Gears of War Meets the Real World

As any responsible owner of guns knows, there’s some basic safety procedures to follow when handling a firearm. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire. Don’t point the gun at your friends.

Thanks to YouTube user “pfcthiel”, we can add some more rules: “Do not put a Gears of War-style electric chainsaw bayonet on a working rifle” and “Do not use said chainsaw bayonet to awkwardly chase a pumpkin around.” Video after the jump.

Dude, you are going to kill yourself with that thing.

I saw this on Kotaku, but the videos are posted in a thread in

The device is actually billed as a “firearm mounted anti zombie device” rather than a Gears of War knockoff. When another poster wonders aloud whether the Gears bayonets are gas-powered, the creator replies:

I don’t know I never played the game.

But mine is more stealthy if that’s the case.

Stealth is relative for chainsaws, I guess.

Still, watching this video, you realize just what a horrible idea the Gears of War Lancers would be in practice. Soldiers would be cutting their own legs off left and right. I’ll stick with the Nerf version, thanks.

Hordes of Gears of War 2

The roomies have been putting the horde mode of Gears of War 2 through its paces. It’s fun to play, or so they tell me.

Fun to watch it’s not, which is what I’ve been doing as I work form home to the accompaniment of chainsaw, screams and gatling guns. It’s pretty much them staking out the same exact corner of the Hospital map for hours on end and fighting off endless waves of enemies until they succumb. The most entertaining part for me has been Dom getting his hair caught in the Xbox Live headset and calling for Ian to get him free.

Still, it’s as pure a distillation of the Gears gameplay as you’re going to get. Mi padre sent me a link to a New Yorker interview with Cliff Bleszinski aka CliffyB aka Dude Huge, lead designer of the game. In it, he talks about his game design philosophy.

“I’m looking for a fun core-loop of what you’re doing for thirty seconds over and over again,” he told me. “I want it to grab me quick and fast. I want it to have an interesting game mechanic, but I also want it to be a fascinating universe that I want to spend time in, because you’re spending often dozens of hours in this universe.”

Arena mode is the former without the latter. It may be the same 30-second loop over and over again, but darned if they didn’t nail those 30 seconds.

Though I haven’t tried it yet, I’m pleased with horde mode’s inclusion. It’s the sort of thing we’ve been waiting for since playing the solo arena mode in the Marathon 2 rerelease on Xbox Live Arcade.

Once you’re done with the relatively short story mode, it’s something to do with your friends. My deathmatching days are pretty much behind me, with the exception of all the zombie griefing I’m going to be doing in Left 4 Dead. Video games, like sex, are always better in co-op mode.

Kind of wish they would switch levels, though.

Gears of War 2 fast impressions

I didn’t really like Gears of War. That puts me at odds with about 99% of the gaming population, but combat just never felt right for me, no matter how many times I decided to pick it up again and try it.

The roomies picked up Gears of War 2 over the weekend, however, and I gave it a spin. They’ve made some small but important tweaks that have vastly improved it for me.

First and most importantly, good guys glow blue. Bad guys glow red.

Having color-coded LEDs on ally and enemy uniforms may not be realistic, but I found the original Gears incredibly frustrating due to the brown-tastic color scheme, forcing me to rely on character silouhettes to distinguish friend from foe. And, you know, the hulking figures of the enemy bugmen look pretty much the same as the hulking figures of my armored-up comrades. In the sequel, at least I know how to shoot.

Secondly, the guns feel like they have some punch now. Before I felt like I wasn’t firing bullets so much as vaguely directing harm in people’s direction. To once again quote Chet Faliszek of Valve, everything is bigger in the future. The guns and guys are all enormous, but they can only shoot teeny-weeny bullets.

Thirdly, I now know that the main character is played by John DiMaggio and one of the supporting characters is Lester Speight. It’s a lot easier to stomach the ultramacho growly dialog when you imagine it being read by Bender the Robot and Terry Tate, Office Linebacker.

So, yeah. Shootin’ stuff and liking it so far.

Mark your calendars: Video game releases

Fall may be a traditionally pre-holiday slump for video game releases, but there’s still plenty of good stuff on the near horizon. Here’s what’s coming out.

Spore is coming out September 7, and is already available for pre-loading on the online store. Another EA title, Mercenaries 2, lands today and is already on store shelves.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky was supposed to come out on the fifth, but is currently being recalled. Apparently all of the boxes accidently went out without CD keys. So, will the digital copy on Steam be pushed back as well? I guess we’ll see.

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise comes out Sept. 2nd, for those who who care abound that sort of thing. I mean, I don’t personally, but I’m not begrudging those of you who do.

A little further down the road, Dead Space made headlines by having its release date moved up instead of back. The console versions arrive on Oct. 24th with the PC version a week later.

Looking even further into the mists of time, Left 4 Dead had its release date pushed back from Nov. 4 to Nov. 20, deep into the holiday season. Besides being the tenth anniversary of the release of Valve’s original Half-Life, it also avoids competition with Gears of War 2 being released Nov. 7. Hey, it’s Valve. If you don’t expect delays, you obviously don’t know them.