Author Archives: Ninja Blues

Indie Dumb Delay Land

Hey readers,

Because I am a doofus who forgot a crucial USB drive with text and images on it at work, today’s Indie Wonderland will be be posted tomorrow instead. Sorry about that; I know how much you all rely on Indie Wonderland as your shining Monday light.

Was signed,
the mana-Jar.

Discourse Dojo: Invisible, Inc.

Hey everyone, Ninjustin here. The audio for this podcast was recorded a few weeks after the release of Invisible, Inc., which means I’ve needed to edit and upload this damn thing for literal months. So long, in fact, that our friends at the Diecast have now talked about the game firstLife is hard.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

And in Youtube form:

Note from Ninjustin:

Man, I really should have uploaded this when the game was just released! But I stand by everything I said. If you haven’t played a game like Invisible, Inc., you haven’t played a game quite like it. It delivers a whole new breed of stealth gameplay that works fantastically and delivers consistently unique and interesting levels for sneaking, hacking, occasionally stunning/killing guards, and dashing to the exit. All this is conveyed through a pitch-perfect cyberpunk lens, under the framework of rebelling against a corporate regime using cunning tactics. Thematically, tonally and mechanically, the game just works so well. I love it and so should you.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Those of you who’ve been following my work for a little longer now probably know that I’m usually not big on repetition. I know a lot of games build themselves up on the joy of replayability, but that’s almost never been my jam. I much prefer one single good telling of a story over running through minor variations on the theme repeatedly, and I just tend to get bored with doing the same mechanical stuff over and over and again. As a rule, I’d much rather play something fresh (from the ever exponentially expanding list of available video games) than participate in the same experience twice, or thrice, or more.

I am really feeling the desire to go play Invisible, Inc. again.

Without wishing to repeat Past Podcast Jarenth, let me just say this: Invisible, Inc. is excellently built for repeated play. It builds up your staple of characters and tools to choose from, it has enough micro-variation in missions and corporations to feel fresh, and any single run through the game is both long enough to feel meaningful, and short enough not to feel like too major an investment.

In fact, looking at it like I do now, it’s almost a mistake to judge Invisible, Inc. as a story-driven game. It’s much more analogous to games like The Binding Of Isaac. Or sports games, almost. You have the same basic mechanics, goals, and tools every time, but it’s the actions — both yours and your opponents’ — that shape each individual narrative.

So yeah, Invisible, Inc.. It’s rad, it’s unique, it’s twenty dollars. Try it out, yo.


A New Challenger Approaches

Q: How is Ninja Blues like the popular Nintendo franchise Smash Brothers?

A: Our roster just got bigger, too!

Woop Woop Woop

That’s right, readers! After a long history of occasional cooperation, Ninja Blues Friend Ranneko has decided to become Ninja Blues Contributor Ranneko. While the brunt of his work will — as always — be posted on YouTube, the accompanying work that could previously be found on Ranneko’s Blogspot site will run on Ninja Blues from now on.

Ranneko intends to keep posting Let’s Play videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so look forward to a surge of new content on this site in the coming weeks. In fact, the first episode of RanStacking may well go live… tomorrow?

Stay tuned!

A Light Sprinkling Of Site News

Heya, readers. Two small updates for you:

1) You may have been wondering why there was no second Tabled For Discussion this Thursday. I don’t think I was clear about this in the announcement post, so to clarify: the current posting schedule for this feature is one Thursday every two weeks. Lostclause has indicated that this is a schedule he’s comfortable with.

2) The Ninja Blues Patreon just surpassed fifty monthly dollars. This is super rad. So, as an open message to everyone supporting us financially: you’re all amazing people and your support means the world to us. And as an open message to everyone supporting us with traffic and exposure: you’re all amazing people too.

As yesterday’s Yomi stream has shown — and as a side note, we hope to have that stream archived and uploaded soon for those of you who couldn’t make it — we’re already hard at work converting your financial contributions into site content. And that one was only the tip of the iceberg. All I can say is, stay tuned.

Back In The Air

Heya folks. Sorry for the unexpected outage. Lessons were learned: keep your website properly updated.

To compensate for the brief hours of No Ninja Blues, I have two pieces of good news for you:

1) The next Jarenth Plays installment should, ceteris paribus, go live next Tuesday. Yes, I know I said it’d be ‘end of March, start of April’, not ‘end of April, start of May’. In my defense, I was really intended to get it done faster this time around. And then I just didn’t.

But! Tuesday 5th, if all goes well. And then once a week from there on out.

Yes, once a week. Turns out this particular Let’s Play is a little shorter than expected! But, to compensate for that

2) Regular site reader and Twitter pal lostclause pitched the idea of writing semi-regular tabletop RPG articles for Ninja Blues a little while ago. And given that we both liked his initial offering… again, all going well, you should see the first installement of this as-yet-unnamed feature appear on Thursday 7th. It’s a new content direction for Ninja Blues, to be sure: we haven’t really done anything unrelated to video games yet. But I think you guys’ll enjoy lostclause’s work!

– Jarenth

The Official Ninja Blues Patreon Official Annoucement

That’s right, readers! The post title kinda tells you everything you need to know here, but just to re-iterate: today marks the launch of the official Ninja Blues Patreon campaign. If you’ve ever wanted to support us in a more direct and hassle-free way than clicking our one banner ad over and over, here’s your chance.

We’ve put up a whole story about the how and why of our campaign over on the Patreon page, so I won’t repeat that here verbatim: if you’re interested, it’s right there for the reading. I will, however, embed our Patreon campaign video here. So you can watch that without leaving the comfort of Ninja Blues, if that’s more your speed.

If you guys have any questions, comments, remarks, suggestions… you’re free to post those in the comments here, of course, that’s kind of what this post is all about. But as a more interactive alternative, the two of us — Jarenth and Ninjustin — will be streaming on our Hitbox channel tomorrow (2014-02-06) at what I hesitate to call the ‘usual time’, 2:00 PM Central Time / 9:00 PM Central European Time. Here’s a handy time zone converter. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and Jarenth will also be playing Volgarr the Viking, a notoriously difficult game he’s never actually played for himself.

Hope to see you there! And again, any questions you may have are also more than welcome in the comments here.

Ninja Blues, Non-Official Curators Of Goodness

Heya, readers! Ninjas? Bluesies? What do we call you guys, anyway? ‘Cool people who know where it’s at’?

Anyway, cool people who know where it’s at, a little bit of site news for you. Since we haven’t been very vocal about this, it may have fallen by the wayside that we have an official Ninja Blues Steam group you can totally join. And back when Steam curation became a thing, we expanded that group with our official Ninja Blues curation list.

It’s a small list, at the moment, as we’ve only recently started doing this. But I can guarantee you that every game on that list carries the Official Jarenth And/Or Ninjustin Seal of This Is A Pretty Okay Game, You Guys. And, obviously, more will be coming as we encounter and play more games that are worth recommending.

And thanks for reading Ninja Blues, all of you! Stick with us, kids, because we’re going places.

– Jarenth.

– Or Ninjustin.

– Who wrote this post? Ha ha, you’ll never know!

– Unless you’ve been reading for long enough to recognize that this is typically a style Jarenth would write in.

– Dang.

Unless it’s a ninja trick, haha! Uncertainty: restored!

Welcome to Ninja Blues!

Hello there, dear reader, and welcome to Ninja Blues! This is the new blog where up-and-coming Internetters Dylan ‘Jarenth’ Schouten and Justin ‘JPH’ Hall write about video games. Chances are high that you’re here because you know one or both of them and they’ve led you here, but if you want to know more about either of them, you can read our About Us page.

Jarenth runs a column called Indie Wonderland, where he reviews an indie title every Monday. Justin’s got a column called Talk of the Ninja, where he writes about games small and large, as well as general gaming topics. We have plans to write collaborative reviews, Let’s Plays and more. Stick around for lots of reading material!