Sunday, June 9, 2013

State of Decay, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and LINKS!!!  


Wow, it feels like forever since I've updated the blog, and now I've become one of those guys who starts off a blog with apologizing for not updating his blog.


In any event, I finally found some time tonight in between writing and editing reviews for Gamecritics, taking care of the day job, spending quality time with the family, occasionally playing a game, and trying (and mostly not succeeding) to finish the final edits on my book. With all that stuff going on it’s too easy to let the blog slip, so thanks for your patience.

And…  to elaborate on some what I was just referencing, my oldest (now age 11) is with me for the summer, and he's finally getting to the age when I feel like I can start introducing him to some things that he might not have been ready for earlier. Nothing too extreme of course, but as an example, I felt pretty comfortable letting him sit down with the recent XCOM and he took to it right away. I'm definitely looking forward to sharing more sophisticated stuff with him as he gets older, and it's great to be able to enjoy something on a more equal footing than we were able to when he was younger.

(It's also a pretty stark reminder of the passage of time, but let's not dwell on that for now...)

Getting back to the book for just a second, I'm really close to the end of my revisions but it's been tough to find enough quiet in the house (while I'm still awake) to wrap it up, but I'm going to knuckle down and push through it. My wonderful wife has been totally supportive of the entire process, so she's going to run interference with the kids and buy me a window of opportunity later this week. I look forward to typing the words "edits are done" before Friday. Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

Now, on with the show...


Games: So State of Decay finally came out on XBLA recently, and I've been playing it for review. If you've been following this blog, then you know I've had my eye on this project ever since I first saw it at PAX last year and I'm extremely happy to say that now that I have laid hands on the final build, it does not disappoint.

If you're not familiar with the game, here it is in a nutshell: a couple of guys go camping and come back to civilization, only to find that the zombie apocalypse happened while they were away. They soon hook up with the remaining survivors, and from that point the game becomes a fantastic blend of individual real-time action (bashing in heads with blunt objects) and a community-based simulation (keeping people happy and running an efficient headquarters).

I've had several people mention to me that they're not up for "another zombie game" and I totally get that, but the fact is that State of Decay isn’t like any other zombie game I've ever played. As someone who is a fan of the subject material, I've always been wanting a game that tackled the survival aspects frequently seen in books and films, but those parts are usually given only cursory attention, if any at all. SoD runs the complete opposite direction, and fully embraces it.

Once your characters make it to the first base (a church) there are other characters to talk to, each with their own skills and disposition. Your active character will get injured or grow fatigue, and they must be swapped out with someone who's fresh, so taking care of the full roster is important. (Also important? Finding more survivors to replace those that will inevitably be lost.)

While at the church, the player will have to find fuel, food, and resources by scavenging the remains of the surrounding town. It's as involved as actually going into each house and structure and searching inside for usable goods. Anything discovered can be carried back, or the player can radio back to base to have another character come and pick it up. Oh, and just FYI, those characters can be ambushed and killed along the way, so it's not just as simple as giving a command and forgetting about it -- you may actually have to go and bail them out if things go south.

Did I forget to mention that permadeath is a thing here? Silently creeping through an infested part of town trying to make is low noise as possible is pretty goddamned intense when you know that your best character could be lost with just one wrong move.

There are a billion other details I can talk about, but if you tried the demo and thought that it was just another action romp, let me assure you that it's definitely not. State of Decay is a huge, incredibly deep simulation set in an open-world environment that must be navigated on both micro and macro levels, and it's the only game I know of that tries to translate surviving the zombie apocalypse into the kind of complicated, stressful and desperate game experience that I always thought it should be.

My full review is coming soon. Stay tuned.


Games: Not much to report on this except that it's out, but hey, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is out.

Anticipation among my Twitter people is surprisingly high (perhaps not so surprising?) and I just downloaded my own copy earlier tonight. 

Side note: Although I generally prefer physical copies when given the choice, I remember the original AC being something that you only played for ten or fifteen minutes at a time at best, and the thought of having to swap carts out several times a day was not appealing. In this special circumstance, I figured a DL was the smart move.

As far as my history with the series goes, I haven't played any Animal Crossing since the original game back in… dear God, was it actually 2002, eleven years ago?


Yeah, well whatever... the point is I'm looking forward to revisiting the series.


Links: To round it out tonight before hitting the PR section down below, here are some of links that you may have missed:

> The latest @Gamecritics Podcast on… Sports. (Spoiler: I'm not in it.)

> My full review of Defiance is now up, and don't miss my final evaluation of Black Rock Shooter on PSP (yes, PSP!) It's a real gem.

>Furiously unhinged Darren Forman (@KayinAmoh) has been quite busy lately. He's covered Sacred Citadel, Metro: Last Light, Army of Two:Devil’s Cartel, and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. I've got no idea when the guy sleeps.


Next-gen will be a scary place thanks to Daylight, a psychological thriller built on Unreal Engine 4. Developed by Zombie Studios and published worldwide by ATLUS, Daylight will release in early 2014 simultaneously for the PC and as a console exclusive for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system. Only the bravest souls will find all the messages and clues scattered through Daylight's labyrinthine twists of derelict hospital corridors and other creepy environments, where procedurally generated levels ensure no two playthroughs will be the same. More details on the downloadable title Daylight are available on the game's official website at

Military gaming charity Operation Supply Drop's successful Veterans Day event November 2012 set the bar extremely high. Raising $100,000 in donations for deployed soldiers and soldiers recovering in military hospitals seemed like impossible to reach goal.
However, thanks to donors like Capcom and their sizable donations to OSD's 4th of Julycare package drive, PIXEL FIREWORKS, they helped push the grand total of donations OSD has raised since November 2010 just over the $300,000 mark!  That's a whole lot of happy soldiers! 


SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe today announced that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F™, the ultimate rhythm game where players can experience a concert with the virtual diva at any given moment, will be available in North America on both PlayStation®3 system and Playstation®Network, and in Europe onPlaystation®Network. Being the first console game released for the franchise in the West, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F will include all of the updated graphics, additional songs and features of the Japanese version, but fans won’t have to wait long to play the game as the demo will be available on June 11th for the U.S. and June 12th for Europe.


Indie Royale and Arcen Games are proud to bring you The Arclight Bundle, featuring the lion's share of Arcen’s catalog and highlighted by the brand new Vengeance of the Machine expansion for cult classic strategy title AI War: Fleet Command.

The bundle nets you Steam, Desura and DRM-Free keys for five of Arcen’s titles on both Windows and Mac: Sprawling sidescroller A Valley Without Wind and its sequel A Valley Without Wind 2; top-down environmental puzzle game Shattered Haven; the already mentioned space RTS AI War: Fleet Command and Tidalis -- a surprisingly deep puzzler with a unique ‘streams’ mechanic.

You can find more information on The Arclight Bundle, including real-time statistics and its current price, on its official website or via Indie Royale’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter pages. The price will increase as the promotion progresses over the next week (unless kind purchasers lower it), so grab the bundle now while the price is still low so that you'll have hundreds of hours of indie gaming to look forward to!


Saints Row IV fans learned the power of democracy today as Deep Silver announced the details of its highly anticipated fan-sourced Saints Row IV Collector’s Edition: the Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition. The Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition is now available for preorder at all participating North American retailers in limited quantities.

Included in the Super Dangerous Wub Wub edition ($99.99 USD) is a 12 inch Dub Step gun replica capable of rendering your enemies absolutely speechless with the power of wub. The ultra-high quality weapon replica packs a party with a bitchin’ design, sweet tunes directly from the in-game Dubstep Gun and a laser sight.  Make no mistake, it’s time to get down.

Additionally the Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition comes with an awe-inspiring 8 inch Johnny Gat Memorial Statue for all Saints to be able to pay tribute to the greatest Saint while kicking ass in the name of Liberty. Future generations will gaze upon Johnny’s grandeur while learning the history of his glorious murdering sprees with the Third Street Saints.

And because no president is ever without “the button”, the Super Dangerous Wub Wub edition comes with a pocket-sized Dubstep Doomsday Button so fans can drop bombs on the go.

Fans purchasing the collector’s edition will also receive all in-game items from the Commander in Chief pre-order bonus, which include a Screaming Eagle VTOL that fires rockets out of its talons and can invoke the “Sonic Scream” attack, a limited-edition American-iconic ‘Uncle Sam’ uniform decked out in the American flag colors and a stimulus package of epic proportions – the ‘Merica gun – everyone’s American dream weapon.

The Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition of Saints Row IV is now available for preorder in North America and will only be available as long as supplies last. Saints Row IV launches August 20th, 2013 across North and Latin America and August 23rd in the rest of the world. For more information please visit:


Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is now available on App Store. Re-created in beautiful HD, this compilation features the first three games in the popular Ace Attorney series: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD also comes with the “Everyone Object” mode that allows players to communicate their displeasure of everyday situations with the help of popular Ace Attorney characters and sayings. With a simple touch of a button, the phrases, "Objection!", "Hold it!", and "Take that!" can be emailed to friends or tweeted along with an animated image.

For those wanting affirmation of the great gameplay experience that awaits, the first two episodes of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney are available to download free of charge with the remaining three episodes priced at $5.99/£3.99/€4.99/AUD6.49. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations are available as in-app purchases individually priced at $6.99/£4.99/€5.49/AUD7.49. Alternatively, all three titles can be purchased as an all-in-one pack for $16.99/£11.99/€13.99/AUD17.99.


Reliving some of the greatest arcade titles is now even easier with the release of the Capcom Arcade Cabinet All in One Pack. Featuring all of the 15 games previously released on the Capcom Arcade Cabinet platform plus the two bonus titles, this definitive collection of Capcom’s arcade titles from 1984-1987 is now available for $29.99/€29.99/£23.99/2000MSP from the PlayStation Store and on XBLA Marketplace.

As a reminder, here’s a list of all 17 titles: Black Tiger; Avengers;  1943: The Battle of Midway; Ghosts n Goblins; Gun.Smoke; Section Z; Side Arms; Legendary Wings;  Trojan; Commando; The Speed Rumbler; Exed Exes (Savage Bees);  1942; SonSon;  Pirate Ship Higemaru; 1943 Kai and Vulgus.


Contrast - the teaser


Kingdom Rush Frontiers trailer


Hellraid is a first-person co-op slasher that offers a single-player, story-driven campaign of hack & slash action and unique, competitive cooperation multiplayer that pits four players against the armies of hell – and each other – in a battle for points, rewards and fame. The game is developed by Techland and scheduled for a 2013 release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

For more information about the game visit


Seattle Retro Gaming Expo just keeps getting bigger! Not only is SRGE at the
Seattle Center this year, but we will also be featuring panels from collectors, journalists, and industry
experts in the gaming world. Panels will be scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday during the show.
SRGE is excited to announce our 2013 panels:

● ChipTunes with Arcade Armageddon
○ Our show partners talk about chiptune music and how it’s produced. http://w w w
● Playstation Collecting 101 with Gabe Hayward
○ Gabe is an avid playstation collector and has even gone so far as to collect different serial number PS1's to
have every variant hardw are revision. Come see w hat hidden gems exists for the Playstation 1 and 2!
● Video Game Collecting on a Budget with John Hancock
○ John Hancock is a long-time video game collector, enthusiast, and historian - by w hich w e mean he has
entirely too many games that he never stops talking about. He has been a visible face for the retro gaming
crow d for some years, mainly because he is usually hovering, vulture-like, over the rarest thing on a given
vendors booth. We're reasonably sure he has some kind of psychic game radar.
● Survival Horror with Ryan Payton
○ Ryan Payton is founder of Seattle-based Camouflaj, the studio behind the first major kickstarter success
story for videogames, RÉPUBLIQUE. He began his career in Tokyo as a producer on Konami's METAL GEAR
SOLID 4, and w as then recruited by Microsoft to return home to Seattle and direct HALO 4. After three years
at Microsoft, Ryan surprised the industry by announcing his departure to establish his ow n independent
game studio, Camouflaj.
● Breaking into the Game Industry
○ Dan Callan, Ray Almaden and Paul Ehreth discuss their experience in the game industry. They w ill share tips
on how best to start a career in this grow ing industry and take questions from attendees.
● Retronauts Live!
○ Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish and Ray Barnolt host a live podcast at SRGE! This w ill be their first stop after
raising over $55,000 on Kickstarter to fund the much loved Retronauts Podcast.
● Retrogame Roadshow with Chris Kohler
○ Chris Kohler is a video game journalist and editor w ho has w ritten for several publications in the past decade,
including Wired, Animerica, Official Nintendo Magazine and He is also a published author of tw o
books. His first book, Pow er-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, w as published
by Brady Games in 2004. His second book, Retro Gaming Hacks, w as published by O'Reilly Media in 2005.
Kohler is currently a resident of San Francisco, California, w here he w orks for Wired, running the gaming
blog Game|Life and the podcast Good Job, Brain!


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1 comments: to “ State of Decay, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and LINKS!!!


    I had the same idea about Animal Crossing so I'll be going digital for once. Helps that Nintendo here have an offer on if you buy a few games from a selection, you get one free. :)
    I've not played it since the Gamecube days so looking forward to going portable.