got a nice
little venue up Brunswick Street (on the nice
side of the mall, not the scabby side where the
station is) and we're looking into getting open a
few months from now. Come down some day to hang
out. I will ignore you.
ME TO CHANGE THE DATES ON THIS SITE TO 2009 YOU
The Game On
exhibition at the state library in Brisbane is
doing another of its Game On nights tomorrow (the
13th) from around 6pm. Yug and Matt and I will be
showing the pilot of Game Damage in a public forum and
answering questions afterwards, with most of the
answers probably going to be along the lines of
'yes, we know, we'll fix that when we have
money'. Come along for fun times.
For the benefit
of all the well-wishers, let me give a blanket
response: I don't live anywhere near the fires in
Victoria, you bloody idiots. I live in
Queensland, which is a much damper place on the
other side of the bloody country. And it's a
bloody big country full of a whole bunch of
bugger all. Asking after my wellbeing is like
asking after the wellbeing of someone in Sweden
because a fire broke out in Portugal. Yes
alright, Americans, go and look up where those
countries are, I'll wait.
Oh blimey, it
has been a long time since I updated last.
Apologies for that. My home network still won't
let me onto my FTP and the other network I
usually use crapped out on me an' all. Let's see,
what ZP's have we missed... Left 4 Dead (not bad), Sonic Unleashed (shittiest shit in the
shithouse), the year end clip show (not my idea), Prince of Persia (could've been worse), Awards for 2008 (aha), Tomb Raider Underworld (ugh) and FarCry 2 (ehh). For future ZP
updates, don't watch this space, whatever you do.
Watch some other one. Digg, maybe.
has been up for
a while, and the full 23-minute episode is free
to be viewed by one and all. We've gotten some
positive feedback, and a fair bit of negative
feedback, too. But I'd like to point out to the
detractors that this is pilot, by their very
nature experimental, and that we're still groping
around trying to create the ideal format. So
despite your intentions your slanging
inadvertently helps us. HA HA WE WIN.
ZP this week is Mirror's Edge, just in case there's
anyone left out there who might experience brain
damage and want to buy it.
Next Friday (the
12th) I'm taking part in a talk as part of the
Game On exhibition once again, who have now moved
up to Brisbane, my city of residence. I and Yug
and Matt will be talking from around 6:30 on
games, game reviewing, and the difficulty of
keeping our breath minty fresh. It's at the State
Library of Queensland, and I can't seem to find a
website that confirms what I'm saying, but we
will nonetheless be there. Come and check it out,
as long as there aren't 300 of you or something.
Again, sorry for
the lack of updates lately but I'm still being
jollied around by my connection at home and I can
only update this site from someone else's
internet for some reason. Maybe my home internet
pipes got clogged somehow. Anyway, a few pieces
of housekeeping to get through. The last few ZP
reviews: Fable 2, Fallout 3 and Guitar Hero World Tour. In summary: lame,
alright, and alright.
There's also the
matter that ScrewAttack is holding nominations
for the... ugh... 'Gaming's 1337' awards, and you
can nominate any reviewer and game-related
website you fancy, so obviously I'd fancy that
you nominate me. Just go to this site and fill in 'Yahtzee
Croshaw' for Best Reviewer and http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation for the appropriate URL.
You can nominate once a day if you feel like
cheating on my behalf.
And while you're
there, why not nominate the Escapist for best
Gaming Website? That should put me back in their
good graces after things I may or may not have
said on the eGames main stage.
Linking on from
that, I should also mention that Game
is on the verge
of splashing itself all over the internet's face,
with the pilot - of which I assure you we are all
very proud - probably going to be released
sometime next week. In the meantime head on over
to the site as it currently stands.
There's a forum set up already so feel free to
sign up and embarrass yourself with baseless
assumptions about what exactly we're going to
dump on you. God knows we could use some people
other than Australian Gamer forum members
the freakish and spectacular displays of Yahtzee,
the world's most overpaid person of indeterminate
role in the games industry!
Zero Punctuation review of Dead Space, in which Yahtzee picks
apart every slightest flaw while falling from a
high trapeze into a bucket of milk!
latest podcast collaboration with Australian Gamer, in which he wrestles
with the world record for most contextual
references to female genitalia!
smugness wafting through the air when he appears
at the Melbourne EGames Expo next weekend as special
guest! SCREAM as he courageously
hosts the Gaming Trivia Quiz while balancing
babies on a wolverine (baby volunteers needed)!
MISS THIS NEVERENDING CAVALCADE OF ONE MAN WITH
TOO MUCH TIME AND MONEY!
seriousness, do come along to EGames next week,
it's good to get involved with your games
industry. Anyone who shows up to the quiz I'm
hosting has the chance of winning REAL ACTUAL
PRIZES. It's from 4:45 on the Saturday (November
15th) but I'll probably have nothing better to do
than hang around the stage all weekend anyway.
going to be a special sneak preview of Game
Damage (try to imagine that being said
in a booming, messianic voice). It's a little
project me and the usual chums have been working
on and we like to think it's not completely
horrible. Come one, come all.
Sorry about the
infrequent updates of late, my new home network
seems to be having a disagreement with my FTP and
I'm having to update my site via other people's
internet connections, preferably without them
finding out. Last two reviews were the much
anticipated Silent Hill Homecoming and the surprisingly
non-horrible Saints Row 2.
It really is
insane how many big-name titles are being
released in October and November this year,
rather than the traditional December
pre-Christmas glut. Best guess is that the
economic crisis made publishers nervous and they
couldn't wait any longer to feel the warm kiss of
money rubbed lovingly upon their fat apple
This week I've
also been expanding my media empire. Firstly,
there's an op-ed piece by me up at news.com.au
concerning Silent Hill and the censorship issue.
Wow, it's almost like I'm a real journalist all
of a sudden. Here's a sample:
If you try
to oppose changes such as these you have to argue
that gore is essential to the intended
experience, which isn't the case and makes you
come across as slightly psychotic. Let the
censors have their petty moment of fuss I
hope their victory feels satisfying from their
little temple of total bloody irrelevance on the
mainstream media appearance of the week is an
appearance in Marcus Westbury's interesting
documentary series Not Quite Art, in which he examines
the new frontiers of culture and its pioneers.
Marcus was in Melbourne for my last ACMI
appearance and we shot a bit of a segment.
Anyway, the show was finally broadcast on the ABC
(that's the Australian ABC, not the other, fatter
one) the other night, and it's online at the
above-linked website for all to see.
everyone who keeps sending me helpful reminders
on what games I should review. Somehow the fact
that Silent Hill 5 had come out slipped by me
because I'm a video game media professional and
as such are too busy... hang on, let me just look
up what a video game media professional does.
(rustle rustle) What? Knows things about video
games? Well slap my granny, I guess I must have
known about Silent Hill 5 all along. FUCK.
Last two videos
were Too Human and Spore. People were asking me
why I didn't mention the DRM fiasco with Spore.
Truth be told, I didn't actually know about this
until someone told me the other day. I guess that
goes to show just how hugely significant it is to
the actual game experience.
was dragged to see Wall-E last night. Now,
objective quality of that film and possible
anti-corporate agenda aside, here's a small plot
One or more
lovable protagonists have existed for some time
in a stable but fundamentally flawed routine,
which is shaken up by the introduction of a
foreign entity, usually another character, around
whom attitudes are initially hostile. Attempts to
deal with this character eventually lead to the
protagonist(s) discovering a new, unfamiliar
world, and in doing so discover the nature of the
fundamental flaw in their routine. Villains are
usually introduced or only become truly
villainous from around the mid-point or quite
late into the film. Along the way the heroes
enlist the help of various lesser characters with
clearly definable quirks and at one point
reluctantly enter a high-speed chase. The villain
is generally finally defeated with surprising
ease, and everything concludes in an emotionally
manipulative ending in which routine is restored
with the fundamental flaw excised.
how many Pixar movies that could be describing.
Consider it, me bitches.
Funny I should
have mentioned horrible webcomics the other day,
because my girlfriend discovered recently that
she could imitate the style of Ctrl+Alt+Del with
amazing accuracy, and while she treated this
discovery with a due sense of horror and
disappointment I took the opportunity to ask her
to do a comic I could write the dialog for. So
here it is. We're both very, very sorry.
Braid was last week, this week's ZP is Eve Online. Predictably enough the
humanoids who are really into Eve have been on at
me, stating that Eve only becomes a fun game once
you get involved with the corporations set up by
other players. In response, I might ask those
people "Why are you paying the developers 15
dollars a month to do their job for them?"
You know what I
hate about the internet? You can't take back
anything you put on it. I'm usually content to
let my older, terrible stuff exist because I
would hope that people understand that I was
young and still learning, and that you have to
get the bad stuff out of your system if you ever
hope to improve. But I've been noticing around
the place that some people tend to think the very
fact that something is on the internet implies
that its author totally thinks it's still worth
two tugs of a dead dog's cock.
So, just to be
on the safe side, I totally disown every
webcomic I have ever made (excepting ZP
if you count it as a webcomic, which it seems
Wikipedia does). From any standards they are
universally dreadful. Anyone who says otherwise
should be disregarded because, as the creator, my
opinion outranks theirs. And while we're on the
subject, all the games I made before Odysseus
Kent were badly drawn and clumsily written. And
if anyone happens to know where to find any
fiction I wrote before the age of 20, please
throw it into the nearest convenient natural
So this week's
review was Soul Calibur IV, a predominantly
multiplayer console game, so obviously I forced
it to live up to the single player experience and
hated it. But hey, I did play some rounds against
my roommate and spamming throws seemed to work
alright there, too.
Oh yeah, and
last week was a retrospective on the Prince of Persia series. Guess you'd be
better off going to the Escapist for regular ZP
updates, hm? And why not click on some ads while
been a while since I threw a bone to my own
website, so I uploaded an old short story I wrote ages ago and
didn't do anything with. I had to trim it and
edit it a fair bit before I didn't hate every
bloody word, so it's not like I'm avoiding work
or anything. Here's a sample:
next few months, that sub sandwich earned a sort
of legendary status aboard the Endeavour as the
lunchtime snack that destroyed us all. For one or
two days before the end, a couple of people had
even started using sandwich as a
curse word. As in, Oh sandwich, were
all going to die.
It's called The
Hopeless Endeavour. Don't worry, it's
not based on any existing characters of mine. Check it out.
Ninja Gaiden 2 was the last ZP review
and oh bloody bleeding christ (probably shouldn't
click that link if you're reading this at work,
slacker). To the sweating entity who drew this,
it's nice to know I can inspire you, but I'm
depressed about my cultural legacy as it is.
Besides, they make you wear tiny little thongs in
Age of Conan if you take your pants off.
ZP last week was
Age of Conan, and this week it's a rundown of trailers that came out of E3 in
an attempt to stamp on the embers of what little
excitement the lacklustre event managed to
You know, being
new to this whole 'fame' business I'm surprised
by how many things I can't do anymore. For
example, if I'm browsing forums and I read an
interesting thread that isn't something to do
with me, if I post an incidental comment about
whatever the subject is then the thread
immediately derails into people going 'make a
video about it' or other examples of priceless
wit. I used to be one of the guys, you know. I
used to be another faceless contributor in a wall
of opinion. I miss those days.
Of course, the
obvious solution is to re-register with a
different username. Of course this doesn't help
if your favourite forum is one that require a
credit card payment to register, and if you don't
have a credit card, and you got your last account
with a gift certificate, and if you're an English
ex-patriate called me.
But the thought
did cause me to wonder about the people behind
the thousands of faceless names you interact with
on a daily basis on the internet, because it
seems any famous person will obviously use a
false name and deny their true identity for the
same reasons that I would. And then somehow I
managed to convince myself that everyone on the
internet besides me is Bruce Willis, but that was
around the point that I noticed a stain on my
wall that looked like a dog's head, and I had to
start thinking about that instead.
All my Escapist
pals have buggered off to E3, scarcely sparing
the time to put up my Alone in the Dark review before swanning
off to watch Sony talk about how much money they
make and view exclusive previews of the next
generation reboot of ET for the Atari 2600. I've
been left all alone in my little Brisbane flat to
sullenly watch the videos as they come online,
but that didn't keep me from joining Yug and Matt for a podcast on the subject.
anyone reading this hasn't seen the Dark Knight
yet, you officially aren't allowed on the
internet until you rectify that. I think I should
give it a few months and maybe watch it again on
DVD before giving a definitive opinion, because
being a massive cynic I'm immediately suspicious
of any film that appears on the surface to be
absolutely fucking legendary.