Archive for the ‘Video games’ Category


Dead State – a dream come true?

May 6, 2011

Some time ago, at a RPG session me and my friends discussed our dream computer games – in other words, if we could have someone design us a computer game, what would it be like? Unsurprisingly my dream game featured zombies. I framed it as a Jagged Alliance/X-COM style game set in a zombie apocalypse, featuring base and team management, turn-based combat and some RPG elements. Unfortunately, while this is a wet dream for me, no-one would ever do a game like that.

Then I ran into Dead State.

Instead of rewriting everything on their site, let me just quote:

Dead State is a compelling, high-tension RPG set at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse – a deadly illness is rampaging through the world, turning those infected into the walking dead. As society is beginning to fall apart, the player must organize a scant handful of allies, working on fortifying a shelter, scouting for food and supplies, making uncertain alliances with others, and attempting to hold together a group as humanity teeters on the brink of extinction. And although the zombies lurk as an ever present threat, the biggest obstacle to the player may just be other humans with the same goal: survival at any cost.

-Strategic turn-based gameplay: combines single-player character control with streamlined ally AI management, allowing for innovative party control

-Lush graphics: expansive maps and detailed character models brought to life through the power of Torque 3D

-Unique perspective: Combination of classic isometric perspective and field of view based on character line-of-sight allows for a tense and exciting game experience

-Open-ended gameplay: Large explorable world and non-linear storyline allow players to explore the landscape of Dead State freely, and encounter new challenges each time they play

-Engaging story and characters: Story and characters written by veteran game developer Brian Mitsoda (Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines) – features realistic and compelling dialogue and expertly-woven story elements

-Compelling player choice: Players not judged by a linear morality scale, but asked to make difficult and challenging decisions to keep themselves and their fellow survivors alive

-Complex and reactive character AI: Allies react realistically in combat situations, human enemies employ variable tactics against other character, zombies follow frightening mobbing behavior

-Innovative mechanics: Noise mechanic affects how zombies track prey by sound, resource management within player shelter allows for streamlined upgrades and organization of ally tasks

Sure, design promises are design promises, and it remains to be seen how they actually work. If they manage to pull it off, we’re looking at THE PC game for zombie enthusiasts. The game should sport a decent plot, judging from Mitsoda’s Vampire: the Masquerade game which was pretty ace. The pictures below should give some idea of what the game will look like. Click to enlarge to huge versions.

Here’s a PC Gamer article to further whet your appetite.


Dead Island – the movie?

February 23, 2011

A week ago I posted the beautiful, haunting trailer for the game Dead Island. The thing has apparently – and deservedly – taken the Internets by storm, and there’s now talk of a movie. And some talk it is!

First off, The Wrap reported that Union Entertainment and producer Sean Daniel (of dubious The Wolfman fame) owned the movie rights to the game.

What do you know, a few days later Dead Island’s developers Deep Silver issued a press release, saying that this was not the case. They are in talks with “major players”, though, as this interview with 24 Frames tells us. Here are some interesting snippets:

We’ve had a lot of inquiries, not only from Union but from other major players for film adaptation. The talks are very early and there’s no deal whatsoever. Right now I’d say it boils down to three or four opportunities. Some are studios, not just bonders [financiers] like Union. We’d rather go with a big studio that can bring the creative side.

We had a couple of big-name directors come to us. One of the top directors in Hollywood sent a studio his link to the trailer and said he was interested in this, and the studio contacted us.

I think this can be a good movie if it’s done right but you do have to see it as separate from the game. We’re not going to go out and write a movie script based on the game. You have too many limitations in the game you don’t have with a movie.

As for the game itself, here are some gameplay (yeah, right) pictures. I’d take these with about a handful of grains of salt, as they’re obviously manipulated to perfection. They do show promise anyway.


Zombie goodness? Upcoming? Right here!

February 17, 2011

It’s time for another look at what’s in store for us zombie lovers in the near future, and boy, there are some greats!

First up is Dead Season. It looks like a grown-up zombie movie, with nice looking production. In other words, it doesn’t look cheap and shoddy. I’m usually a fan of zombie flicks with a more adult take on the subject matter, so this looks very interesting. See the official site for more info.

The next one is Another World, a zombie movie from Israel. It’s great to see this love of ours spread into different countries, even if the movie doesn’t look like it’s bringing a lot of new content to the world of zombies. Looks decent nonetheless.

I’ve saved the best for last. This is a trailer for Dead Island, a video game of zombie survival horror. The video is beautiful, touching and haunting at the same time, and certainly raises expectations for the game very very high. Let’s just hope that the actual game can meet them. The CGI is just stunning, this is what the dire Resident Evil CGI romps should’ve/could’ve been. The official site is under construction at the moment.


Hot right now

November 25, 2010

Woah, a good while since my last post. Sorry about that, dear readers! Real life has gotten in the way yet again, with other hobbies and studies taking my time.

After a posting break it’s always nice to do something different, and this time it’s a “Top 5 at the moment” post. Here we go, in no particular order:

Horus Heresy book series

While I’m not a big fan of WH40K in general, these books have got me hooked. They depict a time long before the current date in the WH40K universe, being more like WH30K, and chronicle the catastrophic events of the eponymous Horus Heresy that see the Emperor’s most beloved son turn on his father and bring the galaxy to a bloody civil war.

There are lots of things to like in HH. The series boasts many of Black Library’s top writers, such as Graham McNeill and Dan Abnett, and most of the books – even the not-too-impressive ones – are pretty ok scifi fare. The books deal with a time period ten thousand years distant, so the writers have a lot of space (literally, too) to move and work in. Reading these books makes me wish the regular WH40K fluff was this interesting, with loads of alien civilizations and humanity’s spin-offs.

The best thing for me, however, has to be the point of view. Many of the books deal with the so-called Traitor Legions, the Space Marines that sided with Horus against the Emperor. Regular 40K fluff simply places a terribly boring and bland EEEEEVUL stamp on them, whereas the HH books tell the stories from the villains’ perspective. It turns out most of them aren’t really evil after all, but instead have all too human flaws like vanity or pride, which lead to their downfall. It doesn’t help that the benevolent God-Emperor starts to take on a more and more sinister cast as the story progresses.

I’ve always loved interesting villains. Sauron? Boring as hell. Saruman? One of my all time favourites. Whenever the time is taken to flesh out an antagonist, a story becomes much more interesting to read. At times you don’t know who you’re rooting for, and even if the antagonist IS evil, you find yourself thinking “Weell, he does have a point there.” The HH books are loaded with this, and the stories of Horus, Fulgrim and Magnus the Red are nothing short of delicious. Granted, some of the books aren’t really worth reading (Battle for the Abyss, for example, is a waste of time and money in my opinion), but the excellent ones more than make up for this.

If epic high fantasy scifi is your thing, give these books a go. I got mine through the Book Depository. You can check the publishing order here, for example.

Dawn of War 2

It’s been a long while since I’ve been this hooked on a computer game. Dawn of War 2 is a real-time strategy game set in the world of WH40K. Unsurprisingly, my consuming of lots and lots of WH40K fiction (see above) led me to pick up this game, and it hasn’t disappointed.

The story focuses on the Blood Ravens Space Marine chapter that lays down all kinds of hurt on orks, eldar and tyranids. The story is fine, the cutscenes lovely and there’s a little rpg element too, as your squad leaders gain experience and you can tailor their skills and wargear to suit your needs. All this combines to make a game that has a significant “one more mission, even if it’s 2 am” element.

I played DoW1 to death when it came out, and I’m glad to see the sequel is quality stuff as well. There’s a trailer below to whet your appetite.

Role-playing games

Miniatures are cool and all of that, but I’m a role-playing gamer first and foremost. RPGs are going through a small renaissance in my regular group of gamer friends, with games popping up here and there. A few days ago I had the honour of guest-GMing a game in a massive campaign my friend Petri is running. The campaign – named Century – is a wonderful X-Filesy alternative history romp, with one game played per year of in-game time. My contribution? Zombies in Estonia in 1936. Fun was had.

Our 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons is going strong as well. A lot of RPGs we play nowadays deal with pretty adult themes, ethics and the like. This campaign is about monsters, leveling up and solving mysteries. It’s great fun, and the social gathering is at least as important as the game itself.

Role-playing games have also allowed me to combine my hobbies with the real world. My master’s thesis (in education) is a survey study about the views role-playing gamers have on RPGs as a way of developing empathic intelligence – social skills, creativity, empathy and so on.


Winter has hit Finland yet again. While it brings some annoying things with it – such as loads of snow and freezing temperatures – it also provides a lazy student/blogger/gamer with all the peace and quiet he needs to invest in the things that really matter: games, movies, miniatures and so on. Since it’s perfectly acceptable to stay indoors in the winter, it really is the season of the geek. I’ve prepared for a long winter by stocking up on Horus Heresy books and zombie fiction, as well as making sure that most RPG sessions are held at my place. Oh yes, and there’s Christmas, too!

The Walking Dead

I can’t not-include TWD, can I? For my comments on the subject, see this post. We’re having our second TWD get-together with three of my friends this Friday to watch episodes 3 and 4. Can hardly wait!

Those are the five most interesting things in my life at the moment off the top of my head. Hopefully I’ll have time to get back to my regular irregular posting schedule now.




Zombie treats #5

October 19, 2010

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Great news for people looking for a zombie western, as it was announced that the zombie content for Red Dead Redemption will be released as a standalone disc, with no purchase of the original game required.

From Rockstar Games’ site:

Also coming soon, Undead Nightmare, a single, stand-alone disc that bundles together for the first time ever, the Undead Nightmare Pack, the Outlaws to the End Co-Op Mission Pack, the Legends and Killers Pack, the Liars and Cheats Pack and all the Multiplayer Free Roam modes released to date.  Undead Nightmare will be available at retail stores everywhere for $29.99/£24.99/€29.99 and does not require a copy of Red Dead Redemption to play.

And here’s a new trailer. I think it’s going to be a must to purchase.


Zombie treats #3

October 1, 2010

Interesting zombie stuff just keeps rolling in. Here are the latest things that caught my attention:

Left 4 Dead – Sacrifice #3

The excellent webcomic continues. This really is the best zombie comic I’ve read since The Walking Dead.

Click to go to comic

Left 4 Dead – Sacrifice trailer

Speaking of Sacrifice, a lovely cinematic trailer for the new DLC has just been released. Looks mighty tasty, and has got me thinking that it might be time to fire up L4D again.

Red Dead Redemption – Undead Nightmare trailer

Red Dead Redemption, the excellent (or so I’ve been told) spaghetti western game is getting the zombie treatment. The idea of combining zombies and westerns has been around for quite a while, but apart from some comics and low budget flicks, there hasn’t really been much to speak of. The trailer below shows that this combination is potentially a really, really good idea.


Zombie Outbreak Simulator

December 14, 2009

Here’s a bit of zombie fun for all you fans of the undead. Binary Space is a Flash game developer, and they’re working on a game called Class 3 Outbreak, with a release coming in early 2010. Rather cleverly using Google Maps, the game is an RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game, where the player uses a meagre police force to try and stop a vicious zombie outbreak.

Binary Space have already released the Zombie Outbreak Simulator, which is a sandbox game previewing Class 3 Outbreak. It’s simple and fun. Just set the number of zombies, the infection time, the number of armed civilians and policemen etc, and watch zombies consume Washington DC.  Despite it’s simplicity, it’s strangely attractive and addictive. I often found myself filling in small narratives, such as when a very industrious policeman put down around 50 zombies in the streets of a residential area, or when a bunch of zombies stormed a baseball field full of people. I also particularly liked my own  28 Days Later scenario, in which I set the zombies’ speed to “very fast” and the infection time to 1 second. Fun was had.

Click on the link below to try out the simulator.

By the way, I noticed that my ad-blocking software for Firefox blocked the game (not really surprising, there is a lot of ad content along with the game), so you might need to disable yours on the game page, or at least create a filter exception.


Left 4 Dead 2 demo out

October 29, 2009

The Left 4 Dead 2 demo is now playable to people who have preordered it. That would not include me, with my poorly student budget. I can, of course, console myself with the following trailer/opening demo for the game.

And man oh man, that is some sweet stuff. To the people that created the atrocious – and appropriately named – Resident Evil: Degeneration movie: This is how you do CGI zombie action. Oh, and this is how you do dialogue as well. Oh, and characters.

If only we could get a feature-length film of this.


Left 4 Dead 2 teaser

June 3, 2009

What can I say? I love Left 4 Dead, and the sequel’s due out this November. I’ll let the teaser speak for itself.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Those are indeed hand to hand weapons.


Dead Rising 2

April 29, 2009

There aren’t too many games about zombies. Sure, they appear in every other first person shooter as generic enemies, but actual genre games are in short supply, especially if you don’t take into account little Flash games such as Last Stand. Disappointingly the excellent game of zombie mall mayhem, Dead Rising, only appeared on Xbox 360, despite all the rumours about a PC version. Apparently Capcom listened to gamers – the PC game market probably had nothing to do with it – and the appropriately named sequel Dead Rising 2 will appear on the PC as well. The sequel is set in a very Las Vegasy setting called Fortune City, with the zombie epidemic running wild throughout the US. The last thing to combine Las Vegas and zombies was the movie Resident Evil Extinction, so the bar really isn’t set very high.

Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

Check out the over-the-top trailer with the world’s most hilarious zombie-killing headgear here.

I can hardly wait. This just might be the most zombie fun on the PC since Left 4 Dead.

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