The Top 10 Saddest Statues in The Witness

I have now finished The Witness, which means that I am very cool and also smart.

Unfortunately, The Witness takes place on an island filled with people who are not cool at all: the statue people. For the world’s most extremely very Buddhist videogame, there sure is a lot of anguish in The Witness! There are like fifty statue people on the island, and I’d say that maybe half of them are definitely in the tearing-clothes and gnashing-teeth category of sadness.

So I’ve collected the best ones here. These are the saddest statue people in The Witness, arranged in increasing order of sadness. (Watch out-- they’re also a little spoilery!)

American Truck Simulator Review Impressions

In life, when you’ve chosen a career path as foolish as “video game reviewer” you sometimes find yourself fantasising about the good, honest job you’ll do when you finally give up. For me, it’s always been long-haul truck driver.   
I honestly don’t know why I find that idea so romantic. After all, it’s just driving along roads—in the case of American Truck Simulator, often through the near featureless deserts of Nevada and California, the only states currently in the game—for hours on end, interspersed with visits to truck stops to eat greasy food and catch not-enough sleep in your tiny cabin. Maybe it’s having grown up with games like Elite—where you’re essentially a long-haul trucker, just in space.

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia impressions

Let me tell you about my favorite part of the original Assassin’s Creed: escaping after a successful assassination. Once you’ve planned your careful approach and stealthily dispatched your target, all hell breaks loose, and any plan of egress is quickly forgotten in a mad dash across rooftops. 

XCOM Taught Me How To Lose

Videogames were a pacifier for my family. My dad had to work lots of late nights in a small town bank, so I'd keep him company in the dark of that poorly-designed Midwestern corporate hellhole. There wasn’t much to keep a young boy preoccupied in that place: just some fish in the aquarium, but that only kept my attention for so long. (To this day, I still think zoos are terrible but I love aquariums, because fish are already trapped in a prison of water, so we aren't really hurting them.) I needed something to keep my attention, so I borrowed video games from my father’s coworker’s husband. He'd send large diskettes to work with his wife, and she'd hide them in her desk for me to find at night.

At first it was Sierra adventure games, which bore a weird sense of humor more suited to a middle-aged nerd man than a ten year old kid. Then, one day, it wasn't silly games anymore. There were no more Gobliiins or King's Quests.

This time, it was X-COM.

The Track to Enlightenment

Racing games are not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s easy to forgive the average gamer for having little concern about the completeness of their trophy collection in Mario Kart, let alone their individual car manufacturer XP levels in Forza. Given their hyper-focused gameplay with often little or no story, there are plenty of perfectly acceptable reasons to keep it casual with racing games.

That doesn’t mean there is nothing to gain from a deeper proclivity for virtual racing. The genre has valuable wisdom to impart. What follows is a look at just a few life lessons from the track.

Strangling my dinner with my own two hands

The lede-buryingest, depths-hidingest videogames in the world are open-world survival-construction games.

In your average survival-construction game, you’ll spend your first three hours punching trees to death, or crafting simple tools out of rocks. You might tell yourself: “This game is about surviving, with rocks.” The first fifty times you die, the game is brutal. But ten or twelve hours later, your power usually escalates so dramatically that you’re crafting cannons or building solar-powered cattle farms or summoning robot soldiers through a death portal. “I’ve learned recently that the robot death portal mechanic is the real meat of this game,” you’ll say. Fifty hours in, you’ll probably be teaching yourself basic electrical engineering so that you can hand-program an even larger robot to kill dragons for you on the moon. “I understand now that the real endgame is moon dragons,” you’ll tell your friends. They’ll nod sympathetically.

Erollisi Day is almost upon us!

From the EQ Forums:


Happy Erollisi Day! Let’s celebrate!

“Good tidings and blessings of love to you! The days of Erollisi are upon us!” – Emissary of Erollisi


You can’t avoid it. Love is in the air, and Norrathians near and far are honoring and celebrating Erollisi Marr. Join in the festivities with favorite returning holiday-themed items, events, and achievements!

From Wednesday, February 3rd through 11:00PM PST on Wednesday, February 17th, seek out the Emissary of Erollisi and Grimble Grumblemaker in the Plane of Knowledge to embark on these special, time-limited adventures. If you haven’t completed the Erollisi Day Achievement, you can check under the “Special” tab in your in-game Achievement window to see what is needed!

Want more details on the Erollisi Day events? Read up on the holiday on Fanra’s EverQuest Wiki!

Looking to do some lovely holiday shopping? The Erollisi Day-themed Marketplace items will arrive on Friday, February 5th and will be available through Sunday, February 28th.

Go forth with heart, fair citizens of Norrath, and spend some time adventuring with those you love!

What the heck is Agario?

"Have you heard of"

I look up from my dinner menu to see my friend Chez watching me, expectant. Chez (not his real name) is a PhD student working on his dissertation, a film historian, and a freaking College Jeopardy champion, for crying out loud. If a name like "" comes across his dash, it's probably because it came up while he was researching stumpers for a pub quiz.

"You are the third person to mention that game to me this month," I sigh, setting my menu down.

Gravity Rush Remastered Review Impressions

I really like Gravity Rush. I only dabbled lightly in its original release on the Vita in 2012, but I played enough to know it was something special - a stylish action-platformer set in a strange open world. This HD Remaster makes all the sense in the world, allowing the Playstation 4 user base to experience one of the Vita's best games.

January Game Soundtrack Round-Up

Greetings, readers! Nate Ewert-Krocker here, to round up the best game soundtracks from the past thirty days. January’s typically a quiet month for game releases, a lull after the flood of holiday titles, but it seems as though there may no longer be a slow season for games. There have been plenty of games released this month with great jams--here’s a sampling!

At the beginning of the month, the enigmatic Pony Island appeared on our collective radar without any forewarning. Our Raphael Bennett seemed to think it was an artifact worth considering, and the soundtrack, by Jonah Senzel, is worth a listen as well. It’s got a lo-fi chiptune sound that fits the game’s glitchy aesthetic; for my money, it seems like Senzel’s taking some cues from Danny Baranowsky’s soundtrack to Super Meat Boy. Here’s one of the game’s early tracks, “The Machine."

The whole album is up on Senzel’s Bandcamp, and it’s generously pay-what-you-want!

Weirdly, the new Amplitude doesn’t yet have a publicly available OST, despite it being one of the (relatively pricey) rewards for its Kickstarter! According to this Reddit AMA that the devs at Harmonix held, it’s… just not a thing that’s happening yet? Maybe it will be in the future? This seems like something of a missed opportunity, as the central conceit of this new Amplitude is a “campaign” that plays like a concept album. Having played through that campaign and enjoyed it, I’m rather disappointed that I can’t buy the album in order to better learn the songs! Watch this space, I guess. 

Probably the most exciting soundtrack released this month is scntfc’s ominous score for Oxenfree, which I reviewed a couple weeks back. Oxenfree’s soundtrack is low-key, ambient electronica with malevolent undercurrents. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the game’s ghost story. This track, “Beacon Beach,” is a good example of scntfc’s chill sound.

If you’re looking for something a little more sinister, head on over to scntfc’s Bandcamp page and listen to the rest of the album. (I’m a big fan of “Against the Waves” and “Argonaut Atalanta.”) The album’s up on Spotify as well! 

I hadn’t heard anything about Punch Club until someone on Twitter pointed me to its bizarre PR strategy: the devs only launched the game on Steam once a collective of Twitch viewers had beaten it (in the manner of “Twitch plays Pokemon”). I guess their unorthodox word-of-mouth promotion worked, given how I heard about it! The game’s soundtrack is only a few tracks long, but it’s worth a listen nonetheless: it channels the NES sound pretty effectively, which works well with the game’s pixelated aesthetic.

Here’s the menu theme:

View on YouTube

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak came out on the 20th, and its score, by Homeworld series composer Paul Ruskay, is available on Steam! Unfortunately, it’s only available as DLC for the game, so… hooray for Homeworld fans! A little quick Googling will find you rips of the whole soundtrack on YouTube to see if it’s your jam, but again, you won’t be able to purchase it above-board unless you already own the game, in which case you’ve probably sampled it plenty. It’s good! A nice, cinematic score that appropriately conjures the game’s desert environs.  

I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear the soundtrack to Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, because it’s composed by none other than Yoko Shimomura, one of the true greats (she’s responsible for the scores to Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Mana, and bloody Street Fighter II, just to name a handful). Shimomura’s music can be pulse-pounding and epic (see her scores for Parasite Eve or the aforementioned Legend of Mana), but she has a special talent for bouncy, festive tunes that are unapologetically joyful, and she’s always brought that skill to the table when composing for the Mushroom Kingdom. Here, take a listen to “Papercraft Battle” from the new Mario & Luigi and you’ll see what I mean:

View on YouTube

This sort of sound has always fit Mario to a T, especially with the springy, kinetic battle systems of the Mario & Luigi games. Frustratingly, there’s no official release for this soundtrack, and the other games in the series haven’t had official releases either (there was a compilation CD offered a couple years ago as a Club Nintendo prize… in Japan, of course). Here’s a YouTube playlist, at least, so you can sample the other excellent battle tunes and grow your appreciation of Shimomura’s work in anticipation of Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV, which she’s composing.

Speaking of Square Enix, Final Fantasy Explorers hit just a few days ago, and I wrote up my early impressions here--though I didn’t mention anything about the music, which is pretty neat! It’s arranged (and mostly composed) by Tsuyoshi Sekito, who’s best known to me as the composer for the most excellent Brave Fencer Musashi. The best thing about the FFEX soundtrack is the preponderance of boss themes--this one, “Magical Beast of the Wind,” might be my favorite of the bunch:

View on YouTube

Unfortunately, there’s no Western release for the OST yet. You can import it, if you’re dedicated, but it might be worth it to wait a while--Square Enix is better than most at releasing their soundtracks Stateside, and the FFEX OST is out on the Japanese iTunes store. While you’re waiting, you could hit up this YouTube playlist to sample some tracks!

Lastly, and probably leastly, I see that 3D Realms’ Bombshell is slated for release at the end of this month. Everything about the game screams “Duke Nukem: But With Girl,” and so I’m inclined not to pay it any further attention, but 3D Realms put this “Official Soundtrack Theme” on YouTube, and every time I watch it, it gets better:

View on YouTube

Yes, that’s a note popping up over the video exhorting you to give it a “Thumbs-Up for Epic Guitar Solo!” If this video and those shredding guitars are any indication, then Bombshell is certainly--100%--going to be a videogame. “Thumbs-Up” indeed.

And that’s it for this month! There have been a handful of other games released in January whose soundtracks either haven’t manifested yet or aren’t going to (That Dragon, Cancer; Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India; The Deadly Tower of Monsters), so I’ll keep an eye out for those in the months to come and keep you updated. There’s plenty to look forward to in February (Firewatch! Street Fighter V! Fire Emblem Fates!), so gear up--it’s going to be a great year for game music. Happy listening!