The downside of a free downloadable game.

So I’m sitting here, browsing the internet and looking at goofy forum posts, when I get an email from GameStop. Usually they’re for dumb deals where you can save $5 off a copy of some used game from six months ago or something. But this one caught my eye.

I’m like, “FREE GAME?! SIGN ME THE HELL UP!” So I buy a few games at a store just to use up another coupon I had — Batman: Arkham Asylum¬†Game of the Year Edition for PS3 and Die Hard: Vendetta for the Gamecube, since they’re gonna stop selling GC games in a few months — and get home and go through the entertaining sequence of events, including having to register for GameStop’s Impulse service, and then tried this Stoneloops of Jurassica. It wasn’t until I tried the game did I realize something was up.

It’s a bloody clone of Zuma, which in itself is a ripoff of Puzz Loop! (or Magnetica/Ballistic, if you prefer.) Not only that, this game seems to play more like Luxor, which had you shooting balls from below rather than a 360 angle like Zuma and Puzz Loop do, plus it had random powerups.¬†Needless to say I wasn’t surprised I basically got a $10 knockoff game for free, but couldn’t it at least have been a Bejeweled clone instead?

This game was made by a company called Codeminion, based out of Poland. Yeah, this game definitely has a European feel to it, it even comes with a bizarre announcer yelling words like “AVALANCHE!” when you’ve done great combos. Guy could give the Unreal Tournament announcer a run for his money.

…I know way too much about casual games. I’m gonna go play some more Batman so I can feel like a hardcore gamer again.


My demo disc collection.

I think demo discs are pretty cool. As I mentioned in a previous entry, they gave us an opportunity to play a game before it was released, as well as give us other useful tidbits and secrets. Sadly, high-speed internet has quashed the demo disc, but I still hold a fondness for them. Here are most of the demo discs I own:

Almost all the demo discs I have. Not featured: The Rainbow Six 3 Companion Demo Disc, a Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts demo disc, and some acquisitions made after this article was made.

To me, demo discs are a great snapshot of the video games of old to me. They give gamers like me a chance to gleam into what gaming was like in that time period. For instance, look at this menu of a PC Gamer demo disc circa late 1999:

Look at this menu! It’s so late ’90s it hurts!

Look at it. The menu, as well as some of the pages, have remnants of late 90s web design. There’s web pages that seem like a flashback to the the early days of the internet, complete with tiled backgrounds, varied fonts and goofy animated gifs. There’s even a gallery of really bad photoshops of former PC Gamer mascot Coconut Monkey in there just to drive it home that this is a byproduct of late 1990s PC gaming culture.

Read More »