Distraction: Shuffle The Music Tag

 

Since I have no idea which video game character would be the perfect Santa’s helper, I’m skipping the Creative Christmas challenge for today and replying to an important post instead.

NV Jukebox

The invaluable halsdoll did me a great honor by choosing me for the Shuffle The Music competition. She’s not only a blogger of great taste and style, but also an incredibly patient person because I let her wait for entire 11 days! It’s time to make up for the shame.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
2. Shuffle your entire music library and talk about the songs that come up
3. Mention the songs as well as the artists
4. Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and let them know

(since my nature is rather unruly, I’ll allow myself to alter the second point: “talk about the songs that come up and which games they fit as a custom soundtrack”)

And here are the songs:

Angelo Badalamenti – Dub Driving

You may call me uncultured swine, but I’ve never liked David Lynch’s film. Perhaps they are too intellectual and artsy for. What I’ve always liked, however, is the work of his court composer, Angelo Badalamenti.

I have good memories with this one and GTA San Andreas, driving a truck outside large urban areas at night. So my guess is that it’s perfect for any driving game, not only the GTA series.

Myrath – Tales of the Sands

The entire album served me well when playing Dune 2000. My suggestion is to use it in any game with desert and/or Middle Eastern theme.

Donis&Kulgrinda – …eisie…

The combination of Lithuanian folk and ambient is perfect for any winter game, like Skyrim.

Kyuss – Whitewater

Another piece driving music, this one seems to be a good choice for games like American Truck Simulator or maybe even Mad Max.

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Polyrytmi

Close your eyes, listen to it and imagine the wonderful emptiness of the universe. Then remember to play it when playing any space-themed game, maybe Elite or FTL.

And now, the chosen few:

Ochłapy Idealizmu

Particlebit

AmbiGaming

HePlayedTheGame

Cary

The Cake Is A Lie

I ❤ Old Games

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Creative Christmas: Memories, Treasured Memories

Better late than never. I joined the Later Levels’ Christmas collaboration literally in the last possible moment. Kim had this excellent to run a writing marathon about Christmas and video games. Twelve days, twelve different questions. The one for today is:

You’re wrapping presents while listening to cheesy festive tunes, and start to reminisce about holidays past. What’s your favourite Christmas gaming memory?

My memory is a real Christmas miracle: a story about finding a copy of a game which was virtually impossible to buy in my country. I played the demo version of Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall for many happy hours and you can imagine how I felt when I learned that I would not be able to get the full game just because nobody sold it in Poland. Then, just a few days before the Christmas, I found a box with the tormented King Lysandus on the cover in a small computer store located near my home town’s main bus station.  When I think about it now, it seems almost impossible, but someone owning a tiny business in a poor Eastern European mining town was actually bold enough to have the game shipped from Britain.

Daggerfall Lutris
Source: lutris.net

Since my parents have always been rather reluctant to buy video games as gifts, I had to spend my entire pocket money to get it. And then I was sitting in my quiet. warm room on Christmas, with heavy snowfall outside, and directing the steps of my player character through the snowy streets of the titular city. With the wonderful winter tune playing from the speakers and perfect quietness inside me.

Every year, I feel the temptation to relieve this experience. Every year, the fear of disappointment stops me from installing Daggerfall again. There is no way back into the childhood but hey, at least we still have the memories.

Weekly: Back to the Trenchcoat Future

Connor

A coat, a fedora hat, a gun and… jumping trousers? I have you at Gunpoint!

Admittedly, my previous approach to this game was utterly wrong. While my initial reaction was enthusiastic, I simply got tired of trying to finish each level with the best result possible. Now, I’m back in the noir-cyberpunk business and a more relaxed way to play Gunpoint makes me discover how great it is. Just like mentioned in that post long time ago, all I want is to make my clients happy and get the A+ rating for every mission.

One of my favourite things is the dialogue system, even if it doesn’t reach the level of Fallout 2 writing.

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Maybe it’s not much, but I really enjoy to choose between snarky and cold, professional answers – especially when my choice isn’t just cosmetic and determines the plot. Besides, just passing levels and solving puzzles (which light to turn off first?) is a pleasurable experience. Yeah, I’ve come back and now I’m ready to finish the game.

Meanwhile, it’s The Current Year and I discovered that demo versions still exist.

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Too bad that the demo of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus was a huge disappointment. It’s not even about the ridiculous opening sequence, but even playing the first level feels bad. A shooter which doesn’t give you any pleasure of shooting. Still, everyone and their mum tells me that it’s a great game, so maybe I should give it another chance.

The only positive thing so far is that it made me realise how much I’ve always loved demo versions. Why don’t I write a post explaining why they are a unique experience…

 

Weekly: It’s Snowing In Mojave

This was supposed to be the post when I officially announce the beginning of the Winter Gaming Season. Then I would ramble how much I like spending long dark evenings with video games, make a promise to finally write a list of games which are most suitable for this part of the year. After all, it finally arrived last week and now its glorious snow everywhere and northern darkness is embracing us. So, it’s the right time to play Skyrim again and post a picture of my new character, right?

I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen yet. I’m still stuck in the desert.

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That’s right, New Vegas is just too good to abandon it now just because my favourite season has started. Last week, most of my gaming time was wandering from one settlement to another and looking for Wanted posters. The funny thing is that the third and final part of New Vegas Bounties takes the player to a new location which just happens to be a snowy mountain valley. What’s wrong with playing New Vegas in December when it looks like lo-fi Skyrim?

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Of course, the season will eventually begin and what would be better than celebrating it by the best winter game ever. I return to Transarctica almost every winter, but this time it has to be done right. No cheats, no walk-throughs, and I will play a properly installed HD0 version — which will require some tinkering with the WinUAE, something I’ve always hated.

Goals, goals, goals: Install Transarctica. Spend at least one hour writing that My Best Winter Games post.

 

 

Weekly: Flying with Fasces

Strange things are happening. For the first time since years, my trusted Logitech Attack 3 stick is sitting on my desktop. All because I wanted to fly for the losing side of World War 2.

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Usually, I avoid playing online like the plague, but I’m always ready to make an exception if the multiplayer game is unique enough. This is why I spent a considerable amount of time crawling under fire in Verdun. For the same reason, more than a year ago I installed War Thunder on my PC, just because there were a few Italian planes to develop in the German tech tree. Now the Italians are back as a separate faction with a recent patch and I just can’t resist to play it again. At the first glance it’s more than promising and I’m planning to play it for a while to discover more advanced planes and bonuses like historical camouflage. Let’s just hope they add more tanks soon, because now the game focuses on Regia Aeronautica.

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Meanwhile in Nevada, I’m hiding inside a ruined camper while a band of raiders is trying to shoot me into pieces. Somehow, their guns are powerful enough to finish my Courier in three shots despite him wearing a Power Armor. What’s even worse, I’m at the dead end of a deep canyon and there’s no retreat. Oh well, nobody said that being a bounty hunter in New Vegas was easy.

It’s hardly surprising that all three parts of New Vegas Bounties are so popular on Nexus. They have everything you’d want from fan-made content: professional voice acting, interesting characters, new unique weapons and sudden plot twists. The mod makes an extensive use of scripted events — which has led me to the current situation when I’m a sitting duck under heavy fire and no means of escape. It tells something that, even though I’m an impatient person, I’m continuously trying to survive the ambush after dying more than ten times. I will definitely have to write more about this mod when I finish it.

Goals for this week: Finish another draft and publish it here with screens.

Just Finished: Another World

My back is broken, I can’t feel my legs and I will probably never find a way back home, but at least my only friend in this another world is here, and we’re riding towards the sunset on the back of a huge flying lizard. See you in the next episode.

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By a lucky coincidence, I played the original Another World at the same time as when I discovered the joys of reading classic SF books. The thing is that some of the old editions available at my school’s library had those fantastic illustrations made by masters like Frank Frazetta and others. Well, sometimes their art was too fantastic — I swear that I was too afraid to open my copy of Burroughs’ Princess of Mars — but it certainly helped me to appreciate the incredible vision of an alien reality in Eric Chahi‘s masterpiece.

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Too bad that I lacked the skill and resolve for fair play and used codes to skip some, let’s say, problematic sections, but as a kid I didn’t care about it. Now it’s time to return and do it the proper way.

First of all, playing the 25th anniversary edition made me understand why people on Steam and elsewhere keep complaining about remastered editions. In case of Another World, you don’t get much, just hi-res graphics and soundtrack. There’s no audio commentary from the maker, no concept art, no new levels. Maybe I shouldn’t complain, though, because I shamelessly pirated the Amiga original so it was the right thing to pay the money without any additional benefits.

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What are my thoughts after I finally finished the right way? Human memory is a fickle thing, but this might have been the first mature game in my life. In this case ‘mature’ means an ambition to reach beyond, transgress the borders and make a video game something more than just pure leisure.

One example of this revolutionary approach is Buddy, the NPC companion with whom you try to escape captivity. Being a native to this another world, he has a different set of skills and is able to operate alien technology, but also to fight the baddies hand-to-hand – something that our eggheaded protagonist isn’t capable to do. What’s even better, sometimes our former cell-mate acts in a different dimension, for example escaping pursuit right in front of the virtual camera while the hero moves in the background. A very interesting and unique approach whis reminds the player that this 2D game has an actual third dimension.

Of course, being almost two decades, I cannot ignore the game’s flaws now. First of all, there’s little interaction with the environment and virtually no dialogue at all. The combat mechanics, although surprisingly exciting, are too simplistic – a cover system like in Alcatraz or Blackthorne would make it much more interesting. Finally, my standard complaint is that it’s far too short, but it’s understandable given the technical limitations of home computers at the time Another World was released.

Still, does it all even matter when we’re talking about a work of a genius. Maybe one day I’ll make my personal shrine, a shelf with physical copies of the greatest games I’ve ever played. Another World will certainly be among them.

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Weekly: Family Matters

The greatest advantage of owning an Early Access version of a game is watching it slowly grow like a plant in your garden, and being pleasantly surprised every time you log into your Steam account and see that new content is ready for downloading.

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To new patch for Sunless Skies adds a few important things like item storage or character creator, but the Legacy system seems to be most important. I’ve always liked the roguelite idea of inheriting talents and worldly possessions from previous Captains in Sunless Sea, not only because it made plaing in permadeath mode a tad easier, but also because it gave the game an additional depth. There was something appealing in thinking not just about reaching one of the game’s ending, but also leaving something for the future generations. However, this time inheriting works in a different way since you’re not required to have a child in-game and you don’t just get stat bonuses, but instead create a new character with the experience level the previous one had before they met their end. This sounds more like reincarnation than inheritance and I’m really curious whether it will have some implications when the game is further expanded.

 

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For God, Emperor and Country (official promo image from Steam)

 

Not all is quiet on the Eastern Front! Another Early Access game I’d really like to play is Tannenberg, recently released by the makers of my favourite multiplayer FPS Verdun. Basically, it’s just an add-on to the main game which takes the players to a new theatre, Central and Eastern Europe, and adds the not-so-mighty Russian Army as a playable faction. Beside new weapons, uniforms and maps, there’s a new game mode too which supposedly reflects the less static type of warfare which was common in the East. Sure, I’m more than eager to give it a try and write about it in a First Hour post, but…

…let’s face the truth, I’m a bad, casual player, mainly because Verdun was my first online shooter since the times of the original Counterstrike. To put it simply, I’ve played it only sporadically for the last few months because I was just too embarraseed by my poor performance. Still, the perspective of visiting war-torn Eastern Europe and fighting for the Tsar is so tempting… Oh, the hard choices we vidya fans have to make 😉

Goals: Finish one draft and publish it before Monday.