“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!”

Well I suppose one day there will be an end to Whatcha’ Playin’ Mills?, but that’s besides the point. You're not here for doom and gloom, nor quotes from old rock songs. Nay, you're here to read my thoughts on vidya gamez. I don’t blame you, they are quite intriguing.

So without further ado, lets get to the 10th edition of W.P.M.!


Number 1


Thomas Was Alone (PS3)- Some people, and by some people I mean David Cage, would have you believe polygons equal emotion. A developer who has the better tech can not only create video game characters with more diverse facial animations but actually be able to better convey the intended emotions to gamers. What a load of crap that is. All you need to do to figure that out is play Thomas Was Alone. T.W.A. is well written and because of that, conveys emotions far better than most AAA games. It’s a 2-D platformer all about a gang of quadrilaterals. They don’t speak: they just act. The only talking is done by The Narrator, aka Danny Wallace, who won a BAFTA for his performance.

Wallace’s delivery is oozing with wit and charm, something T.W.A. handles extremely well as a whole. Puzzles occasionally have a strange difficulty spike and checkpoints are oddly placed, but the heart of T.W.A. is in the story. Characters consist of simplistic skills but complex personalities. For a game about a bunch of squares and rectangles to elicit such emotion from the player is a nice counterpoint to the push by AAA developers to make more movie-like games.

If you would like to read more of my thoughts on Thomas Was Alone, check out my full review on Plus10Damage.com.









Number 2


Game Dev Tycoon (PC)- Ever wonder what it’s like to start up your own development company from scratch and rise to the top of the industry? How about simply making your own game? Well look no further than Game Dev Tycoon. Similar to Game Dev Story, but different enough to warrant a purchase; G.D.T. is a enjoyable and sometimes frustrating experience.

Starting from the bare minimum of a one-man team working out of a garage, G.D.T. starts simple enough. As you level-up skills and research new tech and ideas, gameplay begins to open-up. It also begins to get a whole lot more complicated. G.D.T. provides insight into the everyday problems of a game developer. Is attending the big conference worth the $80,000? Do you hire a staff during development, then lay them all off afterwards? At first glance this tycoon game seems run-of-the-mill but eventually forms into quite an in-depth experience. Yet it finds a balance between super-complex simulation and accessible tycoon game, reminiscent of the old RollerCoaster Tycoons.

One major problem holds G.D.T. back though: luck. You could perform everything correctly during development, only to end up with a financial and critical flop. It would be like an acclaimed developer expertly crafting a game and then flipping a coin to see whether it's successful or not.

If you would like to hear more of my thoughts on the game, my review is sure to be up sometime next week on Plus10Damage.com.


Sorry, no music from G.D.T. on Youtube.





Number 3


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)- Last week I talked mostly of the positive side of C.O.D. 4. This week, I’ll get into some of the negatives. For starters, how about the inclusion of perks such as Juggernaut and Stopping Power? They seem to only exist to counteract each other and considering most people use one or the other, they end up wasting a perk slot. There’s a reason why both no longer appear in more recent C.O.D. titles, and that’s because they were a silly addition in the first place. Secondly, the inconsistency of flashbangs and concussion grenades. Neither one is full-proof. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thrown one into a room and then proceeded to be obliterated by a non-impaired enemy.

My next two problems are ones which still plague the series. Ones that should've been fixed long ago but for one reason or another get overlooked. Sub-machine guns allow the player to be far too mobile. Not in a forward and backwards motion, but a lateral one. It’s like they’re sliding on ice but are somehow able to turn on a dime. The last problem I would like to bring up, is one that has always baffled me. Why in seven-hells do bullets come out of the character model’s head and not the barrel of their gun? Does this make sense to anyone? Do you all have some secret ability to shoot Barret 50 cal. rounds out of your foreheads? Why am I being left out of the fun?








Number 4


Lone Survivor- (PC)- Last year was the year of the indie. F.T.L., Journey, Mark of the Ninja, Thomas Was Alone, Fez, Hotline Miami, and so many more made a big splash in the industry. There was also Lone Survivor: a survival / psychological horror title, that garnered a fair amount of attention. Now that I’ve got my chance to play it, I fully understand why.

Lone Survivor has such an oppressive atmosphere, which so few horror games are able to properly convey these days. Depression, paranoia, and apathy play a significant role in not only shaping the protagonist's personality but also support the setting. Unlike most survival-horrors, enemies are to be feared. Should you attempt to sneak around them or use what precious little ammo you have left?

Lone Survivor is a great example of another indie title that executes its goals better than most AAA games with similar aspirations. You actually get the sense that the world you inhabit isn’t an easy one to survive in. Something the Dead Space series lacks after the first installment. Simply exiting a building is a multi-day process filled with multiple opportunities for an unpleasant death.








Number 5


Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC)- Before I get started on this one, I advise you all to stop what you're doing and go check out the Star Wars pack on Steam. It’s filled with a bunch of great Star Wars games for absurdly cheap prices. You can find the KOTOR series, the Jedi Knight series, Battlefront II, Republic Commando, and a few other lesser ones.

Okay, now for Dark Forces. The first installment of the Jedi Knight series is a classic FPS that I’ve sadly never played: until now. I’m a mere five levels in and I’m having a blaster, oops, I mean blast. The levels are as you would expect of a 1995 shooter, in that they’re far less linear than modern titles of the same genre. In fact, it’s easy to get lost, but I’m rather enjoying that aspect. Dark Forces doesn’t lead you around cut-scene to cut-scene, being forced to view the 'ohhhh! ahhhhh!' moments. It simply plops you into a level, gives an objective, and tells you to complete it. I’ll admit, I’ve had to occasionally look up a Youtube video for help, but I’m still finding Dark Forces far more enjoyable than most modern shooters.

Controls are surprisingly smooth for a nearly 18 year old game. Kyle Katarn, the protagonist, speeds around the level in Doom-like fashion, as he slaughters alien and Empire scum alike. While the mechanics take some time to fully grasp, they don’t hinder the experience for too long.

The narrative is also quite good. Kyle is a ‘mercenary’ loyal to the Rebels. I won’t go into too much detail but the story runs parallel to the original trilogy, occasionally referencing the major plot points and characters of the beloved Episodes IV-VI.



Well, three indies and a game from the mid-90’s? I fear I might be turning into a gaming hipster with what I’ve been playing these days. If not for some bro-dude C.O.D. time, I'd likely be wearing a fedora and scarf right now, while sipping a latte or whatever it is that hipsters drink. Maybe I’m just poor and this is all I can afford? Yea, that’s it. I live a destitute half-way hipster life: poor me.

You can read more of my writings at Plus10Damge.com. I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter @GeneralMills_44 because my Tweets are pure gold, or so I’ve been informed.Disclaimer: that informant may or may not be me.