The semi-sequel ‘AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome’ (released in 2011) to the game ‘AaAaAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity’ (2009) made by Dejobaan Games is a falling simulator, or a gimmick blown up into a whole game, or a not-so-funny-joke-to-begin-with told a thousand times in slight variations. It’s base jumping with slightly awkward controls into a really awkward mid 90s color palette. It’s ugly. It’s not as funny as it thinks it is. It’s fun for a few jumps, but it gets repetitive fast. A lot of people seem to like it anyway. I am glad my OCD does not apply to score attacks. I feel like washing my eyes.
Glorious! Discovering games like ’80 Days’ by inkle studios is one of the finest reasons to continue besting the mountain and brush up your 19th century English. Originally released in 2014 the game found it’s way to steam only at the end of 2015. I bought it a few months after release but it didn’t really get me hooked at the time. I am very happy, I gave it another go.
In ’80 Days’ I play Passepartout, valet to Phileas Fogg. Fogg has a wager going on that he’ll travel the Jules-Vernian 1872 steampunk version of the world in 80 days. As his loyal valet it’s my job to plan the route, organize transport and secure health and well-being of Fogg throughout the entire journey. Alas, in my first playthrough I missed the mark by two days and ended the journey in melancholy and with a heavily indebted Fogg. But what a journey it was! The story of the game is mainly told by text and the world map, but still it was an thrilling ride. I explored every city we visited via a short ‘Chose Your Own Adventure’-like episode, that often ended in a small Adventure itself. This way you discover new routes or new ways to fund your travels. Sometimes the decisions you make can end in utter disaster – Fogg and I brushed with death more than once during our trip. Sometimes events weighed heavily on our relationship, often it was a pleasant an interesting ride. The writing in ’80 Days’ is superb, and I hardly recommend the game to anyone just slightly interested in classic adventure stories.
In my first try we visited 20 cities of over 160 available in the game. I can’t wait for my next journey, in which I will make sure to take another route. One that will keep me far away from the Cholera-ridden ports of Manila. That illness nearly cost us a week!
Go play ’80 Days’!
This little game by Mousechief! is one of the stranger items of my collection. You lead the fate of a family in ancient times, and you do it via a coin operated board game. I guess you could categorize it as ‘casual strategy’.
If found myself playing this one longer than I expected, even though the rather abstract concept isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of inserting coins – the game certainly taps into some precious childhood memories there.
After a while it gets repetitive, and if the game hadn’t been part of some bundle, I probably would never have played it. Especially not for the staggering price of 20€. Don’t pay more than 5€, even if you are into this kind of game. Done.
Finally, a game I actually played for a while – a while ago. A lot has changed since I last played the early access alpha version of ‘7 Days to Die’. The still not finished zombie survival sandbox game with the funny name has become a lot prettier since last I saw it and the interface has gotten a lot less clunky. There’s even a tutorial!
The improved graphics certainly add to the atmosphere and it makes me want to dive deeper into this game again, but I wouldn’t want to do it alone. While it’s certainly exciting to try to survive alone in the zombie infested wastelands, after a while it begs the question ‘What’s the point?’. Especially in those early nights, where you neither have enough resources to travel safely at night (those pants made of grass don’t give me confidence), nor to use them for crafting stuff at some safe place (I already used all my grass for pants), it can get rather boring. While you can craft sleeping bags and beds, they only act as a spawning point in case you die. You can’t use them to advance the game time. The game just feels as if it would preferably be played as a multiplayer experience.
I will probably revisit this game (when it’s done?), but I already spent enough time here to kick it from the mountain.
The 11th Hour was actually the first game on my list, but I didn’t want to start off with a 20+ year old fmv game, which is also a sequel. You can read how well that turned out. Playing this directly after the 7th Guest I was relieved to see that the graphics had much improved by 1995. The pre-rendered sequences were much smoother, and more importantly, much faster. The videos like the charming 90s-tv-schlock looking intro movie were also less painful to watch. The other thing that seems to have changed is that the difficulty of the puzzles has been noticeably increased. It all takes place in the same old mansion, and Old Man Stauf seems to have become even more MEAN! over the years. He mocks me at every turn (because I’m shit at his puzzles).
If you’re into puzzle games, I think the game would still be worth playing today. I’m not into puzzle games, and I’m sick of being mocked.
The Horror – of early 90s FMV-game graphics! The 7th Guest stems from a time when the vast memory of CD-ROMs needed to be filled, and Full Motion Video did the job quite well. It did such a good job, that the videos had to be compressed a lot to actually fit on the medium. 24 years later they are rather hard on the eye. I remember reading in magazines (bundles of paper with words printed on them) about the game back in the day (I am old), but I never actually played it.
The 7th guest is a adventure/puzzle game in the horror genre. You are the seventh guest in a mansion haunted by the ghost of a mad man, who killed the six guests before you and forces you to do puzzles. You walk from room to room via slow pre-rendered videos, to then solve static puzzles, which open rooms with more puzzles. There are a lot of amateurish and very compressed looking ghost entering and exiting the screens.
Once you get used to the ugly graphics and blasting general midi soundtrack, there seems to be a decent puzzle game hidden beneath, but I won’t find out for certain, because I don’t care much for puzzle games or haunted mansions. Luckily enough I played far enough to stumble upon this beautiful poem from the game:
Old man Stauf built a house
and filled it with his toys.
Six guests were invited one night,
their screams the only noise.
Blood in the library,
blood right up the hall,
dripping down the attic stairs,
‘Hey Guests, try not to fall!’.
Nobody came out that night.
Not one was ever seen.
But old man Stauf is waiting there…
Crazy! Sick! and MEAN!
When you quit the game a voice screeches ‘Come baaaack!’. I won’t.
I don’t know anything about this game, apart from it being an adventure game with a cyberpunk theme. After a decent pixel-art intro and some 80s synths, I end up looking at a bedroom, that reminds me very much of Zack McKracken’s, one of the first point and click adventures I ever played. This kind of thing is so overdone in indie games. While I understand that it’s convenient for developers to go with this art-style, nowadays it just feels lazy and boring to me. I’m done wallowing in nostalgia all the time – and that’s coming from a guy who is very much into 80s stuff.
After accidentally clicking on a newspaper article on my in-game laptop (‘lappy’), I end up reading a much too long chunk of text via an interface that’s not suited for long chunks of text. I can feel boredom creeping in immediately. I’m supposed to write an article on a pair of headphones (boy, this is getting exciting). I play some music on them and after I try to use them on ‘lappy’ with cyberpunk-youtube, the whole game crashes to my desktop. I’m not sure I’ll give this another try.
I gave it another try and it crashed again. So far this journey is much worse than I imagined. I found some workaround in the steam forums. Last try.
OK, so I got around the bug and I realized that this is not a point and click adventure. It’s an interactive story. So far the story goes like this: I’m a failing writer in a crappy apartment. One night a condescending robot with a child’s voice (ugh) breaks into my flat and bores me with never ending dialog. I feel a definitive vibe of preachiness and pseudo-philosophical twaddle. Put this on top of the overdone cyberpunk theme of ‘what’s consciousness?’ and you got something that I don’t want to spent any time with.
After the prologue the informs me doesn’t have an auto-save function and that I should save frequently. Why doesn’t it have an auto-save feature? Could I at least have the nostalgia wallowing without the inconvenience of yore?
This is not for me. I can safely mark ‘2064 Read Only Memories’ as ‘done’.
First things first. In order to make this task as painful as possible I attempted to collect all my games in one place. Steam was the obvious choice for me. By far the largest part of my game collection (technically just a collection of game licenses) was already in my steam library. There were two things left to do:
- Activate all the keys I have gathered through various bundle purchases (Humble Bundle, IndieGala, Bundle Stars, etc.). So many keys!
- Add all non-steam from other sources (Origin, Uplay, Battle.net, Windows Store, etc.), which luckily I had already done in many cases
It turned out that Steam doesn’t like it when you activate more than 50 games at once. You have to take an one hour pause before you can activate the next 50. This is going to be bad. My steam library went from around 600 to over 800 in half a day. At a rate of one game per week it will take me more than 15 years to finish this project, and that is only if I stop buying games right now.
I just remembered my gog-account with 70+ games in it. I’ll add these later or I’ll never actually start this blog.
Also, windows store games have a habit of disappearing from steam when they get updated.
Also, when you register a .com-domain, you’ll get blasted with spam. Thanks Obama.