Much thanks again to the patient viewers who tuned into the second installment of Spookin’ With Scoops on Wednesday night. I’ve finally given up on this quest to play and broadcast (recent) 3D games on this MacBook Air, and the feature will be better for it. We’ll table those games until I’ve built my PC next month, and return to them in a form that better serves the games and the viewing audience.
I’m researching how to build a pretty solid PC for $800 or so, and I’ll be dropping into Tested’s second annual Oktobercast on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PST to talk about building that box. Those guys will have been up for nearly 24 hours at that point, so I’m sure Norm, Will, and Gary will be in a great position to dispense useful advice that directly correlates to spending hundreds of dollars.
All that said, I’m happy this the turn of events prompted Clock Tower for the SNES. Had I been able to drive right into 3D games, it would have been months before I’d gone nostalgic. It turns out Clock Tower for SNES was a game well ahead of its time, from the multiple endings, convenient auto saving before death, and making the focus on running away from a monster, rather than engaging with it. It’s a game we’ll definitely be returning to a few times.
I should also point out that I’m currently reading a FAQ about Friday the 13th for NES...
Hey, You Should Play This
VVVVVV and Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh actually created Don’t Look Back in 2009, but as part of continued experimentation with mobile development, he’s ported Don’t Look Back onto iOS and Android. Having only learned about Cavanagh after VVVVVV, I’ve never played Don’t Look Back, but it comes highly recommended. It’s a short, difficult platformer with some action elements wrapped in a surprisingly touching story about dealing with the passing of a loved one. You can imagine why that might strike a chord. I found myself staring at my phone for a few minutes after I’d finished the game, flipping it between my fingers, considering its message. Sigh.
The less said about The Visit the better, really. Being surprised by what’s around the corner is what makes The Visit work, so rather than espousing a bunch of words about why The Visit works, I’m just going to suggest giving it a few minutes. Plus, you’ll need an emotional palette cleanser after Don’t Look Back, and The Visit guarantees laughs.
And You Should Read This, Too
- "Game Theory" by Lucy Kellaway for Financial Times
We all need a good look in the mirror every once in a while, and Lucy Kellaway gives video games (and us) that chance. It’s always fascinating to read observations about our favorite medium from the outside, and Kellaway is the perfect candidate. Kellaway was tasked with judging a series of games as part of GameCity, and went down a rabbit hole that included New Super Mario Bros. 2, Fez, Mass Effect 3, Proteus, Journey, and Johann Sebastian Joust. I’m not surprised Kellaway had the strongest reaction to Journey, a game that has prompted similar “oohs” from people I’ve shown it to without an affinity for games. It’s hardly shocking the games she gave the most credence to--Proteus, Journey--are ones very distanced from video game stereotypes. Her dismissal of Johann Sebastian Joust was interesting, and makes me curious if the incredible response to that one within the industry has more to do with our little exposure to physical games, making Joust fresh air to us but not those on the outside.
As a companion piece, critic Mattie Brice provides perspective on why Kellaway reacted the way she did.
“The next game to arrive is the sort of thing I’ve always hated from afar. Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing game: a big commercial sci-fi blockbuster about people in spacesuits killing each other. My elder son greeted the arrival with approval and got to work building a character to look like me. The result was a sleek avatar with pointy armoured breasts and two guns on her back, to whom I couldn’t relate in any way. I couldn’t make her walk in a straight line, let alone duck, aim and fire. I gave up and settled down with a glass of wine to watch my son play instead, deploying a skill that I would admire had not half his life been spent acquiring it. The amount of violence was both staggering and curiously untroubling: it was bland and empty – just like the game itself. Boring, sci-fi tosh, I wrote in my notebook. Alien both literally and metaphorically.”
If You Click It, It Will Play
I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool
- Braid artist (and my friend) David Hellman is pitching Second Quest, a Zelda-inspired comic.
- Chris Roberts has moved crowdfunding for Star Citizen onto Kickstarter. Seems like a good sign.
- Turns out there are people interested in targeting Android first, and Axle looks pretty great!
Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible
- Hard to argue with Crashtastic's name, or its pitch to allow you to crash shit into each other.
- Just about everything Incredipede is pitching has me running for my wallet.
- RGB is a platformer whose hook involves swapping between red, green, and blue colors to traverse.
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- It's too bad some ugly seeds continue to give the fighting game community such a bad reputation.
- Even if you hate Tom Chick, this is probably the best review of XCOM you're going to read.
- One of my favorite gaming authors, Tom Bissell, weighs in on Dishonored and the single-player game.
- The Walking Dead, a great game, is also provoking some great writing about its emotional depths.
- In the interest of More Horror Games, Zach Kotzer lists some non-traditional games that freaked him out.
- Linking to a Deviant Art page may put you off, but you're going to want to click on this one.
- A Giant Bomb user submitted an analysis of Xenoblade Chronicles to Medium Difficulty. It got published!
- Chris Dolan plays L.A. Noire with his father, who grew up in the 1940s.
- Guess what? Leigh Alexander made a text adventure.