For reals this time… It’s good to be blogging again. Sorry, but it’s tough to write a look back over the year without reflecting a little. The best bit is not feeling guilty about not keeping a schedule; posts happen when they happen and sometimes blogging needs to step aside for other stuff to take its place. I’ve also really committed to drawing terrible webcomics … Continue reading Top 5 Gaming Experiences: 2022 Edition
Two things might strike you as strange about the title. The first is that I’ve gone with ‘Gaming Experiences‘. Not ‘Top 5 of the Year‘, not ‘Best Releases of the Year’, but my own personal best experiences. In recent years I’ve really leant in to my pre-existing predilection to retro gaming and with that comes both old games and crucially revisits of old games. The list I keep of all the games that I’ve played during the year (for this exact blog post) contains more and more asterix’ed entries indicating that I’ve technically played the game before. So this year I decided to say that anything from the list of games I’ve played during the year can make the cut: new title, old title, first playthrough, revisit, or just a comfy run through of a much loved classic.
The second curiosity probably had you rolling your eyes at another classic patented Hundstrasse typo, but no, that’s correct, this is my 2021 list because I never actually got around to posting my top 5 last year and posting the top 5 from this year felt somehow dishonest before I’d even had the decency to wash my hands of my 2021 blogging obligations. So I dug out last years list and decided to finally compile the top 5 gaming experiences I had back when … heck, I can’t think of anything particularly memorable about 2021. Let’s face it, it just felt like the director’s cut version of 2020. Whatever, here is the official ‘Top 5 Hundstrasse Gaming Experiences of 2021’:
Continue reading “Hundstrasse Top 5 Gaming Experiences… 2021?”
Spoiler Warning: This article contains major plot spoilers for Trüberbrook
Point-n-clicks are one of those genres that has found a home in the arms of small and indie developers. Whilst mainstream triple-A releases focus on increasing levels of action and frame-rate, the humble PnC offers gamers something at a more sedate pace which I almost completely ignored growing up only to uncover their charms when I was a little older; and there’s a lot for me to like about PnC’s give my gaming tastes. One of the reasons I enjoy classic survival horror is that feeling of exploring, unravelling and gradually unlocking an area which a good PnC encapsulates. I also enjoy a good story and that certain brand of gaming where you don’t need to have twitch reflexes to play.
It was with this thirst for a story and world to explore that I picked up Trüberbrook, a PnC adventure that drops the player in to the scuffed shoes of a Quantum Physicist, Hans Tannhauser. Arriving in the small remote German village of Trüberbrook in the 1960’s, under the unquestioned circumstance of having won a competition that he didn’t enter, Tannhauser is drawn in to the mysterious local activities of the Millennium Corporation and ends up saving our reality. The visuals, made up of hand crafted model shots, are probably the most immediate draw with its intricate diorama-like presentation and an almost claymation quality to the onscreen cast of quirky characters. Regular readers will know that ‘small town mysterious events‘ and ‘diorama-like‘ are two of my triggers to an almost instant purchase, so it seemed like I was on to a winning formula already. Continue reading “Trüberbrook: Pointing, but not Clicking”
The backstory is set; characters parade out one-by-one, each with their own motives and shady affiliations; the intrepid detective studies the clues and picks apart alibis; a red herring; summation and accusation. A master of the detective story, Agatha Christie had this formula perfected and, alongside the escapades of a certain Baker Street dwelling detective, our well thumbed copy of the adventures of Hercule Poirot is a favourite of mine. There’s a comforting completeness to the story: the mystery is laid out, we get to see all the clues, and finally the pieces are all put together. Unfortunately, satisfying translations of this premise to video-game form are few and far between. Sure, there are some good attempts; LA Noire and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments all take a crack at the detective formula in a more interactive setting, but inevitably the story tends to linearity (or very limited outcomes) largely because of the implausibly large number of permutations that even a few small decisions can produce. It’s impossible to give the player entirely free reign of the deductions, dialogue, or direction of the story, so we’re guided down specific paths inevitably meaning that sign-posting of the correct solution becomes painfully obvious. Continue reading “Return of the Obra Dinn: Brain Nod”
‘Heaven Dust’ is a game that makes me smile. It’s a game made by fans. Not just any fans; fans after my own heart, whose affection for the original Resident Evil games shines through in every polygon. Some twenty-x years after Capcom’s seminal survival horror hit the scene, this tribute made by ‘One Gruel Studio’ manages to hit all the right notes needed to evoke the feel of that first tentative shuffle through the Spencer Estate whilst still doing it in a new and distinctive style. Given how much the series has evolved and diverged, there’s something refreshing about a game that rewinds time back to what hooked-us in the first place.
…oh, I’m sorry, you wanted an objective review?? Nope.. none of that here thank-you very much…
Of course this type of thing is so in my wheelhouse that it’s basically an oak panelled part of the decor, but I ended up playing it mostly by chance after some fortunate browsing of the Switch store. In recent months, the Switch has become a staple gaming platform for me and I’m perpetually on the lookout for new releases that are compatible with my commute. ‘Heaven Dust’ was a delightfully stumbled upon discovery that has appeared on the store in the past few weeks and fills the super-niche of being a great choice for anyone who wants to play ‘Resident Evil’ on the go, but wants something just a little more causal than just playing ‘Resident Evil’ on the go*. Continue reading “Heaven Dust: Esidentray Evilway”
A few weeks ago I had a hankering to revisit the films of the late, great, George A. Romero; specifically his two Zombie masterpieces: ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968) and ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (1978). I have very few film buff credentials (being more of a casual absorber of the silver screen), but even I know that these two films arguably defined the zombie genre cementing Romero in history as the undisputed zombie master. They created lore, established tropes, and even their production carried some legendary stories such as Romero himself grabbing the reels as soon as editing on NotLD finished and scouting movie theatres for somewhere that would agree to screen it.
Sadly Romero passed away in 2017. It wasn’t only a loss for the world of cinema, but for the gaming world too. At the time I reflected that every zombie themed game could trace its roots to the work of Romero, either directly or indirectly. My own teenage interest in Resident Evil 2 led me to his films and, whilst to the outside observer his work could be dismissed as decadent gore for the sake of it, the themes he set up are what makes the zombie genre (and zombie apocalypse) so grotesquely captivating. Having revisited the films, it seems like a good moment to stack up how the gentle torrent of zombie themed games that erupted in the 90’s stacks up against Romero’s original work; in short, are we playing the zombie apocalypse in the way George A. Romero imagined it? Continue reading “Gaming of the Dead: What Would George A. Romero Think?”
No Blog Posts, No Tweets, No Random Sonic the Hedgehog Doodles… I bet you’re all wondering what’s going on over here at Hundstrasse.com?? Well, the good news is that I’m writing this now so there’s no need to keep fiddling with the rabbit ears on top of your set; not that analogue TV has been a ‘thing’ for years now, nor do I have a … Continue reading Editorial: September – An Announcement
Hey! How’s it going you July people? All good out there in Someplaceville? If you’re a sunshine-type person then I hope you’re out there enjoying the good weather, or if you’re like me then I hope you’re safely locked indoors away from all that pollen and we can collectively hope to get a few good storms out of the humidity. Either way it’s July already, … Continue reading Editorial: July – Wait?! What Happened to June?
…with a deft flick of your wrist the tip of your rapier neatly disarms your opponent. They stand. Stunned for a second before you run then through, their body hanging momentarily from your sword, dripping purple. Then they crumple to the ground and you run. That was the last hurdle. All glory is yours… you are consumed by the Nidhogg in triumph…
In a moment of impulsiveness over the festive break, I picked up Nidhogg II for the Switch. I own the original for PC and it is the sort of game that can be quickly wheeled out at a gathering for some fast multiplayer action if called upon. Given that the Switch is now our portable gaming unit of choice, picking up the sequel on that platform (with it’s handily built-in multiple controllers) seemed like a great way to both try it out and convince my friends to drop in for a round or two at some opportune moment. The concept and gameplay of the two titles are very similar, so for the uninitiated it works like this: Continue reading “Nidhogg II: Get Eaten, Win Game”
… And another great big “Haloooo” to everyone out there, it’s time for the Hundstrasse monthly editorial… *Plays Theme Music* I hope everyone had a great Halloween whatever you got up to? As I mentioned last month, Halloween hasn’t ever really been a big deal for me growing up, but one tradition has manifested itself over the years and that is the Halloween evening family … Continue reading Editorial: November 2018 – I Know of No Reason