Posts by conojo:
- THQ, the company itself, is dead and gone. Pull the copper wire out of the walls, pry up the floorboards, and sell the office furniture
- Relic, makers of the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes franchises, as well as Vancouver locals, have been bought by Sega (which still sounds strange to me, but I digress)
- Take 2 has purchased the new FPS IP Evolve, as well as reportedly the WWE franchise, though the latter will likely come with a whole slew of contract negotiations between Take 2 and the WWE people
- Volition Studios, makers of Saints Row, has been purchased by the Koch Media Group, also known as Deep Silver, the people who brought you Dead Island. They also purchased theMetroIP
- Crytek bought the Homefront IP, which makes sense because they were already the ones developing the new Homefront game
- Ubisoft picked up THQ’s Montreal studio, which I’m interested to see if they’ll incorporate into their own main office in the same city, or leave them as their own autonomous entity, as well as the rights to the upcoming South Park RPG
- Most shockingly of all, Vigil Games, makers of the Darksiders series, wasn’t picked up by anybody, so they too along with THQ look to be shutting their doors, and while at the time of writing it’s still firmly in the realm of rumours, there has been some talk of Japanese studio Platinum Games purchasing the rights to Darksiders
It’s another Book Club discussion this week, which begins with everyone ripping Zeno Clash apart and ends with Norris being disbarred from making game decisions ever again. A spirited debate arises between Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Fez for next month’s game, and Vince and Norris decide to start up a “No Dark Souls” club. We also talk about our appreciation of Sam Raimi’s horror films, how much we love bad translations of old Japanese games, and Bill’s sudden lust for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Beer of the Week: Switchback IPA
The Gamers start strong this week, with some hot tips on Bioshock Infinite, the endless monster that is Dark Souls, our love of Slenderman in all his video game incarnations, and a look into the hypothetical future wherein war is run entirely by gamers. PLUS, the HUG crew spend a full hour delving into the spoiler-ific details of Bioshock Infinite, discussing the ups, downs, and clarifying its beautiful, byzantine story, which starts at 1:07:13.
Beer of the Week: Blood Alley Bitters
The Hopped-Up Gaming crew go long this week, with discussions on such topics as the craft brewery wars, The Sims: Vigilante Justice, internet archaeology, our adventures in Second Life, the Bechdel test, and a whole slew of Bioshock Infinite discussion. We also bring discussion of television and movies the only way we know how – a 20 minute discussion on Prison Break.
Beer of the Week – Anarchist Amber Ale
The HUG boys get phat with a “ph” this week by rolling deep in such game-related topics as toilet brands, online Uno sex dens, adults earnestly complaining about children’s games, the Harkness Test, South Korean pornographic law, MMA movies, and 12th-century racism. We also talk about how all our zombocalypse plans involve either fixing helicopters or killing ourselves as quickly as possible, why Libertarian college football players should never be allowed to become president, gundam foreign policy, as well as Sim City and our feelings towards DRM in PC gaming.
Beer of the Week: Philips Brewing Dr. Funk Dunkel
If you’re at the age where you’re old enough to find yourself questioning why the hell you even play video games anymore, then you almost remember the “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” arcade slogan. That ugly blue pixelated logo goes hand-in-hand with arcade memories for me, so much so that I half feel like I’m about to get my ass kicked in Street Fighter whenever I see it.
But how valid is that family-friendly piece of FBI advice, at least within video games themselves? I mean, has the Bureau even played video games in the last twenty years? Drugs are everywhere! Power-ups commodities, collectibles, stat-boosters, plot devices; the ESRB uses the “Drug Reference” warning so damn often it probably adds it in automatically for every game rated Teen or above. It’s endemic to gaming, which is almost ironic considering the arguably addictive qualities of gaming itself (Did I say arguably? I meant definitely).
The world of pixels is a Hunter S. Thompson wet dream, so with this in mind I’m going to let you know a couple of Geek Badge’s favorite virtual pharmaceuticals. It may get weird.
(Note: I’m not necessarily using the term “Best” as in the most positive, and I’m not actually advocating real drug use. Don’t be silly.)
Runner-Up: ADAM (Bioshock series)
Ever wanted to be a super hero? Well in Rapture, all you have to do is ingest some chemicals made out of sea slug…residue, and you’ll be moving objects with your mind or shooting bees out of your hands in no time!
Known as the downfall of Rapture, as well as a good reason why Libertarians should never be given super powers, ADAM is essentially a form of unstable stem cells, which when introduced into the human body replaces native cells with its own unstable version, allowing the body to, um, shoot fire, or hurl lightning? Listen I’m not a biologist, I’m sure it makes sense to somebody. Unfortunately, these cell mutations also seem to cause extensive physical and mental deformity, leading to a city full of hopped-up ghouls wearing masks and trying to kill you. Thanks Ayn Rand.
Though they were initially harvested in small quantities from deep sea parasitic slugs, it was found that if these slugs were surgically implanted into the stomach lining of a human being, then through regurgitation a much larger quantity of ADAM could be harvested. Hence the idea in Bioshock of Little Sisters, permanent children who are implanted with ADAM and eventually killed and harvested.
Remember when video games used to be about happy things? No? Me neither.
Real Life Comparison: Sadly super-power drugs don’t actually exist in the real world, but I suppose thinking you could shoot fire or move objects with your mind is more-or-less the same thing, so maybe it’d be some mixture of DMT and crystal meth?
Runner-Up: Skooma (The Elder Scrolls series)
Created out of a product called “Moon Sugar”, Skooma is a stamina-restoring drug that’s been seen in Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind in 2003. It’s also so much modeled after crack cocaine you could switch the wiki’s for both and have a hard time differentiating the two.
No I’m serious. Reading from the Elder Scrolls wiki:
“Skooma is a crystalline solid produced from moonsugar. It is a highly addictive narcotic, and its users pass through bouts of euphoria followed by protracted lethargy. It is smoked in a special pipe; the crystals are placed in a small dish and heated. The gas produced is bubbled through water in the pipe to cool it as it is inhaled.”
I mean there’s even a crack pipe involved! If you so desired in Elder Scrolls you could roleplay a strung-out junkie, staggering from town to town, picking the pockets of law-abiding citizens and breaking into their homes in order to scrap together enough gold for your next fix. Also, the secondary ingredient in skooma is Nightshade, a poisonous plant which, if improperly added into Skooma, means using it might straight-up kill you. VIDEO GAMES.
Without a doubt though the most messed-up thing about skooma in Elder Scrolls games is the…um…user demographic of its imbibers. While you can find skooma users of any race or gender, it’s the beast races, the Khajit (big cat people) and Argonians (lizard folk) that make up the largest group of users and dealers throughout Tamriel. Also the Khajit and Argonian races make up the largest percentage of slaves in Morrowind; these are two facts I’m not touching with a ten-foot pole.
Real Life Comparison: It’s crack. Like, painfully, obviously so. CRACK PIPE.
Bronze: Valkyr (Max Payne series)
A designer drug also known as “V”, or “VD” (ew), Valkyr is a lime green intravenous liquid which creates nausea, hallucinations, and eventually insanity. I’m not entirely sure why people would initially try something like that, but it’s also incredibly addictive.
Created out of some kind of insane, only-seen-in-video games black ops government project, Valkyr was initially developed as a means to increase soldier effectiveness, but was cancelled when it instead caused people to lose their minds and eat each other. So, like any good business strategist would do, the drug was instead shipped off the streets and sold to junkies.
I really enjoy the idea of Valkyr because from beginning to end the very idea of its existence is pants-on-head retarded. It’s an addictive, intravenous drug that does nothing but make you go crazy, and was created as a military drug because the government is evil. It screams “Video Game trope” as loud as possible, and as a connoisseur of such things I can appreciate that.
Real Life Comparison: Losing your mind and trying to fight strangers on the streets of New York sounds like the kind of fun that only bath salts could give you, so I’m going to go with them.
Silver: Everything in the Mario universe (Mario series)
Like, literally everything. Eating mushrooms to grow larger? Pretty sure there was a Jefferson Airplane song about that. A star that makes you think you’re invincible and compels you to run into people while running as fast as possible? That’s PCP right there. A plant that makes you shoot fire? …Actually, I’m not sure about that one but I can’t believe it wouldn’t be a controlled substance.
Everything about the Mario universe, from people made out of mushrooms, to terrifying talking lizard people, to portly Italians dressed up as racoons, screams illicit drug use. Case in point, there’s a stage in Super Mario World 2 called “Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy”, where if you touch any of the fuzzy creatures inhabiting the world the screen shifts out of focus and Yoshi drunkenly staggers about for a couple of seconds. If I acted like that downtown the cops wouldn’t even stop to roll down their windows before opening fire on me.
And to think, these games are marketed to children.
Real Life Comparison: Man, make your choice, really.
Golden Gun: Jet (Fallout series)
The in-game description of Jet, taken from Fallout 2, states the drug as:
“…a powerful methamphetamine that stimulates the central nervous system. The initial euphoric rush rarely lasts more than a few minutes, but during that time, the user is filled with a rush of energy & strength.”
So it’s a incredibly strong drug stimulant that you use through an inhaler. That alone would be pretty screwed up, but it isn’t until you learn the dark secret behind what Jet really is that you can comprehend why it’s the best (well, “best” really) drug in video games.
See, prior to the nuclear apocalypse that leads to the world of Fallout, big meat companies had experimented with a cheap protein extract for a food source. The product was abandoned however because any bacterial contamination (even from common skin bacteria) of this extract resulted in a complex reaction which caused it to act like a methamphetamine. To cut their losses, farmers fed the contaminated extract to their cattle, a wonderful idea not at all reminiscent of the Mad Cow epidemic.
By now you’re likely asking why I’m going into such weird detail about the eating habits of fictional cows, and you’re wondering where the hell I’m going with this. Alright, fine: Jet is an inhalant made from mad cow shit. Well, not technically cows, but more specifically two-headed cow mutations that have been infected with an insanity protein. And Jet is an extract from its dung. Though, in latter Fallout games you could create stronger versions of the drug by combining it with sugar and cleaning supplies. I never thought I’d get the chance to write that sentence.
You can get stronger and faster in Fallout by inhaling cow shit. Video games are crazy. I rest my case.
Real Life Comparison: Hopefully just my nightmares
Things get real in the Hopped-Up Gaming house this week, as our favourite podcast/reality show contestants discuss issues such as the ongoing war between sweat pants and pajama bottoms, the proper pronunciation of FIFA, and their new “Dead Space Reviewing System.” We also talk about Rock Smith groupies, Journey love (the game not the band), using Game Gears as a power source, and a discussion on the personal lives of both Ice-T and Ice Cube. Stay tuned!
Beer of the Week: Peroni
2012 is officially the year in video gaming that confused the hell out of me. It took me far too much time and research to even really remember what came out this year, and of the AAA titles I could remember off-hand, none of them came to mind without serious caveats. Far Cry 3 grew too tiresome too quickly, Diablo 3 came and went as less of a standard-bearer for action-RPGs as it was a depressing condemnation of all things gaming, Assassin’s Creed 3 was overlong in its pointless side quests and under-cooked in its variety, etc. etc. In fact, I could easily go on for pages about the endless things in gaming this year that caused me to cough and sputter and whine like a petulant child.
But I won’t, because 2012 was a fantastic year for video games. There were numerous smaller titles, indie darlings, and completely out-of-left-field classics that will likely be used for years to come as examples on how to reinvigorate gaming. While the AAA titles were floundering, resting on the laurels of their past successes, smaller developers and studios were pushing the bounds and delving into new territory for what gaming can do, and this list largely celebrates that fact. Read the rest of this entry “
The final bell has tolled, the curtain’s been called, the…ending metaphor has been exhausted, and the once-great name in gaming that is THQ is no more. If you’ve been following the stories in the news for the past week you’ll likely know as much as I do as to how it all carved out, but I’ll give you all a quick refresher:
It’s a weird shake-up, seeing one of the most preeminent names in the gaming industry shut their doors. Even if the death of THQ has been a slow and laborious one, with hints of this final passing being heard of as far back as a year ago. There’s a lot of history within the now-darkened halls of the Toy Headquarters. In this article I hope to go through that history a little bit, give a bit of perspective to how and where they started, what they brought to the masses through their 20+ year run, and the things that finally killed them.
The company THQ was founded in 1990 as a toy company by Jack Freidman, who at that time had made his name in the industry by creating the LJN toy company (another company known for making games up until, and even quasi after their closure in 1995). In the same year as THQ opened their doors they purchased the gaming division of Broderbund, the guys known for most of your (or at least my) favourite bad-ass educational games you played in your formative years, as well as Prince of Persia, among other things. With this purchase THQ was in the games-making business, and they never really stopped.
During the years of its existence THQ was predominantly known for making games with some sort of movie or tv tie-in license. Home Alone, Ren and Stimpy, WCW, WWE, Spongebob Squarepants, and numerous Star Wars titles all came from within the walls of THQ’s studios. To be honest, most of them weren’t all that great. Hey this is my article I don’t have to sugarcoat a damn thing. But critical reception or not these games sold, and THQ saw some stunning profits in the last decade. They also started buying up a number of studios in the early to mid aught-years, including most of the studios I mentioned above. Volition, Kaos, Vigil, Relic, and a whole host of others were purchased by THQ in its heyday, bringing with it a multitude of strong properties. A combination of successful licensed properties and some strong titles by their subsidiary studios saw THQ bringing in record revenue, at times rivaling that of Activision.
But times change, markets change, and not everything lasts forever. There was a drastic drop-off in sales coinciding with the 2009 recession, while their normally successful children’s franchises were losing more and more ground to free online games. In response THQ changed up their business plan, cutting out some of their smaller studios, putting less of focus on their licensed properties and more on strong AAA titles. But as the years went on, their revenue continued to slip, and THQ slowly began to die.
It started with the selling, spinning off, or closure of numerous THQ studios, starting with Paradigm Entertainment, Mass Media, Helixe, Locomotive Games, and Sandblast games in 2008, but followed up with Heavy Iron Studios, Incinerator Studios, Big Huge Games, their wireless division, and a whole host of others. Red Faction: Armageddon was released with big hopes in the summer of 2011, but met with disappointing sales, so that IP was ungraciously dumped as well.
But no one single thing could be blamed for the eventual demise of THQ as powerfully as the infamous uDraw tablet. Unveiled in August 2010, the uDraw tablet was a $70 peripheral tablet and stylus that would, in theory, allow users to create works of art. From the look and sound of it, THQ had high hopes for the uDraw tablet. Making promises that numerous titles would be released that would take advantage of it. The tablet saw strong success on the Wii in holiday 2010, reportedly selling over a million copies. To which I’m sure hungry THQ executives saw those numbers, looked at the Xbox 360 and PS3, and hoped that lightning would be be able to strike twice.
It didn’t. The PS3 and Xbox 360 uDraw tablets were released in advance of the 2011 holidays, and performed dismally. As of a year ago there were roughly 1.4 million uDraw tablets languishing in THQ’s warehouses, and I can’t imagine that number has improved drastically since. These days you can walk into a Future Shop and buy one of them for $5, which I in fact did.
Flagging sales and various missteps led to the dire-straits THQ we’ve seen for roughly the past year now, culminating in its final butchering and demise earlier this week. There had been some brief glimmers of hope, with the hiring of Jason Rubin, former co-creator of Naughty Dog. Who was hired as a turnaround president for THQ in mid-2012, as well as executing a humble bundle in early December that managed to raise roughly $5 million. A staggering number for humble bundle sales, but in the context of a massive once-multi-national company? Not so much. Days after the ending of the THQ Humble Bundle, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
It’s always saddening to see such a landmark in the video game industry go up in smoke, and while not every game coming out from THQ was a critical darling, any publisher that brought out games like Saint’s Row, Red Faction, Destroy All Humans, and Darksiders should be remembered fondly. We at Geek Badge hope that those at THQ and Vigil Games who are now out of job bounce back, which we know you all will, and that all those affected by the news whirlwind this story has been can get back to doing what they do, making games. Pour a 40 on the curb for THQ.
Now, who the hell do I have to talk to to purchase the rights to Destroy All Humans?
The boys of Hopped-Up Gaming don’t care how many 12′s are on the calendar, they’re bringing in the true holiday spirit this week with a barrage of heartwarming childhood Christmas stories, video game rage, and how all games are stealing from Norse mythology. We also determine that comparing Ulysses to an internet webcomic makes you a bad person, the shocking similarities between bronies and evangelical christians, that the world of Far Cry 3 is inhabitated solely by douchebags, and that the people who complain about the Video Game Awards winners should be jailed without trial. All this and more on this week’s episode of Hopped-Up Gaming!
Beer of the Week: Coal Harbour Helles Lager
This week starts off with both a bang and a whimper, as we discuss our favourite Judea-themed beer and all the politically-incorrect pitfalls that it comes with, how The Village People killed disco, and if the moment where you’re shooting down helicopters on the back of a horse is the moment Call of Duty jumped the shark. There’s also talk about video game portrayls in film, how Mischief Makers is hands-down the best game ever made, and the most tragic N64-related childhood story you’ll ever hear. Finally, we spend an inordinate amount of time going though and breaking down Spec Ops: The Line, arguably one of the most important games we’ve played this year, as well as how we’re all dealing with our post-traumatic stress.
Beer of the Week: He’Brew Hop Manna IPA & Bridge Brewing Co. Seasonal Dark IPA
HUG and company take this week to get back to what’s really important, drinking weird liquors and waxing philosophical about video games, tv, and film, including the story-telling aspects of “The Walking Dead” game, a passionate defense for “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”, and the inherent dangers of both basketball players and their dreaded “Chaos Dunk”. We also talk about the pros and cons of Dark Souls, the trials and tribulations of Max Payne, and the deep dark place that Spec Ops: The Line will take your psyche. Also, we shit on the Wii U launch for a while, but I feel like everyone’s been doing that lately.
Beer of the Week: Rogue Brewing Chiptole Ale and Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale
This week the HUG boys try and fail to maintain their class and civility, while discussing topics such as the clusterfuck that is Halo 4 offline splitscreen, the relationship between screen-peeking and class warfare, and how the world desperately needs a return of “Battlebots”. We also discuss the insanity that is ARMA 2, Track IR, James Bond homo-eroticism, and our belief that South Korea is weaponizing the music industry. And maybe, if you’re lucky, we talk about video games that let you shoot Hitler’s testicles. All this and more on this week’s episode of Hopped-Up Gaming!
Beer of the Week: Bridge Brewing Company’s North Shore Pale
The top scientific minds behind Hopped-Up Gaming bring what may be their greatest advancement to date: the creation and live taste-testing of Faux Loko, our own off-brand Energy Drink Malt Liquor! While performing this service for you, the listener, we also dig deep into the heart of a number of other important topics, including Canadian hospital extortion rackets, Halo 4 and its relation to internet feminism, the best music to shoot terrorists to, and whether the proper pronounciation is “i-O-S” or “Eye-Os”. We also discuss our hatred for Angry Birds, our love for Saturday Morning RPG, what happens when you combine the “Bang Bus” with mythological creatures, and Norris’ break-up with Assassin’s Creed 3. All this and more on Hopped-Up Gaming!
“Beer” of the Week: Faux Loko
The Hopped-Up Gamers with special guest and wrestling expert Chris Westaway go guerilla this week, discussing such video game topics as which first lady had the strongest arms, some intense Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson trivia, race politics in the WWE, who between history’s tank man and Bradley Manning would be a better Halo player, everyone’s favourite apocalypse scenario, checking our privilege in video games, whether or not we’d want to be get left behind after the rapture…look,this is what happens when we haven’t played any video games in a week. Just roll with it. We also discuss videogame violence in some detail.
Beer of the Week: Holsten Maibock Blonde
(Due to unforeseen technical issues the first few minutes of air have some unfortunate quality issues, but they do seem to resolve themselves within a minute or two. We apologize for the inconvenience)
The HUG boys are getting in the revolutionary spirit this week, with the discussion of such groundbreaking topics as the etymology behind the term “Whipits”, invoking the right of Prima Nocta in Crusader Kings 2, the deeper meaning behind Hotline Miami’s psychadelic grime, being eaten alive in Natural Selection 2, and building up your mercantile empire in Assassin’s Creed 3. We also discuss in some detail the world of video game piracy, and our beliefs on the future of digital distribution.
Beer of the Week: Whistler Brewing Co.’s Black Tusk Ale
With a cry of podcast free or die the full HUG team celebrate Halloween the only way they know how – good beer and scary video games. In this episode the crew talks about the relationship between Silent Hill characters and genitalia, how Die Hard’s the greatest Christmas film ever made, why RuPaul’s Drag Race is the best Reality show ever made, and enough Crusader Kings 2 atrocities to make even the most ardent opponent to the Geneva Convention cry. We also talk about some of the scariest video games we’ve been playing, as well as discuss what truly makes a terrifying video game.
Beer of the Week: Black Sunshine Blackberry Weizen by Coal Harbour Brewing
Get your body thetans in order, because in this week’s episode the gentlemen discuss such important matters as their chest hair, John Woo Halo hangouts, what would happen if Emery were given control of the state of Texas, and the decorative use of severed heads in Dishonored. We also talk about Heavy Rain, the Walking Dead, dogs dressed as the cast of Jersey Shore, and game’s we would consider in our minds “perfect”.
Beer of the Week: Parallel 49′s Schadenfreude Pumpkin Ocktoberfest
This week the HUG crew clear away their forties, put on their nerd goggles, and get into some real game talk. With pinch-hitter Dave Alexander taking over for one sick Emery, the team discusses the whimsical hug that is Granville Island Winter Ale, the demonic hugs given in The Darkness 2, and the hugs you wouldn’t want to receive in The Walking Dead, As well as getting straight-up crotchety by discussing what we think is wrong in the video game industry today
Beer of the Week: Granville Island Winter Ale
The HUG crew wild out this episode, with the discussion of such important topics as the variable quality of malt liquor, sim prisons, anime video games that may or may not have anything to do with Dragon Ball Z, the Kantian ideal of sushi, the Vancouver Film Festival, and our opinions on the current state of Kickstarter. Plus more FTL talk than you can shake a stick at.
Beer of the Week: a forty of Colt 45 each
Our power levels get inscrutable this week, as the hopped-up gaming crew discuss their opinions of Mexican beer, Fallout New Vegas DLC, FTL, metaphorical anatomy within indie games, the difference between low fantasy and hard sci-fi, and our opinions towards free-to-play gaming. Oh, and something called “Mongol Faces”, but we’re not supposed to talk about that
Beer of the Week: Cerveza Pacífico Clara