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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Retrospective: Limbo

I don’t really remember the circumstances surrounding the release of Limbo. I want to say that it was there leading the charge of the indie game movement, but maybe not? Seems like it came around a couple years too late for that. In any case, it must have been a fairly big Xbox Live Arcade release, as I was super jazzed for it, and I’ve never followed XBLA games too closely.

At the time, I was in full-fledged Achievement Whore mode. Limbo, I think, was one of the first games to truly break me. I think that I may have collected three or four achievements on my first playthrough, and just couldn’t go back for more. Even with an achievement guide, I would have only been equipped to earn all the “collectible” achievements. The one challenge that seemed insurmountable was the achievement to clear the game in a single sitting with fewer than five deaths.

Even today, I can’t imagine playing Limbo enough to get that sucker. The game is evil. It goes out of its way to trick you and is filled with “gotcha” moments. It wants you to die. To show your little boy character being mutilated in unspeakable ways. That’s how you’re supposed to learn and progress in this game. You’re not supposed to get by on observation or skill. You’re supposed to be killed and then not do the thing that killed you. Even if you do play through the game several times and remember how to survive every trap, there are a number of challenges that require perfect timing. And quite frankly, under the pressure of needing not to die, I know that I would drop the ball immediately.

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Somber

Sometimes it really bums me out to look back on the Articles page.

It reminds me of a time when I got excited about pretty much everything.

Now I find it incredibly difficult to genuinely give a damn about anything.

Where has my joie de vivre gone?

Also sometimes it shocks me to read the monstrous things I wrote as a youth.

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Skyward Sword Replay: Finale!

It’s been a long, winding journey, but I have finally completed The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (for the second time). But that’s putting the horse before the cart there. We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover!

Be warned: there are so many words here. Like, maybe pack a lunch before you dive in.

When last I left off, I had just revived the Thunder Dragon and gained a quarter of whatever magical song unlocks the last dungeon. It was a simple task that required me to traverse a new area while using tools I’d acquired to solve puzzles. This also unlocked the boss rush and let me replay the Silent Realm challenges. It didn’t feel like padding at all!

The next two dragons… didn’t fare so well.

The chase for the Fire Dragon made me climb up Eldin Volcano for a third time. Only this time around, it was a stealth mission and all of my equipment was taken away. This part really felt like padding. It would have been 100% improved if at the very least I was sneaking through a new area, like a monster base or something. But it was just the same old Eldin Volcano, this time with some new barricades and guard towers.

Meeting the Fire Dragon was a lacklustre scene as well, he just popped out of the lava, sang his song, and disappeared without so much as introducing himself. It felt unusually stunted to me, in a game where characters are constantly over-explaining everything.

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A month with Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO hasn’t been out in Canada for a while month yet, but due to some sneaky sneakiness, I’ve had it for a month now. I was totally enamoured of it for the first few days, but how about now? When it comes to phone games, I often get very excited at first and then cool on them just as quickly. Did Pokémon GO avoid that fate?

The answer is both yes and no.

While I was very excited about AR Pokémon times at first, the massive load on the servers made the experience very touch-and-go. So I did sort of let my infatuation with it fade, as it was always a gamble whether I’d actually be able to play or not. Things seem to be getting better, as the game is locking up significantly less often now than it did even two weeks ago. Then again, I might just be getting lucky.

As is often the case with multiplayer-focused games, the actual “game” part of Pokémon GO seems like a massive waste of time for me, and not worth the trouble. There’s the subset of people who will invest all of their time in the game and dominate it, leaving those of us who play casually with no hope of even a temporary victory. And of course, since this is a phone game, folks with cash to burn can also just pay to win. I put a couple dollars in to buy a bag upgrade because I found myself constantly running out of item space, but that’s all I’m ever going to spend on it. So it seems completely futile for me to even try to play the gym battles when they’re stocked with Pokémon at levels that I can’t fathom.

However, I do find it fun to simply wander around and catch Pokémon. The thrill of the hunt is enough for me right now, but I’m sure that it’ll wear off before long. Exploration options are pretty limited when your only method of travel is by foot and you’re also quite lazy. I feel like before long, my Pokémon GO experience will dwindle down to walking around with the app open to hatch all those eggs. That seems to be the real best hope of catching them all.

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a contrarian, and as weird as it is, I’m a little put off by the massive hype surrounding the game. I should be ecstatic that more people are into something Pokémon-related than ever before, but for whatever reason I find it making me want to distance myself from the phenomenon until it dies down a bit. I know it’s ridiculous, and I hate myself for being such a hipster douche.

So yeah, time will tell. I was one of the few who were incredibly excited about PoGo before it launched, which makes it odd that I’m not as over the moon about it as so many others. Maybe a couple updates with new features will truly rekindle my flame for it, but for now, it’ll just be a thing I may or may not boot up when I go for a walk. Full disclosure: It’s probably going to get booted up more often than not.

Also I still inexplicably want the stupid bracelet. What the heck is wrong with me?

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Migraine Watch: August 4/16

I’m a little bit worried that it hasn’t been even three months since the last migraine attack that I experienced. I haven’t ever had two happen so close together. And of course, this is after I was so happy last time that they had spaced out farther than ever before.

Anyway, this one rolled out almost exactly the same as the previous one, only my arm and jaw got all tingly first, and then it moved into my brain and stunted my communication abilities.

To be honest, I’m much more worried about the aura effects than the actual headaches. It’s terrifying to be put in a place where you can literally no longer form coherent sentences, when you feel like your basic comprehension of language is quickly disappearing. Even worse when you’re in the middle of a work day and you can’t communicate to anyone what’s happening to you.

But it passed, and then I went home, worried for the whole ride that I was going to throw up in the bus. I didn’t. Arrived at home, took an ibuprofen, and passed out for a couple hours. When I awoke, the worst was over and only the lingering pain of the headache remained.

If nothing else, at least the actual headache part seems to be getting milder with each attack. I don’t know if that’s much comfort in the wake of the escalating aura effects. Is my brain falling apart? Should I be worried? I think it’s time to talk to a doctor.

Start : 3:00 PM (aura), 3:50 PM (migraine)

End : roughly 8:00 PM

Aura : Numbness in right hand/forearm, moving to jaw. Transition to dizziness and great difficulty thinking/spelling (I tried to spell “transition” and it came out “transviserinfverinsiverinsioncervisionversiong”). Finally, inability to focus visually.

Triggers: Lack of sleep (likely), stress (less likely), maybe something in my diet?

Medication : Ibuprofen (2 pills, taken during actual migraine)

migraine

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