MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2


Well, Bioshock's been released in the EU, despite some problems. So I thought it would be best to assign a new article, for spoiler-containing comments!

However, would you kindly avoid spoiler-containing subject lines? 'Cause they get displayed on the blog-beast's latest comment thingy. You have been warned.

Quick hint - if you're not hearing Atlas, you may have a corrupted download over Steam. So go to Properties: Local files: Verify integrity of local game cache... and see what happens. My copy has decided to download oodles more data, presumably overwriting whatever got damaged.

Oh, Steam, we do love you really...

Article Comments (now closed)

kast's gravatar

1. THAT phrase

Posted by kast at 9:41PM, Friday August 24 2007

"Would ya kindly -"

I couldn't believe it. It was such an incredible revelation and oh so obvious once you thought about it. By far the best part of the game is the whole realising who Atlas is and who you are half way through. I've had that phrase reverberating in my head since that point, at 5am this morning

The ending (at least the one if you've saved the LSs) is a pathetic old fashioned boss-battle. What a let down.

hirschma's gravatar

2. Underwhelmed

Posted by hirschma at 11:49PM, Friday August 24 2007

Halfway through, and I can't say that I'm enjoying the game all that much. The controls just don't feel right, and it seems too console-y, if that makes any sense.

Yar Kramer's gravatar

3. Ah wonderful

Posted by Yar Kramer at 12:18AM, Saturday August 25 2007

I downloaded the demo on Steam, and wouldn't ya know it but it crashes right away. Ah well, I guess I won't be going for it just right now ...

pox's gravatar

4. The matter of Atlas.

Posted by pox at 12:50AM, Saturday August 25 2007

Its amazing how a plot twist can change your entire outlook on a character.

From a romanticized former politician to....

well, anyway it was excellent game and I look forward to playing it again!

Re: Kast,
your right, the final fight did come off as very bland and uninspired, but the battle animations looked awesome and the "kind" ending warmed my heart.

cypher543's gravatar

5. I agree, kast

Posted by cypher543 at 2:04AM, Saturday August 25 2007

I agree with the "Would ya kindly" part, that is. I actually couldn't believe I never noticed Atlas' use of that phrase over and over.

I knew at the beginning of the game that Atlas wasn't going to be who he said he was (mostly because I've seen WAY too many movies, so I expect that sort of thing a lot). But, I never actually expected that twist.

Overall, BioShock is a SUPERB game. The storyline is by far my favorite of any game (but Halo is up there with it).

I still can't get over the "Would ya kindly" part. It's such a simple phrase that I never thought twice about it. Whoever came up with that is a freakin' genius.

As for the boss battle, I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was a little on the easy side, but still a good ending to a great game. I got the "bad" ending, though. It was cool. I haven't started playing the game a second time yet, but I'll be sure to be a little more "kind" the next time.

macc's gravatar

6. retail forever

Posted by macc at 3:38AM, Saturday August 25 2007

Im happy I just bought the retail version, I only have Steam for playing games that need the program, I don't buy anything of it (unless I would have no choice).

Vodkarn's gravatar

7. Circus of Val-*bang*

Posted by Vodkarn at 10:03AM, Saturday August 25 2007

I haven't gotten that far into Bioshock yet, but man, do I hate the game design. Things that are normally hackable (turrets, cameras, etc) will randomly be unhackable. Often at the worst of times; such as when they are temporarily shutdown and I'm sitting in front of them expectantly.

While not especially terrible, the combat (to me) seems to just prolong the time it takes me to learn more of the story. The 15 minute shootouts with the Big Daddies at the start are just monotonous. The tommy-gun is one of the most kick-happy weapons in existence. I just use the pistol to headshot - it's a tonne faster.

As I said I'm not too far into it, but thus far I'm a lot more impressed with the story than I am with the gameplay.

Sortie's gravatar

8. Should I get Bioshock?

Posted by Sortie at 10:54AM, Saturday August 25 2007

Well. I liked the demo, really loved the story, but I'm still unsure whatever I should get the game on Steam. Would anyone recommend me doing so?

CoBB1e's gravatar


Posted by CoBB1e at 11:48AM, Saturday August 25 2007

What about MINERVA? Release date? Any information, please!!!

kast's gravatar

10. RE: Should I get BioShock?

Posted by kast at 1:09PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Yes yes yes and yes.

@Vodkarn - It's worth giving hackable targets an extra shock or freeze when you're near enough to hack 'em because often they'll be starting up again. That's why you're finding you can't hack them at the worst time possible.

And you don't actually NEED to fight the Big Daddies. You can conceivably let them be and complete the game anyway.

"Would ya kindly..." 0.0 I'm still trying to get over it. I mean, Atlas said it so carefully and deliberately yet no-one ever notices it.

Best bit in the whole game? Tchaikovsky. If you've got there, you'll know what I mean. I was dancing to it! Jump, twirl, step, wrench! Run, shock, jump, wrench! It was oh so beautifully demented. I was doing exactly what he wanted me to do and enjoying it....

I'm playing through it again on Easy (was playing on Hard before) and intend on harvesting all the Little Sisters. I imagine that things are really quite different after the revelation point.

cypher543's gravatar

11. Different events?

Posted by cypher543 at 3:31PM, Saturday August 25 2007

When you harvest ALL of the Little Sisters, does the part with Tenenbaum (sp?) still happen? I noticed that even when I harvested only a few Little Sister and saved the rest, the Little Sister in Tenenbaum's safe house would always say "Stay away from him! He's a bad man!"

So, if I harvest them all, does that mean Tenenbaum won't rescue me and there will be completely different events after the point at which you kill Andrew Ryan?

Divals's gravatar

12. SecuROM

Posted by Divals at 4:45PM, Saturday August 25 2007

SecuROM will eat your computer's soul! Don't install Bioshock!! *twitch*

Cargo Cult's gravatar

13. Oops

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:58PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Just got past Arcadia, and into Fort Frolic - and realised I can't read any messages posted here, 'cause they might contain MASSIVE DAMAGE SPOILERS from our Colonial Friends from across the pond.

Like, about who or what Atlas is (Fontaine?), what the hell is going on with the flashbacks and the chain tattoos on my wrists (am I related to Ryan?), and stuff like that.

I'm having great fun, but it really is a new System Shock 2 - a lot of the gameplay mechanics are *remarkably* similar, and there are even plot echoes. Annelid worms, sorry, sea slugs bestowing special powers upon humans?

Any second now a nautical Shodan should pop up, Venus-like, from a giant clam-shell!

I *think* I'm doing the right thing in saving, not harvesting the little sisters - Tanenbaum (?) might have created them, but I've been finding discarded audio notes from her suggesting she was rather belatedly developing a sense of humanity - and perhaps she's actually putting right her monstrous mistake, rather than continuing it. I hope so. But I do keep getting nice presents from the freed little sisters...

(Compare and contrast this unsolicited text message from my *real* little sister, apropos of nothing: "You smell like a crocodile's colostamy [sic] bag." Delightful.)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

14. P.S.

Posted by Cargo Cult at 7:04PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Why the *BEEP* does Bioshock run just fine on this laptop (albeit at a low resolution, and with the texture detail turned down) when metastasis_4b crashes?

Okay, so the latter is seemingly a lot less GPU-hungry, and will run at 1440x900 (before crashing), but it's still bloody annoying. I'll try to get back to work on it next week. No idea if the anniversary thing is still on. But I'll definitely get that ever-elusive playtest version out by then... ;-)

kast's gravatar

15. shodan alternative

Posted by kast at 7:25PM, Saturday August 25 2007

You could consider Tenenbaum herself a parrellel SHODAN. Emphasis on motherhood/children, the only present (sane) female character....

Could look at it in more detail but... meh.

PyroDude's gravatar

16. Um?

Posted by PyroDude at 7:48PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Just finished Bioshock a couple of hours ago with the good ending and I think it's an amazing game.

One thing though, why are there ghosts/flashback characters showing up? It said in the documentary thing that it was explained in game, but I can't remember anything saying about it.

Also, how does Jack get the Big Daddy voice thing out of his throat?

M_Gargantua's gravatar

17. BioShock Review

Posted by M_Gargantua at 8:54PM, Saturday August 25 2007

I got to say, while someplaces are felating it, and giving it very very high scores, that the review that so far has best described and rated the game was the JOKE review on Something Awful.

And I never thought I'd see a day when that happens.

cypher543's gravatar

18. Security bots

Posted by cypher543 at 10:01PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Did anyone else think the sound that Security Bots made when they located a target was awesome? I dunno why... but it just sounded right for the environment for some reason. It also sounded like the bots were a little excited or happy that they found something shoot at.

Flobster's gravatar

19. Music

Posted by Flobster at 10:29PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Obvious brilliance aside, i can honestly say my personal favorite moment so far is getting into explosive epic battles with super humans to the sound of "How much is that doggy in the window" bellowing down the halls.

Pyro-Dude's gravatar

20. Ah yes

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 10:43PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Ah yes, How much is that doggy used in a distrubing atmosphere, with looping, broken segments. It's Spaced all over again, but with more art deco and lumbering monsters.

Sorry, niche reference

Flobster's gravatar

21. Spaced

Posted by Flobster at 10:55PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Simon Pegg is a genius!

Pyro-Dude's gravatar

22. Ah

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 11:07PM, Saturday August 25 2007

Found out why the ghosts were there. Apparently it says on adverts on the game that they are a result of splicing too much

pox's gravatar

23. chains

Posted by pox at 2:20AM, Sunday August 26 2007

"what the hell is going on with the flashbacks and the chain tattoos on my wrists..."

yeah......why DOES he have those chain tattoos?!

does anyone have any info from the game pertaining to that, or a hunch? are they derived from something historical that happend?

p.s. I want chain tattoos now XD

Nightshade's gravatar


Posted by Nightshade at 2:35AM, Sunday August 26 2007

Bought BioShock yesterday, played the first "chapter" (loved it) and when it loads the "Welcome to Rapture" level it CRASHES!! Am not reading any of the above posts as I want to avoid spoilers, but this is so irritating! Note, I bought mine on retail and has nothing to do with Steam...

macc's gravatar


Posted by macc at 10:34AM, Sunday August 26 2007

If you have nvidia, try the new beta drivers with improved compatibility for Bioshock. Ati also has some sort of hot fix.

Sortie's gravatar

26. Re: DAMNIT!

Posted by Sortie at 12:51PM, Sunday August 26 2007

I that bug in the demo too, turn down the graphics, mostly the high detail shaders!

LocoYokel's gravatar

27. Still not buying until they remove the rootkits.

Posted by LocoYokel at 2:04PM, Sunday August 26 2007

Still got rootkit and serious malware in it. Even if you remove the game the "extras" stay behind and Sony (that's right the same one behind the rootkit on the audio CD's) who produces the rootkit says they will NOT support its removal in any form. Sounds like it's reformat and new windows install time. Or run a VM just for Bioshock and blow it away when you finish the game.

And apparently if you run systernals utilities or AVG virus scanner it won't even start.


Yar Kramer's gravatar

28. See? Like I said

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:27PM, Sunday August 26 2007

"Interfering with legitimate use." In my theoretical company, this kind of thing is worth firing people by firing squad.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

29. Finished...

Posted by Cargo Cult at 9:13PM, Sunday August 26 2007

I got the cute and soppy ending. Apparently I'm a nice person. :-(

My behaviour earlier in the game during the ... ballet showed otherwise. Tchaikovsky plus wrench equals violence!

(Don't have the time right now to go back through the game and create an alternate ending, but there are all the Bink videos in Steam\steamapps\common\bioshock\Content\BinkMovies. Two versions of the rather deliciously dark 'bad' ending, oddly - but visually and semantically identical. I think one has an outdated audio mix or something. There are older versions of the plasmids intros too, and a 'Sonic Boom' plasmid intro. I didn't see that one, is it in the final game? Looks a bit nifty.)

Anyway, back to MINERVA tomorrow...

Cargo Cult's gravatar

30. Oh, and a free gift...

Posted by Cargo Cult at 9:41PM, Sunday August 26 2007



Discovered while looking for an audio extractor program thingy. ;-)

Sortie's gravatar

31. Binks!

Posted by Sortie at 10:44PM, Sunday August 26 2007

Yeah, I found that bink folder too, but I couldn't figure out how to play them. Instead I had fun with the totaly waste of time playing the .swf flash files, which didn't work offgame.

Terrapin's gravatar

32. PC Version Rootkits / Endings

Posted by Terrapin at 11:38PM, Sunday August 26 2007

I just finished the game, did some reading of this thread, and wow... I actually am having vivid images of myself killing the entire staff of 2K Games (with Bioshock weapons of course). Is it any wonder the PC is loosing ground to consoles with this crap going on? Luckily for me, I reformat every month, but most people don't. What are they to do, just live with non-removable registry entries cluttering up their already pitifully bloated Windows Install? I could rant for hours, but I'll spare you.

In any case, did anyone think that the "bad" ending was actually better that the "good" ending? So what, I get a pseudo-family and live happily ever after? That's nice, but taking over the world with an army of splicers and at least one nuclear missile and generally becoming a genetically enhanced, post-human warlord with my own underwater city sounds much cooler. Or am I misunderstanding the endings?

Anyway, kudos to Cargo Cult for discovering the soundtrack - downloading now. Good luck with Minerva - we're all hoping for the best.

Omnivore's gravatar

33. tap..tap..tap...

Posted by Omnivore at 2:39AM, Monday August 27 2007

Bought Bioshock on Steam. Launched. No mouse cursor. Ultra-awful performance and crappy graphics on initial level. Read system requirements. Realized system, particularly video card, was incapable. Bought new PC with Nvidia 8600. Slavering over forum reports until late this week.

Naturally, this was all really done to prepare for the coming of Ep2, Portal and Min3. But Bioshock, it seems, will be a nice set of training wheels. When I can run it. Tap..tap...

Evan's gravatar

34. Bioshock'd

Posted by Evan at 5:37AM, Monday August 27 2007


Vodkarn's gravatar

35. I Scraped My Knee Mr. B!

Posted by Vodkarn at 11:32AM, Monday August 27 2007

I'm JUST about done the game. And here is a quick over-view:

1) Plasmids are terrible in combat, in terms of damage. Even with the highest level, by the end you'd be using 3-4 eve hypos to kill a single person with Incinerate 3.

2) The idea that "OMFG YOU NEED TEH ADAM!!11" is crap. You could beat this game on hard without getting a single ADAM upgrade. And it wouldn't be that different.

3) I saw the plot developments (I won't mention but will be obvious if you've been through them) to be blindingly obvious. Am I just jaded? I mean, I didn't have a single second of "Damn! Didn't see that coming!" This might just be me -- I assume the worst, heh.

4) The combat is really fun around the middle of the game. Later in the game, the enemies health is just so absurd it makes fights tedious. I had a pair of machine gun turrets shoot a single normal enemy for over two minutes straight. These same enemies also take 4 grenades (to the face) to kill. I was really loving the combat for awhile, but now it's just.. .blargh.

5) The sheer amount of different ways to approach this is fucking fantastic. You can burn everything - and I mean EVERYTHING. Fire spreads by contact, so you can be a little assassin and just incinerate a single enemy, and have them set fire to half the level. Electric attacks do extra damage to people in the water - telekinesis can be used to catch fireballs/grenades/rockets straight out of the air, and tossed back.

6) Before I forget, god DAMN is the game pretty. I have a semi beefy machine, but jesus, I get very little lag, and it's gorgeous. The enemies are a little.. odd-looking (you'll see what I mean,) but the Big Daddies look fantastic.

7) Overall I enjoy playing the game, but at certain points things just become infuriatingly tedious. The Big Daddies and their wall-hacking, half-damage-per-shot, autoaim late in the game makes for some really 'fun' chases. All in all, if you liked System Shock, Deus Ex, or any game similar, chances are you'll find something to love in this game. There's less character customization than I had expected, but who DOESN'T love an 'extended clip' revolver with 24 shots? <3 :D

Cargo Cult's gravatar

36. Know your enemies

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:30PM, Monday August 27 2007

Did you use the camera to 'research' foes?

You do more damage that way - I ended up toasting most of my attackers. Great for use against Houdini and Spider splicers, 'cause they can't run away from their own burning flesh... (But if they do leap in the water, to extinguish themselves - be waiting with a carefully timed bolt of electricity!)

Otherwise, I'd use the wrench. Me become big hulking brute. Grr!

Oh, and build traps for the poor, defenceless Big Daddies. I managed to dispose of one later in the game without losing any health - I led him into a vast nest of electrocutey wire thingies I'd constructed. I needed to get him really angry first, though, 'cause he seemed to have enough sense not to wander blithely in...

Flobster's gravatar

37. Replay

Posted by Flobster at 1:18PM, Monday August 27 2007

I find experimentation is pretty cool, you can take down a big daddy without it being able to move using a full tank of Electric Gel in the sprayer, which you can usually buy in a bulk from a UINVENT machine, but not always.

Drop a load of prox-mines on the floor and make him charge over them with the anti-splash upgrade, and kablamo.

The customization isnt huge, but ive just discovered the invisibility tonic and frost aura that freezes your wrench solid, i also think the liquid-nitrogen spray is really cool, it reminds me of the slime guns in ghostbusters 2 heh. :D

Nesretep's gravatar

38. Bioshock not working right

Posted by Nesretep at 2:02PM, Monday August 27 2007

My brother bought Bioshock and we tried playing it straight out of the box but encountered some problems like the mouse pointer not appearing problem mentioned earlier as well as others and I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that he was running an ATI Radeon X700 card rather than something from NVIDIA...oh well, I'm not going to be betting back ovre there anytime really quickly anyway.

Moholinth's gravatar

39. Generation X

Posted by Moholinth at 8:34PM, Monday August 27 2007

The problem lies in that 2k decided not to support SM2, instead its an SM3 only game, despite SM2 being the standard. Sadly the minimum reqs are misleading and states that anything over an X1300 will run the game, and many of the X800/X700 owners know that their card outperforms most X1xxx cards, however X800/X700 lacks Shader model 3 and is unable to run the game. I was very close to buying it until i tried to run the demo and i realized it didnt work.

Try the community fix for SM2 support

Terrapin's gravatar

40. Shader Models

Posted by Terrapin at 10:43PM, Monday August 27 2007

Never knew that SM2 wouldn't work. They should really be more specific, because a lot of people will buy it, if they haven't already, and wind up with a paper weight, and non-removable registry clutter, i.e. a rootkit. Still, it's a great game, albeit better on 360. That's why I love consoles - no installs, no rootkits, no StarForce / Securom / etc. crap that encourages piracy while screwing the consumer.

By the way, has anyone else used the Hypnotize Big Daddy plasmid? That thing's awesome, and easily one of the game's best features. One of the best things about this game is the AI - if you're creative, you can get by with a minimum of actual combat and let hacked or otherwise subverted enemies do the fighting for you.

Pyro-Dude's gravatar

41. I like

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 11:02PM, Monday August 27 2007

What I really like is how different each player is in their approach to things. Somtimes it's small things like a fouvorite weapon or plasmid, somtimes it's different combos they use, sometimes different tonics for things, sometimes drastically differnt things like players using melee, or the wrench and stealth stuff, or laying traps down, or using the irritant plasmids mostly.

I ramble on a bit there, but the point is the huge variety of ways to approach, but you don't normally notice that much unless you have someone else to compare your playing style with.

cypher543's gravatar

42. Plasmid question

Posted by cypher543 at 3:54AM, Tuesday August 28 2007

Terrapin: How long does the Hypnotize Big Daddy plasmid last? If it wears off, does it turn the Big Daddy against you afterwards?

I would try it, but I don't really have time to play through the game again.

Vodkarn's gravatar

43. Mr. B Strikes Back

Posted by Vodkarn at 7:02AM, Tuesday August 28 2007

The Bid Daddy doesn't turn on you after you Hypnotize it. The first version of the ability lasts about a minute, and the improved version lasts for some time (felt like 5 minutes, but I didn't time it.)

One thing that kind of pisses me off is that you can't use napalm on someone who's standing in water. I get that one can put out fire with water, but: A) They're standing in two centimetres of water, and B) It's fucking NAPALM.

I'm playing on Hard, so I was curious: Is anyone finding the late game turrets to be effectively useless against enemies? I went and, literally, made a sandwich while two of my machine gun turrets attacked a normal enemy. I don't know how long it took her to die, but I was able to sit back down and start eating before she did.

And in case anyone hasn't tried this, use Hypnotize Big Daddy to get two Big Daddies to fight. This works especially well if you get them into a room with a few of your turrets, as it helps speed the fight up (and rig the fight for your Mr. B -- I feel like Don King!)

Terrapin's gravatar

44. Ineffective Turrets

Posted by Terrapin at 9:05AM, Tuesday August 28 2007

I played on normal difficulty, but I see your point about the turrets. Especially in the later stages of the game, turrets and security bots become effectively useless. I had four security robots try to take down one splicer, and it managed to kill three of them, severely damaging the fourth. I imagine that on hard, Big Daddies would be the only AI characters worth having on your side for anything above a distraction.

Also, something I never thought to try: does anyone know if you can hypnotize multiple Big Daddies at the same time? Watching two giant cyborgs fight was too distracting for me to try it out.

Tolkienfanatic's gravatar

45. Security Bullseye

Posted by Tolkienfanatic at 9:08AM, Tuesday August 28 2007

I've had great success with this strategy

Step 1) Hack a Security Camera
Step 2) Wait for a Big Daddy to come by
Step 3) Hit him with the Security Bullseye Plasmid
Step 4) Let the never-ending stream of Bots destroy him, repeat Step 3 as necessary.

This is also a great way to research Security Bots, Big Daddies and Little Sisters, not to mention whatever splicers decide to join the fray.

Nesretep's gravatar

46. Why no Shader Model 2 support?

Posted by Nesretep at 2:33PM, Tuesday August 28 2007

Ah, I see now said the blind man...and you all know the rest.

That is really lame that they didn't provide support for Shader Model 2 even if you couldn't have the *best* graphics possible. Many gamers without the funds to fork out for a new video card would like *and have* bought their game. So why not help us out a bit and maybe even just offer a patch that we could download after the fact that would make things work like they should with Shader Model 2. Would it be so hard to support the budget gamers too?

OK, I'm done whining now.

@Moholinth: Thanks for the link I'll have to try that and see how well it really works for me.

@Terrapin: Is it really a better *game* on the 360 or just you feel it is a better implementation (ie. no crappy copy protection schemes)?

Terrapin's gravatar

47. Re: Nesretep

Posted by Terrapin at 9:12PM, Tuesday August 28 2007

It's not really a better game on the 360, and could even be considered worse as a result of not having a mouse, and therefore relying on swapping out tiles, using a radial system for plasmids and weapons, etc. What I meant was that, because consoles are standardized, theres no "Why can a $200 X800 not run this, but a $100 X1300 can?". You can buy the game knowing it will work, and exactly how it will work. You put the disk in, you play, period. We avid PC supporters are left floundering in a maze of absurd copy protection, misleading (likely deliberately so) system requirements, pseudo-rootkits you need a reformat to remove, corrupt downloads, limited activations, and the ever delightful endless loop of Securom sending you to 2K Games, and 2K Games telling you to go to Securom. Not to mention crashes, especially for those of us weaseled into getting Vista by sadistic electronics shop employees; two BSODs/crashes and counting for me. Oh, and did I mention driver hell? </rant>

vecima's gravatar

48. for better or worse

Posted by vecima at 11:54PM, Tuesday August 28 2007

either way you want to think of this game when comparing the 360 to pc, i'm certainly glad i got it on my 360.

it's ultra smooth with only a very slight graphics glitch where sometimes textures or normalmaps don't show up on some models till you're up close. even that is rare though. my 360 froze just once after several hours of play.

my pc ran the demo at 1440X900 res with all the goodies turned all the way up, but the framerate wasn't the best. it was playable, but not smooth. aside from resolution, i think it looks just as good on the 360.

an incredible game no matter how you play it (if you can in fact play it).

Cargo Cult's gravatar

49. Pseudo-rootkits? Nah...

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:01AM, Wednesday August 29 2007



* doesn't install any drivers,
* runs at the userland Ring 3, not the kernel-mode Ring 0,
* detects (or often fails to detect) drive emulation and sneaky debuggers using userland tricks like LOOKING IN THE REGISTRY and through other, similarly high-level routes,
* does install a CD-checking service which starts when an administrator user runs a protected game, and is left running so that non-administrator can also run protected games, and
* does create difficult-to-delete registry entries and files - to stop people accidentally deleting their activated game details.

Leaving it installed when all SecuROM products are removed from the computer is a bit crap, and the protecting-users-from-their-own-idiocy thing by creating malformed, hard-to-delete stuff seems to have backfired spectacularly - but overall, it doesn't seem all that bad a bit of evil nasty DRM. Nowhere near as unpleasant as Starforce.

I think half of the shite being flung around is from wannabe pirates disappointed that they *still* haven't been able to pirate the game. I had a slightly eye-opening look at a well-known piratical torrent site just before - and there are dozens of broken versions of Bioshock with thousands of comments from angry pirates complaining that the many gigabytes of data they've downloaded are completely useless.

Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it? ;-)

Terrapin's gravatar

50. Interesting

Posted by Terrapin at 12:47AM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Good find. That article was an interesting read, but note that I accused Bioshock of installing a pseudo-rootkit, the key word being pseudo. I look down upon any company that creates registry data that is difficult to delete, or any hard-to-remove data for that matter. Yes, it does protect the idiots from mucking things up even further, but honestly, if you go into the registry and start deleting stuff without being 100% aware of what you're doing and the potential ramifications, you deserve what you get. I, as an informed, intelligent user, should be able to open regedit and do as I please with my registry, on my hard drive, in my computer. Anything else is just plain wrong. :)

Also, there are working pirated versions of Bioshock. You just have to know where to look and who to ask. Since these versions do not contain SecuROM, 2K is actually rewarding pirates. Honestly, now that I've payed for the game, when I reformat this September, I plan to use a SecuROM-free version, just to save myself the hassle.

Also, Adam, any ideas if the September 3 release is still plausible? As the date draws closer, I'm sure I speak for many acolytes when I say... when?

Baffled's gravatar

51. Zeno Clash

Posted by Baffled at 1:06AM, Wednesday August 29 2007

A new third-party Source game has just been announced, called Zeno Clash. Apparently it involves being chased and engaged in "brutal melee combat" by members of your own family, in a number of "exotic locales"!

Sounds like a typical family vacation... ;-)


Back on topic, it seems that Gabe has banned all Valve employees from playing Bioshock until the Orange Box is out the door. It's a pity the Acolytes didn't think of that or we might be 20-odd hours closer to M3! ;-)

Terrapin's gravatar

52. Good idea

Posted by Terrapin at 2:19AM, Wednesday August 29 2007

It may be helpful for Adam to remember that thanks to the AoM community group, we know what he's doing. Let's all hope that Source SDK is his favorite pastime. Big Brother Acolytes are watching you, and a Metastasis 3 release would be doubleplusgood. :)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

53. September 3

Posted by Yar Kramer at 5:55AM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Yes, I was just wondering that, Terrapin ...

The deadline draws near ... B)

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54. More Heart Than The O.R.

Posted by Vodkarn at 8:47AM, Wednesday August 29 2007

I did try using Security Bullseye on the Big Daddies, but it would literally take 20 minutes to kill him. On Hard, he essentially one-shots the bots with grenades.

I find the best way to deal with Big Daddies is either to set a trap with.. err trap darts, or to have one Big Daddy fight another.

I've gotta say, I really wish there was an easier way to hack quickly, other than constantly making autohack tools. It's not that hacking is hard, it's that doing the same tileset (literally) 40 times a level gets boring fast.

I wrote up a review on my blog if anyone is curious: http://wasd-warrior.blogspot.com/

I'm harsh, but loving.

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55. Bioshockerzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by Errant at 12:02PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Finally just about played the game through (I'm up to the Big Daddy training centre).

Soooo good to play. I really like the combat. And I wouldn't agree the plasmids are ineffective.
Winter Burst 3 is immense! Give them one burst, switch to shotgun and blast them with one shot. Anti personal machine gun rounds also work well (2-4 shots). And for uber effect freeze a load together and nade them (looks sooo cool!)
The easiest kill with decent research I reckon is with Incinerate3 and napalm. Spam them twice with incinerate and one short bust of napalm and they usually burn quite quickly. Or incinerate3 + rage makes a good combo for groups (and then spray them with nap for good measure)
For big daddies (NOT the elites they need loads of prox's to kill) I'm using proximity mines (unusually 5 in a row then hit him with napalm as he runs over them). For the elites and when I don't have prox's enrage + security bullseye plus napalm works pretty well. Napalm seems to be the most effective weapon against them - though you have to watch when they charge!
Electric shell (I think - where you give out elec damage when attacked) is badly weighted - ES2 even in hard mode will take down a mob group fairly quickly (so long as your fighting :P)
And the comments about the security game being monotonous i agree with - should be faster.
I love the lack of ammo too and the general 'hardness' of the game. Sweetness :)

Would you kindly.....

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56. Adventures of an iMac

Posted by Cargo Cult at 1:37PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Shipped to BRUXELLES, BE 27 Aug 2007
Estimated Delivery Date 31 Aug 2007 (Subject to change)
Current Delivery Status In Transit to Customer - Shipment on Schedule 28 Aug 2007


Got some more done on metastasis_4b, as well as some more polish on 3 and 4a - things are all getting there, but with the proper packaging and such it's unlikely I'll get a final version released on the 3rd. Sorry.

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57. Does this title support Unicode?

Posted by Sortie at 5:56PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Great it's going good. That polish part always take more time than you initially think, always. At least for me. ;-)

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58. Sigh

Posted by ufotofu at 6:22PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Well, Adam, when it gets done, it gets done. Polish it until it shines! However, I must admit, lobbing a screenshot or two our way might do something to calm us down. You've got a full mob of anxious acolytes here!

In topic-related news, I played through the Bioshock demo, and was only slightly impressed. The exterior-lighthouse scene was gorgeous, and the rest of the demo was pretty, if a a bit repetitive. The gameplay seemed a bit too tunnel-crawling and claustrophobic to me, though. To those who have Bioshock-- is that representative of the entire game? I'm not planning on buying it; I'm just curious.

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59. Screenshots

Posted by fuzz at 6:44PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

mmm, how about a couple of screenshots mr cargocult? Even a full res version of the previously released ones would keep the AofM quiet for, oo, at least an hour or two :)

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60. Screenshots

Posted by Terrapin at 8:18PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

YES! Surely at this point you have some nice jpegs you can give us to salivate over. Maybe a high res image of the first thing you see beyond the airlock (or whatever it is you wind up in at the end of M2), or some abstract yet subtlety mysterious image of what the island is really used for, without actually giving us anything concrete of course.

We need something new to obsess over - I've gone through Minerva four times in the past two days, and it gets more agonizing each time. I'm pretty sure that I know where the plot is going at this point (see my theories in previous topics), but the suspense of how right or wrong I / we are is killing me. Soooo... would you kindly post a few screenshots for us to obsess over until you get it done? :)

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61. Interesting Things

Posted by Sortie at 11:10PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

Anyone discovered the hidden semiblog? I did.

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62. Re: Interesting Things

Posted by Terrapin at 11:30PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

You mean this?

Interesting, but nothing Minerva related.

Evan's gravatar

63. Re: Screenshots

Posted by Evan at 11:39PM, Wednesday August 29 2007

I wouldn't mind if Adam even just gave us a decent shot of the first thing you see on the other side of that ominous metal door.

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64. bio-basement

Posted by Ace at 3:38AM, Thursday August 30 2007

Hopefully the Bioshock discussion hasn't quite run its course yet. Anybody else get into the basement of Sinclair spirits in the Fort Frolic level? It was real easy to miss since the stairway was blocked off until after (I think) you kill the last guy you had to get a picture of. That was one of the creepiest video game bits ever for me. (oh, and I agree about that Tchaikovsky part. Perfect.)

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65. other bio-basement

Posted by Ace at 7:03AM, Thursday August 30 2007

Oops, it had nothing to do with killing anybody, it opened when you pressed the switch behind the counter, but I meant the stairs outside in the foyer, not the basement from within the store. (they both open at the same time.) Oh well, whatever, I thought it was creepy.

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66. Got A Light?

Posted by Vodkarn at 10:21AM, Thursday August 30 2007

To whomever asked, the game tends to be claustrophobic one level, then open the next. For example, Fort Frolic has a lot of large-room fighting, yet Arcadia is very windy and full of corridors (with a few open rooms).

I do admit that there are good combat uses for Plasmids, what I meant was that you can easily kill an entire level with only weapons -- the reverse would be difficult, if not impossible (in some areas). Successive levels of Electric Shock don't get any stronger, Frost only freezes longer, and so on. I just wished I could become something like a certain boss, and less like.. some guy who can light a cigarette with his hand.

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67. Post Script

Posted by Vodkarn at 10:22AM, Thursday August 30 2007

Also, screenshots of the next installment would be nice, Carg ;) However, simply knowing it's being worked on is enough for me.

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68. Re: Got A Light?

Posted by Terrapin at 5:50PM, Thursday August 30 2007

I'm in absolute agreement with Vodkarn here. Plasmids don't make you feel like some super-powerful barely human killing machine, they simply open up some new tactical options, such as preventing enemies from fighting back, or forcing them, as per their AI, to run for the nearest basin of water where you can zap them. What I hoped was that when I beat a boss, I would get their plasmid(s); the way they did it was just too linear. I think there were six or seven plasmids overall, and then just better versions of each one. Most of them, such as electro bolt, incinerate, and winter blast, could be emulated using normal weapons or tonics. For example, those three could all be replaced by the chemical thrower.

Oh, and once again... SCREENSHOTS PLEASE!

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69. screenshots

Posted by vecima at 4:25AM, Friday August 31 2007

quiet, you! (Terrapin)

you're likely to incur wrath upon all of us.

don't you know the games and tricks MINERVA plays on us? be careful or we may just get "what we wished for" only we'll be kicking ourselves.

*adam readies 4 new screenshots, then 'accidentally' applies 30X gaussian blur, leaving us to but yearn and drool like impatient dogs -- and to eventually wish we had never wished.*

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70. Wrath?

Posted by Terrapin at 6:26AM, Friday August 31 2007

Well, the way I see it, something is better than nothing. I'm already verging on psychosis from anticipation, and I'm sure many others are too. What could Adam possibly do to make it worse, besides "accidentally" leaving his laptop at the bottom of a river or some such catastrophe?

In your proposed "corrupt wish" theory, even if we could make out a few fuzzy details, it would somewhat satisfy us, if only for a few hours. After over a year of riddles and theories, we, or at least I, would love something, anything at all, that is absolutely and undeniably new.

But in the end, the decision is not in our hands. Adam, your acolytes await judgment, in whatever form it may come.

Ace's gravatar

71. limerick

Posted by Ace at 7:47AM, Friday August 31 2007

Well, if no screenshots, how about a limerick instead?

There was a lady who triplets begat
Nat, Pat and Tat
It was fun breeding
But trouble feeding
Cause she didn't have a tit for Tat.


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72. Adventures of an iMac 2

Posted by Cargo Cult at 4:51PM, Friday August 31 2007

27 Aug 2007 09:52 Shanghai Consignment Picked Up
27 Aug 2007 14:29 Shanghai Consignment Received At Transit Point
28 Aug 2007 09:00 Pudong International Airport Requested Pickup Time Too Late For Transit Connection
28 Aug 2007 10:52 Shanghai Shipped From Originating Depot
30 Aug 2007 23:39 Arnhem Hub Consignment Passed Through Transit Point
30 Aug 2007 23:42 Arnhem Hub Consignment Received At Transit Point
31 Aug 2007 06:51 Brussels Hub Consignment Passed Through Transit Point
31 Aug 2007 06:52 Brussels Hub Consignment Received At Transit Point
31 Aug 2007 07:07 Brussels Import Received
31 Aug 2007 08:15 Brussels Out For Delivery


And here was me thinking it might have come from the Netherlands, Ireland or the UK or something. Ooer.


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73. Semantics, Shemantics

Posted by Baffled at 6:26PM, Friday August 31 2007

I thought that "Shipped to BRUXELLES, BE 27 Aug 2007" meant that it had *arrived* in Brussels on the 27th, rather than that it had merely started out on its trip-cum-world-tour.

I was chuckling at the 4 days the Belgians were apparently going to take, to actually deliver it to your flat, but it seems that I got the wrong end of the stick.

I wonder if *anything* is made outside of China anymore?

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74. Terrapin

Posted by MrHappy at 1:02AM, Saturday September 1 2007


Search the blog for "digital archaeology" and you will find what you wish for.

I for one don't want to see until the door opens, maintains the mystery, awe, immersion...

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75. Awesome!

Posted by Terrapin at 3:59AM, Saturday September 1 2007

I think I found what you were meaning there. Thanks a million, I have now combined those to make myself a nice wallpaper. Now, to analyze them in explicit detail... oooh, I just noticed something very, very interesting... here's hoping for fast delivery, Adam, this is looking better and better.

As for mystery and immersion... I would have said the same thing a few months ago, but now, hell with it, I want something new. 16 months is a very long time for something as good as Minerva.

Halo 2, for example, had an ending similar to Metastasis 2, a sudden cliff hanger and credits just as things got really interesting. But Halo 2 was crap, or at least the single player was; it was basically an expansion pack to Halo CE, with a few bizarre plot details tacked on (e.g. Gravemind, the ultimate deus ex machina).

Minerva is something I would pay to play. We know Adam has three maps planned for M3. Obviously it's not my position to second guess his work, but why not polish the third map, release it, spend a month or two on the fourth, then give us another release, etc. All the other episodes have been a single map, so why does he suddenly feel the need for a triple-length finale?

As for screenshots, since Adam didn't even mention the requests in his last post, I take that to mean it will be a while before we get anything new. This is really quite sad, as, given Adam's luck lately, I'm starting to doubt that we'll see M3 this year. Not that I'm blaming Adam, but seriously, I'm just waiting for a freak EMP or solar flare to somehow zap his entire collection of backups. What will be, will be, I guess.

In summary... I'm all for the patience is a virtue thing, but really, this is a bit much. Still, thanks to one very kind acolyte, I think I'll be able to wait in a more peaceful state.

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76. Afterthought

Posted by Terrapin at 4:04AM, Saturday September 1 2007

Just noticed, those images are rather old. Adam, would you mind confirming whether those environments are still in the current build of M3? I have a few new theories, and I need to know if they still carry any weight at all.

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77. Halo 2

Posted by Evan at 4:36AM, Saturday September 1 2007


I note your mention of Halo 2, which did not intentionally end with a cliff-hanger but rather was forced to do so due to time constraints.

Also, I believe the storyline of Halo 2 - while not particularly complex at face value - is rather deep and twisting. Nothing comparative to the "wheels withing wheels" plots of certain books/video games, but still satisfying. Gravemind, for example, plays far more of a part than a "bizarre detail", not to mention his foreboding and cryptic dialogue. Gameplay as well is always exciting.

Finally, calling it an "Expansion Pack" is actually correct, since that's exactly what it was. Any game that has a sequel technically has an "expansion" to the first. Forgive me, but I venture to call you a bit ignorant in having made such a statement.

To be honest, I'm far more excited to play Halo 3 than I am the next installments of Metastasis. And, no, I -wouldn't- pay for Metastasis. Not to say it isn't my absolute favorite Half-Life modification, but I probably wouldn't put down cash for it. I wouldn't of ever played Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike, or Counter-Strike: Source if they weren't included with subsequent Half-Life games I had already purchased.

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78. Moneys for Metastasis

Posted by Divals at 5:26AM, Saturday September 1 2007

I'd gladly pay $10 or $15 for what's come out so far, and another $10 or $15 for what's coming out soon. And I'm a broke college student with no job, so that's saying something...

And I doubt if I'll play Halo 3 for at least a couple months after it's released, I don't even have a 360 yet.

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79. Re: Halo 2

Posted by Terrapin at 7:03AM, Saturday September 1 2007

Well, you do make a good point, but I think my overall analysis is still accurate. Halo 2 was cut off be time constraints. To meet the release date, they had to cut a few levels out, and sacrifice a real ending. Yet we still payed full price. What I meant by the expansion pack comment was that it was simply a map pack, a bunch of levels, tied together in a moderately well written plot.

The sequel's "innovations" were anything but. Playing as the Arbiter: my HUD is purple, and my allies now look and sound different. But despite being an experienced Covenant warlord, albeit disgraced, I still can't change the batteries in my plasma rifles. Duel wielding: rather than one strong assault rifle, I now get two less powerful SMGs, with insane recoil and reload times. And the whole "allies can now drive vehicles" idea... let me just say that if a trained UNSC marine honestly believes its a good idea to keep the vehicle stationary while in plain view of a pair of Wraith mortar tanks, then I can see why humanity is loosing the war.

And Gravemind was, I'm sorry to say, simply annoying, and a perfect example of deus ex machina. Just when both protagonists are seemingly in mortal peril... along comes a giant plant-thing who teleports us into various locations so he can infect them, conveniently accomplishing our goals as well. Need to get to an orbital space station with thousands of battleships incinerating anything that comes close? Just fall into a lake, and eventually, things will work out. Yes, I'm very aware of Halo's teleportation grid, but how that could apply to a Covenant mobile fortress, and why they would have almost no defense against it even if it did just doesn't make sense.

The Brutes were even worse as enemies. They were just bullet sponges, plain and simple, and their AI wasn't that great either. I did enjoy fighting along side the Hunters, and catching a glimpse at the inner workings of the Covenant society; the opening cut scene, and the last level were excellent.

In the end, however, I didn't feel satisfied at the end as I did after the original. In the end, I had blown up a Covenant armada. I had seen my commanding officer die at the hands of a truly terrifying alien invasion. I can still remember watching the ending cinematic for the first time, watching that ancient megastructure, a true wonder of engineering, be blown to bits just to give humanity a chance, however small, to live to fight another day. I knew their would be more, of course, but at the end of a five-hour straight gaming session, I could sit back and know that within the game, I had battled impossible odds to do something awesome. When Halo 2 ended, nothing had changed. The Covenant fleet was still heading toward Earth, the Halos and the Flood both posed an even bigger threat than before, and I had really gotten no answers as to who the Forerunners were, where the flood came from, and a thousand other questions I had gone into the sequel expecting to know. I'm not saying that I should have finished the fight then and there, leaving nothing to finish the trilogy with. But I would have liked to have done something major, like I did in the first game, both as personal gratification and as a promise that when Halo 3 did come around, things would once again be different. Last time, I wiped out an artificial planet, disgraced the commander of an entire fleet, and sparked a civil war in humanity's greatest enemy. But in Halo 2, I was just another ordinary soldier in extraordinary circumstances.

Wow, that was long. To summarize: Halo 2 was just more of the same. At the start of Halo 3, from what I can see, we're in the exact same position we were in at the start of Halo 2, and therefore...

Halo 2 is irrelevant. Take the first two missions of Halo 2, cut out the rest; the Covenant is attacking Earth. Now splice in the start of Halo 3. The Covenant is still attacking Earth, and everything we did in Halo 2 was for naught.

So am I ignorant? Not really, I just have a different opinion of what makes a good game, a good sequel, and a good plot than you. Thanks for reading. :)

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80. Re: Re: Halo 2

Posted by cypher543 at 7:42AM, Saturday September 1 2007

I agree with most of what you said. When I got to the end of Halo 2, I wasn't too happy with the absence of a spectacular explosion. They pulled the index out and... well... Halo shut off. Yay. Very exciting.

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81. Halo and MINERVA

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:20PM, Saturday September 1 2007

I generally enjoyed halo 2, though i loved halo 1, In my eyes it really only fell down with the poor ending and the Brutes (as has already been mentioned). While i think that it is a fair comment to say halo 2 didnt change much story wise, it certainly went along way in expanding and explaining the halo universe, and I think the improved AI (For existing creatures and marines) + Dual Wielding + Vehicle Hijacking make it much more than just an expansion to halo1.

As for paying for MINERVA, I would pay a reasonable price (around £5 maybe abit more) but i think it would be a bad idea for Adam to charge as it would limmit how many people could play the game.

Oh and if the 3rd chapter is as close as Adam keeps telling us, I think I can wait without some screenshots, Like Mr happy said, Dont you want to find out whats on the other side of those cold steel doors by yourself?

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82. Halo CE&2

Posted by inoperative at 5:35PM, Saturday September 1 2007

I pretty much agree with Holy Socks, although I do give Halo 2 more credit when it comes to the story. Although it's a fair comment to say halo 2&3 start at seemingly similar points lots has changed since and I bet the fact that the starting points seem so similar only will underline how much that's different this time around.

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83. And regarding Minerva

Posted by inoperative at 5:36PM, Saturday September 1 2007

I'd pay for it in a heartbeat.

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84. Halo

Posted by Terrapin at 6:26PM, Saturday September 1 2007

@ cypher543: Actually, we didn't shut Delta Halo off. We put it, and the five other remaining Halos into standby, putting the galaxy at even greater risk than before. So we potentially killed billions with no real purpose or benefit.

@ Holy Socks: dual wielding, like I said, is rather pointless. I've done some testing in multiplayer, and 2 SMGs have, roughly, the firepower of of an AR, except you can't melee or throw grenades. 2 Needlers were a bit more useful, but still not worth the trade off of melee and grenade attacks. About the only use for dual wielding is in multiplayer, where one can use a plasma pistol/rifle to drain one's shields, then use a SMG to kill them. However, in Halo CE, a melee attack or grenade could often yield the same result, and was easier to pull off. And improved AI... you aren't serious, are you? 9 times out of 10, when I was driving a tank, manning a turret, or sniping enemies, they would run right at me, or dive for cover. However, since they often left some body part exposed, it really did nothing. They never tried to flank me, never sent grunts out as a distraction, never fell back to regroup. They had two tactics: run straight foreword firing your weapon and screaming alien battle cries, and making poor use of cover - first time I played Outskirts, 2 Elites and 2 Grunts all took cover behind the same car wreck. So I can't really say much for the AI from personal experience.

Regarding paying for Minerva, I would pay $20 for it readily. Seriously though, any reasonable request Adam makes, I'd do; we owe him that much for what we have so far, and what is still to come (soon, hopefully).

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85. Delta Halo

Posted by cypher543 at 8:12PM, Saturday September 1 2007

Terrapin: I see. I was under the impression that Delta Halo was shut down, which then alerted the other installations, causing the rest to go into standby. Obviously, I was wrong. :P

I was too shocked at how boring the ending was, so I guess I wasn't paying much attention.

Dracko55's gravatar

86. Disappointed.

Posted by Dracko55 at 8:13PM, Saturday September 1 2007

My God, this game was a disappointment.

The moral aspect is bogus: It is made very, very clear by the endings that the "good" outcome is considered the better one. (The "evil" one is still the best of the two.)

The only real highlight of the game is the Ryan showdown, despite it being utterly predictable the first moment you get a flashback, but even though it made such great use of game conventions and was good meta-commentary, the rest of the game continues all the same, and builds up to a rather pathetically cliché boss fight. This game is a parody of itself.

Plotwise, this game really isn't anywhere as good as <i>System Shock 2</i>. That game had ambience, well conceived ambiguity and a nasty streak a mile wild.

I was expecting more from something claiming to be (r)evolutionary in a post-<i>Half-Life 2</i> world. Instead, all I get is a prettier version of <i>System Shock 2</i>, except less creepy, with more enemies, a plot which is far less ambiguous than it claims to be, less of a nasty streak - which is a shame - and where the Psy-Ops career is made viable.

Still, I hope the success of the title means that future game developers will have to go to greater efforts to create accomplished stories.

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87. System Shocked

Posted by Cargo Cult at 9:01PM, Saturday September 1 2007

I liked Bioshock, but unfortunately mainly because it reminds me a lot of System Shock 2. As I was playing it, I kept seeing similarities in the gameplay and in the ideas, and how the newer game was really just a slimmed-down evolution on the former, not a revolution.

My favourite section was definitely the beginning and the medical areas - the introduction of Rapture was fantastic, as were the characters of Atlas and the Picasso-wannabe surgeon. His ambitions *really* freaked me out...

But after that? The world of Rapture no longer seemed quite so threatening, and its inhabitants a bit less vile. I found the combat fun, but a little fiddly - and I never really got the impression that I was changing my body and genetic material in some unpleasant, irreversible manner. The marks, burns and pustules on the plasmid view-model hands were great - but the instant changes not so good. I was really just changing between different weapon models, and it showed...

I did like the character of Atlas - I was indeed suspicious about his motives, and (especially after seeing that 'Patrick and Moira' poster) knew his story didn't add up - but when the submarine was destroyed I was really hoping the expected Horrible Twist would be that he *was* telling the truth. I approached Ryan's office dreading a dull, derivative boss battle - but again hoping for something different - and thankfully my second bunch of fears were dashed completely. Best boss 'battle' since Zerstörer! ... But I was delivered an Atlas becoming Fontaine, which could have been fine - except I *really* didn't like his new accent. Clichéed-gangster-drawl-alert...

If he'd changed to a neutral, more threatening version of his previous Atlas voice, then I might have been convinced - he's obviously going to have the ability to change the manner of his speech, otherwise people would have recognised Atlas as the allegedly dead Fontaine - but his 'real' voice really shouldn't have been so stereotyped. I thought the voice acting for Atlas and Ryan was great - it was just Fontaine that grated on me badly. Oh well.

The ending definitely was a disappointment - the sight of Fontaine as a glossy, bronze Art Deco über-mensch was cool, if terribly cheesy, but it really was the centrepiece of a completely and utterly derivative boss battle. And not remotely difficult either.

(But still, way better than System Shock 2's ending. Hah!)

Morals? I think the developers probably bit off way more than they could chew - it was never going to be possible to fully develop the option of child-killing. I initially wondered if rescuing the Little Sisters was the right thing to do - after all, I was being told to save them by an allegedly reformed perpetrator of Nazi atrocities - but it looked like my Hippocratic first-do-no-harm option was the 'right' one in the eyes of the developers.

If Tenenbaum had been using the rescued girls for some far, far worse atrocity, then the cup of moral ambiguity would have definitely overflowed...

Choices? Not many, to be honest - but receiving conflicting orders from a seemingly-trustworthy Atlas and a former-war-criminal Tenenbaum, *and being able to follow the different routes*, could have been intriguing.

There you go. Back to MINERVA!

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88. Picasso

Posted by cypher543 at 9:31PM, Saturday September 1 2007

I most definitely agree about the "Picasso-wannabe surgeon". In fact, the most disturbing part of the game for me was the diary in which a nurse was attempting to stop him from cutting a woman's face up... I actually tried to find a way to make the diary stop playing. I'm sure there was a way, but I was looking around so frantically that I must have missed it.

The entire game had VERY good characters. The detail given to each major person in the storyline was incredible. I especially liked the guy with the "Masterpiece". I forget his name... I rather enjoyed the sequence in which he forced a Splicer to play the piano for him. It seemed to convey his madness very well.

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89. Re: System Shocked

Posted by Dracko55 at 9:50PM, Saturday September 1 2007

The only thing that disturbed me was Suchong's log where he makes a child strangle his puppy to death. Steinman, Cohen and co. came off like Hammer horror villains. Not disturbing, just plain demented. This may have been slightly the point, but still. The symmetry deal was really intriguing, but wasn't pushed far enough, for instance. Cohen was good fun though, I laughed very hard at his muse comment.

And true, they didn't know how to end System Shock 2 either. Talk about dropping the ball. I suspect they're just not good with them.

locworks's gravatar

90. bioshocked

Posted by locworks at 12:53AM, Sunday September 2 2007

That's it, ladies and gents. After reading your comments (and experiencing systematic BSODs in the demo when playing on a G1, with everything up-to-date and a keyboard free from crumbs or Mr. F.'s inquisitive paws), I'm buying Bioshock when it's 50% off, bundled with the Director's Cut and the "I destroyed Rapture and all I got is this lousy T-shirt" T-shirt.

Omnivore's gravatar

91. oh, c'mon

Posted by Omnivore at 2:39AM, Sunday September 2 2007

Awww...it's not so bad. My new machine arrived, and Bioshock plays beautifully. I'm not very good at operating myself, but no crashes, no problems, just good clean (dark violent) compatible speedy (leaky echoing) fun. Can't wait to try out M3 on the new hardware.

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92. Re: bioshocked

Posted by Ace at 4:52AM, Sunday September 2 2007

heh heh heh, love the T-shirt idea!

I've been waiting for going on 2 years now for F.E.A.R. to come down to $20, though a nifty T-shirt may indeed push me over the edge.

(and for what it's worth, I enjoyed the dual-wielding in Halo 2 once I got the hang of it. I thought it was fun, and as that guy from the psychonauts review pointed out, that should be what it's all about.)

(oh, and one last bioshock thought, the engineer in me shuddered at some of the sheerly ludicrous and utterly preposterous underwater architecture in Bioshock. It would've been amazingly impractical, and probably impossible to build that place, and if not, it would've cost more than the GDP of most industrialized nations. But, it did look quite, eh, what was the word?, spangly. Yes, quite spangly, so I guess I can forgive it.)

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93. Dual Wielding

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:19PM, Sunday September 2 2007

I think one of the main attractions of Dual wielding is the the combinations of different weapons (human pistol + smg works well), and in the single player it helps back up the idea of the player being an unstoppable killing machine if he's charging in with a smg in each hand.

Back to the main topic of Bioshock, The surgeon diaries combined with those of one of his patients were both brilliant and disturbing in equal measure, though I for me the highlights of the game were Fort Frolic, and meeting Ryan. Bioshock was one of the best games I've played since Half Life2, though I never played SS1 or 2 so it was probably a more "fresh" experience for me.

One thing i was let down by was the harvesting of the Little sisters, I really did think it should have been more brutal than it was, This is not because I'm some blood thirsty gamer interested in nothing but gore, but because killing a little girl (even something that just looks like one) really should be the most disturbing, brutal thing imaginable. The fact that there isnt even a physical reminder (in the form of a corpse) of the terrible act that you've just commited, in my opinion, takes away from the sense of guilt the player feels.

locworks's gravatar

94. fear the Vienna T-shirt

Posted by locworks at 10:39PM, Sunday September 2 2007

Ace: I'm glad you like the idea.

F.E.A.R. is still maturing on the shelf (bought for 20 euro during a clearance in Dublin) and I do have now the configuration to run it. Real Life (TM) and older games (loading in 2 seconds) get in the way...

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will wait another year or two, but that's because I did the first proof of the English text (right after the translation from Russian) and am trying to forget the story and who Hawkeye (Strelok's original name) really is.

Halo 2: I'll buy it in a bundle with Halo 3 and a "Master Chief and Cortana sitting in a tree..." T-shirt. Probably when Windows Vienna ships.

Baffled's gravatar

95. Time will set you free

Posted by Baffled at 12:07AM, Monday September 3 2007

@Ace If you wait long enough you might get F.E.A.R. for free. There seems to be an increasing trend of releasing ad-supported versions of old games for free, and they have already released F.E.A.R. multiplayer for free.

Of course the operative word in there is *old*, but if you are a patient bunny you may well be rewarded. Gamershell have just put up a free version of FarCry which is *only* three and a half years old ;-) :


Terrapin's gravatar

96. Re: fear the Vienna T-shirt

Posted by Terrapin at 12:14AM, Monday September 3 2007

F.E.A.R. was awesome. Most of the tension was lost on the fact that looking the wrong way for a second could make you miss five minutes of build-up. Plus it kind of got repetitive about halfway through. Dark corridors, claustrophobic spaces, radio static, and then boom, something jumps out at you. The gunfights, however, were truly awesome. I have yet to see AI that good since. And going into slow-motion just as you blow some clones face off was truly spectacular.

I haven't gotten around to buying STALKER yet - is it any good?

And as for Windows Vienna, I won't be buying it until I literally have absolutely no choice but to do so. I decided to be an early adopter for Vista, which turned out to be a huge mistake. Seven months later, it still doesn't count as "finished" by all but the broadest definition of the word. Even Halo 2, a game which runs only on Vista, crashes after cut scenes more often than not. Not to mention the 10-20% performance penalty I take on everything, from boot to shut down. Throw in absolute crap video card drivers, and Microsoft has lost my support for a long time to come.

But I would pay for any of the T-shirts mentioned thus far. :)

Ace's gravatar

97. misc.

Posted by Ace at 1:23AM, Monday September 3 2007

Interesting find there on Farcry Baffled, I've never played that either. I'm wondering about this "in-game advertising" though. I wonder how irritating it'll be? And Farcry is only $20 or less now I think. It's not that I've waited 2 years for F.E.A.R. because the extra $10-$20 is that big a deal, it's more on principle. Two weeks after I bought Doom 3 it dropped to $20 (from the $50 or so I paid for it), and I figured F.E.A.R. would do the same thing after not too long. I'll be damned if I have to admit that I was wrong. (It's been $30 here for a long, long time. I've managed to convince myself it's a personal grudge match between me and Vivendi's marketing division.)

And besides, I may have to concede to being shamed into playing psychonauts. I downloaded the demo, and the intro movie sequences are great, they are in fact quite clever and funny. I did however have one hell of a time leading the character around. I haven't played a third person game since Super Mario Bros. And I don't mean the fancy 3D Super Mario Bros, I mean the original NES sidescroller. Actually maybe psychonauts would've just made a good movie?

And locworks, your new T-shirt idea just made me think of a great plot for Halo 7: ten years after master chief and Cortana are married, she's put on a few electronic kilograms, she's no longer quite so cute ... wait, no, I've done this before...sorry...
And my goodness, quite the professional linguist you are. Well, I for one am duly impressed.

(and I'll agree Terrapin that Halo 2 on Vista was a joke. A joke on us that is. Fortunately I have both Vista and XP. And I haven't booted to Vista in months. And I thought Stalker was quite good, though not perfect. I guess I'd rank it about equivalent to Bioshock.)

Terrapin's gravatar

98. Games

Posted by Terrapin at 3:43AM, Monday September 3 2007

Well, STALKER is now on Steam, so I may have to download it and give it a try. $29.95 sounds fair to me. Also, I really doubt that F.E.A.R. will come down in price any time soon. A new expansion is coming out (Perseus Mandate, I believe), so sales for the original and first expansion will increase. FEAR is an excellent FPS experience, on par with HL2, so pay the 30 dollars. And don't forget to play in a dark room, at night, with headphones, and with the sound turned way up. Have fun.

Also, has anyone noticed that Doom 3 is now on Steam? Doom 3 was HL2's major competition at launch, and now ID has apparently submitted to Valve. I would have loved to have seen Gabe Newell's face when he got the news.

LocoYokel's gravatar

99. playing FEAR

Posted by LocoYokel at 4:01AM, Monday September 3 2007

It's even better if you have a young girl (daughter, neice, etc) who can come up and start talking at you halfway through the game, right after some of the cutscenes. 'Course you might have to pull yourself out of the ceiling and go change your britches after that.

fuzz's gravatar

100. Vista

Posted by fuzz at 10:38AM, Monday September 3 2007

After reading yet another preview for halo 3 I'm feeling quite hyped enough to offer to put money into an Xbox 360 with my flatmate (who is a halo nut from way back).
But the other advantage would be being able to play bioshock without worrying about hardware specs or drivers etc.
In fact, maybe gaming on Vista is simply a subtle way to drive 360 sales...


Sortie's gravatar

101. I blame you, yes you!

Posted by Sortie at 4:16PM, Monday September 3 2007

Hehe, I'm now considered an interesting thing, how soon will my cage be opened to enable my movement around in a monitored environment?

Cargo Cult's gravatar

102. I hope I went somewhere nice

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:38PM, Monday September 3 2007

03 Sep 2007 17:59 Brussels Receiver On Holiday


31 Aug 2007 19:06 Brussels Company Closed On Delivery Attempt


The good news is that the nice lady on the customer services helpline thingy is starting some sort of inquiry into the driver's explanations. Wahey!

TNT? Rubbish.

Baffled's gravatar

103. Deliver us from evil

Posted by Baffled at 7:56PM, Monday September 3 2007

Delivery drivers are devils, and yours was probably lounging in a pub somewhere utterly unconcerned that you had taken a day off work to wait for him.

Getting them to arrive is only part of the horror, I had an Amtrak driver arrive at my door, some years back, to deliver a PC base unit, and he disappeared into the back of the van, to find it, and moments later , it could be seen flying through the air as the lazy baboon had hurled all £1200 of it out the back of the van, right in front of me, rather than carry it. It landed with a sickening thud and the driver quite nonchalantly hopped down and grabbed the box with one hand using a just-created hole in the box as a handle, and brought it to my door. When I unpacked it,the whole roof of the case had been caved in and it rattled when shook.

Devils,I tell you.

Divals's gravatar

104. I've never had those kinds of problems...

Posted by Divals at 8:05PM, Monday September 3 2007

...though that could be because the UPS delivery guy is my mom's next-door neighbor, and if he screwed up he'd have an angry lesbian posse burning down his house.

Sortie's gravatar

105. Holidays?

Posted by Sortie at 9:39PM, Monday September 3 2007

Hmm, let's have a quick overview of the Minerva development in August:

01 Aug 2007 17:59 Brussels Developer having tech problems
02 Aug 2007 15:54 Brussels Developer being utterly bored with development
03 Aug 2007 18:59 Brussels Developer complaning about postal orders the whole day, when done he goes on friday drinking.
04 Aug 2007 12:23 Brussels Developer using the whole day having a hangover
05 Aug 2007 17:13 Brussels Developer working on Minerva, unable to get the damn turret working.
06 Aug 2007 17:59 Brussels Developer still can't get that damn turret working, having problems with his monitor
07 Aug 2007 17:59 Brussels Developer trying to get help from a chat ending up using the same turret from previous map, which is the obious solution, spending 3 days on it.
08 Aug 2007 17:59 Brussels Developer on holiday
09 Aug 2007 17:51 Brussels Developer office closed
10 Aug 200720:13 Brussels Developer complaning about being friday again missing faked deadline
11 Aug 200720:16 Brussels Developer complaning about missing iMac shit
12 Aug 2007 11:13 Brussels Developer in church, it's sunday
13 Aug 2007 15:13 Brussels Developer bragging about being in a bus being hit by an car or whatever it was.
14 Aug 200720:13 Brussels Developer complaning about being friday yet again missing yet another faked deadline
15 Aug 200720:00 Brussels Developer on holiday, office closed.
16 Aug 200720:13 Brussels Developer accidenyl fried his harddisk off having to start the whole project all over again
17 Aug 200720:16 Brussels Developer unsure whatever it's Monday again and should attend at work.
18 Aug 200720:17 Brussels Developer trying to read all the comments at his blog only to discover new ones after reading everyone so far, and the topic has changed. Whole day spend
19 Aug 2007 20:13 Brussels Developer complaning about Brussels being far away from anything esspecially his iMac.
20 Aug 2007 20:13 Brussels Developer working on Minerva, still having problems with the new turret which just was the last straw to break the entity limit.

barton's gravatar

106. today....

Posted by barton at 10:14PM, Monday September 3 2007


where is it?? ;)

Sortie's gravatar

107. Injustice to privacy

Posted by Sortie at 12:13AM, Tuesday September 4 2007

Privacy? That's just something the goverment made up in order to remain awesome.
"#Sortie: Hmm. It's the 3rd today, how much work is left?
Cargo Cult: Spoiler: Jack saves the day, his daughter gets kidnapped again, terrorists persevere.
#Sortie: Hha yeah
Cargo Cult: How much work is left? Not sure. Not much. ;]"

Terrapin's gravatar

108. Soon?

Posted by Terrapin at 12:32AM, Tuesday September 4 2007

If "not much" is left, it could be reasonable to expect a release within a week of the iMac arriving. But we've said that at least a dozen times this summer. :)

Oh, and I agree, delivery people truly are evil. True story: I ordered a new laptop. Arrives two weeks later. To save time, I decide to go down to the post office to pick it up on the way home from work. I show them two pieces of photo ID, my receipt, and my printed order form. They tell me they can't do that, and that I'll have to wait for delivery. A week passes, nothing. I call, they say it should be along soon. Two days pass. I go back to the post office, they tell me it was delivered. I told them to call me as soon as they figured out where my new laptop was. I get home, and right there on my door is a note saying that they were there not five minutes earlier, and that I can go to the post office to get it. The next day, I try to do just that. It'll be delivered by five the next day. So I take the day off work, wait until quarter to five, and sure enough, the delivery guy comes. Here's the best part: despite wasting two weeks, and countless hours of driving, phone calls, and e-mails, they want $330 extra in "Post-Shipping Fees". Seeing no other choice, as I needed it for work, I pay the money. I open it up, and see that my shiny new Dell notebook has a huge freakin' crack in the screen. I have not ordered anything online since.

Best of luck Adam - I hope things improve for you from here.

Ace's gravatar

109. wow, hold on a second....

Posted by Ace at 12:35AM, Tuesday September 4 2007

Angry lesbian posse? Your mother? See usually mother jokes work the other way around Divals. We tell them. Though this would make a subject for a long post that I wouldn't mind reading......

And Sortie, do you live in Brussels Developer's sock drawer?

f#a#'s gravatar

110. Bioshock, cont'd.

Posted by f#a# at 5:25AM, Tuesday September 4 2007

I'd contend that Bioshock was the best game ever until Olympus Heights. The reveal was well-done—I'm sure that all the plot champs saw it coming a mile away, but I have a habit of turning my brain off when playing games and the game kept me asking questions (I, too, saw the Patrick+Moira poster) until the curtain was fully drawn.

In hindsight, I feel the game was very, very watered down for whatever reason. I really want to believe that Ken Levine had huge aspirations for the Little Sister theme, but had to retcon a ton of things at the last second thanks to the rating systems. Namely that you get prizes for saving them, that goes against everything he had said leading up to the release. Who wouldn't press "L" instead of "H" after killing that huge behemoth? It would have been better if saving them gave no Adam whatsoever, and then it would be a valid choice. As it stands, the difference was ultimately 40 Adam.

I did like the attention to detail they brought into Rapture—it really breathed life into the game. The posters, the voice acting, the AI, everything was spot-on. I hear they brought the mapper for Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle on for the Fort Frolic level, and it really showed. That level was a masterpiece in and of itself.

That being said, I logged on hoping for a Minerva release because once again I am bored. Oh, and pumped to see some fast zombies. At least, I'm assuming that corpse at the end of M2 was a sign of things to come...

cypher543's gravatar

111. Fast Zombies

Posted by cypher543 at 5:31AM, Tuesday September 4 2007

"At least, I'm assuming that corpse at the end of M2 was a sign of things to come..."

I sincerely hope not... Fast Zombies are so annoying. There are two video game enemies that I hate more than any others... The Flood from Halo and Fast Zombies in Half-Life 2. Why? Because they both annoy the crap out of me.

I'm not saying I won't play the next episode just because there might be Fast Zombies in it. But, I probably won't enjoy it very much.

Just my 2 cents.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

112. Adventures of an iMac, part ∞

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:48PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

04 Sep 2007 13:56 Brussels Company Closed On Delivery Attempt


Evan's gravatar

113. iMac...

Posted by Evan at 2:59PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

This is why I shall never trust Macintosh. It's PC or death for me.

I swear, you need to call yonder delivery fellows up and speak all angry at them.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

114. Anger Management

Posted by Cargo Cult at 3:02PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

I have spoken all angrily-like at the TNT customer services type thingy (in the usual "I know it's not *your* fault but it's getting ridiculous" kind of way).

It's now being delivered here to the office - instead of to my flat, which *was* going to be its destination this evening, when I'd be in.

I may well have to challenge the delivery person to unarmed combat. So be it!

Nesretep's gravatar

115. Wow...look at all the pretty comments!

Posted by Nesretep at 3:52PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

Just getting back from a 4-day weekend camping with the in-laws. Lots of comments from you all to read since I was last here. All in all, the camping trip was a good time, especially for the nieces and nephews. Made a fool of myself in a silly skit as a tree, got locked in the cabin's bathroom by my brothers-in-law (who tried to tie the door shut, but failed fortunately for me) and then we can't forget the let-yourself-get-tied-to-a-chair-and-see-if-you-can-get-out-game. You can assume that since I am typing this message that I did get out. :) It's amazing the things people do when they get bored, don't you think?

Sortie's gravatar

116. That infinite character

Posted by Sortie at 4:59PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

04 Sep 2007 13:56 Brussels Company Closed On Delivery Attempt

Seems as your postal office has got bought up by Valve.

Psychoceramics's gravatar

117. Oh, the Irony Re:Bioshock

Posted by Psychoceramics at 9:19PM, Tuesday September 4 2007

So I was playing my pirated copy of Bioshock (cause fuck 2K games. Not paying them for stupid decisions), and one of the quotes on the loading screens really struck me.

It went along the lines of "Oh, those boys in Ryan's lab can make it hackproof. That don't mean we ain't gonna hack it."

I found the irony delicious.

Divals's gravatar

118. 'your mom' jokes?

Posted by Divals at 8:14PM, Wednesday September 5 2007

I wasn't makin' any stinkin' 'your mom' jokes!

..my mom actually is a lesbian. :p


vecima's gravatar

119. Psychoceramics

Posted by vecima at 8:25PM, Wednesday September 5 2007

I hope you're happy when all we gamers have left to play is the sports, racing, and fighting games, and shooters and RPGs that are franchised to hell and back all because you didn't feel like "paying them for stupid decisions".

Personally, I'm more than glad I payed for the game. Even if I hadn't enjoyed it, I'd still be happy to be paying the salary of some folks who are at least trying to keep games engaging.

You're thoughtless crimes make me sick, and I can only hope that one day someone steals from your livelihood.

Ace's gravatar

120. Re: 'your mom' jokes?

Posted by Ace at 9:22PM, Wednesday September 5 2007

Yeah I figured that's what you meant, it was just a humorous way to announce the fact, for which I salute you sir! I've been trying to figure out what an angry lesbian mob would look like. I'm not sure I've got it, but it has been entertaining trying.

And I agree software pirating = bad boy. (but it was some nice irony though!)

Baffled's gravatar

121. Cracking your morals

Posted by Baffled at 10:07PM, Wednesday September 5 2007

If you want to literally play at stealing then try this game, new to Steam:


Just make sure you pay for it! ;-)

I may have a crack at it later...

Divals's gravatar

122. Pirating...

Posted by Divals at 4:06AM, Friday September 7 2007

I would never pirate a game. A game is not something I need to do my work or an integral part of my life. I would pirate 'productivity' software such as Office (if there was no free equivalent like the mighty OpenOffice.org), if I needed it for school and could not afford to buy it. I see nothing morally wrong with that - I could never afford to pay hundreds of dollars for software anyway, so my pirating it does not take a cent in potential profits away from the software companies.

Besides, when I have a job I'll be buying their software every time they update, so shutting me down would just deny them profits later on... that, and if they sued me they would get nothing, since I'm unemployed :D

belboz's gravatar

123. Safecracker

Posted by belboz at 4:57PM, Friday September 7 2007

Very old game, originally released in 1996, made by Daydream Software, vamped up later by kheops studio. Starts very easy, then goes very hard, you get to the mansion at 6:00pm and have to crack all 35 safes in a limited time period. Looks like they've just changed the story line a bit.

Baffled's gravatar

124. Bioshock review

Posted by Baffled at 9:57PM, Friday September 7 2007

The guy that did that Psychonauts review has trained his guns on Bioshock:


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