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What’s it like being a game journalist. Do you travel to cool places?
Caliostro

Well, Mr. Caliostro, I’m glad you asked! Since becoming a member of the privileged games journalism elite I have been invited to a great number of gaming events. Most recently, Worgstettin Studios invited me to Rotterdam to take part in a playtest of their new game: Titanic vs. Cthulhu.

TvC is a third-person shooter with role-playing and adventure game elements set aboard the Titanic during its fateful journey to the bottom of the sea. You play as Agatha Holmes, a straight-talking Scottish nun with a thirst for mystery and a habit (buh-dum-tish) of getting into impossible situations. During her adventures aboard the Titanic, Sister Holmes discovers an evil cult’s plot to sink the ship as an offering to their Deep One masters. Ultimately, she must defeat Jack the Ripper in the game’s ultimate showdown. Or at least that’s what the press release says, for my experience with the game is limited, at best. Let me explain.

Ten journalists, including myself, arrived on at Rotterdam on Friday. After meeting out hosts at the airport, we were shuttled to the Westbrook hotel where the developers presented us with a T-shirt and a bag of swag. The bag contained a water-damaged journal, a marble bust of Sister Holmes and some seasickness pills.

The reasoning for the pills quickly became evident as our host announced that the event itself would be taking place on a 50-foot yacht, complete with a swimming pool and a classical orchestra. Later, as the pilot steered the ship into the Atlantic, I wondered what the headlines would read if the boat sank that night. Maybe something like: Titanic Sinks Again: This Time Less Tragic.

Feeling sick, either at the thought of a being in a room full of drunken game journalists or the gentle sway of the boat, I decided to go on-deck to get some air and pop a couple of my seasickness pills. About an hour later, I started feeling strange and found myself gushing to a porter about my new Zune’s functionality and then stopping suddenly to demand a hug.

I don’t remember much after that, and it was a week before my editor, concerned about my whereabouts, called local authorities. They later discovered me in an Amsterdam club named “Hard” dressed like Spock from that Star Trek movie where they save the whales, dancing to Gabber.

Since I seem to have devoted my entire notebook to a flipbook animation of a penis dancing with a butterfly, I can only say this about the game: Don’t miss out on what will be one of the best games ever. A true masterpiece -and, I am not saying that just because Worgstettin paid my bail.

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On Monday, TwoSure studios: Lodon announced a downloadable content pack for [1], a yet-to-be-announced Diablo-esque first person shooter. The pack, entitled Zombie Island, offers players the potential ability to travel to one of the world’s would-be islands and fight off the zombie hordes – or not. Players may or may not be able to earn new ranks of weapon expertise and unlock new armor or fly unicorns to Mars; details of what the unreleased game is about are sketchy at best.

A representative for the Alliance of Nonexistent Entertainment Merchants (ANEM), told Reliable Source that the organization welcomed games like Bloodlands to their ever-growing family of modern entertainment that has no inherent worth or purpose. ANEM’s list already includes: dance music DJs, photo-manipulation artists and Carlos Mencia.

[1] BloodlandsBloodlands: Zombie Island is due out in late 2010, suggesting that an actual game may follow shortly thereafter.
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Sources close to Activision say that the game publisher is keeping true to their policy of only releasing titles that have “sequel potential.” An internal memo confirms several titles destined for release in 2010. Many of the games are associated, at least loosely, with already existing intellectual properties. Look for yourself:
Call of Doody – this exclusive Wii title targets girls and WWII enthusiasts in an attempt to break Ubisoft’s hold over these key demographics. The game divides gameplay into raising your baby and World War II themed poo-throwing mini-games. Call of Doody also has a campaign mode entitled: The Battle of The (Diaper) Bulge.

Spacebar Hero – Following the lead of games that boast one button gameplay comes a rhythm game featuring a unique controller which mimics the spacebar on a computer. Users watch text scroll across the screen and push the spacebar at the correct time to make sure text isn’t garbled by incorrect spacing. If the game sells well, Activision may also look into Scroll Lock Hero.

World of Stoehrcraft – An MMO based on the career of professional squash player Isabelle Stoehr. Players take on the role of Orcs or Elves and engage in brutal squash games. The story follows Isabelle’s 1996 rise to fame, but takes some liberties when she becomes the Ice Queen of Durdureth. An expansion pack will shortly follow, which covers the saga of Stoehr winning the runner-up position at WISPA and consequently being trapped in the Solar Cage by the Magus Threerborne Flamerenderer.

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Mafia Wars, a social game available on Facebook, may be getting more content than the game’s recent Moscow expansion. The company may allow players to pay for in-game services previously considered taboo in other social games.

A friend of Reliable Source at Zynga studios suggested that, in addition to exciting new content, players would soon be able to pay to win the game. For a one-time fee of $8000, the game will announce you as the winner of Mafia Wars.

Don’t worry if you’re one of those people who thinks paying for advantages over other players is cheating. Zynga Studios has a new browser based game coming out next year that promises “twice the amount of progress-bars,” which means you’ll be spending even more time checking to see if you have enough energy to beat the crap out of a drug addict that owes you money.

Marion Cox is a weekly columnist for The Escapist and can not explain this video.

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