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The SBRI – Page 4

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.

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.

Continue reading Retrospective: Limbo

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – July 2016

Sometimes I think that I need to grow out of being upset that I don’t get summer vacation any more. I mean, it’s been well over a decade since I finished high school. In the time that I’ve been out of school, kids have started and finished school. But you know what? Nuts to that. I miss having two months to do whatever I damn well pleased.

~ Game Over ~

Final Fantasy VII (PC) – I’m amazed at how much shorter this game is than I remembered. I mean, I suppose it’s in part from not having sought out all the ultimate weapons and other fancy doo-dads, but even with a few hours of grinding and breeding a gold chocobo, the final time clocked in at under 40 hours. Crazy! (The time investment for prepping to fight the Emerald and Ruby Weapons is a whole other story.)

BOXBOXBOY! (3DS) – When I finished BOXBOY!, the only thing in the world that I wanted was more BOXBOY!. And now I have it! And it’s sooooooooooo good! And the ending suggests that there could be up to three more sequels. Hooray!

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – July 2016

The Steam Backlog Reduction Initiative

It has come to my attention lately that I have a whole buttload of unplayed games on Steam. Like, so many. I’ve been keeping a running tab of all the games I purchase since April of 2015, and here’s a snippet of it just to give you an idea.


There is a ton of grey on this list, and so many entries are marked with the B for Bundle. If I were to remove all of the game that I’d purchased in bundles and from Steam sales, it would be significantly shorter. Keep in mind, of course, that nearly all of these came at dirt-cheap prices. But those small dollar amounts do add up, and I’m left wondering how much I’ve spent on games that I’ll likely never even install, much less play.

While free time is at a premium, and I don’t necessarily think that the best use of my time is playing games that I don’t care about, I am bothered by the copious blocks of red on my spreadsheet. It’s a problem that could be easily solved by simply deleting said spreadsheet, but I can’t help it. I love the data.

There is some merit to trying out new games to see what clicks, though. I’ve spent much of my life playing through demo discs (ahh, the good old days) and random demos pulled from the various console shops. There was a point in time where a friend and I would randomly load up SNES ROMs in hopes of finding some hidden gems. Not to mention way, way back in the day when one could rent whole video games for a few days at the measly cost of $5. So there is a bit of a precedent for booting up random games for a few minutes to see what they’re all about.

That’s the mentality I’m going to take here: I want to at least try out a large portion of these games just to see if any of them stick. I don’t necessarily need to beat them. Heck, I don’t even always beat the games that I really like. I just want to comb through the list and find out what kind of games are hiding out in there. And of course, I’m sure that at least a few of them will be worth writing about.

So that’s where we’re at. These projects that I start never usually last very long, so expect this to end probably by the fall or so. But I’m going to try anyway!

I should probably do this as a podcast or video series or some other more current format, but whatever. I’m old-school, so I’m just going to write about anything that tickles my fancy.