Monthly Archives: February 2018

Indie Wonderland: Iconoclasts

You know how culture and history are fun? When I first read the name of Bifrost Entertainment‘s latest work, Iconoclasts, it put into my mind the very specific image of a period of Dutch history called the beeldenstorm, or ‘statue storm’. This was part of the larger Protestant Reformation uprising against Catholic excesses, but in the Netherlands specifically took on the shape of a wave of vandalistic attacks against church buildings and relics, targeted at destroying Catholic art and iconography — like statues. In Dutch, ‘iconoclast’ still literally translate to ‘statue stormer’: Not someone who attacks religious institutions in general, but very specifically someone who busts up statues.

Anyway, I’m not saying I expect Iconoclasts to have ‘breaking religious statues’ as a major gameplay mechanic. But a man can daydream, can’t he?

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

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: No statues, that’s for sure. Because… because of the whole with ‘break’, and… Listen, it’s the Iconoclasts review.

Ranneko Plays Returns to Heat Signature – Channel Update 2018-02-23


I’ve been back in Sweden long enough to start recording again, but I want to run through all of SteamWorld Dig 2 before I return to the old schedule. I both want to build up my buffer and change my recording schedule and model. These things unfortunately take time. In the meantime, if you are interested in being part of some of the recording, I am now streaming regularly. Every Tuesday evening from 6pm CET over on my twitch channel.

The first part of my schedule to return is Heat Signature, as you can see in the release summary below. There are 2 pretty simple reasons why:

  1. I still really enjoy playing the game. I am good at it and I enjoy trying new play styles in it for some reason.
  2. Heat Signature was updated last week, introducing 2 new items and going on sale. As a result way more people are looking up Heat Signature on Youtube right now.

Quite a jump

That sale has significantly boosted the number of eyeballs on my channel for now, both directly from YouTube searches and indirectly via my posts on the Heat Signature Subreddit. Things will inevitably return to normal, but in the meantime I am enjoying the boost to engagement. I am even getting comments right now!

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Monday, Wednesday – Friday: RanWorld Dig 2
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Run
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

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!