Wolfenstein: The New Order Was Amazing and You Should Play It

I had fairly limited expectations of Wolfenstein: The New Order going into the game. I was familiar with Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein 3D, but knew almost nothing about this installment. I had heard it was decent. A few reputable video games websites were giving it high marks. But, otherwise, it had largely floated beneath my radar. I picked it up only because I needed a pleasant and blood-spattered diversion during some time off from work. I figured I’d get to shoot a bunch of Nazis, stab a bunch of Nazis, and maybe explode a bunch of Nazis, all the while basking in the glory of my own ginormous noggin.*

Look at the size of that thing. It's like a steely-eyed ham.

C’mere and get your noogies, you magnificent bastard.

It would be a frank and productive way to spend my vacation.

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Postcards from Monument Valley


There’s been a lot of hype around the release of ustwo’s Monument Valley this week. Believe it.

While it didn’t quite blow my mind the way Fez did when it first came out, Monument Valley surpasses Fez in two areas: accessibility and atmosphere. Touchscreen controls lower the game’s barrier to entry significantly. Do you have fingers? Do you know how to touch things? You now know everything about how to control this game. The puzzles are just challenging enough to be satisfying without tipping over into frustration. I feel fairly certain that any reasonably intelligent human (regardless of age) could make it through the game under two hours.

What really makes Monument Valley so very worth it, though, is the atmosphere it creates. Pretty much everyone agrees that the game is beautiful. But, what I found most compelling was how very lonely it felt. With little in the way of exposition, I felt… well, sad for Ida. The cold precision of the game’s architecture, its “sacred geometry,” were so inhospitable and isolating. Yes, beautiful. Yes, fascinating. But, holy shit, could someone give this little girl a hug? [SPOILERS] Ida does meet a friendly face (eye?) along the way, but that momentary friendship leads to the saddest moment in the game.

I suppose it all works out in the end, but, honestly, I didn’t find the resolution alleviated those feelings. I still left the game feeling lonely and a little sad, but, maybe that’s just how it goes when you take a solo trip to a forgotten land. It can bum you the fuck out, but you’re far richer for the experience.

Also, you get some pretty sweet postcards.



photoThrees is a pretty fantastic little mobile game that has been monopolizing my commute time lately. [Thanks, Jake!] It’s simple, clever, highly addictive and cute as balls. The music is adorable. All the cute little numbers have cute little faces and give cute little greetings when they’re brought into their cute little existence. They even make what I interpret to be kissy faces at each other when it’s time to combine. Although, I must say the kissy faces are a little less cute. They’re like a terrifying, open-mouthed kiss from someone in IT. All you can do is wonder why your chin is so wet and why your life is so sad. 😦

But, as great as I think this game is, something has been troubling me since the very beginning: THE NUMBER SIX HAS A MALE VOICE.

This is the most ridiculous nonsense in the history of the personification of numbers. Seriously. Stop. We all know the number six is a girl and what a girl! I think it goes without saying that DAT ASS.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Am I just perpetuating gender stereotypes? Is it wrong for me to make assumptions about gender without first asking the number in question how it self-identifies? Damn. I really wish I hadn’t read a book that one time.

Anywho, you should play Threes. It costs money, but not that much. And, it’s worth it.

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