Editorial, Feature

Welcome Back

From the beginning, GeekTi.me was a passion project. It went through a few iterations and a lot of behind the scenes changes, but the core of what it was always remained the same. GeekTi.me was simply a group of geeks who used what little free time they had to put their passion out into the world. Did that passion always see the widest audience? Perhaps not. But then, that was never the point.

After stuff and things tugged us in different directions, the amount of time we had to focus on GeekTi.me dwindled severely. Writing took a sharp dive off a steep cliff. It became virtually impossible for me to hold a steady schedule with the guys to do the show. As such, GeekTi.me just kind of ended. There wasn’t a huge fanfare. There wasn’t some kind of family gathering or social function to talk about the good times. GeekTi.me simply remained in its corner of the internet, sleeping soundly while its core did other things with their lives.

It hurt. It hurt quite a bit for me personally. It was mostly because, after dedicating a handful of years to it, the wheels unceremoniously stopped turning. This was the website that made me more confident as a writer. This was the website that made me more confident as an on-air personality. This was the website that made me more confident as a comedian. And it just stopped.

So what do you do about this? What do you do over a year after you ditched the car on the side of the road? Well, you call a freaking tow truck! You get it to a mechanic! You try it again!

Within the next few days, you will be hearing the first new GeekTime Podcast since February 2014. It’s going to be a monthly podcast (as far as we know,) but ideas are trickling from our brain spaces constantly to make sure we can still deliver content to you regularly. Hopefully you stick with us, as we are once again dedicated to entertaining you the only way we know how: creating dumb stuff and hoping you laugh at it.

Thank you so much for joining us on the trip anyway.

 

<3

Editorial, Feature, Video Games

Ten Crimes That Were Blamed on Video Games

Every day, violent crimes are committed with seemingly no rhyme or reason. In these cases, it is only natural that we desire to find a culprit in order to make sense of a senseless crime. Unfortunately, we can also be quick to jump to conclusions and put the blame on an easy scapegoat instead of trying to find a true root cause. Media, such as movies, comics, books and TV, have been a scapegoats for violence for years. With its ever-rising popularity and recent releases of games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, video games have become the most recent victim. Here are a few crimes that video games have taken the heat for.

Editorial, Feature, Film & TV

Matt Smith to Leave Doctor Who

[Author’s Note: This is not a retrospective or a comprehensive look at the Eleventh Doctor. Not even close. It is merely an apreciation for Matt Smith and the things he has done as the Doctor]

It’s hard to believe that after four wonderful years, Matt Smith, Doctor number Eleven, only has two more adventures left. In a press release by the BBC on June 1st, it was revealed that Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor would be regenerating in 2013’s Christmas special.

200px-EleventhdoctornewI read that news with an almost sort of disbelief, even going so far as to surprise myself when I realized I didn’t believe it even more than I didn’t believe David Tennant was leaving back in 2010.

You see, I was one of the lucky ones. I was living in England in 2005 when Christopher Eccleston took the screen as the returning Ninth Doctor. I was there through every single twist and turn of David Tennant’s tenure. Though I had returned to America by this time, I was there for Matt Smith. For the past eight years, in some strange and wonderful way, Doctor Who has been an important part of my life. It hurts to see a Doctor go.

It was sad when Nine regenerated.

It cut deep when Ten regenerated.

I have to sit here and imagine how bad Eleven is going to be.

Because while David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston were amazing in their time, so too was Matt Smith. He did so many things with the character that were so incredibly intriguing and wonderful. He played his Doctor with a terrific reckless abandon, always one step away from human. Always strange and always clever and always eccentric, but never unfeeling and uncaring. When he came up with a plan, he often did it on the fly, a few times commenting that he didn’t have a plan yet because he hadn’t finished talking and analyzing the situation. He was always so very smug and overconfident in his abilities. It was often for good reason, but he was so much more subtlely arrogant (and sometimes not so subtlely) than Nine or Ten. He’d get so caught up focusing on something important that he would shut everyone out, even if it meant being insensitive (“Amy, you’re dying. Shut up.”) Even so, he did this because he cared and because he was trying to find a way to save everyone.

"What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?"
“What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?”

My favorite among his quirks was his complete disregard for traditionally cool things. He embraced things like bow ties and bunk beds and fezzes, things society doesn’t necessarily think are cool, and somehow made them cool. His childlike love of the world and the weird things inside of it was refreshing to watch.

This is all merely a layer of the Eleventh Doctor, however. His goofy and charming exterior is merely a surface – a coping mechanism, if you will – to the Doctor that lies beneath. This emotionally tortured, tired, and sad Doctor who uses the goofiness as a crutch to stop himself from hating himself. This is the Doctor who just came off of eliminating his entire race…for a second time. The Doctor who had just come back from seeing all of the people he had lost and would perhaps never see again. This was a Doctor who proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that the companion is the most useful tool in his arsenal as something to stop him from becoming a monster. Something even more terrible than he considers himself already. Smith was a naturally charming and energetic Doctor, but to see him in those dark moments. In those heartbreaking moments. In those moments of anger and pain and loss. It was truly a sight to behold. He is a man who wants to be forgiven for the things he has done, sees no way for this to happen, and carries on anyway.

Because of all of that, the added layer of care he spent on the Ponds was pronounced. He had lost so much already, and he was going to make sure that Amy and Rory (his family) were cared for. This is why their final act in the Doctor’s life was so emotionally draining. The devastation that Smith displayed upon their final moments was absolutely flooring. His odd and complicated relationships with Clara and River Song were also incredibly fun to watch, but the relationship he had with Amy and Rory was probably the most rewarding companion relationship in the revived series.

The Doctor and the Ponds

It was just amazing to watch Smith work. How he effortlessly transitioned through his absolutely wide range of emotions as the Doctor was fantastic. The way the man delivered a speech was fantastic. It’s clear to me, as it should be to you, that Matt Smith is fantastic. His time on the show has been a roller coaster ride. Not a single dull moment. All of it fast paced and fun.

Of course, Doctor Who is at it’s most exciting when a new Doctor is about to walk in. Despite the fact that we, as a viewer, know so much about what the Doctor is and what the Doctor stands for…the regeneration is an exciting time because it’s like everyone is walking into a brand new character. We don’t know how this new Doctor is going to be aside from the base set moral code of the Doctor…and that’s the unknown factor that keeps the show fresh. As strange and sad as Smith leaving is, he’s been involved in so many large scale things as the Doctor that it’s hard to imagine where he can go from here. Perhaps it’s a blessing that he realizes this. Good luck to the Twelfth Doctor (it’s so weird to type and say that), though. I hope he’s prepared for unreasonable hate, whoever he is, because the fans will not sit back and realize that this show now has a track record for picking the right star.

Still, it’s not like we’re never going to see Smith again. He will be starring in Ryan Gosling’s “How to Catch a Monster,” an incredible chance for him to stretch his legs and really show the world what he can do as an actor. And you can bet I’ll support him through every step, but still. Knowing he’s gone…knowing that by the end of the year, the silly face that has made me laugh, cry, and everything else will be someone else’s face…it’s uniquely heartbreaking.

I’ve struggled with this decision for quite a while now, never once making a final choice, but here it is. You can shout at me, or tell me I’m dumb, or anything else, but I’m finally ready to say it officially:

Goodbye Matt Smith. You truly were MY Doctor.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Old News… Bungie has Revealed Destiny

On a sunday, the seventeenth day of the month of February of the year two thousand and thirteen, Bungie, the all powerful developer, under the allowance of the much revered publisher Activision revealed unto thee the game of Destiny.

And Bungie sayeth, “be this not merely a first person shooter”. But this taketh from the greats of beyond: Halo, Borderlands, Planetside, the World of Warcraft. “We shall construct upon thee a shooter where thall shalt share the world and universe with friends and players alike to take down evil and allow the race of humanity to grow and persevere”.

Ok, so now that I have had time to let that sink in and I am not all like “OMFG BUNGIEZ MAKZ NEW GAMZ” or something of that sort, I can actually sit back and analyze my thoughts on Destiny. Here is what I got out of all of the information, including video, Bungie released to commemorate their new game.

This Game is Not a Normal First Person Shooter Translates to: this Game is Not Halo.

It is a first person shooter, but it isn’t Halo, I think is what Bungie wants to tell us. Nearly everyone I spoke to about the game so far is saying that it looks like Halo. Comments on news sites and blogs are constantly reminding us that Halo was also a sci-fi first person shooting game based on Earth’s future. But Bungie clearly does not think so, and they clearly state that this game will not be another Halo. I do believe them. I do not think it is going to be another Halo, but my question is this: will the universe, story, and lore of Destiny be able to drag me in like Halo‘s did? Obviously we won’t know that until we can play it, but Bungie seems quite confident that they can capture the crowd once again.

This Game is not an MMO but There will be MMO-like Gameplay.

Now this is the part that really starts getting confusing. Bungie is calling Destiny a “Shared World Shooter”. What the hell does that mean? Well, no one really quite knows yet, but it seems that it will be a huge, ever changing, world where you can travel to virtually anywhere even through out the solar system. People can play together and do missions together, but even when you aren’t playing with your friends you will be with people playing the missions at the same time like in an MMO… or something like that. And I believe there will be Guild Wars 2 (Editor’s Note: instanced) style events that happen… maybe? Bungie wants the players to create their own story-lines through a mixture of missions, player interaction, world interaction, customization, etc. I have not completely wrapped my head around the whole idea just yet, but it all sounds really cool. It also sounds like a whole lot to promise.

Bungie Wants Destiny to be Around for a Long Time

Ten years to be exact. This whole thing boggles my mind. Bungie has plans for ten years worth of content for Destiny. First off this means that the game will be carried through to the next consoles (one of which may or may not be announced by the time this is posted). Activision and Bungie both say it will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3, which is fine because these systems still have a little bit of life in them. The thing that gets me is that Destiny will not be out this year. With a game of this scale, I can easily take a shot to the wind and say that there is a good chance it will be pushed back past next year. I am not saying that the developers at Bungie don’t have the talent to get the job done by next year, but I am just saying that this is a really, really, tall order. On that note, next generation consoles will be starting to pick up steam and the Xbox 360 and Ps3 might be on their way out the door by Destiny’s release, so releasing on those consoles would probably be a misstep in my opinion. Activision did say that the game is prepared and capable to be played on next generation game systems, so this raises interesting questions about the next gen consoles in question. Will there be backwards compatibility for a big title like this, or will I ultimately need to buy myself a new copy once I upgrade? Will my character be able to change systems with me, or will Bungie and Activision ultimately nix the old for the new since this game is clearly going to need a whole gob of horse power?

The “Plot” of Destiny Sounds Cool

The golden age of human civilization was practically wiped off of the Earth until a sentient, extra terrestrial, all powerful being called the Traveler saves a small group of humans who grow and thrive and are ultimately able to get back on their horses and traverse the world once more. Once they do they find all types of baddies that want to kill them. It actually sounds pretty generic. But what I really like is how open this idea actually is. Bungie wants the players to create the story and the world. The best way to do it is to give a great big open-ended world where the player is not restricted in the least. Bungie has not given away a ton of back story, but I feel like they won’t really have to. This game is about the future and not the past. I am sure that we will learn more about it, but in this sense I am actually quite satisfied not to know a whole lot more.

This is all I have to say on the subject for now, even though there is so much more to talk about. Bungie.net will have an all new social system installed to text you game related news, you will be able to create a space craft to travel between worlds, and so much more has been said and not said it is so hard to even contemplate it all at once.

I am really interested to see where all of this is going to be heading. Destiny sounds like a fantastic game on paper, and I hope Bungie can pull it off. There are just so many questions floating around right now that it is so hard to not look at Destiny in a very confused way. Hopefully the awe-inspiring ambition will still be there the day we pop that disk in the tray and many years after.

Editorial, Feature

Two Years and Counting

As a warning, this article is going to be mildly sappy, semi-personal, and majorly self-serving. Remember this as we go forward and remember that you chose this.

As you probably won’t know, Sunday was my two year anniversary with GeekTi.me. I’ve been around since close to the beginning and I’m one of the few who can say this. I started, initially, as a podcast producer. As you can see, that didn’t turn out as expected. I liked writing before I jumped onto GeekTi.me, but given the logistics of a podcast hadn’t been worked out, I tried something. I submitted an article and Jordan was lovely enough to bring me on board as a writer.

Now, two years later, I’ve put a lot of experience under my belt. I’ve used these two years to gain a feeling for myself and my writing style. I’ve been there for every curve in the GeekTi.me road and, in a way, GeekTi.me has been there for the most recent and most important turns and speed bumps on the highway of my life.

[Did I mention that I kind of (hypocritically) hate metaphors? Unimportant, but something I should mention.]

I’ve loved writing for as long as I’ve been able to pick up a utensil and form cohesive sentences. I’ve always loved blending words and finding ways to portray myself in the sporadic figures we call an alphabet. There’s an art to being able to effectively communicate yourself in the words you write. I can’t say I’m successful at this 100% of the time, but I can say that I love trying and I love it when I manage to get it right. If other people are to be believed, I do a good job more often than not. It’s taken me a long time to take the praise at face value, mainly because it’s taken a long time to gather up the confidence I needed to fully accept that maybe (just maybe) I may actually be doing a good job. But here I am, finally swinging back at the procrastination monster. I’m ready to seize the day or something [Editor’s Note: YOLO].

I’ve been with GeekTi.me long enough to see many old faces disappear and a few new faces join the ranks. I’ve been around long enough to see GeekTi.me become a magazine, change its look, get rid of the magazine, fall off the wagon, jump on the wagon, create a web series, fall off the wagon again, become AlessioTi.me (love you, buddy), and start a video game podcast. It’s been a complete roller coaster of coolness no matter what stage it was in. It’s mostly an experience. I’ve learned a lot about working with a unit to make something mildly successful, which is important for me going forward with whatever I choose to do in life. If anything, this experience has really cemented my love of writing.

Journalism, I’ve discovered, is 80% this, 10% actually doing stuff, and 10% wondering why I’ve turned into a woman.

It isn’t without it’s pitfalls though. The boss battles of Procrastination and Writers Block are some of the most difficult ones I’ve had to face. Staring at a blank screen for an hour thinking about what to write is the bane of my existence. Figuring out what to write about and then wondering how to word it for another hour is second to that. The king of all of that, however, is giving up on both of those with the intent of coming back later and never getting back to it. I’ve lost many an article idea to the depths of time itself that way, a lot of those most recently. I’m fighting back now though. At least I’m trying to.

I’ve honestly lost my train of thought at this point. I started out patting my own back about a milestone no one cares about and went careening into whatever I fell into. But it’s no matter. What’s a thought without a train wreck, eh?

All I know is, GeekTi.me has been a force of good in my life. It’s allowed me a safe haven to express myself in a way I choose, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I hope to see this site turn into a huge smash in the future. No matter where it goes, though, I’ll always hold a large place in my heart for the geek site that could because of all the awesomeness and confidence it gave me.

Thank you to Jordan for believing in me from the beginning. Thank you Aaron and Alessio for following us loyally into whatever black hole we fell into with this. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this site in any way and thank you to those who will in the future (some that I know and some that I just can’t predict right now).

Here’s to two more years and even more. For the geeks. For the win. Forty-two. [Editor’s Note: I love you too, Sam]

Editorial

Pattern Recognition

In my latest “So…” article I discussed how to pitch a film to a panel, with a bit of context and bullet points. I’d also like to go a bit more in-depth with the context that I established for that article, as well as discuss the pre-production phase that I go through when working on a short film. I’m not claiming this is the best way to conduct pre-production, or the most professional way, but is my way of handling it.

Here is the plot and production process of the very short film that I pitched as part of New Orleans Film Festival’s Pitch Perfect student contest this year:

Plot

The little girl

Pattern Recognition is a whimsical realism narrative short film that is inspired by the visual aesthetic of Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, the story-telling quirkiness of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, and the bond that people can share even if they are part of a wide generation gap as presented in Christopher Cain’s The Next Karate Kid.

A ten-year-old girl finds herself bored to tears in her apartment complex one Fall afternoon, since all of the other school children are nowhere to be found, and she soon discovers an elderly man that goes for daily walks around the complex. Initially out of mockery, she follows the unnamed old man closely, but eventually finds herself pulled into his walk out of curiosity as she spies him stealing odds and ends from all of the neighbouring apartments.

As the day inches closer to night the young girl finds herself on an apartment building’s bare terrace. She continues to watch the old man from behind a concrete fixture as he loads all of his loot into a vintage World War II mortar. Her eyes light up as the mortar’s payload pops into the night sky, but her jaw falls wide open as the payload bursts open, sticking in the sky, as an actual star. As the young girl walks forward to finally say something to the nameless old man, he is no longer on the terrace.

The girl cannot sleep, as she is restlessly awaiting her next meeting with the old man and the expected daily walk, however the next day, and every day after that for two weeks, the old man doesn’t wake up. Out of frustration, and feelings of abandonment, the girl decides to carry on the old man’s ritual.

I won’t give away the ending.

Production

So, in short, I had the idea for this film in a dream. I initially took the basic concept of this film, a magical old man that never speaks but

The old man

steals worthless items from individuals, and tried to adapt it to a feature film detective story. I have since decided to put that on hold for this more articulate and defined short film concept. I also drew from the previously mentioned The Red Balloon, Pixar’s short films, and even Katamari Damacy for the Playstation 2. I aim for the film to be ten minutes in run time and to contain no actual on screen dialogue, with the only dialogue coming from the young girl’s mother who will be off-screen at the beginning of the film.

After having a basic concept, a plot treatment, and a character list drafted, I created a one-sheet (as mentioned in my “So…” article about pitching a film) that contained basic information, a tagline, and some character sketches, as well as a title graphic. I’ve decided that I want to produce the film and submit it to the next year’s New Orleans Film Festival. Even though I didn’t win the pitch contest, I had several audience members express their interest and cast their blessings on my production. The next step, following the pitch, is to draft a treatment of the entire film, following a script and character sheet, and then synthesize a shot list out of the treatment.

Once I have all of the necessary paperwork complete I will begin to scout for locations and start placing advertisements around my area, online, and in the form of emails to those who I know can assist me in search of acting talent. I know finding talent will be the hardest part, since I’m looking for two of the hardest positions to fill in a film, a child actor and an elderly person.

Upon casting both the talent and the locations, I will assemble a crew, but a very minimal one, because I want this film to be an intimate experience between the actors, the source material, and the locations themselves. I don’t want a massive crew to hinder any of these elements, and I also feel that a very small crew would be easier to pick up and move with.

As I enter the next stages of my film, I will provide more insight in this particular production, as well as stills and possible test footage. I hope that this will answer any questions that any readers may have about film production as well as provide some information into a field that you may not know that much about.

The “star maker”
Editorial, Video Games

Gaming as Art, and Why We’re All Wrong

Courtesy of Geekologie.com

Don’t worry, this isn’t another piece on the ending of Mass Effect 3, but, rather, a bi-product of the fallout, and an entry into the perpetual debate of gaming as an art form. There are two camps in the Mass Effect argument (three, if we count the silent masses, but they won’t complain if we don’t). There are those who feel the ending of ME3 is broken, and should be changed, and there are those who feel that Bioware should hold true to their artistic vision. These two arguments fall neatly on either side of the “Are Video Games Art?” debate that has been going on for, it feels like, my entire adult life.

Yes, I’m an adult.

If you’re not quite up on the Gaming as Art debate, it more or less falls into two schools of thought. Those who think that video games are like books, movies, paintings, etc, and those who think video games are like software, services, and toasters. Bear with me on this one.

If gaming was to be universally agreed as art, it would fall into the category that houses such creative consumables as books and paintings. It would make the people who made the games artists, rather than mere developers. It would validate the gaming industry against the big boys, like the movie industry. It would give develop– sorry, artists –an excuse for nudity (though said nudity may require an urn or some fruit to qualify as art). However, if it were more a mechanical thing, like a toaster, or a service you pay for, there would be grounds to complain about the product if, for example, you weren’t satisfied with how it worked.

I have looked hard at what is considered to be art and what is not, and the common differentiator seems to be interaction. You read a book. You watch a film. You look at a painting. These are all passive activities. You do not effect the story or change the image, you simply take it in. Artistic flair can be added to a toaster, but, ultimately, you buy a toaster to make toast. If it can’t make toast, you’ll buy a different toaster. You use a toaster. This is where the blurry line comes from. No, not the toaster; the vague nature of video games. Are they a mechanical experience or are they an artistic medium?

They are both.

You take in the story of a video game in much the same way you take in the story of a movie. Sure, you can often make choices, but they’re limited and, ultimately, you’ll end up with the story that the developers wanted to tell. But there are mechanics to a video game. There are, metaphorically speaking, moving parts, and those moving parts can be broken. You could make a shooter game that is, artistically speaking, the most beautiful thing anyone has ever seen, that attracts virgin maids and brings a tear to cold hearted … uhm, eyes. But, like the toaster’s ability to make toast, if the shooting mechanic is broken, gamers will buy a less stunning game that isn’t.

We can’t classify video games as solely art because they aren’t. If they were pure art, they wouldn’t be video games because we would not be able to interact with them. Nor can we deny the artistic component to games like a Mass Effect 3 or a Heavy Rain, where the story is such a large part of the experience. In that case, there is undeniable art and the developers should feel some degree of artistic pride in their work.

Here is the problem; human being’s have a problem with fuzzy middle ground. This is why, even without religious baggage, we argue over when it’s too late to have an abortion, or suffer brain melt when trying to wrap our minds around how something like an eyeball could have evolved. We, as a species, struggle to comprehend the idea that things generally don’t “become” in one neat instant. Things are often not black or white, and video gaming is no different.

Do I think Bioware should stick to their guns and stand by their artistic vision? Yes. Do I think disgruntled gamers have a right to say their choice-driven game is broken because there is effectively only one ending? Well, yes. Do I have the solution?

No.

Video games are both artistic and mechanical, and it’s about time we stopped trying to classify them as one or the other. Accept them for what they are – their own thing – and work out how to treat them accordingly.

Editorial

The State of GeekTi.me 2012

My fellow Geeks,

GeekTi.me has had a good run. Since we began, we’ve released 200 articles and tried out a variety of ideas. We’ve been graced by a classy staff of writers and contributors, without whom none of this would have been possible. And without you, dear reader, we would have no purpose! Ah, but what’s the use of sticking to the norm? The daily grind, the 24-7, it’s all for naught if we’re contented to accept “good enough”. We’re geeks, for the win, forty-two. And today I’m pleased to announce that big things are in the works for GeekTi.me. I won’t say exactly what yet because life happens and then everyone’s disappointed, but suffice it to say that there’ll be an…Explosion of awesome.

Starting soon, we’ll have a number of different programmings in place to be released on a semi-regular schedule as well as a new layout for the site. More of the quality you’ve begun to expect from the GeekTi.me name in more ways.

So to summarize: stay tuned, this will be awesome, and thank you all for a great year. Here’s to another!

Editorial, Video Games

Summerfield’s Soapbox: Catherine Demo Impressions


Yesterday, July 12th, 2011, marked the release of Atlus’ Catherine demo on the U.S. PSN and Xbox Live. So, how did it fare compared to all of the hype?

In short, I loved it. In long, run-on sentence fashion, I think that this game is going to be extremely polarizing and that those that do want to give it a try should probably try this demo out before spending the money on a game that is so radically different in terms of typical game presentation.

For those of you who know nothing about the game, allow me to give you a brief history. The Persona Team, the creative minds behind Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (Original, Portable, and FES), and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, had been working on a next-gen (current-gen) title ever since the last work was going into Persona 4. The team alluded to Catherine, the then untitled project, in Persona 3: Portable for the PSP by allowing the player character to interact with the then nameless protagonist from Catherine.

Shortly after all of that there were a few video teasers that were released, and the buzz began. It seemed that the initial obsession with the title spawned from its visuals and then, slowly but surely, more information on the story was released. So let’s dig in!

You play as Vincent Brooks, a man in his mid-30’s who has been in a relationship with Katherine for a very long time. Vincent seems most comfortable sticking to his easy, predictable, and controllable life, so when Katherine begins alluding to the fact that she wants to get married, Vincent begins to panic. We are shown glimpses of this within the demo, proceeding a gameplay section. The conflict that drives the story, however, is that Vincent isn’t sure what to do about Katherine. One night he meets Catherine, who is essentially the polar opposite of Vincent’s girlfriend. Vincent ends up cheating on Katherine with Catherine (yeah… I know) and simultaneously news stories begin popping up of men with histories of infidelity that are found dead in their beds. Cue Vincent’s nightmares.

The gameplay all occurs within Vincent’s nightmares. Vincent is haunted by these nightly nightmares that see him outfitted with ram horns, his boxer shorts, and clutching his pillow. He finds himself endlessly climbing to the top of a tower, trying to avoid falling to his death, and being murdered by other worldly creatures and sheep men that are littered throughout the tower. This is the meat of the game and it plays much like Q-Bert meets Intelligent Qube with a little Silent Hill sprinkled in. Puzzle games aren’t really my favorites, but I love the speed, suspense, and addictiveness of these segments. The full game promises to allow unlockables, online co-op and vs modes, an endless mode entitled “Babel”, and some other goodies.

Whenever you aren’t climbing through Vincent’s nightmares you are watching gorgeous anime cutscenes produced by the team behind Tekkon Kinkreet, Studio 4oC. And between the cutscenes, beautiful in-game cinematics, and nightmares, you play as Vincent as he visits a bar called “The Stray Sheep” every night with his friends. These portions boil down to being slightly date sim-ish with a bit of a morality system put in place that allows for multiple endings, but sadly no branching story paths.

Why this game is so exciting for me is because I’ve really never heard of a game with a plot quite like this one. It seems that most movies these days are focused more on the 30-something year old dealing with identity issues and relationship problems, but we really don’t see those themes even touched on within video games. I’m very interested to see how the story pans out when the full title is released later this month, but I think that regardless of the reception of the game, Atlus has released a very important video game simply because of the places it’ll take the audience.

I’ve been hearing that people are either loving this demo, because it’s everything that they expected and more, or that they are hating it because it is too uncomfortable or strange for their tastes. I’ll put it this way, if you enjoyed the balance of gameplay and highschool dating sim mechanics that Persona utilized in its last few incarnations, you’ll probably enjoy Catherine, if you’ve never played these games, please download the demo and try it for yourself.

If you aren’t in a position to download and try the demo, for whatever reason, here is a video of the entire thing.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Catherine news and updates.

Culture, Editorial, Feature, Gaming, News, Video Games

Game Corner: E3: Super Summary Edition


It’s that time of year again and the Electronic Entertainment Expo is here. News has been coming and going, but I’ve been stuck in Sicily doing study abroad and working on a documentary, so I’m going to fill you in as best as I can. So, let’s dig right in.

NEW CONSOLES

Let’s go ahead and get the big announcements out of the way. First and foremost, Nintendo has officially unveiled its new console, tentatively titled the Wii U. I’m not sure where the name spawned from (the U kind of rhymes with 2, I guess), but some journalists seem confused as to whether or not it is actually a “new” system or just some sort of Wii reboot. So Nintendo should probably work on that. Here is a picture… of the Wii U, not Nintendo working on the name (see below).

Big, huh? Anyway, Nintendo had a montage of all of their third-party titles during their presentation, and allegedly ALL of the footage was from the PS3 and 360 counterparts of these titles… so, Nintendo, what’s the deal? Regardless of all of this, and despite my distaste for most things Nintendo these days, the company probably had the best showing of new titles and gear, as well as more actual news. Oh, also Pikmin 3 got announced.

Sony finally decided to properly christen their awkwardly named PSP sequel. The NGP is now the PS Vita. Here is what it looks like (trust me, it’s still the same).

The games look gorgeous and it still sounds like the craziest combo of modern technology that’s been released for consumers in a very long time. On to the next one.

SEQUELS

Alright, so let’s go ahead and get the awkward ones out of the way. Tomb Raider, the reboot with the same name as the original (God, it urkes me when companies do this) actually looks pretty good. Clearly Crystal Dynamics finally wants to fill out Lara as a character instead of just some stacked, scantily clad, archeologist. Also the game looks to be more “survival horror”-esque this time around.

There is a new Need for Speed (ew.) which will have exclusive content for the PS3, along with the new SSX and Battlefield 3, coming out soon. The content for SSX is a map based off of satellite imagery of Mt. Fiji, the BF3 content is BF1943 included on the same disk, and Need for Speed (wait for it…) has more cars.

Far Cry 3 was unveiled for the PC. It looks gorgeous. Blew my mind like seeing Battlefield 3 for the first time. Now let’s all count down to the unveiling of the system requirements together.

Silent Hill: Downpour is shaping up quite nicely. Apparently the game is using its setting as the primary scare tool this time around, which I’m all for, as well as utilizing exploration as a way to scare the player over an extended period of time. Now, time for the bad news… Korn is doing the theme song. I’m sorry.

 

I thought that hearing anything more about Final Fantasy XIII would make me want to die, but seeing the gameplay and the demo videos for XIII-2 actually makes me kind of happy. Square-Enix looks to have heard our complaints and maybe this one will be good. The combat has been tweaked a la Pokemon-style fighting rewards of having monsters join you, the outfits and character classes seem to have gone back to the series’ roots, and seeing moogles in PS3 graphics is quite nice. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, I’ll be writing a follow-up article with a little bit more information soon. I apologize for my lack of articles in the past few weeks, but you’d be surprised how bad the internet situation is on an island located to the south of Italy.

If you want to let me know what you’re interested in hearing about next, just post below, and if you want more info now, please visit IGN’s amazing coverage and Destructoid’s amazing staff editorials. Until next time.