I finally saw Wreck-It Ralph over the Thanksgiving break. It was heartwarming, delightful, charming. It nudged at some big-name titles in ways that made me giggle and nod in recognition. It covered the bases of a handful of video game tropes. It made jokes in the form of clever puns and cute character behavior.
But my favorite part about Wreck-It Ralph was an admission. An admission that, hey, sometimes what's unintentional in a video game is what's best about it.
Let me explain. If you don't know, Wreck-It Ralph brings the arcade environment to life. I don't mean that the film resuscitated the dying era of quarters used in exchange for playing games amongst fellow gamers in a public setting. I mean that video game characters come to literal life in the film, all connected to one another in this arcade world.
[Minor Wreck-It Ralph spoilers follow]
One such character is a little girl named Vanellope, living in a made-up racing video game called Sugar Rush. As a glitch in the system, she's been shunned from the rest of the game's community of characters, fated to live out her virtual days in some hidden cave she can glitch her way into. She's not allowed to race with everyone else—for fear of her pixlexia (as she calls it) having a negative impact on the game—even though racing is what she wants more than anything.
But being a glitch makes Vanellope a unique racer. She can jump and blip in and out of place, acting sort of like a power-up boost and in effect confusing everyone around her. Is that a heinous crime against the game's programming, though? Flat-out cheating? Or is that just a nifty, granted unintended feature when used properly?
Those unintended features sometimes make games even greater. Take Left 4 Dead 2, also known as one of the most addictive games I've ever played. Seriously, I've played every DLC, every mode, and every special event that game had to offer. And then I replayed it.
But one of my best discoveries in Left 4 Dead 2 is a particularly awesome glitch that completely lags out the game.
Why would you want to intentionally lag your game? Because Expert difficulty is damn hard. Or at least that's why a group of Xbox Live friends and I first decided to do it. Before it evolved into one of the most fun, community-created unofficial modes.
Here's what you do. Grab dual pistols, find a melee weapon. Swap between dual wielding the guns to quickly grabbing the melee weapon. Being crammed into a corner usually helps. Eventually you'll start to create a huge mass of duplicated pistols spawning hilariously out of your back.
When enough duplicates are made, your game will start to lag out. As a bonus, I liked to play the Mutation DLC that grants you unlimited chainsaw fuel (known as Chainsaw Massacre). Lagging the game out feels like you're skipping through the map, generally keeping to the main path and trying to avoid zombies, stopping only to slice your way through any that happen across your immediate path. The goal is to rush through each level straight to the safe room.
But what's fun about that? Besides cheat-winning your way through each map on Expert mode, you'd be surprised how much this glitch impacts the way you play the game. I mentioned that it's best to speed through to the end of each level, avoiding bumping into zombies as much as you can. You can essentially run at your normal pace, while the flesh-eating creepers struggle to catch up to you. Playing with unlimited chainsaws is optimal, because you can easily tear through zombies even at the Expert level.
But what about tanks? Oh man, let me tell you about the tanks. Tanks are sort of terrifying in Left 4 Dead. The music starts and you know you're in for some shit. You'd figure all lagged out, the tank wouldn't be nearly as terrifying. But you'd be wrong in thinking that.
If you've followed my advice and play using chainsaws, you'll have to get in super close to strike the Tank down with it. Which means you're at risk of getting Hulk-smashed and immediately knocked out. That Tank is a mean one on Expert. But you can't quite tell when he's about to get a hit in, because his lagged-out animations certainly won't be an accurate indicator. You get hit before you see yourself getting hit. So fighting a Tank becomes a game of guesswork, trying to identify when it's safe to go in for a slice before he can get a swing in. It goes: run in for a slice, run the fuck out, repeat. You're always just one fraction of a second away from getting hit, which, if that happens, you're likely to be left behind by your teammates. It's an unspoken rule that getting through Expert on a lagged-out, all chainsaws round of Left 4 Dead 2 necessitates that you don't linger around for fear of getting incapacitated by a nasty special infected. The adrenaline throughout fighting this lagged-out Tank is, as you might imagine, pumping vigorously.
A new, still incredibly fun way of playing Left 4 Dead 2 was born. And all because of one simple duplication glitch. That's the beauty of the unintended in video games: you can discover new ways of playing your favorite games. Whether that's a hidden corner, an unintended use for a grenade, or something that's a complete game-changer, it doesn't matter. Because it's fun to discover what you can and can't do in a virtual world that's effectively your playground.
Obviously some glitches are bad. They can ruin the experience. Old school Counter-Strike comes to mind, where players would bounce on each other's heads for an aerial view of the map where they were essentially untouchable. No one has fun with that (except maybe for the glitch-cheating player).
But sometimes glitches involve awesome discoveries. And that's exactly how Wreck-It Ralph portrays Vanellope in the film. She's misunderstood and mistreated. But when you finally understand what she can do within the bounds of reason, she's reasonably everyone's favorite character.
- Fixed the Tank's primary attack sometimes choosing different sequences between the client and server. Fixes hit traces not always matching the visible animation. - Fixed the Tank's left-handed attack using the right hand's position for hit traces. - Player-controlled Tanks now always choose the right arm horizontal swing sequence for primary attacks. Fixes some attacks not connecting when it appears they should have, due to the inability to predict which swing animation would be randomly chosen.
Valve fired the starting pistol on the Saxxy video awards back in August, inviting fans to create the best videos they can using the Source Filmmaker tool released earlier this year. The entries are in, and the voting has started. You can start dishing out thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs by logging in and working through the queue on the Saxxy Steam page.
The quality is mixed, as you'd expect, but every so often you run into a gem that makes it worthwhile. My favourite so far is the Midnight Power short embedded below, a slow pan out on a fight scene that stretches the number of moving objects and characters the filmmaker can handle to its limit.
Discover more great filmmaker videos in our round-up of ten of the best.
Today we are adding a new community created campaign onto our official servers – Warcelona.
How do you play this great campaign? Well.. it’s kind of a pain. You can download it from here and copy that file in your \Steam\steamapps\common\left 4 dead 2\left4dead2\addons directory. You can also double click it and it should copy it there – but if it doesn’t, you can just move it there and then start your game. Having it on our servers means you can start games on an “Official Server” for a better experience.
Valve is adding another community campaign to its official Left 4 Dead 2 servers, "Warcelona." It joins the other recent campaign, Cold Stream, but the bulk of today's update is news on how the new Workshop features will simplify finding campaigns to play.
The L4D2 Blog says the Workshop features are about to enter private beta this weekend. Workshop users will get to click a button to subscribe to a new map like Warcelona. The announcement doesn't detail when the Workshop might go live for all users, but it does invite players to stop by for a "meet the creators" event. It will kick off on Saturday at noon PST in the Official Left 4 Dead Game Group.
Tyler likes Hawken, doesn't like Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and accidentally describes Blood Bowl; Evan's going Back to School in Left 4 Dead 2; T.J.'s going commando...I mean taking command in Natural Selection 2, and Omri went back in time to play Singularity.
All that, plus the week's biggest news in... PC Gamer Podcast 335: Natural Reflection
Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to email@example.com.
- Fixed the game and tools not launching on machines with 16+ CPUs. - Fixed missing and incorrect music being played in the L4D1 campaigns - Swamp Fever - The Swamp: Added additional self-terminating survivor-only blockers to the areas above the airplane wreckage to prevent players from skipping the airplane event. These blockers are killed once the airplane door is opened. - Cold Stream South Pine Stream: Added a small blocker next to a crate near the military truck near mid-level to resolve a minor stuck spot. - Fixed controller navigation in mutation menus
After three years of work the user-created Back to School campaign for Left 4 Dead 2 has reached version 1.0. You can download it now from the ModDB page, where they've also uploaded a trailer that gave me a terrible hunger to play Left 4 Dead again. A terrible, terrible hunger that not even this egg mayonnaise sandwich can help with. If only those eggs were more, I don't know ... brainy. Weird.
Oh well, not to worry. I'm sure everything's fine. Let's just sit back and enjoy this trailuuuuurrrrrrgh:
Freaks of the night, rejoice! Steam has unleashed monster savings on ghoulish (and not so creepy) titles. From now until about the time all the pumpkins are smashed*, over 80 titles (including The Walking Dead, Bioshock, Left 4 Dead, and many more) are available at prices so low, its scary.