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  1. It's that time of year again, when the leaves in the trees change colors and the jack-o-lantern you put out in your yard mysteriously explodes for seemingly no reason. And there's also something about kids dressing up in costumes for candy while adults dress up in stripper costumes for alcohol. I don't know, I kind of glossed over the whole Halloween tradition. What I do know is that this is also the time of year for people to play their favorite scary games. But what happens if you've played all there is to play in the horror genre? Running from spooky monsters in Outlast can only last you so long, and can you really play Silent Hill 2 for the twelfth straight year in a row? Well, probably. But let's just say you can't, for reasons. This is where this article comes in. Prepare to learn about four games that come completely out of left field with their own version of horror. 5. King Arthur And The Knights Of Justice A game for the Nintendo Entertainment System based off of a Saturday morning Disney cartoon cannot possibly get any further from the horror genre than it already is. That is, of course, until I tell you that the plot of the game and cartoon revolves around a bunch of football players that get transported to Camelot and tasked with saving King Arthur himself from a witch. Also, you can't die. You and the members of your football team merely get "knocked out" when you lose. That is about as family friendly as you can get. Disney reveals its true form only to those who dare face the void. Up until just about the end of the game, that is. That's when the veil is pulled back to show any kid unfortunate enough to make it that far the horrors of a world wrought with magic and evil. A world that these football players simply weren't prepared for. To start things off, every member of your party is suddenly killed off without warning. Not killed off as in knocked out; they're just straight up murdered. What follows is a quest where you must collect the items needed to open a gate to the underworld to save your now deceased friends from the Grim Reaper. Did I mention the underworld is made up of the dead from eon's past? The floor is actually made of dead naked bodies packed together to make a walkable surface. For the first time in the game you'll see actual red blood spattered about as the undead floor wriggles beneath you. Remember, you're currently a football player from Disney. You are not prepared for this at all. In fact, it seems the ratings board wasn't ready for it either, and that's probably why it passed by the censors with a "For Kids" rating. Play testers were probably too bored with the lackluster Disney game to get that far, and had no idea of the horrors that awaited everyone else. 4. Maniac Mansion While the original Maniac Mansion wasn't exactly kid friendly with its more crude forms of humor and sexual content, Nintendo wasn't about to let any of that slide onto their home console. After multiple reviews by Nintendo and a bit of back and forth bickering to save certain parts of the game that they felt were integral to the game's look and feel, the developers begrudgingly were forced to cut a considerable amount of "questionable" content from the title in order for it to be released at all. But there is something Nintendo missed. Dude, you have no idea how hard I'm going to kill your hamster. Maniac Mansion was a point-and-click game where you had to collect items with different characters to use in puzzles. Usually this sort of gameplay just ended with people getting frustrated over trying to use the wrong items for hours on end, or they would try to interact with everything they had to see what funny things they could accomplish. This is precisely how someone figured out that you could steal someone's pet hamster and then cook it alive in a microwave and watch it pop all over the place. But that wasn't the end of it. After you Indiana Jones (sans fridge) the hamster, you can then pull the goopy remains out of the microwave and carry them around with you as you play the game. If you happen to run into the hamster's previous owner, you can remove the remains of the hamster from your inventory and give them back to him. He'll look at them, confused by what he is seeing before he realizes what you did. Then he'll proceed to kill you where you stand. The end. Nintendo only noticed this after the game was released in stores, but they still demanded that the developers remove it from any newly printed copies. This never happened simply because they never printed anymore. 3. Jam Sessions: DS While the Nintendo DS did have its fair share of horror games during its life, Jam Sessions was very clearly not one of them. In fact, it was more of a glorified digital guitar than it was a game. The entire premise behind the software was the ability to have a guitar in your pocket that you could play and practice on whenever you pleased. Let's just hope you weren't practicing in a cemetery late at night, because if you just happened to end one of your sweet cemetery guitar riffs with the A-6 guitar chord you would be treated to a pants staining sound nobody expects to hear come from their guitar. Wait. How do you sing a guitar? As the chord rings out, you just might catch the sound of someone speaking in an unclear voice. It was hard to understand, but you're sure you heard something. You play the chord again just to be sure, and to your horror, you can very clearly hear the game whispering "Forgive us." Or at the very least, something just as ghoulish. That alone would be enough to send any jerk with a digital acoustic guitar running for the relative safety of a Starbucks, but don't worry internet! There might just be a logical explanation. The most popular theory to the phantom voice is that it is the person recording the tracks asking for the next sound they need to play, and that it was left in the game by accident. It just so happens that the person recording the tracks is also a ghost trapped in the game. 2. Spy Fox 2 The previous entries have all been creepy in a sense that they still kind of fit in with the game's setting, or they were at least included accidentally. This next one though is just off the rails with how terrifyingly out of place it is. In the children's computer game Spy Fox 2, you of course play a cartoon fox who just happens to be a spy. They really went over budget when they were trying to come up with a name for a game with such a stunning premise. But this isn't about the game itself. This is about what happens when you change a single line of code in the game. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIS FINGERS!? After making a very slight alteration to one of the game's files, you will unlock the ability to commit suicide. What exactly happens when you make the poor fox kill himself? Well I'm glad you asked. Our hero walks over to an electric chair that used to just be a part of the scenery and straps himself in. He then turns it on and electrocutes himself into a pile of ashes. But that isn't the end of it. After killing himself, the fox's dead body floats around the screen while an up close shot of his skeleton flashes in front of you over and over again. Remember, this is a children's game we're talking about. Something you'd see first graders playing while they're learning about computers for the first time. Of course, you do have to change a file in order to view it, but that's it. The developers put this in on purpose, just as a joke to themselves while working on some children's game that they thought nobody would even find. But people have found them. Lots of them. These sorts of death scenes have been found in multiple children's games, ranging from scenes where you feed your character so much candy that they begin to vomit uncontrollably to another character daydreaming about killing his child sidekick. There are thousands of these types of games floating around out there. Just imagine what horrible nightmares lie within their discs, waiting to be found. 1. Animal Crossing I love me some Animal Crossing, but I still haven't gotten around to playing the newest one on the 3DS, so for now I'm stuck playing the original version on the Gamecube. But that isn't so bad. There's still an endless amount of things to do and I love it just as much as I did when it first released. But there is a dark side to Animal Crossing. A dark side I never saw. The game warns you constantly not to quit without first saving your progress because it could cause problems in the game world. There are even special characters that exist just to scold you for not saving, but there is an even more severe punishment for quitting without saving in another person's town. Welp, I'm done. The game steals your face. There is no other way to put it. The next time you load your game you'll be sporting a Gyroid face identical to the one sitting outside of your house. Your black sunken eyes will know only desperation, your mouth will be agape as if trying to scream, but no sound will come out. Of course, it isn't permanent. But that doesn't mean it isn't as scary as all get-out the first time you see it without understanding why you suddenly look like a Japanese horror movie's idea of a spooky ghost. Apparently the reason for the Gyroid face is to help you remember that the Gyroid is where you save. You aren't likely to forget it when you're staring into the soulless eyes of a poor fool forced to live as one for a day. Did you ever think that the Gyroid outside of your house is just another player that forgot to save one too many times? That would certainly explain why all of Tom Nook's houses are always vacant when you first arrive. And with that horrible thought, thank you for reading and have a happy Halloween!
  2. After the closure of LucasArts, the fate of future Star Wars games was uncertain. Sure, we probably would have seen tie-in games for the movies, but that's about it. Now it seems that Disney has signed an exclusive deal with EA for the development and distribution of Star Wars games. http://www.joystiq.com/2013/05/06/ea-disney-exclusive-rights-star-wars/ While this could mean a lot of things, it could well mean we'll see Star Wars 1313 picked up by another company, or another Knights of the Old Republic thanks to Bioware being owned by EA apparently (I didn't know that) or any number of other projects. The fact that EA even bought the license must mean they have some plans for it, so here's hoping at least some good can come of this. Of course, it could just be that EA bought it for the cash cow that it is and wants to milk it, but I'm hoping after the series of missteps they've taken with other franchises *cough*SimCity*cough* they might tread a little more carefully with such a revered brand. Or not. We'll see!
  3. With Disney shutting down LucasArts' internal development last month and switching the publisher over to a licensing model, it was only a matter of time before we would hear which publisher(s) would be snapping up the license to possibly the most recognizable brand of all time. Today, EA announced that it had secured a a multi-year deal with LucasArts in order to exclusively create Star Wars games. The press release states that EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a "core gaming audience" and that they'll span all interactive platforms and most popular genres. Under this deal, Disney will retain the rights to develop new titles in the mobile, social, tablet, and online game areas. EA Labels President Frank Gibeau commented on the partnership with LucasArts, saying: “Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.” Both DICE and Visceral are developers known mostly for their work in the shooter genre (the Battlefield and Dead Space series, respectively), so it would seem likely that they will develop games within that genre. Perhaps DICE will develop a new successor to the Battlefront series while Visceral will develop a third person action game set in the Star Wars universe? Only time will tell. Source: EA What are your thoughts on EA acquiring a multi-year exclusive license to create new Star Wars games?
  4. In the wake of the news that LucasArts was being shut down by Disney today, it was also discovered that, unsurprisingly, the upcoming game Star Wars 1313 had reached the end of the line and was canceled as well. Interestingly enough, though, Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg made a comment about the situation on Twitter, lamenting LucasArts' closure but at the same time saying that he wasn't surprised because team members on the project had said that the game would take another 2 years to develop before it was finished. This rumor remains unsubstantiated at the moment, so you'll have to take it with a grain of salt, but if it turns out to be true, it would explain why Disney wasn't keen on keeping LucasArts internal development team around, especially after they took a big loss on Epic Mickey 2 and closed down its developer, Junction Point, at the end of last year. It's currently unknown whether work on Star Wars 1313 could continue, but Game Informer has spoken to a representative from the company who has told them that there's a chance that it might be able to be rescued if the project is licensed out to another publisher. Until then, the game remains dead in the water. Source: Twitter Were you looking forward to Star Wars 1313 before its cancellation?
  5. Today word came that LucasArts was shut down by their new Disney owners. As such, it's been a sad day for those who cherished many LucasArts properties such as the Monkey Island series or any of its Star Wars titles. The developer was highly prolific and it's sad to see them shuttered. Raven Software is a developer who aided LucasArts on a few occasions. Of note, they created the titles Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast for LucasArts. Because of today's events, Raven announced to Kotaku Australia that they've released the source code for the two Star Wars games. Here is a quote from Raven Software about the gesture: “We loved and appreciated the experience of getting to make Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy for LucasArts. As a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with." Of course, source code is something that will see most use to game modders. Still, this means we may see some interesting modifications come to both games in the future. It's certainly a neat way to honor a respected game company's closing.
  6. We last heard about LucasArt's upcoming Star Wars 1313 at E3 2012, but the game has been virtually radio-silent ever since. Of course, the big news that Disney was buying LucasFilm (which LucasArts is a part of in the deal) seemed to complicate things further, with many wondering if the project would still be able to proceed despite the change in ownership. LucasArts mentioned that development on the game would continue despite that, but Kotaku claims that three different and unrelated anonymous sources from LucasArts came forward to say that the game was put on hold since Disney's acquisition of the company. LucasArts, however, denies that and says that development continues. "LucasArts has been working diligently to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the new Star Wars movies present," a company spokesperson told Kotaku. "Star Wars 1313 continues production." Whether or not the publisher doesn't want to admit that development has stopped for fear of any fans losing interest and loss of hype is unclear, so it's hard to say which side is telling the truth. The anonymous sources also go on to discuss how 1313 was actually first conceived as a tie-in to the eventual Star Wars live-action TV show that was planned but frozen in development due to budgetary concerns. After that happened, the game's story was re-written and cut loose from the TV show in order to be its own story. Another interesting tidbit the sources mentioned was that LucasArts sought to reinvent itself in 2011 by making Star Wars-themed games in popular genres, such as a take on Farmville, and a Call of Duty-like game called Trigger. 1313 was even set to have some elements that were similar to the Uncharted games, like the platforming sections. Of course, LucasArts refused to corroborate either of the stories, but it's noteworthy that Kotaku mentions they didn't deny it either. Whatever the truth behind Star Wars 1313 is, we'll hopefully hear more soon as E3 is just three and a half months away now. Source: Kotaku What do you think? Is it likely that Star Wars 1313 has ceased development for now?
  7. Back at the end of July, we were greeted with the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic was finally adding in a free-to-play option. This was predicted by most any gamers paying attention to the struggling MMO, and was noted as coming in the fall. Today, a subscription versus F2P comparison chart has gone live on the MMO's official site. Obviously, if you're a subscriber then nothing is restricted. However, the F2P option has restrictions that should be expected, as well as a few that might be a bit odd. Here is the list of features F2P players will have limited access to/do without: Story content (Can play from level 1-50 only) Limited character creation options Operations require Weekly pass purchase Limited to three Warzones per week (can purchase Weekly pass) Rewards from three Flashpoints per week (can purchase Weekly pass) Three Space Missions per week (can purchase Weekly pass) Purchase and spend Cartel Coins to gain access to/expand Cargo Hold Spend Cartel Coins to expand Inventory Limited to one Crew Skill unless you spend Cartel Coins Longer Quick Travel cooldown time (purchase authorization to lower cooldown) No Emergency Fleet Pass (purchase authorization to unlock) Revive five times at Med Center (spend Cartel Coins to get more Field Revives) No priority status at Login Queue Most purple items are unequippable (can purchase license) Cartel Coins are given at times to paying members but F2P players will be buying those if they want to unlock any of the listed features. If F2P users make a purchase in game, they will gain "preferred status". This means that they will be able to sprint starting at level 1, have increased login queue priority, Cargo Hold access, and Secure Trading. Do these restrictions sound comparable to other F2P MMOs?
  8. Leah

    Grim Fandango

    From the album: Leah's Editorial Images

    © LucasArts