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Everything posted by ariskany_evan

  1. Recently completed video games

    Oooo. I have a really weird, intense love for Space Marine. The combat and shooting just felt so delicious and creamy. Mmmmmm... I'll definitely check out Transformers if... WAIT. The PC version is still $60 on steam and amazon?? Weird. Feels like Activision forgot to change the price since 360 and PS3 are $15 and $20 on amazon... Hopefully it'll go down in price for the summer steam sale!
  2. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Keep the Dilla coming!!
  3. Recently completed video games

    Ahhhh! I just finished Mirror's Edge tonight too!! Weird coincidence. Knocked it out in about 4 hours. The story was terrible, but it considering what I got to do as a player it was easily overlooked. It's a 5 year old game it still plays remarkably well and still looks fantastic. Played it on easy because they mentioned it only affected combat, which I had heard wasn't expertly implemented. It was a ton of fun! Agreed. There was so much more they could have done with that story! Hopefully that sequel they're supposedly working on will be more than a mere skeleton to get you to play each level. I also "finished" Resogun on the ps4 a few days ago. A nice game. I disliked the art direction. The enemies felt bland and haphazardly designed and the color pallete was really dull. Happy to play through each level and see what the game had to offer. In the end I think I enjoyed Housemarque's Super Stardust HD better than Resogun. SSHD had a great feel to each weapon and it had a gentle flow, whereas Resogun felt more frenetic and angular, and the main weapon didn't have much character.
  4. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    You're right, I was trying to be brief and it came off polemical. Let me clarify: I do my best to be constantly open-minded and try new things, especially now that I'm old and set in my ways. So you'll never find me dismissing ANY genre or style of experience entirely. I may not like polenta, but I'll always be ready to have that one bite of polenta that totally "blows me away" ( and convinces me that polenta is worthwhile for human consumption. It's worth noting though, that we find patterns and certain kinds of experiences will almost always be uninteresting or ineffective to us as individuals. I also fall in the racing sims not being something that I can foresee ever enjoying camp, but I find value in attempting to like something that sounds unappealing at the outset. I interpreted the original question as implying: You're complaining that there are too many puzzles in your puzzle game, did you not realize what you were getting yourself into? Which I then tried to show that I did know, and that I found the puzzles themselves to not be satisfying and their integration into the game world to be problematic. But then I wanted to raise the point (and admittedly horribly articulated it) that EVEN IF I didn't like puzzle games, it's still worthwhile to try the thing out. Because then I can walk away from the experience having the knowledge about what I experienced and can match it up against what others experience and marvel at how differently we all experience the world around us. And that's a great thing. "The best of the best..." sentence ends up being way too open-ended to be meaningful, and I apologize for writing it.
  5. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Good question. I knew it was a puzzle game. Walking through a door into an area, having to take in all the elements in the environment, then problem-solve my way through is enjoyable for me if it's broken up with other types of gameplay or more thoroughly integrated into the narrative. If it's being told I need to collect x amount of orbs, then wandering around and finding singular rooms with an orb at the end of each, it feels like it's abstractly gating the narrative and puts the focus solely on the puzzles and thus divorces the atmosphere from the puzzle platformer. I knew that it was supposed to take around 5 hours. I was somewhere at the half-way point, and they had just ratcheted up the complexity by introducing the gravity mechanics. Instead of feeling excited by the challenge I knew that things would only get harder and the flow of the game would most likely grind to a halt with each new puzzle room I entered. Also, the puzzles were just starting to get finicky in a way that once solved didn't give me much satisfaction (more trial and error, less "aha!"). And as a side note I don't think it really matters what kind of a game it's described as. The best of the best transcends genre and style. This one just didn't do it for me.
  6. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Quitting The Swapper! Really enjoyable for the first two hours, then I got to the gate asking for at least 20 more orbs and I knew it was over. I loved the environment and general mood of the game, but the puzzles just didn't quite mesh. They felt justified, but they were so puzzle-y that they always broke the fourth wall. The endings (on youtube) were great. Still very effective even though I only played through 50% of the game, which then made me think they had jammed a whole bunch more puzzles and not much more story, so I feel zero guilt joining the Quitters Club on this one.
  7. InFAMOUS Vanaman

    Crackdown came out two years prior, so I think Infamous was partly Sony chasing Microsoft's popular exclusive. Even with that, this style of game feels more iterative than innovative. You can look at it from a certain angle and see that the super-power open-world games just tacked on an element of vertical traversal to the GTA style.
  8. InFAMOUS Vanaman

    That's weird about the silent city! Infamous 2 suffered from a weird quietness. I figured it was a mistake, but I guess it's more of a stylistic choice now that they've done it twice.
  9. InFAMOUS Vanaman

    Glad the game turned out well! I didn't have high expectations, since the first two really weren't trying to be anything that innovative or thought-provoking. I'll most likely pick this up after I finish off Black Flag. I don't like having two open-world games running at the same time... How does the city feel? Does it satisfy a bit of virtual tourism or does it feel more like a more standard open-world video game city?
  10. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Quitting two today!! First off: Reus. Played through the tutorial to get a sense of the three eras. Took me maybe 45 minutes? Controls felt sluggish, and it didn't feel well optimized for Mac (thankfully The Swapper showed that some games are actually optimized well for the OS). It became apparent that the game was interested in having me memorize symbiotic relationships for putting down fruit/animals on the world. This fruit goes with that fruit and then they make "Happiness" for the townspeople. Those kinds of spreadsheet systems are fun for me when it's not the main component of play. They also work when they're at least somewhat self-apparent, which they mostly weren't in Reus. The whole UI was just tough to parse. Next on the chopping block: Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians I'm a music nerd, so I tend to come into music games with a lot of trepidation. No one makes much of a profit from the music I love, so I don't hold out hope that a music game would touch that world (at least for the time being). So Beatbuddy is a 2d underwater corridor puzzler. Played two 20 minute sessions of the game and really don't want to go back. The art looks pretty good, but it felt like a mish-mash of styles that never came together. The music on the first level reminded me of the Avalanches, so it felt like a throwback to the early aughts, but not necessarily something oozing atmosphere and place. It all felt rather antiseptic.
  11. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Quitttttting Eldritch. Got to book 3, and found myself just wanting to sprint through each level. Realized I was trying to "get the game over with" instead of engaging with the systems, so I figured it was time to quit. I think I just didn't enjoy the world enough. The audio was suffocating. Instead of giving me directional information about the whereabouts of enemies, it felt like they were always two feet away. Sometimes the enemies would be a level up and I'd hear their breathing as if they were on top of me. Otherwise the world was just a series of enclosed, intricate boxes. I couldn't tell the difference between my character sighing and breathing and a monster. Maybe that was on purpose. Something about dying over and over again makes you start to question: OK, so what am I building my skill toward? Aren't I technically close to the end of this game? Am I building my skill at something only to have it be over? Once you get existential about it, it's a pretty clear sign to move on. On to Reus...
  12. Recently completed video games

    Finished up To the Moon this morning. I warned my wife that I was near the end when I sat down, so she should be prepared for some tears. Loved it. The corniness of the humor felt limited to the characters as their coping mechanisms for working in such a tragic field. I hated the way it felt in the hands. The mouse controls were finicky and the keyboard controls were unresponsive. Game hard crashed on me several times. Thankfully their auto-save system meant I never really had to retread. I wonder how this game would feel from a first person perspective. Some Bioshock levels of world-detail, exploratory aspects of Gone Home, and that great great story stays the same. The dialog would have to re-written for actual speech, but I feel like it would translate well.
  13. Recently completed video games

    This is a fun one using Bioshock Infinite as a jumping-off point for a look at criticism... game-reviews/
  14. Movie/TV recommendations

    Yes, I was glad to see that both Lowe and Jones were leaving this year. They had the worst chemistry on screen imaginable. Just like the Office, this show struggles with intimacy. Pratt's marriage works because it's bizarre, which gives the writers plenty to play with. I appreciate Adam Scott's character, if only because he's WAY better than the everyman that was Brandanawicz... Definitely agree that the over-arching plot stuff is getting tiresome, but I've always been a proponent of comedy shows wiping the narrative board after every episode. Community does a great job with this. There's a continuity between episodes, but each episode follows its own special journey. Parks does this thing now where they set up the episode too clearly from the get-go: OK, so, these four characters are paired up together and they're dealing with this side story that you can 100% guess how it will wrap up, these two are continuing to plod along on their journey to having a baby that no one cares about, and Leslie and a few others are dealing with a singular event on the long chain of events to her main plot arc for the season. Whereas I start up an episode of Workaholics, and it can take a while before it's even clear what those bone-heads are getting up to. Not that the element of surprise is the one thing that makes a comedy show work. I also think P&R just hasn't been as funny moment-to-moment as it used to be. Also, what is the deal with the Billy Eichner character? I love him, but his character is so BIG and I don't think they've sufficiently filled us in on what his role exactly is in the world.
  15. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations) This one has its hooks in me, though bummed to read it's about gangbanging....
  16. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Quit Klei's Eets: Munchies after a good 45 minutes. The game has some nice sound and some fresh puzzle mechanics, but I couldn't connect with its raison d'etre. Had a similar vibe to something like Angry Birds or World of Goo, both of which I also couldn't connect with. Something about the pacing of a puzzle game like this makes it seem like there are 10 billion levels in front of me, and each feels empty of content. Like they lack a soul. I know they just released an iOS version of the game, which I think it feels more suited to control-wise. Felt like a well-made game, just not for me!
  17. Great episode!! Sounded like there was a bit of (non-emotional) defensiveness in their attitude when Steve mentioned Jonathan Blow's trajectory from 2d side-scrolling puzzler to first-person open world puzzler. Their responses showed that they've put a lot of thought and worry into the fact that they're creating a game that from the outside seems very similar to their previous title (isometric action). I really don't envy game creators in this day and age. Sure they've got a lot more freedom and better tools than in the past, but the idea of working on a singular creative project for more than a year is too long! Maybe it's just my being prone to depression, but I don't understand how they can maintain perspective. Let alone maintaining confidence when they see their peers getting praised/hyped for trying new things (The Witness, No Man's Guy). And I'm feeling these things for the successful studios... I don't even want to think about how horrible it must feel to spend a few years on a game and have it fail...
  18. Recently completed video games

    Finished up Broken Age: Act 1 last night. It was great great great. As soon as adventure games open up a space more than 5 screens at once I tend to become overwhelmed. Too much back-tracking and making sure that I didn't miss anything. My problem being that I have trouble re-contextualizing. Once I've used a space for one puzzle I can only understand that space in that singular way. Thankfully there was only one example of this: That's why I'm glad the game wasn't harder. The world ends up feeling lifeless and empty due to the binary nature of whether something pertains to your current puzzle or not. And since there's always only one solution, if you're stuck for too long and have retread over the world a few times, it becomes hard to maintain a suspension of disbelief that the world is alive. Broken Age for the most part felt alive. The music in the game was fantastic! Excited to get to Act 2 so I can hear more of it! -------------- Then we watched the Oscars (worth it for the "Adele Dazeem" moment), and I managed to "finish" Rymdkapsel. The art, UI, and gameplay design of this game is amazing. I was worried it would prove too challenging, with the constant count-down to attack keeping you on edge at all times. But the pacing of the game is actually quite calming, as your indirect control means that you're actually just sitting back and enjoying your little dudes going at their tasks. The music was the best rendition of Neu/Cluster/Harmonia krautrock-space-music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thrilled to hear how good the music was. I only completed the "Research All Monoliths" challenge, and I will most certainly play more of this game to try and get the other two challenges. At this point it's just perfecting a build, though, so I figured worth considering "completed".
  19. Life

    That's the best part about super popular pop music: there are literally thousands of other artists making exactly the same "kind" of music who are completely unsuccessful, it's just finding - a really catchy thing - words that resonate with millions of people - arranging and polishing it to match the sound quality of other current popular music - somehow "reaching" all those millions of people Which are all pretty much luck-based occurrences... I'm really curious to hear how it goes for you!! I'm a long-time Logic user myself, but I've spent some time with Pro Tools, let me know if you have questions about Pro Tools or any of the associated sound engineering stuff on your journey.
  20. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Some much needed rain is slamming LA today. So nice. Celebrate with this perfect song. (It makes me feel like I'm wrapped up in a warm blanket. There's a chilliness in the dissonant strings, right?)
  21. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Glad to hear Season 2 is great! I felt like the pacing on some of the first season episodes were a bit off, but I always cut first seasons slack (see: Brooklyn 99...). But you're right, they otherwise did a fantastic job making it something fresh and new but still part of the same universe! side note: My wife [borat] and I have been constantly singing Scott and PFT's rendition of the cantina song for the past few weeks. It's getting a bit ridiculous...
  22. Sharing Games with Non Gamers

    Had a pizza, beer (Stillwater is such a good brewery!!), and video games party with my spouse last night. Games and video games don't naturally appeal to her, but she's open-minded (and smart and beautiful and hilarious) and willing to try things out. I loaded up a bunch of co-op games on steam and we ended up playing: Spelunky: She consistently hit me with her whip at every ledge, sending me plummeting. I thought it was hilarious, but I think she was still getting the hang of the controls. Speaking of the controls, they're actually a bit complicated for a new person. Explaining how to pick up an object took a bit of time, as well as getting her to lay a bomb instead of throwing it. I died at one point and the ghost came, and she made it all the way to the level exit. The ghost is closing in, and the "RB" prompt shows up on screen. She's totally flummoxed. "RB"? I'm shouting "Right Bumper!!" We take so much for granted! Her overall impression: "Seems like the kind of game that would appeal to people who grew up with this sort of game." I also think the disparity of knowledge between the two of us makes the game not as fun. I'm trying to explain what things instantly kill, etc. that we're not so much playing the game as I am explaining it, which takes away the fun sense of discovery. But if I don't explain things, then she'll just die constantly while I'm happily making my way through the mines. I don't know if I'd try playing this again with her. Magicka: I had never played this one, though I had an understanding of the mechanics. She was a bit flummoxed by the controls at first, but actually picked them up pretty quickly. She also immediately intuited the creativity involved in casting different kinds of spells. I found the tutorial a bit clunky, and wasn't immediately won over, but we had fun! This is definitely one I'm excited to play again with her. State of Decay: She has a bit of a survivalist imagination, so I picked this up yesterday for $10 on a steam sale. I remember Gaynor tweeting about his love for this game, so I sold it as a "Zombie Survivalist Base-Building game that the guy who made Gone Home LOVES." We both really enjoyed playing. I found that I approached the game differently with her there. I tend to be less creative when I play alone. I boot up a game, internalize the systems as quickly as possible, and then start playing like I'm doing a series of chores. I see through the vehicles of narrative and world-building and ferociously attack the systems. Playing with my wife, though, I found myself much more relaxed and excited about experimenting and meandering. SoD dumps a lot of systems on you right away (here's a base, here's a ton of stats about supplies and influence), which I'd normally dutifully unpack and internalize. Instead I just took note that stuff existed and gracefully moved on to what seemed fun, rather than making sure I was playing the game the best way. What a revelation! I'm definitely going to more of these date nights with my spouse. And considering how differently I experienced the games with her there, I'm curious to hear other stories about playing games with non gamers; what works what doesn't, and mostly what surprises you.
  23. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hi! Have you been watching season two of Comedy Bang Bang? No cable so I've got to wait for it to come to Netflix...
  24. Sharing Games with Non Gamers

    Right, sorry! State of Decay does not have co-op. We just passed the controller back and forth. Non-combat-heavy exploration-based single-player games seem to work well with a partner, as it's not as much about how it feels in the hands compared to what sort of things are happening on screen and the decision-making that comes with that. And totally true about the context of the world the game inhabits. I think we enthusiasts sometimes play games for the oddest reasons. I played through Spec Ops: The Line even though so much on the surface was unappealing. If someone asked me why I was playing it I'd say "Well I find the gameplay loop of shooting people dull. The level design breaks the fourth wall with cover everywhere. The narrative feels like something I've been through in other media. BUT, there's a big discussion around the game on the internet and I want to have an opinion!" Whereas for the non gamer it seems like there's a much simpler switch of "Yes this appeals to me" or "No this unappealing." It's super refreshing!
  25. Idle Thumbs 147: The Titan Falls

    In 1991 my first grade teacher brought in her Nintendo, Mario 3, and a tiny TV and made it one of stations that we would rotate into for a month. On one specific day she had all the levels unlocked (I think through a cheat?) and I was one of the few to play that last level and beat the game!!! It was an exhilarating feeling!! (Especially since I always got stuck on that final Ghost House level at home. It was the most confusing and impossible level for a six year old...)