STRAFE: Wolf in Some Other Wolf’s Clothing

So those mischievous developers over at Pixel Titans had us all hoodwinked when they released Strafe a couple of weeks ago. This very successful KickStarter project promised a procedurally generated 90’s style FPS experience, but actually delivered something quite different once you peel away the crispy-polygon coating, and personally I’m pretty thrilled about that. As regular readers will be aware, I have mixed feelings about … Continue reading STRAFE: Wolf in Some Other Wolf’s Clothing

Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 1 – Banjo Kazooie (Podcast)

Oh yes! It’s not a prank; you can now hear me speak! Introducing:
Please Insert Disk Two
A new collaborative podcast with my good friend Chinery

A Podcast you say?… tell me more…

“Please Insert Disk Two” is a collaborative project that I’m venturing in to with a good friend of mine; the aforementioned, Chinery. Having spoken many times about putting a podcast together, we finally moved out of the all important “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” phase of the project and decided to just jump in and give it a shot.

The concept began to form itself in my mind late last year when I posted this piece about ‘Dead Rising’. We all have titles in our ‘gaming history’ that we attach sentiment to; maybe it was a great title, maybe we just played it at a time when we were particularly susceptible to the theme, or maybe we just attach it to a specific time in our lives. Whatever the reason, trying to convey ‘why’ this is particular game is a classic to a friend who didn’t experience this first hand is a tricky business. Chinery and I have decided to embrace this idea, dust off out microphones, and share our thoughts as we each pick landmark games from our own histories for the other to jump in to for the first time.

Continue reading “Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 1 – Banjo Kazooie (Podcast)”

The Unexplained Setting

Whilst I was wrtiting my recent examination of “Stories Untold“, one aspect electrified me with a sudden shock of nostalgia that I wasn’t expecting. The player is presented with an apparently mundane setting, however the setting’s unsettling nature is present from the outset due to the unknown elements: Why are we being asked to do these tasks? where are we? Like a dream, the player finds themselves in the middle of events without knowing how things go to this point being, expected to ‘go along with it’.

This sudden nostalgia pang stems from my childhood. Growing up I always had an interest in riddles, or I guess ‘logic puzzles’ to give a more accurate description; a brief overview of story or circumstance was given requiring a logical explanation or solution. One of these always vividly stands out in my mind:

You are in a room with three switches; the room has no windows and only one door. Outside the door is a winding corridor at the end of which is a second room inside of which is a single light bulb hanging hanging from the ceiling by a wire. You know that one of the switches activates the light in the second room however, there is no way to see the light in the second room from the first, and as soon as you leave the first room the door closes and locks stopping returning once you have left it. How do you determine which of the switches controls the light? Continue reading “The Unexplained Setting”

Stories Untold: Antiquated Hardware

Spoiler Warning: Whilst I havn’t intentionally included spoilers, this game is best enjoyed going on entirely cold

It was a rare treat last year when, one dreary evening, I discovered and played the freely available short title, ‘The House Abandon‘ by No Code Studio. Every aspect of the game appealed to me from the ‘Spectrum inspired’ loading screen of the ingame hardware to the tension created using only the lightest of touches. I had assumed that it would remain an enchanting ‘one-off’; a short exploration of what might be possible. No Code proved me wrong earlier this year by releasing ‘Stories Untold’, a fully fleshed out four-part drama in which ‘The House Abandon’ features as Act I. I picked it up a little while ago, but decided to save it for a few consecutive evenings where I could put my headphones on, dive into it, and become immersed in this chilling tale without interruption.

My chance finally came last weekend where, over the course of two evenings, I tentatively made my way through ‘Stories Untold’, both captivated and un-nerved. Part of me is tempted to just stop typing here.

If you have an interest in this game then go and play it, the less you know going in the more you will enjoy the experience.

Unfortunately that would be an unsatisfying post to write (or read), so I’m going to cautiously pick through the game and say what I can about it without spoiling the plot.

Continue reading “Stories Untold: Antiquated Hardware”

QotM*: What is the Best Non-Gamer Game?

*QotM is a virtual ice-cream sundae dreamt up by Later Levels

Giving and receiving game recommendations is one of the many chocolate sprinkles that makes being a gamer so tasty; that first “Have you played…” through to the final “…gahh, I don’t want spoil it, just go and play it” is a magical time where we stumble and fumble around the difficult process of articulating the why & how of enjoying something. Likewise the receiving of this, often garbled dessert, is rewarding purely to watch someone that into something and doubly-so if you take the recommendation and run with it to the point of giving it a go yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll even have the chance to pass this Eaton Mess of a conversation on to someone.

I’ve been both parties in this banana-split of an exchange many times, however it has been a while since the person I was talking to was not a “gamer”. Giving advice about games to a non-gamer is something that I’m aware I have a skewed perspective on. That’s not to say that a non-gamer wouldn’t appreciate the games I play… because I think that my tastes are wide & varied; it’s just that gaming is such a big part of my life that I’m unsure exactly which aspects of gaming may or may not appeal or be accessible to someone not familiar with the medium. For example, I once (some years ago) got asked when playing Mario “… but how did you know that the mushroom was good and not bad?” … and you know what? I couldn’t answer them. The mushroom moves along the floor and looks similar to the goombas, so why is it good and not bad? … see? There are so many aspects from control schemes, pickups, visual or audio cues, and accepted conventions that we, as gamers, take for granted.  Continue reading “QotM*: What is the Best Non-Gamer Game?”