Yes, yes, I’ve been slacking, I know. Almost three whole months since a post here, I done goofed. I was planning on adding an addendum to the Humble Indie Bundle V post talking about the extra games they ended up adding to it, but I only got about halfway through writing it before I kinda fizzled up and stopped. I was also planning on writing a post discussing Battlefield 3, since I was playing that heavily for a while there, both on 360 and PC. That may or may not show up here at some point, I’ve not completely ruled it out yet, though I haven’t played much of the game in the past few weeks.

There are other games I have been playing though, ones that are certainly worth talking about. One of those is Dust: An Elysian Tail, the final game in this year’s XBLA Summer of Arcade and, arguably, the only decent game to come out of that promotion. The Summer of Arcade has definitely fallen from grace these past couple years.

Dust is an interesting game, because it does so many different things, and it does most of them really, really well. It’s even more impressive when you factor in that the vast majority of the game (with I believe the exception of music and sound) all being the work of a single dude. Basically, this guy, Dean Dodrill, wanted to learn to program and to make a game. So he did. And he did it incredibly well. Dust is a labour of love that has been in development for four or five years, and he got lucky and the game was picked up by Microsoft.

Your sidekick, “Fidget”, is a flying rat-cat-bunny-thing. Yeah…

It’s worth noting, that the game’s character design has been met with fierce contention online, being that all the characters in the game are “furries”. Not just anthropomorphised animals like say, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Disney’s Robin Hood, but that very particular style of animé-esque animals that is apparently so common on DeviantArt. Furry porn is also a thing, which seems to be feeding into people’s distaste for the art style. While to me, the logic of “porn of it exists, therefore it’s bad” is retarded, the other, more grounded criticisms of that particular art style being of low-quality or “amateurish” I feel is not completely without merit. Personally, the character design doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the game, but I figured it was worth mentioning, since there’s so much heated discussion over it. If furry art isn’t your thing, maybe try the demo before deciding to buy.

Animé animal people or not, however, the game is simply stunning. Dodrill comes from a traditional art and animation background, and it definitely shows. The game is simply gorgeous to look at, especially in motion. The lush painted backgrounds, the great enemy designs, and the absolutely amazing and perfectly fluid movement and combat animation makes Dust simply a joy to look at.

Oh, and one of the characters is your sword. Your sword talks. A TALKING SWORD.

That aside, I think I’m going to hold off on talking more about the game until I’m finished with it. I’m a good six hours or so into the game, and it doesn’t feel like I’m even that far into the story. There’s a good amount of side stuff to do, and it’s easy to just go off exploring and seeing what you can find.

Yup. This is Counter-Strike alright.

Another game I’ve been playing a lot of lately is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the latest iteration in Valve’s ever-enduring FPS franchise. Not a whole lot has changed. This is still some pretty Counter-Strike-ass Counter-strike, only now it’s all pretty and looks like a modern game. Mechanically though, the game is, for the most part, the same as ever, aside from some small changes to guns, maps, and the internal workings of the game such as hitboxes, etc. My previous CS experience is very limited; four hours or so of Counter-Strike: Source, and almost all of that was a gungame mod of some sort. CSGO, however, I’m very much enjoying, having put almost 35 hours into it thus far. I never really got into CS in the past for two reasons. One: Almost everyone who plays CS has played CS forever. And in a truly skill-based shooter like Counter-Strike, new players are going to get stomped on, repeatedly, by the veterans who have been playing for 12 years now. Two: Mods. Mods are a good thing, I’m definitely not saying otherwise. However, in CS:S, they are completely rampant. It’s almost impossible to play vanilla CS:S, since almost every server has some sort of gameplay altering mod installed, whether it be weird gamemodes, changes to the money system, or some of the truly terrible user-made maps. Finding a decent, populated server, that just has the regular game with regular maps is nigh on impossible, and for a new player, that is generally not going to keep them playing. Maybe that’s why I’m liking CS:GO so much. It’s still new enough, that the silly mods and crappy maps aren’t showing up quite yet.

That aside, the game plays fine. I’m not in a position to comment on how well Valve has implemented the shooting mechanics, recoil, hitboxes, and all the other things that the competitive players care about. The general consensus thus far seems to be that they’ve done a good job though, so take that at face value, I guess. Regardless, the game is hella fun, especially with a couple of mates. There’s even native support for gungame (now called Arms Race, which in all honesty, is an infinitely better name than gungame ever was), if you’re a little intimidated by the core, no-respawn modes.

Aside from that, I haven’t been playing too much. I did acquire a 3DS since my last post, but that probably warrants a post all of it’s own. So expect that in the future. Or not. Who knows. In case I don’t, here’s a tl;dr: System is good, 3D is annoying and usually gets turned off.

One last thing: Revolution, the company behind such games as Beneath a Steel Sky and those Broken Sword games I love so much, are developing a new, 2D Broken Sword game, and it’s on Kickstarter. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a game in my entire life, and I sincerely mean that.

Joe out.

So hey there, if you’ve been here before, you’ll probably notice that everything looks a little different. I initially launched this blog using a pre-made WordPress theme. It’d been a number of years since I’d done any real coding of any kind, so I would’ve rather launched the blog and get some content out first, before worrying about making a theme a little more personal. Content is the most important thing about a blog, after all.

I started working on it weeks ago, but finally got my finger out and made it into a proper WordPress theme over the past couple nights. I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out. Doesn’t have some of the more fancy WordPress features, like widgets, but I don’t really need them for what I’m trying to do here. I’m also thinking of maybe adding an alternate, darker, colour scheme. My heavy usage of Giant Bomb has led to me to becoming accustomed to white-on-black, as opposed to the more traditional black-on-white. The former is better late at night as well, which is when I seem to spend the majority of my time reading online. Shouldn’t be too hard to implement, with the exception of the subtle background pattern, there’s no images to change, it’s all CSS. An old blog I had a few years back had a style switcher as well, so I might even be able to just copypaste over some code.

If you find anything wrong, leave a comment on this post, shoot me an email, or hit me up on Twitter. I don’t want to have to do too many short update posts on here, so normal service will be resumed shortly.

In other news, myself and three of my online-e-buddies made a podcast on Friday. We originally made one about a year or so ago that ran for about eight episodes, before it kind of fell by the wayside. We finally got our acts together and did something about it. So, check out the GAEMZCAST, hopefully every Friday/Saturday-ish. We haven’t gotten a proper schedule sorted out yet. The idea was that the podcast would accompany GAEMZNET, a website myself and my e-mates were planning a while back. Articles, reviews, video content, that sort of thing. Obviously, that hasn’t worked out yet, and isn’t likely to anytime soon, so for now at least, the GAEMZCAST is it’s own thing.