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Below you'll find blog posts on the site that were made by people this account has listed as friends. You'll also see replies that your friends may have made to posts from people who you don't currently count as friends. As many as 20 posts and replies will display, assuming enough of those individuals have posted in their blogs.

pickhutUser: pickhut
Title: Fuuuu, Halloween Game Review Troubles
Posted: October 26, 2012 (05:53 PM)
So I have one "horror"-themed game left to review that I'll be submitting the last day of October, but I keep running into problems. The game I originally intended to do was Majora's Mask, since, you know, the theme of the moon crashing and the various masks worn. But I didn't want to rush through the game for the sake of a review, so I went for something else.

That's when I decided on PS1's Reloaded, sequel to Loaded. I did this purely on the notion of the crazy character designs and ultra violence, plus I wanted to review the sequel. However, I ran into two problems, the first being that the game really sucks, and that's an amazing accomplishment considering the first game wasn't hot in the first place. The second issue came as I made it halfway through Reloaded: my PlayStation controller's d-pad crapped out. Keep in mind, this game was published before Sony released the analog controller.

So now I'm in this situation of having to search for a last minute replacement, and I have one particular game in mind... but I won't name it. If that somehow goes to crap, too, I guess it's off to Xbox Live Arcade games. Hopefully there's a suitable one I can find.
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pickhutUser: pickhut
Title: (offensive post) I really hate the Internet sometimes...
Posted: October 15, 2012 (10:53 AM)
"Telling a rape joke harms no one, there's no victim."

Someone actually said this. My head is numb.

zigfriedUser: zigfried
Title: Dredd
Posted: September 25, 2012 (06:45 PM)
Dredd is a really good action movie, and you should see it in theatres before it's gone.

That is all.
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pickhutUser: pickhut
Title: Man, time flies by....
Posted: August 21, 2012 (12:35 AM)
"Interestingly, writing this review gave me the craving to review Sonic the Hedgehog 2." - Me

I had this quote in the back of my head for a while, and I always thought it was something I wrote at the end of 2011... I checked, and I actually wrote it in 2010. Wow.

Oh, guess what game I'm reviewing next. >_>
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EmPUser: EmP
Title: Review #300!
Posted: August 02, 2012 (10:58 AM)



EmPUser: EmP
Title: Silent Hill: The Room -- In Pictures!
Posted: June 26, 2012 (10:52 AM)
Horror games -- good horror games -- go out of their way to make yu feel like you're a/ always being watched and b/ there is always something just behind you. It's supposed to make you feel uneasy at all times. Silent Hill: The Room knows that, but does not know how to employ a subtle touch. So:

..... yeah.

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Burst Angels -- An Anime Review--in Pictures!
Posted: June 10, 2012 (05:09 PM)


MastersUser: Masters
Title: Journey and its ilk
Posted: May 16, 2012 (10:35 AM)
I thought I'd crap out my thoughts on this game while they are still somewhat fresh. I hope that Journey lovers don't take this as a personal attack, because it's not.

I understand that my personal aesthetic may make me a poor candidate for appreciating games like Journey; indeed, I am so bored by this kind of stuff that I can't get far enough in the game to warrant writing a proper review.

But I have to ask to nobody in particular... what's the appeal? Bear in mind that I am the same hater of all things beautiful and stripped down who doesn't have much love for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus either.

But getting back to Journey: it's a very simplistic game. I may be wrong (again, I only passed 3 or 4 'levels') but here is a title where you can really make do with one button.

The good old Sonic the Hedgehog games only made use of one button function too. But those games offered some semblance of challenge and there was lots to see and do.

Not Journey though. This 'game' is a bland beige tour through a wasteland with cyclopean structures jutting out here and there, involving hopping about and riding carpets to no worthwhile end.

On some occasions, I can pierce the heavy veil of pretentious praise from supporters and see that they love the game because it offers something 'different and beautiful in its simplicity.'

I think back to Out of This World, which was a game that was different and offered a simple, yet beautifully told story of friendship. But that game also had sick puzzles and hard as hell shooting elements. That game killed you a lot.

I imagine OoTW in an alternate universe, where Lester and the big alien just hold hands and run and jump to the end. That would have been something else.

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: Baby born!
Posted: May 05, 2012 (07:03 AM)
Good luck, man. Every now and then, something comes along that takes priority over reviewing video games online, and I suppose this just about registers as such.

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My 300 favorite songs of 2011.
Posted: April 29, 2012 (04:29 PM)
I actually composed a top fifty list for albums, but I only posted it on Facebook. There are a few adjustments I'd probably make (having since seen them live, Kasabian and Bombay would both be higher), but here it is:

50. The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts
49. Kasabian – Velociraptor!
48. Mother Mother – Eureka
47. Austra – Feel It Break
46. Bon Iver – s/t
45. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
44. I Break Horses – Hearts
43. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
42. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years
41. Boris – Attention Please
40. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
39. Little Scream – The Golden Record
38. Yelle – Safari Disco Club
37. Cults – s/t
36. Moonface – Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped
35. Jessica 6 – See the Light
34. Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia
33. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See
32. This Will Destroy You – Tunnel Blanket
31. Hooray for Earth – True Loves
30. The World/Inferno Friendship Society – The Anarchy and the Ecstasy
29. Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence
28. Yuck – s/t
27. Friendly Fires – Pala
26. Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials
25. Zola Jesus – Conatus
24. Is Tropical – Native to
23. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
22. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
21. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
20. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
19. MUTEMATH – Odd Soul
18. Battles – Gloss Drop
17. Holy Ghost! – s/t
16. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
15. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
14. The Black Keys – El Camino
13. VHS or Beta – Diamonds and Death
12. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love
11. Starfucker – Reptilians
10. Junior Boys – It’s All True
9. Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
8. Wilco – The Whole Love
7. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
6. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
5. Feist – Metals
4. The Dodos – No Colors
3. The Antlers – Burst Apart
2. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
1. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

overdriveUser: overdrive
Title: Today I wrote my 330th review.
Posted: April 21, 2012 (01:04 PM)
It's a round number, so I'm noting it as a milestone of sorts. Which gives me an excuse to celebrate heavily today. CHEERS!
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aschultzUser: aschultz
Title: Re: War Eyes..
Posted: April 17, 2012 (06:38 PM)
Can you provide a link? I think I know where it is on Amazon, but I'm not sure.

pickhutUser: pickhut
Title: So my first three 2012 games happened to be Capcom titles
Posted: March 31, 2012 (12:03 PM)
I'm greatly disturbed by this.
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aschultzUser: aschultz
Title: Writing I've been up to
Posted: March 26, 2012 (05:48 PM)
I decided to join on the Apollo 18 20th anniversary tribute which was posted to the text adventure forums back in December. I probably took too many games--the organizer wanted them all to be claimed by January 1 or so and so I stepped in with some ideas by January 15th, worrying nobody was going to take things. So I feel bad having taken so much, and I didn't really go after reciprocal testing, but I have to say this: it was a ton of FUN when I had the time, and despite being rather sick for 10 days, the 3-month buffer was enough.

And other people started picking things off. Some members of the Chicago-IF group took one here and there. Some other people I'd never heard of dropped in, too, some writing their first games. And if there aren't any super-big-long-time-historic traditional names writing (except Nick Montfort) I really enjoyed the opportunity to beta-test other people's games, which gave me ideas for my own.

I have a hard time finding what sort of criticism and creative trade I like, but with text adventures, I think I am really happiest at the moment. The sort of criticism where I know someone is going to fix Obvious Bug X (e.g. they say there's graffiti there and the player can't examine it) or they don't respond to a standard verb (e.g. SING in a game with a guitar, or maybe BURN PHOTOGRAPH in a game where the room is on fire.) It gives a chance to be positive and suggest a person can do more. That's when criticism's at its best.

So whom would I recommend? I had a blast playing Carl Muckenhoupt's game (My Evil Twin) before it was fixed, and I know he will--his game The Gostak will either annoy you or blow your mind or both.

I was able to provide a lot of checking for Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch's Narrow Your Eyes. As they co-wrote it, and they live a thousand miles apart, they used Google Code. I enjoyed being able to report issues to the issue page and also being able to see the source--which I learned so much from.

Ryan Veeder also won IFComp 2011 (just ahead of someone else here's fine effort on HonestGamers) and his two games are almost certainly worth playing. He writes funny stuff.

Whether or not you're familiar with TMBG, it's probably a lot of fun to poke around. I have to admit, I've got a potential embarrassment if some of my games don't work (hint: Space Suit received the most testing) but I think if you're in the mood for a quick text adventure game, any of the Fingertips will do. They're all intended to be 1-movers and many have VERY different ways of looking at things.

And I just like how this collection acted as a sort of farm system for people who were maybe newer to writing text adventures to join in.

Anyway. That's what I've been up to. I'm already planning my next game, too. It may not get wide exposure, but after my 2011 IFComp entry, I finally wrote a game (as I wanted to.) Now I want to write one really well.

So I know Jason has a full-length novel. What's everyone else doing writing-wise outside of HG?
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aschultzUser: aschultz
Title: Review, in case it doesn't get into the database...
Posted: March 19, 2012 (01:16 AM)
LR for WonderSwan

I wasn't aware of the WonderSwan until I went searching for new versions of Lode Runner (LR.) It was a last resort. You see, so many ports of Lode Runner contain the same levels from the original. Maybe they throw in a story with animals to rescue or something, but it that couldn't disguise the exact same levels made by kids pulled off the street long ago back in 1980. Which is annoying to see after I've poked my way through several Japanese menus. Yeah, first world problems, rom downloads aren't perfectly legal, and so on. But when so many Lode Runner games come with level editors (also part of the original) that the developers themselves never seem to use, it's hard to believe much care went into these products.

Not so with the WonderSwan port (WS.) It's not brilliant, but it doesn't have to be. It hits all the basic LR puzzles and adds a few more. As in other LR games, you basically climb ladders, walk on ropes, and dig holes to the left and right for enemies to fall in. The holes can fill up, trapping the enemies, who reappear at the top, or even you. Get all the gold, and you will get a ladder or door to the next level, often positioned awkwardly. You die if enemies touch you, but it's also common to get stuck with no way out, which is awfully frustating but also the source of some of the best puzzles. You may have to dig through a whole structure for that one last gold piece without getting trapped, or you may need to make an educated guess about which blocks are fall-through--they look the same as the regular ones. It's part logic and experimentation, and often after thinking I knew what a square had to be, or thinking the game was vague, the solution tipped off other things. LR: WS is really good at forcing this educated guesswork or giving these a-ha moments.

And here the game changes more than just enemy speed or how fast the holes fill in--those have been enough to create vastly different puzzles. The biggest is the crumbling block--it, like the fall-through block, is indistinguishable from the regular sort you walk over. However, it disappears after a second once you step over it, often making a one-way passage or ruining an obvious digging sequence.

The other new feature is water. It's an amusing one, where a small pool can spill out to the whole level. If you dig a bounding block, it pours out to that side and below. Water slows you down, unless you chose the scuba suit at the level's start--and then, you aren't able to outrun monsters until you're in the water. There're also lobsters that scuttle back and forth in some pools. They're often guarding gold, but if you're clever, you can get the lobsters to block enemy. You can also walk on top of the lobsters for some tough-to-get gold pieces if you're very careful. And if all of this doesn't sound like much, it doesn't need to be. LR is very basic without ever approaching the total dryness of, for instance, Sokoban, and also unlike Sokoban, the action and interaction allow for believable added enemies and challenges like this.

LR also makes challenges optional, so you don't get stuck as easily. Non-gold items you can get in WS compromise between die-hard fans and people new to the game and a great way to get around the usual "gee, you're stuck" in a puzzle game. For instance, cake slices just get you points, and getting 90% of feathers unlocks the sort of bonus round Lode Runner fans love. Often you need to do something like jump and run on a falling enemy, or futz with a certain area at the start, to get these. Sometimes you just need to pray that the ladders that pop up after you get the gold will let you grab everything.

All this gets more demanding and nastier, and I mean this in the most complimentary way, as you reach the end of the 125 levels. Sometimes you need to freeze the screen to see the whole board--the WonderSwan screen not being very big--and that leaves the game feeling like busy work at times, because you have to scroll up to see where the enemies you just killed are about to reincarnate. This doesn't ruin the game, of course, but often feeling like the WonderSwan is asking you to check your work can get in the way of basking in a nice solution.

This is about the biggest nuisance, though. LR is a good game for black-and-white systems, and here the lobster and your squid-like opponents are more than acceptable. The scuba suit you wear is also very cute, with little bubbles coming from your guy either way (no, he won't drown if he stays underwater.) And if there are no especially wild puzzles, the game never seems to be mailing it in.

All this left me with a very favorable impression of the WonderSwan. Not that I found another game to play. But it's good to find a port of my favorite series on an obscure system that upholds the tradition and does something new. It'sabout the right balance of challenging and inviting, and if every port had thrown in a tweak like water or crumbling blocks, it'd have been quite exciting. It's too late to hope that Lode Runner will ever make a comeback, and I think I've exhausted all the old-school systems that might have new levels, so I'm grateful to be able to find games on the Nintendo 64, TurboGrafx and, yes, the WonderSwan which at least reminded me that other people enjoy the challenges in Lode Runner and were able to pass them on.
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bloomerUser: bloomer
Title: Dumb baddies in my game prototype leads me to Pacman docs
Posted: March 13, 2012 (08:44 PM)
Last night I was programming some super-elementary pathfinding into the game prototype I'm working on and I noticed enemies were getting stuck on corners when following the player. They don't yet have the brains to try moving a few more pixels forward so that they can round the corner and continue the pursuit.

Here's a demo video (152kb). The pink/red rectangle is the player. The bottom-left blue rectangle is the enemy ploddingly following him. (And the things that look like a trail of turds are player footsteps… In case I have a level set in dust or snow)

Googling for information on path-finding, I came across this nice webpage called The Pac-Man Dossier which explains the workings of Pac-Man in extreme but user-friendly detail. It didn't solve my problem but it's more interesting than my problem and you may enjoy having a look at it.

aschultzUser: aschultz
Title: Re: My 300 favorite songs of 2011.
Posted: March 11, 2012 (12:53 AM)
I didn't even listen to 300 new songs in 2011, probably. Wow.

overdriveUser: overdrive
Title: Re: My reviews are getting longer again...
Posted: March 07, 2012 (01:17 PM)
Lol...you might be right. Since, while CC was a long review, it wasn't 350K words long.

bloomerUser: bloomer
Title: Six wins Best Implementation at XYZZYs
Posted: March 05, 2012 (04:57 AM)
This morning I attended the 2011 XYZZY Awards Ceremony on IFMud. The XYZZYs are best quickly described as the Oscars of Interactive Fiction, voted for by any interested players over two rounds.

My game Six was a finalist in a lot of categories:

Best Game
Best Setting
Best NPCs
Best Supplemental Materials
Best Implementation

In the end I won Best Implementation. And I think that was a good win, as I do believe in the strength of the game's implementation. The game that really mopped up, and ultimately won Best Game, was Cryptozookeeper.

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