I’m struggling to find a suitable comparison for the emotional climax of Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons but I’m going to give it a shot. Anyone who has played the game will know what I’m talking about. For anyone who has not, this is the spoiler warning.
Infinifactory is a strange title. The game features a limited amount of scenarios, each requiring a finite amount of output. And without spoilers I can say, that the neverending story this is not. You finish the last puzzle and you get an ending. I get the factory bit, just not the inifini bit. Spacechem is about making chemicals. In space. Granted it’s not exactly an exciting naming convention but at least it delivers on both parts.
Now, I know that it’s a distant relation of Infiniminer which to some may be enough but allow me to speculate: Infinifactory is a progression in Zachlike naming into the self aware stage. Zachlikes – the shorthand for the genre that Zach Barth and Zachtronics spawned – are expressions of the belief in endless growth. You make better and better machines that will continue to convert input into output, steadily and reliably.
Hitman (2016) may or may not be a great game but it gets one thing brilliantly, astonishingly right. It is a quest marker game that is playable without quest markers. I would wager that it is in fact designed to be playable with or without quest markers. And for that I want to smother the good people of IO Interactive. With kisses, that is. Not a pillow. Or a bag. Or any other of a thousand possible, inviting murder instruments.
This video showcases a mod for Euro Truck Simulator 2 that turns a humble 90 km/h-capped truck into a monster racer doing 560 km/h. That’s roughly half the speed of sound in case you’re wondering.
I enjoy the sedateness of driving in ETS2. It’s humdrum in a good way and requires only low-level attention and skill (until you suddenly remember your turn at the last minute). It can be a way to drift into a slightly meditative/sleep-ready state. It can be a walking simulator where walking can be as challenging as you want it to be. It can be a vehicle (no pun intended) for podcast listening or music enjoyment. It can be a way for ADHD sufferers to focus. It can be quite relaxing.
Racing seems antithetical to the game as played by most people. However, the mod is a) an entirely optional add-on for those who seek it out and b) quite funny. I for one found the video hilarious. When trucks fly and so on.
That’s not how BahamutX sees it, though.
The title of Else Heart.Break() keeps it’s conditionals hidden. If what else heartbreak? Suffice to say that so far the condition stil holds: I love this game and it seems to love me back and nobody needs to get hurt.
If you’ve read anything about Heartbreak it’s probably about the code. Most things – from cigarettes to mainframes – can be hacked. This is true but that’s not a fit description of the game. Else Heart.Break() accomplishes that rare thing of making me feel like I inhabit the character I’m controlling. At the outset I felt lost and disoriented in a bizarre world that seemed as ill prepared for me as I for it. A couple of hours in I feel like a bona-fide, bad-ass cyber-noir detective. Allow me to explain.
This was to have been an obituary. “Here lies Lorrie Olson who died of thirst after three days because she couldn’t find a container to carry snow for meltwater in.”
Turns out you don’t need a container for snow. Seeing as it’s everywhere, The Long Dark simply treats it a ressource you always have in infinte quantities. Lucky for Lorrie I figured this out just in time, having settled her in front of a roaring let’s-all-die-of-thirst-in-oh-say-five-minutes fire.
The Long Dark just launched for Linux/SteamOS and I just spent two hours surviving three days. And what three days they have been. Remember that time when we ate raw venison and got food poisoning because I was still figuring out the controls? What larks. And then when we ran out of water and were completely dehydrated and found a box of salty crackers? Man, Fate has a nasty sense of humour. Fortunately it also had stoved some carbonated beverages away in a cupboard for me or I wouldn’t have been able to swallow those crackers. Quite literally.
I bought a small form factor pc recently to serve as HTPC (home theater pc, or pc wot plays media files) and allround home, web and cloud server. It has integrated graphics. It runs linux. It is in other words not a gaming pc. But I still went ahead and bought a controller with it, installed Steam and picked up a number of indie titles to run on it.
It has turned out surprisingly well. Due in large part to the fact that it has allowed me to reconnect with Double Fine’s 2006 cult classic Psychonauts. I liked Psychonauts before when I rushed through every level to get to the endgame. Now that I have played it at a more leisurely pace, I think that it might just be the best game that I have ever played in terms of world, environment and characters.
The reasoning is fairly simple. You may have heard people talk of games where the fate of the characters mattered to them, beyond merely tactical concerns. Maybe you have felt that way yourself. Me, not so much. Except, that is, for the summer camp of Whispering Rock that is the setting of Psychonauts and the collection of misfits that inhabit it.