Spelunky Adventures!

It's been a while since I posted one of our videos here, but I figured you duders might dig this one. At least, if the main crew is any indication.

I am so in love with this game. I mean, fuck this game, but I love it. Anybody else out there engaged in this abusive relationship? Spelunky hurts us because it loves us, right?

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Revisiting Half-Life

My partner has played Half-Life 2 all the way through at least 30 times. It's his favorite game ever. Despite this, he has never played the first Half-Life all the way through. We decided to rectify that. Here's the first episode!

It's hard for me to separate this game's genuine good qualities from nostalgia, so it's great to have Matt's perspective on it as he plays. I think this game still holds up surprisingly well. This intro is still quite entertaining to me today. I can't imagine anyone getting away with and / or even attempting such a slow, atmospheric opening in an action game these days. This game was hugely influential and set up rules and lessons for Valve's trademark brand of diegetic storytelling that games across the industry still use today. Also, it's a great shooter with some crazy-ass monsters!

Here's a link to the continually updated playlist: Half-Life Chronicles

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A video document of our quest to ring the second bell.

We're a bit late to the party on Dark Souls, but we decided to document our quest for bell #2. I am really quite loving this game, and I think Matt is enjoying it too, despite his audible wondering as to why I'm even playing this crazy thing. Sometimes I wonder too though.

Is this game genuinely good or is it just Stockholm syndrome?

Part 2. I love those froggy guys. They kinda don't look like they belong in the game, but of course, it's Dark Souls, so appearances are deceiving.

Part 3. We fight the Gaping Dragon along with a summoned player and NPC. Man, what a crazy ass monster! I feel kinda bad that we ended up just kinda shooting arrows at it while our buddies kept it busy, but whaddya gonna do I guess. Besides, the dude that helped us prolly got a bunch of humanity right?

Part 4. Man. Blight town suuuuuuucks...

Part 5. We were pretty demoralized at the thought of trudging back into Blighttown. I don't think I've ever been this stressed out by a video game.

Part 6. This one is mostly us being lost on all the windy wooden paths. Also, arguing.

Part 7. Finally some progress! We make it to the swamp bonfire and get a new sword in the process.

Part 8. Progress continues. We start to think, hey, maybe Blighttown isn't so bad? Then we meet the guys with the boulders. Nope, it's still bad.

Part 9. I feel like an idiot after realizing the Blighttown elevator isn't as complicated as I thought. Also, those guys with the blowguns are assholes.

Part 10. Man, we've done 10 of these already? Apparently, we inadvertently cause the death of the Firekeeper in this one. Or something. Man, I dunno, Dark Souls.

Part 11. The penultimate episode, which really should have just been the ultimate episode if we weren't boneheads. Highlights: Quelaag, killing an invader and then summoning the same player, Quelaag again (with feeling), and being boneheads. I swear, we didn't do that on purpose. We honestly had no idea.

We turn around and pull the lever that was right behind us. Yep. We're dumb. That was the bell! Which means Dark Souls Adventures has come to a close. Here's the YouTube playlist if you're interested.

Final Thoughts

Making these videos was a lot of fun. Some of the best I've had in our so far short run of game video makings. I am definitely going to continue playing, though I think Matt is pretty sick of Dark Souls at this point. He has vowed sever times over the course of these videos to never, ever play it himself, and honestly? I can't really blame him.

There's something brilliant going on in the * Souls games. These are games where the acquisition of a regular, non-magical sword that's maybe a couple points better than your current one is a huge cause for celebration. This is pretty amazing in the modern RPG genre, and in modern games in general, where most devs go out of their way to reward the players fast and often. Rewards are great, but they start to lose meaning if they are too ubiquitous. I am far more attached to my Iaito in Dark Souls than any weapon I ever found in World of Warcraft, Torchlight, Borderlands, et al, because I feel like I earned it.

That said, this game is also full of some pretty solid jank that can't be denied. Obscured camera, overly complicated controls, unexplained systems, awful framerates, and a confusing localization all add more frustration on top of a game that is already very demanding of it's players. It doesn't seem fair that a game that asks 110% from you doesn't also perform at the top of it's own game.

If From Software fixed these issues, however, I can't help but feel like the experience might be diminished somehow. The jank is, inextricably, part of the game; a game that I still genuinely love despite it's flaws. Perhaps the devs, instead of being overly ambitious and not reaching their goals, are in fact evil geniuses? Perhaps From realizes that flaws make things interesting, as long as you have something likable at the core. If they don't realize that, I hope somebody out there learns from it's lesson.

Playing this game on video and sharing it with you duders and other viewers on YouTube has also been a great experience. I almost wish everyone could play the game this way. There's a huge sense of camaraderie when sharing this game and discussing it with others, as if we're all sharing war stories and displaying old wounds.

I can't wait to play more.

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You guys should really play Saints Row

This game is about beehive hairdos and reaper drones. And love.

I should probably go back and play Saints Row 2 one of these days. I have a feeling some of my criticism of it in this video is somewhat unwarranted. I stick by my assessment of the open world gangster genre though. This game is kindof the only way to do it that makes any kind of sense... by not making any sense whatsoever.

Been a bit lax about posting these on here, so if you dig, check out more over this-a-way.

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