Stolen Pixels #181: The Prognosticationater

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Mar 30, 2010

Filed under: Column 24 comments

Behold, the future.


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24 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #181: The Prognosticationater

  1. Pickly says:

    What is this “eipsode 3” you are talking about with Valve? (Out of curiosity, I’m not aware of what it could be.)

    On the warcraft part: I was about to disagree with you on this, but than worked it out in my own head, and it does make sense. Nice job. :) You could also add a prediction that it will use features from some other MMO, although that wouldn’t make much of a joke without knowing what that MMO could be.

    1. Galad says:

      Hmm, is this sarcasm, or genuine lack of knowledge? ;)

      I’ll bite: episode 3 is short for Half-Life 2, episode 3, the apparently long-awaited continuation of the Half-Life series. I say ‘apparently’ because on my pc only the very first HL game can run :(

    2. krellen says:

      Half-Life 2, Episode 3, which has been anticipated for about two years now. As of June 2009, it officially became the longest awaited instalment of the Half-Life 2 saga.

  2. Kdansky says:

    Red Faction plot mocking? Oh please yes!

    Another candidate: Just Cause 2. The plot in that is so bad, it is hard where to start.

    1. Nick Bell says:

      I agree that Red Faction is hard, mostly because there is so little plot there. Volition’s solution to the “terrible open-world game plot” cliche was simply to do as little of it as possible.

      That said, I would love to hear your impressive of both Red Faction and the Saboteur. I think both games do a good job of trying to alleviate the “die and repeat” method that permeates a lot of that genre. With amble checkpoints and low death penalties, you are encouraged to keep playing.

      1. Dev Null says:

        I’m wondering about that trend myself.

        I’ve been playing Bioshock 2, and there’s basically _no_ death penalties and quite a few checkpoints. I find myself deliberately letting myself die rather than use a health kit, even though I’ve got more of those about than I can carry, because y’know… its free. Which is fair enough I guess, but there’s no tension left in the game – no challenge to succeed. I’m not one of those adrenalin-charged twitch monkeys who thinks that any game that can be contemplated by mere humans isn’t hard enough, but maybe _some_ challenge is a good thing?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          F.E.A.R. was excelent for this:Save whenever you want,retry every combat until you do it perfectly,and every time the combat will play out differently.Thats why I prefer regular saves over checkpoints.If the game is too hard,you can save more often.If its to easy,you can stop saving.Of course,changing difficulty during the game is a better solution,but thats rarely an option.

      2. Lalaland says:

        Love to see this too, I quite enjoyed Red Faction but none of that was due to the plot. Just started Just Cause 2 and I really couldn’t care less about the plot in this one it’s just ridiculous after only 2-3 missions.

        The question that jumps at me though is does this matter for the type of game that motivates the player to play with a game mechanic? Red Faction has destructible structures that obey a vague approximation the laws of gravity and Just Cause 2 is really big with physics. So far the rubbish plot and daft characters don’t annoy me half as much as they do in games that use the plot as a motivation to play. Perhaps this is a sign of maturity by game developers who know they don’t have the chops for plot, who simply say ‘Sod it just blow stuff up, here’s a vague reason to do so’ like the scrolling text on a 2D scrolling shooter.

        1. Jokermatt999 says:

          I’m pretty sure Just Cause 2’s plot is supposed to be ridiculous to the point of self mockery. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself, because there’s no way I can enjoy a plot that ridiculous unironically/played straight. I find it hard to believe it could be that laughable without someone realizing it.

          However, no matter how bad the plot is, I’ve found it incredibly fun to play. Like Mercenaries 2 and most action movies, the plot is peripheral to the explosions, destruction and fun.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Soooo…People working on duke nukem fornever quit that project because they were hired for episode 3?Ugh!Thats such a depressing image.

  4. Teldurn says:

    That last panel caught me off guard and made me spit take and laugh, despite being completely forewarned about it. Hahaha

  5. Psithief says:

    Did anyone else read the last panel immediately after the first?

    Spoiler alert!

  6. Factoid says:

    I hope you get past your Red Faction block. That game is incredibly fun, but the plot is about as lame and colorless as you can get.

    The only character in the entire game that I gave a damn about was the sledgehammer. I know it’s not technically a character, but it had a whole lot more personality.

    Months after I played the game I can no longer remember the name of a single character, but I can very clearly remember what the sledgehammer looked like.

    Best advice for enjoying that game as much as possible: Turn the difficulty all the way down. It seems lame to play on “casual” difficulty, but honestly the game is incredibly awesome when you never have to put your hammer away to use a gun. At that difficulty you take so little damage you can totally get away with taking the time to collapse a building on a single guy instead of just shooting him.

    1. Macil says:

      Red Faction Guerilla is a fantastic game. I love the Mars setting, but the story/plot is just meh. That’s not what the game is about, though: the game is about destroying crap. And dissolving men with nanites.

      How can I ever play another game without destructible environments now?! I have a RFG joke for you Shamus: After the events of the game, Mason becomes a handyman (with his great maul) and starts a home improvement company to fix all the houses/apartments/businesses he destroyed “fighting” the EDF …

      I also (nicely) disagree with Factoid: put the difficulty on maximum. The game is downright brutal and is all that much more satisfying when you can pull off the missions.

      (edit: doh, replied in the wrong place)

  7. Jokermatt999 says:

    I’d just like to thank you for including URLs in your rss feeds now. I was wondering why I had to click through to here for a 1 sentence hyperlink to go to The Escapist, but that appears to be fixed. Thanks Shamus!

  8. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I did not understood last panel. Who is that person?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Non-sequitur violence is not meant to be understood.Thats why its non-sequitur:

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:


        I don’t know. I was hoping that the character was someone the guy offended in his comments and that I didn’t knew.

        Random violence? Not my cup of tea. ;)

        1. Kian says:

          The first time the ‘gamers’ appeared on Stolen Pixels they were a guy and a girl playing on a microwave. This is the guy, the violent one is the girl.

          It occurs to me now that they wouldn’t be playing games on a microwave if she didn’t fling monitors at him.

          The comic where they made their first appearance:

        2. Jabor says:

          Well, the two characters are the ones from Shamus’ earlier “Two gamers on a couch” comic, so it’s not entirely out of the blue.

          He probably used the last of the toilet paper without replacing it or something.

  9. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Addition: Shamus, you should be ASHAMED.

    You forgot that by that time, we will have reached Team Fortress 2’s 40345th update. They will be on the eve of introducing a new character.

  10. Heron says:

    Am I the only one who was reminded of Conan O’Brien “In the Year 2000” routine?

  11. H.M says:

    Im just going to stand over here, holding back a depression vomit ><

  12. Mina says:

    I am shocked by your outlandish predictions. Next you’ll tell me gravity will still be in effect well into the next century.

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