Consortium

Read more “Consortium”

This was an FPS+ on a big plane promising to be somewhat akin to Deus Ex, with multiple paths and dialog choices. I pledged $20 for its failed Kickstarter back when it was announced in 2014.

It turned out to be sort of a virtual reality game where I inhabited the body of a soldier on a hi-tech plane in the future, already flying high above the ground. Everything took place on this plane and it took me just over 4 hours to play through it, making it feel like a DLC for another game. In truth, the game is to be construed as an intro for a trilogy of games – the next one taking place around a big tower.

Screenshot

But truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’ll stop after this introduction as there were quite a number of things I didn’t like about it. The ironic thing is, bugs are actually not on that list. Playing this game so many years later means patches must have ironed out most of them.

Anomaly 1729

Read more “Anomaly 1729”

This was a third person puzzle game with inspiration from games such as Portal and Fez. At times it also felt like a distant sibling to Tron 2.0. I controlled a robot finding my way through chambers of blocks. A hub area filled with blocks led to secluded chambers where I had to puzzle my way to an exit door.

There were three major areas in the game, each concentrated around a hub. The first was dominantly blue with square or rectangular blocks. The second was more cyan with pentagon blocks. And finally the third was blood red, surrounding a big structure with ability-draining fields that had to be turned off.

Screenshot

The robot could shoot orange or blue energy from each hand (mouse buttons) and jump on the blocks. Red jump pads boosted me away or blue gravity wells sucked me in, and their type could be switched with a shot. Later, blocks and platforms also floated on beams. Platforms of this kind had a certain pattern they went through, while the blocks could be started and stopped with a shot. Smoldering platforms were also used although thankfully sparingly, as they disappeared in seconds and always made me frantic.

Inside

Read more “Inside”

Spoiler warning! I will pretend that you have already played the game.

This game was so permeated in atmosphere it was almost dripping from it, but it also helped that it was the very first game I played on my new 32″ Acer Predator XB321HK monitor, and in 4K of course.

It was very similar to Limbo, the previous game by the same developer. So much so that it almost felt like Limbo II. Again it was a platform puzzle game mostly scrolling to the left, and again I sometimes had to run for my life from evil men in a story without a beginning. It even started in exactly the same way – here’s the kid; now go. No backstory or tutorial for you.

Screenshot

Where Limbo was almost all black and white, Inside had a very faint use of color. The kid in my control was wonderfully animated, especially considering that he didn’t have a face. Music was rare. Most of the time it was a humming ambient sound to complete the feeling of an amazing atmosphere. And the controls were incredibly sparse. Move, jump and interact. Sometimes interacting in a direction.

Warlords of Draenor

Read more “Warlords of Draenor”

It didn’t take another 6 years to play the next World of Warcraft expansion like it did last time, more like 6 months or so. It helped that the theme was more interesting, the garrisons were enticing, and again it was another free expansion because of Legion being the one the masses focused on at the moment.

And most importantly, how did Draenor compare to Outland?

Outland in Burning Crusade (left) versus Draenor in the alternate timeline in Warlords of Draenor (right).

To get one thing right off the bat, I liked Warlords of Draenor more than Mists of Pandaria. There really is something to be said for how the darker story lines and enemies befit the game. I thought Pandaria was an interesting departure, but at the end of the day I feel more at home fighting orcs and demons in sinister landscapes. And Draenor had some amazing looking zones too.

Retrospective Games

Read more “Retrospective Games”

Earlier this millennia, I was obsessed with computer games. I played them almost virtually back to back, and today I am both proud and ashamed at the same time that I have completed more than 500 games on the PC. These days it has calmed down to an idling breeze – I barely play one game a month anymore.

The weird thing about this gaming hobby was the way it started. It wasn’t something that came over me as soon as I could hold a joystick. In the 80’s and 90’s, I was almost solely into programming and composing music on home computers. Games just passed me by, and for the most part barely noticing them.

But as is the case with many hobbies, the desire to program and compose eventually turned to dust. I then fiddled a bit with playing and collecting Half-Life maps, created a few of my own, but ultimately also gave that up. The year was 2000, and that’s where I turned to PC games and had an epiphany.

It was like hitting a switch, and I was on fire.

To begin with I played a lot of the contemporary games. No doubt the 3D revolution was part of the reason I was finally grabbed by games, but as I got even more involved in this hobby, writing long diary sessions about each completion, I started to wonder about the classics I had missed out on.

I was judicious enough to reach back in time, fetch a lot of the great ones from before 2000, and complete those too. Some I even had to dig out of the bottom shelf of video game shops.

It had its advantages. I bought a lot cheap – way back when Steam was just hot air. Physical boxes.

My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 6

Read more “My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 6”

This is part 6 in a continuous series about my time in World of Warcraft, from when I started playing in 2005 and onwards. Part 1 is here in case you missed the beginning of it.

There’s been another change this time. I’ve decided to convert all the diary text to past tense and not have any of the blockquotes anymore. It makes it easier to adapt and split up text into more paragraphs.

July 2005

Bricaard was getting so prominent in the guild that I barely had time to do my own stuff anymore. I harvested the usual bout of herbs in the three zones I usually visited, but during this a couple of guildies invited me to help them out with various elite quests. Later I wanted to farm highborne undeads in Winterspring. I was invited then to UBRS but declined, but as the raid plans were changed to LBRS they repeatedly tried to invite me again. And later, Sino tried to invite me to a run in Dire Maul.

Doing UBRS/LBRS and Dire Maul could be okay, but I didn’t want to do them 24/7.

I tried various methods of farming to gather money for my epic mount quest. Some ogres in Deadwind Pass dropped money and loot, and were relaxing to farm. I quickly stopped farming blood elves in Azshara, however, after I discovered that they could heal themselves. I really despised that because of how long it took for a paladin to wear them down. A few satyrs nearby were better targets, but their loot was on par with the ogres, and they were closer to Ironforge. I also did another round in the three zones harvesting herbs. I don’t think I have had so much stuff for sale at the auction house at once. Unfortunately it was a slow process. I only reached 170g this day, and I was at 110g a day or two earlier.

There was a long way to the 400g I needed for the epic mount quest.

I helped Gast and Argethon kill Hexx in Hinterlands and release the captured gryphon pup. Then it was time for a genocide in Felwood. I joined Tamako, Stovamor and Saphire and we all went crazy killing teddies. The goal was to increase the reputation for the Timbermaw faction, and we also managed to wrap the green bar around from unfriendly to neutral. Unfortunately we needed to wrap the bar around a few times more before we could at least talk to the Timbermaw and buy formulas and recipes from them. It also got old fast just circling around the same green pond killing the frequently spawning teddies.

My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 5

Read more “My Endeavors in World of Warcraft, Part 5”

This is part 5 in a continuous series about my time in World of Warcraft, from when I started playing in 2005 and onwards. Part 1 is here in case you missed the beginning of it.

I’m back writing this series after a big break pondering whether to continue it. Turns out that it’s a great way to condense my diary sessions and combine them with the relevant screenshots, and it also had a few readers as well, so I’m going to continue writing the parts. However, one thing I’ve decided to do this time is reducing the amount of screenshots as that really got out of hand in the previous parts.

But don’t worry, there will still be plenty.

June 2005

I started this month with various quests in Felwood and Winterspring, notably those about the lady by the warm pond, killing a patrol of white furbolgs, and getting ten rare pelts from yetis.

I did something to a meddlesome quest in Winterspring, I probably should have done some more – I cheated like the worst scoundrel. I had to traverse a deep cave with loads of elite dragonkin monsters. It was another one of Blizzard’s stupidly difficult quests. On the nice web site, Thottbot, they recommended that I took off all my equipment and then just ran inside, expecting to die a few times on the way. So that’s what I did. Soon I came to a symbol in the floor at the end that teleported me out on a mountain top where a lady was standing that I needed to talk to. Back in Everlook I put on all my gear again, and as a result of the “naked” trick I didn’t have to pay to get it repaired. In your face, Blizzard!2 June 2005

I was back in Scholomance where I tried a new AssistHelper add-on that made it easier to hit whatever the main assist was hitting. It made attacks more coordinated, killing groups of monsters more efficiently.

Nick, who had already been very helpful on several occasions, offered to help me level up enchanting by donating a lot of his enchantment materials from his horde character, Pannick.

Papo & Yo

Read more “Papo & Yo”

This third person adventure game was completed in less than four hours, but somehow it felt a little longer than that. It was for the most part easy but also charming, and with many original puzzle ideas. The closest thing I can find to compare it with is the American McGee’s Alice series, only without the combat. It had the same level of surrealism and also felt like it could maybe sort of fit into that universe somehow.

The game touches upon a light story of the small kid Quico and his alcoholic father in a few brief cutscenes, but by far most of the game is spent solving puzzles in arena after arena with metaphorical substitutes. In the beginning there’s another kid that teases you, and it doesn’t take long before you get the small robot Lula on your back as a jet to make double jumps possible. Lula can also be asked to fly over and activate a circle by clicking the right mouse button.

Screenshot

A general style of puzzle design is that white chalk lines means interactive stuff. Animated cogwheels drawn on walls can be clicked to make a building walk to a different place so you can jump across roofs. Handles can be pushed or pulled to tip over a stack of buildings into a “snake” you can run across. Keys can be turned to open up a passage, typically by walls and buildings being lifted away.

Transistor

Read more “Transistor”

Imagine if you took an isometric action RPG with a smattering of Robotron, changed the action to be mostly like V.A.T.S. from e.g. Fallout 4, added great Art Deco parallax graphics, a sword with staccato comments, and atmospheric music that often have singing on top as well – and you basically have Transistor.

It took me about 6 hours to complete this one but I was seriously considering abandoning it after an hour or two. The combat was innovative and polished but was still problematic for me. The gist of the game is a turn-based part where you stack “functions” (abilities) in a limited queue and them fire them off with super speed, making you feel like The Flash. Then comes the sour part. The queue needs some time to recharge itself and you are extremely vulnerable as things are now real-time. Because of the huddling nature of the confined combat areas, it’s easy to get pummeled left and right, even when zapping around with a teleport ability I earned early in the game. This goes back to me wanting to kill as many off fast as possible, and if my queue doesn’t deliver enough damage, I may take too much damage in the real-time part. Emptying the health bar temporarily burns out an ability slot, forcing me to use other means of attacking. Burning out all attacks of course means death.

For most of the game, this system just didn’t click with me.