You might have noticed that my schedule’s been a little on-again-off-again the last few weeks, with a shorter Indie Wonderland what felt like every other week — and then nothing at all yesterday, for which I apologize. My life has just been busy for the last few weeks: Between increasing workloads, running appointments, and social obligations, it’s been difficult for me to find the time to play (new) games long enough to be able to review them. I’ve been using shorter games and game musings as a substitute for weeks where I don’t have anything, while carrying longer games over multiple weeks, to give myself time to write something good — rather one good article every two weeks than one rushed, incomplete-feeling one every one week, that’s my motto.
This post mostly serves to make the unofficial official, as Indie Wonderland is going to stay on this uncertain schedule for the foreseeable future. I’ll try to swing full reviews as often as I can, probably once every two weeks, and I’ll do my best to fill the gap weeks with shorter reviews or other pieces of writing you might find interesting. Might not always happen, but sometimes all you can do is your best.
Thank you for your patience and continued reading.
See you next week.
I’ve been tracking Wandersong, by ‘Greg’ Lobanov, ‘Em’ Halberstadt, and ‘Gord’, or A Shell In The Pit, in that casual way that I do: Infrequently and with no real plan, but with a strong resolution to play it once it actually came out — assuming I didn’t miss it entirely, due to the deluge of cool games that comes out every single day.
And hey, look at this! I didn’t miss it! A good third of my timeline was all Wandersong all the time in the week after it launched, last month, and that was enough impetus for me to buy it, install it, and occasionally look at the desktop icon, hoping to find some time to actually play.
And hey, look at this! Again! I did find some time to actually play it!
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium, high-ish if you read the secret comment. Mechanical, medium-high.)
(Game source: Patreon funds.)
After the break: And I found some time to write about Wandersong too! Will wonders never cease? Not if Wandersong is concerned.
Hey readers! No full Indie Wonderland this week, due to several reasons: I couldn’t stop myself from playing more Phantom Doctrine, because it’s fun and I wanted to see where the story ends; I had a bunch of nerd shit to do; I wanted to make time to visit a timed Winnie-the-Pooh exhibit at a local museum; and against all hope I found an option to say hi to one of my all-time favorite writers. What even are video games? I don’t even know.
Seriously though: I do have a review lined up next week, but I want to give that game a little more time before I start singing its praises. In the meantime, I’ll use this space to write out some thoughts about that most topical game that’s surely still on everyone’s minds: Pokémon GO. I recently got back into it after a lengthy (2-year-or-so) absence, and there have been some changes. Some good, some bad, and some that have been percolating in my brain after the first time I encountered them. I’m not actually going to review Pokémon GO here, so if you’re not familiar with it, you probably won’t get much out of this article — that’s fair, I hope to see you next week! But if you are familiar with Pokémon GO / play it yourself, there’s a nonzero chance you might enjoy the following piece:
Why the changes to Pokémon GO’s gym system have turned your own team into your worst enemy
In lieu of hearing about it through professional channels, most of my info on Phantom Doctrine (developed by CreativeForge Games and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment) came from hearing about it from a friend who played — and by ‘hearing about it’, I mean ‘extended chat and tweet sessions about how this game casually encourages you to commit heinous human rights violations’. And I still got it for myself, in case you were ever wondering about the power of word-of-mouth marketing. But then, it’s not like ‘nu-XCOM, except set in the Cold War era’ was ever going to be a particularly difficult sell for me.
And those human rights violations? That’s easy, I just won’t do ’em.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, medium.)
(Game source: Patreon funds.)
After the break: It’s notoriously easy to stay on the right side of the line when engaging in worldwide shadow warfare, as I’m sure Phantom Doctrine is about to demonstrate.
Hey readers. You’ll notice this is not a usual Indie Wonderland title.
A combination of happenstance and stellar alignment saw 2/3rds of Ninja Blues’ authorship coexist in the same space last week, as Ranneko’s work sent him to the greater Boston, Massachusetts area (where I currently live). And while you might hope this would be grounds for unprecedented article/video collaboration opportunities, the truth wasn’t quite that: We elected instead to play games, eat bad American foods, and reenact parts of Fallout 4. I had time to play like, half a video game during the week.
Of course we played Star Realms. This was *specifically requested*.
That said, one tangentially site-related thing we did do was visit the 2018 Boston Festival of Indie Games, a one-day games convention where independent developers come to showcase, sell, and elicit Kickstarter promises about their latest stuff. I didn’t find any one game I’d currently want to write a feature on, and most of our time was spent in the tabletop/board games at any rate. In lieu of deep dives, I’ll try to convey some short impressions of the games I’ve seen and played; most of these games are currently gearing up for Kickstarters, so there’s not a whole lot to link to, but any links I can find are included.
Regular writing resumes next week.
After the break: A small selection of BostonFIG 2018 games, and what I thought about them!