Apparently I wasn't done with my pain for pleasure gaming philosophy. Although this time, I wasn't doing it because I wanted to play a game that has frustrated me for years and years, pretty much owning my soul. No, this time I wanted to enjoy a game that is purposely built to evoke pleasure from the pain of dying over and over and over and over and over and over and over … and over again.
Enter Super Meat Boy, the game about a sack of bloody meat platforming his way to his lady, saving her from the evil clutches of the antagonist. Literally, a bloody sack of meat. He runs and jumps with the best of them, yet unfortunately, his plight to save the damsel in distress is quite a hazardous one, as it is filled with fire, spikes and saw blades, among many other forms of capital punishment for a little dude made of meat.
And when I say “bloody,” I mean it. He leaves a trail of the bright red life substance everywhere he travels, whether he is walking, running or sliding down the side of a wall. Where that bag of meat hits a surface, bloody smears, leaving a lasting reminder where you have been – and in most cases – where you shouldn't go again. If you were to, let’s say, get demolished by a spinning saw blade, that blade will be stained for the remainder of the level, no matter how many times you die before you reach the goal.
Oh, and trust me, you will die. A lot. Death is unavoidable in this game, as the constant reminders of your failures linger in the level until you get the timing of your jumps and runs figured out perfectly. The best part about the constant and looming acknowledgement of death is the reward for finally beating the level; you get a highlight real (sped up of course) showing all your deaths in one constant stream of bloody sacks of meat being butchered. It’s enjoyable, yet somehow a bit sad once you realize you died 20+ on one level in the span of just a couple of minutes.
For those wondering, I picked this game up during this amazing Steam Summer Sale for a few bucks, despite having played it a long, long time ago. Remember, I like pain and punishment in my video games, remember?
Speaking of sad misery, the independent documentary called “Indie Games” can be found on Netflix, and it is a fantastic watch. In the film, they showcase three different games: Fez, Braid and of course, Super Meat Boy. It’s a fascinating watch, as it shows how hard it was for the two man team that made Super Boy Meat during the development of this game, and how close they came to never finishing it, because of many different factors. Sure, we all love these smaller, independent games, but it is often forgot how difficult it is for these smaller studios to make games we all love.
The film really makes you think differently about the industry, both in positive and negative ways. But it’s something you need to watch for yourself in order to form solid opinions.
As far as the game goes, there is only one opinion to be had. This game was designed to make you fail, and smile the whole time.
Steam Summer Sale.
The Steam Summer Sale is here.
The Steam Summer Sale is here.
The Steam Summer Sale is here! The Steam Summer Sale is here!
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!
THE STEAM SUMMER SALE IS HERE!!!
Yes, after a long, long, long wait, the Steam Summer Sale started a few days ago, and while I was greatly underwhelmed when it first started, my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store when I discovered the neat little tabs in the store titles "under $10" and "under $5." Forget all the big name, triple-A titles up for sale that I already own on consoles, for me, this sale is all about the smaller, lesser known indie games that are for sale for practically nothing. I bought eight games right off the bat, and haven't slowed down since then, compiling a cache of games to play for this stupid blog.
Speaking of which, I could write about the first game I ever bought from a Steam Summer Sale, that I played today, which was McPixel - bit honestly, that's just keeping me away from browsing and shopping in the Steam Store. I keep finding games, then talking myself out of buying the games, and then eventually buying in on a whim, because well, I have a problem.
So if you came to this posting to read about McPixel, I'm sorry. Not going to happen. It's like a couple of bucks, go buy it yourself. It's worth it. In the meantime, I'm going to be busy.
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I have officially gone crazy. You guys warned me. I didn't listen.
So tonight, I played Dear Esther. Well, I think I played Dear Esther. I took to Twitter while playing it, actually, stating that I thought I was playing this game wrong. After finishing it, I'm still not even sure if I played it correctly or not, but regardless, I played, finished it and, well, that's about it.
For some reason, I thought this game was going to be inspirational, motivational or thought-provoking. Instead, I'm left feeling like I wasted a lot of time sightseeing and not doing much of anything else. If there was a message to pick up from the game, I didn't get it. Shame on me, I suppose.
I played it with headphones on, getting the full audible experience. I couldn't tell at first if the narrator was just speaking about random things, or doing his best Bastion impression and narrating what I was doing at the time. Pretty sure I figured out quickly that he was just reading letters or something like that, about a bunch of characters that had no context.
You see, you are just dumped on this island, with no explanation and no context for anything, letting you just walk around and "explore" this desultory, lonely and essential dead local. When I say explore, I mean just walk around looking at stuff, zooming in if you chose to, but never interacting with anything. And when I say walk, I literally mean walk. Just walking. There is no way to move faster - run, sprint, hurdle objects, swim, anything - just walk. This was easily the most frustrating part of this game, as the boredom sets in even quicker when you can't accelerate the game play any faster.
The graphics look really good, especially when you remember to bump up the graphics (which I didn't do for a while, to be honest). The scenery was great looking, but honestly, wasn't anything I haven't seen before, nor was it breathtaking. If I wanted to explore the outside, though, I would just go for a hike. At least I could travel at my own pace.
By the time I got to the ending, I was pretty much done with this game. Sure, the ending made a decent attempt at making the game have some sort of deep meaning, but really, I was so bored, it didn't do anything for me.
Maybe I am just being overly cynical because I'm on vacation in stupid-hot weather, but I know for sure I'll never return to this island to see if I missed anything. If I did, so be it.
When I stumbled upon Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, it was featured on in the Steam store, on their feature sales page. For some reason, the name stood out to me, but I couldn't place it at all as to where I had heard it before. It definitely wasn't this game, because based on the title and the art accompanying it, it surely didn't seem like a game that would ever be on my radar.
The fact that it stood out to me, however, intrigued me enough to not simply pass over it like the countless of other games I have done since joining Steam. No, there was something different about this game, and even the description didn't help me place it in my convoluted memory.
And this is the exact reason why Wikipedia was created.
I looked it up, and immediately knew where I had heard the name "Giana Sisters." You see, back in the Commodore 64 days, there was a game that was released called The Great Giana Sisters. It was a platforming game, where the character was stuck in a dream world, inhabited by monsters, on a journey to collect a diamond that would wake her up from the dream world. The plot isn't what's important here, to be honest. The reason I know about this original game is because of it's first level.
You see, the first level drew inspiration from a popular game. Apparently, the developers of The Great Giana Sisters really liked Super Mario Bros. - A LOT - because the entire first level was an identical clone of Mario's first level, with diamonds instead of coins, and a few other minor changes. Even the block placement in the level was nearly identical. It was such a good clone that Nintendo caught wind of it, and let's just say, they weren't exactly thrilled. Apparently the saying "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" doesn't translate will to Japanese, as they threatened legal action unless the game was pulled from store shelves. Thus, the run of the Giana Sisters was short lived.
Gaming history fascinates me. Because of this, I had to buy this new game featuring the fabled Giana Sisters. It's a platforming puzzle game, featuring a cool mechanic where you can switch between the sisters (who have their own individual abilities) on a the fly. And depending on which sister you are, the environment changes to you accommodate your character. With one sister, there might be a gap, but if you switch to the other sister, suddenly a bridge appears to help you get across. This concept of switching back and forth constantly to solve puzzles in order to reach the end of the level is really well flushed out, as the switching is fluid and never feels like a hindrance on the platforming.
The game itself is beautiful. The level design, environments and backgrounds remind me a lot of Trine, which itself is gorgeous. It's crisp, colorful and vibrant. Overall, it's visually stunning, all while managing to keep the game play top notch. Not many games know how to balance these aspects.
Oh, and I'm happy to report that the first level isn't a Mario rip-off. At all. They've come a long way.
Some games are way too over-hyped, and never live up to the expectations placed on them. After months and months of promotional marketing and self-perpetuated excitement, by the time the game comes out, it falls short of ever being what it was thought it would be.
This is something that happens in the industry far too often, unfortunately. It's hard to ever fully put the blame on someone for these issues, as many times the letdown is unavoidable. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is the complete opposite of this problem.
Gunslinger flew under the radar almost undetected, silent and without any hype pretty much up until it was released. But the day it was released, it was clear to everyone who took a chance on it that this game was awesome. There was no hype to live up to, no expectations to meet. And oddly enough, even if there were, I have a feeling it would have by all accounts.
The game looks extraordinary, as the cell-shading combined with the realistic style looks amazing. It reminded me how much I enjoyed the visual style of XIII on the original Xbox. The environments are as engaging as you would hope they would be, even yielding points for object being shot (like pumpkins, cans and other things laying around).
The game play is pretty straight forward. It's a straight forward FPS, with XP to be earned and skill trees to be tackled. In this aspect, the game plays eerily similar to the Borderlands games, which by all accords, isn't a bad thing in the least. Going after headshots, long shots, running shots and combos when shooting people is extremely fun, and the thrill of racking up points left and right is enough to keep you engaged when the seemingly endless parade of enemies is feeling repetitive.
Above and beyond all else as far as the endearing qualities of the game is the narration of the game. The old cowboy telling the stories that you are reenacting does a phenomenal job, and I immediately thought about the game Bastion. Just like in that game, the game plays out as the narrator is talking, but also the narrator will comment on your game play. This a very easy way to keep the story engaging and entertaining without loosing the focus of the gamer.
Overall, this is an amazing game, especially for a $15 title. But I guess when there is no hype or pressure to live up to, it becomes easier to live up to those standards.
in 2012, Telltale Games pretty much dominated the video games dojo with the release of the episodic and highly successful adventure game, The Walking Dead. Granted, it was capitalizing on the ridiculous momentum and allure that the franchise was drumming up, using the buzz to its advantage. Between the television show and the comics, the franchise was clicking on all cylinders, and Telltale Games cashed in on it at just the right moment.
That's not to say that it was a cash-grab game and held no merit as a stand alone product, because it wasn't. By itself, it was a fantastic game, and critically one of the best for the entire year. But that's not to say that the built-in hype didn't help at all, because of course it did.
What's important to remember is that this wasn't Telltale Game's first rodeo. They have actually made a few point-and-click adventure games, all based on other, popular franchises. One of their games was Back to the Future: The Game, which I started playing tonight. While not nearly as good as The Walking Dead game, it's easy to draw comparisons and look back to see what went right and wrong back then, and how they seemed to take those lessons and apply them to zombie universe.
This adventure takes place after the events of the movie trilogy, making a new storyline for the popular franchise instead of going the easy route and just recreating the movie series. The voice acting is phenomenal, and the characters seem as lively and lovable as they did back in the day. One thing that is clear right off the bat is how dull and bland the backgrounds are. While the characters look great, they didn't put much time in creating a world that you feel completely immersed in. The writing is great, but the puzzles are very simple and less challenging than I hoped they would be.
And that's the story for this game. For everything it does great, it falls flat on another aspect of it.
Thankfully, they figured out this pattern when making The Walking Dead, because without the ability to forfeit pride for the sake of betterment of a project, success would never happen. So for everyone who absolutely loved The Walking Dead game, you should go back and play Back to the Future: The Game, and get a little perspective.
Usually, video games follow a fairly established set of rules and guidelines that actually qualify them as games. The basic of these guidelines is that there is a way to beat the game, a way to lose the game and always a specific goal laid out in front of you to accomplish. Not all games follow these rules to perfectly, and some just don't incorporate one or another of them. But for the most part, these are the fundamental blueprints for developing a game.
Then, every once in a while, a developer comes along and throws all tradition out the window and does their own thing. 99% of the time these will be smaller, indie developers who have less riding on whether or not they follow established guidelines or not, and they have a lot more freedom to experiment with unique and different types of games.
Tomorrow Corporation is the prime example of a developer doing whatever they want to do, just because they think it will be a fun experience, not because the industry dictates what should and shouldn't be in a game. Little Inferno is their game, and it is awesome.
If you like burning things for no real rhyme or reason in a fireplace. Yes, you heard me right.
Truth is, I bought this game when I first got my Wii U, as it was hailed as one of the best games on the eShop at the time. While the description of the game and the limited game play footage didn't exactly make a compelling argument for the game, but nonetheless, I took a chance on a game I knew almost nothing about - mainly because I wanted to support the eShop right out of the gate for the new system.
I played it and loved it on the Wii U. But tonight, I played it on my PC, as it was one of many games in the most recent Humble Indie Bundle. And because I knew the game backwards and forwards pretty efficiently at this point, playing through tonight was a breeze. In fact, I sunk three hours into it, but did absolutely everything there was to do in it. And every single bit of it was enjoyable as if it was the first time I played.
Literally, this game is as simple as I made it seem. You play as a kid, who is hunkering down in his house because of a massive snow storm engulfing the city To stay warm, he gets a Little Inferno Home Entertainment Fireplace. You get a selection of catalogs to browse a "buy" products with your gold coins. After buying, they are delivered to you, in which you toss them in your fireplace, light them on fire and watch the magic happen. And by "magic," I mean see what happens to each weird item when it is engulfed in fire. Yup, that is it.
You can unlock certain combos by burning specific things together at the same time, but ultimately, there is no real reason to do so other than to complete your list. All you really have to do is just buy and burn everything, before the "end game" eventually happens. That's it. Buy and burn, rinse and repeat. The fun is literally just watching things burn and smolder. It might not be for everyone, but for those pyromaniacs out there, there is finally a game for you.
But of course, "game" is a very lose term. Which is why this "game" is so great.
Adult Swim Games publishes some really rad games. Let's get that out there in the open right away, because honestly, it's true. I wrote the other night about how their marketing strategy got me to pick up and play Super House of Dead Ninjas, and how awesome that game is.
Well, after my great experience with that game, I looked into other games they had out. I already have Robot Unicorn Attack 2 on my iPad, which I will eventually play for this blog project eventually I'm sure. But there is another game in their catalog, one that is a free flash game, but also available on Steam for a few bucks also.
I am, of course, referring to Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe.
The Deluxe version on Steam comes packed with bonus content, allegedly, making it worth your while to pick it up. I think they added a few different modes to it, but honestly, I don't know 100% because I jumped right into the paid Deluxe version.
I could probably Google it, but that would eventually lead to a Google vortex of searching, and I'm already distracted enough as it is.
ANYWAY, this game is fantastic. It is a platforming game where you control the caped hero, using his weapon that upgrades automatically as you level up, blasting falling blocks in what looks like a game of Tetris. Blasting individual blocks nets you a few measly points, but once you let the colors start matching up and making bigger sequences of blocks, the point totals skyrocket. Various obstacles fall as well, from spikes, to cannons, explosives and various other things meant to ruin your day. Every time you're hit, you level down, and once you're at the bottom tier, the next hit will be your last.
The levels never end, either, meaning it will continue as long as you can. And sometimes those make for the best types of games, challenging you to keep on going until you finally meet your demise. Of course there are high score leaderboards as well, giving you all the more reason to keep on playing, improving on your score each time.
The game isn't super aesthetic, but the simplistic, 16-bit style graphics work for this type of game play. This looks and feels like the type of game I could find in an old school arcade, and one that I would probably dump way too many quarters into. And that, my friends, is what I constitute as a good game.
Kudos to Adult Swim Games for publishing some awesome games. Who knew?
OK, readers, here's the deal. I played this game called But That Was [Yesterday].
I played it based on recommendation from my Platform Junkies podcast co-hosts Tanner and Ben. We have decided that next week we will completely delve into this game, talk about it at length and basically do a spoilercast for a free, 15 minute, Flash, browser-based game.
Why? Because this is more than a game, it's an experience. It's something everyone should take a few minutes to play, just to see what you think about it; to discover what it means to you, if anything.
I could explain it to you, but I won't. I really want you to play it. Seriously. Here is a link.
Even if you don't like the game itself, there is something for everyone to take away from this gaming experience. Just play it, think about it and reflect. Just reflect. It's good for the soul, I swear.
You can thank me later.
Flat out, this is going to be one of the most simplistic, non-graphically impressive games I will play all year. I don't think there is any question about it. I mean seriously, look at this logo to the right! That is a legit "screen shot", actually what the game looks like. I wish I was kidding, too.
So this game is called Boredom, and it was recommended to me by a good buddy of mine earlier today while he was helping me with a top-secret project that I am putting together that hopefully I will be able to share with all of you soon enough. Anyway, he recommended this game with the hopes that I record myself while playing it, because he thought it would be hilarious.
Little does he know, though, that I don't quite react the same way that a lot of gamers do when playing frustrating games. Sure, I get upset and all that jazz, but I tend to bottle it up and not portray it out loud. So I figured if I tried to record myself, I would reacting just for the sake of the camera, and honestly, what would be the point at that point?
Anyway, this game is pretty straight forward. Advance your stick figured through the hand-drawn world full of spikes and other obstacles using the arrow keys on your keyboard. It gets harder the farther along you get. Sure, it's frustrating like any good near-impossible platformer, like Super Meat Boy or anything like that. But it's not groundbreaking by any means. However, it is free, so it has that going for it.
Actually, to be honest, the writing acting as the narrator is pretty clever and got a few chuckles out of me. But yeah, that's about all this game has going for it. Sure, it's a boredom killer, but killing your character over and over again in boredom isn't exactly my idea of true fun.
XBLA = The Noyse
PSN = the_noyse
NNID = The Noyse
3DS F.C. = 3007-8109-2329
STEAM = TheNoyse
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Games played for project : 365