You know what, I’m done. Finished. No more. I’m quitting Winter. Well, I’m sure Gavin, matt, Preezie and I are all ready for it to be over, and we all collectively envy Albert in Cali.

Still, it’s been quite a good few months for gaming. What were some of your favourite releases this past winter? Also, what are some of your favourite snow/winter games/scenes?

Wednesday, 3:46 pm – matt


I had some free time at work today…

Wednesday, 2:06 pm – Ricky

Although Kickstarter backers may feel like they’re angel investors, they actually receive 0% equity for their pledge. Instead, Kickstarter employs a reward system. So, that makes Kickstarter basically a consumer-wish-fulfillment service, scratching that buying itch regardless of whether or not the product currently or ever will exist.

So, do they deserve a piece of the pie? Nope. Should they feel cheated? Probably not. They received their reward – an initial version of the device. However, like many pieces of hardware, the initial release was never going to be the last. These folks wanted to be on the bleeding edge, and they sure were for a couple of years. Now, Oculus needs Facebook money to continue to iterate and improve on the device – R&D isn’t cheap, and if this gets us closer to a mass market version of the Rift, then it’s actually a pretty great deal (if you’re a fan of virtual reality, I guess).

That said, the thing many game developers are scared of is, there’s no longer a clear roadmap for Oculus and the Rift. It used to be about creating a device that was consumer friendly (wallet and tech-wise) and easy to develop for. Has that changed now that they’ve been acquired?

That’s really the only reason a Kickstarter backer or fan of the product should be upset – they bought into the idea that was presented to them, and that idea may change now. Although some backers bought in to, and received, the technology, others simply backed the idea. If the idea has changed, then that’s unfortunate… But at least the project is still around, which is more than a few successfully funded Kickstarters can say.

Tuesday, 11:24 pm – matt

since I have already been messaging on my phone about this, I figured I would jump in too. I admittedly don’t know much about facebook, oculus, or kickstarter for that matter, but from what I gathered is the makers of oculus went to kickstarter to receive pledges to help build the oculus rift and therefore build up a company that was sold for nearly $2 billion dollars.

Oculus set a pretty high standard with kickstarter by completely destroying the target goals of around $250,000, eventually bringing in I believe $2.5 million, but what happened to all those initial backers?

should they be deserving of some of the pie like any investor would for a upstart company?

Tuesday, 8:44 pm – Ricky

Well, this is unexpected.

Umm, alright… are you sitting down?


Facebook… just bought Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift headset… for $2 billion.

I don’t really know what to say to that… I’m shocked.

Tuesday, 11:46 am – Gavin

While I am obviously a giant Nintendo fan, matt, it’s more due to exposure than much else – I didn’t have any other consoles between 1992 and 2004, and my PC didn’t see much serious modern gaming use from about 1995 until about 2003, which is when I started making my way through the back catalogue.  Simply put, the formative years were all Nintendo.

I didn’t forget about Skyrim so much as I just need to give it time to rest in my consciousness.  I’m not that far removed from my first runthrough of it, and I’m always loathe to instantly ascribe a new game as being “one of my favourites” or “one of the best” because I like to make sure that it isn’t just benefiting from the “ooh, shiny!” effect.  But I would like to get back into Skyrim at some point – I’m sort of in between games right now, about to start Splinter Cell 3DS, and I still have Driver San Francisco to get through, but I have to admit that I’m not dying to play it.  It’ll probably be another one that I pass on after only a short time in it, or if I just feel like having a driving game to screw around in now that my Xbox (and by association, GTA IV) has been bundled up.

Following in matt‘s footsteps, I did forget about Amped 2, the snowboarding game that was bundled with the Xbox I owned (I never owned Amped 3).  I never quite got into most sports games, with the rare exception of NBA Jam, so it was a new discovery for me.  It had a killer alt-rock-punk soundtrack and a fantastic learning curve – it was easy to pick up and impossible to master, so there was always something to work towards.

Tuesday, 9:23 am – Ricky

Some good (and in Gavin’s case, very specific!) snow/winder levels. And no, I haven’t gotten to the Winter section of the The Last of Us… But I do have my PS3 plugged in again! That’s a step forward for sure.

Some of my favourite Winter scenes have been from Skyrim. I just loved travelling up to the Throat of the World in the middle of a blizzard… then getting jumped by some yeti or something. I also really enjoy snowboarding games. Cool Boarders 2 was one of the most-played games on my Playstation, and more recently (though still from 2012), I really enjoyed the rebooted SSX.

I was working from home yesterday and put on the Valve movie “Free to Play” in the background. The film follows 3 different Dota2 players as they journey from their home countries to Germany for the first ever Dota2 International tournament back in 2011. Even though I have the most basic understanding of the game, I do know of 2 of the players from the film (Dendi and hyhy from the Ukraine and Singapore, respectively).

It’s a fascinating e-sport, and The International is one of the best presented gaming events I’ve ever seen. Regardless of your familiarity with the game, it’s easy to get caught-up in all of the excitement. I’m so excited that I’ll be hosting a viewing party in my new basement lair in July, where we’ll have a bunch of beers and pizza and take in the finals of The International 2014.

Monday, 5:00 pm – matt

Dear Readers: gavin REALLY likes Nintendo. 🙂

This winter has been good for me in terms of spending money on digital entertainment. with the PS4 just launching late in the year there have been quite a few titles trickling down in price.

I in particular hate playing snow/winter levels in games. most likely in part due to the frozen tundra we can call home. perhaps it started with the mega man games where I felt the “ice patches” were a bit to slippery for my liking… I generally think of sports in winter, as one of the few fun things you can find solace in from November to March, so a little Xbox 360 title named Amped 3 was a bit hit for me. I also really liked the winter section in The last Of Us. (you there yet ricky?)

Easily the worst wintergame = any of the Lost Planet games.

Monday, 1:30 pm – Gavin

Two of my favourite games of 2013 were late-November releases, so I was fairly spoiled this winter with Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.  I’ve written about them both at length here, so no more on that.

In retrospect, I’m also quite spoiled for winter games/scenes in games.  Clocking in at 1a, we’ve got the Phendrana Drifts section of the original Metroid Prime.  Music has always been critically important in the Metroid series, and the Phendrana music is very mysterious, waiting to burst forward at any moment.  The music is evocative of the entire spirit of the level, and it’s challenging on so many levels.

Coming in at 1b, we’ve got Snow Barrel Blast from Donkey Kong Country.  DKC as an entire game has aged phenomenally well and still looks absolutely beautiful.  This one is a fairly conventional platforming level, but as you move forward, it starts to snow and then turns into a full blizzard, which drastically affects your visibility.  It’s a neat touch.

Third place goes to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island for Danger: Icy Conditions Ahead!.  Continuing with my oft-repeated notion that Yoshi’s Island is one of the best-designed games of all time, this level features a section where Yoshi skis down a hill and must avoid enemies and obstacles.  It added a lot to the charm of the level and added another game-play element besides “ICE LEVEL” that we see so often in platforming games.

I’m anxious for late 2014, as my Kickstarter for The Long Dark should deliver.

Monday, 12:30 am – Ricky

Scheduling power! I’ll answer these questions later in the week.