12 February, 2020


written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, 11 February 2020

After writing up a list of my favorite popcorn games, I decided to spend some time playing them. It was partly to see if I really did still enjoy them and partly that not much new is coming out, and partly that I'm taking a break from Warframe. It's still good, but it's like eating your favorite food every day. Eventually you just need a break.

Aliens vs Predator (2010)

I still like it, but it does feel like it barely hits its stride and it's over.

Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001)

I think this is the first time I installed a game from physical media in a decade. But there's no digital version available (apart from abandonware sites). I was surprised it even worked. It definitely lasts longer than the more recent iteration. And there are more toys to play with. It's also longer, but that sometimes works against it when your just traversing a big empty canyon or military base. Some room to breathe is good for building tension, but some bits of AvP2 felt like filler.

Cargo! The Quest for Gravity

Some of the goals aren't well explained. And maybe it is just weird for weirdness sake. But I still have a good time going through it.


They added an endgame where you craft void portals to fight much tougher enemies. It basically drops the foraging and exchanges it for combat on a timer which doubly sucks because some enemies just run away, so you have to burn precious seconds chasing them down. It feels half baked and pointless. They just released another content patch, but it sounds like it adds to the tech tree after the section of the game that already made me fall off.


Yeah. It's okay. But there's so much BioShock and Half-Life 2 there that it still feels like it struggles to find its own identity.


It's still fun, and the upgrade system still feels like more of a hindrance than a feature. I forgot that your gun loses a level when you die. I liked Blaster Master okay, but having your gun level down when you took a hit felt punitive and discouraging.

Very, very, very tangentially, Blaster Master was made by SunSoft, who also made Fester's Quest which is not much to play, but has an over-world theme that slaps as hard as the NES was capable of slapping.


"Pure joy" may have been overselling it, but NightSky at least streamlines things pretty well. I don't think I'll ever bother with the "advanced" mode as I still have no love for puzzle platformers as a whole.

Lost Planet 2

Still fun, but more filler levels than I remember between giant monster set pieces.


I played through NecroVision and Lost Company. The public seems to prefer Lost Company, but I felt like it added enemies that were less fun to fight. I'm looking at you shield zombies.

Clive Barker's Jericho

I forgot the terrible intro movies, redundant promo material stapled to the face of the game, but the game itself is still good. Some of the scripted bits where you're just supposed to hold position and kill enemies until they stop spawning aren't well communicated.


The ability to start up New Game+ with all the upgrades unlocked makes Prototype a pleasure to go through again (and again and again).

F.E.A.R. and expansions

I remembered the expansions as just being afterthoughts with a couple extra tricks, but on replay I feel like it was only by the second expansion that the game finally found its pace. Should I play Fear 2 again...?


I think Bully and GTA: San Andreas will always be my favorite Rock Star games. San Andreas for it's absurdly large ambition and Bully for it's absurdly small ambition. What game studio takes it's expertise in sprawling open world crime games and makes basically a John Hughes movie?