Saturday, 31 January 2009

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

january 2009 indie games roundup

from gametunnel

Nothing really makes me want to go out and play it, but the last entry in the list is certainly worth reading about.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sugoro Quest

A quite unusual old console RPG covered on GameSetWatch, worth reading about for design pondering.


yeah, sitting through the long pre-final-fight dialog multiple times does not sound appealing at all, and there are supposedly multiple endings, so I'd really rather just watch the ends... but nobody seems to have put the endings on youtube? Argh. Argh argh argh. Stupid game.

Monday, 26 January 2009

performance anxiety

I have fought my way to the final boss in Aquaria, but I'm sufficiently afeared of my ability to actually make it through the whole multi-stage fight that I'm tempted to just watch the ending videos. :)

more stuff no one cares about

Apparently Joystiq is merging DSFanboy up into other nintendo news and pulling it back to their own site.

From a branding perspective, it's not illogical. I hadn't even realise that was PART of joystiq.

On the other hand, I have no interest in reading general nintendo news, I don't own a wii. And combining them makes me worry that more-niche, weird-import-related DS news items will fade out in favor of more mainstream stuff.

If I had the time, I might want to make "DS Fangirl"? :) But I don't.

Oh, and I finally got my christmas copy of Time Hollow - imported and only barely breaking the re-announced europe release date of 'next month'. And it's still in its packaging. Too busy!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

fading lustre

Over the weekend, I was really obsessed with Aquaria. I got bunches of new forms and ran all over the place exploring stuff and digging up treasures. Was stumped a few times and looked up hints, but generally kept playing and hearing the music even in my sleep.

For some reason, my enthusiasm dropped off completely on finding Li. I dunno, running around the ocean just doesn't feel the same with this weird guy tagging along. From the descriptions, Naija is experiencing stuff I can't experience or understand... I feel no kinship here, I'm unimpressed. Especially since I can't ask him anything. Finally finding a person should mean being able to share stuff and get reactions! But he's just a lump. He'll probably do something eventually, especially when I find the right location to drag him to (guess that wall wasn't it). But the obsessive need to swim around and find more stuff has dwindled. I didn't even launch the game for a day.

(Also, I complain that wall-climbing is TOO HARD. Whine whine whine. And even if I finally made it through the passage and across the bubbles there'd probably be some dumb monster there that would totally kill me as a reward for spending hours trying to reach it.)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

frog in your throat

once I watched a video of how to do it, that boss which had been destroying me became much EASIER than the 'straightforward' fighty minibosses...

(I knew the general idea but was missing an important part which the video made clear: LETTING GO. Oops.)

even yet still more free

While the site has been practically dead lately, today on Game Giveaway there's a large-size adventure game. Get it while it lasts.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


So, thanks to Fork's tip, I downloaded it to try out.

Graphically it's got that fondly-familiar clunkiness that reminds me a bit of Diablo. Gameplay is slightly irritating in some ways (hold down mouse AND control to keep attacking?) No one minds when you loot their houses.

There are lots of little touches that make me laugh. The vampire's backstory is suitably over the top, and she makes silly comments a lot while playing. Blood puddles spread under bodies when you kill them. Sometimes when you kill people you hack off a limb and red pixels fountain from the stump for a while as they die. It doesn't look realistic at all, so instead of making me ew, it makes me laugh.

It's also really funny when you smash skeletons, and they fall down, then a few seconds later they get up again and you knock them down again and their heads fall off and you steal their heads, then the headless body gets up again and you have to knock it down again...

The game is cute enough in its way. But I have SO much to do right now! I suspect I may let it pass and worry about it later.

blundering through aquaria

As I may have mentioned earlier, I am a walkthrough kind of girl. I used to buy strategy guides. I have no shame about looking things up. If the game is hard and I am not having fun thwapping it, I have no problem with playing straight through the game from the walkthrough without even trying it alone. (That said, I prefer walkthroughs written in a way that following their instructions also teaches you how to play and shows you where the hints were.)

However, I haven't yet sought help on Aquaria since the demo. I die a lot, and it really pisses me off, and I have found a few things that I have no clue what to do with, but I haven't run out of places to go and things to try. And I can 'read the gamestyle' well enough to often have some clue whether I *should* be able to get past an obstacle or not. Some stuff seems clearly to be waiting for me to gain extra powers and come back later. But I solved a puzzle I didn't completely know was there simply by getting the idea that I was meant to be able to go there at this stage, so there must be a way to do it, so what tools do I have? Aha!

Reached a boss monster, got killed by it, but as far as I know I had figured out the strategy, just gotten tired and failed to pull it off on my first try. So I'm not looking for help on her yet either.

I do get really tired of that auto-zoom-in thing though. For one, it bugs me when I'm pausing to look for monsters and the scope is trying to hide them from me (although maybe that's the point? Keep swimming or die!). For another, after playing the game, I find that looking at the computer screen tends to make me dizzy, as I feel like the computer is trying to zoom in and out at me...

EDIT: Since beating that boss failed to give me any idea of what to do next, I did have to start searching for hints at that point. Foo. Things I looked up: what the metal balls are for, where to find fish form, which I already knew existed because of food items.

got more time than money?

just announced:

Version 4.0 of the King's Quest I Remake has been released
today. This version includes many new features, enhanced backgrounds,
lip-synced speech, a new narrator voice track for all in-game background
comments, as well as a new "No Dead-Ends" mode, which is designed to be
kinder to new players.

For more information, see this forum thread:

Visit the link below to download your Enhanced copy of King's Quest I
Version 4.0 today!

so there you go, if you haven't drowned in games yet, I'm doing my best to help!

more free than free

Apparently GameTap is now a bit more welcoming to those outside the US, and I can at least poke at their free game sections. Without even having to register an account, so far. Which means I can download Sacred and play it with only whatever evil they insert into their free games (are there ads? I dunno yet) for the next five days. By which time the GOG sale will be over... But, as I said, not a huge savings anyway.

Enh, if the game is reasonably cool on testing, I may as well buy it and add it to my stack... The trials and tribulations of game research!

Friday, 16 January 2009


Playing through The Ancient Quest of Saqqarah - yes, that's right, the one with the monkey - as my casual game of the month. Have completed two temples on the first difficulty level so far. Really hate the temple of bast. And not only because the game's female archetypes seem to only come in 'madonna' and 'whore' :)

In Aquaria, have found the kelp forest, sections of which have slightly fewer things trying to kill me. Found my 'first' turtle, which surprised me as I knew I'd found one before... but it looks like that was yet another bit of exploration which was wiped out by a Stupid Pointless Death at some point early in the game. So I trundled all the way back to my home cave (and checked on the chest of bubbles I'd managed to find in a completely black offscreen area) to 'find' the other turtle. Then wanderered around to check out the bits near my home cave that were still showing up as unexplored on the map... and had yet another stupid pointless death. Sigh.

I think what bugs me is that it's exploration and happiness specifically which are dangerous. If I'm in a hurry to get from point A to point B (and know roughly what path I'm taking), I can generally outswim and outdodge most monsters in my way, even those firing projectiles. But if I'm going "Oo, look, a big snail!" and pausing to take it in, or crawling every nook and cranny for stuff, I have to kill everything that moves or die myself. Which wouldn't be strange in some settings, but feels weirder with all the pretty around me.

RPG Weekend Sale

at Good Old Games - 15% off for the weekend

I feel like I'm having to single-handedly fight the recession, all these games I've been buying lately! But I still haven't bought Sacred and this might be a good time to do it. On the other hand, 15% off of $9.99 isn't actually that much, so if I don't, no biggie...

Thursday, 15 January 2009


So I noticed the price had been lowered and therefore bought myself a copy.

Jumping back into the game after a long break was a bit disconcerting.

Swim swim swim, ooo pretty shiny ocean! Look, an interesting object to mark on my map! Look, a glowing thing that will love me! Look, some fish that are swimming ACK STOP OH GOD MY LEG

... basically, my happy mood of going around looking at stuff keeping being interrupted by stuff randomly deciding to kill me. I say randomly because it's not at all clear when looking at the visuals what is and isn't hostile. Some things are just art and will dance around happily with you as you swim and spin. Some will leave you alone if you leave them alone but if you happen to swim up next to them they will leave spikes in your flesh and you will bleed. Some will chase you down, spitting fireballs and ramming into your swimsuit-clad body at high speed.

To survive, I find myself stuck in my 'DARK POWER' form, firing energy bolts like they're about to expire. Sometimes, my dark power form laughs an evil laugh. I suspect some later plot development will tell me that I am a terrible person who is responsible for destroying the ecosystem or some crap like that. Look, no matter how much you want to save the whales, it's not the top thing on your mind when the whale is CHEWING THROUGH THE COASTLINE TO GET TO YOUR HOUSE AND EAT YOU.

Every time I get killed when I was happily exploring, I get more annoyed and return to the game in an angry hurry to try and get to where I was, therefore failing to 'explore' the same areas that I've already been to, potentially missing out on important thingies. And eventually I get annoyed enough to exit the game entirely. Bah.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

is this all there is?

I tried the demo for Crayon Physics Deluxe. It was cute and groovy and relaxing, but the entire demo took twenty minutes and was never challenging.

and on that subject

since I was also discussing "Games for Girlz!" elsewhere, I will note that it's quite hard to find reviews of things like:

All Star Cheer Squad

Ener-G Gym Rockets

Ener-G Horse Rider

My Boyfriend

I expect these games probably aren't very good. But how am I supposed to tell? Nobody reviews this stuff!

DS piracy nonsense

Sadly, I am aware that there is a lot of DS pirating going on out there... and some of the bastards are really brazen about it too, happily advertising all over google adsense their '80 in 1' rom collections, and neither the sites nor adsense seem to give a damn. I would really like to see those people stopped.

But reading articles on the subject is also baffling.

If you happen to own the standard DS though, you're faced with a tantalizing moral dilemma. To pirate or not to pirate?

and in a comment:

So why do I do it? Because it so damn easy to do.

No. No, it isn't. The dilemna is not staring you in the face and it is not so damn easy to do.

With casual PC games, there is a whole insane search-engine-spam system going on frantically copying links to rapidshared game copies to every blog they can, because they know Google is extremely hesitant to act on piracy complaints. A standard search for the name of any casual game - especially ones that haven't even been released yet - will reveal DOZENS of pirate copies of the game right there for you to download at the click of a button. Heck, sometimes, the actual site the game is sold on is buried out of sight beneath pages of piracy links.

It is, in some cases, harder for a potential customer to find the real game to buy than to just swipe it free.

This is not the case with the DS. If you want to pirate games, you first have to investigate the whole piracy things. You have to find out HOW to do it. You can't just fall into it by accident. The steps may be simple enough, but you have to learn them. And you have to go buy specialised equipment that is almost entirely for the purposes of piracy. (Yes, there's some homebrew. But seriously, how many people with the equipment are using it solely for that?) You can't just stick your toe in the water, downloading a game quickly thinking it means nothing, or somehow being misled that what you're doing is legal. (Unless you were suckered into one of those 80-in-1 things and failed to realise they were bootleg.)

Dumbass pirates comment that the DS games are too expensive. They're not cheap, no, except for the handful of bargainware. And if you live in the UK it's even worse. (Which is why I import!) But the equipment for stealing the games isn't cheap either. From what I understand, you have to make a BIGGER upfront investment if you want to be a thief. You have to decide outright that you would rather spend a lot of money on stealing games and not to spend that money on buying them.

The game is already cheaper than beginning to steal. Making games even cheaper, probably not affecting much.

Anyway. The DS has not presented me with a "tantalising moral dilemna". Not in the slightest. I have NEVER felt in the slightest bit tempted to put a pirate game on my DS. I'm not saying this to be holier-than-thou, I will also admit that if I had a working DS emulator, I might be interested in checking out ROMs of dubious games which are probably too crap to buy, but which have gone under the radar of the mainstream games press and therefore have few/no reviews and no way for me to learn much about them. I don't currently have a DS emulator at all (please don't link to them in comments here) so it's obviously not a burning desire. But I might do it, and I wouldn't consider it particularly harmful.

Buying equipment designed only for stealing? Never. What's wrong with you people?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Saturday, 10 January 2009

to each their own

While I suspect this recent addition to the Good Old Games catalog is not for me, I have to be amused by certain details of the description and reader reviews.

Robinson's Requiem and Deus are survival games at their core, and they are even more brutal than many roguelikes. That is saying a hell of a lot.


I was quite impressed by the complexity of the world not to mention the attention to detail. Never before was your character able to contract all kinds of diseases and ailments.


The only game that allows a person to cut off all of their limbs! How could you not buy a game with a feature that awesome ;)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Our Princess is In Another Gift Box

So, I was reading this post regarding a Japanese dating sim on the DS (which I have not played, and can't comment much on specifically.)

And while there's a whole 'nother issue primarily being discussed there, there was also the line I've heard before, about how wickedly un-feminist dating sims are because of the way they objectify women, and therefore they are unspeakably awful and everyone who plays them should be ashamed. But are they really?

In an awful lot of classic video games, there was a Damsel In Distress standing around in the background. She often never spoke, other than to say "HELP!", or to express love for the hero when he finally saved her. Rescuing damsels is usually rewarded by a kiss, or an immediate offer of marriage. Sometimes the damsel is the hero's pre-existing girlfriend. Sometimes she's just a random girl (especially if she's a princess). It doesn't particularly matter. She doesn't care who the hero is or what he's like, he's a HERO. He stomped baddies. He is rewarded with sex and love.

Similarly, the hero may have no idea who this chick is, but he's stuck with her anyway. You can't choose not to marry the princess, or try to get to know her first. You stomped baddies, you get the prize.

Now compare this with a dating sim. Even in the worst (Newgrounds, I'm looking at you!) you have to make some effort to make the girl of your dreams like you. Sometimes that just means loading her up with presents until she finally consents to go out with you (or rather more than that, depending on the game). Other times, you have to carefully pay attention to her likes and dislikes in order to impress her... or spend time with her and help her through life experiences so that the two of you grow closer together.

Is this really a less-feminist, more-degrading representation of women?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

(I fell in love with) The Majesty of Colors

Neat little flash story-game with a few different endings to explore. And tentacles. Everything is better with tentacles. (No, it's not pervy.)

wacky japanese rhythm thing

There's this game. This very strange game. WarioWare, rhythm-game style, strange.

I have little firsthand experience (just staring at youtube videos) so I link to this review of the Japanese version.

Supposedly it will come out in English... eventually.

clone degradation

There is a new game out, Satisfashion, which is clearly trying to follow in the footsteps of Jojo's Fashion Show, of which I have blogged before. Many elements are similar, and the graphics (of the characters at least) are actually superior... more colorful, more fun. But the gameplay itself completely missed the point.

Jojo's started by trying to explain a style to you. They gave you a whole long list of elements that related to each style. Red, Leather, Tight, Low-Cut - these all might be elements of one style. So you'd know that if you saw an outfit that was loose, purple, and flowing, it probably didn't match.

This game seems to have decided that working out all those style details is way too much trouble. (Well, it probably IS a lot of work.) Instead, they assign all clothing items to categories, and you find out which category an item belongs to by hovering your mouse over it and looking at the little symbol that's displayed.

Which means that instead of looking at clothing and evaluating styles, it all comes down to some sort of frantic click-the-matching-sign and the clothes are practically irrelevant. This show's symbol is Pink Flower? Quick, mouse over everything and click on whatever says Pink Flower!

I assume it gets more complicated later when you have multiple styles in play and you have to try to remember which outfit best matched which symbol, but at least clicking through the first few rounds of it, it felt dull. Fast-paced and VERY shiny colored, but not really engaging gameplay wise. (And the makeup/wigs were AWFUL. I winced, having to turn those cute girls into such bizarre looking things!)

You get to add your own pattern/color to clothes at a few points as a 'design' element, but it doesn't feel really creative enough to be exciting... more like a waste of time.

multiplayer ds...

... I wish I could find more to do with it. The only game we actually own two copies of in this household is Mario Kart, and we play pretty much constantly. We do rounds of Download Play Meteos occasionally, and it's okay, but it's not a sufficiently varied experience for us to want to buy another copy. Most suggestion lists for games to play together start with Mario Kart, mention a couple of games with apologies that they're so-so even in the minds of the suggestor AND require two copies, and then trail off in despair.

A long time ago there were hints of Gauntlet DS, and that could be fun, but it's been constantly delayed, probably due to encroaching suck. Wah.

Monday, 5 January 2009

hearts are wild

So, I got around to trying Heartwild Solitaire, a game I mentioned once before. It's quite pretty, with relaxing piano music and luxurious backgrounds. However, even with plenty of forewarning, it was still rather shocking to START the game, without having even played any cards yet, in a nasty violent romantic situation, bleeding and fleeing from my abusive partner. I wonder how well this plays with the casual audience? (And what does it say about the average casual player if it goes over well?)

Anyway, the game itself is more enticing than standard solitaire for me due to the prettiness and unusual card layouts. You have only so many 'special' powers (like the ability to turn over the holder deck and play them again, or shuffle all cards, or even just to retry the level) so you can run out, get stuck, and 'lose' - but this only means your current score goes to the highscore list as is, and you continue from that point with a clean zero and a fresh set of powers.

It's not exactly pulse-pounding excitement, but who expects that from solitaire?

BFG Demo

Sunday, 4 January 2009

cheating? nonsense...

Reading the solutions to a logic puzzle game is not cheating when there's a strong tendency for SOMETIMES the game to ask trick questions, where you're required to find the logical flaw in the instructions in order to win, and other times you're supposed to completely ignore holes in the logic...

For instance, take this puzzle.

When you weren't looking, someone came by and gobbled up your fish dinner. The three brothers near the scene of this dastardly crime had this to say:
A: "Me? Oh yeah, I ate it. It was good too!"
B: "I saw A eat the fish right up!"
C: "B and I didn't eat that fish."
One of these three brothers is lying to you, but which one is it?

My first decision was that B is the liar - A ate the fish, but B didn't actually see it. This allows both A and C to be telling the truth.

The answer given by the game is that C is the liar, because A and B have corroborating stories, and if only one is the liar, then it must be C, and therefore both A and C ate the fish.

This makes no sense to me, possibly because of a translation error... B says he saw A eat the fish "right up", which strongly implies that A ate the entire fish. Which makes B's story not compatible with the game's solution. My answer makes more sense. In my opinion.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

free games for the new year

The holiday season may or may not have you stuffed full with big name expensive games, so clearly this is the perfect time to load up on cool retro/remakes for free!

Best Freeware 'Remakes' of 2008

Legal ROMs

Friday, 2 January 2009

Top Indie Games of 2008

courtesy of Game Tunnel

Sports Game of the Year
Strategy Game of the Year
Puzzle Game of the Year
Adventure Game of the Year
Sim Game of the Year
RPG Game of the Year
Action Game of the Year
Game of the Year: Special Awards
Top 10 Independent Games of the Year

as time goes by

Apparently one of my long-ago Neverwinter Nights modules was just 'inducted' into the Hall Of Fame. Not that this really means much, since it's an automated process having to do with automatically picking the top rated modules that hadn't been put in yet, and they eventually got to me. It's NWN1, not 2, and last I heard wouldn't even run properly under modern patches.