The Last of Us

Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil and several other games have cemented zombies into a sub-genre for survival horror gaming just as Romero managed to pull off with cinema. Yet, something always felt like it was missing. Sure, us gamers had our Night of the Living Dead equivalents with games like Valve’s cult classic and hell, we’ve even had our version of campy Return of the Living Dead type of horror with last year’s Resident Evil 6 or House of the Dead: Overkill. But when would we get our character studies, our 28 Days Later that mixed brutality with extensive character development and equally interesting set pieces. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead delivered the emotional goods but left fans wanting when it came to gameplay, and that’s where Naughty Dog comes in.

The Last of Us, released on June 14, is a game that I believe will be thought of as a turning point for gaming. Oh, and it’s fun.

You play as Joel, a survivor who isn’t uncomfortable with the idea of getting down and dirty to survive. Your task? Deliver 14 year old Ellie from the safety of the Boston quarantine zone to just outside city limits so that she can be picked up by local anti-military militia, the Fireflies. Of course it’s not that easy, and of course things don’t go exactly as planned.

The Last of Us

You face two immediate threats. First, the zombies, which are humans infected by a fictionalized strain of the real cordyceps fungus (though the real-life version can only infect ants) and come in multiple different flavors, each more terrifying and threatening than the last. Second, hunters that seek to kill in order to get the supplies that they need, and sometimes for fun.

From a gameplay perspective, the game is fun, brutal and bolstered by smart AI. A scenario that caught me off guard occurred during the game’s first act. After being encouraged to sneak past a gang of three hunters who linger in front of a department store, I decide to take them head on, first with sheer firepower. Two of the hunters wield pistols of their own, the third (unarmed) realizes he’s outmatched and runs behind cover. After his two friends perish in a hail of gunfire, he hears my pistol click empty. He bellows a feral shout, part predatory, part joy and attempts to beat me the ol’fashioned way. Little did he know about the pipe strapped to my back which after a couple of brutal (this point exclaimed by Ellie who shouts “Oh my god Joel!” after the climactic strike) hits destroys the man’s face. After the battle, I decide it’s time to continue on, and the moment I enter the department store I realize my mistake. Another goon begins to choke me out from behind, but Ellie quickly tosses a brick at his head. After I manage to strike him down with the wrath of my pipe, I realize that his six other friends might have something to say about it…

The game’s tight, and sleek controls help the combat system and the crafting system adds to the feel that Joel is a scavenger and the world is a scavenger’s playground at this point.

The sounds of the game cover a range of emotion, from fresh and relaxing, to the intense fervor that accompanies imminent attack. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla showcases the skills that guided him to two Academy Awards. Past the actual soundtrack, the voice-acting by Troy Baker (fresh of a magnificent performance as Booker DeWitt in spring’s Bioshock Infinite) and Ashley Johnson is original and always welcome, with the least amount of recycled lines possible.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us also comes with a multiplayer that seemed to be a tacked-on addition, but it adds legs to an already strong game. The two game modes Supply Raid (4 on 4 deathmatch with an emphasis on scavenging and crafting) and Survivor (4 on 4 deathmatch with no respawns) either lead to all-out 10 minute shootouts, sneaking/flanking escapades that leave chilling silent moments as you search for items or a crazy mixture of the two.

Ellie tells me she can’t swim, but the only way across the area in-front of me involves an impromptu lesson in aquatics. I eventually find something she’s able to cross on, and after she gets to the other side, and I climb up onto the ledge beside her, a small triangle hovers over Ellie’s head as she raises her hand up. I hi-five her and she comments on it, and I think that’s one of the things in the game, the small things that shows why Naughty Dog are one of the premier developers heading into the next console generation.

To end off this review, to call The Last of Us the game of the year would be insulting to it, as its quite better than any other game I’ve played this decade. Hell, its plot which is rich with development and emotions and raw intensity is better than quite a few films I’ve seen this decade either. The Last of Us reads more like a promise if anything, or even a manifesto. A promise for changes to come, and a future for gaming that can’t arrive soon enough.

On March 24th Luigi will finally push Mario out of the spotlight and emerge from the massive shadow of the Italian plumber turned superhero when he headlines Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The game is heading to the Nintendo 3DS and is a sequel of sorts to the original Luigi’s Mansion, which was released in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube.

In the new game, Luigi is sent to five new haunted houses by Professor E. Gadd (from the original game) armed with the new Poltergust 5000 to capture ghosts and gather various treasures along the way. Just like the Poltergust 3000 from the original, the 5000 is a specialized vacuum cleaner used to capture the ghosts. The new game adds to the gameplay by making it a little more difficult to capture the ghosts along with new puzzled-oriented elements to advance through the game. Also new is a multiplayer mode on the Nintendo Network that always players to assume the role of Luigi (in different colors) to explore the “ScareScraper” mansion.

If the new game is anything like the original it’ll be a blast to play. Not only did the original game not take itself serious, but the concept alone of Luigi in a haunted house with a vacuum to catch ghosts is as fun as it gets. Why didn’t the vacuum ever make it into other Mario game’s Haunted House levels? Check out Luigi’s new adventure next month (and you can pre-order it here)!

Posted on February 17th, 2013 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
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This post is brought to you by Sudoku Wizz.

Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to checkout and talk about a ton of different websites that I likely would not have found if I didn’t run My Hollywood Dream. Everything from gaming websites to independent films, comedians, cool T-shirts and a lot more. Today I was asked to check out and review www.sudokuwizz.com. Lets jump right in.

Sudoku Wizz has a very simple yet mostly effective website design (see the above picture for the intro page). The grey, blue and white color scheme is very clean and easy on the eyes. I like the top banner which is in the styles of a sudoku game. The website is broken into four sub-pages; “Sudoku Games”, “Sudoku for Print”, “Sudoku Tips”, and “Contact Us”. On the top right of the page there are links to like the page on Facebook or +1 it on Google. And on the bottom of the page there is an additional link for Solitaire Games, but the page it leads to is not in English.

The only part of the design that does not work is the Google Ads that are featured on the left side of the site. I have no problems with ads on websites (as you can see from the left of this article), but the ad on this page is not locked it place. On screens with a smaller resolution the ads cover the links on the left side of the page (that take visitors directly to the puzzles they are visiting the site for). A small change of putting the ad above or below the links instead of having them floating (sometimes) over the links would clear this up pretty easily.

The Sudoku Games sub-page leads you to a list of seven flash games, titled Sudoku 1 through 5, Of the Sponge, and Samurai. All of them are quick loading and easy to get started. If you like Sudoku and playing free online games, this is a good page to bookmark. The Sudoku for Print section gives you four options to print at home with various difficult levels. These are great for if you are going to be a passenger on a road trip or want to have an inexpensive game in the bathroom for visitors. The images are clean and print clearly. The Sudoku Tips section shares four different strategies with visitors; The Rule of One, Naked Subsets, Naked Singles, and Start Small. Check out the website (linked above) for more details on their playing strategies. The Contact Us sub-page is self explanatory.

If you like sudoku then the Sudoku Wizz is a great website to bookmark. If you are unfamiliar with the puzzle game, then I’d also recommend checking it out to learn how to play and get access to some free printable games and you can also hone your skills on their free Flash games.

Posted on January 3rd, 2013 by admin | Leave a Comment
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Are you a part of the zombination? No? Well, click on that link and you’ll be taken to a website that will surround you by the horror that are zombie games!

Zombination is a database of online (bloody) games which are separated by categories that include Scary Games, Zombie Games, Vampire Games, Scooby Doo Games, Monster High Games, Killing Games, Halloween Games, Escape Games, Detective Games, and Bloody Games. These games feature a wide variety of styles such as arcade, puzzle, spoof, and even classic games. There is something for all horror loving gamers. Lets take a closer look at some of the games featured in different categories.

First off I headed to the Scary Games category. The first thing I noticed were multiple games based off popular horror movies; “Michael Myers Rampage Game” based off Halloween, “Seed of Chucky” based on the Child’s Play series, “The Grudge Game” and “The Grudge 2”, and “Saw 4 Trapped”. Another game was based off the classic Where’s Waldo book series. The rest of the games in this category were a mix of original and inspired by horror games including “13 Days in Hell”, “Hidden Zombie”, “The Chainsaw”, “Ouja Board”, and “Horror House”, to name a few.

Moving on I headed to my favorite category, Zombie Games, which has 17 different games. Two of the games are based on movies; George Romero’s Land of the Dead and Zombieland. Other games in this database section and embedded on the website include “Curse Village”, “Blow Up Zombies” (pictured above), “Zombie Trailer Park” and “Against the Dead”.

One of the categories (all listed above) that stands out the most is Scooby Doo Games. There are twelve different Flash games in this section, including “Ghost Pirate Attacks”, “Creepy Castle”, “Monster Madness”, and “Terror in Tikal” to name a few. I love the animated Scooby Doo series (could care less about the movies) and while the games are all very basic, they are also fun time killers.

I love that Zombination has brought a lot of free online games together in one easy to find website. They are fast loading and easy to play. Check it out on a rainy or otherwise boring afternoon.

Posted on December 29th, 2012 by admin | Leave a Comment
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1. Kindle Fire
Amazon’s awesome tablet/e-reader is on sale from $159 to $129 bucks. It normally is the best priced tabley on the market for what you get and this sale makes it that much better! To get the Cyber Monday deal you need to use the code FIREDEAL at checkout. After you get the Kindle Fire you might want to purchase a new e-book or two. You can try our very own wrestling expert/movie reviewer Lucian’s Tales of Modern Horror, where you get three short stories for the price of one. Other ideas for your favorite geek include Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead novel “The Road to Woodbury” or one of my personal favorites Pulp, from Charles Bukowski.

2. Marvel Studios Movies
For at least today you can get some of the best superhero movies ever made on Blu-Ray for under 10 bucks, including Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Iron Man 2. Sure, you can get both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings Blu-Rays for under 4 bucks, but they are old news compared to Marvel’s amazing cinematic universe.

3. Various Video Games
Today Amazon is featuring a ton of awesome video game lighting deals. Including in the mix are; Need for Speed: The Run, Kinect Star Wars, NHL 13, Dance Central 3, Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013, Soul Calibur V, SSX, and The Secret World to name a few. Normally nothing can beat the price of a Lighting Deal, but that goes double on Cyber Monday. You are sure to find a game for whatever kind of geek you are shopping for.

Posted on November 26th, 2012 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
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Many moons ago our resident gamer Dubray Kinney took a look at The Walking Dead: A New Day from Telltale Games. He said that the point-and-click adventure’s plot was “comparable to the better parts of the comics” and for $5 dollars the game was worth taking a look at. Flash forward two months and Telltale is readying the release of the the forth adventure in their Walking Dead series, which marks the penultimate part of this saga.

The original story that began in “Episode 1” is coming to a head, and you’ll have to put everything on the line to protect Clementine. As with the first three, the forth episode features some awesome atmosphere and feels like the AMC television adaptation of The Walking Dead, but sadly it does not feel like the comic series. Creators had to pick and choose which version of the material to follow, because you really can’t follow both at the same time. It should be interesting to see if the game crosses over into territory from the show and side characters.

The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner will be released later this month, just in time for Halloween! It was written by Gary Whitta, who wrote the Denzel Washington action movie The Book of Eli and the video game Prey. Have you been following the game? Will you be picking up the new installment?

Check out these Walking Dead related products…


This post is brought to you by Testrick. All opinions are our own.

Recently we took a look at three of my favorite online games. Now I’m going to take a look at Testrisk, a site that lets you play a bunch of different versions of one of my absolute favorite games, tetris. And best of all? They are all free to play! Pictured above are four of more than eighteen games that they offer, including (starting at the top left) Original Tetris, Boom Box Tetris, Simpsons Tetris, and Funny Tetris.

The Original Tetris is as addicting as ever. It loads right up and you play with a mix of your directional pad and the spacebar. It gives you three options for difficulty, the traditional easy, medium and hard. I can play this game for hours and hours.

Boom Box Tetris is a futuristic version of Tetris where blocks with four colors fall and you have to match up the colors by spinning the boxes around. In addition to the colors, you’ll occasionally get boxes with countdowns that explode and take out the blocks around them. There is a box that shows you your “Boom Power” percent. There is a variety of music you can scroll through while you play. Overall this is a much more in your face tetris game.

Simpsons Tetris is just like the original Tetris game but it is themed with the long running Fox animation. The game play is normal, but the box is a bit smaller than regular which can be a little annoying.

Funny Tetris is a bit silly. Instead of shapes you have little cartoon guys that stack up. You need to match the characters together to make lines, but it is really distracting. None of the text is in English, which slightly complicates things. Overall, it is a lot of fun and very different than I’m use to.

Other Tetris game options include Diamond, Stuck Up, Phit, Sonic, Mario, Egypt, 3D, and Jellytris. I’m sure that you will find the right game for you, and best of all, it is always free!

Posted on September 17th, 2012 by ThePit | Leave a Comment (3)
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