Cloudy With a Chance of Gaming -- 7/16/2011 *Saturday Edition*

It’s been a while since I’ve done this. I haven’t exactly been in the highest of spirits as of late, but I figured doing this could possibly help to take my mind away from the real world for a little bit. I don’t feel like playing games, watching movies, really much of anything at the moment. Good ole writing; you’re always there for me when I want to do nothing else.

Alaska_Gamer deserves some credit for me doing this as well. He wrote his own blog about a week ago that I just now discovered. It was really good and it inspired me to keep writing more for myself. Thanks a bunch, dude.

It’s been too long since I wrote one of these. I’m not even sure which games I’ve played since last time that I’d like to talk about. Let’s see...

I was caught by surprise when I decided to fire up a random Quick Look one day and chose Puzzle Agent 2. I’d remembered hearing Ryan “the narc” Davis talk about how much he enjoyed the original on the Bombcast a while back, but never really looked too far into it. I figured this was as good of an opportunity as ever. I’ve actually been falling behind on Quick Looks recently and not watching every one of them. I couldn’t be more happy that I watched this one though, as I kinda fell in love with Nelson Tethers and the quirky folk of Scoggins Minnesota. I decided not too long after watching to pick up both games on Steam and fulfil my urge to explore what seemed like a super interesting series. The fact that buying the second got me the first for free didn’t hurt my decision either. Thanks, Steam. My memory’s the literal worst, but let’s see if I can keep these two games separate in my head. I beat both in a relatively short time period, and they’re really very similar. Some may say number two is “more of the same”, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.

I remember starting up the first game and being scared. I own a laptop that’s now over three years old. You can understand my nerves when starting a game that I’ve never played on this thing before. Most games released these days simply won’t run at an acceptable framerate. I expected the art style of this would mean it would work fine, but then I was looking at cutscenes that appear to animate at around four frames per second. I soon realized that this was just the way the game was animated. It’s an interesting choice, but I suppose they can get away with this due to the only action in these games being when you’re solving puzzles. The stuttery nature of the animation then just became another layer of charm on this already super charming adventure/puzzle game.

The whole game, both of them, really, just have a super minimalist approach, but at the same time are treated with tremendous care, from the story, to each character living in Scoggins. Each resident you meet has a crazy quirk or interesting twist to them that makes each easy to remember. Puzzles aside, exploring the town of Scoggins and meeting its residents is as compelling (or even more so) as any of the puzzles. I of course won’t spoil the plot threads, but just know that these games definitely keep things interesting. Going into these, I had no idea I’d be chasing [CENSORED] and that I’d find out that they’re [CENSORED] that come from [CENSORED]! Crazy stuff. For just ten dollars, I couldn’t recommend this game more, even to just experience the story.

But hey, there’s also puzzles in these games. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Earlier I alluded to the story and overall setting possibly being more interesting to the puzzles. Well, let me be more clear and say that yes, I found that to be the case. Not to say that the puzzle were bad, but they just were forced to take a back seat to everything else going on. The puzzles were a means to see the next story element play out, and usually not a whole lot more. There are the few really interesting puzzles scattered in there for sure. I sometimes felt like a genius after figuring out coins were representing binary code for example. But the majority seem to be either really simple, or rehashes of ones you’ve seen previously at some point. The latter is especially the case in the second game, which I suppose would have been easy to predict after they were already repeating a bit too often by the end of the first game.

Overall I'd say they're great games worth playing. Just don't expect the most inspired puzzles in the world.

Special thanks to Whiskey user Mushir for designing our new PTW banner, which I’ve placed within my blog banner template because it was easy and looks awesome, even mostly cut off. :)

I would assume (possibly wrongly) that anyone who would read my blogs also would be at least aware of the podcast that I’ve been participating in with two other Whiskey Media users. In case that assumption was indeed wrong, it’s called Pass the Whiskey, and it’s intended to focus on showcasing all of the cool things that the Whiskey Media community are up to. My partners in crime and I collaborate every other week to create this thing. We sit in front of our computers in a Skype call, all hoping that Slowbird’s computer cooperates and records properly. We really have little idea what we’re doing, but that just makes things all the more exciting! Will we have to re-record this entire section? Will Newten’s voice randomly sound like a robot from time to time? Who could possibly say?! But seriously, if any technical difficulties are apparent on the podcast, just know that we know, and that we just aren’t experienced enough to ensure that it’s flawless 100% of the time. I’d say that we can guarantee flawlessness in about 20% of each recording. Take the deal; that’s the best we can offer.

Random tangent: Don’t you just love words with a double “ess“? They’re great. Words like necklessness and flawlessness, make my day. Are they real words? I couldn’t even say for certain, nor do I care. I love them.

Not to, like, recruit you dear readers or anything like that, but if you want to suggest anything for us to feature on the podcast (from ANY of the Whiskey sites), any of us would be super happy to get a PM about such things. Or if you’re so inclined, you can also send an email to askptwanything@gmail.com. We’re also on Twitter and such, but I’ll just link to this previous episode’s post where you can find all of this info towards the bottom. This is a podcast about the community after all, so we’d love to hear more from all of you. I recommend checking out our formspring page. Last recording, ZombiePie thoroughly tainted our question pool, and next episode it could be you! I kid. Don’t follow ZombiePie’s poor example. Keep it appropriate, please. :)

I’m trying to think of anything else I want to say about this. I guess just that I was nervous going into it, but having done it a few times now, I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable in a recording environment. It’s exciting to create something in the audio format. I’ve written plenty of blogs, but this is a whole new world where people are subjected to my awful voice as well as my lack of preparation. Oh, I have to be ready and on top of everything? These concepts are foreign to me and my written ways. I’m trying to get better at speaking and such, but I’ve never been the best speaker. I know, I’m perfect for a podcast, right?

You can find our most recent (episode three) podcast posting on all of the Whiskey sites, including right here on Giant Bomb. I think I can safely speak for Slowbird and Sparklykiss when I say that we’d love for you to check it out.

I’ve decided that I have a few things to mention that don’t necessarily warrant a dedicated section and header, sooo, I’ll just leave those thing here! ...Yep!

Team Fortress: The Second

Literally anyone with a computer now can play TF2 for free. This is amazing for people like me who never bought the game on PC over the years, but probably terrible for everyone who did. I can see why some players wouldn’t want a bunch of new players flooding servers, but really this is for the best. Eventually all of the awful players (myself included) will learn the ropes and there’ll be that many more people to play against. Just, please forgive me when you Ubercharge me and I then proceed to run around like an idiot and not get a kill. That’s happened a couple of times and I’ve felt really bad about it.

I’ve gotten the chance to play on the Giant Bomb/Tested server a couple of times now, and it’s been a great time. Despite playing while listening to stories of Ryan being a narc and Jeff hating Applebee's, I’m still able to concentrate enough to get a few kills and capture some points from time to time. Last time I played this was on the Orange Box back when it first launched on 360. It’s obviously changed a lot, and I’m still grappling with all of the changes, but I’m liking it and getting the hang of it the more I play. I hope to see you guys on the server in the future.

Terraria

This was a Steam Sale pickup for me, and and I couldn’t be happier to get it at just $2.50. There seems to be a ton of depth to this game (pun totally and completely intended), but there’s also very little instruction. You’re kinda just thrown into the world and told to go. I’ve fumbled my way around enough to build some giant words and carve out a cave or two, but I’m still trying to figure out how exactly to advance and what I should be doing. It’s a really neat game, though.

If you guys didn’t already know, there’s an official Giant Bomb Terraria server that you can check out. It’s pretty amazing the things that have been built. Sadly, there have been some jerks coming in and ruining the world, so entry is restricted to anyone on a whitelist. Just send a PM to Shadowsquire and he’ll make sure you’re able to get in. It would be nice to have some more activity in the server.

Steam Sale Purchases

  • Chime
  • Terraria
  • Puzzle Agent
  • Puzzle Agent 2 (Even though these weren’t on sale... >.>)
  • Secret of Monkey Island SE
  • Monkey Island 2 SE
  • Fallout 3 GOTY

I didn’t spend a boat load of cash, but considering my brokeness, I probably should have just chosen one or two of those. Overall, I’m happy with each of them. I’d be more happy if Fallout 3 would run at higher than 25 frames per second, but what can I do? Oh right, not buy games I can’t run. Oh Steam sales. I just can’t resist you.

There’s a look at what I’ve been up to. My weekly blog plans have obviously flown off the rails a bit as of late, but maybe this will get me back on track for a while. Thanks again to Alaska_Gamer for the inspiration.

I really do like to write these blogs, but it’s hard when I’m not feeling myself. I don’t know what you’d call this funk I’ve been in. Maybe depression. Maybe something else entirely. Luckily, I do have someone to talk to through all of this. I’m just trying desperately not to let myself push this person away, because I’m honestly not sure what I’d do without this person.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads this. As much as I say that I do these for myself, it’s always nice to know that people are reading what I’ve written, and in some cases being inspired by it (and others) to write for themselves. So leave a comment. I’d love to read all of your opinions on the things I’ve mentioned (or even things I haven’t mentioned). Oh, and last thing: Thanks to Mracoon and ZombiePie for featuring me in the Community Spotlight as this week’s community starlet. I’m definitely very honored to be considered worth mentioning. I’ll do my best to keep contributing to not just Giant Bomb, but all of Whiskey Media. These sites have given me a lot, and I’m always happy to give back however I can.

Have a great week, everyone.

<3

--JJ

14 Comments
15 Comments
Edited by JJWeatherman

It’s been a while since I’ve done this. I haven’t exactly been in the highest of spirits as of late, but I figured doing this could possibly help to take my mind away from the real world for a little bit. I don’t feel like playing games, watching movies, really much of anything at the moment. Good ole writing; you’re always there for me when I want to do nothing else.

Alaska_Gamer deserves some credit for me doing this as well. He wrote his own blog about a week ago that I just now discovered. It was really good and it inspired me to keep writing more for myself. Thanks a bunch, dude.

It’s been too long since I wrote one of these. I’m not even sure which games I’ve played since last time that I’d like to talk about. Let’s see...

I was caught by surprise when I decided to fire up a random Quick Look one day and chose Puzzle Agent 2. I’d remembered hearing Ryan “the narc” Davis talk about how much he enjoyed the original on the Bombcast a while back, but never really looked too far into it. I figured this was as good of an opportunity as ever. I’ve actually been falling behind on Quick Looks recently and not watching every one of them. I couldn’t be more happy that I watched this one though, as I kinda fell in love with Nelson Tethers and the quirky folk of Scoggins Minnesota. I decided not too long after watching to pick up both games on Steam and fulfil my urge to explore what seemed like a super interesting series. The fact that buying the second got me the first for free didn’t hurt my decision either. Thanks, Steam. My memory’s the literal worst, but let’s see if I can keep these two games separate in my head. I beat both in a relatively short time period, and they’re really very similar. Some may say number two is “more of the same”, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.

I remember starting up the first game and being scared. I own a laptop that’s now over three years old. You can understand my nerves when starting a game that I’ve never played on this thing before. Most games released these days simply won’t run at an acceptable framerate. I expected the art style of this would mean it would work fine, but then I was looking at cutscenes that appear to animate at around four frames per second. I soon realized that this was just the way the game was animated. It’s an interesting choice, but I suppose they can get away with this due to the only action in these games being when you’re solving puzzles. The stuttery nature of the animation then just became another layer of charm on this already super charming adventure/puzzle game.

The whole game, both of them, really, just have a super minimalist approach, but at the same time are treated with tremendous care, from the story, to each character living in Scoggins. Each resident you meet has a crazy quirk or interesting twist to them that makes each easy to remember. Puzzles aside, exploring the town of Scoggins and meeting its residents is as compelling (or even more so) as any of the puzzles. I of course won’t spoil the plot threads, but just know that these games definitely keep things interesting. Going into these, I had no idea I’d be chasing [CENSORED] and that I’d find out that they’re [CENSORED] that come from [CENSORED]! Crazy stuff. For just ten dollars, I couldn’t recommend this game more, even to just experience the story.

But hey, there’s also puzzles in these games. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Earlier I alluded to the story and overall setting possibly being more interesting to the puzzles. Well, let me be more clear and say that yes, I found that to be the case. Not to say that the puzzle were bad, but they just were forced to take a back seat to everything else going on. The puzzles were a means to see the next story element play out, and usually not a whole lot more. There are the few really interesting puzzles scattered in there for sure. I sometimes felt like a genius after figuring out coins were representing binary code for example. But the majority seem to be either really simple, or rehashes of ones you’ve seen previously at some point. The latter is especially the case in the second game, which I suppose would have been easy to predict after they were already repeating a bit too often by the end of the first game.

Overall I'd say they're great games worth playing. Just don't expect the most inspired puzzles in the world.

Special thanks to Whiskey user Mushir for designing our new PTW banner, which I’ve placed within my blog banner template because it was easy and looks awesome, even mostly cut off. :)

I would assume (possibly wrongly) that anyone who would read my blogs also would be at least aware of the podcast that I’ve been participating in with two other Whiskey Media users. In case that assumption was indeed wrong, it’s called Pass the Whiskey, and it’s intended to focus on showcasing all of the cool things that the Whiskey Media community are up to. My partners in crime and I collaborate every other week to create this thing. We sit in front of our computers in a Skype call, all hoping that Slowbird’s computer cooperates and records properly. We really have little idea what we’re doing, but that just makes things all the more exciting! Will we have to re-record this entire section? Will Newten’s voice randomly sound like a robot from time to time? Who could possibly say?! But seriously, if any technical difficulties are apparent on the podcast, just know that we know, and that we just aren’t experienced enough to ensure that it’s flawless 100% of the time. I’d say that we can guarantee flawlessness in about 20% of each recording. Take the deal; that’s the best we can offer.

Random tangent: Don’t you just love words with a double “ess“? They’re great. Words like necklessness and flawlessness, make my day. Are they real words? I couldn’t even say for certain, nor do I care. I love them.

Not to, like, recruit you dear readers or anything like that, but if you want to suggest anything for us to feature on the podcast (from ANY of the Whiskey sites), any of us would be super happy to get a PM about such things. Or if you’re so inclined, you can also send an email to askptwanything@gmail.com. We’re also on Twitter and such, but I’ll just link to this previous episode’s post where you can find all of this info towards the bottom. This is a podcast about the community after all, so we’d love to hear more from all of you. I recommend checking out our formspring page. Last recording, ZombiePie thoroughly tainted our question pool, and next episode it could be you! I kid. Don’t follow ZombiePie’s poor example. Keep it appropriate, please. :)

I’m trying to think of anything else I want to say about this. I guess just that I was nervous going into it, but having done it a few times now, I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable in a recording environment. It’s exciting to create something in the audio format. I’ve written plenty of blogs, but this is a whole new world where people are subjected to my awful voice as well as my lack of preparation. Oh, I have to be ready and on top of everything? These concepts are foreign to me and my written ways. I’m trying to get better at speaking and such, but I’ve never been the best speaker. I know, I’m perfect for a podcast, right?

You can find our most recent (episode three) podcast posting on all of the Whiskey sites, including right here on Giant Bomb. I think I can safely speak for Slowbird and Sparklykiss when I say that we’d love for you to check it out.

I’ve decided that I have a few things to mention that don’t necessarily warrant a dedicated section and header, sooo, I’ll just leave those thing here! ...Yep!

Team Fortress: The Second

Literally anyone with a computer now can play TF2 for free. This is amazing for people like me who never bought the game on PC over the years, but probably terrible for everyone who did. I can see why some players wouldn’t want a bunch of new players flooding servers, but really this is for the best. Eventually all of the awful players (myself included) will learn the ropes and there’ll be that many more people to play against. Just, please forgive me when you Ubercharge me and I then proceed to run around like an idiot and not get a kill. That’s happened a couple of times and I’ve felt really bad about it.

I’ve gotten the chance to play on the Giant Bomb/Tested server a couple of times now, and it’s been a great time. Despite playing while listening to stories of Ryan being a narc and Jeff hating Applebee's, I’m still able to concentrate enough to get a few kills and capture some points from time to time. Last time I played this was on the Orange Box back when it first launched on 360. It’s obviously changed a lot, and I’m still grappling with all of the changes, but I’m liking it and getting the hang of it the more I play. I hope to see you guys on the server in the future.

Terraria

This was a Steam Sale pickup for me, and and I couldn’t be happier to get it at just $2.50. There seems to be a ton of depth to this game (pun totally and completely intended), but there’s also very little instruction. You’re kinda just thrown into the world and told to go. I’ve fumbled my way around enough to build some giant words and carve out a cave or two, but I’m still trying to figure out how exactly to advance and what I should be doing. It’s a really neat game, though.

If you guys didn’t already know, there’s an official Giant Bomb Terraria server that you can check out. It’s pretty amazing the things that have been built. Sadly, there have been some jerks coming in and ruining the world, so entry is restricted to anyone on a whitelist. Just send a PM to Shadowsquire and he’ll make sure you’re able to get in. It would be nice to have some more activity in the server.

Steam Sale Purchases

  • Chime
  • Terraria
  • Puzzle Agent
  • Puzzle Agent 2 (Even though these weren’t on sale... >.>)
  • Secret of Monkey Island SE
  • Monkey Island 2 SE
  • Fallout 3 GOTY

I didn’t spend a boat load of cash, but considering my brokeness, I probably should have just chosen one or two of those. Overall, I’m happy with each of them. I’d be more happy if Fallout 3 would run at higher than 25 frames per second, but what can I do? Oh right, not buy games I can’t run. Oh Steam sales. I just can’t resist you.

There’s a look at what I’ve been up to. My weekly blog plans have obviously flown off the rails a bit as of late, but maybe this will get me back on track for a while. Thanks again to Alaska_Gamer for the inspiration.

I really do like to write these blogs, but it’s hard when I’m not feeling myself. I don’t know what you’d call this funk I’ve been in. Maybe depression. Maybe something else entirely. Luckily, I do have someone to talk to through all of this. I’m just trying desperately not to let myself push this person away, because I’m honestly not sure what I’d do without this person.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads this. As much as I say that I do these for myself, it’s always nice to know that people are reading what I’ve written, and in some cases being inspired by it (and others) to write for themselves. So leave a comment. I’d love to read all of your opinions on the things I’ve mentioned (or even things I haven’t mentioned). Oh, and last thing: Thanks to Mracoon and ZombiePie for featuring me in the Community Spotlight as this week’s community starlet. I’m definitely very honored to be considered worth mentioning. I’ll do my best to keep contributing to not just Giant Bomb, but all of Whiskey Media. These sites have given me a lot, and I’m always happy to give back however I can.

Have a great week, everyone.

<3

--JJ

Posted by ArclightBorealis

Good blog, man. Glad to have inspired you to right more of these. What comes around goes around, or whatever the hell you say.

Really wanna try Puzzle Agent. Sounds cool, and and my recent foray into Telltale's other games has me even more interested.

Edited by JJWeatherman

@Alaska_Gamer said:

Good blog, man. Glad to have inspired you to right more of these. What comes around goes around, or whatever the hell you say.

Sounds about right... :P And thanks.

Yeah, if you're into adventure games right now, you should play Puzzle Agent. It's not exactly an adventure game, but... it sort of is. ...With puzzles! I dunno. Play it. :)

Posted by mracoon

Nice to see you back and blogging.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

Yea, Team Fortress 2 has changed a lot since we lasted played it on the 360. Did you know that Valve has been updating it all this time? Who knew? (I'm not sure if you can tell if that's a joke or not, so let me say that it is a joke.)

Edited by JJWeatherman

@mracoon said:

Nice to see you back and blogging.

Thanks for calling me out on it in the spotlight. :)

@Video_Game_King said:

Yea, Team Fortress 2 has changed a lot since we lasted played it on the 360. Did you know that Valve has been updating it all this time? Who knew? (I'm not sure if you can tell if that's a joke or not, so let me say that it is a joke.)

That's a joke? Where's the punchline?

Posted by RTSlord

Puzzle agent keeps sounding cooler and cooler. and team fortress is certainly a lot to jump into (i got it the day it went f2p) but its a ton of fun to play on the giantbomb/tested server cause there guys you know or recognize. during the last bombing run i remember i was going out of my way just to kill you weatherman once i knew you were on :)

Posted by Mento

Oh hey, it's this guy again.

Great blog, but don't feel you have to work any harder because you're a Starlet now. Lord knows I don't.

Puzzle Agent 2 will be the first thing I look for when the Black Friday Steam sale hits. The first was a lot of fun, and not entirely because of the puzzles. But I have so much impulse-bought Steam stuff to play through until then, so waiting will be easy.

Moderator
Posted by JJWeatherman

@RTSlord said:

... during the last bombing run i remember i was going out of my way just to kill you weatherman once i knew you were on :)

That's it. Official rivalry is on. :)

@Mento said:

Oh hey, it's this guy again.

Great blog, but don't feel you have to work any harder because you're a Starlet now. Lord knows I don't.

Puzzle Agent 2 will be the first thing I look for when the Black Friday Steam sale hits. The first was a lot of fun, and not entirely because of the puzzles. But I have so much impulse-bought Steam stuff to play through until then, so waiting will be easy.

Yep, this guy. :P

I too have quite a few Steam impulse buys that need playing. I should get on that.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Man, that's a great intro banner!

I'm in the exact same situation in regards to Team Fortress 2. My only issue right now is there is something wrong with this computer I built, and I keep getting blue screens. I just want to be a good medic without getting disconnected at the worst possible moments. :(

Have you had a chance to play when Will/Gary are on? It's a great vibe, and a lot of people start using voice communication with Will giving orders and such. I don't see better teamwork anywhere else.

Posted by rmanthorp

Got the boot to start writing more then. :P

Great work as expected. I managed to come out of the steam sale relatively unscathed as I was moving house, still somehow managed to buy 3 games...

Moderator
Posted by laserbolts

Great read as always. Makes me want to buy a pc but I want a really good one if I'm gonna get one and they are not cheap. Time to start saving.

Posted by Psycosis

Considering this is one of the blogs that convinced me to start, great to see you're writing again!

Man I should really get Puzzle Agent 2, I just need to get some cash. : < Not sure how I feel about puzzles taking a backseat to the story (but yeah makes sense with how the first one ended) and being repeated throughout. Maybe I'll just wait for Telltale to bundle PA2 with everything like they did with the first one.

Posted by RTSlord
@JJWeatherman said:

@RTSlord said:

... during the last bombing run i remember i was going out of my way just to kill you weatherman once i knew you were on :)

That's it. Official rivalry is on. :)


its on alright :)
Edited by JJWeatherman

@Vito_Raliffe said:

Have you had a chance to play when Will/Gary are on? It's a great vibe, and a lot of people start using voice communication with Will giving orders and such. I don't see better teamwork anywhere else.

Yeah, I played with Will, Norm, Gary, AND Braga a couple nights ago. It was a good time. I killed Norm and Will a lot. Whitta and Braga were on my team for a lot of it, but I totally would have killed them, too. :P

@Rufi91 said:

Got the boot to start writing more then. :P

Great work as expected. I managed to come out of the steam sale relatively unscathed as I was moving house, still somehow managed to buy 3 games...

Don't worry. I think 3 games is the bare minimum. Any less and you could be arrested for resisting a sale.

@laserbolts said:

Great read as always. Makes me want to buy a pc but I want a really good one if I'm gonna get one and they are not cheap. Time to start saving.

I WISH I could afford a nice PC. I need money for that. I need a job for money. Uggh. :/

@Psycosis said:

Considering this is one of the blogs that convinced me to start, great to see you're writing again!

:O

I had no idea. That makes me happy. :)

@RTSlord said:

@JJWeatherman said:

@RTSlord said:

... during the last bombing run i remember i was going out of my way just to kill you weatherman once i knew you were on :)

That's it. Official rivalry is on. :)

its on alright :)

Like Donkey Kong.