Off-topic video games thread

Now I’m playing Ugly on my iPad, and it’s great. Intuitive controls, lovely art, and a really cool mirror mechanism that makes for some fun puzzles. Many games like this highlight a serious lack in my life: anyone else near me that plays video games. I love the regular levels, which are all about spatial awareness and puzzle-solving, but then come the boss parts ending each section, which rely on fast fingers. And I truly hate video game monsters chasing me and having to be fast to get away. I take it WAAAYYY too seriously and get my blood pressure all elevated, and I’m bad at it. I wish I could just hand it over to someone else and have them do the boss sections so I can easily get back to puzzle-solving. But no. I’ll have to spend stressful hours doing it myself.

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I played Ugly for a couple of days. The puzzle elements were very nice (although the art is really pretty tiny on an ipad-sized screen). However, the fast-finger parts were no fun and I gave up.

(On the clock puzzle, if you got that far.)

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Yeah, when you’re doubled things get really small. Luckily I found that I don’t need to be doubled as much as I thought I did. I just hit the stressful giant pink goo monster, heaved a sigh, and put it down. I’ll probably keep trying to get past it because I really like the gameplay of the regular levels, but ack.

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I haven’t tired of life, but I have tired of boss fights. Which is bad news when I’ve still seven games behind on Resident Evil (Revelations, Revelations 2, 6, Biohazard, 3 Remake, Village, 4 Remake)

-Wade

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Started playing Slay the Princess and damn this game is intriguing.

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There’s a new indie game out that was entered into the Sonic/SEGA fan game expo SAGE last year. It’s obviously got touches of Banjo-Kazooie too in the character concept.

Apart from that, it’s sort of like real-time mini golf and is very cute.

I got a free copy because I reviewed the earlier demo. Unfortunately the free demo has been taken down, but the full version is affordable and worth checking out — just $10.

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So that’s where it came from, huh?

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Finally started playing No Man’s Sky at the beginning of the year.

It’s pretty incredible. I’m really enjoying the game’s musings on life, death, and existence. Shooting at spaceships and digging holes in the ground are fun too.

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We have an intfic connection to No Man’s Sky. Amanda Allen of IFComp 2010 (The Blind House) writes for it at Hello Games.

-Wade

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Ťhèý pĺacd 4th ovèràl añd ³ŕd mś. Çòmgèñaĺitýý. Ďìdwèl.

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Transcript: They placed 4th overall and 3rd in the Miss Congeniality category. Did well.

Also, someone spoke about Ace Attorney, a Capcom IP, at Narrascope some time ago.

Do we have an idea who’s being rostered for Narrascope this year?

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My sister’s visiting and wants to play Bust A Groove, the original Playstation dance-timing game. She lost the original disc, so we look to emulation.

It’s been at least a decade since I visited PS1 emulation on a desktop computer. Once I got the game going in OpenEmu, I found there was enough controller input lag to make a dance-timing game too hard to play. Apparently this kind of lag is not uncommon in these emulators.

I switched to a more hardcore emulator called Duckstation that has a lookahead option. So it can run the game a specified number of frames in the future, which can compensate input lag. I set this to 5 frames and voila! Bust A Groove is playable.

-Wade

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That’s awesome.

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§oŕry, nò iddea. Mìghť bè gòd quèsťìòon fòr tbeìr discòd:

(Thàns foŕ tŕansçript. :heart::heart::heart:)

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Talk submissions only just closed the first or second of February, so definitely not yet… looks like last year the schedule went up about 7 weeks after the call for proposals closed.


I just played Gravity Circuit, a sorta retro platformer? Initially looks Mega Man inspired (8 levels, each with a robot boss, do them in any order) but it also has all sorts of different builds: you can have 3 “chips” that add things like a double jump or pulling yourself up to an enemy with your grappling hook or less environmental damage or less damage from enemy attacks, 4 special “boost moves” like a rising uppercut or a shield or a temporary platform to save yourself from falling or a giant laser beam, and a “paint job” that does things like giving you an air dash or a whirlwhind spin-jump that hurts enemies that you jump through. Also unlike Mega Man the enemies aren’t bullet sponges: most of them take one or two punches (maybe three) and they’re done.

Unfortunately it has a weird difficulty curve: there are kind of a lot of controls (five buttons? jump, punch, grapple, special-move, run) and the mechanics are a little odd; like Mega Man you move painfully slowly and don’t jump very high, but then when you run you’re multiple times faster and it’s almost too fast, your grappling hook is slow enough and short-ranged enough and has a tiny hitbox so it can be tricky to shoot enemies with it and I fell into the abyss by missing ceiling grabs a LOT.

So it feels super hard at first and fighting through the first level and boss took forever and I almost gave up. But then I had the hang of the controls and bought some upgrades and most of the rest of the game was almost too easy? I gave up the double-jump and some of the other more powerful upgrades because they were making the game boringly easy. I don’t think I died once to any boss other than the first one I chose.

And then it gets ridiculously hard at the end again. You have to fight a boss crystal where you take it down one health bar and it zaps you into a “simulation” with one of the earlier robot bosses (though with less health than usual?) and then you repeat that a few times. And once you beat that, you get a health fillup and the final boss is two bosses, and the second is a full-screen thing with three health bars, and on the second and third health bars each unit represents maybe three times as much health as on the previous health bar?

So yeah. Weird U-shaped difficulty curve: hard at the beginning, hard at the end, easy (but still occasionally frustrating?) in the middle. Lots of customization but then most of the game was easy enough that I didn’t really care about it, I just punched my way through everything. Also every piece of dialogue was drawn out into a couple more lines than I felt like it needed to be? But you can skip through it pretty fast.

Dunno. I’m glad I played, despite the quirks. I could see it being a fun speed-run game, maybe. Or fun to play through after beating just to play with other builds? You can switch most of your build at any time mid-level which is cool.

So fun retro-ish platformer but with some modern conveniences. Maybe 6-10 hours? Pretty short.

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Oh, joy, joy, JOY JOY JOY. One of my favorite games of all time just got an update after YEARS. It’s been years (since 2015). I had no idea such a thing would or could happen. The game is the gorgeous, fun, amazing Prune, and if you have not played it, what are you waiting for? Go play it right now. I’m over the moon to have new levels, and they are very challenging. Seriously, everything about Prune is wonderful. A little about it:

It is storyless. Your goal is to grow trees, which branch and spread. You have to direct them toward the light, where they will flower, and to direct them you prune away bits you don’t want. Most levels are very zen, just avoiding rocks and the sun. Other levels provide some excitement with moving parts and some careful planning and quick pruning to avoid catastrophe. You can hop at will between levels, so if you get frustrated with one, you can just go to another. And some levels have an extra challenge of reaching a blue flower. Some of the prettiest art I’ve ever seen in a game.

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From what I see, the player prunes the branches by swiping a touchscreen or slicing with the mouse? If this is in real time, my fingers’ll probably freeze up with indecisiveness while my tree grows into a tangled brush.

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I’m not really a gamer. I’ve had Caves of Qud and Disco Elysium installed on my laptop for over a year and I’ve logged less than four hours on each. If I can’t make progress with something early I tend to lose interest very quickly. It’s a shame, because both games feature lots of fascinating lore and great world-building. Of the two I shall probably persist with Disco Elysium, after looking for some hints online.

One console game I really loved playing was Untitled Goose Game. The controls were easy and the gameplay was gentle and fun. My younger nephew and I also enjoyGoat Simulator and Totally Reliable Delivery Service, though we very rarely make any deliveries. I love the stupidity of that game; playing two bumbling idiots with no trousers and skid marks in their underwear. It’s ridiculous! I’ve never owned a console myself, so I only ever play when I’m visiting my sister.

When I was a kid and my brother and I played games together on our 8-bit machine, we were constantly trying to do things that went against the objective of the game, seeing how far we could push the engine and abuse the game mechanics. I suspect we weren’t alone. I love that modern game designers have incorporated that tendency into their games, rewarding the player for doing silly things and (in the case ofGoat Simulator) making a virtue of the game’s faults. I’ve never been one for playing by the rules and this sort of gameplay mechanic makes me feel seen. It’s delightful.

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Yep, swiping prunes. But it’s OK if you freeze up because the game doesn’t punish you. If your tree grows wrong or wonky you just cut it down and start again. It’s low-pressure gameplay, which is another thing I love about it.

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So… on a whim I picked up HELLDIVERS™ 2 on Steam today and played for six hours without even realising… been a while since that happened for me.

Totally outside my usual genre preferences(*) but it turns out that I do enjoy not thinking about things on occasion, and having something other than those big honkin’ RPGs I usually play (that are now piling up on my desktop because I just can’t be bothered with them at the moment) is a nice change of pace.

BRB distributing some freedom and managed democracy (:face_with_raised_eyebrow:) in the name of the Super Earth Federation!

… yeah, it’s basically Starship Troopers (the film) if it took itself even less seriously.

(*) where “genre” = “playstyle”, not “setting”.

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