Here’s The Trailer for Strafe!


I can’t wait until this movie comes out!

(I know, I know.  Strafe’s a game and this trailer is an elaborate parody.  It’s also a very well-done parody which is why I’m sharing it here!)

(I have a feeling this game will be very popular in certain offices of the TSL Bunker…)

Here’s The First Trailer for Destiny 2!


And finally, here’s the first trailer for Destiny 2.  I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t know much about any of this but I do know that there was more than a little excitement here at the TSL Bunker when this was released.

Is it just me or can Lance Reddick make almost anything sound noble?

Destiny 2 will be released, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, on September 8th.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Official Launch Trailer


It’s been five years since the Mass Effect 3 ended Commander Shepard’s fight against the intergalactic menace known as the Reapers. While there were many who didn’t like how the trilogy ended by way of choosing which color circle it was still a satisfying conclusion to one of best game series in recent memory.

One bittersweet note was the fact that it was the last game that I played co-cooperatively with long-time site video game writer Semtex Skittle who passed away a year after the game’s release.

From what I’ve seen of Mass Effect: Andromeda since it was first announced two years ago this looks like a new direction in the series that Semtex Skittle would’ve found refreshing and worth revisiting the game universe.

This launch trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda definitely follows in the cinematic trailers of it’s three previous entries. Here’s to hoping that this new story in the series lives up to the original trilogy’s legacy.

Here’s The Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Mobile Strike Super Bowl Spot!


If the Celebrity Apprentice is canceled (and it looks like it will be, judging from the ratings that its been bringing in), at least Arnold Schwarzenegger can fall back on his job as the Mobile Strike spokesman.

For the record, I think Arnold was great in Maggie.  I’ve never played Mobile Strike and probably never will but I think he’s actually kinda charming in this commercial.

 

How to be a fulfilled artist… A Discussion with Tom Abernathy


I’m sitting in my office with the speakerphone on and listening to one of my artistic heroes – Tom Abernathy – speak as his creation The Freak from Destroy All Humans! 2.  Yes, this really happened and it was …. awesome.

Our discussion covers how Tom started his career, his past achievements, and what more he wants to give us.

When I first started speaking with him, I didn’t understand him.  Where was the angst-ridden melancholy that is so familiar in so many artists? Where was the bitterness?  I realized that his artistic process was totally different from that of a TV and movie writer who spends their artistic career in a great deal of isolation punctuated by a team of constructive criticism and clearly defined tasks.  His job touches all facets of the creative process, allowing him to fully realize his creative voice and vision.

Tom’s video game narrative career influenced or decided the dialogue, direction, and casting of many of our most beloved games. His career began in Los Angeles doing coverage – summarizing and reviewing scripts to determine if they were worth making.  He did this job for twenty-five dollars a script.  Through a connection, Joseph Donaldson, Tom was able to get a job writing scripts for Activision Studios.  It was not like today. Tom said, “The writing [for games] was terrible then.”  The video game writing done by the designers and producers who had little need for professional writers at that time.  His first game “Dark Reign 2” did not do well and Tom’s future as a professional game writer was uncertain.  However, something occurred in 2004 that made him eagerly look for work in TV, Film, or Games – he had a baby on the way.

Once again, Joseph Donaldson pushed Tom’s name forward as the head writer.  This was for Destroy All Humans!, a Mars Attacks set in the 1950s where you played the Alien Invader.   Tom had a unique take on both the people who inhabited the world and the Hero of the game – Crypto.

Tom brought the satirical humor to DAH!  Tom created the premise that “the 50s were Ward and June Clever and Eisenhower exterior, but everything going on in their minds must be depraved and wild.” Since Crypto was able to read minds, as he leveled towns and harvested human brains, we got to read and hear the unspoken, providing both comic relief and clues to completing missions.  He wanted Crypto to be “two parts Jack Nicholson and one part Charlton Heston.”

This was revolutionary because unlike the characters in “Doom” and other FPS, Crypto had a personality and a story.  Although Crypto would be insulted to read this, he had real humanity.  This will shock many fans, but “the original [Crypto voice] had a stilted tone like the 50s saucer movies”.  YIKES!   Tom wanted Crypto to be a “cowboy walking id, very American individualist.”  Therefore, it was “Jack Nicholson for id and Charlton Heston for cowboy.” He continued.  “[Crypto] needed the pomposity of Charlton Heston, [he] needed arrogance/confidence with swagger like Soylent Green. TOUGH!”

What was Tom’s role besides being the writer?  Were people lording over him? How much freedom did he have?  It turns out that he had A LOT of artistic control.  Why? “The [game developers] were in Brisbane and [he] only interacted with them by phone and email.”  Therefore, the geographic separation allowed Tom to have immense creative influence that would not have been afforded to him otherwise.  For example, Tom knew what he wanted Crypto to sound like and Tom was able to do the casting.  Yes, creatives – he got to do the casting.

DAH!2 Crypto was pitched as a James Bond/Austin Powers.  There was a pause in the discussion and I had to ask about The Freak and if it was true that he was the voice?  Yes!!! “The voice director, Doug Carrigan, and I realized that, in all our months-long work to get the important parts cast and recorded, there was one reasonably significant role we had totally forgotten about: The Freak. [We] were out of money and time, we had no choice but for me to hop in the booth and perform The Freak myself in what was probably the final 15 minutes of the entire series of recording sessions.  Apologies to Bobcat Goldthwaite; I had zero time to come up with an original take on the character, so I just decided to commit to the idea of Goldthwaite on a really bad acid trip.”  Yes, he did the voice for me and it was …. EPIC!!!

I asked him about the DAH!2 side missions.  “Leanne Taylor did a ton of work [assigned] late in production.”  Leanne Taylor – from me- THANK YOU!!!

I asked him about getting Anthony Stewart Head to play Ponsonby, who would’ve been a get for the time.  This was an interesting story because it not only reflected the creative process for a narrative, but also the limits of their power.  Tom had directed and recorded another actor to play Poncenby.  “I had cast an older man who brought out the humor and after he was recorded, THQ UK Marketing emails – “We want you to cast a ‘name’ actor from the UK so we can sell more units over here.”  I was curious as to Tom’s reaction.  “Not great. No one ever bought a game because someone voice acted in it because you don’t see the actors!”

What’s Happening Now?

Infinite-Arms.com

“The story is like Matrix meets Fringe. “There are mechs, known as Metamods, that come in both software and hardware version.  The hardware versions are actual 3-D printed action figures as much as ten or twelve inches tall, with 200 coats of paint and more than 20 points of articulation.” I didn’t really understand this until I watched the above video.  There are toys and a video game component.  In other words, this will be really badass.  Most importantly, “you don’t have to pour tons of money into the game to be successful! Jumo the company behind the game- wants players to get value with or without investing money.” There are RPG components, platform, and toy components!

Given Tom’s track record of bringing story and humanity to games, this will be a MUST BUY for the holidays!

Cheers!

The Further Adventures of Jedadiah Leland In The Internet Archive


Tonight, I returned to the Internet Archive.  The last time I was there, I had promised that I would come back and play a game called Sex Olympics.  I was not really being serious when I wrote that but, as I have learned over the past few days, when you promise your editor that you are going to review a game called Sex Olympics, she is not going to let you off the hook until you do it.

However, before playing Sex Olympics, I decided to run another scenario through President Elect (1987, Strategic Simulations, Inc.).  

1 President Elect

The last time I played President Elect, I simulated the current election and the game predicted that Donald Trump would win 535 electoral votes and 56% of the popular vote.  (For the record, Hillary did win the District of Columbia.)  This time, I decided to see what would have happened if, in 1980, the GOP had not selected Ronald Reagan and instead given their nomination to North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.

According to the simulation, independent candidate John Anderson would have received a lot more votes than the 5 million he won in the actual election:

2 President Elect3 President Elect4 President Elect

(For the record, in the actual election, Ronald Reagan won 50% of the popular vote, Jimmy Carter took 41% and John Anderson received 6.6%.)

But what would the electoral college look like?

7 President Elect

In the simulation, John Anderson won the most electoral votes with 233.  But it takes 270 electoral votes to win the election.

That’s not good.

6 President Elect

There you have it!  Jimmy Carter would have come in third but he still would have been elected President.  Jesse Helms would have returned to the Senate and John Anderson would have been screwed over.

Once that was settled, I was ready to play Sex Olympics (1990, Free Spirit Software, Inc).

8 Sex Olympics

In Sex Olympics, you are legendary porn actor and intergalactic superstud Brad Stallion.  You have been recruited to represent Earth in the Sex Olympics.  Your goal is to go from planet to planet and do it with as many aliens as possible.  But you have to be clever and you have to be quick because your main competition is Dr. Dildo and he appears to be much better at this than you are.

When the game starts, you are here:

9 Sex Olympics

You have a blond assistant named Sandie, who you can either ask questions or screw.  Since Sandie never had much to say whenever I tried to talk to her, I went with screw.

11 sex olympics

Yeah, that’s hot.

Unfortunately, neither talking to nor screwing Sandie helped me with my main problem.  I could not figure out how to get out of the damn room!  I clicked on both doors.  I clicked on the window.  I pushed the “e” key for east and the “n” key for north.  I tried to call someone on the phone.  No matter what I did, the same thing happened:

10 Sex Olympics

Finally, I figured out that you had to click use and then click a very specific place on the door on the west wall if you wanted to go outside.  Clicking on go and then the door won’t work.  Clicking on use and then clicking on door won’t work.  No, you have to click on use and then click exactly on the door knob if you want to go outside.

I bet this crap never happens to Dr. Dildo.

Once I finally managed to get outside, I found the Big Thruster waiting for me.

12 sex olympics

Inside Big Thruster, I discovered all the planets that I could go to in my effort to defeat Dr. Dildo and prove Earth’s carnal superiority:

13 Sex Olympics

Let’s go to the big red one.  Why not?

14 Sex Olympics

The big red planet turned out to be planet of volcanoes.  This did not look promising but at least there was a village in the valley below.

15 Sex Olympics

I was heading into the village when suddenly…

16 Sex Olympics

That dog looks really mean!  Forget this, I’ll just go back to Big Thruster and visit another planet!

17 Sex Olympics

This little white planet looks promising.  Let’s see what it’s like.

18 Sex Olympics

Is that an igloo?  Let’s see if anyone’s down there!

19 Sex Olympics

This is a lot better than that killer dog on the volcano planet!  Let’s heat this igloo up!

20 Sex Olympics

“Inge has nothing to say.”  That line pretty much sums up the entire game.

21 Sex Olympics

Oh, I have to manually tell the game that I want to remove my clothes?  Sorry, I just assumed that it was implied.

22 Sex Olympics

Is it usually this difficult to have sex with a blue-skinned alien on an ice planet!?

Things got a lot more difficult when I was suddenly told that I had been arrested for indecent exposure and sent back to Earth!

23 Sex Olympics

I don’t have time for this!  I’m trying to defend the honor of Earth!

24 Sex Olympics

Good for Dr. Dildo.

Eventually, I was released from jail and I was sent back to where it all started.

25 Sex Olympics

And that’s when I said forget it.  This is too much trouble for a planet that is not even willing to support me.  Dr. Dildo can have the medal.  Brad Stallion is retired!

After being left disappointed by Sex Olympics, I decided to try playing a game called Survival In New York City (Keypunch, 1986).  

27 Survival in New York City

Survival in New York City is a text adventure game from Keypunch, a company that was notorious for stealing other people’s games and releasing them without any designer credits.  That appears to be the case of Survival in New York City.

It’s still not a bad game.  You wake up in an alley in New York City with no memory of who you are or how you got there.

28 survival in new york city

Your goal is to not get killed while exploring New York.  That is easier said than done.

29 Survivla in New York City

A piece of advice: Don’t go near the teenagers until you have figured how to get a gun.

I played Survival In New York a few times.  I got further every time but I still ended up dying.  Sometimes, I was killed by teens.  Sometimes, I was killed by Hell’s Angels.   It is a game that I will be playing again.

After that grim journey through New York, I decided to finish off my visit by playing a classic, Lemonade Stand (1973, Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium).

30 Lemonade 2

30 Lemonade

Lemonade Stand was the very first business simulation game.  You have a lemonade stand.  Every day, you decide how much lemonade to make, how many signs to make, and how much to charge per glass.  If you do a good job, you make money.  If you do a bad job, you go out of business and have to live with the shame of failure for the rest of your life.

For some reason, I decided to open my lemonade stand on a cloudy day.

31 Lemonade

Because of the bad weather, I did not sell any lemonade on that day or the next.  Finally, on the third day, I decided to take a chance and see what would happen if I tried to sell on a cloudy day.  It was time to take a risk.

32 Lemonade

I know that some people would say, “With a 50% chance of rain, why even try?”  I’ll tell you why.  In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.

Besides, what’s the worse that could happen?

33 Lemonade

At this point, I did what any gamer would do when the game was not going his way.  I quit and started over.

34 Lemonade

Sunny!  Now, this is more like it!

35 Lemonado

I took a chance.  I invested all of my money in making lemonade.  Unfortunately, that left me no money for advertising.

36 Lemonade

I ended up throwing out 70 glasses of lemonade but I still made a profit.  That’s the important thing.  Now, my fate and the fate of my lemonade business depended on tomorrow’s weather.

37 Lemonade

Oh yeah, baby!  Hot and dry!

38 Lemonade

I had learned my lesson from yesterday.  I made less glasses but I paid for two signs.  And I charged a little more because it’s hot and dry.  People are suffering out there.  They need my lemonade and I need their money.

39 Lemonade

$4.15 in profit!  I am a business genius!  Get out of my way, Bill Gates!  Look out, Warren Buffett!  There’s a new player on the block!

But then I asked myself, “When did this crazy business become all about money?”  It was supposed to be about the lemonade.  I had made my money and proven my point.  Taking my $4.15 with me, I pressed ESC and retired from the lemonade game.

I never looked back.

After that, I left the Internet Archive.  I was through exploring for the night but I knew that I would come back in the future and simulate another presidential election or attempt to survive in New York City or maybe I would even get back in the lemonade business.

But you can forget about the Sex Olympics.

Dr. Dildo can have that medal.