I admit that since the SHOCKtober 2023 festivities went over the Rainbow Bridge, my horror movie intake has dropped precipitously. I'm still watching things here and there (and I've got stuff cookin'!), but this month I've overwhelmingly spent my time nuzzling the pillowy bosoms of non-horror movies, Real Housewives (Beverly Hills, Salt Lake City, and Miami are all currently airing, which is a fever dream of bliss), and most of all, vidya games.
I love games! Sometimes I wonder if they would still be a major hobby of mine if I hadn't started playing in mah yoot. People discover games at all ages though, no? Just look at Skyrim Grandma! I don't mean me, I mean actual Skyrim Grandma. (Side note, once upon a time I made a Grandma character in Skyrim. She was named Granny Justice and she wielded a battle axe and let me tell you, the slo-mo kill cams were incredible, especially after I unlocked decapitations.) (I love games!)
Anyway, I figured I'd mention a few things I've been playing recently in case you, too, are a dyped-up, Mtn Dew-foam-doming gamer bro.
If you are a Rue Morgue reader, first of all thank you and kadooze (to all of us) on your superior taste in reading material. Second, perhaps you've noticed that lately I've got some video game reviews betwixt the covers, including the 2D pixel art puzzler Afterdream...
...the 1st person survival horror game No Son of Mine...
...and the highly-anticipated horror-adventure roguelite RPG (phew that's a mouthful) World of Horror.
While it is certainly not on par with Trish, the soft drink of choice in Resident Evil Revelations, as a soda vending machines in video games aficionado I do appreciate the Cold Drinks machine in No Son of Mine regardless.
Also, side note, P.T. honestly broke my brain and scared me so much that I can't much handle 1st person horror games at all anymore. I get too scared! Never mind my dabblings in the realm of VR horror with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and The Exorcist: Legion. I am not sure how I am still alive! And yes, there is an Exorcist video game, what a world!
Speaking of Resident Evil, let me tell you about the most adorable homage you will ever see or play in your life: I am talking about Heaven Dust.
When I say homage, maybe I mean knockoff? When I say knockoff, maybe I mean ripoff? It's really just an isometric, chibi Resident Evil, like it nabs the inventory/status screens, sound effects, music, monster designs, everything. It is Blesident Blevil. AND I FUCKING LOVE IT.
It's cheap, and it'll take you maybe 5-6 hours for a playthrough. There are a few different endings, and it's chock full of puzzles and files and itchy, tasty goodness. I played on PS4 but I know it's also available on Switch. And maybe in other places I do not know!
I am back on my Diablo IV shit, as Season 2, which is all about vampires and whatnot, is in full swing. That's fine by me! They can keep updating it with seasonal content and I'll keep coming back, because yeah, the gameplay is fun and I love experimenting with different classes. But maybe more than that, I'm so into the hardcore goth-as-shit vibes. Give me a dungeon that looks like it's made out of bugs and innards! Give me exploding corpses! Give me swamps and moors and Borgo Pass aesthetics! GIVE ME BLOOD!
Sorry, that was my Season 2 vampire abilities talking. OR WAS IT?
Screenshots don't do this game justice, but here, have some anyway.
Side note, speaking of vampires, during SHOCKtober I finally decided to commit to reading Salem's Lot because it felt like a good seasonal choice. I was initially into the Peyton Place soap opera of it all, but for fuck's sake I got to, like, 200 pages from the end and just wanted it to be over. So I tapped out! Life is too short to not enjoy a book. Maybe it's because I knew how it would end? Maybe it's because I prefer my Mr Barlow to be crusty and blue and 100 feet tall? Whatever the reason for my exhaustion with the novel, the TV miniseries ranks as one of my all-time favorites, and maybe that's where I need to leave my Salem's Lot experiences once and for all.
And finally, the game I'd been waiting for for years, the game that feels like it was made based on entries from my video game dream diary--Starfield! Fuck yeah!
I love Bethesda RPGs, so making one that lets me explore outer space? Please. If I didn't have to "eat" and "pay rent" it's possible I would never do anything else besides fly around the friggin' galaxy and take pictures. It's so pretty! And there are things to do beyond taking pictures. And there is alien life. And you can have a space wife. And there is a Space Grandma. (Again, no, I don't mean me.)
Side note, unless I am specifically doing a shitheel runthrough in games that allow shitheel behavior, I tend to be a goody-goody for some reason. That is to say, I have not blown up Space Grandma myself! But I have joined her for a meal, which was nice.
And I got to walk around on Venus, which has been on my bucket list forever, so obviously Starfield is an A+ game for me.
I also found the Opportunity Rover on Mars! A++.
Flying past Jupiter, checking off bucket list items left and right.
I've found a ton of cool shit and wicked landscapes and biomes. There are some great quests. Again, I could explore forever. However--not to sound too much like a Diablo IV Season 2 vampire or anything, but I must ask: where's the blood? Fallout games have people exploding and losing body parts when you kill them (you can even turn up the gore so, like, their eyeballs go flying). Skyrim is full of some pretty crazy violence. (Just ask Granny Justice!) In Starfield, you can shoot people with ballistics, throw grenades at them, shoot them with lasers, slice 'em up with a katana, and more, but the results are bloodless and tame. Maybe they're going for wider accessibility, I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a--okay, yes I am a degenerate. But really, in light of Bethesda's history with gore, it's strange, that's all.
But that is such a minor complaint in the midst of all of this:
It's insane to me that that's what video games look like now, that those are screencaps from my gameplay, that I can walk around (or jet pack around) in those environments. I remember when blood in games was square! I remember when people in games were square! And it was fine. Great, even. But this is a little better. I love games!