It’s that time of year where ancient legend tells us that the walls between the land of the living and the dead are thinned and the dearly departed may walk among us. Many a ghost or ghoulie is bound by its past to an object, person or place of particular importance, and aren’t quite so free to wander abroad. That’s a shame indeed, how can they be expected to go trick-or-treating if they’re stuck inside all day?
Gaming is awash with its own ghost stories, not all of which were put in their by the writers. In this week’s Top 10 we’ll be focusing on the ones that were actually put in the game intentionally.
We might be digging ourselves a hole with this review, however we almost forgot to do a proper review of the indie sensation. From Creepers that pop out of the middle of nowhere, to Skeletons and Zombies, you can be sure to have yourself a fun survival game. Witches come out at this time of the year too, so there’s more to Minecraft than just a sandbox game – But how do all of the modes play out? Timlah checks out the mighty Minecraft for a full review.
Mononoke is NOT Princess Mononoke, before you begin to question why I’m talking about the classic Studio Ghibli film on Halloween week. Instead I’m talking about a TV series that came out far later (2007), an anime series which spanned 12 episodes and was about a medicine man who peddled his wares. Don’t worry, this series is damn spooky but is it spooky, or is it just another cough? At least we have a medicine man to help us through this one.
As far as I can tell, the story of Mononoke is seemingly about a class system and a medicine seller who seeks out Mononoke, or Yokai (demons/monsters to those not in tune to Japanese folklore) to destroy them. In the episodes I saw, which appeared to be two self-contained episodes with a beginning, a middle and an end, the medicine seller was helping to get rid of a Mononoke that was haunting a pregnant lady.
The lady called Shino took shelter in an inn from heavy rains. She pleaded, demanded that she was given a room so she could hide from killers and raise her baby. Although the inn are reluctant because they are already at maximum capacity, they begrudgingly let her stay in that room. It turns out the inn used to be a brothel that the innkeeper ran… And this is where the horror sets in. In order to keep the women working at the brothel, she got them to, you might have guessed it – Abort – any unborn children… And so, needless to say, the yokai that Shino is visited by is in fact a baby.
This isn’t a jump scare, or a gore, or anything like that. This is a psychological horror, with some unsettling themes and scenes.
The audio is great, the opening music is really interesting, with the right blend of fun and intrigue. As is typical of anime, it’s an incredibly unfitting song for the series that’s about to unfold in front of you (Weirdly, the last theme that I felt was truly fitting of it, was Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo‘s theme!)
Most importantly, the voice actors in this are great. They make you feel uneasy when they need to and there’s plenty of emotion in what they say.
I’ve only seen the first two episodes of this series so far but it’s worth a look at, especially if you’re looking for something that is a little visually unsettling. It’s not exactly the best, nor the worst in terms of its presentation and the animation is truly lacking for me (especially for a series that came out in 2007). What it does have though is an incredible sense of style. It’s very unique and therefore it made for a highly entertaining (albeit odd) viewing session. The animation style, to me, feels lax, but I’m unaware of the techniques they employed to make it… However, this is clearly an experimental piece.
So if animation is what you’re there for, you may or may not be slightly disappointed, depending what you’re looking for. If you’re there for a deep story, it’s… Certainly got a lot going on so that should keep you entertained, but it appears stories are going to be separated out throughout the 12 episodes. The voice acting is great and the overall theme is quite interesting. I’d recommend having a look at the very least! Have you seen Mononoke? What do you think about the heavily stylised art? Let us know what you thought or are thinking about it in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Welcome back, it’s been another week and of course just because it’s Halloween week doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lack of these videos. I said I’m going to play this through and damn it, play it through I will. Unless something catastrophic happens which means I can’t, but that’s besides the point! Let’s see what we’ve got in store for this weeks GeekOut Plays Stonekeep videos. Don’t forget, Friday we’ll upload a new video of GeekOut Plays Theme Hospital and on Saturday, Halloween itself, watch me fail horribly at Five Nights At Freddy’s 4!
Also on Halloween, I’ll be involved in a stream with the wonderful 1001Up. I should be in costume too, so do go and check their stream out (Follow us and 1001Up on social media to find out when we’re live.) Right, enough about the schedule, what’s happened today?
Episode 8 – Magical Mishaps
In this frightfully spellbinding episode of GeekOut Plays Stonekeep:
- I realise I’m nowhere near finished with that floor.
- I find the gem I couldn’t find!
- I find another gem I didn’t find before and commentate about it.
- I include way more editing than usual.
- The audio is back!
- Wahooka tells me the story.
- I start to wine about the next floor (get it? Wine..? Bah. Watch the video, you’ll see…)
- I GET MAGICAL!
I nearly left that floor without getting the rune rod… Which I didn’t even know was a thing, for the record. I’m so glad I decided to explore this floor some more, as life without it, I can imagine, will be a pain later down the line. Magic usually is way more powerful than melee! Also, I learn about the fighting style of Farli.
Episode 9 – Sewer Snakes and Slimes
In this dank, dark episode of GeekOut Plays Stonekeep:
- I’m in the sewer.
- I run away from the sewer then go back to it.
- I fight sewer snakes who aren’t so bad…
- But now sewer slimes are dreadfully impossible to get a hold of.
- I realise how intense the sewers are compared to what we’ve seen so far.
- “Ow, my foot.” – Drake
- I end by going back to drink more wine. When in severe pain, become an alcoholic it seems. (Please drink responsibly.)
That’s it for this week. Join us again next week for our next two episodes of GeekOut Plays Stonekeep. As always, let me know what you thought in the comments below. I’ve also fixed the scaling issue of the game. Actually, I just edited it to make it look a lot larger. Let me know your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. I will hand the gems to Wahooka. Honestly, I will!!
In a desert goes father than any living human has ever travelled, fractured societies gather around one of the few sources of water for miles. They struggle, and fight amongst themselves because if they wander to far in search of another source, there are far worse things in the sand than a few bloodthirsty marauders and one crazy old lady.
“Giant monster” is a nice and flexible term, our Kaiju has a lot of room for interpretation. The originals ranged from giant lizard, giant ape, giant moth and giant mechanical iterations of all of the above. So long as it’s a giant and can live comfortably in the desert, my options are – in theory – fairly broad. However, there are some key factors that are going to be limited.
How does the creature attack? From above? From below? As a distant threat the monster could add a level of claustrophobia to our watering hole, intensifying the conflict between warring factions. If it frequently attacks it could mount the need for defensive measures, big weapons, big walls, not easy to build from salvage. Kaiju usually have a well stocked military to deal with, our monster will have to be toned down so that it doesn’t instantly wipe out civilization.
Choose a monster…
Cloverfield‘s infamous shakey-cam style obscured the shape of its mighty monstrosity until the last few minutes of the film. Whether you enjoyed the film or not, there’s no denying that they nailed the idea of the slow reveal. We fear nothing more than the unknown, and what better place to hide a monster in a desert than in the midst of a swirling mass of flying sand?
“Sandstorm” could remain a mystery throughout the novel, raising questions about its very existence. Or the occasional glimpse of a shape or the descent of a claw could slowly build a picture of the leviathan, creating mounting tension. At some point in the narrative our Nomad would wander into the storm, and wander out seemingly unphased, likely with new trinkets and survival essentials, she may even be required to pull a protagonist or two out of harms way.
Every time the horizon vanishes, people die, dragged screaming upwards. There are conflicting ideas as to what the beast looks like, from the fleeting glimpses of eyes, claws, a shifting shadow against the swirling sky. Some people worship it as a god, others disappear beneath the surface, hoping not to be sniffed out or trodden flat.
A Dark Sun classic, Megapedes are monstrously large and many legged insects that swim through sand like water. Being Omnivores makes them not only a threat to the life of people caught in their path, but to the meagre crops that they maintain, and their ability to burrow allows them to menace the subterranean water supplies as well. The approach of the Megapedes usually means it’s time to leave.
These Tremors-style beasts not only have size, strength and speed on their side, but also numbers. A survivor successfully flees from one only to have their path blocked by a wall of slavering mandibles. The fact that they burrow also means that even safety may not be safe, underground chambers without metal walls are vulnerable, buildings above ground must fear threat from below, but what of the tunnels left behind? Could they lead to water? Some nesting ground that could be burnt down, staying the threat for a few years or more? Or perhaps a strange old woman could wander out of them, seemingly oblivious to the impossibility of what she has just done.
The ground rumbles, and erupts in a whirling mass of razor sharp pincers, and though the driver of the salvaged truck swerves, the creature is on top of them, behind them, around them! A screaming band of lunatics try for the hundredth time to saddle and ride the monsters, and once again they lose their strongest fighters. Surely only a lunatic would believe the tales of the witch who rides the Megapedes.
The ruins of the old world may be shrouded in dust, but the sagging metropolises are still a safe shelter and a source of water for the opportunistic. But some nights the ground shudders just a little, and the survivors of the end of the world must duck and cover as a shadow passes over the window frames on the 20th floor. An eye peers in, then another, and another, and another. Each time it comes another building crumbles, as another family becomes food for the hulking beast.
This is a more classic take on the Kaiju genre, an almost carbon copy of the Godzilla/Pacific Rim style skyscraping monster, but instead of the bustling metropolis where the scale of the destruction is what makes our Titan terrifying, it is the importance of every death that is emphasised. Each building would contain a fraction of a closely knit community, and even amongst those people shunned by the others every face would be known to one another across such a small space. The arrival of a stranger is likely to cause a stir, and suspicion if the monster is not far behind her.
Using a city of our backdrop also opens the opportunity to bring in a little history to the world, perhaps tell the story of the monster’s rise to dominance in the dying world, rather than keeping it shrouded in mystery, or having its existence a symptom of a far larger problem.
The sun beats relentlessly down on the endless sands, and while its torturous presence is a constant grim reminder of the impossible task of staying alive, at least while the sun shines, death is not an immediate issue. Because when the beast comes, it blots out the sun!
The only guaranteed way to make a giant man-eating monster more terrible is to make it fly. It makes sense in a desert for a creature able to ride the intense heat into the sky, it might even drink the very clouds, thriving off the vapour so far outside of the reach of the survivors, but to bring the creature down would not only turn a hero into a legend, it would also yield enough water and food for generations.
Darkness suddenly becomes a terrifying prospect, not just the sudden darkness of “Eclipse”, but night removes any chance of early warning. The wise dive underground before it can sneak up and make a quiet kill, and yet our Nomad moves at night, walking through the cold and dark seemingly without care.
Filling the sky with terror reduces humanity to burrowing rodents, fearful of the dark and the predator that descends from on high. It also turns our Nomad into an incredible anomaly, someone seemingly unafraid of death who has nonetheless evaded it for years. Those who rail against subterranean life might see her as a saviour, or an example to follow into the open air.
With that, I am nearly, so very nearly ready to begin. Only one of these monsters will be dominating centre stage of my NaNoWriMo entry, vote to seal my fate now:
Thank you all for helping me build towards this years’ NaNoWriMo, I have a track history with failing to complete projects, but I figure putting this claim so brazenly on the internet I have no choice but to finally follow through with completing a book based on your suggestions. Wish me luck.
Things are beginning to go bump in the night here on GeekOut and we’re all looking forward to Halloween. It’s a day that I like to talk about a lot, as it’s filled with fun, sweets and of course horror (even silly horror) in general. It’s time to crank up the volume on my Spotify list and begin putting together the pieces for my outfit this year. Ahead of me is a lot of materials but it’s all relatively cheap so let’s get on with how I’m going to make my Halloween costume, a Zombie Grey Knight from Castle Crashers.
We’re back for the fourth week for GeekOut Plays Stonekeep. My day job meant that I had to push the date for these videos back ’til today, so really sorry for the delay! We’ll be back on our usual schedule this week as well as some great Halloween themed posts and even a horror themed video. Also, I’m going to be doing a somewhat drunken stream with our good friend Kim from 1001Up on Halloween itself. I will be in costume. What costume? Check it out tomorrow!