Saturday, 29 March 2008

the world according to clay

The Neverhood. It's an old adventure game. I won it as a prize in... something. I'm not sure what. Maybe it was an IF Comp prize one year?

I could never play it, though, because I couldn't get it running on my machine. It was designed for Windows 95, I think, with quite complicated graphics requirements for that time (I expect, what with all the animation and stuff) and just wouldn't work on whatever computer I had, which was well past 95 but probably didn't have exact compatibility with whatever the game was looking for.

At the moment, we have it running in Linux. Under WINE. Which does work.

It is a strange game. We have not played much, so I can't say much. It is all Claymation, and cutely so. It appears to be one of those deathless games - you can get things wrong, but you're never permanently stuck or dead. There is a poisonous mushroom, and if you keep trying to eat it, the character belches for increasingly long amounts of time in the hope that the player will get sick of it and stop.

It is also an argument for games as art. You can't play this and NOT think it's art. It's... WEIRD. And clay! And full of bizarre visual design and bizarre world design and the interactivity is part of the art, you could easily put this in a modern art museum.

Of course, we've also just found a very strange section where there's an INCREDIBLY long hallway covered with writing on the walls. The writing is stories, that don't seem to mean much but are funny and are not just Ipsum Lorem. But there are so many of them that story-lover though I am, I got sick of reading them and wanted to get on with the game (Especially since the interface for reading them is clumsy). The walkthrough I've glanced at says "You can read all this if you want, but it might take you a month or two." So... How do I feel about completely optional content? I feel bad for walking away without devouring every last drop of it, and I expect we'll probably come BACK and read more of it later... (annoyingly, the game makes you walk all the way to the end of said hall anyway, to pick up an item, then back to the beginning.)

War of the Worlds

Comic book version, readable online.

My other half has the WotW PC strategy game around somewhere, which obviously has a slightly different plot, in order to make a decent fight out of it. And uses the Jeff Wayne music, which I'm quite fond of, but in small repeating loop format as someone plays a strategy game for days can get irritating...

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

friendship babies!

Okay, I just glanced at the wikipedia entry for Harvest Moon DS Cute.

... PLEASE, somebody, find out if the US version includes 'best friends' you can have babies with? I HAVE TO KNOW!

edit: Unfortunately what little I can find so far suggests that they removed it, at least for the US. Bah. Despite my boredom with Rune Factory, I could not resist buying something that let you marry adorable girls together. :)

time for a rundown

So, there's an article about games from the 80s. I was around in the 80s, but rather small for some of them. How many of these games will I actually have played?

Raid On Bungeling Bay - Never heard of it.
3D Deathchase - Never heard of it.
M.U.L.E. - Heard of, never played.
Impossible Mission - Heard of, never played.
Scramble - With a name like that, I can't even tell if I've heard of it.
Lode Runner - I'm fairly sure I've played either some version of this or a clone of it. Maybe. Actually, I'm not sure.
Star Raiders - Nope.
The Sentinel - ... If there's going to be a lot of Spectrum on this list, I'm sunk.
Lords Of Midnight - see above
Pinball Construction Set - I have seen that cover art.
Emlyn Hughes International Soccer - I don't think I have *ever* played a soccer game. And I like it that way.
Ballblazer - Nope. Where are the Coleco games?
Thrust - Nope
Out Run - I don't know if I've played it or not, I certainly saw it around the arcades.
Missile Command - Yes. I am sure I have played this coinop. ... I think.
Dragontorc - The WHAT?
Archon - Aware of. Didn't play. I'm not doing so well at this, am I? I blame the fact that I was not in the UK in the 80s, and this author clearly was.
World Class Leaderboard - ... I can't say that I have never played a golf game, but I can say that I have never paid for one.
Zork - Embarassingly, I haven't actually played the original. Certainly familiar with it though.
Star Wars - No.
Exile - I've heard of it.
International Karate+ - No
MS Pac-Man - I think I can fairly say I've played it at SOME point...
Lunar Jetman - Enough with the Spectrum already!
Mega Man 2 - Finally, something on a system I owned! ... But no, didn't play this either.
Ikari Warriors - No
Ant Attack - I have heard storied legends of it. But no.
Koronis Rift - Never heard of it.
Final Fantasy - ... actually, no.
Uridium - The what now?
R-Type - I think I may have played Super R-Type.
Boulder Dash - YES! Finally something I can say with certainty. I had the Boulder Dash Construction Kit. I made levels.
Robotron: 2084 - Nope. Probably why I didn't go gaga over Ultratron.
Rainbow Islands - This review is nuts. I played Bubble Bobble. People I knew were familiar with Bubble Bobble. Rainbow Islands was completely unknown to us.
Metroid - ... No.
Paradroid - Not familiar with it at all.
Contra - Definitely familiar with. Probably never played.
The Legend Of Zelda - Well, of course I played that! What do you take me for? :)
The Hobbit - Yes. And it drove me insane. And I never won. I still have nightmares involving >HIT THE GOBLIN WITH THE SWORD ... Okay, that's a lie.

Ultima IV: Quest Of The Avatar - No. Never played any Ultima.
Dungeon Master - ... nope.
Maniac Mansion - The NES version, yes.
Prince Of Persia - I think my dad put a pirated version of the very early game on a PC I owned. In CGA. Not knowing much of anything about it, I didn't play more than a few minutes.
Sim City - No.
Defender - Coin-op, at some point.
Donkey Kong - And FINALLY the author mentions the existence of the Colecovision! Yes, I played Donkey Kong.

Tempest - No, but I'm certainly familiar with it.
Super Mario Bros 3 - Played it, bashed it to pieces with a Game Genie. Not literally.
Tetris - Can you actually avoid playing Tetris? I think it's like a virus.
Elite - The what? :)

Sunday, 23 March 2008

get it while it lasts

Fatal Hearts is the Easter freebie at Giveaway Of The Day. So, for the next few hours, you can download it to play for free. Miss it and it's gone.

Friday, 21 March 2008

buckles and velvets and silks, oh my!

By the last stages of Jojo's, you get goth clothes too. Whee!

Immortal Defense

is currently being featured over on Play This Thing. For those of you interested in mixing story with shooty-games, you may wish to take a look.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

so I gave in

and bought Jojo's Fashion Show, but from Reflexive Arcade. Because they were willing to charge me the price that everyone else gets charged, willing to take my paypal payment so I didn't have to dig out my credit card, not trying to sign me up for recurring billing, not throwing a fit that I'm in the UK, and generally just happy to have my money.

Sadly, I'm also aware that Reflexive Arcade games get more heavily pirated than probably any other portal. I don't think it has anything to do with the specific things that drive me crazy - overcharging the British really has no effect on keygens - but it's enough to make SOME people feel that any insanity on the part of other sellers must be worthwhile. Sigh. Anyway, if you don't like being hassled, buy from these guys.

And to remind you why I had to buy the game:

Free Image Hosting at

Dressing up girls in ridiculous punk outfits! Sparkly lights! Hippie clothes! Fun!

Friday, 14 March 2008

accidental challenge

First, a car commercial that is also a tribute to an old video game.

I first encountered Spy Hunter in a computer store. Possibly I was hanging around in the store my dad worked at part-time for employee discount purposes, waiting for him to be done. Possibly I was hanging around in some other store he'd taken me to in order to look at computers whose details didn't quite interest me yet. (That is, I could see that the graphics on the Amiga looked cooler than the graphics on my computer, but that's about as much as I could say about hardware.)

Anyway, this game was set up and running on a computer, and I was absently playing with it, via the joystick. (My computer at home also had a joystick. This seemed obvious. You needed a joystick to play games. I suspect we didn't have mice yet.)

When my dad wasn't working at the computer store, he was a pilot. And I was vaguely aware of little things about flying planes - like that you have to pull the stick 'down' in videogame terms in order to go up. So it didn't seem that strange to me that I was having to push the joystick 'down' to make the car go 'up'. It was a little weird that left and right were also reversed, but I wasn't totally sure if planes did that or not.

It took me quite a while of playing to figure out that I was holding the joystick backwards.

something for everyone

Had your fill of rocket mania and pipe dreams? Now you can play the tentacle rape game version! Those Wacky... um, somebodies.

In other news, there seem to be a bunch of pet detective hidden object games coming out at the moment. Alas, I suspect that this one won't be joining them. (No, it's not pervy. But it is in Japanese. The game, not the link. The link's a review. In English. See how helpful I am?)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

potentially interesting DS game

Okay, I haven't picked up Rune Factory again since my early grumblings, and I'm pondering selling it off (it hasn't been released in Europe, so perhaps someone will be happy at spotting it on ebay?)

I have found a title that sounds potentially more interesting to me - The World Ends With You

Key factor for being interested is that it seems to be a lot more touch-screen controlled, and I'm apparently really picky about that. I want my DS games to be stylus heavy. It's also full of funky Japanese stuff, and I am sort of a weeaboo. There are screenshots, which still don't entirely express how it plays, and the official website is still mostly blank. So I certainly can't say "I will be getting this!" Just that I'm curious.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

game development back in the day

An interesting snippet (if you're a programmer-type geek) of the way things were back in the Atari console days.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

RIP Gary Gygax

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies at 69

I can't comment at the moment. There's a lot of thoughts in my head about age, about gaming, about influence, about what we leave behind, but nothing coherent.

other people's comments:

Order of the Stick

Penny Arcade

Monday, 3 March 2008

Sunday, 2 March 2008

how soon the lights were gone

It's weird reading the news page over at Iron Lore (people who did Titan Quest).

We're hiring! We're working on projects! We're winning awards! We're out of business.

Game companies can founder so swiftly. Please buy games from people you like.

more about dragonstone

The house's TV antenna snapped off in a storm and we haven't had it fixed yet, so at the moment I spend extra time playing games even if I'm not that into them.

Dragonstone is superduper shiny, all right. So full of graphics and animations that it has to have loading screens just to get to the world map. :) Oddly enough, there are still holes in the gameplay. Particularly with special items - powder kegs, medusae - that you're supposed to shoot colored balls at. Getting same-color groupings to match up and disappear is no problem. But things like powder kegs that you're supposed to shoot, a good amount of the time shooting won't actually work. You have to carefully hold your mouse over the item and move it around until you find a spot where the targeting cursor will suddenly activate - then fire before it goes away. So you can't just react on instinct - you can't just see a keg and shoot at it. Your ball will hit it, but the special effect WILL NOT ACTIVATE unless you got the targeting cursor to come up. And it's very fiddly, sometimes it comes up and then vanishes again.