I’m sure by now you’ve heard about Jonathan’s Blow’s new game, the Witness. If not, it’s a puzzler from the mind of Jonathan Blow, the creator of the Xbox Live Arcade megahit Braid from 2008. Blow’s game has been in development for years now, with some even getting a hands on of an early version of the game as far back as 2010, so needless to say, this game has been in development for quite a while and was a labor of love for Blow and the team that he assembled. The reviews are in and all that anyone can really say is that it’s fantastic, challenging and worthy of the $40 price tag.

Sunday, 31 January 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Pony Island (7.7)

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420 Character Reviews: Pony Island (7.7)

You’d think that a videogame called Pony Island wouldn’t be plagued with the presence of Lucifer. play a somewhat adorable pony that is trapped in a videogame designed by the fallen angel himself. It does tend to poke at the 4th wall a lot, while annoying, it doesn’t take too much away from the game’s surprising sinister playthrough. It may be another puzzle game but it's a unique way of getting a dose of horror.

A big part of gaming on PC has been the ability to modify the games that are available in all sorts of crazy, wacky ways. There are some weird things that tend to happen with major game releases and hey, there are almost always nudity mods or mods that give women ample assets, so to speak, but at times there are those that add to a game in such an outrageous way that it’s difficult to ignore.

So these are some of the most outrageous or just downright incredible mods from 2015. That means released in 2015 or tweaked in a significant way in 2015.

I’m going to admit something and it’s not something that I’m proud of, but here we go. I spent a whole bunch of years rapt under the hypnotic trance of combat sports and everything that went with them. Over the years I made some good friends, met some good people, but I also met some of the absolute worst people imaginable and their residual bile is still being cleaned out of my system to this day. The sports themselves I could take or leave, they have their big ups and downs, I made some money and gained some notoriety there, which is cool and I’m grateful for, but man, dark days.

Friday, 29 January 2016 00:00

420 Character Reviews: The Witness (9.6)

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420 Character Reviews: Prison Architect (8.5)

This isn’t for the gamer who follows trends; who tries to fit in. This isn’t for the gamer that lacks mental dexterity. This is for the gamer that yearns for the secrets hidden across the river. The Witness is a complicated puzzle game that will break you. There are no instructions; no hand-holding. Persistence and logic will be your only partners as you unravel this tale. You are intelligent -- it’s time to show it.

Sunday, 24 January 2016 00:00

Explore the world as a traveling artist in Eastshade

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The career choice of wandering the Earth while being a painter that's profitable enough to support his/her lifestyle is one of the biggest fictions culture ever pulled. If you had a Liberal Arts major in college then you were one of the unfortunate individuals that actually bought into the myth. Now you're just a 30-something that backpacked across Europe years ago but now live in your parent's basement while you suck up their bandwidth with BluRay torrents and episodes of The Bachelor.

The number of times I played River City Ransom is congruent to the amount of times I inserted a quarter in NBA Jam only to remember that I needed two quarters to start playing. The final quarter, stuck into a machine that only accepts two credits. God damn brilliant plan to rob a generation of kids of their allowance. With enough time in any given day after school, arcades across the country were littered with single credits. Arcades were helplessly stuck on 'Insert Coin' screens, and all kids could hope to do was assemble the missing quarter of someone's long-forgotten game. Those days are finished, and so is Technōs Japan, the makers of River City Ransom along with one of the most underrated sports games in 8-bit history, Super Dodge Ball. Now, 27 years the franchise is being renewed with River City Ransom: Underground, and everyone under 30-years-old has no idea what this is all about.

When I first put together this shambling hulk of a PC a few years ago my first goal was to pick up some games that I had missed out on in my PC-less years. One of such games that was a must-buy for me was FTL: Faster Than Light. I’ve always loved science fiction (duh) and strategy games and FTL looked like it brought something else to the table. Labeling whatever subgenre of game that FTL was seemed difficult at the time, but it was labeled a “roguelike” for lack of better explanation and because of the randomly generated space systems that players would encounter on their quest to destroying the rebels.

When I was a kid my next door neighbor gave me my first Iron Man comic and on the cover read 'In space no one can hear you scream.' Ever since that day I never read another Iron Man comic. It was just too vast of a statement to comprehend at such an early age. Why would someone be screaming in space? The thought was dreadful. Even more daunting was in that person's complete horror, no one would even know what they were afraid of.

I've tried finding the Iron Man cover but all that Google locates is a quote from The Martian. It would take me hours to find that cover, and fortunately I have better things to do with my time. Just kidding, I spent the last hour of my life reading the negative reviews of That Dragon, Cancer. I'm an Olympian of wasting time.

On July 20th, 2009 my sister called me while I was settling in at work for the day. At the time, I worked at an ungodly hour of 6am, but that is 6am Mountain Time. Yeah, Mountain Time. That’s a real thing, sometimes I have to explain that to people. Yes, there is a Central Time, but that in between Pacific and Central is Mountain. She was back home, in the Northeast, and her even calling me was weird, never mind at 6:12am on a Monday. Obviously something was wrong. That or she had dialed me on accident.

Rick and Morty is one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s just…sensational. If you haven’t watched it yet, you really should have by now. The only way to describe it is Back to the Future set in an animated world but with better 'science' and a wider range of drugs influencing the writers. Pocket Morty’s predecessor, Jerry’s Game, was just a balloon popping boring game meant to represent the essence of the character. If you’ve seen the show, you might have realized that Morty is a lot like a pet Pokemon to Rick - Enter Pocket Mortys. You can play this game as of 1/14/16 on iOS or Android.

If there are two things that I’m in tune with it is videogames and kickboxing. I’m one of the rare weirdos who speaks english who has a really solid grasp on the sport of modern kickboxing, which I guess makes me some sort of expert or something. Kickboxing is a deeply strange sport that began gaining momentum in the 1980’s thanks to films like Kickboxer, Bloodsport and Best of the Best, but kinda died off in the US while thriving in Japan and other parts of the western world. So needless to say when I saw that a game was released on Steam this week that was about kickboxing, I was confused.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

The world is dead and all you have left is a speeding train

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So you didn't win the big $1.5 billion Powerball. You will have to work yet another day at a job you've loathed from day one. It happens to the best of us. In fact you should have left that place months ago. You're smarter than your boss, you don't like the people you're forced to go to lunch with, and you can't find a polite way to tell Julie from accounting that you never want to look at another picture of her dog dressed up in a 'cute' outfit ever again.

Man, what a shock the world woke up to on January 11th. The death of David Bowie was not something that I was ready for, not by a long shot. He was a guy who left an impact wherever he went, from music to movies and yes, even games. David Bowie’s involvement in games wasn’t substantial, but he was involved in what was, at the time, a rather groundbreaking game in Omikron: The Nomad Soul. What better way to market a game than featuring a soundtrack written and performed by David Bowie, as well as Bowie helping out with some aspects of the game’s story and design?

Saturday, 09 January 2016 00:00

Orchids to Dusk will make you enjoy your life through death

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In the great ether of all energy in all of time and space in this universe and every parallel universe that follows it -- you only exist for a blink of it. In the grand scheme of things, nothing you do will ever be remembered. People may have memories of who you once were and the likes you accumulated on Instagram, but even those will eventually fade off into obscurity. Let's say you had enough money or military control to construct a statue in your honor to let future generations know how much of an egotistical barney you were. On a long enough time span, your marble statue will begin to crumble and eventually erode to beach sand. If you go with bronze or iron, your inanimate self will just wither away from rust and corrosion. According to David de Vries's 'Life After People' that premiered on the History Channel, the final remaining relic of humanity that is sturdy enough to withstand time will be Mount Rushmore, and even that only has a 10,000-year life span. On an even longer time frame, our sun will dwindle to a white dwarf star and then fade into the background temperature of the universe. The Earth, without a sun to keep it alive, will stop its rotation and tumble through the universe as a cold, forgotten rock.

I have no qualms with openly talking about how much I love science fiction. In fact, I’ve kind of dedicated myself to being immersed in the world of science fiction and writing sci-fi books. Science fiction has gripped the box offices ever since the advent of Star Wars in the late 70’s and the world of videogames has been no different in its undying love for science fiction games. In a way, videogames are the perfect outlet for science fiction to come to life. Entire immersive worlds can be created, elaborate backstories explored and it all serves as the perfect backdrop for futuristic heroes to save the world/galaxy/universe.

Virtual Reality has been a viral hit over the past year, with videos featuring everyone from security guards to dads to grandmothers checking out VR and being blown away by it. No doubt, VR is pretty incredible and there have already been talks of it being the hottest new technology that will change lives when consumers can get their hands on it. The biggest question mark has been the price and release date, with many believing that the $300 - $400 range would be where we’d see consumer headsets launching at. That price itself comes from the cost of Oculus Rift’s dev kits.

We're just four days into 2016 and we've already discussed racist puzzle games, walking simulators, and now a game in which you're forced to watch your son die from cancer. What an uplifting story for this Monday afternoon.

When I look back at 2015 there are a lot of games that stick out in my mind for being great, but one of those wasn’t created by a huge studio and didn’t involve me killing much of anything. Instead, it was a contemplative journey through a fascinating story and it has been divisive among the gaming world, much like many other games that play similar to it. This game is Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “walking simulator” assigned to games such as Rapture, you may have even dismissed it or similar games because of that title.

No, ladies and gentlemen. Not only do #BlockLivesMatter -- but #ALLShapesMatter. Granted, the entire Block Lives Matter movement would mean nothing if there wasn't a disproportionate number of blocks killed in comparison with the other shapes. Therefore saying #AllShapesMatter disregards the very real concern that blocks are getting unjustly murdered on the streets.

Thursday, 31 December 2015 00:00

Behold, The Stoned Gamer 2015 Awards have arrived

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The second annual The Stoned Gamer Awards -- in the same month as our second The Stoned Gamer Tournament. All of this stoned tomfoolery happening at a record-setting pace -- and my mother doesn't even know I'm in the cannabis industry. Let's keep it like that, stoned gamers. If you feel like obsessing over someone, direct your attention to Kristin Kreuk. She can use a couple stalkers in 2016.

Of course we're just kidding. Don't stalk Kristin Kreuk. Leave that to me -- I've been doing it for over a decade.

We’ve pointed it out before, but damn, was 2015 a great year for games. That being said, not everything was roses when it came to our hard-earned cash. Sure, everyone has their share of complaints for games like Halo, Metal Gear and Fallout, but in the end, those games were still enjoyable and hit most of the right notes for fans. So what game was full of hype only to deliver next to nothing and quickly slip away from view? The Order: 1886.

Holiday sales were enough for a few friends and myself to cave in and purchase Star Wars Battlefront, with a huge help from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You know, $20 off a new game is a pretty good deal and the game just really nails the feel of the Star Wars universe unlike any game has ever done before. Some might complain that it’s just a generic shooter, but what really would you want for Star Wars other than just good, plain fun?

Sunday, 27 December 2015 00:00

420 Character Reviews: Prison Architect (8.5)

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420 Character Reviews: Prison Architect (8.5)

The learning curve is steep here, there isn’t a real tutorial to explain everything you will need to run a successful house of criminals. You decide the toilet placements, that is if you want a toilet. This game is a ton of fun and will totally pull you into a vortex of building, maintaining, and disciplining. Oh, inmates CAN escape into the outside neighborhoods. You're on the wrong side of Shawshank Redemption.

As someone who is prone to playing games on PC often, even opting to buy multiplatform titles on PC depending on my mood and hoping that they’ll both look and play better on there, maybe this is exacerbated for me considering that I’ve been playing games on higher settings for a while now. The leap from the previous console to this console generation feels merely iterative in a lot of ways, though. The graphical leap simply wasn’t as huge as everyone expected it would be. The promise for a new generation is always mind-blowing visuals and while some games have delivered upgraded visuals, we’ve seen a lot more of the same.

Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:00

Wrap-up of the The Stoned Gamer Tournament II at Blazers Cup

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Just two months after we put on The World's First Stoned Gamer Tournament at XO Gold Cup, on December 12-13th we threw The Stoned Gamer Tournament II at Blazer's Cup in San Bernardino, California.

After a few less-than-stellar years, the usual transition years that come after a new console generation is released. That’s okay, though, because 2015 was a pretty damned good year for releases big and small. We were treated to a lot of solid games, including big, hyped-releases that either delivered or didn’t depending on your tastes, but undeniably made an impact. So here are some of the biggest releases for the next year, let’s see how they stack up.

You know, looking back at 2015 it’s pretty difficult for me to ignore just how good of a year that it was for games. Usually I make a lot of dumb purchases that I regret later on, which means buying games that I really wasn’t sure about only to play it a bit, kinda like it, then cast it aside after I grow tired of it. That absolutely happened this year, but it happened a lot less than has in past years. In fact, there were games that I actually enjoyed a lot. That’s huge, folks, I’m kind of a grump.

Just a heads up, don’t worry about spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this article. We wouldn’t do that to you.

Everything is official now; Hideo Kojima, the evil genius behind the Metal Gear series, has departed Konami and has started up his own game studio, aptly named Kojima Productions. This new game will be made in conjunction with Sony and debuting on PlayStation 4 as well as PC. The reaction to this has been, as expected, that of joyous rapture after Konami garnered ill will with treatment of the gaming god over recent months. All that is clear right now is that it won’t be the canceled Silent Hills, that’s it. So what Kojima will whip up is still seemingly up-in-the-air for the time being, leading to a lot of speculation.

Virtual Reality has always been a bit, well, nerdy. Prior to the Oculus Rift came around whenever the words “Virtual Reality” were muttered thoughts of bad 80’s and 90’s television and films come to mind, bad music videos, or worse -- the Virtual Boy. Yikes. So imagine the surprise when VR became the talk of the town again thanks to how our daily technology has advanced to the point where having a multiscreen headset with a proper frame rate all of a sudden was a reality. Not only was the Oculus Rift Kickstarter a success, but it showed the world that the new VR isn’t awful, it’s actually something that could change how we all consume media.

For a great deal of time games have been seen as “casual” or “hardcore.” Those classifications seemed vastly important for the past twenty years or so, with some games that require more time, effort and skill from the player seen as hardcore games, while other, less involved games would be the casual games. Casual games were, for lack of a better word, for the “casuals,” you know, those people who didn’t play games for long periods of time and just liked whatever had the shiniest features and the biggest ads?

This game is everything that i wanted Wind of Luck Arena to be, and more.

There are, on occasion, some great games that slip and fall between the cracks for every ardent gamer. For me, one such gem was Valkyria Chronicles on the PlayStation 3. Initially released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3 it was met with rave reviews from RPG fans, but by the time that I had purchased a PlayStation 3 in 2011 and found myself catching up on all of the games that I had missed, sadly, Valkyria Chronicles was not one of those. The recent delay of Persona 5 has left me hungry for a new RPG to play through and a recent Steam sale saw a bunch of Japanese RPGs on sale, so I decided to buy up a few and go from there.