Indie Shortieland: The Novelist

Take a moment to imagine: What’s the most self-indulgent thing I could possibly do on this website? Apart from letting it all burn down, or using the site’s database as my personal torrented game storage. The best answer I came up with is: Write about a video game about writing. It’s the perfect overlap of the real and the imagined! No, wait, I actually have an even better one: Imagine if I wrote about a video that was about a middle-aged white man struggling to write! His most important work!. Oh god, can you imagine, it’s like I’d be staring into a mirror. I can’t say for sure that the whole piece would be introspective navel-gazing, but one can only imagine.

Anyway, in unrelated news, I played Orthogonal GamesThe Novelist this week. ‘A game about life, family, and the choices we make’. And also pointedly about a struggling middle-aged white dude writer. You’ll understand why I figured I should keep this review short. Unless you want to hear all about my own troubled upbringing, possibly in tortured metaphor form.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, comprehensive.)

(Game source: Gift from a friend.)

After the break: It all started when I was declared to be a ‘gifted child’…

Ranneko Plays SteamWorld Dig 2 – Channel Update 2017-02-16


YouTube Link

Having run through all of my pre-trip footage previously, this week was almost entirely footage captured while I was in Barcelona. I simply didn’t have the time to hold another recording session and return to anything resembling the old schedule. It is amazing how much trips can distort things because you need to cover not just the trip itself, but also through to the next recording timeslot.

As things stand I only have 1-2 times a week where I can record, so those slots are pretty precious plus I want to give this newer model of a single game running every day a slightly longer chance to help answer those questions from last week.


Tomorrow For Sure

Hey readers. Are you familiar with the classic Spongebob Squarepants episode Rock-a-Bye Bivalve? The long and the short of it is this: Spongebob and Patrick adopt a baby scallop and play house, with Spongebob as the stay-at-home mom and Patrick as the working-class dad. Spongebob really wants Patrick to come home from work early so he can help with the baby, but Patrick keeps showing up late, then promising that ‘tomorrow’ will be the day. This is punctuated by a series of narrated flash cards, most with some variation of “Tomorrow”.

This one always stuck with me the most.

I was told my new university laptop was set to arrive Monday last week. I figured that, if that was the case, I should wait with playing any new games until it got here — would have been a hassle to start over or swap save files. Then I got the email on Monday. Updates were being difficult. It’d be done soon. Tomorrow.

I’m sure you see where this is going. It turns out it’s hard to get anything started when you’re stuck in perpetual limbo.

If all goes well, which is to say if my life isn’t completely a comedic farce, I should be all set up laptop-wise today. That means reviews should resume next week.

Next week for sure.

– Jarenth

Ranneko Plays Full Throttle Week – Channel Update 2018-02-09

This week was basically the last of any game footage I had recorded before this Barcelona trip. Heck I recorded Full Throttle Remastered with Syfro back in November, there have just been a few delays with editing.

As I commented during the series, I never actually finished Full Throttle as a child. I got very close, but I just couldn’t find the right rock to kick. It felt really good to finally finish the story after all this time, but I was surprised to find just how short the game is. Despite the compulsory combat section, it only took about 3 hours to finish. To be fair, we were both already somewhat familiar with the game and the puzzles, but neither of us had played it in years. I wonder how concerned the developers were about that when the game was released.

I would also love to hear what you think of these release model, a single game run from start to finish at one episode per day. It would work much better with a stream first setup, which I have been considering using, but it does make collaborations harder to organise. At least if I want the entire series to be done collaboratively.

I will be continuing with this significantly altered schedule for at least another week, because, though I do return home today, it will take some time before I have another opportunity to record more games and edit them.

Edit: Well, as of Friday morning, the feedback is pretty clearBut this does leave further questions:

  • Is it the game? Is Full Throttle just too old or are my watchers uninterested in Point and Clicks
  • Is it the delivery method? Too many days in a row?
  • Is it the team? Do they not like the combo of me and Syfro?

Given my recording circumstances, I guess we will see, because next week will be SteamWorld Dig 2 week.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: Ranneko and Syfro Take a Royal Tumble
Sunday: RanWorld Dig 2
Monday-Friday: Ranneko and Syfro Go Full Throttle

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: Celeste

Eagled-eyed viewers may have noticed that I referenced ‘looking for a mountain to climb’ last week as a metaphor for a challenging game that inspires you to keep trying. For once in my writing career, that actually wasn’t a random segue: I’d started playing Celeste, the mountain-climbing themed challenge platformer by Matt Thorson and Noel Berry. I hadn’t seem much of Celeste in the days following launch, except that a) it was getting rave reviews from outlets I generally care about, and b) it looked in some particular artistic ways to be entirely my jam. Hence, here we are. If you subscribe to the Indie Wonderland world-fiction that I write these reviews as I play, this review actually originates from a week and a half ago. Welcome from Friday January 25th, everyone. I can’t wait to see the Patriots win.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium — pretty much nothing major. Mechanical, somewhat high, though plenty surprises are left.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

You could be wondering at this point why an agoraphobic like me would ever be drawn to a mountain-climbing game. But maybe, it turns out that some mountains are just worth climbing.

Ranneko Plays in Barcelona – Channel Update 2018-02-02

More changes in series due to the business trip are creeping in. Next week will be a fairly radical departure from the normal schedule and I am not entirely sure how long this will last, because I don’t anticipate being able to record and edit as soon as I get home. A lot of it depends on just how much recording I can get done from my hotel room using my elgato capture device.

I had hoped to do a little streaming while I was here in Barcelona, but unfortunately the hotel wifi is awful. It randomly drops out frequently and even when it works it has a tendency to drop to incredibly slow speeds. The perils of travel as wifi is primarily a checkbox when it really needs a full scale.

The last week’s releases were:

Thursday: Ranneko and Syfro Enter the Gungeon
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Runs
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips / Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips
Thursday: Ranneko and Syfro Take a Royal Tumble

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: The Shrouded Isle

In the closing weeks of 2017, which at time of writing are about fourteen years ago, I made the mistake of not remembering the name of Kitfox GamesThe Shrouded Isle. I found it by Googling the phrase ‘that green game about sacrificing cultists’, and then made the mistake of tweeting about it.

Which Kitfox Games then saw.

That I was going to review The Shrouded Isle to make up for this terrible oversight was obviously a given. The only question remains: Am I going to repair my reputation by praising in gameplay what I couldn’t remember in the name? Or am I going to pile-drive my remaining Kitfox Games Reputation straight into the depths of the earth?

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

(Game source: Bought it myself, for penitence reasons.)

After the break: The Shrouded Isle, which I still don’t really know anything about. Sacrifices feature, apparently.

Pity it was still too cold to swim

Ranneko Plays in Barcelona – Channel Update 2018-01-26

I am working from Barcelona at the moment, leaving me with an odd mix of free time but low equipment. I have spent the evenings slowly editing the most of the footage I recorded before I flew out, and conveniently, my friend Syfro finished up editing the games we recorded back in Sydney. Between these two things I almost have enough to cover the gap, but it will mean some surprise changes of games.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: Pillars of Ranternity
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Runs
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips / Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips
Thursday: Ranneko and Syfro Enter the Gungeon

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Non-derland, Or: Where The Hell Have I Been

Update: I contracted a minor flu hours after initially posting this. So you can imagine how well that worked out for me, week-wise. But I’m better now, actually honestly for-real, and working on the material for next week’s First Indie Wonderland of 2018. Its theme will be the colour green: Stay tuned to find out what the hell I’m talking about!

Hey readers. Jarenth here. Wow, I’ve just up and not posted anything for a whole month, huh?

Those of you that follow me on Twitter may already have seen this, but the long and the short of it is: I moved from the Netherlands to Boston, Massachusetts in the first week of January 2018. Work-related, I got a research opportunity at a cool university there. Now, I was planning to post some more reviews during the Christmas and New Year’s periods, and I was planning to pick my stuff back up as quickly as possible. But here’s the fun thing about plans: Sometimes a bomb cyclone happens, and then a mild flu attack. Don’t ask me how I know these things.

At any rate, I’m currently typing this on a decent laptop. I’m going to try and see if I can run some games on this thing, and if so, try to write about these games — either next week or the week after. Should that not work, I have a more dedicated laptop in the pipeline that should hopefully be here around February; between that and all my acclimatization nonsense playing out, I should be able to get back to something like regular posting soon enough.

Thank you for your understanding.

Ranneko Plays Changes – Channel Update 2018-01-19


This week, YouTube announced changes to its partner program. In particular, they have decided to signficiantly raise the bar required for video monetisation. In order to qualify for their program you now need at least 1,000 subs, and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months. My channel is nowhere near these numbers. At the time of writing, I have 174 subscribers and about 1,500 watch hours.

When I received my first adsense payment last year, it felt like a huge milestone, but with these changes the next similar milestone seems to have been pushed back incredibly far.

This also came at a particularly bad time for me, I am going on a work trip for the next 3 weeks, and this news just killed my motivation to try to build the buffer enough to cover the trip. I will edit and post what I have, but the channel will probably either take a break during some of the next 3 weeks or at the least change games to ones I can record while I am away.

Long term, the channel itself hasn’t been what I would describe as “healthy” for quite some time now. I will go into greater detail when I finish my analytics post, but basically when it comes to my let’s plays. The numbers pretty much say no one cares, and daily uploads aren’t helping.

Currently my plans are to split my attention between my Twitch and my YouTube

On Twitch:

  • Steam regularly, starting at one night a week
  • Slowly upload the best of my old Let’s Play series

On YouTube:

  • Continue Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips, probably continuing to focus on Heat Signature until I finish working that out of my system
  • Post VODs of the twitch streams
  • Post stream highlights

These plans are of course subject to change, but I would love to hear feedback from anyone on this approach, and any worries or advice they may have.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday and Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Runs
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips / Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!