We've had this date from the beginning. After rounding up the Top Ten Scariest Games Ever last year, it's high time that we took a closer look at the collections of pixels and polygons that haunted our darkest nightmares. With luck, there'll be plenty of familiar freaks on this creature feature, along with a couple you might've repressed...
Honourable Horrible mentions: Cherub (Doom 3), Abstract Daddy (Silent Hill 2), Alma (F.E.A.R.), pretty much everything from Shadow Hearts, Beheaded Kamikaze (Serious Sam), Crimson Head (Resident Evil), Parasite (Quake II), Slenderman (Slender), Wallmasters and Re-Dead (Zelda), Bubble Head Nurse (Silent Hill 2), Rumbler (System Shock), Simalacrum (Marathon: Durandal)
Hey, are you okay? Why are you crying? It's okay, come on, we've got to get out of here...
...whooooarrrrrgh! My organs! Oh God, what are you doing with my organs?!Click here to read more...
In this week's PWNCAST, at ODB's suggestion, we take a look back at the games and consoles that we loved when we were younger. We chat about the titles that got us into gaming in the first place, and take pride of place in our fond memories of days gone by and simpler times.
That's all after we talk about Dragon's Dogma, Carl waxes lyrical about his new PC rig and the latest MMO beta weekends, and we look at Nintendo's rather exciting post-E3 presentation.
PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 18, Recorded: June 22nd, 2012
Music| B'z: Into Free -Dangan- (BUY IT HERE!!!)
Some of the things that get covered this week:
...and much, much more.
This week in particular, we'd like you to get involved. Let us know what your favourite games of all time are, the games that had the biggest impact on you, and pop a nostalgic anecdote or two in the comments below.
We'll maybe even hand out a prize for our favourite.
Finally, do please keep writing in to firstname.lastname@example.org with requests, feedback, and topics you'd like to hear discussed. We've already had one or two (a tip of the cap to ODB for this week's topic), and we'd love to hear more.
Also, buy the Dragon's Dogma theme. Seriously.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.
Click below to play the file, or right click on the banner at the top, and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
We've had this date from the beginning. Seeing as we waxed lyrical about Quake during our latest PWNcast and nominated it as the classic FPS we'd most like a direct sequel to, it's only fitting that we feature id Software's seminal shooter as this week's Blast From The Past.
And what a blast it was. Our pursuit of a depraved warlord through a terrifying realm of bleeding-edge science and Cyclopean magic left us breathless and gobsmacked, scarecely believing that videogames could deliver something so brutally visceral, so uncompromisingly real. Quake still stands tall as a timeless, brutal and sensational gaming experience, and its influence is still keenly felt today.
Indeed, while id Software consider Doom to be "the daddy" of FPS games, they affectionately refer to Quake as "the father of awesomeness." Talking us through their venerable history at last year's Eurogamer Expo, art director Tim Willits explained that Quake both invented and defined the FPS as we know it today. Wolfenstein and Doom laid the groundwork with the basic premise, but Quake made the leap from two to three dimensions, setting an unprecedented benchmark in terms of graphics and gameplay.
Click here to read more...
We came to the conclusion in the latest episode of the PWNCAST that there really aren't too many shooters at all these days. Far from it. But that perhaps the genre hasn't advanced very much in the last few years. Stagnation is always a worry and, although we've seen some attempting to fly the flag for new experiences (DX:HR, Metro 2033, Bioshock to name a few), there are precious few FPS titles out there that really stand out. Something that discussed in an opinion piece earlier today.
The annals of the past, however, are rife with curious titles, when the FPS was a pioneering genre rather than a symbol of our industry treading water, when games weren't automatically compared with Call of Duty. With this in mind, this Tuesday we take a look back at some FPS franchises we'd really like to see make a comeback.
Honourable Mentions: Doom, Battlefield: Vietnam, System Shock, Painkiller, Unreal Tournament
Ah Soldier of Fortune. The game that let you blow the limbs off of people. Raven can occasionally be a bit inconsistent, but they always manage to deliver entertaining games. True the sequel was rushed, and then less said about the third (non-Raven) instalment the better, but John Mullins' first adventure ushered in supreme tactical choices. You could shoot the guns out of people's hands, kneecap virtual neo-Nazis, make every shot count thanks to the highly controversial "gore zones". Also, John Mullins' moustache is amazing.
Frankly, we'd like to see Raven combine this dismemberment with the OTT stylings of Singularity. And maybe a marketing budget. That'd be nice.Click here to read more...
As part of id Software's 20 year anniversary, Artistic Director and studio veteran Tim Willits led a seminar about the history of the company at this year's Eurogamer Expo. We'll have a full writeup for you shortly, but before we do, it's worth noting that Willits was willing to shed some light on a few Easter Eggs that will be hidden in their upcoming FPS RAGE. Namely: a celebration of Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake with small in-engine levels being emulated as secrets.
We were able to see the Wolfenstein 3D easter egg in action on RAGE's first mission: a tense battle against the Ghost Clan. Since Wolfenstein is all about finding secrets by bumping into walls and spamming the action key, doing so in a deserted corner of the level revealed a classic blue brick room with a collectable (and eminently sell-able) goblet. Willits confirmed that there will also be similar Quake and Doom secrets scattered around later levels.
RAGE is set to be a culmination of 20 years of FPS excellence, and from what we've played, it's not going to disappoint when it hits shelves on October 7th.
Put on your party hats, bring a bottle and ruddy well celebrate, gamers, because two of our favourite franchises are celebrating important birthdays today.
First up is Sonic The Hedgehog. SEGA's blue bomber is now 20 years old (having given us two decades of stalwart service and admittedly mixed reception over the last few years). To celebrate, a Sonic Generations demo will be hitting the PSN later today along with a host of Sonic download deals. Hooray!
But don't pass out in the chocolate fountain just yet, dear readers, because id Software's classic shooter Quake is now 15 years of age! Christ, I feel old. Head over to the Bethesda Blog for a quick speech from the legendary legend John Carmack himself. Huzzah!
We're firmly convinced that the two franchises should collaborate and make the most bizarre crossover of all time. Please feel free to drop any potential ideas into the comments below, where we will summarily patent them. Or, more importantly, join us in wishing Sonic and Quake a very happy birthday!
id Software are focusing on upcoming postapocalyptic shooter RAGE whilst quietly grinding away at Doom IV, but a new comment from senior id producer Jason Kim suggests that they might be willing to "freshen up" two of their classic IPs. Wolfenstein and Quake have previously received solid if underwhelming third party treatment from Raven - and Kim believes that id's "new approach" might be able to shed new light on their older projects.Click here for the quotes in full >>
Now this one is PRIMAL! I want to see handbags at the ready. There's pride and valour at stake here. Are you a Call of Duty man? Do you go nuts for Halo? What about Battlefield, or Medal of Honor? Or are you into the classics - Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament? Cast your votes and let us know, then tell us why in the comments below. We know you want to champion them! Get it off your chests!
Let there be war!
First things first. The term "complete" is actually incorrect, being that Quake IV and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars aren't included in this package. Which shouldn't put you off. This bumper bundle of gibs 'n' kibbles contains the mighty original Quake, the game-changing Quake II and the archetypal Quake III... as well as every official expansion pack. This is a piece of gaming history, folks- and absolutely shouldn't be missed.
Beware the Shamblers- and remember to type "+mlook" into Quake's console to activate the first ever mouselook!
QUAKE. The word alone should send shivers up the spines of dedicated gamers, as id Software's long classic series literally defined the FPS genre and online multiplayer as we know it today. Steam are now charging £8.49 for the entire id Quake Collection, which includes Quake, Quake II, Quake III and all of the add on packs; providing a saving of over £17. Raven's disappointing Quake IV isn't included- but frankly, who cares.
Personally, I think that the original Quake is one of the finest shooters ever made. Unparalleled level design and a subtle blend of Sci-Fi with Lovecraftian mythology created an atmospheric and genuinely creepy FPS experience. The two add-on packs throw a whole new mess of levels, enemies and weapons with which to reduce said enemies into chunky kibbles. Word of warning, though: it's pretty brown. Remember to type "+mlook" into the console to enable mouse-keyboard control... and watch out for the Shamblers!
Quake II threw the player into an intergalactic war between humanity and the monstrous Strogg empire. Whilst it looks dated by today's standards, Quake II revolutionised the genre with relative non-linearity, enemies that could duck to avoid weapons fire and a seriously awesome arsenal. It's still a blast to play, and its expansion packs increase the value by a fair few hours.
In a suprising move, Quake III was a fully-multiplayer title. I remember the days when gamers were zealously seperated into Quake or Unreal Tournament Fans- and whilst I'm a proud UT veteran, I'm willing to admit that Quake III was a slick, gorgeous online shooter. Expect challenging bots, classic level design and some serious railgun experts to be hanging around online. The Team Arena expansion brought me into the Q3 camp by offering a slew of new levels, game mode and improved team AI.
There's rarely been a better opportunity for FPS fans to catch up on a huge slice of gaming history.
Thanks to Cuddy at Hot UK Deals
Eric Harris liked to compare himself to Zeus. In one of his high school assignments he wrote ‘We both get angry and like to punish people in unusual ways’. Later, on the 20th April 1999, just weeks before his high school graduation, Harris entered Columbine High School, Colorado, wielding a Hi-Point 955 Carbine rifle. Accompanied by Dylan Klebold (armed with a Tech-9), he began a shooting spree which lasted just over one hour, left thirteen people dead and twenty one severely wounded – several of whom would be paralysed for life.
Perhaps, as Eric traversed those Columbine corridors, he really thought of himself like some wrathful Jupiter. Those 9mm bullets he had painstakingly accumulated from the local Wall Mart raining down on fellow classmates and faculty members (against whom he harboured all kinds of petty grievances) like vengeful thunderbolts hurled from the sky. Dylan, who was not as confident, charismatic or good looking as Harris, and who many described as a ‘follower’, even had a T-Shirt with the word WRATH printed across the front in big red letters. Eric could well have been the one who picked it out for him.
However, vindictiveness, pettiness and the desire to dish out extreme retribution against anyone who slighted or disrespected him was not the only similarity which, in his mind anyway, Eric shared with the king of the gods. He was someone who ’enjoyed the act of creation’, and one particular way he liked to express this was by designing levels for the first person shooter game Doom. Looking over his AOL profile - where he went under the name ‘Rebldomakr’ – Harris described himself as a ‘professional Doom and Doom2 creator', and clearly took a great deal of pride in this past time, which - in the hobbies section - was seconded only by his pursuit of ‘beautiful women.’
Quite predictably, Harris and Klebold’s obsession with games like Doom and Quake became, for a large proportion of the American public, the easiest, and perhaps the least terrifying way to try and comprehend the worst high school massacre in history. The boys’ unhealthy obsession with various forms of media, all of which preached violence in one way or another - from video games like Doom to death metal music like Marilyn Manson – had brutalized them to such an extent they became incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality.
This argument gained a great deal of popularity with certain right wing Christian extremists, who saw Columbine as irrefutable proof that Satan was infiltrating the minds of the young via performers like Marilyn Manson. It also provided a smoke screen which pro-gun lobbies and firearm manufacturers would have no doubt found very convenient given that their livelihoods depended entirely upon the integrity of the second amendment. It is also comforting however to dehumanize Eric and Dylan, and take the line that certain outside influences somehow overwhelmed their empathy, their compassion, and, eventually, their grip on reality. After all, who wants to consider the possibility that these boys knew exactly what they were doing?
Speculation concerning the precise nature of the ‘Harris Doom Levels’ was, unsurprisingly, rife during the aftermath of the tragedy. Journalists logged onto Eric’s various sites in a frantic attempt to download everything possible before all trace of his online activity was removed by the FBI. Even though none of the Harris levels which survived had any resemblance to Columbine, some insisted he had recreated the layout of his high school, complete with the infamous library, on one of his WADS. This myth not only fuelled the idea that violent video games had somehow contributed to the massacre; it also led some to believe that Doom had provided Eric with a means of rehearsing his plan ‘over and over again’.
The media began to obsess over minor details. Phases like ‘It’s up to you marine, KILL THEM ALL!’ which Eric wrote when describing one of his WADS, were presented to the traumatized American public - craving for someone to blame - as confirmation of how video games could foster the murderous intentions of a psychopath. But overall, more can probably be gleaned about Harris’ mentality from that term paper he wrote on similarities to Zeus than from his juvenile, online bravado. When he walked into that school on the 20th April 1999, no doubt straining under the weight of those rucksacks filled with ammunition and propane bombs, Harris was not looking to indulge some puerile fantasy.
He was only too aware of the significance he would attain after the massacre. It would be a moment of god-like power in a world where he felt meaningless. Sixty minutes in which he would end the lives of thirteen people, and define his own forever.