Friday, October 31, 2014

Another Hallowe'en Comes And Goes Like A Ghost

Well, it wasn't a bad turnout this year, despite the cold and rainy weather that descended on us today.  We saw a baker's dozen trick-or-treaters this time around, up nearly 50% from last year's 9.  So it goes.

Here are the up-to-date totals for the 9 Hallowe'ens over which I've been blogging:

2014: 13
2013: 9
2012: 14
2011: 15
2010: 18
2009: 19
2008: 19
2007: 18
2006: 12

And yes, that means that this blog had its 8th anniversary at the start of the month, not that anyone noticed (including me).  How about that?  8 years!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Alien: Isolation Just Keeps On Giving

Minutes ago, I finished the main campaign for Alien: Isolation, my pick for the best Alien-based video game of all time.  Alien Vs Predator, the original 1999 First Person Shooter, was probably better but it wasn't as true to the source material nor as much of a love letter to the fans.  I've been so hooked on AI over the past couple weeks (as has Vicki, as an observer), and so absolutely in love with it even as it sometimes frustrated the hell out of me!

I still have more to enjoy with it, too, as there's a short second campaign, Crew Expendable, that allows you to play as Ripley, Dallas or Parker from the original film as they try to drive the xenomorph off their ship.  Incredibly, the game makers got the cast members of Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien to come into the studio and provide their voices to this part, lending it a degree of authenticity that I can't wait to experience.

And then there's something called Survivor Mode which I think is an online Nazi Zombies-style adventure that always ends badly but manages to provide some great fun along the way.  [Update the next day: Nope, Survivor Mode is single player, as well, and basically times you while you try to escape an area and achieve objectives as you go.  Not quite as much fun as I'd hoped, but still OK.]

All of which means I expect to be playing this game for at least another several days, making it more than worth the money I spent on it.  For me, this has definitely been the Game of the Year!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Race Car Richie

After several failed attempts due to bad weather, my brother Rich and nephew Dick finally got to drive race cars around a track like lunatics.  It's not anything I'd ever want to do (I'm holding out for jumping out of a plane, maybe along with Rich) but if the look on his face below means anything, my brother had an amazing time:

Not So Fast On Solving Jack The Ripper's Identity

A month and a half ago, I posted a link to a story claiming that the identity of Jack the Ripper had finally been proven, and that it was a Polish immigrant who'd been a suspect at the time.

Now, however, it seems that discovery has been called into question, in a big way.  Either the scientist who did the test has to come forward and disprove the claims that he screwed up the DNA matching, or we're back to not knowing who Jack really was.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Alien: Isolation - Never Has Dying Been This Much Fun!

I've now owned Alien: Isolation for almost a week, or perhaps I should say, it's owned me!  It's easily the scariest and most difficult video game I've ever played, and I couldn't be happier with it.

As someone who normally hates stealth missions in games, it's taken me some time to adjust to AI's style.  It really is all about survival, pure and simple.  Although he takes his time showing up initially, once the titular xenomorph appears on the scene you're pretty much screwed if you don't buy into the strategy of sneaking around slowly and making as little noise as possible.  I've been killed by the big-headed bugger dozens of times by now after trying numerous methods to terminate him (knowing all along that you can't, but it's still fun trying) as well as discovering countless ways to unintentionally draw his attention.  What a great ride!  Rarely frustrated, and never deterred.

This truly is the ultimate gaming experience for fans of Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece like me.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Best And Worst Of Alien Videogames

Tomorrow, Alien: Isolation launches and my copy for the PS4 is already on its way to me!  Unlike the relaunched Aliens Vs Predator and Alien: Colonial Marines of recent memory, this Alien game is actually getting very good reviews (averaging around 8/10 or so) and has me very excited... as well as more than a little bit scared!  Not scared that it'll suck, but rather that it'll be so hard that I won't be able to get very far in it.

Anyway, in anticipation of that momentous arrival, we have this lovely article, reminiscing about the best and worst of the games in the genre til now.  And yes, the original, 1999 AvP game really was every bit as great as the reviewer says!

Twin Peaks Returning From Oblivion

It seems somehow fitting that right after the 10th anniversary of Lost's debut on TV, we get this news that Twin Peaks, the original "full of potential but not really paying off its many mysteries" headscratcher is being brought back by its creator, David Lynch. 

Vicki and I initially heard about Twin Peaks a couple weeks after it launched (right around the time we got together) and were then lucky enough to catch re-runs of the episodes we'd missed.  To say we were hooked would be putting it mildly!  But the honeymoon (with the show, anyway) was somewhat short-lived, as the series seemed to promise so much while delivering so little.  I think we stuck with it to the end, but I can't say for sure as I don't recall how it wrapped up.  I'm certainly curious to see what Lynch will do with this opportunity to give us "answers and a satisfying conclusion."  I guess we'll have to wait to see what Canadian channel will pick it up, of course.