Game Reviews Writing

Game Review: Disco Elysium

Play an alcoholic rockstar cop or a moralist sorry cop or a socialist hobo cop in Disco Elysium, a novelistic adventure game that reinvents storytelling in gaming. Imagine Divinity: Original Sin on a shroom trip and you’ll have the scent of it. Elysium is elusive and seductive, disgusting and plodding, ugly and beautiful. It is all of us, a social commentary that accounts for the implausible, a miracle of narrative fiction, better than most (if not all) modern lit. Its pretention is only matched by its obsession with guttural urges and sweet fleeting feelings. It is the darkness and sadness of humanity, an episode of Black Mirror without ending, a suggestion of what’s to come and what came before.

A standard cop game might see shoot-outs a plenty. Not so with Disco Elysium. Wander from misbegotten scene to another like Guybrush Threepwood and have seemingly aimless conversations. Pick from a long string of options that either make your character seem quirky or jaw-droppingly insane. Trigger warnings fail to make an appearance, but delicate sensibilities need not apply, until the warmth swells in your heart and you see the beauty in the madness.

Like a D&D game, Disco Elysium offers you checks and dice rolls. You level up weird qualities with unclear advantages. You can also dwell on thoughts to unlock new abilities (or screw yourself up emotionally). You’re supposed to be solving a mystery but your body is a sack of crap and your head is swimming with substances. Good thing you’ve got Kim by your side to keep you straight. That is, if he, or anyone in this punctured city can be trusted.

Who’s to say you’ll have the same experience I did when playing this game? All roads lead to Revechol but it’s the journey you take to reach your destination that really sets the vibe. Will you recover your badge and gun? Will you help cryptid hunters find the truth? Will you allow local tweakers to run a drug den in a church? These are all optional, but the consequences make them feel like they matter. Finally a story game that accomplishes its own ambitions. No more “Harry will remember that” from those Telltale Games. Real stakes, heart, not just cartoon platitudes about darkness and light.

Your mind speaks to you in Disco Elysium. But you can shut it off if you like. Be an analytical cop running visual calculus. Be a sexist cop with a feminist streak. Be a capitalo-fascist union scab. Revel in your own misery and misdeeds, your inability to change the past. But if Disco Elysium’s message is about the weight of consequence, the inescapability of past, present and future, it also provides a sly smile. Who says disco’s really dead? The spirit’s still alive, baby.


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My WiiU Won’t Recognize My External HD

If you own a WiiU, you might also own an external hard drive to go with it since the system’s internal memory is sorely lacking. This article exists to help those suffering from external hard drive woes, as they can be quite frightening.

The most important fact is that the WiiU does not generate enough power to power an External HD that is charged via USB UNLESS you use a USB Y-Splitter. The way it works is that an External HD that charges via USB must be plugged into the female port of the USB splitter, and then the USB splitter’s two male ends go into the WiiU. (I’ve plugged mine into the vertical USB ports on the back.)

If your external HD is receiving enough power, it should make a whirring noise when the Wii U is turned on and the HD is plugged in. (If things are going well, your Wii U should recognize the external hard drive in its data management screen in Settings.) If things are not going well, you might find that the WiiU suddenly cannot recognize your external HD and all your saved game data is apparently lost.

If you’re like me this could cause a panic, but luckily all may not be lost! There are a few additional things to keep in mind. By default the WiiU puts external HDs to sleep when they are not in use, but you can toggle this function off by going into data management, holding DOWN on the D-Pad for four seconds, then holding the plus and minus buttons. An option will appear to let you turn off the WiiU’s sleep function for external HDs.

If your content still doesn’t appear or your HD still isn’t recognized, try restarting the system once more. Check your connections to make sure they are snug, and after leaving the HD plugged in for a few minutes, reset once more. For whatever reason, my content suddenly appeared after doing all these steps in order. I will warn you not to futz with the external HD while content is running, as it may cause your content to crash.


Grown Men Discuss Children’s Toys!


My friend “Big Trav” and I have started a gaming podcast called “The Entitled Gamer.” Please give it a listen, subscribe on iTunes and leave us a positive review.

We have some fun episodes available already, including an interview with some sexy cosplayers, and an episode featuring the best video game music of all time.

In other news, Spellbound Sword has nearly reached 100,000 reads! Even though it’s only a rough draft, my family-friendly fantasy adventure about a boy and his magic sword has reached a worldwide audience, and new fans discover it every day.

I am currently working on building the second draft of the book, as well as plotting potential sequels. The game plan is to query publishers and lit agents once the book is in professional enough condition. Check out the free version now while you still can!

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Game Review: Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain

I forgot to post it here, but before I started working with Restart Replay I decided to start a new gaming portal. Not sure if I will continue it here or there (though I kind of dig the formatting). Give it a gander here, where you can read my extensive review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

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