We put the word out - technically, a chirp - regarding what people might like to see in a comic. That is a rare request, truly, but while we’re out of town for the Fourph of July you might as well get an approximation of what you actually want. Twisp & Catsby were the winners by far, followed by Annarchy and Div, though there was also a pronounced Wil Wheaton contingent(!).
Sometimes, though, we don’t get what we want. Case in point: I suggested to Gabriel that we execute on a “Broodax on Fraternity Row” type scenario, called either “Dudax” or “Brodax,” and the submission was incinerated. He did allow me “Twasp,” though, for which I am grateful.
The first Gears of War gave people a cover “they could believe in,” to the extent that it still feels weird if you can’t protect yourself with the environment. We’re partial to Ubisoft’s approach in Rainbow Six: Vegas, which they distilled further in Conviction - a toggle-based system mapped to a trigger that ameliorates the stickiness that can manifest in Gears. But nobody ever says that a game should have cover “like in R6.” Well, aside from me. That mantle firmly rests with Gears.
The sequel was at least as influential, if not more so, with its Horde mode. Playing against AI opponents with your friends, no matter what game you find it in, is often called Horde mode independent of whatever the developer wanted to call it - look at Uncharted’s Siege, or ODST’s Firefight. That shit is all over now, everywhere, a runaway industry meme that has given us treasures like Nazi Zombies along more rote manifestations.
My passion for these things tends to burn out quick, though: the underlying structure gives itself away, and I can feel myself getting older as I play it. Unlike some “unlimited” modes, it’s possible to “beat” Horde in Gears, but the reward is a number - and it’s a number that doesn’t mean anything to me. I’ve tried to dip into the Escalation mode of Transformers: War for Cybertron, alone and with others, but there are more enduring multiplayer offerings on the same platter.
I think I’ve been completely rewired (that is to say, ruined) by Massively Multiplayer games. I want to convert my time into something lasting: enhanced capabilities, more options. When I’m done, I want to have more than I started with - more of something - but it’s the curse of this current crop to feel very zero sum.