Californium

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Developer: Darjeeling | Released: 2016 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This exploration game – or walking simulator as some would call it – was estimated to be ~3 hours long, and that’s exactly what it took for me to get complete it.

The art and color scheme of this game was out of this world and certainly worth the price of admission all on its own. Each of the four levels had a its own time period and distinctive colors to set them apart, and all humans (and later androids) were old-fashioned 2D sprites always turning the same side to you – albeit sharply drawn like were they cut straight out of a comic book. I really enjoyed this lovely style.

Being part of the genre it was, the game itself was light on interactivity. A level typically had 4-5 “rooms” plus the streets in which to find a television showing a roman numerical of white icons to find. Depending on the size of the “room” it could be about 3 to 6 icons. The icons themselves had to be spotted and then activated by holding left mouse button on them for about one second.

Yeah, the good old game of getting warmer.

Associations: Outcast vs Farscape

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If you ever played the fantastic open world voxel masterpiece Outcast from 1999, do you remember when you entered the green and lush rice fields of Shamazaar, the first world you enter after the snowy tutorial? This was a place where our wisecracking hero, Cutter Slade, ran around crossing the rice paddies that had farmers at work while wearing pointed coolie hats.

All very inspired by real Asian rice fields.

The 5 Most Vertigo-Inducing Games

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I never thought I’d be writing a clickbait post like this one day, but here we are. Thing is, I think these kind of posts are actually fun to write. They also work quite well at my origin of inspiration; I Played The Game!

Another reason why I’ve decided to start writing these posts is that I am in a great position to do so, having completed more than 500 games with lots of diary sessions, blog posts and screenshots to draw from.

But please, be gentle. This is my first time.

As for vertigo-inducing games, there were a lot to consider. As soon as it’s first or third person, 3D and you get just a bit up into any kind of structure, it’s easy to create a sense of vertigo. To reduce the pool of games I had to research, I made the rule of not including 2D or fake 2D games (2.5D like puzzle platform games viewed from the side) as well as MMO games of any kind. I also excluded all the Spider-Man games.

The five games I’ve chosen are not sorted in any particular order.

INFRA

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Developer: Loiste Interactive | Released: 2016 | Genre: Adventure, First Person

This was an excellent first person adventure game exploring various industrial environments such as e.g. water plants, dam, power plants, factories, etc. As a hard hat structural analyst with a funny accent, I had to take photos of everything that needed to be repaired. Various puzzles (typically electrical in nature) had to be solved to open doors and gain access to the later parts of the locations.

The game had three acts and was enormous. I understand that there was only one act to begin with, and the two other acts were added in sort of an episodic manner. The end result has more than 40 maps made in the Source engine (the same that powered Half-Life 2) and each of them are really big. It took me almost 30 hours to get through the entire game. But it was exquisite almost all the way. The factories and plants were well put together and felt realistic – it wasn’t just random pipes and wires going wherever.

Probably the only thing that annoyed me at first was having to find batteries to replenish my phone camera and my flashlight. Especially in the first area inside a dam I was often running out and had to rummage all drawers and meticulously search control rooms for more batteries. Luckily my supplies eventually got stocked up as the maps went by, although there was a cap of ten packs for each type.

The level design of the game was a mix of open and linear. Each map was a contained area typically with a lot of locked doors. Some had to be opened by finding access cards, keys, or some cute passage around. At one point enough of the facility opened up to offer access to a lot of halls, control rooms, offices, corridors, and staircases. Some maps opened up ever so slightly bit by bit, while others offered almost the entire factory after a door or two. Apart from taking snapshots, some larger machinery often had to be fixed and turned on. It could be getting the water flowing in a plant or moving a big cradle inside a steel factory. But sometimes it also felt like I left incompletely fixed machinery behind as I found a way to the next map.

In fact, optional puzzles and passages were not uncommon in this game. An example of this was a corridor with electricity leading into the shallow water on the floor. Stepping in this would kill me. I had to arrange crates to walk on in order to reach a switch further down, but I could also just walk back to the opposite end, climb up to a roof grating, and then crawl and drop down near the same switch.

These choices were part of what made the game feel so well engineered.

The Gamer Tag

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While searching for other gaming blogs to subscribe to, I’ve seen a phenomenon repeated on several of them called The Gamer Tag. Basically it’s just copying a list of questions related to video games that other bloggers have also answered. Examples of this can be found at e.g. A Reluctant Hero, The Hannie Corner and A Geek Girl’s Guide. But there are probably many other great examples out there.

So, with the twist of me being the pure PC gamer that I am, I’ve decided to have a go at this one too.

ECE Show II in 1990

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Here are some of the pictures I took at the ECE Show II in London, September 1990.

The fourth part in my blog series about my computer chronicles had these words about it:

I went there on a ship with Niels from Channel 42 and his friend, Henrik. The Ikari guys also went there. I didn’t try to sell our music at the show this time, I was just there for fun. I briefly met Charles Deenen but it was merely to exchange a sentence or two. And just as I feared that we would never find each other at the show as agreed, Deek from Scotland suddenly popped up and introduced himself.