2013-11-27

Gamey Bits: Alien 3 (1993, SNES)


A dark, depressing future filled with aliens ready to probe you? This sounds like a job for a bored Conspiracy Guy.

2013-11-22

Gamey Bits: Blackthorne (1994, SNES)


Hey, sometimes HE takes a break from fighting The Conspiracy. And when he does, he plays old video games. And that’s about it. He’s not very good.

2013-07-14

Mini-Review: Rubber (2010)


Rubber is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert and then suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telekinetic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes. At first content to prey on discarded objects and small desert creatures, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction behind, Robert becomes a chaotic force and truly a movie villain for the ages.
If, after reading that description, you find your curiosity was in any way piqued, trust me, just go ahead and pull the trigger. It’s even weirder than you think. There’s more to it than just “psychic tire goes on a violent, gory rampage” — not MUCH more — but I won’t dare spoil it.

Visually, it’s a good looking film, set in the wastelands of the Southwest. The effects are decent enough for a small budget, and “Robert” seems more alive than any tire has a right to be.
 
The wheel everybody is raven about.
Unfortunately, the story, running at just under an hour and a half, drags now and then. It often feels like a simple short film that was expanded on, and yet even then required empty filler to justify calling it a movie. The delivery of what little dialogue there is can feel a bit stiff at times, often littered with full words where contractions would feel much more natural. (That sounds trivial, but when you hear it, it’s abrasive.)

That said, Rubber is a weird, strange, often violent, and unexpectedly meta experience. You won’t be better off as a person after seeing it, perhaps, but you definitely won’t forget it.

4/5


Positives
  • Strange, funny, and enjoyably self-referential experience.
  • Gorgeously filmed, yet depressing Southwestern backdrop.
  • It’s a fucking killer psychic tire. 

Negatives
  • Runs a bit too long for such a thin story.
  • Dialogue flip-flops between interesting and stiffly delivered.

2013-06-28

The Conspiracy Guy’s Intelligence Briefing…Pandora’s Games Box


The Conspiracy Guy taps his contacts in Los Angeles to fill you in on the dirty secret history of the Ouya video game console!


2013-06-18

The Conspiracy Guy’s Intelligence Briefing…The Demon Chip


A bit of a history lesson as the Conspiracy Guy brings you an Intelligence Briefing about a chip that had a lot more going on under the hood than most people thought!


2013-06-15

Sneak a Peek Inside the Guts of the Orignial Prince of Persia


Oooh, these are my favorite kinds of stories. Coding bad-ass, Fabien Sanglard, yanks on some latex gloves and performs a digital autopsy on the recently released source code to 1989′s Apple II mega-hit, Prince of Persia.
Even though it is the Apple II version written in 6502 assembly language, it was a pleasant experience to dive in the code of that mythical game: As usual there were many fascinating sofware wizardries to discover. The Apple II apparent poor environment for game programming was actually ground to unmatched innovation and creativity: From self-modifying code, in-house bootloader, clever floppy disc format to skewing lookup tables: Prince Of Persia features engineering treasures in every modules. Reading the source allowed me not only to learn about the game development process of the 80s but it also renewed my appreciation for things that we take for granted today.
While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the rest of Fabien’s excellent code teardowns, includingDuke 3D and Quake 3.

2013-06-03

TF2 Tips for Filthy 2Fort Pub Rats (Part 1)


Professional Team Fortress 2 players are horrible people. They drive around in their fancy hot pink sports cars, race their 5200 dpi Razer mice around their gold encrusted desktops, and literally make millions of dollars a day professionally playing a free-to-play game. They make me sick!

But not you and me, though. We’re not pros. We’re just everyday, blue collar gamers. We join a pub, light a cig, blow some guys up, and then we go home and drink heavily.

Like a lot of us, I’m stuck in the 2fort rut (i.e. Twoforticus rutticus). That’s where you have hundreds upon hundreds of base and custom TF2 maps to choose from, but inexplicably you still choose to play 2fort. The only reasonable explanation, aside from mental illness, is that 2fort is scientifically proven to be the fuckin’ bomb. (You know it’s true.)

So, I figured it wouldn't hurt to unload some of the tips and tricks I've learned over the years of slamming my head repeatedly against the 2fort wall. These are probably considered common sense for most veterans of the map, but I've had enough clueless players on my team that it couldn't hurt to have a refresher.

Taking Out Those Uncouth Eggheads Camped Out in Front of Your Base


Occasionally one or more Engineers on the opposing team will feel brazen enough to actually begin erecting their sentries, dispensers, and teleporters outside YOUR base. This. Will. Not. Stand. Like a typical coward, they will almost always attempt to build them in the corners, like so:


They foolishly believe this to be safe. And, indeed, when used against lousy, uncoordinated teams (like their own), it can be an absolute nightmare. Unfortunately for them, YOU are on the server, which means their little mechanical wonderland will be tits-up moments after the last bolt is tightened.

What they quietly pray you won’t realize is that placing structures in the corner actually makes them easier to take out. The trick is, instead of attacking the structures directly, you use splash damage. As a Soldier, you simply spam the hell out of the ground NEAR the nest, like so:

Skill?
Assuming the equipment is at 100%, it will probably take a couple more missiles to do the trick, but it’ll work if you stay alive long enough. But watch your back — you WILL probably have to reload, and if the enemy team is any good [they aren't], his teammates will help defend. Even if the owner of the equipment is repairing it as you attack, eventually the splash damage will get him. Then you can whittle away the rest of his toys near his dead corpse until they’re gone.

Make sure you aren't using the Direct Hit (it has considerably less splash damage than a regular rocket launcher), and, my god, completely avoid the Cow Mangler 5000 unless you’re using it’s alt-fire to disable the sentry for 4 seconds to assist another Soldier’s destructive intent. But that means teamwork, so let’s not get carried away.

An alternative is to have the Demoman plop down a bunch of stickies and blow them all at once. This is less desirable, though, because it tends to require several stickies at once to do the kind of damage you’ll need, and they’re easy to shoot away (or a Pyro may simply blow them off). It all depends on what kind of defenses the jerks are employing. (Probably none, am I right?)

I've never tried doing one sticky after another, simulating the soldier’s technique, however, but I have a feeling the damage from individual sticky blasts won’t be enough.

You’re free to try though. If you’re a dope.

Bonus: Chances are, there’s a dispenser nearby, too, which means that there’s probably semi-wounded enemies hanging around suckling at the Engineers metal teat. On a good day, you’ll take out the sentry, dispenser, the Engineer, his mother, and if you’re lucky, maybe even crash the server.

**drops the mic**

It Was A Good Day To Spy


Good Spies instinctively stick to the walls and corners, because, not unlike Engineers, they have horrible social skills. They stick to where the least enemy traffic is, because if they’re discovered, they’ll have to engage in conversation. (With enemy bullets.) With this in mind, a good role for the defensive, domesticated, live-at-home Pyro is to repeatedly patrol the base, hitting all the usual places Spies love to chillax:


Another good habit to get into is to regularly fire a rocket or flare down the long hall on your way out of the respawn. Quite often you’ll accidentally hit a spy trying to sneak through the otherwise low-traffic path. Always think in terms of where you, yourself might go if you were trying to avoid human contact. And then smother that area with fire. (This also applies to real life.)

It’s like playing a slot machine. Usually you get nothing. But, sometimes, you set a man on fire.

Side-Stepping The Issue


As a Spy, you just can’t catch a break. There you are, hiding against a wall or in a corner, minding your own business, when bam! Suddenly, your skin is burning, or you've had a missile inserted forcefully into your rectal cavity.

And that’s IF you can even get into the enemy base!

The odds of crossing the bridge unharmed are downright dismal. The rockets of Soldiers whiz by. Medic-reinforced Heavies unload their dark business. Pyros perform spy checks by randomly coating the area with fire. Demomen launch their grenades with reckless abandon. You will probably break like a rice cake before you hit the front door.

But they all have something in common: they’re usually either aiming down the center of the bridge, the two entrances, or at the sniper deck. (Duh, right?)

That’s where this little feature comes into play. Along the side of the bridge are these supports:



Start by crouch-jumping onto one, like this:


Then, hugging the side as best as you can — this will take practice — keep walking, slowly, while crouching, along the side.

You will appear to float in the air at times, just like Jesus. (You are not actually Jesus, however. But you can wear the Cheater's Lament if it makes you feel more holy.)


Eventually, you'll waddle enough to get you to the other side. Probably unscathed. This interesting zone along the side does not make you invincible or anything, but it’s almost always ignored. Granted, a Heavy’s bullet spray will probably nick you and reveal you for a sec, but they’re usually not paying attention. Because they’re fat.

Your mileage may vary with this one, of course. It depends on the battle, and if you've pissed off Jesus or not. Which I have. So this doesn't work for me anymore. (But it probably will for you.)

FLIP SIDE: Pyros, be sure to spam this area with flames when you walk across the bridge, in case some dumb, sneaky backstabber took this terrible advice.

Closing



That’s all for now.

Again, I realize these are pretty basic tips. Most regular players know them. But, since we've had a lot of new guys in recent years, it couldn't hurt to document some of this stuff.

If you find this useful, there’s plenty more where it came from. Let me know!