L4D2 NPC’s and Infected Rejected Out Of Hand

Features, Games and Gaming

Oil Derrick Worker
You never see them, because, well, they’re kinda isolated, but you hear reports about them, and they sound terrifying.

Tai Chi Master
If you ever swing that ax faster than an heavily sedated sea sponge, he goes down immediately. But should you go slower, HOO EEEEE!.

You only ever encounter their corpses, they go first.

He can be found dumpster diving, looking smug and eating rats.Organic rats.

A jazz flautist.

Sits in his car, a well-notated map of Toledo in his lap, a cold cup of coffee on the dash, and him, crying softly.

He stands, looking from the door to his front desk, torn behind a hunger for human flesh and a sense of duty.

Stands below the double rings, arms still on the rings, him looking up, moaning.

Fusses and pats you down, emits a low ‘humming’ noise as he considers, invariably leaves you alone.


Steam Sales

Features, Games and Gaming

No one would call me an unreasonable person. Few people would look at me and say, “That Niteowl fellow, he’s one to go skinny dipping in a kiddie pool full Crisco, a grievously injured king cobra, and seven squirrels in the latter stages of rabies”. I have a mortgage, a real job,  and what is laughably considered a pension.

But when the Steam Holiday Sale comes around, well, I wouldn’t say all reason goes out the proverbial window, but perhaps saying “Reason gets put in in a small concrete cell, bound, along with some guy with an unidentifiable Soviet Bloc accent, a car battery, and absolutely no knowledge of the Geneva Convention” is not stretching the truth too far.

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Mr. Steven’s Review of Shank

Features, Games and Gaming

Mr. Steven’s the butler in “Remains of the Day”

As it is the case with these things, indeed, any thing which one might think on and analyze, and, in doing so, create a montage, an eclectic collage, if you will, of themes and and motifs, I’m not sure a cohesive whole, a singular zeitgeist could, indeed, should, be taken from it.

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Alternative “Civilization V” Quit Messages

Games and Gaming

Every Civilization game ever released is notorious for the “One More Turn Syndrome”. A wretched disease that has lead to a 4% dip in Computer Science degrees conferred as well as a 10% increase in Google searches for “video game + addiction” and “shut-in life expectancy”.

So it was with some surprise that, when I tried to quit Civ 5, it actually asked me if I was sure. Yes I’M BLOODY WELL SURE, it was hard enough getting to this screen WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT HARDER ON ME?

Without further ado.

  • It looks like you’ve contracted scurvy from lack of personal attention and would like to quit riiight before getting your third Wonder, are you sure?
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GOG’s unfunny joke

Features, Games and Gaming

Ever see a comedian that was so bad it made you angry? Say a guy in Vegas, off the strip, who’s only there because he’s the owner’s brother-in-law? He’s on stage, huffing and puffing away, smelling of cheap laundromats and thrice cut cocaine telling jokes told by a ten-year old if he was a 45-year-old executive in the 50’s.

If you follow.

GOG’s ‘joke’ of closing down is exactly like that. Maybe even with a bit of Rob Schneider from “I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry” thrown in.

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Thanks to darkf666 for the Old One. (

Lovecraft Wallows In A Starcraft II Loss

Features, Games and Gaming

It is harrowing to have the veil ripped away from ones eyes, the infinite horror of that nameless alien weakness.  I go to the study, go to my office, throw dinner parties, with never the glimmer of suspicion as to what eldritch terror will grab me from the dark, pull me into an mute stupour as your sixteen carriers run ragged over my full complement of siege tanks and level 3 upgraded marines (weapons and armour!).

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StarCraft II : The Eldritch Mystery of Custom Maps Part II

Features, Games and Gaming

Part I to this aimless ramble is here.

By not allowing users to distribute their custom maps and requiring  authentication to get a map hosted on their servers, Blizzard make themselves the middleman. They want to control the types of games you can play. Censoring out ones they don’t like so much, you know, with the iron-not-quite-gentle-fist-of-oh-watch-out-almost-Godwinned-this-post of corporate control.

But it’s really, I suspect, a way to monetize content. To take advantage of novel games that might get far more popular than one could reasonably expect; and even more harrowing, free.

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StarCraft II : The Eldritch Mystery of Custom Maps Part I


It isn’t often I’m moved to rant about video games. There are plenty of other nerds with better thought-out opinions, usually supported by graphs and proofs and the phrases “non-trivial”, and “Let N be…”.

But this, this is a hill where I plant my flag, affix bayonets, and take a stand, with all the power in my laughably flabby body with questionable hygiene.

Custom. Maps. In StarCraft. II.

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Al Pacino on Flotilla

Features, Games and Gaming

It’s a rough galaxy out there.

You go out there, every day.

You flank and open fire and strategize because the galaxy isn’t doing you any favours.  You tear at your hair, at the bulkheads, you claw your way past the militant penguins and the looming space hulks because that’s what you do.

And the Galaxy tries to shove back?

It tries to take from you what is your right?

You shove back. Maybe you get another ship, maybe your flotilla gets bigger.

You keep growing.

And you know you’ll kill for that flotilla, for every upgrade you’ve fought for, for every  new ship that you’ve won.

Because that’s what you do. The Galaxy isn’t going to be explored by itself. It’s up to you, and your crew.

That’s it. That’s what the Galaxy expects from you, and, damnit, that’s what you expect from you.

Now, maybe I’m too jaded, too old, too damn tired to think differently. I’ve spent too long out in that galaxy fighting the good fight, the right fight. But you shouldn’t have to do all this in one go.

What are we? Robots? Animals? I say we are not. I say we are not that thing which can continue on for hours upon hours. We are flesh and blood. We have laundry to do, and kids to mind, and all the little things that make up a life. The little things that go on between conquests. That’s life, gentlemen, that’s living.

You remember that don’t you?

At the end of the day the Galaxy doesn’t care for your life your place in it. It’s only hungry for your ships, and for everything you’ve worked so hard at for the past 40 minutes. But you can’t give it to them. Not after all the sweat and blood it’s extracted from you, step by step, fight by fight, tooth and nail and fist and bone.

And we shouldn’t have to give it all up. Should we? Because our time is fractured. It’s cut up and divided and pulled, stretched out across the day. We shouldn’t, we can’t.

We need a save feature.


Andy Rooney On Teams and Fortresses

Features, Games and Gaming

I don’t know what’s  happening to gaming these days. In my day you had a fortress, you had a team, and you just went at it. It was like tag or flag football, the bedrock of any small town community. I know community isn’t in vogue these days. It’s one for one and all for none, it seems. I watch the television and it’s not more about team sports, its about the individual stars.  A trophy for this, a  medal for that.

It seems to me that nowadays, our fortress team games are obsessed with personal milestones. What sort of whacky combination of numbers have to be achieved today, I wonder. When I was younger, you just worried about how many times you fragged, and how many times you got fragged, and that was that. Now there are silly hats and punny little titles given to any number of strange number crunching.

Lately I’ve been wondering if it doesn’t have to do a little bit with things. What I mean is, too many people are in a rush to get things, get into the city, say, pick up a newer version of a pair of pants that have been perfectly fine these past five years. It’s not that I wouldn’t do it myself, if was a little bit younger, a little less wise, but it’s a shame all the same.

And seemingly, the company that, to be honest, makes me think more often of plumbing supplies than video gaming, has attached their weird and wonderful number crunching to getting more things. What’s wrong with a rocket launcher, I ask? Now you want a rocket launcher that does more splash damage, or less splash damage, maybe heats up your car on a cold  morning.

It might be a bit much, I wonder.

But things move on, sure as taxes, or your toast getting inedibly dry after an endless conversation with a coworker you don’t like too much. I’m not one to complain about things. But it seems to me that the Team Fortress of today is a little too friendly, maybe, a little less fortressy. I don’t think we ever needed hats to really enjoy the game. We sure don’t need more things.

At least, I’d like to think so.


Chomsky Comments on Left 4 Dead


I think what’s clear here, in this shot, is that it’s the humans that have the guns, the mandate to power in this situation. The undead, these new immigrants to a world that’s still very strange to them, they are, quite categorically, unarmed.

There is a struggle for hegemony you can see here. Dominion over land, a fight for sovereignity. What would you do if armed strangers came through your land? You’d attack, naturally. You’d defend yourself, is what you’d do. And if we are even attempting to consider the justice in this situation, the undead are merely fending off the humans with their hands, their feet. How much damage could they do? But, time and time again, we see a disproportionate response to this from the humans. A call to arms, a god given Continue reading