The Evil Within


The upgrade system involves collecting pre-bottled slime drops from enemies and shocking your cerebral cortex to allow a 1/10th second reduction in pistol reloading.

Game Name: The Evil Within (2014)
Developer: Tango Gameworks (Shinji Mikami created Resident Evil)
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, XBox One (reviewed on PC)
Categories: Single Player, Dark Psychological Horror/Thriller, Scavenging, Survival, Stealth, 3rd Person Shooter, Crafting Lite, Grotesque Mutations, a couple Puzzles

May Appeal To: masochists, the deranged, trial-and-error-ers, ambience-seekers, societal rogues, gore fanatics, survivalists, the bored, and huge boss contenders
May Repulse: the easily queasy, story-seekers, the frustrated, voice acting critics, and those who identify the difference between classic horror and modern ‘gore’or

Comparable To: (less goofy and focused than) Resident Evil 4, (scarier and darker than Resident Evil 5), (better characters than) Resident Evil Revelations, (exceeds the needless frustration of) Demon Souls, (more lighting than) Condemned Bloodshot Continue reading

Distant Worlds: Universe


Shapes! Things! Sprites stacked in belief-subverting physics faux pas!

Game Name: Distant Worlds: Universe (2014)
Developer: Code Force – (no other mentionable titles)
Platform: PC (reviewed on PC)
Categories: Single Player, 4X Space, Empire Sandbox/Simulator, Real Time Strategy (w/ autopause), Grand Strategy

May Appeal To: armchair emperors extraordinaire, cerebral folk, fellow min-maxers, and spreadsheet crunchers; those seeking a versatile and customized approach to 4X
May Repulse: the impatient, those requiring graphical eye-candy, those agoraphobic of open-ended simulators, those afraid of taming the chaos that is in-game alert barrages

Comparable To: (deeper and more organic than) Galactic Civilizations II, (less tedious than) Space Empires V, (less polish but more complexity than) Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, (more fun than) Masters of Orion 2, (less quirky than) Sword of the Stars, (less defining story but more engaging than) Crusader Kings, (much greater sense of accomplishment and control than) Hearts of Iron III

Continue reading

The Monty Hall Problem

goat“You are the contestant on a game show that has 3 doors. One of them conceals a big prize. After picking a door (either A, B, or C), the show’s host reveals an unpicked losing door. He then asks if you’d rather change to the remaining unopened door, or stick with the one you had initially selected.”

Do you switch, or do you stick with your original door?

Contrary to what some may think, this classic “Let’s Make a Deal” probability puzzle proves that IF the contestant chooses a different door than the one picked first, they increase their probability of winning to two-thirds. No tricks. I’m serious.

(Let’s say that Door C is the winner.)

Scenario 1: Choose Door A. Door B is revealed. SWITCHING WINS.
Scenario 2: Choose Door B. Door A is revealed. SWITCHING WINS.
Scenario 3: Choose Door C. Door A or B is revealed. SWITCHING LOSES.

Switching your initial choice has a higher chance of landing the ultimate prize!

It boils down to this: when the contestant makes the original choice, they have a 1:3 chance of picking correctly. But then the game changes. After the host removes an option, you’re down to one good answer of two total doors. (It WOULD be simple probability if the contestant was presented with only two doors from the get-go.) If the player DOESN’T SWITCH, they’re assuming they’ve picked the prize accurately in round 1…. which isn’t likely. SWITCHING acknowledges this and effectively reverses the player’s chances. In fact, picking a dud door with this method isn’t likely.

Don’t believe it? Get a friend and 3 playing cards to see if you can’t statistically debunk the theory. If a “wrong” card is revealed and a contestant switches cards during phase two every time, I predict they’ll have a 66% success rate of getting the big prize…. as opposed to 33% probability if never switching answers. Strangely, the contestant is likely to win if they choose wrong in the first phase. Your odds are initially slim, then double in the player’s favor upon flipping answers. Cool, huh?

The big question is: how many would naturally switch choices without this knowledge?!

Innovations that aren’t Upgrades

attackofthekillertomatoesInnovations are the prototypes that thrust our civilization forward and though most can’t be faulted for trying, I’m dismayed to see failed conventions weaving themselves into our societal tapestry. Like cat hair washed into your favorite black t-shirt, extricating each bit of unwanted material would be painstaking, laborious. Incomplete to the point of impracticality. Many of the following can almost be pardoned as footnotes on the path to better things, a sort of transitional limbo best explained by current sufferers of seemingly-interminable puberty. But because conversing with tweens can be spiritually taxing, I’ll simply bitch about various tech that doesn’t meet my layman expectations.

Continue reading