Wednesday, 07 September 2016 12:43

420 Character Reviews: The Tribe (9.5)

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420 Character Reviews: The Tribe (9.5)

The Tribe is a simple game that manages to make you feel like a worthless shaman. The goal of the game is to guide your tribe through the landscape without any pauses. Fighting, dodging, thinking, and maneuvering is even more daunting when you can’t stop running. It’s like your tribe just found a stash of cocaine and they’re running nonstop until they find more. Every decision matters and every death is your fault.

The Stoned Gamer Tournament took a month-long hiatus back in August solely for our crew to enjoy a little bit of California sunshine during the Summer. Of course, we all just ended up playing Rocket League and taking a nearly limitless amount of dabs. We also built better Magic The Gathering decks -- can't forget about that burst of productivity.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in states that deal with marijuana with a measured approach – the state I live in has a tax stamp scheme in place that effectively doubles the sentence attached to drug use. Naturally, many in these locales have looked into private, convenient ways to source quality cannabis products and more exotic fare. The answer for some time now has been the Darknet, and I don’t think I have to explain to you the role of Bitcoin in using those markets. Bitcoin has other uses, though: it has outperformed gold and stocks as a long-term investment, it helps many in impoverished countries acquire, retain, and transact wealth despite hyperinflation and dismal economics in their countries, and, more recently, has been integrated into mobile gaming as a less scummy way of monetizing a casual entertainment experience. This is, of course, of great interest to me, and it should be to any of the more casual Stoned Gamers that enjoy our content. Blockchain mobile gaming is still pretty new, and the games I’ll be showcasing are in very early beta, but given time to develop, you might just be able to pay for your next sesh by playing them.

Monday, 22 August 2016 23:07

Learn How To Conform In We Happy Few

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Somebody shouting obscenities in public probably isn’t as offensive in the UK like it is in the USA. I’m not saying the UK is better at saying words than the US -- I just really want to be able to say ‘bloke’ without coming off like I’m trying too hard. That doesn’t mean the British should have inflated egos, or hubris, because of their accents. It's appealing because we’ve all wanted to talk like British gangsters.

There are certain genres that are plagued with endless derivative variations on a theme –- I can’t remember the last time I saw a “roguelike” title that felt or looked new. A lot of times, this phenomenon is driven by solid core gameplay elements that make a genre what it is, without strong defining story or stylistic traits. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bullet hell or twin stick shooter that doesn’t innovate significantly, but there’s really no point in purchasing more than a few titles with these genres in common when the only differentiating factors are art style, and occasionally execution. In the past I’ve found myself wanting a game that takes one of these gameplay focused genres, strips away any pretense of flavor or uniqueness, and leans in hard on the mechanical elements to provide a fun experience. That’s exactly what I got from a little indie bullet hell called Flat Shot.

I’ve long been awaiting the release of Furi since I first saw its stunning announcement trailer back in 2015. While admittedly stoned, its lights, colors, and pieces of music were right up my alley. My issue, as we all know, is that cinematic trailers that blow your mind are rarely what we actually get to play (looking at you Catherine); thankfully this is not the case with Furi.

The more casual followers of gaming news may think it’s a bad time for shooters. It certainly is for AAA titles, whether it’s the backlash from EA’s “DLC-ifying” the entirety of Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront, or the massive outcry on the launch of the latest Call of Duty, from fans and detractors alike. It seems the mass market is finally experiencing some fatigue from the generic, semi-simulationist militiary FPS. Titles like Bethesda’s DOOM reboot, Epic’s Unreal Tournament 4, and Blizzard’s Overwatch have stormed the stage of the collective conscious to fill in the gaps left by these mass-produced franchises, and we’re only seeing more innovation in the FPS sub-genre. This certainly wasn’t the case even two years ago, though, and there were many titles that seem to have been left behind in the scramble for the next brown, grind-driven twitchfest. Didn’t matter how innovative or well-executed a shooter was, it just wouldn’t sell if it was not this type of shooter.

420 Character Reviews: I Get This Call Every Day (9.4)

This game has done a great job of capturing the nature of a mundane cubicle job and its impact on your spirit. Working in a call center, you try to guide the caller through security questions to verify the account in question. An email from the boss means you’re fired so pick responses wisely. Replayability is high, as you give it try after try to salvage your job. A profound message is delivered to you via MS­paint.

Thursday, 04 August 2016 23:13

SUPER HIGH SCORE: 'Mushrooms on E3' is Out NOW

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Kids don't try this at home -- unless you have an undying urge to lose your mind at the world's largest video game convention.

It’s August, and Halloween is ever so close. We need to take Halloween back to the old days when mothers and fathers would hide their children in the attic to shield them from the demons roaming through the village. Currently, October 31st it’s all about high sugar levels and uninspired costumes. Adults are forced into celebrating Halloween two weeks before the actual day at their office party, or some club dancing instead of scaring kids in the streets. Certain things shouldn’t be frowned upon. Where’s the fear? Still, every year I get excited about All Hollow’s Eve, and this year I want to sprinkle some Norwegian fear into your lives.

Our cat's name is Bobbi Grey because we got her around the time that Bobbi Kristina Brown died and we decided to make a sort of mock in memoriam. Her made sure her last name was Grey instead of Brown because she is a grey cat and not brown cat.

Dwarf Fortress is one of the most ambitious and non-traditional games being developed in the modern era. It’s essentially the closest you can get to a 'free will' simulator when interacting with a computer. On the surface, it looks like a bunch of ASCII characters flashing rapidly around a screen with a few menus; charmingly dated visual nonsense at best. To the initiated, those colored characters mean so much more. Behind the primitive art-style and somewhat dated controls, the most detailed simulation of a fantasy world ever conceived is pulsating with life. Everything from your dwarves' moods and relationships to the mineral properties of the soil, temperature and fluid dynamics enjoy as faithful a simulation as is possible in ASCII graphics in Bay 12’s genre and trope-defying title. Minutiae as small as musculoskeletal interaction of combatants during fights, the density of the material your hammer is made from, and the interaction of the mucous tissues in eyelids on eyeballs enjoy mechanical consideration in the Dwarf Fortress universe.

420 Character Reviews: Human: Fall Flat (9.3)

Grab physics by its complicated hand and guide yourself to solve the puzzles found only in your dreams. Human: Fall Flat is an amusing game with puzzles that aren’t too hard and it still manages to maintain a great level of fun. The controls do take a bit to get used to but who expects easy controls in a game about physics. There are many ways to solve a puzzle or you can give up and just explore the environment.

We were gifted a trash bag full of books when I was around 9 years old by some nice people who had no clue of the value in books. In it there was a Spanish book of ghost stories. I used to be terrified of this book but I loved reading it. Truly enjoyed it. Anyway, my mom reads the book for some reason and quickly proclaims the book to be that of satan. Even at that age, my brother and I thought “Mama, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me…” You have to understand that at the time my mom had a room full of statues and pictures depicting the ‘Virgin’ Mary. Yes, they were the type of parents who used to rub an egg on our bodies to cure us from everything. They’re not like that anymore, but, man, it was so much fun egging them on.

If any of you follow planet Earth and the local environmental happenings in California, then you were probably aware of the seasonal brush fires that seem to turn into roaring blazes overnight, destroying entire communities located in the hills and mountains of the West Coast. Well quite frankly the only solution to not having your house burned down is simply not building a house on a friggin' mountain. Unless you're Aquaman or that dude from Captain Planet, you can't stop the Earth from Earthing. If every house and human was suddenly removed from the planet, that wouldn't be abnormal -- in fact it would be a return to normality.

There's not a insignificant amount of time after any encounter with the more powerful plant teachers, when you’re filled with nervous energy, but the other, more desirable effects have all but left you. Whether you value entheogens for their recreational or spiritual uses, this jarring transition can put a huge damper on the experience. With the amount of thought that goes into set and setting for the beginning of psychedelic experiences, you’d think there would be just as much focus on getting something out of the tail end, as it is an excellent time for reflection. While I find myself more and more attracted to nature during my brushes with the otherworldly, and feel that the potential of most psychedelic substances is wasted on video games when their effects are in full swing, I’m starting to see the value in using games to aid the transition back to reality.

I’m vocally skeptical of anything that gets put into Kickstarter and belched out with successful funding, and especially so with games. For every Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, and Planescape: Torment, it seems like we get ten Ouyas, Mighty No. 9’s or Exploding Kittens. As it happens, a concept doesn’t have to be good or executed well to get funding on the platform, and a lot of projects are there because they could not get funding from venture capitalists (read: people who make it their business to determine what projects are worth the money) or other traditional sources.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of impetuous climate I’ve been dealing with here in Clearlake, Texas. It was like that one Married With Children episode where the English town is in eternal darkness until all the male Bundy’s are slain. Now, I’m not sure who was sacrificed in order to bring the sun back out but as long as I’m able to puff on my blunt out on the terrace -- good riddance. After the rain cleared up, the transformers exploded while we had guests from Spain. While I was quite angry at the sequence of events, I knew it was a higher power reminding our Spaniard friends that it’s dark and hell is hot. Listen to more DMX, Jesus.

Overclocking goes hand in hand with building a PC these days, and a big part of that is verifying that your CPU will run out-of-factory spec properly after doing so. It’ll save you a lot of hassle later on if you properly stress test your PC up front. For me, it feels a bit wasteful to load down my PC with a synthetic load and let it sit there for hours, doing nothing productive, though.

The heat in Los Angeles this Summer has crossed the threshold of whether global warming 'maybe' is happening. Folks, we are in the middle of global warming. It's not going to happen -- it is happening. Put a frog in a pot of boiling hot water and it's going to jump out immediately. However put that frog in a pot of room temperature water and slowly heat it up, it will never know it's being boiled alive. I guess that's the state of everything that's happening in America right now, not just the heatwave. 

Friday, 15 July 2016 15:33

SUPER HIGH SCORE: Stoned Pokemon Episode is Out NOW

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Most of you remember The Art of Getting Stoned And Staying Awake For a 24-Hour Pokemon Tournament in which I got entirely too high and tried to navigate through the social labyrinth of Pokemon and its trainers. Well that article was actually a piece of the second episode of Super High Score with our partners at MERRY JANE.

Friday, 15 July 2016 14:56

Vice's Motherboard Is Making Us All Look Bad

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The opinion that more traditional game journalism is on the way out is a very popular one with YouTube influencers and the younger people involved in the hobby. I can’t say I agree with it for a number of reasons, but I understand the driving sentiment, especially when articles like Motherboard’s recent op-ed, titled “PC Gaming is Still Way too Hard” enjoy widespread circulation on social media. The title isn’t what I have the problem with, so much as the lazily constructed and misleading content.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Rot Gut (8.8)

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420 Character Reviews: Rot Gut (8.8)

Rot Gut makes prohibition violence is the best way to facilitate relaxation between bong hits. Providing a grimy atmosphere to the era known as the Roaring 20s, become an agent out to gun down the gangsters who want to make sure everyone has a good time. This is your opportunity to experience what it’s like to be on the law enforcement side of the drug war and, frankly, it’s quite entertaining. Give me a badge ASAP.

I’ve been a fan of trading card games, online or otherwise, from about the time I started reading onward. I played Pokemon competitively as a kid, moved on to MTG and Yu-Gi- Oh! Once I could afford it, and jumped on Hearthstone and online Magic The Gathering as soon as I caught wind of them later on. I’ve also suffered from a lifelong weakness for novelty, participating in the launches of more ill-fated trading card games, like Duelmasters, Android: Netrunner, and even the original Warcraft CCG that predated Hearthstone by nearly a decade. Problem being, satisfying that craving for new gaming experiences can quickly become a dangerously expensive pursuit in the era of the Free-To-Pay-To-Win digital distribution. The vast majority of digital card games I’ve tried have been a combination of cash vampires, thinly disguised slot machine mobile games, and blatant HS and M: TGO rip-offs.

We greatly under appreciate what our phones can do now. You might use your phone to receive and spread local gossip, or, you might pull out your smartphone to take pictures that nobody wants to see. I mean it, I do not want pretend to be enthralled by the selfies you took at some trendy tapas restaurant. They are grossly overcharging you for snacks. Grossly. And I refuse to love you to death, get help today. In all reality, I can’t be judgmental because I use my phone to look up things such as who that sexy lady is from the Liberty Mutual commercial. Her name is Raushanah Simmons, and whoever knows her should tell her to read this article. Hi, Raushanah.

Friday, 08 July 2016 00:00

The Macabre World of Limbo, a Retrospective

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It has been almost six years to the day since the release of the side-scrolling platformer Limbo, the Playdead studios creation that puts players in control of a young boy who works his way through a perilous expanse of puzzles, obstacles, undefined enemies, and death. The latter of which occurs frequently, often in gruesome ways that aren’t matched when it comes to violence inflicted on children in the gaming world. With the release of Playdead’s new adventure, Inside, a look back at the brilliance of Limbo seemed appropriate.

Thursday, 07 July 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Inside (10.0)

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420 Character Reviews: Inside (10.0)

My heart overflowed with emotion as I played as this tiny child who alone travels through a dystopian world. The oppressed people who pay no mind to anything around them, represent our conformity and apathy, while the hero represents our inner god-given desire to be free. Puzzles represent the obstacles that block our life’s goal of reaching liberation. You must decide if the struggles are worth knowing the truth.

After eight intense qualifying tournaments of the 2016 Stoned Gamer Season, we've wrapped up Groups A and B of the Grand Finale Stoned Gamer Tournament which will be held at the end of the year. Now with our ninth qualifying Stoned Gamer Tournament, we've crossed over to the realm of Group C, a favorite among people that love the third letter of the alphabet.

The world of indie gaming is a vast one, and we know that it's easy to get lost in the fray of it all. That's why earlier this year we teamed up with MERRY JANE to bring you the Indie Game Mix Torrent, a series of torrents filled with indie games specifically tailored for stoned gamers.

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.

Thursday, 30 June 2016 00:00

4 current problems with VR (and how to easily fix them)

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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.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Party Hard (9.4)

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420 Character Reviews: Party Hard (9.4)

Sleep deprivation can drive one to do some heinous stuff, or you’re just an asshole. Either way, your neighbors must pay… with their lives. Take the role of a crazed man that can only find peace by stabbing people at parties because they make too much noise. you can’t just go out there and kill without regard -- you’re a gentleman, be stealthy. you only have you knife to rely on. Relieve tension with blood.