Gaming’s Whacked Out Week: Gah! The Virtual Boy Is(n’t Really) Back!

Virtual Boy

Oh yes indeed. The Virtual Boy, that hideous abomination from the depths of the devil’s anus, is rearing its migraine-inducing head once again. Hold on to your butts, gentlemen, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The more decrepit gamers among us remember the Virtual Boy, Nintendo’s odd little 1995 venture into 3D gaming. It was way ahead of its time, a sort of VR helmet in miniature. It was also horribly shit, offering only a handful of games, those ghastly red-and-black visuals and said eyeball-melting 3D.

Meanwhile, Snatcher is a little more obscure, but much beloved by those in the know. It’s a cyberpunk graphic adventure game from 1988, from Metal Gear maestro Hideo Kojima. The story of a lawman hunting down ‘bioroids’ who are murdering humans and taking their place in society, it’s all very Bladerunner and very badass.

Originally, the Virtual Boy didn’t even last a year before being discontinued. But thanks to some savvy gamers, its legend/infamy lives on. Feast your eyes on Snatcher, running on the craptastic console itself.

This demo took an effing ridiculous 200-300 hours to make, Kotaku reports.

House of Wolves: Something’s A-Stirrin’ Down ‘Destiny’ Way

Destiny House of Wolves

You know how it is with video games. There’s a shitstorm of multi-million dollar hypetastic pre-release. There’s TV spots, those annoying banner ads that take over the whole damn screen if your cursor comes within 50 yards of them, and eight million different special editions.

A while after release, though, all’s quiet. Suddenly, nobody’s assed any more, and said game is like so last week, or whatever they’d say in Mean Girls. One example of this would be the much-ballyhooed Destiny, which many of us seem to have forgotten about of late.

But hey, that makes it right about time for DLC. So here comes House of Wolves, Bungie’s second expansion for the game. If new legendary Raid gear and suchlike is up your alley, you’ll want to take a look at this quick teaser for the pack:

And you’ll definitely be happy to hear about some freshly-implemented changes to the upgrade system. As anyone who spent some time with the last expansion will tell you, this was the grindiest slice of grindtastic this side of Grindtown. The new upgrade path, Ascend, allows you to essentially do as you wish with your gear. A very welcome change. Hit Kotaku for more on this.

The Weekly WTF: ‘Polybius’- When Arcade Machines Kill

Polybius

Yep. We’re not just talking about the Pac-Man machine in Dodgy Bob’s Shit-Stained Gameatorium, which was right next to the toilets and had all manner of suspect stains on the joystick. You’d probably have caught cholera or the plague or something just looking at it, true enough, but this is worse. Much worse. This is freaking Polybius, right here.

Now, this is one of those BS urban legends which isn’t remotely true on any Bizarro world. But it’s damn creepy, that’s for sure. Which is all that counts around here.

The whole thing centers around said mythical arcade cabinet. Supposedly, this rare game was made in 1981 by Sinneslöschen (German for ‘Sense Deletion,’ Creepypasta reports), a puzzler/shooter that only saw the light of day in a couple of arcades in Oregon.

From the footage (which is to say ‘footage’) that exists, this one looks like a mash-up of Space Invaders and Asteroids, with a dash or two of pure crazy-ass thrown in. It was inexplicably popular, the story goes, despite reports of all kinds of bad shit happening to those who had played.

All the usual haunted video game tropes befell them: headaches, nausea, seeing scary figures out of the corner of their eyes, even suicide. The report goes on to say that one arcade owner swore that the Polybius arcade cabinet was often visited by mysterious men in black, who were ‘collecting data’ from the game.

The game was, apparently, rammed full of subliminal messages. The meaning and motive of them remains a mystery, but it’s possible that dastardly and bastardly record companies were trying to cultivate Bieber Fever in a new generation a decade before his birth. Whatever the case, it’s believed that Polybius was a government experiment of some kind.

Copies would disappear overnight, and all machines were gone around a month after the game’s release. Much like Cotton Eye Joe, we don’t know where it came from, or where it went. Or what the hell it was doing while it was here. If it ever was. But that’s the fun of the creepy urban legend.

My, ‘Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China,’ What Gorgeous Toontastic You Have

Assassin's Creed Chronicles

Well this is mighty jarring. The last time I ventured into Assassin’s Creed, I was dicking about on a pirate ship in the middle of a shit-your-pants visually impressive and realistic ocean. It was one of my first tastes of next gen console-age, and I was impressed by what I saw.

The first installment of the Chronicles spin off isn’t assed about any of that. Realism? Nuts to it. Instead, the trilogy will serve up some rather sexy 2.5d goodness, in the style of Okami or Muramasa. In motion, it’s pretty damn nice.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China arrived worldwide today, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to do so without a wang-waving launch trailer in tow. This is arty stuff, right here. Check it out.

Remember those Bloodborne trailers, with the spangly smoke effects and other fancy stuff going on all over the freaking place? That’s the sort of deal here. Come for the traditional boats and floaty leaves and such, stay for the horribly clichéd story of a ninja ousted from their home and returning for revenge.

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Hots Up With Flaming Bullets and Other Cheats

Grand Theft Auto V PC Cheats

Grand Theft Auto V is, at the best of times, a bit of a shitstorm. The plot takes more nutty-ass turns than The Da Vinci Code, particularly where Trevor is involved. Car chases, helicopter chases, drug busts, multi-million dollar heists, tearing down the house of that tennis guy who was sleeping with your wife… it’s all going on here.

In the spangly new first person mode in particular, it’s crazy stuff. But if you want to dial it up a little further, the PC release offers a range of cheat codes to enhance the experience.

I didn’t even know ‘cheat code’ was still a phrase. That just brings up repressed memories of those premium phone lines you used to have to call, while the miserable bastard on the other end gave you half-assed tips on beating that boss or whatever. How the hell did we ever live without the Internet?

But anywho, here they are. Among other things, you can enable moon gravity, drunk mode, explosive melee attacks and flaming bullets, as well as changing the weather on a whim and instantly spawn all manner of fancy vehicles. Check out everything you can do at the IGN wiki guide.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi's Mansion

Nintendo, as we know, aren’t the most controversial of game makers. When did you last see Mario go on a Hatred-style homicide spree, wanging innocent bystanders in the scrote with a machete and spraying bullets about the damn place like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Never, that’s when.

Theirs is a cutesy world of garish colors, hills/clouds with smiling faces and the sun shining out of everyone’s asshole. So what the hell would happen if they tried their hands at a horror (kinda sorta ish) game? Luigi’s Mansion, that’s what would happen.

Baby’s First Resident Evil, as I like to call it, hit the GameCube on its launch in 2001. Weirdly, Mario was absent from the console’s launch games, so it was up to his scrawny green brother to sell systems. Let’s take a look at his first starring role.

Now, Luigi is the kind of guy who’d get relegated to menial tasks serving his much more famous brother. In the history of Merry Old England, Kings used to have a courtier named the Groom of the Stool. This dude was, essentially, there to wipe the king’s ass. That’s Mario and Luigi, right there. That’s the dynamic between the two. (Royal Shit-Wiper was actually quite a prestigious position, but that doesn’t help the point I’m trying to make so let’s gloss over it.)

Anywho, tangent over. Luigi gets himself a mansion in unexplained circumstances, through a competition he didn’t actually enter. Intending to meet his brother there, he sets out for the places and finds it much more creeptastic and Spencer Mansion-ish than he expected. He also finds that Mario has effed off somewhere.

Luigi's Mansion 2

With the senior sibling kidnapped by King Boo, leader of the dastardly and bastardly Mushroom Kingdom ghosts, it’s up to Luigi to take care of business. By cruising through the mansion, ghostbusting, and making his way to the king’s lair.

Now, we all know the best way to bust ghosts: with a ridiculous-looking vaccuum cleaner dealie. Which we have, thanks to a conveniently located mad scientist and paranormal researcher living right by the manor. This guy gives Luigi the Poltergust 3000, which you use in tandem with a flashlight to stun and suck in the ghosts that have infested the place.

You cruise about the rooms in surprisingly Resident Evil-ish fashion. There are little puzzles to solve, hidden items to uncover and many, many freaking keys to find. With these, you’ll gradually open up more of the mansion, taking on some rather creepy bosses along the way. There are also some power ups to collect, which will allow the Poltergust to fire elemental attacks (some ghosts have fiery hearts which must be exposed by water before they can be sucked up, for instance).

Luigi’s Mansion may be short and criminally easy, but it had a unique charm all of its own. The various ‘species’ of ghosts and their different animations are nothing short of brilliant. The fat guys discarding spectral banana skins and the punchy ones are my personal favorite. There’s a slapstick comedy to the whole thing too (slipping over said skins, for one), which combines with the horror-in-a-PG-sort-of-way vibe to make something really special.

From the controls to the execution, this one plays like nothing else in the Super Mario stable. An odd little offshoot, which has developed quite the cult following.

Adding ‘Dark Souls’ Style Messages to Real-World Maps? Yep, There’s an App for That

Dark Souls Messages

If you’re familiar with From Software’s ball-bustingly difficult action RPGs (Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls and the spangly new Bloodborne), you’ll have come across the game’s message system. This lets players leave brief cryptic notes in the game world, for others online to read.

Natch, this can go one of two ways. You can be a goodly Samaritan, and alert other gamers to a nearby item they might miss, or warn of an ambush ahead. You can also not effing bother, and laugh as other intrepid adventurers get their scrotes chewed on by that hidden mob of beasts. Intentionally unhelpful messages, deception, meaningless prattle… that’s the other direction you can take this in.

It makes you wonder how useful it would be to have such an ability in the real world. Those maps from the old days, with ‘here be monsters’ and such written on them? That sort of bollocks doesn’t do anyone any good. Instead, how about this fancy new Soapstone app?

The way Destructoid tell it, this allows you to leave notes on a real map in a similar fashion to the games:
‘There are different lexicons you can choose from in the settings (Earth, Lordran, Drangleic, and Yharnam), so all your favorite words and phrases from the games are there, as well as some more practical words if you choose Earth. You can warn people to “Be wary of danger zone” near a suspicious alleyway, let them know there’s a “Gorgeous view ahead” near a landmark, or to “Try backstepping” away from a pricey store. Or you can just leave “I did it!” messages all over the place, like everyone else does!’

There’s some pretty neat potential for this, and it’s great to see.