Not worth the bytes

Last month, I bought a bundle of games from IndieGala, as I am wont to do. I purchased it for less than four Canadian dollars, and it contained exactly one game that I was actually interested in: Dragon Fin Soup. I still have not played this game.

However, I did install and play Apartment 666 right away. I had a pretty strong feeling of what it would be from the name, and I was partially correct; it was in fact a barely interactive scare-em-up. What I did not anticipate was that it is also a junky PT clone. That is to say, it’s a game where you keep walking through the same hallway over and over as progressively spookier things happen each time.

It was a pretty crappy game, with exactly one moving object and a record number of typos. If I have to say something nice about it, it’s that the developer at least tried to give it a unique story. I think. I’m not entirely clear on what PT’s plot is.

Also, since I’m a huge baby that gets scared by his own shadow, it did spook me well and good enough that I Alt+Tabbed out of the game while chanting “nope nope nope nope” on at least two occasions. So there’s that.

In addition to Apartment 666, I installed and played NEO-NOW! on a whim, and was similarly disinterested. To be fair, though, at least this one is an Early Access game, while the former is considered to be a complete experience (if that’s actually something you can call a video game these days).

NEO-NOW! is a very odd game. You begin by selecting a character model from a group of about five, and then a woman appears in the background, and suddenly your motorcycle is crashed at what looks like a gas station.

It’s a top-down action-type game reminiscent of old Zeldas or maybe Gauntlet? You waddle around shooting/stabbing enemies and collecting the odd power-up. They start out with a sewer level right out of the gate, which is never a good sign, and then once you finish the sewer, you’re immediately swarmed by guys who blow up once they get close enough. This kills you immediately, of course.

There was no hook for me in this game, so I got bored after about ten minutes, when I had exhausted my small supply of bullets and got repeatedly blown up while trying to stab the kamikaze guys to death. I couldn’t find a path forward on that screen, so my adventure was as good as over anyway.

I don’t know if I’m going to go back to it. Probably not. It’s not like it’s a notably terrible game or anything. I’ve played (and paid more money for) far worse. It’s just that NEO-NOW! presents nothing that makes me want to keep playing. Like I said, it’s got no hook. Also, there aren’t enough bullets and trying to stab your way to victory is no fun.

So there we are. Two more games down, neither of them worth my time, but fortunately I can write them off as having essentially been free with the purchase of another game I was more interested in. I’m going to try to get through the rest of the bundle by the end of the month, but no promises. There be many more interesting games on my plate right now.

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September is my favourite month of the year. Obviously, it has something to do with the fact that it is home to the anniversary of my existence in the world, but also I just really like this time of year.

Summer is winding down, so the weather is often more cool and tolerable. That lovely autumn air starts to seep in more and more consistently. Back To School is out and Halloween is in. Pumpkin Spice is everywhere. It’s all so beautiful and perfect.

It has also become so bittersweet for me. I have some particularly treasured memories from September of 2012 that make me feel so warm and fuzzy when they come on, but then quickly bring about a sense of sorrow. At that point, I was really just settling into the idea of truly building my own life. Married, living in my very own home, and working toward a real career. That was the absolute happiest point in my life.

It wasn’t long after that, that everything went out of control and started to crash down around me. But, I still like to look back on those days, and remember how good they were.

Even in the face of the self-doubt and hopelessness that I feel nearly every day, I think that someday I can be that happy again. And that maybe next time, it will last.

It’s my birthday. I’ll be wistful if I want to.

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I like that lovin’

Totally diggin’ this track

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – August 2016

In August, I started organizing all my Steam games. To that end, I decided to actually start playing a few of those indie games I have hundreds of from cheap bundles. I also decided that it’s time to let go of truly “finishing” games and just call them done once I’m bored. For Steam games, that is. If I spend $80 on a console game, I’m damn well still going to try to wring every bit of content out of it.

~ Game Over ~

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) – It is finished. Click here to read my long, rambling, final impressions, if you haven’t already.

Monster Hunter Generations (3DS) – Cleared both the solo and multiplayer campaigns. And by “cleared”, I mean “I did all the key quests to get to the final bosses and unlock stuff.” There is still a ton of content to play through! I haven’t even seen all the monsters yet. And the Deviants. Oh Lord, the Deviants!

Bonk’s Adventure (TG16) – I was really into Super Bonk on SNES as a child, and was so awed by the ads for Bonk games that appeared in comics, but I’d never played a “classic” Bonk before. Turns out, ehhhhh, not so hot. The framework of a decent game is there, but the levels are uninspired and Bonk’s got really strange momentum.

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Cloudbuilt is way too hard for me

I don’t think that Cloudbuilt is really the right game for me. Which is disheartening, because it’s built from a lot of pieces that I like independent of one another. It’s cool, fast, and action-packed. It’s got a beautiful graphical style. The levels are like something out of a really intense version of Super Mario Galaxy. And yet, I find the gameplay to be overly difficult and frustrating. I can see my younger self falling head over heels in love with Cloudbuilt 15 years ago, but Crotchety Old Ryan just can’t handle these lumps.

The game opens with you playing as a hologram/ghost girl navigating through some sort of ruins. Things already get troubled here: the girl moves about twice as fast as my reflexes can handle. I thought that maybe I could get used to it, and by the end of this tutorial level, I did feel like I mostly had a handle on it. Enough that I could move forward confidently, anyway.

Then the first level happened, and things got way more complicated and way faster. You get put into a real body, and that body has jet boosters and guns, in addition to the jumping and wall-running that you’re taught in the tutorial. The jet boosters are basically my death knell, as they move the game from very fast to Way Past Sonic fast. You need to use the boost very often, and I found myself blasting off into space over and over and over again. And this is on the first stage. With a difficulty rating of One. When I beat the stage, I went ahead and tried the hardest stage that unlocked (rated Three), and lost all my lives before I could even make it past the “intro” part of the stage.

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I probably won’t play Inside

Inside. It’s a video game. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Made by the same guys what did Limbo, and it’s a pretty similar game on a superficial level. It certainly looks neat, and after replaying Limbo, I got really excited to give it a go.

However, it wasn’t available on PS4 at the time, and I had no idea that it would finally go live on PSN last week. I was a little too anxious to wait, so I just watched the Game Grumps playthrough instead.

Now, this hasn’t deterred me from buying games before (see Bloodborne), but the enjoyment from a game like Inside comes less from the gameplay than the experience of the journey. Watching an LP is experience enough, in this case.

And so that, my friends, is my story of why I won’t play Inside. Sorry, Playdead. Your game is really cool, but you won’t be getting my $25. We’ll talk when it goes on sale for $5.

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Final Thoughts on TMNT 1987

A couple weeks ago, I finished watching seasons nine and ten of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. I probably should have been keeping notes on my thoughts, because I knew I’d want to write about them. But I figured I’d get around to doing this sooner, while said thoughts were still in my brain. Alas, now we have some cobbled-together half-memories instead of… you know what, that’s probably about the usual quality level of my writing anyway. It’s fine.

  • Season nine begins where eight left off: with the Technodrome destroyed forever, and Shredder and Krang trapped in Dimension X. Ostensibly, they are stuck there for good. I don’t know how this time is any different from the last time they were stuck there. The Technodrome isn’t host to the only interdimensional portal in existence.
  • So a new recurring villain is introduced: Dregg. He is a spaceman from far off in space and I don’t really recall his origin. The same as Krang, I think; some sort of displaced warlord. It doesn’t matter. He’s dumb-looking and sounds like someone doing a bad Tim Curry impression.
  • The twist for season nine is that Dregg appeals to the people of Earth as a saviour come from space to grant them fantastical technology and rocket them into a glorious future. Only the Turtles know that he’s a no-goodnik, so of course he tells the dumb-dumb humans that the Turtles are the bad guys, and we’ve got that whole X-Men thing from season eight happening again.

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A real-life Crab Puncher

Nintendo has been drip-feeding us new Pokémon for what seems like ages now, but they really knocked it out of the park with the latest reveal: Crabrawler

It’s a boxing coconut crab! This is perfect! Seriously! Look at his surly face!

I’m sort of torn on the fact that it’s a pure fighting-type. On one hand, I want it to be dual fighting/water. But on the other hand, the lack of a water secondary type means that I won’t have two water-types with me (because Popplio).

Generation Seven is already loaded with amazing new Pokémon, and there are still probably a whole bunch still to come. Is it November yet???

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I don’t understand Tulpa

I played the video-style game Tulpa the other day. I was going to try to write something long and thoughtful about it in this space, but honestly it’s not really worth the effort. So I’ve copied and pasted my initial reactions, which I posted on Talking Time yesterday. It’s basically the polar opposite of the thing I wrote about Limbo earlier this week. Enjoy.

On my quest to slim down my number of unplayed Steam games, I installed and played Tulpa last night.

My first reaction was more or less “what the heck did I just play?”

After thinking on it a bit, I still don’t really know.

The game starts you off as a blonde girl in a cute dress, and then you solve some wagon-pushing puzzles and then you find a man being sacrificed to Satan I guess in a shed. Then the world gets all spooketized and the sacrificed guy becomes your Ghost Pal who can flip switches and stuff. Also sometimes Ghost Pal gets sucked into wormholes. And if that happens, or if blondie gets too scared or hit by something, she shatters into a billion tiny pieces.

The world continues to get more messed up as you progress, and the puzzles are often dumb and unintuitive: a lot of the time I found myself just clicking around to see what was interactive. It’s especially confusing because right away the game teaches you that white objects are interactive but then there’s one puzzle that requires you to interact with a black object and it took me forever to figure it out. Maybe the game is outing me as an unintentional racist?

When you make it to the end of the game, you solve a puzzle that suggests that blondie either has super-dense bones and weighs as much as three men, or that her soul is as valuable as that of Jesus Christ and also the other two guys that were crucified with him. Then Ghost Pal leaves her in the Scales of Cthulhu and I guess his job is done because then he vanishes.

So yeah, I have no idea what was going on.

That said, the game wasn’t really enjoyable enough to keep thinking about it any longer.

Oh and also I played through a second time to get those easy cheevos.

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Don’t get your hopes up

Sometimes I like to pop random words into my search bar and then read whatever posts come up. That’s when I realized that I had not typed the word “penis” into any posts so far during 2016, and I felt like that needed to be remedied. So I wrote this post. A post what has the word “penis” in it. Twice, now.

I hope you have all enjoyed this attempt at humour.

And if you’re me, from the future, searching for posts with the word “penis” in them… Dude, you should probably get back to work. Oh, but read this one first. It made me laugh pretty hard today. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too.

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