We’re back… kind of

We’ve managed to bring the site back with https support, removed some older shared content (what even is gamegrep?) and cleaned other things back up a bit.

If you happen to actually read this… let us know if anything seems to be broken!

2012 Retrospective – Part 2

Continued from the previous article, this is a set of mini-reviews from stuff I didn’t get the chance to actually write about in 2012.

Diablo III (PC)
Because impressions from the beta were somewhat divided, I held off on picking up Diablo III until early summer, when the hype for the game had died down to “acceptable dungeon-crawler”. Unfortunately, I commit the ultimate sin now by (mini-)reviewing it without having actually beaten it. After the wealth of customization, strategy, and randomness that was in Diablo II, its sequel came as a huge disappointment.

Despite more than two hours of gameplay, I had yet to make an actual decision for either character I made.… Read the rest

2012 Retrospective — Part 1

Since I didn’t get the chance to write about many of these games on videolamer, this is sort of a 2012-as-reviewed. Apologies if it’s a bit much; I’ll try to keep my impressions brief. These are all games that stand out to me, in either a good or a bad way. Some of them were released in 2011, but as a fellow gaming peon (no review copies for videolamer) I didn’t acquire them until this year. Games appear in rough chronological order.

Overall, 2012 has been a really great year for video games. Personally, I’ve been trying to limit the growth of my backlog while completing as many new and interesting games as I have the time for.… Read the rest

Soft Boiled Software

When it comes to repairing CD’s and DVD’s, there are a number of practices and household products which people swear can make a disc good as new. I tried several of the most well known methods in my youth, and found that none of them did a damn thing. Brasso, for instance, never managed to make a scratched disc run any better. Same with toothpaste. I even tried boiling a used copy of Devil May Cry. I ended up “fixing” it by buying another copy.

Ever since these failed experiments, I wondered whether any of these methods really, truly could work.  … Read the rest

2011 Year in Review

Last time I did a year end retrospective, it posted two months after the end of the year.  I won’t make the same mistake twice in a row.  Here now are the highs and lows from my 2011 in games.  Note, as always, that this is not a “best games of 2011” list, nor did all of the games actually come out this year.  These are simply the best (and “worst”) titles I played within the last twelve months.

The Tops

Async Corp

I actually posted my review of Async Corp. months after the initial draft was first written. and in the intervening months, I hadn’t actually played the game that much.  

Read the rest

Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl Non-Review

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has been a game I’ve declined to review. There are some things I’m just not comfortable casting judgment on. A review implies that the reviewer has authority over the game, an intellectual superiority. I can tell you what I think about Stalker, but Stalker is a complex game full of loose ends; it calls upon a creative power within its players to piece them together. What I think about it is constantly changing the more I play and the more I learn. Any review of the game will say much more about the reviewer than the game itself.… Read the rest

2010 Favorites

I know, I know, it’s February 2011, and here I am with a 2010 retrospective. The truth is that this has been written and ready a while now, but only now have I remembered to post it. Keep in mind that these are my personal favorite games of 2010. If one of your faves isn’t on here, chances are good that I simply didn’t play it.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

I put Kirby’s Epic Yarn on this list with a few caveats. I find that the game is significantly more interesting with two players, and in my personal experience, is even better when at least one of those players isn’t particularly good at video games.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

Ken Levine’s Secret Notepad of BioShock Ideas

  • BioShock — A city under the ocean (not Atlantis) is populated by murderous psychopaths. Everyone here also has superpowers. A little girl and her dozen twin sisters wander around needing to be rescued. Andrew Ryan talks to you about why his city is so great. After you kill everyone in the city the moral of the story is that killing children is bad. (Chance to prove that videogames can have moral messages just like movies?) I think this game could give people a lot to think about, like how it’s dangerous to give everyone in a city inherently destructive superpowers.
  • BioShock Infinite–A city in the sky is populated by an evil Tea Party analog (to prevent moral ambiguity make sure their eyes burn and they roar like monsters so there’s no confusion over who the bad guys are).
Read the rest

Extra Lives Review

Tom Bissell’s latest work, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, doesn’t include much discussion on the subject of why video games matter. This has very little weight on the text itself, but I think every reader should be aware of that fact before opening a copy. Extra Lives is about Bissell’s fascination with videogames and videogame developers, and about his own experiences playing games. The basic point of the book is, well, I can’t really say. Any central thesis has gone far over my head because as far as my reading comprehension extends I couldn’t find any real point to the book.… Read the rest