Tag Archives: Video Games

The Teardown: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Millions upon millions of people flock to AMC’s The Walking Dead each week, much like an actual flock of zombies. Millions of people also flocked to Telltale Games’ brilliant adventure game based on the series. You’d think going two for two would be a good place to call it quits but that would just leave you and me with any sense in this situation. Some individuals lacking foresight and good ideas disagreed and that’s how The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct got pushed out of a crusty sphincter and plopped onto shelves.

I know I make a lot of poop jokes in this column. A lot. I guarantee that at least three jokes involving poo will get edited out of this specific piece, but this is the closest games I’ve played in a while that actually resembles a pile of number two. It’s extremely brown, dry, and covered in a lot of blood.

This looks a lot like my senior picture in high school.
This looks a lot like my senior picture in high school.

By that, I mean that the game’s color palette is made up exclusively of a fairly accurate crap shade of brown that only gets its only color from the blood that splashes out of each debrained zombie. Maybe they aren’t even zombies. These could just be what regular people from Detroit look like. I don’t know. I’ve never even been there.

The redneck main characters do sort of look like Detroit people, although with heavy dose of homoerotic tension in every scene. I don’t watch the show but these two hillbilly survivalists, Merle and Daryl (aw how cute, their names rhyme), spend the whole game looking for each other and argue in between the implied gay sex scenes. That’s about as much as I could gather from the barren plot that mainly pushes you to gather gasoline and car parts. I assumed it was a love story and a poorly glued together one at that.

Wait a minute…

Upon further research, I just found out that Merle and Daryl are actually brothers. I still stand by what I said because an incestous love story is more interesting than whatever I was actually supposed to be paying attention to. And besides, they are from the south. Incest is basically a right of passage there. It’s frowned upon to not take your sister to prom and almost impregnate her.

Not pictured: the million other zombies right behind you.
Not pictured: the million other zombies right behind you.

These inbred twins travel from one ugly city to the next looking for gas and – you guessed it – each is filled with zombies, which is where the game crumbles. The game can’t figure out whether it wants you to kill or fear the flocks of zombies so it haphazardly keeps one foot in each ideal. Given that you can endure the sluggish controls, you can easily pimp slap a walking corpse to its second death but the game cheats when faced with greater numbers in order to artificially inject some difficulty.

If you wander too close, you’ll get grabbed and enter one of the most broken game mechanics within the past decade. As you grapple with these Detroit people (remember that joke?), a cursor appears that you have to line up with a target that allows you to murder a single zombie. You’ll do it again. And again. And again. And again. And again until you frustratingly perish in this conga line of death or escape through a succession of lucky strikes.  I made up for the lack of consistency in this mechanic with my consistent stream of obscenities because fuck this stupid garbage shit for garbage people.

I too have bled out of my ass on a truck in the middle of nowhere. Don't ask.
I too have bled out of my ass on a truck in the middle of nowhere. Don’t ask.

I don’t feel for the garbage people who purposely bought this game. They deserved what is coming to them. I do, however, feel for the people who accidentally purchased this instead of the other infinitely better Walking Dead game. That would be like expecting a steak dinner but instead getting just about anything from Arby’s. And that’s what this disaster is in a nutshell: an Arby’s when compared to the fine dining that is the other Walking Dead game, the television show, or the comic book series. You have three other brilliant ways to absorb this franchise. Don’t make Survival Instinct the one you choose.

The Teardown: Aliens: Colonial Marines

My dog pissed on me once. I don’t know why. I usually have to pay a tiny Asian woman to do that. However, this showed me early in life that your favorite things won’t hesitate to drop trou and use your body as a glorified toilet. However, nothing has prepared me for the Cleveland Steamer that Aliens: Colonial Marines begrudgingly dropped upon my chest.

Disappointment in the Alien franchise isn’t new to anyone who is loves that universe. Outside of the classic Alien and Aliens, there hasn’t been much to rally behind. Sure, last year’s video game Alien: Isolation was fucking fantastic, but that does little to offset Alien 3 and the Aliens Vs. Predator. Whoever wins, we lose but no one won that shit.

Aliens: Colonial Marines pretends to be some sort of canonical sequel to Aliens, the film where the xenomorphs are an actual threat. These penis monsters will attack you in droves, attempt to slap fight you, and then they explode. Forget the acidic blood. It’s just Kool-Aid here. Actually, you’re more likely to die from Kool-Aid induced diabetes than the xenomorph blood in Colonial Marines.

Let us not forget that one xenomorph killed an entire crew except a cat and Sigourney Weaver. That speaks to how damn badass Weaver was and still is but mostly to how terrifying and deadly a single xenomorph is.

When there are literally hordes upon hordes of these literal dick heads and the most they can do is scratch and lightly annoy you, there are some fucking issues. “Annoying” shouldn’t be the word for this kind of creature. “Terrifying” and “phallic” are usable. Not “annoying.” Imagine being that guy aboard the Nostromo and saying to the crew, “Gee, guys, this alien is just… she’s just kind of annoyi–.” You’d be jettisoned before you even finished your sentence.

I'm putting you out of your misery, poor xenomorph.
I’m putting you out of your misery, poor xenomorph.

It fits as well with the universe as well as shooting fits into video games, as to say it doesn’t fit at all. Weapons have no kick, but, then again, I guess you don’t really need to have hulking guns to take down these glorified rabbits. You’ll be exclusively shooting and pushing buttons for duration of this elongated torture, so it’s a drag that it’s all terrible. Button pushing is actually a highlight and is, in comparison, the best thing ever. I think Stockholm Syndrome is finally settling in and it’s my only known syndrome but my favorite.

I can’t succumb to the Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to… just about anything else in this game. The game looks abhorrent and is easily a contestant on the “Worst Looking Game of 2001” despite coming out in 2013. The puppet people animate like Chuck E. Cheese’s animatronics and are about half as sexy and appropriately convey just as much life as those pedophile-esque robots. In fact, Michael Biehn confirmed as much in a post-mortem interview.

Hicks, you're still dead to me. That's a compliment.
Hicks, you’re still dead to me. That’s a compliment.

Bastardizing the anti-war message in Aliens without any gravitas is bad enough but completely retconning the film’s canon is pretty much unacceptable. Let me reiterate that. They didn’t want to tell their own bad, fucked up story. They wanted to actively fuck up the beauty of the film 27 years later. Somewhere in the Marianas Trench, James Cameron just winced a bit knowing his classic was being tampered with (but then he stopped caring because, hey, he’s a billionaire).

They say it is better to be pissed off than to be pissed on, but no one said anything about being both. My dog at least was a good dog for the rest of his years after he gave me a golden shower while Colonial Marines deserved to be euthanized right after its initial install. It disrespects the franchise that already disrespects itself enough. The most colonial thing about Colonial Marines is that it resembles a colon in the fact that it stores a lot of poop within the disc it is delivered on. I can’t even muster a cliché Aliens quote to end on.

How does the port strike actually affect us?

Port of Oakland. Photo by Mark Hogan/ Creative Commons
Port of Oakland. Photo by Mark Hogan/ Creative Commons

If you’ve been somewhat paying attention to the news, you know that the west coast ports, yes even the one in Oakland, are currently on strike and it doesn’t seem likely that it will end anytime soon. Currently, the ports are congested with backed up vessels waiting to be unloaded and taken to their final destination, but for nine long months, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 workers, and the Pacific Maritime Association have been at war over contract disputes. If an agreement is not reached, the ports could completely shut down.

So why should you care about this? Really, why does it matter to you if a bunch of people are on strike? Well this strike is actually pretty significant and can begin to affect us all in a major way. The ports are where we receive our goods, like spices, clothes, and boxes that store your food, basically anything that is not manufactured in the United States is coming by boat to these various west coast ports and then put onto our shelves. You know that the goods we receive from Asia, like video games, have been affected by 70 percent – yep, this strike is making those precious video games hard to obtain.

With the ports on strike, we could be looking at prices of our favorite things skyrocketing. With not being able to receive goods from other countries, that means we are in limited supply here. So places will either just run out of what they are selling, or have to up-charge what they have to make a profit since they have to buy the goods from a United States based company at a much higher cost then an oversees manufacturer.

Here is a list of just some things that aren’t manufactured here in the United States:

  • Converse sneakers
  • Levi jeans
  • Televisions
  • Barbies
  • iPads
  • Spices
  • Video Games
  • American Flags (that’s right – we don’t even make our own flag)

No one knows when the strike will end and if it will end in a good way. All I know is I won’t take my video games and salt for granted anymore. You never know how precious something is until you can’t get it off a truck or boat sitting in the middle of the ocean. #soclosebutsofaraway

***UPDATE: As of 7p.m. Friday night it looks like the ports have reached a five year agreement. Hopefully, the ports will begin to open but who knows how long it will take for the back up trucks and vessels to unload.

The Teardown: Escape Dead Island

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Average Score: 40, 32, 52

I didn’t think it would happen, on the first Teardown of 2015 no less, but a game for this column finally broke me. I didn’t finish Escape Dead Island. However, I didn’t need to endure the entirety of the game to come to the conclusion that Escape Dead Island is a massive runny puddle of lukewarm diarrhea. In other words, its long list of imperfections make it the perfect game for this piece.

I pride myself on completing these games. Every single one of these broken messes. No matter how many controllers I’ve almost destroyed; no matter how many aneurysms I’ve almost had, witnessing the end credits means that I’ve come out on top on these games which started from the bottom.


Bottom-dwelling games, like Escape Dead Island, fall into the category of leechers, biting off its main franchise (Dead Island) without also grabbing the features that people liked about it. Escape doesn’t have any leveling mechanics, quest structure, four-player co-op, or a weapon-crafting system like Dead Island did. What it does have is… well, it really doesn’t have much of anything to actually do. You run to a place, grab a keycard, then run to another place. It’s like running useless errands, but these errands are for Hideki Tojo, and you’re also covered in giant, hairy spiders.

Now, go Google Hideki Tojo is so you can understand that joke.


Combat and stealth are a crap shoot filled with crappy shooting. Wonky aiming makes the all-important headshot a farfetched dream, while hitting a zombie with a bat is always a nightmare. Clubbing a pack of zombies never works, except when the game flips a coin and decides that it does. There’s no rhyme or reason;. Just some twisted glitches in the code that can only be lightly likened to “luck.” There are no pointers to give in combat because no strategy is consistently effective.

And that’s why it broke me. The extreme difficulty spikes didn’t come down to skill. It boiled down to how much I could run past the bullshit and pray that I could get away unscathed. The laggy controls can’t keep up with faster zombies near the end so, at a point, when pitted against a room of brain-dead flesh- eaters, I quit. I don’t hate myself that much to go through that.

It's a zombie, you idiot.
It’s a zombie, you idiot.

But I did hate myself enough to play about 90 percent of the game. Even after all that time, I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a reason of why Escape Dead Island exists. It can’t be for profit. No one would buy a garbage fire this hot and… garbagey. It can’t be for its gameplay, of which it has none. And the gameplay that is there is either mindless, frustrating, or both. It can’t be for its looks because it makes vomit look like a Jackson Pollock painting. It can’t be for the story because, it doesn’t really have one, unless you count non-sequiturs and cringeworthy acting a story. If that counts as a story, then this is some Shakespeare ass shit.

Actually, it’s just ass shit that doesn’t deserve a second of your time or any more of my time. I apologize that you had to even think about this game and I apologize to myself for playing this wretched filth.

Apology not accepted.

“Saints Row IV: Re-Elected” Deserves Impeachment

Saints Row IV was a colossal bummer on all fronts.

Remastered games generally give titles a second chance to right the wrongs of its first release or at least yield a more convenient way to access the classics. There’s a reason why companies keep gussying up old titles and putting them on new hardware. Considering its title, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected wasn’t able to be revived as a classic since Saints Row IV wasn’t a classic to begin with.

Re-Elected might mark the first time a remaster actually performs worse than its last generation version, despite it hardly looking better than an average looking Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 game. During my 20-hour playthrough, I had multiple disconnects in co-op, which kicks your hub world, around 6 or 7 hard locks, and more than a few progress-stopping bugs. This is supposed to be the better version and yet, every single time I inserted the disc, I had to worry about it exploding inside of my Playstation 4. Most remasters add something to the games’ performance. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected‘s biggest new feature is a wealth of horrible bugs.

Glitches aside, Saints Row IV has other issues. The super powers granted to the gang makes traversal a breeze. Zipping around and leaping from building to building makes car jacking irrelevant as on-foot movement is much more flexible and swift. And that much carries traversal far but not far enough.

The digital city of Steelport wasn’t made with these powers in mind, which leads to instances of tight squeezes and irritating losses in momentum. You’ll be cruising along quite quickly thanks to the improved frame rate, but you’ll inevitably hit a literal wall or some general junk that abruptly halts any flow. Games like inFamous Second Son crafted cities around the game’s available set of powers and it’s obvious that Steelport wasn’t constructed with the same amount of care.

Offensive powers like stomping and ice balls are good fun as well, but nothing really meshes with shooting. Don’t mistake that as a burn towards the shooting; it feels smoother than most others in the genre, but it isn’t on the same wavelength as the power set. You’re either shooting or performing heroic feats; there is no in between. There’s an odd disconnect between wanting to use your powers and guns in tandem. Switching just isn’t quick enough to form a cohesive gameplay experience that seamlessly integrates gunplay and superpowers.

Flying around Steelport is kind of fun sometimes, albeit really easy.
Flying around Steelport is kind of fun sometimes, albeit really easy.

Even though the shooting feels great and has an inventive weapon layout, the entire game suffers from an uncomfortable amount of familiarity. Saints Row IV has the exact same visual style as Saints Row: The Third. It’s set in the same city, it has the same HUD, it recycles a lot of the same jokes, and enemies still annoyingly juggle you around when you take a hit. All of this copied-and-pasted content is not only inexcusable, but does little to drum up excitement while doing anything. You’ve done these activities before in the same place. Saints Row: The Third was an incredible game but seeing IV ride so closely on The Third‘s coat tails is as disappointing as it is boring.

The story follows the same template of being simultaneously disappointing and boring. The Saints have continued up the chain of command by conquering the White House. After brandishing the entire crib in the Saints’ iconic purple hue and throwing in a few strippers for good measure, an alien race known as the Zin invades Earth and holds humanity hostage. This alien race has jacked the gang into some sort of Matrix-like simulation, forcing the purple crew to kick some alien ass and save the human race.

The Boss is pretty badass.
The Boss is pretty badass.

An alien invasion feels like a natural progression for the series but this threat doesn’t seem to go beyond an intriguing premise. The Boss (that’s you) must free the other members of the Saints and stop Zinyak, the Zin’s nefarious and drastically underutilized leader. That’s it. It’s overly simplistic and doesn’t really evolve over the course of the game. Because of this, the overall plot can feel monotonous after nearly every banal, run-of-the-mill mission, scarcely finding new ways to motivate the player to keep trekking on.

Not even the once-amazing writing can save the narrative. A solid joke appears once every few hours, but it does little to distract the player from the numerous flat debriefing segments and portions of the game where nothing important or interesting happens.

The Dubstep Gun is exactly what it sounds like and it is amazing.
The Dubstep Gun is exactly what it sounds like and it is amazing.

The only events that are interesting come in the form the game’s included downloadable content (DLC). How the Saints Save Christmas is a delightfully funny holiday-themed mission pack with some solid writing, cheery atmosphere, and most importantly a new setting. Enter the Dominatrix is a mockumentary take on the unfinished DLC for Saints Row: The Third. It’s unmistakably unfinished, but the fourth wall breaking humor and friendly self-deprecating jokes make this short campaign worth seeing through. Including the DLC is an ironic cold reminder of how muted and bland the main game is.

Saints Row IV: Re-Elected drops the ball more than it drops the bass and it has a gun that shoots dubstep. Remasters generally improve the experience, add new features, or a combination of both. While the included DLC is appreciated, Saints Row IV is still disappointing on most fronts and even more so now given its rampant buggy-ness. Performance issues aside, it’s also not a game most people would want to see serve another term in office. With a performance like this, impeachment should be inevitable.

Saints Pro:

+Some solid jokes are buried in the dialogue
+Upgrading and moving around the city can be simple fun
+The Dubstep Gun

Saints No:

-New, game-stopping bugs and “new” visuals don’t match its peers
-Repetitive mission objectives
-Lame story with no real meat
-Borrows far too many jokes, environments, and missions from Saints Row: The Third


The Teardown: Metro: Last Light: Redux

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Average Scores: 83, 84, 84

I saw the Gamefly envelope resting on my bed and my heart sank into my gut (which could have been Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew now that I think about it). I had one thought: “Fuck. This better not be another Ninja Gaiden game.”

It could have been My Little Pony Sim 2014 or “Game of the Century” Cory in the House, one of which is a real game; I did not care. Just not another Ninja Gaiden game, please. Thankfully, I was greeted with this on my PS4 dashboard upon inserting the mystery disc:


No more garbage combat. No more cringeworthy stories with awful one-liners. I was free.

Well, not entirely free. I still had Metro: Last Light: Redux to play… again. I had already suffered through the regular version of Metro: Last Light last year, but Ukranian developer 4A Games had the bright idea of remastering this “classic” to reach a new audience on new consoles with prettier visuals.

But no one was complaining that Metro looked like hot street trash. Hell, not many were even complaining about Metro at all. To my surprise, Metro was met with great reviews and decorated with awards from the media and fans alike.

It looks great and knows how to set a mood – I will give it that – but playing it was more frustrating that riding an actual metro in San Francisco. However, it did have the same amount of brown coat-wearing drunk white dudes. A mere coincidence, probably.

Moving on.

Metro tosses you into a myriad of narrow tunnels, each filled with more things to shoot than the last. The problem is that sneaking or shooting through these situations is always a headache. Stealth sucks because of the shoddy enemy intelligence. They are either brain dead stupid or hyper intelligent super soldiers. Or, to break this down more: all human enemies possess the mind of Stephen Hawking or the mobility of Stephen Hawking. There is no middle ground.

Just get a rib removed, dude. It makes it way easier.
Just get a rib removed, dude. It makes it way easier.

The mutated freaks, which I can just assume is what most Russian men look like when they do not get their hourly vodka shots, take home the grand prize in being generally about as pleasant as putting a toothpick under your big toe and kicking the nearest wall. They will sprint right up in your grill and mosh like some metal heads, lopping off large amounts of health and even larger amounts of patience. Escaping is not an option because backpedaling makes the main character, Artyom, move at half his normal speed. So the most natural movement that someone would use when confronted by horribly disfigured beasts is significantly hamstrung when you need it most. It does not make a lick of sense.

In a game where you can shoot dog-size bears and bear-sized dogs, this is what made the least amount of sense: not being able to move at a consistent speed. When the playing part of your video game sucks, that is not a good sign. However, the nearly-transparent strokes of a well-made game are in the periphery but lost in the thick, burnt weeds of the nuked-out landscape of stupid design decisions.

It is beautiful in its ugliness - I will cop to that.
It is beautiful in its ugliness – I will cop to that.

But maybe I am just ignorant to this whole game’s message. Maybe this is just how Russia operates. Maybe this game was an accurate representation of day-to-day Russian life: it is frustrating, filled with awkward sexual encounters, and dangerous to explore the irradiated surface without a gas mask. Maybe it is a just another reminder of how awesome America is. You know a good post-apocalyptic game? The Last of Us. You know where it takes place? America. That is no coincidence. Suck it, Putin. I am putin you, your country, and your country’s representative game in its place: back in the mail and to Gamefly’s headquarters because I am not ever playing this game again.

The Resident Evil Within – The Evil Within Review

Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 14, 2014

There has been nothing worse in gaming than Resident Evil‘s fall from grace. Of course it would take the series’ father to rectify the many mistakes Capcom made in recent years with the once-coveted franchise..

Shinji Mikami, one of the key figures behind the first four (good) Resident Evil games, promised a return to the roots, a spiritual successor, if you will, in the form of The Evil Within. The Evil Within wears its Resident Evil 4-ness on its sleeve in multiple ways, but Mikami’s latest project knows how to take from the best and carve new ground at the same time.

If there is one phrase that I am gonna have to edit out of this review ad nauseam, it is going to be “like Resident Evil 4.” The over-the-shoulder, third-person shooting against zombie-like creatures? A lot like Resident Evil 4. Boss encounters? Still a lot like Resident Evil 4. The overall design? Almost ripped straight from the book – nay, bible – of Resident Evil 4.

And that is completely fine since Resident Evil 4‘s golden formula holds up well especially with The Evil Within‘s improvements. Carefully picking shots while a horde of Haunted – not zombies – shamble towards you is a tense experience that is always rewarding. Options are readily available to player in the form of multiple weapons, the opportunity for stealth, and the way the environment can be used against the enemies. Because of this, the combat has a compelling loop that has the ability to allow you to craft your own playstyle and it further evolves through the well-paced upgrade system.

And the kicker is that it is different every time. While conserving ammunition is always the name of the game, each scenario always brings something unique to the table.

Even this sunset is not all what it seems.
Even this sunset is not all what it seems.

You will be escaping bosses, fighting bosses, solving minor puzzles, or adjusting to some other unique wrinkle in the combat, which keeps the game incredibly fresh at every turn. It does not grow stale because you are never doing the same thing for too long; an impressive feat considering the game’s long running time. New enemies types get paced out well and demand different skill sets and when the game starts mixing these types of enemies up, it also begins putting them in different scenarios. It does not always work in the game’s favor, such as rooms or enemies that specialize in one-hit kills, but it hits enough times and hard enough on those times to maintain a phenomenal sense of pacing.

But those one-hit kills can usually lead to a bit of frustration. The Evil Within is more difficult than the average game and that helps with overall tension, but the difficulty can sometimes get a little overzealous. Often time, there will be “kill rooms,” which chop you into mincemeat at the slightest mistake. For most of the game, they are mostly manageable but they begin to increase in number in the final few chapters of the game.

Scratching this dog's belly will leave more than a scar on your arm.
Scratching this dog’s belly will leave more than a scar on your arm.

Same thing goes with the multitude of boss fights. The gorgeously-designed hulking beasts work better than they should as boss fights and can be a healthy change from the norm, but almost all of them have “that move.” That move that can kill you in one hit regardless of your health. Telltale signs signal when these moves are happening that allow you to get out of the way, and that much is great, but getting offed in a single hit is not always fun. Again, while manageable for most of the game, this is very predominant in the game’s final hour or two.

The Evil Within‘s tension has a similar slight drop off within the last chapter but that does not negate its consistent effectiveness for the first fifteen hours. Horror games usually pick one motif and stick with it such as specializing in survival horror, action horror, or psychological horror. The Evil Within blends all three in a way that comes together beautifully.

Creeping around is usually the best strategy.
Creeping around is usually the best strategy.

Ammunition is always scarce and the twisted enemies are deadly, which lets it become more like a survival horror game. Shooting and being strategically offensive is reminiscent of the best action horror titles like Dead Space 2 and Resident Evil 4. And, finally, the game messes with your head in ways that evoke an extremely uncomfortable mood that would make Silent Hill proud, giving it a good psychological horror angle. Jump scares, getting chased, and unkillable beasts are all remarkably effective and the way in which all these horror pastiches are delicately glued together makes The Evil Within incredibly exhausting to play. It is unrelenting in the ways that make you want to put the controller down but amazing enough to force you to keep playing, which is what the best horror games do.

Although the story does not have all the same successes. Sebastian Castellanos, the slightly-gravelly voiced, no nonsense protagonist, has been sent to investigate insane asylum. He and his posse get sucked into some alternate universe before the engine has even cooled, leaving them to survive this tangled illusion of reality and escape.

The jarring transitions that send the characters from level to level cement the fact that this place is not quite right and further feeds the notion that everyone is going insane. Each person is going through their own personal hell and the hazy confusion surrounding everything makes for an intriguing premise to figure what the hell is actually going on. This premise leads you from chapter to chapter but, even after a few reveals, it cannot resolve itself in a way that is digestible or satisfying. All of this works fine until it actually gets around to explaining itself. It just shuffles its feet in the dirt, draws “wait for a sequel!” in the sand, then scurries off. It is all about the journey in The Evil Within because the destination is not all that satisfying.

Just hope he does not see you.
Just hope he does not see you.

Graphically speaking, The Evil Within checks almost all of the necessary boxes. The disgusting but beautiful visuals allow the locales to have an appropriately dark atmosphere. Moving through claustrophobic caves and navigating a deserted mansion hits all the right notes through great lighting and creepy level layouts. The soundtrack, or lack thereof sometimes, also helps build a mood through its subtle strings or high-adrenaline “escape” music. Everything The Evil Within does visually or aurally is done in service of the mood and atmosphere.

The Evil Within is the next step for Resident Evil that we never got thanks to the series’ drastic dropoff in quality. That is alright because we got something much better. The satisfying combat loop, the uneasy atmosphere, high replayability, and amount of scares make The Evil Within worthy of carrying the torch for a new generation of horror games. It may be Resident Evil 4 with a mask but this new and improved update on the classic formula has allowed The Evil Within to become a noteworthy new face in the horror genre. Let us hope that Shinji Mikami does not abandon this franchise and let it die.

The Evil Within:

+Incredibly tense atmosphere with three different styles of horror
+Long game that (mostly) keeps itself fresh over the span of a dozen hours
+Refreshing combat that juggles different playstyles
+Very replayable with multiple difficulties and a solid New Game+

The Evil Without:

-Weak ending
-One-hit kills can get tiresome

tew 9 big

The Teardown: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Average Scores: 43, 50, 49

I am sorry, dear reader. I have failed you. But not as much as I failed myself.

Just a few weeks ago, I made a promise to not play another new Ninja Gaiden game. I lied. I goofed. I fucked up. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z shot through my mailslot (not a euphemism) at my house, waiting to be the next game that I had to suffer through. It sounds like some sort of coincidence coordinated by Satan to ensure I am primed and ready for hell with a constant stream of shitty Ninja Gaiden games. I mean, I just played through Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge a couple weeks ago. I feel like I need a purple heart medal for enduring that game. It still gives me ‘Nam flashbacks.

Speaking of, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge set the bar high on how low to actually set the bar. The series almost could not get any worse. Muddled combat, bland art, and an abhorrent story will do that to a once-pristine franchise. Yaiba takes all of those poorly executed aspects and makes it look like the developers sat back and thought of ways to make every facet even worse.

Here is Yaiba and you will always want him to shut up when he talks.
Here is Yaiba and you will always want him to shut up when he talks.

Besides the insultingly braindead platforming, melee-focused swordplay makes up most of what you will be doing in Yaiba. Cutting up the ugliest monsters could not be more sluggish and frustrating. Yaiba, the main character, moves like he is covered in glue but also somehow like he downed a bottle of uppers. Spastic sword combos are unresponsive and sludgy, resulting in many quick deaths at the hands of wonky, abysmal controls. Getting Yaiba to do what you want when you want is a Herculean task in and of itself, and doing it in time to avoid the hordes of stupid enemies is a task no human should withstand.

The enemies in this game deserve their own special circle in hell. Most games have an enemy type that sucks. That is fine. Every single enemy in this game is that enemy. That one enemy that sets you on fire; then that other enemy that grabs you; then that other enemy that suicide bombs you. It is almost literally a laundry list of the shittiest video game enemies rolled up into one game. It is appalling. Do not even mention the bosses to me, because I will probably fall into a fugue state and start talking in tongues that, regardless of language, rightfully slam the game.

God dammit, not you again!
God dammit, not you again!

Fuck it! Too late! I am going to complain about the bosses too, but not in the way you think. While, yes, they are frustrating battles of tedium and frustration over reflexes, the rampant unfunniness of each is unsettling. Here is a joke that channels a part of Yaiba‘s sense of humor: ahemPANTIES!

Why are you not laughing? See, the joke is that I said “panties” and just that alone that is comedic gold. Platinum, even. Just saying a word is a joke now. It does not even need context or thought.

Yeah, this game is a headache.
Yeah, this game is a headache.

Many of Yaiba‘s “jokes” are just saying a thing or being overly brash. It is all full of lazy, overly enthusiastic references that barely, even in an inebriated state, resemble comedy. It is the Bobby Lee of video games. I bet Yaiba has even drunkenly shit its pants at a party.

And that is what the Ninja Gaiden series is left with – being the guy who shits himself at a party. Ninja Gaiden used to be the life of the party; he was the dude that would bring all the beer and the women. Now he cannot even limp around without looking sluggish and unresponsive. He is almost literally the guy who loved high school because nothing else happened with him after senior year. Good luck with nine years of community college, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.

Top Ten Scariest Video Games

I am not too much of a horror movie buff. Jason Vorhees is merely a retired hockey goalie that hates horny teenagers, from what I have heard and Freddy Krueger, and to me, is the last fighter in the latest Mortal Kombat. I prefer to pick up a controller for my frightful fix especially when the leaves turn orange and the pumpkins come out near Halloween’s eve. Fall is the best time of year to celebrate the scariest video games, especially with the genre’s recent resurgence.

10 re4
The classic Resident Evil 4 is not a traditionally scary game, but it succeeds phenomenally well at establishing panic and terror. The way in which the Ganados slowly shamble toward Leon evokes a creepy sensation and the musty, gross environments allow these tense moments to take place in a setting with actual atmosphere. Adrenaline always runs high no matter the enemy but the creepy Regenerators and Iron Maidens are the single most terrifying enemy in gaming. When I first came across them, I freaked out and did not play the game for two whole months. It shook me like no other.

9 tlour
The Last of Us is not a traditional horror game, but horror is one of the many hats The Last of Us wears. In a few areas, the designers really take the hostility of the infected and put them in some dark, dank environments, turning The Last of Us into a pretty effective horror game. Tiptoeing around was tense, but causing a ruckus brought forth the panic and terror that Resident Evil 4 did so well. Horror is just another aspect that The Last of Us nails.

8 shd
Silent Hill: Downpour gets a bad reputation for being one of the many sour eggs of the Silent Hill franchise, but while it lacked the nuance of earlier titles, it had its moments. Moments of screaming organs and dark, creepy rooms offset the wonky controls. The creepiness is established beautifully through the fantastic sound design, that makes every gross sound even more gross. While some fans wince at the sheer mention of Silent Hill: Downpour, it had enough of the franchise’s spirit to make it one of the scariest games out there.

7 alien
The xenomorph stopped being scary at about 1979 after the movie Alien came out. The subsequent Alien movies ditched horror in favor of action, which, while not bad on principle, let the alien become more cool than frightening. Not Alien: Isolation. There is one alien in the whole game and it is dreadful. The way he stalks around slowly looking for something to kill. The way you can hear him scurry though the vents. Every possible action the alien can do is a way to remind the player that he is superior. He can kill you. And he will. Isolation re-aliens the alien in the best possible way in a way in which the movies could not do.

6 dead space
While it can be a toss up between Dead Space and Dead Space 2, Dead Space edges out its sequel because of the mystique surrounding everything. The fear of just not knowing what the necromorphs are gives the foes a sense of mystery that only adds to their overall scariness. Gameplay is mainly derived from Resident Evil 4 with all the same positive aspects with a few changes that make it more fluid but just as tense. Dead Space is a shining example of how to do a horror game in the modern day. If only Dead Space 3 had carried on the series’ horror roots.

5 sh3
The version of Silent Hill 3 that I played was basically broken. The framerate hovered in the teens and the sound was garbled for about a quarter of my playthrough. Despite those issues, Silent Hill 3‘s journey twisted my mind in a way only a Silent Hill game could do. The misty town offered itself to more psychological scares over jump scares, meaning it was more of a constant sense of crushing dread over a few monster closets. I did not want to be in Silent Hill but at the same time, I did not want to leave. Just do not watch the movie.

4 outlast
Outlast arms you with… a camera. It is not even a great camera too. This sense of helplessness may be a little frustrating at times, but avoiding mental patients and naked crazy doctors puts you in an easy position to get scared witless. Having to hide and run within the disgusting asylum was a tense experience that did not overstay its welcome. That is a good thing too since I do not know if my heart could take much of that game.

3 tew
Shinji Mikami, that man who was one of the key minds behind the whole survival horror genre, promised to come back to the genre in a way that would be faithful it its origins. I guess he saw what Capcom did with Resident Evil and could not sit comfortably knowing they destroyed his baby.

Enter The Evil Within, which combines all the best parts of Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, and Silent Hill and funnels them into one package. The twisted setting reeks of Silent Hill. The shooting and overall design is both a healthy mix of Dead Space and Resident Evil 4. In essence, it is equal parts psychological horror, survival horror, and action horror and all in the same game. The fact that each pillar is phenomenal is an achievement worthy of a high spot on this list.

2 slender
All of these games so far have been the result of me looking for a good scare. Not Slender. Stalking the woods looking for pages while the mythical Slenderman creeps around is utterly crushing in a way that I almost cannot experience. It could be the middle of the afternoon and I would still almost poop my pants in terror. Slender is free too, showing that true horror can be done on a budget.

1 pt
P.T. should be for me. It is free. It is on the PS4 and the famed Hideo Kojima is behind it. But I cannot bring myself to play more than thirty seconds. It is too cramped, too quiet, and too disturbing for me to ever actively want to play it. It brilliantly plays on the player’s expectations in the most devious of ways. Going through the same hallway allows the player to get comfortable then BOOM, you soil yourself and need to exit the game. I do not know if Silent Hills, the game in which this is a playable teaser to, will hold the same amount of scares, but that does not take away from P.T. being the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.

The Gaming Guild @ SF State

Members of Gaming Guild play a demo of the new Super Smash Bros. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
Members of Gaming Guild play Super Smash Bros Melee (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)

Walking down the halls of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) building on a late Monday afternoon in September, you do not expect to hear much beside the typical shuffling of feet and professors lecturing to a group of tired students who very well might be regretting their decision to take a night course. But then you hear something familiar – a “yahoo!” coming out of an animated sounding Italian accent, followed by a cartoon-like, almost pop-y punching sound, a “pee-kay-fire!” coming from a different voice, followed by what sounds like something getting electrocuted.

You then hear what you think the sound of someone falling off a cliff would sound like, of course, jogging the memory of your children Saturday morning cartoon escapades. Instead of it being a frightful sound, it brings back happy thoughts and is followed by cheers coming out of the next room. As you enter the classroom, you see fifty to sixty chairs packed with students, ten of which are plunked in front of a small television screen with Super Smash Brothers Melee playing off of a Nintendo Gamecube as mixed sounds come from those gathered around the game.

  • Aaron Gomez (left) and Anton Shcherbakon look at what cards to put down in a game of Cards Against Humanity during a Gaming Guild meeting on Sept. 22, 2014. Photo by Lorisa Salvatin

  • Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 6.35.31 PM

  • Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 6.37.24 PM
  • Aaron Gomez (left) and Anton Shcherbakon look at what cards to put down in a game of Cards Against Humanity during a Gaming Guild meeting on Sept. 22, 2014. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Samantha Vu cheers after placing the last piece of the suspending pile of bars in a game of Suspend. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Langston Hill (left) and Izy Xiong talk about "Five Nights at Freddy's" during a Gaming Guild meeting on Sept. 22, 2014. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
  • In their unlikely meeting place, the Gaming Guild get together in the HSS building to play everything from video games to card games. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)

The rest of the room has seemed to transform into different groups; one, fixated on a game of Cards Against Humanity, another with portable gaming devices alike in their hands, huddled together into a large gathering, another focused on the strategy card game MAGIC, and a smaller group of about ten people in the last corner of their room on their laptops. The air of the space is friendly and light, but focused.

This is the scene at a weekly meeting at the Gaming Guild at SF State (GGSFSU).
“Honestly, I just want to help a group of people on campus connect with each other,” says Alicia Jun, president of GGSFSU. “It’s so easy to stay in your room and play games by yourself each week, but I hope that with having a weekly meeting can further increase the social aspect of gaming and hopefully create some awesome friendships through common interests.”

GGSFSU is simply a club created by who play games to connect with other people who like to play games. It was formed last semester by a group of student gamers looking to socialize and meet others who enjoy playing games of all sorts and have similar interests at SF State.
Treasurer Sierra Eaton explain how she got involved in video game clubs with another group at City College of San Francisco before transferring to SF State. “Joining the Gamer’s Gathering at CCSF changed my life, and I hope people coming here to the Gaming Guild can have that experience, too.”

The club’s predecessor, Crtl Alt Elite, never really gained traction on campus, unlike GGSFSU, which now has over three hundred members on its Facebook group page. It was also recently recognized by Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) as an official club on campus.
“There aren’t really any costs associated with the club,” says Eaton.
Because they do not officially have a school-provided allowance, everything at the meetings is brought in by the students. According to Florey, one week, one of the members said they would bring in their Gamecube and now it is a little tradition to play Super Smash Brothers every week since.

Word of mouth is this group’s ally in recruiting new members.

“I asked her what she was doing tonight and she said she was coming to this meeting and that I should come,” says Langston Hill, freshman, of his friend Isabelle Xiong. “I think it’s really cool.”

Many in the group seem to agree that it can be tough making friends with similar interests if you are into gaming. “If they weren’t here, they would be at home or in their dorm by themselves. Instead, we’re creating a community,” says Maddy Florey, vice president of the Gaming Guild.

GGSFSU meets once a week on Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a time that was voted on by the members, in Humanities 111 unless otherwise specified. All officers are volunteers and all time put into the club is purely them putting in the energy to make GGSFSU expand. Each meeting begins with a discussion led by the officers, asking members what they want to see in the future. Ideas are shared for future activities and events, but it is mainly just a freeform of ideas.

“The best way to get involved is to come and hang out,” says Jun. “We’ve always got room for people who wish to play a game or even introduce a new game!”
If you would like to find out more about GGSFSU or are thinking about joining the club, request to become a member on their Facebook page here, go and talk to them in person when they table on Mondays in Malcom X Plaza, or show up for a weekly meeting on Mondays.

The Terrible Cesspit of Internet Terrorism

An arm pops out of a woman's computer screen and chokes her. (Illustration by Catherine Uy/ XPress Magazine)
An arm pops out of a woman’s computer screen and chokes her. (Illustration by Catherine Uy/ Xpress Magazine)

The “gamer” label has always been peculiar to me. A tag like that only pigeonholes a person through one aspect of their life. Besides that, it does not have the best image that gets associated with it.

Especially now.

Anita Sarkeesian, the host of the successfully-Kickstarted Feminist Frequency YouTube channel, came under fire, which she is not a stranger to. It is hard to even say that this new step has gone too far because any abusive step here is too far.

Sarkeesian was supposed to give a talk at Utah State University that was being organized by the campus’ feminists. That was until this anonymous email was sent to the staff of USU:

How delightful.

Her plans were to go through with the speech, even with some neckbeard threatening a massive school shooting, but she could not find an agreeable solution with campus security. Utah’s open-carry law is responsible for that. The talk was canceled because of the ease of sneaking in a firearm and the police’s lack of control over a possible massacre.

This awful situation is just another recurring nightmare in the Groundhog’s Day of hateful horseshit that just keeps happening over and over again. It is fucking tiring. But the Internet easily enables this extensive harassment through its ability to allow cowards to cover their tracks and hide. But harassment is a tame word. This is terrorism, plain and simple. You instill fear from a distance through a threat, even if you never intend to act upon it. But now, you can do it from your own home if someone so much as slightly disagrees with you.

Terrorism like this festers in the confines of the Internet for those who are afraid of change. Afraid of being acceptable to different groups of people. Afraid of letting more individuals into the hobby they love (or at least claim to), or that is at least a poor cover up, which has been perpetuated by the increasingly-stupid “#GamerGate” hashtag, which came to light after the whole Zoe Quinn scandal.

The hashtag has some commendable intentions: to raise the ethical standards in gaming journalism and to create a sense of transparency between game publishers/developers and writers. That much I am behind. However, this has also led to the eye-rolling movement of trolls using this as a means to ruin the lives of “Social Justice Warriors” or just women in general. Because that is how narrow-mindedly they see justice. Gaming is already sort of a boy’s club and these toxic pricks are planning to keep it that way by attempting to drive out the few unique voices of the industry, be it developer or writer.

The Internet allows people to gather around something they like and discuss from the safe confines of sitting behind a monitor. But it also lets people form a digital mob and rally around something they hate, which is where most people tend to focus on. Good or bad. Love or hate. Extremism is all too prevalent on the web and this whole damn mess is the thesis statement.

We cannot disagree with Anita. We have to yell, scream, and threaten to rape or kill her. We cannot agree with only some things she claims. We have to wholeheartedly back her no matter what and fiercely lash out at the slightest disobedience. Each side offends the other, each side gets defensive, and each side further cements themselves in their respective stances.

Anita is not infallible either. She has been accused of stealing game footage without permission, lying, faking some of her own threats, and manipulating game footage to prove a point – her point. I do not condone those actions (if true) and, frankly, it drives me nuts when I see this sort of deception by her. Her Hitman: Absolution section in this video in particular really rustled my jimmies, but I do not threaten her in any way. I do not smash a keyboard in anger. I act like a normal human being and I am able to continue living normally despite a slight disagreement on a branch of a greater overall message.

Disagreement is healthy and the discussions that a level-headed debate brings is good for the mind. But that takes time and self-control and some assemblance of empathy. Those aspects are in short supply on the Internet. It is all too easy to shout than to actually reflect and critically analyze the situation. Instead of taking the humane route, these Internet gremlins would rather start a hate campaign that exclusively targets different genders and races under a twisted guise of “keeping games the same.”

Hostility and hate campaigns do not even seem to be working too, which is the extreme irony in all of this. Anita has been doing more interviews, gracing the front page of the New York Times, and been on sites that would never cover anything related to video games. All of this hate is only publicity for her and furthers her message of equality and also subsequently enforces the negative stereotype that people who play games are a less-than-stable, unsocial group. It is a double-edge sword. Her proposition of equality spreads but so does the toxic harassment that sadly comes installed with the culture.

I write this (mostly) not as a person who plays video games and engages in the culture, but as a human. Witnessing abuse like this is sickening and seeing it happen to people in a medium that I hold dear makes it exponentially more depressing. I love how video games are finally starting to be mature enough to tell unique stories and spark debates, but this surrounding garbage is not what I wanted to come part and parcel with the aforementioned maturity. We want to claim that video games do not cause school shootings, yet some people have to threaten to shoot up a school to stop a person from talking about video games – now that is irony.

Booze, Games, and Comfort

From Super Smash Bros. to Uno to Beer Pong, people gather at Folsom Street Foundry to play and hang with friends and fellow gamers every Tuesday and Thursday for SF Game Night. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
From Super Smash Bros. to Uno to Beer Pong, people gather at Folsom Street Foundry to play and hang with friends and fellow gamers every Tuesday and Thursday for SF Game Night. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)

A sword has just been thrown across the field unexpectedly, its victim yelling at their opponent for hitting them, as the perpetrator gleefully sprints across the arena, awaiting his reward of being devoured by a giant dragon-monster-thing. Elsewhere, a man groans in agony as the gigantic flaming ball he is rolling, a-clutter with miscellaneous items such as a peach and a cow, accidentally falls into a bed of water. Game over.

This is SF Game Night at the Folsom Street Foundry, where patrons gather at this SOMA-residing bar, huddled together closely on comfy couches to play video games old and new, such as the aforementioned Nidhogg and Katamari Damacy.

Miniscule balls from nearby beer and ping pong tables whiz by, with a stander-by watching a match of Towerfall Ascension picking a stray ball from the ground and tossing it back to the players, with a smile and a headnod. The warehouse-esque bar is lined with couches, chairs, and bar stools along long tables. People chat happily in groups, sipping beers, and eating snacks, all there to watch, or play, video games.

SF Game Night, a weekly set of events on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is put on by local eSports organization Showdown for gaming brethren to gather and compete or just casually play video games in a bar setting. The Folsom Street Foundry is huge and crowded, yet it never seems to get “too” loud (a common trait among popular bars in San Francisco). This makes SF Game Night extremely accessible and most notably, comfortable, a trait that president and co-founder of Showdown, the organizer of SF Game Night, CJ Scaduto aims to achieve.

(From Left) Richard Whalen, Eleanor Brown, Daniel Lee, and Jeremy Mah play Mario Kart on one of the four projected screens. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
(From Left) Richard Whalen, Eleanor Brown, Daniel Lee, and Jeremy Mah play Mario Kart on one of the four projected screens. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)

Described as “an extension of your living room” by Scaduto, the coziness of the Folsom Street Foundry is evident. The atmosphere is relaxed and upbeat and the crowds are diverse, encompassing people from all walks of life. SF Game Nights offer a wide selection of beer, food, and even cocktails, so that people can drink and game, no matter what their taste. SF Game Nights also promote a BYOG policy: Bring Your Own Games, be it board games, iPads to play Hearthstone, or even their own video games from home.

SF Game Night organizers Showdown got their start putting on local BarCraft events, where people would gather at bars to, well, drink and watch people play the popular strategy PC game Starcraft. BarCraft events began in the Summer of 2011 in the United States by the North American Star League, and later spread all across the world. Due to its success, BarCraft-esque events became a trend, with Hearthstone-themed “Fireside Gatherings” and Dota 2-themed “Pubstomps,” and even spurring a chain of competitive eSports bars in Europe called “Meltdown.” Showdown decided to embrace the trend and bring it to San Francisco in October 2013, and later the idea of a gaming night for both casual and competitive gamers, and thus, SF Game Nights were born. Since SF Game Night’s start in February 2014, their audience has grown from two hundred to three hundred people to four hundred to six hundred in August 2014.

(From Left) Rickie Sherman laughs at some of the selected cards as he plays Cards Against Humanity with friends Nick Robinson and Amber Mock. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)
(From Left) Rickie Sherman laughs at some of the selected cards as he plays Cards Against Humanity with friends Nick Robinson and Amber Mock. (Lorisa Salvatin/ Xpress Magazine)

Despite the success of BarCraft events, Scaduto’s initial idea for Game Night spans all the way back to January 2001.

“I wanted to create a fun, relaxing atmosphere for adults to celebrate video games,” Scaduto says. The slow death of arcades all around the country, including the cult San Francisco arcade Southtown, has left people without a place outside their home to enjoy games. “[SF Game Night] is the next logical step for those who grew up playing in arcades,” says Scaduto.

At weekly tournaments, SF Game Night has regulars coming back week after week to compete. On Tuesdays, professionals and casuals alike duke it out in Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments, titled “Get Smashed,” meanwhile, Thursdays see a competition of Ultra Street Fighter IV called “Churning the Butter.”

Spenser Cheung, Co-Founder and Live Production Director for Showdown, started playing a major role with the organization after volunteering at a League of Legends event. Cheung monitors the livestreams of the weekly competitions and makes sure that everything goes smoothly.

“I’ve always been a fan of streaming, so I started making my own overlays,” Cheung says of getting his start. “And now I get to sit and watch every match.”

Cheung is enthusiastic about the hardcore fighting game community that comes out weekly, with about thirty regulars, he notes.

Showdown’s an official partner with Twitch, the livestreaming website recently acquired by Amazon for roughly $1 billion. They stream their competitions live each week.

Cheung expressed interest in attracting a bigger MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) crowd in the future, with the potential of League of Legends and Dota 2 competitions.

Hai Nguyen, U.S. history major at SF State, is a regular at the Showdown-hosted SF Game Night events.

“I was surprised that San Francisco can support such an event, and after checking it out for the first time, I knew that this was [the] place to be,” Nguyen says. “There’s a wide spectrum of gamers just looking for fun with alcohol and games.”

Nguyen began going to SF Game Night after reading about it on Facebook and the closing down of his favorite arcade, GameCenter in San Mateo. He has attended less recently because of school, but still thinks fondly of the weekly bar romp.

“What I like most about GameNight is the concept itself,” Nguyen says. “Video games and board games in an adult environment mean that there is a level of maturity and open-mindedness that I suppose adults have, rather than teenagers or young adults.”

SF Game Night has evolved into a platform for independent developers to show off their games, for advertisers, for hosting international competitions, and even expanding to charity work, with a planned twenty-four hour broadcast with the organization Extra Life on October 24th.

Showdown recently instated a $5 entrance fee rather than being free, in an attempt to provide more value to the night’s experience, such as providing more televisions for video games. Co-Founder Scaduto also hopes that by the end of 2015, there will be more regular Showdown events around the Bay Area.

Showdown Co-Founder Spenser Cheung views SF Game Night as a sort of safe haven for those who enjoy playing video games.

“Everyone I know who has ever played games has been made fun of it at one point,” says Cheung. “Here [at Game Night], everybody can gather and be themselves in this environment. Even though everyone likes different games, everyone has a good time.”



UPDATE: The previous version stated that SF Game Night allows patrons to bring their own consoles, but this was miscommunication as the Foundry does not have enough space, and was instead referring to Showdown being able to acquire and replace new consoles.