It seems in recent times that to keep up with consumer demand, more and more derivative works are being shoveled onto the plate of the eager consumer. Theatres are often showcasing more sequels and remakes than original movies at any given time, 'Top 40' pop music hasn’t changed its production and lyrical formulas significantly in nearly a decade, and even user-driven social media seems devoid of original personal content. Facebook, for example, exhibits far less of the self-indulgent narcissism that it attracted and reigned supreme in the early days. That teen angst and lack of self-awareness have long since supplanted by advertisements and the stalest “dank memes” available, as Facebook users have become savvier to the consequences of the former.
Since we've started the trend of bringing you undeniably bad ass things on The Stoned Gamer, there's a chance you already read about Death's Gambit when we discussed it back in February. Since then, Death's Gambit became a PlayStation 4 exclusive and now has the backing of Adult Swim Games. In those few months, the world also lost Prince, Muhammad Ali, Phife Dawg, Kimbo Slice, and Hawk from American Gladiators -- all of those names being equally important. Unrelated? Probably not, stoned gamers. The game is called 'Death's Gambit' for a reason.
Remember that time when I took mushrooms and lost my mind at E3 2016 amidst a sea of VR platforms? Well I sure do -- and two weeks later I'm still grasping with the ramifications of it all. Dipping your mind in a universe of imagination created by others is mentally exhausting in itself, but under psilocybe cubensis it's an experience that is unmistakably life changing.
One of the biggest gaming trends of the last few years has been huge, blowout sales that puts players into a blind panic to buy up as much as they possibly can without stopping to think about what they are actually buying. Does anyone really need a third copy of Dishonored? WHO CARES?! IT’S FIVE DOLLARS! At this moment Steam is running their Steam Summer Sale and Sony has had a flash sale on the PSN Store for the past few days with some pretty deep discounts.
Kids, don't try this at home.
I'm not saying don't try psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. By all means try it. In fact, I encourage it. It's surely safer than all the Ritalin and Adderall that gets shoved down your throat. Try mushrooms at home -- but just don't try them at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known simply as E3.
Fresh off a monumentally bizarre trip to the world of E3, The Stoned Gamer crew found themselves in Van Nuys, CA for the start of the eight Stoned Gamer Tournament of the 2016 season held at Compassesh.
I’ll be the first to admit that initially I was excited about Hearts of Stone, then it just kinda fell off for me in a hurry. Technically there was nothing wrong with the Witcher 3 expansion Hearts of Stone, but it just felt like more of the same. I wanted more Witcher 3, but some of the areas felt a bit lacking, never mind that it was just really extending out the map a little bit in one direction and sending you back into familiar places. Blood and Wine, on the other hand, is an entirely new area filled with new kinds of NPCs, a whole new Gwent deck and the Mutagen system is way cooler than the whole rune thing.
I have a theory that humans clandestinely miss working with their hands.
There was an actual moment of worry when I began to contemplate the rise of machines and the downfall of humanity. I assume that this takeover would happen after my body becomes nourishment for Mother Earth but then I reminded myself of President Eden from Fallout 3. Philosophy will destroy the machines. Still, technology rises because we are lazy. We like self-checkout lanes due to the speediness it gives us, but we would rather stores just open more lanes. Why do I want to scan and bag my groceries during a munchie run, Wal-Mart? Humans enjoy being slothful while also maintaining a social life. I am putting full trust in the assumption that our thirst for socializing will be what holds the machines back before philosophy ever becomes a weapon. Not even sex robots stand a chance. Japan, I’m looking at you.
If only you guys knew how many times we reshot the scene of me smoking in the car, then you would be sincerely perplexed as to how I'm still alive today. Granted, I could be dead and all of this that I call 'reality' could be a re-imagining of what I believe reality is. I mean to create a site about video games and weed, and then to have a video series with your childhood hero is something that is too improbable to be true. If all this is indeed a farce and I died a long time ago, then let's not let all of this be in vain, stoned gamers.
We will always remember Dab Crown 2 because it was the first time in The Stoned Gamer history in which the cops raided the entire event.
We’ve all seen them. Indie games that seem to pop out of the ether, but every Youtuber seems to have a 'Let's Play' of it. Sure, the content made with the game is entertaining, but it’s usually by virtue of the game being terrible. Games like Five Nights at Freddie’s, Amazing Frog, Trick or Treat, Bear Simulator, and scads of others. They lurk in the dank recesses of Steam’s early access service, and the virtually un-curated underbelly of the Xbox Live Arcade. Sure, it’s a trend that started innocently enough, but it’s getting worse as time goes on.
The moment I saw the dead baby was the moment I knew Max Payne was one of the great stories of modern day Americana. It was probably one of the first games that I illegally downloaded during the period of my life that I was digital pirate. Before you start to harshly (and unjustly) judge me, just know that I needed to pirate Max Payne. My parents had saved up money to buy us a Compaq PC; asking for a 50lb Xbox was absolutely not an option. Yes, I know that Max Payne was initially released on PC, but so what? I, purposely, tended to be the person who was drawn to the things that weren’t as popular, hence I decided to play Max Payne instead of GTA III. It was basically a life decision. Nobody was talking about the genesis of the Max Payne story. GTA III was the greatest thing that Rockstar Games created -- at least that’s what everyone thought.
When I glance at my profile in Overwatch something becomes abundantly clear to me; I’ve become a support player. I’m usually not too big on support classes in shooters because, if we are real here, they usually aren’t that useful. Sure, tossing down med packs at choke points in Battlefield is fun because you are gonna get a ton of points, the same with reviving a fallen friend in a place where you know he’s just going to get torn to shreds as soon as he’s up again. It’s not about them, it’s about you. That’s why Overwatch is so different.
I’ve been consistently pondering the way of life people lead. I wonder if anything really matters. We could choose to see ourselves as a bacteria that needs to constantly growing, hence, the things that we do. People found out about medicines with the intent to save more lives so that our population could grow. As diseases and infections start to bury us by the thousands, we find an antibiotic to stop that bacteria from killing us. After that, a new bacteria forms and new medicines are created. We live longer and the population grows. Technology grows with us and it's to the point that it has grown beyond us. Once technology eliminates humans, it could, itself, spawn another lifeform. I get so deep into thoughts that in the end it might not even matter. All this could be nothing. Or it could be something. I don’t know but I’ve decided to remain out of the know.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the classic arena shooters. They got me through my middle and high school computer technology classes. I would bring a case of bootleg CDs (and later USB flash drives) with Quake 3, Unreal 2004, and as many mods as I could find for them for test days and substitute teachers. Broadband wasn’t yet the norm, and many of my friends and classmates only experience with competitive online PC gaming came from these sessions. It got to the point where I and five or six others would work ahead in the curriculum so we could perform this ritual regularly. While I have a measure of respect for DOOM, and the reboot has the best story in an FPS I’ve seen in nearly a decade, I was expecting more from the multiplayer.
FIFA has been corrupt throughout my whole life. It was probably one of the first facts that I learned about this planet, followed by the realizations that breast milk is great and breasts are greater. Later in my life I learned that FIFA was a non-profit organization and my young 13-year-old mind was permanently blown. The idea of FIFA was to have an organization that would facilitate the play and popularity of football throughout the world. It was not meant to go into countries and facilitate the building of stadiums through slave work and death. There are stadiums in Brazil that are abandoned now because they were built without thinking about usage after World Cup.
The Stoned Gamer Tournament, floating around the state of California like a cloud of indica smoke, slowly escaping from the chamber of your favorite bong. We should make that our official slogan, but then again it's entirely too long to fit on a shirt. Or a dab rig. Basically anything that is significant to a stoned gamer, that slogan won't fit on. Unless you're Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'm quite certain that slogan could completely fit on his bo staff. Now, the search for Donatello begins.
Narrative is important for games, even online, multiplayer shooters. While that might seem counterintuitive, a game like Overwatch has shown just how important storytelling can be in a game that has no single player mode and no story mode in the game at all. Instead, Overwatch is straightforward, boot-up-and-play, featuring a cast of colorful characters. So while it might seem like there isn’t any room to tell a story, Blizzard still did exactly that.
The part of me that excitedly bought my way into the Star Citizen universe is still there, but after what feels like years of nothing, I fear that the love affair has turned ugly. There have been public releases for Star Citizen and the promise of what the game could and should be is still there, but the reality of what is currently available is rather grim. Right now the game is distributed via it’s own launcher, which is fine in theory, but it’s also a mess.
It may have been called Local Sesh, but driving to San Diego all the way from Los Angeles on a Sunday Morning for our Fifth Qualifying Tournament of the 2016 Stoned Gamer Season was far from local. More like Far Away Sesh, but it didn't matter because the venue the event was held at was incredibly stunning.
OPUS: The Day We Found Earth is Sour Diesel in my system. Sour Diesel in my system is just like playing OPUS. It was destiny that I ran into OPUS the morning after I drove through the streets of San Antonio completely consumed by Sour Diesel. I didn’t even know I was smoking Sour Diesel until it was absolutely too late. I was gone but I knew that I still had to drive through the hideous San Antonio highways; I knew I was screwed. Yes, I was a nervous sack of nerves while I drove, still, the Texas roads looked beautiful as I drove through them at 50 MPH in a 65 zone -- Siri guided me home. The complexities of the highway system became man-made concrete constellations and I was their spectator.
When we have excellent games like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen at our disposal, and No Man’s Sky on the horizon, it’s easy to let less ambitious space combat and exploration titles fall by the wayside as we strap on our VR goggles and fire up the HOTAS. It’s a shame, really, because there’s something satisfying about the tight controls and simplicity of the classic twin sticks and shmups that you just don’t get with the newer, more simulationist games that carry on their legacy. While I still regularly fire up titles like Luftrausers, Jamestown, and Geometry Wars to get my fix, it saddens me to see the gulf widening between the space games of old and the newer, bigger, and often slower-paced titles of the modern age. I have an appreciation for both styles of gameplay, and that’s prompted me to search for something that bridges the gap. Something with satisfying twin-stick bullet hell gameplay and the depth of resource management, ship customization and macro-level mechanics that I crave in one package. Up until recently, the titles I’ve explored have come short of the mark. Plenty are fun in their own way, but just don’t scratch all of the itches I have when it comes to sci-fi ship-to- ship combat. That is, until I found Reassembly.
This game holds the distinction of being the first independently developed game to be Sony’s centrepiece reveal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Back in 2014, the announcement of this game slipped my attention. However, the first time I heard about this game, I was instantly hooked. Can No Man’s Sky really get past the glaringly obvious finite-ness of every game I’ve ever played? Infinity is a finicky thing, as anyone that has studied mathematics can tell you. The average person’s understanding of infinity (as well as concepts such as randomness) is also usually flawed. Like many of us, if something is beyond the capacity of my own human experience, I consider it infinite. Infinity, for most humans, is defined as such. Somewhere above a few billion, beyond where we can conceivably count.
The internet based tech media has been abuzz with news from nVidia’s Pascal launch event. Youtube “influencers” and other elements in entertainment media were invited to a ranch in Texas, where they were given early access to the GTX 1080 and review samples. They were also given NDAs to sign to stop early real world benchmarks from getting out. Notably absent from the launch event: hard, broad spectrum benchmark data, and representatives from more objective and journalistic media outlets. Masterful marketing on nVidia’s part, sure, but we should all take the rumours about the launch card’s performance with a grain of salt. There are good reasons youtube personalities are called influencers and not reporters. This turn of events has generated a hurricane of forum posts and social media comments making assumptions based on misinformation, and I’m starting to get sick of it.
As a man of distinguished tastes (read: too old for twitchy games) I find myself enjoying strategy games more and more over the past few years. Sitting down and thinking my way through a situation tends to be more rewarding than running through tight corridors with an assault rifle looking to explode heads. Mind you, I still enjoy a good shooter from time-to-time, but strategy games are far more appealing right now, even if they are giant time sucks. I’ve also written a ton of science fiction and consumed a lot of it in my life, so Paradox’s new strategy game, Stellaris, seemed like something I had to buy.
There is such an over saturation of zombie games on the market. The blame rests solely on The Walking Dead because it made the entire zombie genre 'cool.' They created a subculture of lonely mothers who religiously wear t-shirts with pictures of Murphy MacManus promising riots #IfDarrylDies. You can easily spot these people as they make early exits from a showing of Day of the Dead. Honestly, outside of the early Resident Evil games, the only zombie game you need to play is Project Zomboid. You can’t proclaim to be an expert at zombie-survival if you can’t stay alive for a week while playing PZ.
I’m a fan of all things horror and have been since I was a little kid. Sneaking onto the staircase after my parents put me to bed to watch movies like Kairo, The Thing, and Alien through the slats on the bannister are some of my earliest memories. As fond as I am of terrifying fiction, though, I have accepted that the difficulty inherent to the genre’s execution leaves long gaps in between great works of horror. For me, these holes are felt most sorely in video games. I can’t remember the last time I played a modern horror game (PT was a demo, people) that couldn’t be boiled down to pressing the sprint button to the next jump scare, then backtracking so you can do the same thing in a new area. That’s not to say those types of games aren’t good on their own or entertaining; they just aren’t good horror.
I've been to a cemetery at 4 a.m. I was with my colleague Alex -- his name has not been changed to protect the identity of those involved. We armed ourselves with a camera and tequila. Our intention was to capture an orb with the flash of the camera; the fact that those orbs were really just dust particles did nothing to stop us. On that night we were ghost hunters, and while amateurs, we were still doing a better job than those clowns on the SyFy Network. We were pretty obsessed with the paranormal, actually. There was an intent to break into an abandoned hospital but a sleeping hobo thwarted our plans. Look, you don't know and don't want to know what's it's like to startled a sleeping homeless man.
Our fourth qualifying tournament of The 2016 Stoned Gamer Season wrapped up at Compassesh this past weekend, and it marked the end of our first group of competitors for our year-end Grand Finale Tournament, which will be held in California -- somewhere. We can't even tell you when everything is going down. The suspense we're building up is approaching M. Night Shyamalan levels. Well, M. Night before he directed The Last Airbender. Everything since then has been just ridic...oh, wait he's producing the new Tales from the Crypt series? Dammit, M. Night -- we need this one to be good. Just this one time.