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Summer is nearly over so it is time to get back in the podcasting groove (one of the many grooves which we inhabit). As well as hopefully Rivas’s writing groove, what with posting only one article since the last podcast, about pigs. Think of it as a podcast ham sandwich.
We have played many games over the summer, and even remembered some of them to talk about, this is what we planned to do:
- Street Fighter IV
- Shadow Complex
- Baldur’s Gate 1/2
- Icewind Dale
- Planescape Torment
- Space Siege
- Half Life 2: Episode 2 (again)
- Guild Wars
- EvE Online
- Freespace 1/2
- Homeworld 2
- Sins of a Solar Empire (best name evar)
However we wandered often and can’t be bothered listening to find out what we actually talked about.
Anyway, here it is.
This time guest starring Michael Charge of http://www.hntaab.co.uk, who didn’t plug three times. Although he did bring Street Fighter IV so we don’t care.
Before the end of September, I aim:
- To finish one, if not both, of the games I am currently working on.
- To study.
- To find a pair of sandals that don’t leave my feet a bloody mess (I doubt I will achieve this).
- To get fitter.
- To join a sports club of some kind (See point 4).
- To get a job.
- To have drafted and redrafted my Personal Statement at least four times.
- To apply for universities.
- To write a short story, to prove I can.
- 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.
Note: That list is in no particular order, but see how finishing the games were at the top? That shows how much I care.
It seems we actually CAN be bothered to record another podcast, possibly compelled to raise the standards set by the relatively poor quality of the original. This time we have 100% less toilet breaks, and thusly 50% less content, or at least, less talking, a trade off we are mostly happy with. Nonetheless much of this podcast is Rivas commenting on stuff he already blogged about, but we do have some EXCLUSIVE AUDIO CONTENT, so you crazy internet people who are scared of missing stuff should listen away!
So without further ado here is The Podcast! followed by some more ado:
We have taken my father’s professional journalistic opinion and chosen to hold the microphone this time, this often means I pointed the microphone the wrong way but it’s still better than before. We’re also recording in the nicely acoustic confines of my soft soft bedroom, instead of the sharp sharp living room, so the echo gremlins should be a thing of the past.
Also thanks to Jessica Curry for making the music for Dear Esther, which we have added to the end of our podcast for your listening pleasure. I think it is Creative Commons, it says feels free to share anyway.
EDIT: I would like to point out that I used the phrases “Experimental Gamer” and “Pushing Boundaries” at least three times in this recording, so I should probably be given an award or killed or something. D.
Candy Zoo is a collection of four games, four songs, six pictures and a papercraft pattern. The pictures, songs and papercraft patterns are kind of cool, but this is a column in which I talk about video games, so screw those.
None of the games in CandyZoo are particularly finished or, you know, done well, but they all have a certain unfinished charm, and at least a few interesting ideas. In terms of aesthetic, they all seem to owe quite a bit to Cactus’s work. The first, Aeronauticon, is a sidescrolling aeroplane game, in which the player flies around, shooting and dodging fire from floating trees, while avoiding a dancing Godzilla. It’s pretty fun, if a bit hard, and the most polished and complete game in the collection.
Next up is Gatorman – River Rocket Rhapsody. In this, you play as an Alligator, riding a rocket and eating chickens for points. You’d think this one would be a winner, but it’s my least favourite of the quartet. It’s kind of boring, the music is irritating and, well, I don’t know, it just feels like it’s trying a little too hard with its randomness. Or something.
Dragcopter, though, gets the Random perfectly. You are a pink helicopter. You spray Drag Dust onto little men, and they turn into drag queens. What’s not to love? I probably had the most fun with this one, but the controls are a bit squiffy. Drag Dust, though.
Last but not least (that would be Gatorman) comes Licorice Theif (I think the spelling mistake is deliberate). This is the one that interested me the most, but I wouldn’t call it fun. You, an anthropomorphic liqourice, float around collecting liqourice, while avoiding teacher liqourice. Also, the music sounds like the theme for a sad Animal Crossing character, so yeah, winner.
Candy Zoo can be downloaded here.
It would appear that all you need to be featured on this blog is a funny name. Dadaists Gone Wild is a funny name. The game’s pretty cool too.
DGW basically takes Dada‘s celebration of random, and runs with it. Turns out this can make a pretty fantastic videogame. Style and play changes around about every 30 seconds, from sidescrolling platformer to top down game to side scrolling shooter to ostrich race in which you avoid giant ears, and find out that, in fact, there was never an ostrich. Scary. There’s also a nice trick that plays with which surfaces kill you, and of course a run-in with Death, but I won’t spoil that too badly.
Dadaists is punishingly hard in places, which might be a statement of some kind about the first world war, but is probably just a case of haphazard level design.
Fun for ten minutes or so, and then it’s done.
Dadaists Gone Wild was drawn by Ben Evans and Alec Stamos, and programmed by Alec Stamos. You can download it here.
Now this, this is special. Minecraft is a collaborative world-building game, in which the player, well, builds a world. You have 9 block types to choose from, which may not sound a lot, but in practise offers just enough variety without being overwhelming. There isn’t much “point” to it all, but really, who cares? It’s enough just to build stuff, and mess around. More games could do with not having any point whatsoever. If anyone’s wondering which bits in the above image were down to me, that would be the battlements on the wall, and the covered walkway jutting off to the side.
The actual collaborative multiplayer part was just released, so tool about in it, see what’s what. The downside? It’s in bloody Java. Adding to that the fact that it’s in Alpha, you should expect it to lock up quite a bit.
Play Minecraft here.
Now this one’s a little strange. Nostalgia is often used, to great effect, to sell video games, but this is a first. Retro Game Challenge, published by XSeed in the US, is a bit different. What looks at first to be a compilation of NES games takes a turn for the surreal when you realise that all these titles are original.
Well, original is perhaps a little strong. The inspirations for these games are usually pretty obvious, when not explicitly stated in the titles (If you can’t tell which classics “Super Robot Haggle Man” takes its cues from, well, good luck to you.). There’s a good variety, with top down shooters and racers, platformers, and even a pretty well fleshed out RPG. Games are unlocked in order of “Release Date”, and you are required to complete various challenges (get 200,000 points, say, or destroy a large asteroid) in order to progress to the next one. Along the way, magazines are also unlocked, with tips and cheats for existing games, and previews of upcoming releases. It seems like something I personally would play for half an hour and then never touch again, but what makes RGC so compulsive is the sheer quality of the games, and that the challenges are never arduous enough that they outstay their welcome.
The localisation of this (very) japanese game is generally excellent. The magazines, which in the original feature characters from Game Center CX, the tv show the game is based on, now have editors of various american game mag editors, which is a nice touch. Whether this will be changed or remain the same for the european release remains to be seen. The only really irritating thing is the voiceover, which really starts to grate. The game is obviously supposed to be set in Japan, so why they couldn’t have left that dub in is beyond me.
The story fits the general all-round craziness of the rest of the game perfectly. Basically, (as explained in a star wars-style intro), Shinya Arino, the host of Game Center CX, has become so obsessed with being the best at video games that he has mutated into a huge green head lying on a D-Pad. Seriously. The now monstrous Arino, upset at your gaming prowess, has sent you back to the early 1980s, never to return unless you can beat his challenges. Aided by Arino’s younger self, you get stuck in. I think I should probably leave this right there.
So! I have started yet another of these things. Will I never learn? The plan for this one is a little different though, as we’re gonna try for more of a magazine format, with issues released at set intervals (hopefully every Sunday). It isn’t going to be nearly so game-focused as the Slice, so I’m looking forward to being well-rounded.
Wow, I write a lot about games. Nerd. I should write about other things! What am I listening to, I hear you ask! Why, here is a list! Aren’t we courteous!?
Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica
Ugly Casanova – Sharpen Your Teeth
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
Colin Meloy – Sings Live!
Sigur Ros – Sæglópur
Andrew Jackson Jihad – People That Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World
This American Life
The Giant Bombcast
And also all the podcasts formed by recently fired 1uppers.
YES I AM A NERD
Feel free to leave nasty comments about my music tastes at my Last.fm page.
What kind of blogger am I? This kind:
“The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.”
You knows it.
I would also accept “self-absorbed and egotistic”, but that’s all bloggers.
Courtesy of Typalyzer