Quick Look: Sunless Sea - Abridged

The Game:

FTL at zee.

The Quick Look: Running time: 43:25, Starring: Alex Navarro and Vinny Caravella

Alex explains the backstory to the game (taking place in the Fallen London universe) while he walks Vinny through the beginnings of a new game; creating a character and setting up his ship for launch. He then proceeds to wander around aimlessly at the slowest speed, clicking through half-read dialogue options and complaining about the pace of the game. He gets confused about the combat system and how his weapons work before accidentally trading 12 supplies for 12 corpses looking for passage.

The music reminds Alex of Under Siege which he recently watched, which leads to a brief discussion of Under Siege and its sequel, Dark Territory (“Under Siege on a train“).

Eventually, Vinny calls for cannibalism, so Alex steers his ship around even more aimlessly than before, waiting for starvation to kick in. His character, Captain Beefheart, leads an investigation into the suspected cannibalism on board his ship before tiring of bat meat and leading the charge himself, attempting to pass off the flesh of his fellow zailor as a forgotten stash of food. Soon afterwards, the ship is sunk by a pirate ship.

Alex warns against the apparent speed of the gameplay, but praises the writing and lore while Vinny suggests the wiki for the game’s universe might prove entertaining.

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Quick Look: Darkness Assault - Abridged

The Game:

A survival horror game from Russia starring Katrine, who must uncover a dark conspiracy.

The Quick Look: Running time of 30:50, starring Vinny Caravella and Alex Navarro.

Vinny’s three things to consider about this game:

1. Making games is hard.

2. Learning a second language is hard.

3. This game is $2.

Vinny decides to show off the game in English initially, loading a save before exploring what appears to be some kind of hospital and using the protagonist’s unique animations to dance. He picks up bullets and batteries wherever he finds them lying around on bedside cabinets or next to communal toilets. This is accompanied by poorly-translated commentary from the main character, with voice over. (“Batteries in such a hole? Well, I’ll do find a use for them.”) Vinny puzzles over why the voice actor, who seems to know better, agreed to record such stilted sentences. There are also a couple of graphic novel-style cutscenes with similar language, but in-game documents that are not provided with audio seem to contain better translations. Alex has fun trying to translate these back into somewhat human speech.

Vinny continues in this fashion, exploring corridors and shooting the many resilient night guards in his path, as well as some zombies, until he accidentally finishes the game. He then sets the language to the native Russian and Loads His Last Save. Vinny remarks that the voice actor sounds more confident in this tongue and encourages commenters to offer their own translations.

Alex provided my favorite quote from this video: “Nature’s greatest obstacle: The already-opened door.” (25:50)

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Quick Look: Supreme Text Recap

Here's a new thing I might be doing if there's enough interest or if it works out well enough or if I have enough time and stick with it. Tell me what you think and suggest some names for this thing.

The Game:

A pizza restaurant management simulation game on Steam.

The Quick Look: Running time of 27:06, starring Vinny Caravella and Alex Navarro.

Vinny starts a new game to show Alex the general gameplay (spreading toppings on pizza before delivering them) before jumping into his own save which is further along. In this save, he has upgraded to a nicer restaurant, has access to more unlocks, such as sandwiches and staff to order and order around, respectively, and is being presented with dilemmas of an economical and somewhat ethical nature.

Vinny works his lazy but skilled chef, Ron, to the bone while flipping over vehicles and giving away his money to shady politicians and the mafia until he reaches a point where he can no longer take out any more loans and is forced into game over bankruptcy.

Despite the game being glitchy and poorly made in general, Vinny expresses a positive outlook, but thinks it is not currently worth the $15 asking price. Alex says he thinks it would do well as a mobile game.

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GBTV - 24/7 Giant Bomb Videos

Somewhere around last week, Tubesynch came into existence. So, being one of the first people there, I made what has been requested for a long time: a chat room where Giant Bomb fans can watch Giant Bomb videos together non-stop. You can find it here.

But, I'm not making this post to advertise, just to clarify my uses for the room. Here are the guidelines I follow when choosing which videos to add to the queue:

  • No videos which are just talking for too long. This means no long-form interviews, morning show or site redesign stuff. Also, no Bombcast stuff. There's already a place for that. Videos taken around the office are okay, like Mailbags and unboxing videos. Short E3-style interviews are probably fine.
  • Single clips are good, but no highlight montages or Best Ofs. I want to keep a cohesive feel.
  • Cohesion also requires no single parts of a series. Game Room Quick Looks don't count, and having two parts to something is okay as long as the length is good. I don't want to get into marathon stuff just yet.

I have to queue everything up manually, so if anyone wants to help, that'd be great. I'm happy to appoint what Tubesynch calls Leaders to help manage the queue for when I'm not around. Right now, I'm accepting anyone whose username I recognise from the site, so if you want to help out, let me know your Tubesynch username on here and I'll let you know if I know you :P

Also, I'll let anyone site mods be mods for this chat, if they want. Here are the rules: Don't ruin chat. Being a jerk is fine, I think, just as long as you don't ruin chat for everyone else.

It's not usually busy, but there's always someone idling, so jump in and have fun. If you don't like what's on, look down the list and come back later. I'll turn on voteskip when I know it's working right. Like I said, Tubesynch is about a week old, so they're still working stuff out, too.

I think that's it! Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.

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To Sleep, Perchance To Game.

I've been using Wake-Up Club every time I've needed to wake up for anything since I got my Vita, which feels like two years ago and I'm not going to check to see if that's possible. It feels like it should have more clock themes than it seems to have, but I'm okay sticking with my Journey one. The best thing about it is that the alarm sound is actually not annoying after two years. I use the rushing water sound, which is more like white noise than an alarm and not like any other alarm or ringtone I've grown to hate over time.

The social aspect of Wake-Up Club is weird. I have no idea who these people are ever, or where they are, if they're waking up at similar times to me. They can easily be avoided by setting the alarm to three minutes past the hour, but then why use Wake-Up club at all? The strangest thing to me is the process of waking up as a group with a leaderboard. When the alarm goes off, your avatar flies around the screen and you have to tap the screen until you're awake enough to hit it. Then, you pass on to the screen for your club of the day, where you can see who is awake and who isn't. Sometimes, there are people who haven't hit the alarm and you can tap their avatar to send them a sound to get them to wake up. The AI members of the club require three taps each to wake up. Once everyone's awake, there's a leaderboard that shows who woke up fastest.

Even when I arrive at the club members screen with everyone seemingly awake, I'm always first on the leaderboard, so I don't know what kind of timer it's using, if any. I think if everyone isn't awake after five minutes, the club fails. I've only had this happen when I've woken up before the alarm and come back to bed too late. I'm not going to wait five minutes for other people to wake up or not.

Overall, it's probably the best alarm I've used (mostly because I don't hate the alarm sound) and I'm going to keep using it. Also, I want the trophies.

Over on 3DS, I've been using a DSiWare thing called Sleep Clock, which records your sleep time and purports to analyse your sleeping patterns, telling you when you should sleep and for how long. By "records your sleep", it actually means "you tell it when you go to sleep and wake up" and by "analyse", it means "it'll tell you when you slept and for how long".

I've been using it for just under a month and, although it wasn't exactly what I thought it might be (the Dr. Kawashima of sleeping), it's enough of what I wanted for me to get some use out of it. You tell it when you're going to sleep, close the DS, go to sleep, wake up, open the DS and tell it you're awake. You can then tell it whether you feel 'Great', 'Okay' or 'Bad', which I take as meaning 'Enough Sleep', 'Could Use More' and 'Need Sleep Now!' It has alarms, but I'd rather stick with Wake-Up Club for that, so I haven't been using them. They're functional, at least.

Sleep Clock records the time you sleep each day, for the day you wake up, meaning if you sleep for eight hours starting at 10pm on Saturday, the eight hours of sleep count for Sunday. That led to some weird situations where it looks like I only got four or five hours sleep for that day, when I really got more during the 24-hour period. There are immediate graphs showing the hours you slept, as well as the average sleep time. My average for the last week was 9:04! I always thought I slept for 10-12 hours a day, but this thing's proven me wrong.

After three nights of recorded sleep, you get access to records for how many times you fell asleep at each hour, how many times you slept for each hour length and how many times you woke up at each hour. You can also filter these by the Good, Okay, Bad ratings, allowing you to find out how long you need to sleep to feel good (as long as possible) or when you feel worst waking up (early). However, I find the graphs kind of confusing or useless at this point and I can't really use them to gather much about my erratic sleeping patterns. I sleep when I like and wake up when I have to.

It's a nice piece of software for what I use it for and easier than keeping an Excel spreadsheet or something of my sleep times. I'll keep using it, probably, as long as it makes sense to keep a 3DS next to my bed, and hopefully the graphs will get more useful as the information mounts. For any deeper analysis, I recommend you see a specialist.

Sweet dreams!

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Divekick: Very First Impressions

Because I really have to tell this story to someone who'll appreciate it.

It was my second match and I was up against someone I'd seen at the top of the leaderboards, who I knew was a streamer because I'd seen a stream of his a couple of days ago. I picked MarkMan, who I'm pretty sure takes some skill to play well, and he picked Dr. Shoals, his favorite character, or "main". After he won the first round, over the mic, I heard him say to his viewers "Oh, this guy's in trouble." I won the second round and we were tied until the last round.

Divekick is the fighting game of the people.

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Games for Windows Live Missing The Mark

I guess everyone else had their computers destroyed or accounts locked by GFWL or they had to spend ten hours signing up, but I've never had any problems with it. In fact, I like buying games that are connected to Xbox Live, for the achievements and other tracking purposes. Was I the only one disappointed that Mark of the Ninja wouldn't be a game for Windows Live? I'll probably buy it since I've got all the achievements on 360 anyway, but it would've been nice to have them on PC too, since I'm going to be doing them all again.

I was originally going to make this a forum thread, but I thought it was just whiny enough to be a blog post.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict Supplemental

I'm going to stop doing this for a while. I started it at a time when I didn't really have many other games to play, but now I have a lot. A few months wasn't bad for a projected I started the day I conceived it, so I don't feel bad. Plus, I'll come back to it. I just have less time, it seems.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 7: Falling With Style

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaa is the game I started off the week with. I always felt like I'd played quite a bit of it, but Steam said I'd only played about 20 minutes before this week. So, I spent a lot of time this week BASE jumping while listening to podcasts. Eventually, I got around half-way through the levels and found it difficult to progress any further. To unlock levels, you need teeth, which are earned by achieving at least your best ranking on a level. These mid-range levels were getting expensive for me to unlock without a lot of work, so I decided to check the end levels to see what the teeth requirements back there were. It turns out that the levels expand both ways around the circle, not just right. Going left from the beginning levels also works, almost making this an open world game.

The game was suddenly fun and easy again now that I was playing the starter levels. I even unlocked a new skill I'd seen referenced before. Eventually, I worked my way back around to where I'd gotten stuck before. This left me with two levels I was unable to unlock without a serious work and time commitment. I'm not really into that "working hard" stuff, so I decided I'd hit my skill ceiling and I moved onto the next game.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAAA was the next game on my list. From what I can tell, it's just a souped up version of the first game, with a set of harder levels. I can't be sure, though, because the wiki is empty. Someone needs to work on that. I got three levels into it before hitting my skill ceiling again. I wasn't sure I'd get through the first level, but I did. Apparently there's an iPhone version, maybe I should try that.

I was always going to play Achron and I was looking forward to it, but when it came to it, I just didn't feel like learning a whole new RTS game. I love time travel, but not if I have to play an RTS to get to it.

Age of Chivalry is a game I love and will come back to many times, so it doesn't fit the purpose of this exercise.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is 25GB, so forget that. Unless there's high demand for it, of course. High demand being at least one person, since nobody reads this anyway.

Next week: Airline Tycoon 2! So here's the question I have for you: should I buy the DLC for it? That'd be pretty dumb, right?

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 6: Or, How I Learned To Stop Trying

And Just Give Up.

This is going to be a bigger, longer and harder update, probably (I haven't written it yet), because the last update was late and the next week would've covered about three days. So instead, this update is covering two weeks of the Steam games I've played. It felt like a lot at the time.

A Game Of Thrones: Genesis

Two weeks ago, I'd just discovered the basics of AGOTG; moving little people around and making them fight and kill each other. Before I moved onto any further campaigns, I wanted to give a large-scale AI game a shot, playing against seven other factions. The game crashed after a few minutes, but during those minutes I was mostly confused about what was going on, trying to manage the various pieces and systems and factions and generally not playing very well. I like to play games that way, with me as just one of many pieces on the ultimate structure of the playing field, which is why I like Mount & Blade a lot and why I never finished my first very large game of Civ V, but I decided it wasn't conducive to my goal of finishing/getting good at the games set out before me.

I played a few missions into the second campaign and decided it was going well and the objectives were fairly easy, so I'd press on as much as I could. The campaigns themselves are probably really interesting to fans of the books and having a dragon is fun, even if the damage done is represented in numbers and meters only. After about three missions, I got to an objective I couldn't figure out, so I got bored and played some more AI games.

Graphs are always fun.

I can't remember much specifically about these games, expect the achievements seeming pretty easy and liking the results screens. It feels like they had high hopes for this game, but the community seems to agree that they didn't market it enough to generate a steady player base, starving the game. Eventually I just decided I didn't like the game and that I'd played enough of it, so it was time to move onto something new.

I feel like cutting the blog in two here, but I know the statistics posts are long, so I don't think there's anything wrong with going on. Also, when you're writing it always seems like you've written more than you have. This update is probably just five sentences so far.

A.R.E.S.

I'm choosing to skip A Valley Without Wind because it's a game I like and I know I'll get back to it one day. Instead, I'm moving on to A.R.E.S., I game about a robot who was built without the capacity to love. It's a side-scrolling platformer with shooty robots going pew pew pew pew, something I'm more suited to than medieval fantasy RTSs. The game has elements which make it seem like some Metroidvania things will be involved, like secret collectables which can potentially upgrade your robot's stats hidden behind things you can't get to without certain powers you'll receive in later levels. No problem, I thought, I'll just ignore any especially difficult collectables until I get stuck, then I'll just hit the level select screen.

Maybe I should've used this super attack more.

The platforming can get difficult, with wind to push you back and weirdly imprecise movement controls, at least using a 360 controller. Also, the upgrade system is strange because you essentially have to farm for upgrade points on higher difficulties, which they make easy by having the enemies quickly respawn, but the upgrade points are the same currency used to buy bombs used to access secret areas or get through obstacles and health packs used to heal. This is what makes farming essential; the items you need to get through the levels are expensive enough to offset any profit from getting through the levels. Even then, farming is tedious because occasionally you'll get hit, creating need for another health pack, meaning it takes longer to make enough for an upgrade.

So eventually, I made it to the final boss after a long level of fighting and platforming and I found it too difficult to proceed. So, I thought, this is the time to use my new skills to get some of the previous collectables I missed. It's only then that I discovered that there is no level select screen. Apparently, you have to start a new game plus to get all of those collectables at the beginning. And if I wanted to get back to the boss, I'd have to go through that whole last level again, farming as much as I could. So that's when I stopped playing that game.

AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

Then I started playing this game some. I've played it a little before, but I've never gotten the hang of it, so I'm looking forward to getting better. I'm not going to try to perfect every level, just to play all of them and finish. Then I can do it all again in the sequel.

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