Finishing the Week: Issue 84

Welcome to the latest installment of Finishing the Week. It’s time for the DNF crew — along with a few random special guests — to get together and toss back a few brewskis while cracking wise at the latest and greatest news the video game industry has to offer. Click the links, enjoy the banter, and feel free to talk back in the comments section below.

M. Rambler: I went to see the new Evil Dead this week. It might bloody well be the goriest movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio. If that kind of thing floats your boat, I say GO SEE IT!!

Donald: This week I launched A Fist Full of Dollars on the site. It’s the new way indie games will be reviewed from now on. I got back into Quantum Conundrum again. Guess what? Tables are still flying through the air requiring me to slow time down. Sigh.

Brad: I started playing Far Cry 3 this week, and it’s pretty great. The game gives you a ton of freedom on how to go about completing your objectives, and I only have one rule that I live by: all pirates get lit on fire. No exceptions.

B. Indifferent: I started playing X-Men: Legends, and I can’t tell if I’m supposed to like it because I keep getting everyone killed (it’s “challenging!”), or if that’s just Stockholm Syndrome trying to convince me that I didn’t waste my money.

GlowPuff: I started playing Guild Wars 2 this week. A friend of mine talked me into getting it after sending me a 30% discount offer. We had played the first one for months on end, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Well, I can’t stop playing it. It’s light years beyond their first one. There is so much content, it makes Real Life look like a quick 2 hour game that makes you want your money back.

4-7-1 Lucasarts

MelodyHobson’sBoyfriendArts Closes

Summary: Disney shuts down fabled LucasArts development studio, but opens the door to letting other studios give them fat stacks of cash to make licensed Star Wars games.

Source: Kotaku

GlowPuff: This is sad news, indeed. LucasArts has been around since I had my old 386 computer. That’s when they pumped out quality titles. Did you see the Star Wars 1313 video on that site? It looks like what both Mass Effect 3 AND Dead Space 3 SHOULD have been. But now we’ll never know for sure.

Brad: People seem to be taking this news pretty hard, but name the last LucasArts game you purchased that wasn’t a re-release or greatest hits type collection. Go ahead, here’s a list of their games. The last one I bought was Rogue Squadron II, back in 2001. That was over a decade ago. Prior to that was Tie Fighter, in 1994. To put that in perspective, that was a year before I got my driver’s license, and a few weeks before on went on my first date ever (for the record, it’s probably easier to do these things in the reverse order). So that’s two games in the last 20 years or so. To be honest, the most surprising thing about this for me was that LucasArts was still around. I sort of figured they had quietly been merged into some larger publisher during the Dreamcast era.

Donald: Do the remastered releases of Monkey Island 1 & 2 count as recent purchases? But your point is valid, LucasArts used to be something special. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, etc were what made them great. I’m not sure if gamers younger than us are taking this news the same way. I blame my copy of The Force Unleashed for this.

GlowPuff: Yes, the old games you two mentioned are the ones I think of when I hear LucasArts.  Not the newer stuff… wait, what newer stuff?

M. Rambler: I blame Disney.

M. Mouse: Deal with it.

GlowPuff: I have a mouse trap, friend.

M. Mouse: And I had enough money to buy Star Wars from George Lucas. Game, point, match.

B. Indifferent: Does this mean that I’m more likely to find an abandonware copy of LucasArts’ Afterlife now? I’m trying to figure out if this is going to make Disney attorneys more or less likely to file lawsuits.

Donald: I have a copy of Afterlife somewhere around here. I am willing to abandon it on your desk Bitterly.

4-7-2 Unreal

Unreal Engine 4 Makin’ it Rein on Wii U

Summary: EPIC’s Unreal Engine 4 is a powerful next-gen development tool. EPIC’s Mark Rein initially scoffed at the idea of this powerful next-gen development tool running on the Wii U, but he eventually came to his (dollars and) senses.

Source: Engadget

Brad: Will the new Unreal engine work on the Wii U? Hahahahaha, no!… I mean, I guess it will, but that would require someone to actually make a Wii U game, so for all practical purposes, no, it will not.

GlowPuff: HAHAHAHAHA, NO!  Well, technically yes.  It will run on a Casio wrist watch, too…but why would you want it to?

Donald: What? The next generation of the Unreal Engine will run on the next generation of PlayStation but not the next generation of Wii? I need a call on the field once and for all: Is the Wii U next-gen or not? When does that Wii U come out by the way?

M. Rambler: Wait, don’t you mean, what is a Wii U? Maybe Mark had no idea what a Wii U was either when someone asked him the initial question… that would explain why he was so quick to laugh it off. Then maybe Nintendo called him later to explain that the Wii U is arguably the most powerful gaming console currently on the market, which would have led to Mark’s clarification that Unreal 4 could indeed be scaled down to also run on current gen consoles.

3-24-8 FFxx2

Enix Gets Squared Away

Summary: After a rough year totaling 13 billion yen in losses, Square Enix’s current president will be stepping down. The new boss will be looking to right the ship by reviewing everything the company does from a “zero-based budgeting standpoint”.

Source: Siliconera

B. Indifferent: I’m not going to say that everyone and everything associated with Square Enix is doomed, but anyone talking about “zero-based budgeting” is an insane crackpot hell-bent on running an enterprise into the ground.

M. Rambler: Agreed, ever since Donald shifted to a zero-based budgeting program for our beer fridge, the shelves have been completely empty. How does he expect me to work without beer?

Anyone know where our office HR rep is hiding? I’d like to file a complaint. A work environment without beer has to be some kind of violation of basic human rights, no?

Donald: Sorry, Rambler, I zero-budgeted the HR department last week after I saw all the benefits of zero-budgeting the beer fridge.

GlowPuff: I don’t know what zero-based budgeting is, but I do know how to fill out a check.

M. Rambler: Good, can you fill out a check to one of the many fine beer retailers in our area that will also fill out our beer fridge? Because I’m starting to get the beershakes… and could you buy back some ice cream too? A nice frosty beer shake sounds delicious.

Brad: I’d like a “zero-based” policy toward any more Final Fantasy sequels.

Donald: They should sell the Final Fantasy licence to BioWare. I am really curious as to what that game would look like. If they want to make money, just let Eidos keep doing what they are doing and stop doing anything with Final Fantasy. That is over guys.

4-7-3 April Fools

April Fool’s Gold

Summary: Check out this year’s top 5 Nintendo themed April Fool’s Day pranks, highlights include one about an EA/Nintendo merger.

Source: My Nintendo News

B. Indifferent: They’ll never top Mommy Kong and the AFD Reality System.

Donald: Isn’t the fact that there is still no new Legend of Zelda on the Wii U the greatest joke Nintendo is playing right now?

M. Rambler: No, that’s what’s called par for the course. Sure, Twilight Princess launched in 2006 with the Wii, but that doesn’t count as a new Zelda game on a new Nintendo console because it was really just a GameCube title that took so long to develop that Nintendo had no choice but to port it over to the Wii.

Then it took the Big N five more years to release Skyward Sword — the first true Wii Zelda title — but like the GameCube that console was already dead in the water. Just be satisfied with that upcoming Wind Waker HD Wii U port then expect a new Zelda Wii U title sometime after the Wii U’s corpse has been rotting for a year… so yeah, you heard it here first. The new Zelda title for the Wii U will be released sometime next year.

GlowPuff: I read an article stating that Wii U sales were picking up. Why wasn’t that one featured in this column about April Fool’s jokes?

Brad: Man, what a tragedy it would be if Nintendo really had merged with EA. Then Nintendo would just start regurgitating the same five or six franchises over and over every year without ever having any new ideas… oh wait.

4-7-4 Pottermore

PlayStation Home About to be Overrun by Muggles

Summary: PlayStation Home is about to unleash it’s newest crossover event. Welcome to Pottermore, where you can virtually become a silly magician just like that cute little Harry Potter kid.


B. Indifferent: Ugh. It was bad enough when Dr. Who/Harry Potter crossover fanfic was only in written form; the upcoming wave of fan tribute videos isn’t gonna be pretty.

GlowPuff: I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m done with this franchise. I read the books, saw the movies, and enjoyed every minute of them all. But I’m finished with them now.

M. Rambler: Well, I’m not done with this franchise yet. I haven’t read the books, and I’ve seen all but the last movie. Could someone just tell me if Harry dies or not so I too can be done with this franchise?

Donald: How are we talking about Home again this week? That is about six thousand times more than we need to ever talk about it. Wait! Can I make Harry leap off the train while it’s at full speed? If I can, sign me up!

Brad: My wife is a huge Harry Potter fan, so this represents probably my best chance of convincing her that we need a PS3. On the other hand, if it involves exposing myself to even more Potter nonsense, I’m not sure that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

Donald: But you will have one just in time for The Last of Us. You win in this situation Brad.

M. Rambler: Yeah, but not if his wife is playing Harry Potter all the time. Brad, I think you’re going to need two PS3’s.

4-7-5 nextbox

GameStop Goes Gaga Over Next Xbox

Summary: The CEO of GameStop has a lot of flattering things to say about Microsoft’s unannounced next console.

Source: GameSpot

B. Indifferent: Alternate title, “Stegosaurus ‘very excited’ about upcoming line of beachwear, predicts lots of ‘summer fun in the sun’ on the horizon.”

Brad: Well, if it’s anything like the Xbox 360, it’ll be a very hot device. In fact, it’ll be so hot that it’ll probably overheat and break every 6 months or so. Then you’ll be compelled to replace it. No, I’m not bitter about the fact that I’m on my fourth 360, why do you ask?

GlowPuff: They are very excited about a console that will possible kill their business model (no used games). Riiiiiiight… Here’s a tissue, clean the end of your nose off. It’s brown.

Donald: I have a bad feeling about this. Like Microsoft and GameStop have jumped into bed together. Everyone knows you want hot Kongregate action on your Xbox! I’m not sure I could talk Bitterly into reviewing those games.

M. Rambler: Donald, I’m pretty sure you were joking there… but what if you’re right?!? The CEO of GameStop said “We’ve been spending a lot of time with Microsoft, but we have to let them take the lead on this.” Furthermore, GameStop share prices are at a three year high. Neither of those things make sense unless the two companies really are in bed, and GameStop will officially become the only source for used digital titles in the next generation… I think Brad just joined you in those bad feelings about this.

4-7-6 hellgate

We’re Going to Need a Space Marine, a Chainsaw, and a Lot of Exploding Barrels

Summary: One of the gateways to hell was recently unearthed in Turkey.

Source: Discovery

Brad: Rambler, how’s the research on that BFG 9000 coming along? We, uh, might want to fast-track that project. Like, immediately. Start a Kickstarter if we need more funding.

Donald: Would you guys hurry up and open that Kickstarter! I have my huge pile of money to give you! What’s the 35 dollar buy in perk?

Brad: If we reach our goal, you get to live on a planet that hasn’t been taken over by demons. Also, this Doom 3 promotional flashlight.

M. Rambler: Wait one second here… Donald… where did you get all that cash? That’s the beer fridge money that you recently zero-budgeted, isn’t it? You’re lucky we have this gateway to hell and BFG 9000 Kickstarter project to worry about or things just might have gotten ugly in here.

GlowPuff: Amazing.  I love reading about ancient discoveries like this.  Then I read what this “gate” was used for.  Leading animals into a death trap as a “ceremonial ritual” is an elaborate excuse for sick-minded individuals to get their jollies.

Donald: So it was an ancient form of what I imagine a Justin Bieber concert is?

Brad: Anyway, turns out it’s not an actual gateway to hell (yeah, I know, huge surprise there). Still, hard to fault the ancients logic for thinking so. I mean, if you’re already in Turkey, and then you find a place that’s even worse than Turkey, it’s easy to see how you would draw the conclusion that it must lead directly to hell.

B. Indifferent: That’s only because the ancients hadn’t yet discovered Buffalo, NY.

Brad: The difference is that hell is everlasting torment, whereas everyone just moves away from Buffalo after college.

4-7-7 Dwarf Fortress

Video Games as Art Debate Settled by a Real Museum

Summary: The Museum of Modern Art has added 14 video games to it’s collection. They’ve recently acquired Pac Man, Portal, Tetris and something called Dwarf Fortress.

Source: Nightmare Mode

M. Rambler: Wait, my video game collection is WAAAAAY bigger. Do any of you guys want to come over to my museum later and get your game on?

GlowPuff: I made it as far as the screenshot on that page, and lost all reasoning. Indeed, it does look like Matrix-code running down the screen. That’s a game? I guess I’m not worthy to be called a gamer.

Donald: I played Dwarf Fortress once, I used those tiles he talked about and it didn’t help. I guess I don’t understand art at all. Maybe if I get us all hipster hats we can just say we are “over this” and move on?

Brad: Oh look, they’ve taken something that is completely incomprehensible and utterly terrible at it’s intended purpose and relabeled it as a piece of modern art. Have a “sculpture” that is just some iron rods jabbed into a block of concrete? Modern art. A “painting” that is the end result of an “artist” taking a literal dump on the canvas? Modern art. A game that’s totally unplayable? Modern art. Typical MoMA.

M. Rambler: Crap, you mean I just took a modern art and flushed it? Son of a buck. I could have taken a photo of that beast and sold it for BFG 9000 Kickstarter money… why didn’t anyone bring this modern art thing to my attention sooner? Way to let the hell gate win, guys, way to go.

GlowPuff: Already been done.  Remember that “rate my poo” website, where you take a photo of your “modern art” and submit it for others to judge and score?

M. Rambler: Umm… no?

B. Indifferent: It’s people like this who think it’s a good idea to pay Tilda Swinton to sleep in a box, so I’m not surprised that it’s come to this.

4-7-8 Shadowrun

Games as Art Debate Settled by a Game Developer

Summary: The head of the art team at Harebrained Schemes talks about the development process for their big Kickstarter project, Shadowrun Returns.

Source: Harebrained Schemes

GlowPuff: Fascinating read. I picked up a thing or two from that.

Brad: Very cool. They show a point along the process before they add all the additional details and effects, where a less dedicated developer would probably say “good enough” and stop. From now on, that next step that should be referred to as “crossing the Activision Line”.

GlowPuff: Sounds like what GearBox did with the Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle.  Except they stopped a giant leap before the “line of quality”.

B. Indifferent: Are we handing out points for effort now? They get credit for the joke about the graphics on level 3, but I’ll save my gushing enthusiasm until there’s a new Shadowrun game that I can actually play.

Donald: I want this game even more than I wanted this game before. I do like how these Kickstarter projects are breaking down the wall between Gamer and Developer. Its a long and dirty process to get a shiney game out. I know, I have worked with GlowPuff on a few. That guy is mean.

GlowPuff: Shut your hole. I am not mean. <mean glare>

4-7-9 Aliens

SEGA Finds Cancellation is the Best Way to Disclaim the Existence of Aliens

Summary: First SEGA was forced to add a disclaimer to misleading advertisement footage of its Aliens: Colonial Marines title, then the news slipped that development of the Wii U port of the game has been abandoned.

Source: Joystiq and Eurogamer

Brad: Awesome, now we just need every other game trailer ever to have this disclaimer: “Warning: The following trailer is made up entirely from footage of cutscenes or from camera angles that would make actually playing the game impossible.”

Donald: There should be a name for that Brad… How about “Assassin’s Creed 3ing”?

M. Rambler: This sucks, I was totally gonna buy a Wii U for that game.

Donald: 48,43,44. That is not a code, its the Metacritic scores for the three current platforms. I am really not surprised that the life support for the Wii U version was cut.

GlowPuff: It’s also the measurements of a robust woman.

M. Rambler: I’ve got a bad feeling about this… the last time a game was this universally panned, Donald made me do a co-op review with him.

4-7-10 Orth

Adam Orth, No Longer Always-Online

Summary: Adam Orth, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios somehow didn’t realize that an open Twitter account is as always-online as the next Xbox is reported to be. After starting a firestorm over some disparaging comments, Microsoft is backpedaling and Adam Orth has made his Twitter account private.

Source: Game Informer

Brad: Oh, are we discussing Microsoft’s doomed new console again? Hold on, let me get my sign:

B. Indifferent: We’re talking about a video game console, right? An optional purchase bought with disposable income, not something like food or clean water. They’ll be fine; Capcom has spent years proving that you can actively antagonize your customers and they’ll still stand in line to give you money.

Brad: It’s not like there isn’t competition. Every single time someone from Microsoft opens their mouth, the PS4 looks a little better.

GlowPuff: True, that.

Donald: By the time he went home, or was sent home (or whatever he did that day) he was a meme sensation. What I find most interesting here is that the official statement released by Microsoft in no way disputes the “Always on” structure. I tend to think that Orth was spitting some truth in what he is saying. If that’s the case, I can’t wait for them to pull a Sony and say something stupid like “You want the Xbox so much, you will move! Just so you have always on internet!”

GlowPuff: Ya, they apologized for HOW it was said, not WHAT was said.  If you ask me, ramming a broomstick up the ying yang is still ramming a broomstick up the ying yang, no matter how it’s said.

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About Tony Lorenzen

Tony Lorenzen, a.k.a. the Midnite Rambler, may just be a bad enough dude to rescue the president... but he's still no Snake Plissken.