I got into Zachtronics‘s latest release, EXAPUNKS, the same way I get into all Zachtronics games: Learning about it way after everyone else by seeing emails or Twitter messages about release dates and special editions, buying one of those special editions on the promise of cool manuals and physical goodies, and then promising myself that maybe this time I’ll actually see one of them through to conclusion. Poor return on investment for the third bit so far, but maybe this time! It could happen.
Now, last time I reviewed a Zachtronics game (Opus Magnum, which I reviewed here), the review turned into a sort of distributed reference block about which other Zachtronics games that one pulled from most and least. Which is fine, in a sense, they are all similar. But I realized after the fact that a review like that won’t be very valuable for someone who’s not already way into Zachtronics games: Saying ‘just read these review and play these games if you want to understand this one’ isn’t exactly accessible. So for EXAPUNKS, I’m going back to the normal ‘full’ treatment: Early-game impressions, options menus, the works. If you’ve got no idea what this game is like or what the deal is with this publisher, I should hopefully have you covered.
And if you are already a Zachtronics expert, no worries! I’m sure my subconscious will sneak in more than enough references to other games anyway.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium to high, depending on how well you read the screenshots.)
I am having real trouble keeping ahead on my tip videos, I have clear plans, but I am starting to spend my time increasingly on other games, meaning I have to specifically go back and replay sections of Into the Breach to gather footage. I am often up late on a monday night trying to put together the video for Tuesday. This is not a sustainable situation, I either need to get ahead or change game.
Ranneko Plays reached 200 subscribers this week, in the past month I have gained more than a dozen subscribers. That is about a quarter of all my subscriber growth in the past year. Looking into the YouTube analytics, most of them have subscribed while watching a tip video. It seems that the time investment on those videos is really paying off!
Real life is interfering somewhat with my streaming schedule at the moment. This week’s stream was delayed until Thursday because the rest of my things from Australia arrived, so I was busy moving boxes and assembling a bed. Next week’s stream clashes with a meeting. Unfortunately I am then travelling from Wednesday through Monday, so there won’t be an opportunity for a make up stream.
I succumbed to temptation this week, rather than playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong as initially planned. I decided to play the literally just released BattleTech, after all I am working this weekend so I figured I could try to finish up Shadowrun: Hong Kong in a bonus stream on Thursday or Friday.
It turns out I wasn’t quite as close as I thought I was as it took 2 bonus streams to finish it out. Next week I will be streaming on Thursday rather than Tuesday, because the 1st of May is a public holiday here in Sweden and I have other plans.
I have finally finished up Pillars of Eternity, but that does not mean that the Let’s Play will wrap up any time soon. I recorded about 12 hours of footage last weekend in the process of finishing it and the videos going up this week are from an even earlier session. In an effort to speed things up somewhat I have decided to put it up three times a week. That means daily content for my channel for a while yet.
This week I picked up and then abruptly lost 2 subscribers. In addition my Hint to the Breach videos are getting disliked but no one doing so comments. At times like these I really wish there was a way to ask why.
YouTube already does this for things it cares about. When you click not interested on a recommended video, you are given the immediate opportunity to Undo or Tell Us Why. If only they did that for other metrics. As always raw numbers can tell you what is happening, but why is a harder question.
The second episode of Hint To the Breach didn’t gather quite as many views as the last one, but still pulled in by far the most views of any video this week. I’m not sure exactly why this is. Is it just that people want to start at the beginning? Into the Breach is just that much older? More people have already dismissed the series based on the first one?
Even so, this marks the first time I have received feedback on the tip itself that wasn’t either information I had considered and decided was either unnecessary or best included as part of a separate tip. Now I need to work how how to include the extra info. I can’t edit the old video, I can highlight the comments on YouTube, but maybe I should include a post-closing segment with extra info in future weeks? A feedback and improvements section. Would that be a good inclusion or just feel like padding?
This week Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips finally left the realm of Heat Signature. I always wanted my tip series to cover multiple games, I actually have about a dozen or so scripts written for tips covering a few different games, but it also seems sensible to try to cover one game at a time and as always there is the drive to be topical and try to cover recent games. Hence this week, Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips moved Into the Breach and the initial response has been really positive.
I posted the video and a request for feedback on the Into the Breach subreddit and it gathered a couple of hundred views and I picked up about 6 subscribers in one day. More importantly I got valuable feedback in terms of the video editing, the introduction and the ending. I anticipate spending at least the next couple of months on Into the Breach but amd always happy to get tips for any game you have been playing.