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How Activision would ruin Limbo 2

Like this, apparently. This is your comedy post for the day. Spoilers: this post is 100% factually accurate, as the comments comment. Nothing in this video is a lie; it is 100% confirmed for factual accuracy. And if you believe that, I have a sub-prime mortgage I can offer you for half of what I’d usually offer it for, just because I like you so damn much.

(Wtf is up with the picture? First result from Google Image on Call of Duty. This is some sort of trolling coup, apparently.)

The Sumday Post: Something about the fambly cat

You know who’s a good band? Grandaddy. Maybe I listened to them and forgot, completely, to post your usual Friday collection of links. Maybe this is complete bullshit. Maybe I’ve just been playing Rock Band. But you have no way of knowing which of these is true, so ENOUGH WITH THE FOREPLAY LINKS LINKS LINKS!

-We posted some reviews this week, you could *possibly* care about. One for Dragon Quest IX, which I wasn’t a big fan of, and Totally Tiny Arcade!, which sounds excitingly novel. Like a book, with lots of pages.
We continued to look at Limbo, and its many themes. There are a lot of them, all right.
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The themes of Limbo

We’ve written pretty extensively about Limbo, the newest game taking the “games as art” community by storm. And it’s a pretty fantastic piece of work, to be sure. It’s one of the first games to subtlely convey “art” in a way necessarily of a video game. It’s not an art movie turned game, it’s not a clever gotcha plot wrapped in artistic trappings, it is an attempt at art. And sure, it falters a bit, but it shows us the goods, the ways video games can be artistic.

But I have to get something off my chest for a minute here. All the theories about what happens: they’re bullshit. You can’t really say a particular interpretation of art is wrong, but the theories about how Limbo is about a car crash, or how the protagonist is dead–those are as wrong as saying The Seventh Seal is about teabagging.
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Fat Princess Credits & DLC Thoughts

Today, I indulged myself with Fat Princess–courtesy of the PSN ‘summer sale,’ which priced the game at a delectable 7 dollars. Who can pass up a deal like that? Certainly not me.

It’s insane to think that right now, I’m looking forward to just as many downloadable titles as I am disc-based content. Before this, there was Limbo, and Blacklight. Looking forward there’s still Monday Night Combat, Shank, Scott Pilgrim, Super Meat Boy, Closure, Journey, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike online…and these are just the ones that come to mind. This isn’t something I would have been able to predict a year ago.

I’m probably in the minority but, I don’t mind having no physical representation of my games anymore. It’s nice to not have to worry about disc scratching, boxes, where to put things. With how much I travel between school and home, honestly, it’s a godsend–I’ve come to hate air travel precisely because it forces me to carry around so much. So, having everything saved to my hard drive is fantastic. No having to wade through dozens upon dozens of discs or boxes to find that one game I’m looking for, either. And, if something is worth owning, it’s probably the Collector’s Edition–which I’m not buying because I get a CD inasmuch as buying for craftsmanship exclusive to the CE, as well as extra trinkets. Lastly, I’m not the type of person to showcase my titles on a shelf, either–it’s too prideful for the wrong reasons for my taste.

And to think I was such a big advocate for discs not that long ago…

Anyway, I’ve been having a grand time with Fat Princess so far–the only reason I’m not playing right now only because my controller ran out of batteries, so I have to charge it. Prior to that, though, I came across the credits in the menu under ‘Who’s Your Daddy?’ , which you can watch here:

Call me easily amused, but I think that Fat Princess has most clever credits I’ve ever seen. You become death itself, like you do when you win a round online, and you get to kill the avatars of the developers! Favorite part: getting to chop CliffyB’s head off with my scythe. And the only reason I noticed he’s credited at all is because the credits had such a great framework–usually, I’m the type of person that tunes out for that type of stuff. Who wants to read a never-ending list of names for five minutes?

So far, my 7 dollar purchase has been worth it.

The Friday Post: Absenteeism

You might have wondered, “Where has the Friday Post been? I love the Friday Post!” Well, we’ve skipped a couple weeks, because…well, because I was a little lazy. And nothing grabbed my attention.

Regardless of today not being Friday, the Friday Post is back, and…well, about the same as ever. But with links! New, precious links!

-We’ve reviewed a couple games in the past couple weeks, which you should know about. Hot as ever DLC games Limbo and Blacklight: Tango Down got some reviews from us. If you allow me to step up onto my independent blogger soapbox for a second, downloadable games are the one true avenue us independent bloggers have to make timely reviews, because major outlets pay less attention to DLC.

We’ve talked more about Limbo than other games, and we will talk more about Limbo in the future. Keep an eye out for another post on it, and our theories on how the game ends*.

-Also old, but wholly underappreciated, Fern and Graham fought it out over permadeath in Fire Emblem. One might say that the wheel of fate is turning. I wouldn’t, but you might.
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LittleBigPlanet Becomes Limbo

I wasn’t the hugest fan of Limbo, though some of my fellow writers really loved it. However, I would dare say I’m the hugest fan of LittleBigPlanet, and intrepid modders have combined the two into a Sackboy filled nightmare.

This LittleBigPlanet level doesn’t quite capture the atmospheric tensions of the original game, but you know what? It’s a fine job, done by some fine folks named Bra2008. I’m assuming that means s/he has 2008 bras. Or 2008 brahs. I don’t know which is more terrifying.

Check it out, anyway. I’m tempted to fire up LBP just to play this level.

Limbo: Review

(Naturally, spoilers exist. In a game like this, the novelty of what you run into is much of the fun, and I ruin some novelty in an attempt to be thorough. I spoil mechanics. I do not spoil the plot, though I allude to it.)

Many games have tried to mine Braid’s legacy. Braid, for better or worse, opened the door for independent developers to search for deep, universal truths in their games, especially when those games are 2-D platformers. Something about this most retro of genres inspires independent developers to try to take massive intellectual steps forward.

Limbo, developed by Playdead Games and the premiere title for this year’s Xbox Summer of Arcade lineup, takes active inspiration from Braid, but also tries to do its own thing–which separates it from mere pretenders like The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Limbo tries to differentiate itself from the genre, and it should be rewarded for making that leap.

It’s a real shame, in a way, that Coma was released in the months before Limbo, because these two titles invite necessary comparison. They’re both the new breed of independent platformer: instead of jumping and mechanics used to impart emotional wisdom, usually pertaining to relationships, these new titles focus on atmosphere and existential horror to convey what meanings they carry.

Evaluating Limbo is difficult. It is not a game one can grade with a number, or even with words. It is a title where a lot of the discussion has been based around its price*, which doesn’t relate to the game itself. What it needs to be evaluated on is its content, and its message, and its mechanics, and that is a truly difficult task. However, I would say that Limbo is a good game that loses the plot after a while.

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A Journey Through Hell: Travel & Movement In Limbo

“Why is man the most restless, dissatisfied of animals? Why do wandering people conceive the world as perfect whereas sedentary ones always try to change it? Why have the great teachers – Christ or the Buddha – recommended the Road as the way to salvation? De we agree with Pascal that all man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room?”

From “The Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin

Travel. Etymologically, it is related to the notion of toil, of work, and of suffering. Today civilization is defined by the industrious stationary cityscape. Civilized men, you will find them in towns, in cities, in an office. The others, the ones that render themselves illegible to society–nomads–their world is travel. The true nature of travel, and the toil and suffering associated with it, is no stranger to these people. Today there are about 40 million nomads in the world–a far cry from what that number would have been just a few hundred years ago.

To us cityfolk, the world outside our little havens may seem like savage place–we may think that technology and the refuge of civilization can save us from it, but the second that I walk out into the wood, this truth becomes apparent even to me. That truth is bound in the delicacy of human skin. We’ve removed ourselves from that vulnerability, though, we believe no longer have to acknowledge it. We think ourselves gods in the face of nature: is there anything we cannot engineer or outwit?

Interestingly, the word travel may have origins in the idea of suffering, but if you were to look up the definition of the word right now, the dictionary states that travel is “it often for pleasure or business.” Ancient peoples travelled for necessity as hunter gatherers, or for spiritual pilgrimage. For these people, ‘a journey is a fragment of hell,’ as Chatwin would say. Ancient Egyptians believed that their purgatory would be a journey through the ‘Field of Reeds.’ Their afterlife became a projection of journeys they were not able to take during their lifetime. Today, we travel for novelty. Something, along the way, was lost. Somewhere, along the way, we thought we could defy our nature.

We’re in Limbo.

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You need to drop everything right now and buy Limbo

Yes really, drop whatever game you’re playing right now, and go get Limbo on XBox Live Arcade.

If you’re complaining about the $15 price tag, or aren’t sure, let me tell you something.

Limbo is worth every penny.

Less than ten minutes into the game, there is an encounter with a spider that makes it worth all your 15 hard earned greenbacks.

Download this surreal “Summer of Arcade” title, turn up your surround sound, and prepare to soak in a black and white landscape of awesome. Actually, turn that bass dial right up too. And…prepare to jolt in fear…oh yes, this game will have you jumping off the futon in your parent’s basement in fear. Not that phony Resident Evil fear either, the “holy crap I totally did NOT see that coming” kind.

Check back soon for Tom’s review.

10 Games To Look Out For

We here at Nightmare Mode recognize that it is difficult to be mindful of the myriad of games that are being announced, developed or released during the year. There’s too much to keep track of, its true. Fear not, dear readers, because we have composed a list of ten yet-to-be-released games that are too interesting, awesome or amazing to miss out on.

Note: Numbers don’t serve any purpose except that of enumeration.

1) Alan Wake

What is it? Alan Wake is a psychological survival-horror game developed by Remedy Studios, the guys behind the Max Payne series. It is scheduled to release on May 18th.

Why should you care? Alan Wake promises to amaze us with its suspenseful story-driven experience. If Bright Falls is anything to go by, Alan Wake will engross the player through its creepy atmosphere. Reviews and previews are raving left and right over how its the first game in a long time which has scared them out of their wits–and honestly, can you remember the last truly scary game you’ve played?

Here’s a promotional video Remedy has released which sums up why you should care quite nicely:

And lastly, it has a mode called Nightmare Mode….like us! Instant-win.

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