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Nuclear Throne is the rare game that I fail at over and over again, but keep coming back to. It s such a satisfying twitch shooter that I m constantly on edge and terrified for my life in the later levels very accurately describes it as a roguelike shooter of insidious grace and flexibility, with every single moving part a source of terrible fascination. When I saw an online multiplayer mod pop up last week, I was immediately compelled to play it what better way to alleviate the stress of an intense roguelike than to have a friend there to help? What an innocent though that was.
works shockingly well, and is a ton of fun, but if anything, it makes the game more stressful and frenetic. My co-op partner Tom Marks can attest to that, as I spent most of the later levels in our sessions shouting oh god oh god oh god as everything on the screen exploded constantly. We exploded a lot of stuff, Tom and I. It was a good time, and co-op adds an interesting strategic twist you won t find in single-player. When your partner goes down, the game gives you a limited window to revive them and split your HP. If you leave them down, you start taking damage and die yourself. We ride together, we die together. Mutant freaks for life.
I m still a little amazed that this mod exists. Nuclear Throne shipped with local co-op for two players on the same PC. Nuclear Throne Together takes that mode and brings it online, with full Steam integration (friends list, invites, etc.). I m no programmer, but I m pretty sure writing solid netcode for someone else s game especially when the source code for that game isn t publicly available is a hell of a task. Modder Vadim wrote on his website: Should you have an impression that reverse-engineering an existing large game to poke few thousand new lines worth of code into it isn't a bad idea it very well is.
Oh, and that s not all it does. As Vadim wrote, Nuclear Throne never was a coop-centric game, and thus coop mode didn't receive enough attention, remaining ridden with various small bugs. This mod changes that, fixing pretty much every known issue, and giving coop some much-needed polish. He also fixed some other game bugs while he was at it.
From my hands-on time with the mod, it worked perfectly about 90% of the time. In a few moments of heavy action, with tons of explosions going off on-screen, Nuclear Throne lagged to the point of entirely freezing up. This happened about four or five times across three runs (we even made it to the Throne in one of them!) and usually lasted a handful of seconds before clearing up. I believe both of us were on stable connections, though Vadim notes that the mod requires somewhat-low-latency (100ms delay / 200ms ping) connection for comfortable play and Comcast could be to blame for our little lag spikes. Either way, they didn t get in the way of us having fun. For the majority of our time playing Together, it was smooth shootin .
Online co-op multiplayer has arrived in Nuclear Throne [official site], Vlambeer’s John-pleasing rougelikelike shooter, thanks to an unofficial new mod. YellowAfterlife’s Nuclear Throne Together mod cleverly adds online multiplayer completely with Steam invitations and lobby lists, which is awfully impressive considering Vlambeer never shared source code – this is reverse-engineered. Now you and a pal can try to become kings of the nuclear wasteland together.
Games confront us with failure all the time. It could be the famous YOU DIED message of Dark Souls, or the unfavourable scorecard at the end of a hard-fought round of Rocket League. In the heat of the moment calm Vulcan exteriors can crack. Curses are uttered. Innocent controllers are thrown out of windows. Things can get intense.
Some games induce rage more than others. A long game of Dota 2 squandered by one error will understandably leave some participants furious, but when we started writing about the games that made us quit in anger some surprises turned up. Even a serene adventure like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or a strategy game like Civ can trigger a moment of total despair. Here is a collection of our ragequit stories. Share your own in the comments.
About ten years ago I used to break games, controllers and keyboards on a regular basis after losing at something (without going into it, losing my Ifrit card in Final Fantasy VIII s Triple Triad to the game s awful random rule ended up costing me 30). Then, in the last few years I thought I d mellowed out, sailing through much of my twenties with only a vanquished 360 controller (vanquished by my foot—I don t remember why) to show for it. Turns out, this was delusional and I m still furious all of the time. Usually when I m playing online.
Rocket League came out last year. I must ve reinstalled that game about five or six times after having bad games and deleting it from my Steam library, and it s always for the same reason—losing when I feel I didn t deserve to, either because my teammate was rubbish or because I was (usually the latter). The worst time was when I turned my computer off at the wall after, probably, an own goal. I am a tit. I m staying away from competitive games from now on, going back to my precious little bubble of mowing down NPCs in a bid to see the closing credits of story-based games because I m too much of a baby to compete with other humans. Wah! In a similar vein, I also wasn t massively keen on the time we lost an amateur match of Dota to a surprise team of experienced players, and my measured response was to never play Dota again.
I tend to have more moments of indescribable disappointment than ragequitting these days. This happened to me with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first-person adventure released in 2014. I was enjoying the feeling of being in that world a lot, and while I loved a few of the individual, weirder moments I encountered in that world, I didn t really like the story that much at all. I wandered into a mine, went down some stairs and a monster walked up to me and killed me without any explanation. I turned it off, uninstalled it and went to bed. It s a very mellow form of ragequitting.
Now, I ve been told there s a very easy way to get past this bit by PC Gamer s Tony Ellis, and I don t doubt it. But there was something so crushing about this seemingly random death in a game about walking through an environment and absorbing story that I just had to leave it. I didn t play games for an entire month after. I m sure it s not just Ethan Carter s fault, but I found that moment so oddly depressing that I needed a month off from the entire medium. Still, I very much enjoyed the trees and the tense atmosphere, and maybe one day I ll go back and activate the simple solution for getting past that monster. And then I ll take another month off playing games.
A lot of things explode in Nuclear Throne. Barrels. The grenades and rockets you fire out of very dangerous weapons. Worm things. Frog things. Cars. I ve died many times in Nuclear Throne, often due to one type of explosive or another. Usually that death comes swiftly and unexpectedly, and I sigh or go UGH and start up another round. But sometimes that death is annoying enough to make me mash the ESC key until I m back on my desktop to cool off. And man, nothing in Nuclear Throne has managed to piss me off more than a stupid exploding car.
The cars are just environmental hazards to avoid or use to your advantage. Shoot em and they can take out a good chunk of enemies. Stand near them when bullets are incoming, and you might be blown up yourself. Got it? Easy to understand. I never took damage from an exploding car. Until. UNTIL. Until I cleared out a level and the portal to the next level appeared near me with a boom, as it always does. Near me also happened to be near a car. And when a portal appears near a car with a boom, that car explodes. And when you re near a car and it explodes, even as you re being dragged helplessly into the portal that whisks you away to the next level, you take damage. And, in my case, die. And, also in my case, mash the ESC key so hard it will forever fear the touch of an index finger.
Fuck you, portal. Fuck you, car.
I relaunched Nuclear Throne three minutes later.
I ragequit a series. One of my favourite series, in fact, but despite knowing that I burn with the self-righteous anger of a fanboy, I won t go back to Tomb Raider. Each time I post about an impending Rise of the Tomb Raider release I secretly wish that Microsoft s exclusivity deal had been that little bit more exclusive. I retreat to a dark corner so as to escape the vile glow of other people s excitement.
I tolerated the new Tomb Raider, for a time. The blocky climbing frame formula of the previous games was ancient after all, and the series was due for a refresh, but Crystal Dynamics refreshed it so hard it became something else, namely an over-earnest story about a psychotic, angst-ridden gap year.
The open, choose-your-own-route environments had a dash of brilliance about them, but on every clifftop was a platoon to be mown down while teen Lara warbled about Bastards! in a comically bad British accent. And the actress is British! I got so sick of shooting things and failing QTEs that I left the main story in search of what I was led to believe would be a tomb to raid: The Tomb of the Lost Adventurer. It was in the name. What I got was a lone physics puzzle, but as I was willing to try anything to relive Lara s glory days at that point, I gave it a crack anyway.
The lone physics puzzle bugged. The body of a crashed plane I had to topple to make a bridge just hung in the air devoid of support. The sole remnant of Tomb Raider s heritage as a puzzler was inexplicably borked. I m done.
Sometimes I wonder what it would take for a video game to kill a person. During my senior year of college, I found Super Hexagon. I dabbled with the mobile version between classes, but didn t get serious until I could sit across from 50 inches of warping, pulsing, spiraling shapes on an obscene TV via my PC. Games rarely hold my attention for more than their running length or the first few times I hit a difficulty wall. There are just too many other interesting games to try out, and I get anxious about missing something special.
Super Hexagon consumed me. I spent hours and hours trying to beat my friends high scores on every level, and eventually unlocked the final stage, Superhexagonest. At first, it seemed impossible to survive for 60 seconds, the requirement to win a given stage. During a weekend visit back home, I ignored my family for a day, working to hit that sweet 60. Hours of attempts didn t even net a close run. Sleep was difficult that night.
Immediately after waking up, I booted up the game, still not entirely conscious. It was magic. Like some kind of sleepyboy superhuman, I hit 45 seconds with ease and kept going. Suddenly aware of my nearly perfect run, I started to wake up. 55 seconds, still going. My hands start shaking. 57 seconds and the sweat rolls in. 58 and I nearly cry out. 59 and I fuck it. Without a word, I got dressed, packed up the dogs into the pickup and drove up Elk Ridge, a mountainous forested area ten miles out of town. I brought headphones and set Boards of Canada on shuffle. My dogs were excited for the impromptu walk, and started peeing on every tree and bush they could. This was something I could control, something I could win. So I peed on their pee until my place in our little hierarchy was made clear. We walked for a while, spooked a black bear, sat on a log, and then went home. I didn t touch Super Hexagon for months.
Not only is Spelunky the rare game that makes me ragequit, it s the only game that always makes me ragequit. I never finish on a high note: if I have a good run but die, I always play again to try to best it. If I have a terrible run, I keep playing until I have a better one, but then after that better run, as I said, I keep pushing until I have another terrible one. It doesn t help that I ve never once successfully beat the game, which means every single session has ended in disappointment or frustration. And we re talking about over a thousand sessions.
What s more frustrating is that the rage is directed at myself rather than the game, as my deaths are pretty much always caused by a mistake, a stupid risk, or an error brought on by trying to be overly cautious due to a previous mistake or stupid risk. Spelunky is harsh but generally fair: I ve learned how everything works so there are no real surprises. I love it, but stink at it, and the only way I see not ragequitting it is to beat it, which I just can t seem to do. I hate you, Spelunky. Never change.
When I was a kid, a friend mercilessly pummeled me at Street Fighter 2 and then said I was a gaylord, so I threw the controller at him and power-walked out of his house. They called me sensitive back then. I don t really get too mad in competitive games anymore, though. I ve spit angry half-words at Rocket League teammates here and there, because what are they even doing, but I do it with my mic off, because I m not a jerk. I ve never left in the middle of a match, except once when my roommate started uploading a YouTube video and my ping went to hell and so I had to go throw the controller at him.
What really gets to me is Civilization V. When I ve got a sweet little empire going, and I m just about to realize my master blueprint of roads and port towns and cozy, defensible foothill settlements, some bastard like Alexander the Great rolls up to my capital with a bunch of siege engines. I ve been tinkering with trade routes and figuring a military can come later, trying to make a pretty civilization before a toothy one, and Alexander just has to pop in and kick over my sandcastle. I play this way almost every time, even though I know better. I probably Alt-F4 half the time I play Civ these days. I wonder if I wouldn t prefer to play without any other civilizations. Just me, alone, slowly covering the world with little buildings.
Ragequit moments are deliberately built into Dark Souls. As you push into a new location you steal souls from hollowed corpses that Alt-F4 d out of existence long ago. With each new difficulty spike Dark Souls dares you join them. It's clever, but it doesn't make me feel any better when things go wrong.
In fact, knowing this only makes me angry about my own anger. I'm playing right into their hands. When the Four Kings' homing purple missiles of hot bullshit one-shot me, a noise like a strangled moped emerges from my throat. I throttle my pad and grimace like a Sith lord on the bog. Sometimes I say "whyyyyyy" out loud. It is very undignified.
The burning fury in my soul can only be resolved by blaming things. I blame my ageing Xbox 360 controller, with its stunted insensitive shoulder bumpers. I blame FromSoft, for everything. I blame the laws of chance, for some reason, even though damage in Dark Souls is metered out through blows and counter-blows without need for dice rolls. I blame the bus-wide butt-cheeks of the Demon Firesage for blocking the camera during a deadly area-of-effect attack. Screw it all. Turn it off.
I ve had a stuttering relationship with Dark Souls, then. I was left so exhausted by the descent through Blight Town that I stopped playing for a few months. I put it down after attempting the opening section of Anor Londo, which has you running up and down buttresses under heavy arrow fire that knocks you to your death. But looking back, it was a broadly positive experience. Dark Souls infuriating moments are matched by euphoric highs. Even in the throes of agonising frustration, at least Dark Souls made me feel something. Few games put me through the emotional wringer in such a way.
Fuck the Bed of Chaos forever, though.
What is it: Lightning-fast top-down roguelike shooter in which squidgy mutants vie for possession of the eponymous throne. Publisher: Vlambeer Developer: Vlambeer Reviewed on: i5, GTX460M, 4GB RAM Expect to pay: $12 / 9 Multiplayer: 2 Player Co-op Link: Official site
Nuclear Throne often resembles a foodfight in a particularly mucky branch of McDonalds, but don't let its showers of pixellated gristle deceive you. This is a precision-engineered post-apocalyptic roguelike shooter of insidious grace and flexibility, with every single moving part a source of terrible fascination. Take the Chicken, one of Nuclear Throne's unlockable characters. She doesn't collapse on death like the rest of the characters: head and body part company, instead, and you're granted a few seconds to guide her spurting torso towards a health pack and thus, a miraculous comeback. After a couple of runs, I've just realised that during these frantic searches, the camera stays centred on her lopped-off head—a subtle hindrance in a game full of wonderful little touches.
Your overall goal is to overcome 15 procedurally generated levels, broken into seven themed areas (plus a small clutch of secret levels, amongst other surprises). Between chapters you can pick mutations for your character, which range from the prosaic—increased maximum health, or faster movement—to esoteric mutations that suit more advanced tactics, such as being able to tunnel into walls for shelter. One dramatically increases the force with which enemy bodies are thrown by a fatal blow. This transforms a bullet-hell endeavour into a question of banking shots and pinball table multikills—a lucky thwack with a wrench might clear out an entire corridor, saving you precious ammo. It obviously encourages aggression, as does the fact that Rads (XP points) must be gathered before they blink out of existence—rinsing that corridor in one fell swoop might cost you an upgrade, if you can't mop up all the Rads in time. But rushing forward to claim the rewards isn't the wisest tactic in a world that's home to assassins posing as corpses, to say nothing of flying diamonds who spit lasers from outside the field of view.
Nuclear Throne's greatness lies in how all these variables and considerations pull against one another, giving rise to shifting layers of strategy, surprise and white-knuckle brinkmanship. For all its complex systems, though, the game is never less than intuitive, marrying responsive top-down shooting to a rocky yet predictable progression curve. The majestic audio design plays a big part in making the game accessible—that bombardment of yelps and splats is actually a nicely judged set of cues, allowing a halfway-skilled player to read a battle almost by ear alone.
Map layouts and item drops vary hugely, but as with all the best roguelikes, there's enough uniformity between playthroughs that you can plan ahead. Each area theme (ranging from slippery ice plateaus to scrapyards and bejewelled cave systems) spans a fixed number of levels, boss encounters crop up at the same point in the sequence every time, and each layout is home to a certain number of weapon and ammo crates. This leads to some delicious quandaries as you weigh the needs of the moment against those of scenarios to come. A mutation that allows normal movement through cobwebs might prove decisive in a chapter or two, but a mutation that occasionally restores ammo when you kill something has wider applicability. Likewise, should you waste those bazooka shots on a murder of Uzi-wielding crows, or save them for the boss you know is just around the corner?
Choice of character also, of course, shapes the the challenges ahead—besides a primary and secondary weapon slot, each protagonist sports an active and a passive ability that caters to a particular playstyle. The coward's bet is Crystal, who starts with more health and can transform briefly into a bullet-repelling chunk of amethyst (a later mutation allows her to teleport while in this state). A riskier pick is Melting, who dies easily but reaps a greater Rad haul per kill, allowing him to access powerful upgrades much earlier—oh, and he can blow up corpses from afar. Same screen co-op play allows you to explore how these special abilities may compliment each other: an Eyes player might use telekinesis to suck in ammo drops, for instance, while a dual-wielding Steroids player vomits bullets into a chokepoint.
Given a certain degree of skill, the game can be completed in under an hour, but there are daily and weekly challenges with preset levels to dip into, and you can loop the campaign after beating a certain boss to replay levels with different mode criteria. Even without all that, though, Nuclear Throne is an experience you'll want to relive—for the inexhaustible joy of gliding through hails of ordinance, and for the many small discoveries you make every time you return to the wasteland. Roguelikes don't come much greasier or grubbier, but they're seldom this compelling, either.
We quite liked Nuclear Throne, the post-apocalyptic top-down shooter from the guys who gave us Luftrausers and Super Crate Box, when we reviewed the Early Access version back in January. Over the weekend, and with approximately zero fanfare, it left Early Access and is now in full and official release.
"As we promised, the game will launch at a pricepoint of $11,99 without any discount or sales, continuing our stance of not discounting the game during Early Access," Vlambeer's Rami Ismail wrote. "We also want to emphasize that this release doesn't mean that no more updates will happen. It's a formality we had to get out of the way, and we're aware of the issues and problems on PC. We're working to fix those."
Coinciding with Nuclear Throne's official release, Vlambeer also put out "update 96," which makes a number of fixes, a couple of balance changes, and adds trading cards, emotes, and other such bits of Steamy goodness. Ismail said the newest build of the game should fix most "major bugs" but added that it was "uploaded from the PSX showfloor" in order to get it out as soon as possible, and thus wasn't tested as extensively as it normally would have been. With that in mind, he asked that any "oddities" be reported on the Steam forums.
Being bad at something doesn’t always mean it’s not enjoyable. And that’s never more the case than when there’s not an opponent to let down or feel crushed by. In the solitary land of single-player video games, it’s very possible to be absolutely dreadful at a game and yet adore playing it. Perhaps it’s even possible in multiplayer gaming too?
For me, the best example is Teleglitch. I’m not even going to tell you how embarrassingly far I’ve gotten into that game, but I’ve played it so> much. But what is it for you?