Sunday, 27 October 2013

Indie Gaming: Dear Esther

I first played Dear Esther as the original source mod, some time ago. Today, I replayed it as the full game. Some things have been changed, and generally it looks and sounds so much better. It remains a wonderful and thoughtful experience.

It's not really a game though, is it?

I'm not sure I care though.

The music, the narration, the atmosphere are all perfect. Jessica Curry's music in particular is a highlight for me, and I even bought the album from bandcamp. I bought it last year and have listened to it several times, it really is under appreciated.

Free Indie Game: Olav & the Lute

Olav & the Lute
It is a wonderful time to be a gamer. The vast amount of games available is staggering, and new games are being produced every single day. These range from the biggest blockbuster marvels all the way to quirky free independent games. As such, it is always great to find out about a gem of a game that I otherwise would have missed. Olav & the Lute is one such game, and it was The Adventure Gamer that uncovered it for me.

The magical lute, the key to awakening the loom

The game puts you in the shoes of Olav, and you find yourself in a strange post-apocalyptic fantasy world. As you progress from room to room, you find a book and a lute which allow you to create magical effects on the world around you. Strumming a tune on the lute can destroy, burn, poison and more, but by reversing the notes you can repair, freeze, heal and so on.

The silent, slumbering loom.

Figuring out these tunes requires interacting with the world around you, with certain items ringing out with a particular set of notes (helpfully colour-coded for those of us with a certain lack of musical talent). An early puzzle has you looking at a "king-sized key" to receive the tune of locking/unlocking, and using it on the conveniently nearby "queen-sized door".
Playing my way out

Indie Gaming: Papers Please

Glory To Arstotzka! The October labour lottery has been completed. Your name was pulled. You have been selected to write the review for the game "Papers, Please". Do a good job, your country is counting on you.
In Papers, Please you play a humble border checkpoint operator. It is your task to process the entry documents of all persons wishing to enter Arstotzka. The year is 1982, and while the countries are all fictional, the design truly makes you feel like you are working for an oppressive authoritarian regime.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Indie Gaming: The Stanley Parable (2013)

How do you go about writing a review, a blog post, a tale of your experience for something like The Stanley Parable? I'm not sure my writing can do it justice. It's a bizarre and wonderful creation, full of secrets, jokes and twists. I love it, it's one of the best games I've ever played, and yet I'm sure it would infuriate some people.
The End Is Never The End

I guess you could describe it as "meta", because it has a level of self-awareness and self-parody that can only be done with these sorts of small indie projects. I'm not sure it's the best description though, as it undersells the game, it undersells the experience of playing through it, and if you're anything like me you'll play through it a couple of dozen times or more.
Remember to make the right choice.

Playing Along: Loom (1990) - Finished!

Well that was quick. As soon as I decided to spend an hour or two with Loom, it was all over. They really did make them short and sweet back in those days, but in this particular case they left it with a huge cliffhanger ending. Anyway, to recap...

Head to the forest, or the city. There is nothing to the left, nor is there anything to interact with on this screen.

I had been stuck at a waterspout, which I couldn't get past. I needed to think a little bit more about how the game works, because all it took was clicking the waterspout to get its pattern and then reversing it. Simple really, but enough to confuse me early on when I was still getting to grips with the interface.
The forest! Nothing to do here but annoy shepherds.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Kickstarting: Shadowrun Returns

I backed Shadowrun Returns many moons ago, because it seemed really interesting. I've actually not played it yet, but it has been out for a while now. So why write a post? Well, because of some stuff I got in the post! Yes, the backer swag has arrived, and it looks rather good. If you'd prefer a review of the game, you can either wait months for me to finally get around to playing it, or read further at one of the following websites:

So here's a little gallery of what you get if you foolishly pledge far too much money towards an indie RPG (it might be more excusable if I hadn't done this a few times, but at least some great games will be getting made in a small part because of me!).
The box, the book and the t-shirt

Playing along: Loom (1990) - Introduction

Loom is one of the well-loved series of adventure games from Lucasfilm Games/Lucasarts, and one that I had previously disregarded. My early adventure gaming had been dominated by Sierra, and their popularity obscured everything else. It wasn't until The Secret of Monkey Island (or perhaps LeChuck's Revenge, I can't even remember which one I played first!), before I would finally properly play and enjoy a Lucasarts adventure game.

Ask me about LoomTM

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Indie Gaming: The Stanley Parable (demo)

Who has time for a demo any more? Who even makes them? They used to be a big deal, a way for developers to push their latest product on an unassuming populace and convince them to part with their hard earned cash. Somewhere, somehow, that idea got lost. It was easier, cheaper, to make a trailer instead. Thirty seconds of scripted events can make a game seem rather fantastic really, and even the most terrible of gaming experiences can surely have a few moments of beauty to dazzle the unsuspecting gaming public into pre-ordering.

The game is released on October 17th 2013. But play the demo first!
The Stanley Parable demo is different. It's not even a demo really... or is it?

Wait here. Or don't. It's just a sign.
You should play it now, before you finish reading this.