Off-topic video games thread

Back in 2008, the Spore guys released their Creature Creator as a stand-alone game. All you could do was make aliens and walk them around on a stage; nothing more. And it was still quite fun…

18 Days after the release of Spore users had created over 1.5 million creature species. In his 2008 E3 presentation, Will Wright humorously suggested that the spore community operated at 0.38 G or 38% the efficiency of God, as they had created the same number of creatures in 18 days as God created in 7 days in the creation story.

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There’s a lively fanart thing going, yeah. I’m sure there’s fic, too, but I haven’t been following that.

But yes, I think having the hardware is the only excuse needed to play it unless you just don’t like CRPGs.

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Not your typical video game, but Undertale Yellow, an Undertale fan game I’ve had my eye on, just released its full-length version! (Crashing GameJolt with traffic in the process - but don’t worry, it’s back up now.) The game’s a passion project seven years in the making and completely free to play as long as you have a Windows PC. Don’t need to buy Undertale or anything.

I’ve spent two hours on it so far and it has fun animations, fun fights, fun characters, and good music to boot. A well-crafted instance of the classic quirky Earthbound-inspired indie RPG.

Free games, especially fangames, are rarely finished all the way. It’s easy to give up on something when there’s no money riding on it and no guarantee it will get attention. So I might as well shill this one a little. Also, outing myself as an Undertale fan in the process. Oh no.

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My son adores Undertale. I’m going to look so cool when I mention the fan game release. Thanks, man! :wink:

I just had a similar experience with my love of Vampire Survivors. Someone made a free inspired version of my beloved reverse bullet hell game and it’s got nifty graphics, mini-games, items evolutions… and I still can’t believe it’s completely free.

I present… HoloCure


Speaking of fan games… Skywind has been in development forever, but it still appears to be making progress. This has “epic” written all over it.

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Oh yeah, Holocure! I’ve heard about the game but never actually checked it out since I’m not a vtuber fan. It looks really polished, and I know it has good music, so that’s another one for the bucket list…

Skywind looks like another one of those crazy high-effort projects. It still boggles the mind that people are willing to commit themselves to something like this, even knowing it won’t get that much recognition in the long run. Though I guess you could say the same thing about a lot of IF!

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I’ve been sick, so was looking for something I could play while brain-dead, and wound up continuing my Might and Magic streak for the year by digging up the 4th and 5th games in the RPG series – the gimmick is that the games are linked, with each one giving you one side of a flat world. In practice this means you do 4, take your party into 5 and do that, then get to an endgame that requires toggling back and forth, but it’s still well-executed beer-and-pretzel RPG fun. Plus I discovered that the best FAQs for the games were written by our own @aschultz, which was a pretty cool bit of synchronicity!

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I watched a short documentary on the making of Sea of Stars on YouTube. There were a couple things that stood out to me.

  1. Video games are so much work! But I can’t help but wonder how much of that work is necessary and how much is just cause it’s cool. They said they spent 6 months on their lighting which was necessary because their story involves light, which looks cool but seems like suspect reasoning. Then they made some claim about having a more seamless world by not having a grid, which didn’t make a ton of sense to me. And a million other details you can see that each probably took hours/days to add but aren’t central to the game mechanics, story, and overall style, and which you probably wouldn’t notice if they were gone.

  2. Their first game they made is a throwback side scrolling ninja game; now they’ve made a jrpg style game; and they suggest their next game will be something inspired by early 3d games. It strikes me that their explicit goal and motivation is to take these old style games and to do them better. I’m not quite sure why I find this interesting. I think most people would say they have some story or new mechanic or world they want to create, which only incidentally is inspired by older influences.

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I’ve been thinking about (2), and I think it’s unusual to make each new game with a completely different genre and different tech. Also, I’m curious to see how they interpret “improve early 3d game” since it seems most new games would fall into that category.

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I played Sea of Stars for a bit. It didn’t grab me, but perhaps I didn’t give it a fair shake. It’s been so long since I played Chrono Trigger that I think that if I wanted a retro JRPG experience I’d probably just play that.

I replayed Final Fantasy VI (III in North America) back in 2020 and had a good time with it.

One of these days, I’ll replay SNES Dragon Quest V with a fan translation. I think the original is more charming than the DS remake.

Meanwhile: I think I’m done with World of Horror. It’s really cool, but I’ve gotten most of the unlocks and it feels repetitive now. I got my money’s worth; I’m sure I’ve played it for 60 hours or more. I’m trying to decide between completing a second Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough with a rogue assassin (with two ranger levels in the middle) or doing another Elden Ring playthrough.

I haven’t completed Elden Ring with a magic build so that could be interesting. I dunno! I think an expansion is coming for ER, maybe I should start fresh when it comes out.

E: I just checked, and apparently I’ve spent 264 hours playing Elden Ring

:open_mouth::open_mouth::open_mouth:

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I played it for quite a bit, but couldn’t get past a large dragon in a big icy field and three dudes at the top of a stronghold. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It speaks to the quality when (even though I couldn’t finish it) I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Before Elden Ring, there was Risen and Gothic. Both have that “punish you around every turn, but reward you for taking risks” thing going on. However, they don’t have creatures that respawn; it’s a static world with the creature placement, if I remember correctly. Still, both have great exploration formulas and solid stories.


I recently played Dragon Warrior for the NES. I don’t know why such a simple formula works so well for me. I liked it more than it deserves by today’s standards. It wasn’t even a nostalgia thing, just a “there’s a tougher area to explore, can’t wait until I’m strong enough to brave it”.

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I haven’t played Risen or Gothic, though I know of Gothic. Risen was released in the same month as Demon’s Souls, the game that provided the basic gameplay blueprint for many of FROM Software’s games.

  • Gameplay that emphasizes patience and timing
  • Dark Fantasy setting (Bloodborne is cosmic horror)
  • High stakes combat (risk of lost character progression)
  • No manual saving
  • Asynchronous multiplayer (co-op or pvp)
  • Wide build variety
  • Environmental storytelling

I love those games! I’ve never gotten into the PVP, since that’s not really my vibe, but helping out with bosses is cool. If you (or anyone else) ever needs help with a boss, let me know! I’ve got high-level characters for Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1-3, Boodborne, and Elden Ring. I’m not a great player, but I might be able to make up for it with raw stats. I guess I have two high level ER characters (having just checked): one faith and the other arcane. The robe on the faith build affords little protection. That’s a purely “fashion souls” thing. The arcane build (dual swords) is far more durable.

fashion souls (large images)


The original Dragon Quest is great! It was the first game that I owned for my NES. I remember being impressed with the greater mechanical complexity of the first Final Fantasy game (a year later), but Dragon Quest was ultimately more memorable thanks to the charming monster designs. All of those NES Dragon Quest games have “bridge anxiety”–crossing bridges leads to a difficulty spike! I think every one of them is great, but IV is my favorite thanks to its large, likable cast.

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Not your typical video game, but Undertale Yellow, an Undertale fan game I’ve had my eye on, just released its full-length version

@Cerfeuil Is the title a reference to Pokemon Yellow? I have Undertale in one of my accounts but haven’t gotten around to playing it … I only know general stuff about it.

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Few days ago I started to play daily Murdle puzzles. It’s a daily web based logic grid puzzle. Each new puzzle is about new murder. It’s nicely designed and it’s interesting extension of basic logic grid puzzle form. I noticed that I really started to look forward to each new case.

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Don’t think the title is a reference, it’s just called that because the fangame protagonist is associated with the color yellow. Undertale’s pretty fun if you like metafiction and quirky RPG humor. The fans can be overbearing, but that goes for pretty much anything that gets insanely popular online. Haven’t actually played it in a while (has it been eight years already? jeez) so I wonder how well it holds up?

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Anyone else into Puzzmo’s daily games?
It’s become my go-to site after work each evening.

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Have you tried The Legend of Dragoon?

It’s got its strengths and weaknesses, but it might scratch that JRPG itch for you next time it occurs.

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Thanks for the tip! I just solved todays mini-murder (the tutorial), and I can see myself coming back to this regularly. As you say, basic grid-logic, but the framing as a murder mystery, the little details on the suspects’ backgrounds, and other such embellishments make it that little touch more engaging.

Fun!

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Amazed at the level of effort being put out for Fallout: London. It’s technically a mod for Fallout 4, but is effectively an entirely new game. I feel like calling it a mod is underselling the scope of what a team of 50 volunteers managed to do here.

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Oh nice! Yeah, someone pointed Murdle out to me maybe a month ago and I’ve been having fun with them: I used to love logic grid puzzles as a kid. It’s interesting the clue types it uses: I haven’t seen the “the murderer always lies, the other suspects always tell the truth” before, and it doesn’t do sequences of dates or ages or heights or anything, which are often a staple of logic grid puzzles.

It’s especially interesting to me how the books do some lightweight stuff to loosely tie the puzzles together into a lightly narrative progression… only that led to me to where I’ve now written most of a puzzle generator and am starting to think about how to theme it and embed clues into the world like a mini Obra Dinn… because I needed another project…


I’ve also been playing a bunch of Inkle’s A Highland Song. Kinda mismatched mashup of trying to be a short poignant story of a pilgrimage while the mechanics are solidly in the roguelike camp except for the lack of, you know, actual death. But although the shape of the landscape is fixed, it’s random (especially on the first playthrough) what items or shortcuts the game will give you. And it totally has that roguelike “we’re not going to explain our mechanics, you have to discover them through trial and error.” So I’ve definitely seen a bunch of Inkle fans finding it more frustrating than fun. But I’ve always wanted to try building a run-based game where you intimately learn a landscape through spending a lot of time wandering through it, and this does that pretty well, I think. Neat.

Also just played Chants of Sennaar, which… is some fairly reasonable “decipher what concept this glyph means” puzzles embedded in way too much (for my taste) really really boring tedious non-language puzzle design. Like it starts with a tiny disguised Towers of Hanoi (or maybe it’s a Gray code sequence? same difference) and then follows it up with Where’s Waldo and an extremely basic block-pushing puzzle with the world’s clunkiest interface, and a literal maze, all in the first chapter. And honestly, almost all of the maps are maze-like and several of them are intentionally mazes. And as a programmer who likes tinkering with UI/UX stuff, the UI has some nice touches but also falls down hard in a lot of places. Dunno. I can see why lots of people like it but it felt consistently flat and cliched to me. I guess I’m not sorry I played it, because it did get me thinking about what a design would look like that I would have enjoyed more…

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I waited for Little Nightmares to come out on iOS so I could play it on my iPad, and the art is absolutely gorgeous and it looks fantastically fun. Unfortunately, the touch controls are very awkward and after an hour or so of struggling with them I gave up. Very disappointing. Maybe I’ll calm down about it and try again in a couple of weeks. It’s almost certainly better with a controller, but I refuse to play any game with a controller, because then games would overwhelm me more than they already do.

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