That Gaming Weekend

In an effort to once and for all put to bed rumours that PC gaming is for sad, fat, lonely men with nothing better to do than order virtual men around under the illusion of grandeur and jerk off to 4chan, I moved the PC downstairs to be the primary entertainment provider for last Friday’s boozing session. Also because I was bored of my console collection. Here then is a round up of PC games as a social experience.

Plants vs Zombies

Did you know that the game that has kept you isolated and alone for months on end is also a great one to play with friends, despite its complete lack of multiplayer? It’s true, and also a frightening example of how the bloody thing can completely destroy every corner of your life! Kudos, Popcap. Endless survival mode was our primary drug for the weekend, with one person taking up the controls and the onlookers taking up the dual roles of strategy consultants and battlefield managers, providing such helpful advice as, “fifth row needs spikes, replace the second row’s Tall-Nuts, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAN GET YOUR FUCKING CAT-TAILS UP!”

Seeing as it was Fitz who was the most deeply ensconced in the Plants vs Zombies addiction, he spent most of the night at the helm with myself and Adam providing moral, as well as practical, guidance. This culminated in an impressive (for us) 24 flag run before some complete idiot forgot to bring the Lily-pads along to the next level and everything went to shit. Annoyingly we then thought it would be a good idea to have a look at some YouTube tactics, which preceeded to ruin the whole thing by showing builds that can get you to 1,000+ flags. It kind of destroys the urge to build on your own tactics when you know how to completely kick shit out of the game.

Plants! Also zombies.


For comedy potential nothing can be better than a few rounds of web game QWOP among friends when you’re a little bit drunk. With co-ordination already at an all time low any chance of not being completely shit goes out the window. Normally it’s the kind of game you’d try a few times and get bored of, but with people around a perverse competitive element comes to the fore. All of a sudden the keyboard is being passed around as you dare the next person to beat your personal best of 1.7 metres. The funniest moments are when someone actually starts doing well (read: takes 1 and a half steps relatively smoothly) then subsequently fucks it all up when trying to replicate the action.

Just Cause 2

Disaster! BOLOPatch no longer works with Just Cause 2 after an update to the game! This means that infinite ammo, infinite health and the all important ‘strong rope’ that it provides are no longer available to people who are just loading it up to have a dick about. This is especially a problem when you’ve installed a mod that increases the power of the C4 tenfold, as you will almost definitely be killed every time you use it. Aw, man!

Oh technically you can have fun with the unpatched, unmodded version. We played hours of it in its natural state on PS3, but that game got completed. Now the fun comes from sticking on a load of stupid mods, an unbreakable tether and making sure that inconveniences like running out of ammo or dying are never a problem. It becomes a game of messing about until inspiration hits a person, who asks “I wonder if we can tether a car to a jumbo jet, plant the car with C4 and then, just as it flies over a military base, untether it, ride it down onto the base like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove and detonate the C4 on impact?” With BOLOPatch out of commission you no longer can.

Explosions! Also death.

Left 4 Dead

After countless failures, I did another search for a step-by-step guide to getting Left 4 Dead working in splitscreen and, lo-and-behold, this time I came across an up-to-date version that accounted for the patch Valve added that stopped the old method working. It takes numerous console commands, re-jigging some config files and unplugging and replugging an Xbox controller at exactly the right moment but by Jove we got it to work. Adam vaguely wondered why they wouldn’t just add an option for splitscreen into the main menu, clearly showing he misses something fundamental about doing any task on a PC.

Anyway, this marks the easiest way for me to play some Left 4 Dead. Both games have been out so long now that joining a public match is tantamount to asking for someone to shout abuse in your face for an hour and most people I know who own the game are long since done with it. The downside is you’re forced to have two characters played by the AI, but they’re competent enough and the ease by which you can guide your other human teammate by literally pointing at the screen and talking them through sections more than makes up for it.

Zombies! Also plants.

I even started to experience those moments that people who play with friends over headsets were talking about long ago, specifically moments like: “Oh, I’m glad you’re all cosy in the safehouse, but would you mind awfully just popping out for a second and dealing with this zombie that is literally raping my face?! There’s a dear.”


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