That magical 14th of February is upon us once again and romance is in the air; even gaming romances are slowly …oh so slowly… becoming more well developed. Games that deal with the more emotional side of the human experience have been gradually improving over the past decade or so with standout efforts such as ‘Life is Strange’ and ‘To the Moon’ coming closer than ever to capturing the nature of love, relationships, and romantic discovery in game form.
… this wasn’t always the case. Back in the retro-times (let’s not get in to how far back you have to go for that) things were quite different with polygon curves and corny dialogue crammed in to a couple of hour action game being the closest gamers got to a romantic plot line. Back in the PS1 era it wasn’t uncommon for someone to go from being ‘annoyed by’ to being ‘utterly besotted’ with a game protagonist in the space of just a handful of brief cutscenes. Then there were games that made those first tentative steps at being more ‘mature’ such as the cringe inducing sexy-time QTE minigame in Fahrenheit.
For those of us that were teenagers during this era of gaming however these characters were the object of our affections, so let me take you back to the mid-90’s and let’s have a slumber party. The popcorn is hot, we’re half-way through our regulation Bacardi Breezer, and inevitably the conversation turns to our ‘Dream Resident Evil Date’, but wait?!? how do you know which of that scintillating cast will light up your eyes like S.T.A.R.S.?? Lucky for you, I have the 100% accurate, reliable, and foolproof Resident Evil date decider – just follow the flowchart below and discover your perfect Resi-Date – Click on the image for the full size version! Continue reading “Your Dream Resident Evil Date”
Growing up, I played Doom… but I never really played Doom. Does that make sense? Am I making sense right now? Let me qualify that; I was too young to play Doom, I mean, of course I was too young for the violence, but the point is that I was also too young for what is effectively fast paced first-person dungeon crawling. The labyrinthine like quality to levels loaded with secrets were lost on me as I jabbed in IDDQD and IDKFA to activate god-mode, all weapons, and keys just to shoot monsters. As a result I tended to get bored pretty quickly; I’d missed the point.
I don’t know if YouTube’s algorithms extend to delving in to your childhood, but for some reason recently I’ve been recommended many videos that outline the subtleties of Doom in the form of decino’s breakdowns of different game elements (it’s like they’re trying to show me what I missed out on). Picking apart the code itself I’ve been learning about monster, powerup, weapon behaviour and, armed with this insight, decided to pick up the recent Switch port of the original game (now that many of the initial problems have been patched) to finally experience the game as it should have been played. Over the week that followed I ploughed through the original three episodes, and the fourth episode (Thy Flesh Consumed) that was added in at version 1.666; ‘The Ultimate Doom’. It turned out to be one of the better four pounds that I’ve ever spent on a game and in its current state I have no problems recommending it (aside from an annoying bug where the game freezes if you put the system in to sleep) as a solid port. Blasting through the legions of hell I found a new appreciation for ID’s classic, how they’d managed to produce something so visually impressive on the limited PC hardware of the early 90’s, the thought that had gone into the various ingame elements, but most of all how the level design brings the entire game together. Continue reading “John Romero’s Sigil: Iconic or Demonic?”
I’m not a regular streamer; a combined lack of time, organisation, and confidence have seen that possibility sailing away, but those few occasions a year when I find a clear evening, a suitable (often retro) game, and invite you to boil up some popcorn and join me I enjoy the experience.
One such evening cropped up some months back when I wanted to share with you all my first ever impressions of Overblood. Sadly it wasn’t to be. The problem, I lamented to my fellow co-BloggersWhoStream-architect (Kim of LaterLevels fame), was that my technical setup was a little on the janky side. That technological marvel that I use to capture PlayStation 1 gameplay couldn’t cope with the shear number of resolution shifts that Overblood thought necessary to… do whatever it was that it was trying to do. As I explained the intricate number of seemingly unconnected elements that I put in place to stream from my original PlaySation, Kim came up with the superb idea that we should reach out to all the other bloggers who stream (namedrop) out there and see how they get on with this whole streaming lark; and so this week’s event was born.
Head on over to the Master Post; I’ll be populating it this week with all the event posts! Continue reading “Duct Tape & Tights: My Retro ‘Bloggers Who Stream’ Technical Rundown”
The retro-excursion that I took last week in to the weird world of Overblood left me with a lingering thought about the game’s opening. At first glance the level of instant threat seems absurd; the protagonist wakes up and the player is immediatly faced with the prospect of seeing them freeze to death unless they manage to work out all the controls, find the auxiliary heating power supply, and the stylish (but laughably small) shiny gilet to keep warm. I could just chalk it up to poor game design, dropping the player in to instant life or death peril isn’t what we’re used to in the current age of gaming, but compared to its contemporaries, Overblood isn’t the only title of this era to pull this trick.
When I revisited the Men in Black PS1 game a little while back, I was reminded that it kicks things off in a similar way; player enters an apartment and if they don’t act quickly then a bomb, cunningly hidden in the shadows, will take out most of the buiolding and thankfully the voice acting of whoever they employed to do a Will Smith impression. Maybe these aren’t the finest examples of the ‘3D Action/Adventure’ genre for PS1, but even some of the system’s greats make similar moves. During my epic exploration of Resident Evil 2 last year, I rambled about how tough the opening of the game is; the dramatic intro leaving the player abandoned in a street, several zombies approaching them. I doubt new players would even have managed to work out what the aim button is before taking a chomping. Even though the opening of Metal Gear Solid doesn’t put the player in immediate danger, acting as a playground of sorts, it still presents what most would consider to be the core gameplay in its entirety. I’ve noted in the past that MGS has only six areas where the classic sneaky gameplay is showcased and, as the player undertakes this area unarmed and under-equipped, the ‘dock’ represents one of the trickier regions that the player has to work their way through all whilst the opening credits are still running. Continue reading “Hard Opening”
What do you mean you’ve never heard of Riverhillsoft? They’re famous for… erm… porting the original Prince of Persia to the Mega CD.
Overblood. I’m just going to let that hang in the air for a moment.
How or why anyone thought this would be a suitable title for this game… or any game… I’ve no idea. It is literally meaningless, but like the game it game itself, it’s best not to overanalyse.
Overblood (even typing it makes me feel weird) is a game by long forgotten developer Riverhillsoft that, kind of, falls in to the category of early survival horror for the PlayStation 1 as made famous by Capcom. I first heard of the game in my early teens; shortly after first experiencing Resident Evil 2, my uncle mentioned this “‘similar’ game called Overblood where you wake up in a lab, freezing to death”. I think it was this ‘similarity’ that kept the name locked in to my brain for all these years and eventually led me to pick it up on an eBay whim a couple of months ago. A few days later a battered copy of this long forgotten title turned up. An eerie green hued character adorning the box-art, alongisde the title in stark font, and tagline “A 3D Sci-Fi Adventure”. I popped in the disk and was met with a fast-cut intro montage featuring Reboot style animation and a host of sci-fi staples such as warning klaxons, unconvincing monsters, and characters with shocked expressions. Continue reading “OverBlood: UnderBlood”
With a new year comes the obligatory deep breath and sense of a fresh start. The promise of a clean slate, freshly dusted chalk board, or whiteboard when you’ve used that special spray to really… really… clean it. … setting aside the reality that the 3.154 x 107 seconds starting on 1st January isn’t different to any other arbitrarily assigned similar period of time… As … Continue reading Hundstrasse 2020: The Future is the Same
The ‘Secret Blogger Santa Community Event’ is an entire batch of mince pies fresh from the oven brought to you by Livid Lightning & Later Levels!
… and well a ho-ho-ho Happy Christmasness to all of you out there! I think this is the first time that I’ve published something on Dectember 25th itself. This post comes as part of a superb community event organised by those aforementioned blogger-nandos over at Livid Lightning and Later Levels (or Quadruple-L as I like to call them) in the guise of that richest of office traditions: The Secret Santa. Each blogger is assigned a counterpart to which they have to gift a virtual gaming item, all wrapped up in the form of a blog post.
The recipient of my own blogging gift if non-other than Nerdy Bookahs; those masters of all things MMO and indie related.
… of course it didn’t help that at the time of receiving my nomination I didn’t follow Nerdy Bookahs. Unlike a real office secret santa however, drawing a name out of the hat that you don’t recognise is actually a chance to get to know them through their work, so I scuttled off to find out a bit more about this blogging powerhouse. Almost immediately I discovered that their blogging exploits largely revolve around MMO’s “Oh no!” I thought to myself (I’m not sure why this has turned in to a narritive tale, bear with me, I may be going somewhere with this) I don’t know anything abut MMO’s, how am I supposed to come up with a suitable gift?? Continue reading “Happy Christmas Nerdy Bookahs From Your Secret Blogger Santa”