New Year, New Pile of Shame

AKA: The 2012 Alphabetical Experiment

Over the holidays, I was looking at my collection.  I’ve never posted a picture of it here (that would definitely happen if I wasn’t so comfortable on my couch while I’m writing this), but along one wall I have over 600 physical games staring me in the face.  I’m very proud of the collection I’ve been building since I was a kid, but there are always those games that we never get around to.  Either you get them cheap and throw them on the shelf for a rainy day, too many great games are out at once, or something doesn’t click.

I got the sinking feeling that there were far too many games in this gen and the last that I had either played for an hour and put on the shelf or didn’t even pull out of the cellophane.  The bad news is that most of those were purchased brand new, $60 a pop.

The total number of games that I haven’t finished?  75.

We talked about this issue on the latest episode of TVGP and I’ll spare the scary math here, too.  But, to say the least, I need to play the majority of these games before I flush more money down the toilet on brand new games that I won’t touch for far, far too long.

Since I have this humble blog, I thought I’d catalog my journey through this insane pile.  I thought the first round of Pile of Shame voting went very well, but it led to too much indecision.  I need a firm plan for tackling this gaming mountain, so I thought I’d take some inspiration from my good friend Brad.  He started working through his PoS in alphabetical order.  I think that’s such a fantastic idea that takes all o the guesswork out of what I need to play next that I’m going to shamelessly steal it.

I’ve taken all of the games across PS3, 360, PS2, PSP, and DS and I’ve thrown them into one gargantuan pile.  I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the progress through the pile and some wrap-ups for each game here as I go through.  I’d love to finish the entire pile this year.  Fingers crossed.

First in the pile is Afro Samurai.  Keep an eye out for a post about it after the next episode of the podcast.

Deadly Premonition: Day 08

I’ve actually already finished DP, but there’s so much insanity to cover in the last chapters of the game that I can’t possibly cram it all into one post.  There will be one more post after this and the first Pile of Shame game will be complete!  Then voting will start on a shorter game for the second time around :P

Fair warning, I have almost 60 images for this day alone, so this post will be very image heavy (and feature less raw text than before).

We’re getting into some serious Spoilertown, Zach, so hit the jump to see how far down the rabbit hole this game goes…

Continue reading

Deadly Premonition: Day 4

Call Me York; Mr. Zach If You’re Nasty

Not too many interesting things happened in the lumber mill for while, until I ran into the Raincoat Killer again.  He trapped York in a room, so I naturally hid in gaming’s best hiding place: a locker.  I had to use the RT to hold my breath, similar to that strange section in the beginning, but I was surprised with how tense that whole section was.  I wasn’t expecting any section of DP to be tense in any fashion, but it goes to show that the game still has a few surprises in store.

Speaking of surprises, I ran into my first chase scene with the Raincoat Killer.  I’ll be honest and say that it’s probably my least favorite part of the game so far.  The QTE section at the bottom of the elevator was bad enough (even though I typically like QTEs), but waggling the left stick back and forth for a few minutes wasn’t exciting at all.  What it really reminded me of was the very first Mario Party game for the N64, where you’d have to spin the analog stick in a circle like a madman.

But after that fight, York picked up the last clue, a torn piece of red raincoat, and figured it was time to wander out of the creepy, zombie-filled lumber mill.

Oh, I also forgot to mention that I shot a hand-shaped doorknob off of a tree, then threw it into a door covered in handprints.  Honestly, though, York shouldn’t have been shocked when the hand-shaped doorknob grabbed his hand and wouldn’t let go.  It’s hardly the strangest thing in there.

“She Looks Like Anna Farris”

York casually wanders out of the lumber mill sporting his Official FBI Rain Cape and has a short chat with Emily and George that goes something like this:

York: “Hey guys, what’s up?”
George: “I hate you and you dress funny.”
Emily: “It’s alright George, he doesn’t care about us or our feelings.”
York: “I wasn’t listening, but can I see your backs?”

Sorry, what?

It makes sense once York explained it, saying that he’ll need to check their backs to see if they have a mystical, glowing upside-down peace symbol burning away on their back.  Y’know, the regular crime scene stuff.

Emily flashes her back, which, naturally, doesn’t sport any angry scars.  George, after some prodding, shows his, which is covered in horrible tattoos, which he refuses to answer any questions about.  His defense?  “It’s like your Mr. Zach.”

Mr. Zach was his father, you can just call him Zach.

Knobs was watching me play this sequence and his comment on Emily’s appearance was, “She looks like Anna Farris.”  Well, it sounds like Emily has a new nickname.

I found it especially funny how York brought up Zach out of the blue right after he hops out of the lumber mill, basically saying, “I’m back from the lumber mill, don’t ask about Zach.”

The Sternum’s Connected To the Right Hand

The game finally let me loose again, so I figured it was time to wander around town a little more.  There has to be more cards out there somewhere, right?

George explained outside the lumber mill that the town was incredibly superstitious, so the legend of the Raincoat Killer forces people inside every time it rains.  He certainly wasn’t lying, since virtually everything in town was closed, save for the awesomely-named dart bar SWERY ’65.  No man can pass up a good dart bar, so I wandered over there and put myself on top of the leaderboards for the local dart game.  It doesn’t control well, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it because you don’t throw darts, you shoot them out of a dart gun specially made for that game.  I only wish that I could shoot zombies with the dart gun, no matter how ineffective it would be.

With almost everything closed, I was looking around on the map and spotted another bone, so I wandered over to grab it while I had a few free hours in-game.  I’m now carrying around what appears to be an entire human skeleton like some sort of serial killer, though, for some reason, York hasn’t mentioned it to anyone.  I hope it’s used for some sort of side quest at some point and that it’s not for some sort of freaky backwoods ritual that York’s into.

I also stumbled on what appears to be the the important item in the game after giving George a flower with no name: the radio.  This magical and amazing device will teleport (by calling for a police car to drive him around) to any place he’s been to before.  I can’t imagine how many hours this radio will save me.

Lastly, I dropped by the local convenience store, the Milk Barn, again to see if they had any new suits in stock.  I moved around some more boxes to get the silver card, got locked inside the Milk Barn due to some strange bug, reloaded my game, and pushed those boxes around again.  It was worth it, though, because I bought something labeled a Spiritual Map A and got to hear Keith (sup, brah?) tell a spooky story with a green light shining on his face.  He told me about how Cope Tunnel is haunted, then put arrows on my map.  If I remember correctly from Giant Bomb’s Endurance Run, that leads me to another infinite ammo weapon.

So for the next adventure into Deadly Premonition, I’ll be shooting more townspeople zombies in Cope Tunnel.

Deadly Premonition says I’ve played about 8 hours as of chapter 1-6.

Deadly Premonition: Day 3

It’s a windy, rainy, and overall crummy day here in Ohio, so what better way to spend a quiet Sunday than with our good friend York?

“Do You Think We Should Tell Someone?”

While driving around town towards the Greenvale Forest Park, I noticed an icon on the map near me that was shaped like a bone.  Naturally, I had to check it out.  After making my way through the cemetery and around to a small yard in back, I found a leg bone sitting out in the open.  Travelling down a path nearby, I found another bone, a hip bone this time.

Both times York mused that it’s not related to his current case, but wondered whether or not he should tell someone about it.

Yes, York.  Yes you should.  Greenvale doesn’t need two murderers.  I thought you were with the FBI…

“Ow!  Crap, jeez.”

No surprise, Emily and George weren’t terribly happy to see me when I showed up at the park.  York, however, promptly ignored what they were saying and wandered into the park with the walking, complaining dead weight in tow.

York meets up with Jim Green, who has been taking care of this forest.  He used to be a tree surgeon, y’know.  Because that makes sense.

York understandably wants to chat with the two young fellows that found the dead lady from the intro, Isaach and Isaiah.  Of course everyone around freaks out, but York finally gets his way and gleans very little important information from the kids.  After lighting up another smoke, he’s ready to profile the hell out of the base of that tree.

After shooting a few bird’s nests from the nearby trees, York finds a helpful picture of an upisde-down peace symbol, a piece of a stiletto heel, something rusty, and some messed up looking dirt.  By the way, George said that his crew had scoured the area for all clues, but how did they miss a picture laying on the tree that held the dead woman?  Real crack team you got there, Greenvale.

But that doesn’t top George’s reaction to the clues.  For some reason, those four clues set George off into some strange, perverted fantasy involving the stiletto heels, kneeling in the dirt, and doing…something.  He doesn’t really get into specifics, but he seems quite bothered by it.  Or turned on.  Thank goodness he wasn’t in the hospital for the ‘chase the woman in the red dress with heels on’ sequence or he may have needed a change of pants.

(As a side note, I have the start menu pulled up and the deer’s head is nodding off.  Awesome.  I may have to try to grab some video of it later.)

After figuring out that the rusty thing must have come from the old lumber mill (which probably showed up in about half of the episodes of Scooby Doo ever made), it’s time to wander our way over there.

“Zach, they’re here.”

Well, York manages to be the same patient, understanding person that he always is and accuses George and Emily of being part of the murder plot.  Whoops.

I’m about halfway through the old lumber mill, but there are a few things of note.  Firstly, I kind of suck when it comes to shooting in DP.  The shooting itself isn’t terribly fantastic in the first place, but I tend to freak out as soon as zombies are on screen and manage to waste too much time swinging the camera around.  None of the zombies so far are really anything to worry about, combat-wise, so I need to remind myself to calm down a little bit.

Secondly, I’m not really crazy about having to climb up small boxes and other small environmental impediments.  I’m sure that, at some point, having to hop up and down on those things will bite me.

I was, however, happy to see DP take advantage of a good elevator.  Sometimes games give you a large elevator that is completely devoid of enemies. DP thankfully gives you an elevator that has enemies in it once you pull out the mangled mess of hair that stopped it from moving.

Also, I’ve been rooting around in some toilets that have flares and health kits in them.  Gross, York.

Next Time

Next time I’ll be finishing up the old lumber mill, then hopefully wandering around the town some more.  And maybe telling someone about those random human bones lying all over the town.

Deadly Premonition says I’ve been playing about six hours as of midway through 1-4.

Deadly Premonition: Day 2

Second playthrough of DP is over!  I found myself oddly excited to come home and play, though that may have been in large part to being in the middle of a very busy week at work.  But let’s get into it!

[Arnold]

Upon entering the local police station, I meet the delicious biscuit baker Thomas, who tells me that he’d love to show me the files, but has managed to scatter a number of keys around virtually the entire station.  I never knew there were so many different types of squirrels, but I guess games can teach us all something new.  After finding an entire keyring of squirrel-related keys, I stumbled upon one half of George’s hilariously named dumbbells, Arnold (the other is Sylvester, for those not playing along at home).  I also got a pretty good laugh at York marveling at the hunting rifles on George’s wall, and agreeing with him that you’d likely never see that in the city.  I greatly enjoyed his musings about whether or not George would let York shoot the rifles.

Regrettably, there weren’t too many interesting details in Anna’s files other than she was 18, her father died, and her life in this small, empty town in the middle of nowhere was, unsurprisingly, pretty boring.  So let’s go look at her dead body at the hospital!

But First, Let’s Grab Cards

There must be a name for the condition that some gamers have, where any collectible needs to be picked up.  Back in college I had a roommate whose girlfriend would stop for each and every ring in Sonic 2, so I started calling it Sonic Syndrome, but it’s not one of my better names.

What I guess I’m saying is that I can’t stop picking up these stupid cards.  I picked up one today labeled “Gina’s Sponge.”  Um, thanks, I think.

But after a short diversion, it’s off to the local hospital!  Emily was very, very insistent that I show up by 19:00, because that’s when the hospital closes, York.  I doubt that the hospital closes, it’s likely that the coroner leaves at some point, but she was very pushy about that.  But when I hopped out of the car to grab something shiny on the side of the road, magpie-like, George yelled at me saying that I was taking too long.

Sorry, jerkface.

“You’ve angered the Monarch”

I won’t pull any punches: George is a dick.  York’s more than happy to play along with Ushah (side note: awesome name) and his chess-related games and Emily doesn’t quite seem to be doing anything yet other than looking surprised in the background when people start talking, but George wants none of it.  He’s all business, baby.

I even tried to talk to George before I went busting into the hospital, but George still yells at me.  I just can’t win with this guy.

But Ushah has the body and quite a few things happen in quick succession.  Everyone grosses out over the corpse, Ushah brings his findings to the team, gets yelled at by York for bringing up an older case, and York describes the murder in extreme detail, shedding light on details I’m surprised he knows.  York then takes over the case because he finds a red seed in Anna’s mouth.

I’ll give you three guesses about who’s not happy about York taking over and the first two don’t count.

“Zach, they’re here.”

Since it’s been a good ten minutes since York’s had a smoke, he excuses himself to go out in the hallway and smoke (in a hospital!).  What does he find there?  Zombies, of course.  These ones, however, start using guns near the end, though it appears to make little difference at this point.

He clears out all the zombies, whips out a cigarette, and next thing you know the Silent Hill portion is done and George is complaining about something York’s doing.

Emily’s radio rings (that’s right) and Thomas shares that he’s gathered witnesses at the scene of the murder, so next time I’ll be heading out there to question some of Greenvale’s locals.

And I’m not here to judge, Greenvale, but you may want to have someone look at your zombie problem.

Deadly Premonition says I’ve played about four hours at the end of Chapter 1-3.

Deadly Premonition: Day 1

 

Programming note: I’ll be posting all of these Deadly Premonition posts under the ‘Pile of Shame’ category, along with the next Pile of Shame.  And I won’t be shying away from spoilers from here on out, so beware.

Call Me York.  That’s What Everyone Calls Me.

What I didn’t expect when I started Deadly Premonition (DP) was how much I’d get sucked into the story almost right away.  I’ve watched some of Giant Bomb’s Endurance Run before, but it’s been quite a while.  You’re introduced to FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan as he’s driving through through what the game says is Washington state, heading towards his next FBI case.  Against better judgement, he surfs around on his laptop (while driving), talks about his scars (and Tom & Jerry), tries to light a cigarette unsuccessfully and gets into the quietest car crash ever.

Oh, and there’s the whole Zach thing, too.  I was a little surprised to see that he talked to Zach right in front of Emily, commenting on how attractive she was.  I’m quite sure that she could hear him, though maybe George took the compliment instead.

“It looks like we let in some unwanted guests, Zach.”

Some time must be spent discussing DP’s controls.  They’re…not great.  I wouldn’t go so far to call the game unplayable, especially after only a few hours, but the controls, especially camera controls, remind me more of an older Resident Evil game than something more recent.  I’m sure that I’ll get accustomed, but fighting the zombies in the Prologue got a little challenging when cornered by about three of them.

Actually, on that note, are they zombies?  Diseased townspeople?  Aliens?  The game calls them shadows in the first investigation…picture..thing, but I’m not sure what that means.  Hopefully it’ll get explained as the game goes on.

Whatever they may be, they’re definitely creepier than I thought they’d be.  I haven’t jumped (yet), but the Prologue section was pretty damned creepy.

“F K in my coffee!”

Most of my time today was spent hunting down trading cards for no real reason other than it’s a collectible and I had seven hours in-game until I had to go to the police station.  It’s also a good opportunity for me to learn more about the oddly large town DP’s thrown me in.  I am glad that Polly, the owner of the local and gigantic hotel, explained why the town was so empty.  Apparently after the local logging economy failed, only 10% of the town’s previous 6,000 people stayed around.

Other than collecting trading cards, I spent some time wandering around the hotel looking at all the posters and displays about the town.  Most of it wasn’t terribly descriptive or enlightening, but I enjoyed that there were a few small details like that around what could have been a largely dead environment.

Anagram

Today I played around four hours, making my way through the game’s second day.  Next time I play, I’ll be heading to the police station to go over anagram’s Anna Graham’s files.