Category: Games

Game Talk: Technobabylon

Posted April 28, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Technobabylon Banner, featuring Max Lao, Charles Regis and Latha Sesame/Mandala with the skyline of Newton in the background.

Today, let’s talk about a computer game. In this case, Technobabylon, created by Technocrat and published by Wadjet Eye Games. It’s a retro-style cyberpunk point-and-click adventure set in the nearish future. If you’re looking for a game that features a racially diverse cast and/or queer characters, Technobabylon may be worth looking at for you.

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Thoughts on the ‘Thief’ gaming franchise

Posted April 27, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Yesterday, I saw a YouTube video discussing the differences between the original two Thief games and modern AAA games in general. You can see that video here, but for the sake of convenience and because I want to tangentially continue what the video talks about here are the main points of what AAA games nowadays do:

  • Quest markers make for lazy gaming
  • Level design draws your attention to the fact that you’re playing a game rather than immersing you in the world.
  • They add so much content that the game loses focus
  • They don’t use the environment and game design to further the narrative and instead rely on cutscenes and cinematics
  • The games often offer high rewards for low player effort and token rewards for going off the beaten path

I highly recommend watching the whole video as it makes some great points about modern day game design as shown in AAA gaming. I don’t always agree with everything, but it’s a relevant and salient discussion topic. For me, what I like about the video is how much it put into words exactly why I love the original games so much and why the reboot disappointed me so badly. But there’s a few things that the video doesn’t cover that I wish it had.

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3 Things Pokémon Go Taught Me

Posted July 27, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pokémon Go Logo

Like a lot of people, I fell into the hype that is Pokémon Go. It is a lot of fun (to me) and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. I couldn’t dedicate a lot of play time to it when I first got it since I was still working for the majority of the day, but once the holidays began I could settle down into dedicating some quality time to playing it and I found that I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not much of a multiplayer person, so I was a little worried when all the stories of Pokémon Go players meeting up (or, worse, getting mugged) started to show up. I wasn’t sure how playable it would be for a fairly antisocial gamer like myself, but it’s surprisingly easy to play without engaging with anyone. It may not be as much fun as playing with friends, but it’s still good fun.

And then I thought that I could record some of my own experiences with the game and the things that I’d learned about it and share! I know some of my friends are also playing the game and so might be interested and there are some things that I’ve noticed that are true for me and that I haven’t really seen discussed.

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Game Talk: Hatoful Boyfriend

Posted October 29, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Cover for Hatoful Boyfriend. Two pigeons on a dreamy, purple background.Congratulations! You’ve been accepted as the only human student at the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for talented birds! Roam the halls and find love in between classes as a sophomore student at the world’s greatest pigeon high school. Finding happiness won’t be easy, but it’s not all academic – there’s always time for a little romance in this delightful remake of Hato Moa’s popular visual novel / avian dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend!

Yep. In this game, you basically try to date pigeons. Only not quite. It’s complicated. No, really, it’s more complicated than it sounds, but it is just as much WTF as you’re probably thinking right now. Just… trust me on the WTFery of this game.

The premise, in and of itself, sounds really silly, I know, and it is silly. But there’s an actual story underneath it all whilst still poking at (or feeling like it’s poking at) a lot of the conventions of dating sims.

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Game Talk: Return to Zork

Posted June 18, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Return to Zork

Ah, Return to Zork, the one Zork game I haven’t played. Rather, hadn’t. I finally played it. I remember having borrowed a copy when I was younger which, given that the game came out in 1993, must have been around 1995 or so. I never did get far beyond the lighthouse and we couldn’t keep it long enough to figure out how to get beyond it.

Despite enjoying adventure games, I’m really rather rubbish at most of them. Zork is not an exception. Although Zork has taken the absurdity of adventure games and turned it into its greatest strength because it embraces the humour and the silliness. Or, at least, some of the games do. (Zork Nemesis is a clear departure and, while set in the Zork-verse may or may not be seen as part of it. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first one I managed to finish.)

Anyway! Return to Zork. In this game you play a nameless sweepstake winner who ventures out to the Valley of the Sparrows to collect their prize. Yay! Except when you get there, not all is as it seems and things have gone very wrong. It is up to you to fix it! (Why, nobody knows.)

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Game Talk: Memoria

Posted June 11, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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The Dark Eye: Memoria

A long, long time ago, I played The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, a point-and-click adventure by Daedalic Entertainment. They made a sequel, of sorts, called Memoria and I finally played that recently. In The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, you play as Geron, a bird-catcher called upon to stop a plague. In Memoria you play alternatingly between Geron and a new character, the princess Sadja.

It’s at this point that I want to note that, while it isn’t necessary to have played The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav recently enough to remember the plot to enjoy Memoria, I personally do recommend it. Geron’s sections of the game are set mere months after the end of Chains and the game is relatively slow about filling in the blanks about what happened and why you should care about Geron and his quest.

And below the cut lie spoilers for both Memoria and The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav because it isn’t possible to discuss the narrative of Memoria without discussing the events in Chains.

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Game Talk: Inherit the Earth

Posted May 28, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Inherit the Earth: Quest for the OrbInherit the Earth is a relatively little known point-and-click adventure game from the 1990s. It features anthropomorphic characters and… well, you’ll see below the cut. Before I get to that I’d like to note that one of the creators currently has a Patreon page to fund the first chapter of a sequel as well as running a web comic sequel. I’ve linked to the very first page, which also lets you read a recap of what happened in the game.

That all said, onwards! To the spoilers!

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Game Talk: Pillars of Eternity

Posted April 9, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pillars of Eternity

I have to admit, when Once Upon A Time IX rolled along, I didn’t expect that my first proper post for the event would be a game, nor that it was one as recent as Pillars of Eternity. (It was released on March 26th, 2015.) But there you go. That’s exactly what it is, so let’s just get to it.

First, let me give you a general description of the game and then below the cut there will be mild spoilers. Yes, I’m spoiling a game that, as I write this, has been out less than a week. Maybe next time I tell you all I’m evil, you will actually believe me.

So, what’s the game about? Well, you play a character who’s decided to up sticks and move to the settlement of Gilded Vale, where the lord has decided to offer land to anyone who wants to settle there. Things… do not go quite according to plan and you end up able to see and interact with spirits. When you arrive at the village of Gilded Vale, you learn that Dyrwood is not the quiet and peaceful country you may (or may not) have thought it was and something is very very wrong since all births are Hollowborn, which means that all children are born without a soul. Gilded Vale is… not very welcoming to strangers and, well, you’ve got the whole “There’s this guy who made me see ghosts. I should look into what’s going on with me” thing, and so you move on and slowly get mixed up in the politics of Dyrwood and the fate of the world.

There you go. Remember, BELOW THIS LINE LIE SPOILERS. I’ve tried to keep them as vague and undetailed as possible, but still. Spoilers.

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Game Talk: Divinity: Original Sin

Posted March 19, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Divinity: Original Sin

Ages and ages ago, that is to say, not all that long ago as time periods go, I heard about Divinity: Original Sin. I’m not entirely sure how I learned about the Kickstarter, but I was intrigued. It’s taken me a pretty long time to finish the game, though. Part of that is because the game is massive. It’s an old school-style RPG, so it has a tendency to sprawl.

The storyline is about two characters, Source Hunters, tasked with discovering what has happened in Cyseal. Along the way they discover that nothing is quite as they know. Treachery is afoot and the world is in peril and… Actually, if you describe it that way it’s a fairly standard RPG plot, isn’t it? Well, it’s all in how the game brings it and how it plays.

More comments below the cut! Because spoilers! (Seriously. I spoil the plot almost all the way up to the end.)

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Game Talk: Dragon Age Inquisition

Posted February 17, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Other People's Creations / 2 Comments

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Dragon Age: InquisitionNow that I’m more or less out of quests (that aren’t bugged) to run and dragons to kill… I wanted to poke at discussing Dragon Age Inquisition. This is going to go horribly wrong because it’s me we’re talking about, but I’ll do my best. Firstly, let me make a list of things I liked a lot.

  • Krem. Krem is awesome.
  • Cassandra is awesome.
  • Scout Harding. I wish there’d been a bit more dialogue for her.
  • Dagna.
  • NO MORE REPETITIVE DUNGEON LAYOUTS. NONE!
  • Nuggalopes.
  • That Wicked Grace scene.
  • That dance scene in the Wicked Hearts mission.
  • The visuals. OMG THE VISUALS.

I think that’ll do. Basically, the takeaway from this is that Bioware writers are really really good at writing small scale relationship scenes that I love. And everything else goes below a cut because everything else ends up with spoilers and length.

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