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Too Cool for School

"Oh Jeez"

Goodness Gracious we seem to have recorded another podcast.  In which we discuss Adventure games! Half Life 2 Mods! Harry Potter!? With 200% more alcohol.

We may spoil some things, so don’t listen if you like surprises, but who does really? They are surprising! (except when they’re not). Things such as:

  • Monkey Island
  • Loom
  • The Dig (badly)
  • Ben There, Dan That! (badly)
  • The film that wasn’t Armageddon
  • Research & Development (mod)
  • Radiator (mod)
  • Harry Potter (SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE)

So quickly go and play/watch/read all that and then you can download the podcast here.

There is an additional outtakes track here, if you’re one of those crazy completionists like me who can’t stand to miss out on content.

We also promised to link to my terrible adventure game, which according to the download count is apparently the most popular thing I will ever create.

In fairness to Rivas, after posting a ridiculous picture of him, I shall post myself shortly after posing in our podcasting environment.

IMG_3289

"Your room is green"

I’m just adding a line here because the page layout felt off, there is no content in this sentence whatsoever, seriously stop reading it doesn’t go anywhere, in fact pretend this is just some elaborate line art under the post if you want.

Bummer.

Bummer.

I’ve been playing a lot of adventure games lately. I pretty much completely missed out on all the Scumm stuff, so I tried Secret of Monkey Island (excellent) and Maniac Mansion (less impressive). The Longest Journey is pretty much universally praised, and I’m nominally interested in creator Ragnar Tørnquist’s new MMO The Secret World, so I played that. Then, of course, Ben Ward and Dan Marshall of Zombie Cow‘s latest adventure Time Gentlemen, Please hit the internet, so I downloaded Ben There, Dan That, which is free, and made in Adventure Game Studio. And really, really good.

Ben Chandler’s Heed is also free, made in Adventure Game Studio and really really good, but there any comparisons with the Ben and Dan games pretty much stop. For a start, Heed takes itself extremely seriously. Where Ben and Dan race through madcap adventures so they can be back in time for Magnum P.I., Heed’s nameless protagonist engages in a search for purpose, and something called the Force Source.

It’s sober stuff, but it’s competently written, and contains some fairly unexplored themes (at least when it comes to video games). For once, the quasi-religious stuff isn’t centred around (looks down upon, in fact) any idea of destiny. Life is, in short, what you make of it. Okay, it’s maybe a little shmaltzy, but look at what it has to compete with. It’s neat. It’s also very well drawn, and has a soundtrack consisting of out of copyright recordings, which works very well and is probably the way to go if you want a ‘fessional sounding score with a non-existent budget.

There’s only one cursor and no inventory, which makes puzzles (for me at least, maybe I am an adventure game god) a little simple. They’re mostly centred around chasing a fly around the screen, and talking to ghosts. It’s all well done, but there’s little challenge involved. For the last portion of the game, though, it does a good job of switching things up, and the last puzzle is easily the best.

Heed, then. It’s short, easy, and interesting in a couple of ways. It’s a good way to spend the ten minutes or so that it takes to finish.

D.

You can get Heed here. Ben There, Dan That is pretty ace too.

Bustin': Makes you feel good.

Bustin': Makes you feel good.

Glum Buster is a rather wonderful little game from the brain of Justin Leingang, who goes by CosMind. You are sucked into a parallel world, in which you whizz around busting glum, after finding yourself a little depressed. There isn’t a huge amount of story from what I can tell, but it’s atmospheric and really pretty, and you should play it.

The game is split up between side scrolling platformer, and serene twin-stick shooter, in which you shoot glum baddies in the face, then click in a triangle around them to turn them into fairies, or something. It is both chilling and relaxing. One might go so far as to describe it as chillaxing. It’s a pay-what-you-want affair, with a large portion of the proceeds going to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

D.

Hey look, I’m posting, we’re not dead! You can find Glum Buster here.

HNTDAAB.co.uk had another podcast today. I appear intermittently to talk about adventure games and Steam, then go and eat something, if I recall. I haven’t yet heard the bits I didn’t appear in, so this is as much a magical adventure for me as it is for you guys. Enjoy.

D.

The new HNTDAAB (Totally pronounced huntdaarb, I swear) podcast can be found here. I’m on it, so it must be good, right?

EDIT: Oh, turns out you can’t actually hear my voice. It doesn’t really matter, I didn’t say much of substance.

rise_koipond_pano

I don’t generally go in for much in the way of anime. You’re better off asking Alex about that sort of thing. The Japanese language and its three distinct scripts are very interesting, however, and… Well, that’s an entirely different realm of geek to the one this blog deals with, so I’ll just stick with saying I don’t much care for most nonvideo-gamey things Japan.

Although…

I quite like Ghost in the Shell. Somehow, by mixing up Tokyo, the future, cyborgs and invisibility suits, Masamune Shirow seems to have stumbled upon the recipe for pure style. Sure, the stories for the movies and the comic were at worst terrible and at best pedestrian, but, well, look at it. Which brings me nicely round to NeoTokyo, a Half-Life 2 mod made by some people calling themselves Studio Radi-8.

I’ve played a bunch of HL2 mods in the past few weeks, and this is the first one in which you shoot a gun. Polaris and Dear Esther were very much artgames. NeoTokyo is a Video Game. You shoot mans.

Pink Crabs - Endemic to Japan

Pink Crabs - Endemic to Japan

And, naturally, you look good doing it. It’s all very GitS (and Akira, apparently? I can’t really comment). There’s only one mode I have seen any server running, Capture the Flag, which is a bummer, but I would like to note that the flag is the cyborg torso from the end of the first Ghost in the Shell film, and it’s called the “ghost”.

It’s quite neat, actually. The person holding the torso is able to see the location of all the enemies, yet cannot attack, so once the flag has been grabbed it basically turns into a game of VIP. This helps to stop the game getting monotonous. The weapon choice is a little weak, in that all the mid to high tier rifles seem to be exactly the same futuristic bullet-spewer, and the shotgun seems fairly useless.

The game all feels very Counter-Strike, what with the one spawn each per round, and (sorta)Terrorists versus (sorta)Counter-Terrorists setup. However, there are a number of advantages I can see:

  1. It looks rather nice.
  2. Not everyone with a mic is a complete dick.
  3. The scout class can do a super jump.
  4. Heads explode just so. Cathartic.
  5. Your guys can turn invisible, with a very nice flash bzzzzp effect.

There are also various vision modes, which are actually pretty useful, and certainly atmospheric. Which is really what I like about NeoTokyo. Atmosphere.

D.

NeoTokyo can be found here. It requires a source game to play.

Before the end of September, I aim:

  1. To finish one, if not both, of the games I am currently working on.
  2. To study.
  3. To find a pair of sandals that don’t leave my feet a bloody mess (I doubt I  will achieve this).
  4. To get fitter.
  5. To join a sports club of some kind (See point 4).
  6. To get a job.
  7. To have drafted and redrafted my Personal Statement at least four times.
  8. To apply for universities.
  9. To write a short story, to prove I can.
  10. To get a sun tan, rather than a sunburn, again to prove I can.

Well, there you go. I’ve put that in semi-public, so I’m committed. You’d better hold me to it, Internet.

D.

Note: That list is in no particular order, but see how finishing the games were at the top? That shows how much I care.

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