Monthly Archives: May 2014

Indie Wonderland: Level 22 (Gary’s Misadventures)

And now, for a game that… hold on, have I made this joke before? I think I have, back on Blue Screen of Awesome. But since that site’s taking an unexpected dirt nap again at the moment, I’m safe to plagiarize myself without fear of consequence!

“And now, for a game that’s the digital equivalent of ‘found in a dollar store bin'”: Noego GamesLevel 22: Gary’s Misadventures. I ran into it in some one-dollar bundle or another, and its purported office-life stealth-type gameplay appealed to me inner ‘shit, what game am I gonna do this week’. I mean, my inner games connoisseur.

And I think we can all agree that this joke was worth recycling at this length.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, Unintentionally high. Mechanical, Intentionally high.)

After the break: What’s so ‘mis’ about Gary’s Adventures? I won’t have that kind of negativity in this house.

Indie Wonderland: Desktop Dungeons

I vaguely remember playing QCF Design‘s Desktop Dungeons a long, long time ago… back in the half-forgotten fog of history that was…

2010? Can that be right? It definitely feels longer ago than that. But then again, I guess the strongly future-sounding year of ‘2010’ is already three and a half years ago. Which, let me tell you: I know my Bluesian co-host Justin is not a fan of this phrase, but nothing makes you feel old quite like the realization that a time period you vividly remember being the ‘future’s future’ is now the past.

Anyway, what? Sorry. Desktop Dungeons, then! I played it a long time ago, back when it was free and pixels. Now it’s pricey, and even more pixels, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how much my memories of yester-yester-yester-yesteryear have lied to me.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, Not really a factor. Mechanical, High.)

After the break: Desktop Dungeons. Desktops aren’t really involved, but the dungeons *more* than compensate for this.

Indie Wonderland: Bleed

…dangit. I don’t really have a funny opening story for Bootdisk Revolution‘s Bleed. I received the game as a gift from a fan/Steam friend about a month ago, and as many of you might know by now, I am hilariously vulnerable to all kinds of peer pressure. Real peer pressure, implied peer pressure, imagined peer pressure. Even explicitly stated non-peer pressure — i.e. ‘I absolutely and under no circumstances want you to review this game!’ — works like a goddamn charm on me. My fate was basically sealed when I saw the notification email pop up.

Or, sure, I could go with the non-imaginary narrative, which is that Bleed looked at least reasonably interesting, as well as short enough for me to get a good overview of in a week filled with heavy work demands and repeated failures to make Space Engineers play ball. Pick whatever story you prefer, really. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure-review all over again! Except you only get one choice in total, at the start of the review, and it doesn’t influence the proceedings in any way whatsoever.

So probably closer to the actual CYOA experience than my previous outing in the field, then.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, ‘High’. Mechanical, Actually high.)

After the break: When I ramble about nonsense for three paragraphs in the introduction, you just know the review’s going to be good. Anyway, Bleed! What’s Bleed all about?

Talk of the Ninja: Heteronormativity, Social Conditioning, and Nintendo

So, Nintendo decided that gay people don’t deserve a place in their life simulator.

For those of you that don’t keep up with immediate gaming news, Nintendo released a game in Japan called Tomodachi Life, which seems to basically be their answer to The Sims. They designed a system within the game wherein men can marry women, and vice versa. Upon release players found a bug that allowed them to marry people of the same gender, but once Nintendo caught wind of it, they “fixed” it by disallowing gay marriage altogether. Fans demanded that they reverse the “fix” and allow gay marriage, both in the Japanese version and in the upcoming North American release, but Nintendo recently stated that they will not do so.

I will admit that I wasn’t terribly interested in Tomodachi Life to begin with, but recent events have made me decide that I’m not buying it. I mean, I wasn’t necessarily planning on virtually marrying someone of the same gender as my Mii, but it’s a matter of principle. I’m angry at Nintendo over their statement.

“The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.”

I’ve heard bullshit like this for years. “These games are just for fun! They’re not supposed to be taken seriously! Why does everyone have to analyze them like they’re part of some sort of agenda?” And since we’re still hearing it, I think we need to put more effort into explaining why that’s not how culture works.

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Indie Not *Quite* Early Access Land: Factorio

Man. Factorio, the un-named three-man developer-created factory-building sim, is probably the single most requested game on Indie Wonderland since its inception: no less than two different people mused on my opinion on the Twittosphere. How could I not review it?

Now, as with last week’s 0RBITALIS, Factorio is technically an Early Access game: buying the game at current time gets you ‘alpha access’, with promise of ‘all updates’ after ‘official release’, you get the idea. However, where 0RBITALIS was clearly still in very early stages of development, Factorio appears to be… well, nearing completion, really. The current alpha is listed as version 0.9.8, it’s been in development for at least a year and a half, and the basic mechanical and gameplay conceits appear to be in place firmly enough that they probably won’t be drastically changed overnight. I’d almost say Factorio is in end-of-production beta stage, rather than anything that can be called ‘alpha’, if I wanted to be pedantic. But I don’t, so I won’t say that.

Because of how close to completion Factorio seems to, I’ve decided to forego my usual Early Access kid gloves. Hence, ‘Not *Quite* Early Access Land’: you get the critical eye and endless moping about inconsequential detail of a ‘regular’ Indie Wonderland this week, with the caveat that yes, technically speaking, Factorio isn’t finished yet.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, Very low. Mechanical, High, but also really only medium.)

After the break: Treating a half-finished assembly line as if it were an immutable final product? How *fitting* for a game like this.