11 Feb

Does anyone remember this open driving simulator? And can we have one again?

So I found myself writing this to an old high school friend of mine recently:

There was a driving simulator I adored that I’d love to see replicated. There were roads, and other traffic. No racing, you just drove a sedan around, and you could see other cars in your mirrors. If you went over the speed limit you’d get pulled over if you passed a cop and ‘lose.’ Cross into traffic, you’d usually hit another car and ‘lose.’ Drive off the edge of the road and ‘lose.’

I’d wander all over in it.

Now I use Grand Theft Auto the same way. Sometimes I rarely play missions, I just drive around the open world and look at stuff for a while and then go to bed.

At first I was like, ‘Damn, I’m getting old,’ and then I realized ‘no, I used to love doing this even back in the day.’

Half the time I play Forza I’m just looking at the mountains.

Anyone know of any mundane open world driving simulators like this?

update: Wow, some help from people and some poking around on the internet, and I found that a) I slightly misremember how ‘open’ the world of this game was and b) I found the game!

It was Test Drive II or III. I think it was III because I had the processor issue when I upgraded to a slightly faster machine all the cars sped up!

Picture and review:


Wow, blast from the past.

further addendum: A number of people suggest Euro Trucker for an open ended driving simulator…

30 Jan

Elder Scrolls body armor fail

I was watching this 13 minute full cinematic trailer for the upcoming Elder Scrolls game. And there is this moment, most of the way through, when the woman in armor that leaves boobs and and back exposed gets hit with an arrow.

Reader, I laughed out loud. Because it perfectly illustrates the thing that people keep writing about online (like here at Tor.com). Hey, if you’re a badass warrior and don’t need armor, don’t wear it. But here is this woman wearing this clunky, basically shoulder armor, and she gets hit right in the back because the armor is decorative.

It is such a perfect illustration of why the armor is silly, I kind of want a gif of it to illustrate why boob armor is silly. But I have to wonder if the creators realized this, or is they weren’t even self aware…

The shot is right at the 9:00 mark, by the way, in her back where the decorative armor leaves her fetchingly unprotected.

Another note people raised on twitter: I have no idea what is supposed to be happening. There’s no real story here, it’s just a sequence of cool action events. They’re well modeled, but… I have no idea what this game is about at this point.

Here you go, my friend Alex Dugger made the gif for us:


Melissa Ann Singer suggested this College Humor sketch about female body armor:

19 Sep

Misogyny in online comments in reactions to anyone pointing out issues with Grand Theft Auto 5

What is the saying? The comments on articles about feminism prove the need for it?

“Carolyn Petit’s review over at GameSpot (9/10) is currently taking the most heat from angry gamers despite being an almost entirely favorable review. In the GTA tradition, the only women in the game are strippers, prostitutes, unhappy wives and nagging girlfriends, with Petit noting the addition of ‘goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at’ in GTA 5. You still cannot play as a female character. She continues:”

(Via Game Reviewer Does Her Job by Pointing Out Sexism in GTA 5, is Pilloried for It — LadyBits on Medium — Medium.)

It’s kinda sad. Carolyn Petit still gave it a 9/10, but pointed out things that need saying.

Instead, male fans are losing their shit online.

Who’s really ‘overly sensitive’ here? Because it sure as shit ain’t Petit…

02 Aug

Sense of wonder and awe in a cute space program video game? Check out this trailer for Kerbal Space Program

The last video I posted of Kerbal Space Program really doesn’t get across the sense of wonder and fun you experience KSS. I found one today that really gets across what is so amazing about this game for me. It pushes the same buttons I get when watching a SpaceX launch, or Dragon docking, or old footage of the moon landings. Check it:

29 May

Damsels in distress in videogames

I love the Anita Sarkeesian dissections of tropes in video games. They contain a lot of teachable moments for creators of art. It took me many years to learn how to spot this sort of thing via very patient critiques of unthinking reaching for tropes. I still find myself occasionally stumbling around. Videos like this help reveal the larger context these tropes sit in. (I learned that there wasn’t just the dead woman in the refrigerator trope, which I was aware of, and the trapped wife that needs rescuing trope, but that some games combined the two!).

The section of this where Anita dryly lists video game after game that uses the same core idea as a major plot point indicates the sort of rote nature of many of them.

It’s often hard to critique one single work of fiction, as I pointed to a friend once when complaining about race in SF. There’s always a *reason* inside the hermetic environ of the art for the lack of representation. Defenders can always point to world building reasons the work ‘has’ to be the way it is. But when you list title after title that does the same exact thing, it becomes a larger apparent trend.

Of note, there are male gamers that not only harassed and tried to prevent Anita from creating these videos via Kickstarter, but that with every episode she posts work hard as a group to get the videos off YouTube by ‘reporting’ each one for content for daring to examine these things and to try and silence her.

So you might want to watch it if it’s currently up.

“From Anita Sarkeesian, the woman behind Feminist Frequency, comes Part 2 of her Kickstarter based series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games (get caught up with Part 1 here). There are tons of video games examined in this latest video (check out the description on the YouTube page for a very nice list showing which ones may be spoiled for you if you watch), from 1988′s Splatterhouse, to the more recent Borderlands 2.”

(Via Anita Sarkeesian Video Game Tropes Damsels Part 2 | The Mary Sue.)

15 May

A geologist is mapping Skyrim

A geologist is mapping Skyrim, and needs help from other geologists to figure out how the land evolved to take the shape it did:

What I now aim to do is open this project up a bit to other geologists out there who I know are interested in mapping Skyrim. I would like to call on your expertise to come up with hypotheses about the geological evolution of Skyrim. I am going to leave you the option to try to come up with something highly accurate, or to use your own artistic license in interpreting this geology to develop a hypothesis that makes sense but also includes some fun and interesting geological processes. I will not determine how the particular rocks/minerals mapped here were formed, because I would like to leave this open to geologists’ own interpretations.


(Via Mapping the Geology of Skyrim | Geo-HeritageScience.)

08 Mar

Tropes in video games: damsel in distress

Pretty good run down of the Damsel in Distress trope in video games. And the great quote is “it’s both possible, and even necessary, to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects.”

Boom. Welcome to being a grown up.

I’m looking forward to the next installments: