It’s Shadowtime in Kickstarter-land

I was going to start this post off talking about coincidences, but around the halfway mark on the first paragraph, my typings reached the conclusion that I didn’t have a point, what I was writing about wasn’t coincidence, and that I should just give up and start again; so I did… unfortunately this version isn’t going that much better, but I’m going to stick with it.

I want to make some online noise about two games currently on Kickstarter, both of which take place in a fantasy world and have the common theme of shadows. I was going down the “These two games coincidentally have similar themes”, avenue of blog post, but there is a common, third element, at work which eliminates the coincidental nature of these two games; that element is me. I like games like this, so finding two which are both on Kickstarter at the same time isn’t so true coincidence, but more like ‘good-internetting’ by me to find them. Self-analysis/congratulation done with, let’s move on to why they’re interesting and what tipped me over the edge from “these are interesting, I should keep and eye on them” to the much more fun “WOOOH!! I’m backing this!”.

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DOOM Beta:… is it really Doom?

Managed to grab a few hours this weekend stomping through the warrens of hell in the Doom (’16) multiplayer beta. Well, at least the two levels that were accessible in the beta – so more of a brief Sunday drive through the warrens of hell, but still enough to fill out a postcard of impressions and mail it back to family for all to know that I was having a good time without them…
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Soviet City: An Early Access Review

These are ‘early access’ impressions  of ‘Soviet City’ as of the date of publication

‘Soviet City’ brings tension and oppression to the city builder by throwing the genre into an alternative history where a brutal socialist regime is in control of a scorched and dying Earth; the last chance of the population is to build a rocket to harvest energy from the sun. The player steps into the roll of some mid-level government bureaucrat charged with the unquestioning execution of a series of five-year plans dictated by the higher powers which all involve the development of a new ‘Soviet City’.

‘Soviet City’ is a new title from Polish developer ‘Chicken in the Corn’ and from the outset it is clear that this is no ‘Sim-City’ clone; I’d even struggle to call it a city builder. Building roads, government facilities, farms etc. is one aspect of the game, however the challenge is in resource management, population management and meeting specific goals. The strategic placement of buildings acts as one way to ensure that everything runs efficiently but this isn’t about creating a nice living environment for your growing population.

Just your typical Soviet City

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Unexpected Other Games…

Spoiler Warning: I discuss some aspects of ‘The Stanley Parable’ in this post, if you havn’t played it and want to experience it without any prior knowledge (and by this point that’s a privileged position to be in) then read no further!

It could just be a symptom of my chocolate addled brain meandering around the idea of how much of a gift Easter is to gaming blogs, or that we recently stumbled upon a ‘Minecraft’ secret hidden inside the grizzly antidote to gore splattered FPS’s that is ‘Viscera Cleanup Detail’, but my post-Easter-hiatus ramble focusses on that dangerously recursive topic, ‘Games within games’. More specifically the surreal feeling of stumbling into a different game universe unexpectedly; something familiar, but in the wrong place. It’s the same clash of realities as bumping into a well known actor on the street and almost greeting them like an old friend.

The gentle nod of an in-game secret towards another game is commonplace; the DOOMed space marine in ‘Duke Nukem 3D’ or Jill’s Sandwiches in ‘Dead Rising’ for some reason spring to mind. The less subtle nod of a game such as ‘I Wanna be the Guy: The Movie: The Game’ is also nothing new and the idea of having crossovers has been well established (largely in the rosters of fighting games) for years. The immersion of one ‘game world’ into another however, is surprisingly trickier to find examples of; I’ve pulled together as list of four which stand out for various reasons:

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