The Strange Joys of Not Gaming

Video games have always played a large role in my life. Some, my wife included, have drawn the conclusion that video games take up too much of my time. I’ll freely admit that I have a problem. It apparently could be worse since I have never played Shenmuie or however one spells that awful transliteration and if I did I would apparently love it so much it that it would devour my very being. So I got that going for me.

Thrust into a position where I have no television, no console and a laptop that struggles to run The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I find myself looking from the outside of the gamer community in. Having spent a few months in this position, my primary result of electronic entertainment deprivation is this: Being cut off almost completely from video games is weird. →  Read the rest

Review – Burger Island

I recently [not recently – Ed.] spent a good portion of my Memorial Day weekend remembering our fallen soldiers by playing Burger Island with my daughter.

“Do you want a turn making milkshakes, daddy?” she asked in a cute manner.

“I will do it! I will do it for those that died at Normandy!” I cried.

And thus began my nightmarish decent into the maddening world of Burger Island.

Burger Island, I learned the hard way while simultaneously paying tribute to the ultimate sacrifice of others, is a lie.

The island in the title is not a gigantic delicious hamburger. It is not a Burger Island. The point of the game is not to gorge your stranded survivor on the island itself in the name of survival, slowly eating the very piece of juicy, flame-broiled land that also keeps you safe. →  Read the rest

Making Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Truly Rule

There are a whopping two arcade machine series on Earth that I can beat consistently on one purchase, regardless of sequel number or difficulty setting: Soul Caliber and Marvel vs. Capcom.

The key to Soul Caliber, you see, is Maxi and his awesome ability to start spinning his nunchuks, never pausing for a break as he beats the sweet bejeebus out of any and all opponents. Just mash the buttons, bimbo. Why didn’t you think of that?

And Marvel vs. Capcom 2? Iron Man, War Machine and Cable will destroy any and all challengers from their cozy little far corner of the screen, sending a constant and unfair barrage of projectile after projectile at those who dare to cross them.

Am I excited about the announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom 3? →  Read the rest

Cryptic’s Genius Relationship with Furries

I have to give Cryptic Studios some credit: Realizing the current flood of MMOs on the market and the presence of another game that they helped develop in the exact same subgenre would hurt their sales, they created a business model for their newly released Champions Online that can thrive with as few as 10,000 subscribers. By catering to the niche of the niche and trying very hard not to even suggest that their new release is anything like the legendary and fabled World of Warcraft killer that fans have been waiting for for years now, Cryptic was able to explore cheesy silver age comics ideas to their fullest without having to live up to the lofty, unfulfilled expectations that are currently dooming Age of Conan and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. →  Read the rest

Getting the Batcave Right

Now that videolamer has become the haven for misfit and under appreciated games, a review of perhaps the year’s biggest release seems out of place and wrong. As such, no review of the excellent and entertaining Batman: Arkham Asylum will be drafted by me for inclusion on this website. Besides, the internet is already chock full of reviews and I really would have nothing to add to the conversation. But I will do a blog entry on a tiny detail that has almost no impact on the game whatsoever: How the Batcave was included, and what other video game makers will hopefully learn from this.

As Batman kicks ass and takes names all across the island that holds Arkham and its many criminals, he eventually reveals that he has a hidden Batcave just for such emergencies. →  Read the rest

Review – Hearts of Iron III

Paradox Interactive is becoming known in the innermost of hardcore gaming circles as “the only grand strategy gaming company left on earth,” a level of praise earned by their constant desire to take giant swaths of history and make games out of it. Instead of reading this, you could in fact be playing what we insiders call the “unnecessary gauntlet” of grand strategy gaming: repeating all of human history from 200 BC to 1956, the last moment in history that needs to be covered because Eisenhower’s presidency is the absolute pinnacle of mankind’s achievement. Year by year, hour by hour. No, Paradox Interactive doesn’t cheat like Firaxis, doesn’t do things like assigning one turn of gameplay a five year value in world time. You want to play five years? Then you better be prepared to play them out. →  Read the rest


Ah, creativity. Useless, overrated creativity.

Once, back in the past, a man had an original idea and he took it and he made a form of mass media out of it and people loved it. They loved it so much that they decided he shouldn’t work on finding something new to give them, he should instead work on more of what they loved.

And thus we were given The Odyssey. And The Odyssey was just as successful and lucrative as the first. This opened the eyes of the creative people, who would often struggle for long periods of time trying to make something new. Creative people did not have to be creative all the time. They just had to be creative once and willing to cash in on that one flash of brilliance as much as humanly possible! →  Read the rest

Review: UFC 2009 Undisputed

For the past few days at my house there has been a severe outbreak of Black-on-Black crime. I am not proud of this. I worry about my future, about everyone’s future. It is already getting worse. The violence once contained to just certain groups is already spreading. Asian-on-Black. White-on-Hispanic. Brazilian-on-Canadian. It is a rainbow of sadistic beatings spanning all ages and continents. The fights do not stop. The battles grow with each passing day.

I am more than a little ashamed to admit that my descent into an anarchic world of ultraviolence has brought me so much joy. All of these things, you see, are not happening in my head this time. Instead, they are happening on my television screen. They are happening inside of a game. A game clumsily titled UFC 2009 Undisputed. →  Read the rest

Review – Dwarf Fortress

Freedom, sweet freedom. Hours disappear, days melt away, weeks pass in a blur.

Having returned to a society that is busy imploding into an apocalyptic mess that any supervillain would be proud to have caused, I find myself spending my few sober hours preparing for the end of the world. And also playing video games.

I have been busy stockpiling bottlecaps, because we all know that bottlecaps are the currency of a world gone wrong. My stupid neighbor downstairs has taken a lesson from my fevered preparations and has begun to create his own stash of pop can tabs, but this is wrong. He will be penniless and alone in the wastelands of the near future while I will be king of all I survey. There will be no shotgun ammo that I cannot buy, no can of beans out of my reach. →  Read the rest

Creative Hiatus – Sweet NPCs That Stand the Test of Time

Your good buddy Spyder has done it again. I wouldn’t really say that I have once more fallen off of the wagon into a drug-induced stupor of epic proportions. I’d instead say that I kicked open a door, jumped a fence and flipped off my rehab counselor as I ran headlong back into the sweet arms of my smack habit.

While tripping balls in someone’s living room (do I even know anyone in Elko, Nevada?) I have decided to do a list post of really sweet NPCs. List posts are easy and take very little time, and since the wireless server I have connected to in this strange house is entitled “ByGunNutz4GunNutz” I should probably send this in and then keep moving. Also, I’m out of the sweet stuff I need to truly live, so I’m gonna have to run soon to get a fix. →  Read the rest

Creative Hiatus – Some Thoughts on DC Universe Online

Last week I asked Jay if I could write for videolamer. After a long and painful interview process, he said “Sure, I guess.” I have, since then, been forced to go on “creative hiatus” due to overwhelming stress and a debilitating drug habit.

While on creative hiatus (I am recovering well, thank you), I have had some time to check out a little title for the Playstation 3 and potentially the PC named DC Universe* Online.

The DC Universe* is a place where people in tights protect large cities from dumb people who dream big and fail big. It is populated by such well-known fictional characters as Creeper, Spy Smasher, and Hank Henshaw. While you will not be able to play as any of these titanic literary characters, you can fight awkwardly beside them in missions, I guess. →  Read the rest