Monthly Archives: December 2014

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.

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.

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.

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:

heartblank--Thumb

heartwritten--Thumb

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.

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!

Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 5: Score One For The Bad Guys

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I’d just discovered the deleterious effects that city total and city population have on my general Health. Seeing as though low Health impacts both Culture and Science, and seeing as though those two elements form the building blocks of New Franco-Iberia, I immediately resolved to… found a new Outpost. Which will undoubtedly push down my Health even more.

What can I say? I already paid for the Colonist and I lost the receipt.

After the break: I make some feeble attempts at getting my Health back in the green. It… doesn’t work out.

Indie Non-derland: A Tale Of Mismanaged Expectations

Readers.

Disappointing news: as you may have already inferred from today’s title and lack of paragraph break, there will, in fact, be no Indie Wonderland today. There are two reasons why I’m shirking on my me-given duty, today, and both have to do with me poorly handling the gulf between fanciful expectations and reality.

One: incorrectly taking my friend Desgardes‘ anger as some kind of cleverly-hidden endorsement, I opted to try playing Fate/stay night this week. I figured, hey, it’s a visual novel, how long can it be? I’ll blow through this stuff in a day or two, three at the most, write a review right after the end credits, and then I should be ready for… well, what ended up being reason 2.

Wrong. I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently a ‘complete’ playthrough of Fate/stay night can take something in the vicinity of eighty hours. This game is the goddamn War and Peace equivalent of visual novels. I put two days of significant play time into it, but those ended with me reaching the end of the prologue section. Which, yes, is almost longer than Sakura Spirit in its entirety. Better written, too.

And two: past Friday, I finally received the new gaming PC I’d ordered the week before. Which in and by itself would have been fine for my schedule, except that at this point in time, my previous PC is nine years old. Six if you count the most ‘recent’ video card upgrade as a renewal, but still. My old PC runs Windows Vista on 4 GB of DDR2-RAM, that’s the kind of old we’re talking about. I replaced it because it was dying of motherboard battery malfunction and terminal Vista nonsense, but even before that, I found myself less and less able to play the high-end flavours of the week.

I always told myself, hey, it doesn’t matter: you don’t really need AAA titles when you have your indie friends! And then I got a new PC, and I spent a significant part of my weekend stabbing Uruk-Hai. Just, like, we’re talking at least hundreds of them. A few dozen of them had names and faces.

So yeah, the upshot of this story is: I accidentally committed to a game I wouldn’t have had the time to properly review even under the best of circumstances, and then proceeded to engineer circumstances such that I wouldn’t have wanted to review even a two-hour game. And as a result… well, you get this.

Apologies, again. Regular service should resume next week, when I inevitably get tired of Uruks to stab. Or if I run out. Whichever happens first.

Cheers,
– Jarenth.

P.S.
Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth fans needn’t worry: time-of-writing, I have episodes of that queued up until Tuesday next week. Benefit of a forward log, I suppose.