Many moons have come and gone since last I updated, nay, entire empires have risen and fallen since I posted about the wanton annihilation of inanimate objects, but alas I have some time on my hands and much to discuss. Where to begin?

I suppose the most recent events take precedence, which would mean that I should talk about the cannonball in the swimming pool where Valve decided to make Portal free for the next two weeks. Oh, not just free, but free for PC and free for Mac, the formerly forlorn platform now blessed, or cursed as it may be, with Steam compatibility. Several dozen games have been converted already, but some of the heavy hitters like Counter-strike, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2 have yet to make the jump. I haven’t yet had a chance to make the download, given that the download servers were a little less acceptable than craptastic, but what can you expect when the winner of scores of game of the year awards is suddenly free for two platforms at once, one of which has previously not known the delight of said fantastic game? I’ll make the jump eventually, probably snagging Braid and Torchlight in the process, neither of which I’ve yet had the joy of experiencing due to my currently defunct Windows system.

Prior to that, it should be known that I recently came into the possession of a PS3 after how many years of being constrained solely to the one system that gets less than a third of the coolest games out there (even if that fraction is comprised of some of the most inventive and entertaining games available). Lately my time has been fiercely split between Uncharted 2, God of War 3, and Just Cause 2, though the GotY Edition of Little Big Planet has been lurking quietly, insidiously, waiting to snare the rest of my free time.

Now of course, contemplating this little devil still in its case, what do I find learn about but its steroid-injected, hyper evolved descendant, a species that barely even resembles its predecessor except in the way that the NES and Wii have the same eight letters printed on their casings to denote that, in some distant way, that they were ultimately created by the same entity. If you haven’t seen this beast yet, you are truly missing out on something wonderful. There is a point at which a game transcends being a simple purchase and becomes a new form of existence in and of itself and I have high hopes that this may be a new genesis for what we have previously understood to be “platformers.” The last time I beheld something so dramatically different and genre altering, it was in the late 20th century at the hands of the Protoss, Terrans and Zerg, whereby I played tower defense games, role playing games, and a version of Grand Theft Auto all under the guise of real-time strategy.

The times, they are a’changin’.

Recently I stumbled across a real gem in the free internet gaming arena, a true hallmark to the aesthetics and ideals of classic 8-bit video games. Instead of the standard of killing zombies, which is indeed a lowest common denominator in a number of games across numerous genres, this miniature masterpiece has you engineering the virus itself and spreading infection in order to destroy, well, every city on the planet. There is no sinister corporation, no rhyme or reason to it, just the simple joy of unleashing a virus, upgrading it, and unleashing it again. I was sold the moment I heard the game’s retro soundtrack, calm and serene until the moment you unleash your virus in any given level, causing the music to immediately transform into a frantic beat as hapless citizens are infected and attacked. My joy was cemented when I was able to infect, and thereby recruit, an undead Col. Sanders, a “special” hero zombie that spawns legions of zombie chickens. The real pinnacle of the game for me was acquiring undead Michael Jackson: summoning him for the first time is an event that has to experienced first-hand.

One final tidbit of news: Apple recently filed some interesting patents which essentially imply future production of a holographic, 3D, glasses-free multi-touch interface platform. Say that three times fast, then think of the implications. A holographic iTouch, iPhone, or iPad? I can only wonder what sort of games one would play on such a machine and whether or not gamers of yesteryear would even recognize them.

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