This week in games: Maniac Mansion's legacy, a game that sucks your blood, and insane VR body switching

I played so much Far Cry 4 this week, it's hard to remember there's a real world out here with real people and real news stories.

But there is a real world, and it's utterly insane. This week an artist announced he wants to spend a whole month living in virtual reality, there's a game where you can play as a sentient tree, another game sucks your blood, Telltale's Game of Thrones gets a trailer, and Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick team up for a spiritual successor to the old LucasArts games that made them famous.

Heavy hangs the head

There's a teaser trailer for Telltale's Game of Thrones game and it looks a little something like this:

"Xbox, Overdrive"

Microsoft's Xbox One console might be (might be) narrowing the sales gap between it and the PlayStation 4, due in large part to some hot exclusives this fall. One of those exclusives, Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive, will be free for Xbox Live Gold members from 12:01AM Eastern on November 22 until 12:01AM Eastern November 23.

Think you can marathon the whole game in twenty-four hours? I believe in you.

One man's trash...

Alamogordo, New Mexico sold off its first batch of disinterred E.T. cartridges from the Atari dig earlier this year, netting a whopping $37,000 total. "It just kept on going way beyond anything we expected,” Tularosa Basin Historical Society VP Joe Lewandowski told KQRE.

The highest bid was $1,537. For trash. And I'll let you decide whether I'm referring to literal trash or the quality of E.T. for the Atari 2600.

He's a maniac

In Kickstarter news, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick (a.k.a. the guys who made Maniac Mansion) are raising funds to create a "true spiritual successor to Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island." A true spiritual successor, complete with the antiquated "Look/Use/Pull/Close/Give/Talk To" interface that's as endearing as it is an utter pain to navigate.

It's called Thimbleweed Park:

And as the Kickstarter page says, "Holy crap is this going to be fun! And you can be part of it—right here and right now for $20 bucks which is like $1.52 in 1987 dollars."

Living a lie

In much weirder Kickstarter news, an artist is raising funds to live in virtual reality for an entire month. With the help of some fancy glasses, performance artist Mark Farid will be fed a video from another man's perspective for 28 days to see how this affects Farid's sense of self. He'll shower at the same time as the non-VR guy, eat the same food as the non-VR guy, and generally live vicariously through him.

It's an experiment that's equal parts cool and creepy, though it seems doubtful they'll reach their funding goal—they're asking for £150,000 but in two days have so far only managed to pull about £5,000.

I wonder if Farid feels the same way I do when someone cancels plans and I think "Oh phew, I can have that entire month of my life back."

Bloody mess

And then there's Blood Sport, a device that sucks blood out of your arm every time your controller's rumble feature is activated (presumably by getting hurt in the game).

Sigh. No, I'm not kidding. Here's the Kickstarter trailer:

Okay, it's not as nefarious as it sounds. "Our goal is to develop a refined multi-player unit that can be taken across the country for blood donation gaming events," the team writes. Maybe they should partner up with "I'm going to live in virtual reality" guy.

Thanks(?) Dorkly.

Bug life

Ubisoft is slowly but surely working out the kinks with Assassin's Creed: Unity. The dev claims in this recent blog post that the framerate issues are not tied to the massive crowds and are instead tied to...well, they don't know. Maybe the instruction queue.

"We have just finished a new round of tests on crowd size but have found it is not linked to this problem and does not improve frame rate, so we will be leaving crowds as they are," writes Ubisoft.

At least Far Cry 4 is a mostly smooth experience—mostly. More on that later.

How low can you go?

A series of events:

  1. Walmart launches online price-matching in retail stores. Bring in a price you found online and Walmart will match it, guaranteeing you get the best price on whatever you're buying and ensuring that physical retail stores stave off death a while longer.
  2. "Any price I found online?" people ask Walmart. "Of course," says Walmart, who I envision as an enormous dinosaur wearing a toupee.
  3. People who understand the Internet make fake Amazon seller accounts and list PlayStation 4s for obscenely low prices—$90 is the report I've seen most. They then bring these seller accounts to Walmart as proof of a better deal online.
  4. Walmart employees, who are underpaid and overworked and clearly don't give half a damn about the company, decide to follow the letter of the law on this new policy and price-match these ridiculous PS4 prices. People get PS4s for under $100.
  5. Walmart panics. Game over. Everyone go home. Walmart clarifies it will only accept price-matching for "authorized" retailers now.

Hey Walmart, maybe this is what happens when you force employees to work on Thanksgiving you un-American garbage.

Not all who wander are lost

In March 2015 the PC and PS4 are getting a new combat-free MMO titled Wander. You can play as a sentient tree, so I'm already sold.

Fight on the beaches

There's no game I'm looking forward to more than Hearts of Iron IV. Except for The Witcher 3. And Pillars of Eternity. But okay, Hearts of Iron IV is up there. I want to play a World War II-themed grand strategy game from Paradox with all the interface and playability upgrades introduced in Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV.

There's a new dev diary out this week, if you're interested. It's heavy on tanks and inspirational music.

More reading

  • In the wake of news that 75 percent of Steam Early Access titles are unfinished, Steam tells game developers to "set proper expectations."
  • Far Cry 4 runs totally fine! Unless you're on a dual-core processor. It's a sign of things to come, with quad-core processors becoming increasingly important for games.
  • Block N Load is like Minecraft with guns and...wait! Come back! I swear it seems fun!
  • Capcom's embracing AMD's Mantle API, so good news if you're running a Radeon graphics cards.
  • Alien: Isolation is the best Alien: Anything since Aliens.
  • That Atari: Game Over documentary Microsoft funded is actually really damn good. Look for it when it releases November 20 if you have a passing interest in game history.
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