PIXEL BURN – The Dark Below, LucasArts on GOG and Sarkeesian on Colbert

In which Matt gets into character for Halloween.
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things to have happened in gaming news this week. In which the only scary thing was the price some publishers charge for glorified map packs.

The first bit of news comes via Bungie who announced this week that Destiny’s first expansion, “The Dark Below”, is due out on December 9th. As well as promising new Legendary and Exotic gear to scrabble-over like chimps in the dirt, it also raises the Light Level cap to 32 and adds three new story missions about stopping The Hive summoning some sort of god called Crota to destroy The Earth.

Sorry, sorry, I’m not delivering any of this information with the gravitas it deserves. Because after all, Bungie wants Destiny to be a 10 year epic narrative considered on a par with Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings.

Their words, not mine.

So I’ll try and keep that in mind while I continue explaining all this.

As I was saying, to defeat Crota you will have to fight The Hive and its leader…ahem, “Omnigul” over three mission. You’ll get to visit a new location called The Cauldron on The Moon, as well as complete a new six-player raid in The Hellmouth. All while presumably listening to even more nonsense exposition from The Dinklage.

My god it’s just like The Silmarillion.

You also get three new competitive multiplayer arenas, a new co-operative strike called The Will of Crota and another co-operative strike called Crota’s End that’s a timed exclusive for PlayStation owners. All for the unique asking price of TWENTY FUCKING QUID?! Alright, nineteen pounds and ninety-nine pence if you want to be pedantic. It’s a flat twenty dollars if you’re in the US.

The only thing more mind-boggling than how little you ultimately get for that sort of price, is the unmitigated gall required to call this an expansion. For a game like Modern Warfare with its nickel-and-dime map packs this might seem like a lot of content, but for something so deeply rooted in MMO’s as Destiny this is about as substantial as a mayfly’s fart.

World of Warcraft The Burning Crusade, now that was an expansion. It gave players ten new experience levels worth of quests, two new playable races, and seven large zones of a whole new world to explore with six new dungeons to battle in, all adding up to literally months of content.

Half Life: Opposing Force, now that was also a proper expansion. Almost 3/4 the length of vanilla Half Life it gave you a whole new story set in previously unseen areas of the Black Mesa research facility, packed to the brim with new weapons, new enemies, a new final boss and other shiny new things.

Three missions and some multiplayer maps is not worthy of being called an expansion. It’s a glorified Call of Duty map pack crossed with an MMO patch. That Activision are charging twenty fucking quid for.

You can save a bit of cash by buying the season pass for £34.99, which will also give you access to the second expansion, House of Wolves, whenever it finally comes out. Beyond that is anyone’s guess though I’m sure there’s still plenty of Destiny content left within the ancient and mysterious halls of THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR.

Alternatively you can always try and glitch your way into the DLC areas, like YouTube user Nowise10 here did, to get into one of the new DLC areas for House of Wolves. Because the areas have been in the game ever since Destiny came out! So all you’ll literally be paying Bungie TWENTY FUCKING QUID for, is to drop monsters and loot into them.

Far better value for money can be found on GOG.com where a veritable trove of classic LucasArts treasures were deposited this week, rejigged to work mostly hassle-free on modern PCs. All hailing from a time when LucasArts was a name known for brilliant original titles as well as fantastic Star Wars tie-ins.

That last bit might be hard to believe for some of you younglings out there, but it’s true. There was a time when the name LucasArts with synonymous with quality. An excellent developer from a more civilised age.

Before the Dark Times.

Before the Prequels.

Some of the genuine classics now available and tweaked for modern machines include Sam and Max Hit the Road, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Secret of Monkey Island and X-Wing.

But the power of that lineup is insignificant next to the power of the Dark Side.

I’m talking about TIE Fighter of course.

What can I say about TIE Fighter that hasn’t been said a million times by a million other people? One of, if not THE finest space combat sim of its generation. Better even than the Wing Commander series.

Oh yeah, I’m going there. Now I loved Wing Commander and it was great…but it wasn’t TIE Fighter.

TIE Fighter put you into the flightsuit and jackboots of a pilot serving the Galactic Empire, tasked with bringing order to The Galaxy by flying a series of missions in a variety of Imperial craft. You start off flying ships like your bog-standard Twin Ion Engine Fighter – which had all the durability of a wet cardboard box in a hurricane, and the bomb-packing TIE Bomber that flies like a fat pigeon with a brick hanging from its neck. From there you move up to the likes of the dangerous yet still-fragile TIE Interceptor that eats Y-Wings for breakfast, and the TIE Advanced based on Darth Vader’s personal fighter.

Speaking of Darth Vader, towards the end of the main game you get to fly a couple of missions alongside the Dark Lord himself. Which is every bit as awesome and terrifying as it sounds.

[DARTH VADER TIE FIGHTER CLIP]

You also get to fly in ships you never saw in the movies like the Assault Gunboat, which has shields and a hyperdrive but moves like a fat kid in a peat bog, and the absolutely godlike TIE Defender. A ship so bloody amazing it made you feel like you could take on the whole Rebel Alliance yourself. And win.

You aren’t always fighting the Rebels though. Unlike the Rebel Alliance the Empire actually gets shit done, so TIE Fighter has entire campaigns about things like stopping small civil wars and fighting piracy. Each mission also has bonus objectives given by The Emperor’s Secret Order, for which you get these bitchin’ arm tattoos as rewards.

The versions of TIE Fighter available on GOG are the original 1994 floppy disk release, resplendant in all of its impressive-for-the-time gouraud shading, and the 1998 Windows re-release which added textures to everything. One version NOT included in the GOG release however is the fantastic 1995 Collectors Edition CD Rom, like I have right here.

The Windows version used low-quality recordings of the original CD Rom edition’s top-notch dynamic Midi score, which adapted to in-game situations, along with gimped versions of the CD-quality voice-overs. So if you do make the right decision and serve The Empire, you’ll want to head along to the TIE Fighter Reconstructed project and download what they have to offer. As well as fantastic remixes of the in-game music tracks by Daniel Bennett that you can patch in to replace the shoddy Windows version ones, they also have a way to let you implement support for Xbox 360 controllers.

TIE Fighter’s illustrious predecessor X-Wing is also available on GOG.com by the way. If you want to be filthy Rebel scum that is.

And finally since it was the month of Halloween it was perhaps only appropriate that the source of some gamers’ nightmares, Anita Sarkeesian, appeared on The Colbert Report like Bloody Mary in a bathroom mirror. Besides failing when asked to name three games with questionable sexist content.

Custer’s Revenge, Lula 3D, Sam Fox Strip Poker. Of course I’m not being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. And never will be.

Her appearance on the show was relatively brief, covering much of the same ground as her Feminist Frequency videos. And Stephen Colbert was as amusing as always.

Having watched the segment in question my summary could go one of two ways. On the one hand I could criticise the way Anita brushed aside a couple of tricky questions. But then I’d get this reaction.

Well you’re quite clearly a dirty neckbearded misogynist who spends his evenings in his mother’s basement, masturbating into a sock. Otherwise you would have understood everything she said and agreed with it 100% without question or criticism like I do.

(To off-camera) Oh Fuck off!

Alternatively if I were to say how otherwise innocuous she was, that she was ultimately one of many people featured on the show and her appearance was really no big deal in the grand scheme of things, then I’d get this sort of reaction.

Catch you with my rape bag! You may think I’ve gone insane, but I. Will. Tweet. Again.

(To off-camera) Fuck off.

So all I will say for now is that the Streisand effect goes both ways, and for some people this TV appearance will be considered a triumph of such magnitude they can fuel their collective smuggery for aeons to come. Further enabling them to lord it over the plebs like some Enlightened Poet-Monarch of Yore. Oh aren’t we just so fucking enlightened and generally superior to the unwashed, uncultured gaming savages? For others however, some with sincere criticisms of Anita’s work, this TV appearance no doubt made their Halloween, truly, the Season of the Witch.

[HALLOWEEN III SILVER SHAMROCK SPOOF]

“HAPPY-HAPPY HALLOWEEN! SAR-KEE-SIAN!”

It’s almost time kids, the clock is ticking! Be in front of your internet-connected device for the inevitable shitstorm, and remember the big giveaway at nine. Don’t miss it, and don’t forget to check your privilege!

Yeah, that last segment was pretty much just an excuse to make a Halloween III reference. Unfortunately Halloween will be over by the time this video goes up so I hope yours was a good ‘un.

That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you liked it then please do let me know, and let your friends, family and Stephen Colbert know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. And if you didn’t like it then you can always buy my upcoming expansion video, “The Snark Below.” Available soon for the low, low price of TWENTY FUCKING QUID.

You can go now. Muhuhuhuhuhuh!

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.