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Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 10: Change of Plans

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I built the Panopticon, a genuine world wonder! Yeah, woo, go me! Sure, the Panopticon’s benefits aren’t exactly earth-shaking… and the fourteen turns it took could probably have gone towards more productive ends… and it hasn’t really changed my power standing among the colony leaders much…

But hey, what matters is that I got a mediocre boost to a score that doesn’t really matter in the long run in the best of situations! Yeah!

After the break: I sleep on things.

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Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 9: It’s A Wonderful Life

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I didn’t break any rocks in the hot sun. I did, however, fight the aliens, and the aliens lost like chumps. Their champion land unit, a giant Siege Worm, died from procrastination. It’s almost like they’re a barely sapient race of underdeveloped bug monsters and I’m a scientifically-focused group of heavily armed tool-using invaders. Nobody could have predicted this outcome.

Annelid dominance notwithstanding, though, I’m still far from being out of the woods. The Le Coeur Hinterlands are still flush with aliens, including a second Siege Worm. But more to the point, roughhousing with the locals does nothing to improve my standing among the other colony leaders, most of whom — statistically — are doing much better than I am. Barring some kind of breakthrough, or miracle, I actually don’t know how I’m going to get on top of this. If I’m going to get on top of this. I don’t like saying this, even to myself, but… it’s possible I hobbled myself so much through bad choices and a poor starting position that it’s unlikely or impossible for me to catch back up.

Doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep trying, though.

After the break: I do what the other players do, in order to be more like what the other players… be.

Streaming on Wednesday

Whoops, I was supposed to post this yesterday.

Hi Internet! I’m Ninjustin and we’re going to stream on the Hitbox channel, same time as usual — 2:00 PM Central. Jarenth is gonna be behind the wheel this time — he’s planning on playing either The Binding of Isaac Rebirth or Lichdom: Battlemage.

I just realized that I haven’t really talked here about how the streams have gone so far. Honestly, we’re enjoying them! I used to stream occasionally for my old dead blog, and I generally had one or maybe two people in the chatbox. This time we tend to have maybe five people chatting, and that combined with the fact that two people are on the stream means that people can chat with one another about how we’re doing, and the person not playing the game can keep up with the chatbox and bring up questions that the two of us can then answer. It’s working pretty well so far.

We’re streaming on Wednesday instead of Saturday this week because on Thursday I’m taking a trip. The trip will be two weeks long, so I don’t know if we’ll get any streaming or podcasting done during that time, but I think I’ll be able to write a bit.

Anyway, we hope to see you there!

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Indie Wonderland: WORLD END ECONOMiCA (Episode.01)

You know what? Sometimes, you just gotta go by instinct. A few weeks ago, in the comments section for that most inspiring of visual novels (Sakura Spirit), a commenter by the name of Pawel (345) mentioned that if I was ever in the market for non-awful visual novels, I could try… well, it was a whole list, but the thing that stuck out is the two particular games mentioned that were on Steam: WORLD END ECONOMiCA, and Hatoful Boyfriend.

Sometimes, you just gotta go by instinct. WORLD END ECONOMiCA, developed by Spicy Tails and brought to Steam through the Kickstarted efforts of Sekai Project, being mentioned in the same breath as Hatoful Boyfriend, a game that I unreservedly recommend to anyone ever? I’m not incredibly superstitious, but it seems to me that sort of thing might mean something.

And, well, that’s how we find ourselves here, readers. WORLD END ECONOMiCA, silly capitalization non-optional, episode 1 of 3. Sometimes, you just gotta go by instinct.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, really very high, particularly on page 2. Mechanical, not a factor.)

After the break: then again, sometimes you shouldn’t.

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Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 8: Under Siege

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, the aliens did it. You crazy bastards, you actually did it. No longer content simply with causing poison clouds, or with picking off my trespassing Explorers, or destroying my roads and improvements with their destructive worm bodies, or even preying on unguarded Trade Convoys, a pack of Wolf Beetles has actually directly attacked my one squad of Rangers. And… well, that’s it, then. Animals in your back yard that roughhouse and damage your property is one thing, but if one of them bites you in the arm? You have no choice but to put them down.

After the break: the aliens learn to regret their mistake. Assuming they have the capacity to learn.

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Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 7: Casus Belli

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I set my first tentative steps on the path of Supremacy. With the number of aliens in my small section of the world at an all-time high, I felt it better to be safe than to be sorry. I’m still holding out hope that the giant bugs of this world and I will manage to simply get along… but if not, at least my doofy astronaut soldiers are slightly less doofy now.

Of course, with upgrading my soldiers this way comes the inevitable realization that every other colony on the map is ahead of me in Affinity points, meaning all their militaries are either as powerful as mine, or even stronger. And I’m betting most of them will have more soldiers, too. But hey: one problem at a time. Let’s tackle the issue of peaceful alien coexistence first, and then I’ll get to finding out which human players I can and cannot wipe off the map.

After the break: the aliens make a very good case *against* peaceful coexistence.

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Indie Wonderland: Long Live The Queen

Long Live The Queen is an interesting case as far as review histories are concerned. On its Steam release about one year ago, a large group of my Steam-and-Twitter-friends all started playing and talking about it simultaneously. It was everywhere for a few days. And while you’d think something like that would practically impel me to write about it, I, er… just kinda didn’t.

I don’t actually remember why I chose not to write about Long Live The Queen. Given that Hanako Games‘ repertoire includes Magical Diary, one of the very first games I wrote about on the Blue Screen Of Defunct and a game I enjoyed a great deal in general, and given that all my friends were playing at the time, neither game nor publisher had done anything to earn any active distrust. But… again, I don’t know. The most likely answer is that there were just too many other games around then, as there are now, and I just forgot about ever addressing it.

And now, one year after everyone stopped caring, I’m here to rectify that oversight.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium-high. Mechanical, mostly absolute.)

After the break: does the Queen, in fact, Live Long? Those of you who’ve played this game will know the answer to that one.

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Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 6: The Gathering Storm

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I found out I’m not actually doing as hot as I imagined I’d been doing. Far from being the undisputed leader of the Terra Atlantea colony pack, what with both my head start and my superior human intelligence, I’m actually nothing more than middle-of-the-road at the moment. This… upsets me more than it probably should, to be honest. I’m not already clearly winning? Why am I not already clearly winning? Did I mess up at the start, somehow? Have the proverbial dice been cast against me? Is this Let’s Play over before it even began?

After the break: it is not. That said: my position is going to get worse before it gets any better.

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Discourse Dojo: Early Access

Ninjustin here! Our latest podcast  covers the subject of “early access games” and many different concerns relating to it. We bring up Don’t Starve, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Sunless Sea, Invisible, Inc., and others that I don’t feel like linking to. We also reference this very relevant video by George Weidman.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

Note from Ninjustin:

First of all, sorry it took so long to upload this. I was considering whether I should leave in or take out that part Jarenth told me not to listen to. I mean, the part I didn’t listen to. What did he say there? I didn’t listen to it.

I’ve heard people say, “Games are never finished — they’re abandoned.” The idea is that from a dev’s standpoint, there are always things you can add or alter in your game, and unlike books or movies, you can alter it after its release. So the point when a game’s development is over isn’t really when there’s “nothing left to add,” it’s when you’ve decided to stop adding.

I can agree with that argument in a semantic sense, but in this context, it’s kind of a red herring. When people say they don’t buy early access because they want a “finished game” most of them don’t mean they want a game that will never be updated again. They mean they want a game that feels fleshed out enough to have its desired appeal, regardless of what might be added or changed in the future. Obviously there’s some subjectivity there, but many early access games have definitely crossed the line into territory that most gamers wouldn’t hesitate to call unfinished.

Also, I don’t know why but I repeated the word “precisely” and the phrase “… don’t know how to deal with that” too many times. Sorry about that.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Yeah, that’s what you’re gonna get from leaving a podcast to lie fallow for a while: new thoughts. Or, in my case, largely forgetting what was brought up.

It’s worth noting that in the time between recording this podcast and releasing it, Sunless Sea has revealed its actual release date. So if you were at all interested in playing it, but still on the fence about the whole Early Access thing… ceteris paribus, you should be good to go in Februari 2015. I, for one, am looking forward.

That whole ‘I’m busy folding things’ angle wasn’t a joke, either. Look at the cool paper shapes I made while podcasting:

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DO as the heart COMMANDS!

DO as the heart COMMANDS!

In fact, you know what? I’m making that second heart the header image for this podcast. And Justin can’t even stop me.

And if you want to learn to make them yourself? I got you covered.

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Ninja Blues Stream on 12/6 (this Saturday)!

Hello. I’m Ninjustin, and due to reasons, we are going to stream again.

December 6th. Same time: 2:00 PM Central. Same place: our Hitbox channel. Same game: Actually, not the same game. I’m going to play Spelunky this time.

Jarenth will be there. I’ll presumably be there. Will Val and Josh be there again? I dunno, we’ll see.

BE THERE OR BE SLIGHTLY LESS COOL THAN IF YOU WERE TO BE THERE!