Monday, April 30, 2012

New story online: Back Road


My short story, Back Road, is now online in Allasso 2: Saudade.

I'm so happy to see this published at last. The story means a lot to me so please give it a read and spread the word!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Botanicula

Amanita Design is single-handedly bringing the Adventure Game back into style.

Their previous game, Machinarium, blew me away with its creativity, soundtrack, style and charming little story. Their Samorost series is also a unique gem of a game series. Amanita continues to create great games with Botanicula.



Botanicula is like a blend of Machinarium, Samorost and Windowsill. Like Samorost, you don't usually control your character directly, but interact with the environment, which allows you to progress. Other times you do tell the characters where to go and what to do, which is very much like Machinarium. And although Amanita did not design it, I couldn't help but think the game reminds me of Windowsill because there are so many clickable things on the screen, and clicking them yields fun surprises.

Cute, happy, creative and unique surprises.

There aren't any serious puzzles here like in Machinarium. It's much more casual. The focus is on interaction with the environment and exploration. You won't need to take notes to figure out the puzzles. Some will require you to make leaps of logic, but in the context of this strange world, it's never an unfair leap. In fact, it's usually a funny leap.

Happiness and charm are very rare in games these days it seems. The tone of Botanicula is happy, upbeat and humorous. I especially like it when the group screams. It's funny, and the surprises they uncover along the way are just as amusing. It doesn't become dark or scary until the last level, which is a surreal trip in and of itself.

Botanicula is a work of art and a joy to play!

Yoo-hoo!

Demo is online!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sci-fi novel complete, 93,000 words

About 92,800 words. The final draft of the sci-fi novel is complete at last. I've read the thing so many times I can't tell if it's clear or not, but I think it makes its point. It's time to stop. As far as I'm concerned, it's finished. Another novel written!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Favorite things around the net: Zero Punctuation

Spreading the word about random things on the net.

Zero Punctuation

Criticism is a form of entertainment. That's become even more clear since the birth of the internet. People who can express their opinions of movies, games, books, etc., in a funny way are interesting to listen to.

Enter this guy: who delivers game reviews so fast he doesn't need to breathe.





Oh yeah... I've been "that guy" before. It's what I hate about fighting games, too, no matter how much you practice you can still get beaten by some kid mashing the buttons!

The jokes go by so fast you don't have time to laugh, and this tension is oddly addictive. Here's another one



This is hilarious! A clearly expressed opinion delivered in a unique way. So what if I haven't played half the games he's reviewed? His opinion of them is very entertaining to watch!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Amnesia: The Dark Descent



In games like Bioshock and Deadspace, the player is given weapons, and the enemies are scary until you figure out how to blast them to pieces. Once you conquer them, they're not scary.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent doesn't give the player any means of defense. All you can do is run... hide... don't look at the monsters... hope they don't notice you and go away...

It's very effective. Now this is an interactive movie (unlike certain other games). It puts the player in the middle of the story, making the player the protagonist, immersing the player in a horrifying situation and doesn't let you conquer the enemies. You stay vulnerable the whole time. You stay afraid.

See also:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Favorite things around the net: The Angry Video Game Nerd

Spreading the word about random things on the net.

The Angry Video Game Nerd

Every kid who grew up playing video games played at least one that made them want to scream! Well, then comes along James Rolfe, who channels all the hate and anger about those bad video games the rest of us kept inside for so many years.

Here's one of my favorite episodes. It's for a game I never played, but the way he describes it makes me believe I played it with him, sharing its putridness and suffering its lousy controls: The Wizard of Oz:




Here's another one: the Sega CD




James Rolfe has tapped into the deep-rooted anger of gamers everywhere, and made it funny!

His game reviews are great, but he also reviews entire retro systems, movies, and even board games. He doesn't just do angry rants. He has a great voice for professional-quality reviews as well, and he can sing praise as easily as he dishes out hate. He's going places.

Rolfe is also working on a feature film of the AVGN. I'm proud to say I donated to the cause and I hope he makes a good movie.