Lately I have been frantic in my gaming selections.  Usually I play 2-3 games and only upon completing a game do I add a new title into the rotation.  Additionally, I strive for genre diversity by replacing the game beaten with a similar genre such as not replacing Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow (an action game) with Fallout 3 (a third person shooter/RPG).  I enjoy the games that I am now playing but in the past few weeks the urge to start a new game becomes irresistible and my in-play games cannot distract me from playing "that" game.  My games rotation currently ballooned into (in order of addition to the list) Lost Odyssey, Batman: Arkham City Game Of The Year Edition, Prey, Dragon Age Origins, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Gears Of War 3.  Now I am feeling the itch to begin Alan Wake as a creepy game to play as Halloween decorations are brought out of storage.    

Aliens v. gamers is a classic struggle with no end in sight. 

While reviewing my recently added games because of my inability to turn down a title that is simply begging to be played I realized that I developed a need to beat back the alien horde.  While I have not yet beaten any of these games, the alien baddies are already epic foes. 


I honestly had no idea what to expect in this game based solely on the box art. 

Prey a 2006 game by 2K Games and Human Head Studios that in the years after its release developed a cult following.  After I discovered that the game centers on a protagonist who is Cherokee (after Assassin's Creed 3 I became curious about how other video games depicted Native American culture) and the local used game store sold the game for $5, the purchase turned into a must by. 

Prey is a first person shooter that is more about the exploration than the shootout.   Wandering the alien ship our protagonist yells, curses, breathes heavy, and his heart beats loudly I am more mesmerized by my living gun with moving tentacles than worried about a sudden alien firefight. The spaceship itself is so far the scariest enemy I have faced.  After any gun (or bow and arrow) battle progressing is more dependent on solving a level puzzle involving switches, changes in gravity, portal doorways, or just making the locked door go boom.  The exploration required to solve the puzzles reveals that apparently alien species that involve a lot of goo makes constant sucking sounds.

Let me use this image of a level I have not yet encountered but featuring those very not nice ghost children because searching for Prey images has some traumatizing results. 

The alien spaceship is constantly killing off other human survivors with horrible impalement type deaths as well as trying to kill us with tentacles waving from the ship walls, holes in the walls (a source of the ship's sucking sounds) vomiting offal and bones upon us, violent ghost children playing war games and sudden gravity changes sending us falling towards a method of death (see above for impalement, tentacles, ship vomit, ghost children intent on the death of others as well as other death types that I am missing). 

My Prey playthrough awaits and luckily the game's long list of short levels gives my sometimes short attention span a short term reward with that "chapter completed" ding.  My hope is to save Earth from this alien invasion but with other human survivors dying at all times on the alien ship and me unable to intervene, plus those creepy ghost children running amok.  What happens in the end is a likely bloody impalement just in time or Halloween. 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Rule of thumb: stop playing once you race to other end of the map "just to see what is out there."  This strategy, of lack of one, ends poorly.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown a 2012 game by Firaxis and again by 2K Games.  The classic alien invasion is rebooted for our modern times in which we are still unprepared for an alien assault.  Despite the stress of an underprepared XCOM, the threat of nations pulling out of XCOM, requests from other nations that cannot be met (I do not keep extra satellites lying around), and the never-ending possibility that my hard working soldiers will meet their untimely demise in the next outing booting up this game always makes me smile.

The top down view on my console makes me grin remembering the previous gaming eras.  Times when pixelated graphics resulted in characters feared and beloved not due to lifelike graphics but because of our experiences with those characters.   The panic by the appearance of a death dealing enemy was among the most memorable moments of gaming.  In our current generation reboot the graphics are not award winning but again can elicit pure fear because of the enemy type and the threat of permadeath.

My most feared moment so far.  Those skittering legs are also used for skewering. 

In XCOM: EU it is the emergence of the Chryssalid that sends a jolt of panic into my button presses.  Sure, the brief cut scene of the slobbering and stab happy Chryssalid is scary.  The true fear is the knowledge that with its armored body the Chryssalid requires at least two shots that connect with its target as well as a strategy for retreat because the creatures travel in threes and within one turn two more will be inching up to my crew.  Additionally, Chyssalids cause a death worse than death.  After a fatal stabbing, civilians and soldiers alike rise again as grossly overpowered zombies that eventually morph into a Chryssalid.  The revelation of those skittering purple creatures from the dark side of the map causes a full scale retreat in hopes of not gunning down the zombie corpse of my own soldier.  

Gears Of War 3

Yes, a woman on the cover of Gears Of War 3!  No, when a member of her own COG crew wants to trade her for a side of bacon (also what is a "side of bacon")!  

The Gears Of War is a 2011 release by Epic Games and Microsoft Studios, the franchise is my guilty pleasure first person shooter.  The overly muscled soldiers with a gun array that specializes in causing aliens to explode are but one part of a ridiculous lore that is a ton of fun to play.  Despite the franchise's surprisingly dark story, when I consider gaming as "fun" and I want gameplay that is equally "fun" I choose GOW.    

Recently a friend finally remembered to let me borrow his Gears Of War 3 copy and the desire to blow away the Lambent outweighed my "but I have too many games already in play" sensibilities.  With my brain in complete meltdown following work nowadays sometimes I just need a brain relaxing game that involves a lot of explosions.

Reduce (done with the stalk's death), reuse (we can hang our laundry on the dead stalk), recycle (ideas anyone?). 

The alien army is endless and dangerous while my COG soldiers are slow moving even when running.  But once I find my cover and unload the screen is full of glowing yellow Lambent ooze until I cannot resist running up to the final few enemies for a chainsaw themed death.  Amidst this insanity are the GOW3 Lambent Stalks.  Huge "Jack And The Beanstalk" inspired stalks sprout out of the ground during battle while instantaneously burping out fully formed, armored, and equipped with weapons Lambent enemies.  Targeting the pods ends the waves of new enemies while eventually killing the stalk which then resembles a dead tree trunk.  Each time a new stalk stands dead in a parking lot or ocean floor I wonder what use these stalks will have in the post war rebuilding.  Tree houses for everyone!     

My gaming time remains curtailed with work deadlines requiring much of my focus.  Luckily, when the controller is in my hands I am tasked with nothing less than saving the world by triumphing against a dastardly alien foe.  With no time, or ability, to engage in peace talks we have no choice but to use the weapons at our disposal in order to save the human race.  The only question is will that weapon be the spirit realm, a last minute rocket launcher shot, or the trusty melee chainsaw?

Thanks again for reading.  Time remains short for life's "fun" activities but for gaming there is always time.

Do you have a favorite alien themed game?

Or a favorite alien enemy?

Or a preferred weapon to use against the alien species?