Replay – Headhunter Redemption

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Replay – Headhunter Redemption

This week on Replay we take a look at an obscure PlayStation 2 game that somehow has both too much, and not nearly enough world-building.

The game follows the exploits of the titular Headhunter, Jack, and his new partner, Leeza X, as they shoot lots of bad guys and try to stay out the Below, which just sounds like bad news all around. We gave Headhunter Redemption a 6.75 when it released in 2004. For part two, we play a game based on a popular children's toy, but make some important soundtrack changes. And that's it! Nothing extra happens and there is no post-credits sequence. The episode just ends like a perfectly average episode of Replay. Thanks for watching!

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Watch Us Play The First 45 Minutes Of The Surprsing FMV Game Late Shift

about X hours ago from
Watch Us Play The First 45 Minutes Of The Surprsing FMV Game Late Shift

After their heyday in the early-to-mid 90s, FMV games became relatively scarce, though they've started popping back up in recent years. The latest of these is Late Shift, a choice-driven FMV game where the choices... well, they don't seem to matter much.

Still, we couldn't resist the chance to talk over some mediocre acting and faster-than-light character development, so Javy Gwaltney, Manon Hume, and myself (with studio help from Ben Hanson) sat down with the game for your enjoyment. It's... something, that's for sure.

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Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

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Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

Licensed games have a well-deserved reputation for being awful– cheap cash-grabs that trick fans of the source material into playing sub-par games with little to no redeeming value on their own. Sure, the occasional outlier like GoldenEye 007 or Arkham Asylum comes around and shows potential in great licenses, but by and large, most gamers can have more fun by throwing their money into a raging grease fire than playing, say, Kinect Star Wars.

Games based on TV shows often lure us in with the promise of some sort of “untold tale,” with additional story content, voice actors from the original, or a script written (or vaguely “overseen”) by the show’s creative staff. All too frequently, however, these games fail to provide any kind of remotely interesting gameplay or production values to back up their ambition to honor the source material.

Every once in a while, though, a TV-to-game adaptation pops up that, while it might not be a revolutionary reinvention of the genre, at least serves as a fine addendum to its source material and a passable gaming experience.

Funny To A Point – Dear Nintendo: You're Blowing It

about X hours ago from
Funny To A Point – Dear Nintendo: You're Blowing It

Look, here's the thing: I don't want to write about Nintendo again. I've already recounted my lifelong frustration with Nintendo being Nintendo, and just a few weeks ago I roasted the entire 1-2-Switch "game" library because as far as first impressions for a new system go, it's the equivalent of wearing a tuxedo shirt to a funeral. I simply don't want to devote the mental energy to another what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-Nintendo rant, and while such a column would certainly be right at home on the Internet, that's not what Funny To A Point is supposed to be.

If you've ever made it all the way through one of these long-winded columns (or just scrolled to the bottom to leave an angry comment), you may have noticed that the banner at the end states Funny To A Point "celebrates the random, humorous, and downright stupid things that make gaming so much fun." Believe it or not, I really try to achieve that tone; a lighthearted read to wrap up your week on Friday afternoon, whether that's when your office shuts down, or just your brain. Sure, I may compare a developer to Satan every now and then, but it's all in good fun, and I hope even fans of the topic can laugh along with the rest of us.

Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 21 Hours

about X hours ago from
Never Played Shenmue II? Watch Us Play The First 21 Hours

Last year, over the course of four months, we played through Shenmue for the Dreamcast in its entirety. It was an experimental video series, with an undefined schedule that allowed us to take in all the feedback for each episode by reading and responding to comments in (almost) real time. The experiment was a success! So we immediately decided (after playing through Dark Souls III, Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon, Shadow of the Colossus, and Resident Evil 4) that there was no time like the present to return to Yu Suzuki's masterpiece. For the sequel, we're playing the Xbox version that was published by Microsoft in 2002.

The Virtual Life – The Unsettling Humanity Of Nina Freeman's Kimmy

about X hours ago from
The Virtual Life – The Unsettling Humanity Of Nina Freeman's Kimmy

Kimmy is a different kind of game from the rest of developer Nina Freeman’s works. Freeman, who now works at Fullbright as a designer on Tacoma, has released a number of personal vignette-like games throughout her career. Her early projects are notable for being games that explore sexuality in interesting, thought-provoking ways. How Do You Do It?, for example, humorously focuses on a small girl mashing her toys together in a vaguely sexual way as much as she can before her mother gets home, while Cibele is a narrative-driven experience that focuses on a relationship that blooms over an MMO.

Freeman, who was an English undergrad, says she owes a lot of her development and games-writing to her interest in poetry. “I wrote a lot of personal work when I was writing poetry, and I tended to write about stuff like sex and sexuality. In games, sex and sexuality are usually presentational, while in poetry you’ll have a lot of famous work about it,” she says, before listing examples like Allen Ginsberg and Elizabeth Bishop.

“I spent a lot of time in college researching that and writing a lot of erotic poetry. It was just something that I was used to writing about and that, in the poetry world, is pretty common to write about. So when I started making games, I brought that over naturally because it was the perspective I was coming from.”

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Remaster Offers Something Close To Time Travel

about X hours ago from
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Remaster Offers Something Close To Time Travel

I've written about it before, but I have a soft spot for Sega's Master System console. It never gained the widespread audience the NES did during its heyday, but it was home to several games I look back on fondly to this day. Alex Kidd had several solid titles, and I even got a kick out of the uniquely bizarre Psycho Fox, but the hands-down best game on the console was Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. It was a great platformer, with light-RPG elements and a hint of Metroid. A remaster of the game came out this week, and it made me grateful that I am such a hoarder – for reasons you'll soon understand (and potentially even benefit from).

Developer Lizardcube lovingly rebuilt the game's visuals with hand-drawn animations, and they did a remarkable job. The game looks great, and they added some much-needed personality to a few of the game's stiffer characters (Lion-Man, I am looking at you). As you might expect, you can swap between the rebuilt version and the original with the press of a button, and you can do the same with the soundtrack – choosing either the chiptune original or a nicely recorded orchestral remaster. That alone is enough for me to give a recommendation, but the team went one step further: they reverse-engineered the game's password system.

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (April 20, 2017)

about X hours ago from
Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (April 20, 2017)

Blog Herding is lighter than usual week this week, but we make up for quantity with quality – and a new writing challenge. So what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Community Blogs For April 13 – April 19:

The End Brendon Curzio goes for nostalgia with this one. Here he recounts moments he's had with "Souls-type" games. Ones like Kings Field, and of course Demon's Soul and Dark Souls. Part of the piece talks about how games can kind of sneak up on you. This entire series, and the sub-genre it has hatched, has been a revelation. Even if I wasn't a fan until Nioh.